Creamy Cashew Ranch
 

I don't think anyone of you would be surprised if I told you that I was kind of an odd kid. As a child I actually LOVED vegetables! My parents never had trouble getting me to eat broccoli, cauliflower, salad and the like. When it came to veggies, I was a BIG fan! Top those veggies off with ranch dressing, and you got yourself a real winner! 

I'm very excited to introduce you to my my very creamy, oh so dreamy whole food ranch dressing. Packed with fibre, healthy fats, protein, and essential minerals (manganese, potassium, iron, zinc and selenium).  Enjoy this dip with your favourite veggies! 

Photo courtesy of  Miaou Photography  

Photo courtesy of Miaou Photography 

ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked and drained)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs finely chopped onion 
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper (or more to taste)
  • 2 tbs finely chopped chives
  • 1 tbs finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbs finely chopped fresh dill

Method

  1. Soak cashews in boiling water for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
  2. Add cashews, coconut milk, garlic, chopped onion, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a high speed blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. 
  3. Pour into a small mixing bowl and fold in the chives, parsley and dill.

*This recipe is best for dipping, or as part of "Supreme Veggie bars". For a runnier, more pourable ranch, simply add a bit more coconut milk while blending. 

** For best results refrigerate for at least one hour before serving to allow the flavours to develop. 

*** Store in a well sealed mason jar in the fridge for up to 10 days. 

 

 

 

 

 
Supreme Veggie Bars
 

When I was young, my mom used to make these amazing party snacks, she called "veggie bars". I think she found the recipe in a Kraft ad, or on the back of a Philadelphia cream cheese box. Either way, I'm sure you can imagine they weren't as healthy as the name would imply. 

Pre-made pastry out of a tube, topped with pillowy cream cheesy ranch goodness, finely chopped veggies, and you guessed it- more cheese! MMmMM! SO GOOD! Although not a healthy choice, they sure were delicious, and having them evokes fond memories of family gatherings, holidays and parties. Always a huge hit, there were rarely any leftovers! 

This holiday season, I just had to re-imagine this perfect comfort food recipe so that Eric and I could enjoy it alongside our family and friends. 

Try serving these at your next party/shindig/holiday gathering... or try it as a weekend meal. I'm sure there won't be any leftovers at your place either! 

Supreme Veggie Bars

crust ingredients

  • 1  cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I use Pete's Gluten Free)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbls coconut oil
  • 3 tbls cold water

crust method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°c and lay two baking sheet sized pieces of parchment paper on the counter.
  2. With a fork, mix together crust ingredients until it crumbles and dough begins to stick together. use your hands to form a ball and place between the two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a square roughly 1/4 inch thick. Peel back the top layer of parchment paper gently and with a knife, clean up the edges and sculpt into desired shape. Use a fork to pretty up those edges. Slide the parchment paper (with dough on top) onto a cookie sheet and pre-bake crust for 10 minutes. 
  3. While crust is baking, put together the "Creamy cashew Ranch".
IMG_4592.jpg

Creamy cashew Ranch

ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked and drained)

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 tbs finely chopped onion 

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)

  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper (or more to taste)

  • 2 tbs finely chopped chives

  • 1 tbs finely chopped parsley

  • 1 tbs finely chopped fresh dill

Method

  1. Soak cashews in boiling water for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

  2. Add cashews, coconut milk, garlic, chopped onion, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a high speed blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. 

  3. Pour into a small mixing bowl and fold in the chives, parsley and dill.

  4. Pour the "Creamy Cashew Ranch" over the pre-baked crust and spread around as if it were a pizza, creating a 1/4 inch thick layer.

Toppings

  • 2.5 cups of finely chopped assorted veggies such as bell peppers (red, green, yellow or orange) broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomato (seeds removed) and zucchini.
  • 2 finely chopped green onions
  • dairy free cheddar cheese (optional)

method

  1. Load up on toppings, don't be stingy!
  2. Sprinkle the cheddar last.
  3. Return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.
  4. Use a pizza cutter to cut into small squares or triangles.
  5. Serve warm or cold, both are delicious!
All photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography.

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography.

*Crust recipe borrowed from Heather Crosby of Yum Universe, cookbook pg. 239.

 

 

 
Blueberry Banana Almond Overnight Oats

A typical morning...

  • 6:15am- The alarm goes off, I turn it off, roll over... fall back to sleep.
  • 6:39am- I wake suddenly and then panic at the time, roll out of bed, throw on my yoga pants, grab a quick snack and head to the studio. Brain barely functional.
  • 7:23am- I stumble into yoga class then promptly fall back to sleep on my mat for 5 minutes. 
  • 7:30am- Yoga class begins and I summon every ounce of strength, plus every drop of motivation in every fiber of my being to get up off my back and participate.
  • 8:05am- Ahhhh Shavasana.... I've waited all morning for you... fall back to sleep for 10 minutes try not to snore and or drool.
  • 8:39am- I shuffle my way back into my apartment, lie down on the couch, muster all my will-power to NOT fall back to sleep. 
  • 9:39- Still laying on the couch.
  • 10:34am- OH GOD! I haven't eaten and I need to shower, and leave for work by 11:15!!! 

Thank GOODNESS for overnight oats! The breakfast you don't have to make, because you've already made it! The reason I get to work on time. The magical morning fuel to get me through my day. Blueberry, banana, almond righteousness. This, THIS is what dreams are made of. 

This is the closest I will ever be to a morning person. My 7:30 am yoga class is the best part of my day, the second best part is getting to indulge in these magnificent overnight oats. So decadent, you won't believe how healthy they really are. Make them sunday night, and enjoy them all week long. Sleep in a little, breakfast is covered. You're welcome!

All images courtesy of  Miaou Photography

All images courtesy of Miaou Photography

Blueberry Banana Almond Overnight Oats

ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups almond or coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbls chia seeds
  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup wild blueberries

method

  1. Place Bananas in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork. I like to leave them a bit chunky.
  2. Add almond butter, vanilla, cinnamon and milk, mix well.
  3. Stir in chia seeds, and oats until combined, then fold in the blueberries.
  4. Pour batter into 5 one cup mason jars and, seal and refrigerate overnight.

*Enjoy within 5 days. 

**This recipe is high fiber, iron rich and loaded with healthy fats! #nomnom

 

 

 

 

Kara-Lynn Garland
Chickpea Salad

 

Sometimes you just need a great meal in a hurry. That's exactly what this recipe is, ready in a flash, and packed with fibre, protein and flavour! Enjoy as a salad, or get creative and wrap it up.

Photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography .

Photos courtesy of Miaou Photography.

Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 can or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup cucumber chopped small
  • 3 tbs veganaise
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped pickles (optional)
  • 2 tbls sunflower seeds (optional)

method

  1. In a small bowl mix together the sauce ingredients (veganaise, lemon juice, dijon, dill, and paprika).

  2. Place chickpeas, chopped veggies and seeds in a large mixing bowl and pour sauce over, Toss to combine.
  • Serve as is or make a wrap with collard greens or gluten free tortilla.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Makes a great meal or have a small portion as a snack!

** This recipe stores well, making it a great meal prep recipe, make a batch and enjoy it all week.

Kara-Lynn Garland
SUPER C Smoothie

Got a cold that just won't quit? SUPER C to the rescue! This smoothie has 3x your recommended daily intake of of vitamin C per serving, plus active enzymes (bromelain) from pineapple, and electrolytes (sodium, potassium and calcium) to boost immunity, keep you hydrated and help you kick that cold to the curb!

I find when I am sick, drinking smoothies like this one and having simple soups gives my digestive system a bit of a break so that my body can focus it's energy where it counts, battling infection! (Cue epic ninja battle cries... HIYYYYAAA!) Next time you feel under the weather, give this smoothie a try.

Recipe makes one large serving, or if you feel like sharing, 2 half servings. I usually make a batch, drink half in the morning, and half in the afternoon. Store in a well sealed mason jar in the fridge. Strawberry stars, optional but highly recommended. :P

Recipe makes one large serving, or if you feel like sharing, 2 half servings. I usually make a batch, drink half in the morning, and half in the afternoon. Store in a well sealed mason jar in the fridge. Strawberry stars, optional but highly recommended. :P

This is WRONG! make sure to put the orange, and the pineapple in the blender first! As they blend, they create the juice that will serve as the liquid for this smoothie. Don't make my mistake.

This is WRONG! make sure to put the orange, and the pineapple in the blender first! As they blend, they create the juice that will serve as the liquid for this smoothie. Don't make my mistake.

If you decide to be a rebel and not heed my warnings about the order of ingredients in your blender pitcher... add a splash of coconut water, get out the plunger and start mashing. Of course, this will only work with a high end blender like a Vitamix.

