I’m Inspired By: Made By Momma

off to deliver food to Made By Momma

There is this amazing non-profit organization I’ve recently discovered here in Calgary. It’s called Made By Momma and they collect and distribute homemade food and baby items to new parents who are dealing with challenges such as: poverty, being new to the city and not having friends or family to support them, recent lay offs, injuries, things like that. They deliver food, baby supplies, and help direct them to people who can help them even more. They have volunteers who can provide services and support to help families make it through! I just think it’s a wonderful example of True Community.

I made some calls to the girls in the Village and we collected some baked goods, meals, and baby items and went and dropped them off today. I brought Picky Princess with me, because I do everything I can to include her in activities that provide her with a chance to reflect on her life, reasons to be grateful, and help other people. Also my Dear Friend Tracey, and her Smiling Winsome.

When Sexy Husband and I brought home Picky Princess from the hospital 4.5 years ago, we were like most new parents, completely and utterly terrified by the 5 pounds of precious cargo we held. We were exhausted, in love, and overwhelmed. The church we attended organized meals for all the new parents, and for 10 days, at 5pm on the dot, the doorbell would ring with a hot meal for us. We sat at the table every night, completely overwhelmed with love and support. Amazing how a meal can be so much more than a meal. It can be hope, family, peace, comfort. I think this was the birth of my love of cooking for others.

So it was a joy this week to cook for Made By Momma. If you live in Calgary I would encourage you to check out their website. It took exactly 30 seconds longer to double a muffin recipe. We can all do something. Even something small like muffins. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to my friends who contributed to this little food drive. Thank you for taking the time, I know you’re all busy, and thank you to the friends who couldn’t this time, but maybe next time!

Recipe: Lemon Cranberry Scones

lemon cranberry scones

This recipe is for my dear and lovely friend Kristin. She’s got a great foodie blog, and we have lots in common, including the fact that she has her very own Picky Princess to cook for, her husband Kevin! (just kidding Kevin, waaaay to manly to be a princess). Anyway, Kristin requested a lemon cranberry scone recipe so Picky P and I whipped this up today.

I will just say…for whatever reason, depending on what kind of fruit I seem to add, my scones turn out to be either perfect, or kind of flat and cookie like. These turned out to be flat-ish blobs. It actually kind of worked out great because then I cut them into small triangles, perfect snack size. They are also too delicious to not post, just because they’re not super pretty.

Lemon Cranberry Scones

Makes 12

2 1/2 cups spelt flour

1 cup oats

1 tbs baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

zest of one lemon

1/2 cup butter, cut into 1 inch cubes

juice of one lemon

1 cup buttermilk (you can use milk if you have to)

1/2 cup honey (plus more for drizzling)

1/2 cup fresh cranberries



Preheat oven to 425.

In a food processor, pulse to combine all dry ingredients.

Add zest and butter and pulse until resembles coarse meal.

Add lemon juice, buttermilk and honey, cranberries. Pulse until combined.

Dough will be VERY wet and sticky. Using a spatula, scoop batter onto WELL floured surface.

With floured hands, fold dough over 2 or 3 times, without over processing, until dough can be formed into two disks, approximately 6 inches in diameter.

Cut each disk into 6 pieces. Place scones on parchment lined baking sheets and drizzle with honey.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until starting to turn golden on the outside. Do not overbake.

note: the reason these scones have such a delicate and perfect texture is because the dough is so soft. So don’t be panicked if it seems hard to handle.



IronSister Says: Thoughts On Protein

This post is a little bit fig & fennel and a little bit Ironsister.

fig & fennel – Usually my “Thoughts On:” section is about non food related topics. But I feel like I’ve had the conversation 50 times in the last few weeks, people saying things like, oh I can’t cook vegetarian, my husband plays hockey and needs protein. Or, well I’d eat vegetarian, but I work out so I need protein. So I wanted to address the topic of how to eat enough protein from non-meat products. It is, in fact, surprisingly easy to do! We do not eat exclusively vegetarian and I find no need to come up with an appropriate label for how we eat, but I usually cook a meal with meat in it about once a week, and we try to have fish once a week. So we eat mostly plant-based food. My personal motivations are as follows: health benefits, desire to be conscious of the environment, complete disgust of handling raw meat. There is a disgusting amount of animal cruelty out there, but I avoid these concerns by buying meat ONLY from local farms that are organic and provide a reasonable quality of life for their animals. This is a bit pricier, but we eat so little meat that I can afford to do so.

I know there is a substantial move out there among Foodies, which I embrace with a happy heart, to move towards more vegetarian cooking. I have some friends who cook pretty typical meat and potatoes type meals all week but plan a “Meatless Monday” meal. A number of smaller local restaurants I know have vegetarian meals one day a week. This is great because people can order something new, love it, or not, and realize that it’s not hard or intimidating to cook vegetarian.

I’m sure many of you have seen the video floating around Youtube and Facebook, about the benefits of eating less meat. The basic research of the mini doc is this: if everyone in Britain ate ONE less meat based meal per week, it would be the equivalent of taking 50 million cars off the road. This is MAJOR! How much more if all of North America did this?! Cows eat soya, which is unnatural to them and makes them produce more methane and it takes a skillion bags of soya and lots of energy to get ONE beef serving from a cow. Ridiculous.

You’d be surprised at how protein-frenzied and misinformed we are about the topic of protein needs. Here is some interesting info for you, brought to you by IronSister. We just did a workshop on all this stuff  so I’m all fired up about it…

Protein Requirements

NOTE: Ideal body weight does NOT mean how much you should weigh, it is the scientific formula for determining your nutritional needs. Just before everyone freaks out…

Recommended protein requirements: 0.45 grams/kg of Ideal Body Weight per day
Ideal Body Weight for Women: 100lbs for 60 inches + 5 lbs for every inch over 60 inches
Ideal Body Weight for Men: 106 lbs for 60 inches + 6 lbs for every inch over 60 inches

So let’s take a woman who is 5’4″. That means their ideal body weight is 120lbs. 120lbs = 55kilos. 55kilos x .45 = 24.75 grams of protein in food.

Protein Serving size (grams)
Beef, lean 4 oz (24)
Chicken breast 3 oz (24)
Fish 3 oz (16-18)
Turkey, 4 oz (9)
Cheese 1 oz (8)
Cottage cheese, ½ cup (16)
Egg 1 large (6)
Egg white 1 large (4)
Milk, skim 1 cup (8)
Yogurt, plain 8 oz (12)
Peanuts 1 oz (7)
Peanut butter 2 tbsp (8)
Pumpkin seeds ½ cup (20)
Sunflower seeds 1 tbsp (3)
Soybeans, ½ cup (14)
Soymilk 1 cup (8)
Tofu ½ cup (20)
Beans, black ½ cup (8)
Beans, pinto ½ cup (7)
Chickpeas, ½ cup (20)
Lentils ½ cup (9)
Beans, kidney ½ cup (12)
Milk, skim 1 cup (8)

Isn’t that amazing!!!?? It does not take a lot of work to get our needed protein. And look how easy it is to get it in NON meat things! Sprinkle 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds on your salad and voila! almost all you need in a day! Or think of just normal stuff, 2 eggs for breakfast, one glass of milk, peanut butter sandwich for lunch and some kind of beans in your supper = 36. 50% more than you need!!!  Please note, these numbers are relevant for active people as well. Unless you are doing some shocking level of physical activity, than the formula is a good guideline for you!

SO my friends…bottom line….eat more vegetarian and help save the world. Don’t forget mommies, YOU are Queen of the Castle, how you cook and how you eat is how your family will follow. Get creative and make some yummy vegetarian things and I bet you barely get any complaining.

Recipe: Coconut Curry

coconut curry

I was SO fascinated by all the ingredients you mentioned you would like recipes for during last weeks giveaway! I will do my best to address each and everyone one! A few of them are ingredients I don’t use much or ever (pomegranate molasses?) and a few of them are ingredients I use all the time! Todays recipe includes a number of different ingredients that were mentioned: chickpeas, squash, coconut milk. Hopefully you like it!

This is a super easy one dish meal: vegetarian, high fibre, easy to make, versatile, curry dish. I feel like most recipes involving butternut squash end up being curryish. I do have this recipe as well in case you aren’t a big fan of the curry taste. But this can be as mild or spicy as you like! Some flavors just go so nicely together.

