Category Archives: Reconstruction

Simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Balls

DSC_0684WHERE DOES TIME GO? I don’t know. But I think it’s better that I don’t…

School really pushed its limits (and my limits) this past month. I’m now on spring break so I’m beyond thankful for that. So to kick it off I made some cute little cookie things. They are the perfect size to just… shove in my mouth while I’m adventuring. They are adapted from Minimalist Baker’s 5 ingredient cookies, but I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate (I know… that’s not something you hear often out of my mouth), so I opted for raisins. Big surprise. One could easily add in any kind of mix in: berries, nuts, seeds, chocolate chunks, other dried fruit… anything really.

They are chewy and naturally sweet! The cool thing is that they;re actually really healthy (no refined sugars and only oats and almond meal!) so they could serve as a pre-workout power boost or as breakfast.

Oh, just a side note: I don’t have a food processor, just a handy lil’ magic bullet. This being said, I didn’t process the oats as the Minimalist Baker recipe recommends, therefore the oats were whole in my cookie. I really liked having the whole oats, but it’s a matter of preference (and what tools you have available!). ALSO, if you don’t want then to be balls, just squish them on the cookie sheet before baking to make them more like cookies.

SIMPLE OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE BALLS: (yields 20)

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter of choice
  • 3/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or mix-in of choice)

Method:

Process the dates, banana, and nut butter until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, almond meal, and salt. Add the date puree to the oats and almond meal and mix until combined. If the mixture is too sticky, add more almond meal or oats one tablespoon at a time.

Add your mix-in of choice and stir until it’s well distributed in the mixture. Cover the bowl and let chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F and grease two cookie sheets (I used coconut oil, but one could also use Earth Balance or grapeseed oil).

Once chilled, spoon out 1 tablespoon balls on to the cookie sheets with about 1 inch in between each ball. Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden and slightly firm (Because there’s no eggs in these babies, they can be as under cooked as you want).

Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container for storage… if any are left over after the feast.

EASY-PEASY! Much love as the days quickly transition from winter to spring (even though we got 30cm of snow overnight which covered the freshly uncovered brown grass…).

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Coconut Surprise Muffins

 

 

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I did a thing.

School is exhausting. I dance all day and I come home and I’m dead. My brain won’t function well enough to create so I usually make a super simple meal and sit and watch an episode of House of Cards, read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, write, or do some housework. Essentially, I’m saying that I unfortunately haven’t had the mental capacity to invent any new and crazy food things. HOWEVER, I’m simple reinventing the golden nuggets I already have (such as the artichoke salad that’s based on the lentil salad!). Also I’ll admit this was created from some stress baking… Moving on… remember the coconut loaf I made a lifetime ago? The one that is heavenly? Well. I turned them into muffins. And I added a surprise in the middle…

 

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For Valentines Day, my parents sent me this AWESOME salted almond dark chocolate bar. It’s so decadent and dynamic (not to mention fairtrade and organic!!). Sometimes things are so good you don’t want to taint them; this was not one of those things. I wanted to give this phenomenal chocolate bar a new lease on life – let it stretch it’s legs and do some good in the world. So I plopped a nice fatty chunk in the middle of coconut muffins. BAM.

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I was inspired by this recipe for coconut muffins, but I (of course) mostly based it off my coconut loaf. I didn’t add dates or maple syrup so the coconut dough part isn’t very sweet, but that’s what makes the chocolate stand out… ya’ know? Whoa, epiphany: coconut coffee muffins – using strong coffee or espresso instead of milk alternative. As for an alternative to the surprise in the middle… good dark chocolate just seems to be the best option! Maybe a couple of berries or nuts or dried fruit? of course you could always add chocolate chips. It’s just that chocolate fulfills all desires. 🙂

SURPRISE: check the very bottom for another surprise.

COCONUT SURPRISE MUFFINS: Makes 12 medium sized muffins (15 small)

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 small ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, from a can
  • 1/3 cup milk alternative (I used unsweetened almond-coconut)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup spelt flour (or all purpose)
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • scant 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 good quality chocolate bar (I seriously mean GOOD quality)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F and prep a muffin tin with coconut oil, or muffin liners (my muffin tin is oddly small so I also greased some small ramekins).

In a small bowl, mix ground flax and water to make the flax eggs, let sit for 10 mins.

In a large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, including the thickened flax egg.

In another large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the coconut. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. The batter will be quite thick.

Fill each hole in the muffin tin half way with batter. You’ll most likely have to use your fingers to squish it into the corners a bit. Place a chunk of chocolate in the middle of each muffin and cover with remaining batter. Squish the batter around the edges to make sure the chocolate is well contained (you don’t want it to pop out and burn!)

Cook for 20-25 minutes until the tops are slightly golden, and spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool for 10 minutes. BUT ONLY TEN MINUTES OTHERWISE THE CHOCOLATE WILL NO LONGER BE ALL MOLTEN OR SURPRISING.

Keep in a sealed container. To reheat, pop them in the oven at 200F for a few minutes (or pop into a microwave for a few seconds).

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HELLO AGAIN! Are you truly still reading after seeing the recipe? Cool! Anyway, to further convince you that I’m not creating much these days but simply reinventing, the above photo is of apple muffins. Remember my fruit explosion muffins?? Yep, I made them into apple muffins using 1 1/2 cup fresh apples and 1/2 cup dried apples. I then topped some with cinnamon, some with walnuts, and some with… you guessed it… raisins.

At this time of year, we’re all exhausted and pissed off and DONE WITH EVERYTHING. But remember that there is baking, and love, and coffee, and dreams, and passions. Being productive is difficult, but small steps still move you forward. If anything, let me inspire you to keep on moving. Even if it’s only a single breath.

Artichoke and Lentil Salad

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Let’s add artichokes to my list of addictions. I will never be able to get enough of them. Initially, I wanted to undertake the great task of using a fresh artichoke. However, I guess I picked an extremely unripe one so in frustration I walked to Provigo and bought a jar of marinated artichoke hearts. It was a damn good idea.

The jar of artichoke hearts I bought were marinated in oregano so this tasted extremely similar to the lentil salad I posted in November, I chose to be lazy and used a bit of the oil they were marinated in as the dressing, and just added a huge squeeze of lemon juice. The major upgrade in this is the addition of a whole ton of fresh herbs.

If you’re like me, you have leftovers up the… yeah. So this comes together super easily when there are cooked lentils ready and waiting in the fridge. I suppose this could also work with a grain such as amaranth or rice (or quinoa!), but it would also work as a starter/ side salad for a bigger meal without the grain or lentils. VERSATILITY! I’ll just admit to being a bit of a lazy “cook/chef/baker” and say that I use whatever is in the fridge. I usually just go grocery shopping with flavours in mind, and get what’s on sale. I’m quite a compulsive grocery shopper… and yet I never buy cookies….. I digress. This salad is wonderful. The solid lentils and the slippery artichokes and the salty marinade/oil rock and lasted well the next day for lunch. 

ARTICHOKE AND LENTIL SALAD: serves 2

  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup cooked french lentils
  • 2 cups spring greens (or spinach, or chard, or kale, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly ripped
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly ripped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons artichoke marinade, (or olive oil with a sprinkle of dried oregano)
  • 4 whole marinated artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

In a large salad bowl, mix all ingredients except the artichoke heart segments, and a few leaves of each fresh herb. Divide the salad into two bowls and divide the artichoke segments equally. Garnish with the remaining fresh herbs and add a healthy grind of black pepper on top.

Lentil Salad

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LENTILS! What vegan doesn’t love them? I used this recipe from 101cookbooks, but I added almonds, hemp hearts and had the lentils on a bed of spring greens (even though it is not even close to spring time…).

This recipe was fabulous. The french lentils held their shape nicely and the simple dressing of oregano, olive oil, salt and lemon juice was satisfying. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are best. (Don’t get me wrong, making an extravagant dish is rewarding, but so is the humble olive oil). I sliced up half an avocado to have on the side with a squeeze of lemon. The amount of lentils I made lasted me for 3 days and it kept amazingly. By the third day, the oregano was super fragrant and delicious.

One last note, this recipe was EASY. Cooked the lentils, and that was pretty much it. I even did an outline for an essay while the lentils were cooking! If you don’t have time to cook your own lentils, no biggie. Just use two cans of lentils and make a little bit more dressing. If you want to learn how to cook lentils, check the note at the bottom!

LENTIL SALAD: serves 2

  • 1 cup dried lentils (or about 2 cups cooked)*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 handfuls of spring mix greenery (spinach, kale, chard or lettuce would also work)
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped

Method:

Rinse the lentils and pick out any stones or weird things. In a large pot, cover the lentils with two cups of water and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered. (Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy.*)

Meanwhile, combine the oregano, olive oil, salt and lemon juice in a small bowl. Put two handfuls of greenery on each plate. Once the lentils are cooked, divide them onto each plate on top of the greenery.

Pour half of the dressing over each plate and garnish with almonds, hemp hearts and green onions. Add some extra salt, pepper or lemon juice (or avocado) as needed! Enjoy.

Much love and many easy meals as November… RUSHES INTO DECEMBER. OMG WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE?

*Note: This is a great resource for how to cook lentils.

Root Goddess Bowl (With Orange Maple Dressing)

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Some serious delicious fall goodness here… I felt like a complete goddess after inhaling leisurely munching this. You can’t tell, but there’s some brown rice under all of that too! Here’s what’s in this bowl:

  • Beets
  • Brown rice
  • Hemp hearts
  • Mushrooms
  • Orange Maple marinated tofu
  • Pecans
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Sweet Potatoes

I don’t know what it is about root vegetables, but they make me feel amazing. Not to mention I love the taste of them roasted in grapeseed oil and sprinkled with salt. When I added all the other fall goodies (the persimmon and pommegranate and cinnamon + maple in the dressing) I was feeling pretty ready for a fire (or christmas…).

This bowl could be made with SO many different things you could do with this. I recently mentioned some other good vegetables to roast (carrots, broccoli, pumkin, squash to name a few) and those would all be great in this. Also roasting the mushrooms instead of having them raw, or marinating tempeh instead of tofu. Any fall fruit (apples, pears etc) would also be a great addition.

Is it a major food blogging faux-pas to use pre-cooked grains in the recipe (“1 cup cooked brown rice”) without explaining how to cook it? OOPS.

Inspired from this and this!

ROOT GODDESS BOWL: (serves 2)

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/3 inch rounds
  • 1 large beet, cut into 1/4 inch rounds or cresents
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 14oz. package of plain extra firm tofu (Marinated for min 1 hr in following dressing)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 large handfuls of greens (I used spring mix, but kale or spinach would work)
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 persimmon, sliced
  • seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 2 tablespoons pecans
  • 2 tablesoons hemp hearts
  • salt

ORANGE MAPLE DRESSING:

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoon balsalmic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt

Method:

To marinate the tofu, cube or slice the tofu (max 1/2 inch thick, thinner is better) and layer into a shallow dish. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the tofu. Let marinate for minimum 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F and prep a baking pan with grapeseed or coconut oil or parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix the chopped roots with the grapeseed oil. Place on the pan, add a healthy grind (or shake) of salt,  and pop into the oven for 35-45 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, layer the rice and spinach, with the marinated tofu, mushrooms and persimmons onto each plate. Add the roasted roots once cooked.

Before serving, garnish with pomegranate seeds, pecans, and hemp hearts. Use the left over dressing from marinating the tofu to pour over the salad. Enjoy!

May the warm roots ground you!

Coffee Brazil Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It’s Remembrance Day here in Canada. So as we remember those who’ve fallen, we can appreciate the life we have by baking some cookies.

You know how I’m generally against refined sugar? Well… these cookies are an exception. BUT THEY ARE PERFECTION. They are soft and gooey and a little bit crunchy from the brazil nuts. For me, I wish the coffee flavour had been more obvious (for a stronger coffee taste I’d use espresso instead of filtered coffee, or coffee extract – because apparently that’s a thing…). The flavour idea came from here, but the way the cookies looked in the photos (and the recipe itself) were not too appealing. So I took a basic chocolate chip recipe from Martha Stewart (don’t judge me) and made it vegan! I also minimally changed some amounts, just to ensure ultimate gooey-chewy-drooley cookies.

Even though I suggest to let them cool before eating them, I didn’t let them cool before I tasted them. I ended up with all the melted chocolate on my hands and face… but… do you think I cared? NOTHING is more satisfying than a fresh cookie where the melted chocolate nearly burns you… nothing.

A few other things: They kept in the fridge REALLY well. They didn’t do too well in transport (because they were so soft). By using water instead of coffee in the flax egg, and by using more chocolate chips instead of brazil nuts, these would be really great PURE chocolate chip cookies. These are decadent.

COFFEE BRAZIL NUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: (makes 12-18 medium sized cookies)

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons filtered coffee (or instant coffee or espresso)
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance (or other butter substitute)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped brazil nuts (about 13 nuts)

Method:

Preheat oven to 325F and grease/prep two cookie sheets with oil or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the ground flax seeds and coffee, set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.

In a large bowl, cream the Earth Balance to make it a bit fluffy. Add the brown sugar, cane sugar, vanilla extract, and coffee-flax mixture; continue to mix until well incorporated. In another large bowl, combine the baking soda, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Scrape the buttery mix into the flour and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips and the brazil nuts until evenly dispersed.

With your hands, make 1 1/4 inch balls of dough and place on the cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. (They should still be a bit squishy in the center when you take them out to ensure maximum chewiness after cooling.) Let cool for 5 minutes on the pans before transferring to a plate or rack to cool for another 10 minutes.

 

For those in provinces with a holiday (Quebec does not), I wish you a joyous day & week!

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Sweet child of mine.

Sweet child of mine.

Okay. Who doesn’t like cinnamon buns loaded with raisins and goo?! I had SO much fun making this loaf. The temperature was perfect in my apartment and so the loaf rose like anarchy in V for Vendetta. The dough was HUMONGOUS. I’m quite positive I annoyed my roommates like there was no tomorrow because I kept on squealing like a pig out of excitement for how beautifully the dough was. Wow. I am so proud of it. And I guess it tasted really good too. However, because it got so huge, it didn’t fit into the loaf pan very well, so I chopped off the ends and baked them in a seperate pan as actual cinnamon buns. Although the buns tasted identical as the loaf, they were WAY too doughy to be good cinnamon buns. The recipe is strictly for a loaf. Funny how the way something is presented changes how good it is…

The recipe is originally from here. I made it vegan by simply substituting milk for almond milk, and butter for Soy-free Earth Balance. I also doubled the amount of cinnamon, and used demerera sugar instead of granulated sugar in the cinnamon swirl part. And instead of an egg in the swirl, I just used some melted Earth Balance.

Oh! One last note… I really loaded it with raisins… because I’m a raisin queen and raisins are my life.

CINNAMON RAISIN SWIRL BREAD: (makes one 9×5 loaf)

1.Dough:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one envelope worth)
  • 1 cup warm milk alternative
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance (or vegan butter alternative)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the barely warm milk and water and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it’s activated (it’ll look frothy). Sprinkle in the sugar, and salt. Gently mix in the melted butter and raisins. Gradually, add the flour, mixing until the dough comes together. It’ll be a bit stringy at first. If it doesn’t come together, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until it does (too much water and it’ll get all gummy and poop). If the dough is too wet to begin with, sprinkle in more flour until it comes together (again, small amounts at a time. Too much flour and it’ll get all dense).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, until elastic. Grease the inside of a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise until doubled. About 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 1/3 cup demerera brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon earth balance, melted

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Punch down the dough before turning it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 9×15 inch rectangle and brush the melted Earth balance on top. Evenly sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture on top. Starting with the shortest end, roll up the dough into a cute little log. Transfer the log into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan and press the edges into the corners evenly. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled for another 40-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. The top will be golden and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from baking pan and let cool before slicing and serving.

Rising baby

Rising baby

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The loaf lasted (longer than expected!!) really well, and I froze a few pieces that toasted up wonderfully. I’ll definitely make two loaves next time and freeze one. All in all, this was a super good recipe. Simple and delectable. Not to mention it was straightforward, with minimal room for error (on my part anyway). I’m just really proud of how well it turned out! I’ve never made a successful yeasty-bread like this!! AH.

Let me know if it turns out well for you too! Also, I image this would be good with walnuts rolled into the swirl. Or subbing dried cherries for raisins (let’s be real, I’ll probably be seen tripling the amount of raisins next time…).

Enjoy the transition into winter with my father’s great advice: “You gotta laugh more.”. Much love.