Lemon Grissini Cookies, the recipe…

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Before I give you the coveted Lemon Grissini Cookie Recipe, I’d like to mention that friend, blogger and all-around super-hero mum Libby* of The Allergic Kid is giving away a copy of Food Allergies and Me.  I know many of my readers are in regular contact with children who have severe to life-threatening food allergies, and this book by Juniper Skinner is for them.  Food Allergies and Me describes safe ways for kids to react to and live with their allergies, so go visit The Allergic Kid and throw your name in the “comment box hat” for your chance to win a copy.

déjà vu?

Despite accidentally posting rather than saving my first draft (holy typos Batman!) the first installment of Les Vendredis Francophones was a huge success!  So funny how the most popular posts are often those with the least comments, don’t you think?   I know it’s taken me a while to get this translation up, but believe me, these are more than worth the wait.

These cookies are by far one of our favourites – they are Monsieur F’s absolute favourite.  Perhaps it’s thanks to their simplicity?  Just lovely lemon and a hint of sweet.  The Italian word grissini describes what is commonly known in North America as the humble bread stick (or so says Wiki).  It’s true here in France, and gressin describes a little cigar or, well, bread stick-type shape. This recipe has been translated from Italian to French (now to English), has been veganised and revised, but has held up just fine!

Quick, easy and perfect, you’ll be making these time and again…

Lemon Grissini Cookies

For about 20 grissinis

350 g AP flour

11 g baking powder

140 g sugar

110 g dairy-free butter

2 teaspoons Ener-G (enough to replace 2 eggs)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

the zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1) Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplats.

2) Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Mix the other ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth, then add this mixture to the flour, and continue mixing until the batter becomes smooth (it’ll stay together if you pinch it, even if it’s still a little crumbly).

3) Lightly flour your hands, then form small cigar-shaped cookies, about 12 cm long  (if it’s a little warm in your kitchen and your dough is sticky, just put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes).  Bake them for about 10 to 13 minutes or until they are firm to the touch, turning the baking sheet half-way through baking time.  Let them cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before gently transferring to a cooling rack.

4) Once they have cooled you can decorate with the optional lemon icing.

Lemon Icing

100 g powdered sugar

lemon juice

Using a fork, ix the sifted powdered sugar with the lemon juice, adding one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached a “drizzle-friendly” consistency.  Drizzle the grissini with icing and allow the icing to set.  If you dare.

*Why does Libby get super-hero status in my book?  Her sweet son has life-threatening food allergies.  Just let those words sink in, kids : life-threatening.  All parents fear the dangers that lurk around the paths their children take daily to school, to play, daycare and sleep-overs, but with grace, courage and humor Libby shares her trials and triumphs with other “allergy moms” (and dads), almost making it look easy. I say, chapeau.


Meal Plan Mondays & Shameless Post-Birthday Plug

This week…

Monday : Potato Chowder with baking-powder biscuits (I love biscuits so much!).

Tuesday : 3-Bean Chili with cornbread.  We haven’t had chili since Mihl came to visit – what’s up with that?

Wednesday : Burritos (aka, finishing up the rest of the chili!).

Thursday : Beany-Patties, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, peas, and green salad.  Big ole’ meal of comfort foods!

Friday : Pizza Night!

I’ve still been enjoying recipes from The Urban Vegan’s tester site :

No-Bake Energy Bars

Spiked Chocolate-Banana Smoothie…

We celebrated my birthday (wee!) over the weekend, and it was the perfect occasion to enjoy some of these spiked chocolate-banana smoothies – in moderation, of course!  We also tested some Raspberry Spritzers (with champagne!), also for Dynise, but it was so dark I didn’t try to take a picture…

Wee!  Look at this most excellent gift from Guppy and Monsieur F!  I’m a big fan of the 60s, and The Mamas & Papas?  Lovely.

My MIL bought me roses and a scarf, too.  I’m still learning to play with the effects on my Nikon D3000…I’ve had it since June, but hardly do much other than point and shoot.  Shame on me.  Mama & Papa Fish sent me the best running jacket ever, but I need to ask M. Fish to take a picture of me wearing it!

I will get the translation for the Lemon Gressini Cookies up tomorrow!  Our making merry got in the way of my blogging this weekend, forgive me?

Do you blog your weekly meal plans?  Let me know, I’d love to link to your plan to share the planning mojo with everyone.  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.

Gressins au citron : Les Vendredis Francophones

Je vous souhaite la bienvenue à cette première installation de la nouvelle rubrique : Les Vendredis Francophones où j’essaierai de vous régaler avec mes recettes végétaliennes préférées!

Aujourd’hui je mets à l’honneur une recette pour un de nos gâteaux stars : les gressins au citron!    Comme vous le savez sans doute, les gressins ou grissinis sont des gâteaux ou petits pains originaires de la région de Turin en Italie (pour de plus amples informations, wikipedia fera l’affaire).  Aujourd’hui “gressin” décrit surtout la forme – comme des cigares ou des mini-baguettes aplatis… et on les trouve  le plus souvent salés que sucrés.

Ces gressins sont parmi nos gâteaux favoris : élégants dans leur simplicité, leur petit goût acidulé et leur étonnant moelleux feront plaisir aux gourmands, petits et grands!

Gressins au citron (pour une vingtaine de gressins)

350 g farine ménagère

1 sachet de levure chimique (11g)

140 g de sucre en poudre

110 g de beurre vegan (St. Hubért Bio)

2 c. à c. Ener-G (ou remplacer 2 oeufs)

3 c. à s. de jus de citron

2 c. à s. d’eau

le zeste d’un citron

1 c. à s. Maïzena

1) Préchauffez votre four à 180°c.  Préparer 2 plaques de cuisson avec des feuilles sulfurisées ou des silplats.

2) Tamisez la farine et la levure dans un saladier.  Mélangez au mixer les autres ingrédients dans un autre saladier, jusqu’à obtenir un mélange lisse.  Ajoutez ce mélange à la farine et travaillez les ingrédients pour former une pâte homogène.

3) Farinez légèrement vos mains, puis formez des boudins fins de 12 cm de long (s’il fait un peu chaud dans votre cuisine et votre pâte colle un peu trop, mettez-la au frigo pendant 15 minutes).  Répartissez-les sur les plaques et faites-les cuire 10 minutes au four jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient fermes, en intervertissant la position des plaques à mi-cuisson.  Laissez-les tiédir 5 minutes sur les plaques avant de les mettre à refroidir sur une grille.

4) Une fois refroidis, vous pouvez les garnir avec le glaçage au citron à l’aide d’une fourchette.

Glaçage au citron

100 g de sucre glace

jus de citron

Mélangez avec une fourchette le sucre glace tamisé et le jus de citron, en ajoutant une cuillère à soupe à la fois.  Ajoutez du jus de citron jusqu’à ce que vous obteniez un glaçage lisse avec la texture désirée.

Bon appétit!

W.I.P. Wednesday : More Knitting…

I finished up last week’s scarves, and started up this one which I’m hoping will be part of a scarf and mitten set.  The last scarf I finished had such thin yarn that this stuff feels so bulky, even though I’m only using 6mm needles – funny how everything is relative.  This yarn was a score from the outdoor market where we used to live; they were selling discontinued styles in bundles of six skeins.  Wish I’d have bought up more!  I love it, but it is a little more scratchy than the pink and white.

Hey, experienced knitters/crochet artists out there – how much yarn to you buy when you see some you love but have no real project in mind?  A few skeins?

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

My New Year’s Plans, or a rather long post that doesn’t contain food or craft.

I’m wishing each and every one of you out there – yes, you! – an amazing 2011.  My hope is that this year will be a year of hope, renewal, growth, understanding and joy for you all.

Though I know many people frown on the idea of New Year’s Resolutions due to the high-expectation, high-disappointment factor, I’ve always been partial to the idea of setting goals, however daft they may seem.  Admittedly, I tend to go with things that are generally achievable and things like “Climb Mt. Everest” or “Swim the Channel” don’t generally appear on my list of things to do, though I  suppose  I could do them given the right budget and training, I mean, why not?

My goals tend to be less lofty and more practical such as “Stop Biting Your Nails”, circa 1994, which worked really well, and was so easy, too.  Another good one was “Write Papa Joe once a week”.  I was worried my grandfather wasn’t getting any mail, so circa 1987 I decided to write him weekly to be sure he had something “fun” in the box.  While I’m sure my pre-teen letters of “Hi, how are you? I’m fine.” were far from fascinating, this epistolary habit followed me for quite a few years, and I now regret I didn’t write him twice a week.  Similarly, “Call Grams Every Saturday”, circa 1999, was more to help me keep my calls regular as I loved calling and talking with my grandmother, but wasn’t doing it on a “count on it” basis.  If I’d known she’d be gone just 7 short years later, I’m quite sure I’d have been calling her daily. Heck, I’m so sentimental, I cannot bring myself to erase her phone number from my mobile – even though I know it by heart.  Sillyfish.


We are here to talk about 2011, and what I’m hoping to make happen this year for me, my family and yes, my little blog.  How about a little non-exhaustive list  of what’s to come…hey, I’m doing it already! (see below)

It’s not on the list, but more of this, too!

