Good things to eat

Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Savory Oatmeal Cookies

Okay, who are we kidding, they are still called “cookies” for a reason!!

But my problem with things called cookies is that it always conjures up something bad for you, something void of nutrient, something…..silly.

So yes, this is called a cookie and does have many of the ingredients found in traditional cookie, but this one has been jazzed up to pack as much extra nutrients as we can into each little bite.

The other great thing about these is that they contain very little sugar!  BONUS.

If you have been following this blog for any time you will have gathered that I am on a life long quest to find an agreeable substitute to the traditional store-bought cracker!

As tasty as some commercial crackers might be, they inevitably always give me heartburn and usually after I’ve read the package I can tell why!

And some of my home-made cracker experiments have gone better than others but usually turn out to be more suited to people with dietary restrictions who are happy to get whatever they can that they can actually eat.  So compared to “nothing at all” they are fine but not exactly a great snack that you would binge on, if you know what I mean.

But I think I may have finally found what I am looking for with these babies.

They have lots of good for you stuff in them, not too much bad for you stuff and they actually TASTE great!!

Give em a try.

 

You will require:

  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup all whole wheat flour ( or combos of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup golden or regular flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar ( or equivalent of sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt ( little more if you like things saltier)
  • 1/4 tsp baking SODA
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese ( I used old cheddar but parmesan would be good too)
  • 1 egg

Optional but strongly recommended additions:

  • 3 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped herb like rosemary
  • a few turns of cracked black pepper
  • good finishing salt to sprinkle on top

 

Whip out the Mix Master, although a mixing bowl will do just fine and add:

The oatmeal, flax-seed,brown sugar, olive oil and egg, stir together and let sit a couple of minutes till the oats get a bit gooey.

Then add, salt, baking soda, (onions and herbs), grated cheese and mix those thoroughly into the mixture.

Then a few spoonfuls at a time, add in the flour and keep stirring it in till the dough comes together nicely but isn’t too gooey or too dry.  So you might end up using a little more or a little  less than the original cup size asked for.  But the other ingredients can be more or less absorbent, so you won’t know for sure till you are in it.

2014 Summer057

Then you are going to line a baking sheet with parchment and if you haven’t already done so, heat your oven to 350 degrees.

I just used two teaspoons, one to scoop out of the bowl and one to push it off the first spoon on to the tray.  Just like any drop cookie you might make.

Then go over them with a fork and squish them down flat.  They don’t spread while baking like some cookies do, so what ever size you end up squashing them to, will pretty much be their final size.   Then sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt and into the oven they go!

2014 Summer058

Bake for about 25 minutes or until they get golden brown around the edges.

They are delicious immediately or in as long as it takes to cool enough as to not burn your mouth, or let them cool on a rack and then place in an air tight container and keep like you would any home-made cookie.

2014 Summer059

But the best part….to me, they are the answer to my quest for a home-made cracker!  They are great with a bit of jam or some cheese or whatever you like to put on crunchy flat things!!

2014 Summer060

Butter Chicken Pizza

What could be easier than this quick assemble, dreary Sunday afternoon, lunch favorite?

All that’s required is some left over Butter Chicken, restaurant bought, or home made.

  • some Naan bread
  • some melty cheese ( I used smoked cheddar for extra zing)

 

Butter Chicken Pizza010

Place Naan on a baking sheet.

 

 

Butter Chicken Pizza012

Generously cover with the left over butter chicken

 

 

Butter Chicken Pizza013

 

Sprinkle with cheese

 

Bung into oven.

Simple as THAT!!

Butter Chicken Pizza014

I didn’t have any but you could top the finished product with some chopped fresh cilantro or finely chopped red onion……..or whatever you find that you have around.  Make different ones if you like!

Makes a great lunch or light dinner paired with a side salad……

Rice Crackers

How does that saying go?  “Something or other is the mother of invention”?

