Creamy Purple-Skinned Potato Salad

Potato salad is really versatile in a few ways. First of all, you can put in almost any type of spices, herbs and veggies and it will still carry a nice flavour. Secondly, potato salad can be eaten on its own or used as a burger topping (which is one of my preferred ways of eating it). Skip the typical barbecue toppings of relish (I’m sorry, relish is gross) and go straight for this creamy, flavourful topping that won’t disappoint.

The cook time on the potatoes may vary depending on which type you choose. I used smaller purple potatoes, so they took less time than a regular larger potato would. Also, I used a little too much onion for my liking in this recipe, so feel free to tone in down depending on your preference.

I was super excited about this whole “purple potato” thing but when I brought then home I found out they were just purple-skinned potatoes (boo). Also, when I boiled them a lot of the colour sort of washed out. Just in case you’re reading the title and questioning my sense of colour.

Sidenote: A couple of months ago, I tried this awesome vegetarian Jamaican roti at One Love (spiced Jamaican pumpkin filling). I find it’s basically the only place of its kind in the city, and the more I try it, the more I want to learn how to make it. Any tips?Creamy Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds small purple potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. dried dill
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup spicy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • A few drops of sriracha hot sauce
  • Pepper to taste

Method

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, and boil until you can easily insert a fork into them, but they’re not mushy (about 20 minutes). Drain, rinse in cold water, cut in quarters, and set aside in a large bowl.
Add in red onion, celery, parsley and dill. In a separate bowl mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, cayenne, paprika, vinegar, lemon, sriracha and pepper. Once well combined, gently toss the dressing in with the potatoes. Allow to sit in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow flavours to develop, then serve as a side or topping.Creamy Potato SaladCreamy Potato Salad
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Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are a great snack because they’re high in protein, gluten-free and vegan. As a bonus, this recipe is really low maintenance so you can catch up on some reading, cleaning, binge-watching Netflix, whatever.

I originally got this recipe from Oh She Glows but I changed a couple of things. I thought that since you boil the chickpeas in vinegar, they would really absorb the flavour. But I found that once I’d baked them, a lot of the strong salty vinegar flavour that I wanted had evaporated. I’d suggest splashing some vinegar on the chickpeas halfway through baking to keep the flavour locked in.

I’m interested in trying salt and vinegar mix on things like chex mix that absorb lots of flavour for making a savoury snack—maybe next time. I think they absorb the flavour really well. Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 (540mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 cups white vinegar (plus some for splashing)
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

Method

Place the chickpeas and vinegar in a medium sized pot. Add a dash of sea salt. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let sit in pot for 30 minutes, allowing chickpeas to absorb flavour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Carefully drain chickpeas and evenly spread on lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Massage with fingers until fully coated. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once half way through and splashing on a small amount of vinegar. Keep a careful eye on them after 25 minutes of cooking to ensure they don’t burn. Serve hot on soup, salads, or just as a snack, and keep remaining roasted chickpeas in an airtight container.Salt and Vinegar Roasted ChickpeasSalt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

Nothing marks the start of warm weather like frozen goodies.

Chocolate and banana is a pretty unbeatable combo. You can get creative and use whatever toppings you want. I did half with sprinkles, half with melted peanut butter chips. That way I still had variation, but if I wanted a small sweet snack I could just pop into the freezer and grab one (or three…or four).

Let’s be real though, these are awesome for everyone. They take less than 5 ingredients to make and only take 10 minutes. Not to mention that they’re extremely affordable, customizable, kid-friendly, gluten-free, and all that goodness.

Sidenote: This is for all fellow chocolate-lovers out there. Did you know dark chocolate milk existed?! Because I didn’t up until recently, and I’m not exaggerating when I say you will die from regret if you don’t try it.Frozen Chocolate Banana BitesFrozen Chocolate Banana Bites

Ingredients

Makes 20-25 bites

  • 2 large bananas, peeled
  • 8 squares of semi-sweet baker’s chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. colourful sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips

Method

Slice the bananas into thin rounds, then set aside. Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave on half-power, or in a double boiler on the stove. If using the microwave, careful not to overcook or the chocolate will clump!**

Dip a slice of banana in the melted chocolate, then place on a parchment-lined plate or cookie sheet (something that will fit in your freezer). If using sprinkles, pinch a small amount and sprinkle (trust me, I tried to find another word to use, I’m sorry) them on stop so that they rest on top of the chocolate. Repeat with remaining bananas.

If using peanut butter chips, dip all of the slices in the melted chocolate, place on parchment-covered plate, and allow them to freeze for 10 minutes. Melt down chips in the microwave or a double boiler.** Drizzle small amounts of the melted chips onto the tops of your frozen bananas, then place back in the freezer to solidify.

Once the chocolate and toppings have fully frozen, place them in an airtight container and leave them in the freezer for up to a month.

**If you are having trouble getting a thin enough consistency for the chocolate, add a small amount of vegetable shortening and re-heat for about 15 seconds, stirring it in well. Same goes for peanut butter chips.Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

Vegan Sloppy Joes

This is the epitome of vegetarian comfort food. It’s quick, easy, and of course, sloppy.

This was my first time making/eating any form of sloppy joes. I was generally familiar with what they were, but I’d never had them as a kid and the idea had never really crossed my mind. Luckily, I found the idea on VegWeb and took it from there. Not to mention every time I hear the words “sloppy joe” I just picture Adam Sandler and Chris Farley singing.

For those of you who are wondering, I used fancy molasses because it adds a little bit of sweetness and it has a really unique flavour. The recipe I was following called for ketchup, but I’m going to say 90% of the time I dislike ketchup, plus this recipe already has a lot of tomato in it. If you have blackstrap molasses, you could still use it, but that is a bit more bitter because most of the sugar has been removed, so you may want to add in a pinch of sugar to keep it balanced.

Here’s why I find these so interesting: You could sub-out the tofu for another soy-based ingredient or a legume. I think these would taste really good with mashed up beans, lentils or tempeh. Since you’re not relying on the shape being perfect like you would with burger patties, you can risk having a bit of a texture change without compromising taste.

The day I made these I hadn’t eaten all day, so by the time these were ready I snapped as many quick photos as I could and then ate both of the ones you see pictured. Definition of class.Vegan Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

Makes 4 Sloppy Joes

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fancy molasses
  • 8 oz (1/2 pound) of firm tofu, drained and pressed to remove excess water
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (keep the stems attached)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 (7.5 oz) can of pizza sauce OR 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste + 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 4 burger buns of your choice (can also use pitas, wraps, etc.)

Method

Heat olive oil over high heat in a frying pan, then slowly add molasses. Stir while the molasses heats, then crumble in tofu. Cook tofu for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add in onion and mushrooms and reduce heat to medium—you want the tofu to be browned and the vegetables to be softened and lightly golden. Add pepper to taste.

Add in the pizza sauce OR tomato paste + 1 tablespoon of water, and stir well with the existing ingredients. Allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, then mix in the mustard. At this point, the mixture should be at the general consistency that you want your final product to be (I wanted mine chili-consistency, so I simmered it a little longer to get rid of some liquid).

Once the desired consistency has been reached, add in chopped tomato, oregano, chili powder and rice wine vinegar. Stir so that all of the ingredients are combined and heated up.

Toast 4 buns on a barbecue or in the oven, and spoon out 4 equal servings of the mixture into each bun. Serve hot and enjoy!Vegan Sloppy JoesVegan Sloppy Joes


Ideas, questions or just want to say hi? Comment below or find me on Twitter @RonnieSheppard

Heat olive oil in saucepan and add molasses. Crumble in tofu & brown, stirring to prevent burning. Add tomato paste & mix, adding water if necessary. Stir in mustard, onions and tomatoes. Add oregano and chili powder to taste and continue mixing and heating. Stir in mushrooms, ketchup & vinegar. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve on toasted sandwich buns or in tortillas or pitas. – See more at: http://vegweb.com/recipes/amys-vegetarian-sloppy-joes#sthash.UPJ6uVXh.dpuf
Heat olive oil in saucepan and add molasses. Crumble in tofu & brown, stirring to prevent burning. Add tomato paste & mix, adding water if necessary. Stir in mustard, onions and tomatoes. Add oregano and chili powder to taste and continue mixing and heating. Stir in mushrooms, ketchup & vinegar. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve on toasted sandwich buns or in tortillas or pitas. – See more at: http://vegweb.com/recipes/amys-vegetarian-sloppy-joes#sthash.UPJ6uVXh.dpuf
1/2 lb tofu
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 small onion, chopped
1 med. tomato, chopped
1 small jar sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper, chili powder, oregano to taste
1 tablespoon molasses – See more at: http://vegweb.com/recipes/amys-vegetarian-sloppy-joes#sthash.UPJ6uVXh.dpuf
1/2 lb tofu
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 small onion, chopped
1 med. tomato, chopped
1 small jar sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper, chili powder, oregano to taste
1 tablespoon molasses – See more at: http://vegweb.com/recipes/amys-vegetarian-sloppy-joes#sthash.UPJ6uVXh.dpuf

Garlic Parmeson Wonton Crackers

Store-bought crackers are way too salty a lot of the time, and I find they end up over-powering the dips I eat them with. The few times I have tried making homemade crackers right from scratch, they’ve always needed tweeking and the texture wasn’t perfect. Wonton crackers are the perfect balance between the two.

You still get to make easy and quick crackers at home, but you don’t have to go through the tricky process of making the dough yourself.

I got the idea for these from Life as a Strawberry, altered it a bit and came out with perfect textured crackers. They get bubbly and crunchy, plus you can customize how much salt goes onto them which is normally insane in store-bought crackers.Garlic Parmesan Wonton Crackers_DSC2007

Ingredients

Makes about 50 crackers

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan, finely grated
  • 200g pack of wonton wrappers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a small bowl or ramekin, mix together olive oil and garlic. Stir and set aside for 30 mins to let the flavours develop.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the wrappers in half, forming rectangles. Lay the wonton wrappers out on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush each wrapper with the garlic oil,then sprinkle parsley,  parmesan, salt and pepper on each one. Bake for 7-8 minutes each until puffy and golden brown. Serve immediately with your favourite dip, or save them for later in an airtight container for up to 5 days.Garlic Parmesan Wonton Crackers

St. Patrick’s Day Cake Batter Cookies

Cookies on St. Patty’s Day are a must for a few reasons. If you have kids, cookies are a great activity for a holiday to get them interested and let them show their creativity. If you don’t, you’re going to need something to soak up all the beer. Trust me. What better than green cake batter cookies?

Gel food colouring is so much better than the liquid version because it has a wider range of colours. Liquid ones don’t get very dark–you can add half the bottle and at best the colour you want will be a lighter shade. With gel colouring, you can get really nice dark colours without using much at all. I’d recommend using it for any recipe.

When I was making these, I was a little weirded out by the texture of the dough because it seemed almost “gummy” to me. I considered adding something to change the texture, but do not do this. If you follow the exact directions below, they will turn out perfectly and as seen below.Green Cake Batter Cookies

Ingredients

Makes roughly 24 cookies

  • 1 (515g) box of white cake mix
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. green gel food colouring (this will make it darker than the liquid kinds)
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir until smooth and consistent to form a dough. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Form dough into roughly 1-1/2 inch balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Roll the dough to make the balls taller than they are wide, if you want them to be puffier. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Bake for 9-10 minutes until cookies have risen slightly but not browned. Let cool for 5 minutes; the chocolate chips will be very hot and the cookies will still be soft. Once cooled, you can store them in an airtight container for about a week.Green Cake Batter CookiesGreen Cake Batter Cookies

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars

You know those days where you just need to take a moment to say, “I don’t care about beach bodies, I just want some cookies.” I’ve got your back. These bars are a combination of all great dessert ingredients: Chopped up Oreos inside homemade cookies dough sprinkled with M&Ms.

These are really good for parties or for a treat to bring in to work/school (just beware of peanuts) because you can cut them up into small pieces and everyone can get a taste. Since they are so rich, most people won’t want a huge square, and as a say in the directions, a little bit goes a long way.

I got this load of sugary goodness from Averie Cooks, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never tried making cookie bars before but it’s so genius and way less time-consuming than rolling out individual cookies, plus you don’t have to worry about their form. This recipe is a lot of fun to make and it’s pretty fool-proof too.M&M and Oreo Cookie BarsM&M and Oreo Cookie BarsM&M and Oreo Cookie BarsSidenote: Check out my profile from Emerge, I get interviewed and you get to see a little behind-the-scenes action in the kitchen. I’m making my Double Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies that I posted a few weeks ago—the crew ate some afterwards, it was a good time. Keep an eye out for my cat apron, it’s possibly the best hand-me-down I’ve ever received.

Ingredients

Makes 9-12 squares

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 18 Oreo cookies, quartered (they will crumble a bit in the process—that’s ok)
  • 1/2 cup peanut M&M’s, halved

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Carefully line an 8×8″ pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large, glass microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so it doesn’t clump. With electric beaters, mix in the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and beat until smooth. No longer use the electric mixer, and add the flour, stirring with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in the Oreo cookie bits.

Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Evenly sprinkle the M&M pieces over the top, lightly pressing them down with your finger so they become wedged in the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top of the bars have firmed slightly and the edges are a very light golden brown. M&M and Oreo Cookie Bars

Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack for an additional 30 minutes. Set on a dry surface and slice into squares (a little bit goes a long way since they are so sweet). Store in an airtight container for up to a week.M&M and Oreo Cookie Bars

Flourless Peanut Butter Brownies

I don’t know how I managed to get this far without having an 8×8 pan, but I finally bought one. I was always adjusting baking times to bread pans or long casserole dishes—the results were…edible? But not as good as this. The most useful $7 spent in a long time, not doubt.

Brownies are easy to make gluten-free because there’s so many options you can use instead of flour. I mean really, it’s melty delicious chocolate in a square. No complaints. I really want to try making black bean brownies as well, but my food processor has been in storage since July (I’m going mental).

I don’t normally like to use microwaves in cooking, but I wasn’t in the mood to make a double-boiler and I just wanted to get it done. C’est la vie. So if you’re more patient than me and want to melt your chocolate in the double boiler instead, it will work just as well if not better.

This recipe uses peanut butter chips as well as peanut butter, because when you drizzle the chips on top it solidifies better. You could use peanut butter if you can’t find chips, but prepare yourself for it to be a bit messier. I used this recipe from Yammie’s Noshery.Flourless Peanut Butter BrowniesFlourless Peanut Butter Brownies

Ingredients

Makes 12 brownies

  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips (plus 1/2 cup for adding in later)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Melted peanut butter chips and dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable shortening (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease or carefully line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper, then set aside.

Melt the peanut butter and 3/4 cup chocolate chips together in the microwave on a low power, stirring every 25 seconds, until melted and smooth. Be careful not to burn.**You can use a double boiler for this step too.

Allow to cool until the bowl is touchable, then beat in eggs, vanilla and sugar. Using a rubber spatula, add the cocoa powder and salt; stir until smooth.

Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, and spread into prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes—they may appear to be a little undercooked, but remove them from the oven and allow them to cool anyways. As the brownies cool, they will solidify.

Allow the pan to cool completely before cutting them into equal squares. Lightly drizzle with melted peanut butter and chocolate chips. If the peanut butter chips are too thick to drizzle, add a small amount of the shortening and heat it up for another 10 seconds. This should make it runny and easy to drizzle.Flourless Peanut Butter BrowniesFlourless Peanut Butter Brownies

Broccoli, Cheddar and Eggplant Quiche

Quick breakfasts are convenient, but sometimes putting in some extra time is worth it. Quiche is easy, cheap and low-maintenance so you can do the crossword, watch morning cartoons or sit in a morning-zombie state at your kitchen table until it’s done.

I know eggplant is not really a traditional addition to quiche, but I really needed to use it up and just threw it in there. Since I diced it up into small cubes, the flavour came up without giving a weird texture. One tip I do have though is to salt the eggplant 30 minutes in advance if you have the time, then press out the excess liquid with paper towel. It helps with the moisture level of the quiche (though mine still turned out really well, and I didn’t do that).

Broccoli and cheddar obviously go well together but feel free to experiment with ingredients to add into the quiche. If you’re using harder vegetables that require a longer cooking time (such as sweet potatoes) I recommend cooking them before adding them to the pie crust so ensure everything is cooked all the way through. As long as you don’t make it overflow, you’re good.Vegetarian Breakfast QuicheVegetarian Breakfast Quiche

Makes 1 9-inch quiche

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup eggplant, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Pinch of each chili flakes, black pepper, and salt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 9-inch pie crust, thawed to room temperature

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until aromas rise up and onions soften. Add in broccoli and eggplant, and reduce heat a small amount, cooking for another 5 minutes.

In the meantime, beat together eggs, milk, chili flakes, black pepper and salt in a small bowl.

Remove vegetables from heat and add to the bare pie crust. Pour egg mixture overtop of the vegetables, then evenly sprinkle cheese over the egg. Bake for 40 minutes until the egg is cooked all the way through, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating. Slice into even sections (or if you’re shameless like me, just dig into it yourself).Vegetarian Quiche

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

Searching for your next soft and chewy cookie to make? This it it.

Part way through the recipe, I switched from eletric beaters to a rubber spatula as not to overmix the flour. It gave me great results and I strongly recommend you all do the same, whether it’s with a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, etc. I also made very rounded dough balls once chilled (not flattened at all) so that once the dough begins to bake, it flattens but not to the point where it’s thin or crunchy.

I made these as a present for my boyfriend and had an extremely difficult time not eating them all before I could give them away. I had to very tightly wrap them up and put them out of sight (I’m not even joking).White Chocolate Snickerdoodle CookiesWhite Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients

Makes about 20 cookies

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup white chocolate chips, depending on your sweetness preference
  • 4 tbsp. of each ground cinnamon and granulated sugar

Method

Beat together butter and both sugars in a large bowl with electric beaters for about 60 seconds until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla extract, then beat until well combined. Scrape down any excess from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix in. From this point on, only use the rubber spatula for mixing. This ensures the cookies will remain soft and chewy once out of the oven.

Add in the cinnamon, baking soda and flour, and gently mix with spatula until a consistent dough has formed. Stir in chocolate chips and place dough in the freezer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the additional cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for rolling the snickerdoodle cookies in.

Form the chilled dough into dessert-spoon sized balls (just larger than a teaspoon), roll in cinnamon sugar, and place on a Silpat-lined or parchment lined baking sheet spaced a few inches apart so they won’t melt together. I fit on 12 cookies per sheet. Do not flatten them at all. Bake for 10-12 minutes and remove from oven. Note: They may not look fully done when you’re taking them out of the oven, but still remove them. Once they cool down they will be chewy and soft.White Chocolate Snickerdoodle CookiesWhite Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies