Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sweet Breakfast Flatbread + Almond Salad + Cilantro/Lime/Tahini sauce

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Mine included some forced relaxation - I have a nasty cold that is cramping my style!
The upside of this: I have time to blog and share of my new favorite recipes.

Starting with sweet breakfast flatbread. Inspired by Oh She Glows' Super Power Chia Bread, this cinnamon-raisin flatbread is delicious toasted and slathered in peanut butter. You can keep it in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days, but I freeze mine pretty much right away and pop a couple of slices straight into the toaster when the craving strikes.

Sweet Breakfast Flatbread: 

- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 3/4 cup oat flour (I just use oats and process them in the food processor for a minute)
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon
- 2 tbsp chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8x8 pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, one going each way (makes it easier to lift out).
Mix all the ingredients except for the applesauce and water. When well mixed, add liquids and stir until combined. The mixture will be quite runny - that's normal!
Pour into the prepared pan and lightly press/flatten with the palm of your hand until the mixture is spread evenly.
Bake for 25-30 minutes and let cool on a rack before slicing into 8 pieces.


Then, we have almond salad. It is a refreshing change from your traditional tuna, chicken or egg salad, and is wonderful in a wrap or pita pocket with raw carrots, peppers and cucumber, although I am sure you will find many different ways to enjoy it!

Almond Salad: 

- 1 cup raw almonds,  soaked for 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 handful fresh dill
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped green onion
- 4 heaping tbsp hummus
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt + pepper, to taste

Combine almonds, lime juice, garlic and dill in a food processor and pulse until almonds are nicely flaked (see picture below).
Transfer to a bowl and mix in all the other ingredients until well combined.


Finally, we have cilantro/lime-tahini sauce. We have been using a variation of this sauce with pretty much everything, from burgers to falafels to a dip for yam fries. It is THAT good. You can substitute the lime and cilantro with lemon and dill and you have yourself another fresh and healthy sauce which would go swimmingly well with salmon, roasted cauliflower and quinoa, etc etc etc.

Cilantro/Lime/Tahini sauce:

- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- salt + pepper, to taste

Give all the ingredients to your best friend the food processor and let him do the work. Process until smooth and voila!


Take care!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dates & Orange Breakfast Muffins

Hello everyone!

Life is tasting especially sweet lately. Yes, I have been doing a lot of baking. In the less literal sense though, I have been feeling especially lucky and thankful. No particular reason - it feels like lots of amazing things could potentially happen in the not-so-distant future, and that somehow makes me appreciate the present even more, if that makes any sense. What is there NOT to be grateful for, really, when we are healthy, when our families are supportive, when I am blessed with a wonderful group of beautiful and brilliant girlfriends, when we live in a warm and cozy home?

Speaking of sweetness, this muffin recipe is sure to brighten up your mornings. I mostly used dates as a sweetener, which pair wonderfully with the brightness of oranges. And, wouldn't you know it, there is a green veggie hiding in there! You cannot taste the zucchini, but it adds moisture as well as a boost of potassium and anti-oxidants.
If you are looking for a healthy muffin recipe to grab on your way out the door in the morning, this is it!

Date & Orange Breakfast Muffins: (makes 12 muffins)

- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 3/4 cup whole pitted dates (if not soft, cover with boiling water for 10mins then drain)
- 1/2 a small seedless orange, peel and all
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1/2 a medium zucchini)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 12-muffin tin.
In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed and water and set aside - it will thicken to the consistency of egg white in 5-10 minute.
In another small bowl, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside. The mixture will curdle and this is the desired effect. Alternatively, you can use buttermilk and omit this step (and omit the apple cider vinegar).
In a food processor, combine dates, the half orange (no need to chop or peel it - the food processor will work its magic), vanilla extract, maple syrup and olive oil.
Process until the mixture is mostly smooth, then add the milk mixture + the flaxseed mixture to it and process a bit longer to combine. 
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just combined. 
Fold in the zucchini and walnuts
Bake for 16-18 minutes and let cool on a rack. 

Before adding the milk + flaxseed mixtures

The wet ingredients

Before folding in the zucchini and walnuts

Have a great week!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Does anyone notice a trend here?

A carrot trend, perhaps? That may have something to do with the fact that carrots are often all that we can find in terms of produce at the Superstore. There is also the fact that I love carrots. They are sweet and healthy - a winning combo in my books.

We came back from a trip to Las Vegas a few days ago, so pardon my lack of recipe experiments lately - I was busy eating out, taking in the sights of the Grand Canyon, walking the Vegas strip, seeing a Cirque du Soleil show and relaxing a whole bunch. Tough life. I am actually amazed at how relaxed I came back from this trip. I usually get a bit frazzled coming back home, finding it difficult to get back into the rhythm of things, unpacking, doing laundry, catching up on my studying etc. Not this time though. I am just happy to be home, excited to be in the kitchen again, and eager to run and even go to the gym.

Seeing the amazing things that the Cirque du Soleil performers do with their bodies inspires me to become even fitter - and noticing how much poor quality food is around (especially in Vegas!) makes me want to eat even better.

Which brings me back to the carrot salad. It is high in protein (from the chickpeas and the quinoa), with lots of healthy fats (from the walnuts and the olive oil), and you get a good dose of beta-carotene (good for your night vision, amongst other things). And if you weren't sold already: it has raisins it it.

Carrot and Quinoa Salad: (serves 4-5)

For the salad:

- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots (3 or 4 large carrots)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup raisins
- a handful of parsley and chopped walnuts, for garnish

For the dressing:

- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- back pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. One package of quinoa usually yields about 3 cups cooked, so you will end up with leftover quinoa if you cook the whole package. It's a good thing in my opinion (quinoa chocolate cupcakes, anyone?). Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, chickpeas, carrots and raisins. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two if you can.
In the food processor, combine all the dressing ingredients and process until smooth.
Mix it all together and garnish with parsley and walnuts.


Here's to a great week ahead!