Instant Pot Pumpkin Congee

Hi Savvys,

Winter is now upon us, which means it is congee season in my household.  If you haven’t heard of congee before, it is a Chinese rice porridge, usually made with leftover rice.  Growing up, my grandparents made congee almost every weekend in the wintertime, and we could expect a big batch after major holidays, when they would make the congee using leftover Turkey meat and bones.

Since we don’t usually have leftover rice and are primarily plant based in our home, I like to use half uncooked rice and half lentils to bulk up the protein and nutrients.  I also like to add shiitake mushrooms to really give the congee a depth of flavour. 

This congee can easily be made in an instant pot the day of or a slow cooker the night before so that it’s ready for breakfast/lunch. 

If you haven’t seen my last video on how I roast a Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin, check it out here (https://bit.ly/34it2mq).  I repurposed the pumpkin by adding it to this congee recipe to add extra creaminess and nutrients.  I also love topping it with Chinese fried donut, sauteed snow pea shoots and peanuts.  Let me know in the comments below what your favourite toppings are!

Now set forth and be savvy!

~makes about 8 large servings

Ingredients

  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice (or whatever rice you have)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 2-inch nub of ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mushroom powder
  • 2 cup pumpkin puree
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Re-hydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms by placing them in a bowl and cover with hot water – set aside for 30 minutes
  2. Place 1 cup of uncooked jasmine rice in your instant pot container and rinse 3 times until the water runs clear.  To rinse, fill the pot with some water so that you have room to massage the rice for 30 seconds, pour out the water (or reserve the water to water your outdoor plants) and repeat 2 more times.
  3. Once the rice is washed, place the container into the instant pot machine and add the water, red lentils, ginger, soy sauce and mushroom powder
  4. Slice up the shiitake mushrooms and add to the pot along with the water
  5. Place the lid on and ensure that the nob at the top is set to “sealing” and not “venting”
  6. Turn the instant pot on and select the “Porridge” function, increase the time to 30 minutes
  7. Once the instant pot is done cooking, allow the pressure to decrease naturally – you will know that there is no more pressure once the red nob has descended.  You can also turn the nob to “venting” to ensure there is no more pressure.
  8. Remove the lid and stir the congee – it can be served immediately
  9. Top with your favourite toppings!

How to Roast a Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin

Hi Savvys,

Every year, like so many other households, I like to purchase the biggest pumpkin that I can find to signal to trick-or-treaters that we are giving out candy.  If the pumpkins are really cheap, like a few dollars cheap, I like to purchase 2!  I don’t carve the pumpkins or decorate them, but sit them on my porch since they are a decoration piece in itself.

Once Halloween is over, I love to cut them open and roast the seeds as a healthy snack.  You may not have already known this, but you can actually roast the meat of a Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin as well!  These pumpkins have been cultivated to grow larger, and therefore have a larger water content than pie pumpkins, however they are still full of nutrients even if the pumpkin flavour is more subtle. 

Of-course being the eco-warrior that I am, I never let a Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin go to waste!  Because they are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E and iron, to name a few, they are perfectly fine to eat in sweet or savoury recipes. 

 I like to roast the flesh, puree it in my Vitamix and freeze it so that I always have roasted puree on hand!  I use the puree in various recipes, such as the below:

Pumpkin barley risotto

-Pumpkin spiced granola

-Pumpkin spiced oatmeal

-Pumpkin Lasagna

-Pumpkin Soup

-Added to smoothies for a punch of nutrition

And so much more!

Follow the directions below on how you can roast your own Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin and enjoy it long after Halloween is over.  Also check out my video tutorial to see how easy it is.

Now set forth and be savvy!

Ingredients

  • 1 Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin
  • Oil
  • 3 Baking Dishes

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all of the seeds – reserve for roasting and snacking
  3. Cut each half into smaller segments to allow the pieces to fit into the roasting pans
  4. Coat the bottom of 2 (or 3, depending on the size of your pumpkin) roasting pans with oil
  5. Drizzle some oil onto the flesh of each pumpkin segment and rub generously
  6. Place each pumpkin segment flesh side down (skin side up) onto the roasting pan
  7. Feel free to season with salt and pepper – however, since I like to use the roasted pumpkin for both sweet and savoury recipes, I leave out the salt and pepper
  8. Roast in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes, rotating at the halfway mark; you may also want to put a baking sheet on the lowest rack in case there is spillage from the pumpkins when roasting
  9. Once done, remove from the oven and let it cool down enough so you can handle it, overnight if you can (I just leave it in the oven over night and deal with it in the morning)
  10. Carefully scoop out the flesh from the skins with a spoon and add to a blender or food processor – blend/process until smooth, about 30 seconds; discard the pumpkin skins
  11. Note that there could be liquid at the bottom of the roasting pans from the pumpkins– you can keep this liquid and add it to soups or stews as a broth or add it to smoothies
  12. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months
  13. I was able to get about 14 cups of pureed pumpkin!  Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for 6 months.

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies VEGAN

Hi Savvys,

In a recent attempt to clean out my pantry, I noticed a small jar of macadamia nuts that I had purchased but never used.  Since my husband is currently laid off and watching the babe, I decided to bake some cookies.  Since my husband has lots of interviews this week, I decided that it would be best to get as much baking done while I can and to have them readily available in the freezer, since my time will be all consumed with watching the little one again.

This recipe uses my Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe as the base with the add in’s as the only modification.

See below for the full recipe – I will definitely have to pick up more macadamia nuts in the future so I can make another batch!

Now set forth and be savvy!

Makes ~72 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed, 6 tbsp hot water)
  • 1 cup softened unsalted vegan butter (I like to use Melt or Becel sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch (optional, I find it adds chewiness)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Make your flax egg by mixing the ground flax seed and hot water in a bowl, set aside
  3. In a stand mixer (or by hand), cream together the unsalted vegan butter with the brown and granulated sugar.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and the flax eggs and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl
  5. Add in your flour, arrowroot starch, baking soda and salt and continue mixing until the flour is well incorporated
  6. Taking it off the stand mixer, mix in your white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  7. With a mini cookie scooper, scoop out the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure to space the cookies about 2 inches apart since they will spread
  8. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through
  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about a minute before transferring onto a cooling rack
  10. Enjoy while they’re warm and gooey!

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bundt Cake

TheSavvyPantry-BlueberyBananaBundtCake_Title

Hi Savvys,

Blueberry season just ended and they have been plentiful in my fridge this summer.  Whenever they go on sale at the grocery store, I always make sure to stock up and have plenty of them frozen, ready for any use!  One of my favourite ways to use blueberries is in this blueberry banana bundt cake.  I like to use ripped bananas as it adds a natural sweetness to the batter while keeping it moist. You can easily make this in a loaf pan but I love the way it looks in a bundt pan.  I hope you guys try out this recipe – it’s packed full of blueberry goodness.

Now set forth and be savvy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed, 3 tbsp hot water)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup white all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ripe bananas (aprox 1 cup mashed bananas)
  • Juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare the bundt cake mould by generously greasing it with coconut oil
  3. In a small bowl, make your flax egg by mixing the ground flax seed and hot water, set aside
  4. In another small bowl, make the buttermilk by mixing the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together
  5. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  6. Mash the bananas in a medium bowl.  Add the flax egg. soy milk mixture, lemon juice and zest and mix to combine
  7. Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix until just combined
  8. Add the blueberries and combine
  9. Pour the mixture into a bundt cake mould.
  10. Bake loaf for 45-55 minutes (depending on your oven)

Bon Appetit’s Pumpkin Loaf made vegan

TheSavvyPantry-VeganPumpkinLoaf_Title

Hi Savvys,

I have been obsessed with watching Bon Appetit on Youtube lately and when I saw Molly’s recipe for this Pumpkin Loaf, I knew I had to make my version of it!

Of course with being on mat leave now, I don’t have all of the time in the world to be baking like I had in the past, so the next time I make this I will definitely make 2 batches so that we always have a loaf in the freezer.  That is how good this loaf is!

