CARAMELIZED BANANA AND ROASTED WALNUT CHIA PUDDING

CARAMELIZED BANANA AND ROASTED WALNUT CHIA PUDDING

 

There is nothing I love more then easy desserts that can be done ahead of time with only a few finishing touches to put together before serving. This dessert is exactly that. I say dessert, but I would eat this for breakfast without hesitation.

The chia pudding can be whipped up in minutes up to a few days ahead and the caramelized bananas and roasted walnuts are the last minute finishing touches that bring this dessert to a whole new level of deliciousness.

And let’s not forget that there is nothing more satisfying than eating a dessert that is not only delectable on your taste buds but equally healthy for your body.

WINNER!

What makes this dessert so healthy…

 

This dessert packs an obvious nutritious punch with potassium loaded bananas, but did you know that bananas are also believed to help prevent asthmacancerhigh blood pressurediabetes, cardiovascular disease, and digestive problems?

No wonder it is one of the world’s most consumed fruit.

But what really makes this dessert a winner is the chia.

Chia started getting popular years ago and have since been considered a nutrition power house.

But do you know what makes these little white or black pearls so precious to our health?

Benefits of chia seeds

 

You may think that it’s their high content of omega-3 fatty acids (18%) – essential fats that are important for heart health and brain function.

Or their outstanding gluten free fibre content (chia’s 34% fibre is higher than that of flaxseeds or sesame seeds, and works out to be about 10g in two tablespoons, which would make a significant contribution to the 25–30g it’s recommended we consume daily).

Or simply because they are an excellent source of protein and extremely high in calcium – at 631mg per 100g (five times the level in milk).

If you believe any or all of these reasons are what makes chia seeds such a superfood, you would be totally right. But you would be missing one of the most important reasons why chia seeds are so good for you: it’s gel like effect!

That’s right!

The power is in the gel

 

The fact that chia seeds turn into this thick gel when combined with any liquid is what makes them so incredibly good for your body.

Chia seeds are able to hold up to 12 times their weight in water and if soaked for over 30 minutes, will form a gel. When in your stomach, this gel reaction forms a barrier and slows down your digestion to create a sustained release of energy.

They also help detoxify your body. When they are completely digested, chia seeds swell and absorb toxins in the body and cleanse the digestive tract. Their detoxifying properties also help improve the health and appearance of your skin, nails, and hair.

And last but not least, chia seeds also allow the body to absorb all fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K.

 

caramelize_banana_walnut_chia_pudding

 

Not bad for a tiny little pearl!

And so what better way to enjoy such health benefits than in a dessert.

The caramelized bananas and roasted walnuts add just the right amount of decadence to make you feel naughty without taking away all the great health benefits. And if you are really pressed for time, simply skip the roasting part and top with regular walnuts.

I promise, it is just as delicious!

This dessert is a huge hit in our family, and is 100% toddler approved.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

As always, I love hearing from you so leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoy eating chia seeds.

 

Love

Eloise

 

CARAMELIZED BANANA AND ROASTED WALNUT CHIA PUDDING
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
This easy make ahead dessert will sure become a family favourite.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup balck chia seeds
  • 2 cups coconut milk (the one in a can. I use the full fat version for a creamier texture)
  • 6 drops of liquid stevia
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 Tbs vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven at 375 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the chia seeds, milk, liquid stevia and vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk together and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but up to 2 days.
  4. Once your oven is preheated, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 mins.
  5. Turn the walnuts after 5 minutes and check on them at the 8 minute mark to make sure they are roasting and not burning.
  6. In the meantime, cut your bananas in thick 1 inch slices.
  7. Set a saucepan on medium heat and melt the butter and brown sugar.
  8. Add the sliced bananas.
  9. Allow bananas to cook for at least 2 minutes before turning.
  10. Take the chia pudding out of the fridge and pour in 4 bowls.
  11. Decorate with the caramelized bananas and walnuts.

 

Keto spaghetti squash with caramelized vegetables

keto spaghetti squash

Keto spaghetti squash with caramelized vegetables

This pregnancy has my cravings all over the place. A few weeks back, I couldn’t get enough of oranges. I had to have one, or two, the moment I woke up and the craving would stay with me all day long. Lately, it’s all about high fat foods. My body is just screaming for avocados, cashew butter and full fat coconut milk.

There are plenty of theories out there regarding cravings, what they mean and if you should indulge in them or not. Personally, I choose to listen to what my body is asking for. I’m not talking about pints of ice cream, boxes of donuts and bags of chips. I try to eat intuitively and when my body tells me it needs to eat more fatty foods, then I eat more fatty foods. It’s as simple as that.

Does that mean I don’t crave donuts? Heck no, I crave those little soft sugar and fat bombs more often then not. But I know that my body is not actually craving a donut, it’s craving calories in the form of sugar and carbs, so I eat a bowl of mixed fruits like strawberries and bananas and peaches or I’ll have an orange (ha!). If I start daydreaming about cheese pizza, then I know my body needs fat so I eat avocado with a little Himalayan salt and a spoon.

I tend not to want to overcomplicate my life with theories and data. I check in with my self and eat accordingly.

Back when I was following a ketogenic diet, I had to come up with creative ways to replicate my favourite dishes with as little carb as possible and loads of fat. Most of the time, I think I succeeded pretty well.

This keto spaghetti squash was created back then.

The Ketogenic diet

For those of you who don’t know what the ketogenic diet is, let me give you a quick overview.

The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet that was developed in the 1920’s to treat epilepsy, mostly in children suffering from uncontrollable and frequent seizures.

Today, the diet is rapidly gaining popularity as a mainstream diet for weight loss and those suffering from diabetes and even cancer.

The ketogenic diet should not be mistaken for the typical low carb diets that put a heavy emphasis on high fat meat and dairy products. The ketogenic diet is a moderate protein diet with an emphasis on high fat foods.

According to the science behind the ketogenic diet, when the body is deprived of glucose (carbs), the liver produces ketones from fatty acids, which the body uses for energy. Eating too much protein in a low carb setting will strain your body into converting that extra protein into glucose. Your body will then burn that protein turned into sugar instead of fat, preventing your body from enjoying the benefits of the ketogenic diet.

So how much fat should a person eat on a ketogenic diet: the average consensus is anywhere between 60 to 80% of your total caloric intake, depending on your current body composition and activity level with carb intake ranging from less then 25 grams per day, up to 50 grams per day, again, according to your body composition, your goals and your activity levels.

Yup, that’s a whole lotta fat and not a whole lotta carbs!

Can a keto diet be vegan?

Absolutely!

Like I mentioned previously, the keto diet is not to be confused with the high meat consumption associated with most low carb diets.

A vegan keto diet is very feasible by emphasizing high fat foods like avocados, nuts and nut butter, coconut oil and coconut butter, MCT oil and palm oil. Eating lower carb vegetables like cucumbers, watercress, spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, asparagus (pretty much any green vegetable has the thumbs up), mushrooms, cauliflower and spaghetti squash. And rounding off your plate with seitan, tofu and tempeh. Low sugar fruits like raspberries and blueberries are ok, as long as your remain within your personal carb limit.

Wether this diet is right for you is a decision only you can make but know that it is possible to eat both a ketogenic diet and a vegan diet.

Unto the recipe…

high fat vegan spaghetti squash

 

As you can see, my recipes back then needed to follow rather strict guidelines. Needless to say, spaghetti squash became one of my favourite vegetables and quickly replaced all my pasta cravings. And because I was always very active, I didn’t need to pay much attention to the carb count in vegetables.

And even though I don’t follow that diet anymore, I still love me some spaghetti squash!

But the sauce is where the magic happens. Pesto is a great high fat addition to any past wannabe dish but a creamy, cheezy, sauce without the downfall of dairy is even better. This sauce uses full fat coconut milk, Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, nutritional yeast and a little salt. Delicious!

Because of the full fat coconut milk, the sauce does have a hint of a coconut taste, which I love, but if you’re not a fan of the coconut-y taste, you can replace it with unsweetened nut mylk and a roux.

To make a roux, melt 2 Tbs. of Earth Balance butter in a saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add 2 Tbs. of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Once the two are combined and you can smell the butter cooking, slowly add in your mylk and whisk to prevent clumps. Once the roux has dissolved in the mylk and the sauce starts to thicken, you can add the other ingredients.

Mix the sauce with the spaghetti squash, add some caramelized vegetables on top and you’ve got yourself one heck of a satisfying dish. Trust me, you won’t be hungry after this…and this comes from a pregnant lady whose hungry all the time!

Leave a comment below and let me know how you’ve enjoyed this recipe and if you’ve ever tried the ketogenic diet.

I always love to hear from you!

Eloise

xx

Keto spaghetti squash with caramelized vegetables
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3 portions
This high fat low carb vegan meal is filling and absolutely delicious.
Ingredients
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 10 small mushrooms
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 Tbs. red palm oil
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Tbs. yellow prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Place the squash halves, cut-side down, in a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  5. Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 35-45 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, julienne your bell peppers, mushrooms and onions.
  7. Melt the red palm oil in a pan over high heat and add your vegetables.
  8. Saute your vegetables for 3-4 minutes then reduce to medium heat and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  9. Set aside.
  10. In a saucepan over medium heat add the coconut milk, Dijon mustard and yellow mustard.
  11. Whisk in the nutritional yeast and salt. Taste to adjust the seasoning.
  12. Reduce to low heat and cook the sauce for another 5 minutes.
  13. When the spaghetti squash is cooked, carefully scrap the interior with a fork to make spaghetti-like strands.
  14. Add the squash and sauce to a mixing bowl and combine. Add salt to taste.
  15. Serve in a plate or bowl and top with caramelized vegetables.
  16. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Creamy Sweet Potato Risotto | plant-based recipe

 

UPDATED: February 25, 2018

On my first ever Instagram post, a couple of weeks ago, I shared this picture of my creamy sweet potato risotto. In the caption, I mentioned that my blog would be up and running soon… Well “soon” took a little (a lot!) longer then expected. I am no techy by any stretch of the imagination and yet I was animate about setting this up, all on my own.

So after many failed attempts, a multitude of pages magically disappearing or mistakenly deleted and quite a few melt downs, I think I’ve succeeded…or at least I’m here, blogging, sharing with you guys a recipe I absolutely love. So in advance, and before we get to the recipe, I’d like to apologize if my site isn’t “perfect”. I’m still working on it. But my desire to start sharing all this deliciousness with you guys was stronger then my need for “blog perfection” so I hope my food will make up for my lack of technical talent!

So onto my recipe…

This creamy sweet potato risotto was inspired by an amazing meal I had at the Montreal’s Children Hospital Foundation Gala last June (you can read about it on my first Instagram post). The risotto I had that night was a squash risotto. It was perfectly creamy, luscious and oh so satisfying.

So the following week, I knew I had to make my own version of that risotto. I didn’t want to use squash because I wanted to make this recipe my own. Although butternut squash was a very tempting ingredient, I decided to make my key ingredient sweet potatoes.

I chose sweet potatoes for their earthy and creamy taste and texture. Sweet potatoes are also nutrition power houses. I remember in my hardcore fitness training days, sweet potatoes were on the menu every. single. day. And for good reason. When you train at that level, you need all the nutrients food can bring you.

According to the knowledgeable folks over at Organic Facts, sweet potatoes, or yams, are loaded with healthy vitamins, fiber, minerals, and proteins. The health benefits of sweet potatoes include their ability to help lose weight [hence being on most every fitness competitors menu], boost immunity, aid in digestion, treat asthma and bronchitis, control diabetes and help treat certain cancers. Sweet potatoes also help in treating arthritis and stomach ulcers.

Not bad for an orange little tuber.

I love using using sweet potatoes for another reason: my husband doesn’t like them… Well he likes them if they are cut into fries and come from this Irish pub not far from where we live! Loll. On the other hand, my 1 year old son Adriano and I, love them! Needless to say, I need to find sneaky ways to include sweet potatoes so my son and I can enjoy them without my husband minding so much. And a risotto is the perfect place to “hide” them as it a dish my Italian husband is quite found of. Winner!

 

The trick to this risotto, and to any risotto for that matter, is the gentle stirring. Stir, stir, stir…

Slowly, lovingly, gently, stir in small quantities of hot liquid into the rice. As the rice absorbs the hot liquid, the constant stirring releases all that starchy goodness that gives risotto its creamy identity. And from there, you can build layers of textures and tastes.

That’s where the addition of the creamy sweet potato comes in. To enhance the texture and creaminess of the risotto. And once all that texture has developed, I like to add an acidic component to my risotto, like the lime juice in this recipe. This brightens the taste of the dish and cuts through all that creaminess.

Trust me, you won’t miss any of the traditional ingredients found in risotto. And you won’t feel so heavy after your meal.

So without any further a do, here’s the recipe. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as my family and I did. And please, let me know what you think!

xx

Creamy Sweet Potato Risotto
Author: Elle
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Creamy Sweet Potato Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp roasted ground ginger
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (arborio rice is naturally gluten free)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, heated (I used homemade broth to make sure it’s gluten free. If using store bought, make sure you buy GF)
  • 2/3 cup sweet potato, pureed or mashed
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Fresh dill, to serve
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onions, minced garlic, nutmeg and roasted ground ginger.
  3. Stir the onions and garlic with the spices for 2 minutes or until onions are translucent. Make sure the garlic doesn’t turn brown as it’ll give a bitter taste to your risotto.
  4. Add the arborio rice to the pan and coat the rice with the spice mixture.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of the warm vegetable stock to the rice and stir until all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Repeat, 1/4 cup at a time, until all the vegetable stock is absorbed by the rice.
  7. Add the sweet potato and continue stirring.
  8. Turn off the heat and add the fresh lime juice.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with some fresh dill.

 

Pin this for later

 

vegan sweet potato creamy risotto

 

 

Luscious mushroom risotto | Vegan recipe

luscious mushroom risotto

 

Mushroom risotto will forever hold a dear place in my heart. Not only has it always been one of my favorite dishes, but it was also a star dish at my wedding. The hotel venue we chose for our reception actually has a designated chef who’s sole responsibility is to make heavenly delicious mushroom risotto. During our wedding, the DJ stopped the music and invited everyone to take a seat at their table when the risotto was served, so it could be eaten right away. A bit intense, I know. But that’s how seriously they take their risotto. It also goes to show just how seriously take risotto, considering I went along with it.

I also thought the timing was pretty good since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. And what could me more romantic then sharing a warm dish of creamy, rich, decadent risotto.

That being said, I have to say I have mixed emotions about Valentine’s Day. I like it and dislike it, for the exact same reasons.

I like the idea of having a single day dedicated to love and happiness. A day that brings us out of our routine and invites us to take a moment and remind the people in our lives that we love and care for them and that they are important to us.

I never though Valentine’s day was just for lovers/spouses/partners. I feel it’s a celebration of love for everyone in our lives: parents/friends/mentors… People that we share our lives with and who influence us in a positive way.

I also genuinely dislike Valentine’s Day because you have to show love on that one day. That one special day that is so commercialized and over advertised, making you feel like you need  to do something special, and mostly extravagant, for that one person in your life. You can’t walk into any store right now and not be bombarded by expensive gift ideas, overpriced flowers, cards, chocolates… That, I don’t like.

Ok, rant over, back to my risotto.

 

creamy mushroom risotto loaded with mushrooms and flavour

 

Since I’ve never been a fan of going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, I always try to make dinner a little extravagant. Jazz it up a little. Make it a little fancier without necessarily going overboard and leaving us with mounts of dishes to do afterwards.

Risotto fits that bill perfectly as it is rather simple to make and it only takes one dish. Or one pan to be exact.

Mushroom risotto also being such a beautiful reminder of our wedding, I felt it needed to be replicated this year.

The challenge was making it exclusively plant based while still getting that amazingly creamy mouth feel you get from a traditional risotto, that’s loaded with cream and parmesan cheese.

The secret is in the layers of flavours from the mushrooms. Umami.

From the rich mushroom broth used as the base of the risotto to the chunky pieces of portobello, porcini and white mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic.

If you are pressed for time, you can buy already made mushroom broth in cube, powder form or even liquid form. But if you have a little extra time, I strongly suggest making your own mushroom broth. It’s easy and adds so much flavour to a dish.

My mushroom broth is a variation of Chef Michael White’s recipe over at Food & Wine. It is rich and flavourful and perfect for drinking on it’s own or in a recipe like this. The only differences are the addition of 2 more gloves of garlic (for 6 total gloves) and a 2 inch piece of ginger. I just love the added zing and brightness, ginger brings to the broth.

I also add a secret ingredient to my risotto. An ingredient that is not Italian at all. So this will be our little secret.

I add miso paste. Red miso paste. It gives this risotto so much flavour and an added boost of good for you nutrients.

Miso seems to bring out the umami even more in the mushrooms. I dissolve the miso paste in the mushroom broth before adding it to the rice. Amazing.

I promise, this mushroom risotto recipe won’t have you miss the heavy cream or the parmesan cheese.

If my Italian husband and his mom, gave it their seal of approval, I’m confident your family will enjoy it too.

The second key to a great risotto, after the stellar ingredients, is the cooking method. Risotto requires patience.

The liquid to rice ratio is anywhere between 1:3 to 1:4. I tend more towards the 1:4, because I find it gives a much creamier and smooth texture. So for each cup of arborio rice, I’ll add 4 cups of broth. You can also replace some of the broth with white wine. I choose not to because I feed this risotto to my toddler. But if you want to make this recipe for grown-ups only, you can easily replace 1/2 cup of broth with 1/2 cup of white wine.

When it comes time to cook my rice, I separate my broth in 4 parts, pouring only 1 cup at a time, stirring gently, waiting for all the broth to be absorbed before I add any more liquid.

I guess that’s why I consider this the perfect Valentine’s Day dish: it takes love, and time, and patience to make.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you guys have enjoyed this risotto.

xx

Luscious mushroom risotto
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 portions
This mushroom risotto is rich and creamy while offering you all the goodness of a plant based meal.
Ingredients
  • 4 Cups sliced mixed mushrooms (I used portobello, porcini and white mushrooms)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 spanish onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs. vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Cup arborio rice
  • 4 Cups mushroom broth
  • 1 Tbs. red miso paste
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • Freshly cracker black pepper
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a deep pan set over medium high heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sautée for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, add a dash of salt and return the pan to the heat.
  4. Reduce to medium heat.
  5. Add the vegan butter and olive oil.
  6. Add the onion and cook for 3 mins.
  7. Add the miso paste to the broth and stir with a whisk to dissolve the paste.
  8. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir to evenly coat the rice.
  9. Add 1 cup of broth at a time, stirring frequently until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more broth.
  10. Risotto is done when the rice is still firm but cooked through and creamy, about 20 minutes.
  11. Stir in the fresh rosemary, mushrooms and black pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

Pineapple chocolate cake – Moist Dense Chocolatey

dark moist dense and chocolatey cake

Every health conscious, whole foods loving individual needs a go-to cake that can be whipped up in a short amount of time, is moist and dense and chocolatey and won’t send you into a spiral of guilt and shame for using less then nutritious ingredients. Basically, a cake you can stuff your face and the faces of your family with, in pure joy and delight, knowing all too well, this is also one heck of a nourishing cake. This my friends, is the pineapple chocolate cake.

Now I know, you may be frowning a little at the thought of combining pineapple and chocolate but I’m asking for a little bit of your trust here.

I promise you, this cake is worth your time and effort.

And it’s a good thing it won’t take too much of your time or effort to make, because you may end up baking it quite often. Like I do.

Like I said, it’s one of those go-to cakes.

The great thing about this cake, other then the good-for-you ingredients, is the fact that it is very versatile. My husband is not a fan of very chocolatey cakes so I serve the cake as is, plain, with a few chocolate chips on top like in this picture. But this cake dresses up so nicely with a thick layer of cloudy mocha frosting (my personal favourite) or with some coconut yogurt on the side (my mom’s favourite way of eating the cake). As for my son, well he’ll eat this cake no matter how it’s presented.

On to the goods… the magic of pineapples

I used crushed pineapples in this recipe to give it that moistness without having to use so much oil.

You’ll often see apple sauce or mashed bananas added to cakes or muffins as a way to reduce the overall quantity of oil. Although those are tasty substitutions, which I use in many of my baked goods, I find these fruit purees tend to make the cakes and muffins a tad more dense and chewy. Most times, I don’t mind the change in texture and will gladly take that over a cake or muffin loaded with oil. But I wanted something different for this chocolate cake.

In searching for the right ingredient substitution, I remembered my mom’s carrot cake recipe in which she uses crushed pineapples to cut the oil content of the cake by half. It made for a moist and delicious cake that is still an all-time family favourite to this day.

I figured I’d experiment with crushed pineapple for this cake and see how it turns out.

Magic!

I kid you not, that’s what happened, magic! The cake turned out moist yet still dense, without taking anything away from  the chocolatey flavour. You actually can’t really tell there’s pineapple in there.

And here’s why I’m even more excited about pineapple being a star ingredient in this cake: pineapple is such a healthy fruit and has been eaten for centuries for it’s health benefits.

According to the folks at Organic Facts, the health and medicinal benefits of pineapple include boosting the immune system, improves respiratory and oral health, speeds up wound healing, regulates blood pressure, aids in digestion, strengthen bones, reduces inflammation and helps in treating arthritis, cures coughs and colds, prevents cancer and aids in weight loss. Pineapples are a storehouse of several health benefits due to its wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate, and bromelain, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.

That’s some pretty powerful benefits for such a pretty and spiky tropical fruit.

Like I mentioned previously, you can’t taste the pineapple in this cake at all. The brand of crushed pineapple I used is the house brand form my local grocery store called Selection. The pineapple pieces are tiny tiny and can’t be detected. If you feel your crushed pineapples pieces are too big, give it a pulse or two in the food processor or with a hand blender. That way the pieces will disappear with the rest of the ingredients.

 

chocolatey and moist cake with pineapple as the secret ingredient

Baking chocolate powder: cacao powder or dutch processed

Another star ingredient in this recipe, is the cocoa powder. I chose to use cocoa powder mainly because I find it has a more intense flavour and gives the cake a nice chocolatey flavour. There is however, much debate regarding the health benefits of cacao powder used for cooking. Is cocoa powder better or is Dutch process better.

Here’s some basics:

Beautifully summarized by Sally over at Sally’s Baking Addiction, cacao powder comes from cocoa beans. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted and cracked into nibs. The nibs are then pressed to remove 75% of their cocoa butter. This leaves us with chocolate liquor. The pasty liquor is dried and then ground into unsweetened cocoa powder.

Dutch process chocolate (named after the Dutch bakers that developed the process) is made from the same cacao beans but they’ve have been washed with a potassium solution to neutralize their acidity to a pH of 7. This means that Dutch process cocoa powder is only slightly acidic because of that Dutching process. Dutch processed chocolate is also called alkalinized chocolate powder.

After reading quite a few articles on the subject I’ve come to the basic conclusion that regular cacao powder retains more of it’s antioxidant benefits then it’s Dutch processes counterpart.

But I’ll be honest with you. I use both for different recipes. Dutch processed chocolate gives desserts a nice dark colour and a milder flavour. There’s room for both in my kitchen.

An now, onto the recipe.

Dont’ forget to leave me a comment to let me know if you’ve dressed it up or served it as is.

xx

Pineapple chocolate cake
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-10 portions
This cake is moist and rich and chocolatey. It’ll soon become a family favourite.
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 Cup white spelt flour
  • 2/3 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • Chocolat chips for srinkling on tops
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease an 8″ springform pan.
  3. Combine the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar together and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Thinly chop the baking chocolate.
  5. In the meantime, mix all the dry ingredients and baking chocolate together in a bowl and whisk together.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the pineapples, melted coconut oil, vanilla and almond milk and vinegar mixture when ready. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon.
  8. Pour the batter in the pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes (mine was done after 28 minutes).
  10. Allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

green power smoothies

nutrient pack green smoothie with frozen bananas, frozen mangoes, spinach, protein powder and spirulina

 

Ah… the smoothies.

Let’s start with a little honesty this morning: smoothies are not my thing. I know, blasphemy, right. Who’s not crazy about smoothies especially smoothly poured in a bowl. Me! Don’t get me wrong, I eat/drink plenty of them, but they’re not really something I get excited about like say, banana pancakes or baked oatmeal. Smoothies are just an easy way for me to get plenty of fruits and veggies into a very convenient and portable container. Nonetheless, if I’m going to eat/drink one, it’s got to taste good and has to pack a serious nutritious punch. Hence this green smoothie. It’s loaded with fruits, veggies and my favourite two supplements.

I keep the more fancy breakfasts for the weekend.

So onto those supplements.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, protein is really important for me. My body functions best when I eat a higher amount of protein on a regular basis. So when I’m making a smoothie, I always add plant protein powder to the mix.

Frankly, I’ve tasted my fair share of chalky, clumpy, off flavoured, protein powders. But after many trials and errors, I’ve nailed it down to two brands that I really enjoy (I’m not endorsed by or affiliated to any of these brands, I just genuinely like the taste). Those two brands are VEGA Sport Protein (mocha or berry) and Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Protein (natural coconut).

Both these brands of protein blend really well, add great flavour to my smoothie and give me the protein boost I need. Here’s what they offer.

VEGA:

 

  • 30 grams plant-based protein
  • 6 grams BCAAs
  • 1 billion CFU probiotics [bacillus coagulans]

 

 

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Protein:

  • contains 20g of fermented dietary protein per serving!
  • is the first fully fermented protein which contributes to a healthy gut, overall good health & is easy to digest
  • is on-allergenic, soy free and contains a balance of all essential amino acids

 

Now for the second supplement.

Spirulina!

I can’t talk enough about the health benefits of spirulina. This stuff is gold. Green gold. Ok, I’ll admit, it does taste a bit…oceany. But when something packs that good of a nutritious punch, you work around the taste by camouflaging it with other goodies like frozen bananas and mangoes (like in this smoothie).

According to Stephanie Weeks over at Food Matters, “Spirulina is rich in nutrients, some of which aren’t found in the average daily vitamin. According to the FDA, the health benefits of Spirulina include significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron.  Spirulina is a great source of B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium and antioxidants.  It also has essential amino acids (compounds that are the building blocks of proteins).  In fact, protein makes up about 60 to 70 percent of Spirulina’s dry weight.” Booyah!

Now for those of you who want to pause here and get your mindful moment of the day break, just click here. We’re following up on our precious post and talking about time segments. For those of you who want to continue on with the recipe, keep reading. 🙂

 

nutrient pack green smoothie with frozen bananas, frozen mangoes, spinach, protein powder and spirulina

The recipe I’m giving you is the basic recipe I use for my smoothies. You can add whatever else fruit and supplement you like. Other of my top supplement choices are maca, chia seeds, hemp seeds or açai powder. You can also spice it up with turmeric, cinnamon or nutmeg. All offer amazing health benefits and can give you the boost your body needs on a given day.

Let’s look at the health benefits of these nutritional jewels for a minute.

Supplements, herbs and spices

Maca: according to the handsome Dr. Axe, maca is a type of cruciferous vegetable native to the Andes of Peru. Maca has a similar appearance and size as radishes or turnips with green tops and roots that range in color from yellow to purple and black. Maca is rich in antioxidants, enhances energy, mood and memory, improves female sexual health, balances estrogen levels and boosts male fertility.

Chia seeds: according to the folks at Webmed.com, chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flaxseeds). One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.

Hemp seeds: according to the amazing people over at Pure Healing Foods,  hemp seeds are a perfect and natural blend of easily digested proteins, essential fats (Omega 3 & 6), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes. All amino acids essential to optimum health are found in hemp seeds, including the rarely found Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). The 17+ grams of omega fats supplied by hemp seeds provides sufficient, continuous energy throughout your day.

Açai: according to Organic Facts, açai berries come from the açai palm, widely found in the Amazon Basin. Açai berries can be a tremendously healthy addition to your diet and help to increase heart health, aids in weight loss, as well as aiding in health issues relating to your skin, digestion, allergies, immune system, and energy levels. Furthermore, research has shown it to be one of the best sources of antioxidants, an aphrodisiac, a brain booster, and a great weapon against premature aging, cancer, and unexplained fatigue or exhaustion. Açai berry is rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin A, E, and C. Amongst minerals, açai berries contain calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium.

These are all pretty amazing suplements if you ask me!

As for the spices mentioned, these are some powerful ones. Here’s a breakdown.

Turmeric: if you’re into healthy eating (which clearly you are!) then you’ve most certainly come across mounts of articles on the health benefits of turmeric and recipes ranging from turmeric lattes to Indian curries. According to Dr. Mercola, the health benefits of turmeric include an improved ability to digest fats, reducing gas and bloating, decreased congestion, and improved skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. More reported health benefits of turmeric include relief from joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, reduced joint swelling, and greater range of motion when used regularly. It’s another case of the spice alone having similar effects to that of a prescription medication, but with fewer symptomatic downsides. Research also suggests that turmeric may be helpful in treating inflammatory bowel diseases, lowering cholesterol counts, protecting the heart, relieving indigestion, improving liver function, and even preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Cancer prevention and inhibited cancer cell growth –specifically cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, and lung, and childhood leukemia – are also on the list of possible benefits.

Cinnamon: cinnamon not only tastes amazing, it is also amazing for you. Going back to Dr. Axe, researchers have concluded that cinnamon health benefits can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder) or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting and potential cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.

Nutmeg: you can read about the health benefits of nutmeg in my previous post here.

As for the fruits, I find using a base of mangoes and bananas for my smoothies eases the taste of the spirulina. I

f the oceany taste of it doesn’t bother you, by all means switch up the fruits also and add strawberries or pineapples instead. Use whatever fruit you fancy or whatever is in season if you’re one of the lucky ones that lives in a warm climate all year round. Here in Montreal, not many fruits see the light of day during our brutal winter months!

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. Leave me a comment and let me know how you’ve adapted it to your own tastes and nutritional needs.

xx

 

green smoothie
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 portion
This green smoothie is very adaptable to your taste. Instead of mangoes, you can add strawberries and ginger, a red delicious apple and some cinnamon or frozen pineapples and turmeric.
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups coconut water (can use nut milk if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbs spirulina
  • 1 Tbs ground flax seeds
  • 1 scoop plant protein powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 Cup frozen mangoes
  • 1/2 Cup frozen spinach
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy

 

 

Comfort zone cheezy broccoli soup

creamy and thick broccoli soup loaded with cheesy taste and a mount of grated vegan cheese

 

Comfort food. Just saying those words you start salivating, as your minds drifts off, daydreaming of bowls of creamy pasta, giant chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven, mounts of mashed potatoes smothered in rich gravy, warm apple crumble topped with ice cream melting on the sides. I’m making you drool aren’t I? Good! For me, comfort food comes in a bowl and requires only a spoon or a big slice a bread for eating. In short, comfort food is just this recipe: a thick, rich, savoury bowl of cheezy broccoli soup.

