Category Archives: recipe

Baby carrots: green pâté!

Green pâté recipe:

1 cup chickpeas
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 handful kale, washed and de-stemmed

Purée with a blender wand and spread on un-salted rice cakes. They loved it!

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Fast Food, Good Food: Mmmm…Millet!

Well I did it. I finally performed my housewifely duties and prepared dinner before my husband got home from work! I generally like to keep expectations low on that sort of thing, but I was able to throw this baby together while taking care of infant twins, so trust me, this is an easy one!

Millet, Lentils and Carrot salad.

Millet, Lentils and Carrot salad.

Millet is cooked exactly the same way as Quinoa or rice (which you could use instead if you are not feeling adventurous!). Rinse the grain, then fry it in the pot before you add the water; this releases a nutty flavour. Once it starts to brown a bit, add the water, and bring to a boil before reducing heat and simmering for about 20 minutes. While that simmers, rinse the lentils and bring to a boil using the same ratio (1 cup to 2 cups of water). Once things are boiling I reduced the heat to medium and started adding flavour. I added a chopped tomato (the vitamin C in the tomato helps absorb the iron in the lentils! Isn’t food smart?), dried basil, a tablespoon on Dijon mustard, a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil and a good glug of cider vinegar. I usually add garlic, but I’m finding it’s making my babies a bit gassy, so I omitted it this time.

While that was all simmering away I got out my trusty food processor with the grater blade in. You could also just shred away on the cheese grater, but that might be a bit more labour intensive. I shredded up 3 large heirloom carrots, transferred them to a bowl and added olive oil, vinegar and cranberries to taste.

Once the millet was fluffy, I added salt and pepper and fluffed with a fork. I let most of the water boil off the lentils and voila! Dinner!

My husband’s comments: This looks healthy.

But he still ate it.

And now for gratuitous cuteness:

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Veggie Book Review!

Since food has been so touch and go for me, my wonderful friend Karen (not “Diaper Karen,” Karen of the thumbprint cookies) wrote a great cookbook review for your enjoyment! Thanks for pickin’ up my slack, Karen!

 

Good & Plenty

I am a big fan of cookbooks.  Unlike the husband of a close friend who once called using recipes Culinary Plagiarism, I could pour over a stack of cookbooks for hours.  My absolute favourite vegetarian guide has been the Moosewood Cookbook.  There’s a reason why it’s consistently on the list as one of top-10 best selling cookbooks.  There’s a simplicity to the recipes; it’s truly healthy comfort food.  But, there is now competition for the title of favourite vegetarian cookbook in my life.  I have discovered a gorgeous book called Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi, who (according to Wikipedia) ran a regular column for several years in the Saturday Guardian called The New Vegetarian.  Plenty is a beautiful-looking book, but that doesn’t always translate to being a Good cookbook.  However, the recipes here are inventive, and it’s full of creative and interesting combinations both vegetarian and vegan.   The Soba Noodle, Mango & Eggplant Salad that I made on Monday was a hit.  The recipe says that it serves 6, but 3 of us finished it off.   To the ladies in our book club: this is what I’m making for our next meeting! 
 
Soba Noodle Salad with Mango and Eggplant
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup sunflower oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
8 to 9 ounces soba noodles
1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/8-inch dice or into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
(note: the book version also calls for some chopped red onion, but I left it out)

In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5 to 6 minutes to become tender but still al dente. Drain and rise well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.
In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. You can now leave this aside for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.

I served it up in takeout containers that I ordered online…  because I have an online shopping addiction.  Also, because a bit of kitsch never hurt anyone.

-Karen.

Thanks Karen, can’t wait for book club!


Pregnancy Meals: The Wrap

As I’ve mentioned, food has not been my friend these past few months. But I do need to feed my 2 growing babies, so I’ve found a few recipes that don’t make me gag, don’t take much energy, and can be made really fast (The hunger tends to hit hard and fast!). One of our go-to meals has become The Wrap. I must credit my husband for this one, since he came up with it one day while I was lying on the couch unable to come up with single item of food that I could stand thinking about. The tofu is amazing, and gives you a good dose of protein, and the addition of coleslaw makes it light and crunchy! Enjoy!

Tofu frying

 

The tofu was marinated in soy sauce, olive oil and ginger, but experiment with whatever works for you. I normally add garlic, but I can’t be anywhere near garlic right now. We don’t marinate it for long either, 10 minutes or so.

Chop up toppings

 

Chop up your favourite toppings. Note that I can’t stand onion right now either. That’s why it’s been exhiled from the rest of the veggies. Avocado has really been hitting the spot for me, the babies like the fat I think! 

                     Don’t be a hero, this is bagged coleslaw from the store. It’s pre-chopped cabbage, and it works. I promise, when I feel like a normal human being again, I will buy an actual head of cabbage and not buy the packaged stuff, but in times of need, I take what I can get! The dressing is just a simple olive oil and vinegar. 

                     

We split open a pita, and laid it down one half slightly covering the other. I believe this is how professionals do it, although when I started rolling it didn’t turn out so great. You could also cut the pita in half and make pockets. Again, do what works! I used a bit of dijon mustard on mine, and the husband of course coated his in Sriracha sauce. 

                     Roll it up, and be sure to eat it over a plate, because it can become messy. I had three of these bad boys, each one better than the next. Delish!


My baby: The beginning

It started like this; the my government job, while secure and well-paying, is stagnant under the current political climate, so one day I said, maybe I’ll just get pregnant. I was half joking, half serious. We had a trip to Europe planned in July, but we figured it takes awhile to actually get pregnant, so we might as well start trying. If I’m a couple months along for our trip, it’s not the end of the world. So I plugged some numbers into an online ovulation calculator, made sure I was taking my folic acid/b12, and we got to work.

About 10 days before my period was due my breasts started hurting. REALLY hurting. I looked at my husband and said, I am pregnant. He did not believe me. The day before my period was due I said, I’m going to take a home pregnancy test. I’ve taken tons before, often mistaking PMS for pregnancy symptoms (if only I’d known how different it really feels!). The first line showed up, and then, faintly, the second line. Honestly, I didn’t have any thoughts about it. I just stared at those two lines. Finally I went downstairs and stood in the kitchen holding the stick and shaking a bit. Steph still didn’t believe me. How accurate are these things? He asked.

I made a doctors’ appointment for the next Tuesday. She confirmed it, some blood was taken, forms were filled out (yep, my baby’s already been through bureaucracy), I was informed about tests for spinal defects and downs’ syndrome, and I was encouraged to get a flu shot. We made an appointment for a month from then, and I was sent on my way.

I was in a bit of a daze, to be honest. It’s a strange feeling when you first find out. It’s an “everything has changed, but nothing has changed” feeling.

We told our families over Christmas. That may seem early for some people, but I’m glad we told, it made it seem more real. It was only after New Years that I started feeling strange. We were having New Years breakfast, and suddenly I looked at my beloved hash-browns and thought, if I eat that I will puke everywhere.

Hello morning sickness!

The last three weeks have been a constant struggle between deep, unrelenting hunger, queasy nauseating morning sickness and an inability to foresee what I will want to eat or what might make me feel sick. Luckily I have not actually had any vomiting, but the nausea is constant, and draining.

In a way, I am thankful for the “morning sickness” (which is ironically most prevalent in the evening) because it is forcing me to focus on the moment, and not the monumental change my life is undergoing.

So what have I been eating?

So far, there have been no questions about my diet. My blood work came back with low iron (which I’ve had all my life, even when I ate meat) so I’m on an iron supplement for now. A woman at the health food store tried to convince me to by fish oil to get my DHA Omega-3 (she actually said, “you want to have a smart baby, right?”). I must admit, my confidence waved slightly at that remark. But I bought a vegetarian DHA supplement, had a good cry at home, looked at some websites and felt better. 

I have also not been attracted to junk food at all. Infact, when my husband ordered a pizza last week, I thought what the heck, and ordered a small vegetarian for myself. I took 2 bites and gave the rest to him. It tasted like cardboard and milk. It was disgusting. So far, my body has been very good at steering me away from bad food. My body has not allowed me to eat mushrooms or onions or any strong herbs (my lovely husband made a simple barley stew the other night, thinking it would be good for me, but he put in thyme in it and I couldn’t go near it). The only thing that really really tastes good right now is a spinach salad they make in the restaurant at my work. I crave it. I could eat it day and night. Isn’t it funny how I have low iron and I crave spinach? It goes to show that if you listen to your body it will take care of itself.

I am tired a lot too, but that is slowly getting better. Needless to say, I haven’t done much exercising, but I’m hoping to change that once I stop feeling so darn sick all the time.

My next doctor’s appointment is tomorrow, so I’ll be able to give you an update on my iron. The supplement I’m taking now, in case you’re interested in called Florvit and can be found in any health food store that sells supplements.

In the meantime, here is one of the recipe’s I have been religiously making. I have no idea if this tastes good in reality, but to my pregnant taste buds, it is heaven.

Enjoy!

One can of lentils (liquid and all, although you can rinse if you are watching your sodium), plus one can of water. I always add tomatoes to my lentil soup, because tomatoes and lentils love eachother!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I added some leftover wild rice, apple cidre vinegar, a touch of dijon mustard, and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Really, add whatever sounds good to you!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bring all that goodness to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. I used my trusty blend wand because I can't handle chunks of food right now, but normally I just leave it as is.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I suggest to enjoy with a nice toasty piece of naan bread. Mmmm...I'm starting to get hungry again...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And finally, because there are un-baby related things happening in my world:

Our new house build has begun! It is definitely the worst time of year to be starting this (so happy about the 15 cm's of snow forecast for today!) but at least it's a start!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have a great Tuesday, I hope you are enjoying food more than I am!
 
Sarah
 

The Art of Tofu

Sorry for being MIA yesterday, tis the busy season! I did make a beautiful tofu that I wanted to share. Tofu can either be very boring, or very yummy, and I believe the key is in marinating. Tofu takes on the taste of whatever is around it, so if you just grill it up plain, it’s not going to taste like much. I normally cube my tofu and marinate it for about 10-20 minutes before frying it. But if you have a bit more time, I suggest the following baked method. Equally tasting, but a bit softer on the eyes. A great dish to impress guests with!

Tofu:

1 package firm tofu

slice into 1″ pieces, then cut on an angle to make triangles

 

Marinade:

Using my submersible wand I blended together:

1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce

1 tbsp miso

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 large clove garlic

a chunk of ginger

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon

1 cup water

 

I placed the tofu into the dish I would be cooking it in and poured the marinade overtop, making sure each piece was covered. Then I baked it in the over for about an hour at 400 degrees. If you don’t have that kind of time, you can definitely fry it too, but this way the marinade made a beautiful gravy that got nice and thick and sticky.

This went perfectly on top of a big salad.

You might hear some controversy about tofu, or soy in general, so I’ll tell you what I know (remember, I am not a doctor or a scientist!). Soy is a phyto-estrogen, which means that it can mimic estrogen. The fear is that if we eat too much of it our body will think it has too much estrogen in it. While this may be true to some extent, I think it pales in comparison to the real hormones that we unknowingly ingest throughout our lives, from meat and dairy, from drinking water, high caffeine consumption which forces our bodies to create excess hormones… I do limit the amount of soy in our diet because soy can be over processed. It is easy to slip into having it every day  without realizing it. We drink almond milk instead of soy milk and coconut ice cream instead of soy ice cream. If you balance your soy consumption, there’s no need to worry. And if you’re really ambitious you could make your own…but I’ll leave that for another post!

–Sarah

 

 


Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart! The Christmas Cookie Edition

I’ve always wanted to be one of those women who does “Christmas Baking.” It seems like a nice thing to do, and then you can give the baking away to friends and family. I imagine the house full of yummy gingerbread smells, and I imagine the glee of the recipients of the baking, “You MADE this?!” But as we all know, I am not the world’s best chef, so I also wanted the apply an element of excitement to my baking. Hence, the Eat Your Heart Out, Martha Stewart Project was created.

I am taking 4 Martha Stewart Christmas Cookie recipes and veganizing the sh*t outta them. So it’s a bit of traditional oh-la-la mixed with some punk attitude.

My first recipe is Martha’s Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies, forever re-named Chocolate-Ginger Goodness Cookies!

It was a bit more labour intensive than I usually enjoy, but I left the dough in the fridge for 24 hours, and it turned out fine. Also, you need to have plastic wrap and parchement paper on hand, and space in your fridge to chill the dough. Enjoy!

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks (if not using chips); set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a regular hand mixer, or a wand, although NOT recommended), beat margarine and grated ginger until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

Ingredients Unite!

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat (I just mixed with a fork, it turned out fine) half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Ooooh yeah…

Some had to be taste-tested, you know, for quality control.

Yep, good enough!

And for your copy and paste pleasure:

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate (I used Camino semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used one cup all-purpose, ½ cup whole wheat)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) Earth Balance vegan margarine
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed (I used demerara sugar)
  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks (if not using chips); set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a regular hand mixer, or a wand, although NOT recommended), beat margarine and grated ginger until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat (I just mixed with a fork, it turned out fine) half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I will be tackling more cookies this weekend, so stay tuned!

-Sarah