Tag Archives: delicious

ya don’t win friends with salad

So christmas is around the corner! It’s three weeks? Less? I don’t know.

My mom texted me to tell me that I’m bringing salad to Christmas day dinner. Salad.

SALAD.

Thanks Ma. Way to give me the most boring of all the Christmas foods. She claims it’s because I’m the best at making salads and they are my life blood. Therefore easy.

I see you mama hicks. I know what you’re up to.

Just kidding. She’s the bomb. And I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but – Dayummm Gina, I do know how to make a good salad.

You know how they say ‘ya don’t win friends with salad’

Yeah well, challenge accepted.

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Let’s combine the traditional brussel sprout with the festive pomegranate. And let’s lure our family into trying it by adding something that kind of maybe tastes reminiscent of bacon. DONE.

I have a million friends now.

Oh. nope. wait. I just have one.

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HERE WE GO!

Quinoa & Brussel Sprout Salad feat. coconut bacon and pomegranate
(cause why not just put all the ingredients in the title.)
Serves 4.

2 c. brussel spouts (shredded using a mandolin)

1/2 c. uncooked quinoa

1 c. vegetable broth

3 stalks of spring onions, chopped

1 pomegranate

1 c. coconut bacon

Dressing:

1/4 c. Olive Oil

2 – 3 tbsp. White Balsamic vinegar

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 tbsp maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

First, you need to make your coconut bacon. I’m just going to link a recipe here. You only need a cup or so. Pro tip – sprinkle some spoked paprika on there before you bake. This stuff is AMAZING. I won’t lie to you and tell you it tastes like bacon, because it does not. But I will tell you that it’s smokey and delicious and you should make it immediately and put it on everything. Thanks bye.

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Next, you need to make your quinoa by combining the vegetable broth and dry quinoa in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Sometimes I have to add a bit more water or broth for all the quinoa to cook through. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow it to cool

Shred your brussle sprouts on a mandolin and for the love of god be careful. Please don’t cut off your fingers. This tool frightens me to my very core. Seriously, hold off on the holiday wine and mulled cider until after this step.

Combine your chopped onion with the sprouts and quinoa. Add in your pomegranate seeds.

Make your dressing by combining your oil, vinegar, garlic, maple syrup and salt and pepper. Whisk it up, then pour over the salad and combine!

I usually add the coconut bacon on top at the end so it stays crispy. Another recommended topping is cashew parmesan cheese. Maybe I should cover condiments and toppings in another post. Noted.

Christmas Dinner – I’m coming for ya.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Salads, Uncategorized

no-bake MINI chocolate tarts!

21Nov14-059©chicksphotoI took this picture the other night and I immediately wanted to make creamsicles.

right?! you get it.

The day was HOT. And the weekend was HOTTER – Meaning that baking was never going to be a happening thing in my kitchen. Creamsicles seemed like a good compromise. Sweet and delicious – minus the heat. But then I couldn’t find popsicle molds and basically my whole world came shattering down as I stumbled around the Woolworths on Saturday night looking for some popsicle mold-like container. I’m a wild and crazy kinda lady on Saturday nights. I had these really solid intentions of cashew cream/coconut milk/orange zest amaz-sicles – but alas Woolworths really dropped the ball.

So. Now that you REALLY want a creamsicle… I bring you… no-bake chocolate tarts! YAYYYYY!

No-bakeTarts-23Nov14-007©chicksphotoThey are super cold. They are super delicious. And they are super easy. I have made this before in a ‘one big pie’ sort of way… but when I looked back on that recipe it had about 10 ingredients for the base alone which, again, just wasn’t a happening thing. So, in my lazyness, I eyeballed a bunch of ingredients into a food processor and hoped for the best. Here’s to me accurately remembering the recipe for you now! Woop!

No-bakeTarts-23Nov14-028©chicksphotoNo-Bake Chocolate Mini-Tarts
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and DEELIGHTFUL.

Ingredients

Crust
1 c. pecans
1/2 c. medjool dates
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. coconut oil

Filling
1 c. avocado flesh
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. oat milk
1/2 tbsp. peanut butter (totally optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. melted chocolate

For the crust, I crushed up the pecans first in the food processor and then added the other ingredients and mixed until it was well combined and forming a sticky ball. If you can press it together and it holds – its ready. You can used more or less dates – this crust is about consistency. Whatever works as long as it is sticking together well. I divided up the crust into 12 silicone cupcake liners and pressed it into the bottom. I put this in the freezer to chill as I made the filling.

Making the filling is just a matter of putting all the ingredients into the processor and mixing until it is as smooth as possible. I divided this mixture evenly onto each of the crusts and then allowed it to set inthe freezer for about 4 hours.

They should pop out of the liners very easily because of the coconut oil. They are and highly addictive. You can sprinkle some salt on top if you like because… delicious. 🙂

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No-bakeTarts-23Nov14-039©chicksphotoYou can see here that I obviously ate about three of these before I finished photographing them. yum.

xxx

 

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Filed under Desserts, Pies

bloody mary, bloody mary, bloody mary…

Last year around this time I was hiking through the Annapurnas. Well almost – I actually just realized that at this time last year I was probably eating dinner at a tiny restaurant in Pokhara, Nepal called The Olive. It was: the best. For some reason, all over Nepal, happy hour consisted of cheap alcohol and… popcorn? I wasn’t mad about it. It’s quite apt that this is exactly what I have decided to make today. I only just realized that. WOO! Paralells!

Anyway, last Halloween I spent the night at a tea house called ‘The Excellent View’ and yeah, it was OKAY… I guess. 😉 However it did not feel like Halloween at all because a) no one was dressed up ridiculously b) there was no chocolate and c) I didn’t get any birthday carrot cake. LAME. Instead, I was considering the likleyhood of altitude sickness while scarfing down one of many apple pies. Like I said… it was only OK.  (So it was pretty much the best ever, but let’s talk Halloween)

This year though… This year I am bringing Halloween back in a big way. Australia is not huge on this holiday… so when I found out that our apartment building was taking part in trick or treating for the kiddies followed by a party for the adults I was more that a leetle bit excited. And the next day I made this happen:

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Only door in the building that is decorated. Sean may have mumbled something about ‘excessive’ when he got home from work that night. But I am not be deterred.

I’ve also watched no less than 7 horror movies including:

* The Loved Ones (What the WHAT!? This movie is effed up. Thank you to Andy and Jenn for that gem of a recommendation haha)
* The Conjuring (Demons are hella scary)
*Scream (1996 in ALL it’s glory)
*Scream 2 (cause… duh)
*I Know What You Did Last Summer (Classic and so so bad)
*(Half of) Halloween
* American Horror Story: Murder House (Heebie Jeebies GALORE)

So, while my family is celebrating Halloween and the many family birthdays in Toronto with our annual pumpkin carving party, I am sitting in sunny Sydney carving a pumpkin (which I am sure will rot before Halloween) whilst sipping the Ultimate Bloody Mary and eating the Ultimate Popcorn. Let’s talk about it.

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Lately, I have wanted a cocktail that is less about the sugar and fruit and more about the savoury. A Bloody Mary is where it’s AT. Now if we were in Canada, we might be having a Caesar – but being the vegan that I am -we’ll stick with a Bloody Mary. Let’s partner this delightful cocktail with another salty treat. You might think that Worcestershire sauce on popcorn is like, the weirdest thing ever and it very well might be. But this is how Mama Hicks has been making her popcorn for years and I’m not about to change it. However, I am about to add garlic butter and nutritional yeast. So there’s that. This popcorn is major. All in all – it’s a perfect Halloween combination, whether you’re in Nepal, Canada, or Australia.

Happy Halloween friends. 😀

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The Ultimate Bloody Mary
adapted from HonestlyYUM

Ingredients

2oz Vodka
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 big dash Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco (or to taste)
2 pinches celery salt
1 pinch black pepper
a quarter of a tomato
Tomato juice to fill

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Garnishes

extra celery salt for rim
celery stick
lemon wedge
capers
gherkins
pimento stuffed olives

First, Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker (minus the tomato juice) and muddle. Fill the shaker with ice & shake for ten seconds until cold.
Pour the cocktail into a salted tall glass and top with tomato juice – garnish as you like. This is not a less is more situation. DRINK UP!

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Ultimate Popcorn

1/2 c. popcorn kernels
2 tsp. coconut oil
salt
pepper
1-2 tsp butter
chopped garlic or dried garlic granules
Worcestershiresauce
nutritional yeast
celery salt

Melt the coconut oil in large pot over a medium heat. Add the popcorn and a pinch of salt – make sure all the kernels are covered in oil and then cover the pot leaving a crack open for steam to escape. Melt your butter in a separate bowl and add the garlic to it. Wait for popcorn to pop (3-5 minutes) and wait until it begins to slow down – take the popcorn off the heat and allow the kernels to finish popping.  Toss the garlic butter, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and nutritional yeast into the popcorn and mix thoroughly. Nutritional Yeast is, as it’s names suggest, nutritional… but also it tastes a bit cheesey. You could also add parmesan and I’m sure it would be delightful… ENJOY!

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cocktails, Snacks

pb & spinach

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before… but I really like peanut butter.

DSC_7367I probably haven’t really mentioned it too much, because it’s kind of alarming how much peanut butter I eat. I’m talking a jar a week. Possibly more. Definitely more if I am trying to cut down on my chocolate consumption. It’s a give and take, ya know?

Well… anyway, my peanut butter habits are OUT of control. but I’m starting to get things under control, kind of. I’m not cutting back or anything but I have stopped spending my grocery budget on ‘Organic’ peanut butter and I’m starting to make my own. 1 Ingredient Peanut butter. This is where its AT.

I cannot even put into words how much better it tastes. I’ll give you a hint though… it tastes like PEANUTS. And if you decide to do a taste test and try your homemade pb along side your store bought pb you will realize that store bought one actually mostly tastes like nothing. It’s shocking but true.

Anyway. I started making peanut butter and it was alarmingly easy. I’m talking ridiculous. So ridiculous that I called Sean over during my second batch so he could watch the magic. And watch he did. He then insisted I put it on my blog because he was pretty pumped about the whole thing and was convinced that every one else in the world is missing out on how easy it is to make. Easy and FASCINATING. I mean it’s JUST peanuts in a blender and then boom: It’s practically liquified.

DSC_7364Granted, I think the Vita mix makes things faster and easier. But this can be done with any food processor for sure. Annnnd… if you want to spice it up by adding, say, maple syrup, or coconut oil… then I would say that is a damn good idea.

So follow this super specific recipe:

Start with as many peanuts as you want. I usually start with about 500 – 1000 grams and just add them as I go depending on how much pb i want to make. It’s not a science and you can’t screw it up cause there is only ONE ingredient.

DSC_7353Put peanuts in a food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. Extra smooth? or Super thick? The choice is yours. In a regular food processor it may take a couple minutes (5-10mins) but you’ll get there eventually. Trust me. A bit of oil or liquid will speed up the process. You can scrape down the sides every minute or two as well to help it along. I store this in a jar and keep it in the fridge, cause ya know… no preservatives or anything.

So once you’ve made the peanut butter you should definitely eat it with a spoon. But when you’re done with that, maybe add it to a smoothie?

DSC_7331My favourite flavour combination is banana-chocolate-peanut butter. So that is what this is. A Banana/Chocolate/Peanut butter smoothie. And it’s what’s for breakfast. To make me self feel good about eating chocolate it the morning I added Spinach. Which is why it is that really appetizing colour of green-brown. Hmmm.

Life is all about balance. Spinach in Chocolate. You can’t even taste it, but you’re insides will love it.

DSC_7320Top with some coconut or more peanut butter and you’re good to go.

Amazing.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast

condiments & flatbreads

I have a real problem with condiments. I get it from my mother who brought me up in a house that had a huge fridge full of every single kind of pickle imaginable and about ninety different mustards.

Now, my fridge is similar. I have about 20 different jars in there. 20 different kinds of jams, jellys, mustards, pickles, olives, sauces… you name it. I have it. It fact, I might have two of it. It’s not a problem I am looking to fix though. I eat condiments on a variety of things. Sometimes off a spoon.

DSC_7221But just for fun, here is a flat bread that would be the perfect vehicle for any number of condiments. In fact I even made a cheese a couple years ago that is practically a perfect match for this flat bread. But let’s also put some red pepper jelly on top of that.

DSC_7210This flat bread is insanely easy, and I think you should try it.

DSC_7150Rosemary Flat bread
Adapted from here

1 c. whole wheat flour

3/4 c. ground flax

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. water

1/3 c. olive oil (plus more for brushing)

2 tbsp chopped rosemary

Pre heat the oven to 400*F with a heavy pan inside.

DSC_7160Mix the dry ingredients (including the rosemary) up in a large bowl and create a well. pour the water and oil into the well and mix until you form a large ball.

DSC_7183Separate the ball in to three equal portions. Flatten each ball into a very thin round on a piece of parchment paper. Brush on some oil and sprinkle with salt right before baking for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Bake one by one.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, crackers

banana bread muffins

I’ve been in kind of a creative rut. And when I say creative rut, I mean more of a life style rut.

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Since I arrived home from my travels about a month and a half ago, life has been a little upside down. House guests (which were actually the best), new jobs, semi-new homes, lots of dining out and not a lot of time for thinking or baking. I’m not exactly complaining… I’m just sayin’. It’s been crazy.

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Even now, a week after my house guests departed, I still can’t seem to find a rhythm. I guess this might take a while.In the meantime, I’ll make muffins. It seems to be what I do when I’m having trouble re-adjusting.

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Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from Daily Garnish

1/2 c brown sugar (loosely packed)
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c coconut oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c oat milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c chocolate chips
1/4 c walnuts

Add sugar, syrup, and coconut oil to bowl and beat until well combined. You can do this manually, or with a mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine oat milk with the apple cider vinegar. Add this mixture as well as the mashed banana and vanilla to the sugar/syrup/oil bowl and combine.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients and slowly combine them into the wet. Fold in the walnuts & chocolate but don’t over mix.

Spoon the mixture into muffins cups and bake for 20ish minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Muffins

strawberry muffins and ohmygod it’s august.

woah.

Where did I go?

Where did time go? Is it august? Is it MID-august? Holy moly, you guys. I can’t even.

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Things are happening behind the scenes over here and it seems I haven’t baked in like… 67 549 years. That is an exact estimate.

Let’s not dwell on excuses as I have none. STRAWBERRY MUFFIN TIME!

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I feel like strawberries aren’t put into muffins enough. Blueberries, for sure. But strawberries? And I don’t know why NOT, cause these are delicious. Crazy yummy. And I like to over stuff the muffins liners so you have ginormous cafe-like muffins. oh yes.

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Strawberry Muffins
Adapted from my blueberry muffins.

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. all purpose flour

1/4 c. oats

4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c. raw sugar

1 c. oat milk (or any non-dairy)

3 tbsp mushed banana

1 lemon, zested

1 c. fresh or frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a 12 inch muffin pan with liners. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. Create a well and add the milk 1/2 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Mix in lemon zest, vanilla and banana and stir until fully combined. Gently fold in strawberries, try not to over mix muffin batter.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 22 – 25 minutes until fully baked. OR fill the liners all the way full, bake as normal or maybe a few minutes more and enjoy huge muffins.

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Check back next week! I promise to post more than once a month. 🙂 I have more things to share! Exciting things!

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast, Muffins