How to: Seasonal Cooking – Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos

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I know, I know. I was skeptical too.

Spaghetti squash and tacos don’t seem like a natural fit, but I swear to you…

They like peas and carrots.

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I can’t take credit for this genius combo, though.  It all goes Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen fame. Deb’s recipe testing skills are on point because I’m never lead astray; they all work.  Go on and check out her blog.  I’ll try not to rage with jealously while you’re away.

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I’ve added my own little How to Eat twist of course.  A quick lime-pickled red onion gives the whole experience a little sweet and sour punch.

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One of my favourite things about this recipe is how quick it is.  Microwaving rather than roasting the squash is a 15 minute job, rather than an hour and 15 minutes.  Here I am mercilessly stabbing the poor squash to death.

Note: this works as an excellent post-work stress reliever.

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It’s also really satisfying when you’re pulling the strands away from the skin with a fork and you get a really long one.

Or maybe that’s a weird thing to admit?

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The lime juice and spice concoction is what really makes these tacos.  So simple and so flavourful. Do not skip this step y’all.

IMG_0709 IMG_0712 IMG_0718Now just load on the goodies and eat up.

Erin

Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos

Serves 10 small tacos
Prep time 35 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
From book Lightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2.5 - 3lb spaghetti squash
  • ½ large red onion (thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbspfresh squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes, divided)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed well)
  • 100g feta cheese (crumbled)
  • cilantro or parsley (for garnish)
  • 10 whole wheat tortillas

Directions

1. Cook squash in microwave for quickest results. Pierce all over with a sharp knife to a depth of about 1 inch. Microwave on high for 12-15 minutes turning part way every 4 minutes, until it's slightly soft when squeezed.
2. Meanwhile, whisk ¼ cup lime juice, ½ tsp salt and 2 tsp of sugar in a small bowl. Add sliced onions and combine well. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. This can be done well in advance, the onions will keep for up to a week.
3. Cut squash in half and using a fork scrape the strands of squash away from the skin, removing seeds as you go.
4. In a small separate bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp remaining lime juice, ½ tsp salt, chilli powder, cumin and coriander. Add to squash and toss well to coat evenly.
5. Assemble the tacos with squash, beans, onions, feta and garnish with cilantro or parsley.


 

How to: You Only Live Once – Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Barf. It’s completely winter.

In protest, I’m eating the hell out of my Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies.

And it’s high time I shared this sweet, sweet recipe.

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Nothing fancy. Just the standard ingredients.

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Here’s the recipe I jotted down about 10 years ago when I started making these myself.  I’ve made a few tweaks over the years to perfect them.  They’re still full of Grandmotherly love though, which keeps them delicious.

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I really like the margarine and butter combo and highly recommend it for a perfect chewy-crsipy edge texture.

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The dough is really very sweet on its own, so stick to semi-sweet chocolate chips for a bit of a contrast.

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If you like to bake cookies, I highly recommend investing in silicone baking mats.  These are the fancy French ones – called Silpats, but there are lots of less expensive ones out there now (I can only vouch for these, though). They distribute the heat along the bottom of the pan evenly, so you minimize hot spots and get good consistency for the entire batch.

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They look almost undercooked at the 10 minute mark, but trust me, remove them now. 

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See what I mean with the evenness!? It’s a thing of beauty.

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A few dozen of these might just make this weather a little more bearable.

Erin

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Serves 3 ½ - 4 dozen cookies
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
By author Grandma Mills

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup non hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea, kosher or table salt
  • 1 350 gram bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F
In a large bowl, cream butter, margarine and both sugars until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and stir to combine. Add vanilla and stir until combined.
2. In a separate bowl combine 2 cups of flour, baking soda and salt.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar/egg mixture and stir until incorporated. If the dough feels too sticky to roll into a ball (the dough should stick very minimally to your fingers when it's perfect), add the additional ¼ cup of flour.
4. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
5. Using about a heaping Tbsp of dough, roll in to balls. Place 2-2 ½ inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10-11 minutes. The cookies when done will be puffed up and will have a very slightly browned outer edge. Cool slightly before transferring to a wire baking rack.

How To: Slow Cooker – Vegetarian Coconut Curry Soup

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The dinner theme in our house these days can be summarized by one word – easy!

Delicious? Sure that’s good too. And quick? A bonus. But most importantly, it has to be a meal that comes together with as little chiffonading and pan searing as possible.

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And this is why I have really been singing the praises of the slow cooker. I guess this isn’t really a new love affair, but it’s one that has been on the back burner since I first learned the amazingness of this kitchen appliance when I cooked up some sticky and saucy sesame chicken

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For the slow cooker to truly be easy, I think it really should be a set it and forget type of recipe. No sautéing onion and garlic, no browning of the meat. I want a true dump and go easy type of meal. And this soup is just that. The curry paste, coconut milk, peanut butter, and brown sugar add such a depth of flavour, there is no sautéing needed.

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IMG_4969 A super flavourful warm bowl of thai coconut curry soup that requires only one kitchen appliance? Doesn’t get easier than that!

Dara

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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Coconut Curry Soup

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Website Adapted from Foodiecrush

Ingredients

  • 1 can regular coconut milk
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup button mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 block extra firm tofu (cut into cubes)
  • 1 tbsp ginger (grated)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 can bamboo shoots (drained)
  • 2 limes

Note

This soup is great to throw in whatever vegetables you have in your fridge - carrots, broccoli, zucchini would all be great. If you're more of a meat eater, sliced chicken breast could be substituted for the tofu. The curry also tastes great garnished with some cilantro and sriracha.

Directions

1. In a slow cooker bowl, mix together the curry paste, vegetable broth, peanut butter, brown sugar, coconut milk, and fish sauce. Whisk until combined.
2. Add in the onion, red pepper, mushrooms, tofu, and ginger and stir together.
3. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for about 8 hours. Add in the peas, spinach, and bamboo shoots and cook an additional 15-30 minutes.
4. Ladle soup into bowls and squeeze half a lime onto each bowl.

How To: Healthy Breakfast – Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

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Can we talk about the fact that it’s already November? Before you know it Christmas carols will be playing on all the radio stations and New Years Eve will be knocking at your door.

I’m totally in denial about it being almost winter. I’ve yet to pull out the boots from the storage locker or find my winter hat and gloves. But I do have cookies!

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Cookies that you can eat for dessert with a cup of tea, cookies that you can eat for an afternoon pick me up, and cookies that are the perfect on the go or lazy Sunday breakfast.

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I did warn you in the pumpkin bread post, every dish cooked this season in my kitchen will almost always have some sort of winter squash jammed in it. And these cookies are no exception. Pumpkin adds moisture and flavour and the oats totally make these breakfast appropriate.

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Perfectly soft and chewy with a just the right amount of sweetness, just like any good cookie should be. It may be winter but hey, at least we can have cookies for breakfast!

Dara

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Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

Serves 16 cookies
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Freezable
Website Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Note

These cookies are just as good for dessert or a snack as they are for breakfast. They also freeze great so you can enjoy a cookie any time the craving hits! Chocolate chips, raisins, and chopped walnuts would be great mix-ins in addition to the cranberries.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees a line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
3. In a large bowl mix together pumpkin, coconut oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Once smooth, slowly mix in dry ingredients until combined. Then mix in oats and dried cranberries.
4. Form dough using a tablespoon measuring spoon into two tablespoon worth cookie dough balls and place and baking sheet. Flatten dough balls with your fingers or palm of your hand.
5. Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until brown around the edges and firm. Let cool and the store in a container on your counter for about 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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How to: Healthy Make Ahead Lunch – Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Burritos

DSC_9976It’s been too long, homemade frozen burritos.

I need you back in my life.

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It’s been a minute since we first introduced this idea to you.

Over 2 years, in fact. It was one of our very first blog posts.

As our blog grows, so too do our palates, so I’m stepping up my game for this round.

There is a LOT of delicious all up in these.

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Let’s talk goat cheese.

I found this Sriracha flavoured goat cheese at my supermarket.  As you can imagine, it’s bleeping awesome.  However, if you’re not able to find it, squeeze a tsp or two of real Sriracha into plain goat cheese and mix until very well combined.  Or, find another fun flavour. They seem to be all the rage now.

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These burritos are entirely customizable.  Where I used sweet potatoes, you could easily use squash. Where I used my colleague Dorothy’s organically grown summer kale, you could use store-bought fresh or frozen spinach.

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Where I used barley, you could use rice, quinoa or bulgur.

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Where I used black beans you could use lentils, tofu or chicken.

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Seasoning (to your taste) is essential.  I’m letting the sriracha goat cheese shine through here, so I’ve seasoned my barley and sweet potatoes simply with a little s&p. Try using your favourite spice mix or salsa as a flavour booster.

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It may take you a couple of tries to determine the maximum fill capacity, but you’ll get the hang of it by burrito #3.  I assure you, overfilled, messy burritos still taste glorious.

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The paper towel roll is key, people.  It’s a little microwave-safe barrier between your precious burrito and the (often) horrifying work microwave tray.

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A final wrap in plastic will help prolong freezer life.

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Now just label, freeze and eat the heck out of ‘em.

Erin

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Kale Burritos

Serves 6
Prep time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup pearl barley
  • 2 Small sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into ¾ inch pieces)
  • 300g package of goat cheese
  • 1 ½ cup chopped frozen kale or spinach (thawed)
  • 1 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 6 large whole wheat tortillas
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Optional

  • Sriracha hot sauce (to taste)

Directions

1. Rinse barley well under cold water. In a small saucepan, cover barley with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and drain any remaining water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover sweet potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer until cooked through and easily pierced with a fork, about 10-12 minutes. Drain water, mash sweet potatoes with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste
3. Build your burrito. Spread 1/6th of the goat cheese down the middle of the tortilla leaving 1-1 ½ inches on either side. (If using Sriracha, mix it with with the goat cheese first). Pile all other fillings on top of cheese.
4. Fold in the short middle sides of the burrito. While holding them in, lift one side of the burrito over the filling, tucking it in as tightly as possible. Roll to seal it. Wrap in a paper towel followed by plastic wrap. Freeze and store in a sealable freezer bag for up for 4-6 months.
5. To reheat burrito, remove plastic wrap. Microwave on medium power for 3-4 minutes (depending on your microwave).