Friday, 30 December 2011

Will Run For Farmer Cheese

farmer cheese and focaccia
"When there is a will there is a whey", declared farmer!   She thinks that she's really funny. Who am I to argue especially when there is focaccia & soft cheese at stake. 

After essentially inviting ourselves over to our friend J's for snacks & boardgames we had to come up with something that could compete with a 33 layer cake that serves 72 made with sugar cookies, creme de menthe & bittersweet chocolate, lattes with foam thicker than a DQ blizzard, jalapeno cheese coins, etc.  As you might have guessed J makes the best snacks.
Lucky for J (and us) it just so happens that Farmer has been busy catching up on her cheese making videos over the holidays (does that sound a little odd to anyone but me?).

heat 4 C of whole milk until it reaches 160F

add 1 C buttermilk and  2 tsp lemon juice

let stand for 30 minutes in yogurt strainer

add focaccia


Fromage Blanc
4 cups fresh, local whole milk (3% homogenized milk will work as well)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp lemon juice or more if needed
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp fresh rosemary

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, over medium low/medium heat warm whole milk until it reaches approximately 160 F.  This is just before the milk begins to boil.   Stir constantly (unless you don't mind a thick skin or even better burnt milk).

Remove from heat.  Add 1 C of buttermilk and  2 tsp of lemon juice.  Give a courtesy stir.  It should start to curdle immediately.  If it hasn't curdled within 30 seconds add an additional teaspoon of lemon juice.

Let stand for 10 minutes.

Ladle curds into a yogurt strainer (or cheesecloth pulled taught over a large bowl).  Let stand for 30 minutes.  This will allow the whey to separate from the cheese.

Remove cheese from yogurt strainer (or cheesecloth).  Add salt and rosemary (or other herbs).  Stir until well combined.

Place in silicone mould.  Allow to sit for several hours in the refrigerator to allow flavours to meld.

Enjoy with your favourite focaccia. 

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Will Run For Cranberry Sauce

You may already have had your fill of cranberry sauce this season (my apologies if it jiggled and came out of a can) but have you had your fill of port?  It isn't uncommon to see someone drinking port out of a measuring cup early Christmas morning (why exactly Farmer tries to be inconspicuous I'm not quite sure).

If you are looking for a quick and easy recipe for your next cranberry sauce & gravy themed dinner party this just might be it (more about that another time).

Cranberry Sauce

1 C Ruby Port (drink remainder in glass measuring cup in order to remain inconspicuous) 
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 C dried Johnson's cranberries
1 medium cortland apple, peeled & roughly chopped (or other sweet apple such as Macintosh) 
2 1/2 C of frozen or fresh  Johnson's cranberries
3/4 C water
1/4 C brown sugar 

Bring port and broken cinnamon sticks to boil in a medium saucepan.  Reduce heat immediately and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.

Add dried cranberries to the saucepan and simmer for approximately 5 more minutes until the cranberries are soft.  

Add fresh cranberries, chopped apple, 3/4 cup of water, and sugar.  Bring to a boil stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Reduce heat to low, simmer until cranberries and apples breakdown stirring regularly until sauce has thickened to desired consistency (approximately 20 minutes).

Discard cinnamon sticks (unless you have a relative that you aren't too crazy about).

Cool and enjoy.

* Leftovers are great in oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Will Run For Not Quite Nanaimo

In celebration of surviving our elementary school Christmas concert (why is it that it feels like my students'  performance at the Christmas concert is as a direct reflection of my teaching ability or lack there of?), baking two hundred cookies with 23 seven year olds (I probably wouldn't eat them, I'm not going to lie), and a workout that made muscles that I didn't know I had SCREAM (sorry PB you may have to pull me in a sleigh tomorrow) I thought  that it was time for Nanaimo bars or macaroons or maybe both.

* When did it become okay in my mind to wear spandex in public in a small space with strangers?



* 1/4 C date paste 
3 Tbsp ground cocoa nibs (you can find the nibs at the Bulk Barn)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 C unsweetened coconut
3/4 C rolled oats
1/4 C chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

* You can make date paste by soaking 1 cup dried dates in water for an hour or so, save 3 Tbsp of the water that they were soaking in and microwave them with reserved date water for 1-2 minutes and then blend into a smooth paste.  

Add cocoa, vanilla bean paste and melted coconut oil to date paste.

Add coconut, walnuts and rolled oats.

Divide and press into 6 silicone muffin cups.  Place in the freezer until you are finished with the middle layer.

Not Your Mother's Macaroons + ground cocoa nibs + walnuts



Cream 2 TBSP Earth Balance (or butter
1 TBSP brewed coffee
1.5 Tsp instant coffee
1 Tbsp vanilla Custard Pudding Powder (I used Birds)  
1 Cups Icing Sugar, sifted

* it's very possible that you will have filling left over.  I won't judge if you decide to eat it straight from the bowl.

Cream earth balance, then add brewed coffee, instant coffee and pudding powder.  Mix well ensuring that the instant coffee has dissolved.  Mix n the sifted icing sugar.  Spread over the base layer.  Freeze for 5-10 minutes.

is it wrong to eat just the filling?



1.5 ounces of dark chocolate
1 1/2 tsp earth balance (or butter)

* double if you prefer a thicker chocolate topping.

Melt the chocolate squares and butter together in a bowl.

You can do this in the microwave, 20 seconds ... stir...20 seconds stir....etc.  Alternatively, place the smaller bowl of chocolate and earth balance into a larger bowl with just boiled water.

Pour and spread evenly over the top of the other layers.  Freeze.

Personally I like to eat these directly out of the freezer.  They are fairly large so you may want to cut them in half and share with a friend (or not).

If you are looking for a traditional Nanaimo square you can use the following for the base:

1/2 C butter
5 Tbsp cocoa
1 C coconut
1/2 C chopped walnuts
5 Tbsp sugar
2 C graham cracker crumbs
1 egg (or flax egg)
1/2 tsp vanilla 

Press into a 9" square pan.

Double the filling recipe. 

Double the chocolate topping.

the help was less than helpful but he's cute.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Will Run For Holly Nog

The clouds parted, the sun shone down and it's possible that angels were singing (or maybe that was just the Santa Clause parade that I heard).  There it was.  In all of its glory. Holly Nog.  

I had 5 dozen cookies to bake.  I'm fairly confident that I must have been drinking and possibly eating ice-cream cake when I thought that a cookie exchange would be a good idea.  Cookie exchanges don't always turn out well.

Dear Friends,

A cookie exchange is not a great time to experiment with vegan, no fat, no sugar, no taste cookies.


With that advice in mind I decided on Coconut Holly Nog Sugar Cookies.  These cookies look pretty plain but they are packed with flavour and are excellent for dipping!  I also decided on chocolate ginger chunk but I'll save that for another day.

Coconut Holly Nog Sugar Cookies
(36 cookies)

1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1C wholewheat pastry flour
2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp cardamom 
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C +2 Tblsp Earth Balance (butter or margarine work as well)
1/3 cup turbino sugar
1/4 C Holly Nog (Vitasoy brand)
1/2C grated unsweetened coconut
4 Tbsp turbino sugar ( optional for rolling cookies)
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place baking stone in the oven so that it can preheat as well.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, spices and coconut and set aside.  In a medium bowl cream Earth Balance , sugar & Holly Nog (it will look a little curdled).  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients.
I opted not to roll the cookies in sugar but if you wanted them to look a little less plain I would suggest doing so.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.   Place several inches apart on baking sheet.  Use the tines of a fork or the bottom of a glass to flatten cookies.  Bake 10-12 minutes until golden.  Allow cookies to sit for about 5 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.

Too much nog!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Will Run For Tofu & Noodles

I blame A.  I blame her for a lot of things: hair in the bathroom, chocolate bar wrappers in the garbage, drinking the last glass of soy milk, etc.  I especially blame her for my newfound love for tofu.  She claims that it tastes just like bacon.  I agree.  Well, sort of.  It tastes just like bacon if you haven't eaten bacon in 13 years or maybe it tastes like bacon if just don't have any taste buds left.  I ate tofu (cold) for breakfast today.  I ate tofu for lunch.  Oh, and I ate some more tofu for supper.  It may not taste like bacon but it is salty, smoky and delicious.  It might almost be time for an intervention.

