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Archive for January, 2011

Few things make me happier in the morning then a freshly baked scone. Having a couple to chew on between sips of strong Earl Grey tea gives me immense pleasure and starts my day off in such a way that I am assured that the rest of my day will be as enjoyable as my breakfast was, if for no other reason than I can simply recall how wonderful my breakfast was throughout the day and maintain my euphoria.

I let Husband sleep in this past weekend and puttered around the house while he stayed curled up under our down-alternative duvet. I worked out a little, did some tidying, caught up on some reading and decided it was the perfect morning for scones. I figured it would be a marvelous way for Husband to wake up…the aroma of fresh-baked goods luring him from slumber.

Naturally, I turned to Vegan Brunch to find a new recipe to try. I went to the scone recipe and discovered a variation on the page that seemed heavenly: apple rosemary scones. The combination was just too enticing! I was powerless to resist it and started prepping the ingredients and preheating the oven immediately.  A little over a half hour later, I was pulling a sheet of the most fragrant scones I have ever had the pleasure of smelling out of my oven. The aroma woke Husband and he stumbled into the kitchen like a zombie in search of food.

We enjoyed them immensely for breakfast that morning, still warm and torn roughly in half so I could smear the steaming interior with a little Earth Balance, you know…to ensure they weren’t too dry *wink*. The apple rosemary combination is nothing short of brilliant. The rosemary adds a wonderful, unexpected dimension to the simple treat. I brought a couple to work later that morning for my co-workers and those boys inhaled them! One of my co-workers told me he couldn’t believe a vegan baked good could be so decadent and he’d never heard of the flavour combination before. I’d call that another win for vegan baked goods everywhere!

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Now that the Xmas season is over, I have spare time back at my disposal. My shifts at my part-time job have dwindled a little, which hurts my bank account some but helps my sanity much more, and that leaves me with more time to spend in the kitchen! To celebrate the extra few hours I have, I thought it would be really nice to treat Husband to a dish I’ve been wanting to try forever but just never seem to have the time to prepare. Enter Veganomicon! I talk about this cookbook a lot (a lot); but, I truly cannot help myself. I love it that much! I love how it has a good blend of favourites and adventurous dishes; and Isa and Terry’s writing is always entertaining. I’ll stop gushing now before this gets uncomfortable for everyone.

So, on to the dish. I decided on Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream. I mean, just look at that plate up there. Doesn’t that look divine? Don’t you wish that was your fork up there, heading for your anxious taste buds?

As involved as the recipe is, it is not at all difficult. It’s not going to be a quick weeknight throw-together; this is something you serve to someone you really want to impress (or someone you like a whole lot!) The smell as the casserole is baking is tortuous…I was salivating the entire time it was in the oven. And that pine nut cream! Oh, that pine nut cream! If it was anatomically possible, I would have tried to lick the bottom of the blender to get every last bit of its deliciousness off the blades! Just be prepared to wash some dishes after your prep work is done. My kitchen was a disaster.

As is the case with most casserole dishes, it tastes even better the next day. 

Veganomicon FTW!

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Xmas Feast

As promised, here’s a photo collage of the copious amount of food we consumed for Xmas dinner. It’s no wonder I was in a food coma for, oh, a week straight! I did a tonne of baking throughout December-making pecan pies, shortbread, whiskey peanut fudge and nearly two dozen other treats that I used for gifts, bribery, and my own personal insulation. We certainly did not go without sugar this past holiday season. In fact, I fell off the health wagon pretty hard in December…I stopped keeping my food diary, I stopped making a conscious effort to work out, and I definitely ate more than my share of sugar. Now that the holidays are over…I’m back on the wagon! And, to be honest, I realized that I really am happier when I’m healthier. I was exhausted most of December, feeling sluggish and cranky and my moods were very scattered. If ever I needed a reminder why I am normally a health-conscious person, this Xmas was it and I’m actually very happy to say that I’m back to my usual routine of eating balanced, nutritious meals and trying to be as active as I can.

That being said, our Xmas feast was super-delicious and I was really looking forward to sharing it. I made some of my famous vegan ham (which I ate with a ridiculous amount of horseradish), stuffing with lots of fresh parsley and toasted walnuts, rosemary roasted baby potatoes slathered with homemade roasted garlic “butter”, cranberry sauce with a zing of orange zest, asparagus slow-roasted with lemon and thyme infused olive oil, and some wonderful caramelized, roasted squash. You can see the pretty orange slices of pre-baked squash above with the fresh thyme and bay leaves…mmmmm….and my sister made some pepper squash wedges that were baked with maple syrup and hazelnuts that looked way too wonderful for me not to eat!

It was a fantastic meal; but, I’m soooo enjoying the lighter fare I’ve been consuming since. Nothing like a pig-out to make you appreciate the beauty of steamed kale and brown basmati rice!

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Sunny Salad

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Mine was spectacular-and so very hectic-as holidays tend to be. I’ll post some photos of my super delicious Xmas dinner later this week; but, today, I wanted to share a picture of the sunshine on that spinach salad up there. I know that after the foodfest that is the holiday season, I always want to eat simple salads to sort of detox from the overeating and sugary treats and more sedentary lifestyle.

After prepping this salad simply with spinach, tomatoes, zucchini and a spritz of lemon juice, I turned to grab a fork and when I turned back, I noticed how beautiful the late afternoon sunshine looked on the salad and couldn’t resist snapping a photo before digging in. I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I did!

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