Sunday, 14 April 2013

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a few years. It's always changing depending on what I have on hand, but always tasty. I love doing healthier, veggie versions of traditional dishes, especially Newfoundland food, because that will always have a special place in my heart. I think Shepherd's Pie originated in Scotland, but we share many similarities in our traditional cooking.

Shepherd's Pie is one of those dishes that taste better the next day, after all the flavours have had time to  soak into everything. That's one reason why I love casseroles, it's so easy to make enough to last the whole weekend (This particular one didn't last more then 24 hours, though. It was that yummy.)

Vegan Shepherd's Pie
serves 5

3 medium potatoes, cubed (equals about 3-4 cups)
1-2 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance)
1-2 cups veggie stock
1 chopped small onion
2 minced garlic cloves
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup dry TVP
1/2 cup dry red lentils (optional, but I like the extra protein)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste


1. After you have your potatoes chopped, add them to a stock pot of boiling, salted water. Simmer until tender (about 10-15 mins).

2. Meanwhile, start another pot with 2 cups of water for your red lentils. Once it's boiled, add your rinsed lentils and reduce to a simmer. They don't need to be fully cooked, they'll finish cooking while in the oven, so about 15 mins on the stove top should be fine.

3. When your potatoes are done, save some liquid at the bottom of the pot after you've drained them for your mashed potatoes. Add the butter and start mashing! I used a splash of unsweetened Almond Milk so they were a bit creamier. Salt & pepper to taste.

4. Add the chopped onion, garlic and carrot to a saute pan with a splash of oil. Cook about 10 mins, until tender and fragrant.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375. Add your tvp to the bottom of your casserole dish, and rehydrate with 1 cup boiling veggie stock. Let it sit for 5 mins, then add your onion, garlic, carrots, (drained) lentils, corn, and seasoning. Mix everything together (Or layer it if you prefer, I think it taste better when it's mixed) Add enough veggie stock so it just covers everything. The TVP and lentils will soak up a lot of the liquid, so keep that in mind.

6. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the mixture as evenly as possible. Slightly smooth it, and score with a fork. Bake about 30-40 mins, if your mashed potatoes don't have a crispy top, then broil for 5-7 mins before taking it out of the oven. Let sit for 10 mins, then enjoy with some beets and mustard pickles!

Coming up: The recipe for my favorite pickled beets!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Vegetable Curry Casserole

This is one of my go-to easy recipes. Casseroles are great when they're done right, they should have lots of different textures and flavours. You can put almost anything you want in a casserole, so they're convenient for using extra produce that's about to go off.

Vegetable Curry Casserole

2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 small yellow onion
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup veggie stock
1 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp curry paste
1/2 tsp cumin
2 garlic cloves 

It doesn't look that impressive, but what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in flavour.

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Sautee your chopped onion and garlic in a pan with about 1 tsp oil. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Set aside. 

2. In a stock pot mix together the coconut cream, veggie stock, potatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 mins then add the broccoli, onion and garlic. 

3. Add the pot mixture and chickpeas to your casserole dish. Make sure everything is well mixed. Add extra liquid if it doesn't cover the vegetables and chickpeas. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs (sometimes I drizzle oil over the breadcrumbs) and bake for 20-30 mins (until your breadcrumbs are crispy and veggies are tender). Let it sit for 10 mins before serving. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Spicy Green Lentils

What's not to like about lentils? They're quick cooking (30-40 mins), and there's no need to soak them over night. They're so cheap, they're practically free and they go with almost any meal. If I may quote wikipedia: "Lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp." If you have a predominately plant-based diet, you should make lentils one of your favorite foods.

Spicy Green Lentils

3/4 cup dried green lentils (red won't work for this recipe)
1/4 cup of salsa
3 cups of water 
2 garlic cloves
1.5 tps taco seasoning
.5 tps cumin
salt & pepper to taste

1: Saute your chopped garlic in some oil in a small pot. Once fragrant add the dried lentils and water. (make sure to rinse them before hand).

2: Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Add extra water while cooking if it seems low. Add seasoning and salsa and simmer for another 10 mins.  Garnish with plain yoghurt, or whatever you like.

