Vegan “Nice” Cream – Two Ways

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day!!

If that doesn’t get you excited – then I’m not sure we should be friends…

(Just kidding! – but honestly…)

I LOVE ice cream – but really try to practice moderation in it’s presence. Lucky for me this ice cream is healthy enough to be consumed at breakfast, lunch and dinner (in my personal opinion)!

I clearly could not decide on just one flavor, so you’re getting two:

Strawberry Coconut Cream
&
PB Banana Chocolate

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Strawberry Coconut Cream
(2 servings)

Ingredients:
– 1 banana, sliced and frozen
– 8 strawberries, quartered and frozen
– 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
– 3 strawberries, finely diced
– 2 tbsp coconut flakes

Instructions:
– Add frozen banana, frozen strawberries, and coconut milk in a food processor and blend until smooth
– Combine ice cream mixture with diced strawberries and coconut flakes in a small bowl
– Freeze ice cream mixture overnight or until solid

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PB Banana Chocolate
(2 servings)

Ingredients:
– 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
– 2 tbsp peanut butter
– 2 tbsp chocolate chips
– 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped

Instructions:
– Add frozen banana and peanut butter in a food processor and blend until smooth
– Combine ice cream mixture with peanuts and chocolate chips in a small bowl
– Freeze ice cream mixture overnight or until solid

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Grilled Pineapple with Aquafaba Whipped Cream and Candied Chickpeas

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I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but chickpea water (aka aquafaba) is taking over the vegan food world! It works as an egg substitute and you can now make dozens of things vegan, that previously could not be made vegan – or at least not very well. Mayo, meringue, pavlova, mousse, nougat, macarons, and of course whipped cream 🙂 Though I’m not a vegan, I am a chickpea-a-holic and I love the idea of getting to use them in yet another way.

This dessert uses chickpeas two ways – the water is made into whipped cream and the chickpeas are roasted and candied (and seriously addictive!). Load this on top of grilled pineapple and you have the PERFECT summer treat.

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Ingredients:

Grilled Pineapple
– 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tbsp cinnamon
– 1 tbsp brown sugar

Whipped Cream
– the water from 1 can of chickpeas
– 1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract
– 5 tbsp powdered sugar

Candied Chickpeas
– 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 1/2 tbsp oil
– 1 tbsp cinnamon
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:

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– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
– Spread chickpeas onto a drying cloth and pat dry with another drying cloth or paper towel.
– Put dried chickpeas onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
– Combine oil, 1 tbsp cinnamon, maple syrup and brown sugar in a medium bowl.
– After 20 minutes, toss the chickpeas into the cinnamon mixture to coat.
– Spread chickpeas back onto the baking sheet and put it back into the oven for 25 minutes.
– Turn off the oven and open the oven door and allow the chickpeas to cool – this makes them nice and crunchy!

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Whipped Cream
– Combine the chickpea water and vanilla in a mixer.
– Mix on high until stiff peaks form.
– Add icing sugar and mix on high until combined.
– Transfer to the refrigerator to chill.

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– Ask your husband to turn on the BBQ (just kidding – but actually…)
– Combine cinnamon, lemon juice, and brown sugar.
– Brush pineapple slices with cinnamon mixture.
– Grill pineapple for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until heated through and grill marks appear.
– Top pineapple with whipped cream and candied chickpeas.- Dig in!

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Low Sugar Roasted Strawberry Jam with Balsamic and Basil

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Where did this month go?! Alex and I have been super busy the last few weeks decorating our master bedroom. In January, we (with the much needed help of my dad and brother) painted our living room, staircase and master bedroom WHITE. I absolutely love it. Seriously, can’t get enough! Alex has been careful not to leave the house for long periods of time because he knows if I get the chance I’ll continue right on into our kitchen and there won’t be a color left in site, except for my fast growing collection of copper accessories, of course. I actually bought a hair brush today because it had copper bristles – is that too much?? Anyways – the master bedroom. I have been swooning over white brick and really wanted to do a feature wall. I came across a textured white brick wallpaper on the target website and promptly ordered 4 rolls. I have heard serious horror stories about wallpaper but luckily this was a peel and stick version that was insanely simple to apply, remove and re-apply (which happened on multiple occasions!). We were in the mood to DIY over the long weekend, so after finishing the wallpaper, we hit up Home Depot and bought a ridiculous amount of copper tubing and 2 white marble floor tiles and created white marble and copper side tables for our bed and a decorative copper ladder! I’m not going to lie, I am shocked at how well it all turned out. Maybe this should be a home decor blog?? (joking, I promise).

Anyhow – all of that has nothing to do with the dang tasty jam that I dreamed up this week! With summer right around the corner, the YEG produce sections have been seriously more plentiful, the fresh berries especially. I have a thing for PB and J and as a result have about five varieties of jam in the fridge right now. Why not add another?? I was inspired by a blogger I follow, Joy the Baker, who recently posted a Roasted Strawberry Shortcake with Basil Cream. My brain immediately translated this to… roasted strawberry and basil jam mixed in to homemade yogurt! Same delicious flavor profile, ridiculously lower in calories (because let’s be serious – bathing suit season is coming). If you try this recipe be sure to leave me a message in the comments below and let me know what you thought 🙂

Low Sugar Roasted Strawberry Jam with Balsamic and Basil

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the strawberries, balsamic vinegar and sugar.
  3. Spread mixture evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  5. Combine roasted strawberries, chia seeds and fresh basil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Transfer jam into a clean jar and refrigerate.

 

 

Homemade Yogurt

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My husband and I carpool to work. We haven’t always, but over past year we have been lucky enough to both work in the same general area, which happens to be about ten minutes from home! I love carpooling – we save a bit of money on gas and my husband makes me laugh before 7 AM just about every day. Because we are so close to home, we usually head there for our lunch break (bonus: that means I don’t have to spend time thinking about what to bring for lunch).

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About two weeks ago we were on our way home for lunch and a commercial came on for a one day sale at The Bay. Le Crueset French Ovens on sale for $159, regular $400!!! I have been dreaming about a french oven for quite some time and that was a smokin’ deal (in my personal opinion). Long story short I immediately got Alex to turn the car around and head straight to The Bay.

Homemade yogurt was one of the main reasons I was wanting to purchase a french oven. I had no idea how easy it was to make yogurt at home until about a month ago when I came across an article from The Kitchn. For those of you who know me well, you know that I can be very frugal when it comes to grocery shopping. Yogurt was one of the products that I feel is totally overpriced. $7 for a tub of greek yogurt seems a little high – am I right?! Needless to say, I will NOT be purchasing yogurt again anytime soon cause I am totally pumped about what I can make with a 2 L of milk and a little bit of patience, right in my own kitchen.

Here is what you need:

  • French oven or heavy sauce pan with lid
  • Instant read thermometer
  • 2 L of milk (I used 1% cow’s milk)
  • 1/2 cup of plain commercial yogurt with bacterial cultures (I used a plain non-fat PC brand greek yogurt)

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Instructions:

  1. Heat the milk over medium heat. Stir gently throughout to avoid the milk from scorching.
  2. Once the milk reaches 200 degrees F – remove from heat. Allow the milk to cool to 115 degrees F. Stir occasionally to help reduce the temperature  more quickly or put the french oven in an ice bath.
  3. Remove 1 cup of warm milk and combine with 1/2 cup of commercial yogurt in a separate bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the thinned yogurt back into the warm milk and whisk gently.
  5. Cover with a lid and transfer into a room temperature oven (I tried this after cooking something in the oven and it was too hot and did not work!). Turn on the oven light to keep the milk warm while it sets.
  6. Let yogurt sit overnight. Avoid stirring the yogurt until it has fully set.
  7. Once the yogurt is set – remove it from the oven and drain off any whey from the surface of the yogurt.
  8. Whisk the yogurt prior to transferring into jars for a smooth and cohesive texture. Cover and refrigerate.
  9. Make sure to save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt to use in your next batch! The yogurt will stay good in the fridge for about two weeks.

This is a traditional yogurt – not a greek yogurt! If you want a thicker texture you can drain out some of the whey using a strainer and a cheese cloth, use a higher fat milk, or add 1 cup of skim milk powder to the fluid milk during the cooking process.

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PS. I added 1/4 tsp of coconut extract and 1 tsp of granulated stevia to 3/4 cup of homemade yogurt and topped it with toasted coconut and sliced strawberries and it was pretty unbelievable. I’m on the coconut bandwagon and I am NOT getting off. But really, the sky is the limit when it comes to mix ins!

Mission Hill Cooking Class: Spaghettini with Pine Nuts, Black Olives, Roasted Tomatoes and Smoked Tofu

Back in February, Alex and I took our annual trip (and by annual I mean it’s the second time we’ve done it) to spend my birthday weekend with my BFF, her fiance and their fur-baby in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia. Kelowna is one of our absolute favorite places to visit and we hope to be able to call it home one day in our future. The food and wine scene has a lot to do with how much I love it there, which is why I was so excited when they surprised me with a Valentine’s Day cooking class at Mission Hill Winery! I’ve been to a few cooking classes in Edmonton, but this one was a little bit different than I was used to. The best way to describe it is it’s as if you were the studio audience of a Food Network show. After waking up at the crack of dawn to fly to Kelowna, I was thrilled to find out that instead of working for my food, I got to watch the chef prepare four amazing courses while sitting on my butt and drinking delicious wine.

The menu and wine pairings were as follows:

Scallop and Shrimp with a Cucumber Feta Salad – 2014 Reserve Pinot Blanc

Angel Hair Pasta with Dungeness Crab, Pine Nuts and Black Olives – 2014 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Whole Rousted Poussin for Two with Rice and Mushroom Stuffing – 2012 Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir

Vanilla Sable and Sweet Cherry Napoleon – 2011 Reserve Riesling Icewine

I would generally be all over documenting this, but to be honest, I was having way to much fun eating, drinking and laughing to worry about bringing out my camera before each course started. Instead, I decided I would recreate one of the dishes with a few healthy substitutions.

I was really excited to use smoked tofu in this dish because I have been crushing on it so hard lately and using it just about anywhere that I can. For all the tofu haters out there, you must give this a try before you write off tofu off all together. It has a smoky flavor that reminds me of gouda and lets be honest – anything that tastes like smoked gouda = love (my picky mother even liked it!).

Spaghettini with Pine Nuts, Black Olives, Roasted Tomatoes and Smoked Tofu
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 – 900 g clam shell of grape tomatoes
1 red onion, sliced1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 – 375 g package whole wheat spaghettini
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 package smoked tofu, cubed
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt, to taste.

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the grape tomatoes and half of the sliced red onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

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Remove the tomatoes and allow them to cool. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and the remaining sliced red onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pine nuts, olives, smoked tofu and 1/3 of the roasted tomatoes. Turn down burner to low just to keep warm.

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Add remaining 2/3 of the cooled roasted tomatoes to a blender with the greek yogurt and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

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Add pasta to the boiling water and cook as per package instructions. Strain well.

Add the pasta to the tofu and olive mixture and toss carefully. Add basil, season with salt and pepper and toss.

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Place pasta mixture onto the plate and top with the roasted tomato and greek yogurt sauce.

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Enjoy!

 

Almond Roca Chickpea Muffins

So I’ve had quite the weekend….Thursday evening I had my second playoff game (I play in an old ladies ringette league) and we were playing the first place team. We’ve played this team two to three times previously and we generally lose by about ten goals. In some weird twist of fate we were tied 4-4 at the end of the 2nd period (we only play two periods in ringette). With 15 seconds left in overtime, I was racing down the ice towards the ring, circling around the net and I caught an edge and went shoulder first into the boards. As I was skating back to the bench I noticed a bone sticking out of the top of my shoulder that doesn’t usually do so. My first thought was dislocated shoulder. Luckily, my mom and my husband were watching the game and they quickly shuttled me to the emergency department. I made it into a room quickly….apparently the crying and hyperventilation speeds things up a little. Long story short, I have a Grade 4 AC (clavicle) dislocation. Which means I can no longer dress myself, brush my teeth properly or effectively wash my hair. So in other words I had a team of people help bake, photograph and blog about these unbelievable muffins (Big shout out to:  Sam, Steph, Karly, my husband and my mom). And in case you are wondering, we won in a shoot out (that makes the injury slightly more bearable).

Now let’s talk about these amazing muffins. Our Chickie Dough feature flavor this month was Almond Roca and I had a slight obsession with it, which is why I wanted to immortalize them in a muffin. These muffins are special for a few reasons: they are made with chickpeas, have a combo of oil, avocado and greek yogurt as the fat source and they taste totally indulgent and fudgy. I’ve tried making these with splenda and brown sugar and the version with brown sugar are a thousand times better, so I wouldn’t suggest subbing this ingredient out. And here we go.

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Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 avocado
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup skor bits
Chopped almonds

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Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. and prepare your muffin tin.
  • Add the first 6 ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the next 5 ingredients.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well (I used my mixer for this step).
  • Add the skor bits and mix to combine.
  • Scoop batter evenly into muffin tin and top with chopped almonds (my almonds were pre-roasted).
  • Bake muffins for 35 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Makes 12 Muffins
Nutrition Facts (1 Muffin): 190 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0.1 gram trans fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium, 26 grams carbs, 3 grams fibre, 10 grams sugar, 6 grams protein.

Persimmon, Butternut Squash and Rosemary Winter Smoothie

When you live in a place that gets so cold the air hurts your face it can be a challenge to eat seasonal in the winter months. In the fresh fruit department your options are pretty much limited to cranberries, pomegranate, citrus, pears and persimmons (unless you are willing to spend $5 dollars on half a cup of berries – which I am not!).

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About a month ago I came across a recipe for a beautiful spiced persimmon tart with vanilla crème fraishe and fresh rosemary and the first thing I thought was – that would make an amazing winter smoothie! There are A LOT of smoothie recipes out there and for good reason. Smoothies are a great way to sneak vegetables and fruit into your diet, they have endless flavor combinations, make an awesome meal or snack and are quick and easy to prepare.

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This particular recipe uses butternut squash and persimmon, which are orange in color, readily available in the winter and rich in fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin A. The addition of fresh rosemary is delicious – but if mixing fruit, squash, and rosemary is outside your comfort zone feel free to leave it out. Also, the sweetness comes exclusively from the persimmon, so if you like your smoothies on the sweeter side feel free to use a vanilla yogurt (rather than plain) or add a sweetener of your choice.

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If you try out this recipe, leave me a note in the comments section and tell me what you think!

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*BIG thanks to my friend Diane for these beautiful hand blown glasses!

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup 0% greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 ripe persimmon, chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash, diced and frozen
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth.

Nutrition Information:

327 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 175 mg sodium, 62 g carbohydrate, 9 g fibre, 29 g sugar, 21 g protein