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Mexican Cooking with Vicky Newbury

Former Chez Piggy chef Vicki Newbury has graciously shared some of her favourite recipes from our Mexican Cooking class. Now is the time to try out great new recipes.

Shrimp Tacos

Hello Fellow Cooks,

Nate, David and I are cooking and eating our way through isolation. We have cleaned out the freezer and found 8 bags of frozen shrimp as well as all sorts of dumplings, stocks, and bits of questionable meat, so I have decided to post some of our recipes on the Seniors Association website if anyone wants to cook along with us.


For this dish make the tortillas first and while they are resting make all the filling ingredients. Cook the shrimp last so that they will be hot for eating.

24 -36 peeled and deveined shrimp
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh chilies, minced
olive oil
Fry shrimp about 1 minute a side in olive oil, stir in chilies and garlic, season with salt and remove from heat. Cook shrimp just before ready to assemble tacos.

2 cups masa harina
1 1/3 cups water
1 tsp. salt
Mix masa, warm water and salt, knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit 1 hour. Divide into 15 equal balls, roll into discs between plastic sheets. Fry in dry frying pan about 30 seconds a side. Keep warm until service, makes 12 – 15.

2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 ½ -2 cups canola oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
In a food processor, blend eggs garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and mustard. Slowly drizzle in oil until aioli is thick then add remaining lemon juice. Makes 3 cups.

4 cups savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup finely diced carrot
½ cup finely diced red pepper
½ cup finely diced fennel or celery
½ cup finely diced red onion
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ -2 cups lemon aioli
Toss together all vegetables with salt then fold in aioli.

5 ripe avocados
1 tomato, diced
1 heaping Tbsp. sour cream
½ large red onion, diced
juice of 1 lime
2 fresh jalapenos, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Mash avocadoes in a bowl. Fold in remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill.
Makes about 5 cups.

5 medium tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, finely diced
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1-2 Thai chilies, minced
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ cup fresh lime juice
salt to taste
Mix all ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste.

To assemble tacos: place coleslaw on the bottom, top with 2-3 shrimp, garnish with salsa fresca and guacamole. You can use slices of avocado instead of guacamole and feta cheese if you have any.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

I have to thank my friend Reyna for this recipe, it is one of my favourites. I also like to leave the avocado out of the sauce and use it for salsa on everything. The slightly sweet note from the ketchup and all the bits from the vegetables make it fabulous on nachos or cold chicken and pork.

½ cup tomato juice
½ cup clamato juice
¼ cup ketchup
½ avocado diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ small chili pepper, minced
1/3 English cucumber, finely diced
1 tomato, finely diced
½ red pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
12 shrimp, peeled and poached

Mix all ingredients except the shrimp, serve in cocktail glass with shrimp around the edge.

You can also serve this as a light lunch in an avocado half. Leave the skin on the avocado and let it act as a bowl. You can also cut the shrimp in half or chop them coarsely.

Harira - Moroccan Tomato Lamb Soup


This soup was one of the favourites during our soup course, hearty and flavourful and filling. Nate and I miss all our fellow cooks and look forward to seeing you soon.

1 lb. cubed lamb
olive oil
1 tsp. turmeric
pinch saffron
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup dried red lentils
1 ½ cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped parsley
2- 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1-28oz. can chick peas
1 Preserved salted lemon, rind only, diced

Trim the lamb and, in a bowl, coat the meat with a drizzle of olive oil, the turmeric, saffron, salt, pepper, cinnamon and ginger. Roast the lamb at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, coarsely chop and set aside. Cook the lentils in water with salt until tender. Set lentils in cooking water aside with the lamb. Saute the celery, carrot, onion and sweet potato in butter for 8-10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes, lentils with cooking water and chick peas (with their juice) and 2 cups of water. Stir in the lamb and continue cooking for 30-45 minutes until the meat is tender. Just before serving, stir in the salted lemon. Serves 10-12.

2 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
6 whole lemons, washed
6 Tbsp. coarse salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp. coriander seed
3-4 whole chilies
1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns
Cut the lemon from the top to bottom but leaving it together at the bottom. Pack the inside with 1 Tbsp. salt and push them back together. Place the lemons and spices in a sterilized jar and cover with fresh juice. You may need more lemon juice to completely cover. Store in the refrigerator for about 1 month.
To use the lemons, remove from juice and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Dice or slice the rind.

Lentil, Cauliflower and Corn Salad


My friend Kate brought this recipe to a party a few years ago. I couldn’t stop eating it even though I’ve never had a lentil salad before. Since then I’ve made it for every party I’ve attended and shamelessly made it my own. I usually add whatever vegetables and herbs I have around, Kate uses beans cut in tiny wee circles. We both agree on the tiny vegetables to match the lentils. There are many different lentils, for this recipe I used Beluga lentils (named for their resemblance to cavier) but French or du Puy lentils are also elegant. Usually I end up with brown or green lentils as they are more readily available. I have also made this with Israeli couscous instead of lentils.

2 cups French or green lentils
2 ears corn
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ cup finely chopped leeks, washed thoroughly
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup cauliflower florettes
½ cup finely diced carrot
¼ cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced red onion
½ cup finely diced red pepper

1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped dill
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool and set aside. Strip the corn from the cob. Sautee corn and leeks in olive oil seasoned with a pinch of salt and smoked paprika for 2-3 minutes. Blanch cauliflower and carrot, drain and cool. Mix lentils, corn, leeks, cauliflower and carrot with remaining vegetables. Mix dressing and toss with salad. Adjust seasoning to taste. Makes 6-8 cups.

Green Chicken with Almonds


This is an ancient recipe from Chez Piggy when my sister Susan was in her Latin American period. The use of the ground lettuce adds a surprising flavour (once you get over the idea of cooking Romaine). I usually pick the tougher outer leaves and save the inner ones for salad. I served this with black beans and rice but cooked the beans in my Instant Pot. It worked great for the beans but I decided to cook the rice on top of the beans and that gave me an unattractive gray colour. It would have been beautiful had I cooked them separately and stirred them together for distinctive white and black.


8-10 chicken thighs
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, grated
6 fresh chilies, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ground blanched almonds
1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet fry the chicken thighs about 3-4 minutes a side just to brown and crisp the skin. Remove the chicken to a casserole dish. Fry the onions, chilies and garlic in the frying pan with olive oil about 5-6 minutes until onions are soft. Stir in ½ cup of the ground almonds. Puree the lettuce, cilantro, parsley and dried coriander. Add 1/3 of the lettuce mixture to the onion mixture and heat through. Set the rest aside. Coat the chicken with the onion mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Remove the chicken to a serving platter. Return the sauce to the frying pan on top of the stove and add the stock and remaining lettuce mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes and thicken with remaining ground almonds. Season with salt and serve over the chicken thighs. Serves 5.

Seasoned Mashed Potatoes with Shrimp


This slightly unusual dish from Peru was another favourite on the menu at Chez Piggy many years ago. The base is spicy mashed potatoes garnished with shrimp, an assortment of vegetables and a mild cheese. It is served with a spicy onion sauce.


3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
¾ cup finely chopped onions
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. chopped fresh chillies
pinch saffron
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, saute the onions in olive oil until just soft then stir in remaining ingredients. Mash potatoes with onion oil mixture and adjust seasoning to taste. Keep warm while preparing garnishes.


1 cup chunk cut red onion
1 clove garlic
1 fresh chili, seeds removed
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve on the side.


1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4 ears fresh corn cut into coblets
1 red pepper, sliced
12 raw shrimp, peeled
olive oil
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
green or black olives
½ lb. queso blanco or mozzarella cheese, cut into triangles
Cook the sweet potatoes and corn separately, in boiling, salted water until tender. Saute the shrimp in olive oil, turning once until pink.

To serve, stick the shrimp, vegetables, eggs, olives and cheese into the potatoes and serve with sauce on the side.

Latin American Pork Stew with Orange Juice


Another ancient recipe from Susan’s Latin American Period, the combination of citrus and sweet potatoes compliment the pork perfectly. Annatto or achiote is a red, orange seed used for colouring and flavour in many Latin American dishes. It has a subtle flavour similar to saffron but there is no substitute for it.

5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chilies, chopped
1 Tbsp. ground annatto
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 ½ cubed pork butt
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil or bacon fat
2 onions, sliced
1 tsp. salt
1 ¼ cup orange juice
juice of 4 limes
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
fresh cilantro for garnish

Mix garlic, chilies, annatto and cumin. Rub the pork with this spice mixture and marinate overnight. Saute the onions in oil over medium heat until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the pork and brown. Pour in the citrus juices and simmer over medium heat for 1 to 1 ½ hours until pork is tender. Add the sweet potatoes and simmer for another 25 to 35 minutes until potatoes are tender. Serve with white rice, garnished with cilantro. Serves 8.

Cooking with Members

Cuban Congri

From Dave Fritz

I encountered Congri when I first travelled to Cuba. It is one of several variations on rice and beans in Cuban cooking. This dish, like most Cuban dishes, is not particularly hot and spicy, as one might expect for a dish from the Caribbean. It is, however, flavourful due to generous use of herbs. Feel free to spice it up to your taste if you find it bland. Serve this as a main dish with perhaps a salad and good bread. Both extra congri and any unused cooked beans freeze well.

The most famous of the other dishes is called Moros y Christianos (Moors and Christians). The main difference is that Moros y Christianos is served over white rice while the rice for Congri is cooked in the water used to cook the beans. The rice will have a lovely purple colour as a result.

Cubans use a pepper called aji in Congri. The closest equivalent we have here is a jalapeño pepper.

Ingredients (for 2 people)
Quantities can be adjusted to taste or increased in proportion for more people. You will probably have some left over.

1/4 large Spanish or sweet onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped (optional)
1 heaping Tbsp. dried parsley
1 heaping Tbsp. dried oregano
1 heaping Tbsp. cumin
Splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1-1/2 cups cooked beans
1 cup raw rice
2 cups retained cooking water – add more water if necessary

First the beans. Use dried (see Notes below) black beans. I prefer to cook the beans in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. I think the beans have a better taste and texture when done this way.
Each cup of dried beans will produce roughly 2-1/2 to 3 cups of cooked beans. Place the beans in the IP and cover with 3+ cups of water for every cup of the dried beans. Make sure you have at least the minimum amount of liquid your IP requires. Add more water if necessary to reach the minimum. Use the Pressure Cook program. Adjust the time to 20 minutes and the pressure setting to High. When the cooking is done, let the pressure release fully naturally. Drain the beans in a strainer over a large bowl or other container to retain the remaining water. Place the beans in another container and add a generous splash of apple cider vinegar. This will spark the flavour and aid in digestion.

Start the rest of the dish in a large covered skillet by sautéing onions, celery and garlic and jalapeno (optional) over medium heat until just barely softened. Add the parsley, oregano, cumin, Worcestershire sauce (optional) and beans and stir well. Turn the heat to high and add the rice. Stir thoroughly for a minute or two to toast the rice a bit. Add the cooking water and bring back to a boil. Cover the skillet, and reduce the heat to low. Cook on low until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. This will take about 20 minutes, or a bit longer if you used parboiled rice. Check after about 15 minutes, but continue until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, stir well and serve.

Note 1: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use your favourite bean recipe’s soaking and cooking instructions without any other ingredients. Remember to save the soaking/cooking water to use to cook the rice.

Note 2: If you prefer to use canned beans, I would suggest making Moros y Christianos instead. Rinse the canned beans well. Use plain water or broth instead of the water saved from soaking/cooking the beans


Joining a Zoom Class

Our tech instructor, Sam Kalb, put together a comprehensive How To Guide on how to use Zoom on various devices.


Gardening with Master Gardener Joyce Hostyn

Workshops & Advice

Master Gardeners of Rideau Thousand Islands have created a Facebook group and a weekly “Ask a Virtual Master Gardener” to support gardeners during COVID-19. Janette Haase is also doing a weekly small group coaching session to support novice vegetable gardeners.

Here are the details:


Featured Speakers

Green Burials

This Featured Speaker was planned to run at The Seniors Centre in April to provide information on green burial. Guest speaker, Sue Lyon, still wanted to provide the seminar by video.

Green burial contributes to the health of the planet with simplicity, dignity, and respect. Choices can be made at each step of the death care process to limit waste, reduce the carbon footprint, and nourish the local ecosystem. Learn more about the green burial movement in this video. Click here to view.

Finances with Dwayne Henne

Dwayne Henne from KCCU Wealth does monthly talks at The Seniors Centre. See some of the topics he covers on his interviews with Global Kingston. Click here to view.


Exercise & Wellness Programs

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting any fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs*. The Seniors Association Kingston Region and its instructors are not responsible for any injuries or complications that may arise from this material.


Keep Movin’


Follow Sue as she leads a full Keep Movin’ class. Most levels can participate in either standing and sitting positions. Sue is one of our dedicated instructors who teaches Movin’ & Groovin’, Keep Movin’, and Movin’ to the Beat at The Seniors Centre.



with Dianne

This is a short meditation focusing on breath, calming the mind and stillness by finding acceptance in the things we cannot control and fighting a situation we cannot change. Led by Dianne Britton


How to Breathe Yourself Down with Barbara

This video will feel very familiar to members who have taken my courses, since they hear me say these things almost every class. And any new participant in future classes, who have seen this video, will feel right at home when they come to their first class. Led by Barbara Watson


Ocean Waves Meditation with Barbara

This is a basic guided meditation you can just follow along. It’s just over 10 minutes and recorded in Florida a few years ago. Led by Barbara Watson


Chair Yoga


This 35 minute chair yoga class, led by Dianne Britton, will work with breath, posture, and gentle strength and range of motion, followed by a shivasana to cultivate stillness, and peace.


Chair Yoga with Linda Bothwell


Tai Chi


Tai chi is a sequence of slow, fluid movements that help to improve balance, flexibility, strength, and concentration. Seniors Association instructor Rosalind Mak leads you through refining the 108 moves of Tai Chi.




Join our lovely instructor Adrienne as she takes you through this fluid, dynamic form of exercise that is both challenging and healing. It draws on the flowing movements of tai chi, the strengthening theories behind ballet, and the healing principles of physiotherapy.




Exercise with Erin

YourTV features Erin O’Brien

Kingston Seniors! Stay fit at home during the COVID-19 crisis with a daily fitness program from certified Seniors Fitness Instructor Erin O’Brien, owner of WiseMoves Kingston. Enjoy a new fitness class tailored to Seniors Monday to Friday at 10am, on YourTV Kingston (COGECO Cable ch 700 or 13). Find out more about Erin here:

YourTV Intro


Weight Wednesday


Muscle Monday


Train Your Trunk Thursday


Turn It Up Tuesday


Functional Friday


Erin O’Brien, WiseMoves Kingston

Erin O’Brien is one of our busiest instructors and her infectious enthusiasm and love for what she does have made her one of our most popular! Check out some videos she put together to keep you moving while at home.

Erin owns WiseMoves Kingston, a business dedicated to improving the health, fitness levels, and overall quality of life of every senior client, and participant. (website) (e-mail)
* * Please make sure you go at a pace that works for you, within your comfort level. WiseMoves Kingston is not responsible for any injuries or complications that may arise from this material. Exercises performed in this video will be completed at your own risk and discretion. Please consult your health care professional before starting any new exercise routines.

5 Minute Warm-Up
Stretching / Flexibility
Seated 15 Minute Cardiovascular Endurance
Standing 20 Minute Cardio
Seated Ball Routine
Seated Resistance Band Exercises
Seated Resistance Band Exercises #2
Standing Balance
Gentle 30 Minute Seated Exercise Routine
Standing Leg Strength / Trunk Endurance (Core & Low Back)
Seated Weights



Standing Cardio


Standing Balance

5 Minute Warm-Up


Seated Ball Routine


Seated Exercise Routine



Seated Resistance Bands


Standing Leg/Core Strength

Seated Cardio Endurance


Resistance Bands #2


Seated Weights


*Do not start this fitness program if your physician or health care provider advises against it. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.