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chia pudding

Vegan Chia Pudding: The Ultimate Fast Food

When we think of fast food, we often think of popular restaurant chains that crank out relatively unhealthy (yet delicious—damn all that addictive crap in there!) meals that are convenient for on the go.

But what if you could make your own fast foods that not only tasted great, but also fueled your body and brain? That would be a no-brainer, right? (Pun intended.)

Introducing Chia Pudding

Ok, so not exactly introducing, because you’ve probably already heard of it. But re-introducing. Chia pudding is a fabulous food for those on the run. (So, everyone.) Besides the fact that it’s insanely easy to make, it’s also teeming with heart and brain healthy omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, fibre, and protein.

So here’s a very basic recipe for chocolate chia pudding. You can add fruit, NutraCleanse (my very fave digestive health supplement), honey, or whatever. You can swap the chocolate soy milk for coconut milk.

But start here.

This recipe is from Vegetarian Comfort Foods (just released in August of 2015), but there’s another in Baby Nosh (released in March of 2016). They’re both vegan, gluten-free, and super yummy.

Babies to elders; everyone can eat chia pudding—you don’t need teeth. (OMG, that should’ve been the title of this blog post! Ha. You Don’t Need Teeth. Love it.)

Here ya go:

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic chocolate soy milk
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. raw coconut

Method

  • Stir chia seeds into milk and set aside for five minutes.
  • Stir again well, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • In morning, sprinkle coconut on top and eat right away.

If you want a visual, watch me make Riaz from Breakfast Television make it below:

Pistachio Stuffed Figs

Recipe: Sticky Pistachio Stuffed Figs

Hey, friends! Over Easter, I was asked to bring an appetizer to dinner, and so I brought this fabulously simple recipe that my sister-in-law (Kitchen, Uncorked) contributed to my second book, Vegetarian Comfort Foods. Honestly, everything this chick makes trumps anything I ever could.

She’s amazing.

But sister-from-another-mister love aside, I wanted to share this recipe with you. Like I said, it’s super simple, completely whole and plant-based, and wildly tasty.

Sticky Pistachio Stuffed Figs

Recipe by Natalie Browne

Ingredients

¾ cup shelled pistachios

24 dried figs

2 tsp. dried cardamom

1 tsp. cumin

1 orange, zest only

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Over low heat, toast pistachios until golden. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly until you’re able to handle them.

While the pistachios are toasting, slice the figs three quarters of the way through, and set aside. Finely chop the pistachios and place in a small mixing bowl. Mix in the cardamom, cumin and orange zest.

Spoon the pistachio mixture into the figs, patting it down as you go. Place the figs on a baking sheet, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until warm and slightly sticky. Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy!

Vegetarian Cooking at Lepp Farm Market

Happy Sunday, everyone! On Tuesday March 8, I’ll be demonstrating 4 recipes at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, BC. The event will run from 7-9ish, and will include a signed copy of Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

So sign up today HERE!

I’ve decided to post the recipes we’ll be making here instead of handing out recipe cards, because it’s more eco-friendly, and easier to find than a lost piece of paper.

Right?!

It’s also noteworthy to mention that while 3 of the 4 recipes are from Vegetarian Comfort Foods, the smoothie is from my latest book, Baby Nosh.

So here are the 4 recipes we’ll be going through, and I hope you love them! Xo

Recipe #1: Green Goodness Smoothie (From Baby Nosh)

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1 kale leaf
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. hemp hearts (optional)
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (optional)

Method

  • Combine first 6 ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth.
  • Sprinkle with hemp hearts and chia seeds for extra awesomeness.

Recipe #2: Mediterranean Sprouted Endive Boats (from Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ zucchini
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup sprouted beans
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. Greek salad dressing (Rendezvous is perfect!)
  • 2 endive spears

Method

  • Clean the veggies, and throw the mushrooms, pepper, and zucchini in a food processor.
  • Process until piece are small, but not quite minced. Set aside.
  • Peel the carrot and set aside.
  • Peel layers off endive spears, and arrange on platter so the cavity is face-up, resembling boats. Set aside.
  • Place ¼ cup of water in skillet and heat to medium.
  • Once simmering, add processed veggies (not the carrots) and sprouted beans, and sauté for 2 minutes to soften, slightly.
  • Remove from heat and drain any remaining water. Add tamari to the heated mixture, toss to coat, and scoop into endive cavities.
  • Garnish with 2-3 strips of carrot, and serve.

Recipe #3: Squashed Puttanesca (From Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 3 cooked artichoke hearts
  • 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup fresh, chopped parsley

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut squash lengthwise into two halves.
  • Grease cookie sheet with half the oil, and place squash flat-side down on sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dice the onion, mince the garlic, slice fennel into “v” shapes, and quarter your artichokes.
  • Place pot on stove, and heat on medium. Once hot, add remaining oil, and throw in onion and garlic.
  • Let them brown while pushing around with spatula for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn heat down to medium and add tomatoes and fennel. Cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove cover and add artichokes, capers, and olives, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove squash from oven, and flip over. Set two plates close to stove.
  • Remove the middle stringy, seedy part of the squash using a large spoon.
  • Using a fork, scrape the cavity of the squash so that it comes out in strips, like spaghetti.
  • Once squash is plated, it should resemble spaghetti noodles. Top with sauce and then garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe #4: Coconut Bliss Balls (From Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Makes approximately 36 balls)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup salted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Method

  • Mix all ingredients except for coconut together in food processor, until well combined.
  • Form into balls, roll in coconut, and place on parchment paper or in mini-muffin cups as you go.
  • Store in mini-muffin cups in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I hope to see you at Lepp Farm Market in a couple of days! For more vegetarian recipe ideas, check out Vegetarian Comfort Foods. xo

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Recipe: Vegan Bran-Banana Bread

When two full loaves of vegan banana bread are gone within an hour of baking them, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve baked. I mean, I have three kids who love to eat, but still.

Sheesh. Carb, much?

I wanted to share this week’s recipe, because miraculously, my older son wolfed it down, too. (He’s 16 and usually picks at everything and comes up with lame reasons why he shouldn’t touch it. Examples are “the chocolate chips aren’t big enough” or “the bread looks dark—you know white bread tastes better” or “IS THAT A CHIA SEED?!”)

But this time, he ate it. Happily. So here’s what I did to create this little miracle:

Vegan Bran-Banana Bread

banana bread

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. flax seed meal
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 5 ripe bananas (large)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole grain flour
  • ½ cup bran
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine flax seed meal (ground flax seed) and water in small bowl, stir well, and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas then add the applesauce and sugar. Combine well.
  • After letting sit for about 5 minutes, stir flax seed mixture into the rest of the wet stuff. You should now have one large bowl containing all wet ingredients. Set aside, please.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, bran, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, then add to the wet mixture.
  • Stir until combined, but take care not to over-mix. Add chocolate chips and stir 3-5 times.
  • Using loaf pans lined with parchment paper, pour batter evenly into both.
  • Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown on top. If in doubt, conduct the clean toothpick test.
  • Remove from oven and transfer from loaf pans to cooling rack by gently lifting up loaves using the parchment paper.
  • Let cool, still in parchment, until barely warm. (If you try and remove while still hot, the bread will stick.)
  • Remove parchment and serve! Enjoy!

For more recipes your family might enjoy, check out my new(ish) book Vegetarian Comfort Foods. xo

 

Spring into Incredible, Edible Flowers

Springtime blooms are exciting, because they signify new beginnings and new life. So why not enjoy them in a new way—as beautiful garnishes and healthy additions to our favourite foods?

In a 2012 study conducted by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., researchers found “that flowers increase happiness and life satisfaction, and lead to increased contact with family and friends.”[1]

So what happens if we consume them in our tastiest spring-inspired meals?

