For those Meat and Potatoe loving guys (minus the meat)

Try this recipe that I found once again in “Spilling the Beans-cooking and baking with beans and grains everyday”. I have adapted it only slightly. It is delicious and a great way to use up those mushrooms that are starting to shrivel.  If your meat and potato loving guy loves mushrooms, this will be a hit!

Tip: You can make mashed potatoes a little healthier by using any combination of potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower or turnip. Just cook them together, mash them with a little olive oil, a clove of minced garlic and no one will ever know.

Lentil & Mushroom Sauce (For the meat & potatoes guys in the family)

 Splash of olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp butter or becel

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 large portabello mushrooms, sliced, (discard the stems and scrape out the gills)

2-3 cups sliced button, brown, white ( or a combination) mushrooms

¾ cup cooked or canned brown lentils, rinsed and drained

1 cup red wine

1 tbsp whole wheat flour

2-3 cups vegetable stock

1 tbsp tomato paste

Egg noodles or mashed potatoes ( I use a combination of sweet and regular potatoes and even cauliflower or turnip all mashed together)

 1)     In a large, heavy skillet, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, garlic and mushrooms and cook until he mushrooms release their liquid, soften and then start to brown- add another drizzle of oli if the pan seems too dry.

2)     Add the lentils and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the wine and cook for a few more minutes, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the wine has almost all cooked off. Sprinkle the flour overtop and stir to blend., then add the stock and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick and dark and the mushrooms are a little tender. (If the sauce is too thick, add and little more stock- I found my more runny than thick)

3)     Serve hot with fresh cracked pepper and some freshly chopped parsley over the noodles or mashed potatoes.

 Beware- Meatlovers might actually like this meaty(yet meatless) gravy like sauce. Especially those meat and potatoes guys!




Peas….first pick of the season

I have some wonderful memories of sitting in my grandma’s garden picking and eating peas. I also remember hoping I would be sent out to the pea patch to pick peas when I worked at a local vegetable farm as a college student. “One for the bucket…one for me”.

Such a yummy snack, though on my way home today, hungry and tired, my thoughts didn’t go straight to peas. I had been thinking about stopping in and buying some of my favorite dark chocolate or some lentil chips I sampled this past weekend. But then I saw it, “fresh peas” on the sign ahead at a local farmer’s  vegee stand. I immediately swung in and picked up a bag of snap peas and a large bag of shelling peas.  Driving, shelling and eating peas is not really all that safe so I started in on the snap peas.  I almost finished the shelling peas in the truck parked in the garage until I snapped out of it and remember there were other people in the family that might like to enjoy a few. I left some:)

My goal this growing season is to eat as much fresh and local as I can.  I am trying to grow some,  the rest I will buy from our local farmers.  I will keep you posted about what’s  fresh and “in season” for fruit and vegetables  here in the Okanagan Valley, in Beautiful, British Columbia, Canada.

 I  challenge all of you, whereever you live, buy local, eat local, support your local farmer!  It’s a healthier way to live.

First pick of the season…Strawberries!

Fresh greens and fresh strawberries…A combination so delicious. Try this salad dressing drizzled on top of fresh mixed greens, sliced fresh strawberries, lightly toasted slivered almonds, chopped green onions, chopped celery.

Poppyseed Dressing

3 tbsp olive or canola oil

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 ½ tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp poppyseeds

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Baked Beans

With all the rainy weather we have had the past couple of weeks, baked beans proved to be  the comfort food that would be just the thing we needed.  I searched for a new recipe to try, eager to start with dry beans.  I found this recipe in “Spilling the Beans- cooking and baking with beans and grains every day”  and it is a keeper.:)

It also happened to be a special occasion, a party to celebrate Rachel’s graduation, earning  a Bachelor of Science in Nursing  from The University of British Columbia Okanagan. We are so proud!


2 onions, finely chopped

1/2 cups tomatoe sauce mixed with 1/4 cup brown sugar or ketchup or barbecue sauce

1 can Guinness

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup Dijon or grainy mustard ( I used a combination)

4 cups cooked red kidney beans or 2 19oz (540ml) cans rinsed and drained

4 cups cooked white navy beans(2 cups dry) or 2 19oz (540ml) cans rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper to taste

A few drops of Tabasco sauce (optional)

If you are going to try starting with dry beans, I pre-soaked 2 cups dry white navy beans the night before ( I covered the dry beans with cold water 2 inches above the level of the beans).  In the morning I drained the water and put them in a large pot and added cold water about 3 inches past the level of the beans. Bring the water to a boil uncovered then turn the heat down to a simmer and leave the beans to cook uncovered for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender but not really soft.  The cooking time can vary depending on the size of the bean and the age of the bean so just keep tasting them until you think they are done.

While the beans were  cooking I prepped everything else.

Add the onions,  tomato sauce,  molasses,  Guinness, apple cider vinegar, mustard and the red kidney beans (didn’t try these from dry but will next time) to a slow cooker.  Drain the white navy beans when cooked to just tender and add them to the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Stir occasionally.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can saute the onion in a  pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Then add all the other ingredients  and bring to a simmer. Transfer all the ingredients to an oven proof baking dish the and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, stirring once or twice until thick and bubbly.  (I think it will take longer to bake so the beans are done-unless you are using canned beans-  but I haven’t tried it this way)

Serve with some yummy salads and you have a delicious meal.

Arugula and Basil…

Pesto is a favorite pasta topping that is usually made with basil.  We found a great recipe that combines the spring spicy green “arugula” with basil.   This is an easy to grow from seed green that adds a new twist to the traditional pesto.  Pesto can be used for more than just pasta.  Try it on pizza, or in a veggee stir-fry or on roasted veggee sandwich instead of mayonnaise.  It is delicious any way you use it.  Enjoy:)



4 cups arugula leaves

1 cup lightly packed basil leaves

3-4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp pine nuts

¼ tsp salt

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup grated romano cheese (optional)

Fresh ground pepper


In a food processor, combine the arugula, basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt. Process to coarsely chop. Slowly add the oil, and pulse until the mixture is smooth.


*Mix with cooked whole wheat linguini, top with cheese if desired and fresh ground pepper.

* Use as a base for homemade pizza instead of tomato sauce or in combination with tomato sauce

* Make a vegee stir-fry, serve on rice and mix in pesto sauce to taste. Yum!

*You can vary the taste by changing the ratio or arugula to basil.