Category Archives: Breakfast

Where Do You Get Your Fibre? Baked Bean Recipe

April 5, 2018

Pretty much the first question you get asked when someone finds out you don’t eat animal products is, “Where do you get your protein?” However, protein is easy to get. All plants contain protein. Our body requires about 6% to 10% of our calories to come from protein. Even fruit averages 5.5% to 10% protein by calories, and beans are about 25% protein. Leafy greens are 35% to 51% protein. So if you are eating a whole food plant based diet (ie large amounts of calories not coming from refined oil and sugar), protein is not an issue. In fact, protein deficiency is seldom seen without a calorie deficiency.  The real question we should all be asking is “Where do you get your fibre?

The diet of almost all North Americans is deficient in fibre. Why is fibre so important? Until relatively recently, it was thought fibre was for regulating bowel functions. Consuming lots of fibre rich foods made you feel full without added calories and made sure waste was efficiently expelled out our body. But recent research shows that fibre is important for so many more reasons, including boosting our immune system,  feeding the cells that line our intestinal walls, and feeding our good gut bacteria. As well, recent research shows that beans have a modulating effect on blood sugar. Watch this short 3 minute video on Beans and the Second-Meal Effect.

Much is made these days of probiotics – which supply a host of good bacteria to our gut. But what happens if we fail to feed those good bacteria? They starve and die. Of course, you could continue to ingest more probiotics, but a far better solution would be to feed your good bacteria and let them multiply on their own. What do those good bacteria eat – fibre.

Where do we get fibre? Animal products – flesh, milk, cheese, eggs, etc. – contain no fibre. However plants – whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes are great sources of fibre. Stay away from the refined/processed foods plant fragments like white flour and white rice – which have been processed to remove the fibre component.

Beans Beans – Navy, chickpeas, kidney, black eyed peas, chili, pinto and black

One exceptionally good source of fibre is beans.  Beans are undervalued in the modern North American diet. Often considered “peasant food”, beans are infrequently consumed. However, beans are superfoods, loaded with protein, iron, zinc, folate, potassium and fibre.

Being a long time plant based eater, I thought I consumed a lot of legumes – beans, chickpeas, lentils, dried yellow or green peas.  However, I was only consuming an average of five servings a week.  Since making use of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen recommendations, I have been striving to eat three servings per day. At first, this seemed like an impossible task. However, one serving of beans is only a half a cup. With a bit of planning, this is not as difficult as it seems. Most days I am able to get my three servings in. The secret is staying mindful of what you are eating. I keep a good stock of frozen cooked beans and lentils; and in addition to great main dish legume meals they can be added to pretty much anything you are cooking.  Add chickpeas or lentils to your rice stir fry, add beans to your soup, serve seasoned beans as a side to any plate or add hummus to a wrap. Think outside the box, many cultures eat legumes for breakfast and baked beans (recipe below) is becoming a breakfast favorite for me. I made a great Yellow Split Pea Dahl that I plan to use for a spicy start to my day. I will share that recipe with you soon.

One of the biggest reasons people give me for not eating more beans is gas. However, I am finding that the little ditty “Beans, Beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat the more you toot.” should actually be changed to “..the more you eat the less you toot!” The gas is caused by bacteria in our gut consuming undigested bean sugars, producing gas. The sugar is undigested because most of us lack the enzyme to digest it. But, our bodies are truly miraculous creations and incredibly efficient. If we don’t eat a particular food, it does not bother making the enzymes to digest it. However, when we start consuming the food regularly, the body will adapt and produce enzymes required to digest it. So if bean induced flatulence is an issue for you, have faith and stay the course. Eat small portions often (several times a day) and if necessary, use digestive enzymes (alpha-galactosidase).  Have confidence – this too shall pass. LOL Besides, intestinal gas is normal and healthy, even if it is occasionally embarrassing.

Below are some of my favorite bean recipes.  I will post a few more new ones in the upcoming weeks.

Baked Beans

Baked beans at the ready in Jars

This is an adaptation of a traditional homemade port and bean recipe from Diane Bachewich in the Sandy Lake Cookbook. I have included two versions – one quite similar to the original but veganized; and the other – a whole food plant based version using dates and tomato paste instead of sugar and ketchup. Either way this recipe is one of my favorites. Its great served with baked or scalloped potatoes and a large salad; as a bean side to any meal, or for breakfast along with whole grain toast or roasted potatoes.

This recipe makes about 12 cups  of baked beans, enough to feed a crowd. I like to pack it into 2 cup containers and freeze them. Then I can keep a container in the fridge all the time for a quick bean add on to any meal.

Version 1:

  • 3 cups dried small white beans
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Version 2:

  • 3 cups dried small white beans
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup tahini

Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight.  (for version 2, soak the dates in water as well.)

In the morning, drain the beans, add fresh water and boil for about 1 hour or until tender.  Drain the beans. (Version 2 – Do not drain the dates. Place soaked dates and soaking water in a blender and blend until pureed. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined)

Place the drained beans in a large oven safe pot or roaster. Add remaining ingredients and enough fresh water to cover the beans. Mix well and bake at 350F for about 1 hour. If the beans are still very runny, continue to bake until the right consistency is reached.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

More Recipes

13 Bean Soup Mix

Soups  are a great way to add beans, lentils or chickpeas to your diet. Check out this post on Soups for my favorite recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

Astrid licking the spatula with hummus

Hummus is another delicious way to add legumes to your diet. 1/4 cup of hummus is one serving of beans. Add hummus to a wrap or sandwich or try it as a topping on potatoes instead of butter and sour cream. The recipe for my all time favorite hummus is a sweet and spicy Sweet Potato Hummus can be found at this link. My grandkids love hummus and like to dip pretzels or veggies into it.

 

 

 

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Main Bean Dishes – these are some of my favorite fast and easy one dish beany meals:

White Beans:

Small white beans, also called navy beans (so called because they were used aboard ships) are one of my favorite beans. They are versalite and great for bean dishes like baked beans but also for creamy sauces.  I often make cashew sauces using half cashews and half cooked white beans. Or substitute some of the cashews in a creamy oil free salad dressing with cooked white beans. Or try adding mashed white beans to mashed potatoes for a boost of nutrition including fibre. You won’t even know they are in their! Or try my Creamy White Bean Soup.

 

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Make Ahead Meals

February 1, 2018

In our busy lives, it is sometimes hard to make time everyday to cook meals from scratch. However, there are ways to optimize your cooking time so you are not spending all your free time in the kitchen. Some strategies to use are:

  1. When you cook a dish, make a double batch. That way you can eat one now and freeze one for later. Generally, it doesn’t take that much longer to double the batch. This works great for soups, stews, chilies, and many main dishes.
  2. Make a double or triple batches of salad dressings to have on hand.
  3. Make a big batch of your favorite stir fry sauce. They will generally keep in the fridge for over a week, or you can freeze the in serving size amounts. Frozen mixed veggies are a great time saver. Add brown rice or whole grain noodles for a quick meal. Top with chick peas, toasted cashews, tofu or sesame seeds for an extra nutritional boost.
  4. For fast and easy breakfasts, prepare overnight oats the night before. In the morning, add plant milk and extra toppings and go. Or make a triple batch and have enough for three days.
  5. Keep hummus on hand for sandwiches, wraps and baked potatoes. Hummus is easy to make and freezes well.
Baking with Jacob

In January, I spent three weeks with the grandkids, so I did quite a bit of food prep for the hubby back home before leaving. That way he could spend more time on my “Honey Do List” instead of cooking, LOL. In the week before leaving, I made extra of each dish I cooked, freezing one or two meals for later. I made several salad dressings, so throwing together a big Caesar, Spinach or Kale salad is a simple process. I also made a litre of Chinese 5 Spice stir fry sauce, to go with frozen veggies, rice or noodles. And for a treat, I made a batch of Sweet Potato Brownies which freeze really well. See below for the links and recipes.

SOUPS

Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup

Soups are a regular go to lunch meal for us in the winter, and I often make up several different soups each week. Since a pot of soup is generally three meals for us, it is easy to eat one and freeze two. Served with whole grain bread, a hearty soup is a comforting winter lunch. In the week before I left, I made four soups – Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup, South American Black Bean Soup, 13 Bean Soup, and Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup. The recipes can be found here. 

Hummus

Astrid licking the spatula with hummus

Hummus is another staple in our house. We use it instead of margarine or butter as a spread on bread or for topping a baked potato. Our favorite hummus is made with chickpeas (or while navy beans) and roasted sweet potato. I generally make a large batch and freeze it is smaller containers so we always have it on hand. This rich and creamy hummus, paired with a baked potato and green salad makes a delicious, easy to prepare and satisfying meal. It is also good as a pasta sauce.

The recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus can be found here. The recipe calls for cayenne pepper and is quite spicy. However, you can eliminate the cayenne all together for a delicious hummus for kids or those not fond of spices. This recipe, without the cayenne, is taste tested and approved by my granddaughter Astrid.

Stir Fry

Another great quick and easy meal is a stir fry. Make a big batch of your favorite sauce and keep it on hand in the fridge, or freeze it.  Frozen mixed vegetables are a real time saver.  All you need to do is make a pot of rice or noodles and sauté the frozen veggies in a bit of broth and add the sauce. Top with cashews or sesame seeds and your set.

Don’t forget that rice also freezes well. When you cook rice, make a big pot. You can keep enough for a week in the fridge and freeze the rest in one meal portions.

My favorite recipe for Chinese Brown Sauce can be found at this link, along the recipe for Chinese 5 Spice Sauce, a spicier version of the same sauce. These sauces will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week. However, you can make a big batch and freeze in 1 meal portions.

Chilli

A big pot of chilli makes a filling meal and is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day. While most chillis are meat based, they are also easy to make without any animal products. If you have a favorite recipe, make a plant based version using the same sauce and spice mixture. Add beans, lentils, veggies or mashed tofu to replace the meat. One of my favorite chilli recipe can be found here. Make up a big pot and freeze the leftovers for a later meal.

One Pot Meals

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

One pot meals are real time savers – in prep, cooking and cleanup. Chop up your veggies and throw them into a pot with the sauce, simmer and serve. Great when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry.

Two of my favorite one pot meals are:

Rotini in a Coconut Sauce – I love this recipe because the pasta cooks in the sauce. No need to dirty another pot to cook pasta.

Mexican Quinoa – Quinoa is a quick cooking seed that packs a nutritional punch and has a pleasant nutty taste. This Mexican dish can be spiced up or down to suit everyone’s taste.

Salad Dressings 

Salads make great quick, easy and hearty meals. Keep a couple of your favorite oil free salad dressings on hand in the fridge at all times. A great meal is a simple as tossing some greens with additional veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains or beans. A salad with a baked potato or slice of hearty whole grain bread is a great meal. Oil free dressings are flavorful, easy to make and offer plenty of nutrition without the heavy calorie count. The recipes for some of my favorite salad dressings can be found here.

Sweet Potato Brownies 

Sweet Potato Brownies

Its always nice to have a little something sweet in the freezer for capping off a meal. These brownies are just sweet enough to satisfy and nutritious enough to be served at any everyday meal. They are packed with sweet potato, dates, oats and almond flour. I find them perfect just as they are: however, if you wish, you can increase the maple syrup to make them a bit sweeter.

The recipe makes a large cookie sheet or about 30 brownie squares, so they last a while. Slice them up and freeze them. They are great straight out of the freezer. Find the recipe here.

 

Kelsey’s Fluffy Pancakes – Three Ways – and Pumpkin Gingerbread Latte

December 7, 2017


We awoke this morning to a Winter Wonderland. We received a dusting of fresh snow overnight. That, combined with a coating of hoarfrost on the trees, made everything seemed magically white. Even the sky was filled with white fluffy clouds.

Banana Pancakes with Blueberry Cherry Sauce

After a brisk morning walk in this wonderland, we were ready for a heapen helpen of pancakes. I call this recipe Kelsey’s Fluffy Pancakes, because she made them for us last time we visited. It is my current favourite pancake recipe, and it’s easy to jazz it up a bit, too. This morning’s pancakes were Pumpkin with Apple Sauce Topping. Last week’s were Banana with Blueberry Cherry Sauce. I have provided the recipe for the Basic Pancake, the Pumpkin and the Banana versions. As well, I added a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread Latte which goes great with pancakes.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Sauce and Maple Syrup

Pancakes can be tricky to make, especially without using any oil in the batter or on the pan. The secret is a hot pan, and also a good pan. If your pancakes are sticking, it may be your pan is not hot enough – drops of water should dance across the surface when dropped on the pan. For this reason, a good cast iron pan works wonderfully as it can be heated hot without compromising the coating on the pan. However, I have also had good luck with a good quality non-stick pan.

Kelsey’s Fluffy Pancakes
• 1 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1 tbsp sugar (I use cane sugar)
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp vanilla
• 1 cup milk
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Mix dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, sugar and salt – in a large bowl. In a blender, combine, vanilla, milk, water and apple cider vinegar. Blend until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to dry and mix just until blended. Let sit while you heat up your pan. Add batter ¼ cup at a time to a hot non-stick pan. Once bubbles form, flip and cook the other side. Serve hot.

Fluffy Banana Pancakes
• Substitute the 1 tbsp sugar in the basic recipe above with one banana (fresh or frozen). Add the banana to the wet mixture in the blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients. Great served with a fruit topping (recipe below)

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes
• Add ½ cup pumpkin puree to the wet ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves) to the dry ingredients. Great served with unsweetened applesauce and a touch of maple syrup.

