Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cooking with Maple

Maple syrup is coming and so is spring!  Maple syrup is one of my favourite sweeteners. It is a local product that has been a source of pleasure and food energy for people living in the north for a very long time. I do imagine the early homesteaders relied on it and were shown how to make it by the native people. One tablespoon, or 15 ml, has 30 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrate/sugar with small amounts of nutrients such as 11 mg of calcium and 25 mg potassium. Like all sweet treats it should be enjoyed in moderation.

I use it in many dishes both sweet and savoury. My favourites seem to be in vinaigrettes, dressings and marinades but it also makes an awesome smoothie and a great glaze for vegetables and roast lamb and chicken.

Mark Saturday April 26, 2104 in your calendar as we hope to see you stocking up on maple syrup at the 17th Annual Powassan Maple Syrup Festival.  The day starts with 3 Pancake Breakfasts at 7am and the festival activities end around 4 pm. There will be many food and craft vendors in Powassan and the township reports their usual small population of 2,000 swells to well over 5,000 people on this one day. You can also listen to live music and enjoy fun events.  

I am leading three free cooking demos in the Sportsplex (arena, Main St.) during the festival.  Learn to make all things maple!  Come out and sample some great recipes listed below.  I'll also talk about using maple syrup in baking and how diabetics may use some maple syrup in their meals.

At the breakfast demo at 10 a.m. I'll be demonstrating:
  • Maple Cranberry Chia Smoothie
  • Hot Maple Thyme Tea (slow cooker)
  • Maple Fruit Nut Rolled Oats (Rice Cooker)
  • Layered Maple Yogurt, Fruit Granola Parfaits
  • Two Bite Maple Buckwheat Pancakes

Lunch (noon) Demo:
  • ·        Maple Pop
  • ·        Maple Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette on Greens
  • ·        Goat Cheese Appetizer with Maple Chipotle Glaze
  • ·        Maple Syrup Teriyaki Tofu
  • ·        Maple Baked Beans (Slow Cooker)
  • ·        Fruity and Nutty Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

2 p.m. Demo:

  • Maple Mint & Blueberry Tea
  • Maple Cranberry Poppyseed Dressings over Greens
  • Maple Syrup Teriyaki Tofu
  • Slow Cooker Rhubarb with Ginger and Maple Syrup
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Anise Maple Tapioca Pudding.

All maple syrup sold in Ontario has to be graded and you can find out more and see other recipes at I liked the history of maple syrup shown at

Hope to see you there! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Quinoa Oats Porridge (rice cooker)

Quinoa is an ancient grain grown in the mountains of Bolivia, Peru and many South American countries.  It provides complete protein and is a good source of fibre and nutrients.  In Peru it is often eaten as a breakfast porridge and served in coffee mugs with ground cinnamon and a variety of seeds like pumpkin.

1/2 cup (125 ml) each quinoa and large flake oats, dry
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) water, cold
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) cinnamon, ground
1/2 cup (125 ml) frozen blueberries
1/2 cup (125 ml) frozen cranberries
1/4 cup (60 ml) walnuts
Other optional additions of your choice include flax, sesame or sunflower seeds, nuts, chopped fruit or berries etc.  Sweeten to taste with Maple Syrup or your favourite sweetener.

1.  Add oats and quinoa to bottom of rice cooker.  Pour water over.  Use half milk if you wish.  Stir in cinnamon and mix well to combine. 

2.  Scatter frozen fruit and walnuts over top.  Here I am using frozen cranberries and blueberries.

3.  Turn rice cooker on and walk away leaving it to work its magic.  The rice cooker will switch to warm when it is ready.

Remove from heat and portion into serving dishes.   Serve with maple sugar or syrup if desired.

Pack leftovers into individual size containers and store in the refrigerator.  I like to take them to work for grab and go breakfasts.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1 cup - 250 ml serving): 220 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 5 g fibre, 2 g sugar, 7 g protein.  %Daily Values: 0% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 4% calcium and 20% iron.

(c) Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.  
Visit my website to find out more about online nutrition counselling. Nancy Guppy, RD

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zucchini, Apple & Ginger Chutney

This recipe is one of my favourite, gorgeous fall chutneys which combines end of the garden zucchini with tart apples and a nice mix of spices and ginger.

A chutney is a sweet, tart condiment made with vinegar, sugar, spices, fruits and vegetables. This darker coloured chutney is good with curries, rice, roasts, bread and cheese etc. Many of these old recipes were supposed to taste like mangos after long simmering.

Before you get started you may want to visit the Bernadin website for reliable advice on how to set yourself up to can so you don't make a great big mess!  Also, please read the importance of heat processing jarred foods to create a lasting vacuum seal and maintain food safety. and

Makes 4 x pints/500 ml jars

Leave for at least one week before using. It keeps unopened for up to one year.

8 cups zucchini, diced - 2 litres
4 cups onion, diced - 1 litre
2 cups apple, with skin, diced
1 cup raisins
2 cups apple cider vinegar 
1/4 cup lemon juice - 60 ml
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed - I used organic cane sugar
3 Tbsp ginger, grated - 45 ml
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp coriander, ground - 30 ml
1 tsp cumin, ground - 5 ml
1 tsp cayenne pepper, ground - 5 ml
2 tsp garam masala - 10 ml

1.  Peel the zucchini if the skin is thick. I like to leave the peel on for colour.  Cut into quarters and remove and discard the seeds. Cut the flesh into 1/4 x 1 inch pieces. I used a combination of summer squashes - white patty pan, zucchini and straight neck yellow squash.

2.  Chop the onions and the apples into similar size pieces.

3.  Place in a large pot with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 2 hours or until all the pieces are tender and the juices are reduced and thickened. It will thicken more as it cools.

4.  Spoon into warm, sterilized jars while it is still very hot (right away) and seal immediately. Canning companies recommend that chutneys be processed for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath to ensure food safety. Refrigerate after opening and use within 2-3 months.

(c) Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.  
Visit my website to find out more about online nutrition counselling. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Gluten Free Quinoa Kale Breakfast Muffins

I made these quinoa kale breakfast muffins this morning.  Ate a few and will save the rest for my work week portable breakfasts.  I like them cold but they also reheat well.  Serve with salsa for extra zing! The recipe makes six muffins.  It is also enough for a smaller 9 inch (23 cm) pie plate.

Makes 6

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked - 125 ml
1 Tbsp oil - 15 ml
1/4 cup onion, diced - 60 ml
1/4 cup red pepper, sweet, diced - 60 ml
6 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 cup kale, shredded - 250 ml
1/4 tsp sea salt - 1.25 ml
1 tsp thyme, leaves, fresh - 5 ml
4 each eggs, medium - I used organic
1/3 cup sour cream - I used 14% MF organic - plain yogurt works too
1/2 cup cheese, sliced or shredded - I used Jarslberg
1/4 tsp paprika - 1.25 ml


1  Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).  Prepare a 6 - well muffin tin by coating with oil/butter or insert paper liners.  This smaller muffin tin fits in my toaster oven which I tend to use these days for baking as I mostly live alone.


THESE did stick a bit to the vintage muffin pan although I oiled them really well.  I couldn't resist trying out the reclaimed muffin pan though.  Below is another one I really like.

2.  Cook the quinoa according to package directions in unsalted water.  Set aside to cool.  

Press a heaping tablespoon of quinoa into the bottom of each of the six wells.

3.  Heat oil in a skillet. Sauté the sliced mushrooms, diced red pepper and onion and sliced kale for 5 minutes. Divide among the 6 wells.

4.   Beat eggs with sour cream in a blender or food processor.  Divide among the 6 wells.  I used my bullet.  Perfect for small jobs.

5.  Sprinkle tops with sliced or grated cheese and finish with a sprinkle of paprika.  I used Jarlsberg as I am a fan of Swiss cheese.

6.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until egg is set.  Test them with a knife - insert in centre and if comes out clean they are cooked through.  Remove from the oven and let stand to cool five minutes before serving.  

NUTRITION FACTS (per one muffin - 1/6th recipe): 140 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 1 g fibre, 1 g sugar, 8 g protein.   % Daily Values are 25% Vitamin A, 40% Vitamin C, 10% calcium and 10% iron.

(c) Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.  
Visit my website to find out more about online nutrition counselling. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Compote with Thyme

I have been enjoying plentiful rhubarb this year due to the colder temps and wet spring. Last weekend I made this quick compote and served it with grilled chicken from the barbecue.  Wonderful combo and both my son and I really loved it.  The compote is also great with cream cheese or brie and good bread or crackers.  Use your imagination.

