Simple September Salad ~ Tomato Basil Bocconcini

A gardener’s delight, this simple salad helps use up and enjoy one more time the fresh taste of this season’s tomatoes and basil.

tomato basil salad


Fresh garden tomatoes, washed & diced.

Fresh basil, coarsely chopped.

Pepper & sea or himalayan pink salt to taste. (Use a nice Italian or Mediterranean herb salt if you have one).

Splash of sweet white wine vinegar.

Dollop of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Desired amount of mini bocconcini cheese.


Toss all ingredients together and serve immediately.



with joy over this fresh tomato time of year in zones 4 & 5 (Ontario, Canada).

Diana E. Natalie




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Go Nuts for Dairy Free Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

avocado smoothie Alive

Here is the Alive Magazine link with the original idea & photo for this delicious ‘Breakfast Smoothie’, as well as good information regarding avocados, which are indeed one of the worlds healthiest foods.

The Stand In My Kitchen variation eliminates the greens & uses ‘cashew milk’ as a base, rather than Almond milk. You simply blend the raw cashews with water first before adding the other ingredients. You could do the same with raw or blanched almonds, or buy almond milk ready-to-go. 

My two favourite brands of Almond milk readily available in most grocery store coolers are ‘Silk – Pure Almond’, and ‘Earth’s Own – Almond Fresh’. ‘Pacific’ also has a nice shelf stable tetra boxed organic unsweetened almond milk.

I have found this breakfast smoothie to be filling & appetite suppressing. Note in the chart here that almonds and cashews are almost identical in calories and total fat. Almonds have more fiber, and cashews more saturated fat and carbohydrate. So I would suggest going the almond route if you are trying to slim down, and choosing the cashew method if you are trying to gain or maintain a healthy weight. If you are making the smoothie for toddlers and younger children, boost the omega-3 essential fatty acid content (EPA and DHA) necessary to brain and nervous system development by adding a few raw walnuts, chia seeds, or hemp hearts to the mix. Actually all of these are beneficial to brain and cardiovascular health in adults as well, so GET CREATIVE with your smoothie!


I’m not opposed to adding the greens, I’m just breaking the family in gently here…so that it starts out looking a bit more ‘chocolately’ than ‘salady’, and will sneak the greens in gradually as we go deeper into the fall and cold & flu season.

The greens add instant energy boosting and detoxing nutritional properties to your liquid breakfast!

One quick & easy ‘green’ addition (tho not inexpensive) is to add a teaspoon of Matcha Green Tea powder.


1/3 cup raw cashews (or almonds)

1 1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla (optional)

1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder (dutch process cocoa)

1/2 ripe avocado peeled & removed from pit (wrap the other half tightly in plastic wrap and save for tomorrow!)

3 (PITTED) Medjool dates (if you can’t find Medjool’s use 1/2 ripe banana + 1 Tablespoon pure Maple syrup)

2 ice cubes


Place raw cashews into blender, add water & liquify. Add vanilla, cocoa, avocado, and medjool dates (or banana & maple syrup).

Blend, adding ice last, until smooth.


with joy over anything chocolate and nutritious for breakfast,

Diana E. Natalie.




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Garden Variety Seafood Cannelloni

baked cannelloniAdmittedly, this classifies as one of those dishes dreamed up while staring into a fridge of leftovers on a rainy day following a week of holiday Barbecues entertaining family and friends, when you think it’s a good idea to roast a whole bag of red peppers at once for that dip which never gets made. We also grill a lot of salmon in the summer, and because we forget what a dense and filling fish it is, always end up with lovely bits left in the fridge just begging culinary ingenuity.

And then there’s the Swiss Chard. That ‘beet-looking’ green with the highly nutritious leaves. I only started growing it in the garden because my mum loves it. So easy to grow in our Northern gardens, pretty to look at, and prolific! But what to do with all that Chard?

[Swiss Chard is a lot like spinach, so if you don't have chard, use spinach instead].

This recipe marries leftover salmon, grilled/roasted red pepper, & fresh Swiss Chard or spinach in a delightfully messy-but-fun-to-make entree. It also lets you experiment more with the Basil and Parsley you have growing in your garden or herb pot.

(Dietary NOTES: To make it gluten free, use GF pasta, GF flour blend for the white sauce, & omit the ‘Crab’ which contains wheat starch. This recipe is not dairy free.)



1 box Cannelonni ‘Oven Ready’ Pasta shells

4 to 6 ounces (leftover) grilled / cooked salmon

1 roasted red pepper (skin removed)

1 clove fresh garlic minced

4 ounces Crab Delectables (generally made from Pollock)

1/2 cup chopped fresh Swiss Chard (or Spinach)

White Sauce:

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup flour (I used Light Spelt, for Gluten Free use GF Flour Blend)

1 cup chicken stock, or low sodium chicken broth

1 cup light (5%) cream + 3/4 cup 1% milk

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or a Thai spice blend)

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped Parsley & Basil combined

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground blended pepper

2 Tablespoons (for white sauce) + 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (for top)

[1/4 cup dry white wine - optional]

white sauce







Grease a 9″ X 12″ glass baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

Finely chop salmon, crab, roasted red pepper, and garlic.

Melt butter in medium saucepan, whisk in flour, and gradually whisk in the cream & milk. Add pepper, nutmeg or Thai spice blend, 2 Tablespoons parmesan, chopped parsley & basil. [Note: 'Herb Scissors' are another favourite kitchen tool for snipping fresh herbs right into your pot or pan!]  Cook white sauce over medium heat, whisking regularly, until sauce begins to thicken. Whisk in the white wine.

Finely chop the Swiss Chard, or Spinach.

In a separate bowl, combine the salmon, crab, red pepper, garlic, and chopped chard or spinach, and ADD enough of the white sauce to moisten to a ‘filling-like’ consistency that you can spoon into the dry cannelloni shells.

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C)

Using the smallest little spoon you can find, scoop the filling into the tubes (cover the bottom end with one of your fingers to keep the filling from spilling out the other end.) A spurtle (one of my favourite kitchen tools) works great to push the filling down into the pasta tubes. Scrape any excess filling off the outside of the cannelloni tubes and lay them into the prepared baking dish. This is all a bit messy but great fun!


stuffed cannelloni

Cover all of the stuffed shells in the baking dish with the rest of the reserved white sauce. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

finished cannelloni





Cover the baking dish tightly with tin foil, and bake for 34 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Serve with leafy greens & a tomato OR sweet onion vinaigrette. Pare with lemonade or a medium dry white wine.

baked cannelloni






with joy over moments of inspiration alone in the kitchen again, and “the wedge of light leaking from an open refrigerator door, seeking to satisfy a craving.” 1

Diana E. Natalie

1. Flinn, Kathleen. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks. New York: Penguin Group Inc., 2011.










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Stenalder Brød “Stone Age Bread”

Filling, nutritious, and delicious, this ‘bread’ has recently rocked my kitchen world! I’ve made four batches this month for a variety of people and functions. Anyone who has tried it has become a fan, from age five to eighty-five!


You will find variations on the web and in cookbooks under “Danish stone age bread”, and “Paleo Nut Bread”. Each recipe I have encountered is completely grain free, and seems to contain a similar ratio of nuts to seeds – approximately 2 cups nuts to 4 cups seeds.

Easy to make once you have assembled your ingredients. Makes 2 small loaves or 1 larger loaf. [Two small 7 x 4 inch loaf pans or one 9 x 5 loaf pan].

NOTE: If you want to go more savoury, omit the cinnamon, honey, and fruit, and add be sure to add the ground pepper.

If you are adding the dried fruit, you may wish to try others such as currants, cherries, blueberries, or goji berries instead of the cranberries and apricots.

Stenalder Brød is high protein, high in fibre, and high in good anti-inflammatory Omega-3 & Omega-6 and Omega-9 Essential Fatty Acids. It is high potassium, very low sodium, and low to no sugar.



5 eggs + 1 egg white (or, 10 egg whites).

2 Tablespoons raw unpasteurized liquid honey (optional)

1/3 cup extra virgin organic Olive oil, or Grape seed oil, or nut oil (or a combination)

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/2 teaspoon finely ground blended pepper (optional)

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw (white) sesame seeds

1/2 cup Hemp Hearts

1 cup raw walnut halves

1 cup roasted unsalted almonds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2/3 cup ground flax seed

1/3 cup whole flax seed

1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped (optional)

1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)







Line two small (7 x 4 inch) loaf pans (or one 9 x 5 loaf pan) with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper with butter or olive oil (I prefer butter, as it makes the outside of the loaves slightly ‘crispy’).

Measure out all of your nuts and seeds into a separate bowl. NOTE: You do not have to chop the nuts and seeds, as they do soften up during baking, but I prefer to coarsely chop the walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, either with a knife or giving them a quick pulse in a food processor.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

With a stand mixer, handheld mixer, or by hand, whisk the eggs until well mixed, adding the oil, salt, (liquid honey), (pepper), and (cinnamon).

Add the nut & seed mixture, stirring to incorporate well.

Divide the batter between your two lined and buttered loaf pans, or dump it all into one larger lined and buttered loaf pan.

Using a spatula, press the batter in and smooth the top.

Bake at 325 F. for 1 hour. (Most recipes say that when it’s done the bread pan should sound ‘hollow’ when thumped on the bottom with a wooden spoon).






Cool on a wire rack. (I like to lift the bread out of it’s pan(s) using the parchment paper – and cool completely before slicing using a sharp serrated bread knife).

SERVE WITH Strawberry or Cherry jam (or jam of your choice) & wedges of Goat cheese, Feta, or sharp cheddar cheese. Garnish with tiny sprigs of thyme or rosemary.







with joy over simple, filling, and nutritious!

Diana E. Natalie


[Note: This recipe is SCD / Specific Carbohydrate Diet safe after 3 months, for those using the SCD diet for healing of intestinal disease and dysbiosis].

All ingredients for ‘Stone Age Bread’ can be found at The Main Ingredient, “more than just a bulk food store”, 326 Charlotte St., Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

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Homemade Veggie Burgers

[These delicious patties are adapted from the Whitewater Veggie Burger recipe, from the Whitewater Cooks cookbook series by Shelley Adams. The original recipe was developed by Pat McInnis of Alligator Pie Catering, Nelson BC, Canada]

veggie burger cooked

MAKES 12 to 14 burger patties.


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Grapeseed oil

1 Onion, diced

1 clove fresh Garlic, minced

3 cups fine Bread Crumbs (to make Gluten Free burgers substitute Gluten Free breadcrumbs)

1 cup roasted (no salt) Sunflower Seeds (chopped / whirled in food processor)

1/2 cup roasted (no salt) Almonds (chopped / whirled in food processor)

2 cups grated organic Carrots (food processor grater comes in handy here too) (Note: use organic carrots whenever available as they have much more flavour and sweetness)

2 cups Oats (we use quick cook oats, rather than large flake)

1 Tablespoon ground Cumin

1 1/2 Tablespoon Chili powder

1 teaspoon Oregano or Italian herb blend

1/4 cup fresh Parsley OR Cilantro, finely chopped

1 – 19 ounce can Black Beans, drained, rinsed, and roughly pureed

5 Eggs

2 1/2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil (if toasted use only 1 Tablespoon + 1 1/2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1/2 cup Bragg Liquid Seasoning (‘healthy soya sauce’)


1/2 cup Oat Flour for dredging finished patties

Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Grapeseed Oil for sautéing the patties in


NOTE: All ingredients (except carrots & fresh cilantro) are available at great prices at The Main Ingredient, 326 Charlotte St. Peterborough, ON.

Veggie Burg pre


1. In medium to large size Skillet (cast iron if you have it) sautee the onions & garlic in oil. Once onions are translucent place into mixing bowl (of stand mixer if you have one) and allow to cool.

2. One by one add all of the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl.

3. Mix well, then pat and shape mixture into good sized patties.

4. Dredge both sides lightly in flour. Score gently with a knife.

5. If cooking right away, heat more oil in same pan used to sauté onions and brown burgers on both sides, heating completely through. Cook in batches adding a little more oil to pan as needed.

If storing in fridge or freezing for later, stack patties in airtight container with parchment paper layered between patties.

These Veggie Burgers may also be cooked on an open grill / BarBQ, and if so, brush with a little oil during grilling.


Serving suggestion: Serve hot on a multi-grain bun with sprouts and roasted garlic Aioli, or Jalepeno mayonnaise.











with joy over healthy AND delicious!

Diana E. Natalie




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Sunday Quote & Photo 13.04.2014

Recently my Mom (79 yrs) used a laptop and digital slide converter to convert several trays of old Kodachrome slides to digital .jpeg images. Many of these pictures we hadn’t seen for decades and they brought us much joy as we reminisced. Of particular interest to me was this photo of my maternal Grandmother at the stove putting the finishing touches on a Partridge in her well-worn cast iron pot while my Grandpa waits patiently to savour his quarry. The old pot was somehow passed on to me, and shows up in several places throughout this blog. I’m pretty sure cast iron holds onto the flavours of the years, at very least some sort of ‘food memory’, as everything that simmers there today tastes extra special!

Grandma Lott at Stove

from Chapter One ‘Not To Mention That Her Apple Tarts Would Change Your Life’, of a little book by Sophie Hudson entitled, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet ~ Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon.

“The mental picture of Mamaw standing at the stove is one of the most enduring images of my childhood, mainly because she stood at that stove so faithfully. She cooked three hot meals a day, seven days a week. There was never anything made from a box, either – no powdery macaroni and cheese or Hamburger Helper. Oh, no, ma’am. There was hot cornbread, beef stroganoff over rice, pot roast with carrots and potatoes, fried chicken, creamed potatoes, fresh peas, fried squash, fried okra (I have to pause for a moment whenever I mention Mamaw’s fried okra and give it the reverence and honour that it is due), egg custard pie, pound cake – I could go on and on.

We didn’t have all that food at one time, mind you, or else we’d have alternated trips to Mamaw’s table with trips to the cardiac care unit, but there was always something delicious and homemade on that stove. Mamaw didn’t think she was doing anything special – she was just taking care of her family the best way she knew how – but I think her children and grandchildren can all testify to the fact that those meals she cooked ministered to us like a good Sunday sermon. And she didn’t have to say a single word.”

with joy over memory, and the go-to mental images of those we love,

Diana E. Natalie



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Epic Scalloped Potatoes

Epic Scalloped Potatoes

Two reasons we call these scalloped potatoes ‘epic’. The first is that we quadrupled the recipe to fill a very large pan for a big crowd. The second is the addition of the cheese and seasonings which make them irresistibly savoury and scrumptious.

Below is the ‘normal’ recipe for 4 to 6 people. Double, triple, or quadruple as i did, depending on the size of your pan and how many mouths you intend to feed. This recipe, fully cooked, also freezes well for later use. Just thaw and reheat in hot oven or microwave.

INGREDIENTS listed for smaller casseroleDouble, triple, or quadruple the recipe for extra people.

2 1/2 cups potatoes, pared and thinly sliced. (Use a food processor blade if you have one. I prefer white potatoes over the yellow variety. If you peel your potatoes ahead of time, set them in a bowl of cold salted water to prevent browning).

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (or a gluten free blend)

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion (optional)

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1 cup Old Cheddar cheese, grated or shredded

1 3/4 cups mild, scalded (see method below)


To ‘scald’ milk ~ is to heat it slowly in a heavy bottomed pot, to just below the boiling point. (As soon as you see bubbles starting remove from heat).

Scald milk and set aside.

‘Grease’ your casserole/baking dish or pan with butter &/or extra virgin olive oil.

Place half the sliced potatoes into baking dish.

Sprinkle with flour, salt, onion, mustard powder, and 3/4 of your grated cheddar cheese.

Layer the rest of potatoes on top, sprinkle with ground pepper, and gently pour scalded milk over the entire thing.

Sprinkle remainder of cheese on top.

Tent over top with tin foil (shiny side down).

Bake at 350 F. for 1 to 1  1/4 hours. (Remove foil after 1 hour and brown top under 325 F broiler for 3 minutes if necessary).

Double or quadruple the recipe for extra people. Serve alongside ham or pork roast (see ‘Stand In My Kitchen’ pork entree recipes).


with joy over traditional Easter fare, and the humble po ta to,

Diana E. Natalie

humble potato










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