Sunday, November 23, 2014

Maple Glazed Gingerbread Donuts + Giveaway!


I've had this recipe for gingerbread donuts dancing around in my head for quite some time now.  There's just something about gingerbread spices that make me feel all warm and cozy inside.  Even just the smell of gingerbread puts me in the holiday spirit instantly!  These donuts are quick and easy - from start to finish, your family can be enjoying these soft and cake-like donuts in around 20 minutes!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Vegan Thanksgiving


Though I'm not vegan myself, I often enjoy vegetarian and vegan meals.  Over the past few months I've made a few vegan recipes that really fit well with the overall theme of Thanksgiving.  I thought I would put them together in a roundup for all of my vegetarian and vegan readers to enjoy!  A special thanks to my vegan friend Lisa for all of her advice while I was putting together these recipes.  

Have a happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  

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Not only does this dish serve as an excellent main course for vegetarians and vegans alike, the filling can also double as a stuffing or dressing for guests that are gluten free.  Full of holiday inspired flavours, this is the perfect dish to accompany any Thanksgiving feast. 



Vegan Gravy
Your guests won't believe that this gravy doesn't contain any meat products whatsoever.  It's rich complexity of flavours is so satisfying, even the non-vegans at the table are bound to be reaching for seconds!  


This recipe is my favourite use of carrots by far.  The sweet glaze is cut perfectly by the tang of balsamic vinegar, and a beautiful presentation is really easy to achieve. In this recipe, swap the honey for agave nectar or simply add more brown sugar. 


This is one of my all-time favourite salad recipes.  It comes from my husband's Uncle Frank, who is the salad dressing connoisseur of the family.  This greek salad dressing is the king of all salad dressings.  Simply swap the feta cheese for your favourite vegan alternative, or omit it completely. 


This is one dessert that is so rich and satisfying, it's almost hard to believe that it contains no dairy and is actually quite healthy for you. The first time I made it for my husband, I didn't tell him what it was made of, and he thought it was one of the best chocolate puddings he had ever had.  Hint - freeze any leftovers into popsicle molds for a delicious fudgesicle treat! 


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Friday, November 21, 2014

Perfectly Poached Eggs



Ingredients
- buttered toast
- asparagus
- poached eggs* (see below)
- parmesan or gruyere cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste


I have a secret to share with you all.  The secret of perfectly poached eggs!  I've always been a huge fan of eggs cooked in this style, thought I have to admit, it has always felt like a bit of a fine art cooking them perfectly every single time.  They always cooked okay, but never looked as beautiful as I thought they should - mine always turned out a bit ragged no matter how hard I tried to keep the eggs contained while cooking.  That is until I started cracking the eggs into a mesh strainer to get rid of the whispy little egg bits - now I  get perfectly poached eggs every single time!  

Directions

Fill a medium saucepan with a few of inches of water.  Heat on high until it barely reaches a simmer (you don't want too many bubbles or your eggs will end up all over the place). 

Working with only 1 egg at a time, crack egg into a fine mesh strainer (placed over a bowl) to get rid of the wispy egg bits.  Gently place eggs in boiling water, cover with a lid.  Lower heat to low, and cook for 4 minutes until the whites are cooked through. Gently lift the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon.


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Cheddar, Olive, & Caramelized Onion Rolls



As many of you know, I live in the beautiful rocky mountains bordering Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada.  Whenever I travel or I've been away for any amount of time, I immediately feel at home the second I see the rocky mountains peaking out through the stunning trees that surround them.  I know that whenever my friends and family come home to visit (especially around the holidays) they likely feel the exact same way.


The moments I look forward to the most during the holiday season are the times spent with with the people I care about taking in the glorious mountains that we all call home.  More often than not, this happens in the form of a road trip, whether a planned adventure or a quick trip between festivities.  It's the time between the destinations that I cherish the most.  For me, that's what makes the moment, because after all, it's not about the destination, but the journey itself.

It was on one of these very road trips that inspired this recipe.  Around this time last year, my husband and I drove into Jasper to meet up with some family members for a holiday meal.  Before dinner we stopped at our favourite local bakery to pick up a loaf of their famous cheddar olive bread to take home with us.  This bread has always been one of our favourites, so whenever we end up in Jasper, we always try to stop there.  On this particular evening, we got to the bakery just as it was closing, and much to our disappointment they had just sold their last loaf of olive bread.  As we drove home, recipes of olive bread were dancing in my mind. If you're anything like me, once a craving is inside my head, there's absolutely no turning back. 


Over the next couple of weeks I started experimenting with different recipes until finally I came up with one I liked. It was a complete split second decicion to make the final batch of this recipe into rolls rather than bread, and am I ever glad I did!  These rolls are the perfect savoury snack to either bring along for the road trip, or to come home to when you get back.
This holiday season Lindsay Olives is joining forces with some of their favourite bloggers to bringing you an amazing giveaway to help kick off your holiday season right!  

To enter, simply tell us what makes the moment for you and you'll be entered to win one (1) of four (4) $500 Visa Gift Cards complete with an Olive Entertaining Starter Kit.

Simply Tweet or Instagram what makes the moment for you and use the hashtag #LindsayMoment to be entered in the contest.  You can check out the other moments by visiting Lindsay's website

So tell us, what makes the moment for you?  

Cheddar, Olive, and Caramelized Onion Rolls

Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tsp yeast
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
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- 1 tsp butter 
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

Place first 7 ingredients in bread maker in the order that they appear on the list.  Turn bread maker on, being sure to use the "dough only" setting. 

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan set to medium-low heat.   Add onions and sauté until caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Once onions are finished, remove from heat, and set aside to cool completely before moving on to the next step. 

Once dough is ready, punch down and roll into a 14x8 rectangle onto a well floured surface. 

Spread cooled onions evenly onto dough, leaving about 1/2 an inch space around the edges.  

Sprinkle chopped olives on top of the onions, and then all but 1/2 cup of the cheese (you'll be using this later). 


Tightly roll dough into a cylinder shape, then cut into 12 equal sized pieces. 

Place rolls on a well greased cookie sheet (or line a cast iron skillet with parchment paper like I did), being sure to place a few inches apart to allow the rolls room to expand when they rise.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese. 

Loosely cover and place in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes, or until rolls have doubled in size. 

Hint - pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (celsius), add buns, then turn off.  This should provide a nice cozy spot for your rolls to rise. 

Bake rolls in a pre-heated, 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden brown.

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This post was sponsored by Lindsay Olives.  I received monetary compensation in exchange for this post, though as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash


Here is my November recipe for my column in The Hinton Voice!  I've been really looking forward to sharing this recipe with you all since it's fast becoming one of our family's favourites, and it's perfect for the holidays!  

Read my column in full below: 

[This dish is all about presentation and takes very little effort to pull off.  Squash is abundantly in season right now so a good acorn squash should be fairly easy to get your hands on.  For this recipe, you want to try and find a large squash if possible (more room to stuff quinoa!) though really any size will do.

I made this recipe for the first time around Thanksgiving, when I was trying to think of a meat free alternative for all of my vegetarian/vegan friends, and also for something that my gluten free friends could enjoy.  There are a few people in my family who aren’t huge fans of turkey (I know, right?!), and I also have some friends who are vegetarians so turkey isn’t an option for them.  The quinoa in this dish packs a huge punch of protein, making it an ideal meat free alternative.  Because the flavors used in this recipe have such an incredible holiday vibe, it will pair perfectly with any holiday feast!  The flavors in this recipe are reminiscent of stuffing or dressing, making the quinoa portion of this dish an excellent alternative for celiac (gluten free) guests as well. 

Whether you’re a vegetarian, meat lover, or simply someone who loves to try new things, this is one recipe you’re going to want to make!]

Recipe makes 8 servings

Ingredients
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2-3 tsp coconut or olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 gala apple, diced
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp rosemary
- ½ tsp sage
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions

Slice acorn squash into 8 equal size pieces.  Scoop out the pulp and seeds, then rinsed each piece and pay dry – place on lightly oiled baking sheet. Hint – you can roast the seeds just like you would pumpkin seeds!

Cook quinoa in broth according to package directions (I like to use a rice cooker for mine!).

In a medium frying pan set to medium-low heat, sauté onions, and apples in 1-2 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil if that’s what you’re using) until onions are slightly translucent and apples are cooked through.  Add pecans, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper, and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes until pecans are lightly toasted and the herbs are fragrant. 

Place filling in acorn squash on baking sheets being sure to press the quinoa down as much as you can without overfilling.   Melt 1 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil) and brush on edges of squash.  Repeat this step with maple syrup. 

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until squash is soft (this will depend entirely on big the squash was and how thick you cut it).

Nutritional Info (per serving)

Calories – 167   Fat – 6    Carbs – 26     Protein - 4   Fibre – 3

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vegan Gravy


Even though I'm not a vegan (or even vegetarian for that matter) I really enjoyed this recipe, and so did my meat and potatoes loving husband (in fact, he thought it went really well with his steak!). The fact is, I love trying different recipes, and whether it's vegan, gluten free, etc. it's still food, and something I love experimenting with!  So vegan and carnivores unite - this recipe is perfect for the both of you. ;)

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