strawberry avocado breakfast “ice cream”

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now i’m going to continue being the canadian i am today by talking about the weather. spring has come finally!! baseball games have been attended, skirts with no tights have been worn, the parka has been put away and fresh strawberries have been eaten! all that’s left is to eat a meal on a patio and it’s official. 

to celebrate the arrival of warm temperatures i’m sharing an “ice cream” recipe over at the north coast naturals blog that’s actually a breakfast. that means it’s high in protein, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, quick and easy to make but also completely delicious.

psssst, i’ll let you in on a little secret: this is actually little more than a super thick smoothie, but it’s way more fun to call it ice cream isn’t it??

head on over to the ncn blog for the recipe!

I'm sharing this recipe on Raw Foods Thursdays!

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!

chocolate-covered strawberry chia seed pudding

There must be something in the air- this is my second “chocolate-covered” recipe since the year began!

But just because it’s chocolate-covered, does not mean it’s not healthy and doesn’t mean it can’t help you with your healthy eating goals!

That’s because this recipe is packed full of fiber and anti-oxidants, includes 2 superfoods, some fruit and is very low in overall sugar!

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Yes my friends, it’s a chocolate-covered strawberry chia seed pudding. BAM.

I don’t know about all of you, but I fondly remember chocolate-covered strawberries as a special treat when I was younger. They were great because they tasted absolutely decadent, but hey, you were eating fruit so it had to be healthy! While I m totally in agreement that as far as desserts go, chocolate-covered strawberries are not the worst thing you could eat. BUT the chocolate that is often used will contain refined sugar and depending on the chocolate, might contain loads of preservatives and other chemicals, especially if it’s a chocolate sauce.

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So I decided to try and healthify this dessert. And of course I turned to one of my most favourite ingredients- chia seeds. By turning this into a chia seed pudding, I packed it full of fiber and healthy omega-3 fats meaning it will keep you feeling full and will help decrease inflammation in the body!

That’s not the only superfood found in there though! Cacao powder is a superstar- full of powerful anti-oxidants to help combat all the toxins we face on a daily basis. Plus it’s packed full of important minerals like magnesium, which is super important for energy, sulfur which helps promote healthy, glowing skin and others like calcium, manganese, potassium and iron! And let’s not forget it’s mood enhancing properties- it helps to boost serotonin in your body making us feel great!

Strawberries also offer some wicked nutrition- loaded with vitamin C, manganese, fiber and folate to name a few.

It also tastes amazing! It actually tastes exactly like biting into a chocolate-covered strawberry! I love when healthy, delicious and decadent are all found in the same dish :)

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I can’t believe there was a time when I disliked chia puddings…

Delicious, healthful and decadent, this makes a great breakfast, dessert or snack! This really is  a multi-tasking treat!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Ingredients (1 bowl)

  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk (homemade for raw)
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup, but won't be truly raw)
  • 4 hulled ripe strawberries
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

Blend the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Move to a bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit for at least 20 minutes or overnight in the fridge to allow the chia seeds to gel and create a pudding like consistency.

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat! See you all on Friday!

I'm submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free WednesdayRaw Food Thursdays and Wellness Weekend!

 

the second virtual vegan potluck- 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!

strawberry chia jam and an epic breakfast

Happy Monday my lovely readers! I am coming off of a ridiculously awesome weekend- board game cafe with specialty coffees, farmer’s markets, beer halls and wonderful company. I feel recharged, happy and ready to head into this week.

I am so happy that it’s finally fall! There’s a chill in the air and I just know that soon the leaves will start to change. I love how my face gets cold when I’m walking home and that I can wear sweaters and scarves without over heating. Bring on the pumpkin!

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That being said, I have one final summery recipe to share with you all! I highly recommend taking advantage of the last of the berried and making this Strawberry Chia Jam. It’s so good spread on toast, dolloped on top of oatmeal, drizzled to over pancakes, or just eaten with a spoon!

This recipe all started a couple weeks ago with a visit to the market where there was a deal I just couldn’t pass up. $5 for three baskets of strawberries. Um, how could I not?? Who cares that my kitchen is tiny and I am only grocery shopping for myself. I needed to have them! So I trucked them home and faced the challenge of using them right away to prevent them from going bad. Because I just hate wasting food- especially delicious, ripe, juicy berries that will soon be out of season, and all that will remain are their white, tasteless imposters.

Since I had just moved in, I hadn’t yet stocked my fridge with all the things I like to have around, jam being one of them. So what a perfect opportunity to solve 2 problems in one go.

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I opted to make an almost-raw jam for simplicity’s sake and to preserve those valuable enzymes and when making a raw jam, chia seeds are your best friend. They absorb liquid creating a gel, thickening the jam and giving it texture. The chia seeds also make this jam a fantastic source of omega-3 fats and fibre- what traditional, store-bought jam can make that claim??

It’s naturally sweetened with just a little maple syrup (making it not completely raw) and stevia, but you could use only stevia if you so wished, or maybe some coconut nectar or honey. It’s not an overly sweet jam, but it really lets the wonderful flavour of in season, ripe, local strawberries shine!

This recipe makes about 3 cups, but it freezes and defrosts well. So make up a batch and store it in 3 containers and you’ll have jam to get you through the cold season! Or at least for a few weeks- it’s difficult to make it last ;)

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Strawberry Chia Jam (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw Option)

Ingredients (3 cups)

  • 4 cups hulled strawberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, or agave/coconut nectar for completely raw)
  • 15-20 drops stevia
  • 2 + 2 tbsp chia seeds, divided

Instructions

Blend the strawberries, water, maple syrup, stevia and 2 tbsp chia seeds together. Pour into a bowl and stir in the remaining chia seeds. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 60 minutes before serving. Can be stored in the freezer and defrosted! Keeps for a couple weeks once defrosted.

I'm sharing this recipe on Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursdays and Wellness Weekends!

 

Now, I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now that all my pictures of this jam are of a wildly decadent looking breakfast. This my friends, was the breakfast I enjoyed on my birthday, and it was an amazingly delicious way to start the day. Store-bought gluten-free waffles and coconut milk ice cream make this a snap to whip up, but bonus points if you make your own. The ice cream gets all melty on top of the warm waffles and the strawberry jam provides some lovely sweetness and tartness. Plus you’ve got some chia, fruit and whole grains in there so it’s not a completely lost cause, nutritionally ;)

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Birthday Waffle Breakfast

Mix together the strawberry chia jam with the maple syrup. Top the waffles with the ice cream and jam mixture and dig in, thanking yourself profusely for this delicious treat!

How were your weekends?

Are you excited for fall, or are you clinging to the last vestiges of summer with all your might?

Enjoy your weeks everyone!