Sweet Potato Chilli

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I don’t know whether this constitutes as chilli or a stew but either way it is one of the easiest, cheapest and most satisfying meals to eat when the cold weather comes around. I have been making this dish for about four years now and can basically do it with my eyes closed. It is such a staple in my household, it practically blends in with the fridge.  What is so great about any chilli or stew is that you can add just about anything and it will still taste pretty great so long as the spice is there. If you have vegetables or meat that are reaching their expiration date, you can throw them into the pot and extend their life for at least another week or two. Whats best is that this dish actually tastes better with age. Just like a homemade sauce, the flavours are more enhanced a day or two later and it can be enjoyed throughout the week.

I do not add meat to this chilli because it is already packed with enough protein from all of the beans, which makes it a great option for #meatlessmondays or for those trying to reduce their animal protein intake. And to be honest, you don’t really miss it. I normally make Zach a huge container to take to work to eat throughout the week. This kid loves his steak more than the average, and this chilli is one of his favourites!

Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and can even help with weight management. Because they are rich in protein and carbohydrates you will be left feeling full and satisfied without any added fat. The sweet potato will give you lots of vitamin E and potassium. I even add a little turmeric to mine for added anti inflammatory benefits. Feel free to interchange the sweet potato with butternut squash (equally as delicious). Serve with a fresh salad for a complete meal or over some brown rice after a good cardio workout. My mom loves it over brown rice noodles or stuffed in a baked potato! Dee-lish. Bon appétit!
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Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
• 1 yellow onion finely chopped
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp chilli powder (you can add more if you like your chilli smokier)
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tbsp ground cumin
• about 1 lb chopped carrots (8-10 carrots, make sure they are bite sized!)
• 2 sweet potatoes chopped (can interchange with squash)
• 2 large cans of whole tomatoes (I buy San Marzano)
• 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
• 1 cup cooked red kidney beans
• 1 cup cooked canellini beans
• 1 heaped tbsp of tomato paste
• 1 tbsp hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot) *optional
• 2-3 drops stevia (optional)
• bunch of fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Directions:

1. In a huge stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Sautée onion until translucent about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and spices. Sautée for another minute.
2. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. If you find they are sticking to the pot, add more olive oil.
3. Add tomatoes and pierce using a wooden spoon. If you like tomato chunks, don’t break them down too much! Add tomato paste and hot sauce and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer uncovered and cook until you can pierce the potato and carrots easily with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).
4. Add your beans and allow to cook for another 10 minutes until the water from the tomatoes is mostly cooked down. If you are using canned beans, make sure to rinse them really well! Make sure to taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. If you like a sweet and spicy chilli, add a little bit of stevia!
5. Serve with fresh cilantro as a garnish!
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Creamy Coconut Avocado Lime Pie

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Theres nothing like the refreshing and creamy taste of a key lime pie. Back when I ate whatever was in front of me, this was my go-to dessert at any steak house. Although always light in taste and texture, key lime pie is heavy in dairy, gluten and refined sugars. But, have no fear, a clean version of this recipe has been surfacing all over the internet. No I am not the first one to make an avocado lime pie, but after making this about 4-5 times by now, I think I finally have got the flavour just right. With some coconut cream, avocado and lime juice this dessert would fool any sweets fan.

This pie in particular is not called ‘key lime’ pie because I could not find any key lime juice. Fun fact: most people just call their lime tarts and pies by the key lime name even though key lime juice is nowhere to be found. Key limes are actually a variety of the lime family, but can be quite difficult to find in grocery stores. I am sure however, this recipe would be just as delicious (maybe even more so) with some key lime juice.

In the ingredients, I give options for sweetening this dessert. If someone is watching their carb or sugar intake in your family you can replace the coconut sugar and maple syrup with stevia. My dad watches his carbs like a mad man and I have been making this for him on a weekly basis. One of the hardest parts of following a low carb diet or having an illness that restrains sugar intake is satisfying a sweet tooth. The low carb treats that are offered by the various diets (Atkins, South Beach) are full of chemicals, hydrogenated oils and artificial sweeteners. My dad is thrilled he can eat a dessert that has good for you fats and natural low glycemic sweeteners. There are always ways to meet the dietary needs of your family, friends and guests! With a few trips to your local health food stores, your pantry will eventually be filled with all the ingredients you need for an allergy/diet friendly home. I hope you enjoy this refreshing summer dessert!
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Crust Ingredients:

• 2 cups shredded coconut
• 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
• 1/3 cup coconut sugar or 1/2 tsp stevia
• pinch of salt
• 1 tsp vanilla

Filling Ingredients:

• juice of 4 limes (about 1/2 cup)
• zest of 2 limes
• 1 cup of organic coconut cream (**if you cannot find this in grocery stores, simply place two cans of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight and only use the thick white cream found at the top of the can)
• 3 ripe large avocados (about 2 cups scooped)
• 1/2 tsp stevia or 1/3 cup maple syrup
• dash of salt
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• fresh mint and lime slices for garnish (optional)

Crust Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line tart pan.
2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Press mixture into pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Let cool.

Filling Directions:

1. Using a spoon, scoop out the avocado from its skin and place in a food processor.Process until smooth.
2. Add the coconut cream, stevia (or maple syrup), salt, vanilla, lime juice and lmd zest. Process until completely smooth.
3. Taste the filling! You may need to add more sweetener or lime juice depending on how you tart/sweet you like it best!
4. When the crust has cooled, pour the filling into the crust. Place this in the freezer for about 1 hour or until it becomes solid. To serve, simple remove the pie from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving.
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Herbed Walnut Quinoa with Honey Balsamic Grilled Peaches

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Quinoa as we all know by now is super grain because of its unique characteristics. Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. This makes it a great meal for vegans and vegetarians or as a substitute for rice or other grains and starches. I’ve seen this grain used in so many great ways. Like rice, it is versatile and can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. Plus, it is naturally gluten free! I like to cook my quinoa in vegetable or chicken stock to let the grain absorb all that flavour. This will reduce the amount of sauce, oil, dressing etc.. you will need to flavour the mild tasting grain. It is a must for this recipe! You can make your own veg stock or buy low sodium organic stock or broth in most grocery stores. The ingredients should only include vegetables, no funky chemicals or added salt.

Now that summer is here, everyone is craving those light refreshing flavours. Fresh herbs and citrus are always in my fridge for fresh teas and juices. They also add great light flavour to desserts and main dishes alike without adding unwanted oils, sauces etc… I really wanted to make a quinoa that was both sweet and savoury but really refreshing and light at the same time. By grilling the peaches with honey and balsamic they get a beautiful caramelization and smoky flavour that combines beautifully with the crunchy walnuts and savoury quinoa. Dressed in lightly acidic vinaigrette and fresh mint and parsley makes it a perfect merry of vibrant flavours! If you eat dairy it would go perfectly with some crumbled goat cheese or salty feta (yes, I do miss cheese sometimes). This is DELICIOUS with fish or a great light lunch on its own. I had on top of some raw kale for a protein packed lunch and it was so filling! Remember that for every cup of uncooked quinoa you will get about 3 cups cooked. So reduce or add more depending on how many this will serve! Make sure to adjust the seasonings if you change the amount of quinoa! Bon appetit!
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Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

• 2 cups quinoa
• 4 cups vegetable stock
• 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste)
• 1 tsp of pepper
• 2 white peaches (or your favourite kind) (chopped 1/2 inch cubes)
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp honey
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/2 cup walnuts
• 2 sprigs mint (chopped)
• 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp red wine vinegar
• juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

1. Rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh sieve. Bring quinoa and vegetable stock to boil in saucepan; cover. Cook on medium-low heat 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the peaches. In a medium bowl whisk the balsamic vinegar and honey until combined. Toss the chopped peaches in the mixture until well coated.

3. Melt the coconut oil in grill pan or brush BBQ. Cook the peaches on mediium-high heat until caramelized. (3-4 minutes… you still want them to have bite!)

4. In a large serving bowl whisky together the chopped mint and parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and juice of one lemon, salt and pepper.

5. Take the cool cooked quinoa and toss in the dressing until combined. Add walnuts and peaches. Enjoy!
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