Oat & Lentil Loaf (Vegan & Gluten Free)

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I know Meat Loaf has a bad rap as being boring, but its always been a comfort food for me! So this has been my attempt at finding  a healthy alternative.

So far this is the best vegetable oat loaf I’ve made, its moist and full of flavor, now lets see if my better half notices there’s no meat!!

Remember to soak your lentils as it helps to reduce the cooking time and apparently makes them easier to digest.

Use Chia Seeds as a binder instead of Eggs, unless you insist on eggs then I digress.

I turned my slices of loaf into filler for Collard green wraps- soooooo goood! 🙂

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Ingredients:

Egg Re-placer:

2 Tbsp Chia Seeds- Whole or grind them
1/4 Cup Water

Loaf
1 Cup of Dried Lentils- Soak in water until they swell up to 2 cups (about 4 hours)
2 Cups  Vegtable Broth
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Onion, Finely Diced
1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper,  Diced
2 Carrots, Shredded (1 cup)
1 Cups Kale or Collard Greens, Roughly Chopped
2 Stalksof Celery, Diced
1.5 Cups Oats (GF)
1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Curry Powder

Glaze
3 Tbsp’s  Ketchup (organic)
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup (pure)

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Directions

Step 1. Soak your lentils for at least 4 hours or until doubled in size.

Step 2. Once soaked cook your lentils in 2 cups broth for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat in a stock pot. Once all the broth has evaporated remove from the element and cool for ten minutes so that it thickens.

Step 3. Blend half of your lentil mixture with half a cup of water until smooth.

Step 4.  While your lentils are cooking, add the ground chia to a small bowl, and pour water over- stir well and set aside for 10 minutes to form gel.

Step 5- Dice & Grate all of the veggies above & saute with a teaspoon of Coconut Oil. I usually start with the celery and onion and after a minute or two add the remaining vegetables and hot pepper. Cook on medium heat until soft. Set aside.

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Step 6. Using your blender or Vitamix churn half of your oats into course oat flower.

Step 7. In a large mixing bowl add all of the ingredients except the pureed lentils and chia gel. Mix until everything is thoroughly coated, then add the pureed lentils and gel until its fully incorporated. If its to dry feel free to add a little water.

Step 8. Scoop the mixture into a parchment lined 9 x 5 loaf pan. Press in firmly to help it stick together. I used a glass pie plate, because I think its prettier!

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Step 9. Whisk your ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup together in a small bowl and pour over top of the loaf and spread evenly over the top. Pop it in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. Cool & Serve.
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Trust me the leftovers are even better! You can always make this the day before and warm up for lunch or diner! Enjoy! And play around with different spices that you may prefer!

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Wild Rice & Acorn Squash Casserole- Vegetarian & Gluten Free

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For my vegetarian days, this casserole is a life saver. It is the perfect multi-functional staple that packs a hearty punch to keep you full.

You can use it as a main dish, side, soup base, or salad. This time I put about a cup on top of two cups of arugula and had it as a salad, there is so much flavor you do not need to add a dressing.

Another great way to use the casserole is as filling for enchiladas instead of using meat, or it makes a wonderful filling for wraps using Collard Green Leaves. Experiment!

Make sure you soak your lentils for at least 4 hours, or even better over night.

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Ingredients:

1 Small Acorn Squash
1.5 Cups Wild Rice
1 Cup Soaked Lentils
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Small Onion
1 Stalk of Celery
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Sweet Red Pepper
3 Kale Leaves
1 Tablespoon Oil
1 Tsp Diced  Fresh Thyme
(1/2 Cup) Grated Cheese
Salt & Pepper

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Directions:

Step 1– Cut your acorn squash in half and place in a shallow pan with about half a cup of water, and roast at 350 f, for about 25 minutes until soft. Remove from oven and let cool.

Step 2. Pour your rice, soaked lentils  and broth into a stock pot and cook at medium heat until soft and the water has evaporated about 30-40 min. (You can use a rice cooker if you would like)

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Step 3. In a skillet on medium heat, add your oil along with all of your bite sized vegetables ( Onion, Garlic, Celery, Red Pepper and Kale) and saute until soft.