Fruit topping for Pancakes
• 2 cups frozen blueberries, mixed berries, cherries or peaches
• 1 tbsp honey, cane sugar or maple syrup (or to taste)
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
Put frozen fruit is a small saucepan. Add sweetener and heat slowly over medium heat. As the mixture thaws it will provide its own liquid. Heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat. Mix arrowroot or cornstarch with water until a smooth paste. Add this mixture to the hot fruit and stir to combine well. Return to the heat and heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Serve over pancakes hot, warm or cold. Optional – add cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom with an extra boost of flavour.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Latte
This is an adaptation from a recipe from Grow Forage Cook Ferment. I added water to the mix and reduced the sweetener. It makes a thick rich beverage that is so great on a chilly day.
• 2 cups plant based milk (I like almond or an almond-coconut blend)
• 1 cup water (or substitute coffee)
• 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• ½ tsp molasses
• ½ tsp vanilla
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• ½ tsp cinnamon (or a large cinnamon stick)
• Pinch cloves
Mix together and heat. Adjust sweetness (maple syrup) and spices to taste. Serve hot.

Eat More Greens

October 14, 2017

I firmly believe that one of the most important things you should do to improve your diet is to eat more greens. All kinds of greens, especially leafy greens. Kale, spinach, Swiss Chard, collards, beet greens, bok choy, gai lan, parsley, cilantro as well as broccoli, peas, snap peas, and green beans. In fact, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, recommends his patients eat greens at every meal. Recently I have been trying to implement this recommendation – trying to find ways to incorporate greens into every meal.

Breakfast My favorite way to consume a serving or two of greens every morning is a green smoothie or a wheat grass shot.  This fall, I planted several rows of wheat grass in my garden. A couple ounces of wheat grass juice is an amazing way to start the day.

Green smoothies are a terrific way to get leafy greens into the little guys

My go to recipe for a green smoothie is simple – 2 cups water, 2 cups greens and 2 cups fruit. This combination produces a flavorful smoothie with a significant amount of greens in every glass. My favorite combination is kale, banana and mango, but the combinations are endless. As you learn to love your green smoothie, start increasing the amount of greens (eg 2 cups water 3 cups greens and 2 cups fruit.

 

 

Cooked Greens

Steaming or boiling greens quickly reduces a big pile of raw greens into a small bowl of green goodness. As a kid, I remember hating cooked greens, but now have learned to like them. The trick is not to over cook them and to season them well. One of my favorite ways to eat cooked greens is a simple side dish of steamed greens (kale, Swiss Chard or beet greens) seasoned with salt and a dash of lemon or balsamic vinegar.

Greens are also great added to casseroles, burgers, stir fries, soups and stews. Chop them up fine and you can sneak them into most dishes. And don’t forget lots of bright greens in your salad. Try to have several servings (1 cup of chopped raw greens is one serving) of raw and cooked greens every day. They are loaded with protein, calcium and a whole host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

A few of my favorite recipes are below.

Penne with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants

serves 4

  • 4 large shallots, peeled and diced small (or substitute onion)
  • 2 bunches Swiss Chard
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 tsp dry)
  • 1 pound whole grain penne, cooked
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup currants
Penne with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants

Remove stems from Swiss Chard and chop the stems into small pieces. Slice the leaves into thin strips. Cook penne until just tender. Drain and keep warm. While pasta is cooking, sauté shallots and chopped stems for a few minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté a few minutes longer. Add a tbsp of water if needed to prevent sticking to the pan. Add sliced Swiss Chard leaves and a couple tablespoons of water. Cover and let steam until chard is cooked and tender. Add olives and currants. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Toss with penne and serve immediately.

From The Forks Over Knives Cookbook by Dell Sroufe

Mushrooms Kale and Potatoes

Serves 2 to 3

  • 3 cups chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold or Red)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 6 cups Kale, chopped and stems removed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili paste (like Sambol Olek or substitute crushed chili peppers)
  • black pepper
Kale, Potatoes and Mushrooms

In a saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and mushrooms until onion is translucent. Add a tablespoon or two of water if necessary to keep from sticking to the pan. Add potatoes and a small amount of water. Cover and let cook until potatoes are tender. Add more water as necessary to keep from sticking and form a gravy. When potatoes are tender, add kale, cover and steam until kale is bright green and tender.  Add soy sauce and chili paste and stir until combined. Season with black pepper and serve immediately.

from Forks Over Knives, The How To Companion to the Feature Documentary Forks Over Knives 

Greens with Maple Mustard

  • Greens, chopped and stems removed (Beet greens, kale or Swiss Chard)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt

Mix mustard, maple syrup and lemon juice together. Boil or steam greens just until bright green and tender. Drain and drizzle with a bit of maple mustard sauce. Season with salt and serve.

Kale and Miraculous Walnut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • kale, chopped and stems removed

In a blender, combine walnuts, garlic, soy sauce and water. Blend until smooth. In a large pot, bring a quart of water to boil. Add kale and cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes, until kale is bright green and tender. Drain and serve with walnut sauce. This is great on  baked or mashed potatoes instead of the usual butter and sour cream.

Salad Greens

In salads, try to choose salad greens that are bright green over pale ones –  like romaine over iceberg lettuce. Don’t limit your salad greens to lettuce only. Kale, beet greens and spinach are great in salads.  When introducing more robust greens, add them in small amounts along with your regular lettuce. A Caesar salad made with romaine and kale is a great way to get your family to eat kale.

When using kale in salads, chop it fine and sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on it. Massage it with your hands for a minute or so to tenderize it.  Some people find kale bitter and tough and I find this helps counteract this.

You can find my favorite kale salads at the following links:

Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

Caesar Salad with Romaine and Kale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil Free Bread Spreads

May 29, 2017

Sweet Potato Hummus and Olive Tapenade

At yesterday’s cooking class, we had a discussion on what to use as a spread on bread, in place of butter or margarine. For the meal, we had hearty Ezekiel bread along with a choice of two spreads – Sweet Potato Hummus and Olive Tapinade.  As promised the recipes for both are below, plus my favorite sweet spread, a sugar free, oil free orange apricot jam.

Sweet Potato Hummus is a staple in our household. Most hummus recipes call for chickpeas, but I prefer to make this one with small white beans (also called navy beans) as they produce a creamier spread. It makes a pretty big batch, so I generally divide the finished hummus into 3 containers and freeze 2 for later use. This is our go to spread on sandwiches and baked potatoes. You won’t miss the butter on your potato. It is good mildly spiced with 1/4 tsp cayenne, but if you like spice as much as we do, go for the full 1 1/2 tsp cayenne.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus

  • 1 ½ cups baked sweet potato pulp
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (or chickpeas)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1 ½ to 2 lemons
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ground sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like it spicier, you can add up to 1 1/2 tsp)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake a large sweet potato, or 2 small ones, until tender. You can bake it whole, or peel and cut in cubes and place in a covered baking dish. It will take 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size. Once done, peel off the skin if you baked them whole.

Places all of the other ingredients into a food processor (if you’re sensitive to spice, you may want to save the spices for last and add them to taste.) Add water as needed to make it blend well.

Blend well, adding a small amount of water if needed for processing. Taste, add salt and adjust spices to your taste.

Adapted from http://cookieandkate.com/2011/spicy-sweet-potato-hummus/

If you like olives, this spread is for you. It packs a big punch. However, it takes a bit of work as I have yet to find Kalamata olives that are already pitted.  But once you have them pitted, the rest is a piece of cake. This recipe is from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook.

Olive Tapinade

  • 1cups Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried ground Rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Place all ingredients in a small food processor and chop until finely ground but not pureed. Great on toasted sprouted whole grain bread.

I love making bread, and The PlantPure Kitchen cookbook by Kim Campbell has a great recipe for whole grain Pumpkin Raisin Yeast Bread that is absolutely delicious. I love it toasted and spread with a thick layer of this whole food jam.  Note, if your blender does not have the power to handle this mixture, try soaking the apricots and dates in water or orange juice first, then once softened blend with some orange zest and enough orange juice to get things moving.

Orange Apricot Spread

  • 1 large organic orange
  • 10 dried apricots
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted (optional)

Wash orange and cut into quarters with the peel still on. Place orange in a blender (or food processor), add apricots and dates, if using. Pulse until well combined and pureed. You may have to stop and push the mixture down around the blades a few times before it gets moving.

You can also make a quick and easy berry jam using chia seeds that requires little or no added sweetener. This recipe is a modification of the one from the Oh She Glows Every Day Cookbook by Angela Liddon.

Berry Chia Jam

  • 3 to 4 cups fresh or frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries or a mixture)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • squeeze of fresh lemon

Mix together berries and maple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or until berries are softened. Remove from heat and mash the berries with a potato masher. Add chia seeds and stir until combined. Return to the stove and simmer for simmer over low to medium heat stirring until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and lemon. Let mixture cool and it will thicken more as it cools. The jam will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and also freezes well.

 

Other easy spread options are nut butters. Be sure to check the ingredients as some nut butters have added oil or sugar which you don’t want or need. A very mild tasting one is raw almond butter.

May 2017 Cooking Class – The Basics of Plant Based Eating

May 28, 2017

What a great class. We had 14 participants and 3 volunteers. Everyone had so much to share. Since we had a lot of new people this class, the focus was on the very basics of what to eat. We started the class in our usual way – with a green smoothie, one of my favorites – Kale Mango Banana. We also had a taste testing of one of my go to breakfasts – Overnight Oats. For dinner we made a Red Lentil, Carrot and Coconut Soup, a Kale and Apple Salad and Chia Pudding. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we all did.

Thanks Katherine for taking pictures.

Green Smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups greens (we used Kale)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit
    • (we used 1 fresh banana and 1 1/2 cups frozen mango cubes)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place ingredients in a blender in the order above. Blend until smooth.

 

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats is the perfect breakfast dish, especially for the summer or for those days when you need to eat breakfast on the run. You mix everything up the night before  and in the morning, grab and go.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk (we used cashew), chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Need breakfast on the go? Spoon the overnight oats into a jar; add your toppings and seal. Throw it in your bag with a spoon.

Makes 3 servings

 

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

This is one of my all time favorite soups. Its fast and easy to make and contains basic ingredients I almost always have on hand. Serve with hearty whole grain bread and its a filling meal. (We had it with Ezekiel bread). We used 2 dried Thai chillies and the soup was very mild. If you like it spicier, crush your chillies or serve with some Sriracha or Garlic Chili sauce like Sambol Olek.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (less if your bullion is salted)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large handful finely chopped kale or spinach (optional)
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place lentils and all ingredients except kale,  coconut milk and lemon juice in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth, about 1 hour. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup. If using, add the kale or spinach and remove from heat.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and adjust seasonings to taste.

Kale and Apple Salad

This is a hearty salad that can easily be an entire meal. It makes a great supper paired with a baked potato.  The dressing is rich and creamy and bold enough to hold its own with kale. (if you are looking to reduce your nut intake, I have also done this dressing using 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup cooked white beans.) If you are not a avid kale fan, be sure to cut your kale fine, don’t leave big pieces, and massage it well.

Dressing:

 

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Parmesan

  •  ½ cup pumpkin seeds (or cashew, pecan or sesame seeds)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

In mini food processor or coffee grinder, combine pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast and salt. Process until crumbly. (or chop by hand) Sprinkle on top of your salad.

Salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for a few minutes.  Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, julienned carrots. Toss. Add a small amount of dressing and toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and toss with pumpkin seeds. Serve with a sprinkling of pecan parmesan.

Adapted from http://www.rawmazing.com/apple-and-kale-salad-with-oil-free-maple-dijon-dressing/

Chia Pudding

This is a recipe for a basic chia pudding. Add your choice of toppings or change it up by adding cocoa powder for a chocolate pudding, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for a pumpkin pie pudding.

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed; 1 tbsp maple syrup; or sweetener of choice
  • Optional add-ins – ¼ tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cocoa, ¼ cup pumpkin puree & pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional toppings – coconut, fresh, frozen or dried fruit or berries, granola, nuts, hemp seeds

In a 2 cup jar, place milk, chia seeds and mashed banana or sweetener. (Optional, add vanilla, cocoa or pumpkin puree for a different flavour) Cover and shake well until combined. Let sit about 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit another 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit in the fridge for at least one hour before eating.  (For an instant pudding, blend pudding in a blender or use ground chia seeds.) Top with fruit, nuts, seeds or granola. Create a parfait by layering pudding with fruit and top with granola or nuts.

You can also replace 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsp of rolled oats, and let sit overnight before eating. (oats take longer to soak)

 

 

 

Raw Food Weekend

April 25, 2017

I recently hosted a raw food and meditation retreat for a couple of friends. What a great experience. I have eaten raw for short periods of time before, but it has been a while. It was amazing how little we ate and yet always seemed to be content and full.

 

We did 3 full days raw. It was so much fun to try new recipes.  We experimented with a spiralizer making both zucchini and sweet potato noodles.

 

 

 

We started our mornings with a wheat grass shot after meditation and before the morning dog walk. A great way to get you energized for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our morning walk with the dog, breakfasts were Overnight Oats, Raw Granola and Fresh Cashew Milk, and Green Smoothies. Lunches were a Kale and Apple Salad with Pecans, a Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup and a Cauliflower Salad, and a Gazpacho with raw crudities. Suppers included Spiralized Zucchini Noodles with Raw Tomato Marinera, Spiralized Sweet Potatoes with a couple of different sauces (Cashew Curry, Wasabi Aoili, Herbed Ranch Style Dressing) and Cauliflower Rice. For snacks we had soaked raw almonds, fruit salad, figs, dates and dried apricots, and fresh fruit. So much good food.

The recipes from the weekend are below. I hope you will try some of them, even if you don’t do an entire day raw. They would be great alongside a cooked dish and are all super delicious.

Since my raw weekend, I have been continuing to eat raw for breakfast and raw or mostly raw for dinner. Lunches I have been eating cooked food. I find the raw suppers to be lighter and easier to digest and I sleep better.

Overnight Oats

Note: for this dish to be fully raw, you will need to make our own fresh plant milk. We made a cashew milk as cashew milk is rich and creamy and does not require straining out the pulp as almond milk does. To make your own cashew milk, blend 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews and 2 cups water until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate and use within 3 days. If you want a sweeter milk, add a couple of pitted dates to the mixture before blending.

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Raw Granola

This raw granola is similar to overnight oats in that is also soaked before eating. However, it doesn’t contain chia seeds and so has a different texture. The recipe says to soak for 2 to 3 hours, but it can be soaked overnight as well, which is easier if you want to eat it when you get up. We found the original recipe way too heavy on the nuts, and adding lots more oats and quinoa flakes to be a delicious and much lighter breakfast. Feel free to use your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I like this for breakfast with the addition of a chopped fresh apple. For a fully raw version, make your own fresh nut milk.

  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sunflower seed
  • 1 cup pecan, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups raw oat flakes or quinoa flakes, or a mixture of the two
  • ½ cup goji berry
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup hemp seed
  • 6-8 dates, chopped
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • big handful JOY ♥

Place everything in a jar. Each time you are hungry you take about ½  c of Granola, soak in just enough water to cover for 2-3 hrs and enjoy with cashew or almond milk.

Modified from Raw Solla’s recipe ebook.

Citrus Green Smoothie

We enjoyed quite a few smoothies over the weekend. My basic recipe is equal parts water, greens and fruit; however, we opted for an extra handful of greens in every smoothie, making them less sweet and more green.

  • two oranges, peeled
  • 2 bananas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Kale and Apple Salad

This kale and apple salad is one of my favorites and I have made it many times, either as a meal on its own, or as a side. The recipe makes a lot of Oil Free Maple Mustard dressing, enough for several salads, but it is delicious an many other salads and even on a baked potato instead of the traditional butter and sour cream. It will keep well in the fridge for at least one week.

The original recipe called for roasting the pecans in maple syrup but in the interest of remaining raw, we used raw pecans.

Dressing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 3 medium bunches of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • 1 lemon, juice from
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 4 apples, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Julienned carrots
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Diced red pepper
  • pecans
  1. Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, carrots, onion, and red pepper. Toss.
  3. Add dressing (start with half and then add to your taste) and toss well.
  4. Top with pecans and serve.

Adapted from Raw Amazing.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

This is a fast and easy raw soup that is very satisfying. If you have a good high performance blender, like a Vitamix, you don’t need to grate the carrots or ginger just throw in the blender in chunks.

After blending the soup it is warm, from the blending action, and it is delicious this way. If you have to store it in the fridge, you may want to warm it up carefully on the stove before eating.

 

  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Sea salt
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Place all ingredients except cilantro and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and add salt as needed. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

From The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier

Cauliflower Salad with Herb Cashew Dressing

This is another favorite salad of mine. Adding fresh parsley to the dressing makes a lovely green sauce. However, if you prefer your dressing to be whiter, use dried parsley (1 or 2 tbsp) and stir it into the finished dressing instead.

My original recipe used thawed frozen peas, but to keep it raw, we used chopped broccoli instead.  Try the pea version by adding 2 cups of green peas, thawed under hot water.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli or asparagus
  • ½ cup green onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced fine
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, soaked for ½ hour

Chop cauliflower and broccoli into small florets. Place chopped veggies in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Add sunflower seeds.

Gazpacho

Finding a good gazpacho recipe can be tough, but we struck it lucky with this one from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook.  We made a few changes to the original recipe. We eliminated the oil. We didn’t have a cucumber, so we used a zucchini in its place. To keep it raw we substituted sun dried tomatoes for the tomato juice. The recipe calls for chopped avocado as a topping but we found adding an avocado to the soup adding a creaminess without refined oil. And the avocado did not change the color of the soup substantially, it stayed a beautiful red. For a vibrant colored soup, be sure to use bright red tomatoes and red pepper and peel your cucumber (or zucchini in our case).

  • 675 g ripe tomatoes (1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled (or zucchini)
  • ¼ cup sweet onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 cups tomato juice or cocktail (or ½ cup sun dried tomatoes and 2 cups water)
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 tsp to 3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  • Topping:
  • Diced avocado, cucumber, red pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil, parsley, cilantro

Roughly chop the veggies for the soup and add all ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth, adjust seasonings to your taste.

For a chunkier soup texture, add only half the tomatoes and pepper to the blender. Blend until smooth, then add the remaining tomatoes and pepper and pulse until desired texture is reached.

Top with toppings of your choice.

Adapted from Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon

 

Spiralized Zucchini and Marinara Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiralized zucchini is now a favorite of mine. It is delicious cold and I don’t find any need to heat up the dish at all if you keep your marinara sauce at room temperature. What a quick and easy way to make a spaghetti dinner!

The original marinara recipe called for 3/4 cup olive oil – holy cow, that’s a lot of oil. We eliminated the oil totally, using my homemade vegetable broth instead. It tasted great. When I made this the next time, I added an avocado, which gave it a smoother richer taste.

Finely shred or spiralize 2 zucchini so that it is angel-hair in appearance.

Marinara Sauce

  • 2 cups tomatoes
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil (or sub fresh)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (or sub fresh)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 pitted olives (we used green)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 avocado, pitted (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Serve over the zucchini pasta.

Adapted from Rawganique

 

Sweet Potato Noodles

The sweet potato noodles were a surprise for me. I didn’t even know you could eat sweet potatoes raw. I expected them to be starchy but they are crunchy and delicious. I have made this recipe a couple of times now and my favorite sauces are the curry and the wasabi. We also used the same Herbed Cashew Dressing as we used for the cauliflower salad. It is also great with the raw marinara sauce we used on the zucchini noodles.

Clockwise from 9 oclock – Curried Almond, Wasabi Aioli, Herbed Cashew

Spiralize your noodles and top with sauce of your choice. We tried a Curry Cashew Sauce, Wasabi  and Herb Cashew Dressing.

Curry Almond Sauce

  • ½ cup almond butter or cashew butter (we used cashew butter)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 4 to 5  tsp curry powder
  • 1 to 2  tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp tamari

Place sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.  Garnish with  currents and walnuts.

Adapted from Jesse Lane Wellness.

Wasabi Aioli

The original recipe calls for less cashews and adds silken tofu. To keep this raw, we eliminated the tofu and added more cashews. (I also like this aioli as a topping on burgers.)

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt

Drain soaked cashews.  Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Cauliflower Rice

I have seen recipes for cauliflower rice pop up on Facebook more and more often lately. However, this was my first time trying it. Most of the recipes cook the cauliflower and veggies, but this one is fabulous raw. I love the sauce!

  • 1/2  head of cauliflower
  • 3 green onion tops
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • diced celery
  • diced carrots
  • 2 tbsp parsley, fresh or dried
  • or substitute your favorite veggies

Sauce

  • 3 Green onion bulbs (the white part, use green tops for rice)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp ginger (or 1 inch piece fresh ginger)
  • 1 tbsp broth (unsalted) or water
  1. Break cauliflower into florets and rinse well.
  2. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until rice like in consistency.
  3. Place cauliflower rice in a bowl and stir in remaining rice ingredients.
  4. Blend all sauce ingredients, except parsley, pour over rice and mix thoroughly.
  5. Let rice sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Adapted from Raw Amanda

Jicima Fries

  • 1 jicima,
  • Lime juice
  • Chilli powder
  • salt

Peel the jicama and cut into French fry shape.  Toss with lime juice and sprinkle with chilli powder and salt. You could also add some garlic and onion powder if you like.

Raw Curly Salad

Since our retreat I have found this recipe which is absolutely delicious and can be modified in many ways. The dressing is orange based and so good on any salad including spring greens. The original recipe from the PlantPure Kitchen by Kim Campbell called for 1/2 cup of orange juice. I used one whole peeled orange instead. Using the whole orange gives you the benefit of the fibre in the orange but I also find it makes the dressing thicker.

This recipe makes a big salad. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have and make it to the size you need.

Orange Dressing

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups, kale thinly sliced
  • 2 cups edamame beans or peas, thawed
  • 2 zucchini, made into noodle using a julienne peeler or spiralizer
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded or cut into thin noodles using a julienne peeler
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and garnish with sesame seeds.

I encourage you to add more raw food to your diet. And if you have the opportunity to go totally raw for a longer period, go for it. It was a wonderful experience.