Tag Archives: Cooking

Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Sadly, summer is turning its back on us. The sun no longer stays out later than 8:30pm, peach season is waning, and Christmas jingles are playing on the radio and television (alright, not quite, though the Staples commercial comes pretty close).

Ignore the fact that this is a commercial for KFC; I think it conveys how I am feeling about the end of summer though :P

This summer has been awesome in so many ways. Since moving away for university, coming home for extended periods of time has always been a difficult adjustment. Transitioning from unrestricted freedom to living with parental figures can be akin to pulling a Benjamin Button, but after three years I think I’ve finally got the hang of it. I took it upon myself to keep busy this summer with both work and play; I think I did a pretty good job!
Summer 2013 was great in so many ways. I got to watch the sun rise on my commute to work, spent time exploring new places in my city, frequented farmers market, read (47!) books, cottaged with my pals, ran four organized races (on top of a whole lot more running miles), learned to ride my bike without hands, ate my weight in fresh grapes, watermelon, peaches, and blueberries, kept up my yoga practice, and throughly enjoyed every beautiful sunny (and rainy) day.
This summer also marked the birth hello, veggy! I had dabbled with blogging over the past couple of years, but for whatever reason I never stuck with it. What a shame because writing this blog has brought me so much joy these past three months. Having a place where I can use my creative energy has been so beneficial for me; I thank you so much for reading and sticking with me!
In honour of the seasonal summer produce that will soon be leaving us, I whipped up a delicious and easy salsa recipe to share with you. It uses up those extra cobs of grilled corn and the last few tomatoes from the garden, and features some Mexican-inspired spices. Ole!

 

Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yeild: Approx 5 c.

Ingredients

  • 3 ears roasted corn, removed from cob (approx. 3 c.)
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. chopped parsley

Dressing

  • juice from one lime (approx. 3 tbsp.)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions

  • Prepare vegetables and beans and place in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well incorporated.
  • In a small dish, whisk together dressing.
  • Pour over vegetables and beans and stir until coated. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Serve as an appetizer with corn tortilla chips, or as a side dish.

Enjoy summer cooking while it lasts! As sad as it is to see peaches, corn, and perfect strawberries leaving us for a while I am jazzed for the abundance of honey crisp apples, pumpkin recipes, and spaghetti squash that will soon be coming out way.

Question of the day: What is your favourite season? What are you looking forward to this fall?

Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, or follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

Thai Basil Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Eggplant is seriously underrated. Unlike more ‘popular’ veggies, eggplant seems to get the stink eye more often than not. As a primer to the delicious recipe I have coming up for you, I found some fun facts about our veggie-du-jour.

  • Eggplants contain the highest amount of nicotine of any vegetable (but it’s still a negligible amount, don’t worry ;) )
  • Eggplants are related to tomatoes, and technically belong to the berry family
  • According to a Japanese proverb, eggplants bring good luck: “The happiest omen for a New Year is first Mount Fuji, then the falcon, and lastly eggplant“.

Source: indianapublicmedia.org

Aren’t you more excited already? I have submitted today’s recipe for Thai Basil Eggplant Lettuce Wraps to a new link-up called Veggies of the Month, hosted by the lovely Amy of Long Drive Journey.

Long Drive Journey
These salad wraps are inspired by my favourite Thai dish, Thai Basil Eggplant. I’m notorious for always ordering the same thing at Thai restaurants, and I’m happy that I’ll be able to make something similar at home. The eggplant softens but the peppers remain crispy for a nice crunch. The sauce is slightly umami but not overpowering, and the basil adds an extra punch of fresh summer flavour.

Thai Basil Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Yield: Approx 4 c.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 green and red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 c. loosely packed and roughly chopped fresh basil
  • lettuce leaves, for serving

For the sauce

  • juice from one lime (approx 3 tbsp.)
  • 2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. miso
  • 1/8th tsp. sriracha

Instructions

  • Heat a large pan to medium heat and melt coconut oil.
  • Chop onion and eggplant and add to pan. Stir fry for 10-15 minutes, or until eggplant is soft and skin is no longer tough. Meanwhile, chop the peppers and basil, and mix the sauce in a small bowl.
  • Add peppers and sauce when eggplant is cooked. Stir fry for an additional 2-3 minutes; the peppers should retain some crispness. Adjust seasonings as required.
  • Stir in the basil. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve as an appetizer with lettuce leaves to make lettuce wraps.

Since we are soon saying goodbye to summer, I’m trying to fit in as many summer dishes as I can muster. Lettuce wraps are so light, refreshing, and fun to eat; they are perfect for a picnic, BBQ, or potluck. The vegetable filling also makes a great salad topping, or side dish. You can also warm the veggies mixture, and serve with rice and tofu for a complete meal!

 

Make sure to check out all the other recipes for Amy’s link-up!

Question of the Day: Do you avoid/dislike any particular veggies/fruit?

Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, or follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

Vegan Delish App: Review, Recipe and a Giveaway!

Who loves vegan food? *raises hand* Who has an iTouch/iPhone/iPad? *raises hand* Who likes free stuff? *raises both hands*

If you were raising your hand with me then you’ll definitely want to enter today’s giveaway for the Vegan Delish App! If you haven’t heard the buzz about this app already, it is chock full of easy and delicious plant-based whole food recipes that are a cinch to whip up and really satisfy the taste buds! The app is developed by one of my favourite bloggers Carrie, whose diet is inspired by the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Dr Fuhrman promotes a 100% vegan and gluten-free diet, with minimal oil, salt, or added sugars, and all the recipes on the app satisfy these criteria!

Carrie Forrest headshot Vegan Delish screenshot

Currently the app is available on the iOS platform and can be purchased for a very reasonable $2.99 on iTunes for either iPhone or iPad! What exactly does this get you? Here is a quick summary of some of my favourite features:

Tons of Recipes

The app features over 100 plant-based, vegan, and gluten-free recipes organized in various categories such as breakfast, kid-friendly, and quick & easy. Each recipe has a photo of the dish, ratings and reviews from other Vegan Delish users, and clear instructions. For those of us who enjoy social media, Vegan Delish makes recipe sharing easy, with Facebook, Twitter, and email buttons at your fingertips! Carrie has generously allow me to share one of my favourite recipes from the app, Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding. It is included for your cooking pleasure at the end of this post!

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One thing worth noting about the recipes on the app is that some equipment is required. While many of the recipes don’t need anything more than simple kitchen tools, there are recipes that focus on dehydrating, blending, and food processing. Keep in mind that you don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars on equipment to enjoy these recipes! You can typically get by using your oven as a dehydrator, and any blender as a dual purpose mixing device/food processor.

Favourites and Shopping List

With the tap of your finger, you can easily choose your favourite recipes within the app and create your own personal cookbook! Your favourite recipes are saved to your “Favourites” tab for easy access. Vegan Delish also makes grocery shopping a breeze; simply check off the ingredients you are missing at home and check out the shopping list tab. Voila! Instant (paperless) shopping list!

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Scaling, Conversions, and Extra Features

In my opinion, one of the best features of this app is the ability to scale the recipes for various portion sizes. Since I often cook for one, quartering a recipe is usually adequate for a single serving; Vegan Delish makes this SO easy! Within the settings menu (icon in the top left corner of the home page) you can also change the measurements to either imperial or metric, and access a handy kitchen timer! Carrie has also included some helpful resources about vegan cooking, kitchen equipment, and other handy information!

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More!

As you can see, Vegan Delish has tons of great features to offer any cook: vegan or omnivore, newbie or pro. This app would make an especially good gift for a friend or loved one who might be interested in joining you in plant-based dining endeavours (I’m thinking of purchasing it for my Mom for use on her iTouch). Once purchased, updates including new recipes are automatic when you plug your device into your computer, and there are no ads or tricky in-app purchases within the app!

As you can see I love Vegan Delish; it is truly a great resource to have at your fingertips. Regardless if you win the giveaway or not, I urge you to support Carrie, the app, and vegan food love by purchasing Vegan Delish (portions of the profits also support vegan causes).

As promised here is one of my favourite recipes from the app:

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup chia seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 10 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

1. Place chia seeds in a large bowl.

2. In a blender, combine non-dairy milk, dates, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and ginger. Process until smooth.

3. Pour liquid over chia seeds and stir frequently until seeds have absorbed liquid (about 30 minutes). Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 6.

Delicious! Alright, now the part you have all been waiting for. The contest is open to US residents only (the code will only work in the American iTunes store!) and will run from now until next Friday the 16th of August at 12:00AM! You can enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. On Friday, three winners will be selected, so make sure to check back! I wish you the best of luck, and may the odds be forever in your favour ;) Be sure to check out Carrie’s lovely blog, the Vegan Delish Facebook page, and Vegan Delish on iTunes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. I have not been compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. This is not a sponsored post, nor have I been paid to review this product. The opinions expressed here my own and are not influenced by any endorsement. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, follow me on, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

Iron Packed Pesto and Parma-nut Cheese

 

I like it green.

Iron Packed Pesto pasta

According to the WHO, iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Today’s recipe yields a pesto packed with plant based iron sources, which contain non-heme iron. Iron in plant-based foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, and spirulina is more challenging for the body to absorb, however, steps can be taken to enhance this. Toasting the seeds, cooking the spinach, and including other vitamin C rich foods in the meal help with absoption; easy!

Iron Packed Pesto ingredients

When I first transitioned to a vegan diet, I was slightly taken aback that most pestos contain cheese! Since then I have experimented with many recipes that deliver a similar taste, but cruetly-free! Pesto making can also be expensive, which is why I often use different nuts (I like walnuts) and swap out part of the basil for a leafy green (spinach, or even kale).

Pesto is a cinch to whip up and can be used in ways other than just on pasta. My favourite salad from Fresh features white beans coated in pesto and served a top leafy greens and various salad toppings. Pesto is also a great sandwich spread!

Iron Packed Pesto Mason Jar

I like to dive into a big bowl of pasta the night before any race, and last Saturday was no exception. In addition to the brown rice pasta, I thought some zucchini noodles might also be tasty; turns out I was right. I used a julienne peeler to slice the zucchini into ‘noodles’ and mixed them together with the pasta and a few healthy spoonfuls of pesto. To use a julienne peeler, wash your veggies and ‘peel’ by pressing down firmly. You may have to separate the ‘noodles’ manually, but it’s worth it! I could have taken this dish to another level by using a spirooli, but alas, by shoe-boxed sized kitchen cannot accommodate yet another appliance just yet.

julienne peeler

For a bit of extra flavour and texture, I whipped up some ‘Parma-nut cheeze’ and sprinkled it atop my pile of green noodles. It tasted like all good italian food should; carb-y, garlic-y, cheeze-y goodness! :)

Iron-Packed Vegan Pesto

Yield: Approx 2 c.

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping c. fresh spinach
  • 1/2 c. unroasted, unsalted, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 c. basil, packed
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • optional: 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • optional: 1 tbsp. spirulina

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pepitas on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and roast for 5 minutes (be careful not to burn). Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.
  • Add all the ingredients (except olive oil) to a high-speed food processor and blend until smooth.
  • With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil through top spout if desired.
  • Keep in a sealed container in the fridge; also freezes well.

iron packed pesto pasta on fork

Parma-nut Cheeze

Yield: Approx 3/4 c.

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. walnuts
  • 1/4 c. almonds
  • 1/2 c. nutritional yeast

Instructions

  • Add ingredients to a high-speed food processor and blend until nuts are finely crumbled.

