Walnut Pesto

IMG_1476

I need to do a pesto recipe before the end of summer….sob.  The leaves have started to turn already in Northern BC and it’s making me half sad and half excited for autumn vegetables and fruits!

Throughout the summer I’ve been getting local food boxes that are filled with all sorts of local goodies.  I do a fist pump when I get a big bag of basil!  I LOVE local food and I LOVE pesto.  It’s chocked full of flavour and adds pizzazz to tons of different foods.  Or you could just eat it with a spoon.  We may have done that…..ahem…

Pesto is usually made with pine nuts…but pine nuts are expensive!  So a nice alternative that you probably have in your pantry already are walnuts!

Pesto can be whipped up in your food processor in about 3 minutes.  Grab some basil and zip up some today!

My neighbor has a big pot of it on her deck – I’m going to swap her some tomorrow for rosemary from my planter and slather it to some lentil patties.  Yay for neighbours!

Ingredients:

1 cup washed packed basil (really pack it in)

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Dash teaspoon salt

Dash of freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Chop up garlic, add to food processor.  Wash basil, remove stems and add into food processor.

2. Add remaining ingredients.  Process until smooth.

IMG_1478

Advertisements

Smoothie Bowls!

IMG_1438

Smoothie bowls!  How hipster!  I’ve been seeing these pop up quite often over the past year or so in online blogs and in raw vegan restaurants.  I thought I better get into the trend and try one out!

No need to be scared….smoothie bowls are just a smoothie…in a bowl…with some toppings.

I don’t know where you live but where I live it’s been HOT!  I’ve not been in the mood for oatmeal the past few weeks…it’s definitely smoothie time.  Have fun, experiment and get in the kitchen!

Directions:

1. Take your favourite smoothie recipe.  Blend it up and pour it into a bowl.

2. Top it with more of your smoothie ingredients or different ones entirely.

Toppings like:

Seeds (hemp, flax, chia, sunflower or pumpkin)

Nuts (walnut, toasted pecans, cashews or a drizzle of almond butter)

Fresh berries

Sliced banana or other fruit

Dried berries (goji, dates, cranberry)

Granola

Raw buckwheat groats or quick oats

 

IMG_1445

 

Zucchini or Cucumber Hummus Rolls

IMG_1225

These little beauties are reminiscent of a tea sandwich but are made with yummy fresh vegetables instead of bread.

Simply use a vegetable peeler to make long “ribbons” with your cucumber or zucchini, spread a thin layer of hummus and pesto (if you’re feeling perky!), roll up gently from one end.  And voila!  A tasty and nutritious appetizer, snack or fancy meal accompaniment.

Nut Butter Apple-wich

Applewich

Here is another super quick and easy breakfast or snack idea to add to your routine.  So quick, easy and kid friendly!  Grab an apple, your favourite choice of nut butter and munch away! 🙂

Ingredients:

Apple cut horizontally into thick slices, remove any big core pieces

Nut or seed butter of your choice

Directions:

Slice, spread, devour!

 

 

Pesto Zoodles!

Pesto Pasta

Amy:

I’ve been into making simple meals these days. Life has been super busy with a Hawaiian vacation, crazy work schedule and the purchase of a new house! This means lots of quick, simple meals!

The other day in the grocery store I picked up some pesto and read  the recipe idea on the label (you get some great ideas that way!).  It said to stir in 1-2 tbsp of pesto per serving of pasta…sounds simple enough!  I decided to use zucchini noodles since I bought a big bag at costco and wanted something light and “springy”!

Feel free to leave them raw or sauté them gently in a pan before adding the pesto.

Ingredients

– 3 medium-sized zucchini, made into zoodles

– 2-3 tbsp pesto (I didn’t make my own but bonus points if you do!)

Directions

1. Using a spiralizer, make zoodles from the zucchini.  I have a hand-held one but you can also make “fettuccine” ribbons using a standard vegetable peeler too!

2. Either saute the zoodles in a pan to soften or serve them raw.  Mix pesto into the noodles and let them sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavour!

Happy Spring!

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!

 

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.

IMG_0464

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.

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

20150203-210058-75658649.jpg

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.

Overnight Oat & Kefir Parfait

Overnight oats are becoming a hot items these days and it’s easy to see why.  Quick, easy, delicious.  This recipe can easily be made in a mason jar or container to take on the go.  Assemble it the night before or even make enough for the entire week ahead of time.

Overnight Kefir and Oat Parfait

I also bought kefir the other day!  Kefir is a fermented milk drink like a thin yogurt that originates from eastern Europe.  I’ve always wanted to try it because it’s full of probiotics which are happy bacteria that love your gut and do a whole bunch of wonderful things for you!  Also good news for those with poor lactose tolerance, the fermentation of the milk breaks down a lot of the lactose so you may be able to tolerate it better than a glass of milk.

Ingredients (Adapt amount to suit your appetite)

1/3 cup Quick oats, certified wheat free if needed

2-3 tbsp Seeds (I used about 1 tbsp each ground flax, chia and hemp hearts)

1/2 cup Plain kefir or yogurt

1/2 cup Frozen or fresh berries or fruit

1 tsp Maple syrup, optional

Directions

Layer ingredients into bowl or container, mix it up a little.

Cover and it will soften overnight in the fridge.  Enjoy!