Brekkie + Snackie Bar January 30, 2008

Making homemade granola and granola-type bars is very easy, and gives you complete control over what goes into them. Thank god! This recipe is really really versatile and can accomodate numerous substitutions and proportions.


Date Mixture:
1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup water

Flax Mixture:
5 teaspoons freshly ground or store bought flax
1/2 cup warm water

Dry Ingredients:
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup flour (any wil do here; I used hemp)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/3 cup chopped raw almonds
1/3 cup raw seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc)
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup diced dried fruits (apples, cherries, pineapples, mangoes, prunes, etc)

1) Lightly coat a 9″x9″ baking pan with cooking spray or oil and set aside.

2) Prepare Date Mixture:
– Add 1/2 cup water and diced dates to a small saucepan.
– Bring to a slow simmer and cook about 5 min, stirring occasionally, until dates are soft (mixture will be nice and thick).
– Allow to cool.

3) Prepare Flax Mixture:
– Combine 1/2 cup very warm water and 5 tsps freshly ground or store bought flax.
– Set aside for five minutes to thicken then stir.

4) Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

5) Add flax mixture to date puree, and stir well.

6) Pour wet into dry ingredients, and mix to combine.

7) Press mixture into prepared pan, and bake at 350F for approx 15 min.

8] Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars, and serve!

– These keep really well if stored properly.

Add ins:
– 1/3 cup coconut flakes
– 1 tbsp oat bran
– 1 tbsp protein powder


Fasta-Rasta Burgers January 25, 2008

Another veggie burger but with a bit of a Jamaican twist, that will please even the most devoted meat-eater (whether they’re stoned or not).  It’s loaded with savory black beans and rice, and it gets a lot of its flavor from the hot peppers, fresh ginger, and various Caribbean-inspired spices.  Serve naked or on a bun – it pairs really well with a potato Salad or mango salsa.  

4 slices stale bread (or toasted sandwich bread)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (any kind will do, but brown is best)
1/2 hot pepper (Scotch bonnet, habanera, or 1 jalapeno pepper), chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Using a food processor, pulse bread to make crumbs, and place them in a large bowl.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and sauté onions (about 5 minutes or until softened).

3. Add garlic, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, and sauté for additional 2 minutes.

4. Place mixture in food processor along with black beans, rice, chopped pepper, and pulse ingredients until they are chopped but not pureed (do NOT over blend).

5. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste, and stir thoroughly with a spoon (you can add more bread crumbs if mixture is too wet).

6. Heat remaining oil over medium heat and form mixture into 4 patties. 

7. Cook patties for approx. 4 minutes per side until a dark brown crust has formed.

8. Enjoy!


No-fussin’ Russian Potato Salad

A twist on an all time classic.  It’s even vegan and filled with all the goodness of a rainbow of veggies.  Bring along this ‘good-for-you’ version for your next potluck, picnic, or BBQ.


1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, boiled, peeled, and chopped
3 medium beets, boiled, peeled, and chopped
2 medium parsnips (or carrots), minced
1 cup fresh green beans, briefly blanched, and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (briefly blanched, if using fresh)
1 cup chopped fresh dill

1)   Puree onion and vinegar in a blender.

2)   Then, on low speed, gradually add oil, salt and pepper.

3)   In a separate large bowl, add all the vegetables and chopped dill.

4)   Add vinaigrette to veggies, and toss.

5)   Serve as a side or starter!


Creamy Avocado Pasta

Filed under: Italiano,Saucey,Veggie Mains — s mcdowall @ 3:14 am
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I have met a few people over the last few years that are allergic to tomatoes (and I thought I had it bad with my intollerence to carrots). In their honour, I give you a super creamy sauce staring … avocadoes! Rich in taste, nutrients and the good fats (mono-unsaturated), this easy pasta sauce goes well with any kind of noodle (and even gnocchi).

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 green onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh basil
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
3 ripe avocados, mashed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound pasta, cooked and drained (I used Whole Wheat Fettuccini)


1. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, over medium heat, melt butter and add green onions, garlic, basil and cook 5 minutes (or until onions are clear and tender).

2. Add wine and parsley, and simmer for 4-5 minutes.

3. Stir in cheese and blend well, continuing to cook until heated through.

3. Add mashed avocado, stirring to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Immediately spoon sauce over cooked pasta of choice and serve.

Optional garnishes – chopped fresh grape/cherry tomatoes or pitted black olives.


Detox-tastic Salad

Crunchy and colourful veggies like parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, along with sweet tomatoes and lightly steamed zucchini combine to make one hellova cleansing salad! It packs quite the anti-oxidant and phyto-nutrient punch as well.  You’ll want to have this one on a regular basis, that’s for sure.  It can really help get you back on track after any holiday excess.

3 medium zucchini, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, sliced (I like red best)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
2 parsnips, shredded (or carrots)
6 radishes, sliced thinly
1 cucumber, sliced (skin on)
4 tbsp olives (green or black are good)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional)
1/2 cup cooked beans (optional – any kind will do)
Lettuce leaves (any work well here, but I really love Boston ettuce leaves for this)

1) In a steamer or microwave, lightly steam zucchini and allow to completely cool.

2) Place in large mixing bowl, along with tomatoes, onion, and garlic, mix gently, and then add olive oil, salt, and cayenne.

3) Toss and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.

4) To serve, line a platter with lettuce leaves and scoop zucchini/tomato mixture on top; then arrange parsnips, radishes, cucumbers, and olives around the edges; then sprinkle cheese and/or beans on top; garnish with parsley.


Grilled Eggplant “Burgers”

If a burger could taste like an Italian summer, I think this one would be it. Barbequing all year long is a great way to cook, but if there isn’t one in sight, this recipe is very broiler, fry-an, indoor grill friendly. Whatever way you choose, this is a healthy and flavorful meatless meal. Vegans can omit the cheese.

1 large eggplant, sliced into 16 1/4-inch rounds (not the Asian kind)
8 thin slices of cheese (such as havarti, provolone, or smoked Gouda)
2 tomatoes, thinly-sliced, OR 4 large pieces roasted red bell pepper
8-10 leaves of large fresh basil
freshly-ground pepper (to taste)

For the seasoning oil:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp vinegar (wine or balsamic work best)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Whisk all seasoning oil ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Brush eggplant slices with seasoning oil and place over medium-high heat on closed-lid grill.

3. Cook until tender, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining seasoning oil (approx. 5-10 min).

4. Remove from grill and place 1 slice of cheese on 1 eggplant slice, then top with another eggplant slice. Top this with 2 tomato slices (or 1 piece of roasted red pepper), then put 2-4 basil leaves on top of that. Top with third eggplant slice, then another slice of cheese. Top with a fourth eggplant slice. Finish with a grind of pepper.

5. Repeat process to make 4 separate stacks. Place stacks back on grill, close lid, and cook for about 2 minutes, turning once.

6. Serve immediately, or make into sandwiches on buns or bread (to serve chilled – wrap tightly and chilled several hours or overnight).


Soy Sauce Substitute January 24, 2008

Allergic to soy or wheat, just like me? Here is a great substitute for soy sauce. I can’t believe I didn’t see this earlier! Very exciting indeed.

4 tbsp bouillon (I use veggie obviously, but I suppose you can use chicken or beef if you’re a carnie)
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark molasses
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch garlic powder
1 1/2 cups water


1) In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together all the ingredients.

2) Boil gently until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup (about 15 minutes).

3) Voila! Start enjoying sushi and stir-fries again!