Monday, April 24, 2017

Sweet Potato Crackers

These deliciously crisp crackers are 100% gluten free and vegan, with the goodness of sweet potato too!

Sweet Potato Crackers

A throwback to the dieting days of my teens is the die-hard "knowledge" that dry snacks (read: chips, crackers, rice cakes) were bad and dehydrating, and never slaked your hunger. Lucky for me, I guess, that I never really liked those things anyways - notable exceptions being for Triscuits after school and saltines when I was too sick to eat anything else. Crackers and potato chips just felt like a non-filling waste of time (and calories) when I could just as easily smear some Nutella or peanut butter on a slice of bread and make a fold-over sandwich.

However, I know I'm in a relative minority. I look at my grade 4-6 class, for example, and spot baggies of microwave popcorn, chips, Bugles and Goldfish in over half the lunchboxes. While a good third of the class will ignore the morning snack option most days, if crackers and dip are on offer? Gone in a flash. Since my mom is in the same camp, and everyone loves sweet potatoes, when I saw this recipe on Frugal Farm Wife it seemed like a perfect mixture of favourites!

By making my flour blend with sorghum and chickpea flour, these crackers had a hefty dose of protein and B vitamins injected into their makeup. This not only helped out the nutritional profile, but improved the texture by helping the dough stick together a bit more and prevent the "sawdust" mouthfeel of so many GF baked foods.

The original recipe's author said these reminded her of Wheat Thins. I've never liked Wheat Thins, which is great - because these tasted nothing like the cardboardy, weirdly salty snacks I grew up with. If you're a fan of sweet potato fries, though - this is in your wheelhouse. A less greasy, crunchier sweet potato treat, true, but the nuances are there. I liked them plain personally (but I don't like "stuff" on each other in general) but I can imagine they'd be good with a cream cheese type of dip or even guacamole. No sweet potato (or you hate it / are allergic to it)? Use an equal measure of  pumpkin or any other winter squash. Heck, even pureed carrots would likely work! Let me know if you try those substitutions so I can update the recipe!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Very Veggie Vegan Muffins

A slow roasted applesauce, along with homemade pumpkin and carrot purees, made up the base of these vegan spice muffins, which are crowned with cereal crunchies. The other secret? Cane sugar ginger ale!

Very Veggie Spice Muffins

Easter always brings out the first carrot cakes of the year. The perfect marriage of new growing vegetation and the warming spices of fall and winter, a carrot cake is one of the most delicious ways to bridge the seasons. Of course, I have more than a few carrot cake / cupcake / doughnut recipes on this blog, and by and large they use grated fresh carrots. But I found myself in the situation with leftover cooked carrots languishing in the fridge that nobody would eat (including me - I hate cooked carrots except in soup). 

Rather than toss them (my finances have recently tightened a bit), I decided to clean out the rest of the fridge and see what I found. Turns out I had all the makings of a batch of hearty, healthy and delicious muffins! Laced with ginger ale and spiked with spices and a whisper of both maple and vanilla extracts, they required no egg or dairy to come together into a moist, full-flavoured package. Wrapped individually and frozen, they're great to throw in a lunchbox for mid-afternoon, or split and toast them lightly before topping with (vegan) butter or cream cheese for a decadent breakfast!

Friday, April 14, 2017

'Neep Cakes

These spiced sesame and date muffins have a secret ingredient... Turnip puree! Trust me - you'd never know, and they are to die for!  

'Neep Cakes

Vegetables in muffins and cupcakes is nothing new - certainly not on this blog for sure - and they have an uncanny ability to blend nutrition, moisture and a hint of flavour into every bite. From experience, mixing veggies into dessert is a great way to get even the most loathed of the crops (looking at you, beets, radish greens, cauliflower, parsnips and let's not forget kale) to taste delicious and in some cases even convert the haters. 

One of the root veggies I have been rather slow to embrace is the turnip. I've tried (and enjoyed) raw Tokyo turnips bought on a whim at the farmer's market, but truth be told I prefer radishes, and I wasn't a huge fan of their flavour when roasted. I'm told I come by it honestly - my mother and grandmother hate them as well, but like rutabaga (as do I), so when I was faced with leftover roots that I couldn't bring myself to eat, I looked around for a way to make them delicious - even for all of us!

Eventually I came across These Things I Love, who had a great sounding recipe (and story) for turnip cupcakes. I was intrigued, so switched around a few ingredients. The result is not gluten free, but maintains the veganism of the original, and uses less sugar and margarine. To make up for the missing fat, I turned to hyper-flavourful roasted tahini, and added sesame seeds and dates for texture. The results didn't need frosting or a glaze - the sprinkling of raw sugar was perfect all on its own. The best part? These muffin-cupcakes don't taste like turnip at all, just warming from the spices, a little nutty and a tiny bit earthy. Definitely a great way to enjoy them!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rosemary and Cabernet Salt Focaccia #BreadBakers

Rosemary and Cabernet Salt top this yeast-free, lightning fast, whole wheat focaccia. A touch of sourdough starter adds a delicate tang as well.

Rosemary and Cabernet Salt Focaccia

As insane as the last third of the school year tends to be - filled with plays, trips and the inevitable report cards - one thing remains constant: people have to eat! Along with the hearty, soothing braises and soups I've been cooking up these days, bread always has a place on our table. Nothing is more comforting to a household filled mostly with carboholics, especially when it's homemade!

Of course, because our schedules are so packed (not to mention wonky) these days, making "traditional" yeasted loaves has taken a backseat. Instead, I've whipped up a few "quick" style loaves (think Irish Soda) and this focaccia, which shares a similar set of basic ingredients and method to this Floral Grape and Lemon Focaccia, albeit savoury. As this was going to be more of a "side dish" bread rather than a sweet loaf, I turned to some of my favourite flavour-packed pantry items: home dried rosemary from last year's garden, a bottle of basil-infused extra virgin olive oil that I was given at Christmas, and a sprinkle of my vibrant Cabernet Salt. Together with a hint of my sourdough starter's tang, the crusty flatbread was perfect for slicing into fingers and dipping into herbed oil as a starter or sopping up the last dregs of soup!

What do you make / eat when life gets crazy?

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Rosemary and Cabernet Salt Focaccia

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Chocolate Raspberry Hamentashen

These delicious, crisp chocolate cookies are gluten and dairy free. Filled with homemade chia-raspberry jam, they're a decadent, but low-sugar, pick me up any time of day.

Chocolate Raspberry Hamentashen

I've mentioned before how my parents, particularly my mom, grew up in a neighbourhood full of Jewish families and as such became good friends with many of the kids. As I was growing up, not only did I accompany my folks to Hanukkah parties almost every year, but I was able to learn about many Jewish holidays and customs at my school and through my friends as well. Obviously, Hanukkah was always the "favourite" celebration of the winter - even more so than Christmas, since at school we were allowed to play with dreidels (complete with chocolate gelt) and eat latkes in class as a "cultural" lesson. Other holidays such as Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Purim and Passover, on the other hand, were mentioned but never really elaborated on. It was only when I started taking world religion classes in highschool that I began to recognize their differences and appreciate what my friends were observing.

While not a traditional Passover treat, hamentashen (or if you prefer, hamantaschen) have a cultural symbolism that is significant for both this holiday and Purim, when it's commonly served.Both holidays celebrate the triumph of the Jewish people over evil - with Purim, it's in the form of Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews in the Achaemenid Persian Empire, and it is from him that the shape and name of these cookies comes from. With Passover, it is the Egyptian Pharaoh who was defeated by the plagues, and subsequently freed the Jewish nation from slavery, and while that holiday has it's own set of culinary traditions and practices, I thought these cookies would be appropriate as well.

The whole reason I even decided to make this recipe (mostly "winging it" off one I found on Tori Avey) was because I was searching for a dairy free, gluten free cookie to bring to one of my acquaintances, who's son must avoid both foods. The original recipe wasn't gluten free, but looked fairly simple to swap in a mix of flour for - especially since I was only making a half recipe. In place of the starch I usually add to my gluten free flour mixes, I used cocoa powder. Along with the delicate nuttiness of the teff and the shot of coffee I used to help form the dough, the flavour was outstanding - no butter needed! To fill the little triangles I whipped up a raspberry jam with thawed frozen berries, a few tablespoons of chia seed and a tablespoon or so of honey. The leftover jam became the next morning's Toast Topper!

Le Coin de Mel
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