Canada Day – I’m a Lumberjack…

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I’m a lumberjack and I’m o.k.
I sleep all night and I work all day.

~Lumberjack song lyrics, Monty Python~

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

Lumberjack inspired doughnuts.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

It comes but once a year and is always filled with some concoction made with maple syrup. It’s July 1st Canada Day and I have made some doughnuts, a classic Canadian comfort food.

Maple and bacon make strange bedfellows, but according to foodies, food trend watchers and anyone who just likes bacon, they make for an awesome flavour combination.

Sweet, salt and fat are considered the three sins of gluttony culinary pleasure and this combo meets those criteria on all counts. I, however, have (of course!) performed my recipe alchemy to bring you my sour cream doughnuts with maple glaze and coconut bacon. It is completely vegan (easily made vegetarian by the use of egg and dairy) and inspired by the lumberjack recipe from the Bunner’s Bakeshop recipe book.
Bunner’s
is a vegan and gluten-free bakeshop in Toronto.

Sour cream doughnuts
‘Wet’:
½ cup sour cream/plain yogurt/buttermilk (dairy or non-dairy)
½ chia egg (i.e. ½ Tablespoon of ground chia seed mixed with 1½ Tablespoons of water)
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup each of oil and granulated sugar
Dry‘:
1 cup of flour
½ teaspoon each of baking soda and guar gum
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Whisk wet ingredients.
  3. Mix dry ingredients.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
  5. Pipe them into slightly greased doughnut pan.
  6. Bake 12-16 minutes. Let cool then remove from pan.

Yield: About 9 medium-sized doughnuts.

Recipe tweaks
*substitute 1 egg white, if you must, for the chia egg
*use maple sugar instead of regular sugar to stick with the theme. The original recipe calls for more than ¼ cup of sugar so you can add a little more if you like. The glaze is sweet enough, though, so the taste will still be balanced with only ¼ cup amount (sweet but not sugary).
*use a 50/50 combination of spelt flour and whole wheat pastry OR substitute with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
*no guar gum? no problem. Tapioca starch will work just fine. Or omit this part all together. The recipe will still work.
*nutmeg is optional OR substitute with another spice if you like. Cinnamon and maple get along well.

Maple Glaze
½ Tablespoon butter or vegan ‘butter’
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
½ cup icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

  1. Combine all the ingredients in sauce pan on low heat.
  2. Whisk until it forms a maple-coloured smooth paste.
  3. Dip doughnuts into warm glaze and top with coconut bacon. This is a 2 person job. One dips while the other sprinkles. If you wait too long, the glaze will harden, the coconut bacon won’t stick and will end up all over your counter rather than the doughnuts.

Coconut bacon is trending now so you should be able to find it in major grocery stores in large cities. If not, you can make your own. Stay tuned; recipe to follow in an upcoming post…

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

 

Meatless Monday – O Canada

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In a couple of days will be July 1st, Canada Day. This national holiday celebrates Canada’s birthday and every celebration has food.

Ottawa Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

Ottawa
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

Besides all things maple what can a vegetarian/vegan expect to eat when travelling in Canada? Today’s Meatless Monday presents a brief synopsis along with a Canada Day tasting menu.

Canada is the world’s second largest country in land mass with the majority of its 35 million or so citizens living in the southern part of the country. The country is divided into 10 provinces (southern part) and 3 territories (northern part) with regional differences in culture, food and accents. Canadian food varies depending on the region, climate and influence of immigration of all its citizens.¹

¹Starting from the beginning…the Indigenous people to the French, English and countless others from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South Pacific, Central and South America.

Vegetarians/vegans can expect to find tasty and nutritious food quite easily in big city centres and surprisingly in small towns too. There are also a number of festivals that cater to the vegetarian/vegan: VegFest Vancouver; the Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-off; Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival; Festival végane de Montréal; Halifax VegFest. See also, listing for Canada on vegan.com

Vegetarian Restaurants – Canada on Happy Cow.

Canada Day Special: Edible Gifts
Canada Day Special – Would You Like Poutine with That?

  • There are lots of fruit and wine to be had in the west and the east. BC and Ontario are renowned for their fruity offerings from their many orchards and vineyards. BC cherries and peaches, Ontario strawberries and McIntosh apples, ice wine and the list goes on.
    *Not all wines are vegetarian/vegan. Check out barnivore.com to confirm.
  • A stew, a burger or a soup made with Prairie lentils. Saskatchewan is the centre of the prairie provinces and also the “…world’s largest exporter of green lentils“.
    More about the lure of lentils.
  • Combine the French and English in one delicious bite: Quebec maple syrup poured on Calgary Stampede style pancakes-homemade of course.

And now to the Maritimes…

Rainbow Feast

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With the Pride Parade taking place in Toronto today (the finale to Pride Week) and the announcement that gay marriage has been ruled legal by the US supreme court, there is much to be festive about in the LGBT community. And any festivity requires food!

Eat the colours of the rainbow” is a popular catch-phrase that helps make it easier for people to choose healthier foods. The pigment in some plant foods can indicate the phytonutrients contained within. Lycopene, good for heart health, gives red produce its hue. Anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties, is the pigment in blue and purple produce. Carotenoids are in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A, and lutein are types of carotenoids and both good for eye health.

The rainbow is also the adopted symbol of LGBT pride.

So for good health fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Whether it be food or people, variety is the spice of life.

Red
tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, red pepper

Yellow and Orange
lemon, pumpkin, carrots, oranges

Green
leafy greens, broccoli, avocado, kiwifruit

Purple and Blue
beets, blueberries, plums, eggplant

 

Sugar-free Saturday & Sunday!

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Just kidding.
In spite of taking the sugar-free challenge and being constantly reminded of the evils of sugar, I still retain my sweet tooth. My experiences have led me to take “the middle way” (though I do believe the Buddha wasn’t referring to sugar when he conceived this concept). Rather it refers to moderation, neither partaking in extreme indulgence or deprivation.

I like to consider my blog to be a sort of  ‘good food blog’, one that explores food that tastes good and is good for you (the nurture/nourish part of my tagline) but there is room for some indulgence (at least in my world there is).
The key to indulgence is to do it sensibly so you can literally have your cake and eat it too. Here are a few guidelines I like to follow:

  • Opt for lesser amounts of unrefined sweetener in your baked goods. The recipe still works without the excessive amount of sugar called for in many recipes and the rich flavour of natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and muscovado sugar tend to be more satisfying so you are not left wanting more.
  • Use puréed fruit such as overripe bananas and naturally sweet mango in your cake recipes in place of some of the sugar. The added bonus is more moisture making for a lusciously lighter texture.
  • Use whole grain flour and ground flaxseed in your recipes to add some fiber. This helps with a feeling of fullness so you don’t overindulge and also helps to mitigate the blood sugar spike that comes with eating anything high on the glycemic index.
  • And if you must indulge in something decadent, opt for a small portion of the real thing rather than a low-fat, artificially sweetened facsimile. You may feel you’re ‘cheating’ by eating it but your brain will feel cheated without it.
    Article: Artificial Sweeteners Don’t Fool Your Brain

I generally reserve my indulgences for the weekend but don’t feel obligated to have them constantly. A treat is partly that because it is occasional so with that spirit in mind, expect to see sporadic posts on sugar-full Saturdays and Sundays.

Related posts on Weal Food,
Are You Up for the Challenge?
The Gauntlet Was an Oven Mitt

Around the World in 80 Bites – Bite 6

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Bite 6Maple syrup

St. Jean Baptiste Day is the Fête Nationale du Quèbec, one of Canada’s ten provinces. It happens annually on June 24th with festivities and food to mark the occasion.

Quèbec posts

Cuisine in this province is noted for its use of maple syrup, a sweet tree sap originally used by the Indigenous population. Canada’s identity on the world stage is characterized by maple syrup too, even though the maple trees that produce this sweetener are native to eastern Canada only.

Maple syrup has earned a well-deserved spot on my Around the World list. It is versatile, vegan and is not cloying sweet like so many other sugars. My sweet tooth is happy with a couple of tablespoons of maple butter and as cliché as it sounds, I often buy a small box of maple sugar candies to take with me when I travel abroad.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Maple syrup is perfectly at home in savoury dishes (e.g. baked beans, salad dressing, tempeh bacon, etc.) as it is with sweet (e.g. butter tarts, pancakes, pumpkin pie, etc.).

Pumpkin scones Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Pumpkin scones
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Meatless Monday – The Sugar Bush

Related
St. Jean Baptiste Day in Canada

 

Meatless Monday – Summer Salads

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Well summer has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere! And where I am the weather has followed suit: heat, humidity and sun. Eating seasonally for the summer means eating lighter food, i.e. less cooked and more raw, as well as an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables plentiful during this time of year.

Salad is a great way to make a seasonally summer meal that includes all macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) and the accompanying micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Today’s Meatless Monday gives you a few ideas for some substantial salads.

The following are guidelines only. Feel free to double, triple or quadruple the recipe and adjust the amount of seasonings to your taste. The goal is for your salad to be palatable and plentiful with a wide variety of food that doesn’t require much cooking time or heat to prepare.

Cold Pasta Salad

Start with 1 cup of dry penne. Boil some water with a pinch of salt, then add the penne. Cook until ‘al dente‘ then set aside to cool. Make the vinaigrette by whisking 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with 1 Tablespoon of vinegar and some salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Set aside and prepare the vegetables.
Cut into bite-sized pieces some artichoke hearts, steamed asparagus, raw red pepper and spinach. Mix with the cold pasta, a handful of peas and cooked kidney beans. Toss mixed salad with vinaigrette and top with fresh basil and chopped walnuts. You can add some sun-dried tomatoes and olives if you wish. No need to measure the amount of vegetables; just throw in as much as you like of what you have or just use whatever is in season.

Yield: 3-4 meal-size servings

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

Deconstructed Sushi Salad

Rinse ½ cup of dry quinoa then add to 1 cup of boiling water. Turn heat to medium-low then cook for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Chop some green onion, shred some carrot and dice some cucumber. Add to cooked and cooled quinoa along with some roasted nori (seaweed). Prepare dressing by mixing 1 teaspoon of low-sodium soy or tamari sauce with 2½ teaspoons of apple cider/rice vinegar. Mix into salad then top with avocado slices and roast sesame seeds. Additions can be some roast sweet potato, red pepper or tofu.

*Quinoa is an easy-to-prepare alternative to rice. It is a complete protein that contains fibre. Sushi rice is typically white (i.e. stripped of its nutritional goodness) and higher on the glycemic index than quinoa.

Yield: 2 decent-sized meals

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

 

Related
Meatless Monday posts:
Salad Anatomy

The Tortoise or the Hare (Easter)
Icebergs Belong in the Ocean

Fast and Feast

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We are now in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar which means Ramadan. This month-long fast is characterized by religious observance, self-sacrifice and acts of charity and compassion.

Fasting is not just for Lent.

During daylight hours many Muslims refrain from eating. After sundown the evening meal of Iftar is taken. The morning meal of Suhoor is consumed before sunrise and then the fast starts all over again.

The food consumed depends on the regional culture; an Iftar meal in Egypt will differ from one in Malaysia.  Most meals, however,  share similar characteristics. There are usually offerings of grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds and animal protein.

The most important meal of the day.

For Suhoor an ideal meal should consist of whole grains for energy and fibre, fruits and vegetables for micronutrients and phytochemicals for health and protein for tissue maintenance and satiety. The combinations should keep one going throughout the day.

The Iftar meal should include a variety of foods as well starting with the easily digestible fruits and vegetables then moving on to the more complex foods like whole grains and protein. This helps ease the digestive system back into functioning.

Of course consuming sufficient amounts of water at both meals is crucial too. Aim to drink water post meal so as not to interfere with proper digestion.

Related:

http://www.thekitchn.com/ramadan-when-its-ok-to-eat-and-94989