If you decide to be a rebel and not heed my warnings about the order of ingredients in your blender pitcher... add a splash of coconut water, get out the plunger and start mashing. Of course, this will only work with a high end blender like a Vitamix.

All photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography .

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography.

Super C Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 medium kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 2 pineapple spears
  • 1 orange (peal and rind removed)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • coconut water (if needed)

method

  1. Place the orange and the pineapple in the blender first, then throw the other ingredients on top. The juice from the pineapple and orange is often enough liquid to make this smoothie, but if it's not blending well add a little coconut water until desired texture is reached. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

*Pro Tip: Take your anti-oxidants to the next level by adding 1-2 Brazil nuts to this smoothie, this will contribute vitamin E, selenium and zinc, multiplying SUPER C's immune boosting powers!

Nutrient Density

  • Protein.............................. 7g
  • Carbohydrates................ 42g
  • Fibre................................. 7g
  • Fat..................................... 1g
  • Cholesterol...................... 0g
  • Sodium............................. 106.2 mg
  • Potassium........................ 1,113.1mg
  • Vitamin A......................... 525% RDI
  • Vitamin C......................... 375% RDI
  • Calcium............................ 25% RDI
  • Iron.................................... 23% RDI

*Nutrient density was calculated based on base smoothie recipe excluding Brazil nuts and coconut water.

 

Kara-Lynn Garland
Highly Addictive Coconut Snax

Growing up I was never a fan of coconut. Since being vegan however, my pallet has really changed, and now I love coconut! Coconut has so many functional benefits including, antimicrobial properties, thermogenic effects, and it appears to protect against heart disease and stroke too! As it turns out, coconut meat's measurable quantity of vitamins A and E, polyphenols and phytosterols all work together to decrease LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease). 

In this recipe I have combined toasty coconut chips with almonds, cashews, a hint of sea salt and a touch of sweetness, for a high fibre, high energy, highly addictive treat SOOOO good that it's hard to believe it's healthy! 

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography.

Highly Addictive Coconut Snax

ingredients

  • 3 cups raw coconut chips
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1tbs water
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt or more to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or reusable non-stick pad.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and fold gently with a spatula until combined and evenly coated with the syrup/water/salt mixture.
  3. Spread mixture in a thin layer on baking sheet and pop in the oven. Immediately set a timer for 5 minutes. 
  4. At the 5 minute mark, remove from oven and stir and flip over the nuts and coconut. Return it to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes. You're looking for a golden colour. If not yet golden, stir again and return to the oven for 2 more minutes. Pay close attention and DO NOT BURN! 
  5. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kara-Lynn Garland
Best Baked Falafel

Falafel is one of my favourite uses of chickpeas! Those delicious crispy patties are not just bursting with flavour, they are also packed with fibre and protein. A simple and perfect addition to any salad, sandwich or wrap. However, traditionally falafel is deep fried which makes it a little less desirable. I set out to create a baked version that could taste just as good as the real deal. The texture of this falafel is a little different than that of it's deep fried counterpart, but still crisp and full of flavour. Please enjoy my Best Baked Falafel, a delicious alternative to deep fried and so easy to make at home!

Photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Best Baked Falafel

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked or sprouted chick peas
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cayenne (optional)

method

  1. preheat oven to 375°
  2. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender or a food processor and blend until a fine meal is formed, and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and with damp hands, begin forming the dough into 1-1.5 inch balls or patties. The dough will fall apart easily so press firmly and be patient.
  4. Placed formed balls on the cookie sheet and brush with a small amount of olive oil.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, remove from oven and gently flip. Brush with a small amount of oil and return to the oven for an additional 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Falafel bowl featuring: Baby spinach, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, quinoa,  Best Baked Falafel  and drizzled with  Creamy Garlic Dressing . Photo courtesy of  Miaou Photography. 

Falafel bowl featuring: Baby spinach, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, Best Baked Falafel and drizzled with Creamy Garlic Dressing. Photo courtesy of Miaou Photography. 

*These falafels freeze very well, making this a perfect meal prep recipe!

*Serve with your favourite veggies or salad.

*Makes 12-14 felafel. 2-3 falafel = a serving.

Butternut Lentil "Meat" Balls

This recipe came to me as a savoury replacement for turkey or “Tofurky”. When I discovered I was gluten sensitive and I had to give it up, I realized that I would be losing out on my thanksgiving “Tofurky”... I was a little disappointed, then I reminded myself that this was an opportunity for me to create a whole food, nutritious and delicious alternative. This is a spin on traditional lentil loaf type recipes, and it's delightfully simple to put together. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do!

Photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Butternut Lentil “Meat” Balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Butternut squash (roasted or steamed)
  • 2 cups cooked or sprouted lentils
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbls ground chia + 3 tbls warm water
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°c.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the chopped pecans on the cookie sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant and lightly toasted. Remove when toasted and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the squash and lentils, and mash with a potato masher.
  4. Place the ground chia in a small bowl and add warm water, stir and let thicken.
  5. Add the chia “egg” to the bowl along with the remaining ingredients and the toasted nuts. Mix well until combined.
  6. With wet hands form into 1-1.5 inch balls, place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, gently flip and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

*makes 12-16 balls, 2-3 balls = 1 serving.

*Serve with your favourite fall veggies and top with Chai Spiced Cranberry Sauce... Talk about a match made in heaven! 

Chai Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Not Just A Tofurkey Topper...

If you've only been using cranberry sauce to top your turkey or your meat substitute, I hate to break it to you...

But...

You're doing it WRONG! I kidd, I kidd. But seriously, what if I told you cranberry sauce could be more than just a turkey topper... Put that nasty canned cranberry sauce down and listen up! This chai spiced cranberry sauce Will. Change. Your. Life! Trust. Use it for your holiday meal of course, but I dare you to try it atop your favourite non-dairy vanilla ice cream, or let it grace your morning oatmeal... or just eat it with a spoon right out of the jar, I won't judge, and anyone who does is just jealous! 

Chai Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography

Photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • The juice from one orange
  • I tbls orange zest
  • 1 bag of your favourite chai tea
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tbls pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, except the tea bag. Tie your tea bag to a wooden spoon and place the spoon across the pot, so that the tea bag dangles in. (This way you can pull up the tea bag to stir the sauce without the risk of puncturing the bag and spilling its contents into the sauce. This will also make it easier to remove later)
  2. Bring the sauce to a slow boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, 20 minutes. 
  3. Remove tea bag and cinnamon stick. Stirr well and smash some of the cranberries with your spoon. Voila, a new favourite is born!

*Serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas or whenever your little heart desires!

*Pairs perfectly with Butternut lentil Meatballs and non-dairy vanilla ice cream!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Chips

So, one of my girlfriends used to compete in bikini competitions. Whilst on “prep” she had a very strict meal plan to say the least. Her favourite “carb” choice was of course sweet potatoes. She would cut them into thin slices, sprinkle them with cinnamon and bake them in the oven. Then she would bring those heavenly scented, delightfully sweet, tasty rounds into work and eat them right there in front of me! Man... did I love that slightly sweet cinnamony smell. I started thinking of ways in which I could turn those “carbs” into a more complete meal. Then it hit me! I could combine them with nuts to complete their protein chains!

Adding hazelnuts to your sweet potatoes will contribute higher levels of histidine, methionine, and tryptophan which are found in insufficient amounts in sweet potatoes.  

Voila! A new breakfast favourite is born! -This one's for you Danielle ;)

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Sweet Potato Breakfast Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 1/4 cup raw hazelnuts

  • 2 tsp coconut oil

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

  • pinch of salt if desired

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 300°f.
  2. Place the hazelnuts in a large tea towel. Fold the towel over and rub vigorously to remove loose skins.
  3. Chop the hazelnuts very finely, you can use a food processor for this but be mindful not to create a paste or butter, just a finely chopped meal.
  4. Melt coconut oil, pour into a large mixing bowl and combine with cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Then add the hazelnuts and stir well. A kind of dough like consistency will form.
  5. Slice your sweet potato into 1/8 inch thick rounds -if you have a mandolin slicer, it will come in handy for this. (I like to leave the skin on but you do what your feel, no judgement here.) Add your sweet potatoes into the bowl and toss until they are coated with the mixture.
  6. Lay the rounds flat, in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake 30-40 minutes.

*This recipe is meant to be single serve, depending how big your sweet potato is it could serve two. Good luck trying to share. ;P

*Fact: baking the potatoes at a lower temperature reduces the chances of the oil burning or being converted to dangerous trans fat. It will also retain more active enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients.

*This recipe can be used as a snack or even a dessert topped with a dollop of coconut whip cream or your favourite vegan vanilla ice cream!