Category Archives: Low Fat

Roast-Vegetable-Smoked-Tofu-Kale Pizza

When it comes to pizza time at a party, a dinner out, a staff luncheon, what do all you vegans out there do? I usually abstain or, occasionally, suck it up and eat a slice or two. At home, I just don’t have pizza. I’m not crazy about vegan cheese, either store-bought or homemade. The taste is not terrific and it’s too much fuss and bother to make “cheeze”. Then I read Sam Turnbull’s cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan. She has a recipe called Life-Changing Mozzarella that she uses for pizza cheese and I thought I’d give it a try. The first pizza I made using this cheese was so-so, so the next time I made the cheese, I made some adjustments to the ingredients (I kind of combined her Life-Changing Mozzarella and her Nacho Cheese Love) and came out with a winner!

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This is the mozza cheese. It’s made with tapioca starch which gives this cheese it’s thick and stretchy qualities.

The first pizza I made with this cheese was kind of traditional with a tomato sauce base, and I went for a Mediterranean style with basil, spinach, black olives. As I said above, it was okay. Then I decided to try again, adjusting the cheese recipe and omitting the tomato sauce base. This pizza was dee-licious!

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Here’s how I made it:

Roast-Veg-Smoked-Tofu-Kale Pizza

(it takes about 90 minutes to make this pizza from start to finish using premade/store-bought pizza shells)

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2 store-bought pizza shells of your choice (I used a store-made, thin-crust pizza shell from Save-On-Foods) – placed on pizza pans

Cheese

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch*

  • 2 tbsp sauerkraut (or 2 tbsp brine from a jar of green olives) – I used sauerkraut

  • 2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 3/4 to 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine and blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Pour into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring often, then constantly for 3-5 minutes until thickened and smooth. Heat and stir for another 3-5 minutes at a slightly lower heat to make sure the tapioca starch is cooked.

Pour and spread the cheese on the pizza shells – you will use the entire recipe on two pizza.

Pizza Toppings

2 tomatoes, skin removed*, diced (I used some beautiful organic plum tomatoes I bought in Keremeos when I was passing through last week).

1/2 an onion, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 head cauliflower, separated into large florets then sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces or strips

1/2 fresh poblano pepper, cut into slightly smaller than bite-sized pieces

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

2/3 of a block of smoked tofu (I actually used smoked siracha tofu on this pizza), sliced and diced into bite-sized pieces

3 stalks of curly kale (or any kind of kale you prefer), washed and dried and torn into bite-sized pieces

avocado oil

coarse sea salt or Himalayan salt

Sprinkle the diced tomatoes onto the two pizza shells, evenly distributing them between the two shells.

Place the onion, cauliflower, bell pepper, poblano pepper and garlic into a large bowl. Pour in about a tbsp of oil. Toss the vegetables in the oil until evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the kale. Put the torn kale into a bowl, drizzle on a bit of oil, and sprinkle on some salt. Massage the oil and salt into the kale until the kale is soft and just starting to release some of it’s juice.

Pull the roast veg out of the over and add the smoked tofu to the pan, evenly spaced. Put the pan back into the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the roast veg and tofu on the pizza shells, evenly distributing between the 2 shells and over each pizza.

Put the pizza pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms of shells begin to brown. Pull the pans out of the oven, sprinkle on the kale and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Let the pizzas rest and cool for 5 minutes, then slide out onto a cutting board and cut into slices.

*tapioca starch is readily available in a grocery store

*The best way to skin a tomato is to pour boiling water over it, let it sit for a couple of minutes, douse in cold water and peel. The skin usually slips right off.

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Green Lentil Pumpkin Seed Dip

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Came across this dip on The Full Helping

(https://www.thefullhelping.com/simple-lentil-pumpkin-seed-dip/)

by Gena. She kind of downplayed it in her blog post, but I thought it sounded scrumptious. I decided to give it a try. Of course I didn’t have any cooked or canned lentils ready to go or some soaked pumpkin seeds, so it took me a day to get ready. I’ve just been reading Joyous Detox by Joy McCarthy and The Blender Girl by Tess Masters and they both strongly recommend soaking legumes, grains, nuts and seeds before using, and even sprouting them if you have the time. These authors convinced me that soaking is the way to go as it:

  • improves digestion

  • unlocks nutrients

  • produces better flavour and texture

  • reduces cooking time

  • makes for smooooooth dips

So, I soaked my green French lentils and my seeds before blending up this dip today. Here’s my adapted recipe:

Green Lentil Pumpkin Seed Dip

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1/3 cup soaked pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 cups soaked and cooked French lentils (Le Puy lentils)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup tightly packed parsley

1/2 to 3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup water

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Put all the ingredients in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of water and turn blender on to low. Blend on low for a few minutes, scraping down the sides as needed and adding more water as needed, a tbsp. at a time, to keep the ingredients in the blender moving. Add up to 1/4 cup more water. Turn blender on to high and blend until quite smooth.

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Serve with crackers or vegetable sticks. I spread the dip on some Pumpkin Seed Oat Rye Crackers that I happened to have in the cupboard … very tasty!

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Deconstructed Salad Roll

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I’ve been on a bit of a rice noodle kick lately. Today, while considering another meal to make with rice noodles, I had an inspiration! I thought of salad rolls and how they often include rice noodles and are wrapped with a rice paper wrapper. But salad rolls are a bit timely to make so … how about a deconstructed salad roll … eureka! A salad roll bowl! (And you all know how much I love bowls)! All I needed to do was julien up a few vegetables, prepare some rice noodles and whip up a peanut sauce. Easy peasy! And tasty too!

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Salad Roll Bowl

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1 carrot

1 green onion

1/2 cucumber

1/2 red bell pepper

wedge of purple cabbage

1/2 bunch cilantro

1/2 package rice noodles

Peanut Sauce

1 tsp Bragg liquid soy seasoning

2 tsps. tamari sauce

2 tbsps. peanut butter

2 tbsps. orange juice

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp finely minced ginger

2 tbsps. siracha

2 tbsps. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

chopped peanuts or sesame seeds

Pour boiling water over the rice noodles and let sit for a minute. Use a spaghetti scoop to loosen and separate the noodles. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables. Julien-chop the carrot, cucumber, red pepper, and purple cabbage. Slice the green onion and coarsely chop the cilantro. Arrange the vegetables in two bowls as in the pictures. Drain the rice noodles, rinse with cold water and set aside. Make the peanut sauce by whisking all ingredients together. (You can heat the sauce if you want. This will soften the peanut butter for easier mixing. Also, I like the sauce a little warm when I pour it over the vegetables and noodles.) Arrange a serving of rice noodles in the middle of the bowl. Drizzle the peanut sauce over top of the vegetables and noodles. Sprinkle on some peanuts or some sesame seeds. Eat and enjoy!

Note:  You can also add mint leaves, tofu, and avocado to this bowl. That would make it even yummier!

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Red Lentil Squash Curry

I don’t know about you, but my menu planning tends to suffer as the workweek goes on. I usually start off well with part of Sunday devoted to earmarking recipes, food prep and ingredient shopping for the week ahead. And this bit of planning ahead is really helpful as it allows me to arrive home from a long work day knowing that supper is planned and partially prepped. By Thursday, however, my ideas have petered out, my creativity is low and I drive home from work thinking about whether I’ll order out or have avocado toast for supper! It’s not so much the making the meal that wipes me out, but the thinking of what to make. If I have a plan for supper, I don’t really mind making it even when arriving home after a 9 or 10 hour work day. This is when the slow cooker has often come to the rescue! If I can throw something together in the slow cooker in the morning before leaving for work, then it’s doing double duty – the meal is planned and the meal is cooked! Here’s what the slow cooker produced recently. (I apologize for the pictures! I tried to make the curry look appetizing in my pics, but it’s really difficult to make cooked red lentils look like anything but tan-coloured mush!)

Red Lentil Squash Curry

(adapted from Kitchen Treaty, Slow Cooker Pumpkin, Chickpea, and Red Lentil Curry)

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1 small to medium sized onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 delicata squash (or equivalent squash), cut into bite sized pieces

3 small potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 large carrot, but into bite sized pieces

1 cup dry red lentils

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 tbsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin

scant 1/4 tsp cayenne

2 cups veg broth

1 tomato, skinned and chopped

1 can light coconut milk

1 tsp salt

juice from 1 lime

cilantro, chopped

1 cup brown basmati rice

1 cup peas

Put everything from onion to veg broth into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Also, before you leave for work, wash the rice and leave it to soak in two cups of water. When you get home, drain the rice, put it in the rice cooker with just under 2 cups of water. Next, turn the slow cooker to high, stir in the tomato, coconut milk and salt, cover and cook while the rice is cooking. When the rice is done, fluff it up, stir in the peas, and keep warm. Stir the lime juice into the curry. Serve the curry over the rice with a side of something green and steamed like kale or broccoli. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro over the curry.

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Smoothie Bowl!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving weekend, my family celebrated on Friday. This was a work day for me, so other members of the family stepped up and did all the food prep. I didn’t have to do anything except show up! So, I don’t have any Thanksgiving feast recipes to share today. Instead, I thought I would share my discovery of Smoothie Bowls. I’m thankful for Angela Liddon and her new cookbook (see below). I’m thankful for wonder, imagination and creativity.

Check out this new vegan cookbook!

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I took this book out of the library and have had a wonderful time reading it – yes, cover to cover! – and have earmarked a few recipes to try out. I’ll have to return the book to the library before I can really give it the good attention it warrants, but that’s okay because … I just bought it!

The first recipe I tried was a Smoothie Bowl! What? A Smoothie Bowl? What the heck is that? That’s what went through my mind when I first encountered the smoothie bowl recipes! I’m actually quite an accomplished smoothie maker, if I do say so myself, and I didn’t see the point of a smoothie bowl! But then I looked at the pictures, reread the recipes (there are 3 or so recipes for smoothie bowls as well as several recipes for smoothies) and thought, “Well, I have a smoothie every day for breakfast, maybe I’ll just change it up a bit, put my smoothie in a bowl, add a few toppings, and see what happens.” So I did! I actually made my usual smoothie but decreased the liquid and made sure I added chia seeds to make a thick, spoonable smoothie. And now I’m sold on Smoothie Bowls because this bowl kept me full until lunch time! I used to be hungry and ready for a snack by recess, about 2 1/2 hours into my work day, but when I start my day with a Smoothie Bowl, I’m good for another 2 hours!  Folks in the know tell me the feeling of fullness comes from chewing my food – “oral-sensory stimulation” or tricking the brain into thinking I’m eating.

http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/how-more-chewing-leads-eating-less

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Here’s how I did it:

1 banana

1/2 apple or 5 large strawberries or equivalent amount of fruit

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup almond milk

a chunk of cucumber, diced (about 2 tbsps)

4 cm piece of celery, diced

handful of spinach

2 large lettuce leaves

1 cm piece of ginger, peeled and diced

very thin slice of lemon, peel and flesh, diced

1/8 tsp turmeric

less than 1/8 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp hemp hearts

2 tbsps granola

1-2 tbsps nuts

Put the fruit, chia seeds and milk in a blender (I use an immersion blender in a tall, narrow container). Blend for a few seconds until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients, blending after each addition if necessary. Pour into a bowl and let sit for a bit. (I usually make the smoothie bowl up to this point, go for a walk, then finish making it and eat it when I get back). Sprinkle on the hemp hearts, granola and nuts. Sit down and enjoy eating your smoothie with a spoon!

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This Smoothie Bowl gets its colour from strawberries.

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The fruit in this Smoothie Bowl was light coloured so the green colour from the leafy greens really stands out.

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Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

Salads are pretty great, don’t ya think? I mean, there’s gotta be an infinite number of ways you can combine some vegetables, maybe some grains or some noodles, possibly some fruit. And then there’s the dressing. You can take your same ol’, same ol’ salad and add a new dressing and it’s not so same ol’ anymore, is it? Or you can take your standby dressing and pour it on a different base of vegetables and you’ve got something new! Take this salad for example. I introduced this salad way back in April 2014 – a chopped salad with all the ingredients arranged separately in the bowl – and, last week I recreated it with a few different vegetables and a new dressing. Voila! A new salad!

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The salad ingredients choices are my own, but the dressing is inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing.

(http://minimalistbaker.com/mexican-quinoa-salad-with-orange-lime-dressing)

Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

(Ingredient amounts depend on how many servings you want to make. The dressing makes about 4 servings.)

quinoa, cooked

red cabbage

carrots

orange bell pepper

green onion

lettuce

cucumber

Dressing

1/2 ripe avocado

juice of 1/2 lime  (3 tbsps.)

juice of 1/2 orange (3 tbsps.)

2 tsp agave nectar

1 tsp hot sauce

1/4 tsp cumin

a sprinkle of cayenne (less than 1/8 tsp)

2-3 tbsps. water

Arrange the quinoa and vegetables in individual bowls. I like to chop up one ingredient and arrange in the bowls, then chop up the next ingredient and arrange in bowls and so on.

Put all the dressing ingredients except the water in a tall container and blend with an immersion blender. When things start to get too thick, add in the water, 1 tbsp. at a time until the dressing blends smoothly and is pourable but not runny.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients. Admire your artistry, then toss everything together in your personal bowl!

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Banh Mi Sandwich

Here I go again! Posting on my blog! Four times in less than two weeks! I’m realizing that the more I post, the easier it is. I get into a kind of routine – make delicious food, take pictures of food, upload pics to WordPress, begin a draft, finish draft, hit publish! Done! Of course, more frequent posts means poorer quality pictures because I don’t take the time to set up. I’m often eating the food while taking photos! Or I don’t want the food to get cold while I take pictures. Or the food is so delicious that I have to quickly snap off a few pics before we eat it all! Anyway, I’m pleased with myself and my blogging frenzy and I hope you are finding some recipes, and maybe some pictures that please you!

Today, I’m writing about a Banh Mi sandwich that I made for supper tonight. The inspiration came from Blissful Basil blog and the Shitake Banh Mi Tacos posted there yesterday. I really liked the sound of the pickled vegetables and the Sriracha cashew mayo, and, of course, I liked the idea of mushrooms replacing the traditional meat in this sandwich. I have never eaten, let alone made, a Banh Mi sandwich before so I was kind of excited to be finally trying one! Once I started making my sandwiches,  however, I realized that I’ve actually made this sort of thing before. Last summer, my son and I made sandwiches for everyone (7 people) when we were all staying in a cabin on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I was the only vegan there so while my son was filling up buns with a variety of sliced sausages and cheese, I filled my Hoagie roll with leftover marinated baked tofu and leftover grilled zucchini and eggplant. It was delicious! I keep meaning to recreate that sandwich, take pictures and write a blog post about it, but it just hasn’t happened … yet! In the meantime, try out this vegan Banh Mi sandwich.

Mushroom and Zucchini Banh Mi Sandwich with Sriracha Cashew Mayo and Pickled Vegetables

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Sriracha Cashew Mayo

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1/2 cup cashews

1/4 – 1/2 cup water

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsps. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. sriracha sauce

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt

Soak the cashews overnight or soak them for an hour or more in boiling water. Throw all the ingredients (use 1/4 cup of water to start with) into a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add a bit more water if needed and blend for another 3 minutes. If you use the full 1/2 cup of water, you will have more of a sauce than a mayo so if you want it thicker, use less water.

Pickled Vegetables

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1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks

1 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

Put everything into a mason jar, shake and swirl for 15 seconds, then put in the fridge until you’re ready to make the sandwiches. (PS – all the vegetables came from my CSA box)!

Mushrooms and Zucchini

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1 1/2 tbsps. maple syrup

1 tbsp. tamari

1 tbsp. chile-garlic sauce

1/2 tsp rice vinegar

10 – 15 shitake mushrooms, sliced in 2 or 3 pieces

10 – 15 cremini mushrooms, sliced in 2 or 3 pieces

6 thinnish slices of zucchini

Whisk the marinade ingredients together and set aside. Toss the mushrooms into a hot pan (heat the pan over high heat for a minute before adding the mushrooms), turn the heat down to medium-high and dry cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. Let the mushrooms release their liquid and let the liquid start to evaporate a bit. Add the marinade and continue cooking to let the liquid evaporate a bit. Turn off the heat. Brush some of the mushroom marinade onto both sides of the zucchini slices. Put the zucchini under the broiler for 3 minutes, flip and broil for another 3 minutes. Slip the zucchini slices into the pan with the mushrooms.

Assembly

French bread

cucumber, cut into thin slices

Cut the loaf of bread in thirds, crossways. Cut each section in half lengthwise. This will make 3 sandwiches. For each sandwich, open up the bread and pick out some clumps of bread in order to make a hollow on both sides. Spread both sides of the bread with the Sriracha Cashew Mayo. Fill the hollows in the bread with a scoop of mushrooms, 2 slices of zucchini, 2 slices of cucumber, a scoop of pickled vegetables. Put the bread halves together and eat! This is a messy sandwich so have a napkin standing by. This sandwich would be good with some of that Asian Slaw I made last week!

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July 20 – I made a scrumptious salad from the leftovers of this Banh Mi sandwich! I tore up a few leaves of lettuce, quartered some grape tomatoes, and sprinkled in a handful of chickpeas. Then I added in some leftover pickled vegetables and the leftover mushrooms and zucchini. I topped it all with a generous serving of the leftover Sriracha Cashew Mayo. Very yum!

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Vegan Queso

I feel like the Cat in the Hat!

Why?

Because the Cat in the Hat says, “Look at me! Look at me now! It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how!”

And that’s what I’m saying right now! Look at me! Look at me now! I’m posting on my blog for the second day in a row!

(Of course, when the Cat in the Hat said it, he was balancing a cup and some cake and some books and a fish and lots of other things!)

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So, yeah, I’m posting another recipe today. This one is for vegan queso. You know, I’d never heard of queso until I became a vegan! Until I started reading and subscribing to other food blogs. Since then I’ve learned that Americans (that is, people from the U.S. of America) really like queso! Even vegans! Traditional queso is a cheese sauce, so creative vegan queso lovers have invented all kinds of cheeseless queso recipes. While I was looking for a Mexican flavoured appetizer to kick off a dinner party that I’m about to host, I came across this interesting take on queso on Minimalist Baker (http://minimalistbaker.com/cashew-less-vegan-queso/).

I made this queso tonight and I thought it was really tasty. I just ate some with tortilla chips, but I’m thinking of using it to make nachos – chips on a pan, a layer of queso, a layer of diced tomatoes, green onions, black olives, jalapenos, repeat layers, broil lightly, eat. I’m also wondering if I could use it for a pasta sauce.

Vegan Queso

(slightly adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Cashew-Less Vegan Queso)

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about 1/2 medium sized eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds (Unusual ingredient, that’s for sure! Whether you like or don’t like eggplant, you’ll really like this queso! I know because I taste tested it on an eggplant hater!)

salt

olive oil

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

3 tbsps. nutritional yeast

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

2 + 1 tsp cornstarch

Sprinkle the eggplant rounds on both sides with salt and leave to drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water, pat dry and lay out on a lightly greased baking pan. Brush a little olive oil on the eggplant rounds. Broil on high close to the top of the oven for about 4 minutes, then flip and broil for another 4 minutes. Don’t let the eggplant burn. Broil to a golden-brown colour. Transfer rounds to some foil, loosely wrap and let steam for a couple of minutes. Peel off the eggplant skin. The broiled, skinned eggplant rounds, packed into a 1 cup measuring cup, should fill the cup.

Put the eggplant rounds, milk, yeast, garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and 2 tsps. cornstarch into a blender and blend on high for 2 to 5 minutes (depending on how powerful your blender is) until smooth and creamy.

Transfer to a saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring slowly. It will start to thicken and bubble (watch out for those bubbles!). If it doesn’t seem thick enough after 3+ minutes, mix the remaining 1 tsp of cornstarch with a splash of almond milk and a couple of tbsps. of the queso until smooth then stir into the saucepan. Keep cooking and stirring until thick.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

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Next time I make this, I will roast the eggplant whole, then scrape out the inside to fill 1 cup .

The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of drained salsa to stir into the queso after it has been heated and thickened. I didn’t do this because I wanted to serve the salsa alongside the queso.

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Healing Foods to Start Your Day – Porridge and a Smoothie

I’m just coming out the other end of emergency surgery, a short stay in hospital, and some recovery time at home. Although I still have a few weeks before being able to resume my normal activity level, I’m recovering and healing nicely and look forward to being back at work soon. This experience has left me even more convinced of the importance of food and diet in good health and in the promotion of healing. I mean, look at what I was served in hospital:

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This is “Tofu Adobo” and “California Vegetables” and white rice with Cranberry Cocktail to wash it all down.

Thank goodness they sent me home shortly after my surgery and thank goodness I had “Tom” around to bring me in some decent food while I was in hospital. I don’t really understand why hospitals cannot do a better job in their food selections and preparations. The two breakfast items I am featuring today would not be difficult to provide in a hospital. Yes, it would be a little more expensive to make, but the benefits to the patients would far outweigh those costs. In fact, spending a bit more thought, time, energy and money on decent food in hospitals would improve patients’ health and so lessen their time in hospital. And that, in turn, would bring down costs.

Anyway, when I got home from hospital, I wasn’t up to much for the first few days, but cooking up a pot of porridge or blending up a smoothie was easy enough. These two meals are so full of healthy goodness I could almost feel the healing happening in my body! Here’s what I  made:

Super Foods Smoothie

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1 banana, coarsely chopped

1/2 orange, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 apple, peeled or not depending on the power of your blender, coarsely chopped

handful of spinach

1 large Romaine (or other) lettuce leaf, torn into pieces

2 or 3 small inside stalks kale, stalks removed, torn into pieces

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. hemp hearts

1/2 tsp chlorella powder

1/2 tsp vegetable based B-Complex powder

1 tbsp. Saskatoon berry syrup (or other kind of sweetener) – I add this to mask the flavour of the chlorella powder

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup or more almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Serves one.

Berry Delicious Porridge

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2/3 cup water

1/3 cup organic large flake rolled oats

5 or 6 strawberries (I use frozen strawberries … organic strawberries that were picked in the summer then frozen)

1/4 cup (maybe a bit less) Saskatoon berries (or blueberries) (again, picked in the summer and then frozen)

1/2 apple, peeled, diced

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. hemp hearts

1 tbsp. maple syrup

a few walnuts, broken into pieces

almond milk

Bring the water to a boil, then add the oats, berries, apple, seeds and syrup. Let simmer gently until thick. Spoon into a bowl, sprinkle on the walnuts and add as much milk as you like. Mmmmmm!

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Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

The food blogging world has gone crazy for pumpkin! It happens every fall. Recipes for everything from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin falafel and beyond are coming into my in box. I haven’t joined the furor over pumpkin, but I have come across a recipe or two that has peaked my interest. This pumpkin soup for instance. Now, this soup recipe started out as this one from Dishing Up the Dirt. I was intrigued because the recipe called for preparing the pumpkins out of real pumpkins, rather than from a can or from frozen. I’d never actually done this before. So, I picked up a couple of pumpkin pie pumpkins from the market

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Not my photo! Borrowed from peacefultable.net.

and set about roasting and prepping these pumpkins for some yummy soup. It wasn’t until I got right into the recipe that I realized I didn’t like the spices called for in the original recipe. I know I should have read the recipe over first, but I assumed it was a Thai flavoured recipe. So, I changed spices in mid-recipe and came up with this beauty:

Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

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2 pumpkin pie pumpkins (or sugar pie pumpkins)

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. red curry paste

2 cups vegetable broth

1 can light coconut milk

1 large handful of cilantro, finely chopped

a few sprigs of cilantro, coarsely chopped

pumpkin seeds

Wash the outside of the pumpkins, chop in half, coat the cut sides with a bit of veg oil, place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. The baking time may take longer or shorter depending on the size or your pumpkins. The pumpkins should be nice and soft when done. Pull them out of the oven and set aside to cool for a bit.

In the meantime, melt the coconut oil in a big pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and saute for several minutes until onions become translucent – you  may need to add a bit of water or veg broth to prevent sticking. Add in the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes more. Turn the heat down a bit and add the red curry paste. You will need to stir and mash the paste to incorporate it into the onions/garlic.

Back to the pumpkins … scoop out the now soft and tender flesh and add to the pot, stirring everything together. The pumpkin flesh will puree itself as you stir everything together. Add the vegetable broth and stir well. If you like you soup nicely pureed and smooth, then put an immersion blender in the pot and give it a whirl. I left the soup as is because “Tom” and I like the little bit of pumpkin flesh nibbles in the soup.

Stir in the coconut milk and finely chopped cilantro over low heat, and stir until heated through.

Serve garnished with a bit of cilantro and a few pumpkin seeds on top of each bowl of soup.

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