I enjoy these lentils:
On top of spicy oven baked hash browns (bed of spinach optional)
On a taco
In a salad
Blended then spread on toast (yum!)

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Fat Free Pumpkin Cookies

Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year, and most of that has to do with the food. Pumpkin is so versatile and delicious I wish I could have it fresh all year round. For the other 10 months of the year I have to settle for the canned stuff, which isn't too bad.

Adapted from this recipe

Fat Free Pumpkin Cookies

makes 12-16 cookies

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 and 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or less)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 sea salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) 
(The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup dried cranberries, which I didn't have, but recommend.)

Other optional ingredients: 
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Fold in chocolate chips (and dried cranberries, if you're using them.) Fold together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined - do not overmix. The cookie dough will be very thick.

3. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets and slightly flatten to the shape you want your cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container.

Even though these cookies have no butter or oil, they're nice and moist. I'd like to modify this recipe so they're even more pumpkin-y.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

2 cups cubbed potatoe
1 cup chopped carrot
1/5 cup frozen corn
1 cup cooked yellow eye’d beans
1/2 cup edamame
3 garlic cloves
1 white onion
1 tsp cooking oil
5 cups vegtable stock
.5 tsp tumeric
pinch of cinnamon
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 heaping tbsp salsa (optional)

ONE: Peel and chopped all your veggies. Sautee onion and garlic in oil until fragrent and translucent. Add them to slow cooker.  
TWO: Add veggies, stock, and seasoning to your slow cooker. Set on HIGH and cook for 3 hours.
THREE: Make sure to soak your beans in cold water, over night. Start a pot on the stove with 4 cups of water. Rinse the pre-soaked beans and add them to your pot. Cook according to package instructions. I cooked mine for 50 mins on a low simmer.
FOUR: After your soup has been cooking for 3 hours, add your cooked beans. Cook for another 30 mins then add corn,  edamame, salsa and vinegar. Top with some no knead bread. Serve!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Crumbled Tofu & Spinach Salad

Sometimes when cooking tofu I can be lazy. That's why I'm glad I discovered this "technique" (I'm using that term loosely.) Crumbling your tofu into a heated, oiled pan, is the quickest and easiest way I've found to cook it. Usually I'll press my tofu before this, but let's be honest, who always has time for that?

Crumbled Tofu & Spinach Salad
1/2 cup tofu crumble
1/2 cup chopped apple (I used gala)
sliced red onion
handful of chopped almonds
handful of dried cranberries

1 tsp hemp oil (olive oil would do)
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
splash of dijon mustard and lemon juice

1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Crumble tofu into the pan and saute for 5-7 mins, until beginning to brown. Stir periodically. (I like to add some balsamic vinegar and honey to my tofu right before it comes off the pan, but that's optional.)

2. Add dressing to your jar, after tofu has cooled, add it as well. Then the chopped apple, cranberries  almonds, onion and fill the rest with spinach.

More Salad!

Mason jar salads are a trend I can get behind.

Asian Noodle Salad
1/2-3/4 cup cooked rice noodles
1/3 cup edamame
1/4 cup each of grated cabbage and carrot
handful of peanuts

(there's no wrong way to make this sauce, it's according to your taste, so play around with it)
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
1 tsp soy sauce
hot water


1. Whisk together sauce ingredients, gradually adding hot water depending on desired thickness .

2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Defrost edamame. Assemble salad. Enjoy at a later time!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Mason Jar Taco Salad

I guess mason jars are the new tupperware. I have to admit, I love seeing the rainbow layers of a nice jar salad, verses an opaque container. You need a separate bowl to dump the salad in, which is the only draw back. Sometimes I pack them lose, so it's easier to eat.

fills 2 jars
1/2 cup of corn
1/3 shredded broccoli
4 tbsp graded cheese (Daiya works as well) 
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 handfuls of spinach

Extra dressing:
1 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp salsa

I made the extra dressing and kept it in a separate container. If you have enough sauce from the beans you don't really need a separate dressing.

I don't think this recipe needs it's own "Directions" section. It's pretty self explanatory. 

And now I don't have to worry about tomorrows lunch.

Blueberry Banana Soft Serve

Banana soft serve is a classic, easy ice cream replacement. You can eat it by its self, or over your favorite waffles (that's what I did)

1 frozen pre-chopped banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 frozen strawberries
1/2 cup almond milk (depending on how thick you'd like it)
splash of vanilla 

-Chop the banana and place it in a freezer bag. Freeze over night.
-Place all ingredients in your blender or food processor. Blend! :)

Your soft serve should be really thick, similar to ice cream, depending on how thick you'd like it, adjust the amount of milk accordingly. 

Banana soft serve can be made in so many ways. Chocolate and peanut butter; mango and coconut milk, strawberry kiwi, and so on and so on.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Vegan Waffles

Ok, so waffles! If you enjoy making your food by cooking it with two mini irons, then I suggest you invest in a waffle maker. I picked mine up for $5 at the thrift store and I've never looked back. They're less messy then pancakes, and there's something fun about eating gridded food. Waffles can be sweet or savoury, so I say we start making waffles the new trendy side dish. 

Vegan Blueberry Waffles:
Serves 3
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk substitute
1/2 cup water 
1 tsp vanilla 
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup blueberries 

-Mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. 
-Gently stir in milk, water, vanilla and oil. Fold in berries.
-Prepare according to waffle iron instructions.

"I'm also great with chocolate chips!"

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

White Bean Hummus

 I like experimenting with blending different beans (my life is exciting) and seeing the different types of  textures you can get. White beans have been one of my favorite. I have a big bag of dried white beans, so be prepared to see them a lot on this blog.

2 cups cooked white beans
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup salsa (optional)
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

-Cook white beans according to package directions. 
-When they're cool, place everything in your food processor or blender, except the salt and pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Season to taste. 

You can use this hummus on a sandwich, wrap, with crackers, vegetable dip, endless possibilities! :)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Warming Roasted Vegetable Soup

I really love peasant food. I think if one day I could afford to buy whatever groceries I pleased, I would still be making the same type of food I do now, I'd just buy more variety. I love one pot dishes with simple whole ingredients. Oats, stew, chili, tacos, and lentils are some of my favorite things to eat, and it goes to show you don't need to spend a ton of money to eat delicious, healthy food.

I also hate chopping vegetables, so it's easier to say my food is "rustic", then to actually learn how to chop properly.  Maybe one day I'll teach myself to julienne, but that's not today.

Warming Roasted Vegetable Soup with crispy chickpeas

1 small turnip (about 2 cups chopped)
2 medium carrots
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup split yellow peas
6-7 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin

Crispy Chickpeas:
(start marinating the night before)
1 cup chickpeas (pre cooked, or canned)
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tsp curry paste
2 tbsp canola oil (for cooking)

- Pre heat oven to 350. Chop turnip and carrots into 1.5" pieces (The turnip make take longer then the carrots, so you can chop then a bit smaller if you like), coat in oil, and put in oven safe dish. Roast for 30 mins, or until golden and soft. 

-While vegetables are roasting start a stock pot on the stove with coconut oil, onions and garlic. Sautee until fragrant and translucent. Add broth, spices and split peas. Simmer for 30 mins. Add roasted vegetables, coconut milk, and vinegar, simmer for 15 mins.

-Let soup sit for 20 mins before blending. 

Crispy Chickpeas:
These are so easy, and you can use them to garnish anything from salads, tacos to soup.

-Marinate the chickpeas in sriracha and curry paste overnight. 

-Heat oil in a saute pan and add chickpeas (drain the chickpeas of the marinade before you add them to the oil or it will spit a lot.) Cook for about 7-8 mins on medium heat, or until desired crispiness.  Sprinkle over soup! Or anything else that suits your fancy. 

There's nothing more comforting then a bowl of soup this time of year.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Zucchini Cake

Zucchini cake is one of my favorite things to bake (In reality I think I like eating it more then baking it.). Normally I would try and do some kind of icing, or drizzle, but I was pressed for time when taking these photos. 

Have some zucchini you need to use? Put it in a cake!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp  nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup each vegetable oil and milk (I used Almond Milk)
2 tsp  vanilla
1-1/2 cups  grated (unpeeled) zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, (optional)

In bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

In separate bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla. Stir in zucchini, and walnuts (if using). Pour over dry ingredients; stir just until combined. Scrape into greased pan.

Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven for 1 hour or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.

"I'm also good with chocolate chips!"

Monday, 28 January 2013

Breakfast Trail Mix Cookies

Ok, so these cookies aren't exactly "healthy" breakfast food, but they're a nice break from my normal meal of oats and fruit. You could probably make these even healthier by substituting the butter for mashed banana or apple sauce. I'll probably experiment more with this recipe because these came out really delicious.

1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup trail mix (I used equal parts chocolate chips, dried cranberries and peanuts)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup room earth balance (or real butter)
1/4 cup water
1 flax egg (or real egg)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp nutmeg

-Preheat oven to 350*F.
-Mix all dry ingredients together, then do the same with the wet. Add The wet to dry.
-Bake for 12-15 mins, until cookies are firm enough to transfer.
-Cool on a baking rack, and then store in an airtight container.

These cookies would also be great with 1 tsp orange zest.

Adapted from this recipe

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Smoothies are my number 1 favorite food! They're great for breakfast, a mid afternoon snack, or, if made right, can qualify as a dessert :)

This isn't the most original smoothie I've made, but it's still a classic.

serves 2

7 medium strawberries
1 pre chopped, frozen banana
1 cup almond milk (or another milk sub)
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1/2 cup water
splash of vanilla

Blend & Enjoy!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

No Knead Bread

I love baking bread. It has saved me a ton of money, and it's unbelievably easy to do. If you're frugal like me, baking bread is one of the best money saving tips I can suggest. Each loaf costs me under a $1 and requires minimal effort.

Some of my favorites:
- 0.5 cup raisins and 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 0.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp orange zest with 0.5 cups dried cranberries and 1 tsp cinnamon 

This particular loaf is just plain, but it still tastes delicious

makes one loaf
1 cup whole wheat flour
2.25 cups bread flour
1.25 tsp salt
.75 Tbsp active dry or instant yeast
1.25 cups warm water

STEP 1: In a large pot or bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, yeast, salt, and seasoning if you're using some). Stir until everything is evenly combined.

STEP 2: Add the warm water (or cranberries if you're using them) to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is moistened. If the mixture does not form a cohesive ball of dough (no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl), add more water 2 Tbsp at a time until there are no more dry bits.

STEP 3: Loosely cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for two hours. 

STEP 4: After two hours, sprinkle a little flour on the dough and your hands and form the dough into a smooth ball. Prepare a baking sheet with either parchment paper or foil and a generous sprinkle of cornmeal. Place shaped dough ball on the baking sheet and let rise for 1 to 1.5 hours or until double in size.

STEP 5: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. With a very sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes across the dough from one side to the other. Brush the dough with water and then bake for 30 minutes. Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mini Cupcake Cookies

I have to admit, the only reason these cookies came about is because I ran out of parchment paper to cover my cookie sheet. So I improvised with my mini muffin tin and some liners. 

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from this recipe

  • 1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg (or 1 flax egg)
  • 1-1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 


  • In a small bowl, cream peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add oats, cinnamon and baking soda to creamed mixture; mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.

  • Drop a tablespoon of dough 2" apart onto greased baking sheets; flatten slightly. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 dozen.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Easy Peasy Black Beans

This black bean recipe is my go-to for an easy, almost pre free, meal. I do several variations depending on what I have on hand, but here's the one I did yesterday.

Easy Peasy Black Beans

1 19oz can of black beans
3/4 cup of salsa
1/2 cup of water (or stock)
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp chopped pickled hot peppers
1 tps taco seasoning

1. Saute your chopped garlic in some oil in a small pot. Once fragrant add your drained and rised black beans.

2. Add salsa, and gradually add water as needed (I prefer mine to be a bit thicker) Add your seasoning and hot peppers. 

3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15- 20 mins.

I like to enjoy these beans in many different ways: 
Over rice
In a burrito 
Added to scrambled eggs 
Taco Salad
By themselves :)