grain-free berry crisp with spiced cashew cream

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I’m jumping the gun a little bit with this recipe. Even though spring remains elusive to us here in Toronto, I was simply too excited for spring and summer produce to hold off on making something with berries and lots of them.  While there’s nothing quite like a peak-of-the-season berry, frozen berries stand in nicely in this recipe.

No, let me re-phrase that: they stand in amazingly, beautifully and deliciously!

Finally, my impatience has paid off.

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One bite of this dish and I was transported into berry heaven. Every bite was like a revelation. And I know that’s a big word. But oh man.

Baking the berries gave them a rich sweetness that just can’t be matched and the grain-free topping gives a delicious crunch and nuttiness that pairs beautifully. I decided to make a spiced cashew cream to top it and it’s not too sweet but super creamy and just the perfect pairing.

Nutritionally speaking, this crisp is also pretty bomb. Tons of healthy fats and fibre from the nuts, it’s low glycemic thanks to the berries and packed with antioxidants. I even soaked the nuts I used beforehand to make them more digestible (releases phytic acid). This is definitely a breakfast you can feel good about starting your day with. Or a dessert to end the day ;)

I’ve been getting into grain-free baking a lot more recently, I’ll explain why in a future post. While making raw dishes is usually the easiest way to go grain-free (at least for the inexperienced like myself), I wanted to challenge myself with some baking. And anyway, a warm berry crisp when it feels like 0 degrees sounds so much more appealing no?

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I used berries here, but feel free to switch up the fruit! I’ll bet peaches and strawberries or even mango would be amazing as we head into summer!

Grain-Free Berry Crisp with Spiced Cashew Cream (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD)

 

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, soaked
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, soaked
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries, frozen

Spiced Cashew Cream

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 2 all spice pods
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Soak your walnuts and pecans overnight or for a few hours. Drain and rinse when ready to proceed with recipe.

Preheat oven to 375 and grease an 8×8 square baking pan with coconut oil.

Combine all crisp ingredients except the berries in a bowl. Add the berries to the bottom of your prepared pan and spread them out evenly. Next put the crisp mixture on top, carefully spreading it out so it's even on top of the berries.

Bake for 45 minutes, until the crisp topping is a little crunchy. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve with spiced cashew cream. This recipe freezes great too!

To make the cashew cream: soak your cashews overnight and in the morning drain and rinse them. Add them to the blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Store in the fridge.

This recipe is being shared on Allergy-Free Wednesdays!

And one more thing!

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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 amazing!. You can vote everyday so even if you voted once I would sure appreciate a second (or third, or tenth!). Thanks!

 

warm butternut squash, cabbage and dill salad

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We may be slowly but surely headed into spring, but I am still firmly in squash mode. The distinct chill in the air still has my body craving sweet roasted squash goodness and I am not one to deny my body what it wants, particularly when it’s healthy.

Despite my slightly out of season cravings, the thought of pairing squash with heavier, warm flavours like cumin, curry and cinnamon just wasn’t appealing to me. I wanted something lighter and fresher. And wouldn’t you know it, but I had a bunch of fresh dill in my fridge just waiting to be used.

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I’ve never paired butternut squash with dill before, but the combination is amazing! The squash is slightly sweet but the dill totally brightens it up giving it a lighter, more spring-like feel!

Dill has this amazing ability to give a warm-weather feel to dishes don’t you think? I think it’s the herb equivalent of a fresh breeze :)

Included in the salad is also some red cabbage, onion and walnuts, giving it tons of fiber and good dose of healthy fats. Finished with a drizzle of lemon, this salad makes a wonderfully light and flavourful side dish or can serve to stand as a meal on it’s own if served with some greens and maybe some legumes if you choose. Leftovers also taste delicious cold!

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And lets face it, the colours in this salad are gorgeous. You all need to make this based on that fact alone ;)

Warm Butternut Squash, Cabbage and Dill Salad (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo)

Ingredients (4 main dishes, 8 sides)

  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small head purple cabbage, cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put chopped squash in a large bowl and toss the squash chunks in olive oil and salt and pepper them well. Arrange in one layer on 2 baking sheets or 1 large one and put in the oven. Roast for 10 minutes. Toss the cabbage chunks in a little oil, salt and pepper in the same bowl you used before, then add the cabbage to the butternut squash. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the chopped onion to the bowl you were tossing the other vegetables in and let them take up the oil and salt and pepper that's left over. Add to the other veggies. Roast until all veggies are nicely caramelized, about 30-40 min. Add the chopped walnuts 10 minutes before the veggies are done.

