RECIPES & STORIES
"It's the Simple things in Life"
Serves 4 adults and 4 kids
This family heirloom pie recipe was passed down from my husband Steve’s grandmother, Lulu, who lived in Portsmouth, England. Steve grew up with this dish and our family still enjoys it today. Thanks to his mum June, who sent this recipe* to me, I am able to prepare it for our family and share with you. I love this dish for a number of reasons. While it’s satisfying for the adults and older kids, it’s also great for little kids who are just learning to handle a spoon. Everything in the dish is bite size and the sticky nature of mashed potatoes allows the children to have the satisfaction of feeding themselves - with the added bonus that more of the meal ends up in their mouths than on the floor!
Because this dish can be prepared ahead of time, and also frozen and saved for future meals, it's great for busy parents.
Cottage Pie is the perfect bake for spontaneous gathering of friends and family at the house and you can serve this nourishing home made, family style meal and still be a part of the party.
Just pop the pie in the oven as guests arrive and enjoy a glass a wine with them as you catch up. Simple dimple!
6 medium sized potatoes or 4 cups diced into ½ inch cubes
1 ounce of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of salt
4 ounces of sharp grated cheddar cheese
6 cherry tomatoes
1lb ground beef or 1 pound frozen corn (if making a vegetarian dish)
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 finely chopped onions
1 – 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes *
1 pound of mixed frozen veggies (peas, carrots, cauliflower)
2 Massel Stock Cubes*
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
½ teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of Herbs de Provence
To make the mashed potatoes: bring 8 cups of water to a boil and throw in the diced potatoes. Bring back to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Reserve 1 cup of water from the boiled potatoes and set aside. Add to the drained potatoes salt, butter, and reserved water (if needed) and mash together. Set aside to cool while you prepare the pie filling.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium fry or skillet pan, heat olive oil over med/hight heat and saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden in color; about 10 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, boil up some water and dissolved the stock cubes in half a cup of boiling water. Add the ground beef to the pan of stir-fried onions and cook until the meat browns. Once the meat is cooked through, add the stock, mixed frozen veggies, a can of diced tomatoes and seasoning; garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and Herbs de Provence. Bring pan to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer pie filling to ovenproof 13 inch x 9-inch dish. Allow the pie filling to cool for 10 minutes.
With a spatula or spoon spread the Mashed Potato Topping evenly over the top of the pie filling, sprinkle with grated cheese, paprika and decorate each corner of the pie with three halved cherry tomatoes, creating a three petal flower effect.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and allow the pie to rest for 5 minutes before bringing it to the table.
A side salad would go well with this pie, but because there are already a lot of veggies in the pie filling, it’s really not necessary.
The simplest and easiest dessert to follow this meal up with is simple vanilla ice cream with berries.
Mario Batali, who grew up in a family that highly valued their time to eat together, beautifully stated in "Molto Mario, Simple Family Meals"; 'Eating together makes you confident and responsible-'. He believes his discipline as a child to be dressed for dinner, ready and seated at the table with his family, helped him appreciate the gifts of cooking and the joy of sharing food together. Mario’s spectacular success in the world of cooking is a testament to the power of these family traditions.
I’m so happy to share our family recipe for this home cooked meal. I hope it will help make entertaining and eating together a little bit easier and a lot more fun for you in this fast paced world.
As the Brits say, "CHEERS!"
*If you prefer your tomatoes to come in a glass jar, you can substitute one can of diced tomatoes for 2 cups of Bionature Organic Strained Tomatoes.
* I have tweaked the original recipe slightly by substituting 2 freshly grate carrots and 1 pound of frozen peas for 1 pound of mixed frozen veggies, which includes the carrots and the peas. As a busy mom it makes my life really easy to have this one pack of veggies in the freezer, ready to be used in this recipe.
