Baked Oatmeal


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The great thing about vegan cooking, especially in the time of a pandemic, is the know-how to cook with substitutes. There are chronic shortages of groceries, but not the desire to feed ourselves well.

Confined in a distancing bubble with teenagers, the need to eat is frequent – but so is boredom. When every morning has been leftover banana bread, waffles, cereal or a smoothie, I’ve been starting to get some shrugs. It’s been tough trying to please everyone in the middle of the apocalypse.

And yes, it’s only a Tuesday (I think) but I’ve got the time and we’re trying to stay healthy here so, I hit the pantry to see what was new. I got the glaze over when I mentioned oatmeal at first, but when I kept looking, I remembered the frozen fruit stockpiled for those smoothies and a fresh vitamin boost. So, to make it interesting, I realized if I could bake rice, I should do it with the oatmeal too.

I think mostly anything you have on hand could be replaced for the fruit in this.
We’ve been lucky to be part of Foodshare. It’s a great organization that not only delivers fresh fruit and veg to my doorstep every week, it also gives back to support the nutritionally vulnerable. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been surprised with a pineapple, so that was added to the frozen blueberries! You could try banana/blueberry, or raspberry with lemon zest and almonds or hazelnut – or if you have those, hazelnut and chocolate. Go crazy!

 

BAKED OATMEAL

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
1/3 Cup Almonds, chopped
2 Cups Whole Oats
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
1 1/2 Cups Milk (Any kind)
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
2/3 Cup Pineapple, finely diced
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Brown, Raw or Coconut Sugar, for sprinkling

In a small bowl combine the ground flax with 1/3 Cup water and set aside.
Roughly chop the almonds and scatter flat in a 9″x9″ baking pan.
Set the oven to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the almonds to toast (about 5 minutes), while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Peel and dice the pineapple so it is about the size of a large blueberry.
In a large bowl, add the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and toasted almonds.
Pour over the milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and flax mixture. Stir well to combine evenly, then add the diced pineapple and blueberries to incorporate throughout.
Add mixture to the baking pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Cool slightly for about 5-10 minutes.

Skillet Sautéed Brussels Sprouts


These are almost crazy how easy these are. You almost don’t need a recipe. Just a nice hot pan!

People are often pretty shocked to hear that I ever hated any kind of food. I mean, I flew to Noma just for the chance to eat dinner, yet I still have a childhood story of hating something so much, I had to sit and stare at my plate until the lights were turned off.
The battle of the mighty brussels sprout of 1986. I won.

Fast forward to being an adult and again trying to eat everything. While telling my own kids they have to try things at least three times, I had a revelation…

My friends, when you don’t boil a sprout to death, it doesn’t taste like fart!

In fact, brussels sprouts are bitter-sweet and begging for a little heat and acid. They actually make one of the best and quick side dishes around. brusslesprouts

SKILLET SAUTÉED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

25-30 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Chilli Flakes
1/2 Lemon, juiced and zested
Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
Trim the bottoms and thinly slice the brussels sprouts – either a knife is fine, but a mandoline makes it quick.
Heat your cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the of olive oil.
Add your sprouts and don’t stir them right away.  You want a few well browned bits.
Take this time to grab a lemon and zest it over, along with the chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Now stir. There will be some nice charred brown bits and steamed goodness in there. Add juice of 1/2 of the lemon and stir again. They should be about done now. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Feeds 4-6 people as a side.

Hummus


hummusA bunch of us are heading up to my family cottage for the weekend to get outside, enjoy some fresh air and fires to warm up the chilly evenings, oh, and eat.

I make this for just about every gathering, family birthday party or any other excuse snack.
I’ve tried others and this one is it. Simple, light and perfect.

Since there’s company, I’ll pretend I’m fancy and liven this super easy appetizer up with homemade Furikake and a light olive oil.

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning (Furiakakeru which means sprinkle) is meant for sprinkling on rice and other dishes. Mine is a combination of roasted nori, toasted sesame and wasabi powder.

 

CLASSIC HUMMUS

1 15oz Can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), drained and rinsed
3 Garlic Cloves, small & finely minced
1/3 Cup Tahini, roasted sesame paste
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/4 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Combine the drained beans with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. If you find it thick, add 1 tablespoon of water and combine. Taste and adjust your salt as necessary.

FURIKAKE
1/2 Cup White Sesame Seeds
3 Sheets Nori, roasted seasoned
1 teaspoon Dehydrated Onion Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Wasabi Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Sugar

Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame seeds in one layer.
Shake the pan regularly to toast to a medium tan and the seeds become fragrant.
Remove from heat and pour the seeds into a bowl. Add the wasabi powder, salt and sugar, tossing well to coat and cool.
Break up the nori sheets and in the bowl of a food processor, (or just cut the nori into small pieces) combine the nori with the onion flakes and cooled sesame seeds until everything is small and sprinkleable.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

To serve, spread the hummus in a wide, shallow bowl or plate. Using a spoon, create a few swirls and pour over the olive oil. Sprinkle over the furikake.

Charred Roasted Cabbage


Can I say this is a game changer?

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Sweet, crispy, slightly charred cabbage steaks can be served as a main or a side. This humble, healthy vegetable is about to have it’s 15 minutes of fame.

Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. With the rise in brussels sprout popularity, cabbage is the queen mother of the little sprouts, only sweeter! Virtually hands off, this recipe, which is so much quicker and easier to prepare, treats the cabbage steaks in a similar flavour my shredded brussels sprouts recipe, but smoky and crisped! Just a little olive oil and salt to roast, with lemon and chilli flakes to finish.

CHARRED ROASTED CABBAGE

1 head Green Cabbage, sliced into steaks
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon Flaky Finishing Salt, like Maldons
1/4 teaspoon Chilli Flakes, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 450ºF
Remove any loose outer leaves and slice the cabbage in half through the core. Slice each half in half again, creating about 1″ steaks.
Drizzle both sides of the cabbage steaks liberally with olive oil and lay them on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Roast for 8-10 minutes, checking for colour. Reduce heat to 375ºF.
Continue to roast for an additional 40 minutes, or until cabbage is deeply browned, tender and the out most leaves are crispy and blackened.
Remove from the oven and zest the lemon over top and squeeze over the juice.
Sprinkle finishing salt and chilli flakes to serve.

 

Barley Risotto


Returning with something super simple but so delicious.
When first sampling plant-based, I found it easier sticking to familiar things that were already in the pantry. While on the search for various grains to keep things interesting,
I remembered barley.

My mom used to use it in many of her soups when I was a kid. This, of course, makes it an easy favourite for me. It’s hearty and slightly chewy. It’s soft, warm and filling, making it a perfect, but overlooked addition to so many dishes in the winter.

Treating it like a risotto, is a great way to flavour the barley. And in this case keeping it open to so many different flavour variations. It’s no secret that I love spinach, so pair that with some sautéed mushrooms and even a pan fried tofu and this becomes a perfectly satisfying, affordable and easy winter weekday dinner.

BARLEY RISOTTO

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Shallots, minced
1 Cup Pearl Barley
3 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Sprig Thyme, stem removed
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, adding the minced shallots to sweat.
Add the barley stirring well to coat with oil and lightly toast.
Cover with all of this liquid at once. Once the mixture begins to lightly simmer, stir and reduce the heat to maintain.
Add thyme leaves.
Stir occasionally until broth is mostly absorbed and barley is tender. (If more liquid is needed add 1/2 cup water.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Spinach & Mushroom Topping

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
4 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves, packed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil and add the garlic and mushrooms.
Sauté over a medium high heat until mushrooms begin to brown.
Add the spinach, turning regularly to wilt.
Serve hot over top of prepared barley.

Serves 2

MACADAMIA NUT GREEN TEA MEGA BITES


Were you thinking of giving up sugar too? What happens when you give it up and the 3 o’clock crave still hits? Well, I was just asking myself that too…
Since, overconfidently, I thought that giving up sugar resolution would be relatively easy. The quick convenience of sweetened baked goods are so thoughtless and everywhere. Plus, I not the biggest sweet tooth anyhow, and my constitution for perseverance has always been pretty good – however I’ve never tested it for weeks on end.
I’m not sure if it’s the subtle sweetness or the little crunch of nuts, or even the fact that’s these are healthy. They are satisfying and go perfectly with an afternoon tea, or anytime.

Indulgent and decadent these don’t feel guilt-free, but they are.
The first trial batch was Matcha Macadamia with Maca — Mmm.
We all know how great green tea is. Filled with antioxidants, it can help detoxify and elevate your mood.
Maca is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids. It’s said to help balance hormones, and promotes energy.
Collagen is great for your joints, your skin and healing your gut.

See. Healthy treats!

If this wasn’t reason enough, we found a version of these pre-made in the local coffee shop. $1.25 a piece and these are just too easy to have someone else make them. img_0282

MACADAMIA NUT GREEN TEA MEGA BITES

1 Cup Macadamia Nuts
12 Dates
2 Tablespoons Matcha Powder, Green Tea
Scant 1/8 tsp Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon Maca Powder
1 teaspoon Collagen Powder
1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Unsweetened, Flaked Coconut – for rolling

In a food processor or a powerful blender (vitamix), add the nuts and pulse to loosely grind. Add the dates and blend until finely ground, then add the coconut oil to combine.
Add and blend the matcha, salt, maca and collagen powder.
Roll by hand into 1″ balls, then roll to top in the flaked coconut.
Chill for about 30 minutes and store in the fridge.

Makes 12-15