Breakfast Biscuits

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I’ve become obsessed with cashew butter. It’s by far the best of all the butters – better than peanut, better than almond, better than jam! (Ok I may be embellishing cause I’m not a fan of jam and bread to begin with), but I’m not embellishing how much I love cashew butter. Its crazy.

My recent food dilemma has been what I should put the cashew butter on. The thought of it on bread is a little gross to me. I wanted something slightly sweet but tame enough to be breakfast-like and filling. Which made me think of Stefani’s Coffee Buttermilk Biscuits with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Butter over at the Cupcake Project. I made these biscuits a while back and Rabin and I ate them nonstop until we felt vaguely nauseous but still wanted more. Instead of chocolate cinnamon butter, I used a mascarpone icing to top it because of a very scientific and technical reason – I had a lot of it in the fridge left over from a previous baking experiment.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Attempt #1 using Stefani’s Recipe

The first time I made it, I followed the biscuit recipe exactly (steep the beans in butter! How genius!) but this time I wanted to finish it quickly because it was early evening and of course I left everything until the last minute and didn’t even start dinner and I was already hungry. 

Cropping can really save a gal from the embarrassment of having to explain why two biscuits are missing…

It’s hard to find snacks that aren’t granola bars, aren’t overly sweet, are healthy, and can be used for breakfast, and this is totally a keeper. In making this recipe, I decided to further healthify it a bit and switched out the all purpose flour for whole grain flour (with flaxseed).

I admit it. The fork is there solely for the picture. I usually devour this in 3 bites.

I admit it. The fork is there solely for the picture. I usually devour this in 3 bites.

Stefani’s recipe is pretty great as is, but you can check out my variation below. 

Breakfast Biscuits

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cups Whole wheat / Multigrain flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Stir sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk & vanilla and stir until clumps form. Knead mixture briefly – about 30 seconds. 

Transfer dough to floured counter and pat out until 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (I used a 2″) or shape of your choice and cut out dough. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool and top with jam, jelly or butter of your choice.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes. I know cashew butter isn’t pictured at all. It wasn’t because I was eating another biscuit loaded with it while I was taking these pictures… *averts eyes* *cough cough*

I’m bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Party as well.

So that’s it. I’m planning to whip up a batch of this on Sunday for the upcoming week and toss in some dark chocolate chips (That’s healthy, right?). I’m hoping that I can get my sh*t together this weekend and not stumble through another week like a drunk hobo. These biscuits are the first step! I hope. 

Have a great weekend, and also where the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks did this year go? For those of you that made resolutions, how has your progress been? I made some exciting progress on my Food Resolutions. I’m totally gonna update my page next week. I promise. 

TTT: Layouts & Eating well

I’m back today with Three Things Thursday, hosted by Salma at The Write Balance, Raj from Pink Chai Living and Nisha from Love Laugh Mirch
 
My new Page Layout
I continue to try to improve my blogging technique, which means trying to learn as much as I can as often as I can. I thought that my Blog front page needed a bit of an upgrade, so I’m pleased to present my new front page! I’m especially proud of the header. Thank you as well for all the lovely comments on my new blog layout. Email followers, I know you read my posts in your inbox so you wouldn’t see the new layout, but you’re all more than welcome to check it out now! I LOVE the painted look so much. I feel super artsy every time I look at it and it makes me hope that you think I’m writing this post from some Parisian café, sipping on some café au lait, blushing as the cute waiter winks at me. Hmm… maybe travel romance writing is my true calling!

 
Unmasking Superfoods
I picked up this book on my last jaunt to one of my favourite places on earth – the bookstore. I find food related books so interesting and I believe that being an informed consumer is so important to your overall health. I don’t think that it makes you invincible and we can all fall prey to a myriad of the nasty diseases and illnesses out there, but I’ve also read enough books about brands and advertising to know that labels are very misleading and products masquerading as ‘healthy’ or ‘all natural’ can barely meet the minimum definition of those words. We’re hit with food trends every single day, and its important to know what’s real and what isn’t. I started reading this book and its shocking to realize the limited number of studies and data that actually support these so called ‘super foods’. Some things have confirmed what I’ve previously read, and other chapters have obliterated what I thought I knew.
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Shopwell App
I came across this App on the ITunes App store. Its the most clever little app ever. Basically you input your basic information and the reasons why you’re trying to eat healthier. You indicate your nutrient / food preferences, what you’d like to avoid (added sugar, artificial sweeteners), and any allergies you have. Whenever you go shopping, just scan the barcode of the item that you’d like to purchase and the app will tell you whether that product is a good match for you. How cool is that!? I love being an informed consumer. I scanned my doritos and a bottle of coke I had laying around the house for emergencies and both were terrible matches for me :( I ended up running around my kitchen scanning items like I was on some crazy grocery game show. I always wanted to go on Supermarket Sweep and this was like realizing my dream in its own twisted way.
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Now for a bit of housekeeping: I’ve come to a decision about my blog posts. I love Three Things Thursday and how welcoming and lovely Salma & Raj have been. I would like to occasionally add an extra recipe during the week though, so I think I’m going to limit myself to only posting my 3 Things twice a month, so essentially, every other week. I’d like to be first and foremost a food blog.
 
Have a good day guys and I’ll see you right back here tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat channel (this may be slightly out of date).

Channa Saag-ish

Forget Superfoods for a second. Let’s think Supermeals. Spinach, Channa, Turmeric, Ginger, Yogurt & a touch of Olive oil are the main elements in this meal. All of these ingredients are well documented sources of nutrition and I’m so happy to share my recipe with you today.

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At the end of June, an eclectic group of us went to an Indian Restaurant for my Mom’s birthday, and I ordered the Channa (Chickpea) Saag with my go-to curry vehicle, Garlic Naan. I’ve had Paneer Saag before, which essentially is paneer cooked in a spinach puree. I generally actually prefer it to paneer in a tomato based curry. So I took a chance and ordered the Channa saag. It totally paid off. I enjoyed the chickpea saag immensely – it was wholesome and filling and not overly spiced.

So I decided to try it on my own.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Most indian recipes call for heavy cream. I approach heavy cream the way I approach fried food – I’ll never cook it because seeing it turns me off, but I’ll eat if someone else makes it and I don’t see how it’s prepared. Yes. Reality is fine until it’s inconvenient, ok?

I still wanted the creaminess in the dish, so I opted to add a little low-fat yogurt . I also used spinach that I had in my freezer, so there was enough stored liquid there to cook adequately.

Channa Saag-ish

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Channa Saag-ish

5 cups spinach, tightly packed

3/4 cup cooked chickpeas

1 clove garlic

1/2 large onion

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

Red pepper flakes

3/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp. fat free yogurt

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Warm the oil in a pan. Add minced onion, & garlic and let cook until slightly browned. Add cumin seeds & ginger and toast briefly until fragrant. Add garam masala, turmeric, salt & red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and let cook for 30 seconds.

Add Spinach and stir to combine with mixture. Cover and let simmer for 1 minute. Uncover, add yogurt, and using an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree mixture. If you find it too dry or the yogurt makes things a gross colour, just add a bit of water. Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Add channa, stir and cover.

Let simmer for 2 minutes or until desired liquid consistency is achieved. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Serve with rice (brown, basmati or jasmine) or naan. Alternatively, stuff in pita bread and pack for lunch. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

I actually put this together pretty quick. If you have frozen cooked channa (or in a tin, just make sure you wash it thoroughly), the hardest thing you have to do is mince the onions, garlic & ginger. I’m also bringing this to my Fiesta Friday crew. It feels like ages since I’ve properly chatted with the gals (and guys) so I can’t wait to visit all of you!

So Rabin’s verdict on the meal? “So delicious. It tastes very Greek.” :s …Andddd there you have it. I really can’t cook like an Indian even though I’m of Indian descent. So I present to you the first Greek/Indian curry. *Bows* Maybe I should run with it and open a restaurant? Opa Namaste has a cool ring to it, doesn’t it?

Forgotten Joys: Kitchen Playlist #2

Happy 4th of July! And Belated Canada Day! And Early Caricom Day! If you’re in the US, Canada or the Caribbean, you enjoyed or are enjoying a long weekend right now. Which means lots of food, drink and relaxation. Hope that the rain hasn’t washed out your plans too badly. Today’s I’m taking it easy which means I don’t have a recipe to share (not that a recipe is stress, but you know what I mean). Right now I’m channeling my X-men: First Class nerdiness and enjoying a Bitburger Beer with my family. If you get this reference, you’re now one of my favourite people.

Where is Schmidt?

Where is Schmidt?

So I’m sharing some of my favourite tunes with you for your Party / BBQ / Friday Afternoon. The Songs from my previous Playlist are still some of my favourites and are still very current, but I have room in my heart for many songs.

 

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Contrary to the order of these pictures, I did actually have my Coffee first.

I always forget the healing power that Music can have. I’ve been having a tough week and I almost didn’t even write this post. But I decided to listen to my old Spotify playlist and literally felt better within the first line of the first song. I remember when I first started High School, my Music Teacher had a poster on her wall that said “if music be the food of love, play on” . It always stuck with me and I didn’t learn until much later that it’s a quote from the Shakespeare Play, Twelfth Night. I was always the one in my family to have the eclectic musical taste and I’m proud to admit that I’ve converted my brother to be as musically random as I am.

Today’s list has music from recent TV shows, older TV shows, the Top 40 list, one or two I heard in various stores (thank you Shazam!!), and a recommendation or two from friends. There’s even a kind of old song there that popped into my head the other day – no idea how I know it but I got obsessed with it.

I’m bringing my rockin’ playlist to Fiesta Friday and Three Things Thursday although I’m a little late.

I also have to thank Alex at Dinner Daydreams for featuring me on her Blog Tour this week! Much appreciated Alex, I love your blog as well and I’ll be back next week with my features.

So hope you enjoy the music, the weekend, the BBQ, the rain, and anything else that brings you joy.

Avocado Oil Vinaigrette & Quick Steamed Vegetables

How was your week? Mine was filled with a rainbow of feelings and let’s just say that I’m pretty emotionally wiped. Hug your loved ones, ok? Life is seriously the craziest thing.
 
Weird that I’m visiting you on a Monday afternoon, isn’t it? Today I’m making your Monday a little easier by sharing a healthy recipe that can be whipped up in literally 3 minutes.  
Spoiler alert! It's this.

Spoiler alert! It’s this.

 
The hook? Avocado Oil. Who knew there was such a thing? I had a Twitter follower mention Avocado oil to me and since then, I’ve been obsessed with it. Would it be green? Can I cook with it? Does it retain the healthy properties of regular avocado? Yes, yes and shocker! Yes. I bought a tin and it was a bit expensive, but this isn’t the kind of oil you cook with regularly. It’s high smoke point makes it tolerant to heat and ideal for cooking. The oil is not avocado green, but has the greeny-yellowy tint that olive oil can have. Avocado oil is made from the pressed fruit of the avocado and contains high levels of Vitamin E and has been compared to Olive Oil as heart healthy. It has been used to treat osteoarthritis, lower cholesterol, and retains the monosaturated fat element that regular avocados do. Research on the benefits continue, and so will my experimentation. 
Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
 
I figured that the best way to taste an oil was to make it into a vinaigrette. The vinegar cuts the sheer oiliness and adds that little bit of acid that brings everything together cohesively. I always prefer apple cider vinegar to white wine and red wine vinegar because it doesn’t overwhelm you and allows the other flavours to come through. Which is definitely a plus in this case.
Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
 
So what does one do with vinaigrette? Make salad, duh. This time though I decided to step it up a bit and actually toss it with some steamed vegetables. Whenever I smell steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, I’m reminded of my childhood in a good way. Specifically, I remember sitting at the dining table at my Grandma’s house with lots of people around me. Steamed veggies were a staple at any family event or holiday, and having lots of family around at the time guaranteed that this dish would make an appearance regularly.
 
Steaming vegetables can be a tricky thing. I know that generally, if you overcook a veggie, you tend to kill it’s nutrients and benefits. That of course gets me neurotic and I count the seconds or fly into a slight panic when I see the brightness of the veggies start to fade in the skillet. Cooking them in the microwave is actually a really easy way to steam without panicking and you can actually do other stuff in the meantime while it cooks (e.g. the vinaigrette!).   
 
 

Avocado Oil Vinaigrette & Quick Steamed Vegetables

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 3 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
 
Ingredients:
3 tbsp Avocado Oil
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 clove Garlic, grated
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Back Pepper
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
 
1/4 – 1/3 head each Broccoli & Cauliflower florets
1 medium Carrot, diced
 
For the Vinaigrette:
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. 
 
To steam veggies:
Add Broccoli & Cauliflower florets and Carrot to a microwave safe dish. Add 1.5 tbsp water and cover tightly with a plate or lid. Microwave on High for 1 minute intervals until vegetables are tender. Microwaves will vary. Mine took 3 minutes. Take extreme care in handling the bowl & lid as it will get ridiculously hot and removal of lid will expose you to LOTS of steam, so be careful.
 
Tilt bowl carefully to drain excess water. Toss vegetables with Avocado Oil vinaigrette.
Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset
 
 
Expert tip: you can pair this vinaigrette with veggies that you’re not too fond of so they’ll be easier to eat. Plus you’ll be ingesting the hidden benefits of the oil which you can’t argue with.
 
My opinion? Avocado oil is great. With the lemon & salt, the flavor comes through beautifully and it actually does taste avocado-y. Quick dinner, side dish, or lazy day lunch. Even easier? Throw the uncooked veggies in a bowl, take to work and steam your veggies on site! Boom. Overcooking neuroses managed *drops mic* .

German Black Forest Cake Smoothie

You’ve heard of Black Forest Cake. You’ve heard of German Chocolate Cake. Now you’re gonna hear about my German Black Forest Cake Smoothie.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Yep, I’m hearing you guys ask, “Didn’t Indi used to hate smoothies?” “Wasn’t she confused by the point of them?” Maybe I should make a crow smoothie (get it? I’m eating crow). When I posted my first Smoothie recipe, I pretty much publicly announced my disdain for smoothies. My friend Tracy messaged me and told me that she couldn’t understand why I didn’t like them because she and her husband absolutely love them. After I posted my next smoothie recipe, she messaged me again and told me she knew that I’d come over to the smoothie side :) . So Tracy and everyone else, I’m publicly admitting that I was wrong – smoothies are pretty great and they’re a lazy girl’s way to get a crapload (I do believe that’s the technical term) of nutrients and vitamins that you might not get otherwise.

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So this recipe takes the best elements of the two cakes and brings them together in the healthiest way possible. Chocolate, whipped cream, maraschino cherries & coconut are converted to chocolate protein powder, coconut milk whipped cream & sweet dark cherries. Ladies & Gents, we have Protein, fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. We have antioxidants AND we have Omega-3 essential fatty acids. All of that in one creamy, dessert-like drink.

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Once I opened myself up to the smoothie love, ideas just started rushing in. I have at least 3 ideas just chilling in my head right now and I’ve been experimenting since I got these gorgeous travel mason jars. I absolutely LOVE these travel jars and just seeing the pretty straws feels like that unexpected smile you get from the barista at your local coffee watering hole. Also, the looks that we get when we stroll into work with our green or other colourful smoothie is bonus entertainment.

German Chocolate Cake Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

3/4 Cup Vanilla Flavoured Soymilk
1/2 Cup Frozen Cherries
1/4 Cup Coconut Whipped Cream (I used leftovers I had in freezer, but 3 tbsp of Coconut milk should be just fine)
1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (about 1.5 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp ground Flaxseed

Place all ingredients in blender. Mix until smooth. Alternatively, place in cup and use an immersion blender to mix (less dishes).

Since I had my coconut milk whipped cream in the freezer, it paired nicely with the frozen cherries and sold soymilk to make the smoothie just cold enough. If you prefer it colder, toss a few ice cubes in & drink asap. You don’t want a diluted smoothie. Coconut whipped cream is super easy to make btw – whip a little refrigerated coconut milk solids until it resembles whipped cream.

I’m bringing this to my Fiesta Friday crew and also linking up with Laura at the Gluten-Free Treadmill. Laura’s smoothie recipes are always delicious and her monthly smoothie link-up is something I’ve started to look forward to! Yes. Still drinking that crow smoothie. Sigh. Being wrong sucks. Better drown my sorrows in a smoothie…dammit.

Hope you guys have a great weekend, and remember to take a few minutes to appreciate your family, friends and loved ones.

 

Asparagus & Ricotta Tartines

A while ago, I told you about our Grilled Cheese Night, and one of the recipes featured was an Asparagus & Ricotta Tartine. I came across this recipe at Panini Happy. I’ve made many of the meals featured on Kathy’s page, and I love that she finds tons of uses for her Panini maker. Finding new uses for seemingly one-note appliances feels like such an accomplishment! I love how clean this recipe looks and I welcome the chance to make something with ricotta that isn’t stuffed in a jumbo pasta shell or hidden in something like pancakes or cake.
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I modified Kathy’s recipe slightly by hiding roasted garlic under the ricotta – it’s a nice surprise to bite into something looking so light and airy and to be hit with a depth of flavour that you wouldn’t have thought was there. Ricotta doesn’t have a particular taste and is very friendly to any kind of seasoning, sweet or savory. Since I really dislike salt and sweet together (or ingredients that are meant to be salty but are actually sweet – like sweet & sour chicken? ugh) and cheese to me is a salty thing, I really have only used (and only intend to use) ricotta in savoury meals. I also changed it up by mixing the ricotta with some dried basil, black pepper & a touch of salt.
 

Asparagus & Ricotta Tartines

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
 
Ingredients
4 Slices Plait / Crusty Bread, cut to desired thickness
8 Asparagus stalks, ends trimmed
Olive oil
Black pepper & Salt
1 head Roasted Garlic (done in oven or on stovetop - instructions for both methods can be found here)
 
3/4 cup Ricotta
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp chopped Parsley
1 tsp ground Flaxseed (optional)
2 stalks chopped Shallots
 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 425. Place Asparagus in an oven-safe dish and drizzle with oil, pepper & salt. Ensure that each stalk is thoroughly coated. Place in oven and cook 10 minutes. Put garlic on stovetop to roast if you dont have it on hand (or use oven, the stovetop is faster). Full instructions here.
Processed with Moldiv
Processed with Moldiv
 
In the meantime, toast bread lightly and mix basil, pepper, salt, parsley and ground flaxseed (if using) into ricotta.
 
To assemble, spread mashed roasted garlic on bread. Cover with ricotta mixture & top each slice with 2 asparagus stalks. Sprinkle liberally with black pepper & cut shallots.
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Note: This is a messy meal. You’ll end up with ricotta all over your lips and you’ll feel like a celebrity in those Got Milk? Ads. But it’s light and deeply satisfying and you won’t get that heavy, bloated, “I need to sleep now so shut up” feeling.
 
I did this in a smaller format for the Grilled cheese night. I used a 2 inch round cookie cutter and cut sliced whole wheat bread and assembled as per normal (of course you should cut the asparagus into bize sized piece). I should have toasted the bread but we were chatting and I really didn’t think about it at the time. I actually can’t talk and cook properly at the same time – I can rub my stomach and tap my head however…not to brag or anything…
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This smaller version was nice and bite sized, but the only drawback was that you end up with a lot of scrap bread. You could also just eat those, or collect, toast and run it in a food processor with some dried herbs for a few seconds for quick breadcrumbs. Or you send to me so that I can feed the crazy amount of birds that have appeared in my yard. I kind of feel like Harry Potter and all the birds are outside waiting to give me my admission letter to Hogwarts.
 
I’m bringing this light and filling meal to Fiesta Friday and wishing all of you a fabulous weekend with lots of World Cup excitement!
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