Here’s a tasty and simple way to spice up some pepitas/pumpkin seeds. It’s a nice little appetizer, or a snack with your favourite beverage. Vegan, gluten-free and all that!
It’s super simple:
- Squeeze some lime onto a bunch of pepitas in a baking dish.
- Sprinkle on some salt and Ancho chili powder, or any chili powder that you have on hand.
- Throw them in the oven at about 250F for 10-15 minutes, until they get a bit crispy. If you hear them popping you know it’s time to take them out. Just make sure you move them around in their baking dish once or twice through the process.
- Yum! Once they are cooled you can store them in an airtight jar for a few days – if they don’t get gobbled up right away!
Love falafel, but hate to deep fry? Then this one’s for you!
It’s got all the yummy and protein-y goodness of a falafel, minus the deep frying. It’s super easy to whip up if you’ve got a food processor. It is delicious. (this photo doesn’t do it justice; I’ve made this a number of times, and we end up eating it before I remember to take a photo. So finally I got this shot, not the best, but not nothing.)
I served it with a tomato and cucumber salad on the side, and my guest made it into a pita sandwich – both were delicious! In my opinion it must be served with this delicious tarator sauce, but maybe you have your own favourite.
This recipe came from the awesome cookbook called Taste of Beirut by Joumana Accad. I’ve taken it out of the library so many times and tried a whole bunch of recipes, and I think I finally need to buy this book!
The recipe says to serve at room temperature, but it was also good straight out of the oven. I didn’t change much with this recipe, just the order in which the ingredients are added to the food processor. The most recent batch I made I halved the recipe, using one egg. It was plenty for dinner for two plus leftovers – love leftovers!
What you need for the loaf:
- 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3 large eggs
- 1/ 2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1 cup cilantro (I like to use the stems too)
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika or Aleppo pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
What you need for the tarator sauce:
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
- salt to taste
What you do for the loaf:
- Heat the oven to 375F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Add the chickpeas, eggs, bread crumbs, onions, parsley, cilantro and garlic to the bowl of the food processor and process until the mixture becomes doughy.
- Add the baking powder, seasonings and olive oil and process again until all the ingredients are combined.
- Spread the mixture into the lined loaf pan and even out the top surface a little.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, then check to see if it is done; mine needed more time. You will know when it is done if a knife inserted in the centre comes out pretty much clean.
- While the loaf is baking you can make the sauce.
What you do for the sauce:
- Mix the garlic in with the tahini.
- Add a little bit of lemon juice and mix well. Add lemon juice and water a little at at time until the sauce is creamy but not too runny.
- Add salt to taste.
A new favourite! These savoury muffins were super delicious fresh out of the oven, served with a nice bowl of soup. They have cheddar, spinach and spring onions in them, and they are nice and light. They also work well as a breakfast or snack muffin.
Of course they were best eaten fresh out of the oven, but I heated one up the next day and that one was really good too! I’ve got a few in the freezer for when I need a last minute addition to a meal.
I found the recipe on myfussyeater.com, and only changed a few things: I omitted the red peppers, and I added a bit of salt to the tops of the muffins. As well, I never buy self-raising flour, so in my version printed below I have included ingredients to substitute for self-raising flour. The recipe called for medium eggs, and I only had large so I used those – seemed a fine substitution to me. Also, I didn’t have quite enough butter so I topped it up with olive oil. I used more spring onions than the recipe indicated.
What you need:
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (150mL milk)
- 1/2 cup (150mL) butter, melted
- 2 cups grated aged cheddar
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 2 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
- freshly ground pepper
- salt for the top of the muffins
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
- Line muffin tins with 12 liners, spraying them if they are not parchment.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then stir in the milk and the melted butter (let it cool before adding it or it will solidify when you add it). Mix in the grated cheese, spring onion, and spinach.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, then add the salt and pepper and the crumbled stock cube.
- Hand mix until just combined; I added a little bit more milk because mine seemed way too dry.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and crack a little bit of salt on top of each.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of a muffin it should come out dry.
- Cool completely before freezing, but enjoy them while they are warm!
Why have I never made an almond and cherry baked good before? My apartment smelled so wonderful after baking these; the almond smell is dreamy! These muffins are a bit more on the mini-cake side, meaning I don’t think they’re the healthiest muffins I’ve ever made. That’s not to say I didn’t have one for breakfast a few times . . . and they’re really good with tea!
We ate one of these while they were warm, which is when they are at their best, but they were also great the next day. I froze the rest as soon as they were cool, and they were still really good when thawed.
I found the recipe on this site: Pretty Simple Sweet. The original recipe uses sweet cherries, but I used sour cherries, and I think they pair really well with the almond flavour. I tend to like to balance sweetness with tartness.
The recipe calls for baking the muffins for a few minutes at a higher temperature, then lowering the temperature for the rest of the baking. My oven is really finicky; I have to set it for higher than the required temperature, but then I have to lower it once it is at the right temperature or it will get too hot. So for me this was quite challenging. The good news is, by checking for a light brownness, and then using a toothpick to check if they had baked through, they baked successfully. Yay!
What you need:
- 1 & 3/4 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 cup yogurt (I use 3.5% fat, my homemade recipe)
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 & 1/2 cups (300 grams) cherries, halved and pitted
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra to sprinkle on top
What you do:
Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners; I also sprayed them with baking spray.
- Toast the 1/2 cup of almonds in a frying pan or in the oven.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
Mix the egg with the yogurt, oil, and vanilla and almond extracts in a medium bowl.
- Pit and cut the cherries in half. If they are really juicy or if you’re using frozen berries, you can toss them in just a bit of flour to prevent bleeding. Prepare the cherries right before you are going to add them to the batter so that your finished product will look pretty.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold the batter with a rubber spatula just until combined. Be careful to not over-mix, which would toughen the final product. We want nice light muffins. You can expect the batter to be thick and lumpy.
- Fold in the toasted almonds and cherries.
Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a few un-toasted almonds.
- Bake for three minutes, then reduce the temperature of the oven to 375F/190C and bake for 12-17 minutes more. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick; the muffin should be tender but not wet.
- Cool the muffins still in the tins for about 10 minutes, then place the muffins on a wire rack to cool.
- Allow the muffins to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They can be stored on the counter for a day or two, or frozen for a few months.
Tomatoes, freshly picked from the vine – is there a better taste of summer? Bruschetta is a tasty way to serve up some of these treasures from the garden, or the garden of a friend, or a Farmer’s market. Best made only with fresh summer tomatoes, but in a pinch, cherry tomatoes are often a best bet in winter.
I haven’t given amounts for this recipe because it’s easy to make, and you can alter amounts according to your taste and how much you want to make. Each tomato tastes a bit different, so the seasonings will depend on how much flavour is in our tomatoes.
What you need:
- 1 clove garlic
- the freshest tomatoes you can get
- fresh basil
- sweet onion
- balsamic vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
What you do:
- Slice and lightly toast the bread. You can toast it in the oven, toaster, or on the BBQ. The BBQ is a good option if it’s really hot and you don’t want to turn on your oven.
- Slice the garlic in half and rub it on the toasted bread. Set the bread aside.
- Mince a little bit of the onion, then chop the tomatoes and toss them into a bowl. Tear up or chop the basil and add it to the tomatoes.
- Drizzle a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes, along with a pinch of salt – give it a toss. Taste and add more of each of these ingredients as you see fit.
- Just before serving, top each slice of bread with tomatoes. Alternatively, you can leave the tomatoes in a bowl and people can top their own.
I don’t often make meals that are as easy as this one, and when I do I usually don’t think of it as a recipe worth sharing. But this one is! It’s tasty, nutritious, and easy to make. Feel free to alter the ingredients as you see fit.
I don’t recommend this one as a make and take, since it would probably get soggy. But then, I’m a bit of a sandwich snob and I never like sandwiches that have been made ahead of time.
What you need:
What you do:
- The first step is optional, but I think it makes the sandwich extra tasty: slice the ciabatta in half, then heat a frying pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan, then place the bread cut-side down to grill it a little. Less than a minute is probably good.
- Add hummus to the bottom slice of the bun, and add whatever else you are putting on it (you know how to make a sandwich.) Salt and pepper the tomatoes a little.
- Put the top on and eat right away!
Summer in a bottle! I picked a few tubs of blackberries down by the train tracks, and here’s what I made with them. This winter there will be blackberry cocktails and maybe some desserts featuring this gorgeous blackberry liqueur. We already had some drizzled on ice cream, and I plan to make a blackberry liqueur-champagne drink soon . . .
This is really easy to make, but you need two days to complete the process. Most of the time is just letting the berries soak. And picking the berries – I have discovered that if you try to do this in a rush you get hurt. So many prickles! So I take my time, and it has been a someone meditative process. Being calm, picking only the berries that are ready to fall off the plant, the ripest and sweetest ones.
The amounts used are based on the fact that I had 3 cups of blackberries. Adjust the amounts if you have more or less. It’s not an exact science. I looked at a lot of recipes to get ideas about what to do here, so this is a compilation of some of their ideas for amounts and processes. I added a few sage leaves, and I’m not sure yet if they are noticeable in the finished product, and are optional for this recipe.
The first batch turned out so well that I’ve just begun another one!
Simple syrup really is simple to make. Just add equal parts water and granulated sugar to a pot, let it heat until the sugar has dissolved, and let it cool. For this recipe I used 1/2 cup water to 1/2 cup sugar.
What you need:
- 3 cups (750mL) fresh blackberries
- 2 & 3/4 cups vodka (680mL) (I used Stolichnaya)
- a few fresh sage leaves, optional
- 1 & 1/2 cups (325mL) water
- 3/4 to 1 cup simple syrup (180-250mL), to taste
- cheesecloth for straining
What you do:
- Wash the berries and drain them. Place them in a large bowl or pot and mash them with a potato masher or the bottom of a bottle.
- Pour the vodka over the berries. They should be completely covered. Put a lid or plastic wrap over the container and let it sit in a cool place for about 24 hours. (It was really hot when I made mine, so there was no cool place to put it. I just moved on to the next step a bit earlier.)
- Strain the berries and vodka into another bowl, keeping the pulp. Cover the berry and vodka mixture.
- Place the pulp in another container and pour the water over it. Let this sit for 24 hours, then strain it, adding the juice to the vodka mixture.
- Use cheesecloth to strain the berries again, to get all the vodka and blackberry goodness out of them.
- Strain the vodka and berry mixture several more times through the cheesecloth until the liquid has no pulp in it.
- Bottle the liqueur. It should keep for a long time in a cool cupboard, but I’m choosing to keep mine in the fridge since I have space.