Category Archives: Vegan

Ghoulish Peppers say Hello

Hello everyone!

It feels like forever since I’ve written. Though you know what? It probably has been forever!

I’ve just been preoccupied with other things like rating restaurants and such. Which is good, I mean it means I am still writing, however it just means I am not writing and working on my own pride and joy. I’ve been going to restaurants like crazy! All because the new man in my life feels the need to satisfy my belly with good food. Thank heavens that he too is a food enthusiast and finds joy when eating food. Best of all he has a sweet tooth and seems to like the idea of getting fat due to my baked goods! Love it!

Anyway it is my favourite month of the year! The month of Halloween!

Actually I spoke to a woman in line at Starbucks earlier in the month and she said that her five year old daughter said that it was the month of Halloween. She thought it was cute that her daughter said such a thing but  I am pretty sure she thought I was a weirdo for thinking the same thing! Oh well! October rocks!

Now because of this special month I have done all sorts of wonderful things like paint my nails to certain Halloween themes as well as making some Halloween themed suppers!

Spider Nail Art

Tonight was one of those nights!

I made jack-o-lanterns out of bell peppers!

I’ve actually been meaning to buy two pumpkins. One for the beau to do as its been a very long time since having made a jack-o-lantern and the other for myself as I do them annually. Only hard thing about it is carrying them from the grocery store all the way home! Having a car would have made things that much better. Oh well, guess we will be getting our exercise for the day if we buy some pumpkins!

So I ended up making stuffed peppers which I used to strongly dislike when growing up. I remember mom having made rice outside the pepper for my sister and I. Well now I make them inside the pepper!

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I got the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen, a website on the well-being of living and eating in a happy life. The direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) 7 grain rice
  • 3 cups (750ml) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups (150g) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup (150g) red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ (340ml) cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can kidney beans (275g) rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn kernels (115g), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (225ml) tomato sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 3 orange bell peppers, deseeded

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot on high heat, combine rice and broth and cook until rice has absorbed broth and is fully cooked.

  2. In a medium pan, sauté onions and garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add all seasoning and mix until combined. Combine rice with vegetables and pour in tomato sauce, beans, and corn. Mix well and set aside.

  3. If you do not have a deep casserole dish or a glass dish wash out your medium pot for the rice and prepare for your bell peppers.

  4. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF or 180ᵒC.

  5. In the casserole dish, pour tomato sauce and combine with garlic powder, cayenne powder, and herbes de provence. Mix well. Grab your bell peppers and cut out little jack-o-lantern faces with a small paring knife

  6. Fill each of the peppers with the rice dish and place in the tomato sauce. Cover casserole dish with tin foil and place in oven to cook for approximately fifty-five minutes.

  7. Once peppers are cooked, remove tin foil and place the pepper lids on top of the stuffed peppers and on broil for five to ten minutes.

  8. Enjoy once browned.

Best of all I had so much leftover rice that I decided to make a burrito! Perfect for breakfast!

Breakfast Burrito

I love being able to utilize the right leftovers for another type of meal!

When I make burritos (or just breakfast wraps) I make a scrambled egg but before scrambling it in the pan, I just let it cook on a the flat surface until it’s a pancake. I then place that flat scrambled egg-like pancake onto a wrap, add some sliced marble cheese (as I can’t just have plain cheddar), and top that with the leftover rice.

Breakfast Burrito Before WrappingBreakfast burrito after

I do the same tortilla wrap and egg thing with normal breakfast wraps, though I add some sort of leafy green, feta cheese, and sriracha sauce. Also all my scrambled egg pancakes are made without milk and with za’atar. Za’atar is an Arabic spice that I was introduced to by my older sister. She married a Leb and due to his family knows so much about Lebanese and Arabic cuisine! Not that I mind! Love it.

My using of the rice is like Bubble and Squeak but better! Well maybe not as I do not refry everything together, but I do reuse it one way or another!

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See! Even this guy agrees! Look at his cute smile!

If any of you give this puppy a go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy eating!

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Real Love Comes from the Heart

What is your favourite vegetable that starts out as a flower and turns into something delicious? Can you actually think of vegetables that come from a budding flower?

If not here is the list I found of them from Wikipedia:

  • Artichoke
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Caper
  • Cauliflower
  • Daylily
  • Courgette
  • Squash

Am I the only one who hasn’t heard of a Daylily?

Well my two favourite vegetables in that list are definitely broccolini (which I actually like to call broccoletti) and artichokes! Yum artichokes!

I actually recently introduced my nieces to artichokes. During Ramadan we went to a Boston Pizza with their grandmother (siti in Arabic) while Siti didn’t eat anything I had a salad and shared with the monkeys. The youngest really liked the artichokes!

So I am happy about that! She and I can enjoy artichoke together.

Obviously with all this talk of artichoke you can see that tonight’s feature vegetable is definitely artichoke hearts.

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I got the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (114g) spaghetti
  • ¼ cup (27.5g) parmesan cheese
  • ½ red onion (40g), chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (398ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (398ml) artichokes hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • Grated parmesan

Instructions:

  1. Cook spaghetti as directed on package until al dente.

  2. Once pasta is cooked drain most of the water but set aside a bit of the pasta water to combine with the parmesan cheese.

  3. In a medium pan sauté the red onion and garlic in olive oil. Once fragrant add the crushed tomatoes with their juices and the artichoke hearts and mix well. Add salt, pepper, and basil to mixture.

  4. Once sauce is cooked, spoon pasta onto plate and place sauce on spaghetti. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy!

Real love comes from the heart… the Artichoke heart!

Now although this was a pretty simple supper, it was sooo good. But then artichokes are one of my favourite!

Anyone else a fan of artichokes?

So it is officially September and it seems that the cool air has come as soon as August ended. I swear yesterday was insanely cold. You could feel the instant change from the previous day to yesterday. BRRRR.

I am dreading the cold that comes with Autumn though I do really like that time of year.

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I saw this on Facebook and loved it! But there are two additional things that make Autumn the best season.

  • Heeled booties
  • Vampy lipsticks

Especially the last item!

What do you love about Autumn and do you call it Fall or Autumn?

Anyway I hope you give this simple recipe a go and enjoy it!

Happy eating!

Romano White Bean Vegetable Soup with Quinoa

Can you believe summer is just about over? Today is the last day of August and then it’s September! The month when school starts up again! Feels like the summer went by so quickly!

But that’s alright as I am not going to be going back to school anytime soon. I’ll just work work work my way to better money and a better position in the company!

As its Monday I decided to make it a meatless and delicious one! This recipe is absolutely fabulous! Actually, I think that is my word, you know the one word you use all the time? Well I am pretty sure “fabulous” is my word of choice. My youngest niece constantly says “seriously”, but the way she pronounces it is like the new Oxford Dictionary word “srsly” like all the vowels are knocked out and the acronyms flow together. My oldest niece however uses the word “literally” all the time.

So now you know the word I seem to utilize often!

Anyway I made the best meal ever. It was oddly easy and so delicious. Also super healthy and filling. Honestly just perfect.

I got the recipe from the cooking tab in the New York Times website. Here you can find the direct link to the recipe!

White Bean Vegetable Quinoa soup

My meal was your basic tomato base soup as most my soups are, but honestly just delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion (40g), chopped
  • 2 small celery stalks (75g), sliced
  • 1 carrot(25g), peeled and sliced
  • 1 can (540ml) romano beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (411g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups (750ml) vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup (43g) quinoa
  • ¼ cup (5g) parsley, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized pot and sauté onion, celery, and carrot for about five minutes or until semi cooked. Add romano beans and garlic to vegetables and sauté for an additional two minutes.

  2. Mix in diced tomatoes and vegetable stock and allow mixture to simmer for about twenty minutes.

  3. Then add quinoa, parsley, herbs, and allow quinoa to cook for fifteen minutes with lid on pot.

  4. Once quinoa is cooked, remove bay leaf and add salt and pepper as desired.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

This is such a wonderful soup. If you like beans and quinoa this is honestly the soup for you!

Though I have something to ask you all… have any of you used shredded bay leaves for any of your dishes? I’ve not ever heard of shredded bay leaves and don’t even know how to add that to a soup or anything. Since I was taught to remove the bay leaves how does one remove shredded bay leaves?

Shredded Bay Leaves

For my soup I just added the leaves to a tea leaf strainer and let the leaves boil along with the metal in the pot. How odd is that right? Does anyone else do that?

Well regardless of how I used the bay leaves, this soup came out very well! I actually keep going back for a spoonful! So tasty!

I hope you all get to trying this. It is fabulous! Plus you will have it finished within a half hour!

So please everyone make this dish! You will love it

Happy eating

Spaghetti with Fa(LOVE)el

Falafel is a wonderful word. At least when pronounced as a North American. If you say it a certain way it sounds like the word “love” is in it. And I certainly love falafel.

I decided to make pasta with falafel. Yummy!

Spaghetti with tomato sauce and falafel

There isn’t much for something special going on in this dish but I have really missed making food for myself so I had to make a simple little pasta. Plus I need to get to know the electric stove top. Going from a gas stove to an electric one with the snap of ones fingers is a hard adjustment!

It took far too long to get my water boiling actually! And how does one thoroughly clean their electric stovetop? I looked it up but I don’t know what a stove cleaner is! I guess I should thoroughly look at the cleaning aisle at the grocery store…

So this was honestly just your basic pasta and tomato sauce. Though I much prefer homemade sauce than the store bought stuff so here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (114 g) spaghetti
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (75g) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (398ml) crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 falafel balls, halved
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot cook spaghetti as directed on box. Once spaghetti is near al dente, prepare sauce.

  2. In a small frying pan, heat olive oil to sauté garlic and onion until fragrant.

  3. Add can crushed tomatoes to the garlic and mix well. Add herbs and salt to tomato mixture.

  4. Once bubbling, allow to simmer for two minutes or until at desired consistency.

  5. Add halved falafel and cook until warm. Beware that falafel soften to a mush-like consistency if over cooked in sauce.

  6. Plate up and top with pepper.

  7. Enjoy

Like I said, my sauce is very basic. But it is fabulous. I quite enjoyed it. It has been a good while since I’ve had falafel. Now I just need to successfully make it from scratch. I tried once and thought it looked too dry and added water. Big big mistake. Never again.

So yeah, that was my dinner for the evening.

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Sorry it wasn’t all that impressive.

But I can tell you that I like to snap my spaghetti in half when I make a pasta. Less splatter when turning the noodles on the fork and smaller bites! It is perfect!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the generic recipe and if you make it enjoy the meal!

Happy Meatless Monday all!

It’s Taco- I mean Tofu Tuesday!

Who needs a taco-Tuesday when you can always have a tofu-Tuesday?

Actually, I have no idea how people make tofu taste so damn delicious. When I was working at the Keltic Lodge in Nova Scotia, a lovely married couple who I befriended made me this divine tofu dish. It was definitely tofu, but it didn’t have the consistency nor did it taste like it. It was kind of spicy and dried. I loved it. I just have no idea how they came about making it.

I actually have no idea how people dry their tofu and make it into amazing things. I need a vegetarian/vegan teacher to educate me on how to drain the liquid from tofu and create amazingness from it.

Today I did try to remove the tofu from the packaging it came in and place it between a dishcloth with a cutting board beneath it and a plate above it BUT the tofu just disintegrated. I wasn’t even pressing hard. It just became a blob of crumbs. A liquefied blob of crumbs. How can anything be liquefied? Well my tofu was! Maybe it was because I got the tofu in a box, gosh I don’t know!

Morinaga Tofu in a Box

Anyway, I tried to make this recipe I found on Popsugar on how to bake tofu. I really did try. It just flopped.

Marinated Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 block tofu, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dill
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) and line a cookie sheet with tin foil or parchment paper.

  2. Place tofu slices on tray and drizzle with soy sauce and agave nectar.

  3. Sprinkle with thyme, dill, and cumin and pop in oven.

  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

  5. Enjoy!

I did all of this and my tofu still came out a liquid absorbed blob. It doesn’t taste all too bad, but it wasn’t what I wanted. Because like most people, I dislike the consistency of tofu! Vegetarian meat crumbles are so much easier to eat than tofu as they are more of a solid that tofu is.

Tofu on a bed of Quinoa with Asparagus

Well I served the tofu on a bed of quinoa with some pan fried asparagus seasoned with salt and pepper. Nothing all too special, but I can tell you that that asparagus did rock my world!

I made enough food for two people, though due to a hungry mother hen, half of my asparagus was consumed. Thus making this dish only for one person. Plus lets be honest, I was kind of turned off by my failure with tofu that I couldn’t go for a round two.

Anyway, if any of you can successfully dry tofu out I would really like to hear how this dish went for you! I’m sure once it comes out properly it is magnificent. Please let me know!

Happy eating!

It was a Japanese Style Night!

Asian cuisine is the absolute way to go. I mean Asian women are predominately slim and fit, so it must be the cuisine and way of eating it that keeps them that way. Chopsticks are incredibly slimming. Not because you eat the wood but because of how you go about eating your food. One small bite at a time.

Fabulous right? It is said that if you eat your meal slowly you will become full quickly which is likely how Asian women stay so slim.

So I guess we should all be eating sushi for the rest of our lives! Not that I would mind as I love it!

Although sushi is fantastic, so is what I made for last nights meal.

Onigiri is very similar to sushi in the way that it is made of rice and most commonly wrapped around with nori (seaweed), the only difference from sushi is that it’s small while onigiri is usually the size of your palm. Maybe even bigger.

Onigiri

I first encountered onigiri when I lived in Brazil and my Japanese friend brought onigiri to us once for a snack. It was amazing. This little rice ball filled with small slices of nori made my mind whirl. I loved it so much.

Well for last nights meal I didn’t quite make the traditional onigiri ball with plain Japanese rice and seaweed, but went for a different take on it. Mostly because my mom abhors nori and my dad isn’t keen to have any starch in his diet.

I got the recipe to make these protein-packed onigiri balls from BittersweetBlog. Her creation of this treat featured lentils, the most difficult legume to ever make a dish attractive! Though because the lentils did not have to be made into a mush-like consistency, the dish didn’t look as unattractive as any other lentil-filled meal I have ever made.  So that was good! Here is the direct link to the recipe I followed and below will be my re-written recipe.

Onigiri before Forming Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (300g) sushi rice
  • 2 cups (470ml) water
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup (10g) fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups (400g) lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups (940ml) water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, bring water to boil while at medium heat. Once water is boiling add sushi rice and immediately turn heat to low while covering pot with lid to cook rice. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked rice should absorb all the water.

  2. While rice is cooking, in a large pot combine lentils and 4 cups water and bring water to a boil. Once at a rapid boil turn down heat until lentils are simmering. Add 2 bay leaves and allow lentils to cook uncovered. Lentils should cook 20-30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan/wok and add onions to hot oil to sauté. Once onions become translucent and begin to brown ever so slightly on the edges (approx. 10 minutes), add ½ teaspoon of salt and turn heat down. Continue to cook at a low heat stirring occasionally until onions take on a caramelized deep brown color. This should take approximately 30 minutes. Once onions are at desired color remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and spices. Mix thoroughly and keep aside.

  4. Once lentils are finished cooking, drain excess water and remove bay leaves. Season with salt and keep aside.

  5. When rice and onions are warm enough to touch mix together with lentils and chopped parsley and add additional salt to mixture.

  6. Scoop out about 1/3-1/2 cup of onigiri and press into rounded triangles within your palms. If rice mixture isn’t holding allow to cool further. Or you could place a sheet of nori just beneath your onigiri form and fold the onigiri on your desired shape. Remember that water is necessary to keep nori folded on your onigiri.Onigiri wrapped in Nori

  7. Serve immediately. You can also wrap your onigiri (with and without nori) in plastic wrap to save for another time. Ensure your onigiri is in the fridge to keep firm.

Although this is not the normal onigiri recipe, it came out quite well. I was definitely content but I adore seaweed and rice. All one needs is a little soy sauce and all is good.

We had the onigiri with a Japanese style chicken. This being normal grilled chicken with a soy sauce type liquid poured into the sliced chicken. This sauce contained soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, and white wine (because we couldn’t find sake). To me the sauce tasted very similar to teriyaki, but not as sweet. It was a unique taste, that’s for sure. The recipe we followed was from the Best Recipe Box, the direct recipe is here. So if you want to do a lentil nori wrapped origini with the chicken you now can!

Final look for Onigiri

I’ve been eating the onigiri all through the morning as a breakfast. Which probably isn’t the best thing for someone, but I am very American in the way that I eat leftovers for breakfast. I’m known to eat pasta, rice, soup, and now onigiri for breakfast. I also like to have cereal and yoghurt for dinner or a late night snack. How odd am I? Oh well, the onigiri was delicious and I hope you all enjoy it too!

And if you are wondering, I ended up making sixteen onigiri rolls, most with seaweed but five were plain rice and lentil onigiri rolls. Though the original recipe said 24 rolls can be made.

Anyway, happy eating everyone!

Lentil Curry Meatless Monday

It has been a very long time since I’ve had a Meatless Monday and you know what? Today I’ve got a Meatless Monday Meal for y’all! Woohoo!

So my dad thinks he should go on a diet and his version of a diet is meat and veg. Well since I do not eat most of the meat he likes I thought I would give him a protein packed vegetarian meal. The best protein packed ingredient that I know he also enjoys would have to be lentils so that is what I made for dinner tonight, something very lentil filled.

I got the recipe from here but I was very dissatisfied by the way it was written. Both the instructions and the grammar were atrocious. Though it could just be that I dislike poor spelling and grammar. So if you are like me and dislike poorly written recipes just read below and you will see my version of the recipe!

Spinach Lentil Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils
  • 5 cups (565g) spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ cup (115g) red onion, diced
  • 1 small green chili
  • 2 cups (470ml) water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the red lentils, spinach, half the garlic, red onion, and green chili in a large pan until spinach has wilted. Then pour water and bouillon cube into pan and allow lentils to cook. When lentils are finally soft drain water (though keep it to adjust consistency of curry).

  2. With a handheld food processor or potato masher mash cooked lentils and vegetables to a semi-purée with chunks. Add salt for more flavour.

  3. Use stock water to make a more curry-like consistency.

  4. In a small frying pan fry the remainder of the garlic, add cumin, mustard, and red pepper flakes. Cook until a smooth hot consistency.

  5. Pour hot garlic-mustard mixture into lentils and mix well.

  6. Serve with rice and/or naan.

Lentil Spinach CurryI’m sure cumin seeds and mustard seeds would have made a better combination for the flavouring but I just used American mustard and cumin powder from a jar. Why buy something you won’t end up using another day?

I do not know if you all know of my background in the hospitality industry, but I had a teacher who would call the handheld food processor a dildo and now to this day I call that device the dildo. Thanks Mr. Young! There are a few items that I sexualize due to my teachers actually. Mr. Young made certain kitchen devices sexual while Mr. C would make the professional coffee machine in the restaurant dirty. I guess it is a good way to remember what to do and how to clean things. Kind of like acronyms to help you remember certain things in school.

Anyway this was my meal for the day and it went pretty well. I am definitely full and believe my parents are too. Lentils definitely rock and keep us well fed!

If you all end up making this I hope you enjoy it too! Curry is always nice for a cold day for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

Happy eating!

Avo-Avo-Avocado All the Time!

If you like avocado come to South Africa! This country seems to have avocado this and avocado that in every which way you look. Not that I mind as I love avocado, or avo as the locals call it.

My dream is actually to own my own avo plant. I am going through the process of trying to grow one at the moment even! Though it is a very difficult process. You have to get the pit (seed) from your avocado, insert four toothpicks around the pit and emerge half of the pit in a glass of water (ensuring that the point of the pit is facing upwards). You then have to wait a few days for the skin of the pit to fall off and wait up to three weeks until you (MAYBE) see roots sprout from the bottom of the pit. That is when you finally plant your avocado seed to EVENTUALLY (it takes up to 7 years) get your own fruit. Such a long process, eh? And you never know if your pit is good enough until you see roots coming out. Ugh.

Growing an Avocado Tree

Anyway, with avocado being a big thing in this country, I too like to do things with this fruit. So earlier this week I made an avocado hummus! Mmmm mmmmmm!

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup of can (410g) chickpeas, drained
  • ½ large avocado, cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor combine all ingredients except paprika powder and blend until smooth.

  2. Place green avocado hummus in a bowl and sprinkle paprika powder on top.

  3. And enjoy!

Eat with chips, on bread, in a pita, or with fresh vegetables. I had mine with mini carrots!

Avo Hummus

It was absolutely wonderful. I ate it so quickly that I could only offer a little to my mom to try. And I got lucky as she wasn’t too keen on it! Instead I just finished the entire Tupperware container myself. Excluding the one bite mom had of it.

The thing about my Avocado Hummus is that there were some chickpea chunks, but I love chickpeas so it didn’t matter much, However if you like your hummus smooth like creamy mashed potatoes then by all means blend until fully smooth and lacking any graininess!

This was a great snack for when you were craving something and would usually eat something unhealthy!

I hope you all enjoy this hummus as much as I did!

Indian Pumpkin Heaven

It is meatless Monday again, and another day to enjoy pumpkin. Yay pumpkin!

Today I made a big batch of pumpkin puree and decided freezing it would make for a good idea. At least for the next time I make something which needs puree. I can tell you that this will be soon.  I’m in the mood for pumpkin cookies…

But for now? For now I made a pumpkin curry.

Lots of Pumpkin Curry

You all should know I have a thing for Indian cuisine by now. I mean Trinidadian cuisine is more Indian than Caribbean and I do love a good curry. Delicious.

So here is today’s meal that I got from here:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cup (495g) pumpkin puree
  • 2 cans (800g) canned tomatoes in their juices
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
  • ½ cup (125ml) coconut milk
  • 2 cans (448g) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (224g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tablespoons red curry paste
  • 3 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion and garlic on medium heat until soft (approx. 5 minutes)

  2. Add pumpkin, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, coconut milk, black beans, and chickpeas. Add 1 tablespoon of curry paste and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and add another tablespoon of curry paste (keep in mind that some are spicier than others) add final tablespoon of curry paste if you can handle heat.

  3. Mix well before adding three tablespoons of agave nectar to your curry, this will balance the flavours.

  4. Bring to a boil and make sure all ingredients are mixed well together. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes on a very low simmer.

  5. Serve over rice or quinoa.

 I served mine over the yellow rice I’ve previously made when I first moved here. But it didn’t taste as good as it did that day.

Do you ever have that? Where you make something (just as you did previously) yet it doesn’t taste the same? It makes for difficult times!

Pumpkin Curry and Yellow Rice

I love how it looks colorful, though it is only red, black and white. Like that riddle: What’s black, white, and red all over?

My curry! And a newspaper… the real answer is a newspaper.

Anyway, I hope this interests you as much as it did me and my pumpkin obsession!

अपने भोजन का आनंद लें
Or as they say in English: Enjoy your meal!

‘Tis the Season to Enjoy Pumpkins!

‘Tis the season to enjoy Pumpkins, well at least it is in the Northern Hemisphere. BUT it is October, the month of Jack’o’lanterns, so why can’t it also be the month of everything pumpkin? Well in my household it is! Even my sister who lives in the Netherlands knows that!

Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, pumpkin EVERYTHING!

To start off the season right I made a soup with pumpkin!

Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Although I wasn’t too fond of the soup, when dad came home (from his two weeks in Angola), he went for seconds he loved it that much.

Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

I got the recipe from here, but I added more pumpkin and another step to the instructions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 red chili pepper, diced
  • 4 cups (1kg) pumpkin, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup (185g) quinoa
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups (720ml) vegetable broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Handful cilantro, diced

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper and cook until aromatic.

  2. Add pumpkin and spices and cook for a couple minutes.

  3. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes just before adding the remaining vegetable broth. Bring to a boil.

  4. Add beans and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Once quinoa is cooked and pumpkin is soft, grab a potato masher and mash pumpkin until soft (leave some chunks of pumpkin whole).

  6. Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro.

Although it is hot in Africa, lately I’ve been rather chilly, so this soup was perfect for dinner to warm my frozen body up.

Also, I’ve been meaning to educate you all on how to cut an onion. Now I know we all know how to cut an onion, but do you know the best way to do so? And the quickest?

One of my best friends taught me while we were in the kitchen. I was taking forever to cut and thankfully she came around and showed me the easiest way. Now I even cut tomatoes like this when I need chopped tomato!

First slice it length-wise
First slice it closest to the chopping board, horizontally
Then slice it higher, still length-wise
Then slice it higher, still horizontally
And again till you're at the top, length-wise
And again till you’re at the top, horizontally 
Then slice it vertically, from left to right (or vice versa)
Then slice it vertically, from left to right (or vice versa)
Continue to slice the onion vertically
Continue to slice the onion vertically
And again
And again
Now begin slicing until it looks like you've cubed your onion
Now begin slicing until it looks like you’ve cubed your onion

Now you should know how to cut an onion just like all the big time chefs of the world (or at least the chefs that taught me). And you have a great pumpkin soup recipe. I am sure this soup will benefit you more than it does me if you are based in the northern hemisphere where it is currently autumn. I know there’s already been severe snowfall in Alberta, Canada during the final months of summer, so it may be a very cold winter.

And a cold winter is best accompanied by a nice hot soup, right?

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!