Wedge Salad with Cashew Ranch and Za’atar

Even though iceburg lettuce gets a bit of a bad rap, I have given it a nutritional upgrade by slathering it in cashew ranch dressing and za’atar spice!   This thirst quenching lettuce is lower in fibre than other lettuces but still rich in water, vitamin K and other minerals. Za’atar is the condiment king of the middle east and dates back to medieval times. It is a superfood spice mix composed of dried thyme oregano, marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and coarse salt. Sumac adds a tangy, fruity, sparkly, antioxidant rich note to the blend. You can buy a pre-mixed za’atar however; mixing your own is easy and made with readily available spices.





Serves 4

  • 1 large head of organic ice burg lettuce cored and cut in quarters.
  • 1 recipe of za’atar spice (recipe follows)
  • 1 recipe of cashew ranch dressing (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup of sliced cucumber
  • 1 tomato, cubed

To make the Za’atar spice:

  • 1/4 cup of sumac
  • 2 Tbsp. organic dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, I used black sesame seeds.  (lightly toasted in a small fry pan)
  • 2 Tbsp. organic dried marjoram
  • 2 Tbsp. organic dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. of coarse sea salt

Combine all of the spices. Store in a sealed container. You will have plenty left to sprinkle on popcorn or whatever else you are inspired to sprinkle it on!





Cashew Ranch Dressing:

  • 1 cup of raw organic cashews, soaked in plenty of water for at least 2 hours.
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. of olive or avocado oil
  • 11/2 tsp. pink himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp.dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • lots of freshly ground pepper

Drain and rinse the cashews. In a blender, blend the cashews with the vinegar, oil, salt, mustard, and water until silky smooth. Spoon into a container and then stir in the oregano, basil, and freshly cracked pepper by hand. Refrigerate until ready to use.

This dressing firms up a little in the fridge so give it a good stir before you use it. Feel free to add a little bit of extra water to thin it slightly.



The salad:

Arrange the quartered ice burg lettuce on four separate plates. Drizzle a generous amount of Cashew Ranch dressing over each wedge. Scatter sliced cucumber and diced tomato over the wedge and then top with plenty of Za’atar spice!




Ananda (Bliss) Balls

In raw cacao there is a neurotransmitter called Anandamide or the “bliss molecule”. It is aptly named after ananda, the sanskrit word for Joy, bliss or happiness. This neurotransmitter does a lot more than produce a state of heightened happiness! It also is synthesized in the brain in areas that are important in memory, motivation, higher thought processes and movement control.  Make sure that you use raw cacao in the filling. I dipped mine in raw chocolate as well however you can use a high quality dark chocolate instead. You can find the Raw Chocolate recipe under desserts. Make a batch of these bliss balls for your valentine!






  • 15 pitted medjool dates (They should be soft)
  • 3 heaping tbsp. of raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup of finely ground almonds (either ground in a food processor or bought as almond flour)
  • 1/3 cup of raw unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 batch of raw chocolate, melted or 1 bar of high quality dark chocolate melted over a double boiler
  • 1/4 cup of cacao nibs to decorate

In your food processor combine the dates, cacao powder, almonds, coconut and vanilla. Process until the mixture comes together when you squeeze it into a ball.





Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls with your hands. You can pop them in the fridge to firm up a bit before dipping in chocolate. If they are cold when you dip them the chocolate will also set up faster!




Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Using a fork, roll the balls around in the melted chocolate and then place on a parchment lined cookie sheet to set. Sprinkle each ball with a few cacao nibs.  Allow to set either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Baja Bowl

I just got these new coconut bowls and was inspired to fill them with something colourful! This bowl is bursting with Mexican flavours. Black forbidden rice provides a platform for tamari roasted yams, chickpeas, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and quick pickled onions, topped with cilantro chili lime vinaigrette and chipotle lime cashew aioli! Start the quick pickled onions the day before or at least 2 hours prior to assembling these bowls. If you are interested, these eco friendly bowls are from and are made from reclaimed shells that are tossed into landfill.




Makes 4 bowls


  • 1 can of organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ripe but firm avocados, peeled and sliced or cubed
  • romaine lettuce, washed and torn
  • 20 cherry tomatoes (either halved and raw or roasted for the last 10 min. with the yams)
  • 1 1/2 cup of uncooked forbidden black rice
  • 2 medium sized yams, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/4 in. slices
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. of tamari
  • 1 recipe of quick pickled onions (recipe follows)
  • one recipe of cilantro chili lime vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • one recipe of chipotle lime cashew aioli (recipe follows)

Quick Pickled onions:

  • 11/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1 medium sized red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a 2 cup mason jar. Press the onions down to submerge them into the pickling liquid. Allow them to marinate for at least 2 hours.