1) I think the first one is pretty obvious : I’ll be taking a picture of Guppy every day all year long.  A few years ago when I first started blogging I realised I was taking daily pictures of food and crafts, but not of my own daughter!  Talk about priorities being a bit askew. She’s old enough to be into it this year and at 5 and 1/2 has already been working on what she calls her “picture smiles”…I have no idea where she gets it from, seriously.

More pics of Guppylove…

2) Les Vendredis Francophones or Francophone Fridays is also an idea that I’ve wanted to implement for ages, that is, to blog regularly in French.  My initial hope for this blog was that it would be a true bilingual vegan hang-out where we could all just smile and nod when we didn’t understand…but as most ESL or EFL bloggers will tell you, English is the language that most everyone reads, and so, wins by default.  I may not get a recipe up each Friday, but that’s going to be the day you’ll see on in French (and hopefully an English translation the next day).

3) More lists…kinda like this one.  I have always been the consummate list maker (I can tell you every book I read in 1993 for example) though I don’t know why…mostly so I don’t forget things I guess.  It recently dawned on me that I’ve stopped keeping track of things (maybe in order to forget?).  Hard to say, but either way I’m going to make some little notebooks and I won’t be afraid to use them.

4) When I started Sportyfish, A Vegan Training Log back in February 2008 (?!) my intentions were to show just how beneficial a healthful, plant-based diet was to recovery from a training regimen, as so many people are still woefully misinformed concerning sports nutrition.  Intentions are good, but after what we now refer to as “the accident” (bicycle wreck resulting in broken foot, torn ligaments, 1 year out) I just let it go…but I’m bringing it back.  It’ll be all caught-up and spiffy before you can run a 10k.

5)  I’m ashamed to admit it, but my regular yoga and meditation practice has been on hiatus for far too long.  Meditation and yoga there have been, but not with not regularity – some asanas here, a little cushion time there.  I know it’s about choices, and about time management, so it’s time to suck it up and get things back on track.

6)  I’ll be running my first 50km in April!  Woooooot!  You’ll be hearing more about it as the time comes, but I’ve got to tell you I am excited and scared and thrilled all at once.  I’ve never, ever come close to running such a distance before, but my long-term goal is to run a 100km in 2013 and this is the first real step to getting me ready for that race. (Race is of course an inaccurate term : I won’t be racing, I’ll be running, that is I hope I’ll be running, and not crawling.)

7)  Fueled By Plants : Endurance Fuel For Athletes, a book of recipes for everything from pre-race to recovery snacks and drinks, is something I began working on shortly before “the accident” (see #4).  I’d put the project on hold, but since my training is getting closer to being back on track, I’m feeling back in the zone.  I’m outing myself on this one, mostly because I know it’ll help me get things from the “abstract” to the “concrete” stages.  It won’t be a book only for vegans, but it will have only vegan recipes, of course!  When the time comes I’ll be looking for a few endurance and outdoor types to help me test some of the recipes : peeps who enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, running, trekking, swimming…or with small toddlers…you get the idea.

More sewing, too…

Aren’t you excited about 2011?  I really am, despite the challenges before us all, I know this is going to be a fantastic year.

Meal Plan Mondays : Balsamic-Roasted Butternut Squash

Now that the holidays have come and gone, this week’s meals are a little more frugal and a little less festive.

And that’s okay.

As we explain to Guppy, there is a time for everything : a time for eating Christmas cookies and chocolates, and a time for soup and lighter fare.  Coming down from the holiday excitement is always a little melancholy for me, but Friday’s pizza nights means there is always a party to look forward to, right?

Monday : Spinach Quiche and roasted-garlic and white bean soup (from the freezer – I’d forgotten about it  – total score!)

Tuesday : Potato and butternut Soup and baking powder biscuits

Wednesday : Seitan with Quince, Apple and Onion, Rutabega-Fennel Clapshot (test recipes for The Urban Vegan’s forthcoming cookbook!)

Thursday : left-overs

Friday : Pizza Night!

Here’s a peek at two test recipes we enjoyed last week from The Urban Vegan :

Pumpkin-Maple Muffins – enough said.


Spicy Lentils – I’m such a fan of lentils served just about any way, but this picante recipe was a real winner.  I served it up with some balsamic roasted butternut squash, because I can.

And so can you!  This isn’t a test recipe, but it is one of our favourite way to eat butternut squash – try it!

Balsamic-Roasted Butternut Squash

+/- 5 cups cubed butternut squash

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 200°c/400°f and toss the cubed squash with the olive oil and vinegar.  Using your fingers, crumble the dried thyme over the squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat.

Spread the cubed squash in a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet in one layer and bake for about 45 minutes or until melty-tender.  Sprinkle with some salt if necessary before serving.

Do you have a favourite frugal (ie : cheap) recipe you love to serve?  Please feel free to share with the kids at home!  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.