World’s First: Vegan Knafeh!

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This is unofficially the first and only vegan Knafeh ever made in the world!! (Can someone verify that for me?) I’m freaking out a bit…ok a lot!

I can’t believe I made this happen! Middle-Eastern sweets are to die for, but having allergies to dairy and egg pretty much guarantees you don’t get to enjoy any of it…until now!

This Knafeh is not only amazingly good, it’s vegan! That’s right, free from dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and nut! It’s healthier too because of the ingredients used to make it. Munsur and Sofia went crazy for this dessert – Hope you enjoy making it and eating it as much as my family has :)

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Vegan Knafeh     Yields: ~ 20 pieces/servings

1 package shredded dough (available at your local middle-eastern store)

3/4C coconut oil, softened

Ishta (creamy filling):

3C coconut milk

1/4C plus 2Tsp Cornstarch

1/4C plus 2Tsp durum wheat semolina

2Tbsp rose water (available at your local middle-eastern store)

4C Daiya Mozzarella cheese shreds

Syrup:

3C sugar

1 1/2C water

1Tsp lemon juice

1Tbsp rose water

Ground pistachios to garnish (omit if you have an allergy to nuts)

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1. Preheat oven to 380°F. Have an un-greased cookie sheet (size 11” x 17″ {standard size I believe}) handy.

2. Remove shredded dough from package and place in a large bowl. Working with the oil, take a bit at a time and massage the dough thoroughly while shredding it at the same time using both hands, as shown. (I’m one-handed in the pictures because my other hand was busy snapping the pics ;) ).

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Continue this step until you’ve shredded  and massaged all of the dough. Set aside.

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3. Spread 1/3 of the prepared dough onto the cookie sheet as shown. Gently pat dough as you spread it. Once finished, set aside and prepare ishta (creamy filling).

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4. In a medium bowl to start, add milk, cornstarch, and semolina. whisk together until cornstarch has completely dissolved.

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5. Add to large pan and cook on high heat, continuously stirring, until mixture starts to boil.

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6. Once it starts to boil, add rose water, reduce heat to medium, and continue to stir until mixture becomes a nice creamy texture. Turn heat off. Your ishta is ready.

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7. Working with the warm ishta, and using an offset spatula (recommended) or the back of a spoon, spread entire content of ishta in a back-and-forth motion onto the base layer as shown.

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8. Next, sprinkle cheese shreds all over ishta, ensuring you cover entire surface.

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9. Take remaining 2/3 of shredded dough and spread evenly on top of cheese shreds as shown. Gently pat dough as you spread it.

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10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden in colour.

11. While the Knafeh is baking, prepare syrup.

a) In a medium pot, combine sugar and water and cook unstirred on high heat until it comes to a boil.

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b) Once boiling, add lemon juice and rose water, stir to combine.

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c) Turn heat to medium and cook for approximately 5 minute, until syrup has slightly thickened. Turn stove off and set aside.

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12. Once Knafeh has finished baking, remove from oven and pour about 1/3 to 1/2 of the syrup over it.

Reserve the remaining syrup for serving. You may pour syrup content into a nice bottle or any serving bowl (like a gravy boat or something handy like that).

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13. Score and cut desired size for serving. Garnish with ground pistachios.

Tip: If you’re allergic to nuts or don’t have any on hand, feel free to garnish with some fresh fruit, raspberries for example.

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Taste that goodness and tell me it isn’t the best you’ve ever had ;)

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Bon appétit! xo

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Mini Phyllo Bowls

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These bowls are quite effortless to make and their use is very versatile. Think dessert or savoury recipes…I’ve dreamt up at least 4 recipes just now! I’ll share them with you soon..you know, once I make them ;)

Wow your family tonight with these fun bowls!

Mini Phyllo Bowls     Yields: 24

4 phyllo sheets (I buy the PC brand from Loblaws/Superstore)

1-2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

——————-

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and have un-greased muffin tins handy.

2. Place first sheet on your kitchen counter/working surface and using either your hand or a pastry brush, spread some oil all over it.

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3. Next, add second sheet as shown. Repeat with the olive oil.

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4. Cut phyllo in even squares (as best as you can get them to be even).

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5. You should end up with 12 squares.

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6. Place in muffin tins as shown.

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7. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, until golden in colour.

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8. Fill with desired filling!

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Easy, fun, and will surely bring the entire family to the dinner…or dessert table!

Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

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These delectable Vegan Cinnamon Rolls came out perfectly! I’ve had to fiddle around with the ingredients a few times to get it just right…and based on the number of rolls that were left over from the get-together last night (none), I`d say I pulled it off :)

Delicious. Simple. Vegan. Give this recipe a go today!

