Veggie Fried Rice

This past week I’ve been spending time with my very cool teenage cousin while her parents are out of town. She has been vegetarian since she was very, very young. As a kid she learned what meat was and then couldn’t bear to eat it once she knew where it came from. She didn’t even know what the word “vegetarian” meant at that time, and is only really starting to feel comfortable describing herself as such since she now knows others who have meat-free diets! 16 year-olds are often hesitant about standing out in a crowd of their peers, but she told me that she’s still worried about what to eat and has no idea what to incorporate into her diet as a picky eater as well. How do you get protein when you don’t really cook but want simple, fast meals?

She also wanted to know how to deal with situations such as meeting her boyfriend’s parents for the first time and being offered a steak for supper, and that was a longer conversation!

So, once I got here, we tried cooking some things. Simple recipes that she’d make on her own, such as the veggie chilli (we made it into chilli cheese fries and she loved it!), and this one also made the cut! This was kind of a high school and university staple when you wanted a colourful side dish or if you wanted to make simple rice a more substantial meal. This is supper simple, but maybe something you haven’t thought about in a while. You can even dice veggies quite small if certain people don’t like something but want to get more vegetables into their diets! (hint hint!) The eggs are optional, but if you eat them they do offer more protein, but you can incorporate seeds and nuts in here instead for a vegan version (I’ll usually add both the eggs and some nuts/seeds).

This is great leftover, but you may just need to add a little water to the rice when heating it back up if it becomes hard in the fridge. It’s prefect for a potluck, BBQ, or a quick lunch while you’re at summer school. 😉

Veggie Fried Rice

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Creamy Peanut Tomato Stew (Vegan!)

peanut tomato stew 1

Hi friends! Who here has shovelled yet this year? Yup, winter is here, and I for one am all about it! To warm up your evenings, here’s a new easy recipe! This is a super hearty, cozy, rich, thick stew made from tasty tomatoes and a bizarre but amazing pairing of peanuts! West African cooking is known for amazing peanut tomato stew combinations, which inspired this dish. Add some heat with chilli pepper flakes and smooth it out with amazing peanut butter and a puree of sweet potato and zucchini. All vegan- creamy yet no dairy, no animal products whatsoever. Super filling and very, very high in protein, this is a complete meal in itself.

There are even red lentils snuck in there to thicken the soup up (a great way to sneak them into your diet).  Serve a small portion of stew as an appetizer (be warned it’s really filling), or with a salad or crusty bread. You can also up the lentils to 3/4c and serve this very thick stew over rice as a meal. It’s great leftover and freezes well too. The stew has a really unique but incredible flavour- a new favourite just in time for the chilly winter.

Creamy Peanut Tomato Stew 

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Chanterelle White Wine Pasta with Basil

Do you have any special ingredients that are decadent to you? Treat ingredients, whether they be expensive ingredients that you treat yourself to every now and then, or maybe they’re staples and it’s worth it? Maybe a certain dish that you make only a couple of times a year or save for special occasions, or maybe you buy that really expensive cheese and savour it over time? Maybe you gorge and eat it all at once! There’s a particular ingredient that many chefs and food lovers around the world covet, and for good reason. They’re supper expensive to buy, are only available fresh very limited times during the year, they have never found a way to successfully cultivate them so you can only find them in the wild, plus they’re incomparable in flavour, versatility and amazingness. I’m referring to chanterelle mushrooms, and lucky for us, you just may find them in your backyard here in Newfoundland.

Raw Chanterelles- Cleaning them can be tricky, as can picking them, but so worth it!

Raw Chanterelles- Cleaning them can be tricky, as can picking them, but so worth it!

Chanterelles have a distinct trumpet-shaped cap with gilled-edges and a gorgeous golden colour (ranging from a bright yellow to a deep orange, gold shade). They can be found in the wild throughout the world. Sometimes they have a sweet or woodsy scent and often a bit of a peppery kick in taste, but can be used in so many dishes as they have a meaty, chewy texture. They’re best cooked as it brings out their flavour, but you can also dry them to save some of that tastiness throughout the winter! If you find a place to pick chanterelles, keep it on the down-low as many people won’t dare share their chanterelle patch location! I’m telling ya, they’re a hot commodity. A friend of mine, owner of a wonderful new gourmet restaurant in St. John’s called The Reluctant Chef, recently bestowed me with the wonderful gift of a full grocery bag of these bad boys. I was so happy that I immediately cooked them up in this very simple but delicious dish that allows the mushrooms show themselves off! I’m no expert in these mushrooms at all and this was an experimental recipe to say the least, but I really enjoyed it and hope you will too, or you have fun adapting it to your taste. Choose any pasta that works for you, or make your own!

Chanterelle White Wine Pasta with Basil

Chanterelle Pasta

Chanterelle Pasta sans cheese

Vegan pasta love! Fresh basil love!

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