Vegan Nourish Bowl

Vegan Nourish BowlAlthough we just got through the last of our Thanksgiving leftovers, it is now time to prepare ourselves yet again for another Holiday debauchery of eating, eating and more eating. Regardless of the holiday time, am I alone in this constant comfort food craving that has yet to come to an end? Something to do with the dark days and cold weather I assume… In any case, the holidays are a time to indulge so long as we do so in moderation. A little of the bad stuff counter-acted with a lot of the good stuff makes for a holiday we can enjoy and most importantly feel good about. So, to help you get all those nutrients in between those forkfuls of pie and mashed potatoes, I’ve created a completely meat and dairy free bowl that is packed with protein and vitamins. Most importantly, this is one tasty and filling bowl. Here are the components:

• roasted maple butternut squash
• noodles made from red lentils
• garlicky spinach
• avocado mash
• browned broccoli
• toasted pumpkin seeds
• shaved carrots
• cucumber
• hummus

I like to prepare all the ingredients on a Sunday, and put this together throughout the week whenever I want to reach for something healthy. Happy Holidays, and hope you enjoy this throughout the season!

Ingredients:

• 1 butternut squash (peeled and diced)
• 1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp freshly grated garlic or garlic powder
• 1 tsp sumac
• red lentil noodles (or any bean noodle, or bean itself will work) cooked and coated in olive oil so they won’t stick.
• 1/2 tsp finely diced garlic
• 1 extra large handful fresh spinach
• 1 cup broccoli (chopped)
• 1 avocado (cored and removed from skin)
• 2 tbsp of fresh herbs of your choice chopped (I used basil and mint.. cilantro will work nicely too!)
• juice of 1/2 a lime
• 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
• 1 carrot (shaved using a peeler)
• 1 mini cucumber (seeded and sliced)
• 2 tbsp hummus

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place butternut squash in a roasting pan and coat with 1 tbsp olive oil (may need more depending on the size of your squash), maple syrup, sumac, 1 tsp garlic, salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until tender and brown on the edges.

2. In in a medium pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Cook garlic for 30 seconds then add spinach. Cook until spinach has shrunk down, season with salt and pepper and set aside. In the same pan, brown broccoli by roasting it in the pan for about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mash the avocado, fresh herbs, lime, salt and pepper until combined. Taste and adjust lime juice/seasoning to your taste.

4. Assemble your bowl. Place prepared ingredients in the bowl (squash, broccoli, spinach, noodles, avocado, carrots, cucumber) and dollop hummus in the center for dipping. Then sprinkle with crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds.

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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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Snap Pea and Pistachio Salad

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This salad is a perfect light appetizer or lunch for those hot summery days that are around the corner. Simple to put together and packed with healthy ingredients, this salad is easy on the eyes and tastes delicious. Although I often throw everything that is in my fridge into my salads, it is nice to have a planned meal where the ingredients really compliment one another. The crunchy radish, pistachio and peas go great with the soft spinach and creamy avocado. The fresh basil and garlicky apple cider vinagraitte make the salad fragrant without leaving you feeling heavy. Perfect combination!

Heres some added benefits you’ll get from the ingredients!

Avocado: Amazing source of monounsaturated fat, vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin E, lutein, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and fiber. Put away that multivitamin people. Plus it hydrates your skin from the inside out!

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. Kind of like lemons, it may seem odd to treat stomach acid with an acid-containing vinegar, there is research suggesting that apple cider vinegar works by correcting low acid, hence reducing heartburn. There are other claims that apple cider vinegar detoxes the body and can help with diabetes, weight loss and arthritis! It can also work as a great hair mask and face toner. Mix 1 tbsp of ACV in 1 cup water and see for yourself.

Pistachio: Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and healthy fats these nutritional powerhouses will keep you feeling full and have shown to lower cholesterol.

Garlic: Research has shown that this tasty herb is responsible for helping with many heart conditions,cancer prevention, diabetes and to fight infections.

Tastes good. Good for you!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

• 3 cups spinach
• 2 cups snap peas (chopped in chunks)
• 4 tbsp pistachio (roughly chop)
• 4 radish (thinly sliced)
• 1/2 avocado (chopped)

Dressing Ingredients:

• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp honey
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
• 1 tbsp shallot (finely chopped)
• 1-2 tbsp fresh basil (finely chopped)
• pinch salt
• 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

1. Prep all ingredients and place in a bowl.

2. Whisk vinegars, honey, salt, pepper, garlic, shallot in a bowl until combined. Slowly add olive oil. Then add basil. Toss salad with dressing and serve.

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