Registered Massage Therapist
Member of the Massage Therapists' Association of Nova Scotia since 2000

The Halifax Professional Centre
5991 Spring Garden Road • Suite 577
Halifax, Nova Scotia • B3H 1Y6
902 • 580 • 2708


Self-Isolation Comfort Food

While I've been off work and self-isolating, like so many of you I have been doing some inspired cooking. I thought I'd share two of my favourite comfort food recipes with you.

When I'm really, really in need of comfort, I add a couple of tofu hotdogs to eat with these beans, fried up. I squeeze some ketchup in and it takes me right back to summertime when I was a kid in Maine. My father used to rent us a summer house there sometimes and he would take us to a little convenience store deli that sold homemade baked beans in Chinese food containers. We'd bring the beans back to the house and eat them with hotdogs (we didn't eat tofu hotdogs back then).

I'm also including a recipe for cornbread below, something that became a favourite years later, when I worked as a waitress at Redbones Barbeque in Somerville, MA. Enjoy!

I don't make this recipe very often because it involves soaking beans overnight and then cooking the beans in the oven for 6 hours. Who has all that time? I do now. And so do most of you. This recipe is a slightly adapted vegetarian version of Martha Stewart's classic recipe. Adjust the sweetness according to your taste.

Boston Baked Beans
Servings: 10
Cooking time: 6 hours

2 pounds / 4 cups dried pinto or navy beans
1/2 cup (or less) molasses
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry - or bottled - mustard
1/2 cup (or less) packed dark brown sugar
4 canned plum tomatoes, seeded and crushed
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion peeled, halved
12 whole cloves
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

  1. Soak the beans in cold water overnight in a large container. Drain in a colander.
  2. Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a small saucepan on the stove, combine molasses, mustard, brown sugar, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, garlic and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Stud the onion halves with the cloves, and place in the bottom of a terra-cotta bean pot or Dutch oven.
  3. Add the soaked beans to the pot. Pour the molasses mixture over the beans, stir, and cover. The liquid should cover the beans by 1/2 inch. Add more water if necessary.
  4. Transfer to the oven. Bake without stirring, until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 6 hours. Check the beans every 45 minutes, adding more hot water if necessary to keep beans slightly soupy at all times. 
  5. For the last 50 to 60 minutes of cooking, uncover the beans. 
  6. Remove from the oven, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.
What goes well with baked beans? Cornbread, greens like kale or collard greens, tofu hotdogs, or maybe just a thick slice of that homemade bread you've been baking...

Ready for a slow bake in the oven...

Corn Bread
1 tablespoon butter (for skillet) 
2 cups yellow cornmeal 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
2 eggs (beaten) 
2 cups milk 
1/4 cup butter (melted)

Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 425 . 
Put the oil or shortening in a 10-inch iron skillet and place in the oven to preheat while making the batter. 
In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar, if using. 
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and butter. 
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. 
As soon as the batter is combined, carefully lift the skillet out of the oven and turn to coat the bottom and sides.
Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and get it back into the oven. 
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until browned. A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Serve and enjoy.