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Step 4. Dice your roasted acorn squash into bite size pieces and mix with your rice and lentil mixture until it starts to break down a bit, then place in  your sauteed veggies and spread out into a casserole dish.

Step 5. Add your cheese on top and broil until browned. Remove & Serve.

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Beet and Goat Cheese Soufflé – Gluten Free

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Beet and Goat Cheese Soufflé

Well autumn is officially upon us and I’m trying to look at the bright side, squash and roasted root veggies are on the top of my list!

I can’t get enough beets, they are wonderful eaten raw in smoothies or salads, baked in red velvet cupcakes or muffins, and last but not least roasted with other veggies.

This soufflé is gorgeous and I love serving it to guests, the goat cheese really helps to smooth out the flavour of the beets and you cant beat that natural colour!

These bad boys stay hot for quiet a while so you can pop them out of the oven and have ten minutes to prepare a side salad or what not.

Ingredients
1 1/4 Cups Gluten Free flour
1 tsp Xanthium Gum
1/2 Cup Cold Butter
3 Tablespoons Ice Water

For the filling:
3 Medium Beets or 6 Small Beets
128 grams-Small Package of goat cheese
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt(or Sour Cream)
1/4 Cup of Water
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Salt
Kosher Salt, to sprinkle on top

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Directions

Step 1. Roast your beets at 400°F for between 45 minutes to an hour or until soft in the middle.

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Step 2. Next start your crust by adding your gluten free flour and xanthium gum in a mixing bowl. Add your butter, and using two butter knifes cut it into the flour until it resembles small crumbs.

Step 3. Add the water one table spoon at a time and knead until it forms a dough. Roll into a bowl, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for it to rest for 20 minutes.

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Step 4. After your dough has settled, divide into four balls and roll each out on a floured surface. Place into each 4 6-oz greased ramekins or a pie plate, if using ramekins put on a cookie sheet for easier handling. Set them in the fridge until you are ready to pour in your batter.

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Step 5. Using your vitamix or food processor- place in the roasted beets along with the water, goat cheese and greek yoghurt.  Blend until smooth. Then add the eggs, salt, nutmeg and blend for another 20 seconds to evenly distribute everything.

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Step 6. Pour the filling into the ramekins and bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is browned and the middle is set.

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Serves 4.

Chili Lime Tequila Shrimp

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This has to be my favourite shrimp recipe and its also an amazing chicken marinade.  The tequila, lime and chili completely infuse the shrimp giving it an amazing kick!

If you can find raw jumbo shrimp they are wonderful skewered and grilled on the BBQ for a main dish or appetizer! If you skewer them and use disposable wood skewers remember to soak them for at least 30 min so they do not burn on the bbq!

I only had small baby shrimp on hand so after marinating them I used romaine lettuce hearts as little vessels to house fresh diced avocado and topped them off with the shrimp. Delish!

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Ingredients 

15-20 Jumbo Shrimp or 30-40 Small Shrimp
1 Lime
1 Shot of Tequila
2 Habanero Chili‘s
Cilantro for Garnish

Directions

Step 1– Dice  your peppers and remove the seeds, if you have plastic gloves I’d recommend using them, if not remember the pepper oil will stick on your fingers for a few hours and you don’t want to touch anything sensitive!

Step 2– Toss your shrimp, tequila and chili’s together in a glass bowl and marinate for at least 2 hours.

Step 3-  If you have the jumbo shrimp, skewer them and throw on the BBQ until both sides are pink (about 2min) or if you have the small shrimp you can broil them on a baking sheet on high for about the same amount of time. Garnish with cilantro.

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Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread

Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread

Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread

I have been craving a good old fashioned sandwich and being reluctant to spend $7.oo on a loaf of gluten free bread that tends to taste like cardboard,  I decided to whip up a healthy loaf using some buckwheat.

Buckwheat can be kind of dense so you want to pair it with another type of flour, I had brown rice flower on hand which is a nice addition. Any gluten free flour will do the trick, and if you want to make this a vegan version, just substitute your eggs for chia seed gel  which you can set while your yeast is brewing.

