Zucchini Hashbrowns

I’m pretty sure it hasn’t stopped raining here for more than 12 hours in close to a week now. This means I’ve been cooking mainly warm comfort food. Today I’m taking on a baking project using tart cherries and I can’t imagine a better day for it.

So for those who have seen my other recipes, you know that I’m always trying to take things that I eat anyway and make them healthier. This is my take on breakfast hashbrowns, using zucchini from the farmers’ market in Mitchell. This one farmer there sold me the one of the BIGGEST zucchinis I’ve ever seen. I only used half of it in this recipe. It’s big enough around that I could grill the rounds on the barbecue without any fear of pieces falling through. For those who missed my last post involving zucchini, it’s low in calories and high in vitamin C, so it’s a good swap for some of the potatoes. There’s less calories and carbs than regular hashbrowns in this recipe for those who are concerned, and it ups your vegetable intake for the day.

This recipe will make 3-4 servings. It can be stored in the fridge for up to three days if there’s leftovers and reheated, either in a pan or the microwave.


IMG_0233

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 cups hashbrown cut frozen potatoes (the tiny little cubes)
  • 1/2 extra large zucchini, or 1 small
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the hashbrowns and let them cook until they start to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, cut the zucchini into cubes.
  4. Add the zucchini, garlic, and spices to the skillet.
  5. Let everything cook until zucchini is soft but not mushy and hashbrowns and thoroughly cooked, 10-15 more minutes.
  6. Serve with eggs and turkey bacon.
Advertisements

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that everyone has exciting plans for this weekend and for Canada Day!

First off, let’s talk about the fact that this pudding is dairy-free. I am not saying that you have to never consume dairy again (I’m literally drinking regular chocolate milk while writing this, it was on sale this week). For most people, dairy is not a problem and can be digested regularly with no problems. For most people, going dairy-free will not make you healthier or skinnier or whatever nonsense is out there. There are a handful of people out there who are either lactose-intolerant or have a milk allergy. Those people do need to avoid dairy as much as possible. But they should be able to eat chia seed pudding too.

So chia seeds. I buy these bad boys at Bulk Barn and top everything with them. They can go on salads, in smoothies, in oatmeal and cereals, on top of avocado toast, in baking… there’s just so many things! But a little bit goes a long way. 1 tbsp of chia seeds has 4.5g of fat, but 3.5g of that is polyunsaturated fat, which can help lower your bad cholesterol and keep your cells healthy. That tbsp of chia seeds also has 5g of fiber, which will help keep you full. It also has 6% of the iron you need in a day, which is why I started eating them in the first place. Chia seeds aren’t going to magically make you lose weight or anything crazy, but they can be part of a healthy diet. Just remember that they do have a lot of fat, like any seed or nut, so don’t make them the only thing you’re eating.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

IMG_0204 IMG_0215

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  1. In a large bowl, combine the chia seeds and almond milk and whisk well.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla, and powdered sugar and whisk until everything is completely combined and there’s no lumps of seeds or cocoa.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The chia seeds will absorb the milk and thicken up.
  4. Divide into cups or bowls and top with strawberries.

Grilled Zucchini and Barley Salad

As June is starting to wind down, the produce here just keeps on coming! I’ve seen lots of posts lately for zucchini recipes so I thought I’d do my own take on grilled zucchini. I picked up two big zucchinis from the farmers’ market in Mitchell last Friday and they have been awesome to cook and play with. I cooked up one last night to go with hamburgers for supper, but had the idea for this salad while driving home from work.

Some fun nutrition facts: 1 cup of zucchini only has 20 calories! But it has 33% of the vitamin C you need in a day. Take that, summer colds! Cooked barley, on the other hand, has 6g of fiber per cup, and 4g of protein. I feel like both these foods are seriously underrated and live in the shadow of “super foods”, so they deserve some love. Just a quick note that barley is not gluten free, for those who need it for dietary reasons. If you want to make this gluten free, I’d suggest substituting quinoa. I’ve also had a couple requests for lactose-free recipes so I’ll get to work on those soon! You can leave the feta out of this salad, but it really won’t be quite the same.

You can eat this salad warm or cold, and could top it off with a poached egg if you want to add some more protein to your meal.

This recipe serves 6 as a side and 3 to 4 as a main.

IMG_0184 IMG_0196

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (or 2 tsp chopped fresh basil)
  1. Cook the barley according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the ends off the zucchini, and then cut in quarters, lengthwise.
  3. Preheat the BBQ on medium-high heat. Cook the zucchini for 15 minutes, turning to evenly cook all three sides.
  4. Slice the zucchini and add it to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add the feta, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and basil.

White Bean and Rosemary Hummus

Hope everyone has had an awesome week and has big plans for the Father’s Day weekend. So far the highlight of my Friday has been seeing someone else as crazy as me go running by! This is proof that I’m not the only person running out here, contrary to the strange looks I get from passing cars, truck, tractors, and sprayers that pass me on the roads.

This week I read The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City by David Lebovitz. This book has been on my to-be-read list for so long but I only just got around to it. David’s stories about moving to Paris and starting his life there are funny and well-written. They’re also fairly wanderlust-inducing. I love how the recipes are sprinkled throughout the book instead of just all being at the end, and how they relate to the anecdotes. If you haven’t read it yet and you like food (don’t we all), it’s definitely worth the read.

This hummus involved a fair bit of playing around with beans. Until Sunday night, I’d never re-hydrated dried beans, but I figured it couldn’t be that hard, right? Um, no. I put them in a big bowl to soak overnight but I thought they’d soften up a lot more than they did. When I finally got around the boiling them, it ended up taking so much longer than I thought too! We were supposed to have them for supper with the Strawberry Ricotta Crostini that I posted on Tuesday but that didn’t happen, and I didn’t make the hummus until Wednesday. The trick here is to get the beans as mushy as possible so that they blend easily. In a food processor where everything is contained, this might not be as big a deal, mess-wise, but if you’re using an immersion blender, it can make a huge mess. The easier route would have been to use canned beans, which are already nice and soft and ready to go. I served the hummus up with a grilled pita, but it’s been great on anything. This recipe makes roughly 4 cups of hummus.

IMG_0124 IMG_0163 IMG_0170

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups white beans (either canned and drained, or soaked and boiled until very soft)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium cloves garlic ( I know it looks like more in the picture, mine broke into a bunch of mini-cloves)
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. In a food processor, or large bowl if you’re using an immersion blender, combine the beans, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper.
  2. Start to blend the ingredients. If the hummus looks too thick, or isn’t blending well, add the water a tbsp at a time and continue to blend until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  3. Use a spatula to transfer the hummus to a serving bowl or airtight container. The hummus can be kept in the fridge for up to five days in an airtight container

Strawberry Ricotta Crostini

Better late than never! I’ve gotten into such a habit of writing my blog posts in the morning, either before an evening shift at work or on days off, that writing posts right at the end of the day makes me feel so disorganized. I should really start working farther ahead on recipes and taking pictures, but since I’m trying to use seasonal produce, and since some things don’t always work quite the way I think they will, that doesn’t always happen.

IMG_0139

Today I managed to track down some local strawberries, and I was really lucky because this was the first day this particular stand was open! Strawberries from the grocery store just aren’t the same as local ones bought at the side of the road, which can only be rivaled by strawberries picked right from the garden. While strawberries are so delicious on their own, I wanted to come up with another way to serve them, and one that wasn’t a dessert. I definitely had some flash backs to my fine-dining class from the winter when I was making 10 of these and trying to make them all look the same.  This recipe serves 5 people as an appetizer.

As always, if you like what I’m doing, share it around and don’t forget to like my Facebook page!

IMG_0143 IMG_0145 IMG_0146

Ingredients:

  • 10 thing slices multigrain baguette or ciabatta bread
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 10 small mint leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat the BBQ on medium-high heat.
  2. Divide the lemon juice between the slices of bread. Toast on the BBQ until lightly brown.
  3. Divide the ricotta between the slices and spread evenly. Top with strawberry slices and a mint leaf for garnish. Lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve!

Crispy Kale Chips with Thyme

So for those who don’t know, this post is being written by an official University of Guelph alumni!!! I was hooded and have my piece of paper and everything!

And now I present, another way to eat kale. I was able to pick up a giant bunch of kale the other day at No Frills and then had to find a way to use it up when I got home from work today. This isn’t getting us any closer to actually having dinner, but it made a good snack. The thyme I used came right out of the pot on the deck. Herbs are such an easy and healthy way to spice up your dishes and they’re super easy to grow too!

You’ll also notice (hopefully) a huge improvement in the pictures in this post. I’m now using a beautiful new camera that is so much better than the 10-year old Kodak EasyShare I was using before.

As always, if you like what I’m doing, share it around and don’t forget to like me on Facebook!

IMG_0086 IMG_0089 IMG_0107

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of kale (should yield 8-9 cups of leaves)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt + extra to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Remove the kale leaves from the stems. Try to get “chip-sized” pieces (think potato chips).
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the kale with the olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper, and thyme. Toss until everything is evenly coated with either salad tongs or your hands.
  4. Spread 1/4 of the kale on a non-stick baking sheet in a single layer.
  5. Bake each batch for 15 minutes, or until the kale is crispy but not burnt.
  6. Let cool and enjoy!
  7. Store in a air-tight container once the chips are completely cooled down.

Chickpea Pasta Salad

So I opened Facebook this morning and it was FULL of pictures of people graduating! I can’t believe the Class of 2015 has finally made it, but tomorrow I will be graduating too! So congrats to everyone!

Today I’ve got a recipe for a Chickpea Pasta Salad. One of the easiest ways to keep your eating on track during the summer when you just don’t want to cook is to make salads in large batches and keep them on hand in the fridge. This salad has protein in the chickpeas to keep you full and is colourfully packed with veggies to help you fill half your plate! I can see it pairing really well with the Beer-Garlic Grilled Chicken I’m planning to post on Friday, so stay tuned!

This recipe makes 6 cups of salad.

Chickpea Pasta Salad (2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked rotini pasta
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cheery tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Combine the pasta, chickpeas, cucumber, green onions, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix until everything is distributed evenly.
  2. Add the feta, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil, and mix again.

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Muffins

Happy Friday everyone! If you’re looking to do some baking in the next couple days, I have the recipe for your! These muffins are not overly sweet and they have oatmeal to increase the fibre and make them more filling. Even better, there’s no oil, like you’d find in many muffin recipes, and there’s only 1/3 of a cup of sugar, other than what’s in the yogurt! I used raspberry yogurt in my muffins, but if that’s not your thing, you could use strawberry or vanilla and get very similar muffins. The raspberry yogurt doesn’t give it a ton of taste, just a little bit of raspberryness when you first bite into the muffins. These are great to keep on hand for work lunches, for grabbing while working at weird hours, and with a mug of tea for breakfast. I’m really happy with how they turned out and I hope you are too! This recipe makes a dozen muffins.

Also, I’m on the hunt for more interesting dishes and placemats or napkins to use for foodstyling so if anyone has any ideas where to find some, let me know!

As always, if you like what I’m doing, share it with your friends, family, enemies, dog… whoever! You can also like me on Facebook!

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup raspberry yogurt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In the mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to mix thoroughly and add the sugar. Mix again.
  3. Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously. Beat in the egg and yogurt.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Grease a muffin tin.
  6. Carefully use a scoop to distribute the batter evenly between the 12 muffins.
  7. Bake the muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until a fork inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Let cool and serve!

BBQ Balsamic Asparagus

Despite the rain and cold of the last couple days, BBQ season is in full swing! The other thing in full swing is Local Food Week. To celebrate, I put together this recipe using Ontario asparagus. Local Food Week is a great time to remember to try and buy produce that’s in season as much as possible, and to support local farmers and growers whenever you can. There will be tons of awesome produce showing up at farmers’ markets soon so it’s always worth adding that stop to your grocery trip.

This recipe only has four ingredients and can be thrown right on the BBQ while you’re cooking up the rest of your meal. I used aluminum foil to wrap the asparagus since we don’t have a grilling basket, but you could cook it that way as well. It would just be faster and have more grill marks.

This recipe makes 2 servings, but could easily be doubled for 4!

BBQ Balsamic Asparagus

100_2830

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch Ontario asparagus
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp goat cheese
  1. Preheat the BBQ to medium heat.
  2. Remove the tough, woody ends from the asparagus and place in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour balsamic vinegar and oil over the asparagus and turn to coat.
  4. Place the asparagus on the aluminum foil and fold all the edges in so it’s completely sealed up.
  5. Throw the whole package on the grill for 15 minutes, turning halfway through and moving to make sure it cooks evenly.
  6. Let the foil cool and unwrap. Watch out for any steam that escapes and be careful!
  7. Top the asparagus with goat cheese and serve!