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Spoon Fork Bacon Blog: Irish Breakfast Nachos

Breakfast for dinner. It’s pretty much everyone’s favourite, is it not? So, for for my last recipe off of the Spoon Fork Bacon blog, I chose Irish Breakfast Nachos… which I had for dinner.

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Holy moly. These are rich, filling and stupidly delicious. Pair them with a cold beer and you are set. (Set for a nap, that is!) The recipe is very quick and easy, as you can prepare everything while the waffle fries are in the oven.

Let’s talk about this silken cheese sauce: WHOA! Disregard calories and all of that diet garbage, and just enjoy this cheese sauce to the max. It’s cheesy, tangy, creamy… so tasty. I used Bothwell’s extra old white cheddar and I also swapped out the dry mustard with some real horseradish mustard.

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Since I wasn’t feeling overly in love with eggs the night I made this, I only topped the dish with one perfect egg… that I fried in leftover bacon fat, folks! Can you hear the angels sing?

Recipe Rating: 5 Knives Out of 5

Bon appétit!
Cindy

*****

Irish Breakfast Nachos

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pound frozen waffle cut French fries
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Silky white cheddar cheese sauce:
4 ounces evaporated milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
8 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

6 striped crispy cooked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 to 3 fried eggs (with crisp edges and runny yolks)
2 to 3 tablespoons very thinly sliced chives

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F and spread waffle fries onto a baking sheet in a single layer (use 2 baking sheets, if needed to avoid overcrowding). Bake fries until golden brown and crisp.
2. Pour oil and butter into a skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add bell peppers, season with salt and pepper and continue to sauté for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables become slightly caramelized and cooked down, but still hold a small bite. Set aside.
3. Cheese sauce: In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, egg, dry mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk together. In a large mixing bowl combine cheese, starch and lemon juice and toss together.
4. Place saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk together for about 2 minutes. Whisk in small handfuls of the cheese mixture at a time, making sure not to add more cheese until the previous addition had been fully incorporated to the sauce.
5. Continue to whisk and add cheese over the low heat until all the cheese has been added and a creamy and smooth sauce forms (make sure not to rush this process or your cheese sauce will not be smooth).
6. To assemble: Spread half of the waffle fries onto a large platter and top with half of the bacon and half of the vegetable mixture. Ladle some of the cheese sauce over the nachos. Spread the remaining fries over the nachos and top with the remaining ingredients, including the fried egg(s). Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with sliced chives. Serve immediately.

Recipe copied from http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2017/01/irish-breakfast-nachos/

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Spoon Fork Bacon Blog: Blueberry and Cardamom Oat Cookies

img_44491These cookies are so delicious I made them twice this month.  Yes. TWICE.

I made the first batch with fresh blueberries and the second batch with dried cranberries aka craisins…and the craisins ruled the day.

Why did craisins rule the day?  Well, I’ll tell ya.  Using fresh blueberries was delicious, but because of the moisture in fresh blueberries, it made for a floppy, sometimes gooey cookie (not in a good or most appetizing way as you can see in the pic above) that was really difficult to eat…but I did eat them, because it tasted amazing.  Using the craisins the second time round, you just had a yummy cookie, without the structural problems. lol.

So based from a structural perspective, I would recommend dried fruit over fresh. And I just checked amazon.ca and you can find all sorts of dried berries to put in these cookies.  maybe do a mixed berry version…mmm….my mouth is watering already.

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with craisins…much less gooey

These cookies, to me, taste like an amped up oatmeal cookie…and kinda reminds me of the trail mix cookies that Starbucks  used to sell, but much tastier.  The cardamom and cinnamon, and the salt…it just gives this lovely sweet, savoury and warm sorta flavour. Combine that with the lovely, chewy texture from the oats…and the burst of sweet from the fruit…seriously…these are almost like fruit crumbles in a cookie form.

 

The recipe makes about a dozen cookies (I tend to get about 14)….which is kinda perfect because if the recipe made more, I would eat every single one.  The recipe is easily doubled so you could totally make more.

I would recommend only baking about six on a cookie sheet as they will spread. To help with the spreading, I would also recommend baking them on parchment…plus, baking on parchment means you shouldn’t have to clean your cookie sheets…win!

So go out, get yourself some berries, be them dried or fresh, and make these cookies because they are fantastic.

Recipe Rating: 4 knives out of 5 with fresh blueberries.  5 knives out of 5 with dried fruit

Om, nom, nom,

Lisa

*****

Spoon Fork Bacon’s Blueberry and Cardamom Oat Cookies

yield 12-14 cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon molasses (I used maple syrup…you can also use dark corn syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats (old fashioned)
1 cup fresh blueberries (or 3/4 cups dried berries)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Place flour, baking soda, cardamom, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

Place butter and both sugars in another mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.

Add egg molasses and vanilla to the butter mixture and continue to mix together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until well combined. Stir in oat until well combined then gently fold in the blueberries.

Place 3 tablespoon (I did 6) sized balls of cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart (as these cookies spread quite a bit) and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until browned.

Remove cookies from the oven and allow cookies to cool, 7 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Spoon Fork Bacon Blog: Super Simple Chilaquiles

My husband asked: “Did you pick this recipe because the garnish has radishes?”

Yes. Yes, I did. Because radishes are life 🙂

Well, honestly, I picked this recipe because of: radishes, Mexican flavours and tortilla chips. The egg was the least appealing aspect of this recipe (leave me alone!) but since I’m getting better at stomaching the weirdness and stinkiness of eggs (again, leave me alone!), I decided to give the chilaquiles a go.

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Soaking the chips…

And what a wise decision that was! This dish was so easy to make, tasted amazing and looked gorgeous (Does anything look better than serving food out of a cast iron pan? Nope.) Salty, spicy, with a nice hint of coolness thanks to my friends Cilantro and Radish.

I did make a couple of substitutions for the ingredients: feta cheese for queso fresco, and a tablespoon of adobo spice instead of adobo sauce, as that’s what I had on hand. (You can buy adobo spice at Mercadito Latino on Sargent.. but make sure you eat dinner there, too!)

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Right out of the oven!

I served the chilaquiles with some extra tortilla chips, but some grilled toast would be a perfect sidekick.

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I mean, just look at this!

Can’t wait to make this dish again. Highly recommended… not only for breakfast!

Recipe Rating: 5 Knives out of 5

¡Buen apetito!
Cindy

*****

Super Simple Chilaquiles

Makes 1 12” skillet

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
2 1/2 cups prepared salsa
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (optional)
1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
14-15 ounces yellow corn tortilla chips
3-5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes:
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
1-2 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
hot sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place oil in a heavy bottom skillet and place over medium-high heat.
3. Saute onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Stir in green chiles and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add salsa, adobo (is using) and broth and stir together.
5. Bring mixture to a boil and begin adding tortilla chips, a handful at a time, folding gently to coat every chip. Allow chips to soak up some liquid before adding more.
6. Repeat until all chips have been added and evenly mixed. Season with salt and pepper and gently fold together.
7. Crack eggs atop mixture, place in oven and bake for 12 to 15 minute or until all liquid has been absorbed and eggs have set.
8. Top with queso fresco, radishes, cilantro, and hot sauce. Serve immediately.

Recipe copied from http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2016/02/chilaquiles/

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Spoon Fork Bacon Blog: Honey Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls

Heigh ho folks!

I know I have been a smidgen MIA lately…but I promise it is for a good reason.  I am now officially the owner of my first house! Huzzah! I think the thing I am most excited about is the kitchen…look. at. this. kitchen.  So. Pretty!

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The process of getting to an approved/signed offer probably took  years off of my life expectancy…and I curse the people who told me that shopping for a house was fun.  On the day when things were at their most stressful, I opted to make the recipe I’m featuring on the blog.

I was burnt out and for the first time in a long time, I really only used the recipe as a guide….and I simply just found a flow and cooked on instinct.  It’s the first time that I can recall ever having done that with a new recipe and it felt pretty good. The only thing that didn’t feel good about this recipe was the fact that, despite all my rinsing and washing of the quinoa, a bit of sand and, if you can believe it, a little rock remained…which I bit into, causing a filling to loosen and a quasi emergency trip to the dentist.  Sigh….damn you quinoa…damn you to hell.

The recipe makes 2-3 servings, but I would suggest that you double it because omg…so damn good.  I would especially recommend making more of the chicken because I found myself sneaking a few bites of the sweet and spicy mixture when I had a mild hunger pang, but couldn’t find anything else I wanted to eat.

To get your cooked chicken, you could, presumably, do it however you wish (grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, bake some chicken breasts up…whatevs). I cooked my chicken by boiling it in what was left of the plain chicken stock (which would otherwise go to waste in my fridge ) for about 25-35 minutes, until done.  It made for easy, moist (gah I hate that word), chicken….perfect for these burrito bowls.

If you can’t find queso, use some dry, crumbled feta like I did.  If you are taking this as a “to-go” lunch like I did, you may wish to keep your crumbled taco chips separate as, by the time you eat them, they won’t be so crisp and you will lose that lovely texture that they provide.  You also don’t HAVE to use guac…I just sliced up half an avocado and threw it in…just as delish without the extra work. Oh and same goes for corn – I just cooked up some frozen stuff – mostly because corn on the cob is out of season and firing up the bbq right now just doesn’t appeal to me.

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Are you not impressed with how unfussed I am with this recipe?  I know I am. 🙂

In light of my issue with the quinoa, I may opt to make this recipe with rice or some other grain in the future, vs quinoa…because well, I can’t be bothered with all the rinsing and then having to worry about breaking my mouth.  I think you could sub in virtually any grain and it would work because the flavours from the amped up cooking liquid would be soooo delish.

I would, without a doubt, recommend you try this recipe because I am pretty darn confident it will become a stable in your home.  So go out, grab the ingredients, and whip yourself up a most delish and comforting meal.

Recipe Rating: 5 knives out of 5

Om, nom, nom,

Lisa

*****

Spoon Fork Bacon’s

Honey Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls

Serves 2 to 3
Ingredients:
Cilantro-Lime Quinoa:
2 1/4 cups warm chicken stock
2 garlic cloves
3/4 bunch cilantro, divided and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry quinoa
zest and juice of 1 large lime

Honey-Chipotle Chicken:
3 tablespoons minced chipotle in adobe
3 tablespoons honey
2 heaping cups cooked and shredded chicken breasts, warm
salt and pepper to taste

Mix-ins:
black beans
lightly charred sweet corn
pico de gallo
guacamole
sour cream or crèma
crumbled queso fresco
fried corn tortilla strips/bits, optional
hot sauce, optional
lime wedges, optional

Directions:
For quinoa: Place stock, garlic, 1/2 bunch of cilantro, and salt into a blender and blend for 2 minutes.

Pour oil into a medium pot and place over medium-high heat. Add quinoa and toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour cilantro-garlic infused stock into the pot with quinoa and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium and bring stock to a hard simmer. Partially cover and continue to simmer until quinoa until the stock has been absorbed and the quinoa has cooked through.

Add the lime zest and juice to the quinoa, season with salt and pepper and fluff together with a fork. Set aside.

For chicken: Combine the chipotle with adobe and honey into a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour mixture over the shredded chicken and toss together until completely combined. Set aside.

To assemble: Scoop some of the cilantro-lime quinoa into each bowl and top with desired remaining ingredients. Sprinkle each bowl with remaining cilantro and serve.

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Spoon Fork Bacon Blog: Yum Woon Sen with Shrimp

Mmmmm!

There is nothing like a bowl of noodles, protein and vegetables to get me happy! It’s truly a trifecta of perfection. I am a huge fan of Vietnamese vermicelli bowls (Winnipeggers, especially from Phuong Nam – am I right?!)

And also… there is nothing like the preparation of one’s mise en place to get calm and collected. And look how pretty!

