Curried Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup.

Pumpkin welcome

It has been very cold here in Seattle for the last few days and we have been enjoying one of my favourite winter soup recipes. This is a very inexpensive and nutritious soup that I often make in large quantity so that we can enjoy it throughout the week. I have adapted and combined ingredients from several recipes to come up with this one. Unfortunately we rarely have enough winter squash in our own garden. I like to use Queensland Blue or other sweet dry pumpkin. Butternut, acorn or whatever is your favourite will work just as well. Also you might like to add the stock slowly – consistency will depend on what type of pumpkin or winter squash you use. If you like a really thick soup you may not want to add as much liquid. Enjoy and welcome friends to your table to enjoy it with you.

Curried Pumpkin Soup Recipe


– 2 each garlic,peeled
– 1 onion,peeled and quartered
– 2 tablespoons Olive oil
– 4-5 lbs. pumpkin –
– 4 cups chicken Or Vegetable stock
– 2 teaspoons Hot curry powder
– 1 teaspoon Turmeric
– Pinch Of Cayene Or Chipotle
– Pepper
– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
– freshly ground pepper
– 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds,Shelled Raw
– 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
– 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
– 2 cans lite coconut milk
– 1 1/2 cup dry white wine
– 2 cups dry black beans, cooked for 1 hour

1. Soak beans overnight in large saucepan. cook until soft (about 1 hour). Set aside.

2.Place garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Place jalapeno in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

3. Slice pumpkin in large wedges, remove seeds & string. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet cut side down. Bake at 350 until the flesh is fork tender (about 1 1/2 hours. Peel pumpkin and puree half pumpkin. Cut remainder into small chunks. At same time cut onions into wedges, coat with oil and bake until brown and soft – about 1 1/2 hours. Set aside. Add onion to food processor. Pulse until fine. Alternatively dice onion and cook in large stock pan until translucent.

4. Add all remaining ingredients except pumpkin seeds & parsley to the stock pan. Bring to boil, Reduce heat and cook about 8 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat remaining tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 1/2 t salt and cook for about 30 seconds, shaking pan constantly to prevent burning, until all the seeds have popped. Remove from heat and add parsley.

6. Stir puree back into the soup. Adjust seasonings, and stir in the cream or yoghurt, if desired. We love to serve it with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.



Cooking with Quinoa

Quinoa - a versatile grain

Quinoa – a versatile grain

For our time on Camano on Monday I made a delicious quinoa salad and thought that you might appreciate the recipe. Quinoa has the most protein of any grain,and the highest fat content. It’s a great source of vitamins & minerals, and is considered a complete protein so if you are not familiar with this grain then you need to be. I particularly love a mix of red, black and white quinoa if you can find it. (available here at Trader Joes or as separate grains at PCC).

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Bolivia, Peru, Equador and Columbia where it has been cultivated for 3-4,000 years. It seems to grow well here in the Pacific NW though I do not grow it because of lack of space. – maybe when we get the garden at the Mustard Seed Village going.

I enjoy it both as a hot vegetable – great for adding stir fry vegetables from the garden – or as a salad. It is really great for a picnic as it stays fresh without refrigeration. This recipe is like Tabbouleh but with quinoa instead of bulgar wheat. You can in fact use any vegetables in the salad – the one I made on Monday had mainly greens, peas and onions from the garden.

Quinoa Salad


– 2 cups Quinoa
– 2 cups Parsley,Coarsely Chopped
– 1/2 cup Fresh Mint,Coarsely Chopped
– 2 lbs. Tomatoes,Chopped
– 1 lg Cucumber,Chopped
– 2 md Sweet Onion,Chopped
– 3/4 cups Olive Oil
– 3/4 cups Lemon Juice
– 2 sm Yellow Zucchini,Chopped
– 1 each Garlic,Crushed


1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn off and let stand. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool. Add tomatoes, cucumber, squash, onion, parsley, and mint. Mix well Add remaining ingredients and miz again. Let stand for at least an hour before serving.

Quinoa stir fry


– 4 cups cooked quinoa
– 1 stalks celery
– 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped in small pieces
– 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
– 1 large onion, chopped in small pieces
– 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
– 1 green zucchini , sliced
– 1 yellow zucchini , sliced
– 2 cups swiss chard or spinach, chopped
– 1/2 cup dried tomatoes
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
– 1 bay leaf
– 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
– 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Heat olive oil on medium low in a 3 – 4 qt saucepan or sauté pan. Saute onions until translucent add garlic & ginger, sauté with mustard seeds for 5 minutes

2. Chop celery, zucchini, mushrooms and red pepper, add to pan and sauté another five minutes.

3. Mix in the bay leaf, turmeric, coriander &; cumin

4. Add the quinoa and stir until mixed.

5. Stir in the optional greens, and fresh ground pepper

6. Cover and cook 5 more minutes, then serve – or refrigerate and serve chilled as a salad.

Having Fun Cooking

Mediterranean diet pyramid

Mediterranean diet food pyramid

One of the things that I always like to do to relax after a long trip is to get into the kitchen and cook. Replenishing supplies like my breakfast granola and eggplant dip (baba Ghannouj) which have become staples for our Mediterranean style diet are always fun. I have posted the granola recipe before, but thought that some of you may would appreciate this very healthy version of Baba Ghannouj too. I took my original recipe and added the pepper which I think gives it a richer flavour and the yoghurt adds a nice tang. If you like it hot at a 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper powder too. It makes a great lunch spread or addition to a Middle Eastern meal.

1 medium sized eggplant

1 red pepper (capsicum)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup taheen, (sesame paste)

1/2 cup yoghurt (Greek style preferable)

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

2 spring onions finely chopped

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Wash and dry eggplant and pepper. Prick eggplant with fork in 3 -4 place. Place eggplant and pepper on a baking sheet and broil (grill) 4 inches away from heat, turning them on all sides until the skin is charred. 20- 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Peel off skin, cut off stem and deseed pepper. Chop eggplant and pepper finely by hand and mash eggplant pulp or blend garlic, pepper and eggplant in a blender until smooth. Combine lemon juice, yoghurt, and salt. Add to eggplant mix. Blend in taheen, mix well. Add spring onions and parsley. Place on a serving plate and drizzle oil over it.


Garden Abundance Spurs Creativity

Cauliflower and bean salad

Cauliflower and bean salad

Last week I harvested my largest ever cauliflower from the garden – almost 5 pounds of it plus another rather large companion.  Add an abundance of beans, squash and broccoli plus some wonderfully sweet Walla Walla onions and I realized I needed to get creative so I came up with this garden salad.  Everyone loved it so much that I have made it 3 times in the last week & plan to make another large salad for Celtic retreat.  Quantities are approximate.  Experiment & see what combination you like best.

Cauliflower & bean Summer vegetable salad


Recipe By: Christine Sine


2 pound cauliflower florets

1 pound broccoli florets

1 pound breans, green, cut in 2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, sweet, diced

1 medium red bell (capsicum) peppers, halved and seeds removed

1 medium squash, patty pan, cut in rounds

1/2  cup tomatoes, dried, soaked in hot water to rehydrate

1/2  cup sprouted seeds

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried

1/2 teaspoon basil, dried

1/2 teaspoon thyme


1. Steam cauliflower and beans separately for 3 minutes each until cooked but still crunchy, Cool

2. Steam broccoli florets for 2 minutes until cooked, cool

3. Drain water from rehydrated tomatoes

4. Place pepper under broiler with skin towards flame.  Cook until skin is black.  Cool in a paper bag.  Remove skin and cut into inch long strips

5. Mix all vegetables together

6. For dressing mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar.  Add 1 clove finely diced garlic or 1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic.  Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and thyme or 1 tablespoon each fresh basil, oregano and thyme.  Shake in a jar and add to salad.  Mix thoroughly before serving.

7. Top with sprouted seeds


Fake Blueberries in Our Cereal – Try My Homemade Granola instead

Have you ever chosen a breakfast cereal or bagel because it says it has blueberries in it?  I know I have.  And now I find out that those were probably not blueberries at all according to investigative journalist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

The blueberries found in blueberry bagels, cereals, breads and muffins are REAL blueberries right? Wrong! Award-winning investigative journalist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, exposes the deceptive chemical ingredients and dishonest marketing of “blueberry” products from big-name food and cereal companies. The blueberries, it turns out, are made from artificial colors, hydrogenated oils and liquid sugars.

See the video here

I always read labels to see what is in my food – call it obsession from my medical background if you like but I must confess I never thought to question the supposed fruit in what i eat.  Sounds like another great reason to make home made granola rather than buying packaged cereal.  So if you want to give it a go here is my recipe


12 cups Rolled Oats

2 cups Wheat Flakes (I like Khorasan wheat)

2 cups Barley Flakes

2 cups Wheatgerm

3 cups Wheat Bran

1 cup golden flax meal

2 cups oat bran

1 cup dried Cranberries

1 cup Dried apricots, Chopped

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup each Pumpkin Seeds & sunflower seeds

1 – 2 cup almonds, chopped

1 – 2 cup pecans, chopped

1 1/2 cup Apple Sauce

1 – 2 cups Honey


1. I started making granola many years ago because I dsicovered the ones I found in the stores were far too sweet for me.  Over the years I have reduced the fat by eliminating the oil, added a wider variety of grains and generally made the granola more healthy.  You can use any types of grain that you like to give it a flavour that you like.  This is our main breakfast over the summer months.

2. Mix all dry ingredients except fruit in a large bowl.  Heat apple sauce & honey together, add to dry ingredients and mix (with your hands is best) separating any lumps in mixture.  Cook at 350℉ turning every 15 minutes until brown.  Leave in oven until oven is cool. Add dried fruit.

My Favourite Apple/Blackberry Crisp

We have 3 apple trees in our parking strip that usually produce far more apples than we can possibly eat fresh.  We also love to harvest wild blackberries which grow in great profusion in the Pacific NW.  This last weekend we headed up to Camano Island for that purpose and because the apples on our trees are not ready yet I pulled some out of the freezer.
Apple and blackberry crisp is a favourite of ours during the apple season.  Packets of apples and blackberries can be frozen so that this can be enjoyed throughout the winter.
– 4 cups Apples,Peeled & Sliced
– 2 cup Blackberries
– 1/2 cup Sugar
– 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
– 1 cup Wheat Flour
– 1 cup Granola Or Rolled Oats
– 1/2 cup Butter,Melted
– 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
– 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
– 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Preheat oven to 350℉ .  Mix in a greased 9″ deep baking pan – apples, blackberries, sugar, all purpose flour.  Combine remaining dry ingredients in a bowl, add melted butter and sprinkle mixture over apples & blackberries.  Bake 30-45 mins.  Serve warm or cold with ice cream or custard

We have 3 apple trees in our parking strip that produce far more apples than we can possibly eat fresh.  We also love to harvest wild blackberries which grow in great profusion in the Pacific NW.  Apple and blackberry crisp is a favourite of ours during the apple season.  Packets of apples and blackberries can be frozen so that this can be enjoyed throughout the winter.
– 4 cups Apples,Peeled & Sliced- 2 cup Blackberries- 1/2 cup Sugar- 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour- 1 cup Wheat Flour- 1 cup Granola Or Rolled Oats- 1/2 cup Butter,Melted- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon- 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 350℉ .  Mix in a greased 9″ deep baking pan – apples, blackberries, sugar, all purpose flour.  Combine remaining dry ingredients in a bowl, add melted butter and sprinkle mixture over apples & blackberries.  Bake 30-45 mins.  Serve warm or cold with ice cream or custard

Zucchini Anyone?

About this time of the year here in Seattle people start to look askance any time that you mention zucchini – it seems to proliferate wherever you look.  This year it is a little late but it is still there.  For most people it is a little overwhelming but as far as I am concerned you cannot get too much of it.  Everyone seemed to enjoy my chocolate zucchini muffins  so much (we actually had them for dessert on Sunday) that I thought I would share another of my favourite zucchini recipes.  I call these granola muffins because I make them in huge batches and freeze them.

When Tom & I travel I can grab a few for those early morning plane trips on which one no longer gets breakfast.  If you are on a tight budget this is a great way to save a little money.  I estimate that making the muffins they probably cost about 20 cents each – if you bought them at the airport they would cost anything from $1 – $2 each and I don’t think that the bought ones are nearly as good.  When I travel on my own I often throw in some extras for breakfast because I hate sitting in a restaurant on my own particularly in the early morning.  They are also great for when unexpected guests arrive – I always think that a cup of tea is not complete without something to eat with it.  Enjoy!
MMMMM—– Recipe via Meal-Master ™ v8.06 by AccuChef ™

Title: Oatmeal, Zucchini & Cranberry Muffins
Categories: Muffins
Yield: 45 Servings

2 c  Wheat Flour
4 c  Rolled Oats
4 t  cinnamon
4 c  grated zucchini,Or 2 Cups
-Zucchini & 2 Carrot
1 1/2 c  Brown Sugar
2 t  Baking Soda
4 t  baking powder
1 c  Pumpkin Seeds,Or Sunflower
1 c  Cranberries,,Dried
1 c  pecans,Chopped
1 c  Applesauce
1 c  Yoghurt
4    Eggs,Lightly Beaten
1 c  vegetable oil
2 t  vanilla extract
2    Bananas,Over ripe Mashed
2 c  All Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin cups Into a large bowl,
sift together the flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder,
cinnamon. Stir in the  zucchini, pumpkin  seeds, cranberries, pecans,
and applesauce . In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs,
yoghurt , and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring
the batter until just combined. Spoon the batter into greased cups.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes for mini muffins and 25 to 30 minutes for
regular muffins or until springy to the touch. Let muffins cool in tins
and turn them onto a wire rack.

PS -can substitute 2 cups carrot grated for 2 cups of zucchini

Cost Total Recipe = $9.88  Cost Per Serving = $0.21

Per Serving: 190 Cal (37% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 4
g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 27 g Carb; 3 g Fiber;
11 g Sugar; 59 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 118 mg Sodium; 22 mg Cholesterol;
AccuPoints = 3.9