A little bit of a prelude:
2012 was an incredibly crazy year for me.
Here’s the short versionof it: My website really started growing back in January 2012. I went to Dr. John McDougall’s 3 Day Advanced Study Weekend in February and started promoting my site to the McDougalls and others I met there. I released my first solo recipe ebook in March, Comfort Soups To Keep You Warm. I moved into a new house just outside of Vancouver at the end of May. By July I was on my own and working full time to support myself with this website. (I haven’t really told you everything that happened, but I was left by myself outside Vancouver, BC with zero notice from my husband and no money.) In August divorce papers were filed against me. At the end of September I moved back to my home town in Calgary, AB. to be near my friends and family and start over. In October I launched my second major ebook Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World and sold over 300 copies myself in the first few weeks. (I had never felt so loved by you guys, seriously you made my year!) In December I moved all my products (twice) to test out different systems and streamlined everything so it was much easier for you guys to access my ebooks. And here we are in January of a New Year!
Now I know this is all a condensed version and filled with lots of ups and downs, and I’m sure I surprised many of you. Maybe I will talk about some of what happened last summer later but I’m really not sure what to say about that right now. It’s a very shocking story and might be hard for you to believe.
Well push came to shove, and I needed my own actual income (I didn’t have any personal income for a few years, I worked for free essentially) and to be able to support myself immediately, so I started promoting my recipe ebooks along with giving free recipes each week and thanks to you I have made it so far (and not crashed and burned!)
I have to say a really heartfelt thank you because I honestly don’t know what I would be doing without your support and kind words. Probably waitressing or something before I figured out what else I wanted to do, but being a health minded vegan you can see how unappealing that line of work would be!
But I wanted to highlight my top favorite recipes on the blog to celebrate all the delicious food we’ve made together and to remind you that we’re just getting started. We’re really just into the second year of this blog (as there wasn’t much happening back in 2011.) And this was something that I thought I would just poke away at and it’s really taken off!
Chef’s Pick of The Best Low Fat Vegan Recipes of 2012
Over the holidays I had made a few vegan breakfasts for my family while visiting in Texas. (They are Canadian, they just have a winter home in Texas) and it was my mom’s first season eating plant based so I did most of the cooking. This recipe is inspired by a recipe I tried by another vegan chef I met in Vancouver from VeganMischief. It is still my favorite tofu scramble and I really wish that more vegetarian restaurants would season their tofu as most of the time it’s so bland and not tasty! Tofu needs seasonings if it’s going to be in breakfast foods.
Quinoa is something that often eludes newbies as to how to cook it properly. I did some research and testing found out the reason most people don’t like or overcook quinoa is that they add a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. This mistake is perpetuated by grocery stores and manufacturers as instructions often say use a 2:1 ratio. It just yields mushy overcooked quinoa people! So I show you exactly how to cook quinoa perfectly and by using a 1:1 ratio of water to quinoa. Even today this is still one of my number one searched for blog posts. So spread the word!
This is a variation on one of Susan V’s (from Fat Free Vegan) recipes I made as I had previous created a chickpea curry and an eggplant curry for Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World and I was curious what it would taste like to put both ingredients together. The result is absolutely delicious and quite stunning when you garnish it with fresh cilantro.
I had spent most of December and January at my mom’s place in Texas working on recipes for both Comfort Soups To Keep You Warm and Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World, so I hadn’t been blogging much. Just cooking like crazy! I was finishing up a few more recipes and photos to put in Comfort Soups and this was one of them!
Omelettes are something you may miss at first on a vegan diet, so I wanted to make a delicious alternative. I have made this recipe for my family many times and it tastes very much like an omelette. The secret is using silken tofu, because it can be blended and poured just like beaten eggs or pancake batter, so you can make them as big or small as you like. These tend to work best if you make them small to medium sized. The bigger they are the longer they take to cook, so you have to be patient. The possibilities for filling your omelette are endless so give it a try!
In March I launched Comfort Soups To Keep You Warm, with over 30 homemade soup recipes. It was my first solo recipe ebook and I had a lot of fun making it. I still make soup regularly because it’s so much tastier than what comes out of a box or a can (not to mention healthier too) and it’s easy to freeze and keep for later. My mom makes these soup recipes all the time as well as she’s on the go and needs quick and healthy meals.
Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup is one of my favorites from the ebook, so definitely check it out. This recipe is also featured on the Forks Over Knives website!
This recipe has gotten rave reviews from everyone and is a great alternative to apple pie. Phyllo pastry is lighter and lower in fat than traditional crusts and this can be a better for you dessert if you’re trying to watch your fat and calories. Don’t be intimidated by working with phyllo, I’ve got excellent instructions for you to make assembling this strudel pie very easy. This is one of my favorite desserts and adding strawberries or another berry really makes this a beautiful dish.
This hummus recipe is from my new recipe ebook Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World, which is full of comforting entrees, snacks, dips, spreads, sauces and gravies to help spice up your menu repertoire. Hummus is quite popular nowadays, but most recipes contain a lot of oil, so I wanted to show you how to make your own low fat recipe at home and then you can season it to taste with lemon, garlic, salt and seasonings.
Pad Thai can be quite delicious, but it’s usually really greasy and contains far too much oil. In this recipe I’ll teach you how to quickly “fry” your rice stick noodles without any oil and serve them with vegetables in a tangy Thai-like sauce.
These brownies are a real treat. The blackberries add a natural sweetness to it, so they don’t even need to be iced and they still look really delicious. The secret to having them turn out fudgey is to not over-bake them and let them set in the refrigerator until they have firmed up in the middle. When served they are nice and fudgey in the center.
This is a deliciously spiced and thick dal curry that is really easy to make and is great served with fresh basmati rice or Indian flat bread. There are a million different ways to make dal and I think you’ll enjoy my version.
This is a really easy recipe to make using the slow cooker or crock pot. Some lentils such as chana dal and split peas can take longer to cook, so this is an easy set it and forget it recipe you can make early in the day to have a warm dinner to come home to. It’s inspired from a thick dal soup from one of my favorite Indian places in Vancouver.
This is one of my favorite salad recipes, it’s hearty and filling and packed with lots of different textures and flavors. If you find salads a little unappetizing or boring to eat, you should definitely try this recipe. I especially love the creamy homemade dressing, which is quite easy to whip up in the blender too.
This is probably my most popular salad dressing recipe. I have made it many times and it’s always a hit no matter who I’m serving. It’s a great alternative to bottled dressing and it can also be used as a dip for veggies or pita chips. The seasonings are really what take this recipe from ordinary to extraordinary. I know you’re going to love it!
I love homemade vegan lasagna, but it can take quite a while to prep and put together. So i designed this recipe to be much faster and go together like a casserole instead. You still get all that delicious lasagna flavor in less than half the work and time. If you can find mini lasagna noodles, use them, but you can easily substitute any other shape of noodle you desire.
Fresh chickpeas are incredibly tasty and much better for you than canned ones. I try to make fresh chickpeas as often as I can and have created instructions for cooking them in a pressure cooker or on the stove top. You can use fresh cooked chickpeas to make your own hummus, add to soups, add to curries, salads and many more dishes. Chickpeas are so versatile you can add them to almost any meal. If you’ve never had fresh chickpeas, you’re missing out so definitely check out this recipe.
I love eggplant in any recipe. It was once a vegetable I was apprehensive about and didn’t think I would like. But the key to enjoying eggplant is cooking it properly. I loved having Greek stuffed eggplant in Greece so I designed this recipe as a fat free version with lots of flavor.
This is one of my favorite recipes, and I often make it for guests unfamiliar with vegan food. The butternut squash helps add color, flavor and thickens the cheesy sauce and baking it with panko bread crumbs on top makes it have a nice crunch. You can easily make this recipe gluten free as well and it’s a delicious healthier version of an old classic.
I made this recipe for Canadian Thanksgiving and it was so good I wanted to share it. I really love making stuffed vegetables for entrees as they are quite pretty and it’s a good way to show omnivores how to make an actual entree instead of just having vegetable sides served together on one plate for holiday meals. This recipe can easilly be made in advance and reheated the next day for a quick lunch or dinner.
This is a different spin on lentil curry, this time using red lentils (the fastest cooking split lentil). I often make this when I’m looking for a quick meal and serve it along with basmati rice. It’s very colorful and flavorful and you can make it as mild or spicy as you like.
I love both pumpkin and carrot muffins, so I decided to combine this into a delicious new recipe. It’s very low in fat, high in fibre and packed full of vegetables. Who knew you could have a healthy muffin that tasted just as great? These are easy to make and can be frozen individually for quick snacks or a light breakfast on the go.
Quinoa is great to use for variety instead of rice and cooks very quickly. Most people don’t cook quinoa properly and it can become too soft and mushy. I’ll show you how to cook it perfectly and then use it in a variety of ways such as a side dish or cold salads.
Banana bread was one of my favorite treats as a kid, so in this recipe I show you how to make it much healthier and completely oil free. This recipe yields a moist dense loaf and is very tasty.
I love making colorful salads and pomegranates are a nice addition to many holiday recipes. You can buy them whole or get them pre-peeled to make things easier. I love the accompanying dressing for this recipe too as it’s very bright and flavorful.
Well those are my top recommended recipes from the blog for 2012. I hope I listed some of your favorites and some you’ll want to try out. We did a lot in 2012 and I’m looking forward to creating many more delicious recipes to share with you for 2013!
Which ones have you tried or want to try this year?