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the musical fruit

7 Apr

A don’t have a name for this recipe other than “bean wraps” or “bean bowl” but that sounds quite bland and unappetizing for a dish as fresh and delicious as this one. Just some simple ingredients but such wonderful flavor.

What’s great is no stove or oven is required and it’s gluten-free too…so that means Hannah you have to try it!

Such a simple recipe it seems silly to post it, but look at those colors…can’t you just taste them?!


  1. Can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  2. Avocado
  3. Salsa
  4. Cheese
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Cilantro
  7. anything else that looks good in the fridge…spinach, peppers

I just love how fresh the cilantro and avocado taste together…hard to believe I never ate avocado before moving to California.  Now I can’t imagine the fruit bowl on the counter without it.

  • Once beans are rinsed and drained, microwave so they heat right through
  • Mash them ’til smooth

  • Chop up all ingredients and put in tortilla wrap and pop the wrap in microwave until warm.

Now that I’m Ms.Celiac I can’t have flour tortilla wraps so I just throw it all in a bowl and warm it up.  I actually prefer it this way. No bland tortilla getting in the way of the robust flavors popping in my mouth. So take that gluten! I’m not crying over you now!


let us eat cake!

22 Jan

One of my finds from a yard sale today was this sweet little candleholder set. It’s recreated from a 1950’s cake set and I actually saw this at the store Restoration Hardware last year. I thought it would be great to add to my ‘birthday tradition’ items  until I saw the price tag of $16…I convinced myself that it wasn’t that cute!

But today low and behold I spotted it one of the many unbelievable (in a good way) Yard Sales that were in the Village. I’ll have to post more on my amazing finds soon.

Anyways, saw this candleholder set at the yard sell and it really is cute! Adding to the cuteness factor were 2 things, #1- it had never been used #2- .50 cents. Didn’t need to put on my bargaining hat for that one!

G thought they were pretty nifty…

I thought if these are not an excuse to make a delicious gluten-free carrot cake than I don’t know what is!  No need to twist this girl’s arm!

As G and I were licking the cream cheese frosting off the mixer paddles (I can’t EVER go back on the promise I made to myself in my childhood days- that one day when I was a mama I would always let my children lick the paddle. As long as I got one too of course!). Anyways, as we were licking away I was thinking how absolutely delicious this homemade cream cheese icing is and that it really would be great on many cakes, not just carrot. Why did I ever buy icing in a can when this one is quick, simple and sooo much better?  This is the recipe I used and not one to forget!

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, grated and juiced
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add icing sugar and beat at low speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla, grated lemon rind, and lemon juice until smooth.

On lemon cupcakes these would be delish! If I omitted the fresh lemon this icing would make a chocolate cake decadent.  Add some fresh pureed strawberries to this, top some vanilla cupcakes and oh la la!

Now time to start the animal parade…


20 Jan

oh how i love the colors of our farmer’s market produce…

I made up some of my favorite salad dressing with the fragrant, bright green bunches of fresh basil that I bought from our favorite stand. This recipe is from the cookbook ‘rebar’ that Isabel bought me for my wedding shower years ago. A great cookbook from the restaurant ‘rebar’ in Victoria, BC…predominately vegetarian with very cool recipes.  I still really love opening up this cookbook Isabel and trying out their recipes…makes me think of you in your bright teal kitchen in Nanaimo!

This dressing makes even simple salad of spinach leaves and avocado taste ‘restaurant-style’ excellent, if I do say so myself!

basil vinaigrette
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced…often i just use 1 garlic clove or none if i don’t want stinky breath the next day, but in the cases where we are having people over i do use the required amount as it really adds to the flavor
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh basil leaves (i just use a BIG handful)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
    Combine all ingredients, except oil, in food processor and blend. Slowly add olive oil once all ingredients are throughly processed.
    This can be refrigerated up to 3 or 4 days
    Also, this is really tasty over baby potatoes!

While I made this dressing, G sat outside enjoying his favorite Farmer’s Market  buy…kettle corn! SO ADDICTIVE!

Muffin Man

12 Jan

As much as I love my job and enjoy spending my 2 days a week teaching kids PE outside in the California sun, I wouldn’t trade anything for my mornings at home with G.  Teaching him. The days when we skip the errands, skip the gym, skip the household ‘to dos’ and just go with the flow of whatever we feel like doing next.  Today we felt like baking.

I just had to insert a pic of 2 of my Christmas gifts from Travis…my oven mits and my rolling pin. Oh how I love that Travis knows I will love anything from Anthropologie! Definitely my favorite store.

Lately George has been my little kitchen helper.  Doing the dishes, sweeping the floors, helping me cook and bake. So today we tied our aprons around us and made my favorite Honey Bran Muffins from The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook. Unfortunately since going Gluten-Free I am unable to savor these yummy, but healthy muffins but since Travis enjoys them and it’s a great way to get Bran and Fiber in G, we baked up a batch. So handy to freeze some of these separately and then just pull out of freezer and put in lunches over the next couple weeks.

While adding ingredients to my mixing bowl I noticed a few ingredients being driven away. Hmmm…..

Looks like the tow truck, dump truck, and old ambulance have joined our baking session…

Still warm from the oven, will this boy like these filled-with-goodness muffins?


Oh I just can’t get enough of this dirty face…YUM!

Carrot Soup

15 Dec

Today I had to put on a sweatshirt. By California standards that means it’s a winter’s day and thus time to make some soup.

