strawberry tomato basil soup

strawberry tomato basil soup

strawberry tomato basil soup

I bought a flat of strawberries today. I couldn’t help it. It was unseasonably hot, 27 degrees in early May is unthinkable up here in the deep north. They weren’t organic strawberries, they weren’t even local (it is much too early for that yet), but the weather and the low, price of $7/flat made them irresistible. I had stopped in the store to pick up tomatoes for the soup I had planned, and ended up with the giant flat of strawberries as well.

I brought them home and painstakingly washed them. There were so many strawberries, and I hadn’t cooked with them for such a long time. After my initial idea of strawberry ice-cream (maybe I will post about that later) I was still left with a huge bowl of the plump little darlings. Then it hit me: I had already planned on making soup, why not use them in it? I had heard of strawberry bruschetta and strawberry gazpacho – it didn’t seem completely insane to make a warm soup. It was risky, but I went with it. I’m going to go ahead and say it was a HUGE success. Probably the best soup I’ve ever made (I make a lot of soup) and since I still have a lot of strawberries left, I may just have to whip up another batch.


strawberry tomato basil soup

2 cups strawberries, washed well with stems removed
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 kg tomatoes, seeds removed – I used half roma and half hot house (on the vine)
4 bulbs garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 small red hot pepper (no idea what kind this was – I picked it up at the farmer’s market last weekend and needed to use it up)
1 leek
1 yellow onion
2/3 cup light coconut milk (one of the small size cans)
1 cup water
1 vegetable bouillon
1 oz fresh basil (and about 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
fresh ground pepper to taste

1. cut tomatoes and remove seeds, place on parchment lined pan. repeat for peppers and leek (light parts)- sprinkle with dried basil (about one teaspoon) and fresh ground pepper
2. cut tops off garlic and place on plan. Add a small amount of olive oil to each bulb (I used about a drop)
3. halve strawberries and drizzle with balsamic vinegar place in another pan
4. roast all in oven (I started with the oven on broil at about 400 for ten minutes, then baked at 400 until everything was roasted)
5. meanwhile, roughly chop onion. heat about 1 tsp of olive oil in a large pot (dutch oven, whatever) on medium heat. add onions and sauté lightly.
6. add coconut milk and water. sprinkle in salt, bouillon and nutritional yeast.
7. dump in vegetables and add basil
8. puree with immersion blender (or use a blender. if transferring soup to blender, ensure that it is cool enough that you do not burn yourself. i’m too lazy for all that, so having an immersion blender is great – less dishes less mess)
9. garnish with a basil leaf and serve with biscuits (the vegan pumpkin biscuits I made were particularly good.
10. prepare yourself for a flavour explosion

I know it seems like I’m exaggerating… so let me I assure you that I am not. The tomato and strawberry pair beautifully and compliment, rather than compete, with each other. The coconut milk adds creaminess while the nutritional yeast adds a cheese like zip. If you don’t have nutritional yeast (and aren’t vegan) parmesan should work nicely.


makes 11 1 cup servings
calories – 65
carbs – 10g
protein – 3g
fat – 2g
fibre – 4g

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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in main, vegan


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cranberry walnut butter

cranberry bites

Ever since I finished my cleanse I’ve basically been addicted to nut butter. I kept trying to make my own, but I I didn’t seem to have the horse power to get it done. I would switch contraptions over and over with no success. Then I had a crazy idea – why not actually use the airmiles I’ve saved up for the last nine years and get myself some kind of food processor. That seemed to be what everyone was using and it seemed to get the actual butter consistency I have been looking for and failing to achieve.

I ended up with a cuisinart and it seems to do the trick – the level of excitement I experienced after my first nut butter success (cinnamon clove cashew!) was pretty absurd. My boyfriend hates it (the process, not the butters) because of all the noise, and I consider his chiding a small price to pay in order to feed my addiction.

I’m thinking of giving people random varieties of nut butters for Christmas as part of my homemade plan (I still have a lot of knitting to go, and some beadwork and sewing – weird things to be thinking of at the start of spring). Personalized varieties (white chocolate macadamia nut anyone? Wonderbar butter?) that I can try out and devour prior to giving them away. The combination ideas started with this amazing recipe for almond joy butter (if you try this, I implore you: do not use the extra oil, it is totally unnecessary!).

This cranberry walnut variety was the first idea to come to me – but it is by far my favourite nut butter I’ve made so far.


cranberry walnut butter recipe

2 cups walnut halves
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
salt to taste
1/3 cup dried cranberries

1. toss the walnuts, maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl
2. transfer to a pan and toast until the smell is so intense you have difficulty not dumping the entire pan down your throat. I like to use a convection oven and a little pan so that I can just turn the dial to toast and not think about it, but an oven will work
2. dump the concoction into your food processor and start processing. if you’ve never made nut butter before, realize that it will take quite a while. if you have made nut butter before, be happy because walnut butter appears to take less time than most (peanut and almond, anyway). you will need to stop periodically to scrape the sides down. if you have an older food processor you should probably also give it a rest here and there (especially if it starts to smell like burning motor).
3. using some other food processor (I employed my magic bullet for this) to chop up your dried cranberries. you want a fine powder – sure it will be sticky sort of, but do your best.
4. when you are sure your walnut butter is butter – it will be creamy and liquidy – add in the cranberry. blend it up until it is well combined, then a little more for good luck.
5. enjoy on toast, sandwiches, in smoothies, as an ice-cream topping, with your favourite soup or straight from the jar.

crane shot 2

Serving Size – 1 tbspcalories – 49
fat – 8 g
carbs – 7 g
sugars – 4 g
protein – 3.5 g

The next thing I would like to try it on is a prosciutto tartine, maybe with some kind of cheese (chevre?). I stole a piece of lefse from my roommate to use for the photos, which was also very, very tasty

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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in vegan


apple pie shake – the start of the clean cleanse

I have never been one for cleanses or fad diets.  Fad diets seem silly and, arguably, unhealthy (also I don’t believe in “dieting” to lose weight – if you want to lose weight cut down your calories).  I was never motivated enough, didn’t have the will power, and didn’t see the point in any cleanses (lemon juice, cayenne and maple syrup ONLY?! I dunno guys…).

I have no idea why, when I came across the clean program cleanse, I decided to try it out.  Perhaps it was the recipes (“malted milk” shake?  Sounds delicious!) or the simple structure (shake, small meal, shake/soup), or my desire to determine what foods have been making me feel nauseaous and bloated.  Whatever the reason, I decided to start on Monday (after a completly debauterous Sunday) – and by start I mean jump right in to the mostly liquid diet without the three day intro.  I’m starting to think that was a little silly, but I wanted to get going on it RIGHT NOW (I have always lacked patience, what can I say).  

The point of the three day “pre-cleanse” is to get your body accustomed and prepped for the diet to come.  It is supposed to make the detoxing process (I don’t even know if I believe in detoxing, maybe my opinion will change after all of this) less extreme and lessen the shock to your system.  Instead of doing this I drank a bottle of wine to myself on Sunday, ate copious amounts of chocolate, pizza and homemade ravioli and went to a concert – not exactly the bastion of clean eating. The start of the cleanse has had me feeling weird to say the least (nausea, headache, increase in mucus – as if i was drinking a lot of milk, mild anxiety).

The fact that my macro-nutrient ratio has been compeletly altered could also be impacting how I feel.  I have gone from a laregly carb based diet (55% carbs, 30% fat, 15% protein- on a good day) to a diet much higher in fat (40% fat, 37% carbs and 23% protein).  I consider the increase in protein a definite positive, the increase in fat – not so much.

The shakes have been phenomenal – they are so delicious and packed with protein.  I think I look forward to them more than I looked forward to my daily morning oatmeal (I didnt think that would be possible).  I wanted a litte more variety though, so I cam up with my own.  I didn’t like the idea of not getting my morning apple (I am a pink lady addict!) and felt inspired.

apple pie shake

6 pink lady apples – cut into pieces, cores removed (obviously)
3 scoops Sun Warrior Protein powder (natural)
1 cup coconut water
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup ground cashews (I used leftovers from my adventures in cashew milk making YUUUM!!!)
3 tablespoons golden flax (ground)
1 tablespoon cinnamon (or to taste – I like things spicy)
6 drops french vanilla stevia
2 tablespoons walnuts to sprinkle on each

1. combine in a blender and mix.  be warned: this is a huge recipe, if you do not have a huge blender, cut it in half or in third
2. portion out between six one cup mason jars
3. refrigerate until ready to eat

Cals – 193
Carbs – 25g
Protein – 12g
Fat – 9g
Fiber – 5g

Some small side notes:
I still don’t know how I feel about stevia.  Some of the brands I have picked up were very disappointing and bitter, and some seemed ok.  The french vanilla kind has so far been the best.  The powdered kind has been the worst.  I am also worried that the stevia is giving my tummy discomfort (wasn’t the whole point of the cleanse to get rid of stomach discomfort?).  I feel that raw honey would be better to consume than stevia and might amend the cleanse to serve my own purposes.  I was incrediably surprised to see honey on the “eliminate” list.

Also let it be known that I did not purchase any of the things the cleanse program wanted me to purchase – I try not to buy into any silly supplement and protein diet schemes (I do anyway, but I make a serious effort not to!).  I am not taking any of their supplements and I do not plan too.

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in breakfast, vegan


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poached pear prosciutto baked eggs

I am completely in love with the french bakery in my neighbourhood. I have yet to order something from them that was less then delightful.  Generally when we go we just stock up on scones, blondies, tarts, galettes and financiers, as these command the bulk of their display case.  They do have soup and sandwiches though and when I finally got around to trying one I fell for it completely.  The Roasted Pear Tartine, oh how I adore thee.  I new I had to recreate this sandwich.  The Duchess version consists of roasted pears covered in a slab of brie sitting atop a cashew butter smothered piece of bread.  My version was poached pear and camembert with prosciutto and homemade vanilla cashew butter.
The homemade version was great, thoroughly enjoyed by all.  Since I didn’t use all of the ingredients in the tartines, I thought I would get creative and translate it into a breakfast dish.  And so was born the Poached Pear Prosciutto Baked Eggs.  Whenever I try something new I am convinced it is going to be terrible (which is usually a good sign that it will be really goddamn good – no risk no reward!) and this was no exception.  I added rosemary  (as always) which seemed to compliment the sweetness of the pear.
poached pear prosciutto baked eggs
3 egg whites (left over from a lemon curd I made – i usually like to eat only egg whites for breakfast to cut down on cals, but you can likely supplement this with 2 whole eggs if you aren’t into that)
2 eggs
2 slices of prosciutto
2 oz camembert cheese
3 slices poached pear
2 tbsp rosemary
4 raw cashews
salt and pepper to taste
1. preheat oven to 375
2.whisk together eggs
3. break pear, cashews, cheese and prosciutto into small pieces and add to bowl
4. add rosemary, salt and pepper
5. line two ramekins with parchment paper
6. divide egg mixture between ramekins and place on a baking sheet
7. bake until set (10-20 minutes) the eggs should no longer be runny, don’t let the melty cheese fool you as this can look like runny egg.
8. remove from oven and allow to cool (take pictures of it to help pass the time – worked for me)
Calories – 239
Carbs – 3g
Protein – 18g
Fat – 15g
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in breakfast


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rosemary cranberry sauce

Rosemary Cranberry Sauce

I wanted to make everyone homemade Christmas presents last year. Unfortunately, I started in late November and this didn’t exactly supply me with enough time. I finished one shawl as a gift and that was it. To say I was disappointed in myself would be an understatement.


This year I decided to do better. I noticed, over the many holiday dinners I attended over the holidays, that people would open giant store bought cans of cranberry sauce that would not get finished. I also noticed an utter lack of cookie/baking consumption. This made me think: maybe my current policy of giving away baking was not the best strategy. Perhaps small jars of cranberry sauce would be more useful (and I wouldn’t have to bring any home with me and be forced to eat it).


I bought a canning pot thing and some small mason jars. Two weeks after Christmas. This year EVERYONE is getting homemade presents and I am starting EARLY.

Rosemary Cranberry Sauce

2 – 500g bags of fresh cranberries
60 ml maple syrup (or to taste)
30 ml cointreau
30 ml lemon juice
zest of an orange
juice of an orange
fresh rosemary to taste (I used 4-5 sprigs)
cinnamon to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan
2. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally
3. While the sauce is cooking, clean and sanitize canning jars, keep canning pot boiling
4. Using the stirring spoon, squish cranberries and pop some of them a little
5. When sauce ready (consistency has turned to jam and the cranberries that were once hard now crush readily – takes roughly 30-45 min) spoon into jars being very careful not to get any on the rim
6. Place lids and jars and screw tops on
7. Put jars in canning pot.  Depending on your location, this will take a variable amount of time, generally 5-15 minutes to ensure a good seal
8. Cool completely.  The lid will be indented and make an interestingly high pitched sound when hit with a metal spoon (keep hitting them all with metal spoons while they cool, its fun and will annoy your partner!) To check that the seals are good, unscrew tops and lift the jars by the lid.  The lid should stay firm.  If it comes off, refrigerate and try again.
9. Shelf them until next Christmas, then stuff them in everyone’s stockings
The rosemary adds a very nice piney touch that is sure to inspire the spirit of the season.  These little jars ensure that none of this lovely cranberry sauce goes to waste.

This year, I’m starting early.  This year everyone really will get a homemade gift.

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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized, vegan


avocado rosemary sugar cookie trees and beet stained mandarin icing


I know it’s a long winded title, but I could see no other way to describe them.  The icing is incredibly simple and healthier that most icing (I can’t say that with a straight face considering the main ingredient is sugar – maybe I should just go with “lower in fat”).

I struggled with the cookie recipe which I adapted from this one.  At first it seemed laughable that this was a “roll out” recipe.  The dough was so sticky I almost threw it at the cupboard when I was trying to roll it out and cut it – and I refrigerated it overnight.  Maybe it was because I substituted in some avocado? Maybe I should have put them in the flattened disc shape while letting them set in the fridge as the OG recipe suggested?  Whatever the reason I was really frustrated at first.  UNTIL I decided to use the tried and true parchment cure for rolling things out.  I grabbed my parchment and through a little flour on, folded it over, and rolling was a cinch.  If I can offer any tips I would suggest doing this to start to save yourself the bitterness and hate I experienced.

Avocado Rosemary Sugar Trees

125 ml unsalted butter
125 ml mashed acovado
2 egg whites
7 ml vanilla extract
2 ml almond extract
2 ml lemon juice
5 ml dried rosemary (crunched up a little)
250 ml spelt flour
500 ml whole wheat pastry flour
5 ml baking powder
2.5 ml salt

– add extracts and lemon juice to your sugar and stir it up until combined
– cream butter, avocado, and sugar together

– add in the eggs and mix until smooth

– stir in flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary

– the dough will be really sticky. Seriously.The dough will be so sticky you will think it’s a joke that these cookies will be rolled out later.  Divide it in three and flatten each of the three bits of dough between parchment paper.  Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or freeze a bit and refrigerate.  However you like to take care of those sorts of things.

– roll out and cut into trees (or whatever shape you are into).  lay on baking sheet and bake at 375 until just set.  Don’t let the edges get to dark or they will be too crisp.  If you want them crisp go for it, I personally like my sugar cookies a little chewy.  Around 12-14 minutes is usually good depending on your thickness.  Keep an eye on them.  I took mine out every couple of minutes and checked the bottoms.  When the bottoms were a dark gold colour I considered them done.  Also they will come off the cookie trays easily.

– remove and cool on a paper bag

– ice and enjoy!


Beet Stained Mandarin Icing

250 ml icing sugar + more to make consistency right
juice from 1 mandarin orange
a couple of slices of beet in a little water

– grab a bowl and juice your orange

– slowly add in icing sugar until you reach the consistency you want

– microwave the beets in the water (45 seconds – 2 minutes or enough time to get some juice out)

– drop the water into the icing and stir around

– scoop icing into a plastic sandwich bag, cut the corner out (just a little tiny bit)

– pipe on to cookies

– scoop the rest out and eat it.  Or not, but I did it and I survived.

tree stack

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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in dessert


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The other day we had some folks over for an Indian inspired meal.  I am a lover of Indian desserts (think gulab jamun, milk cake, burfi – whatever I love them).  I decided I wanted to try my hand at this, and chose a raw vegan recipe  for “kaju kalti” or what is basically burfi.  The recipe was AWESOME, I didn’t really get the whole single string syrup thing, but it turned out great.  It also got me thinking.  Couldn’t I just use maple syrup for this?  Because I love maple syrup (also because I’m lazy).  It worked really well with the cashew which got me thinking even MORE.  Couldn’t I make these into the truffles I have always wanted to try?  Yes I could.  I decided to take a quick look around the internets and discovered that all the truffle recipes out there appeared to have a bunch of things I don’t keep around in them (for instance – coconut butter or cacao butter) – so why not just make my own thing up?  And thus the trufflupagus was born.

Trufflupagus Recipe

2/3 cup raw hazelnuts
3 tbsp cocoa (or raw cacao if you’re into that)
a few drops of vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup
crushed/ground nuts for rolling

1. Grind up your nuts (I used the grind attachment for a magic bullet.  It’s a piece of shit but it’s all I have)
2. Add cocoa/cacao and a couple of drops of vanilla to taste
3. Stir until relatively uniform in colour
4. Incorporate maple syrup
5. Throw in the freezer until it stiffens a little
6. Divide (I believe I made 11 from this recipe) and roll into balls
7. Toss in a bag of crushed nuts (I used almond, you decide on your nuts of choice)

Literally the easiest thing I’ve ever made.  I almost had to physically restrain myself so that I wouldn’t just eat the whole batch with a spoon.  There are so many different variations too.  I mean really.  Coconut can be added, you can use cashew and peppermint extract instead, incorporate espresso beans (would make the chocolate come out more) add in some dried fruit.  Possibilities are endless.

Per Ball
Calories 64
Protein 2g
Fiber 1g
Fat 5g
Sugar 2.6g
Calcium 3%
Iron 3%

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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in dessert, vegan

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