christmas guacamole

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super easy, super pretty – perfect for the holidays

Who doesn’t love guacamole!? It’s such a great party appetizer, it’s healthy, and it takes minimal effort to make it. With December just around the corner, our weekends are already starting to fill up with Christmas parties and gatherings (’tis the season!). And along with that my mind starts spinning for new ideas for dishes while hosting and also thinking about what yummies I can bring to other parties. I was staring at my fruit basket on the counter and noticed the pomegranates beside the avocados…and it occurred to me that bright vibrant red beads of this juicy, tangy and sweet fruit might be a pleasant surprise in a smooth creamy bite of guacamole.  So I decided to give it a try…and guess what? It’s so good, so beautiful, and so much fun. The pomegranates not only add a festive touch but they are a sweet and textural pop in your mouth!

what you need:

  • 3 avocados
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 small garlic clove – finely grated
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
  • 1 lime (zest and juice)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

what to do:

  1. Remove pomegranate fruit from pith. One way to do this is to shallowly slice along the outside of the fruit all the way around – then use the tip of the knife to split it open.  Carefully remove the red jewelled fruit from the white pith (juices will stain your clothes so be careful!).
  2. Cut avocados in half and remove the pits. (Best way to do this is to cut in half, twist to open, then carefully use your knife to spear the pit, twist and remove).
  3. Scoop avocado flesh into a bowl.  Add garlic, cilantro, 1 tbsp green onion, lime zest and juice – mash with a fork until mostly smooth.
  4. Add a little bit of salt and pepper – taste and adjust.
  5. Spoon mixture into serving dish and sprinkle pomegranate and remaining 1 tbsp green onion over top – serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!CSC_0822.JPG

sweet potato, spinach & chick pea hash

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Tonight’s main was this hash, inspired by two reasons:

1. My kids love sweet potatoes but were getting a little tired of sweet potato fries (usually I just cut them up into sticks and oven roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper).

2. I decided to go lighter and vegetarian for dinner because over the weekend we hosted two BBQs and definitely had our share of meaty proteins.

The girls (piepie and boss) ate this sweet potato hash right up and didn’t even flinch at the green spinach.  It also packs easily for lunch the next day, delicious at room temperature or slightly cool.  You could even spice it up by adding cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, and/or turmeric.

prep: 10 min    cook: 10 min    yield: 2-4

what you need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, washed/scrubbed thoroughly
  • 1 cup chick peas (cooked)
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp mild tasting cooking oil (I used avocado oil)
  • salt & pepper
  • cooking oil

what to do:

  1. Place washed sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then turn down to medium low, parboil (partly cooking) for about 10 minutes. You want them to be tender but not falling apart.
  2. Once cool enough to handle,  roughly cut sweet potato into bite size chunks. (I like to leave the skin on for texture and fibre).
  3. In a large skillet (best to use cast iron) – on medium high heat, add butter and cooking oil. (If you are using a non-stick pan, use medium heat). Once the butter melts, add the cooked sweet potato chunks and mash slightly with a large fork or potato masher. Lightly brown the sweet potatoes to make them hash-like.
  4. Add in your chick peas and spinach – stirring to mix everything together – about 5 minutes – once the spinach wilts and the chick peas are warmed, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy!

 

 

caramelized brussel sprouts with a honey balsamic drizzle

 

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with sausage for optional meatiness

I sort of forgot about Brussels sprouts until I saw a beautiful photo of a side dish in this fall’s Food & Drink (LCBO magazine).  Inspired, I purchased some this weekend and remembered how much I like them.  They are really easy to prep and take on flavours quite well, making them really tasty with this super easy balsamic honey drizzle.  Be sure to let them brown up in the pan to get a nutty sweet flavour out of them!

I have to admit they were not a hit with either piepie or boss (now ages 4 and 2) – but they did give it a try (mommy rules: you must try everything at least once).  My husband really liked it though! It went well with our Sunday local craft beers:)

what you need:

  • ~1lb Brussel sprouts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil (I used avocado oil) & olive oil
  • optional* 2 honey garlic sausages (or if you like a kick, use spicy Italian)

what to do:

  1. In a large pot bring some water to a boil.
  2. Wash Brussel sprouts and then trim off the hard bottoms, then cut them in half lengthwise.
  3. Roughly chop garlic and set aside.  If you are using sausage, cut it up into small chunks.
  4. Place Brussel sprouts in boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes, they will turn bright green and soften slightly (but don’t leave them for too long, no one likes mushy Brussel sprouts!).
  5. Drain Brussel sprouts and set them aside in a bowl.
  6. *skip this step if you are not using sausage – In a frying pan, heat up 1 tsp cooking oil and add sausage pieces, browning them on all sides and making sure to cook through. Remove sausage from heat and set aside. Use the same pan for next step.
  7. Add about 1/2 tbsp cooking oil to a large frying pan on medium heat and add half the garlic, sautéing for about 20 seconds.  Add half of your Brussel sprouts cut side down, allowing them to brown and caramelize, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat this process with the remaining garlic and Brussel sprouts.
  8. Add everything back into the pan for a final sauté, season with salt and pepper, about 1 minute, tossing everything to mix. Remove and place onto your serving platter.
  9. In the same pan on medium low, add 1 tsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. It will bubble and reduce a little bit – about 20 seconds – then drizzle onto your Brussel sprouts. Serve hot. Enjoy!

 

school safe energy bites

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a fun surprise in the middle

My last few posts look the same don’t they…I definitely still have an obsession with dates but I have been baking and cooking with other things too haha!  Now that pie-pie has started school, I am hoping to have more time to post more recipes regularly! Sorry for the lack of posts but I am pretty good at keeping instagram up to date since it’s super fast and easy:)

So my previous energy bites had lots of nuts in them…I had to post this one because so many of my friends are now mommies who need to pack school safe snacks! It’s tough nowadays, no nuts for sure, and in some cases sometimes no eggs, no seeds, no chickpeas (I have heard this it’s true!). Previously I had used rice crispies for crunch, but this time we didn’t have any at home.  There was some left over cornpops from our cottage vacation two weeks ago, so I thought it might be fun to hide one cornpop in the middle of the date ball. It’s like a little treat within a treat:).

This recipe is nut & dairy free.

what you need:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 generous cups of pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt (if your seeds are not salted)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • cornpops

what to do:

  1. Use a food processor or blender to grind your seeds (not too fine – or you’ll make seed butter!).
  2. In a food processor, buzz up the dates until they form a paste / giant ball shape that is whipping around your food processor.
  3. In a pot over medium heat, melt coconut oil and then add the pureed dates to soften them. Add cinnamon and salt. Mash with a large fork to combine evenly.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla and seeds. Use the fork again to mix evenly.
  5. Wet your hands slightly with cold water (this will prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands). Use a spoon to scoop up about a golf ball size of date mixture, place a corn pop in the middle and roll into a ball.
  6. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week. It will keep even longer in the fridge. Enjoy!

pumpkin seed & coconut muesli

 

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feel good breakfast

Some days, a light and bright breakfast just makes you feel good.  In the winter when pomegranates and mango are “in season” (obviously not ever in season in Canada…part of me feels guilty when I don’t buy local but we can’t just eat only apples all winter!) I like to enjoy it with yogurt and granola or muesli.  I started buying plain yogurt exclusively (greek and regular) because there really is a lot of sugar in fruit yogurts.  For me, the mangoes sweeten up the plain yogurt enough that I don’t need to use honey or maple syrup, but I do drizzle a bit on for piepie and the boss (and my husband!) because a small amount of that sweetness helps with the sourness of plain yogurt!

So here is the simple recipe for the muesli part – the sweet mango and crunchy tart pomegranate are our faves but you can use whatever fruits and yogurt are your favourites. Ground flax seeds, hemp hearts, and/or chia seeds are also great additions to sprinkle on.

prep: 5 min   bake: 8 min   yield: 2 1/2 cups

what you need:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

what to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (325 F if convection).
  2. Melt coconut oil in a small sauce pan, then turn off heat and add cinnamon, stirring.
  3. Spread rolled oats onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Pumpkin seeds are usually already toasted – but if you don’t have pumpkin seeds and you are substituting for a seed that you have bought raw – go ahead and spread it on top of the rolled oats.
  5. Drizzle coconut & cinnamon oil on top of rolled oats – bake for about 8-10 minutes, until you can smell the cinnamon and the oats are lightly golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and add pumpkin seeds.
  7. Once it has cooled – transfer to mason jar for storage. Enjoy!