Recipe- Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread 

Yield: One 9-inch loaf- about 18 slices

Ingredients:

1 Package Rapid Yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
2 Cups Brown Rice Flour
1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 Teaspoon fine sea salt
3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil

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Directions: 

Step 1- Pour the maple syrup into 1 cup of warm water and add the yeast. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Step 2-Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, use extra so that the paper rises above the top and you can use it as a handle.

Step 3- Whisk together all of your dry ingredients: brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, xanthan gum, and salt.

Step 4- Make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour in the yeast mixture into it. Then add the eggs and coconut oil (liquid state) into the well and mix it all together until there are no dry spots left.

Step 5- Scoop the bread dough into your baking pan and smooth out the top, you can garnish with seeds if you would like. I sprinkled on some flax & sesame seeds.

Step 6-  Allow the loaf to rest and rise for about an hour, covered with a light cloth in a warm area.

Step 7- Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned.

Enjoy!

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Peach, Blueberry, Spinach & Avocado Smoothie

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It’s the weekend and this is my breakfast hangover cure!  I like to have a coffee before I eat just to help wake me up and gain an appetite. So I usually slice up my fruit and put it in the freezer for an hour before I blend it to help give the smoothie a nice chill.

Serves 2 for your partner in crime.

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Ingredients:

1 Avocado- Sliced
2 Peaches- Sliced
1/2 Cup- Blueberries
2 Cups Spinach
1 Cup Almond Milk
Ice Cubes

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Directions:

Step 1- Add your spinach to the vitamix, then add all your additional fruit followed by your almond milk. If you want it to be colder go ahead an add a few ice cubes on top. Blend until smooth.

Step 2- Enjoy.

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Coconut Sugar Vanilla Meringues w/Fresh Peaches & Blueberries (Gluten Free)

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One of my cousins owns a sweet bake shop and she made wonderful meringues for one of her dessert tables. This inspired me to make my own version of these gluten free treats!

So instead of the usual white sugar I substituted coconut sugar which has half of the glycemic index of regular sugar and contains trace minerals. But its still sugar so enjoy in moderation. As well you will get a completely different taste because its more like brown sugar so your meringues will be brown and have more of a caramel flavour- If you just make the meringues and dip them in melted chocolate they taste like crunchie bars… oh so good!!

Instead of using regular dairy cream I used coconut cream for the middle!

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Ingredients

Meringues
3 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Filling
1/2 Cup Coconut Cream
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Blueberries
2 Peaches Sliced
Mint Leaves for Garnish

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Directions:

Meringues- Pre heat oven to 300 degrees F.

Step 1– Crack 3 egg whites into a bowl & using a hand mixer whip until soft peaks form. Then slowly add your sugar by the spoonful until it is completely immersed into your egg whites and hard peaks start to form.

Step 2– Using a Pastry bag make your nests  and top hats on a baking sheet covered with wax paper.  For the nest make a small circle starting inwards about  1.5 inches in diameter and then double over the last edge to form a lip around the circle.  You should have enough to make 4 nests.  For the top hats just pipe out the batter on top of each other until you reach the desired size.

Step 3- Bake in the oven at 300 F for about an hour, or until hard to the touch. Do not burn as it will ruin the taste.

(Yes they are not that pretty without all the fixings)

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Filling:

Step 1– Add the coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl and whip until hard peaks form.

Step 2– Fill the nest with your peach slices and blueberries. Top with your whipped coconut and garnish with meringue top hat and extra fruit.

Step 3- Serve with fresh mint leaves.

Makes 4 Servings

( I had to sample one for quality assurance- so there are only 3 in the picture! 🙂 ) 

Garlic Flowers & Tomato Sauce over Raw Zucchini Pasta

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Visiting family in Toronto this weekend I was introduced to fresh garlic flowers!

My sister in law created a braided strand for us to bring back to Montreal- my husband was not impressed by the smell however we did not have to worry about a vampire attack on the drive home. 🙂

I love the smell and taste of these little bulbs and was excited to create something to showcase there delicious yet subtle taste.

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As you can tell from my last few posts I’m loving the zucchini noodle pasta!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Tomato Sauce (I used some frozen sauce I had leftover from a larger batch)

2-3 Basil Leaves

2 Garlic Flower Heads

1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Oil

Sea Salt

Shaved Greens from the Garlic Stalk- for Garnish (use a regular peeler)

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Directions:

Step 1– Spirlize or slice your zucchini into noodle size strips and line on a paper towel, sprinkle with sea salt and set aside until your pasta sauce is ready. You salt it to remove excess water and crisp your strands.

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Step 2- Lightly sauté your flower heads in the coconut oil for 1-2 minutes.

Step 3- Add your pasta sauce & Basil and heat for about five minutes to infuse all the flavours.

Step 4-Now that your sauce is ready, lightly wring out your zucchini with the paper towel and rub off as much of the salt as you can.

Step 5- Toss your zucchini into the pan to lightly warm it up in the sauce, plate, and garnish with your strands of garlic stock.

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Baked Acorn Squash w/Kale & Sun-dried Tomatoes- Vegan & Gluten Free

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A wonderful hearty meal that keeps you full but does not weigh you down! Its great the way it is but I have a soft spot for Sriracha and doused it! 🙂

This is a super easy recipe to make and looks gorgeous served directly into the shell! Paired with a light salad it makes a great summer meal! Try it for your “meatless Tuesday”!

Ingredients
1 Acorn Squash
1 Cup Quinoa
1.5 Cups Vegetable Broth
2 Cups Kale- Diced (Stem removed)
3 Green Onions- Diced
2 Talbspoons-Sun Dried Tomatoes- Diced
1 Teaspoon Coconut oil

Directions

Step 1– Halve your acorn squash, remove seeds and bake on a cookie sheet shell side up for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until soft. Pour a little water onto your cookie sheet to help steam the squash.

Step 2. While your acorn squash is baking put your quinoa and vegetable broth in a stock pot and cook on medium heat until all of the water is absorbed, remove from heat & fluff with a fork. (about fifteen min)

Step 3. In a skillet add your coconut oil, sun-dried tomatoes, kale and green onion and sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Step 4.  When your qunioa is done mix the ingredients from your skillet into the stock pot and stuff your acorn squash until both halves are overflowing.  Pop them back in the oven for a few minutes & serve with a fresh side salad. You can add your favourite vegan cheese on top if you would like before popping them back in the oven.

No Bake Coconut Cream Pie- Vegan & Gluten Free

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I wish I could find young coconuts but alas all I can find at my local supermarkets are the old brown coconuts.  Its okay though they are still fun, and I enjoyed making this pie. However I had to make a few alterations to my usual recipe to compensate.

Normally with the young coconuts the meat is soft and moist and I usually just use the coconut water & the meat in the pie. However by shredding the coconut meat from the older coconuts it is much drier and I felt that I should add a can of coconut milk instead of using the water to add more flavour and natural fat. So its not as healthy of an option but if you can find fresh young coconuts go for the above mentioned options!! 🙂

And do not worry you do not taste the zucchini, paired with the cashews it helps to keep the creamy texture of the coconut pie!

If you need any tips to open the coconut, try pushing through one of the eyes at the top of the coconut and drain the water. Then pop them into a shallow pan in the oven at 350 for ten minutes until the coconut cracks, remove, cool, and pop out the flesh! Or go for it the old fashioned way by placing it in a pillow case and whack it against the cement! 🙂

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Crust
2 1/4 Cups Dried Shredded Coconut- toast it for a nuttier taste (reserve two tablespoons for garnish)
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
2 Dates (no pits)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp vanilla

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Directions

Step 1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and combine well.

Step 2. Scoop crust mixture into a 10″pie plate and push the mixture up the sides of the pan evenly distributed, press mixture down and smooth out the surfaces ensuring no holes in the crust.

Step 3. Chill for 30-60 mins before pouring the filling in.

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Pie Filling

2 Cups Coconut Meat (approx 2 coconuts-shredded)
1 Can Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Shredded Zucchini (peeled)
1/2 Cup Cashews, Soaked (30 mins)
2 tbsp Vanilla
2.5 tbsp Maple Syrup

Directions

Step 1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. It will be very thick and you will have to scrape the sides to continuously keep the mixture moving.

Step 2. Pour into your lined chilled crust.

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Step 3. Chill for at least an hour!

10-12 servings