Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chocolate Macaroons a Childhood Favourite

How are things going in your neck of the woods?   Mother Nature can’t seem to make up her mind here, one day it’s 15 degrees and then two days later it’s –6 with the wind chill…. brrrr!!  We haven’t had any snow yet so that’s a huge plus in my books.  I’m still working on Part Two of my Kombucha post.  Bottling a new batch today so fingers crossed I’ll have it  in a day or so.

In the meantime I thought I would share  one of my favourite childhood recipes, Chocolate Macaroons (or haystacks, or mud pies they seem to go by many different names).  Mom couldn’t keep me away from these as a kid.  Luckily she only made them once in awhile. These are no bake, quick and easy treats , but I’ll warn you they are NOT fat free, or sugar free but i have switched up some of the ingredients so you can feel better about eating them as a treat , not the whole pan in one sitting which I’m sure I did as a kid.


  • 3/4 cup Sucanat or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine grind natural sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup goji berries soaked in hot water (or spiced rum) to plump, and drained.

Combine sugar, butter coconut oil and milk in a saucepan over medium heat till it reaches a boil  Boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat stir in remaining ingredients. Drop buy spoonful on parchment covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and put in freezer till set.  These must be stored in the freezer or fridge. 

IMG_1157   IMG_1158

They are just as yummy as I remember but not as sweet as the original recipe and with a few healthier additions.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

~~ Jackie

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fabulous Fermented Foods–Kombucha

So there has been a whole lot of fermenting going on here over the last little while.  Fermented foods include, kombucha, kefir (milk, water), and sourdough.  You can ferment veggies too, a couple of the common ones are sauerkraut and kimchi.  I started with water kefir and sourdough last year and have moved on to milk kefir, kombucha and veggies (cabbage, carrots, beets and turnips). Oh I almost forgot beer and wine are fermented as well.
In all honesty the thought of Fermented or Cultured foods scared me.  I mean really, if you left milk on the counter for a day or so, I’m guessing you would throw it out not put it in the fridge and drink it….right?  Well I would still throw it out but that is essentially how Kefir is made with the addition of a culture. 
When I first heard about Kombucha a few years back, I wasn’t too sure I would like it.especially after seeing the culture that’s used to make it.  Then one day I saw some at the store and gave it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised how tasty it was.  Fizzy, flavourful and not very sweet.  The downside was the price, so I decided to try making it myself.  The starter wasn’t too easy to find around here so I bought a bottle of GT Kombucha to try and grow my own culture.  It was taking forever, so I gave up.  Patience isn’t my strong point.  Then I found a SCOBY at the health food store and my kombucha making began.
Kombucha is made by fermenting tea and sugar with a culture.  The culture is known as a SCOBY or mother.  SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast…. sounds awesome right? It is called the mother because with each batch a new scoby forms, so you have the original mother and the baby.  
kombucha2  kombucha3
The best teas to use are black and green.  Rooibos and white will work but are not the best choice.  Herbal teas or fruit flavoured teas are not recommended.
The sugar can be plain old white sugar or organic organic.  Honey is not recommended because of its antibacterial properties. If you are worried about the amount of sugar don’t, the sugar is the food for the culture so the finished product has very little sugar and is somewhat tart.
Not only does it taste good but it has a variety of health benefits as well.  Here are some of the reported health benefits of Kombucha. It contains loads of glucuronic acid.  Glucuronic acid binds to toxins and transforms them so they can be easily eliminated by the kidneys.  It is also made in the liver but quite often our liver can’t keep up with the demands put on it these days, and it is very important to keep our livers happy and healthy.  It contains lots of B vitamins aka “happy” vitamins and amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.  It also improves digestion, cleanses the liver, increases energy, boosts immune function and is a source of probiotics (healthy bacteria).
Basic Kombucha Recipe
  • 1 cup starter liquid
  • 1 culture (scoby)
  • 4 liters filtered water (not distilled and chlorinated water will not work)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 – 6 tea bags
  • large glass container
  • coffee filter or plain cotton cloth
  • wood or stainless steel spoon
  • small glass bottles
Bring water to a boil in a stainless steel or glass pot (do not use aluminum) boil for 2 or 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat, dissolve sugar in the water and add tea bags.  Steep for 10 to 15 minutes then remove the tea bags.  Let the tea mixture cool to room temperature.  Pour the tea mixture into your glass container, add starter liquid and culture.  Cover the top with coffee filter and secure with elastic band.  Store the container out of direct sunlight in a well ventilated area.  You’ll want the room temperature to be between 75 and 85 degrees.  The cooler the air the slower it will ferment. I use a heating belt (you can get them at wine making stores) on mine to keep the temp constant. 
kombucha  kombucha1  kombucha4
Now you just have to wait 7 –10+ days (depending on the temperature)  Check on it and have a taste after 7 days.  Your finished tea should not be sweet, but if you let it ferment too long it will have more of a vinegar taste.  It’s still ok to drink it just won’t taste as good.
kombucha5  kombucha7
Once it’s done transfer it to bottles and store in the fridge.  You can also do a second ferment to add flavour and more carbonation.
Since this post is getting a little long, I’ll talk about the second fermentation on another day.
Making my own Kombucha isn’t as scary of complicated as I thought.  If you have never tried Kombucha I suggest you pick up a bottle and give it a try.
Have a great week!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


It’s been awhile.  I try to be a regular blogger but I just can’t seem to keep on a regular schedule.  You can still find me on Facebook though.

As someone who loves curry, I’m no stranger to Turmeric.  It is what gives curry its bright yellow/orange colour.  It is also used in mustards and my clothes, cutting board and fingers can attest to the fact that is makes a great dye.  I was introduced to the health benefits of Turmeric a few years ago when my Naturopath prescribed Curcumin as an anti-inflammatory for me.  Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric and is a powerful anti-inflammatory that is comparable to pharmaceutical products but without the negative side effects.  As someone who took anti-inflammatories for 30 years and has suffered the negative side effects, I was very happy to give Curcumin a try and worked very well for me. 

Turmeric has been used for centuries to treat a number of things – colds and flu, digestive issues, wounds and bruises, skin problems like eczema and many more.  It has natural anti-bacterial properties, is a liver detoxifier and is a pain killer.  It is one of the most studied natural remedies.  One area where there is a great deal of research being done is in its anti-cancer properties, but that’s only one arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and heart disease are a few others.

Up until about a month ago I had only used dried Turmeric.  I’ve looked for the fresh root for quite some time but haven’t had any luck, so I was thrilled when I found it.  It’s not the prettiest thing in the world but it tastes amazing.


I find the fresh root has a very different taste than the dried.  It’s related to ginger so you can taste a little of that, and it also has almost a peppery taste as well.  Fresh grated turmeric is now an everyday addition to our smoothies and Turmeric Milk (Tea) has become my favourite night time ritual.  I store my fresh ginger and turmeric in the freezer and grate it while it’s frozen.  It grates much easier when it’s frozen.



1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric

1/2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 cup milk or milk alternative

maple syrup or honey to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot on medium heat.  Heat gradually till warm.  You don’t want to boil the milk.  Pour into mug and enjoy.  You can pour it through a strainer if you like but I don’t bother.

* note these measurements are using the fresh roots that have been frozen and grated with a micro-plane grater, which results in a light and airy end product.  If you are not preparing it this way you will probably want to adjust the amounts but the same ratios should still work*.


If you are having a hard time finding fresh Turmeric try Asian markets.  Locally In The Raw has just started carrying it so you can purchase it at the store in Porters Lake and at the Alderney Market.  I’m almost out so I can’t wait for my order to come in  I have a pound of it on the way!!

I have a few more blog posts in the works so here’s hoping I actually get around to writing them.

~~  Jackie