Here are three different edible flowers accompanied by their medicinal uses, associated recipe ideas, and tips:

Dandelion

Medicinal Benefits

Contrary to popular belief, dandelions are not just pesky weeds! Each part of the dandelion is edible, including the pretty yellow blooms. Not only are they super high in phytochemicals, they are also teeming with vitamins A, B and C, as well as iron and potassium.[2] [3]

Studies have found dandelions to be effective when used for digestive issues, loss of appetite, flatulence and gallstones. They also make a great circulatory tonic, skin toner, and blood tonic, and can be used for treating viral and bacterial infections, in addition to certain types of cancer.[4] [5]

Recipe Idea

Best harvested in early spring, the delicate flowers are naturally slightly bittersweet, and are excellent in salads. Simply pluck the pesticide-free flowers around early April, remove the green stem, and include the flower heads in a fresh garden salad.

Tip: the root and leaves of the dandelion can be an effective mild laxative.[6]

Chamomile

Medicinal Benefits

Chamomile is a goodie. It’s pretty in your flower garden, and it grows easily in BC. The small, sweet flower has some hefty medicinal benefits in the calm department. Traditionally used to treat anxiety, insomnia[7], and stress, chamomile is also antibacterial[8] and anti-inflammatory![9]

Recipe Idea

The flowers can be plucked and dried, then slightly crushed to make tea. Alternatively, the can be eaten fresh atop of a salad or added to a snack like avocado toast.

Tip: if symptoms of hay fever appear, discontinue use.

Lavender

Medicinal Benefits

Is there anything better than the scent of lavender? This fragrant flower is a medicinal dream. Lavender is known for relieving tension, stress, and anxiety.[10] The purple flower is also antiseptic, antispasmodic, and antibacterial. It’s also an analgesic, a relaxant, and a nerve tonic.

Who knew??!

Recipe Idea

Honestly? Make tea. Dry and crush your lavender. Combine one tablespoon dried flower with 8 ounces of hot water. Let steep, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain out loose flora, and drink up!

Tip: Lavender is generally considered safe, but it’s recommended that pregnant women avoid drinking lavender tea in large quantities.[11]

For more recipes using flowers and other herbs, check out my book, The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea. xo

References

[1] http://safnow.org/rutgers-emotional-impact-of-flowers-study/

[2] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[3] https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

[4] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[5] https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

[6] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[7] “Chamomile.” Livertox. Web. 2015. http://livertox.nih.gov/Chamomile.htm

[8] Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Pubmed. Web. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

[9] Renata Dawid-Pać. “Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.” Pubmed. 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834722/

[10] “Lavender.” The University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical-reference-guide/complementary-and-alternative-medicine-guide/herb/lavender

[11] Rosemary Gladstar. Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. Storey, MA. 2012. P. 151.

Fruit & Nut Smoothie Bowl

It all started because I went to Booster Juice for a green juice before my yoga class. After ordering, a saw a picture of a newly promoted smoothie bowl, and wanted that instead, but I had already ordered the juice.

I know. First world problems, right?

So after yoga, I raced home to make a smoothie bowl, and this is what happened:

Awesome, right? It was soooooo good, and I want to share the recipe. So here you go!

Fruit & Nut Smoothie Bowl

There’s everything you need in here for a blustery, rainy, dark, crazy Vancouver day. Eat it first; thank me later. xo

Ingredients for Smoothie:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 scoop Vega vanilla protein powder
  • 1/3 cup NutraCleanse™
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Ingredients for Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. hemp hearts
  • 4 chopped dates
  • Other half of banana

Method

  1. Using a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), blend all of the smoothie ingredients together until thick and creamy.
  2. Spoon into bowl, and layer garnish ingredients over top.
  3. Take a picture (skip this if you’re not an Instagram freak like I am).
  4. Eat immediately.
  5. Feel full and happy and energized.

Featured Recipe: Coconut Bliss Balls

You know how sometimes you just lose it? I’m not necessarily talking about it, but I am talking about losing your routine. Forgetting what you like to do. What drives you and feeds your soul.

This has been my life lately.

I’ve been unprecedentedly (Is that a word? I kinda feel like it’s not.) insane. And my temporary (let’s hope) insanity has resulted in my forgetting to do stuff that I love. Like cook. And write. And clean my house. (I actually do like to do this usually; it clears my head.)

But as my poor husband can attest to, this activity, along with others, has fallen by the wayside. But you know what? Enough is enough! I need my life to get all semi-normal again, and quickly.

SO…here is my recipe for Coconut Bliss Balls, which began their (very minor) legacy as ‘Nut Balls’, but whose original name was quickly nixed by concerned family members, and my teen-aged son.

I made these a few days ago, and it reminded me how much I love great, homemade snacks. (And coconut. And my food processor.) Sometimes we just need a little nudge in the right direction to remember to breathe and stretch and be patient and slow down. Right? Because if you can’t remember you like to whip up your favourite snack once in a while, then life has become too busy.

So take my advice, and slow down. If roses were in season, I’d recommend smelling them.

Here you go:

Bliss Balls

Coconut Bliss Balls

Ingredients

2 cups pitted dates

½ cup warm water

¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup salted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup chopped almonds

¼ cup cranberries

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients except for coconut together in food processor, until well combined.
  2. Form into balls, roll in coconut, and place on parchment paper or in mini-muffin cups as you go.
  3. Store in mini-muffin cups in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I should also mention that a kid-friendly, nut-free version on these babies will be made on stage at Vancouver’s 24th annual Wellness Show in February, so mark your calendars for that!

For more recipes, check out Vegetarian Comfort Foods HERE. xo

*Images by Tanya R. Loewen of Wild Honey Art House.

Bean Sprout Salad with Peanut Dressing and Pan Fried Tofu

Tofu Recipe

So….Mondays. The day of the week I find the hardest to get back into the whole cooking-for-my-family-and-not-relying-on-snacks routine. I’m often uninspired on Mondays, but THIS Monday, I have a plan.

That I stole from www.kitchenuncorked.com.

Because I can. Because I have tofu in my fridge that’s dying to get eaten. If anyone out there is looking for a healthy, easy, Meatless Monday recipe idea, this one’s for you.

You’re welcome.

Bean Sprout Salad with Peanut dressing and pan fried Tofu.

It Doesn't Get Better than Vegetarian Enchiladas…

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Ok, first of all, these images don’t give this dish justice. These are awful, awful pictures.

My bad. :/

My lovely friend gave me this recipe, and I’m translating it for you here via the four text messages she sent to me. So Sita, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry if I did it wrong—but I blame you for the crazy text instructions. 😀

Either way, they still tasted delicious.

I originally made this vegan by substituting the cheddar cheese for Daiya, so do that if you’d prefer them totally vegan. The image I’m using is the dish I made for another couple who are not vegetarian, let alone vegan. (Which is why I don’t have pictures of the enchiladas after they were baked.)

The corn tortillas are organic, in an effort to avoid GMOs. You can find them in the health food aisle of your grocery store, usually. If not, ask around. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes should probably carry them.

They’re beyond simple to prepare, and are serious comfort food. You need these in your life, pronto.

Veggie Food

Ingredients

12-16 organic corn tortillas

1 tbsp. sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, pressed

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 cup sprouted rice, cooked

1 540 mL can black beans, rinsed (BPA-free can; try Eden brand)

1 can of refried beans (BPA-free, if you can)

2 cups prepared tomato sauce

¾ cup Daiya (or cheddar cheese, grated)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in pan, and add garlic and onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add pepper and spices. Sauté for another 5 minutes, remove from heat, and place in bowl. Set aside.

Combine both cans of beans together in large bowl and mix. Add rice and combine further. Mix contents of smaller bowl (veggies) with the bean mixture.

Heat corn tortillas in frying pan over medium heat until very warm and easily foldable. (If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to fold them without some major breakage.) In a baking dish or two, place vegetable mixture in tortillas (one at a time) and fold. Repeat until all mixture is used. Spread tomato sauce over top of enchiladas, and top with Daiya (or grated cheese). Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. (Try not to overcook, though–the tortillas will get too soft.)

Enjoy! Next time, I might throw some organic corn in the mixture.