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.

 

Quinoa Taco BowlsThese quinoa taco bowls taste amazing and they’re also loaded with protein, vitamins and veggies. Mexican without the guilt. Don’t you love it already? I certainly did. Feel free to add whatever other veggies you’d like or have on hand, this is a great way to use up leftover veggies, and cheeses that you might already have in your kitchen!photo 3

Quinoa Taco Bowls
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1½ cup champagne mushrooms chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp cumin
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup corn
  • 2 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 4 tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of vegetable stock.
  2. Roast diced zucchinis and asparagus stalks drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper at 400F for 25 minutes or until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan heat olive oil and saute onion until translucent, then add mushrooms, and cooked quinoa with salt and pepper, garlic powder, and cumin.
  4. Arrange quinoa mixture in bowl, with chopped vegetables grated cheddar and greek yogurt on top.

 

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie This easy vegetarian sweet potato shepherd’s pie recipe makes a great dish for vegetarians and a lighter meatless alternative for carnivores. It is packed with goodness in the form of beans, vegetables, and herbs and a delicious sweet potato topping. Shepherd’s pie was one of my all-time favourites as a child growing up, and after having a comfort food craving the other night, this is the perfect go-to dish to have.
photo 4

Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 large carrots, cut into sugar-cube size pieces
  • 2 tbsp thyme chopped
  • 200ml red wine
  • 400ml can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 410g can green lentils
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup cheddar, grated (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the onion until golden. Add the carrots and all but a sprinkling of thyme. Pour in the wine, 150ml water and the tomatoes, then sprinkle in the stock cubes and simmer for 10 minutes. Tip in the can of lentils, including their juice, then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes until the carrots still have a bit of bite and the lentils are pulpy.
  2. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes until tender, drain well, then mash with the butter and season to taste. Pile the lentil mixture into a pie dish, spoon the mash on top, then sprinkle over the cheese and remaining thyme. The pie can now be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
  3. Heat oven to 375F. Cook for 20 minutes if cooking straight away, or for 40 minutes from chilled, until golden and hot all the way through.

 

carrotcakeWhat’s not to like about carrot cake? After experimenting with a couple different gluten-free versions, I finally nailed it! This cake is super moist and is simply made with a blend of finely grated carrots, almond, rice, and corn flour, eggs, coconut oil and raw coconut palm sugar. It tastes very flavourful on its own, but seeing as I was craving something extra sweet I decided to sprinkle a bit of icing sugar and toasted coconut on the top.  photo 3

Gluten Free Carrot Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups coconut oil
  • 2/4 cup almond flour
  • 2/4 cup rice flour
  • 2/4 cup corn flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 3 cups freshly grated carrots
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp toasted coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F / 176° C
  2. Use two round 9-inch cake pans, one 9×13 pan or 36 muffin cups for this recipe.
  3. If using round cake pans, lightly grease and place a circle of parchment in the bottom of the pan for easy removal. Use paper lining cups if making cupcakes.
  4. Cream sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric beater or stand mixer. Add coconut oil and vanilla and beat just until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl combine flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until blended.
  6. Stir in grated carrots and nuts. Pour the batter into prepared pans.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. For muffins, reduce baking time to 30-35 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Banana Chocolate Oat BarsThis is the most amazing banana chocolate oat bar recipe that I discovered on the Ambitious Kitchen blog.  They seriously tasted just like banana bread! With no flour, butter, eggs, or dairy this recipe is relatively healthy….a little bit of dark chocolate is in fact good for you ; ). My sister has been itching for me to make another batch of these heavenly bars, and seeing as it’s almost the weekend, that may just have to happen.photo 2

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups gluten free oats
  • ½ teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup honey (agave nectar if vegan)
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)
  • For chocolate drizzle:
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (vegan, if desired)
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9×9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make oat flour: Place oats into blender or food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour. You may need to stop blender and stir oats a couple of times to ensure that all oats have been blended. Transfer oat flour medium bowl; whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. Place bananas, vanilla, applesauce, and honey into blender; blend 1-2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add to oat flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Gently fold in ⅓ cup of chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly with rubber spatula. Bake for 15 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Cool 10-15 minutes on wire rack.
  5. Prepare drizzle by using a double boiler. Heat water to a boil in the bottom bowl. In the top bowl stir 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips and coconut oil together until melted and well combine, then drizzle over the top of bars. Cut bars into 16 squares and enjoy!