Good things to eat

Savory Oatmeal Cookies

Okay, who are we kidding, they are still called “cookies” for a reason!!

But my problem with things called cookies is that it always conjures up something bad for you, something void of nutrient, something…..silly.

So yes, this is called a cookie and does have many of the ingredients found in traditional cookie, but this one has been jazzed up to pack as much extra nutrients as we can into each little bite.

The other great thing about these is that they contain very little sugar!  BONUS.

If you have been following this blog for any time you will have gathered that I am on a life long quest to find an agreeable substitute to the traditional store-bought cracker!

As tasty as some commercial crackers might be, they inevitably always give me heartburn and usually after I’ve read the package I can tell why!

And some of my home-made cracker experiments have gone better than others but usually turn out to be more suited to people with dietary restrictions who are happy to get whatever they can that they can actually eat.  So compared to “nothing at all” they are fine but not exactly a great snack that you would binge on, if you know what I mean.

But I think I may have finally found what I am looking for with these babies.

They have lots of good for you stuff in them, not too much bad for you stuff and they actually TASTE great!!

Give em a try.

 

You will require:

  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup all whole wheat flour ( or combos of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup golden or regular flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar ( or equivalent of sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt ( little more if you like things saltier)
  • 1/4 tsp baking SODA
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese ( I used old cheddar but parmesan would be good too)
  • 1 egg

Optional but strongly recommended additions:

  • 3 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped herb like rosemary
  • a few turns of cracked black pepper
  • good finishing salt to sprinkle on top

 

Whip out the Mix Master, although a mixing bowl will do just fine and add:

The oatmeal, flax-seed,brown sugar, olive oil and egg, stir together and let sit a couple of minutes till the oats get a bit gooey.

Then add, salt, baking soda, (onions and herbs), grated cheese and mix those thoroughly into the mixture.

Then a few spoonfuls at a time, add in the flour and keep stirring it in till the dough comes together nicely but isn’t too gooey or too dry.  So you might end up using a little more or a little  less than the original cup size asked for.  But the other ingredients can be more or less absorbent, so you won’t know for sure till you are in it.

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Then you are going to line a baking sheet with parchment and if you haven’t already done so, heat your oven to 350 degrees.

I just used two teaspoons, one to scoop out of the bowl and one to push it off the first spoon on to the tray.  Just like any drop cookie you might make.

Then go over them with a fork and squish them down flat.  They don’t spread while baking like some cookies do, so what ever size you end up squashing them to, will pretty much be their final size.   Then sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt and into the oven they go!

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Bake for about 25 minutes or until they get golden brown around the edges.

They are delicious immediately or in as long as it takes to cool enough as to not burn your mouth, or let them cool on a rack and then place in an air tight container and keep like you would any home-made cookie.

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But the best part….to me, they are the answer to my quest for a home-made cracker!  They are great with a bit of jam or some cheese or whatever you like to put on crunchy flat things!!

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What the Fig?

Our friends have a spectacular fig tree in their back yard.

So when they asked if we’d like some fresh figs to play with, the answer was “of course!”

But then what?

Now don’t get me wrong, Figs are GREAT for you!!  Click here to read all the cool things!

But what to do with fresh figs?  I notice they don’t have a very long shelf life once plucked from the tree, which makes me wonder how the ones we get in the supermarket from California manage to make it this far looking that good??

So here is what I came up with over the course of three days:

 

Note "fig leaf" in background.

Note “fig leaf” in background.

 

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Figs in Smoothies!

No brainer.

Chalk full of fibre and goodness without being overly sweet!

 

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Little fig pizzas:

Super simple.

Take your favorite pita ( or in this case naan bread), or if you are feeling particularly ambitious your own homemade pizza crust……

Add:

  • carmelized onions
  • slices of fresh fig
  • crumbled blue cheese ( or goat cheese but blue is nice with the fig)
  • pine nuts

Put it in the oven till the cheese melts and the figs wilt.

Top with a bit of fresh arugula if you have it.   ( I didn’t but would have like it!)

 

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Next item up is a little more hearty.

Fall is just around the corner so I thought I’d practice a dish that would go well on a cooler day.

“Lamb, Lentil and Fig Stew”!

Again, so easy, but SO satisfying.

In a large pan or Dutch oven :

  • Saute one large onion

Then add cubed lamb meat and cook till browned on all sides.

Then add:

  • 1 cup of rinsed green lentils
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 inch minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • OR  1 tsp curry powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all until everything is well coated.  Then add enough water to just cover everything.

Let simmer till lentils are almost done add more water if needed.

Then add 3 – 4 chopped fresh figs!

Let simmer a while longer till lentils are done and figs have melted down into the stew.

Serve in your favorite way!

Shown here over a bit of mash potato and a little steamed broccoli on the side!

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Did the trick and wasn’t at all sweet, but had the little “Je ne sais quoi”!!

 

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Along with the fresh figs we also received a jar of home made Fig Chutney from our friends.  We only had a twelve pack of figs to deal with, they had the whole TREE so preserves are a great way to go!!

 

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And what better would Fig Chutney go with than Grilled Pork Chops with Roasted Veg??

This was really tasty!!

 

 

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And last but not least, you need to have at least ONE dessert item on the list!!  I mean it IS fruit after all!!

So I whipped up a little fig cake.

I pretty much made the same recipe as my once famous “Pluot Skillet Cake” and just substituted the pluots with figs!

Totally did the trick!

 

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So there you have it, Fig-o-lisious!!

What do you do with YOUR figs??

Food Movies

There are a lot of movies that involve food.  I mean why wouldn’t there be?  As humans, eating is one of our favorite pass times, so chances are, if you add food to your movie.  It will make people happy!

I had three note worthy food related film experiences this Summer.

Just the other day we went to see The Hundred Foot Journey.

 

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It isn’t completely about food, there are some very touching human experiences involved as well, but food certainly would be nominated for “best supporting Actor”.

It is also very heartwarming and uplifting but warning, it will make you hungry!!

 

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And then earlier in the summer we saw the movie CHEF.

Although the title implies a heavy  food theme, it too has a warm and fuzzy human redemption story but is undoubtedly hunger inducing.

I was anxious to see this movie because in one of the episodes of  Top Chef New Orleans, the lead actor / director/ writer, Jon Faverau was the guest judge on the show.  He was in New Orleans doing research for the movie which is based around the whole food truck craze and in that episode of Top Chef, it was a food truck challenge.

I’m not sure how it did at the theatres, but if you should see it available on one of the many modes of movie watching and you like stuff food then check it out.

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But I think my most note worthy food film experience this summer was part of our local Foodie Film Fest.

Our Victoria Film Festival which usually happens in February branched out this summer to bring us something a little delicious.

A friend asked me if I would like to join her for one of the presentations.   Neither of us were completely clear as to what would go on.  The Film Festival sometimes puts on free movies in the park where you bring your blanket and a picnic so when we heard it was at a vineyard, we just assumed it would be the same sort of arrangement.

My friend has a fully equipped Westphalia camper van, complete with cooker stove and refrigeration.   So we went all out with the picnic aspect of the evening.   The movie wasn’t playing until dusk, so why not travel out to somewhere near the event, have our picnic and then attend the movie with our bellies already full?

We weren’t all together sure where we were going, so we thought it best to stop by and check out the location first and then go have our picnic.

Turns out it was at a gated estate vineyard, deep down a country road.  I guess because we were so early we sailed right though the gate and then drove up the long road to the top of the hill.  Up there we were met with a spectacular view and plenty of parking next to the wine tasting building and the location where the film showing was still being set up.

At this point we really saw no good reason to leave!

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We busted out our dinner and some wine and watched the scenery as the sun started to go down.  It was magnificent.

But then we started noticing many of the other guests, who weren’t fortunate to have arrived early, traipsing up the long hill with their lawn chairs and baskets.  Seems the gates had been closed.   Weren’t WE lucky!!

 

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But it got even better!

When we saw that enough people were starting to gather we decided to check out the situation and pick up our tickets. Only to find out that included in the price of admission was a snack box of fabulous treats!  Fresh bread slices, pates, succulent cheeses and pickles all provided by Charelli’s Cheese Shop. Had we known, we might not have eaten as much back in the camper!!  Oh well.

As well, they were doing wine tastings at the tasting bar and you could buy glasses of wine to have with your snack box while you watched the movie!   All terribly civilized!

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People were quite jealous of us because not only did we have nice chairs to sit in and warm blankets for our lap but we also had a convenient little folding table to rest our goods on,that my friend brought out from the van.

 

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And just when I thought things couldn’t get ANY better, the lady next to me insisted that I take a glass of wine off her hands because she had bought two thinking she was getting one for her friend, who turned out to have already got one!

Then, of course there was the movie!

Brasserie Romantique

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And it had English subtitles which made it seem even more romantique!

Again, a lovely little movie with delicious scenery!

 

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It’s all making me think  that perhaps a home “food movie festival” might be a great idea!!

Cook up some good snacks and have a food movie marathon with  your best buds!

 

What’s YOUR favorite food film??

Butter Chicken Pizza

What could be easier than this quick assemble, dreary Sunday afternoon, lunch favorite?

All that’s required is some left over Butter Chicken, restaurant bought, or home made.

  • some Naan bread
  • some melty cheese ( I used smoked cheddar for extra zing)

 

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Place Naan on a baking sheet.

 

 

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Generously cover with the left over butter chicken

 

 

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Sprinkle with cheese

 

Bung into oven.

Simple as THAT!!

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I didn’t have any but you could top the finished product with some chopped fresh cilantro or finely chopped red onion……..or whatever you find that you have around.  Make different ones if you like!

Makes a great lunch or light dinner paired with a side salad……

Food Matters TV

Here is a little something I thought I would pass on to you.

The people behind such movies as:

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Are now launching:

                            FOOD MATTERS TV

This is an online service much like Netflix only the content is all FOOD / HEALTH / WELLNESS  related.

And if you sign up now there are all sorts of bonuses.

And at the very least if you go to the site before March 31st, you can watch Hungry for Change and Food Matters for free.

Just thought I’d mention it.

Zucchini Fritters

Here is a surprisingly tasty snack for you.

Over the last few weeks there seems to have been so many “Snack Worthy” things on TV.  All of the award shows and of course the Super Bowl…….

So I was looking for something a little more interesting to serve than all the usual suspects.

I happened to find something similar to this on a Vegan website – no need to tell anyone they were Vegan and spoil the decadent impression that they made!

In the original recipe they were served with a cashew cream, so they were truly Vegan.

I served them with sour cream laced with Chipolte Tabasco sauce, which is still a Vegetarian item!

Start by grating:

  • 3 medium zucchini

Put the grated zucchini into a clean tea towel and squeeze it over the sink as hard as you can to get as much of the liquid out as possible!

Then add to a mixing bowl with:

  • 1 medium grated carrot
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped red onion

Meanwhile grind in a coffee grinder or mini food processor:

  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds

And then add that to:

  • 3 Tbsp water

And let those sit together for about 5 – 10 minutes till they form a thick goop.

This is what we are going to use instead of the traditional egg.

However, if you don’t have any flax, or a grinder and don’t care about egg, by all means use egg!

Then toss together the flax with the zucchini, carrot, onion with:

  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Mix these all together till you get a nice thick batter.

Heat a skillet and add enough oil to coat the bottom, but I don’t like too much so they are swimming, but enough that the bottom is covered.  I even brush the oil around with a pastry brush so the pan is well coated.

Then start adding batches of about a 1/4 cup of mixture, as many as comfortably fits, and flatten them down.

Cook until golden and crispy on both sides.   Keep them warm in a low oven till they are all ready.

And then serve immediately!   With the topping of your choice.

These were really good considering there was no egg or real flour and really kept their shape.

 

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This Blog is Three!

My how time flies!  I can’t believe that I have already had this blog for three years now!!

As those of you who have been following from the beginning know, it started only as an assignment for a food writing class I was taking, but I got so hooked that I never gave it up!

As of today I have reached just under 40,000 hits!  Yes that is 40 thousand!  And I am always amazed at how far it reaches.  Because as the owner of the blog, you can see the statistics where it tells you how many hits you’ve had and what people are looking at and where they are looking from.

I am always astounded at how far and wide the audience reaches.

And having a blog is sort of like putting money in a very good investment and watching it grow just on interest!  Because in this last year I haven’t been writing as much as I would like, yet people still seem to keep finding the blog.  I have no idea how that even happens!

One of the top posts that keeps getting looked at is the very first one:

“Can you really make pasta with a juicer

Another popular one that gets the most hit – yet I find a bit troubling because I fear this isn’t what they had in mind when they were doing their online search is:

Forbidden muffin balls

But my all time number one favorite that gets the most hits and even comes up as number one on Google – which means on the WHOLE interweb is:

Kale Pancakes

So thanks so much for all of the comments, love and support over these past three years!  Hopefully I can keep coming up with things to tell you about for at least another three!

3rd birthday

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