Sunday, 23 December 2012

Bars and Squares

Two days till christmas, if I don't do my christmas baking now, I'll never get it done in time for the big day. I've been making this recipe for years, super easy and a real crowd pleaser. 



  • 1 1/2 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, amount depends on how nutty you like it)
  • 1/2 chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Boil water with 1/2 cup flour over low heat, stirring constantly until it reaches a thin, glue like consistency. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  3. Mix sugar, salt, vanilla, cocoa and oil. Add the cooled flour-water mixture and mix well.
  4. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, nuts and chocolate chips and mix well.
  5. Spread mixture into greased 11 x 7 glass pyrex pan.
  6. Bake at 350°F for around 25 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Energy Balls

An excellent snack or addition to a dessert tray
I can't believe there are only 3 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS! 
Well, It's been a while since my last post, but with exams behind me and the holidays much closer than expected, there are many recipes that I'll be posting in the next few days.
I'll be making a few recipes today, and I'm starting with some Energy Balls. These delicious little balls are nutritious with flax and oats, but are sweetened with honey and chocolate. They make great snacks (kids love them!), but can be served for breaky or even for dessert on a sweets tray. 

No Bake Energy Balls


1 cup oats (quick oats or old-fashioned, large flakes)
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips 
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract 

I used the bottoms and tops of cereal  boxes
and wrapped in christmas paper for an easy
christmas gifts. Just wrap the balls in wax
paper, tie with a bow, box and
give the gift of yummy goodness.


Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll into balls of desired diameter. 
Stored in an air tight.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


These pretzels are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It's a good thing that this recipe is so easy to make because these pretzels are quite addicting! This recipe is diverse and can be used to make bread sticks or twists and can be stuffed with garlic, herbs or cheese.

Makes approximately 24 medium pretzels
Preheat oven to 425F

Tasty goodness


1 tbsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups hot tap water
olive oil and course sea salt


In a large mixing bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
Add hot water and knead well, will take about 5 minutes.
Stretch, roll and sculpt into desired shapes.
Place on greased baking sheet or baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Brush olive oil on top of the pretzels and grind or sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake for 12-15 minutes at 425F

Enjoy guys!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Creamy vegan Coleslaw

Rich and delicious.  Your friends won't believe you when you tell them that this pretty dish has no animal products in it! I used to make my slaw with green cabbage, but the purple variety is so vibrant, it's hard to resist.
I rushed a bit taking this photo...I was a bit hungry. Would have been much prettier on a white plate. Oh well, tastes the same.
Serves 8-10


1 medium purple cabbage, chopped (of green)
2 large carrots, grated
4 inches of a leek, cut in half lengthwize then sliced into moons
1 cup vegan mayo
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar (use 1 tsp if you use a green cabbage, purple is a bit sweeter)
2 tbsp pickle juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
salt and fresh ground pepper


In large bowl, combine and mix all the vegetables
Mix remaining ingredients in a smaller bowl, taste for salt and pepper. If it does't taste galicy enough, hold out on adding more, the flavour intensifies as in sits.
Incorporate dressing with the cabbage and vegetable mixture as desired.
Cover and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour before serving.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Oven-Baked Onion Rings

Crunchy, delicious and oil-free. We made these onion rings were with the largest red onions we could find and are they are absolutely scrumptious. All the goodness without the grease.  An added plus, the batter stays on these onions! (unlike restaurant onion rings where, after one bight, you are left with no onion and a whole lot of breading). The breading process, like any, can get quite messy, but the end result is worth it. Best served fresh, these tasty morsels won't last long.

They look crunchy, don't they? Makes most restaurant onion rings look tiny in comparison.


1 large red onion

5/8 cup or 1/2 cup + 2 whole wheat flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup cold unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp apple cider

2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder


Tried to take the picture of my set up before my hands got too battered. I'm no the cleanest cook in the kitchen :)

Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice red onion into 3/4" slices, reserve large and medium rings, saving smaller segments for later use.
In a shallow dish or bowl combine flour, cornstarch and liquids and mix well, removing all clumps.
In another bowl, mix coating ingredients: breadcrumbs, yeast, salt and garlic powder.
With a fork, coat onion ring in batter, coating evenly, and let excess drip off.
Transfer to bowl with coating and coat completely.
Place onion ring on prepared baking sheet and repeat.
Bake for 18 minutes, flipping after 9 minutes. Check doneness before removing (I suggest nibbling on one).
Best served immediately.

Want an easy dipping sauce? I mixed about 1/4 cup vegan mayo with a tsp wasabi, a tsp ketchup, 2 tsp Dijon mustard,1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Chilled it for 10 minutes to let the garlic powder work its magic. Delicious.

Enjoy guys!

Friday, 16 November 2012


This biscuit recipe is quick and easy and can really add a little extra to last night's leftover soup. We've also used this dough for a quick Friday night pizza crust. If you enjoy a heartier pizza crust, then I'd give this a try. It doesn't need much kneading or any rising time at all, and if you have extra dough you can just make biscuits for left-overs or nibbling. Great with chopped garlic, cheese, herbs or all of the above, this recipe is very versatile  I've also given the sweet variation of the recipe if you are feeling more the sweet tea biscuit route rather than the soup dipping, margarine slathering route.


Cooking Time: 15min, Preheat Oven to: 450°F


4 cups flour, white, whole wheat or a combination
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 tsp vinegar


Mix all dry ingredients. (Add in optional dry ingredients, see variations)
Cut in margarine (like you were making a pie crust), be very gentle to not over mix.
Add milk and vinegar just to moisten. Gently combine.
Drop large blobs by the tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. OR roll the dough out with flour to 1" thick and cut with a round cookie cutter or an upside down drinking glass for round, formed biscuits.
Bake at 450°F for around 15 minutes or until golden.


Sweet Tea Biscuits:

scant 1 cup brown sugar
1 cup orange peel, or mixed peel or raisins or currents or dried fruit of choice
       Add to dry ingredients

Biscuit Pizza Crust:

3 cloves minced garlic
herbs of choice
       Mix in additional ingredients with the dry goods.
       Roll out onto large baking sheet, forming a thick outer crust if desired. Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F, dress as desired than bake for a minimum of 10 more minutes, or until everything is cooked.

Monday, 12 November 2012


Mushroom Ravioli

No time to make fresh pasta for your ravioli? An easy substitute is wonton wrappers. Fill with whatever filling you desire, fold in two or place top wrapper on, wet the edges and seal with your fingers before doing a final decorative seal with a fork. Boil for around 5 minutes, sauce and enjoy.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Best Ever Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Serves: 4-5 dozen cookies
Cooking time: 11-13 minutes
Preheat Oven to 350F


1 cup vegan margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup boiling water
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips


Cream together margarine, sugar, vanilla.
Add flour and salt and mix well.
Dissolve baking powder in boiling water and add to mixture. Stir in oats, nuts and chocolate. And mix.
Roll dough into golf ball size balls and flatten with a fork on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350F for approximately 12 minutes.

Mini Vegan Quiche

I've stumbled upon a few recipes for vegan quiche, but I find this one the simplest and the most delicious. The filling, can also be made to your liking. I've used mushrooms, leeks, red peppers, shallots, swiss chard and even pumpkin!

Makes: 24 mini quiches


I package round wonton wrappers
Margarine for greasing
Optional: Vegan cheese

1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups whole mushrooms (scant), sliced and diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 leek or 4 green onions, chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and Pepper

1 pound/ package firm tofu
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp tumeric
several dashes fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup nutritional yeast 


Preheat oven to 400 F.
Grease one 12-muffin pan with margarine. Stretch out each wonton circle so that it better fits in the tray. Press the wontons firmly into place.
In a frying pan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic and onions, cook for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook for 2 minutes. Add red pepper, and oregano, sauté for an additional 5 minutes, or until vegetables are almost done. (these vegetables can easily be substituted, you can use leeks and mushrooms for an earthier taste, or for some more greens, add a bunch of finely chopped Swiss chard tops to your garlic) If you are cooking greens, you may need to add a little water, however, by the end we do not want any excess water to get into our quiche. 
While sautéing, start the 'egg' base. Give the tofu a rinse and a good squeeze over the sink to remove excess water. Use you hand to crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl until it looks like ricotta. Add the remaining ingredients to the tofu and mix well. When the vegetables are ready, drain off any excess liquid and transfer the vegetable sauté into the mixing bowl and mix to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.
Spoon the tofu mixture into the wonton bowls in the muffin tray. Press the mixture down and flatten each.
Add vegan cheese on top of quiches if desired.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, until firm and slightly brown on top.
Let cool 3 minutes on wire rack before serving.

Wonton wrappers are not necessary and may be substituted for any shell, or no shell at all. This recipe can also be prepared in a 9" greased pie plate.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Back to the Basics

There are a few recipes that come in handy a lot in our household, the first being risotto and the second being  good old Caesar salad, vegan style.

There are many vegan caesar dressing recipes that miss the mark out there. They can easily be too liquidy, or sadly just not garlicy enough. This recipe however, is neither. The perfect amount of garlic and salt, this dressing only gets better the longer it waits for you in the fridge.

