SUGAR FREE, OIL FREE AND GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA

Granola is one of those things that I feel EXTREMELY guilty of buying in the grocery store because it is incredibly easy to make at home. I find myself making this at least once a week and it is an absolute staple in a yogurt breakfast alongside some fresh fruit like berries. Many recipes include extra sugar and oil but I have created my own recipe that is free of these unnecessary additives. You are free to use other replacements in this recipe like different types of nuts and seeds, or agave/date syrup. Just make sure you add a little bit of water to really everything well together.

SUGAR FREE, OIL FREE, GRANOLA

Nut, seed and oats granola that is sugar free and oil free!
Course Breakfast
Keyword granola, healthygranola, vegan

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 c cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c oats
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • In a bowl, mix together all ingredients.
  • On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread out mixture. Try to make a thick layer and make sure that the granola is touching eachother (one single layer)
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. You can give it a mix half way through but it is not necessary.

Notes

  • You are free to substitute other type of nuts instead of almonds and cashews. 
  • You can substitute agave or date syrup in place of maple syrup 

FINDING YOUR “WHY” FOR VEGANISM

Many people ask me how have I been so successful in my transition to veganism overnight. Usually big changes require small baby steps to finally achieve. First off I’d like to say that in general I am an all or nothing person, and I knew if I didn’t wake up the next day and clean everything out of my fridge it would be more difficult for me to make the change. Not everyone is like this, and that is totally fine too. But the biggest piece of advice I could give to someone looking to make ANY sort of lifestyle change would be to define and hone into your “WHY”.

Your “WHY” is the reason for your change. It is the reason you believe that these changes will help you achieve your “WHY”. It is by-far the strongest driving force into making any lifestyle change. No one likes to be told to do something or change something. When I was younger it felt like I would make it a point to not do something if someone arbitrary told me to. Unless I had a good reason to do something I thought to myself, why should I? The truth is that no one can force you to care about something. You find your own reason to do so. Power to make positive changes in your life comes when the individual can find their own special reason for these changes apart from pressure from other forces.

There are many “WHY”s for becoming vegan/plant based. Here are the top three:

  1. Health and wellness

My “WHY” for becoming vegan is for the health and wellness aspect. I was dealing with some health problems that I wanted nothing to do with. Dealing with health is scary. We as a society take our health for granted, and with good reason. We are not taught at a young age that caring for ourselves is something we should all do, whether it be through nutrition or fitness, we are bombarded with advertisements for the total opposite. At a very basic level I wish we were taught how to shop for produce, how to prep and cook our meals, build our plates, how to eat and when, amongst so many other things. Teaching children these basics can work to empower them on their quest of wellbeing. On a even more basic level, learning these things at a young age encourages us to take charge of our lives and look after ourselves. When I first started learning how to cook I was paralyzed by the seemingly million steps I have to do in order to complete a simple meal, and only though pushing through did I learn the basics and how to overcome my fear of doing something “wrong”. A picture of the food pyramid is not enough. We need to know WHY we need what he need and how other cultures use their foods as fuel.

Cooking is such a basic skill. We have reduced our desire to cook down to food subscription boxes and takeout because we just so damn lazy. I wholly believe that this is due to the lack of education. Not to say that these mechanisms for getting food on the table are shameful, but more and more I am noticing that young adults around my age who are stepping into the world of living alone and explore, cooking is put on the back burner. Cooking does not have to be complicated, and I argue that it is more nourishing and fulfilling than buying out.

I digress, can you tell I’m passionate about this topic?

2. Climate change

The science shows that factory farming and livestock is the number one cause of increasing green house gases to date. The meat production production that has ramped up to match increasing demand in our modern world has wreaked havoc on our climate. Deforestation, rising sea levels and increased carbon monoxide levels have been linked to the overproduction of animal derived food sources, like meat and dairy. Many vegans and plant based eaters switch over to the diet to combat the looming fear of climate change on our future generations. Popular documentaries like Cowspiracy and Seaspiracy have suggested that reducing or completely eliminating consumption of animal based food sources is a crucial step in reducing our carbon foot print and effect on the environment.

There is an amazing tool, the “Vegan Calculator” that can be found at https://thevegancalculator.com/, that illustrates the impact you’ve had on the environment since going vegan on a variety of climate related factors. According to the website, in just one year of being vegan you save 401,500 gallons of water, 10,950 sqft of forestry, 14,600 lbs of grain, 7,300 lbs of co2 and 365 animal lives. How amazing is that?

3. Animal justice and rights

It is a well known fact that in, especially factory farming, animals face horrific abuses from the time they are born to the time they make it to the slaughter house. There are no shortage of videos exposing these atrocities yet it still continues and grows each day.

Thomas Hobbes famously said, “the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” This pessimistic outlook of life is telling of the importance we put on animal rights. Truth of the matter is that we have not, as a society, deemed the life of animals, sentient beings, of equal importance to our own. I have to admit that this argument did not persuade me to go vegan the first time I encountered it. I shrugged it off an considered it the “circle of life”. Now that I have had time to reflect on its merits, I completely resonate with this argument. There is a significant degree of cognitive disassociation taught in our society, implicitly or explicitly, to shield us from the truth of factory farming. Many vegans I have connected with whom did not choose veganism for the animals have indicated that after a while, as you detach from the mainstream belief of what is considered food, liken to the argument that animals are sentient beings who do not deserve to die for our consumption. A certain higher level of consciousness swoops in as they step back and look at our food systems.

There can be arguments made that other types of farming do not contribute to the abuses of animals, such having your own animals or sustainable/regenerative farming. I think there is a space where farming practices can be altered to allow for improved qualities of life for these animals. This is my personal opinion and my view on this “why” but others argue there is absolutely no room for any argument of any kind. There are levels to being an animal rights activist, but the point remains that we must look to treating animals with dignity and respect despite our common belief that their existence is entirely for our consumption.

Wherever you fit in, your “why” is the most important thing that will keep you going as you embark on your journey as a vegan. Overtime, your ‘why’ will fade away into the background as you come to terms with the new lifestyle. I no longer have to remind myself that, no I can not have the cream dessert because its unhealthy, I just know it is and why it is, and I can happily wave goodbye to it. As you stand strongly on your “why”, your our friends and family will come to terms with your stance and respect your choices, and overtime you may find that they have more questions and curiosity around going vegan and making a healthy lifestyle change.


APPLE GALETTE (V)

An easy vegan pastry dessert and easily one of my favourite recipes to make for every season and can be used for a wide variety of different fruit & veggies. Truly a vegan & plant based foodies dream.

I love to make galettes when I have excess fruits and I’m craving some easy made desserts! Apple galettes are totally my favourite fruit to use when making this recipe, specifically honey crisp apples…Smething about these apples were very addicting: the apples are sweet, juicy and crunchy at the same time. There is something about apples in season and especially from farmers market that makes me love fall all the more. This galette recipe would be perfect for using up the extra fruits in your kitchen.

Galettes are a really simple pastry you can fill with both sweet and savory items. My personal favourite is using fruit to create apple galettes and strawberry galettes, but asparagus with cashew ricotta cheese also tops the list. Sweet galettes can be eaten as is or I HIGHLY recommend some ice cream on the side. This vegan pastry is a delicious and easy recipe to make and is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party.

Apple Galette

Apple Galette
Course Dessert
Keyword apple galette, dessert, vegan, veganrecipes

Ingredients

Pastry Dough

  • 1.5 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Apple Filling

  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp flour (can be any kind)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Pastry Wash

  • non-dairy milk
  • brown sugar

Instructions

  • Stick the butter in the freezer for 30 mins, until it is quite cold. This is important because the butter will melt while you are forming the dough.
  • Using a food processor, add flour and butter (cut the butter into smaller tbsp sizes). If you don't have a food processor, add the butter into the flour and massage the mixture until the butter breaks down into smaller chunks or a crumbly texture.
  • Add ice cold water one tbsp at a time, pulsing or mixing well before adding the next one. Once your finished with the water add the apple cider vinegar and mix well. The dough should form into smaller chunks and should be able to squish it together. If the mixture is too dry add one additional tbsp of ice cold water.
  • Lightly flour your work surface and begin forming your dough. DO NOT kneed for too long, need until the dough comes together and form into a thick disk. Dough should not be sticky or wet, if it is add flour. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400.
  • Prepare the filling by coring and slicing the apple into thin individual slices. Place all ingredients for the filling in the bowl and mix well.
  • Roll out the dough into a circle about 1/8" thick. Arrange the apple slices in the middle of the dough leaving about 1" space around the edges so you can fold the dough when you are finished arranging the filling.
  • Wash the edges with milk, and sprinkle brown sugar around the edges.
  • Bake for 40 -50 mins until the edges are browned.

As always please share and leave a comment if you try this recipe!


WHOLE GRAIN SPELT FLOUR WAFFLES

I learned this recipe from a friend, who makes these waffles often for either a sweet or savoury dish. Whatever you decide, this easy recipe will be sure to fill your waffle cravings!

My favourite waffle toppings for that sweet morning craving are:

  • Nut butters (especially gooey and oily crunchy nut butter)
  • Fruits; bananas and berries work especially well
  • Sweeteners; I consider this a staple in a classic sweet breakfast option, either maple syurp or agave
  • If you’re feeling extra frisky, add some coconut whipped cream, non-dairy yogurt and chopped nuts

On the other hand, my favourite savory options include:

  • Pizza waffle: tomato sauce, non-dairy cheese, fresh basil
  • Nacho waffle: cashew queso, black beans, salsa, corn, cilantro, even avocado
  • Pesto Mushroom: cashew cheese, grilled mushrooms, pesto sauce

By having an easy base recipe, it leaves extra room for thinking of the best toppings

Whole Grain Spelt Flour Waffles

Only 3 ingredient whole grain waffles!
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword breakfast, dessert, speltflour, vegan, veganrecipes, waffles, wholegrain

Equipment

  • Waffle maker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup sparkling water
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sugar (optional)

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat waffle maker
  • 2. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix slowly and carefully – the bubbles in the sparkling water will help create a softer, fluffier texture
  • 3. Pour mixture in waffle maker and cook as usual.

Notes

This recipe can work with regular or other types of flour, but I used spelt flour for whole grain properties. Spelt flour is also alkaline friendly. Feel free to use other whole grain or non whole grain flours. 


CRISPY POTATO WEDGES

Crispy potato wedges are sooooo necessary for any meal!! I took a long break from eating actual potatoes but after this recipe I don’t think I can ever quit them anymore. It was super simple: Preheat oven at 450. Toss with tbsp of oregano, granulate garlic, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, bread crumbs, and salt + pepper. So simple but soooo good


BEEF ZOODLE SOUP (PALEO, KETO, VEGAN *)

This recipe is a rendition of something my mom used to make (still does) for those cold winter nights where you’re craving nothing but a warm hearty meal for dinner. With some variation of course – my mom would add potatoes and green beans – I found the recipe to give my mind and body that cozy feeling the moment I took the first bite. There is something truly remarkable about making a meal that reminds you of home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 can (250ml) of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pack of zucchini noodles
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • salt and peper

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot on medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent
  2. Add beef stew meat and cook until browned on all sides (5-8mins)
  3. Add remaining ingredients leaving aside zucchini noodles. Cover pot and cook on medium-high for 10 mins.
  4. Add zucchini noodles. Turn heat to medium-low and cook for additional 20 minutes. Enjoy!

p.s: this recipe works really well as a vegan or vegetarian option – just omit the beef and add things like beans or tofu for that added protein!


STUFFED ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH KALE AND CHORIZO (PALEO, VEGAN, WHOLE30)

This was a perfect dish to switch up my regular dinner routine. Heres the good news: the most challenging thing about this recipe was cutting the butternut squash in equal halves!

Ingredients:

Squash:
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt, pepper, garlic power, and paprika

Stuffing:
4 cups of kale (roughly – really used about 4 large stems of green kale)
1/2 cup of chopped chorizo (omit if VG)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of veg broth
1 chopped garlic glove
1/2 shallot
salt + pepper
fruit and nuts (I used apples, walnuts)

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Oil both butternut squash, sprinkle with seasonings. Place cut side faced down and bake for 15 mins. Flip and cook for 45-60min until tender
3. Heat oil in medium heat pan. Cook chorizo until crispy. Add shallot and garlic. Cook for 3-5 min until tender. Place kale, cook for 10 min. Add water and extra oil if needed. Sim for 10-15 min.
4. Remove squash and place stuffing on top. Add desired toppings. Serve warm and enjoy!