Category Archives: Recipe

vegan peasant feast

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My vegan peasant feast…

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  • Rustic sundried tomato bread with spelt flour
  • Roasted veggies with balsamic vinegar and chickpeas
  • Herbed polenta
  • Steamed greens (kale and red chard)

I don’t know if this meal is actually what peasants eat, did eat or would eat but it felt like they might. It was very rustic and homey feeling. Just as my son’s play date arrived, I started preparing the meal, about 2 pm. Bread dough was first up, while it was rising I started roasting the veggies and chickpeas. Then when the bread was ready to bake, shortly after I started the polenta. Just before the bread and polenta were ready I slide the veggies and chickpeas back into the oven to warm. By the time we had our fill and I washed up the dishes it was 6:08 pm. I’d say that was time well spent. If I hadn’t made the bread it would’ve been about an hour, actually less because I would roast the veggies for less time.

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Roasted Vegetables with balsamic vinegar and chickpeas

I have a love affair with roasted chickpeas so when I stumbled upon the Roasted vegetables with chickpeas recipe in a new vegan cookbook my husband gave me called Easy Vegan, it was a no brainer. I tweaked the recipe a little to suit my own taste. This is my version.

1 onion, peeled and cut through the core into wedges

8-10 large cremini mushrooms, quartered

12 cherry/grape tomatoes

1 head of garlic, separated and not peeled

1 red/yellow/orange pepper sliced (use 1 or 1 of each)

1 carrot, not peeled and sliced thickly

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For balsamic glaze:

2-4 tbsp olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (depending how many veggies you use)

1-2 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried)

1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)

1 tbsp fresh italian parsley

Just so you know, I didn’t actually measure the balsamic ingredients, I just poured them on. Now that I got that out of the way here’s what I did. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a large cookie sheet with oil or parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all veggies (not the chickpeas, yet). Pour on the balsamic ingredients and toss gently, let marinade 30 mins-2hrs or overnight if you have the foresight. FYI, I didn’t marinade mine at all. Spread the veggies and all the marinade (should be a little puddle) on the prepared cookie sheet and put on the middle rack in the oven for 30 mins. Take the veggies out, add the chickpeas and toss with the veggies, turn the oven up to 400 F and put back in the oven for 30 mins, turning at least twice during cooking time.

Herbed polenta

Polenta is such a quick and easy grain dish to prepare. For me, it never seems to take as long as they say it does in the cookbooks. Mine is usually done in about 15 mins, unless I’m going to cool it and cut it into pieces and re-heat it.

1 cup cornmeal

3 cups water or vegetable broth (1/2 cup more if needed)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2-1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp rosemary (optional)

1/2 tsp thyme (optional)

In a large saucepan bring the water or broth to a boil, add herbs, salt and olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in the cornmeal, adding gradually and stirring constantly, so you don’t get lumps (also builds nice arm muscles, be sure to switch hands to even the arms out lol). Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently until thickened, approx. 15 mins or 30-40 mins according to other chefs. You can serve the polenta at this point or spoon the polenta into a lightly oiled 8 or 10 in baking dish and spread evenly over the bottom. Refridgerate until cooled and firm, approx 30 mins. Slice the polenta into rectangles or triangles and heat in the oven or on stove top.

Rustic sundried tomato bread with spelt flour

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homemade tacos

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I love tacos. I love rice and beans. I cooked a big batch of pinto beans, I froze some and turned the rest into refried beans. I also made a big batch of spanish style rice. They went very well together. Of course you don’t have to go through the trouble of cooking everything from scratch, but there’s something rewarding and extra special in it when you do, I think it’s the love.

Refried beans:

Soak 450g (1lbs) dried pinto beans in 7-8 cups water over night. Drain and rinse well.

Put beans in heavy bottom pot and cover with 8 cups water.
Add a piece of kombu, 2 slices of ginger and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover with lid and simmer for 1.5-2 hours, until soft.

Of course you can always bypass this step and use canned beans.

1-2 tsp oil or use water, as needed
2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 540ml can pinto beans. Reserve liquid.
1 sm yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
Sea salt to taste

Heat frying pan to medium, add oil, if using and add onions. Cook until they begin to soften, add garlic, cook another minute, add cumin and paprika, stir to coat onion and garlic. Add beans, mix with onions and mash with potato masher, adding cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.

Spanish rice:

1 tbsp oil or water, as needed

1 med yellow onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 cups brown & wild rice mix

1 tsp turmeric

1 946ml can diced tomatoes

2 cups veggie broth

1/2-1 tsp sea salt (to taste)

Heat heavy bottom pot to medium, add oil, if using and add onion. Cook until softened about 5 minutes, add garlic, cook another minute. Add rice and turmeric, stir until rice is coated. Add tomatoes and broth, stir and bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 40-50 mins, stirring occasionally, Turn off heat and let sit 5-10 mins. Season with salt to taste.

Additional taco fixings:

– corn tortillas

-shredded napa cabbage or lettuce

-vegan cheese, ie) pepperjack daiya

-vegan sour cream, ie) tofutti sour cream

-salsa, homemade or store bought (if buying, look for it in the fridge section of the grocery store -fresher ingredients than jarred).

-hot sauce ie) frank’s

-fresh cilantro

-fresh lime wedges, to squeeze on taco

Assembly required!!

the understated tahini: part 1

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A few days ago I stated on facebook that I could see a lot of tahini in my future. And, it’s surely becoming true.

 

From Wikipedia:
-Tahini is a paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds used in North African, Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Nutritional Information:
-Tahini is an excellent source of copper, maganese and the amino acid methionine.Tahini is a source of the healthy fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6.
-Tahini made from raw sesame seeds is lower in fat than tahini made from roasted seeds.
-Tahini’s relatively high levels of calcium and protein make it a useful addition to vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as to raw food diets when eaten in its unroasted form. Compared to peanut butter, tahini has higher levels of fiber and calcium and lower levels of sugar and saturated fats.

 

Tahini is commonly known as one of the ingredients in hummus. I like to keep a large jar of tahini on hand for the odd occasion I make hummus. I prefer homemade humus over store bought, it tastes so much nicer and you can season and flavour it to your own preferences. However, this post is not about hummus, it is about tahini. If you, like me, have a jar of tahini in your cupboard that you would like to make good use of with other deliciousness, then read on.

1) I replaced the olive oil for tahini in my salad dressing. Super yum! By using the seed butter instead of oil, the healthy fats in it helps your body absorb the micronutrients in the vegetables 10x more then eating them separately! Talk about an easy and delicious nutrient booster!

Tahini Dressing

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or any vinegar of your choice)

1 tsp grainy mustard or dijon

1/2 tsp agave or honey (or to taste)

1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced (optional)

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced (optional)

1-3 tbsp water, to thin as needed

Place all ingredients, except only 1-2 tbsp water, in a small mason jar or container with tight fitting lid and shake until it’s all mixed. Add more water for desired thickness. Makes 1-2 servings or approx. 4-6 cups salad fixings. Pour dressing on salad fixings, toss until combined and enjoy.

Salad fixings:

4 cups baby spinach

2-4 thinly sliced cremini mushrooms

1 peeled, grated or thinly sliced carrot

1 sliced celery rib

1/4 sliced cucumber

1 sliced green onion

Additional salad add-ins: 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, 1/2 tomato, chopped or grape tomatoes, sliced pears or apples, sprouts, grated beets, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, switch the spinach for arugula or mixed baby greens or a combo of all and any of the above.

2) Last night when I got home from teaching 2 yoga classes shortly after 9pm, I was hungry! Not the kind of hunger where your famished but just enough that I needed something in my stomach so I could fall asleep. And for some strange reason I had a craving for molasses (??), seriously, who craves molasses? I didn’t feel like eating anything, as well, I’ve been trying to cut back on my sugar snacking so that ruled out ginger cookies. I decided on warm milk with (you guessed it) tahini and molasses. It worked perfectly, it satiated my hunger and as common treatment as a relaxant before bed it helped me doze off and provided my body with important nutrients as a vegan, like iron in the molasses.

Hot Tahini Milk

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)

2tsp-1tbsp tahini*

2tsp-1tbsp molasses*

1-2 tsp agave or honey, optional**

Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot and everything dissolves in the milk.

*both tahini and molasses have a strong taste, start with the lesser amounts and work your way up to 1tbsp. Also you can adjust the amounts according to your personal preference.

**if you use sweetened milk, you might need additional sweetener. Taste test before adding.

3) My final input for today’s tahini post is in the form of a smoothie. I love a delicious smoothie, a meal you can drink. I love my food and I love cooking so I’d never give them up but the ease of throwing food in a blender and drinking your meal can’t be beat. Also, my father is a restaurateur and growing up in a restaurant I had my fair share of milkshakes! With a smoothie like this it makes me feel like an indulgent kid again! And I was still craving molasses.

Tahini Smoothie

1 frozen banana, in chunks

2 tbsp ground oatmeal

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp molasses

1 tsp agave or honey

1/2-3/4cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon, optional

Add all ingredients to the blender and mix at highest power until smooth. Pour into glass and enjoy!

*You can sub peanut butter for the tahini for a sweeter smoothie.

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arugula pesto

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arugula pestoArugula Pesto

The past couple of weeks I’ve been buying arugula instead of my usual spinach, I think I was a little bored of spinach and needed a new green…besides kale, of course. Last week I had a hard time using up all the arugula before it started to rot, spinach is a little heartier and keeps a little better. As a result I’ve been looking for ways to use it up before it expires. Pesto certainly isn’t the only way of using arugula but it is a delicious way!

 

Arugula pesto in the making.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Making of Arugula Pesto

The Making of Arugula Pesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Making of Arugula Pesto

The Making of Arugula Pesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Making of Arugula Pesto

The Making of Arugula Pesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arugula Pesto Ice Cubes

Arugula Pesto Ice Cubes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arugula Pesto Risotto

Arugula Pesto Risotto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arugula Pesto on Baguette

Arugula Pesto on Baguette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch is Served!

Lunch is Served!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arugula Pesto Recipe

With a recipe like pesto I do not measure ingredients so the amounts are approximate, if you are unsure start with the lesser amount and add more according to your own taste. Also feel free to substitute or omit ingredients according to your own personal preferences. I used what inspired me and what I had on hand. My intention was for the arugula to be the focus of the pesto and didn’t want it over powered with other flavours.

 

Ingredients:

4-6 cups arugula
1 large leaf of curly kale, ribbed, washed and torn into small pieces (optional)
1/4 cup raw almonds
1-2 tbsp tahini
zest of lemon -zest lemon before you juice it.
juice of half-1 lemon -see note above
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Add raw almonds to the food processor and process a few seconds or a few pulses. Add arugula, kale, tahini, lemon zest and juice, garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, nutritional yeast. Process to until mixed. Scrape sides with spatula and taste test. Make any ingredient adjustments and process until desired consistency (scraping down the sides as necessary). I like mine smooth.

Enjoy!

Peace and Love

no-tuna melt

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I know, I know…2 food posts in a row. I mentioned all the different things I made on Sunday in my post yesterday and I thought this was another great recipe to share. You can make it ahead of time and it helps make the busy weekdays seem a little less stressful. Enjoy this egg-free, dairy-free and fish-free recipe.

No-Tuna Melt with pickle and Roasted Kabocha Squash

I’ve never been a big fan of tuna, even when I ate animal products. I hate the smell of tuna filling the kitchen when the can is opened, you know what I’m talking about. I didn’t give much thought to trying a no-tuna salad sandwich, I wasn’t missing it so why would I seek out the recipe. One day, since going vegan, I had a craving for a tuna melt! I have no idea why, luckily I don’t miss animal products, not even cheese. So needless to say it was very strange that I had a craving for something I didn’t even like. Regardless, I searched online for a recipe to squelch my craving. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe how much I could like a tunaless tuna sandwich, it was perfect without all the gross tuna smell and taste. As well as being ocean-wise. I eventually tweaked the recipe I found to my liking and every so often I’ll make a batch of no-tuna salad and keep the leftovers in the fridge for a quick and filling lunch. I usually roll it up in a wrap with some veggies and greens but today I had another craving for a tuna melt. My no-tuna melt hit the spot.

No-Tuna Salad

1 can of organic chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked)
1/2 cup raw organic cashews (or almonds)
juice of half lemon
1 tsp kelp powder
1 celery rib, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1/4 veganaise (or brand of your choice)
1.5 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse until chickpeas and cashews are coarsely chopped. Add lemon juice and kelp powder, mix well. Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Add more veganaise if needed.

To transform into No-Tuna Melt you’ll need:

2 slices of bread
1 tbsp veganaise
1/2 cup No-Tuna Salad
1/4 cup zucchini, spiralized (or grated)
1/4 cup carrot, spiralized (or grated)
whole spinach leaves
daiya grated cheese, I mixed cheddar and mozzarella (or use any cheese of your preference)

Assembly:

Preheat the oven’s broiler on high (if you have the option). Toast the bread in the toaster. Spread 1/2 tbsp of veganaise on each piece of toast. Spread 1/4 cup of No-Tuna Salad on each piece of toast, then split the zucchini and carrot between both pieces of toast. Place a few pieces of spinach on each one then lastly top with the grated daiya. Carefully place each piece under the broiler, keep your eye on them! Leave the door open slightly to ensure they don’t burn. It doesn’t take long. Remove when cheese is melted to your liking. Enjoy.

Peace and love.

homemade fruit leather

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I enjoy spending the day in the kitchen making culinary creations and last Sunday I spent the entire day doing just that. I made fruit leather, banana bread, tuna-less tuna salad, and of course dinner. Everything turned out delicious and I love having all the goodies and leftovers. Here are the details on how I make my fruit leather.

 

 

Equipment you’ll need:
-knife, peeler, cutting board, apple parer, slicer, corer (optional)
-extra-large pot ie) stock pot
-wooden spoon
-large mixing bowl
-blender or food processor
-food dehydrator

The produce I used:
-approx. 10 apples, peeled, cored, chopped
-1 pear, peeled, cored, chopped
-2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
-10 strawberries, hulled and chopped
-2 big handfuls baby carrots, chopped
-juice of 1 lemon

I usually don’t follow a recipe when I make fruit leather, it’s more of a formula. Depending on what I have on hand and what I need to use up gets tossed into the pot. I like to use apples because they contain pectin and make up the bulk of the puree. I have found that adding bananas gives the puree and end result a smoother texture and we love bananas. The lemon juice keeps the apples from browning too much and this is the first time I added carrots thinking if juice companies can do it, why can’t I? I put the strawberries in to try and camouflage the “oranginess” of the carrots. It worked, the kids didn’t notice and they both love it!

Prepare the fruit:
Wash all fruit and carrots. For the apples and pear I used my apple parer, slicer, corer gadget, if you don’t have one you can do it by hand with a knife and peeler. As you cut the fruit place them in the extra large pot once full squeeze on the lemon juice and toss to coat and add a few tablespoons of water, to prevent sticking. Place the pot on the stove and turn heat to medium. Once you hear the fruit starting to simmer, stir well, cover with tight fitting lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Once the fruit has thickened and becomes the consistency of apple sauce turn heat off and let the fruit sauce cool. I left mine until after dinner.

Transform into fruit puree:
Using a ladle I put half the fruit mixture in the blender, pureed it and transferred it to a mixing bowl, then repeated with the other half of the fruit mixture. Line your dehydrator tray with the fruit roll sheets, lightly oil the sheets and ladle or pour on the fruit puree. I smooth out the puree with a spatula to make sure it’s evenly spread out, makes for even drying times. The puree filled 3 trays of the dehydrator.

 

Making fruit leather:
I plugged in the dehydrator and set the temp to 135 degrees at approx. 8pm (the kids bedtime). The dehydrator worked all night and by the time I checked it at 7am the fruit leather was done! Yum!

 

 

 

This fruit leather is obviously made from cooked fruit, the fruit I was using needed to be used up and was a little over ripe and I find that cooking the fruit mellows the flavours and releases the sugars. Also cooking the fruits gives the puree a smoother consistency which gives the fruit leather a softer taste and smoother consistency. I have made fruit leather using raw fruit and it’s important that the fruit is at it’s peak of ripeness without bruises or blemishes. Raw fruit leather also takes longer to dehydrate and you have to watch it carefully as you get closer to the end because if you over dry it the leather can be more brittle. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, I suggest you try them out and see which one you prefer best. Also I just wanted to note that if you don’t have a food dehydrator that it can be done in a conventional oven, I’ve never tried, but it’s another option if you wanted to try food dehydrating before investing in a dehydrator.

Peace and love.

dinner is served

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"I don't like vegan food"

Last night during dinner Kaden confessed that for as long as I’ve been vegan, everyday he’s secretly wished that I’d change back. He doesn’t like vegan food! There, it’s all out on the table now, a big sigh of relief waves over him. I got the sense it was difficult for him to finally admit this to me, he’s sensitive and he seemed prepared for some kind of backlash, after all, it’s been brewing in him for over a year. There was no backlash. I just gave him an understanding smile as he held up his bowl asking for his third helping of the vegan Tofu Cacciatore with Brown Rice Spaghetti we were eating for dinner.

 

 

 

Dude, don’t let your head get in the way of your stomach.

I have to admit the cacciatore turned out pretty good, our pickiest eater and smallest had 2 helpings so that’s all the confirmation I need. I adapted my version from 2 recipes and with the ingredients I had on hand. I’m more of an improvisational cook and look for recipes that suit the ingredients I have rather than make a grocery list according to recipes. Pasta is always a quick and easy meal. Here are the 2 recipes I used as reference Giada’s Chicken Cacciatore from the food network and from Robin Robertson’s Pappardelle Cacciatore from her cookbook Vegan Planet. I’ve made Giada’s recipe a few times before I went vegan so I knew it was a great recipe.

Mama’s Cacciatore

1 pkg (175 g) super firm tofu or 1/2 pkg of ex firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into cubes
2 tbsp seasoned flour or sub flour with salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
6 cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp fresh gr black pepper
1/2 cup white wine (or sub red)
1 jar of strained tomatoes (or sub can diced tomatoes)
1 cup of broth
pasta of your choice

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan to med-high, I use a cast iron enamel pot. Put the seasoned flour into a bowl and toss with the tofu cubes to coat. Once the pan is hot add the tofu and lightly brown on all sides. Remove the tofu and set aside. Turn down the heat to med, add a little more oil if needed and add the veggies. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Saute the veggies until tender and most of the moisture is cooked out of them. Add rest of seasonings and cook 1 min. longer. Add white wine, simmer and reduce to 1/2. Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil and turn heat to low. Add tofu and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, get your salted pasta water boiling and cook your pasta according to the package directions.

And dinner is served.

Chef Tips:
-With recipes like this I like to prepare all my vegetables first. I chop them to the same size and put them all into a med sized mixing bowl. That way they are ready to go into the pot when needed.
-Draining and pressing tofu can be done earlier in the day so it’s ready to go when you need it, if you have foresight. Otherwise, drain it and slice the tofu block in 1/2 lengthwise so you have 2 thin blocks then wrap it in a towel and press it.