Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Get Yer Greens

So, haven't posted anything is quite a while... I've been quite uninspired in the kitchen and all of the new recipes I tried failed miserably. So I gave up for a little bit. I'd like to think it happens to everyone, once in a while... right?

I will be back soon with a recipe, but I just wanted to share a little about greens. I've been trying to eat more dark, leafy greens and I'm sure you guys could do the same, so here is some greeny info and some links to delicious recipes that will help you increase your green intake!

One of my favourite ways to get the greens in is to put them into a smoothie. You can pack in a huge handful of spinach and you won't even taste it! A quick google search for 'green smoothie' with leave you with tons of recipes... but if you don't want to look anything up, just add spinach or kale to your favourite smoothie to get another serving in!
Here are a few smoothie links, for you lazy ones out there.

Superfood green smoothie
Tropical green smoothie
Spicy vegetable green smoothie
Hemp n' kale smoothie (scroll down to find it)
Cake batter green smoothie
Peppermint patty green smoothie

All dark, leafy greens are very high sources of vitamins K and A and are good sources of vitamin C and are a source of complex B vitamins. They all contain cancer fighting phyto-nutrients and minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Greens are low in calories, high in fiber and can aid in controlling cholesterol. Plenty o' reasons to eat up!

Collard greens are closely related to kale and have a texture similar to cabbage with a slightly bitter flavour
As if she knew was my post was going to write about, Mama Pea posted a fabulous recipe for coconut collard greens. This is on my 'to make' list.
Here is a recipe for collard greens with julienned carrots from Foods for Long Life

Kale is similar to collard greens and also related to cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. There two main varieties - curly and Tuscan (or dinosaur) which has flatter leaves and is excellent raw. The curly variety contains more vitamin C than Tuscan. Did you know that your body absorbs almost twice as much calcium from kale than it does from cow's milk?! Leave that milk for the baby cows!
I love this marinated kale salad from Oh She Glows - so good
Here is a sauteed kale with caramelized onions recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
This curried lentil and kale soup from Living Without magazine looks delish
Hearty kale soup from Whole body detox diet is really good and filling

 Spinach leaves are one of the easiest greens to prepare, no trimming off tough stems or chopping up. And if you buy baby spinach, it is most often pre-washed. Just plop it into a bowl and you've got a salad! Or add it to your regular romaine lettuce salad for extra nutrition. One hundred grams of spinach contains about 25% of your RDI of iron - it's one of the best leafy greens sources.

My favourite summer spinach salad is very simple to put together. Baby spinach leaves, blueberries, strawberries, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds and if you can tolerate it, goat cheese or feta. Mix up a dressing that is 1 part olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar and 1 part maple syrup and drizzle it over top.
                                                   I love Mama Pea's spinach salad shaker
 Swiss Chard is a member of the beet family. There are different varieties, based of the colour of the stalk - green, red, and multicolour (white, pink, orange, yellow, purple). Chard is also a very good source of iron - 100g gives you almost 23% of your RDI.

Here is my recipe for swiss chard with rosemary
I want to try this swiss chard pie from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (contains soy)

So there you have it. Four dark leafy greens to choose from and plenty of recipes!!!
Eat up everybody!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Pumpkin Sage Gnocchi

Hey friends,

I hope you're not all pumpkin'd out just yet... winter hasn't even begun so I'm still on the pumpkin train! I usually don't get off until spring has sprung. I've made the recipe a few times and I'm not sure why I haven't posted it yet. Its wonderful! My littlest boy loves it and it is really quite simple to make.

Most of the recipes for pumpkin or sweet potato gnocchi that I came across had a sage/brown butter sauce that was poured on top. I decided this time to try and roll some sage leave in some the gnocchi so you get the wonderful flavour along with the delicate chew of the pillows. It turned out fabulously and I ended up serving it with sage leaves fried in coconut oil as well and didn't need any butter or butter sub. And I really liked the combo of fresh tasting sage with the toasted sage. (As I'm typing this I'm thinking that adding a bunch of crumbled fried sage to the dough would be super-fantastic...) If you can tolerate dairy, a sprinkle of parm would be utterly delicious on top.

Please ignore my imperfect gnocchi... I've only made them a few times and I'm still trying to get the hang of shaping them properly. But, it doesn't matter how they look... they taste delicious no matter what!

Pumpkin Sage Gnocchi

2 c GF flour blend (I used Namaste)
1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
a few grounds of fresh pepper

sage leaves (about 10)
1 tbsp coconut oil
nutritional yeast for topping

Place flour, pumpkin and seasonings into a large bowl. Use your hands to combine and form a smooth dough. If it's too sticky add more flour. When you press your finger into the dough it should create a smooth indent without leaving anything stuck on your finger.
Form the dough into a ball and cut into 4 even pieces.
Take a chunk of dough and roll it out with your hands until you have an even log about the diameter of a nickle. Press it down with your fingers to flatten. Place small sage leaves along the length of the dough. Fold over and pinch to seal and create a smooth, rounded log again.
Cut into bite size piece and press onto a fork, if desired. (This is supposed to help any sauce stick better.) Set aside. *
Set a large pot of salted water on to boil over high heat.
Roll out remaining dough into logs and cut, omitting the sage or it will be too overpowering.
When all piece are cut and shaped as desired set a small frying pan with the coconut oil on to heat over medium.
When the water is boiling carefully add the gnocchi and boil until they float (about 3 minutes.)
While the gnocchi are boiling carefully add remaining sage leaves to the oil and fry until golden. Remove leaves from heat and place on a paper towel to drain, reserving oil.
Drain gnocchi when they are done. Drizzle with a tiny bit of hot coconut oil to keep them from sticking together.
Serve with fried sage, extra salt and pepper and a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

*The pieces with the sage inside are a little awkward to shape, but if you use small pieces of sage it won't be too hard!

See that little bit of sage tucked into at gnocchi? Yum.

Who's bored of seeing my same bowls over and over??? I need to invest in some fun dishes, placemats/fabric and props to make my photos better... if you've got anything that you'd like to donate to me, I won't turn your down! :)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Angela's Vegan (Tofu-free) Chocolate Pudding

Happy Weekend ya'll. I hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday.

I mentioned this recipe a little while ago in the 10 Things post and was dying to give it a try.

My problem is the I never know when avocados are ready. I always wait too long and they end up being full of yucky brown spots. I don't even know if you can eat them like this, or even if they taste good because I always end up chucking them into the compost without tasting them. This happened the first time I went to make this pudding. Good thing I read the recipe wrong and it was only two avo's instead of 4... when I went to make it the second time, I think the avocados were perfect. One seemed a little hard, but the pudding turned out lovely and creamy.

I ended up with WAY more than 1.5c of pudding so I guess my avocados were on the large side. That was my fault though since I didn't measure the flesh like I should have. But, no matter, having more pudding than you planned on having isn't necessarily a bad problem to have! All four of my kiddos loved it- even my girl who says she doesn't like chocolate! And they even ate it after I told them it was avocado!

I never would have thought you could make a pudding so creamy and luscious without dairy or soy, but it's possible - and delicious! Angela is a genius! Here is a link to her original recipe - I didn't change much other than giving some instructions about chilling. Give it a go - even if you're leery of avocados!

Angela's Vegan (Tofu-free) Chocolate Pudding

2 c avocado flesh (about 4 medium)
2/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c non-dairy milk (I used Coconut Milk Beverage)
1/4 c cocoa powder*, sifted
1 tbsp arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 c dairy free chocolate chips (optional)

In you food processor combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Process until combined and completely smooth.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiler.
With the processor running, pour in the melted chocolate and process until evenly combined.
Transfer to an air tight container and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before eating - you don't want to eat it right away otherwise you'll really taste the avocado and it won't be nearly as good as it is after chilling. Trust me on this one.

*I used Cacao Berry Extra Brute. It was a good choice.

Here's Simon. Just to make you smile:

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Pasta with Pumpkin Cheeze Sauce

Cheese spelled with the 'z' is cool.

And cheeze = non-dairy cheese.

I'm full of useful tips like that. You're welcome.

I adore cashew cheeze sauce and make it every few weeks. The boy and I have it over noodles for lunch all of the time and he just loves it. Right now my favourite GF pasta is from Costco. It's Felicia penne and it's a blend of buckwheat, corn and rice. Love it. It's a nice change from plain old rice noodles and since I'm allergic to a bunch of other grains, I can't enjoy some of the other pastas. This penne has a wonderful flavour and texture and I highly recommend you grab some if you have a Costco membership! I was toying with the idea of posting the cashew sauce on here but decided against it. Even though I can tolerate cashews, so many people are allergic to nuts and I want everyone to be able to enjoy the recipes I post on here.

But this recipe is great! I had seen a recipe for butternut squash pasta and was going to try and make my own version, so I bought a squash. It's still on the counter... This recipe would work wonderfully with roasted, pureed squash but I had pumpkin in the fridge (when do I not?) and searched for a pumpkin cheeze recipe instead. I love Angela's blog (Oh She Glows) - so many of her recipes are adaptable for me. I changed a few things and will write down my version below but you can view her recipe here. She also has the nutritional info there on her site. Nutritional yeast is good stuff - complete protein, fiber and good old B12 are in those delicious flakes!

