Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Will Run For Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Basil Sauce


It's the week of the squash around here.  Enjoy!

 Roasted Spaghetti Squash

ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cut squash in half lengthwise .  Scrape out seeds (there will likely only be a few).  Fill a large ceramic baking dish with water until the bottom is just covered.  Place squash halves over baking dish with the rind facing the outside.  Bake for  approximately 45 minutes or until squash is tender and can be scraped into long strands.



Tomato Basil Sauce

ingredients


1 T Earth Balance or Butter
2 medium cooking onions (2 C) diced
2 cloves local garlic finely chopped
2 C mixed mushrooms sliced
2 large cans diced tomatoes with spices

1 can water
3/4 dried red lentils (do not substitute with green)
1/2 C fresh basil roughly chopped
1 tsp dried oregano

Over medium heat melt Earth Balance or Butter.  Add onions stirring occasionally until onions are soft (5 min).  Add garlic and saute for approximately 2 minutes.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft (5-10 min).  Add tomatoes and water.  Add dried red lentils.  



Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.  



Using a handheld blender puree until desired consistency is reached.  Add fresh basil and dried oregano  and allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

To serve scrape squash into long strands and top with tomato basil sauce.  Spice things up with some nutritional yeast, parmesan or grated cheddar.


If butternut squash isn't your thing this sauce is also delicious over roasted chickpeas or pasta.
  

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Will Run for Ninja & Roasted Buttercup & Sweet Potato Custard

roasted buttercup & sweet potato custard

I finally have a blender where the blending of ingredients is a reality rather than just a mere suggestion.   Hello Ninja!   There was an unfortunate accident where the top portion of my blender fused itself (with some help from the person who left a spoon in it and then turned it on) to the bottom portion of the blender making it impossible to use. Since then I've been using a hand me down blender that makes me want to lose my mind every time I end up having to chew my smoothie.

Since the Ninja we've pretty much given up on solid foods except maybe A who is too busy tormenting us with chocolate covered nanaimo bars on sticks, dipped in chocolate, and then rolled in Skor bar bits.  What kind of monster leaves that lying around half eaten after casually mentioning that she licked the entire thing?  We're sorry we make fun of the fact that you only seem to eat expired food, and that we occasionally make fun of your outfits but nanaimo bar on a stick that's just mean!

Roasted Buttercup & Sweet Potato Custard

Custard
(serves 4)

Ingredients
1 medium sized sweet potato (1 C roasted)
1 small buttercup squash (1 1/2 C roasted)
1 tsp coconut oil (butter or Earth Balance will work)
1/2 of a 12 oz package of well drained firm silken tofu 
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2T light coconut milk
1/4 -1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 freshly grated ginger root (or 1/8 tsp dried ginger)
 1  tsp buckwheat honey or more depending on desired sweetness (or your favourite honey, maple syrup)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Slice sweet potato in half and brush lightly with coconut oil.  Slice squash in half, scrape out seeds (reserve for roasting), and place remaining coconut oil in squash.  Allow to bake for 45-60 minutes until potato and squash are soft.  Allow to cool and then scrape out flesh.

roasted sweet potatoes and squash with coconut oil


Place all custard ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Measure 1/2 C servings into small bowls and allow to cool in the refrigerator.

Spiced Walnuts

Ingredients
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 tsp allspice
1T unrefined brown sugar (I used Camino)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place walnuts on a baking stone and allow to toast until fragrant (approximately 5 minutes).  This is not the time to multitask.   While nuts are toasting combine allspice & sugar in a small bowl.  When nuts are finished toasting add to bowl along with molasses.  Stir until walnuts are well coated.  Bake for approximately 1-2 minutes until sugar is melted.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.



Serve 1/2 C serving of custard with 1 T of spiced walnuts.

breakfast?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Will Run For Cranberry Pecan Cookies

It's never too early for a cookie!

There is nothing quite like waking up on a Friday morning to find two dozen cookies with paper signs that read "crunchy" & "chewy" on your counter.   Life is good.

There is also nothing quite like making fun of the fact that Farmer gets a little punchy when she asks for a glass of water and you bring her a glass that's two thirds full (or half or three quarters full)  only to find out that she's wrapped around the toilet bowl and she overheard you making fun of her.  Life was not so good.

Luckily Farmer made a full recovery.  This of course had nothing to do with me.  Note to self: when someone asks for a cool cloth don't bring an old painting rag (even if it's clean) that's covered in red paint stains especially if your Farmer has just finished drinking a very berry smoothie.  This will alarm your housemate and she may not want to share her cookies with you.

A's cookies were delicious but not exactly the kind of cookie that I could justify eating for breakfast (not more than once anyway). 

   
Cranberry Pecan Cookies
(10 large cookies)

1/4 C olive oil (butter or earth balance)
1/4 C brown sugar
1 flax egg (1 T of ground flax + 3 T let sit for a few minutes or warm slightly in the microwave)
1/4 C apple cider (apple juice or white grape juice will work as well)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 C wholewheat pastry flour
1/4 C ground flax
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 freshly grated nutmeg
2 C rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/4 dried cranberries
1/4 chopped pecans (or your favourite nut/seed)  

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix oil, sugar, flax egg, apple cider and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl combing flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and oats.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir until combined.

Roll into large balls or drop by the tablespoon onto a preheated baking stone (if using a baking sheet you would likely want to oil it).  Flatten with your hands or a fork.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.

dough ball

breakfast

Incase you are trying to figure out how many cookies you want to have for breakfast according to MyPlate they contain 243 calories per cookie, 4.75 g of protein & 5 g of fibre.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Will Run For Polenta And Mixed Mushrooms

polenta square with mixed mushrooms

This week Farmer was generous enough to share her words of 'wisdom' with A, "When the horse is dead get off!" (not the nicest analogy but you get the idea).  Unfortunately, she was talking about A's failed attempt at making polenta.   Butter & cheese contrary to popular belief cannot fix everything.  Note to self (and A) when making polenta make sure that you are using cornMEAL not cornFLOUR.

Polenta gone wrong.  Really wrong. 

Polenta is one of those dishes that I always say that I don't like but end up eating half of before it makes it to the table.  It's kind of hard to get excited about cornmeal mush.   With the help of roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, dried rosemary and mixed mushrooms it turns out that it's a little more exciting than mush.  It helps that it can be ready in less than a 1/2 hour. 

Polenta
(serves 4-6)

ingredients


4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup cornmeal (NOT cornflour)
2 T earth balance (butter or margarine)
1/2 C nutritional yeast (or 1 C grated old cheddar/your favourite cheese)
1/4 C sundried tomatoes ( soaked in hot water until softened)
*2 bulbs roasted  garlic

Warning: Do not make this recipe in shortsleeves/shorts as it stings when it spatters!

1.  Oil a 9 x 9 square silicone pan.

2.  Over medium heat,  heat stock in a medium sized pot.  SLOWLY (unless you're into lumps) pour cornmeal into boiling stock.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon (no cheating unless you like your polenta lumpy...yuck!) until polenta thickens (15 minutes of stirring).

thickened polenta waiting for tasty additions


3.  Add earth balance (butter), nutritional yeast (cheese), sun dried tomatoes and roasted garlic.  Stir until combined.

polenta with roasted garlic and sun dried tomatoes


4.  Spread onto oiled pan or you can simply serve in bowls.  Allow to cool (place in refrigerator to speed things along) until firm.  Once cooled you can cut into various shapes or simply into squares.  In the meantime prepare mixed mushroom mixture.

polenta in oiled silicone pan


Mixed Mushrooms

mixed mushrooms with rosemary and garlic

ingredients

4 cups mixed wild mushrooms ( stolen from your housemate's shelf)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 T dried rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T white balsamic vinegar
cracked pepper

1.  Clean mushrooms by gently rinsing and wiping off dirt.  Remove the ends.

2.  In a frying pan warm oil and then saute mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes.  Add garlic, rosemary and oregano.  Saute until mushrooms and garlic are soft.  Add balsamic vinegar.  Season mushrooms with cracked pepper.





Putting it All Together

Turn oven to broil.  Place polenta squares on baking stone (you can top with parmesan if you wish).  Broil until golden brown.  Remove from oven.  Top with mushroom mixture.  Serve.

**Alternatively you can serve with marina sauce, roasted vegetables, snobby janes etc.

Roasted Garlic

roasted garlic from Spill The Beans Farm

ingredients

2 garlic bulbs (local if possible)
1/2 tsp olive oil (1/4 tsp/bulb)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Using a sharp knife slice off the top of the garlic.  Drizzle each bulb with 1/4 tsp of olive oil.  Place each bulb on a square of aluminum foil and secure or use a ceramic brie baker (I'm not going to lie this gadget has been in my cupboard for the last year unused) .

2.  Bake for 45 minutes.  The cloves with slide out of their skins effortlessly when they are finished (waiting until they cool is a brilliant idea... I of course am not that patient).

polenta and mixed mushrooms
Leftovers were delicious and well deserved post run.  Not to mention that they helped to warm up frozen fingers.  This -20 weather is making the treadmill look more and more appealing.  






Monday, 9 January 2012

Will Run For Snobby Janes

snobby jane nachos

Sometimes a detoxifying smoothie or chia pudding just won't do.  Sometimes a girl just wants nachos. 




Sometimes she just wants nachos, her favourite toppings (tomatoes, avocados, lime juice) and snobby janes.



Sometimes she'll just settle for corn chips.

Snobby Janes
(serves 4-6 hungry people)

1 C dry green lentils
4 C water
1 T olive oil
3 C roughly chopped onions
3 cloves garlic (local if possible)
1 T chili powder
*1/4 tsp smoked paprika 
*1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 T wet yellow mustard
3 T pure maple syrup (just say no to table syrup)

Put the lentils in a small sauce pot with water and bring to a boil.  Allow to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside

In the meantime in a large stock pot or deep frying pan heat olive oil and then add onions and garlic until onions have softened (approximately 10 minutes).

Add the cooked lentils, spices, tomatoes, mustard and maple syrup to the stock pot.  Allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

If you have the patience let the snobby jane mixture sit for approximately 10 minutes.

At this point you can either eat a giant bowl of snobby jane, put the snobby jane on a kaiser bun or pull out your favourite corn chips and some toppings  (tomatoes, avocados and cheese) and make delicious snobby jane nachos.

Or if your roommate ate all of the corn chips and left you with only crumbs you can make your own chips out of a whole grain wrap (I LOVE Ezekial wraps) unless of course she ate those too.  Lightly brush wrap with oil and bake in the oven at 350 for approximately 10-15 minutes.

* If you do not have smoked paprika or chipotle powder simply use 3T of regular chilli powder.




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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Will Run For Turtles

chocolate dipped bananas with turtle granola


Happy Noon Year!  Pace Bunny (PB) & I had a brilliant idea this year.  Rather than celebrating New Years Eve we thought that we would celebrate what PB has coined "Noon Year".  

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Noon Year it is celebrated at noon on December 31st by those who like to lounge around in various forms of spandex, while sipping coffee and eating waffles.

This year runners (all four) lined up in their  best hoodies, pink sweatbands (“ I thought you said rum”), black glitter ties and tights that hadn’t seen the light of day in years for what was supposed to be a 3K route (it’s a little too soon for some to talk about exactly how long, or slushy, uphill or close to the highway the run actually was).  

What does all of this have to do with turtles you might be wondering.  Instead of resolutions I've been thinking about races.  I'm looking forward to sloshing through mud, leaping over fire, and rappelling down a ravine in a tutu for the spartan race  and hopefully running two 1/2 marathons (also know as the marathon but PB isn't ready to hear that yet) for the Sudbury Rocks Marathon . The best part of racing (other than crossing the finish line) is all of the awesome snacks that you get to eat while you're training.  

On that note here are two recipes for granola packed with dates, pecans, and cocoa nibs and chocolate dipped bananas rolled in all kinds of turtle deliciousness.


Turtle Granola

(12 1/2 C servings)


ingredients


5 C rolled oats (I used rye, spelt, and oats)
1 C chopped pecans
1 C chopped dates
1/2 C cocoa nibs
4Tbsp buckwheat honey
2 Tbsp coconut oil (1 T olive oil + 1 T Earth Balance will also work)

Preheat oven to 350.  On a baking stone bake cocoa nibs & pecans for 15 minutes.  

Bake oats for 15 minutes (leave oven on).

While oats are baking in a small saucepan combine honey and coconut oil.  Heat over low heat until coconut oil has melted.

Combine oats, cocoa nibs, pecans and honey/coconut oil mixture until well combined.   Spread onto two baking stones and bake for an additional 15 minutes stirring midway through. 

Allow to cool completely before storing in your favourite glass mason jar.  Hide mason jar until breakfast.



Chocolate Dipped Bananas With Turtle Granola

(serves 4)


ingredients

2 firm bananas 
4 T turtle granola
2 ounces Camino bittersweet chocolate (or your favourite brand)
2 tsp coconut oil (olive will also work)

Line a plate or baking sheet with waxed paper.

Peel bananas and slice in half horizontally.

Insert a skewer into each piece of banana.  Place bananas on plate/baking sheet and allow to freeze for 30-60 minutes.

Over low heat (or using a double boiler) melt chocolate & coconut oil.

Dip each banana into chocolate and working quickly roll in turtle granola.

Serve immediately or cover and return to freezer.