Tag Archives: holidays

Turkey Trouble? How to Fix Your Worst Holiday Cooking Disasters

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or new to the kitchen, preparing a holiday feast is not without its challenges. No matter how well you plan and prepare ahead of time, something is bound to go awry when it’s time to get cooking. From forgetting to thaw the turkey to over-mashing your potatoes till they’re gluey, we’re here to help you fix all those holiday dinner mishaps.

brined-herb-crusted-turkey-with-apple-cider-gravyGet the recipe for Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

How to Defrost a Turkey Quickly

Arguably the most important part of any holiday feast, the turkey is the literal centerpiece of your table. If you’ve forgotten to defrost your turkey ahead of time (most frozen birds will need a few days to thaw fully in the refrigerator) you’re not entirely out of luck. Thawing turkey is one of those things you need to do safely in order to prevent any foodborne illness, and a cold water bath can take this task from days-long to a matter of hours.

Place the turkey in a sterilized tub, large sink or bathtub filled with enough cold water to cover it. Do not remove the bird from its wrapper. Refill the sink or tub with cold water about every 30 minutes to help prevent bacteria growth. Using this method, a 15-pound bird should take about 7.5-hours to defrost. When your turkey has defrosted, remove it from the water and dry with paper towels.

How to Fix an Overcooked Turkey

If you forgot to set a timer or simply calculated the math wrong for cooking your bird, you could be serving a dry, overcooked turkey. There are a couple of solutions that can help save your meal, the easiest being to make a knock-your-socks-off gravy to smother any overcooked meat with. Alternatively, you can ladle a bit of broth over the bird or rub some butter on the dry spots to help bring moisture back into the meat.

How to Fix Lumpy Gravy

A great gravy should be smooth and creamy, with nary a detectable lump. But if your gravy is more lumpy bumpy than silky smooth, there’s actually a pretty simple fix. First, whisk that gravy like your life depends on it — this will help break up larger clumps and smooth everything out. Then, pour the gravy through a fine mesh strainer to separate any smaller clumps the whisk might have missed. If your gravy is still lumpy after trying both of these things, you can try placing it in a blender with a touch of broth and pureeing until smooth.

recipe-vegetarian-gravyGet the recipe for Vegetarian Gravy

How to Fix Burnt Gravy

A burnt sauce happens to even the most experienced cook, and can be solved with a bit of care. First, remove your pan from the heat immediately. Place the bottom of the pan in cool water to help prevent further burning of the gravy. Grab and fresh pan and gently start scooping up as much unburt gravy as possible. Some cooking experts swear that adding a raw, peeled potato to the gravy will help absorb any burnt flavours, or you can try adding 1 tsp of smooth peanut butter at a time to the gravy, whisking well and tasting until the burnt flavour is gone. A pinch of sugar is another way to rescue burnt gravy.

How to Fix Crumbly Cookie Dough

If your holiday cookies are falling apart, it’s likely because the flour hasn’t absorbed enough liquid to bind everything together. In order to fix crumbly cookies, try adding more liquid to the recipe in small increments — whether that’s additional water, melted butter, or an egg.

How to Fix Burnt Cookies

Unless you have time to bake an entirely new batch of cookies, it’s worth trying to save the ones you accidentally burnt. You can try using a fine grater, such as a microplane, to shave off the burnt bits, or a serrated knife to cut off larger burnt pieces.

apple-pie-sliceGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Blue Ribbon Apple Pie

How to Fix Crumbly Pie Dough

Just like a crumbly cookie dough, crumbly pie crust needs more moisture added to it if you’re going to salvage it. Try sprinkling a few drops of water over your pie dough mixture before gently kneading or rolling until it is more pliable.

How to Fix A Hole in Your Pie Crust

Pie crusts are fragile things, and a hole can happen if you spread the dough too thin. Keep a few scraps of dough on hand in order to patch any holes with, then seal with a small amount of egg white and sugar before baking.

How to Fix Gluey, Over-Mashed Potatoes

Mash your potatoes too much or too vigorously and you’ll be left with an inedible gooey, gluey mess. Sadly, once this happens there isn’t much you can do to salvage them, aside from mixing in some properly mashed potatoes to help cut the gluey texture. However, you can turn your gluey mashed potatoes into a holiday gratin by spreading them in a thin layer across a baking dish, topping with butter, cheese, and breadcrumbs, and baking until the top is nice and crispy.

Looking for more holiday cooking help? Try these 10 Turkey Cooking Tips to Roast the Perfect Bird Every Time.

Classic hot chocolate

5 Ways to Spice Up Santa’s Hot Chocolate This Holiday Season

We know that during the holiday season, your to-do list can seem longer than Santa’s. So, when you find time to cuddle up on the couch with a hot chocolate, ditch the powder and treat yourself to a decadent and delicious hot chocolate fit for the man in red himself.  Whether you want to stick with the classic or try something new, we’ve got you covered with five variations below.

Classic Hot Chocolate Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp 35% cream
1/4 cup good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Whisk cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat milk and cream in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Whisk dry ingredients from above, alongside 1/4 teaspoon of ground canela or cinnamon and a pinch of chili powder (preferably ancho). Set aside. Heat milk, cream and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Dairy-Free Chocolate-Covered Almond

Whisk dry ingredients from above, however mix in 1 tablespoon of sugar and not 2 teaspoons. Set aside. Heat 1 cup of almond milk in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon of smooth almond butter. Whisk until smooth.

Dark Chocolate Mint

Whisk dry ingredients from above, however mix in 1 tablespoon of sugar and not 2 teaspoons. Set aside. Heat milk, cream and 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Caramel and White Chocolate

Heat milk and cream in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped white chocolate and 1 tablespoon of Dulce de Leche. Whisk until smooth.

Pumpkin Spice

Whisk 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat milk and cream in a small pot set over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in dry mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped white chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Don’t want to make your own hot chocolate? Order a cup of hot cocoa at one of these 10 cozy hot chocolate spots.

Nutritionists Share 10 Realistic Ways to Eat Healthier During the Holidays (Without Skipping Carbs!)

Eating healthy during the holidays can be a challenging feat: people believe they need to deprive themselves of their grandmother’s famous jam rolls or their uncle’s beloved stuffing in order to have a healthy holiday season – but, this couldn’t be further from the truth! As nutritionists, we have guided many clients on how to eat well throughout the holidays without feeling guilty, bloated or lethargic. No need to skip out on the sugary treats or specialty alcoholic drinks, because there is actually a way to have your cake (quite literally) and eat it too. Here are our 10 realistic ways to eat healthy during the holidays.

1. Don’t Starve Yourself Before a Meal
A big meal is approaching, so you eat less throughout the day to make “room” for all of the goodies to come – this is a big no-no! When you don’t eat, your blood sugar drops so low that you end up hangrily binging on the meal instead of deeply enjoying it. When you eat this way, you ignore your hunger and full signals, and end up eating too much without really tasting the meal in front of you. Usually what happens next is severe bloating and a food coma. The goal is to have balanced blood sugar throughout the day, so eat all of your meals and/or snacks as you normally do. That way when you get to the holiday meal, your body won’t be as hungry and you will eat serving sizes that are appropriate for you.

2. Start Small (You Can Always Go Back for Seconds!)
The famous casserole, pecan pie and gratin that you otherwise never get to eat are now staring you down – so you must fill your plate! Sound familiar? As nutritionists, we always recommend starting small. This doesn’t mean passing up on the foods that appeal to you most, it just means start with smaller servings. Remember, you can always go back for more. Usually, when you start with smaller servings, you give your body time to realize it’s full and you’ll no longer want to refill your plate. When you take so much food on your first go around, your eyes tell your brain that you must eat it all, even if you get full. So start off small and only go for seconds if you’re still hungry.

3. Go for the Veg
We strongly encourage everyone to eat lots of veggies, especially green ones, which deliver incredible minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to the body. During the holidays, load up your plate with vegetables, even if they’re smothered in maple syrup, heavy cream and bacon. Not only will this help fill you up with fibre (so you feel full faster) but it also provides your body with important nutrients to digest, eliminate and detoxify some foods your body may not be used to eating.

4. Chew Your Food and Eat Mindfully
Did you know that you’re actually supposed to chew your food about 30 times before you swallow so that your salivary enzymes have a chance to break it down? This really applies to your eating habits all year round, but it’s especially important during the holidays. When you chew your food, you tend to eat much slower, your body will better digest the meal, and your brain and body have time to properly communicate and let you know when you’re full. You also allow yourself to eat mindfully and consciously, aware of the amounts you’re eating and the incredible tastes and textures of the food being consumed.

5. Eat Digestive Enzyme Rich Foods
Enzymes help your body process the foods you eat so you’re able to digest well, and then in turn feel energized. Some foods are naturally packaged with important enzymes that aid digestion, and these foods should especially be eaten during the holidays. To avoid feeling bloated, gassy and lethargic, we highly recommend eating pineapples, papayas, lemons, kefir and sauerkraut. They all have natural digestive enzymes that help break down the food you eat. You may even want to try a digestive enzyme supplement. If you’re not sure which one to choose, consult a healthcare practitioner.

6. Don’t Give Into Peer Pressure
Picture this: you’re enjoying a holiday meal, and someone at the dinner table (either the host, your mother-in-law or whomever) is aggressively pushing you to eat more food or to down the very special dish they cooked. This is so common, and many people overeat just so someone else won’t feel bad.  If you don’t want to eat anymore – don’t do it! You can tell the person you’re simply too full, or even ask to take some home so that you can try it later.

7. Choose the Foods You Love First
Most holiday meals are just a smorgasbord of so much food! It’s so easy to fill your plate with everything the eye can see, even if it’s items you don’t actually want. Before letting it all go and grabbing everything in sight, choose the dishes you absolutely love. Usually what happens is when you eat the foods you love first, you don’t feel the need to go back for the other dishes that aren’t as appealing to you anyway. You also limit the chances of overeating and ending up bloated and gassy.


Get the recipe for this Healthy Holiday Grain Bowl With Wine-Baked Tofu and Miso-Mushroom Gravy

8. Drink Lots of Water
You need to drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day, and your need for water will most likely increase during the holidays as your alcohol and sugar intake skyrockets. This will ensure you avoid dehydration and will help your body process these new dietary additions. Drinking water will also aid your digestive system and help flush out toxins. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, your body is actually just thirsty, so drinking lots of water will also help to eliminate overeating that tends to come with the holiday season.

9. Eat Guilt-Free
You stuff your face, eat lots of desserts, overdo it on the potatoes, have one too many cocktails… and then the guilt sets in: you start beating yourself up for eating so much and now feel sorry for yourself. We’ve all been there. Even if you do over-indulge, it’s important to take that guilt off the menu. If you eat in a state of gratitude, appreciation and love for the food and people around you, it won’t be that big of a deal that you overdid it. It happens, so move on and remember that tomorrow is a new day.


Get the recipe for these Three Easy No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Truffles

10. Find an Accountability Partner
As nutritionists, this is something we recommend for many of our clients, whether it’s during the holiday season or not. If you want to eat healthy, or at least eat in moderation when enjoying a holiday meal, it’s best to call on a friend or family member to be your accountability partner. They don’t need to control what you’re eating, but if you have someone around that has your back and wants to keep you in line with your health goals, you will most likely stick to eating well without overdoing it.

Potato Latke Eggs Benedict is Our New Brunch Favourite

Eggs Benedict is a weekend brunch recipe that will dirty more than a few dishes – but the results are well worth it. This version uses classic latkes as the base, instead of the more common English muffin, and skips the ham for rich smoked salmon. A buttery, bright and oh-so-easy Hollandaise, along with perfect poached eggs, completes this delicious Benny variation. The steps are plentiful, though very simple, so this recipe is absolutely doable for a special holiday breakfast or brunch with family and friends.

Latkes-eggs-Benedict-top

Latke Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4

Ingredients:

Easy Blender Hollandaise
2 egg yolks, egg whites reserved for latkes
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp water
200 g (about 1 cup) salted butter, melted, still warm
Kosher salt, to taste

Potato Latkes
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
1 small yellow onion, peeled
2 egg whites (reserved from hollandaise), whisked
3 Tbsp matzo meal or potato starch
2 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp baking powder
High-temperature vegetable oil, for frying

Poached Eggs
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
8 large eggs

To Assemble
2 Tbsp fresh dill fronds or minced chives
400 g smoked salmon
Lemon wedges

Latkes-eggs-Benedict-ingredients

Directions:    

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
2. Preheat oven to 200ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Bring the smoked salmon out of the refrigerator to take the chill off.
4. In a medium bowl or blender, add egg yolks, lemon juice and water.
5. With an immersion (stick) blender or regular blender running, add melted butter in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
6. To keep warm, transfer mixture to a smaller bowl to fit into a large bowl, and fill a larger bowl with just-boiled water (do not allow any to get into the hollandaise). Stir the hollandaise a few times when you’re ready to serve. Alternatively, transfer hollandaise to a thermal container (just make sure it doesn’t smell like coffee!).
7. Using the finest shredding attachment on your food processor, process potatoes and onions (or grate both with a box grater). Transfer mixture to a fine mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth, set over a large bowl. Squeeze cheesecloth to remove excess starch and water from the potatoes and onion. Then transfer potatoes and onion to a large bowl.

8. To the potatoes and onion mixture, stir in whisked egg whites, followed by matzo meal or potato starch, salt and baking powder.
9. Fill a large skillet with ½ inch of oil. Heat to medium-high. Do not allow oil to smoke. The potato mixture should sizzle immediately when added to the pan; if it doesn’t, wait until the oil comes up to temperature. Fun alternative: try adding the uncooked latke mixture to your waffle iron instead of a skillet, for a fuss-free, extra-crunchy base.
10. Working in batches, without crowding the pan, scoop ¼ cup of potato mixture into hot oil and carefully flatten with a spatula. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you finish the latkes. If you have leftover latkes from another meal, just reheat in oven at 200ºF.
11. To simmering water, add vinegar. One at a time, working quickly, crack eggs into a small bowl and gently add to simmering water. Poach for 3 to 5 minutes, until whites are set but yolks are still runny. Remove from water using a slotted spoon and place on a warmed plate.
12. On plates, add stacks of latkes, and then top with slices of smoked salmon, poached eggs and spoonfuls of Hollandaise. Garnish with dill or chives and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

Looking for more holiday brunch inspiration? Here are 30 Boxing Day brunch recipes.

chocolate-cherry

Double-Decker Chocolate Cherry Cookies are Twice the Fun

Why make one flavour of cookie when you make two?! Crafting two different cookie doughs might seem excessive, but when it comes to holiday cookies, the more the merrier! Here we paired a cinnamon-spiced chocolate snickerdoodle together with an almond cherry chip cookie for a festive flavour palette that is sure to impress. A drizzle of melted chocolate and holiday sprinkles make them cookie-exchange ready.

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-sprinkles

Double-Decker Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes: 24 to 28 cookies
Bake Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients: 

Chocolate Snickerdoodle Dough:
1 cup + 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cherry Chip Dough:
½ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
splash almond extract
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup dried cherries

Assembly:
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Melted dark chocolate
Sprinkles

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-chocolate-drizzle

Directions: 
Chocolate Snickerdoodle Dough:
1. Place the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.
4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator as you prepare the second dough.

