patty's blog

Raw food bars today...

An interesting little review of some raw food bars on the market today:
Revealed: The best new raw food bars

Gluten-Free Fudge Brownies

Adzuki beans? This recipe looks interesting - in a good way:
Gluten-Free Fudge Brownies

Sweet & Fun

Marisa and Maya decorating home-made cookies
Marisa and Maya decorating home-made cookies

Thanks for the sweet pic girls!

Clean Green

Here are some tips and recipes for natural non-toxic cleaners:

Super Spirulina...

Spirulina in the morning: a rich green spirulina smoothie for breakfast - mmm!

My cousin emails me this question: "What can you tell me about spirulina powder?"

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae (actually a microalgae!) which is known to be very nutritious: packed with protein, essential fatty acids, minerals (including iron), vitamins (including B vitamins), healthy pigments (including carotenoids and chlorophyll)... Though spirulina does have all these healthy nutrients, you'd have to eat a very large quantity to get a good dose. (Here's an in-depth review of spirulina.)

According to those who sell it, spirulina also is said to be a tonic helpful in dealing with all sorts of ailments: viruses, cancer, high cholesterol, anemia, arthritis, poor immune system, malnutrition, diabetes, weight-loss...

Chocolate Fractal Banana Bread

Fractalize your banana bread: Chocolate Fractal Banana Bread

This summer, I concocted yet another version of the oh-so-versitile classic banana bread. This one is particularly special due to it's amazing chocolaty flavour, as well as its striking good looks - and it's healthy too!

This banana bread deserved a special name, and after some deliberation with my partner (Fortune Fudge Swirl Banana Bread? Magic Marble Chocolate Banana Bread?) we came up with Chocolate Mandelbrot Banana Bread. This was a name surely worthy of this gorgeous fractaly loaf!

Upon further research, I learned that there is already a Mandelbrot Bread in existence. This other Mandelbrot bread is an "almond bread", and is more like the Italian twice-baked biscotti (actually called Cantuccini in native Tuscany/Italy). There is even a recipe for Chocolate-filled mandelbrot - which may also have a chocolaty Mandelbrot set running through it's center.

After all that, here's the official recipe for my latest concoction:
Chocolate Fractal Banana Bread.

Far out!

Beautiful buttery flakey pie crust

Double-crust Sweet Berry Pie

How do you make a traditional flakey pie crust? The answer is here - check out these 2 videos hosted by Julia Child: Harvest Apple Pie, Part 1 and 2

I followed this pie crust recipe and production technique with fantastic results.

(Here's an alternate technique on How to Bake a Double-Crust Fruit Pie with tips and videos.)

This type of crust made with refined wheat flour and lots of butter is not all that healthy. It is, however, delicious - and great as an occasional treat. Using organic wheat and butter does make it healthier!

I filled this superb crust with fresh local blueberries and cherries. This particular pie was made without refined sugar: Double-crust Blueberry Cherry Pie

Good stuff. Here's a shot of the last piece :-)

Double-crust Sweet Berry Pie

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market

Early this summer, I had the pleasure of attending the Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market in the Okanagan Valley.

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: tasty healthy baked goods

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: fresh local produce

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: Quail's Farm

One of my favorite stands: Quail's Farm. I picked up some delicious baked goods here including a hearty 9-grain bread, and exquisite berry pie. I also bought some fresh stone-ground spelt flour which I made into brownies with my great little baking helper Noah. I also scored some fresh arugula and mustard greens. Thanks guys!

Quail's Farm: 9 grain bread and berry pie

There was a variety of wonderful local honey. I chose some delicious fireweed and lotus blossom (trefoil) honey: lovely mild delicate flavour.

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: honey

Other good things:

  • free samples!
  • a chance to chat with the farmers and producers
  • home-made preserves, hot pepper and wine jellies
  • healthy organic ostrich meat
  • art, crafts and jewelry
  • natural toiletries
  • plants and flowers

More on other farmers' markets later...

Magical Parchment Paper

Baking cookies on parchment paper

In case you didn't know - baking with parchment paper is like magic!

Line a cookie sheet with cooking parchment, and bake cookies directly on it (rather than on a greased pan). Your cookies will come right off with no problems: they will not stick to the parchment paper and your pan will be clean! You can also line a loaf or cake pan with it: the cake will come right out of the pan and the parchment paper will easily peel off the cake or loaf. As well, the paper is somewhat heat-resiatant, and can be handled soon after being pulled out of the oven.

More magic:

Eggs... i love you

The Wonderous Egg

When looking for "healthy baking" recipes, I often come across ones calling for egg whites - rather than whole eggs. While egg whites are definitely healthy and high in protein - the whole egg offers more nutrition - not to mention flavour. Some recipes do call for egg whites because of their special physical properties. Other "healthy" recipes eliminate the yolk because of its high fat and cholesterol content.