Month: October 2016

Sweet Potato & Fennel Stuffed Shells

I’ve always been a fan of the Traveling Wilburys, as far back as I can remember, playing their record over and over again throughout my childhood. Recently, I’ve re-discovered the albums, and have been listening to them on a loop. For those of you who don’t know, the Wilburys are actually a supergroup (in which nobody is actually named Wilbury) consisting of Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Jeff Lynn. A supergroup is what occurs when multiple successful solo artists come together to form something that can only be described as super. 

These stuffed shells are the supergroup of the food world: a combination of already amazing foods that become exponentially more delicious when they’re put together.  Pasta. Sweet Potatoes. Fennel. Kale. Pesto. Mascarpone. (Writing this, I’m already wishing that I had made more.) I mean, just look at the photos. And then, when you find out that it’s spiced with an unusually delicious combination of cinnamon, sage, allspice and nutmeg, you’ll want to eat this all autumn long.

Chocolate Granola (Vegan, Nut-Free & Gluten-Free)

Ah, mornings. While many of you may groan at the thought of getting out of a warm cozy bed, mornings are actually my most productive time of day. My predicament? Mornings are just not long enough! No matter how early I set that alarm, I can never seem to find enough time to do all of the things that I’d like to get done before heading off to work. While I have good, healthy intentions, my breakfast ritual often involves me standing over the kitchen sink, scoffing down handfuls of Mini Wheats & drinking almond milk out of the jug. That is, until recently.

My Pinterest addiction inspired me to create grab-and-go breakfasts, packed into mason jars, prepared the night before. These often involve yoghurt or a smoothie, and a little bit of homemade granola. If you haven’t made your own granola yet, this is definitely the recipe to try. Sweet cherries, a hint of chocolate, and a tart, tangy cherries, with a wonderful buckwheat crunch.

I am a big fan of honey in my granola, but if you’re looking for a vegan alternative, maple syrup or agave both work equally well.

Chocolate Cherry Granola
gluten free, vegan

2 cups rolled oats*
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup unsulphured unsweetened shredded coconut**
2 tbsp brown sugar
70g agave nectar OR maple syrup OR honey
70g coconut oil
1/2 cup dried cherries

Combine all dry ingredients except cherries. Melt coconut oil and syrup/honey together in a microwave-safe bowl. Toss with dry ingredients. Lay out on parchment sheet and bake at 300F for about 15 minutes. Mix, add cherries, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces. Enjoy!

*If you’re in the U.S., most commercial oats are naturally GF. In Canada however, if you are cooking for someone with celiac and you need to be certain, look for the GF certification. Bob’s Red Mill sells certified GF oats, usually found in the organic section of most grocery chains.

** I get mine from Bulk Barn – the size of the shreds work perfectly for this recipe!

Horray Halushki!

My comfort foods come in many shapes and sizes, but all share a common trait: they are all meals that I ate as a child. Peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, baked beans… generally some simple, cheap, good stuff. Also on my list are a few of my mother’s Slovak dishes, including her incredible pasta dumplings, which she calls “Halushki.” Interestingly, a Google search for Halushki (as well as one for Haluski) did not return any results resembling the dumplings that I’ve grown up with – generally I found photos of broad, flat egg noodles fried up with cabbage. I’m thinking that somewhere along the way, either the translation was mixed up between my mother and my grandmother, or my grandmother had been making spaetzle while calling it halushki. In any case, it’s always been halushki to me, and it’s the most delicious food that I have ever eaten. I decided that those cabbage people were onto something, so, while I normally eat these with scrambled eggs, I tried it with fried brussels sprouts and golden onions. It did not disappoint. Being of Eastern European descent, cabbage and onions rank high on my list of comfort foods, so combining them with the pasta was a definite win all around! 
This is a pretty simple recipe and, unlike other laborious pastas, it comes together in a matter of minutes. My mother has a special “halushki pot” that she uses to press the dumplings through, but a large-holed colander will do just fine. Don’t have that either? Dropping tiny spoonfuls into the water will do just fine. If you like these pasta dumplings, you should also check out my Sweet Potato Gnudi recipe here! 

Haluski with Brussels Sprouts and Onions
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
a couple of pinches of salt
2 cups chopped brussels sprouts
1 large red onion, diced
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
cracked black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, etc.)
method

Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the middle. Add eggs and water. Stir to combine, bringing in flour from the sides. If the dough feels dry, add a little more water, a tbsp at a time.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using an oiled, large holed collander, press dough holes, letting it drop into water. Alternately, fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe out quarter-sized drops at a time, or, drop by small spoonfuls. Once your pasta is in the water, it will start to move around, stir gently a couple of times. Pasta is ready once it floats to the top – about 5 minutes. Drain, toss with a bit of oil, and set aside. 
Heat oil in a frying pan. Once it’s hot, return heat to medium and add onions, stirring. Allow them to brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage and stir. Add butter and halushki. Continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cracked black pepper and paprika. Enjoy!

Overnight Breakfast (vegan & gluten-free!)

This breakfast is everything that you’ve been wanting in a meal: easy to make, delicious, healthy, hearty, and convenient! Mason jars help create a no-spill, grab-and-go breakfast for those mornings where you just don’t have the time to cook, a.k.a. every morning. Mason-jar meals have been quite the trend on Pinterest lately, I figured it was time that I hop on the bandwagon. A girl’s gotta stay on fleek! (Never let me say that again.) Oh, P.S., it’s naturally vegan and gluten free.

What’s extra-awesome about this recipe is it allows you to change the ingredients based on the season. Summer? Strawberries and peaches! Autumn? Plums and pears! Winter? Dried fruits! Cinnamon is delicious with all of the above, so I highly recommend using it.

Mason Jar Breakfast
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 tbsp steel-cut oats
2 tbsp quinoa (or kaniwa)
2 tbsp buckwheat groats
1 tsp chia seeds
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
3/4 cup boiling water

1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup chopped seasonal fruits or 2 tbsp dried fruits

Combine all dry ingredients in medium mason jar (if using dried fruits, add them now!) Pour boiling water over the top & stir lightly. (Do not shake, as the contents will stick to the sides!) Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes (until the jar comes to room temperature) then transfer to the fridge overnight. In the morning, add the milk and fresh fruits. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals if desired.

Stir, and serve!