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How to make your own Instagram-worthy ice cream

Fancy ice cream sandwiches or crazy cones are all the rage, but the wait to get one of these trendy desserts can sometimes take all the fun out of eating them. Instead, try to make your own at home. Dust with fun ingredients and make these desserts as Instagram-worthy as those $20 cones from downtown Toronto!

The first step is, obviously, to create the ice cream. If you have an ice cream maker…well, you shouldn’t need to go out for ice cream to begin with. If you don’t, it’s quite easy to make using some items you find around the house.

First, stir together two cups of heavy cream and one can of condensed milk. Whip it until the cream creates peaks. Add in a flavour (cocoa powder, vanilla, strawberries, ect.) and fold in to the cream mixture. Put it in a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight. Use an ice cream scoop to get circular scoops.

If you want to go the old fashioned route, you can also make ice cream with Ziploc freezer bags. Fill one with half and half cream as well as a few tablespoons of sugar. Mix in your flavours and put these items in a medium size bag. Place the bag in the larger bag and fill the large bag with ice and table salt. Shake until it creates a ice cream consistency.

This process can take a while and is better performed with groups so that everyone has a turn shaking!

If you want to make a vegan alternative, try using coconut milk or almond milk as the base and add your sweetener. You can also create an ice cream by using puree banana and swirling in peanut butter and chocolate chips! No milk-base required.

Top your ice cream with chocolate sauce and fruit. If you want, you can melt chocolate chips in the microwave (or in a glass bowl on top of a pot on the stove) and dip your ice cream in it. Make sure your ice cream is really frozen so nothing slides off. Then, top with sprinkles, marshmallows, or cookies. Get creative and use whatever you have in the cupboard!

If you want to use a cone, make sure to do any “fancy-ing” to it before putting the ice cream on top. Fill the inside with melted chocolate and dip the ring in white chocolate. Stick some sprinkles, cotton candy, chopped nuts, or any other toping on the chocolate. Let dry – this only should take a few minutes.

The best part — once you have the ingredients, you can indulge in much more than a single ice cream cone!

Celebrating Women: Amy Symington

There are many reasons why people choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle — whether its for ethical reasons or to inspire a healthy lifestyle — but avoiding meat and dairy may have other perks, including preventing chronic disease. Nutritionist, vegan chef, professor, and owner of Amelia Eats, Amy Symington, focuses on teaching individuals how dietary choices can actually impact overall health and contribute to saving lives.

Symington is a multi-faceted woman actively involved in the vegan health community. She is very warm and easy to approach and is intelligent in a non-assuming way. Symington started her career as a vegan chef seven years ago and now teaches nutrition and culinary classes at George Brown College. “There is a stigma to vegan food being not flavourful,” Symington says. “The other chefs try it and they are shocked at how good it is. I like to focus on converting people to a plant-based diet through food.”

Alongside teaching, Symington runs a business called Amelia Eats that does catering, nutritional consulting, and creates recipes for various publications and businesses. She provides vegan nutrition expertise through her website and will also provide deluxe vegan catering dinners at request.

Symington’s interests go beyond simple cooking. She is researching how plant-based fare can help people who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. “My mom had breast cancer. During her treatment, I focused on plant-based foods and nutrition,” Symington says. “During my mother’s treatment, I found there wasn’t an option for people with cancer to be provided with a nutritionist or dietician. It was more like an assembly line with pills. There is no tender love and care in our system when it comes to cancer. There are wonderful doctors and nurses, but when to nutrition there is a gap. Processed red meats in particular, sausage, and bacon is directly linked to an increased risk of cancer and also breast cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a statement that shook people last year.”

After learning more about these risks, Symington began a vegan supper club program on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, and provides social and emotional support to cancer survivors. The program involves preparing and cooking vegan fare for cancer patients and their families twice a week. “Gilda’s program focuses on cancer survivors. There are 50 different cancer care affiliates in North America and the vegan supper club programming is very popular,” Symington says. “People were very skeptical at first and would jokingly ask for steak instead, but they came around to the vegan meal and now they love it. It is all about winning people over with really flavourful food.” She focuses on a menu with fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. “They are most nutrient dense foods out there with high fibre, healthy fats and high antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off ‘free radicals’, osteoporosis, and diabetes and help with chronic disease prevention in general.”

Symington’s mom focused more on a vegetarian diet when she was in treatment, and her doctor became concerned if this was the best choice for her health. This later inspired Symington to start a community guide about how plant-based diets can positively influence good nutrition if you have cancer. It is proven that fruits and vegetables are filled with phytochemicals, fibre, and health promoting nutrients and tend to be healthier than meat and dairy products. As an expert nutritionist, Symington is creating a plant-based guide to cancer nutrition for people who would like to prevent cancer, those going through treatment, and those who are in recovery from treatment. Symington received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) award to create the guide and this will help fund the project. “There will be three components, including a literature review on what to consume for cancer prevention, then large quantity recipes focusing on foods mentioned, and the third part will focus on how to run your own supper club programming,” Symington says. “The students at George Brown are helping create recipes and then we test the recipe at Gilda’s on Tuesdays.”

Along with her husband, Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the couple plan to raise their son as a vegan.  “Generally. babies are vegan. You exclusively breast feed them, which is recommended. The first things that are recommended are cereals and fruits and vegetables. From there, use calcium-fortified tofu, lentils, and whole grains to get your complete proteins,” Symington says. “As a parent, you need to be informed about specific nutrients including vitamin D, DHA, probiotics, B12, iron, and calcium.”

When Symington isn’t working, she enjoys cooking on her own time and making delicious vegan food. Her guilty pleasure sounds absolutely delicious: “My death row meal is a good burrito or taco equipped with avocado and sweet potato with tempeh, and turmeric or tempeh tacos, always with hot sauce.” When she isn’t working, She also loves running and soccer, and is currently reading “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford.

Symington is leading the way in disease prevention with a compassionate approach to food and health. She is inspiring and her knowledge about vegan health foods gives people vital information about living a healthier lifestyle. Check out Symington’s recipes through Amelia Eats and if you get a chance, enjoy one of her vegan meals.

Top foods to boost your mood

Feeling down? Your diet could be a factor. Despite the everyday stresses of life, poor eating habits can also contribute to your bad mood. Lack of mental and physical energy is not something you want to deal with while trying to conquer the world. If you’re experiencing a case of the Debby Downer lately, try these mood boosting remedies:

1. Apples

They always say: an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples are one of the most valuable remedies for mental depression. The various chemical substances present in this fruit help the synthesis of glutamic acid, which controls the wear and tear of nerve cells. Try eating the apple with honey and milk. This combination makes an effective tonic that helps recharge nerves, gives new energy, and vitalizes the life.

2. Root of asparagus

The root of asparagus is highly nutritious and is used as an herbal medicine for mental disorders. Much like apples, it is a good tonic for the brain and nerves. One or two grams of the powder of the dry root of the plant can be taken once daily.

3. Bananas

There is logic behind the phrase ”going bananas,” you know! Eating bananas facilitates the cross-talk among the brain cells and affects the mood. To prevent recurring minor depression, a banana- a – day therapy will help.

4. Cardamon

Add some cardamon seeds to boiling water along with a teabag. These seeds will add a very pleasant aroma to the tea, which can be used as a medicine in the treatment of depression.

5. Rose Petals

Feel like a queen by infusing half a cup of rose petals in two cups of boiling water. Drink it occasionally, instead of the usual tea and coffee, and get the benefits. If you wish, leave it to cool off, place it in the refrigerator and drink it cool.

6. Cashew nut

The cashew nut is another valuable remedy for general depression and nervous weakness. It is rich in vitamins of the B group, especially thiamine, and is therefore useful in stimulating the appetite and the nervous system.

7. Herb lemon balm

The herb lemon balm has been used successfully in the treatment of mental depression. It alleviates brain fatigue, lifts the heart from depression, and raises the spirits. A cold infusion of the balm taken freely is excellent for its calming influence on the nerves.

8. Peanuts

Peanuts are good sources of trytophan, an essential amino acid which is important for the production of serotonin, one of the key brain chemicals involved in mood regulation. Surprisingly, peanuts may have good affects in lowering depression.

 

Remember: In addition to eating healthy, daily exercise and a positive attitude is also highly important. If you’re experiencing depression and anxiety and are having trouble completing day to day activities, be sure to also visit your doctor for more information on how to improve your mental health.

Good luck!

What do you eat to boost your mood? Tell us in the comments below! 

 

5 things to do with leftover ham

Your Sunday Easter dinner turned out perfectly — the scalloped potatoes were cheesy and creamy, the vegetables were crisp, and the ham was cooked to utter perfection. But, your guests didn’t eat as much as you expected. Instead of having enough leftover ham for a day or so as planned, you have enough for a few weeks! What to do?

If you’re like me, you can only eat ham and potatoes for so many days before starting to feel sick. Here are five alternatives for those who don’t want to waste all of those fantastic leftovers:

hash-brown-eggs-nests-with-avocado-1
thecookingjar.com

Eggs: Nothing goes better with ham than some good old eggs and cheese. Put some of the ham in an omelette or make little hashbrown nests with some shredded potatoes. After spraying some muffin tins, line it with the potato, crack an egg, and top with diced ham, cheese, and some spinach if you’re feeling healthy. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees.

Betty Crocker
Betty Crocker

Casserole: What’s the easiest way to use leftovers? Throw them all in a casserole dish and let it warm up in the oven. Personally, I like to combine some cooked pasta, peas, corn, onions, ham, and cheese with some mushroom sauce. If you want some more vegetables, feel free to add some carrots or broccoli. This is comfort food at its best.

 

Skinnytaste
Skinnytaste

Soup: One of my favourite meals on a rainy day is split-pea soup, with yellow peas, onions, ham, and bacon. Put all of these ingredients into a pot with vegetable stock, pepper, and garlic, and let simmer for a few hours. I like to puree the soup slightly so that it’s not as thick.

recipe.com
recipe.com

Stirfry: Most of the time I use chicken or beef in my stirfry, but it’s easy to substitute that with ham. Put some cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, bok choy, and pineapple in a skillet with your leftover ham. Cook in some water until the vegetables are mostly cooked and then add some soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. Serve on top of rice.

tobasco.com
tobasco.com

Pizza: Pineapple, ham, and cheese (extra cheese!). Those are my absolute favourite things to put on a pizza. If you want to make this at home, try it on some large flatbread or on a tortilla wrap. If you aren’t a pineapple fan, try substituting some tomatoes or green peppers. Top with olives, chilli flakes, and onions. Enjoy!

 

What do you plan to do with your Easter leftovers? Let us know in the comments

Vegan coconut curry butternut squash soup with a kick

This delicious soup is a great choice for the cold winter months, when sore throats and grey weather has taken over Toronto’s city skies.

LoveWildLiveFree is a vegan lifestyle blog founded by Avra Epstein, a local Toronto lawyer and vegan blogger enthusiast. Epstein is a passionate and powerful force in the vegan community and her recipes are scrumptious as well as healthy. Her website also provides insights into the nutritional value of the ingredients used, which is really helpful as a vegan and health conscious foodie.

This soup is fantastic because it will not only satisfy the spice lover’s taste pallet, but it will also fill you up at the same time.  Butternut squash recipes can be tasteless without the right spices and LoveWildLiveFree goes above and beyond with a careful selection of red pepper flakes, curry powder, Himalayan salt, pepper and cinnamon. I also appreciate the quality of sweetness combined with the spice. The coconut milk is rich and sweet; yet, it is balanced well with a hint of heat, giving this wholesome dish a bit of a kick. Enjoy and visit www.lovewildlivefree.com for more great recipes and vegan tips!

