Peanut and Orange Kale ChipsLet me begin by saying the flavour combination of the peanut and orange dressing will blow you away. I’ve come across a few spicy peanut recipes, but I’m not one for spice so I decided to improvise. Make sure if you do decided to make the peanut and orange kale chips to prepare a little extra.. as I ate almost the whole bunch in one sitting. The crunchy organic peanut butter adds for an unique texture; I can’t even imagine how delicious these guys would be in an actually dehydrator. Either way I’ll be making them again, I hope you enjoy them just as much as I did!photo 3

Peanut and Orange Kale Chips
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches kale
  • 2 large tbsp organic crunchy peanut butter (or any savory nut butter)
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the kale and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Pull the leaves off the center ribs in large pieces, and pile on a baking sheet. Discard the ribs.
  2. In a small bowl mix the nut butter, oil, garlic, salt & pepper, and orange juice. Pour over the kale. Use your hands to massage the kale leaves until each one is evenly coated with the spice mixture.
  3. Lay the kale leaves out flat on baking sheets. Do not overlap and work in batches if necessary. Bake for 10-11 minutes until crisp, but still green. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving. If some kale chips are still a little flimsy or damp, remove the crisp chips and place the damp chips back in the oven for a few more minutes. Store in an air-tight container.

 

Vegan Matzo BallsLast week I got my test results back for food sensitivities. I have known for the longest time there had been something in my diet that has effected my skin with irritations but never could figure out the route cause. After a flare up about a month ago, I decided it was time to get things sorted out. The main food that was causing my issues was eggs all along. Some other minor food sensitivities include whey, yogurt, cranberries, pineapple, and sesame seeds. Over the next little while I will be eliminating most of these foods from my diet. My ultimate goal will be to re-introduce them over time, but for now it has to been done. Moving along, for Passover I was quite limited in terms of things I could eat that didn’t have eggs in it. I came across this delicious vegan matzo ball recipe on the Vegan American Princess blog that worked out to be a great substitute. I have adapted the recipe a bit but the result tasted just as good if not better then the regular matzo balls my mom makes (shh!)  photo 2

Vegan Matzo Balls
Serves: 14
 
Ingredients
  • 12 oz package firm silken tofu
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 1½ cup matzoh meal
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, plus extra for the boiling water
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 handful fresh dill, chopped
  • ½ cup rich vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, mix together silken tofu and ¼ cup olive oil.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in matzo meal, nutritional yeast, salt, baking powder, onion, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Place the dough in an air-tight container and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the matzoh meal with the salt and pepper; set aside,
  5. In a food processor, mix together silken tofu, ¼ cup olive oil, and ½ cup vegetable broth and puree until smooth.
  6. Mix the tofu mixture with the matzoh meal. Add mix in the grated carrot. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  7. Fill a large stockpot with enough water to fit all the matzo balls in. Salt the water generously, cover, and bring to a boil.
  8. Remove the matzo mixture from the fridge. Form into tightly packed, 2″ balls.
  9. Drop balls into broth. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

 

chocolatechipbananabitesThese chocolate chip banana bites are rich and satisfying, but healthy enough that you can have a couple without feeling super guilty. They’re almost raw, and come together with pantry staples just as long as you have a ripe banana on hand! I threw half the batch in the freezer to save for a later date and they tasted just as good as when I first made them after thawing! photo 1

Chocolate Chip Banana Bites
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1.2 unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, blend oats until they are broken down (about 20 seconds)
  2. Add the bananas, shredded coconut, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract and pulse until fully combined.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and roll into 12 small balls.Store in airtight container.

 

FrozenbananaPopsiclesWith the weather warmer up what better time to refresh and satisfy your sweet tooth. The other afternoon I picked up some sinfully good Mast Brothers Chocolate at the Drake General Store downtown and decided to make some frozen banana popsicles! Feel free to sprinkle on top whatever topping you’d like. My three go-to’s are orange zest, shredded coconut, and goji berries! Other options could include crushed peanuts or any type of nut for that matter, granola, or crushed cookies! photo(4)

Frozen Chocolate Banana Popsicles
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 5 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 large ripe bananas
  • Garnish:
  • Chopped peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or pistachios
  • Goji berries
  • Toasted dried coconut
  • Granola
  • Orange zest
  • Crushed cookies
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil.
  2. Peel bananas and dip in melted chocolate.
  3. Sprinkle with garnish option

SweetpotatoblondiesAfter another visit to the Terra Greenhouse Winter Market I was inspired to make some Sweet Potato Blondies. They turned out so moist and flavourful that my family had a hard time putting them down. I will definitely be making this one again, especially when sweet potato season hits!photo 2(2)

Sweet Potato Blondies
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 200g softened unsalted butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • grated zest of two large oranges
  • 1 large sweet potato – peeled, cooked, mashed and cooled
  • 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100g gluten free self raising flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 320F.
  2. Whisk together the softened butter, soft brown sugar and orange zest in a stand mixer or large bowl using a hand mixer. Whisk in the mashed sweet potato (be sure to let it cool first) and gradually add the lightly beaten eggs. (wet ingredients)
  3. Sieve together the gluten free flour, ground almonds and baking powder. (dry ingredients)
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and carefully fold together until fully combined. Pour into pan brushed first with melted butter.
  5. Bake for one hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Drizzle topping:
  7. Combine the juice of one of the oranges with 4 tablespoons of icing sugar and spoon over the cake while it is still warm.

 

HomemademontrealbagelsFor as long as I can remember my family has been making the trip to St-Viateur Bagel in Montreal for their famous Montreal-style bagels. We have even dedicated our downstairs freezer to hold 16 dozen at a time…slightly obsessed, would be an understatement. Making homemade Montreal bagels has been on my mind for quite some time and last week I finally decided to make my own. The recipe below is adapted from the Big Oven Blog. I couldn’t get over how similar they tasted to the ones we pick up in Montreal, I’m sure they would taste spot on if i had a fire stone oven but the convectional oven worked just as well! They can also be made vegan by substituting the egg in the dough with chia gel (mix 1 tablespoon crushed chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water, let sit for 10 minutes, until it turns into a gel).photo 1(3)

Homemade Montreal Bagels
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 8 grams active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg for the dough
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4-4½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup poppy seeds or sesame seeds
  • 16 cups of water
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 large egg wash
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the water, sugar, canola oil, yeast, egg and honey. Combine until the yeast dissolves.
  2. Then begin to stir in salt and flour, about three cups worth.
  3. Knead the dough, adding as much flour as needed, usually around ½ cup.
  4. When the dough is ready, cover with inverted bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. After the 10 minutes, divide the dough into 12 portions. Roll out each piece into a 8-inch length, from there press each end together forming a bagel shape.
  6. Let the bagel shaped dough rise for 30 minutes
  7. Fill a large stock pot with water and honey and bring to a boil.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Boil the bagels by placing 2-3 in the pot at a time, and boil for 45 seconds on each side. Remove and let the water drain off onto a paper towel.
  10. In a small bowl whisk the egg and pour the two seeds on two small plates.
  11. Dip each bagel in the egg wash and then coat both sides in the seeds.
  12. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes (keep an eye out on them), flip and bake another 6-8 minutes.
  13. Take the bagels out of the oven and cool the bagels on a tray.

 

 

sspIf you haven’t already done so I suggest you make this spaghetti squash pasta recipe! Not only is it a breeze to make but it is also delicious, low carb, and a gluten free alternative to regular pasta that can be used in variety of ways. I decided to share my quick and easy method of making spaghetti squash with a ‘meat-less’ sauce, one of my personal favorite ways to prepare it!photo 1(2)

Spaghetti Squash Pasta
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large spaghetti squash (about 4 cups) cooked and prepared
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or seasoning of choice
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce of choice
  • Handful of fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking dish with with parchment paper.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out seeds with a spoon.
  3. Brush each half with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic power, salt and pepper.
  4. Place each half on the pan with the cut side facing upwards.
  5. Roast for 45-50 minutes.
  6. While the squash is roasting, prepare your pasta sauce
  7. Remove squash from oven and use a fork to scrape out the "spaghetti".
  8. Place on a plate or in a bowl and top with your sauce and fresh basil.

