Coconut Cream Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest of the new superfoods widely available in food markets today. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain. 

Coconut Cream Chia Pudding is a delicious, easy to make treat packed with lots of nutrition! Vegan-friendly and gluten free, you can make one or more portions the night before to have throughout the week. Start with the basic recipe, adding in your favourite fruits and toppings.

Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayan who prized them for their ability to provide sustained energy.

In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”

Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognized as a modern-day superfood.

These tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains (1, 2):

  • Fiber: 11 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s)
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA
  • They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

The fiber and Omega 3’s in Chia seeds rate higher ounce for ounce than flaxseed.  Higher fiber with lots of Omega’s reduce your risk for diabetes type 2 and heart disease. One of the best features are the antioxidants which help the Omega oils from going rancid. So grab your empty mason jars (8oz) and get your breakfast of champions started!

COCONUT CREAM CHIA PUDDING
WITH MIXED BERRIES AND PECANS

Ingredients (per serving)

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (adjust sweetness to taste)

Mix chia seeds, coconut milk, and maple syrup together in a small bowl or glass mason jar. Let it set in the refrigerator. Stir mixture after half an hour and set back in the fridge. Repeat one more time. Leave overnight.

In the morning, remove it from the fridge, and make sure your pudding looks thick and the chia seeds have gelled.

Layer the coconut cream on top of the pudding (available at specialty food stores or the grocery store in ethnic aisle) then add fresh strawberries/blueberries and top with chopped pecans. Then grab a spoon and enjoy!

You can make 5 to 7 – 8oz. glass mason jars with the basic recipe and change up your breakfast to go every morning by using different fruits, nuts and seeds for a variety of tastes and texture.

P.S. It also makes a great dessert or afternoon snack!

Maple Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower

A guest recently shared a version of this recipe with me and I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve tweaked it a bit of course (cuz that’s what I do) and every guest I’ve shared it with has loved it.

If you are looking for a super quick side dish that’s unique then here’s your answer!     ~ Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp sriracha – could use more if you like it hot
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together until combined. Add the cauliflower and toss until well coated.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake, flipping once during baking, until golden brown and tender (approx 25 min).
  4. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with additional sriracha sauce if desired.

Pro Tip: If you want less mess for clean up, line the baking sheet with parchment paper!

Thai Mushroom & Kale Soup

Thai Mushroom SoupIngredients

  • 1 large onion cut into chunks (bite sized)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced (more if you love ginger)
  • 2-4 cups mushrooms – brown, shitake or cremini – the older the better for flavour
  • 2 cups kale chopped (or bok choy, or spinach, or dandelion leaves)
  • Extra firm tofu – cut into small cubes
  • Mushroom bouillon (or veggie if you don’t have mushroom)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 – 2 tbsp organic soy sauce
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Fresh cilantro chopped coarsely for garnish
  • 1 can of coconut milk

Preparation

  1. In a large soup pot, soften the onions, garlic and ginger at a low temperature using a bit of water and put a lid on the pot letting them sweat and release their yumminess to the broth to come.
  2. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook at a low temperature, adding a cup of water after a few minutes.
  3. While this is cooking, fry the tofu in sesame oil until brown.  Turning it often so it doesn’t stick and frying evenly on all sides.
  4. When mushrooms are soft add 3-4 cups of water to the pot and add the bouillon cubes & coriander seeds.  Any bouillon flavour will do as long as it’s vegan & preferably organic so it doesn’t have any nasty chemicals in it.
  5. A few minutes before serving add the coconut milk, tofu, kale, soy sauce & lime juice to the pot. Reduce the temperature and serve when the kale is soft – takes a minute or so.  You can use bok choy if you don’t have kale.
  6. Garnish with bean sprouts and fresh cilantro just before serving.  Hot sauce is an option too.

Maple “Butter” Tarts!

vegan & gluten free

There is no butter in our butter tarts, but they taste awesome!

Gluten Free Tart Crust:Maple Butter Tarts

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 1 ½  tbsp. margarine
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  1. Combine the salt, flour and Xanthum Gum in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut margarine into the flour mixture with pastry cutter or knife.
  3. Sprinkle oil over dough and cut in with pastry cutter. Dough should have the consistency of cornmeal.
  4. Sprinkle with cold water and loosely cut in, so all is moistened.
  5. Cover dough with plastic wrap and put in fridge for 30 min.
  6. Roll out dough in between 2 pieces of parchment paper (or plastic wrap) to ~1/8” thick.
  7. Sprinkle dough with water if it gets too dry, but don’t overwork it.
  8. Cut out tart crusts with circular cutter (bowl plastic take out container) that is 1” larger than the radius of the muffin tin cups.
  9. Form dough in muffin cups, squishing it around with your fingers to fill in any breaks in the dough or thin spots.
  10. Bake at 400°F for 10-15 min.
  11. Let cool and leave in tin for the filling.

 

Vegan Maple Butter Tart Filling:

  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground chia or flax seeds
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup raisins or pecans
  1. Combine the maple syrup and arrowroot flour with a whisk.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a small pot and mix it in with the syrup mixture.
  3. Add the vanilla and ground chia/flax.
  4. Add the baking powder at the end and mix well.
  5. Stir in the pecans or raisins.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop to ladle the filling into each of the baked shells, filling only ¾ full.
  7. Bake at 325°F for 25-30 min, turning halfway through for even baking.

 

Choco-nana Butter Tart CrustChoc-nana Butter Tarts

Here is an interesting alternative for a quick and yummy tart shell.  It does not taste like any tart shell you had before, but the cocoa mixes well the banana for a yummily unique butter tart experience!

  • 1 whole banana, cold
  • 1 1/8 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Peel and break up banana into food processor or sturdy blender (we use a Blendtec).
  2. Add the other ingredients on top of the banana.
  3. Pulse the blender, scraping down the sides as needed, until the ingredients combine into a Play Dough-like consistency.
  4. Roll out dough and fill muffin tin cups as in previous dough recipe.
  5. Make sure to lightly oil the muffin tin cups.
  6. Two baking options:
    1. Baking shells ahead:  
      • Bake 350F for 10-15 min.
      • Let cool and leave in tin for the filling.
      • Bake <20 min at  325°F
    2. Baking shells and filling together:
      • Fill shells ¾ full with butter tart filling (add a few chocolate chips to the filling of each tart to enhance the chocolate sensation theme!)
      • Bake for ~20 min at  325°F

Spiced Whole Grain Hot Cereal

Spiced Whole Grain Hot CerealGluten Free & Vegan

This is a popular breakfast cereal that we serve each weekend here at Sugar Ridge. It is too good to be kept to ourselves, so here is the recipe for you to try it at home!

It is an easy recipe to make and is packed with lots of protein and whole grains. Once you get the basics of it down, you can vary it with your own favourite grains, milks, fruit, nuts/seeds, spices…..many options!

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

½ cup   millet
½ cup   amaranth
2 cups  water

1 cup   almond milk
¼ cup   maple syrup

½ cup   cranberries & raisins
½ cup   chopped almonds (or any nut/seed of your choice)

1 tsp    cinnamon
½ tsp    nutmeg
½ tsp    cardamom

Preparation:

  1. Put the millet and amaranth in a medium pot with the water, bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 15 – 20 min with a lid on.
  2. When the cereal starts to become dry and before all the water is absorbed, stir in the almond milk and maple syrup. Stir and continue to simmer.
  3. Stir fruit, nuts/seeds and spices and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cereal is cooked and reached desired consistency.
  4. Cereal is good on its own, but additional milk or sweetener can be added in the bowl to make it just the way you like it!

Notes:

  • Cooking time can be decreased if the grains are soaked in the water overnight.
  • Can be made with pretty much any grain or combo of grains you prefer. We have tried oats and also quinoa with good success. Rice is another yummy option.
  • This is a great recipe for using up left over, cooked grains from a previous meal. To do this, use 3 cups cooked grains with 1 cup milk and cook it for only about 10 min.

Stuffed Squash

Finished Stuffed SquashThis recipe involves a few different aspects of cooking to prepare ingredients and then it all comes together in a beautiful feast for the eyes as well as the tummy. Read the whole recipe before you start to cook so that you see how to divide various ingredients and the order of preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or sage
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan alternative
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt

Special equipment:

  • Kitchen twine

Preparation

Toast the pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–15 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.

 Cook the lentils

  • Wash the lentils well until the water is clear when rinsing them and drain excess water. While you prepare the veggies to roast, cook the lentils in 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat low, stirring occasionally. Approx. cooking time is 10 – 15 minutes so the lentils stay a bit dry but they’re soft (about the texture of hummus).

 Prepare the veggies to roast

  • Trim stem and cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop out some of the flesh to leave a small divot down the center. Set aside the zucchini for the filling in a mixing bowl.
  • Trim stem and cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out flesh, leaving a thick border of flesh on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit zucchini halves inside. Set aside the eggplant filling in the mixing bowl with the zucchini flesh.
  • Trim stem and cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Compost the seeds or set them aside to roast them. Scoop out insides, leaving a 1/2″ border on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit eggplant halves inside. Reserve squash filling in the mixing bowl with the zucchini and eggplant.
  • Using a fork, pierce insides of squash and zucchini halves. Using a sharp knife, make shallow crosshatch marks inside of eggplant, being careful not to pierce the skin. Trim green onions to match the length of the squash.

 Prepare the filling

  • Coarsely chop 2 garlic cloves. Combine chopped garlic, onion, mushrooms, with the zucchini, eggplant, and squash filling in the mixing bowl. Mix together and then pulse in a food processor until finely chopped.
  • Heat oil over medium in a large skillet. Add vegetable purée and thyme, or sage. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Return to bowl and let cool. .
  • Stir in cooked lentils, 3 tbsp. parsley, and 1 tsp. salt.

 Prepare the maple butterMaple butter for stuffed squash

  • In a small pot, melt the butter and combine with finely minced clove of garlic, red pepper flakes, and remaining ½ tsp dried thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted, then stir in maple syrup.

 Assemble the roast

  • Place squash halves, cut side up, on prepared baking sheet. Brush inside of each half with maple butter and season with ½ tsp. salt. Using the back of a spoon, press some of the vegetable filling into each half until interior is fully coated. Sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted pecans.Assembling the stuffed squash
  • Nestle eggplant halves, cut side up, inside squash halves. Brush inside of each eggplant half with maple syrup butter and season with ½ tsp. salt. Using the back of a spoon, press some of the vegetable filling into each half until interior is fully coated. Sprinkle with ¼ cup pecans.
  • Nestle zucchini halves, cut side up, inside eggplant halves. Brush inside of each zucchini half with maple syrup butter and season with 1/8 tsp. salt. Using a spoon, fill zucchini halves with ¼ cup vegetable mixture, spreading it flat. Sprinkle with ¼ cup pecans (reserve remaining pecans), then lay green onion and chopped tomatoes down the middle.
  • Cut 3 (18″) lengths of kitchen twine. Slip twine under one squash half, then top with second squash half, so that cut sides face each other, and press down to seal. Tightly tie twine around squash to secure. Brush top with maple syrup butter (reserve remaining butter) and season with ½ tsp. salt. Wrap squash in aluminum foil Stuffed squash ready for bakingand place in the center of the baking sheet. Using 2 loaf pans or small metal bowls turned upside down, keep squash secure on baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400°F until squash is tender to the touch, 1 ½ – 2 hours. Remove foil and let rest 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving, heat the remaining maple butter, and then stir in mint, lemon juice, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 3 tbsp. parsley.
  • Place stuffed squash on a cutting board and cut into 1″ slices with a serrated knife, transferring to serving plates as you go. Spoon herb butter over slices, garnish with remaining pecans, and serve.

Note:

Although the recipe is quite long, this is quite simple to make, and it’s fun! When you shop for the veggies choose the squash, eggplant, and zucchini that will fit/nestle into one another. When possible, choose squash and eggplant that have a neck and bulb that are as uniform in width as possible. Otherwise you can trim it a bit so that they fit into each other.

Spicy Cornbread Muffins

Spicy_Cornmeal_MuffinsThese savory muffins are a full of flavour and a great addition to brunch or served alongside soup.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 ear corn, kernels cut off the cob, or 3/4 cup (thawed) frozen corn
  • (optional) 1 chili pepper, minced fine or 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

 Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and oil a muffin pan.
  2. Fry the onion and peppers in the olive oil with medium heat until softened.
  3. When the onion and peppers are nearly finished frying, add in the corn, frying until warmed through. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  4. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Combine the milk and lemon juice with the dry ingredients and then add in the cooked veggies. Do not overmix.
  6. Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter and bake for 20 min or until browned and an inserted toothpick/sharp knife comes out clean.
  7. Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes to firm up, then remove from pan to cool.
  8. Enjoy!

 NOTES:

  • For a different flavor, try adding one of the following: Mexican/taco seasoning, feta cheese, fresh basil or whatever you think might make a yummy addition.

Arugula Salad with Roasted Squash & Candied Pecans

Butternut SquashA yummy salad with a taste of fall!

Enjoy!

     Liz

 

 Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 package fresh arugula (or use a combination greens if you don’t like the strong taste of arugula)
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored, sliced quite thin and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup roasted squash, cubed into small bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp organic dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Melt margarine in small frying pan over low heat.
  2. Add pecans and brown sugar.
  3. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is caramelized.
  4. Spread out on wax paper to cool.
  5. Mix the oil & vinegar and add the apple as it is sliced to prevent browning.
  6. In bowl toss together arugula (or other greens), pecans, cranberries, apple and squash with the dressing and serve immediately.

Note: To make ahead for a special dinner–toss apple with dressing so that it doesn’t turn brown. Layer apple on top of greens, squash, and pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator until needed, tossing just before serving.

If you are not vegan you could add a cheese like feta, or a sharper cheese to contrast the apple & sweet pecans.

Watermelon Gazpacho Soup

WatermelonHere’s a cold soup for the hot weather!  This gazpacho is raw and vegan and, though it is good anytime, it makes a great side for a summer meal.

Enjoy!

     Liz

 

Ingredients

  • approx 3 cups of watermelon, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
  • dash salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh mint

 

Preparation

  1. In a blender or food processor, place about half of the watermelon, cucumber, pepper, and onion and all of the jalapeno. Add olive oil and lemon juice and puree until smooth.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add to pureed ingredients and stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Chill for at least one hour, to allow flavors to combine, and stir well before serving.
  4. Add lemon juice, salt etc. to taste before serving.

Photo Credit: Rafael Moreno License

Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry-Blueberry-Rhubarb CrispRhubarb is in season now and we have been happily adding it to the menu here at Sugar Ridge.  It has to be one of my favourite fruit (even though it is technically a vegetable!).  It has such a wonderful tangy flavour and works so well with other summer fruits like apples and all manner of berries, especially strawberry. 

So, for your baking and eating pleasure, here’s a recipe for a crisp that we make quite often.  There is not a lot to it, so it is easy to make, and it can easily be made vegan and gluten free.

Technically, this rhubarb “crisp” is actually a “crumble”, as crumbles have oats in the toppings and crisps do not.  But since this is the way the recipe was given to me from my mom and previously from my great aunt, I am keeping it this way.  We don’t have to tell anyone and it still tastes the same!

Enjoy!

     Kurt

 

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 cm-sized chopped rhubarb to almost fill 9″x9″ baking pan
  • maple syrup
  • water (as needed)

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown or Demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease 9″x9″ baking pan.
  2. Wash and chop rhubarb into ~1 cm pieces. (Smaller pieces will cook faster.)
  3. Fill the baking dish with the rhubarb to almost the top.  The volume of the fruit will reduce during the baking.
  4. Drizzle maple syrup liberally over the rhubarb to act as the sweetener and give it some of it’s liquid to bake. It is mostly done by feel and to taste, but you will probably need 1/4-1/3 cup syrup.
  5. If there does not seem to be enough liquid in the pan and the rhubarb is very firm, add a few extra tablespoons of water to help it soften during baking.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter/margarine and sugar.
  7. Mix in the flour and then the oats and cinnamon. The topping should be crumbly, but still loosely hold together. If it has, for some reason, no stick-togetherness, then add a bit more butter/margarine.
  8. Spread the topping evenly over the pan of rhubarb so that all of the fruit is covered. You may need to press down slightly on the topping to gently compact it all into the pan.
  9. Bake the crisp for 30 to 40 min, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is soft when tested with a knife.  Put the crisp back in for 5 min more if it is still too firm.

Notes

  • as mentioned at the top, pretty much ANY berry I can think of can be added to this recipe. The most obvious (and my favourite!!!) rhubarb berry combo is to add strawberries.  Berries can replace 1/3 to 1/2 of the rhubarb. You may need less syrup to sweeten the rhubarb with berries in the mix, as they already are pretty sweet.  Other great berries are raspberries, blueberries and cranberries.  Consider trying a combo of several berries and make it a bumbleberry-rhubarb crisp!  Apples are also an old standard for an addition to a crisp.
  • gluten-free flour can easily be substituted for wheat flour and the substitution has little to no effect on the recipe, as it plays such a small role in the topping and there are no concerns whether it rises or not.
  • other sweeteners can be used instead of maple syrup. As maple syrup is the “sugar” in our Sugar Ridge, it is a go-to sweetener for us, but honey, cane sugar, brown/demerara sugar or whatever you want will work well.