recipes

Succotash (aka the perfect way to use up a CSA haul)

Succotash
When I told Will I was making succotash for dinner, he was like, “Is that like sufferin’ succotash?” I’d honestly never heard that phrase, so apparently I didn’t watch as much Looney Toons as he did. This must be Sylvester the Cat’s way of swearing, like my friend who adorably calls people Timbits instead of dumb (so Canadian).

Oh right, so succotash! I first learned about its existence by searching Pinterest for something that used both corn and beans. My parents run a CSA (shout out to Sunflower Farm CSA!) so I get weekly deliveries of all their beautiful organic produce. But like most people in CSAs, I’m constantly struggling to just use all the veggies up! The best dishes are the ones where you can use three or four veggies in one. Usually I would just make soup, but since we’ve been in a heat wave since mid-July, that’s just not appealing.

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recipes

Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

mac and cheese
Ooooh, what’s that? Do I feel a bit of a chill in the air? I swear I do. And you know what that means. It’s time to EAT ALL THE CARBS! And I like to add some cheese to my carbs, because my vegetarian diet is the kind that embraces all the cheese.

Just a quick post tonight, as I am still recovering from the awful back to school cold that still has me coughing (I’ve been sick since last Sunday! What is this nonsense?). Naturally my cooking has suffered as a result, but this is the kind of recipe I’ve made so many times, I could make it in my sleep.

mac and cheese
Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

  • one bunch of broccoli, separated into small florets (one pound? I dunno I just used the whole head I got at the grocery store)
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni (I used small shells)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1.5 cups of 2% milk
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. I always start out by steaming the broccoli first, usually over the pasta pot. Cook just until the stems are tender, but don’t overcook them.

Measure the pasta by filling the casserole dish you want to use about halfway. Then cook the shells in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and set aside.

As the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and cook for a few seconds. Add the milk and cook over medium-low heat until thickened. Once the sauce has thickened, add 2 cups of the grated cheese, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pasta, sauce and broccoli are all cooked, mix them in a casserole dish, and top with the remaining grated cheese. Put in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

recipes

Quick Cherry Tomato Pasta

cherry tomato pasta

So I don’t often make a meal and post about it on the same night, but this pasta is that fast!

I actually have the week off, so I was planning to do all the slow cooking, fancy meals I never get a chance to. But this afternoon I got a physical, and afterwards I just had such a massive headache that there was no way I could cook anything elaborate. I just needed fast and tasty.

cherry tomato pasta

And this pasta fulfills both needs! I’ll be honest, I used that entire head of garlic. Normal people, you can use a couple cloves, but Will and I are garlic fiends. And this is my parents’ garlic, and it was picked only a few weeks ago and it’s still so fresh and fragrant. Next on the docket is to roast a few heads and eat it with a baguette. Mmmm.

cherry tomato pasta

Quick Cherry Tomato Pasta

Serves 2 very hungry individuals

  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (I just used one plastic clamshell worth)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chiffoned
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups of dried pasta

Start by bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions, reserving a 1/2 cup of the pasta water to add to the mixture.

Meanwhile, peel the garlic, and laying the flat edge of a knife on it, smash it to flatten it. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic to it. Slice the tomatoes in half. Once the garlic is fragrant and golden, add the tomatoes and the pepper flakes. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes have softened and released a lot of their juices. Add half of the basil leaves.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce, adding a little pasta water if needed. Garnish with the basil leaves and enjoy!

recipes

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

kale caesar kale caesar
kale caesar kale caesar
kale caesar kale caesar

What a nice weekend in the country! It’s always so nice to see my parents’ gorgeous farm. Every time I’m there, the gardens have expanded and they have even more chickens.

I told my dad that I was sad that I didn’t love vegetables as much as I do now when I lived at home. Sure I ate whatever my mom made for dinner, but I definitely wasn’t as rabid about kale and garlic and tomatoes as I am now!

kale caesar
(I didn’t end up using the vinegar – the lemon juice and capers made it acidic enough!)

kale caesar

And this salad, man. Rabid doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about it. I wasn’t sure Will would even like it, as he’s pretty attached to regular caesar salad, but he ended up scraping the leftover cashews out of the bowl! I was inspired by one of those fancy $10 salads that I used to get for lunch when I worked downtown. It has a lot of the flavour of a caesar salad but without making you feel overloaded by dairy afterward. I added some cashews and hemp hearts to give it a bit more texture.
kale caesar
Kale Caesar 

  • one bunch kale (note to self: try with dinosaur kale next time!)
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 15 minutes
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (my head of garlic was small so I used the whole thing)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • lots of fresh ground pepper

Wash and dry your kale and pull it off the stems and into bite sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside while you make the dressing.

Start by peeling the garlic. Mince it on a wooden cutting board, adding a pinch of salt to help make the garlic more paste-like. Once the garlic is very fined mined, put it into a small bowl and add the olive oil to it.

Finely chop the capers, adding them to the dressing. Add the lemon juice, mustard, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the cashews and roughly chop them. Add them to the salad bowl, along with the hemp hearts and the dressing. Toss thoroughly so the dressing coats the kale. Top with a touch more fresh pepper and enjoy!

recipes

Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas

Quesadillas
Oh gosh, it’s been cold out there lately, eh? I mean, I feel like I should be able to just shrug off Toronto cold weather after living in Ottawa for 5 years. But apparently I’ve softened in my old age because this cold snap has been awful!

And in addition to the cold, the lack of sunshine has really got me down lately. I’m trying to fight it, I really am. I’m taking lunchtime walks to suck up whatever tiny ounce of sunshine I can! And I’m taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D which are both supposed to help energy levels. But I still get home from work just totally exhausted. If it’s a good day, I do some yoga and then make dinner. On bad days, I watch Kardashians and hope Will feels up to cooking when he gets home.

Quesadillas
Quesadillas

 

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recipes

Roasted Veggies and Chickpeas with Cheese Sauce

cheese sauce

Does winter just make you crave a big bowl of beige stuff? Like risotto. And mac and cheese. If I could live on various forms of mac and cheese until April, I so would.

But luckily I came across Oh She Glow’s Buddha Bowl yesterday. And OK, I decided I still wanted cheese sauce instead of the dressing she suggested. But at least this way I’m eating chickpeas and cauliflower and quinoa instead of white pasta, right?

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recipes

Quinoa Salad with Charred Corn

Before I get into this delicious quinoa salad, I wanted to brag about a really cool gift I got from my sister this year.

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Reusable produce bags! How smart is that? I always have one of those lightweight reusable totes in my purse to cut down on the number of plastic grocery bags I use, but now I can do that with produce bags too!

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Ok and one more thing that has vastly improved my life: I just realized a few weeks ago that I could just write the best-before date on the carton of my already opened stock so I know how long it’ll be safe to use. Right? Riiiight? Ugh, there are some things that it takes me an embarrassingly long time to figure out.

So I’ve never really gotten the quinoa obsession. As a lifelong vegetarian, it’s one of those foods that people assume you eat constantly, like tofu and salads. I’ve only ever tried it as a side dish at vegetarian restaurants and I’m always underwhelmed by it.

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recipes

Because sometimes you just need to eat grilled cheese

grilled cheese
You know what sucks about being a member of society sometimes? Getting dragged down by all that general body crappiness that I think all women probably feel once in a while. Maybe it’s the colder weather, or the sheer amount of potatoes and cheese I’ve been eating lately, but yesterday it just all built up and lead to me having a tiny freak out about how terribly I was eating and what a bad person I am. All because my stomach is a bit pudgier than usual.

Um, what? I might be a bad person for not donating much to charity, but definitely not because I like me some carbs and cheese. And although I fully intend to start doing a bit more activity and maybe eating a few more vegetables, that can wait until next week. It’s Friday night, and I deserve to make one of my favourite eating dinner alone meals.

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Proper comfort food starts with white bread. No multigrain or seeds or anything!

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Then you’ve got to caramelize some onions. I put in a little black pepper, but that was the extent of my culinary efforts with this meal.

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And that’s two kinds of cheese: old cheddar and gruyere.

 French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

(inspired by this Joy the Baker recipe, although mine is the lazier version. Come on, it’s Friday night, I don’t have the energy to be using herbs and deglazing)

  • two slices Italian bread
  • one onion
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (whatever kind pleases you most!)

Start by melting one tablespoon of the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Meanwhile thinly slice the onion. Add the onion to the butter and cook until golden and fragrant – about 15 minutes.

Put the onions into a bowl for now, and melt the remaining butter. Layer the cheese and onions in the bread, and cook over medium heat until both sides are brown and crispy. Eat! Preferably with potato chips and white wine while watching Netflix (lately I’ve been catching up on my Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23!).

recipes

Roasted Garlic Pasta

roasted garlic
I eat a lot of garlic. A lot. Luckily for me, my parents grow the tastiest organic garlic in Ontario, so I always have a great supply. Sometimes the heads are a bit smaller than the ones you buy in a grocery store, but they taste so much better.

With cold and flu season just around the corner, the more garlic I eat, the more protected I feel. Lately I’ve been averaging at least a head of garlic a day, so hopefully that will take care of any of the germs that sneak my way. I eat most of it raw, but once in a while I like to roast some: it gives garlic this mellow quality and ends up being so rich.

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recipes

Super Quick Tortilla Soup

soooooup

This was one of those great weekday dinners that takes maybe 30 minutes to throw together. And a lot of that is cooking, so you can be doing other things. Like watching endless episodes of Parks and Rec,  as I have been doing ever since we finally got Netflix. If only we had a TV in the kitchen so I could watch while I chopped vegetables.

soooooup

Admittedly, the best part of this soup is the toppings. I went with avocado, cheddar cheese, crushed chips and lime. When my friend Melissa made this soup for me, she also served it with sour cream, but I have a bad habit of buying huge tubs of sour cream and using only a few tablespoons before it goes bad, so I decided to skip it this time.
soooooup

Super Quick Tortilla Soup

  • 1 white onion
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced (psst! If you’ve made yourself some vegetarian shepherds pie recently, you’ll probably have some leftover carrots and celery!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I used a bouillon cube out of laziness)
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can black beans
  • salt and pepper to taste

For topping:

  • diced avocado
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • slightly crushed tortilla chips
  • lime slices

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring a few times. Add the garlic, jalapeno and the spices. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the broth, tomatoes and black beans.

Simmer for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, until the flavours start to meld together and the carrots are soft (I like to taste it often to check the seasoning as well). Serve with a variety of toppings.

 

soooooup