Dips and Spreads – Sondi Bruner http://www.sondibruner.com freelance writer and holistic nutritionist Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:00:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.11 Blueberry Compote + Tips For Stewing Fruit http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/09/07/blueberry-compote-tips-stewing-fruit/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/09/07/blueberry-compote-tips-stewing-fruit/#respond Thu, 07 Sep 2017 13:00:59 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7266 I haven’t posted a new recipe in over two months but I have a good reason: it’s tough to blog about food when you’re not eating very much of it. I’ve mainly been subsisting on broth, green juice, soup, dairy-free elixirs, low-fibre smoothies and stewed fruit like this recipe for blueberry compote. The reason? Another bowel […]

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Blueberry Compote + Tips for Stewing Fruit

I haven’t posted a new recipe in over two months but I have a good reason: it’s tough to blog about food when you’re not eating very much of it. I’ve mainly been subsisting on broth, green juice, soup, dairy-free elixirs, low-fibre smoothies and stewed fruit like this recipe for blueberry compote.

The reason? Another bowel obstruction. A severe one. In July, I went to the local emergency room for what I thought was a typical bowel obstruction. I assumed that the ER would give me some pain meds and fluids for a few hours, then send me home.

Instead, I had a CT scan in the middle of the night and in the morning the surgical staff informed me that my small intestine was 100% blocked and I needed surgery ASAP. Every single obstruction I’ve ever had has passed on its own, but the surgeon said this wasn’t an issue of food getting stuck; it was a buildup of scar tissue that had completely blocked my gut. It wasn’t going to go away without surgical intervention.

When I had surgery in 2003, it was planned months in advance and I was terrified. The thought of another surgery – even if it was warranted – sent me into sheer panic mode. I would do anything to avoid going under the knife again. (I am convinced, however irrationally, that if I have surgery I won’t make it off the table.)

The surgeons wanted to review my CT scan in more detail and track down my latest MRI, which was taken this spring. It showed I had multiple spots with scar tissue and strictures (narrowed bowels), but nothing that required surgery. In fact, the MRI showed a great improvement in inflammation compared to the year before. So how had things deteriorated so quickly?

After a closer look at my scan, the surgeons realized that my bowels were mostly blocked, not entirely blocked. They decided to admit me and monitor the situation. I continued to get better, and later in the day the hospital gastroenterologists arrived and gauged that surgery was likely unnecessary, and suggested they take more x-rays the next morning. Sometimes, they said, images during an acute flare look worse than they actually are.

The x-rays showed that the obstruction had totally resolved on its own.

What a glorious relief.

And then I got shingles.

The stress of the obstruction, combined with my latest drug infusion (which I had the morning of the obstruction), likely caused the shingles to emerge while I was in the hospital (I stayed there for four days). I am fortunate because for me, shingles wasn’t the nightmare I’ve heard it can be. The doctors had started me on a couple of antibiotics in preparation for surgery, and these had some anti-inflammatory effects right away. Don’t get me wrong: the shingles was uncomfortable, but not unbearable.

And so I’ve been spending much of my summer on the couch watching Netflix with the dog. Resting, recuperating and healing. These kinds of flares often require more time to heal emotionally than physically, but in this case I truly needed the physical rest.

Eating has been difficult, not only from a lack of appetite but also due to fear that anything can get stuck at anytime. Hence the soft and liquidy diet.

Blueberries for blueberry compote

Summer is the best season for fruit and I definitely didn’t want to miss out! That’s why I’ve been experimenting with stewing fruit and let me tell you, it’s absolutely delicious.

Here is what I’ve learned during my Summer of Stewing Fruit.

Tips for Stewing Fruit

Berries

  • I haven’t stewed a ton of fruit other than blueberries due to the seeds, but the process is basically the same no matter the berry. Throw your berries in the pot on medium heat, then lower and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes until soft.
  • The berries will release liquid as they cook, so don’t add too much extra. Stewed fruit will thicken as it cools as well – but if it’s too thin then add some arrowroot, chia or flax.
  • Mash up the fruit, or not.

Small Stone Fruits

  • Blanch the fruit in boiling water for a minute or two. Don’t let them go for too long or they will turn into a mealy mush.
  • Drain and allow them to cool.
  • Slip off the skins and mash, dice or slice.

Large Stone Fruits

  • Cut them in half and remove the pits.
  • Boil for 5-8 minutes, until you see the skin begin to pucker and peel.
  • Drain and allow them to cool.
  • Slip off the skins and mash, dice or slice.

Fall Fruits

  • Dice into small pieces and add to a pot (no need to bother peeling them, unless they aren’t organic). You’ll probably need a few tbsp of water.
  • Simmer over low heat for 8-12 minutes, or until soft.
  • Mash or puree into applesauce (or pear-plesauce?)

How to Flavour Stewed Fruit

Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you may not need to add any extra natural sweeteners. Most of the time, I don’t add anything. If I need to add sugar, I use coconut sugar so I don’t add more liquid to the mix.

For pizazz, add extra flavours such as:

  • citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
  • citrus juice
  • ginger slices (remove after cooking)
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • cloves
  • rosemary
  • sea salt
  • peppermint
  • lavender

How to Serve Stewed Fruit

You can eat stewed fruit:

  • On its own
  • With coconut yogurt or other dairy-free yogurt
  • With cashew cream or coconut whipped cream
  • Spread on toast or crackers, just like jam
  • With granola and nut milk
  • Folded into ice cream or popsicles
  • Incorporate it into baked goods
  • As a topping for ice cream or breakfast porridge

I’ve been making this blueberry compote recipe almost every week and it’s versatile and stupidly easy. My fave is to pair it with coconut yogurt and hemp seeds – amazing.

Blueberry Compote
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sugar-free
Author:
Serves: 1¼ cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Rinse the blueberries and put them in a pot.
  2. Turn the heat to medium and 'saute' the blueberries for a minute. Turn the heat down, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 8-10. Stir occasionally.
  3. Mash the berries gently with a fork or potato masher. Or you can skip this step, depending on your preference.
  4. Taste and add sweetener if necessary.
  5. Let cool and store in the fridge.

 

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Salted Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/06/27/salted-dark-chocolate-sunflower-seed-butter/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/06/27/salted-dark-chocolate-sunflower-seed-butter/#comments Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7232 This ain’t nutella. It’s not even close – for a delicious version that is, check out this decadent chocolate spread (and it’s nut-free to boot!). I hope you’re still with me, because if you are you will be rewarded with a luxurious pleasure. I’ve long been a fan of sunflower seed butter (sunbutter), so much […]

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Salted Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

This ain’t nutella.

It’s not even close – for a delicious version that is, check out this decadent chocolate spread (and it’s nut-free to boot!).

I hope you’re still with me, because if you are you will be rewarded with a luxurious pleasure. I’ve long been a fan of sunflower seed butter (sunbutter), so much so that I devoted an entire week to it a few years back. When you combine it with dark chocolate, you end up with a grown-up rendition of ‘nutella’; a version that pays its bills on time and drinks robust wine and keeps houseplants alive.

The palate experience of this salted dark chocolate sunflower seed butter goes like this:

  1. The strong, almost peanut-like flavour of sunbutter.
  2. The dark, bitter notes of dark chocolate.
  3. The hit of salt.

Given the order of the flavour adventure, perhaps I should be calling this Sunflower Seed Butter Dark Chocolate Salt, but that doesn’t make much sense or have the same ring, you know?

I used 85% dark chocolate in this recipe, though you could use anywhere from 60% – 100%. Anything above 80% isn’t going to be very sweet, which I am totally OK with. If you’re not, feel free to add some maple syrup, raw honey or your favourite natural sweetener.

This recipe is great for spreading on gluten-free toast or crackers and is absolutely amazing in dairy-free elixirs. Hot water, salted dark chocolate sunflower seed butter, cacao powder, coconut oil, honey and hemp seeds – it’s basically like thick drinking chocolate.

I also used it to make 3-ingredient cookies. But you’ll have to stay tuned for that recipe. :)

Salted Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 cups sunflower seeds, roasted or raw
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, melted (about 2 generous tablespoons, or about half of a 85 g bar)
  • ¼ - ½ tsp salt (I used the full ½ tsp cause that's how I roll now)
Instructions
  1. Add your sunflower seeds to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate and add it to the food processor, along with the ¼ salt. Blend again to incorporate.
  3. Taste, and add more salt or sweetener if necessary.

Academy of Culinary Nutrition Open House

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Edamame + Roasted Garlic Spread http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/05/16/edamame-roasted-garlic-spread/ Tue, 16 May 2017 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7185 I’m reluctant to complain about the weather, but I’m going to do it anyway. After the icy winter we had here in Vancouver where the sidewalks and roads were literal skating rinks (but not fun ones – they were dangerous!), I promised I would never gripe about rain. Of course, if you consider weather conversations meaningless […]

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Edamame + Roasted Garlic Dip

I’m reluctant to complain about the weather, but I’m going to do it anyway. After the icy winter we had here in Vancouver where the sidewalks and roads were literal skating rinks (but not fun ones – they were dangerous!), I promised I would never gripe about rain.

Of course, if you consider weather conversations meaningless small talk for people who have nothing else interesting to say, then feel free to skip on down to the recipe (plus, in this case you’re not entirely inaccurate – these days I’m a hermit).

So the weather. It’s mid-May and I’m still wearing my winter jacket and boots, along with hats and gloves during early morning walks with the dog. It’s dark. It’s grey. It’s gloomy. During the last week or two, the rains have been downright torrential. While it rains a lot here, it’s usually a constant light rain or drizzle – not the kind of rain where you feel like you’re in a car wash.

Since I spend two hours a day walking a dog who is happy to be outside no matter the weather, walking in the rain hasn’t been fun. I’m ready for some sunshine!

The one bright spot among the raindrops is everything is incredibly lush and green. I can almost pretend I’m in Scotland or Ireland (er, or how I imagine these places would look and feel from watching shows like Outlander and Vikings).

I thought I’d celebrate Spring with a bright green edamame dip that makes me feel like sunshine inside even when it’s raining. This simple, flavourful dip is easy to blend together and is perfect for spreading on veggies, crackers, chips and gluten-free bread, or you can thin it a bit and use it as a sauce.

I love the flavour of roasted garlic and while many people roast the bulbs whole, I take a different approach. I often find that with a whole bulb, I’m not able to squeeze all of the garlicky goodness out and end up with half the bulb on my hands in a sticky mess. Is that just me? Or can you relate?

Anyway, instead of roasting garlic bulbs, I like to peel the cloves, drizzle them in olive oil and wrap them in foil. I use my toaster oven to roast them instead of heating up the entire oven, and it’s much speedier than roasting the whole bulb – the cloves are nice and soft within 15-20 minutes.

Depending on the consistency you love, you can blend this until it’s super smooth, or leave it a little bit chunky. I opted for the latter, but it’s dealer’s choice.

Edamame + Roasted Garlic Spread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sugar-free, vegan
Author:
Recipe type: Spread
Serves: 1.5 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame (I use organic, non-GMO)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roasted
  • Half a large lemon, juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
Instructions
  1. In a vegetable steamer, steam the edamame until tender (about 3-5 minutes). Allow them to cool slightly.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth (or leave it chunky). Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. If you'd like it smoother, add more water or oil.

The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

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Beet, Carrot + Cashew Dip http://www.sondibruner.com/2017/01/17/beet-carrot-cashew-dip/ Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=7070 Perhaps you’ve heard the news: it’s been cold and snowy in Vancouver. While it may surprise you to hear that wintry weather in Canada made the national news (aren’t we used to our igloos by now?), my mom has texted me on three separate occasions from Toronto to announce that my adopted city’s climate was indeed […]

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Beet, Cashew + Carrot Dip

Perhaps you’ve heard the news: it’s been cold and snowy in Vancouver. While it may surprise you to hear that wintry weather in Canada made the national news (aren’t we used to our igloos by now?), my mom has texted me on three separate occasions from Toronto to announce that my adopted city’s climate was indeed the lead story.

Vancouver has a mild, temperate climate and snow is rare. When it snows, it’s a light dusting and the rain typically washes it away in a day or two. Starting in December, we were ‘hammered’ by repeated snowfalls and below freezing temperatures.

While the amount of snow we actually received is minimal compared to most other places in Canada, when you combine snow and cold temperatures with a city that is totally unprepared to deal with it then chaos ensues.

Sidewalks remained unshoveled. Ice piled up. Residential crossings were skating rinks. Car wheels skidded and spun. Dogs, like our dear Daisy, were shortchanged on their walks.

Snowy Daisy

I’ve never experienced living in a city so incapable of handling snow before and I’m not being a wimpy when I tell you we have been hesitant to leave home. Walking or driving on ice is a recipe for disaster, even with snow boots or snow tires. (Maybe you think I’m being wimpy. I’m OK with that.)

On a number of occasions since we’ve been housebound I’ve found myself gazing into the fridge wondering what I can cobble together without having to venture out for additional ingredients. This isn’t a sad situation – it’s surprisingly easy to do when you’ve got a well-stocked pantry and freezer. Grab a free PDF download of How to Create a Healthy Pantry here.

That’s how this vegan beet, carrot and cashew dip was born. Using a stray golden beet and a few leftover carrots from the farmers market, this creamy dip came together quite simply. The biggest effort involved was waiting for the beet to roast in the oven and that’s not really any effort at all. Simply wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, then peel and chop. You could steam the beet if you want to save some time, but I personally prefer the roasted flavour.

I’ve made this dip a few times with a mix of different winter vegetables. It always turns out delicious and relatively the same, since the flavour profile of the veggies I’ve used (carrots, sweet potato, squash, beets, etc.) are sweetly similar. As long as you have about 2 heaping cups of winter or root vegetables to add into the mix, you’ll end up with something tasty.

And let’s not forget the health benefits of this creamy beauty. Carrots are a rich source of Vitamin A, which helps to boost the immune system and aids with tissue healing, while beets support detoxification (which you may be interested in considering this is January and all). Both veggies are full of antioxidants and fibre – great for balancing blood sugar and ensuring we have good poops.

Plus, the vivid orange colour just might brighten your day. Especially when it’s snowing.

Beet, Carrot + Cashew Dip
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, sliced into coins (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 1 large yellow beet, roasted and chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Bring two inches of water in a pot to a boil. Place the carrot coins in a vegetable steamer and cook for 8-10 minutes, until they are soft and tender.
  2. Drain the cashews in a strainer and rinse well. Add the carrots, beets, cashews, apple cider vinegar and salt to a high speed blender or food processor.
  3. Blend until smooth and creamy. Depending on the strength of your blender, you may need to add a little bit of extra water, but add it 1 tbsp at a time.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  5. Chill in the fridge before serving.

 

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Sesame + Sunflower Superfood Butter http://www.sondibruner.com/2016/03/28/sesame-sunflower-superfood-butter/ Mon, 28 Mar 2016 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=6873 I’m a fan of food mashups and wacky ingredient combinations. Whether it’s creating the love child of coconut butter and almond butter or incorporating kale into brownies, I’m always willing to toss a science experiment at the wall and see what sticks. I’ve made a lot of nut butters in my day and every time I think […]

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Sesame + Sunflower Superfood Butter

I’m a fan of food mashups and wacky ingredient combinations. Whether it’s creating the love child of coconut butter and almond butter or incorporating kale into brownies, I’m always willing to toss a science experiment at the wall and see what sticks.

I’ve made a lot of nut butters in my day and every time I think I’ve fully explored the world of nut butters, I try a new combination and realize there is always something novel to discover. And now, like a 17th century British monarch or Robert Baratheon, I have a new love child – sesame and sunflower superfood butter. Except this love child I’ll adore, not shun or murder.

Given that this is a mashup recipe, I tried to determine a shorter recipe title. Unfortunately, ‘Sun-Hini’ just doesn’t have an ‘I must scarf that right now’ kinda ring. And so, Sesame + Sunflower Superfood butter it is.

This nut-free recipe is a perfect entangling of tahini and sunflower seed butter (sunbutter). You truly cannot tell where one butter ends and another begins – at first you’ll think this is sesame tahini, then doubt your assertion and wonder if it’s sunbutter. Then you’ll change your mind again. It’s heavenly!

The ground flax isn’t noticeable and offers that fibre-rich, anti-inflammatory edge. You can certainly leave it out if you’re not a fan, or are feeling lazy.

Sesame + Sunflower Superfood Butter
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan, egg-free, sugar-free, five ingredients or less
Author:
Recipe type: Spread
Serves: 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups sesame seeds
  • 1½ cups sunflower seeds
  • ⅛ tsp salt (optional)
  • 3 tsp whole flax seeds, ground
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the seeds out onto a baking sheet. Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and golden. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.
  3. Put the seeds in a food processor, and blend until they become a smooth and creamy butter. This may take anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on your food processor. Add in the salt, if using, and pulse several times to incorporate it.
  4. In a spice grinder, grind the whole flax seeds into a fine meal. Stir the ground flax into the seed butter by hand.

Culinary Nutrition Expert Program - Live Q & A

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15 Ways to Flavour Cashew Cream http://www.sondibruner.com/2015/06/08/how-to-flavour-cashew-cream/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2015/06/08/how-to-flavour-cashew-cream/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=6396 Last week, as I gorged on cashew cauliflower cream sauce I was awash with appreciation for the cashew nut. Not only are these guys high in protein, bone-building magnesium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but they are also one of the most versatile ingredients in a dairy-free kitchen. From non-dairy cream cheese to ice cream to […]

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Dairy-Free Vegan Cashew Cream

Last week, as I gorged on cashew cauliflower cream sauce I was awash with appreciation for the cashew nut. Not only are these guys high in protein, bone-building magnesium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but they are also one of the most versatile ingredients in a dairy-free kitchen. From non-dairy cream cheese to ice cream to sour cream to nut cheese, cashews can basically replicate all of your favourite dairy goodies, but without leaving you with the whole bloaty stomach/liquid poop thing.

Dairy-free cashew cream is an easy, basic recipe that you can adapt and modify to suit your tastes. All you need is a blender, cashews, water and salt to make it happen. Here is my starter recipe:

1 cup cashews, soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed
½ cup – 1 cup water
Salt to taste

Instructions: Add cashews and ½ cup of water to a blender. Blend until smooth. Depending on how thick you want your cream to be, or how strong your blender is, you might need to add more water. When you’re satisfied with the consistency, salt to taste.

And now the fun part! Here are fun ways to flavour cashew cream. Of course, you can adjust any of the amounts of herbs and spices in here to your taste. I’ve also separated the creams into three categories: blended, stirred and sweet.

Blended Cashew Creams

I recommend blending these in your blender or food processor until smooth.

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream

1 cup cashews cream + 2 roasted red peppers + pinch of chilli flakes

Spicy ‘n Smoky Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + ½ tsp smoked paprika + ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Curried Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 1 ½ tsp mild curry powder

Sweet Pea Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 1 cup cooked peas

Smoky Tahini Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 1/3 cup tahini + ½ tsp cumin + ½ tsp coriander + flesh from 1 roasted eggplant

Stirred Cashew Creams

No need to pop these in the blender – just mix in a bowl and stir well.

Dill Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 4 tbsp chopped dill + 1 tbsp lemon juice

Roasted Garlic + Rosemary Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 4-5 cloves roasted garlic + 2 tbsp lemon juice + 1 tbsp chopped rosemary

Herb-Loaded Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 1 tbsp chopped dill + 1 tbsp chopped mint + 1 tbsp chopped basil + 1 tbsp chopped parsley + 1 tbsp chopped chives

Spinach-Flecked Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 1 cup finely chopped spinach + 1 tbsp minced garlic

Ginger Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 1 tbsp grated ginger + 1 tsp lemon juice + 1 tsp honey + pinch of cayenne

Sweet Cashew Creams

For the sweet cashew creams, just add a pinch of salt before sweetening. You can also increase or reduce the sweetener to taste.

Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup maple syrup + ½ tsp cinnamon

Chocolate Chip Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup maple syrup + 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Mint Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup maple syrup + 1-2 drops peppermint oil

Mocha Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup cacao powder + ¼ cup maple syrup + 1 tbsp Dandy blend or ground coffee

Strawberry Cashew Cream

1 cup cashew cream + 1 cup strawberries + ½ tsp cinnamon + additional sweetener if needed (blend this one)

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Beet-mus (Roasted Beet Hummus) http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/12/01/beet-mus-roasted-beet-hummus/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/12/01/beet-mus-roasted-beet-hummus/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:00:45 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=6091 Well, well, well. Doesn’t this look festive? I strongly suggest you invite roasted beet hummus, or beet-mus as I like to call it, to show its pretty face at your holiday table. Can you schmear it on Brussels sprouts and turkey? No, not so much. But it does make an excellent healthy, allergen-friendly appetizer when […]

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Beetmus

Well, well, well. Doesn’t this look festive?

I strongly suggest you invite roasted beet hummus, or beet-mus as I like to call it, to show its pretty face at your holiday table.

Can you schmear it on Brussels sprouts and turkey? No, not so much. But it does make an excellent healthy, allergen-friendly appetizer when you pair it with crudités or crackers.

Plus, beets are incredibly detoxifying. Think of serving it as a way to help your guests offset their holiday cheer.

Beet-mus (Roasted Beet Hummus)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free
Author:
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 8 very small beets, roasted, cooled and peeled (mine were a touch smaller than a golf ball)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ cup tahini (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp hot smoked paprika (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drizzle your beets with olive oil and wrap them in foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with a fork or knife. Set them aside until they are cool enough to handle, then slip off the peels with your hands (they should come off easily).
  2. Throw the beets in the food processor and blend until they are mostly broken down.
  3. Add the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and smoked paprika. Blend again until smooth. If necessary, add a tablespoon or so of water to help things along.
  4. Makes about 2½ cups.

 

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Homemade Sesame Tahini http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/07/21/homemade-sesame-tahini/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/07/21/homemade-sesame-tahini/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=5840 Jars of tahini used to last a long time in my house. I’d use a daub here, a spoonful there, but overall it was a condiment that was plucked out of the fridge sparingly. This is no longer the case. I use heaps of tahini in smoothies, dressings and sauces. I slather it on toast […]

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Gluten-Free Tahini

Jars of tahini used to last a long time in my house.

I’d use a daub here, a spoonful there, but overall it was a condiment that was plucked out of the fridge sparingly.

This is no longer the case. I use heaps of tahini in smoothies, dressings and sauces. I slather it on toast with coconut oil, honey and hemp seeds. I gobble it – gasp – straight up with a spoon.

I’ve always bought tahini at the grocery store, until a friend posted a picture on Facebook of homemade tahini and I had one of those lightbulb/forehead-smacking moments and felt quite silly about never making it myself. I promptly ordered a two-kilogram bag of raw, organic sesame seeds and like all the other nut butters I’ve made, the homemade version tastes even better than the stuff in stores.

Other recipes for tahini tend to include olive oil, which I’ve omitted. Roasting the sesame seeds brings out their natural oils, making it far easier to blend them into smooth and silky deliciousness. If you’d prefer your tahini raw and the seeds are too dry, then you may need a tablespoon or so to get things moving.

Homemade Sesame Tahini
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, five ingredients or less
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3½ cups raw organic sesame seeds
  • pinch of salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the seeds onto a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Set a timer, or watch those suckers, because we don't want them to burn.
  3. When the seeds have cooled, pour them into a food processor. Blend away, scraping down the sides as needed, until the tahini is smooth and creamy. Add the salt, if using.
  4. Store in the fridge. Makes about 2 cups.

 

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Roasted Fennel and Almond Pesto http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/07/14/roasted-fennel-and-almond-pesto/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/07/14/roasted-fennel-and-almond-pesto/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=5880 On a grey, rainy June afternoon three years ago, I brought a fennel and apple salad to school for lunch. I didn’t feel like eating a cold salad. But it was what I had, so I ate it. Later, I ended up in the hospital with a bowel obstruction and subsequently developed an aversion to […]

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Fennel Pesto 1

On a grey, rainy June afternoon three years ago, I brought a fennel and apple salad to school for lunch.

I didn’t feel like eating a cold salad. But it was what I had, so I ate it.

Later, I ended up in the hospital with a bowel obstruction and subsequently developed an aversion to raw fennel. While I use the dried spice in my cooking, I never buy it anymore.

It wasn’t the fennel’s fault. Fennel is a superb digestive aid, and it’s full of helpful antioxidants like Vitamin C and fibre, which helps sweep the baddies out of our colons.

Then fennel showed up in my Harvest box and I figured, well, let’s roast the darn thing and see what happens.

Caramelizing the fennel and garlic gives this pesto a sweet, gentle flavour. And no hospital visits were required.

Fennel for the win!

I created this recipe using ingredients from SPUD, who supplies me with an online credit. As always, any opinions I express about the products are my own.

Get $20 off your first SPUD order by entering my special coupon code ‘Sondi’ at the checkout (it’s valid on orders of $40 or more). It’s a sweet deal: you get forty bucks worth of organic groceries for only $20. SPUD has locations in Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Fennel and Almond Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, grain-free
Author:
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large bulb of fennel
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup whole organic almonds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • olive oil as needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pluck the fronds from your fennel bulb and set them aside. Cut off the stalks and save them for another use (like broth).
  3. Trim your bulb in half and cut out the core, then slice it lengthwise into one-inch pieces.
  4. Toss the fennel slices into a pan, along with the whole garlic cloves. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and toss to coat.
  5. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until the fennel begins to caramelize and your whole kitchen smells of delicious garlic. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool.
  6. In a food processor, grind your almonds until they are broken down into a rough meal. Add the fennel and garlic, along with the lemon juice and salt. Blend until everything comes together. If the pesto is dry, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
  7. Take a handful of fennel fronds and break them up, then add them to the food processor. Pulse everything together. Taste, then adjust seasonings.
  8. Makes about one cup.

 

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Rhubarb Orange Chia Jam http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/05/28/rhubarb-orange-chia-jam/ http://www.sondibruner.com/2014/05/28/rhubarb-orange-chia-jam/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.sondibruner.com/?p=5750 I created this recipe using ingredients from SPUD, who supplies me with an online credit. As always, any opinions I express about the products are my own. I am certainly not the first person on earth to make a batch of chia jam, but boy, whoever dreamed up the idea is a genius. Chia seeds […]

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Rhubarb Chia Jam 3

I created this recipe using ingredients from SPUD, who supplies me with an online credit. As always, any opinions I express about the products are my own.

I am certainly not the first person on earth to make a batch of chia jam, but boy, whoever dreamed up the idea is a genius.

Chia seeds are loaded with fibre, protein, anti-inflammatory omega-3s, calcium, iron, magnesium and antioxidants, and they swell up beautifully in liquid to create the perfect spreadable jam. You’ll get a little crunch from them, but the texture is similar to the seeds you’ll find in other preserves.

You can use any fruit you like in here, though I recommend you take advantage of rhubarb while it’s in season. It’s deliciously tangy, high in Vitamin C, and helps with detoxification and blood circulation.

I’ll warn you now: this jam is not sweet. Like my lemon lover’s smoothie, it’s bursting with tartness. So pucker up, baby.

Get $20 off your first SPUD order by entering my special coupon code ‘Sondi’ at the checkout (it’s valid on orders of $40 or more). It’s a sweet deal: you get forty bucks worth of organic groceries for only $20. SPUD has locations in Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

And congrats to Dr. Melissa Carr, who was the random winner of the $100 giveaway from SPUD. I hope you enjoy this service as much as I do!

Rhubarb Orange Chia Jam
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, grain-free, five ingredients or less
Author:
Recipe type: Spread
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 large stalks rhubarb (about ½ pound)
  • 1 Valencia orange
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 tbsp chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Chop up the rhubarb and throw it in a pot with ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb has broken down.
  2. Put the rhubarb into a blender, along with the zest and juice of the orange and the maple syrup. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the jam into a bowl and add two tablespoons of chia seeds. Put the jam in the fridge to thicken for a couple of hours. If it's not thick enough for your liking, add another tablespoon of chia.
  4. Makes about 1½ cups.

 

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