While I’ve got lots of holiday recipes and baking on the horizon this season, I thought I might take a minute to revisit a few of my older recipes that both you and I may have forgotten about…
5 minute Figberry Jam (sugar free and ridiculously easy)
Gluten-Free Flax Lace Cookies
(I really need to take some new photos because this one just doesn’t do these cookies justice. These crunchy, sweet & buttery bites are a crowd pleaser but they are completely wholesome and a definite Holiday favourite of mine.)
Roasted Pumpkin Seed & Edamame Snack Mix
Gluten-Free Paprika and Rosemary Stuffing
Pumpkin Barley Risotto (A great side or alternative main dish)
Twice Baked Apple Cider Brussel Sprouts
Savoury Apple, Dijon & Kale Cornbread
And of course you can never go wrong with a big batch of cranberry & chocolate packed ULTIMATE COOKIES
Hope you enjoy these & maybe even give them a try this season!
What are your go-to Holiday recipes?
This coconut chocolate bark is, to put it simply, a revelation.
And like most revelations, it started out with humble beginnings. With a very utilitarian purpose. I was simply looking for new ways to incorporate coconut oil into my diet.
You see, in addition to all the benefits of coconut oil (which my nutritionist pal Joy has summarized beautifully in this post), it is also known to be a very healthful choice for people with gallbladder disease…which I have and have had since the age of about 8.
I haven’t mentioned this on the blog before because it seems like a total overshare, but I thought I’d say something now in case there are others out there who suffer from the same thing. And no, gallbladder disease is not something that only affects people who are overweight or over 50. Young’ins like me can be susceptible too for a wide variety of hereditary reasons (in my case a rare blood disorder). Represent.
So how does coconut oil help? Well, a doctor told me recently that coconut oil is unique because, unlike other fat sources (even healthy ones), it avoids your gallbladder entirely. That’s good news for everyone, not just gallstoney weirdos like me, because it is converted to usable energy very quickly leaving you feeling satisfied and energized, without the sluggish feelings that can sometimes accompany a high-fat meal. Universal win. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Coconut Chocolate Bark
Vegan, Grain-Free and pretty much everything-friendly.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp plain, vanilla or chocolate vegan protein powder (I used sun warrior blend)
- 1-2 tbsp liquid sweetener or a few drops of good tasting stevia
- 1/8 tsp vanilla
- 2 tablespoons finely ground coconut
- Combine all ingredients except vanilla and coconut in a small microwaveable dish and heat in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds or until just bubbling.
- Add vanilla and coconut
- Transfer to a small freezer-friendly container, lined with saran wrap. I used a pie plate. Spread the mixture out thinly and pop into the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until set.
- Remove chocolate bark from freezer and slice into 12 pieces. Store in the fridge to avoid melting.
Nutrition facts: Around 50 calories/serving. 5 g healthy fats. 1.5 g protein.
I enjoyed 2 big pieces (plus many spoon/bowl licks) as part of my breakfast this morning. Delicious. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!
If December is a month of celebration. Of fun, food, familytimes and fabulous holiday dresses…then what the heck is November? If you ask me, November is a month of dodging bullets.
Bullet #1: STRESS – Whether you’re a student or a working stiff like me, the month of November tends to fall into that “crunch time” category. End of year budgets, final drafts of papers, it all seems to culminate smack dab in the middle of this strange penultimate month.
Bullet #2: SAD – And by SAD I mean SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER. Ie. “Its grey and cold and dark and I’m depressed” syndrome.
Bullet #3: DEBT – Christmas is coming….is your bank account ready? No? Then charge it! January-me will find a way sort this out.
Bullet #4: ILLNESS – Everyone, everywhere is sick. Always.
My tips to dodging bullets 1-3 are mainly to stay conscious of them. Recognize that stress is fleeting, weather is changing and no gifts are worth the hassle of paying off that credit card.
As for Bullet 4…well there’s not much you can do to stop a cold once it’s started you can do your darndest to PREVENT it before it starts. And this nutrient-rich, energizing smoothie is a heck of a good start.
Love antioxidants? This smoothie packs em in like it’s nobody’s businesses.
Energizing Antioxidant-Rich Green Smoothie
- 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
- 2-3 frozen chunks of spinach (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 scoop vegan protein powder
- 1 heaping tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or a few drops of stevia
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- 8-10 ice cubes
- pinch of xantham gum (optional, for thickness)
- 1/4 cup of brewed coffee (optional)
Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary.
Want another antioxidant rich recipe? Check out these delicious espresso berry muffins!
How do you dodge the November doldrums? Any tips on preventing winter colds?
Sometimes Most of the time, you wake up in the morning in a funk. You’re grouchy-hungry-tired-lethargic and generally lacking in motivation to do just about anything except chug a cup of black tar out of your french press, throw on a wrinkly something or other and stumble your way to work-school-etc.
Today was not one of those mornings for me.
Because today was a banana bread morning.
Yesterday I overheard one of my coworkers saying to another, “How does anyone have time to bake after work? I can barely make dinner let alone get a banana bread in the oven.” And, true to form, I took this as a personal challenge.
I had seen this recipe for gluten free banana bread on one of my favourite blogs and decided to make it exactly as it was shown. Ahem…obviously that didn’t happen. I didn’t have everything on hand in the right quantities, and I wanted to cut back on the sugar just a little. But here is my version (with full props to Ashley for her drool-worthy original).
Simple Gluten-Free Banana Bread
- 1/2 cup raw buckwheat flour
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup almonds, coursely ground
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 3/4 cup egg whites (or 2 whole eggs)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp walnut oil (or whatever you have on hand)
- 1 heaping tbsp blackstrap molasses
- pinch of stevia or 2 tbsp raw sugar
Simply mix wet ingredients in a small bowl. Stir together dry ingredients. And gently fold together.
Fill a medium sized bread pan 3/4 of the way full with batter. I lined mine with parchment paper to avoid sticking.
Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until a nice solid crust has formed.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.
What gets you out your grouchypants funk in the morning?
(if you say coffee, i’m rolling my eyes and giving you a resounding OBVZ)
I’m not going to apologize for my brief hiatus from blogging. For my less than consistent summer posts or my fewer-than-average recipes.
I’m just going to make it up to you right now with this…
The ULTIMATE Cookie
Based on my first love, the vegan Gypsy Cookie from Toronto’s Bunners Bakeshop…The Ultimate Cookie was born in a late post-pinot-noir baking frenzy.
It’s vegan and whole food based but still definitely an indulgence as all good cookies should be.
Its not fancy by any standard and its definitely rough around the edges…but that’s what makes it perfect to me.
· 2 1/4C old fashioned rolled oats
· 2 C spelt flour
· 1 C sunflower seeds
· 3/4 C pumpkin seeds
· 1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
· 1/4 C chia seeds
· 1 C sucanat
· 1 tbsp cinnamon
· 2 tsp sea salt
· 1 ½ C vegan dark chocolate chips (mini ones are the best if you can find them!)
· 1 1/4 C dried naturally sweetened cranberries
· 1/4 C blackstrap molasses
· 3/4 C melted coconut oil
· 1 1/2C unsweetened almond or soy milk
Directions: (left unchanged from my late night scribbles, hehe)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, add wet to dry and stir.
Line 2 big baking sheets with parchment paper. I used a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the dough and then flattened them out with my hand until they were about an inch thick. Like delicious hockey pucks!
Place sheets in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until brown (I baked them on the longer side because I like them crunchy).
My batch made about 24 BIG cookies
Cool on a rack then store in the fridge.
…soooo we’re cool now right? 😉
Every day when I walk through my bustling downtown neighborhood I am overcome by the scents of all sorts of regional cooking – Tibetan, Ethiopian & Indian restaurants in particular – but to me the smell of jerk chicken and Caribbean roti always stands out from the rest when I’m famished after work.
This dinner was inspired by classic summer BBQ chicken and spicy, flavorful Jamaican curry. Enjoy it on its own paired with rice and peas or do what I did and transform it into a simple shortcut “roti” dish. Either way, you won’t be disappointed when these scents fill your kitchen.
Jamaican Curry Chicken
1 heaping tsp Jamaican curry spice (Grace brand, etc.)
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsp plain yogurt (greek, soy or coconut)
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin
sea salt and pepper
Allow 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts to marinate for several hours or overnight.
Grill on medium heat for about 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through. (If you don’t have a grill, I suggest searing the chicken breast on both sides in a small amount of coconut oil, then baking it at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear)
5 minute “Roti”:
1 whole wheat or brown rice wrap
1 chopped Jamaican curried chicken breast (see above)
¼ cup mashed sweet potato
¼ cup shredded carrot
2 tbsp plain yogurt – any kind
1 tbsp raisins, chopped
¼ cup green peas or chickpeas (optional)
¼ – ½ cup almond milk
Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Fill wrap and lightly grill before serving. Serve with hot pepper sauce, more yogurt or even some mango chutney.
Why am I not eating this again right now? So good.
Today is the hottest day of the year in Toronto so I figured what better time to share my current obsession: slushies.
I was totally obsessed with making something like this last summer using a combination of ice, almond milk, fruit, agave & xantham gum for thickening (recipe here) but after a few months of that I got a bit bored. The combinations I made were delicious but they lacked that satiation factor, plus my tummy never really got on board with the gum component (probably cause it sounds like something you should mix with concrete rather than ingest)
So this summer I set out to revamp the recipe using a creative* solution that turned out to be a little bit genius.
*Like in that way your mom calls something “creative” when she really just means weird and unsettling
Low-Glycemic Lime Creamsicle Slushie
· ½ medium zucchini, chopped into chunks
· ¼ avocado
· Juice and zest of 1 large, juicy lime
· 1 cup almond milk
· 1 tbsp coconut sap or agave
· ½ tsp vanilla extract
· 8-10 ice cubes
· Extra water to help blend if necessary
Add all ingredients to blender starting with zucchini. Pulse a few times then blend until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness as desired.
…Okay do you need to process that recipe a little? ZUCCHINI right? I know. But it has a completely neutral flavor and it works just as well if not better than the xantham gum to thicken up your slushie. Same goes for the avocado – neutral flavour but it adds satisfying healthy fats, keeps your blood sugar in check and makes things delicious & creamy like a cold treat should be.
I enjoy variations of this when I want a sweet treat or just need to cool down. If you still trust me at all after this maybe I’ll share my mocha almond fudge version….it’s kinda unstoppable.
Summer Spelt Berry Salad
For the salad
- 1.5 cups cooked spelt berries (or quinoa for gluten-free)
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup shredded cabbage, blanched or lightly steamed
- 1.5 cups watermelon, cubed
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey or agave
- juice and grated rind of 1/2 a lemon
- a few tbsp water for thinning
- salt and pepper
- Whisk dressing ingredients together to emulsify.
- Combine grains and vegetables in a large mixing bowl, add dressing and stir gently to combine.
Makes 3-4 servings. Stores for several days in the fridge.
Serve as a side dish or pair with greens, salmon and avocado for a light summer supper.
Oh my gosh you guys, summer is totally happening right now. And you know what that means? Patios! Nights out! New 90s inspired crop tops! Aaaand so long rent cheque…
Seriously all these summer adventures add up and eating out can be the biggest culprit. So last night I did my best to recreate a dish from one of Toronto’s biggest vegetarian restaurant chains: Fresh.
Even if you don’t live in this city I’m sure you know of a place like Fresh. Its good but not amazing. Not expensive but not cheap either. Mainly it’s convenient and healthy enough to satisfy your midday kale craving.
The meal I decided to recreate was one of my regular orders: the Macro Greens bowl, which basically consists of a bunch of steamed greens, tomato and grilled sweet potato, topped in tofu and smothered in creamy dressing (and Cholula hotsauce if you’re like me). So yes it’s delicious but also stupid simple to make. Here was my take:
Macro Greens Bowl with Tahini Miso Dressing
For the bowl
- 2 big handfuls of chopped kale
- 1 cup chopped bok choy
- 1/4 cup chopped asparagus
- 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 large sweet potato
- 1/4 block tofu
- 1 tsp sesame oil
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup light miso
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 inch piece of ginger
- 1 clove of garlic
- Prep potato in advance by baking in the oven or microwave and cutting into round slices.
- Make dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processer and blending until smooth.
- Lightly steam veggies until the colours are bright and vibrant.
- Pan fry tofu cubes in sesame oil until lightly browned.
- Layer your bowl with greens, potatoes, tofu and sauce.
There are times for flakey, cake-like muffins and there are times for denser, heartier ones. When I came up with the recipe for these bad boys I was definitely searching for the latter. I wanted something small that would still fill me up and tide me during that midday hump and these muffins were just the ticket. They are perfect as pre-workout fuel, a mid-day pick me up or even a late-night snack. Did I mention they are also gluten-free, (optionally) sugar-free and only took me 30 minutes to make beginning to end.
Vegan Banana Sunbutter Muffins
Adapted from here
- 3 ripe mashed bananas
- ¼ cup sunflower seed butter
- 1/3 cup turbinado sugar OR 1/4 tsp concentrated stevia powder (I use New Roots organic stevia)
- 1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 4 tbsp water
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats, ground (makes about 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour with a milder flavour than store bought)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp whole buckwheat groats
- 1 tbsp whole flax seeds
- Mix first 6 ingredients until creamy.
- Stir together buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture stirring to combine.
- Stir in seeds, whole groats and flax.
- Bake at 350 degrees 18 – 20 minutes in a lined muffin pan.
Yields 10 muffins.