Sausage Meatballs with Onions and Peppers

Posted November 30th, 2013 in Meat in, Paleo, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Dinner last night was so tasty that I have to share it with you!

Yesterday, I visited a new butcher (Copari Meats) in Newmarket with whom I had a great discussion about the difference in taste between grass-fed animals and those produced on large scale Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO).  For more information, I encourage you to watch the video American Meat available free online at

After our discussion, I picked up four of his mild pork sausages (as well as some venison dog food), and this is how I put dinner together.

Simmer gently to combine flavours for about 10 minutes.

Simmer gently to combine flavours for about 10 minutes.

Sausage Meatballs with Onions and Peppers

4 Mild Sausages, cut up into 1 inch slices

1 Onion, diced

1 Bell Pepper, chopped in chunks (I actually used 2 half peppers for colour – orange and red)

1 can (398ml) Eden Organic Diced Tomatoes with Roasted Onion

Pinch salt, basil, oregano, parsley, chevril – I’m not exact, but about ½ tsp of each

Over medium heat, gently brown the sausages. Add in the onions and cook in the oil from the sausages. Once the onions are softened and fragrant, add in the peppers and stir into the onions and sausage. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and spices and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Steam the cauliflower until fork tender

Steam the cauliflower until fork tender

Mashed Cauliflower

½ cauliflower, cut into florets

2 Tbsp butter

Pinch salt, parsley

Steam the cauliflower until fork tender – about 10 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower into a food processor with butter and spices and puree until the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Wash, then cut off stems and chop into 1.5" chunks.

Wash, then cut off stems and chop into 1.5″ chunks.

Cover and steam for 5 minutes - should be bright green colour.

Cover and steam for 5 minutes – should be bright green colour.


1 bunch of rapini, stems cut off and chopped into 1.5 inch sections

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil

¼ cup water or vegetable stock

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) to drizzle over the top

Over medium heat, warm a cast-iron pan until the butter melts. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant but not brown – 2 – 3 minutes. Toss in the rapini, and the stock or water and allow to come to boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp of EVOO and serve while still bright green in colour.

Sausage Meatballs with Mashed Cauliflower and Rapini

Sausage Meatballs with Mashed Cauliflower and Rapini

Serving this on a plate, I put the mashed cauliflower down first, topped with the sausage meatballs. Then the other 1/2 of the plate I filled with the rapini. If you are not a fan of rapini, you could replace it with collard greens, kale, spinach, swiss chard – all cooked the same way. Or if you prefer, a salad would be a great accompaniment too!

Comments from my teenage son – best dinner ever Mom! He ate 4 helpings.

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Mint and Shredded Vegetables

Posted May 1st, 2012 in Gluten-Free Flours, Meat in, Recipes, Vegetable Dishes by Rebecca Lane

Just made the most delicious dinner from Fine Cooking magazine (p 12 of Cookfresh Spring 2012 issue). Grated carrots, zucchini, mint and lime with spicy peanut noodles – what a tasty meal. Serves 4 easily (actually could serve 6).

1/2 lb. dried 1/4-inch-wide rice noodles (try and find brown rice noodles for more fibre)
2 tsp. coconut oil
3/4 lb. ground turkey (you could easily forget the meat)
1 Tbsp tamari

1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter (no added sugar)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. fish sauce
3 Tbs. warm water

1 or 2 fresh jalapenos, finely chopped (seeded if you like)
2 medium carrots, grated
2 small zucchini, grated
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
juice of 1/2 lime

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water, leave to drain in colander.

Meanwhile grate the carrots and zucchini and chop the mint and peppers. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar, fish sauce and 3 Tbs. warm water until smooth. Set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the turkey in the coconut oil over medium-low heat. When just cooked through (about 6 – 8 minutes) add the tamari. Then stir in the rice noodles, sauce and vegetables. Add the juice of 1/2 lime and serve.

Garnish with lime wedges (from the other 1/2 of the lime!).

This was delicious served with a mango salad.

Stir-Fried Beef with Black Beans and Rice Noodles

Posted January 9th, 2012 in Meat in, Recipes, Vegetable Dishes by Rebecca Lane

Stir-Fried Beef with Black Beans and Rice Noodles

I find getting back into the swing of things difficult after taking time off! But today the kids are back at school, everything is getting back to normal around me, all the Christmas decorations are packed away, and I’m ready to start writing again.

While enjoying the holidays, we stopped by the LCBO for some wine and picked up the Food & Drink magazine (page 278 of Holiday 2011) – love this edition. In it I found several recipes that can easily be adjusted to a healthier version and I’m including the one I made on Saturday here for you. I’m making another one tonight, and if it works out, I’ll post it too.

We served this dish with lightly steamed bok-choy. In a deep cast-iron pan, I heated a tablespoon of coconut oil and added a minced clove of garlic. Once the garlic was smelling wonderful, I added about a cup of vegetable stock (or water would be fine too) then the coarsely chopped bok choy. I steamed it for about 5 minutes until it was bright green and fragrant, then took it out of the pan with a slotted spoon and squeezed lemon over top and sprinkled with sesame seeds. This is a delicious side dish packed with exceptional sources of iron, vitamins A and C, folic acid and anti-cancer compounds including glucosinolates.

Stir-Fried Beef with Black Beans and Rice Noodles

12 oz (375 g) flank steak
1 tsp honey
2 tsp flour (I used spelt, but arrowroot would also be good – to thicken the sauce)
1 Tbsp tamari
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp water

Seasoning Sauce
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp flour (again for thickening)
1 tsp olive oil

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable stock

1 small dried chili, chopped (I used chili flakes – 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger – you could use more as this was just enough
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
3 Tbsp black beans, rinsed and mashed (you could just use the beans and leave out the flank steak for a vegetarian option)
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz (250 g) rice noodles, rinsed (if using dried noodles, just submerge them in boiling water to soften first – otherwise they can’t pick up the delicious sauce)

1 tsp sesame oil

1. Slice the flank steak against the grain into thin slices. In a medium bowl, combine the first set of ingredients and add to meat and marinate for 30 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, combine all seasoning sauce ingredients.

3. Heat wok over medium heat (I don’t have a wok, so used my Le Creuset pot). Add oil and stock. When hot, drain the meat from the marinate and stir-fry until browned (this doesn’t take long – about 30 sec to 1 minute depending on how thinly you cut the steak). Remove meat and reserve.

4. Stir in the chili, ginger, garlic and black beans. Add the vegetables and noodles. Stir-fry for about a minute until the pepper softens and the ginger and garlic become fragrant. Add in the seasoning sauce and bring to a boil, stirring. Return the meat and any juice and mix well. Before serving, add 1 tsp of sesame oil to the wok then pour contents onto a large serving platter.

5. Serve with bok choy for a delicious, nutritious dinner!

Serves 3 to 4 as a main course.
Source: Food & Drink, Holiday 2011, page 278

Gardening versus Cooking

Posted May 17th, 2011 in Meat in, Recipes, Salads by Rebecca Lane

The Garden Before the Overhaul

I’ve been in the garden. For me, time passes very quickly when I’m digging, weeding, or just dreaming in my garden. I love the feel of dirt on my hands and the ground beneath my feet. My vegetable garden was in a shambles and needed to be completely overhauled. So despite the rain that’s what I’ve been doing. And now the asparagus are starting to show, the rhubarb is beautiful, I discovered strawberry plants and onions, herbs that I thought had been lost. Its always a wonder to me that I can forget what belongs where, but they always come back and surprise me in the spring.

Asparagus shoots - I ate them this morning though!

