Monday, March 28, 2016

Greens and Grains Salad - Meatless Monday Recipe

What you eat has an effect on every part of your body - including your brain.

That's probably something you don't think about (bit of a joke ;-)

Its true.

The nutrients you eat turn into energy that your brain needs to do its finest work.

If you find yourself feeling forgetful, foggy or down it could very well be something you ate...or didn't eat.

Some of the best plant based foods for your brain are:
  • olive oil
  • high fibre whole grains
  • blueberries
  • flax & pumpkin seeds
  • beans
  • leafy greens
  • walnuts
  • avocados
Working these foods into your daily diet will keep your brain healthy and happy.

Today's MM recipe contains four of those "best brain" foods - quinoa, black beans, olive oil and arugula.

The beans and greens provide a double dose of folate which has been shown to slow the effects of brain aging and may help ward off depression.

The quinoa is a whole grain with a low glycemic index - meaning it provides your bloodstream with slowly released glucose giving your brain consistent energy to keep you mentally alert throughout the day.

The antioxidant vitamin E in olive oil helps protect nerve cells.

"The mind and body are not separate. What affects one, affects the other"


Greens and Grains Salad

1 cup quinoa cooked and at room temperature
1/2 cup quinoa uncooked, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups packed arugula
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried parsley
juice of one fresh lemon
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp maple syrup

In a medium frying pan, cook the 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa on medium low heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring with a whisk until it is lightly toasted and aromatic. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and maple syrup. Add fresh ground sea salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the cooked quinoa and black beans and mix with the dressing you made in the previous step. Add in the arugula and toss lightly. Sprinkle on the toasted quinoa.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Blissful Blueberry Muffins - Vegan and Gluten Free

Eating healthy on the go can be tricky.

There are 1 million snack options being marketed to you every second.

Packaged granola bars, baked goods, power bars, cookies, 100 calorie "snack packs"  - the list is endless.

Of course they all claim to be "healthy" or "natural" - but is that real or is that just a way for the company to make more money? for thought.


The healthiest food to eat is food closest to its natural state - for example; apples, avocados, raw nuts, whole grains, etc.

Since blueberries don't travel that well I thought I would whip up some truly healthy, vegan, gluten free muffins - perfect when you running late in the morning to take to work or for an afternoon or after school snack.

The blueberries in these muffins really are naturally full of fibre and antioxidants, the oats keep your cholesterol in check and the pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top give you the iron and magnesium to keep your blood healthy.

When you cook food yourself you know exactly what is in it.


"Don't eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food"
 ~Michael Pollan

makes 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups gluten free oats
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance (vegan butter)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

In a high speed blender or food processor pulse the oats until they become a "flour".

In a large mixing bowl cream the Earth Balance and the coconut sugar together with a hand mixer. Mix in the applesauce, vanilla and almond milk. Stir in the "oat flour" you made earlier, the cinnamon and the baking powder until everything is well combined. Add the blueberries to the batter and stir in.

Use a spoon to fill each of the muffin cups about 3/4 full and top each muffin with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

Bake for 35-40 minutes and let cool for 10.

You can keep them in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Happy Monday.

Sometimes Monday is a bit of a struggle isn't it?

First of all losing that Daylight Savings Time hour of sleep is real. I truly feel like I'm so behind schedule today - notice the late post - and the day seems to be totally flying by.

Second my laptop's hard drive crashed on Friday. They kept it overnight at the Apple store hospital but with no luck on getting anything to work. Sooooo...I've been scraping together what backups I have. Important note to everyone out there - Backup your stuff! Seriously. I know you always feel like you have more important things to do - but when you are faced with the grey screen of death on your computer one morning you will be so happy you did.

Anyways, enough about me...

Let's talk about food.

Today's MM recipe is a "Chickpea Salad" Sandwich. It is crazy delicious, quick to make and incredibly healthy. Unlike its doppelgänger (chicken salad) this chickpea salad has no artery clogging mayo and no animal products that could contain antibiotics and hormones.

Why Chickpeas?

-full of soluble fibre 1 cup = 50% of your recommended intake - so good for digestion and detoxification and keeping cholesterol in check

-packed with folate and iron - amazing for blood and heart health

-a perfect combo of protein and fibre to regulate blood sugar

-rich in unique antioxidants - 1 cup has 85% of your daily value of manganese - a key mineral for the health of all cells in your body (think mitochondria)

-they contain good amounts of copper and zinc - both vital minerals for the health of your skin and your immune system

This recipe is perfect to take for lunch on sprouted grain bread, in a wrap or even wrapped in a nice lettuce leaf - for those of you off carbs prepping for bathing suit season ;-) It tastes even better on day two and I've been know to eat it with a spoon.

A great recipe for when you've just lost an hour and have no time to catch up.

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until becomes a memory."
 ~Dr. Seuss

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 large stalk celery, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
fresh ground pepper and sea salt

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas with a large fork or potato masher to your desired consistency - you might like mash them up until they are creamy or leave them less mashed with a little more texture.

Stir in the tahini, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and mustard until well combined. Add in the celery, red onion, garlic powder, paprika and salt and pepper to taste and stir until all ingredients are mixed well.

Scoop it out onto your fav bread, wrap or on even on top of a bed of greens.

You can refrigerate any extra in an air tight container for 2 days.


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Monday, March 7, 2016

Creamy Red Pepper Soup

As the seasons change from winter to spring our body needs different foods.

It doesn't need the heavy, grounding foods that keep us warm in the winter. It wants the light, cleansing foods of Spring - think radishes, bell peppers, arugula, peas, mint, garlic...

People think spring cleaning only applies to their home but it also applies to the body.

Is there something you have been eating this winter that your could "clean out" of your diet for spring?

Something to help you lighten up?

Write it down - which makes it real - and commit to "cleaning" it out.

Boom. Spring Cleaning Done!

And it's only March...You are awesome!

Speaking of awesome, today's Meatless Monday recipe is a delicious, fresh Creamy Red Pepper Soup.

It is quick and easy to make and loaded with vitamin C from the red peppers - the perfect antioxidant for gorgeous spring skin, a super healthy immune system and iron absorption.

The "creaminess" comes from cashews which are full of protein, iron and fibre.

Its a perfect early spring recipe - full of clean, light peppers and a touch of warmth since the evenings are still a bit chilly.


"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients."
~Julia Child

Creamy Red Pepper Soup

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
4 red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
fresh ground sea salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, saute the garlic, onion and red peppers in 2 Tbsp olive oil on medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, vegetable broth and generous amounts of fresh ground sea salt and pepper and stir well. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, blend the cashews and water in a food processor or high speed blender until they become a "milk".

Add the blended cashew mixture to the soup once it has finished cooking for the 30 minutes and blend everything together with an immersion blender for 3-5 minutes or until all ingredients are creamy smooth. Heat on medium for an additional 5 minutes adding in a touch more salt and pepper to taste.

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