Friday, July 30, 2010

Gluten-Free Fest Weekend for All

My good friend Christina from Calgary came to stay with me last weekend - a very rare but always welcomed occasion - and it was the perfect time to really test out my gluten-free cooking/baking and hosting skills.  I fortunately passed with flying colours, otherwise she would have probably spent her time keeled over on the bed dying because she actually suffers from celiac disease and absolutely cannot have any gluten.

I hosted a little get together on Saturday night, she was a trooper, jet legged and all (having just arrived from Europe) she gave her best and only passed out by 10:30pm while the rest of us played trivial pursuit ... I know, we're so hardcore!  It was a great time nonetheless and the game matched my unplanned rainbow theme of the night, rainbow food, rainbow napkins, etc.

Here are some of the highlights ...

Veggie Cups in Spicy Tofu Dip with slices of carrots, zucchini and red pepper.  Salsa dip, hummus dips and fresh tabuli salad made by my friend Kathryn.

Fruit Glasses: Green grapes, strawberries, plums and oranges topped off with 100% pure maple syrup.

Rainbow Raspberry Cocktail: Raspberry Vodka with Soda water over rainbow coloured ice cubes.

To make the ice cubes you will need about 6 ice trays, water and food colouring.  I made yellow, orange, red, green, blue and purple ice cubes just by adding a few drops of food colouring to water and then freezing it.

We had so much left over that I was able to make a yummy, healthy breakfast the next morning for my guest, which consisted of: Scrambled tabuli eggs (I added tabuli in the eggs while cooking over a pan); a few toasted slices of the flaxseed bread, a couple scoops of hummus dip and a veggie cup.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mmmmm ... Bread, well, Kind of

Gluten-free, sugar-free ... delicious!

Focaccia-Style Flaxseed Meal Bread

I altered this recipe but you can find the original here.

•1 cup flax seed meal
•1 cup gluten-free flour mix
•1 tbsp baking powder
•1 tsp salt
•1 tbsp artificial sweetener (OR Stevia would be a better option)
•2 eggs + 3 egg whites, beaten
•1/2 cup water
•1/3 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Prepare pan (I used a brownie pan, about 9x9 inches) with parchment paper.

3. Mix dry ingredients well using a whisk.

4. In another small bowl mix water, oil and eggs well.  Add to dry mix and combine well.

5. Let batter set for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken up a bit.

6. Pour batter onto pan.  You will get a more even thickness if you spread it away from the center, in roughly a rectangle an inch or two from the sides of the pan.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until it springs back when you touch the top and/or is visibly browning even more than flax already is.

8. Cool and cut into whatever size slices you want. You don't need a sharp knife, can use a spatula.

Then I made a veggie sandwich with it that included, vegan margarine, lettuce, portabello mushrooms, Dijon mustard, sunflower sprouts and an olive. Very good!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Keepin' it Simple During my Move

On the menu this week, salad, salad and more salads - at least I did my best to keep it that way with a few sandwich exceptions.

I've been busy, busy, busy this summer with helping my best-friend prep for her wedding, to moving to a new apartment all the while training for with my dragon boat team, cross training and boxing, oh and not to mention getting ready for my trip to Mozambique this summer too, I simply don't know how I find time to cook anymore!

So, I kept it simple this week ...

Simple Big Green Cool Salad

3-4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
2/3 cup snow peas, tips trimmed (about one large handful)
3-4 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 of one avocado, sliced
A handful of sunflower sprouts
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper for taste (optional)

1. In a medium size bowl mix together the first four ingredients.

2. Add the Dijon mustard and honey and mix well to cover all the vegetables.  Add salt and pepper for taste if desired.

3. When ready to serve top off your salad bowl with a few slices of avocado and a handful of sunflower sprouts.

*Add protein to this dish? I would toss in a few cubes of tofu.

Simple Warm Evening Salad

1 small package of spinach vermicelli noodles
1/2 a red onion, chopped
2/3 cup snow peas, tips trimmed (about one large handful)
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 an apple sliced
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp of natural peanut butter
Salt and pepper for taste (optional)

1. In a large skillet on med-high heat, satay the red onion in about 1 tsp of olive oil for about one minute.

2. Then add the snow peas, mushrooms, chickpeas and apple and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add 1 tbsp of the balsamic vinegar and turn off the stove top.

4. Add the peanut butter and mix together well.

5. In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil and cook the vermicelli noodles for about 4 - 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, strain and transfer to a bowl.

6. Top the noodles off with your vegetable stir-fry, can add salt and pepper for taste.


Friday, July 9, 2010

A Little Food Humour ...

It's just been one of those weeks for me - busy packing, cleaning, running trying to keep up with my sports and dreading turning on the oven/stove, especially since Toronto is going through a serious heatwave!

So I barely found time to cook or bake anything remotely interesting enough to blog about this week so I thought I would instead share a very cute comic I found online.  Not to say that I myself am 100% vegan just yet but this comic could certainly provide some extra motivation.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Awenda Camping Weekend

What a busy, busy week, which sadly usually means I have no time to cook a proper meal let alone anything interesting to blog about.  However, last week I did have a bit of time to whip up this yummy vegan dip for my weekend camping trip.

It was completely thrown together on a whim, measured everything more or less but it really just came together based on what I had in my refrigerator.

Spicy Olive Tofu Dip

In a blender or food processor mix together the following: about 1/2 brick firm tofu, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1-2 tsp Mrs. Dash chipolte spice mix (or any spices you like), 2-3 tbsp of sliced green olives, 1-2 tbsp of sliced jalapeno peppers (I used the pickled kind out of jar).

Blend together until mixed well and enjoy with fresh sliced veggies or corn chips.  Happy Camping!

Happy Be-lated Birthday CANADA!
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