Sheryl Jesin


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Recipe – Baked Oatmeal with Apple and Banana

Had a bit of fun again in the kitchen last night, this time with baked oatmeal.  I’ve been wanting to try a baked oatmeal dish for a while.  I thought it would be a good late night snack and a quick and easy breakfast before Dylan heads off to school in the morning.  (The La Leche League leader in me also thinks that baked oatmeal would be a great dish for a new mom – can be made ahead of time and easily warmed up for a quick breakfast.  Plus, oatmeal is supposed to boost milk supply.)

I was perusing through Angela’s Oh She Glows blog and came across a great recipe  – Fruity Baked Oatmeal with Crunchy Almond Topping.  I decided to give it a try, and made a few changes based on what I had on hand at home.  I am truly amazed at how amazingly delicious it turned out!  (Although I shouldn’t be surprised – Angela’s recipes are all outstanding!!)  It is creamy, yet dairy free.  It is satisfying, comforting and so delicious!  I just may have a new favorite breakfast recipe…

Recipe – Baked Oatmeal with Apple and Banana (Vegan, can be gluten free with GF oats, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 and 2/3 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup Ruth’s Chia Goodness (I used chocolate because I had some extra on hand.  You can substitute with plain chia seeds if you like!)

2 large bananas, sliced

2 apples, chopped

2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

3 1/2 cups water

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Topping:

1/2 cup raw walnuts

4 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp Earth Balance (can substitute with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or water)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix together oats, Chia Goodness, banana, apple, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Add water, maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir well.  Pour into a 2L baking dish.  Set aside.

Chop walnuts.  Add in oats, coconut sugar, maple syrup and Earth Balance.  Mix well.  Sprinkle over oatmeal mixture in baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 mins.  It will be done when the water has been absorbed and topping is golden brown.  Serve warm, and ENJOY!  Makes 8 servings.

I had three (small) bowls of this immediately after I took it out of the oven.  I figured why not – it is full of wholesome ingredients, and I with the half-marathon training I am doing, I can use the extra carbs!

Have you ever tried making baked oatmeal?  What are some of your favorite oatmeal toppings?


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Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice (aka Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk)

As someone who is trying to avoid gluten, I eat a lot of rice.  I eat brown rice cakes, brown rice pasta, and use brown rice flour in baking.  Brown rice is a frequent side dish also!  I like rice – it has quality carbohydrates that give me energy to chase after two kids and helps to fuel my runs.  And it does so without hurting my stomach, as wheat tends to do.

A couple days ago I tried a new rice dish and I have coined it “The World’s Yummiest Rice”.  Both my kids loved it and so did my husband and brother-in-law, so it’s not one of those crazy healthy dishes that I love, but no one else does.   This has mainstream appeal!  I wanted to take a picture of it, but we ate it all up before I had a chance!

It contains delicious Indian spices and the secret ingredient is coconut milk.  The coconut milk makes it creamy and satisfying.   You’ve got to try this!

Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice – Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk (based on Marni Wasserman’s recipe)

Makes 8-10 servings, 15 minutes prep time, 45 minutes cook time

Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice

1.5 tsp cumin

2 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 large cloves garlic, sliced

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp tumeric

1.5 tbsp garam msala

1 can coconut milk (398 mL)

3.5 cups water

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

1.  Add oil, onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and ginger to a large pot.   Set heat to medium.  Stir.  Add in the tumeric and garam masala, and saute until onions become soft and translucent.   Stir often.

2.  Add the rice, water and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered over low heat for 45 minutes.

3.  When the rice is cooked and liquid has been absorbed, add the raisins.   Stir well.   Remove cinnamon stick.  Serve and enjoy!

Note about amount of liquid – different rice may require different amounts of liquid.  Follow the directions on your bag if they differ from what mentioned above.  Factor in the coconut milk and reduce water as necessary.  For example, the rice I had said 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of water.  So I used just under 3.5 cups of water and 1 can (or 1.5 cups) of coconut milk. Check the rice at around 35 or 40 minutes to see if you need to add more liquid.


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Recipe – Chocolate chip coconut oatmeal cookies

Yesterday I discovered a delicious blog – Chocolate Covered Katie.   Katie blogs about vegan healthy desserts.   Can you say right up my alley?  How have I not heard of her site until now?

I like to eat healthy, but there is still room for dessert made from satisfying and nutritious whole foods.   Katie’s blog has so many creative dessert recipes that I just can’t wait to try.

This afternoon, I was inspired by Katie’s Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies.   I took her recipe and changed it up a bit.   Here’s what I came up with:

Recipe – Chocolate Chip Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

(Gluten free – if using GF oats, soy free, vegan)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. coconut sugar

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. agave syrup

1 tbsp. almond butter

2 tbsp chocolate chips

Mix oats, baking soda, salt and coconut sugar in a magic bullet or food processor until oats are broken down into an almost flour like powder.  Place in medium sized bowl.   Stir in olive oil, water, almond butter and agave.  Mix well.  Mixture should be moist but still crumbly.  If you pinch the batter, crumbs should stick together.   If not, add a tiny bit more olive oil.  Add in chocolate chips and form batter into 6-8 small cookies.

Bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes.

These taste absolutely divine warm out of the oven!  Don’t fret if you don’t have coconut sugar – brown sugar will work too, as per Katie’s original recipe!  (Although I personally love the coconut-y flavour of the coconut sugar).  Or you could try 2 tbsp of agave or other liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey) and cut out the water.   I think they would also be amazing with raisins instead of chocolate chips.  Or sunflower seed butter instead of the almond butter.   The possibilities really are endless!  I may have to whip up another batch later…


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Recipe – Almond butter tahini oat cookies

I was recently given a lovely assortment of Mum’s Original products to test out from the friendly and passionate team at Borden Communications.  I truly felt like I hit the jackpot when I picked up my package!  It contained:  hemp hearts, chia, goji berries, oats, cacao powder, cacao nibs, coconut flour, coconut sugar, banana powder, rock salt, and quinoa.  Yup – pretty much all of my favorite super foods.

I was in the mood to test out a few of the products, and found a recipe online for Teff Almond Butter cookies.   I decided to swap out a few ingredients with some of the Mum’s Original products I had on hand, and the following recipe was born:

Recipe – Almond butter tahini oat cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 1/2 tsp. Mum’s Original chia meal

1 cup Mum’s Original oat flour

1/2 cup Mum’s Original coconut flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinammon

1/8 tsp. Mum’s Original Himalayan rock salt

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup almond butter

1/3 cup tahini

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees celcius.

Mix apple sauce and chia in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Combine flours, salt, and baking powder in another medium sized bowl, and set aside.

Warm the almond butter and tahini for about 25 seconds in the microwave.  Add to apple sauce mixture.   Stir in honey, and vanilla.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.   Add in the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Scoop out a small amount of dough with a small spoon and roll into a ball using your hands.   Place on a prepared cookie sheet.  Flatten the ball with the tines of a fork.  Bake for about 10-13 minutes, until set.

The recipe will make approximately 24 cookies.

Delish!

I decided to stir in some Mum’s Original coconut cacao nibs to half of the dough.  It added a bit of a crunchy texture and some delicious chocolatey flavour!

These cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth, and will also fill you up, since they are full of protein, fibre and healthy fats.   I found that the cookies had a fudge like texture, and a delicate flavour, similar to halvah.

I highly recommend that you hop to the store, pick up some Mum’s Original products and try this recipe out.   You won’t be disappointed!


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Birthday un-cake

I feel very blessed that I will be celebrating my birthday today with a family brunch. My family has been very kind with respect to my new eating restrictions and always ensure that there is some vegetarian, dairy and gluten free food available for me to eat at all family functions.

It’s hard to imagine a birthday party without a birthday cake – blowing out the candles and singing happy birthday are birthday traditions with which even my four year old son strongly identifies.

I toyed with the idea of not having a cake at my birthday, just to make a statement against all the unhealthy birthday cakes that are generally served at birthday parties. Yes, I’m talking about cakes filled with white sugar, white flour and butter, or perhaps margarine or hydrogenated fats! I really don’t mean to be a party pooper – but NO ONE needs to eat these things, even in moderation.

I wanted to put a candle in a bowl of fruit and skip the cake at my birthday brunch. This was causing a lot of distress to both my mom and son – they couldn’t fathom a party without a cake!

So I decided to compromise, and make myself a vegan gluten free cake full of healthy and tasty ingredients. I found this recipe for a Raw Cashew Cheesecake on the Vegetarian Times website. I followed it exactly, except for swapping out the lime juice with lemon juice, since we were out of limes. This cake contains no dairy or eggs or sugar, but boy is it delicious!

Here is the final result:

Raw cashew cheesecake

I had a taste of both the crust and the filling as I was making them, and they were both delish. I think it will be a hit tomorrow. I plan on topping it with some fresh fruit, as suggested in the recipe.


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Recipe – Hemp coconut blueberry muffins

A few weeks ago I went to an amazing cooking class given by Marni Wasserman, a holistic nutritionist.  I have been following Marni’s blog for a while, and have learned so much about healthy eating from her.   The class was informative, interactive, and a lot of fun.   I liked it so much, that I have signed up for another one of her classes in December – Indian cooking.  Can’t wait!

Amongst other tasty dishes, we made delicious hemp loaves in her class.   The recipe can be found here.  Hemp is really a superfood!   Marni explains it:

The protein present in hemp is complete -containing all 10 essential amino acids which makes it ideal for vegetarians, vegans or anyone seeking an alternative source of protein. Hemp also contains balanced healthy fats – both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This makes hemp an excellent natural anti-inflammatory as well as providing the body with healthy oils for skin, hair and nails. If this isn’t enough already… hemp is also easy to digest (because it contains it’s own natural enzymes), contains a high levels of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fibre and chlorophyll.

Marni’s recipe is delicious in its original form, but I switched it up a bit.  Don’t let some of the uncommon ingredients scare you off – they can all be purchased at Whole Foods or your local health food store.  Here’s what I did:

HEMP COCONUT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (Gluten free, and vegan)

Ingredients:

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour OR brown rice flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup hemp flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinammon

1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water (or 1 egg)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup apple sauce

1 large ripe banana, mashed

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

3/4  cup blueberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Mix together the hemp flour, Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour (or brown rice flour) and coconut flour.  Mix in baking soda, baking powder and cinammon.

The dry ingredients

2.  In a separate bowl, mix together flax and water (or egg), vanilla, apple sauce, mashed banana, maple syrup, oil and blueberries.

The wet ingredients

3.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until blended.

4.  Put into prepared muffin tins (greased, or lined with muffin cups).

5.  Bake for 15-20 mins.  The muffin tops should just be just turning brown.

6.  Cook on a wire rack.  ENJOY!

The finished product

This muffin is full of protein and healthy fats and will provide you with lots of energy to make it through a busy day.  You won’t crash and burn with these, like you would with most traditional muffins containing white flour, white sugar and unhealthy fats!  This is a muffin you can feel good about eating.


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Meal Planning Monday

Last week’s meal plan worked even better than the previous week’s plan.   I successfully incorporated leftovers, which saved a lot of time in the kitchen.  I used that saved time to test out some gluten free baking, which was a lot of fun.   Perhaps I will share some recipes in upcoming posts.

Below is this week’s plan:

Sunday – Scrambled eggs, roasted sweet potato, steamed kale

Monday – Dinner at my parents’

Tuesday – Salmon cakes topped with a creamy cashew garlic sauce, roasted cauliflower, spinach salad

Wednesday – Leftovers from Tuesday

Thursday – Shanghai rice bowl – sauteed spinach, mushrooms and onions on top of brown rice, topped with chickpeas and tahini

Friday – Out for dins

Saturday – To be determined


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A visit to Mylk Uncookies

Since I am currently avoiding dairy, soy and gluten, it takes a bit of effort for me these days to have a treat – either I have to make it myself or head out to a specialty restaurant or cafe.  I used to really enjoy a latte from Starbucks or Aroma or a baked good from a local bakery.  However, I am lucky to live in Toronto where there are so many great vegan and gluten free restaurants to visit.  A couple of weeks ago, Ben and I checked out a great coffee place – Mylk Uncookies.

Mylk Uncookies is located at 253 Gerrard St., at Gerrard and Parliament, in Cabbagetown.  Mylk Uncookies serves homemade almond “mylk” and a variety of gluten free vegan treats.   You can also get regular milk and traditionally baked goods, so they really have something for everyone.

From the moment I walked in the door, I liked what I saw!  The decor is modern and minimalist with clean white furniture, and there is a pop of color with a tiffany-blue inspired feature wall in the back.  Service is fast and friendly – my barista even carried my coffee over to my table because she saw that my hands were full carrying Benjamin.

I tried a decaf latte and a spiced chocolate cookie.   The latte was made with their homemade almond milk.   The espresso was brewed just perfectly – smooth with no bitterness.   The almond milk is absolutely delicious – creamy with a hint of sweetness!   I had been purchasing almond milk in the grocery store for my smoothies, but after tasting homemade, I knew I had to make my own!

The cookie was dairy, egg and gluten free and was just amazing.   The chocolatey taste was rich and it wasn’t overly sweet.  The texture was dense, moist and satisfying.

I should add that I also visited the washroom and it was pristinely clean.  Definitely another plus in my book!

I will definitely be back when I’m craving another latte and sweet treat.   If only the Starbucks around the corner from us offered such delicious, healthy treats!  Perhaps someday….