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

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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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Keen for Zucchini

Imagine you are a 10 year old girl from Hong Kong and tasting lots of strange food, like anemic cottage cheese, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, cheese with fruit, now throw in CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE???????  Chocolate with a vegetable? No, no, no!  But once I had a bite and didn’t taste vegetable,  just chocolate cake, my mind was boggled and intrigued.  Later I realized zucchini essentially added moisture without flavour to the cake.  This might have been one of my earliest lightbulb moments that delicious dessert can also mean healthy.

As part of the summer squash family, the zucchini, also known as a courgette in other parts of the world, orginated in Italy, hmmmm it seems {kale} and I are on an Italian theme this summer.  We’ve got some growing to gigantic proportions as usual, because they grow so easily and sometimes we just forget the squash is secretly growing under their children’s umbrella sized leaves.  It is best to eat them when they are smaller because they are sweeter, but alas.  So with our bounty I’ve been making frittatas, baked zucchini sticks, zucchini muffins and stuffed zucchini blossoms.

One of the bonuses of having your own zucchini plant is having access to the blossoms.  I remember the heavenly stuffed blossoms we had in Italy.  The blossoms were filled with a creamy ricotta and then lightly breaded and fried.  I did make a vegan version, substituting with tofu and mushrooms, which turned out quite nicely.  But for a quick lunch, I dip the blossoms first in egg, then seasoned bread crumbs, and fry in a little oil.  Now before you go and pluck off all the blossoms from your zucchini plant, pluck only the ones that do not have the actual zucchini ”fruit” growing out of them. These are considered the male flowers. They should be eaten on the same day as they are picked because of their delicate quality.

Zuchini Bread 2 Kake2Kale

Years ago I had clipped a recipe out of a magazine that has served me well, a nutty seed quick bread.  Hmmmm, what if I added zucchini to this classic.  So I did and it turned out pretty well, I’ve cut down the sugar, but if more sweetness is needed, feel free to increase the sugar.  I like to serve this bread with jam.  And in this case, we’ve got {Kale’s} homemade blueberry jam.


The Superfoods in my recipe:
Zucchini – contain a high amount of vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, manganese, potassium and also lutein, which protects the eye against light damage and macular degeneration.
Black sesame seeds – are a good source of calcium, phosphorous, protein, magnesium, iron and is rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant.  In Chinese medicine prescribed to reverse black hair going grey.
Pumpkin seeds –  Good source of protein, minerals, Omega 3, tryptophan (which is an amino acid which helps with sleep). Because of the high amount of zinc in this seed, not only is it good for immune health, it can also have positive results for prostate health.
Flax – Has a high amount of Omega 3’s. High in soluble fibre, which lowers cholesterol, and a good of the bone strengthening mineral boron. Contains lignans which helps your body to rid itself of toxins ie. xenoestrogens (see broccoli). Make sure the flax seeds are ground/milled when you eat them, if not, the whole seed will just pass through your system undigested. Also, I store mine in the freezer, as they have oils in them and can go rancid quickly.

Zuchini Bread 3 Kake2Kale

  Zucchini Bread makes one 9” x 5 “ loaf

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil (or any other vegetable oil)
  •  1 cup light spelt flour
  • 1 cup oat flour1/4 cup coconut sugar (can add more if desire)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts*
  • 2 T. each: flax, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds*


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 9″x5″ loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Whisk egg and oil together in a large bowl.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl.
  • Then add the dry to the wet ingredients until just mixed.
  • Then add the zucchini, nuts, and seeds to the batter, stir to mix.
  • Pour into the loaf pan and bake 50-60 mintues, or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

*Feel free to substitute other nuts and seeds.
Eat well, live great! {Kake}