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I followed the recipe completely apart from the clear vermicelli noodles – another case of my local grocery store simply not having what I needed. Alas, no biggie… I just ended up using some ramen-style dried noodles.

The only thing the recipe lacked was an explanation/instructions for the “poached shrimp.” I ended up sautéeing the shrimp in sesame oil and a bit of butter, with some garlic and smoked paprika.

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And, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have a wonderful secret ingredient that I use in a lot of my cooking to finish the dish. I’m not quite sure where this can be found in Canada as I picked it up on a recent trip to Fargo, but Sriracha Salt is from the Gods, you guys. (Google it! Lots of recipes to make your own.)

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Once again, I must say… Mmmmm!

*Note: If you haven’t used or had fish sauce before, just a heads up that it smells pretty odd and funky. But it’s definitely the ingredient that adds that je ne sais quoi to the dish.

Recipe Rating: 5 Knives out of 5

Bon appétit!
Cindy

*****

Yum Woon Sen with Shrimp (Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp)

Makes/Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 bundles mung bean noodles (clear vermicelli)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fish sauce
juice of 4 limes
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced OR 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, toasted
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 green onion, thinly sliced
12 large poached shrimp
optional:
mint leaves
julienne carrots
julienne cucumbers
julienne bell peppers

Directions:
1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Place noodle bundles into a large bowl and pour boiling water over bundles, submerging completely. Allow noodles to sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until soft and pliable. Drain, rinse under cold water and toss in sesame oil.
2. Place fish sauce, lime juice and sugar into a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Top with noodles and remaining ingredients.
3. Toss everything together until noodles are well coated. Finish with cracked black pepper and serve with lime wedges.

Recipe from http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2016/02/yum-woon-sen-with-shrimp-glass-noodle-salad-with-shrimp/

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Spoon Fork Bacon Blog: Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls

That’s right. I picked a recipe that involves baking! And well… while it wasn’t a total success, it wasn’t a total fail either.

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However, I really need to start reading the entire recipe before I select it and buy all of the ingredients for it. Since I’m not a seasoned baker, I had no idea how long these cinnamon rolls would actually take! (Lisa politely giggled at me.) Needless to say, starting this recipe at 6pm on a Sunday night was not my greatest idea since there was 2.5 hours of dough rising time in the middle.

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So, let’s talk about the rising thing though: These rolls did not rise 😦 Like, at all. Multiple people afterwards asked me if the yeast I used was fresh. Gulp. No. Don’t ask me how long the yeast packet was in my cupboard for! So, since the dough did not rise, the rolls were quite dense, a bit dry and not elastic-y when I had one for breakfast the next morning. I’d call that a fail, but a fail on my part!

We did eat these babies right out of the oven the night I made them and damn, they were pretty good! The brown butter in the filling and glaze just elevates these from a regular cinnamon roll.

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Fresh out of the oven

Alas, I brought the bulk of these to work the next day (and recommended that my co-workers heat them up in the microwave) and I heard nothing but rave reviews about them!

I’d make these again if I am craving cinnamon rolls, but this time with more time and with fresh yeast!

Recipe Rating: 3.5 Knives out of 5

Bon appétit!
Cindy

*****

Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 10

(**CINDY’S NOTE: This recipe calls for a specific brand of butter. Feel free to use what you have on hand… or perhaps try the best local Manitoba butter ever: Notre Dame Creamery butter!)

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups whole milk warmed (about 110˚F)
1/2 cup superfine sugar, divided
1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted Organic Valley butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
6 cups bread flour
filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Organic Valley butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Glaze:
1/2 cup unsalted browned Organic Valley butter, cooled
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 to 3 1/2 cups confectioner sugar, sifted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Pour milk and half of sugar into a mixing bowl and stir together.
3. Sprinkle yeast over milk and sugar and allow mixture to sit for 4 to 5 minutes (yeast should begin to bubble and foam).
4. Stir in remaining sugar, salt, butter, and eggs. Begin adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition.
5. Once all the flour has been added, dump mixture onto a clean and lightly floured surface and knead dough for 5 to 7 minute or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour, 1 teaspoon at a time as needed.
6. Once smooth dough has formed, place dough into a lightly greasy bowl, cover with a clean, damp towel and place in a warm area until dough has doubled in size. About 1 hour and 20 minutes.
7. Place both butters for filling and the glaze into a medium saucepan and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until butter begins to toast, brown and produce a nutty smell.
8. Divide the butter into two separate bowls and allow them each to cool, about 20 minutes. In another small bowl whisk together the superfine sugar and cinnamon.
9. Once dough has doubled in size, punch down the center and turn onto a clean and lightly floured surface. Roll dough out into a 12”x 19” rectangle and about 1/4″ thick. Generously brush the entire surface of the dough with one of the bowls of browned butter. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Tightly and evenly roll rectangle from one end to the other and gently pinch the seam shut. Place cinnamon roll log seam side down and cut into 10 even cinnamon rolls.
10. Place cinnamon rolls into a lightly greased baking dish and cover with a clean, damp towel.
11. Store in a warm place until cinnamon rolls double in size about 1 hour.
12. Uncover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
13. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
14. For the glaze: Stir milk, vanilla and cinnamon into the butter until fully incorporated. Stir sugar into the butter mixture, 1/4 cup at a time until fully incorporated and mixture is smooth.
15. Pour ½ of the glaze over the slightly cooled cinnamon buns and allow cinnamon buns to continue to cool, about 30 minutes. Drizzle remaining glaze over cinnamon buns and serve.

Recipe from http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2014/12/brown-butter-cinnamon-rolls/

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January 2017: Our Final Review of the Oh She Glows Cookbook + Blog

For the month of January 2017, we cooked through the Oh She Glows Cookbook and blog.

What Lisa Had to Say:

Oh She Glows, overall was a bit of a miss for me…like if I had to give it a letter grade, it would be a “C.”  What I liked about the recipes was probably more of a mental thing – knowing I was making recipes from a vegan cookbook made me feel like I was being healthier, even though I didn’t make the vegan subs like earth balance for butter, for example.  The two dishes I liked best were my first and third recipes (the taters and the soup) because they were so simple and didn’t require me to buy anything random that would go to waste.  Plus, I was able to use the leftover aioli as a base for a “creamy” a vinaigrette for salads at work the next day…and it was INCREDIBLE!

The things I was not a fan of…well, aside from that flatbread (yikes! Oh and Cindy, I still have leftovers in my freezer for you…you know you wanna try it!), I found a lot of the recipes I wanted to make had recipes within recipes for sauces or spice rubs…and some of those sauces and spice rubs were batched out in larger quantities.  This is great  if you like it and use it all the time, but if you are like me, you hesitate and don’t make anything with that rub because who needs to waste so much dried spices.  Also, since I didn’t have access to her second book (only her first and the blog), one particular recipe was a no go because I didn’t have the particular recipe for the spice rub mentioned in the blog post.

Plus, the whole recipe within a recipe thing adds extra time to making dinner and to be honest, I just wasn’t feeling that energetic this past January.

Another thing I found surprising and admittedly a bit annoying for a strict recipe follower like me,  was the amount of extra seasoning I had to add to the recipes, including my two favourites.  Especially since I had mentioned to some friends that the blog would be posting vegan/vegetarian friendly recipes this month and many spoke of the amazing flavours of vegan and vegetarian cooking. Granted, this is not a deal breaker, but it definitely was a disappointment.

Overall, I don’t think I would add this to my library, but I would definitely still conduct quick searches for vegan/vegetarian recipes on the blog if needed for friends with special diets, to see if anything catches my eye.

What Cindy Had to Say:

Okay, yes. Hi. I’m a carnivore. While I was very open to cooking through a vegan cookbook in January, I think my mind played tricks on me. I did use whatever ingredients I had on hand (be they vegan or not), but there always seemed to be a little something holding me back from fully enjoying the recipes. Call me crazy 😛

I found myself deterred from a good handful of recipes because the ingredient lists could be quite long. If I didn’t had the bulk of ingredients (i.e. mostly spices and stuff like that), I found myself turning the page and looking for something more approachable.

Like Lisa, I also found myself adding extra seasoning to the recipes in order to please my tastebuds. Not a hindrance to me, but you are a strict recipe follower like my fellow blogger then I could see getting a bit annoyed!

I did have a few minor issues with some of the recipe instructions, but nothing blatantly stressful… just a bit confusing the way a few things were explained. I will admit that I found a couple of gems: The baked oatmeal and the burrito bowl from the other day. Those will definitely be added to my cooking repertoire!

Overall? Pretty good, but not amazing.

Recipes We Cooked: DIY Burrito Bowl, Blissful Blueberry Banana Muffins, Quick & Easy Chana Masala, Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup, Maple Cinnamon Apple and Bear Baked Oatmeal, Super Power Chia Bread, Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew, Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado Garlic Aioli

Final Cookbook Verdict: One thumb up and one thumb down?!

sort-of

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Oh She Glows Blog: DIY Burrito Bowl

I love most… no, all things with a Mexican flava. And this burrito bowl is no exception!

I found the prep time super quick, definitely quicker than the 25 minutes mentioned in the recipe. I paired the “burrito filling” with jasmine rice, which I cooked beforehand and kept warm.

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I used regular (not refined) coconut oil, and I also added a spoonful of salsa into the spicy black bean mixture. Since I had no oregano in the house, I ditched it and sprinkled in a bit of dried thyme instead. I also skipped the cayenne pepper and throw in two chopped yellow and red chili peppers for heat.

As the recipe states, the Avocado-Lime sauce is a must make… and it benefited from a few shakes of seasoning salt!

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Like most recipes that I’ve rated highly, there’s not much more to say then this is delicious and you should make it! It’s a very adaptable recipe, too. As a non-Vegan, I think some ground turkey could be a nice addition when I make this again.

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Recipe Rating: 5 Knives out of 5

Bon appétit!
Cindy

*****

DIY Burrito Bowl

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free
This burrito bowl is so filling and healthy! The Spicy Black Beans are adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, Super Fresh: Super Natural, Super Vibrant Vegan Recipes by Jennifer Houston and Ruth Tal. The spicy black beans are to die for. (Or, to live for!) I love to use the beans in a wrap, sprinkled on a salad, or even as a dip with tortilla chips and guacamole. The Avocado-Lime Sauce is also a must-make. It yields about a heaping half cup so if you are a big avocado lover you can always double the recipe. To change up this recipe, stuff everything into a large soft tortilla wrap rather than enjoying it bowl style.

Yield: 3 servings
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the burrito bowl:
  • 1 cup dry white long-grain rice (or rice of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil or vegan butter*
  • Salsa, as needed
  • Sliced green onion, for garnish
  • Sliced grape tomatoes, for garnish (optional)
For the Spicy Black Beans:
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 to 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup unpacked cilantro, large stems removed and finely chopped
For the Avocado-Lime Sauce (makes heaping 1/2 cup):
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 large avocado, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

Directions:

  1. For the rice: Add the rice and 1 tablespoon of oil or butter into a medium pot along with 2 cups of water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Immediately reduce the heat to low-medium, and cover with a lid. Cook the rice until it’s tender and the water is absorbed. For white long-grain rice this will take 13 to 20 minutes, but please follow the directions on your specific package for best results.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the Spicy Black Beans: In a large wok or skillet, add the oil and melt it over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, along with a pinch of salt, and sauté for about 5 to 6 minutes, until softened.
  3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, cayenne (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue sautéing for another 3 to 5 minutes (increasing/reducing heat if necessary), until the tomato softens.
  4. Now stir in the tomato paste and drained and rinsed black beans. Cook for a few more minutes until heated throughout. Taste and add more salt if desired. Stir in the cilantro. You can leave the mixture over low heat until ready to serve or simply turn off the heat and reheat before serving.
  5. For the Avocado-Lime Sauce: Mince the garlic clove in a mini food processor (or use a regular size processor, if necessary). Now add the avocado flesh, lime juice, water, and salt. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust lime juice if desired. I usually add another teaspoon.
  6. When the rice is ready, reheat the bean mixture, if necessary. Divide the rice between 2 to 3 bowls. Top each with a couple scoops of the hot black bean mixture, and a large spoonful of both the salsa and the Avocado-Lime Sauce. Garnish with sliced green onion and optional sliced grape tomatoes. Serve immediately.

Tips:

  • * Why the use of refined coconut oil? Unlike virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil doesn’t have a noticeable coconut flavour. I use it whenever I don’t want a coconut flavour to come through. That being said, if you don’t mind a bit of coconut flavour feel free to use the virgin kind.

From The Oh She Glows Blog by Angela Liddon

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Off the Books: Veg Packed Chili (Meat Optional)

Since Cindy and I made this month about picking vegan/veggie recipes and making some healthier (ie eat more veggies) choices, I had to sneak off the books and share my chili recipe as I’m pretty sure you, our bloggy friends, will love it.  Especially because you can make this vegan, vegetarian, or with meat.  It can be soy free, grain/gluten free (there may be gluten in the chili seasoning packet, but if you make your own, you are good to go). It’s so darn flexible and delicious, no matter how you make it.

I packed this batch FULL of veggies and given my recent anemia diagnosis, I figured it would be best to add some ground beef to this chili to increase the dosage of iron. But trust me, it is NOT necessary to add the beef.  This recipe is plenty tasty without any meat whatsoever.

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This doesn’t even represent the rest of the veggies I added

 

This recipe could be doubled if you have another slow cooker or you felt like doing this on a stove top.  It is easily adaptable depending on how much spice you like or what vegetables you want in your chili…there are NO rules. And yes, this is me embracing the no rules thing…because well, I know that pretty much no matter what I do, I can do no wrong with this recipe.  Once, as part of a work mandated training session, I had to be part of a team building chili cook off…nobody on my team knew how to make chili but me.  I used basics from my recipe and adapted when needed (no brown sugar, use pineapple juice…because yes, they had pineapple, if you can believe it).  Needless to say we won.

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With this batch, I mis-read my recipe and added a tablespoon of cayenne pepper..it was spicy, but still ridiculously delicious…and I got the benefit of very clear sinuses. lol. I also  included some mushrooms because I had some on hand and some frozen spinach at the  last minute to give it some extra colour and to increase the iron. Outside of those few things, there was nothing out of the ordinary with this batch.  Served with a piece of avocado toast and a sprinkle of melted cheese on top of the chili and you have my perfect winter comfort food.

Needless to say, I give this recipe I crazy high rating as I make it multiple times every winter. The lack of crazy ingredients and the flexibility of it is what truly makes it sooo good. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Recipe rating: 5 knives out of 5

Om, nom, nom,

Lisa

*****

Lisa’s Veggie Packed (Meat Optional) Chili

Makes a lot…fills my 4.7L slow cooker nearly to the brim. lol.

Ingredients

1 medium white onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 carrots thinly sliced into medallions

2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced

3 bell peppers, diced

Other vegetables depending on your preferences and what is available (I have included peas, frozen spinach, mushrooms, sweated zucchini, eggplant, diced sweet potato in the past, but definitely feel free to try different vegetables)

1 can of corn, drained

1 can each of kidney beans, black beans and white kidney beans, rinsed and drained*

1 packet of Chili seasoning

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoon chili powder

Pinch of cinnamon

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

sprinkling of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, all to taste

1 big can of diced tomatoes–just plain, no extra seasonings

1 can of tomato soup

Optional: 1 pkg (500g or nearly 1 lb) of Ground Round/cooked ground meat (turkey, chicken, bison, beef, pork all work).**

Turn on your slow cooker to high. Prepare all the veggies.  Start with the onions, carrots, garlic and celery.  Throwing them in the pot as you go as these veggies take the longest to cook.*** Throw the rest of your prepared ingredients into the slow cooker and give it a stir. Cook it on high for about four hours (or for about six hours on low), stirring occasionally.