Well with me, it is “expensive”.  I often come up with some of my best creations after trips to the health food store.  I walk the isles offended that they want to charge WHAT for THAT??

So then I get mad and come home and make my own version.

Today it is rice crackers.  Now with everyone on the gluten-free band wagon, rice crackers are abundant and varied and increasingly expensive.

So I googled “how to make rice crackers” and there were a few variations, but this is what I ended up doing and it was so simple.

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked rice ( I used brown basmati)
  • 1 cooked potato or yam ( see note)

If you like you could just chop and boil the potato or yam, but I decided to roast the yam with a small diced onion like I do in my side dish ROASTED YAM to add a whole new depth of flavour to the cracker.

Then add rice and yams to the food processor.   Whiz them up until coarsely blended.

Then it is up to you what you might want to jazz them up with.  I added:

  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • splash of olive oil

Whiz that up in the food processor till well blended.

Then dump the mixture out onto a piece of parchment paper that is directly on the counter or other flat surface.  Cover with another piece of parchment paper and with a rolling pin, roll the dough out nice and thin.

You may need to do this in two half batches.  With my first attempt it kept squishing out of the sides of the paper because there was too much in there.  You don’t want that.

Then when you have your dough rolled out to a nice size, remove top parchment and then carefully slip the bottom parchment with dough on top on to an awaiting baking sheet.

Use a knife to gently score shapes into the dough so that the crackers come apart easily when baked.

Then put into a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until they are crisp but not browned.

Can it get easier than that??  And for a FRACTION of the price AND they are gluten-free!

BAM!

crackers011

And they turned out delicious, probably my best attempt at home-made crackers yet!

Just make your own

I was thrilled to find out that a new bulk store opened here in Victoria.

It is a franchised chain that I often enjoyed while living in Ontario and I have missed it ever since I left!

I think bulk food stores are great.  Because you KNOW it is the same product coming from the same place that the brand name grocery stores and even health food stores are selling you prepackaged for three times the price!

I buy most of my dry goods in bulk, rice, beans, peas, nuts, spices, flours and then I bring them home and have a collection of jars that I put them into and away I go!  I find it makes my cooking life so much easier and cheaper!

But sometimes if you just do things yourself, you can make things even cheaper!

Like take tamari almonds for instance.

I was at the bulk store with my friend when she announced that she needed some.   “Why don’t you just make your own?” I asked, seeing the considerable difference in price between the tamari almonds and the plain ones.

“How do you do that?” she asked.

*********************************************************************************************************

Well……let me tell you.

You will need:

  • 1 baking tray lined in parchment paper
  • a little bowl or pot
  • about a cup of raw or plain toasted almonds
  • enough tamari ( I just used Bragg sauce) to cover

nuts001

Put the almonds in the bowl and then give a few good shots of tamari.   Not so that they are swimming, but enough that you know everybody will get coated.

Give the nuts a few good stirs, making sure everyone is covered and then let them sit for at least 10 minutes, but longer is fine.

nuts002

Heat your oven to 200 degrees.

When you are ready, stir the nuts a bit more and then spread them out on the parchment covered tray.  Try to give each nut as much space at possible.

Bung them in the oven.

nuts003

Let them dry in there for as long as it takes.   Feel free to take them out and toss them a bit with a spatula.

But you don’t want to take them out until the sauce has completely dried.

nuts005

Once done, let cool completely before putting into an air tight container.

If they aren’t completely cooled, they will get sweaty and then go soft and you don’t want that!

And there you have it.   Tamari covered almonds!

nuts007

PB & Js

Any body who knows me, knows I am a fiend for peanut butter!

So when I heard about THIS place, I had no choice but to visit!!

We were watching a new episode of “Eat Street” on the Food Network, the show about food trucks ( and stands),

all over the land and we saw the one about PB & Js or ( peanut butter and jam ( or jelly) in Portland Oregon.

Nestled in the Nob Hill neighbourhood on the fashionable NW 23rd Street, is this unassuming little “stand” that sells these wonderful grilled peanut butter sandwiches with crazy and delicious fillings!

I marched up to the counter and said “I’ve come all the way from Canada for one of your sandwiches!”   They were thrilled to hear it!

I ordered the “Oregonian” which consisted of marion berry jam, Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese and Hazelnut butter.  While the Chef ordered the “Hot Hood” which was filled with Black Cherry Jam, roasted jalapeno, applewood bacon and peanut butter.

Then we ended up trading each other a half because we were worried the other person’s might be better!

Both were dee-lish although I may have liked the Chefs just a little better than mine.

California 2013 PII086

California 2013 PII087*****************************************************************************************************************

But when I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about the ones I didn’t get to try!  In particular the “spicy Thai” which is peanut butter, sriracha, fresh basil, curry and orange marmalade.

I thought about it so much that I decided I best just try and make one myself!

I mixed up all the ingredients together first ( except the fresh basil) and spread it on the bread, then added chiffonads of fresh basil.   Squeezed the sandwich together, slathered on some butter and on to the grill it went.

sandwich010

Ironically I had just picked up some nice Sriracha sauce on the obligatory stop at Trader Joes.

sandwich014

I did and it was SO delicious, I ate two of them!!   But don’t worry PB & Js, I won’t be selling them off my patio any time soon!

sandwich012

Zucchini Snacks

Even Vegans eat snacks!

I find that sometimes an hour or two after your perfectly healthy dinner of ………whatever and salad……or whatever and rice, you find yourself just a little peckish before the nights end.

Popcorn helps.

And I found a way around the butter problem.   I make up a little concoction of:

  • melted coconut oil
  • dried garlic
  • smokie paprika
  • a little brown sugar
  • bit of salt
  • bit of ground pepper
  • even a dash of Tabasco if you are so inclined

Mix all that up and toss your freshly popped corn in it.

But when I say toss it in it…..I DON’T mean to the point of which everything is dripping in goo.

No, just enough that the oil is the vehicle for the other more intense flavours to have something to help them stick to the corn.   So a light “dusting” if you will.

popcorn

*************************************************************************************************************************

But then I noticed that I had a zucchini that was on his way out.  Just slightly too limp to eat raw and I must confess I am not a fan of cooked zucchini, so what to do?

Well……

I got out my trusty mandolin and shaved that zuck into nice thin slices.

zuccini snacks002

Placed them on a parchment covered tray.

Then I gave them an ever so slight brush of olive oil.

Then sprinkled the first batch with a little sea salt and cracked pepper.   While the second batch got dried garlic and a fairy dust touch of nutritional yeast.   If you’ve never tried nutritional yeast on snacks you are missing out!!  Tastes just like some salty parmesan cheese…..only for Vegans…….I think…….maybe some don’t eat it cause it’s “alive”?  Not sure……but it is delish!!

zuccini snacks003

Bung those in a low 300 degree oven and let them dry up.  Keep an eye because there seems to be a very fine line between perfect and burned.

I hate to admit it…..but I ate them ALL up!  A whole zucchini worth!!  WAY better than some pesky ol Pringle Chips!!

Try em!

zuccini snacks006

zuccini snacks010

Kinda Calzone

I guess to answer my own question of where do people even FIND my blog, I have recently signed up on some site that sends me all kinds of other blogs to read.

I found this one (click here) particularly intriguing, mostly because it was in Swedish!!

It is so interesting how it doesn’t really mater where you are from, people who like food, like food and like to talk about it!

While checking out this particular blog I found a recipe for something called Piroger and thought maybe it might be some sort of Swedish perogi.

Well it wasn’t, but it was a pastry type item filled with a delectable filling……so close enough

I was thrilled to find out that there  is a “translate” button.  I’m not sure if that is something built-in to that particular blogging software or just an internet thing…….but how great!!   So I clicked “translate” and I was in business!