Pasta with Pumpkin Cheeze Sauce

2 c dry GF pasta, cooked according to directions
1 tbsp Earth Balance or other dairy-free butter sub
3/4 - 1 c rice milk or milk of choice
1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 tsp mustard powder
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 - 1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg (or two)
1/2 tsp GF soy sauce or miso (optional)
pumpkin pie spice for serving (optional)

In a medium pot, melt Earth Balance. Add about 1/2 c rice milk and bring to a boil over med-high heat.
In a small bowl whisk together remaining 1/4 milk, arrowroot and mustard powder. Pour into the boiling milk, stirring to prevent lumps. Boil until thickened and reduce heat to medium.
Stir in yeast and whisk until smooth.
Whisk in pumpkin and spices and allow to come to a boil.
If sauce is too thick, pour in addition milk (about 1/4 c) until desired thickness. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce/miso.
Taste and adjust the flavours to your liking. You may need to add more salt if you leave out the soy sauce/miso.
Pour over hot noodles and top with more fresh pepper and a dash of pie spice.

*Angela adds in 1/4 tsp garlic powder along with the arrowroot, feel free to add it in if you like!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Little Bit of News

Hi everyone.

Can you believe it's November already? 2011 is almost over and it feels like just yesterday we rang in the new year! The mornings are getting frostier, days are getting chillier. Fall is on the way out and winter is coming - a little too quickly for my liking... but I love Christmas so I'm just going to focus on that and not think about the dropping temperature!

On another note, I wanted to share with you all that I'll be hosting a food allergy seminar through Mississauga Parks and Rec in the spring! I'm very excited and have been working on it for a while now. The seminar will include talk and take home info on food allergies, tips on cooking/baking with alternative ingredients, recipes and food for sampling. It's going to be a good time! I'll give you all more info when it gets closer to the date, so keep your eyes peeled for that!


Sunday, 30 October 2011

10 Things

I thought I'd do something a little different and do a list post. All of the cool kids are doing it.

1. I need to try Ashley's pumpkin cornbread bake and oh my, I'm glad we don't have any snow yet...

2. Decorative dots glass straws. I need these.

3. Angela's vegan (tofu free!) chocolate pudding. Look how creamy it looks! Now if I only knew how to pick out good avocados...

4. Lavish and Lime stainless steel popsicle molds. Why aren't there more like this?!

5. I should bake Mama Pea's pumpkin protein bars. Heaven knows I need more protein! Her homemade lattes don't look too bad either...

6. I'm pretty sure my life would be better with this. No? What about this?

7. Cybele's donut muffins. I need to bake these too! Yum!

8. This cake looks AMAZING!!!

9. Sorry about that ^. I meant this one... in all of its allergy-filled goodness.

10. I still feel bad about number 8. I hope that image isn't burned into your memory permanently... Here, this should help:

There. A sleeping kitten makes everything all better.

Not that the kitten should remind you of that cake or anything...

Its just that kittens are so cute... and...

They shouldn't remind you of kitty litter in any way... at all.

I just...


Never mind.

I'm awesome at this list stuff...

Friday, 28 October 2011

Pumpkin Spice Granola

So it turns out that even though I'm pretty much at home most days with plenty of blogging potential, I don't often have access to our Mac for writing and posting... Even though I grew up using a PC, when I use the one we have for the kids it just feels so foreign now. I have no desire to try and plug my camera into the Piece of Crap and try and figure out how to upload pics when there isn't a proper photo program. With a Mac everything is just so easy and uncomplicated. Nothing to install - just plug your device in and it recognizes it! Wonderful.

Anyway... I've had a few recipe fails lately too and have been unmotivated to try new things. I'm tending to stick to my favourite, trust worthy recipes as well as baking some new allergy-FULL goodies for those in my family who can tolerate them. Have you tried the New York Times chocolate chip cookies? Dang skippy, they are delicious... I really shouldn't have them, but I just had to try a warm, crunchy, yet chewy cookie when they smelled so wonderful! I really wish allergy friendly chocolate chip cookies could be so good. Perhaps that will be my new mission... I need something to keep me motivated in the kitchen!
So, I've had my eye pumpkin spice granola for a while and I really don't know why I took so long to make it! I love granola but haven't made my own before. Its really very easy though! I'm imaging pumpkin muffins with this granola on top... yum!

Pumpkin Spice Granola

2 c GF rolled oats
1 c GF steel cut oats (or just more regular oats, if you don't have steel cut)
1 c crisp rice cereal (I used Nature's Path)
1 c popped amaranth
1/2 c dried, unsweeted coconut
1/4 c hemp seeds (I'm sure flax seed would be good too)
1/4 c pumpkin seeds/pepitas
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 maple syrup (or honey)
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 300F.
In a large bowl combine oats, cereal, amaranth, coconut and seeds.
In a smaller bowl mix together the pumpkin, syrup, spice, salt and vanilla.
Pour the pumpkin mixture over the oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Make sure there are no dry pieces!
Dump the mixture into a roasting pan (or two rimmed baking sheets) and spread out evenly.
Bake for 1 hour to an hour and a half, stirring every 10 minutes, until crispy.
Allow to cool before grabbing handfuls and stuffing your face.

*If desired, you could add in some dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.) after the granola had cooled.