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.

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