Canadian Thanksgiving: (Vegan/ Gluten-Free) Curried Coconut Yam Casserole

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Another treat from our Canadian Thanksgiving feast.  Again, this vegetable accompaniment is a staple for large gatherings in our home.  Actually, this dish extends well beyond our dinner table as it is my go-to dish when asked to bring something to my Aunt’s family meals.  You may recall that my aunt is one hardcore host, and that the meals she crafts are bar none.  In my family, once married along with your nuptials comes the responsibility of bringing an item to the table to share.  One best bring their A-game if they want to fit in with the rest of the exceptionally talented family members whose food never ceases to amaze.  On my first married Christmas Eve, I was asked to bring yam casserole. It seemed easy enough.  Although, I am not a very conventional girl so I didn’t want my dish to merely be the standard marshmallow topped, overly sweet, candy-esque variation of this dish.  So I began playing around with flavors and spices.  Truth be told my first version of this side dish had orange juice and it was thoroughly underwhelming.  It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great either.  However, by the time Easter rolled around I had refined my recipe and this truly awesome vegan, gluten and sugar-free casserole was born.  So enjoy the fruits of my labour and have a happy celebration with those you love most. Continue reading “Canadian Thanksgiving: (Vegan/ Gluten-Free) Curried Coconut Yam Casserole”

Canadian Thanksgiving: Vegan and Gluten Free Stuffing

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Another dish from our Canadian Thanksgiving feast.  This stuffing is a staple in all our holiday dinners. Whether it is Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter if there is a turkey being cooked this stuffing is by its side as an accompaniment.   I normally render this side with traditional, old fashioned fully glutenized bread.  However, this year we had guests with different dietary needs.  When I am hosting I want everyone to come and be able to eat to their breaking point.  So I decided to play around with a gluten free version, resulting in a stuffing that Jay and I actually both liked a whole lot more!  This stuffing is flexible in that you can use it to stuff a bird or you can cook it independently in a dutch oven or casserole dish.  We normally do the latter because it allows you to prepare the dish the day before thus freeing up valuable kitchen real estate on the day of the dinner. Continue reading “Canadian Thanksgiving: Vegan and Gluten Free Stuffing”

Canadian Thanksgiving: Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Pear

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We all know how much I love to host, and that I jump at any opportunity to fill my home with those I cherish most.  So needless to say I wrangled 15 of my nearest and dearest to come celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with us.  Since moving to NYC I have only gotten more patriotic so naturally I love showcasing some of our Canadian culture (even if Canadian thanksgiving is merely a carbon copy of the American version save for the pilgrims and Plymouth rock). This year we were so, so fortunate to have two very exceptional Canadians in town visiting, bringing the Canadian representation up to five speculator people.  We love guests, and getting a chance to connect with Rachel and Courtney was a real treat (thanks guys for playing with us!)

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We had an amazing time eating ourselves into a turkey coma while savoring the exceptional company.   Now undertaking an entire turkey feast is always a touch daunting because I have spent every Thanksgivings at an my aunt’s home.  So this year not only was I longing to be there to snuggle all the new babies, but I was very rightfully concerned that my meal just wouldn’t be up to snuff.  That woman knows how to host something fierce, and so the bar of excellence has been set high.

However, I managed to pull out a meal that was lauded by everyone.  Not only was everyone angling for seconds (the highest form of praise) but is was a super healthy supper that met all the varying dietary needs of our beautiful guests. As such, most of the dishes were either vegan, paleo or gluten free.  I will be be sharing a bunch of these recipes over the course of the next few days and weeks (some Americans you can steal them for your approaching Thanksgiving feasts).   Furthermore, I would also like to give myself some self praise in that this was the first time I tackled homemade bread and cheese cake without my Kitchenaid mixer (which is safely stowed in storage back home) which is no easy feat.  This whole meal was prepared from scratch the tech-free, old school way.  So needless to say I got my upper body workout in. Overall the meal was a success, but by far the brightest part of the evening was being surround by our New York family.  Although it didn’t completely erase my homesickness for those back home, at least my heart and home was filled with so much love nevertheless. Continue reading “Canadian Thanksgiving: Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Pear”

Cobb Salad with a Tangy Oil Free Garlic-Mustard Vinaigrette

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You may have noticed the onslaught of new delectable recipes up over the past month.  Classes didn’t start again until last week so I have had a little more time to putter around in the kitchen.  It has been fun, but now I am back in full swing of grad school madness so the numbers may dwindle in the coming weeks.

On Thursday nights my classes don’t start until late, so my truly wonderful friend Vanessa came over for dinner to help me kill some time.  I kept it simple with this filling, substantial salad that is packed with just the right proteins and nutrition that your brain needs to sit through two hour evening courses. The best part is that it is simple to accommodate all dietary restraints and still leave your diners happy.  Vegan? Skip the meat, egg and cheese and the yams and avocado still taste divine.  Vegetarian? forgo the meat and the resulting salad will leave you just as satisfied.   Strict Paleo? set aside the cheese and yams and what you have left is more or less pure protein for your carnivorous needs.

So however you elect to eat-enjoy. Continue reading “Cobb Salad with a Tangy Oil Free Garlic-Mustard Vinaigrette”

Creamy Coconut, Sweet Potato and Avocado Soup

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Everyone in this city is fascinated with juicing (not the performance enhancing drugs), and we are frequently asked if we partake in such pleasures.  I  have a smoothie each morning for breakfast but I don’t think that would constitute me a juicer.  What we do in fact do though is make everything from scratch.  Be is hummus or salsa to pasta sauce or soup, we whip it without using extra sugars, oils or any manufactured additives and preservatives.  We eat whole foods, and make most of our meals in house so we don’t do anything to supplement our nutritional needs in terms of different diets and cleanses.  Tonight’s soup is one such example of this philosophy, which I shared with my lovely friend Madeline, as we caught up on the coming semester and our time over the holidays. So if you want a nutrient rich, hearty, veggie laden meal that is as tasty as it is healthy this would be the soup for you. Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading “Creamy Coconut, Sweet Potato and Avocado Soup”

Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese Pizza

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Well midterms have started, and as such my diet has succumb to diners of ease and a few too many carbs.  Tonight I decided my body needed some real fuel to tackle the coming week, and my mind was in desperate need of a distraction from the books.  So I decided to try my hand at a little culinary creativity and to devise our own, nutrient rich version of pizza.  We loved it, although sadly it was sufficiently efficient to concoct so it wasn’t the time killer, procrastinating activity I was craving. So as such I am back at it, so wish me luck this week. I think I will need it. Continue reading “Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese Pizza”