Here is one variation of tofu and noodles (there are about 3 weeks worth of variations)

Marinated Tofu


1 350g block of extra firm tofu 
1/2 C of Bragg
2 Tbsp Tamari 
1/8-1/4 tsp chipotle powder

Thinly slice tofu.  This is key unless of course you likely your tofu to jiggle. 

It gets better I swear!

In a shallow baking dish combine Bragg, Tamari & chipotle powder.  Let your tofu sit for approximately 5 minutes of each side.  Drain marinade and reserve for the noodles.  Warm 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet.  Fry tofu until dark to golden brown on each side.  This takes about 10 minutes in total.  The technical term for this stage is "cooking the snot out of your tofu".  This will ensure that your tofu is crispy on the outside and firm on the inside.

The noodle dish is really a throw all of your favourite vegetables into a skillet with reserved tofu marinade and wait for good things to happen. 



bok choi (or baby book choi) (2-4 cups)
purple cabbage (1/2-1 cup)
carrots (1-2 medium)
broccoli (2-3 cups)
reserved tofu marinade
udon noodles (a package)
olive oil (1 tsp)

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in large skillet.  Stir fry vegetables according to their cooking times.  Eg. purple cabbage, broccoli & carrots first (mushroom & onions if using). 

vegetables that take the longest to cook
Use reserved tofu marinade to steam vegetables.  You want the vegetables to be slightly crunchy or at least I do.  Add udon noodles.  Cook until noodles are sticking to the bottom of the pan and smell slightly burnt (about 5 minutes).  Add bok choi or other greens.  Cook until green are slightly softened.   Serve with tofu and a sweet dipping sauce (e.g. maple syrup, plum sauce, etc.).

add your greens

* I also love to use brussel sprouts that are finely chopped, mushrooms, onions, asparagus, & kale.  Rice noodles and soba noodles are also really delicious.

party in a bowl


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Will Run For Mushroom Soup

As a child I loved Campbell's condensed mushroom soup.  It was an especially good day if your pork chops were baked in the oven with mushroom soup as opposed to the usual salt & pepper in the cast iron frying pan.  Things have changed a little since then.  Now, I don't eat anything with a face or a mother even if it is slathered with mushroom soup.

Mixed Mushroom Soup
(serves 4-6)


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 portabella mushrooms thinly sliced soaked in 5 cups of warm water (reserve water for soup)
2 cups of crimini mushrooms thinly sliced
0.5 ounces of dried mixed mushrooms (I used a prepackaged mix of porcini, chanterelle, shiitake, portabella & oyster)
2 cooking onions chopped
3 cloves of local garlic roughly chopped
1/6-1/4 C of Bragg liquid soy seasoning (don't substitute soy sauce)
1/4 tsp chipotle chili pepper powder

Place dried mushrooms in 5 cups of warm water.  Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.  Drain, reserving liquid.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add fresh rosemary and thyme.  Heat until herbs are fragrant (1-2 minutes).  Add two chopped cooking onions.  Cook until onions are lightly golden.  Add thinly sliced crimini and portabella mushrooms and cook for 5-10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft.  Add dried mushrooms.

Add 3 Tbsp unbleached flour and stir for approximately 1 minute.  Stir in 1/4 C of Bragg (or less depending on the level of saltiness you prefer), water and chipotle chilli pepper powder.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until soup has thickened.  You can either  serve with a sprig of fresh rosemary and thyme or blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached.

Will Run For Snog (or Soy Nog) Lattes


Christmas (or Winter Solstice) is coming,
the goose is getting fat,
stick a feather in the old man's hat...

There will be no goose at Christmas dinner but that doesn't stop me from singing the song for weeks before and after the holiday.  Those birds are scary!  Especially when PB quacks at them as we waddle by and they decide that they want to hiss and waddle towards us.

Christmas is coming which means that Soy Nog is also coming!  If you aren't into raw eggs in a carton but you love nutmeg, cinnamon & cloves (and rum) you just might like a snog latte or a cup o' snog or maybe just some snogging. 

Snog Latte
(serves 2)


1 cup of unsweetened soy milk (use coconut milk if you are looking for a more decadent drink)
1 cup strong coffee
1/8 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8-1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
buckwheat honey (optional)
turbinado sugar (optional)
spiced rum (optional)

Place milk and spices in a large mason jar and heat in the microwave until the mixture is hot and steamy (alternatively heat on the stove top ensuring that the mixture does not come to a boil).  After ensuring that the lid is on securely (hot and steamy disaster otherwise!) shake your mason jar until your milk is frothy.

  Alternatively, you can place hot and steamy milk in a blender assuming of course that you didn't forget a spoon in your blender the last time you used it fusing both pieces of your blender together so that it is no longer functional.

Divide coffee between two medium sized mason jars or two regular mugs.  Divide milk and foam.

coffee + soynog

  Top with buckwheat honey and cinnamon and/or nutmeg.  Alternatively, you can coat the rim of your jars or mugs with a mixture of turbinado sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.


cofee + soynog= snog

sugar + spice rim

If you are really lucky (and I am) your Granny will make you a cup sleeve cup sleeve for your jar. 

* freshy grated spices can be a little gritty so you may want to strain your drinks if you aren't into that.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Will Run For Hubbard Chai Lattes

What isn't there to love about a steaming cup of orange frothy cinnamon topped liquid (it isn't a tofu pumpkin skinny latte I promise)?

roasted hubbard squash from Dalew Farms

This Saturday was a day filled with lattes and lazy dogs.  There should be more days like that.  After reading about pumpkin protein bars and homemade lattes I found the motivation that I needed to roast some of the squash that had been sitting in my kitchen for the last week.

Hubbard Chai Lattes
(2 medium servings or a morning full of lattes)


1 cup steeped chai (I used 1/2 marathon tea)
1 C unsweetened soy milk (almond or dairy would work as well)
1/4 C roasted hubbard ( more than 1/4 C = a lumpy hot squash smoothie)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch cardamon 
pinch nutmeg
1-2 tsp maple syrup, agave nectar or your favourite sweetener (I usually leave this out)

* I mostly just shake a bunch of spices until things "look right" I suggest that you do the same.

Steep your chai.  Divide between two of your favourite pottery cups.  In a glass measuring cup combine milk, pumpkin, vanilla bean paste, spices & sweetener.  Heat in the microwave (or on the stove) until the mixture is hot and steamy.  Place milk in blender.  Blend until frothy.  Divide milk mixture between the two cups.   Sit at your kitchen table with your favourite beasts at your feet and enjoy.

*You can substitute the chai for your favourite tea or coffee.

* Canned pumpkin works just as well.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Will Run For Half-Marthon Tea

sweet ginger chai

Last weekend Pace Bunny and I ran in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon.  You'll be happy to know that we finished before the 100 year old man that was running (but after the person who was in a flash costume, Tinkerbell & Peterpan and the grandpa who was wearing a cotton shirt that said something like "this grandpa's been running for 73 years").  We crossed the finish line smiling and there were no stops at the portapotty so we were happy.

the Flash.

Tinkerbell & Peterpan

The night before the 1/2 marathon Farmer & I decided to walk to one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants.  It's too bad that the walk was an hour both ways in gale force winds rather than the 1/2 hour we thought that it would be.  It was there that I discovered gloriously delicious sweet ginger tea!  The recipe ( if you would call it that) below isn't quite the same as the tea I had but it's pretty delicious none the less. 

Half-marthon Tea
(serves 2)

2 cups steeped chai (looseleaf or teabag)
4 slices of fresh ginger
1-2 teaspoons of raw blue agave (maple syrup, honey, etc.)

Steep your tea.  Add agave nectar.  Add sliced ginger.  Let sit 2-5 minutes.  Serve in a tall glass with a cup cozy (or drink while wearing oven mitts).

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Will Run For Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

I'm not sure why my cousins thought that ice-cream cake & homemade wine was a good idea but who was I to argue.  These are the same cousins that thought it would be a good idea (so I didn't exactly argue) to text a picture of a birthday cake and an inappropriate hand gesture to our cousin who forgot about his own cousins dinner.  Perhaps we shouldn't have let the cousin who had been drinking send the text....sorry Clare who knew J couldn't be trusted to type in a telephone number correctly.

So after too much ice-cream, wine, and a Sunday run I decided to skip out on mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing and instead make baked oatmeal with some of my favourite fall ingredients: pumpkin, cranberries and maple syrup.

baked pumpkin oatmeal with apple butter

oats, allspice, dried cranberries, cinnamon

soft silken tofu, vanilla, maple syrup, soy milk

30 minutes later baked oatmeal
Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal


2 C old fashioned oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice 
1 C soy milk
1/2 block soft silken tofu drained
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 C dried cranberries
3 Tbsp local maple syrup
1/2 C canned (or roasted or boiled) pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In your favourite corningware combine oats, dried cranberries, cinnamon & allspice.

In your blender combine soy milk, pumpkin, drained tofu, vanilla, & maple syrup.  Blend until well combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.  Allow to bake for approximately 30 minutes uncovered.

Top with apple butter, additional soy milk or maple syrup.  Maybe share with a friend.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for pumpkin, cousins parties, and two very sleepy dogs.

Will Run For Pumpkin Scones

Last week was the last big run (18 kilometres but we'll pretend that it was 19) before the half-marathon which happens in a week (note to self stop eating ice-cream cake and start drinking water).  Last week I ran for pumpkin scones.

pumpkin scones & apple butter 

flour + oats + cinnamon + ginger + nutmeg + tumeric + cloves

pumpkin + oil + vanilla bean paste + maple syrup

add wet ingredients to dry

bake for 12 minutes at 450 F.

add delicious apple butter 

water your kitchen helper 
Spicy Pumpkin Scones

(10 scones)


1 C unbleached flour
1/2 C wholewheat pastry flour
1/2 C old-fashioned local oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup  canned pumpkin or my favourite roasted hubbard squash
3/4 C soy milk (almond or dairy works too)
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C local maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2  tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp turmeric
12 tsp unrefined sugar (to sprinkle on top of scones just before baking)

Preheat oven to 450 F. 

In a large bowl combine flours, oats, baking powder, salt, spices.

In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, olive oil, maple syrup & vanilla.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients.  Gently combine.  Resist the urge to over mix unless you enjoy shoe leather.  

Use your 1/4 C measuring cup to place batter on a baking stone.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for  12 minutes. 

Top with apple butter.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Will Run For Jerusalem Artichokes

September Soup

I would like to pretend that I've been enjoying the fall harvest but instead I've been enjoying mushroom gravy from a can, oven french fries and way too many bowls of cereal for supper.  There was an attempt at broccoli hummus but I can't bring myself to eat anything that smells like foot.  Luckily A who is staying with me for a couple of weeks has no problem eating things that smell like foot (or farts as she likes to say).

A was kind enough to bring me jerusalem artichokes from her garden.  Maybe she thought I needed an intervention or she's feeling bad about all the hair that she's been leaving in the bathroom.  Either way I was more than happy to make soup out of them.   

jerusalem artichokes from roomy's garden 

farmer's onions

farmer's new potatoes

diced onions and garlic
simmering artichokes, onions, garlic, tomato & potato

pureed fall vegetables

September Soup(makes 10+ cups)


2 cups diced jerusalem artichokes (scrubbed and washed peeling isn't necessary)
3 small cooking onions
3 cloves of garlic (local is best)
2 cups diced new potatoes
1 Tbsp sunflower oil (olive works too)4 cups canned diced tomatoes with juices (I used tomatoes from  I had frozen from the garden last season)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp fresh rosemary (or dried from the garden)
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
ground red, black & white pepper (for garnish)

Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a large frying pan.  Dice onions and garlic.  Saute until soft.

Scrub and wash artichokes and potatoes.  Dice into small pieces and add to frying pan.  Saute until potatoes and artichokes for approximately 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, vegetable broth & spices.  Simmer until potatoes and artichokes are tender.  Blend using a handheld blender until desired consistency is reached.  You could garnish with pepper and/or sunflower seeds or sunflower sprouts.

Or forget the blending add some carrots, brussel sprouts, cooked green lentils and/or barley and enjoy.