Coconut Curry

Serves about 4

2 cups of cooked chickpeas (approx)

1 medium butternut squash

1 cup coconut milk

1 tbs tandoori masala spices(or curry powder)

4 cups swiss chard, spine cut out and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup chopped almonds

2 tomatoes chopped

sea salt to taste


Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Microwave for about 7 minutes until starting to soften. Remove skin of squash and chop squash into 1 inch cubes. In a large pot, combine all ingredients and simmer for about 30 mins or until you want to eat(I think mine simmered for about an hour!) Easy, healthy and delicious!

Giveaway: And the Winner is…

Jenny!!! All the way from England! Yay! Jenny, email me your address and I’ll send you your cute little spatula set! But I’m very excited about all the ingredients requests. I will attempt to address every single one of them…probably not in the same post! It’s amazing how one or two new recipes using ingredients you actually have in your kitchen and want to use, can make a big difference!

Happy cooking friends!

Recipe: Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

raspberry chocolate chip pancakes

It is a Saturday morning tradition, in our family(ok, tradition as of today), to have pancakes for breakfast! All week, Sexy Husband makes breakfast. It’s kind of his thing. Mornings are kind of his thing actually. He hits start on the coffee maker, which activates the not-so-subtle grinder, which functions as my alarm clock. I come down all crazy-haired and pyjama’d to my smiling giggling girls and breakfast on the table. I know, you hate me. ANYWAY, Saturday morning it’s my turn. Last night I gave Picky Princess the options: blueberry pancakes, coconut pancakes, raspberry pancakes…and this recipe is the result of her choosing. Hope you enjoy!

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Makes about 15 medium pancakes

2 cups spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbs cane sugar (or brown sugar)

3 cups buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

4 tbs butter, melted

1 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh

handful of dark chocolate chips


Preheat a pancake griddle to 375 and lightly butter it.  In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in all wet ingredients and mix. Stir in raspberries and chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes. Scoop small amounts onto griddle, they really expand and puff up. Wait a couple of minutes until bottom is turning golden and flip. When they are done, put them in an oven safe dish and keep in the oven on low heat just to stay warm.

*** tip *** the key to fluffy pancakes is to mix them as little as possible. You do not have make the batter smooth, it can be a bit lumpy.

Reminder that tonight I will make the draw for the Willams-Sonoma spatula set! If you haven’t entered yet, see the next post down for details!

Giveaway: Baking Tools!

"homemade" cookie stamp

My tiny little townhouse kitchen may LOOK trendy, and may well be a happy and fun place to gather, but it is atrociously annoying to actually cook in. Sadly I didn’t really cook(at all) when we bought this place, so I didn’t really think about the benefits of minor things like COUNTER SPACE. I have about 3 combined feet of counter space, broken up into 1 foot segments. Poor Sexy Husband, as you can imagine it is just impossible to cook without making a huge disaster(it’s not my fault, it’s the counter space!). Regardless of the lack of space, I still manage to cram every single drawer and cupboard full of cooking, particularly baking, knick knacks. I have a total weakness for things like cookie presses, icing tips and rolling pins. I am powerless to cake molds and mandolines. But my friends in the Village know that if they need a lemon zester, or a cake leveler, they can call me.

My mom (who is the Giver of Gifts) was recently in Seattle and brought me back a Cookie Stamp. SO FUN! So I tried out some cookies, a super basic rolled shortbread cookie, and stamped my little homemade sign into them. They were a big hit! I think I’ll be using it for the upcoming annual girls Christmas Cookie Exchange IronSister hosts(highlight of the season!)

All this got me thinking that I would like to give YOU, my friendly and lovely readers, one of my absolute favorite baking tool set. This miniature spatula set from Williams-Sonoma has by far been the most used tool in my baking life. Big spatulas are great, and I use them all the time, but these mini ones are perfect for icing things, scraping stuff off beaters, cleaning off edges of bowls or glasses displaying desserts, anything really. They are also the perfect size for the Little Hands that help me bake all the time.

williams-sonoma miniature spatula set

Here’s how you can win! Leave me a comment telling me what ingredient you would like to have recipes for(it could be that you have lots of pumpkin to use up, or are curious about cooking with beans, or what do you do with coconut milk – stuff like that), and I will enter your name into the draw. Also, if you are on twitter, which of course many of you are, then tweet about the giveaway and link the blog and I’ll enter you again! This way YOU win a prize and I find out what my readers would like to read about! Saturday night I’ll do the draw!

Happy Thursday my friends!

Recipe: Autumn Pear Cake

autumn pear cake

I follow quite a few food blogs. There are some incredible, beautiful, inspiring writers out there whose food is secondarily beautiful to the spirit they write in. It’s amazing to see that there are some similarities between pretty much all the food blogs I follow. Most are committed to healthy food, and even if they’re a bit indulgent, the food is prepared in a fresh way, with fascinating combinations, beautiful colors, and seasonal palettes. I’ve noticed several autumn-themed recipes: pumpkins, squash, pear, hazelnuts, cinnamon, and really, who doesn’t want these cozy and homey ingredients when the wind has a chill to it, and the sun sets earlier and earlier. I love the idea of eating seasonally. I don’t really think about watermelon in the winter. And I don’t really think about stew and biscuits in the summer! The smell of cinnamon makes me dream of Christmas, the sight of new asparagus brings hope of spring. It’s a miracle really!  So all the talk of seasonal food and the particularly nippy breeze made me think something along these lines today: cinnamon + pears + nuts = autumn pear cake. Enjoy!

Autumn Pear Cake

makes one loaf pan

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

6 tbs butter, melted

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 large pear grated

1/2 cup chopped nuts

sprinkling of brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Butter one loaf pan. Whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until barely combined. Stir in pear and nuts. Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle top with brown sugar. Bake until golden around the edges and set, approx 45 mins.  This cake is so moist and delicious, it is much easier to cut if you allow to cool somewhat. Slice and serve!

Recipe: Chocolate Mousse

chocolate mousse

You’re going to have to just trust me on this one…

A friend of mine had, a while ago, mentioned that she had a recipe for chocolate mousse that involved dates and an avocado. I thought that sounded pretty gross, but she assured me it was delicious. Today, I discovered that every single last molecule of chocolate has disappeared from the house. I desperately tried to find her recipe(or any recipe for that matter, that involved cocoa powder, but no sugar) and…couldn’t. Sad. But not having a recipe to follow has never stopped me before so in the a-little-bit-of-this-and-a-little-bit-of-that style…I came up with this version of chocolate mousse. I can assure you, your family or friends will have no idea that this chocolate mousse is not loaded in sugar, cream and eggs!

Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4

1 avocado(I know, seems weird)

1/2 brick of cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup agave nectar

4 tbs cocoa powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pure vanilla

Directions: beat ingredients together until smooth and whippy, approx 5 mins, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Taste and adjust agave nectar and cinnamon to your pleasing. Scoop into bowls and chill for 1 hour. Serve!

Recipe: Tomato Feta Confit

tomato feta confit

Confession: I don’t really get that excited about the slow cooker. I know…gasp…right? I use the slow cooker for the odd meal, most frequently to cook beans, but I think I associate the slow cooker with meaty dishes. You know, stick a roast and some potatoes in, and by the end of the day…dinner! And definitely the slow cooker comes in handy for this, but I make so few meat dishes that usually I choose other methods to prepare it when I do. I also probably don’t use it that often because meals for me are not about how quickly and conveniently I can make something. I like to cook, and usually have or make the time to do it. However, slow cookers are great for a number of reasons, including the convenience piece. They use a FRACTION of the energy that heating an oven requires. To have the slow cooker on all day is still significantly more green than using the oven at all! Slow cookers also seem to represent those recipes we all want when we are cold or tired or needing to be comforted. It seems fallish doesn’t it?

Kristy-Anne is away for a couple of weeks(sniff…sob) but she left me a huge bag of tomatoes from her aunt’s garden. They are so red and so delicious and I’ve enjoyed cooking some tomato based meals this week. Today I whipped up this little recipe and it is so easy, about 5 ingredients, slow cooker friendly, and perfect fall comfort food. I hope you enjoy it! The potatoes and tomatoes combine to be perfectly falling apart but not too liquidy. The feta makes it a bit creamy, and the greek oregano makes the house smell too delicious for words.

Tomato Feta Confit

Serves about 4

approx 2 lbs new potatoes, quartered

approx 6 medium tomatoes, quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp oregano(or a greek spice mix)

sea salt to taste

Directions: In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Heat on high until bubbling (approx 1 hour) and then low until you’re ready to eat (or low all day). Serve with a salad for a vegetarian entree, or as a side dish!

Confession: I scooped some out to take a picture(above) and promptly ate the whole bowl. Random afternoon snack!

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