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Summer has finally shown up around here (along with a glorious sunburn I managed to obtain yesterday taking advantage of the sunshine). This means the reappearance of cold grain salads and the like in my books. This one was a happy combination of flavours and textures that came mostly out of the mixture that was the dregs of my pre-grocery shopping trip pantry.

2 cups dry quinoa (or 1 cup if your prefer a lower quinoa to add-in ratio)

2 navel oranges, cut into inch segments

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 bunch cilantro, minced (I would say about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of minced cilantro)

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2-3 tsp cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine quinoa with 4 cups water (2 cups if you are using 1 cup of quinoa) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the white centres have dissapeared and tails are visible on the grains. Set aside to cool.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and add cooled quinoa. Toss all ingredients together and serve.

I’m also submitting this to Ricki’s weekly blog event “Wellness Weekend” where it can mingle with plenty of other, healthy vegan summery recipes!



It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here; trees were put up on Sunday to the Nutcracker soundtrack and yesterday the city got a nice white covering so we are all set. Anyways, for those of you in the U.S. thanksgiving is just around the corner (those of us up North are already in full-blown Christmas mode) and you are probably more worried about the upcoming big (birdless) feast so I have compiled a list of thanksgiving appropriate recipes for you if you are still looking for ideas to cook up.


Baked Goods:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread

Cranberry Tahini Cookies

Fall Harvest Cookies

Peanut Butter Apple Crisp

Sugar-free, Gluten-free Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Gluten-free Cranberry Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Dutch Apple Cake


Main Dishes:

Moroccan Rice and Squash Pilaf


Sweet Potato, Carrot Soup with Tempeh

Raw Sweet Potato, Pineapple and Apple Slaw



2010 Thanksgiving

2009 Thanksgiving

Here’s to good food, friends and family and the start to a wonderful holiday season! 🙂

I am in love with everything British- they have the best accents (well, Australia is up there too), an excess of castles, beautiful old buildings and BBC! BBC is fantastic and I think they have on of the best websites out there. Seriously, you can learn obscure languages (ask me how I know, I may have gone through a Gaelic phase; I still know how to ask “how are you” in Gaelic), read world news, find recipes etc. This particular recipe is from a BBC Vegetarian magazine publication that my brother gave me for christmas a few years back, but lucky for me, the recipe was also online. Go take a peek at the original recipe; it makes for a very impressive main dish, but also quite time-consuming, so for my own purposes I made some alterations.

Moroccan Butternut Rice Pilaf

7 cups cubed butternut squash (this was about half a squash for me)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons groung coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup mixed rice blend

1 medium onion, diced

2 tablespoons minced ginger root

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 small bag spinach (I used 10 frozen spinach cubes, probably about the equivalent of 1 cup of steamed spinach)

2 tablespoons agave nectar

2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix spices (first measures of cumin and coriander, paprika and cinnamon) into olive oil. Pour over butternut squash cubes in a pan and toss to coat. Place in oven and roast for about 40 minutes or until cubes are tender, tossing cubes a couple times during baking.

Meanwhile combine the rice and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and cook until all the water is absorbed and rice is tender.

Saute onion and ginger in a frying pan until onion is golden brown, about five minutes. Add spinach, almonds and raisins and cook until spinach is wilted (or defrosted). Add butternut squash cubes and rice once they have cooked and drizzle with agave.

Place chickpeas, garlic and second measures of cumin and coriander, olive oil, and lemon juice in food processor and puree. You may need to add some water at this point to get a good consistency.

Mix hummus into mixture in frying pan and stir to incorporate (you could also leave it out or layer it when serving-the dish looks much more attractive pre-hummus, but it adds a nice touch flavourwise)


For as long as I can remember, sometime in December my family would pack into the car and drive for an hour or so to the to cut down a Christmas tree (it was part of a Forest Warden program that aimed to help thin out the trees), er, well actually, several. For a number of years, we would get a big tree for the living room (and when I say big, I mean big, the Christmas tree corner in the house has an 18 foot high ceiling, so many years we would get a 10-15 foot tree) and then each of us kids would get a smaller tree for our bedrooms. This was an all day venture and in later years, we often brought friends along to participate, and every year mom packed a thermos of hot chocolate and a big pot of chili that sat in the trunk swathed in towels to keep it hot until we were ready to eat. To this day chili remains a favourite cold weather food of mine. This recipe is quite a bit different from the chili I grew up eating, lacking the pork and beans of yesteryear, but no less delicious. 

Butternut Squash Chili

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

7 cups cubed butternut squash (this was about half of a medium sized squash)

1 tablespoon chili powder (this may vary depending on how hot your chili poweder is and how spicy you want your chili)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground coriander

diced canned tomatoes

5 cups cooked chili beans

1 zucchini, diced

2 cups frozen, or fresh, corn kernels

Saute onion and garlic in a pot until golden. Add squash and spices and cook for a few more minutes, until spices are fragrant. Add tomatoes, and beans (you may want to add some additional water at this point, I added about 1/2 cup) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until squash is tender. Add in zucchini and corn and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until all vegetables are cooked. Remove from heat and serve.


Wowee, I haven’t been doing so well with the whole once a day blogging business this week but I am attempting to make up for my bad behaviour by blogging over the weekend. Alas, today I don’t have much for ya, the day was more about Nutcracker rehearsals (can you believe how close the holidays are!?) and schoolwork than exciting foodstuffs. Despite that, I whipped up this lunch which was one of those “gaze into the fridge to see what kind of ingredients can be mixed together with minimal chances of gastrointestinal distress down the road.

I am calling it Spaghetti Squash Primavera, but really think spaghetti squash plus random other veggies and nooch. It was pretty good (could have used some more spices I think, and maybe some onions) and got rid of quite a few items that had been languishing in the fridge for far too long so I would call it a success!

I used about four cups of cooked spaghetti squash that had been living in the fridge destined to be eaten with tomato sauce until I realized I was out of canned tomatoes, mixed in with a couple of drained oil packed artichoke hearts (the huge jar taking up valuable real estate in the fridge is now finally gone! :D), some sun dried tomatoes, and a baggie of kale that was waay past its prime. Sauteed the artichokes and sundried tomatoes, then tossed in the chopped kale and finished off by adding in the squash (really to heat it up since the frying pan was already dirty) and then topped it off with dried basil, parsely and oregano and copious amounts of nooch.

Back tomorrow with chocolatey reviews! 🙂


Okay, a bit late to the party here, but how about we just pretend I am early for American Thanksgiving, mmkay?

So, roomies and I decided to make ourselves a glorious thanksgiving feast. On the menu:

Butternut Squash Bisque

Lentil Loaf/Nutroast: Notes were taken in the making of this, it was lentil, mushroom and walnut based I think… 

Gravy from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton

Cranberry Sauce: Cranberries plus water and a bit of agave cooked on the stove until cranberries were mushy

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Roasted a head of garlic in the oven and added it to cooked potatoes with some almond milk before mashing it all up.

Brussels Sprouts: Cleaned and sliced in half and then baked in the oven with oil, salt and pepper

Pumpkin Cheesecake (Made crustless, largely followed the recipe except for adding an extra tablespoon or so of cornstarch, not sure if it made much of a difference, but once cooled, you could cut out a slice – see picture)

So here is my plate (actually I am kind of lying, this was a plate of leftovers, hence the lack of Brussels sprouts-they were decimated the first go around!)

And dessert!

It was most delicious, and quite lovely indeed to have a big group meal making effort and sit down (we normally do cooking and eating separately).

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, so here is my homage.



At last, success on the Shepherds pie front! I actually have no idea how authentic this is; it pretty much ended up being a clean out the fridge/freezer type of dish but it turned out tasty and that’s what counts, right? 🙂 I really think you could pretty much throw in whatever veggies you have on hand and call it a day. This did end up making more than I had anticipated (filled a 9×13″ dish) but I think I will throw some of it in the freezer to have on hand for crazy busy days.

Clean out the Fridge Shepherds Pie

3 medium russet potatoes, washed and chopped roughly (you can peel ’em if you like)

1 cup dried brown lentils, cooked until tender (I added about 2 teaspoons of an italian spice blend to my cooking water)

1 onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, diced

2 cups chopped frozen, or fresh, green beans

2 cups frozen, or fresh, corn kernels

3 mushrooms, diced

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 tablespoon red miso

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup almond milk (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a pot, cover with water and cook until tender, about 30 minutes but it depends how small your potato chunks are. Place lentils in another pot with about two cups of water, cook until tender (you may have to add more water).

When potatoes and lentils are done, preheat oven to 350F.

Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic in a frying pan until golden. Add carrots and cook for about five minutes. Toss in beans, corn and mushrooms and saute for another few minutes. Stir in spices. Stir lentils and veggies together.

Remove potatoes with slotted spoon and dump into a bowl. Mash, adding potato cooking water and/or almond milk and salt until a creamy consistency is obtained. Set aside.

