Vegi-curious Adventures: Plant-Based Guide to Quebec City

Berries at Marche Vieux-Port

Berries at Marche Vieux-Port

Bruce and I spent our honeymoon in Quebec City 15 years ago. We got married at the end of July and wanted to go someplace where we could hold hands without sticking to one another. I was thinking that a train ride across Canada would be romantically fun. Thankfully, our travel agent talked us into going to Quebec City. We loved it and have been back so many times that I lost count. This year is the first time we would travel to Quebec City as herbivores and were somewhat apprehensive about the food. Quebecois cuisine is very French and very meat-centric with elk, caribou, wapiti, fois gras, lobster, duck, cheese, cream and butter making regular appearances on the menus at our favorite restaurants. One interesting aspect about Quebec City is that there always seems to be an abundance of fresh produce at the Marche du Vieux-Port, so we figured we could rely on that if we got desperate. We decided to throw apprehension to the wind and made our reservations.

In preparation for the long drive, I packed up some oatmeal-apple muffins (recipe at the bottom of this post) and hummus with veggies and pita crisps. I figured it would be wise to eat as cleanly as possible to offset any lapses we might have once we set foot in Quebec. We were so exhausted and hungry by the time we arrived that we walked to the closest sushi bar for dinner. (You can always rely on vegetable sushi in a pinch just about anywhere you travel.)

We fueled up for our daily walking excursions at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. First, a plate of mixed greens, dried fruit, nuts and seeds; then on to fresh melon, pineapple, bananas and kiwis; followed by raisin or multi-grain toast with peanut butter or a variety of local berry preserves. Every other day they would put out tasty little almond bars. I resolved to make a plant-based version upon our return and will post that very soon.

Quebec City is the only walled city in North America. A typical day was to walk within the walls, then down to lower Quebec and along the water. Many of the stores sell products that are made in the Province of Quebec and it’s a great way to check out the menus for dinner. Some days we would walk around the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham or the Grand Allee. We made it to Quebec City just in time to catch the last day of the Plein Arts festival on the waterfront and the first day of the Fete de Biere (brew fest). We planned our walks so as to stop at the Marche du Vieux-Port to pick up lunch. The Marche du Vieux-Port is a farmers’ market near the Bassin Louise. All of the produce vendors sell berries from the I’le de Orleans. (I’ll write about this lovely island in a separate post.) I found tasty prepared food at La Tomaterie. Their quinoa, couscous and bean salads were a staple for our lunches and the Tarte Vegetarien was a special treat. Local vineyards offer tastings of their wines that are also available for purchase. With a shopping bag full of goodness, we’d head up the hill to our hotel for a well-deserved lunch and afternoon nap.

Bean Salad & Couscous Salad

Bean Salad & Couscous Salad

Tarte Vegetarien

Tarte Vegetarien

In  my next post, I will share our favorite restaurants and the most memorable meal of our Quebec City vacation. You won’t want to miss it, so be sure to check back. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Apple & Oatmeal Muffin

Apple & Oatmeal Muffin

Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

Notes: the muffins are a little sweet, so you might want to adjust the amount of dates and/or maple syrup. If the apples have a lot of juice, you can either squeeze out the excess or reduce the amount of aquafaba or water.

1 cup whole oats
1 cup brown rice flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt

¾ to1 cup dates
¼ cup almond butter
½ cup non-dairy milk
¼ to ½ cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons aquafaba or water
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups grated apples
1 cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Place cupcake liners into muffin pan.

In a large bowl whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In food processor, combine dates, almond butter, milk, syrup, aquafaba, flax meal and vanilla. Add in apples and walnuts and stir to combine

Using a large ice cream scoop, fill liners ¾ the way full. Bake for 20 minutes.

23 Aug 2016

March Muffin Madness: Muesli Muffins

Muesli Muffin & Apple Butter

Muesli Muffin & Apple Butter

Muesli Muffin

Muesli Muffin

Mmmmm . . . March Muffin Madness . . . Mad Muesli Muffins.

Bruce and I honeymooned in Quebec City and have spent many vacations in Canada since then. During one of our trips, the hotel served Muesli for breakfast. I don’t know if it was the “everything-tastes-better-on-vacation” effect, but Muesli never tasted that good here in the states. According to Wikipedia, Muesli was introduced around 1900 by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital, where a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables was an essential part of therapy. With a cereal consisting of rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, Dr. Bircher-Benner was doing something right. One of my aims when I develop muffin recipes is to come up with something that is filling enough for breakfast or can be enjoyed as a snack, so it made sense to incorporate the ingredients from Muesli into a muffin. I started by making a puree of dates, applesauce, almond butter, maple syrup and milk for sweeteners and moisture. For structure, I mixed together old-fashioned oats and whole wheat pastry flour. I included raisins and dried cranberries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds as the textural add-ins, but here’s where you can get creative and use any combination of dried fruits, seeds and nuts. Well, I couldn’t wait until breakfast to unwrap one of these and when I did it was bursting with a delightful aroma and a handful of goodness. These muffins can be enjoyed at the breakfast table or on the go. I actually made these a few weeks ago and stored them in the freezer. I defrosted the last ones for Bruce’s lunch, so I’m off to the kitchen to make another batch. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Muesli Muffins

makes 12 muffins

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pitted dates
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp. finely ground flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. apple butter (or applesauce)
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy milk (soy, almond, cashew)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoons non-aluminum baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned whole oats (not instant)
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 6 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 6 tbsp. raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the applesauce, dates, almond butter, flax, maple syrup, apple butter and milk and process until smooth. (The dates can be chunky.)  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add the oats, seeds, raisins and cranberries and stir to mix. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture in the bowl and stir just to combine.

Using a scoop or large spoon, fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once about halfway through. Cool about 10 minutes before removing to a rack.

21 Mar 2016

March Muffin Madness: Zucchini Quichettes

Zucchini Quichette

Zucchini Quichette

Is it a muffin? Is it a quiche? No, it’s a quichette! This week is the beginning of March Madness for college basketball fans, but March Muffin Madness is in full swing in my kitchen. Check out last week’s bracket winner, Tutti-Frutti Muffins. For this week’s recipe, I was shooting for a muffin that was more like a hand-held quiche and came up with these Zucchini Quichettes. I loaded them up with grated zucchini and a mixture of chickpea/fava and whole wheat pastry flours. The combination of black salt and nutritional yeast was added in to mimic the egg and cheese flavor components of quiche. Zucchini can be a little tricky in baked goods as they can let out a lot of water, so I squeezed out as much liquid as possible. For the final version I used a zucchini that weighed almost 12 ounces, but you could get away with as little as 8 ounces. The quichettes were a little stubborn coming out of the muffin tin, so if you don’t have non-stick bake ware be sure to coat the pan thoroughly. These quichettes came out just right. They held together like a muffin, tasted like a quiche. They’re versatile enough to be enjoyed at the breakfast/brunch table, as a party appetizer or as breakfast on the go. With warmer weather right around the corner, these quichettes are neat enough to pack in a cooler or picnic basket for your next trip to the mountains or beach, even your favorite sporting event. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Hand-held Zucchini Quiches

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional – this helps to brown the top surface)
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated  (12 oz.) squeezed
  • ¼ to ½ cup any type of onion, chopped

Dry Ingredients

  • ½ cup chick pea flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon black salt, truffle salt or regular salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon tomato powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat non-stick muffin pan with oil.

In a medium size bowl combine milk and lemon juice and let sit a few minutes. Add in oil, zucchini and scallions.

In another bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 35 minutes until light brown on top and almost cooked through.

Remove from oven, cool completely before removing from muffin pan.


13 Mar 2016

March Muffin Madness: Tutti-Frutti Muffins

Tutti-Frutti Muffins

Tutti-Frutti Muffins

I was never the athletic type and didn’t participate too much in team sports as a child. I think I held myself back because I was the shy, chubby girl who was afraid to look like a klutz. For some reason, when I was eleven, I mustered up the courage to join a softball team. What was I thinking? All the other girls had been playing for years and they were really good (I mean college-scholarship good). The coach decided to put me at second base. You know, that’s a pretty tough position to play. If there wasn’t a fly ball to the outfield it seemed every other hit was a line drive aimed right at me. I must have been thinking, “I better figure this out or I’m gonna get hurt.” The coach probably put me there because I couldn’t throw the ball very far, but I had a good eye and quick reflexes to pick up those infield hits. At the end of the season, I was quite surprised to hear the coach say that I was the most improved player on the team. “Most improved?” I must have been really bad when I started out the season, but I tried really hard not to let the other girls down. Even with the coach’s encouraging words, I didn’t sign up for the team the following year. It’s kind of funny how, to this day, I have no interest in watching a baseball game (or any other sporting event), but I really liked playing softball. So, maybe I’d rather be in the game and not just a spectator. This brings me to the big sporting event that comes around at this time of year: March Madness. For the handful of you who may not know, this is the NCAA basketball tournament that determines the national championship of college basketball teams. All around the country, people will be gathering around the water cooler wondering who’s going to the dance and what teams will be Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight or the Final Four. Standing just shy of five feet tall, it’s fair to say that basketball is really a stretch for me. I don’t know a thing about this sport, so how could I get in the game? What I do know is how to make a mean muffin, so I decided to come up with a series of posts called “March Muffin Madness” where I get to show off some moves on the home court (aka my kitchen). I don’t think I’ll have the energy to come up with 16 different muffin recipes, so I’ll shoot for eight, be happy if I come up with four and hopefully have a few slam-dunks along the way. The tip-off recipe will be Tutti-Frutti Muffins. Chock full of dried fruit, teff flour and unrefined sweetness, these muffins will have your fans jumping out of their seats! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Tutti-Frutti Muffins

 Makes 24 miniature muffins

  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup dates, softened
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1 tablespoon brandy or rum)
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup mixed dried fruit, chopped (figs, apricots, prunes, etc.)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder or flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup teff flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two miniature muffin tins with coconut oil or non-stick spray.

Place almond butter, maple syrup, dates, milk and vanilla in container of mini-chopper. Blend until combined (small pieces of dates are okay). Set aside.

In a small bowl, toss together walnuts, dried fruit, raisins and cocoa or flour until fruit and nuts are coated. Set aside.

Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add fruit and nut mixture and stir to distribute ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined.

Using a small ice cream scoop, portion batter into muffin tins. Bake for 14 minutes until muffins spring back when touched with your finger. Remove to cooling rack and cool completely.




04 Mar 2016

Chocolate for Breakfast: Black Forest Oatmeal Muffins

Black Forest Oatmeal Muffins 002It’s okay to have chocolate for breakfast and I’m not talking cocoa puffs. While I was making the Chocolate Pumpkin loaf from the Forks Over Knives cookbook the other day it hit me (not the book, but an idea). This is a moist, chocolately loaf that’s not too sweet, (especially since I use less sugar than the recipe calls for) that could be enjoyed for breakfast. I pondered ways to transform this loaf into more of a breakfast treat and here’s how the recipe evolved. We usually have oatmeal every day, so that seemed like a sensible addition. I wanted to add some type of dried fruit and opted for cherries as they are a nice complement to chocolate. I kept some of the ingredients in the mix (pumpkin, cocoa powder, applesauce), replaced some of the whole wheat pastry flour with oatmeal and used soy milk instead of water. So often when making over a recipe it looks better on paper (in this case, in my head) than it does in reality. Well, I’m happy to report that this is not one of those times. These muffins are delightful –slightly sweet, tender and moist with just enough chocolate to make you feel indulged. Now you can have your chocolate and eat it too . . .  for breakfast! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.


Black Forest Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Place 12 cupcake liners in muffin tin.

In medium bowl, whisk together pastry flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add dried cherries and toss to coat.

In large bowl, mix together pumpkin, applesauce and cocoa powder until smooth. Blend in sugar, then whisk in milk. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just until blended.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners about ¾ the way. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from muffin tin and place on cooling racks to cool completely.

You can place in plastic bags and freeze for future enjoyment.





11 Jan 2016

Svelte Santa: Glorious Morning Muffins

Glorious Morning MuffinsIt’s been a long, long time since I put out a midnight snack for Santa. It used to be the standard cookies and milk. With every believer putting out a treat to entice Santa down their chimney no wonder he was looking somewhat portly. Okay, so I don’t like a skinny Santa either, but if he lost just a few extra pounds he’d be able to shimmy down that chimney a little faster. (Faster trips down the chimney = more presents under the tree.) So I thought this year I’d put out a couple of healthy muffins and a glass of almond milk instead.” Bah Humbug” you might say; but one bite of these little gems you’ll be singing a different Christmas carol. These Glorious Morning Muffins are chock full of orange, dates, carrots and oatmeal. You could add in some chopped nuts or raisins for a little added goodness. If you’re expecting out-of-town guests for the holidays this year, why not bake up a few batches of muffins to have on hand for breakfast, brunch or just snacking? In addition to this recipe, I’m making Cracked Corn Muffins and Blueberry Muffins before my guests (and Santa) arrive. The Brits use the term “in good nick” that means to be in good health.  This Christmas Eve set out something healthy to keep St. Nick in good nick. Happy Holidays and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Glorious Morning Muffins

Makes 12 to 14 muffins

  • 1 navel orange (skin and flesh), cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 2 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp. finely ground flax seeds (mixed with 3 tablespoons aquafaba or water)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. apple butter
  • 3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk (soy, almond, cashew)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoons non-aluminum baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned whole oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • ¼ cup raisins, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts,optional

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners for small muffins.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the orange segments, dates and almond butter until almost smooth. Add the flax, almond butter, maple syrup, apple butter and milk and process until well blended.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add the oats and stir to combine.

Pour the contents of food processor over the dry mixture in the bowl and mix well.  Fold in carrots, raisins and walnuts.

Using an ice cream scoop fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once about halfway through. Cool about 10 minutes before removing to a rack.

15 Dec 2015

%d bloggers like this: