strawberry banana green tea smoothie

Isn’t it strange how you can be wandering through life, totally secure with who you are and where you’re at, then in a single moment it can all come crashing down? Suddenly you are not who you thought you are and the things that you thought, aren’t true. How is it that the world can shift so suddenly and completely?


strawberry banana green tea smoothie #vegan #glutenfree #paleo

Spring has sprung and that means more smoothies. I am such a fan of this blended meal, but in the winter I just can’t stomach the cold, rawness of them. But I’ve missed their convenience, fruity creaminess and all the different superfoods and flavours you can toss in.

So when I was asked to try out Kiss Me Organics matcha, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it. Smoothies, smoothie and more smoothies. I was pleasantly surprised by this matcha- usually the less expensive ones are bitter and lack the real green tea flavour I love. I can’t say this was the best matcha I ever had. But was it a killer balance of quality and price? Hells yes. My friends, if you are looking for a matcha that is readily available online (on Amazon, in Canada too!) and won’t cost you an arm and a leg, I’ve solved all your problems. Continue reading

raw thin mint green tea ice cream cake

thin mint green tea ice cream cake #raw #paleo #vegan

ice cream cake was always my birthday cake of choice when i was younger. specifically dairy queen ice cream cakes with the vanilla and chocolate layers and in between those there was this fudge cookie layer that was heaven. and even though i hated most icings (at most birthdays i would eat around the sickly sweet, rock hard icings, unlike every other kid who loved it), the icing on those cakes was delicious. i got one for all of my birthdays and it was basically my favourite thing about having a birthday party.

so with st. patrick’s day coming up, i felt it was finally time to revamp this old favourite into a new healthy treat.

Continue reading

banana, ab & j cups

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Life is full of tough decisions.

saving or spending? buy or rent?

school or work? exercise or sleep in?

superman or batman?

healthy or indulgent? PB & J or PB & banana?

Good news is, I can help with those last 2. Because I have a treat for you that is not only healthy AND indulgent, but it also combines the 2 greatest sandwiches ever created!

I firmly believe that when it comes to nutrition and taste, one should never have to sacrifice either. The trick is simply knowing how to marry both worlds. Being healthy shouldn’t feel like a chore or depriving. It should be fun and exciting!

Enter in some of my absolutely favourite ingredients that help bridge the gap between health and taste. Natural nut butters and coconut oil.

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Both are packed full of healthy fats so they are nourishing to your body (better skin, higher metabolism, balanced hormones) but also taste rich and decadent. Almond butter is packed with fat soluble vitamins and minerals like calcium, and coconut oil has incredible antimicrobial properties. So you are doing both your body and taste buds a favour by eating them!

I’m really excited about these treats too because they combine 2 sandwiches that whenever I would eat them, make me feel like a kid again. Peanut butter and jam and peanut butter and banana. Both extremely delicious and soul-satisfying. And that’s why I always want them both! So why not combine them? I opted to use almond butter since its a more nutritious option.

These are adapted from my recipe for frozen tahini banana cups which are another awesome variation on this idea. Check them out if you haven’t yet!

Raw, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, SCD-Friendly and of course Vegan, these are an easy choice. So make them and save your brain power for debating the more important issues in life.

To be or not to be…Oh screw it, I have treats ;)

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Banana, AB & J Cups (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

Feel free to use any nut butter you want, or try sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option!

Ingredients (14 mini cups)

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp liquid sweetener
  • pinch salt
  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • ~12 or so raspberries, mashed

Instructions

Over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the almond butter to it so it softens and mix well. Add your sweetener of choice and the pinch of salt and mix.

Line up your muffin cups. Put a spoonful of the almond butter and coconut oil mixture into the bottom of the cups. Put in the fridge to harden.

Once hard, remove and place one small scoop of mashed raspberries and on top, one thin slice of banana. Try and make this as flat as possible. Put another scoop of the almond butter mixture over top so it covers the banana and spreads all the way to the sides of the cups. Put back in the fridge to harden.

Store in the fridge or freezer and take out only right before you're going to eat them. I liked these ones in the fridge, but if you freeze them the banana takes on an almost ice cream-like texture which is delicious too!

I'm sharing this on Allergy-Free Wednesdays

Enjoy and I’ll be back tomorrow with a guest post! Have a great Tuesday :)

 

 

products i love: natural vitality

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There are a lot of supplement companies out there these days. Some great, some not so great. So when a really good product comes my way, I feel the need to tell everyone I know about it. But for some reason, these recommendations never quite make it onto my blog. Which is silly really and I apologize for my negligence in this matter.

Recently I was contacted by Natural Vitality to try out some of their products and I was definitely intrigued. I am not a stranger to the company having used their product Natural Calm before. Not only did I find improved sleep when I used Natural Calm, I actually noticed a reduced frequency and severity in migraines. What I didn’t realize is that they actually have a range of supplements and I get to share some of those with you all today!

Natural Vitality stands out to me as a great supplement company for the following reasons:

  • high quality, organic supplements, proven with research
  • use liquid and water-soluble powder forms to enhance absorption
  • a portion of all earning goes into their Natural Revitalization environmental action initiative, a program that supports organic farming and environmental stewardship
  • a focus on obtaining quality ingredients, from quality production and growing methods

With so many companies out there these days using cheap fillers and difficult to absorb formulations, Natural Vitality is a breath of fresh air!

Now here are the products I got to try:

natural energy

Energy 28 is a natural energy supplement that uses golden chlorella, maca, superfruits and  24 organic fruits and vegetables. It provides energy without using refined sugar and caffeine.

This was a little sweet and a little sour and while they say you can eat it straight from the pack, I found it difficult to get down. BUT when mixed with water to make a “juice” or slipped into a pre-workout smoothie it tasted better and provided quite the boost! I took a pack right before heading to a birthday party and although I was completely exhausted before going, I managed to stay awake until 5 in the morning. Totally unlike me but I was sooo energized! Beware taking at night ;)


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Organic Life Vitamins: This is a liquid vitamin supplement that can be taken as is, or mixed in water or a smoothie. It was named 2013’s Best Multivitamin in Delicious Living magazine which is pretty cool. I liked the flavour of this one better than the Energy 28 and loved the colour- I felt like I was drinking orange juice! It contains aloe, different fruits and veggies and ionized minerals to make a multi-vitamin that delivers a ton of nutrition and surpasses many Daily Recommended Values (which, please, are too low anyway). It’s a great way to kick start the day and I really enjoyed taking it!

While I liked these products, one thing I didn't love is that the Energy 28 and Organic Life Vitamin both contain organic agave nectar as a sweetener. I don’t use a lot of agave as a sweetener these days as I believe there are better options.  However, I don't think a little of it is the worst thing and it wouldn't stop me from using these products. Just keep that in mind when using these!

minerals

Plant-Sourced Minerals in green apple flavour: This supplement provides chelated minerals sourced from a prehistoric plant deposit called Senonian Vegetate, formed approximately 70 million years ago. This vegetate is mineral-rich organic soil derived from plants and naturally protected from mineral depletion. This supplement delivers 70+ trace minerals! While it doesn’t actually tell you what minerals you were getting and what quantity (can you imagine the label on that??) I did notice an improvement in my energy when I took it. The flavour was nice and mild, not too sweet and good mixed in water or added to a smoothie where it was barely noticeable. This one is sweetened with stevia which I liked. 

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Natural Calm in Raspberry-Lemon flavour: a magnesium supplement which is mixed in water. This particular flavour was Raspberry-Lemon but it also comes in Natural. 

Why would we want a magnesium supplement? Magnesium is an mineral critical for so many reactions and processes in the body. One of it’s most famous purposes though, is as the anti-stress mineral! But it can only do this when it is properly balanced with calcium. Too much calcium and magnesium is depleted and relaxation is difficult to do. Natural Calm gives you an ionized (and therefore very absorbable) form of calcium to help balance the ratio helping to reduce things like stress, anxiety, fatigue and headaches. I myself have experienced reduction in these things with regular use. The raspberry-lemon flavour is nice, not too sweet and delicious hot and cold. This one is also sweetened with stevia, while the natural flavour isn't sweetened at all.

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I decided to create my own little “slushie” with this product and I fell in love! This product fizzes when you add it to water, giving my blended drink that token slishie feel. Drank a couple hours before sleep and you will be sleeping like a baby, I promise you. 

I added a banana to the mix for a good dose of potassium, another mineral that promotes relaxation and improves sleep by reducing the number of times you wake up and reduces muscle tension. Water and ice is all that’s left to create this delicious anti-stress and sleep-promoting drink!

“Sweet Dreams” Slushie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp Natural Calm (Lemon Raspberry or Natural Flavour)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • a few cubes of ice

Instructions

Put the water in the blender and add the Natural Calm. It will fizz for a bit and let it do so until most of the fizzing is done. Add in the banana and ice and blend. Serve as is or chill in the freezer a little longer to help it get even more slushie! You could always add more ice but that would dilute the flavour.

 

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Overall, this company brings stellar quality supplements that you know are providing significant health benefit. You can feel good about spending your money on these because they not only nourish you, but they also give back in support of sustainable farming practices. I noticed an improvement in my energy levels and overall health while taking them and would definitely recommend them!

Note: While I was provided these product free of charge, I was in no way onbligated to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Oh and for a quick little shameless self-promotion: if you could all head over to Ethical Ocean and vote for my Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie, in the Eat What’s Good Vegan Recipe Contest, that would be swell. You can vote everyday so even if you voted once I would sure appreciate a second (or third, or tenth!). Thanks!

almond butter and quinoa fruit salad

i’m so excited it’s finally here! the second virtual vegan potluck! i had so much time participating last time so of course i jumped at the opportunity to join in again. for those of you who don’t know, the virtual vegan potluck is a twice-yearly, plant-based food party for vegan and vegan-friendly food bloggers. bringing 105 vegan food bloggers together to share a virtual potluck, linked by a blog circle – and our love of cooking, eating and sharing. participating bloggers will post recipes – from appetizers to desserts – and photos on the day of the event. non-vegans welcome as long as they prepare a cruelty- and animal-free dish.  this time around it was organized by the lovely annie, somer and jason so thanks so much guys for putting so much hard work and dedication into this event!

this potluck acts as a sort of chain where there is a beginning and an end, starting with appetizers and finishing with desserts. if this is your first stop make sure to scroll to the end of the post to find links to the post before mine and the one that follows! if you want to go to the beginning and follow it on through, go to vegan blogger’s unite, the host site!

now, when i was trying to figure out what to bring, my initial thoughts were a dessert. i mean, they are my absolute favourite thing to make. but i brought a dessert last time- come on gabby branch out a bit! so i opted to sign up for a salad, with no real idea what it was going to be. slowly the potluck started creeping closer and closer and i still had no idea what i was doing. i eat salads everyday and yet putting together a well-composed and thought out salad was just not happening. then i got an idea, and while it’s a bit of a cheat, i hope my fellow potluckers and visitors don’t mind ;)

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you see, ever since i made my quinoa pilaf with flax citrus dressing and chocolate chunks, i’ve been obsessed with adding sweet components to salads. then i got an idea for an almond butter dressing and from there the whole idea morphed into what i like to think of as a more substantial fruit salad. or more specifically a “gluten-free nut butter, jam and banana sandwich quinoa salad”. i know it’s a mouthful but it’s so delicious i swear you won’t mind! it tastes just like those sandwiches we had as kids with gooey nut butter, sweet jam and sliced banana, maybe even a little honey drizzled on top. epic yes? there’s no honey here, but it tastes like there is thanks to a lovely little product called bee free honee!

this would be a great salad to bring to a potluck for a few reasons:

  1. it can be made ahead of time
  2. it is delicious cold and room-temperature
  3. it makes a lovely sweet side dish to other main meal components
  4. it is more substantial than a regular fruit salad
  5. leftovers can double as dessert or breakfast
  6. it’s delicious!

so i hope you don’t mind my little cheat! not your typical salad, but still delicious. and without further ado here’s the recipe for my nut butter, jam and banana sandwich quinoa salad

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nut butter, jam and banana sandwich quinoa salad (vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

ingredients (6 servings)

dressing

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (I used raw)
  • 1 tbsp honee
  • pinch sea salt

salad

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 1 1/2 bananas, sliced thin
  • squeeze lemon juice

instructions

first you'll want to cook your quinoa. heat a saucepan over medium low heat. rinse your quinoa, then add it to the saucepan to dry toast it. this will give it a lovely nutty taste. stir it continuously while it toasts until it starts to smell nutty and most of the water from the rinsing has evaporated. when it's all toasty, add your 1 3/4 cup water. bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. when it's done, set it aside to cool.

next chop all your fruit and place in a large bowl. squeeze some lemon juice over top, about 1/2 a small lemon and set aside.

next make the dressing. blend all dressing ingredients in a blender until combined.

when the quinoa is cooled add it to the bowl with the fruit, then toss with the dressing. serve cold or at room temperature.

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thanks for stopping by everyone and i hope you enjoyed my dish!

in case you’re interested, here was my last virtual vegan potluck dish: raw strawberry cream cake!

now to go to the dish after mine in the chain over at keepin’ it kind click here:

Go Forward

to go to the one before mine at cadry’s kitchen click here:

Go Back

or to go back to the beginning head over to vegan bloggers unite!

and be sure to come back here tomorrow for healthy vegan friday!

miso, sea veggies and an avocado banana nori wrap

Hello chickpeas!

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So sorry I didn’t get a chance to post over the weekend! I ended up being pretty busy and the time I actually had to write the post was spent struggling with my laptop and photo editing software. Things seems to be working all right now, fingers crossed!

Speaking of the weekend, I hope you all had a great one! Mine was spent doing school work, working, but also some much needed relaxing and spending time with some awesome people, you know who you are :)

Did you all see my post Thursday on maple miso tahini spread? If you didn’t head over here to check it out!

Today’s recipe uses that spread to make a delicious and unique wrap that would be great for breakfast, lunch or even a snack! It’s salty, sweet and all kinds of healthy.

But wait, you’re thinking. How can this be salty, sweet and healthy? Well, it’s all thanks to some help from my once of my favourite ingredients, miso and some sea veggies.

Miso is one of the forms of soy no one should be hesitant to include as a part of their diet. As a fermented form of soy, it provides your digestive system with loads of beneficial bacteria, is a complete protein and a good source of vitamin B12, and it helps with digestion by helping your small intestine synthesize and absorb nutrients. It’s packed with antioxidants, and despite it’s high sodium content, research suggests this sodium doesn’t negatively impact your cardiovascular system the way highly processed refined salt does. It’s a whole, unprocessed form of sodium, something our bodies need to function properly!

When choosing a miso remember these things:

    • miso soup in a restaurant can be great, but they often used a highly processed powder to make it, taking away the health benefits. Sad day right?
    • choose organic, non-GMO miso paste. This ensures the soybeans are high quality, free of pesticides and free from the potentially harmful effects of genetically modified foods
    • choose unpasteurized miso- this retains all the living enzymes!
    • there are 2 main varieties- red and white, sweet and more savoury so try them out and see what you like best!

Sea veggies are another very beneficial source of healthy, whole sodium in the diet. They are extremely anti-inflammatory through a substance called fucoidans, are very high in anti-oxidants, are an important source of iodine and other minerals, are a concentrated iron source, can help prevent estrogen-related cancers like breast cancer, as well as being anticoagulant and antiviral! And since they do contain a good source of sodium, they can be used to add a salty flavour to foods without actually adding refined salt.

Some things to think about when purchasing sea veggies:

  • there are so many varieties! Nori, arame, wakame, kombu, dulse, kelp, spirulina, chlorella….try them all! They all have unique flavours and uses
  • some are sold as tiny flakes, making them great condiments- try looking for kelp and dulse granules
  • look for raw, organic sea vegetables, especially nori which is more commonly found roasted. When served sushi in restaurants, unless specified raw, they use roasted which while good, doesn’t retain the complete nutritional profile and thus you don`t reap all the benefits! Upaya Naturals sells great raw nori sheets.

Now I bet you want that recipe don’t you?

The banana and maple in the spread plays off the saltiness of the nori and miso. The avocado adds a great creaminess and I used some Thai purple sticky rice to increase the staying power of this wrap, but feel free to use any grain you like, or none at all! I liked the colour the purple rice added.

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Banana, Avocado and Rice Nori Miso Roll (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free)

Ingredients (1 roll)

  • 1 raw nori wrap
  • 1 tbsp maple miso tahini spread
  • 1/4 of an avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 a banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup purple rice, cooked, or grain of choice

Instructions

Lay the nori sheet so the lines are parallel to the edge of your counter. About 1 inch from the edge spread the maple miso tahini spread in a line parallel to your counter. Add the rest of the ingredients along that same line. Roll it up, slice and eat!

I'm sharing this recipe on Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Wellness Weekends!!

I hope you all try this wrap out- or really any wrap in nori- it’s such a great alternative to grain based wraps- nothing refined about it, gluten-free and so mineral-rich!

Have a great Monday everyone, hope the week starts out on the right foot!

 

 

gluten-free, date-sweetened banana bread

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We have a customer at my store named Jim.

Jim comes in every morning for his coffee.

He helps us put the patio furniture out each day because it’s heavy.

He keeps us entertained during slow periods by reading us news items from his tablet.

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He complains about the music because he only likes old classics like Neil Young.

He gives you a ride home on his delivery route so you don’t have to take a cab.

He eats his oatmeal, not because he likes it but because he’s trying to be healthy.

He brings you gigantic boxes full of bananas (76 to be exact) so that you can freeze them and have smoothies every morning (okay, he only did this once).

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And since I’m doing this sugar-free challenge, it seemed like the perfect time to make up some healthy, sugar-free banana bread to show him my thanks!

So Jim, this banana bread is for you!

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Gluten-Free, Date-Sweetened Banana Bread (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

This banana bread is wonderfully sweet despite there being no added sweeteners! The teff flour adds a nutty sweetness and the walnuts give it great crunch. This is packed with fibre from the whole-grain flours and the dates, heart healthy fats from the walnuts and coconut oil and lots of spicy goodness from the cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve warm with a pat of coconut oil or a vegan butter alternative for an afternoon treat or a delicious addition to breakfast!

Make 1 loaf or 12 slices.

  • 2/3 cup teff flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seen + 3 tbsp water
  • 3 bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup dates (I used California dates)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) walnuts, chopped

Soak the dates in the almond milk overnight. In the morning blend them together along with the bananas and cider vinegar until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf tin.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the banana mixture, chia and coconut oil into the dry and mix until completely combined. Don’t worry about over mixing the batter- those are wheat’s issues ;)

Fold the walnuts into the batter. Pour into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour 15 min or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Flip the loaf onto a cooling tray and let cool a few minutes. Serve warm.

I found that when served at room temperature there was a slight graininess detectable, probably from the teff flour. It didn’t bother me at all, but just in case, I thought I’d mention it. This completely goes away when heated.

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I forgot how good Earth Balance is…nice for a treat :)

And in case you are all wondering, Jim loved this bread :) And he’s a self-proclaimed lover of all things unhealthy and hater of healthy foods. So it’s gotta be good!

I am submitting this post to Allergy Free Wednesdays!

banana date walnut butter

Have you guys heard the news? Walnuts are a superfood!

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I love reading nutrition news and articles- it’s probably my equivalent to a lot of people’s love of celebrity gossip. I’ll read it all, soak it all in and talk about it at the water cooler.

Or I would if I worked somewhere where there was a water cooler. More accurately I talk about it at the espresso bar.

But right, back to walnuts! I recently read this article at Renegade Health where walnuts were named the “King of the Nuts”. They rank above every other nut in terms antioxidants which were 2-15x more potent than vitamin E! That’s pretty stellar.

Not only that, but there are a ton of other benefits that come with eating this nut!

  • they improve blood-vessel function and health in patients with type 2 diabetes, suggesting that walnuts could help reduce risk of cardiac disease and events!
  • they keep the blood flowing- eating walnuts helps inflammation in arteries and therefore reduce risk of atherosclerosis (plaque build-up) and artery disease
  • they make you a smarty-pants! Including walnuts in your diet can boost your reasoning skills
  • strengthens them bones! They contain lots of ALA fatty acids which reduces bone turnover- this means that your form bone faster than it’s degraded

If that doesn’t make you want to eat for of there super-nuts (hehe) I don’t know what will.

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Oh wait yes I do! It’s the following recipe. This next recipe is the perfect marriage of 3 amazing flavours that I swear must have been created to be enjoyed together: walnuts, bananas and dates.

I know some people find walnuts a bit bitter (I’ve never had this issue) but in this nut butter, all bitterness is beaten into submission by the gentle sweetness of the banana and the earthy sweetness of the dates. It’s the perfect nut butter to spread on toast, dip apple in, stir into oatmeal or just eat straight out of the jar. Believe me, you’ll want to!

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Banana Date Walnut Butter (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Makes about 2 cups.

  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 ripe bananas (a few brown spots)
  • 3 medjool dates, soaked and pitted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder (or extract)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt.

First process the walnuts until they form a fine meal and are just starting to look “wet” (the oils are starting to be released). Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth! Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, if it lasts ;)

That’s it for me today! I’ll be back here later today/tomorrow for What I Ate Wednesday and I might just share a recipe or two! It’s a little later than I usually post it but I wanted to share this first! Have a lovely day everyone!

I am submitting this post to Allergy-Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekends!

banana coconut cream pie oats and soaking grains

Hello all! How is everyone doing today? The lovely weather we’ve been having here continues and I am blogging from a chair on the deck. It’s so nice to be able to listen to the birds and feel the breeze as I sip on my kombucha and type away :)

Before I get into the real (veggie) meat and potatoes of this I just wanted to do a little (shameless) self-promotion! My recipe for the Banana Beet Cake I made at Easter was featured on the Velvet Aroma blog in their post on Gluten-Free Baking in honour of Celiac Awareness Month! Click here if you guys want to check it out! I get so excited when people even stop by my blog so when a recipe get’s featured I can’t help but bubble up a little :)

Now, back to the regular programming…

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Who like’s desert for breakfast??

What a silly question right? While the concept of eating dessert for breakfast definitely appeals to me, what I wouldn’t like is the heavy feeling that would follow. I like starting my day with something nutritious and easily digestible and dessert doesn’t always fit that bill (although you may find a couple that do on my recipe page ;) )

These oats are so simple and have fewer ingredients than the name suggests! There is absolutely NO added sweetener, including dates and stevia, yet they taste like you are eating dessert. Of course, if you have a big sweet tooth, there are a couple areas where you could definitely add in some sweetener and I’ll point those out.

I have also made this using my raw buckwheat porridge as the base (where instead of the hemp seeds I used 1 tbsp coconut and omitted the extra 2 tbsp almond milk and stevia) and that tasted great as well (and also raw!). I thought I’d share with you this version though since I also wanted to share something else I’ve been doing- soaking my oats.

When I was doing my cleanse, I read up a lot about sprouting and soaking grains for the purpose of being able to eat them raw. What I wasn’t expecting though was that this could have loads of benefits for cooking the grains as well. I’m not sure why I never thought of this since soaking legumes before you cook them is important but oh well….

Here’s why I’ve started soaking my oats (and other grains) before I cook them now: It’s all about phytic acid.

source: Wikipedia

Phytic acid is the main form of storage for phosphorus in plants, which is not digestible by humans. It is of such a molecular structure that many essential minerals (such as iron (!!), magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper and niacin) bind to it, preventing their absorption!

Phytase is the enzyme that neutralizes phytic acid and liberates the phosphorus and other minerals. We don’t produce a ton of this enzyme on ourselves, although having good intestinal flora helps you produce a bit more. Phytase also exists in plant foods, but we have to help it get liberated so it can break down this phytic acid. To make it even more complicated cooking grains at too high a temperature neutralizes this enzyme.

Soaking grains helps activate phytase and reduce the phytic acid! Phytic acid won’t completely disappear (especially in oats since they have a lower amount of phytase to begin with) but it will lower it, enhancing mineral absorption!

Not to mention soaking grains makes them super fast to cook- you can use less liquid and it takes 1/2 the time!

So as someone who has difficulty with iron absorption and a passion for healthy eating, I decided it was time to start soaking my grains and get all the possible nutrition out of them. I mean who doesn’t like getting more bang for their buck?

The basics you need to know for soaking your grains:

  • soak 1 cup of grains in 2 cups of warm water
  • add 1-2 tbsp of an acidic medium per cup of grains: lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, coconut kefir. Some people say you can use buttermilk or yogurt too, but I read a little research that suggested that something in dairy products might actually reduce the amount of phytic acid released). You won’t be able to taste this since you’ll rinse the grains later
  • mix this all up, cover with a cloth and soak for a few hours. Some grains like buckwheat, rye and wheat will release phytic acid very quickly so only an hour or 2 is needed. Oats need a long time though. 8-24 hoursis recommended, the longer the better!
  • when you’re ready to use them drain and rinsethem really well.
  • once the grains are soaked you can dehydrate the grains again and make flour if you’d like!

And now for a recipe using those soaked oats of yours!

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Banana Coconut Cream Pie Oats (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Raw Option*)

These oats taste rich and decadent but are super nutritious! Loaded with healthy fats from the coconut milk and chia seeds, and fibre from the oats, these are a health indulgence.

Oats:

  • 1/2 cup oats soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 a ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • optional: stevia or agave for extra sweetness

* you can make this raw by using the base for my raw buckwheat porridge instead. Substitute the 2 tbsp hemp seeds for 1 tbsp coconut flakes, leave out the stevia and extra 2 tbsp almond milk)

Toppings:

  • 1/2 a banana, sliced
  • sprinkle nutmeg
  • sprinkle coconut flakes
  • coconut whipped cream (recipe below)

First soak the oats overnight in 1 tbsp lemon juice. In the morning drain and rinse well. To prepare the oats, take 1/2 of the soaked oats with the rest of the ingredients and combine in a blender until smooth. Pour this and the rest of the oats in a small pot and heat over medium-low heat until it reaches the consistency you like!

Top with sliced banana, a sprinkle of nutmeg and coconut and a dollop of coconut whipped cream!

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Coconut Whipped Cream (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Raw)

Better than regular whipped cream, this version has healthy fats and tastes slightly coconutty (which is awesome in my books!). Feel free to sweeten or add flavour extracts to help mask the coconut if desired.

  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat not lite)
  • optional: agave, honey, stevia, etc. to sweeten or extracts for flavour (like vanilla, almond, coconut, rum, etc.). You could even try whipping in juice or berries for something fruity!

Place can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight or for a couple days. I found a couple days to be more effective. You do this to separate the cream out from the more water part.

Open the can and scoop out the thick cream that has settled on top. Reserve the water that is leftover for use in smoothies.

Place the coconut cream in a large bowl and using and electric hand mixer, beat the cream until light! Easy peasy!

Use this to top anything from puddings, brownies, cupcakes, fruit, or even oats ;)

Here’s a picture of the raw buckwheat version if anyone’s interested!

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It was cold and perfect for the warm mornings we’ve been having. I’ve been craving smoothies and chilled food like crazy lately!

Do any of you soak your grains? What are your reasons?

What foods have you been craving lately?

That’s it for me today. Enjoy the day everyone!

I am submitting this post to Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy-Free Wednesdays, Foodie Fridays, Allergy-Friendly Friday and Wellness Weekends!

raw banana granola- no oil, no sugar, no grains!

Good day all! Another rainy, cloudy day here in Kingston! But that’s all right, I am armed with my book (go read the Song of Fire and Ice series if you haven’t already, do it!) and DVDs of Smallville. Today is going to be a-okay!

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Today I’m going to share my raw granola recipe that I dreamed up a couple weeks ago and first showed you here. This was my first big success with the dehydrator. I honestly could not stop eating this stuff it’s so good, and with no added sugar and no oil, it’s no problem that I couldn’t! This granola doesn’t have any grains either and relies entirely on buckwheat (a psuedograin) and raw nuts and seeds).  This means it’s great for those on a grain-free diet and is packed with loads of nutrition! It was perfect on it’s own with almond milk, with berries, on top of smoothies, on top of puddings…basically on top of anything :) You could probably also try baking this, and I’ve left a guess as to what those directions would be at the end. This recipe is very forgiving. It could be modified to suit your tastes or whatever nuts/seeds you have on hand. Just keep the proportions the same and you should be good! IMG_0716 Raw Banana Granola with No Added Sugar or Oil! (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw) The flavour of the banana is very prevalent and combined with the dates this granola is just sweet enough. Lots of crunch from the buckwheat nuts and seeds and loads of clumps, just as granola should have!

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 8 drops vanilla stevia
  • 2 tsp water or more (if needed)
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat groats, soaked 1 hour

Pulse the first 8 ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency is reached (add vanilla extract with the banana if not using the powder). I did it until the nuts were chopped fairly small with some larger chunks and the dates were in small pieces. Like this picture: IMG_0676 Empty the mixture into a large bowl. Mash the banana in a small bowl and mix with the stevia and vanilla extract if using, Add the wet ingredients to the dry and add the buckwheat groats and mix until well combined and sticky. Add the water as needed to get everything full incorporated and coated. Place on teflex or parchment paper lined dehydrator sheets in a thin layer. Dehydrate at 105°F for 3 hours. Carefully flip the granola over. Doing so will break it up a bit but that’s ok, helps create the chunks! Dehydrate for another 9 hours or until dry and crunchy. Alternatively you could try baking it at around 250 for an hour or 350 for around 25-30 min. If anyone does try this please let me know what worked for you!

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Serve with fruit, almond milk, or whatever you choose. It’s bound to be tasty. Especially if you eat it with an awesome spoon….

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got it for my dad for Christmas. Love it!

I'm submitting this recipe to Allergy Free Wednesdays, Allergy Friendly Fridays and Wellness Weekends and Best Recipes of 2012!

Before I go 2 shout outs and heartfelt thanks to give! Thank you to Dudette who nominated me for the Sunshine Award! Thank you so much my dear :)

Now I have to answer you 7 questions about myself :)

1. Favorite color? green, dark purple and charcoal 2. Favorite animal? dogs, especially huskies 3. Favorite number? 4 4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink? water is the best, but green tea is a winner too 5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter? Facebook I guess for keeping in touch with people. But I'm really starting to love this Twitter thing… 6. My passion? healthy food, cooking, eating ;), traveling, reading and yoga! 7. Prefer getting or giving presents? I like both- it's fun to be surprised yourself and to make other people happy! 8. Favorite pattern? Not sure. I think the pattern on the sides of my blog is pretty cool though. 9. Favorite day of the week? Days I don't work, get to cook a good breakfast where I can drink my tea outside and listen to the birds. It's the simple things that do it for me :) 10. Favorite flower? Roses. Sounds typical girl I know, but I love the way they die- so dramatic! For this I'm not going to nominate the 10-12 bloggers as I'm supposed to (who needs rules psssh) but I will nominate and say a special hello to the lovely Ali and Jef at the bear and the blackberry. Their blog makes me laugh so hard I cry! Delicious looking food too! And thank you to Heather at Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes for the Versatile Blogger Award. Love you girl! You have stellar photography and food that makes me wish they had invented technology that would allow me to reach through my computer screen and grab a bite :) I'm supposed to tell you 7 random things about myself for this one, but I think the above questions should suffice don't you?? That’s it for me today! Enjoy your next couple of days and come back here on Saturday- I’ll be participating in a super-special blogger event. There’s lots of good food to be seen I promise you!