Raspberry Loaf

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and tried to buy produce out of season? It’s February in Canada, of course you have. Silly question. Fresh produce can be expensive, and it’s not worth paying an absurd amount for something that’s not fresh and has been shipped halfway around the world. A couple weeks ago I was doing groceries at our little local grocery store and a regular sized bag of grapes was $15!!! I love fruit and grapes are pretty  much candy, but I don’t quite need them quite that much.

So if fresh produce is getting you down, what are your options? A great plan is to freeze or preserve your own produce in season, but that can be a big time-consuming process. What if there was someone who did it for you? Enter canned and frozen fruits and veggies. While they might not have all the same texture qualities as their fresh counterparts, these guys are still a healthy, relatively inexpensive option. Look for vegetables canned without any added salt and rinse them before using. Find fruits that are canned in their own juices (and you don’t really have to eat the sugary juice). Look for fruits frozen without any added sugar. The ingredients should just say “raspberries” or “mango”. Nothing else. Frozen fruit can be heated up and eaten, eaten frozen, and is perfect for baking.

And if you are looking to squeeze a little more fruit in your diet, but still have a sweet tooth, check out this recipe. This makes 1 loaf cake. Bonus: no butter or oil in this guy!

IMG_0707

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, yogurt, and milk.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly. Stir in raspberries/
  5. Grease a loaf pan and transfer batter to pan.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

As part of meal prep every week for the last month or so, I’ve made a batch of healthy-ish, portion controlled muffins on Sunday afternoons. While they always still have some sugar and fat in them, they are definitely healthier than the muffins I could buy in the cafeteria at work, or at Timmies, or wherever else I get to throughout the day. Split between two people, 12 muffins means we can each eat one on Sunday, and then each have one every day all week. Making muffins every week has also been an awesome way for me to try some new recipes. I made a couple vegan recipes from Thug Kitchen, as well as a few I’ve found on Pinterest and hadn’t made yet. And if the recipe I find doesn’t quite meet the nutrition standards for my lunch packing, I swap plain fat-free yogurt and applesauce in as needed. But those are recipes for another day.

When I was in first year, we were required to take an introductory foods course, where we learned the science behind our cooking, as well as food safety and cooking skills, and then we put it all together in a 2 hour lab every week. Four years later, whenever I need a recipe to work from or can’t remember a specific random food science fact, I crack open that stained, scribbled in, beaten up cookbook and can find all the basic recipes I will ever need, and the reasons why they work the way they do. This is all relevant because I made a batch of blueberry muffins in that lab. My partner and I made the muffins and some cinnamon rolls. When we tasted them at the end of the lab, I remember the cinnamon rolls being really good, and the muffins being ok, but not awful. There were often leftovers in lab so we brought containers so we could take things back to residence to munch on. I brought these back with me, and fed one to my lovely, unsuspecting boyfriend, who I had only been dating a couple months at the time. He told me they were great. I ate one later that day and they were THE GROSSEST MUFFINS I’VE EVER EATEN. I never found out why. I’ve made the recipe as it’s written since then with no modifications and had it work perfectly. I’ve played around with it and also had it work really well. I have no idea what on earth we did to those poor muffins in first year, but I’ve come a long way since. And the lovely boyfriend is much more discriminating taste tester now.

This recipe makes 12 muffins. I would suggest storing them in the fridge if you plan on keeping them around longer than 5 days. If you’re going to eat them all in the next day, it really does not matter.

IMG_0699.JPG

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a muffin tin well.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Stir to completely mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the milk, canola oil, and lemon juice.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  5. Gently stir in the blueberries until just combined.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop or small measuring cup to scoop batter from the bowl into the muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool in an 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack or plate to cool completely before storing in a container.

 

 

Butternut Squash Soup

For those who have been following the blog (you lovely people), you’ll remember this soup I made almost a year ago. It has been quite an exciting and random year, and it was time for another soup recipe!

In this week’s exciting news, you can officially call me Mairead Rodgers, P.H.Ec.! What on earth are all those letters you ask? P.H.Ec. stands for Professional Home Economist. Since May or June, I’ve been working through a self-study course about the philosophy behind the profession of home economics, as well as it’s role as a profession, ethics, the history of the profession, etc. And all this was while also studying for the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management entrance exam, completing Community Food Advisor training, starting CrossFit, and switching jobs twice.

Home Economists don’t just teach home ec in school, although some do. P.H.Ec.’s work all over the place. Anywhere there is food or nutrition, clothing, shelter, textiles, education, general well-being, or anything trying to make the world a better place, there might be a P.H.Ec. It’s less of a specific job or career, and more of a skill-set and philosophy to use in the job or career of your choosing. Look at all the knowledge you now have!

Ok, this soup. This recipe makes 4 large servings. I served it up with pulled pork sandwiches one night, and then reheated it another night with eggs and toast. Unlike the lentil soup, there’s not a ton of protein in this dish so it pairs well with a small sandwich.

IMG_0698

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (you can sub 2 tsp of prepared minced garlic from a jar if you have it)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (like this adventure)
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed with seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Chipotle sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a large sauce pot.Add the onion and garlic and fry 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the vegetable broth squash and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add parsley, thyme, and paprika. Simmer 40 minutes or until squash is very soft.
  4. Remove from heat and blend with immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer everything into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  5. Season with chipotle sea salt and black pepper to taste.