Category Archives: Recipes

Homemade vegan cheese and downsizing

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My vegan cheese making book “Artisan Vegan Cheese” By Miyoko Schinner came in the mail a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to try out the recipes. Some are very complicated and require weeks from start to finished product while others are instant cheeses or cheese sauces for everyday use. There are quite a few strange ingredients that I had to pick up before my cheese experimentation could commence. I’ve located most of them so far. I found Agar powder, nutritional yeast, xanatham gum and tapioca flour in the local health food store but I have yet to find carrageenan, vital wheat gluten and a couple other ingredients I’ll need to be able to make any recipe in the book.

I decided to start with the most basic recipe which was cashew cheese. It’s the base for a lot of the other cheeses in the book as well. To make the cashew cheese you first have to make rejuvelac, a probiotic liquid made from fermenting sprouted grains, which will serve as a culturing agent for the cheese. Once that’s done (it takes a few days) you just soak some cashews, add salt, blend it all together and let it sit on the counter for a couple days to culture. I think I may have left my cheese out on the counter for a little too long.. I kind of forgot about it for about 3-4 days so it developed a very strong flavor. At first taste I thought wow this is really cheesy. Although the flavor wasn’t like any cheese I’ve ever had before it tasted tangy and creamy like an exotic cheese. I had it on a sandwich and it was pretty good, not fantastic, but still added a cream cheese like taste and texture. I wanted to add in a bunch of herbs and spices to make the boursin cheese. It uses the basic cashew cheese as a base but reading the recipe it afterwards it said not to let the cheese culture for too long so I want to wait to try another batch which hopefully wont taste as strong. Over time I hope I can hone my cheese making skills by using various grains to make the rejuvelac (I’m guessing each would produce a slightly different flavor) and find a vegan cheese that’s a knockout. I’m excited to try some of the instant cheese recipes as well!

On a different note we just spent the past week trying to downsize. I had always prided myself in only owning enough stuff to fit in my car but over the past few years that we’ve been living together Shadoe and I have started to accumulate quite a bit of stuff.. We decided to nip it in the butt and take action before the winter sets in. A majority of the furniture we have was picked up in a hurry from thrift stores and yard sales and selected more for purpose than anything else. That means a lot of it is not exactly what I want for our home. This weekend the town we live near was hosting a “reuse it or lose it” event where everyone from the county can bring in all their unwanted stuff and other people can come take what they need. At the end of the weekend the town will drop off all the unwanted items at local charities, thrift stores or take it to the dump depending on the items and their condition. We decided to take advantage of the event and get rid of all the furniture and stuff we don’t want and let someone else use it. That way we can either replace the items we weren’t completely happy with or realize that we didn’t really need all those things after all. This will also help us out when we have to move in the future. We loaded up the trailer and within 5 minutes of arriving at the drop off our trailer had been emptied by people in need of those items. It was amazing to see and a win win for everyone.

We’ve also been slowly going through all of our stuff and getting rid of things we don’t use often enough. Last month I finally separated with clothes that I had been hanging on to for over 6 years mostly due to sentimental reasons. I was sad to see some items go but now that they’re gone I honestly haven’t thought about it. There really is no use keeping old clothes you no longer wear just for the memories. Next we moved onto books, cds, and other stuff we’ve collected. It’s taking a long time to sort through everything but every time we do we end up with less and less in the keep piles and more to give away. Already our tiny house is looking less cluttered and it feels really good. Now to clean up and reorganize after a weekend of tearing the house apart.. Good thing I still have another day off from work!

Preserving adventures Pt 2 – Salsa

I’m not quite sure how many parts there are going to be to my preserving adventures saga.. I feel like I’m getting hooked! There are just so many things that you can preserve. Yet even though having a pantry full of homemade pickled goods, sauces and jams sounds amazing I’m trying to stick to things that we eat on a regular basis. Last year I pickled some string beans but since I’d only ever eat them in a Caesar (a Canadian drink similar to a bloody mary not the salad) they just sat there all year until I finally just got rid of them so I could reuse the jars. To be honest they didn’t turn out very well either, kind of mushy, so I’m trying to be a little more cautious when canning this time around. I also made a bunch of raspberry jam last summer and although I gave a lot away the jars I kept sat there for a long time. We did finally use it all up but now I know that in my household we just do not consume a lot of jam.

Tomato sauce, pickles and salsa on the other hand.. It’s hard to keep those things in stock! Which brings me to my next canning adventure.. Salsa! The process was similar to making the tomato sauce but a lot less work. I still had to blanch and peel the tomatoes but once that was done you just dice them and throw them into a large pot with all the other ingredients and let it boil for 15 mins. That’s it. For my salsa I looked at a few different recipes but eventually ended up creating my own. I like salsa to be chunky and taste super fresh with not too much seasoning. This is what I came up with:

Sara’s Fresh Chunky Salsa

  • 35-40 Roma Tomatoes
  • 5 Assorted Peppers (I used green, yellow and orange)
  • 3 med sized onions
  • 5-7 Jalapenos depending on size and how spicy you want it.
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  •  ½ C apple cider vinegar
  • ½ C lemon juice
  • 1 can tomato paste 156ml or 5.5oz
  • 1 TBs salt
  • 1 TBs fresh ground pepper
  1. Blanch and peel tomatoes then dice and add to large pot
  2. Chop and add the rest of the ingredients. I used a food processor for the jalapenos to get them super finely chopped.
  3. Bring to a boil over med heat and let cook for 15 mins.

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I had a little salsa leftover that didn’t fit into the jars and so far it got good reviews. Hmm what to can next…  My vegan cheese came out pretty good too. I’ll post an update on that later this week 🙂

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Nuri enjoying the fall weather!

Preserving Adventures Pt 1 – Pickles and Tomato Sauce

I’m finally getting around to sharing my canning adventures! My past two weekends have been spent in the kitchen prepping, cooking, and attempting to make some preservatives for the winter. I ordered 10lbs of pickling cucumbers, dill, garlic, and 40lbs of canning tomatoes from my local organic box. The first weekend I did up my pickles. It was really pretty easy! I followed some online instructions and it literally only took about 30 mins for all my pickles (five 1L jars). I found a ton of different ways to make dill pickles from fermenting them first to super easy fridge pickles but I settled on a canning recipe. Maybe I’ll try a different method next year, depending on how these turn out.. The recipe/instructions I followed is here. Making pickles is definitely something I want to do every year, hopefully with my own home-grown cucumbers next year! I can’t wait to taste them. Seeing them sitting on the counter everyday yet having to wait a whole month to eat them is probably the worst part of doing it at home.

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All my cukes. Washed and ready!

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The jars looked so pretty with just the dill and garlic in them.

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Finished pickles! Waiting to be eaten..

Next up was homemade tomato sauce. My friend is Italian and every year at the end of the summer her mom, and pretty much entire neighborhood, spend days upon days making enough tomato sauce to last for the entire year. We got the recipe from her mom and set to work. This was much more labour intensive than the pickles.. We set up stations in her kitchen for each step. The first station was for rinsing the tomatoes and prepping them for blanching then the blanching station (a pot of boiling water and a pot of ice water). Next was the peeling station where the skins were removed from all the tomatoes. After that came the blending station and finally the cooking station. It took us 5 hours the first night to finish cooking most of the tomato sauce and get about half of the sauce into jars and those jars processed. After about a half day total of work we finished with 12 500ml jars each. Not too bad for our first time! I tested out an unsealed jar that night on spaghetti and it was delicious. I can’t wait to try it out for pizza too!

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Finished tomato sauce. We also added fresh basil leaves to each jar. Yum.

Next on my list for home made food is salsa and vegan cheese. So far I’ve got some sprouted grains fermenting as a starter liquid for my cheese. Hopefully that will be ready to use either today or tomorrow. It’s such a satisfying feeling making everything from scratch. A lot of work but so worth it!

Easter eats and adventuring!

 

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For easter this year I wanted to have a nice sunday brunch full of veggie goods. I decided on:

 

  • gluten-free garden pasta salad
  • tomato basil crostinis
  • baked spinach dip with corn chips – I replaced the shredded and cream cheese with a vegan ones but used the real parmesan.
  • lots of fresh fruit with strawberry dip   
  • vegan lemon cheesecake with a lemon curd topping  (veganized of course with earth balance and no food colouring.. who needs neon yellow food..)  

 

**Click on the link to see the recipe I used!

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Easter brunch eats!

Plus my mom brought some super cute bunny buns which looked adorable on the table. 

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She also spoiled us with loads of chocolate and candy.. We’re pretty much stocked for the year. 

I thought I’d also share the recipes that don’t have links as I made them up! 

Gluten-Free Garden Pasta Salad

  • 2 Cups cooked gluten free rice bran pasta (I used Tinkyada brand)
  • 1 carrot peeled into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced purple onion or shallots
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/3 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sugar or honey or whatever sweetener you prefer
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • dash paprika
  • a few fresh basil leaves chopped (optional I just had some on hand)
  1. Put everything in a bowl and mix well. I like to keep things simple when they can be and use the lease amount of dishes possible. 

Tomato Basil Crostinis

I discovered an amazing recipe for pizza sauce from thebrookcook and I couldn’t wait for a pizza night to try it out! Toasted herb bread topped with fresh basil leaves and vegan mozza seemed like the perfect combination to satisfy my margarita pizza obsession I spoke of before.

  • 4 Slices of a round herb loaf cut in half
  • homemade tomato sauce (canned tomatoes pureed with olive oil and salt)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • vegan mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 celsius.
  2. Pop bread into oven while it’s preheating remove when the edges start to brown.
  3. Remove bread slices from oven. Top with tomato sauce, basil and mozza and return to oven until cheese is melted. About 5 mins but keep an eye on it!
  4. Serve right away while still warm.   

Strawberry Dip

I’m not even sure why I’m posting a recipe for this one, it’s so simple I really just took 1/2 cup of organic greek strawberry yogurt (delicious on it’s own) and added about 1/3 cup vegan cream cheese. Blend them together and voila!

You’re probably wondering why I used vegan cheeses for some of the recipes yet not for all.. My mom also thought this was very strange and started trying to pick out which were real and which were not. But I can explain I swear! After doing the dairy free challenge I discovered that some things were easily substituted for vegan alternatives and that cheap grocery store brand cheese is something I can really do without. Yet I still love the flavor of real cheeses. Now I get the expensive real cheese, real parmesan, real mozzarella but I buy and use less of it. By replacing most of the cheese in recipes with a vegan alternative at least I’m putting slightly less demand on the dairy industry. Some of the recipes also call for mayo which I’m still a sucker for. I’m going to buy an immersion blender and start making my own from scratch at home because even though a bottle of mayo will last me almost half a year I’d still rather make it from the eggs from my chickens then from who knows where.    

Since it was such a beautiful day out we took a trip to Sandy Beach and went exploring on the still frozen lake. A very good Easter sunday all around =) 

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Canadian spring lol. Even though it looks super sunny out I still layered up with tights, thermals, long sleeve shirt, sweater and vest.

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Hope everyone is having a fantastic Easter sunday! 

5 of my favorite quick and easy vegetarian meals.

It’s been a hectic couple weeks for me. Minutes before my boyfriend planned to leave for a 5 day snowboarding trip I was in a car accident and my car towed away, right from in front of my house. Luckily no one was hurt but the next week and a half were definitely stressful for me. I had declined the rental package on my insurance so I was left without a vehicle until the insurance money came through. Living out in the country a car is pretty much a necessity to get anything done. I had a few days off work and still got to go on a snowboard trip that weekend, as my friend was able to drive us to Banff. To get to work and back I had to take cabs, catch a ride with someone who lived nearby, or get my boyfriend to drive me for the rest of the week. I arranged to go look at a replacement car on my one day off that weekend but the car was located 3 hours away. I ended up purchasing it even though it had some noticeable issues mostly because we had drove all that way and I got such a good deal. I also have been busy volunteering with the Alberta Organic Producers Association. We had a meeting last weekend so I went there from 10am-4pm and then straight to work for 4pm-2am. Thankfully Shadoe was okay with chauffeuring me back and forth. On top of working nights this week and my mom coming for a visit I also had to find time to take my new car into the shop, and write an article for the newspaper. It’s been crazy!

Things are finally starting to get back to normal. I had to decline overtime work today in order to get caught up on my personal life but I managed to accomplish everything I needed to do. It’s weeks like this that having to go quick and easy veggie meals is a must. While my mom was here I devoted a little more time to the kitchen and made us bean and rice enchiladas with Mexican rice and spicy jalapeno Cornbread on the side, it was a feast compared to most of my meals lately. I forgot to take any photos but since it was such a hit with everyone even my bean-hating boyfriend (who I’m slowly converting to the dark side). I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon and I’ll post the recipe next time!

To be honest my go to meals when in a rush or not feeling like putting in too much effort are usually some kind of pasta. I try to make them healthy by loading up the veggies so it’s more half veggie half pasta. I also cook a lot with Mr. Noodle instant noodles, normally I make a stir fry and use the noodles as the base but recently a friend of mine said she makes the noodles and broth then adds in all kinds of veggies, an egg, soy sauce and chilis. I tried her concoction and am now hooked! It’s like a spicy, salty, Asian inspired dish that is literally ready in minutes. When I’m really not feeling the noodles I go for more burger or sandwich style meals. I usually have a stash of whole wheat pitas in my freezer at all times and have found many uses for them, from pita chips for hummus, to falafels and mini pizzas.

1. Vegetarian Tikka Masala Pasta – I’m pretty sure I’ve invented this concoction. One day after cooking some pasta and not really being sure what kind of sauce I felt like having on it I noticed a half empty jar of Tikka Masala sauce in my fridge. I threw some onions, carrots, and red pepper in the food processor, sautéed them slightly in a frying pan, added a couple handful of spinach and mixed in the sauce and pasta. The first couple bites were confusing. I wasn’t sure if the sauce went with the whole grain pasta but the more I ate the more I liked it and it has now become a staple!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked whole grain pasta
  • ½ cup Tikka Masala sauce
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 tsp oil for cooking
  • Couple handfuls of spinach
  1. Grate all vegetables in a food processor or to save dishes you can chop them up julienne style.
  2. Sautee in frying pan for 1-2 mins or until tender. Mix in Tikka Masala sauce and cooked pasta, stir and serve!

2) Creamy Avocado & Basil Pasta – I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest and probably make it at least 2-3 times a month.. Warning it’s highly addictive. I would say it’s like a vegan combo of classic Alfredo sauce and pesto. It uses the creaminess of avocado in place of heavy cream, lemon and basil to add flavor and is a delicious plant based meal.

I’m directing you straight to the source on OhSheGlows.com. Also where this photo comes from.

15 minute creamy avocado pasta

3) Spicy Mr. Noodle Soup – Like I said above, this one is super quick and soo simple. I prep my veggies while the water is heating up on the stove and then throw it all together. I love to make this noodle soup whenever I’m feeling a little under the weather or on a snowy cold day.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package Mr. Noodle instant noodles.
  • ¼ a red pepper, chopped
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1-3 tsp chili garlic sauce to taste
  • ground pepper
  1. Cook noodles as per package, just before they are completely done cooking add in red pepper, spinach and soy sauce.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Stir a few times until spinach is wilted and then add in the egg. You wont want to stir it much once the egg is in there but I like to take spoonfuls of the broth and pour it on top of the egg to speed things up.
  3. Once the egg is mostly cooked pour into a bowl, top with chili garlic sauce  and enjoy!

4) Margarita Pita Pizzas – I have a weird obsession with Margarita pizzas. Ever since having an authentic one from Famoso I crave the simplicity of the tomato/basil/mozza flavors all the time. I order the exact same thing every time we go so it’s not a surprise that I tried to make my own version at home. Obviously it doesn’t come close to the real thing but for a quick and easy meal it’s very satisfying.

Photo courtesy of yummly.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh tomato
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • few basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450 C.
  2. Puree fresh tomato and tomato paste in mini blender or magic bullet.
  3. Place pita on a baking pan. Spread olive oil evenly over pita with a pastry brush.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, then top with fresh basil leaves and mozzarella.
  5. Cook in the oven for about 5 mins, be sure to watch it, it will cook fast! As soon as the cheese is melted remove from oven and let cool.

5) Falafel Pitas – I don’t think anyone really needs instructions on this one.. All I ever do is grab a box of falafel mix, cook according to instructions and stuff it in a pita with my favorite toppings and spread. Personally I like tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber slices!

Photo courtesy of stonefire.com

Hope these give you some ideas for quick veggie filled meals. Let me know what your favorite go-to veggie dishes are!

Also, my cats, because it’s my blog and I’ll post cat photos if I want to lol.

Nuri had a photo shoot out in the snow a few weeks back. She was thrilled.. Obviously.

Nuri had a photo shoot out in the snow a few weeks back. She was thrilled.. Obviously.

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Hunting some birds.

Hunting some birds.

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Both cats hanging out on the cat tree. Butterscotch came to visit with my mom last week.

There’s veggies in my chocolate!

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Obviously I’m human therefore I love chocolate. Okay maybe being a Homo sapien does not necessarily predispose one to love chocolate but I have yet to meet someone who detests it! With all the chocolate recipes floating around the internet due to Valentines day I developed some strong chocolate cravings. While torturing myself reading about amazing cocoa concoctions I stumbled upon a recipe on the civilized caveman. He has created a brownies recipe that is not only sugar free but also grain free! What’s the secret ingredient? Sweet potatoes. I was intrigued. I love weird food combinations so I couldn’t wait to try this recipe out! I’m not going to post my version of the recipe because I followed it almost exactly, the only substitutions I made were replacing the butter with earth balance to make it diary-free and I couldn’t find coconut flour so I used rice flour instead. Also I just melted the chocolate chips and poured them on top for an icing of sorts. I cannot believe how amazing these turned out.. They are the most moist, chocolate-y, melt in your mouth brownies I’ve ever had. I don’t think I’ll ever think of brownies the same way after having these.

Here’s the link for the Sweet Potato Ginger Brownies! Although they are called ginger brownies, to be honest I couldn’t detect the ginger in them. Which was not a bad thing but maybe to spice them up you could try using fresh ginger instead. Enjoy!

To keep up the veggies in my chocolate theme I have another recipe I adore. Each week with our organic box of vegetables we also get a newsletter (electronically now, to save paper) highlighting one of the veggies or fruits in our box. Usually they do a little write up on the farm they source that veggie/fruit from and most times include a recipe centered around it. This is how I discovered beet cake. The first time I made this unusual dessert Shadoe peered into the kitchen of our tiny apartment and probably thought I was ruining a perfectly good chocolate cake. Beets and chocolate.. I don’t necessarily like beets either so I was also skeptical. Alas the organic box had given us beets and I really had no idea what else to make with them so beet cake it was! Surprisingly this cake was a hit on the first attempt! I brought some to work and my coworkers all agreed that it was some tasty cake. The rest, Shadoe gobbled up, not sharing with his co-workers I’m sure. Since then I’ve made beet cake many times. Shadoe will actually get excited when he sees beets in the fridge now, happy that I’ll be making his favorite beet cake. I’m happy too since this simple recipe calls for way less sugar than a normal chocolate cake, which I’ll normally substitute with honey. Also it calls for whole wheat flour and is a source of veggies! I make it so often now that I even canned pureed beets from my garden specifically to make beet cake through the winter. Instead of your traditional cake this time I decided to try something fun and made chocolate coated cake balls! Chocolate cake dipped in chocolate, what could be better..

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Chocolate Beet Cake

  • 1-2 med-large sized beets
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2/3 cup sugar (or honey) I usually use less and it still turns out yummy!
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 chocolate chips
  1. Peel and dice beets and boil in saucepan until tender. Or if you have more time on your hands and can plan ahead, just wrap the beets as they are in foil and bake in the oven at 375 until tender. Let cool then wash off the skins under cold water, they should come right off. Once you have your cooked beets, puree them in the blender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare baking pan.
  3. Pour the pureed beets into a 2-cup measure and fill to 2 cup line by adding applesauce. In a medium mixing bowl add an extra 2 Tbs applesauce, the beet mixture, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the beet mixture. Stir until well combined and pour batter into prepared pan. Top with chocolate chips. Bake for 35-50 mins depending on the size of pan you use. Test by inserting a toothpick into the center. It’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Vegetarian freezer meals marathon!

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Smokey BBQ Veggie Burger

Since I had 5 days off this week I decided some freezer filling was in order. I wanted to make sure I had some healthy meals available for those nights when I do not feel like cooking anything after work. First on the agenda for my freezer meal prep was banana pancakes. I don’t really like them but my boyfriend is pancake crazy and I thought it would be a nice treat so he would have something quick to grab in the mornings instead of cereal every day. I whipped up a double batch and made them kind of small. Just the right size so that they fit in the toaster and so 3 would be a good sized breakfast. So far they’ve gotten good reviews except that the bananas tend to stay frozen after reheating. For the next batch I’ll either mash the bananas up better or just leave them out.

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Freezer Banana Pancakes

  • 1-2 ripe mashed bananas
  • ¾ C milk, or almond or soy
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking power
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 Tbs cold water
  1. Pour milk into medium sized bowl add vinegar and set aside for 5 mins for the milk to sour. Whisk in egg, oil and banana and mix well.
  2. In a small bowl, or on top of the milk mixture (I like to use as few dishes as possible) mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Depending on the consistency I usually add the 1 Tbs water to the batter so the pancakes aren’t too thick but If you want thick pancakes just leave it how it is.
  4. Heat oil in frying pan/skillet and pour in aprroximately 1/3 cup batter. Cook for a few mins over med heat or until small bubbles form in the middle of pancake. Turn and cook for a few more mins, until browned.
  5. To freeze I placed all the pancakes on a cookie sheet to cool then in groups of 3 placed them in freezer bags.

Next up was a batch of smoky bison burgers and veggie burgers. I wanted mine smoky flavor too so I picked up some fake bacon (tempeh) and added lots of barbecue sauce to the chickpea/bean mixture. I threw some of the fake bacon into the bison burgers as well, just for kicks lol. After burgers for supper, Shadoe had seconds of his so they must have been good, we prepped the rest to freeze for later.

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Smokey Barbecue Veggie Burgers

Adapted from Myrecipes.com

  • 1 398mL can of black beans
  • 1 398mL can of chick peas/garbanzo beans
  • 1 egg
  • ½ an onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ C red pepper diced
  • ½ C chopped mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs smokey flavored BBQ sauce
  • 1 Tbs chili flakes
  • fresh ground pepper
  • ½ packet of salted soda crackers or 1 ½ C bread crumbled

Toppings:

  • Handful spinach
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp BBQ sauce
  • Pickles
  • 1 Sliced tomato
  1. Drain/rinse beans and add all ingredients into medium sized mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with electric beaters making sure most of the beans are mashed but not all.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Form veggie mixture into palm sized patties and cook for a few mins on each side, until browned.
  3. Grab a whole wheat bun or bread of your choice add your toppings and burger and enjoy!

I eat a lot of hummus.. I love it as a protein on sandwiches, as a dip for veggies or pita chips, by the spoonful.. Lets just say I go through a lot of hummus and it’s kind of expensive to buy from the store all the time. I recently acquired a massive amount of dried chickpeas and I wanted to try making hummus completely from scratch. In a previous post I made it from canned and it was okay, not the best hummus ever tho. A couple of the girls at work said they would also like some homemade hummus and we decided on roasted garlic hummus and an extra spicy one. I set out a large bowl of dried chickpeas in water overnight but I had no idea they were going to double in size and ended up with a ridiculous amount of chickpeas the next day.. I hope hummus freezes well because even with giving away 2/3’s of the hummus I still had way too much leftover! They both turned out delicious! I’m not exaggerating when I say it may possibly be the best hummus I’ve tasted to date, spicy, savory, creamy, just perfect. I may have went overboard with the garlic in the one batch.. It definitely has some bite to it, but in the same addictive property that spicy food has. It burns yet you want more. Oh I forgot to mention I finally purchased a Kitchenaid Food Processor! I was trying to make all my hummus on Friday night when I ended up breaking my blender (it was a cheap one) and the magic bullet was just not going to cut it with so much hummus to blend. I gave up and resolved to buy a food processor before the weekend was over. Luckily kijiji had the exact one I was looking for, two years old, barely used and 1/3 the price of a brand new one! I picked it up the next day and happily resumed my hummus production.

Here’s the basic hummus recipe I used and then the add ins for the different flavors:

Hummus

  • Adapted from mideastfood.com
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Throw all the ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Super easy!

For the Roasted Garlic version I added:

  • 1 entire bulb of garlic plus 2 extra cloves
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Slice off the top of the bulb of garlic, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350 for at least 30 mins or until you can smell a nice garlic aroma from the oven.
  2. Mince the 2 extra cloves and add to prepared hummus along with the pepper.

For the Extra Spicy version I added:

  • 1-2 Tbs chili garlic sauce –depending on your heat tolerance
  • ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • Another spoonful of chili sauce for on top
  1. Add extra ingredients to prepared hummus in food processor. Mix, then top with approximately 1 Tbs extra chili sauce.

Finally my boyfriend and I both love lasagna and I recently saw a recipe for vegetarian lasagna roll ups which are a lot healthier than your average beefy, cheesy, noodley recipe. I decided to pack mine with veggies I diced red pepper, sliced mushrooms, and stuffed them with spinach, then I smothered them in canned tomatoes and tomato sauce hopefully there’s enough veggies in there to counteract all the cheese.. I looked in the freezer afterwards and saw that this was good. Over the 5 days off I also made a cauliflower crust pizza, chocolate beet cake balls, and tika masala pasta with shredded veggies (recipes to come), did I mention I love to cook? It’s honestly so much fun for me to spend hours in the kitchen, some good tunes blasting on the speakers, creating delicious foods for us to enjoy. Between all my cooking at home and hot yoga classes lately I’ve been loving life and I wouldn’t want to spend my days off any other way!

Vegetarian Lasagna Roll Ups

Adapted from skinnytaste.com

  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 454g package ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 9 Tbsp mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • handful chopped basil leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.
  2. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Top with chopped veggies and a spoonful of diced tomatoes.
  3. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Ladle tomato sauce and leftover diced tomato over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle chopped basil on top of cheese.  Put same piece of foil used for making the rolls over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.

I accidently froze/ate all the roll ups before taking any pictures but they look very similar to these with extra veggies snuck in and if I were a professional food photographer 😉

Vegetarian Lasagna Roll Ups

I like to browse recipes on skinnytaste.com to get ideas for healthy meals but I don’t agree with the promotion of fat-free, sugar-free, light, or otherwise modified ingredients. Usually when they take out the fat/sugar or reduce calories they replace it with artificial flavors, sugars etc. I believe that to be less healthy for you than the real, whole food version, but that’s just my opinion!

Hope you enjoy all the recipes! Let me know some of your favorite freezer friendly foods!