Make about 3 cups - 750 ml OR 12 x 1/4 cup - 60 ml servings.
If you don't want left overs cut the batch in half.  The recipe also freezes well.

1 cup strawberries, whole, fresh or frozen - 250 ml
2 cups rhubarb, sliced, fresh or frozen - 500 ml
1 cup onion, diced - 250 ml
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar - 60 ml
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed - 175 ml
1 Tbsp thyme, fresh, leaves - 15 ml


1.  Slice strawberries and rhubarb and set aside.  Frozen works fine.  Dice onion and add with fruit to a medium size saucepan.

2.   Turn heat to medium-high.  Stir in balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and fresh thyme leaves.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit to cool.

I portioned them into smaller container so I could freeze a few and share others with friends.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1/4 cup - 60 ml): 70 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 1 g fibre, 15 g sugar, 0 g protein.   % Daily Values are 0% Vitamin A, 15% Vitamin C, 4% calcium and 2% iron.

(c) Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.  
Visit my website to find out more about online nutrition counselling. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rhubarb Custard Ramekins (Gluten Free)

My friend Suzanne said today "rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.  We are so blessed to have so much rhubarb!"  My sentiments exactly.

Here is a simple baked custard with rhubarb that can be eaten as dessert and even breakfast!  Good any time of day.  My mom often made a similar rhubarb custard in pastry as "pie" for our family.  I have added more flour to the ingredients to make it more cake-like.  It may seem like a lot of nutmeg but it blends in well and the end result is not overpowering.

Rhubarb has the right kind of fibre to keep you regular.  Follow this link to find out more about growing and cooking with rhubarb

butter or oil for ramekins
4 cups rhubarb, sliced, fresh - 1 litre
3 eggs, medium or large
3/4 cup brown sugar - 175 ml (I used organic)
3 Tbsp milk of your choice - 45 ml
1/4 cup brown rice flour (or your choice - I used Bob's Red Mill brand) - 60 ml
3/4 tsp nutmeg, ground - 3.75 ml

1.  Butter/oil three ramekins or oven proof bowls and place on baking tray.  They should have capacity for 1 1/2 cup (375 ml) as the recipes puffs up and you don't want them to run over when they bake.  Set aside.  
2.  Slice rhubarb and divide among dishes.
3.  Mix eggs, sugar, milk, flour and nutmeg in blender or food processor.  If you don't need a gluten free version whole wheat flour works well.  Pour equally over the rhubarb in the ramekins.

4.  Bake at 350'F for 30-40 minutes or until custard is set.  Test centre with knife to make sure they are cooked through and liquid is absorbed.

NUTRITION FACTS (per one ramekin or 1/3rd recipe): 360 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 165 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 72 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 56 g sugar, 8 g protein.   % Daily Values are 4% Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C, 25% calcium and 10% iron.

(c) Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.  
Visit my website to find out more about online nutrition counselling. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cranberry Banana Date Shake

Here’s a nourishing smoothie that can help get you going in the morning.  I liked it so much I made it three mornings in a row.  If you add less water you will have a thicker sauce that you can eat as a dessert or toss with fresh fruit.  I used frozen bananas and cranberries so I didn’t need ice cubes.  The dates add the right touch of sweetness and help boost the fibre.  I made it with water but you can substitute your favourite milk if you wish.
Now for a bit of advice on cranberries and their role in urinary health.  Cranberries contain proanthocyanins which prevent bacteria like E. coli, the number one cause of UTI’s,  from adhering to the bladder wall.  There is not yet good research to show that cranberries, and pure cranberry juice, can cure a urinary tract infection.  BUT consuming them on a regular basis can help prevent one.  Eating the whole cranberry, rather than just drinking the juice, provides more fibre and you can skip the added sugar of the juice.  Avoid the cranberry juice blends containing white grape or the juice blends if you are after the therapeutic effect of cranberry.

1/2 cup cranberries, frozen
1 banana, medium (7 inches-18 cm long), peeled and frozen
2 dates, pitted
1 cup water (or your favourite milk)
Add contents to the bowl of a blender or food processor.  Run until well blended.  This can take three or more minutes to puree the dates.  
NUTRITION FACTS (per recipe): 140 calories, 0 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 25 g natural sugar, 1 g protein.  %Daily Values are 15% vitamin C and 2% each calcium and iron.