Thursday, August 30, 2012

On Vacation

My little girl Huxley was born on August 12 so I am taking a bit of a blogging break while we get settled as a family of three!

Photo's by the lovely Carling Ashley Photography

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Foodie Pen Pal

I participated again this month in this really cool group called Foodie Pen Pals. The way it works is you sign up and at the beginning of the month you are assigned someone else from the group. You get in touch with that person to check if they have any food allergies or dislikes then (while not spending more than $15) you put together a little package of goodies and send it off. Someone else will do the same for you and when you get your package you take a photo and blog about what was in there.

This month I received a package from Deanna at Coastal Storm. You should definitely check out her blog. These are all the goodies I received:

1. Blueberry Jam - which I have been using pretty much everyday
2. Awesome no nut granola which I intend to use in some cookies once the heat dies down a bit here.
3. Hemp Hearts - I love the packaging
4. Young & Smylie Licorice - Deanna mentioned that this was her families favourite. I put it out at a get together and no one could stop eating it. The licorice is super soft and yummy.
5. Homemade granola bars - I barley got a picture of these because they looked so good I wanted to eat them right away. Trust me they are delicious. Deanna also sent the recipe for them so I will make them soon and blog about them so you can enjoy them to (There is a non-vegan version on her website)
6. Luna bar - Yummy!
7. Fruit Source bar - These are my favourite snack!

Thanks so much Deanna for the awesome package.

If you want to participate check out the The Lean Green Bean blog for more info.

And if you want to see the package I sent this month head over to to check it out.

The Lean Green Bean

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vegan Pineapple Sorbet & Blueberry Curd - Secret Recipe Club

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned a lovely blog called Manu's Menu written by the Italian born Manuela. This blog has it all going on. The recipes are varied, the pictures are lovely, and there are a ton of regional dishes from Italy, Australia and India!

Manuela is Italian, married to an Indian, living in Australia so her culinary background is pretty diverse. You should definitely check out her blog as there are a lot of yummy looking recipes.

There were a number of dishes that I wanted to try and veganize from Manu's Menu, including this yummy looking yogurt cake and this dish of cannelloni. However it has been extremely hot here in Montreal pretty much this whole month. Hot enough that the idea of turning on the oven makes me feel queasy. Plus being 8 months pregnant does not really add any motivation to bake anything. So in the end I decided to go with something cool and refreshing Pineapple Sorbet and Blueberry Curd.

For the sorbet I decided to add some fresh mint that is growing on our balcony and man did it add a nice flavour to the dish. Isn't it a pretty colour?

I also veganized the original blueberry curd recipe by cutting out the eggs and replacing with a bit of corn starch. Thank Manu for the tasty recipes.

Pineapple Sorbet with Fresh Mint
Adapted from Manu's Menu 

2 cups pineapple, chopped
8 Tbsp sugar
1/2 water
2 sprigs of fresh mint

In a blender blend pineapple, sugar, and water until smooth. Chill mixture for an hour. Once chilled, add mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the manufactuer's directions. Meanwhile, julienne the mint leaves and add them to the ice cream maker in the last 2 minutes.

Transfer to a container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

Vegan Blueberry Curd
Adapted from Manu's Menu

1 pint of blueberries (Fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup of water
6 Tbsp unsalted vegan margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp corn starch
pinch of salt

In a medium pot cook blueberries and water over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until blueberries burst open.

Using a fine mesh sieve starin the mixture. Be sure to press the blueberries with a spoon to make sure you get as much of the liquid and pulp out of them. Discard the skins and put the liquid/pulp aside.

Using the same pot, whisk together the sugar and margarine. Add the cornstarch, the blueberry liquid, and the salt.

Whisk over medium heat. Allow the mixture to simmer but not boil for 5 - 7 minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon and will thicken more as it cools.

Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge. Serve over ice cream, on toast or with cake! Yum.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hazelnut Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus

Originally this post was suppose to feature delicious homemade gnocchi, however after carefully reading a recipe and crafting beautiful little pockets of goodness I put them in simmering water to cook. And it was disaster. I ended up with a huge pot of potato water. So now this post is about the pesto I made to go with the gnocchi.

Hazelnut Pesto

1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts without skin
1 - 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender. You may need to add more olive oil or some water to help with blending.

To serve I roasted some cherry tomatoes in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes and saute some asparagus and peas with a little lemon juice.

Once my pasta was cooked I tossed it with the pesto mixture and served with the tomatoes, peas and asparagus.

This dish would be amazing with homemade gnocchi!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vegan Banana Bread

I have to say this banana bread turned out to be one of the best banana breads I have tried. Sometimes I really feel like banana bread but I don't have super ripe bananas (you know the ones with all the brown spots) but I usually go ahead and make the recipe anyway and it is never banana-y enough. This time though my bananas were very ripe and I love the way the recipe turned out. Go figure.

Vegan Banana Bread
Adapted from the Post Punk Kitchen

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temp
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup soy milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 8×4 bread pan with non stick cooking spray, or if you have a mini loaf tray prepare this instead.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

Cream together the Earth Balance and sugar. Add bananas, soy milk mixture and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for an hour to an hour 10 minutes or if using mini loaf pans bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Monday, July 9, 2012


If you have never tried dukkah then you are in for a real treat. It is an Egyptian side dish containing nuts and spices. You can use if for a lot of different things like a spice mix or serve it as a dip with some bread and olive oil. Just dip the bread in the olive oil and then into the dukkah. So good and easy to make.


2/3 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Crusty bread or pita, to serve

Toast hazelnuts in a dry skillet until browned. If the skins are still on pour nuts into a dry dishtowel and rub until skins come off.

Toast sesame seeds until brown and set aside to cool.

Toast all spices in a dry skillet until brown and fragrant shaking the pan often. About 2 minutes. Let cool.

In a spice grinder (I have a coffee grinder that I use to grind spices and sugar) or mortar and pestle grind nuts to a course powder and do the same with the spices. Mix nuts and spices with whole seasame seeds and then add salt and pepper to taste.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Serve with a good quality olive oil and bread. Just dip the bread in the olive oil and then into the dukkah mixture. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals

This  month I participated in this really cool group called Foodie Pen Pals. The way it works is you sign up and at the beginning of the month you are assigned someone else from the group. You get in touch with that person to check if they have any food allergies or dislikes then (while not spending more than $15) you put together a little package of goodies and send it off. Someone else will do the same for you and when you get your package you take a photo and blog about what was in there.

This month Rana from got my name and sent me this awesome package full of vegan goodies. Here's what was in there:

1. A lovely note explaining what was in the package
2. Rana's favourite granola which looks so yummy.
3. Gogi Berry Tea from David's Tea (I haven't even opened this yet but you can smell the yumminess through the package!)
4. Agave sticks - how cool are these? They remind me of those flavoured honey sticks you could get as a kid. Rana suggests using them toog  stir into the tea.
5. Vegan chocolate that tastes like milk chocolate - I can not wait to try this!! I miss milk chocolate sometimes so this looks like a real treat.
6. A tea infuser to use with the tea Rana sent

How awesome is this?? A big thanks to Rana.

If you want to participate check out the The Lean Green Bean blog for more info.

And if you want to see the package I sent this month head over to to check it out.

The Lean Green Bean

Monday, June 18, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Vegan Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

Another month and and another Secret Recipe Club post. (Each month members are assigned another person's blog which they must look through, choose and make a recipe and then blog about it).

This month I was lucky enough to be assigned the awesome Wifes with Knifes blog written by Cathy. Cathy actual sells homemade granola, trail mix and roasted nuts at a local farmer's market (What an awesome job!) and she has a ton of really great recipes on her blog. The photo's are lovely and the recipes look just scrumptious. I had a hard time choosing the recipe I would use this month - These granola cookies really stood out along with this banana cake and snickerdoodle bread (See a lot to choose from). In the end though I had a pint of blueberries in the fridge and thought that this blueberry buttermilk cake would be tasty.

I made a few subsitiutions to make the cake vegan and it seriously turned out so good. I think this might be one of the best cakes I have made when starting with a non vegan recipe. The texture was perfect very much like a coffee cake - so all you vegans out there take note - use this as a base recipe and add whatever fruit or flavour you like to change it up. Thanks Cathy for the great addition to my kitchen.

Oh and I don't think I have mentioned it yet but P and I are pregnant! The baby is due in mid August and here is a photo of my belly.

Vegan Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Wifes with Knifes

1 cup non-dairy milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water
1/2 cup vegan margarine, room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon zest
7/8 cup sugar (or 3/4 plus 2 Tbsp)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp sugar for topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 inch square cake pan.

Make "buttermilk" by mixing non-dairy milk with the apple cider vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes.

Cream margarine with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flaxseed mixture and vanilla and beat until combined.

Meanwhile toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Then fold in the blueberries.

Spread batter into pan (the batter will be very thick). Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Homemade Vegan Cookie and Cake Mixes in a Jar

We have been on a homemade present kick lately so when it was time to celebrate one of our good friend's birthday P and I made these super cool "vegan treats in a jar".

These are great gift ideas and are really simple to make. It also helps that P is a graphic designer so he was able to make these awesome labels but they would be just as cute with a little hand written instruction card.

To make the gifts just choose your favourite cake or cookie recipe that doesn't have a huge list of wet ingredients. We choose vegan chocolate cake, vegan chocolate chip cookies and vegan brownies for the mixes. Then in a glass jar layer all the dry ingredients that the recipe calls for. On an instruction card include the wet ingredients and measurements the person will need to make the mix and the method and cooking instructions for each recipe. Then package it up all nice and pretty and give away to some lucky people.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vegan Cranberry & Lemon Bread

This month's Secret Recipe Club assignment was awesome. I was given Christina's blog Mele Cotte (Baked Apple in Italian). Christina blogs about a lot of desserts which is right up my alley and her pictures really show off all the beautiful things she makes. I highly suggest you head over to her blog to check out all her awesome stuff. Plus if you want to learn a little Italian she give you all the recipe titles in Italian as well!

I was really excited to cook something from Mele Cotte and after much debate I decided to try this cranberry bread but with my own twist. Christina uses orange and walnuts in her bread but I had a whole bag of Meyer lemons in the fridge and no walnuts. So this became a vegan Cranberry and Lemon bread. It was very delicious and not to sweet. Good alternative to banana bread.

Vegan Cranberry & Lemon Bread
Adapted from Mele Cotte

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 6 Tbsp of water
½ cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
1 ½ cup fresh/frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, and zest. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and add juice, flax seed mixture, oil, and milk . Mix only until combined, being careful not to over mix.

With a wooden spoon, stir in cranberries. Transfer into the prepared pan. Bake for about an hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the bread from the pan. Allow to cool completely on the wire rack.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Homemade Vegan Artisan Bread

I am not sure if there is anything more satisfying than making your own "staples". These are the things that you would normally buy at the store for convenience sake but when you make them at home I feel a real sense of accomplishment.

I had tried making bread before a few times but it never turned out or rose properly. Finally I threw my old yeast out and got some new stuff. Worked like a charm! I found this recipe on Ethnic Vegan and it turned out pretty well.

Artisan Bread
Via Ethnic Vegan

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet yeast (~ 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. sugar
3 1/4 cups organic, all-purpose unbleached flour (if using whole wheat or bread flour, increase the amount of water by 1/4 cup) plus a bit more for dusting
3/4 Tbs. coarse kosher or sea salt
Olive oil

1. Mix 1/4 cup of the warm water with the yeast and sugar. Let stand for about 8 minutes until yeast is foamy.

2. Add remaining warm water. Mix flour and salt in until well incorporated (try adding the flour 1 cup at a time). Dough will be "wet" or rather sticky. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp dish towel, and let rise for 2 hours in a warm, draft-free area. (I turn the heat on my oven for a minute or two then turn it off and let it cool a bit while mixing the dough then let the dough rise in the oven which is warm and draft free)

3. After the dough rises, place it on a tabletop lightly dusted with flour. Divide dough into two small rounds if desired, or just make one loaf. Add a little more flour if the dough is sticky and hard to work. Sprinkle flour on top of dough, and tuck sides under to create desired loaf shape(s). Place dough on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Allow it to rest for approximately 40 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 450° and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown.The bread should sound hollow when you tap on the bottom. Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vegan Lemon Curd

I came across this Vegan Lemon Curd recipe on the blog Lunch Box Bunch.  It came together really quickly and was super tasty. P could not stop talking about it and we ate it on some home made bread, on pancakes and just out of the jar. I think mine was a bit firmer and next time I would cook for less time but other than that it turned out great.

Vegan Lemon Curd
Via Lunch Box Bunch
makes 1 1/4 cups

1/2 cup soy milk, plain
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp corn starch
6 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
5 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
pinch of salt
optional: 1/8 tsp lemon extract

In a soup pan, dissolve the corn starch in the cold soy milk and water.

Turn heat to medium-high and continuously stir the mixture. Add in the buttery spread, lemon juice and sugar and continue to stir until mixture starts to bubble and thicken.

Reduce heat to low and beat with a hand-held beater for about 90 seconds.

Transfer mixture to serving dish and refrigerate until chilled. Store in fridge and eat within 2-3 days.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vegan Split Pea Soup

This split pea soup is really tasty and super comforting. We are working on a pretty tight budget right now and until our CSA basket starts up again we are trying to use up some pantry ingredients. I had two big jars of split peas in the cupboard so I made my own version of a recipe from the Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen.

The recipe below has been doubled from the original and should serve 4 for dinner. Also I find this soup needs to cook for a good few hours so usually I make it a day before or start it in the morning.

Vegan Split Pea Soup
Adapted from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

1 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 onions, coarsely shopped
3 large carrot, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tsp smoked paprika
10 cups vegetable stock
3 cups green/yellow split peas, rinsed (I use half green and half yellow)
Freshly ground black pepper

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add oil, onions, carrot, cabbage and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, and paprika and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the stock and split peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 - 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

When ready serve with your favorite biscuits or bread.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vegan Spicy Chocolate Pudding & Iced Chai Tea Latte

This is my Secret Recipe Club post for April. For those of you who don't know the Secret Recipe Club is this great group of bloggers that each month get assigned another food blog from which they must try a recipe and blog about it on reveal day. Anyway it's a lot of fun and this month was no different.

I was assigned the lovely Cooking in Stilettos (Which I have to say is one of my favourite blog names of all time). Aly is super passionate about food and has many awesome looking recipes to try. In fact I couldn't decide this month so I made two recipes from her blog.

I choose two somewhat spicy but cooling recipes both of which turned out great. They were super easy to vegan-ize by just replacing the regular milk with non dairy. Thank Aly for the yummy-ness with your Mexican Chocolate Pudding and Iced Chai Latte.

Vegan Spicy Chocolate Pudding
Via Cooking in Stilettos

1/2 cup organic sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups non dairy milk
2 Tbsp vegan margarine
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Whisk together sugar, molasses, cocoa, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and milk in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often, then boil, whisking, 1 minute.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and cayenne pepper.

Pour into serving dishes and cover the surface of the pudding with cling film to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours. If you want garnish with some grated dark chocolate and orange peel. Enjoy!

Vegan Iced Chai Tea Latte
Via Cooking in Stilettos

1/4 cup of loose tea or 4 tea bags
2 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp. black peppercorns
3 green whole cardamom pods
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 whole star anise
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups non dairy milk
2 tbsp. turbinado sugar

In a mortar and pestle crush the peppercorns and cardamom pods.

Over medium heat, add water to a medium saucepan and add crushed cardamom pods, peppercorns, cinnamon, star anise, and ginger. Bring to a boil for one minute and then add the tea. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the milk and return to a simmer. Sweeten with sugar to taste and remove from heat.

Cool chai to room temperature. Once it is cool, pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher. Discard the tea and spices and refrigerate chai.

To serve, fill glasses with ice and pour the chai over the ice.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vegan Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I have been making a lot of oatmeal cookies especially with almond butter lately. I think I am craving peanut butter cookies but since P hates peanut butter I don't think that would go over so well. These cookies were super tasty and moist but didn't have the almond butter kick I was looking for...the quest continues. 

 Vegan Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies
From Alien's Day Out
Makes 24 - 26 cookies

1/3 cup natural, smooth roasted almond butter
1 Tbs non dairy butter
2/3 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup chocolate chunks

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond butter, non dairy butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until everything is smooth and creamy. 
  3. In another bowl, sift together flour, soda and salt. Add the rolled oats.
  4. Combine the wet with the dry, and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chunks
  5. Drop large spoonfuls of cookie dough onto baking sheet and slightly flatten with your fingers.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until set. 
  7. Remove sheet from oven and let cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cookie rack.