Monday, January 13, 2014


I'm in the midst of repurposing this blog a bit. Before, it was called "Budgetarian", in which I would attempt to post meals on a budget. I've lost a lot of interest in that and now have been developing much different recipes. I'll keep up the old posts, and I won't change them, but expect the posts to come to be focused a lot more on the quality of the food instead of the cost of the food.

Most of these recipes will be easy, because I'm pretty lazy. In the meantime, while I'm getting my act together, feel free to check out my Instagram for my food postings! Almost all of the food I post is food that I have cooked or contributed to in some way. Follow me @thegreenefaerie. I also tweet about food fairly often, so follow me @KCooperWriting for more info.

I have a few recipes and photos that I hope to post in the next few days. Let's hope, together, that this blog will be more of an inspirational piece in the future!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Peanut and Cheese Loaf

For two weeks in May, my husband and I visited England together. We visited London, Charlbury, and Stratford-Upon-Avon. During our stay in Charlbury, we were housed in a lovely little spot called the Stable. The Stable is a self-catering cottage with full amenities, including an oven and stove top. During some of the rainy days, I would take the opportunity to shut in and do a bit of cooking.

The Stable's owners had thankfully supplied the building with cook books--we didn't have internet access, so the cook books were my only way of finding recipes. I found this one and made it once, then made a couple of alterations so it suited my purposes more!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Cost: About $10

-1/3 cup chopped peanuts
-1/3 cup chopped mushrooms
-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
-1/2 onion, chopped
-1 small potato, grated
-1 medium carrot, grated
-3/4 cup grated cheddar
-2 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, then spoon into a greased loaf tin or ring mold. Cook in oven for 40 minutes.

TIP: Sprinkle some extra cheddar on top for an extra cheesy taste. Garnish with salad ingredients if on its own--see picture for what I did with nasturtiums. Try substituting with cashews for a "meatier" texture.

This dish is ridiculously easy and is a fantastic substitute for meat loaf. It's very filling and one loaf will serve a large slice for 4 people. Double it up for an easy potluck offering.

A quick blog-related note: I know I haven't been updating much, but we recently moved into a house and I've been cooking up a storm, so more updates should be coming before long.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kale chips

One of the most annoying things about eating healthy while on a budget has to be coming up with simultaneously delicious snacks. I'll go into detail with that in a further post. For now, though, I have a recipe for you.

Kale is a cabbage-like vegetable frequently grown for ornamental use, due to how pretty it is! It is a very healthy vegetable, however, that tastes much like broccoli. It's high in vitamins A and C, and also is a source of manganese, calcium and iron.

Kale can be used in any number of dishes, particularly salads. It does, however, make a fantastic and easy snack that only takes about twenty minutes to make. Most of that time is spent baking!

Honestly, I never knew that a vegetable could melt in your mouth until I tried these.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: the same amount a large bag of chips will serve! (1 if you're snacking like a fiend, 4 if you're not!)
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
Difficulty: super easy
Cost: Under $5

-1 tbsp. olive oil
-a sprinkling of coarse salt

TIP: You can half this recipe if you are making it for only yourself. If you're going to eat the kale chips over the course of a few days, don't make it all at once or you'll risk having some soggy kale chips. The oil will seep in completely and make them quite chewy.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take a bunch of kale. You can buy kale at the grocery store for roughly $3, or you can grow your own. Make sure the kale is well washed, but let it dry.

Separate kale in to small pieces and place in large mixing bowl. Pour olive oil and toss, then add a small amount of coarse salt. Toss until all kale is covered with oil and salt is evenly distributed.

Take kale and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove, turn once, and bake for another 7 minutes.

If kale chips are crispy, they are done! If not, bake them for another few minutes. Do not overcook or they will taste and smell burnt and nasty.

Let them cool a bit and dig in! To me, the flavor is a cross between dulse and potato chips.

I hope to have more on inexpensive healthy snacks in the week to come!

To add, I will also likely be doing another cooking video in the future due to... demand? That's right. People actually enjoyed the video. The only thing is that I need stuff to cook! So... ideas, if you please!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Using your noodle

Being on a constant fiddlehead binge of late, I knew a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to make a pasta dish with fiddleheads next. I'd tried them as a side dish and in a soup, and it was time to mix them in with a pasta. What I produced was a light-tasting dish that was filling and satisfying, and of course beautifully cheap! If you look at the picture to the right, you'll see that it's also got a cute curliness to it. (Matching bowl not included!)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking time: under an hour
Difficulty: moderate
Cost: Under $10


-spaghetti noodles
-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
-1 tsp. lemon juice
-1 tbsp. basil
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 tsp. white wine (optional)

Start by chopping the garlic. Cook very slowly on low heat in 1/2 tsp. olive oil, the lemon juice, and the white wine, if you opted for white wine. Add a sprinkle of salt. Allow to cook until the garlic becomes plump and golden brown.

While the garlic is cooking, prepare and cook the fiddleheads in the fashion I mentioned before. When they have finished, briefly cook them (only for about five minutes) in the garlic.

Boil the spaghetti until it is cooked to your liking, then strain it. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. basil, and toss until the basil is evenly distributed. After, toss in garlic and fiddleheads as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add some parmesan cheese if you want!

And there you have it. A lovely spaghetti dish with lots of omega-3 fatty acids and tons of flavor. The secret lies in slow-cooking the garlic so it soaks up the lemon juice and wine flavors, which complement the piquant garlic perfectly.

Now then, if you're a little confused by the whole process of cooking fiddleheads, I've created a very handy video guide. The only downside is that you have to put up with my inane prattling for about five minutes. I put some music in to make it marginally entertaining for you. Enjoy!

I will also be updating the "how to cook fiddleheads" post with this video so you can see my ugly mug every time you search for how to make fiddleheads. Do have fun.

This will probably be my final fiddlehead post until next year, as fiddleheads are sadly almost out of season, and thinking up another recipe probably requires more brain power than I have available.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fancysimplecheap Strawberry Sauce

How do you know I'm happy?

I cook.

And cook, and cook, and cook.

Case in point, the other night my fiance brought home good news from work. I was so happy, I cooked his favourite meal (curry with rice), then proceeded to get creative and make a strawberry sauce to put on ice cream. The results were pretty good, so I thought I would share with all one of you who are reading this!

This is a surprisingly easy to make, but still decidedly fancy, sauce. Do whatever you please with it, for it is also very versatile.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2-4 people (depending on what you do with it)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: SUPER easy
Cost: Under $5 (use whatever liquor you have in your cupboard!


-1 pint strawberries, chopped finely
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 tsp sugar
-splash of dark rum (or champagne, vodka or fruit wine... whatever you have lying around, really! I used dark rum)

Cook SLOWLY, covered on low heat. Do not boil. 30 min. When the mixture appears to be half solid and half liquid, remove from heat and leave covered to stand and thicken. Try adding raspberries or rhubarb.

Pour over ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet, or add to strawberry shortcake! Good fresh and hot, or chilled.

A quick note to add that I am doing another fiddlehead recipe before the season is over, and I'm currently editing a video to accompany that! Yes I did a cooking video. It should be up within the end of the week. The video may come before the recipe, in fact, because I'm weird like that. Keep an eye out!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Feisty Fiddlehead Soup

The other day, I taught you a method to clean and cook fiddleheads that results in some tender, tasty little greens. Today I'm going to make use of that method to make a colourful soup with a creamy potato base.

This dish takes awhile to make, so keep that in mind when you decide to cook it. You'll want to start it early in the afternoon in order to have it ready for supper.

Prep time: 1 hour
Serves: 2-4 people
Cooking time: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Cost: Under $20


-3 or 4 large potatoes, chopped
-1 carrot, finely chopped
-1-2 cups fiddleheads
-3 green onions or mild leeks
-4 cloves garlic
-2 cups (soy) milk
-5 cups water
-salt, pepper and spices to taste
-1 tbsp. cooking oil of choice
-1 tbsp. butter or margarine
-2 bay leaves
-1 stalk celery, finely chopped

Start by washing the potatoes and peeling them (if you wish. I didn't peel mine because potato skin is very nutritious and will add texture to the soup), then chopping them and boiling them.

While the potatoes are boiling, prepare your fiddleheads using the method I suggested last time. Proceed to cook them as I described also. TIP: Make sure they are fully cooked but don't over-cook, or you'll risk losing flavor!

Finely chop the garlic cloves and saute them in oil in a frying pan until they are just brown. When the potatoes have finished boiling, mash them and add some milk and butter/margarine. When the garlic has been sauteed, add it to the mashed potatoes. Transfer potatoes to a large pot. Chop the leek/green onions and add them to the mashed potatoes. Finely chop the carrots and celery as well and add them, too.

Pour the water, milk, and add spices into the pot with the mashed potato mixture. Stir well. Simmer over medium heat and add fiddleheads. Cover and leave to simmer, careful not to boil. Continue to add herbs and spices to taste.

This should result in a creamy and flavorful soup. TIP: If the soup is not quite as thick as you'd like, try adding some instant mashed potatoes as the soup is cooking.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fantastic Fiddleheads

Spring time is one of the most highly-anticipated times of year for dwellers of eastern Canada. The melting of the snow and longer days give way to thoughts of summertime, and eliminate the depression of the short, cold days of winter.

In addition to that, it's also the time to harvest fiddleheads.

Fiddleheads are a wild vegetable that grows, typically, in the east. New Brunswick, where I'm from, is full of them, and Quebec and the eastern United States also find the little green coils springing up come May. The fiddlehead is a vegetable that is the youngest part of various species of fern, and produces a tender yet savory flavour.

Fiddleheads are considered a popular seasonal option for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike because they are a fitting accompaniment to any meal and go especially well with potatoes. They can become a flavourful base for soups, creating a meal on its own. They are also high in nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, iron and fibre. In addition, they have antioxidant activity and are a source of Omega 3 and 6.

Cooking them properly is very important, as they are wild vegetables that grow close to the ground and do tend to have dirt caught up in their coils. Cleaning them properly is also important. I'm going to go over how best to clean them and one, very basic, way to cook them, in this post. Considering I just cooked half my bag and have another half waiting, I may have another recipe surfacing over the next couple of days. For now, though, we'll go with this.

This recipe is going based on 1 lb. of fiddleheads, which should produce a fair serving for up to 4 people. I paid $4 for a pound, which is reasonable for a side dish so rich in vitamins and minerals. It seems like I will get 2 meals out of it, too, so that's a bonus! The best thing about fiddleheads is that they are naturally grown and rarely cultivated, so you can go for a walk in the woods and may find a bunch of them. Picking them is a whole other animal, so I won't get into it here (though here is a great site for tips on picking fiddleheads), but keep in mind that picking them will make them a FREE FEED for you. What's better than free food when on a budget?!

Prep time: 30-45 minutes
Serves: 2-4 people
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes (depending on whether you boil them and have that be all, or if you saute them afterward)
Difficulty: Moderate
Cost: roughly $5/lb... free if you pick your own!

Start by cleaning the fiddleheads. You should remove any yellow or brown parts and trim the stems, especially if the fronds are not freshly picked. Place them in a bowl and leave them to soak for about 10 minutes. I went the extra mile and changed the water to leave them to soak a little longer. After they are cleaned to your satisfaction, boil them on high for about 10 minutes. Change the water, then bring them to a boil once more for another 10. After this, you may strain them and serve them with some butter. Try adding hollandaise sauce if you're in the mood for something a little richer.

After they've been steamed, you can also saute them in a pan with some butter and a splash of lemon juice. I did this and they were fantastic! Add a little salt and a small amount of vinegar to give the fiddleheads some zing.

And there you have it! A delicious, healthy side dish that is even a little rare due to its short harvesting time. Use fiddleheads you picked to give your meal the illusion of being a fancy, expensive dish, or to impress friends from out of town.

EDIT: Enjoy watching this inane video of me cooking some fiddleheads.