Dinners for us are often elaborate and fairly heavy, but sometimes I crave something light, fresh and delicious that can still be considered comfort food. While a can of tomato soup can do the trick in a pinch, I like to avoid all things processed, so spending the extra time making it from scratch always trumps any other way! Accompany it with a grilled cheese made with a hearty grainy bread and some aged cheddar cheese and I am in heaven! Even my tomato hating boyfriend helped himself to seconds!
The trick to any recipe is to make sure that your ingredients are extremely fresh. In this case the tomatoes should be especially ripe because they will be the star of this meal. You want to make sure they are perfection, so look for the tomatoes that are a beautiful vibrant red, with a smooth and slightly shiny skin, avoiding any that have dark spots or bruises. The tomatoes should also be heavy and dense and slightly firm when you lightly squeeze them. The tomato should smell sweet and earthy at the stem. A strong sweet smell indicates that the tomato will be more flavourful.
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen (Serves 4)
What you will need:
For the Soup:
About 8 Large Ripe Tomatoes quartered and most of the seeds removed.
1 Medium onion
10 Garlic Cloves
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp. Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Tbsp. Chopped fresh Parsley
3 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken stock
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
Fresh Oregano + Basil to garnish with.
For the grilled Cheese
8 slices of hearty grainy bread
8 slices of aged sharp cheddar (or another one of your favourite cheeses)
First you want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. smash up your garlic and remove the skin, cut the tomatoes and the onion into quarter wedges. Then with your fingers, push out some of the seeds and hide the garlic cloves inside them. On a parchment covered baking sheet, spread the tomatoes and onions out and drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper on them, add the chopped parsley and toss gently with your hands. Roast on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and reduced to about half their size. Remove and let them cool down a bit.
Once the tomatoes are cooled, warm the stock adding the tomato paste and stirring until dissolved. Then add all of the roasted ingredients into the stock and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and oregano
Spread butter on the outside of the slices of bread, add two cheese slices to each and fry in a non stick pan on both sides until the bread golden brown and the cheese is nice and melted.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
I love hummus! It’s the perfect snack, not only is it healthy, it’s also super tasty and delicious with vegetables, breads, crackers or in a sandwich! I love putting a bunch of fresh veggies in a pita with a ton of hummus for lunch, yum! This week, instead of grabbing one of those pre-made hummus’s at the grocery store, I grabbed a can of chickpeas and a bottle of tahini (that will last me a lifetime) and decided to make my very own homemade hummus!
The process was way easier than I thought. It’s all about the order in which you mix the ingredients together, and it actually tasted better than the store bought hummus. (Obviously this is a matter of opinion, but try it out yourself and you’ll see.) By making it from scratch you know exactly what’s going into your food, and the added bonus? You save so much money!
You can go the extra mile and buy dried chickpeas, but I decided to skip that step and buy them in a can. I also skipped the step where you shell the chickpeas and opted to just throw them in as is. By shelling them it creates a creamier hummus, but leaving them on was just as good in my opinion, and it saved me 10 minutes and another mess to clean up!
Homemade Hummus Recipe (adapted from Inspired Taste)
1 – 15-ounce can (425 grams) chickpeas
One large lemon about 1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini (I used Clic but any will do)
A large garlic clove, roughly chopped
about 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving (this is not a science)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 to 3 tablespoons water
dash of ground cayenne for serving
1. In a large bowl or food processor add lemon juice and tahini and process for about 1 minute, scrape the sides and continue to process for another minute. The result should be a whipped and creamy mixture!
2. Add the olive oil, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic to the whipped mixture and process for another minute.
3. open a can of chickpeas and drain them in a colander under cold water, add half of the chickpeas to the mixture and process until smooth then add the remaining chickpeas and repeat the process. (this should take about 1 to 2 minutes)
4. depending on your texture preference, if you find it too thick at this point, add water to the mixture while the processor is running to make the consistency just right. About 1 to 2 tablespoons should be enough.
5. Put the hummus in a dish, add some olive oil and a sprinkle of cayenne for color and flavour, serve and enjoy!
You can keep the hummus in a sealed container for up to a week!
When stress hits, everyone deals with it differently. Some take a walk, some read a book, others take a bath. I find that when I have had a rough day or I am feeling overwhelmed, all I need is a little food therapy. Once I start creating in the kitchen, my mind is completely focused on the task at hand and all of my days stress disappears! The greatest part is that I get a reward at the end… the delicious finished product to eat, enjoy and share with others!
These easy Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Coconut cookies were my food therapy. They are not only easy to make and delicious to eat, they are also fairly healthy for a cookie. I substituted the 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of white sugar for 3/4 cup of pure maple syrup. You can find the rule for subbing maple syrup for sugar here!
These cookies came out great! They are so big and fluffy, filled with sweet banana, maple syrup, oats and a little added touch… coconut. Delicious!
Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Ingredients: (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 cup (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
1/4 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (optional and add for your own taste)
1. Preheat your oven to 355 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
3. Put butter and maple syrup into a separate bowl and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
4. Reduce speed to low, add egg and vanilla; mix until well combined.
5. Mix in the banana and add the flour mixture to it slowly; mix until just combined.
6. Fold in oats and chocolate chips.
7. Grease a cookie sheet with a bit of oil
8. Drop about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time onto the cookie sheet, carefully spacing them in order to give them room to expand (about 2 inches apart).
9. Bake cookies until golden brown or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
10.Let them set for 12 to 13 minutes and then transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 days.