It’s been a long time coming, but I’d like to officially introduce you all to the most amazing little babe to grace our lives since Woodrow was born. World, meet Juniper Jett!
Many have asked about her name’s origin. I’ve always loved the name June but Mark thought something a bit more unique would be nice and we love names that come from nature. Once I heard Juniper I was in love. Her middle name is borrowed from Joan Jett – a super strong, bad ass woman who is also a long time vegetarian and whose first solo album was Mark’s first LP purchase. It just seemed like the perfect fit.
Juniper arrived 3 days prior to her due date, in the early hours of September 21st after a fast and intense labour. Two days before I had been to see one of my midwives and given that I had been experiencing some mild menstrual like cramping she wanted to check my cervix. As it turned out I was already 3-4cm dilated! She reminded me that I could walk around that way for well over a week so I didn’t really think too much of it. Most of the next day though my cramping became a bit stronger, though still sporadic and fairly spaced out. Just to be safe, my friend offered to pick up Woodrow from school and keep him overnight.
I took it pretty easy in the afternoon after wrapping things up at the bakery, stopping in to get a few groceries, watching a bit of election coverage on CNN and then had a long hot shower. We realized that we had yet to inflate our birthing pool to check for leaks, so Mark set to tackling that job. I wasn’t in a rush to get dressed so was hanging out in my robe and as I stood up I felt a little gush and thought my water had broken – but when I looked down I saw that it had been blood. It happened again in the next hour so my midwife suggested we meet at the hospital for her to assess me and have a non-stress test. At 8pm Mark and I grabbed my hospital bag and hopped in the car. I got hooked up right away and stayed on the monitors for a good hour and a half. In that time my cramping became strong surges that were about 5 minutes apart. My midwife assessed me and I was 5cm. By 10pm we had a make a call – go home to continue labouring or stay put. We looked to our midwife for guidance and her recommendation was to stay where we were given that the baby’s heart rate in the first 20 minutes of the NST was just a bit irregular. In the moment we decided that we should do just that and so I got myself admitted and moved in to one of the birthing rooms while Mark ran home to get my pillow, bath robe and some fresh juices we had forgotten. While he was gone active labour kicked in and I had to focus and go inward to breath through each surge. I also continued to lose blood, which unfortunately meant that I had to go back on the monitors and get an IV to replenish fluids, meaning that labouring in the tub and shower were out of the question. I found this pretty upsetting at the time because that was my only real plan for pain management – and things were getting really intense.
The next 2 1/2 hours, as intense as they were, flew by. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning into Mark through the surges and telling him that I wasn’t having fun and was not enjoying the labour. This may sound like a funny thing to say but I actually had enjoyed Woodrow’s gentle labour so I had hoped for the same thing again. I half jokingly asked my midwife if it was too late to pop a few tylenol to help with the pain. I asked in all seriousness about other pain management and we briefly discussed trying laughing gas, but I hate feeling stoned so opted against it. Plus things just seemed to be moving so quickly I couldn’t fathom there being time for any of that.
I’m not clear on times, but at a certain point the on call OB who happened to be the one I had been consulting with through my pregnancy came in to assess me and the blood loss. At this point I was almost 9cm and she ruptured my waters to further speed things along. Within what seemed like minutes I was feeling major bottom pressure to push. I couldn’t wait, my body was just doing it on its own, and after a speedy 5 minutes (and what I think were some pretty loud guttural screams), with Mark holding my right hand and my midwife holding my left, my midwife told me to reach down and feel her emerge. At 1:15am, with one final push, our wee girl was born.
The next hour and a half we nursed and cuddled and gazed at this beautiful being, and within minutes our love grew. I hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink in many hours so I sipped on lots of water and a big jar of beet juice our neighbour had made me that afternoon.
After delivering my placenta I needed one small stitch. My bleeding didn’t really subside though, so I got a good dose of oxytocin via IV. In the meantime I had lost a lot of blood – it’s hard to know exactly, but apparently between labour and beyond it came to about 2L and was feeling really weak and faint. I couldn’t sit up on the edge of the bed long enough to transfer into the wheelchair to head to the recovery room, so I napped on and off for a few hours before finally managing to get myself onto a gurney around 5am. During this time Mark got some great skin to skin time snoozing with Juniper. The next 10 hours or so were spent napping on and off interspersed by staring in awe at our little bean. Oh and eating snacks… almonds, big juicy seedless grapes, a homemade pumpkin muffin, more beet juice and some salty, seedy crackers. (Thank goodness for bringing our own food as our hospital does not have vegan meal options, and even the vegetarian ones looked pretty terrible.) My bloodwork showed that my iron levels had dropped to 82 (normal is above 110), but with time and some supplementation my midwives were happy that it would gradually return to normal. By dinner that same day, we were discharged and home.
The next few days were pretty low key, spent resting, getting breastfeeding established and getting lots of cuddles in. My parents were up and staying with us and it was great to have the extra hands on deck for helping with Woodrow, cooking meals and washing up. Aside from the normal fatigue of having just given birth, the low hemoglobin, and adjusting to the interrupted sleep, I was feeling pretty amazing. On day 4 post partum I actually found myself at home alone with the baby for the first time was kind of enjoying the quiet house for a moment. Mid afternoon though I went to the bathroom and got a bit of a scare when I found I was in the midst of passing a rather large clot. It seemed much larger than what was normal post partum business and I immediately felt uneasy. I phoned my midwife who tried to talk me through passing it but I just didn’t feel right about bearing while alone and asked her to come over. I went to lie down and wait for her. Once she arrived and over the next half hour I passed several clots and began to haemorrhage again. It became obvious I needed to go to the hospital and she decided an ambulance was the safest bet, so I took my first ambulance ride and Mark and Juniper met me there. Fast forward to some time in the ER, an ultrasound and more bloodwork. It was clear that I still had tissue remaining in my uterus and required a D & C. Cue talks with the OB on call, the anesthetist, both of their respective medical students, discussion of blood transfusions, and plenty of tears on my part. Oh and my milk came in right then too so I was engorged and super uncomfortable too. Thankfully I was able to nurse Juniper before being whisked away to the OR and before I knew it I was waking up in recovery and eating the best popsicle of my life. (I’ve been under a general about 3 times now in the past 2 years and those popsicles they give you when they take out your breathing tube are seriously the best.) I was soon transferred up to my room on the labour and delivery floor where Mark and my dad and the baby were waiting for me. Juniper and I spent the next 2 days in the hospital as I needed to receive both an iron transfusion and a blood transfusion, but with family visits, Tucos deliveries and my best friend delivering me green smoothies and soy lattes, it passed quickly. I had the most amazing nurses during that time as well, which I was so thankful for. I felt SO much better by the time I was discharged.
It was a scary little blip in our journey but all ended well and I was very thankful for the skilled hands of many, from my midwife to the ambulance attendants to the doctors and nurses. It was a far different birth than that which we had with Woodrow at home and that we had hoped to repeat, but sometimes the hospital is just where you need to be, and I have a new appreciation for that. Since then things have been on the up and up. My hemoglobin, which had dropped to 52 at its lowest post haemorrhage, was up to 93 at my 2 week pp midwife appointment and we’ll reassess again at my 6 week pp appointment. Based on how good I’m feeling and how high my energy levels are I think I’m back within a normal range.
It seems like that was enough of a story for now – I’ll fill you in on all the other fun baby and non-baby related things again as soon as I can.
And just like that, our sweet baby girl is already a month old! She needs to stop growing so quickly – it’s all happening so fast!
I recently made the most surprising discovery after receiving a suggestion from a friend of a friend. Zucchini in smoothies is a thing apparently. And believe it or not, a damn delicious thing at that. Meet my latest obsession: a zucchini almond butter smoothie!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my green smoothies packed with leafy greens as much as the next vegan mama, but I won’t lie, I was super hesitant to try adding zucchini. Zucchini noodles I love, zucchini sautéed with garlic and coconut oil is amazing, and I’m sold on baking them into muffins! But raw and for breakfast?!?
But I decided to give it a shot, and low and behold – it was delicious! As it turns out, raw zucchini adds quite a bit of body to a smoothie, thickening it up much like banana or frozen mango would, but without much flavour at all. It’s the perfect add-in for those trying to lower the amount of fruits in their smoothies, or for the banana-adverse. Plus they’re full of goodness and rich in vitamin C as well as being a source of vitamins A and B-6, potassium, dietary fibre.
I have been doing a whole foods reset this January and while avoiding my precious coffee and wine, along with sugar and gluten, I’ve been making an effort to start each day with a smoothie. My usual smoothie has always been made up of mostly fruit with lots of leafy greens, but in an effort to up my veggie intake even more I’ve been aiming for mostly greens with a bit of fruit. This smoothie combination is so thick and tasty and I simply love the addition of almond butter. Not only does it add a great flavour the added fats help fill me up and can tide me over until lunch. I’ve been sipping on zucchini every morning for a good 2 weeks now, and I just love getting that extra bit of veg in so early in the day.
Do you think you’d give zucchini a try? I’d love to know what you think of my zucchini almond butter smoothie if you do! Happy sipping!
Happy New Year friends! Hoping you all enjoyed some family times as well as some good old peace and quiet. Mark and I often joke about wanting some good P&Q … and I suppose eventually one of these years we’re sure to get some! Hah.
While I’m not big on making new year resolutions, I know many of us feel like we ate one vegan cheese ball too many over the holidays, scarfed one too many coconut caramels and drank one too many bottles of wine. (Or maybe that’s just me?!) Either way, I’m pretty sure we could all benefit from some bright, colourful and healthy meals about now, so this new cookbook is coming at just the right time.
I’ve been following Ilene aka @thecolorfulkitchen on Instagram for a few years now and have been drooling over her super creative and colourful (hence the name!) creations ever since. When I saw that she was working on a cookbook I knew I’d want to get my hands on it once it hit the real world. It certainly lives up to its title. Bright and beautiful photos are abound and there are so many amazing recipes inside. They’re pretty straightforward in terms of preparation too which I LOVE – gimme all the quick and yummy recipes SVP!
Still on my cauliflower kick, I simply couldn’t resist trying the BBQ Cauliflower Poppers right off the hop. Super tangy and umami little pockets of cauliflower that could make for a great party snack if you don’t eat the entire dish yourself first. They’re easy as can be and if your partner (or kids or bestie) is not too keen on cauliflower like my husband, this is a great way to get them to try it and love it.
I’ve also got a whole bunch of other recipes bookmarked to make in the coming weeks like Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Granola, Maple-Mustard Squash Grilled Cheese, Balsamic Beet Spread, Chickpea Crust Rainbow Alfredo Pizza (as pictured on the book’s cover) & I can’t wait to try the the Miso-Tahini Cookies from the desserts section. Ilene has really compiled an amazing collection of accessible, mouth watering recipes. I can’t wait to keep cooking from it.
If you think these sound as amazing as I do, you’ll definitely want to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post to win yourself a copy of The Colorful Kitchen cookbook! Scroll down for the entry, but first, read on for the recipe for the BBQ Cauliflower Poppers!
When I first came up with this recipe, I made a batch for my mom to try. She liked it so much that she tried to trick me into making her another batch by remarking that something was off and we should keep testing the recipe. Good one, Mom.
Author: Ilene Godofsky Moreno || The Colorful Kitchen
Recipe type: Appetizer
½ cup spelt flour
¾ cup nondairy milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cauliflower crown, broken into florets
1 cup barbecue sauce
Green onions, sliced
1 batch Green Cashew Ranch Dressing (see below)
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Stir all the batter ingredients together in a small bowl.
Grease a baking sheet with the olive oil. Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter and place them on the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the cauliflower with a spatula and bake for 5 more minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Carefully transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. Add the barbecue sauce and stir until all the pieces are coated.
Spread the cauliflower out on the baking sheet. Bake for another 15 minutes, then flip the cauliflower and bake for another 10 minutes, until crispy.
Let the cauliflower cool for 5 minutes, then garnish with the green onions and serve with the Green Cashew Ranch Dressing, celery sticks, and carrot sticks.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Whether your trying out the whole vegan thing for 2018, or just looking to cook up some yummy eats, this book will be the perfect addition to your cookbook shelf. Thanks to the fine folks at BenBella books, I’m able to give away a copy of The Colorful Kitchen to one lucky reader. I’m going to keep it simple, so to enter simply comment below and share your favourite colourful food! The contest will run until midnight on January 9th and I’ll randomly select a winner and contact via email. Winner must have a Canadian or US mailing address. Good luck!
