Spicy Southwestern Tomato Soup

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I have always loved to organize things.  Even as a child I remember being in grade one and figuring out how the library organized their books.  That night I came home and put all of my books (I had A LOT) in alphabetical order by author’s last name.  For good measure I also put my name in all of them in case they were lost and could be returned back to me.  This has followed me all through out my life.  I love the look of my closet when it is all organized by colour, or the functionality of frozen foods that are labeled by name and date.  So while packing up and moving is so much work….my inner love for organizing really comes out. 

The other part of packing everything up and moving is the realization of how much food I have.  To save my boxes, and the extra work of moving unnecessary quantities of canned tomatoes I decided to make a soup.  The great thing about soup is that you can go into it without having any plan and as long as you have good ingredients you will always come out with a soup that you love.  I started with just some cans of tomatoes and eventually found some frozen veggies that I decided needed to get ate up.  The end result came out to be a great southwestern tasting soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can regular rotel
  • 1 can habanero rotel
  • 1 can of drained chickpeas
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped green beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale
  • 2 1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green onions for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large pot (except for green onions). Bring to boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes

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  1. Serve and enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

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Well there wasn’t that much of a summer, but going outside early in the morning I can already tell we are starting to feel autumn weather.  There is something calming about the brisk autumn air and the slight chill (but nothing uncomfortable) that is such a nice feeling. I started getting out my fall jackets, I have a feeling I am going to need them any day now.  I like the change in season, and switching up my wardrobe, I forget about so many clothes that I own.  I always take the change in season to clean up my closet.  I have several large bags of clothes to donate already.

My favourite thing about autumn is pumpkin flavoured….everything.  As soon as the weather dropped a little, I got out my pumpkin spice (which I am already out of again :( but totally worth it).  I came up with these muffins as a perfect autumn treat.  Since I created these last week I have made about 4 other batches because we cant get enough.  My parents are all too happy to have them around too. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1.5 tsp ground flax seed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

 

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.Essex-20130808-00470
  2. Mix wet ingredient in a smaller bowl.Amherstburg-20130808-00472
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients in larger bowl.  Make sure batter is well mixed.Amherstburg-20130808-00473
  4. Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes. This will make between 8-12 muffins.Amherstburg-20130808-00467

I also experimented with chocolate chips. Instead of 3/4 cup nuts, I used 1/4 cup chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup pecans.  They turned out good, but a little too sweet.  I think it took away from the pumpkin flavouring.

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After taking over the kitchen table and getting flour and pumpkin puree ever I sent this picture to Patty and asked after seeing my huge mess he was sure he wanted to live with me….he said yes thankfully.

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Serve and Enjoy!!

Samosas

Samosa 2

I can’t even begin to explain how excited we are to be moving into our new apartment.  Our restoration hardware and crate and barrel catalogs are getting old and worn from looking through the pages.  I am finding paint swatches everywhere; in my car, my purse, I even found one between my pillows.  One thing I very much appreciate is how much time and thought that is going into this move.  I know we will love everything we pick out because of this.  Thankfully our landlord is generous enough to paint the apartment for us, and he is even letting us pick out the colour.  We knew right away we wanted to pick out a light grey.  It will look clean and neutral.

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On this cold and dreary day I have spend most of the afternoon huddled around a hot cup of tea in hopes summer might return.  The perfect afternoon snack and project are these delicious and healthy samosas.  They would make a great appetizer or snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1.5 cup chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp sriracha sauce (this can be omitted if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp simbol oleik
  • 25-30 samosa wrappers

Directions:

Sweet Potatoes

  1. Peel sweet potato and dice into small squares.  Add to boiling water.  Reduce heat to medium and let sit for about 20 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.Onions
  2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, add onions, garlic, ginger and oil to frying pan on medium heat.  Chickpeas
  3. Once onions are brown, add remaining ingredients (except for wrappers) and cook for about 10 minutes, and reduce heat.  Mash
  4. Drain sweet potatoes and mash with a fork.  Add to frying pan.Fold Samosa
  5. Now that the filling is made you will need to fold the samosa.  Follow the picture below, it is quite easy.  To help close the ends I found it useful to put a little water on the tip of my fingers.  The dough became more sticky that way.Samosa 1
  6. Once samosas have been made, put them on a baking sheet and bake them for 40minutes (turning them after 20minutes).

Samosa 2

Serve and Enjoy!

Hummus

Hummus

It seems like in the last year I have spent more time packing and unpacking than anything.  But here we go again. Patty and I have found a little apartment just big enough for the three of us; Patty, me, and cat.  I don’t know why but there is something exciting about moving.  The idea of starting over, having a clean slate to make your own and decorate, always excites me.  For someone who loves to organize as much as I do will understand the excitement in getting to reorganize all of my clothes, my food…everything.  But with how much I have moved around because of going away for school, and coming home again, I think we will be able to call this home for a long time.  This is something I haven’t been able to do since high school.

It has been exciting picking out decorations, paint colours, furniture.  After countless trips to crate and barrel we have decided on a couch.  This isn’t just any couch though, we have been visiting this couch regularly for several months now.  With how often we visit, this couch has been ours for months, but finally deciding to spend the money to take it home has been difficult.  To save money on other portions of the apartment, my little bro has volunteered his more creative side.  He has graciously offered up his best works of art from his third grade art collection entitled “Cat’. 

Cat

 Other than saving money on art, we plan on trying to cut back on our food budget as well (which will be sooo difficult).  So you will find cheap, healthy vegan recipes coming, starting today with my all time favourite…Hummus :) .

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

 

ChickpeasI have started to use dried beans instead of canned beans.  Not only are they much cheaper but they are so much better for you and they taste better too!  I would suggest going the extra step and using dried chickpeas…when the hummus is done you will be so much more happy with the results.

Directions:

  1. Follow package directions and cook chickpeas until tender.
  2. Add ingredients to food processor.
  3. Process hummus until it has a ‘creamy’ texture

Hummus

Serve and Enjoy!

 

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee

I have a love hate relationship with coffee.  On the one hand I couldn’t wake up without it, the thought of a morning with out coffee also bring up thoughts of torture scenes from movies.  Not only for my benefit, but for those around me (or those who would have to deal with me), which is also the reason I hate it.  Maybe its not coffee that I hate, but the fact that I am addicted to it.  I very mush dislike the fact that my life, and sanity of those around me, are based on at least 1-2 cups per morning. 

My addiction aside, the smell, the taste, the feeling I get from coffee is pure love.  Have you ever made the perfect pot of coffee? It always comes as a surprise to me, I use the same coffee maker, the same coffee, the same scoop, but every once in awhile it seems perfect.  And on these days my regular 1-2 cups turns into drinking the whole pot.  With all of this caffeine I am jittery and very happy. With all of this energy and an inflated love for coffee, I devoted this energy to create the perfect iced coffee.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups Coffee
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (I used coconut almond milk)
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • handful of ice

 

Directions:

  1. Make a pot of coffee, and let cool down.  Once coffee is cooled  place 1.5 cups in fridge for 30-40min.
  2. Once coffee is cold add remaining ingredients and stir well.
  3. Fill glass with ice.

 

Iced Coffee 2

 

Serve and Enjoy!

Bruschetta Pasta

Brusch Pasta

After  stressful day yesterday on my way home, I had one thought on my mind, food.  After having kind of a bad day, I was craving carbs.  But not the healthy type I normally eat, I wanted chips, fries, something salty that would be bad for me, but that tasted ohhhh too good. Something that would, for a short while, make my day feel a little better.  But then something crazy happened….

Tomato

 

I found these amazing tomatoes in the garden.  It seemed that they understood my day, and were offering a healthier alternative.  After finding these I knew I had to eat them.  So I decided to make a happy medium.  I would get my craving of carbs in a simple pasta that mimicked bruschetta (one of my favs).

 

Bowl

I also found these serving dishes.  I remember we used to use them all the time when my parents made pasta.  There was the large serving dish, as well as the matching bowls too.  It seemed like a perfect find to complete the meal.

Basil

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box of whole wheat spaghetti  (I used Barilla)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 green onion

 

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta, drain water.
  2. Toss pasta and all ingredients in a large bowl.

Toss Pasta

Serve and Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake

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My biggest problem when I cook is that I get the munchies.  Looking at all of the tasty ingredients and not eating is difficult for someone who loves food as much as I do.  So how I justify it in my head is taste testing….I couldn’t possibly feed other people the final product if I haven’t tasted it myself.  Isn’t there a saying that you shouldn’t trust a skinny cook???  The problem is that sometimes the “test” turns into a meal…or two, and eat more than what is left. When it does come time for dinner or lunch…. I am barely hungry any more.  My solution is what I call “taste testing snacks.” I make them before I start cooking, or early on.  The last couple of days I have been hooked on this milkshake…there is just no way you can mess up chocolate, peanut butter and ice cream! :)

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (I used crunchy)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream (or a little more if you want it thicker)

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend on high
  2. Poor in a cup, and enjoy your cool and delicious beverage :)

Milkshake 2

Warning!! It won’t last long!!

 

Tofu Kale Soup

Soup

My Dad has been saving pennies for me ever since I can remember.  He had a huge container for me that was finally full and he gave it to me in January.  I was so excited, but didn’t realize how long it would take to roll all of those pennies.  I figured out rolling pennies I was working for a wage of about $5 per hour…. After watching the entire I Love Lucy show, and countless Breakfast at Tiffany’s….yesterday I finally finished rolling all of those pennies!Pennies                         (My little work station set up on my bed)

It was a dark and dreary day, the perfect kind to watch my favourite movie. Audrey

My Grandma came over for lunch, so I made a tofu Kale soup, and for dessert Apple Carrot Strudel :) I think it is fun and challenging to make vegan food for meat eaters.  To get the approval from my grandma meant a lot.  Vegan food can be for everyone!

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups vegetable broth (about 2 pkgs)
  • 1.5 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup cook quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped Kale
  • 1/2 cup diced firm tofu
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • green onion for garnish

Dumplings:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic

Directions:

  1. In a big pot add carrots, onions and oil.  Saute on low for about 5 minutes, or until onions are golden brown.
  2. Add broth and spices.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add Quinoa Kale and tofu.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. While soup is simmering prepare dumplings.
  5. In a small bowl add dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  6. Add wet ingredients slowly.
  7. Shape into little balls and add to soup.
  8. Let cook for another 10 minutes with dumplings in soup.

Soup

Serve and Enjoy!

Apple Carrot Strudel

Apple Carrot Strudel

My parents are away on vacation, so I am watching the house our dog Nelly, my cat, and my little brother’s Fish Ned.

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I gave Luke the fish for Christmas two and a half years ago.  This kid is so good at taking care of the fish, my entire family is surprised at how long he has lasted.  The night before my parents left my mom jokingly said, he don’t forget to feed the fish…not that you could kill him anyway that fish could live through anything. 

…..and guess what happened.  Just hours after my parents left I went upstairs to feed him.  I found him belly up.  RIP Ned December 25, 2011-July 22, 2013.  I cant believe the fish had the nerve to die on my watch.  After all these years, of course it has to be my fault.

What a great start to watching the house for 2 weeks.

So understandably I was upset.  The best way I could think of to cheer myself up was to make a delicious dessert to take my mind off of things. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 small apples (sliced thin)
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp quick oats
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 pkg stevia
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix  oats, sugars, and cinnamon.  Add Lemon juice, almond milk and vanilla extract and set a side.
  3. In a medium sized bowl mix apples, carrot, and pecans together.  Add smaller bowl and coat apples thoroughly.
  4. Lay one sheet of puff pastry on baking sheet. Spread apple contents evenly on pastry.
  5. Add second puff pastry to the top and carefully use you fingers to seal dough around the apple mixture.
  6. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Pastry

Apple Carrot Strudel

Serve and enjoy!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Choco Pea Oats

This weekend I went to school with Patty.  While he is in class I usually go shopping at the local malls, do running around, or my favourite thing to do is go grocery shopping.  Because he goes to school in the states (and we are from Canada), there is always so many cool things to look at.  For starters there are so many grocery stores to choose from, each one has its own unique selection as well.  So while Patty is in class I can roam the aisles, and check out all the cool options.  My favourite find came from Kroger this week, Peanut Butter & Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams (Chocolate Peanut Butter). 

Dark Chocolate Dreams

As soon as I laid eyes on this I instantly fell in love.  I was barely in the parking lot before I taste tested it.  I knew right away it would be the perfect ingredient in Oatmeal.

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • ½ tbsp flax oil
  • 1 tbsp Chocolate Peanut Butter….Yummmmmmm
  • Handful of raspberries
  • 1 tbsp pecans (I chopped them so it was easier to eat)

 

Directions:

Microwave 1. Mix together oats, almond milk and flax oil.  Microwave for 2.5minutes.  Be careful oatmeal doesn’t overflow.  After 2.5minutes, take out and stir.  Microwave for 30 more seconds.

Choco Pea Oats

2. Let cool for about 3-5minutes, and add remainder of ingredients.

Serve and Enjoy!