Wednesday, February 10

Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Let's be straight, Valentines is kind of goofy right? 

I mean the whole rigmarole of going out to a fancy restaurant, the chocolates, the purchasing of a dozen long stem roses. It all seems too much to me, and perhaps a little too phoney to stomach. Maybe real people do this, but I'm rather convinced that its an act that only exists in the movies. 

V-day in our house has always been super low key. I usually get out the art tote and cut out some construction paper hearts or paper doilies and whip out a card (any excuse to use glitter is a great day in my book). Maybe I'll trek to the nearest market and buy a house plant for Adam because I feel like buying a male flowers, and living ones at that, is somehow a feminist or rebellious act, but more often than not it's just a present for myself in disguise. And finally, like any sane human I use this day as an excuse to consume an excessive amount of chocolate, because well, its chocolate!

When it came time to think about what I wanted to make, it was a bit of a no brainer. After making both Sarah B's and Green Kitchen's recipe for black bean cookies this year, I felt inspired to add more beans to my chocolatey baking. And, since it is the Year of the Pulse, what better time than now. Adding beans to baking is a neat (as in like a "wow, this actually works?") way of subbing out flour but still giving baking body. The addition of chia and dates, along with the beans, makes for a fibre-full and dare I say healthy brownie. But unlike most "healthy" baking, this bar is far from dry and boring. It's fudgy and dense with the perfect amount of sweetness. For an extra special treat I topped one of my many batches with whipped coconut cream and raspberries. If I had cacao nibs, I would have totally added them to the mix as well. 

Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Makes a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) Pan 
Print Recipe Here 

1 Cup Cooked Black Beans (just under 1/2 a cup when dry)
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Pitted Dates (I used Deglet Noor)
1/4 Cup Hot Water
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp. Chia Mixed with 3 Tbsp. Water
1/2 Cup Almond Flour
1/2 Cup Chopped Dark Chocolate or Mini Chips 


Sea Salt
Vanilla Coconut Cream
Cacao Nibs

1. Begin by mixing the chia seeds with the 3 Tbsp. water and set them aside. Combine the dates with the 1/4 cup hot water and let them soften for 15 minutes or so. Once they soften, mash them a bit with a fork.

2. Combine the black beans, coconut oil, sea salt, maple syrup, and mashed dates with water, cocoa, and chia egg in a Vitamix or high speed blender. Blend until the mixture looks smooth and you no longer see any bean or date pieces. 

3. Empty the contents into a bowl and stir in the almond flour and chocolate chips. 

4. Spread the mixture into a parchment lined 20 cm (8 inch) square pan and bake at 175 C (350 F) for 40 minutes. 

5. Once cool, you can slice and eat the brownies as is, sprinkle with sea salt, or top with coconut cream and raspberries for something extra special. Left overs keep well in the fridge or freezer. 

xox Sophie

Wednesday, February 3

Whole Grain Pancakes with Moroccan Oranges

Winter's lull has come and all I can think about is the smell of my parents rose garden, the feeling of salt water drying on my sun kissed skin, and those long evening car rides where I close my eyes and reach my arm out the open window scoping and caressing the summer air through my fingertips. These days I find myself lingering over the overpriced /imported berries at the grocery store, humming and hawing over the ridiculousness of purchasing them. I'll even make a point of crossing the street, going out of my way, to read the window display deals at the local flight centre (I know, I know, it's painfully old fashioned). But since we can't run away this year, I'm doing the next best thing and making a point of bringing sunshine and vigour to our everyday meals. These colder months have us craving plenty of spicy curries, warming Mexican inspired dishes, ginger, turmeric, and of course lots of sunny golden citrus.

Inspired by our trip to Marrakech last year, I've gotten into the habit of serving sliced fresh oranges with a light dusting of comforting cinnamon. My newfound love of this dish is in grave contrast to the distress I felt the first time I was given it as dessert. The look on my face was probably that of utter disappointment, because I clearly remember thinking as I looked down at my plate "hey, where’s the cake?". But nevertheless, I was wrong and Moroccans had it right. And sliced oranges with cinnamon is the simplest yet most amazing combination, and a killer dessert.

In anticipation of the upcoming Pancake Tuesday, I combined Moroccan style oranges with a favourite healthy pancake/crepe recipe to make for a hippie-dippy crepe suzette style dish. These pancakes are not like the typical fluffy North American version, but more reminiscent of a British pancake/crepe, or even a little like injera (but without the sour notes). They are dense and hearty and much like the Unbelievable Bread, they are made entirely out of soaked grains, making for a gluten free and entirely whole grain pancake - what’s not to love!?

While this recipe does call for a bit of planning ahead, it's incredibly simple to make and the batter will last covered in the refrigerator for a couple days. I opted for a mainly millet-based version here (I think I've made my love for millet known before), but I've also seen ones that use whole oats, straight quinoa, or all buckwheat. The only suggestion I have is maybe staying away from rice as many forums say it makes for a crunchy cake. And we don't want that now.

Whole Grain Pancakes

Adapted from here (ignore the blogs name, I was just in it for the pancakes)
Print Recipe Here

1/2 Cup Millet
1/4 Cup Quinoa
1/4 Cup Buckwheat
1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds, 3 Tbsp. Water
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
A Pinch Sea Salt

To Serve:
Moroccan Oranges (Recipe Below)
Seeds or Nuts of Choice (Almonds, Pistachios, Macadamia)

1. The night before, soak the the millet, quinoa, and buckwheat in enough water to cover.

2. Next morning begin by making a chia egg with the 1 Tbsp Chia and 3 Tbsp water. Stir well to combine and let sit for ten minutes or until the water is absorbed. Next, drain the grains and combine them with the chia egg, 1 Cup fresh water, baking powder, and salt in a Vitamix or high speed blender. Puree until the mixture is totally smooth, it will look some what like homemade almond milk.

3. Heat a heavy frying pan to medium heat and add a splash of oil. Pour 1/4 of batter into the hot pan, and using a spoon, spread to to a thin even layer (mind was about 15 cm or 6 inch). Once bubbles have appeared on the surface of the pancake, flip and cook the other side until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. Extra batter can be stored in the fridge for a couple days.

4. Serve pancakes along with Moroccan Oranges, yogurt of choice, and a pinch extra cinnamon.

Moroccan Oranges

5 Oranges
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Stick Cinnamon
2 Pods Cardamom

1. Begin by slicing the peel off of four of the oranges, and cutting them into rounds (be sure to remove the seeds).

2. Juice the remaining orange and combine it with the maple syrup and spices in a little pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then let steep covered for about 15 minutes.

3. Pour sauce over the oranges and serve right away. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and make a great topping to chia pudding or yogurt.

xox Sophie

Sunday, January 24

Go-To #4 - Veggie Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Lentils

Holy macaroni guys, it's feels like it's been eons since we've chatted! Well, how the heck are you?

Here we are, 2016, a New Year, a new start, and a whole lot more blogging (which I’m pretty darn excited about it)! And what better way to kick the first post of the new year off, than with a quick and simple go-to recipe. Secretly, I kind of adore sharing everyday recipes. Strange, perhaps. While they aren't full of the glitz and glamour of some more exciting recipes out there, they are a real reflection of how many of us (on either side of the screen) actually live and eat, and I find that authenticity to be important. I don't know about you, but I surely can't be bothered to make vegan squash pizza every single night. When I posted my first go-to recipe way back, I was like "girl, you should do this like once a month", but life happens and I only managed to share a few. But it's a new year, and I think I got a new resolution!

While we don't eat a ton of pasta, it's always something we have in the pantry for those nights when we realize it's 6 o'clock and are starving, and all our carrots are limp and that tasty tahini sauce we forgot about now has a strange odour that requires the container to be constantly sealed (there may even be the temptation to throw away the whole yogurt container but then logic kicks in and you're like No, it has to be recycled!). But no matter what, we can always pull something from the pantry, and find a few happy veggies to put together a killer tomato sauce. Although I know of a few people who eat pasta for the sake of pasta, for us, pasta just so happens to be a vehicle for sauce. If I could just eat a pot of tomato sauce, I probably would just stand there in the kitchen with the pot and a spoon. There is just something so comforting about the rich umami of a thick tomato sauce that feels incredibly right to chow down on.

This Veggie Spaghetti is kind of a take on what I remember eating as a child, but with a ixnay on the veggie ground round, please. Chopped full of meaty mushrooms and lentils, plenty of veggies and garlic, it's based on the traditional Spaghetti Bolognese (which as we know isn't really Italian, but real delicious). It's inexpensive to make and comes together in less than an hour, making it a perfect weekday meal that you can even make up early in the morning or a couple days in advance. 

**Also, left over Nutty Parm on something like this, is pretty A O.K!

Veggie Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Lentils 

Serves 4 (Print it Here)

1 Cup Dry Puy Lentils
2 tsp. Oil
3 Carrots, Diced (about 3 Cups or 100 g)
3 Stalks of Celery, Diced (1/2 Cup or 80 g)
1/2 Onion, Diced (1 Cup or 100 g)
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
4 Mushrooms, Diced (2 Cups or 160 g)
2 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar (10 ml)
1 Heaping Tbsp. Tomato Paste (15 ml)
1 Jar Strained Tomatoes ( nearly 2 3/4 Cups or 680 ml)
1 Cup Water (235 ml)
1 tsp. Chilli Flakes
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Crushed Fennel Seeds
2 tsp. Dried Basil
1 tsp. Sea Salt

Garnish with Parsley and Nutty Parmesan (recipe below)

1. Begin by cooking the lentils. Bring them to a boil along with 3 cups water. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender, then drain.

2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add the mushrooms, herbs, chilli, and fennel and sauté for another couple of minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften.

3. Stir in the balsamic and tomato paste then add the strained tomatoes along with the one cup water (I use this water to clean out the tomato jar and get all the goodness out). Finally stir in the drained lentils and salt.

4. Let the sauce simmer over low heat (stirring often so it doesn't stick) for 30-45 minutes or until it thickens and becomes nice and rich tasting. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

5. Serve alongside spaghetti of choice, roasted veggies, or roasted spaghetti squash. And don't forget to garnish with parsley and plenty of Nutty Parma!

Nutty Parmesan

1/2 Cup  Brazil Nuts
2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
A Pinch Sea Salt

1. Combine everything in a high speed  blender or food processor just until the brazil nuts turn into a fine meal. Store in the refrigerate for all your sprinkling needs.

xox Sophie