Maple Glazed Pecans

I don’t have any story to tell you about this recipe. I just love pecans and maple syrup together! These two ingredients are the perfect combination, and it’s even better when you add some ginger to the mix! This recipe takes 20 minutes to prepare, is delicious, and makes for a great ‘mason jar’ gift.

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Here is what you need:

  • 4 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 pieces of candied ginger, cut into small pieces

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all your ingredients and spread in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet.
  3. Place in your oven and mix every 5 minutes. The overall cooking time for these are 20 minutes. You know they are ready when all the maple syrup is really thick (almost caramel like), and your pecans are slightly brown.
  4. Place the pecans in your fridge for 30 minutes until they are completely cooled. Placing them in the fridge makes them crispier.
  5. Once cooled, keep the pecans in an air-tight container.

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This makes for a great snack or nice cream and salad topping. It is crispy, sweet, full of maple flavour and so easy to put together! The ginger pieces also add a little bit of heat and balance the maple nicely.

Let me know if you try this out!

 

Sweet Potato Nori Roll

I love purple sweet potatoes! I also really like nori sheets, so why not combine the two? Add a few little things, and BAM! You have a nice, filling, fresh, and colourful meal that you can customize to your liking (or to your fridge’s content)!

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Here is what you need for each roll:

  • 1 Nori sheet (I get my Nori sheets here because it is a lot less expensive than what I find locally)
  • 1/2 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (I used purple, but you can go with orange if you like)
  • 1/4 avocado in strips or mashed
  • 1/3 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/3 cup flat parsley leaves
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

Here is what you do:

  1. With your fingers or a wet spoon, spread the mashed potato on the nori sheet.
  2. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds
  3. Add the avocado, carrots, parsley and sprouts.
  4. Using your fingers, lift one side of the nori sheet while holding the fillings in and roll it up! You can use a little bit of water to glue the end of the paper. Press gently on the roll to help it stay in place (sushi roll style).
  5. Cut in half to serve.

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Since these rolls are pretty big and the mash I used was cold, I didn’t feel the need to use a rolling mat. The rolls were easy to make and so delicious! They are also very quick if you prepare the ingredients ahead of time. We ate this with some tamari sauce mixed with a little sriracha sauce, and it was amazingly good! I think tomato slices, cilantro, cucumber and kale could also make a great roll!

Let me know if you try it out and how you like it!

 

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Vegan Chocolate Tiramisu

I have to admit, I only had tiramisu once before going vegan. For some reason, however, I was craving the smooth layers of chocolate cake and cream. So I made some chocolate cake, thick vegan cream, a rum-chocolate dipping liquid, and here you go!

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Here is what you need for the cake:

  • 120g gluten free flour
  • 60g almond flour
  • 50g oil
  • 250g almond milk
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the oil, milk and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth.
  4. Use a lined cake mold, and bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick put in the center comes out clean.
  5. Set aside.

For the cream, I used my coconut cream recipe, but skipped the Chai spices.

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For the rum-chocolate syrup, mix 1/8 to 1/4 cup of rum with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and 1 tsp of maple syrup. This is completely optional, but it adds a ton of flavour. You could also use a little bit of chocolate milk.

To assemble: 

  • Add one teaspoon of syrup at the bottom of your jar or container.
  • Place a layer of chocolate cake, add a little bit of syrup, and cover with some cream. Repeat until your container is full and finish with a layer of cream.
  • Sprinkle a little bit cocoa powder on top and serve!

This dessert is best eaten fresh because if you put it in the fridge overnight, it will be thicker and less creamy. Still, this is great! It is full of chocolate flavour!

Let me know what you think, and if you try it out!

 

Simple Curry (for busy nights)

This is the recipe I fall back on when I’m feeling like having some comfort food. It is very quick to make, looks impressive and is really delicious! It also makes for a great lunch!

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Here is what you need:

Part 1: The protein:

  • 1 cup TVP (texturized vegetable protein; I used big pieces. You can find this in Asian grocery stores or in health food stores.)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp miso

Part 2: The sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tbp corn starch
  • 2 tbs tamari or soy sauce

Part 3: The vegetables:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil (you can replace this with some water)
  • 1 minced onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 zucchini squashes
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbs garram massala

Here is what you do:

  1. Dilute the miso paste in the warm water and place the TVP in so that it can soak up all the water. Put aside.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients and put aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan, heat up the coconut oil, and stir the garlic and onion until golden and fragrant. Add the spices and give a good stir.
  4. Cut the zucchinis into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan. Mix well.
  5. Add the TVP and the remaining water and stir everything until well coated in spices.
  6. When everything is cooked and ready to serve, add the sauce ingredients and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy. Serve with warm rice or noodles.

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I really like this dish because I can pretty much make it with anything on hand: eggplant, chickpeas, mushrooms, tofu or even tempeh! It is also very easy to prepare and quite quick to make. It is supper flavourful and so comforting!

Let me know if you give it a try!

Simple Fruit Leather

I really hate to throw away food. When I see that the produce I bought is getting old and will go bad soon, I try to transform it to extend its life to avoid waste. I have to say, however, that meal planing reduces and often eliminates waste as you are only buying what you need. Still, sometimes, fruits or vegetables get forgotten in a corner. This is what happened to two wonderful prunes this week.

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I few hours later, my two wrinkled prunes were transformed into a magnificent fruit leather that is eaten and not wasted. Cheers to that!

Here is what you need:

  • 2 prunes (or any other fruit that is getting old or very ripe: pears, bananas, apples, oranges, etc..)
  • 2 tbs ground almonds (optional but makes it more filling; use one table spoon per cup of fruit)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice (optional but helps reduce browning)

Here is what you do:

  1. Peel and pit your fruit. This makes your fruit leather smoother.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree your fruit and ground almonds until smooth. If you are using fruits that have the tendency to brown (bananas, apples, pears for example) you can add a few tablespoons of lemon juice.
  3. On a lined cookie sheet or on your dehydrator mat covered with silicone paper, spread the pureed fruit evenly. Tap a few times to remove bubbles.
  4. If you are using a dehydrator, set to 145F or 60C and let sit for 4 to 8 hours depending on the thickness. If you are using your regular oven, set on the lowest temperature and keep the oven door open for 4 to 6 hours, checking often to avoid burning.
  5. Once dried up, cut the leather into strips, roll and store in an air-tight container.

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This is really super simple and so delicious! It makes for a great healthy, sugar-free snack that can easily be taken with you anywhere. You can also make it your own by adding nuts or seeds to the mix, or by combining different fruits. the texture of this is similar to fruit roll-ups without being overly sweet or filled with artificial coloring. And really, the hardest part of this recipe is to wait for it to be ready!

Let me know what you favourite fruit is for this or what you do with your not-so-fresh-anymore produce to avoid waste. And if you are looking for a dehydrator, I bought an Excalibur a few years ago, and it’s perfect! If you are in Canada, you can check out Upaya Naturals: that’s where I got mine, and the shipping was super quick.

 

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Fancy (but easy) Mushroom Nest

This week-end I went to Blanc de Gris which is an urban farm specialized in oyster mushrooms. How fun! I was so excited I actually did a cooking test before cooking the whole batch to make sure I would do it right… Well, I’m glad I did because this looked really nice, and it was delicious!

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Look at all these colors! This dish was fresh, savoury, filling and really let the mushrooms be the stars of the show. The grapefruit and clementine salad was so flavourful and brings a really nice texture to the entire plate. It could really make a meal of its own. As for the purple potato mash, well, I’m completely biased about purple sweet potatoes, so let’s just say it was amazing.

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But really, the mushrooms were incredible! So firm, tender and so not mushy. Unlike any mushrooms I have bought before these have a flavour of their own and are not watery at all.

Here is what you need for the strawberry-grapefruit dressing:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit flesh
  • 3 strawberries
  • 3 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (adjust to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the dressing:

  1. Just put everything in your blender and blend until the strawberries are completely pureed.
  2. Keep this is an air-tight container in the fridge. This will stay fresh for about a week.

Here is what I put in the salad:

  • romaine and butter lettuce
  • grapefruit flesh
  • clementine chunks
  • capers
  • avocado
  • shredded carrots

Here is what you need for the purple mash:

  • 2 normal white potatoes (I really need to pay more attention to varieties of potatoes…), about 4 cups once diced
  • 2-3 purple sweet potatoes, about 4 cups once diced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the mash:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them in small chunks.
  2. Boil in water with the laurel leaf until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
  3. Strain and transfer to a big bowl. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes. Add the milk a little at a time until you get the consistency you like.
  4. Add the dried herbs, give a good mix and season to your own taste.

Here is what you need for the mushrooms:

  • 350g fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Crush and mince the garlic and set aside. Separate and cut the mushrooms if they are not bite-sized.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and stir well until cooked through.

To assemble the plate, add lettuce first then all the other salad ingredients around the plate. Add a few spoonfuls of mash in the center and flatten it with the back of a spoon. Arrange the mushrooms in the center and add some dressing on the salad before serving.

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Be ready to impress anyone you are serving this too, including yourself! This is such a fancy-looking plate, so why not try it out?

Let me know what you think and if you try it out!

Thai Zoodle, Fresh and Flavourful!

A few months ago I bought a spiralizer and started really loving zoodles or courgettis. It is so easy to take up a zucchini and transform it into noodles. Since I’m gluten-free, this is the perfect option as it is inexpensive and replaces wheat pastas really well. I really like to make thicker noodles that remind me of udon noodles. To go with this, I made a Thai-inspired stir fry with a glorious peanut butter sauce. Yum!

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I really like how the zoodles keep this dish light, yet satisfying. The creamy peanut butter sauce makes everything gooey and comforting; something you don’t need to feel guilty about as you are basically eating a vegetable bowl. Amazing!

Here is what you need:

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, but use the type your prefer)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbs sesame oil

For the strir fry:

  • onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 200g firm tofu
  • 4 large oyster mushrooms
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (or about 4 to 6 medium size carrots in julienne)
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 tbs water

To serve:

  • 1 spiralized zucchini per person
  • cilantro and thai basil leaves

Here is what you do:

  1. Mince all the stir fry ingredients or cut them to bite size pieces.
  2. In a large sauce pan, add the 2 tbs of water and sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant.
  3. Add the mushrooms and sauté on high heat until their water is out, and they have a nice golden colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the tofu to your pan and stir until golden. You can use a little bit of water or a tablespoon of oil to prevent sticking . Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic back and mix well. Add the carrots and green onions and sauté until everything is cooked. Turn off the heat. If you want to cook your zoodles a little bit, I suggest removing the stir fry from the pan and using it to soften the zucchini noodles by letting them sit in the hot pan while you prepare the sauce.
  5. In your blender, add all the sauce ingredients but the water and start mixing. Add the water gradually until you get a consistency you like.
  6. Add the sauce to the stir fried vegetables and mix until everything is well coated.
  7. Serve a generous amount of vegetables on top of the zoodles and garnish with cilantro and Thai basil.

This recipe is very quick to make and is full of flavour. It is also quite filling and makes for a fun lunch. You can easily personalize it to use the vegetables you have on hand, and you could also add some toasted sesame seeds as garnish. Anyways, let me know if you try this out!

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Corn Chowder, the ultimate comfort soup?

The weather over here has been a little bit moody: rain, snow and fog. Spring is clearly waiting to make a grand entrance. Any day now! (I really hope!) So, with this going on outside, I really felt like some comfort food. And what is more comforting than some chowder?

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This soup does the trick! It is thick, spicy, creamy and simply amazing! It is also extra easy to make and is fairly quick to prepare. I really like that with the corral lentils, this soup makes for a complete meal. How easy!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cans of corn niblets, drained ( I use 341mL/ 12 oz cans, about 5 cups)
  • 2 cups of red corral lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp dark miso paste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp of red chili pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic with 1/3 cup water.
  2. Add the potato chunks and mix well. Let cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the corn and mix well. Pour some water so that the vegetables are just covered. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the lentils and the hot pepper flakes. Give a quick stir. Add 4 cups of water. Let boil on medium heat until the lentils are completely cooked. Remove from the heat. Mix in the miso paste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. With a wand mixer, pulse until most of the potato chunks are creamed. I like to leave some corn and potato chunks whole, but you could of course grind everything up.
  6. Serve hot with some sesame seeds.

You really have to try it out! It is so simple and incredibly delicious! This will definitively be a staple in our house from now on. I made enough so that we could bring some for lunch this week: yum!

Let me know if you try this out and what’s your favourite soup!

Easy Jicama Pasta

I really like jicama! It is great raw in salads: crunchy and fresh, it really adds a lot of texture to any salad. Guess what? It’s also great cooked!

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Paired up with asparagus and pasta, it creates a very easy and fresh recipe for spring, while still being filling and deliciously flavourful! Cooked jicama has a really nice peppery taste that greatly complements pastas.

Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 jicama, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 asparagus bunch, sliced bite size
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • Cooked pasta to serve

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan, sauté the tomato until some juice comes out. Add the onion and garlic. Stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the asparagus and stir around until tender. Add the jicama and mix well.
  3. Add the spices and season to your taste. Add the pasta and give it a quick stir.

This is very simple, but so flavourful!

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The asparagus adds a lot of flavour, but the jicama really brings it to another level and is perfect with the herbs.

Let me know if you try this out!

Vietnamese Food Series!

Last week was my March break week: I have already started a very serious mourning period! I took advantage of the time I had to organize my school work, plan my exams, correct the pieces of work I had collected, and plan all my classes until the end of the year… I wish! I actually am entering a slight panic mode right now thinking about all the work I need to do today to prepare for tomorrow. Huh, teacher life!

I actually really enjoyed the break and spent many days in the kitchen with my mom learning some of her tricks on how to make delicious Vietnamese vegan food! Oh yes!

So be ready for some seriously delicious recipes during the month of March. I am so excited to share these recipes as these are staples from my childhood. Growing up, I was craving these foods and always felt so privileged having such a talented cook as a mom. I’m really grateful to have spent these few days with her cooking and laughing. Thanks mom!