Often times when we think of comfort food, we think of unhealthy or even dirty food. But my friends, I am here to tell you there is no need for such name calling. Comfort food can be just that, comforting and delicious and oh yes, totally nutritious. It’s all in the way you prepare the food and the ingredients you use. I refuse to feel guilty about the foods I eat or serve my family. Guilt and food just don’t go together in my book. Pleasure and food, do!

Following a plant based diet, I feel like I have an edge over others because my food is wholesome, natural and nourishing from the start. All I need to do really, is combine them in delicious, mouthwatering ways without adding too much of the unnecessary stuff. Like this soup for example, the main ingredients are:

  • potatoes – well hello vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid. Oh and potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity;
  • carrots – did anybody say beta-carotene and fiber. Carrots are also a good source of antioxidants, are rich in vitamin A, C, K, and B8, as well as pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
  • broccoli – let me see some hands for dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus,  choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium and copper. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin and selenium.

Now that’s a pretty good start if you ask me! Add some soaked raw cashews, a little herbs and seasoning, some nutritional yeast for that cheezy flavour and you’ve got yourself a lip smacking, belly loving, soul satisfying meal.

 

 

 

Speaking of comfort, and before we move on to the recipe, let’s get into our little mindful moment of the day…

Mindful moment – your comfort zone

In my last post, I talked about the “accomplishment mindset” and how setting small tasks for you to accomplish everyday builds that positive mindset and sets you up to reach your higher, loftier goals.

Now I want to talk about your comfort zone.

What is a comfort zone? Well, according to the Cambridge English Dictionnary, a comfort zone is a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested.

Deep down inside, you know that if you continuously stay within the confines of your comfort zone, you won’t achieve the greater goals you set for yourself. But how to move out of your comfort zone without feeling completely frazzled and overwhelmed only to eventually give up… This is key here.

It comes back down to your task list.

Once you’ve settled nicely into your three first tasks and you’ve maintained their daily application/practice for a set period of time (I generally use a rule of 2 weeks as I find it is a good indicator of my willingness to apply change. You can read this great article here on the 21 day myth), review them and see how you can push them a little further. This could mean to replace a task that has become easy or second nature by a more challenging task or increase the value/duration of a task.

Let me give you an example.

In my previous post I told you my three basic tasks after a life altering event: shower, brush teeth, meditate for 10 minutes. Once I new I was well enough to do those every day, I increased my meditation to 20 minutes and I replaced brushing my teeth (which luckily, became a habit again) with a 30 minute walk.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I did not want to go for a walk. It took every once of willpower out of me and sometimes, I needed to bribe myself. But I did it anyway, even at -30°C or in pouring rain. And that attitude reinforced my “achievement mindset”. Everyday, by choosing to follow through with my list of 3 tasks, I made my “achievement mindset” stronger. And it got stronger because I was willing to comfortably step out of my comfort zone. I say comfortably because I didn’t go for drastic changes. I didn’t say, well ok then, now that I shower everyday, I’m gonna start training for a triathlon! I kept it within a reasonable increment that challenged me but didn’t overwhelm me.

I encourage you to do the same. Once you’ve mastered the daily application of your first three tasks, review them and see how you can comfortably step out of your own comfort zone. And do not give up. There are greater achievements waiting for you…

And now, unto the cheezy brocoli soup recipe

cheesy and comforting vegan broccoli cheese soup with chunks of broccoli and grated vegan cheeseThis recipe calls for soaked cashews. Here are my two tips when it comes to soaked raw nuts:

  1. when I know I’m going to make a recipe that uses them in the evening, I soak the nuts first thing in the morning as I get myself and my toddler ready for the day. Once we’re all ready, I drain the nuts and put them in a container in the fridge. And yes, I do set a timer in order not to forget.
  2. soaked nuts freeze very well. When I buy raw nuts in bulk, I soak half the bag right away, allow them to dry on a sheet pan over paper towel, then pop them in a freezer bag. So when I need them, they are ready to go in no time and can be used straight out of the freezer.

Ce recipe was inspired by the amazing Stacey over at www.staceyhomemaker.com.

I hope you and your family enjoy this comforting bowl of soup. Don’t forget to leave me a comment at the bottom of the post. And let me know if you are enjoying these little minduflness tips.

xx

Cheezy broccoli soup and your comfort zone
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 portions
This recipe is cheezy, luscious, delicious and nutritious. I used 1/2 Cup of nutritional yeast because we love a big cheezy flavour in our family but you can bring it all the way down to 1/4 Cup. This soup will also thicken up overnight so just add a little water or even some almond milk for a creamier taste, when you reheat it.
Ingredients
  • 1/3 Cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 medium yellow potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 broccoli heads
  • 2 Cups of water
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 Cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbs yellow prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 Cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 tsp Himalayan salt
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews in water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
  2. Peel and thinly slice the onion, potatoes and carrots (it will cut down on your cooking time).
  3. Wash the broccoli and cut into bite size florets.
  4. In a large pot set over medium heat, add the olive oil and the onion. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the potatoes, carrots and 2 Cups of water. Stir.
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat.
  7. Allow to cook covered for at least 15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets.
  8. When vegetables are done and tender, remove most of the broccoli and set aside.
  9. Remove the pot from heat, add the soaked cashews, paprika, granulated garlic and nutritional yeast and with a hand blender, blend the vegetable and nut mixture.
  10. Once the mixture is blended to creaminess, add the 4 cups of water, vegetable bouillon cube and the two mustards.
  11. Bring the pot back on to low heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  12. Add the broccoli and salt to taste.
  13. Enjoy.

 

 

Beluga lentil couscous salad

beluga lentil couscous salad

 

I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to most of you, but I spend a lot of time in grocery stores. Sometimes, multiple times a day (like when a recipe is a total fail and I need to redo it but I’ve run out of ingredients!) Luckily, I truly enjoy the process. But every once in a while, I get bored of shopping at the same few places so I off I go, looking for some new and exciting ingredient to spark my creativity. Last week, while shopping at a bulk food store, I found Beluga Lentils. It was an ah-ha moment. I had never heard of Beluga lentils but their cute little jet-black rounded shape sparked my interest. I also found some spelt couscous and the idea of the Beluga lentil couscous salad was born.

Beluga lentils get their name from their ressemblance to Beluga caviar. According to Merchant Gourmet, these little black gems pack a serious nutritional punch and are loaded with dietary fibre and folates. Unlike green lentils, black lentils such as Beluga possess anthocyanins – the same powerful antioxidant found in dark berries like blueberries and blackberries. These antioxidants are great at preventing damage to cells by free-radicals.

Spelt couscous is also a powerhouse and according to the savy people over at Organic Facts, the health benefits of spelt include its ability to help in regulating the body’s metabolism, aid in the creation of sex hormones, increase circulation, build strong bones, improve the immune system, boost the digestive function, lowering blood sugar, and reducing cholesterol levels in the body.

Now I’m thinking, combining those two powerhouses together and you’ve got yourself some seriously nourishing food.

Because at the end of the day, that’s my goal: to bring you great tasting food that nourish your body so you can thrive both mentally and physically. It is very hard for the mind to function optimally if the body is undernourished but when the body is fed what it craves and needs, the possibilities are limitless.

And that’s where I went to propel you: to your own limitlessness…

And it all starts in your plate.

 

beluga lentil couscous salad with raw vegetables and liquid gold dressing

But before I share this awesome recipe with you guys, I want to follow up with you on what I wrote in my last post: that I would be sharing with you tips and tricks I’ve learned along my journey as a student of yoga, spiritual scriptures and mindfulness practices, for you to implement in your daily life so you can reach your own goals and potential.

Yes, this blog is not only about getting your belly full of delicious food, but also feeding your inner Self.

So the first tip I want to share with you is this: make a list of 3 tasks and do them daily. No exception.

Now why is that so important? Well I’m sure you’ve read about the importance of goal setting and how successful people are all goal-setters. But too often we get tangled up in really big goals and we get frustrated and easily discouraged because we’re not seeing result as quickly as we would like. Goal setting is important but by getting into the habit of accomplishing 3 daily tasks we set for ourselves, we are taking the necessary small steps to reach that bigger goal without getting discouraged.

It also creates what I like to call the “accomplishment mindset” where you get into the habit of succeeding at meeting your own goals, daily. that mindset is so extremely beneficial for your self-esteem and for reaching your bigger goals down the road.

As you are starting out with your list, pick 3 (and yes, no more then 3) tasks that you know you can achieve in a day, everyday. Don’t start off with unrealistic tasks. Start small, and grow from there.

Let me give you a personal example. A few months back, my life came to a halt and I lost one of the most important, influential and beloved person in my life, my father. Everything became overwhelming and I felt stuck. Luckily, I knew how to get myself out of that funk. I took out my journal and wrote down 3 tasks that I would need to accomplish everyday for the next few weeks. Here were my tasks:

  • take a shower
  • brush my teeth
  • meditate/pray for 10 minutes

I know. Very basic. But I knew I couldn’t do more then the basics. However, I always made a point to accomplish all three tasks, everyday. No exceptions. Slowly but surely, the “accomplishment mindset” set in and I was able to move to more evolved tasks. I still implement the 3 tasks rule everyday because it’s what keeps me motivated, accountable and mindful.

This is just an example of my life but it goes to show you how sometimes, we need to go back to basics in order to move forward with ease again. So calibrate your tasks to where you are in your life right now and where you want to go.

I hope this tip helps you move forward.

And now, unto the recipe!

This salad calls for my Liquid Gold Dressing from a few posts back.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment about this recipe or my 3 task tip.

Beluga lentil couscous salad
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
This salad can easily be put together and can accommodate any raw vegetable combination. Make it as colourful as you fancy.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup dry Beluga Lentils
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 Cup dry spelt couscous
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 6 small radishes
  • 2 medium size carrots
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 serving of Liquid Gold Dressing
Instructions
  1. Rinse the lentils under cold water.
  2. In a large pot, cover the lentils with 3 cups of water and bring them to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and continue to cook them over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the lentil, about 25 minutes of cooking.
  4. In the meantime, bring 1 cup of water to boil in a small pot.
  5. Add the salt and couscous, stir and remove from heat.
  6. Chop up the raw vegetables and fresh parsley and set aside in a salad bowl.
  7. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add to the vegetables.
  8. Once the Beluga lentils are cooked, drain and add to the salad bowl.
  9. Toss everything together and drizzle the Liquid Gold Dressing.
  10. Enjoy

 

New Year Resolution Soup

creamy vegetable soup loaded with good for you vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, lentils for protein and fiber

 

Happy 2018 everyone!

Some of you that read my blog regularly (thank you loyal fans, I appreciate you so much!) have probably noticed that I haven’t posted a new recipe in a while. This New Year Resolution Soup is actually my first recipe since mid-December. A lot of things happened in the last month of 2017, which I’ll share with you in the coming weeks, but what I do want to share with you right now, other then this really yummy soup recipe, is the few additions I’ll be making to this blog.

2017 has not been a great year for me. Yes, great things have happened, because nothing is ever all bad, but in the whole, it’s been a rather difficult year. That being said, I have learned tremendously from the experiences and events of the past year and I’ve had to dig deep into my life long teachings to overcome the obstacles that were scattered across my path. And I want to share what these teachings with you.

I want to teach you and share with you the tools I’ve developed and used to turn these obstacles into opportunities or at least into manageable situations. I want to share these with you because I think you can greatly benefit from what I’ve learned over decades of practise. I think everyone is confronted with obstacles in their lives and everyone needs as many tools as possible to face them in order to bring happiness back into their life.

So as of my next blog post, I’ll be sharing with you these teachings, along with recipes. I’ll also be sharing with you additional tips on the mindfulness page of this blog so do go and check it out. This is all for you.

Some of you may be wondering what a food blog has to do with mindfulness and life lessons. Well let me tell you, it has everything to do with a food blog. How we choose to feed our bodies greatly impacts how we feel. And how we feel greatly impacts how we react (internally and externally). And how we react to life’s events greatly impacts our happiness. So yes, not only do I want to share with you tools on how to handle and face obstacles, but I want to do so in a holistic way that includes sharing with you delicious and soul nourishing recipes that I believe will serve you best to reach whatever goal you have.

And speaking of goals, this soup fits right in!

 

creamy vegetable soup loaded with good for you vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, lentils for protein and fiber

How many of you have made a New Year Resolution that relates to your health, be it eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less processed foods, making more home cooked meals, having a more healthy approach to food, loosing weight or maybe even going fully plant based… These are all very popular new year resolutions and they are all very noble. It’s putting them into practise in a consistent fashion that sometimes presents the greatest hurdle. But not to worry. This is why I’m here, creating recipes for you and this is why this soup was created for you in the first place.

2018 is all about reaching goals and thriving!

I always find that to stick to lifestyle changes relating to food or weight or health, you need to make these changes accessible and  easily implementable into you life. If not, chances of success are slim. That’s why this soup bears its title: because it easily fits into your new year resolutions: it takes no time at all to make so it can fit into any busy family’s schedule, it’s plant based and loaded with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, celery and golden potatoes, green lentils for protein and  plenty of fiber so its super healthy and will fill you up and leave you satisfied without weighing you down.

Winner!

I hope you guys enjoy this soup. Don’t forget to leave me a comment by clicking on the title and going to the bottom of that page and let me know what your new year resolution is.

 

New Year Resolution Soup
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 portions
This soup is loaded with vegetables, protein and fiber to fill you up and leave you fuelled and satisfied for the day.
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 leek
  • 2 stacks of celery
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 small yellow potatoes
  • 1 Cup dry green lentils
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (non-GMO and no MSG)
  • 6 Cups water
  • 1 Cup cashew milk (can add almond milk instead)
Instructions
  1. Wash and coarsely chop the cauliflower, broccoli, leek and celery.
  2. Dice the onion and mince the garlic and ginger.
  3. Wash, peel and cut the potatoes in little cubes.
  4. In a large pot, set over medium high heat, melt the coconut oil.
  5. Add the onion and garlic.
  6. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the remaining vegetables, lentils and ginger and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.
  8. Add the water, turmeric, salt and vegetable stock cubes.
  9. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  10. Allow to boil for 5 minutes.
  11. Reduce to medium heat and cook covered for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils and vegetables are cooked.
  12. Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  13. With a hand blender, blend the soup to your liking (we like a bit of chunks in ours).
  14. It will be thick.
  15. Stir in the cashew milk (we like thick soups so 1 cup of cashew milk was enough for us but add more or less to suit your family’s taste)
  16. Serve and enjoy

 

 

Liquid Gold Salad Dressing

 

I know what you guys are thinking… really Elle, Liquid Gold salad dressing, isn’t that a bit of an over exaggeration? It’s just salad dressing after all. Ahhh, but no my friends, it isn’t. This isn’t just some salad dressing and the title doesn’t only come from its golden colour. This is THE salad dressing. The salad dressing that will convert the non-salad-eaters into salad-cravers! Now, I’ll admit that I come from a very biased place: I love salads! Any kind of salads. Even the ones that don’t have a speck of green leaf in them. Chickpea salads, quinoa salads, asian rice salad, I love them all.

But I know not everyone is as excited about eating salad as I am. My husband for example, would never ask me to make salad for dinner. When I did, he’d happily eat it, but in our five years of being together, I had never heard him say: Babe, I’d love to eat a nice salad for dinner! Until now. Yes folks, the other evening, he asked to have a salad for dinner. VICTORY.

I’m pretty sure many of you feel the same about eating salad, or have someone in your family that is neither hot nor cold about salads. Or maybe you have someone that really dislikes salads altogether. Well, after many so-so attempts (you know those salad dressings that are good but don’t knock your socks off), I’ve managed to create this recipe. This one is for you my friends. The end goal: to turn your non-salad-eaters into salad-devourers (is that a word? not sure, but you get the idea!)

This salad dressing has other good things going for it: the two main ingredients are nutrition power houses. So not only do you feel good about eating the actual salad, but the salad dressing (which is usually the caloric/unhealthy downfall to many salads) enhances all those health benefits. And most importantly, for all of you busy folks out there, this salad dressing takes no time at all to make and can go over most any salad. I’ve tried it over lentil salad, brown rice and beet salad and plain mixed green salad. As a busy parent, anything that is quick and easy usually has my vote. If I can toss some leftover vegetables or whole grains or both, in a bowl, drizzle some awesome dressing over it and call it a salad to serve for dinner, that’s a winner in my book. And I promise, it’ll be a winner in your book as well.

So, what are those power house ingredients. The main, and my favourite ingredient for this salad dressing, is apple cider vinegar (ACV).

ACV can be used in endless tasks from washing windows to face toners to cake batter to weight loss and regulating blood sugar. The fermentation process and the “Mother” (cobweb like strands of protein, enzymes and friendly bacteria substance at the bottom of the vinegar bottle) are thought to give vinegar its health benefits. According to Dr. Mercola, vinegar is traditionally made through a long, slow fermentation process, leaving it rich in bioactive components like acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, caffeic acid, and more, giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and many other beneficial properties. Stellar ingredient, if you ask me.

The other ingredient is olive oil. Now there is a lot of debate out there on the health benefits of adding fats to your diet and how much of it. Some believe that no fat should be eaten while others believe high fat is the way to go. Peer reviewed scientific articles have been written and published on both sides of the spectrum and if this is a topic that is of interest to you, I encourage you to dig deeper into it. As for me, I’ve personally tested both ends of that spectrum and where I feel my best is somewhere in the higher end middle. Trial and error is the only way you’ll be able to determine what works for YOU.

Now onto the health benefits of olive oil.

What makes olive oil so good for you is it antioxidant content. It also boast a decent amount of vitamin E and K, which doesn’t hurt. The health benefits of olive oil include treatment of colon, breast cancer, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, high cholesterol. It also aids weight loss, improves metabolism, digestion, and prevents aging. Not bad for an oil…

So yes, not only are you going to feel great about eating this dressing because of all its health benefits, but it’s also amazingly delicious. Aren’t you just craving this recipe now… Wait no more my friends, here it is!

Hope you guys love it. Don’t forget to leave me a comment by clicking on the recipe title on top of the page and leave me a comment at the bottom of the post to let me know what kind of salad you made to go with this dressing.

xx

 

Liquid Gold Dressing
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 portions
This salad dressing takes no time to make and will soon become a family favourite
Ingredients
  • 1/3 + 2 Tbs Cup apple cider vinegar (use raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized ACV if possible)
  • 1 Cup olive oil (use extra virgin olive oil if possible)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tsp tamari sauce ( i use gluten free tamari sauce)
  • 1/2 dried origano
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a mason jar and give a good shake.
  2. And voilà!