This is perhaps my favorite soup recipe. The goodness and sweetness of lots of carrots, the hint of curry, and the creaminess that the rice gives it, instead of using cream.

#1- It’s delicious #2- It’s healthy #3- It’s very orange (that’s for you Kristina!)


  1. Saute onions in butter ’til translucent.
  2. Add carrots, rice, toss ’til coated.
  3. Add curry and chicken stock (I used to skimp on the curry…BIG MISTAKE. Now i make it with the required amount plus a little extra and it makes it taste MUCH better.)
  4. Simmer ’til tender. Add salt.
  5. Puree 1/3 at a time in blender.
  6. Return to pan and add milk and heat

* Do not boil

* If vegetarian, can substitute veggie broth

*I always double this recipe to make enough for one meal and then a leftover lunch.

company’s coming!

18 Oct

Yahoo…it’s October which means time for Shannon and Jamie’s annual California/Vegas trip.  Sure love when family comes to stay with us.  Time to fill the fridge and do some baking. Thought I’d try this Flourless Chocolate Cake…inspired by the chocolate souffle served with coconut ice cream that the ‘private chef’ served us on Friday night.

This was really easy and quick to make, and it can be baked up to 2 days in advance; refrigerated and brought to room temperature before indulging in.

– 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan

– 1/4 cocoa powder, plus more for pan

– 1/4 cup heavy cream

– 8 oz chocolate (I used bittersweet choco chips)

– 5 large eggs

– 1 cup granulated sugar

– Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.

– In medium saucepan, heat the butter with heavy cream over med-low heat until butter is melted.

–  Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat; time for a taste test.

– In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and cocoa powder; whisk in the chocolate mixture.

– Pour batter into the pan and bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Don’t poke with toothpick like I did, will deflate the nice-looking puff!  Let cool in pan for 1 hour.  Run a knife around the edge of cake before unmolding.

Serve with this…

Now just try and hold off from any nibbling while waiting for the company to arrive. George and I didn’t have quite enough willpower…I’ll blame it on George.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Oct

Preparing for our Canuck Thanksgiving meal today.  Mmmmm the smells lingering in the house sure are good.

Out of all my recipe books (and I love every kind of recipe book) I would have to say this Canadian Living Cookbook is one of the best.  Is it because it makes me think of “home-home” when cooking from it? Maybe.  But it’s also just a great book to have in one’s kitchen.

As G and T washed their bikes in the warm sun, I sat outside and peeled apples for our Apple Crisp…always makes me think of Mom and Shannon when making this delicious dessert. And so easy to make, no recipe required for this one. Just oats, apples, butter, brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon.  Naturally Gluten Free too!

George came over to eat a few pieces of apple that had some brown sugar and cinnamon mixed in with them so I joined him…

Mmm, what a great dessert to have just like that. We had to peel a few more apples by the time G and I nibbled away! And the crumble on top? Another thing I could just eat and eat before it even bakes in the oven!

Travis and George made their Pumpkin Pie first thing this morning. One-step pumpkin pie with the puree and other delicious ingredients.


Yes, George does have bottoms on!

Yes, Travis is wearing my apron!

While that baked I had a few other things to make…

Not bad looking for Gluten free eh?

Mom’s delicious stuffing recipe…After 6 months of omitting dairy, eggs, and citrus from my diet (along with gluten for the last 10 months) I decided to make an exception with dairy for this Thanksgiving weekend.

It was Mom’s stuffing recipe that made me realize it is not a real Thanksgiving meal without the butter added to these dishes. Oh-my-goodness how I have missed you dairy! Not sure what my plan is with regards to my dairy-relationship after this weekend of indulging in it but I must say, dairy…especially you butter, you make a meal complete!

So at this point, the turkey roasts, the cranberry sauce and pies are done, and the rest I’ll do in haste minutes before our friends arrive. Although we are not “home-home” I am so very thankful for our life in Canada and our life here in California.  So many blessings both here and there.

I can imagine right now what is going on at home.  Outside the air will be crisp and fresh, calm and quiet except for the leaves rustling and the horses running in the fields…

Meanwhile, in the Dick-Household…kids running up and down the stairs, inside and outside, racing to the field to see the horses, and then racing to jump on the trampoline.  Running in a line, chasing each other, their yelling and high-pitched voices muffling the sound of the screen doors slamming as they run in and out.  Meanwhile in the kitchen…Shannon will be nibbling on mom’s stuffing.  Preggo Kristina will be pouring the wine (and perhaps sneaking a sip or two).  Laura will be starting to make a recipe that she’s been meaning to try for months and will have all the ingredients in a bag somewhere in the back of the Michigan station wagon that she’s trying to find.  Shannon will nibble on more stuffing.  Dad will be pacing back and forth yelling at the grandkids to slow down (meanwhile loving the chaos) and telling his daughters to quit talking so loud (meanwhile loving the chaos) while Josh blares his Shania Twain CD upstairs.  All the while the bro-in-laws will be doing their own thing while Mom will be stirring, and making, and baking in the midst of the chaos. Oh how I miss home!

But, this is home too…and a wonderful one at that!  So many great friends here and a life that we have established that we love and enjoy every day.  So, on this Thanksgiving I thank God for both our “homes” and the blessings in our lives.

And for these sweet little hands that are even more delicious than the pumpkin pie!