I’m crushing hard on cauliflower these days. For the most part I’m just roasting it with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt, but I’ve also taken to making creamy pasta sauces like this high protein alfredo from a many years back and this lightened up version too. But I also love me a good curry, and so I decided a nice little cauliflower number needed to be made. Into the pan went my favourite Indian spices, some beans for protein, green peas for a pop of colour and behold – this vibrant, Indian inspired Cauliflower, Pea & Chickpea Curry was born.
While I most often add coconut milk to my curries, I opted to switch it up this time and so this one is strictly a tomato-based gravy that is richly spiced and features one of my favourite Indian spices – asafoetida. If you don’t have it in your pantry, you can certainly make the curry without it, but I urge you to seek it out. It adds such an amazing umami flavour that is hard to replicate with other spices. (Local friends, you’ll be excited to know that the little corner store on Regent street at Wembly has an amazing selection of imported Indian spices, including asafoetida and it will only cost you $3!)
This is definitely a vegan curry in a hurry. From spices to veggies, everything is in the pan within 10 minutes, and another 10 minutes to cook the cauliflower is all it takes. Throw a pot of basmati rice on the stove too and you’ll be filling your tummy with a delicious, hearty meal in under 30 minutes. If I’m going to be honest with you, only 3/4 of my family will eat this Cauliflower, Pea & Chickpea Curry, but that is because it contains tomatoes, and – hello, eating those according to Woodrow is blasphemous. But I can almost guarantee that 100% of your tomato-eating family members will enjoy this. If not, send the leftovers my way and I will happily slurp them up.
This is definitely a vegan curry in a hurry - it comes together in a flash. You'll be enjoying this Indian inspired Cauliflower, Pea & Chickpea Curry in 30 minutes flat.
Author: Jess Nadel || Cupcakes and Kale
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
½ tsp asafoetida
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14oz can chickpeas
1 large head cauliflower
2 cups frozen peas
Before beginning, measure out your spices, drain and rinse the chickpeas, and chop the cauliflower into small florets.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida and stir gently with a wooden spoon or spatula for a minute or two, until the seeds begin to pop. Add in the rest of the spices and stir.
Next, add in the tomatoes, chickpeas and chopped cauliflower. Stir well, reduce to medium heat, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.Remove the lid and stir again. Continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork tender. Stir in the peas and season to taste with additional salt if needed. Serve with basmati rice.
It’s been a while. Too long, really. I was going to make this post all about what I’ve been busy with these past months but that seemed a bit too indulgent, so I’ll spam you with baby photos, kiddo photos and work-related photos another time. Today it’s all about getting back into this space and doing what I created the blog for way back when I started it – to share recipes for the food I was creating at home. Starting today, with a Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup.
I made this soup a few weeks ago after our Canadian Thanksgiving had come and gone I had neglected to do anything with a lovely butternut squash that I had brought home from the market. When in doubt – make soup! It was so yummy, and was quickly enjoyed over the following 2 days. And then I made it again. And then I made it again, this time to gift to friends. And then I made it again for myself. I figured if I was loving it so much, it must be worth sharing!
It’s a breeze to throw together and totally comforting in all it’s thick, spicy goodness. There are’t any funky or hard-to-find ingredients in it, so there’s a very good chance that you’ll have everything you need in your kitchen to make it for dinner tonight! The best part about it is you can adjust the spice level to your pleasing and slurp it up as soup, or you can make a meal out of it by ladling it over rice and serving with your favourite baked tofu and greens.
I hope you’ll try out this Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup! If you do, don’t be a stranger – tag it on Instagram with #cupcakesandkale so I can enjoy it (virtually) all over again!
A rich and creamy squash soup flavoured with Thai red curry paste and coconut milk. Perfect for cozy fall and winter days.
Author: Jess Nadel || Cupcakes and Kale
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 medium cooking onion, peeled and diced
2-3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 5-6 cups)
1 large or 2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 14oz can coconut milk, divided
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add in the curry paste and salt, stirring well and frying for 1 minute.
Add the squash, potato, broth and ¾ of the coconut milk and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until both squash and potato are tender. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
Carefully transfer to a blender, and in batches, purée until smooth.
Return to the pot, season to taste with additional salt or curry paste and serve, garnishing with reserved coconut milk.
With the long weekend upon us, I’m thinking ahead to a slow, lazy Monday morning full of coffee and a decadent breakfast. Enter, this Vanilla French Toast with Strawberry Sauce – a recipe from my gal Kristy’s second cookbook, But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan. Read on for the full recipe and a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself. (Squeee!)
I received my copy of the book back in November and I have loved reading through it slowly over the course of the past few months. There is literally SO much good stuff inside that it’s taken me that long to really digest it. Much like her first installation, But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan is packed with creative recipes, mouth watering photographs & plenty of charming writing full of Kristy’s warm wit.
Instead of breaking down the book by meal type, it’s divided into 20 short chapters by excuses family members might present in objection to eating vegan meals. Chapter 2, My family demands bacon and eggs for breakfast is jam packed with delicious day-starters like Mushroom-Kale Skillet Hash and the Vanilla French Toast pictured above. Look to chapter 8, aka My parents don’t understand why I won’t eat my childhood favourites for homestyle dishes, or to chapter 11, aka My sister thinks vegan baking is something only hippies do for awesome desserts everyone will love. Also, for those with dietary needs, you’ll be happy to know that each recipe is clearly labeled for gluten free, nut free and soy free options.
The first recipe we tried was The Portobello Philly Reuben (p160), and they were unreal. Mark and I scarfed down the entire thing (i.e. we each ate 2 sandwiches because it was so good and we couldn’t help ourselves). Seriously – I can’t say enough about this one… savoury, meaty mushrooms, Russian dressing, sauerkraut and an amazing melty cheese all on crusty bread? #myideaofheaven.
The Cauliflower Alfredo Baked Ziti (p209) was so yummy, the whole family ate it up – including our vegan kiddo Woodrow who is still on a sauce strike.
The Sun-Dried Tomato Linguini (p293) was a quick and easy meal. We love olives so it was a no brainer. The addition of maple syrup made me hesitate at first, but it really added a nice touch! I didn’t have any pepita on hand the night we made it, so I used sunflower seeds for the parm topping (p28) instead.
I was happy to find the BLT Summer Rolls with Avocado (p205), one of my favourite quick and easy recipes from Kristy’s blog make an appearance too. Tempeh bacon is one of my favourite ways to enjoy that protein and as a plus for me, I can sneak into the kitchen raid the prep line at Tucos Taco Lounge when no one is looking to stock up on smoky maple tempeh. Making your own though is really quite easy and Kristy will teach you how too.
Tater Totchos, Lemongrass Tofu Bahn Mi, French Onion Soup & Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches are all on my “must make” list and I’m so looking forward to trying them all. I’m also really excited to be able to offer a giveaway for this book too, thanks to the generosity of the folks at The Experiment and you can enter at the bottom of the post. Contest is open to residents of Canada & the US. Good luck! But let’s not rush, first let’s dig in to the recipe for Vanilla French Toast with Strawberry Sauce!
There are often skeptics when it comes to vegan French toast. “ It can’t be made without eggs,” they groan. You’ll show them, with this decadent French toast! The batter is made from a combination of chickpea flour, milk, coconut milk, and vanilla beans, giving it an outstanding, slightly crispy texture and a rich flavor that can rival even the fanciest egg-based French toast. The vanilla also makes it very aromatic, getting your family excited even before they get their plates. A little whipped cream and a bright strawberry sauce will seal the deal. Once you go egg-free, you never go back.
Author: Kirsty Turner || But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan
Recipe type: Breakfast, brunch
Serves: 8 slices
1 vanilla bean
1 cup (240 ml) plain or vanilla nondairy milk (nut-free and/or soyfree if necessary)
½ cup (120 ml) canned coconut milk (or vegan creamer)
½ cup (55 g) chickpea flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1½ tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Vegan cooking spray (soy-free if necessary)
8 vegan bread slices (the thicker the better; gluten-free if necessary)
Vanilla Whipped Cream (see below), optional
Powdered sugar (or xylitol) for dusting, optional
Sliced almonds, optional
4 cups (520 g) chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 to 2 tablespoons agave syrup (or maple syrup; depending on sweetness preference)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Use a paring knife to make a slit lengthwise down the side of the vanilla bean. You don’t want to cut it in half—just split it open. Use the knife to scrape out the tiny seeds. Place the seeds in a large shallow bowl or baking dish.
Add the nondairy milk, coconut milk, flour, maple syrup, arrowroot, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined.
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Spray the pan generously with cooking spray. Dip 1 or 2 slices of bread (depending on how many will fit in your pan) in the milk mixture and soak for 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Place the slices in the pan and cook until golden and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the cooling rack and place the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, respraying the pan each time before adding new slices.
To make the strawberry sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
If you want, slice the pieces of toast in half diagonally before serving. To serve, place two slices of bread (or four halves) on a plate, topped with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream (if using), a scoop of strawberry sauce, and if you desire, a light dusting of powdered sugar. Sprinkle with a few sliced almonds and serve.
Variations ►► If you want basic French toast, you can skip the whipped cream, strawberry sauce, powdered sugar, and almonds, and just serve it doused with maple syrup.
Vanilla Whipped Cream
One 14.5-ounce (410 g) can unsweetened coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (or xylitol)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Carefully spoon the solid coconut cream into a large bowl, leaving the coconut water in the can (which you can totally keep to use for something else). Add the powdered sugar and vanilla to the cream and, using a hand mixer (fitted with a whisk attachment, if possible), mix on high speed until it has the texture of whipped cream. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Can you ever really go wrong with the combination of brown sugar, butter & chocolate? I feel like I wouldn’t be able to trust anyone who argued against me on that one. But first I’d make them some of these Vegan Toffee Bars to prove them wrong.
I made these Vegan Toffee Bars with Woodrow over March break and teased on Instagram that I would share the recipe, but seeing how it takes me about 2 months to finish a task these days, I’m finally getting around to it today. These bars are made up of simple ingredients, that I promise, are going make any harbouring case of the Mondays disappear. This is another one of my grandmother’s recipes that is both delicious and easy. (Possibly too easy… as in the time it takes to read this post, you could basically have them whipped up and ready to go in the oven!)
Also did I mention they have only FIVE ingredients!
These are the perfect dessert to make with kids because of the simple ingredients, measurements and method. Reading and following recipes is not only fun but a great way to bring numeracy into real life. The best kind of math always involves chocolate, doesn’t it?
Warm from the oven these look and smell like one big, giant cookie and that’s kind of what they are. The chocolate is all warm and melty, and the bar itself is soft and fudgy. As they cool and finish setting up, they become much more firm. You’ll probably want to eat one while it’s warm and another once cooled. You know, for “quality control”.
My grandmother’s recipe calls for chocolate chips but I’ve been somewhat obsessed with chocolate chunks lately and so I used those here, chopping them up roughly before adding them – that way you get both big chunks and some smaller chocolate shavings mixed into the batter. The only real secret to these is not overbaking them – they’re done just before they look like they’re done.
I hope you have a chance to make and share these with someone you love soon. When you do, use the hashtag #cupcakesandkale so that I can see your creations too!
Kimchi is one of those polarizing foods like cilantro. You either love it or you don’t. I stand firm on team love it and in fact, it was one of my biggest cravings during Juniper’s pregnancy. Without sounding like a broken record, I still can’t get enough of the tangy, spicy, kimchi oomph. At least once a week I’m craving it so much that I literally can’t think about anything until I get some in my belly. Enter my latest obsession: Vegan Kimchi Fried Noodles.
When the time allows for it, there’s a local sushi restaurant that makes their own vegan in-house kimchi that they use in their belly-warming kimchi udon soup. But with kids in tow, it’s not always possible to pop in on a whim, so when cravings strike I’ve resorted to eating it straight from the jar at home. Sometimes I’ll even take a whole 10 minutes to whip up my quick vegan kimchi fried noodles. With quick-cooking chow mien noodles, some chopped veggies and kimchi, it’s literally a flash in the pan.
When a recipe is faster than the time it takes to drive to the restaurant you know it’s a keeper. With such busy days, 10 minute meals are basically the only thing that guarantees I actually sit down to eat. They’re also essential if you’re one to get hangry like me. (Ahem, sorry family.) For this recipe, all you’ll need is your favourite kimchi, some fresh veggies like sugar snap peas, bok choy or broccoli, and quick cooking noodles. My usual go to is a 3 minute vegan chow mien that I buy dried (at the Bulk Barn for those Canadian folks who are wondering), but udon noodles are also great if you prefer something really dense and chewy. But either way, if you love kimchi, you’re going to love these easy, vegan kimchi fried noodles.
If you try this out at home I’d love to see it, so be sure to tag me (@jessicalaurennadel) and your drool-worthy instagram pics with #cupcakesandkale.
Quick vegan kimchi fried noodles that are ready in less than 10 minutes. Full of flavour and perfect for when hunger strikes and nothing but kimchi will do.
Author: Jess Nadel || Cupcakes and Kale
dried vegan chow mien noodles (gluten free if necessary)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 green onions, finely diced, greens and whites separated
1 cup sugar snap peas, broccoli florets or 2 cups bok choy
¼ cup vegan kimchi
1 tsp tamari, plus more to taste (gluten free if necessary)
toasted sesame seeds
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a medium frying pan, heat the sesame oil over medium high and add the white parts of the green onion and sugar snap peas. Sauté for a minute or two, stirring all the while.
Add the cooked noodles, the kimchi and the tamari and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Taste and add more tamari if you like. Remove from the heat and fold in the remaining green onions.
Transfer to a bowl, top with sesame seeds and serve.
*It's a recipe for one but super easy to multiply to serve 2 or more! *Double check the ingredients on both the noodle and kimchi packages - sometimes there can be added non-vegan ingredients that sneak in there like egg (in the noodles) and shrimp (in the kimchi).
It’s been a while since I’ve shared a cookbook with you, but you’re in luck because ’tis the season for new releases and I’ve got a couple coming your way in the next few weeks!
I’ve been a fan of Amber St. Peter’s recipes from her blog Fettle Vegan for some time now. She’s always got the most inventive and beautiful dishes (and photography!) that she shares like Jackfruit Philly Cheesesteaks and this ingenious Cranberry Orange Clafoutis. I think it was actually Instagram that drew me to her as we have a shared love of tacos and vegan mexican food. She hosts monthly vegan taco pop ups in her California area under the name Tacolepsy, and man oh man, do I ever wish I lived close enough to try them!!
Her newly released cookbook is titled Homestyle Vegan and let me tell you, it too, is jam packed with gorgeous treats. It’s so appealing that my mother in law picked it up as it lying around the house this other week and she pretty much sat and read it cover to cover. She’s begging me to borrow it to try out a few of the recipes, namely the Quinoa Meatball Subs!
The entire book is filled with cozy, vegan comfort foods – perfect for the chilly weather that’s upon us. The recipes include everything from Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy to Buffalo Cauliflower Bites to Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies . And even the chapters themselves are laid out into mouthwatering categories such as: Meals That’ll Stick To Your Ribs, Bake Sale-Worth Baked Goods, When Cookies Won’t Cut It and Have A Drink. The first recipe I made was the Vegetable Pot Pie and it was the perfect, stick-to-your-ribs winter meal that I look forward to making again and again over this long Northern Ontario winter .
I’m also a sucker for vegan Caesar salads and basically can never turn one down when I see one grace a menu. Homemade are always the best though, and so I couldn’t wait to try Amber’s version from the book along with her Homemade Dill Croutons. MEGA yum! The salad did not disappoint, it was SO creamy and tangy and cheesy and the sour dough dill croutons were perfect. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you – if you have any family dinners this holiday season and you want to bring a dish that everyone will enjoy, this a great one. Because really, who doesn’t like Caesar salad?! (Hopefully one or two people actually so that there’s enough to go back for seconds, thankyouverymuch.)
And thanks to the generosity of the folks at Page Street Publishing, you have the chance to win yourself a copy too! Entry form is below the recipe at the end of this post. Contest runs until Sunday December 18th and is open to residents of Canada and the US. Good luck!
I love a good Caesar salad! It’s the perfect lunch or light dinner and tastes good anytime of the year. This dressing is as rich and salty as the original, but much better for you. The homemade dill croutons are tangy and crunchy, and the vegan Parmesan cheese takes the salad to a whole new level of delicious! This salad is the perfect excuse for working more greens into your diet and is a delicious, dairy-free alternative to the original.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (191ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the chopped greens and scallions in a large salad bowl and set aside in the fridge to chill.
To make the dressing, soak the raw cashews in the hot water for at least 30 minutes. Drain the water off and pour the cashews into a food processor or high-speed blender. Pour in the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and water and blend on high speed until the mixture becomes creamy. Pour the dressing into a small bowl and place it in the fridge to chill with the greens.
To make the croutons, spread the stale bread cubes over the lined baking sheet and drizzle evenly with the olive oil. Toss the cubes to evenly coat them in the oil, then sprinkle the fresh dill, salt and pepper over the top. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set aside to cool.
While the croutons bake, prepare the vegan Parmesan by combining the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture become a fine meal.
To prepare the Caesar salad, pull the greens from the fridge and drizzle with the dressing. You don’t need to use it all, your choice. Use two spoons or a set of tongs to toss the greens evenly in the dressing. Sprinkle the croutons and Parmesan cheese generously over the top and serve immediately!
You may have leftover dressing and cheese. The dressing and cheese will both keep for up to 2 weeks in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Recipe reprinted from Homestyle Vegan by Amber St. Peter with the permission of Page Street Publishing Co. 2016
Once again it’s been far too long between posts, and I can’t even recall the last time I shared a recipe. I’d like to tell you that I’ve been working away on an armful of new and exciting dishes for you, but in reality it’s been busy over here in all the baby ways instead. Juniper is already 7 weeks old and I’m trying desperately to eat up these sweet newborn days that are just about behind us. It’s also been very busy around here as we finally opened up our bakery/coffee bar a month ago! So far the reception has been wonderful and it’s all because of the hard work of many, many helping hands. I do hope to share some photos here at some point, but knowing me that will take some time, so in the meantime you can find us on Instagram as @beardsbakery for all the sweet eye candy.
I’m also sharing today one of my favourite recipes for refreshing Minty Matcha Nanaimo Bars from my book, Superfoods 24/7. It’s all the amazingness of those oh-so-Canadian holiday bars with an infusion of potent matcha powder and fresh minty flavour. They’re great for make ahead treats that can be whipped out from the freezer when guests pop over or for late night chocolate cravings. They are very rich and filling with plenty of coconut and so small pieces are all you need. They’re all kinds of wonderful.
Also in the category of wonderful is that Superfoods 24/7 has been shortlisted for the Taste Canada Awards! There’s a big party to announce the winners tonight that Junebug and I will be attending. I’m pretty honoured for my book to be named in such lovely company and look forward to toasting all the winners this evening. (I’m also looking forward to a late night freezer nanaimo bar too!)
Nanaimo bars are a quintessential Canadian treat. Named after the town from which they originate, they are rich slices of goodness, with a chocolate and coconut base, a creamy filling, and topped with raw chocolate.
Author: Jess Nadel || Cupcakes and Kale
Serves: 25 bars
For the Base:
½ cup walnuts
½ cup almonds
1 cup medjool dates
3 tablespoons cacao powder
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
pinch of sea salt
For the Middle Layer:
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon pure mint extract
2 teaspoons matcha powder
For the Top Layer:
1 x quantity Easy Raw Maca Chocolate Bark (see below)
½ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup agave nectar
½ cup cacao powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Line an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish with parchment paper and set aisde.
For the base, grind the walnuts and almonds in a food processor until the consistency of a coarse flour Add the remaining ingredients and process until broken down; when pinched between your thumb and forefinger the mixture should stick together. If not, add a tablespoon of water and try again. Transfer to the baking dish and press down firmly in an even layer. Place in the freezer.
For the middle layer, wipe out the bowl of the food processor. Add the shredded coconut and process until it turns into coconut butter, about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and process to combine. Add this layer on top of the base layer and smooth out with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Return to the freezer.
Make a batch of the Easy Raw Maca Chocolate Bark (Whisk together the coconut oil and agave in a bowl until completely mixed. Add the cacao powder, maca powder, and salt, whisking continuously until smooth. Work quickly as the mixture will start to solidify.) and add this to the pan as the final layer, smoothing it out with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Return to the freezer for 20 minutes.
Slice into 25 bars using a heated knife to cut through without breaking the chocolate layer. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to two weeks. If storing, in the freezer, remove 20 minutes before serving (10 minutes if storing in the refrigerator).