Sunday, 30 December 2012

Will Run For Tomato Bisque

warm & toasty

Farmer & I have an entire freezer full of vegetables that we harvested from the garden this fall.  The problem is that it's an entire freezer full of vegetables that we don't really want to eat.

It's hard to get excited about bags of kale that have random frozen caterpillars in them or bags of whole frozen tomatoes that were just stuffed in the bag without being blanched (who wants to deal with slimy tomato skins?).

Today Farmer & Hank decided to give dog sledding a try (She denies imagining herself as Doc from The Muppets Family Christmas escorting Ms. Piggy to the cabin in a Mountie uniform).  This might have been a better idea if Farmer hadn't worked graveyard the night before.  After standing outside for 2 1/2 hours I thought a warm bowl of soup might be a good idea (Jeb & I spent that time drinking lattes and hanging out with my mom).

one of these things is not like the others

roast at 400 F

45 minutes later

simmer for 20 minutes

soup in your favourite mug

Tomato Bisque
5 cups


3 1/2 pounds of frozen tomatoes (8-10 cups)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 large sweet onion
1 bulb garlic cloves peeled and chopped
1 T olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil roughly chopped (or your favourite dried herbs)
salt & pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large ceramic dish place frozen tomatoes, roughly chopped onion, peeled and chopped garlic cloves, & olive oil.  Roast for 45 minutes.  After approximately 30 minutes drain water from dish and place pan back in the oven.  Using tongs or your hands (careful not to burn yourself) pull off the tomato skins.  This was surprisingly easy.  Compost skins and place the rest of the tomato in a large stock pot along with the rest of the roasted vegetables.

  Add coconut milk & simmer for 15 minutes.  Add fresh basil and simmer for an additional five minutes.  Either use immersion blender or place in blender and process until desired consistency is reached.  Serve with your favourite multigrain bread, crackers, etc.

a sled dog in the making?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Will Run For 20 Things To Be Thankful For

my very own farmer (and garlic, squash, peas, dill, potatoes)

Part of my Elf4Health holiday challenge was to make a list of 20 things that I am thankful for.  It wasn't really much of a challenge at all.

Jeb & Hank (and Riley & Jackson too)
Our dogs make me ridiculously happy.  There is nothing like finding two bouviers in the bathtub or cuddled up in your bed.

my mom (who will have my head when she sees this picture)
When it comes to moms I won the lottery.  I couldn't ask for better.

St. Joseph's Island Coffee Roasters
This might be the best coffee that I have ever tasted.  I especially love hot coffee after a cold run.

Pace bunny (you're welcome for the picture choice)
Everyone needs a pace bunny.

my TriStyle peeps
These ladies keep me on my toes.

my biggest fan (thanks for drinking all of my water!)
If you need someone to cheer you on or take a great action shot she's your girl!

My cousin Jennifer (whose dog likes to eat walls as much as Hank)

My students (it's me can't you tell)
They drive me absolutely mad most of the time but they make me laugh and they make my heart grow.

snow days spent baking gingerbread cookies with students who walked to school
A snow day on the last day of school before Christmas holidays.  I don't think that I need to say more than that.

my granny who makes the best butter tarts
I have the best granny ever.  I'm sorry if you thought that your granny was the best.

the ocean & its treasures

the most comfortable boots

I'm thankful every time I make it to the finish line
Every time I make it to the finish line without throwing up, drowning, or falling I'm a happy girl.

tea parties, pottery & sugar cubes
Life would be better if there were more tea parties.


care packages from the best housemate
Ms. April sends Christmas coffee, retro buttons, Christmas cake and homemade dog treats.  We love her to bits.


elastic shoe laces
How did I just discover these?

wetsuits (nothing like black rubber to make you feel like a superhero)
Wetsuits not only make you feel & look like a superhero but they also protect you from dangerous lake weed (and fish)!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Cider Poached Apples With Brandy Coconut Cream, Spiced Walnuts, and Apple Cider Syrup

party for breakfast!

Who doesn't like a party for breakfast especially on Christmas Eve?  There are a few steps to making this dessert (or breakfast) happen but they are all really good excuses to get up early, drink lots of coffee, and lounge around in your pyjamas. 

poaching apples

Poached Apples

*6 Gala apples 
8-10 cups apple cider (reserve two cups after poaching for making cider syrup) 
2 cinnamon sticks
lemon juice

Core apples (it's worth investing in an apple corer or asking for one for Christmas).  Peel top 1/3 of apple.  Brush peeled portion of apple with lemon juice.  Add 8-10 cups of apple cider to a heavy bottomed pot along with 2 cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil.  Add apples.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Allow apples to cool in cider for approximately 30 minutes.  Remove from cider and serve at room temperature.  

* If you are not using Gala apples be sure that your apples will hold their shape (Macintosh apples for example DO NOT hold their shape.  Hello, apple sauce!).

While you are waiting patiently...

coconut cream

Coconut Cream

1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp brandy
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Place can of coconut full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight to separate the thick cream from the milk.  Open the can & scrape out the thick cream.  Add 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp brandy & 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste.  Whip until desire consistency is reached.  Return to refrigerator until needed.

* Alternatively you can use 1/3 cup of whipping cream.

spiced walnuts and cider syrup

Spiced Walnuts

1 C walnuts
1 T amber maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp butter, earth balance or coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice

Preheat oven to 300 F. Melt butter.  Combine butter, maple syrup, spices and walnuts.  Bake on a baking stone for 8-10 minutes or until crispy.

Cider Syrup

2 cups apple cider

Boil cider until it reaches a syrupy consistency.  This should take 15-20 minutes.  Once it cools you may want to add some reserved apple cider to thin syrup.  You'll want to watch it closely (burnt syrup smells awful and makes washing the pot a bit of an adventure.  So I've heard.).

da, da, da, la... cider poached apples

Merry Christmas!  I hope your holiday is filled with dessert for breakfast and all of your favourite people and things.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Will Run For Granny's Stuffing Balls

about to go in the oven

Christmas vacation has officially begun!  We survived indoor recesses, our Christmas concert (Thriller meets Gangham style meets third grade elves.  Don't ask.), we survived baking and frosting 200 cupcakes for our school feast, we survived handing out new used shoes to every single student in our school (this made my heart grow), we survived making our way to school when buses were cancelled but schools were open (twice) and many of us are currently surviving the Christmas vacation plague (some form of a nasty cold/flu passed on from a child during the last week of school...frig.).

It wouldn't be Christmas vacation without Granny's stuffing balls.  Might I recommend not asking your grandmother for your favourite recipes.  First of all my Granny says things like "add enough x, y,z until it looks right" and x, y, z is usually butter, sugar, or salt.

Granny's Stuffing Balls
(12 balls)


3/4 C finely chopped onions
1 large celery stalk with leaves finely chopped
1 C melted butter (or Earth Balance)
4 1/2 cups toasted whole wheat bread cubes 
4 1/2 cups toasted white bread cubes
2 tsp salt
*1 1/2 tsp dried sage leaves
*1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large potato finely chopped
1 large carrot finely chopped 
1/2 C- 1 C vegetable stock  

Begin by toasting 9 cups of bread (the only time I will encourage buying the equivalent of Wonder bread).  We usually do this by placing the oven on broil and flipping the slices of bread once they are browned.  If the smoke detector goes off they have been in there too long.  Cut bread into cubes.

  Granny likes to place the celery, potato, & carrots in the food processor until everything is finely chopped.  You can do this by hand but make sure that everything is chopped finely enough or you will have difficulty making everything stick together (says the person who is too lazy to drag out the food processor and whose stuffing balls don't stick together as well as Granny's).  Add dried spices, salt and pepper.  Add melted butter and enough vegetable stock so that you can form balls out of the stuffing mixture (1/2 C balls are the perfect size).  

Grease a roast pan and cook covered for 30 minutes at 325 F. Finally, cook uncovered for another 15 minutes until crispy.

Do not ruin Christmas dinner by dropping the entire pan of stuffing balls onto the ground (not that this has ever happened...Granny!).

You might want to follow these with a run or a workout...or maybe just a glass of wine and the company of your favourite friends and family members.
just out of the oven

* Granny prefers to use poultry seasoning instead of thyme & sage. I used a blend of oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary, savoury, sage, and dried garlic.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Will Run For Elf 4 Health


Sign up

Do you need an elf 4 health? Let's just say you baked several dozen cookies, had a cookie exchange with your favourite cousins and suddenly you have found yourself without any cookies left in your freezer (where you hid them from yourself) then you might need an elf 4 health.

You'll be paired with your elf for two weeks and you'll be given a list of healthy challenges for the week: drink more water, clear your cupboards & fridge of crap day (I don't think they mean eat all the crap either), eat your vegetables so you don't get scurvy day, random act of kindness in the form of sharing a healthy snack day (there is a reason my co-workers do not steal my lunch out of the fridge at work....cold steamed broccoli isn't everyone's idea of a delicious snack) and finally work out with a buddy day (another excuse to send pace bunny harassing e-mails about getting on her treadmill). 

Your elf will provide some encouragement and accountability plus you can win some pretty awesome prizes for being a great elf. If you live in Canada however, you'll have to be content with being able to fit in your green tweed pants and getting to check out some new and exciting blogs.

not quite elves

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Will Run For Cheddar Cheese Sweet Potato Soup

comfort food

I probably shouldn't be surprised that Farmer was reluctant to believe that I made cheddar cheese soup or more accurately that the soup actually contained cheddar cheese ( when I hear the words cheddar cheese soup I can't help but think of the orange gelatinous monstrosity that is no name condensed cream of cheddar).   I also wouldn't be surprised to find out that she has scurvy.

It's exam time.  I don't think I really need to say more than that. 

I decided to hop on the cauliflower band wagon and try a cauliflower and sweet potato soup.  Farmer was right the soup didn't actually contain any cheddar cheese but you can easily substitute grated old cheddar if you don't share my love of nutritional yeast.  But really, who doesn't love nutritional yeast?

Cheddar Cheese Sweet Potato Soup
(6-8 servings)


1 medium head of cauliflower cut into small chunks

1 large sweet potato

1 can full fat coconut milk

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/8-1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

5 C broth

1 large sweet onion

1 T olive oil

3/4 C nutritional yeast or cheddar cheese (or both!)

In a large stock pot heat oil & add onions until they are soft.  Add sliced potatoes & cauliflower and cook for additional 5 minutes.  Add broth.  Cook 20-25 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.  Add coconut milk and spices.  Puree.  Top with green onion, grated cheddar cheese, smoked paprika & freshly grated nutmeg.

cheddar cheese soup with cheddar