Category Archives: Recipes

Healthy Granola, Date and Pecans

If you’ve never tried to make your own granola before I highly recommend that you try out this recipe. Homemade granola is healthier for you, cheaper, and much more delicious. Try different combinations or nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I happened to have a surplus of dates and pecans and I find they make a delicious combo. Almonds and cranberries are another favourite of mine.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 + 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional but suggested, adds great flavour)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (optional but also suggested)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix the oats, pecans, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk the oil and honey together over low-medium heat. Add the salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
  3. Pour the mixture over the oat, nut and seed mixture. Stir to completely coat everything with the oil honey mixture.
  4. Place approximately half the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes (depending on how hot your over runs). Remove baking sheet and stir mixture. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and stir again. Repeat this process until the granola is golden, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  6. Cool mixture. Stir in the dates and chia seeds.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin oatmeal

I love when Fall comes around each year because it is stunning with the leaf changes, but I also love the seasonal food items that are available, especially squash. I also enjoy cooking up batches of stews an soups and using warming spices in my cooking such as ginger and cinnamon. This recipe has warming spices and squash and is a real winner! It tastes like pumpkin pie in a bowl and will fill you up in the morning. Using canned pumpkin gives you access to this recipe all year long, not just when pumpkins are in season.

Pumpkins are not only delicious but are also very nutritious. They are high in fiber, vitamin A as well as vitamin K. Vitamin A is recognized as being essential for vision as well as for cellular differentiation, growth, reproduction, bone development, and immune system actions. Vitamin A plays a role in maintaining the adrenal gland and  the synthesis of hormones such as thyroid hormone.

I recommend adding pumpkin seeds to this oatmeal as it helps add interest to the texture as well as added nutrition. Pumpkin seeds have beneficial fats such as linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) and oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) and are a great source of magnesium.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked pureed pumpkin (canned can be used)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup large flake oats (gluten free is necessary)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon (optional, I find gives it a nice flavour. You can add ground nutmeg instead if desired)
  • Pumpkin seeds for serving
  • Honey or maple syrup for serving

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan combine pumpkin puree, water, almond milk, spices and the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the oats, stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Simmer the oats until cooked throughout, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, a drizzle of your natural sweetener of choice (honey or maple syrup are my choices). I’ve added chia seeds as well and Greek yogurt can also be a nice addition.

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad

Carrots add colour and blend well with the pumpkin, chia seeds and hemp heartsThis tasty salad boasts several superfoods in one, making this an excellent addition to any meal. Kale has been popularized for all of the nutrients it has, and I’ve previously posted about it. Red cabbage is not often thought of as being very nutritious, but it should be. Red cabbage has a high concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, which are anti-inflammatory and act as antioxidants. Red cabbage is also very high in vitamin C and vitamin K and can be part of a diet for cancer prevention. Cabbage (especially when steamed) has some cholesterol lowering benefits. The pumpkin, hemp hearts and chia seeds add  vitamins, minerals, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (optional if you want it a bit spicy)
  • 1/2-1/4 clove crushed garlic (depending how garlicky you like your food)
  • 1/8 tsp minced fresh ginger
  •  pinch of salt to taste
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1 cup red cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Directions
1) In a bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients to make the dressing
2) Wash, de-stem and finely chop the kale. Use your box grater (cheese grater) to make your cabbage into smaller bite sized pieces. I like to use the “slicer” side which is the slot that is about 5 cm wide (2 inches) and 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) tall.  Peel and julienne the carrots, or if you have a spiralizer you can use it like I did. Place the kale, carrots, and cabbage into a large bowl
3) Add the pumpkin and chia seeds and hemp hearts to the bowl. Drizzle the dressing on and toss to mix everything.

This recipe was modified from here.

The Health Benefits of Garlic, and how to Roast it

Roasted garlicGarlic is an ingredient I tend to put in just about everything that I cook, even when it’s not listed in the ingredients. I do this because I absolutely love garlic. It makes everything taste better. I am also very liberal with it because I know that regular garlic consumption is good for me. If garlic isn’t a regular part of your life yet, let me convince you to make it your smelly companion.

Garlic contains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper and selenium. It’s not a significant source of these vitamins and minerals, but it does help to boost the nutritional profile of your dish.

Garlic helps to support healthy digestion. It inhibits the growth of candida (a yeast you don’t want in excess in your digestive system) and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestines (Lactobacillus and Acidophilus). Garlic works also as an anti-microbial, meaning it inhibits the bad bacteria. For garlic to work as an anti-microbial, it needs to be taken raw and crushed.

Garlic is also great for your cardiovascular system. Garlic can help reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL). It also has the ability to help lower your blood pressure (along with other dietary and lifestyle changes of course).

Garlic and onions are one of the top 5 sensitivities in individuals with gallbldder
and nursing mothers with colicky babies. Taken in higher doses, pregnant and individuals on anti-coagulants should be cautious and contact their health-care providers.

How to Roast Garlic:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 tsp oil

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 F.
2) Peel off the excess skin around the bulb so that you can see most of the individual cloves. Keep the bulb together.
3) Cut off the tips of the cloves so that each one is now exposed. It should look like this:

Raw garlic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Place the bulb on tin foil. Drizzle the top of each clove with the oil, making sure that each clove top is covered in oil.
5) Wrap the bulb in foil, put it in an oven-safe dish, and place in the oven.
6) Roast garlic for 35-45 minutes until the cloves have a nice golden colour.
7) Let the garlic cool for about 10 minutes. After this time you can carefully squeeze the bottom of each clove to get the garlic clove out. Add to a recipe or even use it as a spread on toast, crackers, etc.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Vegan chocolate chia puddingThis is a healthy dessert option, that is loaded with nutritional benefits. This pudding recipe contains chia seeds, which are small but have a lot of nutritional value that makes them a “superfood.” These seeds are high in dietary fibre with 3 tbsp containing about 40% of your daily fibre requirements. They are also high in protein, especially considering their small size. These seeds contain a lot of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. This makes chia seeds an excellent choice for women to incorporate in their diet for osteoporosis prevention.

This vegan pudding also contains raw cacao, dates, and a non-dairy milk. Raw cacao has a lot of nutritional benefit which I explained in my raw caramel chocolate post. Dates are nutritional alternatives to sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey. Dates contain fibre, iron magnesium, manganese, antioxidants,

This pudding recipe can almost be considered an instant pudding. I find that if you blend the chia seeds then you don’t have to refrigerate long before enjoying.

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I prefer unsweetened almond and coconut milk)
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 8-10 Medjool dates (remove pits)
  • ½  cup chia seeds
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Garnish: shredded coconut, fresh raspberries

Directions

1) Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend for a few minutes until everything is a smooth consistency.
2) Do a taste test and see if you the pudding is sweet enough for you. If it’s not, add more dates.
3) Depending how thick you like your pudding, you may be able to enjoy right away. Otherwise place in a glass dish, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

*Note: I wanted to make this recipe without an added sweetener such as honey or maple syrup. You can substitute the date for 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup, depending how sweet you like it. The recipe won’t be considered vegan if you add honey.