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:
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!
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp instant yeast
1 ½ cup warm water
½ cup raisins
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Add all of the ingredients to a mason jar and shake well
Drizzle over your greens for a delicious Caesar salad
Dressing can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, but it won’t last that long!
Being savvy often means that I’m so stubborn that I need to make everything as closest to scratch as possible. This also means that I can be creative and add/remove ingredients to suit my taste buds. These pickles are my dream come true! These are sour, bold in garlic flavour and fresh from the dill. I re-used an old bulk pickle jar to pickle these, but you can choose to use 2 1L mason jars for the recipe below.
You can increase/decrease the ratio of spices below, but keep the sugar, salt, water and vinegar the same!
Now set forth and be savvy!
2 cups water
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
5-8 cloves of garlic
2 tsp peppercorn
¼ cup packed dillweed with stems
2 cups white vinegar
12 pickling cucumbers
For the jar:
To prepare your jar, I just wash with hot water and soap and leave to completely dry before using it.
For the brine:
Bring the water, salt, sugar, garlic and peppercorn to a boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, turn it off the heat and add the vinegar, mix and set aside.
Slice the cucumbers with a mandolin so it’s to your desired thickness. I like to cut mine so it’s about 3/16 inch thick. You can cut it into wedges or even leave whole depending on how you like your pickles.
Place the dill weed and the cucumbers into your cleaned jar. Pour the brine mixture into the jar until all of the cucumbers are submerged.
Now the pickles are ready to sit in the fridge. Let it marinate for minimum 1 week, but the longer you wait the better they taste. I’ve kept my pickles for as long as 6 months and they’ve been fine.