Spiced Rhubarb Loaf with Coconut Crumb Topping

In gardening action at 3 years old.

 One of my earliest childhood memories (say 3 or 4 years old) was eating directly from my Dad’s garden.  I would sneak to our backyard vegetable plot, and pull carrots before they were “officially” ready to harvest.  I would use my shorts to wipe them clean, and be in pure heaven as I bit into a “real” baby carrot, leftover grit and all.  When I close my eyes and think back, I can honestly feel the crunch, and taste the summer sweetness like it was yesterday.  I love food memories.  Grabbing a bowl of granulated sugar and making my way toward the rhubarb patch was another place you would often find the 3 year old me.  I’d get comfy on the grass and dip stocks directly into the bowl of white stuff.  To this day, I still love rhubarb, and have my own plants (given to me by my Dad).  On occasion you can still find me dipping a stock or two directly into the sugar bowl, something my youngest son also favours.  One day I hope to transplant a rhubarb bush from my garden to his, and continue this precious family tradition. 

The following recipe(s) makes a perfect early summer nibble to utilize rhubarb from the garden.  This is not an overly “sweet” loaf (typical loaf recipes use at least: 1 to 1 ½ cups (250 mL – 375 mL) sugar), as I like the flavour to come primarily from the “featured” and/or “from the garden ingredient”.  This recipe begins by making your own rhubarb “jam”.  The jam is then used as an ingredient in the loaf.  From my HAPPY, HEALTHY & VERY BUSY KITCHEN TO YOURS, ENJOY!   

Rhubarb, Vanilla & Cardamom Jam                           

Rhubarb; early summer garden grub at its finest. My Spiced Rhubarb Loaf with Coconut Crumble topping is delicious.

*yields about 1 cup (250 mL)     

4 cups (1 L) chopped fresh rhubarb

1/3 cup (75 mL) orange juice

½ vanilla bean

2 tbsp (30 mL) Redpath brown sugar

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cardamom

Place rhubarb, orange juice and vanilla bean in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Cook stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add brown sugar and cardamom, and turn heat down to medium.  Cook while stirring for an additional 3 to 5 minutes until rhubarb resembles a jam consistency.  Remove from heat and cool.   Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Remove vanilla bean and discard.  Use jam on toast, topping for yogurt, ice-cream or in my spiced Rhubarb Loaf. 

*For a savoury “jam”, add 1 small finely chopped onion to rhubarb at beginning of cooking and 1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar when adding brown sugar and cardamom.  Use jam on pork, chicken or serve as a condiment on a cheese platter. 

Spiced Rhubarb Loaf with Coconut Crumb Topping

¾ cup (175 mL) melted coconut oil (or softened butter or vegetable oil) *I use half melted coconut oil and softened butter 

½ cup (125 mL) Redpath brown sugar

½ tsp (2 mL) pure coconut extract

2 eggs

2 cups (500 mL) brown rice flour

½ cup (125 mL) large flake rolled oats

¼ cup (60 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut (*I like to use the large flakes)

2 tbsp (30 mL) chia seeds *optional

1 ½ tsp (7 mL) baking powder

½ tsp (2 mL) each; ground ginger and cinnamon

Pinch salt

Crumb Topping:  3 tbsp (45 mL) oats, 2 tbsp (30 mL) each; brown sugar and shredded coconut; hefty pinch of cinnamon and ginger and 1 tbsp (15 mL) melted butter or oil. Place all ingredients in a small bowl.  Using your finger tips, combine all ingredients and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).  In large bowl beat together first 4 ingredients.  Add dry ingredients and beat until combined (mixture may look a bit dry).  Add 1 cup (250 mL) prepared stewed rhubarb mixture (should be all of it) and mix until just combined.  Place batter in a parchment paper lined, or very well greased 9 X 5 inch (2 L) loaf pan.  Sprinkle crumb topping evenly on top.  Place in center of oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool.  Makes 10 slices (*or consumed within minutes after my boys get home from school).

*Recipe written and developed by Charmaine Broughton.  charmainebroughton.com    


Kale and Carrot Slaw with Blueberries and Chives

This delicious summer salad tastes as good as it looks.  Happy Summer Eating!
This delicious summer salad tastes as good as it looks. Happy Summer Eating!

I developed this recipe for a Garden Grub & Summer Sides cooking class I recently taught.  Kale, carrots and chives will soon be taking over our backyard gardens and local blueberries will follow.  If you don’t have a garden of your own, be sure to visit your local farmers market to find the freshest and closest to home produce you can.

Kale, like cabbage is a hearty leaf and lends itself well to slaw like salads.  Enjoy this salad as a BBQ side dish, or as a burger or banger topper.

2/3 cup (150 mL) plain Greek yogurt

3 tbsp (45 mL) Canadian maple syrup

2 tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar

1 tbsp (15 mL) grainy Dijon mustard

½ tsp (2 mL) each salt, pepper and smoked paprika

6 cups (1.5 L) finely chopped kale

2 cups (500 mL) grated carrot

1 cup (250 mL) fresh Ontario blueberries

1/3 cup (75 mL) each; chopped fresh chives (or green onions) and dried cranberries

1/3 cup (75 mL) green pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds

handful of pea shoots for garnish – optional

Stir together yogurt, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and paprika.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to three days).  When ready to prepare, toss dressing with kale, carrot, blueberries, chives and dried cranberries.  Let stand for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Toss well before serving.  Garnish evenly with pumpkin seeds and pea shoots if using.  Makes 6 to 8 servings as a side dish.

DSC_1081Recipe written and developed by Charmaine Broughton.  charmainebroughton.com

Charmaine is a chef and recipe developer.  She is a regular guest on Rogers Daytime York Region, and food writer for Running Room Magazine sharing her love and enthusiasm for all things food and cooking.

Charmaine is a proud ambassador of Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon a celebration of Women & Fitness, come join in the FUN June 6th, 2016.  Register before June 30th, 2015 for ONLY $68.  Hope to see many of you at the start line in 2016!  Click here to register.

Most importantly; Charmaine is the mother of two active boys, Tyler & Colgan.  Charmaine understands the importance of preparing healthy, wholesome dishes all while keeping budget and time in mind.

For more tasty recipes visit www.charmainebroughton.com

Twitter @runnercharb #RunCookSmile



Summer Hydration

Mix-Your-Own Sports Drink Recipe

I originally developed this recipe for indoor gym goers.  Now that the warm temps are upon us, my sports drink recipe will come in super handy for our little athletes as well.  Soccer, baseball or just horsing around in the backyard can dehydrate kids quickly when Mr. Sun shines down.  Proper hydration is a key “ingredient” to staying healthy not just in the summer, but all year long (*this is a very popular drink with my son’s swim team).  However, in the summer months we are more likely to grab a commercial sports drink on the way to soccer practice or even after a warm weather run.  If you want to save a ton of money, oodles of sugar, artificial colours and our landfills this summer, I encourage you to start with my Mix-Your-Own Sports Drink featured in STRONG Fitness Magazine.  What makes this “recipe” so great?  YOU are in control of how much sugar and sodium is added.  Use my “recipe” as a guideline to hydrate you and your family this summer.  From my HAPPY, HEALTHY & VERY BUSY KITCHEN TO YOURS…ENJOY!

Here’s the recipe: Mix Your Own Sports Drink Recipe featured in Strong Fitness Magazine       

Mother’s Day Recipes featured on Rogers Daytime

Sweet Breakfast Mother’s Day Pizzas

Serve Mom breakfast in bed with these “no-cook” breakfast pizzas.  A perfect recipe to have little hands help with. 

1 cup (250 mL) full fat ricotta cheese

2 tbsp (30 mL) Canadian Maple Syrup

½ vanilla bean scraped – using paste only (*keep bean to flavour sugar) or 2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

1 tsp (5 mL) finely grated orange zest and finely grated fresh ginger root

1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon

4 whole grain pits (about 8 inches in diameter)

2 cups (500 mL) thinly sliced mixed fruit; apples, pineapple, strawberries, kiwi and bananas

¼ cup (60 mL) sunflower or pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp (15 mL) maple flakes – found at bulk stores *optional    

Stir together, ricotta, maple syrup, vanilla, orange zest, ginger and cinnamon.  Spread mixture evenly between pitas.  Divide fruit between pitas and garnish evenly with seeds and maple flakes.  Cut each pita into 4.  Makes 4 servings (1 pita each).   


Vanilla Sugar

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar

½ vanilla bean (*use vanilla paste (the beans that are scraped from bean) in any baked good that calls for extract and keep the long black bean for this use) 

Place sugar in a 1 cup (250 mL) glass mason jar.  Add scraped vanilla bean.  Decorate with ribbon and a handmade card for Mom.  Use sugar in coffee, for baking (*cookies, muffins brownies) or to sweeten and flavour whip cream.  Once sugar has run out, keep bean and refill container.  Bean will continue to flavour sugar for up to 6 months.    


Rosemary & Vanilla Cream with Berries

End Mother’s Day supper with a simple and fuss free dessert.

½ cup (125 mL) chilled 35% whipping cream

paste of ½ vanilla bean (*or 1 tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract)

2 tbsp (30 mL) vanilla sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh rosemary 

2 cups (500 mL) mixed berries such as; sliced strawberries, blueberries and raspberries 

Place cream, vanilla, sugar and rosemary in a chilled mixing bowl.  Beat cream on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Divide fruit between four dessert dishes and garnish evenly with whipped vanilla cream.

Makes 4 servings.    

*Recipe written and developed by Charmaine Broughton.  charmainebroughton.com 

Click here for more information about Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival happening June 14th, 2014 in Midland, Ontario


Easiest Homemade Bread Ever *Vegan *Gluten Free

1398802103782 Please don’t give this recipe an “eye-roll” because it says: gluten free.  I’m honestly not jumping on any bandwagon.  Truth is, I have been baking with Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour for almost 3 years now.  I have the best results when I use it for cookies, muffins and loaves.  The final product has a nice mouth feel, not as “heavy” compared to when I use regular flour (*just my opinion – I’m by far NO pastry chef – I still have nightmares about making croissants in cooking school).  Pizza dough and cakes I still use regular all purpose flour.

About 6 months ago, I began playing around with brown rice flour to make bread.  I adapted my recipe (this one) from a bread my Dad has been making for years.  Although his is AMAZING, especially when he adds hunks of blue cheese and rosemary to the dough (made with all purpose flour), for day to day consumption it’s not the most nutrient dense le pain (sorry Dad).  So I created my own version using; brown rice flour, oats, ground sunflower seeds (almond meal would likely work well too) and chia seeds.  The final result is excellent.  The best part?  No kneading or bread machine required.  It costs about a third of the price of store bought gluten free bread, and is full of healthy fats and plant based protein.  It’s so good you will often find me leaning over my kitchen sink, shoving a hot-out-of-the-oven-piece in my mouth, slathered in butter or coconut oil.  Whatever is in arms reach.  From my HAPPY HEALTHY & VERY BUSY KITCHEN TO YOURS, ENJOY!

1 ½ cups (375 mL) gluten free large flake rolled oats (*I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup (250 mL) brown rice flour (*I use Bob’s Red Mill)

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted raw sunflower seeds, ground up (*I use a coffee grinder)

3 tbsp (45 mL) chia seeds

1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt

2 tbsp (30 mL) liquid honey OR Canadian maple syrup * use maple syrup if you are a vegan, honey technically is not vegan

½ tsp (2 mL) each; granulated sugar and active dry yeast

1 ½ cups (375 mL) warm water

Stir together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  In a large glass measuring cup stir together; honey, sugar, yeast and water.  Let stand for about 1 minute until bubbles just start to form on surface of water.   Stir into dry mixture until well incorporated.  Cover with a tea towel and place on top of warm surface (*on top of fridge or just off to the side of a floor vent).  Let rise for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C).  Grease a 9 x 5 inch (2 L) loaf pan well.  Place dough evenly into loaf pan.  Place in center of pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes loosely cover with foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

*Note, you will not get the Stay Puft Man rise (*if you don’t know what that is, Google it) like a bread made with AP flour, but that goes for most gluten free breads/baked goods.

*Recipe written and developed by Charmaine Broughton.  charmainebroughton.com