Tag Archives: healthy snack

Roasted Cauliflower with Curry and Turmeric

Roasted Cauliflower with Curry and Turmeric


It is COLD in the Northeast USA now and I find that cooking with the WARM spices like curries, turmeric, cayenne keep the bodily  “fires” burning from the inside out for a feeling of warmth and comfort. One of my favorite fast and easy recipes for inner heat and delicious eating is this one. There are many variations on this with an added ingredient here or there but this one so far is the one that works for me, allowing for culinary creativity as I am so inspired.

The price of cauliflower varies widely. Yesterday at Belmont’s it was $4.99 for a head, and $2.99 a head at Shaw’s. Both beautifully fresh and white. Shop wisely and economically!

Although a white vegetable, cauliflower is nutrient rich and the powerful brown/red/orange spices in curry (turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne etc) are warming to the body and digestion, protective and anti-tumor as well. This recipe is a winner…good to prepare ahead and take to a potluck also, serving warm or hot.

Basic ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerettes, olive oil, curry powder and preferred extra spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cumin. IMG_8742

Extra ingredients as desired:

tahini, honey, a good chutney (I use Major Grey’s)


1. Cut cauliflower into flowerettes, place in a large bowl and drizzle with  a tablespoon + of olive oil, tossing to coat well. Sprinkle with curry powder to coat as desired and add a sprinkle of one of the extra spices if preferred. I do ot have a measurement here but go by eye, to color the vegetable. Just remember: you can always ADD but you cannot SUBTRACT an ingredient…be discerning…a little at a time. Sprinkle with a little salt (fingertip-taste…do not overdo!) Toss to coat everything evenly.

IMG_87412. Place on a cooking pan. Bake/Roast at 400 degrees for 15 -20 minutes depending on your oven… turn the flowerettes after that time and bake/roast until done…I like them to turn a slight golden color but do not burn!

3. Serve as is, adjusting for flavor   OR….

4. MY Special touches:

~ when in the serving bowl, I add a teeny bit of honey to taste

~ when in the serving bowl, I add a teeny bit of tahini to coat very lightly

~ when in the personal dish, I add a little bit of mango/raisin chutney if desired

This recipe is open for adjusting to your personal taste and preferences but I assure you, it is delicious and won’t last long in the serving bowl.

Stay warm, inside and out!

From Christine, The Cook

Cranberyy 2

A delicious life has many ingredients! Check my other blogs..

For inspiration: http://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com

For music/the arts: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For the power to create a good life: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com



Crunchy Cranberry Relish, Pie Filling or Simply Scrumptious Snack!

Crunchy Cranberry Relish, Pie Filling or Simply Scrumptious Snack!

Crunchy Cranberry Relish

Every year at Thanksgiving whether we are cooking for a home celebration or for a communal celebratory pot-luck, our favorite and most-requested recipe cards come out of their safe places tocreate specialties that grace our tables, dazzle our eyes and tickle our taste-buds. But really, why only at the holiday? There are some foods that are so delicious, so healthful and nutritious that we might consider NOT filing the recipes away in that for-holidays-only envelope.  Some are more than worthy to keep front and center and to have ready as a condiment, snack or “wellness-while-eating” food throughout the year.

This recipe for my Crunchy Cranberry Relish is requested each holiday and it is simply splendid! This year I have purchased and frozen a number of bags of fresh cranberries to be able to make this on a regular basis as a treat, a side, a pie filling AND for the wonderful healthful benefits that cranberries offer us, along with the orange, orange peel, cinnamon and nuts, even though it does require a fair amount of sugar to sweeten the tartness of the cranberry, which is significant. In my recipe, I do not give andexact amount for the sugar, for I add it cautiously, tasting along the way until I get the proper balance of sweet and tart that pleases me, which is WAY less than standard recipes for cranberry relish  ie TWO cups of sugar per 1 12-oz bag of cranberries! NO WAY!  Taste, taste, taste  as you prepare to counteract the tartness of the fruit but you don’t need to overdo the sweetness.

I also do not cook this relish, but use the berries raw (after a good rinse, picking over and spin-drying) and chopped fine in my little cuisinart chopper/grinder which works beautifully.IMG_7026  Raw cranberries are exceeding healthy and full of nutrients (articles below), and the nuts, if they are not forbidden to you, raisins and cinnamon as well are nutrient rich as well.

Make this as a crunchy relish to eat alongside other foods, either with meat or vegetarian. I will include a recipe in another post about using it as a pie filling, or keep a bowl of it in the fridge, snacking on a tablespoon or two of it when you get a craving to eat something sweet or crunchy that are full of empty nutrients and calories. I do believe your will LOVE this!!

Ingredients: 1-12oz bag cranberries, rinsed, picked over and dried, 1 large seedless navel orange, cut into 1 large wedge with rind and the rest without rind in small chunks to fit in the chopper, golden raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts, cinnamon, 1 cup (more or less to taste) of sugar to taste (I use an organic sugar that has a light tan color) and for a special sparkle, a dash of cointreau or triple sec, if desired. I ask forgiveness for the lack of definitive measurements, as I prepare and cook as I go along..rather like an art project..creating as I taste. So far in my long cooking career, what tastes good to me, taste good to others.. The best I can do, is to encourage you to experiment..add things with a VERY light hand and taste along the way always until you are pleased with the result. You can always add, but you CANNOT subtract…just remember that! Creative and cautious all along the way!

Preparation: Chop washed and dried cranberries somewhat fine in the chopper. Set aside. Chop one large wedge of the navel orange finely, add to the cranberries, and chop the rest of the orange wedges fine and a little soupy in the chopper  There shouldn’t be mushy orange chunks) and add to the cranberries. Stir..slowly sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar into the mixture…stir and taste…add slowly…stir and taste , add more sugar until it is a right balance of sweet and tart that pleases you…add a handful of raisins, sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices (start with 1 teasp), stir, taste adjust..add a small pouch chopped nuts (I prefer pecans) stir gently, taste…adjust. Add a dash of cointreau or triple sec..careful, they are VERY sweet.

I prepare this a day in advance of eating to let the flavors blend and mellow. I cover it and keep it in the fridge. Before serving, stir, taste and adjust ingredients again if necessary. Serve  cold or at room temperature. ENJOY! SAVOR! AND BE HEALTHY! (links for cranberries and nutrition below the picture)






Sweetly Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies



Soups, stews, delicious veggie meals can all be both satisfying and sensuous with their various textures, colors and creative seasonings. But desserts can be absolute heaven as well in the same ways…textures, colors, seasonings and the taste of “sweet”.

For myself and many others, sweet can be problematic health wise and so when I am baking, I usually cut the sugar in a recipe WAY down to maybe half or even just under that, and find that they taste better and are just as delicious, filling that place of comfort that a little sweetness can bring.

So I have three secrets here to my personally successful baking of cookies. One is: I always use an oven thermometer. Two: I have invested in a professional sturdy heavy-weight cookie pan with high edges, rather than those flimsy aluminum sheets that flip and bend in the heat, are uneven in heat distribution and hard to clean.         IMG_7068 And three: CUT (way) BACK on the sugar!

Also because at this time, I live in a household of one, I make smaller batches of cookies, and I make small cookies. That way I enjoy the delights of “sweet” when desired without eating the whole batch at once or over the course of a day or two! I also add this “baking cookie hint” that those of you who bake cookies already know. Cookies must be “watched” while baking and removed from the oven when they turn the light golden brown. Often they still look a little soft and we over-bake…cookies tend to harden up in the cooling process so be aware of this and experiment to have a cookie with just the right softness or crunch for your own pleasure. Be aware so you don’t end up with a hard “biscuit” instead of a “cookie” !

Yield: 36 small cookies
Whisk together and set aside
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt  and  1/2-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream wet ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar (or a little less. Experiment with your next batch if still too sweet)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed  (or less. Experiment with your next batch if still too sweet)
1 large egg
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Then stir in
1/2 cups oats (not instant)
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

***Preheat oven to 350°.

***Whisk dry ingredients; set aside.

***Combine wet ingredients, stirring vigorously or use a hand mixer, beating until creamy and lighter in color

*** Add the flour mixture carefully into the creamed mixture. Mix until no more flour is visible, all blended. Do not over mix after this or cookies will be tough.

*** Add the oats, raisins, chocolate chips and nuts.. stir, and blend evenly into mixture.

*** I use a  rounded tablespoon of dough to make each cookie, dropping them on to the baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
***Bake 11-13 minutes (on center rack), until lightly golden on top, but still a little soft
.*** Remove from oven; let cook for about a minute…transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. They will harden slightly. Cool COMPLETELY before storing in a container.
NOTE:  Dried sweetened cranberries can be substituted for golden raisins. Also a tablespoon of finely shredded un-sweetened coconut can be added if desired, or as an ingredient substitute. EXPERIMENTING is part of creative cooking! (Just remember what works and what doesn’t).
NOTE #2!  Cooking and sharing are important. Put a few of these cookies on a little paper plate with a special teabag, wrap with clear wrap, and bring to a friend or neighbor. Loving kindness is part of the experience of “sweet”.

A Quickie: Simply Sensuous Sweet Potato Supper


Sweet Potato SupperI am a member of a wonderful Irish Set Dance group that meets on Monday nights for dancing and fun. Often on that day, when it is time for supper but I don’t have time to prepare and linger over a meal before leaving for our class, I make this sensuous Quickie. Even tho a “quickie” I need something delicious, sustaining but light for my evening of waltzing, jigging, hornpipe-ing, spinning and reeling around the dance floor. This is delicious, delightful and just perfect! (and sensuous as well, meaning color, flavor and texture that is pure pleasure–as a quickie should be..)

This recipe was created with ingredients that are always on hand in my kitchen..For me, creating luscious food is a form of artistic expression!: (and healthy! Check after the recipe for the health benefits of these ingredients)

Ingredients:Sweet Potato Ingredients

1 med/large sweet potato (organic if possible), butter, a touch of honey if necessary, a sprinkle-to-taste of cinnamon or apple pie spices, a small splash of half-n-half, slivered almonds, dried cranberries.


Sweet potato potPeel and chop/dice sweet potato. Put in pan and cover with  lightly salted (or not) water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft. Drain. Mash with a small pad of butter to taste (I LOVE butter..like “Julia and Julia”), a sprinkle of cinnamon/apple pie spices-to taste (go easy, taste, adjust. You can always add a little more, but you can’t fix “too much”) mix with a little splash of half-and-half or cream. Mix. Top with slivered almonds and dried cranberries. Mix again and eat (savor) your “quickie” slowly. And then go forth and fling yourself into dance or whatever is your passion!  ***Video of Irish Set Dance Class!  

note: be sure to check out my greening spirit site to find out why there is a sprouting onion on my spring altar rather than a pot of forced narcissi or paperwhites  “http://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/spring-sprouting-in-praise-of-the-greening-spirit/

Health Benefits for this Recipe:

Sweet potatoes: a wonderful source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and digestible dietary fiber. A “grounding; energy.

Cinnamon: regulates blood sugar (important for pre-diabetics), anti-microbial (reduces cold and flu suffering), arthritis relief and more: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68

Honey: a natural sweetener, communing with Nature! Anti-microbial and more! http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/health-benefits-of-honey.html

Almonds: heart healthy, vitamins/minerals/flavanoids and more: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=20

Cranberries: anti-oxidents, vitamin C, anti-microbial (urinary tract). Sweetened dried cranberries however are high in sugar, however. But the little sweet and tart is very nice, as ingredients in a quickie tend to be. 🙂

Irish Set Dance Class: Cardiovascular exercise, muscles workout, laughter (great for the heart), anti-alzheimers, friendship, community