Meal Prep Hack: Chia Pudding

As I’m a student again and pretty busy, we have consistently meal prepped our food. We’ve very good and successful in doing this almost every week. This has reduced the amount of food we waste to almost nothing, but, more importantly, it has reduced my level of stress dramatically. I hate the feeling I get when I get home from school after a busy day, hangry, nervous and stressed, only to find that there’s nothing ready for me to eat.

One of the things I consistently prep every week is my chia pudding. I’ve been liking this a lot, and my friend La végé d’à côté suggested that I tried this as a healthy snack. Because I’m extra lazy, I prep an entire batch for the week, so that I’m always prepared in case I get hungry.

Here is what you need:

  • 8 tbs of chia whole chia seeds
  • 3 cups of plant milk (I use unsweetened vanilla oat milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Simply mix everything up in a clean glass container and place it in your fridge overnight. I give it a shake when go into the kitchen to make sure everything is doing ok during the first evening. After that it’s ready!

What I do once this is ready and waiting in the fridge: Every night when I prepare my lunch, I place 1/2 cup of chia pudding (it’s about 5 tablespoons) in a small mason jar and fill up the rest with frozen berries (my favourite is frozen dark cherries that I get from Costco: so fancy and delicious!). The next morning, it’s ready to enjoy! I really don’t miss the sugar because of the fruit and vanilla (a nice trick I learned when I went sugar free for two months). I find this super filling, and it makes the perfect snack to bring with me at school. I like that it provides a healthy dose of omegas and fiber. Mainly, I just love how delicious this is!

Let me know if you try it out!

Anne

Zucchini Raviolis, perfect for the BBQ!

Zucchini are so good right now and super cheap too! That’s why I went a little overboard at the farmers’ market and bought a ton. I thought I would try making something summery that would be perfect grilled on a BBQ. Now, I don’t have a BBQ, but I think this would make the perfect addition to your vegan grill.

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These little raviolis are super cute, and you can customize them to your liking by changing the filling. I used some fresh basil for an extra summery touch, but I think sun-dried tomatoes would also be a great option.

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Here is what you need (for 14 raviolis):

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 cup firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, separated in two.
  • 2 tbs ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

For garnish:

  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Red pepper flakes

Here is what you do:

  1. In your food processor, place all the ingredients except the zucchinis and half of the basil leaves, and process until you have a firm, slightly sticky dough. Set aside.
  2. With your potato peeler, make long ribbons with the zucchini.
  3. Take two zucchini ribbons and place them in a plus sign (+). Place one or two leaves of basil in the center with one tablespoon of the tofu filling. Pat to even down and close the zucchini flaps over the filling. Flip over so that the closing of your ravioli is on the underside. Place the ravioli on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Once all your raviolis are done, add one slice of tomato on each one. Place in your oven set to broil for 10 minutes, or grill on your BBQ. Sprinkle some red pepper flakes and fresh basil leaves before serving and enjoy!

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This is really good! The zucchini slices are barely cooked and therefore keep their nice crunch without being soggy. The filling is full of basil flavour and has a very meaty texture to it. The sunflower seeds also give it a nice crunch. Finally, the tomato slice balances out the lightness of the filling and adds a lot of flavour. I love how these look like little parcels of goodness! Let me know if you try this out!

Friendly Dinner

Yesterday night one of our friends came over for dinner. As it was really hot, I didn’t want to prepare anything that needed lots of cooking. After going through our fridge, this is what we made, and it was delicious! I love the kind of meals where you can pick from and variety of dishes, mixing and matching flavours and textures. They are also perfect for when it’s super hot outside because you can make different types of salads. Everyone was happy and well nourished!

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Last night, we made some forest mushrooms, a tomato salad, a lazy guacamole, a simple coleslaw and a yummy hummus. We served everything with some freshly made bagels and olives. It was great!

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Forest Mushrooms

This is the only cooked dish of the lot. Some mixed mushrooms sautéed with some pumpkin seeds and rosemary: it reminded me of fall and a walk in the forest. This would be perfect with mashed potatoes or in a sandwich. It was great with the hummus.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 4 cups mushrooms, use the variety you like or a combination of different types
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan set on medium-high heat, warm up the oil.
  2. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the mushrooms and stir until most of the water is evaporated.
  4. Add the herbs and season to your liking.
  5. Mix well and cook until all the water is gone.

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Tomato Salad

This was fresh and so summery. The walnuts added a bit of crunch to the soft tomatoes, while the sesame seeds added a subtle flavour.

Here is what you need:

  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds: you can toast them if you want a more intense flavour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbs soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Dice the tomatoes and place them in a a large salad bowl with the walnuts and sesame seeds.
  2. Mix together the lemon juice, tamari, maple syrup and pepper. Pour the sauce on the tomatoes and give a nice stir.

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Simple Coleslaw

This is my current favourite salad. I love red cabbage, but it’s even better once is has been tenderized in some lemon juice. Add some grated jicama, and you have the freshest salad in town!

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups grated jicama
  • juice on 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbs soy or tamari sauce
  • pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Mix all the ingredient together and let sit for 30 minutes before eating.

 

I hope these recipes will inspire you for your next dinner with friends. We had a lot of fun mixing and matching everything! It was fresh, simple to prepare and amazing to eat! Let me know if you try any of these out! Oh, and, if you love movies and read French, check out our friend’s blog, Hallu-ciné! It’s amazing!

 

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Sprouts: a few tips

Sprouts are a great way to add flavour and texture to salads, soups, sandwiches and snacks. They are also a great source of nutrients and vitamins, so why not grow them yourself? Well, before you start, there are a few things you need to consider. I hope these tips are useful, and inspire you to start your own sprouts!

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From left to right: radish, buckwheat, alfalfa.

  1. Do you need fancy equipment?
    • No! I use glass jars that I close with cheesecloth. I find that jars are easy to use, simple to store and also cheap. You can always buy fancy, specialized multi-level “sprouters”, but really, a jar is all you need to get started.
  2. Will it take time?
    • Sprouts need attention: you will need to wash them twice a day while they are sprouting to avoid parasites or molds, but also to supply the seeds with their required moisture. Also, the sprouting time will depend on the seeds you are using, but generally speaking, sprouts take about a week to be done.
  3. What seeds can I use?
    • There is a great variety of sprouting seeds available in health food stores and online. I buy mine in a bulk store. I usually go for unmixed bags, but you can try out already made mixes of seeds to get you started and to give you an idea of what seeds you like best. My favourites are alfalfa, daikon, radish, watercress, chickpeas, lentils and fennel.
  4. Are all seeds the same when it comes to sprouting?
    • No! Each seed is different. First, the bigger  the seed, the longer it will take it to start sprouting. Also, some seeds are mucilaginous (like watercress, chia seeds, and flax seeds), so you’ll have to take some precautions while sprouting them. Finally, all sprouts have a different flavour and texture, so it is super fun to experiment and explore cooking with these new ingredients.
  5. How do I sprout seeds?
    • For non-mucilaginous seeds like daikon, chickpeas, lentils and fennel, place two tablespoons of seeds in a jar and let soak in water overnight. Rinse, drain and place in the jar that you keep in a tilted position. I usually use my plate dryer rack to keep my jars stay at an angle. This will help give more seeds access to air and light. Close the jar using a few layers of cheesecloth: the idea is to make sure that air passes, but not insects. Rinse and drain delicately twice a day for a week, or until the sprout is out. You can eat the sprouts when they are just out, or wait for the first leaves (cotyledon) to come out. You can also place your seeds in the sun for the last few days, and they will develop a little green.
    • For mucilaginous seeds like radish and watercress, place one tablespoon of seeds and one tablespoon of alfalfa seeds in the jar. I like using alfalfa seeds because they have a very mild flavour that lets the other seed’s flavour shine. Their role in this sprouting is to absorb the water that constitute the mucilage which will help the seed start sprouting. The rest of the process is the same as mentioned above.
  6. How do I keep these once they are sprouted?
    • I usually keep mine in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep for about a week.
  7. Where can I use them in recipes?
    • EVERYWHERE!

I hope these tips are helpful and will encourage you to grow your own sprouts. They make for a really fun kitchen project with kids, and also add some life to your cooking. Let me know if you try it out, or what your favourite seeds are!

Homemade Granola: Why didn’t I make some of this sooner?

IMG_0750Since I discovered that Bob’s Red Mill was making gluten-free oats, I have been enjoying my overnight oats every morning. But then, I went to Aux Vivres for brunch with a friend and tried out their granola bowl.

This was so good! It really made me craving granola and its delicious crispiness. I was very happy to see that I could find some gluten-free rolled oats. Add a little bit of maple syrup, some coconut chips, sultana grapes and bam! Cripy awesomeness!

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Here is what you need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil or oil of your choice (this really makes it crispy! Feel free to skip this however.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup coconut chips (they look like large coconut flakes. I used unsweetened.)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup sultana raisins

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. In your food processor (or with a rolling pin and a Ziploc bag), pulse the almonds until they are crushed. I like to keep some bigger pieces for crunch, but adjust the size of the almonds to your own taste.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, but keep the raisins out for now.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients and give a good stir.
  5. Spread your granola on a cookie sheet, and put in the middle of the oven. After 20 minutes, take the pan out and stir the granola before putting it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the granola is golden to your liking.
  6. Take it out f the oven, add the raisins, and give a good stir. Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

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This is really good! It is also so easy to prepare and personalize! It goes really well with some milk and fresh fruits, or just as a snack on its own. I have to say that my granola has nothing to fear from Aux Vivres’. I actually think its crunchier and more toasted. I also really like how the sesame seeds add a great flavour, while the maple syrup makes it sweet but not overwhelming so.

Let me know what your favourite granola ingredients out; and if you try this out, tell me what you think!