herbed wild rice & quinoa stuffing

So, while I’m not vegan, I am vegetarian and have been for nearly 34 years – this was a choice. My yeast free, dairy free, gluten free needs (more recently) – not so much…so, as a result of liking to eat and liking to eat well, I cook.

A lot.

Here’s a delicious gluten, dairy and yeast free recipe for ‘stuffing’. I finished it with mushroom gravy and served it alongside mashed potatoes and vegan pot pie. So good.

Let me know what you think!


Herbed Wild Rice & Quinoa Stuffing


2 tablespoons olive oil + a bit more for greasing the baking dish and drizzling…

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 medium Granny smith apple – peeled and diced

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste (I used about 3 good pinches)

1/2 cup dryish white wine – use one you’d like to enjoy while cooking…(:  Sauv blanc or chard works well. Or if you can’d do the wine – the juice of one lemon + a little more…

4 cups low salt vegetable stock

2 cups wild rice blend

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well

1 cup cranberries – chopped

1 cup raw pecans, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley + 1/4 cup more for garnish.

1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, minced

Place a large pot over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat bottom – saute onion until slightly browned, add celery and stir occasionally until soft – about 5 minutes or so. Add the apples, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute. Stir in the wine, then add the broth. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the wild rice blend and reduce heat to a medium low and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 34-40 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and stir in quinoa and cover again. Cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 more minutes – or until water is absorbed.

Stir in the cranberries, pecans, 1/2 cup parsley and sage. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Remove from heat. Blend well, drizzle with olive oil and finish with chopped parsley and serve – unless grains need a bit more cooking…

*The next step can be omitted if grains are already fully cooked. If not, see below;  If you want to make ahead stop here and reheat using the following step.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub a large (9″ X 13″ ) casserole dish with a little olive oil. Lightly scoop the rice mixture into the casserole dish, lightly mounding instead of mashing it down.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and finish with chopped parsley. Serve.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!


roasted almonds

I’m attempting to make hand made chocolate bars for Valentines day and was in need of roasted almonds…I had almonds, but not roasted almonds…after a quick (well, not so quick with my dial-up internet connection – I know, what?) search online, I realized these smokey beauties would be a cinch to make.

olive oil and salt covered almonds

All you need is a bit of kosher salt, some olive oil and a cookie sheet.

I placed a cup of raw almonds in a bowl, drizzled with a bit of olive oil (just enough to coat each nut), threw in a good pinch of kosher salt – tossed well and then placed nuts onto a baking sheet.

Baking sheet went into a pre-heated 400 degree F. oven and baked for 10 minutes.

roasted almonds 2

Voila – roasted almonds.

roasted almonds

Such a simple snack to make!

Roasted nuts will keep for weeks in an airtight container…

Do you have a favorite recipe for roasted nuts?

If so, please share below!


green deliciousness

Avocados. Love them. Sliced, chopped, cubed, or pureed. I eat them on toast, with eggs, black beans, pizza, quesadillas, soup, sandwiches…but when I’m in the mood for guacamole, I smash ’em up. I had a few ripe avocados and thought, why not? So while Finn napped, that’s what I did. Guacamole can be simple or complex – I went for simple.

1.guacomole ingrediants

2.scooped avocado

Cut avocados in half, remove pit/seed, scoop out deliciousness – I used an ice cream scooper (I usually just use a spoon) and realized, this is, the perfect tool for this job….

3.smashed avocado

Smash avocado (with a masher) with the fresh lime juice, and then add a bit of salt (to taste), cumin, chopped cilantro and and that’s it.


We enjoyed dipping organic blue corn chips into it, then into chipotle salsa…enjoy it as you wish…


3-4 ripe avocados

1 teaspoon cumin (or more, if you like)

a good pinch (or two) of coarse salt

freshly squeezed lime juice from 2-3 limes

1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

Variations to add…

a bit of chipotle powder

dice fresh tomato

a dollop of sour cream

finely minced red onion

The great thing about guacamole is it can be as simple or complex as you like. Its only drawback is that it needs to be eaten fairly quickly – it doesn’t keep too long – but, is that really a drawback? (:

And below you’ll find a printable version – yeah, I figured it out (well, mostly…)!

How do you like your guacamole?

avocado PDF

Happy smashing!

bodacious black beans

Yes, black beans…dried black beans…they are simple and easy to prepare and can be used in a plethora of ways…

To be honest, I haven’t always prepared beans from scratch…for years I bought the canned varieties…until I finally realized how easy (and better) they are to make at home. Added bonus – the cost. Dried beans are a fraction of the cost of canned and there’s nothing ‘hidden’ (excess salt and other additives)… plus, you end up with SO much more when you prepare them yourself. No special equipment is needed – just a little time and forethought.

One cup raw beans yields about 3 cups cooked – yes, they triple in quantity! A little sure does go a long way with these black beauties…and they are so versatile! Eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or appetizers. Make extra and freeze. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and taste – what’s not to love?

raw turtle beans

Soaking not as much trouble as you may think – really;

Quick soaking method;

First pick out all the odd looking, cracked or wrinkled beans.

bad bits

Rinse well with water.

rinsing raw beans

Place beans in pot.

pouring into pot

Cover with three times the amount of water (1 cup beans = 3 cups water).

Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, keep covered and then let sit for one hour.

simmer on stovetop

Then drain water, rinse and cook as directed below.


Traditional soaking method  – place ‘picked-over’ beans in a pot in the AM, let sit overnight, cook the following morning, afternoon or evening.

How to;

Instead of bringing to a boil, simply soak overnight for 12-24 hours.

Drain soaking water and then throughly rinse.

Cook as directed below.

That’s it to soaking – a little planning and a little time are all that is needed.

How to cook soaked beans;

Rinse soaked beans (this helps aid in digestion) in a colander, under running water (filtered if possible).

rinsing raw beans

Return beans to pot (a pot large enough to handle the tripling of the beans) and cover with three times the amount of water (1 cup beans = 3 cups water).

Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours, or until tender.

simmer on stovetop

Once they are tender, drain in colander, return cooked beans to pot. Cover with fresh water and simmer another 10-15 minutes.

Use in a plethora of ways or freeze for later.

That’s it.

Now wasn’t that easy?

Black beans will keep fresh in the fridge for about 3-4 days and for months in the freezer…

cooked black beans

Here’s a few ideas for what to do with all those beans now that you’ve cooked them!

Basic prep to use in burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos or even soup;

Chop one large onion, saute until browned in olive oil, add one clove garlic (chopped), add cooked black beans, season with a generous pinch or two of salt, freshly ground black pepper, one-two tablespoons cumin, one good handful chopped fresh cilantro and juice from two limes – that’s it. Use right away or freeze for later…

beans cooking

Add more spices such as chipotle, red chili’s, or add freshly chopped spinach, kale or cabbage – beans are so versatile!  Have fun and spice ’em up as you like! Serve over rice topped with salsa – dinner is served!

Throw a handful of black beans into meat chili for some added flavor and fibre, add a large spoonful to your scrambled eggs and top with fresh salsa, puree with stock and black bean soup is ready in minutes – the options go on and on…try dried beans and you’ll never go back to canned!