the taste space

Links with a Focus on Madagascar & Travel

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on August 2, 2014

madagascar baobab alley

Usually my vacations are fast and furious. I wait until I get home to relax as I would rather be exploring a new country. This last vacation was different. With a full month at our disposal along with a lot of time for spent in transit, I had a lot of “spare time”. Thankfully I had my Pocket fully loaded and ready to read. Here are my recommended reads in case you want something for this long weekend and beyond:

My Thoroughly Tested Travel Tips

I agree with all of Lisa’s tips. Rob has taught me many of them along the way. A new tip we really liked, too: free international roaming. Get it if you can.

Anthony Bourdain: How to Travel

Rob and I have begun to watch Parts Unknown and reading his travel tips are interesting. Does he recommend checking his bags? And what about food on the airplane?

How Airbnb and Lyft Finally Got Americans to Trust Each Other

We much prefer staying at places through Airbnb and managed to do this in Johannesburg and Capetown during our last trip. We spoke a bit with our awesome host in Capetown about Airbnb travellers. We tend to have an adventurist nature but honestly, I do not worry with reputable hosts.

Only in Madagascar

Although a few years old, this is a more elaborate vacation experience than I could ever write but very similar to our experiences.

But I have to be honest. Lemur-watching, like bird-watching, takes a bit of concentration. For most people it’s probably not going to pack the same adrenaline punch as a typical African safari, infused with that exhilarating, almost spiritual sense of being out on the open veldt, with lions stalking their kill. Yet tracking lemurs offers something different, perhaps an even more intimate, delicate view of nature.

Maybe in America

This article is also about Madagascar but highlights its unstable nature even after the election earlier this year. It was hard to travel in a country which had been shunned from the global aid community after the 2009 coup. Emotionally and physically hard.

It has been instructive to see all these pressures up close here in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. The globalization of illicit trade has left Madagascar exposed to Chinese merchants working with corrupt officials here to illegally import everything from valuable rosewood timber to rare tortoises. Some global textile manufacturers set up factories then quit when the politics turned too unstable. Mandatory education here is only through age 15, and it’s in the local Malagasy language. That makes it hard to compete in a world where some developed countries are teaching computer coding in first grade.

And then there’s Mother Nature: the population of Madagascar is exploding, and the forests and soils are eroding. The soil for agriculture here is iron rich, nutrient poor and often very soft. Since 90 percent of Madagascar’s forests have been chopped down for slash-and-burn agriculture, timber, firewood and charcoal over the last century, most hillsides have no trees to hold the soil when it rains. Flying along the northwest coast, you can’t miss the scale of the problem. You see a giant red plume of eroded red soil bleeding into the Betsiboka River, bleeding into Mahajanga Bay, bleeding into the Indian Ocean. The mess is so big that astronauts take pictures of it from space.

So Similar, So Different

I read this in Madagascar and while it is about the sharp differences in experiences from someone born in America and Myanmar, it resonates equally well with those living in Madagascar.

The Organ Detective: A Career Spent Uncovering a Hidden Global Market in Human Flesh

All about Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ quest to expose the world’s market for human organs for transplantation.

How Cubans’ Health Improved After their Economy Collapsed

After meat and dairy disappeared during the collapse, Cubans became vegan virtually overnight. Along with reduced calories, their health improved. Fascinating article.

When Bananas Ruled the World

When I travelled to Morocco my friend was really excited about eating a banana.She wanted to taste a non-Cavendish banana that we’re eating in North America. While the history of the banana in America is not new, it is a fascinating story about the real Banana Republics.

The mass-produced banana first came to the United States in the 19th century. As the next century rolled on, buccaneering banana men pioneered such innovative business practices as propping up puppet heads of states throughout Latin America, keeping them in power through corporate largesse, and exploiting local workers, when not actually encouraging local governments to enslave or kill them. By building railroads, in exchange for land for plantations, United Fruit tightly entwined itself with the economies of many countries, and came to own huge swaths of Central America. Its reach was so extensive that it became known as “the Octopus.”

Lance Armstrong in Purgatory: The After-Life

As much as I cycle, I do not follow sport politics but this is a lengthy look at Armstrong’s aftermath.

The Epic 2,200-Mile Tour De France Is Also A Test Of Epic Eating

On the subject of cycling… and the nature of their eats while on the Tour de France. Mint and melon coulis with blueberries and raspberry and praline, anyone?

 

What good reads have you read lately?

Top 13 Reader Favourite Recipes from 2013

Posted in Events/Round-Ups, Favourites by Janet M on January 3, 2014

Thank you for all your positive feedback from my top 13 favourite recipes. This is the first year I also looked through my blog stats and decided to share your favourite recipes you read on my blog last year. I was going to add them to my last post, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you.  Some oldie-but-goodies are in this list, so be sure to check them all out.

1. Apple Strudel (How to Make Authentic German Apfelstrudel)

My most popular recipe is not even vegan, but I am tickled pink that I keep reading everyone’s success with our family recipe for apple strudel. No store-bought phyllo dough here, we have authentic strudel dough. Who does not enjoy seeing step-by-step photos of my Oma making an apple strudel? (Also my top post last year).

2. Ethiopian Lentils in Berbere Sauce (Yemiser W’et)

We have gravitated to Ethiopian w’ets as they are cousins to simple Indian dals. Easy, flavourful and healthy. All good! Ethiopian restos can be hit-or-miss for me, as Ethiopian food tends to be even more spicy than Indian curries. I learned the hard way that Penzey’s berbere is way.too.spicy, but this recipe comes with a delicious blend for even the mild palate.

3. Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

You have good taste. This dessert was awesome. An almost raw cheesecake with nutella flavours from chocolate and hazelnuts.

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

4. Raw Tacos with Walnut Taco Meat, Cashew Sour Cream and a Cherry Tomato Salsa

A raw cuisine classic, and it is no surprise why. Even the most serious meat eaters approved! The walnuts are easily crumbled into a mock ground beef and topped with a simple tomato salsa and cashew sour cream.

5. Spanish Chickpeas and Spinach with Roasted Garlic

If you could not tell, I really like chickpeas and they work well warmed. Here they are dressed up Spanish-style along with smoked paprika, roasted garlic, lemon and spinach for an easy weeknight meal.

Spanish Chickpeas and Spinach with Roasted Garlic

6. Almost Guiltless No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie 

A hit from last year, this chocolate mousse silk pie acquires its light silkiness from tofu. I promise you can’t taste it. This was so good, I also turned it into a chocolate mint no-churn ice cream.

7. Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Kik Alicha)

It boggles my mind that kik alicha, a simple Ethiopian split pea puree, is one of my post popular posts of the year. But it shouldn’t. It is a deliciously garlicky, silky dip/spread/thick stew. For those who think Ethiopian food is only hot-and-spicy, this will definitely prove you wrong.

8. Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Lime and Cilantro (Whole Foods Detox Salad)

This was a fun cilantro-lime twist on a broccoli and cauliflower rice salad originally popularized by taking the Whole Foods salad bar by storm. Sunflower seeds add crunch and dried currants add sweetness, making a fantastically popular salad.

9. Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting

I was going to include this in my list of of favourite recipes from 2013, but I knew it would be repeated here, so I refrained. Coconut flour was revolutionary in my kitchen and this was my gateway dessert. A low-fat, nut-free, raw carrot cupcake made with carrots, topped with an apple-cashew frosting. Ingenious, no?

Enlightened Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting

10. Mango Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream Frosting

Bring on more cupcakes! I made these for Rob’s birthday and they were a hit. A lower oil cupcake made possible by adding mango puree to the cupcake batter. Spiked with vanilla and cardamom, they were topped with a mango-coconut buttercream frosting. The frosting melted by the end of the night, but the cupcakes were a winner.

Mango Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream Frosting (Vegan)

11. Vegan Okonomiyaki (aka Japanese Vegetable Pancake), As You Like It

I really like that some of my popular posts are quite non-traditional. This a vegan spin on the Japanese cabbage pancake. Instead of flour, tofu and cornstarch/arrowroot are used to bind the baked pancake together. Top with black sesame seeds, shredded nori, as well as okonomi sauce and Japanese-style mayo for the real deal.

12. Savoury Indian Chickpea Pancakes (Besan Chilla)

A staple in our kitchen, these are Indian-flavoured chickpea pancakes that Rob loves to whip together on weekends together. They are very flexible, so fill them with your vegetable odds-and-ends. Our newest favourite version incorporates kimchi into the batter.

13. Quinoa Wraps with Sweet Potato, Tofu Feta and a Sweet Tahini Dipping Sauce

This was a portable spin on an Ottolenghi-inspired salad with sweet potato, quinoa, wild rice and brown basmati rice with tofu feta and a sweet and creamy tahini dipping sauce. Wrap it in rice paper rolls for easier transportation, or leave it a salad in a bowl; it will be delicious either way.

14. Warm Chickpea and Artichoke Salad

A bonus #14 since we had a repeat for #3. Plus this is an oldie-but-goodie and worthwhile revisiting (or visiting if you have not tried it yet). Pan-fried chickpeas and toasted almonds are combined with artichoke hearts in an Italian marinade with lemon, basil and oregano.

What were your favourite finds from the year? Did I miss any of your favourites?

Favourite here, previously:

My 10 Favourite Recipes from 2010

My 11 Favourite Recipes from 2011

My 12 Favourite Recipes from 2012

My 13 Favourite Recipes from 2013

My Ongoing List of Favourite Recipes

My 13 Favourite Recipes from 2013

Posted in Events/Round-Ups, Favourites by Janet M on January 1, 2014

This has been a year of many changes but equally one with many delights. Moving to another country, almost 3000 km away, was a monumental feat. With support from family, friends, co-workers and strangers, my new home in Houston has a warm, soft spot in my heart. My kitchen has changed, my recipes a bit more simple, but still delicious as ever. Without further adieu, here are my favourite recipes from the last year (no particular order). Tomorrow I will share your top reader favourites from 2013.

1. Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

Food seems to taste better when someone else makes it for you, but this was pure gastronomical bliss. Beer-Soaked Sweet Potato Fries + BBQ Jackfruit meat + kimchi + baked tofu, a spin-off of one of our favourite dishes in Toronto.

Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

2. Snow Pea & Tofu Pad Thai

Pad thai is another dish that is Rob’s culinary creation and I finally snapped photos of the most delicious version yet. Tamarind is the secret to our authentic-tasting pad thai sauce.

Snow Pea & Tofu Pad Thai

3. Dillicious Yellow Tofu Scramble and Mini Arepas

Looks like this may be found as the year Rob fed me, but judging by how often we make arepas, this is definitely a winner in our books. Here it is paired with a dill-intensive tofu and broccoli scramble.

4. Ancho Lentil Taco Salad Wraps

We are loving all.things.taco at the moment and this still stands as one of our favourite fillings. Quick, easy, and tasty. The reason why I keep powdered Ancho chiles in my kitchen.

Ancho Lentil Taco Salad Wraps

5. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Balsamic Miso Dressing

Roasted brussels sprouts are fantastic but this sweet, creamy and tangy balsamic-miso dressing is a winner with anything.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Balsamic Miso Dressing

6. The Best Raw Corn Chips

I had to limit myself to one chip recipe for this round-up. While my raw beet chips are truly addictive despite their simplicity, I like the simplicity of these corn chips which are basically only corn with spices and seasonings.

Raw Corn Chips

7. Curried Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Currants (The Best Chickpea Salad Ever)

A winner for potlucks, this simple chickpea and carrot salad is delicious with a medley of curry powder, maple syrup, tahini for a dressing. It can double as a main.

Curried Chickpea Salad with Currants and Carrots

8. Better Than Chicken Soup (Miso Curry Squash and Chickpea Soup)

I never would have thought to combine miso and curry, but trust me, this soup was delicious.

Better Than Chicken Soup (Miso Curry Squash and Chickpea Soup)

9. Cucumber Hummus Dip (Hummus-Tzatziki Fusion)

Most of the recipes in this list of favourites have been Robbie Repeaters, aka recipes simple and tasty that Rob makes time and time again. This is a refreshing change of pace for a dip: a fusion of hummus with tzatziki. Cucumber meets chickpea. Nice to meet you, too.

Cucumber Hummus Dip (Hummus-Tzatziki Fusion)

10. Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

At number 10 only because I lumped my desserts towards the end, this was an epic dessert. Rich and decadent, chocolate meets hazelnut for a nutella-like cheesecake, only better.

Better Than Nutella Cheesecake (Almost Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake)

11. Rich Vegan Cheesecake with a Pecan Shortbread Crust

This was a year filled with lots of great desserts, and this cheesecake was the dessert that reminded me the most of real cheesecake. The fluffier European-style cheesecake that I adore. Cashews and tofu are combined with great results but almost overshadowed by a crispy pecan shortbread crust.

Rich Lemon Cheesecake with Pecan Shortbread Crust

12. The Best Chocolate Truffles

These were so easy to make and also, to eat, I ran out of cocoa powder after making three batches over the holidays. It is possibly to my benefit that I don’t replenish it. Although on second thought, how will I use up my lecithin before we move? ;)

The Best Chocolate Truffle

13. Cardamom, Cinnamon & Ginger Iced Tea

I have long been a fan of tisanes, but little did I know how easy (and cheaper) it would be to make my own. This has been a staple ever since. A cold beverage spiced with kitchen staples: cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.

Cardamom, Cinnamon & Ginger Herbal Infusion

What were your favourite finds from the year? Did I miss any of your favourites?

Favourite here, previously:

My 10 Favourite Recipes from 2010

My 11 Favourite Recipes from 2011

My 12 Favourite Recipes from 2012

My Ongoing List of Favourite Recipes

Rawfully Organic Review

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on August 5, 2013

Rawfully Organic Review

I have been the butt of jokes even before I arrived in Texas. It is all meat in Texas, what will you eat? I survived Colombia for 2 weeks, so I doubted Texas could be that bad. And fear not, of course there are vegetables here. A friend also introduced me to a local organic food co-op: Rawfully Organic. Not only is it based in Houston, but it is largest non-profit local and organic food co-operative in the United States.

Its CEO, Kristina, also has adorable videos on youtube. It is hard not to be enthralled by her infectious and bubbly personality. While I have shunned CSAs in the past (not wanting to commit to multiple weeks of purchases, and antsy about buying a bunch of random vegetables), I was tempted by the flexibility offered by Rawfully Organic. Everything is organic (which I don’t buy nearly enough) and they try to purchase locally grown foods. The biggest plus was that I could sign up for a food share at my leisure, any random week, deciding almost at the last minute: by midnight, the night before. While I didn’t know exactly what was going to be in my share, I was tempted by the possibilities that were listed that week. Kristina recently made an intro video that explains how the process works after you order a share.

After I picked up my share, I was worried what I had gotten myself into. You might think I eat a lot of vegetables but this was a lot of food! A lot more greens than I was used to. I think this will be a good thing.

What I got (all organic, some local) in my half-share:

1 big bag of spring mix
2 (small) bundles of kale
1 head of Romaine
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 large zucchini
1 large yellow summer squash
2 field cucumbers
1 baby watermelon
1 quart of strawberries
1 bunch bananas
4 Cripps Pink apples (from New Zealand, fyi – definitely not local)
3 nectarines (white and yellow)
2 limes
5 oranges

..and my bonus picks (you get the equivalent of 3 points):
4 broccolis
the largest bunch of green onions that I ever did see!
Other things you could pick from were small potatoes (6 were 1 point), baby carrots, cilantro (1 point), zucchini (1 point), oranges, beets (1 point), Romaine lettuce, grapefruit (1 point) and other stuff I forget. You can also buy other items on a per-piece basis.

rawfully organic review, half-share

For those interested specifically in Rawfully Organic, this is what I was told I could possibly get that same week. I was lured by the berries and sadly got strawberries instead of the other berries, but they are good, too. I have struck out the ones I did not get. Granted, the nature of groceries means it can be hard to make produce promises when choosing the freshest finds.

WATERMELON! Raspberries, Blueberries, or Blackberries! (Undecided!), White Peaches, White Nectarines, Cantaloupe (Only if available), Spring Mix, Local Lettuces, Red Plums (Possibly!), Cherry Tomatoes, Local Green Kale, Local Zucchini, Cucumber, Bartlett Pears or Bosc Pears, Beefsteak tomatoes (if no cherry tomatoes available), Fuji Apples/Gala Apples, Pink Lady Apples, Juicing Oranges, Bananas, Romaine Lettuce

All produce was fresh and very flavourful, except for the watermelon and tomatoes, boo. The zucchini were much bigger than I usually eat, which means they were seedy. Some was good to eat right away (strawberries) but many were at different degrees of ripeness. One of my apples was bruised, so I should have inspected everything more closely before I picked my box.

You might wonder why I decided to do the CSA. Fresh, cheap, organic produce is a bit harder to find where I live, although I could go from store-to-store. Did it save me money? If I usually bought organic, it was probably a good deal. Since I don’t, I definitely spent more than my regular grocery budget. I have seen bigger bunches of kale for 89c. Bananas for 49c/lb. But like I said, that’s navigating multiple stores. Long hours and being on call for the weekend meant that I wanted to save time. It was nice to pick up everything in one go and it will force me to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. I will definitely share my recipe successes, though, so stay tuned. Next week will be the week of salads. :)

Other reviews of Rawfully Organic can be found here, here, here and here.

My Favourite Blogs (& the Recipes I Have Tried)

Posted in Events/Round-Ups, Favourites by Janet M on June 29, 2013

To the lay-person, food blogging may seem odd. To me, it has been a way to chronicle my forays into the kitchen, creating my own living cookbook. Likewise, as others document their own successes in the kitchen, we create so many recipes to share. Some of my favourite recipes have been inspired from other bloggers, and just like when I documented my favourite cookbooks and the recipes I recommended, I thought it would be pertinent to highlight (some of) my favourite bloggers. I follow a lot of bloggers, but do not necessarily cook from their recipes. These, I have. I can vouch for their deliciousness. As a note, sometimes I try the original recipe but most of the times, I adapt it suit my own tastes and the ingredients in my kitchen. I encourage you to do the same.

Leaving nearly all my cookbooks in storage will have me leaning more heavily on others for my kitchen inspiration. I love recommending tried-and-tested recipes, so beyond myself, someone else has liked them too. So here we go:

1. Fat Free Vegan: Indian-Spiced Chickpeas and KaleI have yet to gush about Susan, but her recipes have rarely disappointed me and I have made a lot. They are flavourful, delicious, and healthy – what more could you want? I highly recommend her Indian-Spiced Chickpeas and Kale, Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran, Curried Beans and Quinoa with Baby Bok Choy, Iraqi Eggplant and Seitan Stew, Creamy Cashew Kale and Chickpeas, and Spaghetti Squash with Brussels Sprouts and Chickpeas.

Still bookmarked: Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Tacos, Mu Shu Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps, Jackfruit Crab CakesSmoky Apple Baked Beans, and Hummus-Crusted Cauliflower Steaks.Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cashew Frosting

2. Choosing Raw: I have already gushed about Gena and her amazing recipes, but I’ll say it again. Her recipes are simple, tasty and healthy. I highly recommend her Curried Chickpea Salad with Carrots, Mustard-Miso Dressing, Raw Zucchini Alfredo, Raw Carrot Cupcakes, and Greek Lemon and Quinoa Avgolemono Soup and there are many others I have tried.

Still bookmarked: Cinnamon Adzuki Spread, Smashed Avocado Lemon Kelp Noodle Bowl and Mung Bean Pancakes with a Mustard Sauce.

3. Eats Well With Others: Another one of my favourite bloggers is Joanne. Her blog is fun to read AND eat from, wavering between decadent desserts and delicious vegetarianZucchini Spaghetti with Chickpeas and a Roasted Tomato-Peach Sauce soups and salads. We share very similar tastes in the kitchen and I have been inspired by many of her recipes (likewise, she has also made a few of mine). I recommend her Creamy Lemon-Basil Whipped Avocado Sauce,  Lentil Mango Picadillo, Chickpeas Romesco, Brazilian Black Bean Soup, Spaghetti with Roasted Peach-Tomato Sauce, and Greek Baked Beans.

Still bookmarked: Carrot-Tahini Soup, Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Prunes in a Cumin Vinaigrette, Moroccan Red Gazpacho, Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions, African Curried Coconut Soup with Chickpeas, Bulgur and Spinach Pilaf with Chili-Roasted Tomatoes

4. Oh She Glows: It took me some No-Bake Peanut Butter Mousse with a Chocolate Magic Shelltime to warm up to Angela’s recipes but now I am enjoying them. She was the one to introduce overnight oat parfaits to me. My favourites so far have been her Creamy Mushroom Tomato PastaMillet Bowl with a Mushroom Gravy and Kale, Warm Lentil, Bulgur and Vegetable Skillet with a Lemon-Tahini Sauce, Garlic-Roasted Chickpeas in a Lemon-Dill Dressing, Blueberry Vanilla Chia Jam, and Peanut Butter Mousse with a Chocolate Magic Shell.

