The Foodie Blogroll

My cooking-mojo is back.

Hello everyone!

I am officially in Montreal!  Mom and I got into the city about three hours ago, and now I'm at work sitting here, downloading video games, and looking at food blogs, shhh there isn't much work for me to do yet!  That's definitely okay with me though!  I still feel like I'm in vacation mode, and am highly enjoying this, plus it allows me to update my blog since I feel like it's been forever since I've done so.

This weekend was nice, I didn't see many friends that's for sure, but it was a nice relaxing weekend.  Friday night I went to a restaurant/bar... saw some friends, but didn't last there long.  It's not fun when you're one of the only sober ones, just getting off of a plane, and not in the greatest of moods, so I went home and tried to sleep.  Saturday it was absolutely gorgeous outside, I mean, the weather was warm, it wasn't very windy and it wasn't raining (there was definitely A LOT of rain in British Columbia)!  I was supposed to do breakfast with my dad but he "forgot" in other words, he probably wasn't listening and thought I said Sunday.  I had made some really nice black bean burgers so I called him up and asked if he wanted to do lunch instead, he said okay.

I headed over to my dads, after I bought hair dye, a card for my mom for Mother's Day and roses for her as well.  I then went to my dads.  For lunch, as I said I made black bean burgers and zucchini fries.  This lunch was super delicious, my dad was definitely skeptical that's for sure.  I had made the burgers at home so he didn't know what was in them... however, seeing as I don't eat meat he knew they were vegan so he stuffing himself with chicken and broccoli pizza prior to having my dishes, le sigh.  Lately I have been on a sweet potato and black bean kick.  When I saw a new recipe for Black Bean Burgers I knew I would make some so that I can have some frozen burgers for Montreal.  These ones were delicious.  They aren't my usual flavours... since I really dislike peppers (I eat them anyway but I really don't enjoy the flavour), but these were good, really good.  My dad actually let out a "hmmm, these are actually really good!", well of course they are pops.

While I was making the zucchini fries my dad was definitely skeptical oh boy... I made them vegan... since I don't have egg replacement other than chia seeds or flax seed, well it looked a little odd.  I coated the bad boys in flax-egg and his eyes definitely darted over the brown goop a couple of times.  The result?  He loved them!  He even asked me for the recipe, doubt he would ever make them, but he was surely impressed with the meal and that meant a lot.  This was a quick lunch to put together and was certainly satisfying, this would be perfect for a barbecue in the summer where there is a lot of meat... you can sneak these in and I'm sure they would be a hit.

Zucchini Fries

Recipe by me


Ingredients:
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 egg replacement - 1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water 
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Seasoning salt
  • Oregano
  • Other spices if desired - get creative
  • 1/3 cup of Panko crumbs
Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash and cut your zucchini into fry-like shapes.  Mix together your flax-egg and let sit for a couple of minutes so that it thickens.  In another bowl mix your spices into your Panko crumbs. 

Once your flax-egg is ready, cover your "fries" into the flax-egg then mix into the Panko crumbs until evenly coated.

Place onto lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes then flip your fries over and cook for another 20 minutes until crisp and golden.

Now onto the Veggie Burgers

Recipe adapted from here


Ingredients:
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp diced black olives
  • 2 tbsp diced red/yellow/orange bell peppers
  • 2 tsp banana peppers
  • 1 1/2 tbp diced garlic
Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups rolled oats (or old-fashioned oatmeal)
  • 2 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 12 ounces black beans, drained
  • 1 flax-egg - 1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water
Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a a saute pan over medium heat. Add all of the raw vegetables except the beans. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently combine the beans. Add the sauteed vegetables, and mix thoroughly. Stir in the dry ingredients, along with the flax-egg.  Using your hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients. Form into 4 patties for large burgers or 8 patties for smaller ones. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan, and cook patties 2 to 3 minutes per side. (If you’re making 8 patties, you’ll need to cook them in two batches.)

My dad and I then just hung around for a bit.  I went home did some packing, spent time with my cat and then a little while later my friend came over.  It wasn't an exciting night, no, I ate a million and one chocolate covered raisins (...why?  I don't know.  How many times have I said I dislike chocolate, how many?!  I think I was craving fats and sugars, because... I just couldn't stop.  We watched many, many episodes of Harry's Law, love that show!  No, not exciting, but I had fun, and I really wasn't in the mood to go to a bar or any of that business so it was nice.

Sunday morning, Mother's Day!  Saturday night my mom's boyfriend took her out to a "secret destination"... to think of it I still don't know where they went, oi.  But, they didn't come back until almost 1:00 pm.  I wanted a nice breakfast, I've said it time and time again, weekends are my days to go all out on breakfast, so I did.  I had no one to celebrate with, but I enjoyed it with my cats so it was nice.  I have seen many versions of vegan French toast.  Actually, let's back up the train, I have never been a fan of French toast.  The whole concept just kind of grosses me out for some reason.  Dipping bread in egg just reminds me of chicken cutlets/chicken/pork Parmesan... having bread dipped in eggs, it just doesn't seem right.  However, as I mentioned I've seen many vegan recipes for French toast.  A couple of months ago I actually saved this exact recipe, I had planned to make it, never did, then got rid of the link.  I came across it last week and figured it was destiny I had to try it out, so I did.

It was nothing like I remember.  This French toast was out of this world.  Seriously, it was to die for.  I had tried the batter before dipping the toast in it, and I have to admit... I had a little more then I should have, but it was SO good.  Come to think of it, I haven't tasted any batter before baking it in over a year, why did I try the pancake batter... or ... why don't I try batter anymore is the better question.  Who knows, but heck yes this was a winner.

I had made homemade bread the night before (yes, being away in British Columbia I was not able to do ... anything really in the kitchen other than my smoothies so I definitely had a party).  Before I continue with the French toast recipe, this bread recipe.  This bread recipe claimed to be the "easiest bread you'll ever make".  I don't know about you, but I really do not find it difficult to make bread, why I was so drawn into make this because of it's darn title is beyond me... obviously it suckered me in though.  Yes, this recipe might of been "easy", but it was disgusting.  I would not recommend this recipe, there are so many better recipes... yes, the "rising" time is between 12-14 hours, then you simply toss with more flour so it's "less" sticky (it reminded me of the movie Flubber... I hate things that are sticky, I am constantly washing my hands while I bake/cook this... was the worst thing I could have ever made).  I added 1 tbsp chia seeds + 1/2 tbsp caraway seeds + 1 tbsp black sesame seeds.  Followed the rest of the recipe... it turned out well, yes, but, honestly, I much rather make a bread recipe with less rising time, more flour, less stick and have it in 1/4 of the time.  This recipe however, the crust is freakin-fantastic, crunchy to max and soft and holey on the interior.  I really like the bread, but, the process, le sigh, not for me.


Onto the French toast.  What I loved about this bread is that I had added chia seeds so I had some protein in it... okay, it's not as much as a smoothie with 1 tbsp of chia/flaxseed since it was dispersed, but it was okay.  I had done a huge bike ride, sweating to the max, yes even my chin was sweating, ew, does that happen to anyone else?  Just weird.  Anywho, this bread was marvelous for the French toast, I loooove caraway seeds but definitely think I am allergic... yeah.

This breakfast was meant for royalty.  I really did feel like royalty.  I can't even begin to describe how good it was, I mean seriously you need to try it for yourself.  Vegan or non-vegan I guarantee you will absolutely love this breakfast.  Heck, if I could make this everyday for the next week with out feeling like a complete glutton I would.  Definitely, definitely a keeper especially if you're a fan of French toast.

Vegan Berry-licious French Toast

Recipe taken from here


Batter:
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 slices of bread (I used the above recipe)
Topping:
  • 3/4 fresh raspberries/blueberries
  • Sliced banana
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
Directions:

Heat skillet over medium heat and add ~2 tbsp of Earth Balance or other vegan butter.

Add batter ingredients to blender (or mash with a fork like I did) and blend until smooth; pour into shallow bowl.  Dip bread into batter and place on heated skillet.

BE PATIENT and allow to cook 3-4 minutes on each side. 

Note: It is very important to keep the skillet well greased so that the toast does not stick

While toast is cooking: in a separate small pan, add canola or coconut oil and heat over medium-low heat. Add in frozen berries and cook ~4-5 minutes or until berries are soft and juicy.

Plate up: pour the berry topping over your French toast... I may of had a little bit of leftover batter and instead of maple syrup might of added that on top of the French toast... yes it was delicious.

This was definitely a great way to start the day.  I then also found out from my mom that we were not going to drive to Montreal that day since she was tired, so I got to spend an extra day at home, woohoo!  It was nice, because I packed more things that I probably wouldn't of thought of before, I even snuck in more kitchen supplies (yes... it added up to three huge boxes... I'm horrible), I spent more time with my cat (I know, but I love her), and then went over to my dad's girlfriends for dinner.  It was nice because I'm not sure if I'll be flying home at any point during the summer and it was nice to see her family + spend more time with my dad.

I had told her the day before that my diet 95% of the time is vegan... and seeing as she was making pasta with a meat sauce told me to bring tofu.  Well, I had made an amazing black bean salad the day before so I brought that along with me, and she made me a salad... however, forgetting that I don't eat cheese... and after frustration made a side salad for me, I told her not to worry but she wanted me to have salad... so I did.

This salad was deeeeelightful.  As I said black beans are my current obsession, any chance I get I try to sneak them in, well I had a can of black beans and figured hey, Cinco de Mayo just passed why not try another Mexican dish... or something like that.

Mexican Bean Salad

Recipe thoroughly adapted from here


Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 2 cups of corn, yellow/green beans, and carrots (2 cups altogether)
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 Roma tomato, cored, seeded and chopped medium
  • 1 tbsp red onion
  • 1 1/2 freshly squeezed limes
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 avocados, pitted, peeled and cubed
Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the corn, beans, and tomato.

In a separate bowl, whisk the red onions, lime juice, maple syrup, and oil together. Pour over the salad and toss gently to coat.

Gently fold in the avocado and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. 

To make ahead: Prepare through step 2, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Season with additional lime juice to taste before continuing with step 3.

... this definitely went quickly, and, for a quick afternoon snack served in a burrito, with nachos, or eaten alone it is definitely filling.  The last thing on my list that I made was hummus.  I had many sweet potatoes in our vegetable drawer and I had a can of chickpeas so I figured why not.  I looked up a recipe and oh goodness.  I followed the directions that were stated, heat chickpeas/keep water for added starch... yes, this is definitely a smooth hummus.  I've never made sweet potato hummus before but heck yes it's good.  It is certainly sweet, if you're not a fan of sweet I would say cut down the amount of sweet potato, but I definitely loved this.

Sweet Potato Hummus

Recipe slightly adapted from here


Ingredients:
  • 2 small or 1 very large sweet potato, cooked, skin removed, and cut into chunks - mine were baked but but if you’re in a big rush, you can steam them or nuke them)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained, but with the liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil 
  • 2 1/2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste 
  • Smoked paprika 
Directions:

Place sweet potatoes in the processor.

Optional step (but I definitely recommend) warm up your beans. This really isn’t necessary for great hummus, but guess what? It’s a really, really good trick of the trade. Either microwave your chickpeas for 1 minute (OK, for the record, I don’t much like microwave cooking, but I don’t think it’s going to murder any of us if we do it once upon a hummus), or pour the chickpeas and their canning liquid into a little saucepot and get them warm. Drain them after, but reserve the liquid. That’s it — not a lot of effort for a step that will really improve your hummus.

Place chickpeas (warm or not) into the processor along with the sesame oil, tahini, cumin, salt and pepper. Run the processor. Take 1/2 cup (this should be all that’s left) of the canning liquid from the beans (it’s got starch in it, which will help make the hummus super delicious) and drizzle it into the processor to help create the perfect texture.

If you run out of liquid but the hummus needs to be thinner start drizzling in regular old water. Stop now and then to scrape the bowl. When the consistency is even, smooth, and thick but not pasty, you’re done.

Sprinkle hummus with paprika, and serve.

... so yes, this was definitely a jam packed weekend, from all of the cooking, packing, working out, lounging, getting ready, list-making, I was definitely in need of some well deserved home cooked meals and I surely got that. 

How about you?  Did you spend a lot of time baking/cooking, if so what did you make?

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