Not-Meat Loaf

February 19, 2017

This recipe is came to me from Shain Brown, my daughter’s  hair stylist and plant-based chef extraordinaire. His method is unique, marinating mushrooms, onions and nuts to achieve a meaty texture. As a kid, I loved meatloaf sandwiches, so I was anxious to try it out. Shain did not disappoint. This Not-Meat loaf is moist, ‘meaty’ and delicious.

Best Ever Not-Meat Loaf
Best Ever Not-Meat Loaf

Shain’s basic recipe recipe is delicious just as it is. However, its a ‘meat’ loaf, not a cake, so feel free to have some fun and change it up anyway you want. In my second ‘meat’ loaf attempt, I modified his basic recipe by reducing the nuts to 1 cup and adding mashed chickpeas. I like the texture mashed chickpeas add. (Mash your chickpeas with a fork or potato masher till flaky in texture. Don’t mash to a puree.) I also doubled the onion, added garlic and double the veggies. For veggies I used a mixture of shredded carrots, finely chopped celery and red pepper. I also doubled the avocado. The new version was also delicious. In fact, not sure which I like better.

These recipes are very versatile. You can bake in the traditional loaf pan or, for individual loaves, press the mixture into silicone muffin tins (or line regular muffin tins with parchment paper cups).  If you prefer a drier crispier “meat loaf”, press the mixture into a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. After baking, cut the sheet into squares. You can also use the mixture to make burgers or not-meat balls.

If your loaf comes out to moist on the inside, don’t despair.  Fry up the slices in a non-stick pan until crispy.

Serve the loaf slices with mashed potatoes and gravy for a plant based version of a very traditional meal. (Try the gravy from our November Cooking Class) This loaf also makes an excellent sandwich filling. Great with pickle or relish, onion and lettuce.

Experimenting with the recipe yielded a lot of meat loaf to eat. But you will be happy to know it freezes beautifully. Slice up the left overs and freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, place the slices in a freezer bag for a quick supper or sandwich filling.

Thanks for the recipe Shain. I have also been working on Shain’s stock recipe which I hope to be posting soon. Stay tuned.

 Shain’s Basic Not-Meat Loaf

  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 2 cups pecans (or 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup pecans)
  • ½ onion
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp ground flax
  • ¾  cup water
  • 1 green onion, diced fine
  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs (or 1 cup bread crumbs and ½  cup rolled oats)
  • ½  ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed)
  • 1 cup mixed veggies
  • 1 small can lentils, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
Onion, pecans, mushrooms
Onion, pecans, mushrooms

Dice mushrooms, pecans and onions small. Put in a bowl and add the soy sauce and pepper. Marinate overnight.

In a small bowl, mix the flax and water and let sit overnight or for at least 30 minutes, until the mixture forms a thick gel.

Shredded carrots, diced celery and yellow pepper, mashed avocado
Shredded carrots, diced celery and yellow pepper, mashed avocado

The next day, line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl mix pecan mixture, flax mixture, green onion, bread crumbs, avocado, veggies and lentils, if using. Mix until well combined and pack into the prepared loaf pan. Top with your favourite barbecue sauce. Let sit for 1 hour to allow the dry ingredients to absorb the moisture.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and let sit a minimum of 15 minutes before serving.

Not-Meat Loaf ready for baking
Not-Meat Loaf ready for baking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chickpea Not-Meat Loaf

  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced fine
  • 1 cup pecans (or ½  cup walnuts and ½  cup pecans), chopped fine
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp ground flax
  • ¾  cup water
  • 1 green onion, diced fine
  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs (or 1 cup bread crumbs and ½  cup rolled oats)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed)
  • 2 cups finely shredded or chopped veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, etc or frozen mixed veggies)
  • 1 ½ cup (1 can) cooked chickpeas, mashed (or substitute cooked lentils),drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce

Dice mushrooms, pecans and onions small. (Do not use a food processor for the pecans as they will chop too fine. You want some texture. Chop by hand or use a hand food chopper. Onions and mushrooms can be done in a hand chopper as well.)  Put in a bowl and add the garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours. (Note, you can also add the mashed chickpeas to the mixture and let marinate overnight.)

In a small bowl, mix the flax and water and let sit for at least 30 minutes, until the mixture forms a thick gel.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl mix pecan mixture, flax mixture, green onion, bread crumbs, avocado, veggies and chickpeas, if not already added.  Mix until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more soy sauce or pepper. Pack into the prepared loaf pan.

Top with your favourite barbecue sauce. I used a quick sauce made from ¼ cup ketchup, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp molasses, 1 tbsp Dijon, ½ tsp smoked paprika and a squirt of sriracha.

Cover with foil and let sit for 1 hour to allow the dry ingredients to absorb the moisture.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and let sit a minimum of 15 minutes before serving. The longer the loaf sits the more it will firm up.

 

 

 

 

 

Black Eyed Pea Salad

November 30, 2016

Black Eyed Pea Salad
Black Eyed Pea Salad

At our last cooking class, Maureen offered to share a great main dish salad recipe that she loves and here it is. It is a hearty, delicious salad with black eyed peas, chickpeas, corn, green peas and peppers. Add a whole grain bread and you have a meal.

It is always handy to have a main dish ready  in the fridge for a quick lunch or meal when you don’t have time to cook.  If you live in a household with others who are not totally plant based, this salad can also be used to replace a meat main dish to round out your meal.

I have been tinkering with the original recipe to eliminate the oil. Substituting a vegetable broth thickened with chia seeds, the same as we used in class for the Oil Free Italian Dressing, works great.

Original Dressing Recipe:                                                  Oil Free Version:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil                                                          – 1/2 cup broth
  • 2 tbsp lime juice                                                         – 1   1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey                                                             – 3 to 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 to 1   1/2 tsp cumin                                               – 1/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice)
  •                                                                                           – 1   1/2 tsp ground cumin
  •                                                                                           – 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

When making the oil free version, add the broth and chia seeds to a blender container and let sit at least 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper, diced (I used an orange one)
  • 1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 can corn niblets, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 onion, diced (optional) (red, white or green onions)

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss well to combine and let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

This salad would also be great with diced avocado added just before serving.

If you are looking for another main dish salad, try this Black Bean Salad, Chick Pea Salad, or this quinoa salad below.

Quinoa Salad

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • ¼ cup currants
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp honey, agave or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups)
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • ½ cup carrots, grated
  • ½ cup green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, diced

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Rinse quinoa well. In saucepan, combine broth, quinoa, currents, curry, cumin, coriander, honey and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and fluff with a fork. Cool. Combine dressing ingredients. Combine cooked quinoa, with remaining ingredients and dressing. Mix well and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Corn Chowder

November 19, 2016

3_done

When the cold weather hits, there is nothing quite like a steamy bowl of homemade soup for lunch. Yesterday, I made Angela Liddon’s Metabolism-Revving Spicy Cabbage Soup, from her Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook. It was delicious with some added crush chili peppers to add a bit more spice. Today I made this corn chowder. I am not sure where I got the original recipe from, but it has been a favorite of mine for some time.

The original recipe calls for 4 cups of corn, but I only had 2 on hand, so today’s chowder will be not so corny. And I had some celery that needed to be used up, so I added that to the recipe.  I had a piece of sweet potato left from my cabbage soup yesterday, so used that instead of squash. That’s the best part of making soup; its not like a cake where you have to follow the recipe exact. Let your imagination (or fridge contents) run free.

This is a spicy, garlicy, delicious chowder. Ken was feeling a bit under the weather this morning (or maybe he just didn’t feel like rolling out of bed and going for a walk with the dog on this chilly morning.) so I am going to add extra minced raw garlic to his bowl to make an immunity boasting garlic soup. I made fresh bread yesterday, so I am pairing this chowder with homemade whole grain buns.

Chowder ingredients
Chowder ingredients

Corn Chowder with a Kick

  • 2 to 4 cups corn niblets (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • 1 cup butternut or buttercup squash (or sweet potato), cubed
  • ½ cup cooked white beans
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced (red or Yukon Gold)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp chilli paste (or substitute jalapeños, cayenne or hot sauce), to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley, fresh or dried
Chowder before mashing
Chowder before mashing

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, except for the parsley, chilli paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes and squash are tender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mash with a potato masher or lightly blend with an immersion blender to make a thick soup but with lots of chunks of veggies in it. Add parsley and chilli paste, salt and pepper to taste.

November 2016 Cooking Class – Comfort Food

November 13, 2016

It’s been a busy summer and fall, but we managed to squeeze in one more cooking class for the year. The weather is still nice out, but you just know that any day the bubble will burst and the cold and snow will arrive. It is a great time to enjoy hearty soups, stews, chowders and good old comfort food.

7_dinnerNovember’s cooking class featured a Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Gravy, a flavorful Italian Salad Dressing that uses vegetable broth thickened with chia seeds instead of oil, and a new take on an old fashioned Apple Crisp without the refined sugar and butter.

Thanks James for the great photos.

 

 

Green Smoothie

1_green-smoothies

You can’t have a cooking class without a green smoothie. I strongly believe that the most important change you can make to your diet is to consume more leafy green vegetables. For this class we enjoyed my favorite Classic Mango Kale Smoothie which follows The Raw Family’s basic recipe of 2 cups water, 2 cups greens and 2 cups fruit.

  • 1_green-smoothiw-ingredients2 cups water
  • 2 cups kale
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 2 cups frozen mango cubes

Place ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth and creamy.

 

 

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

2_shepherds-pie-ingredThis recipe is an adaptation of Angela Liddon’s recipe in her new cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day. Like all the recipes in her new cookbook, this one is simple to make. It does have quite a few steps but don’t be intimidated, it comes together quickly. While this is a great every day comfort meal, it also makes a great company meal and left overs are great for lunch the next day.

This great for company because you can make it ahead of time and then pop it into the oven to heat while you visit. Just remember to add a bit extra cooking time if the dish is put into the oven cold.

While the original recipe contains both vegan butter and oil, it was easy to modify and omit these ingredients without compromising on the taste. I also substituted extra broth and a splash of red wine vinegar instead of the red wine in the recipe, and added a dollop of ketchup to the sauce.

Topping:

  • 2 ½ pounds potatoes, red, Yukon Gold, Sweet Potato or a mixture (about 6 medium potatoes), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ to ½ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant based milk  (I used cashew)

Filling:

  • 2 medium leeks or 1 large onion, diced (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces (450 grams) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound (450 grams) frozen mixed veggies or your choice of 4 cups diced veggies
  • 2 tbsp potato starch (or substitute 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 ½ cups cooked lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil a 4 quart casserole dish.

Put potatoes in large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add garlic, garlic powder and salt. Mash until smooth adding milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the filling. In a large saucepan or wok, add leeks and garlic and sauté until soft. Add mushrooms and peppers and sauté until soft. Add vegetables and sauté until heated through.

In a small jar, mix broth, potato starch, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme and ketchup until smooth. Add to the veggies along with the lentils and cook until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon filling into prepared casserole and spread it out evenly. Top with potato topping in an even layer. Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 25 minutes or until heated through. Broil for a few minutes to toast the topping slightly if desired.

2_shepherds-pie-and-gravyServe with gravy.

Gravy

Since the filling of the Shepherd’s Pie is not very saucy, it is best served with gravy on the side. I used an oil free adaptation of Angela Liddon’s Cozy Gravy from her new cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day.  The oil can be easily omitted in almost all recipes that call for sautéing veggies in oil. You can add a splash of broth or water if you find the veggies sticking to the pan; however, I seldom find that any liquid is necessary if you cook on a medium heat.

