Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and some recipes

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! I've been away from Blogger for a while, but I'll be around to visit and say hello soon.

This picture was taken yesterday at my brother's place. This is Ceili, the canine snuggle machine.

Here are the recipes you sent, along with a few of my own.

To start, here's one from Angie:

Chocolate Cream Pie

2 c chocolate chips
2 boxes silken tofu
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 large graham cracker crustFruit (optional)
Melt the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Put the silken tofu in a food processor and puree. Add the melted choc chips and process till smooth. Add vanilla. Pour into the crust and refreigerate for a couple of hours. Add fruits to the top if you wish (I never ruin good chocolate with fruit!).

Sarah in Oregon says, that her favorite is:

Butternut Goat Cheese Spread (google that if the link doesn't work):

And here are a couple that I've made and given as gifts this year. Yes, they sound weird. They're not. They're fantastic. Trust me. A guy once came a party I threw (invited by another guest), tasted my cooking and asked me to marry him on the spot. I kid you not.

Breakfast bean cookies

My friend who gave me this recipe told me that it comes from Julie Van Rosendaal at

Makes 2 dozen cookies


2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, not instant)
1 cup all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose and half whole-wheat
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 – 19 oz. (540 ml) can of white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips, the darker the better
½ cup raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or a combination of dried fruits
¼ - ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed


Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse flour. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and process until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.

Put the beans into the food processor and pulse along with the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the bean mixture into the oat mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add the chocolate chips, raisins, nuts and flaxseed and stir just until blended.

Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, and flatten each one a little with your hand. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until pale golden around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Per cookie:
138 calories, 3.5 g total fat (1.4 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 0.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 3.4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 14.2 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 22% calories from fat.

Sarah’s notes:

Instead of using cooking spray, I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper. It lowers the fat, creates less mess and the paper can be reused several times.

I make the cookies a bit smaller than what the original recipe suggests and I usually end up with three to three and a half dozen cookies.

I have always used the combination of half regular and half whole wheat flour and found that it works well.

Cabbage cake

Cabbage, disguised as coconut, adds moisture to this fudgy bundt cake.


3 cups finely shredded cabbage
⅓ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sifted cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1 cup hot water
Icing sugar


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl combine cabbage and ⅓ cup white sugar, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. Drain the cabbage thoroughly.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and 1 ¼ cups of sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs until fluffy.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Add to creamed mixture alternately with coffee dissolved in water and the drained cabbage, beating until well combined.

Spoon into a greased 9” bundt pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Happy holidays to all!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I love winter running

When I first started running I was very apprehensive about running in the winter. I'm not a big fan of the cold... or being cold. The thought of training outside in the freezing weather just did not sit well.

But after asking around, it seems that prolonged treadmill sessions (longer than 90 minutes) are not that much fun. I've heard reports that it leaves you more sore than "regular" running, that the body mechanics are slightly different and it's just not as good as being outside.

So, I keep my treadmill sessions fairly short and do the long runs outside. Today it was beautiful... bright and sunny and cool -10C (that's about 14F for our friends south of the border). The "real feel" temperature was slightly colder and I think that where I was on the river pathways, it was probably colder yet, because of the water, which was still flowing in most part, though with chunks of ice floating on the surface.

After much reading and asking around, I have learned to prepare myself... Warm water in the bottle, layers of clothing, a hat, gloves, sunglasses and of course, the iPod. I don't get the layers quite right all the time... often I end up with too many. But that's better than not having enough clothes on, for sure.

And so, out I headed for an easy 10 miles (16 km)... nice and slow... out to enjoy the scenery and work on building my base.

Calgary's river pathways are beautiful. In the summer time, they are very busy. But at this time of year, not so much. There are a few people walking dogs and the odd person out for a walk on these pathways that are cleared by the city for those who dare to brave the elements.

Then there's us. The runners. On days like today, we recognize each other as the ones dedicated to our practice. We are drawn by the warmth of summer. Nor are we among those who are out there to "be seen". We are there to run. It's hard work out there in that cold. We know that. But still, we are there, doing what we love to do.

I have discovered that runners who hit Calgary's pathways in the winter are a special breed. They salute one another with a smile, a nod or a wave.... a sign of respect and honour for a fellow die hard. This happens sometimes in the summer, but in the winter, almost every runner I encounter acknowledges others on the path. I love this feeling, this sense of community among individuals. I enjoy the space on the pathways, the cooler air and the way the river and the trees look at this time of year.

I never considered myself a "winter sport" person. Little did I know that running could be a winter sport.