Category: snack

Vegan Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms

With summer in full swing, I find myself craving all things light and refreshing. All the most delicious local produce is in season right now, and I’ve been stocking up on berries, leafy greens and whatever else the market has to offer each week. Though I haven’t used my stove at home in what seems like ages (for fear that it might add to the smouldering heat wave that is just now starting to dissipate), I decided to turn on my oven today to make something that I’ve been craving for a while – stuffed mushrooms. I wanted to serve something a little bit fancy pants to munch on while we sat and enjoyed my beau’s homemade Bloody Caesars. (For all of you Non-Canadians, a Caesar is like a Bloody Mary, but with Clamato instead of Tomato, and with about 10x the flavour.)

Holy cow, did I ever impress myself tonight. Not that stuffed mushrooms are compliqué or anything. Completely the opposite actually, they’re ultra simple. But I made a vegan version that is just ah-mah-zing. And, let me tell you, the boy wasn’t even able to tell the difference!

I made two versions, so for those of you who are all like “but I need me some cheese!”, I’ve got you covered. But I urge, urge, urge you to try the vegan ones. The creaminess, the flavour, the explosion of deliciousness in the mouth. Ok, ok, enough with my foodgasm, I’ll get straight to the recipes. 

Stuffed Mushrooms, Two Ways
two original recipes by allison sklar
1: Creamy Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms
2: Creamy Brie Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
what you’ll need
START with this:
1 pint mushrooms, stems removed
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives or garlic scapes
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
THEN, choose a version:
1. VEGAN VERSION
1 1/2 tbsp vegan mayonaise (I prefer Vegenaise Brand) 
4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
(OR)

2. DAIRY VERSION
1/4 cup cubed brie (or crumbled blue cheese)

how to do it
Remove the stems and keep only the caps of your mushrooms. (You can use the stems in a stir fry or something else later!) Flip them over and put a sprinkle of thyme, chives and black pepper in each one. 
  • Vegan version: mix the Vegenaise with the nutritional yeast and scoop into mushroom caps. 
  • Dairy version: cut the brie into pieces small enough to fit into the caps and place over the herbs. 
Mix together the breadcrumbs and the oil. Spoon over tops of stuffed mushrooms. 
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 20 minutes, until tops are crispy and golden brown and mushrooms begin to soften. 
Let cool slightly before serving. 

Waste Not, Want More (Roasted Spicy Squash Seeds)

Over recent years, I’ve come to notice that my vegetarian lifestyle is often accompanied with a heightened sense of consciousness in relation to environmental and health issues. I am more aware of what I put into my body, and I am more aware about the amount of waste that I produce. Suffice to say, this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the occasional processed food item. I do. I am just aware now that these are not the healthiest of options, so I opt for moderation over deprivation. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t buy anything in a package – I will. I just try to re-use as much as possible. notice how I didn’t say “Recycle”… because I’ve also learned that tossing paper and plastic into blue bins doesn’t do much to save the planet.

So, what do I re-use? First off, I opt for glass jars over plastic whenever possible – because once the food inside them is done, they’re washable and re-usable, even heatable… a chemical-free alternative to leeching plastic lunch containers. As for the things that come in plastic that I can’t live without – yogourt containers, for example – I bring the empties to the art teacher at my school so that she can use them for projects in class, as well as holders for art supplies.

And then, there’s my food. I like to throw away as little food waste as possible. Unfortunately, my area doesn’t have a composting program, and living in a small top floor apartment, it’s just not an option for me to be doing on my own. So, I reduce the amount of waste that I produce in the first place. I do this by buying less groceries, more often. I’ve been told that it’s the “European” way of shopping, and whether it is or not, I’ve come to find that it’s the best way to eat. The benefits of buying a little at a time (instead of one big grocery order): Foods are fresher, I get more exercise with bi-weekly walks to the market, I save money, and I waste less. Tips for anyone who’d like to try this – keep essentials on hand such as oils, vinegar, seasonings and grains. Buy one or two vegetable items at a time, and use it all up for a meal or two. To save even more money: buy what’s on sale each week – this will also encourage you to eat a bigger variety of veggies and fruits.

Ok, so what does this all have to do with the mouth watering picture above, you ask? My waste-not methods encouraged me to use up every inch of my winter squash after I made this (or this, or this…). I couldn’t bear to throw out all the lovely little seeds! Inspired by watching my mother roast pumpkin seeds every halloween, I decided to roast these baby versions of them and see what came out. Oh. My. Goodness. Heaven in a handful. The best part – you can eat the shell. Warning – these are very addictive.

Roasted Spicy Squash Seeds
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
seeds from a fresh winter squash (butternut or acorn squash seeds work best)
1 tbsp grapeseed or light olive oil
1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice*

* if you can’t find this in your area, you can order some on Amazon, or make your own with a recipe here
If you’ve never had this spice mix before, get ready to be introduced to your favorite seasoning mix ever. I put this on everything from sweet potato fries to avocado salads to tuna sandwiches!

how to do it
Preheat oven to 300F. (I do this in a convection/toaster oven for faster results.)
Rinse the seeds, removing any squash goop, and pat dry with paper towel. In a small bowl, mix seeds with oil and spice, coating evenly. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 12 minutes (if in toaster oven, 4 to 8 minutes), or until golden. I highly recommend to turn your oven light on and check on these often. Every oven is different and it is possible to burn these very quickly. When the seeds change colour (brownish gold), they’re ready. 

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap (Cinnadoodle Cookies)






This year, I had the most wonderful opportunity to participate in the 2nd annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I was the lucky recipient of a box of absolutely addictive cinnamon swirl cookies from Dana over at Hot Pink Apron. I also received 2 boxes of chocolate chip “World Peace” cookies (from two different bloggers, and one huge coincidence!) IF YOU SENT THESE TO ME, PLEASE CONTACT ME! I’d like to link to you on my blog, and I’ve somehow lost the folder that I had put your letters/contact info into! 

So when this whole swap started, I felt as though the pressure was on for me – make something amazing that I haven’t yet blogged? Generally, if I’ve made something amazing in the past, it’s been blogged in a Montreal Minute. Except for one thing – my Cinnadoodles! Vanilla-almond cookies coated in cinnamon sugar. You read that correctly. Vanilla. Almond. Cinnamon. Go ahead, wipe the drool off your chin. This is some seriously good stuff. The main reason that I haven’t yet blogged these addictive little buggers is simply ’cause they haven’t lasted more than 24 hours in my apartment! I actually had to package and hide the boxes that I was sending away in fear that they’d be gobbled up before I awoke the next morning. 

A little note that I discovered while baking for the challenge: this recipe does NOT multiply well. I’ve made it countless times, and it’s always worked for me, but the first attempt at tripling it, was the biggest baking flop I’ve had in a long time. So please, go and make these, they are delicious and cute and perfect with tea or all on their own. But don’t alter the measurements. (Oh, but if you must, triple all of the ingredients, except the flour – use 2.25 cups.)

Oh, and did I mention how they’re oh-so-seasonally appropriate with their super sparkly crispy outsides and ooey gooey almondy insides? Well they are. Which also makes them the perfect gift. I truly hope that my three recipients appreciated them as much as I enjoyed mine!



Cinnadoodle Cookies
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coarse ground sea salt

For the coating: 1/4 cup semi-coarse ground sugar mixed with 1/4 cup ground cinnamon

how to do it
Preheat oven to 400F. Combine oil, sugar and egg. Using electric mixer, beat until light in colour. Add extracts, mixing well. In seperate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly fold in flour mixture into sugar and oil mixture. Dough will be very sticky. Refrigerate mixtue for about an hour, or overnight. Once it is cold, form into walnut-size balls and roll generously in sugar coating. 

Place the cookies a few inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Cool on pan for 1 minute, then transfer to cooling rack.

Crunch Time (Toffee Cookie Bars)

I’ve gone and done it.
I’ve made the most addictive dessert in the world.

Are you familiar with the crispy perimeter of a home-baked chocolate chip cookie? You know, I’m talking about that little crunchy bit that surrounds the cookie, the part that kinda taste like toffee? Alright, well even if you don’t know what I’m going on about, you should know that it’s some extremely delicious stuff. So, what if I told you that you can (easily) make this crunchy toffee deliciousness into it’s very own thing? Yeah, well you can. And I’m going to show you how!

This dessert is a gigantic winner in my books for a handful of reasons. For one, it’s super fast to prepare, and even faster to clean up. Second, this treat satisfies my cookie craving without the whole lengthy rolling-dough-into-balls part of the process. Third, this sweet stuff tastes like heaven! This recipe yields a large quantity but requires little effort, making it a great option for a bakesale, or to give as an edible gift to someone special. 

Disclaimer: this recipe is not recommended for those with weak self-control.

Toffee Cookie Bars
an original recipe, inspired by piece of cake blog

what you’ll need
1 cup white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup desiccated coconut (very finely shredded)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coarse ground sea salt
1/2 cup add-ins (chocolate chips or nuts of your choice)

how to do it
Preheat your oven to 350F. (My oven is hardcore, so I heat mine to only 340. Adjust yours as necessary. These burn easily.)

Melt butter with sugar in microwave, for about one minute. Stir until well blended. Mixture should be shiny and smooth. Stir in vanilla and coconut. Slowly stir in flour and salt. Toss with your add-ins.
Pour onto parchment-lined 9×13 cookie sheet and spread out evenly. (The mixture should be spread quite thin, that’s the idea!) Bake for 20 minutes, or until top begins to be golden brown.

Remove from oven, and slice into rectangles while still hot – this is important, as once these cool, they are no longer easy to slice!

Let cool completely (this will allow them to harden and become even more delicious!)
Enjoy… over and over and over again.