Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls with Peanut Dressing

I’ve been trying to simplify some of my dinner plans ….. as much as I like puttering in the kitchen for a couple of hours after work (what I call kitchen yoga), there are times I just need to make a quick dinner.  This is one of my favourites …. quick, easy, healthy and most of all, absolutely delicious.  You don’t really have to make the peanut dressing to drizzle over, but honestly, isn’t everything better with peanut sauce?

coconut-curry-noodle-bowl

Tonight’s version of this bowl included prawns, mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy and lots of colourful peppers.

PEANUT DRESSING:
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 heaping Tbsp natural salted peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
splash of lime juice
scant 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
splash of very hot water (only if too thick)

COCONUT CURRY:
1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
1 ½ cup reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

BOWL: (These are suggestions, use whatever veg you have on hand)

4 ounces rice or egg noodles
1 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
sesame seeds & chopped peanuts for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh basil & cilantro for serving

I’ve also used snow peas, zucchini, sweet peppers & bean sprouts.

To prepare your peanut sauce combine all ingredients except the hot water, blend well and stir in just enough of the hot water to allow everything to become smooth and creamy.

Preparing the curry sauce is pretty easy.  Heat oil in a sauce pan and stir in shallots and fresh ginger, saute briefly just until translucent and stir i the curry paste.  Fry curry paste for 2-3 minutes, just to allow flavours to wake up.  Stir in the coconut milk, and stock.  Simmer for a few minutes just to allow flavours to get to know each other…… Taste …. if you can handle a bit more heat stir in the hot chili paste.  Remove from heat and add the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.  Taste again and adjust.  Remember, every brand of these ingredients will have a slightly different profile, and you need to make adjustments for that.  Last thing is to add the lime juice.  It should wake everything up and make you want to keep tasting …..

The method is fairly flexible, saute your veg in a wok with the oil just until crisp tender and set aside.  Alternatively, if you are using egg noodles, once you have removed the egg noodle from the boiling water, plunge the veg in for just 1-2 minutes until crisp tender and remove.

SERVING TIME:

Place noodles in the bottom of your bowl, layer on the veg, and sprinkle with toppings.  Gently pour over the coconut curry.  You can make this as saucy as you like by doubling up the curry sauce if you want more of a soup.  Drizzle over the peanut sauce and enjoy!

Morning Glory Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin season or not, these healthy, moist and delicious muffins are a great way to start any day.  Perfect for lunch kits or a mid morning pick up too!
pumpkin-morning-muffins
INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
10 grates of fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
2 large carrots, grated (should equal about 2 cups grated
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, diced or grated
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine.
  3. Next, mix in the sugar, molasses, oil, eggs, and pumpkin puree, stirring just until everything is mixed.
  4. Lastly, fold in the fruits and vegetables, making sure not to over mix.
  5. Grease or line a muffin pan. Then use a 1/3 scoop to fill each tin up. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a middle muffin comes out clean. Remove the pan and allow the muffins to cool for a couple minutes before removing them from the pan.

One of the things that I love about these muffins is how versatile you can be – use any nut instead of the pecan, or replace the cranberries with raisins or chopped dates.  Today’s mix included half a grated apple and 1/3 cup diced pineapple!

Blueberry Pecan Oat Muffins

Nailed it!  Blueberries are in season right now, and that means deliciousness ….. blueberry ice cream, blueberry pie, and naturally – blueberry muffins.  The coconut and lemon really bring the tastebuds out to party.  I had a craving for blueberry and lemon together … then thought of the oat flakes I love in muffins so created this recipe out of a mash up of my other muffin recipes.  Let me know what you think.

Pecan crumble gently pressed on - muffins are ready for the oven.

Pecan crumble gently pressed on – muffins are ready for the oven.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup large oat flakes

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans

1/4 cup toasted medium shred unsweetened coconut

zest of 1 lemon

1 large egg

1 cup milk

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries (plus 12 fabulous looking berries for topping)

TOPPING

3  tbsp toasted chopped pecans

3 tbsp toasted medium shred coconut

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp raw sugar

1 tbsp softened butter

Combine all topping ingredients and set aside.

In large mixing bowl combine first 8 ingredients and whisk to blend.

In smaller bowl beat egg, add milk, vanilla and melted coconut oil.

Gently mix liquid ingredients into dry, being careful not to overmix.  Stir in blueberries.

Once just combined, fill prepared muffin tins, and press a bit of topping into each muffin – adding 1 blueberry to the center of each muffin.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Insert a toothpick – if it comes out clean, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

Blueberry Pecan

Raspberry Coconut Oat Muffins

Be prepared for your house to smell fantastic when these are baking – pretty difficult to wait for them to cool enough to eat!

Delicious muffins - loaded with coconut and raspberry with just a hint of lemon to brighten them up.

Delicious muffins – loaded with coconut and raspberry with just a hint of lemon to brighten them up.

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups of white flour
1/2 cup oat flakes
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 overripe bananas
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut, divided
Fresh raspberries

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then coat a muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners. (you can also use coconut spray)

In a small bowl, combine the flour, oat flakes, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together, mix well. In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil, sugar, banana, and vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then continue beating until well combined, finishing with the lemon zest and juice.

When Sloan and I are cooking we taste and add ingredients by a smidge of this, a dab of that - but baking I tell her,  must be precise!

When Sloan and I are cooking we taste and add ingredients by a smidge of this, a dab of that – but baking I tell her, must be precise!

Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. Add the 3/4 cup of coconut, 1 cup fresh raspberries, and gently mix them into the batter.

Spoon the batter evenly into each muffin tin. Add one fresh raspberries to each muffin, pushing them in gently. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut to the tops of each muffin.

Place into the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool on a rack.

Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Image

 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

  • Set 2 racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, oats, pecans, cranberries and coconut flakes together with a whisk or fork.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together for 30 seconds until blended. Beat in the egg until smooth and barely fluffy. With mixer running on medium high, drizzle in the maple syrup, and vanilla until incorporated. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and gradually add the flour-oatmeal mixture
  • Drop walnut-sized balls of dough onto a nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheet at 3-inch intervals. With moistened fingers, flatten and round out the cookies a little. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the pan once for even baking, then bake approximately another 7-10 minutes. They will not spread out or change in shape …
  • The cookies are done when they are lightly browned on top. Set the cookie sheets on a rack to cool.

Breakfast Cookies

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  • 1 ¼ cup flour (or any combination of whole wheat and white flours)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • 1/3 cup raisins, or any dried fruit
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, until fragrant and chopped (or any nut – chopped and toasted)

 

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, carrot, and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, coconut, raisins and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a tsp to drop cookie batter on cookie sheet, or if you prefer a large cookie use a tablespoon between 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter, using the tsp you will get about 30-32 cookies. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. These cookies will not spread out, nor change shape so if you want a perfect cookie, create that shape before you bake it.

Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

This is a great recipe to adapt to your own preferences – I used blueberry craisins in my latest version, and will try adding zucchini next time ….

Penang Style Thai Curry

Thai curries are always perfect if you really are looking for lots of flavour in every bite.  In Thailand, 1 chicken breast easily serves a family of 4 in a curry dish – lots of vegetables help out, and of course you won’t want to miss a drop of the curry so your rice is perfect to soak it all up.  This version is vegetarian, served with barbecued chicken, but it is easy to add whatever protein you are inclined to use.

Penang Style Curry served with Thai Barbecued Chicken and fragrant jasmine rice

Whatever vegetables you use are totally up for discussion – take what is in season and use that, or if you need to scrape something together at the last moment keep a jar of baby corn, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots in your pantry!

You will need:

whatever vegetables you plan to use chopped and ready

any meat sliced very thin and ready to go in

For this basic curry use:

1 tbsp red curry paste

1 tbsp massaman curry paste

1/2 onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or sliced

1 inch ginger, minced or sliced

galangal root (fresh if you can get it, but powdered if not available in your area)

lemongrass (again fresh is best but powdered is a decent standby)

tamarind paste

1 can coconut milk or cream

kaffir lime leaves

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp raw sugar

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

peanut oil

cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Heat peanut oil, stir in onion, garlic and ginger.  Allow to soften but not brown.  Stir in curry pastes, and allow curry to cook for a couple of minutes, then add galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.  Slowly add half the coconut milk, and allow the sauce to fully incorporate.  Gently simmer ….. then add most of the coconut milk – reserving some in case your curry is too spicy.

Add as many vegetables as you like – if you want this to also be a meat curry, this is the time to add raw, thinly sliced meat.

During one of my cooking classes in Thailand I was advised to add the meat, then NOT TO STIR until the meat is cooked through.  

Allow the meat and vegetables to cook through, and taste.  This is plenty spicy enough for our family, but if you like more heat add either freshly chopped chile or red chili flakes.  If, on the other hand, your family is not keen on spice at all just start with 1 tsp of each of the curry pastes, and oh so gently, gradually increase the amount of paste.

When you remove the curry from the heat stir in the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.  All Thai dishes contain the 4 essential elements of sweet, sour, salty and spicy from these ingredients.

It may take a bit of playing around to get the taste of Thailand into your kitchen, but you will be so glad you did!