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Easy Lunch Ideas

Apple Pie Sandwiches
Cheesy Vegetable Dip
Fried Bananas
Cereal Snack Mix
Mom's Mac and Cheese
Barley Casserole
Easy Ratatouille
Vegetarian Chili
Baked Beans
Pita Pizzas
Mexican-Style Lasagne
Egg in a Basket
Ants on a Log
Grated Beet Salad
Carrot-Raisin Salad
Creamy Lentil Salad
Vegan Lentil Salad
Quickest Quiche
Holiday Stuffed Squash
Vegetarian Mushroom and Onion Gravy
Yogurt Smoothie
Everything Bread
Homemade Lemonade
Candy Clay
Quick Chocolate Frosting
Healthy Baking Tips
Even Quicker Chocolate Frosting
Arctic Floats
Hot Chocolate
Homemade Ice Cream
Natural Peanut Butter Cookies
Energy Cookies
Easy Lunch Ideas
Edible Science Experiments
Recipes for Holiday Entertaining
Birthday Cake Ideas
Dog Treats You Can Make Yourself
Wizard Themed Recipes
Medieval Themed Food Ideas
Halloween Themed Food Ideas
Camping Food Ideas
Dehydrating Food

Non-Edible Recipes

Making the Most of Leftovers



Fun and Easy Recipes

Kids: Remember to ask an adult before starting any cooking project!
Some projects listed here may require the use of knives, a stovetop, oven and/or microwave.

Apple Pie Sandwiches

2 slices of your favourite whole grain bread
creamed cheese spread, or softened brick cream cheese
one apple cut into slices (if it is a large apple, you may only need half for each sandwich)
a mixture of 1/3 cinnamon and 2/3 brown (or white) sugar combined and placed in a spice shaker

Spread creamed cheese thinly over each slice of bread. Sprinkle each slice lightly with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Arrange slices on one slice of bread so that they overlap generously. Place other slice on top, cut into sections and enjoy!

Cheesy Vegetable Dip

1/2 cup creamed cheese, softened or spreadable
1/2 cup plain yogurt (thicker is better)
your choice of: 1 teaspoon onion powder; 1 teaspoon garlic powder; 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese; 1 teaspoon finely grated cheddar cheese; 2 teaspoons salsa

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine yogurt and creamed cheese until smooth. Add your choice of flavouring and refrigerate for 15 minutes to let the flavours settle in. Serve with your favourite vegetables.

Mom's Mac and Cheese

4 cups of cooked whole wheat pasta
1 1/2-2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
1 medium cooking or sweet onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped or 6 oz frozen spinach, thawed; or 1-2 green peppers, chopped
Optional: 2 medium tomatoes, chopped or 8 oz canned tomatoes
1 or 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cow, soy or rice milk
2 Tablespoons wheat germ

Grease casserole dish, then layer as follows: ~ 1 cup macoroni, ~ 1/2 cup cheese, chopped onion, macaroni, spinach, cheese, macaroni, tomatoes, cheese, macaroni, cheese. In a bowl, beat the egg and combine with the milk. Pour over the layers then sprinkle the top with wheat germ. Bake uncovered at 375 F for 45 minutes.

Barley Casserole

1 cup pot barley
2 cups boiling water
1 medium cooking or sweet onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, beet greens, swiss chard or kale, chopped or 6 oz frozen spinach, thawed; or 1-2 green peppers, chopped
3-4 tomatoes, chopped, or large can of tomatoes
1 can (drained) of mixed beans, kidney beans or chick peas, or soaked and cooked equivalent
1-2 cups of grated cheese: cheddar, feta or a combination of the two, or one cup of cottage cheese (vegans can omit the cheese or add rice cheese instead)

In a large casserole dish, combine water and barley and microwave for 4 minutes on high. Add onion, greens, tomatoes and beans and either microwave (covered) on high for 24-26 minutes, or bake (covered) at 350 F for 40-45 minutes, or until the barley is cooked. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Return to heat and microwave an additional 2 minutes on high, or bake for 10 more minutes. Serves 4 as a main dish.

Easy Ratatouille

    2 tablespoons sunflower oil
    1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
    1 large eggplant (or aubergine as it is sometimes called) cubed
    1 medium zucchini, cut into 2 cm (1") chunks
    1 large sweet pepper, chopped into large pieces
    3-4 large tomatoes, chopped, or one large can of tomatoes
    1 medium sized sweet or red onion, chopped
    optional garnishes: plain yogurt or parmesan cheese

Place the cubed eggplant into a colander and sprinkle with salt (this will help draw out the water). Once all of the vegetables have been chopped to a similar size, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the onion and continue cooking and stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini and peppers and continue cooking and stirring until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes then turn off the heat but keep the skillet on the burner for another 3 minutes or so. Serve on a bed of brown basmati rice or with crusty whole-grain bread.

Vegetarian Chili

    Family Sized
    1 Tablespoon sunflower oil
    1 can kidney beans, drained, or 1 cup of dried kidney beans, soaked and cooked
    3-4 large tomatoes, chopped or 1 large can of tomatoes (cut up if needed)
    1 green pepper, diced
    2 medium carrots, grated or finely chopped
    I medium onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    3/4 cup frozen or fresh corn
    4-6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup tvp (texturized vegetable protein, available in the health food section or at a bulk food store)
    1 Tablespoon chili powder
    2 teaspoons cumin
    3 drops of hot pepper sauce, or 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
    1/4 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon

    1 large can each of kidney and mixed beans, (or soak, cook and drain an equavalent amound of dried kidney and mixed beans soak covered in water overnight, then boil for 10-15 minutes and drain)
    I can tomatoes
    I can crushed tomatoes
    3 sweet peppers, chopped
    4 grated or finely chopped medium carrots
    1 large onions, chopped
    2 large cloves garlic, minced
    12 mushrooms, sliced
    1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh corn
    1 cup tvp
    2 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
    2 Tablespoons cumin
    6 drops hot pepper sauce, or 2 finely chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon

    optional garnishes: sour cream or plain yogurt, grated jack cheese, sliced mushrooms, diced tomatoes, chopped green onion, olives, jalapeno peppers

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat and add the garlic, stirring until aromatic. Add the onion and continue stirring until it starts to become translucent. Add the mushrooms and stir, then add the peppers, carrots and corn and stir until the corn has thawed and the peppers have begun to soften but not change colour. Add the chili powder, cumin, pepper sauce and allspice and stir together, then add the tomatoes, beans and tvp. Continue simmering over medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with garlic bread or whole grain toast and butter.

Baked Beans

This is a recipe that lends itself particularly well to experimentation. Add, delete or adjust ingredients to your heart's content!

    2 cups dried navy beans, soaked overnight, then boiled for 15 minutes (using the microwave for this step saves energy) and drained
    1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
    1 large sweet or cooking onion, chopped
    1 green pepper, chopped
    1/2-1 cup frozen corn
    1 large carrot, grated
    6 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
    1 apple (MacIntosh or similar), grated or finely chopped
    2 1/2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
    1 can tomato paste or 1 cup pureed tomatoes
    1 Tablespoon barbeque sauce
    1-2 Tablespoons honey dijon mustard
    3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon brewed soy sauce
    1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
    4-8 drops hot pepper sauce
    1/2 teaspoon salt

You can prepare this for your slow cooker, or bake on low heat. Either way, allow 3-4 hours for cooking/baking time on this recipe.
Slow Cooker: you will need to slightly cook the garlic, onions, pepper and carrots ahead. Add them to heated sunflower oil in that order and stir until about half-cooked. Add to the slow cooker, along with the remaining ingredients and 1 cup of water, stir well and turn cooker to high for 4 hours.

Oven Method: Combine all ingredients in a large casserole dish, add 1 cup water and mix well. Cover and bake for 3-4 hours at 275 degrees farenheit.

To improve consistency for both methods: remove about 1/4 of the beans and mash them well, then stir the mash into the remaining beans and cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes.

