Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rosemary and Butternut Squash Risotto and Carrot-Ginger Soup with Curried Tofu

As promised, here are my remaining dishes from this week.  I haven't gotten the chance to make my Pumpkin Butter or Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bake yet, but I have high hopes for next week!

Everyone needs a good risotto recipe and this Rosemary and Butternut Squash Risotto absolutely has the potential to be yours.  It was full of flavour and was enjoyed by everyone in the family. Although in the end,  I felt it was missing a hefty dose of mushrooms.  When I make this again, I will surely add shrooms!

I found this over at The Vegan Foodie after I followed a link on one of Angela's posts over at Hol:Fit. It seems as though the blog isn't tended to anymore, but I still bookmarked a couple of things that looked tasty!

Rosemary and Butternut Squash Risotto

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
5.5 cups veg stock
3/4 cups chopped shallots
1 rosemary spring
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (I subbed for apple juice)
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp Earth balance
Grape seed oil
Himalayan salt and ground pepper

Lastly, I made a Carrot-Ginger Soup with Curried Tofu from the Great and Easy Meals cookbook I told you about last time.  This fell a little short for me and didn't pack the punch I was hoping for but the hubby seemed to like it just fine :) Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Carrot-Ginger Soup with Curried Tofu 

1/2 cup grape seed oil
1 1lb bag of baby carrots
1 2-3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
Himalayan salt and ground pepper
1 star anise pod
2 cups carrot juice
1 pound extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
2 tsp curry powder
Torn fresh cilantro

I didn't get to any cooking today, but I do have a pretty amazing meal plan in place for this week, so stay tuned!!!!

Peace and Love,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boy did I need these today!

These are my mala beads, and they are what got me through the day today. My mantra for the rest of the week will be "Meditate. Live purely. Be quite. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine" This is speaking true to me at the moment.

The Tiny Devotions site sates the white jade mala will assist:  

" concentration and unwanted distractions. It also aids in emotional balance - grounding and healing the heart. This stone will help you reach your highest potential - helping you focus your attention on your goal and filter out any distractive forces along the way."

I often tell people that this mala "found me" because it came into my life when I needed it, and it has continually helped me ever since.

I hope you have/find something that helps you stay "present to the beauty of life."



Yes, Yes, Yes, It's My Autumn Almanac : September Meal Ideas

As mentioned, even amidst my busy weekend I still found time to mess around in my kitchen! :D However by late Sunday morning I still hadn't made my meal plan or looked at my flyers so I was behind and running out of time.  I quickly pursued a blog or two, a cookbook I had left out the weekend before, decided on a few dishes and figured I'd wing the rest!  My theme for this week was/is apparently ORANGE.

Roasted Veg Sandwiches were first up because I have been obsessing over these for the past week or so.  So simple, yet so full of flavour.  You really can't go wrong with roasting veg EVER! ;) This week's blend consisted of:

Roasted Veg Sandwich with Sprouts and Sweet Potato Hummus 

  • Red and Green Peppers
  • Red and Yellow Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Mushrooms *I used button, cremini, and shiitake because that is what I had on hand but you could use any variety.
  • Garlic 
CUT your veg in similar sized pieces and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice.  I used herb de provence.  
ROAST in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved. 

*I had every intention of fire roasting my peppers but my BBQ was acting up on me :(  
**Fire roasted peppers in the fall totally reminds me of my Grandma's house.  Funny how food gives you flashbacks, huh?!

5 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking gave me enough for 2 lunches and 1 dinner for 2 people!

Next I chose Sweet Potato Hummus because a girlfriend of mine had requested I forward some tasty hummus recipes to her. Hummus is great for a mid morning/afternoon snack, as a spread on sandwiches and wraps, or if your like me, for dinner when you return from a late class at the gym.  There are SO many variations on this that I'm not sure it's even possible to name them all.  Basically, add whatever veg/fruit/nut/seed/superfood/spice to your staple hummus recipe and your got a new taste sensation.  Here is a nice version I stumbled upon over at Your Vegan Girlfriend . Arielle uses no oil and less tahini in her version in an attempt to save some calories. Heck ya!!

Sweet Potato Hummus
  • 1 can of chickpeas rinsed and drained reserving the canning liquid
  • Garlic (I never measure, start low)
  • Curry (I never measure, start low)
  • Cumin (I never measure, start low)
  • Himalayan salt (I never measure, start low)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp of tahini  
  • 1 large sweet potato (I only had two smaller ones on hand so mine isn't super orange but add as much as you'd like.  I've been known to add up to three in some of my other recipes)

Next up: Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Soup. I haven't made much soup yet this year and with the brisk Saturday breeze, it seemed like the perfect meal for the coming week. This came from a cookbook called Great Easy Meals which was given to me as a gift. There aren't a lot of vegetarian or vegan recipes in the book, but I can fit anything to work how I need it to! This recipe was pretty veg friendly to start with.

Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Soup

Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Soup 

  • 2 cups carrot juice 
  • 10 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and set aside, caps sliced (I added other varieties I had in the fridge as well) 
  • 2 Tbsp earth balance
  • 1 cup instant barley (I used pearled)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery with leaves, diced
  • Dried rosemary 
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used baby carrots, approx 1.5-2 cups)
  • 4 cups of kale or mustard greens, stems removed and leaves torn
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and grated ginger

Are you ready?!?!? Vegan Pumpkin Baked Pasta is next. This was chosen because I LOVE pumpkin and try my best to eat it in everything.....even in March ;) This is taken from Veganomicon which might be one of my most favourite cookbooks, vegan or not.

Vegan Pumpkin Baked Pasta with Sage Bread Crumbs

Vegan Pumpkin Baked Pasta with Sage Bread Crumbs 

  • 1 lb pasta, cooked (I didn't measure, just eyeballed)
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • Olive oil
  • 1 recipe cashew ricotta, see below (this quickly became one of my favourites because it is so yummy on its own)
  • 1 Tbsp sucanat
  • 1/4 tbs ground nutmeg
  • White pepper and cayenne (I also added chipotle powder)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, not fie filling (I made my own but canned would be fine)
  • 1/4 cup veg stock (I made my own but boxed would be fine)
Cashew Ricotta
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic (don't skip the roasting, it adds amazing flavour)
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Sage Bread Crumbs 
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (3-4 slices of bread in your food processor)
  • 1/4 cup earth balance 
  • 2 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked)
  • Salt and pepper

I hope these dishes have inspired you to get in the kitchen and enjoy cooking during this beautiful month!  I'm already working on my next post which will feature my remaining recipes for this week.  Stay tuned for Rosemary and Butternut Squash Risotto, Carrot and Ginger Soup with Curry Tofu, Pumpkin Butter and Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bake.  I can't wait!

Rosemary and Butternut Squash
Interesting citrouille
She is SO boss!
Carrot Ginger Soup with Curry Tofu

As my title would suggest, here is one of my favourite seasonal tunes.  The girls start to ask about it around the beginning of August and are thrilled when I play it in the car again.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Peace and Love,


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall = Family, Food, and FUN!!!

I've missed you friends! I know it's been a while so lets get reacquainted, shall we?! Boy this weekend was a busy one for us:

Jesse and I took in a Hammer Of The Gods and W.S. Walcott Medicine show on Friday.

Hammer Of The Gods

This right here is my weakness folks!

Visited a local Farmer's Market The HandMade Market, B.R.O Niagara's scavenger run, the Grape and Wine festival, and The Niagara Regional Exhibition on Saturday.

My haul from the Farmer's Market
Some of the bikes at B.R.O Niagara's scavenger run
Outside one of the tents at The HandMade Market
Wine, pie, and dancing at the Grape and Wine festival
Does it get any better? 
One of my favourite local restaurants, Pan Cafe, was there with delicious fare! 

The Niagara Regional Exhibition

I'd take me home ;)

And attended the opening weekend at our local pumpkin patch on Sunday.

Watching Rex eat a pumpkin at our pumpkin patch

Maddy wasn't feeling too well so she stayed home. This photo seems empty without her.

Whew! I know it sounds like madness, but this is my family's favourite time of year, and as you can see we take full advantage of the season and all it has to offer :) I have to admit though, I stood back (on more than one occasion) and thought about the day when my ladies will no longer want to partake in our silly family outings.  I know (I hope) I have a few more years, but the mere thought of it one day ending has helped me to embrace and relish every single second we share together as a family. In my opinion, it's moments like these that make life worth living.

Sometimes I'm hard on myself for not accomplishing "enough" with my cooking, the blog, networking, etc, especially in comparison to others I follow. I often wonder how they find the time to do all they do. This week it hit me, the vast majority of those folk don't have kids!!!  We all have our own sets of challenges and responsibilities, but boy do your priorities change once you become a parent. Suddenly it isn't all about you anymore, is it?!  I find myself in this strange place of having more "me" time than I've had in the past 10 years, yet still in a place where those little ladies need me for so much.  My goal for the remainder of this year has become to find that balance that lets me be the best mom I can be AND allows me to rediscover myself through various activities that I love. I'm fortunate to have an extremely supportive family so I have high hopes of reaching (or at least starting my journey towards) this goal.

All of that and I still managed to fit in football and cooking!  Stay tuned for my Roasted Veg Sandwich, Sweet Potato Hummus, Vegan Pumpkin Baked Pasta, and Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Stew recipes/links.  Yum yum ;)

Lastly, I wanted to give some love to one my my best friends who went into labour 5 weeks early today.  I was concerned when I first got the news this morning, but was thrilled to hear that at 3:30 pm she gave birth to a healthy 5lb 2oz baby boy :D This is their first child and I'd like to send lots of love to their new little family, xo.

Peace and Love,