No bake vegan almond date bars

Vegan raw date nut and oatmeal bars

My kids have a love affair with oatmeal, they would happily eat anything with the word oatmeal in it.  Refrigerator oatmeal, granola, cookies, you name it. When it was time to choose my secret recipe club assignment, I went through the Saturday evening pot’s archives.I bookmarked their Berry Smoothies with Hidden Greens,  and their Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Balsamic Vinegar recipe among many others. Then I came across this recipe for no bake fruit crumble bars and I instantly knew that this was the one! Before I can get to the recipe let me tell you a little about my assigned blog. The Saturday evening pot is run by the Chef, who graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a degree in Culinary Arts and has always loved cooking.His family, The Lucky Wife and The Well-Fed Kids, who get to be the taste-testers of his new creations .They share their food adventures and recipes through their blog Raw vegan date almond bars This particular recipe was made by the Lucky wife. I loved it because it was quick, easy,nutritious, lunch box friendly and of course it had oatmeal in it. I adapted the recipe a little using dates as  a filling instead of jam, I also added a few spices to jazz things up a bit. I used dates because I wanted to try these bars in their purest form, raw, vegan and with out any added sugar. Why you may ask? Well until recently a recipe described as raw, vegan and without sugar was one I would not even consider. It must be bland and tasteless I always told myself but the more I read about the health benefits of raw and vegan food, the more I am tempted to give recipes like this one a try. So I ventured on,and I am happy to report that after trying these bars, the result blew me away. The crust had a wonderful texture with the earthy oats, the nutty almonds , the hint of coconut and slight sweetness provided by the dates. The filling added a spicy sweet note without making these bars overly sweet. The best part is that the kids loved them so much that they demanded them for school and I was more than happy to oblige. (more…)

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Sushi salad with ginger soy dressing

sushi salad with ginger dressing 2

No winter lasts forever

Spring is officially here and with the kids freshly out of their mid-term exams it was time for a picnic. A time to have fun, recharge and hunt for color.

The kids had a blast chasing butterflies and lady bugs, climbing trees, picking flowers and building a mini fire with my brother to make tea and grilled cheese sandwiches. I personally took the time to soak up the peace and quite away from all noise and mono tones of the city.A cup of tea and a view like this are some of life’s simplest yet most valuable joys

beautiful spring

 

yellow flowers

 Have you ever wished trees could talk?

I know it sounds crazy but on numerous occasions, I wished trees could talk.  During our picnic we came across this tree, I was simply fascinated by its trunk! I would have loved to listen to what this tree had to tell about the decades it stood there watching, listening and growing. I would happily spend hours listening to her story about how she overcame whatever it was that left that mark in her trunk and how she managed to find the strength to go on..

chef in disguise jordan

 

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Creamy citrus and poppy seeds salad dressing

Citrus poppy seed salad dressing

Sunday is here which means it is time for a new and refreshing salad dressing recipe. The weather is warming up, and with spring in the air, I crave colors! it is like I need to wash away the months of winter gloom. I go hunting for color and beauty every where,I’d be stuck in traffic but my attention is on the sidewalk admiring a tender flower opening up its petals to greet the world. Driving home late from work , I try to focus on the breath taking hues of sunset, it is like the sun is a silent artist painting the horizon everyday trying to remind us that even endings can be beautiful.  I get home and all I crave is a bowl of refreshing greens dotted with splashes of colors from the different fruits and veges and perfectly complimented with a new homemade salad dressing

Today’s dressing is creamy,sweet and tangy with a little bite of Dijon mustard, it is a perfect compliment to green salads especially salads that feature fruit.

Citrus poppy seed salad dressing

Citrus and poppy seeds salad dressing

Recipe source:Women’s weekly salad cookbook

2 teaspoons (10 ml) orange zest
¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (10 gm) (1/3 oz) poppy seeds
1/3 cup (80 ml) sour cream (I usually use labneh for a lighter dressing)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) mustard
1 teaspoon (5 ml) honey

Whisk all the ingredients until homogenous

3 fresh spring vinaigrettes #salad-dressing-Sunday

Spring salad dressings

It is Sunday which means it is time for a new recipe in our salad dressing Sunday series. For today we’re taking on vinaigrettes. Mastering the art of making vinaigrettes is one of the best skills you can learn as a passionate cook because they can transform your salads from dull and boring to refreshing and interesting. I will be sharing three different variables of this popular salad dressing with you today along with some guidelines to help you make your very own signiture vinaigrette

A vinaigrette, if you are not familiar with it, is generally an emulsion of vinegar with some form of oil. This happens to be the dressing I make the most, simply because it is quick, easy and there is plenty of room for creativity in making it. All you have to do is change a few simple ingredients and you’ll get a refreshing new dressing every time.

A few tips that I have learned that will help you make amazing vinaigrettes:

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Fennel, mint and pea salad

fennel salad

It is time for our secret recipe club reveal and for this month I was assigned Leigh’ s blog  Chit chat chomp.  Leigh lives in  Melbourne and she describes herself as being” in love with pots of tea, farmers markets, French jazz and fresh flowers.  Winters spent rugged up under blankets.It’s the little things in life that make me smile.”

I couldn’t agree with her more!The most beautiful things in life are indeed the simplest ones. Like going on a long awaited trip back home. Cutting lemons off the last few trees of your grandparents orchard , being enveloped by their enchanting smell, that transforms you back to your childhood in a heart beat. Now just looking at the pictures, makes you smile.

lemon

 

On her blog leigh shares beautiful French recipes,she has a cookbook challenge in which she chooses recipes from her collection of cookbooks and features them.I bookmarked her Orange soda bread with mixed seeds and her Golden shorties but her shaved fennel, ricotta and pea salad won the day. The kid (who are usually not too keen on salads) asked for seconds! The salad turned out to be light and refreshing. The peas and mint are a wonderful match but pairing them with the zesty lemon and the crunchy fennel really takes this salad to the next level!

Fennel ricotta pea salad

Shaved Fennel, Ricotta, and Pea Salad


Cookbook:
 Where the Heart Is
Author/TV Chef: Karen Martini

2/3 cup fresh or frozen green peas
4 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 large bulb fennel
5-6 sprigs mint, leaves picked and torn
Juice of one medium lemon
200g ricotta

Whisk the lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil in a small bowl, set aside

Place peas in lightly salted boiling water and blanch for 15-20 seconds. You only want to warm them through.

Drain the peas and set them aside

Cut the fennel in half,  slice bulb very finely.

Now you have two options:

You can place the fennel, peas, ricotta and mint in a large bowl and toss them with the dressing or you can arrange them in layers the way I did and drizzle them with the dressing when you are ready to serve them

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