Salted Caramelized Chocolate Matzoh

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With a clean diet, holidays can be a little tricky and also terrifying. I think it is important to remember that holidays only come around a few days a year, so a little refined sugar won’t kill anyone once in a while. Neither will a little butter, chocolate, or an extra helping of pasta. However for myself and all those other gluten/lactose intolerant people out there, those indulgences (even if rare) can lead to miserable, uncomfortable and utterly painful feelings that really make the whole thing not worth it. But I also don’t want to feel deprived, or have FOMO (fear of missing out) so I feel it is my duty to help all of you out there with digestive issues and/or allergies. I not only want you to feel included, but to also feel that you may be even having something better than all those gluten/dairy lovers (it will be our little secret).

Once a year for about a week, Jewish people all over the world are unable to eat bread or anything leavened. The two ritual seders often result in dry tasteless cakes, and crumbly constipating cookies. Chic? I think not. You would think that with their awful texture and flavours that maybe, just maybe, you were eating something healthy. Well, sorry to break it with you, but even with no bread, you are eating blood sugar spiking, fibre-less flour mixed with water. That is what matzoh is. The desserts still contain modified oils and flour. Oh and loads of refined sugars without really tasting so great. Like I said, life is short so go for it if it truly satisfies your passover sweet tooth. But why settle? Luckily, Ive been able to transform the my favourite caramelized chocolate matzoh (aka maztoh brittle) into a perfectly CEG (Clean Eating Goddess) treat. Free of refined sugars, gluten and dairy, those of you trying to get a little healthier will be satisfied by this treats new makeover. The “salted caramel” is made of dates, vanilla and coconut milk. The chocolate glaze is used with 70% cocoa and the toppings are endless. I used coconut, hazelnut and chopped peanuts*** but anything goes! Full of antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats this dessert or snack will satisfy any sweet tooth and make you forget all your passover woes.I hope you enjoy!

***peanuts are a legumes and are not kosher for passover for some. If your making this for guests please double check!

Cook note: It is best to make these closer to the time of serving because they can tend to get slightly soggy. If you can’t make these so close to serving time, then please store in the fridge!

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Serves 5-8

Ingredients:

• 10-12 dates (pitted)
• boiling water
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• good pinch of sea salt
• 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
• 6-10 pieces of gluten free matzo
• roasted chopped hazelnuts
• roasted chopped peanuts
• roasted coconut flakes
• 12 ounces of 70% cocoa (I like Purelife chocolate chips that are gluten and dairy free)

Directions:

1. Cover dates in boiling water until submerged for 15-20 minutes. (keep water)

2. Remove pits (if your dates are not pitted) and place in the food processor. Add lemon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt and blend. Add the water from the dates until reached desired consistency. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

3.Toast nuts in a dry pan or oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Keep a close eye or they will burn!

4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.

5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay out your gluten free matzoh. Using a butter knife, spread on as much caramel as you’d like to each piece.

6. Using a small spoon, spoon the chocolate and drizzle from high distance. Sprinkle sea salt and add toppings of choice.

7. Break matzo in pieces and serve ASAP.
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Mexican Inspired

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I’ve only really started to enjoy Mexican food over the past two years. Cilantro was never my favourite herb, so it just sort of turned me off of the whole cuisine in general. Like most food though, let me have it 5-6 times and eventually it will grow on me. What did always attract me to Mexican food is the versatility and the fresh flavours. There are so many platters that allow you to create the bite that YOU want. Extra guacamole, more chicken, no salsa… no problem. When it comes to Mexican, you become the chef! And thats exactly what I have created here.

With this meal, vegetarians and meat eaters alike can create the plate/bowl that best suits their taste buds. This meal can easily be made with tofu/seitan, steak or fish and be absolutely delicious! Feel free to serve with black bean chips (beanitos… yum) or gluten free brown rice wraps and everyone is bound to find something delicious, healthy and fitting to their cravings. We all know I love a good bowl, so no chips or wraps were needed for me.

Homemade pico de gallo aka salsa fresca aka a fresh salsa really lightens up the heaviness that can come from the avocado and beans. You can also use salsa from a jar if time isn’t on your side, but homemade is always better! The star of the dish for me was the cumin-cilantro corn. It was so sweet and had so much flavour, ill definitely be using this as a side dish for another meal.If your not in the mood for meat, or are vegan, make this dish with tofu or quinoa for added protein. Perfect for Meatless Mondays! You’ll get plenty of healthy fats from the guacamole and fibre from the brown rice and black beans. I hope you enjoy this seriously tasty meal without the guilt or upset tummy. As always this meal is free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars. Go as fresh as possible with your ingredients, and please enjoy a beer*** alongside! Clean living is all about moderation, life is short…so enjoy it!

*** I tried my first gluten-free beer called Glutenberg. It was very decent consideering the lack of barley but it did have a pretty bitter lingering after taste. If anyone has any suggestions for some of the best gluten free beers, please write in the comments! I will be doing a lot of taste testing in the summer and I will do a roundup of some of my favourites.

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Serves 4
Ingredients:

• 3-4 chicken breasts (cleaned and chopped)
• 1 can or fresh black beans (rinsed)
• 2 very ripe avocados
• about 1/4 red onion chopped (3 tbsp)
• 3 tomatoes
• 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
• brown rice or quinoa (4 servings)
• 4-5 fresh corn on the cob
• 4 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
• 2 tbsp cumin (divided)
• 2 tsp garlic powder (divded)
• 1 jalapeño
• 1 red pepper chopped
• 3-4 limes
• 3 tbsp olive oil (olive oil)
• 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
• salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1. Prep and chop all ingredients… it makes it a lot easier for the cooking process! Once everything is prepped the cooking part is easy! Ok… so now that everything is chopped and ready in bowls…

2. For the rice: cook based on the directions of the bag. Season with 1 tbsp olive oil, squeeze of lime salt and a bit of pepper.

3. For the corn: heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Sautee corn until slightly brown then add a nice pinch of salt, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp cilantro, juice of half a lime. Sautee for 2-3 minutes, turn off heat and add a little more fresh cilanto and more lime juice.

4. For the guacamole: Mash avocados, add juice of one lime, 1 tbsp red onion, 1 tsp garlic powder, salt.

5. For the pico de gallo: mix jalapeño, fresh garlic, red pepper, tomatoes, 2 tbsp red onion, red wine vinegar, juice of 1 lime, 2 tbsp cilantro and pinch of salt and pepper.

6. For the black beans: rinse very well, season with salt and pepper.

7. For the chicken: heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Sautee chicken with salt and pepper. About half way through cooking, add 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp garlic powder and some lime juice. Cook through and finish with more lime juice.
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Chocolatey Banana Chia Pudding

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Woke up with a bit of a sweet tooth this morning and was craving something rich and delicious. Chocolate has always been a weakness of mine. Since giving up refined sugars my sweet tooth has noticeably diminished. I never thought it would be possible to eat a meal without having something sweet after (I know I’m not alone here). But trust me, anyone who knows me would tell you that I would never say no to a piece of dark chocolate with sea salt. Chocolate can actually be very healthy for you. No, not your Kit Kat or Coffee Crisp (so sorry) but raw unprocessed cacao is loaded with properties that contribute to wellness. Let me reiterate,cacAO NOT cocOA. Sounds the same, but nutritionally are far different. Heres the breakdown:

Cacao

Cacao refers to the raw form of chocolate, including the tree and bean. Raw cacao powder is not roasted, mostly unprocessed, and has no sugar or cocoa butter. Seeds of the cacao tree are roasted and then the shell is removed which produce cacao nibs (quite bitter in flavour but provide a nice crunch if used appropriately). Cacao is a great source of antioxidants which contribute to fighting off cancer and wrinkles (woooot). Chocolate and cocoa also contain a high level of flavonoids, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health.

Cocoa

Once the cacao bean is roasted and essentially transformed (rid of its nutritional value) then does it become the ever so popular cocoa. After it has been roasted it continues its processing as it is ground, and usually mixed with cocoa butter and a sweetner. This same kind of cocoa you find in your Oh Henry bar, or in the cup of cocoa you get at the ski hill. Delicious, yes… nutritional not exactly. The downfall of cocoa is that within the processing (roasting, grinding, mixing) most of the nutritional benefits are eliminated. It definitely won’t kill you to have a little cocoa, but if raw cacao is available to us, why wouldn’t we use it?

This recipe for chocolatey banana chia pudding is soooooo good, and is Clean Eating Goddess approved for breakfast, yes… BREAKFAST! With the addition of all natural organic peanut butter, your kids will believe they are having a bowl of melted reeses pieces for breakfast (best mom/dad ever!). If your child has a peanut allergy, feel free to use a nut/seed butter of your choice. Best part is, its ready in a flash and can be made the night before to grab and go in the morning. Full of nutrients and fibre, this chocolatey banana pudding is the perfect dessert or breakfast. Did I also mention it is gluten, dairy and sugar free.. oh and vegan! Bon appetit readers!

Ingredients:

• 3-4 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tsp cacao powder
• 3-4 drops stevia or 1 tsp maple syrup
• 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
• 1 mashed banana
• 1 tbsp peanut butter or nut/seed butter of choice
• 1 tsp hemp seeds
• berries and chopped banana

Directions:

1. Place chia seeds in a bowl or jar with almond milk, stevia and cacao powder. Mix very well and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. The longer it rests in the fridge the more thick and pudding-like it will be.

2. Remove from the fridge and add fruit, peanut butter and sprinkle with hemp seeds.