Baked Butternut Squash Mac n Cheeze

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheeze

Welcome to June ladies n’ gents!

In Toronto the last few weekends have been fabulous. I’m talking sunshine, green grass, puppies, flowers, summer drinks, and good food. I’m so thrilled to be leaving the polar vortex behind!

Right now, my all-time favourite Mac N Cheeze is made by Toronto chef Doug McNish. It’s creamy, it’s unbelievably tasty, and –of course– it’s entirely vegan. If you live in the Toronto area, I highly recommend visiting his Public Kitchen or his Saturday-morning stall at the Brickworks Farmers Market.

Inspired by Doug, my boyfriend and I set out to master a butternut squash mac n cheeze of our own. After scrolling through our options online, we chose this recipe from Oh She Glows (who else)! We opted for the baked version, which is made with homemade bread crumbs.

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheeze

The result was a gorgeous, golden, creamy macaroni, which we were lucky enough to enjoy in the sun with a white wine sangria.

We threw the sangria together pretty quickly (because summer), using sweet white wine, tonic water, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and grapefruit.

White Wine Sangria

What are your favourite summer recipes? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @GreenGuineaPigs. Be sure to check out our Instagram as well for more green summer fun!

Have the best week ever,

–Laura

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheeze

Kindfood Cafe + Kelly’s Bake Shoppe

Okay, brace yourselves: you’re about to get hungry and suddenly be overcome with the urge to drive straight to Burlington, Ontario. It might be out of your way, but I promise the vegan delicacies on offer at Kindfood Cafe and Kelly’s Bake Shoppe are worth the drive.

Owned by a mother-daughter power duo, these adorable, charming and friendly shops are within blocks of each other in downtown Burlington. Our plan was foolproof: we started at Kindfood for dinner, and then went for dessert at Kelly’s. A winning combo.

For dinner, we shared the Happy Buddha Bowl and the daily special, which was raw avocado fries. The dressing on the Buddha bowl was so flavourful, the sweet potato and rice cooked perfectly, and the avocado ripe. The ingredients are simple, but they’re all wonderfully prepared and the bowl really comes together. The avocado fries were interesting and tasty, seasoned with a variety of spices and flax seeds. They weren’t crunchy, but the coating gave them a nice texture. The chipotle “mayo” alongside was awesome, once we were finished with the fries we dipped the lettuce that came underneath in the sauce and ate it as is! Ha!

Both dishes were so delicious and everything was so fresh. Everything else on the menu was so tempting as well: lots of other styles of rice bowls, “burgers” and sandwiches, and tons of great-looking salads. We made a pact to go back and try some of their other options. The staff that we interacted with there were so cheerful and friendly, it gave the place such a nice, relaxed atmosphere.

Laura really enjoying her happy Buddha bowl :)
After thoroughly enjoying our meal, we took the two block walk over to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe for some vegan sweets!

They have everything a vegan with a sweet tooth could possibly want: cupcakes, cookies, brownies, even soft serve ice cream! Everything they sell is not only vegan, but gluten-free, peanut-free, and organic. And they don’t only sell like two kinds of everything, their selection is incredible!

They have the basics, of course… But also coconut, s’mores, apple, just to name a few. And so pretty, to boot!

Their cookies are more like sweet energy bars, really dense and packed full of good stuff. Their dark chocolate caramel one, and the oatmeal cookie were both standouts.

I opted to try the soft serve ice cream, mainly out of curiosity. The verdict? Not quite the same (obviously), but the texture is perfect. If I was vegan, it would be a must! It’s soy based, but I could have sworn I tasted coconut flavour, and I have to say it was quite tasty.

The decor of both places was quite lovely, but very different. Kindfood is more fun, with bright colours and a comfortable vibe. Kelly’s is on the Main Street and has the fancier decor to match, it’s more dark wood, white and bright and airy. Both are great, and it’s cool how different they are. It definitely doesn’t feel like a chain.
Though there was seating inside, we went out and enjoyed our treats on the bench outside. Everything was so delicious, and you’d never notice that what you’re eating is vegan!

We were so impressed with the selection, freshness, service and atmosphere at both restaurants, they’ve done such a wonderful job making the places inviting and the food delicious. Kelly’s is a bit on the pricey side, but it was well worth it. Overall, loved our experience there and would highly recommend it to anyone in the area. (Or even to people not in the area!!)

Kindfood Café and Kelly’s Bake Shoppe

Burlington, Ontario

http://www.kindfood.com/

 

Vegan Ceviche Avocado Boats

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This recipe is delicious and healthy and perfect for summer. Ceviche (pronounced “se-veech-eh”) is a Mexican dish usually prepared with seafood or fish and can be easily served as an appetizer. I made something very similar to this recipe from Vegan Yack Attack, except instead of combining the avocado, I used them as boats, like Rose does in this seabass recipe on The Londoner.

The result is fresh and light with a subtle faux-fishiness courtesy of the king oyster mushrooms.

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Makes 8 boats

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 cups tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1.5 cups king oyster mushrooms, diced
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper,  chopped finely
  • Added to taste: ½ tsp sea salt and a few dashes of hot sauce
  • 4 avocados, halved

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Add the salt and desired amount of hot sauce.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the ceviche mixture onto each avocado half. Serve immediately.

Tips and Tricks

Juicing a lime

Firmly roll the lime in between your palms to get the juices flowing before cutting it open. Another option is to microwave the lime for about 15 seconds, which achieves the same thing. Halve the lime and use a fork to help release the juices by twisting while you squeeze the lime with your other palm.

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Seeding Jalapeños

Removing the seeds inside a jalapeño pepper will remove a lot of the heat. I find the easiest way to do this is to slice it open and remove the seeds under a running tap. If you like can handle the heat, leave the seeds in!

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Storing Cilantro

You’re going to be left with a lot of fresh cilantro. Here’s a really easy guide to keeping it fresh longer.

You should probably definitely eat this one outside. Enjoy the weather!

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