Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Go-to Lunches: Simple Pantry Lunch - Beans and Tuna

I work from my home office a couple of days a week, and while I love not having the stress of packing up my lunch the night before, it often does leave me with nothing planned to eat.  So, I like having a couple of go-to lunches ready to go in the pantry should there be slim pickings on the leftover front. 

I keep a few tins of mixed beans in my pantry as well as a tinned tuna.  I don't have this often (maybe twice a month) given the tuna warnings out there, but I add a drizzle of olive oil and a healthy squirt of lemon juice and I have a fabulous lunch!

Do you have any go-to lunch recipes to share?  You can find my other go-to lunches here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Go-to Lunches: Sardines on toast

Tinned sardines served over 2 slices of toasted bread (home-made in this case)
make a quick, healthy and delicious lunch!
I missed out on over 30 years of sardine enjoyment...... what a shame.  I had disliked sardines for as long as I can remember, I had just never been able to get over the smell and the thought of eating whole little fishes, bones and all.  When I was pregnant, my doctor encouraged me to eat sardines for the amazing health benefits (high calcium content and all the good omega oils you find in them).  So, I dutifully bought a few tins, and in my pantry they sat, unopened until well after the birth of my second child

One day, I was working from home, and I needed something quick for lunch, and there was nothing in the house.  So I thought I would open that trusty tin of sardines, figuring that worse case scenario, I would throw it out.  Well, it was TERRIFIC!  To be honest, I still have a hard time believing that I enjoy them so much.  They have become one of my favourite go-to lunches.  Seeing as I am still very new at enjoying sardines, does anyone out there have interesting ways of enjoying them?  Do you have any foods you spent a lifetime detesting, only to learn later in life that you really enjoy them?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recipe: Yummy Banana Muffins

I always try to have fresh bananas in the house for the kids to snack on.  That means that I often end up with over-ripe bananas begging to be used.  They usually inspire me to bake banana bread, or cheater banana ice cream, and this time banana chocolate chip muffins.  I try different recipes, hoping to find "the one" - which is yummy, nutritious and easy to make.  For me, easy to make means that it uses ingredients I tend to have on hand and is an oil rather than butter based recipe.  Thawing out the butter to room temp is generally more fore-planning than I am willing to put into my banana muffin cravings.  So far, this recipe is the winner, it uses oil instead of butter, and the best part is I don't have to use any electric machines - so the cleanup is simple for those weeknights when the over-ripe bananas are just begging to be put to use.   Do you have a great banana muffin recipe to share?  Like I said, I always like trying new ones!


  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or you could forgo the whole wheat and just use a total of 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups smashed bananas (about 4 to 6 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips or walnuts
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly brush a 12-muffin tin with butter and set aside.  I find this recipe makes 16 muffins, so I need to use 2 muffin tins which I line with muffin tin paper liners.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Whisk the banana, oil, milk, eggs, salt, and vanilla in a large measuring cup with a spout or another bowl.
  • Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the center; then stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened but still lumpy. Do not over mix the batter or your muffins will come out dense. Gently stir in the chocolate chips (or nuts). Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin(s), filling each cup about 3/4 full (I find using an ice-cream scoop helps with even batter distribution).
  • Put the muffins in the oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking. (Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin to check if it is done. Toothpick should come out clean). Cool muffins in the pan on a rack for a couple minutes. Turn the muffins out of the pan and cool on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Once completely cool store in an air tight container for up to 2-3 days.