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

jambalaya pasta

lovely jambalaya pasta

This is a great, very versatile recipe that brings in the flavors of Cajun cuisine but instead of serving it with the traditional rice, it is made as a pasta dish. The dish is versatile because as long as you keep the proportions more of less the same, you can change the vegetables and protein- you could use corn or okra instead of carrots and sweet bell peppers if you wanted to. In the same vein, instead of the hot Italian sausage and shrimp I use here, you could use chicken breast, a good quality veggie sausage, or even an equal amount of cooked beans, or any mixture of the above. Just about anything that you cook for an hour or two in this sauce is going to be tasty!

Note about shrimp: many people, including my husband, are particular about seafood. As such, I always prepare my shrimp separately for this dish and add it to the mix at the end.

Jambalaya Pasta
2 cups uncooked penne or other small pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
3 organic hot Italian (or any other) sausage
2 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1 bell pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1 large can tomatoes
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (not needed if you use hot Italian sausage)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
½ cup organic cream

For the Shrimp:
10-15 medium shrimp
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1. In a large saucepan, cook the penne in salted water until very al-dente. The pasta should still have bite to it as you are going to cook it in the jambalaya before serving.

lovely jambalaya pasta
lovely jambalaya pasta

2. Dice the onion, carrot, and parsnip together in a food processor or very fine by hand and set aside. Dice the bell pepper but leave it in larger chunks and set it aside.

3. Slice the sausage in 1 inch medallions. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the the sausage medallions in a single layer and brown on both sides. Remove sausage and set aside.

lovely jambalaya pasta
lovely jambalaya pasta

4. In the remaining oil, sauce the onion/carrot/parsnip mixture with the bell pepper and the garlic on medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent.

5. Add the broth, and while the mixture comes to a boil, scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up all the browned bits from the sausage (this will give great flavor to the sauce).

lovely jambalaya pasta

6. Add the tomatoes, all the seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar. Bring to a boil on medium heat for just a minute, adding the sausage back in at the boiling point. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour, or even longer if you have time.

lovely jambalaya pasta

7. While the jambalaya is simmering, prepare your shrimp. Shell and devein your shrimp, and sprinkle with cajun seasoning. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and saute the shrimp on medium-high heat for just a few minutes, until the flesh is pink and opaque throughout. Set aside until serving time

8. In the last five minutes of simmering your jambalaya, add the pasta and cream to the sauce and stir well. If needed, top up the mixture with a little broth or water, so that the liquid just covers all the contents of the jambalaya.

lovely jambalaya pasta

When serving, plate your jambalaya and add your shrimp and garnish with sour cream. The only thing that makes this dish better is a nice loaf of crusty bread to eat with it. Enjoy!

-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

roots curry

lovely roots

Who doesn’t love a good curry? Well, as it turns out, my husband. Poor fellow. Apparently his dad grew up in a house where the only spice used was curry powder, and as such grew an understandable dislike of the flavor, and thus my husband was never exposed to anything Indian. So sad- I could eat curry three days a week. Maybe four. And thankfully, our baby girl has inherited her mamma’s taste for international cuisine and digs this flavorful dish (see the end of the post for tips for serving this to babies).

lovely roots

I call this meal Roots Curry because it’s made primarily of root vegetables, and also as a little tongue in cheek reference to the very Canadian ingredients for a late winter/early spring seasonal dish. If you aren’t accustomed to making your own curry but enjoy Indian food, do yourself a favor and go out and invest in the necessary spices to do so (Bulk Barn is a great place for exotic spices). Don’t be intimidated- curries are a bit like chilis in that once you have the right spices, the rest is rather forgivable.

Roots Curry
makes 4-6 servings
(T= Tablespoon, t = teaspoon)
Spices :

    3T Curry powder
    2 t sugar
    1t salt
    1t corriander (dried spice, not cilantro leaves)
    1t garam masala
    1t dried ginger
    ½ t cinnamon
    3 bay leaves
    4 whole cloves
    1/3 C butter, divided in two (must use butter or ghee to get the right flavor)
    2 medium onions
    1 small parsnip
    2 small potatoes
    1 medium orange carrot
    1 cup cooked chickpeas
    1 large can tomatoes (or 3 cups of your own canned tomatoes)
    1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
lovely roots

1. Assemble all of your needed spices in a small dish so that they are ready to go when needed.

2. Cube your parsnips, potatoes, and carrots into ½ inch cubes and set aside.

lovely roots

3. Dice your onions very fine (I like to use my food processor).

4. In a large saucepot or dutch oven, melt 1/6 C of butter over medium heat and stir in onions. Cook onions for a few minutes until just starting to become translucent.

5. Add your spices to your onions. What you want to do is stir them into the onions well, and then make sure the onion/spice mixture is evenly spread across the bottom of your pot. This will allow the spices to become nice and aromatic. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring so your spices and onions do not burn.

lovely roots

6. Add your other 1/6 cup of butter, and once it starts to melt add in your root vegetables. Stir the veggies in and make sure they are covered completely by the onion/spice mixture. Saute, stirring frequently to prevent burning, for 3-4 minutes.

lovely roots

7. Add coconut milk and canned tomatoes, and stir well. The liquid should be just covering allt he veggies- if it is not add just enough water to cover. Bring the mixture to a boil only for a moment, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about an hour, until veg is nice and tender and the flavor comes together nicely (and what I like to do is cook the dish for about 45 minutes and then put it in my crockpot on low for another hour or so before dinner to let the spices get even happier).

lovely roots
lovely roots

Before serving, remove bay leaves and give everyone a head’s up to look out for the whole cloves- they won’t hurt you but they’ll be bitter if eaten whole. Serve with basmati rice or preferred grain, and naan bread if you have any on hand. This dish freezes very well; I like to make a nice big batch and freeze in individual servings for lunches.

Tip for babies: For those babies over 9 months and toddlers, this can be a great dish. For our daughter (who is 11 months now) I combine the following in our food processor:
¼ cup cooked rice (or other grain)
½ cup Roots Curry
¼ cup plain, full-fat yogurt

lovely roots

I blend just enough to bring all the ingredients together and make the food into pea-sized lumps, but feel free to blend further for wee ones who still prefer puree. The yogurt helps take a bite out of the spices and gives baby the fat they need in each meal.

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

cream of potato and parsnip soup


lovely soup

Warm weather is coming, but there are still plenty of chilly days and nights left to enjoy a heary bowl of cream soup. With the potatoes, parsnips and cream, I was tempted to name this “Winter White” soup, but I didn’t dare use the “W” word now that we’re officially in Spring!

The great thing about soups is that its a good way to use up some of your veg if its not in its best state. Your taters and parsnips can be a bit soft and not-so-perfect and you can still get a fabulous soup out of them. Hope you enjoy my creation as much as we did!

Cream of Potato and Parsnip Soup
makes four to six servings

3 cups peeled, cubed potatoes

1 medium peeled, cubed parsnip

1 medium onion

½ to 1 clove garlic, to your taste (1 good size local box garlic clove will make this pretty garlicy)

2 Tblsp fat (bacon grease, olive oil, or butter)

1 tsp kosher salt

pepper to taste

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 ½ cups chicken or veg broth

1 Bayleaf

¼ boullion cube disolved in 1/8 cup boiling water

1 Cup cream or milk

1. Peel and cube your potatoes and parsnips and put aside.

lovely soup

2. Dice your onion and garlic fine (I use my food processor)

lovely soup

3. In a large soup pot, melt your fat (I really like bacon grease for this dish) on medium heat. Once melted, simmer your onion and garlic for a few minutes, until onion becomes translucent.

4. Add potatoes and parsnips, salt and pepper, and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 to five minutes.

lovely soup

5. Add white wine and stir well, pulling up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

6. Add bayleaf and chicken broth. Dissolve ¼ chicken boullion cube in 1/8 cup boiling water and add this to the mixture. Bring to a boil.

7. Reduce heat and simmer on a low boil for 20 minutes or until veg are nice and tender.

8. Remove bayleaf and add cream. Stir well and increase heat to allow the soup to just reach a boil, then remove from heat.

9. Blend at least half of the soup, with either a submerssion hand blender or by carefully putting half of the soup into a blender or food processor. Be careful not to burn yourself. I prefer to blend this soup completely, it gives it a lovely thick, smooth texture.

lovely soup

Serve this soup with some of these deliciously easy cheese biscuits, and the white wine you used for the soup. Also nice with this would be a miniature version of the Spring Equinox Salad from a previous post. Bon Apetite!

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

pub pie of cider-braised beef


One my favorite new recipes this winter has been this Cider-Braised Beef Stew recipe I discovered on the local Ontario food blog Seasonal Family. I’ve been making beef stew for years, but had never thought of using apple cider to braise the beef. It makes the already-enticing bowl of steaming comfort food all the more delicious by making it both savory and sweet! Yum!

This week, I was coming up on making it for the third time this month, and wanted a way to make it a bit different. I decided to turn it into a Pub Pie (basically a single-crust pot pie) with a whole wheat crust. The Stew is fabulous on its own and if you don’t want to bother with a crust, simply skip down to the stew directions and enjoy it with some good, crusty bread. But if you have the time to make the crust, I think you’ll find it’s worth it!

You’ll want to make the whole wheat crust first.

Nicole’s Whole Wheat Pie Crust

1 ½ cup soft whole wheat flower
½ cup very cold butter (best if you can put it in the freezer for half hour before you use it)
2 t kosher salt
2 t sugar
6-8 T iced cold milk

1. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar into a medium-sized bowl.
2. Using a box grater, quickly grate the butter into the flour and mix briefly.


3. Spring the milk 2 T at a time over the flour/butter mixture, using a fork to lightly stir until the flour is sufficiently moist to form the dough into a ball with as little handling as possible.
4. Form dough into a disc and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.

Cider-Braised Beef Stew

For the Beef Stew, use the ingredients and directions listed here, with these few deviations:

1. I use ½ a cube of beef boullion in the 2 cups of water
2. I braise the beef in the cider and bouillion- water with the onions only for an hour before adding the other vegetables.

chopped onions
chopped onion braise

I find this allows the beef to get very tender without the veg getting over-cooked.
3. Instead of 3 carrots, I used:
½ medium parsnip
1 small orange carrot
1 small yellow carrot

parsnip & carrots

1 russet potato


4. You may need to add more water once you’ve added the veggies, depending on how much your liquid cooked-down while the meat was braising.


To make the Pub Pie:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. When the beef stew is done, find a casserole dish of any shape that will just hold the contents of the stew, with only an inch or less to spare at the top of the dish.

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a shape that will fit the top of your casserole dish.


Place it atop the dish with as little handling as possible, cut a few slits in the top for ventilation, and bake the dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until he crust is golden brown.

This was simply delicious and we enjoyed it with some fresh-made local bread and a glass of Waterloo Dark beer. I hope some of you have an opportunity to enjoy this fabulous dish and put your loft box veg to great use!

ready to eat

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

beef stew

You had to know a beef stew recipe was inevitable given all the fall root veg. Well, here it is. We had it for dinner tonight and it was really delicious. Slow cooker to the rescue. I was frazzled trying to get everything chopped and into the cooker this morning on top of getting everyone fed, dressed, blah blah blah, but coming home to a completely cooked meal was worth it.

This made great use of parsnips, jerusalem artichokes (which I put in unpeeled in place of turnip), potatoes and carrots. And truth be told, I forgot the potatoes in my haste and it was still great. Warm and perfect with a hunk of bread. Also noteworthy: I was too lazy to brown the beef and just threw it in the slow cooker raw, as is. And I had no peas or beans. Still great.

Old-Fashioned Beef & Root Vegetable Stew

From The Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection
Makes 8 to 10 servings

2 lbs stewing beef cubes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 each onions, carrots and parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup cubed, peeled rutabaga
3 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried marjoram or thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh, if you’ve got some)
3/4 tsp each salt and pepper
2 cups frozen chopped green beans or peas

Trim beef and cut into 1-inch cubes, if necessary. In large bowl, toss beef with 1/4 cup of the flour. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown beef, in batches. Trasnfer to slow cooker

Add 1/2 cup water to skillet. Bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom. Scrape into slow cooker along with onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and rutabaga. Stir in broth, bay leaves, marjoram/thyme, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low until beef and veg are tender, about 7 to 8 hours. Skim off any fat. Move meat and veg to one side of slow cooker.

Whisk remaining flour with 1/3 cup water; whisk into liquid in slow cooker. Stir in peas/beans.

Cover and cook on high until thickened and steaming hot, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

beef stew

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.

roasted veg

Roasted a chicken for dinner last night and, to go with it, made this amazingly delicious roasted veg with warm vinaigrette. The recipe comes from Anna Olson’s cookbook Fresh. Highly recommend.

You can use carrots, squash (any kind works) and parsnips from this week’s bag/box for this recipe. If you can get your hands on celeriac elsewhere, it’s worth adding. Otherwise, just add a few more carrots and parsnips and skip it. I still had a few shallots from a few bags back, so they were put to good use here, too. Leftovers were really good on a bed of greens for lunch. Yum, yum. A keeper.

Roasted Root Vegetables

1 cup peeled and diced carrot
1 cup peeled and diced parsnip
1 cup diced celery root
1 Delicata squash, seeded and diced
2 shallots, sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Warm Vinaigrette

1 + 6 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. For roasted vegetables, toss carrot, parsnip, celery root and squash with shallots, olive oil and thyme and season lightly. Place in an 8-cup baking dish and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are equally tender. Remove thyme sprigs.

3. For vinaigrette, heat 1 tbsp oil and saute shallot for one minute over medium heat. Whisk in mustard, vinegar and rosemary and reduce heat to low. Whisk in remaining 6 tbsp oil in a slow drizzle and season to taste.

4. Toss warm roasted vegetables with warm vinaigrette, garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve.

sweet potatoes

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.