Creamy Coconut Avocado Lime Pie

Photo 2014-06-13, 4 41 28 AM
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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Photo 2014-06-13, 4 37 29 AM

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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Mung Bean Pad Thai

Photo 2014-05-08, 6 32 22 AM
Who doesn’t like pad thai? Something about the  combination of sweet, sour and salty just gets me every single time. Something else also happens every. single. time. I feel AWFUL. I know I’m not the only one who feels bloated, tired and uncomfortable. Even though the base of rice noodles, veggies and meat sounds like a healthy trio it is loaded with copious amounts of fat and sodium.

Pad thai has been on my recipe list for a while now. I think most home cooks steer clear of asian flavours because they seem complicated. Once you build up your pantry with the basic sauces however, most asian dishes can be tackled with ease. Whats best is that you can control all the ingredients that go inside. You really dont need so much oil, salt and sugar to get the awesome flavours. Use fresh herbs and spices and you’ll see that you actually prefer your own cooking to what you get in restaurants!

My favourite thing to hear from friends, family and guests who eat my food or try one of my recipes is how surprised they are by how great it tastes while still being good for you. What’s best is that everyone feels so much better. People dont want heavy. Why eat a meal if you are going just feel awful and potentially guilty afterwords. You want to feel energized, light and satisfied. And that’s exactly what this Pad Thai will do! I will eventually tackle a raw version of this dish, but these mung bean noodles were an awesome addition.

Mung Beans are packed with protein, fibre and vitamins. If you are not in the mood for meat or tofu, you will get plenty of extra nourishment from the noodles itself. I found these noodles at a speciality grocery store. Check your asian markets or health food stores! If you cant get your hands on these, try using buckwheat soba or brown rice noodles! Also, the tofu can be replaced with chicken or beef. Bon appetit!
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Serves 4

Ingredients:

• 1 package mung bean noodles or noodle of choice
• 1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
• 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
• 1 inch piece of ginger (finely chopped)
• 2-3 limes
• 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
• 1 jalapeño or chilli pepper (seeds removed, chopped)
• 1 package non GMO tofu (cubed) or meat of choice
• 1 red pepper (chopped)
• 1 cup broccoli
• 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
• 2 eggs (lightly scrambled) (optional)
• 3 tbsp cup roasted peanuts (roughly chopped)
• 2 tbsp sprouted buckwheat
• 2 tsp coconut oil (divided)
• 1 tsp sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients:

• few dashes fish sauce (to taste)
• 1/4 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
• 2 tbsp gluten free tamari
• 8 drops stevia or 1 tsp honey
• 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• juice of one lime

Directions:

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, toss in sesame oil and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a wok or large pan, and cook onion until tender about minutes.

4. Add garlic, ginger, peppers, bean sprouts, broccoli and cilantro. Sautée for about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.

5. Heat remaining coconut oil on medium-high heat and cook tofu until browned. Then re-add veggies and the eggs. Stir until the egg is cooked through. Then add the noodles and pad thai sauce. Stir until completely combined and thoroughly heated, about 3 to 4 more minutes.

6.Remove from heat and toss with peanuts before serving. Garnish with lime wedges, peanuts, buckwheat groats and additional cilantro.
Photo 2014-05-08, 6 32 24 AM