Pink Celery Sticks

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How adorable are these dressed up celery sticks? When my little man saw them the first thing he said was “I’m having watermelon for snack?!” He loved them! So much so that he’d asked if I could send some with him to school! He couldn’t get over the fact that mama made hummus pink! Not only did I make it pink, but I did so naturally. :)

This is such a simple, delicious, super healthy, super pretty, guilt free snack to prepare and one your entire family will love!

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Pink Celery Sticks     Yields: ~9 sticks

1/4C hummus

~2Tsp shredded beet

3 celery stalks, cut into thirds

Some black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

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—————-

1. Wash celery stalks well and score into thirds as shown.

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2. Remove tough fibers completely before snapping celery into the three pieces.

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3. Wash and peel skin off beet. Then, in a small ball, and using either a microplane (recommended) or the thinnest blades on your grater, grate about 1 teaspoon beet.

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4. Add hummus and stir until it turns a pretty pink! Too cute!

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5. Dress celery sticks with pink hummus and top with black sesame seeds for added benefit and effect.

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Watch your children’s eyes as they open wide in amazement at what their superhero just made for them :)

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Avocado Aioli

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This is by far the healthiest and tastiest aioli you will lay your taste buds on! I mean how can you go wrong with anything avocado? It serves as an amazing base to many dishes, including sweet ones such as my Avocado Chocolate Pudding. And because avocados have a neutral profile, they thicken your desired sauces and meals perfectly without overdoing it, lending a nice, smooth, and creamy texture. The best part of this though – as if it could get any better – it literally takes minutes to prepare and serve!

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Vegan Avocado Aioli     Yields: ~ 1 1/2 cups

1 large avocado, pitted and halved

Juice of 1/2 lemon (~ 1 1/2Tbsp)

2 Tbsp Earth Island Veganaise (or vegan mayonnaise of choice)

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/2 Tsp sea salt

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1. Wash and cut avocado in half, remove pit and peel skin.

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2. Add avocado and lemon juice to blender and turn on high speed until smooth.

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3. Add remaining ingredients to blender: Veganaise, oil, garlic clove, and 1/4 tsp salt. Continue blending on high speed for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute, until aioli is emulsified and is silky smooth in texture.

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4. Taste aioli and if more salt is desired, add remaining 1/4 tsp.

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You’re all done!

Serve with anything except dessert ;) . I use it when making sandwiches, as dip for my veggies, as a sauce for chicken and potatoes, and even as an occasional dressing for my salad! It tastes great, is full of healthy fats from the avocado, and amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties from the garlic.

Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Peppermint Hearts

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These cute hearts are sure to delight all the senses…and just in time for Valentine’s day! They’re very simple to make too…not mention delicious ;) Make them and impress your love for valentine’s or guests at your next gathering.

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Vegan Peppermint Hearts     Yields: 12 hearts

Chocolate:

2C Enjoy Life Mega Chunks/dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips

1Tbsp coconut oil

Filling:

1/4C coconut oil, softened

1Tbsp cornstarch

1Tbsp coconut milk

1C icing sugar, sifted

1tsp peppermint oil (should be available at your local bulk store in your area)

12 heart (or any shape) silicon moulds

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1. First start off by melting the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat.

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Tip: incase you aren’t familiar with how a double boiler works, make sure you put a small amount of water in the pot to ensure water doesn’t touch the bowl and seize the chocolate. Place a heat proof bowl over top pot and you have a double boiler :)

2. Once chocolate melts, add coconut oil and stir continuously until ingredients come together. Turn stove off and set aside.

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3. using a tablespoon measuring spoon, pour a tablespoon worth of melted chocolate into each mould, ensuring bottom is fully covered. Place on a tray and let chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. While the chocolate is setting, prepare the inner peppermint layer.

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4. Using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine coconut oil, cornstarch, and coconut milk on high speed until fully incorporated.

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5. Add sifted icing sugar, and beat on low to start and increase speed to medium once sugar is mixed with the other ingredients. You may need to scrape the bowl down once and re-beat the filling.

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6. Add peppermint oil and continue beating for 30 seconds more.

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7. Using a small teaspoon, drop 2 teaspoonfuls of the peppermint filling into each mould and using either the back of the spoon or your finger, gently spread the filling but keep it away from the edges – as shown.

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Tip: I opted to make thicker peppermint hearts, however if you prefer less peppermint, place 1 teaspoon into each mould.

8. Finally, top off with remaining chocolate, about a tablespoon per mould. Return to the fridge to chill and set, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

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Tip: You need a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour of chill time. But for optimal results, the longer you let it chill, the better.

9. Remove Peppermint Hearts from their moulds by first stretching the moulds out a bit so as to release the hearts, then using your thumb to gently pop the hearts out – as shown.

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Store hearts in an airtight container in the fridge, or place in a ziploc bag in the freezer to enjoy whenever you crave something sweet!

You’re all set! There’s minimal effort into making these delicious treats and they will surely impress your valentine ;)

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Wild Blueberry and Key Lime Muffin Top Cookies

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I just made these delicious things and loved them so much I had to ignore everything around me to blog about them!

I don’t know about you, but the best part about a muffin for me has always been the top. I thought for a long time about making them – and I had the chance to do so today thanks to the unbelievable amount of snow we got last night!

Vegan Wild Blueberries and Key Lime Muffin Top Cookies are so soft on the inside like cake, but hold together beautifully because you’re only getting the best part of the muffin which is the top. Simple to make too!

If you don’t have key limes around in the fridge, replace with lime or even lemons which will lend an even fruitier note! Trust me they will not last once they come out of the oven – yes, that good!

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Vegan Wild Blueberry and Key Lime Muffin Top Cookies     Yields: 16-18 Cookies

2C flour, sifted

1Tbsp baking powder

1Tsp baking soda

1/2Tsp salt

3/4C sugar

1/4C coconut oil, softened

1Tbsp ground flax seeds

3Tbsp warm water

2Tbsp key lime zest (about 9)

Juice of 2 key limes (1 1/2Tbsp)

1Tsp vanilla extract

1C coconut milk

1 1/2C fresh or frozen blueberries

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1. Preheat oven to 350°F and have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready. Set aside.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

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3. In a cup or bowl, combine coconut milk and lime juice. Stir a couple of times and set aside. This process helps to sour the milk.

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4. In a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and softened coconut oil on high until well combined, about 3 minutes.

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5. In a small bowl, whisk together flax and water and add to sugar mix. Continue beating for a minute more. Add Lime zest. Beat.

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6. Next, add soured coconut milk and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes, until incorporated. You may need to scrape the bowl down.

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7. Add vanilla extract. Mix.

8. Next, add wet mix to dry ingredients and fold the mixture until just incorporated. It’s ok if you still see some flour. This will help the blueberries remain in place and not sink to the bottom of the cookie.

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9. Add blueberries and fold a few times until well distributed in the dough.

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10. Drop two heaping tablespoons worth (1/8C) of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Be sure to space the cookies apart (about 2 inches) to avoid touching.

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11.Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until muffin top cookies are nicely baked through.

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12. Remove and enjoy warm right out of the oven or let cool.

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Simple. Healthy. Delicious.

Bon appétit! xo

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Eggplant Jam

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No typos here, this jam is out of this world and so worth the effort it takes to make it happen. The cloves lend a peppery note and gives this eggplant jam a distinct and delicious flavour! Plus you’re consuming your veggies…that has to count for something right?

The type of eggplant used for this recipe is baby (or italian) eggplant, because they have a less bitter taste to them. Serving this at your next gathering or party will surely turn a few heads, and you will be reigned queen of the kitchen ;)

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Eggplant Jam     Yields: ~4 Cups

8C baby eggplant, washed and peeled (counted around 80 pieces)

3C sugar

1Tsp ground cloves

Juice of 1 lemon

3Tbsp rose water (available at your Middle-Eastern market or you may also find it at your local superstore in the international aisle)

1 1/2C pecan (optional/omit if you have a nut allergy)

———————–

1. Remove tops and peel the eggplants.

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2. Using a small knife, score an ‘x’  either at the top or the bottom of the eggplant as shown. This prevents the eggplants from exploding! My reasoning may be slightly askew but still make that ‘x’ so your eggplants don’t burst…

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3. Add to pot with sugar and let cook on high heat at first until mixture boils.

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4. At this point, add lemon juice, cloves, rose water and let simmer on medium-low heat until the sugar melts and the eggplants soften.

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The aroma from the cloves is amazing!

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5. You’ll need to be careful not to ruin the integrity of the eggplant when you stir the jam. Therefore, stir from the outside in to ensure that the eggplant stays as intact as possible.

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5. You will need to let it simmer for approximately 3 1/2 hours, until a slightly loose jam consistency forms.

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6. Add pecans and gently stir to incorporate into the jam. Omit this step if you have an allergy to nuts.

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7. Let cool slightly before adding to mason jars or lidded container(s).

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This jam does not need to be refrigerated but you may wish to do so if you like a thicker jam consistency.

Enjoy on toast, or on top of muffins, scones, what have you. Absolutely delicious!

Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes

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These salted caramel chocolate mousse cupcakes are so light and tasty yet decadent and sinful at the same time. There’s an explosion of flavours that happens in your mouth with the combination of the salted caramel, the airiness of the chocolate mousse, and the fluffiness of the chocolate cupcake. Delicious and quite simple to make. Just beautiful!

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Vegan Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes     Yields: ~24 cupcakes

2C flour, sifted

1C sugar

3/4C packed brown sugar

1/2C cocoa powder, sifted

1Tsp baking soda

1Tsp baking powder

1/2Tsp salt

1C coconut milk

1/2C coconut oil, melted

2Tbsp ground flaxseed

1/4C plus 2Tbsp water

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Caramel Sauce

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1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all the sifted dry ingredients in a stand mixer or hand mixer on low speed until combined.

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3. In a separate bowl, combine sugars, milk, and oil.

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4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flax and water until frothy. Then add to the wet mixture and whisk until combined.

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5. Add the wet mixed ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.

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6. Pour into cupcake liners as shown. You’ll want to fill the liners to about 1/2 way for a cupcake or 3/4 way full for more of a muffin top. Your choice…I prefer the look of a cupcake personally :)

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Tip: Alternatively, you can make this into a cake. This recipe should make enough batter for 2 – 8″ or 9″ cake pans. Cook time will be longer. Tack on another 10 minutes or so until toothpick inserted comes out nice and clean.

7. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely before adding the mousse.

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8. Using a pipe tip or a spoon, add a nice dollop of chocolate mousse.

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9. Next, drizzle that deliciously sinful caramel sauce over top the mousse. Crush some sea salt (or pink Himalayan sea salt if you happen to have it in your pantry) and please, go ahead and dive in!

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Tip: Feel free to enjoy these cupcakes warm. If you don’t want to add the mousse then you can just drizzle the caramel sauce with some sea salt and enjoy!

Bon appétit! xo

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Creamy Chicken Bites

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I made these after I’d picked up Munsur from school. Let me tell you they disappeared within minutes when it was time to eat! They were super easy to make but the best part was eating them – very light, crunchy, and packed with layers of delicious flavour. They’re a lot of fun to make and even more fun to consume! :)

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Creamy Chicken Bites     Yields: 24

1 recipe Mini Phyllo Bowls

3Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 leek stalk, finely chopped

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1C previously Roasted Chicken, finely chopped (for my Vegans and Vegetarians, replace with equal amounts of Seitan, Tofu, or omit altogether)

3/4C Chicken Broth (replace with equal amount water and add 2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for vegan/vegetarian)

1C Daiya Chives and Onion cream cheese

1/2C-2/3C Daiya Mozzarella cheese shreds

Salt and pepper to taste

———————

1. Have phyllo bowls ready. Set aside.

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2. In a medium pan, add chopped leeks and onion with the olive oil, and stir on medium heat until wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

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3. Next,  add chicken and cream cheese and stir to incorporate. Let cook for a couple of minutes.

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4. Add broth, stir, then let cook for a few minutes more. Approximately 4 minutes, until broth has just started to absorb into the cream cheese – making it smoother and easier to work with.

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When you’re ready to eat, assemble.

5. Drop a heaping tablespoonful of the chicken mixture into each bowl as shown.

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6. Then, add the shredded cheese over bowls and place in the oven under Lo broil. Make sure to pay close attention to them as you don’t want to burn the bowls!

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All you need is about 1 1/2 minutes tops – until cheese shreds have just begun to melt.

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Remove from oven, place sliced grapes on top and enjoy!

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The grapes add that sweetness which compliments the saltiness of the chicken and cheeses beautifully.

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These will surely be a hit in your household. :)

Bon appétit! xo

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Chicken Coconut Soup

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This soup was inspired by a dish I recently had at one of my favourite restaurants. I’ve infused mine with lemongrass and ginger to give it that extra bit of kick! And I don’t need to mention that mine is dairy-free, egg-free, etc free either (even though I just did)!

Quite simple and super delicious, give this recipe a try today!

Chicken Coconut Soup      Yields: 6-8 servings

4C Chicken broth (for my Vegans, substitute with equal amounts vegetable stalk)

2C water

1C previously boiled chicken (Vegans: substitute with equal amounts of Seitan)

2 stalks lemongrass

1 1/4C coconut milk

3Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper  to taste

1C grape tomatoes

Handful cilantro, finely chopped

Pinch cayenne pepper

Chives to garnish

——————-

In a dutch/french oven, add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil on high heat.

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Working with lemongrass is easy. Simply trim bottom and peel the stalk until you reach the nice inner light green layers.

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Next, taking the side of your knife blade, press down firmly onto the stalk to break down the fibres and release its tantalizing aroma. If you find it’s hard to do that, use the butt end of the knife and bang on the stalk. Alternatively, if you have a meat tenderizer, feel free to use that – lightly pound on the stalk to release its flavours.

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Add to boiling pot. Then, turn to medium low heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

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Next, an easy way to peel ginger is to simply use the tip of the spoon and scrape the skin off as shown. Then, mice ginger using a microplane or the thinnest blades on your grater.

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Add coconut milk and ginger to soup. Stir until incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

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Using a fork, strain lemongrass and discard.

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Finally, add the chopped cilantro leaves and stir.

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Smells incredible and tastes phenomenal!

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Just before serving, drop a few grape tomatoes and chives to each bowl and enjoy!

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Coconut Pancakes

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I made these on a whim one night for Munsur when he said he was “sooo hungry”!  But instead of making my Vegan Vanilla recipe, I opted to make coconut pancakes. I fiddled with the ingredients and a couple of tries later, I had it! I wasn’t sure how he’d receive them but to my surprise, he devoured the entire batch! So because he loved them so much, I thought I need to post the recipe for the rest of you to enjoy :)

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Vegan Coconut Pancakes     Yields: 18-20 pancakes

1 3/4C coconut milk (plus 1/4C for a thinner batter)

2Tbsp veggie oil

1/2 ripe banana, mashed

2Tbsp sugar/honey/agave syrup

2Tsp vanilla extract

1/2C coconut flour

1C flour

2Tsp baking powder

1/2Tsp sea salt

1Tbsp coconut oil

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In a large bowl, whisk together milk, oil, banana, sugar, and vanilla extract.

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Add sifted flours, baking powder, and salt into the wet ingredients. Whisk until fully combined.

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Check for thickness of batter. If you like it a bit more runny, add the extra 1/4C of coconut milk.

Using a non-stick pan, add the coconut oil and then wipe with a napkin just to get the pan to glisten and add a touch of flavour.

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Drop the pancake batter into the pan and cook on medium high heat until edges begin to dry, between 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip pancakes and cook a further 30 seconds before removing onto a serving plate.

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Tip:

1. You really need a good non-stick pan for this recipe. I’ve tried using my Green ceramic pan and the results were appalling - the pancakes stuck to the pan and it was a disaster..tasted great but looked awful. I bought mine at Costco for $30 for a set of 3! Can’t beat that. When I made the pancakes using the non-stick pan, they were so easy to handle and it was practically effortless.

2. You can have the oven preheated at 200°F or by pressing the warming option if you have that setting to keep your pancakes warm while you prepare the rest of your meal.

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Serve with shredded unsweetened coconut and pure maple syrup..and some daiya shredded cheese..yum! Enjoy!

Bon appétit! xo

Orange Ginger Cupcakes with Sucre Brûlée

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These cupcakes are perfection! The orange and ginger combination works so well here. You have that hint of spice from the fresh ginger and the sweet fragrance of the orange…spectacular! Give this recipe a try!

This post is dedicated to one of my Instagram followers, Kornelija, who’d requested this recipe in time for Christmas. For you beautiful :)

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Orange Ginger Cupcakes with Sucre Brûlée     Yields: 30 Cupcakes

3/4C Earth Balance vegan spread

2C sugar

2Tbsp ground flaxseed

1/4C plus 2Tbsp water

3Tbsp finely grated orange zest

2Tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2C flour, sifted

1Tbsp baking powder

1/2 Tsp salt

2Tbsp fresh orange juice

1Tbsp lemon juice

1C coconut milk

1Tbsp minced fresh ginger (see note in step 5)

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1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine lemon juice with coconut milk. This helps to sour the milk and mimic the taste and consistency of buttermilk. Set aside.

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3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, beat vegan spread and sugar until light and creamy in texture, around 3 minutes.

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4. In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax with water until frothy. Add to sugar mix.

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5. Add vanilla extract, ginger, and orange zest, and combine until fully incorporated. Scrape down bowl if needed.

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Note: Using fresh ginger vs ground ginger will yield different taste results – the taste isn’t interchangeable. Fresh ginger gives the cupcakes a more full-bodied, almost sweet flavour, whereas the ground ginger lends a more spicy note, reminiscent of gingerbread cookies and the like. So if you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, you may substitute with 1 teaspoon ground ginger and combine with the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).

6. Next, in a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.

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7. Turn mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture into bowl. Mix until just combined. Then add all of the soured milk and orange juice and combine. Finally, finish with the other half of the flour and mix on low speed until fully combined then increase to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds more, scrape sides once if needed.

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8. Drop batter into cupcake liners and fill halfway to the top.

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9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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10. Let cool slightly before enjoying. Dust with some icing sugar if you want to skip the burnt sugar topping.

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My brother bought me a torch and we had so much fun burning the sugar!

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To make the burnt sugar:

11. Add 1 cup sugar onto a non-stick pan and cook on medium high heat until it begins to melt and turn into a light amber colour.

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Be sure to remove promptly because the sugar will continue to cook and darken.

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You can either pour right out of the pan onto each cupcake, or if using a spoon is desired, scoop about a tablespoon worth on top of each cupcake to give it that burnt look and taste we’re after.

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The sugar will harden and turn into a crunchy candy coating!

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Smells absolutely incredible, tastes delicious, and is quite perfect for this time of year.

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Bon appetit! xo

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