Wow! Two posts in one week?!? Yes - it's true and it must be for a good reason and this surely is.
A few weeks back I was chilling at home with some knitting and Netflix (sometimes I lead a very old lady-like life... and love it!) when I scrolled upon a documentary that I hadn't heard of before called Project Wild Thing. The brief description about a guy declaring himself the "Marketing Director for Nature" caught my attention so I settled in to check it out.
The filmmaker, David Bond, wanted to figure out how to get kids (and their parents!) to detach from the screens and get outside in to nature. Fueled by the fact that his own children were turning in to "glassy-eyed zombies" he seeked out experts in a wide variety of fields searching for creative ways to make nature a bigger draw to children's attention than the screens.
I found this film to be extraordinary, quite funny and made me really think about my own screen addictions. I work at a desk Monday to Friday, own an iPhone and iPad and am plugged in to plenty of social media outlets, watching YouTube's funniest cats or Jimmy Fallon and can be found consistently scrolling through Instragram feeds. There has to be a better balance but it's certainly not as easy as a quick swipe of the screen to make changes in one's life... especially in the winter months of Calgary!
As it turns out the filmmaker/director, David Bond, and producer, Ashley Jones, are in Calgary this week for the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival!! They will be hosting the official Canadian premiere of Project Wild Thing on Saturday, November 22 at the River Park Church Auditorium at 3:25pm with a post-film panel discussion. If you can make it please do - this film really made me think and I truly believe it will change your thoughts on our screen addictions and what they are doing to us - especially the next generation. Otherwise, check it out the trailer below or watch it on Netflix. You will not be disappointed.
I cannot recommend this documentary enough! Whether you have children or not this is worth the watch. Everybody can learn something about themselves and the world of conveniences we now find ourselves in here in the Western world.
In my efforts of experimenting with new recipes and adventures to share with everyone here I am also venturing in to the world of meal planning. My aim is to focus on delicious and healthy quick (and sometimes not-so-quick) meals and side-dishes that really hit the spot. Not every dish will work for everyone, however, with continued experimentation and a growing stockpile of recipes there will be plenty to suit the masses of hungry people out there wanting to make their own healthy home-cooked meal!
With this new venture in mind, I stumbled upon this beauty on Pinterest. This quiche just looks so pretty with it's golden roasted scalloped edges of thinly sliced sweet potato and its simple but flavourful filling of eggs and spinach. I kept things simple with this one and yet it still kicks in to impress mode without a lot of effort. Seriously - try it.
I found that the original recipe inspiration from Fourteen Forty was far too cheese heavy - ya... I said it... too much cheese. But lets face it... winter is here and even though it seems that comfort foods and staying inside more often are inevitable it doesn't also mean that extra pounds and inches around the waistline are inevitable too. However, there's no need to deprive ourselves of eating delicious dishes. Just a little bit of tweaking here and there was needed and we have ourselves a winner!
Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Quiche
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
3 to 6 sweet potatoes, thinly sliced*
2 tsp coconut oil
½ C onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 bunch organic spinach
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1-3 tbsp fresh herbs (dill, parsley, chives) to taste
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F
Slice sweet potatoes thinly with a food processor or mandolin**.
Spread melted coconut oil inside a 9” pie dish ensuring good coverage on bottom and sides so the sweet potatoes won’t stick when ready to serve.
Lay potato slices in pie dish in a crust-like fashion, creating two overlapping layers and bake for 15-20 minutes.
After crust has baked, reduce oven to 375F.
While crust is baking…
Melt next 1 tsp of coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté sliced onion until translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Add chopped garlic and continue sautéing for another 2 minutes.
Stir in spinach and sauté until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes.
Once cooked through, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes before adding to egg/cheese mixture.
While spinach is wilting…
Grate your cheese and chop fresh herb(s) of choice.
While spinach and onions are cooling...
Whisk eggs in a medium bowl then add mozzarella, herbs and salt & pepper. Stir until well combined.
Add spinach/garlic/onion mix to the egg/cheese mixture. Stir to incorporate all the spinach throughout eggs and cheese.
Pour the egg mixture on to the potato crust.
In a 375F oven, bake until the quiche is firm, about 30 minutes.
Let cool for at least 15 minutes to let the eggs fully set and it tastes best a little warm but also great cold.
* Number of sweet potatoes will vary depending on how large they are.
** Get the firm sweet potatoes with the lighter peel and yellow tone flesh. Also, I used a mandolin set on the 1/8” thickness setting for slicing.
Thoughts on how to incorporate this in your weekly meal plan:
1 - Make this on a Sunday afternoon, let it cool completely, slice/divide in to containers for quick grab-n-go breakfasts for those rushed Monday mornings.
2 - Hosting a brunch? Make the crust the night before, then 45 minutes before guests are to arrive, preheat oven, make egg/spinach/cheese mixture and it will be slightly cooled and ready to serve with a salsa and/or guacamole and a side fruit salad.
3 - Breakfast for dinner? While the quiche is baking make a hearty side salad with some grains and veggies to make this a complete meals.
Oh... the possibilities!
Well there you have it! Do you love a good quiche but don't indulge because of the carb calories of a buttery crust? Have you tried making a root vegetable crust before? Let me know if you try this out as I'd love to hear from you!!
I'm stuck. Well a good kind of stuck I suppose. Can't seem to get enough baking and fall flavours to fill an ever present craving for warm comfort foods that fill the kitchen with delicious smells and warm the house since we have been instantly tossed in to the thick of winter here in Calgary.
While flipping through Flipboard the other day I came across a tasty looking recipe from Food 52. Made a few adjustments and they turned out fabulous! No fail this time Baking Gods... thanks! However, I've adjusted the recipe to reflect additional changes and how they will be made next time because I didn't find that the amount of apple and cheese really had the hit of flavour they deserve in these snack packets.
Apple Cheddar Jalapeno Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat (best brand here)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1.5 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar, or in small cubes (I love the cubed option and used Sylvan Lake Canadian Maple Cheddar… A favourite but not a very strong flavour choice for this recipe)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup honey (used honey from BeeLand)
2 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil)
¼ cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt (love this brand and flavour!)
2 cups unpeeled apples, small diced (I used Granny Smith)
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced (next time I'll leave a few seeds for added spicy heat!)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a standard muffin pan or line the cups with liners.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss in the cheese and jalapeno to evenly distribute.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, molasses, oil, and yogurt then stir in the apple until everything is well combined. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until there are no streaks of dry left.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups and bake the muffins until a toothpick comes out clean -- about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.
Well there you have it! Delicious fall muffins that are quick and easy to make. Made these after dinner last night and by the time the muffins were done in the oven I had the dishes done and was ready for a late-snack before bed. Great way to spend an evening when it's -25°C outside :)
Have you been craving comfort foods with these winter temperatures? Going to try these?! Let me know as I'd love to hear from you.
I love baking and making treats that can be disguised as breakfast or a healthy snack. Last weekend I had a sugar pumpkin that needed some attention given to it... which came in the form of an oven roasting session and pureeing it's pulp in to silky smoothness. Thanks to Oh She Glows I found excellent how-to instructions to not fuck it up.
Throughout the week there were smoothies and chia puddings made... but with the less than a cup of the puree left over I got the feeling that it needed a home in some fall flavoured muffins. Google directed me to one of my favourite websites: Minimalist Baker. This website is so full of gems it never ceases to amaze me and this new-to-me recipe was on point.
Followed it to the letter (gasp!) and these babies turned out quite delicious. Also, totally store these in the fridge as the apple in them will make a gross gooey mess of these and you don't want that.
Here's the recipe from Minimalist Baker:
Vegan Pumpkin Apple Muffins
Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 18 - 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Serves: 12 muffins
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water)
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 Tbsp non-dairy butter (I used coconut oil)
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 cup unbleached flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup old fashioned oats + extra for topping
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup almond milk
2 Tbsp canola oil (used coconut oil here too!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tin with paper liners.
Prepare flax egg in a large bowl and set aside.
Sauté apples in a skillet with non-dairy butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon until soft. Set aside.
Add to the prepared flax egg in the large bowl the pumpkin puree, almond milk, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
Carefully place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a sifter or fine mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients and stir.
Add cooled apples and oats and stir again lightly until just combined.
Spoon into muffin tin until each liner is filled to the very top.
Sprinkle oats on top (optional).
Bake for 18-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely and then store in an air-tight container and refrigerate to ensure freshness.
*Depending on the moisture level of your apples/pumpkin puree, if your batter appears to thin add more flour or oats. Alternatively, if it appears too thick add more almond milk.
There you have it! Have you tried baking these yet?!? Or other fall flavour inspired goodness?!? I'd love to hear from you and how they turned out :) Let me know in the comments!