I have to admit that some of the word choices or the sequence in which they are used are a little wonky but at least it gives you a good idea.  So please, I encourage you to not be afraid when you see foreign language food blogs!  You just might find some treasures!!

***********************************************************************************************************************

So I thought I’d give the Piroger a go.    In English they seem to be “Patties with turkey, thyme and paprika” which I admit isn’t quite as exotic but still a nice idea.

I didn’t happen to have any of the ingredients for the filling, but I really liked the idea of baking something tasty inside a bread like bun.

So I started by making up a batch of her dough and letting it sit for 30 minutes, as directed.

Then instead of the turkey filling, I made up a batch of my old favorite Nelson’s Beans and then let them cool right down to room temperature and then added about 3/4 of a cup of parmesan cheese just to thicken them up.

calzone002

What ever you decide to use as a filling and that’s what really excited me about this because I can see using all kinds of different things!  But whatever it is, make sure you make it with a think consistency.   You really don’t want to be putting anything too runny or oozy because it will just be too hard to keep inside the dough!

calzone004

So with my Piroger dough and my Nelson’s beans, I started to assemble my nice little patties.   I did add some salami into some of them because the Chef still likes his meat.

Then, as directed, let them rise for about another 30 minutes, then into a 450 degree oven until they get nice and toasty looking.

calzone005

Serve as you wish.

calzone008

What excites me about these it that they seem a perfect solution to my on going “work lunch” dilemma.   A nice little pocket of goodness that will taste great hot or at room temperature.

Thank you Praline in Sweden!

Going to a party?

Here’s a little something for you!

These are great to make for your own parties but even better to bring to other parties!

Let’s call them “Bacon, leek pinwheels”.

Start with a nice big sheet of store bought ( or make your own,but then kind of defeats the easy factor) laid out and thawed.

Bacon leak roll ups007

Meanwhile in your favorite vessel, cook up about 6 -8 strips of bacon, but cut them into tiny “lardon” strips before cooking.

Bacon leak roll ups001

Once those are well on their way add 2-3 finely sliced ( I used the mandolin) leeks, white part and a bit of the green.  But what ever you do make SURE to wash them before putting them in the pan!!  Nobody needs leak sand in their snacks!!

Bacon leak roll ups004

Cook those down into the bacon.

Then add:

  • a couple of cloves of minced garlic
  • a generous splash of balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of chopped rosemary ( dry or fresh)

Keep cooking that all down till it becomes leeky bacon goo.

Bacon leak roll ups006

Let it cool.

Once it is at room temperature, smear it evenly on to your puff pastry, leaving about an 1 inch band on one side.

Bacon leak roll ups008

Then top the bacon leak mixture with your favorite grated cheese.  I used my good ol Horseradish cheese for an extra zing.

Bacon leak roll ups009

Then cut the whole thing into about three strips along the short side of the pastry.

Then start at the top where the filling is and roll the pastry down till you get to the blank spot, moisten the edge with a bit of water, then press it into the roll and tighten it up.

Bacon leak roll ups010

Now here’s the big “Chef trick” that will make things so much easier!!  Pop the rolls into the freezer for about half hour.  This will firm them up really nice and make them SO much easier to slice!!  Guess who taught me THAT trick??

So once they have firmed up in the freezer, take them out and slice them into about 1/4 inch thick rounds and place them on a parchment paper covered tray.

Bacon leak roll ups012

At this point you can proceed, or pop them into the regular fridge till you are ready to bake them.

When you are ready to go, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Then give them a little brush with a beaten egg and then if you like, sprinkle on some chunky finishing salt and into the oven they go!!

Depending on the speed of your oven, they take about 15 -20 minutes to bake.  But keep an eye on them, you don’t want your party masterpieces to burn!

When they puff up and are golden brown…..they are good to go!

Bacon leak roll ups014

Take out and let cool down to room temperature if you are transporting them.

