Banana Date Pecan Muffins

I don’t know about the rest of you, but this time of year I LOVE to bake. Now that thanksgiving is out of the way I can focus on winter baking. This recipe is like comfort food for me. It’s a good recipe for when you have house guests because it goes well as breakfast, or an afternoon snack. The dates make it something special.

Source: Canadian Living
Serves 12

Ingredients:
2 cups Mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1/3 cup Butter, melted
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Grated orange rind
1 ½ cups Flour
½ cup Sugar
1 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. Salt
½ cup Chopped dates
½ cup Chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:
1. In medium bowl, beat together bananas, butter, egg, vanilla and orange rind.
2. In large bowl, soft together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dates and pecans. Toss lightly.
3. Pour in banana mixture and stir until just combined.
4. Spoon into 12 greased or paper-lined cups.
5. Bake in 350 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

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Posted in Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Almond Butter & Carob Energy Bar

This summer I was in Vancouver, Canada where I was visiting with my friends and family. I had such a wonderful time! While I was there my mom and I did the Grouse Grind a couple of times. After such an intense hike we bought these little energy bars, so good! They seriously refueled my depleted energy! So I HAD to find out more about them. I found this local company that makes them. Of course now that I’m back in Los Angeles I can’t order them from the company, so I set out to try and design a recipe! I think I did pretty well! These bars are naturally vegan and gluten-free and super yummy. They are also no-bake so they’re really easy to make (actually finding all the ingredients was the most difficult part, but everything was available at Whole Foods)

Almond butter & Carob Energy Bar

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 6 tbsp flax flour
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seed protein flour*
  • 3/4 cup crispy rice
  • 1/4 cup toasted carob powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup smooth almond butter

* I actually couldn’t find pumpkin protein powder so I used a hemp protein powder instead

Directions

In a food processor add pumpkin seeds, almonds and hazelnuts. Blend until well. In a mixing bowl blend together all ingredients until completely blended.

Line a 9 inch loaf pan or brownie pan (depending how thick you want the bars) with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan pressing it down smooth with a rubber spatula or spoon.

Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting with a sharp knife. Store bars in refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them.

These are high in protein and won’t give you a sugar high that will cause you to crash later. Enjoy!

almond butter and carob energy bar

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Posted in Dessert, Vegan | 1 Comment

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ok so if you know me or you’ve been following my blog, you’ll probably know that I dont have a really big sweet tooth. I’m one of those annoying people that can take a bite of ice cream or a decadent dessert and be satisfied in that one bite. Cookies are kind of my exception. I love cookies. Granted I’m happy eating one cookie…..okay, two cookies, but that’s it! I came across this recipe by Jesse’s Kitchen Chronicles and I had to share it! These are the best chocolate chip cookies that I’ve ever had. I don’t think that I’ll ever use another recipe for chocolate chip cookies ever again. The only thing I changed in my recipe is that I used mini semi sweet chocolate chips and half the volume, just as a personal preference. I also added walnuts, also a personal preference.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12oz (340g) mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden brown. I really like chewy cookies, so I only let them bake for 11 minutes and they were perfect. Cool for a minute on the sheet and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

This makes a TON of cookies. I currently have two large freezer ziplock bags full of these cookies (my boyfriend wouldn’t let me take some into work with me – with good reason, these cookies are wonderful). I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!


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Posted in Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Strawberry Lime Bars

A few weeks ago I saw a very popular blog post for Raspberry Lemon Bars and I really wanted to try these. I had just bought these lovely strawberries from my local farmer’s market and couldn’t wait to use them. They were so yummy, I can’t wait to make them again, and I’m really not a huge fan of sweets. I love how tangy they are! I do like lemon bars, but those leave something to be desired. This recipe satisfies where lemon bars don’t. Just don’t make these in a metal dish. As the improv kitchen says, “metal and citrus don’t mix well….”

