Pancake Sunday

Pancakes are one of my favourite breakfasts! When my sister and I were young our mom would make us teddy bear pancakes, they were the cuttest litte guys. I was never a fan of pancake mixes from a box, but since I have become gluten free, pancake mixes are my go-to. I find it so time consuming to have all of the right flours and gluten free baking powder, etc. (If any of you know of a homemade gluten free pancake recipe, pass it along please!)
 
Are these little guys not the cuttest?
The first gluten free baking mix I ever tried was El Pato…I’m not going to lie, I was so disappointed in the result. They were not my mother’s home made pancakes. They were kind of mushy and floppy, not great pancakes. I then tried Glutino‘s pancake mix, I was much happier. They were fluffy and had the perfect consistency, I was beyond excited. I had been thinking all along that the El Pato pancake mix made an average batch of gluten free pancakes, but I was wrong!
Here is the best news though…King Arthur Flour, which is only available in the states, sent me a box of their mix to try, and I can’t tell you how happy my taste buds and tummy were. My sister (who is now gf) and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating our pancakes with huge smiles on our faces. We were “mmm-ing and yum-ing”, these were the best gluten free pancakes we had ever tried. I have to say that these might be coming close to becoming par with my mama’s pancakes. 
King Arthur Flour’s gluten free pancake mix made about 20 large pancakes. They were golden, crunchy around the perimeter, fluffy in the centre and had the perfect sweetness to them. They were exactly what a pan-cake should taste like. With the perfect dollop of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup, my Sunday morning was “practically perfect in every way“! The mix was pretty simple, it called for 2 eggs, some milk and vegetable oil. You can also make them into waffles if you have a waffle iron. The mix is not only gluten free but also wheat free, soy free, nut free and kosher. If you want to view the nutritional information, instructions and see what the box looks like, there is a PDF version here.
I would 150% recommend these pancakes. They did not taste gluten free at all…so even if you aren’t gluten free, give your tummy a break from gluten and give these a try!

Mother’s Day Dessert

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful, loving, caring Mothers in our world. If it weren’t for Mothers, we wouldn’t be the people we are today. I am so thankful everyday for the love and support from my Mom. I am so lucky to have my Mom as a best friend, I am truly blessed!

I made baked apples with dates, almonds and rum for Mother’s day dessert, after a delicious pasta dish my Dad made. I found the recipe off of the Epicurious website!
This was an easy recipe, full of flavour and healthy ingredients. I would definitely recommend this dessert! I served it with a dollop of whipped cream, but I think the next time I will try vanilla ice cream. 
I ended up baking them for an hour at 350 degrees. I kept tinfoil over the apples for about 35 minutes and then took the foil off to let it bake for the last half hour. Once I took them out of the oven I let them sit for about 10 minutes before serving them, I didn’t want them to be too hot. They were absolutely delicious. 

The hints of lemon were very strong, but a sweet lemon. I couldn’t taste the rum, and the dates were not that strong either. It was overall perfectly balanced with all the tastes. 

Good Ol’ Black Bean Burgers

Frozen gluten free buns….a tomato in the fruit bowl, some lettuce in the crisper, a can of black beans…this sad list of food is a sure sign we are in need of groceries, however, with these few ingredients I was able to come up with the best black bean vegetarian burgers we’ve ever had!

Good Ol’ Black Bean Burgs

– 20 minutes
– Makes 4

What you need:
– 1 can of black beans
– 3 tbsp mayonaise
– 1/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs
– 1/4 tsp cayenne
– 1/2 tsp oregano
– 2 tbsp vegetable oil
– 4 gluten free hamburger buns

To do:

1. Blend 3/4 of the drained, rinsed black beans with the mayo, bread crumbs, cayenne and oregano in a food processor until all is combined and the mixture is a smooth puree.

2. Transfer the puree to a separate bowl and mix in the rest of the black beans.

3. Form the black bean mixture into 4 patties (if you want bigger patties, double the recipe).

4. Heat oil in a frying pan (I used non-stick)

5. Transfer the patties into the pan, fry on each side for about 4 minutes, or until they are crisp and browned.

6. Serve the patty on a bun, top with your favourite burger condiments!

As I said, this was the best black bean burger I have ever had…and I’m not being biased!

Quick Quinoa Sushi

Happy Good Friday for all of you who celebrate Easter! Today I spent my Good Friday in my room, studying my one and only final exam coming up on Monday. I also went for a lovely walk, the weather was gorgeous, blue sky and sunny…but a bit on the cool side.

We are all moving out of our student house in a few days, so I have been trying to eat up everything I have in the freezer and pantry, so that I don’t put anything to waste. My meals have been ho-hum, you don’t know how excited I am to move back home to a nice big kitchen and home cooked meals! Yesterday’s dinner consisted of frozen peas and corn…meat balls and fried zucchini…pretty random right?

Tonight I wanted to make something that I would actually feel satisfied with, so I whipped up some homemade sushi. Have you ever tried making sushi before? Before I attempted at making sushi, I thought it would be a disaster…I had my first homemade sushi experience about a month ago at my friends house. We made quinoa veggie sushi and wow…was it ever amazing and extremely easy, far from becoming a disaster. I thought at first that the ingredients were a little random to have in it, as it included sweet potato, beets, apples and shredded carrots, but honestly, the ingredients took on the flavour and consistency of “normal” sushi ingredients, my taste buds were deceived.

The first time I made sushi, there were three of us making them…we made a TON! As you can see, sushi can be huge or small

Tonight I made two types of sushi, avocado/mango/cucumber and avocado/mango/smoked salmon cream cheese. This is probably one of the easiest meals to make, and I’m not exaggerating! You don’t even need sushi tools (ie the mat)

Quick Quinoa Sushi


Ingredients:
– nori sheets (seaweed)
– quinoa
– tahini
– vegetable ingredients (ie, avocado, cucumber, mango, carrots, etc)
you could also use fish or teriyaki chicken (I did not though)
– rice vinegar
– white sugar
– salt

1. First off, you must cook your quinoa and allow to cool.
(1 cup will make 4 rolls…2 cups will make 6, etc)

2. If you choose to make 2 cups of quinoa, combine 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1 tsp of salt in a pot over the stove. Heat until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Poor the vinegar/sugar mixture overtop of the quinoa, mix, and set aside to cool.

4. Next, stir about 1/3 cup of tahini (sesame seed paste) into the quinoa, this is what binds the quinoa together. (I am sure you could use other nut butters as well, experiment!)

5. While your quinoa cools, slice up your ingredients into thin slices. (should be about 1 inch thick, it can be up to 4 inches long). Ingredients could include avocado, mango, cucumber, red pepper, sweet potato (cooked), what ever you wish to have in your sushi!

Mango, cucumber and avocado (pardon the avocado, it was way too ripe and a bit brown, I also haven’t finished slicing the avocado into thinner strips in this picture)

6. Once your quinoa has cooled down, and you have all of your inside ingredients prepared, you are ready to start assembling the sushi

7. There are 2 sides to the nori sheets, 1 side is very shiny, and the other side is dull with grooves. Place the shiny side face down, you want to work with the dull side.

Can you see the lines/grooves on the sheet? There are about 5.

8. As you can see, there are grooves that run width wise, scoop about 3/4 of a cup of quinoa onto the sheet of nori and spread using a spatula over the sheet, leaving 2 grooves plain on the top.

9. Once the quinoa has been evenly spread, place your ingredients in the middle of the sheet.

10. Now it is time to roll! This may be the trickiest part. You want to try to roll it as tight as you can, rolling until you get to the part of the nori where you didn’t put the quinoa on.

11. Dip your fingers in a bit of water and paint some water onto the bare nori, once it is slightly damp you can finish rolling. The water allows the nori to stick together.

12. Now you have a log. Have a tall glass of water handy so you can dip your knife into it before cutting, the water on the knife will make for a smoother cut as the water helps disintegrate the nori a bit.
I find using two different knives works best. First I use a serrated knife to help cut into the nori, and then I use a chef’s knife to cut the bottom of the nori. Cut the log into 6-7 pieces, depending on how big you want your sushi to be.

 13. And you’re done! Serve with some soy sauce (gluten free tamari) and a little bit of wasabi!

(Left – mango/avocado/cucumber. Right – mango/avocado/smoked salmon cream cheese

I wasn’t sure how the smoked salmon cream cheese would taste in the sushi, but wow, was it delicious! I usually have salmon cream cheese sushi when I’m out for sushi, so I thought this would take on that taste. I was also adventurous with the pairings. 

A Gluten Free Afternoon Tea Party

Friday afternoon I hosted a small get together with my girlfriends to enjoy tea and treats. Little did I think I would be able to enjoy all of the treats! Everyone brought something that was gluten free! It was so amazing! Usually I go to events or parties where the only food I can nibble on are the veggies and fruit. I also love when an event advertises that there will be gluten free options…they end up being the fruit and vegetable tray….


I was so happy and full at the end of the party, all of the gluten free goodness was making me so excited! It was so nice that my friends were so thoughtful to bake gluten free 🙂
The very left of the picture are cake pops – yup, the little treat that is booming in popularity. Supposidly this little treat was developed by a lady named Angie Dudley, writing a blog entitled Bakerella. The first time I saw cake pops were in Starbucks, advertised as the treat under 200 calories. They looked so cool, however I obviously couldn’t enjoy one as they were not gluten free. It was so fun on Friday to finally try a gluten free one! I hope to make these little guys soon so I can share the recipe with you all.
Other treats included gluten free date squares and baked brie cheese (not shown on the table), gluten free yogurt parfait, gluten free brownies, and gluten free corn biscuits. I made the corn biscuits using a mix from Bulk Barn. I had never made corn muffins/bread before, nor had I ever tried it. I thought it would be more moist and muffin-like, however they resembled that of a tea biscuit…which I quite enjoyed. They went perfectly with tea, and spread with a little butter. The next time I make them I think I will make them smaller and sprinkled with a little cheddar cheese.
It was such a beautiful afternoon, I would love to do this again!

Friday with Figs

Good morning!
Yet again, it is a gorgeous sunny, blue sky, bird chirping, scorching hot morning! I love waking up to blue sky days, they just make you so much more happier.
I keep forgetting to post a really good recipe I created a few days back, so I thought this morning would be the perfect morning to introduce it.
The past few weeks, I have been seeing fresh figs for a very good price in the grocery store, but every time I passed them I didn’t know what I would use them for. When my Mom came to visit me last week, I knew the perfect use for them!
Fig, Pear and Almond Salad
(serves 2)
4 fresh figs
1 bosc pear
1/2 fennel bulb
1/4 cup dry roasted sliced almonds (slivered would work too)
2 cups baby spinach
Vinaigrette
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp curry powder
Wash and dry spinach. Place on the bottom of a plate (or bowl). Slice and dice up the fennel, place on top of the spinach. Slice pears and layer them over the spinach and fennel. Slice the figs and place on top of the pears. Dry roast the almonds in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes – watch carefully so that they don’t burn. Sprinkle almonds over the salad. Mix together the vinegar, oil, mustard, honey and curry powder. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.
(Alternatively, you could probably just throw all of the ingredients into a large salad bowl and mix them together to serve…this way is just a little prettier.)
I really hope you enjoy this summer inspired salad! I had it with a gluten free pasta salad.
Enjoy your Friday!!

Dessert for Breakfast?

Have you ever had birthday cake for breakfast? Or “breakfast pie”? I know I have. When I was younger and could eat anything and everything, we would sometimes have our leftover birthday cake for breakfast or the leftover pie we had the night before, it was a very special treat!
This morning I had something that looked like it should have been a dessert, and quite honestly it probably could have been a dessert, as it was so sweet and delicious.
I made Angela’s Vegan Overnight Oats for breakfast, with my own little twist. I’ve been wanting to try them ever since I saw them on Oh She Glows, but every night I would forget to make them, so obviously they were not in the fridge to meet me as I woke up in the morning. Last night however I did remember! It was so fun to just wake up and have breakfast all ready for me. I didn’t have to slave over the stove making sure my oats didn’t burn. I also didn’t have to do any dishes!
Meg’s Vegan Overnight Oats – Banana Maple Style
Before you hop in bed, combine:
1/3 gluten free oats
3/4 cups vanilla almond
1/2 mashed banana
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp flax meal
1 tsp salba seeds
Cover and place in the fridge.
Once you wake up, run to the fridge to eat your prepared breakfast!
Well, you can eat this alone…or you can make it into a parfait, like I did. The parfait was what made it look like dessert.
I used unsweetened plain soy yogurt.
So, get a bowl, or a glass, and alternately layer the overnight oats and the yogurt. At the end, top it with a dollop of nut butter – I used sunflower seed butter.
This was SO good !!! I can’t wait for tomorrow morning!
If you’re an oatmeal lover, you have to try this one.

Sunday Night Dinner

What a lovely weekend! The weather was so warm and the trees and flowers are blooming like crazy. Did you all have a nice weekend?
I went to Chapters in search of some books Saturday, but it was crazy busy and I forgot a coupon that was going to give me half off any second book…so, I came home empty handed and went onto Amazon…where I got 4 books for the price of 2, it was great! We also went to see a really funny movie Saturday night, Death at a Funeral. We saw the original British version and thought it was hilarious, so we went to the theaters to see the American version – it was even funnier.
Yesterday I did a big spring cleaning of my room, throwing out things that I really don’t need any more…things that I’ve been holding onto for much too long. It feels nice to finally get rid of them. I also went for a nice long walk with my sister, it was nice being able to walk around in shorts and tanks and not being cold!
In the afternoon I made a Gluten free, Refined sugar free Fruit Crumble for dessert. It felt so satisfying to pick fresh rhubarb from our garden and put it to use.
We didn’t get to eat it until after our dinner though….I guess that’s why it’s called dessert! Our dinner was soooo good though. Mom made a roast chicken with carrots and onion, sweet potatoes, green beans and asparagus. Yum, yum, yum!
Mom said the dinner wasn’t “blog worthy” to take a picture of.
 
Gluten Free/Refined Sugar Free Fruit Crumble
Filling:
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 apple chopped
1 pear chopped
1.5 tsp stevia powder (5 packets)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
Topping:
3/4 cup white rice flour
1 cup gf oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 tbsp safflower oil
4 tsp maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
First, chop all of the fruit into 1/2 inch chunks. Throw the fruit, stevia, cinnamon and maple syrup in one bowl. Stir until combined. Grease a baking dish and then place the fruit mixture on the bottom of the dish. In another bowl, mix together the topping ingredients until moist and crumbly. Crumble the topping over the fruit until covered. Pop into the oven for 40 minutes until golden.
Serves ~6 people.
Serve with ice cream, frozen yogurt, plain yogurt, or eat on its own.
This makes a great dessert, or you could even eat for breakfast with yogurt!
This dish was great. The whole family loved it and thought it was nice and sweet. I was so happy it turned out sweet, as rhubarb is such a bitter vegetable.
 
Did you know rhubarb was a vegetable? I always thought it was a fruit! Did you know that one cup of rhubarb provides 348 mg of calcium, that is as much as a glass of milk!
 
Wow. You learn something new everyday, don’t you!
 
Well, it looks as if it’s going to be a sunny day today! Enjoy your Monday everyone 🙂
Tulips are my favourite flower. They make me so happy and get me excited that warm weather is on its way!
 
Last month was ‘daffodil month’ in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. They’re still blooming in our garden though. They’re such a beautiful cheery flower!
 
Updates:
– Check out Katie’s giveaway!
– Look! My Operation Beautiful note was posted!
Okay…now I’m off to yoga!!

OSG Protein Power Bowl

As I said in my post yesterday afternoon, once I read about Angela’s Protein Power Bowl yesterday morning, it was all I thought about ALL day!! Dinner finally rolled around and I was just so excited to make it. I used fennel instead of onion, quinoa flakes instead of waiting 30-40 minutes for real quinoa to cook, and I didn’t add garlic but I did add a few other goodies.

Angela’s version can be found here.

Meg’s Version of Protein Power Bowl:

– 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
– 1/4 cup Perky’s Crunch Flax (who said you had to have cereal with milk?)
– 1/3 cup chickpeas
– 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
– 1 tbsp ground flax
– 1/2 cup fennel
– 5 asparagus spears
– sprinkle of GF tamari
– 1 tsp curry powder

Cook the quinoa flakes in 2/3 cups of water for about 90 seconds (or as the instructions on the box read). Sauté the fennel and asparagus together. Pretty easy right? Then just throw it all in a bowl and add the toppings!

The quinoa flakes are hiding underneath the mess of all of the other deliciousness.

YUM! It was definitely what I was expecting..but better. I loved all of the crunchy textures and different tastes I added it. I was hesitant when I used tamari after I had put the curry in, but it was actually quite delicious. I will definitely make this again and it kept me feeling full for quite a long time.

I also had raw carrot fries with ketchup. I know, I know…sounds a little odd right? But trust me, don’t bash it until you try! Do you like sweet potato fries with ketchup? Then you will like these! Such a good combo!
Well, I must go make some brain food for my long day of studying…tomorrow is my first exam!!! I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty nervous for it…it just crept up way to quickly. Have a wonderful Sunday 🙂

A Date with Banana Coconut Muffins

Easter everyone! I took a little break of blogging over the weekend to enjoy a computer free weekend with my family. The weather was gorgeous! We couldn’t believe it was only early April, it was definitely a shock to our bodies. We had our Easter dinner on Saturday night, enjoyed with this beautiful view of the sunset.
Unfortunately I still had to study this weekend, as this week is my last week of classes, and then I start exams next Monday…so I probably won’t be blogging during exam time.

Anyway! Today my Mom and I went down to Whole Foods, I love that store. It was fun, but I don’t think I need to make the trek back down there again, as the natural health food store I have found near me has almost everything as Whole Foods has, plus more. I did however enjoy Whole Food’s salad bar. I’ve been wanting to try it for so long, as I keep reading about the amazing salad bar experiences others have had. I didn’t take a picture of it, but I had baby spinach, steamed kale, red cabbage, beet root, asparagus, red quinoa, mixed beans and watermelon. Yum! It was soooo good. It was pretty inexpensive as well…$6.47 or something like that. I bought some new soy yogurt to try, vegan mozzarella cheese, nice big Pink Lady apples, kabocha squash (which I have been longing to try), and we got a bunch of veggies and chicken to make a chicken stir fry for tonight.
This afternoon I had the itch to bake. So I ended up doing so.
I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to bake, but I knew I wanted bananas in it. Whenever I think of bananas in something, I think of muffins…so I created Banana – Coconut – Date Muffins.
A Date with Banana Coconut Muffins:
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs (or 2 tbsp flax meal + 6 tbsp water)
3 bananas mashed
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup honey
1 cup milk (almond, rice, soy or dairy)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
5 honey dates chopped
1/2 cup raisins
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, dates, raisins and coconut.
In a separate bowl mash the bananas, mix in the apple sauce, honey and eggs or egg substitute.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
Spoon into a greased or lined muffin tin.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. – this time was based on mini muffins…it will probably take a bit longer if you make large muffins.
Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 large muffins. You could also make a loaf out of this.
They turned out delicious. Very moist and not too dense. The banana is very distinctive, so you can only taste the coconut subtly. These would be very good spread with a little coconut butter, or Earth Balance.
On a different note, I just wanted to take the time to say ‘thank you’ for everyone who reads my blog, and welcome the new readers! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or leave comments, I love hearing from you! Also, does any have any suggestions for kabocha squash? I can’t wait to try it!