You will need:

1 tbsp unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil

1 cup red onion, roughly diced

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or a small hot pepper (diced)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 butternut squash (about 3.5 lbs)

2 Tbsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Himalayan salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 cups low sodium vegetable broth**

1 – 14-ounce (414 ml) can of full fat coconut milk

1 – 2 tbsp raw cane juice crystals from Giddy Yo Yo (or Coconut Sugar)

Topping suggestions:

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

Red Chilli Flakes

Raw Pumpkin Seeds

 (Use organic ingredients)

Instructions: 

  1. Cut squash in half so that the top and bottom are separated (this will make it easier to handle). Carefully peel squash. Cut the bottom portion in half, remove and discard seeds. Chop squash into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy soup pot. Add onions and red pepper flakes/diced hot pepper, sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently.
  3. Add garlic, and sauté for another minute, making sure not to burn the garlic.
  4. Next, add the butternut squash, curry powder, cinnamon, Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk and sugar, stirring to combine. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Simmer soup on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat. Working in small batches, carefully ladle the soup into a blender to puree. Alternatively, you can use a handheld emulsifier. Note: I prefer to use a glass blender when blending hot food as I am personally wary about placing hot food in plastic. If you’re using a blender with a plastic container you can always opt to allow the soup to cool before blending.   
  7. Place the pureed soup back in the pot and warm before serving. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Top each serving with hemp for a nutty source of plant-based protein and omega fats (I always use Manitoba Harvest Hemp). You can also add red pepper flakes for an added kick and raw pumpkin seeds for extra protein and crunch!

Original recipe can be found here: Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup with a Kick

Sassy vegan red and green Christmas tarts

Christmas dinner can be difficult for vegans. Many traditional dishes are topped to the brim with eggs, cheese and milk not to mention chicken or ham. Dinner can quickly become a plate with a bun (if you’re lucky) and some green beans if you aren’t prepared. This is why it is essential to plan a great meal that will have any meat eater ditching the turkey stuffing for a delectable vegan alternative.

The amazing Katherine Kooks created a fantastic recipe for Red and Green Christmas Tarts and posted it on her blog, My accidentally delicious vegan cuisine! These tarts are delicious and a great choice for a potluck because of their holiday appropriate colour palette. They are easy to make and, surprisingly, taste similar to stuffing.

By combining cranberries, broccoli, Portobello mushrooms and sundried tomatoes with spices, almond milk and tahini, it creates a colorful and healthy food mixture. The combination can then be placed into mini pie shells and baked for 25 minutes. This recipe is easy, quick and healthy with a holiday twist. It is a great food option and will bring festive vegan cheer to the dinner table this Christmas holiday.

RED AND GREEN CHRISTMAS TARTs

Ingredients:  

Fresh cranberries

Broccoli ( chopped into flourettes)

portobello mushrooms

Sundried Tomatoes

garlic

coconut oil

rosemary

thyme

almond milk

Tahini

green onion

sea salt

pie shells *  Our compliments makes vegan pie and tart shells!

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat pie shells for seven minutes and they will expand slightly.

While shells are heating, sauté minced garlic and Portobello mushrooms with coconut oil.

Add a pinch of rosemary, basil and sea salt.

Chop broccoli florets and saute with sundried tomatoes.

Grab that bowl with mushrooms in it! Toss in 1 1/2 cups of almond milk, 2 tbl spoons of tahini. Chop in green onions, black pepper and a dash more rosemary.

Stir the mixture and add in the broccoli/sundried mix.

It will almost solidify in the oven. As for the cranberries, take the partially toasted shells and drop it in the bottom of each tart. Spoon the mixture on top and added one more cranberry to the tops of each tart.

Bake them for about 25 minutes., just keep an eye on them if the tops feel too soft they need more time.

For more delicious vegan recipes, visit Katherine Kooks food blog and enjoy!

https://katherinekooks.wordpress.com/

RECIPE: Garlic Scape & Cherry Tomato Pasta

Roasting garlic scapes with tomatoes and red onion sweetens them and enriches their flavor; toss them with pasta, lemon juice, and arugula for a simple summer meal.

SERVES 4

Ingredients

 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 12 spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 10 garlic scapes
  • 1 pint multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta and keep warm.
  3. Toss olive oil, garlic scapes, tomatoes, red onion, salt, and pepper and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 12–15 minutes, until tomatoes are just beginning to burst.
  4. Remove from oven and toss with spaghetti, arugula, and lemon zest and juice.
  5. Serve immediately.

Comment below and tell us how it was. Bon appetite!  

 

Repost from: http://www.saveur.com/article/recipes/garlic-scape-and-cherry-tomato-pasta

RECIPE: Blueberry Surprise Casserole

Try this warm-from-the-oven casserole at family brunch this weekend! Cream cheese is the secret ingredient in this recipe, which gets a generous topping of blueberry or maple syrup. Yum!

Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 20 mins
Chill: 2 hrs
Bake: 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 12 slices dry white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • 2 8 – ounce package cream cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup
  • Blueberry-flavored, maple, or maple-flavored syrup

Directions

  1. Place half of the bread cubes over the bottom of a well-buttered 13x9x2-inch baking dish (3-quart rectangular). Sprinkle cream cheese and blueberries over bread cubes. Arrange remaining bread cubes over blueberries.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a rotary beater; beat in milk and the 1/2 cup syrup. Carefully pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.
  3. Bake, covered, in a 375 degrees F oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake about 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, and topping is puffed and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with blueberry-flavored or maple syrup. Makes 8 servings.

Note*  To dry bread slices: Arrange bread in a single layer on a wire rack; cover loosely and let stand overnight. Or cut bread with 1/2-inch cubes; spread in a large baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool.

Comment below and let us know how it went!

Repost from: http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/fruit/blueberry-surprise-french-toast-casserole

 

Gingerbread cookies from Acton

While you might know Acton as the town with the Old Hide House – it’s also a great little town to visit over the holidays. This recipe came from my grandmother – I still remember visiting her for Christmas and spending the afternoon in her kitchen helping cut out gingerbread men.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vinegar
5 cups flour

Instructions:
• Mix softened butter with brown sugar until fluffy. Add baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses and mix well.
• Beat eggs into the mixture until creamy. Stir in the vinegar.
• Mix in the flour pat into two balls, cover with plastic wrap + refrigerate for 2 hours (you can freeze for up to 3 months)
• On a floured surface, roll chilled dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cute cookie cutters.
• Bake at 375 degrees, on nonstick cookie sheets, for 6-8 minutes, or until browned around the edges.
• Allow to cool completely before decorating with icing and candies.

For the icing:

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons butter softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon milk

Instructions for making icing
• mix powdered sugar with soft butter. Add in almond extract and milk Icing should be stiff enough to use as a candy adherent.

Yield: Makes 8-10 dozen cookies

RECIPE: Hamburgers – kitchen style

It is summer time, which brings barbecue season. I always look forward to cooking hamburgers on the Barbie, but now that I live in an apartment the chances of doing any backyard barbecuing is gone, except when I am invited to a friend’s backyard barbecue. I do miss the smell of hamburgers cooking and the aroma lingering right to the front door. Often, the smell of the delicious food would be just after a run. I could hardly wait to finish stretching so I could enjoy a hamburger, garnished with ketchup, onions and cheese. That would hit the spot after a hard workout.

Living in an apartment there is no barbecuing allowed. The next best option is to take my culinary skills to the kitchen and make my hamburgers perhaps not barbecue style, but certainly decadent. I call it the kitchen style barbecuing.

After a run last week, I decided to make hamburgers kitchen style. Like with all meats, I am careful in how I handle the meat.

Here is some information from Be Food Safe:

Use a food thermometer – you can’t tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks.

Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.

Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.

Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces.  If you use cloth towels, WASH them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cool running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.

Here is how I make my hamburgers (patties are ready made):

160°F (71°C) Make sure the hamburgers are cooked at this temperature.
I use extra lean Canadian ground beef.
I put a bit of water in a skillet and a pinch of extra virgin olive oil.
I add the burgers, and I cook on low temperature. I let the meat slowly cook until ready to turn over.
I add mushrooms and onions.
When I see the hamburgers cooking fairly well, I turn the patties over again.
I cook the hamburgers until there is no pink in the meat and the mushrooms and onions are well done.
I put cheese on top of the burger until it melts.
I keep the burgers cooking on minimum.
I butter the buns with mayonnaise and cook in the toaster oven.
I place the burger on the bun and add whatever condiments.

The taste is delicious, and the burgers are basically cooked in water with a bit of oil. A healthy choice for me. My partner loves my burgers and I am ready to have my friends taste it.

As an avid runner, I watch my diet and I also make sure to include red meat because of my iron levels. Here is some information I received from Canadian Beef.

Happy grilling.