Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Perfect NYE Appy? Yes please.

Only a couple days left of 2015...

Time for a gorgeous outfit and some sparkly shoes to ring in the fabulous new year!

Whether you are hosting, going to a party or enjoying a cozy night in...this appetizer recipe for Arancini is perfect.

I personally tested it out at Christmas with rave reviews...To save time day of, I made the risotto the day before and kept it in the fridge until it was time to make the actual rice balls.

Recipes aside, I can't thank you enough for your readership and support in 2015 - I am so grateful to have you in the Picky Diet community.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year...

See you next week for our first Meatless Monday of 2016!

Arancini Appetizer

Ingredients
makes 18 rice balls

4 cups vegetable broth (1 32 oz box), divided
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp Earth Balance
Fresh ground sea salt & pepper to taste
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup all purpose flour (you can use gluten free)
1 cup of breadcrumbs (you can use gluten free)
2 - 3 cups canola oil
tomato sauce for dipping

Instructions
In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

In a large pot, cook the onion in 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium heat until onion begins to soften. Add rice and stir to coat with oil for about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Begin adding 1/2 cup of the warm broth to the rice and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time and stirring until all the broth is absorbed - about 20 minutes.  

Turn the heat to low and add the nutritional yeast and Earth Balance. Stir to mix everything together and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Chill the risotto in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight. 

Fill one medium bowl with the flour, another medium bowl with the almond milk and a third medium bowl with bread crumbs. Form the chilled risotto into golf ball sized balls and then roll each ball in the flour first, followed by the almond milk and then the bread crumbs so they are well coated. 

In a large frying or sauté pan, heat approximately 1" of canola oil on medium-high until oil reaches 350 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, sprinkle some breadcrumbs into the hot oil and when they sizzle the oil is hot. 

Using tongs, place 4 - 6 balls in the hot oil and cook for about two minutes on each side - turning the balls so that they are golden brown all around. Serve on a platter with warmed tomato sauce for dipping. 

Enjoy!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and arancini love,
Kim

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Scrumptious Vegan Shortbread

Vegan Shortbread.

I know - doesn't seem right.

But if you love shortbread (ME & most likely the rest of the world), and you don't want to eat inflammatory foods like dairy then you at least have to give it a try...

So I did and I have to say I liked it enough to share the recipe with you.

This recipe is actually also gluten free - which seems like even more of a sin, but honestly delicious.

Might not be the healthiest recipe I have created, but its Christmas and sometimes you need a little shortbread...

Enjoy!

Scrumptious Shortbread
Ingredients
1 cup Earth Balance
3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer cream the Earth Balance and sugar together until light and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Turn the mixer speed to low and add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time until well combined. 

Separate the dough into four equal round balls and roll each one into a 1/2" disk. Score the top of each disk into 8 wedges. 

Bake for 22 -25 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. Let them cool and then break them into wedges. 

Sending you sunshine, happiness and vegan shortbread love,
Kim

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Tasty Toasted Pecans

Toasted pecans look beautiful, taste amazing and are a perfect snack to put out if you are doing some holiday hosting this season.

Or you end up eating them all with a glass of wine during an evening wrapping session...

Either way - they are super easy to make and unlike many holiday treats they combine a touch of sweetness with all the heath benefits of pecans: fibre, protein, magnesium and iron.

Enjoy!

Tasty Toasted Pecans

Ingredients
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp olive oil

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Place all ingredients in a medium ziplock plastic bag and shake it baby! Once all the pecans have been covered with the cinnamon and sugar, empty them out onto the parchment paper. Spread them out so none are touching and put them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Watch they don't burn. 

Thats it!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and toasted pecan love,
Kim

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Picky Peppermint Bark

I love dark chocolate.

Totally delicious and full of healthy antioxidants.

Pair it with peppermint and boom - AMAZING!

Most chocolate barks that show up around the holidays are made with milk chocolate - obviously not an option when you are living dairy-free - and are usually loaded with sugar.

My recipe uses dark chocolate, toasted quinoa for crunch (trust me, its good), pure peppermint and is sprinkled with an all natural crushed candy cane.

As an aside, I found the natural candy canes (meaning they are not artificially  flavoured) at Whole Foods and have spotted them at other health food grocery stores.

This bark is perfect to serve when you are entertaining for the holidays or even to give as a gift - I like to put it in a mason jar wrapped up with pretty ribbon and rosemary.

Enjoy!

Picky Peppermint Bark
Ingredients
14 oz bittersweet dark baking chocolate
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
1/2 Tbsp quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 all natural candy cane

Instructions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the unwrapped candy cane in a ziplock plastic bag and bang it with a large spoon to crush it. Set aside

Fill a medium size soup pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a low simmer. Place a heat safe bowl (I use glass) on top of the pot and make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir it as it begins to melt.

While the chocolate is melting, put the quinoa in a small sauce pan on medium heat and stir it around with a wire whisk until it is lightly toasted - about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Set aside.

Once the chocolate is 80 percent melted, stir in the peppermint extract.

When the chocolate mixture is completely melted and smooth, pour it onto the parchment paper and spread it out gently so that it is thin and in a rectangle shape. Sprinkle the quinoa into the chocolate, followed by the crushed candy cane. Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once it is completely chilled, break into pieces and serve...aka EAT!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and peppermint bark love,
Kim

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Detox Salad

I don't know about you but I am in full holiday mode!

The past few weeks have been a whole lot of lunches, dinners, parties, shopping, baking, eating, drinking...

And then today I feel my jeans a touch tight, my head a bit foggy, my skin a bit dull.

Can you relate?

I'm completely out of my healthy eating, workout and sleep routine. I'm guessing you are too. And we still have 11 days until Christmas! (I understand some of you will want to stop reading here, realizing there are ONLY 11 days until Christmas and think who has time to deal with vegan food - I have shopping to do! But please read on, today's recipe is quick and easy)

In this super busy, exciting time of the year it is so easy to fall out of our usual healthy habits. Its ok - every day doesn't have to be perfect. And you can stay on track through all these events with a few simple tricks:

-Eat a healthy snack like veggies and hummus or fruit and nuts and drink a big glass of water before going to a holiday party or dinner - this will keep you full and less likely to try every appy known to man!

-If you are drinking, alternate between an alcoholic drink and water to keep you hydrated and to keep you from drinking too much - stick with red wine if you like it since it does contain antioxidants = fun & healthy!

-Choose one dessert that you really love, enjoy it and then be finished. Remember to be empowered about your food decisions - say to yourself  "I could have more dessert if I wanted to but I choose not to" instead of "I can't have any desserts"

And if all else fails make this awesome Holiday Detox Salad for dinner tonight!

Its sweet, savory and full of antioxidants, fibre and clean protein.

Enjoy!

Holiday Detox Salad

serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side

Ingredients
~all organic ingredients are preferred
1 large head of red leaf lettuce, torn
1/3 medium red onion, cut into ribbons
1/2 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup pecan halves
1/2 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions
In a shallow bowl place the onions, fennel, pecans, kidney beans and pear slices on top of the lettuce.
Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and garlic powder until well combined.
Dress the salad and toss to combine.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and holiday detox love,
Kim

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Spaghetti and Lentil "Meatballs"

Spaghetti and meatballs often gets a bad rap...

"Don't eat that pasta...its full of evil carbs"

But lets face it - spaghetti and meatballs is comforting, cozy, Sunday night happy food...

So how can we enjoy it without seeing those meatballs on our hips in the morning? Or feeling like that pasta is still sitting in our belly?...

We "Picky Diet" it up! With quinoa or brown rice pasta, fresh homemade (quick) sauce and "meatballs" made with lentils, quinoa and mushrooms.

Let's see how they compare:

Traditional Meatballs (made with ground beef)
-high in protein
-high in cholesterol
-contains trans fat
-some iron, B vitamins
-may contain hormones
-may contain antibiotics

Picky Diet Lentil "Meatballs"
-high in protein
-cholesterol free
-contains heart healthy fats
-super high in iron and B vitamins
-high in antioxidants
-high in fibre
-high in magnesium
-contains vitamin D

Not sure there is much more to say there so let's start cooking!

This recipe takes a bit longer than my usual ones and is a bit more labour intensive. It makes 12 "meatballs" but you can easily double the recipe and freeze the extras so you do all the work once and enjoy them for many dinners to come.

Spaghetti and Lentil "Meatballs"

Ingredients
serves 4 and makes 12 lentil "meatballs"

Lentil "Meatballs"
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup cooked lentils ( 1/2 cup uncooked)
2 cups cooked quinoa ( 3/4 cup uncooked)
8 crimini mushrooms (cut in quarters)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary

Fresh Tomato Sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 28oz can or jar of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
10 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste
1 lb of cooked brown rice or quinoa pasta

Instructions

Lentil "Meatballs"
Cook the lentils and quinoa separately according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium low heat and sauté the garlic and onions until soft. While the onions are cooking, put the mushrooms in a food processor or blender and pulse to mince them. Once minced, add them to the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. 

Add the cooked quinoa and lentils to the pot and mix well. Add in tomato paste, nutritional yeast, vinegar and herbs. Pulse the oats and walnuts lightly in a food processor or blender until they are ground, but not a powder and add them to the mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes until all ingredients are warm and well mixed. 

Form the mixture into 2" balls (like the size of a golf ball) and place them on the baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes until they are browned. Serve with pasta and fresh tomato sauce or on their own dipped in tomato sauce. 

