Eating, drinking and being Merry 

My kitchen has been a slower place than usual over the past month.

First we had the whirlwind of December with parties, visits, trips to a cottage, and a whole lot of fun. I did have friends over for two different dinner and whipped up some new recipes – My New Roots Parsnip (I went out and bought parsnips after this meal – said my friend), Winter Veggie Quinoa Tart, and Winter Kale and Wild Rice Salad (this was fantastic!).

I also tried making candy for the first time. I attempted this Maple Bourbon Caramels recipe, but something wasn’t working for me (maybe my stove, maybe my new candy thermometer, maybe my brain?) and the first batch turned into a bit of a caramel sauce and the second into a brittle. I guess when life gives you the wrong kind of candy you can make a scrumptious ice cream sundae?

 

Reason #2 for the slow kitchen was our holiday trips to see family in Southern Ontario and then in Dubai. So lots of other people’s home cooking (thanks moms!) and dining out (more on that to come soon with #VeggieTravels). In Dubai we also had the opportunity to go to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for a traditional Emerati breakfast. This food was all delicious! Their website has details on some of the goodies. 

And finally, reason #3 was an illness at the end of my trip to Dubai which has meant a lot of boring, bland food for the last couple of weeks.

Regardless I can also add the following to my made list:

And all in all I made 139 new recipes in 2015! Not too shabby, but certainly room for a few more in 2016 🙂

What’s cooking

I just realized I have completed forgotten to take any photos of recent meals so this post is not going to be too visually-exciting.

But I have been cooking my way through three new cookbooks. I took all of these out from the library to start to see if I need my own copy. “My New Roots” has been added to my own collection – not only is the food elegant and tasty but the photography is show stopping! 

From “But I Could Never Go Vegan” from the blogger behind Keeping It Kind I made:

  • Carrot Cumin Pate – I brought this to work for a Halloween snack get-together and everyone was digging in and it received many compliments.
  • Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato – just ok
  • Potato and Pea Samosa Cakes – these were excellent and really easy
  • Sesame-sriracha tofu sandwiches – Brent (the spicy fan) really enjoyed these. Very versatile too, not just for sandwiches
  • Chickpea omelets – another one that Brent enjoyed a bit more than I did
  • Lentil, chard and sweet potato curry – even I found this one a bit bland, but that can be fixed with some added spices
  • Savoury overnight quinoa oatmeal – neither of us were a bit fan of this

A bit of a mixed review for the first book – so I’ve jotted down a few of the other recipes I want to try and will come back to again in the future. Book #2 is Whole Grain Mornings. Lots of cute sweet stories to go along with breakfast recipes. Every since my trip to 26 Grains I’ve been stuck in a moment with porridge and oatmeal so this book was a great find. Less great is the rut that happens when the time changes so mornings have not been super productive for me so I’ve only ventured to “The Very Best Oatmeal” which definitely lives up to its name as does the suggestion to make a double batch and then re-heat throughout the week.

Can you tell I’ve been making a lot of vegan recipes lately?

“My New Roots” is a beautiful book from the blog of the same name. I’ve made a few of her blog recipes over the years so I was excited for this to come out. Most of the recipes do require a bit of time or pre-planning so it’s not quite as easy to make on a whim, but when you do make it I think it’s worth it. I hosted a small dinner party last week and made Roasted Butternut Squash with Grilled Halloumi and Dukkah on Kale. It was so good – I made it again last weekend! Dukkah is an egyptian spice seasoning that did take quite a bit of time to prepare (and I should have done ahead of time), but it was well worth it and now I have lots more for other toppings. I’m looking forward to making many more of these recipes soon.

And a few others from a variety of other sources:

  • Hot for Food’s strawberry cheesecake bites – I also made these for my dinner party. Really quick and easy to make and then able to serve whenever you are ready.
  • Tofu and Black Bean Burger from Chatelaine. I’m a texture person, and the texture here didn’t really work for me.
  • Roasted Red Pepper mac and cheese – one of those nights where the darkness so early was getting to me and I wanted some good old mac and cheese, but decided to see if I could jazz it up with some ingredients I had in the house – and this worked really well!
  • A staple these fall days has been lentils. This Zucchini Red-Lentil Curry from Dishing up The Dirt was tasty as was the Crockpot Red Lentil Curry from Pinch of Yum. The last one I cut the recipe in half and still had it for days – but it was good even on toast for lunch!

Well that has made me pretty hungry – off to find a snack!