Category Archives: Ingredient

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.

Hardcore Hobbit: Leek Stock

My first weekend at yoga teacher training was a crazy one but a great one! I met a whole bunch of awesome new people AND I worked a couple of really tasty recipes on the side. Epic win! I made this mostly in the crockpot while I was away at training, so it’s perfect for you other busy hobbits out there. In LOTRO leek stock is made with leeks, water and shire taters. I love the smell of this stock, it certainly picked up my spirit when I walked in the door. Look at all those beautiful leeks!

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbl butter
  • 3 medium leeks, thinly sliced, white/light coloured parts only
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed
  • 5 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat a pan to medium high. Add the butter, swirling it around to coat the pan.
  2. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onions begin to caramelize.
  3. Add the leeks, cook for about 1 or two minutes. Stirring constantly.
  4. Pour into a crockpot.
  5. Add the potatoes and water. Heat the crockpot for 8 hours on low. You can do this faster by just adding the ingredients to a stock pot and heating over the stove for 30-45 minutes on medium high. Make sure the potatoes are tender before serving.

Makes 5 super generous servings. Each serving contains 180 calories, 4.9 grams fat, 32 grams carbs, 4 grams fibre, and 3.7 grams protein. This is a great soup base! A great departure from the same old veggie soup base that most vegetarians can get stuck with. You can use lighter butter substitutes for this soup but I found that full fat butter really helped those leeks along flavour wise.

Hardcore Hobbit: Blackberry Jam

This tasty jam can certainly be enjoyed in a variety of ways. This is an ingredient recipe in LOTRO. According to the game it is made with blackberries, water, and mixed spice. This then goes on to be the ingredient for so many other hardcore hobbit recipes. I can’t wait! I have been anxiously watching our blackberry bushes all summer. You won’t believe how busy the bees were! Now we have oodles of blackberries and the first thing that absolutely had to be made was this blackberry jam. I like the tartness of the berry so I did not add much sugar at all. If you like a sweeter jam you may want to add more than I did. With the success of this basic jam I am definitely going back to make more. I think the next will be a blackberry lavender jam and a blackberry passionfruit jam. Num! Definitely harvest season around here.

  • 4 cups crushed blackberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice (I made my own by juicing a few fuji apples)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp light cooking margarine
  • 1 pkg no sugar needed pectin (I call it insurance in case my apple juice doesn’t come through)
  • 1 cup sweetener of choice (I used splenda but honey would be divine)
  • 4 small canning jars
  1. Boil the jars, lids, and seals to sterilize and prep for the jam. Keep them hot until ready for filling.
  2. Strain 2 or 3 cups of the berries to remove the seeds. Blend the strained liquid with the remaining crushed berries in a pot.
  3. Add the apple juice, margarine, cinnamon, and cloves to the berries.
  4. Stir in the pectin until dissolved.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the sweetner of choice.
  6. Stir constantly while boiling for 3 minutes then remove from heat.
  7. One at a time remove jars from the hot liquid, ladle in the jam, leaving about 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rim clean. Top with the sealing disk. Screw down the top. Repeat for the rest of the jars.
  8. Return the filled jars to the boiling water, make sure the jars are covered by atleast an inch of water. Boil for 10 minutes or longer if you are at higher altitudes.
  9. Remove the jars from the water without tilting them. Allow to sit upright and undisturbed for 24 hours.

Makes 4 250 ml jars. 1 tbl of jam sweetened with splenda is 7 calories, .1 gram fat, .5 gram fibre, 2.1 carb, and .1 gram protein. 1 tbl of jam sweetened with honey is 22 calories, .1 gram fat, .5 gram fibre, 5.7 carbs, and .1 gram protein. Contains all the num needed to last through winter for two hungry hobbits.

 

Garlic Scape Vinaigrette

A good wander over to the farmers market yielded these tasty little gems called garlic scapes or garlic greens. These are basically the flower stem of a garlic bulb. They give you that garlic flavour without too much garlic bite. They have a really short season though so grab them when you can! They do freeze nicely though. I love garlic dressings, my mom makes a Croatian salad that I just adore that has a lovely simple garlic dressing. In my opinion the bitier the better. For those who want milder garlic joy though a garlic scape dressing would definitely be the way to go.

  • 3 garlic scapes or more, chopped
  • 1 cup vinegar of choice (in this version I used malt)
  • 1 tbl extra virgin avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Add the ingredients to a blend and blend until smooth.

I love how simple salad dressing can be! Makes 8 servings (2 tbl each). Each serving contains 19 calories, 1.1 gram fat, no fibre, no protein, 3 grams carbs. Aren’t those the best salad dressing nutritionals ever? It doesn’t take much to go far with this dressing. Now that salad season is upon us this is definitely the time to hit the farmer’s market and get those ingredients to start making your own dressings and salads!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Mmm spring is finally starting to be in the air out here. Time for the dip veggies to come out, or maybe even time to do a lovely middle eastern style dinner. I can see it now…a variety of those awesome middle eastern dips, veggies, pita, some form of kabobs, enjoyed outside with good company. Yes, definitely time. Every time I pick up a roasted red pepper hummus from the store it is awful and bitter though. Obviously, this is something that needed to be dealt with. To the hobbit hole! *insert batmanish music here*

So pretty!

  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 540 ml chickpeas
  • 3 tbl lemon juice
  • 2 tbl light peanut butter (you can use tahini if you like, sesame seeds don’t always like me)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. wash, dry, slice in half, and remove the seeds of the pepper. Place it cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler until it blisters and even burns a little, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the skin best you can after it has cooled enough to be handled. I never stress much about removing the skin though.
  3. Place the red pepper and the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  4. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serves 12. Each serving (about 1/4 cup) contains 72 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 2.4 grams of fibre, 12.3 grams of carbs, and 2.9 grams of protein. A lovely filling snack or side dish really. Great when added to a falafel. Mmm!

Hardcore Hobbit: Sandson’s Famous Hardboiled Eggs

I’ve been waiting so long to do this one. When I first glanced at the recipe in LOTRO I knew exactly what I had to do for these eggs. I’ve been waiting for that perfect time of year to do this. In the game these eggs are made with eggs and onions. They are described as “what seem to be normal hardboiled eggs are really Farmer Sandson’s famous recipe!”. How do you make hardboiled eggs with onions, you may ask. Simple! We’ve been doing it in my family for years! Start saving your yellow onions skins! I think this method makes them taste better than your average hardboiled egg but then it could just be because they are pretty.

  • 4 white large eggs
  • 1-2 cups of dry yellow onion skins
  • COLD water
  1. Place the eggs in a medium saucepan. Fill with enough cold water to cover with an inch of water from the top of the highest egg.
  2. Add the onion skins to the pot covering the eggs.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Once it begins to boil reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for 10 minutes. The water will get beautiful and dark, that’s perfect.
  4. Remove from heat and immediately place the eggs into icy water to chill. This keeps those egg yolks pretty and yellow, instead of greenish. Chill for atleast 5 minutes. Longer is perfectly ok.
  5. Remove from the icy water, rub dry with a towel and serve! Or keep in the fridge with the shells on for up to a week.

Note: all the info I found for just one egg seems to vary. Check the package on your brand. For general info here is what I had: each egg contains 80 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 carbs, 0 fibre, and 7 grams of protein. Also, I am not declaring for any particular sports team over there. I had them on hand and I live in Victoria, BC…I gotta put the Vancouver team up there lest I possibly face some sort of lynch mob or something. Hope you have as much fun making these as I do!

BTW you can totally make more than four with the amount of dye those egg skins will give you. Just cool and start again.

Shrimp and Avocado Sandwich

This sandwich is inspired by a delicious deli that is in downtown Victoria. Sam’s Deli does sandwiches so well, we make it a point to bring anyone who visits us over there for lunch atleast once. They have mastered the art and the portions are simply uber. Oh yes, they do right by the earl. My favourite sandwich is the shrimp and avocado. Oh such tastiness. Sadly, I don’t always find myself in that touristy part of downtown so I go without sandwich…that and I’m sure their uber sandwich portions are well…not so friendly for my weight loss attempts. While they just use straight avocado I decided to go with more of an avocado spread to help it last longer between sandwiches. The result was scrumptious. I also went with a Portuguese bun, sadly the whole wheat ones were sold out that day *shakes fist*. I was not to be denied sandwich on a technicality though. The beauty in this sandwich lies in its simplicity. It is…shrimp and avocado.

  • 60 grams cooked salad shrimp (I used west coast shrimp…omnom)
  • 1 bun or bread of choice (not counted in nutritionals, be random)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  1. Blend the avocado, lime juice and seas salt together until smooth. If you prefer chunky then just chop and toss a bit!
  2. Pile the shrimp on the bread, top with 30 grams of avocado mixture. Top with ground pepper. Omnomnom!

You see the simplicity? You typically get enough avocado spread for 4 more sandwiches. Each sandwich filling (shrimp and avocado mix) contains 134 calories, 7.3 grams of fat, 3 grams of fibre, 4.4 grams of carbs, and 13.4 grams of protein. Don’t worry about that fat too much. It’s the avocado and that is good for you. You do need so much fat in a day so you might as well make it a fat that is good for you!