Chili Chickpea Caesar – Vegan

Another one for the salad vaults – and yes there have been a tonne of them lately. Why? Well, because I am cooking mostly only 1 creative meal per day and that is at dinnertime when I can spare the minutes of my life to do this. To add, I’m in contest prep currently and salad-type meals are the best for my waistline at this point – yours too!

This heart healthy salad took about 10 minutes to put together….less waiting for your chickpeas to firm up. In total you’ll need about 45 minutes to get this done so may I suggest this tempo:

Get home, preheat your oven then slip into something more comfortable…….put on some tunes, crack a bottle of Perrier with a slice of lime and romance this one together. You’ll need to get your kissing on before you eat this one…she’s a garlic-y doozer which I used to my advantage trying to overcome this poorly timed flu.

Dressing Ingredients: 

2 tbsp Vegenaise or any other type of vegan mayo.

1 large clove garlic

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

3 tbsp water

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp tri-colour pepper (freshly ground)

Salad Ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas

4 cups kale torn to small pieces

2 cups romaine lettuce chopped into small pieces

1 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp avocado oil

Method: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large mixing bowl add both cans of rinsed chickpeas with chili powder, garlic powder, salt and avocado oil. Mix well.

Spread over baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven & stir/mix and bake for another 12 minutes or until desired firmness is reached.

While these are baking combine all your dressing ingredients in a wide mouth mason jar and blend with a hand blender. If you do not have a hand blender simply ensure all your ingredients are minced as finely as possible and whisk in a deep vessel with a fork.

Toss greens in dressing and top salad with roasted chickpeas. You can even use these chickpeas as a simple appy to replace salty crackers or nuts.

Serves 2-4 people. 2 as a full meal, 4 as a side.

Nutritional Info: 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 725
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16 g 25 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 9 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 3 mg 1 %
Sodium 836 mg 35 %
Potassium 6209 mg 177 %
Total Carbohydrate 128 g 43 %
Dietary Fiber 57 g 229 %
Sugars 32 g
Protein 42 g 85 %
Vitamin A 4130 %
Vitamin C 237 %
Calcium 96 %
Iron 145 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

 

Falafel Salad with Tzatziki Dressing

A lot of the time new recipes are born of my die-hard desire to not waste any food in my home. Looking in the fridge I noticed there was some Tzatziki dressing that was going to go off ~ chickpeas to the rescue.

This recipe is simple, though not too quick if you’re in a rush but if you prep the whole recipe you’ll have leftovers you can freeze and use easily any time.

Going out for food is absolutely impossible during prep, these made the cut and didn’t equal a cheat because I re-arranged my Macros for the day to accommodate.

You must try this one.

Ingredients:

Falafel

2 cans of chickpeas

1 medium yellow onion chopped

4 large cloves of garlic diced

1 large dried chili pepper (or chili pepper flakes)

2 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp corriander

1 tsp parsley flakes

1 tsp celery seeds

1 tsp salt

1 cup spelt flour

Water as needed to thin mixture

Dressing: 

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup chopped dill

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 large clove of garlic

** Place all ingredients in small vessel and using hand blender mix until creamy and smooth**

Salad: 

Cucumber, Kale, Spinach, Peas, tomato – you name it! I keep a big clean bowl of ready-to-eat mixed greens in the fridge that work well with every style of salad.

Method: 

Combine all ingredients in bowl and use hand mixer or food processor to mix well.

“Raw” Ingredients

I liked this a little more on the watery side to ensure they cooked a little more quickly.

Pre-heat a cast iron pan to medium heat and coat lightly with coconut or olive oil. (You can use a non-stick pan if you don’t have cast iron). We are not looking to use oil to deep fry in any way, only to keep the falafels from sticking! I used a small ice cream scoop to set the mix into the pan, this made them about golf ball sized or a little smaller.

Cook over medium heat for approximately 4-5 minutes per side. The ingredients will firm up in the same way as a pancake, where you can see them starting to cook through the middle (from the bottom) and will know it is time to flip.


Don’t over cook these as they can turn into little hockey pucks quite easily, so patience is best when you’re working with this one.

Dress your salad with the falafels, add hot sauce, dressing and top with diced tomato and cucumber.

Enjoy! – Serves 8 (at least) or two plus a tonne of leftovers!

Nutrition Information Falafels: 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 158
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g 4 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 254 mg 11 %
Potassium 211 mg 6 %
Total Carbohydrate 26 g 9 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g 25 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 7 g 14 %
Vitamin A 2 %
Vitamin C 4 %
Calcium 6 %
Iron 17 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Nutritional Information Tzatziki Dressing: 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 57
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6 g 8 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 4 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 41 mg 2 %
Potassium 24 mg 1 %
Total Carbohydrate 2 g 1 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g 1 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 0 g 1 %
Vitamin A 2 %
Vitamin C 6 %
Calcium 1 %
Iron 1 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Vegan stuffing – HOLIDAY SERIES

What is a traditional holiday meal without…..stuffing? I’m not a huge stuffing girl (prefer my carbs in the form of cake) however, nothing is more simple than a good stuffing recipe and meat eaters wont have any clue! This recipe was a hit with my family …. they ate more of this than the stuffing that was up the butt of the dead bird.

Little by little I sneak all this goodness in and it’s appreciated.

Top with some vegan brown gravy – yuuuummmmers.

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped mushrooms of choice – I used giant white

3 cups bread crumbs – I used a 50/50 mix of sourdough and wheat

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 cups chopped celery

1 tsp Sage

2 large onions chopped fine

4 cloves garlic

4 cups veggie bouillon/broth – Here’s my recipe for homemade broth

3 Bay leaves

1 cup pecans chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Method: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Liquefy coconut oil In saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add mushrooms and chopped celery and saute another 3-4 minutes until celery begins to turn clear and mushrooms begin to shrink.

Slowly add half the bouillon/broth and bay leaves and bring to a low boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat.

In large bowl combine remainder of ingredients. Ensure that the remaining bouillon liquid is measured in slowly as to not create a soup. Leave some liquid in reserve if need be. The drier the bread the more liquid it will take. Store-bought crouton-type bread will soak VERY easily. Once mixed well, spread evenly over non-stick baking pan or line with parchment paper first.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, remove from oven and “stir” then bake for an additional 15 minutes or until slightly browned.

 

Peanut butter & Banana Nice Cream – HOLIDAY SERIES

 

 

 

This picture is actually a little teaser for my chocolate pie…..but I really didn’t get a good snapshot of my ice cream. Quickest recipe you’ll make in your life, so there’s no excuse for dairy or yucky cheap ice cream anymore!

Love PB? Love Bananas? You’re done for.

Ingredients:

3 cans coconut milk

1 cup peanut butter *smooth

3 large bananas

2 tbsp agave nectar or sweetener of choice

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Method:

Blend all ingredients in blender, pour in bowl/vessel and freeze.

Allow to sit on counter to thaw for 5-10 minutes before serving.

OH MY GOOD LORD HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS.

Serve with pie, or on it’s own or in a banana split…my god, serve it on my abs and call it a day!

Vegan Irish Cream – Holiday Series

Rarely do I make desserts or work with alcohol (unless it’s for a tincture or homemade extracts) but this month we decided to have our family holiday dinner early so that we wouldn’t miss out while we are in Panama.

My family does not celebrate Christmas, though, not for religious reasons. We are atheists and really don’t celebrate any holidays. Our tradition is to go away each year at this time to spend a week or so together making memories on (usually) the beach. No store bought gifts, just the gift of our company and time.

This year, under the Christmas fern (there is a fern we threw some things under this year to appease Jeff’s family – we had a good laugh) this year were three lovely mason jars of delight as pictured above. Last minute I decided that I was in the spirit (he he) of giving my time and energy to something delicious and seasonally appreciated – Irish Cream!

This recipe takes no time at all, really no skill and is environmentally and animal friendly.

