21 January 2015

Spinach and Mushroom Galette + Greens 24/7 Giveaway!

Hey, remember that time when I announced that I was going to write a cookbook?  And then that other time when I divulged a few details about it?  Well.... YOU GUYS.  IT'S HERE.  Okay, in actual fact it's been here for a few weeks now, available "officially" since January 6th here in North America and since the 8th in the UK.  Eeeek!  Seriously, can someone please reach through the screen and pinch me?

It was such a trip to write it and it's been a long journey of behind the scenes work until now so I'm so thrilled to actually be able to hold it in my hands, to SEE it in my kitchen (and in my friends' kitchens!), to cook from it...  It's still feeling a bit surreal, but I'm so thankful and grateful to everyone who worked on it with me (special shout out to Jackie for the amazing food styling and photography throughout!) and to all of you my dear friends and readers for supporting me with your words of encouragement on the blog and through letters and emails and hugs.

Seriously, when I started writing Cupcakes and Kale 3 1/2 years ago, I had NO idea it would lead me to this point in my life and I'm just so over the moon about it.

Okay enough of all that though, let me tell you a bit more about the book.  Obviously with a title like Greens 24/7, you're gonna find a whole bunch of green veggies inside, but it was really important to me that the book be full of recipes that were accessible for anyone in the kitchen: for all skill levels and for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores alike.  I wanted all the recipes to be easy, quick, packed with healthy greens and most importantly delicious. I didn't want to over complicate things because I wanted you to be able to really use this book all the time and make these recipes your go-to fixes for yummy, plant-based fare.

Like this dish.  This gorgeous, mouthwatering galette.

One of my favourite recipes of the over 100 in the book is the Spinach and Mushroom Galette.  It's quick enough for a weeknight meal, and fancy enough to serve guests.  It's one that I shared in my Vegan Holiday Cooking classes I taught before Christmas because it's totally suited to a holiday meal too in my humble opinion.  It's SO good in fact that I'm gonna go ahead and share the recipe with you because you need this in your life.

I also want to say thank you by giving away some books!  So please, enter below the recipe for your chance at winning one of 2 signed copies of Greens 24/7.  (That's right, you''ll be entering to take a chance at getting a book with my somewhat-legible name scrawled inside. How's that for incentive?)  Entrants from Canada and US only please & be sure to include an active email address so that I can quickly contact winners for their mailing addresses.  XO.

Spinach and Mushroom Galette
Serves 6

A galette is a rustic, free-form French pie. They can be sweet, but a savory galette is a great dish to have in your repertoire. Don’t let the homemade pastry intimidate you—it’s so easy, and since rustic is the name of the game, it needn’t be perfect either.

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins

1 cup (125 g) whole wheat flour
¼ cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 ml) coconut oil
½ cup (125 ml) iced water
2 portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons, plus 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
6-8 cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 cups (120 g) spinach
1 cup (240 g) firm tofu
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.       Make the pastry. In a large bowl, mix together the flours and ½ teaspoon salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the coconut oil into the flour, leaving small lumps. Sprinkle over the water and work until the dough just comes together. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2.      Remove the stems and black gills from the Portobello mushrooms and slice into long pieces, ½ inch (1-cm) thick. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add all the mushrooms and a generous pinch of sea salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushrooms release their juices and the juices evaporate. Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with thyme, and set aside.
3.      Meanwhile, steam the spinach lightly, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until partially wilted but still holding a little structure. Leave to cool.
4.      Place the tofu, lemon juice, 1½ teaspoons olive oil, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder in a food processor, and process until fairly smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl. Add the spinach and fold in by hand.
5.      Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the pastry to a 12-inch (30-cm) round. Transfer the pastry and parchment onto a baking sheet and spread the spinach-tofu mixture over, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) border all around the perimeter. Top with the sautéed mushrooms, again leaving a border. Gently fold the extra pastry up and onto the toppings, pleating as you move around the outside.
6.      Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges of the pastry are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe from Greens 24/7: More Than 100 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Recipes for Eating Leafy Greens and Other Green Vegetables at Every Meal, Every Day © Jessica Nadel, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. 

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12 January 2015

Turmeric + Tempeh Wellness Bowl

Happy New Year dear friends and readers!  This recipe I'm sharing today is like a big warm, gravy hug.  Because in the cold of winter everyone likes a little gravy with their hugs, right? 

We've been holed up for 3 days straight now as our little one battles his first knock-you-on-your-ass flu.  The poor little munchkin has had a fever, aches, a runny nose that won't quit and a big cough too.  He's also had no appetite, and for a mama to bear witness to this is hard.  Especially when you're a mama that likes to feed people to make them feel better and he won't even eat your magical almond butter toast.

In any event, I tried to ply him into eating with a bowl of warm brown rice (one of his favourites) and even that got a big "No thank you".  So I made this bowl instead, and told him of all of the wonderful things in it, how it would fill him up with goodness and make him feel warm and comfy cozy, how it would help his body fight this nasty bug that's got him down.  He almost looked like he might have had some, but still didn't bite.  So I ate it up and am hoping that all that goodness is going to help me keep whatever this bug is at bay.  Here's really hoping.

This Wellness Bowl starts with chewy, brown rice and into it goes tamari-fried tempeh, juicy grape tomatoes, protein and Omega-packed shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) and vibrant fresh cilantro.  Topped generously with warm, Turmeric Miso Gravy.  For the gravy I just made my standard holiday gravy and added a dose of turmeric for its anti-inflammatory superfood powers.

So much wellness.  So much comfort.

Turmeric + Tempeh Wellness Bowl
serves 2

For the Wellness Bowl:
3 cups cooked brown rice
200g tempeh
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp tamari
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
Turmeric Miso Gravy

For the Turmeric Miso Gravy (makes 2/3 cup):
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch sea salt
3/4 cup water
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp white miso paste

1. Steam the tempeh for 20 minutes, and set aside 5 minutes until cool enough to handle.  Slice into thin strips 1/8"-1/4" thick.  Place tempeh in a bowl and drizzle with the tamari, tossing to coat all the pieces before it's all absorbed.  Heat the coconut oil over medium-high in a frying pan.  Place the tempeh down and cook for 3 minutes per side, until browned and crisped.  If your pan is not large enough to accommodate the tempeh in a single layer, cook in 2 batches adding more coconut oil as needed.  Set aside.

2. Make the gravy.  In a small saucepan, stir the nutritional yeast, flour, turmeric, garlic powder and salt over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add in 1/4 cup of the water and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.  While still stirring, add in the remaining water.  Increase heat and bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened.  Lower heat and stir in the dijon and miso paste until dissolved. 

3.  Assemble the bowl by dividing the rice, tempeh strips, tomatoes, cilantro and hemp seeds between 2 bowls.  Serve, or top generously with warm Turmeric Miso Gravy.

31 December 2014

4 Ingredient Turtles in Under 10 Minutes

In our Christmas times of old, my Grandpa would always have a box of Turtles under the tree, and being the kind soul he is, he would always pass them around to share.  I'm not sure when this tradition faded out, but at some point it did (just as the popularity of the chocolate boxed treats faded too). 

As I sat and scratched my head this year, trying to figure out what to gift my Grandfather, the man who has everything, I decided to give him a box of Turtles, but of course, with a less refined and vegan twist.  When I was thinking about where to to start, I remembered the recipe concept that was included in one of the my Fresh Restaurant cookbooks for Instant Turtles, and I got to work.  Less than 10 minutes later my Turtles were setting in the fridge. 

The results were just as amazing as I had hoped.  Chocolatey, with a rich pecan crunch and soft date caramel.  They were so good in fact that my family couldn't believe they were made so quickly and without full sugar caramel.  Yes, they're that good.

These chocolate bon bons are just like the original 80s treat but with practically no refined sugars (only what's in the chocolate chips).  They're a breeze to make and you'll be snacking away in 10 minutes flat.

4 Ingredient "Turtles"
makes 18

1 cups pitted dates (*see note)
1 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil

Place dates in a food processor fitted with an "S" blade.  Process until a thick paste has formed and the dates form a ball.  Remove from food processor and with slightly damp hands to prevent sticking, break off 1/2 tablespoon at a time, rolling into balls and setting aside on a piece of parchment paper.

Heat the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish for 20 second intervals, stirring after each, until just melted.  Set aside for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, flatten each ball into a round disk about 1/4" thick.  Gently press 3 pecan halves into the tops of each date round.  Spoon the melted chocolate over top of the date and nut clusters, then place them in the fridge to set the chocolate for 5 minutes.  Store the finished "Turtles" in an airtight contain in the fridge.  They are delicious chilled but you can also remove them 20 minutes prior to serving them to allow them to warm to room temperature.

- Both honey dates and medjool dates work really well in this recipe, provided they are fresh and soft.  If they're too old and hard, they won't have the same creaminess for the caramel flavour.
- If you don't have a food processor, you can make the paste by chopping them finely, flattening them out and chopping them again.  Repeat once more if needed.  This will add a few more minutes of prep time, but the results are comparable to using the food processor.
- The chocolate can also be melted in a double boiler, but again, this will add more prep time than if using a microwave to melt it.

30 December 2014

My favourite Cruelty-free Holiday Snacking

With 2014 almost behind us and New Year's eve upon us it's time to take a moment and talk snacks.  For all my love of cooking and baking and enjoying full meals, I'm also a girl that LOVES herself some good snacking too.  And while I'd like to say that all of my snacks are homemade, the reality is that they're not.  Seeing as there are so many wonderful vegan products out there, I definitely take it upon myself to try them out and for those that have become my favourites, I go back to them time and time again.

Whether you've got big party plans for NYE and need a light bite before heading out the door, or need to bring something along in hand to a gathering of friends, or even if you're staying in and celebrating in a quiet way, here are my favourites, both homemade and store-bought to cover your snacking bases.

No snacking is complete without a dip.  Hummus, guacamole, artichoke dip... Heck, I've been known to even stir together vegan mayo and Sriracha in a pinch because I wanted to dip carrots into something yummy.  (I see you over there shaking your head, but don't knock it 'til you try it!)  This is usually one department where I make my own given how quick and easy it is to whip a good dip together. This year I'll be reaching for that jar of artichoke hearts in my cupboard and making this Artichoke & White Bean Hummus.

Where there is dip, there must be chips!  Way Better Snacks are one of my go-to grabs because they are just the right balance of cracker and chip and they're made with GMO-free wholesome sprouted ingredients.  WIN!  With many flavours to choose from there's something for everyone's taste, but given my plain Jane sensibilities, I always reach for the traditional original variety of Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips.  So crunchy and perfectly salted.

A spread of raw veggies is a no-brainer and it's always nice to have an extra healthy option available.  Dress them up with a party-perfect vegan cheese ball.  Although I have yet to ever attempt one of my own, I really want to!  This recipe for an Extra Sharp Raw Vegan Cheddar Cheese Ball seems like it would be a yummy starting point. 

Now let's not forget the sweet stuff here either.  Having a nice variety of dark chocolate treats is never a bad idea.  There are some really yummy artisan chocolate bars out there right now so try pick up something new next time you're out shopping.  (Just be sure to check the labels - some dark chocolate bars still contain milk!)  Another favourite treat of mine that I can't say no to when I find them, are Justin's PB cups - all the wonderful memories of the non-vegan variety of my youth but SO much better.  Also, some quick homemade chocolate bon bons such as the homemade Turtles you see above are a hit with everyone I make them for!  Check back tomorrow for the recipe - I promise to have it posted early enough in the day that you'll have plenty of time to whip some up for your NYE celebrations.  (Because they only take 10 minutes to make!  Huzzah!!)

Finally, you're going to need to wet your whistle, so to speak, and the holiday line of So Delicious coconut beverages can't be beat.  My personal favourite of the bunch is the Nog - perfect for sipping over ice and even better for spiking with a bit of rum. If you're more likely to reach for a sparkling punch, why not give this Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria a whirl?  Looks amazing!

What are you snacking on these days?  And remember to check back for my recipe to make 10 minute Turtles tomorrow!

15 December 2014

Vegan Kid: 2 Years

Our Woodrow Fox turned 2 a few weeks ago.  It's really hard to believe we are here, 2 years on from having our wee little baby, now with a full blown little boy.  A sweet and sensitive, rough and tumble ball of energy.

Woodrow is fiercely independent these days, wanting to do and explore all on his own and I have been trying to sit back and let him take (safe) risks even if it means I'm a stressing out about the cookie that might now be perfectly cut, the tumble he's about to take or the milk he's about to spill. It's all about learning after all.

For all his independence he's had a difficult time adjusting to more time away from me.  We started daycare 1 day a week about the time of his birthday because I felt I needed a full day that I could dedicate to work without interruptions.  It's made for a challenging few days (and half days) full of tears (for us both).  But after we started having Mark drop him off in the mornings, it seems the transition has eased a bit.  He's in a small home setting with only 2-3 other little ones and a wonderful caregiver, so we're crossing our fingers it will work out.

Between a constant stream of chatter (just like his mama), moving into a big boy bed and weaning, it seems all bits of baby are gone.  (Except for the diapers - and I will NOT miss those when they go!)  Our breastfeeding relationship came to an end about 2 months ago.  Although I had been hoping to breastfeed until 2 years, I had to stop abruptly after requiring a CT scan with contrast dye.  That dye took 2 full days to flush from my system during which I couldn't nurse, and after that the hard part of weaning was over so we just went with it.  In retrospect it was probably the least stressful way that I could have approached the situation as I wasn't able to give in to his requests for "mama milk", and all in all I'm very pleased with having nursed until 22 months.

My sensitive little guy has also taken to requesting me to read Are You My Mother? lately and he gets all teary at the end of the story every time the little bird finds his mama.  My heart!  And so we've been spending lots of time together still and have ourselves a new Saturday morning standing date of swimming, followed by a stop at the cutest little bakery for coffee & vegan donuts.

Aside from the overly chlorinated pool, it's kind of the best thing ever.