Makes 4 servings
This lactose free Iced Chai Latte makes an exotic, immune boosting and refreshing summer drink. The cashews are loaded with tons of good fats and minerals such as magnesium and zinc, which are responsible for building strong, healthy teeth. In fact these minerals are even more important than Vitamin D and Calcium when it comes to tooth health*.
“On Guard” oil is sold by “DoTerra” and has a powerful combination of cinnamon bark, clove, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils.
The pronounced notes of cinnamon and clove are delicious, aromatic blends of healing, anti-inflammatory gems used around the world as curative spices. One drop of this blend of oils makes this drink insanely good for you.
If you double the recipe you can serve this drink in a decorative carafe with an array of delicious Indian cuisine, such as Curry Lentil Soup, Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala and steamed rice .
3 cups of filtered or spring water
1 cup of ice
1 cup of soaked raw cashews*
pinch of salt
5 dates (pits removed)
1 teaspoon of alcohol free vanilla extract
1 drop of DoTerra's On-Guard Blend of Essential Oils*
Combine all the ingredients in a powerful blender and blend on high for 1 minute.
Feel free to use cloves and cinnamon powder found in your nearest grocery store (or already in your pantry), if you are not ready to purchase On-Guard Essential Oil or want to make this drink while you are waiting for the oil to arrive in the mail. Just substitute 1 drop of On-Guard Essential Oil for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and 2 freshly ground cloves.
*CASHEW NUTS: It’s important to soak the cashew nuts first before using them in the recipe as this process removes the physic acid from them. Too much phytic acid in a diet is said to be responsible for leaching minerals out of bones and teeth. If you are interested in learning more please take a moment to read this article on Westin A. Price Foundation website.
*MAGNESIUM and ZINC: Additional information that supports the understanding that magnesium and zinc minerals could be even more important than Vitamin D and Calcium when it comes to tooth health can be read in the following article.
Makes 12 servings
A big thank you to my friend Christena for sharing this super healthy, delicious and easy to make banana muffin recipe with me. Every time we meet for a play date Christena brings these freshly baked gems to treat us with and we gobble them down with great pleasure.
This recipe was passed down to Christena by her mother, and she has been making these muffins for so long now that she simply measures her ingredients by eye. I begged and pleaded for the recipe and finally Christena relented! She came over one day and in whipping these muffins up together in my kitchen we finally got all the measurements down on paper to share with you.
The recipe is so forgiving when it comes to the ingredients these muffins are great to make with young children. It allows them to practice their measuring skills (and even knife skills depending on their age). As long as you have your salt, baking powder and baking soda measured (but even that you can guide your kids through doing on their own), the amount of the rest of the ingredients really doesn’t have to be precise.
*If you want to make a gluten free version of these muffins substitute gluten free flour for the all purpose flour.
4 ripe bananas
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cups chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
The muffins will come out super moist and naturally sweet because of the ripe banana and a bits of chocolate.
Pack as a treat in your kid’s lunch box, enjoy with a cold glass of vegan Iced Chai Latte as an after school snack, or use muffins as the base for healthy Banana Cream Cupcakes.
These muffins also make for a great gift when you are visiting someone. Just arrange them in a decorative basket and include some organic, locally made jam, or a creamy nut butter.
I use these reusable silicone muffin liners, which I grease with coconut oil before filling with batter. Allow another 8 to 10 minutes of cooking time if you are using these to bake the muffins.
Fill the muffin liners or tins 3/4 ways full.
If you decide to make a vegan version of these muffins, by eliminating the egg and replacing the chocolate chips for vegan ones, the muffins will still be delicious, but just won't have this golden color to them.
Perfectly moist muffins. I just love these!
If your bananas ripen/brown before you have time to use them, you can place them, with skins removed, in freezer safe zip lock bags and take out and defrost as needed. It's takes a few hours to defrost and if you get impatient, like I do sometimes, you can blend the frozen bananas with a bit of water to create something that looks exactly like ice cream to use in the recipe. You will need a "pump" to help push the bananas safety toward the blades to be able to do this.
Here Theo is enjoying "ice cream" for breakfast.