All the delicious things I cooked this weekend

With the outside world coated in ice, I holed up in the kitchen and restocked the fridge.

Ontario was blasted with ice and snow this past weekend, so my family and I stayed home, played multiple rounds of Bananagrams, drank a lot of tea, and cooked like maniacs. Weekends are our usual food prep time for the busy workweek, and with little else to do, we just prepped all the more. The result is a fridge bursting with delicious goodies and, best of all, peace of mind. There’s no wondering what we’re going to eat this week.

1. Cream of asparagus soup

Creamed vegetable soups are so easy to make. I generally choose a featured vegetable — in this case, asparagus, but it could be broccoli, cauliflower, peas, squash, zucchini, even spinach — and start by sweating some onions in a pan with olive oil. They cook at a low temperature until softened and translucent, then I add 1-2 chopped carrots, some celery, garlic, 2 peeled and diced potatoes. The potatoes add creaminess later without needing actual cream or milk (good for vegans or people like me avoiding dairy). Then I add the main vegetable, just enough stock to cover them, some spices and salt, and let it simmer. Use an immersion blender to puree it all. Thin with water or cream, if desired.

2. Minestrone soup

Can you tell it was a soup-y kind of weekend? This is a hearty main dish soup that I’ve loved all my life. I sauté a vegetable base that includes onions, carrots, red and green peppers, celery, zucchini, and whatever else I want to use up. Then I add a large can of tomatoes, stock, old Parmesan rinds, generous spoonfuls of dried oregano and basil, and let it simmer. Next go in kidney beans, shredded cabbage, sliced olives, marinated artichokes, and some tiny pasta like ditali, unless I get fancy and pre-cook cheese tortellini. Sausage is a tasty addition, but not necessary. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

3. Quinoa-Black Bean-Mango Salad

This recipe is from “Vegan for Everybody” by America’s Test Kitchen, and I can’t stop making it! It’s a perfect big-batch salad that keeps well in the fridge and makes every lunch easier to pull together. The recipe features a zingy blended dressing made with lime juice, cumin, and jalapeño pepper that adds fabulous flavor to ingredients that can otherwise be somewhat bland.

4. Granola bars

It was my birthday last week, so a friend made dinner for my entire family and brought it to our house. (Please note: This is the most amazing present ever.) One of the things she brought was a pan of homemade granola bars. They disappeared within hours because we couldn’t stop eating them. Since then, I asked for her recipe and have made them twice — one pan for us, another for a friend who just had a baby. Here’s how to make them:

Melt together:
1 cup nut butter (peanut, soy, sunflower, tahini)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 honey or maple syrup

Mix in bowl:
2 cups large-flake oats
2 cups Rice Krispies
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup other additions, like dried cranberries or chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Make sure the nut butter mixture is very hot. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir well. You want the chocolate chips to start melting, as this makes them tastier. Press the mixture into a parchment-lined 9×13 pan and put in the fridge. Let set, then cut into bars. Store in fridge.

5. Rosy Chicken

My family doesn’t eat much meat anymore, especially chicken, which is very expensive when purchased from local organic farmers. This weekend, though, I splurged because I was cooking for the aforementioned friend with a new baby. I made two large pans of this delicious braised chicken, courtesy of Food52’s fabulous cookbook, “A New Way to Dinner.” It’s made by layering sliced garlic, sliced tomatoes, and chicken, then topping with cherry tomatoes and pouring over rosé. It braises for an hour till the cherry tomatoes have begun to blacken and split, the skin is crispy and brown, and the house smells divine. It keeps well and will provide my family with three dinners.

6. Roasted zucchini with chile-mint sauce

The second part of the braised chicken menu included this roasted zucchini. Zucchini isn’t a vegetable I usually think to roast, as it cooks so easily on the stove, but it’s a real time-saver (and mess-reducer) to put zucchini halves in the oven when something else is baking. Topped with a slightly spicy vinaigrette that features fresh chopped mint, it’s a wonderful side dish.

7. Old-fashioned coleslaw

I’ve had a giant head of cabbage rolling around the fridge for weeks, so finally I decided to deal with it. One-quarter went into the minestrone soup, and the rest got turned into coleslaw, which — did you know? — keeps FOREVER. I packed it into a large jar and we’ll have an instant side salad anytime we need for the next two weeks.

Recipe: Grate into a large bowl, mix with shredded carrot and chopped scallions. Meanwhile, simmer 2/3 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Pour the hot dressing over the cabbage and stir to combine.

8. Lemon yogurt cupcakes

Last but not least, there was another birthday in the family this week, so we had to do some baking. I am fussy about cake, despising dryness and that half-hearted chocolate taste that seems to accompany most store-bought cakes, so my go-to recipe is a lemon-yogurt cake that’s moist, dense, and flavorful. It never disappoints! Topped with a quick homemade lemon-buttercream frosting, it’s the perfect finish to a celebratory meal.

How about you? Did you cook any fun, interesting, delicious meals this weekend?

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Putin says grandfather cooked for Stalin and Lenin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin’s paternal grandfather worked as a cook for both Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, the president said in a film posted on the internet on Sunday.

In the two-hour documentary, called Putin, the president said Spiridon Putin was a valued member of Stalin’s staff. The wartime Soviet leader, who died in 1953, conducted extensive purges during his around three decades in power.

“(He) was a cook at Lenin’s and later at Stalin’s, at one of the dachas in the Moscow area,” Putin said in the film seen by Reuters.

Interviewer Andrey Kondrashov, who became the president’s election campaign spokesman in January, said Spiridon Putin continued to cook for the Soviet establishment until shortly before he died in 1965, aged 86.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the information in the film was accurate.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; editing by John Stonestreet)

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AP Calls Trump’s Texas Supporters ‘Diehards,’ Uses Cooked Poll to Lowball His Popularity

On Monday, the day before primary elections in Texas, Paul J. Weber at the Associated Press characterized Donald Trump’s Texas supporters as “diehards,” and cited a cooked Trump approval poll published by Quinnipiac to understate the President’s popularity.

Weber did not hide his disdain for what he described as “the Trump effect” in his AP report:

In Texas GOP primary, it’s who can love Trump the most

… Texas holds the nation’s first 2018 primary elections Tuesday, and the campaign is providing a vivid exhibition of the Trump effect in GOP politics. Some races are playing out in a roadshow of one-upping emulation of the combative president, in which there’s no such thing as cozying up too close or too ardently, regardless of his rough edges or low approval ratings nationwide.

After this ridicule of Trump-supporting politicians, Weber aimed his fire at Trump voters:

Texas candidates aren’t alone in courting Trump diehards who make up the GOP base — and who can be counted on to show up in typically low-turnout primary elections.

The dictionary defines a diehard as “a person who vigorously maintains or defends a seemingly hopeless position, outdated attitude, lost cause, or the like.” That characterization of Trump supporters is ridiculous, given the fervor with which GOP candidates are associating themselves with the President and the fact, as Weber himself conceded, that “Democrats haven’t won a statewide race since 1994.”

Weber then presented the cooked poll:

The impression of a Trump White House at war with its enemies is stoking the atmosphere. “It’s about he’s our Republican president and if we don’t stand together and we don’t defend the party and conservative ideas, no one is,” said Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based Republican strategist. A Quinnipiac University survey in late February put Trump’s approval rating at 86 percent among Republicans but just 37 percent overall.

Readers who are strong at math will quickly discern that the coexistence of the two Trump popularity numbers presented — 86 percent among Republicans and 37 percent overall — is almost statistically impossible. That’s correct, unless one cooks the poll participation percentages, which is what Quinnipiac did.

As seen below, the poll included 33 percent Democrats and 22 percent Republicans, despite the latest Gallup nationwide party affiliation poll showing a slight GOP advantage of 28 percent to 27 percent. If the Quinnipiac poll had been weighted with Gallup’s percentages, Trump’s approval result would have increased by 5 points to 42 percent:


Meanwhile, the presidential approval tracking poll at Rasmussen, which had the best performance among all major pollsters in the 2016 presidential election, had Trump at 47 percent approval nationwide from February 16-19, the days Quinnipiac conducted its poll.

It’s also reasonable to believe the Trump’s overall popularity in Texas would be higher because of nearly a quarter-century of Republican electoral successes there.

Weber’s dispatch is all in a day’s work at AP, the nation’s hopelessly biased, Trump-despising, gatekeeping news service.

Cross-posted at

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The real cost of illegal immigration: Eight people COOKED to death in the back of a trailer in a Texas Wal-Mart parking lot

Image: The real cost of illegal immigration: Eight people COOKED to death in the back of a trailer in a Texas Wal-Mart parking lot

(Natural News) The real cost of illegal immigration is becoming even more horrific and gruesome as a human-trafficking crime scene was discovered in a Wal-Mart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas. Nearly 40 people — presumably non-citizens attempting to enter the United States illegally — had been stuffed into a tractor-trailer and driven through the sweltering heat of Texas. There was no air conditioning and no water. Eight were found dead from heat exposure.

The tractor-trailer is seen with an air conditioning unit called a “Thermo King,” but the unit was not functioning, according to, which also reports:

Officials said about 30 more people were found inside the truck at 8535 S. Interstate 35 and Highway 16 and transferred to area hospitals for treatment. The driver of the truck, identified as James Bradley by several sources, was immediately detained by police and faces state and federal charges.

According to several news reports, the driver of the truck approached a Wal-Mart employee and asked for water. The employee became aware of the gravity of the situation and alerted police, probably saving the lives of many people in the truck who had not yet succumbed to asphyxiation or heat exhaustion. This is one case where a Wal-Mart employee did the right thing and probably saved a dozen or more lives.

According to, San Antonio Fire Chief stated, “Our paramedics and firefighters found that each patient had heart rates over about 130 beats per minute and were very hot to the touch.” It seems clear they would have soon died if they were not extricated from the tractor-trailer.

Another reminder of the high human cost of illegal immigration and Obama’s enticement for more people to come

All this is a stark reminder of the human cost of illegal immigration, and much of the blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of former President Barack Obama who practically rolled out a red carpet, enticing more people to attempt illegal immigration activities across the U.S. South where heat-related deaths are increasingly common. My prayers go out to all those who suffered and / or died in this horrific incident, and I hope no one else is forced to suffer through such awful treatment after being convinced to try to enter the United States illegally.

Democrats have routinely offered economic enticements to encourage illegal immigration by promising entitlement benefits to illegals, including free education, free health care and even voting rights stemming from the widespread voter fraud that’s openly practiced by the Democrat party. These enticements are just a few of the many that encourage non-citizens to take extreme risks in an effort to enter the United States illegally. As we are seeing now, some of those illegal immigration attempts end in tragedy and the loss of human life.

The blame for all this rests squarely on the Democrats who openly encourage illegal immigration as a key strategy for increasing their voter base. This is why America needs stronger border protections, strong voter ID laws and enforcement of existing laws against illegal immigration. Otherwise, if the status quo continues, more dead bodies will turn up with increasing frequency as human smuggling continues to sneak illegals into the United States at great risk to human life.


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