Banana Chocolate Chip Hazelnut (Filbert) Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 31-10-2008

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The other day I was in a grocery store in the baking looking to buy some nuts. I found the hazel nuts and decided to get some. However after checking the expiry date I noticed that all the packages on the shelf were just slightly past their best before date. I decided to get three bags. I asked at customer service if since they were expired nuts I could get some kind of discount on them. The customer service lady made a phone call, and then said yes, 50% off all the expired ones. This delighted me. It was a little risky because I know nuts can go rancid. However once home, it was discovered that they were still good.

Since we have so many hazel nuts in the house, I decided to make some muffins with them. Here is the recipe I came up with. Enjoy.

Banana Chocolate Chip Hazelnut (Filbert) Muffins

Makes 12 very large (medium muffins)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose (white four)

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup skim milk

2 tsp white vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp rum (or rum extract)

1 cup lightly packed-loose brown sugar

2 large eggs

½ cup flaked/finely chopped hazelnuts (filberts)

½-¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

About 1.5 cups of frozen or fresh banana pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Prepare muffin tins. In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix well. Add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips and mix well. Set aside. In a blender add the banana, egg, milk, vinegar, oil, vanilla extract, and rum. Blend until smooth. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture, and mix until completely combined. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for about until slightly golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. (About 20-35 minutes).

Zesty Turkey Chili

Filed Under (Cooking, Supper) by Lisa on 28-10-2008

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Tonight I was in the mood for trying to cook something new. I decided to make chili. I am normally not a fan of beans in any way shape or form. However in this chili they were divine. I served the chili with store bought garlic bread on the side. If it is too spicy try adding extra sour cream to your bowl. Also drinking a glass of milk on the side will help with the heat.

Zesty Turkey Chili

Takes about 1 hour 20 minutes to make (max)


Medium sized package of extra lean ground turkey

1 tbsp taco seasoning

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp dried oregano flakes

1 tsp dried parsley flakes

1 tsp chipotle pepper

1 tsp salt plus a few extra shakes

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

2 packages of vegetable bouillon prepared according to package

1 medium white onion

2 tbsp fresh minced chives

1 red pepper

1 carrot

2 garlic cloves minced

1 fresh tomato

½ zucchini

1 cup frozen corn

398 ml brown beans

156 ml tomato paste

A few peas

About ¼ cup medium salsa

1 (7 oz can chopped green Chile peppers)

water (add if it is too thick once everything else except sour cream is in pot)

1 cup light sour cream

Large bowl grated cheddar cheese

Multi grain tortilla chips

Heat the oil in large pot on medium heat. Place the ground turkey in the pot and cook until brown. Add all the spices and herbs, onion and chives, and cook for a few minutes. While this is cooking prepare all the vegetables including chili peppers. Set aside. Prepare the 2 packages of vegetable bouillon according to package. Add to pot. Now add all the vegetables. Stir occasionally. Now add the tomato paste (with a little extra water), salsa, and beans. Boil for 5-10 minutes (the longer the better). Then add the sour cream and simmer for min 15 minutes. Serve with broken up multi grain tortilla chips, and cheddar cheese.


Lasagna Dinner

Filed Under (Cooking, Pasta, Supper) by Lisa on 25-10-2008

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Yesterday I was in the mood for pasta, so I decided to make a lasagna. I served it with green salad and garlic bread. Here is the recipe.


1 package ground beef

1 carrot grated

1 medium white onion

Fresh chives

3 stalks celery

Frozen spinach

Water Cress

1 medium sized tomato

1 red pepper

1 package of whole grain lasagna noodles

1 large bowl of grated cheddar cheese



Parsley (dried flakes)

Basil (dried flakes)

Dill (dried flakes)

Crushed red pepper flakes


Your favorite tomato based pasta sauce 700ml

Louisiana hot sauce

Prepare vegetables, chives and watercress (chop to desired size). On medium to high heat in some extra virgin olive oil fry the ground beef. Once it is nicely browned add all the spices and herbs. Stir well for a couple minutes. Now add your prepared vegetables. Cook until nicely tender and brown. Now add the Louisiana hot sauce, ketchup, and pasta sauce. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. While you are doing this get a large pot out and sprinkle olive oil in it. Fill it with cold water, and add a few shakes of salt to it. Bring to a boil and add the lasagna noodles. Cook or about 8 minutes or until soft (caution do not over cook them though, they will also get baked in the oven so they don’t have to be perfectly soft). Once the noodles are cooked, drain and run over cool water (to make them easy to handle). Now grease a baking pan with olive oil. Now layer the bottom with noodles. Then put a layer of meat mixture on top of this. Now add a layer of cheddar. Repeat whole layering procedure once again. When you are done you should have a layer of noodles on top. Sprinkle cheddar on top of this. Bake in your preheated oven at 350 degrees, for 30-45 minutes.

Below are some images of the dinner.

Fall in Nanaimo

Filed Under (Personal) by Lisa on 23-10-2008

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The weather on Vancouver Island, is cool, crisp, and sunny. The trees are various shades of red, brown, and gold. Here is a little taste of what I see when I go outside these days. Enjoy.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Filed Under (Beverages) by Lisa on 21-10-2008

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Today in the spirit of trying to improve my health (immune system) I decided to make myself a healthy smoothie. Here is the recipe.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

One large banana (peeled)

6-10 frozen or fresh strawberries

100 g no fat vanilla yogurt

100 g no fat strawberry yogurt

1 ½- 1 ¾ cup skim milk (or more if needed)

1 teaspoon lime juice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes two large sized glasses of smoothie.

Below is an image of the smoothie.

Butchart Gardens Fall 2008

Filed Under (Personal) by Lisa on 20-10-2008

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A week or so ago I went to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC with a friend. I had not been there in about 12 years and it was summer time then, so this was a new experience for me. It was even more beautiful then I remembered it. The many colors of the trees makes the garden even more enchanting. I thoroughly enjoyed the garden, and hope to check it out in the spring. Here are a few photos from that day.

The sunken garden.

Some of the many arbors and archways (perhaps for weddings)..

The lovely fountains

The colors of fall

Mango and Peach Fizz

Filed Under (Beverages) by Lisa on 20-10-2008

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Today I decided to try another recipe from my favorite cookbook; Reader’s Digest Low-Calorie cookbook. I picked the mango, peach, and apricot fizz recipe on page 17. I omitted the apricot and substituted ginger ale for club soda. The drink turned out okay, but it was too fibrous and pulpy for me (not smooth). It is a very healthy drink, but I am not sure I would make it again. Here is my version of this recipe.

Mango and Peach Fizz

1 ripe mango

1 ripe peach

1 mandarin orange

2 ½-3 cups club soda

1 tbsp real lime juice

Peal the mango and slice into small pieces. Peal the peach (if desired I did not), and cut into small pieces. Peel the orange. Place all fruit in a blender and add the club soda and real lime juice. Blend, and serve over ice.

Below is an image of this beverage. The red bits are from the peach skin. If I did make this recipe again I would use less mango (maybe ½ instead of a full mango).

Tagliatelle with Green Sauce

Filed Under (Pasta, Supper) by Lisa on 19-10-2008

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A few nights ago I was in the mood for pasta. I found a recipe in one of my favorite cook books: Reader’s Digest Low-Calorie Cookbook (page 139) Tagliatelle with Green Sauce.

The recipe intrigued me so I gave it a try. This was my first time making this type of pasta, and I must say, I love it! I will be making this recipe again. It was also a big hit with my mom. Enjoy!

Note: I did add a few things to the original recipe. This is the original recipe with my additions.

Tagliatelle with Green Sauce

10 oz baby spinach

3 oz watercress (remove thick stems)

1 cup frozen peas

1 pound fresh tagliatelle

3 tsp corn starch

1 cup no fat sour cream

4 tbsp dry flaked parsley

1 tbsp basil



A few stalks of green onion minced

A small amount of minced chives

¼ cup water

A few shakes of red pepper flakes

A few shakes of garlic powder

Rinse the first two ingredients and place in a pot with only the water that remains on the leaves. Cover and cook on medium heat until the vegetables wilt (3-5 minutes). Add the peas and cook through. Drain the greens and save the liquid for later. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta in it according to package directions (about 8 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached). Drain, set aside covered. In the pot where the vegetables had been cooking blend the sour cream and corn starch into a paste. Add the ¼ cup water. Add the basil, parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir on medium heat until bubbles start to form. Then add the greens, including the green onion and chives (as well as the spinach watercress mixture). Heat the sauce through. Drizzle all of the sauce over the pasta. Mix well.

I severed this with baked bbq chicken and it was lovely, with garlic bread on the side, and herb dip and vegetables for a few added vitamins.

Below is an image of the dinner (my dad’s plate). J

Herb Dip

Filed Under (Dips) by Lisa on 18-10-2008

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Yesterday I was in the mood for cooking. One of the things I made was a dip. I wanted to make a new kind of dip, so I made my own. It was very yummy. A little bit zesty and very flavorful! I served it with a collection of favorite vegetables. Enjoy.

Herb Dip

½ cup no fat sour cream

1/3 cup plain no fat yogurt

1 tbsp light mayonnaise

½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Fresh minced chives (about 1-2 tbsp)

1 green onion minced

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp dried parsley flakes

Desired amount of pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve immediately or at a later time with your favorite vegetables or breads.

Below is an image of the dip.

Pear Walnut Muffins

Filed Under (Muffins) by Lisa on 14-10-2008

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Last night I was in the muffin mood, so I made a batch of muffins. Here is the recipe. It makes about 22 small muffins. It could probably make 12 large sized ones.

Pear Walnut Muffins

1 ¾ cup all purpose white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

A few shakes of salt

½ cup walnut chopped

1/3 cup plain yogurt

2 large eggs

1 ½-2 cups pealed chopped up pear

¾ cup skim milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp rum

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the walnuts and mix well. In a blender blend together all the moist ingredients (including the pears). Add the blended mixture to the dry mixture, and mix well. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees F until slightly golden (or a tooth pick comes out clean).