Harcha with Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter

I hear you: what-cha?

Luckily, if you like English muffins, johnnycakes or toasted polenta, the name of this Moroccan, skillet-cooked flatbread doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it’s easy, kid-friendly, infinitely variable and most importantly, delicious. 

Harcha//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsTraditionally made with semolina, milk, cream or buttermilk, oil, and occasionally cornmeal, harcha can easily be a relatively Spartan carbohydrate staple for breakfast or with a meat or legume entree. However, adding a few extra touches – sugar, saffron, and vanilla – the crisp-crusted cakes are prime for a special breakfast or even dessert. This was the version I opted for when it came time to share the dish with my grade 1-6 classes, and while the just-textured-enough discs were more than delicious enough on their own, we upped the ante by dolloping an orange blossom water, cinnamon and honey butter on top. 
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One of the best things about these (to me, anyways) is that they’re yummy warm or room temperature, not to mention portable and 100% freezer friendly. Leave out the saffron, and they’re totally budget-friendly too! Whether you adorn them to the nines or grab them hot out of the pan, there’s no wrong way to taste Morocco at home.

Harcha
Makes ~12 
1 ½ cups fine semolina
⅓ cup fine cornmeal 
pinch saffron, ground or crushed (optional)
2 tbsp flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup canola oil
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the semolina, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the canola oil and milk and mix until a dough forms. (It should be very moist, but still be able to pack into a ball – add additional milk if needed).
  3. Shape the dough into balls about the size of apricots, place on a sheet of waxed paper and let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a flat griddle or frying pan over medium-low heat and spray with cooking spray.
  5. With damp hands, flatten each ball into a disc at least ¼” thick.
  6. Cook the discs for 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until they are lightly golden. Make sure to turn them over only once.
  7. Serve immediately (optimally with Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter).
  8. You can freeze these up to 6 months – thaw and reheat them in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 161.5
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.0 mg
Sodium: 5.4 mg
Total Carbs: 23.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 3.4 g

Harcha

Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter
Makes just over 1/2 cup, 8 servings
½ cup salted butter, softened
3 tbsp honey (I used orange blossom honey)
1 tsp orange flower water (or vanilla)
½ tsp cinnamon

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 126.2
Total Fat: 11.5 g
Cholesterol: 31.0 mg
Sodium: 82.1 mg
Total Carbs: 6.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g

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Rosemary and Olive Grissini #SundaySupper

I have a confession.

I almost never watch movies. In particular, I never willingly watch romantic comedies, especially if they’re in the theatres. For my $15 (not counting concessions), I’ll take James Bond, Tim Burton or Star Wars way before settling in for 2+ hours of boy-meets-girl / boy-loses-girl / boy-gets-girl semi-storylines. Even then, I’m hard pressed to focus that long on anything (I can barely watch a half hour TV show) so most of the time I skip the theatres entirely and catch up on the Coles Notes version while waiting for it to come out on the free On Demand cable channels.

That said, I’m still excited for this week’s #SundaySupper theme – My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – because I love Greek food, and definitely love partying Greek style! Our group is combining Hellenic inspired dishes to create a feast of Olympic proportions – whether its to remember and join the re-union celebration of Toula and Ian or simply revel in the rich, healthy flavours of the Mediterranean.
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Black Olive and Rosemary Grissini

My contribution to the dinner feast is this recipe for grissini – skinny, crunchy breadsticks that are perfect for an appetizer, snack or accompaniment to a simple Mediterranean meal. They are incredibly easy to put together, and are packed with the bright, vibrant flavour of fresh rosemary and the briny richness of both Kalamata and sun-dried olives, which mingle with the slight nuttiness of the whole wheat flour to make a satisfying, well-keeping snack that not only stands up on its own but pairs beautifully with dips like baba ghanoush or hummus. For cocktail or dinner parties where they’re being used as pre-meal nibbles, a grating of fresh Parmesan on top before baking adds an extra “gourmet” twist – but even without that extra garnish I dare you to try stopping at one. If you’re anything like my coworker – who claims he’s not a “bread guy” in general – you’ll find yourself missing more than a few before the end of the day due to “quality control” checks!

This #SundaySupper event is hosted by Nichole Crews from Casa de Crews. Thanks Nichole!

Greek Appetizers:

Greek Soups:

Greek Breakfast:

Greek Main Dishes:

Greek Side Dishes:

Greek Desserts:

Greek Beverages:

Plus Baked Shrimp with Feta plus More Greek Cuisine from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Rosemary and Olive Grissini 
Makes ~84
2 cups white bread (or all purpose) flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup warm water
⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives (or a mix of Kalamata and sun-dried black) in oil, pureed with 2 tbsp of the oil
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves

  1. In a large bowl (or a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook), combine all ingredients (in order).
  2. Knead to form an elastic dough (about 7-10 minutes).
  3. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  4. Deflate dough, knead briefly, and let rest 10 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 375F (350F convection) If your oven is not convection, place a rack in the middle of the oven.
  6. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  7. Roll the rested dough out into a rectangle about 20×12”.
  8. Cut in half crosswise, then into ¼” strips lengthwise.
  9. Lightly roll each strip to round the edges and place on the parchment lined sheets.
  10. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
  11. Bake (1 sheet at a time if not using convection) for 18 minutes, until crisp and golden. Keep unbaked sticks in the fridge during baking.
  12. Immediately transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 21.4
Total Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 32.3 mg
Total Carbs: 3.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 0.6 g

Sweet Veggie Protein Bars

Whee! The Rise Up And Shine II event I’ve been yakking about for weeks is sold out – I am thrilled we’ll be able to donate so much money and raise so much awareness for Plan Canada’s initiative!

Of course, that many energetic, exercise-loving participants means a lot of hungry people at the end of the 3 hour marathon, and if last year’s activity is any indication the food table will be decimated by clean-up time! Never a bad thing, obviously – and I knew I wanted to contribute a few “healthier” snacks that would also be safe for anyone with celiac or a gluten intolerance. Protein bars immediately popped into my head, and since I still had some pumpkin left over (not to mention an open bag of delicious, gluten free granola on hand) and a recent trip to my second home found me with a bag of kañiwa – something I’d heard of on the ‘net but never tried (FYI – it’s delicious, especially mixed with amaranth in a “pilaf”!). I was hesitant to try it at first, since it’s cousin quinoa is not exactly my best friend (I just can’t get over it’s flavour as a grain… the flour baked into things is A-OK!) but I was pleasantly surprised by the nutty, almost sweet flavour it had – and the lack of saponins means no rinsing for ages!!

The nutritional profile is impressive too – single 3.5 ounce serving of gluten free kañiwa seeds holds 31% of the recommended daily fibre intake for adults, it has more high-quality protein than quinoa, (16% vs 13%) and is packed with B vitamins and antioxidants to boot! For a little extra protein, skim milk and whey protein powders mixed into the already protein-rich flour blend, and I bumped up the fibre with psyllium, carrots, flax and a brown rice bran and germ powder.

Phew! All this good stuff crammed into a gluten free bar that tastes like a mixture of carrot cake and pumpkin pie, with a decadent crunch in every bite? I’m sold!

Sweet Veggie Protein Bars

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Sweet Veggie Protein Bars
Makes 24 bars
2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut cream (not milk)
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
¼ cup jaggery or coconut sugar
2 tbsp honey
¼ cup skim milk powder (you could use soy milk powder if you need dairy free)
¼ cup naturally sweetened vanilla whey powder (or soy protein if you need dairy free)
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sorghum flour
¼ cup quinoa flour
½ cup amaranth flour
⅓ cup Natural Traditions Brown Rice Bran and Germ Powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp kaniwa, teff seeds or amaranth
1 large, finely grated carrot
½ cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (reserve ¼ cup soaking water)
2 cups Nature’s Path© Gluten Free Fruit & Nut Granola

  1. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, coconut cream, pumpkin, jaggery, honey, milk and whey powders, salt and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. Add flours, rice bran and germ powder, flaxseed, psyllium, xanthan gum and baking powder, mixing until combined.
  4. Fold in kaniwa, carrot, raisins (with liquid) and granola.
  5. Spread into the pan and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325 F.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Let cool in pan before cutting into bars.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 138.2
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 21.5 mg
Sodium: 49.5 mg
Total Carbs: 21.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 5.8 g

Psst- only 3 days left to enter my @naturespathorganic #OnMyPath Giveaway!

Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks #thereciperedux

With only a week to go until Rise Up And Shine II, I’ve been turning my attention towards making some healthy, hearty, “power foods” for both the volunteers and the participants. Of course, Nature’s Path has made things a lot easier for everyone to stay “on their path” by giving me an awesome selection of their cereals (the same ones you’ll get if you win my giveaway!). Granola bars are definitely one of the most obvious “healthy” snacks out there, but they’re usually made with raw oats, not to mention a boatload of sugar and fats. That’s the way the original recipe I chose to tweak was too – and while the sweetness factor is still on the “high” side, by weight my version still has less sugar, calories, sodium and fat than a storebought bar and is full of extra nutrition from the pumpkin, rice bran, natural peanut butter and (of course) the star of the show – a full box of Nature’s Path Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola! To play off the “Thai” vibe I was getting from the coconut, peanut butter and pumpkin, I tossed in the leftover dried mango from my “Tablespoon” Trail Mix too. The more the merrier!
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Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks

The “puck” shape of these treats makes them the ultimate portable breakfast, although it does take a little finessing to transform the moist, sticky batter from “gluey” to “chewy”. Being thicker than your standard “bar” means that in order to keep the texture consistent, it takes a “two part” baking system: first in the muffin tin until set, but still soft, then free-standing on a sheet tray until the bottoms and sides crisp up a little bit. You’ll never get “crunchy” granola bars, obviously – the lack of added oil and the abundance of pumpkin in these will see to that – but they have a toothsome quality and a definite ability to fill you up before or after a workout without giving you a major sugar hangover! I knew I had hit the jackpot when the photo I posted to Instagram got a like and a recipe request from the @naturespathorganic team – not to mention the craving from my coworkers! 


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Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks
Makes 12
½ cup pure pumpkin puree (I roasted my own)
½ cup natural style creamy peanut butter (just peanuts and salt)
¼ cup Muscovado sugar
¼ cup golden syrup or honey
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp liquid stevia
¼ cup unflavoured pea protein powder
1 tbsp vanilla
1 box (about 4 cups) Nature’s Path Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola
½ cup large-flake rolled oats
1⁄3 cup stabilized rice bran
½ cup diced dried mango

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners
  2. In a bowl, beat together the pumpkin, peanut butter, sugar, syrups, stevia, protein powder and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the granola, oats, bran and mango, stirring until everything is well coated.
  4. Pack ¼ cupfuls into the liners, pressing in as well as you can with the back of a spoon or disher.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and press the tops of the pucks down firmly to compact.
  7. Cool 10 minutes in the tin, then move the pucks to a baking sheet.
  8. Bake 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely before eating or storing in the fridge (up to 1 week) or freezer (up to 2 months).

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 278.3
Total Fat: 10.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 75.8 mg
Total Carbs: 39.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g
Protein: 7.8 g

"Tablespoon" Trail Mix (and a @naturespathorganic #OnMyPath Giveaway!)

It’s horrible how long it’s taken me to get back to writing – I don’t have much of an excuse other than laziness and a sprained wrist, but rest assured I’ve been blog-hopping as I doze my evenings away after work!

I’ve never been a “great” breakfast eater, even now that I start my days at 5:30AM. I don’t really get hungry until close to noon, but will enjoy a handful of dry, cold cereal on my way to work, especially if it’s chunky, crunchy and just barely sweet. “Cereal with milk” was never a part of my growing up, and I truly can’t get my head around the texture no matter what my friends and family say. While the “standard” cold cereals remain drowned in dairy around here, I think I may have found a brand to convert the die-hards: Nature’s Path.

BreakkieThis isn’t the first time I’ve written about my love for this organic, largely gluten free cereal brand, and for good reason. Ever since Nature’s Path cereal and granola entered my shopping cart a few years ago, I was hooked on the hearty whole grains, fruit and nuts in products like Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch, Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise, and Summer Berries Granola. On the more decadent side, almost the whole Love Crunch® line soon fell into rotation as a topping for applesauce and yogurt at breakfast, “fake baked” (AKA microwaved) apple halves as a mid-afternoon snack or ice cream for dessert. Recently, my oatmeal-loving self has discovered their Gluten Free, Organic Homestyle Instant Oatmeal, which comes in a handy (if somewhat hefty, at 40g vs 28g) pre-portioned pack and  (unlike many other brands) doesn’t cause my skin to flare up like a bad sunburn after eating it. Finally, the kid in my still loves the sweet, cinnamon-toast crunch of Envirokidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch® Cereal, especially when I mix it with the “grown up”, plain Whole O’s™ for my on-the-road “faux-fast”.

With the Rise Up And Shine II Plan Canada Dance Fitness Fundraiser coming up (featuring my new role as a “Kiddie Korner” supervisor!), I’ve been playing around with various ingredients in the pantry to come up with an easy, filling, kid-friendly snack mix to serve (and have the kids take home as a “loot bag”). Since I needed to keep nuts out of the equation, and wanted to keep remaining allergens to a minimum, using Nature’s Path cereal was an easy choice – as was swapping in roasted chickpeas and soybeans for the traditional nuts. A mix of delicious dried fruit added chewy contrast and just a touch of chocolate bumped up the kid-pleasing power. Best of all, the recipe for one serving (as written here) is so simple it easily scales as you need it, and since all you need is a tablespoon there are precious few things to dirty along the way!

Make sure to stay tuned – more delicious and decadent treats with Nature’s Path cereals and granola are coming down the pipeline!

“Tablespoon” Trail Mix
Makes 1 serving
1 tbsp dry-roasted, salted chickpeas
1 tbsp dry-roasted, salted soy nuts
1 tbsp diced dried mangoes
1 tbsp diced dried apples
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp dark chocolate covered raisins (I found these vegan ones at the health food store and used them)
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) dry cereal (I used a mix of Nature’s Path Whole O’s™ Cereal and Envirokidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch®)

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag or bowl.
  2. Enjoy!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 276.1
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 1.3 mg
Sodium: 161.0 mg
Total Carbs: 52.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.3 g
Protein: 7.4 g

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Now for the real treat… not one, but two, Nature’s Path #OnMyPath Giveaways!

Now that I’ve waxed poetic on the subject of these cereals, it would be totally unfair to keep it all to myself. Luckily, the super-awesome team at Nature’s Path have furnished quite the prize package for readers of this blog:

One winner will receive^:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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But wait, there’s more!

There’s also a grand prize for one lucky person out there*+:  

  • ORGANIC GRANOLA FOR A YEAR
  • A copy of DIY Vegan, by Nicole Axworthy & Lisa Pitman – a book I’m coveting that includes more than 100 ways to create an awesome plant-based pantry!
  • A copy of Un-Junk Your Diet by Desiree Nielsen, R.D. – how to shop, cook and eat to feel better forever (I have this and it’s a great read)
Does that sound awesome or what?

To enter the Grand Prize Draw:

Getting back on a healthy path? Running your first marathon? Trying a plant-based diet? We want to know!  

Tell us what’s on your path for 2016 by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using both hashtags: #OnMyPath and #GranolaForAYear. 

^ Prize will ship on or after March 1, 2016
+ Grand prize contest closes February 28, 2016
*This prize is open to all blogs participating and their audiences. There will be one grand prize total.

Nature’s Path provided me with free product, but did not solicit any opinions or promotion of their giveaway. They’re just good people!

Smoky Blender Salsa #SundaySupper

I’ve loved salsa almost as long as I’ve loved super-sour pickles. Regardless of the season or occasion, the combination of tomatoes, onions and spices matches the “party” atmosphere, and goes with any sort of “chip” (from traditional tortilla to pita, black bean and even thick-cut jalapeno-dusted potato). However, the dipping possibilities are more than that – I grew up on baby carrots, cucumber and celery sticks dunked in it as an afternoon snack, and today you’ll almost always be able to find me by the crudites with a smuggled jar of spicy, chunky, garlicky goodness instead of the go-to ranch or French onion dip on offer.

Smoky Blender SalsaMore than a dip, a good salsa has recipe building potential too. I’ve blended this rendition into a can of low-sodium black beans, black eyed peas or cooked lentils for an impromptu burrito filling, scooped it into chicken and rice soup, mixed it with Wild Pecan rice and roasted cauliflower for a quick dinner and even plopped a dollop into colcannon (weird, yes, but SO GOOD). To me, it’s definitely one of those perfect meal-makers, and with “big game” (and award show) watching season upon us why not take the opportunity to make your own “vintage” to keep on hand?

Obviously, making your own has nutritional advantages too – this recipe needs no preservatives or oil, has no sugar added and is made with wholesome, simple ingredients. Watching your salt intake? Use a no salt added variety of roasted canned tomatoes (or roast your own at home) and a dash of liquid smoke in place of the regular canned tomatoes and smoked salt. Fresh garlic and garlic scapes team up with the onions, chiles and tomatoes for some super flu-fighting and antioxidant goodness too! Since garlic scapes are super-short seasoned (unless you grow your own at home), when I whip this up in the winter, I use two extra garlic cloves instead. The flavour is a little more intense, but for me (and my immune system), there’s never enough garlic!

This week #SundaySupper is bringing you perfect recipes for watching the big game / awards shows as a group – if you can eat it on a paper plate balanced on your lap and/or find it on a buffet-style table at a potluck, it’s fair play! This week’s host is T.R. Crumbley of Gluten Free Crumbley – thanks T.R.!

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks

Sunday Supper Movement 
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Smoky Blender Salsa
Makes ~3 cups, 12 (¼ cup) servings

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
2 garlic scapes
½ cup minced green onions or Egyptian onion bulbs
1 small yellow or red bell pepper
1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
¼ tsp ancho chili powder
¼ tsp guajillo chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp smoked salt
½ tbsp lemon or lime juice

  1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth.
  2. Store in the fridge up to 1 month or freeze up to 1 year.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 16.2
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 155.5 mg
Total Carbs: 3.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 0.6 g

Zippy Quick B & B Pickles

Happy new year everyone! While I’m sure some of you are still recovering from the festivities last night (I didn’t even party and I slept for 10 hours!), the new year is a time for opportunity and new experiences. What better way to embrace the first week of the year than with a brand-new project?

Pickles are definitely one of my favourite things in the world – ever since I was old enough to sit up in a high chair, you’d find me “gumming” on a big ol’ kosher dill when my family went to one of the local pubs. I’m definitely on the side of the “sour” or “spicy” pickled goods though – you won’t find me loading up a cocktail plate with the syrupy-sweet classic bread and butters when there’s tons of sour pickled cocktail onions and gherkins to choose from! That said, a good portion of the family adore the sweet “chips”, so back when our garden was overflowing with cucumbers I knew I would make them a little something special to top their burgers through the Summer. The first batch was more successful than I ever imagined – jars kept coming back to me with little notes asking for more, and I’ve been making them almost constantly since. My secret is taking the classic “sweet” pickle a little over to the “savoury” and even “exotic” side – onions, mustard seed, Tellicherry pepper and even a pinch of Sichuan peppercorns make them addictively unique and definitely worthy of even the most high-end sandwich.

Pickles and caramel. .. what a weird morning in the kitchen! #cooking #foodie #vegan #food #foodinjars

Thankfully, the whole process is dead-simple, not to mention fast… to get into the jars. However, I implore you – wait that week before cracking into them. Trust me. That pickling time in the fridge is crucial – otherwise you’re just eating damp cucumbers, and who wants that? Plus, being pickles, they last (almost) forever in the fridge, so even if you’re not constantly pickling, you can have a nibble or three of preserved Summer anytime you like!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Zippy Quick B & B Pickles
Makes ~3 pints, 24 servings
1 ¾ lbs fresh cucumbers, cut into ¼” slices
2 tbsp minced dried onions
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns (optional but recommended)
¾ tsp whole black peppercorns
1 cup cider vinegar
⅓ cup unseasoned rice vinegar

Per pint jar:
¼ tsp Ball® Pickle Crisp® Granules (I don’t know of another brand of calcium chloride, but if you have one you like use it)

  1. Pack cucumber slices into jars, set aside.
  2. Bring remaining ingredients, except Pickle Crisp®, to a boil.
  3. Pour brine over cucumbers in the jars, add Pickle Crisp® and screw on lids.
  4. Store in the fridge at least 1 week before enjoying.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 12.3
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 49.1 mg
Total Carbs: 3.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.2 g

*NI includes average absorption of salt and sugar but no additional whole spices

Chimichurri Bread #SundaySupper

I can’t believe it’s less than a week until Christmas day arrives! frankly, I’m happy for that fact, because like every year I am already 110% holiday-ed out and ready for a true vacation where I can chill out, tend to myself (read: Zumba time!), my blog, latent book reviews, languishing sourdough starter and ever-patient cat. Of course, until December 26, the kitchen is a flurry of activity – between me putting together the finishing touches on cookies and chocolates for gift baskets to preparing components of holiday meals, breads and endless batches of shortbread cookies. The oven is almost constantly on and occupied, but when guests come over it always seems to be a scramble to set out enough nibbles in time! 

This year,  I took a leaf out of my Home Ec syllabus and whipped up an Argentine-inspired appetizer to set out during one of the many gatherings taking place this month. Thanks to a demi-loaf of homemade baguette in the freezer, all I had to do was beat together some herbs, garlic, cheese and butter, smear it onto the halved loaves and slap it onto a panini press plugged in away from the main action of the stove and oven. By using the press (you could use an electric grill pan or George Foreman too), it keeps the large appliances free for the mains and sides while still allowing for a hot, crispy and gooey addition to the party platters. Pair it up with some sangria, a bowl of chilled, grilled shrimp, crudites and salsa and you’ve got a taste of the balmy southern hemisphere on your table – even when it’s snowy out! 

Chimichurri Bread

Today, the Sunday Supper tastemakers are easing the holiday rush with recipes perfect for last-minute gatherings, cravings and “oh yeah, I should eat” moments!

Beverages
Gluten Free Holiday Mocha by Gluten Free Crumbley
The Frenchy by Books n’ Cooks

Breakfast
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread by Ruffles & Truffles
Chocolate Cranberry Mini Muffins by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Appetizers
Cauliflower-Apple Melts by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Chimichurri Bread by What Smells So Good?
Everything Cream Cheese Balls by Magnolia Days
Mini Party Crab Cakes by Food Lust People Love
Holiday Bruschetta by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Lobster Salad in Puff Pastry Cups by The Weekend Gourmet
Potato Kimchi Bacon Bites by kimchi MOM
Quick Crab Stuffed Mushrooms by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Scallops with Cranberry Bacon Jam by Caroline’s Cooking
Shrimp and Artichoke Crostini by Monica’s Table
Spanakopita Bites by Casa de Crews
Tortellini Caprese Bites by The Freshman Cook
Tropical Cocktail Wings by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Main Dishes
Bean, Escarole, & Sausage Soup by Get the Good Stuff
Chicken Cacciatore Pronto by Crazy Foodie Stunts
Easy Chicken Fried Rice by Feeding Big
Swedish Meatballs by Palatable Pastime

Side Dishes
Apple Pecan Salad by Wholistic Woman
Bourbon Glazed Sweet Potatoes by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Healthier Hoppin’ John by Cooking Chat
Italian Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Stuffing by The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine

Desserts
4-Ingredient Double Chocolate Christmas Fudge by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Bananas Foster Bread Pudding by Wallflour Girl
Dark Chocolate Coconut Pecan Cups by PancakeWarriors
Frangelico French Silk Pie by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Holiday Pie Crust Cookies by Rhubarb and Honey
Peppermint Bark Pretzels by Pies and Plots
Red Velvet Eggnog Cheesecake Trifle by The Crumby Cupcake
Santa Cookies by NinjaBaker.com
Skillet Cookies by Lifestyle Food Artistry
Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
White Chocolate Covered Gingerbread OREOS by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

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Chimichurri Bread
Serves 12
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp dried oregano leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbsp minced chives
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
salt to taste
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
one (6-oz / 16″) demi-baguette (I used Simple High(er)-Fibre Baguettes), halved crosswise, then sliced lengthwise

  1. Preheat a ridged grill pan, panini press, barbecue or broiler to medium-high heat.
  2. In a small dish, mash together the butter, oregano, garlic, chives, parsley, Parmesan, thyme and salt (and pepper flakes, if using).
  3. Spread the baguette evenly with the butter mixture and place on the grill, buttered side down.
  4. Toast 3-5 minutes on each side (if you are using a panini press you do not need to flip the bread over).
  5. Slice and enjoy!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 70.4
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 8.8 mg
Sodium: 40.9 mg
Total Carbs: 7.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 2.2 g

Christine’s "X-Treme" Beans

I love being able to make my own versions of “craveable” grocery store, restaurant or bakery items. I’ve whipped up marshmallow fluff, creme eggs, apple fritters and pretzels over the years, as well as a Baked Haddock and Seafood recipe my mom couldn’t get out of her mind after enjoying it out east. Whenever I try to do these “copycat” style recipes, I always want to make them better – fresher ingredients, varied flavour or texture profiles and most importantly, tailored to the intended eater’s tastes!

One of my co-workers (the Christine of the recipe title) brings a jar of spicy pickled green beans (adequately called The Extreme Bean) regularly to have with her lunch, and I have to admit, they’re delicious! Since our garden was nice enough this year to give us not only beans, but a couple different hot peppers, I couldn’t resist the urge to whip up a batch for a future Christmas gift! The quart jar makes for a gorgeous and delicious addition to any gift basket, showcasing the prime ingredients in all their glory. Now it just comes down to filling out the rest of the basket!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday
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Christine’s “X-Treme” Beans
Makes a 1 quart jar (including brine), 3 cups beans only
1 cup water
2 ½ tsp coarse sea salt, divided
2 tbsp sugar
1 ½ cups cider vinegar
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 red Hatch chiles, sliced crosswise
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced crosswise
3 cloves whole peeled garlic
1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
1 lb string beans, trimmed

  1. In a small saucepan, over high heat, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add half the salt and the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside while
  3. blanching the beans.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the remaining salt and add the beans.
  5. Cook until the beans begin to turn bright green and are just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water, then transfer to canning jars.
  7. Add the vinegar, peppercorns, chile peppers and garlic to the sugar mixture and pour over the beans.
  8. Process in a waterbath for 5 minutes.
  9. Allow these to marinate for 48 hours before eating.

Amount Per Serving  
(based on 6, includes average absorption of brine ingredients but not peppers or garlic)
Calories: 23.5
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 198.3 mg
Total Carbs: 5.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 1.4 g

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip with @Truvia Brown Sugar Blend

OK, admit it. If you’re a cookie lover (or a sweet tooth in general), you love those stolen moments while you’re baking (and nobody’s watching) when you can lick the batter off the spoon, your fingers, and maybe even the bowl. Trust me, you’re not alone – when my sister and I were growing up, you could pretty much guarantee you’d need to make a batch and a half of chocolate chip cookies in order to get the 30-odd a single recipe indicated. If it was shortbread season, we’d be lucky to see 3/4 of the dough make it onto the cookie sheets before us two “master taste testers” and Mom nibbled our bway into it. Cookie dough has always had a certain flair for being better than the baked rendition, but with the waves of e. Coli, listeria and salmonella that keep cropping up in everything from lettuce and cantaloupe to flour, meat and cheese, the raw stuff is getting less and less safe to enjoy en masse.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Enter the glory of Cookie Dough Dip. Designed to be eaten raw, it can range from simply a cookie recipe made without eggs (but still packed with butter, sugar and flour) to recipes like this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip that I adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie. This style of cookie dip is not only egg free, but is made without dairy, nuts, oil or gluten as well – all while getting hefty boosts of fibre and protein from the oats, beans and WowButter and rich tasting (but lower sugar) sweetness thanks to Truvia®’s new Brown Sugar Blend. I brought a batch of it to work today, and shortly after lunch found myself accosted by several co-workers demanding to know if it was real cookie dough in the container! Luckily for all of us, licking a spoonful of this is more likely to treat your tummy well instead of tie it into knots.

About Truvia®:

Truvia® Natural Sweetener is born from the sweet leaves of the stevia plant, and is the natural sweetener of choice when people want to reduce calories.  Since stevia leaf extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, only a small amount is needed to deliver a clean, sweet taste.

According to a recent survey, consumption of total sugars averages 21% of daily energy intake in the Canadian diet – a startling statistic for anyone watching their waistline.  Fortunately, the Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend provides the texture, moisture, and taste that we all love about brown sugar, but with 75% fewer calories.  This delicious blend of Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener and brown sugar is simple to bake with – simply use half as much Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend as you normally would brown sugar.
Here are a few other key highlights that make the Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend unique:
  • Bakes and browns just like brown sugar
  • Specially-packaged in a one-pound resealable bag to make it easy to store after use
  • Suitable for individuals with diabetes
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • One-half cup contains just 210 calories (regular brown sugar contains 830 calories)
Lookie what we have here! As if I needed an excuse to #bake #food #truvia #brownsugar #baking blend @truvia

The folks at Truvia® not only were kind enough to send me a bag to play with, but also provided some extra (to-die-for looking) recipes using the Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend for What Smells So Good? readers to enjoy! With bake sale season kicking off, I know I’ll be looking into a few of these soon myself – if I don’t keep making and eating this dip, that is!

The other key ingredient I used in this dip (in order to keep it school-friendly) is a peanut butter substitute called WowButter, made from soybeans. To me (and everyone else who’s tried it), it tastes like peanut butter – especially in foods like sandwiches, sauces and cookies – but is 100% Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Trans Fat Free, and Cholesterol Free. A serving of 32g contains 7g of complete soy protein, 1200mg of Omega-3 and 4g of fibre too – making it a great choice for kids and kids at heart!

Twitter: @WowbutterFoods and @Truvia

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip 
Makes ~2 cups, 16 (2 tbsp) servings 
250 g pureed chickpeas or cannellini beans (I used a mix)
1 g Kosher salt  
2 tsp vanilla  
½ tsp butter flavouring, optional 
pinch nutmeg  
45 g (about 3 tbsp) WowButter (or your favourite nut butter)  
2 tbsp Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (or ¼ cup brown sugar)  
64 g honey 
2 tbsp unsweetened plain soy milk  
pinch baking soda  
57 g gluten-free instant oatmeal   
¼ cup miniature chocolate chips 

  1. Combine the chickpeas, salt, vanilla extract, butter flavouring (if using), nutmeg, WowButter, Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend and honey in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Scrape into a bowl and add the soy milk, baking soda, oatmeal and chocolate chips, stirring well until thickened.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 1 week in a tightly covered container.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 81.3
Total Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 97.2 mg
Total Carbs: 13.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 2.1 g
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