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.