Cooking Delights

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blogger Break

Hi Everybody

I am going to take a blogger break over the next few weeks to devote all of my energy to finishing up this dissertation. I promise to be back with lots of healthy vegetarian meals once I have secured the doctorate. I leave you with a list of things you should not say at your own defense.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The FIRST cooking class!

Well we did it! With the help of my family and the lovely ladies who joined me this evening I have officially run my first cooking class. I must apologize that I did not take more pictures. I had meant to take more pictures of the process of people cooking but I only remembered about taking pictures after everybody had sat down for dinner.

So, here we are enjoying our soup.

This was the most delicious squash and yam soup from The Everyday Vegan.

Here we are enjoying the main course.

And, this is the main course. Nut loaf drizzled with mushroom gravy, orange glazed beets and a simple green salad.

I will definitely do this again, but not until my the New Year. Right now, all my focus and energy is on getting my dissertation handed in to my external committee by the end of the month and then on my actual defense the first week of December. After that, I will be a free woman, and much more fun to be around! BTW, I'm not actually in any of the photos since I was taking the pictures! Oh, and I apologize for the blurry photos, I guess I wasn't holding still enough.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cooking Class this Saturday!

I can't believe my cooking class is practically here already. Today I was practicing and testing some recipes that we will be making on Saturday. Pictured here is the lentil/cashew nut loaf drizzled with mushroom gravy and the orange glazed beets. This was the first time I made the orange glazed beets - they were delicious. There are only a couple of spaces left so if you are still interested e-mail me

Monday, October 09, 2006

Harvest Nuts and Seeds

Every Thanksgiving I make this delicious Harvest Nuts and Seeds to take with me wherever I am going for Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe is from Moosewood Celebrates. The description in the cook book says, "This addictive appetizer, witha coating like a delicate nut brittle combines an abundant assortment of nuts and seeds with just hte right amount of sugar and spice" I always get loads of compliments on this healthy and tastey appetizer.

Pumpkin seeds are definitely a food I am going to try to increase in my diet. According to Brendan Brazier, pumpkin seeds are iron rich. Iron is a nutrient that can be difficult to achieve in your diet when you don't eat meat. Pumpkin seeds are also a valuable source of omega 3 fatty acids. Did you know that omega 3's play an integral part in the metabolism of fat? Brendan Brazier's book is a must read for people interested in eating a plant based whole foods diet.

Fressen Date Night

We went back to Fressen the Saturday night for a date. This is defnitely our favourite vegan date restaurant in Toronto. The ambience is really quite lovely. The menu is made up of tapas...I love this format because it allows you to try a little bit of everything. They also have their items categorized into soups, salads, starch, crispy, vegetables and stews. We usually order one from each category.

My favourite order from Saturday night was this yummy apple, ginger, kale juice. They make wicked freshly squeezed juices there. Ginger is fantastic for "stimulating digestion, and boosts circulation, respiration and nervous system function. By increasing circulation, it helps effect a systemic cleansing through the skin, bowels, and kidneys" (Wood 1999, 144). "Kale eases lung congestion, benefits the stomach, and is a specific healer for the liver and the immune system" (Wood 1999, 174).

I think I am going to choose this restaurant for my Ph.D. defense. I'm in the process of setting up a date for my defense (the first week of December) and my advisor asked which restaurant I would like to go to for my post defense celebration. I'm thinking Fressen. Any other Toronto area vegetarian recommendations for a large crowd for a very special occassion?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

No lettuce, no problem

I need to go grocery shopping for more fresh produce. I didn't let my no lettuce status hold me back from making a salad. You can still make a great salad without lettuce. This salad was yummy with home made pizza. I just threw in some cucumber, an orange tomato, and red peppers. I garnished this salad with Zesty Italian dressing and black pepper.

I love the effect of cucumbers on your skin. "Cucumber is used topically for minor burns - simply rub a slice over the burn - and also as a facial ingredient for clearing blemishes and for smoothing and softening the skin. Holding a cucmber slice over an itchy inflamed eye brings relief" (Wood 1999, 102).

Rebecca Wood writes that "Cucumbers are considered an alterative, that is, a food that tends to restore normal health because of its ability to cleanse and purify the blood and gradually alter the excretory process to restore normal body functions. It affects the heart and stomach. Cucumbers contain a digestive enzyme, erepsin, that breaks down protein, cleanses the intestines, and helps expel intestinal parasites, especially tapeworms...Cucumbers are a superior source of silicon, which is integral for calcium absorption and which is generally lacking in the modern diet. Silicon also helps reduce cholesterol, and it strengthens the nerve and heart tissue" (Woods 1999, 101, 102).


Let the Pumpkin Baking Begin

These are the pumpkin oatmeal cookies from Vegan with a Vengance. By the way, has everybody seen her adorable cupcake blog? It is beautiful. Anyway, back to these amazing pumpkin cookies. They are loaded with good stuff such as lots of rolled oats which are great for the slow release of sugar into the blood stream and walnuts which are an excellent source of omega 3's. I love grabbing these cookies on my way out to teach yoga and pilates classes. They are totally satisfying and really pull you through.

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Soup and Salad

Last week when we were shopping hubby eyed some leeks and said, "Could you make potato and leek soup?" Of course I can! I bought some potatoes and leeks and figured I would have everything I need. I was right. I used a simple potato and leek recipe from La Dolce Vegan. This recipe book has a lot of soup recipes in it, which is great this time of year. Things are getting cooler and there is nothing like a bowl of fresh, piping, hot soup to warm you up.

"As with onions and garlic, the sulfur compounds in leeks account for some of its healing action. But unlike those cousins, leeks are an excellent source of the lesser known carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Because leeks are milder than onions and garlic, they are less stimulating and therefoe better suited to young children and people with a fierty, hot temper. As a stalk-like vegetable leeks energetically support movement. Next time you're feeling physically, emotionally, or mentally stuck, favour leeks and other such vegetables. They subtly tonify and support energy movement" (Wood 1999, 187).

I served this soup with a salad. I loaded this salad up with orange toppings. Orange tomatoes, orange peppers and chickpeas.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hummus is Hummus, Right?

Wrong! Today I made the creamy hummus from Vive le Vegan. It was delicious! This hummus has just a little bit of toasted sesame oil in it. This has a huge impact on the flavour. I used the hummus to make Vicki's Hummus-Quinoa Casserole, also from Vive le Vegan. The casserole was so delicious, I was actually surprised. I have looked at this recipe several times but didn't think to make it. I guess now that I am over my fennel bulb fear I am trying the recipes with fennel in it. The flavour of this casserole was absolutely delicious. The hummus, quinoa and roasted vegetables make a perfect nutritionally balanced meal. "Quinoa is a high-energy grain that, because it is easy to digest is an ideal endurance and fitness food. The United Nations World Health Organization reports that quinoa is at least equal to milk in protein quality. Quinoa has the highest protein of any grain (16 percent) and, unlike other grains, is a complete protein with an essential amino acid profile similar to milk. It contains more calcium than milk!" (Wood 1999, 279).

I served the casserole with a green salad. The salad is garnished with yellow pepper, avacado, tomato, and cucumber. Raw foods helps to digest your food. Avacados are a good source of monosaturated fat, protein, potassium and vitamin E.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Morrocan Chick Pea Patties

These are the morrocan chick pea patties from Dreena's Vive Le Vegan. They were pretty tastey. Chick peas are a great source of fiber. soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol)and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

I have made these chick pea patties before without the fennel, but they are really good with the fennel! I am officially no longer afraid of fennel. Fennel is helpful for indigestion, gas, and spasms of the digestive tract. It also helps to expel phlegm from the lungs - another good thing for relieving the symptoms of asthma! Fennel is weakly strogenic and helps stimulate lactation and mentrual periods and helps to facilitate birth.

The chick pea patties are coated with a mixture of bread crumbs and sesame seeds. Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of manganese and copper, they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber.


With Halloween right only 29 days away there are lots of pumpkins available right now. I have been eyeing several pumpkin recipes in my recipe books over the last year but my grocery store doesn't sell canned pumpkin, just pumpkin pie filling. I decided to take matters into my own hands and go right to the source.

I started by cutting up the pumpkin and roasting it in large pieced in the oven. I soaked the pumpkin seeds to get all the pulp off and later toasted them in the toaster oven.

From there I pureed it in the food processor.

I bagged it into 1 cup portions. See how much pumpkin I have now? Nancy, you will no longer have to listen to me complain about not being able to get canned pumpkin at the grocery store. These 15 bags of pumpkin are now frozen in my freezer.

I used one cup to make these pumpkin waffles!

Pumpkins help to regulate blood sugar metabolism; support the spleenpancreas; and relieve bronchial asthma - which is a good thing since both my daughter and I suffer from asthma. Don't forget about the pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds are higher in protein (29%) than many other seeds and nuts, and they are a valuable source of the important Omega-3 fatty acids.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A healthy salad

Here is a salad that I made last week. Underneath all the toppings is romaine lettuce. This salad is topped with the last of the tomatoes from our garden, shreded beets, and hemp seed nuts.

Man I love beets, I really need to try to cook some! I always eat them raw before I get to that. Beets contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Man, if only I could get my Dad to eat more, more, more fresh veggies! Dad if you are reading this - beets, veggies, lots of them! The pigment that gives beets their rich, purple-crimson color--betacyanin--is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent.

On to the hemp seeds. My friend Julie asked me if she could eat them since nuts cause her migraines. What about nut allergies? Hemp seed is a fruit and not a nut. The anaphylaxis society has no reported cases of hemp seed or hemp seed oil causing reactions to people with nut allergies. It is important to note that traces of peanut and other nuts may occur in the manufacturing process and therefore anyone with a peanut or nut allergy should take care to read the product labels for suitability. Hemp seed is 33% protein, rich in vitamin E and iron, as well as Omega-3, 6, 9 and GLA. hemp nut offers complete, whole food nutrition.