 

cfrbIt’s amazing how tasty these cauliflower rice bowls with sweet potatoes and beets are!  Last week, I was inspired to make something out of the two heads of cauliflower I had leftover in the fridge. After stumbling across a few recipes for cauliflower rice, I decided to make my own. I will admit it can be quite messy… but it is well worth the results, as it is delicious, low calorie, and gluten free! The addition of roasted sweet potatoes and beets make for great flavour and texture. Feel free to add a protein in there, if you’d like!photo(2)

Cauliflower Rice Bowls with Sweet Potatoes and Beets
 
Ingredients
  • For the Cauliflower Rice
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp. vegetable broth
  • Dash sea salt
  • Dash ground pepper
  • Chopped parsley (optional)
  • For the Sweet potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1½ tbsp coconut oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 small boiled beets, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place diced sweet potatoes on sheet and drizzle and rub both sides with the coconut oil. Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, then flip the potatoes and roast for 10 minutes more, until tender and lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, grate the cauliflower or pulse in food processor until it is rice shaped.
  3. Heat coconut oil in sauté pan over medium high heat. Sauté onion and garlic for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add cauliflower, stir well.
  5. Add vegetable broth, sea salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes until cauliflower is slightly tender.
  6. Place cauliflower in serving bowl and top with chopped parsley, sweet potatoes and grated beets.

 

featuringThe other week I had the lovely pleasure of checking out Nella Cucina cooking school for the first time. The evening theme was Journey to the Eastern Mediterranean. It was a complete hands-on experience that I would recommend for any one looking to develop their kitchen skills, learn proper methods, or just to meet other food enthusiasts!

photoAs soon as I got there they had a beautiful spread of hors d’oeuvres, including fig and pine nut toasts with roasted pepper hummus. We then moved into the kitchen where we were welcomed by the chefs. They had us divide into two groups where every 20 minutes we’d rotate through each cooking station for the rest of the evening.  The first dish we started off with was the honey’d phyllo triangles with dates and walnuts. I have always wanted to work with phyllo before but have never had the opportunity until now. The chef at the station taught in a fun & interactive way by showing the group various techniques of how to work with the pastry. The next destination we moved to was lamb kofta with pistachio herbed couscous, they had already pre-made the herbed couscous, so the group just mixed and shaped the lamb kofta before sauteing and placing in the oven. After having a little bite to eat we then moved on to make falafels with a tomato & parsley salad, the salad tasted very fresh and light, I will definitely be making it again sometime soon. Last but not least, my favourite dish of the evening, the roasted cauliflower with tahini side. It was absolutely fantastic and very flavourful.  Once we we’re finished each of  the stations, the full group got together and had dessert & coffee. Overall, I had a wonderful evening, I met great people and learnt some awesome techniques along the way. Be sure to check Nella Cucina on Twitter: @nellacucina or Instagram: @nellacucina. Below is the recipe for the roasted cauliflower with tahini, enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 ½ lb.)
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Place oven rack in top position. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss cauliflower with 2 tsp. olive oil, and season with salt. Spread on large cookie sheet, and bake 10-12 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender and slightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp. olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic in oil 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in tahini, lemon juice, 5 Tbs. cold water, and salt. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Divide cauliflower among plates. Whisk sauce, then spoon over cauliflower. Sprinkle with parsley and sesame seeds, and serve.

 

Blue-Berry PancakesI made these amazing blueberry gluten-free pancakes with whiskey infused dark maple syrup the other morning. I was inspired by my trip to the local winter farmer’s market last weekend. While there, I fell in love with all of Wellington Made’s crafted products and ended up picking up the whiskey infused dark maple syrup to try… I’m already going back next Saturday to grab another bottle, it was that tasty! I’ll also be sharing some other Wellington Made inspired recipes on the blog in the coming weeks, to showcase some more of their wonderfully crafted products. In the mean time you can check out their website for information, or better yet go visit their wonderful booth at the Terra Greenhouse Winter Market open every Saturday 10AM-3PM. wellingtonmade

The pancake recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and free of refined sugars! Not only are they delicious but they have a consistency and taste comparable to those made with wheat flour.  The recipe is a good base for other flavors, and you could easily spice these up with cinnamon, nuts or even berries for variety. For my first ever batch I decided to play it safe with blueberries and cinnamon.

photo 2

Blueberry Gluten-Free Pancakes
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1¼ cups vanilla almond milk
  • 1 large ripe, organic banana
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon local honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large organic egg
  • coconut oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients, except egg and coconut oil in the base of a blender and blend until smooth. Add egg and pulse a few times until egg is fully incorporated.
  2. Heat a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat and melt a teaspoon or two of coconut oil. When hot, pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side) and serve hot with maple syrup.
  3. *If batter becomes too thick to pour easily, add a tablespoon or two of almond milk to thin.