You may be able to tell that I’m not the kind of person who makes detailed plans of my garden. Every year I intend to! But then I get caught up in the sheer wonder of all that’s going on, and usually fall behind on the weeding or edging or mowing or planting. Mother’s Day weekend I visited a garden in Kanata that was wonderfully organized and everywhere you looked there was colour and things sprouting. Mine’s not like that!

My garden is quite beautiful in its own way though and if you ever want to see it, I’m always happy to show it off like a proud parent!

Garden half finished

After my time in the garden, I managed to head into the kitchen and make a delicious supper. I was hungry after all of the labour! And my body ached!

Pad Thai

My sister-in-law and I made this recipe together from her favourite cookbook, the name of which escapes me though. I’ve made quite a few changes to it as my husband can’t eat shellfish – so here’s the adaptation.

400 g package of broad rice noodles
3 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes juiced)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. boneless chicken breast, diced (1 large chicken breast – both halves)
2 eggs beaten
3 cups bean sprouts
6 green onions, slivered into 1 inch lengths
2 Tbsp toasted chopped peanuts

Garnish: coriander sprigs, 1 lime cut into wedges

Soak noodles in warm water for 20 minutes, drain and put aside. Combine fish sauce, lime juice, maple syrup, chili sauce, and stock. Put aside.

Heat a wok on high and add oil and a little stock to cook the oil down. Stir in the garlic and cook for 10 seconds, then add the chicken. Stir fry 3-4 minutes until chicken is no longer pink, add eggs and toss until scrambled. (You could easily make this a vegetarian recipe by replacing the chicken with tofu.)

Add noodles to wok. Mix well to combine. Pour sauce over top. Cook until noodles are soft – about 2 minutes. Stir constantly.

Stir in bean sprouts, onions and peanuts and fry 1 minutes. Serve with garnish.  This is also delicious the second day if you have any leftovers.

I served the pad thai with an Asian coleslaw from Caroline Dupont’s Enlightened Eating cookbook.

Asian Coleslaw

1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 white cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, grated
2 green onions, slivered
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 Tbsp tamari
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic
1 tsp grated ginger

Toss all of the salad ingredients together. Then put all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour over the salad and allow to soak well before serving.

Garnish with coriander and some fresh sprouts on the top.

Day 21 – working with my new Vita-Mix

Posted April 19th, 2011 in Meat in, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

The morning didn’t go as I had hoped. My teenage daughter often goes off to school without breakfast. As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In order to be able to learn and process information, she needs to have vital nutrients and protein in her body. But she’s also a teenager – do I need to say more?

With my shiny new Vita-Mix I made her a smoothie, trying to find a middle point between her need for sweets and my need for her to get some nourishment before school. She had purchased a package of Proteins + Smoothie mix (orange cream flavour), so I thought I could use a scoop of that with ¾ cup of almond milk, ¼ cup of kefir (to get some healthy bacteria into her body) and her daily vitamins (which she rarely takes). Major fight! But she did drink half of it. Small steps.

I’m going to experiment with 1 cup frozen fruit mix, an orange, a banana, 2 carrots and a large handful of spinach. With some water to (1 cup) – and I’ll try adding some of my homemade kefir (1/2 cup) in too. I’ll let you know how it tastes! Delicious – much better than Emily’s smoothie. Tomorrow I’ll add some good flax seed oil (omega-3 essential fatty acid EFA). I would add it today, but I don’t have any right now. My friend and colleague, Sherri Doak, suggests that I add some New Zealand Whey Protein powder, so I’ll pick up some of that too.

Okay, for supper I’m trying something really different. And since it’s a lasagne, I’m going to make it in two pans so that I can freeze one of them for a day when life is crazy.

Lasagna with Roasted Asparagus, Turkey and Cheese Sauce – this recipe from the Holistic Cooking Academy

Accompany any pasta dish with a side salad of mixed baby greens. I’ll be using left-over kale salad from last night.

I’ve chosen to use fresh noodles tonight, you can use them without soaking, but I find that they are a little dry so I usually soak them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. This dish has lots of steps so maybe it would be best to save for the weekend or an evening when there isn’t a lot going on.

Creamy Chives Sauce (makes about 4 ½ cups)
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk (I’ll use almond milk)
½ cup coconut milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1/2 cup chives, chopped
2 tsp. kelp salt
Dash cayenne pepper

9 lasagna noodles
4 cups asparagus, trimmed and roasted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp freshly ground coriander
36 oz ground turkey, browned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, combine melted butter and flour and stir together. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly and then add the coconut milk. Whisk constantly until it thickens (at the boil). Stir in ricotta cheese, lemon rind and chives. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces and toss with oil, salt and coriander. Place in a pyrex dish and roast for 6 minutes until hot and tender. Remove from heat and reduce oven heat to 350°F.

Brown the turkey and garlic with just a touch of oil. Oil a 9 x 13 x 2 inch dish and form the first layer with three lasagne noodles. Top with 1/3 of Creamy Chives Sauce and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and ½ of the turkey and asparagus. Layer once again, then on the top layer end with noodles and the remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F or until bubbling.

Day 11 – a Night for Grilling

Posted April 9th, 2011 in Meat in, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Spring on the Danforth

What a beautiful day. I think that everyone feels happier when the sun smiles on their faces, cause everyone downtown was happy and talking and friendly. Both of the children were busy today, so Mark and I spent the day shopping and eating on the Danforth.

We had lunch at a little pub and I had an amazing pizza – basil pesto, feta cheese, spinach and carmelized onions. It was sooo delicious. I’m going to try and make it myself and then post the recipe – wish me luck! With it I had a dark ale – Mill Street Tankhouse Ale – which was really flavourful and didn’t overwhelm the pizza.

Because my feet hurt now and I’m looking forward to just sitting down with a big bottle of water (yes, I’m drinking water to refresh), we’re keeping it simple for supper.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

BBQ vegetables

Vegetables – chopped in large chunks, a little larger than bite-sized otherwise they grill too quickly
Red onion
Red pepper
Small eggplant
handful of mushrooms
Small zucchini

Coat vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with dulse flakes. Toss to make sure that they are well covered. I grill them in a cast-iron bowl that looks more like a colander than a bowl. I’ll see if I can find a photo online.

Chicken – 1/2 a breast per person
Marinade for 2-4 hours:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano

Take chicken breasts out of marinade and discard (marinade, not the chicken!).  Put the vegetables and chicken on the BBQ for the same amount of time, making sure to toss the vegetables whenever you check on the chicken.

Serve with a mixed greens salad with a lemon-vinagrette dressing.

Lemon-Vinagrette Dressing
(here’s the one from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook Jamie’s Food Revolution)

Put 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar, with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon (I add about a tbsp of zest of lemon just to give it a bit more zing). Put the lid on the jar and shake well. If you like it a little sweeter, add 1 tbsp of maple syrup.

Day 9 – the Gift of Friends

Posted April 7th, 2011 in Meat in, Psychology of Disease, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Angels around us

I know – so what happened to Days 6 through 8? Life happened, or in this case, death. Over the weekend, two of my high school friends lost a parent, so I packed up two black dresses and headed to Petrolia so that I could show them my support and love for them. But I received a lot more than I gave.

When I left Petrolia for university, I lost touch with all of my girlfriends from high school. Three years ago we reconnected through the wonder of Facebook. Two years ago we got together for a Soul Sisters retreat weekend and found out how wonderful it is to get together with women of the same age and similar background and find out the journeys our lives had taken us on. Two weekends ago we were together again for our second Soul Sisters retreat at the Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain. What a cleansing, renewing experience that was.

This was different. First, I called up a friend whom I had always loved and admired, but never been really close with and asked if I could stay with her. She welcomed me with open arms and greeted me at the door with an open bottle of wine and chocolate! Who could ask for more? We stayed up and giggled, while remembering the years gone by and got to know each other again. I met her husband and son and learned even more about this beautiful, strong woman.

