First, thanks to everyone who entered the Simply Bar giveaway and helped me contribute to Second Harvest! The giveaway received 87 entries, so I am going to upgrade the donation to $1 per entry and give $87 to the organization. I know they can use it and will happily put it toward food for the hungry!
I’m also just coming up for air after spending most of the past week marking student assignments in preparation for our exam (which has been deferred because of a fire on campus–yikes!). Speaking of deferrals, I am also going to defer my originally-scheduled giveaway for today. Instead, I’m going to share something that I think is imporant–my (current) philosophy of eating. I’ll explain why when I come back later on!
[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's "no fuss." I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
Do you remember when milk came in glass bottles (the first time)? We had a milk delivery man (yikes–I swear, I really was born in the 20th century) who would drop off the bottles at the door every morning, then zoom away in his milk truck (and didn’t even ask for payment until the end of the week!).
Until I was 11, I thought milk came from trucks.
In those days, the bottles were stoppered with cardboard plugs that looked like inverted baby soothers–the part resembling the nipple was the handle, and you could push the cardboard disk below it back into the top of the bottle to close it. In first grade, our math teacher had us save the stoppers over the course of a month to use as props for addition and subtraction exercises. We each brought in about 50 stoppers–that’s how much milk we drank in those days (no wonder I have a reaction to it now!).
Well, this post isn’t about archaic cardboard milk stoppers, but the milk itself. My mom always ordered four bottles of chocolate milk the day before one of our birthday parties, because it was more expensive and too rich for every day. In fact, most moms would thin out the ultra-thick, ultra-rich chocolate milk with some two percent–but not in our house. We drank it straight–if “drank” is the right word. It was so rich it could coat a spoon, and you had to slurp it, slowly. My sisters and I loved it.
This carob chai latte reminded me of that chocolate milk. The inclusion of cashews and carob chips renders the liquid thick, glossy, and luxurious–just like that chocolate milk of yore, it coated a spoon. The consistency was very much like old-fashioned hot chocolate, frothy on top, with aromatic cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to warm it even more. If you’re not a fan of chai flavors, simply omit the spices for a comforting mug of hot, milky carob. Sipping this by the fire, I could almost see the milk truck in the distance.
Since I was already using my VitaMix to blend this together, I decided to take advantage of the “soup-making” capacity and run the blender until the drink was heated through by the power of the blades rather than dirty a pot. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, melt the chips first to ensure that they will blend in completely.
2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened rice, almond or soy milk
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened carob chips
2 Tbsp-1/4 cup (30-60 ml) raw or lightly toasted cashews, depending on how thick and rich you want the latte
2 tsp (10 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ginger
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cardamom
15-20 drops vanilla or plain stevia liquid
Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until hot. Pour into mugs and serve immediately. ( Alternately, place all ingredients in a small, heavy-bottomed pot, and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until everything is melted and blended together. Then, use an immersion blender or frother to ensure that the melted chips are well-blended and to create a foamy top.) Makes 2 servings.
I’m linking this recipe to Amy’s weekly event, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (even though it will feel entirely indulgent!). Check out the other entries, too!
[This year, I decided to offer a "Festive Freebies" series in which I give away some of my favorite food products. . . hand-picked by me! These are things I already love and actually eat (or use) regularly, and which I'd love to share with you. Here's my fifth Festive Freebie--with a charitable twist. Click here to enter!]
[And this is part of the package, too! Check details here.]
I. A new Festive Freebie! This week’s Festive Freebie is one I’ve written about before. I love these high-protein, low-fat, vegan and gluten free bars. And with a couple of new products in the mix (see photo, above). . . I think you’ll love this week’s gift package! Click here to enter the giveaway. (I apologize for the extra clicks. I’m adhering to BlogHer’s giveaway rules, which don’t permit giveaways or contests on the main page).
II. ‘Tis the season. . . for generosity. Like many of you, I have favorite charitable causes to which I donate regularly. But this time of year really gets me thinking about helping others less fortunate and how I can give something more. Back when I had my bakery, Bake it Healthy, I used to donate regularly to a charity called Second Harvest, which collects excess perishable food from restaurants, grocery stores or other fresh food sources and then redistributes it to the needy. Often, high-end restaurants will throw away food that was made that same day simply because it didn’t sell–and that food can be used to supply meals to hungry people. Second Harvest states, ” OUR MISSION is to help feed hungry people by picking up and preparing excess fresh food and delivering it daily to social service agencies in Toronto. OUR VISION is that no one need ever go hungryin the communities we serve.”
Now that I no longer operate the bakery, I’d still like to contribute. . . this time, by donating funds directly to the organization. And you can help make it happen simply by leaving a comment on the giveaway post! I’m stealing this idea from Chocolate Covered Katie (who borrowed it from a couple of other bloggers. Basically, I will donate 25 cents for each comment on the giveaway post. That’s right–simply by entering the contest, you will be donating to Second Harvest! Read the full details (and enter) here. And spread the word!
Will you disqualify me if I have two favorite cookies? I’ll take my chances … I’m partial to classic chocolate chip cookies AND gingersnaps.
Evidently, Random.org was fine with the dual answer! Congratulations, Andrea. Please email me by the end of this weekend (Sunday, December 12) with your full name and mailing address so that I can get those cookies out to you asap! If I don’t hear from you by then, I’ll choose another winner until the prize is awarded.
[PLEASE NOTE: If you participated this month and didn't see a comment from me, it's not that I didn't try. For some bizarre reason, WordPress is now tossing all of my comments into spam. If I usually comment on your blog and you haven't seen any from me lately, please check the spam comments and tell that *&%4#! Akismet that I am not a spammer!! Grrr. Thanks.]
It’s been quite the month, what with Vegan MoFo AND an SOS Challenge going on–but you guys rose to that challenge most admirably! I’m happy to say that last month was our best-attended SOS Challenge so far, with 39 spectacular entries!
Of course, I already love any recipe that includes sweet potatoes. But I was particularly impressed with some of the savory entries, including:
. . . plus too many more great recipes to mention! You’ll just have to check out all 37 entries on your own–see the thumbnails, below!
And let’s not forget this month’s winners! Once again this month, Kim and I were able to offer prizes for the SOS Challenge. We’ve chosen two names at random, each to win a prize from one of us. And the winners are:
BROOKE from B and the Boy: You’ve won a hand-crocheted jar cozy courtesy of Kim. Please contact Kim at eatingfreelyATgmailDOTcom with your full name and mailing address! (since this is a custom-made cozy, you can discuss which patterns and colors your want with Kim)
Thanks again to everyone who participated in the challenge last month. Kim and I are taking a break in December to focus on holiday cooking, gifts, and time with friends and family. We’ll see you for our next SOS Kitchen Challenge in 2011!
[This year, I decided to offer a "Festive Freebies" series in which I give away some of my favorite food products. . . hand-picked by me! These are things I already love and actually eat (or use) regularly, and which I'd love to share with you. Here's my fourth Festive Freebie--click here to enter!]
All the way from Australia–our winner is SUSAN from Kittens Gone Lentil! Here’s Susan’s comment:
The book I am most keen to get my hands on at the moment (though there are several) is Party Vegan by Robin Robertson. I love her books and recipes, and I love menu plans and putting together themed dinners, so this book just sounds like heaven!
CONGRATULATIONS, Susan! I can’t guarantee you’ll get it by the holidays (Australia is pretty far away from here. . . ) but I’ll be ordering your book as soon as I hear from you with your full name and address and you can Party Vegan through the new year! Please email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom before Friday to receive your book!
These treats would make a great holiday gift for anyone who’s new to the kitchen, whose busy schedule prohibits too much baking, or who is interested in healthier, yet still deliciously homemade-tasting, cookies. And they are one of my all-time favorites.
Click here to read my review and enter the giveaway. [Note: I am required by the rules of BlogHer to place my giveaway on a separate page. Sorry for the extra clicks, everyone!]
III. A Quick Smoothie Recipe
I’ll be back later with last month’s SOS Roundup and those winners, too, but in the meantime, I’ve got another breakfast recipe for y’all. Breakfast (as you might recall) is my favorite meal of the day, and I never tire of new breakfast options. Here’s a really quick and refreshing smoothie recipe I enjoyed earlier this morning.
I was feeling like oatmeal when I first got up today [groaner alert]–funny, I don’t look like oatmeal. . . well, actually, maybe that’s not entirely true these days–but knew I just didn’t have the time to cook it up. So I concocted a festive smoothie that includes a touch of oats along with a protein kick and some seasonal cranberries. Yes–raw cranberries. The result was creamy, filling, and tart yet not lip-puckering. It offered just enough sweetness for my taste with only a few drops of stevia, but sweeten as you like. The recipe will be included in my upcoming ebook on ACD-friendly breakfasts.
This is a great smoothie for those in Stage 2 of the anti-candida diet. It provides a good amount of protein to offset the carbs in the smoothie, and since cranberries don’t “count” as a fruit, the smoothie includes the natural sweetness of pear as well.
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened rice, almond or soy milk
small handful raw walnut halves (about 6)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brown rice protein powder (not flavored or with added ingredients–I use NutriBiotic, which is rice protein and nothing else)
During this month that was MoFo, I’ve been writing up weekly roundups at the end of each week to recap what transpired. As you can see, I missed this past weekend, what with exciting events (both the “exciting-scary” and “exciting-fun” categories) taking place between Thursday and Saturday. And since Vegan MoFo actually ends today, I thought I’d combine my farewell MoFo post with my roundup from last week.
My aspirations were lofty: write one post a day for at least 5 days a week. Sounds eminently doable, doesn’t it? I mean, when I first began this blog back in November 2007, I was zipping off at least one post a day for quite some time (ah, chalk it up to infatuation of the newly enamored; such excess energy and enthusiasm comes but once in a blog’s lifetime. Nowadays, my blog-love may be deeper and more permanent, but it operates a little more slowly, too. . . just like in marriage). My usual pace of two to three posts a week feels much more natural, and much more achievable.
I enjoyed all the MoFo excitement, but was already scrambling toward the middle of last week. And when the HH was blindsided with a major car accident on American Thanksgiving (three-car collision in which his car was totalled. . . details here), I missed my MoFo post. And then. . . missed another. And here I am today, the final day of MoFo. (Is that a little too “Curb Your Enthusiasm” of me, to use the HH’s accident as an excuse for skipping blog posts? Well, at least I’m not like Larry, using his bad news as an excuse for. . . everything).
So, so long, MoFo. It’s been fun. It’s been tantalizing. It’s been more fantastic vegan food than you could ever cook up in a lifetime. And also more reading or writing than I could master in a day.
See you same time, next year! :)
II. Cookbooks and other Prizes!
Last week’s Festive Freebie offers a cookbook of your choice! The giveaway continues until midnight tonight, so skip over to the contest page and let me know what you’d like if you win! Open worldwide.
Finally, the Gluten Free Holiday event is back in full swing this week. On Thursday, we’ll be featuring holiday side dishes, so be sure to check it out then! In the meantime, our previous topic, Gifts of Good Taste, continues until Wednesday evening–and you can enter to win one of seven cookbooks simply by leaving a comment on Alta’s post.
III. Food for Comfort, Times Two Three
[Mega comfort in a pile of zucchini fritters (recipe below), topped with a (mega) dollop of avocado sour cream (this recipe without the basil).]
It was a comfort-food kinda week. First up, I made some easy, warming, belly-filling Pan Seared Oatmeal Wedges, great for either breakast (with fresh plum sauce) or as a savory starter, perhaps with a spoonful of creamy mushroom or tomato sauce ladled on top. By the end of the week, after the HH’s collision, I was craving soup–hot, hearty, nourishing–so I mixed up some borscht. Then, over the weekend, my inner mad pancake scientist came to life as I cooked up some quick and (also comforting) zucchini fritters–recipe below.
IV. Presents! Is It Christmas Already?
Gifts for Me: You know, I’ve said it before, but bloggers and blog readers are truly some of the most generous, supportive and big-hearted people I’ve ever “met.” In the past month, I’ve received gifts from two other bloggers, both of which came as a delightful surprise.
[Rover Indulgence--upscale treats for dogs! Rawganic agave-sweetened chocolate (every morsel of which I savored), and Outback Pride combination spices for savory cooking. The winsome backdrop, an original design linen tea towel, was also in the package.]
Way back in October, Johanna sent an incredibly thoughtful package of goodies from the antipodes (sorry it’s taken me so long to blog about it, Johanna!). Not only did the box contain amazing, edible gifts for me, but there was even something for The Girls! (“We really appreciated that, Johanna! When are you coming to live with us?”). And wrapped around it all, of course, was one of Johanna’s signature tea towels. (See how cute?)
Thanks so much, Johanna! The agave-sweetened chocolate was a perfect occasional treat for an ACD-er. In fact, I rationed it out in tiny portions to make it last as long as possible. And I can’t wait to use the spices! Thanks for this very thoughtful, sweet (in more ways than one) gift!
Then, just this past week, I received this little guy in the mail:
Isn’t he too adorable? I cannot tell you how loudly I squealed when I opened the envelope to reveal this cutie! Thanks to the incomparable River, who crafted him (her talent knows no bounds–pun intended!) The design is flawless, each teeny tiny stitch perfect. Todd (as we’ve named him) the Turkey now hangs over our mantlepiece, where he’ll remain through the holidays. River’s had the brilliant idea to send his twin (Ted the Turkey) to Ellen and Portia with a request that they have me on the show (and y’all know how much I’d love that to happen!). Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Ellen finds Todd to be just as cute as I do!!
Thank you so much, River, for your unending generosity, talent, and support.
Gifts for YOU: I’ll be back tomorrow with the cookbook winner and this week’s Festive Freebie giveaway. This next one was instrumental in helping kickstart my baking business back in the day. . . can’t wait to share these treats with you!
V. DDD In Your Kitchen
Finally, I love it when readers tell me they’ve tried out a DDD recipe and provide feedback, and I love to share these with all of you!
Here’s a list of recent culinary creations based on DDD recipes over the past couple of weeks. If I missed yours, let me know and I’d be happy to add it to the list!
VI. Today’s Comfort Food Recipe: Zucchini Fritters
With Chanukah (or was that Hannukah? Or, as we saw it on a poster in a restaurant the other day, Hanukkah?) around the corner, these are my contribution to the ever-evolving world of alternative latkes (okay, they may not really qualify as “latkes,” but I’ve had traditional potato latkes in the past and wasn’t a fan). A couple of years ago, I made some two-toned potato pancakes and enjoyed those a lot more than the conventional type.
But these zucchini-based fritters are my new favorite veggie pancake, whatever you call them: thin, soft shreds of zucchini encased in a light chickpea flour pillow. The outside is browned and crispy with an airy, pancake-like inside, punctuated with the occasional crunch of black sesame seeds. The mild, unassuming flavor whispers of fragrant tarragon and would happily be complemented by almost any topping (I used avocado sour cream). Wrapped and packed to take along, they’d provide a great high-protein lunch or snack.
A quick and easy savory alternative to weekend pancakes. While they have the same light, airy base as a traditional cake, the zucchini lends moistness and a mild savory overtone. Paired with some nut butter and a green salad, these would be a great focal point to a light lunch.
1 large zucchini (about 5.5 ounces or 160 grams)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt
1/2 cup (80 g) chickpea flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried tarragon
4 tsp (20 ml) black sesame seeds
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking powder
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) baking soda
1/3 cup (80 ml) drained zucchini juice (see recipe), water or vegetable broth
2 tsp (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Wash and trim zucchini and grate medium-fine. Place a colander or sieve above a large bowl and add the zucchini to the colander. Sprinkle with salt and toss lightly. Allow the zucchini to rest at least ten minutes so that the salt will extract excess moisture from the zucchini. Then squeeze zucchini to remove as much liquid as you can without straining (allow the juice to drain into the bowl).
While the zucchini rests, place the flour, tarragon, seeds, baking powder and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine. If you wish to use the zucchini liquid, pour it into a glass measuring cup and add any water or broth necessary to make 1/3 cup (80 ml). Add lemon juice to the cup.
Turn the drained zucchini into the bowl with the flour and add the liquids. Stir quickly to combine, but don’t overstir.
Heat a nonstick frypan over medium heat. Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, scoop the batter into the pan and flatten slightly to create pancakes. Allow to cook 4-5 minutes, until the tops are almost dry and bottoms are browned. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes. Makes 5-6 fritters. May be frozen.
[Sorry about the bad lighting. . . by the time I got this photo, the sun--and the HH's car--were long gone.]
Hope those of you who celebrated had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. And for the rest of you–hope it was a great Thursday!
Well, we had quite a bit of excitement here in the DDD household while all you Americans were feasting on (perhaps) too much food and (definitely) too much football,* which is why I missed my usual MoFo post. Allow me to fill you in.
It was 8:37 AM and I was getting ready for a day of student appointments. I’d almost finished my morning smoothie (berries, kale, dandelion, beet, lemon, Sun Warrior and one garlic clove to stave off a cold that’s been threatening to erupt) when the phone rang. A quick glance at the call display revealed a name I didn’t recognize–wrong number or telemarketer. Neither one, I decided, was worth answering, as I was running a little late (gee, what a surprise) and wanted to finish eating, pack up my books, and go.
Knowing I’d be gone all day, I began to pack up an ACD-friendly lunch as well (my daily routine does seem to revolve a little too heavily around food, doesn’t it?). I was spooning leftover Butternut Tahini salad from a couple of days before into a container when the phone rang again (8:52 AM). Another unfamiliar name! With my first meeting set up for 9:30, I knew I’d have to get out of the house tout suite to make it on time. But something about getting calls from two wrong numbers in such a short time span–a rarity, to be sure–drew me back to the phone. I picked it up and was surprised to hear the familiar beep, beep, beep indicating a message waiting.
Well, you can imagine my astonishment** when I punched in the password, only to hear the HH ‘s voice on the other end!
In a nutshell, he’d been in a major car accident and his car was totalled. Apparently, another driver had rammed the side of his car so hard that he went spinning across two lanes of traffic (the stream of which was headed in the opposite direction), up over a sidewalk onto the front lawn of a bank, sliding to a stop less than a foot (30 mm) from the bank’s picture window. Almost unbelievably, he (as well as the two young women in the car that hit him, plus the woman in the car he inadvertently hit while skidding across the street) were all relatively unharmed (one woman suffered a split lip, but that was the extent of the physical damage). Another bit of luck was that he had just dropped off The Girls at doggie daycare moments before (since we had both planned to be out of the house all day); otherwise, they would have been in the back seat and could have been easily thrown through the windshield.
After racing out to pick him up and then spending the day in negotiations with insurance adjusters, the towing company and the car rental place, we settled down yesterday evening to a quiet dinner. Clearly, comfort food was in order. The HH selected pasta carbonara from the freezer, but I craved something a little more earthy.
Even though I hated beets as a kid, they now rate as one of my favorite comforts. Bulbous and deeply hued, their color reflects their contributions to one’s health as well, since beets are both blood cleansers and toners of the liver (not to mention a great source of minerals and fiber). I needed something that would leave my body more nourished, perhaps slightly detoxed of all the negative vibes from the day, and happily satisfied in the saporosity department. Borscht seemed just the ticket.
This is a recipe I adapted from Nava Atlas’s classic cookbook, Vegetariana. I love that she adds an apple in the soup. I’ve also included some cabbage, partly because we had it on hand, and partly because cabbage soothes the digestive tract. . . so even when faced with a day as stressful as the one I had yesterday, it won’t encourage any ulcers to take up residence in my duodenum.
The soup was just what I needed: warming, slurpy, soothing, nutritive. Like most homemade soups, the flavor intensified as I reached the bottom of the bowl, prompting me to ladle out a second bowlful. It really did help calm and comfort me.
After a consoling dinner, the HH and I settled in to watch an old episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm–we figured we’d earned a few laughs after the day we’d shared.
“Mum, we’re glad that Dad is all right and it’s horrible that the car was towed. But, um. . . do you think maybe he managed to salvage that bag of treats he kept in the glove compartment for us. . . ??”
[Luckily, borscht only looks like blood--but we didn't see any of the real stuff all day.]
Slightly Untraditional Russian Borscht
adapted from Vegetariana by Nava Atlas (suitable for ACD Stage 1 and beyond)
I’m guessing that the original recipe contains a typo, as there is no mention of adding any liquid to the soup. So I’m guessing when I say 6 cups; you can adjust to your own tastes. After the soup sits overnight in the fridge, the flavors meld and intensify for a robust Russian flare.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium beets, peeled and grated (mine were organic, so I left the peel on)
3 medium carrots, peeled and grated (mine were organic, so I left the peel on)
1 medium apple, cored (I left the peel on)
2 cups (480 ml) finely shredded white cabbage
4 cups (1 liter) vegetable stock or broth
2 cups (480 ml) water
juice of one lemon
1 heaping Tbsp (20 ml) dried dill weed
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) sweet paprika
10-20 drops plain stevia liquid, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until all the vegetables are extremely soft, 45 minutes to one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with a dollop of dairy free sour cream, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen.
* I suppose that’s rather presumptuous of me to suggest that you may have eaten too much, isn’t it? Then again, it’s the holidays! As for football, though, I know I’m right about that, since any football at all is too much.
**Astonishment (I): the HH never calls me (so of course I would would never have thought it was him). He absolutely loathes talking on the phone. When we were dating, he moved house once and didn’t get in touch for over two weeks, leaving me not knowing his new address or phone number (one reason why we broke up–the first time). Nowadays, after 14 years together, he still doesn’t call me: we speak once a day only because I pester him at work.
**Astonishment (II): the HH does not own a cell phone (see above). Naturally, I didn’t recognize the names on the call display, because he had to borrow someone else’s cell phone to call me each time. Hearing his voice when I expected a stranger’s sure was jarring, let me tell you. (Oh, and I have a pretty good idea of what I’m getting him for Christmas now).
[Disclaimer: I did not receive any free books for this giveaway. I am paying for the prize and the shipping out of my own pocket. Happy Holidays!]
[Do you love cookbooks as much as I do? Let me know which one you'd like to own and it could be yours!]
I know there are bloggers out there (some of them with a good deal of clout) who don’t like giveaways. They think giveaways diminish us all because they are basically shilling for products and provide free advertorial to companies.
I don’t feel that way.
In fact, I love giveaways.
It’s not just that I love the feeling I get from offering a gift to someone and reveling in their excitement and appreciation (though of course I do love that). I also love–almost as much as the feel-good emotion–how giveaways draw out the lurkers, allowing me to see comments from so many of you whom I’d never hear from otherwise! So please, don’t wait for giveaways to say hello.
In addition, I honestly don’t feel as if my blog or ethics are compromised when I hold giveaways because I will never promote something in which I don’t truly believe or something I wouldn’t truly use myself. (Hmm. . .perhaps that explains why so few companies ask me to review products compared to many other bloggers out there. . . all my dietary restrictions do reduce the number of potential products I could try. On the other hand–hey, Cuisinart Food Processor people! Or Henckels knives people! Or Green Star Juicers people! Just ask, and you know I’m there for you!). Every one of the Festive Freebies so far has featured a food or product that I already use regularly and can wholeheartedly endorse–and I plan to keep it that way.
So let’s have another giveaway, I say! And today, I’m giving away something I know every one of you will love–your favorite cookbook! I held a “Reader’s Choice” cookbook giveaway last year with great success, so I decided to repeat the idea this year.
I’m giving away a cookbook to a lucky DDD reader–and you get to choose which one you want! As long as it’s available through amazon.com and I can ship it to you, it can be yours.
To enter the giveaway, just tell me which cookbook you’d love to own and why you love it (include author’s name and title). That’s it!
After midnight next Tuesday, November 30th, I’ll choose a winner at random and announce the name on Wednesday. PLEASENOTE THAT I WILL NOT BE CONTACTING THE WINNER–you will have to come back to check and then either leave a comment or send me an email with your full name and mailing address (sorry, but it becomes too difficult for me to track down the winner, especially if they don’t respond). If I don’t hear from the winner by Friday, December 3, I will choose another winner, until the prize is awarded.
The contest is open worldwide.
Good luck, everyone! I look forward to learning about some great new cookbooks from y’all.
And to all my American friends and family–have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
[A small request. . . The Canadian Food Blog Awards are accepting nominations for everything from best blog to "best recipe blog" to "best writing" to "best niche blog" and more. If you enjoy reading DDD and my recipes, please consider heading over to Beer and Butter Tarts to nominate my blog! Nominations are open until December. Just click here. Thank you!]
I know it’s insanely popular, but I just can’t get into Sudoku. Something about having to project ahead on so many levels at once, wading through multiple strata of possiblility, the endless contrasting options being played out in one’s head–I just find it exhausting.
It reminds me of when my cousin Marketing Guru tried to teach me chess when we were kids. Each time it was his turn, he’d contemplate the myriad options, his elbow resting on one knee, his chin perched on his fist. His eyes would roam from the Bishop to the Pawn to the Knight to the Pawn to the Rook to the Pawn as he scrutinized the board the way an oncologist scrutinizes an X-ray. I’d be there fidgeting and sighing while I waited for him to make up his mind until it was finally my turn, when I’d just grab a piece and move it. (Needless to say, I never won. Oh, and it drove him bananas).
Now, that is not to say that my mind isn’t capable of entertaining a plethora of options all at once–far from it. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that such games are ill suited to anyone like me who is, shall we say, prone to a tad more anxiety than the average person–precisely because we think that way, all too often. To wit:
Scene I.Mid-February in Toronto,6:55 PM. The HH is late getting home from work; normally, he’s home by 6:45. Ricki glances at the snow outside, pelting waves of white bullets that ping across the surface of the window. She presses her nose up against the glass.
Ricki: Hmm. . . what could be taking him so long? Winter sure sucks. I hope he remembered to fill the tank with gas this morning. Oh, no, what if he ran out of gas on the highway? And what if his car just stopped running right in the middle of the road–amid all those cars? Oh, no! And what if the vehicle behind him was speeding so fast it couldn’t stop in time to keep from rear-ending him? [She presses her face more firmly against the window in an attempt to see outside.] And then they got into a huge accident and the HH’s car was propelled across black ice and ended up spinning and losing control and racing headlong into a ditch–Oh my God!! The HH is lying dead somewhere in a ditch!! I have to call the hospitals! I have to call the police! I have to–
HH: [strolls through the door] Hi honey. Whew–it’s bitter cold out there! Traffic is hardly moving. So many bad drivers on the–hey, why does your nose look so flat?
Scene II. End of July. Some time in the afternoon. Ricki notices a mole on her calf.
Ricki: Hmmm, that’s strange. . .looks a little darker than I remember. Was it always that brown? Is that a fleck of black I see in the middle? Or could it be that it’s gotten bigger? Hmm, those edges look a little erratic to me. . . what if it’s actually not a regular mole? What if it’s something more sinister. . . and what if it needs to be excised and biopsied? And then what happens if it doesn’t heal properly?? And what if they have to send me for tests? And oh, no, what if they have to operate??? I could lose my leg! And what if I can’t find a proper prosthetic to match my skin tone?! And what if–oh, I think I’d better just grab this pencil and check the eraser’s diameter against it. . .
Scene III.Late November. Afternoon. Ricki is frustrated with her old computer.
Ricki: This darned thing is getting slower and slower. Oh, I know I should buy a new one, but maybe I’ll try defragging it first. But what if that doesn’t work? And wasn’t the external drive supposed to help? But it didn’t. Does that mean it’s beyond help? Or maybe that means something else isn’t working properly. Did I remember to update my virus protection? Oh, no, what if the virus scan isn’t working properly and that’s why it’s so slow? That strange email I got last week was pretty suspicious. . . what if my computer is infected now?? And what the virus wipes out all of my hard drive? Oh, no!!!! And then I’d lose all my files and all my photos and all my writing and my entire blog–and I wouldn’t be able to access the Internet! And I couldn’t do my job properly!! And then they’d fire me!! And I’d have no job! And then I’d end up homeless and penniless. . . Aaaarrrghhhh!
You see what I mean.
On the up side, people who exercise their brains regularly are less likely to suffer from dementia of all kinds. And while my brain gymnastics may be of no use when it comes to Japanese number games, it’s a plus in the kitchen when you’re looking for culinary variety. Unlike the HH, say, or my dad, who consume the exact same breakfast every morning, I find that I rarely eat the same thing two days in a row. Even when it comes to foods I love, such as steel cut oats, I feel the need to vary the preparation or accoutrements each time I consume it.
I immediately threw together my own version, which I enjoyed for breakfast yesterday. I loved it! Inside, the texture is much like what you’d expect from a bowl of steel-cut oats: chewy, nubby bits suspended in a creamy base. But the exterior is browned, slightly crispy and dry, encasing it all in a neat little package (one that’s portable if need be). Brilliant!
I topped my first meal with almond butter and applesauce, a winning combination. Then yesterday, I feasted on leftovers with some warm fresh plum sauce and a dollop of my Sweet Potato Spread (sweet variation). Both were heavenly. This afternoon, I may just have to snack on some oatmeal wedges on their own, perhaps sprinkled with a touch of garlic powder, curry powder, or garam masala. And then maybe tomorrow, something else a little savory. . .
I mean, the possibilities are endless, aren’t they?
[And don't forget to come back tomorrow for the next Festive Freebie--you get to choose the prize!]
Preparing oatmeal as you would polenta, this recipe is versatile enough to serve at any meal, or as a snack. Keep it sweet with maple syrup or fruit for breakfast or dessert, or top with a savory mushroom or tomato-based sauce for lunch or dinner. However you prepare it, you’ll love this easy and delicious use of oats.
3/4 cup (125 g) steel-cut oats
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened almond, soy or rice milk
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic.
Line a loaf pan with parchment or spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
Place all ingredients in a medium sized, heavy-bottomed pot and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Stir, then lower heat to simmer and cover the pot. Allow to simmer over low heat until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 15 minutes to prevent scorching. (It should be a tad thicker than regular oatmeal).
Turn the mixture into the loaf pan and spread evenly. Allow to cool at reoom temperature for 20-30 minutes, then place in refrigerator until cold.
Once cold, invert the pan over a cutting board to remove the oatmeal (it should stay in once piece). Cut into desired wedges. Heat the oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat and add the wedges; cook until browned, about 5 minutes, then flip and brown on the other side as well. Remove to a plate and serve with maple syrup, fruit compote, nut butter, or another topping. Makes 3-4 servings.
Sugar cookies! Then our whole family decorates them. So much fun.
Congratulations, Kristi! In order to claim your prize, you must email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom (I’ll need your full name and mailing address).
NOTE: If I don’t hear from you by the end of this week (Friday), I will select a new winner. . . sorry, but I am unable to track down absentee winners. So please get in touch!
I’ll be back tomorrow with the Festive Freebie for this week, and later today with a recipe for my latest breakfast obsession (“And we are kind of partial to it, too, Mum!”)–it’s healthy for the whole family!