mango pudding cups

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The weather in Toronto the past couple days (and for the next couple) freaks me out. And not in a good way.

Sure, the heat has been turned up and we’ve been granted another week of hot weather, summer clothing and cool drinks. We can push the thoughts of winter a little further into our minds and soak up the warmth of the sun as we lounge in the parks and linger on patios. The part of me that’s always cold LOVED this!

But guys, it’s just not meant to be this way. I don’t know about you, but thoughts of climate change, global warming and environmental destruction keep me up at night. I remember taking courses in school discussing the social evolution of humans and how we are programmed to consume. That coupled with a class on the science of climate change was enough to buy me 4 months of sleepless nights. The weather this week has been a reminder of how scary what we are doing to this world is. Were the temperatures Toronto experienced 100% due to our changing climate? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s these little blips, little nudges to the gut that really remind why I went vegan in the first place.

I don’t like being reminded of these global crises but I do welcome the renewed passion and inspiration it brings. I went vegan because I believe in compassion. Compassion is a big word that I believe encompasses many things:

Compassion for animals

Compassion for my body and my health

Compassion for the environment

and Compassion for all others (think food politics and the benefits of living in a cleaner, greener world!)

Eating a vegan, plant-based diet isn’t the absolute solution and goodness knows it has it’s own problems. I love knowing though that my food choices at each meal promote compassion and reduce suffering. Each choice we make has the potential to do good or cause harm. Let’s try and remember this as we bask in the final rays of the summer.

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And with that, here is a bright and sunny recipe to celebrate the last (well hopefully) of the summer sun. I was inspired by these Snack Pack Vegan Cheesecakes by Lisa at Vegan Culinary Crusade. I loved the layers, the portability, the adorable presentation and just had to make a version of my own! I opted to use mango and strawberries to match the sunny weather, but any fruit could be used!

These cups are loaded with healthy fats and fresh fruit and would make a wonderful snack or dessert any time of day.

So let’s remember our responsibilities to each other and this wonderful planet we live on and celebrate compassion while we eat delicious mango pudding cups shall we?

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Mango Pudding Cups (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, Raw, SCD option)

Ingredients (4-6 snack cups)

Fruit Bottom:

  • 2 large strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped mango

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3/4 cup chopped mango
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp nutmeg

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp liquid sweetener

Instructions

Muddle with a mortar and pestle or roughly puree in a mini food processor.

Grind cashews until a fine powder in a mini food processor , then add in the rest of the ingredients except coconut oil and process until smooth. Then add in the melted coconut oil and process until incorporated.

Process almond and coconut flakes until finely ground then add in the sweetener and pulse until you get a crumble that sticks together.

Layer it up! Start with putting a couple spoonfuls of the fruit in the bottom of each of your jars. Then layer on the filling and finally top with the crumble topping. You will probably have more crumble topping than you need so save the extra to top a smoothie with!

berry coconutty cookies

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I cannot believe it is already September. September is when the leaves start changing, the wind get brisker, apples become cheap and even more delicious and scarves become a necessary fashion piece. It’s also the month I’ll be celebrating my 25th (eesh), saying goodbye to a good friend, working intense hours and starting school again. It’s a month filled with responsibilities and change. But it also happens to be my favourite month.

September is like a second new year. A time to revisit goals and intentions and go at them with renewed vigour. It’s a second chance to do and be better. That’s something I’ve always found incredible comforting and exhilarating at the same time.

To send off the summer I thought I’d share on more recipe with summer berries. They are here a little while longer and we need to make the most of this precious time. There will be months to eat apples, root vegetables and potatoes coming up. Let’s not start too soon!

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These cookies are raw so are made in a dehydrator but the dehydrating step is totally optional. These are just as delicious when chilled in the fridge. They have a mild coconut flavour with the sweet tartness of berries and some sultry notes coming from the vanilla. The smell of these as they dehydrate is intoxicating! And let’s face it- they are super pretty ;)

These include almonds and coconut for a good dose of healthy fats, calcium and fibre and delicious berries for loads of vitamin C and antioxidants. I used a small amount of raw honey to add sweetness, but coconut nectar or maple syrup could be used as well. Finally I used a little maqui powder for a little superfood kick and colour, but that is totally optional!

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Berry Coconutty Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD, Raw)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup berries (I used 1/2 blueberries, 1/2 raspberries)
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp raw honey (or coconut nectar or maple syrup for pure vegan)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maqui powder (optional)

Instructions

Grind almonds and coconut flakes in a food processor till small. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until it forms a batter that sticks together. Take about a tablespoon out at a time and roll into a ball then flatten with your hands onto your dehydrator sheets.

Dehydrate at 105 for 8 or more hours, depending on how soft you want the centers (6 hours and the cookies were just hard on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside, 8 hours and they were a little harder, just how I wanted them)

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What summer produce are you going to miss most? Berries and all the fruit are mine for SURE.

What about fall are you most excited about? The food, weather, everything? Since it’s my favourite season- everything! The cool air, pumpkin flavoured treats, the colours of the leaves. There’s nothing I don’t love (except maybe what inevitably follows it…)

apple kale breakfast salad

Happy Canada Day to all of my fellow Canadians! Hope you are all enjoying a barbeque with a couple drinks in true Canadian fashion ;)


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photo credit: Cuppojoe via photopin cc

Today I bring you a recipe with a little pop of red that will help get this day of notoriously not-so-healthy eating off to a great start!


apple kale breakfast salad

Breakfast is probably my most favourite meal of the day and one of my favourites kinds of recipes to create. There’s just something about starting the day of right with a delicious meal that sets you up for the rest of the day. I often go to bed already excited for what I have planned!

The problem was that given my busy schedule, my breakfasts were getting boring. No time to plan combined with too little time in the morning, got me into a breakfast rut. I lost inspiration and even m beloved green smoothies were lack lustre. But then one morning when faced with a sparse fridge with only a little kale and an apple, magic happened.

And that magic was an apple and kale salad with almond butter dressing.


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The idea of a breakfast salad is nothing new. Gena has been doing them for ages and she actually recently posted one that looks amazing! But it was a new thing for me and I honestly didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. My heart was won over though with the combination of steamed kale, crisp apple, sweet almond butter and pumpkin seeds.

It’s an incredibly nourishing way to start your day as well. Tons of fiber, vitamin C, minerals, and healthy fats. It’s so filling too! When you blend all these ingredients up in a smoothie, they go down like nothing in 5 minutes flat. But when you actually have to chew each bite it fills you up wayyy more. I actually split this up into two breakfasts usually- before I leave the house and one a couple hours later. It comes together very quick too. Just need to steam the kale and assemble!

This recipe is more of a template than a real recipe. Feel free to play with it!

Here are a few of my favourite ways to change it up:

  • sauté the apple in a little coconut oil and cinnamon instead of enjoying raw
  • or try a different fruit like pears
  • top with a handful of your favourite granola
  • toss in some dried fruit
  • add some steamed squash or sweet potato or even some pre-cooked grain
  • change up the pumpkin seeds for other nuts
  • anything else you can think of!


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Apple Kale Breakfast Salad with Almond Butter Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

Ingredients (1 huge salad)

  • 1/2 a bunch of kale, steamed till just bright green
  • 1 apple, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 of an avocado, diced
  • 4 strawberries, sliced
  • small handful pumpkin seeds
  • sprinkle of coconut flakes

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • almond milk to thin to desired consistency

Ways to change it up!

  • sauté the apple in a little coconut oil and cinnamon instead of enjoying raw
  • or try a different fruit like pears
  • top with a handful of your favourite granola
  • toss in some dried fruit
  • add some steamed squash or sweet potato or even some pre-cooked grain
  • change up the pumpkin seeds for other nuts
  • anything else you can think of!


Instructions


First steam your kale. Prep other ingredients while you're waiting. Then mix up your dressing and assemble. Eat to your heart's content :)


apple kale breakfast salad


Have you guys every eaten a salad for breakfast?


Since going vegan, I have found myself eating a lot of “weird things” for breakfast. Like leftovers from lunch or dinner (soups, curries, quinoa pilafs, etc.). Even salads, but they were always “lunch style" salads. This one felt like breakfast in every way!

shredded brussels sprout salad


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There are people out there who hate brussels sprouts. I know they exist, but I have never understood them.

Roast them up with a little oil and sea salt and they become the most flavourful addition to a meal- soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside. Or you could get fancy- maybe toss a little mustard on there or bathe them in a tahini dressing upon serving. You really can’t go wrong.

And this is how I would convince brussels sprout haters that they actually were brussels sprout lovers. They just hadn’t had them prepared the right way. Because I mean, OF COURSE you don’t like them raw or even lightly steamed. They MUST be roasted.

Oh how wrong I was.

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Because now, I love raw brussels sprouts!

The trick is to shred them thin, like you would shred cabbage for a coleslaw. Then you pair it with other flavourful ingredients (like pear, pecans, and dried cranberries) and a knock out dressing (with apple cider vinegar and mustard) and you have yourself an amazing salad. No roasting, or turning on of an oven required. And guess what! That means it’s so much faster to eat them this way and you save precious energy!

Beyond the time and energy savings of eating brussels sprouts raw, there’s actually a nutritional advantage as well. You see, 1 cup of brussels sprouts contains 197% of your daily requirements for vitamin K and 125% of your daily vitamin C. But vitamins are not heat stable! Meaning even when you steam them, you are losing vitamin content. But by eating them raw, you are retaining all the vitamin K and C goodness! Brussels sprouts are also high in antioxidants, sulphur and fibre. They are definitely something we should all be adding to our diets.

This salad is one of those whose flavour improves as it sits. Make it the day before and cover and refrigerate overnight if possible, adding in the avocado right before serving.

So even if you are a brussels sprout hater. Even if you don’t like them roasted. Try this salad. You won’t be sorry!

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Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw, Paleo, SCD)

 

Ingredients (2 main dishes, 4 sides)

  • 6 brussels sprouts, shredded
  • small handful pecans, chopped
  • small handful sunflower seeds
  • small handful dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 an avocado, diced

Dressing (Adapted from Choosing Raw's Tangy Mustard Dressing)

  • 2 tsp Bragg’s or Tamari
  • 2 T flax oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T stoneground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder

Instructions

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing in a smaller, separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

The dressing recipe makes a little more than you'll probably need (about enough for one meal-sized salad), so save it for another meal!

This salad tastes even better the next day so make ahead of time and refrigerate over night if you can, adding in the avocado right before serving. 

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I'm sharing this recipe on Raw Foods Thursdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays.

I’m super excited the weather is getting warmer out and that means more raw foods! I tend to eat a lot less raw in the winter but almost entirely raw in the summer!

Do you find your diet shifts to higher raw in the summer? What is one of your favourite raw dishes?

grain-free, paleo and vegan carrot zucchini muffins!

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Hello my lovely veggies! Thank you all so much for all your votes in the Vegan Recipe Challenge! I came in 3rd and that was way more than I was hoping for!

It’s been a busy week around here- I'm so sorry to my fellow bloggers whose blogs I've been neglecting. I am trying the best I can to catch up and will read every one of your wonderful words. But I’m back and eager to share a ton of stuff with you! You can expect some delicious food coming up on the blog!

I'm constantly playing around with my diet, trying to come up with a combination that helps my tummy feel it’s best. For those of you who are new readers, I’ve suffered from very uncomfortable digestion for years and I’m on a quest to correct it! Read this post for a few things that I’ve found helpful recently.

So in playing around with my diet, one thing I’ve tried is cuting out grains. I know, crazy right? It’s something I never thought I would do and I always thought that “paleo inclined” eaters were insane! What do they do without quinoa? Fresh baked goods? No sushi? No BREAD?

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turns out you just need to find the right kind of baked goods!

Just goes to show you the lengths I’m willing to go to fix this problem. And it actually isn't too bad! .

You see, due to the make-up of grains, people with delicate digestive systems often find them aggravating. The carbohydrate content of the grain is primarily made up of starches as well as some sugars that require extra steps to digest. If you are unable to digest them properly due to a weak system, we are left with undigested fragments that are then used to feed the no-so-good bacteria in our system. This can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a crowding out of the good guys. The bad guys can also begin to produce toxic substances that can damage our intestinal lining, leading to something called leaky gut. And what leaky gut basically means is that the tight junctions between your intestinal cells become “loose” due to damage and now undigested proteins and particles can make their way into your bloodstream and cause inflammation, allergic responses and general havoc! All in all, not a pretty picture for proper digestion.

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So through cutting them out, healing can be brought to the digestive system. I by no means think this should be a permanent move, but can be extremely therapeutic for a time!

Now for the fun part- grain-free kitchen experiments! Grain-free baking was really daunting to me, but my recent success with my berry crisp and now these muffins is making me feel like all that fear was unwarranted. Now I can say I LOVE grain-free baking!

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I love that when you bake with nut meals and coconut flour, there is a ton of natural sweetness and healthy fats in there- meaning you can use less added oil and sweetener! Not only that, nut meals and coconut flour are so healthy! Lots of healthy fats and fibre! While they are not exactly low in calories, you’ll find that you are wonderfully satisfied after a small portion.

Like take these muffins. They certainly are not light bites. BUT they are filling, nutritious and delicious. And they surprisingly don’t feel heavy- they have a wonderful crumb that would satisfy the most traditional baker. I hope you all try them- I’m certain you’ll love them!

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Grain-Free Carrot and Zucchini Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD)

Adapted from these at Amazing Paleo.

Ingredients (12 muffins)

Dry

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt

Wet

  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup melted raw honey
  • ¼ cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Add-ins

  • ½ cup of grated carrots
  • ¾ cup of grated zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 1/8 cup of raisins (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease with coconut oil or line a 12 muffin pan.

Mix all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix your applesauce, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and cinnamon. In a final small bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, water, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Now add the applesauce mixture to your dry ingredients and combine well. Now add in the coconut oil and baking soda mixture. Finally, mix in the carrot, zucchini and raisins.

Spoon the batter evenly into your muffin pan. You want to do this fast since you want to make sure the baking soda and vinegar will still be reacting to give some lift in the oven. Bake for 35min, or until tops are browned and a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.