The Foodie Blogroll

Lemon and Thyme Glazed Asparagus and Tofu

It's dishes like this that make me fall in love with food and blogging all over again.  I'm not even done my meal, and I'm already on here writing to you guys because this is hands down one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth - yes, even better than the cupcakes, ice cream, bowls of oats, cookies, pineapple, cantaloupes and mangoes that I die and go to heaven every time I ingest.  Seriously that good!  This is incredible.


The sweetness from the maple syrup, tang from the lemon juice, spice from the thyme and then just the asparagus and tofu tossed in, wonderful, absolutely, hands down, on your knees begging for more amazingly incredible.


Lemon and Thyme Glazed Asparagus and Tofu


Recipe taken and slightly adapted from here


Not the greatest picture I know, I'm sorry.


Ingredients:


Rice -
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups of uncooked brown rice
Stir-fry - 
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces (about 4 cups chopped)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu - drained
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
Glaze - 
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice - freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp cornstach + 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tsp thyme
Directions:


Place the water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the brown rice, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the asparagus spears into 2 inch pieces.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Slice the pressed tofu into 1/2 inch slices and then diagonally to make tofu triangles.  Lay the tofu triangles down flat on a cutting board, place a clean dish towel or some paper towels over top of them and place a heavy book or two on top of the towel or paper towels to press the tofu for a few minutes until the tofu is drained.  When the oven is heated, cook tofu for 45 minutes, or until nice and crispy.


Prepare the glaze by whisking together the maple syrup, lemon juice and thyme in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and cold water and add it to the rest of the glaze ingredients.


During the last ten minutes that the rice is cooking, begin the stir fry. Heat a wok on medium-high heat and add one tbsp of canola oil. Add the chopped asparagus and stir-fry 5-10 minutes, until bright green and fork tender. Next, add the glaze mixture and the browned tofu triangles. Stir and cook everything a few minutes more, until hot and the sauce boils and thickens and covers the entire stir-fry.
Serve on a bed of brown rice.

You think this is genius?

Confession time.  Ever since I started buying pineapple, I've had a bit of a problem.  I always cut the whole pineapple, and well eat it in one sitting.  I mean, it's not that it's entirely a bad thing, it's not as if it's a whole bag of potato chips, or a tub of ice cream, or even mounds and mounds of cake slices (as I used to do all of these previously), but it's still a lot of pineapple for one sitting.

When I moved back home from Montreal, and then my trip to Korea in the middle of October I realized that this was getting far out of hand.  I don't know how many pineapples I was eating while I was in Korea, but they were not cheap, and I feel like I was walking to the grocery store a lot to just pick up pineapple, (I even had my ex stopping by after work to pick some up for me), yup, it was getting out of control.

By the time I returned, I decided that I couldn't cut my pineapples up in one go, I'd have to cut them as I need it, so I can portion control and see how much of the pineapple I'm actually eating.  So far, this has been a great tool.  I cut the crazy green leafy part off, and then just cut layers off as I go.  Now a days, pineapple lasts' for a good four to five days, depending how long I'm willing to keep it around for.  With all that being said, it is difficult for me to keep pineapple in the house.  When I find recipes that include pineapple, I need to make sure that I make those recipes at the beginning of the week or else I probably won't have much luck creating that recipe.

Prime example, this mornings breakfast.  Now, I originally saw this recipe a few weeks ago, and I had planned on making it the following day, however the day I saw the recipe I ate the remaining pineapple chunks.  So, I planned on making it the following week, well, the following week turned into almost three weeks.  This morning, I finally was able to go through with it, and holy moly, it was worth saving some pineapple to make this breakfast/snack/dessert, whatever you want to call it, it is amazing!

As said, in yesterday's post, as well as other numerous posts', pancakes have an incredibly special place in my heart.  That in combination with some of my ever-so favourite fruit is something that I just melt at. Tropical pancake battered pineapple.  OOOOHHHHH MYYYYYY GOSSHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  I can't even begin to tell you how happy I was.  This was one of the most amazing ways to start my day, and definitely got me in the mood to go to the gym.  Now, I have to admit, these were a little timely.  I mean, I did cut up some additional fruit while preparing these, as well as cleaning along the way, but I started at 9:35 am and didn't start eating until 10:05 am, and I was not dilly dallying either.  The process seemed a bit longer than usual when it comes to making pancakes, but the result was so worth the time.  These were incredible.  I changed the recipe up a bit, as I didn't use coconut milk because I wanted to finish up my almond milk before opening up another carton, and I wanted to make it with what I was craving.  They turned out spectacular, and are an amazing twist on your regular old pancakes.  The thing with these guys too is that, because there is fruit encased, the pancake dough isn't too, too thick so you don't get that heavy feeling you sometimes get afterward when eating pancakes.

I would highly suggest trying this recipe.  It is incredibly versatile and who says you just have to stick to pineapple?  What about apples or pears?  Why not throw in some chocolate chips or whatever else you're fancying?  Try it, get creative, you will be thrilled by the final result!

Tropical Pancake Battered Pineapple Rings


Recipe adapted from here



Ingredients:
  • 1 pineapple, sliced into rings about 1/2 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp mulled flaxseed + 3 tbsp water (or an egg)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond milk
Directions:


Heat pancake griddle or skillet on medium heat.

Combine all ingredients (except) pineapple in a medium bowl and whisk together.  Add milk as needed to get a good "drippy" consistency.  You want it to be able to stick to the pineapple but still allow the excess to drip off.

Once griddle is heated, grease and dip one slice of pineapple into the batter and then place on the griddle.

Cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip.  You might want to sear the sides too depending on how thick your slices are.  Repeat for remaining slices.

Serve immediately, top with fresh mango chunks, almond slivers, coconut flakes, and amaretto agave nectar.

Have you ever tried pancake battered fruits?
Mmmmmm

A day of delightful foods.

Oooookkaaaaayyy.  Hold the phone!  I have found, I think what I have to call my all time favourite breakfast/post work-out protein shake.  I have shared, dozens upon dozens of incredible, savoury, protein-packed, iron-filled, healthy shakes, that I have said time and time again, you HAVE to make this one, or, this one is my favourite, but, but, but, I think I found it, and to my surprise it incorporates one of my least favourite fruits - blueberries.

Recently, as I've mentioned about two or three times now on my blog, that my go-to shake, when I don't feel like thinking, or looking up recipes is a really easy Green Strawberry Mango shake (I really should take a picture and post the recipe so when I do talk about it I can link back to it).  However, I now have this incredible Green Blueberry Mango shake, that I think tops my go-to, and that is saying something, because I absolutely loooooooooove that shake.

When I made this one this morning, I'm not sure what made me think of this concoction, or to think that mango and blueberries would even be a good match, but they are a match as peanut butter and jelly are, it is incredibly, without a doubt divine.  This shake was so creamy, sweet, filling, it was just out of this world.  I can't even describe the flavour pairing, it's just something you have to experience, and luckily for me, I will be experiencing it again after tomorrow mornings work out.

Do yourself a favour, and try this out, heck try it out and try to describe to me the flavours that the party in your mouth is celebrating because it is surely delightful.  Mmmm, I cannot wait to enjoy this again tomorrow morning!

Green Blueberry Mango Shake




Ingredients:


  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 2 heaping cups of baby spinach - fresh
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup 0% fat blueberry Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
Also, I want to share with you not only todays post work-out smoothie, but what I ate before I headed out to the gym, because it was incredible.  Now, we all know I love pancakes, I don't make them a lot, but they are certainly tied with oatmeal, and, we will throw in crepes to this category as well, since they are basically just thin pancakes.  When I was in university, I hate to admit this, but I ate crepes a loooooooooot.  The cafeteria food drove me bonkers, and crepes were something that made me feel a bit better about myself since they weren't fried or greasy.  My favourite, and only one that I would get was banana and Nutella, oh my word these were amazing.

Now, I have not found many vegan crepe recipes, and the ones that I have come across, truthfully didn't really sound that amazing to me, so I'd never made any.  A few weeks ago, I'd stumbled across a recipe that instantly got my attention.  I saved it, I had planned on making it numerous times and never did.  Last night, as I was going over the recipe, I was planning on deleting the recipe, but then I figured, no way Jose, this caught my attention I need to go through with it, and decided that I would make it for breakfast when I wake up.  Well thank goodness I decided to keep it, because with the killer banana combo I decided to throw in, it was just, blissful.  I mean, the photograph won't do it any justice, since I'm a horrible photographer, but listen to me, today has been incredible for meals and it all started out with this wonderful breakfast.

Magical Peanut Butter Banana Crepes

Recipe slightly adapted from here


Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 5 tbsp + 1 tsp almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
Directions:

Mix dry ingredients and then add wet ingredients.  Mix well until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.

Meanwhile heat a medium sized frying pan with a light covering of oil.  Once the pan is hot add a large spoonful of batter to the pan and move the pan in circular motions to spread the batter into a large circle.  Cook for approximately two minutes and then carefully flip to cook the reverse side for approximately one minute until both sides are lightly browned.  Repeat.

I then topped it with this magical banana beast.

Ingredients:
Directions:

Crush your cereal and add them to a bowl along with the flaxseed and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix until well combined.

Coat your banana with your peanut butter, and then roll it in the spice combination.

I then cut the banana in slices, topped it on the crepes and made it extra sinful by adding maple syrup and peanut butter chips!

Strawberry Orange Tofu Pecan Salad


Lastly, I want to share a quick salad that I've been throwing together the past few days, and definitely enjoyed again today.  It is so easy to make, and by far one of the best salads I have ever created, and even tried for that matter.  You should definitely give it a shot if you're in a rush, or even in a salad slump, this will get you out, and seeking more and more, trust me!

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 3 small strawberries - quartered and then cut in half again
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 batch of orange tofu (recipe to follow)
  • 1 tbsp chopped pecans
Orange Tofu

Recipe taken from here

Ingredients:
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Directions:

Drain the tofu and wrap in a paper towel. Squeeze the excess water out of the block of tofu and cut it into triangles or cubes.

Peel your orange and smash it in a medium-small lidded bowl, getting it nice and pulp-y.  Stir in the soy sauce, garlic and 1 tbsp of the oil. 

Place your tofu into the marinade, cover with the lid and shake gently so that every piece is covered with the sauce.  Let it marinate for at least 2 hours.

Once the tofu is done marinating, p
reheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Add the tofu (but save the marinade!). Cook for 45 minutes or until golden.

Toss your salad components together, and dress with remaining marinade!


How do you spruce up your salads when you're in a rut?

Flu bustin' shakes

I am a very fortunate person.  I'm not saying this in the sense of, I get everything handed to me, and everything always works out in my favour, or anything like that.  What I mean is, one of the traits that I got from my mom (that I actually like), unlike my lack of math skills, or the crooked teeth I had growing up, or the fact that I have been wearing glasses since grade six and will have to for the rest of my life, is that I barely ever get sick.  I can't even remember the last time I was actually sick, other than when I got H1N1 a few years ago (gross right?)  I've had some ill-fate when it comes to my health in other aspects - anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, and fibromyalgia (all which have been worked through and are not in the picture anymore), but as for illness when it comes to being sick, very, very rarely does that ever play a role in my life.

Despite the fact that my mom works sixty-seventy hours a week, is up to her ears in stress, gets only a few hours of sleep a night, she very rarely gets sick.  Thankfully, I've inherited that as well.  As for myself, I don't just embrace and turn a blind eye to the fact that I get sick so little, no, I also have my lifestyle to thank for that.  I would consider myself an active person, considering already this week I have been five times, and I eat a very healthy diet /cough, other than this week because well, mother nature decided to visit and I've been craving junk food like there is no tomorrow (too much information?  Perhaps, just a bit), oh well, it's my blog, my journal.  I snacked on some yoghurt covered raisins/chocolate covered raisins, and have been eating two homemade chocolate chip cookies since Monday (not so bad I guess though considering).

Nonetheless, the point of this blog entry is that, this week my boyfriend picked up the flu, or something.  He started off with a headache, then it worked it's way to his nose, and then it was a whole body cold it seemed.  The other day we were supposed to get together, but instead he decided to sleep (which, thankfully he did, because even with the million + hours he got, he still seemed like a zombie).  The next day we had planned to watch a movie, and the same thing happened.  This time, I decided I would pay him a visit with some homemade soup and an orange to try and liven him up a bit.  Well, he looked like he had been visited by a ghost.  Shades drawn, lights off, fetal position, congested to the max, despite how cute he looked while being in such an uneasy state, he looked to say the least a little haggard (all said with love - hence I brought soup to make him feel better).

After spending a bit of time with him, I realized that even though I have super power genes when it comes to getting sick, I still can't just rely on those genes and think I'm Superwoman and just won't get sick, that's not how it works.  Instead, I've been eating foods high in vitamin C, and getting a lot of fluids in me (apart from what I regularly focus on for my diet of course) this was just even more focused on than it usually is.  With that of course comes protein shakes, woohoooooo, my favourite!

Very Orange Banana Shake



The first one I made was incredibly similar to orange crush, or orange juice - I don't know.  The orange flavour was very evident and was overall just an amazing way to start the day.  I never think to use freshly squeezed orange juice rather than water when it comes to my smoothies, but in trying to protect myself I've been doing it daily and what a nice change it is with such great flavour.  Also, with the addition of the zest along with the freshly squeezed juice it gave even more flavour because of the oils released.  This was a fantastic shake, and will certainly be seeing more of this, especially come the summer.  And I can also guarantee that you will be seeing more shakes using freshly squeezed juice!  Yum!

Ingredients:


  • 1 orange juiced + orange zest
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup 0% vanilla Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder


Strawberry Pineapple Orange Shake



The next shake I had was an adaptation of the previous recipe, however, I added strawberries and pineapple au lieu of banana.  Between the two, I'm not sure which I preferred more.  The above one was evidently more creamy due to the banana, this one was much more liquidy, but just as delightful.  The combination of strawberries with the two citrus fruits was a very delightful union, I certainly enjoyed this and it was pure perfection after a nice work out.  Hopefully it also aids in not getting sick!

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange - juiced
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cup 0% fat strawberry Greek yoghurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
What precautions do you take to try and prevent sickness?

Oreo Cookie Bread Spread?!

Okay, so I am not a huge fan of buying cookies because I much rather go home, get my hands dirty and get down to work, because for one it’s very much enjoyable as well as relaxing, and because I know exactly what goes into the recipe and how much of it.  Sometimes this isn’t always a good thing, especially if I make something that is just purely sinful and I’m aware of this, but sometimes it’s better to turn a blindside, correct?

Well, a few weeks ago, I had come across quite a few recipes derived from Oreo’s – birthday cake Oreo’s.  If there is one weakness of mine when it comes to food, is the Duncan Hines Funfetti Cupcakes, holy moly, I do not care that they are from a box and are certainly not scratch they just perfect.  I mean I’ve had cupcakes from quite some famous bakeries and still every time I eat those rainbow speckled cupcakes I can’t help but have a little bit of a food orgasm, each and every time.  Should I have admitted that?  I’m not sure, but I did.  Anywho, as I was saying, I kept seeing these Oreo’s creep up all over the blogosphere and it sent a bit of sadness to my heart because I figured just like most limited edition special treats that they would only be offered to my fellow American friends, but low and behold when I went to the grocery store I saw the shiny golden package and shot (embarrassingly) a fist in the air obviously stating my state of delight.

With that being said, the only clear and obvious thing to do was pick up a bag. Well, well, when I opened the bag, my nose definitely went to heaven.  I then had the first bite and holy moly.  When reading other peoples comments regarding these cookies they said they were just sweet but not that different from your traditional Oreo’s – I beg to differ.  These instantly sent me Duncan Hines Funfetti heaven, and it’s where they took me each and every time I ate one. 

Well, a few days after I bought the bag, they disappeared, needless to say, I returned to the grocery store (for that sole purpose … oh and maybe to buy some Funfetti icing, which to my disappointment they discontinued, I don’t want to talk about it, I was not impressed).  However, as I later returned to looking at more blog posts I came across a recipe for an Oreo spread.   Say what?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  Yeah, my thoughts exactly.  Within a few seconds of reading the title, I didn’t even take a look at the recipe before I took my laptop into the kitchen to set up.  As I continued to look at the ingredients well, obviously, I had everything on hand (don’t you love how Oreo’s are accidentally vegan?  Love it!

Anyhow, I got my food processor out with the rest of the ingredients and holy cow.  This dip/spread is out of this world.  I thought Nutella would never beat, well it definitely has competition with this spread.  It’s a little offsetting when you realize what you’re eating (especially if you have it on toast – it definitely makes your brain do a weird little dance up there).  I had talked about this spread for a few days to my boyfriend before he attempted it and he definitely couldn’t wrap his head around it, which is understandable it is weird, but it’s sooooooooooooooo good!  I would say, if you are looking to be indulgent and really not care, attempt this because you will not regret it, it’s divine and oh so delicious, especially served with fruit in lieu of Nutella.

Oreo Spread

Recipe slightly adapted from here


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups coarsely crushed Oreos
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups coconut milk, depending on consistency desired
Directions:

If using coconut oil, warm it up to a liquid state.  Combine crushed cookies, oil and vanilla in a food processor and process until the crumbs are finely ground, then add milk in a slow, stead stream, keeping an eye on the consistency and stopping to check if needs (3/4 cup of milk will leave you with a much thinner product than you may want, so watch closely).  Store in the fridge.

Oreo Carob Toast



Because I made a ton of this spread, and I didn't just want to eat it by the spoonfuls (although it was tasty that way!), I wanted to make use of it in a spread-like way.  So I did.  This was the definition of sinful.  I couldn't believe what I was eating, and although it wasn't healthy, sometimes it's nice to indulge, so indulge I did, and not a single regret was given.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 heaping tbsp of Oreo spread 
  • 1 slice of bread 
  • 1/2 banana - cut into slices
  • Handful of carob chips
  • Maple syrup - to taste
Directions:

Spread your Oreo spread on your bread.  Chop your banana pieces into desired thickness and arrange on your bread.  Top with carob chips and maple syrup.  Broil for a few minutes until bananas have caramelized and your bread has toasted.


Have you ever tried cookie spreads?
What/how did you enjoy them?

Orange, Strawberry and White Kidney Bean Salad

Orange, Strawberry and White Kidney Bean Salad

Recipe inspired from here


I found this recipe for a beautiful Orange, Strawberry and Navy Bean Salad a few weeks ago.  I put it in my "menu" list of foods for when I came back from vacation, but for the middle of the week.

I got back from beautiful British Columbia at 6:00 pm last night.  Since I didn't get a chance to go to the gym last night, and I had a lot of time to burn during the day so I figured I would get some exercise in before my first personal training session (which is tomorrow morning), so that I'm not too much of a waste case when I go in.  I have to admit after a week of doing absolutely no weight training - I skied my butt off, and did random exercises inside of my chalet, but it doesn't come close to my regular work outs that I do at the gym.  After 45 minutes, I was definitely feeling the burn - /cough, I'm still really feeling the burn.  However, despite not staying at the gym for an extended amount of time, it still felt great to be doing what I was doing.

When I came home, I had a monstrous Mango Mixed Berry Spinach Shake, and it was darned good.  However, just like every time I finish doing weights all I want to do for the rest of the day is eat like a king.  With that, I snacked on dill pickles, mango, chocolate soy pudding and then decided it was time to make dinner because truthfully every time I opened up the fridge or the cupboards all I was craving was junk food.  Vacation is over, and although I only ate poorly once while I was gone, eating poorly is not something I enjoy doing, especially after I'd just recently done a work out.  I decided that I would make myself a bean salad.

Although I didn't have all the ingredients as the original recipe suggested, I decided that I would still keep the concept but play around with the flavours that I had around the house.  It turned out wonderfully, and it was just what I needed.  In British Columbia, where we were staying food was incredddddiiibly expensive, and when we would go out, even though I was eating my vegetables they always seemed to be fried or seared in lots of oil which is not how I like to do things.  Even eating fruits was very limited.  Needless to say, I craved fruits and vegetables like there was no tomorrow, and when I came home those were certainly the first things I ate (along with some chocolate chip cookies, oops - but I blame my boyfriend, as he kept asking me to make some!)

This salad was exactly what I needed, especially because of the sweets craving - the fruits definitely filled that craving.  The beans filled my protein necessity, especially a little while after my work out, I was still craving some.  This salad was filling, refreshing, light filled with tons of nutrients and it was 100% healthy.  I felt so good after eating this, and it definitely made me realize how much I love simple and healthy salads and how much, even though eating the healthy options at restaurants they never quite hit the same spot as cooking at home does!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tangelo minneola orange (or other orange)
  • 5-6 large strawberries, chopped
  • 1 can of white kidney beans - rinsed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds - I used black
  • 2 cups of thinly sliced spinach
Directions:

Start by peeling your orange with a knife, then cut it into slices and cut each slice into four pieces.  Add that to a large mixing bowl, followed by the rest of the ingredients.  Mix everything together until well blended.  Sprinkle with more sesame seeds, if desired.

When you're craving junk food/sweets - what do you do to combat these cravings?

P'tit poisson.

It has been an incredibly looooooooooong time since I’ve posted any fish recipes.  Yes, it’s been almost a full year.  At this point last year, I had just begun dabbling with my vegan lifestyle.  However, as I had written a few months ago, I had considered reintegrating fish back into my diet, especially because I knew I wanted to put on weight in a healthy manner, and wanted to hire a personal trainer.  At first I didn’t think fish would be something that I would keep in my diet on a regular basis, but as I started doing more training the more I craved animal rich protein.  I hate to say that, especially since all my recipes are vegan (excluding the fact that I eat Greek yoghurt), but everything is fully vegan.

I can’t deny myself something if my body is craving it however, I did that for quite some time which later developed into an eating disorder and I’m not about to go down that road again.  With that being said, if I crave something, I will eat it, whether it’s good or bad for me, /cough those Mint Chocolate Baileys Cookies, anyone else?!
  
One of my favourite nuts are pistachios, and one of my favourite fish is tilapia, finding a recipe incorporating both of these I knew I had to try it, especially since I was given some pistachios at Christmas that I still hadn’t opened up, since I was waiting for a “special time” to use them, well that special time came for this recipe.  At first I didn’t know how the both of them would meld together but it was amazing!  This is a fish recipes that needs to be the focus of certain restaurant menus.  It was light, refreshing, crunchy, with a little bit of a zing as well as it left you with a feeling of home comfort.  This recipe made me reminisce of the summer, and it is certainly one that will be enjoyed in the summer.  It was a cinch to throw together, took barely any time at all, and the results were fantastic.  Would certainly suggest trying this out, especially if you need a new way to cook your go-to fish.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia Filets




Ingredients:
  • 2 fillets of tilapia
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped/crushed pistachios 
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut in small pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a pot and heat it up on a medium heat.  When the pan is hot, put in the spinach and, pulling the pan off the heat, just toss it and let it wilt.  Add some salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drizzle the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil and lay the two pieces of flounder on top. Sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper and then drizzle them with olive oil.  Press in a good coating of the crushed pistachios over each fish.  Don't skimp.  Dot with the butter, squeeze half the lemon over the fish, and bake for 10 minutes.

Put under the broiler briefly, just until the nuts get a little golden and everything is sizzling.  Watch carefully because the nuts will burn very quickly.  Serve the fish over the spinach with wedges of Meyer lemon.

Note:  You can substitute just about any fish, but I think a mild white fish like sole, tilapia, haddock or snapper would work best.  The best way to chop the nuts is in a mini food processor, it will only take 15 seconds or so.

Tropical Island Spinach Salad




Since I had a bed of wilted spinach underneath the tilapia I decided to make a side spinach salad to go along with it.  It was incredibly quick to throw together, and because the fish was reminiscent of the summer I thought I would make a salad that would also send me to that far away land.  This salad was right down my ally of course considering the tropical flavours.  This was also very easy to whip up and is very versatile don’t have any pineapple or oranges?  How about throwing in some mango, banana, coconut or even grapefruit?  The possibilities are endless and it is a great way to get some iron into you!

Ingredients:
  • Large handful of spinach ~ 2 cups
  • 1 tangelo minneola – chopped and segmented (or any other type of orange you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pineapple
  • 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice - dressing

Seeing as tilapia is so versatile, how do you like to enjoy it?

Apple Cinnamon Bagels



Since I’ve started developing my skills in the kitchen, one of the things that I enjoy cooking up the most are bagels.  Just like many of the things that I enjoy creating most – bowls of oats and shakes, bagels are also incredibly versatile.  You can have savoury, sweet, hearty, grainy, and many more varieties.  I recently stumbled upon a blog that I have very much been enjoying reading ­­­­­­my little celebration.

When I first started baking and would browse bagel recipes to try and replicate, a lot of them were incredibly intimidating as well as overall just time consuming.  When I bake, I don’t want to spend five million hours waiting for something to sit and rise (even though I did once make a bread that took eighteen hours to set), I would much rather make my product, let it sit for an hour, then bake for another 45 minutes or so, and have them in a nick of time.

These bagels were in my league, there was no sponge to be prepared, and even though I had to do a little bit of work with making the “apple pie” filling these were a cinch to throw together.  Seeing this recipe, I would have been a fool not to attempt them.  When I first looked at them, I thought to myself that they looked far too glutinous to make, because I knew I would end up eating the whole batch to myself but when it comes down to it, I work out, and I work out hard, I deserve to treat myself once in a while, and so I did.
When I first got into the kitchen and got all the ingredients for the first part of the recipe – the apple filling, I couldn’t wait, I knew the smell awaiting me was going to be one of my all time favourites.  Well, I was certainly right.  It had been a long time since I created something as sinful as this – I usually omit butter and replace it with either avocado oil, applesauce or a mashed banana, but this recipe, I was very reluctant in doing so and wanted to go all out, so I did just that.

The results of this bagel?  I can’t even begin to tell you.  Well, I guess I can begin, because I’m going to, but, they leave me almost speechless.  As I’ve mentioned on numerous accounts I am not a fan of pie, not at all, but give me the filling that accompanies it and it’s almost certain to be a hit – I mean how could it not when I’m a fruit fiend?  Apple pie is one pie I wish I enjoyed, I looooove the filling, but I just cannot get over the flaky crust that accompanies pies – gross.  So when I find a recipe for an almost-like apple pie in bagel form your darn right I’m going to attempt the recipe.

These were incredibly great, especially if you’re not a pie advocate but thoroughly enjoy the flavours that come with it.  These bagels made the house smell like a fresh October day.  I knew by the first few aromas that my nose got a hint of that these would certainly be a hit.  I made a smaller batch since I didn’t want to have too many to eat myself, but I quickly shot myself in the foot for that, since you can always freeze bagels, I wish I had, but it’s probably a better thing that I didn't. 

If you have never made bagels before and want to try some out for the first time, I would certainly suggest making these.  The process is super easy, the result is fantastic, and they look incredibly beautiful.  They are sweet, but overly sweet, there are gorgeous hints of cinnamon and brown sugar with speckles of apple in almost every bite.  It was very much a replica of apple pie via bagel, yum!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance or butter
  • 3 small-medium granny smith apples, cored, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp sugar

Streusel Topping - 
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
Add 1 tbsp of butter to a large skillet over medium heat, and then add the apples,  2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tbsp sugar and stir. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the apples are soft and carmelized. Add more sugar and cinnamon if needed. Set aside to cool.

Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour, the apple mixture, salt and 1/4 cup sugar and stir. Then gradually add 3 cups of AP flour and mix until the mixture comes together.
Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional AP flour 1/2 cup at a time, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky adding flour as needed, about 10 minutes.
Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each. Loosely form each piece of dough into a ball and then poke a small hole in the middle of the ball with your middle and ring fingers from the underside. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface [like a baking sheet or counter], cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease a baking sheet. Prepare streusel topping by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl with fingers or a fork. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour. If it’s too dry, add more butter.
In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over [optional] and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes. [If adding struesel topping, spoon topping onto bagels after you've flipped them at the 5-minute mark. Otherwise, add it at the beginning.]
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Have you ever made any dessert-like bagels such as this?