Pita Pizzas

    1-2 whole wheat pitas per person
    tomato paste or commercial or homemade tomato sauce or pesto sauce
    cheese (grated)
    assorted toppings: try sweet peppers, mushrooms, pineapple, sundried or fresh tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, broccoli, snow peas, asparagus, caramelized onions, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, walnuts and anything else that appeals

Dress your pitas as desired, then heat them in an oven at 375 F until the cheese begins to melt.


    soft flour or corn tortillas
    grated cheese
    optional: sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, cooked slices of sweet potatoes

Spread salsa thinly over one tortilla. Add any extra toppings over the salsa, then top with a sprinkle of grated cheese. Do not overfill! Top with a second tortilla, pat it down and bake at 275 F until the cheese is melted. Cut into thirds and serve with thick yogurt, sour cream and/or guacamole.

Mexican Lasagne

    Soft whole wheat flour tortillas
    1/2 cup dry ground tvp, reconstituted, with 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp dried cilantro, and 1/2 tsp cumin added OR refried beans OR cooked lentils
    cheese (grated)--choose cheddar or jack cheese
    Optional layers: fresh or thawed frozen corn, mashed yams or sweet potatoes, guacamole

Place a tortilla on the bottom, then add layers of fillings separated by tortillas until your lasagne is "built", finishing with a sprinkling of the cheese on the top. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350 F.

Egg in a Basket

    A slice of whole-grain bread
    a fresh egg
    1/2 teaspoon butter
    your choice of toppings (we like fresh berries and a touch of real maple syrup)

Heat the butter until melted in a frying pan on medium-low heat. While it is melting, make a hole in your bread using the top of a juice glass. Place the bread on the melted butter in the pan, then break the egg into the hole in the bread. Once the eggwhite is opaque (white) and bubbles have formed on the top of the egg, use a spatula and turn it over to cook the other side. If you wish to toast your "hole" that you removed from the bread, add it to the pan now. Check to see if it is cooked through by poking the yolk with a fork. Once it is solid, the egg is fully cooked. Remove from the heat, turn off the stove and serve.

Ants on a Log

Celery stalks, washed and trimmed
peanut butter (or creamed cheese)

Spread the peanut butter or cheese into the groove of the celery stalk, top with raisins and enjoy.

Grated Beet Salad

This simple recipe is one of the few ways my fussy eater will enthusiastically dig into his veggies.

3 cups of peeled and grated raw beets (about 4-5 large beets)

    2 tablespoons sunflower oil
    3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/2 -1 tsp tarragon

Combine dressing ingredients, then pour over grated beets and toss lightly.

Carrot Raisin Salad

A traditional family buffet favourite.

3 large or 5 medium carrots, scrubbed or peeled and coarsely grated
1/3 cup raisins
optional: 3 tablespoons slivered almonds

    2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 tsp ground corriander
    1 teaspoon maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup!) or 1 teaspoon sugar

Toss raisins and carrots together. Combine dressing ingredients, then pour over carrots and raisins and toss lightly. Cover and< let sit at least 15 minutes before serving, or refrigerate overnight.

Creamy Lentil Salad

    1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
    2 1/4 cups water
    1/4 tsp allspice
    1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
    2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallions

Combine water, lentils and allspice in a medium cooking pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain and pour the lentils into a large serving bowl. Layer the yogurt, tomatoes and chives on top. Enjoy.

Vegan Lentil Salad

    1 cup brown or orange lentils, rinsed
    2 1/4 cups water
    1/4 tsp allspice
    optional: 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine water, lentils and allspice in a medium cooking pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes for brown lentils, 15 minutes for orange, or until the lentils are tender. Drain and combine the lentils with the remaining ingredients. Serve chilled.

Quickest (Crustless) Quiche

    9 large eggs
    1 1/4 cups milk (cow milk, rice milk or soy milk)
    1/8 tsp black pepper
      your choice of additions:
      for spinach quiche, add 1/2 cup chopped or baby spinach leaves and 1/4 cup grated feta cheese
      for mushroom quiche add 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms and 1/4 cup grated cheddar or swiss cheese
      for tomato quiche add 1/4 cup each chopped sundried tomatoes and grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
    optional: butter for greasing the pan, plus wheat germ to sprinkle on top of the butter
    1/4 teaspoon salt

If you are using a silicone pan, you do not need to grease and add wheat germ to the pan, otherwise, you will need to do this before starting.
Beat the eggs lightly, then add the milk, salt and pepper and continue beating until the mixture is fairly uniform.
Add your choice of additions then pour into your pan. This size quiche fits nicely into a 9" round pan, but will work in other similar sized pans as well.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 40-45 minutes. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
These can be made ahead and cooked, then frozen for future use. To reheat, follow the same directions as for cooking.

Yogurt Smoothie

1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen fruit (berries, kiwi, pineapple, mango or citrus)
1/2 ripe banana
1/4 cup of soy. rice, almond or cow's milk; regular or vanilla flavoured
Optional: a sprinkle of flax seed powder or wheat germ

Add all ingredients and blend them together on "pulse" until well combined. Pour into a large glass and enjoy.

Fried Bananas

3 or more ripe bananas
1 Tablespoon butter or sunflower oil

Peel and slice bananas in half once length-wise and once width-wise so that you have four sections. Heat butter or oil on medium heat in a frying pan and add bananas. Fry until they begin to go transluscent at the edges and are lightly browned. Serve with pancakes or waffles, with cottage cheese, or on top of ice cream.

Cereal Snack Mix

3 cups of wheat square cereal
2 cups of oat cereal (best to use an organic version if you can find it, or substitute with cheese crackers)
2 cups of pretzels
2 cups of peanuts or mixed nuts (optional)
1/3 cup butter
1.5 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons each of onion powder and garlic powder

Melt butter. Add worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder and mix well. In a large roasting pan, combine all dry ingredients. Pour butter mixture over dry mixture and stir in well. Heat in oven at 225 F for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Everything Bread

2 small or 1 large zucchini, cut into large chunks
2 medium or one large carrot, cut into chunks
3 eggs
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
cup sunflower oil
One or more of the following to make up 2/3 cup:

  • Banana
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Plain low fat yogurt

2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 cup sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon each of salt, baking powder and baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons brewers yeast
cup total of seeds and / or nuts: sunflower seeds, hulled hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, pistachios or almonds (nuts in pieces)
cup raisins
cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Optional: if not using applesauce, one apple cored and chopped into small pieces (leave the skin on)
Optional: 1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

This makes 2 large loaves, or about 2 dozen medium-large muffins.

Easy prep method:
Cut zucchini into chunks and puree in blender. Add carrot chunks and oil and puree. Add banana/applesauce/yogurt and puree. Add eggs, molasses and vanilla and blend until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients until well mixed. Add the blender mix, the raisins, chocolate chips and apple pieces. Stir until blended.
Prepare loaf pans by greasing with butter (not margarine or shortening) and flour them as well, or use silicone bakeware.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake loaves for about 75 minutes or until done. Muffins will take about 40-45 minutes. Let cool completely.

Notes: The brewer's yeast adds B vitamins, and the blackstrap molasses adds calcium to the recipe-these can be omitted if desired.
Leave the skin on the zucchini and apples if used. This adds fibre and vitamin content to the recipe. If you don't like the "vegetable evidence" showing, puree these in the blender before adding and the skins won't show.
You may wish to increase the sweetness if not using chocolate or raisins. You can do this with the sugar, molasses or by using the banana choice above.

Homemade Lemonade

Ingredients for 3 glasses:
2 fresh lemons
1 cup sugar or maple syrup
pure water
optional: a sprig of mint or a slice of crystalized ginger
optional: red food colouring or a few drops of beet juice (for pink lemonade)

Press and roll the lemons on a counter to "prime" them for juicing. Juice the lemons and pour the juice into a large pitcher. Add 4 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar or maple syrup. Taste, then adjust the amount of sweetener and water to taste. Adding more water will make the drink milder. Add a drop or two of colouring (for pink lemonade) and garnish as desired.
Experiment by adding blueberries, cranberries or raspberries to your lemonade.

Candy Clay

3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup icing sugar
3 Tablespoons softened (but not melted) butter (or 2 Tablespoons coconut oil)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (or other flavour if you wish)
1/4 tsp. salt
optional: food colouring

Mix all ingredients together well. If the mixture is too sticky to form with your hands, add more icing sugar. This recipe works especially well for making decorations for cakes and cupcakes. It works best with butter, especially for 3-D shapes.

For a less sweet chocolate version, replace 1/2 the icing sugar with cocoa powder. For a less sweet white version, replace 1/4 to 1/3 of the icing sugar with powdered milk.

candy ladybugCandy Clay Ladybugs can be made with one larger ball of red, a medium ball of black, and a very thin rope of black. Slightly flatten the red ball. Flatten the black ball and cut in half; add one half to the edge of the red to form the head. Cut the rope in half and use half to make the wing line, and other to separate into sections to roll into tiny balls to form the spots.candy snail
Snails can be made by rolling a light brown snake and coiling it. Roll another short snake for the body beneath the coil shell, and add a couple of tiny brown antennae at the head.candy caterpillar
Caterpillars can be made by making a series of small green balls. Line them up as you wish, then gently press down until they join together. Use a toothpick dipped in food colouring to draw on facial features as desired.

Quick Chocolate Frosting

I can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
optional: 1 tsp icing sugar
optional: small amount of unsweetened milk

Melt chocolate chips in a micrwave safe bowl on medium power 30 seconds at a time, stopping to stir each run until the chips are melted smooth. Stir in condensed milk. To thicken, add either more melted chips, or a teaspoon of icing sugar. To thin, mix in a small amount of regular milk.

Even Quicker Chocolate Frosting

dark, milk or white chocolate bar broken into squares
cake, cupcakes or cookies, hot from the oven

While still hot, place chocolate squares on top and let melt. Spread as desired. For a chocolate mint icing, use thin chocolate mint wafers instead.

Arctic Floats

your favourite hot chocolate recipe (see below for one suggestion)
your favourite vanilla ice cream (see below for our homemade version)

Fill a mug about 1/2 way full of hot chocolate. Add a generous scoop of ice cream and enjoy.
Variation: try using chocolate or mint flavoured ice cream.

Hot Chocolate

2 squares of semi sweet chocolate, grated or chopped (or equivalent in chips)
1 cup of your favourite milk (cow, soy, rice, etc.)
1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup

Fill the bottom of a double boiler 1/2 full of water. Put the chocolate in the top part (not in the water). Heat up the water, slowly adding the milk to the chocolate as the chocolate begins to melt. Turn off the burner (the water will keep it hot enough now), and stir until it is completely combined. Remove from heat and stir in honey or maple syrup. Serve in a large mug with whipped cream, garnished with a candy cane, or with a scoop of ice cream.

Homemade Ice Cream

1 cup cream or evaporated milk
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
two dozen or so ice cubes
1/2 cup coarse salt (table salt will also work)
one large-sized freezer bag with a zipper closure
one medium-sized freezer bag with a zipper closure
duct tape long enough to seal the tops of both bags plus about 4"
optional: oven mitts or winter mitts

Combine milk, cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Pour into medium freezer bag and zip closed. Reinforce the seal with some of the duct tape. Pour the ice cubes and salt into the larger bag. Put the medium bag inside the larger one. Zip it closed, and reinforce it with duct tape. Now find a friend and play catch (or toss and catch it yourself) so that it is continuously shaken for 10-12 minutes. You may wish to wear mitts to protect your hands from the cold. Once the time is up, cut open larger bag and pull out medium bag. Turn upside down and cut a large hole in one corner. Squeeze out your ice cream and enjoy.

Natural Peanut Butter Cookies

cup natural peanut butter (this kind will separate--and has no added oils or fats--read the ingredients to be sure it only lists peanuts and no other ingredients)
cup softened butter *
1 cup brown sugar (the darker the better)
tsp baking soda
tsp baking powder
large dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cups whole wheat flour

Cream together ingredients slowly, starting at the top of the list and mixing well before adding each consecutive ingredient.

Method 1: For basic peanut butter cookies

Roll dough into 1" balls then press a wetted fork into the dough twice to make a grid pattern. Wetting the fork between each cookie pressing helps keep the fork from sticking to the dough. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown. These will have a crunchy texture.

peanut butter cookies with kisses

Method 2: Chocolate-Topped Cookies

I used to use Hershey's Kisses for this, but have recently discovered a much better option: Cadbury's Dairymilk Buttons. These are fair-trade certified flat chocolate buttons which, along with ensuring fair wages and conditions for workers, have the added bonus of allowing you to stack the cookies in containers once they have cooled and the chocolate has set.

Chill the dough for 30-60 minutes, then form into 1 1/8" balls on cookie sheet. Chill on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. Bake in preheated 300 F oven for 12-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly press a chocolate button into each immediately (they will melt-there is a bit of time to work through it). Let cool 2 minutes on sheet then transfer to plate and let cool completely. The texture of these will be less crunchy and more chewy on the inside.

* You can adjust the peanut butter/butter ratio according to your taste preference; just be sure you have a total of 1 cup of the combined peanut butter and butter when you start adding the rest of the ingredients.

Energy Cookies

The seeds and whole grains in these cookies add protein and nutrients without using nuts like most commercial energy bars. These are perfect for swim meets, long hikes and other times when you might need a little extra energy.


2/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sunflower butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons water or milk
2 teaspoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons hemp nut seeds

3 tablespoons sunflower flour
2 teaspoons brewer's yeast
fill up the rest of the measure with whole wheat flour to make 2 cups
    then add (& stir in well):
1 teaspoon each of salt, baking soda & aluminum-free baking powder
1 tablespoon powdered eggs
    In a separate measuring cup, measure:
2 tablespoons wheat germ, then add
add oatmeal to make 2 cups
optional: 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries or semisweet chocolate chips

Gluten free (wheat free--still has oats) version:
Replace the whole wheat flour with 3/4 cup buckwheat flour, 3/4 cup sorghum four and fill the remainer of the 2-cup measure with your favourite gluten-free all purpose flour, such as Bob's Mill or similar.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sunflower butter, sugar and molasses together until smooth. Add remaining wet ingredients, stirring well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well, then add a bit at a time to the wet, stirring after each addition. The oatmeal and wheatgerm can be added separately at the end to conserve dishes.
Spoon out onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 F for 11-13 minutes.

Tips to Make Your Baking Healthier

To make your quick breads, muffins, cookies and most cakes healthier, consider doing one or more of the following:

  • use whole-grain flour (try whole grain pastry flour for angel food cake, shortbread and other more delicate goods)
  • add one teaspoon of brewer's yeast to naturally boost the B vitamins
  • reduce the sugar--most recipes will tolerate up to 1/4 less sugar than indicated
  • substitute some sugar with blackstrap molasses to boost the calcium (it has a heavy licorice -like taste, so you may need to experiment with this)
  • grind a tablespoon of raw sesame, hemp, pumpkin or sunflower seeds into the recipe
  • reduce or replace some of the fat in a recipe: you can replace half the oil in most quick breads and muffins with yogurt, unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana (which also helps sweeten the recipe so you can reduce the sugar)
  • always avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils--perhaps the least healthy item sold as food; these are found in candy, drink mixes, shortening, processed foods, cookies, margarine, potato and corn chips, crackers, and more; for home baking, try mixing butter with olive oil
  • go crustless--for quiche, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, etc. simply grease and flour or add a very thin layer of crumbs to your bake ware in place of a pastry crust
  • add a grated carrot and/or zucchini to your muffins and quickbreads

These are only suggestions. Some recipes are more versatile than others. You may need to experiment to see what works for you. For best results, try to keep the same basic chemistry as the original recipe (similar moisture, rising agents, etc.).

Stuffed Squash

vegetarian holiday stuffed squash

As vegetarians, we serve this as our main course at major holiday meals. It makes a great replacement for turkey, and you can still make and serve traditional turkey accompaniments with it. Since several people have asked me for the recipe, I am sharing it here with you. This is one of those recipes that will vary greatly as you experiment with the balance of flavours and preferences. Adjust amounts and ingredients to accomodate your own preferences.

1 large squash; a hubbard squash or pumpkin work best
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of organic brown basmati rice
1/2 cup wild rice or red rice blend
2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 apple, diced (Macintosh or Spartan work best)
4 chopped shitake mushrooms
4 chopped cremini (or white) mushrooms
1/2 cup total of your favourite raw seeds and nuts: pumpkin seeds, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts and cashews are especially well suited to this recipe
optional additions: 1/4 cup cranberries, fresh or dried; 1/4 cup chopped celery; 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed; 3 tablespoons apple juice
Seasonings:(amounts are approximate--adjust to personal taste)
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp brewed soy sauce (Kikoman or similar)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the squash in half, or just cut off the top as you would for a Jack 'O Lantern, depending on how you would like to present this and the shape of your squash. Remove seeds and strings. Bake cut-side down in a pan of water or microwave until it is about 1/2-2/3 cooked. The timing will vary depending on the size of your squash. The goal here is to cook the squash enough that it will finish cooking with the filling inside without drying out the filling.
Add all of the rices, the broth and the water to a small pot. Heat on high to boiling, then cover and turn down heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from heat.
Toast the seeds and nuts by heating on medium in a dry skillet and tossing gently until aromatic--about 4 minutes. Set aside.
In the same pan (no need to wash it out), add the olive oil (and garlic if using). Heat slightly on medium then add the chopped onion. After a minute or so, add the celery if using. When the onion starts to become transparent add the chopped apple and the mushrooms. Continue heating for another 2 minutes or so or until the celery softens and the apples and mushrooms become fragrant. Do not overcook the apples--they should not go mushy.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasonings as desired, adding the apple juice if the mixture seems dry or you prefer a sweeter filling. Stuff filling into the squash, pressing it in firmly. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 F., adjusting the time as necessary. Remember that all the items are cooked, you are just heating this and finishing that last little bit of cooking the squash.
Serve with mushroom and onion gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, tossed salad, and all of your favourite trimmings.

Mushroom and Onion Gravy (Vegetarian)

1 large sweet onion, sliced and cut in half
4-5 sliced cremini mushrooms, or equivalent amount of portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups hot mushroom or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses (yeah, really!)
1 teaspoon brewed soy sauce (Kikoman or similar)
1/4 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the flour, thyme, salt and pepper together and set aside. Heat the broth and add the molasses and soy sauce. Heat oil over medium heat and add the onions. When the onions become transparent, add the mushrooms and continue heating and stirring until the onions start to brown. Add the flour mixture and stir well for 2 minutes, crushing any lumps that form. Add the broth and continue stirring until the gravy starts to thicken. Remove from heat and serve. For a thicker gravy, add a little more flour (but not after the liquid has been added or you will get lumps). For a more intense flavour, add 1/2 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. If you prefer a smoother gravy, run this through a blender before serving.

Treats For the Dogs in Your Life

Homemade Turkey Dinner

1 can of hearty or chunky turkey soup (chicken also works well)
1 cup cooked brown rice
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder, or 2-3 cloves of chopped fresh garlic (helps keep away fleas and mosquitos)
one egg
3 tablespoons cranberry juice
2-3 capsules of salmon or other fish oil (good for the coat, joints and general well-being)
1/2 teaspoon powdered sage

Add soup to the rice pot and heat on medium heat, slowly adding the egg and other ingredients and stirring constantly. Once the egg white turns solid white, turn off heat and continue stirring for 2-3 minutes. Let cool and serve immediately, or spoon into freezable containers and freeze for up to one month.

Homemade Dog Bark

1 1/2 cups of carob chips (be sure to choose those made without hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils)
1/4 cup raw blanched peanuts
1/4 cup dried berries (but not raisins as these may cause renal problems)
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

In a microwave-proof dish, melt the carob chips by running the microwave on medium for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between each run until they are evenly melted and smooth. Stir in peanut butter, then add peanuts and fruit. Pour out onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper and let set at room temperature until hard. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Warning: Never feed your dog chocolate (or raisins, macadamia nuts or onions) as they are toxic (poisonous) to dogs.
These recipes are to be considered pet treats, and not a substitute for your pet's regular food.