hello Jack

What the Stanley Cup Playoff season means to me, by Miss Daleen.

It means instead of setting a proper table, sublet background music, beautiful linens, flatware and a lovely centerpiece……………

We get to eat dinner, in front of the television and watch HOCKEY!

20180412_174038-1_resized

Who among us doesn’t love a casual dinner, great entertainment alongside some amazing food?

Extra flavor, easy to make and something you can eat with your hands.  (Yes, even Emily Post would, on occasion eat foods with her hands, using paper napkins of course.)

Bring on the BBQ Pulled Pork Sammies!!!  Oh yeah, dripping with flavor, excellent texture and topped with the crunch of cole slaw.  Really people, JUMP ON THIS BANDWAGON!!!

(I’ll go ahead and let you google the Toronto Maple Leafs Bandwagon)

Here we go.

Pulled Pork.

WAIT!!!!  I know what you are thinking.  Why, Daleen, I thought you didn’t eat meat?  I thought you didn’t eat pork?

Of course not.

20180412_154918-1_resizedHello Jack!  Young green Jackfruit that is.

This recipe comes from none other than Sam Turnbull.  Once again, another recipe she knocks it out of the park(or in this case the ice arena, ha). https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/6-ingredient-pulled-jackfruit/

The recipe is easy peasy (6 ingredients).  Amazing flavor.  The perfect texture.

Here’s the deal,  More often than not, I don’t try to re-create meat dishes and make them vegetarian.  I have discovered that it will most likely not be a successful endeavor. However, lately, I have been proven wrong.

This might come as a surprise.   Even folks that don’t eat meat, like to have a stack of paper napkins nearby, say Grace and DIG IN with both hands and savor an amazing Pulled Pork Sammie.  Yes, indeed.

What is Jackfruit?  A fast-growing tropical Asian tree related to the breadfruit.  Want to boost your immune system and get some vitamins while doing so?  May I gently suggest this big, beautiful edible fruit?

I drained, cut, cooked, baked and smothered it all in a glorious BBQ sauce.

How about I let some pictures do the talking?

 

 

 

Then I whipped up a beautiful, creamy, hint of tangy sauce for the coleslaw, toasted some buns to a golden brown, got out some pickles and YES, opened a bag of potato chips.

20180412_171926-1_resized

This was an A+ meal.

I would most certainly serve this to any of our family or friends.  I might stuff it into tacos next time, or I generously top a pizza.  This is that good.  You take a bite and start looking for more ways you can add it to your dinner line up.

This sammie is so good, the bench will clear and folks will be dropping their gloves and fighting over it.  Okay, well maybe not fighting, however, they will leave their seats and politely go get seconds.

So for you, Hockey fans out there………..in the words of an over-the-top  (and you know what I mean) excited announcer…..

She shoots, she SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

Go Leafs.

pulled pork

 

tip number 462

20180328_134554-1_resized_1Yesterday I baked amazing, flavorful (believe it or not) healthy carrot cake cupcakes.  (I tweaked a bit of the recipe for our needs.)

Lindsay Nixon is the Happy Herbivore who shares the recipe and so much more.  She is a gem and you will learn oodles and oodles from her.  Go take a look, you will be so glad you did.  https://happyherbivore.com/recipe/the-famous-carrot-cake-cupcakes/

Heads up!  Tip Alert! 

This is the perfect solution when you want to share a non-smooshed cupcake with your elderly neighbor, take a treat to your grand or you want to send one to work with your Mr. Right…………..

20180328_184722-1_resized (1)

Ta-Da!  Use an upside down drink cup.

Just sharing the goodness.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

ps.  Bonus tip just for reading to the end of the blog post today!

Add a little outdoor Spring goodness where you least expect it.  It will be a happy surprise. 🙂20180328_163003-1_resized

clean plate club members

Submerged in the OLD list of “10 things you didn’t know about me”  was the statement,

I am not a fan of cauliflowercauliflower

Because I am a smarty pants and know it is ultra good for you, I buy one head a month, steam, smash, freeze then hide in spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce, taco filling etc.  No one is the wiser, I can’t taste it and we get the benefits here and there.

Benefits?  What benefits you ask?

reduces cancer risks, can even kill some cancer stem cells, improves detoxification, balances hormones, has impressive amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta-carotene, fights inflammation, also has rich supplies of calcium and selenium and cauliflower keeps our immune systems running smoothly  

My new list of 10 things you didn’t know about me, NO LONGER contains the blurb about cauliflower.

Thanks to Sam Turnbull and her blog, you too, can whip up this beauty.

https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/quick-roasted-cauliflower/https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/quick-roasted-cauliflower/

Last night was life-changing.  I ate HALF A CAULIFLOWER!  Honestly, because I was a little bit of a piggie, I may have taken more than half.

Here’s the quick version:  take apart a cauliflower, mix up some oil, nutritional yeast, Roasted-Cauliflower-05garlic and chili powder, mix, bake at 450* until tender and toasty brown.

Serve with an AMAZING Maple Syrup Mustard dipping sauce (she gives you that dip recipe, along with several others.)  Zowie, is it simple…. maple syrup, mustard, lemon juice, garlic power….  blend.  done.

Say grace and then grab some napkins these will “sell” quickly.

Serve hot, warm or cold…dip those little puppies (no, not real puppies) in that amazing dipping sauce and before you know it….

enough chatter!

Here are two snapshots that will tell you everything you NEED to know.

 

Now, may I gently suggest you make these tonight?  You and your family are worthy of excellent nutrition.   Heck, you don’t even need to explain all the benefits.  Just bake them, serve with dipping sauce and put on a table everyone can reach.

Clean Plate Club members all around!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

PS.    Dig deeper and learn oodles more benefits of cauliflower from Dr. Mercola.  https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx

hitting the bars

Sadly, Mr. Right is still out-of-town on business, so I was hitting the bars pretty early today.

20180307_155743_resizedYesterday, I went to the store to buy goji berries and spied some gorgeous lavender tulips.  I bought myself flowers!  That doesn’t happen often and it feels extravagant.   (I am a very lucky & extremely grateful & fortunate girl……Mr. Right brings me fresh flowers once a week!)

HEY WAIT, BACK UP……..  fruit and cereal bars!  Jeepers, what bars did you think I was talking about?

These beauties have everything that I adore and pretty much everything that he abhors.  20180307_182457_resized

Goji berries, dried figs, dried cherries, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds along with some other tasty ingredients make a cereal bar that I really love.

Cut, wrapped and stored air-tight in the refrigerator, I read these will keep well for a week.  Mine have never lasted that long.  I made some last night and 3 are already missing.  Our sweet dog has her own treats, so I guess it was me that devoured those?  curious.

These quick to put together, no-bake fruit cereal bars are from the book,  Vegan for One by Elleen Jaffe Jones with Beverly Lynn Bennett.

Let’s face it, finding recipes that are geared to one or two people are sometimes tricky to find.  Yes, we can all alter the size of recipes, however, it is so nice to find one already written for a smaller size batch.

Before you pack all those beautiful ingredients, you line the loaf pan or cake pan with parchment …………..then you can remove easily to cut evenly and you don’t have to wash the pan!  That is a beautiful thing in and of itself.  I smiled just typing that.

20180308_082251-1_resizedIf you would like the recipe, I promise to share,  or better yet trade recipes with you……just leave me a comment.

Until then, here are the ingredients that you will want to have on hand:  rolled oats, dried coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, crispy or puffed rice cereal, 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (if you choose goji berries please soak them in hot water first), flaxseed or hemp seeds, nut butter, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. (The recipe makes 6 bars in a loaf pan or 10 slimmer bars in a cake pan.)

My world is off kilter when Mr. Right has to go out-of-town.  During those days, I try and bake/cook things that are not his favorites.  I try very hard to bathe myself in Grace & Goodness.

Here’s to health & wellness in the form of amazing dried fruit and cereal bars! 20180308_082608-1_resized (1)

In this together friends,

Chat soon.

cook up some love

cooking and love quote20180211_192140-1_resized

Sunday night dinner just got all fancy.  Oh, and did I mention dairy free and vegan?

Vegan Creme Brulee.  Yes, vegan, really.  Seriously.  I cross my heart.  The best dairy free version I have ever, ever indulged in.

The pictures speak for themselves. 20180211_191849-1_resized

If you find yourself wanting to lick the computer screen, may I gently suggest the book, Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull?

Or you could ask me to share the recipe.

Or you could stop by and share dessert!

Here is a gentle suggestion, make plans today to create, make and share a special meal including dessert for someone you love this week.

I promise you, nothing feels more special than to cook for that special someone or to have that someone cook something homemade just for you.

There is something downright decadent when your spoon cracks that caramelized crust and dips down into that silky smooth, creamy dreamy custard.  Oh, la la.

20180211_192128-1_resizedHappy Week of Love, people!

In this together,

Chat soon.

 

 

smarty pants cheese, please

Raise your hand if you have ever stood in a grocery store and cried.

I have.

When you have to give up meat (yes that means chicken, too), sugar, dairy and gluten it can and does seem slightly overwhelming.

20180207_173730-1_resizedToday’s topic is  PIZZA.  yum.  Ooey, gooey, stringy, flavorful pizza.  Caramelized onions, mushrooms galore, hot out of the oven, dripping with goodness.  A bit salty, a hint of sweet, that robust sauce….. overwhelmingly one of the top comfort foods around.

When that age-old question pops up, as it inevitably does, “What’s for dinner?”  you don’t have to do much to sell the suggestion of pizza.

To begin with, let’s talk a tiny bit about dairy first.

It doesn’t matter if you are giving up dairy products for the upcoming season of Lent, cannot tolerate lactose, are vegan or because you have educated yourself and know that dairy promotes cancer…….giving up the satisfying comfort of cheese is tricky.

(Side note here:  We all know any human over five years of age has no lactase in their body.  Lactase is the enzyme necessary to digest dairy products.)

Hang on one minute, yes, I promise to get to the good stuff……pizza.

First, please indulge me to give one quick homeschool lesson?    We all know Dr. Neal Barnard is one smart cookie.  I will be brief and with his help,  remind you why it is so DANG hard to give up dairy.

Skip reading the next paragraph if you are already a smarty pants and don’t need to be reminded of this stuff.

Cheese has casein as an unusual protein.  Casein fragments are called casomorphins – that is casein derived morphine-like compounds.  And they attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and other narcotics attach to.  In other words, dairy protein has opiate molecules built right in.

Light bulb moment coming up…………………………………………………………………………..

SO THAT’S WHY I WAS CRYING IN THE GROCERY STORE!  I was addicted to cheese/dairy products.

If you are a smart cookie and want to be even smarter, may I gently suggest to head over and do a little reading on what Dr. Barnard has to say about cheese?  https://www.forksoverknives.com/addictive-food-cheese-pizza/#gs.uOviSTQ

20180207_180019-1_resizedToday, I am writing this with one person in mind.  She doesn’t need to give up dairy for any reason other than she chooses to.  She is an intelligent, talented, athletic and beautiful, vegan teenager.  Her hard-working, creative, beautiful mother and I have been friends since we were teenagers.

Over the last five years, I have spent a lot of money, time and effort trying and taste testing products, recipes etc.  I have thrown away more than I care to remember.  So, when a recipe or product turns out to be heaven-sent and amazing…………….instead of just sharing with people who laugh at me, roll their eyes, make fun of me, or stare at me with disbelief,  I decided to share with someone who would jump up and down and use jazz hands to share her happiness.  (sometimes, you just gotta play to the right audience)

Who knows?  Maybe this talented, budding rock star will one day write and sing about dairy-free pizza?20180207_180019-1_resized

I think we all agree teenagers are hard to impress.  I have made it my mission to secretly, share recipes, restaurants and ideas with my friend.  The mission is simple.  Help my friend win “Mom of the year” award.

Frankly, I shared my faux bacon recipe and she could quite honestly skate through the year with that one delicious recipe alone.  I know this pizza/cheese brilliant recipe secret will just add extra credit.

Tap, Tap, Tap…….can I have your attention, please?  Please join me in saluting this one brilliant, beautiful vegan teenager!  I raise my slice of pizza in your honor!  You, my dear, have figured out this healthy “thang” way before many adults.  Rock on future clean plate club member! 20180207_182008-1_resized

Okay, here is the secret.  Go buy Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull.  Just do it.  I am so fuss free vegangrateful that Santa was smart enough to give this to me.  This one book will make your life so much tastier, your teenagers will vote you Mom of the year and your guests will thank you a million times over.  She has an amazing recipe for “Life Changing Mozzarella”.  I stuck 5 gold stars on that one page alone!  Gather your ingredients:  tapioca starch, green olive juice, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt and water and let’s make a pizza.

If you don’t have a teenager to impress, I gotta say, Mr. Right gave it two thumbs up, with his mouth full and we were both clean plate club members.  So get out there and find someone to share a pizza with.

Pizza equals HAPPY!

May you make, serve, share and devour the best dairy-free pizza of your life!!!!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

one smart cookie

This blog post is to celebrate my friend, Natalie.

20160521_175755-1_resized (1)

Natalie is a pre-teen, her “Happy Place” is the kitchen. She is all over becoming a chef.

I love her spirit, her smarts and her willingness to learn. She has the best laugh that goes right along with her sense of humor.  When you meet N, it’s her smile that wins you over. Right away you notice she is a bit short in stature however, amazingly head and shoulders above the crowd.  (between you and me?  She IS going to become a chef, I just know it.)

Good gravy, when I was 11, I had excellent table manners and could properly thank anyone who brought me food.  My sisters nor I, were even allowed in the kitchen.  Apparently, “the stove was HOT”?

My young friend has amazing kitchen talent with skills to back that up.  We are not talking about “making” rice krispie treats and toast here folks.  She makes a Cilantro Lime Rice that will make you swoon, bakes, cooks up science experiments, operates a juicer like a pro and the list goes on and on.

N shared a wonderful scone recipe with me, so I am sharing this recipe (blog post) with her.  We trade recipes.  Sometimes we text (she uses her mom’s phone). Sometimes I send a recipe via  e-mail or snail mail.  This time, I thought I would shout it to the world that I know a smarty pants girl who has already found her calling.

I love that N is fascinated with cooking, baking and creating.  Her willingness and interest to do the research, the prep work, the serving, as well as the clean up, are evident with the final product.   I adore that she isn’t shy about asking food questions and then listens to the answers. You can actually feel her excitement towards learning about cooking.  Heck, she went as Giada for Halloween one year!  Now that is passion!

When you watch her serve a homemade treat to her dad, mom or brother…. you notice that she already “get’s it”.  By making quality food, N figured out that she can show love and respect to her family.  She figured out in short order,  in her own home, how sincerely good food nurtures both mind and body.

Yesterday, I made these really good, seriously good, moist Strawberry Granola Bars (vegan).  While baking, the aroma had my mouth-watering and I thought instantly, oh, I have got to share this one with Natalie.

strawberry granola bars, veganI found the recipe on http://wonkywonderful.com/strawberry-oatmeal-vegan-breakfast-bars/   A great food blogger is like a window to the world.  Thank heavens they share so much.

So between you and me girlfriend…. Very simple and straightforward recipe.  I will make again.  I switched the oatmeal and used gluten-free oats.  I used parchment in place of foil. I replaced the flour with Better Batter Flour mix which is gluten free,  I used my own homemade strawberry jam and it calls for Almond Butter or Cashew Butter… this is where you will use Cashew Butter for your family’s allergy.

Cooking tip of the day:  My girl Gabi is a real live chef.  She wears shoes in the kitchen.  No, not flip-flops, not cute gladiator sandals, real shoes like sneakers or clogs.  While I know you are very careful while cooking and baking, accidents happen to everyone.  Hot liquid spilled on your tootsies or a knife dropped could spell trouble for your cute toes.  Observe any accomplished chef and look at their feet.  Yes, shoes.  enough said.

Every chef worth their weight in salt (a world of beautiful and amazing salts filled with minerals await you), feels giddy that moment you offer up delicious food that feeds both body & soul.

This recipe is one of those good ones, with excellent ingredients to produce a final product worthy of sharing.  Put this recipe in the column of such high quality and wonderful flavor, not a person will ask if it is vegan.

Make food so good, so flavorful, no one will put a label on it.  Your mission should be to cook and bake sustainable, high quality, tasty food that friends will just say, may I please have seconds?

The color is stunning.  The flavor combination is spot on.  That first bite into the moist bar will lead to another bite.

So, I raise my Strawberry Oatmeal Bar to you my friend!  Cheers!  Yum!

Here’s to you and your calling!chalkboard cooking

It is a pleasure to watch your dream unfold right before you.

A tip of the hat to your wonderful parents for raising such a kind & smart cookie. Parents who are giving you such a strong foundation of love and support that you have the freedom to explore who you are, what you want to be.

Natalie, my friend,  keep studying,  a smart chef is always a very good thing.  You have before you the ability to heal the world through nutrition.  Yes, my friend food heals, but you already know that.  Just for a moment, use your imagination and think…. how many people will I be able to feed and heal in my lifetime?  The number will surprise you.  Thousands upon thousands of people will be Bathed in Grace by your skill and fed by your hands.

Stay curious & creative….yes, we can taste the love in food prepared by a chef who embraces what they do.   And for heaven sake…….keep asking questions and trying new things.

You got this girlfriend.

Bon Appetit

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.  Virginia Woolf

ps.   I feel the need for Asian food.  We have to get together to make pot stickers, soon!

*****Housekeeping note:  Because my friend is under 18 years old, I asked for and received permission from her parents to post a picture of her.