How To: Snack Healthy – No-Bake Tahini Oat and Cinnamon Balls

IMG_3375

Erin and I were talking about our blog recipes over a recent dinner. It seems we each have a style.

Most of our soup recipes were developed by Erin.  Have you tried our chicken soup? Or the hot and sour soup? Just two of our SOUP-er bowls (I apologize – that’s the last time I use that joke, pinky swear). With this weekend’s recent snowmageddon, I have craved a bowl of soup or two, but for your everyday soup needs, Erin is your gal.

IMG_3361

Now our breakfast and snack recipes on the other hand, those were mostly conceived by mois. It may have something to do with the fact that I have a daughter who the second she gets into the car after school pronounces “snack and water please.” With this statement in mind, I have tried to come up with several easy and healthy snack recipes I can keep on hand to help quench her after school hunger (and mine!) and help prevent both of us from getting “hangry.” Because no one wants to see that.

IMG_3354

IMG_3355

These no-bake bites are similar to our most popular recipe, the no-bake peanut butter oatmeal ball. In this version, I’ve swapped the honey for maple syrup, the peanut butter for tahini, and added a healthy dose of cinnamon. I wanted to try to create something that was nut-free so you could feel good about tucking it into your kids lunch boxes for their afternoon snack as well.

I am also having a moment with tahini – I want to put it on everything, and in fact, I do! This sesame seed butter is delicious in salad dressings, spread on toast, and even drizzled on your morning bowl of oatmeal. If you don’t have tahini on hand and still want to keep these balls nut-free, sunflower butter would make a great substitution.

IMG_3374

As I am typing this I have just downed two balls, and am thinking of going for my third. I encourage you to do the same.

Dara

IMG_3370

No Bake Tahini Cinnamon Oat Balls

Serves 12 balls
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1tbsp ground flax seed

Note

These one-bowl, no-bake snack balls come together in less than 10 minutes. If you wanted to jazz them up, add in a handful of chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped nuts.

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Place in the fridge to firm up for about 10 minutes. Roll into golf ball sized balls and store in the fridge.

How to: Make your Own – General Tso’s Tofu

FullSizeRender 6

Yo. Meat lovers.

If ever there were ever a reason to start eating tofu, here it is.

FullSizeRender copy

A perfect storm of intense flavour, perfect texture and…damn it, it’s just glorious. Trust me.

The inspiration behind this one is Dana over at The Minimalist Baker. Both Dara and I have been infatuated with this recipe since discovering it.  We’ve even inspired a few friends to try it, with resounding success!

My version is super close to the original, with a few less steps. Delicious: simplified *fist bump*

IMG_1334

When using extra firm tofu, to get the ‘meatiest’ texture possible, you want to remove as much moisture as possible. This is what wrapping in towels and weighting it will do.  However, if you need dinner on the table 10 minutes sooner, you can skip this step. Just pat the tofu dry before marinating.

FullSizeRender 2 IMG_1337

Ginger is one of my fave flaves. I’ve probably mentioned this a zillion times, but it’s totally worth mentioning again.  Freeze your ginger and grate it with a microplane. I don’t even peel it (👈🏻badass).  It’s such a quick and efficient way to use fresh ginger and there’s no waste, because you can just baggie-it and pop it back in the freezer for next time.

FullSizeRender 4

I quickly realized this recipe requires a double batch at our house (pictured above). I’m guessing you’re gonna want to go that route once you try it, too. Maybe even triple-sies.

FullSizeRender 3 FullSizeRender 5

Let’s talk about the cornstarch step.  I’ve tried the recipe with and without this.  Again, not totally necessary from a flavour perspective, but you’ll get some some nice crispy bits if you follow this step.

I found using a non-stick frying pan or a wok worked best to stir-fry the tofu.  When I tried using a non-non-stick (does that make sense?), it was kind of a sticky burny mess, even with lots of oil.

IMG_1358 IMG_1360

I’ve left stir-frying the garlic and ginger right until the end.  When cooking at a high heat, these delicate flavours will burn quick and taste like hell when they do.  So no burning stuff, k?

FullSizeRender 7

Once you add the marinade, it will begin to get thick and a little sticky and it will smell completely irresistible. Add the tofu, sprinkle on some seeds and eat the heck out of it. FAST. Before anyone else can.

Erin

FullSizeRender 6

General Tso Tofu

Serves 3-4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Website Adapated from The Minimalist Baker's General Tso's Tofu

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 bunch green onions (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Marinade & Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1.5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or more to taste)

Directions

1. Wrap tofu in a few layers of paper towel or a clean, dry dishcloth. Place wrapped tofu under a heavy pot or under a plate weighted with some canned goods. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Cut tofu into approximately 1" cubes.
2. To a large shallow dish, add ingredients for marinade and whisk to combine. Add cubed tofu and toss until all sides are coated. Marinate for at least 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer tofu, piece by piece to a large freezer bag. Reserve marinade and whisk in 1 Tbsp corn starch.
3. Add remaining 2 Tbsp of cornstarch to freezer bag, seal bag and toss to combine. Tofu should have a gummy coating.
4. In a large non-stick sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat, heat 2 Tbsp of the canola oil. Carefully add tofu and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring and flipping tofu pieces to evenly brown on all sides. Remove tofu and set aside.
5. Add remaining canola oil and heat over medium-high. Add green onions, stir-fry for one minute. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
6. Add reserved marinade, reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add tofu pieces and stir to combine and evenly coat tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serve immediately to enjoy the crispy tofu bits.

How To: Big Batch – Thai Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

IMG_2784

Have I told you how I won the cookbook lottery jackpot?

Just before we rang in 2017, I found out I won not one, not two, but TWELVE cookbooks! Do you know how many cookbooks twelve is? A LOT! So much that they are all still sitting in a pile on my bedroom floor as we have absolutely no room to put them anywhere else. I think an Ikea run may be in order soon.

IMG_2768

So, I have started to try to always go to one of these new cookbooks when I need some dinner inspiration, instead of relying on the easy Mr. google. One of the cookbooks I have been loving lately is the new Oh She Glows Everyday. Every recipe I’ve made so far has been spot on, and this soup is no exception. And no, this is not a sponsored post. I seriously am just crushing hard on this cookbook.

IMG_2777

IMG_2779

We already have a very delicious and creamy Thai sweet potato soup that uses coconut milk to add that richness. This version has a different approach – almond butter. The almond butter gives this soup a deep flavour and velvety texture without the use of any cream or dairy. Kind of like the peanut butter in our sweet potato, white bean, peanut butter stew. I would imagine peanut butter would also make a great substitute for the almond butter if that’s what you have on hand. Or if you need it nut free, try sunflower butter – but I would try to find the all natural unsweetened variety.

The almond butter also adds a boost of extra protein and fat to this soup, making it more filling than the average bowl. I also loved the crunchy almond topping – but you could also leave it off and go with a super smooth bowl of soup if that’s more your thing. Me, I’m all about the textures!

IMG_2998

My new favourite thing when my girls are napping is to curl up with a cup of coffee, a snack, and a cookbook, or two, or three…

Dara

IMG_2782

Thai Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 4-6
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Soup
From book Adapted From Oh She Glows Everyday

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 Cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Cups water
  • 3 Cups carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 Cups sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • cilantro (chopped)

Almonds

  • 1/2 cup almonds (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

Note

The toasted almonds are also delicious tossed into a salad for some crunch. The soup freezes well - just portion in individual containers for a grab-and-go lunch or dinner.

Directions

1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pot.
2. Add onion and sauté for a couple minutes. Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the curry paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Place almond butter in a small bowl with about 1/2 cup of broth and whisk to combine. Add the almond butter mixture, carrots, sweet potato, remaining broth, and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
4. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes and carrots are very tender.
5. Using an immersion blender, puree soup in the pot until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped cilantro and almonds.
Almonds
6. Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss almonds with soy sauce and spread out evenly on baking sheet.
7. Bake for about 10 minutes, until brown and toasted. The soy sauce will have dried up and the almonds will firm up as they cool.
8. The almonds will keep in a container on the counter for a couple weeks.

How to: Slow Cooker – Daal

There is no shortage of slow cooker recipes popping up all over the place now that it’s fall. So why should you try this one? Because.

img_8747

And also, it was a “perfect on the first try” recipe. A simple, healthy, flavourful stew that tastes great right out of the slow cooker and even greater the next day for lunch.

img_8672

I tend to use my gigantic slow cooker in fits and starts. I find it does a great job of braising meat slow and low, but vegetables? Not so much.  In my experience, they get obliterated beyond recognition.  Sure, you can shorten the cook time. But then why use a slow cooker? Isn’t the idea to set it and forget it for the day? All this to say, since I seldom cook with meat at home, mine has been getting hauled out a couple of times a year at most. And I’ve decided, it’s just not enough to justify all of the valuable kitchen real estate it occupies.

So it’s been slow cooker testing mania all up in here.

img_8676

This recipe is a mash up of a slow cooker daal I found in The Best of Bridge Family Slow Cooker cookbook and my favourite stovetop daal recipe from Indian Cooking Unfolded by Raghavan Iyer. Guys. It’s really really good.

img_8684

I really like the combination of split peas and red lentils.  The lentils break down quite a bit more than the peas and give the daal a rich, thick texture.  If you’ve only got one or the other though, it’s all good.  Roll with it.  Fiddle with the spices if you like, too.  Add a pinch of cayenne for heat. Replace some of the chicken stock with coconut milk, or simply add a can of coconut milk and make it more of a soup.

When it’s done, jazz it up however you like.  Add fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley), a dollop of yogurt or sour cream or a squeeze of lime. Sprinkle on some toasted almonds or pine nuts or top with some cool, creamy avocado cubes.  It can be as humble or as fancy as you like.

Eat up, buttercups.

Erin

Slow Cooker Daal

Serves 6-8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 6 hours
Total time 6 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried split yellow peas (well rinsed)
  • 1 cup red lentils (well rinsed)
  • 1 Small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 796mL (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes (chopped roughly in the can with scissors)
  • 3 cups no salt added chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)

Directions

1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker, stir once or twice to combine. Set on low heat for 6-8 hours until split peas are cooked through but maintain their shape. Serve with rice, naan or something to soak up the delicious juices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to: Make your own – Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes)

IMG_7688

My friends are wicked. In the good sense.

They have come out of the woodwork to support my new mommy-ness and continue to bring delicious edible gifts.

Just yesterday my friend and colleague Rosy brought us a batch of How to Eat’s very own breakfast cookies. Her take was loaded with dried cherries and chocolate. My kind of substitutions.

IMG_7670

This Aloo Gobi recipe is inspired by another friend’s contribution to the new mom food bank.  When the wee babe was but a week old my friend Candace brought us an indian feast.  Chana masala, aloo gobi, naan and rice. All homemade, all done with two of her own little ones at home.  You can find a photo of her under the Wikipedia entry for ‘supermom’.

We live very near to Little India and have tried tried tried and failed to find a go-to Indian takeout restaurant close by.  Each restaurant seems to have one or two hits, but we can never find a complete meal we love.  Her aloo gobi was among the best I’ve ever had.  I immediately demanded the recipe.

IMG_7682

The recipe is simple and quick; under 30 minutes with prep included.  If you need to go out and buy any of these spices and you’re not sure you want to commit to a full container, try buying them at a bulk store.  You can buy as little as you need for a test run.

This is also a perfect make-ahead recipe.  It reheats beautifully and I find the flavour improves if eaten a day or two after it’s made.

The version I photographed for this blog post is made with roasted cauliflower.  Roasting adds great flavour (and is super gorgeous), but I decided to write the recipe using raw cauliflower because I find it better absorbed the indian spice flavour when fully cooked in the sauce.

Looking for more green? Serve over baby spinach.  If you’re looking for added protein, try adding a handful of chick peas for a 30 second fix.

IMG_7685

Along with our recipes for homemade naan and tofu saag, we’re well on our way to a perfect go-to indian meal right at home.

Erin

Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes)

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Website Adapted from the Food Network

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic (about 3 large or 4 small cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 cup water (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Medium yellow or white potatoes (peeled and cut into ½)
  • 1 Small head cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp canola oil, garlic, ginger, coriander, tumeric and ½ cup of water. Set aside.
2. Heat remaining canola oil over medium high heat until it appears to shimmer on the surface. Add red pepper flakes and cumin seeds and sauté for 30 seconds. Carefully add the the wet spice mixture (it will sputter!) and sauté for about 2 minutes until most of the water is evaporated.
3. Add potatoes, cauliflower, remaining half cup of water and salt. Reduce heat to a medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir to coat with sauce and continue cooking until potatoes are cooked through, about 5 more minutes.
4. Serve with basmasti rice and or naan. Garnish with greek yogurt.