Saturday, 28 December 2013

Whole Food Blonde Macaroons

I've never actually had a traditionally made macaroon.

The first one I tried was at the raw vegan restaurant I was working at in Toronto, and man were they addicting. But the ingredients we're not my general M.O., cashews, coconut oil... 

By no eans is this recipe low fat, it's packed with coconut goodness, but it is whole food, nut-free-, gluten-free, flour-free, dairy-free goodness.

They're great for serving at parties (hint, hint: New Years) since they are a handheld goody that just melts in your mouth. Plus, they are so easy to make, that you can get your non-kitchen savvy friend to make them to help you with all the preparations. 

Parties, while they used to be frequent in my life, are now usually reserved for special occasions. The crowds aren;t my scene anymore. I much prefer the intimate small dinner "party" but I'd throw a party anytime just for an excuse to make these. (It's also great that I can downsize the recipe to make just a few, party for one?)

That being said, I've had my fair share of gatherings the past few weeks and I can't wait to get to Costa Rica and have a nice schedule of writing, training and making magic happen!

T minus 4 days until departure!

I've had about as much winter as I can enjoy, once the -25C starts coming along, I'm pretty much sick of it. I'm so lucky to have the opportunity this year to stay warm! Now, I will still be delivering the recipes, some cold weather comfort, some raw tropical goodness. 


Back to the Macaroons!







Macaroons 

Ingredients:

- 2 cup + 3 cups dried coconut divided
- 1/2-1 cup water
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- If chocolate, add 1/2 cup cacao or carob
- Pinch salt. 

Pre-heat oven to 180F/

In a high speed blender or food processor, dump in the first 2 cups of coconut, maple syrup, vanilla and salt (and cacao/carob if using), Start blending, adding water if needed, until the mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl, pour the blender contents in and add the other 3 cups of coconut. Fold in well until everything is homogenous. 

With an ice cream scoop, form the "dough" into it and then place on a parchment lined backing sheet. 

Place in the oven for 2 hours, until the outside is slightly crispy but the insides are still moist.

Enjoy!!

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Baking and I haven't been the closest of friends in the past year or so. We used to be bffs, I'd make cupcakes for nay reason. Happy event? Chai cupcakes. Sad event? Cookie crumble cupcakes. Small informal gathering? Cupcakes. You get the drift.



I even once made treats for people while I was on a juice fast.

The fun thing is, these treats really open up people's eyes to vegan or gluten free food not tasting like cardboard. They bring the possibility that hey, this might be doable! Thats really what I thrive to do with food, is open people's eyes to the vast array of amazing delicious food, that is both good for you and everything else.



That being said, I also now thrive to eat a very clean, whole foods and high raw diet with little processed anything. Flour isn't something that I use very often. I even buy the made-from-grain pastas and occasionally breads. So baking anything becomes a tad bit complicated.

But, there is always a way! Black bean brownies are number one on my list now for several reasons: they are entirely whole foods based, I can make them low fat, there's no flour and I can use any sweetener I want.



These also come out the way I like em, soft, gooey,fudge like and decadent.







Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:
-  1 can black bean, or equivalent (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cup cacao or carob
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1 cup coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blenddd until smooth.
Line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper and pour it in. 
Bake for 40 mins, or until the edges start coming away from the sides of the parchment paper.

The middle will still be very fudgy, kinda like half baked brownies, which is what I always used to do when I made them regardless of with what mixture. 

 Top with your fave toppings, I used coconut.

Enjoy!!

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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Green Bean Casserole Pasta

Mushroom soup and I have a long lasting relationship. As a kid, it was one of my favorite lunches. Once I went vegan though, we had a little bit of a break. But had I known how simple it was to make it, I don't think that would have happened!

Although, now I have to find a low fat raw vegan way to make it, so that I can have it more than once in a blue moon... If you haven;t guessed, it isn't exactly a low fat recipe, which is what I strive for. However, there is nothing wrong with a high fat meal meal now and again. I stick with an 80/10/10 mentality, which is 80% carbs, 10% or less of each protein and fats in terms of caloric intake. This is something that I like having over time, so it's not like I'm strict on having my ratio.

After going through every kind of "diet" imaginable, this makes me feel at my best. No need for restrictions or fancy foods, just what nature gives us in it's simplest form or very minimally processed, combined to make great tasting meals. Also, having tried the low carb approach, I would never recommend it simply because I (and others I know)felt horrible on it, and the cravings are enough to make anyone go coo-coo. There is also so much scientific evidence against forgoing carbohydrates that everyone should take a second look. I am planning on writing an entire post or series on healthy eating and a more nutrition approach to food. 

This recipe is so simple, yet so flavourful, it'll knock your socks off and warm your feet.


I chose gluten free quinoa penne for my vessel, but it's also great over rice or even potatoes.







Green Bean Casserole Pasta

Ingredients:

- 2 cans of coconut milk, or equivalent home-made*
- 2-3 cups green beans, cut into thirds.
- 2-3 large Portobello mushroom caps, minced.
- 1 medium onion, minced.
- S/P

Pasta of choice (or rice, quinoa. Can also be served on it's own as a soup)

In a large deep pan, or pot, saute the onions in a few tablespoons of water until translucent. Add the mushrooms and beans and let cook until mushroom begin to release water. Make sure to shake your can of coconut milk well before adding them in. If you prefer a much thicker sauce without using flour, only put one full can coconut milk and the fat from another. Let cook until everything is nice and melded together. Taste and add seasoning to personal preference. 

If you find that the sauce doesn't thicken up like you want it to, add a bit of flour whisked into water to thicken up. I don't usually use flour, but I prefer doing this than cooking down the coconut milk because it can be finicky and decide to separate if overcooked. 

* Try to avoid using the boxed coconut milk, it isn't thick enough and doesn't cook as well as canned.  If you want to avoid cans, make your own coconut milk instead.

Serve over any kind of carbohydrate and...

Enjoy!



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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Chipotle Scalloped Potatoes

With the holidays around the corner, I always like to think up an awesome vegan feast for the big meal. Although I don't think I've ever made the entire thing, it's a greta backup and all the recipes can be used throughout the season.

All events, in my mind, are about the food.

Coming over for dinner? I'll make a three course meal just cause I'm in the mood. Or at the very least I'll make something that you'll personally enjoy even if I've never made it before. I've actually even thought of making up a form to fill out for everyone that comes over so I know everyones likes and dislikes. I think that just might be taking it a little too far though...

I think it's pretty obvious to say that people always get excited when they eat over.

Anywho, the winter holidays are a great excuse to make a whole ton of food. Which means I get to experiment, probably my most favorite thing in the world. I do want to start making much more raw meals though, my breakfast and lunches are still mostly fruit, but I am really missing my salads.

This recipe will probably surprise you, since well the main ingredient is potato yes, but it's also the secret to the sauce. Potatoes with potato sauce, only in my world. Turns out its amaaazing. I got the idea from a potato soup I made not too long ago, that I will be posting soon. It was so creamy and velvety that it just clicked that i could make amazing scalloped taters with the same concept. After I made the sauce, it also came to me that the sauce would be amazing as a mac and cheese. Versatility 101 right there.

Without further adieu...








Chipotle Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients:

- Enough sliced potatoes to fill your baking dish

Sauce:
- 5-6 small potatoes, boiled and cooled.
- 3/4 cup nooch
- 1/3 cup coconut milk (not the canned stuff, the carton stuff)
- Water, as needed.
- Pepper
- Lemon juice
- Chipotle pepper flakes

* You can also top it with any other vegetable, I added asparagus this time around.

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Blend all the sauce ingredients until smooooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference.

One layer at a time, lay down the potato slices and cover in sauce. Repeat until filled and cover.

Bake until cooked through, about 40 mins.

Let cool a few minutes.

Enjoy!!

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