Category Archives: Recipe

Recipe: Banana Chia Pudding

This summer my good friend K offered me a chia pudding cup. I never got around to eating it, so I asked her what it was made with and she said banana. The next time I came across some ripe bananas, I figured I would make my own banana chia pudding. I had full fat coconut milk on hand, so I mashed the banana, added coconut milk and Coconut Dream to make my chia pudding. I swirled in some strawberry jam as sweetener and found a tasty snack, or breakfast or alternative to yogurt. Chia seeds also have the added benefit of aiding digestion by moving through the intestines. I prefer whole chia seeds. However, this week, I showed a client how to make this pudding and found she had only ground chia seeds, so we made pudding with just banana and added coconut water as liquid with a touch of cinnamon plus maple syrup to sweeten. Quite pleasant tasting…

I am not going to include a photo of either forms of pudding as they actually look a bit like barf. Think of chia pudding as an alternative to yogurt or a tasty medicinal digestive aid, so give it a try. This is so easy to make that I will suggest you create your own recipe to suit your tastes:

3 tablespoons whole white chia seeds

1/2-1 whole mashed ripe banana

1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)-optional

1/4-1/2 cup non dairy milk of your choice or juice or coconut water

Mash banana in a medium bowl, stir in chia seeds, add liquid to create a pudding like consistency. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight, When ready to serve, stir again and add more liquid for desired consistency. Sweeten with jam, maple syrup or honey. Top with granola, nuts or fruit and enjoy,

Recipe: Shortcakes for summer

I have loved strawberry shortcake since childhood. There are differing versions, spongecake layers versus biscuit like shortcake. I have taken a liking to the simplicity of the biscuit form of strawberry shortcake as a delicious summer treat that happens to be low in sugar. I feel it is best to make your own whipped cream with organic whipping cream. Here are two recipes I make regularly with ease and great results. The first recipe was first seen in the the Globe and Mail from Lucy Waverman many years ago. The second recipe is gluten free adapted from the Coconut Diet Cookbook.

Simple shortcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling if desired

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, mix well. Add whipping cream and stir together with a spoon just until the mixture resembles a ball of dough.

Shape dough into a ball with your hands and press into a disc on a lightly floured surface, flatten to 1/4 inch thickness.

Use a round cutter of your choice (2-3inches) and cut dough into rounds, placing onto a baking sheet. Gather scraps of dough and cut until finished. Brush with tops of the rounds with the dregs of whipping cream and sprinkle with a touch of sugar if desired.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until tops are golden. Let cool slightly, slice in half and top with whipped cream and strawberries, enjoy!

Makes 4-6 shortcakes depending on the size of cutter you use.

 

 

Coconut Shortcakes (gluten free)

 

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

6 eggs

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

 

Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut oil, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add coconut flour, mix together with a spoon until a batter forms. Pour into muffin tin or silicon baking cups filling just over halfway. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing in half, serving with whipped cream and strawberries.

 

 

 

Recipe: Roasted Squash soup

I had some roasted squash soup as a special at Foxley in the fall. It was so delicious, I set out to make some myself the very next day. The recipe has taken some practice and I did ask chef Tom Thai for tips-the key is to rest the squash after it was roasted. The kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass impart such a nice balance with the rich coconut milk above the delicious roasted squash base.

1 buttercup squash

1 butternut squash

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

handful of kaffir lime leaves

1 stalk of lemongrass, cut into pieces

4-6 cups vegetable stock

1 can full fat coconut milk

butternut and buttercup squash ready for roasting-2 types add depth of flavour

butternut and buttercup squash ready for roasting-2 types add depth of flavour

Wash the squash in warm water thoroughly. Usually squash are hard to cut through, so I throw them in the oven for 10-15 minutes whole to soften. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (soften up the squash as well).

Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and rub with a little coconut or olive oil. Roast squash in a baking dish for 45-60 minutes. Leave in oven to ‘rest’ for a couple hours or until cool.

Depending on the softness of the squash, you can scoop out the flesh in chunks or peel the skin and cut into chunks.

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat and saute the onion and apple until softened. Add the squash, vegetable broth, lime leaves, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lime leaves and lemongrass. Puree with an immersion blender. Season with salt and stir in coconut milk until blended. Enjoy!

Salad meals…we make our own

I have always wondered how a person could eat a salad for lunch or dinner, as it has always been an unsatisfying meal for me. I have ordered salads from all sorts of restaurants and specialized ‘healthy’ food places to feel disappointment in having a salad as a light lunch, never mind as dinner. A UK trainer friend shared the nutrition and healthy lifestyle tip of learning how to make your favourite food very well as a way of motivating yourself to cook. In my case of having a salad for a meal, the idea always sounded good, but it never worked until I started making lunch salads myself.

After a year of getting into the habit of having salads for lunch on a regular basis, I maintain it is best that you make your own to suit your own tastes, nutritional and digestive needs.  Salads are a great way to enjoy raw foods, in other words, natural, whole foods with the only processing being chopping. Selection of the raw foods makes a difference in digestion and energy levels when you pay attention, as every person is different. Here are some salads I have found be  satisfying meals:

pear arugula salad

Arugula and pear salad

Arugula pear salad with honey, shaved cheese and pecans: The combination of sweet, tart pear with the bite and slight bitterness of arugula is a classic combination. Dress the arugula leaves with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then top with sliced pear, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of honey then shaved grana padano cheese and pecans.

mixed green salad with slow cooked chicken, avocado, mango, cilantro and lime

mixed green salad with slow cooked chicken, avocado, mango, cilantro, lime and a sprinkling of string cheese

Mixed green salad with slow cooked chicken and mango: This salad is a fusion of several sources of inspiration. I ate the most delicious Mexican taco salad with slow cooked chicken at the San Francisco airport this year and I came home and wanted to make my own slow cooked chicken right away. Chili infused macadamia oil is a discovery I made in Hawaii a few years ago then mixed together with cilantro and lime from a farmer’s market for a most delicious, fresh salad dressing. This salad of chopped romaine and any other mixed greens on hand, is topped with green onion, sugar snap peas, cucumber, avocado, cilantro. Dressed with salt, pepper, a drizzle of chili infused macadamia oil, a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice, tossed and topped with slow cooked chicken, fresh mango pieces and a sprinkling of string cheese (just happened to have it on hand from a Lebanese store).

Greek salad with grilled halloumi

Greek salad with grilled halloumi

‘Greek’ salad topped with grilled halloumi cheese:

A Greek friend explained to me years ago that a greek salad is dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. I have taken creative liberty with this concept and my greek salad consists of romaine lettuce (other greens if available), green onion, cucumber, cherry tomato, chopped olives, fresh mint, parsley and oregano, seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil, a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, tossed and served with grilled halloumi cheese.

I hope the salads I mention above look appealing and inspire you to create your own. What the salads have in common is a slightly longer list of fresh ingredients with flavour and the technique of salting the salad greens first (a key step in bringing out the flavour of the greens), drizzling with oil then citrus juice. Also works the same way with any other type of dressing. The possibilities in making your own salad combinations are unlimited in your choice of greens, other veggies or fruit, protein sources, flavourful  toppings like fresh herbs, cheese, olives, crunchy toppings like nuts or seeds. Enjoy!

 

A Taste of Morocco: Orange, date and mint

On a recent trip to Morocco, I noticed that there was an abundance of oranges. Seville orange trees, fantastic fresh orange juice at breakfast, and offerings of sliced orange topped with cinnamon as a dessert option (which I did not order, as pastries beckoned). Dates were also widely available in many varieties. Mint tea was a beverage of choice for refreshment of the palate and to aid digestion. Orange, date and mint, tastes of Morocco.

Looking through recipes when I came home, one that immediately appealed to me was a date and orange salad in Plenty More, and of course it was almost featured in an episode on Morocco. I made my own version of the salad with sugar snap peas, orange, dates and mint, which was tasty, but I felt I would prefer the orange, date and mint on its own…possibly as a healthy dessert

I really enjoyed the pure flavour combination of fresh orange, chopped dates, fresh mint and a dash of cinnamon as a refreshingly delicious dessert. Here are the preparation guidelines for a single serving (multiply as needed for additional servings)

One orange

1-2 dates, chopped

5-6 fresh mint leaves

dash of cinnamon

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Slice the top and bottom off the orange, then remove the skin following the curve of the orange. Slice orange across the segments and arrange on a plate. Top with chopped dates, sprinkle cinnamon to taste, then top with chopped fresh mint, and enjoy.

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Recipe: Chickpea pancakes

I have never been a fan of savoury breakfasts. However, the January issue of Bon Appetit magazine was full of various healthy eating ideas and one recipe that caught my interest was squash, leek, and chickpea pancakes. I made them this week and loved them! They remind me of one of my favourite Chinese appetizers, green onion pancakes, but healthier, since these pancakes are made with chickpea flour and also contain veggies. Having made them with both carrots and squash, I must say I prefer the taste and texture of the carrot pancake. Plus, I am curious to try this recipe as a sweet carrot pancake…(shallot and salt need to be omitted for that experiment)

3/4 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup water

1 egg

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt to taste

1 cup grated squash or carrot

1 shallot finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

plain yogurt and chopped parsley for serving

In a medium bowl, stir together chickpea flour and water, whisk in egg, olive oil, baking powder and salt. Let batter stand, as you cook the veggies.

In a oiled skillet over medium heat, saute shallots and squash until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir cooked squash and shallot into chickpea batter (can be refrigerated overnight). Batter should have a thin, pourable consistency, add water if necessary.

Heat an oiled skillet (same one as above) over medium heat. Spoon 1/4 cupfuls of batter into skillet. Cook until bubbles form in the pancakes, flip and cook until browned. Repeat until batter is finished, about 6-8 pancakes. Serve immediately topped with yogurt and chopped parsley. If you have any leftover pancakes, they can be refrigerated and heated up in the toaster (homemade toaster pancakes!)

 

chickpea pancake topped with yogurt and parsley

chickpea pancake topped with yogurt and parsley

Recipe: Chia Pudding

I have tried a few chia pudding recipes and found them to be lacking in the taste department and wondered how the name pudding could be applied to the recipes. While in London, my great friend K bought me a coconut chia pudding from Le Pain Quotidien despite my reluctance. This pudding was delicious!! We looked up the recipe and I tested it as soon as I returned home. There are only 2 ingredients to work with to your liking, canned coconut milk and chia seeds. Coconut milk contains healthy medium chain fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are found in chia seeds. In addition, this pudding feels like a dessert without any added sugar.

For one serving (use a ratio of 1 part chia seeds to 4 parts coconut milk to make your desired quantity)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

4-5 tablespoons canned coconut milk (full fat tastes best)

In a small bowl, stir together chia seeds and coconut milk. Refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour. Stir, add water if needed, for desired consistency. Top with chopped strawberries, shredded coconut, fruit of your choice, or passion fruit butter for an ultimate rich taste. Enjoy for breakfast, as a snack or dessert.

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Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Cookies (vegan)

In light of declaring love for the Cookie Monster, I must share this new discovery for a vegan oatmeal cookie (Cookie Monster’s second favourite cookie after chocolate chip). These cookies are made with unprocessed, whole foods and are delicious enough to feed the cookie monster inside any one of us. Oats are naturally a gluten free food, but may come into contact with gluten during processing. Purchase gluten free oats (they are more expensive) if you have that degree of sensitivity. I tend to have Bob’s organic rolled oats in my kitchen most of the time.

I ordered the Oh She Glows cookbook on the based on the inspiring appeal of this oatmeal cookie recipe http://ohsheglows.com/2014/01/17/banana-bread-muffin-tops/. I made them right away, repeated the tasty success several times over, so here is my adaptation of the recipe:

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup pitted dates, packed (soak dry dates, and a mixture of medjool and other pitted dates is nice)

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups rolled oats, separated into 1.5 and 0.5 cups

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional, freshly grated is best)

1/4 cup currants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, mix together dates, bananas, and coconut oil to a fairly smooth consistency. Add 1.5 cups of oats, shredded coconut, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pulse until oats are ground. Power off food processor and remove the blade. Stir in remaining 0.5 cups of oats and currants into the bowl of the food processor.  Spoon batter onto a baking sheet and flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake for 12 minutes, remove and rotate tray, bake for 12 more minutes or until the desired level of browning is achieved. Makes 12-16 cookies.

Enjoy fresh or within 2-3 days or freeze for a week in an airtight container.

Enjoy vegan banana oatmeal cookies warm off the baking sheet!

Enjoy vegan banana oatmeal cookies warm off the baking sheet to indulge your cookie monster-

 

Recipe: Chickpea Salad (sandwich)

The Oh She Glows cookbook by Angela Liddon and blog www.ohsheglows.com recently came to my attention through my sister. I found the vegan recipes to be inspiring, so I ordered the cookbook, then made some oatmeal cookies from the blog the next day. I have enjoyed the cookbook so far and particularly liked a recipe for chickpea salad. I must admit that I used regular mayonnaise. However, you can purchase vegan mayonnaise at the health food store or make your own with a blender and Angela Liddon’s recipe in the cookbook.

Here is my version of the Oh She Glows chickpea salad. A delicious vegetarian alternative for a classic ‘salad’ sandwich. I much prefer home cooked chickpeas. The Old Bay seasoning really adds a great flavour.

2-3 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is alright if you wish)

2 stalks celery, diced

2 green onions, chopped

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise (vegan if you prefer)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (optional, but tasty)

Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork until half are mashed and half are still whole. Add celery, green onion and mayonnaise to the chickpeas, mix well. Season with dill, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste. Enjoy as a sandwich or over a bed of greens as a salad.

Delicious chickpea salad on rye toast

Delicious chickpea salad on rye toast

 

Recipe: Polenta

Polenta is a dish I have not always loved. However, it is always good to keep an open mind to trying different foods. Like children, we need to try a new food a few times before we can learn if we like it enough to make have it more regularly. I tried making polenta for the first time this week to a great result using a recipe from the Eating Italy, cookbook. The secret is to allow the polenta to brown at the bottom of the pan , which adds (a cheese like) flavour.

5-6 cups water

1/2-1 tsp salt

3/4 cup polenta

butter and chopped fresh herbs to taste

In pot with a wider circumference, bring water to a boil, add salt. Swirl in polenta slowly, bring back to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer without stirring until the polenta is the desired consistency, this will take 45min-an hour. Season with butter and fresh herbs, stir and scrape browned polenta from the bottom of the pan. Serve and enjoy with your favourite pasta sauce, stew or as a grain side dish.