Comfort Food

I don’t know if it’s just me, but October seems like the month of comfort food. 

I thinks it’s probably because of the change in temperature. The chilliness makes want to have warm minestrone soup along with garlic bread and pasta– one of my favourite meals growing up.

So, because there was no school day (it’s Thanksgiving holiday), I decided to prepare one of my all time favourite pasta dishes… MAC N CHEESE. 

The amount of buttery and cheesy goodness in this dish just warms up my stomach and places a huge smile on my face.

Unfortunately, I recently found out that my body doesn’t respond well to dairy, which would explain the breakouts I get after eating froyo, desserts, and pizza. So, I’ve decided to try and find a way to prepare my mac n cheese sans cheese. How you may ask? 

With DAIYA CHEESE! I first learned about this alternative cheese product that’s vegan, gluten and soy free from a cooking class I took with Marni Wasserman. What I like most about Daiya is that it melts like cheese! Unlike other non-dairy cheese alternatives, Daiya’s rich and creamy flavour of cheese certainly delivers the bold flavour and the gooeyness flavor of cheese without compromise!

The recipe I used was adapted from Veg Web– but I’m warning you now that it’s not the healthiest meal. After all, the title of this post is “Comfort Food.” However if you are looking for healthier alternatives to dairy-free mac and cheese, I’d suggest you try a few of these websites below

http://veganyumminess.com/cauliflower-macaroni-and-cheese/

http://ohsheglows.com/2011/10/03/butternut-squash-mac-n-cheeze/

http://thekindlife.com/blog/2013/01/vegan-soy-free-sweet-potato-mac-n-cheese-recipe/

Now, the recipe I used to prepare my sinfully delicious mac n cheese: adapted from VegWeb

Ingredients

– 4 tbsp of earth balance 

– 1/4 cup of spelt flour

– 1/3/4 cups vegan milk at room temperature (add more depending on the thickness you want for your sauce)

– 3/4 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds

-1/2 tsp pepper

– 1 tsp onion powder

– 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

– 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

– 3 cooked cups of brown rice spiral pasta from Tinkyada

– 2 cups of baby kale

Topping

– 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds

– 1/4 – 1/2 cup of spelt bread crumbs

Directions:

– Heat oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit 

– Heat a deep skillet over medium heat and add the butter in. Once the butter melts, add the flour in and combine until you get a brownish colour or becomes a roux

– Slowly add the milk and continue to whisk the ingredients and bring the mixture to a bubble (you can decide here if you want to add an extra 1/4 cup of milk)

– Stir in the Daiya cheese and add in the pepper, onion powder, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, and baby kale (feel free to add in some salt or extra spices if you want at this step)

– Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and coat completely 

– Transfer your pasta into a baking dish and top with extra Daiya cheese and spelt bread crumbs.

– Place the dish into the oven for 20-23 minutes, or until the crumb turn light brown and the cheese on top melts.

** Sorry for such bad quality photos! Turns out that I forgot to charge my camera! You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that this dish was uber-tasty and creamy. Even my parents, who are not huge fans of sauce-based pasta dishes, loved it!

Lastly, my question to you is: What’s your favourite comfort food recipe to make?

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AMAZING PANCAKES

Yes, that’s right– today’s post will be about PANCAKES!

This past weekend was extremely busy and stressful as I had many assignments and tests to prepare for.

So, having completed one of my assessments today, I wanted to treat myself with pancakes. That is, Banana Bread Oat Pancakes!

It’s been a long time since i’ve indulged in this delicious recipe, so I am eager to share it with you!

Despite the fact that the recipe is gluten free and vegan, by no means does it lack in flavour.

Banana Bread Oat Pancakes: adapted from http://almondsandavocados.com/banana-bread-oat-pancakes-gluten-free-vegan/

Ingredients

– 1 cup oat flour–use gf oats if you are celiac (you can easily prepare this by grinding oats into a food processor of a high speed blender until it becomes a flour)

– 1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp cinnamon

– 2 small bananas

– 1/4 + 1 tbsp almond milk (or any other dairy free alternative)

– 2 tsp ground flaxeed

– 2 tsp maple syrup (you can omit, I did because my bananas were extremely ripe and bursting with sugary flavour)

– 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or grapeseed or EVOO)

– 2 tsp vanilla extract (I LOVE THIS STUFF)

Instructions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated

2. In another bowl, mash the bananas with a fork and add in your milk, flaxseed, maples syrup, oil, and vanilla and mix the batter. Alternatively, you can use a blender or food processor for this step

3. Add your wet ingredients into the dry and mix until incorporated

4. Head some oil in a pan, and once it is hot enough, pour the batter into the pan. When you see bubbles form on the surface of the batter and the edges of your pancake turns brown, flip and cook until the bottom has browned.

5. Serve with maple syrup/ agave/ Nutella and top with toppings of your choice! As well, feel free to whip up a smoothie to go along with your banana pancakes. I did a mix between blueberries, strawberries, frozen banana, watermelon, and chia

ENJOY!

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Butter Avenue

Since my trip to Paris in 2011, I’ve fallen in love with macarons. I cant believe I didn’t try them earlier!

In Paris the famous Maison Ladurée was where I had my first macaron. The light and airy crunchy shell along with the sweet and smooth buttercream was just heaven in my mouth.

Now that I’m in Toronto, one of my missions is to find the perfect macaron– and I think I’ve done it!
Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you, Butter Avenue.

Even though they just opened last year, Butter Avenue isn’t far behind some of the other macaron stores in Toronto!

The beautiful and chic white decor makes the store a great place to sit down with some friends and enjoy a nice cup of cappuccino and some sweet delicacies!

Today, I got three flavours: Vie en Rose, Lime & Honey, and Blueberry Cheesecake.

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The Vie en Rose was great! Although I wish there was a greater rose taste to the macaron, I was extremely pleased with the texture of the macaroon. Crunchy exterior shell, but extremely light on the inside. As well, I’ve had some macaroons in other stores and they were just too sweet! However, i don’t have to worry about that problem with the macarons at Butter Avenue!

After , I tried the lime and honey. I could taste the tartness of the lime and the sweetness of the honey. Another great flavour.

However, my favourite flavour would have to be the blueberry cheesecake. I was very surprised that I even liked it because I’m not a fan of cheesecake. However sandwiched between the sweet macaroon shell was a creamy “cheesecake” buttercream. If that isn’t enough cheesecake goodness for you, there was also a blueberry gelee in the middle of the macaron!

The Blueberry Cheesecake macaron with a "cheesecake" buttercream and blueberry gelee

The Blueberry Cheesecake macaron with a “cheesecake” buttercream and blueberry gelee

For those who enjoy their desserts, I would definitely make a stop on Yonge St. and stop by for some Parisian macarons! You won’t be disappointed!