We are two individuals, sister-in-laws, and friends who are striving to thrive and be our personal best as well as making our surroundings a better place to live! Connected by faith, family, friendship, photos, and writing, we just want to share our journey with you!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My lunch!

I had to run off to my volunteering position this afternoon, but I was craving a nice salad with that delicious "honey" mustard salad dressing I posted about earlier.

By the way, I also added a convenient "search" bar on the right of the screen. You can search any old recipes and posts by including a few key words! I really know nothing about programming or web pages, but I was able to do that! I've also been tinkering with the look of the site, let me know how you like it!

I was just talking with Jayanna on the phone (literally, she phoned in the middle of the last paragraph). She misses blogging, but is definitely not done! She's had the most hectic month with Dan studying and writing final exams and Jay having to figure out how to pack everything and then move it back to Victoria and then have a Christmas in Victoria, before flying to be in Winnipeg on Wednesday.... all with being pregnant and with a 2-yr old! Anyways, suffice to say, she is busy, but has so many recipes and is excited to share them with you! (She just told me on the phone of a delicious lentil salad she put together for dinner tonight)

After getting through with that business... here was my (delicious) lunch!

A chopped salad with romaine lettuce, cucumbers, red peppers, artichoke hearts and hemp seeds... and...

"Honey" mustard dressing! (in this great little container my mother bought me)

I also had some brazilian matcha green tea to go with :)


Easy Chickpea Burgers

Mmm veggie burgers. These were SUPER quick and easy... and tasted pretty good! I might have added a little more spices, but ran out of time. Serve on a vegan bun, in a pita pocket, or even crumbled onto a salad. You can put the chutney on top or just the usual mustard/ketchup!

Chickpea Burgers

Makes: 4 servings

1 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1 egg substitute
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Buns/pitas/salad ingredients!

-Put chickpeas, scallions, egg substitute, flour, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor
-Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed (the mixture will be moist)
-Form 4 patties
-Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat
-Add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes, and carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more

Notes: I used a blender to process mine (not enough time to pull it out). This worked fine, I had to stop and 'mix' the un-blended chickpeas into the bottom so that they would blend, but otherwise it was quite simple. When you form patties they look like blobs, but once you heat them on the pan they form very nicely (would have taken a pic, but no time... next time for sure!). My mix made exactly 4!

My mom loved hers... you will too!

Spiced Cranberry Apple Chutney

So while I was making these roasted veggies and veggie burgers (recipe will follow this one), I thought I would take on another task of making a chutney. I've always been a HUGE fan of chutney (mango chutney at Planet Organic with the lentil loaf... mmm...) and so I whipped this up! I'm not sure what it's for? I realized this after I made it, but wow does it taste good! It cook be used in sub for cranberry sauce, with any tofu or fake meat, or as a jam? Either way, this was a VERY easy recipe and very delicious.

Spiced Cranberry Apple Chutney

Serving: 48

2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups white sugar
3 Tbsp water
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup pecans (optional)
1 cup raisins
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 pinch salt, or to taste

-Place cranberries, sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil
-Reduce heat to medium and cook until all the cranberries have popped (8 to 10 min)
-Stir in the apple, celery, orange zest, orange juice, pecans, raisins, ginger, cloves and salt and cool over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the celery is tender and the sauce is reduced, about 35 minutes
-Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let the chutney stand to thicken, about 15 minutes
-Serve warm

Notes: I used more than 3 Tbsp of water (how is it supposed to boil with only 3 tbsp?). I did not put in any pecans. I would also add more orange zest (I love zest).


Roast Vegetables

I LOVE roast vegetables. I saw this recipe in Tosca Reno's latest (hardcover) Eat Clean Cookbook (thanks Tosca!) and thought I'd give it a shot. Do you know those days that start off slow, kind of la laing it around, and then you realize you have no time to finish all that you started? Well this was one of those days. I timed out perfectly when to start dinner so it would be ready for 5:30 pm (we had to leave to carol at my grandmothers apartment building, something we do every year, at 6ish). Well, to say the least, I DID NOT have enough time. The kitchen was a mess (I left everything as I went, no time to clean) and I didn't exactly finish everything. These roast vegetables were also supposed to have onion in them, but no time, or space in the dishes, to put the onion! I also would have added a little more zest (more of some spices, maybe some lemon juice?) and drained some of the excess oil (there was a LOT of leftover oil, some was needed during the roasting, but not all of this). I also almost forgot to take pictures! So I snapped a few very quickly, but forgive me!

Roasted Summer Vegetables

Yields: 10 servings (a LOT, I didn't realize this until way after the fact)

2 purple onions, peeled and cut into chunks
3 yellow baby squash or zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into two-inch chunks (I used zucchini)
3 small leeks, whites or tender green insides only, cut in half lengthwise washed well and cut into two-inch chunks (try to keep the layers together for the roasting)
4 small plum tomatoes, kept whole
3 or 4 bell peppers in varying colours, seeded, deveined and quartered
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Several cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press
1 Tbsp dried thyme, crumbled
5 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine
3 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp sea salt

-Preheat oven to 400F
-Prepare baking sheet (I used 2) by lining it with parchment paper
-Combine all vegetables in a large mixing bowl and add oil, garlic, thyme, and chopped rosemary
-Mix well and arrange vegetables on baking sheet
-Lay a few whole sprigs of rosemary over the top of the pan and sprinkle salt over the top
-Roast in oven for 20 minutes
-Turn veggies and roast for 20 more minutes or until done (do not overcook)


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carrot Bread

I love loaves. This one looked great, so I thought I would try it. It was from The Eat-Clean Cookbook (not her recent hardcover cookbook, or her family cookbook, or her book, but the other one) by Tosca Reno (Thanks!). The recipe wasn't vegan (used eggs, milk and honey, but here is the vegan version I baked!)...

Carrot Bread

Makes: 10 servings (1 loaf)

1 lb loose sweet carrots, peeled and grated (this took the most time)
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup flax meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 egg white substitutes
1 yolk substitute
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened soy milk... so my brother could have a taste!)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries

-Preheat oven to 375 F
-Put carrots in a sauce pan in enough water to just cover them and bring this to boil and cook for 5 min
-Remove from heat, drain and let cool
-Place dry ingredients in a medium bowl: flour, cornmeal, salt, flax meal and baking powder
-Whip 'egg' whites until stiff in another bowl
-Put 'egg yolk', oil, honey and milk into a small bowl and mix well
-Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined
-Add whipped 'egg' whites and fold until just combined
-Add dried fruits and cooked carrots and mix until just combined (do not over-mix, or loaf will be tough)
-Prepare a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (or fill a spritz bottle full of olive oil and spritz a little)
-Pour batter into pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean

Notes: This took about 54 minutes (watch it in the end as to not overbake, will vary depending on oven and placement of the pan). Serve this warm and with a little vegan butter or homemade applesauce and it is delish!


Magical Coconut Cookie Bars

Who doesn't love coconut? and chocolate? in bar form? Ok, well, that was lame... but I have a delicious recipe to make it up! This recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero). I just flipped through and landed on these!

Although I LOVE to bake, I've never tried to make a bar or anything with a 'homemade' crust-like thing. So this was definitely 'adventurous', but a very easy adventurous. This recipe literally takes no time to make. The hardest part of this recipe is getting it out of the baking dish (after it's cooled for at least a few hours, or overnight) and then cutting it.

Here you go!

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars

Makes: 24 little bars (I didn't even count how many I cut it into)

One 14-ounce can (regular or light) coconut milk
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted vegan, nonhydrogenated margarine
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips/chocolate chunks
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I used walnuts)

-Whisk together coconut milk and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil
-Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (may form skin, just stir back into liquid)
-Remove from heat and let cool while preparing crust
-Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with parchment paper
-Combine graham cracker crumbs, margarine and sugar in a large bowl and mix well (moisten crumbs completely)
-Firmly press the mixture into the pan, pressing evenly from the center to the sides of the pan
-Pour the warm coconut/sugar mixture evenly over the base
-Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, coconut and nuts (in that order)
-Pat everything down until the mixture soaks the toppings
-Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the coconut is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling
-Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes and then transfer pan to the fridge (cool in fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight)
-Run a sharp, heavy knife along the edges of the pan and slide the cake on its parchment paper out of the pan and onto a cutting board
-Slice into 24 squares and store in a covered container in the fridge (also freeze well, tightly wrapped and allowed to thaw for 20 min before serving)

Notes: This took me about 28 minutes. I would use a tad more graham cracker crumbs next time to ensure a fuller and thick crust (I just mashed graham crackers we had, but you can also buy graham cracker crumbs already made). I also had a little problem with the walnut pieces staying on the top after it was cut into squares. So next time I will make sure to cut the walnut pieces finer and press them more firmly in the pan to soak up the coconut mixture.

These are decadent, rich and absolutely amazing!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Six Months in Sudan

Well life has been pretty crazy over the past year, but I have been trying to get back into reading more (I LOVE to read). This was one book I've been working on and finished a few weeks ago.

It is called Six Months in Sudan. by James Maskalyk. This is a non-fiction account of a fairly new doctor's (from Toronto! Yeah Canada!) journey to a village called Abyei in Sudan and his time working in the hospital there. While he was there he wrote a blog about his experiences. That's a pretty far-reaching statement as this 'blog' is probably not what we might consider to be a blog. He didn't have a lot of resources or time, so the posts that he was able to put up are short and contain the most blunt window into human emotions, suffering and so many things. He then took his posts and expanded them into a fully written novel. For anyone, anyone looking to get into the medical field, anyone interested in third world settings or anyone interested is anything besides themselves, will LOVE this book. Some of the stories are heartbreaking, but often it is also told in an emotionally cut-off way (as is needed by any doctor, but especially by this doctor that has 20x a manageable workload with barely any resources) and sometimes a too-emotional way (not seen by physicians in first world countries, but somehow appropriate in this setting). I'm sure you now have no idea what I am talking about, ha ha, as those sentences made NO sense.

Nevertheless, please read this, it is fantastic.


Coconut Oatmeal Drops

I LOVE these... if you love coconut (me! me!) and chocolate (everyone!) then you will enjoy!

Coconut Oatmeal Drops

(*No-Bake Cookies!)

1/2 cup hemp/non-dairy milk (chocolate hemp milk was used for these)
1/2 cup vegan margarine
2 cups white cugar
6 Tbsp vegan cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp salt

-Pour milk, margarine, sugar, cocoa and vanilla into a pot
-Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes while stirring frequently
-Pour oats, coconut and salt over mixture in pot
-Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper and let harden

Note: These freeze very well

Coconutlicious! Enjoy!

Jam Jam's

A continuation on the Christmas cookie theme... these are my mom's favourite... vegan version!

(Soooo good!)

Jam Jam's

1/2 cup vegan margarine/Earth Balance
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg substitute
2 Tbsp almond/non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt

-Mix all ingredients together, except jam
-Chill dough
-Roll 1/8" thick
-Cut into rounds with 1/2 centerhole
-Put together with 1/2 tsp jam and pinch lightly
-Bake 340 F for 10 minutes



Again, it's been a while. But I admit... I actually do LOVE to blog and to try new recipes (or reform old ones... like this post!). Christmas is always a crazy time of the year for us. There is always an abundance in cooking new and old recipes and of course, lots of baking (especially with the added level of trying to make things vegan). There's always lots of this going on, but not enough time to blog!

Anyways, these cookies are a German Mennonite Christmas tradition! I made them with my mom weeks ago (although not enough time to blog). They aren't usually vegan, but we decided we would venture out and try to attempt vegan Pfefferkuchen! These cookies take time, that is no doubt, so we were a little worried about what we would do if they didn't turn out. To be honest, they are amazing. The vegan version does not taste at all different from the usual version, and they are fantastic. These have always been one of my favourite Christmas cookies... so all those vegan mennonites... and absolutely everybody else... enjoy!


3 3/4 cup flour
4 3/4 Tbs vegan margarine
1 2/3 tsp cloves
1 2/3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamon
7/8 cup agave nectar
7/8 cup white sugar
1 egg substitute
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 oz. water
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking ammonia

-Add sugar and agave to 1 oz. of water in a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently
-Remove from heat once it comes to a boil
-Combine 2 1/2 cup flour with spices in bowl and mix well
-Cut margarine into small chips and blend with flour mixture
-Add boiled sweets and mix
-Wait until cooled slightly and then add "beaten egg" and mix well
-Dissolve cream of tartar and ammonia in 1 1/2 oz. warm water
-Once dissolved, add to dough and mix well
-Add remaining flour to get a soft dough that can be rolled out "paper" thin on a well floured surface
-Knead dough by hand
-Use small shape cookie cutters
-Bake at 315 F for 5-6 minutes on parchment lines cookie pans
-They are meant to be a crisp cookie (think... cracker... mmm... good crackers... pfefferkuchen crackers...)
This is paper thin. I'm not sure if you can understand how thin it needs to be... but it can never be too thin

This one was probably too thick... everybody likes a variety!


This recipe has been passed down and changed too many times to know (this is a pic of the non-vegan, usual version, but wow does this paper look old)

The finished product!