17 July 2014

Artichoke & White Bean Hummus

Once something acheives hashtag status, it means it must be true, right?  Okay, this maybe is not the case in all circumstances, but when it comes to hummus I don't think there is much argument.  Because in my books at least, #HUMMUSISAFOODGROUP.  It's true.  If you don't believe me, you can look it up yourself.

I'm usually guilty of making the same hummus everytime, because you just can't beat an amazing version of classic chickpea hummus.  But do you know what else you can't beat?  Artichoke & White Bean Hummus.  White beans are so much softer than chickpeas so they make for a really creamy dip.  Plus the addition of tangy, marinated artichokes make for bites of bursting flavour.  And there's even a little cheezy nooch in there too.  Because if there is one thing truer than hummus being its own food group, it's that #ALLYOUNEEDISNOOCH.

This hummus is the perfect little dip to whip up for your weekend.  Eat it with veggies.  Eat it with chips.  Spread it on toast and top it with sprouts.  Take it on a picnic, take it to the beach.  Heck - take it dancing.  No judgement here.

Artichoke & White Bean Hummus
makes 2 cups

1 15oz can white beans (cannellini or white kidney), rinsed and drained
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (aka nooch)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp sea salt
1 170ml jar marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Combine the beans, tahini, olive oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice.  Add the artichokes and basil and pulse 4-5 times to combine.  If you prefer a smooth hummus without any "chunks" of artichoke, run the food processor for another minute to break them down and incorporate them.  Serve immediately, or cover and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy it. 

Also, many thanks to my friend (and recipe tester extraordinaire) for the gorgeous pottery.  Her work is amazing.

02 July 2014

Hockey Pucks (aka Coconut Whip Frozen Sandwiches)

Midweek holidays are kind of great.  I can't say I'm big on Canada Day festivities, as I don't care much for crowds and I can't stand fireworks now that I have a baby who's uninterrupted sleep I value above all else.  But, an excuse to get together with friends, have a barbeque and eat ice cream sandwiches?  Count me in.

Growing up, every July 1st was spent at a backyard party with a big crew of my parents' friends.  There were lots of kids, swimming, badminton, a lot of eating and fireworks to end the night.  But the highlight above all else for the kids (maybe some adults too?) was dessert.  That's when our hosts would bust out frozen treats they called hockey pucks.  How Canadian is that?  They were simple, little frozen treats made up of chocolate whipped cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies. 

They were the BEST.

This year with a small little get together of our own to attend, I decided I wanted to recreate the hockey pucks of my youth for us all to enjoy.  Creamy, coconut whipped cream decadently filled our frozen ice cream sandwiches.  Although I had originally intended on adding some cocoa, I couldn't bring myself to add anything to the pure coconut whip and instead we enjoyed them with fresh field strawberries to keep things looking patriotic in red & white.

Mmmmm... they were so good.  And better yet, SO easy.  So much so, I feel a little silly even sharing the "recipe".  But I will anyway because, LOOK AT THEM.

I can't keep something this good to myself.  I repeat, Mmmmmmmm.

You could definitely make your own cookies for these, but with Mr. Christie's Chocolate Wafers being accidentally vegan and readily available at the grocery store, why bother?

These shall not be saved for Canada Day every year.  No, instead they will be made often, and enjoyed by many with coconut cream dripping down our chins.  For you 4th of July 'ers - serve these up with some strawberries and blueberries later this week and I guarantee you'll be the life of the party. 

Hockey Pucks  (aka Coconut Whip Frozen Sandwiches)
makes 10 sandwiches

1 can full fat coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
20 chocolate wafer cookies
fresh seasonal berries

Chill a can of full fat coconut milk overnight in the fridge.  To make the coconut whip, remove the can from the fridge and turn upside down.  Open it from the new "top".  You will see a clear to murky liquid on top (the coconut water).  Pour this off into a cup and return it to the fridge to be used for something else.  Scoop the remaining thick coconut cream from the can into a chilled metal mixing bowl and add the sugar.  Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the coconut cream and sugar on high for 3-4 minutes until it's whipped up into a thick whipped cream.

Scoop 2 - 3 tablespoons of whipped cream onto a chocolate wafer.  Top with a second wafer and press them together ever so gently.  Use a palate knife or the back of a spoon to smooth the edges.  Place the sandwich on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining wafers.  Place the cookie sheet in the freezer to chill and set for at least an hour before serving.  Serve with fresh, seasonal berries or gobble them up as is.

Store any leftovers (HA!) in a covered container in the freezer for up to 5 days.

24 June 2014

Rhubarb Bliss Bars + 3 years of blogging

To say things have been busy around here is a bit of an understatement.  The bakeshop is in full swing, the garden has begun to bloom and the book is ready for final edits.  Mark was away for a week recently too and after 7 days without my co-parent, I have a whole other level of appreciation for him, and so much respect for anyone solo parenting.  The days get to be really long without someone to share the load, not to mention having someone to sit down with at the end of the day, share a drink and maybe something sweet and talk.

Now that he's home, and with my crisper full of fresh rhubarb that I harvested from a friend's mammoth patch, I made these bars twice on the weekend: Once to bring to a potluck and again by request for Mark.  We enjoyed them last night after dinner at his mum's and we all went back for seconds. 

As it happens, I've been so busy that I didn't even notice that the blog's 3rd anniversary has come and gone!  I never in my wildest dreams thought that my little summer hobby a few years back would become a blog with such lovely readers, that I would become part of an amazing online community, and that it would even lead to a cookbook.  I love Cupcakes and Kale for giving me the opportunity to share and connect.  It truly brings me so much joy.

And so I thought it appropriate to share this recipe again as I've tweaked it a bit since it was first published in what was my 1st week of blogging.  This version is just a bit more wholesome with the addition of whole wheat flour instead of sifted spelt flour and a little less sugar.  Either way you really can't go wrong with tang of fresh rhubarb, the crunch of walnuts and coconut piled on top of a buttery shortbread. 

Rhubarb Bliss Bars (a revamp of these)
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, divided
1/3 cup confectioners/powdered sugar
1/2 cup cold earth balance
2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar or sucanat
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxmeal+ 6 tbsp water)
3 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tbsp corn starch

Preheat your oven to 350f.  Lightly grease an 8x8 pan or line it with parchment and set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour and the confectioners sugar.  Using 2 forks, cut in the earth balance until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press this into your dish and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, make the topping.  Combine the flaxmeal and water in a small dish and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.  Add the cane sugar, remaining 1/4 cup of flour & corn starch in a bowl and stir to combine.  Mix in the flax eggs and then fold in the rhubarb, nuts & coconut.  Pour this over the crust and spread it out evenly to the edges.  Return to the oven for 35-40 minutes or until set.  Remove from the oven to cool fully, before slicing.

17 June 2014

Adzuki Brownie Bites

I am a girl who loves her beans.  Beans and rice.  Mexican refried beansLentil soup in all its many forms.  Noodles with beans.  Heck, some of my best friends are beans!  Okay - maybe not that last part is true.  I tell you what though, aside from my much loved chickpea blondies that I bake up for Oh My, I really haven't done much in the way of sweet baking with beans. But given my love of chocolate and the full case of adzuki beans in my pantry, I figured some bean brownies were in order.

I love recipes that require only one bowl (in this case the bowl of my food processor) and take less than 5 minutes to get in the oven.  Plus they are so dense and delicious and the beans keep the middles nice and fudgey.

Man oh man, you do not want to pass up trying this recipe.  Leave them plain or top them with nuts or anything else you can dream up.  I have my heart set on trying them with some Dandie's marshmallows next!

These brownies remind me of those addictively yummy grocery store bags of two-bite brownies from my pre-vegan days.

Adzuki Brownie Bites
makes 1.5 dozen

1 14 or 15oz can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 c unrefined cane sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxmeal + 3 tbsp warm water)
optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350f.  Lightly grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin and set aside.  Add the flax and water to the bowl of a food processor, stir and allow it to sit for a couple minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients (except for the walnuts!) to the food processor and mix until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if you need to along the way. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of batter for each brownie into the prepared pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them cool in their pan for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.  (Not that they will last that long.)

Notes: Adzuki beans are really soft, with a sweet undertone which is why they lend themselves so nicely to desserts.  Word on the street is that they also tend to cause less gassiness.  If unavailable I'd try kidneys beans in their place, or old reliable black beans. 

12 June 2014

Vegan Baby: 18 Months

So this post a few weeks late, but I wanted to squeeze in Woodrow's 18 month well baby visit with our doctor so that I could get his official height and weight to share too.

Woodrow`s growth is right where it should be in terms of percentiles with his height falling right about the 50th and weight about 65th.  Although my arms and back would have guessed it to be much higher than that as he`s quite the sack of potatoes to lug around these days!  He is so busy and curious and doesn't want to be worn as much anymore so we've retired the ring sling (sniff sniff...) and just keep our Boba on hand for back carries.

Our days are busy and all about getting out and moving.  Most of the days lately are spent out in the backyard digging, exploring, watching birds at the feeder and splashing in water.  There are several parks close by too so we often hit them up for some swing time.  We finally pulled our bikes out of storage this week and we've been going out with Woodrow hooked up in our trailer too which he LOVES.  He sits in the back all strapped in, and waves to everyone we pass as if he's royalty.  Hilarious. 

He loves attention and will dance or spin in circles to get smiles from anyone.  Case in point: today I took him with me to vote in our provincial election and since we happened to show up at a lull, all eyes were on him.  Woodrow went right for the centre of the school gym and began twirling and waving to everyone.  Leaving without tears was no easy feat.


Weight: 25lbs 1oz
Height: 32.5 inches
Teeth: 16
Naps: 1 midday nap that lasts 1.5-2 hours
Nursing: 6-8 times throughout the day
Words: mama, papa, no, yes, up, ball, bubbles, apple, nanna, more, hello, go, uh-oh
Signing words: milk, all done, more, hot, bye 
Favourite foods: oatmeal with hemp hearts & cinnamon, green smoothies, apples, strawberries, rice, tofu and toast with marmite (I kid you not.)

For the record, Woodrow chose these accessories all by himself.  What a little character.