Curried Tahini Sauce + Easy Veggie Rice Bowl

 

I have been joking lately that I should write a cookbook titled One-handed Recipes. And maybe I'm not really joking. Regardless, there is something to be said for recipes that can be thrown together while balancing a baby on a hip or shoulder. I know lots of parents can relate! Sure, Chance can be found strapped to my chest in our trusty baby carrier most of the time, which leaves me hands free, but it's not always practical - I often have to scoop him up from a nap or his play area while I'm in the middle of making dinner, and instead of dropping everything to put him in the baby carrier, I just keep going...one-handed. Mom skills, yo. 

It's no surprise, then, that my go-to dinner of late is extremely simple, yet healthy and filling, and comes together in minutes as long as a couple of components are prepped ahead of time. I try to have a batch of brown rice cooked in the fridge at all times, as well as a jar of insanely delicious tahini sauce (which, by the way, CAN be made with a baby on the hip if needed). As for the veggies, I rely heavily on a convenient bag of kale/broccoli/brussel sprout mix, but Chance and I also enjoy going down to the garden to harvest tons of spinach, beet greens and swiss chard, which my green-thumbed husband has been lovingly growing for us. 

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This tahini sauce recipe is adapted from Meghan Telpher's Undiet Cookbook and is wonderful in wraps, as a veggie dip, in salads and in rice bowls. 

Curried Tahini Sauce 

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp mild or medium curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup dill, parsley or cilantro 
  • water, as needed (I use 2 Tbsp)

Throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until completely smooth and creamy, adding water 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. 

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And now for the rice bowl....this isn't as much of a recipe as it is a dinner idea, but honestly, it's too good not to share!

Easy Veggie Rice Bowl

  • A sh*t ton of fresh veggies
  • Cooked brown rice
  • Walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Curried tahini sauce, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a pan over med heat, sauté the veggies in olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the rice + walnuts + tahini sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through and well combined. Season with salt and pepper and voilà! You have yourself a hearty, nutritious, delicious meal.

How about you, mommies and daddies, what is one of your go-to meals that could *almost* be made one-handed?

 

 

 
 

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies + A (Very) Personal Update

 

There has been a lot going on in my little head (fact - I have a very small head. So does The Husband. And yes, so does The Child, which is not a bad thing, if you catch my drift). Aside from the wonder and exhaustion of motherhood, I am starting to plan for the launch of my nutrition business. I will be seeing clients come January, but that means I have to start preparing now, which is exciting. A new name, logo, and updated website will be coming in the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

With my trademark open-book attitude, I also wanted to share with you a personal update regarding alcohol and lifestyle. In November of 2013, I decided to stop drinking alcohol completely. At the time, I had pretty low self-esteem, and found it difficult to be alone, particularly in the evenings. When The Husband was out of town, I would open a bottle of wine and often finish it while binge-eating until I felt numb enough to go to sleep. After a eye-opening counselling session, I decided to go completely alcohol-free. What this did for me was remarkable - I learned to sit with my feelings, no matter how uncomfortable, without trying to escape myself; I learned to enjoy being alone, and tremendous personal growth ensued: I discovered who I really was, what my values and passions were. 

I kept up this alcohol-free lifestyle for over 2 years. After Chance was born, knowing that there was no way that I would ever drink myself numb with a baby at home and that I was in a much better place emotionally, I decided to give drinking another shot. Slowly sipping on a glass of wine, rediscovering the taste and the social pleasure of drinking, felt heavenly. I was pleased that I never felt the old urge to drink by myself, and instead reverted to what had become my routine when The Husband was away: an early dinner, followed by a long walk, late-evening baking, tea and dessert. 

A couple of months ago, I started getting the odd feeling that something was amiss in my life. Something didn't quite feel right, and I could not exactly pinpoint it. I was finally able to put my finger on it a couple of weeks ago: I actually liked my life better without alcohol. I can't explain why, but there is something about drinking, even occasionally, that dulls my senses and affects my overall quality of life. Without it, I feel more present, more alive, more inspired, more mindful, more awake...generally happier. I am not saying I'll never drink again - but for now, instead of choosing a glass of wine, I choose living life to the fullest. I choose post-dinner walks, baths with my son, bedtime stories, coffee or tea and dessert. It's as simple as that. 

And speaking of dessert, here is the result of my latest chocolate chip cookie experiment. A whole-wheat cookie, made with no eggs or butter, but most importantly, with a sweet, crunchy, satisfying bite that won me over instantly!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Adapted from this recipe - Simple Bites)

Makes 12 big cookies

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed + 3 Tbsp of lukewarm water and set aside to thicken. 

In a small pot, combine the tahini + applesauce + coconut oil and stir over low heat, until the mixture is just warm and the coconut oil melted. Transfer to a mixing bowl. 

Add the honey + sugar and whisk until creamy. Mix in the flax mixture + vanilla. 

Add in the dry ingredients one by one, stirring well with a fork or wooden spoon until fully combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. 

With your hands (I spray my hands with oil beforehand to make the process easier and less sticky!), take little handfuls of dough, roll into a ball, and flatten slightly on the baking sheet. Place in the fridge while preheating the oven to 350F - this will help the cookies retain their shape. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

 

 
 
 

Chickpea + Sweet Potato Pot Pie

 

I had wanted to make a pot pie for over a year. The inspiration came during my first visit to Bermuda, in April 2015, after eating a delicious curried mussel pot pie at The Frog and Onion Pub. Whitehorse not being exactly the land of fresh mussels, I knew I wanted to create a vegetarian version, and the recipe only came to me last week - but man, the wait was worth it. I am in love with this pot pie, and I hope you will be, too. 

Note: the recipe for the amazing, flaky crust did not come from my brain, but from my latest cookbook infatuation, The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier of chocolateandzucchini.com.

Chickpea + Sweet Potato Pot Pie

Serves 2-4

For the crust: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (or another 1/2 cup all-purpose)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced

For the filling:

  • 3 cups diced sweet potato (about 2 small)
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can chickpeas (15oz), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp flour or potato starch
  • 1 1/4 cup veggie broth
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • black pepper, to taste

Start preheating the oven to 375F.

Prepare the crust: in a food processor (or alternatively, whisk in a mixing bowl), combine the flour + salt. Add the yogurt + butter and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Gather with your hands and form into a disc, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. 

Place the sweet potato on a baking sheet and toss lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes, until roasted but still a bit firm.

In the meantime, prepare the rest of the filling: in a frying pan coated with olive oil, sauté the mushroom + garlic until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 8-10 minutes). Add the chickpeas + paprika + soy sauce and cook for another couple of minutes. 

Sprinkle in the flour or starch, and stir until the veggies are coated. Slowly add in the veggie broth, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken (4-5 minutes). 

Mix in the sweet potato + parsley + walnuts + pepper. 

Turn the oven temp up to 400F. 

Place the filling in an 8x8 baking dish (or pie dish of similar size) and roll out the dough to just a bit larger than your dish and place right on top of the filling. Make a few slits for the steam to escape. 

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly, and let cool for a few minutes before digging in!

 

 

 
 
 

Chocolate + Almond Butter Cups

 

We came back from a very relaxing visit with my parents in Bermuda a few days ago. I know, I know, poor us, having to go all the way to Bermuda to visit family... We are so lucky.

Our little boy changed so much while on vacation, it feels like we left with a four-months-old and came back with a toddler! He started rolling over, and sleeping a bit better at night after we hit a rough patch in the sleep department a few weeks ago (unfortunately, his sleep had been very restless again since we came home - I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that we pretty much get 24hrs of daylight in the Yukon right now...).More importantly, he had been so interested in our food for a couple of weeks that we ended up introducing solids much sooner than planned. One day, after he tried to grab a handful of my breakfast, we decided to try mashing a piece of banana and putting it on a spoon, not expecting much to happen. He opened his mouth, closed it around the spoon, swallowed, and stuck his tongue out to ask for more. He has been eating everything we have offered him since like it's not big deal, and we have been having a lot of fun!

I am sure he will end up developing likes and dislikes around food, but for now, he seems game to  experience it all. The Husband and I are not picky eaters though, so Chance will hopefully follow in our footsteps. The only thing I really cannot do is drink plain milk. It's a mental thing, I'm sure, since I'm perfectly happy to drink a latte or a hot chocolate, but milk by itself...ugh. No. No way. As for The Husband, he is not a fan of all things coconut, especially coconut oil, which is why I don't tend to cook or bake very much with it. Too bad for him - today's recipe will have to be eaten entirely by me. Mwaa-ha-ha-ha-ha. 

Chocolate + Almond Butter Cups

Makes 4-6 cups, depending on the size of your moulds. These delicious cups require very little effort and make a great summer dessert, best enjoyed straight out of the freezer. 

For the chocolate layers: 

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the almond butter layer: 

  • 1/3 cup smooth almond butter (I used almond-hazelnut butter. Try it, it's amazing!)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • pinch of fine sea salt

For the top:

  • Coarse, or flaked, sea salt

In a small bowl, stir together the almond butter + 1 Tbsp maple syrup + slivered almonds + fine sea salt and set aside. 

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Whisk in the cocoa powder + maple syrup + vanilla. 

Pour about 1 Tbsp of the cocoa mixture at the bottom of silicon muffin tins or other mould of choice. Add a heaping tablespoon of the almond mixture on top. Pour the rest of the cocoa mixture as the final layer, and top with a few grains of coarse sea salt. 

Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours before taking the cups out of the moulds. Store in the freezer and enjoy without thawing. 

 

 
 

Goat Cheese + Cranberry Scones

 

The Husband came up with the idea, out of the blue, some time last month: "Hey, Wife, why haven't you made me goat cheese and cranberry scones yet?". Who knows where that came from! We both forgot about it, until I had to buy goat cheese for another recipe a couple of weeks ago, and figured I would try coming up with the scone recipe that was ever-so-subtly requested by my dear husband. 

Lo and behold, they turned out wonderfully - sweet and savoury, great for breakfast or snacks. So wonderfully, in fact, that I forgot to photograph them for the blog - and only remembered after we ate them all, over the course of a couple of days. Whoopee. I finally made them again today, which gave me an opportunity to re-test the recipe. This time, I remembered to take pictures, even though The Husband was hoping I would forget once more. Fear not, husband, I find them just as delicious as you do, and will be making them again shortly!

Goat Cheese and Cranberry Scones

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup soft, fresh goat cheese (120g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk, dairy or non-dairy (I used unsweetened cashew milk)
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours + baking powder + salt + rosemary + thyme. With a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in the cranberries. 

In a small bowl, mash the goat cheese with the eggs + milk + honey and whisk until smooth. 

Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just combined. 

Gather the dough with floured hands and place on a lightly floured surface. Pat into a roughly 1-inch-thick disc and, using a sharp knife, cut into 6-8 wedges. 

Place the wedges on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. 

Let cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes before enjoying!