Tips:

*you can also include lentils, chick peas, adzuki beans etc but the three listed above are my favourites

**If you are using meat, cook it in a bit of olive oil on high heat to get that nice sear/flavour) before hand and then throwing it into the slow cooker.

***If you plan on using sturdier veggies like sweet potato, be sure to add them early along with the onions, carrots and celery to maximize the amount of cooking time.

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Oh She Glows Blog: Blissful(?) Blueberry Banana Muffins

Blissful…well…maybe…could be…kinda? Yet, so not.

As I had mentioned in our introductory “we selected OSG” post, I’m not a vegan…and fortunately, I don’t have to avoid gluten, either. Which is good because bakers gotta bake and well, baking with alterna flours doesn’t seem to work with me.

I have used coconut flour in the past with mixed results (oh so sticky), oat flour, almond flour and buckwheat flour.  I now have added brown rice flour to the mix…and well, the good thing is that using it means I’m almost out of brown rice flour. Hah!

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mmm….blueberries…and the cinnamon…and the walnut!

 

The flavour of these muffins was wonderful.  It was sweet, but not overly, had an essence of banana but not in an overkill way.  The blueberries I had used were on their last legs, but you couldn’t tell as they benefited from the sweetness of the bananas and were brimming with flavour.  What was even more interesting about these muffins is that they got better with age…which is sorta the opposite of most baking.

I also loved that they didn’t have an oily/fatty aftertaste like some muffins, especially commercial ones tend to have.  This was probably my favourite thing about these muffins.

The texture though..oy!  That wasn’t so great.  This was a weird, grainy, chalky, crumbly vibe that had the muffin stick to the roof of your mouth in an unpleasant blob when you took a bite. I’m not sure if it would be different with spelt or other grain free/gluten free/alterna flours, but yeah…this was a bummer.  Would it be better with good ol’ AP flour?  Maybe?  I may even try it one day. lol.

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is it me, or did they look tastier raw?

The recipe itself was easy, could very easily be doubled if you have a ton of bananas and blueberries.  The ingredients weren’t crazy in my opinion…if you were vegan or a gluten/grain free household, it is likely you would already have these items in your kitchen.

 

I’m not sure whether or not to recommend this recipe.  I think it could be different with different flours…I would suggest you try it and see what happens because, flavour-wise, these are excellent, so even if they are a fail, they won’t be a massive one.

Recipe rating: 2.75 knives out of 5

Om, nom, nom,

Lisa

*****

Blissful Blueberry Banana Muffins

(soy free, vegan if followed exactly as published)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (190 mL) mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (220 mL) unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut oil, melted (I used butter)
  • 2 cups (280 g) white spelt flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons (40 to 60 g) coconut sugar or natural cane sugar* ( I used half brown and half granulated sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) walnut halves, chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) frozen or fresh blueberries**

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas and measure out 3/4 cup. If you have any leftover mashed banana you can freeze it for a smoothie.
  3. Place mashed banana into medium bowl along with the milk, vinegar, maple syrup, and vanilla. No need to stir it yet.
  4. Melt the coconut oil in a small pot over low heat. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda).
  6. Stir coconut oil into the wet mixture. Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix as spelt is a fragile little flour.
  7. Gently fold in the walnuts and then the blueberries, being sure not to overmix as this can result in dense muffins.
  8. Spoon a heaping 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin, filling each tin about 3/4 full (they will be almost full, but this is normal). I like to press a few extra blueberries on top of each so they look pretty after baking.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 23 to 27 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. I baked them for 25 minutes.
  10. Cool in pan for 5 to 8 minutes and then transfer muffins to a cooling rack and cool for another 15 minutes.

Tips:

  • * When using ripe, spotty bananas I find 4 tablespoons of sugar is plenty sweet, however if your bananas aren’t overripe, you might need to use the full 6 tablespoons. Add to your taste.
  • ** If using frozen blueberries, be sure to leave them in the freezer (do not thaw) until just before you stir them into the batter. This helps prevent bleeding.