Tag Archives: simple

Creamy Curry Soup

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So. While I like to think I’m an efficient human being who gets her stuff done (and done well), I admit that lately I’ve been slacking. Okay… not slacking but just… not doing anything. Showtime is upon me, which means the end of school (THANK ALL THE DEITIES!), and time feels non-existent. Everyday seems to slip by and I feel like I’ve achieved NOTHING. That being said, at least I JUST completed the second year of my program and SUMMER IS UPON US. So here is a warming soup…

This soup, creamy due to the roasted eggplant, is best served slightly warm, in my opinion. It’s earthy and spicy and crazy refreshing. Not to mention there are SO few ingredients it’s a snap to whip up. I had leftovers over a bowl of amaranth one day, and the next I dipped crackers into it – both were awesome.

CREAMY CURRY SOUP (serves 4)

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder of choice
  • 2 cups water (or milk alternative)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Fresh cilantro, to garnish
  • 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped, to garnish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat the eggplant rounds in the grapeseed oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 8 minutes, until they are golden and quite mushy. Remove from the oven and let cool for five minutes. Remove the skin with a knife (it should peel off easily if it roasted long enough)

In a blender, blend the roasted eggplant, shallot, curry, water (or milk alternative) and salt and pepper. Divide the blended soup into four bowl, do a final test for salt and pepper levels, garnish with cilantro and mushrooms, and serve!

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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…).

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.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

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MY SEMESTER IS FINALLY OVER. Yet I don’t feel any weight has been lifted because I know I have to go back in a few weeks… sigh. I guess all I can do to comfort me is eat some wonderfully warming food (including lots of chocolate).

I know this isn’t very festive, but I’m not in the festive mood. And I had left over pumpkin puree in my freezer. And I was craving a velvety smooth soup. I contemplated having a pumpkin and ginger soup, but I feel a bit over loaded on ginger these days so I used cayenne pepper to add a hearty, spicy punch. The leftovers thickened up very nicely; I dipped crackers and veggies into it like a dip. I also had one serving of leftovers with wild rice and cilantro and pumpkin seeds – pictured at the end (it was nice having something a bit heartier in the soup to add texture, but I liked it better without the rice – maybe on top of brown rice or quinoa would be better?).

SPICY PUMPKIN SOUP: (serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • scallions, for garnish
  • pepper, to taste

Method:

In a medium sauce pan, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat an sautee the onions and garlic until the onions are transparent; about 3 minutes.

In a high speed blender, blend the cooked onions and garlic with the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt until very smooth. (I let the blender run for about 90 seconds)

Pour the puree into the medium sauce pan and warm on medium heat. It’ll only take 3-4 minutes to warm the soup up.

Garnish with chopped scallions and black pepper.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Leftovers with wild rice, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Super Simple Solo Salad – Cranberry Cashew & Kale

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Have you ever had one of those days where you’re just sitting in a moment, questioning where the day has gone? You feel simultaneously worthless and full of splendor. As if you’ve accomplished nothing and everything in this day. It’s peculiar that’s for sure… so in this anomaly of a moment I realized I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and set out to make myself a filling salad. Only having to feed myself is a feat. I struggle with the serving size of a recipe and I too often make either one HUMONGOUS meal or two smaller meals… it’s frustrating to say the least. 

However, for the first time I made myself a wonderful little one serving salad that was quick to make and the perfect size. The cool thing about this recipe, some may say that this is common knowledge, is that you can adapt it to whatever you have in the fridge. Seriously, any kind of vegetables will work! It’s just a matter of throwing it together and shoveling it in your face.

I questioned myself in wanting to post this, but I think it gives a good base for salad making. I go by these simple rules:

  • 90% veggies (with a big leafy green base)/10% fruit
  • top with nuts, seeds or grains (dried fruit is common too)
  • make a dressing that has and oil base (olive oil is my go to), an acidic taste (lemon juice or any type of vinegar) and a sweet taste (agave nectar, maple syrup, honey)
  • Finish with a wee bit of salt and pepper

Salads are the best and easy and fun and nourishing. However, I’ll finish my ramble and let you get on to your own salad creations!!

SOLO SALAD – Cranberry Cashew & Kale (serves 1)

  • 1 medium handful baby kale, or spinach (or greenery of choice)
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1 cremini mushroom, chopped
  • 1/4 of a medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/4 of a pink lady apple
  • 10 parsley leaves
  • 10 cashews, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • agave nectar

Method:

Mix the greenery, radished, mushroom, zucchini, apple, and parsley in a small bowl. Top with the dried cranberries, cashews, a pinch of each salt and pepper and a drizzle of the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and agave nectar. 

If you wish, you can mix the salad again to evenly incorporate everything.

 

Butternut Squash & Tahini Dip

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Again, a simple dish!

This recipe is altered from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem (Again…). Originally this spread was thickened with greek yogurt, and since I don’t eat yogurt, I simply omitted it. I roasted the squash with the skin on and simply peeled it off once the squash was baked. One could eaily remove the hassle by peeling the squash before roasting. However I had an indredibly difficult time peeling it so I simply waited until after it was roasted.

This spread is perfect with any plain or flavoured crackers or in a sandwich or wrap. The roasting of the squash makes it easy to mash into the tahini with a fork so no food processor or blender is required! Plus the coarse and chunkier texture is a great change from the ultra smooth hummus-like pastes I’m used to.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & TAHINI DIP (serves 6)

  • 1 large butternut squash, quartered and sliced into 1/4 inch crescents
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 6 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread the squash on a roasting pan (for easier clean up and easy removal of squash slices, place the slices on parchment paper). Mix the oil, cinnamon, cardamom and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and brush onto the squash. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the squash provides NO resistance when poked with a fork. Remove from oven, and as hot as you can handle, cut off the skin. Leave to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine cooked squash, tahini and garlic. Smash with a fork until it forms a coarse paste.

If you plan on presenting this nicely, spread the dip on a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds, drizzle the maple syrup and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with your favorite crackers or veggies!

I’d love to try making this with mashed chickpeas incorporated. Or I would overcook red lentils and mash them with the squash for an added protein boost. Regardless, this is a crowd pleaser, takes minimal effort, and tastes great. I loved opening my tupperware for lunch and seeing the beautiful spread inviting me to dig in after a long morning of dancing.