Monday, July 20, 2015

Meatless Monday: Garbanzo Gazpacho & Zucchini Fries

Chill out on this hot summer Monday with some cool, creamy gazpacho!
It is full of fresh summer ingredients - tomatoes and cucumbers - that you can most likely get local at your farmers market and are hydrating for your mind, body and skin.
The added garbanzo beans provide plant based protein, iron and fibre - keeping you full.
This soup needs to be made ahead of time so it can chill for at least 2 hours and you will need a blender.
I love this cold soup with a few zucchini fries on the side - coated with a little garlic and flax seed, these babies are healthy, zesty and addictive!

Garbanzo Gazpacho
serves 4

6 medium tomatoes, roughly cut
1/2 red onion - 1/4 roughly cut and 1/4 diced
1 medium english cucumber - 1/2 roughly cut and 1/2 diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
10 fresh basil leaves
2 cups filtered water
1 can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste

Place all the tomatoes, the 1/4 roughly cut red onion, the 1/2 roughly cut cucumber, olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder, basil and lots of salt and pepper in the blender. Blend on the "soup" setting if you have it or a high setting until very well combined.

Pour into a large bowl and stir in diced onion, cucumber and garbanzo beans.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Zesty Zucchini Fries

2 medium zucchinis, halved and then sliced into "fries"
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of crushed red pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss zucchini "fries" with olive oil, spices and flax seeds until well coated.

Spread out the zucchini on the parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes, turing halfway through.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and summer gazpacho love,

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Meatless Monday: Golden Tomato & Beet Carpaccio

The true flavors of summer are alive and vibrant and the warm weather makes us crave something cool and delicious…

That's why I'm so in love with this Golden Tomato and Beet Carpaccio!

It has the candy sweetness of golden summer tomatoes, the fresh flavour of beets and is topped with a lightly dressed arugula and pistachio salad. Yum!

Not only is this a fab appetizer (or dinner), it also is super healthy - folate and potassium in the yellow tomatoes, blood cleansing antioxidants in the beets, and vitamin A and C in the arugula. Not to mention the extra plant based protein in the pistachios!

The recipe is very simple and looks stunning on the table…

If you have the time you can roast the beets yourself, however if you are strapped you can use Love Beets - which are awesome, pre packed, cooked beets. You can find them in almost any healthy grocery store and they are available as conventional or organic. I love them - so quick and easy to throw on a salad or in the blender.

Now…back to the carpaccio!

Golden Tomato & Beet Carpaccio
3 large yellow tomatoes
3 large red beets - peeled and roasted (or use 4 "Love Beets" since they tend to be a bit smaller)
10 cups of arugula
3/4 cup of raw, shelled pistachios
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper

Thinly slice the beets and place them on a large plate to "dry" a bit.
Mix the pistachios with the arugula and dress with the salt, pepper, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Set aside.
Thinly slice the tomatoes and arrange them around the outside of a large platter. Place a slice or two (depending on how many slices you have) of beets on top of the tomatoes. Lightly sprinkle with fresh sea salt.
Place the arugula and pistachio salad in the centre of the platter and serve.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and tomato beet love,

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Meatless Monday: Lentil Veggie Burgers

I'm often asked by many followers how they can get more iron...
I have one easy answer for this question: Lentils.
Lentils provide 40 percent of your daily iron intake - most of us are barely getting 15-20% - so incorporating lentils is an easy way to get iron that is clean, easily absorbed and non-inflamatory.
This brings us to today's Meatless Monday Recipe: Lentil Veggie Burgers.
Perfect for summer, these burgers are fabulous topped with lots of veggies - I like avocado, spinach, red onion and tomato - with or without a bun! For today I opted for a couple slices of fresh multigrain vegan sourdough from the bakery and my first corn of the summer - yum!

Lentil Veggie Burgers
Serves 4

1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper (optional)

Place lentils and 1 1/2 cups of water or vegetable broth in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and leave on until the liquid is evaporated. It is ok if they are a bit mushy. 

In a medium skillet, sauté onion, carrots and celery with the olive oil and lots of salt and pepper over medium-low heat. Add a couple sprinkles of crushed red pepper if you like. Cook until the carrots and celery are soft, stirring occasionally - about 15 minutes. Reserve the skillet after the veggies are cooked.

In a large mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, quinoa flour, parsley and garlic. Add in the cooked lentils, cooked vegetables and 1/4 cup of water. Mash everything together with a  potato masher. Once well combined, use your hands to form the mixture into 4 patties, about 1/2 thick. 

Place the patties in the skillet you used to cook the veggies and heat on medium for 5-7 minutes a side until they are a bit crispy and brown on each side. Remove from the stove and top with your favourite burger toppings!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and lentil love,

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Why I'm in Love with Kelly's Bake Shoppe...

Not too often does a healthy vegan go on about loving a bakery…
Usually baked goods equal dairy, gluten, refined sugar, "bad" carbs and artificial flavouring and colour.
Enter Kelly's Bake Shoppe - Heaven!
This gorgeous little spot in the heart of downtown Burlington, Ontario has mastered making absolutely delicious treats that are vegan, gluten free, peanut free and use natural, organic, healthy ingredients. They have taken every common inflammatory ingredient and substituted it with a healthy, allergen free alternative.

We can start with my fav - the brownie! Honestly I would suggest you go right now, get 6, eat one and love every minute and then put the other 5 in the freezer for the next time you have a gluten free, vegan brownie craving. Which, if you are like me, is about every 2 hours! You would never guess it doesn't' contain any of the "bad" stuff - super moist, rich and chocolatey and just the right amount of sweetness. True love!

Cupcakes! Yes they have them, yes they are delicious and there are a dozen or so different flavors that look as good as they taste. I'm partial to the chocolate mint which is made with pure peppermint oil but I recently branched out and tried their Coffee Break - it has a cinnamon sugar mini donut on top. I probably don't have to say much more than that…

Their cookies are a perfect "to-go" snack. Chocolate chip, Snickerdoodle, and my two fav's; the World Peace and Skinny. The World Peace cookie is made with gluten free oats, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and chocolate chips - I sometimes grab one of these when I'm on the go as a mini meal since they are full of plant based protein and fibre. If you really want to be guilt, guilt free - opt for a Skinny Cookie - no flour, no sugar - just bananas as a sweetener - and trust me - they are super yummy!

Kelly's also has a beautiful selection of cakes that you can order - including wedding cakes and they offer vegan ice cream in the summer months. Yes, I said vegan ice cream. With fun toppings!!!

If you are anywhere near the beautiful city of Burlington, take some time and visit this cute little healthy spot - order a cozy tea or a coconut milk latte and savor a delicious, guilt free and health conscious dessert.

Wait - you don't live close by? It's ok! They deliver anywhere from Grimsby to Bowmanville. Yes that means vegan, gluten free cupcakes in your PJ's…like I said - Heaven!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and vegan brownie love,

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