For the Love of Tennis!

My teen idol wore shorts and a headband. No, it was not Richard Simmons but a blond Swedish god. A tennis god, Bjorn Borg. Everything about him appealed to my shy, self-conscious teenage self; his lean physique, his flowing blond locks, those piercing blue eyes, his deadly two-handed backhand and his graceful moves on the court. Because of him I took up tennis and found I was pretty good at it, not like soccer (I hate running, especially into people) or volleyball (not good for pianists as I once sprained a finger when the ball hit my hand at a bad angle and I couldn’t play piano for two weeks).

Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins by Kake2Kale.com

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Choco Chip Cookies to Chase Away the Blues

I haven’t had such a disheartening day in a long time.  Lately I’ve been asked to audition more and acting is something that I’ve done in the past, but have taken a break from it to focus on other pursuits.  I had prepared for this audition well and by the time it was my turn to go in I had been stewing in the waiting room with the other actors for well over an hour.  It didn’t go the way I had hoped and I left feeling like a failure.   Once I got home I put on some Harry Connick Jr. music, a mood lifter for sure, and then headed to the kitchen to make these baked treats.

These chocolate chip cookies are the perfect indulgence to soothe my soul without having to say “I shouldn’t have” afterwards.  For our followers, you might recall that I recently confessed to breaking a five day liquid fast by eating half a bag of Chip Ahoy cookies, not my proudest moment.  Since then, I have made thousands of cookies and have a few “go to” recipes.  Lately, the avocado is having its moment in the spotlight.  So much so that global demand for this once exotic fruit, (yes, it is a fruit) has skyrocketed.  No longer is it just for California rolls and quacamole, but it is topping quinoa salads, sandwiches, as well as being grilled, made into fries, used for chocolate mousse and now baked into cookies!

chocolate chip cookie Kake2Kale.com

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Pseudo French Toast

What is your earliest breakfast memory?  Mine goes back to my childhood in Hong Kong when I stayed for the weekend at my grandmother’s home and shared her breakfast.  She was born in Japan, hence, she served me pickled daikon, soft-boiled egg, toast, fruit and then a cup of tea with a generous amount of condensed milk.  I always looked forward to those weekends.  That hot cup of, beyond sweet, creamy flavourful tea still fortifies my soul when I think of it.  And I still use her technique to make the perfect soft-boiled egg.  I suppose I looked forward to those weekends because it was just the two of us.  She really made me feel special.

French Toast Kake2Kale.com

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Christmas Cranberry Cinnamon Buns

 

When I think about the people who have influenced me in my interest in food, I have to think back to when I was a teenager.  You may be thinking my Home Economics teacher, but you would be wrong.  We were only allowed to cook after we passed all the modules on food knowledge ie. the four food groups.  I was so bored with the theory that, by the time I got to cook, I was only able to make Jello chocolate pudding which is barely considered cooking and that was on the last day of the term, so I never even got to make the second recipe, a  grilled cheese sandwich.  Who came up with this curriculum, Pee Wee Herman?

Then one weekend, a very special lady came to visit us from England.  Mrs. Fisher was the wife of my Mom’s piano teacher when she had studied music in London.  I loved her accent, her gentle manner, and her elegance.  But above of all, it was her passion for food and sharing it that made an indelible impression upon me.  She taught cooking as a form of therapy to the mentally challenged, and gave me a crash course on the weekend of her visit.   What stood out was the lesson on baking bread.

Shortly after she left I had a sleepless night and decided to exercise my newly acquired skills.  I looked up a recipe for cinnamon buns.  And, in the stillness of the night surrounded by  silence I handled the smooth mound of dough, turning it and pressing the heel of my hand into the yielding dough.  I repeated this movement over and over until it felt like a chant performed by my hands.   The art of baking is far superior to yoga in my mind!

cranberry bun 2 kake2kale

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No Grumble Blueberry Crumble

There is a delightful part in my favourite childhood book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when a naughty, gum chewing girl, Violet Beauregard gets her just desserts (pun intended).  While at the factory, she deliberately pops an experimental piece of gum into her mouth after being warned against it.  As she chews this piece of gum it takes her through a three-course meal ending with blueberry pie, then she turns  into one humongous blueberry and has to be juiced to bring her back down to size.  Not only was Roald Dahl a wildly imaginative storyteller, but his views on child rearing were tucked in there as well.  After that, I am sure Miss Beauregard never put anything in her mouth that she wasn’t supposed to have.

The only blueberry issue I came across is really a non-blueberry one.  I will explain.  Once, when I was eating a store bought blueberry muffin, I discovered while reading the list of ingredients that no blueberries were in it at all.  That was a big head-scratcher.  Later, I realized there were more examples of this in the frozen food aisle when you pulled out a box of ubiquitous frozen blueberry waffles processed by one of the big industrialized food companies.  There were no real blueberries.  So what are these impostor blueberries made of?  It turns out, some are simply artificial colouring chemicals, hydrogenated oils and liquid sugars, ewwww!!!  All the more reason to read labels when grocery shopping.

With blueberries in season (at least in our part of the world), I’m taking advantage of eating REAL, fresh blueberries and making a variety of dishes.  A blueberry crumble tops the list.  I call my version the No Grumble Blueberry Crumble because it is super easy….after all, no one wants to be slaving in the kitchen when it is gorgeous outside.  As a bonus, I’ve also included my Blueberry Waffle recipe at the bottom, so keep reading!

Blueberry Ginger Crumb Cake kake2kale

No Grumble Blueberry Crumble serves 8

Superfoods in the recipe are:
Blueberries – This little berry has a high amount of antioxidants.  They contain anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, and iron
Oats – Oats is a good source of fibre, and oat bran helps to lower cholesterol.
Ginger – Anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antiseptic.
Cinnamon – Diets rich in cinnamon can help counter the effects of a high-fat meal on your body.  This spice may also balance blood sugar levels and can also help fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Filling:

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • ¼ cup gluten free flour
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 1 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Combine all of the above and place into greased 9” x 9” baking dish.

Topping:

  • ½ cup butter melted
  • ½ gluten free flour
  • 1 ½ cups gluten free oat flakes
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 t. grated ginger
  • ¼ t. salt

Combine the topping ingredients and spoon over the filling.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

My bonus recipe – Blueberry Waffle recipe makes 6-4″ waffles

They really aren’t complicated.  It takes me about 15 minutes from the time I start putting the ingredients together to eating the first waffle.  And if you don’t have a waffle iron, just make pancakes.  Here is a bonus recipe from my Fanny Farmer cookbook that has been engraved in my brain after probably making it hundreds of times over the years.

  • 1 cup flour (can be Gluten Free)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk (can be dairy free)
  • 1 egg
  • *1 T oil or melted butter

Directions:

  • Whisk the dry ingredients together.  Then in another bowl beat the egg with the milk, and then add to the dry ingredients.  Stir the oil into the wet ingredients.
  • Combine until ingredients are just mixed, lumps are fine.  Then cook waffles according to your waffle iron instructions.

*If making pancakes, then omit the oil.  Spoon batter into preheated non-stick pan, or griddle and flip once when you see bubbles.  Try not to flip more than once, otherwise they will not be fluffy.
Add whatever you like, of course blueberries, but consider sliced bananas, chopped nuts, and/or chocolate chips.

Eat healthy, live great! – {Kake}

The Laaracino

I don’t come from a family of coffee drinkers or even tea drinkers for that matter.  Just water and milk when I was growing up.  But that would change when my Dad spent some time in France studying French, it was there that he got accustomed to drinking coffee.  Not too long after that Dad took my brother and I on our first European trip.  It was in Paris where Dad encouraged me to have my first cappuccino.  As a teenager obsessed with Vogue magazine, it seemed like this cup of creamy, foamy coffee was the perfect entry point into the world of Catherine Deneuve, Chanel, the Concorde.

Since then, I will have the occasional latte when going out for coffee.  My husband has learned that drinking coffee has all sorts of benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes, staving off Alzheimer’s disease, it may also be helpful to those suffering from depression.  So now we make coffee at home a few times a week.

My Dad is Mr. Health, and his knowledge and lifestyle has influenced how I eat and take care of myself.  So when I found a whole stack of McCafe coffee cups on his kitchen counter I knew I was on the right track.  One night after family dinner we ended up at Dairy Queen, and my Dad was the first one to order and I was wondering what he could be getting, because he doesn’t eat ice cream, or anything sugary.  Then we saw him picking up 3 cups of coffee, and I thought, “Strange, why three?”  None of us drink coffee after dinner.  So when I asked about it, he said, he paid for one and got 2 refills, to drink in the next day or two.  Is my Dad smart or what?

I have inherited my frugalness from my Dad.  Every year I will allow myself one Frappacino for the whole summer.  But very rarely do I ever take myself up on that offer.  First of all, it’s an expensive drink that is mostly crushed ice.  And, if I want it to taste good, there’s going to be tons of sugary syrup.  So I have come up with my own version, thus naming it after myself.  My version is dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and has superfoods. One thing about coffee is that it can inhibit absorption of vitamins and minerals, so for those who have a morning coffee, take your supplements an hour away from it. Because of this my Laaracino actually does not have coffee in it.  I do not miss the coffee taste because the maca, malt and the cocoa satisfies my coffee loving taste buds.  But by all means add coffee to my Laaracino, if that is what pleases you.

 

Laaricino 3 Kake2kale

The superfoods in my Laaracino:
Cocoa – High in vitamin B’s and magnesium, both of which supports the nervous system. It also has phenylethylamine, which stirs up happy feelings, and releases stress. Cacao has an even higher amount of antioxidants than blueberries.
Maca – This root from Peru has lots of nutrients, but it is mainly known for increasing cognitive function, libido, energy levels. It is also an adaptogen which means it helps the bring the body into balance.  For instance, when the body in under stress, maca helps support the adrenal glands to deal with the stress.
Coconut oil –Has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic properties and contains lauric acid which is found in mother’s milk. Breast-fed babies are better able to fend off infections than babies not given mother’s milk.
Vanilla powder – This is simply the seeds that are inside the vanilla pods. They contain a phytochemical called vanilloid that reduces inflammation and improves brain function.
Cinnamon – Can be beneficial for reducing risk from diabetes and heart disease.
Laaricino Kake2Kale

Laaracino serves 2

  • 2 cups almond milk (or any type of milk)
  • 2 t. maca powder
  • 2 T. malt powder, gluten free if made from rice (optional)
  • 4 T. cocoa powder
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1  t. vanilla powder
  • 5 drops stevia (or other type of sweetener)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 cups of ice

Directions:

  • Put all the ingredients in a good blender, whiz until the ice has been blended and serve in two frosty glasses.
  • Feel free to experiment with this recipe and make it your own, ie. add a banana, frozen yogurt, liquer, coffee if you must, you get the idea.

*You may wonder if it is possible to substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla powder, I haven’t simply because extract wouldn’t be as nutritious as the powder.  If any of you do make this with the extract let me know how it goes.

Eat healthy, live great! – {Kake}

Laaricino 2 Kake2Kale