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How to make homemade Kombucha

Kombucha is a delicious fizzy drink that naturally ferments tea and has several satisfying health benefits. It is known to lower the risk of cancer and help with joint pain, and is a great alternative to drinking pop. It can also be made at home through a slightly strange, but fascinating fermenting process.

Ingredients:

  • One Kombucha SCOBY
  • Tea
  • Sugar
  • Starter tea from prior batch of Kombucha
  • Filtered water

Instructions:

  1. Prepare 8-10 bags of tea in 10 gallons of water with one cup of sugar per gallon.
  2. Let the tea cool down and make sure it is room temperature before adding the scoby.
  3. Once the tea is cooled down, add the scoby with the starter liquid.
  4. Cover the jar with paper towel and an elastic band and place in a dark spot that is at room temperature.
  5. The tea will ferment in 7-10 days. Add frozen strawberries or flavoured juice if desired.

The Kombucha will be plentiful and it is fun to watch it ferment while it brews. For those with a bit of a weak stomach, it may look really strange while the tea ferments. In fact, it can look downright gross. But, I promise that if you give it a try, you’ll fall in love with homemade Kombucha!

Recipe: overnight oats with banana

I’m a big fan of this easy and simply overnight breakfast recipe. Just dump all ingredients in a jar, shake, put it in the refrigerator overnight, and then grab-and-go. It’s perfect for those who are super busy or just don’t want to have to deal with complicated breakfasts in the early hours of the morn. It’s also quite a refreshing post-workout breakfast for those who like to get up before dawn for a run.

 Ingredients

¼ cup of oats

½ almond or coconut milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

½ tsp of cinnamon

½ tbls of honey or agave

Banana or other fruit cut up into bite-sized pieces

Put all ingredients in a regular sized jam jar. Add fruit or nuts to taste. And then shake, shake shake! Maybe even dance around the kitchen a bit.

Put the jar in refrigerator over night.

It’s that simple! This breakfast is nutritious, full of fibre, and really tasty! You can heat up the oats in a microwave or it cold. Personally, I don’t mind it cold, especially if I add in some fresh fruit as opposed to frozen.

My suggestion would be to include half a banana (cut into small pieces) to help bind and fill up the spaces between oats. Add blueberries for a particularly refreshing taste. Other options include walnuts, apples, and mango for a Caribbean flavour.

Note: if you don’t enjoy the texture of oatmeal, you may not like this overnight recipe. Instead, why not try mixing chia seeds with milk, cocoa powder, and honey overnight to make a pudding!

Delicious vegan, easy-to-make chickpea burgers

Chickpea burgers are one of my favourite vegan burger options because they are nutritious, yet still feels and tastes like a delicious treat. Mashed chickpeas are extremely easy to work with and form into balls, and with oats and peanut butter, it creates the heavy texture needed to make a truly filling burger. Additionally, the siracha and BBQ sauce give the burgers an extra kick, straying away from the typical bland store-bought veggie burger. It is quick and easy to make homemade vegan burgers, and there will surely be enough for lunch the next day as well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • I cup of walnuts
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Directions: 

  1. Add chickpeas, zucchini, red, onion, cilantro, peanut butter, walnuts, siracha, red wine vinegar, BBQ sauce and spices into a food processor. Blend until ingredients are combined and still a little chunky. Pour the contents into a large bowl, then stir in one cup of rolled oats.
  2. To fry the burgers, heat a pan with two tbsp of olive oil, then cook the patties for 3-5 minutes on each side on medium heat. Alternatively, try it on the barbecue!
  3. Place your burgers on a whole wheat bun top with fresh tomato, avocado, sprouts, red onion, and whatever sauces you desire!

Enjoy these delicious burgers, and prepare to feel full and content afterwards. This vegan treat also pairs well with a Caesar salad using tahini instead of anchovies and it will leave you completely satisfied. Another successful plant-based meal for the win!

Recipe: What’s the deal with breakfast bowls?

Healthy habits may develop slowly, and it starts by planning out your meals.

As a big breakfast fan, I love the idea of breakfast bowls. They look so pretty on Instagram and on Pinterest — but when it comes to actually making it, I find myself lazy and cheap. How do you make something so beautiful so early in the morning? And what is a “breakfast bowl” anyway? Women’s Post seeks to answer some of those questions below:

Superfood it up

This is the one pictured most often in articles about breakfast bowls. It is also the option that requires a real investment — both financially and mentally. first of all, most bowls have a quinoa base. Cook the quinoa (rinse first), by placing 1/2 cup of the seeds in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of coconut or almond milk. Cook like you would rice, until the liquid is gone and the quinoa is fluffy. If you don’t want to do a quinoa base, try a chia seed and yogurt base. Top with superfoods like merjool dates, golden raisons, shredded coconut, goji berries, pepitas, sunflower seeds, flax, and more chia seeds. Add nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as berries or nuts to your liking.

Smoothie bowl

This one seems like a waste of a bowl to me. Essentially, you make a smoothie and then put it in a bowl and top it off with superfoods and fruit — chia seeds, coconut, and berries for example. You then proceed to eat the smoothie with a spoon. Personally, I make a smoothie for breakfast only when I’m on the run. I can put all these good things IN the blender (chia seeds, berries, granola, flax, ect.) and drink it on the bus. Why on earth would I want to make it into a bowl?

I think the answer is obvious: for the Instagram likes.  Am I right?

Savoury twist

Sometimes breakfasts can be a bit too sweet. Try making a quinoa base and topping it with nuts, hardboiled or poached eggs, some sausage, and avocado. Not feeling like the extra carbohydrates? Try exchanging the quinoa base for greens like kale or spinach for a breakfast salad-type of thing. Top with sprouts, sweet potatoes, or other light-vegetables that are easy on the stomach. Add some nuts for extra protein and a light homemade dressing with lemon juice, oil, and spices.

Want to satisfy a sweet craving?

Try making a chocolate chia pudding and topping it with fruit. This pudding can be quite filling, so half a cup is plenty.

In a bowl, whisk together one to two cups of milk (or almond milk) , 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup cocoa, a sweetening agent (I use agave or maple syrup), and some vanilla. Refrigerate overnight in the bowl or divide into jam jars for portability. You may have to experiment with the ratio of chia seeds and milk until you reach a consistency you like. Top with fresh strawberries, bananas, or blueberries. Or go crazy and choose all three!

While these “bowls” are picturesque, I’m not sure if they are worth the time (and money) it would take to make them. I’m more then happy with my regular smoothies and granola-yogurt combinations — which by the way, is the exact same thing as these “bowls”, but without the expensive superfoods.

But, what do you think?

Have you made a breakfast bowl before? Let us know what you put in it in the comments below!

Holiday Baking: Jalapeno Poppers

New Year’s Eve parties are all about the appetizers, well that and the beverages.

While wine or champaign may seem like the most socially-acceptable gift for a host of a New Year’s party, why not pair it with a delicious and hot appetizer — like Jalapeno Poppers. Because seriously, who doesn’t love something with a little bit of heat and a whole lot of cheese?

There are many ways to make Jalapeno Poppers. You can wrap them with cheddar and dough, and then fry them in hot oil. You can even wrap the jalapenos with cheese and bacon! But, the easiest way to make these delicious morsels is to use — and don’t laugh! — Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.

Yes, I’m serious! And if you mock, I dare you to try it! Not only is it so simple there are hardly any measurements, but you really can’t screw it up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

6 Jalapenos

Half a container of herb cream cheese

Lemon

Cilantro

*Note, this recipe makes about a dozen poppers. Double recipe if you want more.

Instructions

Cut the jalapenos in half and remove all the seeds. Mix herb cream cheese in a bowl with a handful of cilantro and a dash of lemon. Add pepper and salt if you desire. Make sure you can taste the cilantro in the mix. Fill each jalapeno with the cream cheese mixture.

Open the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and cut along the lines of the triangles. Depending on the size of your jalapenos, you may need to cut these triangles in half. Take the dough and wrap it around the jalapenos. Bake as instructed on the container.

Let cool and serve.

That’s it! It’s so easy and is bound to be a crowd pleaser. The fluffy dough is a perfect contrast to the heat of the jalapenos and the sweetness of the cream cheese mixture. And it goes perfectly with either a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Plus, the dough is great to soak up the alcohol, so maybe make a double batch just to be safe?

Sure, you can order these from any restaurant and they will come with lots of melted cheese and fried goodness — but this slightly healthier and cheaper version is perfect for that New Year’s Eve party. Enjoy!

 

Holiday Baking: homemade grape leaves

Stuffed grape leaves are a delicious snack and can often be found in Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants. Homemade grape leave wraps, also known as Dolmades, provide a delicious vegan treat not only during the holidays, but year-round. They are surprisingly easy and affordable to make, and combine some of the best spices out there, including dill, mint and lemon with rice and pine nuts. Can you say yummy?

Begin by making the filling of the grape leaves with rice:

  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup of fresh dill
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Begin by roasting the pine nuts and onion in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. After a few minutes, add the rice, one cup vegetable broth and cook rice al dente. If you completely cook the rice, it will be mushy in the grape leaves so only half cook. Once the rice is complete, add dill, mint, lemon, salt and pepper and allow to cool.

Prepping the grape leaves: 

  • Grape Leaves
  • Salt

Take the grape leaves (either jarred or fresh) and put into a pot of boiling water with salt. Allow the leaves to soften until pliable, but do not over-soften or they will tear. Remove from water and pat dry.

Wrapping and cooking the grape leaves:

Once dry, spread the grape leaf out and put two scoops of filling in near the base of the leaf. Fold the two bottom sections of the leaf up and then the sides of the leaf before rolling tightly into a grape leaf roll. Repeat.

Once the grape leaves are wrapped, pack firmly into a pot in layers. Pour the remaining vegetable broth, lemon juice and ¼ cup of olive oil over the wraps. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, but do not boil or the leaves will fall apart. Lower heat once simmering and use a plate that can be heated to press down on the grape leaves and keep them in place. Let the leaves simmer for 30 minutes until tender. Drain excess water and enjoy once cool.

The grape leaves are relatively easy to make and will give you a healthy snack to munch on while waiting for that main holiday meal. They also keep well, so you can eat them throughout the week once your leftovers run out. Enjoy!

Holiday baking: peppermint skor bark

Tis’ the season to be jolly…and that’s exactly what holiday baking is all about! For the next month (or two!), Women’s Post will be featuring our favourite holiday recipes. First of all, it gives us an excuse to bake — which is always necessary during the holiday season — and second of all, it allows us to share our traditions and hear yours!

Enjoy!

*Note: Women’s Post does not claim that any of these recipes will be healthy or good for you. We can, however, claim they will make your soul happy.

Peppermint Skor Bark

My friends and I call this the “crack” of desserts. You can’t just have one. They taste similar to skor bars — essentially they are chocolatey, sugary delights. I tend to think they are worth the calories. They are also incredibly easy to make, and require very few ingredients.

What you’ll need:

1 cup of butter

1 cup of brown sugar

24 salted soda crackers

chocolate chips (about 1 cup)

candy canes

Preheat the oven at 350.

Start by grabbing a handful of candy canes and placing them unwrapped inside a ziplock bag. Use a rolling pin or a hammer to break the candy canes into small pieces. Try to get a variety of sizes, including a fine powder to provide a garnishing effect. Be careful when doing this. It will be a loud exercise and may disrupt kids or pets.

Candy Crush: Don’t forget to take the wrappers off before mashing!

After you are done with the candy canes, put them aside. Find a sheet bake pan or a cookie sheet (depends on how steady your hands are, I prefer the bake pan) and layer it with parchment paper. This is really important, or else you won’t be able to get your skor bar off the pan. Layer your soda crackers evenly on the pan.

Grab a pot and melt your butter. Once melted, stir in the sugar and boil for two minutes until it creates a thick caramel sauce. Pour the sauce on top of the soda crackers and place in the oven for five minutes or so. Remove from the oven and cover the dessert with chocolate chips.

The soda crackers may move around during cooking. Don’t worry about it!

Place back in the oven for a minute or two until the chocolate chips are melted. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate around until it completely covers the dessert. At this point, take your crushed candy cane and sprinkle it on top of the melted chocolate. Place in the fridge or freezer for over an hour before breaking the bark into pieces.

This recipe is great because you can change up the toppings to create a few fun recipes. Try pretzels for a saltier taste or m&ms for a fun kid-friendly treat.

If its not crunchy, put it back in the freezer!

 

What are your favourite holiday recipes? Let us know in the comments below!

What to do with leftover pumpkin

It’s been a week and you’ve probably finished the leftover turkey, stuffing, and beans — but what do you do with that leftover pumpkin you have in your fridge or freezer?

This article is for those of you who use real pumpkin in your pumpkin pie — a dying breed, I know, but I respect your dedication to tradition. I myself use real pumpkin, mostly because if I don’t I think it would disappoint my mother.

A small cooked pie pumpkin usually yields enough pumpkin to make two pies. However, if you are like me and really don’t require two pies for Thanksgiving dinner, that means you have about two cups of pre-cooked filling to use up. The good news is that it’s still October, which means that pumpkin goods are still wildly popular. Here are a few ideas for those of you with some puree pumpkin leftover from your Thanksgiving cooking.

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Have your pumpkin warm in a pasta dish:

Puree the pumpkin until it’s the consistency of a sauce and then pour it in a pot. Heat it up with some cream or milk, garlic, Parmesan cheese, vinegar, and some spices to taste. If you want a more cheese-based sauce, try adding some cream cheese. This will create a creamy, but sweet, sauce that will rival any white sauce you’ve had to date.

If you aren’t a fan of creamy sauces, try adding chunks of pumpkin to your pasta dish. Pumpkin compliments seafood, but it will taste good with about anything. My favourite is to mix it with sausage, tomatoes, and coriander with a light oil-based dressing. It’s a simple way to make your pasta dishes warm and festive.

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Use it in smoothies or overnight oats for a quick breakfast:

Because the pumpkin is already cooked, it’s safe to use it in cold dishes, which is great because it tastes delicious in breakfasts. If you love smoothies, try blending some pumpkin puree, a banana, some milk (soy or 1 %), cinnamon, and a sweetening agent like maple syrup. Add some ice cubes to cool the drink. It’ll be like drinking pumpkin pie, but slightly healthier.

If you don’t like blended foods, try overnight oats — they are just as easy to make as a smoothie, except you have to do it the night before. In a jar, put a quarter of a cup of oats with half a cup of milk (or coconut milk), a bit of puree pumpkin, some chia seeds, cinnamon, and of course a sweetening agent. Add fruit or nuts if desired. Shake up the jar (with the lid on) until everything is mixed together and place in the fridge overnight. You can eat this cold or heat it up at work.

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Make baked goods, because you can never have enough:

I love pumpkin muffins and scones — but store-bought baked goods can sometimes be way too sweet and full of preservatives. Try making them at home! There are hundreds of recipes online, but before you get too overwhelmed, remember this golden rule. For muffin, you are simply replacing milk with pumpkin as a liquid ingredient. Sure, there will be a few extra spices to add and nuts to sprinkle on top if desired, but the recipe itself is as simple as making blueberry muffins.

Scones are a bit more challenging, but it’s only because you are handling a specific type of dough. However, in essence, a pumpkin scone is just a regular scone…with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices. Make sure to create an icing to drizzle on top of it. Remember: don’t douse it like they do at other coffee shops. Have fun with some designs or simply create a few lines on top of your baked good.

Enjoy your baking!

 

Do you have a favourite pumpkin recipe? Post it in the comments below!

 

5 new ways to spice up your coffee

Mornings can be rough. The nights are short, the kids are off from school, and frankly, it’s too nice outside to even think about spending your day in the office. If you’re like me, you’ll need that cup of coffee before you say your first word. Why not try something new in your daily brewing routine and try these five different ways to spruce up your coffee. You’ll thank us later.

  1. Stir in some black sesame powder:

Black sesame seeds are highly nutritious, packed with vitamin B1, fibre, magnesium and calcium (just to name a few).  Add in a teaspoon to give your coffee a rich, nutty flavour.  This tastes especially good with coconut or almond milk.

  1. Sprinkle on some spices:

You don’t need a trip to Starbucks for that gourmet kick in your cup of joe. Add in some ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or cardamom directly into your cup before you pour in your coffee for a refreshing spice kick. Alternatively, you could sprinkle on the spices after you have poured your coffee for a lighter taste. These spices are a great alternative to sugar!

  1. Try using a different type of milk:

Swapping out your usual milk and creamer can add a new unique taste to the coffee. Try using variations such as almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, hemp milk or cashew milk. You can even pick between sweetened or unsweetened.

  1. Blend in some coconut oil:

Yes, that’s right, coconut oil.  Similar to the “bulletproof coffee,” this interesting add-in brings creaminess to the drink and can keep you full all morning.  Make sure you blend in the coconut oil so that is incorporated properly with the coffee!  This also makes it frothier – almost like a latté mmm!

  1. Try sweetening with maple syrup or pure vanilla extract:

Maple syrup contains 54 antioxidants and makes a healthy, low-calorie swap for your regular sugar.  Alternatively, you could add vanilla extract; just a few drops will do to add some sweet vanilla flavour.  If you are feeling adventurous, you can also try using almond extract.

You’re welcome.

How do you spruce up your coffee? Let us know in the comments below! 

 

RECIPE: Crustless Quiche Lorraine

I love eggs. I don’t know why, but when I’m tired and just don’t want to cook, I go for eggs. But sometimes, a plain omelette isn’t enough to satisfy the craving. That’s when quiche is perfect. Feel free to play with the recipe below — add in a few extra vegetables or some fancy cheeses. Do you have company coming over? Make your quiche a little fancier with some spinach and brie.

Here’s a basic quiche recipe to get you started:

INGREDIENTS
  • 12 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 c. heavy cream (can substitute half & half or milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 c. Swiss cheese
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook until tender; add cooked, crumbled bacon and heat through.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, cream, and flour and mix well.
  3. Stir in salt, pepper, and cheese.
  4. Add onion and bacon from skillet and stir to combine.
  5. Pour into a greased 10 inch pie plate or similar sized baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffed up.
  7. Remove from oven; garnish with fresh minced chives.
  8. *Quiche can be eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature.

Repost from Cathy Trochelman and Lemon Tree Dwelling.