Still bookmarked: Apple Banana Coconut Curry, Roasted Buddha Bowl, Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potatoes.

5. Julia’s Vegan Kitchen: Julia and I keep exchanging favourite recipes between the two of us. When she says something is Indian Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Chickpeas (Baingan Bharta with Chickpeas)good, I leap at the chance to try it out. Our favourite recipes of all time have come from Julia’s recommendations. Some of the keepers I have tried from her include: Split Pea Dal with Ginger and Lime, Besan Chilla, Indian Lentils with Spinach, Indian Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with ChickpeasIraqi Pomegranate Stew.

Still bookmarked: Hoppin John Risotto, Mango Chili, Bouillabaise, Lemony Lebanese Lentil-Greens Soup.

6. My New Roots: One of my first blog crushes was on Sarah. You know, before she became the big-time blogger. All her recipes have been delicious. I seem to discover new ingredients while reading her blog but have no fear, some of her recipes are simple. I highly recommend Raw Tacosher Raw Chocolate Milkshake, Mojito Smoothie, Warm Balsamic Rosemary Cabbage Salad, Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Orange-Tahini Dressing, Raw TacosChickpea Salad with Mexican Mango DressingGrilled Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms, The Best Lentil Salad EverRaw Brownie, Mexican Chocolate Spiced Black Bean Brownies, Raw Raspberry Cashew Dreamcake.

Still bookmarked: Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas, Raw Pad Thai, Moroccan Carrot Ribbons and Black Lentils, Enoki Mushrooms, Broccoli and Kimchi

7. Lisa’s Vegetarian Kitchen: One reason I decided not to tote 660 Curries and 1000 Indian Recipes with me to Houston was that I knew I could find delicious Indian recipes on Lisa’s blog. I haven’t made as Chickpea Salad with Mango, Pomegranate and Chaat Masalamany of her recipes other than a delicious Warm Chickpea Salad with Mango, Pomegranate and Chaat Masala. However, when I start bookmarking her recipes, I just cannot stop.

Still bookmarked: Indian-Style Lentils, Mustard Mung Beans, Spicy Mung Beans, Chickpeas with Mushrooms, Filipino Mung Bean StewPeanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

8. Radiant Health, Inner Wealth: Are you tired of my Tess crush yet? What have I not adored? Tess has a blog where she shares many of the recipes from her cookbooks. A complete list of the Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodlesrecipes I have tried can be found here, but some highlights include: Creamy Low-Fat Hummus, Green Velvet Guacamole (aka Edamame Guacamole)Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras15-Minute Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini NoodlesDillicious Yellow TofuBlack Bean, Cilantro and Apricot SaladAlmost Raw Asian Kale and Edamame SaladLime-Spiked Black Bean and Quinoa Kale WrapMiso Healthy DressingRoasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and  a Mango Salsa and Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls.

Still bookmarked: Ful Mudhamas, Savory Lentils with Caramelized Onions, Zesty Lemon Chickpeas, 5 Minute Chicky Chickpeas all from Get Waisted.Ancho Lentil Taco Salad Wraps

9. Post Punk Kitchen: Isa is a goddess in the kitchen and she graciously shares her recipes on her blog. My recommendations: Ancho Lentil Salad Wraps, Roasted Beet Salad with Warm Maple Mustard Dressing and Tempeh CroutonsWhite Bean, Quinoa and Kale Stew with Fennel, Asparagus, Nectarine and Baby Lima Bean Lettuce Wrap.

Still bookmarked: Smoky Tomato Lentil Soup with Spinach and Olives, Jerk Sloppy Joes with Coconut Creamed Spinach, Broccoli Curry Udon, Miso Soba Stir Fry with Greens and Beans, Quinoa Puttanesca, Puttanesca Tofu ScrambleThai Coconut Corn Stew

10. Plant Powered Kitchen: Dreena is another cookbook author that very generously shares her recipes on her blog. I have made a few recipes from her cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan, as well as these she has shared online: Moroccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Dressing, Jerk ChickpeasThai Chickpea Almond Curry, Tomato Lentil Cumin and Dill Soup and Thai Coconut Corn Stew.

Still bookmarked: Marinated and Roasted Tomato Garlic HummusFrench Lentil Soup with Smoked PaprikaCreamy Barley Risotto with Thyme and Star Anise, Mexican Bean Soup, Chickpea and Artichoke Bliss in a Dish, Mellow Lentil Sniffle Soup, Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup, Roasted Tomato Bean StewDreena’s Frosted B-Raw-niesRaw Strawberry Cream Tart

11. Vegan Lisa: When I look for desserts, Lisa’s blog is a great place to start. Her recipes are killer and I have enjoyed everything I have made thus far, including: Raw Strawberry Cream TartRaw Mango Energy Bars, Kale Granola, Almost Raw Chocolate Banana Crepes with Almond-Coconut Cream and Cinnamon-Flax Crackers.

Still bookmarked: Sweet Like Hannah Truffles, Caramelized Onion Hummus, Smoky Spicy Tomato Soup, Broccoli, Chickpea and Quinoa Salad, Tangy Thai Toss, Crustless Kale Quiche

12. Chocolate Covered Katie: Another blogger with mostly healthy Almost Guiltless No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Piedesserts is Katie, which brought to me my Almost Guiltless Chocolate Mousse Pie, which was then turned into a Chocolate Mint Ice Cream. I also recommend her Lemon Cheesecake Squares, Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles, and Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies.