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 9 tbsp (1 stick + 1 tbsp) butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

For the Filling:

  • 12 oz (2 heaping cups) strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cups lime juice (about 8 limes)
  • 2 tbsp lime zest (about 4 limes)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat the over to 350F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

To make the crust:

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add the vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Place the dough in the baking pan and press with your hands until it’s in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

To make the filling:

Blend strawberries in a food processor until smooth. If you are using raspberries or blackberries you may want to filter out the seeds using a fine mesh sieve. Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lime juice and zest, flour and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or until they’ve cooled completely).

The improve kitchen suggests these other combinations

Cherry lime
Raspberry Lemon
Blackberry Lime
Strawberry orange
Blueberry lemon
Strawberry lemon

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t like wine. I swear my family thinks that there is something wrong with me. No matter what I always seem to have a bottle of wine that I need to get rid of. This recipe was developed from a Giada de Laurentiis recipe in order to deplete my wine situation. I know all of you must think I’m crazy.  Believe me, a day of wine tasting sounds like it would be a lot of fun, if not for the tasting of wines. I really am more of a beer gal, but that doesn’t stop me from using wine in my cooking! It shouldn’t stop you either. I often make this dish for non-vegetarians because it’s hearty but not too filling, especially with a side salad. And my guests usually drink the left-over wine so I don’t have to waste it!

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups Pinot Grigio (or another dry white wine)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
12-16 oz salmon (without the skin)
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until tender, but not brown. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add the wine, shrimp and salmon and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, simmer until the shrimp are pink and the salmon is just cooked, about 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh basil.

Add the spaghetti to the skillet with the seafood mixture. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve immediately, top with parmesan and enjoy!

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Posted in Pescetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rosemary Craisin Pecan Crisps

Where I’m from in Canada, we have these delicious crackers called Raincoast crisps. They are so delicious, but not cheap! Thankfully my grandma found this recipe for one of their flavours. The rosemary craisin pecan crisps. The craisins can definitely be substituted out for some raisins if you prefer. I love these little crackers. They are so flavourful and light.

They can be topped with almost anything or nothing at all. I implore you to try these! Feel free to play with some of the ingredients, like adding sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin seeds! Just don’t forget to add the fresh rosemary! It makes these sweet nutty crisps into something very special.

Sift together:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Combine and stir into flour mixture:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Combine and stir into dough:

  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Bake in two greased 4×8 pans at 350F for 45 minutes. Let cool then chill thoroughly. Slice very thinly, set oven at 300F and place slices on cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on your oven). Turn over and bake for another 12-15 minutes until crisp.

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Posted in Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Olive Basil Cheese Spread


I’m sure you all know how much I love feta by now. Here is but another delectable recipe for feta in my arsenal. I have adapted this recipe only slightly from a wonderful cookbook called Kitchen classics Gourmet Vegetarian by Jane Price. It’s such a simple easy recipe that you can make ahead of time or last minute. It only takes maybe 5 minutes to prepare and very little materials. Great for last minute guests or even just you and your family. I usually make this for a party and IF there are left overs it spreads well on toast and sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz/~1 cup cream cheese, softened or whipped
  • 227g/8oz feta cheese
  • 20 g/ ~1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 15 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • bruschetta or pita chips to serve

Directions

Combine the cream cheese, feta, basil and olive oil in a bowl until smooth. Fold in the olives and spoon into a serving bowl. Smooth the top with the back of the spoon and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Garnish with cracked pepper and basil leaves or olives. Serve with warm bruschetta or pita chips.

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Posted in Dips and Spreads, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vegetarian Empanadas


Recently my friend and I tried to make empanadas for the first time – we were not very successful. What we made was edible, but not amazing. So recently I set out on my own to find a vegetarian empanada recipe. There’s really not a lot out there that appeals to me, so I decided to try it for myself. I’ll admit that I cheated a little. I wasn’t interested in making dough from scratch, so I used some vegetarian store bought pie crust. This is one of those few recipes of mine where you will see “fake meat” in the ingredients list. I normally don’t go for the stuff, but I wanted to try it for this because my boyfriend make me his famous tacos with this stuff once and it turned out really well. As far as I can tell if you don’t have access to this particular brand you can use the same amount of soy or vegetable protein mixed with taco seasoning.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large onion, chopped finely
  • olive oil for cooking onions
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 package (12 oz/340g) Yves Meatless Taco Stuffers
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 cup Fresh salsa (I used medium)
  • 1 red potato, chopped into small cubes (optional)
  • 1 recipe for pie crust
  • egg white from 1 egg for brushing pastry
  • salt to taste
  • sour cream for garnish

Directions

Saute chopped onions with olive oil on medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add small potato (I cut cubes about 1/2 cm thick) and let potato cook for a couple minutes, stirring so the onions don’t burn. Turn down heat to medium-low and add drained black beans, and Meatless Taco Stuffers until mixed well. Add finely chopped garlic and 1 cup fresh salsa. I used more of the “saucy wet” salsa so the empanada filling won’t become dry. Remove from heat once it’s all mixed together.

Preheat oven to 375F and prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. For the rolled out pastry I used a cut out that was 4 inches in diameter. I filled each empanada with about 2 tbsp of filling. Brush the outer edge with the egg and fold in half, sealing in the filling with a fork. Brush the top with egg white and place each empanada about 1 inch apart from one another on the baking sheet. I made about 3 dozen empanadas with this recipe. Bake for 15-20 minutes, you may need to turn the baking sheet at the half-way point depending on your oven.  Feel free to serve with or without sour cream, they’re delicious and moist either way. Enjoy!

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Posted in Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies


Phew it’s been awhile! Sorry about the hiatus. Recently my cat got sick, and he needed surgery. Thankfully he’s alright now!

I wanted to do something nice for all the doctors and technicians that worked on my little guy, so I decided to make these cute little chocolate cut out cookies (chocolate, because he’s a black cat!). These cookies were so buttery, flaky and not-too-sweet-delicious! I got in the habit of always adding very finely ground coffee to my chocolate baked goods. A lot of those recipes call for instant coffee, but I never have that in my cupboard, and I find that if I just grind my regular coffee very finely it has the same effect.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee or finely ground coffee
  • 2 sticks butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until just combined. Sift flour, cocoa, coffee and salt together and add the wet mixture slowly. Wrap the heavy dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

Roll out on a lightly floured or nonstick surface and cut out with your favourite cookie cutter. Dip the cookie cutter in flour before cutting!

Bake at 350F (preheated) for 8-10min. I preferred 8 minutes in my oven. Cool completely. If you wish, decorate with some icing and sanding sugar. For this batch I decorated some of the cookies by dipping the top side in chocolate sprinkles before placing them in the oven.

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Posted in Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tuna and Artichoke Sandwich


I probably used to make my tuna sandwiches like most people, mayo, scallions, and maybe some dried dill. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still a yummy sandwich but since I concocted this recipe I have never looked back. It’s not difficult. Who would have thought artichoke hearts in canned tuna would be so delicious? I’m totally obsessed with marinated artichoke hearts. My local Costco used to have these HUGE jars of them that I would buy and I’m kind of ashamed to say that they didn’t last long in my house. That’s part of the reason I tried artichoke hearts in tuna (because I had so many of them!). The fresh basil also adds an incredible flavour to this sandwich. I know it’s just a tuna fish sandwich, but it tastes too delectable; this is no ordinary tuna fish sandwich.

Ingredients

(Serves 1)

  • 1 (5 oz/142 g) tin of Tuna in water
  • 4-5 slices of marinated artichoke hearts (roughly chopped)
  • 4 leaves of Fresh Basil (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp of Veganaise or Mayonaise (my bf and I prefer the Veganaise, but mayo works just as well)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Two large slices of italian bread or ciabatta bread (toasted)
  • Lettuce (I use red leaf lettuce or baby spring lettuce mix)

Directions

Begin by toasting the bread in your toaster. Drain the tuna and smush the large chucks of tuna in a bowl with a fork. Add the finely chopped fresh basil, roughly chopped artichoke hearts, veganaise/mayonaise and dijon mustard. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the tuna mixture over the toasted bread, top with lettuce and enjoy!

This sandwich works well as a tuna melt too!

 

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Posted in Pescetarian, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment