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!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A new recipe book and 2 new recipes from it!!!

I was browsing the vegan cookbook section of a local bookstore the other day, when I stumbled upon one copy of this cookbook I had never heard of before! It was eye-catching and titled Extra Vegan Za which I thought was quite fun! I definitely didn't need to buy this book but I couldn't resist after realizing that there was only one copy left and I couldn't get over the fact that I had never heard or seen this very appealing book before! I was in a hurry so I just skimmed the pages before heading home with my new cookbook. Once I arrived home and settled later that evening in the bath to look for new inspiration, I realized that this book is by a local author who runs Phoenix Organic Farms B&B, right here in Victoria, B.C.! The book is by this extraordinary lady by the name of Laura Matthias who seems like such a cool lady! She is a field biologist, B&B owner and operator, and organic farmer! What is so amazing, is that she sells a lot of her local, organic produce within the Victoria community and to local restaurants! I read the introduction of this book and learned so much! She has been a long-time vegan and co-bought this piece of land out in the country and had a huge steep climb before her land and house were able to evolve into what they have become. Her determination and love for the environment and animals allowed this vision to become a reality. The highlight for me was learning that she uses chickens and pigs - not for meat but to help her maintain her land without using herbicides and fossil fuels that would occur if she chose to use a tractor! The chickens help to eat the bugs in the garden and the pigs that she has (btw they have the cutest names ever - Paprika and Nutmeg), are used as rototillers, composters and fertilizers! They roam free and happily among her acreage and are treated with love and kindness! YAY!

I haven't been disappointed in the least by this book! It's so much more than a cookbook! Truly inspiring! I can't believe how many recipes are in this book too! The book is separated into three parts (each with quirky, cool titles such as Dessert Island): Part 1 consists of the following: 1) Appetizers, Spreads, Snacks and Dips 2) Soups 3) Salads 4) Dressings, Toppings and Sauces 5) Rice, Grains, and Legumes 6) Pastas 7) Vegetable Matters: Side Dishes 8) Main Dishes and Casseroles 9) Breakfasts, Buns and Breads
Part 2 consists of the following: 1) Cakes 2) Icings and Glazes 3) Pies and "Cheesecake" 4) Pie Crusts 5) Puddings, Mousses and Fruit Gels 6) Cookies 7) Sweet Loaves, Brownies, Cobblers, Crumbles and Oddballs 8) Beverages and Frozen Treats
Part 3 consists of the following: 1) Natural Food Dyes 2) A Glossary of Edible Flowers

Now if that isn't covering it, I don't know what is!!!! I am so impressed with this book and love that I am also supporting a local author, mother, and organic, local farmer who is so passionate about what she does! I am looking forward to visiting her farm, maybe Dan and I will check out the B&B and I am also so excited to test out her recipes! So far, I have cooked two recipes and they were so delicious so I thought that I would give you the recipes to try too! If you are interested in getting this book, I checked and they sell it on Amazon and it's cheaper then the bookstore sells it by $9.00!!! Bonus!

Onto the recipes! The first is a rice dish that is so simple, subtle but beautifully mild flavor and delicious! Enjoy.

Lemon Cardamom Rice with Green Peas - From Extra Vegan Za by Laura Matthias

Serves 6-8


2 cups of brown basmati rice
4 cups of water
1 Tbsp of coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp of lemon rind, grated
1 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of black cardamom seeds, ground
1 cup of green peas, fresh or frozen


Place the rice, water, salt, lemon rind, turmeric and cardamom in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 45-50 minutes. Check to make sure that there is no water left in the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and pour the peas on top of the rice. Cover and allow the peas to cook in the steam for about 5 minutes. Stir the peas into the rice and serve.

The second recipe that I made from this cookbook last night reminded Dan and I of a carrot dish that we love from a local restaurant The Tapas Bar in town (Ally remember that amazingly delicious carrot dish?!!)...anyways, I tried this recipe hopeful, and we were not disappointed! It produced an amazingly delicious and special treaty way to cook our carrots! I am a huge fan of simple, steamed veggies, but sometimes it's nice to spice things up a little when you have company coming or it's the weekend and you just want to try something new! So here it is:

Sesame Glazed Carrots - from the cookbook Extra Vegan Za by Laura Matthias

Serves 4-6 as a side dish


10 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin sticks
2 Tbsp of olive oil (I was out so I used coconut oil)
2 Tbsp of fresh gingerroot, grated
2 tsp of fine sea salt
2 Tbsp of sesame seeds
3 Tbsp of brown rice syrup


In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium. Stir in the carrots, ginger, salt and sesame seeds and saute for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the brown rice syrup and saute for 1- 2 minutes more, until the syrup has dissolved. Remove from heat and serve immediately. *Be sure not to overcook; the carrots are best when they have a bit of crunch left and are still a bright orange colour.

I served a dinner last night to my mom, brother, Dan and Noah that consisted of the 2 recipes I just posted, along with simple roasted veggies and tofu sesame snacks (I have posted the recipe before but if you don't have it or don't have the time to search for it in our previous posts, then I will quickly jot it down again for ya)!

Tofu Sesame Snacks - Recipe from The Planet Organic Cookbook:


1 pkg of extra-firm, organic tofu, cut into strips - use picture above for example
3 Tbsp of Braggs
3 Tbsp of Toasted Sesame Oil
3 Tbsp of Sesame Seeds
Pinch of pepper
1-2 tsp of cumin


Pre-heat the oven to 350'F and prepare the tofu. *You can marinate the tofu with the rest of the ingredients for up to 24 hours if you would like. If I have time or remember I will do this! Last night, I didn't so I just whipped it up right there on the baking sheet!
Once the tofu has been mixed evenly with all of the added ingredients, evenly spread the tofu and leftover marinade onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the tofu over and then place back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes! Serve warm or cold!

*I am so in love with this tofu and let me tell you something...so is everyone that has ever tried this!!! I prefer it when it is more on the crispy-cooked side and I love how my son loves it too! In fact, he ate and loved everything that I made last night! Whoohoo! I put this tofu on salads, use leftovers to just snack on with or without hummus, throw it in stir-frys, use it as a side (like I did last night)...pretty much anything goes!

1 comment: