Easy peaches-n-cream scones

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So, it’s full-on holiday season for a lot of people around here. Many parties and so on. We had an fun party this weekend where a lot of sweet friends came over and became even sweeter after being coated in royal icing and candy to decorate gingerbread houses.

I don’t know about you, but I can feel pretty tired the next day, even if I haven’t had much to drink (probably comes from no longer being in my 20s, too). A lazy post-party Sunday can call for a slightly rich breakfast with very little effort. That’s when you should make these scones.

Peaches and Cream Scones

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 12 large scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 1 Tbsp  (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (about 130g) drained canned peach segments, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 6 Tbsp coconut cream from a can
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) cold Earth Balance or hard margarine
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) shortening
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat over to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine peaches, milk, coconut cream, and extracts.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut fat into the dry ingredients until the crumbs are the size of peas.
  5. Pour wet ingredients in and fold/stir gently until everything is combined. Dough will be quite wet!
  6. Plop the dough on the cookie sheet approximately 1/3-cup at a time, with 2 inches between each mound. Divide any remaining dough equally between all 12 scones.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over scones.
  8. Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating sheet once.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Perogies for Thanksgiving

Perogies on a plate with fall decor

Perogies, Pyrohy, Piroshki, etc., etc. Delicacy of Eastern Europe, particularly of Ukraine. Western Canada is perogy-land, having been settled by a large number of Ukrainians over the last century.

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They often make an appearance at old-school buffets, and many community halls hold perogy dinner fundraisers. Many people I know also include them at the Thanksgiving table.

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I learned to love perogies when our family moved away from the prairies to the maritimes, and my mom had to make them from scratch. It was a special-occasion meal because it was more labor intensive. When we moved to Alberta when I was a teenager, perogies beam a convenience food, cooked from a bag from the freezer aisle.

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It wasn’t until I lived on my own that I tried making perogies from scratch myself, but they’re worth the effort (I say that a lot on this blog!!). This recipe is one loosely based on a recipe from the Vegetarian Times cookbook. It’s also a good recipe to make with friends, as many hands speed the assembly stage. Our friend Matt came over when we last made these, and is the lovely hand model in the photos.

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Vegan Cheddar and Chive Perogies

An Agent Minty original recipe

Makes approximately 45 perogies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours to overnight
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 + 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sundried tomato, soaked in water and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

Instructions:

Prepare components:

  1. Peel and cube potatoes, cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, process together drained soaked cashews, until coarse.
  3. Add almond milk, miso, and vinegar and puree for 3-5 minutes until perfectly creamy.
  4. Set aside cashew cream for now.
  5. Once potatoes are cooked until very tender, drain, reserving potato cooking liquid in a bowl.
  6. Mash potatoes until smooth.
  7. Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour with cream of tartar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Mix 1 3/4 cups of mashed potato with 3/4 cups of potato cooking water and the oil.
  9. Add mixture from step 8 to the flour-salt mixture and stir well.
  10. Either kneading in the bowl by hand, or using your mixer’s dough hook attachment, start kneading the dough.
  11. Add remaining flour in 1/4 cupfuls every minute or so, until the dough is no longer very sticky.
  12. Continue kneading for about five minutes.
  13. Cover dough with plastic wrap to rest while you prepare the filling.
  14. Blend together 1/4 cup of cashew cream from step 4 with remaining mashed potato. Add in remaining ingredients and puree or stir until creamy.

Cut and fill perogies:

  1. Using a generous amount of flour, roll out 1/3 of dough to 1/8-inch thick.
  2. Cut 3-inch circles, and fill each with 1 Tbsp of filling.
  3. Moisten the edge of the dough with water, fold over, and press together with a fork.
  4. Transfer all finished perogies to a tray covered with plastic wrap to keep them moist.
  5. Scraps from cutting dough can be reused.
  6. After all perogies have been cut and filled, bring a pot of water to boil.
  7. Cook perogies in boiling water for 5-8 minutes.
  8. If desired, lightly sauté in oil before serving.
  9. Serve with remaining cashew cream, fried onions, and vegan “bacon” bits.
  10. Leftover boiled perogies store well in the fridge for a week.Perogies-3

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Instant Gratification Strawberry Ice Cream

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Want some ice cream immediately? This recipe is great because as long as you have a freezer canister already frozen (I keep mine in the freezer at all times just in case), you can have ice cream from start to finish in about half an hour.

This recipe makes a strawberry ice cream pretty much identical to the stuff you’d find sold by the scoop at your local corner store – sweet, fruity, and bright pink. It uses the same type of secret ingredient that my tiger tail ice cream employed. One more ingredient note: if you don’t have a can of high fat coconut milk/cream waiting in the refrigerator, don’t worry. Just use the lower volume of almond milk to compensate for the extra water that will be in the can of coconut milk.

This is your sweet quick fix when it’s 30 degrees outside and all you want for dinner is ice cream. It’s made with staples most people already have in the fridge or pantry. And it comes out of the ice cream maker firm enough to eat right away. Now you have even fewer excuses to wait!

Instant Gratification Strawberry Ice Cream

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes about 3 cups of ice cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 can’s worth of coconut cream, watery portion drained off if you have chilled it beforehand.
  • 1 1/4 cups of almond milk, or 3/4 cup almond milk if the coconut milk was not separated.
  • 1/2 tsp strawberry Kool-Aid powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup strawberry jam

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to blender in listed order. Blend on high until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer to the canister of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the directions.
  3. Ice cream should get quite firm within about 25 minutes.
  4. Store any leftovers in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Bean Burritos

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I have had a crazy schedule this semester. Working late hours in the lab, often followed by evening tutoring appointments as undergrads panic over finals. The only thing I really have the time and money to grab on campus for dinner is a burrito at the place across the street. Unfortunately, the cost of this adds up. After buying a few frozen vegan burritos from the grocery store as a cheaper alternative, I realized (duh) that I should just make them myself.

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These burritos have way more protein than your usual store-bought vegan option. I paid about $16 for enough ingredients to make 11 burritos. $4 of that was for store-bought vegan cream cheeze, of which I only used a third of a tub, so if you make cheeze yourself or omit it entirely they will be even cheaper.

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I now have a healthy option for dinners at work that will fuel me for my bike ride home. They freeze well, and warm up in the microwave fine whether taken straight from the freezer or left to thaw for several hours in a lunch bag.

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Make-Ahead Bean Burritos

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 11 burritos

One note: to make a lower-fat option, use oil to steam-fry veggies, and do not add to beans. Do not, however, remove oil when cooking the ground round.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of black-eyed peas
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 1+1+2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 peppers, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 package (approximately 1lb) of vegetarian ground round/rehydrated TVP
  • 1 pouch taco seasoning
  • 11 small (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/3 package Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese or similar

Instructions:

Prepare fillings:

  1. Combine beans, water, bouillon cube, and 1 Tbsp of oil in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Turn heat to medium-low, cover, and allow to simmer.
  3. Cook until beans are softened and mostly split, and most of the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  4. Using a potato masher, mash beans until most are broken down.
  5. Turn off heat from beans, but allow to sit uncovered on still-warm stove.
  6. Sauté pepper and onions in 1 Tbsp oil on medium-high until tender, about 8 minutes.
  7. Remove vegetables from frying pan and set aside.
  8. Without cleaning the frying pan, heat up remaining 2 Tbsp of oil on medium heat.
  9. Crumble in ground round and cook, stirring frequently, until crumbles start to separate and dry slightly.
  10. Sprinkle taco seasoning over ground round and stir to combine for about 1 minute. If food is sticking to the pan, add a few tablespoons of water and scrape up with a spatula.
  11. Remove ground round to the same  dish as the vegetables and stir to combine.

Assemble burritos:

  1. Lay out all tortillas on your work surface.
  2. Spread each tortilla with 1/2 Tbsp cream cheeze.
  3. Divide bean mixture evenly between tortillas.
  4. Divide ground round and vegetable mixture evenly between tortillas.
  5. Roll up each tortilla and wrap in plastic or waxed paper.
  6. Store in a larger bag in the freezer.
  7. Thaw by heating at 70% power for about 3 minutes, seam side down.

Nutrition Information: Per Burrito: 317 kCal, 11g fat, 8g fibre, 4g sugar, 13g protein, 50% RDA Vit.C, 25% RDA Iron.

Hot Pink Hot Dog Topper

Spring is here! The snow is mostly melted, I can hear water trickling often, and sometimes it’s warm enough to run errands in only a sweater. The two best things: riding around on my bicycle, and starting up the barbecue again. While I’ve been too busy to make a batch of homemade hot dogs, we have been grilling store-bought ones a few times a week for a quick dinner.

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Meet the best hot dog topping: salty, a bit crunchy, and beautifully coloured. Move over, limp sauerkraut. A new favourite garnish is in town.

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I did base this on the quick-pickled cabbage I added to the Sunshine Bowl I posted about a few weeks ago, but with a few modifications, and the addition of sliced radishes for extra flavour. I also like this stuff added into garden salads and brightening up tacos. It will last at least a week in the refrigerator.

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Hot Pink Cabbage-Radish Slaw

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes about two cups of slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped or shredded red cabbage
  • 5 or 6 radishes, halved then finely sliced

Instructions:

  1. Combine maple syrup, vinegar, celery seeds, and salt in a large non-metal bowl.
  2. Stir in cabbage and radishes.
  3. Allow to sit at room temperature, stirring every half hour or so, for about two hours.
  4. Transfer to a resealable container for storage in the refrigerator. 

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Enjoy! Is it spring yet where you live?

Winter Sunshine Rainbow Bowls

Six more weeks of winter. Technically, only four until it’s “spring”, but in Alberta we get snow and cold weather lasting until April. However, today was a fair day with lots of sunshine, and it put me in a good mood. I decided to make sunshiny lunch bowls filled with a rainbow assortment of healthy foods to keep me going all week.

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Sometimes called Abundance Bowls, these meals have a grain base combined with legumes, vegetables, and seeds. Mine contains steamed broccoli, quick-pickled red cabbage, roasted red peppers, and lentils, topped with a peanut-sesame-lime dressing. For extra protein, I’ve included quinoa and pumpkin seeds. For the calorie curious, one bowl has 395 calories, 57g carbs, 12g fat, and 19g protein. To make ahead for the week, I prefer to prepare each set of ingredients and only combine the night before.

Winter Sunshine Rainbow Bowls – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • Grains and Lentil Mix (Recipe Below)
  • Red Cabbage Quick Pickle (Recipe Below)
  • 2 red peppers, roasted, with skins and seeds removed
  • 2 heads of broccoli, stems and florets diced and steamed
  • 5 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • Peanut-sesame-lime Dressing

Instructions:

  1. Spoon 1/5 of the grains and lentil mix into each bowl.
  2. Arrange on top 1/5 each of the cabbage, sliced roasted peppers, broccoli, and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Drizzle dressing on top and enjoy.

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Grains and Lentils Mix

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dried quinoa
  • 1/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat

Instructions:

  1. Wash quinoa well and combine with 2 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a boil on high and simmer with lid on for 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lentils, and turn down heat to medium-low for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in cracked wheat and 1/4 more water.
  5. Allow to return to a simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off heat.
  6. Sit, covered with a lid, for at least 10 minutes.

Red Cabbage Quick Pickle

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and sit at room temperature at least one hour.

Peanut-sesame-lime Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha (reduce if you dislike spicy things)
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

I’m going to enjoy this bit of brightness and sunshine in my days all week – I hope you have a good week, too!

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Messy Kitchen!

I’ve been a busy person lately. In the kitchen, too, making some recipes to share with you, but I haven’t had time to finish all of the photo processing and recipe typing. While I work on other things, here’s a recap of some of the mess I made in my kitchen today:

Noodly!

One of my 2015 resolutions is to try to incorporate more vegetables into every meal. Last week I tried making Serious Eats’ Instant Noodles with Miso-Sesame Broth. They were so good I’m making a jar for every workday this week! My version includes pressed tofu pan-fried in olive oil (as the first layer after the sauce base), fresh mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, snap peas, and udon noodles. I switched to using freeze-dried chives instead of chopped scallions after my office was left with a lingering smell of green onions.

I’m also trying to improve my early-morning preparedness. For three breakfasts this week, I made a big batch of high-protein oatmeal that I’ll keep in the fridge and reheat before eating. For two other meals, I’ll make VegMcMuffins – I’ve already prepped the tofu and “meat”, all I’ll need to do is toast an English muffin and add slices of pepper and tomato.

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I made a batch of cookies but didn’t take pictures. They were a cashew variation of Nephew Cookies, to give to a neighbour. It was like he was psychic – as I was convincing myself to bundle up and drop them off, he same over with some Vegan chili he had made for us. Awesome!

Finally, I made a big pot of minestrone, like we do every month. This will last in leftovers for a few dinners this week, or be frozen as extra lunches for days when we don’t have time to make anything fresh but want something healthy and delicious.

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A few hours of work made me food for at least twelve meals plus more to share, with lots of healthy ingredients and flavour. Yum!