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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Easter Pork Loin for a Crowd

Beer Brine a Costco-size Pork Loin and Feed A Crowd for Easter! (The brine could be used for lamb or venison, though the cuts of meat will vary).


Aren’t you glad that Spring has arrived on the calendar at least, if not out your window?

It’s been a while since you’ve stood in my kitchen! We weren’t actually hibernating the past few months…just not focused on writing things down. Winter hours while not at work, filled fast with ‘sandwich generation’ things like helping elderly in-laws settle into nursing care and cleaning out their house…

…By the way, there’s a funny, touching new read by Toronto author, Plum Johnson, entitled ‘They Left Us Everything ~ A Memoir’, about the importance of preserving family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the future. Having attended the funeral of a 53-year-old brother-in-law yesterday, these thoughts are forefront in my mind and heart.

There’s been lots of cooking and baking going on though ~ for family and friends, house-church gatherings and so on. And quite a queue of recipes to post for you, the first of which might be useful come Easter, especially if you’re cooking for a crew!

Here’s how this one began. I walked into Costco for a sack of potatoes to make what I call ‘Epic Scalloped Potatoes’ for a community Sunday meal (in a very large industrial-sized pan I inherited), and passed a cooler full of 2-foot long (and 6-inch wide) Pork Loins ON SALE. Excited to cook  a piece of meat this large that’s not a Turkey, I did my due-dilligence on-line, amalgamated a bunch of ideas and came up with this fantastic concoction!

1. About Boneless Pork Loin: Full loins can have a lot of variation in size and weight. They average about 3.5 – 4.5 kg but might be much larger or smaller with an average length of around 50-55 cm. My ‘Costco loin’ weighed in around 5 kg. so I cut it in half and brined it in the LARGEST BOWL i could find. Note that with a $5. off promotion it only cost around $16., and it fed twenty people.

2. About the Brine: Brine ingredients work together to ensure meat will be tender, juicy and flavourful once roasted. Combine all of the ingredients listed below in your largest bowl or container. You’ll want the pork loin to sit in the brine for 6 to 8 hours. If you make your brine up first thing in the morning and get the meat into it, it’ll be ready to roast in time for dinner. If you don’t have room to refrigerate it during brining, use very cold water & chilled beer, place it all in the coolest spot you can find, adding a few ice cubes after 3 or 4 hours to keep the mixture cold around the pork.



8 CUPS Coors Light beer = 5 cans

8 CUPS Cold Water

1 Cup Salt (I used 1/2 cup Himalayan Pink Salt, and 1/2 cup Pickling Salt)

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Molasses

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar

1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soya Sauce or Bragg Liquid Seasoning

1 Tablespoon Natural Liquid Smoke Flavor (Hickory).

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2 teaspoons coarse ground blended pepper, or black pepper (or just toss in whole peppercorns). I prefer to coarsely grind.

6 to 8 Whole dried Bay Leaves

1/4 Cup dried Parsley + 1/4 Cup dried Thyme (OR 1/2 cup each chopped fresh parsley and thyme). I used dried.



1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Remove Pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Brush with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place into roasting pan. Scoop out some ‘floating spices/herbs/pepper’ front the brine and spread over top of meat. Set brine aside.

3. Cover with lid or tin foil and place into hot oven for 15 minutes. Turn meat over, spread top with more ‘floaty brine herbs/spices’ and return to 400 degree oven for 15 more minutes.

4. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly baste roast with some of the brine, and continue roasting (covered) for 1 to 1.5 hours, until internal temperature (using a meat thermometer) reaches 160 degrees F.

5. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before slicing. A slightly ‘pink’ centre means a perfect medium roast.

SERVE WITH ‘EPIC SCALLOPED POTATOES’ AND ‘SPRING SALAD’ ~ Recipes Queued and Coming Soon to Stand In My Kitchen.



with joy over Spring, and Easter and the celebration of Hope everywhere,

to you and yours,

Diana E. Natalie

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Crazy for KALE CHIPS


July through October in our city, there’s a little downtown farmer’s market on Wednesday’s from dawn ’til 2:00 p.m. not far from where i work. I’m off at 1:00 p.m. midweek, and the past couple of months I hurried down the street each Wednesday as the vendors were closing up their booth’s, hoping there would still be some fresh Kale available. After a few weeks it became a bit humorous and a catalyst for conversation with some of the growers – this woman running from booth to booth trying to find out who had any Kale left on that particular day. Without fail we’d teamwork to find one or two bundles left – usually from two lovely girls who just happened to grow the most wonderful tasting organic Kale. I’m sure theirs was the most expensive, but worth it! I’d snap it up and hurry home to make homemade Kale Chips. Kale has become one of my favourite things about autumn harvest! Both the chips, and adding chopped fresh Kale to soups and other dishes, are A BIG HIT with my husband, and visitors to our kitchen as well!

Kale Chips are easy to make and so good for you, yet they feel a bit make-it-yourself fancy gourmet!

What You Need:

1 bunch fresh Kale

good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea salt

Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Spicy seasoning of choice

1 plastic bag – a clean biodegradable one from a store, or a large reusable zip bag.

1 large cookie sheet

parchment paper



Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 C).

Examine each Kale leaf individually  (under frilly edge) for unwanted little munching guests (:

Using a sharp knife, remove woody centre stems from each leaf.

Chop stemmed leaves coarsely and place chopped Kale into colander of a Salad Spinner. Rinse well.


Spin most of the water off in a salad spinner (or rinse in a colander and shake well in a tea towel).

Dump chopped rinsed Kale into plastic bag & add 1 Tablespoon of good olive oil. Shake vigourously. Sprinkle in approx. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and shake bag again.

Spread Kale out evenly on large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Sprinkle sparingly with nutritional yeast flakes, and a touch of spicy seasoning (i use Tony Chachere’s More Spice Seasoning). Use your own certified GF spice blend for Gluten Free or SCD diet-safe chips.

Place in preheated (200 F) oven for 10 minutes. Remove pan, turn Kale over, and return to oven for another 10 to 15 minutes (check for doneness after 10 minutes). Your Kale Chips are done when they’re crispy and not too dark.

Cool before storage (if they last that long!!!) and DO NOT STORE IN AN AIR TIGHT CONTAINER. Use something with a hole in it, or a lid that can open partially for air flow.

IMG_9059 - Version 2

with joy over turning autumn harvest into nutritious snack food that feels a bit make-it-yourself fancy gourmet!

Diana E. Natalie

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