Canada Day Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s Canada Day! Our favourite way to celebrate anything is to eat, so DJ whipped up these mouthwatering red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in honour of the Constitution Act of 1867. There will be fireworks, food and more food. Then dessert will follow, which will be followed by more dessert.

2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or vanilla soy yogurt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
2 packages cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese spread, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
2 cups icing sugar

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 16 paper baking cups.
3. Beat the margarine and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Mix in eggs, yogurt, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.
5. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and stir into the batter until combined.
6. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Arrange the cupcakes on the serving platter and pipe the frosting on with a big star tip.

Falafel Burgers

We love falafel. We love burgers. There’s an obvious solution here – and it’s so tasty.

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Canola oil for frying

1. Put the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, water and lemon juice into food processor and pulse until combined but still a bit chunky. Add the flour and pulse a few more times.
2. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup bread crumbs, or more if needed.
3. Roll the mixture into balls and flatten with your hands to make a patty.
4. In a shallow skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil until it’s hot. Fry the falafel for a few minutes on each side on medium high heat until golden brown and crunchy.
5. Make a falafel burger with tahini, tomato, cucumber and pickles, or serve in pita with tzatziki sauce.

Adapted from Culinaire Magazine, a new Calgary food and beverage magazine!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes pair nicely with tofu cacciatore, which we’ll feature on the blog next week! They also go great with our chickpea and eggplant curry. These mashed potatoes are also fantastic straight from the bowl with a big spoon.

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

3 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Saute the garlic in olive oil over medium heat.
2. Cook the potatoes in salted, boiling water until tender. Do not drain completely; leave some salted water at the bottom of the bowl. Add the margarine and garlic, then mash until smooth.
3. Add parsley and mix well.

Serves four.

– DJ

5 Minute Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a favourite of mine in the spring. The basil leaves and grape tomatoes are fresh, and I can sit on the porch, close my eyes and pretend I’m actually in Italy, and not in Canada where there’s a good chance the clouds will come out of nowhere and it will start hailing. This tends to happen when I’m heading outside in shorts, a tank top and have a scrumptious spread of food with multiple plates. Sigh.

Grape tomatoes (200 grams) 

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 tbsp olive oil plus enough to drizzle on bread slices

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 basil leaves, shredded

Dash of oregano

One shallot, chopped

Garlic glove, sliced in half

1/2 of a baguette, sliced

1. Put oven on broil setting.
2. Slice baguette, and brush olive oil on the slices. Put slices in the oven and bake for 2-3 minutes, watching closely until edges are browned.
3. Slice grape tomatoes into small pieces and put them in a bowl along with shredded basil leaves, salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and shallot.
4. Mix ingredients until well combined.

5. When baguette slices are browned, remove from oven and rub the garlic clove across the top of each baguette to enrich it with flavour. Top slices with bruschetta.

– Silvia

Smoky Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Hummus is a foodie’s best friend. It’s always there for you; as a sandwich spread, a dip, or something you spoon into your mouth like peanut butter. Not that I do that… all the time. This hummus is decadently creamy and the liquid smoke gives it an absolutely delightful smoky taste.

1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 can organic chick peas, reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid (398 ml)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 drops liquid smoke (about 1/8 tsp)

1. Rinse the chickpeas, but reserve the liquid from the can.
2. Add all ingredients to high-speed blender or food processor. Add the chickpea liquid gradually to taste, as you may prefer a less creamy/salty hummus.
3. Serve with Raincoast Crisps or baby carrots.

– Silvia

Traditional Easter Bread

When I was growing up, one of the Easter traditions in my family was baking sweet bread to be served at breakfast on Easter, along with ham and eggs. We no longer cook ham, but we decorate eggs and bake traditional Easter bread.

Traditional Easter Bread

600 grams white sifted flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
250 ml almond milk
100 ml vegetable oil
200 grams raisins
50 ml dark rum

Glaze:
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon water

1. Soak raisins in 50 ml of rum for a few hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the egg and one additional egg yolk, almond milk, oil and then knead the dough until bubbles form. You can also use a bread maker on the pizza dough setting.
3. Wait at least 30 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. Once raised, coat your work area with flour and use a sharp knife to divide the dough into three equal pieces.

4. Roll the dough into three long ropes.

5. Braid the three ropes into a three-strand braid.

6. Pinch the ends together on both sides and form the braid into a circle. Transfer carefully into a round pan.

7. Prepare a glaze by whisking one egg with one-half tablespoon of water. Just before baking gently brush glaze over the entire surface of the loaf.
8. Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes or until the bread crust is a deep golden brown.

– DJ

BANANAS for Banana Bread!

I always get excited when there’s a few bananas in the fruit bowl that are starting to brown. That means it’s time for BANANA BREAD!!! This banana bread is sooooo good. It’s hard to eat just one slice, so take two. Or three.

BANANAS for Banana Bread!

4 very ripe large bananas
1/3 cup melted organic coconut oil
1 cup cane sugar
1 free run egg, beaten or egg replacer equal to one egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add melted coconut oil and mix well with a wooden spoon.
3. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla, walnuts and chocolate chips.
4. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl, mix and add to the large bowl. Mix well and pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F.
5. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the middle of banana bread comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then take the bread out of the pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Low Sodium Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is so much cheaper to make at home, not to mention way tastier and healthier! Who wants to pay $6 a box for something filled to the brim with sodium?

Making your own vegetable stock is pretty simple. We like to keep a bag in the freezer with all the usable scraps from our veggies, which we’ll throw into the pot with regular veggies. You can throw in pretty much anything that is edible, like mushroom caps, parsley, the rough part of carrots, and any veggies that look like they are close to their expiration date.

If your fridge needs to be cleaned out, take the opportunity to make your own veggie stock! Or if you bought a big tray of delicious organic veggies for a party thinking that your guests would go for a healthy selection, but they stuck to the chips and salsa, use them up! Alternatively, buy the cheapest onions, carrots and celery you can find and add them to the pot with scraps.

Low Sodium Vegetable Stock

4 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound carrots, chopped
1/2 pound celery, chopped
24 cups water
2 tsp salt
Kitchen scraps (mushrooms, parsley, broccoli stems, parsnips, etc.)

1. Heat olive oil on medium setting in a very large pot. Saute onions for 4-5 minutes, then add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.
2. Add all your vegetable scraps and then add 24 cups of water.
3. Cook on high until it starts to boil, then lower heat to medium low and cook covered for two hours.
4. When it’s done, strain the stock over a sieve covered with two layers of cheesecloth.
5. Divide the mixture into 1 and 2 cup portions and freeze. Use as needed when a recipe calls for vegetable stock.

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Leeks belong to the same family as garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions have a delicate flavour and add a subtle, sweet touch to this soup. Leeks are high in vitamin A, vitamin K and manganese.

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

This soup is thick, creamy, sweet and has a touch of smokiness.

3 large leeks, washed and chopped (use only the white and pale green parts)
1 tbsp margarine
4 cups water
2 cups vegetable stock
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced (not the leafy part, only the crunchy part)
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper, ground
1/2 tsp smoked paprika, ground
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1/4 tsp dried marjoram, crushed
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1. Saute leeks in margarine with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir often, as you do not want to brown the leeks.
2. Add vegetable stock, water, potatoes, carrots, celery, coriander, and cook for 30 minutes.
3. Pour the mixture into a blender no more than half full. Cover and firmly hold lid in place; pulse a few times before leaving on to blend. Puree in batches until smooth. Return to pot. Add parsley and marjoram and stir. Add more salt and freshly ground pepper if needed.
4. Serve with a fresh french baguette.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Guacamole

This recipe comes together so quickly. Peel and put avocados in a large bowl, add some spices, juice a lemon and mash. Bake some naan bread or peel some veggies. Eat. Repeat.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Guacamole

Served with crisp tortilla chips, pita bread or naan bread, this appetizer turns any gathering into a party.

3 ripe avocados
1 small onion, minced
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin

1. Gently peel and core the avocados. Place in a large bowl.
2. Add onion, lemon juice and spices and stir until well blended.
3. Mash everything together with a wooden spoon until guacamole reaches a creamy consistency.
4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (push the wrap down onto the surface so the guacamole does not brown).  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Serves 4.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries