Feb 24, 2010

Quinoa and sweet potatoes casserole

About a month ago I made the decision to make another change to my vegetarian diet, not a big one but definitely a healthier one. I adopted the "Eat Clean Diet" developed by Tosca Reno. I look at my eating habits and  life style as  a goal, something I work on  I  to improve every day, not as something I already achieved, so this change is starting small: for the beginning I completely excluded from mine and my family's diet all process food, especially white flour and white sugar. It was a much easier thing to do that I thought.
We are a very active family my boys are doing sports every day and my husband and I, 3 to 4 times a week ( depending on time and schedule). Kick-boxing is an amazing way to work out, its fun and in 45 minutes you burn between 600 to 800 calories (wow)! Thanks  Monica!

Anyway let's get back to the recipe. This recipe comes from Tosca Reno's cookbook" The eat clean diet cookbook". I only made some little changes in the recipe to suit my taste.


1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
2 ribs celery trimmed and chopped
4 cloves garlic finely minced
3/4 cup quinoa ( or if not available, bulgur, wheat berries or brown rice works too)very well rinsed.
2 tsp of italian herbs or if you like, Herbs of Provence ( my favorite)
1 1/2 cup of low sodium vegetable stock or water ( I used water)
2 sweet potatoes scrubbed and cooked ( in the microwave, or baked in the oven)
1 cup of canned stewed tomatoes
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup frozen edamame
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy-based skillet,heat the olive oil, add the onion garlic, quinoa ( or your favorite grain)the herbs and celery. Cook until the onion and celery are soft ( about 5 to 6 minutes)

Add water or stock and the cup of stewed tomatoes. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook until the quinoa or the grain you chose is tender.

Scrub the sweet potatoes and cook. I did so in the microwave, but you can use the oven as well. The only difference is that in the microwave it takes 6 to 7 minutes, in the oven on 450˚F about 45 minutes.

When the grain is tender add the frozen edamame and chickpeas, salt and pepper. Stir well. Place the mixture in a prepared 6 quart casserole (lightly oiled).

Slice the sweet potatoes and arrange on top of the mixture.

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and bake in a preheated oven of 400˚F for 15 to 20 minutes.


Feb 22, 2010


 Just because I'm a vegetarian dose not mean that I don't like "meatballs". Of course I do! Only mine are meatless. Falafels are easy to make, and very tasty. I usually serve these with fresh made salsa and pita.


2 cups of dried chickpeas
1 small onion 
2 garlic gloves minced
5 tbsp of fresh parsley ( or 3 tsp dry)
2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp of water
oil for deep frying

Soak the chickpeas in 1 liter of water for at least 4 hours or  overnight.
Drain and place in a food processor.

Process for 30 to 40 seconds or until finely ground. Add the onion, parsley, garlic,cumin, baking powder and 1 tbsp of water. Process for another 10 seconds to make a rough paste.

Using your hands, shape heaped tbsp of the falafel mixture into balls. If there is any excess liquid squeeze it out.

Into a heavy-based pan pour oil about third full. Heat the oil. Lower the falafel balls into the oil and cook in batches for about 3 minutes, until brown all over.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


Feb 10, 2010

Fruity Chocolate Roll

The fruity chocolate roll is one of Brandon's favorite desserts. He always helps with crushing the cookies, and mixing everything together. Cass is very good at crushing the cookies too, he is also very fast ( like always, everything turns into a competition in our house). I always make triple the recipe, just because is more convenient to have the rolls in the freezer for when they want something sweet. I will list the recipe with the original quantities it makes 2 small rolls or one larger. 


250 g of plain sweet biscuits crushed
1 cup of bottled fruit mince ( I used the organic one with brandy flavour)
2 cups of desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
100 g of butter (unsalted)
100 g of semisweet chocolate chips 

Icing (optional)

1 tbsp of cocoa sifted
1/4 cup of icing sugar sifted
1 tbsp of warm water
30 g unsalted butter(room temperature)
desiccated coconut to garnish

In a large mixing bowl combine the crushed biscuits, fruit mince and coconut.

Combine the chocolate,and butter in a double broiler, stir over barely simmering water until melted. Pour over the biscuit mixture.

With a wooden spoon stir until the mixture is well combined ( or you can use your clean hands).

On a sheet of plastic wrap. Scoop the mixture. Shape it in a log, and wrap it tightly. Tie the ends.


Place the roll(s) in the freezer for 4-6 hours or over night.

To make the icing:

Combine the sifted icing sugar and cocoa in a small bowl, add the water. Mix well. Add the softened butter and whisk until smooth.


Using a spatula spread the icing over the roll.

Sprinkle some coconut over the roll. Place the roll in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes for the icing to harden. 
Cut the roll into slices and....

.... Enjoy!

Those are the biscuits that I used for the roll.

Jan 22, 2010

Baked Meatballs

Meatballs are a dish that I grew up with, my mom used to make those once a week and we never had left overs. Back then my mom used to fry them, now we bake them, much more healthier.


1 kg of chicken ground meat (or turkey)
2 cups of bread crumbs ( I used Italian)
1 small onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp of dry herbs (I used italian herbs)
1 extra large ( or 2 small) egg lightly beaten
1 medium potato peeled and finely shredded
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste.

Place all the ingredients except the chicken broth and the beaten egg, in a large bowl and mix well. Add the chicken broth and egg and mix well. With moist hands form heaped tbsp of mixture into balls, and place them on a baking sheet fitted with a greased cooling rack ( that's the one I found works best).

Place in a preheated oven of 400˚F for 30 to 35 minutes ( or depending on your oven). The meatballs are done when the colour is a nice golden brown and no longer pink inside.

When the meatballs are cooked thru, you can served them with a side dish, mashed potatoes is my boys favorite side dish next to meatballs or you can take it a step further which I usually do and the boys just love it.

In an oven proof dish pour about 1 cup of pizza sauce or your favorite pasta sauce. What you need is to make sure that the bottom of the dish is generously covered in sauce. Place the meatballs in the sauce. I have three boys so I usually make about 13-14.

Top with a little more sauce spooned on each meatball and with shredded cheese. I used muenster cheese but mozzarella works just as well.

Place in the oven (which should be nice and hot same 400˚F) for 7 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with your favorite side dish.


Jan 21, 2010

Chocolate Banana Bread

Banana bread is something that I make on weekly bases. I buy organic bananas and unfortunately those don't last for to long.  Banana bread is the answer to my to ripe to eat bananas. This recipe comes from a very acclaimed canadian chef Jean Paré. It can be find in her book "Most Loved Festive Baking".


1/2 cup of unsalted butter ( room temperature)
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup of mashed banana (3 medium)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( optional)
2 tbsp of cocoa (sifted)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar.

Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed it. Add banana and vanilla.


Beat well.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture. Stir until just moistened.
Add the chocolate chips and  chopped walnuts.

Stir well. Spread the batter evenly in a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

Bake in a preheated oven of 350˚F for 1 hour, or until the wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand in pan for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack.


More banana recipes

Jan 19, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

I have been so busy lately, no time for blogging. My boys were sick one after another, then myself, and now we started again.... The worst winter I can remember when it comes to the health chapter.
Anyway, this is one of my "comfort dishes". I make it without meat but if you like meat ground turkey or beef would work great in it.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions chopped
Optional 1 package of veggie ground meat (or turkey or beef) about 300 g.
1 medium carrot peeled and chopped
1 yellow pepper seeded and chopped
1 can of crushed tomatoes ( italian or chili)
1 can of kidney beans ( or chickpeas) rinsed and drain
1 cup of frozen corn kennels
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 can of tomato condense soup
3 tbsp of chili powder
1/2  tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until soft. If using meat or veggie ground meat now is the time to add it. Continue to cook over medium heat for a few minutes stirring continually.
If you are not using meat then add the yellow pepper and  carrot and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the kidney beans and crushed tomatoes.

Add the rest of the ingredients except parsley and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes.

Garnish with parsley.

Serve with a green salad and lots of good bread.


Jan 14, 2010

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Happy new year! Everyone sorry I haven't been blogging in a while I'm pretty busy with school and martial arts. Today is a new smoothie that will make taste buds go crazy for more. This smoothie is healthy and goes great with your new years resolution of staying healthy.
It's fast to make it only takes 10 minutes from start to finish.


1 cup of your favorite strawberry juice
1 cup of loose pack frozen strawberries
1 medium banana peeled and cut up
1 cup of low fat yogurt
Fresh strawberries to garnish


 In a blender combine Strawberry juice,Frozen Strawberries,1 medium banana and low fat yogurt.

Cover and blend until smooth.

To serve pour in two glasses. If you like you can garnish with fresh strawberries.
Serve with more fresh fruits and a croissant for a great breakfast.

Made and post it by Cass Sandru (a.k.a The smoothie master)

Stay Healthy!

Related Posts with Thumbnails