Friday, May 29, 2015

FINN CRISP Thin Crispbread with Kale-Basil Pesto

Let's talk about crackers. Do you like crackers? I LOVE crackers. I don't know what it is about them exactly but they excite me. Haha!

Somehow FINN CRISP must have known about my love of crackers because they reached out to us and we got a few boxes of their Original Rye Thin Crispbread. Okay, these are crispbreads and not crackers but same sort of idea. I was going to compare them to Melba Toasts but they don't exactly have that mini toast appearance and they are much thinner and crisper. 

They have awesome texture! The best part about it is that they don't crumble apart when you bite into them! SUPER! They're sturdy and crunchy. You could load these babies up real well with toppings and they would definitely withstand it. They've got a great rye flavour. It's strong but not overpowering.

The one thing I will warn you against is scarfing these down quickly, otherwise they'll cut you up. They'll cut up your throat.

You can use these crispbreads to make some appretizers but they make a great accompaniment to a plate of veggies for a healthy snack, too. They'll high in fibre and that's just marvelous. 

In the first picture I topped the crispbread with Daiya Plain Cream Cheese and a kale-basil pesto, plus cherry tomato.

Kale-Basil Pesto
adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook

1 garlic clove
2 stems of kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, the ones that come in oil
1 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt

Place the garlic clove in a food processor and pulse 'til minced. Place the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed in between pulses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Veggie Delight in Kensington Market, Toronto

So, we were SUPER bummed when our favourite vegan burrito joint closed it's doors this past March. To say the least. But, now not so much. Wanna know why?

Two words: Veggie Delight.

The name of the place that's taken over both the old Hot Beans location and our hearts.

We stopped by on Friday to check it out but a sign on the door said they were sold out. Did we let that stop us from opening the door to ask if we could take a peek at the menu? NO! And am I ever glad we didn't! The owner/chef took the opportunity to give us a sampling of the four different proteins (Jerk Seitan, Chickpea Curry, Split Pea Roast, and the fourth involves red beans) they offer and let me tell you my taste buds were smiling from ear to ear. 

The menu is broken down into three categories: proteins, carbs, and veggies. You can mix and match between the three groups. Everything is non-GMO and made from scratch - even the coconut milk!!! I saw the coconuts in the fridge. Also, each meal is a complete meal and completely flavourful! He's all about making sure things are seasoned and flavourful and he definitely delivers.

Here are my wonderful pictures of us dining al caro (that's fancy for eating in your car). Luckily, he still had some split pea roti left, so we were actually able to buy something after all. Above is the Split Pea Roast in a roti with cabbage and carrots. Ummmm I don't even know how to describe the fabulous deliciousness that is the Split Pea Roast. There's a sauce that goes with it that I think really puts it over the top but I can't remember what it is made of :P

Here is the Jerk Seitan in a roti with cabbage, carrots, and Flax Rice. Another amazing option that is also so wonderfully delicious I can't even describe it!

The owner/chef (I never got his name) is so passionate about serving satisfying, flavourful, and nutritious vegan food; it was so inspiring to hear his food philosophy and we REALLY appreciated the little exclusive sample session. 

We'll definitely be back for more!

So, there you have it. Not a super informative post but hopefully one that intrigues you enough to check out Veggie Delight. It is SO good.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

GAH!! I love chewy cookies and these cookies are perfectly chewy with just the right amount of crisp around the edge.

Despite being peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, the peanut butter flavour isn't that obvious. The peanut butter lends just enough flavour to keep things interesting. I find regular chocolate chip cookies to be a bit boOoring.

Yes, this post is a little picture heavy but, what can I say? These cookies are beautiful, inside and out!

Crackly top, golden colour, perfectly dispersed chocolate chips...I've got a bad case of the tum rums!!

If you're looking for the perfect chewy chocolate chip cookie, we've got you covered! Bake up a batch of these and you'll be smiling for days...or until your cookies run out ;)


Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from What Vegetarians Eat

1 ¼ cup flour
2/3 to 1 cup chocolate chips, depending on how chocolate chippy you like your cookies
½ cup all-natural peanut butter
¼ cup vegan butter
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ organic sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup original, unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease a cookie sheet or cover it with a Silpat.

Combine peanut butter, butter, applesauce, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Stir flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture and drizzle in the milk while mixing.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Form 2-inch round balls and flatten somewhat. Place them on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. Wait 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spaghetti Squash, Shiitakes, Cabbage, and Tofu

One picture isn't much to go on but I'll let you know that this was a very tasty meal! It also made we want to use spaghetti squash a lot more in recipes. The last time I had it was, besides being a long time ago, unsuccessful. I think I was trying to use it as a substitute for spaghetti and when I'm eating Italian I want my carbs, thank you very much.

Anyway, this dish is flavourful and pleasing. I felt great eating it because it was basically pure vegetables and protein, awesome, right?

Spaghetti Squash, Shiitakes, Cabbage, and Tofu
adapted from Pickled Plum

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced, use green part for garnish
2 peppers, thinly sliced (you got the drill)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
5 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1-2 cup(s) coleslaw mix

For Sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce, or tamari
1 tbsp agave syrup
Pepper to taste

Bake squash in oven at 400˚F for 40-50 mins. When time is up, remove flesh using a fork. Let the squash cool a little beforehand.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add oil and onion. Cook until softened, about three minutes. Add peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and coleslaw, cook for 2 minutes. Add shiitake mushrooms and cook, yet again, for two minutes.

Add squash shreds, scallions, and sauce; make sure everything is evenly coated. Cook for a couple o’ minutes and remove from heat.

Garnish with green bits of scallion and serve!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Black Bean Brownies featuring Cocozia Chocolate Coconut Water

 I'm realizing more and more that if you try to bake/cook something and it's unsuccessful, if it still intrigues you, you better try again! I'm sure some would apply that philosophy to life but, ya know, I'm not too sure about that myself. If it doesn't work out once, maybe it was a sign? 

Just kidding... sort of ;)

That was the case with black bean brownies. We tried a recipe many moons ago but it the result was disastrous. We thought we give a go again and am I ever glad we did! Holy smokes! Favourite brownie recipe ever right here!! Yes, these are better than ANY brownie I've eaten, black bean or otherwise. I don't think I've ever heard our mom so enthused by a dessert we've made before, either. Needless to say, it didnt take long for these puppies to be devoured. 

yumyumyumyumyumyum why are they all eaten? Oh yeah, because they were delicious!

These are dense, chewy and super chocolatey good! Like I said, best brownies, ever!!!

It's best if you have a super high-powered blender to get these super smooth but if you don't just keep at it. You'll eventually get them smooth and if you don't it's no biggie, either. Adds texture.

A word on Cocozia Chocolate Coconut Water: We were super stoked to receive a package of this stuff. It tastes so good! If you don't like the taste of regular coconut water and you like chocolate this is the coconut water for you. I didn't have a problem drinking a whole carton myself and I would if it were plain coconut water. The packaging is sturdy and great for on the go. The cap has a locking mechanism so it feels secure to carry with you in a bag. This is my own opinion, no one's holding a large coconut high above my head making me say good things about Cocozia.

Black Bean Brownies featuring Cocozia Chocolate Coconut Water
3/4 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans
2 Tbsp plain non-dairy yogurt, but if you had chocolate that's another way to amp up the flavour
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup cane sugar
¼ cup vegan butter, melted
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Line an 8x8 loaf pan with parchment paper. Parchment paper is a must. 
In a blender, puree black beans with the almond milk, vanilla and non-dairy yogurt. Scrape down the sides as necessary, as it has to be super smooth!
Melt the vegan butter and place in a bowl. Add the bean mixture to the bowl with the sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Mix well! 
Stir in the chocolate chips. 
Smooth the batter into the pan. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. While they come out of the oven rather moist, they will firm up as they cool. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tropical Lime Smoothie with Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water {Vegan}

May is here and I'm ready! I'm ready for sunshine, longer days, bike rides, fresh fruit and delicious tropical-inspired smoothies. This is a green smoothie but it lacks the typical greens one would expect. 

Riley and I decided that adding kale or spinach to this would work really well though we didn't get the chance to try it ourselves. 

Tropical Lime Smoothie 
Serves 2

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 tbsp lime zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 bananas, frozen and cut into pieces
2 medium zucchini, diced

Use a high speed blender for this smoothie. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses and serve cold. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thai Rice Noodles with Asparagus, Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Tofu

Last week I had intended to publish a new post every other day. You may have noticed that I fell a bit (okay, okay a lot) short of that goal, as in I didn't publish a single post last week. Well, I'm going to get back on that horse and try again. And this time it looks like things make turn out but maybe it's too soon to make that assumption :P 

This is a wonderfully light meal that still gives you protein and veggies, plus, it's gluten-free! :O

This dish is perfect for Spring! It seems like we've bypassed the spring weather here and have gone straight to the shorts and sundress weather.

How's the weather where you are? Regardless, this is a tasty and simple dish!

Thai Rice Noodles with Broccoli, Asparagus, Tofu, and Mushrooms 
adapted from Vegetarian Gastronomy 

1 package of thick rice noodles
1 cup of button mushrooms, cleaned, de-stemmed, and thinly sliced
1 bunch of asparagus, washed and chopped
1 head of broccoli, washed and chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil + more
1 package of non-GMO tofu

4 ½ tbsp. hoisin sauce
½ cup soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
¼ cup water
1-2 tsp Sriracha sauce or other chili sauce
2 tsp cornstarch

Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain,  rinse with cold water, and toss with a little oil so they don’t stick together. 

Prepare the tofu according to these directions from Connoisseurus Veg for crispy tofu.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the garlic and fry until fragrant but not browned. Add the onions, broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms. Stir to combine. Cook until the vegetables are tender but still crisp. About 10 minutes.

Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. The cornstarch should be completely dissolved.

Turn the heat on the pan to medium-low. Add the rice noodles and tofu to the vegetables and toss. Pour the sauce over the noodles, tofu, and vegetables, stirring until the sauce thickens. It won’t thicken too much; it’ll take only a few minutes.

Remove from heat and serve!

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