Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gingerbread Brownies! (Gluten-Free)

We originally set out to make gingerbread cookies, well gingerbread men to be exact. And we fell upon Jody Vassallo's recipe for Gluten-free Gingerbread on We originally thought this was a recipe for cookies but were pleasantly surprised of the result! It ended up being a ridiculously delicious chewy gingerbread brownie type thing! And it's "almost grain free," there is a little bit of flour to bind everything together, but all in all a very healthy gingerbread holiday treat!

There's apparently this new food trend I was reading about called the "crownie???" which is a cookie/brownie that involves almonds and is gluten-free. Well I guess this is just like that!

Everything is in grams, we used a scale but you can easily convert to cups :)

100g butter 
100g brown sugar (we used dark)
150g honey
100g molasses
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tablespoons water
1 tsp baking soda
100g gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder
250g almond meal
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat butter on low in a sauce pan until melted, stir in brown sugar, honey, molasses, ginger, and spices. Combine dry ingredients, then combine with melted butter/sugar mixture. Once combined you will have a batter like consistency, pour into a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 340F for 25-30 minutes. It should be spongy and dense, leave to cool. Cut out shapes and ice with royal icing if desired.

This is just the best thing! In between a cookie and a cake! It's dense and chewy like a brownie but tastes like a spicy gingerbread, which is why we're calling them Gingerbread Brownies. Yum!!
Thanks Jody for the inspiration!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spicy Sticky Tempeh (Simple 5-Ingredient Sauce!!)

Oh my goodness! This is the tastiest little marinade, it reminds us of that sweet thai sauce with the chili seeds in it. Usually we just soak our sliced tempeh in soy sauce or just pan fry and season with salt and herbs and call it a dinner. This sauce makes it extra special and can be used for tofu, tempeh and meat proteins as well as veggie stir-frys and as a dipping sauce! When you fry or bake with it it gets sticky and sweet, with a tangy and spicy flavour! Yum!!

1/2 cup organic ketchup
2 cloves garlic sliced/chopped
1/4 cup tbsp honey/agave
4 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 pinches black pepper
Chili flakes or fresh chill sauce (to taste)

Simple right?! And so delicious! Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, set aside. NOTE: You'll have lots of sauce leftover if you're only using one block of tempeh. This recipe is enough for two blocks of tempeh or one block plus leftovers for another recipe. If you don't want leftovers just halve the recipe. :) The only thing is you may not have sauce to reserve for frying at the end, in that case add a little extra ketchup/soy sauce mixture to act as the "reserved sauce."

You'll also need:

Tempeh (1 block)
Veggies (any kind will do!)

Next you're going to slice up and marinate your tempeh!

Leave in marinade/sauce for at least half an hour. Reserve extra sauce in a separate bowl (2 tbsp worth)

While you're waiting, make the rice! My new favourite way to cook rice: Add rice and water in a pot, add a little extra water (about 1/4 cup) and add in your favourite veggies to cook! (I used chopped carrots) Once rice is done, drain in a strainer and serve! You're only using one pot and it reduces clean up!

Next fry up your tempeh with some chopped white onions (this is where you use your reserved sauce, right at the end to keep the tempeh from drying out). You may need to add some water or veggie stock to cook the tempeh more thoroughly before adding reserved sauce.

Set up the rice:

And serve tempeh over top! Yum! This is seriously one of the best tasting tempeh recipes I've ever made. If you like extra spice, add some chill flakes or hot sauce.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

'Tis the Season for Nog! (No Dairy)

I have fond memories of President's Choice egg nog in those festive looking cartons. Egg nog, hot chocolate and cookies were the reasons to get up on a cold winter's morning. I would drink a glass of egg nog, even diluted with milk and still get heavy stomach pains, it's just so much sugar and fat at once.

I decided to make a dairy free version, that still has that egg noggy taste! It's lighter and not as sweet but  the flavour is so good you don't need a lot of sweet anyways. I was inspired by Rule of Yum, a youtube channel run by Ken who focuses on low carb Paleo friendly eats.

I've posted about Almond Breeze's coconut/almond milk before, it is my absolute favourite type of non dairy milk, it's richer than almond milk but lighter than actual coconut milk. If you haven't tried it definitely do it works in place of any non-dairy milk.

If you're weary about consuming raw eggs, guess what there's an alternative!.........Bananas! They have to be frozen though and thawed slightly. In this recipe you can replace 4 egg yolks with 2 small frozen bananas, or 1 1/2 large frozen bananas.

3 cups sweetened coconut/almond milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp evaporated cane juice (to taste)
Pinch of salt

Just treat this like a smoothie recipe, combine all ingredients in a blender, blend on low for a few minutes and voila! You can add your alcohol (brandy/sherry) after blending too.

frothy frothy

extra points for drinking it from a mug!

bird's eye foam, garnished with nutmeg

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chocolate Mug Brownie! (GF)

I've been meaning to make a chocolatey, (convenient) and magical mug cake for some time now. And guess what it's as easy as you've heard it to be. And it tastes amazing too (if you follow directions to a TEE).

We got this recipe from, recipe link here.

It used sweet rice flour which we used for these delightfully adorable dumplings. The recipe said mug cake, this was more like a mug brownie, which was fine on our watch! It tasted kind of like easy bake oven, the flat chocolate cake disc, oh the sense memories!

Definitely give this a go if you're on the gluten-free train or if you're just curious about mug cakes (like we were :))

The best thing is you mix everything in the mug! Minimal mess!

Our roommate let us use her Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter oh my gosh! We're in love.

1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg
3 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter or regular peanut butter

Mix everything in a 16oz mug (should fit 2 cups or water). Cook in microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes or until cake is cooked through (we have a microwave literally from 1950 so we cooked ours a bit longer.)

The cake didn't puff up to the top like we saw in some images, that's why we're deeming this more of a mug brownie.

Sprinkle with organic icing sugar :)

It's fudgey and dense as well as chewy around the edges. Mmmm!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Peanut Butter Swirl Sweet Dumplings with Gingery Broth

I love these kiwi sisters' (Amy and Julie's) youtube channel featuring videos of traditional and not-so traditional (Soy flavoured caramel sauce - yum!) Chinese food. You should definitely check them out! They made these tong yuen which are chinese sweet dumplings made with sweet rice flour, they filled theirs with red bean paste, and used coconut milk as the "broth" component. We just had to try these, they were too cute to pass up!

Jenn and I both have major sweet tooths, it's actually a problem. But we try to limit ourselves to one treat per day. Unless there's chocolate involved, that's a whole other food group...anyways these adorable little sweet dumplings are perfect if you want a dessert but not something too rich or loaded with heavy ingredients.

I chose to fill them with peanut butter/crushed coconut/sugar mixed instead of red bean paste:

I started rolling these little guys with the pb in the centre but the pb would keep breaking through the dough! That being said, they actually look kind of cool swirled, so they're swirled dumplings now. :)

Mix together in a medium bowl until it forms a dough (may need to use hands).

Peanut Filling:
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp evaporated cane juice
Pinch of salt
Handful coconut flakes

Dumpling Dough:
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup cold water
1 tbsp evaporated cane juice

Gingery Broth:
6-8 slices of ginger
2 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp evaporated cane juice

Combine filling ingredients, set aside.
Combine ingredients for dough, may have to use hands. Break off a piece of dough, make a patty, spoon a little amount of pb filling (1/2 tsp or so!)
Bring water and ginger to a boil, turn to simmer, add evaporated cane juice. Add dumplings and cook until they float to the top. Serve in a bowl with ginger broth.

stacked dumplings sans broth

pour it in! This broth is a little cloudy because I realized I didn't peel the ginger, if you want a more crystal clear broth, peel that ginger before you put it in the water. :)

Guys, this is hands down my favourite recipe I've ever made for this blog. Please do yourself a favour and make these! They were a delight to make and an even bigger delight to eat! I absolutely loved the texture of the glutinous rice dough and peanut and ginger are own of my favourite combos. I definitely will make these again maybe I'll try the red bean paste as a filling next time! Thank you Julie and Amy yet again for inspiring us! :) We are so on this dumpling train.

Yum yum yummy!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Japanese Seasoned Rice Balls (Onigiri!) + Giveaway Winner!

You guys this is kind of silly! But this next post is the REASON we started blogging in the first place. It was three years ago and Jenn and I were looking at blogs and found a bento box blog. We then proceeded to look at a billion more bento box blogs, yeah we were kind of obsessed. They were just so adorable and little and there were pandas...

So that's where we discovered Onigiri (a popular japanese rice ball snack), and we were actually planning on making them for our first post ever. But they just fell apart because we used brown rice instead of white sushi rice. Lol trying to make it healthy! I think we used it for sushi later on. So now we finally get to post them!! Three years in the making people-

So Onigiri is pretty much like the sandwich of Japan, they sell them everywhere. It's just seasoned rice with a filling inside rice shaped into a ball or triangle or any other shape, and wrapped in nori or topped with sesame seeds/other topping.  So simple and so good!

For the rice the best kind to use is sushi rice! Just cook it based on the instructions and put it onto a cutting board or into bowl, until it gets to room temperature.

Add salt, vinegar, and sugar if desired, like regular sushi rice, (we only used salt). You could also add sesame seeds if you like!

This is the super amazing, delicious chicken salad that's really easy to make!

Chop up leftover chicken, and vegetables, cook in some soy sauce once chicken is heated up, put in bowl, add mayonnaise, chipotle powder, garlic powder and lemon juice. Holy smokes! You won't be disappointed. If you're wondering what the long thin things are, they're the egg noodles from the leftover chicken.

For the fillings let your imagination go wild! If it can go with rice then it's a-ok! We filled them with this super amazing chicken salad but there's lots more options!

Filling options:
Mashed yams w/ soy sauce
Shrimp Tempura
Umeboshi plum (traditional)
Leftover chicken
Peanut Satay chicken
Tuna salad

Once you have the fillings and your rice, you can commence the assembly:
Wet your hands, take a 1/4 cup of rice and form into a patty, add 1 tsp of filling in the middle, fold patty in half like a pierogi, then shape into a ball.

I topped mine with sesame seeds and a japanese chili pepper seasoning!

Makes at least 12 balls.

Aren't they just the cutest!

Adorable! We loved snacking on these through out the day. It's the ultimate portable snack.

Also, we hosted a giveaway for a copy of our e-book and asked you what you do with avocado!

The randomly drawn winner is.....coconutandberries! Congrats!! We will send you our Simple Sweets e-book right away! Hope you enjoy the recipes!

Monday, November 4, 2013

e-Book Giveaway! + Creamy Avocado Blueberry Smoothie

Try this delightful smoothie for an energy boost at any time of day! Blueberries and avocados go amazingly together, we've paired the two in some of our other recipes such as our Blueberry Cream Pie Pudding, and Blueberry-Kiwi Swirl Fro-Yo!

The great thing about this smoothie is it's low sugar, blueberries are very low-gi and instead of a banana you're using avocado to thicken it. You can make this into a meal replacement smoothie too by adding one scoop of your favourite protein powder (we recommend vanilla flavoured).

We have a new favourite non-dairy milk, it used to be just almond milk, but now we've been turning to the almond and coconut milk blend from Almond Breeze! It's more rich than regular almond milk and has a great coco-nutty flavour, perfect for this smoothie!

1/2 a large avocado or 1 small one
1 cup almond/coconut milk
1 cup water (or more to blend)
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
Squeeze of lemon juice (Important! or else it will taste flat)
Stevia to taste
1 scoop protein powder, optional!

Blend all ingredients on high until blended and a smooth consistency.
Super simple! And super creamy even for a vegan smoothie. :)

I'm feeling a little blue this morning

We also have an extra special treat! We are giving away a copy of our Simple Sweets ebook! 

The giveaway is open to the whole world! Just leave a comment of your favourite thing to make with an avocado!

For additional entries: 
(And let us know you did in a comment below)

The giveaway closes Nov. 5 10PM!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Butternut Squash Apple Curry Soup

I made this soup a lot last year while working at a restaurant in Toronto, since it was a fairly new place, I was given way to make up my own recipes, and this one was served as one of their daily soups!

I've made butternut squash soup before but never considered adding apples! This one is a more curry-ish, spicy soup as opposed to your traditional butternut squash with ginger and warmer spices.

It's super easy to make especially if you steam your squash and sweet potatoes ahead of time. It probably takes 20 or so minutes. Perfect for a fall day!

4 heaping cups of peeled + cubed butternut squash
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled + cubed
2 large green apples, peeled + cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp cumin
Squeeze of lime (may not need if apples are already sour)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Handful of cilantro, chopped

Cube up butternut squash and sweet potato, steam until soft and tender (you could do this ahead of time for sure) or you could use already made puree (fresh just gives it a nice, lighter flavour). Heat up some olive oil on medium in a large pot, add onion, garlic, celery, until onions begin to turn translucent, add spices and 1 tsp salt, cook 1 more minute. Then add cubed apples, cook 5 more minutes (may need to add more oil). Add 2 cups of water, turn heat up to a boil, boil for a minute. Once boiling, add cooked squash and sweet potato, lower eat to simmer. Add olive oil. Next puree with an immersion blender, really well! At least 5 minutes. Juice in 1 lime add salt and pepper to taste and add in chopped cilantro, give it another minute with the blender and...that's it!

This soup has a nice brightness from the apples and cilantro, and the curry/chili goes really well with the butternut and sweet potato!

Makes about 6 servings

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chocolate and Vanilla Halva Bites

Jenn and I went on a trip to Israel over the summer (part of the Birthright program). It was a magical experience in so many ways! We ate great food, learned about the culture, met so many new friends and just in general had a grand time.

One of my favourite things there was: Halva!
There's lots of recipes for halva, some include granulated sugar, rose water, eggs, even butter.

But the kind in Israel is just made with two ingredients: tahini and honey. And it's amazing...
I bought some from the grocery store but it was the one with sugar in it and just didn't cut it.

I thought to make "no cook" halva bites, that have a secret ingredient: protein! So it cuts the glycemic index and it's like eating a protein bar but it tastes like sesame-honey goodness. I tell you the combination is magic.

You can easily make these VEGAN! Simple as pie! Use a vanilla flavoured protein powder (brown rice protein would be perfect) and substitute the honey for agave or they have honey flavoured agave which is interesting but worth a try!

The honey! This is our main "natural" honey in Canada. It's in every health food store (at least in Ontario). Summer Blossom is the most mild and is best for baking!


1/3 cup tahini
2 tbsp honey
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (or 4 tbsp)
Pinch of salt


1/3 tahini
3 tbsp honey
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (or 4 tbsp)
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (add more if you like it more dark chocolatey)
Pinch of salt

Roasted sesame seeds for rolling

Combine all ingredients to make two different flavoured doughs.

Take a piece of dough and roll into ball, then roll it in sesame seeds to form a strip of seeds on the ball, then flatten a bit to resemble a cookie.

Put them in the fridge and snack away!

You can buy these seeds at any asian supermarket, they're roasted, and nice and crunchy!

Delightful treats!

You could do so many different flavours too, putting some orange zest would be good (choc or vanilla) Mix in pistachios or you could roll them in toasted coconut. yum!

Store in refrigerator. Makes around 15 bites.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Vegan Halloween: Rocky Road Treats! w/ Marshmallow Ghosts

Halloween is almost here! Jenn and I rarely go for conventional candy but sometimes you just gotta give in to the treat-filled holiday.

This is a vegan/halloween take on Jamie Oliver Rocky Road Kill, recipe here. I've expressed it before, I am loving the recipes on Jamie's Food Tube Channel, if you haven't checked it out do so ASAP! To make these vegan we used Earth Balance butter, which is our first time ever using it. Except for this one time in a pumpkin pie... It melts just like butter and tastes pretty darn close to the real thing. You could alternatively use regular butter or even try peanut butter!

We used Dandies for the first time as well, they are so so soft, and taste exactly like marshmallows, superb!

Even the Reese's Pieces are vegan (they contain 'trace' amounts of milk, but you know, close enough)

We realize these are definitely not a sketch-free ingredient but once (or twice! :P) a year never hurt-

Gather up the rest of your ingredients!

Not seen - honey/agave syrup

And begin the concoction!

250 g dark chocolate
2 tbsp agave syrup (we used honey)
1 Earth Balance baking butter sticks (113g) + 1 small knob
1 bag Dandies marshmallows (cut up smaller) (Save 5-6 for ghosts!)
30g crushed chocolate cookies
30g crushed gingersnaps
1/4 cup Reese's pieces candy (Save a handful for topping)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (We like the "salted chocolate" taste so we put more in)
You know I should have put in coconut, if you have the large flake kind definitely add around 1/4 cup!

It's like the easiest thing to make. Melt the chocolate, butter, salt and agave in a double boiler. Reserve 1/4 of your melted chocolate/butter, set aside. Add in all of your "add-ins." Spoon into pie plate and drizzle your reserved melted chocolate/butter mixture. Top with Reese's pieces and marshmallow ghosts! (see below for recipe). Place in refrigerator until firm.

Cut up those mallows-

Crush up those cookies-

The icing for the Marshmallow Ghosts:

1 part honey/agave
1 part cocoa
1 pinch of tapioca/corn/arrowroot starch

Spoon into a ziploc bag, snip the end and start piping on the expressions! Refrigerate for 10 minutes to set. Then plant onto rocky road to set in the fridge.

Tell me these aren't the cutest-

Cross-section of delicious delight!

This mallow's looking mighty happy to be sitting on top still intact, while all the other marshmallows were cut up and used as pavement! Oh the horror!

Makes 15 pieces

Thanks Jamie for the inspiration!
This was so quick and easy and exactly the kind of treat I was looking to make this year.