Category Archives: Cooking Classes

October Cooking Class – Sheppard’s Pie, ColeSlaw and Apricot Bars

October 21, 2018

Fall is definitely in the air and its time for some good old fashioned comfort food. For this month’s class, we did a whole food plant based (no oil) remake on the traditional Sheppard’s Pie, make with lentils, mushrooms, peas and carrots and topped with creamy high protein mashed potatoes and served with more delicious gravy. The coleslaw is colorful and has a delicious  creamy dressing. To round out the meal we added a whole mess of cooked kale with a tangy maple mustard sauce. Its so good we even made a kale lover out of one of the students. And the apricot bars provides a delicious finish to a simple meal. Its also holds up well to travel so is great to pack for a lunch.

As always, our class started with a green smoothie, a delicious way to add more green leafy veggies to your diet. Todays smoothie followed the standard 2 cups water, greens and fruit but with a red twist. We used red chard, raspberries and a touch of beets to get a vibrant red smoothie. As luck with have it, our usual photographer James was unable to attend and I didn’t remember to get a picture. So you will just have to trust me that it looked great. You can substitute any greens for the red chard, but you won’t get the same smashing color. Feel free to add more beets if you like the taste.

Vibrant Red Smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric root (or 1/4 tsp ground)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • small chunk of raw beet, peeled (about 1 1/2 inch square piece)
  • 1 cups red chard, kale or beet leaves (or any greens)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 cup frozen mango

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

Sheppard’s Pie

Sheppard’s Pie and Gravy

This Sheppard’s Pie was inspired by daughter-in-law Megan. When I was visiting she made a lentil Sheppard’s Pie and I was blown away by how delicious it was. And she made it without a recipe and with simple basic ingredients. Mashed potatoes, cooked lentils, carrots, peas and gravy. It took me a while to replicate it (we ate a lot of Sheppard’s Pie this past month), but I think this version is pretty close.

While a traditional Sheppard’s Pie is made as a casserole – in a baking dish with the filling topped with mashed potatoes, then baked in an oven; I usually make a lazy version. After making all the ingredients – filling, gravy and potatoes – I just heat on the stove top and assemble on the plate. However, it is also handy to put it together ahead of time in a baking dish, ready to pop into the oven later. Your choice.

One of the class participants remembers her Mom making Sheppard’s Pie – the lazy version – and topping it with cooked corn. She said she added a sweetness to the dish. Give it a try.

Mashed potato topping – use leftover mashed potatoes or the following:
• About 4 large potatoes, peeled if desired and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 ½ cups cooked small white beans
• 4 to 6 tbsp unsweetened unflavoured plant milk (almond, cashew, soy)
• Salt and pepper
Place potatoes in pot and cover with water. Boil until just tender. Drain. In a blender or food processor, puree beans, garlic and milk until smooth. Add to potatoes and mash well. Season with salt and pepper.

Gravy:
• 1 onion, diced
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 3 cups vegetable broth
• ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 tsp white wine vinegar
• 3 tbsp corn starch or arrow root powder
• Salt and pepper

Sauté onion and garlic in 1 to 2 tbsp of the vegetable broth until soft. Transfer to a blender and add remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Return to the pan and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Filling:
• 1 onion, diced fine
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 cups mushrooms, diced fine
• 1 cup carrots, diced small
• 1 ½ cups cooked lentils
• 1 ½ cup gravy
• 1 cup frozen green peas

Saute onion, garlic, mushrooms and carrots in a small amount of water or vegetable broth, until onion is translucent and carrots fork tender. Add lentils and gravy. Mix well and remove from heat. Add peas.

Transfer to an 8 by 8 baking pan. Top with mashed potatoes and bake for 30 minutes at 350F, uncovered or until bubbly and top is slightly browned. Serve with remaining gravy.  Or use the lazy version – Cook until filling is hot. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Creamy Coleslaw

Coleslaw

Dressing:
• ½ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 tbsp white vinegar
• ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp sweetener (agave, cane sugar, etc)
• ½ cup water
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp celery seed
• ½ tsp black pepper

Salad:
• Shredded cabbage (red and/or green)
• Shredded carrots
• Green onion
• Red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Place cashews, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, sweetener, water, onion powder, celery seed and black pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Mix veggies in a large bowl, toss with sufficient dressing to coat and serve.

Kale with Maple Mustard Sauce

Kale with Maple Mustard Sauce

This is my favorite way to eat cooked greens. It great with kale, spinach, chard, tat soi, bok choi, gai lan, beet greets, or any green you fancy.  Be sure to chop your kale finely. I bunch it up and cut it into thin strips like you would cabbage.  Its great hot, cold and in between. I even love eating the leftovers for breakfast.

  • one large bunch of kale, washed, destemmed and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

Cook kale in plenty of water for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well. Mix mustard, maple syrup and soy sauce in a small bowl. Pour over drained kale and stir to combine.

Apricot Bars

Apricot Bars

This recipe is a combination of several recipes but the basic idea coming from the Oat and Apricot Bars in The China Study Family Cookbook by Del Sroufe.

• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1 ½ cup pitted dates
• ½ cup walnuts
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ cup apple sauce
• 1 ½ cup dried apricots (or substitute dates)
• 1 cup orange juice
• Grated zest of 1 orange

Soak apricots in orange juice for at least 2 hours. Add orange zest and puree until fairly smooth.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. (Note: I made mine in a spring form pan) Combine oats, dates, walnuts, cinnamon and salt in food processor until dates are mixed in well. Place in large bowl and mix in applesauce. Mixture should hold together fairly well. If too dry, add a bit more applesauce. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared pan. Press in firmly. Bake 10 minutes. Remove and let cool at least 10 minutes. Spread apricot mixture over baked crust. Sprinkle remaining topping over the apricot mixture and press lightly. Bake 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before cutting.

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September Cooking Class – Baked Beans, Broccoli Salad & Pumpkin Pudding

September 23, 2018

Another great class! This one focused on whole plant based food, easy on the budget, simple to prepare, totally nutritious and absolutely delicious.

As always, the class started with a green smoothie. This one was mango kale. If you are new to green smoothies, or introducing them to your kids, start with a bit less kale and gradually increase the amount. Thanks Cecile for the suggestion to add a pinch of black pepper to the smoothie to boast the turmeric absorption.  I have added this my recipe.

 

 

 

Green Smoothie
• 2 cups water
• 2 cups kale
• 1 orange, peeled
• ¼ tsp turmeric
• ½ inch piece ginger root
• Pinch of black pepper
• 2 cups frozen mango

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

 

 

Baked Pinto Beans

This is my whole food plant based adaptation of a family favorite from my sister-in-law Pat.

Be sure to chop the carrots and onions very fine (a food processor works great) as they are designed to provide a nice texture to the dish as well as sneaking in a bit more veg. If you don’t have a food processor, feel free to skip the carrots.

You can also substitute any other bean you like for the pinto beans.

Serve with steamed greens, a grain (rice, quinoa, barley, buckwheat), baked potato or a whole grain bun. For the class, we served this with Silver Hills Sprouted bread topped with smashed avocado.

These beans freeze really well. I like to freeze them in 2 cup portions. That way I can keep a constant supply in the fridge to easily add beans to any meal. And these beans are great for breakfast too.

• 4 cups dry pinto beans
• 1 tsp salt (optional)
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 or 2 carrots, chopped fine
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• ¼ tsp pepper
• ¼ cup molasses
• ½ cup tomato paste
• 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ½ cup maple syrup
• ½ cup vinegar
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• ¼ tsp cayenne
• ½ tsp salt
• Couple shakes liquid smoke (optional)
• 3 cups water

SLOW COOKER METHOD:
1. Cover beans with plenty of water (about 12 cups) and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in slow cooker with salt, if using. Cover beans with water (about 6 cups) and cook on high 3 to 4 hours, or until just tender. Drain.
2. Place the beans in the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. If necessary, add more water so that the liquid covers the beans. Cook an additional 3 hours on high. Add more water if it becomes too dry. Adjust seasonings to taste. (note, you can cook the beans one day and do the next step another.)
OVEN METHOD:
1. Cover beans with plenty of water (about 12 cups) and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in in a large pot with salt, if using. Cover beans with water (about 6 cups). Bring to a boil and simmer on stovetop until just tender, about 1 hour. Drain.
2. Place the beans in a large oven safe pan. Add remaining ingredients. If necessary, add more water so that the liquid covers the beans. Cook an additional 1 to 2 hours 300F. Check the beans every half hour and add more water if it becomes too dry. Adjust seasonings to taste. (note, you can cook the beans one day and do the next step another.)
USING CANNED BEANS:
Skip step one above. Use about 12 cups cooked beans in the recipe. Drain and rinse beans.

Sweet Chilli Broccoli Salad
This is a great side for any meal. To make it into a whole meal, add 1 can of drained chickpeas. This dressing is also good on a cabbage salad for a change from the usual coleslaw dressings. And the salad keeps well in the fridge so it can be made ahead of time and leftovers taste even better the next day.  A great way to add more cruciferous veggies to your diet.

The recipe is from The PlantPure Kitchen by Kim Campbell.

Sauce:
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• ¼ cup water
• 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or 2 tbsp regular plus 1 tbsp water)
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp tahini
• ½ to 2 tsp sriracha (optional)
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled

Salad:
• 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
• 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
• ¼ cup red or green onion, chopped

Combine sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the sauce, toss and serve.

Steamed Greens

Greens are one of the most important part of your diet, so be sure to have 2 servings everyday, either in a green smoothie, mixed into a main dish, or served alone cooked. This simple to make dish is one of my favorites and is great with kale, chard, spinach or beet greens. For this class, we used kale. I like to shred the kale very fine before cooking.

  • 8 cups kale, destemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add kale and cook about 5 minutes, or until bright green and tender. Drain and squeeze out excess moisture. Add mustard, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Toss well and serve.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

If you are looking for a great whole food alternative to pumpkin pie this fall, this is a great recipe. This pumpkin pudding is easy to prepare and tastes great.

The recipe is adapted from Forks Over Knives. I removed the chili powder and black pepper, reduced the cloves and increased the maple syrup. For the class, we served the pudding in small glass cups layered with granola, topped with a maple glazed pecan and served with Vanilla Nice Cream (recipe below). Any leftovers are great mixed with your morning overnight oats.

• ¼ cup chia seeds
• 2 cups almond milk or plant-based milk of your choice
• 2 cups pumpkin purée
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ¼ cup maple syrup, or more to taste (or substitute date paste)

1. Mix the chia seeds and almond milk in a jar or bowl, and let the mixture set for 5 minutes. Whisk or stir the mixture vigorously to evenly disperse the chia seeds. Cover the jar, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
3. Remove the chia pudding from the refrigerator, and stir in the pumpkin purée, dry spice mixture, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Serve garnished with coconut flakes. If desire, serve with whipped coconut cream or vanilla nice cream.

Vanilla Nice Cream

  • 1/2 cup plant based milk (I used Cashew)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 frozen bananas

Place milk and vanilla extract in a high speed blender or food processor. Pulse to combine then on high speed (or frozen dessert setting) add bananas slowly. Push down to combine well, if necessary. Store in freezer for 2 to 3 hours before serving to harden slightly. (If left longer it may freeze too solid to scoop out. If so, take out of the freezer and store in fridge for 1 hour before serving. ) Note, letting the bananas thaw slightly will help your blender to process this to a smooth texture. If necessary, add a bit extra milk to process.

 

June 2018 Cooking Class – Burger Time

June 10, 2018

Burger and a salad

Just in time for summer, June’s cooking class focused on summer favorites – burgers, Caesar Salad and a cool frozen dessert. This month we continued our talk on the importance of fibre in our diet, and the great source of fibre and protein found in beans.

Our smoothie of the month was ‘berry delicious’, a combination of kale, banana, mango, orange and blueberries with added nutritional value from turmeric, ginger and flax.

Green Smoothie

• 2 cups greens (we used kale)
• 2 cups water
• ¼ tsp turmeric
• 1 inch piece ginger
• 1 tbsp ground flax
• 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (we used a combination of banana, mango, blueberries, and an orange)

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

Making Burgers

Summer is burger time, but burgers also make great fast meals any time of the year. This is a great burger as it holds together well, but it is important to let it sit to thicken up. It best if you make the burger mix and let it sit for at least 1/2 hour before forming the burgers. However, in a pinch you can make them up right away, just be gentle when cooking. I prefer to bake the burgers then freeze them for later use. However, in class we make the burgers and fried them up immediately. They were a bit more fragile but still delicious. If you plan to throw these on the barbecue, I recommend baking ahead of time, then warming on the grill. We made our burgers with grated beets which gave them a real ‘meaty’ look; however, they are also great make with grated carrot.

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Grillable Veggie Burgers
• 1 cup cooked brown rice (I use short grain rice, or substitute couscous, millet or quinoa)
• 1 cup raw walnuts (or substitute sunflower seeds, bread crumbs or oatmeal)
• 1/2 white onion (about 3/4 cup), finely diced
• 1 beet or carrot, grated fine
• 1 pepper (red, yellow, orange, green or poblano), diced fine
• 1 to 2 cups mushrooms, diced fine
• 1 1/2 cups (227 g) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 2 tbsp ground flax soaked in 6 tbsp water
• 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned, large flake)
• 4-5 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 Tbsp each chili powder and smoked paprika
• 1 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper

Grating beets

Chop walnuts fine in a food processor, coffee mill or by hand.
In a skillet, over medium heat, sauté onion, beets, pepper, and mushroom for 3-4 minutes or until tender, adding small amounts of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a food processor, place chickpeas and process until slightly mashed but not a mushy puree. Alternatively you can mash with a fork.
In a large bowl, add the ground flax and water and let soak for 5 minutes. Once soaked, add cooked rice, chopped walnuts, sautéed veggies, mashed chickpeas, oatmeal, BBQ sauce, nutritional yeast, seasonings. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, or until a moldable dough forms.
If too dry, add extra 1-2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. If too wet, add more oatmeal. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Let sit in fridge for several hours or overnight. Form into patties using wet hands. (I use 1/3 cup mixture per patty – will make about 14 or 15 burgers). This is important to make sure the burgers hold together well for grilling. (for best grilling results, bake at 350 for 20 minutes then freeze for later grilling)
If grilling, heat the grill at this time and brush the grill surface with oil to ease cooking. Otherwise, cook in a skillet or bake (20 minutes at 350F).
Remove burgers from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.

An all time favorite at our house is Caesar Salad with this creamy picante dressing.

Caesar Salad Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews
• ¼ cup water
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 1 ½ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ cup nutritional yeast
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tbsp miso (or ½ tsp salt)

Soak cashews for 2 or more hours. Drain cashews and place in blender with all other ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Nothing says summer like ice cream. This creamy frozen dessert is a favorite, and is my take off on a traditional Indian Mango Lassi beverage. Since I always keep coconut milk and frozen banana and mangos in stock, I can whip this one up quickly. You can substitute any frozen fruit you like for the mango – blueberry, strawberry, etc.

Mango Lassi
• 1 can full fat coconut cream
• 1 frozen banana
• 2 cups frozen mango
• 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
• ¼ tsp turmeric
Place coconut cream in a blender or food processor. Add ginger and frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. Keep in a freezer until ready to serve. Best if made 2 to 3 hours before serving. If frozen hard, let sit in the fridge for ½ hour before serving.
Substitute other fruit for the mango (blueberry, raspberry, cherry, peaches, etc) or other seasonings for the ginger (cinnamon, nutmeg). For a sweeter dessert, add an extra banana or some date paste.

Thanks to James for the great pictures. And thanks to my granddaughter Katie who was a great assistant.

 

 

May 2018 Cooking Class – Beans, Greens and Berries

May 2018

I know I am terrible late in posting the recipes for the May class, but its garden season. Now that the garden is in, I have time to catch up on my posts.

May cooking class meal

May’s class focused on beans, greens and berries, three important foods that you should try to add to your daily diet. They offer great fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. All that wonderful fibre is great for feeding those lovely probiotic bacteria in your gut. Happy guts, happy life!

Berry Banana Green Smoothie

As usual, we started the class with my favorite – the green smoothie. I used to love my smoothies green, real green. However, smoothies are a great way to add berries as well as greens to your diet. So now, most of my smoothies are more muddy colored than green. But they still taste delicious. This months smoothie was a mixture of kale, bananas and blueberries with the addition of an orange and some ginger and turmeric. When I can find it, I buy fresh turmeric, chop it up and freeze it for use in smoothies and salad dressings. However, ground turmeric works just as well, just don’t add too much.

Berry Banana Green Smoothie
• 2 cup water
• 2 cups leafy greens (kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, etc)
• 1 orange, peeled and quartered
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric or ½ inch fresh turmeric root
• ½ inch fresh ginger root
• 3 fresh or frozen bananas
• 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or mixed berries

Put all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa

Our main dish this class was a bean and quinoa dish that only requires one pot to make it in as the quinoa cooks right in the pot. Fast, simple and delicious. While most quinoa that you buy has been prewashed, its always a good idea to rinse your quinoa before cooking to make sure all the bitter soponins on the seed have been washed off. The saponins are the plants natural defence mechanism, to keep the birds from eating all the delicious seed.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ jalepeno, chopped fine
• 1 pepper, diced (your choice, red, yellow orange or green)
• 1 carrot, diced fine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
• 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (your choice black, pinto, kidney or mixed beans)
• 1 cup tomatoes, tomato sauce or salsa
• ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
• 1 tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup vegetable broth

In saucepan, sauté onion, jalepeno, pepper, carrot and garlic with a small amount of water or broth until onion is softened. Add corn, beans, tomato and spices. Add quinoa and broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with diced avocado and tomatoes.

Chop Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing

Our salad dressing for this month is a creamy Ranch type dressing. It goes great on the chopped salad below, but also good on any salad. The recipe is from Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not To Die Cookbook. The recipe uses Dr. Greger’s Savory Spice Blend, a favorite in many of his recipes. I’ve included the recipe for the spice blend as well, as it is good in almost any recipe you are making. However, if you don’t want to make a whole batch just use a couple of teaspoons of nutritional yeast.

Chopped Vegetable Salad
• 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized bits
• 2 radishes, chopped
• 1 ripe tomato, chopped
• 1 cup chopped cucumber
• ½ small red or orange bell pepper, chopped
• ½ cup chopped celery
• 1 ½ cup cooked cannellini beans, cooked and rinsed

• Ranch Dressing (recipe following)

In a large bowl, combine all veggie ingredients. Add Ranch Dressing and toss until well coated.

Ranch Dressing
• ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 or more hours
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened and unflavoured
• 3 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp savory spice blend (recipe below)
• 1 tbsp white miso paste
• 1 tsp date paste
• 1 tbsp fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried
• 1 tsp fresh dill or ¼ tsp dried

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients except parsley and dill. Blend until smooth. Add parsley and dill and pulse just until mixed in. Transfer to a glass jar and let sit at least 1 hour to let flavors develop. Stir or shake before using.

Savory Spice Blend
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tbsp dried parlsey
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 2 tsp dried thyme
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp dry mustard powder
• 2 tsp paprika
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• ½ tsp celery seeds
Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or blender. Blend until pulverized. Store in a tightly sealed container.

BlueBerry Cobbler

And of course, no class would be complete without a dessert. My criteria for a great dessert is that it should be nutritious enough so that you can eat the leftovers for breakfast without any guilt. The blueberry cobbler fits the bill perfectly. It is chock full of blueberries and has only a small amount of sweetener added and no oil. The original recipe, from Kim Campbell’s PlantPure Kitchen, uses whole wheat flour, but I prefer to use oat flour instead. I make my own oat flour by blending old fashioned slow cook oats in a blender until smooth. (use certified only oats for a gluten free dessert)

Berry Cobbler
• 6 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (or mixed berries)
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• 1 ½ cups old fashioned oatmeal (blended in blender until fine)
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• ½ cup unsweetened plant milk
• 2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400F

Blueberry Filling cooking

In medium saucepan, combine berries, brown sugar, water, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened. Spread berry mixture evenly in an 8 inch square baking pan.
In medium mixing bowl, mix oat flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add milk and maple syrup and stir until combined. Drop dough mixture by the tablespoon over the berry mixture. You should be able to cover most of the berries.
Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve warm.

 

Hope you enjoy the recipes. Thanks James for the great photos.

Edmonton July 2017 Class

July 22, 2017

I had a wonderful opportunity this month to hold a class in Edmonton. It was great to meet both fellow vegetarians and those looking to make their diet more plant strong. We had a great discussion on the reasons for eating more plants – health, environment, compassion and spiritual.

For the class we used kale three different ways – in a green smoothie, in a main dish of rice and beans, and in a salad. For dessert, we had a simple fruit salad – no added sugar needed. The meal was delicious, simple to prepare and budget conscious – proving once again that it is not necessary to spend the day in the kitchen, have a lot of cooking skills or break the bank to enjoy a good, wholesome, home cooked meal.

Green Smoothie

One of the most important things you can do to improve your health is to add more greens to your diet. While it is best to chew your food, rather than drink it, I still find green smoothies the easiest way for most of us to increase the amount of green leafy veggies we consume. Since smoothies are well blended, the sugar from the fruit enters your blood stream faster than chewing the fruit, so it is best to sip it slowly and try to mix as much saliva with it as possible. My basic recipe for a green smoothie is below. For the class we used my favorite mix – kale for the greens, anana,  orange and mango for the fruit, and a squeeze of lemon.

  • 2 cups greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, beet greens, collards, etc)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (banana, mango, pineapple, orange, apple, berries, etc)
  • Juice of ½ lemon

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

Tex Mex Casserole

This recipe which I have adapted from the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, is a mainstay in my house. It is fast and simple to prepare and always gets good reviews. I like to use the leftovers to make burritos, and they freeze well too. Just roll in a flour tortilla, wrap in parchment paper and freeze for a later meal.

When making this casserole for a crowd, I usually to omit the jalapeño. The cayenne in the spice mix gives it a tiny bit of a kick, but not too much.  Serve with a spicy salsa so guests who like the heat can spice it up a bit.

The cheese in this recipe is not essential for the casserole, but if you decide to add you can use a plant based cheese like Daiya shredded cheese or add 1/4 cup of cashew cheese sauce to it.

While the recipe calls for everything to be prepared in a frying pan and then popped in the oven to heat, it can easily be served straight from the frying pan, as we did in class. Or prepare it ahead of time and pop it in the oven the next day to reheat. We skipped the topping of cheese and taco chips on top and served it straight from the pan with taco chips on the side.

Spice blend:

  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (or ½ tsp regular paprika)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander

Casserole:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced fine (optional)
  • ½ cup corn kernals (fresh, canned or frozen)
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 – 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale leaves or spinach
  • 2 cups cooked  black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 cups cooked rice (brown rice or a brown and wild rice mix, we used short grain brown rice)
  • ½ cup cheese or cheese substitute (optional)
  • tortilla chips

Combine spice mix and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F, oil a large casserole dish (4 to 5 quart)

In a large pan, add onion, garlic, peppers and sauté until softened. If necessary, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent sticking. Stir in spice mix and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant. Add corn, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kale, beans and rice. Sauté until heated through and season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, mix in ¼ cup of shredded cheese, cheese substitute or cashew cheese sauce.

If desired, you can pour mixture into prepared casserole dish, sprinkle on crushed tortilla chips (and the other ¼ cup of shredded cheese if desired), cover and bake 15 minutes.  Or you can serve straight from the pan. Serve with optional toppings such as chopped avocado, salsa, taco chips or green onions.

 

Kale and Apple Salad

This recipe is another of my go to recipes. For those who are new to using kale, massaging the kale with a squeeze of lemon and/or sprinkle of salt help make it more tender and less bitter. Also, making this with a mix of kale and romaine is a good way to introduce kale to the menu. If you love kale, like I do, skip the romaine and use all kale.

This recipe is my adaptation of the original from Raw Amazing 

Dressing:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Soak cashews for 2 to 12 hours. Drain cashews and place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼  cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (hulled, you can use raw or roasted and salted)

Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and a dash of salt. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for a few minutes.  Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, julienned carrots. Toss. Add enough dressing to coat the salad, toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and top with pumpkin seeds.

Fruit Salad

This is the same fruit salad we made at our July Winnipeg class. By varying the fruit combination, you get a different dessert every time.

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (cultured coconut milk), or plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp finely minced ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced
  • o   2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half

Mix yogurt, minced ginger and maple syrup and place in a small serving bowl.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Place oranges, apples and pineapple in a large bowl. Toss to coat apples with the liquid to prevent browing.  Add blueberries, grapes and strawberries and gently stir to combine.  Serve fruit with a dollop of ginger yogurt on top.

You can change this salad up by using any mixture of your favourite fruit. Change up the yogurt sauce by omitting the ginger, using cane sugar and adding ½ tsp vanilla.

 

 

June Cooking Class – Buddha Bowls

July 15, 2017

Thanks to Shirley for taking on the June cooking class while I visited my grandchildren. The theme of her class was Buddha Bowls. Buddha Bowls are a great whole meal-in-a-bowl and adaptable to whatever grain, veggies or salad fixings you have in the house.

As per our tradition, Shirley started the class with a Green Smoothie. This Digestive Green Smoothie is a favorite of mine.

Digestive Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup banana chunks, fresh or frozen
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (or to taste)
  • 2 cups parsley
  • 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

BUDDHA BOWL

The Buddha Bowls are many and varied but basically consist of:

  1. A cooked whole grain or noodle
  2. Cooked and/or raw veggies
  3. A flavorful sauce
  4. Topping

 

  1.  The grain layer – There are so many different choices for the base of your Buddha Bowl.  The most common are cooked brown rice (basmati, short grain, Jasmine, red or black rice are all great options) or noodles (soba, vermicelli, ramen or spaghetti noodles). However, any cooked whole grain can also be used, so don’t feel limited. Try pot barley, millet, quinoa or couscous for a change.
  2. The Veggie Layer – you will need about 2 cups of veggies for each person. Good choices are onions, peppers, carrots, celery, snow peas, broccoli and mushrooms. You can stir fry your veggies or add them raw, or use a mixture of cooked and raw. One of my favorite options is a stir fry onions, mushrooms peppers and broccoli then topping with raw shredded lettuce, cabbage and carrots. Raw cucumber or tomato are also options.
  3. Shirley presented two sauce options in the class – a teriyaki and a Thai Peanut Sauce. Both are fabulous.

TERIYAKI SAUCE:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and store in a glass jar in the fridge.

 THAI PEANUT SAUCE:

  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 Tbsp natural smooth peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • water

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, tahini, peanut butter, ginger (if using), lime juice, tamari, maple syrup, and 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Process until combined. Taste and add more lime juice, if desired. Thin with water until desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

4.  Topping Layer – your choice of toppings is endless. My favorite are green onions, sesame or sunflower seeds, peanuts, marinated tofu, or edamame beans

MARINATED TOFU

  • 1 – 350 gram package of extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4  tsp dry ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water

Drain tofu and slice into ¼ inch sticks. Place tamari, ginger, garlic and water in a non-stick frying pan and mix well. Add tofu and coat thoroughly in marinade. Slowly cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid absorbed by the tofu; this will take about 30 minutes depending on the amount of heat used.
(Note, you can also make this in a low oven (250F). Store in the fridge, will keep for at least a week. It also freezes well.

To make your Buddha Bowl – prepare all your layers first – cook your grains or noodles, make your sauce, prepare your veggies and your toppings.  When ready to serve, warm up your grains or noodles (optional – you can add chopped onion, minced garlic, soy sauce and ground pepper to your grain). Serve in a bowl.

Buddha Bowls are also great for picky eaters – provide a choice of veggies and toppings, each in a separate bowl, and let them choose their favorites.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
For dessert, Shirley made a fruit crisp.  A lightened up version of everyone’s favorite strawberry rhubarb crisp with a delicious oat-pecan topping and a touch of vanilla. It can be made gluten free by using gluten free oats and oat flour.  Serve with your favorite ice cream or whipped coconut cream, if desired.

You can make this crisp oil free by substituting the coconut oil with apple sauce. The toping will be more of a cake consistency.

  • For the crisp topping:
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup oat flour
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • For the filling:
    • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered
    • 5 stalks rhubarb, diced into 1 inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
    • 2 tablespoons oat flour

    Make the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, oat flour, cinnamon, pecans, coconut sugar and coconut oil; set aside.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan with coconut oil (or line with parchment paper).
    In a large bowl, add coconut sugar, vanilla bean, strawberries, rhubarb and oat flour; toss a few times to evenly coat the fruit with the sugar and flour. Pour into prepared pan and evenly sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
    Bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling begins to bubble and the top is golden brown. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with your favorite ice cream, if desired. Serves 9.

You can also use softened or melted butter in place of the coconut oil if you are not vegan.

You can also use brown sugar in place of the coconut sugar if that’s what you have on hand. Recipe from The Ambitious Kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2017 Cooking Class – Great Summer Salads

July 9, 2017

The theme for this month’s cooking class was Summer Salads. Summer means time for enjoying the outdoors and these quick and easy, cool and refreshing summer salads are a great way to reduce time in the kitchen. They can be used as a side dish or can easily be made into a whole meal by adding a whole grain roll or baked potato.  And they are great to take to barbecues and picnics.

This class we had a discussion on fats/oils in our diets. While a healthy diet includes fats, it is best we get them from whole foods like seeds, nuts, and avocado. This article by Kim Campbell provides some good reasons why to eliminate oil.

Thanks to James for taking pictures. I will update the post with them later.

Green Smoothie

As usual, our class started with a refreshing green smoothie. July’s smoothie was beet greens, picked fresh from my garden, apple, pineapple and frozen raspberries. Its a bit more tart than most of my smoothies but still delicious. The red in the beet greens and the raspberries combine to give this smoothie a beautiful red color.

  • 2 cups greens (beet greens, spinach, kale, parsley, mint, cilantro, etc)
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (apple, raspberry, banana, mango, pineapple, orange, berries, etc)

Place in blender in order given. Blend until smooth.

Black Bean Salad

This salad is a long time favorite of mine for potlucks. It always gets rave reviews. It makes a great summer supper meal just by adding a baked potato. (Note: you can make great baked potatoes in your slow cooker. Just poke the potatoes, place in the cooker, cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high. No need to heat up your oven!)

If you are not a fan of cilantro or avocados, just leave them out.  I like adding the avocado just before serving to keep it from getting mushy or dark colored. Also, tomatoes taste best when not refrigerated, so I add the tomatoes before serving as well.

  • Two 16-ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed WELL!
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup canned or frozen corn
  • ½ Red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 large mango, diced (optional)
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 very large tomato, chopped (or use cherry tomatoes cut in half)
  • 2 small avocados, diced (optional)

Combine all ingredients except for tomatoes and avocado in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Take the salad out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving. Add tomatoes.  Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Modified from:  http://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/easy-black-bean-salad-recipe/  

Couscous Salad

This salad is a spin off from a quinoa tabbouleh salad. No grain is faster to prepare than couscous. And the hemp hearts add a boost of protein. You can easily substitute cooked quinoa for the couscous. Serve with a green salad for a full meal.

  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (or more to taste)
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 green onions, diced (about ¾ cup)
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste

Dressing

  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 clove garlic, minced

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous. Cover and remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork . Cool.  Add remaining salad ingredients to the cooled couscous. Mix dressing and add to the salad and serve.

Options – you can substitute quinoa for the couscous. (1 cup quinoa to 1 ¾ cup water, simmer 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. )

Caesar Salad

This salad is a spin off from one in Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook. She used almonds, but I prefer cashews. I was thrilled to find you can substitute cooked white beans (also called Navy Beans) for part of the cashews. Also, you can add a bit of kale to this classic romaine salad and know one will mind at all. Instead of bacon bits, I like to add sunflower seeds for a nice crunch and boost of protein.

Note: While I prefer to cook my beans using dry beans, you can buy cooked small white beans or Navy beans in a can. Since you only need 1/4 cup, drain and rinse the beans and freeze any leftovers to use in another dish. Or freeze in 1/4 cup packages for future Caesar Salads.

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup raw unsalted cashews and ¼ cup cooked white beans (or 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • Sunflower seeds (raw or roasted and salted)
  • Whole grain croutons (optional)

Soak cashews for 2 to 8 hours, drain. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Chop kale fine and massage for a few minutes to tenderize. Chop romaine and add to kale. Add dressing and toss. Add remaining ingredients and toss again.

If you can’t find raw unsalted cashews, you can use roasted unsalted ones as well.

Fruit Salad

A fruit salad makes a great summer dessert. It takes no heat to prepare and provides just the right amount of sweetness to finish off any meal. The salad is good on its own, but to dress it up for company, try this creamy ginger dressing made with coconut milk yogurt (also sold as Cultured Yogurt).

Feel free to mix this up with your favorite fruits and use the amount as a guide only. I managed to pick up a basket of fresh picked local strawberries so our salad had more strawberries than the 2 cups called for in the recipe.

  • 1 cup coconut milk yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp finely minced ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half

Mix yogurt, minced ginger and maple syrup and place in a separate serving bowl.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Place oranges, apples and pineapple in a large bowl. Toss to coat apples with the liquid.  Add blueberries, grapes and strawberries and gently stir to combine.  Serve fruit with a dollop of ginger yogurt on top.

You can change this salad up by using any mixture of your favourite fruit. Change up the yogurt sauce by omitting the ginger, using cane sugar and adding ½ tsp vanilla.

Note: next class is not until September.