Category

Holiday

Half Moon Maple Almond, Buckwheat and Oat Biscuits

Reminiscent of shortbread, these cookies make a nice Christmas Gift. They are gluten free and loaded with healthy ingredients! A smear of melted good dark chocolate creates the half moon effect. Ground hazelnuts can easily be substituted for almond flour if desired.

 

 

Makes 36 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almond or hazelnut flour (either purchased or ground fine in a food processor or blender)
  • 1 cup of oat flour (11/2 cup of gluten free oats ground fine in a blender)
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of true cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of avocado oil
  • 3/4 cup of organic dark chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl combine the almond flour, oat flour, buckwheat flour, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

 

 

Mix the maple syrup and avocado oil together by hand in a measuring cup. Add to the dry ingredients stirring with a spoon and then with your hands to mix thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

The mixture will be moist but shouldn’t be sticky. Feel free to add an additional tbsp. or two of buckwheat flour to the batter if it is sticky. Lightly dust your work surface with oat flour. Divide the batter in half. Working with half of the batter to begin with, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll  your ball of cookie dough into a 1/4 inch round. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter cut into rounds. Gather up the scraps and roll out again until all of the dough has been used.

 

 

 

Arrange cookies on the parchment lined cookie sheet.

 

 

Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack.

 

To coat with chocolate:

Set up a double boiler on your stove with a medium sized pot filled with a few inches of water, topped with a stainless steel bowl. Bring the water to a boil and then add your chocolate chips or chunks to the stainless steel bowl. Stir with a spatula until melted. With a spoon smear half of the cookie with melted chocolate and set aside to set. Cookies can be stored in the fridge for several weeks or you can make the cookies and freeze them before topping with chocolate just before serving!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Mousse with Candied Ginger and Maple Almonds

When my family requested a curry for Thanksgiving I wanted to come up with a festive but lighter dessert that would sit well on top of a heavy curry! This fluffy mousse was perfect topped with a small scoop of cashew ice cream (I love the So Delicious brand), a few slivers of candied ginger, and a smattering of toasted maple almonds.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1 large can (796ml) of organic pumpkin puree or the equivalent amount of pureed roasted fresh sugar pumpkin.
  • 2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. of cardamom powder (ground fresh from the whole pods is always best) *
  • 1 tsp. of true cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. of maple syrup
  • several chunks of crystallized ginger to garnish
  • one recipe of maple almonds (recipe follows)

 

*  If using whole cardamom pods, gently crush the pods with a pestle to expose the seeds.

 

 

Remove the husks and then crush the seeds with your pestle into a fine powder.

 

 

 

Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.

 

 

 

In a high speed blender combine the cashews with the melted coconut oil until smooth and creamy.

 

 

 

 

Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom powder, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup to the cashew cream and blend until smooth and well combined.

 

 

Spoon the mixture evenly into 6 1/2 cup mason jars or 12 1/4 cup mason jars.

 

 

Place the filled jars in the refrigerator to set while you prepare the almonds.

To make almonds:

You can either dehydrate these for 12 hours prior to preparing the mousse or just toast them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven.

  • 1 cup of raw almonds (soaked overnight and first dehydrated if you are going for the dehydrator option, otherwise just raw almonds is fine.)
  • a few tablespoons of maple syrup
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. true cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl combine the almonds with maple syrup, sea salt and cinnamon. Mix well to coat. Spread the maple coated almonds onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until the almonds are toasted and the maple syrup has mostly evaporated. (about 25 min.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, chop into smaller pieces. If using the dehydrator, spread the mixture onto a teflex sheet and dehydrate at 117 degrees F. for 12 hours.

 

 

To serve, add a scoop of ice cream of your choice, a sprinkling of maple almonds and a tsp. or so of chopped crystallized ginger!

 

 

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

 

Chewy, chocolatey, gingery and gluten free! I think I have perfected this gluten-free version of my favourite Christmas cookie! Ground oats and almonds replace the flour and chia gel replaces the eggs and gives these cookies just the right amount of chewiness! You can grind your own almonds to make almond flour, however; it is sometimes difficult to get a consistent grind in a food processor so I often purchase almond flour by Bobs Arrowhead Mills.

 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour (finely ground almonds)
  • 21/2 cups of gluten free rolled oats ground to a fine flour in a blender
  • 11/4 sp. ground dried ginger
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. of ground chia or flax seeds mixed into 3 Tbsp. of water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature (otherwise it will not mix)
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. baking soda mixed into 1 Tbsp. boiled water
  • 11/2 cups of dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar to coat

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. No need to pre-heat the oven at this point as the cookie dough needs to cool in the refrigerator for an hour prior to baking. Sift the almond flour, oat flour, dried ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cacao together into a medium sized bowl.set aside.

In a separate bowl beat coconut oil together with 1 Tbsp. of fresh ginger and the chia gel with a hand mixer.

 

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Add the coconut sugar and molasses. Blend well.

 

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Add 1/2 of the dry spice and flour mix along with the baking soda mixed in hot water to the wet ingredients.  Mix until well combined and then add the remaining dry mix. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips or chunks until well combined.

 

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Place the bowl in the refrigerator for an hour to set up a little bit. Roll into 11/2 inch. balls and coat with the organic granulated sugar. Place on the cookie sheet leaving space for them to expand as they bake.

 

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Bake at 325 F. for 12-14 min. Cool on a wire baking rack before removing from the cookie sheet.

 

 

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Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Roasted Pecans

This protein rich salad jewelled with pomegranate seeds is perfect with a bowl of soup or as an accompaniment to a holiday meal.  This salad only takes half an hour to prepare once you learn the trick of whacking a cut open pomegranate with a wooden spoon to remove the arils!

 

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Ingredients:

serves 4-6

  • 11/2 cups of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • arils from one or two pomegranates
  • 3/4 cup of roasted pecans, chopped coarsly *
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper

 

* To roast the pecans bake at 350 for 6-8 min. on a cookie sheet.

Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and the 2 tsp. of salt in a small saucepan. Cooking the quinoa with the salt ensures that it is distributed evenly. Cover, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 min. Allow to sit for 10 min. before fluffing with a fork. While the quinoa cooks, prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The dressing:

Whisk the oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard together in a small bowl. Toss the dressing with the warm quinoa in a medium sized bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To prep the pomegranate:

Score the outer skin of the pomegranate in 1/2 with a knife.

 

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Pry it apart with your fingers and then gently pry each half apart slightly to loosen the arils.

 

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Holding the pomegranate half over a bowl, whack the outside of it with wooden spoon. The arils will all pop out into the bowl!

 

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Remove any little bits of the yellow membrane that may have fallen into the bowl as well.

 

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Add the arils, roasted pecans, green onion, and parsley to the dressed, cooled quinoa.

 

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Mix well and top with plenty of fresh cracked pepper!

 

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Raw Drinking Chocolate

This basic raw chocolate ganache blends up in minutes and lends itself to a variety of flavourings. I have experimented with dried ancho chilies, and essential oils of peppermint, orange, lavender, and rose, a perfect Valentines gift packaged in 250ml mason jars!

It can be blended with warm or hot water ( depending on how fussy you are about it remaining completely raw) and a little coconut oil  to create a rich and creamy dairy-free treat. I like to serve it in smaller espresso-like cups by the 1/2 cup because it is so rich!

Raw Cacao contains more vitamins and minerals than its roasted counterpart and rumour has it that Aztec Emperor Montezuma would consume 50 cups of cacao before visiting his harem!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup clear raw agave syrup
  • 3/4 cup raw organic cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw organic cacao butter, melted over low heat
  • 1/8 tsp. himalayan pink salt
  •  tsp. raw wildcrafted vanilla powder ( or 2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract)

 

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Flavour options:

  • 1 small dried ancho chilli, stemmed, seeded and ground to a powder in the blender, and 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 5 drops of either, orange, peppermint, lavender, or rose essential oil. (make sure that your oils are high quality, food-grade)

Blend the agave, cacao powder, melted cacao butter, salt and vanilla in a high seed blender until smooth. Add your choice of flavours and blend again to incorporate. Spoon into a 1 cup mason jar or two 1/2 cup jars to give as gifts!

You can store it in the refrigerator for an extended period of time however; it is stable at room temperature for up to 1 month.

To make the hot chocolate:

Combine 11/2 tbsp. of your raw drinking chocolate ganache with 1/2 cup of warm or hot water and 1 tsp. of raw coconut oil in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve in a small coffee or espresso cup.

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Chaga Chai Latte

In the winter I always have a batch of this chai concentrate on hand to create a warming elixir. Simply mix it with equal parts fresh almond milk (or milk of your choice) before heating to serve! I like to keep it caffeine free for an after dinner treat, (all of the spices are digestive tonics) however; you can add a bag of organic black tea to the mix as it brews if desired.

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David Wolfe refers to Chaga as “King of the Medicinal Mushrooms” It is truly a remarkable mushroom that grows on living birch trees. It is an adaptogen which is a metabolic regulator that increases an organism’s ability to adapt to environmental factors and resist stress. It is also known for its cancer fighting and immune boosting properties and is known to tonify the digestive tract, promote longevity and protect DNA. It is readily found, ground,  in most natural food and herb stores.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. ground chaga mushroom
  • 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seeds
  • 6 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole cardomom pods, crushed
  • 1/8 tsp. finely grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder
  • a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

Bring all ingredients except for the maple syrup to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer for 1/2 an hour. Add the maple syrup or honey. Pour into a 1 litre mason jar along with all of the spices. The flavours will continue to intensify if you keep the spices in with the concentrate. Allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator.

To brew:

In a small saucepan combine equal parts chai concentrate and almond milk. Heat to serve!

Note: see the Nut Nog recipe for almond milk instructions.

Nut Nog

This “Nut Nog” is made with fresh almond milk and fresh frozen Thai Young Coconut Meat! This vegan nog is thick, creamy, and delicious all on its own but a splash of brandy or rum is  also a tasty addition.

Making your own nut milk is not only satisfying but also much more nutritious and cost effective than buying the watery store bought milks. Frozen thai young coconut can be purchased at your local natural foods market. You can also use fresh thai young coconuts if they are available.

 

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Ingredients:  Serves 4

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  • 1 cup of thawed or fresh Thai Young coconut meat
  • 2 cups of fresh almond or hazelnut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. grated organic orange rind
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or more to taste
  • a pinch of vanilla powder or a tsp. of pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of turmeric powder to give it an authentic egg nog colour
  • freshly grated nutmeg to garnish

To make the nut milk:

  • 1 cup raw almonds or hazelnuts, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/2 tsp. of soy lecithin granules or sunflower lecithin (optional, keeps it from separating)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Strain the soaked nuts. Combine in a high speed blender with 4 cups of water, dates, vanilla, and lecithin if using.

Blend until smooth. Line a bowl with a nut milk bag. Pour the contents of the blender into the bag and twist the top to prevent the pulp from getting into your strained milk. Gently squeeze the bag over the bowl until all of the liquid has been extracted. The pulp can be frozen or dehydrated and ground into nut flour for later use.

Store the prepared nut milk in a sealed bottle or mason jar in the fridge. It will last about 4 days.

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To make the nut nog:

Combine the coconut meat, nut milk, orange rind, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, maple syrup, vanilla, and turmeric in a high speed blender until smooth and frothy. Serve topped with fresh finely grated nutmeg and a splash of rum or brandy if desired!

 

 

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Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts with Tempeh

 

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This is a vegetarian friendly version of pan fried brussel sprouts with tamari sautéed Tempeh instead of pancetta!  I must admit that I am not ordinarily a big fan of brussel sprouts. In this dish they are caramelized to perfection with onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar and then tossed with crisp bacon like tempeh! A perfect vegetarian accompaniment to a holiday feast!

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If you haven’t tried Tempeh before, it is it much like tofu in that it absorbs whatever flavours that you mix or marinate it with. Unlike Tofu, it is fermented and is much more easily digested by the body. It is usually found frozen and because it is fermented often appears a little mouldy on the surface. It is completely normal for Tempeh to have a dark mould on it.

Ingredients:

  • one package of tempeh, thawed and sliced thinly

 

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  • 6 tbsp. of olive oil, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. tamari
  • 1 pkg. of Tempeh, thawed and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of brussel sprouts, cut in half and trimmed
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. himalayan pink salt or more to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit juice sweetened cranberries to garnish

Heat 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a medium sized fry pan over medium high heat. Arrange the thinly sliced tempeh in the pan and drizzle the tamari over top. Saute until browned and slightly crisp on both sides. Feel free to add a little more tamari  as it cooks to make sure that the tempeh is well coated. Remove from the pan, cut into bite sized pieces, and set aside while you prepare the brussel sprouts.

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Add the remaining olive oil to the pan over medium high heat. Add the brussel sprouts, onions, balsamic vinegar and salt. Stir every few minutes to make sure that the brussel sprouts brown on all sides.  This will take about 10 minutes. During the last few minutes add the minced garlic. Add more salt if desired but keep in mind that the tempeh bites are salty.

Add the tempeh to the pan along with the dried cranberries. Toss to combine. Serve topped with lots of fresh cracked pepper!

 

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