Thursday, 27 June 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

 It's been a very long time since I've had peanut butter cookies, probably since before I left home. But for some reason, I've always remembered peanut butter cookies being on the harder side of the cookie scale.  Well not these ones. These peanut butter cookies are super moist and super delicious. 
Since these cookies are made with flax, they have the added benefits of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. And essential fatty acids in my cookies means I can justify having a third.

Makes: 32 cookies


2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup margarine
1 cup natural, smooth peanut butter (No sugar added)
6 tbsp water + 2 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
white sugar for dusting


In a jar or measuring cup combine water and ground flax, let sit for at least 3 minutes until the mixture thickens.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, cream together brown sugar, margarine and peanut butter.
Stir in the water flax mixture and the vanilla.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the batter, and mix until well combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Remove the batter from the fridge, and form golf ball size balls.
Roll the batter balls in white sugar (optional). then place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Place the dough balls a few inches apart, then squish down with a fork.
Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Let cool completely before eating.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Southern Comfort Food

I absolutely love comfort food! A few nights ago, we whipped up a batch of mac 'n' cheese with some garlic collard greens, sweet potato mash, vegetarian chicken fingers (store bought) and some tasty biscuits.
We've made mac 'n' cheese many times, however the recipe below is are go-to. It's rich and creamy, and really easy to make. As for the collard greens, the trick, as we've found, is to steam them, then quickly sautée in warm oil with garlic.
This meal is perfect for when you're having a craving for southern dinner food. All the goodness, but without all the animal products and butter! Yum!

Mac 'n' Cheese

Serves: 4-6


1 pound or 450g of pasta, cooked al dente

1 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup plain soy milk, or dairy-free milk
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
ground black pepper to taste


Put all ingredients in the blender and pulse until smooth.
Taste for seasoning.
In a large pan, on medium heat, add all the cooked pasta to the cheesey-cheeseless mixture.
Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened.
Serve immediately with fresh ground pepper and salt if needed.
Add the remaining uncooked sauce to any leftovers so that tomorrow's leftovers will be as creamy as tonight's.

Garlic Collard Greens

Serves: 3-4


1 large bunch of collard greens
olive oil, about 1/8 to 1/4cup, enough to well coat the bottom of your pan
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
pinch of red chili flakes
salt to taste
1 tsp lemon juice


In a large skillet, heat olive oil with the garlic and chili peppers on low heat for 10-15min.
Wash the collard greens and cut into 1" strips.
Steam all the collards in a steamer basket in a covered pot with an inch of water at the bottom.
Steam for about 5 minutes, until bright green then drain, trying to remove as much water as possible.
Toss the collards in the warm olive oil mixture and sautée on low for 3 minutes. 
Mix the collards with the lemon juice and serve.

Sweet Potato Mash

Serves: 4-6


4 medium-large sweet potatoes or garnite yams
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup molasses, or to taste
pinch of allspice or asian 5-spice
1/2 tbsp paprika
scant 1/4 cup margarine
salt and pepper to taste


In a large covered pot, bring salted water to a boil. 
Wash the sweet potatoes and cut into 1" chunks. Husk and remove the ends of the garlic, keeping the cloves whole. Add the garlic and the sweet potatoes to the boiling water.
Boil for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft enough to mash.
Reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid, and drain the rest.
In the pot, mash the sweet potatoes adding the spices, and the margarine and cooking water until a smooth texture is obtained. You may also use an immersion blender to quicken the process.
Season with salt and pepper and serve along side your mac'n'cheese, collards and biscuits.

Monday, 10 June 2013

No-Bake Double Chocolate Torte

       Updating a favourite! Brought this delicious Chocolate Avocado Torte to a dinner party this past weekend and it was a huge success. I don't know how a chocolate torte could get bad reviews, but this one sure didn't fall short. The inspiration for this recipe came from "oh she glows' Chilled Double Chocolate Torte: The No-Bake Version" by Angela Liddon which I originally made in 2013 (oh how the time flies!). This torte is an excellent chocolate summer treat, and because it is no-bake, you don't need to brake a sweat making a delicious dessert.

Serves: 8-12
Time: 40 minutes + 2 hours (inactive)


No-Bake Crust

  • 2 cups pecans or walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil (can also use vegan margarine, though the crust will be a bit crumbly)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Chocolate Avocado Mousse 

  • 3 medium avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out
  • 1/3 cup soy milk or dairy-free equivalent
  • 1/2 maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tbsp almond butter or smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1/8 tsp salt, scant
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of melted chocolate chips, semi-sweet



  1. Oil a 7-10 inch spring form pan, or use wax or parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse pecans or walnuts with other crust ingredients until thick and crumbly or cakey (a few larger nuts never hurt anyone).
  3. Spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the spring form pan, and put in the freezer while making the mousse.


  1. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, purée all other mousse ingredients until smooth.
  3. Stir in melted chocolate chips and pulse until smooth and well combined.
  4. Remove the crust from the freezer and scoop the mousse on top. Smooth out with a smatula and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving chilled.
  5. To serve, let defrost for 5-10 minutes before cutting the torte, then replace the remaining torte in the freezer to not over soften the mousse.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a complete or high-quality protein, possessing all essential amino acids in the proper proportions and it's also a great source of carbohydrates, making this grain-like seed an excellent choice for vegetarians. I've used quinoa many times as a rice substitute in dishes like stir-fry and even in sushi. My most recent quinoa side dish was a warm, vegetable-packed, quinoa salad, which I served with yummy fried okra and tofu. This salad is very light, so it is ideal for the summer and although I initially served it warm, it is also excellent as a cold salad.

I've used red quinoa, but both red and white quinoa cook the same and can be used interchangeably. The instructions might seem a bit long, but really you are just making quinoa and cooking some vegetables. Not that difficult really, I've just tried to line everything out timewise for you.
For those really hot summer days, forget the baking, and barbecue the vegetables! After the vegetables are grilled, cut and toss with the quinoa in the same fashion.

Serves: 8-12 (as a side)


1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup vegetable broth + 1/2 cup water
A pinch of red chili flakes
3 medium cloves garlic
1/2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1 portobello mushroom
1 medium yellow pepper (orange or red works too), halved
4-6 spears of asparagus
3 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 green onion, greens and whites separately chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts (other nuts or seeds can be used)
1/8 cup fresh basil, ribboned
1 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tsp sesame oil, divided
1/4 tsp ginger powder
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium pot, cover quinoa with cold water, and let soak for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and cut vegetables. Place garlic (in their husk), quartered zucchini, portabello, yellow pepper halves (center down) and the asparagus spears on a large baking sheet.
Place baking sheet in the oven, set to 400°F and cook until vegetables are tender, up to 30 minutes depending on your oven.

After quinoa has soaked, rinse with cool water using a mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Transfer quinoa back to the pot, and add the 1 cup of liquid, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, a pinch of red chili flakes, the whites of the chopped green onion and a good grind of black pepper.
Put pot on medium heat uncovered. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook covered for 30-35 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a medium serving bowl, combine the other 1/2 tsp sesame oil with 1/8 cup of olive oil, the vinegar, the ginger powder, and a bit more pepper. Stir, then add in basil, green onion tops and pine nuts.
As the vegetables are nearing completion, you can take them out of the oven one at a time and begin adding them to the salad.
Remove the garlic first, it can be removed after about 20 minutes if you are ready. Depending on how cooked it is, you can either mash it in the bowl with the olive oil, or if it is more cooked, you can give it a rough chop, then add it to the bowl.
Remove the zucchini and slice about 1/4" thick, add to salad bowl.
Next, remove the pepper from the oven, remove its skin, chop the flesh into small squares, then add to the bowl.
Finally, remove the asparagus and the mushrooms, chop and slice and add to the salad.

After about 30 minutes of cooking, when the quinoa has absorbed all the water, remove the pot from the heat and let steam for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes of steaming fluff up the quinoa and let it cool slightly before transferring it to the salad bowl.

In the quinoa pot or another pan, quickly wilt the kale, by stirring the kale on medium heat until bright green and slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add kale to the salad bowl. Stir and combine. 
Add the remaining 1/8 cup olive oil to the salad, mix again. 
Taste and season with salt and pepper.