Or eat immediately…….if you are……eating them immediately!

But this batch was going to a party.

A great thing I love to use to take stuff to parties is discarded baby greens boxes.   They are sturdy enough, have a nice fitting lid and the best part?  You don’t CARE if you don’t bring it home again!!

Off you go to your party……

But a word of caution.  You might want to tell people that they are a savory snack, for some reason at the party I took them to, everyone thought they were cinnamon buns!  But they all got gobbled up none the less!!

Bacon leak roll ups017

Add some “zing” to your popcorn

Now I love nice traditional little butter, little salt popcorn as much as the next person but sometimes it is really nice to just take it up a notch!!

Here’s one of my favorite things to do.   In a small sauce pan add:

  • a good knob of real butter
  • 1 tbsp smokie paprika
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • a few dashes of Chipolte Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Melt that stuff down into the butter till it is all completely liquid.

Meanwhile use your favorite method of making fresh popped popcorn.  I just LOVE my whirly pop popcorn popper!!

Dump the popcorn in a bowl and then immediately pour over the melted butter mixture and then toss like a salad, as fast as you can and try to get as much corn coated as you can.

Serve immediately!

111033

Super Snack

Well, while the others are all chowin down on chicken wings and nachos today during the big game, why don’t you try THIS one on for size!

Supersnack006

What is it they say?  Necessity is the mother of invention?  Or something like that?

I found myself home alone and completely unsupervised so I didn’t really have much motivation to cook myself anything proper.

So I dug around the kitchen and quite accidentally came up with this and what a fine invention it turned out to be!!

Turn your oven on to broil.

Get a baking sheet.

Slap on a piece of pita bread.

Put it under the broiler for a little, just long enough that it toasts a little.

Take out that try.  Turn over pita.

Toss done a handful of baby or chopped arugula for nice peppery taste.

Cover with a few slices of horseradish cheese  ( I suppose a strong cheddar would do but this horseradish stuff just kills!!).

Sprinkle with a few pine nuts or chopped walnut.

Supersnack002

Put back under the broiler until cheese melts and nuts are toasted.

Bam!

Supersnack004

Super super snack!

You could make  a bunch of them and cut them up and serve as party snacks, or do like I did and have it for dinner with a side salad.

So easy!

Supersnack008

Fancy Focaccia

I made a little batch of this over the holidays and found it to be a great little “tide you over” type snack.  Cause God forbid you should go hungry for any reason!

But sometimes you just find yourself in between “feasts” and need a little something.

Holidays 2012039

***********************************************************************************************************

Start with a fairly straightforward bread recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil ( 2 tbsp in dough, 2 later)

Topping:

  • seedless grapes cut in half
  • rosemary

Combine water, sugar and yeast and let sit about 5 -10 minutes until the yeast starts to froth up.

Then if you like, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add the wet stuff gradually.

But I’m really not a fan of dirtying too many things so I just do it all in the mix master machine.

I’m also not much of a “kneady” girl, so again, I let the machine do it.

After the yeast has frothed, add the salt and the oil, then turn on the machine and put the flour in about a cup at a time, stopping to add more and scrape down the sides.

Then with the dough hook, let it go until it forms a nice ball.

OR   do it all the traditional way of flouring a board and kneading it.

Then oil a bowl and drop the dough ball in, turning it over in the oil a bit so it won’t stick.

Then cover with a damp tea towel and put somewhere warm and draft free ( I usually put it in the turned off oven) for about 2 1/2 hours till it doubles in size.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Then,

Once that has happened, brush a 9 x 13 size dish or pan with some more olive oil and drop the ball of dough in the middle.   With your fingers, poke and stretch the dough till it covers the bottom of the pan.

Holidays 2012020

***************************************************************************************************

Then,

Arrange the grape halves as you please, all over the top the dough and then sprinkle with rosemary.

I didn’t on this occasion, but you could also sprinkle with some coarse salt.

Holidays 2012022

Then bung it in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, till golden brown.

Cool on a rack and serve!

It tastes wonderful with some nice Boursin Cheese spread on it!!

Holidays 2012041

Spooky Dip

Okay, so maybe it isn’t THAT spooky, but it IS made with orange and black food!  So I think that counts!

I started by do up a batch of my Roasted Yams but instead of adding my favorite poultry spice to them, I used pumpkin pie spice instead!  And a bit of chili flakes and cumin.

Meanwhile in the food processor, finely squish 1 -2 cloves of fresh garlic.  Then add some rinsed black beans and whiz those up together.

Then I added about a 1/4 cup of plain pumpkin seeds for a little texture and whizzed those in too.

Then the roasted yams.

Whiz them all up till they are mostly creamy with just a bit of chunky bits.

I realized that I have a similar thing I made, only here I just boiled the yams instead of baking them.   Yam Hummus, either way is good.

Now if you are thinking that this spooky dip is kind of light for having black beans in it, you are very observant.

I have a confession to make.  I didn’t actually USE the black beans!  I had some left over in a container in the fridge that I thought were fine, but even after rinsing thoroughly, they were still pretty stanky!!  So I had to open a can of chick peas instead!

So please use caution when using leftovers!  That could put a whole new meaning in Spooky Dip!

Goat Cheese Cakes

Here is a super little snack or appetizer or in this case we just had it with a bunch of dips and a glass of wine for a wonderfully tasty summer supper!

Goat cheese cakes

Here’s what’s in the goat cheese cakes:

  • Goat cheese
  • chopped basil
  • chopped garlic
  • chopped sun-dried tomato
  • chopped jalapeno olives
  • black pepper

Mix all of this very well together in a bowl.  Then take out large spoonfuls of the mixture and make them into little disks or “cakes”.   Then put them on a tray with some parchment paper and then put them in the freezer!

Keep them in the freezer for about 1/2 hour or until they get nice and firm.  This makes them SO much easier to work with.

Then you are going to bread them with the usual process.

  • flour
  • egg
  • breadcrumbs

Then it is time to pan fry them in just a little oil.

Then back to the tray with parchment and into the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes max, just to set them.

Then you are ready to eat!

The Chef told me that he had prepared a salad of “local greens”.  We laughed and laughed, because he just took them from the balcony garden!!  That’s pretty local!

Humus, onion jam, tomato compote

Then we paired them with some lovely tasty dips.

  • spicy humus
  • onion jam
  • tomato compote

I will give you the recipes for these another time!

And then some roasted garlic, assorted olives with crostini and fancy bread!

With a nice glass of wine……nothin beats it!!

Just Because

I don’t really have a very good reason for writing this particular post other than the fact that I have a nice picture to go with it.

The Chef always seems to be very concerned about what I will have for “lunch”.  I haven’t the heart to tell him that most days I don’t actually eat “lunch”  per say.

But he made me these lovely sandwiches.

Don’t you find that sandwiches ALWAYS taste better when someone else makes them??

And don’t sandwiches somehow taste better when presented nicely, with fancy toothpicks and condiments.

Maybe it’s a childhood thing, from when we used to get cute crustless gems.

I don’t know.

Enjoy your sandwich.

***********************************************************************************************

a damn fine sandwich

**********************************************************************************************

Something Simple

Do you ever crave something just so simple it seems silly??

I had just that craving for my lunch.

How simple was it?  Well let me tell you.

I took a slice of my favorite Dimpilmeier rye bread and lightly toasted it.

Then added a generous layer of Boursin garlic flavoured cheese, then a few slices of beautifully ripened tomato.

A few turns of the pepper mill, a little sprinkle of sea salt and I was in heaven!

Tomato and Boursin on rye

Pulled chicken tacos

I seem to have gone taco crazy lately.

Not sure why I haven’t enjoyed them more in the past?  I always tended to be more of an enchilada type girl before, but I am finding the taco experience so much lighter and fresher.

Here are some super easy chicken tacos to try.

Start with a good size heavy skillet and add:

  • 1 onion chopped into small cubes

Saute in a little oil till they are nice and translucent

Then I added four frozen  boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( the frozen part was poor planning on my part).  However boneless chicken of any sort will do just fine.  Then I add just enough water to cover them about half way, then put a lid on  and let them simmer a spell.

If you are using fresh chicken, I would brown on all sides and then follow the rest of the recipe.

Once the (frozen) chicken has thawed in the water and turned white it is time to add the rest of the ingredients:

  • 1/2 jar ( or more) of store bought salsa of your choice
  • equal part of water or stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Mix that in evenly and cover again for about 15 minutes at a slight boil, to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

At this point, test to see if the chicken is done inside by taking two forks and “pulling” the chicken apart.  Resulting in the “pulled chicken” part.

If the chicken comes apart easily, then it is time to add the herbs and spices.   But if you like you can shred up the chicken first, or leave it in the larger pieces and shred it later.  Doesn’t really matter too much.

So then I added and this is just a suggestion, what ever you have, or what ever you like better is fine, but this worked well:

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smokie paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder ( the kind that is more flavour than hot)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ( more or less) of chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt & pepper to taste

And if you wanted to take it up just a notch,  add a couple of tsp of brown sugar.

Mix that all in well, cover again and let simmer about another 10 minutes until you are ready to serve.  Add a little more liquid if it gets too dry.

Now you are ready for assembly

I prepared a bit of a “taco bar” so we could dress our own.  Some possibilities are:

  • fresh made guacamole
  • sour cream ( I added chopped cilantro and hot sauce)
  • grated cheese
  • salsa
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped cilantro

Start with the tortilla of your choice ( warmed or not) and start piling on the fixins!

*****************************************************************************************

Pulled chicken tacos

Happy times!

Salad Wraps

I love, love, love these!

They are easy, tasty and another favorite way of hiding the veggies!

So what you will need for wraps:

  • rice paper
  • mixed greens salad mix or other lettuce
  • cilantro leaves
  • veg cut into strips   ( your choice is endless)

Some choices being:

  • cucumber
  • peppers
  • zucchini
  • carrot
  • jicama
  • basically anything you can cut into a strip
Prepare all of your vegetables before you start.  Then place everything out ready for assembly.
Get a flat, big enough to hold the wrapper, sized bowl of warm water, a cutting board with a clean tea towel on it.
Dip the wrapper in the water for a few seconds till it goes limp.   Practice makes perfect on this.
Lay it out on the the tea towel and line the middle with salad greens then top with your favorite veg.  Being careful not to stuff them too much that you can’t roll them.
Feel free to sprinkle with chopped toasted nuts or sesame seeds or the like.  And the cilantro leaves.
Then roll them up like you would a burrito.  Fold over covering the filling, then sides in, then roll.

Meanwhile………..and this is only a suggestion.  Feel free to use the dipping sauce of your choice…….there are many!

For sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw soaked cashews  or 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cilantro
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy or Bragg sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes

Whiz this up in the food processor.  Add a little water if it is too thick whiz again.  Repeat till you get the consistency you like.

These make a great snack or lunch or make a bunch ( smaller size ones) and they make a great party snack!

Salad rolls with dipping sauce

Kale Chips

I know, I know!  Everybody and their brother are making these right now…..but I was talking to a friend about them who happened to NOT have actually seen them before …. so this is for HER!

These things are great.  So easy, so tasty and SUCH a great way to hide kale!

Here is what you will need:

  • kale
  • olive oil
  • nutritional yeast
  • salt

Start with your kale, however much you want to make.  Start with one bunch to try, in case for some crazy reason you don’t like them.

Wash the kale really well and dry it even better.

Cut, rip, tear however you like, reasonably large bits of kale from the thick stem.  They shrink a lot so what might seem too big probably isn’t.  And if they are too small they might shrivel up.

So with your torn kale all set, drizzle with a good shot of olive or other quality oil.   Toss very well to make sure the leaves are well coated.

Then sprinkle with nutritional yeast.   And mix well again.

You don’t HAVE to use the yeast, but not only does it add extra nutrients, but it gives the kale a wonderful  almost “cheesey” additional taste to them that is quite delightful.

Spread them evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then sprinkle with sea salt.    But don’t go crazy with the salt, just enough to make them “chip like”.

Put them in a 300 degree oven.   Keep a close eye on them.  There are so many variables as to how long they will take.   Basically you want them to be dried “chip like” things but to catch them before they blacken in any way.   If you go too far, it makes them bitter.

So watch carefully!  But let’s say it is a 10 – 20 minute operation.

Unless of course you are making them in a dehydrator which in that case, follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Then enjoy as a wonderful snack.   Or, as we did the other day, used them as a sort of “crouton” on top of a salad!

And feel free to jazz them up with other stuff too.  I have often added a few dashes of my favorite chipolte Tabassco sauce or a few sprinkles of dried garlic…….the combos are endless!

And the BEST thing?  All the money you will save!  I have seen “kale chips” going for like $10.00 for a small little bag at the health food store!

Take that!

Bean and Walnut Burgers

Another thing I have never been good at or shall I say never been able to find a recipe that works for me is “veggie burger” type things.

I always seem to over process the veggie part and then it is always too soft in the middle or falls apart.

But I think I just may have found a combo that works!

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley
  • 1/2 toasted walnuts ( important to toast for flavour)
  • 1 can of navy or white beans (rinsed)
  • 2 eggs

In the food processor, start with the garlic alone and give  it a good whirl to give it a head start on the chopping.

Then add the parsley and walnuts, give them a whirl till they are finely chopped.

Then finally the beans and the eggs.   Whirl them all up till they are chopped and well mixed but NOT completely smooth.

Then in a separate mixing bowl add:

  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 minced green onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon

Mix that together and then add the bean and nut mixture and mix thoroughly.

Shape into patties and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then put them in the fridge for at least half hour to let them firm up.

Then you can either brush them with olive oil and bake them in the oven at 350, turning once, till they are golden brown.   Or pan fry them in a little oil, about 6 minutes per side, again, till golden brown.

Then serve as you would any other patty.  On a bun or on top of salad…..

Veg Pate

For YEARS I have been trying to score a good recipe for Veggie Pate.

But until now have always been unsuccessful!  I have actually only tried a few because most seem to have some key ingredient that I find objectionable, like too much flour or too much white potato or something or other so I don’t even bother.  Or the ones I have made, have been……okay…..but doesn’t taste like “the one”.

Years ago I went to this bridal shower / stagette type event.  The Bride was a vegan so all of the food could accommodate her.  Actually she and her husband to be were both vegans and so the wedding reception was completely vegan too.  This was quite some time ago, so back in the day something like that was considered quite avant-garde!

But back to the shower.  That was the first time I had ever tasted veggie pate of any kind.  And as someone who LOVES stuff that you can put on bread or crackers, I was very intrigued and delighted.  I didn’t care necessarily that it was vegan or vegetarian or whatever, I just thought that it tasted great!

I had asked the lady who made it if she might give me the recipe and she very pleasantly said “sure, sure……..” but to this day have never got it out of her.  I hear from others that she is very protective of that recipe because it is her “signature” dish!

Well finally I found a recipe that works !  And tastes VERY close to that one I tasted so long ago! 

( click here ) for that recipe.

The only changes I made was that I used rice flour ( cause that’s all I had that wasn’t wheat) AND I added a tbsp of poultry spice because I love that stuff.  Other wise I followed it exactly and it came out perfect!

I have frozen some to eat later.  I will let you know how it holds up.

%d bloggers like this: