Michelle and me hire at least two students every year who work as a team with up to another 2 care aides. We are both full-time wheelchair users Michelle has MS and Diabetes and I have a lot of things, most create pain. I chose to have my left leg beneath the knee be amputated to eliminate a terrible Stage Four Flat Foot with an ankle fusion that went wrong. The surgeon’s third out of 300. Mercifully,
I am in the 30% of amputees that feel no or very little “phantom pain” after surgery. We are fortunate to have a well rounded support team that allows us to advertise and hire those we wish to do the work we can no longer do. One of our favourites, especially once it’s on the table, is making spanakopita. I will feature other specialities by our carers in 2024,

Jayden, working with my shabby memory and several cookbooks and a quick check in with Jo back in Winnipeg where this was also a Chalmers family favourite, and never used parsley for this! Dill only please which is delicious in this recipe. So Jayden (yes she is George Ryga’s grand-daughter) has accumulated a lot of sources to make it her way, the way we present it here,


375 grams Feta Cheese
1 bunch fresh dill
black pepper
1 large white onion
600 grams frozen spinach
200 grams fresh spinach
5 garlic cloves
250 g ricotta cheese
3 eggs
olive oil
one pack Filo

What to do
→ Heat oil in pan, once hot, add chopped onion. and garlic. Once onions have caramelized, add frozen Spinach.
→ Wait. 5-10 minutes then add fresh spinach.
→While cooking spinach, mix eggs, chopped dill in a bowl. Mix together.
→ Begin layering filo in ~ 8×12 inch pan. Add 5-6 single sheets, brushing with olive oil between each layer.” → Preheat the oven to 350°F.
→ Heat oil in a pan, once hot, add chopped onion and garlic. Once onions have caramelized, add frozen Spinach. Wait 5-10 minutes then add fresh spinach.
→ While cooking spinach, mix eggs, chopped dill, feta, ricotta and pepper in a separate bowl.
→ Begin layering filo in a ~ 8×12 inch pan. Add 5-6 single sheets, brushing with olive oil between each layer.
→ Combine cheese and spinach mixture. Add this mixture to the filo-lined pan
→ Top this pan with 3-4 more sheets of filo. (brushing with olive oil)
→ Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown





Ready in 20 minutes
Serves 4 – 8 people

1 red onion
1-2 cans red kidney beans
1 can white kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can chickpeas
1 red and/or orange bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
Few radishes sliced
Parsley and/or cilantro
½ cup Red wine vinegar
½ cup Olive oil
¼ cup brown stevia (we need to  moderate sugar in our diets. This works fine, as it’s mainly an oil and vinegar dressing. Add up to another 1/4, that is 1/2 total to match the oil and vinegar, and use plain brown sugar, for sweetness as desired)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Empty beans into colander rinse all beans and add to large mixing bowl
Chop all vegetables into bite sized pieces
Combine dressing ingredients into mason jar and shake vigorously to emulsify
Add dressing to bean mixture , toss to coat
Garnish with extra parsley and/or cilantro and radish slices
Keeps well in fridge for up to 4 days

This is a soup I have been wanting to make for years, ever since Hermano’s in Winnipeg was out of reach. Sometimes Safeway/Sobey’s had one, but but yes, time to make my own.


Halve 3 perfect bright to darkening red red bell peppers, take out seeds and pith.  Halve the halves again. Put parchment paper (foil might be faster, bright side up)into a full sized cookie sheet. I used a little olive oil, though not entirely necessary I gather. Peppers go on the sheet inside down.

Roast 3 Prepped peppers starting at 425, and leaving them there, for 25to  30 minutes or down to 400 depending on your stove. Charring is necessary, and in frustration I ended up using broil with the rack still in the middle. Watch carefully!

Peel 3 quartered roasted peppers when cooled, set aside.

Saute small onion and 3 crushed garlic cloves with butter and olive oil in your soup pot, add one finely chopped carrot (means you can skip any sugar you see in recipes,though peppers should bring enough sweetness anyway) and celery stalk.

Chop the red pepper pieces, (this is all going into a blender) and add to the pot.
Season with dry oregano, fresh and/or dry basil, fresh ground black pepper, a dry chili pepper and/or pepper flakes to taste. I was lucky (Thanks brother!)to use a dried “heritage” chili pepper, seeds from Ukraine. I don’t add salt. Keep an eye on anything you put into the soup that already has salt in it. You can season to taste at the end.

Add 28 oz. diced tomatoes, and a whole
6 oz can(!) of tomato paste. (Finally a recipe that uses it all!)

Prepare vegetable stock (from bullion will do, but don’t use those containers of made broth) have milk ready, can be coconut milk, but I used cow milk)

Add some stock

Add some milk

This is where the alchemy happens. You will have your own desired chili pepper heat, and desired texture. This soup is not about the chili peppers, onions or garlic. It’s about the red peppers and tomatoes, basil is the flavour forward, but the roasted red peppers take this soup to another and very tasty level.

Cook, on the stove thirty minutes or less… carrots are cooked for sure.

BLEND: (MORE ALCHEMY) have milk and stock beside blender. Ladle no more than 2 cups of soup at a time depending on your blender (I have an old Oster I love). Press Blend low, Press Blend High using milk and or stock judiciously to achieve the desired texture.
Pour into serving bowl. Garnish with basil leaves

ENJOY! Serve yourself. Croutons instead of biscuits if you must. I made sure I had a fresh basil leaf and a dab of Plain Balkan Yogurt.

I’ve heard it freezes well, but won’t know this time around.

The big chili
(winter dried herbs version)

What you need
1 12 quart (or bigger) stainless steel pot for on top of the stove

1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed & diced
olive oil

2 lbs (up to 1 kilo) of fresh (never frozen) ground beef – or mince as they say in Australia

2 cans Primo red kidney Beans
1 can Primo mixed beans
1 can Primo chick Peas
1 can Primo  black beans
1 can pitted olives, whole or sliced
1 can Italian plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons to 1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup of a heavy bodied red wine

2-3 bay leaves (that have not been on the shelf for more than six months)
fresh ground pepper (50 turns of the grinder)
coarse sea or kosher salt ( 2 teaspoons  or  more depending on your taste)
dried oregano
dried basil
2 hot, 4 medium, 6 mild tablespoons of chili powder (the more powder you use the more likely the chili will seem a bit gritty or sandy,  better to learn how to cook with hotter spices)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
two dried chili peppers (optional)
hearty dash of Worchester sauce
dash or two hot sauce (after tasting)
cayenne to bring to increased heat, or put it on the table next to the hot sauce
with grated cheese, salsa, hot  sauce, plain yoghurt as other calorie rich options.

What you do

Drizzle some olive oil in the pot, add diced onions and minced garlic. Cook until translucent and just starting to turn brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Brown hamburger thoroughly making sure it doesn’t burn or stick to the pot.
Open beans and olives, rinsing with cold water in a collander one at a time until you have 8 – 10 cups of goodness.
Drain hamburger thoroughly, add  beans and olives, stir.
Add one cup red wine.
Add 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes, and some tomato paste. I used one full (little) can yesterday and it was too much, and I had to add more red wine.
Add all of the spices and remaining ingredients, stirring frequentl. Bring to a boil then a low simmer, stirring frequently enough that the chili doesn’t burn. Cook for one hour or more depening on how “wet” it is. Serve with white long grain rice in a wide bowl. Switch up the rice with tortilla chipsto change the texture or to use with leftover chili.

Freezes well, and is an excellent potluck main course.


Chop onion. Smash and mince 4 cloves of garlic and grate fresh ginger to taste (1 – 2 tablespoons fresh). Heat oil in a deep skillet or small dutch oven. Put in the onion, wait until translucent

Then add grated ginger and garlic and cook a few more minutes, set aside. Brown meat (if using hamburger,  dish may  also be known as Pakistani kima). Lamb, goat, or chicken are preferred, but I usually use chicken. If using chicken, remove skin and bones. I usually now buy boneless skinless chicken thighs. Breasts are too dry.

Make curry paste as meat browns:

    • 4-6 Tablespoons mild or medium curry powder, chicken stock (tablespoon or so), or
    • 1 – 2 Tablespoons, Madras, or hot curry
    • 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp coriander seed, tsp lemon juice, and a little
    • Chicken stock, only if needed to make a paste the consistency of molasses.
    • Take the meat out of skillet, put the onions (with garlic & ginger) back in
    • Add the curry paste, mix, and then add the browned meat. After all mixed together, add one can (19 or 28 oz. depending on amount of meat, of  high quality canned tomato. If you choose to use fresh, remember to remove skin and seeds. (which is why I use canned). Serve with rice. Basmati is nice. Consider a side (chutney- like) of banana’s, apples, raisins, to be added to the dish according to taste. I like ginger ale with this; authentic ginger beer might add some extra spice

Vegetarian Moussaka 

I am a committed omnivore, but have vegetarians in the family. I was looking for a main dish for a holiday meal, and was attracted to this vegetarian moussaka that looked a lot like a lasagna with eggplant and zucchini slices instead of pasta.  I usually forget the potatoes, but the nutmeg is essential, and best fresh grated. This is a hearty fall and winter meal, and one of the few that doesn’t have me looking in the fridge for cold cuts or left over sausage before the end of the evening.  Serves 8 – 10.


      • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
      • 2 potatoes, thinly sliced
      • 1 onion, sliced
      • 1 clove garlic, chopped
      • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
      • 1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
      • 1/2 (14.5 ounce) can lentils, drained, juice reserved
      • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
      • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • 1 1/4 cups milk
      • black pepper to taste
      • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
      • 1 egg, beaten
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


      • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
      • Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
      • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides; drain. Adding more oil if necessary, brown potato slices; drain.
      • Saute onion and garlic until lightly browned. Pour in vinegar and reduce. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, 1/2 the juice from lentils, oregano and parsley. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes.
      • In a 9×13 inch casserole dish layer eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, onions and feta. Pour tomato mixture over vegetables; repeat layering, finishing with a layer of eggplant and zucchini.
      • Cover and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
      • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine butter, flour and milk. Bring to a slow boil, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Season with pepper and add nutmeg. Remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes, and stir in beaten egg.
      • Pour sauce over vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for another 25 to 30 minutes.

Coleslaw, Pear

I spent one day and night in new York City doing my Tourette’s Involuntary/Tongue research, sleeping at at Menno House on the East side before seeing one of the few Freudian shrinks left in NY in the 1980s. Then I travelled upstate to Ithaca on my way to Rochester to talk to the two doctors hunting for the “Tourette’s Gene,” which they never found, but that’s another story. I had the pleasure of Marianne Coleman’s company with her boys Connor and Daniel (if I remember correctly). And I took them all to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca and had a lovely meal. By that time I had acquired the first Moosewood Cookbook, and have since bought one more. Thing is, this recipe is really Molly’s riff on a classic Joy of Cooking Recipe (Bermbauer I think) that is now easily dissed and dismissed by nouveau cooks for its meat or fat or cream or butter, but I still think it’s the best “Basic” cookbook on the market and it is updated regularly , although always at least one trend behind. If you want the full fat version, you use sour cream instead of yoghurt and full fat mayonnaise.

You can read more about Mollie Katzen at her website MollieKatzen.com.

So it seems that Katzen re-created a recipe that was originally published in Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition – 2006 and cleaned it up so it’s healthier, reducing the fat, cholesterol, sodium, and increasing the fiber, and she thought our readers here at CleanEatingClub.com would enjoy her Smart Cole Slaw recipe, so here it is. Be sure to check out the before and after nutritional info at the bottom of the recipe.


        • 2 pounds cabbage (one each, red and green), shredded this is too much – use half of each
        • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated – this is not enough use up to 4 depending on the size
        • 1/2 cup red onion, very finely minced
        • 3/4 teaspoon salt
        • 1/4 cup cider vinegar (or less, if it’s too vinegary for you, add more maple syrup)
        • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
        • 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt
        • 1 to 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or light-colored honey
        • 1/2 cup cranberries – dried, or minced fresh
        • 1 to 2 bosc pears – bosc tend to maintain firmness, but just about any pears work that are mooshy. I use  3 for pears, sliced in thin wedges.
        • Up to a cup of chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
        • Wedges of lemon


        • Combine the cabbage, carrot, and onion in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss to combine, and set aside.
        • In a second (small) bowl, combine the vinegar, mayonnaise, yogurt and syrup or honey, and whisk until smooth. Pour this, along with the cranberries, into the vegetables, and toss to mix well. Transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid, cover, and refrigerate until shortly before serving time. Just before serving, cut the pear(s) into thin strips (also okay to just chop into very small pieces) and gently mix into the coleslaw. Top with walnuts, and serve right away, accompanied by squeezable wedges of lemon.

Calories: 200 | Total Fat: 12g | Sat. Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 1510mg | Carbs: 22g | Fiber: 3g | Protein: 4g

Anneli’s Mediterranean Pie

        • 2 small onions, diced
        • 3 garlic cloves, minced
        • 2 tbsp butter
        • 3 – 10 oz pkgs frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
        • 2 – 14 oz pkgs frozen puff pastry rolled to 1/8”
        • ¾ lb black forest ham
        • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
        • 2 – 3 red peppers diced
        • 8 eggs, beaten
        • 1 egg beaten

Saute onions, garlic in butter, stir in spinach.

Line a 10” spring-form pan with pastry making sure it overlaps the sides.

Layer1/2 ham, cheese, red pepper, apinach mixture into shell. Pour in beaten eggs. Repeat. All layers covered with pastry and pinch edge to seal. Slash top for steam. Brush with remaining egg. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cover lightly with foil if it is turning too dark. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from spring-form.

Komst Borscht  (derived from my mom’s recipe)

        • Stock made with
        • 1 good chicken (fryers suck for this), fresh, free range  is best
        • 2 sticks celery
        • ½ onion
        • 1 carrot
        • pepper corns
        • 2 bay leaves

Boil, reduce to low boil for 2 hours, skimming the fat and gunge. Strain.


        • ½ shredded green cabbage (can be more, but I like the broth more than cabbage)
        • ½ onion – the other half
        • 4 medium size red potatoes
        • 3 carrots
        • dill & lots of it – fresh is best
        • 2 dried chili peppers (or more taste)
        • one can Campbell’s Tomato Soup (to get the right colour) or strained tomatoes
        • Add back some of the chicken, cut finely
        • cayenne & ground black pepper (to taste)
        • salt to taste

Cook until all vegetables are tender – and then maybe a littler longer.

This is a soup that often works better on the second heating, and also freezes well.

Makes a big pot (has to be big enough for the chicken anyway).

Serve with fresh old- fashioned or sourdough white bread – for dunkin.


Eggs, I like eggs any which way, and I’m not the one with a cholesterol problem. Here are my favourites.

Poached (as learned from Lynn) one or two fresh, free run, organic eggs (always use best ingredients whenever you can), per person

Put water inn a saucepan – not a pot, but a frypan with a decent edge to it. Bring it to a near boil, turn down(just a little) the heat as you crack eggs (preferably on a hard surface, not an edge, but enough to get your thumb in) close into the water. Then you coddle them, never allowing the water to boil (there should be tiny bubbles as you simmer) until the right degree of firmness preferred. The egg should always run when you cut them, preferably on a piece of toast or a muffin. Add salt & pepper and enjoy.

Scrambled (Victor’s version) – crack 4 – 12 eggs, depending on how many people are joining you. Allow 2 eggs per person, into a bowl (easier if it has a spout but not necessary) but big enough so you don’t make a mess out side the bowl. Add 1/8 to ¼ cup milk and whisk (with a whisk), until until yolks are broken and the milk has combined. Add ground pepper, salt, and then add basil and oregano (I confess I usually use dried because I can never cut fresh fine enough) and whisk just a little more (don’t over beat them). Have a frypan ready with a generous amount of butter or margarine, just a few shades lower than high and pour eggs in. The secret  to making them fluffy, besides using milk, is you can never abandon them. Using a slotted spatula stir constantly removing from the heat just moments before the eggs are cooked as they will continue cooking in the pan (Stainless steel please) and will firm up perfectly. Nothing worse than scrambled eggs that have brown on them – that means they are burnt. And there you have it.  Serve with toast and bacon “for special.” Or whenever you feel like it.



Prep Time – 30 – 60 minutes (There’s usually time after every stage to do the prep for the next one). Cooking time (includes prep time) – 2 hours

Sour cream optional when served

Step One
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 or 2 sticks of celery sliced

Ghee (Clarified Butter) or olive oil
Sautee onions and garlic in the Ghee in a stew pot. Add celery, Set Aside. Sauté mushrooms (I like crimini, or brown mushrooms) set aside.

Step Two

2 packages stew beef – 3 lbs
2 tablespoons of flour

Add flour to beef in a bowl and work it in, you won’t really see it when you’re done.
Add Ghee to stew pot if needed, brown the beef thoroughly at high heat, long enough to draw some of the fat, drain.

Step Three
2 cups beef stock (I like the new Knorr concentrates)
add onions, garlic and celery
1 cup of wine (or less) for the stew and one for the cook
2 bay leaves
4 cloves (not garlic, the other kind)
Salt, pepper, dry mustard,

marjoram, thyme (adjust to volume & taste)
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes
Stir frequently enough to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom, scraping the flavourful bits back into the stew.

Step four
Add ¼ to 1/3 cup pearl barley
2 large or 4 small potatoes
4 – 6 parsnips, depending on size
4 – 6 carrots, depending on size
add sautéed mushrooms
Bring to a boil, and simmer for another 45 minutes

Step Five
½ cup frozen peas (or more if you really like peas)
Simmer for another 15 – 30 minutes The bit of flour on the beef and the addition of the pearl barley are all you need to achieve the appropriate level of “stewiness”
Serves 8 – 10
Excellent pot luck dish.
Freezes well in bulk (takes awhile to defrost) and in lunch sized portions.




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