Meatless Monday: Coconut Chipotle Roasted Chickpea and Cauliflower Tacos

Monday is that day in the week where I really take the time to play around with a meatless recipe. I really take the time to get creative and try to do something different.  We eat meatless meals quite often in our house, but Monday is the day when I usually have time to experiment. Love that!

I had a meat loverload (new word – love + overload) on the weekend and think I have meat sweats today, so I’m drinking the hell outta the water bottle beside me and trying to pee out the meat. Ew, I mean not PEE out the meat, but pee out the… ahh nevermind. This explanation is going nowhere fast.

Anyway.

Let’s get on with what’s important today, shall we? I am in the mood for tacos today and we have all the fixin’s in the fridge except the tortillas.  I fancy something smokey, methinks! Chipotle peppers in adobo fit the bill! Chipotle and coconut? Why not? This is the time to play.

Chipotle

Roasting the cauliflower and chickpeas gives them an incredible flavour, great texture and the added unsweetened shredded coconut toasts nicely while the chickpeas and cauliflower roast.  The coconut adds an extra crunch and may leave your guests guessing what it is. How fun is that.  You won’t miss the meat in this recipe, THIS is a party in your mouth my friends. Promise. Now let’s get started, shall we?

Ready to roast!

Roasted and Ready to Eat!

The finished product

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed well
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken down into florettes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (I love me some garlic!)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (more if you like it spiiiicccyyyy)
  • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • 2 pinches of cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • 16 corn or flour tortillas
  • olive oil
  • frozen or fresh chopped kale, sautéed in a splash of lime juice and a splash of olive oil, just until soft. Do not overcook. Mushy kale is not our friend here.
  • options for topping (chopped avocado, sour cream/greek yogurt, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and chopped onion)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Take 2 chipotle peppers out of adobo and finely chop. Don’t touch your face after chopping. Wash your hands thoroughly. This sh*t is hot.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the cauliflower and chickpeas in 2 tbsp olive oil, chopped chipotle peppers, coconut and salt.  Spread out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. I like using parchment paper to line.
  4. Roast the cauliflower and chickpea mix for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and give a toss. Swirl them around on the sheet so they are mixed up and the brown side is up. Put them back in the oven and roast another 20 minutes until nice and brown, but not burnt. Burnt sucks and tastes gross.  If you burned them, discard and repeat steps 1 and 2 and adjust the time. Sorry about that, your oven must be super powered.
  5. When the cauliflower and chickpea mix are done roasting, squeeze half a lime on top and toss in the juice.  Taste for seasoning. You probably don’t need to add any salt as the adobo packs quite the punch of flavour and salt. Add 5-10 shakes of salt if you are an insane salt monster like my friend Taylor.
  6. Stop eating the cauliflower and chickpea mix. I know it’s good. That’s why I gave you the recipe.
  7. Take a small handful of tortillas and wrap in foil, and warm slightly in the oven or microwave. Don’t wrap them in foil if you use the microwave, that’s a recipe for disaster.
  8. When ready, fill the warmed tortillas with your cauliflower/chickpea mix. Throw on your sautéed kale, tomatoes, sour cream/greek yogurt, and cilantro, avacado and of course, please, DO NOT forget the cheese. If you do, you’re not human!

Enjoy my friends!

Kitten Love

So in addition to food, spinning, bread, butter and music… I have a major soft spot for cats. I haven`t written much about my main man Art, but I should. He`s an incredible little guy.

I have the pictures to prove it.

I am sharing in hopes that they make you smile, and maybe brighten your day.  If there’s a special little guy or gal in your life, I’d love to hear about him/her. Shoot me some pics too! I love awwwwwing! 🙂

IMG_0104[1]

He HATES when I wear these socks!

Pink

Love these shots of him sleeping. Pink tongue sticking out is so cute!

Snuggle Monkey

He loves snuggling under my chin in the night.

Too tired to bite

Guess he got tired of fighting with the sock and decided to take a nap.

Christmas Cat!

Strapped this on his head just as he woke up. I think that’s the only reason he let me do it, drowsy cat.

Fat?

Looks like a fat cat.

Postcard

Postcard cat!

sleeping

sleeping in my hand cat.

Eyes

Aliencat!

feet

lazy sleepingcat

Attack

Attackcat!

annoyed

Woke him up from his sleep so I could snuggle him. He came back with, don’t touch me! Annoyedcat.

Art IMG_0098[1] IMG_0253[1] IMG_0847[1] IMG_0849[1] IMG_0908[1] IMG_0907[1] IMG_0906[1] IMG_0905[1] IMG_0909[1] IMG_0910[1] IMG_0065[1]

Seared Brussels Sprouts

This is a quickie post that I HAD to share with you. We BBQ’d steak tonight and I wanted something quick and easy but kinda different than the usual side. So I made seared brussels sprouts.

The recipe is super quick and easy and it will only take 8 minutes to get them from the pan to your watering mouth.

Here’s the deal:

Ingredients

2 cups brussels sprouts
olive oil, for cooking
salt, pepper and garlic powder, for seasoning

Preparation

  1. Trim the stems of the brussels sprouts and cut them in half vertically.
  2. Cover the bottom of a stainless steel pan in olive oil. Season the entire pan with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place the sprouts, cut side down, in the oil. Remember that the pan and oil should be cold at this point.
  3. Put the pan over a burner on medium-high heat and cover it. You want to steam them while searing them on the bottom with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. The result? A beautiful char on the bottom that is insanely tasty, not burnt.
  4. Cook for eight minutes. and enjoy the hell outta them.

Seared Brussels Sprouts

Smokey Garlic Shrimp with White Beans in Tomato Sauce

Ever eat something that you can’t stop thinking about? I mean REALLY can’t stop thinking about? This dish was one of those things. I could not… stop… thinking about it. It’s smokey, savoury, a little spicy.. and the shrimp ‘pop’ in your mouth when you bite down on them. Is there anything better when it comes to shrimp? That’s the way they should be cooked.  Little popping pockets of shrimp. Yes. Smokey popping shrimp pockets.

Anyway. B loves smoked paprika and adores fennel. They were two relatively new ingredients for me in the past two years so although I was unfamiliar, I was very eager to try. I love trying new things, experiencing new flavours, new techniques.  He exposed me to something I will never forget.  

This dish is one of the most flavourful shrimp dishes I have ever eaten.   I will be honest with you, I inhaled it.  I have no shame.  I don’t think I muttered a single word during the whole 9 minutes it took me to eat what was on my plate.

Prepare to have your mind blown.

We served it alongside roasted parmesan fennel. It was.. well… perfect.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped tomato (about 8 ounces)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans (such as cannellini), rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of chili flakes2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Grilled bread (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat broiler. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 garlic clove, chiles, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, 1–2 minutes (do not allow garlic to burn). Add tomato; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and smashing tomato with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomato is completely broken down, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is deep red and caramelized, 3–4 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until juices are slightly reduced and thickened, 3–4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and chili flakes.
  3. Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp. oil, shrimp, and paprika in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Scatter shrimp over beans in an even layer. (You can do this step ahead and let them marinate for a bit while you’re cooking the ingredients in step 1).
  4. Broil until shrimp are golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over shrimp and beans; garnish with parsley.

Serve with bread, if desired because you’ll want SOMETHING to sop up that delicious sauce.

Enjoyyyyy!

Nutritional information

5 servings, 1 serving contains:
Calories (kcal) 530
Fat (g) 25
Saturated Fat (g) 3.5
Cholesterol (mg) 175
Carbohydrates (g) 40
Dietary Fiber (g) 10
Total Sugars (g) 4
Protein (g) 36
Sodium (mg) 540

Growin’ My Own (from seeds)

I get excited about a lot of things. I’m an excitable person. For example, I was super excited to go to Costco yesterday and buy unbelievable amounts of things. Saturday, I was excited to get the footprints off my dark hardwood floors. Last night, I was excited to fold the laundry and put it away (it had been sitting there for a week, so maybe I wasn’t THAT excited about it). Anyway, you get the point.

This past week, I have been excited to start planting a few seeds to get them ready for the garden! I picked up a couple of seed starting kits at Canadian Tire and couldn’t wait to get sowing. I have been collecting a number of seeds from Greta’s Organic Gardenseco-culture and The Cottage Gardener – Heirloom Seedhouse & Nursery over the past year in anticipation of planting in the backyard of our new home. I’ve grown many things in pots in past years and have been wildly successful, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity (and space!) to do it again.

Seed Starter Kit

This is perfect because you get the little seed cups to start with. No mess, just add water and seeds!

I purchased the following organic seeds:

  • Sub-Artic Cherry Tomato/pink
  • Mixed Radish
  • Evergreen Hardy Bunching Onions
  • Jaune Flammee Tomato
  • Black Seaman Tomato/Black
  • Golden Plum Dwarf Cherry Tomato
  • Spicy Greens Mix
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Sweet Basil
  • Thai Basil
  • Jalapeno
  • Habanero
  • Cilantro/Coriander
  • English Thyme
  • Salad Burnet
  • Garlic Chives, White
  • Lemon Balm

Seeds

As it’s still really chilly out and was snowing and freezing rain as of Friday, I am slowly starting to plant, fostering germination and then hardening off the plants in small batches. I’ll plan them in pots so I can bring them into the garage in a jiffy, JUST IN CASE Mother Nature decides to continue with this crazy weather.

I started with these four seeds for now, and as the seedlings are large and healthy enough to transplant into pots, I’ll start another batch of seeds.

  1. Garlic Chives

Sow seed 0.5” deep in pots or flats of soil mix. Germination is very slow.  Constant moisture, darkness and warm temperatures are required.  When seedlings are 4 weeks old, transplant in the garden.  Chives should be divided every 3 years.  Leaves can be snipped when plants are 6” tall.  You should not cut closer than 2” from the ground since the plants need some leaves to keep growing.

2. Red Russian Kale

Can be either direct-seeded or transplanted, and harvested either as baby leaf or in full-sized bunches.  For direct-seeding bunch kale, sow 3 seeds every 8-10” in rows 18-30” apart, thin to one plant per group.  For transplanting, start indoors four weeks before soil warms and transplant to same spacing.

3. Spicy Greens Mix

Sow every 3 weeks for a continuous supply.  For transplanting, 3-4 weeks prior to moving outdoors.  Sow in flats at 4 seeds/inch or in small –cell plug trays, barely covering seeds with fine vermiculite.    Shade if necessary to keep soil below 75 degrees F, on warm days.

4. Lemon Balm

Easily grown from seed, germination is best when seed is uncovered.  Ensure that the planting medium does not dry out while the seeds are germinating.  Enjoys well-drained soil in full sunlight.  Leaf growth may be slow the first year, and more vigorous thereafter.  Harvest before the plant flowers, for optimum fragrance.

And so the little seeds have started to germinate!

Germination!

And now the Spicy Greens Mix and Red Russian Kale are ready to move out of the germinator 🙂

IMG_0827

Left group of six: Red Russian Kale, Right group of six: Spicy Greens Mix

I don’t have these labeled, but because they are two completely different plants I won’t have a hard time telling what’s what.  If you look really closely, you’ll notice that the Red Russian Kale has a darker outline to the itty bitty leaves.

Red Russian Kale Seedlings

Look closely, do you see a purple-ish outline to the leaves? This is the Red Russian Kale.

Spicy Greens Mix

These guys are all bright green, soon to turn into lettuce!!!

And so it begins… my little herb and vegetable garden is underway.  I will be posting updates of these and everything else I plant.  I hope you enjoy this journey!

Have you planted anything yet? Are you planning on having a garden this summer? I’d love to hear about everyone else’s gardens. If you’re in the GTA I’d love to do some seed swapping too, so please get in touch!

Meatless Monday – Carrot Banana Zucchini Loaf

I’m a big fan of banana bread. I almost never make it because of all the sugar that the recipes usually call for.  This past weekend, I was searching for ways to use the 10lb bag of carrots I bought (yes, a 10lb bag, they were on sale and I’m a sucker for sales) and came across a Carrot-Banana loaf recipe. It got me thinking… I’ve made ‘Morning Glory’ muffins before and figured why couldn’t I make a loaf, but without all the sugar?

This recipe is vegan, and can be gluten-free if you want.  I didn’t have any gluten-free flour on hand, so I used whole wheat instead. 

I absolutely LOVED how this turned out.  Beware that it is a pretty dense loaf, with all the banana, carrot and zucchini jammed into it. It’s also pretty moist, so don’t be afraid to pull it out at the 25 min mark. I just kept inserting a knife in the middle to check done-ness. You may need to cook a little less or a few minutes more, depending on your oven. (So what I’m really saying is just keep checking it lol).

Two slices of this keep me full for a couple of hours. Adding dried fruit is optional in this bread.  I didn’t add it because I don’t like dried fruit in my bread, but the option is there if you’re weird like that and do.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons organic olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed organic ripe bananas (usually two bananas)
  • 1 finely shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup grated organic carrots (I used 1.5 cups in this version)
  • ¼ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (usually half a lemon)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups Organic gluten free all-purpose flour (or whole wheat if you aren’t doing gluten-free)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup chopped organic dried apricots (Optional, eww)
  • ½ cup organic chopped nuts of your choice (I used walnuts)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3, 3” X 6” loaf pans (I only had to use two disposable tin ones, the No Name ones from No Frills)
  2. Using a fork beat the honey, oil, vanilla, and salt. Add the bananas, carrot, zucchini, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into the banana mixture. Then fold in the nuts and apricots.
  3. Spoon into the loaf pans and bake for about 20-25 min, or until tooth pick comes out clean. Let it cool for about 5 min before removing from pan.

Meatless Monday – Lentil Patties!

Looking for ways to amp up your veggies and legumes? I’ve got the perfect recipe for you!

Since moving toward a more plant-based diet, I have been concerned with my protein intake. I have increased eating eggs, quinoa and a bunch of other goodies, but I wanted to make something creative today. Voila! Lentil patties to the rescue.

I had a small bag of brown lentils in the pantry and figured I could try making them into something fun. I rounded up a bunch of things like brown rice, nutritional yeast, veggies, spices and came up with this little treat.  I even made a special spice blend just for this experiment.  You certainly don’t need the spice blend to make this great, but if you’re feeling overwhelmingly creative and have some time, why not.

I would think you could add whatever greens or any type of lentils you have on hand and throw it into this mixture. I think it’s a great base to play around with. Enjoy and I hope to hear about how you made out with this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • small handful of kale, washed
  • small handful of spinach, washed
  • 1/2 jalapeno, not seeded
  • 4 dashes of Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp Steph’s seasoning
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp bread crumbs
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • cornstarch for dusting
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Directions

Throw all ingredients into a food processor. That’s it! Blend until combined. Easy-peasy, right?

The mixture should come together nicely, and not be too sticky.  If it is, add a bit more flour or breadcrumbs. You should be able form a patty without it sticking to your hands. I used a 1/3 measuring cup to portion the patties out to ensure they were the same size. Once you have your patties formed, dust them with a little cornstarch. It will help form a crust when cooking.

Heat a large frying pan, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil or oil of your choice. You don’t need a lot, it’s just to brown them up, so feel free to use cooking spray instead. You will need to add more as you cook as the patties will soak up a bit of the oil.

Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes. You want to see a light to medium brown color before flipping. Everything is already cooked in these patties, so you’re really just browning them up for texture. The crust is sooo good and you can actually pick these up and eat them instead of using a fork.

Below are the recipes for the masala yogurt sauce, and my special spice blend.

Masala yogurt sauce

  • 1/4c plain fat free yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp masala spice mix
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chili (you can omit if you’re not into spice)
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Let it chill if you can, or enjoy it right away.

Steph’s Spice Blend

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds

Toast all the seeds together in a shallow pan. Just as they become fragrant, turn off the heat.  Be sure to constantly stir because the sesame seeds will start to brown quickly and you’ll burn them if you don’t constantly shake/stir.

Take the toasted seeds to your mortar and pestle and grind ’em up.  You may need to do this in batches.  Once the entire mixture is ground up, store in an air tight container for uses with other dishes.

Enjoy friends!