Monday, November 9, 2015

Sundried Tomato Pesto with Olives (Vegan)

I could eat this pesto every day! I used jarred sundried tomatoes packed in oil because I had some that needed to be used up, but you could re-hydrate the dry ones with some boiling water and use those. I stirred it into pasta, but it would be amazing spread on toast and topped with avocado!

I used only about 6 leaves at first, but added more once it was blended because it wasn't enough. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dates with Walnuts and Coconut

Now that I'm not eating sweets and baked goods like I used to, I had to come up with something that I would enjoy with my tea. I wanted something fast and vegan friendly. 

I remembered that my mother-in-law makes these dates with walnuts inside, and then sprinkles coconut on top. This is almost too easy! Make as many as you want. I store them in a container in the fridge, but they are fine on the counter. None of the items really need to be refrigerated. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Vegan Lentil Soup with Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash

I've become a big fan of Katie's soups. Yesterday I posted a recipe for Vegan Spiced Cauliflower Soup, which I also found on her blog Produce on Parade.

As we enter soup season, we are also very well into root vegetable season here in Ontario. You can get fresh local beets, squash and other delicious roots to use in your soups right now. How perfect!

The one thing I will change next time is to leave out the sugar. I used 1 teaspoon as opposed to 1 tablespoon recommended in the original recipe, and it was too sweet for my liking. Since changing the way I eat, I have lost my sweet tooth (which is a good thing!). Taste your soup, if you think it needs a little something, start with the 1 teaspoon and see how you like the flavour.

Colourful Veggie Rice Paper Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce - Recipe

Recently I made these yummy summer rolls. Everything in the rolls is optional. You can really put whatever you want in them. I was going to add some red bell pepper, but I didn't have one that day.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Vegan Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Soup season is upon us, and I love it!

Soup is so easy to make, and it's perfect to pack for lunch the next day. This is yet another recipe approved by my 8 year old. My 5 year old wouldn't even try it. She's not a soup person unless it's chicken noodle.

This soup is thick and creamy. Yum!

I sprinkled a little paprika on top to make it look pretty.

Vegan Spiced Cauliflower Soup
Makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onions, diced
1 bay leaf
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 can of coconut milk (any 13-15oz can will do)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Fresh chopped dill

In a large pot, sauté the onions with the bay leaf and all the spices for 5 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the vegetable broth, cauliflower and potato to the pot and simmer on medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in the coconut milk, vinegar and dill. Let the soup heat through on a low heat before serving.

Vegan Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Greens

This was my lunch today. I used leftover steamed Brussels sprouts from yesterday's dinner. Super fast and delicious! You could probably add some chickpeas to this or squeeze a little lemon juice on top, which is what I meant to do, but forgot. 

Vegan Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Greens
Makes 1 big serving or 2 sides

1 teaspoon avocado oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 pinch hot chilli flakes
1 1/2 cups chopped greens (I used chard and kale)
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 Brussels sprouts, halved
6 kalamata olives, halved
1 heaping tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomatoes (plump not dry)
2 heaping tablespoons chopped roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
1 cup cooked pasta (I used brown rice linguine)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

In a medium pot, sauté the garlic and pepper flakes in avocado oil for 30 seconds.

Add the greens, tomatoes and sprouts. Stir for a minute or two until the greens start to wilt.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Remove the pot from the heat and then stir in the olive oil. Serve warm.

Superfood Energy Balls With Dates, Apricots, Figs and Nuts

I love making energy balls because you can put so many different things into them. You can add any type of nut or dried fruit that you like.

Superfood Energy Balls With Dates, Apricots, Figs and Nuts
Makes about 18 balls

1/3 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup dried apricots
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
5 dried figs
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1 tablespoon hemp seed
1 tablespoon chia seed
1/4 cup raw pecans
5 raw walnut halves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
unsweetened coconut for rolling

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until a thick paste is formed.

Roll the paste into balls with your hands, and then roll them in the coconut.

Store in an airtight container.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Vegan Macaroni with Chickpeas and Kale

This is too easy. I'm always looking for quick things that I can make to bring to work for lunch. This is something I whipped up this morning using left-over pasta. The measurements don't have to be exact, just put whatever you want in the pot.

If you're not vegan, you can use regular parmesan on top. Other leafy greens would probably work just as well in this recipe, but kale is my favourite. No matter what you use, be sure to rinse it well. Leafy greens are dirty. You could also add olives or chopped tomatoes to make this dish even more exciting.

Vegan Macaroni with Chickpeas and Kale
Makes 1 serving

1 tablespoon avocado oil
¼ cup sliced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped kale
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup cooked pasta (I used brown rice elbows)
1/3 cup chickpeas (cooked or canned, no need to rinse)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan (optional)

Over medium heat, cook your onion in the avocado oil until it turns golden. It will take a few minutes, be sure to stir regularly so the onion doesn't burn.

Stir in the garlic and cook for just a minute. Mix in your kale stirring regularly so it doesn't stick to the pot and burn. Mine still had a bit of water on it from washing which helped it not stick to the pot. Cook this until the kale is wilted to your liking.

Stir in the pepper, salt and lemon juice. Add the pasta and chickpeas and cook until heated through (only for a minute).

Toss with olive oil and nutritional yeast or parm before serving.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I'm Still Around, But Things Have Changed!

Hello friends!

It's been a long time I know. But I have returned! And I've changed the way I look at food. I am now following a whole-foods, plant-based way of eating. Mostly because after loosing my mom earlier this year to cancer (at 55), I decided that this is the way to stay healthy and nourish my body. I realized that all these years, the foods that I've been eating and feeding my family are the same foods that have been shown to contribute to various diseases. It's also better for the environment. I'm still working on my husband and kids, but they are adapting well to the smaller changes I have made for them. I've updated my about me page a little if you care to read more.

You don't have to agree with my new way of eating, but going forward, my recipes will reflect the changes that I have made.

If you watch any of these films, you will understand why I've made the switch. They really opened my eyes to the world we are living in. I was completely ignorant before I started watching these. Some of them are really shocking.

Making these changes wasn't easy at first, and it took me 2 months to transition to a whole-foods, plant-based way of eating, but now that I know what I'm doing (sort of), I don't have to think about it. My new favourite foods are butternut squash, sauteed kale and organic smoked tofu. Who knew?! My old favourites were cheese, sugar and more cheese. 

Some of these films are available on Netflix or from your local library. Our library uses the Overdrive app for digital videos and books. Some I haven't watched yet, but I plan to watch them all eventually. Search for them on Google.

Films of Interest
A Delicate Balance
A Place at the Table
Addicted to Plastic
As We Sow
Bold Native
Chew on This
Earth Voice Food Choice
Enjoy Your Meal
Essential Cuisine Cooking Classics (raw, cooked & cultured foods)
Farm to fridge
Fast Food Baby
Fast Food Nation
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2
Fed Up
Food Inc.
Food Matters
Food That Kills
Forks Over Knives
Genetic Roulette
Genetically Modified Food
Gmo omg
Got the Facts on Milk?
Hungry For Change
Just Eat It
King Corn
Locally Abundant (YouTube)
One Man, One Cow, One planet
Speciesism: the Movie
Super Size Me
That sugar film
The Beautiful Truth
The Future of Food
The Gerson Miracle
The Ghosts in our Machine
The Power of community
The Price of Sugar
The World According to Monsanto
To Make a Farm
Vanishing of the Bees
What is Organic Farming (YouTube)
What's on Your Plate

Online Videos
Food Matters has what looks to be a great selection of videos. I have not signed up for their service yet, but I plan to in the near future.

Organic Manifesto - Maria Rodale 
Crazy Sexy Diet – Chris Karr
Pure, white and deadly : how sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it.  
The Forks Over Knives Plan
Forks Over Knives : The Cookbook.
1,000 Vegan Recipes
The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook
Rawsome Vegan Baking
The Oh She Glows Cookbook
The Happy Herbivore
My New Roots
Plant Powered Families
The Plantpower Way

I have new boards on Pinterest that may interest you.  

Healthy Food and Lifestyle Blogs (some of my new favourites)

Visit me on Pinterest for more amazing pins including several new Vegan boards.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Swimming Peeps Jello Cups

I made these really cute Jello cups for the kids this year for Easter. They were a huge hit! All of their mouths were blue after, but they loved them.

The Peeps came in a pack of 10, so I made 10 Jello cups. It took 2 packets of Jello. I used plastic cups, but you could use glass if you're sure they won't end up falling on the floor. One of mine did so I'd still recommend plastic.

Swimming Peeps Jello Cups
Makes 10 Servings
From The First Year

2 packets of blue Jello
1/2 a tub of frozen whipped topping, thawed
blue liquid food colouring
10 Peeps

Prepare the Jello according to package directions and divide among 10 plastic cups.

Refrigerate for several hours until set.

Mix the whipped topping with a few drops of blue food colouring. I think I used about 10 drops. I used a plastic zipper bag with the tip cut off to pipe the topping into the cups.

Place one Peep on top of each and press down slightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Almond Coconut Cookies

I made a Masurka cake for Easter that only used the yolks of the eggs, so I had to find a way to use up the whites. I wasn't in the mood for an omelette, but I'm always in the mood for some sugar.

These cookies were crispy, chewy and delicious! And really easy to make. I made the first few on a Silpat and they didn't want to come off easily. Parchment worked a little better.

They spread quite a bit, so leave at least 2" between them. You can see in my image below, that they were spreading quickly. I took the picture immediately after I put the tray in the oven. The next few batches I only baked 6 at a time.

It's a little less runny after 10 minutes.

Almond Coconut Cookies
Makes 24-26 cookies

1 1/2 cups ground almonds
3/4 cup ground sweetened coconut
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rose water (optional but delicious)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon for just about a minute until it comes together. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes so it can thicken a bit. 

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using a small cookie scoop, place mounds of dough at least 2" apart. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden.

Let them cool almost completely before transferring to a wire rack, or they will fall apart as you try to lift them. I made them yesterday, stored them on a plate covered with plastic wrap and they're still crispy and chewy today.

Tip: I just gave my almonds a buzz in the Vitamix (skin and all), then measure. I did the same for the sweetened shredded coconut. 

Polish Mazurka (Mazurek) - Easter Cake

Happy Easter friends!

Today I'm going to share a recipe for Mazurka. This is a Polish Easter cake that uses a sponge (made with yeast). The texture is kind of flaky due to the butter, and it tastes like a danish to me. It smells like bread while it's baking!

You can use any canned pie filling for this, or make your own topping by cooking some fruit and thickening it with corn starch. I used cherry pie filling for this one.

Save the egg whites!

Here's the first one I made.

Here's the sponge.

Here's the 2nd one. I used a little more milk and some vanilla in the icing so you can't see it as well. It's not as white due to the vanilla, and slightly runnier. 

Polish Mazurka (Mazurek) - Easter Cake
Makes 20 servings (well, it depends how you cut it)
Adapted from About Food

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup scalded milk, cooled to 110 degrees
3 large egg yolks, room temperature and lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold butter, cubed
1 can of pie filling
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon milk (or more)
vanilla or almond extract (optional)

In a bowl, combine the yeast with the milk, then add egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup of flour until well combined. Set aside and allow the mixture to double in volume. This is the sponge that I was referring to. 

In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt. Cut in the butter as if you were making a pie crust. It should be crumbly. 

Combine the flour mixture with the yeast mixture until a ball forms. You can do all of this in a mixer or by hand. 

Prepare a 15x11 baking sheet using parchment. The recipe said to use cooking spray, but it wasn't necessary at all. I prefer parchment.

Roll 2/3 of the dough into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. I rolled it a bit bigger and then rolled the edges back in with my fingers, to make a border all the way around. 1/2" is enough for a border. 

Spread the pie filling evenly all the way to the border. 

You can either roll the remaining dough and cut strips, or you can do what i did and make snakes by rolling pieces of dough on the counter with your fingers. You can flatten them slightly before you make a lattice design on your cake. 

Allow to rise for an hour. 

Preheat your oven to 350F. Place your cake inside and let it bake for about 30 minutes. You can check on it to see if the edges are starting to brown. We don't want to burn it. Remove your cake and let it cool completely before drizzling on the icing. 

To make the icing, mix the confectioners' sugar with the milk. You can add extract for extra flavour if you wish. You should be able to drizzle the mixture on the cake without it running off. Add more sugar or milk as needed. 

We had our Easter dinner yesterday and i sent some home with friends. This cake probably won't last more than 2 days, but i imagine you could keep it on the counter for 3 or 4. It may start to get stale after that.

Next, i'll show you how to use the egg whites!