Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Sandwich

Vegan Chickpea Tuna Sandwich

Eating a plant based diet, avoiding eggs, fish or don’t like mayo?  This recipe is for you!

Two ingredients….chickpeas and hummus.

I wanted to make a quick sandwich spread the other day, grabbed some leftover canned chickpeas from the fridge and thought…what goes with chickpeas better than…chickpeas!  Mashed them up with hummus and voila!  A tasty and flavourful sandwich spread.

Ingredients

– 1/2 cup chickpeas, canned, rinsed

– 2-3 tbsp hummus

– Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Mash chickpeas in a bowl with a fork or potato masher.  If they are pretty firm you can soften them in the microwave a little first.

2. Add in hummus until it looks creamy and delicious!

3. Spread on toasted bread, serve with crackers or roll inside lettuce leaves!

Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

Amy:

Well here goes chia pudding attempt #2 with cashew milk!

The first time I heard about chia seeds was in the book Born to Run (Christopher MacDougall).  He spoke about how chia was used by ultra-marathon runners in Mexico, the Tarahumara people.  Below is a interesting summery.

What’s the story behind Chia Seeds?

(Article from: http://runnersconnect.net/running-nutrition-articles/chia-seeds-running/)

Chia seeds are derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica. Historical documents suggest that chia seeds have been a significant part of the diets of the natives of Central America and Mexico since 2,600 B.C. These seeds were often referred to as “the running food”. It is rumored that the warriors of the native people in these regions would mix Chia seeds and water to maintain energy levels and stay hydrated during conquests.

According to history, the Tarahumara people, located in the northwestern part of Mexico, are renowned for their long distance running abilities. Tarahumara means “those who run fast”. With their settlements dispersed across the land, they developed a tradition of running 200 miles over the course of a couple days to get from one settlement to the next. It is also said that before running they would drink a mix called iskiate. Iskaite is simply water mixed with chia seeds. This combination was thought to give them stamina and hydration for their long journey of running from settlement to settlement.

 Ingredients:

– 1 cup of cashew milk or milk of your choice

– 1/4 cup chia seeds

– 1-2 tbsp maple syrup or sugar

– 1-2 tbsp pureed pumpkin

– 1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice mix

Directions:

1. Mix the milk, chia, pumpkin, maple syrup and spices in a cup or bowl.

2. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.  The chia will have swelled up and absorbed all the fluid to make a pudding!

3. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon!

 

Orange Ginger Chia Pudding

Orange Ginger Chia Pudding

Well here goes my experimentation with my new found cashew milk!  Chia pudding is a pretty fun recipe.  All you have to do is stir in 1/4 cup of chia seeds to the 1 cup of fluid….add your flavour of choice and VOILA!

These omega-3, energy filled and fibre filled seeds are going to keep you full for a while.  Know why?

These little beauties can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water!  That means in your stomach they expand even more to make you feel full and satisfied for longer. Plus they do not have to be ground up in order to digest them as is the case with flax seed.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of cashew milk or milk of your choice (including cow’s milk or even juice)

– 1/4 cup chia seeds

– 1-2 tbsp maple syrup or sugar

– 1/2 tsp ginger dry or freshly grated

– 1/2 orange, peeled and diced

Directions:

1. Mix the milk, chia, maple syrup and spices in a cup or bowl.

2. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.  The chia will have swelled up and absorbed all the fluid to make a pudding!

3. Top with diced oranges.

 

Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Cups!

Peanut butter cups

I don’t think I need to convince anyone about the merits of making your own chocolate peanut butter cups do I?

The beauty of making your own sweets is that you know exactly what goes it in (and how much) and in my case, I can control potential for cross contamination with allergens in the factory.  Plus it’s so much cheaper!

On a lighter note these are da BOMB!  My hubby said they taste just like the “real thing” but I think they taste better 😉  All you need to do is melt some chocolate….spread some peanut butter….and anxiously wait for them to harden before you and your family gobble these up!

Ingredients

(adjust amounts to suit your preference, these make 4 large cups)

Chocolate layer:

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted, divided

1 tsp coconut oil (optional but recommended)

Peanut butter layer:

1/4 cup peanut butter, natural or commercial

1 tbsp honey

Directions

1. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave until melted, stirring every 30 seconds.  Add in coconut oil if using.  Whisk it well to ensure chocolate is nice and smooth.

2. Place muffin papers on a plate or baking pan. Spoon 1 tbsp of melted chocolate into the bottom of each paper liner, or enough to make a thin layer.  You should have used approximately half of the chocolate.  Bang the plate on the counter a couple of times to help it settle smoothly if needed. Place plate or pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes to harden.

3. Scoop peanut butter into bowl and add honey.  Microwave for about 30 seconds to soften up the peanut butter slightly.  Stir well to ensure it is nice and smooth.

4. Pull the muffin papers back out of the freezer.  Scoop in about 1 tbsp of peanut butter filling onto top of the chocolate. Bang the pan on the counter a few times to help spread it out if needed.

5. Slightly reheat the remaining chocolate if it has cooled too much.  Divide the rest of the chocolate over the peanut butter later.  Pop them back in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes or until totally firm and hardened.

Store in the fridge but allow them to warm for about 5-10 minutes before eating.  Enjoy!

Valentine Chocolate Strawberry Hearts

Strawberry chocolates

Amy:

It’s that time of year again!  Love’s in the air….and time to show someone special that you care!

I prefer homemade gifts above over-priced-store-bought-cheesy-gifts.  These are what I am making my gluten free husband for Valentines Day 🙂  Actually he saw me making them and said “ooooooh chocolate covered strawberry hearts!”.  Let’s be honest, we’re eating them tonight not on Valentine’s Day….

Who wouldn’t enjoy these?  A perfect combo of two wonderful things – strawberries and chocolate!  It took me all of 5 minutes to do and didn’t break the bank.  They could also be done in white chocolate which would look lovely.

Ingredients

Strawberries, ones that are narrow on the bottom and big on top (typical shape)

Semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup for about 6 hearts)

1 tsp coconut oil, optional

Garnish – such as white chocolate or coconut

Directions

1. Cut strawberry in half length-wise and place flat-side down side by side with each other.  I cut away a sliver on the inside edges to make it fit snugly against each other.

2. Heat chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove above hot water until melted.  Add coconut oil, if using, which helps to thin it out for easier dipping.

chocolate_covered_strawberry_hearts_inprogressPhoto credit: http://youpinspireme.ca/easy-chocolate-strawberry-hearts/

3. Taking each side of the strawberry and dip in the chocolate.  (You don’t need to use tooth picks…I think that would make it harder to be honest) Place side by side on parchment paper tightly together and add a little chocolate in the center crack to fill it in.  Sprinkle with your garnish if desired!  Refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow chocolate to harden.

Store in the fridge.

 

Homemade Cashew Milk

Homemade Cashew Milk

I don’t digest milk very well.  It’s a sad reality that I’ve discovered over the past year.  My husband doesn’t tolerate it very well either but we’re able to happily enjoy lower lactose products like cheese.  Milk alternatives?  Well in theory they are a fantastic idea and a great source of calcium and vitamin D!  The reality for me is that they don’t taste very good.  I’ve tried soy, almond, coconut, hemp and rice milk without ever really enjoying it.

Food for me, needs to be enjoyed!  Take the enjoyment out of food and nutrition suffers – Ellyn Satter.  True words.

Fortunately there is a wonderful little nut called a cashew.

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Cashews, aside from being a nutritional powerhouse full of wonderful fats, vitamins and minerals, when blended up tend to taste deliciously creamy like dairy!  It’s a staple ingredient in raw and vegan cooking.  I have enjoyed making my own cashew cream…..especially over steamed kale (my favourite!) as well as dairy free sour cream!

I’ve seen cashew milk pop up on some blogs lately so I thought I’d give it a “whirl” in my blender and see what I come up with!  The result is something I actually don’t mind drinking and I made in my own kitchen!  I don’t have to worry about all the weird additives are sometimes added to milk alternatives.  I’m going to use this to make some chia pudding and see how it turns out!  Stay tuned!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • dash Himalayan salt, sea salt
  • pinch cinnamon (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Soak the cashews in water at least 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Drain the cashews and rinse until the water runs clear.
  3. Add the cashews and two cups water to a blender. Start on a low setting and increase the speed until the cashews are totally pulverized. This could take 2 minutes in a high-powered blender or longer in a regular blender (I did about 4 minutes).
  4. Blend in 2 cups more water, maple syrup, vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon (optional). If your blender can’t totally break down the cashews, strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth (I had to do this).
  5. Store the milk in a covered container in the refrigerator. It should keep for 3 to 4 days.

Hearty Sausage and Bean Soup

Hearty Sausage and Green Bean Soup

Baby it’s cold outside…and definitely the season of staying warm with a steaming bowl of something tasty!

This soup is quick and easy, using frozen vegetables from Costco…no fuss or mess, organic and at discounted price!

Frozen vegetables are fantastic to have in your freezer – they last longer than fresh, are ready to cook and are harvested at peak freshness so nutritionally they get a gold star.

Ingredients:

– 1 package of hot or mild italian sausages (ensure gluten free if needed), casings removed

– 4 cups of frozen PEI mix vegetables (carrot, green and yellow beans)

– 1 cup cubed potatoes, keep skins on

– 8 cups of water

– Bay leaf

– 1 tsp each dried thyme and sage (adapt to your own taste)

– Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Remove casing from sausage with a sharp knife.  Add to large pot and brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through.  Drain excess fat.

2. Add seasonings, vegetables, potatoes and water to pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer soup for about 30-45 minutes or until vegetables and potatoes are soft. Could also be made in the slow cooker.

Serve with drop biscuits or make your own garlic bread for a quick meal!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Tabitha: I am always looking for ways to sneak veggies in my desserts. Avocado is naturally creamy and mild tasting so it blends easily into this “healthified” dessert.

But remember, just because it is a healthier version of dessert doesn’t mean you should eat it all in one serving! Avocados, though high in healthy monounsaturated fat, are high in calories and should be portion controlled.
A serving size is 1/2 a cup.

This recipe uses chia seeds to thicken it to a “pudding”. These seeds form a gel when they sit. If you don’t have chia seeds, you can omit them and enjoy a more liquid smoothie-like dessert.

I based this recipe from this source: http://www.thesocial.ca/wellness/health/strategies-to-help-curb-cravings

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Chocolate Chia Avocado Pudding
Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients
2 cups almond milk, cow’s milk, or coconut milk
1 ripe avocado, skin & seed removed
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup whole (or ground) Chia seeds

Instructions
1. In a blender, add milk, avocado, maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla and chia seeds.
2. Puree on high for 60 seconds until smooth and creamy.
3. Remove from blender and divide into 8 ramekins or jars.
4. Pudding can be eaten right away, but is better chilled. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Can store 1 to 2 days.
5. To serve top each pudding cup with ¼ cup of fresh raspberries.