Monday, September 26, 2022

Cauliflower Egg Cups


I made this recipe for lunch, and it was great. I like calling them egg cups rather than egg muffins, given that there’s no flour, but that’s just me. I liked the amount of cauliflower hidden in here! 

The recipe calls for ricing a head of cauliflower, but I used a bag of riced cauliflower straight from the freezer, without even thawing it and wringing out the water, and it turned out great, so I encourage the lazy approach. I got 14 muffins from this recipe and baked them in two batches, 25 minutes each time. I froze about half of them for later. 

This would be great served with a salad, like this kohlrabi and cabbage salad with maple lemon dressing, a rainbow carrot salad, or a simple green salad. 

1 large cauliflower (or about 3 cups riced cauliflower) 
6 oz. diced ham 
½ cup baby spinach 
½ cup finely chopped onion 
5 eggs, beaten 
½ tsp. garlic powder 
1 cup shredded lactose-free cheddar 
kosher salt 
1 pinch cayenne pepper 
freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Grease a silicone muffin pan and set it aside on a baking sheet. 

On a box grater or in a food processor, grate cauliflower and transfer to a large bowl. Place cauliflower in paper towels or cheesecloth and wring out any excess water. 

Add eggs, cheddar cheese, garlic powder and whisk until combined. Fold in cheddar cheese, ham, spinach and onion. Fill each cavity of the muffin pan about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Housekeeping, Part 2

Part 1 of the housekeeping was about our drive back to Texas, but I’m going to go against chronological order and use Part 2 to wrap up what happened while we were still in Quebec. 

I wrote about Evive smoothies, but I got to try a few more products as well, like ice cream sandwiches from the new line of Chapman’s lactose-free no sugar added products. These were really good! I would have been happy with just a lactose-free version, but given that I’m also trying to limit sugar these days, I really appreciated this extra step. 

The Engineer also found Philadelphia lactose-free cream cheese! I haven’t seen it in their line-up of American products, but it’s such a major brand that it seems logical they would roll it out in the U.S. at some point, right? 

I also got some of this dark chocolate and cranberry spread (it’s nut- and peanut-free, too!). I really enjoy it – it’s very chocolaty, yet the fruit is very present as well. I prefer the consistency at room temperature, though, so I take it out of the fridge the night before if I remember (but it’s not a big deal if I forget). 

I also bought a dark chocolate maple swirl bar from Chocolat Boréal, which I thoroughly enjoyed! I recommend their chocolate products and would love to try more. 

We also tried some of the latest Made Good offerings. I’m a big fan of the brand – allergen-free snacks that contain a serving of vegetables? Yes please! The pizza crackers were okay, but my kids (and I) are really crazy about the cookies! I’ve only bought the chocolate chip flavor so far, but I’ll branch out and try the rest. This is great in their lunchbox! 

I made the Little Prince’s birthday cake as per his request, which he was kind enough to keep simple this year: chocolate cake, vanilla frosting, sprinkles. It was my usual chocolate cake, and I made this vanilla buttercream frosting with lactose-free butter. (If you want to make it a stark white, then use clear vanilla extract and, yes, white gel food coloring, because that’s a thing. I was happy with the result of these plain ingredients, though! 

And while I may not have been to nearly every restaurant on my list, I did get to go back to Leméac for our wedding anniversary, and it was lovely as ever. 

We also went to Les Couleurs de la Terre in Yamachiche – I wrote about it before, as it’s co-owned by my first cousin once removed. Those in Quebec may have heard about it in late June and early July, though, because it went viral on Tik-Tok for having the best poutine in the province. For the record, I can confirm that it is indeed the best! The downside was that they went from serving 200 people a day to 2,000 people a day overnight, so it was a bit overwhelming for everyone! 

And we also went to Gibeau Orange Julep and Swirl because how could we not? They were good as ever, and Swirl doubled the number of flavors they offer – I had the chocolate-mango swirl and bought some amazing strawberry sorbet to go.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Bol-repas couscous, patates douces et pois chiches


Voilà un bol-repas comme je les aime! Simple à préparer, végétalien, délicieux. Je recommande cette recette de Coup de Pouce

Pour la sauce dragon 
¼ tasse de levure alimentaire 
3 c. à table d’huile d’olive 
2 c. à table de sirop d’érable 
2 c. à table de sauce tamari ou de sauce soya 
2 c. à table d’eau 
1 gousse d’ail hachée 

Au mélangeur (ou avec un pied mélangeur), mélanger de la levure alimentaire, l’huile d’olive, le sirop d’érable, la sauce tamari, l’eau, et l’ail. (La sauce se conservera jusqu’à 5 jours au réfrigérateur.) 

Pour le bol-repas 
1 boîte de pois chiches, rincés et égouttés 
2 tasses de patate douce pelée et coupée en cubes de ½ po (1 cm) 
1 petit oignon rouge coupé en tranches de ½ po (1 cm) 
1 c. à table d’huile d’olive 
½ c. à thé de poudre d’ail 
½ c. à thé de cumin moulu 
½ c. è thé de paprika fumé 
1 ½ tasse de couscous de blé entier 
1 ½ tasse d’eau bouillante 
1 (ou 2) avocat, coupé en tranches 
4 tasses de roquette ou de jeunes épinards 
sel et poivre, au goût 

Préchauffer le four à 450 °F. 

Sur une plaque de cuisson, étendre côte à côte les pois chiches, la patate douce et l’oignon. Les arroser de l’huile, les saupoudrer des épices et mélanger en laissant les légumes séparés, si désiré. Saler et poivrer. Cuire au four pendant 15 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que la patate douce soit tendre et dorée (remuer à mi-cuisson). 

Entre-temps, dans un bol résistant à la chaleur, mettre le couscous et verser l’eau bouillante. Couvrir le bol et laisser reposer 5 minutes. À l’aide d’une fourchette, détacher les grains de couscous. Saler et poivrer. 

Au moment de servir, répartir le couscous dans quatre bols. Garnir des légumes rôtis, de l’avocat et de la roquette. Servir avec la sauce dragon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Batch of links

- I read two articles recently about a new study showing that early Europeans had not yet developed lactase persistence when they started raising animals for their milk (or, at least, not in the overwhelming proportions that we know today). There’s an article in the New York Times titled Early Europeans Could Not Tolerate Milk But Drank It Anyway, and one published by McGill University called Putting Up With Farts: A Story of Our Ancestors and the Animal Milk They Loved in which the information is popularized quite well. Essentially, it now looks as though people without lactase persistence were quicker to die in times of famine, which is why lactase persistence is now so prevalent in populations with European ancestry. 

- My friend Jen shared this article titled Stop telling busy parents to meal plan, though interestingly the URL says “meal prep” instead of “plan.” The gist of it is that when you have kids, especially small kids, you can’t spend as much time cooking as before, and that’s absolutely true. However, I am someone who does a lot of meal planning and almost no meal prepping ahead of time. The planning part, even though it’s long and sucks, actually helps me manage anxiety and free up brain space for the rest of the week. This isn’t to say that I’ll plan anything elaborate, just that I know what I’ll be eating for the week and will have the ingredients on hand. It also minimizes waste because I’ll plan to use up leftover ingredients before they go bad. And I always plan around my schedule so that I stay realistic in what I can accomplish on any given night. So all this to say that while I agree with the uncomplicated cooking advocated in the article, to me that’s an entirely separate thing from meal planning. 

- There was this really cool article in Bon Appétit, written by a woman who goes hunting for the first time. I found it well written, nuanced, showing pros and cons and all sides of the issue, and going in depth with facts and statistics as well as feelings. It’s a good article and I do recommend it. However, as I was looking it up online to link to it (Bon Appétit doesn’t put everything up right away upon print publication), it turns out that the author, Rachel Levin, is a fixture of the niche social media subculture of female hunters. She wrote about going bow-hunting years earlier (with some of the same players as in her recent firearm hunt in Bon Appétit, who presumably at this point are not experts she meets for the first time but are in her circle of friends already), and she was interviewed in 2020 about how unusual it is for Jews to hunt, given that hunted meat is not kosher. So all this left a bad taste in my mouth because she’s not the inexperienced layperson she made herself out to be, even though I’m sure she was at one point. 

- Molly Wizenberg wrote about Mollie Katzen’s cookbook Still Life With Menu

- Here’s an interesting article about why Italians avoided eating tomatoes for centuries

- I learned that the color of a hen’s eggs is correlated with the color of her earlobes. Hens with white earlobes lay white eggs, hens with red or dark earlobes lay brown eggs, and hens with blue earlobes lay blue eggs. 

- If your chocolate cake is dry, it could be due to the type of cocoa powder you’re using (hint: you want at least 1 g of fat per 5 g of cocoa).

- A study found that there’s a type of starch that can reduce cancer risk by more than half. It’s present in underripe bananas as well as beans, pasta, and rice. 

- This article explains how the color of cheddar correlates with its taste, and there’s a really cool map showing regional preferences in the U.S.! 

- It’s PCOS Awareness Month! I enjoyed listening to these podcasts about the best diet for PCOS and snacking for PCOS (TL; DL: protein+produce or fiber+fat). 

- And I really liked this video explaining what it’s like to have face blindness.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Easy Chocolate Pie


Strictly speaking, does the world *need* another chocolate pie recipe? Probably not. But isn’t a chocolate pie always welcome? I mean, I don’t think I’m ever NOT in the mood for chocolate pie, you know? This pie is particularly nice for hot days or busy holidays, because you don’t need an oven to make it, assuming you’ve got a crust already. Plus, you can use any crust you want: pâte brisée, pâte sablée, graham cracker crust, oreo crust, gluten-free, vegan, homemade or storebought, it’s all good. 

We all really enjoyed this! Even the Fox decided to taste it, even though it wasn’t “solid chocolate” like a cake. 

One word of warning, though: do NOT use stale marshmallows for this! I learned the hard way that stale marshmallows will not melt. Make sure they are still squishably fresh. 

3 cups mini marshmallows (about 6 oz.) 
2 ½ cups cold lactose-free cream or substitute, divided 
¼ tsp. kosher salt 
1 (12-oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups) 
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar (I would omit this next time) 
1 (9-inch) fully baked pie crust of your choice 

Place 3 cups mini marshmallows, ½ cup of the cream, and kosher salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH in 30-second bursts, stirring between each, until the marshmallows are fully melted, about 2 minutes total. (Alternatively, melt in a small saucepan over low heat.) 

Set aside about 2 tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips from a 12-ounce bag for garnish. Immediately add the remaining chocolate to the warm marshmallow mixture. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. 

Set the chocolate-marshmallow mixture aside to cool until barely warm to the touch, about 30 minutes. 

Place the remaining 2 cups cold cream and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer or whisk and a large bowl.) Begin beating on low speed, gradually increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Reserve and refrigerate about 1 cup of the whipped cream for topping the pie. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mixture until no streaks of cream remain. 

Transfer the filling into the crust and smooth into an even layer. Refrigerate until the filling firms up, at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Top with the reserved whipped cream and chocolate chips and serve.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Mousse chocolat blanc et framboises


J’ai pu profiter de mon passage au Québec cet été pour faire des recettes avec de la crème, comme ces côtelettes de porc avec sauce à l’ail et aux herbes. Mais saviez-vous qu’il y a maintenant de la crème à fouetter végétalienne au Québec aussi? Ben oui, Becel en fait. Alors je n’ai pas pu résister à cette mousse chocolat blanc et framboises d’Émilie Murmure! Nous avons adoré. 

Pour le coulis de framboises 
2 tasses de framboises congelées 
2 c. à soupe de sucre 
1/3 de tasse d'eau 
1 c. à soupe de fécule de maïs diluée dans un peu d'eau 

Dans une casserole, mélanger les framboises, le sucre et l'eau. Laisser mijoter le temps que les framboises réduisent en purée. Ajouter la fécule diluée dans un peu d'eau et laisser épaissir une minute à feu doux. Réserver hors feu. 

Pour la mousse au chocolat blanc 
1 tasse de pépites de chocolat blanc 
1 ½ tasse + ½ tasse de crème à fouetter végétalienne Becel 
2 c. à soupe de sucre à glacer, tamisé 
1 c. à thé d'extrait de vanille 
quelques framboises fraiches, pour garnir 

Au micro-onde ou au bain-marie, faire fondre le chocolat blanc dans ½ tasse de crème. Laisser refroidir au réfrigérateur. 

Dans un cul de poule, mettre 1 ½ tasse de crème à fouetter, le sucre à glacer et la vanille. Battre la préparation au fouet électrique jusqu'à la formation de pics. 

Ajouter délicatement à la spatule la ganache au chocolat blanc. 

Couvrir et laisser refroidir au moins 2h ou toute la nuit. 

Alterner les couches de mousse, de coulis de framboises et de framboises fraiches dans de petits ramequins et servir sans attendre.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022


I’d heard about Evive Nutrition maybe a year ago and was bummed I couldn’t get their products. The company is based in Quebec and is quickly branching out to North America in general, but they do not yet deliver to my area and no local stores carry their products. They make vegan smoothie bases that are served frozen in cute little trays, and part of the draw is that you don’t need a blender to make them – just thaw a bit, add liquid, shake, and boom, you’ve got a smoothie! Another big selling point is that they use all-natural ingredients (say, spirulina instead of blue food coloring), contain no added sugars, and even hide vegetables in their smoothies. You should definitely take a look at their awesome selection! (All their products are gluten-free; see here for allergen information.) 

In addition to using these products to make smoothies, you can also blend them with a banana or other fruit to make a smoothie bowl, or chia seed to make chia pudding. Their website even has recipes to incorporate the smoothie bases into muffins and pancakes! They’ve also started making soups. 

In my opinion, the downside with ordering online is that you can’t do it piecemeal, it’s by subscription only, and I for one do no want to jump into a subscription with a product I haven’t tried yet! So in Quebec, I found a retailer that sold some Evive smoothies and tried two flavors: Saphir (banana, pineapple, and spirulina to make it blue) and Viva (strawberry, banana, and dragon fruit being the main flavors). They both contain extra protein (pea protein, chia protein, hemp seeds) along with cauliflower and vegetable powder. 

After some trial and error, I’d say that the best way to enjoy an Evive smoothie is to pop out the frozen cubes into a jar and leave it in the fridge overnight so that they are ready to mix for breakfast (otherwise, they just take too long to thaw properly). I mixed them with lactose-free milk, and I have to say that not only were they absolutely delicious, but they also kept me feeling satiated until lunch, which is no small feat! 

In conclusion, I really love these products and look forward to being able to buy them in San Antonio!

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

RED Chocolate


I was lucky enough to get some samples of new-to-me RED Chocolate recently. I believe the “RED” stands for “reduced” because it contains less fat and fewer calories than typical chocolate (though it is not necessarily a low-calorie food). The big draw for me was that it contains no added refined sugar (only “natural zero-calorie sweeteners”), thus making it lower in carbs and keto-friendly. All their flavors contain milk fat (which is not the same as lactose, of course) and are cross-contaminated with nuts, so keep that in mind if you have food restrictions. The bars I tried were gluten-free and kosher. 

I tried four flavors. First, the RED Delight dark chocolate tastes like it has some orange in it, but that’s not listed in the ingredients. There’s a slight cooling sensation, probably from the erythritol, yet it still has a slightly bitter aftertaste. It was okay, but not my favorite. 

The RED Delight extra dark chocolate feels richer, more chocolaty somehow. It had none of the “alternative sweetener” taste nor the orange aftertaste. I really like this one! 

Then I had the RED Delight orange and almond dark chocolate – this one tasted of orange, obviously, but I expected that, and it also had a cooling mouthfeel. I appreciate that the pieces of almond are very small so that they almost melt away with the chocolate. I think I detected one of those pieces in the regular dark chocolate, though, so I do wonder if there was shared equipment, and the regular dark chocolate just took on a lot more of the orange almond characteristics than it was supposed to! 

Finally, I tasted the RED Delight milk chocolate. It was good, but that one does have lactose, so I’ll use it as a treat in my kids’ lunchboxes. 

If you are interested in trying it for yourselves, you can use code LFGIRL10 to get 10% off your order! 

Update: Both kids *loved* the chocolate in their lunch! The Little Prince called it “diamond chocolate” because of the shape, and they want more.

Housekeeping, Part 1

It’s been silent on here for a while. We drove back to Texas a month ago, and ever since, I feel like I’ve just been taking care of one loose end after another. Not quite the same as putting out metaphorical fires, but still, there’s been a steady stream of things requiring my attention, and it might let up next week. 

We opted to see several things along the way on our drive back, but never stopping more than a few hours in each spot. First up were St. Raphael’s Ruins in Glengarry, Ontario. The church was destroyed in a fire in 1970, but the ruins were solidified in 1974 and are now a beautiful National Historic Site. 

We had dinner at Jack Astor’s and, PSA: they have a vegan chocolate peanut butter tart with coconut whipped cream! I mean, you had me at hello, there was no way I could turn this down, and turned out to be fantastic! 

The next day, we crossed the border in what seemed like downtown Detroit, Michigan, right among the skyscrapers, then headed for Belle Isle Park. There was a long line of cars on the bridge getting there; it’s $10 for entrance, but most things after that are free to visit. We went to see the Conservatory, which is full of plants, then went to the waterside. It’s a really beautiful place! I also found the buildings in Detroit beautiful, especially the old houses in the area. (Of course, the neighborhoods themselves are probably not where I’d want to hang out after dark.) 

We eventually made a pit stop in Vandalia, Illinois, to see the Kaskaskia dragon, which actually breathes fire if you feed it a token (and tokens are free at the hardware store across the street). It was fun, and not just for the kids! 

From there, we drove a few hours south to Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri. Not only are the caverns very interesting from a natural and geological point of view, they also have historic significance. Jesse James hid out here for a few days before escaping via one of the many exits, and in more recent history, there used to be dance parties in the summer – there’s a disco ball in the huge main “room”, along with a theater in one of the back rooms. I think one of the big draws is that the caverns are cool year-round, so before air-conditioning, this was a great place to spend a summer evening! The are many wonderful rock formations throughout, including the Wine Table – it is a freestanding formation on three legs, that vaguely looks like a table with wine glasses on it. (There is only one other similar formation in the world, in Italy, and I think that one has two legs.) 

Our last hotel stay was the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. It was our first time there, and officially we billed it as a treat for the kids, but really, we had fun too! For those of you who haven’t heard of the chain, it’s a hotel that contains an indoor water park (there are also arcades and “dry” activities). There were plenty of things for the Fox to do even though he wasn’t tall enough for the biggest slides – in addition to the play structures, there was a lazy river (I made sure to ride with him) and a wave pool (we stuck to the shallow end). I ended up riding most of the slides with the Little Prince and had more fun than I thought I would! The trick was to go as soon as the place opened in the morning, before check out, so as to avoid the long lines. There’s only the biggest slide that scared him too much, so we didn’t go, but hopefully we’ll stay there again and get another chance! The hotel restaurant is a buffet, and the kids were super happy with all the choices. 

The last leg of the trip had a nice surprise: we randomly stopped for lunch in Hico and ended up at the restaurant inside the historic Midland Hotel. The place was beautiful, the service was perfect, and it was probably the nicest meal we had on our trip. I had a fried green tomato BLT and house fries, and it was great! We then went to nearby Wiseman House Chocolates, which had beautiful and, it turns out, delicious options! They have a small selection online, so I’ll consider placing an order once the weather cools down – their chocolate was really delicious!