Pumpkin & Cranberry Spiced Chia Pudding

Pumpkin & Cranberry Spiced Chia Pudding

Pumpkin & Cranberry Spiced Chia Pudding

It was time for something fast and delicious, using some leftovers.  In my fridge, I had some cooked pumpkin and raw cranberries on hand from an earlier trip to the farmer’s market.  And as is my trend, I made a quick and easy chia pudding for breakfast.  It was delicious!  Raw cranberries have tiny little seeds that really give a scrumptious crunchy texture to this warming chia pudding.
Simply blend the ingredients and pour over chia seeds the night before and in the morning – Voila! – delicious breakfast.  Smother with sliced banana, nuts and seeds and you’ve got a delicious and nutritious start to your morning!

Pumpkin & Cranberry Spiced Chia Pudding

1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin (cooked and cooled)
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt (use spices as desired to taste)

Blend all ingredients except chia seeds in blender until smooth.  Pour liquid over chia seeds and whisk.  Let sit 10 minutes then whisk again.  Set in fridge overnight.  Serve with nuts and seeds of choice and banana or maple syrup for sweetener, if desired.

Serves 1-2

Açai Berry Jam

Açai Berry Jam

Açai Berry Jam

Jam lovers, rejoice! Julie Morris has created a delicious and extremely nutritious low sugar, superfood jam.  With chia seeds as a base and the antioxidant filled açai for flavour, you can pretty much eat as much of this jam as you like and feel great doing it!
Try on sprouted bread for breakfast or snack or even with raw nut cheese and crackers for a special treat.  I loved it!

Find the recipe here!

Almond & Hemp Apple Wedges

Almond & Hemp Apple Wedges

Almond & Hemp Apple Wedges

Snacks are super important, especially when one is trying to avoid the ever so convenient processed crap that’s out there!  For me, being prepared snack-wise is essential to avoiding unhealthy, last-minute purchases and hangriness.  For a little boost in your day or as a great post-workout snack try this simple ensemble.
Apples give a boost of energy while (raw) almond butter and hemp provide some scrumptious protein.  Add chopped dates for an extra treat! Devour!

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

I have always heard people express their delight in making their own almond milk, and I have to say, it doesn’t get much better than ‘milking’ your own nut bag of delicious whipped almonds.  Super simple to make, cheap and versatile, it’s a must try for non-dairy drinkers.  Add any sweetener to taste, vanilla, cacao, lavender, cinnamon, coconut, rooibos, etc. for your own spin on this basic recipe.  Brenda Brazier has a recipe for Rooibos Almond Milk which I cannot wait to try!

Basic Almond Milk

1 cup almonds (soaked overnight or 8-12 hours)
3 cups filtered water

Rinse soaked almonds with water.  Blend almonds and water (and any additional sweeteners, etc. you may wish to use) in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute.  Pour through a cheeseclothe or nut milk bag.  Gently squeeze (milk) the bag of all it’s liquid content.  Store milk in glass jar in refrigerator.  Enjoy the fresh taste!

* Freeze or dehydrate the remaining almond pulp for almond flour in baking or to sprinkle on breakfast cereals, smoothies, etc.

Raw Blackberry Tarts with Mint & Lemon Cashew Cream

Raw Blackberry Tarts with Mint and Lemon Cashew Cream

Raw Blackberry Tarts with Mint and Lemon Cashew Cream

Raw desserts are my favourite!  Thanks to the Alkaline Sisters I’ve found the best recipe for an Easter (or spring) dessert.  What’s great about this simple raw recipe is you can modify it however you like.  Use different berries or create a different cream filling flavour.  The possibilities are endless.
I brought these mini tarts to our family Easter dinner last year and they were a huge hit.  They are also super cute and fun to make, not to mention a great healthy alternative to traditional desserts.  Thanks Alkaline Sisters!

Find this fabulous recipe with nutrition information here!

Raw Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Raw Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Raw Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

It all started the day my co-worker was craving cookie dough.  She was very excited about the idea of a healthier alternative to one of the most popular guilty pleasures.  I had to agree with this brilliant idea and set out to create a recipe with some of my favourite cookie ingredients.

This rich treat is mostly raw (if using raw oats) with a dough made of creamed cashews – no white flour, white sugar, dairy and eggs here!  Complete with whole oats, coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts, it’s the full chocolate chip cookie dough package, raw vegan style!

Next time your cookie dough craving hits, whip together this version for a less-guilty indulgence!

Raw Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

2 cups raw cashews (soaked for an hour)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used the delicious Earth’s Own Almond Fresh Coconut Milk)
1/3 cup agave (or coconut sugar for a more grainy texture)
1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup raw whole oats
1 cup raw whole oats soaked in 3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup raw dark chocolate chips
1/2 chopped raw walnuts
1 tbsp raw whole oats ground into a flour

Prepare soaked oat mixture (1 cup of oats in 3/4 cup coconut milk).  Let stand.
In a food processor cream together cashews, coconut oil, coconut milk, agave, vanilla and salt.  Scoop into a bowl and stir in whole oats, the soaked oat mixture, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts.  Add ground oat flour if desired for a more grainy textured consistency.  Chill in refrigerator.

Grab a spoon with a friend and enjoy out of the bowl as a true cookie dough eater should!

Makes one solid bowl full

Raw Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Coconut Goji Berry Amaranth Porridge

gojiamaranth

Coconut Goji Berry Amaranth Porridge

Nothing is more comforting on a cold winter’s morning than a warm bowl of porridge.  I love waking up slowly on a wintery weekend and taking my time to make a delicious porridge.  At the moment, this one is my favourite – it is absolutely delicious (and nutritious!).

I have recently discovered amaranth which is an amazingly nutritious pseudo-grain and great alternative for those who are gluten-free or just looking for healthier alternatives to the heavily processed and genetically modified mainstream grains and flours.  Amaranth is high in fibre (about 3 times more than wheat flour),  calcium (contains twice the calcium of cow’s milk!), protein, iron and various other vitamins and minerals.  Amaranth has a sweet, nutty taste and creates a cereal that reminds me more of the cream of wheat of my childhood.  So good!

With amaranth as the base, I’ve chosen to add goji berries to this hot cereal.  Goji berries are an amazing superfood balanced with all macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat and fiber) and essential amino acids.  They are also rich in antioxidants and various vitamins and minerals.  So much in such a tiny berry – well worth the sprinkle on whatever dish you’re preparing.

Enjoy this delicious, nutrient dense, comforting porridge for the perfect weekend breakfast.

Coconut Goji Berry Amaranth Porridge

3 cups coconut almond milk (or any non-dairy milk – I used the delicious Earth’s Own Almond Fresh Coconut Milk for a special treat)
1 cup amaranth
1/3 cup goji berries, soaked
1 banana mashed
2.5 tbsp shredded coconut
1/2 tsp true cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean)
Pinch of Sea salt

Whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt on the stove and bring to a boil.  Stir in amaranth and reduce heat.  Let simmer uncovered on low for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add mashed banana, soaked goji berries and coconut and let simmer another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit covered for several minutes.  Serve in bowls sprinkled with additional coconut and any other nuts and seeds you may have on hand and dig in!

Makes two large servings.

The Green Smoothie

Change your life – drink your greens!

The Green Smoothie

The Green Smoothie

As I started studying nutrition, one resounding piece of advice kept appearing and that revolves around the green drink!   Most nutrition experts recommend the consumption of one green drink a day to enhance energy, aid digestion, cleanse the body, and keep the body alkaline (a healthy pH).  The blending of whole foods allows you not only to consume more fruits and veggies than you could eat in one sitting (a powerful green smoothie can contain more nutrients than some people consume in a week!) but it also works as a pseudo pre-digestive tool, breaking down the fibers allowing your body to consume a high volume of nutrients that is easily and immediately digested by the body – hence, it’s energy giving power.  Not to mention, drinking your greens will keep your skin glowing and make your hair and eyes shine.  I started blending my fruits and veggies for about a year now and I now can’t imagine my life without it.  Nothing makes you feel better and more energized than these whole food, nutrient dense beverages.

In addition to being a God send to your body, smoothies are super simple to prep making them a perfect meal replacement.  Enjoy them for breakfast, after a workout or for an afternoon snack.  I typically drink one green smoothie daily, usually for breakfast.  I start with a water base, but feel free to use coconut water or any non-dairy milk.   Plant-based protein powder can also give your smoothie a boost and smoother texture, (my favourite is Vega‘s Chocolate flavored Vega One Nutritional Shake) although it’s not necessary – greens have enough protein on their own, especially with the addition of hemp seeds (a complete protein containing all 10 amino acids).  Frozen berries are great for a chilled feel, or ice can be added.  My smoothies vary daily depending on the greens I have in my fridge but they often include ingredients like these:

The Green Smoothie

1.5 cups water (or coconut water, almond milk, hemp milk, etc.)
1/2 a juiced lemon
5 kale leaves
1 large handful of spinach
3 swiss chard leaves
2 celery sticks
1/3 of a cucumber
A few sprigs of parsley or cilantro
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp ground flax seeds and/or chia seeds
1 tsp of fresh ginger
1 banana (I use fruit for sweetener.  You can use whatever fruit you like.  Sometimes I use apples, pears, oranges, dates, etc.)
1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries are my favourite!)
1 scoop Vega One Nutritional Shake (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Add more or less liquid for desired texture.

When experimenting with ingredients, try to keep a 3:1 veggie to fruit ratio in your smoothies – the greener the better!  You might want to go as far as to cutting out your daily coffee and substituting it with a green drink!  However you choose to incorporate a green smoothie into your life enjoy the vibrant changes nutrient dense, whole foods make in your body and daily life!   You’ll fall in love with greens, I promise.

Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Everyone needs a little indulgence once in awhile, especially during the holidays.  Nothing meets this need better for me than chocolate, which is why I had to adapt one of my favourite recipes into this holiday treat, complete with candy canes!

On my plant based journey, I have found that raw desserts are my favourite.  Not only are they delicious, they are super simple to make and don’t leave you with a sugar hangover – not to mention, they often contain surprising nutritional benefits!  Chocolate (raw cacao), I have discovered, is one of those surprising ingredients packed with nutrition.  This superfood is the highest known source of antioxidants having nearly 20 times the antioxidant levels of red wine and up to 30 times that of green tea.  It is also an excellent source of magnesium, calcium and iron.  This, along with it’s common aphrodisiac classification are enough to keep me indulging!

I’ve shared this recipe with many friends and it has definitely taken off within my community.  This 5 ingredient no bake brownie recipe is packed with delicious superfood raw cacao and tastes just like real brownies, without the unhealthy ingredients – thank you, Julie Morris!  (Find the original recipe here).  I’ve added peppermint extract and crushed candy canes to give this recipe a holiday touch.  Perfect for a little Christmas indulgence.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Ingredients:
2 cups raw walnuts
2 cups pitted medjool dates (about 16 dates)
1 cup raw cocoa powder
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Pinch of sea salt
2 candy canes crushed (I used the vegan, gluten-free version)

Crush two candy canes using a rolling pin and place candy crumbs in a small bowl.  Set aside.
In a food processor, process walnuts into a flour.  Add the dates one by one while processing until it forms into a dough.  Add the raw cocoa, peppermint extract and salt and process again.  Once you can pinch the mixture together between your fingers it’s ready to form into balls.  Roll the brownie balls in the candy crumbs with a spoon.
Enjoy!

Makes about 30 brownie bites

‘Save the Tuna’ Salad Sandwich

“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.”
~Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

'Save the Tuna' Salad Sandwich

‘Save the Tuna’ Salad Sandwich

I was SO thrilled to receive Kris Carr and Chad Sarno‘s new cookbook, “Crazy, Sexy, Kitchen” which includes 150 plant-empowered recipes.  Kris has become a huge inspiration to me as a cancer survivor, life thriver and wellness expert.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to pick up her latest book and peruse through the beautifully pictured plant-based food with a salivating mouth.  One of the first recipes that I wanted to make immediately was the ‘Save the Tuna’ Salad sandwich.  I LOVE(d) tuna sandwiches and was excited to discover a vegan alternative to my late craving.  This little gem is made of almonds and sunflower seeds which gives it it’s tuna-like appearance and includes the traditional delicious chopped veggies and fresh herbs.  I have to say, as I was combining these ingredients it actually smelt like my traditional tuna salad.  Fresh dill, pickles and capers definitely make this treat.  Wrap in collard greens (to make raw) with tomato, sprouts, capers and avocado or on toasted sprouted bread.

‘Save the Tuna’ Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
1/3 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup pickles, diced
2 tbsp minced dill
1 tbsp minced oregano
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp agave
2 tbsp kelp granules (I used finely chopped nori – seaweed)
1/5 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices sprouted bread (Silver Hills bakery makes the best sprouted breads)
or collard greens for wraps
Tomato, avocado, sprouts, lettuce, capers (optional toppings)
Dijon mustard (optional)

Blend the soaked almonds and sunflower seeds in a food processor until finely minced (the finer the better).  Transfer into a bowl.
Add the celery, onion, pickles, herbs, lemon juice, agave, kelp or nori, salt and pepper to nut/seed mixture and stir thoroughly.
Spread Dijon mustard (optional) on sprouted bread or in a collard leaf.
Scoop a generous helping of ‘tuna’ and finish with more black pepper and toppings.
Enjoy!

Nutrient Boost:  Sprinkle ‘tuna’ mixture with hemp seeds for a boost of protein

Serves 4