Sweet and Savoury Roasted Beets

A confession: I’ve always liked beets but rarely cooked them—partly because they’re messy and partly because the spouse is not enamoured.  “Well,” I say, “Too bad for him.” 

I’ve decided to make beets part of my “DIY Roasted Vegetables” diet strategy, namely, to always have cooked veggies available for snacks and general noshing.  

The result was this easy-to-make, very colourful, and deliciously sweet dish with a tang of savoury, thanks to some sharp cheese. Continue reading

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Dieter’s Spiced Cranberry Relish

We Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on October 10 so our family had its groaning board yesterday, replete with turkey, stuffing, and all the usual wonderful and calorie-rich accompaniments.

In the past, I used to throw caution to the winds and dolloped lots of cranberry sauce (canned) on my turkey even though I knew it was chock-full of sugar.  This year, I decided to make my own cranberry sauce and spend those calories elsewhere—on pumpkin pie, for example, and some stuffing.  And this was a good thing for two reasons.

First of all, this relish was a much superior product to the canned variety: the cranberry flavour enhanced by spicy undertones of orange and spices.  And secondly, I needed to save those extra calories because one daughter brought home-made coconut macaroons, which were to die for.

And, honestly?  My diet did die a little…a smidgeon, really, dear god of weight loss.  But then, such is the fate of diets when Thanksgiving rolls around.

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Apricot-Orange Breakfast Bread

This breakfast bread is not too sweet, slightly tart, and substantial.  (I don’t want to be hungry two hours after breakfast.)  It mixes happily with eggs done once-over-lightly and does not complain if it gets soaked with egg yolk.  It took four tries to get here but, hey, who’s complaining?

The inspiration for this bread came from a recipe for a cake made with orange marmalade.  In Canada, we have a line of good-tasting, no-sugar jams and jellies made by Smuckers, and I had already successfully used their marmalade in Orange Rosemary Chicken Breasts.  Hence…great for a breakfast bread, right?  I wish. 😦  The bread had a bitter flavour.

I tried different flour blends; I added chopped oranges for more sweetness.  Nothing worked.  The marmalade may be delicious in a mix with oil and spices, but it was not going to work in a baked product.  Something in the ingredients and/or cooking process was turning the rinds in the marmalade bitter.   After three attempts, I was ready to throw in my dish towel, apron, whisk, and bowl.

“What about using apricot jam?” my husband suggested.  He has a vested interest in my success.  He is my primary taste-tester.  He does a lot of bowl-drying and putting kitchen things away so he doesn’t want to work in vain.  And, finally…well, need I tell you that a happy partner is a much, much more pleasant person to live with?

I used the jam and kept the notion of adding chopped orange.  “Very good,” the spouse announced so I bring you…ta-da!

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes a loaf with 8 slices (could also be made as squares or muffins)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • ½ cup sweetener (Note: Weight Watcher points for this recipe are based on the use of artificial sugar.)
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 clementines (or 1 orange), peeled, pitted, and segmented
  • ½ cup liquid egg replacement (2 eggs)
  • ¼ cup no-sugar apricot jam
  • ¼-½ cup unsweetened soy milk (I only needed ¼ cup, but I find that not all alternative flours are created equal)
  • 6 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients: flours, starches, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
  2. Chop clementine segments in a blender until lumpy.
  3. In a large bowl, put the chopped orange and whisk in the other liquid ingredients: egg, jam, milk, applesauce, and oil.
  4. Add dry ingredients in thirds to liquid ingredients, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Spray an 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray.
  6. Pour batter into pan.  If top needs to be smoothed out, spread with wet fingers.
  7. Bake at 350o F oven for 50-60 minutes or until sides are pulling away from the pan and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For Weight Watchers: Each slice is worth 3 points on the Points plan and 4 points on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Marmalade Cake” in Lucy’s Kitchen by Lucy Waverman.)

Cuban Crazy Quilt Pork Stew

You are likely to think I’m not quite in my right mind to be making a stew using winter vegetables in the summer.  But, honestly, there’s a method to my madness.  Some of you may recall my post about cooking for stays on our boat.  We have a barbecue on the stern rail where the captain can grill meats and vegetables, but I also prepare food in advance so that we can have variety and I don’t have to toil in the miniscule galley.

FYI: My husband is the captain, and I am first mate and cook.  When we’re on the boat, we share about 300 square feet of living space.  How does this work maritally?  Well, he has a shirt that says “Captain,” and I have a shirt that says “Don’t Yell at Me!”  Generally, the atmosphere is very pleasant although there have been moments…but back to the stew.

So, as you can see, it isn’t so crazy to make a tasty, filling, healthy, and crazy-quilt colourful pork stew whose leftovers can be frozen and then eaten when floating at anchor.  This recipe takes some chopping but it’s worth it!

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