apple parsnip breakfast bread

lovely bread

I have an 11 month old baby girl, and morning comes pretty early around our house. It’s nice to have something healthy on hand for breakfast on mornings when you just don’t feel like bothering with making oatmeal or eggs.
This is one such recipe. We’re all familiar with carrot cakes, muffins, and breads, but carrot’s cousin parsnip does well in these recipes, too. The following is one I recently came up with, and it is delicious and moist. I like to make two loaves at a time because, as you can imagine, this gets eaten for more than just breakfast and tends to disappear pretty quickly.

Apple Parsnip Breakfast Bread

lovely bread

Makes 2 loaves
2 extra large eggs (if you have med or large, you should use three)
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup maple syrup
1 1/3 cup olive or canola oil
1 teasp vanilla extract
3 cups grated parsnips
1 cup grated apple
3 cups flour
1 ½ teasp baking soda
2 teasp cinnamon
2 teasp nutmeg
1 teasp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

lovely bread
lovely bread

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9×5 loaf pans and set aside.

2. In a very large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the sugar, maple syrup. Stir in oil and vanilla.

3. Mix shredded parsnips and carrots into egg and oil mixture, mix well.

lovely bread

4. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients, including walnuts.

lovely bread

5. Add the dry mixture to the wet in thirds, mixing well after each addition, but not stirring more than needed.

6. Fill the loaf pans with the mixture, and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.

lovely bread

7. Let rest in the loaf pans for five minutes, then carefully remove loafs onto a cutting board, turn them on their sides, and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

lovely bread

I hope you enjoy this delicious and nutritious breakfast treat!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

traditional spinach salad

lovely spinach salad

When I was in college I worked in the kitchen of a very old-fashioned eatery. The restaurant had been in the same family for five generations, and some items had been on the menu for decades. We served things like creamed cod, old-fashioned homemade chicken pot pies, lobster bisque, and spinach salad. Not the spinach salads you see today, with strawberries and chicken, served with a new-fangled raspberry vinaigrette. No, sir. The old-fashioned spinach salad with artery-clogging bacon and hard-boiled egg, a hearty helping of raw onion and a thick, sugar-and-mayonnaise-based dressing.

lovely spinach salad

When I saw the lovely baby spinach in my combo box last week, I started craving this old-fashioned salad and got to work at making it. I am trying to avoid eating refined sugar right now and I was out of mayonnaise, so I reinvented the dressing and it turned out scrumptious.

Traditional Spinach Salad
makes one dinner-sized salad
2 cups firmly-packed baby spinach
2 strips of organic bacon
1 organic hard-boiled egg
10 very thin red onion slices (or to taste)

Dressing
¼ cup organic plain yogurt
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoon maple syrup

lovely spinach salad

1. To make your dressing, whisk together the ingredients and refrigerate while you create the rest of the salad.

2. Cook your bacon until nice and crispy, drain and cool on a paper towel. When cool, dice into bits.

3. Unlike other salads, I do not like to mix and toss this salad with the dressing, but rather prefer to plate the salad greens and dress the salad with the other ingredients, sprinkling the dressing on at the end.

lovely spinach salad

I enjoyed this meal with a nice slice of homemade bread and butter. Hope you have a chance to enjoy this traditional Spinach salad soon!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

roasted root vegetables with maple balsamic glaze

lovely root veggies

I have been wanting for some time now to make some roasted root vegetables with the weekly bounty from my local box, but unfortunately my husband only likes root vegetables if they are drowned in beef stew or some other concoction that will hide the fact that they are, in fact, vegetables. My mother was in town this week, however, and I decided to make them, figuring I would at least have one other person to enjoy them with me.

Roasting root vegetables is as easy as cutting them into relatively uniform pieces, covering them with your fat of choice (olive oil is nice) and some salt, and cooking them in a roasting pan or baking tray on high heat until done. While this basic roasting technique is great, I wanted to add a little something extra to make them special. I came up with a maple balsamic glaze, and it turned out delicious!

Roasted Root Vegetables with Maple Balsamic Glaze
makes four servings
3 yellow carrots
2 orange carrots
3 parsnips
olive oil (about two tablespoons)
kosher salt

Maple Balsamic Glaze
1 tsp olive oil
4 Tblspn maple syrup
1 Tblspn balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel and cut your root vegetables into uniform pieces. I like to make large julienne pieces, about the size and shape of french fries, but you could just as easily make nice thick coins or squares.

lovely root veggies

3. Cover the veggies with just enough olive oil to coat well. Place them in a roasting pan or a baking tray with a lip, in a single layer (important!). Sprinkle with kosher salt.

lovely root veggies

4. Bake on centre rack, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until your veggies are tender and browned, turning them once or twice to get a nice all-over browning.

lovely root veggies

5. While the veggies are roasting, make your glaze. Simply mix the ingredients in a small dish and whisk them together.

lovely root veggies

6. At around the 40 minute mark, remove your veggies from the oven and sprinkle or brush your glaze generously over the veggies (but don’t make pools in the pan, that will be too much). Toss them and return to the oven.

7. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes or until the glaze has caramelized and the veggies are browned, tender, and delicious-looking. Serve immediately as a side dish with any meat-and-potato dish or just eat them on their own!

lovely root veggies

It turns out they were so good (tasted like candy!) that even my beloved, veggie-fearing husband loved them and ate them up! Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

spring equinox salad with black radish vinaigrette

 

lovely salad

Spring has sprung! And while sometimes in Ontario the first few days of spring can still feel like the middle of winter, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate the new season with a beautiful green salad, thanks to the local, organic lettuce and other fresh produce that comes in your local organic food box.

black radish

I was first introduced to the beautiful black radish last week, and I confess I did not know what it was when I first saw it. Once I found out it was a radish, I was excited! I love the earthy, crisp flavor the bite of a radish gives to a fresh salad, and my thoughts turned immediately to creating a new vinaigrette. I started making my own salad dressings a few years ago and haven’t looked back- the bottled stuff pales in comparison once you have enjoyed the real deal.
You’ll want to make the vinaigrette first, as you will use it as a marinade for your chicken and you can allow it to refrigerate and get happy while your salad makes.

black radish vinaigrette

Nicole’s Black Radish Vinaigrette
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 black radish
1/8 apple
3 tblspn maple syrup
2 1/2 tblspn dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
Peel your radish and cut half of it in chunks and place it in your food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. (if you do not have a food processor a blender could work, and if you’re really old-school and have neither appliance, you can simply dice the apple and radish very fine and whisk the ingredients together).

Spring Equinox Salad

lovely carrots
lovely lettuce

Note about ingredients: I do not usually list ingredient amounts for salads, as its really to your liking and how many people you are trying to feed with the salad.
Organic chicken breast, cubed
local, greenhouse boston lettuce
yellow carrots
orange carrots
apple
walnuts
blue cheese
croutons
1. Heat a frying pat to medium high heat while you toss your cubed chicken breast in just enough of the Black Radish vinaigrette to coat.
*Note about vinaigrette: I find that marinades made with apple cider vinegar can be delicious, but unlike other marinades you do not want to refrigerate the chicken in this vinaigrette before cooking. Apple cider marinades should be applied just before cooking or it can make your meat mushy, and who wants that?

2. When pan is nice and hot, cook the chicken until its nice and browned, remove and set aside.

lovely chicken

3. Tear your lettuce and slice the remaining fruit and veg into a medium sized bowl, along with your walnuts, croutons, and blue cheese.
4. Add your chicken breast and just enough of the Black Radish vinaigrette to coat, and toss.

lovely bowl of goodies

5. Plate your salad and enjoy with some fresh local bread.

time to eat

Happy Spring Everyone!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller