Sunday, January 31, 2016

Smoky Blender Salsa #SundaySupper

I've loved salsa almost as long as I've loved super-sour pickles. Regardless of the season or occasion, the combination of tomatoes, onions and spices matches the "party" atmosphere, and goes with any sort of "chip" (from traditional tortilla to pita, black bean and even thick-cut jalapeno-dusted potato). However, the dipping possibilities are more than that - I grew up on baby carrots, cucumber and celery sticks dunked in it as an afternoon snack, and today you'll almost always be able to find me by the crudites with a smuggled jar of spicy, chunky, garlicky goodness instead of the go-to ranch or French onion dip on offer.

Smoky Blender SalsaMore than a dip, a good salsa has recipe building potential too. I've blended this rendition into a can of low-sodium black beans, black eyed peas or cooked lentils for an impromptu burrito filling, scooped it into chicken and rice soup, mixed it with Wild Pecan rice and roasted cauliflower for a quick dinner and even plopped a dollop into colcannon (weird, yes, but SO GOOD). To me, it's definitely one of those perfect meal-makers, and with "big game" (and award show) watching season upon us why not take the opportunity to make your own "vintage" to keep on hand?

Obviously, making your own has nutritional advantages too - this recipe needs no preservatives or oil, has no sugar added and is made with wholesome, simple ingredients. Watching your salt intake? Use a no salt added variety of roasted canned tomatoes (or roast your own at home) and a dash of liquid smoke in place of the regular canned tomatoes and smoked salt. Fresh garlic and garlic scapes team up with the onions, chiles and tomatoes for some super flu-fighting and antioxidant goodness too! Since garlic scapes are super-short seasoned (unless you grow your own at home), when I whip this up in the winter, I use two extra garlic cloves instead. The flavour is a little more intense, but for me (and my immune system), there's never enough garlic!

This week #SundaySupper is bringing you perfect recipes for watching the big game / awards shows as a group - if you can eat it on a paper plate balanced on your lap and/or find it on a buffet-style table at a potluck, it's fair play! This week's host is T.R. Crumbley of Gluten Free Crumbley - thanks T.R.!

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks
Sunday Supper Movement 
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Apple - Grain Squares

I know we've all been there at least once - you cook up a batch of rice or grains to go with a stir-fry or stroganoff and wind up with a cup or so leftover. It's never enough to re-purpose on it's own (if you're cooking for more than yourself), but it's too much for people like me to feel OK about tossing it. This goes double in times like these where the economy is less than kind, and the grocery bills keep stretching higher and higher! Yes, you can freeze the remains of the pot... but I personally don't like the texture when it thaws and (knowing me) I'd just leave it there until I eventually threw it out in it's freezer-burned glory.

I used to love having the bowlful or so of cooked rice in the fridge - as a kid, rice pudding was the dessert my dad and I would eat gallons of and it was a blaze to whip up in the microwave using a splash of milk, some sugar, cinnamon and raisins. These days see a milk-free menu on my plate - not to mention more than just plain boiled white rice in the fridge! I've become a huge fan of pretty much every colour of rice (but white!), savouring bowls of not only our go-to brown Basmati, but Wehani, heirloom blackBhutanese red, purple Camargue and (my favourite) pecan varieties of rice without any adornment, and have opened my pantry to millet, amaranth, teff and buckwheat. All of these add extra possibilities to the leftover rotation, their unique flavours and textures working wonders in baking, both sweet and savoury.

Apple-Grain SquaresPerusing one of Rodale's cookbooks (and the particular one escapes me at the moment), I came across the inspiration for this lightly sweet, whole grain dessert. A baked "rice pudding" of sorts, though without dairy, it's a combination of shredded apples, cooked millet and brown Basmati rice bound with egg whites and brown rice flour, sweetened with stevia and laced with toasted sunflower seeds and rum-soaked raisins. The pan bakes to golden, dense-yet-moist perfection and is more than worthy of inclusion at breakfast or dessert - and since it's gluten, dairy, nut, sugar and added-fat free why not have more than one a day?

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 

Apple-Grain Squares

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gluten Free & Vegan Applesauce Cake

I've always had a soft spot for apple cakes, especially those peppered with warming, comfort-inducing spices. My mom is still my favourite apple-caker - thanks to her Jewish Apple Cake recipe that she gleaned from a childhood friend back when she lived in downtown Toronto - but I have to say I'm picking up a few pretty good treats as days go by! While there is definitely a time and a place for them, none of my favourite apple cakes (or actually, cakes in general) are your traditional sky-high, frosting-laden confections. Give me a crumb topping, or even just a sprinkling of raw sugar, and I'm happy!

For bake sale a few weeks ago, I decided to bring in a apple-spice loaf cake that everyone at school could enjoy - meaning it was allergy-free, low in sugar and - most importantly - absolutely delicious! I got the idea from Tia's Kitchen, and by swapping in some stevia and maple syrup, nixing the nuts and packing in diced, home-dried apples instead created a moist, melt-in-your-mouth treat with just enough textural contrast to make you want more. After making it once, I wound up being asked to do a second one for a (staunchly non-GF) friend who fell in love with one of the "taster" muffins! Given the reputation that gluten-free baking still seems to have (and in a few cases - ahem, rice bread - deservedly so), I consider it high praise indeed!

The flour blend you use matters though - I strongly suggest making your own or buying a blend without a lot of legume flours, since these get far too heavy and gummy in a tender cake like this. Don't skimp on the spices either - they really help the natural flavours of the flours and apples!

Gluten Free, Vegan Applesauce Cake

Friday, January 22, 2016

Double Caramel-Nut Banana Bread #TheRecipeRedux

I love discovering new ingredients, especially for the baking pantry. I'd been doing a decent amount of research on gluten-nut-soy/bean-free flour options the past few months in order to write Home Ec recipes my whole class can eat (we're a nut free school, and one class has 2 celiac students, 1 with a soy allergy and 1 allergic to chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans and black beans) and recently came across an article on a totally new-to-me flour made from green bananas! Apparently this grain-free starch is quite common in the Islands and Africa, but new to North America and almost unheard of in my area - until last week that is, when a run of the mill trip to Bulk Barn found me staring at a bin full of the stuff! I couldn't resist, and so without a clue in the world what I'd do with it, I snapped up a baggie and brought it home.  

Caramel - Nut Banana Bread

Luckily for me, home is where the blackening bananas are, and along with some dehydrated shredded zucchini from the summer, homemade nutty caramel sauce, almond milk and caramel sprinkles this whole grain batter baked into a hearty, decadent loaf that was moist and tender - without any added oil or butter! The small amount of banana flour was perfect for maintaining the moisture long-term, since like coconut and oat flours it locks it in and releases it into the surrounding crumb over time. The sprinkles on top are, of course, purely optional - but they do add the "dessert" element and will lure even the most skeptical, whole-grain haters into trying a piece. 

Caramel - Nut Banana Bread

This month's #RecipeRedux is all about choosing a new-to-you ingredient to cook with in the new year. Whether it's banana flour, nutritional yeast, fish sauce, matcha, teff or even ugli fruit, we're showing off our culinary creativity this January!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Multigrain Seeded Loaf #BreadBakers

The new year means getting back into a healthier way of eating for many people - especially after the excess of the holidays (and for us, birthdays as well!), our bodies are craving a chance to recalibrate and get back into their natural rhythms. Rather than turn to the katest "cleanse" or diet fad, why not start simply by just swapping in fibre-, protein- and mineral-rich whole grains and pseudograins for the refined white stuff?

It's even easier than it sounds - a slice of grainy, homemade (or at least minimally processed) bread will keep you fuller and your gut happier than the same amount of kitchen sponge Wonder Bread, and will even give you extra energy with all the B vitamins the whole grains and seeds contain. The eating experience is enhanced too - this hearty, wholesome loaf for example, is packed with rich, toasty seeds and grains and baked hearth-style on a baking stone for a dense, dark crust. It's good enough to eat without adornment with a bowl of soup or a rustic pasta dish, but is equally at home with your favourite Toast Topper
Multigrain Seeded Loaf

This month's #BreadBakers' theme is Ancient Grains, hosted by Robin at A Shaggy Dough Story. Ancient grains are generally accepted to mean grains that have remained largely unchanged/un-hybridized over the last several hundred years, which means NO MODERN WHEAT. Here's what our creative bakers came up with!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers 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