Monthly Archives: June 2014

Picket Line Food!

 

Most readers of this blog come here because they’re interested in eating, cooking, health, plants-based diet, vegan food prep. They want to look at pictures of food and try out a new recipe. That’s cool. I’m happy to be your host. Today, I have a new recipe for you and I have pictures of food, but first, I want to have a chat …

I’m a teacher.

I’m a teacher on strike.

Since I’ve been working in schools, I have experienced the steady erosion of funding for public education. Twelve years ago, the provincial government stripped our collective agreement, our contract, of certain clauses without consultation, without negotiation, without bargaining. These clauses had to do with class size and class composition. Prior to this stripping, our collective agreement had language limiting the number of students in classes and limiting the number of students with special needs in classes. If a class was over the limits, another class had to be opened. In case you didn’t know, it is illegal to rip up collectively bargained contracts and this was reiterated, reinforced, confirmed and asserted when the teachers’ union took the government to court – not once, but twice. And still, the government refuses to obey the law and provide restitution. For this reason, and many more, I am on strike.

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 Don’t worry! Don’t give up on reading this post yet. I know this is a food blog and I will provide you with some. Here’s the connection:

While I’ve been out on the picket line, my colleagues and I have been overwhelmed by the support from parents, local businesses and members of the community. Drivers coast past honking, waving and smiling. The local pizza joint provides us with pizza and the neighbourhood tea house provides us with scones and croissants. Parents bring us cupcakes and muffins and cookies. Everyday we have plenty to eat. Even I, the plants-based eater in the crowd, has indulged in a few chocolate chip cookies and a banana muffin or two (complete with eggs and butter, I’m sure)! Earlier, this week, I thought, “No more!” I’m most wonderfully grateful for the support and good wishes and gifts from the community, however, I need some healthier food choices on the line. So, I made these little morsels pictured above. I got the recipe from Connoisseurus Veg, but changed it up a bit. These little Quinoa Trail Mix Bites were a hit on the picket line, along with a basket of local, organic strawberries. We all appreciated a break from the sweets.

Quinoa Trail Mix Bites

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1/3 cup almond milk

2 tbsp. ground flax seed

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 1/4 cups oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup almonds, some whole and some coarsely chopped

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped (I used dried cherries and apricots)

Mix milk and flax seed together and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir everything else together, then add the flax/milk mixture and mix together completely. Spoon into greased mini muffin tins (if you have them) or put 2 heaping tbsps. into regular muffin tins. Press down with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 + minutes. Let cool completely in pans before removing.

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Note: these little titbits are somewhat crumbly. If you can think of a way to help them stick together better, I’d be happy to hear about it. Agave nectar instead of brown sugar, maybe?

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Smoky Eggplant Hummous

 What? Another hummous recipe? Yep! This one is just a little different with the addition of smoked paprika and some eggplant. It’s kind of like a combo of hummous and baba ganoush, but barbeque flavour! I found the inspiration for this recipe from Clean Wellness when Grilled Eggplant Hummus was featured on Oh My Veggies potluck. (I changed the recipe a bit – cut down on the lemon zest, omitted the mint, only used 2/3’s of an eggplant). I love the smoky flavour from the smoked paprika and also love that it still tastes like hummous!

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1 eggplant

2 cloves garlic, minced

zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. tahini

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 3 pieces. Grill on a barbeque if you have one. If you don’t have a barbeque, do as I did and put the eggplant slices on a baking pan and broil on low for 5 minutes, flip and broil for another 5 minutes, flip and 5 minutes more, flip and 5 minutes more.

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I peeled the skin off 2 of the three slices (but you don’t have to if your blender/food processor can handle the bulk), then chopped them up and put them into my mini food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. If you are using a blender or a mini food processor like me, you will probably have to add water. I blended for about 4 minutes, then scraped down the sides and added about 3 or 4 tbsps. of water and blended again.

Serve with crackers and raw vegetables.

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Spicy Red Bean Dip

I always like to have a dip on the go. Something I can snack on with raw vegetables or crackers in the afternoon when I feel a little peckish. Also, something I can snack on that is readily available and healthy. Usually, my dip is humous. Nothin’ wrong with that. I just like to change it up a bit now and then. Today I made this bean dip out of some red beans (similar to kidney beans, but smaller; used in Jamaican cooking).

This dip is based on the recipe, Wolffie’s Magnificent Baked Bean Chip Dip in La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer.

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(BTW, “Tom” and I cook our beans from dry rather than use them from a can. The beans are cooked in a slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours depending on the bean. Once cooked, the beans are drained and cooled and packed into freezer bags in 1 1/2 cup portions, and kept in the freezer.)

1 1/2 cups red beans (or red kidney beans)

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp tamari

1/4 tsp liquid smoke

2 tbsp. water

Throw everything in a food processor or blender and blend together until smooth. This takes about 5 minutes in my mini food processor, seen in this picture on the right:

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Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, raw vegetables.

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