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And as always, here’s the Friday Five!

  1. I’m still on a runner’s high from last week’s 10K; so I signed up for another! It’s called a Midsummer Night’s Run and it takes place at dusk on the Toronto Islands! What’s even better is that it raises money for SickKids Foundation, specifically the Department of Rheumatology (which treats diseases like Jeuvenile Idiopathic Arthritis). I have made a pledge page through the website; if you have a few extra dollars kicking around, feel free to pledge my 15K run here.
  2. Speaking of initiatives and fundraising, this girl is a superstar. Chelsea Roff has taken her history of serious mental health problems and turned it into something positive. She has an Indigogo campaign running right now that will hopefully bring yoga to eating disorder patients as a way to help with coping and recovery. She has a goal to raise 50,000 which will also fund research for the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary therapy. Check it out!
  3. Katie who blogs at Produce on Parade got me hooked on Duolingo! My brain is yearning for learning since I’ve been off school for 4 months; this totally satisfies my brain’s need. I’m learning Italian; or should I say, sto imparando l’italiano!!
  4. I went a bit farmer’s market crazy this week and tried a bunch of new things in the kitchen! Here in Toronto, were super lucky to have one every day at one location or another, so I picked up some Ontario kale, sunflower sprouts, and carrots. I also played around with sprouting. Here are my babies sprouted lentils. They should be ready to eat tomorrow! IMG_1278
  5. The Stanley Cup was in town this week! We totally brushed elbows :P IMG_1281

That’s it, that’s all for this week! Check back on Monday for a sweet giveaway!

Question of the Day: What charities/foundations are you a supporter of? I always like to learn about what people are involved with!

Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

Vegan Chai Pancakes

I try to make pancakes as a treat once a week for either breakfast or dinner (yes, pancakes for dinner!). They are a sort of special treat that makes the day all that better. I like to get together with friends and have pancake parties as evidence by this picture:

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See how much fun? I’m also frequently have pancake parties solo, which let me tell you are just as fun. You can keep your footsie pyjamas on and jam to Taylor Swift (22 anyone?) while making a personal stack of pancakes; sorry I don’t have a picture of this to show you. Today’s recipe is made especially for one, although you can easily double, triple or quadruple it as necessary!

After much practice, I have come to realize some important tricks that yield the best pancakes. Welcome to Pancake Making 101:

  • Start heating your pan to a medium heat before you even begin mixing the ingredients; this helps the pancakes cook all the way through on the first shot.
  • Use some real (neutral flavoured) oil and none of that ‘cooking spray’. This gives the pancakes some unreal crispy edges; I like using coconut oil.
  • You may need to add more liquid if you’re not cooking the pancakes all at once; the flax seed thickens the batter as it sits.
  • Don’t skimp on toppings or mix-ins; this MAKES the pancake!

Carrying on with this week’s theme, these pancakes feature homemade chai spice from Monday’s post. I also added blueberries because I’m a tiny bit obsessed with them, but feel free to add (or omit) any topping you would like! I bet some ripe diced pear would also go very nicely…

Vegan Chai Pancakes

Yield: 4 small pancakes (1 serving)

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. flour of choice (spelt, gluten-free all purpose, or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp. homemade chai spice
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • optional: 1 tsp maple syrup or agave, 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Instructions:

  • Add coconut oil to a large nonstick frying pan on medium heat.
  • While pan is heating up combine flour, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, and chai spice in a small mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and add milk and optional sweetener and blueberries. Stir until just combined.
  • Scoop 1/4 cups of batter into heated pan and flip when edges begin to bubble. Fry for another few minutes until cooked through.
  • Serve with earth balance, maple syrup or brown rice syrup, and fresh fruit.

I trust you will enjoy these pancakes as much as I did. I will see you back here Friday for a final recipe using our trusty Homemade Chai Spice!

Question of the Day: What is your favourite breakfast food?

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