I’ve got a great salad for you today. It’s easy to prepare, would travel well (if you don’t mind slightly brown avocado), and with enough beans, makes a perfect summer lunch. I also feel like we have lots of catching up to do. If anyone has noticed, I’ve been rather sparse with posting the past few months. It’s not that I meant to neglect you, it’s just that I basically haven’t done much cooking during that time. So it’s hard to blog about recipes if I don’t have any to share. And why haven’t I felt like cooking you may ask? it’s because we’ve been busy baking … a little bun in the oven.
That’s right friends, this girl is officially pregnant! It’s been an overwhelming couple of months: with nausea and exhaustion taking over my body like a foreign invader, plus the added emotions of our struggles over the past year and a half (read some of our story here). But I am officially at 16 weeks (well … quite over that now, but still in the 16-week mark for a wee bit longer), and I’m feeling confident in sharing our wonderful news with everyone who reads the blog. We are over the moon about this, but I’ll probably keep posts regarding the pregnancy to a minimum here … however, if you’re interested in keeping up, I am certain there will be LOTS of over-sharing over at Life of George. (in case you are a family member/friend who is on Facebook, please respect that we’re not posting anything on there at this time. Thanks!)
And since our baby is apparently the size of an avocado this week, and we call him/her our “Little Bean” I thought it would be fitting to share a recipe that ties into these references . Or maybe it’s extremely morbid that I’m eating avocado, little beans and baby greens? Either way, this salad is delicious! And hopefully with my new-found increase in energy over the past few weeks, regular posting will commence again soon.
Avocado & Little Bean Salad with Baby Greens
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp agave syrup
splash of gluten free soy sauce (seriously, a splash, don’t over do it)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salad for Two
4 handfuls of baby greens – I used arugula and spinach
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 – 1 cup of navy beans (use lots if you’re serving as a meal, but you can use less if this is a side)
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Whisk together the first 8 ingredients of the dressing in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until everything is combined. Set aside.
Combine the lettuce, avocado, beans, and green onions in a large bowl. Drizzle over about 2 Tbsp of dressing (or more if you like) and mix gently to ensure the salad is dressed – I find using my hands for this prevents everything from becoming mushy. (Store any unused dressing in the fridge for up to 1 week) Dish out salad between 2 bowls and top each serving with the parmesan cheese.
Serves 2. Obviously the ingredients in the salad can be increased to serve more people. The dressing should make enough for 4-6 servings.
I’m heading to Winnipeg for a conference today. I’m quite excited since I’ll be seeing some old friends while I’m in town – and after booking my flights about a month ago, I was shocked to realize it’s been 3 years since I was last there! So I tacked on a couple of extra days so I could squeeze in as much visiting time as I can.
One thing I’m not excited about is traveling while being gluten free. Edmonton was easy because we were staying with family the entire time; but the first few days of this trip I’ll be shacking up at a hotel. And I’m not quite sure what will be available for gluten free options. The main area I get stuck while traveling is when it comes to snacks or a quick meal while flying through airports or throughout the day in a city where I don’t have access to my own familiar grocery. So I figured I’d make some gluten free power bars to prepare for the trip.
I was excited to make some “3-Ingredient Energy Bars” that I had pinned a while back. They clearly had dates, almonds and cranberries in them, and looked easy enough. However, when I clicked the link, I had to continue to click onto other links for the “recipe” only to discover that I was eventually led to an Amazon search results page for energy bars. Blah. Obviously I didn’t really need a recipe, but I was wondering if the bars were cut up right after being mixed, or maybe refrigerated or frozen prior to cutting into individual pieces. Clearly upon mixing up my own power bars, it was obvious I couldn’t just cut them up right away. And I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t have just made little power balls instead and been done with it. But bars are so much easier to pack. So I froze them for a little bit, and voila! Easy cutting for this girl. I also decided to take much creative liberties with the recipe, since I couldn’t actually see the recipe anywhere, and added some extra flavour with some cocoa, maple syrup, and vanilla. I love these so much, I’m not sure they’re going to make it through security at the airport!
