Gluten-free

Margarita Chicken - TheMessyBaker.com
The Margarita Chicken Compromise

Andrew and I are mature, level-headed adults. We can easily discuss our budget, the laundry schedule, and who goes where at Easter. We listen to each other, see the other person's point of view and devise workable action plans. We use terms like "action plan,"...

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Nigella’s Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto

To paraphrase from Nigella Lawson's latest book Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes, this dish is "verdiglorious." Green basil, green beans, and green pistachios all come together in a "riot" of a pesto dish. What it lacks in authenticity, it more than makes up for in colour...

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Cumin Carrots with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Fool me once, shame of you. Fool me twice (a dozen times), shame, shame, double-shame on me. It took years, but I learned my lesson. No Newspaper Recipes. None. Do not clip them for me. I will throw them out. Do not make them for...

Smashed Potatoes turn leftover baked potatoes into something special. Ugly, but special. - TheMessyBaker.com
Easy Leftover Smashed Potatoes

I seriously miscalculated the potato requirement for last night's dinner. Maybe I was distracted by the dishwasher that kept telling me the intake/drain needed my attention. Maybe I got a little pre-occupied trying to remember where I had hidden Andrew's birthday present. Either way, I...

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Roasted Cauliflower, Pomegranate & Hazelnut Salad

This roasted cauliflower salad serves as my reminder that good recipes are flexible. Good recipes invite experimentation. They serve as helpful guidelines, not rigid rules. With titles like "The Best This" or "The Ultimate That" it's easy to forget no one recipe has a monopoly...

Lentil Soup Recipe - The Messy Baker
Soup Sisters: Spread the Love

When is a bowl of soup not a bowl of soup? When it's a community coming together in support. Soup Sisters is a registered not-for-profit organization with 12 chapters across Canada. Through the help of their volunteers, they have delivered more than 100,000 containers of hot,...

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Pampered
Curly Kale - The Messy Baker If I come back as a vegetable I want to be kale. Ruffly, versatile, pretty kale. Not only would I be my favourite colour (green), I'd finally have unstoppable curls — something I can't achieve even with hot rollers and a perm. But I'd be more than just another pretty edible. Unlike with cream puffs or macarons, my feminine exterior wouldn't wrap a soft, untoned middle. Quite the opposite. Instead, my frilly greens would stem from a strong backbone  that delivered the nutritional goods. And people would love me for it. They'd write blog posts in my honour. They'd hail me as a wonder. But best of all, they'd give me the royal treatment. Not all vegetables meet a pampered end. Carrots get stripped and shredded to pieces. Potatoes have their eyes gouged out before being mashed to a pulp, and we won't discuss what happens to poor old butternut squash. But kale? I kid you not, it gets slathered in oil and given a rub down. Yeah. I'd definitely come back as kale.

Massaged Kale: Basic Techniques

I learned about massaging kale from my cousin just the other week. At first I thought she was joking. In my family, you learn pretty quickly not to take odd-sounding advice at face value. One moment of misplaced trust can take years to live down. But it turns out this is a real thing. In fact, there are two full pages dedicated to kale massage in Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves by Nava Atlas, (© 2012, Sterling).  The following excerpt is from her book and published here with permission:
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Another Breakfast Soup
Sweet Potato Apple Ginger Soup - The Messy Baker Soup for breakfast is working. Sort of. But after a couple of weeks of savory Asian Chicken and Quinoa Soup, and a gentle Lentil & Lemon Soup, I'm wanting to start my day with something sweet. While I crave a raspberry danish or waffles dripping in maple syrup, I am saving these desserts-in-disguise for special occasions (and no, getting out of bed in the morning is not a special occasion, even for this late-rishing Night Hawk). So I poked about a bit and found a soup that's sweet, healthy, and very warming. Sweet Potato, Apple and Ginger Soup. They had me at ginger. Add a side of multi-grain toast and a grating of sharp cheddar, and I'm one happy eater. The soup recipe comes from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton & Company, @2011). If you think apples are boring, this book will make you think again. The Braised Brisket with Apples and Hard Cider was a hit with my carnivore husband and my in-laws enjoyed a brunch including the apple-laced Dutch Baby (a German pancake that thinks it's a popover). My favourite part of the book is the 30 pages dedicated to 59 different varieties of apple. At last, I have an in-depth look at the apples I often read about but can't always get at my local Farmers' Market. But it's not all Mutsu, Granny Smith and Gala. Ever heard of Black Oxford, Ashmead's Kernel or Jazz? They're new to me. I'm now aching to bite into a Hidden Rose to taste what Traverso describes as a "red-fleshed novelty." The fleeting Pink Pearl ("when it's gone, it's gone") sounds deliciously whimsical, and who can resist anything called Westfield Seek-No-Further? Not me. If you're feeling stifled by the same-old, same-old grocery store apples, don't be.
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Pushing Boundaries
Onion Bhaji with Chaat Masala Recipe - The Messy Baker I did it. Despite containing three ingredients I've never used before, I made onion bhaji. And I pronounce them to be good. Make that "very good."  Andrew, who inspired the selection, claimed they were "delicious" and "as good as the restaurant's." So, with a flourish of my typing fingers,  I am proudly striking the first item off my 2013 Culinary Bucket List. Onion Bhaji recipe. Done. And done well. But I can't take all the credit. Monica Bhide suggested I look at her recipe for Onion Rings with Chaat Masala. I did. But I hesitated at the list of ingredients. I didn't know what chaat masala was. I had never heard of carom, and thought fenugreek was like fennel. Thanks to this recipe I got schooled. And it was far less painful than writing lines.
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Soup for Breakfast
Breakfast Soup Recipe - Asian-Inspired Quinoa and Chicken Soup - The Messy Baker I struggle with breakfast at the best of times. Winter only makes it worse. It's cold. It's dark. One look out the window and any sensible person would dive back into bed until spring -- or at least 10 AM -- not head to the kitchen and prepare food. I think the issue lies in my genes. I am a Night Owl. My natural rhythm seems about 2 hours behind the rest of the world. I simply am not hungry when I first wake up. Having talked to several other people who also describe themselves as "not a morning person," I know I am not alone. Unlike the Early Birds, who leap from bed starving, our sluggish morning metabolism shuns food. After I've been stumbling about for an hour or so, and the caffeine has pried my lids open, I am ready to munch, but on something sweet. Like cinnamon apple muffins or sour-cream-topped waffles dripping with maple syrup. I slurp hot popovers, crumpets or English muffins drooling butter. But I don't. Experience tells me the surfeit of carbs will come back to haunt me. But in the dead of winter, where does this leave me? It's too cold for my summertime fallback -- berries, yogurt and granola. I'm not big on eggs. Gag at the texture of oatmeal and would not feel the least bit cheated if I never saw, let alone ate, another sausage. After much thought, I have decided to embrace soup. For breakfast.

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