Homegrown the Cookbook

Last December I was invited to a special event at the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence to celebrate the launch of Mairlyn Smith’s newest cookbook, Homegrown.  It wasn’t my first trip to the centre, which is a space I love, but that’s a story for another time.  However, I had a heard a lot of things about Mairlyn’s book so I thought it was the perfect space to host this event.

Mairlyn Smith and Abe van Melle demonstrate how easy it is to tie a roast.

Mairlyn Smith and Abe van Melle demonstrate how easy it is to tie a roast.

The main theme of Homegrown, is just that, focusing on cooking with the resources we have available to us here in Canada.  And what better place to do that then in a place that promotes Canadian Beef.  We are so blessed in this country of ours and Mairlyn’s book celebrates this.  From BC wine, to the prairie pulses, to scallops from Nova Scotia and everything in between, this book has it.

The recipes aren’t all hers but are a compilation from the Ontario Home Economics Association. When I got home after the event and had a chance to flip through the pages, one of the things I most enjoyed was seeing the smiling faces of all these ladies showcasing their food alongside their recipe.  The beaming pride of Canadians with their Homegrown creations, you have to love that!

At the event, we were served these wonderful Cranberry Maple Butter Tarts.  They were sinfully delicious so of course when I got home I sought out the recipe.  So here is my confession, when I get a new cookbook the first section I drift to is desserts, I mean who wouldn’t?

Cranberry Maple Butter Tarts from Homegrown the Cookbook.

Cranberry Maple Butter Tarts from Homegrown the Cookbook.

I found the tart recipe no problem, but I also found the most amazing introduction to this section, treats – a cautionary tale.  Something I needed to hear after a year of drifting off focus and indulging.  I mean who would blame me after the year we’ve had as a family but it hit me at the right time and I was listening.  I’ll just quote it here:

” Treats! We all love’em, and an occasional treat is okay to fit into your eating plan – occasional being the operative word, as in once in a while…

…Merriam Webster definition: Treat noun : something that tastes good and that is not eaten often

That leads me into the other thing I love about this book, it includes the nutritional information for all the recipes.  I know that some people say, just eat better food and less and you will lose weight.  For me though, the accountant side shines through and I need something more concrete.  To make weight loss happen for me I need to know exactly how large that serving is and how many calories it is gonna cost me.  If I don’t handle my weight loss this way I spin out of control, I need guidelines.  That’s just me.

Homegrown the Cookbook

Fast forward to the start of the new year and I’m planning on how I am going to start losing the massive amount of weight I need to lose.  The first week I am eating salads and veggies but I am not happy.  That’s because it’s Canada, it’s cold, there’s snow on the ground and the last thing you want is to eat that lovely but not very satisfying bowl of greens.

So I pulled out my Homegrown cookbook and looked for inspiration.  I found it in a soup recipe.  Here is what I can say about this Root Vegetable Potage, do not be bound  by it.  The first time I made it I couldn’t get parsnips or leeks.  That’s okay, I just added in extra carrots and onions and it still turned out great.  I also used turnip instead of rutabaga.  The more you make the recipe the more you can experiment and work out what combination works for you.  Like the second time I made the recipe I had the parsnips but I think I like it better with just the carrots so that’s how I’ll make it going forward.

Root Vegetable Potage Ingredients

This recipe also makes a lot of soup!  Like I put enough in containers to take to work for the week but had enough left over to put in the freezer for another time.  It’s perfect. And it is entirely satisfying to eat this instead of salad for lunch and fits into my eating program.

Root Vegetable Potage Homegrown the Cookbook

I am looking forward to exploring the rest of the book but have only made one other recipe.  As the seasons turn I am excited to try some other things with more great Canadian ingredients.

But in the meantime, Mairlyn has graciously allowed me to post the Root Vegetable Potage recipe here on the blog.  If you are trying to keep an eye on what you are eating and want something more substantial I highly recommend this soup.

Root Vegetable Potage


2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter

2 large onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 leeks, thinly sliced

1 tsp (5 mL) dried rosemary

1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried sage

2 carrots, scrubbed well, chopped into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes

1 small rutabaga, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes

2 parsnips, scrubbed well and chopped into 1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes

2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and chopped into 1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes

3 large baking potatoes, scrubbed well and chopped into 1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes

8 cups (2 L) no salt added vegetable broth

1/2 tsp (2 mL) iodized salt

Pepper to taste

Root Vegetable Potage Prep


  1. In a large Dutch oven or a large  heavy bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add leeks, rosemary, thyme and sage and continue sautéing for approximately 3 minutes, or until the leeks have softened.
  2. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir well.
  3. Pour in the vegetable broth, add salt and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce to medium-low and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are very soft and tender.  Season with pepper and serve.  Stores for up to 3 days covered in  the fridge, or freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months.

Makes 16 cups (4 L) One Serving = 2 cups (500 mL)

Per Serving: 172 Calories, 3.3 g Total Fat, 2 g Saturated Fat, 0.2 g Trans Fat, 231 mg Sodium, 35.4 g Carbohydrate, 5.2 g Fibre, 12.8 g Sugars, 0 g Added Sugars, 3.3 g Protein, Carbohydrate Choices: 2

Heather's EATS with Mairlyn Smith at Homegrown the Cookbook Launch

Posted with permission from Mairlyn Smith P.H.Ec www.mairlynsmith.com from Homegrown Celebrating the foods we grow, raise and produce.


4 thoughts on “Homegrown the Cookbook

  1. I love the recipe and the Canadian focus in general, but I’m especially pleased to see fall and winter produce! We have great food here, but I think sometimes we get a little too down on the root veggies in the middle of winter. But this shows why we shouldn’t! It looks rich, hearty, and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

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