Gluten Free Cranberry, Almond & Date Power Bars
Possibly inspired by Raw Energy by Stephanie Tourles – however I have no proof my Pin came from that book
1 cup roasted, salted almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates (about 15 dates)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on level of sweetness desired)
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, blend until everything is mixed and the nuts are coarsely ground (I was actually going for a fine grind, but my food processor was being a jerk … so coarse it is). Turn out the mix onto a sheet of plastic wrap – mould into square about a 1/2″ thick. I believe pressing this into a square pan would have been easier, but I don’t have such a pan, so I free-styled it. Cover the mould with more plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour.
Unwrap date mix, then cut into bars – whatever your size preference.
Makes approximately 16 power bars.
Tomorrow is Earth Day; and just like last year, I thought I’d share a dish that’s as local as I’m prepared to eat while living in the subarctic. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to eat locally, or that I dislike any of the food that we can get around here. But, as I pointed out before, this land is fairly barren 8 months of the year, with the exception of fresh-water fish and wild animals that roam the north. There’s no access to fruit and vegetables that were grown within a 100-mile radius of our home. So we combine produce from the southern States, Mexico, and South America with meat from Alberta and sometimes local fish and game.
So here is my closest approximation of a “Local Taco” – using only 1 local ingredient: Bison. And I’m okay with that. Bison is a delicious wild meat, that doesn’t have much of a gamey taste to it. Plus it’s fairly lean, making it a healthy alternative to beef from time-to-time. However, there is absolutely nothing else included in this taco that was grown or produced anywhere near where I live. I’ll take the compromise and walk to work as much as possible. Plus, we live in the Land of the Midnight Sun – which means for quite some time around the summer months, we have no need to turn on our lights. You’re welcome Mother Earth.
Bison Steak Tacos
This marinade would work well with various proteins. So if Bison isn’t a local meat near you, you could substitute beef, pork, chicken, shellfish, or any fresh or salt-water fish – hell, I won’t even judge if firm tofu is a local ingredient for you. Just reduce the marinade time to 1 hour if you’re using seafood, as the lime juice will end up cooking it eventually if left too long.
1 lb bison steak
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice – about 1 lime
2 Tbsp tequila
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili flakes
Pico de Gallo
2-3 roma tomatoes
1/2 white onion
juice from half lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
6-8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
Slice the bison steak into thin strips, against the grain. Combine the steak and remaining marinade ingredients (garlic through chili flakes) in a zip-top bag. Marinade in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
About a half hour before you’re ready to cook the steak, prepare the Pico de Gallo. Dice the tomatoes, mince the jalepeno (remove the seeds and insides of the jalepeno if you want it less spicy), and dice the onion. Combine the vegetables along with the lime juice, salt & pepper together in a bowl and set aside.
Preheat a grill pan or heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the half the bison on both sides for approximately 3 minutes a side (or less if you prefer the bison more rare) – remove the cooked bison to a plate and keep warm. Continue with remaining bison. Meanwhile cook tortillas according to directions.
When everything is cooked, serve the bison steak on corn tortillas with sour cream, pico de gallo, sliced avocado and shredded Monterey jack cheese.
Makes 6-8 tacos.
Hello all! I know I’ve been MIA the past little while. I promise you I have my reasons, I’m not simply slacking. But I don’t need to provide you any excuses, I’m here to say Happy 2 Years to Gorging George! Yes, it’s been another year of cooking, eating and writing about food – and what a year it’s been! The site has since gone Gluten Free, I’ve whipped up a Thanksgiving Feast with a local chef, and was even a featured blogger on Food Bloggers of Canada! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thank you to everyone who’s been following for the whole 2 years, and to those of you who have just stopped by today – you all give me a reason to continue snapping pictures of food and pounding away at the computer afterwards – you guys rock!
To celebrate, why not go all out? I’ve got an over-the-top, extra rich lasagna for everyone. I know, it’s nearly bikini-season – you don’t want to stuff 5000 calories* into your mouth in one sitting. But there’s something about the tepid temperatures this time of year that drive me into a panic. I start to crave all the heavy, baked dishes of winter, already grieving their disappearance for nearly half the year before we have even turned our ovens off in place of barbecues. And I’m not saying that I don’t look forward to grilled burgers, fresh summer salads, and sausages cooked over a campfire – I mourn these equally come the Fall.
It’s this time of the year that I dive into braised meats, roasted chickens, casseroles, and of course baked pasta. And when I make these, I typically don’t hold back. What’s the point of eating “low-fat” “no-fat” “no-fun” comfort food? If I’m worried about my hips, I’ll nosh on some vegetable soup and salad thank you very much. When I want baked pasta I want a pound of cheese, lots of cream, and definitely some full fat love in my dish. I’ll take an extra walk around the block with Kona to feel better about myself later (and hopefully ward off a heart attack).
Oh – and while this is completely off topic – a big welcome to the world to Baby C! Our friends just had their first baby last Friday, and we’re so excited for the new family!
Gluten Free Ultimate Lasagna
This lasagna does not have to be gluten free if you’re not living that way. Go ahead and substitute regular lasagna noodles and all-purpose flour in the béchamel. I didn’t share a recipe for bolognese because most people have their own favourite version of this meaty sauce; plus Kyle says it’s still not time to share my version yet!
For the Gluten Free Béchamel
1/4 cup cold butter
1 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1 cup milk
salt & pepper
For the Rest of the Lasagna
6 cups of your favourite gluten free bolognese
1 package gluten free lasagna noodles (about 12 noodles)
150g diced pancetta
1 clove garlic, minced
4-5 handfuls of fresh spinach
350g mozzarella, shredded
1 cup parmesan, grated
6-7 slices provolone
To Make the Béchamel: melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the sweet rice flour. Continue to whisk for about 1 minute or until the flour becomes a slight golden colour. Whisk in the milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to stir until thickened. The sauce is done once it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper). Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook/heat up your bolognese and cook the lasagna noodles according to directions – rinse the noodles with cold water and set aside. Pan-fry the pancetta in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once it is crispy, remove from the pan and drain on paper towels – leave the fat from the pancetta in the pan. Add the garlic to the pan, give it a quick stir, then immediately add the spinach. Quickly saute until the spinach wilts – this will likely only take a minute or two. Season the spinach with salt, then stir into the béchamel sauce.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF if you plan on cooking the lasagna right away. Once all your components are ready (noodles, béchamel with spinach, bolognese, pancetta, & cheeses) – you can start putting your lasagna together. Spread 1 1/2 cups of bolognese on the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread the cooked pancetta over the lasagna noodles, then top this with 3 cups of bolognese. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of mozzarella over the bolognese. Cover with 3-4 lasagna noodles (however many you need to cover the bolognese). Spread out the béchamel with spinach over this layer of lasagna noodles, and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of mozzarella over the béchamel. Cover with another 4-5 lasagna noodles (again, however many you need to cover the layer below). Top this with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of bolognese. Place the provolone slices over the bolognese, then cover the lasagna with the remaining mozzarella and grated parmesan.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until it is bubbling and heated through. If the top isn’t browned enough, you can broil for a few minutes (watch the oven though, you don’t want it to burn!).
You can also prepare this ahead before baking and refrigerate for up to two days – cover with aluminum foil after assembling. Pull the lasagna out of the fridge an hour before you plan to bake it. Then bake according to directions above – you may have to add an extra 15 minutes to ensure it is heated through.
*note: calorie count is not an accurate measure of a serving of this lasagna – I’m no dietician.