Hi there pumpkin pie!

A sugar pumpkin - perfect for pies! image from Cook's Thesaurus

I absolutely love pumpkin pie. There are thousands of pumpkin pie recipes on the web - but most are loaded with superfluous fat and sugar. Winter squash is a magical thing, and has its own lovely richness. Here are some tips on how to make a classic recipe healthier, without compromising flavour and texture of course!

Marvelous Monkey Muffins

Make some Marvelous Monkey Muffins - mmm!

Packed with sweet ripe bananas, flax seeds, oats, toasted pepitas...
these super muffins are good for you and your monkey!

Here's the recipe:
Marvelous Monkey Muffins

Ooo-oo-oo ee-EE!

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...