The snow dusted the top of the north shore mountains this past week, which hopefully means winter is here to stay in Vancouver. The drop in temperature and a bit of the “white stuff” has me super excited about the snow season. All I can now think about is snowboarding and breaking in my new set of skis.
The last week has been a bit of a whirlwind. There is a good chance that Dan and I may move to New Zealand for a couple years in January or February. Which makes me even more eager to take full advantage of all that British Columbia has to offer. The final decision has yet to be made, but in the meantime I’ve been taking time to reflect on the past two years here in Vancouver. This gluten-free Banana Bread recipe is the perfect loaf for a winter getaway. Not only is it moist and delicious, but is quite easy to make once you have the recipes on hand!
If you’re a chocoholic like me you will definitely appreciate this recipe. I have experimented with a handful of chocolate cake and brownie recipes but I also keep coming back to this one. If you end up making it, you won’t be disappointed to say the least. It is gluten-free, simple to make and will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Feel free to change up the toppings. In the past I’ve used shredded coconut, pomegranates, crushed hazelnuts and pistachios. I have also added a glaze option in case you want to make it extra chocolatey.
Melt 6 ounces of chopped chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth.
Add sugar and salt and reduce heat to low. Cook while stirring for about one minute, until sugar starts to dissolve.
Remove pan from heat. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. The mixture will look smooth and glossy.
Sift cocoa into mixture. Whisk until the cake batter is smooth.
Pour batter into prepared greased pan and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The center of the cake should be just firm to the touch, but be careful to not over bake the cake or it will be dry.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake on a plate.
To prepare the glaze, melt 2 ounces of chopped chocolate and 1½ tablespoons of unsalted butter in the same saucepan you used to make the cake. When melted and smooth, remove the pan from heat. Add milk and Agave syrup OR honey and vanilla and stir until smooth and glossy. Let the glaze cool for about 3 minutes before pouring it on the cake.
Pour all of the glaze in the middle of the cake. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing the glaze to evenly run down the sides of the cake.
Over the Holiday season there are many friend and family gatherings that take place. I always find myself thinking about what type of dish to bring over and wanted to share one of my favourite seasonal winter salads. Pomegranate season typically runs from October through February, depending on the harvest. When selecting ripe pomegranates from your local grocery store or farmers market look for ones with a red to reddish-brown outer rind and ones that are heavier for it’s size. These pomegranates tend to be full of flavour and make a great addition to any salad.
For those of you who don’t know some of the many health benefits of pomegranates; I’ve listed some interesting facts below:
Pomegranates provide a good sources of vitamins, including vitamin A,vitamin C, and vitamin E, as well as folic acid.
They have been traditionally used for clearing up the skin and reducing inflammation. And the juice of a pomegranate can also be useful for the treatment of sore throats.
Lift your tea time to the next level with these super chewy Vegan Earl Grey Cookies. I’ve always loved the taste of Earl Grey, especially on those rainy afternoons when you need a little boost. Below are three interesting facts that you may or may not know about Earl Grey tea:
It is a blend of black tea enhanced with oil from the rind of bergamot oranges.
Traditionally, it is served with a slice of lemon with sugar to taste, as it brings out the bright flavours and shows off the warm brown colour of the steep.
The bergamot in Earl Grey has been known to have a calming effect on people, as well as to boost a person’s mood. This is due to bergamot’s natural aromatherapy qualities.
Lately, I’ve started to test out delicious organic all-natural teas from Sunnyside; a favourite shop of mine in the cove. They have over 30 teas in store, so there’s always something new and interesting to try.
After stumbling across the Cream of Earl Grey Tea at Sunnyside; I knew that I wanted to infuse the flavour into a cookie. After researching some recipes on the web I came across something on the New York in Green blog. Since I didn’t have all the ingredients I ended up adapting the recipe.
So here you have it; a Vegan Earl Grey cookie. If you make it be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sugars, salt and tea and pulse until the tea is pulverized. Add the flour, and pulse again until everything is evenly mixed.
Add the non-dairy margarine, vanilla and soy milk, and pulse again until a dough starts to form. Dump it out into a bowl, and knead just until everything comes together and the loose bits of flour are incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, and roll each half into a log about 12-inches long and cut slices that are about ⅓″ thick. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes. Let them sit on the trays for at least 10 minutes to cool, and then transfer them to cooling racks.
The nights are getting a bit cooler here in Vancouver which means the rainy weather is starting to settling in for the Winter. Despite the fact that so many of us do not live according to the seasons, our bodies still do.
As the seasons change it’s only natural for us to start craving warmer comfort food. Of course, if you’re like me you’ll want to keep it healthy and satisfying so these Curried Baked Sweet Potatoes are a greatoption.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Poke a few holes in the sweet potatoes with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape. While they cook you can start on your filling.
Pour vegetable broth and quinoa to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Once boiling reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. In the meantime sauté the onion and garlic in the grape seed oil with a pinch of salt until soft. Next add in the red pepper, spinach, cherry tomatoes and almonds and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. From there you can add the finished quinoa and cinnamon to the frying pan and mix together.
For the Cauliflower:
Mix the olive oil, curry powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl.
Place the washed and well drained cauliflower florets in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish; pour the oil mixture over the florets and toss gently.
Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes; remove from oven and stir in almonds mixing lightly.
Return to oven and bake uncovered for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cauliflower is browned.
Once sweet potatoes are cooked, Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center to expose cooked insides, top with the quinoa and curried cauliflower and enjoy!
This past week I had a long over due lunch with a girlfriend whom I hadn’t seen for ages at Pazzo Chow. For those of you who haven’t been, it’s definitely a local gem in Chinatown that I often frequent for lunch. The menu changes everyday so you’re always in for a surprise.
The special for the day ended up being this life-changing Vegetarian Borscht Soup which instantly brought back many memories of the good ol’ days at my Bubbie’s chalet in Quebec’s Eastern townships. It’s pretty incredible how certain flavours can take you right back to a place or a moment in time. For me while eating this soup all I could think about is coming home after a long day of skiing in -43 degrees, cozying up by the fire and indulging in comfort food prepared by my very talent Bubbie.
This Sunday I made the point of calling her and asking her for the recipe which I wanted to share with all of you.
Nothing feeds the soul like homemade chicken soup, especially as cooler weather starts to settle in. The version I’m sharing with you today is tested, tried and true. It’s a cherished staple amongst the Steiman side of my family, passed down from generation to generation.
The stock freezes quite nicely and can be used as a great base in all sorts of other dishes, some of my all-time favourites include homemade mushroom risotto.
Wash whole Chicken and cut into quarters. Place into sauce pot and cover with cold water about 8 cups.
Bring to a boil, over medium heat, skim until clear then add the carrots, whole onions and one rounded teaspoon of kosher salt. Cover and let simmer until almost done about 2 hours then add the celery and dill for an additional hour. Strain broth into a large bowl and separate chicken from bone.
Reheat and ladle the soup into individual bowls and serve.
*Tip: Refrigerate broth after separation to remove fat.
I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t enjoy the taste of freshly baked challah bread. This recipe is sweet, tender and undeniably the best bread ever. It’s always a treat to have this toasted with an avocado spread on top. Personally, I love making French toast or grilled cheese challah… If you haven’t already tried making some, I suggest you do! Happy bread baking everyone.
½ cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon table salt
8 to 8½ cups all-purpose flour
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling.
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in water; set aside for 5 minutes until a bit foamy.
Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
To make a 6-braid challah, either straight or circular, take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1½ inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. For a straight loaf, tuck ends underneath. For a circular loaf, twist into a circle, pinching ends together. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.
Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.
If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.
Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.
This weekend marked my first riding day of the season. Instead up heading up to Whistler for opening weekend like I would normally do; a few of us went down to check out Mt. Baker. By 630 AM on Saturday morning we were already on the road eager to get down to make it there for first chair. Despite not being able to enjoy my regular weekend sleep in– it was most certainly worth the early morning rise. We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather on Saturday, bluebird and -3. What surprised me the most, was the lack of lift line ups and the completely affordable apres drinks post riding. I’m so excited for this winter season. Next weekend we’ll be looking to head up to Whistler or Big White. My fingers are crossed that there’s some snow in the forecast.
Having snacks to fuel the body while riding all day is essential. That’s why these delicious little RawEnergy Bites are the perfect healthy snack option! A little sweet something to keep you going. They’re quick, easy to make and can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
A little sweet something to keep you going. They’re quick, easy to make and can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
⅔ cup toasted coconut flakes
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (the smaller the better). Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
This summer in BC is going to be one to remember, I can already feel it. This past weekend I got together with some friends and went camping at Levette Lake which is located just past Squamish. The scenery there was absolutely incredible. There’s something about sitting around the bonfire looking up at the night sky and snow capped mountains all while enjoying some vino that really does it for me. The more time I spend exploring the more I realize I need that constant adventure in my life. Before leaving for our camping trip I had some time to make some Raspberry, Rhubarb and Strawberry Galettes. I had quite a bit of extra filling left over so I also made some crumble as well. You can find the recipe for the dough here.
The following day we woke up and made a big breakfast on the campfire. We had planned to go and do a local hike but the water looked more inviting. I was actually surprised of how warm the lake temperature was. A half hour later we were swimming to this island in the middle of the lake to jump off a rock and a giant log. We were all tempted to stay another night but the weather wasn’t looking too great so we started to head back to the city, stopping off in Squamish at Howe Sound Brewery for some eats. The sunday I had a long overdue lady dinner date were I made some delicious Homemade Lentil Soup and Fresh Spring Salad. All-in-all a great weekend.
In a large bowl, toss to combine rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, cornstarch, and granulated sugar.
Roll out dough rounds and cover with a heaping ½ cup rhubarb mixture, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold edges over rhubarb filling, leaving an opening in center; gently brush water between folds, and press gently so that folds adhere. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush edges of dough with water, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until crusts are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake until juices bubble and start to run out from center of each galette, 15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely before serving.