Monthly Archives: April 2016

Strawberry Banana Quinoa Smoothie (Vegan)

Quinoa (pronounced as “keenwah”) is a seed that is harvested from the goosefoot plant. It is a great source of protein, fibre and many vitamins and minerals. You can eat it like a grain, use it in salads, stuffing, burger patties, or in this recipe, a smoothie! You have to first cook it, but it’s very easy to do.  

To cook quinoa

Makes about 2 cups

  1. Rinse 1/2 cup of quinoa under water (to remove bitter taste)
  2. Add 1 cup of water, cook on medium heat over stove
  3. Bring to boil, then turn heat down to low, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes
  4. Remove cover, let sit for about 10 minutes
  5. Fluff with a spatula, let cool

To make smoothie

Makes about 2-3 servings

  • 2 ripe frozen bananas (cut in chunks and freeze)
  • 200 g fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup sweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk

Blend all ingredients together until smooth,serve immediately. Enjoy !

Advertisements

Butterscotch Coconut Cookies

I was cleaning up my pantry today. I found many bags and containers of leftover, soon expired ingredients. So I threw most of them together and made some granola bars. Still left with some butterscotch chips and shredded coconut, I decided to put the two together. I was never a big fan of butterscotch, but these cookies came out soft, sweet and chewy, they are super yummy ! So if you have some leftover ingredients in your pantry, don’t feel shy to experiment, you never know what you can come up with.

Makes about 40 cookies
Total time = 30 minutes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and coconut milk, mix until blended, scraping sides and bottom of mixing bowl
  5. Stir in shredded coconut and butterscotch chips
  6. Drop about 1 tablespoon each of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes until edges are golden

img_20160419_102454.jpg

 

Earl Grey Orange Truffles

I am mostly a coffee drinker, but I love tea too, especially after meals. Tea contains antioxidants and has many health benefits. Studies have shown that some teas may help with cancer and heart disease. Besides drinking, tea can be used in many recipes, both savory and sweet. These Earl Grey truffles are infused with a subtle tea flavour.  They taste scrumptious and are so easy to make!

Makes about 24 

  • 2 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • Zest of one medium orange (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for coating
  1. Heat cream in a non-stick pot over medium heat until just starting to bubble
  2. Remove from heat, put in tea bags and orange zest, let steep for about 1 hour (You can cover the pot with a dry tea towel but not the lid of the pot, otherwise condensations will drip into mixture)
  3. Finely chop chocolate, set aside in a large mixing bowl
  4. After 1 hour, remove tea bags, squeezing the tea out into the cream
  5. Strain out orange zest with a mesher
  6. Reheat cream mixture in a non-stick pot over medium heat until just starting to bubble
  7. Pour over chopped chocolate, let sit for 1 minute
  8. Add vanilla, stir until smooth
  9. Cool, then put in fridge for about 3 hours
  10. With the help of a melon scooper or a teaspoon, roll 2 teaspoons each into balls
  11. Roll in unsweetened cocoa powder
  12. Keep in fridge

img_20160413_141603.jpg

Dates Bars

Dates are sweet, delicious and nutritious. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin B, iron and many more. Medjool dates are of better quality but I just used regular dried dates from the bulk section of a grocery store, and it came out fine. I actually prefer eating medjool dates on their own to fully enjoy the goodness. I got a box of Trader Joe’s medjool dates for X’mas from my friend and I munched them all within a week!

Makes about 16 squares
Total time = 75 minutes

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup demerara or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 120 g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 400 g pitted dates, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt 
  3. Rub in butter with hands until resembles coarse crumbs
  4. Place half of crust in a 8 inch x 10 inch baking pan (or pan of choice) lined with greased parchment paper
  5. Press firmly and evenly
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, let cool
  7. Meanwhile, cook dates and water in a non-stick pot over medium heat about 15 minutes until thickened
  8. Turn heat off, stir in vanilla and let cool slightly
  9. Spread dates paste evenly on top of baked crust
  10. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture (just a thin and even layer)
  11. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden
  12. Cool completely before cutting into squares

Homemade Granola

Granola is so easy to make, even my eight year old daughter can almost do it all by herself (except using the oven) ! You can make it as simple as ours, or you can add more of your favourites. Eat it with milk, yoghurt and fresh fruits as a healthy breakfast or snack.

Makes about 2 cups
Total time = 30 minutes

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 tablespoons demerara or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond slices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F
  2. Mix together oats, sugar, raisins and almonds
  3. Add oil, maple syrup and vanilla, mix well
  4. Place a thin and even layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden, stirring once
  6. Cool and store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks

My Favourite Cook Books – The Baking Handbooks

These are great baking books for both beginners and more experienced bakers. They have all your bases covered.  From muffins to cakes, from breads, pizzas to French pastries,  you can for sure find something you like.

1. Robin Hood Home Baking: From Cookies and Cakes, to Pizza, Pot Pies and More
– Jill Snider

511b4n2sshl._sl1500_.jpg

This is one of my very first reference.  It may look a little outdated,  but I still like a lot of the recipes in this book. They are simple and very easy to follow. There are also specific tips on each recipe which are helpful for beginners.

2. Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
– Martha Stewart

51igx4qmxol._sy400_-1.jpg

This is a handbook that really has everything in it. From basic recipes like muffins, pies and cookies to more advanced projects like croissants, layered cakes, even a wedding cake ! It also has very nice photos, it’s a joy to read even if you are not baking.

3. Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home
– Duff Goldman and Sara Gonzales

516jjae6iul._sl1500_.jpg

Duff Goldman is well-known for his amazing decorated cakes. This book though, is not about cake decorating, it has many yummy goodies that we can make at home. My favourite parts, however, are the chapters about equipment, ingredients and techniques. They have very good information, and with a little Duff’s humour, I just really enjoy reading them.

You can find these great books on the Amazon website by clicking on the title of the books. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item.