Saturday, August 31, 2013


Based on the reviews of this tahini chickpea dressing, I thought it would great as a dressing for salads and vegetables.  What is interesting about it is that it includes chickpeas.  It reminds me of hummus but it also includes ginger and nutritional yeast which is not found in typical hummus recipes.

In making this recipe, I used 1/2 tsp of store bought minced ginger.  I have bought several items from this company including minced ginger and sushi ginger.  I like using minced ginger because of the convenience.  I also used ground flaxseed instead of chia seed.  Because chia seed becomes more gelatinous after it sits in liquid I think it would be a better ingredient to use in the dressing as it would help make the dressing more thicker than ground flaxseed.  One to two cloves of garlic can be added to the dressing.  I used one clove as the cloves were not small and I didn't want to make the dressing overly strong with garlic.  The dressing lasts for several days in the fridge.  I will definitely make this dressing again.   I really enjoyed the taste.

A great condiment to have in your fridge

The dressing is ready to be stored in the fridge.

The dressing is added to a vegetable salad.

Tahini-Chickpea Dressing

1/4 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tbsp gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp chia seed or ground flaxseeds
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger-root, minced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place all ingredients into blender and process on high speed until thoroughly blended.  Refrigerate until well chilled. Dressing will continue to thicken while chilling.  Add extra water by the teaspoon if dressing is too thick.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Adapted from

Sunday, August 25, 2013


The cucumbers are plentiful in the garden this year.  It helps that the DH waters them, they grow up on a kind of ladder cages and we planted enough to counter any plants that might not survive during the early stages of growing.  A small challenge that is encountered is the DOG.  He likes to pull cucumbers off the plants, chomp on them and leave half eaten cucumbers on the lawn.  So it does require some vigilance at times to ensure he is not sampling the cucumbers.

I decided to tweak the recipe that I posted a few years ago for ice cream pail pickles.  I made the same recipe with a few adjustments.  I put the sliced cucumbers in a large mixing bowl.  I used a mandoline to thinly slice them.  I heated up the sugar, vinegars, salt and spices in a medium size pot to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes to ensure that the sugar had dissolved.  I think dissolving the sugar is important and making a non heated mixture doesn't ensure that the sugar is really dissolved.  I then poured the liquid over the cucumbers sitting in the mixing bowl.  You may think you don't have enough liquid but the cucumbers have their own juices and the volume of liquid does increase.

Instead of putting the cucumbers and liquid into a large ice cream pail and then placing in the fridge, I decided to use large canning jars instead.  I ensured that the jars and lids were clean but I didn't sterilize the jars in the oven.  There was enough made to fill four large jars.  It is easier to store and use the pickles in a jar than a large ice cream pail.  In the past I would be transferring the pickles from the ice cream pail that is kept in a fridge in the basement to a canning jar for storage and use in the kitchen fridge.  Now I cut out one step and made serving the pickles easier.   It will be a few days before I sample the first jar. 

Friday, August 23, 2013


My friend Marg posted this recipe on facebook and it looked too good to pass up.  Plus I had zucchini from the garden as an excuse to make these brownies.  These brownies don't require flour and are gluten free.  In making these brownies I used agave syrup for the sugar and only used almond extract in place of vanilla or maple extract.  I also toasted the pecans beforehand while the oven was warming up to bake the brownies.  Since I had an open jar of cashew butter in the fridge, I used that instead of the almond butter.  You can also use peanut butter.  I found that I needed to bake these brownies for over 40 minutes.  I added a bit more than 1.5 cups of shredded zucchini so the brownies were extra moist.  It is no use to save ends of zucchini in the fridge as the likelihood of ends being used up is not going to occur.  The batter and brownies are dark as I used dark cocoa.

The brownies are delicious and won't last long between ourselves and friends inhaling this baking.

Mixing the batter.

Ready for sampling.



1 cup natural almond butter
1 ½ cups grated zucchini
½ cup maple syrup or agave 
1/3 cup raw cacao or cocoa
1 egg (vegans use 1 egg replacement)
1 tsp vanilla extract (option - use almond extract)
1 tsp maple extract (or use vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pecans 
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour mixture into an 8×8 or 8X10 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

adapted from

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Using a recipe from the cookbook 'Let Them Eat Vegan', I made a ranch style dressing using cashews. I have been using raw cashews in a number of recipes.  I like to soak them for about an hour before using them.  I will soak nuts for less time than that.  It depends on how far in advance I started to prepare a recipe.  I have read that soaking raw shelled nuts removes toxins, residues and tannins and the nuts are softer and smoother in taste and more digestible.  After soaking the nuts, the water is discarded.

I bought the cookbook 'Let Them Eat Vegan' earlier this year.  It has about 200 recipes and covers the range of recipes from breakfast to salads to sauces to soups to entrees to pastas and to desserts.  In one of my previous posts I described what I liked about this cookbook in terms of how a recipe is presented and alternatives that can be used.

This recipe uses raw cashews instead of tofu or soy milk to make the creamy base.  It takes a few minutes to make as it is made in a blender or food processor.  The dressing can be used on other things besides salad.  It can be used as a dip with veggies or spooned onto roasted baby potatoes.

Dressing mixed up and ready to be added to salad.

Here is the salad I ate using the ranch dressing.


1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp lemon juice
1.5 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp fresh chives, chopped (if available)
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp agave
1/2 cup water or milk or nondairy milk
salt and pepper to taste


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  You can thin it with water if you find it is too thick.   Store in the fridge.  Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Quinoa is one of my favourite grains.  I especially like to use quinoa to make a vegetable salad.  With zucchini making regular appearances in the garden, this salad is a great way to use fresh zucchini.  This is a simple salad to make and you can add or substitute other vegetables to the ones listed in the ingredient list.   This salad also tastes good the following day and leftovers are great for lunches.

I usually cook the light coloured quinoa.  I have bought the reddish brown coloured quinoa but haven't cooked it with the same frequency.  To use up the darker coloured quinoa, I mixed what I had with equal parts of the light coloured quinoa.


1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 coloured pepper, chopped
1/2 small shredded zucchini
a handful fresh parley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the quinoa according to the directions.  Let cool.  In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix well.  Serves 4 to 5.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


One of the blog sites I follow is the chubby vegetarian (chubby vegetarian).  It is a great foodie site.  He had a recipe for chocolate zucchini bread or what I call a loaf.  It looked delicious.  Both he and the site where he got the recipe from say that a mouthful of this is to eat and moan.  I agree.  It is a really good recipe and it is quite chocolately from both the cocoa and chocolate chips.  This loaf won't last long before it is inhaled!!!

I made a few modifications.  For the sugar I used three quarters of a cup of splenda and I used chocolate chunks instead of chips.

Ready to go into the oven.

The first sample.

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf


1.5 cups Shredded Zucchini
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup high quality Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips


In a mixer, combine the oil, sugars and vanilla. Mix in the eggs and shredded zucchini. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add this dry mixture into the wet mixture. Beat until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Place the batter into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 50-65 minutes, or until done.

Adapted from