Since Valentine's Day is almost upon us, I have a stack of recipes for you! As the years go by, I accumulate a few new recipes each year. My instagram is ALL PINK right now because of it haha (it also happens to be my favourite color so I don't mind). Even though these are geared toward Valentine's Day, you can certainly enjoy them any time of the year.
First, I have a new recipe that I'm especially excited about - moist chocolate cupcakes that are EASY to make and they're vegan, gluten free, AND nut free! You could even enjoy them as muffins without the frosting. Throw in some chocolate chips and nuts and you've got a fabulous muffin!
Vegan - Gluten Free - Nut Free - Makes 10 large cupcakes
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour OR banana flour*
1/2 cup cacao powder
3/4 - 1 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed**
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or avocado oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Stir both together. Spoon into large muffin cups (I used a silicone muffin pan but you can do paper cups in a tin). Bake for 20-22 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. NOTE: I bake for a few minutes LESS if using banana flour.
*Note: Banana flour doesn't taste like bananas. It has an odd smell but you don't notice it once its added to recipes.
**Make sure to use spotted bananas. I've made it twice with frozen/thawed ones which give off a lot of liquid once thawed.
Note: These cupcakes freeze well but they dry out a bit in the fridge so I recommend keeping them at room temperature (but without frosting and frost just before eating), OR freeze them.
Let's talk frosting... You have 2 options: My luscious and creamy cashew frosting OR if you want to keep the whole recipe nut free, do the coconut frosting.
Creamy Cashew Frosting
1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk
3/4 cups raw cashews
1/4 cup maple syrup or coconut nectar
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon (or more) beet powder for color*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make sure the coconut milk is room temperature. Blend the milk, cashews, and syrup until smooth in a high speed blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend to incorporate. Pour into an 8x8" pan (or other large shallow container) and chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours, until it firms up. Spread or pipe on the cooled cupcakes.
*I used green powder for the green ones.
2 cans full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup OR 6-7 drops stevia
Beet powder, sifted
Chill the coconut milk in the fridge at least 12 hours. Open and drain off the water. Whip the thick creamy part with the sweetener, and beet powder until you achieve desired shade of pink.
Did you know that it was National Peanut Butter Day on January 24th? Yup it was!
Peanut butter and chocolate is my all time favourite sweet combo and I've created the FLUFFIEST, most airy mousses that I think you'll love as much as I do. They contain 2 secret ingredients that you might not be expecting hehe. I've been playing around with this recipe for the last few weeks and I'm so happy with it (I've made it at least 4 times!). It's a hard job to get these dessert recipes right but hey, someone's gotta do it!!
So are you ready to hear what the 2 secret ingredients are?!
Chickpeas AND Aquafaba
Aquafaba is the liquid from cooking the chickpeas (aka the chickpea water). It's the same whether you cook your own chickpeas or drain the liquid off from a can of them. You may have already heard about the aquafaba rage as it's become quite popular in the past year and I've been experimenting with it lately. When whipped, it creates a wonderful light, airy meringue exactly the same way that egg whites does! How crazy is that?!
I've folded the airy meringue into the both the peanut butter and chocolate mixtures for ultra creamy and airy mousses. Since I was experimenting with aquafaba, I ended up with a bunch of chickpeas so thought I'd try to incorporate them into the mousse and it worked! You won't even notice them.
-If you want to keep the airiness of the mousse, it's best not to tamper with it once you make it and pour it into glasses or bowls right away. I've found that spooning the finished mousse from a bowl into a piping bag or bowl will deflate it quite a bit. It's still amazing though, don't get me wrong - just not so airy.
-Some people seem to need to whip the aquafaba for about 10 minutes to get it to a stiff peak where it can hold its shape, however with electric beaters and cream of tartar added, I find that it reaches a stiff peak within 5 minutes. Cream of tartar is a dry, powdery, acidic byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. The person who discovered it sure had a moment of inspiration! Adding it speeds up the creation of foam and helps stabilize the structure of the tiny air bubbles that are being whipped. You may have used it before. I grew up using it in the gingerbread house frosting that my mom and I made to get the house to hold together.
-The more of the meringue you add, the fluffier the mousse will be.
-I've sweetened the mousses with sweetened condensed coconut milk by Let's Do Organic which I love and buy at my local health food store. You could also make your own but I've never done it.
-The aquafaba seems to whip faster when it's chilled so I store it in the fridge (and it keeps for weeks).
Blend all BUT the meringue until smooth in a blender. Pour into a large bowl and then gently fold in the meringue until its fully incorporated. Place into the fridge right away and then layer it with the chocolate mousse when it's made. OR just leave it in the large bowl and let it sit at least 6 hours to firm up (see my note above).
2/3 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 -2 cups aquafaba meringue
Blend all but the meringue in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and gently fold in the meringue. Very gently layer with the peanut butter mousse in glasses and then chill for at least 6 hours in the fridge. OR just chill in the large bowl.
1/2 cup chilled aquafaba
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Whip both ingredients on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. Keep in the fridge while blending the other components of the mousse.
I drizzled mine with chocolate and peanuts.
Stay tuned for Valentine's Day desserts next week!
We're taking a break from the sweet for some savory. I'm super stoked about these recipes! Really and truly, these two recipes need to become part of your regular repertoire. First, "tuna" salad that is made with a secret ingredient that you might not think of!! It's crazy easy to make, and is satisfying and delicious. Nachos are also on the roster. But fully loaded, epic veggie nachos - both the cheese and the taco meat are made out of veggies!!! I can't wait for you to try it.
Last year I created a recipe video sharing the nacho recipe but now I'm sharing it in a written post that's easier for you to follow along and I can't wait to hear what you think of it...
You can whip up a batch of the tuna salad and keep it in the fridge for the week. Spread it into lettuce leaves like I did, or enjoy it on cucumber slices, with crackers, or as a sandwich.
Were you guessing what that "secret" ingredient might be?! Drum roll...
It's artichoke hearts!
Yup, they create a perfect consistency, similar to tuna salad and they just taste so darn good. I've also tried adding 1/2 cup of chick peas to it and it's also really lovely - but at least you have a nut-free/bean-free option.
Vegan Tuna Salad
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 4-6 hours
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon himalayan salt
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful fresh dill, chopped
Drain and rinse the sunflower seeds really well. Finely grind the seeds in a food processor. It's important to grind them alone, first, or they won't break down properly. Add the artichokes, lemon, vinegar, oil, and salt, and process to combine all ingredients (don't over blend). Stir in the onions and dill.
You can also add finely chopped celery - or just spread it right into celery! And/or fresh parsley but make sure to have the dill in there!
Optional: Add 1/2 cup chickpeas!
Why do we soak the sunflower seeds?
For texture purposes in this recipe, it's easier to have soaked/softer seeds.
Nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors which makes them really hard to digest and assimilate (its as though it's in a dormant state), and soaking them makes them much more digestible.
Onto the nachos!
I've always loved nachos - there's just something about all the textures: crunchy chips, chewy tomatoes, creamy guacamola and sour cream. Mmm! Over the years I've made raw nachos by making chips in the dehydrator but it can be so time consuming and these days I just don't have that kind of time. I've used organic tortilla chips here which is the only unhealthy part of the meal but hey, everything in moderation right?! You can also use baked brown rice tortillas, or rice chips - whatever you like.
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (2 1/2 cups)
1/2 medium onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small clove garlic
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
Boil the squash and onion until cooked through. Add them to the blender along with all other ingredients and blend until smooth.
Veggie Taco Meat
2 cups halved mushrooms
1 cup diced zuchchini
Drizzle of avocado oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes or 1/4 tsp onion powder
1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons tamari
Grind the zucchini to rice sized bits in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the mushrooms. Heat the oil and saute the mushrooms over high heat until all moisture is gone. Add the spices and continue sauteeing for a few minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add another drizzle of oil and saute the zucchini on high heat (to prevent the liquid from coming out). Add the mushroom mixture back in and saute for another few minutes.
Happy New Year, friends! I hope this year is off to a great start for you. This is my first blog post of 2018 and I have some sweet, yet extra healthy recipes to share with you that are raw, vegan, gluten free, and nut free: mint chocolate squares, an iron boosting chocolate smoothie bowl, an acai smoothie bowl AND last but not least, a giveaway!
It seems that many people are still on some kind of detox mode after the holidays (we just finished the 7 day group sugar cleanse). Regardless of where you're at, I've got some "detox approved" recipes to share with you that are so tasty, you won't even realize how healthy they are!
First up, creamy mint chocolate squares that have a secret ingredient to boost their nutrition: TriPow! TriPow is a blend of spirulina and chlorella (both are algaes), which are considered superfoods due to their extremely high nutritional profile. You know that I'm a big fan of incorporating green powders right into my recipes because its such a tasty way to enjoy them. Let's face it, we need to be eating more greens!
Here's what the TriPow website has to say about these 2 superstar foods:
Dating back thousands of years, algae boasts such an impressive nutritional profile, and the benefits are being researched by NASA and the European Space Agency as the perfect space food. Over 40 years ago, the United Nations World Food Conference declared algae the “Best food for the future.”
Algae is 50-70% protein by weight and contains all the essential amino acids for your body to thrive. It has more iron than spinach, more beta carotene than carrots, and provides a myriad of nutrients to boost your health. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids and detoxifying phytochemicals, we believe TriPow is the perfect food blend. It has been endorsed by athletes and Olympians for energy, recovery and peak performance. Many other TriPow customers boast of weight loss, mental clarity, better immunity, glowing skin, detoxification and reversing anemia or low iron.
Mint Chocolate Squares
Nut Free - Raw - Vegan - Gluten Free
You can make these as mint squares (grasshopper squares) - OR you can omit the peppermint and turn them into green vanilla bars! I've made them both ways and they're fabulous either way.
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2/3 cup pitted dates
1/2 teaspoon tripow greens
2 teaspoons water
Grind the coconut, seeds, and cacao to fine crumbs in a food processor. Add the dates and greens. Process until they're broken down. Add the water starting with slightly less and process briefly. Press the dough into a plastic wrap lined 9x5 bread pan.
3/4 cup mashed avocado
1/2 cup coconut milk*
1/4 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon tripow greens**
4-5 drops peppermint essential oil OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend the avocado, coconut milk, and nectar in a blender until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again to incorporate. Spread the mixture over the crust. Place in the freezer for at least 6 hours and then into the fridge for a few hours before slicing.
*Or almond milk
**I've incorporated the tripow greens into this dessert for even more nutrition. If you live outside of Canada, you can substitute spirulina or chlorella. And don't be fooled by the small amount - a little reeeeally packs a punch! It's a very concentrated powder.
2 tablespoons coconut nectar
2 tablespoons cacao powder, sifted
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1-2 teaspoons hot water
Whisk all ingredients together until very smooth and shiny. Drizzle over the finished squares.
Enter to WIN a bag of TriPow Greens to enjoy in your recipes too! This giveaway is only open to residents of Canada.
Leave a comment below answering this question: have you ever tried spirulina or chlorella? How do you like to take it? (My answer: Yes, I used to be so hooked on spirulina when I was a raw foodist that I would sprinkle it on all of my salads. I also used to chew chlorella tablets for fun! haha).
A winner will randomly be chosen on Tuesday January 16th and will be contacted by email. You will need to respond within 24 hours to claim your prize.
This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own and I only share products with you that I truly love and use.
Let's get into that chocolate smoothie bowl now, shall we?!
This bowl is specifically designed to help boost your iron! So if you think the ingredients are funny, like the raisins, that is why. And not to worry if you don't like raisins - you WON'T taste them once they're blended in.
Isn't it amazing how just a few simple garnishes really elevate a simple dish? Tahini, molasses, and a combo of crushed and whole cacao nibs were perfect and tasty touches here. Its also fun to swirl it all around!
Iron Boosting Chocolate Smoothie Bowl
1/3 cup brewed chaga tea*
1/3 cup packed raisins
1/2 frozen avocado**
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon molasses, plus more to drizzle
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 cup soft dates
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
6 large ice cubes
Soak the raisins in the chaga tea (either soak them in chilled chaga tea and let sit for at least 4 hours to soften OR soak them in the hot tea but only use the tea in the smoothie once it's cooled). Blend all but the ice cubes in a high speed blender until smooth. Add the ice and blend again smooth and frosty. Eat immediately.
Happy Holidays! I hope you've been enjoying the season with your loved ones. I've been enjoying a few too many sweets, rich foods, and glasses of wine so am ready for a sugar cleanse to refresh and get back on track! Do you want to join me?
Starting next week, on Tuesday January 2, 2018 I'll be leading an online 7 Day Sugar Cleanse. I've just finished revamping my previous sugar cleanse recipe e-book and meal plan to gear it even more toward weight loss. My goal is to make the experience as easy and delicious as possible for you. I also have a private Facebook group set up so that we can all openly share our experience on the cleanse, support each other, talk about sugar/food addiction/cravings, post pics of our meals, chat about the recipes, and more. I'm so excited!!
What do I mean by sugar cleanse?
I mean eating a cleansing (but NOT restrictive) diet without any sugar except berries. No gluten, no grains and no dairy either. There is NO calorie counting. It's all about eating plenty of fresh, whole foods and giving the body a break from all sweet things to relieve inflammation, improve digestion, and increase metabolism and energy.
I'll be right here with you doing the cleanse too and will be available for daily support to help you in any way that I can.
In the e-book and in the group, I'll be giving tips for success with a sugar cleanse. I typically do a sugar cleanse 1-2 times a year and I always feel SO refreshed, lose weight, feel more energized, and lose any sugar cravings. I've discovered the key to making it easy and enjoyable, and I can't wait to share it with you.
Here's how it works:
Once you register, you'll get to instantly download a copy of my 7 Day Sugar Cleanse recipe e-book which also contains the 7 day meal plan, and information. You'll be emailed a copy of the grocery list too.
You'll get access to our private facebook group which officially gets going on our start date. You'll be able to interact with me every day along with others in the group. Questions, support, food photos, recipe questions, etc. I'll also be sharing bonus recipes with you and a few facebook live videos sharing recipes in real time and answering any questions.
The recipes I provide are all: vegan, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, corn free, and grain free. Many of the recipes are high-raw.
For each day of the cleanse you'll find 5 easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, 1 snack, and 1 low sugar treat.
The recipes will work for all different diets: raw vegan, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, pescatarian, gluten free, and keto. In order to tailor this cleanse to everyone, I give different protein options for the meals.
Knowing that people are busy, I provide "time saving tips" in the recipes to make this do-able for everyone. Often, the recipes will build on each other to save time. For example, sauce and noodles from one meal get additions to turn it into a new meal.
Register for the 7 Day Sugar Cleanse now
and instantly download a copy of recipe e-book/meal plan. A copy of the grocery list will be emailed. Get access to the private facebook support group and get daily support from me along the way (starting September 18th).
Click here to register. $50
All sales are final
Here are just a few of the recipes you'll get:
Yes, sugar free treats are part of the cleanse - they're specifically created to keep your blood sugar stable.
Matcha Almond Crunch Bars.
Creamy Vanilla "Noatmeal"
Chocolate Brazil Nut Bark
Thai Green Curry
Creamy Green Soup
Grain Free Blueberry Porridge
And maaany more! (7 days worth of recipes - 3 meals and 2 snacks a day PLUS daily bonus recipes in the private facebook group).
Before we start this sugar cleanse or if you're not quite ready to cut out ALL sweeteners, I have an amazing chocolate detox pudding recipe for you!!
You may remember the post I did in the summer where I shared my struggles with an iron deficiency. I discovered Pranin Organic, a Vancouver based company that makes all natural supplements that are whole food based and started taking their products, specifically the ones for iron, for 3 months. I had my blood work done at the beginning which showed my ferritin sitting at a 4 (I should be at 20 at the very least) and my Hemoglobin was 119 (just on the edge of normal).
I took the Iron, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C powders every day and I took the A-Z blend of vitamins and minerals at least 3 days a week. Sometimes I took the powders in smoothies but typically I just took them straight up in water as they're quite strong in taste so I wanted to get them down the hatch in a hurry.
After 3 months: Sadly my ferritin is only up to 6 but my hemoglobin is up to 138! So at least that's a decent improvement. I'm not sure if there's an absorption issue going on or what.
I created today's detox pudding using Pranin's A-Z blend - and guess what? You can't even taste it in there. It just tastes like chocolate goodness. You won't know that this is so incredibly healthy for you.
Chia seeds are the thickener in this pudding. They're such a great detox food because they're like brooms and work to clean out the intestinal tract while helping with hydration and give you energy at the same time. They're also very filling.