Category Archives: Desserts and Snacks

Sour Cream n’ Onion Kale Chips

Looking for a sure-to-win way of getting more greens into your family’s diet? Well, try these kale chips! This crunchy and savoury snack conquers any mean craving for a potato chip. Guaranteed.

sour cream n'onion kale chips

Our family has been making these kale chips for the past few years now. So addictive. Seriously. Just try stopping at one. And, just to brag a little, these chips have been kid-approved by all the little people who have ventured through our house. 🙂

You’ll find this recipe in Brendan Brazier’s book Whole Foods to Thrive: Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health. Another kale favourite of mine from the same book is Brendan’s Quick Kale and Avocado Salad.

If you don’t own the book, you’ll find the recipe here. We make our chips in my Excalibur dehydrator, but the oven works just as well. The recipe is perfect. In my last batch (pictured above), I added a small handful of hemp seeds – just to kick this nutrient-dense snack up a notch. I also doubled the recipe.

Tried another kale chip recipe that you love? There really are some great recipes out there. Care to share your favourite? We have a wonderful supply of organic and local kale in our stores right now. I’m wanting to make me some more!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies (For a Great Cause)

My daughter’s elementary school held a very successful Community Garage Sale and Bake Sale this past weekend. The sale raised nearly $2000 for a much-needed play structure for the kinders of the school. I love this sort of thing – people coming together for a great cause and donating their cast-offs for others to enjoy. It was good timing. April 22 was Earth Day and many of the young ones learned for the first time of ways to help protect our beautiful planet. Recycling unwanted toys and books was their way of helping.

I donated two dozen gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookies for this event’s Bake Table. It’s rare that you go to such an event and enjoy a treat that contains no gluten, eggs or dairy. I know that others following a similar diet to our own were thrilled to find these cookies sitting on the table, especially the children. I did label the container “no gluten, eggs, or dairy”. But I wonder how many people believed it? I’m guessing none. 😉

On Friday afternoon, I bragged about these cookies on facebook and immediately got requests for the recipe. The recipe comes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s book, The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks’ Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets. I got this book for Christmas the first year I transitioned from vegetarianism to veganism. The recipes in this book truly debunk the outrageous myth that vegan desserts “taste different”. All of the recipes I have tried (and there have been many!), can easily be converted to a gluten-free dessert by switching up the flour.

I promised my friends that I will post the recipe by the end of the weekend, so here it goes.

This recipe does come with my two warnings. One, these decadent cookies are truly a dessert so don’t go thinking they’re healthy by any means AND you may have to exercise complete self-control during the baking process.

Gluten-free & vegan chocolate chip cookies

 CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer* (equivalent to 3 eggs)
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) water
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed organic light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if not in your gluten-free flour mix)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 cups non-dairy semisweet chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional – I made mine nut-free for this event)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Whip the egg replacer* and water together in a food processor to create a thick and creamy blend.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugars and vanilla. Add the egg replacer* to this wet mixture and combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum (if not in your g-free flour mix), baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture until it begins to form a dough. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using).

Bake on a cookie sheet for approximately 8 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks for cooling.

* Ener-G Egg Replacer can be a great product for any baker making the transition away from eggs. Keep in mind it has no nutritional value, but does work great in cookie recipes. I used it this time because it was in my pantry and I wanted to use it up. You may want to try some healthier egg replacement foods. In the past, I have made this recipe with flax eggs and that works, too. Please see a post here on egg replacements.

For your next bake sale or potluck event, please consider a dish with no meat, eggs or dairy.  Following a plant-based diet is another great way to help protect our Earth’s resources. I know many of you are doing your best by practicing Meatless Mondays and that’s wonderful! My wish is that one day we will be teaching this to our children. I know I do.

How was your Earth Day?

 

 

Our Peter Cottontail Cake

My mom has never had a passion for baking. She prefers to cook, as the recipes are more forgiving when the creative mind takes over. However, every Easter my mom would gather us kids around the kitchen counter and we would eagerly make our annual Peter Cottontail Cake. I’m not sure exactly when this tradition began, but I can’t remember an Easter without this cake.

When my two girls came along, I decided that I would continue this tradition. Our cake has certainly evolved over the years. Not just in appearance (the kids always take over the icing and decorating) or flavour, but in the chosen cake ingredients. Our Peter Cottontail Cake has been gluten-free for several years and gluten-free and vegan for the past two years. Changing our diet and lifestyle, did not mean that we would live without our beloved Easter cake.

Every year leading up to Easter weekend, the girls continuously remind me of this cake. As if I would ever forget.

Meet Peter.

Bunny Cake

This year our cake will be taken on a road trip to be enjoyed by our many extended family members. The girls decided that a mocha flavoured bunny would be best. So, the recipe was a no-brainer.  We decided to go with Chloe Coscarelli’s recipe for Mocha Almond Fudge Cake since we have had so much success with it in the past. We easily made it gluten-free with an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix. We substituted the sugar in the recipe for coconut sugar and the canola oil for coconut oil. It made two beautiful 9-inch round cakes.

Creating the bunny is super easy. Like my mom, I’m not one for fiddly things, but this I can do. 😉 Once the cakes have cooled, one is carefully cut in half. The sides are then “glued” together with icing and the cake is stood cut sides down on a cake plate.

My 11 year-old daughter covered this year’s cake in a mocha icing and added some shredded coconut sprinkles. My teen made a great set of floppy ears from cardboard. The girls completed our bunny cake with some candy. A big marshmallow is always our bunny cake’s tail. Something all the kids like to fight over when it’s time for slicing. Usually the younger child wins.

This post could not be complete without sharing a couple of photos of Basil. Basil is our bunny we adopted from New Moon Rabbit Rescue a year and a half ago. He is now two years old. He is our baby.

 

Wishing you all a beautiful Spring-like weekend! (Let’s hope we get some much-needed sunshine!!). As well, a very Happy Easter to those of you celebrating this special occasion!

What’s Been Cookin’ (And A Tasty Protein Shake)

It’s about time I shared with you the main reason for me being so inconsistent and sporadic with my posts these days (by the way, A BIG thank you to many of you who have written asking me ‘what’s up?’).

Well, I am thrilled to announce that I have gone back to school! 🙂 CSNN study booksNot as a teacher, as some of you would suspect (I work as an occasional school teacher in my small town). I am back to school as a student and loving every minute of it. It really feels good to hit the books once again. Most importantly, it feels good to finally work on completing something I started nearly 15 years ago.  By the end of 2015, I hope to have earned my certificate in Holistic Nutrition from The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Yay!!

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. ~ Earl Nightingale

I do realize that earning my Holistic Nutrition Certificate may involve some blood, sweat and tears, but I’m up for the challenge. At 45 years of age, it’s been some time since I’ve had to take tests and write reports. Thankfully, my busy family is on board and they are giving me all the love and support I need to fulfill my goals.

I have many interests and hobbies and one of them is this food blog. While I study, I will continue to post all the delicious gluten-free and plant-based dishes that are palate-approved by my family and friends. However, for the next little while my posts will be a little “here and there”. If time goes by between posts, as it so easily does, please know that I will be back!

If you haven’t already done so, I would love for you to like my Facebook page. I tend to use Facebook to share tidbits of interesting health and nutrition info, as well as recipes so worth trying. Lately, I’ve been inspired by the many vegan athletes fulfilling their dreams. You’ll see a few of those stories on my fb page, too.

Now…back to the books, but first I’ll whip up a shake.

PINEAPPLE PROTEIN SHAKE (from Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast)

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 cup filtered water (I used coconut water)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina*

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Ani Phyo, an award-winning chef and raw food guru,  says it will keep in your fridge for two days. I seem to drink it within minutes! 😉

* Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green algae. But don’t let that turn you away!  This superfood contains high amounts of protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. You can find it in many natural health food stores. I have seen it in powder form or in pressed tablets. I like to purchase it as a powder, so that I can add it to a variety of recipes. On its own, it tastes like seaweed.  If this is not your choice flavour, rest assure – you will not taste it in fruit smoothies like this one!!

Cheers!! 🙂

Pineapple Protein Shake

 

Shamrock Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

shamrock smoothie

SHAMROCK SMOOTHIE (inspired by Kriss Carr’s Greensicle Smoothie)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 small oranges, peeled
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 large handful organic kale leaves
  • 4 organic romaine leaves

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Cheers!!

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrock.

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring your bright, happy hours.

That stay with you all year-long.

Maple-Glazed Apples (with spiced non-dairy yogurt and buckwheat granola)

I rose this morning to a beautiful winter’s day and to the sweet sound of my 10 year-old strumming “Jingle Bells” on her guitar. Ahhh, I am so thrilled she loves to practise. 😉

Over a hot cup of chai tea, I decided to go through my binder of old recipes. I came across this one which I thought was a perfect dish for celebrating our first Sunday of Advent.

maple-glazed apples

I used to make this a few years ago with unsalted butter, non fat yogurt, and a low-fat granola. Like most recipes, this one can easily be made without all the dairy and be just as tasty, if not better.

Today, I used a wee bit of coconut oil, yoso coconut yogurt (a carrageenan-free, non-dairy yogurt), and an adapted version of Laurie Sadowksi’s tasty and wholesome Raw Cacao Buckwheat Granola.  So delicious!

MAPLE-GLAZED APPLES (WITH SPICED NON-DAIRY YOGURT AND BUCKWHEAT GRANOLA)

  • 4 spartan apples, cored, and each cut into 8 slices
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup yoso creamy cultured coconut (plain unsweetened) yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat granola

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place apples, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and melted coconut oil in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Toss until well coated.

3. Roast apples for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are crisp and tender.

4. Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, spices and remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl.

5. Spoon roasted apples into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with granola, then drizzle with spiced yogurt.

*Note on the granola: I have made Laurie Sadowski’s granola recipe a few times now and love it. In my latest version of her recipe, I substituted raw almonds for hazelnuts, added dried cranberries, and eliminated the cacao and cacao nibs. My kids enjoy eating a bowl with my homemade almond milk, but I prefer eating the large clumps as an afternoon snack.

As I write this, it’s early afternoon and the snow has been flying since dawn. Our tree is lit (soon to be decorated) and my daughter is busy putting together our advent wreath. My plan is to spend the afternoon pouring over, once again, all the amazing vegan dishes at last month’s Virtual Vegan Potluck. Tonight I will make my final decision and vote for my favourite dish in each category. (December 2 is the last day to vote). Have you checked it out, yet? If not, you must! (uberdish brought a side dish – herbed spaetzle with beet puree!)

Banana-Chai, Chia and Sesame Seed Crackers

I am so excited to share these raw, vegan and gluten-free snacks with you! If you are like me and love a good cup of Chai tea on a chilly November morning, then you will love these slightly sweet and spicy crackers.

banana-chai crackers

BANANA-CHAI, CHIA AND SESAME SEED CRACKERS

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave syrup (optional)*
  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds, soaked for 4 hours and rinsed
  • sea salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper

Using a food processor, blend bananas, spices and syrup. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add chia seeds, sesame seeds and salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour batter evenly on Paraflexx lined dehydrator trays. Set dehydrator to 112 degrees Celsius and dehydrate for approximately 12 hours.

I served these crackers to my kids this morning for breakfast.  You may want to try pairing a few with a pear and almond smoothie.  🙂

*If you have been following me for some time, you’ll know that I have a tendency to sweeten some of my dishes with pure maple syrup. Maple syrup is one of my choice sweeteners because it is full of vitamins and minerals. I also adore its distinct flavour. I live in the heart of Ontario’s Maple Sugar Capital, so I am very fortunate to have this heavenly sweetener at my fingertips.

However, if you are at all concerned with using maple syrup because of its high glycemic index then you can certainly leave it out. My previous attempts at these crackers did not contain maple syrup or any other sweetener. They were good, but I found that maple syrup highlighted the chai flavour of these crackers perfectly.

An Awesome Allergy-Free Cookbook Giveaway

As we head into what is going to be a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, I would like to offer all my readers a chance to win one of my favourite gluten-free and vegan cookbooks!  If you, or someone you know, suffers from food sensitivities or food allergies or you just love wholesome and mouth-watering treats then you absolutely need this cookbook.

The Allergen-Free Cookbook

Laurie Sadowski, The Allergy-Free Cook, has created recipes for the most decadent and delicious baked goods.  In The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies, you will find easy to follow recipes for sweet treats that are free of dairy, egg, gluten, nightshades, soy, sulfites and wheat.  Many of her other recipes, like Maple-Cinnamon Biscotti, are also free of legumes, nuts, peanuts, seeds and yeast.

As mentioned in a past post, Laurie’s recipes contain gluten-free flours that are nutritionally superior not only to wheat flours, but to many commercial gluten-free flour blends.  For instance, the Wild Blueberry Brunch Cake (pictured above) contains sorghum, millet or quinoa, and tapioca flours.

“A number of suppliers sell packaged gluten-free flour blends, but I prefer to make my own for a few reasons. First, I like to try a variety of flour combinations in different baked goods. Second, most commercial blends contain a large proportion of rice flour and an excessive amount of starch, a combination that lacks nutrition. Third, commercial blends often contain gelatin or powdered milk, both of which are animal derived.” (Laurie Sadowski in “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies”)

Here is your chance to win a signed copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies. 🙂

This is what you need to do:

  1. Share uberdish with a friend or family member and get them to either ‘like’ my Facebook page or subscribe to my blog by email. Both you and your friend or family member will be entered into the draw.
  2. Please leave a comment below letting me know you and your friend or family member (include their name) have entered this cookbook giveaway contest.

***This contest will end October 17 at midnight (Eastern Time). I will draw a name at random and announce the winner the following morning.

If you are wishing to add Laurie’s first book, The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread, to your collection then you can contact Laurie here.  She is willing to offer my readers a discount on both of her books.  Laurie will also provide my readers with a generous discount on her gluten-free consulting service. 🙂

I will end this post with photos of a couple of goodies made from The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread.  

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I plan to make a Cocoa-Pumpkin Loaf (from the same cookbook) to take to our family cottage. It will make a nice treat for when we finish pulling up the docks, closing up the boat, and raking some leaves.

Good luck with the giveaway! I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Banana-Apple Oatmeal Energy Chews

banana-apple oatmeal energy chews_edited-1

A few weeks ago, my daughter was feverishly pouring through my cookbooks looking for a healthy “granola bar-like” snack that she could take to the skating rink for her long evening practices.  In the end, she bookmarked a recipe from Lindsay Nixon’s book, Everyday Happy Herbivore,  with a sticky that read “Mom, please make for me”.  The recipe was for “Oatmeal Chews” – a no added sugars or fat cookie that was easy-to-make and looked delicious.

In our house, this cookie has evolved over the past two or three weeks.  After the first batch, we quickly decided that this recipe absolutely had to be doubled to make 30 cookies.  Thirty cookies should take us right through to the end of the school/work week.  It should, but we have yet to make that one happen.

Next, we decided to add some additional ingredients.  Our recipe now includes chia seeds, grated nutmeg and a chopped McIntosh apple.  On Tuesday morning, I thought I was brilliant when I mixed in a chopped Vega Maca Chocolate Bar  prior to baking.  (On this particular day, chocolate was absolutely necessary for survival). 😉

These chews make a perfect snack prior to any workout. They are also great for those mornings when you find yourself on-the-run.

BANANA-APPLE OATMEAL ENERGY CHEWS

  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup soaked raisins (try soaking overnight)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 chopped McIntosh apple
  • 1 chopped Vega Maca Chocolate Bar (optional)

Combine bananas, soaked raisins, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a blender and puree until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.  Add chia seeds, oatmeal, apple and chocolate (if desired) and mix with a spoon until well combined.

Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Grease or line your cookie sheet and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto your cookie sheet and then flatten slightly with the back of your spoon or with your hands.

Bake for about 14 minutes.  Let stand on your cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

*********

We had a beautiful Wednesday morning this past week and I took full advantage of it.  I packed up some of our banana-apple oatmeal energy chews and took my kayak out on the Mississippi River here in Almonte.  It was so peaceful!  Not a soul on the river.  Just me, some blue heron, turtles, geese, and ducks.  I love this!

Ottawa’s Veg Fest, The Allergy-Free Cook and a Wild Blueberry Bundt Cake

The kids are back in school and I am one happy camper.  (But don’t tell them this).  As much as I love the kids being home and all of Summer’s fun-filled moments, I am now looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine.  Especially the routine of doing what I absolutely love – and that is writing about all the delicious gluten-free and plant-based dishes that have made the voyage across our dining room table and into our much appreciated tummies.

This particular post is well overdue.

Back in June, I had the pleasure of attending Ottawa’s 5th Annual Veg Fest (and its 1st Annual Yoga Fest) with my extremely veg-curious sister.  I absolutely love hanging out with this girl!  She nearly always makes me laugh – not when we were kids, though 😉 – and she is so enthusiastic about trying new things.

We were super excited about our Veg Fest weekend.  This event had an excellent line up of speakers including a showing of the 2011 documentary film “Forks Over Knives”.

There was one lecture that particularly sparked our interest.  It was a lecture by Canada’s own Laurie Sadowski.   After grabbing a couple of Simply Raw’s black bean wraps and a bottle of Flexi Lexi’s green lemonade, we made our way into St. Paul’s University Amphitheater for an extremely informative lecture on “Gluten-Free Vegan Baking”.

I immediately liked Laurie, otherwise known as “the allergy-free cook”,  from the moment she told us that she was in love with her Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  Naturally, I hung on everything this girl had to say.   Let’s just say that Laurie is a wealth of information and, quite frankly,  a walking encyclopedia on gluten-free flours.

I was quick to buy Laurie’s cookbooks shortly after her presentation.  It’s no wonder her books were flying off her display table!  Laurie uses nutritionally superior flours in all her recipes such as, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff flours.  These flours contain more fiber and protein than rice flour – a flour which is prevalent in so many commercial blends.

Knowing that I am a freak for cookbook authors and culinary celebrities, my sister snapped a picture of me with Laurie.  Here I am proudly holding autographed copies of her two books 🙂

Laurie Sadowski

Laurie’s recipes are all gluten-free and contain no dairy or eggs.  Her latest book “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies” (2013) is also soy-free.   Laurie uses minimally processed sweeteners in all her recipes.  One cookie that is absolutely loved in our house is her “Chocolate Chunk-Tahini Cookies”.  These cookies are sweetened with maple syrup – one of my personal favourites. 🙂

gluten-free chocolate chunk-tahini cookies

My sister was loving her role as photographer this particular fine day.  Here, I am standing all giddy-like with Natasha Kyssa (you may recall my raw food cleanse posts) and Flexi Lexi (we loved her green lemonade!).

Both my sister and I are looking forward to next year’s Veg Fest.  As far as I know, the date has not been released, but we have it “penciled in” from mid to late June.  We are also looking forward to Laurie Sadowski’s new cookbook, “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Pies and Desserts” which is expected to be released later this year.

I will end this post with a dessert that I made last month.  The recipe is from “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies”.   I made it as a bundt cake and it turned out perfectly delicious.  Let’s be honest –  it’s addictive.  Seriously.  Try stopping at one piece.  (My daughters and I are guilty of polishing off half of this cake, within minutes,  while standing in the kitchen watching it cool).  Thankfully, I remembered to take a photo before we dug in.

Wild Blueberry Bundt Cake

WILD BLUEBERRY (BUNDT) CAKE

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk (I used lite)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil bundt pan.

Put the flours, baking powder, lemon zest, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a dry whisk until combined.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer,  beat the sugar and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy and well combined. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, the vanilla extract, and vinegar. Beat until combined.

With your mixer on low-speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and the remaining coconut milk (in 2 additions).  Beat well after each addition.  Turn off the mixer and stir in the blueberries using a baking spoon.

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan using a rubber spatula.  Smooth the top with the spatula.  Bake in the center of your oven for 40 to 55 minutes*, until golden brown.

* If using fresh blueberries, check your cake with a toothpick after 40 minutes.  Frozen and very juicy berries will require a longer baking time.

Enjoy!