What’s up in my kitchen

A whole lot – that’s what!

First, I’ve been continuing to make it my own and embracing my open shelving. I’ll need to share an update with some of my new wedding gifts making their appearance.IMG_20160417_161448

Second – a whole lot of smoothies! I’ve really been loving that Blend-tec lately. As I was waiting to see a specialist about my tummy issues I saw a naturopath who suggested I add a daily smoothie with l-glutamine and protein powder. That was an opportunity to try a whole bunch of new recipes… favourites include: Snickerdoodle Smoothie from Tasty Yummies, this Red Velvet Smoothie with Cashew Cream from Keeping it Kind’s book “But I Could Never Go Vegan” and a Sunshine Breakfast Jar from Faring Well. Although most mornings it’s just a combo of whatever is in my fridge and freezer!

And the third big update is obviously making everything gluten free and learning a bit more about gluten free substitutes. For instance – gluten free panko breadcrumbs didn’t seem to work so well pre-baking for these veggie burgers. The regular panko are on the right and pretty perfect – the gluten free were sticky messy globs.

IMG_20160625_180438

However – the oven did it’s magic and both burgers turned out just fine. These baked eggplant burgers from the Tolerant Vegan were incredibly delicious. A burger with hummus in it has to be a win in our home! And the gluten free buns were okay – but I’ve also learned that I only ever need one – I’d rather have a second burger bun-less thanks!IMG_20160625_185542

I picked up both of Deliciously Ella‘s books to help me through my detox and transition and those have been so helpful. The other night I made her quinoa pizza crust and was really happy with it. And I’ve had her speedy porridge all the time!

And finally, just a few favourite recipes over the last few months include:

Advertisements

Kinda Vegan February 

My stomach has been a bit off since returning from my holiday trip so I’ve decided to keep a food journal and dabble with the elimination diet. First to be eliminated was dairy – which meant the first half of February was almost vegan (apart from some eggs). Friday was my birthday celebrations and the end of my two weeks without dairy so I have been enjoying cheese all weekend (with no ill effects). Maybe my tummy troubles were just a fluke?

This Quinoa with moroccan winter squash and carrot stew from Bon Appetit was a wonderful warm winter meal. And I got to use some of the saffron I picked up in the Dubai spice market:

The Oh She Glows Cookbook has been at my side for this adventure.Enlightened miso power bowl – why yes I do!
 The Super Foodie Superfood Breakfast Bowl from Camille Styles was another good winter recipe. Gets you ready to face a cold winter day.

And finally – another warming bowl for our cold February – Chickpea and Butternut Squash Curry. I substituted the curry/korma paste for a lot of curry powder which I had on hand and it worked out pretty well.

There were lots of other recipes in the kitchen over the past few weeks too (including a few pre-dairy elimination):

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!

Playing Catch-up

Coming back from vacation is always a challenge – especially when you catch a bug on the return trip as I did last week. Jet lag, a weakened system and many many emails at work has left me just trying to keep up, but I do want to make sure I get in at least one post each week!

My future #VeggieTravels will be coming soon, but first what’s cooking this week?

After being on the road I was craving some good home-cooking!

For breakfasts this week it’s been Coconut almond flaxseed muffins from Hip Foodie Mom. I had greek yogurt in the fridge and used that in place of yogurt which left these muffins very hearty and dense (probably too much actually). The taste is good though – I’ll be making them again sometime with more fluid or regular yogurt.

Our lunches have been a mix of Chickpea Salad sandwiches/wraps from Oh She Glows (one of my all time lunch favourites) and Sweet Potato Minestrone with Chickpeas and Pesto from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. So yum. I had never thought of adding pesto to soup and it gives so much flavour and smells fantastic. The chickpeas and noodles make this really hearty as well.

For Sunday dinner I made this Lentil and Mushroom Loaf with Savoury Potato Filling found on Buzzfeed from Heathen Vegan. The site and formatting is pretty rudimentary (and hasn’t been updated since early 2012), but the results were great. Just because there isn’t a pretty picture doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth trying. Sometimes when you’re craving home-cooking you want something familiar and a Sunday night loaf like this is just the key. I believe I called it “Fall on a Plate” Here’s my photo to give you a bit of an idea.

fallonaplate

 

Open shelves – before

I’m about to depart on a vacation so not exactly the time to start a new creativity project, but I know what will be on my list to tackle when I return….

One of my hesitations with our new home and new kitchen was the open shelving. It’s not something I am used to, but I know it is on trend right now and I’m willing to try it out. Our kitchen does not have any above counter closed shelving, just the two open shelves pictured below.

I have attempted to use some basic design ideas to set them up for the time being, but am faced with a few challenges:

  1. Without having any above counter closed shelving we do have a lot of dishes, supplies to keep close at hand
  2. We need to decide on “places” for everything so things always end up back in the same place
  3. It’s hard to explain why I want three bowls on two different shelves instead of all six in one spot. I know it’s not fully logical, but it looks so much better

I am looking forward to reading up a bit more about styling tips and suggestions and learning how to maximize AND stylize this space.

And while we’re at an update… what have I made since my last update? Well I’m not quite sure – I sorted my document and now I’m at a loss. Luckily I can tell a lot of the ones from my Pinterest updates. There may be a few missed hardcopies, but this is still a good list:

Enjoy the rest of your early fall – ciao!

        Summer Food

The Farmer’s Market is just the best at this time of year. Everything looks big, colourful, fresh and delicious. It can be hard to choose what to limit yourself to each week. This was my limit yesterday:

This afternoon I made zucchini bread from the trust Betty Crocker cookbook and yesterday this Veggie Lover’s Lasagna from “cinnamon spice and everything nice” to make use of the patty pan squash portion of my CSA basket. I always pin spring and summer lasagnas on Pinterest but then never make them given the baking time in the summer but the weather took a bit of a break from our heat wave and I’m happy I gave it a try. The summer veggies worked perfectly!

I’ve also been making a lot of veggie bowls lately – this one is based off of the BBQ Tahini Power Bowl from “Veggies Don’t Bite” . That BBQ Tahini was delicious and enjoyed on many other things over the next few days!

What else have I made since my last update?

And that brings me up to 112 recipes tried this year. Powering through!