Archive for ‘Fruits Cheese and Nuts’

April 30, 2011

Creamy Cheesy Cranberry Pine Cone (and sucky run…)

I went for a run this morning. A teenny, weeny, should be easy 6.6km run. Pfft, that’s peanuts, right? NO WAY! It was extremely hard and extremely disappointing.

You know that feeling when you want to give it your all, your brain is all up for it, but your body just won’t follow? You’re like GOOOO BODY GOOOOO and it’s like, NOPE, don’t wanna and you can’t make me. I hate that. It has to be one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. Well, this morning was 42 minutes and 10 seconds of EXACTLY that. I could never manage to run for more than 3 consecutive minutes, then I’d have to walk for one. My heart rate would get way high in no time at all! I’d walk and get it down to 145-150, then as soon as I’d start running again, it would get back to 175-180. One cannot sustain that kind of intensity for too long, now, can they? And it’s not like I was running fast either. I was trying to keep it slow and steady. To no avail. AAAAARGH! Frustrated. That’s where I’m at now.

But, while I am extremely disappointed with my body’s performance, I have to see this as one hell of a HIIT. That was 42 minutes of it right there! BUT, that won’t get me running a marathon efficiently! Hopefully next time will be better.

On a completely different subject, remember the creamy cheesy pine cone I made for Easter? I did say that it was so good, it was worthy of getting its own post. Well, I am finally giving it to the little fellow, sort of… He only has to share with my morning run frustration. I’d say he’s getting a not so bad deal. Much better than having to share with all the decadent food from the original post, don’t you think? Plus, to me, it really qualifies as feelgood food, so it does belong here. Big time! I wish I still had some. That would make me feel better!

Now for the recipe:

  • 8 oz low fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream
  • The zest of one orange
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 75-100 perfect pecan halves (to make the pine cone effect)


  1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (an electric mixer would also work), whip cream cheese and sour cream on medium speed until well incorporated, smooth and creamy in texture, about 2-3 minutes. It might help to have the cream cheese at room temperature before you start.
  2. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing on low speed until well combined, about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Turn onto final serving plate and shape into a teardrop. Cover with a plastic film and, ideally, refrigerate until the next day. This will allow flavours to fully develop.
  4. You might want to wait until the last minute to cover with pecans to avoid them going soft on you. Also, you might want to take your teardrop shaped creamcheese  mixture out of the fridge about an hour or two before you are ready to start laying the pecans so it softens up a bit. Pecans will stick better to cheese that is closer to room temperature.
  5. Start layering the pecan halves at the tip and keep shingling until you get to the top. The first rows will lay flat against the cheese but they will be more and more upright as you move towards the end. This will happen naturally, don’t worry. Just keep them nice and tight and use the best pecans you can find.
  6. Decorate with a few pine branches.

Side note… I think this could easily be made into a pineapple… using the pineapple top instead of pine branches and some of the flesh in the cheese mixture instead of cranberries. I will have to come up with something, but I really like the idea and flavor combination. Stay tuned!

April 20, 2011

Buckwheat pancakes with Apples and Cottage Cheese

I love buckwheat pancakes. I remember when I was a kid, my dad used to make huge batches, like millions of them, and as soon as he’s have a few ready, he’d call us: “Y a des galettes de prêtes!” (meaning: some pancakes are ready) We’d all come running and sat down to devour them with loads of molasses while he stood at the stove and kept them coming for as long as we’d eat. Buckwheat pancake mornings always felt like party to me, they made me so happy. Maybe that’s why I still love them so much to this day.

Funny thing is I’m the one making the pancakes now, but I do things a little differently. I only serve them when I’m done cooking the whole batch, save for my dad. As soon as the second one is ready, I serve it to him. Why the second? Because the first one, for some strange reason, never comes out quite right. And my dad only deserves the very best. No way he’s getting that second grade first pancake. And if he wants another one when he’s done eating the first, he gets the next fresh one that comes out of the pan. Molasses gets drizzled very lightly on both sides of the pancake, then I swish it around to get it to soak all the way through. That’s how he likes it.

Of course, buckwheat and molasses is a match made in heaven, a classic! But I am discovering more and more winning combinations. For example, during Lent, I decided that molasses was off limits, too sweet, so I tried almond butter and bananas! YUM! So good! The following, however, would be one of my favorites: Apples, cinnamon and cheese. Just feast your eyes… you’ll more than likely share my opinion!

Buckwheat pancakes
(yields 3-4 large pancakes)

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda


  • In large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add water slowly, whisking constantly, until the batter is very smooth. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or make the day before and leave in the refrigerator overnight).
  • Pour desired amount of batter in a very hot pan or cast iron skillet coated with cooking spray. Wait until pancake  starts to set and bottom is nice and golden then flip. Continue cooking until bottom is golden then transfer to plate.
  • Repeat process until you’re out of batter.


You need approximately one apple per pancake. Simply peel and dice the apples, then cook them in a skillet over medium heat until they start to soften. If you’re like me, you’ll want to add lots of cinnamon!


To assemble, put pancakes nice side down on a plate. Spread about ½ cup low fat cottage cheese in the center, top that with cooked apples and fold each side towards the center.

Garnish with  low fat plain yogurt, apple slices and toasted walnuts. A little drizzle of liquid honey brings the finishing touch to this beautiful dish.

March 21, 2011

Fresh Fig and Cendrillon Pizza

One of the foods I have the most fun experimenting with is pizza. I like creating flavours that are miles away from the usual meat and veggies we are so used to seeing and eating. Since I am a big advocate of the fruit, cheese and nuts combination, this is something I just love throwing on top of a multi-grain home made pizza dough (for which I haven’t found the perfect recipe yet… it’s getting close, I think, but I’m still working on it!)

My inspiration this time was figs. Fresh figs, that is. I thought goat cheese would go well with that. It’s a classic, really. I wanted one that would be strong in taste and that would melt really well and blend in with everything else. I ended up opting for award winning Cendrillon. A little high in fat, you might say, but the trick is not to use too much. Roughly 20 grams did the trick.  Of course, I have also topped my crust with mozzarella… you can’t have pizza without mozzarella, now, can you?

Then I thought dried cranberries would bring a beautiful contrast, both in the taste department with their undeniable sweetness as well as in the colour department with their gorgeous bright red. As for the nut part of the equation, I thought pumpkin seeds would be a winning contributor, with their very delicate taste and sustained crunch factor. Plus, their beautiful green colour made them the obvious choice. Then, for even a little bit more green (and flavour, of course!), as soon as it came out of the oven, I sprinkled a good amount of fresh rosemary leaves.

It was an incredible pizza! Most intriguing to look at, to say the least… although I really wish figs looked better when they’re cooked: their colour is a little bit off. Maybe next time I’ll try and find the purple ones. It might look very different… But as far as the taste is concerned, it was simply awesome. I’d order from a menu anytime! No wait… I’d much rather make my own! Oh, and next time, I won’t be having this one during Lent. A nice glass of red wine would’ve been soooo good with it.