Thursday, October 28, 2010

Warm and Spicy: Comfort Foods of Autumn


After Summer, Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year (except that it leads to Winter which I am really not a big fan of).  Besides the gorgeous colours, the crisp cool air, the perfect outdoor running weather (except for the rain) it also reminds me of the hearty, warm and spicy home cooked meals.

Such as my roasted root vegetables dish (pictured above) which was made for my family, a recipe from my 500 Vegan Recipes cook book.  It was delicious and simple to make.  Simply chop up sweet potato, onion, carrots and fennel, toss in olive oil and add some spices like sea salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano and/or basil.

One of my favourite all time spices is cinnamon. Besides its many health benefits, it's one of the best spices I've found that is great for anything sweet or savoury, for baking or cooking, for food or drinks - it's really a miracle spice in my opinion, that goes with pretty much anything!  It's a perfect spice for Autumn culinary delights like vegan cinnamon bread ...


I got the recipe for this wonderfully sweet bread from 500 Vegan Recipes cook book.  It's sweet and spicy and pretty good for you in that it's doesn't take too much sugar and is made with spelt flour.  I think I even added less sugar then it called for, to bring out the cinnamon.  It was a delight after dinner with the family.

Thanks for visiting my blog, please leave a comment or two, a suggestion or recipe idea!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grand Bend Weekend Bliss

 
Friday night Mike and I drove up to Grand Bend to stay for the weekend and what a beautiful, peaceful and enjoyable weekend it was.

After our Saturday morning beach walk we spent the rest of our morning and day at London's Covent Garden Market - my favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning - and visiting friends.

We enjoyed some good treats at the market but also brought some home to make dinner that night. 

First time taste of a Spinach Burek (Börek) pastry - we just had to try one after watching the guy make them, very interesting method that involved a lot of tossing around this flaky dough and using an entire table to spread it out.

For dinner I tried to make something from my 500 Vegan Recipes cook book but ended up improvising most of the recipe since I was missing a few ingredients.  Sadly, at this point, my digital camera's battery also died, which meant I was relying on a disposal camera that I bought and clearly forgot how to use (oh the age of digital cameras have broken us) and none of my food photos came out.

Either way this was on the menu ...
Roasted peppers stuffed with brown rice, broccoli, green apple, tomato, natural peanut butter, a bit of olive oil, and spices including curry, basil, salt and cayenne pepper accompanied by some green salad and Farmer's Market bread - delish!
 
The camera wasn't total loss, we enjoyed a wonderful evening on the beach ...

 


Playing with Scarlet on the beach - the sand and twigs she loved, the water, not so much!

Sweetness - that is, until Scarlet trampled all over it lol!

The next morning we made brunch for the Londoners ...

Banana Fritters, from 500 Vegan Recipes, although I don't think my turned quite as good as they were suppose but everyone was very sweet and said they liked them; vegan "buttermilk" pancakes, sweet fruit platter that included strawberries, grapes and oranges, a cheese and crackers platter and of course, some bacon and eggs - for the boys.

It was a perfect weekend in a gorgeous home, near the beach with great weather,  good food with good friends, and a lovely time spent with best boyfriend ever! ♥

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thanks for giving Cranberries


This  past Thanksgiving weekend I made a few dishes to contribute to my family's dinner - most of which included cranberry as a main ingredient.  The above photo is a Cranberry Chili I made from my book, 500 Vegan Recipes, and it was awesome, spicy with a hint of sweet.  It's hard to see the cranberries but I swear they are in there! :)

 

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 1 ( 340g) package of fresh or frozen cranberries 
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. In a medium saucepan, heat water, cranberry juice and sugar until all sugar is dissolved.
2. Bring to a boil and add the cranberries, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook for about 5 minutes and reduce heat to let simmer.  Stir in lemon juice just before covering.
4. Let simmer for about 12-15 minutes or until juice has thickened and cranberries have shrunk.



Cranberry Breakfast Pockets 

- 2 packages of Pillsbury crescent dough  
- Left over cranberry sauce from dinner
    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Open and unroll crescent dough as directed on package.  I used two triangles for each pocket.

    2. Scoop about 1/2 tablespoon of cranberry sauce (less sauce more berries) onto one of the laid out dough triangles.  Place another dough triangle on top of the first and gently press down all along the sides (I used a fork to to press them together).


    3. When finished lay then on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 12-14 minutes or until golden.


    Hmmmm .... breakfast!



    Why eating cranberries is so good for you?

    • helps prevent and treat urinary tract infections
    • helps promote gastrointestinal and oral health
    • helps prevent the formation of kidney stones
    • can lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol
    • help prevent against cancer
    • aid in recovery from stroke

    To learn more about the health benefits of cranberries follow the link in the above title.


    Have a recipe in mind you'd like to see me make? Let me know! Please email me
    Cheers!

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Broccoli and Chickpeas, Unite!

     

     
    I made some fabulous gluten-free, vegan broccoli hummus (a recipe from my even more fabulous 500 Vegan Recipes cookbook) last weekend.  The not so fabulous part - right in the middle of my mixing ingredients together in my food processor the darn thing decides to stop working! So, imagine now having to process chickpeas, cashew butter, olive oil, steamed broccoli and spices all together in a magic bullet!
     
    Do you know how freaking small those things are?...anyway, it still worked, kind of, either way I got most of it processed and then mashed up the rest with a potato masher.  It still had a few chunks in it but it worked and although it was definitely stiffer then most hummus recipes it tasted amazing!  I think the key ingredient I added was the cashew butter.
     
    Since it had more of a spread-like texture then a dip-like texture Mike and I decided to eat it as an appetizer before dinner with my most favourite of all time gluten-free crackers - Mary's Gone Crackers, the original flavour but they are all great tasting.

    This hummus also worked well as a topping for our veggie burgers the next night.  I tell ya, mashed up chickpeas are great any day of the week, I'd eat hummus as a meal!

    Next week ... I'll share with you the Thanksgiving recipes I contributed to my family dinner.

    Happy Thanksgiving, eh!

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Quinoa is the New Soup Good for the Soul


    Quinoa Vegetable Soup
    Original recipe from You Won't Believe It's Vegan, p.74

    I wanted to make this recipe but realized I was missing a few things but I went ahead and did it anyway, made a few substitutions and add-ons, so here is the version I made:

    1 cup of baby carrots, washed and diced
    1 large red onion, diced
    4 cloves of garlic, minced
    3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    3 cups of vegetable broth + 3 cups of hot water
    1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed
    1 cup spinach, chopped
    Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

    1. In a 4- to 6-quart stockpot, sauté the onions, garlic, carrots, sweet potato and spices in the olive oil, over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

    2. Add the vegetable broth and hot water and bring to a simmer.

    3. Add the quinoa to the pot.  Let cook until the quinoa start to plump and soften, about 15 minutes.

    4. Add the spinach at the end of the quinoa cooking time, and cook just until the vegetables are softened and wilted.

    5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


    Enjoy!
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