Browsing: Food Products

Chocolate Chunk Brownies



I recently had a conversation with my son and his wife about shopping at only the outer rim of the grocery store.  That is the dairy case, fresh fruit and veggie section, bakery, etc. in order to buy only whole and fresh ingredients and to avoid the processed food that is contained in the centre of the supermarket.  Newly inspired, I made brownies last night and here is the from scratch recipe: DSCF1806

Place 4 squares of baker’s chocolate and 3/4 c butter in a glass bowl and microwave at full power for 2 minutes.  Remove and stir until chocolate is well blended.  Stir in 2 c of sugar (1 c at a time) .  Then blend in 3 eggs and 1 t of vanilla.  Next blend in 1 c flour and 1 c chocolate chunks (I used a mixture of chocolate chips, chopped milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate).  Pour into a greased 9 x 12 pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  My husband likes his brownies goey  in the middle so I removed them at this time but for a more cakey brownie bake another 5 minutes.DSCF1807

I learned this: “The name for the cocoa tree is theobrama, which means ‘food of the Gods’.  I know that chocolate is meant for us, however, because the melting point of chocolate just happens to be the temperature within your very human mouth.”  –The School of Essential Ingredients

On my last trip to Mexico I purchased Nestle’s Abuelita hot chocolate.  Coincidentally Abuelita plays a key role in The School of Essential ingredients.  If you love an authentic hot chocolate (not made from powder) you will love this.  Imagine the hot chocolate that was made in the chocolate shop of the movie Chocolat-mmm.  

The brownies were delicious especially because I accompanied them with a fine glass of Chilean Merlot.  If you have not tried red wine and chocolate together-you must.

Today I was at a meeting and a friend brought brownies for dessert.  I had to have a taste to compare them to my mine.  I especially enjoyed theirs  and when I requested the recipe I was told that the mix was from Costco!  Perhaps I should rethink the outer rim of the grocery store strategy.

What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”
Katherine Hepburn

TV Dinners

Canada Germany Olympic Hockey

Canada Germany Olympic Hockey

For two nights in a row I have fixed a quick dinner to enjoy in front of the TV.  I do not make this a habit; in fact I would proudly say that we have raised three kids to adulthood without compromising on this house rule.  But now we are almost empty-nesters and there must be some fringe benefits to this new found status.  My excuse is that the Canadians played Germany last night in Olympic Hockey and tonight they play Russia.  Besides everyone knows that rules are made to be broken.

Mid Prep

Mid Prep

To say I am a frugal cook is an understatement.  Anyone who has read my refrigerator soup recipe on this site can attest to that.  Tonight I found a couple of already formed hamburger patties in the freezer.  Just in case that didn’t taste their freshest, I decided to make patty melts.  Once you add the caramelized onions and melted Bothwell hot pepper cheese, who can detect how fresh the patty is anyway?

I’m happy to say that I was able to create a low fat version than what one might order at a restaurant.  Here you go:  Cook hamburger patties to desired doneness and set aside on a “holding” element.  Saute one sliced onion in 1 t of olive oil until brown.  Add to held patty container.  Clean pan and cover bottom of pan with 1 T olive oil.  Add desired slices of rye bread with a swish through the oil.  Top with a grated cheese and heat on medium until cheese is melted but at the same time checking that the browned side of the bread is not getting too dark.  Assemble all cooked ingredients and serve with a crunchy green veggie and oven roasted sweet potato “fries”.

Patty Melt Platter
Patty Melt Platter

Winnipeg is home to three of the greatest rye bread bakeries on the prairies: Natural Bakery, City Bread and Kub Bread.  Tonight I used Natural Bakery Rye.  Bothwell cheese is also a local company with many award winning selections.   Bothwell’s pre-grated Red Pepper Cheddar was perfect for this recipe.  Buying local is a great way to economize and I would rather spend my money supporting the producer than the long haul shipping company.

It’s the start of the second period-go Canada go!
PS Got this email this am: “I read your post this morning — yum!  I did something similar last night.. tried to find a quick and easy (but yummy) Olympic meal.  I threw a chicken breast in the oven and topped it with ham, mushrooms & cheese for kind of a stacked Chicken Cordon Bleu!” 
What is you fav TV Dinner idea?
Kath’s quote: “Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”-Mark Twain


Maria March 2010

Maria March 2010

I live in the heart of sunflower country and they are my favourite “summer at the beach” snack.  But, my favourite “winter at the beach snack” are pepitas!

Maria-the Pepita Lady

Maria-the Pepita Lady

Maria is the primary reason why I love pepitas so dearly.  Maria lives on Isla Mujeres and walks the beach daily (weather permitting) selling her product.  She has an uncanny sense of timing-just when you have ordered a frosty Sol and are thinking that you might just be getting  a little bit peckish, Maria will stroll along.  Her skin is well weathered and crinkles up when she smiles in recognition of you.  With your permission, she lovingly squeezes a wedge  of lime over your pepita snack.  She will stop for a little chat and then continue on her way-leaving us to wonder how she manages to wade through the heavy sand every day.

North Beach-Isla Mujeres

North Beach-Isla Mujeres

In my mind no one will ever be able to exactly duplicate the taste of Maria’s pepitas.  As taste is a multi-sensory experience for me-it also has to do with the sights, sounds and feelings of contenment that I enjoy whenever I am on Isla Mujeres. 

BUT Sister #2 has made a very good attempt at recreating the recipe.  With her permission, I share it here:




3 cups hulled pumpkin seeds

3 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 lime


Preheat over to 300ºF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Combine oil, chili powder, cumin and salt, stir well. Add pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Spread seeds on cookie sheet in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes, until seeds are lightly browned and crunchy. Shake or stir seeds occasionally for even cooking. Be sure to check frequently during the last few minutes to avoid over cooking. Let seeds cool slightly before serving. Serve with wedges of lime which can be squeezed over top of the warm seeds. Seeds can be stored in an airtight jar for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge (as if there are ever any left). Makes 3 cups.