Put all the veggies in a large serving bowl, toss with the dill, lemon and nutritional yeast and serve.

I'm sharing this at Allergy-Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekends!

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Now I’m wondering from you…

What’s your favourite herb? Mine seems to always be changing but dill is certainly near the top of the list!

What spring/summer produce are you most looking forward to? FRUIT and asparagus for me!

Have a great week everyone! xox

paleo apple & nut porridge

Good morning friends!

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Going to school for nutrition means I am exposed to many different people of many different philosophies and many different diets. I am learning to be objective when it comes to evaluating the merits of certain foods and ideologies even if they are not quite those that I adhere to.

I go to school with quite a few people who follow the Paleo Diet and I’ve been watching quite a few documentaries on the subject recently. While it’s not something I see as the ideal diet, I do recognize it has many merits, especially when it comes to healing the digestive system and hence healing a multitude of other problems.

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So while I don’t plan on following a paleo diet, I am making a conscious effort to branch out, toy around with some of the ideas and create recipes that adhere to the paleo principles while still holding to my own ideals. This is what has lead me to create a nut porridge.

And oh did I love this porridge.

The nuts gave this such a rich texture and a lovely sweetness. I added in some apple for sweetness as well and some mesquite and lucuma to up the nutrient value. This is super filling, loaded with healthy fats and extremely satisfying. If you’ve never tried nut porridge, I highly recommend you add it to your rotation! I know I will be ;)

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Paleo Nut Porridge (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw, Paleo)

Ingredients (4, 1/2 cup servings)

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp mesquite
  • 1 tsp lucuma
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar

Instructions

Process all together. Reserve a few nuts to add in at the end- pulse a few times. This gives it texture!

Serve with almond milk and fruit!

Store extra servings in the fridge for a quick breakfast or snack.

I'm sharing this recipe on Raw Foods Thursday.

raw oatmeal raisin cookies

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Is there any smell better than that of cookies baking in the oven? I truly don’t think there is, which is why I’m so happy that when making raw cookies in a dehydrator, your still get that same smell but for a prolonged period of time. It’s almost enough to drive you crazy thinking of how good those cookies will taste, but oh man, it’s a good kind of hurt.

That’s how I felt when I made these cookies.

I have to admit, I have tried making raw cookies many times before and I have never been pleased with the results. They tasted fine, but never satisfied that craving for a chewy, dense sugary treat like I was hoping. They always tasted, well for lack of a better word, raw. Instead of gooey decadence, it felt like I was eating nuts and seeds all ground up with a little sweetener. While good, not what I wanted.

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I finally hit one out of the park though with these. It must have been a sign of good things to come here in Toronto because these were the first recipe I made in my new apartment and things have just gone wonderfully since :)

Now for all of you without a dehydrator, don’t despair! I actually tried making half of these without, just shaped them and popped them in the fridge and they were still delicious! No, you don’t get that enticing aroma, but you still get a delicious dessert out of it!

These cookies are dense, chewy and sweet with a subtle cinnamon flavour and lots of juicy raisins. Filled with walnuts and hemp seeds to supply you with those much needed omega-3 fats, oat groats for fiber and sweetened only with raisins, these are as healthy as they are delicious! The perfect fall treat :)

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Raw Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Ingredients (12 cookies)

  • 1/2 cup raw oat groats
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (or can do 1/2 cup cashews and 1/4 cup walnuts)
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds (or more walnuts)
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped raisins

Instructions

Grind the oat groats, nuts and hemp seed in a food processor until you have a fine meal. Add in the rest of the ingredients except the 1/4 cup chopped raisins and process until you have a dough that sticks together. Add in the 1/4 cup raisins and pulse a couple times until they are incorporated into the dough, but not broken down. You want chunks of raisins in the cookies. Form into 12 cookies.

Option 1: Dehydrate at 145 for 1 hr. on mesh trays, then flip and dehydrate at 105 for 3.5-4 more hours. Enjoy warm straight from the dehydrator for a treat!

Option 2: Chill in the fridge for 30 min.

Store in the fridge.

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Just for a size reference, these are pretty good sized cookies, so you can definitely make them smaller and have more if you want!

I'm sharing this recipe on Raw Food Thursdays and Allergy-Free Wednesdays!

That’s it for me today. I’ll see you all back here tomorrow for Healthy Vegan Friday. Check out last week’s if you missed it! Have a lovely day everyone!

raw “baked” fettuccine alfredo

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My dears!

Oh my goodness it seems a lifetime ago since we last spoke! So much in my life has changed since then and I barely know where to begin.

I finally made the move I’ve been talking about for the last few weeks! Yes, Saturday (promptly at 6 am I might add) I began the drive to bustling Toronto to move into my new apartment. The move went fairly smooth and I am already settled in nicely. I am in love with my room and while my kitchen is small, I was able to fit all my dishes and gadgets in (thank goodness my roommate didn’t have a ton of stuff!). I also probably have the best stocked pantry of anyone who has ever moved. I carted most of my food from my parent's to this apartment after failing to eat through anything so now I’m wonderfully prepared to start creating loads of delicious foods to share with you all. It’s actually pretty hilarious to look in our pantry. It is so packed it threatens to spill out with the slightest provocation. Luckily my clumsiness has not made an appearance and everything has stayed in tact.

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Anyway, I’m sure NONE of this is interesting to you. You’re here for the food and I don’t blame you. So I’m going to share a recipe for Raw “Baked” Fettuccine Alfredo that I concocted a few weeks back and I’ve eaten it so many times since. It’s quick and easy, versatile, seasonally appropriate and super nutritious! Let me delve into these points just a little bit further.

  1. Besides the couple hours of dehydrating, this is a snap to prepare. You can fix it up then forget about it for 2 hours while it dehydrates to perfection
  2. It takes very little culinary skill to prepare and uses all pantry staples. Well at last my pantry staples ;) And I’m sure most of you reading out there have most of these on hand.
  3. You can make this in the oven instead of a dehydrator, I’m sure, on it’s lowest setting. You can use almost any nut you feel like and can totally mix up the spices with whatever you’d like.
  4. Can easily halve this to make one portion or double it to make 4! You can even make the whole sauce recipe, set half aside and make half for dinner, then the other half the next day. Just assemble everything right before dehydrating.
  5. The sauce can be used to top ANYTHING. Cooked pasta, salads, grain dishes, veggies, anything you want!
  6. For those of you lucky enough to have a garden overflowing with zucchini, this is a great way to use up those zucchinis in a different way. With one zucchini per serving, that can add up fast, depending on how much you make. No colour of zucchini is discriminated against either.
  7. This uses zucchini noodles as the base providing lots of phytonutrients and keeping it light, uses nuts for the sauce for lots of healthy fats and cayenne pepper to kick up that metabolism!

Woo, so seven reasons you should make this! Have I lost you or are you ready to learn the recipe? I hope the latter.

For my version I used walnuts. You all know how much I love walnuts after this post. They improve cardiac function, strengthen you bones, make you smarter and pack an antioxidant punch with loads of vitamin E. Can you say glowing skin? That being said, feel free to use any nut you have in your pantry! Cashews would be dreamy.

Without further ado, I give you the recipe!

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Raw Baked Fettuccine Alfredo (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Adapted from Rawdemption.

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 2 zucchini, sliced thin with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes (without sulphites)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
  • generous sprinkling of cayenne

Sauce

  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked for a few hours
  • 1/2 cup homemade almond milk (or store-bought for mostly raw)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp white miso paste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

Toss the sliced zucchini with the salt. Place in a single layer in a colander to sweat for about 30 minutes. When done pat them dry with a clean towel and move to a bowl.

In the meantime, make your sauce. Toss all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Combine the sauce, sundried tomatoes and zucchini in a bowl and toss to evenly coat the noodles in the sauce.

You can either dehydrate these in 2 ramekins or 1 large one. Either way- spoon the mixture into your pan of choice. Sprinkle the tops with chopped walnuts and cayenne pepper.

Dehydrate for 2 hours, until warmed through and the top looks crispy and browned, kind of like baked pasta would! (Alternatively you could bake in the oven on it's lowest setting. I would keep my eye on it though, probably doesn't need 2 hours)

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Look at that creamy goodness!

I'm sharing this recipe on Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Allergy-free Wednesday, Keepin' it Real Thursday, Raw Foods ThursdaysGluten-free Friday, Foodie Friends Friday and Wellness Weekends!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe! Now for all you Torontonians out there, I need advice! What should I do in my new home? I tested out Mylk Uncookies yesterday and fell in love. Coffee and tea lattes with homemade almond milk accompanied by vegan, gluten-free treats- could it get any better?

Enjoy the rest of your weeks everyone!