With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, who has time for cooking, especially prep time? It’s nice to have some simple but delicious sides to serve with those sometimes intense main dishes. This recipe is a family favorite; fresh fennel salad is easy and tasty. Before I went vegan, I made the salad with simply fennel, pine nuts and parmesan. The pomegranate seeds were the alternative to the parmesan. It makes the salad vibrantly beautiful and adds a nice tart sweetness. This side acts as an art piece on the dinner table and gets guests attention. All this talk about fennel and pomegranate makes me crave our Christmas meal.
How to cut a pomegranate:
Cut pomegranate into quarters. In a medium size bowl, fill with water. Place one quarter of the pomegranate into water and slowly pull out seeds. Repeat with all quarters until all of the seeds are removed. Drain the water from the bowl.
If you are like me, you are probably looking for quick and hearty dinners to serve that require little effort. Afterall, it is not unusual to come home and just want to relax; dinner is the last thing on your mind. I recently threw together a quick and easy pasta dish with leftover pumpkin that turned out delicious. It requires little prep time, just cooking the pasta while you make the sauce. This vegan dish tastes rich and only contains healthful fats. Try it out on a night where you want something tasty but don’t want to spend an hour on dinner.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and so a lot of people seem to be looking for recipe ideas for the meal. For dessert I thought it would be fun to share another idea besides pie that isn’t too hard to prepare and requires no baking. Pumpkin mousse! I often times make a raw coconut cashew cream for desserts, and I thought it would be delicious folded into pumpkin puree for a light mousse. It reflects a light pumpkin pie and would be beautiful to serve after a Thanksgiving dinner. Plus, it is vegan and gluten-free, so if your guests fall into those categories, this would be the perfect option!
I love Thai food. The spicy fighting the sweet is something I crave. Here is a versatile dish that can be served hot as an entree or cold as a side dish. The overall heat level is mild. My 3-year-old will eat it, but I wouldn’t say it’s his favorite; it’s my husbands! To heat things up, add red peppers or cayenne pepper. Great with chicken, tofu or just veggies. Enjoy!
While working in the deli, I often get asked by customers how to prepare quinoa. It is fairly easy, and cooks up fast. Once you get the hang of it, it is something that can be made often. The best part about it is it pairs well with just about any flavor. My favorite is combining it with citrus and crunchy nuts for added protein. I recently came up with a recipe perfect for this time of the year called golden quinoa. It has plenty of veggies in it and would be a perfect side for a piece of glazed tofu or fish.
I have always loved Lara bars. In fact, I used to eat them for dessert, I thought they were so good. The apple pie was always my favorite; it reminded me of this time of the year, when apples are abundant. Since the ingredients are fairly simple, I thought I would make some of my own. Not that there is anything wrong with buying the packaged ones, but it is fun to create something yourself. They are quite simple to make, all you need to do is throw all the ingredients in the food processor and voila! Delicious bars!
No cream of mushroom required, this recipe is a creative use of bouillon that I typically always have on hand. I must admit, there may be many more gourmet recipes for beef stroganoff, but this recipe is quick, healthy and cost effective. Many of the meals in our home are tailored to my family’s taste, which I realize may not be a one size fits all palates. I encourage you to taste your way through the recipe and add more flavor if you desire.
When the chilly air starts to hit, I think more about salads that contain warm elements. I like to combine savory roasted vegetables with sweet things like fruits. Although there are many different possibilities, I am going to share one which was inspired by a salad that I enjoyed when visiting Montreal last year. The chef who created it always uses what is in season, or given to him fresh that day, and that day fresh exotic mushrooms and pears were available. You may think that it sounds like an odd combination, pears and roasted mushrooms, but it was wonderful. The mushrooms were so flavorful, and the pears so sweet. They were combined with roasted leeks and crunchy toasted pecans then tossed in a sweet tart vinaigrette. I love the combination. It is something that most people have not had the chance to try, so I make it for occasions when I have people over for dinner and want to serve something special. It would be perfect with a holiday meal!
Cakes, pies and cookie pumpkin desserts are everywhere this time of the year. My Mom used to make soft, maple glazed pumpkin cookies when I was younger. I loved them, but as an adult, I decided to create my own version of a pumpkin cookie. I wanted them to be different than the usual soft cakey ones. So I came up with a recipe similar to that of a chocolate chip cookie which is soft in the middle and a little crispy at the edges. I left the glaze off, added plenty of spice and mixed in lots of add ins that remind me of Autumn. Pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, and of course chocolate chips, because who doesn’t enjoy that? If you make these and share them, you will have some very happy friends and family!
When apple season started this year, I was especially excited for the honeycrisps! I cannot get enough of them, and although they are wonderful for simply snacking on as is, I love to use them in desserts. I decided to share my recipe for baked apples because it is perfect on a chilly night to warm you from the inside. This easy to cook recipe, I kicked up the apple cooking syrup a notch with some chipotle pepper and chili flakes, because I feel the warming go beautifully with the sweet apple and maple syrup. If you are not a fan of heat, you can omit the spice, and your apples will still be delicious. If you wish to guild the lily, serve this with some ice cream!