Monday, October 27, 2014

Hokey Smokey Potato Salad

I didn't think I liked potato salad.  I've had a few good variations before, but mostly is just seemed like a reason to eat mass quantities of potatoes and mayonnaise and foolishly call it salad.

Oh, I just had a small salad for lunch.  

I attended a pig roast in the summer, and because I'm a vegetarian I ate a lot of the salads available.  My husband is vegan a good 90% of the time, so it was nice to treat myself to a few things I wouldn't normally eat.  And treat myself I did.  Actually, I didn't go too crazy - it just felt crazy because I loved this potato salad so much I dug through the fridge at 1am hoping to find leftovers.

Well, my husband had a work potluck thingy and he wanted me to make something cold so he didn't have to lug a crockpot to work and ensure it had enough time to heat up, etc.  I thought - huzzah! - I am going to jack my friend's potato salad recipe and vegan it up.

Whether or not you're vegan, you probably shouldn't be eating mayonnaise.  Ok, if you must have mayo at least only a tablespoon at a time on the most bodacious BLT ever.  Not by the cupful in a "salad".
Enter:  Hokey Smokey Potato Salad

This recipe is big enough to bring to a potluck with 8-10 adults who want seconds.  It's easily halved or doubled and can have lots of variations made. 

3-4lb potatoes (I used red because that's what I had, but use whatever you want I guess)
2-3 ripe avocado
Juice from freshly squeezed lemon, or 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 bunch green onion, chopped small-ish
2-3 shallots, or one large red onion, also chopped small
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
1-2tbsp liquid smoke (or more, to taste)

Variation ideas: 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, a few cloves of roasted garlic, 1/4 cup chives

Cut your potatoes into even sized cubes and bring to a boil.  Once boiled, lower to a simmer until they are soft enough to stick a fork through but NOT so soft you don't have to push your fork a little.  You will have weird mashed potatoes if you over cook.  Once your taters are done, rinse them in cold water until they are cool so they stop cooking or you still might end up with mashed potatoes on your hands.

While your p-tats (yup, I'm starting a new trend and calling them p-tats) are cooking, place your lemon juice or apple cider vinegar into a large mixing bowl.  You're just using enough to stop the avocados from turning brown - you don't want to taste it when you're done.  Peel and pit your avocados and squish them to bits with the juice.  I used a little hand blender, but it was 9pm and I had just finished making a big dinner and packing lunches and doing the dishes and.... I just wanted to use a blender.

Once your avocados are nice and smooth (there will always be a few chunks left), add your finely chopped green onions, herbs and red onion.  I always use a nice pair of clean scissors to cut green onion if you're looking for a cool way to prep them.

Add your potatoes and mix gently but thoroughly.  Once mixed, start adding liquid smoke until it tastes just how you'd like.  I put 2tbsp in my batch, and I thought it was just right - but it will depend on how much lemon/apple cider vinegar you use and how many potatoes you boiled, etc.

I took a picture of my salad a full 24 hours after making it, so the colour wasn't as vibrant green and beautiful as it was immediately after making it but it certainly isn't the gross brown colour avocados turn after being cut open.   I love this salad!  And, yes, potatoes aren't the best food to be eating lots of - but they're not the worst from time to time.  I hope you make and LOVE this salad as much as I do, and if you do - don't forget to send me a pic or an update on how they turned out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Headboard from and Old Door

I love old things.  The truth is I have too many old things in my home.  Not too many if you are opening an antique shop, but perhaps a few too many for an ordinary house.  It doesn't help that people put beautiful old things in the garbage (frequently) and that I am an unashamed garbage picker.

Garbage picking is easy.  You see something you like, pull up next to the heap and beg your husband to please throw it in the vehicle.  Easy-peasy, no pride lost.  

I have a small collection of solid wood doors that I've found in the trash.  Four to be exact.  I've used one as part of a vignette in my back yard, two of them are still waiting for their repurpose, and one I've recently made into my headboard.

I LOVE my new headboard!  Love LOVE Love!  Before this headboard, I had a sleigh bed and it took up the majority of my room.  I probably would have let the sleigh bed stick around for a few more years and wondered what to do with my growing door collection - but lucky for me, we broke our bed (not in an exciting way) and I was suddenly in the market for a new one.

I found a door (in my collection) that was symmetrical and without glass - and got to work.

The door was a bit mouldy, so I scrubbed it with an all natural deck cleaner that removed the mould.  It also needed to be trimmed on either side so it wouldn't hang out from behind my mattress (too much - we hope to move up to a king sized bed at some point so needed to leave a few inches).  After it was clean and cut, the whole door needed a thorough sanding.

The door also needed some pizazz, so I bought solid wood crown moulding and topped the headboard with it.  Two 45degree cuts and it was capped off nicely.  Don't be intimidated by cutting - seriously, I'm terrible with angles and it only took me a few minutes.  Just double check before you cut.  You know: measure twice, cut once.  I used wood glue along the length of the moulding and some finishing nails to hold it in place until the glue dried and to add some stability.

After sanding and attaching the crown moulding, I tried an antiquing method called waxing (or something, I don't know).  I just rubbed a tea light candle in all the areas I wanted the wood to show through so when I was finished painting I could sand the area and have it come right off.  The verdict:  it worked wonderfully and I will definitely use waxing again if I need to keep something old looking.

I bought floor and porch paint in a light grey and applied three coats to get the dark door totally covered.  Listen to me now, if you are painting a piece of furniture and you want it to never ever ever scratch - use floor and porch paint.  I've used it several times and it never fails.

I wanted the door antique looking, but I hate when things look like they've been painted, sanded and called antique.  My husband hates it more than I do.  Forbids it actually.  Probably because of my crap efforts in the past.  I would not make that same mistake again.  I covered the grey paint with an antiquing glaze in all the areas I wanted to be darker.  I then began to sand away the areas I had previously put my tea light candle wax on, corners and edges.  It wasn't quite right, so I lightly applied more floor and porch paint and rubbed it in/off with a rag.  After a few rounds of antique glaze and paint I finally landed at the perfect look.  It was worth the extra time and effort.  I would hate to look at my headboard every day and regret not spending more time on it.

Lastly, to hang the door I found keyhole hooks that are for hanging flat objects (like my door) flush against a wall.  Just ask your grumpy hardware associate at whatever building store you're forced to go to even though you hate it.  There are certain sizes that will hold different weights, so be sure you get the right size for your door.  I used 3 just to be certain.  Take your time measuring your wall and your door so you don't have to mess around hanging a heavy door on the wall.  Miraculously, I managed to get mine up on the first try - and for someone who is terrible at calculations, measuring, etc. - it's a testament to taking your time.

That's it.  In total it took me over a week, but that's because it was raining for four days - so it really would have only taken me three days if the weather had cooperated.  Three days and $40.00 for a headboard I am totally in love with.

Now go break your bed and make a new one from a door you picked out of the garbage!

If you make a headboard from an old door PLEASE oh PLEASE share your pics with me.  I'd love to see what you do differently, and how it turns out!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Super Delicious Vegan Sprouted Grain Waffles

I love waffles.  So much.  I've yet to meet someone who doesn't love a delicious waffle.  I'm not talking about the ones from a box.  Yes, I've tasted them.  My parents used to buy them when I was a teenager and I'd toast them and put a scoop of peach ice cream on top.  Those aren't waffles.  Those are waffle-like-products.  I  mean WAFFLES!

My brother used to live in a different province from the rest of the family, and during one of his visits home I walked into my parents house while he was making up a fresh batch of waffles.  They were green.  He had made them with spelt and spirulina and I thought, eww why bother?  Well, I'm not sure he eats green waffles anymore but I think I've come up to his level of dedication when it comes to eating healthy.  I drink my spirulina like any good hippie - I don't hide it in waffles.

All this to say - after a bad night's sleep, a long morning, and a challenging yoga session - I felt waffles would put some sunshine into my day.  The dilemma - a deep, lust like desire for waffles on a non-treat day.  It just couldn't wait.

I've health-ified a recipe adapted from the Food Network but you are welcome to junk it back up or make any adjustments you need/like/want.  I will warn you (ye be warned) that applesauce waffles need a bit of extra time in the waffle iron so make sure it stops steaming before you open it.   It's not 100% healthy, but it's as close as a waffle is going to get while still tasting delicious.

These waffles are nice and crispy on the outside, soft and muffin like on the inside and delicious the whole way through!

Vegan, (mostly) Sprouted Grain DELICIOUS Waffles
Yields 10 waffles approx.

Before you start, plug in your waffle iron so it's insanely hot when you're done making your batter.  I plug mine in, have a coffee and then get the ingredients together.  There's nothing worse than a luke warm waffle iron.  

2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1c sprouted spelt, 1c sprouted kamut and 1/2 cup all purpose whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (you can use any milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup coconut sugar (you can use brown sugar or sugar alternatives)
3 tbsp oil (I used walnut but you could use melted coconut oil, or vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk your wet ingredients together, and continue whisking in your dry ingredients.  Make sure most of your lumps are gone but don't go mental - it doesn't need to be perfect.  

I know non stick sprays aren't great.  I actually never really use the two that I have in my cupboard unless I'm making something in the waffle iron - and when you're using a waffle iron you really need a spray.  I have an extra virgin olive oil spray and a coconut oil spray (both found at the marvellous Costco) and I used the coconut oil spray so the waffles wouldn't taste olive oil-y.  

Spray your iron, use a measuring cup to scoop and pour your batter (perfectly sized waffles that way!)  My waffle iron takes 1/2 cup batter per side, but yours could very well be a different size so use some discretion here.  As I mentioned earlier in my extended waffle rant, because these are made with applesauce you will need to wait until the steam is done rising before opening your iron.  If you've used brown sugar - your waffles may stick a little to your iron.  Carefully use a spatula or some tongs to peel them off - don't rush, you don't want to rip your beautiful waffles!

Top with fresh fruit and real maple syrup for the BEST breakfast or brunch.  If these waffles don't add a bit of sunshine to your day, you are a sad sad soul.

Happy Waffling!

Just say Yes

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