Mushroom Barley Soup

Just another RAINY Winter day in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia! We have more than our fair share of them! Cold, blustery  Winter days call for hot soup!
I had a bit  of pot barley feeling all lonely in the back of the pantry, a bounty of lovely green kale in the fridge along with some mushrooms that I wanted to use up. I googled Mushroom Kale and Barley Soup and found myself at Taste Food’s recipe for Mushroom Barley Soup with Miso and Kale. I only had BC White Mushrooms on hand and will definitely make this recipe again using a variety of mushrooms!
Mushroom and Barley Soup with Miso and Kale

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
8 ounces Mushrooms, assorted variety, sliced
4 Fresh Garden Carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 cup Barley
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
8 cups (2 litres) Vegetable Stock
*I use 8litres of water and 4 McCormick All Vegetable Stock Cubes
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 cups Kale leaves, stem removed and leaves chopped
1 Tablespoon Red Miso Paste

Heat oil in a large pot over med-high heat.
Add onion and sauté for a few minutes.
Add  minced garlic, mushrooms, and carrots;   sauté for another 2 – 3 minutes.
Add barley and thyme; stir to coat.
Add stock, bay leaf and pepper.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until barley is tender – about 30 minutes.
Stir in kale.
Continue cooking until kale turns bright green and wilts, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in miso paste.
Serve hot.

Serves 4 – 6

Fried Rice Edamame

I had made some Baked Brown Rice a few days ago  and left with quite a bit leftover; had a scour through the fridge to see what I could make using the rice. hmmm…let’s see: celery, onions, carrots, edamame…Fried Rice! Minus the typical fish sauce and eggs you find in most Fried Rice offerings. Yum!
Gathering ingredients to make Edamame Fried Rice

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Ginger, grated or 1/2 teaspoon dried Ginger powder
2 stalks Celery, sliced on the diagonal
2 Fresh Carrots, scrubbed and sliced thinly on the diagonal
8 ounces Frozen Edamame
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
2 cups cooked Brown Rice
Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste

In a small bowl or a measuring cup combine soy sauce, sesame oil and ground pepper; set aside.
In large (12″ or 30cm) deep skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat.
Add onions and cook for about 3 minutes.
Increase  heat slightly and add minced garlic, ginger, celery, carrot and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add rice, the soy sauce mixture and edamame; stir constantly until heated through.
If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a bit of sliced green onion.

Serves 4

Edamame Fried Rice



Clean Chop Suey – No Fish Sauce here!

Oh, sometimes I just crave Chinese Food. I have long since learned that I can’t eat the stuff in the restaurants due to a long list food insensitivities. Good thing I can cook up my own version of the stuff in my own clean kitchen! I used to own an electric wok but that has long since vacated my appliance storage cupboard; I now just use a large, deep skillet on the stove top.

Clean Chop Suey
Clean Chop Suey

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, mashed
1 teaspoon Ginger Root, grated
2 stalks Celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 Garden Fresh Carrots, scrubbed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 stalks Broccoli, cut into reasonable sized chunks
1/2 head of Cauliflower, cut into reasonable sized chunks
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 McCormick’s Vegetable Stock Cube
1 can (796ml) Bean Sprouts, drained –  can use Fresh Sprouts
1 can (227ml) Sliced Water Chestnuts, drained
1 Tablespoon Water
1 1/2 teaspoon Corn Starch

Cashews or Peanuts, to garnish

In large, deep sided skillet, heat oil over med -high heat.
Add onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add garlic, cook and stir frequently for another minute.
Increase heat to High, add ginger root, celery and carrots; stir frequently.
Add broccoli and cauliflower; stir and cook for a minute.
Drizzle sesame oil and soy sauce over all, stir well and continue cooking.
Add vegetable stock cube, bean sprouts and water chestnuts – mash stock cube onto bottom of pan; cook and stir constantly for a few minutes.
Quickly combine the Tablespoon of cold water and the cornstarch in a small bowl; add to skillet and stir continually until liquid thickens and goes clear.

Sprinkle with blanched, unsalted cashews or peanuts.

Serves 6

Key to cooking Chop Suey is to have all the ingredients prepared and ready to hit the pan!
Key to cooking Chop Suey is to have all the ingredients prepared and ready to hit the pan!





Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

My husband bought a whack of dog treats last week as our puppy, Samwise had his first night of training lessons. Samwise is like a garbage bin and will eat just about anything!  However, Bear, his 3 year old brother, turned his nose up at all three packets of treats. We can’t have one dog getting treats and not the other so I headed to the kitchen to make Bear his own special treats…of course he is a good dog and he DOES share with his lil brother.
I do have another favourite recipe that I use but I felt a need for change; googled peanut butter dog treats and came up with this recipe from . I liked this recipe a bit better than my old one because the dough is easier to handle and the biscuits don’t crumble so much when you break them into bite size pieces.

dog biscuits
Our dogs love Peanut Butter! These Peanut Butter Biscuits are perfect for them

1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Bacon Fat
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
2 cups Flour
3/4 cup Water

Preheat oven to 325F.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

In mixing bowl, combine egg, peanut butter, bacon fat, water,  and mozza cheese.
Stir in flour, a little at a time and continue stirring until a soft dough forms – you may have to use your hands to aid this process.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and gather into a ball; knead a few times until smooth and uniform.
Roll out to 1/4″ thickness and use cookie cutter to cut into shapes.
Gather scraps and gently knead into a ball, flatten into a disc and re roll the dough, cut more biscuits. Try not to use too much flour on your work surface.
Place biscuits on prepared baking trays and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield:  About 3 dozen biscuits



Cheater Pizza

Whenever Rising Crust Four Cheese Pizzas are on sale I grab a few and keep them in the freezer for the nights we are craving Take Out Pizza. Sometimes it is Delmonte Pizzas, sometimes Western Family – I don’t see much of a difference. I have also tried the new thin crust ones and they are fabulous!  I add my own fresh ingredients to jazz it up!

Better than Take Out Pizza
Better than Take Out Pizza

Frozen Four Cheese Pizza
Fresh Spinach, a few handfuls
1 Tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup Green Pepper, diced
6 Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Feta Cheese or a sprinkle of Fresh Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Basil

Heat oven to 425F  with Pizza stone in the oven.

Remove pizza from packaging.
Layer on sliced mushrooms, spinach, green pepper, tomato fresh cheese and dried basil.
Using a Pizza Paddle (or the cardboard disc the pizza came on) slide pizza onto heated pizza stone (or directly onto oven rack)
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Slice and serve!