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!

raw chocolate-coated key lime pie and giveaway winner

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Hello chickpeas!

If you are Canadian, I hope you enjoyed the long weekend! I myself was working the whole time, but that’s ok! It was a pretty easy few days at work and I got to make some extra money. Plus we finally got some weather I like! It has been so hot and muggy here that a thunderstorm was more than welcome and then we got a day that was just hot enough with no humidity. Amazing :)

Before I divulge the recipe for my decadent raw dessert I have an announcement to make! The winner of my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil giveaway! I am happy to announce the winner is…

troptrad giveaway winner

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loislane1111!!

I will email you soon about the details of receiving your prize! Thanks everyone for entering!

Okay, now we move into the decadent, delicious portion of this post…

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This Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie, was inspired by Ann at An Unrefined Vegan’s Chocolate-Coated Key Lime-Coconut Creme Pie. As soon as I saw her recipe, I bookmarked it and promptly left a comment saying how amazing a recipe it was. That’s when she issued a challenge. Her challenge was for me to come up with a raw version. I accepted that challenge and a few months later, I present the result!

Ann deserves complete credit for the make-up of this recipe. I never would have thought to pair chocolate and key lime, but the pairing is delicious. The crust is a cacao-nut-date crust which is topped by a hard raw chocolate coating. The final layer is an avocado, banana, and coconut oil key lime filling, that is so good, you could just eat it as a pudding and be completely satisfied. But I urge you to make the whole thing. It’s seriously so GOOD.

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What I love about raw desserts is all the healthy fats. Walnuts, avocado and coconut oil all play a starring role in this dessert. You can read all about why I love walnuts and coconut oil here and here. Also, since none of the ingredients are exposed to heat, all the healthy fats, vitamins and enzymes are maintained! The addition of avocado is pretty great too- gives the pie a lovely green colour!

This pie also uses all-natural sweeteners. The crust uses dates, the chocolate coating uses stevia and the filling uses banana and stevia to create a dessert you can feel good about eating. Not to mention that key limes are amazing as well! Citrus fruits, while being acidic, have an alkalizing effect on your body which acts to reduce inflammation. Topped with some coconut flakes and cacao nibs, not a bad dessert eh? ;)

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Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-Free, Raw)

This fancy dessert is so easy to make! Raw nuts and dates form the base of the crust and avocados, bananas and coconut oil create a creamy filling. The flavours of lime and chocolate create a fun spin on this tropical dessert that will have you going back for more!

Makes one 8-inch pie. Adapted from An Unrefined Vegan

Crust

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • pinch sea salt

Chocolate Coating

Filling

  • 1 1/2 large avocados, peeled, cored
  • 1 1/2 small bananas, peeled
  • 1/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 drops vanilla stevia, or to taste (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Process the nuts in a food processor until finely ground. Then add the dates, cacao powder and salt until the dates are broken down and the mixture sticks together. Press the mixture into a greased 8-inch spring-form pan and put into the fridge while you make the chocolate coating.

Mix your ingredients together for the raw chocolate then spread onto the crust, getting right to the edges and getting it as even as possible. Put in the fridge to harden while you make the filling.

Add all the filling ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor and process until smooth. Melt the coconut oil and while the food processor is running, pour it in and process until well incorporated. Pour into the pan and spread evenly over top.  Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours until firm (I did it overnight). If you are garnishing it with coconut flakes (I highly suggest it- makes it look fancy!), take the pie out after about an hour and sprinkle them on, then place back in the fridge to continue firming.

When ready to serve, garnish with cacao nibs if desired. Get ready to be transported to tropical bliss :)

I am submitting this recipe to Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy-Free WednesdaysWellness Weekends, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Gluten Free Friday, Allergy Fiendly FridayKeepin' it Real Thursday and Best Recipes of 2012!

Now before I go, I have a quick announcement from a fellow blogger Heather at Sweetly Raw. Heather is hosting a Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge. She is offering 2 amazing prize packages for the winners who create a stellar vegan sundae. You don’t need to make it raw, nor does it need to use an ice cream maker! For full information visit her page and get your entry in! Contest is open until next Monday, August 13 at midnight so you still have plenty of time to get creative.

How you all have a great day!

almost raw maple walnut cups

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!

We Canadians are funny, we are quiet, polite and unassuming except for a few days a year where we suddenly become crazily and almost obnoxiously patriotic and I LOVE IT. A day where it’s perfectly acceptable to tattoo maple leaves to your face and where ridiculous clothing, that as long as it’s red and white, you’re good to go.

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These bites are a celebration of our country’s colours and flavours- red and white with some maple syrup thrown in for good measure. Because what’s more Canadian than maple syrup?

Featuring a maple walnut base with a maple cashew cream filling, there are so much healthy fats going on (you all know how awesome walnuts are) and topped with a few more walnuts and strawberries, well these really show just how amazing simple flavours can be. I tossed the strawberries in a little maple sugar but that’s not necessary if you don’t have any!

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The recipe for the filling makes more than you’ll need, so you could double the crust recipe of why not dip some strawberries in it for another red and white (and delicious treat)?

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Now, do your patriotic duty and go and make these bites eh?

Almost Raw Maple Walnut Cups (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined-Sugar Free)

These cups are rich and creamy and oh-so Canadian! A maple walnut base with a cashew maple filling, topped with strawberries and walnut pieces. Best enjoyed right out of the fridge!

Makes 9 bites.

Base

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*
  • pinch salt

Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*

Topping

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp maple sugar (optional)

*this is what makes it "almost raw"

Process the walnuts, maple syrup and salt in a food processor until walnuts are chopped small and the mixture sticks together. Press into a mini muffin pan (or a larger one to make larger cups) that is lined with muffin cups or plastic wrap for easy removal. Place in the fridge while you make your filling.

Blend all filling ingredients except coconut oil until smooth.  Then quickly add the coconut oil (you don’t want it to re-harden) and blend until incorporated). Spoon into the cups and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes

Toss strawberries in the maple sugar. Sprinkle the walnuts and strawberries onto the cups. Now you can freeze for about 30 min or until firm and serve, or just just refrigerate overnight. In the morning remove from the muffin tin and either eat them right then or continue to store in the fridge.

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Not going to lie, I had 2 of these for breakfast ;)

I hope you are all celebrating the day like true Canadians- barbequing and drinking in the backyard, maybe even some fireworks are sparklers. And to all my non-Canadian readers, why not pay tribute to our super friendly and polite nation by wearing red and white, order some (vegan) poutine (fries with cheese and gravy), throw “eh?” onto the end of every sentence and drench all your food in maple syrup? All right? Awesome :)

I am submitting this post to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Allergy Free Wednesdays and  Wellness Weekends!

canada day “almost raw” maple walnut cups

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!

We Canadians are funny, we are quiet, polite and unassuming except for a few days a year where we suddenly become crazily and almost obnoxiously patriotic and I LOVE IT. A day where it’s perfectly acceptable to tattoo maple leaves to your face and where ridiculous clothing, that as long as it’s red and white, you’re good to go.

IMG_1536

These bites are a celebration of our country’s colours and flavours- red and white with some maple syrup thrown in for good measure. Because what’s more Canadian than maple syrup?

Featuring a maple walnut base with a maple cashew cream filling, there are so much healthy fats going on (you all know how awesome walnuts are) and topped with a few more walnuts and strawberries, well these really show just how amazing simple flavours can be. I tossed the strawberries in a little maple sugar but that’s not necessary if you don’t have any!

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The recipe for the filling makes more than you’ll need, so you could double the crust recipe of why not dip some strawberries in it for another red and white (and delicious treat)?

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Now, do your patriotic duty and go and make these bites eh?

Almost Raw Maple Walnut Cups (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined-Sugar Free)

These cups are rich and creamy and oh-so Canadian! A maple walnut base with a cashew maple filling, topped with strawberries and walnut pieces. Best enjoyed right out of the fridge!

Makes 9 bites.

Base

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*
  • pinch salt

Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*

Topping

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp maple sugar (optional)

*this is what makes it "almost raw"

Process the walnuts, maple syrup and salt in a food processor until walnuts are chopped small and the mixture sticks together. Press into a mini muffin pan (or a larger one to make larger cups) that is lined with muffin cups or plastic wrap for easy removal. Place in the fridge while you make your filling.

Blend all filling ingredients except coconut oil until smooth.  Then quickly add the coconut oil (you don’t want it to re-harden) and blend until incorporated). Spoon into the cups and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes

Toss strawberries in the maple sugar. Sprinkle the walnuts and strawberries onto the cups. Now you can freeze for about 30 min or until firm and serve, or just just refrigerate overnight. In the morning remove from the muffin tin and either eat them right then or continue to store in the fridge.

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Not going to lie, I had 2 of these for breakfast ;)

I hope you are all celebrating the day like true Canadians- barbequing and drinking in the backyard, maybe even some fireworks are sparklers. And to all my non-Canadian readers, why not pay tribute to our super friendly and polite nation by wearing red and white, order some (vegan) poutine (fries with cheese and gravy), throw “eh?” onto the end of every sentence and drench all your food in maple syrup? All right? Awesome :)

I am submitting this post to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Allergy Free Wednesdays and  Wellness Weekends!

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!

wiaw # 14- recent happenings, 2 more walnut recipes and a london fog!

Hello again!  Hope you are all having a wonderful Wednesday! Mine has been pretty good! I worked which was average but I came home to a kombucha starter kit! I’m so excited to start brewing some of my own kombucha! The tea I’m using for it is cooling as I type. I’ve always wanted to have more kombucha around (good for digestions, delicious) but it’s so darn expensive! Making my own is going to be wayyy more economical. Anyway, today is Wednesday which means of course, it’s What I Ate Wednesday time! Thank you Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting! You all should head on over there and check out some more delicious eats. Today;s WIAW is going to be a collection of things I’ve been eating and experimenting with over the last few days so I hope you all enjoy! This month’s theme is sensible snacks- I let you guys judge for yourselves how I did ;). You’ll see I’m featuring a couple recipes that use walnuts again! Clearly I’m a little nuts about this nut, but as I discussed in this post, that’s not a problem!

A Recent Breakfast

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Brain and Beauty-Boosting Blueberry Walnut Green Smoothie- this smoothie is packed with healthy fats and antioxidants. Not only that, it’s a green smoothie, that is actually a pretty colour! I topped it with some sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats, fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon which was an awesome addition. I’ve made this 3 times in as many days so you know it’s good. Recipe below!

A Recent Dinner

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A quinoa salad with tomato vinaigrette my mom made for dinner. Delicious, especially the dressing!

Recent Snacks

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Yes those are cookies and candy….and no nothing is healthy! It was Partner Appreciation Day at work yesterday so everyone brought in treats/did something nice for all our coworkers. I made those cookies and wrote letters to everyone! Another girl made us all our own bags of candy and there were chips and other delicious treats to be had. I had to indulge a bit!

I wasn’t planning on sharing the recipe (I felt like making something unhealthy for once and decided to use the opportunity to clear the pantry of some unhealthy items) but it is a really simple no-bake chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal cookie. It’s definitely proof though that vegan does not automatically mean healthy!

Do you guys ever get urges to make something that is completely bad for you?

A Recent Purchase

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An organic micro greens growing kit! I went Chapters on the weekend- it was a rainy day so perfect for meandering around with some tea flipping through books and looking through knick knacks. I found this kit for 30% off! Decided to try my hand at growing micro greens. In this kit are broccoli, mustard and radish micro greens. They are supposed to sprout up in a week!

Recent Drink

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Blended up some earl grey tea with coconut oil- success! Recipe below for my very simple and super healthful spin on a London Fog (or Earl Grey Tea Latte for all you Starbucks fans!)

Recent Lunch

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Raw taco! This was seriously so easy and delicious, I will be making this again and again! Recipe below!

Recent Score

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Yes that is a massive box full of bananas! A customer at work had boxes and boxes leftover from the Special Olympics that were held here over the weekend so he let me have a box for free! I spend 3 hours cutting these up and freezing them. Can you say smoothies and banana bread?? I got 76 good bananas out of this, and they are the perfect ripeness for freezing :)

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Another recent snack! Some homemade coconut yogurt with fresh berries, raw granola and a drizzle of tahini. Significantly more sensible than the last snacks I shared ;) A good balance of carbs, healthy fats and protein and low in sugar! If you’ve never drizzled tahini on yogurt before- try it! It’s awesome.

Peas and Crayons

So that concludes this WIAW, but before I go, I have those 3 recipes to share with you!

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Brain and Beauty-Boosting Blueberry Walnut Green Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Raw)

This smoothie is beautiful, delicious and oh so healthful! Included in this smoothie are the lovely super nuts, walnuts, which deliver loads of antioxidants which I talked about here. They boost brain power and are full of healthy fats to help you get your glow on! There’s also some blueberries for added antioxidant punch and some maca which I discussed here which is great for regulating hormones! Toss in some greens and spirulina for a serious phytonutrient punch and you’ve got yourself one super-power smoothie!

Makes 1 smoothie.

  • 1/2 a fresh, ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (I used wild blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 walnuts (soak them beforehand if your blender isn’t too powerful. My Magic Bullet didn’t need them soaked)
  • 1 huge handful baby spinach
  • Optional additions (but highly recommended):
    • 1/2 scoop favourite protein powder (I used the Sunwarrior Warrior Blend in Natural flavour)
    • 1/2 tsp maca powder
    • 1/4 tsp spirulina or more

Put all ingredients into your blender and blend away! I do this in stages in the Magic Bullet. It’s a little small to get everything in there at once but once you blend all the fruit and water up, there’s room for the spinach and powders! I served mine with some sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats, fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon which was an awesome addition.

I am submitting this recipe to Wellness Weekends, Raw Food Thursdays and Allergy-Free Wednesday!

Now for the delicious tea beverage…

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London Fog with Coconut Oil (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Soy-Free, Raw)

This was so similar to the coffee shop version! It uses not milk, dairy or nondairy, but instead uses coconut oil to achieve the creamy taste and texture. Blended up to get some foam on top and sweetened with a little vanilla, stevia or agave, this is a very tasty way to get in some healthy fats and your morning caffeine!

  • 1 cup of your favourite Early Grey tea, prepared hot (I really like the Starbucks brand- lots of lavender!)
  • 3/4 tbsp coconut oil
  • splash vanilla extract
  • 2-3 drops of stevia or 1 tsp agave, to taste

Blend all of this up and sip! Adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Now onto those tacos!

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Super Speedy Raw Taco for 1 (Vegan, Gluten-free*, Sugar-free, Soy-free*, Raw)

This has so much flavour packed in, I could hardly believe how close to meat-based tacos it was! Lots of spice makes it the perfect vehicle for all your favourite raw/vegan taco toppings! It whips up super fast and the recipe can be doubled or quadrupled depending on how many you’re feeding!

*use a gluten-free soy sauce, Bragg’s or coconut aminos for gluten-free, use coconut aminos for this soy-free

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (or your favourite form of soy sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 large cabbage leaf. Romaine or collards would work too, I like cabbage because it’s bigger and easier to roll up and load with toppings
  • toppings:
    • avocado slices
    • diced tomato
    • raw salsa (or your favourite brand)
    • raw cashew sour cream- I never make or buy sour cream since I tend to use it so infrequently so to make this I just mix a little raw cashew cream (made with the savoury variation) with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt to taste

Pulse the first 5 ingredients in your food processor until the walnuts are in small pieces. Assemble your taco, roll it up and enjoy! I know tacos aren’t usually rolled, but this was so much easier. Plus these are raw tacos people, don’t worry about being totally authentic!

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all rolled up and ready to eat!

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

There was a lot going on in this post, thanks for bearing with me everyone. Have a lovely rest of your day!