The only hitch is that you have to use quite a bit especially if you like to see your coffee turn white because this isn’t made with heavy cream. I’d say a 50/50 ratio is good!

I’ve included the nutritional information as well as traditional Irish Cream nutritional info so that you can see the difference for yourselves!

Ingredients:

3 cans light coconut milk

1.5 cups espresso/dark coffee

1.5 cups Jameson’s Irish Whisky

3/4 cup natural organic sugar. ( I used brown cane this time)

Method:

On stove top bring coconut milk to a light boil stirring often.

Reduce heat to simmer and add sugar. Continue to stir often for about 10-12 minutes or until the liquid has thickened some. You will be able to tell by feel when you are stirring.

Remove from heat and add whiskey and espresso or coffee and mix well.

This can be stored in a sealed jar for a week in the fridge. If you can this – it will last far longer. I made 2 litres of the stuff with this recipe.

Yummmmmy.

Nutritional Information: 

*Calories come from saturated fats, nearly 90%*

Vegan Irish Cream : Roughly 65 calories per oz

Traditional Irish Cream:  From 130-147 calories per oz

 

Coconut Date Poppers

This is a quick 2 minute recipe to curb that sweet tooth attack and add a few vitamins, minerals and protein in one bite!

Medjool are the sweetest/softest dates you can use…the rest will pale in comparison and be far less buttery.

Make sure you’re working with room temperature dates or allow them to sit out for an hour or so before you put this recipe together to maximize buttery-ness.

Ingredients: 

1 small/medium sized medjool date, pitted

.5 tsp shredded coconut

1/4 tsp lemon juice (fresh)

.1 tsp coconut oil melted

Method: 

Split your date(s) in half but not all the way through. Remove pits.

Add coconut and top with a tiny bit of coconut oil and top with lemon juice.

Repeat for as many poppers as you can handle/fit your diet plan.

Note: I used small/medium dates to come up with the nutritional information below. The extra large californial medjools will blow this out of the water by double.

Great to take on the road as well.

Nutritional Info: 

Total Calories: 93

Fat: 1.5 g

Carbs: 22.4 g

Protein: .7 g

225 g of Potassium & 36 G of Vitamin C!

Are you worth, your salt? – A recipe and a lesson…Lesscipe?

Spicy, sexy, salty.

Having a young child around is part of where I find my blog topics on food. This weekend Anastacia and I were preparing a meal together and I placed on our dinner table some sriracha salt. A wonderful mix of chilies, citrus zest and Himalayan sea salt – stick around for my recipe.

She began eating her meal and watched as I finished the preparation of my salad with this lovely salt. Timidly she asked if she could try some. “Of course you can!” I exclaimed, “salt is absolutely wonderful and this one is fabulous in the flavour department”. She looked up through sheepish eyes and admitted that at her moms house it is a banned substance because it’s “bad for you”.

Why salt has become the enemy for some folks floors me. With the information age we are far better off to do our own research than to buy into the latest fad food omission of the moment. Like fats, one day it’s great for you and the next it’s not.

Lets settle this with a bit of my opinion shall we?

In and around the time that low fat, low carb and low calorie diets were making their way on the scene (read: microwaveable lazy man food and the like) scientists and snake oil salesmen alike were ramping up to tear down salt.

Like any decade, there are food fashion “do’s” and “don’ts” and a host of crazed food police supporters touting the benefits of the diet of the day.

I don’t support the anti-salt campaign.

History

Salt used to be such a hot commodity that the Romans used it as a paycheque for some. The word salary is even derived from the word Sal, Salarium = Salt Money-fancy that!

Salt is mined in a lot of places. Here in Canada one of the largest mines in the world is located in Ontario. Globally, you can find salt mines in Poland, Germany, England, Morocco, Italy, Ireland, Pakistan and the USA.

This LINK shows traditional and newer mining sites. Check it out. Here’s a great shot of an amazing salt Mosque from the Wiki link:

Beautiful Salt Creations

Beautiful Salt Creations

Salt types

Before I get into the pros and cons of salt it’s a good idea for you to know about the types of salt that are available to you.

Himalayan Pink Salt – mined in the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, 300kms from the HImalayas.

Sea Salt – produced from the evaporation of sea water.

Watch a video on how to make your own sea salt here: MAKE YOUR OWN SEA SALT

Kosher Salt – mined underground or from the sea and compressed to make larger granules

Celtic Salt – harvested from the sea of NW France and also known as grey salt there are no additives and its colour comes from clays found in the salt fields

Table Salt – mined above or below ground, processed and stripped of it’s beneficial minerals, talc and silica additives to name a few. Find a listing of all the chemical agents here.

Weeding out the enemy

Have you heard of the term Full or High Spectrum Salt? This term refers to salts that have been refined but NOT stripped of their valuable mineral content which makes salt extremely important.

The beneficial magical ingredients in GOOD salt are:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Iron – oxygen moving helper
  • Zinc
  • Iodine – healthy thyroid & body temp regulator
  • Sodium – regulates blood PH & stomach
  • Potassium
  • Manganese – bone development, metabolizing

Salt is also a natural electrolyte that helps to retain water in our bodies. Water retention is hugely important as it stimulates the thirst function and keeps our blood pressure stable.

Salt prevents muscle cramps and stimulates the adrenal glands. The latter leading us to better sleep patterns.

Salt creates hydrochloric acid in the body which helps us to digest food in the stomach. If you are sodium deficient, you can suffer from muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness and could even place yourself in a coma.

Why can’t some people eat salt?

People with high blood pressure cannot or shouldn’t consume salt. Why you ask? Well, the kidneys regulate sodium in the body, if they are over burdened with this process the body will nearly self destruct which leads to hardened arteries, heart attack or stroke.

It is uber important to know if you have blood pressure issues and if so – ditch the table salt immediately. Ditch it anyway.

Foods to avoid – BAD SALT

Processed foods high in sodium from table salt. This is the worst type of food you can put into your body. Not only is it made in a factory with old ingredients that are irradiated and dead, these meals are bad for our environment due to the type of production used to create them – I know I couldn’t sleep at night knowing my poor taste in food was damaging our fragile eco-system.

The avoid list:

  • Potato Chips
  • Pop
  • Pre-made microwave meals / kids pre-made luncheon meals
  • Fast Food – Fries/Burgers/Chicken mysteries
  • Packed Pizzas/Pastas/Pizza Pops etc…
  • Raisin Bran
  • Pre-made sauces Asian/Italian
  • Meat jerky, pre-cut/sliced meats of any kind
  • Conventional mix or pre-made pancakes / waffles / muffins
  • Traditional ketchup, pickles
  • Cheese slices, cottage cheese
  • Several types of pre-made veggie burgers (check the lable)
  • Several types of breads/buns/bagles that are pre-made
  • Clamato/tomato/vegetable juices – juice your own!!
  • Canned mushrooms, soups, veggies packed in salt
  • Pre-made salad dressings – make your own!!
  • “Just add water” dishes like rice/paella/pastas/noodles
  • Boxed desserts like cakes/pudding

I think the general lesson here is – learn to cook. I mean REALLY cook. For the love of all things healthy.

As with all things we consume, salt should be of the simplest and purest form as well as used in a somewhat civilized manner. When you’re looking to cook with salt ensure that you’re only using it as a “finisher” in dishes and not as part of an over-salted recipe.

If you will note in all of my recipes I rarely use salt for anything but “to taste”, or to use directly before consuming.

If you feel like a hero taking good salt off the table – you’re wrong. Check your kitchen, scrap the garbage and start eating good salt now. You owe your body and the bodies of the people who are in your care.

Sriracha Sea Salt Recipe

IMG_0534-1

Ingredients:

3 tbsp dried hot chilis

5 tbsp Himalayan Salt

1.5 tbsp Lemon zest

2 tbsp Dried diced garlic

Method:

Combine all ingredients and place into grinder.

If you do not have a grinder, place in a salt pig/vessel and sprinkle on salads, soups, pastas and meats.