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


Monday, January 11, 2016

Belgian Style Bread Pudding (Dairy Free)

I woke up this morning to the dreary realization of two things. The first was that (yet again) it was Monday - where did the weekend go? (Answer: up in a Zumba-fied cloud of curry paste and gluten free pizza dough). The second was that Old Man Winter had once again blown through the neighbourhood and left his all-too-familiar, icy calling card. My car escaped the frost coat last night, thanks to my mom shuffling cars and allowing me to tuck it into the garage, but that didn't stop the morning from being a little on the brisk side!

Belgian - Style Bread Pudding
Luckily, being a Home Ec teacher has its perks - namely, that I can create "comfort food", warming menus for my lesson plans! My classes always run right after recess, so we're all chilled by then, and there's nothing better than getting into the warm embrace of the kitchen and making some belly-filling, bone-warming nosh! These days, I've been all about bread pudding - it's quite possibly the most stick-to-your-ribs, hearty, homey, soul food dessert I can think of in the Winter, and it is infinitely variable! I actually wound up doing a bit of research on the recipe for our "food around the world" week at school, and was surprised that I couldn't find much on it in British history. Instead, I discovered that the dish we know commonly as "bread pudding" originated in Belgium! Either way, it's definitely a great treat to make with the kids - they get to crack and beat eggs, sniff cinnamon and vanilla, tear up bread and smoosh it all into the pan! Everyone in my classes - from ages 3 to 9 - enjoyed the process and participated at their own level and interest rate.

Due to allergies in some of my classes, I opted to make this version dairy free with flax milk. However, the richness of the dish doesn't suffer in the least (I credit that to the custard powder) and it is equally delicious hot, cold or reheated a few weeks later after being frozen!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Lager and Rye Bread to Kick Off #SundaySupper Month!

I love making bread for my mom, and now that the overindulgence of the season is on it's way out she can finally start transitioning to her favourite, hearty, grainy loaves again. She's a huge fan of dark, crusty rye bread, and found a loaf during one of our market excursions that was definitely everything she adores about the carb - dense, molassesey, topped with flaked grain and when it was cut into released a burst of slightly malty aroma. I couldn't wait to try my hand at making something similar.

I started with the base, which I adapted from Paul Hollywood's Bread - lots of dark, rich rye flour, just enough whole wheat bread flour, both molasses and barley malt syrup and a flavourful lager teamed up for a fantastic crumb that rose quite well, given the lower gluten structure. To up the ante, the same lager and rye flour gets whisked into a lovely paste that coats the whole boule, both deepening the crust and serving as "glue" to hold on the mixture of rye and oat flakes I sprinkled on top.

Lager and Rye Loaf

The bread smells like Heaven in the oven, and as soon as it was cool enough to cut the knives came out - a hearty slab made the base for a cream cheese, veggie and leftover charcuterie open face sandwich that disappeared in a flash!

The Sunday Supper Family is kicking off 2016 in a big way! January is designated National Sunday Supper Month so what better time to get together? We all know that the practice of Sunday Supper starts off as just one day a week before blossoming into a lifestyle built around the family table. The biggest gift we can give to our family is to hug, laugh, share our stories and enjoy great meals together.

Appetizers and Soups

Main Courses

Side Dishes


Help us celebrate National Sunday Supper Month by entering the Idaho® Potato Let's Poutine recipe contest, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, with prizes of $500, $200 and $100, plus a ticket for each winner to Food and Wine Conference 2016. All the rules and conditions for entry can be found on our Sunday Supper Movement website.

Sunday Supper MovementJoin 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 7:00 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 2, 2016

Cabernet Fudge Sauce

We're well into our "use up all the holiday stuff" mode around here, and one thing we have a good lot of sitting around is wine. We usually open a couple bottles of red at the start of a party (one for each table), plus one of white, but there's also beer, cocktails and "heartier" liquors available, not to mention the pop, water and seltzer in the cooler. Inevitably, we always wind up with leftovers, which sit for a good while now that my mom is avoiding wine at night for headaches. Instead of letting it go to waste, we've been cooking with it, making crockpot flank steak with mushrooms with the third-bottle of Shiraz and, with the half bottle of this Cabernet blend I've been let loose in the sweet kitchen.

The first thing I whipped up actually used up the last bits of a couple things in my kitchen - not only some of the wine fell into the pot, but the last of our half-and-half and milk chocolate pieces from Christmas Eve. I can't recall where I found the original idea for making a chocolate fudge sauce with the red wine, but I'm glad I did! Pairing both the richness of bittersweet chocolate and salted butter with the premium milk chocolate and cream made a gorgeously velvety base that was perfectly accented with the reduced red wine and my homemade Cabernet Salt. Rather than overload the works with sugar, I added a little bit of Truvia along with sucanat to sweeten the deal. Jarred up, it's hanging out in the fridge, where we've been dipping into it for drizzling on frozen yogurt, cheesecake and fresh berries! We're all grownups here, so who knows? This might fall into our next mocha or cappuccino!

Cabernet Fudge Sauce

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Friday, January 1, 2016

Zippy Quick B & B Pickles

Happy new year everyone! While I'm sure some of you are still recovering from the festivities last night (I didn't even party and I slept for 10 hours!), the new year is a time for opportunity and new experiences. What better way to embrace the first week of the year than with a brand-new project?

Pickles are definitely one of my favourite things in the world - ever since I was old enough to sit up in a high chair, you'd find me "gumming" on a big ol' kosher dill when my family went to one of the local pubs. I'm definitely on the side of the "sour" or "spicy" pickled goods though - you won't find me loading up a cocktail plate with the syrupy-sweet classic bread and butters when there's tons of sour pickled cocktail onions and gherkins to choose from! That said, a good portion of the family adore the sweet "chips", so back when our garden was overflowing with cucumbers I knew I would make them a little something special to top their burgers through the Summer. The first batch was more successful than I ever imagined - jars kept coming back to me with little notes asking for more, and I've been making them almost constantly since. My secret is taking the classic "sweet" pickle a little over to the "savoury" and even "exotic" side - onions, mustard seed, Tellicherry pepper and even a pinch of Sichuan peppercorns make them addictively unique and definitely worthy of even the most high-end sandwich.

Pickles and caramel. .. what a weird morning in the kitchen! #cooking #foodie #vegan #food #foodinjars

Thankfully, the whole process is dead-simple, not to mention fast... to get into the jars. However, I implore you - wait that week before cracking into them. Trust me. That pickling time in the fridge is crucial - otherwise you're just eating damp cucumbers, and who wants that? Plus, being pickles, they last (almost) forever in the fridge, so even if you're not constantly pickling, you can have a nibble or three of preserved Summer anytime you like!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays