carrot ginger soup with curried croutons

carrot ginger soup with curried croutons #vegan #glutenfree

remember when i said one of my goals this year was to post more savoury recipes? and then i proceeded to post only sweet recipes for the month of february? granted, they were delicious sweet recipes (like zucchini bread oatmeal, double chocolate and goji granola, sesame crispy rice treats, chocolate rum (or raspberry) truffles, paleo cranberry chocolate chip cookies, hempy halvah, raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake squares, and double chocolate blueberry pancakes), but it leads to a rather unbalanced recipe index no?

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carrot coconut curry soup

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I wasn’t going to post this recipe, mostly because I didn’t get any great pictures of it. It had nothing to do with the taste. The taste is UNREAL!

But then I brought it into work, and heated it up. Suddenly all my coworkers were gathered around me wondering what the delicious smell was. Many “mmmm"s were heard without anyone even having a taste!

I should also tell you how significant this is, coming from the people I work with. They like to, lovingly, give me a hard time for my eating habits. I’m sure many of you have been there- the weird health foodie who brings food with her everywhere and won’t eat the desserts we sell! SO the fact that they just smelled my food and had that reaction- well that was saying something!

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Then I gave my manager the recipe. She had been having a particularly hard day and could not wait to go home and snuggle up. I knew this recipe would be perfect for the situation- full of warming spices, creamy coconut milk and most importantly, diary-free since she’s allergic to milk.

The next day she came in and told me the soup was INCREDIBLE. It completely turned her day around and now she has leftovers just waiting for her the next time she has a tough day. I truly believe in the power of food to heal- both physically and emotionally, and I love getting to see it in action- especially when I get to be a small part of that :)

So of course following these experiences, the fact that the pictures I had were mediocre just didn’t seem to matter anymore!

This soup warms the tummy and the soul and just dances on your taste buds. Loaded with fiber and beta-carotene from the carrots this is wonderful for your skin, hair and nails and for boosting your immunity during the flu season. The organic coconut milk gives the soup a creaminess and is loaded with healthy saturated fats that your body can use for energy! Finally the curry spices, cloves and ginger make this the perfect winter soup! I hope you love it as much as we did!

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Carrot Coconut Curry Soup (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Paleo)

Ingredients (6 bowls)

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can organic coconut milk (organic is important since pesticides concentrate themselves in the fat of foods!)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch coconut sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Sauté the first 6 ingredients in large soup pot until the onions are translucent (about 8 min).

Add in the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 min, or until the carrots are tender.

Let cool slightly and remove the cloves. Then transfer to a blender to puree. Or alternatively use an immersion blender.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and serve hot!

 

Happy Wednesday everyone! See you all back here on Friday for Healthy Vegan Friday!

healthy in a hurry: curry tomato spaghetti squash

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this was one of those meals that was so simple to prepare using mainly pantry staples that when i took a bite, I was completely floored by how delicious it was. not to mention it took almost no time at all to make.

i knew i wanted to use the spaghetti squash i had pre-roasted- it’s a delicious and light grain and gluten-free way to enjoy a pasta like dish with all the added benefits of folate, potassium and vitamins a and c. but i was getting sick of all the classic options like classic tomato sauce and pesto (i know, i surprised myself with that one) so i needed a new and fresh sauce, but with minimal ingredients on hand.

as i was scouring my cupboards for inspiration, my eyes fell upon the curry jar and suddenly i knew my inspirations. this is a dish reminiscent of chana masala but with spaghetti squash instead of the rice. and believe me, the two compliment each other perfectly. the light sweetness of the squash combined with the savoury and spicy goodness of the curry really hit one out of the park (weird, i never use sports metaphors…. i have made this 3 times since and i never regret it, even with all the leftovers to eat.

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this dish only takes about 20 min to make if you’ve pre-roasted your squash making it the perfect “healthy in a hurry” dish. i always like to pre-roast my spaghetti squash when i have some spare time, that way it’s ready to go when i want it. there’s nothing worse than being desperately hungry and having to wait for your squash to cool before scraping out the insides!

i hope you enjoy this nourishing and warming meal- you don’t need loads of time or ingredients to eat deliciously :)

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curry tomato spaghetti squash (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)document.write(”);

ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 28 oz. can tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can)
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and roasted cut sides down at 400f for 30 min
  • chopped cashews and cilantro for serving (optional)

instructions

sauté the onion in oil (i used coconut) until turning translucent, about 5 min. add the garlic and sauté for another minute. add spices and continue to cook for another minute.

add the canned tomatoes, bring to a simmer and and cook, covered for about 15 minutes. if the liquid hasn’t reduced take the cover off and simmer for a couple minutes till the sauce has thickened. add in the chickpeas and spaghetti squash and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

serve with chopped cashews and cilantro if desired!

alter eco review, an easy curry and a rainbow quinoa pilaf with a surprise ingredient- chocolate!

Hey guys! In regards to my subscribers not getting emails, I have been told it was due to a malfunction in the plug-in I used to send out the emails. But a new version was released that is supposed to have fixed this bug so I sincerely hope you are all receiving my emails again. Some have already told me they are, so fingers crossed everyone is!

Sometimes a company just blows you away. With it’s quality of ingredients, commitment to sustainability and generosity, Alter Eco, is one of those companies.

It was quite a while ago when I first mentioned Alter Eco company on my blog. I had received one of their chocolate bars in a pen pal swap with the lovely Shelby and just loved it! It wasn’t too long after I was contacted by the company and we’ve been talking ever since, just waiting for a good time for me to try out some of their other products and host a giveaway. Well my friends, the time has come!

Firstly, I just want to thank Alter Eco for their generosity! They sent me a very generous package complete with Rainbow Quinoa, Thai Sticky Purple Rice and 5 different kinds of chocolate bars! Crazy right?

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Yes I know there are only 4 bars pictured here, but the roommate got to one before I could take the picture!

I have a lot of respect for this company. With a focus on providing equitable and sustainable products, they strive to provide us with organic, heirloom, minimally processed foods while giving back to the farmers to ensure a more socially just planet. You can really feel good about buying and eating these products which can be tricky to come across these days.

Now onto the products themselves. First we’ll start with dessert. Or amazing decadent chocolate that is. Now I’m a chocolate person, but I dare anyone to dislike these bars! The quality is superb with a rich, smooth chocolate base that makes one square more than enough to satisfy a craving. Here are the 5 bars they sent me:

DarkToffeeDark Coconut Toffee

Dark Coconut Toffee

47% cocoa with coconut nut toffee, butter and sea salt. Now I didn’t try this one since it had dairy in it, but my roommate sure downed it pretty quickly which I take as a good sign ;)

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Dark Cacao

63% cocoa with crunchy cacao nibs. This was a bittersweet bar with rich sweetness coming from the chocolate and a bitter crunchiness from the cacao nibs. I loved the flavour and the antioxidant punch that comes with the nibs. They added great texture.

AlmondIMG_2261

Dark Almonds

60% cocoa with slow roasted almonds. This was probably by favourite. Toasty, nutty crunch from the almonds complimented a deep dark chocolate beautifully.

Dark Quinoa

Dark Quinoa

60% cocoa with toasted quinoa. The quinoa provides a nutty crunch, similar to a rice krispy that makes this bar like a high-quality, super-amazing version of a Crunchy bar.

BlackoutDark Blackout

Dark Blackout

85% cocoa, straight up with nothing added. This was very intense and dark with fruity undertones. One of my favourites since I just love dark chocolate! Scroll down for a recipe using it!

Next were the grains.

Purple Sticky Rice - Alter Eco ©

Thai Sticky Purple Rice

This rice was simply gorgeous! It cooked up to a beautiful purple colour and was just as sticky as you would expect! It made eating dishes with chopsticks very easy and just soaked up loads of delicious sauces. Amazing when dry toasted before cooking.

It is for these reasons, I highly recommend making a curry to go with this rice.

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See that beautiful colour? Doesn’t it just brighten up the whole plate?

Easy Weeknight Curry with Thai Purple Sticky Rice (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

Ingredients (Serves ~4)

  • 1 cup Thai Purple Sticky Rice
  • 2 cups water
  • oil for sautéing (I used coconut)
  • 1 small onion (1 used 3 tiny Dutch onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
  • your favourite veggies (I used yellow pepper, orange pepper, carrots, broccoli)
  • 4 cups of the green of your choice (I used kale), it sounds like a lot, but it will wilt down
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp good quality curry powder (I used the one Alexia sent me!)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • diced tomato for topping (optional)

Instructions

First, get your rice cooking! Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Dry toast the rice over medium-low heat next in a medium saucepan, until it becomes nutty and fragrant and the grains are almost dry. Add the water to the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 min, or until all the water is absorbed.

Melt your coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and just starting to brown. Next add the garlic, chilli flakes and cumin and sauté for another minute. Add the rest of your veggies, next, starting with the ones that will take longest to cook (like broccoli and carrots), cook for a few minutes then add faster cookies ones like bell peppers). Sauté for a minute.

Now pour in the can of coconut milk and stir in the 2 tbsp of curry powder. Turn up the heat on the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring in the curry powder. Once simmering add the kale, or whichever green you are using, stir to incorporate then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the curry over Thai Sticky Purple Rice and use the rice to sop up every last ounce of the sauce!

Royal Rainbow Quinoa [alt-000458.jpg]

Royal Rainbow Quinoa

This combination of white, red and black quinoa was simply fantastic. I loved the colour this quinoa gave to dishes and it helped me to incorporate some of the other quinoa varieties into my diet besides the white. For some reason I have never been a fan of red quinoa on it’s own- something about the texture, but as a part of this mix it was lovely! Plus it’s organic, sustainable and equitably traded with a focus on small farmers. which made me feel better about eating it. Have you guys read about all the problems with producing quinoa these days? Read this article about Bolivia, it really makes you think twice about this nutritious grain. Alter Eco’s methods help to combat these issues which is admirable.

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When I was thinking about a recipe to make with the quinoa, I really wanted to go for something different and I wanted to include another of Alter Eco’s products in it- the chocolate. I know I could have done a chocolate dessert quinoa version of a rice pudding but I wanted to take it in a different direction. What resulted in a delicious rainbow quinoa pilaf with a flax-citrus dressing and chocolate chunks that is so intriguing in it’s flavours. The citrus dressing compliments the chocolate gorgeously and the quinoa provides a delicious, nutritious back drop to tie everything in. I used beets and green beans as my vegetables, but feel free to mix it up with whatever you have!

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Rainbow Quinoa and Chocolate Pilaf with Flax Citrus Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-free)

Ingredients (Serves ~6)

Pilaf

  • 1 cup Royal Rainbow Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced and submerged in ice water for 10 minutes. This helps reduce it’s pungency! Thanks for the tip Caralyn!
  • 1 cup (ish) chopped green beans
  • 3 large leaves red swiss chard, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 golden beets, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 a bar of your favourite dark chocolate (I used Alter Eco’s Dark Blackout), chopped
  • 3 tbsp – 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Citrus-Flax Dressing

  • 1/4 cup flax oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Bragg’s
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
  • juice of 1/2 an orange

Instructions

First, rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear in a fine-meshed strainer. Then, dry toast the quinoa in a medium saucepan until it’s fragrant and almost dry. Then add in the water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. About 2 minutes before it’s done add the chopped green beans and stir in to combine. When the quinoa is done, remove from the heat and add in the swiss chard. Stir and cover, then allow it to sit for a few minutes. This will soften the chard without overcooking it.

Add the quinoa mixture, red onion, and golden beets to a large bowl. Cover and allow it to chill in the fridge until completely cool. If it’s too warm the chocolate will melt when you add it.

While you’re waiting combine all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well.

When the quinoa is chilled mix in the chocolate chunks and the dressing. Allow it to sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavours combine. Just before serving add the pumpkin seeds.

I am submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free Wednesday!

 

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This was so satisfying! The sweet chocolate is balanced perfectly from the sourness in the dressing, the bitterness of the chard and pungency of the onions. The dressing alone is amazing- I can’t wait to make it again!

I highly recommend supporting this company! Not only are their ethics totally in line, they make delicious products that are incredibly versatile and nutritious. Check them out!

Now because they are so awesome, Alter Eco has offered to send one lucky reader some goodies! Just enter the giveaway below. Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, but everything else is optional. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

sweet potato and lentil salad with a coconut curry dressing

Good Monday morning my sweet peas :). How was everyone’s weekend? Hopefully you got some relaxing in and are ready to tackle this new week!

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As you read this I am actually in Ottawa! I had a couple days off in a row, as did my mom so we decided to take a little trip just the 2 of us. I think we’re planning on hitting up IKEA to see if I can find a couple things for my new apartment come September. I love IKEA so I’m pretty excited. We are also hoping to check out a couple museums and of course, eat some good food!

I’m so happy you all enjoyed my last post on nooch and my raw pizza bites! I hope some of you try them- you’ll have to let me know what you think! If nothing else, everyone should go buy some nutritional yeast if you don’t have some already and give it a try. You won’t regret it.

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Today I’m going to share with you a lovely salad recipe I had in the middle of a major heat wave here. We were experiencing 33°C weather, but with the humidity it felt like 40+. Everyone was feeling slow and sluggish and idea of cooking or eating warm food was just not appealing. I have to admit, I ate/drank mostly smoothies.

You can only drink so many smoothies though, before you start craving something with a little more chew and a savoury flavour. I decided I wanted something with and Indian flavour, but the idea of standing over a hot stove, cooking up a curry with rice was not a pleasant one in the heat. So this Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing was the answer!

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I included some of my favourite ingredients from curries: lentils, sweet potatoes, raisins and cashews all served on a bed of mixed greens. The dressing uses coconut milk to mimic creamy curry sauces. I used a pinch of chilli powder for a bit of heat, but not so much that you find yourself over-heating.

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This salad covers all your bases nutritionally! Protein from the lentils, carbs and lots of vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene and vitamin A from the sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from the coconut milk and cashews. You could also get a ton of greens in depending on how many greens you serve this on top of.

It’s a great way to get all the flavour of a traditional curry without the heaviness and the heat. The sweetness from the sweet potatoes and raisins goes wonderfully with the brightness of the cilantro, the savoury curry spices and the creamy coconut dressing. It’s light enough for a warm summer meal, but still packed full of flavour!

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Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad with a Coconut Curry Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

Serves 2.

Salad:

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tsp oil (I used avocado)
  • 1 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
  • a few handfuls spring mix or your favourite green
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped cashews

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (canned)
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch chilli powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro

First you are going to want to soak your lentils overnight. This makes them easier to digest and they cook faster! Then when you’re ready to make dinner, fill a pot with enough water to steam the lentils for ~20-30 min. Place the lentils in a steaming basket and steam for 20-30 min until soft, but not mushy.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Chop the sweet potato into bite-sized pieces. Toss with the oil and garam masala. Bake for 20 min or until easily pierced with a fork. Set aside when ready. This may make a little more than you need for the salad, depending on the size of your sweet potato. Just save the rest for another salad!

Blend up all the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Now assemble your salad! Place a couple handfuls of greens on each plate. Divide the sweet potato and lentils evenly on both plates. Sprinkle with raisins, cilantro and cashews. Drizzle with the dressing. Serve immediately.

If you have extra dressing store in the fridge. Since the base is coconut milk it will get really thick when chilled. Just add a little warm water when you want to use it again to think it out.

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all served up and ready to go!

Do any of you love IKEA as much as I do? I love all the rooms they have set up and the cute do-dads.

EMMIE LAND Duvet cover and pillowcase(s) IKEAEMMIE LAND Duvet cover and pillowcase(s) IKEA

I’m hoping to find this duvet cover! Thoughts?

What are your go-to foods when it get’s really hot out? For me it’s clearly salads and smoothies. I tend to eat them a lot anyway, but it’s ALL I eat when it’s above 30.

Hope you all have a fantastic Monday and I’ll see you soon!