Roasted Yams:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Either slice the yams into thin ovals or french fry like strips. Toss the yams with 3 tbsp. of olive oil and 2 tbsp. of tamari. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 min., turning a few times as they bake to ensure that they are evenly browned and tender when pierced with a fork.  If you want to roast the tomatoes, toss them in a little oil and throw them in with the yams for the last 10 min. or so.




The Rice:

Combine 11/2 cups of black forbidden rice with 3 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 min. or until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. This rice tends to be a little chewier than regular rice when cooked. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 15 min. covered.

Cilantro chili lime dressing:

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. of yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 of a chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper (less if don’t like spice)
  • 1 cup of gently packed, washed, fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup of avocado oil or any other light tasting oil

In your blender combine the garlic, mustard, maple syrup, lime juice, cilantro and salt. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream until well combined. Set aside.




Chipotle lime aioli:

  • 3/4 cup of raw cashews soaked in water for at least 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup of avocado oil or another light tasting oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp. of fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce (more to taste if desired)

Combine all of the ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend until silky smooth. Adjust the seasonings if desired.






The final assembly!!!

Distribute the rice into four bowls. Artfully arrange the romaine leaves, roasted yams, tomatoes, sliced avocado, chickpeas, and pickled onions on top of the forbidden rice. Drizzle generous amounts of the cilantro chili lime vinaigrette and the chipotle lime cashew aioli on top. Top with fresh cilantro!



Truffled Leek and Purple Potato Soup

Purple potatoes pureed with leeks and truffle salt make a delicious and visually stunning soup! I buy purple potatoes through my organic box however I have noticed that they are recently more readily available in supermarkets as well. According to Chinese medicine black/purple foods are nourishing to the kidneys, the root of your constitution and health. I was a little disappointed after blending the potatoes as the vibrant purple colour turned a bit brown. I happened to have some Purple Corn Concentrate on hand and a tsp. of the antioxidant rich superfood brightened it right up! It doesn’t alter the taste at all and is not essential to the soup but definitely makes it more nutritious and visually appealing! I bought mine at The Light Cellar in Calgary on Bowness road. They also do mail order if you are interested! Truffle salt is available at any specialty olive oil store or market.




serves 4

  • 6 cups of chopped organic purple potatoes (un-peeled, scrubbed)
  • 1 large leek, outer layer removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • water or veggie stock to cover the potatoes by one inch. (about 5 cups)
  • 2 tsp. of black truffle salt (or 1 tsp. truffle and 1 tsp. pink himalayan salt)
  • 1 heaping tsp. of purple corn concentrate
  • 1/4 cup of raw cashews soaked in water for at least an hour
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • freshly cracked pepper to garnish
  • chopped parsley to garnish

Saute the sliced leeks in olive oil until tender. Add the chopped potatoes and the water or stock. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.



In a high speed blender blend the potatoes, leeks, veggie stock and soaked, drained cashews until thick and creamy. Return to the soup pot. Stir in the nutritional yeast and purple corn concentrate if using. Add the truffle salt 1 tsp. first, and then either another tsp. or the himalayan salt if you aren’t as crazy over the taste of truffle as I am!





Stir in the purple corn concentrate.





Add the nutritional yeast.




Serve topped with chopped parsley and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper!







Stoke Granola

I just made a big batch of this granola for my son Noah who is living in Revelstoke and thought I would share the recipe. Its the perfect breakfast before a day in the mountains! I love it with fresh hazelnut milk and sliced banana. Feel free to mix and match the nuts, seeds and dried fruit.




  • 5 cups of organic gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup of unsweetened ribbon coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. of true cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon)
  • 1 cup of raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 cup of organic raisins

Preheat the oven to 240 F.

Combine all ingredients except for the raisins in a large bowl. (The raisins get added at the end to prevent them from burning in the oven)



Mix well with your hands to coat the ingredients well with the oil and maple syrup. Spread onto a large cookie sheet as evenly as possible.





Bake for 40 min. stirring a few times as it bakes to ensure that it is evenly browned. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool before adding the raisins. Store in an airtight container.

Chili Lime Coconut Red Lentil Soup

I had you at chili, lime and coconut right?  Red lentils are simmered in a creamy coconut broth with a pinch of garam masala, turmeric and cumin to create this warming crimson bowl of soup! Double the recipe and pop leftovers into the freezer for another meal. A pinch of black pepper along with the fat from the coconut milk make the turmeric more bioavailable in the body!





Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric or 1 tsp. finely grated fresh turmeric
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 398 ml. can of organic fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. of himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro to garnish

In a large saucepan saute the onion and garlic in the coconut oil until the onion is translucent. Add turmeric, garam masala, red pepper flakes, cumin and black pepper to the onions. Stir to combine.





Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, the red lentils, coconut milk and water or stock. Simmer for 40 min. or until the lentils are soft and the soup has thickened.



Add lime juice, and the 2 tsp. of salt or more to taste, keeping in mind that if you used veggie stock that it is most likely salted so perhaps a little less! Serve topped with freshly chopped cilantro. This soup will keep well in the fridge for a few days but because it contains coconut milk, no longer. Freeze the leftovers if you aren’t going to consume it within a few days.



Buckwheat Hazelnut Shortbread

Other than being gluten and dairy free, this is the kind of shortbread that your mom used to make, the kind that melts in your mouth and leaves the kitchen covered in a dusting of powdered sugar! I am making these cookies as part of a Christmas cookie exchange and just have to share the recipe! I made my own buckwheat flour, grinding raw buckwheat groats to a powder in my vita mix, however you can purchase it already ground. I powdered organic white sugar as well in my vita mix but you can also use icing sugar or powdered coconut sugar. I chose the white sugar to keep them lighter in colour. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you freeze them you won’t eat them! They freeze beautifully and taste just as delicious frozen!



makes 20 cookies

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (room temperature at 21 degrees C.)
  • 1/3 cup of powdered organic cane sugar or powdered coconut sugar (ground to a powder in a high speed blender)
  • pinch of pink himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of ground hazelnuts
  • 1-2 tbsp. almond milk
  • good quality dark chocolate for dipping
  • toasted hazelnuts to sprinkle on the chocolate

In a medium sized bowl cream the coconut oil and powdered sugar with a hand mixer. Add the vanilla and salt and beat to combine.



Beat in the ground hazelnuts.



Add the baking powder and the buckwheat flour, just beating to combine. The mixture should still appear crumbly.



Add a tbsp. or two of almond milk and beat briefly. The mixture will still appear crumbly but you should be able to form it into a ball.



Roll into 1 in balls and then press gently with a fork to flatten slightly.



Bake for 20 min. at 325 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before dipping.

To dip:

In a double boiler melt your chocolate.


Dip 1/3 of each of the cookies into the melted chocolate and then sprinkle with toasted, chopped hazelnuts.


Cultured Cashew Curry Cheese Log

This Cashew Log was a huge hit at a local Christmas market that I recently participated in! Flavoured with curry powder and then studded with chopped cranberries, crystallized ginger, and lightly toasted pecans, it has the texture of cream cheese but is made entirely with cashews and a bit of coconut oil. Keep in mind that you will need to start the process three days prior to serving. It involves very little hands on time but requires time to ferment and firm up in the fridge.




  • 11/2 cups of raw cashews soaked overnight in plenty of water
  • 1 tsp. of probiotics (capsules emptied)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. of softened coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. of miso paste (chickpea, barley or any lighter coloured miso)
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1 tsp. pink himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp. curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. of sambal (or lacto-fermented hot sauce)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup of lightly toasted pecans, chopped

Day 1.

soak your cashews overnight, drain and rinse.

Day 2.

In a high speed blender, blend the cashews until silky smooth with as little water as possible to help it along. Add the probiotic powder. Blend again briefly to combine. With a spatula scoop the mixture into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on your counter for 24 hours to ferment. When it is ready it will have a slightly sour odour to it and a fluffier texture.  The warmer you kitchen the faster the mixure






Day 3.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the fermented cashew mixture with the 2 Tbsp. of lime juice, 2 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast, 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil, 2 tsp. of miso, 1 tsp. each of garlic and onion powder, 1 tsp. of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of sambal and the  1 tsp. of salt. Process until well combined, taste to adjust seasonings if desired.





Spoon the mixture into a bowl and set it in the fridge to firm up for a few hours.


Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a log shape.



Wrap it up to smooth it out and set it back in the fridge until just before you are ready to serve it.



Combine the chopped ginger and cranberries on a flat surface.



Add the chopped pecans to the mixture, distributing them evenly throughout.



Gently roll the cashew log over the mixture several times to ensure that it is evenly coated. You can press the dried fruit and nuts onto the end of the log with your hands.



Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit and/or berries and whatever crackers you like. I find it goes well with Mary’s gluten free crackers.


Raw Panforte with Marzipan


Panforte is a traditional chewy Italian Tuscan dessert loaded with dried fruit and nuts that dates back to 13th century Sienna. I brought back a few wedges from a recent trip to Italy and reproduced a sugar and gluten-free version that makes a lovely Christmas gift wrapped in parchment and twine.  A slice with a cup of tea or coffee makes for a nice dessert or a  nutrient dense snack out on the trail! I used a mixture of cranberries, raisins, dried pineapple and candied ginger but feel free to come up with your own variations of dried fruit. (2 cups in total)  Just make sure you are buying organic and un-sulphured!


Equipment needed: Food Processor, two 8 in. spring form pans

Ingredients: The Base

  • 2 cups of soft pitted dates (medjool)
  • 2 cups of ground almonds ( you can either process raw or sprouted and dehydrated almonds to a flour or purchase ground almonds)
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. himalayan pink salt
  • 3/4 tsp. of nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. of freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. true cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup of lightly toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup dried pineapple
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup of candied orange peel or 1 tsp. of organic orange zest

In a food processor combine the pitted dates with the ground almonds, coconut oil, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Process until a thick but soft batter forms.



Spoon the batter into a mixing bowl and with your hands mix in the coconut flour. The flour will absorb moisture from the batter allowing you to knead it into a smooth ball.





Add the dried fruit and hazelnuts to the batter and work in thoroughly with your hands. Divide it in two.








Line your spring form pans with plastic wrap. Press the dough evenly into the plastic lined pans pressing down with a spoon to smooth it out evenly.



Set aside while you prepare the marzipan.


  • 4 cups of ground blanched almonds (you can either buy blanched almonds and grind your own or purchase almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup of agave or raw honey (just make sure you use a liquid sweetener without colour)
  • 2 tsp. of pure almond extract

In a food processor combine the ground almonds with agave or honey and almond extract to form a play dough like consistency. If it isn’t coming together add a bit more liquid sweetener.



Divide it in two and smooth onto your prepared bases.



Set in the fridge to firm up nicely. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and a sprinkling of coconut flour to resemble powdered sugar. To give as gifts, cut the Panforte into quarters or eighths, wrap in saran wrap and then in unbleached parchment paper and hemp twine.


Cheesecake is Golden

Fresh turmeric gives this cheesecake a gorgeous golden hue. Ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper give it the flavour of a delicious “Golden Milk”. Keep in mind that you will want to begin the fermentation process 3 days prior to slivering away at this delicious dessert!



The filling:

Step 1:

  • 13/4 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 tsp. probiotic powder  (3 or 4 capsules emptied)
  • just enough water to blend, about 1/4 cup

Soak the cashews in water at room temperature overnight. In a high speed blender, puree the cashews with just enough water to create a silky smooth paste. Add the probiotics and blend again briefly to combine. Spoon the mixture into a medium sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 24 hours. As it ferments, it will develop a slightly sour odour and a fluffier consistency.



The Crust:

  • 11/2 cups of sprouted and dehydrated almonds (or raw almonds) *
  • 3 tbsp. of coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. of softened coconut oil
  • pinch of pink himalayan salt

Grind the almonds and the coconut sugar in a food processor as finely as you can without making almond butter! With the motor running, add the vanilla, salt, and softened coconut oil. Pulse until well combined.

*to sprout the almonds, soak them overnight at room temperature in water. Strain and rinse the almonds before dehydrating them at 117 degrees F. for 24 hours.



Prepare a 6 inch springform pan by lining it with plastic wrap.


Press the crust into the plastic lined pan with the back of a spoon.



Set in the freezer to allow the crust to set while you prepare the filling.


The Filling:

Step 2:

  • One recipe of fermented cashew cheese.
  • 2 tsp. of freshly juiced turmeric. If you don’t have a juicer, you can simply grate the turmeric finely over a small bowl and then squeeze the juice out of the pulp by hand. This will require a couple of finger sized knobs of turmeric! If you can’t find fresh turmeric, you can use a tsp. of powdered however the colour and flavour will not be as pronounced.



  • 2 tsp. of fresh ginger juice. If you don’t have a juicer, finely grate the ginger and squeeze the juice out by hand as you did the turmeric. A piece a couple of inches long will suffice.
  • 1 tsp. of true cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg




  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom (crush the pods in a pestle and mortar, remove the seeds and crush to a fine powder)




  • 1/2 cup of powdered zylitol (A sweetener made from Birch trees that is non-caloric. To powder, blend on high until it resembles icing sugar! Zylitol is poisonous to dogs so make sure you keep it out of paws reach!) Powdered sugar can be used in place of zylitol if desired. Taste to adjust sweetness if necessary.
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup of coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a food processor combine the cashew cheese, turmeric juice, ginger juice, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, zylitol, lemon juice and vanilla. Process until smooth and well combined. With the motor running stream in the warmed coconut oil.  Taste and adjust spiciness if desired!




Pour the filling into the prepared chilled crust. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Place in the fridge to set. Decorate with sliced candied ginger before serving. This cheesecake will last refrigerated for several weeks and also freezes well if properly wrapped.





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