Still bookmarked: Raw Chocolate Raspberry Mini Fudge Cake, Coconut Crack BarsMushroom Stroganoff

13. Rawmazing: Another fabulous raw blog is Rawmazing, which introduced these fabulous recipes to me: Raw Thai Pineapple Parsnip Rice, Blackberry, Walnut and Avocado Salad with A Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette, Raw Sweet Potato and Mushroom Sliders,Blackberry, Avocado and Walnut Salad with a Ginger Lime Vinaigrette and Raw Beet Chips.

Still bookmarked: Raw Chili, Raw Avocado Kale Pesto with Zucchini Noodles

14. Chef Amber Shea: I was immersed into raw desserts while testing Amber’s recipes for her cookbook Practically Raw Desserts. I highly recommend her Enlightened Carrot CakeCake Batter Protein Balls as well as her “World’s Healthiest Bolognese Sauce“.

Still bookmarked: Cauliflower Enlightened Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew FrostingChickpea Tagine, Ethiopian Lentils, Moroccan Harira Stew, Tofu Makhani Curry, Cinnamon Swirl Caramel Cheesecake Bars

15. 101 Cookbooks: I wasn’t going to include my recommendation for Heidi’s blog because I am probably not telling you anything you do not already know. But I love her recipes, too, so this is where you should start eating: Warm Carrot and White Bean Salad with Dill, Sushi Bowl with Asparagus and Avocado, Green Soup with Ginger, Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash, and Nikki’s Healthy Cookies.

Still bookmarked: Moroccan Carrot & Chickpea Salad, New Years Soup, Black Sesame Otsu

Honourable mentions to some of my other favourite Warm Carrot and Flageolet Salad with Dillblogs, even if I cannot vouch for their delicious recipes (yet):

The Veggie Nook: I know Gabby’s Sugar-Free Carob Almond Butter Cups are delicious and have bookmarked other treats to try like Pineapple Shortbread Bars, Pre-Workout Superfood Energy Bites, Tahini Dill Pasta SaladCoconut Curry Dressing

Peachy Palate: I don’t know how Michelle has so much energy to make gorgeous single-serving meals every day but they all look delicious, including: Lentil Lemon Spaghetti with a Roasted Garlic Dressing, Triple Coconut Pancakes,  Tempeh Mushroom Fricassee, Sweet Chili Pomegranate Molasses Tofu Soba Noodles, Warm Beet Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with a Peanut-Miso Sauceand Lentil Pomegranate Molasses Salad, Pomegranate Molasses Baked Tempeh, Squash and Eggplant

The First Mess: Her Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash Bowl with a Peanut-Miso Sauce was delicious and I have had my eye on her Busy Lady Veggie Bowl for a while.

Keepin It Kind: Kristy devoted a whole month to chickpea recipes last year – what’s not to love about that? She has flavourful and elaborate meals that I wish I had enough coordination to put together myself. I’d love to try her Jackfruit Curry, Lentil, Farro and Kale Salad, Sloppy Chickpea Joes, and Malai KoftasRoasted Cauliflower Quinoa with Cheesy Pumpkin Tempeh Sauce

Fresh Energy Recipe Lab: A new-to-me blog but I have been saving her recipes like crazy: Raw Jicama Sushi Rice with Spicy Raw Tuna, Collard Wraps with Raw Mushroom Pate, Raw Cauliflower Dolmas, Raw Cauliflower Couscous with Capers, Beet & Ginger Dressing, Wakame Salad

Healthful Pursuit: Her malai koftas were very good and she has tons of other enticing recipes (Masala Basmati Casserole, Veggie Sprout Bowl with Creamy Curry Sauce, Spinach Lentil Curry)

Sprint 2 the Table: Laura is probably the other non-veg*n blogger that I adore. I love reading about her protein-fueled eats. I still have my eyes on her Chocolate Avocado Cookies and Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, though. :)

Which blogs do you really enjoy? Which recipes do you recommend? Any recommended recipes I have missed from these bloggers?

This is my submission to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday.

My Top 12 Recipes of 2012

Posted in Events/Round-Ups, Favourites by Janet M on December 31, 2012

I enjoy recommending recipes but for some reason, I found it difficult to compile this post of my favourite recipes from the last year. Then I received my first annual report about my blog, which was filled with fun facts: 188 new posts (565 posts overall), almost half a million page views with my busiest day earlier this month when I posted Red Lentil and Spinach Curry (Vegan Tikka Masala). My most popular posts are from the depths of my archives, though: Apple Strudel (my Oma would be proud), Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing, Raw Tacos, and Lemon Basil Almond Pesto. Only one post from 2012 was equally as popular (#1 below) and it wasn’t the one with the most comments (Carolina BBQ Jackfruit Pulled “Pork” Wraps with Pickled Red Onions gets that honour).

Which recipes were my favourites from 2012? Which recipes were our repeaters? Without further ado, and in no particular order:

1. Almost Guiltless No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie

It feels almost sacrilegious to post a dessert first, but it is one of my most repeated and requested recipes from the year. When I wanted my first dessert after my sweetener-free challenge, this is what I made. Decadent and rich, you would never know this was low in calories. Nor would you ever guess it was filled with tofu.

Almost Guiltless No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie
2.  Fragrant Lentil Rice Soup with Spinach and Caramelized Onions (aka Dal Bhat Meets Mujaddara)

This is another one of my favourite recipes. A hearty red lentil and brown rice soup filled with warming spices like cinnamon, allspice and cumin topped with sweet caramelized onions. Spinach is stirred in for even more nutritional goodness. When I have people over, I do not hesitate to suggest making this soup together.

Fragrant Lentil Rice Soup with Spinach and Crispy Onions (aka Dal Bhat Meets Mujaddara)

3. Salad in a Jar (and Topaz Dragon Lemon Ginger Dressing)

This revolutionized my lunches. Pre-packing salads into Mason jars made it easy to assemble salads to tote to work. Pick a dressing, add veggies to marinate, drop in your protein of choice, top with your leafy greens. Bonus for such a great lemon-ginger salad dressing as well.

Salad in a Jar (and Topaz Dragon Ginger Dressing)

4. BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon

One of my favourite summer salads was this pinto bean salad with fresh roasted corn, tomatoes and raw eggplant bacon with a smoky chili-lime dressing.

BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon

5. Creamy Thai Cilantro Ginger Sauce (for Thai Shiitake-Basil Spring Rolls and Sexy Saucy Noodles)

Dressings were a culinary discovery this year.  A good dressing can take you make places and simplify your cooking tremendously. This was an unusually delicious Thai cilantro ginger sauce made with peanut butter, coconut milk, ginger, basil and cilantro that had me begging for more. Perfect as a dipping sauce for spring rolls but also in a stir fry with broccoli, carrots and kelp noodles.

Thai shiitake-basil spring rolls with a creamy Thai cilantro ginger sauce

6. Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Balsamic Tahini Dressing

Another one of my favourite dressings this year was a simple balsamic tahini dressing. Use it overtop grains, beans, veggies, you name it. Just don’t use dark soy sauce, because then it becomes an Asian sesame soy dressing and you lose the balsamic undertones!

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Tahini Balsamic Dressing

7. Raw Burrito (Collard Wrap filled with Jicama, Sprouts and a Nacho Cashew Spread)

I enjoy being inspired by restaurants and this is one dish that I recreated at home after being smitten by raw burritos at Belmonte Raw. I used a collard leaf to wrap up julienned jicama and sprouts and slathered it with a delicious nacho sauce made from cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, smoked paprika and red pepper paste. Raw food has never tasted so good.

Raw Burrito (Collard Wrap filled with Jicama, Sprouts and a Nacho Cashew Spread)

8. Hazelnut-Roasted Delicata Squash with Hazelnut-Sage Pesto

On the subject of tasty spreads, I fill find it hard to top my hazelnut-sage pesto. Spinach makes up the bulk for the greenery so it isn’t a pungent sage slap-in-the-face, but teamed with toasted hazelnuts and nutritional yeast, you get the familiarity you expect from pesto, too. Pairing it with roasted delicata squash complemented the natural sweetness of squash.

Hazelnut-Roasted Delicata Squash with Hazelnut-Sage Pesto

9. Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap

Every year, I continue to discover new favourite ingredients. Kabocha and delicata squash quickly became my go-to squashes since no peeling is required. Sometimes simplicity is as its finest with roasted vegetables and I loved hazelnut-roasted kabocha squash paired with avocado and cucumber in a green collard wrap. No dressing needed with the sweetness of the squash next to the creamy avocado. Just make sure you buy kabocha and not the buttercup imitator!

Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap

10. Creamy Broccoli Dal

No stranger to Indian cooking, I cooked up a lot of dals this year. This one was repeated twice in the last two weeks alone. Broccoli makes a surprise appearance amongst a flavourful red lentil curry spiced with cumin, black mustard seeds, Aleppo chili flakes and garam masala. As I type that, it doesn’t sound too appealing to me either but I swear it is one of my favourite curries!

Creamy Broccoli Dal

11. Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras 

Indian cooking does not only subsist of bean-based curries, although that is my favourite part. I discovered a love for these lemon-cilantro cauliflower pakoras made with chickpea flour. My favourite part of this experience was a head-to-head comparison of batches that were fried in a skillet, in my aebleskiver pan and baked in the oven. The clear winner? Baked in the oven for simplicity, taste and texture! We all win with this healthier option. :)

Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras

12. Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad

I am a sucker for beans and enjoy finding recipes that will appeal to the masses. This Mediterranean lentil salad is simple to whip together and flavourful from the lemon juice, capers, olives, thyme and cherry tomatoes.

Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad

This has definitely been a tasty year. So many great dishes to pick from, these are ones that still make me salivate. Please let me know how you enjoy them. For my favourites from years yonder:

My 10 Favourite Recipes from 2010

My 11 Favourite Recipes from 2011

My Ongoing List of Favourite Recipes

What were your favourite finds from the year?

Breakfast Club – Whole Grains – Round-Up

Posted in Breakfasts, Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on March 31, 2011

I’d like to thank Helen for allowing me to host Breakfast Club this month. The theme this month was whole grains and I am excited to share these healthy morning treats:

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Announcing Breakfast Club #9

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on March 1, 2011

You know I love creative, healthy breakfasts, so I am thrilled to be this month’s host of the Breakfast Club!

Originally conceived by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Sarah at Fingers and Toes, it is a way to cultivate culinary adventures for breakfast.

The theme this month will be WHOLE GRAINS.

It is important to incorporate whole grains into your diet, and there is no better place to start than bright and early in the day with your breakfast. Whole grains have higher nutritional value since the cereal germ, endosperm, and bran are still intact, which are removed when using refined flours. Eating whole grains has been linked to reduce diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, bowel health, colon cancer and obesity.

Whether you choose to use oats (instant, rolled or steel cut), quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley, brown rice, kamut, teff, or spelt, wheat (wheat berries/bulgur), the options are wide open for breakfast treats!

If you would like to join this culinary feast this month, make a blog post, linking both this post as well as Helen. Then please email me your name, name of dish, post url, location and photo to saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca, by Sunday, March 27 at noon EST. Old recipes may be submitted, provided you republish your recipe with the extra information. Feel free to use the Breakfast Club logo and #breakfastclub if you are on twitter.

I look forward to seeing how whole grains will pop up in your breakfasts. :)

WHB #269 Round-Up

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on February 7, 2011

Do we really need an introduction to the tasty meals from this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging? Let’s see what everyone made! (more…)

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Announcing Weekend Herb Blogging #269

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on January 30, 2011

It is my pleasure to announce I am hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week.

Weekend Herb Blogging, now hosted by Haalo, is all about sharing information and recipes about any herb, fruit, vegetable, nut, grain, seed, flower or plant. For complete rules, check them out here.

If you would like to join this culinary feast this week, please email me your name, name of dish, post url, location and photo at saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca, by Sunday February 6 at 5pm EST.

I look forward to seeing what winter feasts we will enjoy this week. :)

Magazine Mondays Round-up

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on January 24, 2011

It was my pleasure to host Magazine Mondays this week! Magazine Mondays is an informal blogging event to encourage you to tackle those recipes you have clipped from magazines – new and old. Unfortunately, I have been enthralled by some new cookbooks so I wasn’t able to participate myself this week. However, let’s look at what other people made:

Nina from Salt made Neiman Marcus’ Delicate Lemon Squares found in Gourmet (January 1991).

Allyson from ReTorte made Molasses Oat Bread found in Canadian Living (November 2010).

Theresa from The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine made Chicken baked on a bed of Bread and Swiss Chard from Food & Wine (December 2010).

If you’d like to participate another time, email Ivonne with the details about your post that includes a recipe from a magazine. It is as simple as that!

Magazine Mondays

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on January 18, 2011

This week, Magazine Mondays is travelling to the Taste Space!

It is an informal weekly blogging event, which rounds-up recipes from magazines you have dusted off.   Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice usually hosts it, but this week I am glad to help out.  To participate, all you need to do is email me (saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca) with the following information: your name, blog name and blog url, the url of the link to your Magazine Mondays post, the title of the recipe and the magazine the recipe is from. I’ll accept all emails until Sunday January 23.

I look forward to seeing which recipes have inspired you!

My Top 10 Recipes from 2010

Posted in Events/Round-Ups, Favourites by Janet M on January 3, 2011

I thought it would be fun to share some of my most memorable dishes from the previous year. Primarily, I picked them based on taste, but ease of prep was also important. I love looking through the archives of food blogs, and this helps focus on recipes that get my two thumbs up.  I had a hard time narrowing down the list to my top 10, so I included a few worthy runners-up. In no particular order, here are my picks. Here’s to a healthy and delicious 2011. :) Enjoy!

Turkish Bulgur, Pomegranate and Almond Salad

If you have been reading my blog since the summer, I know you have heard of this salad. I still call it “The Best Salad Ever’. Plump, creamy bulgur is the base of this meal-salad, that is stuffed with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and pomegranate arils, seasoned with toasted almonds, mint and lemon.

 

 

 

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My First Giveaway

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on December 16, 2010

So I hmm’ed and hawed about whether to do this. At first, it sounded like a way to bolster google ratings (not mine, obviously).

But in the end, I decided I shouldn’t deprive my loyal readers of winning a possible $65 to spend at CSNStores.com. Online, you can find anything you need for your kitchen, as well as other items like luggage sets as well. The prize doesn’t cover shipping costs, but you are free to spend it on any of their affiliated sites.

This prize is only open to people with shipping addresses in Canada and the US.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here, describing your favourite meal to make at home. Make sure you leave your email address so I have a way to contact you – it won’t be published. You have until Wednesday, December 22, 2010, at midnight to enter. After that, I will randomly select a lucky winner.

Good luck!

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Healing Foods – Winter Squash

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by Janet M on December 1, 2010

It is my pleasure to host Healing Foods this month. Siri started this event to highlight the health benefits from a variety of foods. There are so many healthy options when you eat vegetables, but I wanted to highlight one of my favourite winter vegetables: winter squash.

Whether your preferred squash is butternut, acorn, kabocha, pumpkin or spaghetti, winter squash is filled with vitamins (great sources of A, B and C) and fibre, while being low in calories. Most importantly, they all taste great.

Squash is versatile and can be used in soups, sides, main dishes and even desserts. It can be boiled, baked, or steamed. It can be sweet or savoury. And this is why it is so easy to fall for squash.

Join me this month by sharing your winter squash and pumpkin recipes.

To participate, please create and photograph a vegetarian dish with winter squash, linking to this announcement and Siri’s Healing Food event page by December 31, 2010. Email me at saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca with your name, your entry’s name and url along with a photograph of your dish. The dishes must be new and posted between December 1 and 31. You may submit as many entries as you like.

I look forward to seeing everyone’s creative dishes.

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