This post is dedicated to my Instagram follower, Hanu S., who’d requested this recipe. Enjoy beautiful!

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Vegan Cinnamon Rolls     Yields: ~ 15 regular sized rolls or ~ 30 mini rolls

For the roll:

1/4C sugar

2Tsp ground cinnamon

4C flour, sifted twice

2Tbsp baking powder

1Tbsp cornstarch

1/2Tsp salt

1 1/4C water

3/4C vegan spread (available at your local superstore in the natural aisle – refrigerated section), softened/melted

Filling:

1C Packed Brown sugar

2Tbsp ground cinnamon

Icing:

3/4C Daiya Cream Cheese in plain

1 1/2C icing sugar, sifted

pinch of salt

1/2Tsp ground cinnamon

1Tsp vanilla extract

—————————-

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

In another small bowl, combine the filling ingredients (brown sugar and cinnamon) and set aside.

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Start by spreading some melted vegan spread all over parchment paper on baking sheet.

Tip: You could also make these rolls using tempered glass pan (like a Pyrex) and omit the parchment paper in this case.

Spread cinnamon sugar (on top of the vegan spread) all over parchment paper or glass pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt.

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Add water. Start with 3/4 cup first and increase as needed, until you achieve a nice dough. You’ll need to kneed very well in order to get the dough to form. It’s important you don’t skip this step!

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Next, add melted spread and kneed very well until dough comes together again, is no longer sticky, and is perfectly pliable.

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Using a rolling pin, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface (only if you notice it`s sticking to the surface, but if not then omit the flour) until you get dough to about an 1/8″ thick. You’ll want to get a nice rectangular shape.

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Trim any excess and repeat process of rolling dough, reshaping, and trimming, until all dough is used up.

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Next, spread a generous amount of the filling and cover entire dough including edges.

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Then, taking your rolling pin, ‘massage’ the filling into the dough. Basically, you’ll want to roll the dough again with the filling in it to get it to adhere and this will help you spread the dough out and get more rolls out of it! See pic.

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Roll dough, nice and tight at the start.

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Cut dough about an inch (1″) for each piece. Place in the desired pan.

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Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until cinnamon`s bubbling and the dough`s perfectly baked.

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While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing. I can`t find the pics for the icing but once I do I will uplaod them to this post. In the meantime:

Using the whisk attachment, start by whisking the cream cheese first until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add sifted sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk on low speed at first but gradually increase speed to high and whisk for approximately 3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract. Whisk for another minute until all is incorporated.

Remove pans from oven and spread the prepared cream cheese icing onto the hot cinnamon rolls.

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Deliciously sweet and amazing!

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

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These mushrooms turned out better than expected. When I experiment in the kitchen, I’m always nervous about the result – but it’s a great feeling when you realize that it not only turned out ok but it was very well received by some of the harshest food critics (i.e. my kids)!

Here’s an easy, delicious, and healthy recipe for your family to enjoy!

This post is dedicated to one of my talented Instagram followers, Jack “500under500″ who’d requested this recipe. Hope you like it!

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Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms     Yields: many

4C white and/or cremini mushrooms, cleaned (~70)

1 leek stalk, washed well and finely chopped

1Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4C Daiya plain cream cheese

2Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2C Daiya mozzarella cheese shreds

 —————

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Taking each mushroom, pop the stem off but don’t discard! You’ll be using them for the stuffing.

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Place them on the baking sheet as shown.

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Thinly chop the stems and toss in a heated pan with olive oil on medium high heat.

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You will inevitably ruin one or few mushroom caps (as in my case), so finely chop and add to the stems.

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Thinly chop leek stalk and add it to stems. Stir until leek is wilted and stems are soft about 4 minutes or so.

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Add cream cheese and stir to incorporate. Then add your nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cayenne. You won’t taste the heat but it will give it a nice kick.

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Taste to ensure it’s seasoned to your liking with the salt and pepper.

Being careful while handling the stuffing because it will be hot, take a teaspoonful and add to mushroom caps as shown.

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Sprinkle cheese shreds all over mushrooms.

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Insert into the oven for 15 minutes, until you notice some juice emanate from the bottom of the mushrooms – this let’s you know they’re soft and cooked through.

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Remove and enjoy!

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So good!

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Enjoy as a side dish to compliment your main meal, or serve as an hors d’oeuvre at your next gathering.

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These vegan chocolate chip cookies got rave reviews from Munsur’s teachers and classmates. So much so, that his teacher’s planning on passing on the recipe to everyone! Needless to say that totally made my day!

There are many different variations to the classic chocolate chip cookie. My recipe is true to the classic taste, except it’s dairy free, egg free, everything bad free! Except the delicious taste…it’s loaded with that! Not to mention the omegas you’d benefit from by making these amazing things. And bonus: you can eat this cookie dough and not fear salmonella poisoning! I’d say that’s incentive enough to give this very simple recipe a try ;)

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies     Yields: app 42 cookies

3/4C Earth Balance spread

1C packed brown sugar

1/4C sugar

1Tbsp ground flaxseed

3Tbsp water

1Tsp vanilla extract

2C flour, sifted

1Tsp baking soda

1Tsp cornstarch

1/2Tsp salt

1C Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

——————

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, start by beating the vegan spread with the sugars on high until creamy and light.

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In a bowl, whisk together the flax with the water until frothy. Add to sugar mix and combine.

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Tip: I grind my own flaxseed. Seeds stay fresher longer that way. You may purchase already ground flaxseed, but I find grinding my own more economical and the flavour isn’t lost.

Add vanilla. Combine.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Turn mixer speed to low and add flour mix to sugar mix. As the dough begins to form, increase speed back to medium until dough is formed.

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Add chocolate chips and combine. Then using a spatula, turn the dough over a few times until all chips are well in the dough.

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Try your best not to eat the entire batch of dough! Yes, it’s that good.

Next, drop cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, slightly flatten with your fingers, and place in the oven for 8 minutes.

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Tip: To make my cookies uniformed in size, I use a tablespoon measuring spoon. This way my cookies come out looking (better than) store-bought!

Take out and let cool slightly in the pan (around 30 seconds) before transferring them onto a wire rack. Be careful as cookies will be very soft to begin with but will harden ever so slightly as they cool.

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Enjoy with a nice glass of non-dairy milk. We drink Silk brand almond milks and my kids love the Vanilla almond milk…it really is so tasty!

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Bon appétit! xo

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Vegan Cheese Crisps

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One day while I was making Munsur a cheese sandwich, I’d accidentally over cooked it and some of the cheese had oozed out and hardened. An idea was born! These cheese crisps are so amazing, you really can’t just have a bite!

Make it, eat it, enjoy it, repeat! And because they’re beyond simple to make, you might be like me and end up making them a couple of times a day!

Vegan Cheese Crisps     

1/2C Daiya cheese style shreds in mozzarella

1/2C Daiya cheese style shreds in cheddar

OR

Enough Daiya Cheese shreds to fill the pan

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Mix the two cheeses and spread them onto a good non-stick pan.

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Turn heat on medium high and cook cheese until edges begin to dry and harden, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

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Flip the cheese and cook on the other side for about 1 minute or so. Turn stove off and let cool to crisp up totally.

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Then go ahead and enjoy. Break apart and turn them into cheese chips, or add to sandwiches or top pancakes!

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Absolutely out of this world delicious! Not to mention it satisfies that crunch you crave from a chip – except this is 100x healthier :)

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Bon appétit! xo

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

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Soup immediately comes to mind on a cold day; and given the forecast they’re predicting this year, I’m going to be making a lot of it!

This butternut squash and leek soup is just delicious. I love both vegetables and thought they would pair together perfectly – and the result did not disappoint. Give this recipe a go and enjoy the warmth this coming winter season!

This post is especially dedicated to one of my instagram followers, Haley, who had expressed she wanted to try this soup out. For you girl! Enjoy :)

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup     Yields: 8-10 servings

3Tbsp olive oil

1/2 leek, washed well and roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

5C stalk (chicken is preferred but vegetable or even water works well too)

1/2Tsp cinnamon

1/4Tsp nutmeg

1/2Tsp cumin

3/4C coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

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Start by sautéing chopped onion and leek in oil until nice and caramelized – this step adds great flavour to your soups.

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Once onion and leek are nicely wilted, add butternut squash. Toss from time to time to ensure proper cooking and browning, about 5 or so minutes.

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Next, add choice of stalk. Bring to a boil, then cook vegetables in stalk on medium heat, until squash can be pierced easily with a fork, approximately 20 minutes.

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Tip:

1. I freeze chicken broth. This way, it’s available to me should I choose to use it in my soups or other meals.

2. Chicken broth adds a depth of flavour to soups in general, but by caramelizing the vegetables before adding the liquid, it gives you a great rich flavour – which works out well for those who are vegan and/or vegetarian or if you simply don’t have broth available at your disposal.

Add coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin. Then, using a hand blender, purée the soup until deliciously creamy and smooth.

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Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wish you could smell this…

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Garnish with fresh chives (optional) and enjoy warm or hot as a side dish or a main course.

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Perfection.

Bon appétit! xo

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

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So simple to make and tastes even better than it looks; this chocolate mousse is spectacular on its own, in a parfait, or as a filling for a cake. With a few simple ingredients, you can be serving this decadence for dessert tonight!

Vegan Chocolate Mousse     Yields: ~2 Cups

2C Enjoy Life Mega Chunks

3/4C Silken Tofu, or half of the box it comes in.

1C Coconut milk

1Tbsp pure maple syrup

———————

In a double-boiler (small amount of water {~1in} in a pot with a tempered glass or metal bowl on top as shown), allow the chocolate to melt over medium-high heat.

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When you notice the chocolate softening, stir using a spatula to aid in the melting process.

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Once perfectly melted, turn stove off and remove from heat.

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In a blender, add milk, tofu, and maple syrup and blend on high until fully combined.

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Lower speed and slowly add the melted chocolate as shown. Then, cover with lid and increase speed back up to high for about 30 seconds or so until fully incorporated.

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Your mousse is done! Pour into desired serving dishes or a lidded container and refrigerate so it firms up – about an hour.

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Garnish with fruit or eat as is! Bon appétit. xo

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Product Highlight: Nutritional Yeast

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Don’t let the name deter you from buying this super food. Nutritional yeast is as its name states – nutritious. It should be a staple in everyone’s diet, but is particularly beneficial for those who have dairy and egg allergies and/or are vegan or vegetarian and therefore lack the food resources which provide such benefits.

It contains all 18 essential amino acids our bodies need to function healthily and is therefore a complete source of protein (meaning your body absorbs 100% of the nutrients from the yeast). It also contains all of the amazing B-complex vitamins and arguably the most important, B12 vitamin* – responsible for a myriad of things including: converting the carbs from food to energy, decreasing lethargy, insomnia, irritability, depression, and increasing appetite and the health of your skin, hair, nails, and memory function.

Nutritional Yeast is also high in fibre and is a great source of folic acid. It’s 100% vegan: free of dairy, egg, soy, gluten, wheat, animal product and byproduct, and sugar. And this yeast will not cause or worsen Candida because it isn’t active. It’s grown on cane and/or beet molasses and then deactivated (hence why you can’t use it as a leavening agent in baked goods). I can literally go on listing all the benefits that come from these yellow flakes but my post would turn into an essay!

It has a cheese-y nutty flavour, and is delicious as a substitute for recipes calling for parmesan cheese and other cheeses. I use it on pizza, in pasta dishes, and sometimes over salads. We don’t eat corn or popcorn because of Munsur’s colitis, but it’s been pointed out to me that it’s widely used by vegans on popcorn as well. You’re free to use as little or as much as you want, but all you need is a small amount (about a tablespoon or two) to get the benefit.

Available very inexpensively at natural health stores, or your local supermarket in the natural health food aisle. Go out and get this amazing product and reap the benefits and the delicious taste it has to offer!

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Notes: Different brands may or may not have been fortified with the B12 vitamin so do check before purchasing.

 

Vegan Caramel Sauce

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This caramel sauce is deadly! It tastes great on just about anything – ice cream, muffins, cupcakes, cakes, as a filling…you name it, it can be done with this sauce. It’s simple to make and takes minutes out of your time. Well worth the minimal effort so hope you give this a try!

Vegan Caramel Sauce     Yields: ~ 1 Cup

1C coconut milk

1 1/2C packed brown sugar

1/2C water

2tbsp Earth Balance vegan spread

Juice of half a lemon (~1 tbsp lemon juice)

1tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1tbsp cold water

1tsp vanilla extract

———————-

In a small pot, heat coconut milk on high until it reaches boiling point. Then turn off and set aside.

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In a dutch oven or medium-sized pot on high heat, add sugar and water and let boil.  Leave untouched and let sugar completely melt and combine with the water.

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Continue to watch over the sugar/water mix undisturbed for about 4-5 minutes, until you notice the colour turning into a nice dark amber. Once colour is achieved, reduce heat to medium.

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Next, and being careful, add the hot coconut milk, whisking continuously. It will foam and rise so don’t stop whisking until caramel has calmed down.

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Now add the lemon juice, vegan spread, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.

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Next, add the prepared cornstarch and whisk to combine and feel it thicken up a bit, about 2 minutes.

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Serve immediately or pour into a glass bowl/container, cover, and let cool in the fridge.

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Before serving, place bowl or container in warm to hot water to thin the caramel sauce and allow for easy use. Deliciously healthy(-ish)!

Should keep in the fridge for at least a week (if it lasts that long at all) ;)

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Bon appétit! xo

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