Yam + PB soup.

Surely, really really great soup belongs on an old smoking advertisement. My thinkin's at 8am are typically on point, rest assured. Every once in a while, a woman slips. Kind of like that time I didn't update the blog in 7 months.

There's recipes all over the place for this curried yam soup with a big bunch of peanut butter in it. I remember seeing a recipe for it in our local newspaper, the Winnipeg Free Press, when I was a kid. Probably my best childhood memory, a soup recipe in a $2 newspaper..

The base of all these recipes are super similar and mine's no different: yams, red curry paste, peanut butter, coconut milk. 

If you have 20 minutes and a screaming gut, try out this super simple recipe. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

1 yam (about 14" x 5"), peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 can coconut milk
1-2 cups water
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp red curry paste (I used this brand, always the cheapest and always yields the best results for me!)
1 tbsp coconut oil or mild-flavoured oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a medium sized stock pot, add in the coconut oil until melted, throw in your onions and sauté on low until softer and nearly translucent, then throw in the yams. Pour in the coconut milk, and keep the can, you'll be using it to put about a can of water in shortly. Stick a cover on it and let it steam up until the vegetables begin getting quite soft -- about 15 minutes. Give them a stir every once in a while. When the vegetables are tender enough to be pierced by a fork, add in one can of water, your curry paste, S&P, and peanut butter. You should have enough liquid to barely see the tops of the vegetables poking up. If that's the case, grab that immersion blender and begin blending on high until nice and smooth. Slowly add in more water at this point if the soup still feels a bit thick. When it chills overnight in the fridge, it'll firm up a bit more. Thank the starchy yams for that. 

Taste test, and add in any more salt and/or pepper as needed. Note, you can always add in more water at any point. Serve with injera, toasted rye bread, focaccia, or pita bread.

Chocolate almond pudding.

While making puddin' with avocados is certainly nothing new, I've had a tough time finding the right recipe that works just right for me. The recipe below features just 5 ingredients, in which you blend simultaneously for a minute.

3 small avocados (or 2 large avocados)
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp vanilla
optional: hazelnuts, white chocolate, orange peel, etc.

Blend up and dig in.


Good thing Winnipeg's cold snap broke, because I made a steaming, hearty pot of chowder two days after. It's so great, I broke into a charming sweat.

 Hey, it can be corn chowder. Or it can be "clam" chowder, thanks to the dehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Whatever you fancy. Coconut milk adds creaminess, while the immersion blender lends a hand in thickening up the rest - no muss, no fuss. Serves 2-4.

1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup corn
2 white potatoes - yielding about 1 1/2 cups
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped into bite size pieces
2 tsp old bay seasoning, or cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot, bring water and coconut milk to a boil. Add in all vegetables and let simmer until all vegetables are soft.

Whip out the immersion blender, and blend about 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup until desired consistency is achieved.

Stir in old bay/cajun seasoning, and salt/pepper to taste.

Chocolate mint cookies.

Last month, my American pal Hannah sent up the ultimate care package including Girl Guide cookies. You know, the stuff us hosers definitely can't get up here? She included a pro tip of keeping those little dandies in the freezer and she was NOT incorrect. The Thin Mints are officially gone and it's been real.

With great panic and a sparkle in my eyeballs, I made a few test batches of these and am pretty pleased with the turnout. Shove some ganache on these if you fancy, but I like them as is. Sure, they look pretty beat without a chocolate coating, but still on point. Garth, that was a haiku.

Yields approx. 2 dozen

Ingredients I
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Ingredients II
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/3 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

In your mixer, cream together butter and powdered sugar for a few minutes, until fluffy.

Add in all of Ingredients II and continue to mix until a thick dough is sorted out.

Shape into a disc and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Dust some flour on your table.  Roll out to about 1/8" in thickness. I patted the dough down with my hands first, then finished rolling with a non stick rolling pin.

Use a little glass or biscuit cutter to get roughly 2 dozen cookies cut out. Bake for 10 minutes on the button, and place on a cooling rack when done. 

Top with ganache if you like. I've been a fan of VeganBaking's recipe for a minute.

Keep in the fridge or freezer in a zip bag or cookie tin 'til they're gone.

Fried pickles (WHY?).

The best part about having pregnant pals is having people to regularly snack with. It's Canada Day in the Great White North, Amanda and I hit Osborne Village for Streetfest and experienced modern-day humanity to it's fullest extent. Amanda also experienced "frickles", which are cheesy, eggy deep fried pickles. I haven't had deep fried pickles in a minute. Our evening ended some early. I worked on the Etsy shop, pet two VIP bunnies, then made the greasiest decision of my long weekend. This recipe makes about 20 little "coins" - don't let the guilty-of-being-hungry photo fool you.

Ingredients I - Batter
1 cup soy milk
2 tbsp lemon juice

Ingredients II - Dry
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp white flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Massive pinch of salt

Dill pickles - sliced or quartered

Oil for frying

I used a tiny vintage enameled cast iron pan and filled with 1/4" oil. Turn your stovetop up to medium high (I hit mine up to 5/7)

Combine Ingredients I in a cereal bowl, let sit for five minutes. 

In a separate, small bowl, combine all of Ingredients II.

Cut pickles. Be stupid sure to dry them on paper towels! Ever had an oil burn? Ever struggle to sound like that resulting scar tissue was from something way cooler? Dry the pickles up good. Toss them in the bowl of batter, which is acting as your buttermilk, with one hand. Drop in your bowl of dry starch, and mix with your other, clean hand.

Slowly slide them pickles in the hot oil. Listen to these crucial fellas whilst frying, or the recipe won't turn out right. I fried mine for about 2 minutes per side.

These little dandies are done when golden brown. 

Place on a plate with newspaper to get some of that grease outta there.

Eat 'em up with spicy mayo, ranch, etc. Essentially, any of Follow Your Heart's dressings will do the job JUST fine.

Need a dip quick? Mix up 2 tbsp vegan mayo + 1 tsp Sriracha and thank me later.