Toronto had a wicked storm this past weekend.
Yeah, that one. (Sorry for the rain tease for those in California!)
The next one is a video:
#impendingdoom… #toronto #downtown #city #cityscape #skyline #blackandwhite #bnw #bnw_magazine #bnw_of_our_world #bnw_life #bnw_planet #bnw_umbria #video #timelapse #lightning #thunderstorm #streetsoftoronto #totescanadian #thankyoutoronto #lovetoronto #torontoclicks #narcitytoronto #postcardsfromthe6 #trumptoronto #imagesoftoronto #utilizemedia #way2ill #toronto_insta @itsakich
If you saw a plane trying to land at the Island Airport at that time (I didn’t see us in the video), I was there. We circled back and forth between Toronto and St Catharines as we waited for a clearing to land. The landing was probably the most rocky I had endured and it was only afterwards, gawking at the photos in the comfort of my own home, did I realize what we had missed.
(Hopefully they got some awesome wedding pictures)
Anyways, Rob and I had a very quick weekend trip over the long weekend out to New Hampshire for some relaxation and hiking in the White Mountain National Forest. Rob was in Boston for a conference but when I flew down, we opted to head outside the city instead. If you like outdoors, this is a great place to visit. We stayed with a host through AirBnB and it was almost like our own piece of heaven.
I had been talking about making Bourbon-spoked barbecue sauce for a while, but we had no Bourbon nor whiskey. Our trip to duty-free solved that and I quickly followed through with my promise of homemade barbecue sauce. Earlier this year, I made Miyoko’s zippy barbecue sauce (fabulous, by the way) and found it oh, so easy and was equally delighted with this concoction.
Smoky. Apple-infused although I couldn’t really taste the apple. And the Bourbon was in there, too. The Bourbon is more of an aftertaste after the alcohol is simmered away, adding depth to the sauce. A bit on the spicier side but I loved it. So, even if you do not like whiskey (hello, me!) and even if you do (hello, Rob!), you will love this. I imagine this will be gone by the end of the weekend. Veggie burgers really do better with something saucy slathered overtop.
Enjoy! Please let me know how you like it. Do you have a favourite barbecue sauce recipe?
It has been a week in the new house and we’ve given our new barbecue a quick initiation.
Part of the beauty of the new grill is that meals are simpler. Fresh vegetables with a touch of oil, salt and pepper along with a veggie burger. It still hasn’t stopped me from pinning more creative recipes (follow my vegan BBQ pinterest board here).
These BBQ lentils are from my pre-BBQ days and a fun way to switch up your BBQ protein if you are tired of veggie burgers. While you could eat these as a side, I opted to construct a sandwich, reminiscent of Sloppy Joes but with a BBQ flavour. I topped it with my carrot-sriracha coleslaw for an easy topping.
Do you have any favourite recipes for the BBQ? I highly recommend these balsamic roasted portobellos which have been my go-to option whenever I had access to a grill in the past. I am also curious which brand of veggie burgers is your favourite. There are so many options. The one I have liked so far has been “Veg Out” Quarter Pounder. Oddly enough, I can’t even find a link with it on the google interwebs to share my find with you.
In addition to not (almost) blogging, you know what else I have not been doing?
Exercise. Going to the gym.
It has been over 2 months since I have stepped into my gym. For years, I was a morning gym-goer, opting to wake up early and work out before heading to work. After I moved back from Texas, I switched it up to go after work. I knew it was a recipe for disaster, but it worked out well during the winter. In due time, I think I will meander back to the gym but enjoying this relaxed phase to the max.
I have slowly ramped up my digestive system back up to its mostly normal high-fiber self, and spent this weekend making (and eating) all the chickpeas. One of the easiest ways to eat chickpeas (after hummus, of course), is to roast them. I really liked these salt and vinegar roasted chickpeas, and this batch was a tangy balsamic version with a touch of maple. They roasted up, shrinking in size, but gained a savoury outer crust. Snack on them as they are, or add them to your next salad.
The recipe is from Dreena Burton’s latest cookbook. No stranger to her lovely recipes (Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew, Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad, Moroccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls, and Orange Red Lentil Soup with Coriander and Star Anise), her latest cookbook is focused on family-friendly recipes, catering to the (oftentimes) picky requests of children. She said these chickpeas were often requested by her children, and I could see why.
This is undoubtedly her prettiest cookbook yet with all photographs by Nicole Axworthy (you can see her favourite recipes form the cookbook here and her photo of the chickpea nibbles at the bottom of the post). Indeed, the recipes span the entire day with breakfast recipes like Almond Zen Granola, Savory Chickpea Omelets and Pumpkin Snackles. Lunch options include salads with tofu feta, “magical” applesauce vinaigrette, mild cheesy dip and the simplest marinated baked tofu I still want to make myself. Dinner themed recipes include soups/stews like Pumpkin Lentil Soup and Apple Lentil Dal, pizzas/pasta including Polenta Pizza Crust and Hummus Tortilla Pizzas, and Burgers/etc such as Sneaky Chickpea Burgers. Like her previous books, dessert is not forgotten with puddings, creams, sauces, cookies, bars, energy bites, frozen treats, cakes and fruit-based desserts all represented.
All of her recipes use plant-based whole foods as ingredients. She has tried to make them more nut-free, a common problem when feeding children going to school. As someone who owns a few of Dreena’s cookbooks, I feel like it is only fair to mention that this is an oil-free cookbook (not necessarily low-fat) and you may recognize some recipes from her previous cookbooks. Some are the same (ie, the umami burgers and blondies from Plant-Powered 15) and other recipes seem similar but have been modified to accommodate nut-free options (ie, her Nicer Krispie Squares) or oil-free options (ie, her Sniffle Lentil Soup). There are definitely new recipes, too, which are true to her signature kid-friendly style.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me which vegan food your family loves to eat the most. The winners will be selected at random on June 5, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from Plant-Powered Families spotted elsewhere:
PPS. There is still time to enter this giveaway for Crave Eat Heal here.
Perhaps it is fitting that my last post from Houston should be a review for Vegan Finger Foods. It was in Houston, that I found and dived head-first into the “vegan potluck” community. Bounded by a common interest (delicious food), people came from various backgrounds. Some were vegan, others vegetarian, some omnivores, but all were included and encouraged to eat and enjoy the plentiful vegan food.
For me as a cook, it was (mostly) fun to try new recipes or share old favourites. I tend to gravitate to one-pot meals, but now I experimented with appetizers and desserts, knowing there would be plenty of Janet-friendly dishes to sample. As a person, it was comforting to meet others with similar interests, even if only within the realm of veganism. Although especially within the realm of veganism when I first moved to Texas.
Vegan Finger Foods is a fun cookbook, overflowing with ideas for your next gathering. Not only are the recipes suitable for vegan parties and potlucks, they can be mixed and matched for regular main meals at home. There are vegetable-centric bites (think “Bacon” Wrapped Water Chestnuts, Harissa Carrot Zucchini Cups), Finger Foods (think Brewpub Cauliflower Dip and Chips), Dips and Stuffed bites (like Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites with Pantry Raid Ranch and Pulled Jackfruit Mini Tacos), Bread-Based Bites (including Salsa Scuffins) and not forgetting bite-sized desserts (lots of cookies, cupcakes and even Goji Berry Cacao Bites and Tahini Caramel Popcorn).
I appreciate that each dish is a star in itself, even the veggie-centric dishes. I also liked that many dishes are hearty enough to be a main meal (ie, Sweet-and-Sour Sloppy Joes (with tempeh), baked lenteja taquitos (with lentils), baked frittata minis (with tofu) and even a few homemade seitan dishes, including these Kimchi-Stuffed Sausages. No need for company to eat well.
I tried a few dishes from the cookbook, but this one was my favourite and thankfully helped use up some odds-and-ends lingering in the kitchen. Reminiscent of my previous (vegan) cheese-stuffed sausage, these sausages are stuffed with kimchi. Kimchi is also incorporated into the batter making for a flavourful yet chewy sausage. I found it easier just to serve it with a side of even more kimchi, but I love suggestion to pan-fry it and then sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Pan-frying would accentuate the flavours even further.
Thankfully, the publisher is letting me share the recipe AND give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me about your favourite dish to share at potlucks. I will randomly select a winner on July 30, 2014. Good luck!
Other recipes from Vegan Finger Foods shared elsewhere:
Spinach Swirls (with another giveaway, too)
Salsa Scuffins (with another giveaway, too)
Other dishes I shared at the vegan potluck this year:
This post is dedicated to my Mom.
Whenever we chat on the phone, she likes to ask me how I am doing eating through my pantry. Are you still eating all your noodles? What about your beans?
I’ve tried to reassure her that yes, we are eating through our pantry. I am still eating through my kelp noodles, my collection of beans and polishing off assorted grains like millet. She just might not be able to tell from my blog posts. Not everything makes it to the blog and sometimes it can take a while for me to put together a proper post (backlog!).
So here we go: photographic proof we’re eating the soba noodles, too. OK, Rob is eating the soba noodles. ;)
Never doubt a Tess recipe. Here we have soba noodles that are smothered in a bright, tangy, zesty and most importantly delicious chili-lime dressing. The dressing has mostly raw ingredients, like garlic and cilantro that complement the heat from the sriracha, ginger and green onion and the sour from the fresh lime juice. A little sweetness goes a long way in balancing the flavours from the agave.
As with most dressings, feel free to add any vegetables you desire. I just photographed the base noodles, but it was served with pan-fried tofu and eggplant, since they were lingering in the fridge. Somehow the addition of eggplants didn’t make for a very photogenic dish, but Mom, believe me that we had some veggies and protein with this meal. ;)