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Buckwheat, Sunflower & Almond raw crackers served with Mango Pomegranate Guacamole

We are almost done our house renovation and have been living at my mother-in-law Florence Hertzman’s apartment.  We have a stellar view of the city, beautiful watercolour paintings by Flo on the walls and lots of family photos of grand-kids and our great grand-parents to look at over and over.  But what I like best is opening up the cabinets and looking at the fine assortment of china, cutlery, serving pieces and delicate dessert plates.  There is also the prettiest collection of tea cups, I find them a bit too small to drink my morning tea but I thought the would make the perfect holders for these raw crackers and guacamole.  Thank you Grandma Flo for sharing your home with us. xo

The Mango Pomegranate Guacamole

The Buckwheat, Sunflower & Almond raw crackers.

This raw cracker recipe was inspired from the cookbook Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish.

You will need an electric food dehydrator for these crackers.


  • 2 cups whole raw almonds, soaked for one hour
  • 4 cups buckwheat groats, soaked for one hour
  • 2 1/2 cups raw sesame seeds, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked for 3o minutes
  • 1 cup whole flax seeds, soak for 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup chia sees, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 3 cups red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ground golden flax seed


  1. To soak the nuts and seeds place in bowl and cover with water. Drain when ready to use.
  2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process red peppers, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and spices until smooth.
  3. Add soaked almonds and buckwheat and process until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl. Add soaked sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and the ground flax seeds, mix well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Divide batter in your nonstick dehydrator sheets.
  6. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 18 to 20 hours or until completely dry and crispy.
  7. Cool and store in an airtight container.
  8. Store at room temperature.

Mango Pomegranate Guacamole


  • 4 ripe avocados (2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 fresh Serrano chiles, finely chopped (2 tablespoons), including seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)
  • 3/4 cup diced peeled mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Halve, pit, and peel avocados.
  2. Coarsely mash in a bowl.
  3. Stir in onion, chiles, 1/4 cup lime juice, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, then fold in pomegranate seeds, mango, and cilantro.
    Season with salt and additional lime juice.
  4. Garnish with lime wedges.

Florence Hertzman - Marla–the Crackers and Guacamole look so appealing in the Teacup containers..
Thx for beautiful comments + pics..

Pistachio and Dried-Fruit Haroseth

I know this is really good because right now Gordy is eating this on his gluten-free waffle!

Have a  Happy Passover.


1 1/2 cups unsalted natural pistachios
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup sweet passover wine
1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Stir pistachios in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine dates, cherries or cranberries, raisins, apricots, wine, and juice in medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix in honey, lemon juice, orange peel, and spices.
  4. Chop pistachios; mix into haroset.
  5. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chil


Lentil Sheppard’s Pie with Mashed potatoes and Parsnip

When Gordy found out I was making this lentil loaf for dinner he went to the Stockyards for lunch, he said he had to keep his life in balance. Burger for lunch, lentils for dinner! 

 Yale and I loved the lentil loaf.  The burger looks really good too!



  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 4 large) russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almond, soy, rice, or other non-dairy milk
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 2 tbsp
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced evenly
  • 2 ribs celery, diced evenly
  • 6 ounces baby bella, cremini, or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup brown or green lentils, dry
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Place potatoes and parsnips in a large pot and submerge in cold water (there should be at least 1 inch of water over the vegetables). Salt water well. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow potatoes and parsnips to cook for approximately 25-35 minutes, or until both vegetables are very fork tender. Drain, return the vegetables to the pot, and add 2/3 cup milk, 2 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash well with a potato masher. If you need more milk, add the remaining 1/3 cup. Set the mashed potatoes and parsnips aside.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, bring 1 1/2 cup lentils and 3 cups water to a boil. Reduce and simmer until lentils have absorbed all liquid, and are soft (about 30 or 35 minutes). Set lentils aside.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and golden (10 minutes or so). Add the carrots and celery and cook till both vegetables are tender (another 8 minutes). Add the cremini mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes before adding the lentils, the rosemary, the thyme, and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Simmer the mixture, stirring well to incorporate flavors. Add more liquid as needed: you don’t want there to be too much broth or liquid in the bottom of the pan, because you’ll get a runny shepherd’s pie, but you do want it to be quite moist. When everything is warm and well mixed, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. In a large casserole dish, layer the lentil and veggie mixture. Spread the mashed potatoes delicately and evenly over. Bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are browning. Sprinkle with extra rosemary, if desired, and serve.

Janer - Hey Marla! Your recipe inspired me to use what I had around my kitchen. So mung beans instead of lentils, some purple cabbage with the sauteed veggies since I had no mushrooms, and turnips with the parsnips since I’m not eating potatoes these days. Had no milk substitute so I put some chevre in with the mash and added ground nutmeg on top since it was going to be a bit sweeter anyway. Don’t know what Richard will think but I’m liking it!
Great blog!

marla - I like the idea of turnips with the parsnip and touch of nutmeg, you cook like I cook, enjoy!

My favourite Chicken soup

I have been recovering from surgery and many of my friends and family brought me lots of good food to eat, especially soup.  Over the past month I have eaten butternut squash soup, celery soup, leek and potato soup, lentil soup, peas soup and many different variations of chicken soups.  Just writing about soup makes me feel better!  So I thought I would share with you my favourite chicken soup recipe.  Thank you to everyone who brought me soup, muffins, treats, healthy food, books, flowers and good wishes!  This recipe is for you. xo

I have been buying my chicken from Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market.


  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs- I like organic or naturally raised
  • 2 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
  • 2 parsnips, cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 of a head of cabbage cut in big chunks
  • 2 inches of fresh pealed ginger
  •  big handful of fresh parsley
  •  big handful of fresh dill
  • 6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns


  1. Place the chickens in a large stockpot. Cover with lots of water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Let the chicken boil for 10-15 minutes, skimming the foam and particles that rise to the surface of the water, till most of the foam is gone.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, cabbage, parsley, dill, garlic, and seasonings to the pot. Add 1 tbsp kosher salt to the water. Bring back to a boil.
  4. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour
  5. When the chicken is tender, turn off the heat. Use a pair of tongs to carefully pull the chicken from the broth. Put it on a plate. Taste the chicken broth and season with additional salt, if desired. Allow the chicken and the broth to cool.
  6. Carefully strain the broth into another pot through a mesh strainer. Reserve the carrots to add back to the soup; discard the spices, herbs, garlic, cabbage and onions.
  7. When the soup is completely cool, skim the fat from the top of the broth, it will come off in a gel-like layer.
  8. Add the chicken in small pieces back into the soup broth with the carrots.


Black Beans and Rice Your Way

The first time I had this delicious black bean recipe was in 2007 at friends Jeff Berman and Sue Dandos’ home, they both love to cook and right away I asked if they would share the recipe.  To my surprise the recipe was from  Gourmet Magazine , (final issue published was November 2009 ).  This recipe has become one of my go-to vegetarian dinners. I have made a few additions and changes along the way, I use a long grain brown rice and when in a rush canned beans and sometimes a spoonful of store-bought salsa and a big handful of sunflower seeds. Steamed spinach on top for my daily greens completes this dish.  So now I know why the recipe is called black beans and rice your waythis is my way.

We have eaten many delicious meals with Jeff and Sue but sometimes it is the simple food that you remember most.

Black Beans and Rice Your Way

  • Active time:45 min
  • Start to finish:2 1/4 hr (1 hr if using pressure cooker; includes making black beans)

For the roasted sweet-potato cubes:

  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rice and beans:

  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups Kemp’s black beans (when I don’t have time to soak the beans organic canned black beans work really well)

For the toasted pumpkin seeds:

  • 1 cup hulled (green) pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas; not toasted)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil


  • cubes of avocado tossed with lime juice; tomatillo salsa; lime wedges; chopped white onion; fresh cilantro sprigs

Roast sweet-potaote cubes:

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Toss sweet potatoes with oil and salt, then spread in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan. Roast, stirring and turning over once or twice, until tender and browned, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool rice while sweet potatoes roast:

  • Bring water, rice, and salt to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and cook, tightly covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Toast pumpkin seeds while reice is cooking:

  • Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick; preferably cast-iron) over moderate heat, stirring, until seeds are puffed and pale golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in oil and salt to taste.

To serve:

  • Reheat black beans, thinning with water if necessary, then serve along with rice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, and accompaniments, each in a separate bowl.

Sarah - That looks amazing. I think black beans are my fav bean but I have never had beans and rice – especially with such awesome add-ins. I’ll have to give it a try!