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