Raw Vegan Taco Salad

So this weekend, the weather in Toronto has gone from winter to late spring (finally!) and I decided to take Bodhi to my local dog park for a well-deserved play sesh with his doggy pals and a long walk on Friday. When I got home, I noticed he was following me around, had trouble sitting without looking uncomfortable and his trademark waggy tail was unusually limp. I brought him to the vet the very next day who concluded that he had swelling in his lower spine and tail region caused by inflammation of the spinal cord and muscles in the area and has ordered strict rest and minimal walking as well as some weight loss. (According to the vet he’s “fluffy” – but by no means significantly overweight – however with any spinal issue, maintaining a normal weight is necessary to avoid additional strain on the spine). No doubt all the jumping, twists and wrestling Bodhi was doing after a winter of practically no doggy play caused him to injure himself. Thankfully he’s on pain meds and anti-inflammatories, and seems to be slowly on the mend. I am very grateful, as the worst case scenario would have him seeing a neurologist and potentially requiring spinal surgery.

taco salad

Needless to say, I didn’t have time to experiment with brand new recipes. As such, I’m using one of my many, many recipes that I’ve accumulated but haven’t had the time to blog about. (Seriously, there are SO many! I had no idea until I started to clear out photos off my phone!) This one is perfect for spring and is a delicious meal for those looking for lighter fare.

I remember developing a serious addiction to this salad when I first made it and hard it for weeks! It really is a hearty and filling salad that even omnivores will love. If you have nut allergies or just aren’t into making “nut meat” using kidney beans or black beans as an alternative works great too. Simply omit the nuts and sundried tomatoes, and use the same amount of beans with the same seasonings below.

bean taco salad

I hope you enjoy this beautiful and nourishing salad, and hope it brings you memories of warmer days!

See you next week!

xo

Mira

Raw Vegan Taco Salad (serves 2)

Ingredients:

For the “nut meat” or “neat”:

  • 1 cup walnuts/sunflower seeds
  • 1/8 cup walnut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. organic chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. tamari
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes

For the salad:

  • 2 cups organic mixed baby greens/spinach/whatever green you desire
  • 1/2 avocado sliced
  • 1/4 organic yellow/orange/red pepper
  • 1/4 cup organic halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup frozen non-GMO organic corn (if you desire)
  • a handful of organic corn tortilla chips

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • generous pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt

Method:

1. Pulse nuts, sundried tomatoes (well-drained), garlic, onion and spices until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in oil while continuing to pulse until mixture resembles “nut meat” or “neat”. If using cooked beans, rinse and drain them well and simply mix with all the ingredients listed for the “nut meat” except omit the nuts and sundried tomatoes.

2. Divide the greens between two bowls or plates and arrange the avocado, pepper, cherry tomatoes and “neat” on each. Sprinkle with the green onions.

2. Wipe out the food processor bowl and proceed to make the dressing by putting the cilantro, salt and drizzle in the olive oil. If you are feeling lazy, just chop up the cilantro and sprinkle it over top of the salads and drizzle the whole lot with olive oil and lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

 

Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Sweet Potato Curry

Another slow cooker recipe? Yup! I hope you aren’t getting sick of them, but honestly, if you are, I’m thinking you must not be using your slow cooker. I know I go on and on about it, but this essential kitchen tool has been one of my most time-saving appliances this winter. Having a busy full-time job and working as a part-time yoga teacher, I need to have meals prepped in advance if I want to make sure I eat healthy and have a life (and save money!)

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So last Sunday I was at the Yoga Conference in Toronto for most of the day, but being my “Food Prep Sunday”, I knew I couldn’t let that slide. So I turned to my faithful slow cooker, which I knew would get the job done. Returning to my home knowing that dinner would be finished and ready for lunches for most of the week was almost as good as the feeling of being greeted with Bodhi’s furry face.

This curry is full of beautiful spices that are mellowed out by the natural sweetness from the sweet potato and creaminess from the coconut milk. And yes, I’m talking about full fat coconut milk. I have no qualms about using it since this makes quite a few servings but if you are concerned about caloric intake, you can use reduced fat coconut milk, it may just not have the creaminess of this version.

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If you try it, let me know what you think in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

See you next week,

xo Mira

Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Sweet Potato Curry (adapted from The Pretty Bee) – serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small organic sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1½ cups green lentils (or French green lentils)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 can full fat organic coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsps. garam masala
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup organic cilantro, chopped
  • cooked brown rice or quinoa for serving, if desired

Method:

  1. Sort through lentils, remove any stones and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Place all ingredients except cilantro and rice/quinoa (if using) in the crockpot.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
  4. Scoop out into bowls (on top of rice/quinoa if using) and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

My slow cooker has seriously become my love this winter. There is nothing better than throwing ingredients in a pot, turning it on in the morning and arriving home to the comforting smell of dinner already made.

black bean soup

In fact, in anticipation of the snow and below zero temperatures we’re expected to have this week in Toronto, I have a new slow cooker concoction brewing away while I’m at the Toronto Yoga Conference today. If it turns out well, I’ll be sure to share this recipe with you soon. And if it continues to snow in Toronto into April, well, I’ll probably still be using my slow cooker too. (But as much as I love my slow cooker, I kind of hope it doesn’t! I’m definitely ready for spring/summer weather.)

This recipe doesn’t need any introduction. It’s got delicious southwestern flavours from the chili powder and cumin, a beautiful smokiness from the paprika and a gentle sweetness from the sweet potatoes (not to mention a whole whackload of vitamin A!) If you’re interested in more slow cooker recipes check out my Slow Cooker Vegan Split Pea Soup or Slow-Cooker French Lentil Soup for easy, hearty, vegan and satisfying recipes.

black bean soup ingredients

I can’t wait to share some highlights from the Toronto Yoga Conference next week, along with another recipe, so stay tuned! If you have any recipes that you love using your slow cooker for, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

xo

Mira

Slow Cooker Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced using a microplane
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 lb. organic uncooked black beans, rinsed and picked over for stones
  • 1 cup passata (pureed tomatoes)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth, with no yeast extract/MSG
  • 2 cups water
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, green onions, organic tortilla chips
Method:
  1. Rinse the black beans in a colander under cool running water and pick out any stones or debris.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the garnishes in the slow cooker and mix well.
  3. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 6-8 hours (you want the beans to get VERY soft). Once the beans are very soft, use an immersion blender** to blend the soup until it is thick and creamy (leave some beans whole if desired).
  4. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (this will depend on the brand of vegetable broth used). Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with your desired toppings.

 

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Alfajores

While I was in Miami a few weeks ago, we often stopped into local bakeries (often Cuban run) to grab breakfast or a snack which featured a variety of pastries, such as the beautiful alfajore (ahl-fah-hore), a staple in Latin America. An alfajore is a delicate shortbread-like sandwich cookie that is filled with dulce de leche (caramel) or jam. It literally brings together the best of indulgences: buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread and smooth creamy caramel. Not exactly the kind of food you’d expect to find on a blog devoted to healthy eating. But I believe a healthy diet isn’t devoid of treats. They’re just revamped with healthier ingredients.

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So while this version isn’t something I’d suggest eating every day, it’s definitely a step up from the original treat. Here’s why:

  • there’s no refined sugar or flour
  • coconut flour is high in fibre making this a better choice than wheat flour
  • it’s gluten free
  • it uses organic eggs and butter
  • the coconut jam (by the brand CocoVie) is dairy-free

coconut jam

I haven’t perfected a vegan version yet, so this recipe does use organic eggs and butter (as I prefer to use whole foods than a processed form of vegan “butter”). I’m working on revising the recipe, perhaps with a different flour and even to try a vegan version using coconut oil. If I’m successful I will definitely post a new version! Until then, I hope you enjoy this is delicious alternative that uses healthier, whole food ingredients which is just as delectable as the original.

What are your favourite food discoveries that you’ve made while travelling? Feel free to share in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

xo

Mira

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Coconut Flour Alfajores (makes 6-7 large sandwich cookies)

Ingredients:

For the cookie:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup organic unsalted butter (or use Earth Balance Butter for dairy-free)
  • 4 organic eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup raw honey, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. Himalayan pink salt

For the filling:

  • CocoVie Coconut Jam (whatever flavour you prefer)
  • unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Method:

  1. Mix the coconut flour, butter, eggs, salt, honey and vanilla until well combined. Allow to refrigerate for about 2-3 hours until firm in an airtight container.
  2. When you are ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness and use the end of a glass to cut 3 inch rounds. For smaller cookies, use a smaller cookie cutter.
  3. Place the rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Reroll scraps and continue rolling and cutting rounds until the dough is used up.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes until tops and edges are golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
  5. Spread one cookie with coconut jam right to the edge and top with another cookie. Only spread jam on cookies you intend on serving within the day as the jam can make the cookies soggy. Press gently so that the jam comes to the edge of the cookie.
  6. Sprinkle coconut along the edges of the cookie so it sticks to the jam.
  7. Store cookies in an airtight container, or make all sandwich cookies and freeze to enjoy later.

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“All The Greens” Veggie Soup

Last week I had just returned from a beautiful vacation in Miami on an early flight and was so exhausted I didn’t have a chance to finish up this post in time for last Sunday. So I’m posting this detox soup today with the promise of another recipe post tomorrow that’ll be worth the wait! After my trip to Miami, a detox was definitely in order, as it may also be for you after having indulged in Easter goodies this weekend.

Greens Soup

Leaving Miami’s 30 degree weather and coming back to below zero temperatures in Toronto was tough to say the least. I thought travelling somewhere warm would help quell my desire for summer, but in fact it’s just made me more eager to feel the sun on my skin instead of through 4 layers of clothing. I mean, what was I thinking? Obviously I was going to miss this:

miami beach

Big Magic

relaxation

feet in the ocean

fontainebleau

But I can feel that spring is on its way here in Toronto. 🙂 There’s definitely something in the air, and something optimistic about the sun shining for a little longer each day.

But back to the soup. Adding this soup to your recipe repertoire for spring certainly can’t hurt your detox. It’s vegan, gluten free and paleo, and most likely very friendly for any detox program you may be on right now. It’s clean whole organic food. But tastes pretty darn yummy.

Greens Soup Ingredients

Detox or not, this soup is a perfect way to get more veggies into your diet and is a great clean-out-the-fridge recipe as any green veggies you enjoy will work in this soup. As long as you have broccoli for the base, you’re good to go! Kale, zucchini, swiss chard, spinach, and even dandelion would be great additions (although dandelion is a great liver detoxifier, it’s very bitter, so if that’s not your cup of tea, I’d avoid adding it.)

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely Easter (if you celebrate) and time with your loved ones. This soup is a great way to get back on track with healthy eating after this weekend’s festivities. Stay tuned for another recipe tomorrow that’s a gluten-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth!

xo

Mira

“All The Greens” Detox Soup (inspired by I Quit Sugar)

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic zucchini
  • 3 ribs of organic celery
  • 1 yellow organic onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small organic broccoli, broken into florets, and stems sliced (about 5-6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro/parsley
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 2-3 cups green leafy veggies (kale, baby spinach, swiss chard work well)
  • 1 L (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Parmesan/cheddar), or use vegan cheeze or 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast (this can be omitted)

Method:

  1. In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil until softened.
  2. Add the celery, zucchini, broccoli and saute a few minutes more. Add the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 12-15 minutes until vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the leafy vegetables. Cook for a few minutes more until softened. Add the cilantro and remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a puree. Stir in the coconut milk. Serve garnished with your choice of cheese/nutritional yeast.

Lemon Cranberry Coconut Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

Two weeks ago, I was in need of some quick breakfast options to throw in my rotation that I knew wouldn’t require any prep in the morning but were full of protein and fibre. In walked the breakfast cookie. Cookies for breakfast? Yes, please!
Quinoa Cookies Title
These aren’t just any breakfast cookie. These are quinoa breakfast cookies. Using quinoa flakes means the cookie is full of gluten-free protein and fibre to help control blood sugar levels and help satiate for hours. They are also portable, freeze well and also make a good mid-morning or afternoon snack.
Keep in mind, these are not decadent sweet dessert cookies, but rather hearty, oatmeal-like mounds that are lightly sweetened with banana and maple syrup – kind of like putting a bowl of oatmeal with stellar toppings in a cookie and baking it. So they will “taste healthy” (as my dad put it) but in a way that tells you this is a serious cookie with purpose. You are having it for breakfast, and it will deliver.
Quinoa Cookies 4
It’s an easy going versatile recipe so feel free to throw whatever mix-ins you’d like! Any dried fruit or seeds of your choice would be great as well as chocolate chips (of course).
What are some of your go-to quick breakfast ideas? I’d love to hear your suggestions below! I’m off on our March Break and will be heading somewhere warm for a few days but I will definitely be back next Sunday with another recipe post, and perhaps a few trip highlights! 🙂
xo
Mira
Lemon Cranberry Quinoa Breakfast Cookies (makes 12-14 cookies)
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup nut butter of your choice (I used cashew)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 organic egg (or 1 flax egg)*
  • grated zest of one organic lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Mix nut butter, honey, banana, egg and vanilla in a large bowl. Then add oats, quinoa flakes, baking powder and salt to the bowl and stir together. Fold in coconut and chia seeds.
  3. Spoon mounds of dough on prepped baking sheet (about 2 tbsp. in size).
  4. Bake cookies for 15 – 18 minutes until bottom and edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and  cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

* To make a flax egg mix 1 tbsp. ground flax seed with 3 tbsp. of water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until it becomes a “gel”, then use in place of the egg.

Raw Gluten-Free Oreo Cookies

So my planner’s calendar tells me that today is National Oreo Day, so let’s all celebrate! While I loved those chocolatey little cookies when I was little, reading the ingredient list now does not make me want to revisit it. For one thing, the first ingredient is sugar. And further down the list? High fructose corn syrup. Yikes.

Luckily there’s a healthier option! One that is based on whole food ingredients and is paleo, vegan and gluten-free friendly. While these don’t taste exactly like the original (for one thing they’re raw) they are a pretty good fix for that chocolatey-creamy craving.

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The filling is not the stark white sugary filling but one made of real whole foods – a creamy coconut cashew filling. I used roasted cashew butter to save time (which is why the filling is caramel coloured), but you can also use whole cashews that have been soaked for several hours and then drained well.

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Since I didn’t have a round cookie cutter, I used a cap from a glass bottle I saved from Greenhouse Juice Co. in Toronto. It was the perfect Oreo size but you can use whatever round cutter you have. This batch made at least 20 sandwich cookies that I plan to share as I know I won’t be able to resist eating them!

I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! Have a delicious week! I’ll see you next Sunday for another food recipe post. 🙂

xo

Mira

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Raw Gluten-Free Oreo Cookies (makes about 20 sandwich cookies)

Ingredients:

For the cookie:

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats, ground into flour
  • 8-9 pitted Medjool dates, soaked and drained
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup/agave/honey
  • 1/8 tsp. Himalayan salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup cashew butter (or soaked cashews)
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter (this is different from the oil as it has the coconut meat blended in)
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients for the cookie in a food processor.
  2. Turn out the dough onto parchment paper and roll it out to 1/4″ thickness.
  3. Using a round cookie cutter (or a large cap) cut rounds out of the rolled dough and place on a baking sheet. Reroll the scraps and cut out as many rounds as possible.
  4. Place all the cookies in the freezer to set while you make the filling.
  5. Place the ingredients for the filling in your food processor and process until smooth.
  6. Spread filling on one cookie and use another to sandwich it together pressing firmly to ensure it sticks and pop in the freezer to set. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for a week (if they last that long).
  7. You can eat them straight from the freezer or allow them to thaw in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before consuming.

Dijon and Herb Salmon Burgers

Lately, I’ve been looking for nutritious and quick meals that make good leftovers. Juggling my job of being a full-time teacher, part-time yoga teacher and wellness blogger has me seriously considering prepping meals that either require minimal babysitting (like my slow cooker meals) or minimal prep and cooking time (like these delish burgers). From start to finish these come together in less than 30 minutes, meaning you get to eat sooner (and who doesn’t want that?) They also make great leftovers and even freeze well for a couple of weeks.

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Salmon Burger with Avocado, Hummus and Salad

These burgers are paleo and gluten-free (depending on the crumbs you choose) and are surprisingly not very fishy thanks to the lemon, Dijon and fresh herbs. If you’re a busy parent or career-person, you don’t have to sacrifice time for healthy food or buy the chemical-laden burgers found in the frozen section of the market. Simply make a bunch of these in advance, bake/pan fry them, freeze them and then reheat when you need. Easy as pie. Erm, I mean, burger. 🙂

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Salmon is packed with nutrition being an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation in the body as well as being an excellent source of protein. I didn’t buy the flaked salmon, so mine had some small bones in them, which I just mashed up with a fork. If you are serving this to small children, do consider purchasing the flaked variety. They are perfect served with sliced avocado, some hummus or pesto, on a burger bun or atop a salad like I did below.

If you try them I’d love to know what you think in the comments below! Stay tuned because I’m posting a special bonus recipe today that features a delicious vegan and gluten-free treat that you will not want to miss!

xo
Mira

Dijon and Herb Salmon Burgers (makes 6 patties)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of wild sustainably-caught sockeye salmon (I used Raincoast Trading), drained and mashed
  • 1-2 large green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 organic celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh herb, minced (cilantro, dill or parsley work really well here)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 organic, free-range eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, or grainy mustard of your choice
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs, coconut flour or quinoa flakes

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the salmon, green onion, fresh herbs and garlic in a medium bowl. Then beat in the eggs, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper together and mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in the breadcrumbs/flakes or flour.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  4. Form 6 patties on the parchment paper. Bake for 12  minutes until cooked through and slightly brown on the bottom. Flip the burgers at around the 12 minute mark and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes until cooked.
  5. Serve on a salad, or prepare it for a burger and add avocado and your choice of fixings!

 

Peanut Butter and (Strawberry) Jam Oat Bars

In case you didn’t know, it was National Strawberry Day yesterday, and I was super eager to prepare something to celebrate with fresh strawberries, until a shopping trip to my local health food store deterred me from purchasing them. At around $8-$10 for organic strawberries (I really try not to buy conventional as strawberries are one of the worst offenders for pesticide contaminants), I decided to go with a more seasonal option: organic jam.finished bar

This recipe was inspired by one I got from Crofter’s Organic that I’m pretty sure I picked up at some local Toronto food festival or healthy trade show. Either way, it was on my fridge for a while and had been meaning to make them. And sure enough, they are pretty fantastic (and addictive!) and a great treat for little ones. Who doesn’t have nostalgic memories of peanut butter and jam sandwiches when they were in elementary school?

 

It’s vegan and extremely fast and easy to put together, and I’ve modified it to make it gluten-free. I used strawberry jam, but you can use whatever jam you like as well as any nut butter you like.  For those allergic to peanuts, I’ve suggested another flavour combination below using almond butter, which is a more sophisticated option that may be great for serving to guests.

As for those extra crumbs that always seem to be leftover at the bottom of the pan when the bars are gone, I sprinkled them on Bodhi’s dinner as a treat and he gobbled it up. Kind of like streusel topping. 🙂

I hope you enjoy these as much as I (and Bodhi) did! I’d love to hear your comments below if you do try it!

xo

Mira

Peanut Butter and Jam Oat Bars (makes 16 small squares)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic quick-cook rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup organic sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 3/4-1 cup organic crunchy peanut butter (I used Nuts To You brand)
  • 7 tbsp. organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups organic naturally sweetened jam of your choice (I used a whole 235 mL jar of Crofter’s Organic)

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8″ x 8″ square pan with coconut oil (or if you use a glass one like I did, you don’t need to grease it at all!)
  2. Mix the oats, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients together, except the jam (peanut butter, syrup and vanilla) until combined.
  4. Mix peanut mixture into oat mixture until everything is thoroughly distributed and crumbly. You may have to get in there and use your hands. Pack 1/2 cup dough aside in a measuring cup to use for the topping later and press the rest of the peanut butter crumble evenly into the bottom of the pan.base
  5. Spread the jam evenly over the base. I scooped all of the jam out into the bowl and stirred it around first so it was smooth and easy to spread.jam
  6. Crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the top.topping
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until the topping turns golden.
  8. These are best eaten on the first day as they are crunchy. Covering them overnight will make the bars softer and less crunchy, so if you want to keep them crisper, don’t seal the container tightly, but loosely cover it.

Alternative Option:

Cherry-Almond Oat Bars: Substitute the same quantities of almond butter for peanut butter, almond extract for vanilla, and use cherry jam for the filling.

finished bar title

Amaranth Porridge with Apples and Cinnamon

This may just be my new favourite alternative to oatmeal. This should be shocking to those that know me because I am a devoted oatmeal lover, but there is a special “je ne sais quoi” about amaranth.

amaranth title

I’ve always believed in getting nutrition from a variety of foods and while I love quinoa, I’ve also experimented with quinoa porridge for breakfast using the seed or flakes and the result is the same every time: I’m not a fan. I can’t get over the texture as a porridge or maybe it’s because it’s made as a sweet version instead of savoury. Either way, I won’t be making it any time soon. But amaranth? It’s creamy, and nutty and oh so satisfying. Kind of like tapioca pudding, but with a much more refined texture.

amaranth fall top view

Amaranth is known as an ancient “grain”, but it is in fact a gluten-free seed. It offers more minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus than most other vegetables and contains protein (in particular the amino acid lysine) that is much more easily digested by our bodies. It’s even the only grain to contain vitamin C! (Say what??) It’s a great source of fibre and is known to reduce hypertension as well as the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It’s versatile to boot. It can easily be “popped” to make puffed amaranth which can be used in similar ways as puffed rice. (Something I’ll definitely be looking into for future recipe posts. So keep a lookout!)

amaranth fall bright

This porridge does take a little bit of time to make, like most delicious things do. But if you have 25 minutes to spare in your morning, then you can make enough for leftovers for the next day or two and enjoy a nutty and creamy bowl for a nice change. For a special treat, try the caramelized apples on top which you can easily prepare while the amaranth is cooking. Try it and feel free to comment below if you do. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next week friends!

xo

Mira

Amaranth Porridge (with Apples and Cinnamon) (adapted from Meals That Heal) (makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup amaranth seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup organic applesauce
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/4 cup your choice of nuts or seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, almonds, Brazil etc.)

For the caramelized apple topping:

  • 1 organic apple, cored and diced
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. coconut sugar

Other desired toppings:

  • fresh fruit: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches
  • dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, apricots
  • superfoods: maca powder, bee pollen, cacao nibs

Method:

  1. Place amaranth and water in a small heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer stirring frequently for about 25 minutes until thickened and cooked.
  2. While you’re waiting, saute the apples in coconut oil over medium heat until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the coconut sugar and stir around until the mixture caramelizes and thickens slightly. Remove from heat, stir in the cinnamon and set aside.
  3. Stir in the applesauce and cinnamon. Divide mixture into two bowls (or save the second serving in a glass resealable container to have for tomorrow’s breakfast).
  4. Top with desired toppings (or caramelized apples if using) and serve immediately. To make clean up easier, fill used pot with water to allow it to soak.

amaranth recent 2