Combine miso with 1-2 tablespoons of remaining potato cooking water and mix until dissolved. Stir into lentil and veggie mixture along with nutritional yeast and remaining potato cooking water.*

Spread lentil vegetable mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Dollop mashed potatoes on top and spread around to completely cover top of vegetable mixture. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, until potatoes are beginning to brown at peaks. Remove and serve.

*Vegetable stock would add a nice flavour here too, which is what I originially intended to use, however my pantry was lacking stock, so I made do without.


I had great supper plans last night, either shepherds pie or squash chili, and was all set preparing my various ingredients (cooking dried beans, baking squash etc.) when the fire alarm started going off. My roommates and I dutifully opened all the windows, turned on the stove fan, and started fanning the fire alarm, but to no avail. Obviously we just needed to monkey with the alarm so we began to examine how one might turn it off when we realized it wasn’t our cooking causing the ruckus, the alarms in the rest of the apartment complex were blaring as well. We filed out of the building and joined our neighbors in the parking lot to find out that our building wasn’t in imminent danger, rather someone else’s dinner was transformed into charcoal, unbeknownst to them. Moral of the story here kids: don’t leave food on the stove unattended! (Fortunately for me the beans I had cooking on the stove didn’t add to the excitement courtesy of a roommate who has the brains to turn the stove off, even under duress) Anyways, after all was said and done and we were able to return to the apartment, the time for chili was past and I wanted something speedy. Tofu scramble it was! No amounts but this included: tofu, onion, carrots, mushrooms, kale, sun dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, turmeric, and nooch with some sesame oil roasted broccoli on the side. Perfect for a speedy dinner. Here’s hoping that chili/shepherds pie is a better plan for tonight!


Here is take #2 on Gardein products. This time we’re talking about the Tuscan Chicken breasts.

Again I was drawn to the wholesome ingredient list and impressive nutritional profile (80% of B12, 40% iron in one serving? sign me up!). I cooked these in the frying pan as suggested on the package which yielded a bit of a crispy exterior which contrasted nicely with the er, meaty interior. I opted to chop it up into chunks and put it in salad, which I found quite tasty.

Overall I would definitely recommend this product. These in particular made for quite easy travel eating as I could cook them up and then stick them in the fridge for later and still enjoy a healthy and nutritious meal whenever I wanted. I think this might be the key to Gardein products, using them IN a recipe rather than just eating them alone as one might do with a meat product. For the Tuscan chicken breasts I would say the only real downside is the cost.

Next time I see it on sale pick some up, I am going to have to try out some of the recipes from the Conscious Cook that utilize Gardein products.


Well here it is, Vegan MoFo 2010! I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year (plus a month!) since we did this last! Unfortunately I am not terribly prepared (and, ahem, a day late) so this first post isn’t a very exciting one but here goes…

I just got back from a trip out East to visit some of my relatives from my moms side of the family and while we spent some time staying with relatives there was also some hotel dwelling that happened. I find it difficult being vegan in a new city (although HappyCow is pretty much the best invention ever!) particularly when trying to eat on a budget (most vegan/vegetarian restaurants aren’t the most economical). Fortunately we got a hotel room with a kitchenette (and it also had a free breakfast buffet-more on that later, and a dinner spread tuesday through thursday) so we could just get groceries and make our own food. Anyways, for convenience sake we picked up a few premade products that I wouldn’t normally purchase, so here is a review of #1: Gardein Santa Fe Good Stuff


Of all the products investigated, Gardein was my pick. The ingredient list is surprisingly short and all familiar, just a medly of vegetable products and grains as well as various vitamins. The nutritional stats also impressed me, with each serving providing you with good portion of iron (although a couple of their other products had a better nutritional profile, this was purchased with the idea that it was pretty much a meal in itself).

Sorry for the lousy picture, hotel lighting wasn’t great. Anyways, these ended up being microwaved and while the flavour of the filling was good, (and not too spicy for this wimp!) the outside left a bit to be desired. A bit of a scary meaty texture for me (although my meat-eating mom assured me that it didn’t in fact taste like chicken) as well, but I think to give these a truly fair chance, I would need to give them a go baking them in the oven.

So overall I would say the pros of this particular product are: convenience and ingredients/nutritional profile 

and the cons are: texture (although for some the authenticity might be a pro, for me, notsomuch), and cost.

I did get another garden product that I will review later, but overall I would suggest at least giving them a look next time you are eyeing up the faux meat products, and based on their website, they have a fair selection of products to choose from. In the interest of full disclosure, these products were purchased and Gardein has had no contact with me whatsoever, so these reviews are my complete and unbiased opinion.

Until tomorrow,