I modified the original recipe slightly to make it vegan friendly, and also reduced the amount of oil and toppings to make it suitable for my needs.  This loaf is perfect for breakfast and as a dessert.  Hope you guys try this recipe – it tastes like fall with each bite!

Now set forth and be savvy!

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Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed, 6 tbsp hot water)
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Brush some olive oil in a loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on both sides, length wise so that the loaf can easily be taken out.
  2. Make the flax eggs by combining the ground flax seed and hot water in a large bowl, set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the pumpkin purée and 1 cup of sugar into the bowl with the flax eggs. Add olive oil and mix with a whisk until well combined.
  5. Gently fold half of the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until no dry spots remain. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients, stirring to combine but being careful not to over mix.
  6. Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan; smooth out the top with a spatula. Scatter pumpkin seeds over batter, pressing lightly into the batter to adhere. Sprinkle the loaf with remaining 1 tsp sugar.
  7. Place the loaf pan on top of a baking tray – this loaf will rise when baking so ensure there is a baking tray under the loaf pan to avoid any spillage.
  8. Bake for 80 to 90 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  The loaf is ready when a toothpick poked into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  9. Using overhang, remove the loaf from the pan and transfer bread to a wire rack and let cool before serving.  Delicious with butter or a dollop of coconut whip.

Easy Rustic Dutch Oven Raisin Bread

TheSavvyPantry-EasyRusticDutchOvenRaisinBread_Title

Hi Savvys,

Since the beginning of social distancing and working from home, which started in March, I’ve kept myself very busy and rekindled my love for baking.  I used to bake all of the time but haven’t had this much fun creating recipes in a long time.  A huge trend with social distancing is baking bread!  This is definitely a habit that I will continue into the future.

When my sister sent me the recipe for Le Creuset’s No Knead French Oven Bread, it was so easy to make that I’ve been making it every other week.  I also have a few loaves in the freezer just in case!  Using this recipe as a base, I turned it into my favourite: Raisin Bread!  This Raisin Bread is delicious toasted with some vegan butter and jam.  Try it out for yourself!

Now set forth and be savvy!

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 ½ cup warm water
  • ½ cup raisins

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, yeast and salt. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with a large plate or towel. Let the dough rest over night at room temperature.
  2. The next morning, remove the dough from the bowl and lightly sprinkle the bowl with some flour. Place the dough back into the bowl and spring a little more flour on top and fold it over on itself once or twice. Place plate or towel back on top of the bowl/dough and let rest 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat the bottom of the bowl with flour, put dough seam side down at the bottom of the blow and dust the top with more flour. Cover with a plate or towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. Place a Dutch oven into your oven and preheat to 450°F.  Once the oven is heated, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Turn the dough over onto your hand and place onto a piece of parchment paper, with the seam side up. Place the parchment and dough into the Dutch oven, shaking the pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Chrissy Teigen’s Spicy Miso Pasta made Vegan

ChrissyTeigenSpicyMisoPastaVegan_Title

Hi Savvys,

If you haven’t already seen Chrissy Teigen’s recipes all over the internet, you definitely need to check them out. Her recipes are full of flavour and always so craveable.  When I saw a post on Instagram for how to make it vegan, I knew I needed to make my own version using ingredients that I always have on hand.

This recipe is easy to whip together during the week and so full of flavour you can easily serve it for a dinner party (post COVID of course).  See below for my version of this delicious recipe.

Now set forth and be savvy!

ChrissyTeigenSpicyMisoPastaVegan (3)

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 340 g of pasta your choice (I like to use linguine)
  • 1 package silken tofu (300 g)
  • 3 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package king oyster mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 packaged smoked tempeh (or other vegan bacon)
  • 340 g of pasta (I like fettuccini)
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onion to garnish

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions
  2. In a food processor, blend the silken tofu, nutritional yeast, miso paste, sambal oelek and onion powder until smooth.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat
  4. Add the minced garlic and sautee for about 3 minutes
  5. Add the king oyster mushrooms and sautee for another 4 minutes until browned
  6. Crumble the smoked tempeh and sautee for another 2 minutes until browned
  7. Turn down the heat to low
  8. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss in with the mushroom and tempeh mixture
  9. Add the tofu mixture and the pasta water
  10. Toss with tongs to combine
  11. Serve with vegan parm cheese

Lentil Bolognese with Catelli Smart Spaghetti

TheSavvyPantry-LentilBolognese-Title

Hi Savvys,

I love pasta and love how versatile it is.  I especially love Catelli’s Smart pasta since it has 2x the amount of fiber when compared to the regular white pasta, but it still satisfies my craving for pasta.

IMG_20200229_191324 (2)

I developed this lentil Bolognese recipe years ago but am finally sharing it with you.  It is perfect for meal preps and can easily be doubled so you can always have a few jars available in the freezer.  You can swap out any of the veggies in the below and use whatever you have on hand such as zucchini, eggplant and even cabbage.

This recipe is super easy to make and pairs perfectly with Catelli Smart Spaghetti.  Hope you guys try this recipe out and let me know in the comments below what you think!

Now set forth and be savvy!

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~Makes approximately 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 garlic cloves (the more the merrier!)
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 package of cremini mushroom (~227g), chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 156 ml can of tomato paste
  • 2 cup red split lentils
  • 4 cups water

Directions

  1. Sautee the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes
  2. Add the leek and sautee for another 3 minutes
  3. Add a splash of water if needed
  4. Add the grated carrots and mushrooms along with the parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; cook for 4 minutes
  5. Add the soy sauce, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, water and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pot, turning the heat down to medium low halfway through the simmering time
  6. Serve over your favourite Catelli Smart pasta

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Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing

Hi Savvys,

Summer might be almost over but it won’t stop me from eating salads!  My favourite salad to eat growing up has always been Caesar salad and I am happy to have been able to re-create the flavours in this vegan version.  It is easily made in a jar, no other equipment necessary.  It is creamy, salty and full of traditional Caesar dressing flavours.  This will surely leave you satisfied. 

This dressing is great with traditional romaine lettuce, but it’s delicious on massaged kale as well.  Top your salad with vegan bacon bits, croutons and beans for a full meal.

Now set forth and be savvy!

Makes enough dressing for 4 large salads

Ingredients

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 2 tsp caper brine
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced, or 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Juice from half a lemon

Directions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a mason jar and shake well
  2. Drizzle over your greens for a delicious Caesar salad
  3. Dressing can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, but it won’t last that long!

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

TheSavvyPantry-ChocolateChipCookiesVegan_Title

Hi Savvys,

No one makes better chocolate chip cookies than my sister, who owns her own bakery Sweets2Go.  Even if we try to replicate her cookies, we don’t seem to have her touch which results in a cookie that doesn’t resemble anything like the ones she famously makes.

TheSavvyPantry-ChocolateChipCookiesVegan (7)

Since moving away from Montreal however, I no longer have easily accessible cookies made by her, and therefore have to make my own whenever I have a craving.  My version is vegan and made miniature, but I am so happy and relieved that the texture and flavour bear resemblance to hers and are so satisfying

See below for the full recipe – these are easy to make and make a large batch, perfect for freezing and snacking on when cravings arise.

Now set forth and be savvy!

TheSavvyPantry-ChocolateChipCookiesVegan (2)

Makes ~72 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed, 6 tbsp hot water)
  • 1 cup softened unsalted vegan butter (I like to use Melt or Becel sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch (optional, I find it adds chewiness)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Make your flax egg by mixing the ground flax seed and hot water in a bowl, set aside
  3. In a stand mixer (or by hand), cream together the unsalted vegan butter with the brown and granulated sugar.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and the flax egg and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl
  5. Add in your flour, arrowroot starch, baking soda and salt and continue mixing until the flour is well incorporated
  6. Taking it off the stand mixer, mix in your chocolate chips.  I used a combination of dark chocolate and white chocolate
  7. With a mini cookie scooper, scoop out the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure to space the cookies about 2 inches apart since they will spread
  8. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through
  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about a minute before transferring onto a cooling rack
  10. Enjoy while they’re warm and gooey!