I love Angela’s method of making the gravy and then blending it smooth in a blender. It makes a really smooth and flavorful gravy.

The original recipe uses flour as a thickening agent. I substituted arrowroot powder, but cornstarch would also work, as a gluten free option.

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup low sodium tamari or soy sauce (or 2 tbsp of regular)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, add onion and garlic and sauté until soft adding a tablespoon or two of broth if needed to prevent sticking. In a jar, combine broth, cornstarch, tamari, nutritional yeast and pepper. Cover jar and shake well. Add broth mixture to the onion mixture and simmer until mixture boils and thickens. (if not thick enough, mix a bit more cornstarch or arrowroot with water, add and cook. If too thick, add a bit more water or broth) Remove from heat and transfer to a blender.  Blend until smooth. ( or use an immersion blender to blend the gravy in the saucepan)

Italian Salad Dressing

3_salad-ingredWe served the Shepherd’s Pie along with a simple green salad to complete the meal. This Italian Salad Dressing recipe is from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell. Instead of using oil, which adds few nutrients and a ton of calories, this recipe uses vegetable broth and chia seeds. The chia seeds produce a dressing that has a similar consistency to store bought oil based Italian dressings.

  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp sweetener (agave, brown rice syrup, honey, raw sugar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika

3_salad-dressing-doneMix broth and chia seeds in a blender container and let stand at least 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the blender container and blend 10 to 15 seconds. Store in the fridge in a glass jar. (note, the original recipe does not call for soaking the chia seeds prior to blending but I find they blend better if soaked)

 

 

 

Apple Crisp

4_apple-crisp-ingredApple Crisp is a classic autumn recipe and is a great way to use apples from your tree.  Even though this recipe easily serves 8 to 10 people, I often make it for Ken and myself and consume it over the week. And when it is as healthy as this one, you can even enjoy leftovers for breakfast.

 

4_apple-crispThis recipe is a combination of a delicious apple crisp in Angela Liddon’s first cookbook The Oh She Glows Cookbook, and one found in Kim Campbell’s The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. I omitted the coconut oil in Angela’s recipe and replaced it with nut butter and apple sauce as used in the PlantPure cookbook.

Filling:

  • 8 heaping cups apples, chopped (we used a mixture of granny smith and gala)
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Topping:

  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond or cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 375֩ F and line a 11×9 inch pan with parchment paper.

Make the apple filling – (Note: You can peel the apples if you like, but I don’t find it is necessary.) Place chopped apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Toss until combined. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour apple mixture into the prepared dish and smooth out evenly.

Make the topping – Stir together the oats, almond meal, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix maple syrup, nut butter and apple sauce together in a small bowl until smooth. Add nut butter mixture to oat mixture and combine until the oats are evenly coated with the nut butter.  Sprinkle oat mixture over apples in an even layer.

Cover the dish with foil and poke a couple of air holes in the foil. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just fork tender. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the topping is golden.  Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. The crisp is good served hot, warm or cold.

Making Coconut Whipped Topping
Making Coconut Whipped Topping

For the class we served it with coconut whipped topping, but it is great alone without any topping.

7_dinner-plate

Recommended Cookbooks

As you can tell from my recipe sources, I am a big fan of Angela Liddon as well as Kim Campbell.  I love every single dish I have ever made of theirs.  Below is a list of my most frequently used cookbooks.

  • The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
  • Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon
  • The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Forks Over Knives The Cookbook by Del Sroufe
  • 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson

Recommended Documentaries

Recently there has been an explosion of great documentaries outlining the benefits of plant based eating on health, environment and compassion for animals. They are a great way to educate yourself on the issues. Below is a list of my favorites.

