Category Archives: Comfort Foods

Hazelnut Cream

I found myself inspired by a book I received for review. The book is ‘Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet’ by Erica Kerwien. What a thorough book this was! SCD is an option for those who are trying to work with delicate digestive situations such as Crohn’s disease, IBS, Celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis to name a few. I have spoken to so many people dealing with these conditions who find themselves restricted by their guidelines, all so that what they eat does not end their day. We eat to nourish and make ourselves happy (in far too many cases for me), can you imagine what it would be like if many of the foods you ate made you want to just curl up and wish the day or in many cases, week would end? So, when this book crossed my desk I was interested. Ofcourse, this book is not just for those looking to control a condition, it has a wealth of creative recipes and basics for anyone trying to eat sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free and she even offers dairy-free alternatives.

One of the recipes that caught my eye was a sweet cashew cream, basically a whipped cream alternative for folks. My recipe is not all that similar in the end but it was an inspiration. To check out the original recipe and the many other delicious healthy dishes I suggest you check out this book. Not being a gluten-free or grain-free follower myself I am happy to say that these recipes even appealed to my grain addicted self.

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  • 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts (if you can’t find ground just get regular and do them up in a blender or coffee grinder, like I did)
  • 1 cup fat free evaporated skim milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (or icing sugar)
  • 2 tbl light butter or margarine (I used the stuff with plant sterols to add extra nutrition)
  1. Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate overnight (it will thicken with time and cold), stir and only serve chilled.

Makes 24 servings (about 1 tablespoon in size). Each serving contains 30 calories, 1.2 grams fat, 4 grams carbs, .2 gram fibre, and 1 gram protein. A great nutty flavoured alternative to plain old whipped cream. Amazing with chocolate cake.

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Cherry Molasses Cookie Bars

I woke up one day and decided it was a day for molasses. So, so I made molasses cookies. then I got tired of rolling them out and cutting them. There must be an easy and lazy way to make these right? What about a cookie crust? My inner lazy cook offered. But what do we put in it? It can’t be too sweet. I whined. So, time was meant thinking until finally “Cherries!”…and I realized I had spent quality time talking food…with myself. Obviously, I was experiencing molasses withdrawal and needed to bake this up stat. I did…and it was delicious.

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  • 1/4 cup light cooking margarine or light butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses of choice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries, cherry flavoured)
  • 1 cup water
  1. Cream margarine and sugar in a bowl until soft and fluffy.
  2. Add sugar, molasses, and egg. Combine until smooth.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in another bowl. Add slowly to the creamed mixture. Combine until a smooth dough forms.
  4. Press dough into a 9×9 glass pan.
  5. Bake at 375F for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven. Lower heat to 350F.
  6. Combine the cherries and water in a saucepan.
  7. Heat over medium heat until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
  8. Pour mixture over the cookie crust and distribute evenly.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool slightly before slicing into 12 bars. Serve warm or cool. Tasty either way!

Makes 12 servings. Each serving contains 134 calories, 1.9 grams fat, 29.5 grams carbs, .9 gram fibre, 1.7 grams protein. These are fabulous with a cup of chai tea.

Enchilada Pie

I don’t often do Mexican food (or my interpretation of Mexican food). for some reason, Surly Dwarf just doesn’t trust it. Occasionally though I rebel and push for something Mexican around here. Usually, it’s tacos but lately I’ve been wanting these enchiladas I used to make when I was a teenager. I wanted to change them up though, I figured doing them like a lasagna would not only be easy but fun too. I was right. Instead of a meat filled enchilada I decided to make a simple bean filled one, great for those meatless nights. Total success, it was so good even Surly Dwarf went for seconds on this one. It may not make for the best picture but it is full of delicious.

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  • 5 corn tortilla (warmed according to directions)
  • 398 ml fat free refried beans
  • 1 tsp smoked applewood seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground ancho chili (I freshly ground mine from a dried chili)
  • 120 grams light tex mex cheese
  • mole sauce of your choice (I used packaged stuff due to time constraints)
  1. Combine beans, applewood seasoning, chili, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Spoon a couple of tablespoons worth of sauce into a 9×9 glass pan.
  3. Cut a warmed tortilla in half, dip in the warm mole sauce. Once pliable but not over soaked place in the pan. Repeat to create the tortilla layer using two of the tortillas.
  4. Top the tortilla layer with the refried bean mixture and half the cheese.100_2925
  5. Layer the rest of the tortillas, pour the sauce remaining carefully on top, and then top with the rest of the cheese.100_2927
  6. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil and bake for an extra 5 minutes.100_2930
  7. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, slice into four slabs and serve.

Makes four servings. Each serving contains 275 calories, 7.9 grams fat, 38.8 grams carbs, 7.3 grams fibre (I know!), and 15.1 grams protein. So filling, so nummy, and far less fat than a Mexican restaurant would wallop you with. Enjoy!

Cheesy Poofs

“I love cheesy poofs,  you love cheesy poofs, if we didn’t eat cheesy poofs, we’d be LAME.” the immortal words of Cartman.

Alright, so these aren’t quite the fabled South Park junk food but they are so very nummy. The beauty of these is that you can use any cheese you have on hand to make it suit your taste. My favourite version of these is a toss up between the smoked gouda or my goat cheese ones. The goat cheese is my healthiest version so I will go with that one today. The perfect snack for entertaining guests, as part of an afternoon tea platter, or just because you want them. Remember, you can’t share them with kitty…they are YOUR cheesy poofs.

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  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or buttermilk
  • 4 tbl butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces low fat goat cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground mace
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard powder
  • freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan combine the milk, water, and butter. Bring almost to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until a smooth dough forms. Once it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan remove from the heat and allow to cool for one minute.100_2914
  4. Add one of the eggs, beat in until the dough is smooth again. Repeat with the second egg.
  5. Stir in the cheese, pepper, salt and mace until smooth.
  6. Transfer the dough into a piping bag (or in my case a freezer bag that I cut a corner off of). Pipe the dough into desired shape on the parchment covered pans. I go with little round cushions.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and slightly golden brown. Serve warm.100_2918

Makes 40 cheesy poofs. Each poof contains 22 calories, 1.6 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of carbs, 0 gram fibre, .6 gram protein. Why not have a few? Then pat yourself on the back for making a choux pastry. You top chef, you.

Hardcore Hobbit: Mushroom “Stew”

Hobbits and mushrooms are like a glass and milk! they just go together. It has been fun juggling ideas to make this recipe come to life. So much pondering. Finally I had a tasty, filling idea come to me, I bounced it off my husband and he added an idea that made it even better. In the game mushroom stew is made with just mushrooms and coney stock. Well, I don’t keep coney stock on hand so I went with chicken. Still, it needed something to make it exciting. That’s when my husband suggested “what about a blend of different types of mushrooms.” So simple and so brilliant. The end result smelt so delicious when cooking it was maddening…and tasting it warmed us to the core. A definite win.

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  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
  • 1 cup lobster mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbl rice bran oil (or other suitable cooking oil)
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the poultry seasoning, then add the quinoa. Stir, cooking for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and wine to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered until liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.

It may not technically be a stew but I figured the mushrooms were being stewed as much as I would go for. Serves 4. Each serving contains 255 calories, 6.6 grams fat, 33 grams carbs, 3.4 grams fibre, and 7.5 grams protein. Experiment with your own mushroom blends, that is a big part of the fun with this dish. Great as a side or as your main.

General Tso Chicken

This past week or so I have definitely been on a meat, sauce, and sticky rice as comfort food kick. So good, so easy, and so filling! So easy to stick in veggies of choice with dishes like these. The more veggies you stick in the more you can have. The more you can win at eating healthy really. Anytime I think about dishes like these I’m always reminded of what my uncle said to my one day as we considered having leftover Chinese food for breakfast one day. “Hey, 1.3 billion people can’t be wrong.” So true, so tasty. I have said “so” a lot in an intro for General Tso chicken haven’t I? This particular dish is a north American invention, it did not really come from china granted it claims its inspiration from there. Just like so many other dishes we tend to order. Did you know the typical serving from a restaurant tends to include 1,300 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat? Yeah. Let’s see if we can do better than that.

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  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 5 tbl white wine
  • 2 tbl cornstarch
  • 1 tbl oyster sauce
  • 2 tbl water
  • 2 tbl soy sauce
  • 1 tbl honey
  • 1 tbl rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbl grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (or carrots, or broccoli, any of these or all are tasty additions)
  1. Add 2 tbl of white wine and oyster sauce to 1 tbl cornstarch. Add chicken, toss to coat and set aside to marinate.
  2. Combine the remaining white wine, water, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, sriracha sauce, and cornstarch in another bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat pan over medium high heat. Don’t be shy, the heat helps the chicken stay moist with a quick sear. When pan is heated add the coconut oil and swirl.
  4. Add the chicken mixture to the pan. Stir-fry until browned and cooked through.
  5. Add ginger, garlic, and shallots. Stir-fry until fragrant.
  6. Add celery (or veggie mix of choice), stir fry until slightly tender but still crisp.
  7. Stir in the sauce set aside earlier. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.

Makes four servings. Each serving contains 158 calories, 3.1 grams fat, 10.4 grams carbs, .5 gram fibre, and 16.9 grams protein. Delicious over steamed rice. Yup, this is definitely a win for north american style chinese food. A guilty pleasure and comfort food without the sad weight in the next week.

Brown Rice Dessert Roll

To make dessert time easy and on track I like to make my desserts ahead of time and freeze them for the week. It makes me less likely to omnom the whole tray justifying to myself that they might go bad if I don’t. Really, who hasn’t used this excuse one time or another? After the holidays I had some leftover marshmallows, can’t let those go to waste. What does one do with marshmallows? Make rice cereal treats of course! We can’t make the same old treats around here though. After spending a bit of time fantasizing about a sushi dinner I was looking forward to I realized just what had to happen. Numminess followed.

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  • 4 tbl light butter or margarine
  • 16 marshmallows
  • 4 cups brown puffed rice cereal
  • 4 tbl light peanut butter
  • 2 tsp reduced sugar jam (I used my hardcore hobbit blackberry jam)
  • 1 tbl honey
  1. Melt margarine/butter using either a microwave (10 second bursts) or in a pot on an element.
  2. Add marshmallows, stir and melt in micro (10 second bursts) or on the element.
  3. Remove from heat and add brown rice cereal. Add the treat mixture to a greased baking sheet. Press down and into edges to create a flat rectangle. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. It should still be pliable if you list the edges but not too tacky to the touch.
  4. Combine peanut butter, jam and honey in a bowl.
  5. Turn out the cool rice mixture onto a plastic mat or plastic wrap.
  6. Spread the peanut butter mixture onto the rice treat.workingwithjam 004
  7. Roll, using the plastic to help you keep it all together, like a sushi roll.workingwithjam 005
  8. Put the roll into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Makes 16 “dessert sushi” each one contains 155 calories, 4 grams fat, 25 grams carbs, 1 gram fibre, 2 grams protein. You can keep these in the freezer and take them out to eat immediately. A fun twist on a classic that you can customize with any filling you feel like. My husband suggests the chocolate and almond butter.