Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Mushroom Pesto + Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes


What a very relaxing weekend this has been. Pancakes (I still haven't perfected the recipe enough to share it), running, reading, coffee, good friends, hiking, studying, and a s**t load of cooking. 

Living here in Whitehorse, we all know that when the Superstore is well stocked, you just have to buy it all, just in case a certain product disappears, not to be seen again for weeks on end. This is the case with cremini mushrooms. When they are around, I just have to buy them. And then the fun starts, when I get to decide on the fate of these poor mushrooms. GET IN MA' BELLY. 
So I made a double batch of lentil-mushroom-walnut balls (recipe can be found here), I made mushroom gravy to go with some mashed potatoes, and I made a kick-ass mushroom pesto. It is great on noodles, and fun on pizza with roasted asparagus and caramelized onions...the possibilities are endless!

Mushroom Pesto: 

- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2/3 cup walnuts, divided into 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste

Roast the garlic and saute the mushrooms until most of the liquid cooks off, about 12 minutes.
In a food processor, process garlic + lemon juice + parsley + olive oil + salt.
Add mushrooms + 1/3 of the walnuts and process until the mixture is combined but still has texture. Add the rest of the walnuts and the black pepper and pulse a few times to combine.


And then....there were cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes. We are talking vegan, gluten free chocolate cupcakes made with quinoa and tahini. To me, they were just a delicious piece of chocolate cake. And trust me, I know my chocolate cake. Face your fear of quinoa and try them - you won't regret it!

Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes:

- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 2 cups cooked quinoa

If you do not have cooked quinoa on hand, cook a batch according to package directions.
In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and refrigerate while you prepare the rest - this will allow the mixture to become gelatinous, the consistency of egg whites.
Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.
In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder + baking soda + salt and set aside.
In a blender, blend applesauce + vanilla + almond milk + maple syrup + flax/water mixture. Then add tahini, then quinoa. Blend until smooth and silky - this may take a few minutes.
Pour liquid mixture into the large bowl and mix with the dry ingredients - do not overmix. Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs clinging to it.

For the icing, I used 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips melted on low heat with 1/2 cup coconut oil. I then refrigerated the mixture for a half hour, added 2/3 cup icing sugar, and whipped until fluffy.
Thanks to the coconut oil, this icing hardens after you refrigerate the cupcakes and gives them some nice crunch!
Of course, feel free to substitute your favorite icing recipe.

Enjoy the snow - yes, we are September 30th, after all - and stay cozy, my friends!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sweet Potato Veggie Chili and Cornbread

Happy Saturday!

Tomorrow will be my last long run (20 miles) before the training tapers off until the marathon. I am getting excited! So I am taking it easy today, running errands, cooking, and drinking tons of water.

I have a little bit of time to share my favorite chili recipe and the deliciously sweet and crumbly cornbread that goes along with it. For the chili, don't be afraid of the long list of ingredients - they are mostly stuff that you have on hand. It was originally a turkey and sweet potato chili recipe, so feel free to add some cooked turkey in there (a good recipe for the day after Thanksgiving).

Sweet Potato Veggie Chili: 

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, finally chopped
- 1/4 cup jalapeno or banana peppers
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, with their liquid
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large sweet potato, diced

In a slow cooker, combine the oil, onion, green pepper, jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder and pepper. Cook on high for an hour, until the onions soften.
Add all other ingredients, and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.


Now, let's talk cornbread. This recipe isn't particularly healthy, but it's quick, easy, and delicious!
I added zucchini to the latest one I made (about 3/4 cup grated, and I decreased the milk by 1/4 cup to account for the extra moisture), but it's just as good without. It's a very forgiving recipe. Enjoy!


- 3/4 cup white all-purpose flour
- 3/4 whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup almond milk (or regular dairy milk)
- 1/2 cup water (add more, 1 tbsp at a time, if batter is too thick)
- 1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir in wet ingredients.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

This recipe also makes 12 muffins - they cook faster though, about 20 minutes.


Stay healthy, y'all!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Flourless Cookies and Portable Oatmeal

Happy Wednesday!

I'm on fire in the kitchen today. I have a chili on the go, I just experimented with a couple of recipes that turned out wonderfully, and I am planning on making zucchini cornbread later today. 
I happen to have mid-week day off to make up for the past weekend worked (which I worked to make up for our visit to the Kootenays). Anyway. This is a very welcome day off. 
We have some crisp blue sky, mild temperatures and bright fall colors outside. Love, love, love. 

The first recipe that I was inspired to create this morning is for flourless peanut butter cookies, which taste decadent while packing a nutritional punch. Each jumbo cookie has about 350 calories and 12g of protein. I try not to count calories - which is tough since I happen to know the calorie content of almost everything - but I thought some of you out there might want to have this information. 

I won't keep you waiting any longer....here is the recipe!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:

- 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup all-natural peanut butter (I used the crunchy variety, but smooth works just fine)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, and drop balls of dough onto baking sheet (I used a silicon baking mat, but otherwise you might want to lightly grease your baking sheet). Flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Let cool completely on a wire rack before devouring! This recipe makes 9 jumbo cookies. 

Before baking

After baking, and before disappearing!


As the Victoria marathon gets closer (less than a month to go!), I am starting to think about what foods I will eat on race day. While training this summer, a big bowl of oatmeal is what has worked best for me before long runs. I found myself wondering how I was going to be able to make good quality oatmeal in my hotel room on the morning of the race. This morning, I had a lightbulb moment: why not make PORTABLE oatmeal? I basically made my usual stovetop oatmeal into a baked and portable breakfast. 

Portable Oatmeal:

- 2 mashed bananas
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups large flake oats

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 4 half cup ramequins (a jumbo muffin pan would work as well). 
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, and scoop into ramequins. Pack tightly. 
Bake for about 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes. 
As soon as the ramequins are cool enough to handle, place oatmeal on a wire rack so that the bottom doesn't get soggy. 

Each dense baked oatmeal portion contains about 300 calories and 8g of protein. You can, of course, play around with the recipe and substitute your favorite oatmeal ingredients!

Enjoy the rest of your week! 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Catching Up

Hi y'all,

Life has been so very busy. You know what fixes everything though? A visit at my in-laws. I get to catch up on down time, family time, and, of course, blogging. I always come home feeling refreshed, refocused, reminded that family is what matters most.

I have been wanting to share a few recipes with you; none of them are my own creation, but all of them are worth trying in my opinion!

To start, let me ask you this: what if the best hot chocolate you ever had did not have an ounce of dairy in it? Would it turn your world upside down? It sure rocked mine.

You can find the recipe here. Hands down, it was the best hot chocolate I have ever had - dairy or no dairy!

Switching gears, this potato and lentil salad is healthy and hearty, perfect as a vegetarian entree paired with a hot cup of soup or as a side to chicken or fish. I have made it many times now, and have no intention of stopping! Click here for the recipe.


Last but not least, I was intrigued by this Super Power Chia Bread recipe. Now, keep in mind that this isn't your typical slice of bread, but it is a dense, filling, nutritious and delicious snack. Slather some hummus on it and top that off with slices of avocado, and you're good to go!

Soon, I will attempt a sweet version of this bread - I'm thinking raisins and cinnamon....I'll keep you posted.

Eat your greens and have a nice week!