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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Roasted Ratatouille

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on March 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Even though the days are starting to get warmer, during these winter months nothing quite satisfies like real comfort foods: hearty stews, casseroles and roasts. They’re easy to make and allow you to cook in bulk, which can be a budget-friendly addition to your cooking rep. Let your stove do the work for you on cold nights as you cosy up in front of the TV. Just remember to set the timer at commercial intervals, so you’re reminded to stir or check on your master creations, and prepare to be the dinner hero time and time again!

Here’s my take on the classic ratatouille dish. Roasting it in the oven brings out a delicious sweetness in the vegetables.

roastveg

Roasted Ratatouille

Ingredients

2                                  small eggplants, chopped

3                                  red peppers, chopped, seeds removed

1                                  large onion, chopped

2                                  celery stalks, chopped

1                                  can chickpeas, rinsed (398 ml)

1                                  can tomato paste (156 ml), plus water

¼ cup                       sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

2                                  cloves garlic (2-3 tsp) minced

avocado or coconut oil

salt & pepper, balsamic vinegar to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 400° C. Prepare roasting pan with a light coating of avocado oil or non-stick spray. Wash and chop organic vegetables. Starting with eggplant, toss with 2-3 tbsp avocado oil, and roast about 15-20 mins. Eggplant will start to soften, shrink and brown.

Stir in peppers, onion and celery. If eggplant has soaked up all oil, toss with another tbsp or two of oil, roast another 20 mins. Vegetables should be starting to brown.

Add rinsed chickpeas, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Fill the empty tomato paste can with filtered water and mix it into vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Roast another 15-20 mins. More water can be added at this stage if vegetables look dry. Continue roasting until vegetables are fully cooked and have golden brown skins. Serve with cooked basmati rice, couscous or grain. Can also be added to pasta sauces or used as a topping on bread or pizza.

 

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Curry in a Hurry

In Food, Glorious Food, Recently Reviewed, Recipes on February 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

While we love Indian food, if you’ve ever made curry from scratch you know, it can be a long, time-consuming process. To cut corners, I sometimes use ready-made sauces but it’s really hard to find prepackaged ones that not only taste good but are organic, not to mention vegan, gluten-free and nut-free.

For the most part, I find that store-bought sauces or mixes often need a bit of embellishment to make them more flavourful – so I end up having to add a ton of spices just to make them palatable. How happy I was to recently discover a new line of sauces that step up to the challenge! These sauces are made in small batches and are full of flavour on their own.

Ingredients

3          large potatoes, peeled and chopped

1          small cauliflower, chopped

1          large onion, diced

1          can chickpeas, rinsed (398 ml)

2          cloves garlic (2-3 tsp) minced

1          jar (485 ml) Perfect Chef Veg Curry

avocado or coconut oil

salt & pepper

Slower Method

Chop potatoes into bite-size pieces. Boil in salted water about 15 mins., until tender. Drain and set aside. While potatoes are boiling, heat oil in large Dutch oven or heavy pot with lid, add chopped onions and sauté on medium heat about 5 mins. Mix in garlic and cauliflower. Cover with lid and allow cauliflower to steam about 5-10 mins.

Once cauliflower has started to soften, stir in chickpeas and cooked potatoes. Add sauce and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. If curry is too thick, add a small amount of water or unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy, rice, coconut or almond milk work well for a creamier sauce) to desired consistency.

Replace lid and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until sauce beings to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 mins., until all vegetables are heated through. Serve with cooked basmati rice and flatbread or naan. Enjoy!

Make ahead tips:

The trick is to make parts of this meal ahead of time. Any prep you can do beforehand will cut down your overall cooking time.

Some suggestions:

-Boil the potatoes as above. Drain. Cool and store for later use.

-Wash and chop cauliflower, then store in container until ready to use. Or while you are boiling the potatoes, toss cauliflower with oil until lightly coated and roast in oven at 400°C for about 15 mins., until lightly browned. Cool and store for later use.

-Prechop garlic and store in a small amount of oil (or cheat and buy minced garlic).

-Sauté onions in oil until lightly browned.

Speedy Method

If all or most of your ingredients are cooked and ready to go, it’s a quick and simple assembly. Simply heat oil in Dutch oven, add onions and stir in garlic. Mix in cooked potatoes, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and sauce. Season with salt and pepper and simmer 10-15 minutes until all vegetables are heated thoroughly.

 

Tiny Tomatoes

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on January 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Although organic cherry tomatoes tend to be plentiful during the summer, I noticed them on sale in late fall and more recently before and after Christmas – so I had to buy a few containers. We like to use sun-dried tomatoes on pizza, in pasta, sauces and other dishes but it’s not always easy to find organic ones and they can be expensive. Why not roast your own? This recipe is super easy to make and has more flavour than any store-bought variety I’ve ever had. When I made bruschetta with them, it was gobbled up in a flash.

inbowl

Oven-Roasted Organic Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

30 oz               organic cherry tomatoes (3 small containers/284 g each)

4                      cloves organic garlic, chopped

4                      bay leaves

8 oz                 organic olive oil  (250 ml)

salt, ground pepper, dried thyme to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 250° C. Wash tomatoes and slice in half. Arrange cut side up on tray. Season with salt and pepper. Roast about 2 hours until shrivelled. Cool.

Mix oil, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in bowl. Stir in cooled tomatoes to cover. Enjoy!

If you’re not eating them right away, place in a sealed container in the fridge. Oil will solidify, which can make it more spreadable for some dishes. Otherwise, if you want it to liquefy, let it come back to room temperature.

 

Say Hello to Strawberry Season

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on June 4, 2014 at 2:39 pm

crumbleMy husband visited a strawberry farm earlier the other day so when I arrived home I discovered he had plunked two containers of fresh strawberries on the counter that needed tending to. Strawberries are one of the fruits that can be quite toxic, so always go for organic. Although I don’t always list “organic” as part of my ingredient list to save space (and I’m a lazy typist), it’s always implied as you’d be hard pressed to find non-organic ingredients in my home!

Now I’ve never made crumbles before and didn’t realize it was so easy! Apparently the trick is to not over mix the crumble part. I literally just threw this together on the fly and was quite pleased with the results. Perhaps it was beginners luck.

 

Vegan Strawberry-Coconut Crumble

Ingredients

3 cups                              fresh strawberries, roughly chopped

 

Mix together

3 tbsp                                 coconut sugar

3 tsp                                   vanilla

3 tsp                                   water

 

Mix together

4 oz                                    whole wheat or gluten-free flour

1 ½ tsp                              baking powder

2 tbsp                                 coconut sugar

4 tbsp                                 shredded coconut

4 oz                                     rolled oats

4 oz                                     coconut oil (melted)

 

Method

Chop strawberries and line bottom of baking or casserole dish. Mix sugar, vanilla and water together until sugar dissolves. Pour over berries. Mix flour, baking power, sugar, coconut and oats with fork until blended. Add melted coconut oil and stir until crumble forms being careful not to over mix. Top berries with mixture and bake in preheated 350°F oven until crumble is browned and fruit is bubbling. Approx. 20 mins. Enjoy!

Spooky Vegan Skeleton Cookies

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on October 31, 2013 at 11:36 am

cookiesHappy Halloween! Don’t be a scaredy cat. Go ahead and try this delicious recipe — it makes a wonderful vegan cookie batter that can be whipped up for any occasion.

For these spooky skeleton cookies, I used a standard (approx. 3-inch) gingerbread cookie cutter to make the bodies and then iced them to fill in the bones. Have fun!

 

Cocoa Almond Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

Beat together

¾ cup                coconut sugar

¾ cup                coconut oil or vegan shortening

Add

1 tbsp               ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water (or 1 egg substitute)

1 tsp                  vanilla

Mix together

2 cups                whole wheat flour

¼ cup                 almond flour

1/3 cup              cocoa powder

½ tsp                  baking powder

¼ tsp                  salt

Icing

Mix together

2 ½ cups             icing sugar

3 tbsp                  soy, almond or hemp milk

Method

Beat sugar and coconut oil. Add flax egg and vanilla until combined. Separately mix dry ingredients then stir into sugar mixture in two additions to make smooth dough. Divide dough in half and refrigerate discs about 1 hour until firm. Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.

On lightly floured surface, roll out each disc to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake in preheated 350°F oven until edges darken (approx. 18 to 20 mins.) Cool on racks.

To make icing, mix icing sugar with milk to make a smooth icing that can be piped using a piping bag with small plain tip.

Wholesome Harvest

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on September 30, 2013 at 8:49 am

apple

Call me old-fashioned but I love the feeling of satisfaction one gets from making things yourself. So you can imagine my delight when my husband decided to harvest apples from our own backyard. We’ve had two old apple trees since we moved into our house some 15 years ago. Not sure what variety they are. The local birds and squirrels have always been happy to make short work of them. Not this time though, we beat them to it.

According to my better half — this is as organic as it gets although I figured they’d be wormy from neglect and well past their prime. Much to my surprise, all eleven of the apples harvested were actually quite fine and tasty, too. Have apples? Make cake.

cake

 

Apple Almond Cake

Ingredients

Beat together

2 cups                   brown sugar

1 cup                     coconut oil

2 tbsp                   ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water (or 2 eggs)

2 tsp                      vanilla

Mix together

1 ¾ cup                 whole wheat flour

¼ cup                    almond flour

2 tsp                      baking soda

2 tsp                      cinnamon

½ tsp                     fresh ground nutmeg

Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture until well combined. Stir in

4 cups                   apples (peeled, cored and chopped)

¼ cup                    sliced almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare oblong baking pan. Beat sugar, coconut oil, flax eggs and vanilla until combined. Mix dry ingredients then add to sugar mixture. Stir in apples and almonds. Smooth into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven until golden, about 40 minutes. Cool in pan about 10 mins. Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.

Muffin Madness

In Food For Thought, Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on August 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

Recently I submitted a muffin recipe to a national competition that claimed to be looking for new and innovative products. Ironically, the moment I mentioned to the taster that my muffins were organic and vegan, he glazed over and quickly became dismissive. “People want full fat, full sugar indulgences.” Seriously? His words are still ringing in my ears.

It was clear he wasn’t the least bit interested. Guess he wasn’t accustomed to tasting anything made from whole wheat flour! Despite this competition being hosted by a major grocery chain with their own line of organics, he obviously didn’t get the memo that some people are actually interested in healthy living. Sadly though, I think the majority of large grocers are more about making a profit from enlightened shoppers than being committed to offering consumers better food choices. Why else would they continue to sell GM foods and all the other processed junk you find disguised as food? Until consumers speak out, we’ll continue to be told what we want and what we can buy.

But I digress. Be your own judge and try these vegan muffins. They’re quick and easy to make plus you can substitute different fruit or fruit-and-nut combinations to suit depending on what’s in season.

Caramelized Apple-Blackberry and Sunflower Seed Muffins

Caramelized Apple-Blackberry and Sunflower Seed Muffins

 

 

 

Caramelized Apple-Blackberry and Sunflower Seed Muffins

Ingredients

To caramelize fruit, sauté on low heat

2 tbsp each                        coconut oil and coconut sugar

2 cups                                  apples peeled, cored and chopped

½ cup                                   blackberries

Mix together

1 cup                                    whole wheat flour

1 cup                                    rolled oats

1 cup                                    sunflower seeds

½ cup                                   coconut sugar

3 ½ tsp                                 baking powder

½ tsp                                    salt

1 tsp                                     cinnamon

pinch                                    fresh ground nutmeg

Whisk together

1 tbsp                                  ground flaxseed

3 tbsp                                  water

Add

1 cup                                    hemp milk (almond or soy can also be used)

¼ cup                                   safflower oil (or other vegetable oil)

1 tsp                                    vanilla

Method

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12 medium-size muffin cups. To caramelize fruit, melt coconut oil and sugar over low heat until they become liquid. Add apples and berries cooking until soft. Remove from heat and let cool. Can be made ahead of time. Mix dry ingredients. Whisk together flaxseed and water to create egg substitute then add remaining liquid ingredients. Add liquid mixture to dry stirring until just combined. Fold in fruit. Fill muffin cups and bake in preheated oven until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Strawberry-Almond Fingers

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on July 14, 2013 at 11:21 am
Strawberry-Almond Cake

Strawberry-Almond Cake

With strawberry season in full swing, you might find yourself with some leftover strawberries. My husband brought home a couple of pints but they didn’t travel well in the heat of the day. And even though I mixed them with lemon juice, they got a bit overripe before we finished the lot. This quick cake, which we cut into bite-size fingers, made quick use of the remainder.

Ingredients

Beat together

1 cup                        coconut sugar

½ cup                     coconut oil

1                               egg or vegan substitute (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3    tbsp water)

1 tsp                        vanilla

Combine

1 cup                        whole wheat flour

1 tsp                         baking soda

Add

1½ cup                    chopped strawberries

1 tsp                          lemon juice

¼ cup                       sliced almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 8-in square pan with cooking spray. Beat together coconut sugar, oil, egg (or substitute) and vanilla until well mixed. Combine flour and baking soda then add to sugar mixture. Fold in fruit and lemon juice. Pour into prepared pan, smooth and top with sliced almonds. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan no more than 10 mins. Drizzle with royal icing if desired. Cut into fingers.

Go for Gala Apples

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on April 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm

There’s an amazing crop of Gala apples out there this season. Although I don’t remember seeing this variety much before, we’ve bought bag after amazing bag of these organic apples from Loblaws. I’ve even heard other people remarking on how much they enjoyed their Gala apples, too. Even our bunnies pounce on the apple skins we feed them – they like them that much.

While they’re small and easy to eat on their own, I’ve found they’re also great for baking. If you find a few bruised apples in your bag, whip up this quick and delicious braid.

Dice 3 small organic Gala apples and 2 organic figs. Melt about 1 tbsp. of organic coconut oil in pan over medium heat. Saute fruit adding about 2 tsp. each organic cinnamon and coconut sugar. Cook until soft, about 8 mins. Add 1/3 cup sliced almonds and cool. Meanwhile defrost package of puff pastry. Roll into about 9” x 12” rectangle. Place filling in centre and roll or braid. To braid, slice dough away from filling on both sides of pastry then alternate strips to cover filling. Brush pastry with melted coconut oil and bake in 350° oven until pastry is puffed and golden, about 20 mins.

Dice 3 small organic Gala apples and 2 organic figs. Melt about 1 tbsp. of organic coconut oil in pan over medium heat. Saute fruit adding about 2 tsp. each organic cinnamon and coconut sugar. Cook until soft, about 8 mins. Add 1/3 cup sliced almonds and cool. Meanwhile defrost package of puff pastry. Roll into about 9” x 12” rectangle. Place filling in centre and roll or braid. To braid, slice dough away from filling on both sides of pastry then alternate strips to cover filling. Brush pastry with melted coconut oil and bake in 350° oven until pastry is puffed and golden, about 20 mins.