  • Live and Let Live
  • Before the Flood
  • PlantPure Nation
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Vegucated
  • Cowspiracy
  • Food Matters
  • Hungry for Change
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookbook Review – Oh She Glows Every Day

September 29, 2016

Angela Liddon’s new cookbook, “Oh She Glows Every Day” was just released two weeks ago. I pre-ordered my copy (and three more, one for each of my kids) so I am already enjoying the recipes. I am a big fan of her first cookbook, “The Oh She Glows Cookbook“, as well as her on-line blog and was eager to see what was new from her.  At first I was a bit disappointed as there didn’t seem to be much in the way of Wow Recipes. However, I soon realized that is the theme of the cookbook – quick and easy to prepare everyday recipes. As I am now a grandmother looking for great kid friendly recipes, I appreciate Angela’s suggestions on feeding kids.

So far I have tried several of the recipes and Angela does not disappoint.  While the recipes are easy to prepare for everyday eating, they as so delicious you will want to serve them for company. So far I have tried:

Sheppard’s Pie – this is the first recipe I tried, and I made it for company. A hearty lentil pie topped with garlic mashed potatoes and served with her Cozy Gravy. This gravy is easy to make and so delicious. I am craving mashed potatoes just thinking about it. I used to make my Sheppard’s pie very runny so I would have lots of sauce to mix with the potato topping; however, I like her version with a ‘drier’ filling and gravy on the side. I served the Sheppard’s Pie with a garden fresh cucumber, tomato and red onion salad. For dessert, Angela’s Apple Crisp from her first cookbook. My non-vegan company lapped it up and declared the meal delicious.

Satiety Smoothie – A delicious stick to your ribs smoothie made with almond milk, hemp seeds, frozen bananas, frozen blueberries and cinnamon. I did modify slightly to eliminate the protein powder and avocado and add a handful of fresh greens. (after all its not a smoothie without leafy greens!) I love the combo of banana, blueberry and cinnamon. Delicious and filling.

Coconut Chia Pudding – Can’t go wrong with a classic chia pudding served with fresh fruit. I love this for breakfast or a satisfying dessert after a simple supper.

Creamy Thai Carrot Sweet Potato Soup – a rich cream soup with a good bit of kick from red curry paste. Made this one for a couple of local ladies who came over to pick wild mushrooms.  If you are not a spicy food fan, reduce the red curry paste to 1 tablespoon and omit the cayenne. Personally, I found it spiced just right. Made with carrots, sweet potatoes and almond butter its a bit different then the usual coconut milk Thai soup. Omit the oil she uses for frying up the onion and fry in a small amount of water instead.

6 Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup – made with onion, garlic, celery, carrots, broccoli (I used cauliflower) and sweet potato this is a very veggie cream soup with added nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste. I liked it as it was; however, it was much better with a bit of added cashew cream. (Creamed 1/2 cup of soaked cashews with water) I used cauliflower instead of broccoli as I didn’t have any broccoli and I really liked the taste and the color of the soup. A rich lemony yellow color. Omit the oil she uses for frying up the onion and fry in a small amount of water instead.

Eggplant Parmesan – My favorite dish at the Olive Garden used to be Eggplant Parmesan and I have been looking for a vegan alternative. Most recipes are just too fussy and use a lot of oil for frying. This recipe was remarkably easy to prepare and the taste did not disappoint.  While sweating the eggplant, I quickly mixed up the milk/flour batter and a pumpkin seed parmesan. The rounds are baked up crispy in the oven without the use of any oil. I also did a batch using zucchini and they were also excellent. Angela recommends serving them with a marinara sauce on top of pasta; however, I like mine without the pasta and using the marinara as a dipping sauce. Ken and I polished off a whole eggplant and large zucchini in one sitting. I can’t wait to make again and again.

Mac and Trees – A classic cheesy sauce made with potato, carrot and cashews served on pasta with broccoli. Her recipe called for a couple tablespoons of oil added to the sauce but I omitted and the sauce was still rich and creamy.

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Pudding –  Delicious, nutritious, fast and easy. You will never guess the secret ingredient – and its not avocado. It adds a great nutritional punch while adding creaminess. Serve this to your kids without any guilt.

Peanut Better Balls – I am in love with these. The balls are super easy to make with peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut flour and brown rice crisps and are coated in dark chocolate. The second batch I made, I rolled the balls in hemp seeds before coating in chocolate for an extra nutritional punch. These are not too sweet and very satisfying. I omitted the coconut oil she adds to the melted chocolate as I don’t find it necessary. Just melt a good quality chocolate on very low heat.

Homemade Coconut Butter – Who knew you could make your own coconut butter using regular shredded coconut. I haven’t used the butter for anything yet but could not resist the temptation to make my own. It turned out so smooth and creamy. Unbelievable when you consider the price of store bought coconut butter. Next to try her Macaroons made with coconut butter.

This is a great cookbook. Although many of the recipes call for oil, I was able to omit it and still get a great end result. There are no fancy ingredients, no fussing around. Just great, simple, nutritious, flavorful food for every day.  What more could you ask for.

 

 

 

 

August 2016 Cooking Class – Cooking with Lentils

August 15, 2016

Our August cooking class focused on lentils. Lentils are little powerhouses of nutrition. Full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are many different kinds of lentils, each with different properties.

I generally use red, green and black lentils. I love the red lentils for soups as they dissolve into the broth for a hearty, filling dish. Green lentils hold together better when cooked and are great for soups, stews and dishes where you want a bit more texture. And black lentils are very firm once cooked.  Cook up a batch of black lentils and leave them in the fridge. Add them to any dish your are cooking or sprinkle them on salads, or rice for an extra boost of protein and visual interest.

For the class we made a soup using red lentils and lentil-rice balls using green lentils. Of course the class also included a green smoothie and a dessert – apple crisp. I hope you will give the recipes below a try and enjoy them.

A big thank you goes out to Shirley who facilitated the class for me. I took an unfortunate tumble off my bicycle and am not getting around well right now. Shirley did not have time to pre-test my recipes and made them first time for the class. Thank you for taking on the challenge Shirley.

Our photographer, Michael, is away on vacation, so no pictures. I know a recipe is better with pictures, so I will try to add them later after I make these recipes again.

Kale Smoothie

This is my basic go to smoothie and I make it at least once every week. It follows the basic smoothie recipe from The Raw Family, 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit, 2 cups water.

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cups water

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

I have been making this lentil soup for years. Its from a cookbook my mother gave me, 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson. I have adapted it slightly over the years. I love this soup even in the hot summer months. The red lentils dissolve into the broth so even those who don’t like lentils will love it.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water and set aside. Place all ingredients except coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and it’s ready to serve.

Lentil Rice Patties or Balls

This Forks Over Knives recipe makes a great patty, ball or loaf. I have adapted the original recipe to add a bit more spices and flavorings. Its great as a burger or in a sandwich. If using the balls to top spaghetti or with gravy or a sauce, heat the balls separately in a frying pan. Don’t heat in the sauce as they will not hold their shape.

Don’t forget to add the oats when the rest of the mixture is quite hot as I find this helps bind the ingredients together well. You can use a food processor to partially mash the ingredients into a finer texture but it is not necessary. Just chop your veggies fine and mash everything together well.

  • 1¾ cups water
  • ½ cup brown-green lentils
  • ½ cup short-grain brown rice
  • 2 tsp dried poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 5 medium white or brown (cremini) mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 large rib celery, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
  • ¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaf (or 1½ teaspoons dried, rubbed sage)
  • 1 tsp dried  thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh minced)
  • ¾  tsp dried ground rosemary (or 1 ½  teaspoon fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular contains anchovies)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • 2- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

In a medium saucepan on high heat, combine water, lentils, rice, poultry seasoning, and granulated onion. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, and cook covered for 45 minutes. When done cooking, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid still on. (Prepare your remaining ingredients while the rice and lentils are cooking.)

In a medium skillet on high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water. When the water begins to sputter, add the chopped onion, mushrooms, and celery, and cook stirring for about 3 minutes, adding water just as needed to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, and cook stirring for an additional 2 minutes, until the vegetables have softened (adding water as needed). If you’re using dried herbs, stir them in with the garlic (if using fresh herbs, add them in next step). Remove from heat.

In a large bowl combine the oats, tomato paste, nuts, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and if you’re using fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano) add them now as well. When the cooked vegetables, and rice and lentils have cooled for about 10 minutes but are still very warm, add them to the bowl and  until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Adjust seasonings to taste (vinegar, soy sauce, spices).

If desired, place the mixture in a food processor and pulse just blended but still chunky.  Shape into patties or balls. Fry in a frying pan until crispy on both sides. Or bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until crispy. Also good as a loaf (bake 1 hour at 350).

Apple Crisp

Right now local apples are plentiful and this recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook is a great way to use them up. It is low in sugar and fat but super tasty. I have adapted the original recipe slightly to add more apples. I love this recipe for an easy dessert and then the leftovers for breakfast.

Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows has a new cookbook coming out in September 2016, next month. You can pre-order your copy of Oh She Glows Everyday from Amazon. I have mine ordered and one for each of the kids too. I love every recipe in her first cookbook.

Filling:

  • 10 to 12 heaping cups of apples, chopped but not peeled
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or corn starch
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Toppiing:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup thinly sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 11 by 9 inch baking dish with coconut oil, or line with parchment paper.

Make filling. Place chopped apples in a large bowl and sprinkle arrowroot powder on top. Toss well to combine. Add the sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon and lemon juice and combine well. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth top out evenly.

Make topping: Place all ingredients in the same bowl you used for the apples and combine well. Sprinkle evenly over the apples in the prepared pan.

Cover dish with foil and poke a couple air holes in the foil. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just fork tender. Uncover dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until topping is nicely browned.

Serve hot or cold, your preference. Great with a scoop of vegan ice cream or Whipped Coconut Cream. (Check out this step by step tutorial for making Whipped Coconut Cream by Oh She Glows) Leftovers are great for breakfast.

 

Bonus Recipe

We did not make this recipe in class, but its another great lentil soup recipe that I hope you will try. Its from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook (I told you I loved every recipe in  the book and I meant it). I adapted it slightly to increase the veggies. The best part about this soup is the delicious broth, I love the spice mixture.

Red Lentil Kale Soup

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 – 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls of destemmed kale, chopped very fine (or spinach)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the spices, stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, broth and lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper, discard bay leave. Stir in kale and cook for about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Sauerkraut

August 14, 2016

Sauerkraut is a form of fermented cabbage. It is a good source of fibre, vitamins A, C, K, and B, as well as iron, manganese, copper, and calcium. But in its raw, unpasteurized form, it is also full of beneficial probiotic bacteria and great for your gut. Buying unpasteurized kraut can be expensive; however, it is super easy to make at home. At a minimum, all you need is a jar, a head of cabbage and some salt.

1_CabbageI have been making my own sauerkraut for a couple of years. Generally, I buy one head of organic cabbage and it makes about 1 quart of kraut. When we have finished that jar, I buy another head. This summer, however, I have three beautiful heads of organic cabbage in my garden.  I planted six cabbages – one died and two were eaten up by cabbage butterflies. That leaves three for kraut.

3_Ingredients

 

Traditional Ukrainian sauerkraut uses only cabbage and salt. However, I like to make mine a bit more kimchi-like. I add daikon radish, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic and hot chili flakes to mine. The recipe is pretty basic and the following is what I used for my last batch.

Darlene’s Sauer- Chi

  • 3 medium heads green cabbage, shredded finely
  • 1 daikon radish, peeled and shredded
  • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 onion, quartered and cut into thin slices
  • 3 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp shredded fresh ginger (peeled first)
  • 9 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 teaspoons salt
Shredded cabbage, daikon, carrots, onions, garlic, chili flakes, ginger and salt
Shredded cabbage, daikon, carrots, onions, garlic, chili flakes, ginger and salt

Save a couple of outer large leaves of cabbage and set aside. Shred the rest finely, a mandolin works best if you have one. If not, traditional kimchi uses a coarser cut of cabbage anyway. Use the mandolin as well to slice your onion thin. Shred your carrots and radish (I used the large hole grater). Place all the veggies in a large bowl and add chili flakes, finely shredded ginger and minced garlic. Add salt. They generally recommend 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt per pound of veggies. Start with a smaller amount and then you can add more.

 

 

 

massage until liquid starts to release
massage until liquid starts to release

Using your hands, massage the veggies, salt and spices. As your work the mixture, liquid will release.

 

 

 

 

Ready
Ready

Keep massaging the mixture for about 5 to 10 minutes. The volume of veggies should reduce by about a half and there will be lots of liquid. Taste the mixture and adjust for more salt if needed.

 

 

 

1 gallon crock
1 gallon crock

8_In crockPlace the sauerkraut mixture, along with the liquid in a large jar or crock. I used a crock this time, as I was making a larger batch. However, if you are doing only 1 head of cabbage, a large jar works well. Be sure there is lots of room left in the jar after you put the cabbage and liquid in as it bubbles a bit while it ferments and can overflow the jar. Its a good idea to place the jar in a large plate or bowl to catch any drips.

cover with leaves
cover with leaves

The veggies tend to float to the top of the liquid, so place the reserved large leaves on top and press the kraut down so that it is all covered by liquid.

 

 

 

 

 

saucer on top of the cabbage leaves
saucer on top of the cabbage leaves
weight down saucer
weight down saucer

Place a weight over the large leaves to hold them down under the liquid. I used a small crock and placed a saucer on top with a large jar of beans as a weight.

 

 

 

Make sure the mixture is packed down well and remains covered by liquid.

Let the mixture sit at room temperature (65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), out of direct sunlight, undisturbed for about 1 week. If you are using a jar, either leave the lid off or open the jar daily to let the gases escape. If necessary, cover the jar or crock with a cloth or cheese cloth to keep out insects and dust.

12_Day 4Its also a good idea to put a container under your jar or crock to catch any excess liquid. As the kraut ferments it will produce more liquid. The weighted jar on top will sink further into the crock and the liquid will rise. On day 4 of my ferment, the liquid was within an inch of the top of the crock.

After the week is up, taste the kraut and see if it is to your liking. If not, let it sit for up to 2 more weeks, tasting periodically. The longer it sits, the more sour it will become. I generally leave mine 7 to 10 days. Once it is ready, pack into jars and place in the fridge.

Fermented cabbage products can be used as a side dish for any meal, just as you would serve pickles. They are also a great addition to a sandwich or wrap. I love sauerkraut on my burgers instead of pickles. In order to preserve the natural probiotics, do not heat the kraut, but serve at room temperature. If you find the kraut too sour, rinse the kraut in water and squeeze out the liquid before eating it.

Fermenting is a great way to preserve cabbage. I remember my mother, of Ukrainian ancestry, making a large 5 gallon crock of sauerkraut every summer when the cabbage was ready in the garden.  We stored the crock in the cold room in the basement and enjoyed sauerkraut all winter. Unfortunately, we generally ate the kraut cooked, so missed out on the probiotic goodness.

For a more detailed explanation of the fermentation process and other alternatives for veggies and spice,  Michael Pollen, the author of Cooked is a great resource.\

August 21, 2016 Update

13_finishedIts now one week since I started the kraut, tasting time. It is incredibly good. Just the right amount of sourness for me. Its a bit on the spicy side but will make a great side to any meal. The three heads of cabbage made three quarts of finished kraut.

I packed the kraut into sterilized quart jars. Since I am not pasteurizing the kraut, it will need to be kept in the fridge.

Looks good, tastes great.