Cherry Chip Dough:
1. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add both sugars and mix until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cherries until combined.

Chocolate-Cherry-Chip-Cookies-plate

Assembly:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place the ¼ cup granulated sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl. Swirl to combine.
3. Scoop out 1 tablespoon-size balls of the chocolate snickerdoodle dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixer and roll around until coated.
4. Place the coated dough ball on a lined baking sheet. Press the back of a tablespoon into the center of the dough ball to create a small indentation (like when creating thumb-print cookies).
5. Scoop out ½ teaspoon-size balls of the cherry chip dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball in the well of the chocolate snickerdoodle dough. Gently press both doughs down together until they are flush with each other.
6. Continue with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are set. Cool the cookies on a wire rack before decorating.
8. To decorate, fill a piping bag, parchment cone, or zip-top bag with the melted chocolate. Snip the end to create a small opening, and drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Add sprinkles before the chocolate dries.

Looking for more treats? Try Anna Olson’s Best Cookie Recipes.

antipasto-cups-on-cutting-board

Salami Antipasto Cups are Your New Favourite Make-Ahead Appetizers

Parties, parties and more parties rule this time of year. From ugly sweater get-togethers to cookie swaps to annual potlucks, your calendar seems to fill up quickly in this season of celebration. With party-going comes the need for fun and flavourful appetizers you can toss together with ease, no matter the occasion.

These cute little salami antipasto cups are a perfect holiday party date. Each savoury cup is packed with delicious and fresh flavours that are guaranteed to make you a favoured guest. The best part? You can use virtually any and all kinds of salami, fresh herbs, cheese and veggies you have on hand for a delicious array of flavour combinations. Plus, you can make these bites in advance, and use a muffin tin to safely transport to your party.

stuffed-salami-antipasto-cups

Salami Antipasto Cups Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 24 cups

Ingredients:
24 slices round salami
½ cup  mozzarella cheese, torn or cubed
½ cup artichoke hearts, chopped
⅓ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
10 basil leaves, torn
2 Tbsp roasted red peppers, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

salami-cup-ingredients

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375F. Line 24 mini muffin tins with salami. Fill each cup with a 1-inch loose tinfoil ball. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until crispy. Let cool completely.

2. Toss together remaining ingredients. Spoon into cooled cups.

Looking for more tasty ideas? Try these Holiday Party Appetizers Your Guests Will Love.

Make This Healthy Vegan Grain Bowl (With Wine-Baked Tofu!) For Your Holiday Dinner Party

Classic holiday dishes lend themselves naturally to the grain bowl concept, offering a combination of contrasting yet complementary textures, tastes and colours for a celebratory meal-in-one. This bowl also happens to be vegan, with a red wine-baked tofu instead of turkey and a roasted garlic miso-mushroom gravy. Simply mashed sweet potatoes, green beans enlivened with lemon and fluffy quinoa round out this celebratory holiday bowl.

Serve this up family-style and have guests build their own bowls, or enjoy it as a weeknight or weekend winter dinner. Like all great bowls, the add-ons and combinations are flexible – try roasted brussels sprouts or steamed kale instead of green beans, pan-fried butternut squash or mashed Yukon gold potatoes instead of mashed sweet potatoes and roasted chickpeas instead of tofu. Of course, the true testament to this bowl’s holiday status: the leftovers are delicious!

Healthy Vegan Grain Bowl With Red Wine Glazed Tofu and Miso-Mushroom Gravy

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Red Wine and Thyme Glazed Tofu:
1 (280 g) package extra-firm pressed tofu
½ cup red wine or cranberry juice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp dried thyme

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
4 medium sweet potatoes, well scrubbed
1 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper



Roasted Garlic Miso-Mushroom Gravy:
1 whole head garlic, halved crosswise
2 Tbsp sweet white miso
2 Tbsp finely chopped dried porcini mushrooms
1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine or cranberry juice
1 Tbsp spelt flour
1¼ cups water, plus more to thin if desired

Lemony Green Beans:
200 g green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest

For Serving:
3–4 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice, warm
Lemon wedges
Chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Red Wine and Thyme Glazed Tofu:
1. Slice tofu into ¼-inch slabs and then each slab diagonally into 2 triangles. In a large shallow dish, whisk to combine red wine or cranberry juice, vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup and thyme. Add tofu in a single layer, cover, and marinade at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the other components.
2. When you’re ready to bake the tofu, preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and add tofu in a single layer. Drizzle over marinade. Bake for 7 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 7 to 12 minutes, or until tofu is beginning to brown and dry around the edges and marinade is reduced. Reheat in the oven right before serving.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Garlic:
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or foil and add sweet potatoes. Prick with a knife to allow steam to escape and pop in the oven for 35 to 50 minutes, until completely tender when pierced with a knife.
2. Roast the garlic for the gravy in a foil ball at the same time as you are cooking the sweet potatoes, until tender. Cool and reserve for gravy.
3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm so coconut oil will melt, peel sweet potatoes, discard skin and add sweet potato flesh to a large bowl along with coconut oil, salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until smooth. Reheat right before serving in a low oven or on the stovetop.

Roasted Garlic Miso-Mushroom Gravy:
1. Squeeze half of the roasted garlic (method above) in a medium saucepan – it’s okay if you get garlic papers in the pot as this will be strained at the end. To garlic, add miso, mushrooms, coconut oil, vinegar, red wine or cranberry juice, tamari or soy sauce and flour.
2. Whisking constantly, heat miso mixture over medium heat until coconut oil is melted and a thick, bubbling paste forms. Slowly whisk in water and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and rest for 2 minutes, then strain using a fine mesh sieve into a warmed gravy boat or small pouring jug. Discard used sieve components.



Lemony Green Beans:
Steam or blanch green beans until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain and add to a large bowl and toss with olive oil and lemon zest. Set aside until ready to serve.

Assembly:
To bowls, add a bed of quinoa, dollop of mashed sweet potatoes, side of green beans and fan of tofu. Pour over warm gravy, to taste, and finish with a sprinkle of parsley and squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately. Alternatively, lay everything out family-style and allow guests to build their own bowls.

Craving more wholesome easy-to-make recipes? Here are 15 Meal-Sized Salads You’ll Actually Crave, and 15 Sweet and Savoury Breakfast Bowls for Brighter Mornings.

feature-image-gingerbread-cookie

These Chewy Gingerbread Eggnog Sandwich Cookies are a New Christmas Classic

Few flavours evoke the holiday season as well as spicy ginger cookies and creamy eggnog. For these soft, chewy and indulgent sandwich cookies, we combined these two beloved flavours to make one delectable treat. A perfect hostess gift or for your cookie exchange, they’ll even have Santa coming back for seconds!

cookies-cooling-and-filling

Chewy Ginger Eggnog Sandwich Cookie Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 25 minutes
Makes: 16 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:
Cookies
2-¼ cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt
⅔ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 egg
⅓ cup molasses

Icing
½ cup butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
2-¼ cups icing sugar
¼ cup eggnog

gingerbread-cookies-on-rack

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350F. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and salt.

3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and ¾ cup sugar with a hand mixer until lightened in colour and well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and mix to combine, scraping down sides of bowl. Add molasses and mix until well blended. Add flour mixture in two additions and mix until fully combined.

4. Place remaining sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into generous tablespoon-sized balls and roll in sugar. Place on prepared sheets 2-inches apart and bake in batches until puffy and cracked on top, about 13 to 15 minutes. Cool for 3 minutes on sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. For filling, beat together butter, vanilla, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium until combined. Decrease mixer speed to low and add icing sugar gradually until well combined. Gradually add eggnog and increase speed to high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

6. Spoon icing into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Place 16 cookies upside-down and fill with a generous tablespoon of icing. Top with remaining cookies, pressing down lightly to adhere.

eggnog-gingerbread-sandwhich-cookies

Looking for more sweet inspiration? Try our Best Classic  Christmas Cookie Recipes.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cups with Coconut Whipped Cream

Pumpkin-flavoured everything defines the fall season, and pumpkin pie, the original, is no exception. This vegan version (in mini, bite-sized form!) uses coconut in a few different ways – flour, milk and sugar – to achieve a tender dairy-free crust, trademark custardy interior and must-have whipped cream topping. But rest assured, even with all of that coconut, the flavour is loud and clear: pumpkin pie with whipped cream!  The coconut is used for butteriness and richness, which vegan desserts require in order to achieve the familiar texture, taste and appearance of traditional baked goods. Spelt flour lends a nutty, wholegrain note to the pastry, but doesn’t have a too-strong flavour, like whole-wheat flour can. Spelt flour is also lower in gluten (not gluten-free), which means a more tender, flaky pie crust, naturally.   

Prepare the pastry the day before so it’s ready to take form in your muffin tin the day you want to serve these miniature vegan treats. Leftover pumpkin pie cups will last for one day at room temperature, or for a few days in the refrigerator. 

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cups with Coconut Whipped Cream

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Chilling and Cooling Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Total Time:
 60 minutes (not including chilling and cooling time)
Servings: 10 to 12 pie cups

Ingredients:

Spelt Pastry:
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups light spelt flour, plus more for rolling
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
Pinch, salt
1/3 cup cool coconut oil (solid but still scoopable); or cold unsalted vegan stick butter, cubed
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 to 5 Tbsp ice water

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp pumpkin spice, plus more to garnish
Pinch, salt
1 cup canned coconut milk (not light or reduced fat)

Coconut Whip:
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours, unshaken
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish:
1/4 cup crystallized ginger pieces

Directions:

Spelt Pastry:
1. In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and salt until combined. Distribute pieces of coconut oil or butter over top of flour and pulse until incorporated and a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle over vinegar followed by 1 Tbsp of water. Briefly pulse dough until it begins to hold together. If it’s too sticky, add more flour; if it’s too dry, add water 1 Tbsp at a time.
2. Tip dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 1 day.
3. Bring the dough out of the refrigerator and rest at room temperature until still cool but you are able to roll, about 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Sprinkle a large clean surface and rolling pin with additional flour. Unwrap dough and roll into a large, 1/4-inch-high round. Using a 4- to 5-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut circles of dough, re-rolling as needed, for 10 to 12 circles. Fit circles into a 12-count muffin tin, removing any air pockets from the bottom. The pastry should be almost or just touching the top of the muffin rim.
5. Refrigerate formed pastry cups for at least 1 hour, or until completely chilled. Meanwhile, prepare the filling and coconut whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine pumpkin and sugar. Sift over coconut flour, pumpkin spice and salt, and then whisk again until smooth. Slowly whisk in coconut milk until fully incorporated.

Coconut Whip:
1. Remove coconut milk can from refrigerator (don’t shake) and open. Spoon only the thick creamy top into a bowl and reserve watery liquid below for another use (in baking, smoothies, soups or sipping).
2. With electric beaters, whip coconut cream until it begins to get fluffy with soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Once desired texture has been reached, beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day.

Baking and Assembly:
1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fill chilled pastry cups to the top with filling, smoothing slightly to flatten.
2. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until filling is dry to the touch and both the filling and pastry are beginning to brown. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of each cup to loosen, and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, about 5 hours.
3. To serve, dollop cooled pumpkin cups with coconut whip and sprinkle with crystalized ginger and/or additional pumpkin spice, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Looking for more vegan pumpkin recipes? Try these Vegan Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze or Vegan and Paleo Pumpkin Blondies.