Fresh Tomato Sauce
Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium low heat for 5 - 7 minutes until the onions are very tender. Add in the fresh tomatoes and oregano and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes begin to reduce to a sauce. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and basil and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes. Top the cooked pasta with the sauce, add a few "meatballs" and enjoy!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and lentil meatball love,
Kim

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Meatless Monday: Wild Rice Risotto

Happy Thanksgiving week to our friends in the US.

No matter where you live, taking time to be grateful for what you have is important.

Being thankful and grateful is healthy for your mind, body and soul.

"Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine did a study. He recruited [people] who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives. It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. 'They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,' says Mills. And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body's natural response to injury, or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health"
~adapted from NPR.org

As this study shows, its not only the food you put in your body that keeps you healthy and your heart strong, practicing gratitude and being thankful for all that you have also contributes to your health.

What are you grateful for today?

It can be something as small as a warm cup of tea in your hands, your favourite song playing on the radio or the beautiful shining sun...whatever it is for you, take a minute and truly be grateful - its comfort food for your soul.

Speaking of comfort food - today's recipe is a Wild Rice Risotto with mushrooms and kale. It is hearty, healthy and can be a perfect dish for your Thanksgiving meal...

Before you start cooking, take a deep breath and be grateful for the fresh, healthy food you are about to make.

Enjoy...

Wild Rice Risotto



serves 4 - 6 as a side dish
Ingredients
6 cups vegetable broth, divided
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
8 kale leaves, torn
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 white onion
1 1/2 cups wild rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp Earth Balance
Fresh ground sea salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

In a large saucepan, sauté the mushrooms and kale with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and garlic powder over medium heat until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot, cook the onion in 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium heat until onion begins to soften. Add rice and stir to coat with oil for about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Begin adding 1/2 cup of the warm broth to the rice and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time and stirring until all the broth is absorbed - about 20 minutes.  

Turn the heat to low and add in the cooked mushrooms and kale, nutritional yeast and Earth Balance. Stir to mix everything together and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. 

Thank you for reading...
Sending you sunshine, happiness and wild rice risotto love,
Kim

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Blissful Butternut Squash Soup

Here we are at Monday again...

How are you? How do you feel today?

Take a few moments for yourself, take in some deep breaths and enjoy the moment.

Monday has a way of taking control over us - so much to do...places to be...traffic...work...

It can all add up and when it does the best thing you can do is take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and bring yourself into the present moment.

When you breathe deeply you are creating a relaxation response. When this happens it is impossible for the stress response to occur so your body has no choice but to rid itself of stress for this time, giving your hormones a chance to readjust and your immune and nervous systems a much needed rest and reset.

Today's recipe is a classic. A cozy, fall soup that will also help relieve your stress. Soup is a food that is meant to be eaten slowly and savored. It is easy to digest the amazing amounts of Vitamin A (antioxidant extraordinaire for your skin and immune system) and vitamin C (ditto) that come from the butternut squash used in this dish.

How about tonight you change up Monday - light some candles, play some music, be grateful and savour this healthy, delicious soup...enjoy.

Blissful Butternut Squash Soup


serves 4

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger powder or grated fresh ginger
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth (1 box container)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
fresh ground sea salt and pepper

Instructions
In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium low heat for five minutes. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the squash and cook for additional 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.

Turn the heat off the soup and puree with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender you can let the soup cool a bit and blend it in small batches in a blender then return it to the stove to heat.

Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and blissful butternut squash love,
Kim

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Meatless Monday - Picky Protein Bowl

So the old joke goes that no one really cares about your protein intake until you tell them you are a vegan...yep, so true.

I've come across countless people who ask where I get my protein after I tell them I eat a vegan diet.

The truth is, a healthy vegan diet is filled with protein: Beans, Seeds, Grains, Lentils, Nuts, Tofu...even veggies! These foods all pack a ton of clean protein - you get the protein, iron plus fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats.

Animal proteins such as beef, chicken and dairy do provide protein although they also provide cholesterol, unhealthy fats, hormones and antibiotics (yes even the organic and free range ones) and not a whole lot of fibre or vitamins.

This is why it is a good idea to try getting more of your protein from vegan sources and less from animal sources - so you can be your best, healthiest, happiest you.

Today's Meatless Monday recipe does just that...

Enjoy.

Picky Protein Bowl



This recipe includes ingredients and instructions for making homemade hummus for the dish. If you are strapped for time - you can use store bought - although I have to say its really good hummus - so definitely try it when you have a little more time. The hummus will last up to 5 days in an air tight container in the fridge.

serves  4 

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
3 medium beets, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
4 crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
8 large kale leaves, torn
1 15oz can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 tsp garlic powder, divided
fresh ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Homemade Hummus Ingredients
2 15oz cans organic garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
juice from one large lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp water
fresh ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl toss the beets with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic powder and some salt and pepper. In a separate mixing bowl toss the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic powder and some salt and pepper. Spread the beets out on half of the parchment paper and put the beets in the over to roast for about 40 minutes. The sweet potatoes only take about 25 so place them on the other half of the baking sheet 15 minutes after you have put the beets in.

Cook the quinoa according to package directions in a medium sauce pot. Once the quinoa is cooked add the black beans and stir - continue to cook on low heat for 5 minutes to warm up the beans.

If you are making your own hummus make it now (see instructions below) - if not skip to the next step.

While the quinoa is cooking and the veggies are roasting, sauté the kale and mushrooms in a medium pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and pepper on medium low heat for 5 - 7 minutes.

Arrange your bowl with the quinoa and bean mixture and all of the veggies around the edges, place a dollop of hummus in the middle and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Yum!

Homemade Hummus Instructions
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
That's it!
If it needs to be more creamy slowly add a bit more water.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and picky protein love,
Kim

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Meatless Monday: Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Here we are in the heart of fall.

The time to truly savour the last bright colours of leaves on the trees, the golden afternoon sunshine and the warmth of your favourite cozy sweater.

As the temperatures fall and the days become shorter it is important for us to eat more warming, grounding foods to stay healthy.

Grounding foods are literally foods that grown in the ground - most commonly root vegetables. When you eat these foods they take on the same "grounding" energy in your body helping you focus and be centered in this bittersweet season of change.

I love roasting a group of root vegetables. Their warm colours and earthy aroma are perfect for a cool fall day. This recipes incorporates kale - which is so healthy for your lungs and respiratory system that often can be compromised during the changing air of autumn. Lentils are also added to this dish for muscle building protein and fibre keeping your tummy happy and healthy. I couldn't resist adding a touch of maple syrup to the dressing for a little Canadian sweetness.

Enjoy.

Roasted Root Veggie Salad



Serves 4
Ingredients
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in 1" rounds
2 medium beets, peeled and cut in 1" pieces
8 brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup red lentils, cooked
1 large bunch of kale, washed and torn
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3 1/4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
fresh ground pepper and sea salt

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the squash, parsnips and brussels sprouts in a large bowl with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic powder and salt and pepper. In a separate smaller bowl toss the beets with 1/4 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. I do this because if you mix them all together - the rest of the veggies will turn pink from the beets.

Spread out all the veggies on the lined baking sheet and cook in the oven until tender and slightly browned - about 45 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar.

In a large serving bowl, dress the torn kale and chopped red onion with the dressing you made in the step above. Mix well.

Top the kale and red onion salad with lentils, pumpkin seeds and the cooked root veggies.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and root veggie love,
Kim

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Go Vegan for National Food Day

October 24th is Food Day...

A day that inspires people to change their diets and their food policies. Every October 24, countless people come together to celebrate a better food system.

This year the focus is "Toward a Greener Diet" focussing on the critical importance of eating less meat and enjoying more whole plant based foods as a way to become healthier and help animals and the environment.

In honour of Food Day I'm challenging you to eat plant based for a day! Below are healthy, full nutrition recipes that will keep you focussed and energized throughout the day. Take note of how your body feels eating plant based for a day - it might be something you start to do more often…healthy habits create heathy people. Enjoy...xo

Breakfast
Autumn Morning Smoothie


This smoothie is an amazing way start to your day - filled with blended greens that are easily absorbed to give you as many nutrients as possible along with fibre from the apple and magnesium from the hemp seeds.

Ingredients
5 - 10 large kale leaves washed and torn (organic if possible)
1 organic apple
8 ice cubes
1 scoop vanilla brown rice protein powder ( I use Sun Warrior brand)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Blend it all in a blender until it is well mixed.

Lunch
Crispy Kale Quinoa Salad

This salad is a clean protein powerhouse! The quinoa contains all the amino acids your body needs along with iron and fibre. The yellow pepper is full of vitamin c and the hemp seeds contain magnesium and omegas. The kale chips add a nice crunch. Perfect as a main dish or as a side with a baked sweet potato.
Get the recipe here: Crispy Kale Quinoa Salad

Snack
Cucumber Crisps

These make a great healthy, crunchy snack in the middle of the afternoon - you know, when the "unhealthy vegan" food is calling your name. Also perfect for the kids after school.
Get the recipe here: Cucumber Crisps

Dinner
Fabulous Fajitas

These fabulous vegan fajitas are delicious as well as super healthy! Black beans alone are an amazing superfood full of protein, iron and fibre and once mixed with rice you have a complete protein. The peppers are bursting with juicy vitamin C, the mushrooms rich with vitamin D and the kale - well we all know about the kale - it needs no introduction to its vast array of health benefits. Mix up all these awesome foods with a little spice and bundle them up with your choice of wrap - whole wheat, Ezekial sprouted grain, spinach or gluten free and you have a filling, fabulous meat free meal.
Get the recipe here: Fabulous Fajitas

Sending you sunshine, happiness and Food Day love,
Kim

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Check out these amazing National Food Day bloggers for more info on healthy eating and being your best self:

Alli from Don't Panic Mom
Amanda from Produce for Kids
April from Gluten is My BitchApsara from Eating Well Diary
Donna from The Hanging Spoon
Emily from Colorado Moms
Gina from The Multitasking Missus
Jen from Driftwood Gardens
Jessica from The Balanced Kitchen
Jill from Just the Right Byte
Jory from Teeny Tiny FoodieKimberlee from Picky Diet
Kristen from Fueling a Fit Fam
Lacy and Emily from Laughing Lemon Pie
Maaike from the Official Food Day Blog
Maybelline from Naturalmente Mama
Monica from Mommy & Love
Sally from Real Mom NutritionSiri from Cooking with Siri
Suchitra from Su's Healthy Living
Susan from Real Kids Eat Spinach


Monday, October 19, 2015

Meatless Monday: Roasted Cauliflower Stew

Happy Meatless Monday.

Today I'm writing you from gorgeous Palm Springs California - currently soaking up some morning sunshine and beautiful mountain vistas and looking forward to an afternoon hike.

But for right now - back to Meatless Monday business!

Its hard to feel like having stew when it is a zillion degrees and sunny here in Cali - however in many parts of the world the crisp fall air is chilling everyone out and some warm, grounding food is just what the body needs to feel well.

Enter the Roasted Cauliflower Stew.

The roasted cauliflower in this tomato based stew adds a wonderful earthy flavour. Cauliflower is packed with tons of vitamin C, potassium and fibre - all of which work to keep your immune system healthy which is so key when the weather starts cooling off.

This recipe is quick and keeps well as leftovers for tomorrow's lunch or in the freezer for a chilly winter day when you have no time to cook. Try it a big hunk of crispy, fresh baked multigrain bread. Yum.

Enjoy…



Roasted Cauliflower Stew
Serves 4
Ingredients
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
1 medium white potato, cut into small cubes
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can or jar of diced tomatoes with their juices
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400. Cover two baking sheets with parchement paper. In a large mixing bowl drizzle the cauliflower pieces with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, garlic powder and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well until the cauliflower is coated. Spread the cauliflower pieces on the two baking sheets and place in the oven uncovered for about 30 min or until the edges are golden brown and the pieces are tender.

While the cauliflower is roasting, sauté the onion and minced garlic in 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large soup pot on medium low until the onion becomes slightly soft. Add carrots and potatoes and sauté for another 10 minutes. Stir in the veggie broth, cumin and tomatoes with their juices, bring to a boil and then let simmer on low.

Once the cauliflower is roasted, transfer it directly to the soup pot and add in the garbanzo beans. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Let the stew simmer for another 10 minutes with all ingredients. 

Sending you sunshine, happiness and cauliflower stew love,
Kim

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Meatless Monday: Cozy Tomato and Quinoa Soup

Here we are in October…how did that happen so fast?

What a gorgeous month…

Warm cozy cashmere sweaters, tall boots, beautiful colored trees, pretty pumpkins and crisp fresh air.

Its the perfect time of year to wrap your hands around a yummy bowl of soup and take in all that nature has to offer.

Today's recipe offers just that - the comfort of warm tomato soup with a healthy dash of vitamin C filled red pepper, basil (loaded with vitamin K) and protein rich quinoa.

Cozy, delicious and filling not to mention so healthy for every cell in your body.

Enjoy…


Cozy Tomato and Quinoa Soup
serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth (1 litre)
4 cups cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed
15 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp Herbamare (or fresh sea salt)
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions
In a large soup pot sauté onion and garlic with 1 Tbsp of olive oil on low heat. Season with Herbamare and crushed red pepper (optional).
While it is sautéing blend tomatoes, red pepper, basil leaves and olive oil in a high speed blender until smooth.
Add the tomato mixture to the pot and stir to combine with the sautéed onion and garlic. Season with fresh ground pepper.
Add the vegetable broth and stir well. Turn up the heat to medium and allow the soup to come to a boil then turn down the heat so it can simmer for about 20 - 30 min.
Add the rinsed quinoa, stir and cook for another 10 minutes until the quinoa is soft. The longer you cook the soup after the quinoa is added the thicker it will become so if you would like it heartier, continue to cook it for longer. If it becomes too thick you can always add a little water to thin it back out.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and tomato soup love,
Kim

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Meatless Monday: Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Quinoa.
Tough to pronounce.
Amazing for your health!
Quinoa is an ancient grain that strengthens the kidneys, heart and lungs - perfect for the upcoming cooler temps.
Unlike carbs like white bread, baked goods and packaged foods, quinoa is a whole food.
A GOOD carb!
One that is full of protein, B vitamins, zinc, potassium and vitamin E.
It is gluten free and easy to digest.
It keeps you full longer due to its high protein content.
This Crunchy Quinoa Salad is honestly my new fav! The mix of cooked quinoa and crunchy toasted quinoa is fabulous. The beans add extra protein, fibre and antioxidants.
This is truly a clean, delicious, whole food meal!


Crunchy Quinoa Salad
Ingredients
2 cups quinoa, cooked and chilled or room temp
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked, rinsed and drained
1 cup aduki beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups arugula
1/4 cup red onion
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp Herbamare*
1/2 tsp coconut sugar
fresh ground pepper

*Herbamare is a seasoned salt you can find at almost any health food or grocery store. You can always substitute fresh sea salt if you don't' have any - I do recommend picking it up - its a delicious seasoning on veggies and grains.

Instructions
Toast the 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa but placing it in a sauté or fry pan on the stove on medium heat. Move it around with a wire whisk until it begins to toast - it will become lightly crispy and have a nutty aroma. Once toasted, remove from pan and place in a bowl to cool.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, Herbamare, coconut sugar and pepper.

Combine the cooked quinoa, toasted quinoa, onion, beans and arugula and mix with the dressing from the above step until well combined.


Sending you sunshine, happiness and quinoa love,
Kim

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Meatless Monday: Classic Stir Fry with Green Tea Rice

Sometimes it can be tough to get a wide variety of veggies in your day.

A great way to get a whole bunch in one sitting is to make a classic stir fry and the icing on the cake is this dish is full of calcium. Yes. Calcium!

Both the bok choy and sesame seeds are full of bone strengthening, easily absorbed calcium.

Stir fry is the perfect meal to make when you have left over veggies in the fridge. The recipe below has a great variety of vegetables but you can always substitute with what you have on hand.

Its also a good dish to make extra of so you can use it to fill a whole what or gluten free wrap for lunch the next day.

This recipe uses coconut oil to cook the veggies and green tea to cook the rice. Using coconut oil to stir fry the veggies is a great choice - it is perfect for high heat cooking and is full of heart healthy fats. It also gives the veg a crisp, sweet taste. Cooking the rice with green tea instead of water gives the rice a subtle nice flavour along with lots of antioxidants.



Classic Stir Fry with Green Tea Rice
serves 4

Ingredients
4 pieces of bok choy, chopped in large pieces
1/2 large crown of broccoli, cut in 1" trees
1/2 red pepper, cut in ribbons
1/2 yellow pepper, cut in ribbons
4 carrots, cut in ribbons
5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 white onion
1 tbsp organic coconut oil
2 cups brown or wild rice
2 organic green tea bag (or 2 tsp loose leaf)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsb tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp grated or ground ginger (optional)

Instructions
To make the rice, boil 3.5 cups of water in a kettle. Pour it in a glass or ceramic bowl with the two green tea bags or loose leaf tea and let steep for 5 minutes. Once steeped, remove the tea bags or leaves and put the tea water in a pot with a tight fitting lid and add the 2 cups of rice and 1/2 tsp of garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 35-40 minutes or until all the water is dissolved. Let the rice rest off the heat for an additional 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking make a sauce by combining the tamari (or soy sauce), rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic clove, sesame seeds and ginger in a mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan cook the onion in the coconut oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 5-10 minutes, add the peppers and broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes, finally add the mushrooms and bok choy and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the veggies are cooked but still crisp. Add the sauce you made in the previous step and stir it gently in with the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes.

Serve the vegetable on top of rice and garnish with additional sesame seeds if you like.

Enjoy!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and stir fry love,
Kim

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Stuffed Avocados

Happy Long Weekend!
Hope you are enjoying these lazy, hazy, wonderful days of summer! 
Make sure to take some time to relax, take care of yourself and eat well - it is good for the soul. 
On the topic of eating well - its no secret that I love avocados - and for good reasons...
  1. They taste delicious
  2. They are versatile - I use them as a spread on toast or sandwiches, diced up in salad, mixed with tomatoes and onions for guacamole, blended to make salad dressing and even throw them in my green smothie. 
  3. They are quite possibly the healthiest food on earth!  The heart healthy fats in avocados help break down vitamins from other foods in your body so they are better absorbed. They are full of Fibre, B vitamins that metabolize fat and give you energy and Folate which is a key nutrient in disease prevention and a healthy brain and nervous system. 
My new favourite thing to do with avocados is to stuff them (the shell makes a perfect little bowl). These Black Bean Stuffed Avocados are perfect as an appetizer, a side to vegan fajitas, tacos or your fav veggie burger or just eat them on their own. The back beans add antioxidants, fibre and protein and the hemp seeds are full of magnesium and omega 3's. These are true superfood bowls of love! I couldn't decide whether to eat them with a fork or with tortilla chips - they were equally delish both ways! 


Black Bean Stuffed Avocados
makes 4 stuffed shells

Ingredients
4 just ripe avocados, cut in half and pit removed
1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp hemp hearts
1 small cucumber, diced
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
juice from 1/2 a lemon
fresh sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions
Use a large spoon to scoop out the avocados so you are left with an empty shell. Place the shells on a plate. Cut the avocado flesh you removed from the shells into small cubes. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the avocado cubes, black beans, hemp seeds and cucumber.  Dress with the apple cider vinegar, garlic, cumin and salt and pepper. Stir gently until well dressed. 

Scoop out the avocado black bean mixture equally into each of the empty shells. Use the bottom of the spoon to really fill the shells so you can fit the entire mixture in. 

Top each shell mixture with lemon juice so the avocados don't oxidize and turn brown. 

Sending you sunshine, happiness and stuffed avocado love,
Kim

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Peaches & Greens Smoothie

I love a good green smoothie!

It gives me tons of energy and I know it is doing so much good stuff to my cells inside - like fighting cancer, improving my immune function, using antioxidants to fight free radicals and giving me the fibre and protein I need to be productive and focussed.

Since it is peach season I thought what better way to sweeten up my greens than with one of these fuzzy little fruits.

I have found the best way to use them in a smoothie is to freeze them. Its great to stock up on peaches now, since they are in season, and freeze them so that you always have them later in the year when they aren't as readily available and not as delicious!

I like to use organic peaches as they are really high up on the "dirty dozen" list. If you don't have access to organic, make sure to really wash them well or even peel them before freezing.

If you want this smoothie now! and don't have a peach in the freezer - no problem - just add a couple more ice cubes...

Enjoy!



Peaches & Greens Smoothie
5 large kale leaves washed and torn (organic if possible)
1 frozen organic peach
5 ice cubes
1 scoop vanilla brown rice protein powder ( I use Sun Warrior brand)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Blend it all in a blender until it is well mixed.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and green smoothie love,
Kim

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Meatless Monday - Fresh Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti

Delicious, beautiful tomatoes are everywhere right now.
It is their time!
Which really means its our time - to enjoy them as much as possible.
I absolutely love tomatoes - a couple cherry tomatoes as a snack is better than any candy I've ever had and seeing the glorious colours of the heirlooms makes me want to slice them up, add a dash of sea salt and dig in!
Aside from being delicious, tomatoes are an extremely healthy food - full of vitamin C, vitamin A, biotin for your skin, hair and nails and cancer fighting lycopene.
So I thought what better way to use some of these tasty tomatoes than some fresh spaghetti sauce. This recipe is absolutely delicious and the better the tomatoes, the better the flavour.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti


















Serves 4
Ingredients
6 heirloom tomatoes (preferably different colours), cores removed
2 Tbsp olive oil divided
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
30 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 lb quinoa or brown rice spaghetti
1 tsp oregano
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Instructions
Place the 6 heirloom tomatoes (with cores removed) into a blender with sea salt and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Puree until they become a liquid.

Sauté the chopped onion, garlic, and 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté or sauce pan on medium low heat for about 10 minutes until onions are soft. (Make sure to use a fairly large pan or pot as we will be adding the sauce and the pasta in the same pan.)

While the onions are cooking, place the halved cherry tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a few good sprinkles of sea salt. Set aside.

Pour the heirloom tomato mixture into the pan with the onions and add oregano and salt and pepper.  Cook on medium - low heat for about 30 minutes - the sauce will begin to thicken slightly.

Boil water for the pasta and cook it until it is just al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta and the 1/4 cup of pasta water to the sauté pan with the tomato sauce. Add the salted cherry tomatoes and the torn basil leaves. Slowly stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce and continue to cook on medium -  low heat for 15 minutes. Reduce to a simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and heirloom tomato love,
Kim

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Easy Superfood Breakfasts

Mornings are busy!
Off to work, off to school, off to yoga...
Its really easy to grab whatever is around and go, or even worse pick something up from a fast food or coffee shop - however that often isn't very healthy and usually won't keep you full - meaning you are looking for a snack around 10am (which usually isn't that healthy either).
So let's break this cycle together. Below are three easy, quick superfood breakfasts that are bursting with nutrition and will keep you full well into lunchtime and I can guarantee you aren't getting these nutrients or vitamins at the drive through...

Flax Ezekiel Bread & Almond Butter








You can get Ezekiel bread right in the freezer section at your grocery store and you keep it in the freezer because it has no preservatives. Pop two pieces in the toaster in the morning and smear it with almond butter. Running out the door? Make it into a sandwich to eat in the car. No time in the morning? Take two pieces out of the freezer the night before, spread them with almond butter and make it into a sandwich, keep it in the fridge overnight and grab it as you are walking out the door.

Oatmeal with Walnuts & Cinnamon








Look for a brand of instant oatmeal that is low in sugar and contains no artificial ingredients. Mix it with some boiling water and add cinnamon and walnuts for some amazing antioxidants. Make it to go in a insulated travel coffee cup.

Qia Cereal with Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon & Almond Milk








This brand of cereal is full of superfoods - chia, hemp and buckwheat. Mix 3 tablespoons with a sprinkle of cinnamon, pumpkin seeds and as much almond milk as you like. The chia seeds will absorb the milk making it a bit thicker. When I eat this for breakfast my energy levels go way up and I am honestly not hungry for hours - and I'm ALWAYS hungry. Its a great way to get a lot of nutrition in one bowl. If you are strapped for time you can put this in a travel coffee mug to go!

Give one, two or all three of these breakfasts a try - it will change the way you feel, think and get through your morning.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and superfood breakfast love,
Kim

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Meatless Monday: Grilled Peach and Mint Salad

So it's late August - wow, how did we get here?

I'm not even close to being ready for summer to end.

There are a few benefits to late summer though - other than the warm sunny days - and one of them is glorious, local peaches. Not only are they sweet and juicy they also come with health benefits including fibre and vitamin C. And at a mere 39 calories - they are a way better option when you have a  sugar craving than candy or refined sugar.

Now how do we turn this fuzzy summer fruit into dinner? We grill it! Its easy, quick and really brings out their flavour and sweetness. No grill? No problem, just use a gill pan on the stove to get the same result.

Grilled peaches are a wonderful addition to any salad but below is the recipe for my favourite. It includes white beans for protein, iron and fibre and walnuts for antioxidants and omegas. It is a perfect late summer salad - enjoy…



Grilled Peach & Mint Salad
Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a meal

Ingredients
2 medium peaches (ripe, but not too soft)
4 cups arugula
1/2 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
8 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1/4 cup organic walnut halves
1 cup of organic canned white beans
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
sea salt

Instructions
Warm up the grill (or grill pan) to medium heat.
Cut each peach into 6 equal segments and gently dress with the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
Grill the segments for about 90 seconds on each side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
In a large bowl combine arugula, mint, cucumber and beans. Mix in the lemon juice and garlic powder.
On a large serving plate place the arugula salad mixture and then top with the walnuts and grilled peaches.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and grilled peach love,
Kim

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Meatless Monday: Delicious Double Baked Potatoes

There is just something comforting and delicious about a baked potato - even more so when you add some mashed potatoes in to your baked potato and cook it again so that the skin is extra crispy - definitely delicious.

Now many of you would think double baked potatoes are not for us vegans or clean eaters - mostly because they are usually stuffed with cheddar cheese, butter, sour cream, etc…well you no longer have to deprive yourself - this Meatless Monday recipe has beautiful creamy mashed potatoes combined with protein and fibre rich white beans, thyroid healing brazil nuts and vitamin B filled nutritional yeast to give it that yummy cheese flavour…enjoy!


Delicious Double Baked Potatoes
makes 4 potato halves - serves 4

Ingredients
2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
3 Tbsp OO, divided, plus a little to rub on the potatoes before baking
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
4 brazil nuts, chopped
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped (or 4 tsp dried)
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 can organic cannellini beans
salt and pepper

Instructions
Pre heat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub the potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on parchment paper and bake in the oven until their sides are soft - approximately 1 hour, turning them once. Allow to cool enough to handle.
In a medium sauté pan, cook the onion with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, rosemary, 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and pepper for about 5-7 minutes on medium-low heat until onions are soft. Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes. 
Cut the potatoes in equal halves and scoop out the insides  into a large mixing bowl, leaving abut a 1/4 inch of the potato as the shell. Arrange the shells back on the baking sheet. 
Using a fork or potato masher mash 2 Tbsp of olive oil, nutritional yeast and the chopped brazil nuts until very creamy. Stir in the cooked onions and beans until well combined (do not mash in the beans and onions - just stir them in). 
Fill the potato shells with the mashed potato and bean mixture, using the back of a spoon to really fill the shells and then scoop more on top until you have used all the filling. 
Bake the shells in the oven, still on 425, for about 10-15 minutes until the tops start to brown a bit. 
Serve warm.

*Make ahead! This is a bit of a time consuming recipe due to the time it takes to initially bake the potatoes. You can always bake and fill the potatoes ahead of time and then refrigerate them for up to 2 days. Just pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes so they are heated all the way through before serving. 

Sending you sunshine, happiness and baked potato love,
Kim

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