Kath’s quote: “Too much work, and no vacation, deserves at least a small libation.  So hail! my friends, and raise your glasses; work’s the curse of the drinking classes.”-Oscar Wilde





I very clearly remember the first time I tasted cilantro.  My husband and I were on our first winter vacation.  We were sitting on the second floor of one of those crazy Mexican places like Carlo and Charlie’s.  Now this was more than 15 years ago and these places were quite the novelty back then.  This is how I make my guess of the authentic Mexican version:  Combine 3 chopped tomatoes, ½ c chopped white onion, 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped, ½ c chopped cilantro, 1 clove of garlic chopped with 2 t freshly squeezed lime juice and salt to taste.  For a different twist I sometimes add a chopped up “pickling” cucumber.  Let the flavours blend before serving.  Consume with La Cocina taco chips (locally made and the best chip I have ever tasted).salsa3inch

I am currently reading a enthralling book that I will blog about when I have completed it but this is what I read last night about an authentic Mexican salsa:  “When it was mixed together, the salsa was a celebration of red and white and green, cool and fresh and alive.  On a tortilla, with a bit of white queso fresco, it was both satisfying and invigorating, full of textures and adventures, like childhood help in your hand.”

One of my favourite treats when I’m trying to “drop a few” is a half of a toasted whole wheat bagel with a bit of light cream cheese, covered with cucumber slices, salt & pepper and tons of cilantro.  It tastes like spring time in my mouth.

A cilantro dish that my  family loves is adapted from Bonnie Stern’s Heart Smart Cooking.  Cilantro-Grilled Chicken Breasts:  Marinade: in a food processor chop 4 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, and 1 cup of cilantro including the stems.  Add 2 T of Thai fish sauce, 3 T of freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 T rice vinegar, 2 T hoisin sauce and ½ t hot chillipaste.  Process to form a paste.  Spread over 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast and refrigerate up to 2 hours.  Remove chicken, shake off excess and grill.  

My daughter's new location is Kayamandi Township, South Africa

My daughter's new location is Kayamandi Township, South Africa

A recipe that I have not yet tried are spicy African Potatoes from the Focus on Africa- Fundraising Cookbook that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry.  Brown a sliced hot red chili pepper, sliced thinly lengthwise in 3 T olive oil.  Add 1 t cumin, 1 t sesame seeds.  Heat until the seeds “hop”. Set aside. Boil 6 large potatoes cut into cubes.  Mix with spices and peppers.  Stir in an entire bunch of finely chopped cilantro.

A drink that we Canadians love is called a Bloody Caesarand many bartenders mix it with their own enhancements-some use a splash of dill pickle juice, others rim their’s with a mixture of rock and celery salt.  The very best version was one that I had with cilantro!Kath's Caesar

Greek Food Lament


0905p50e-greek-islands-mI have only travelled to Greece once.  It was a University graduation gift to myself.  I was not a foodie then-okay I’ll admit it:  I was a spoiled brat as far as food went.  I would not eat tomatoes unless they were in a spaghetti sauce.  I would not eat cheese unless it was mozarella or mild cheddar and melted on something.  Feta?  Yuck-not on your life.  Olives? No way.  What is the wierd stuff in my lasagna?  It’s not lasagna-it’s mousakka?  Eggplant?  Gross.  I would pick through a Greek Salad and only eat the cucumbers.  OMGoodness-why was I such an idiot?

Danforth Ave.

I went with two girlfiends (and one gf’s Mom).  Both friends now live in Toronto but sadly I only keep in touch with one of them.  Very often when I visit her in TO we head to the Danforth where the Greek restauants are plentiful and fabulous.  There is nothing that I won’t taste now. Octopus and squid?  Bring it on!

I don’t know why we don’t go out for Greek fook more often in Winnipeg because there are many wonderful choices here as well.  It seems that the most of my Greek dining was in yesteryears.

I once worked at the Winnipeg Art Gallery when the Swiss Inn (now defunct) had the foodservice contract.  Manny was the Chef, and no he was not Swiss-he was Greek.  Ah I can still taste his Avgolemono (Greek lemon soup) now. Avgolemono I traced Manny to a restauant on Sherbrook called the Acropolis.  But I believe that is too defunct.  There was once a beautiful restauant on Grant called Matheos-gone.  I also loved Dionysis on Nairn-gone.

The owners of Dal’s Restauant used to be our neighbours and I have never been to their Transcona location.  I have been to Homer’s on Ellice and Niko’s on Corydon but it has been years.  I’va also been to the Pembina Village Restaurant and the Garwood Grill but only for breakfast and never sampled their reputed Greek menus.  Why, why why?

Greek Potatoes

Greek Potatoes

This weekend I cooked Greek Food for Valentine’s Day dinner.  I had never cooked Greek potatoes before and they were fabulous. Here’s the recipe that I used:  In a small bowl mix 1/3 c olive oil, 1 1/2 c water, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 c fresh lemon juice, 1 t thyme, 1 t rosemary, 2 t dried chicken stock and black pepper to taste.  Arrange 6-8 peeled and quartered potatoes in a baking dish.  Pour the oil mixture over top.  Bake 1 1/2- 2 hours at 375 degrees, stirring every once in a while.



My husband got out the barbeque for chicken.  Marinated in Carver’s greek dressing, grilled and then served with sliced and grilled tomatoes, sliced black olives and a crumbling of feta-yum.

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