Talena's Kitchen

Summer Strawberry Smoothie and Freezer Pops

These have been our favourite treat lately. If you don't freeze the mix, it makes a wonderfully refreshing and filling afternoon chiller, as well.

The Simple Things are The Best Things

The Simple Things are The Best Things

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe--a Winters' family favourite!

Musical Fruit--Reprise

Baked Beans have got to be one of the most delicious, and easy, make-ahead dinners you can throw together (surpassed only by All-Day Beef Stew in my menu planner). You can use them as a main dish, and throw some foil-wrapped red potatoes in the oven about 1 1/2-2 hours before mealtime for an almost effortless meal. Or, they make a great side dish to beef, game or turkey sausage. Serve with some fresh or lacto-fermented vegetables (such as Ginger Carrots--sorry, haven't posted the recipe yet), and you've got a meal that busy moms dream about.

Veggie Pancakes?

Double Chocolate Spelt Pancakes with Saskatoon/Green Bean Purée and Naturally Sweetened Whipped Cream. Quadruple yum!

It's All Good

It's All Good

It struck me today that in one week's time, I will be the mother of a kindergartner. In a panic, I thought "I can't have a kid in school if I don't make some cookies!" These quick-and-easy Coconut Macaroons were the answer.

Adventures in Soup-Making

Tonight, as Jason was putting the boys to bed, I was methodically hulling the two gallons of almost over-ripe strawberries Mike had brought up from my uncle and aunt's berry farm near Ponoka tonight. I have never had so many fresh strawberries in my possession at once before. We go through a fair amount of strawberries in frozen form, which we throw into our breakfast smoothies. However, I think the combination of the excess strawberries in hand--what seemed almost a decadent amount--and the new-found bravery I have found in my kitchen since hitting on this cookbook idea, made me a little reckless.

Fast Food Friday

Fast Food Friday

Penne Pasta in Juniper Rosa Sauce - For when you need a fast food supper, but without the fast food!

Musical Fruit

Did you know you can make your own beans? It's easy, it's fast, you can start 'em cooking in the morning before you leave for work, and you have a nice side (or main) dish ready when you get home. Then you can double the recipe, freeze the leftovers and throw them in everything from soups to chilies.

Guilt-Free Hot Chocolate

I couldn't resist posting one more recipe today, because hot chocolate and winter weather go so well together. The only problem is, I've discovered that if you look at the ingredients list on the cans of most pre-fab hot chocolate mixes, the first ingredient is usually--you guessed it--sugar! If it does not use sugar (because it is some version of "light"), the sweetener of choice is aspartame. Not to mention the chemically-altered "modified milk ingredients", and possibly some version of "high-fructose corn syrup."

So, although this is still a drink that should be consumed in moderation (thanks to the caffeine content--roughly 5 mg/8 oz., as opposed to 135 mg/8 oz for brewed coffee), this is my "Guilt-Free Hot Chocolate". Enjoy!

Guilt-Free Hot Chocolate

Makes 1 12-oz. mug

3 round tsp. cocoa (adjust to taste)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2-3 tsp. raw honey
10 oz. hot water from electric kettle (approx.)

You could make this right in a mug, but I recommend a blender. I use my Magic Bullet with the small cup. (Blending it makes for perfectly smooth, frothy hot chocolate.)

Add your cocoa and cream into the cup. If you are not using a blender, mix these into a perfectly smooth paste. If your honey is a little on the hard side, use the hot water to melt it off the spoon as you pour it into the cup. Blend, pour into a mug, and enjoy!

I like this recipe, because I am often only making 1 mug at a time, and I like being able to drink it right away without scalding my mouth. If you would like to make a larger batch, or you like it hotter and don't mind a bit more fuss, here is a stove-top recipe that you can multiply by the number of people you would like to serve:

Guilt-Free Hot Chocolate (Stovetop Version)

1 heaping tbsp. cocoa
1 heaping tbsp. honey
3/4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. filtered water

Blend cocoa and water in a blender. Add to saucepan with milk and honey. Heat gently until at desired temperature, being careful not to boil.

Tastes wonderful topped with real whipped cream. (Sweeten whipped cream with a touch of maple syrup.)

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

This is one of my kids' favourite meals.