After a great sleep, far away from streetlights, I was awakened to the blessed aroma of coffee (yeah, I know its not good for me) and we talked and laughed some more as we got dressed and ready for the funeral.

I won’t go into details of the funeral, but the number of people there were a testament to the people this farming man touched while on earth – whether through his own words or deeds, or those of his children and grandchildren. I was moved most by the words of his family after the funeral service – and by the hug from his daughter.

The second funeral was very different from the first, but again I was moved by the words spoken from the heart about this creative, artistic, loving woman who had touched so many lives while on earth. And again it was the hugs that I will cherish.

I realized that we are remembered by our words and actions, not by our regrets for what we should have done or might have been. By the bodies that we have hugged, by the tears that we have kissed, by the times we sit and listen, by the laughter (and wine) that we have shared.

I will always remember these past two days – thank you to my friends for sharing their love and for being open to receiving my love back in return.

Before I left for Petrolia, I made a huge pot of chili for my family back at home. My intent was that on Monday night they could have the chili with a salad, and then on Tuesday night they could make fajitas.

Chicken Chili Con Carne with beans and vegetables

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ lbs. of ground chicken or turkey
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
½ diced red pepper
½ diced green pepper
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large garlic cloves
2 16 oz cans chopped tomatoes (my own tomatoes are long gone, so I used Eden)
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto peans
¼ cup chilli powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt

In large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, cook chicken in oil. Once chicken is cooked, add the onions, peppers, celery and garlic until onions are tender – about 10 minutes – stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes and their liquid, chilli powder, cayenne, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Stir in beans. Serve in soup bowls with grated cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro on top.

What’s for dinner?

Posted March 30th, 2011 in Meat in, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

I had a great weekend escape last weekend with 5 friends from high school. While it was wonderful to talk about when we were in high school and catch up on who’s doing what, what I found to be the most powerful was how we are going through similar things together.

Because I love food, everyone had lots of questions about food and healing, food and cancer, food and psychology. It made me realize that everyone is starting to be more knowledgeable about how food affects our bodies and how society’s search for easy, fast food, is actually starting to hurt us – not only from a physical stand point, but also from a family and community place.

I’m thinking of doing another month-long experiment. Each day I’ll write about what I’m making for supper. That way not only do I become accountable, but also it makes me really walk my talk. And you’ll be able to recognize that I have the same challenges as most of you.

I have a teenage son who won’t eat vegetables (but will eat fruit and so he has a Greens + supplement with every meal), a husband who is so busy with work that we sometimes aren’t able to eat together (and he often forgets to eat), and a daughter who is always watching her weight and so juggles what food is put in front of her. Me, I prefer to eat vegetables, but will enjoy white meat and fish. Oh, and cheese. I LUV cheese!

Tonight we’re having a Thai Basil Turkey dish, with saffron rice (white basmati rice), and stir fried vegetables. No doubt my son will pick out all of the vegetables and green things – but I’ll get over it!

I found the recipe idea in the Longo’s magazine on the inside front cover ad for Maple Leaf chicken. I’m using free-range turkey from the butcher instead.

1 turkey breast (boneless, skinless) – I’ve got 2 small turkey scallopini
1 tbsp olive oil
6 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red chilli peppers, deseeded & chopped – I’m using chilli sauce
1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce (or oyster sauce)
Saute turkey (cut into bite-sized pieces) in olive oil (with a little vegetable stock) for 3-4 minutes until no longer pink
Add onions, garlic and peppers. Cook until onions are softened. Add basil and hoisin sauce, cook for 2-3 minutes (I’m also marinating the turkey right now in hoisin mixed with veggie stock).
Serve with rice and stir-fried vegetables (I’m doing bean sprouts, snow peas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, red pepper and red onion).

I look forward to your comments. Let me know what you’re cooking for dinner – it may help me decide what’s on for Thursday dinner!