Vegan Caesar Salad


In a mason jar combine:
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp soy milk
3-4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise preferably, but vegan sour cream or cream cheese work too)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic 
1/4 tsp salt and fresh ground pepper


Shake and or stir to combine. 
Best served on kale with fresh croutons and thinly sliced fried tofu chips*.

To make tofu chips: Thinly slice tofu and fry at medium temp. Drizzle with soy sauce and cover with yeast, and any other desired spices such as pepper, Provençal, or Italian spices.
To make fresh croutons: cube bread, drissle bread with olive oil and sprinkle with spices, salt and pepper. Toast on a low temperature until dried and crouton-ey. 

Risotto Base

Risotto is one of those versatile dishes that can be paired with a variety of vegetables. In the photo above, we had prepared  an acorn squash and kale risotto.  Risotto also pairs well with roasted vegetables, like cauliflower and garlic, pepper and tomatoes or zucchini. Vegetables can be cooked prior cooking the rice or with the rice. Mushroom Risotto is our all time favourite, and one of the most flavourful and easiest risotto dishes (photo below) If you're making mushroom risotto, cut up dried mushrooms and reconstituting them in the broth and pair with fresh fried mushrooms, which can be cooked along side the rice. Its important when preparing the risotto to have a ratio of one part 'goodies' to one part rice, so don't be shy with those mushrooms!

Serves: 2 as a main, 4 as a side


3 cloves garlic, minced 
olive oil to coat
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups hot water, can be added to broth to dilute it
1 onion chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine (or water to make harvest rice, which is alcohol free)

About 2 cups vegetables of choice, ie. mixed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, etc.


In a small sauce pan, heat broth and water to a boil, reduce heat and keep warm.
In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. 
Sauté onion until transparent (~3 min) (if using mushrooms, sauté now for an additional 5 minutes).
Add rice, stirring to coat grains in oil, let toast for around 3 minutes, until slightly transparent, then add wine, stirring until almost no liquid remains.
Add broth to rice, one ladle, or 1/2 cup at a time, while mixing often. When almost no liquid remains, add more broth, and repeat until there is no more broth and the rice is cooked. 
While adding liquid, you may spice your risotto to your liking, we enjoy thyme (at least 2 tsp dry), however, do not add salt and pepper till the near end as to not over salt the dish. 
Cooking the rice should take 18-20 minutes, and should produce creamy but not mushy rice, that still has a bit of a crunch in the middle.

If you desire a creamier product, you may wish to add some soy milk instead of the last 1/2 cup liquid, and vegan cheese, such as Daiya, at the end.

If the risotto sits for two long it may become stiff and less creamy, to avoid this add 1-2 tsp lemon juice at the end of the cooking process. 

Vegan Shortbread

Shortbread doesn't need to be made with a pound of butter!
This is a quick and easy vegan recipe, takes barely no time at all and turns out great every time.


  • 1 cup margarine (do not used reduced fat margarine)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or none if you margarine is salted)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine and vanilla until creamy and add the confectioners sugar until well combined. Little by little add the flour and salt until the mixture forms a thick, soft dough.
3. Roll out into 1/4" thick sheet and cut with cookie cutters or roll into balls and depress with your hand until the cookies are 1/4" thick. Transfer to parchment paper.
4. Bake on the middle rack for approximately 15 minutes or until just when sides begin to turn golden (you want minimal colour).
5. Cool completely on wire rack before serving.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fall Stew with Pumpkin and Chestnuts

We were a little late with putting out our pumpkin this year, so last weekend we chopped her up and made some pumpkin delights.


1 head of garlic
olive oil
2 medium white onions
3 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4  tsp ground pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup flour
4 cups water
2 cups cooked chestnuts
2 cups lightly roasted pumpkin
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 lg carrots, chopped à la rustique 


To cook chestnuts, if not already done, cut an X in their shell then, in small batches of around 4-6, boil for 5 minutes until the shell starts to curl. Remove from water and cool. After removing the shell, reboil in fresh water for an additional 5-6 minutes, then break into halves and set aside.

Cut pumpkin into large chunks and toss in oil, place on baking sheet. Trim top off garlic head to expose cloves. Place face down on baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven until tender, about 35 minutes. Let cool enough to handle; squeeze out cloves of garlic and discard outer. Set aside. 
Meanwhile, in large Pot,  oil over medium heat; cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes, carrots and celery, spice and cooked carlic; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in flour little at a time to coat evenly; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in broth, scraping up from the bottom. Stir in 4 cups water and bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chestnuts; simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin; simmer for 10 minutes, stir gently to keep chunks whole. Discard  bay leaves.

Can last up to 5 days in the fridge, although the the liquid may need to be reconstituted with a little water apon reheating.