Cooking Delights

Friday, February 23, 2007


I like to give my vegetarian cooking class participants party favours to take with them at the end of the night. I usually like to tie it in with the theme of the class. For example, last class, the cooking with tofu class, I gave everybody a box of mori nu tofu. Since the theme of this class is legumes and ancient grains I had the awesome idea to give away bags of Lundberg Rice Chips. These crunchy chips are made with brown rice and black beans!!!! What a perfect combination for this class! I also like to suggest these chips as a snack to my nutrition and lifestyle coaching clients. They are definitely a better choice than commercial potato chips.

A lot of my health conscious clients are not that interested in wine with their dinner. So, as an alternative to wine I will be serving Amé Sparkling Elderberry and Lemon The lady helping me at the health food store told me that these sparkling spring waters also aid in digestion.

So, with these extra treats, I am looking forward to my cooking class tomorrow.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

A couple of easy meals to keep us going

Now these are some easy, peasy meals to keep you going.

First up a grilled cheese sandwich, served with sweet potatoe fries and a hearty salad. I topped the salad with walnuts for extra omega 3's.

I love this easy dinner. Organic corn chips topped with black beans, corn, salsa, and a sprinkling of cheese.

Of course Tuesday was pancake Tuesday. So I made this delicious pancake recipe. Hubby wanted to go to the local church, but I put my foot down since they would likely be serving Aunt Jemima all white flour processed pancakes. I said, "Honey, stay home, I'll make you pancakes that will have you pooping from here until Saturday" So, he did. I served the pancakes with Heinz baked beans in tomato sauce and drizzled real maple syrup over the pancakes. On the side, a little bit of pear.

Here's what you need:
1/4 cups milk (or soymilk--I use an Omega 3 fortified soymilk)
1 cup rolled oats

1 tbsp oil
1 ripe banana
2 eggs (you can use 3 if you want, for extra protein--it doesn't hurt them)
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional, since the banana makes it sweet too)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground flax
some wheat germ (no more than 1/4 cup)

optional extras: frozen blueberries, apple or plum cut into small pieces
[plum is super tasty], walnuts, whatevah tickles your fancy, no more
than 1/2 a cup of it though.

What you do:

1) put oats and milk in a small bowl and let it sit while you do the
next steps

2) combine banana, eggs, oil and brown sugar until a soupy mess (either
mash, or just put it all into a cuisinart or something like that)

3) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, flax, wheat germ, baking powder
and salt. (N.B. you can add cinnamon to this if you like)

4) Mix banana mixture with milk and rolled oats mixture. Add dry
ingredients and stir until just mixed. It's pretty gloopy, but if it's
too thick from the added wheat germ and flax, you can add a bit extra
milk/soymilk. Stir in your extras.
Cook like any other kind of pancakes, but keep them small. I usually
make them 2-3 inches across. They seem like they will be really heavy
and dense--don't worry, they aren't. They don't flop around like a
flapjack, but somehow, they are nice and light.

Last, but not least (if you got this far!) I have just had two spaces open up in Saturday's cooking class. If you are still interested I would be happy to honour the early bird price. Drop me an e-mail at Would love to have you!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Cooking Class Preview

Sorry I haven't been getting to blogging much lately. I was away for a while doing some more training for my nutrition and lifestyle coaching practice.

February is flying by! It has been a busy month. I can't believe my cooking class is coming up this Saturday! Anyway, I have been doing some recipe testing and tweeking in preparation for the big day.

First up is the kamut and adzuki bean soup from Dreena's Vive le Vegan This was my first time working with kamut or adzuki beans so I am on a bit of a learning curve. I chose it for the cooking class because it uses some less well known grains and legumes and, well, that is the theme of the class: grains and legumes. Anyway, this will require some tweaking because my adzuki beans were "al dente" and my kamut was over cooked. I think by the time the cooking class comes I will have these glitches sorted out.

Second is definitely an old favourite from Vive le Vegan. These are the carob and coconut cookies. Now, I said they were sugar free, which they are not. However, they don't have very much sugar in them at all... which is why I missed it when writing my promotion for the cooking class.

And since Dreena Burton is the legume, grain, nut and seed queen (not to mention all round great person) I will be giving away one of her cook books at my cooking class!!! Any ideas on how I should give this away as a prize? I am thinking some sort of a fun contest is in order!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

This past weekend my husband and I treated each other to a weekend of love. We made reservations at our favourite romantic restaurant and booked a hotel room downtown Toronto. It was totally extravagent, romantic and amazing.

I started with the amazing apple and ginger juice and a bowl of black bean soup.

My hubby had the peppery rocket arugula dressed in a cranberry vinaigrette with pears, pumpkin seeds and seared tempeh in a poppadum canoe.

For the main course we shared sliced shiitake and crimini mushrooms mixed with shredded spinach in cashew cream wrapped in a filo pastry puff and fresh lemony spinach pesto mixed with hand rolled barley and potato gnocchi (g) tossed with asparagus and olives. (the gnocchi picture didn't turn out so well).

For the first time ever we ordered dessert. At Fressen they have one dessert. We have often ignored it, but since it was the weekend of love and we were going for total indulgence we decided to give it a try. It was quite honestly the best dessert I have ever had. I'm not sure exactly what it is called, but those dark chocolate wedges were as divine as the chocolate mouse hidden in the fruit. The chocolate was so bitter that the fruit played off it deliciously. Everything was dairy free - made rich with avacado, almond cream and cashews that there were no nasty side effects from eating such a rich dessert.

After dessert we headed back to our hotel room....

The next morning we headed back to Fressen for brunch. We had, probably the best ever breakfast I have ever had out. Tim had the scrambled seasoned marinated tofu served with a crispy black bean tortilla. The scrambled tofu was amazing - how they got it to taste so much like scrambled eggs is beyond me!

I had a roasted vegetable sandwich with marinated tomatoes and lettuce on a home made bun with potato salad and greens.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Miso Soup and Noodles

Here are some really simple and quick to prepare recipes from Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian 5 Ingredient Gourmet. I love this cook book because it has loads of easy recipes that are quick to the table. Here I cooked an Asian style soup. I actually changed the recipe quite a bit. I used miso for the first time which was really lovely.

The salty taste and buttery texture of miso, a fermented soybean paste originating in Japan, is becoming increasingly popular in the West as a versatile condiment for a host of different recipes. Once only found in specialty stores, miso is available year round in many local supermarkets.

Although miso is usually made from soybeans, it can also be produced from rice, barley or wheat by adding a yeast mold (known as "koji") and other ingredients that are allowed to ferment. The fermentation time, ranging from weeks to years, depends upon the specific type of miso being produced. Once this process is complete, the fermented ingredients are ground into a paste similar in texture to nut butter.

Miso is a soy paste that is created by inoculating trays of rice with the vitamin B12 synthesizing fungus, Aspergillus oryzae, then mixing in a ground preparation of cooked soybeans and salt, and letting the mixture ferment for several days before grinding it into a paste with a nut butter consistency. Because it is fermented with a B12-synthesizing bacteria, miso has been commonly recommended as a B12 source for vegans. Miso is quite high in sodium (1 ounce contains 52% of the recommended daily value for sodium), but a little miso goes a long way towards providing your daily needs for the trace minerals zinc, manganese, and copper. In addition, a single tablespoon of miso contains 2 grams of protein for just 25 calories. An impressive nutrient profile for a flavoring agent! Use miso in your cooking instead of plain old salt and reap a variety of benefits in addition to enhanced flavor.

The soup also has some wonderfully healthy baby green bok choy. I think it was shanghai bok choy? Anyway it was a pretty green with no white parts!

I served the soup with some simple brown rice noodles flavoured with sesame oil. Another recipe from Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian 5 Ingredient Gourmet.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wacky Pizza

This is a wacky pizza that I made a couple of days ago. I had it in my mind that I didn't have any tomato sauce in my cupboards (pasta, pizza or otherwise) so I was looking for alternatives. (Of course, after the pizza, hubby pointed out a can of pizza sauce of all things! LOL!) I had made some baba ganoush a few days ago, so I decided, what the heck, why not make pizza with baba ganoush. I also cut way back on the loaded with saturated fat mozerella cheese. In its place I used a heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a terrific food supplement for vegetarians, providing nutrition, enhancing flavor, and adding taste to your foods.It is an excellent source of protein (52%), containing essential amino acids. It is also rich in vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins. To boot it is an excellent source of folic acid, which is important for formation, growth, and reproduction of red blood cells. I know most of you vegetarians and vegans already know this, but my participants might not!

I am also using olives on pizza, an idea I got from Fressen, one of our favourite vegan restaurants. The olives give the pizza a salty zing similar to cheese. Olives are concentrated in monounsaturated fats and a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant. It goes after and directly neutralizes free radicals in all the fat-rich areas of the body. In combination, stable monounsaturated fats and vitamin E add a significant safety factor to cellular processes like energy production, a process that generates free radicals even when things are running smoothly.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Energy Cookies

I am back to recipe testing for my next vegetarian cooking class on February 24th. Since February is heart and stroke month in Canada I thought I would offer a class that encourages eating more whole grains and legumes. February is the month that we in the wellness industry focus on lowering our risk of heart disease and stroke. The heart and stroke foundation recommends eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and high fiber foods to reduce your risk of heart disease. The soluble fibre found in grains and legumes helps to reduce "bad" LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. The insoluble fibre helps to keep your bowels healthy and regular. Additionally the heart and stroke foundation encourages people to enjoy meatless meals a couple of times a week since they are both nutritious and easy on the pocket book.

These are Dreena Burton's Energy Cookies from Vive le Vegan. I have already promoted these cookies with my pre and postnatal clients as a healthy snack. I also encourage my holistic nutrition lifestyle coaching clients to eat healthy snacks and these would be a fantastic choice. These cookies feature nutritious whole grain flours, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, hemp seed nuts, AND are wheat free, sugar free and loaded with lots of goodies. Best feature yet, even my five year old daughter eats and ENJOYS them!

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Vegetarian Chili and Using up what's left in the kitchen

Sorry I haven't posted in such a long time. It was a really busy week plus, I need to go grocery shopping so badly right now it isn't even funny.

Here is a yummy vegetarian chili from Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Family Cookbook. Chili is so nutritious packed with vegetables and legumes. This chili was made with crushed tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans and corn.
In the area of food and phytonutrient research, nothing has been hotter in the last several years than studies on the lycopene in tomatoes. This carotenoid found in tomatoes (and everything made from them) has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. The antioxidant function of lycopene-its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage-has been linked in human research to the protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells. Prevention of heart disease has been shown to be another antioxidant role played by lycopene.

Research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry indicates that black beans are as rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins as grapes and cranberries, fruits long considered antioxidant superstars.

When researchers analyzed different types of beans, they found that, the darker the bean's seed coat, the higher its level of antioxidant activity. Gram for gram, black beans were found to have the most antioxidant activity, followed in descending order by red, brown, yellow, and white beans.

In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, kidney beans can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with kidney beans is a good idea--especially because, unlike red meat, another source of iron, kidney beans are low in calories and virtually fat-free.

On the second day I took the chili and put it between three tortillas topped with some cheddar cheese.

Finally I took the ends of the bananas that my daughter doesn't eat and fried them up with a little butter, maple syrup and tea masala spice. Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains a whopping 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies.