Recipes | Country Parent – Part 2

Persimmon fruit can be found in any grocery store this time of year. I bought a few the other day for 36 cents!

Not having tried it before, I was eager to taste it and incorporate it in recipes.

What does it taste like?

It taste like a cantaloupe-pear hybrid, with a touch of honey.

Although delicious on its own, I decided to make a quick smoothie with it.

Persimmon Smoothie

1 persimmon, diced

1 pear, diced

1 cup of vanilla yogurt

Blend until smooth

…and voilà. A delicious winter smoothie!

Interesting facts about persimmons

  • Persimmons are native to Japan
  • Great source of fibre
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium1


  • When buying persimmons, choose the ripe ones, as they are sweeter and ready to eat – deep orange color.
  • When in season (September to December) and on sale, buy in bulk, peel, cut into cubes and freeze them in bags – ready to use anytime.



Making the perfect pancakes can be a bit challenging. The key is a really good recipe.So, here’s my foolproof family recipe for fluffy pancakes.


1 cup flour1 tsp sugar1/2 tsp baking soda1 tsp baking powder1/8 tsp salt1 cup milk1 tbsp white vinegar 1 egg1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp vegetable oil


Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowlAdd milk, vinegar, egg, vanilla and oil to dry ingredientsWhisk until the batter is smoothHeat non-stick griddle or non-stick frying pan on medium heat Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancakeCook until bubbles form on the top side (about 2 minutes), then flip and cook the other side

Serve warm with maple syrup and fruit.


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Making pumpkin pie from scratch might be a challenge sometimes, especially if you are focusing all your energy into preparing a turkey and multiple side dishes. So here’s a fullproof way to upgrade a plain store-bought pie into your own creation in less than 5 minutes!

Here’s what you’ll need…


♦ 1/4 melted butter

♦ 1/4 brown sugar

♦ 1/4 maple syrup

♦ 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Side note: You can substitute the maple syrup with honey and the walnuts with pecans.



♦ Stir all ingredients together.

♦ Pour mixture on top of pie.

♦ Decorate the pie rim with whip cream florets.

Simple. Quick. Delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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One of our favorite meals is pulled pork made in the slow cooker. Although there’s rarely any leftovers, sometimes there’s just enough remaining for one person to enjoy the next day. So this time I decided to stretch the one-person-leftover-meal into a family meal of four by trying something new: pulled pork pizza. I had heard of it before, but hadn’t tried it until now.

Here’s my take on it. You will need the following:


♦ 1 pizza dough ball, home-made or store-bought

♦ 1/2 cup chopped red onion

♦ 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

♦ 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese


♦ Preheat oven to 385°F

♦ Roll out pizza dough and place on greased baking sheet

♦ Spread the pulled pork evenly on top of the dough. Make sure to include the leftover juices as well, since you will not be adding any other sauce base to the pizza (e.g. the usual tomato sauce).

♦ Add the onions and mushrooms

♦ Cover with mozzarella cheese

♦ Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottom of the pizza is golden

So the next time you have pulled pork leftovers, try this recipe. It’s delicious!

Side note: You can also turn this into convenient pulled pork pizza pockets, ideal for school lunches.

Enjoy 😉


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by Laura Reid, Dietitian

It is that busy time of year again, back to school for kids (big and small) and teachers too!  Packing lunches can be stressful or fun, depending on how you approach it.

There are lots of pictures and ideas for lunch ideas for little ones, and they are very cute and fancy…but they are out of my league (and time commitment)!  If you don’t have time to worry about cut-out shapes and forming food into a sculpture, don’t stress yourself!  The most important thing is finding foods your child will eat, and finding things that are quick and easy to eat in the short time available for lunch.  Lunch at my daughter’s school is about 15 minutes.  That’s it.  So our priority is not that her meal looks like a teddy bear, but that it is in small, easy bites and pieces that are easy for her to grab and go.  You or your child may not be in elementary school like my daughter, but I am sure time is still an issue!   My words of advice are to brainstorm a list of foods that are options for lunch, including snacks, drinks and the main focus of the meal.  Involve everyone in making the list of foods, and be sure to do so before you hit the grocery store.  If you are looking to save money, buy items in larger portions (rather than individual sizes) and portion out into containers (for example, buy a large container of apple sauce or yogurt and portion it into the container when you are packing the lunch (the night before to save time).  Try to include choices from different food groups to not only help meet their nutrition needs, but also to add variety.   One trick I use is to have four compartments or small containers in the lunch box to remind me to include a fruit, a vegetable, a grain and protein (usually put together), and something fun.


For the main focus of the meal, change it up from day to day:  hot items on one day by using a thermos for leftovers (my daughter’s picks include soup, chili, and pasta) or items that should be kept cold on other days (like wraps, salads, mini pizzas or sandwiches).  Just be sure to use an ice pack!

One final tip:  include a small bottle of hand sanitizer or a wet wipe in the lunch box for cleaning hands before eating.


Laura Reid      Dietitian, MEd,PDt  StFX, Antigonish, NS

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by Sean Ryan

I hate making desserts, especially for a crowd, but I’ve come up with something quick, simple which always brings back requests for seconds.

BBQ Donut Strawberry Shortcake is your ticket if you need a quick summertime dessert to feed a crowd.


1 or 2 packages of glazed donuts – depending on your crowd and willingness to provide seconds

Whip cream, store-bought or home-made

1 to 2 quarts of fresh strawberries

1 teaspoon of sugar

Non-stick cooking spray



Make sure your BBQ grill is clean. Nothing kills this dessert faster then some residual burnt BBQ sauce on a donut half!

I usually use the rack above the grill, as you can control the temperature a bit better, but it is not necessary. If you have an external gauge, you want to have the grill heated to 350 degrees.

Give it a good hit of the cooking spray.

While the grill heats up, mash your strawberries in a bowl with the sugar. Once that is done set aside.


When I buy the glazed donuts, I usually try to get them a couple days ahead and refrigerate them. It makes them much easier to cut and the glaze hardens a little, which is key when cooking them.


Slice the donuts in half horizontally.

Place the donuts on the grill cut-side down. If you put them glaze side down, you will be unhappy with life after you try to get them off and he sugar has cemented the donuts on your grill. So cut-side down.

Close the lid and count to 60. Open up and give a look-see. If the formally hardened glaze is now see through again you are pretty much done.


Take the donuts off the grill and place them on your plate grill side down.

Time to assemble. Flip one half of a donut glaze side down onto a plate or bowl, hit it with a good splash or whipped cream, then strawberry mix. Put your top donut half on, then add a bit more whipped cream and strawberry mix.


Serve and bask in the glory that will come your way.

You can add a couple fresh berries, sub in ice cream, or whatever works for your crew. Trust me though, make sure you have enough for seconds!


Sean Ryan Father, husband, tea totaler, cigar smoker, whisky enthusiast, foodie, bigboyrunning, craft beer rookie, comic book nerd.

Follow along @run2smoke on Instagram, or a very

sporadic blog at

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This is a wonderful weekend recipe that can be made with fresh or leftover fish in no time. A delicious alternative to crab cakes for those who suffer from seafood allergies.


♦ 1 cup smoked salmon
I like using pepper smoked Atlantic salmon

♦ 1 cup cooked haddock
(bought fresh-frozen and boiled for 5 minutes, or leftover cooked haddock)

♦ 1 cup breadcrumbs

♦ 2 eggs

♦ 1/4 cup chopped green onions

♦ 4 tbsp vegetable oil or margarine


In a bowl, flake the fish with a fork (or fingers)

Add breadcrumbs, eggs and onions

Mix well together

Form small fish patties in the palm of your hand

Heat oil or melt butter in a frying pan

Fry fish cakes on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown

Remove from heat and place on paper towel to drain excess oil

Serve with creamy tartar sauce



If you are looking for last minute ideas for fun treats that your kids can make, check out these Halloween brownie critters. They are adorable and easy to prepare.

Here’s how you can make them too.

You will need:

◊ Small round brownies (I used the PC Blue Menu Two-bite mini brownies)

◊ Flat cookies (I chose the Dare dipped cookies. The detailed lines resemble bat wing fingers).

◊ Pretzels

◊ Candy eyeballs

◊ Icing

For the six-legged spiders

Gently break off the rounded parts of 3 pretzels

Insert 3 pretzel pieces on each side of the brownie.

Add icing on the back of the candy eyeballs and glue them on to the brownie

For the brownie bats

Carefully break one cookie in half

Insert each half on both sides of the brownie

Add icing on the back of the candy eyeballs and glue them on to the brownie

Draw fangs on the bat’s face, using the icing

Use peanut-free brownies and cookies to include these cute treats in school lunches.

Happy Halloween!


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Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy

Celebrate Halloween this year by making your own spooky chocolate candy.

A simple way to do this is to use Halloween themed silicone ice trays as chocolate moulds.

The recipe for these melt-in-your-mouth treats requires only two ingredients: chocolate and sweetened condensed milk! All other add-ins are optional.

Here’s what you’ll need:


◊ Halloween themed ice trays (I found these ice trays at the Superstore for $2.00!)

◊ Parchment paper (or wax paper)


◊ 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate chips)

◊ 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

◊ 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

◊ 1 can sweetened condensed milk

◊ White icing (for decoration, optional)

◊ 1/4 cup red glace cherries, a.k.a candied cherries (optional)


To make plain chocolates, prepare the semi-sweet chocolate chip mixture. For the marble chocolates, prepare two separate mixtures of your choice.

For the semi-sweet chocolate mixture

♦ In a medium glass bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1/2 cup condensed milk.

♦ Microwave for 30-45 seconds, until bubbly.

♦ Mix with a spoon. Place bowl or measuring in a bowl containing hot water, in order to prevent the mixture from hardening.

For the butterscotch mixture

In a small glass bowl, combine the butterscotch chips with 1/4 cup condensed milk.

Microwave for 20-30 seconds, until bubbly.

Mix with a spoon. Place container in a bowl half-full of hot water, in order to prevent the mixture from hardening.

For the white chocolate mixture

In a small glass bowl, combine the white chocolate chips with 1/4 cup condensed milk.

Microwave for 20-30 seconds, until bubbly.

Mix with a spoon. Place container in a bowl half-full of hot water, in order to prevent the mixture from hardening.

Making the marble chocolate pumpkin candy (with cherries)

♦ Spray a thin layer of cooking spray inside each mold to prevent the chocolate from sticking to the silicone.

♦ Add a small amount of white chocolate mixture in the bottom of the mould.

♦ Add a bit of semi-sweet chocolate mixture on top

♦ Insert the cherries

♦ Add a dollop of the chocolate mixture on top to cover the cherries.

♦ Place a piece of parchment paper (or wax paper) over top and press down firmly to allow for the mixture to penetrate the creases of the mould shape at the very bottom.

♦ Slide the back of a butter knife over the parchment paper to remove any remaining bubbles at the top of the mould.

♦ Slowly remove the parchment paper.

♦ Carefully remove overflowing mixture from the sides.

♦ Place in refrigerator.

♦ Let set for 3 hours or overnight.

♦ Gently pop the chocolates out of the mould.

Making the spiders & spider web chocolate candy

Using the same technique as shown above, fill the web candies.

Add a bit of butterscotch in the spider moulds to highlight the insect.

For an added touch, decorate the chocolates with icing, by tracing some of the details of the candy, as shown here with the spider webs.

Hope you have fun making similar Halloween treats 🙂


I’ve been always intimidated by butternut squashes. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up eating them or maybe it’s because whenever someone talked about using them in a recipe it involved long periods of roasting or baking. Either way, deciding to buy one and start a new tradition at our house was a Fall time goal.

So we purchased a butternut squash and thought that the easiest thing to do would be to make a simple squash soup that didn’t require any roasting or baking.

Here’s how:


◊ 1 butternut squash

◊ 2 tbsp salted butter

◊ 1 medium onion, chopped

◊ 2 cups chicken broth

◊ 1/2 cup heavy cream

◊ 1/4 tsp nutmeg

◊ 1/4 tsp cumin

◊ salt & pepper to taste



♦ Melt butter in a medium sized pot

♦ Add chopped onion

♦ Cook for 2 minutes on medium heat, until translucent


♦ Cut the squash into two

♦ Remove the seeds by scooping them out with a spoon
Side note: Don’t throw away the seeds. Save them for later.

♦ Peel the squash using a vegetable peeler

♦ Cut the squash into 1/2 inch cubes

♦ Add the squash cubes into the pot

♦ Cover with the chicken broth

♦ Add the spices

♦ Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the squash is tender

♦ Puree the soup using a hand blender

♦ Blend in the cream


Serve plain or top with croutons.

You can also freeze the soup! Simply omit the cream, store and freeze in containers. Add the cream before serving, once the soup is re-heated.


A little snack while waiting for the soup to cook…

Squash seeds are very nutritious (full of vitamin A and C), so instead of throwing them out why not have them as a healthy snack? Simply season and roast.

Spicy Butternut Squash Seeds

Remove the squash flesh from the seeds collected earlier.

In a bowl, add:

◊ squash seeds

◊ 1 tbsp of olive oil

◊ pinch of salt

◊ pinch of cayenne pepper

◊ pinch of paprika

◊ pinch of garlic powder

◊ pinch of onion powder

After seasoning the seeds, scatter them on a non-stick pan.

Roast the seeds under the broiler for 4-6 minutes, flipping them over once after 2-3 minutes.



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Grab some hot chocolate and browse through the wonderful creations submitted to the 2nd Annual Snowman Contest. Click on the images below to get the full pictures and the details on the snowmen. ...