"The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine."
- Hippocrates

July 5, 2012

Chili-Rubbed Sweet Potato Rounds with Guacamole

Three reasons why I LOVE this recipe:
  1. It's packed with nutrition (sweet potatoes are chock full of beta-carotene and vitamin C and avocados have anti-inflammatory properties, are full of fiber, vitamin A, C and folate).
  2. It's ridiculously easy - you don't even have to peel the potatoes!
  3. Best of all, it's incredibly tasty!! Spicy roasted sweet potato rounds topped with some creamy guacamole...it's like nachos without the less-than-healthy chips! Total comfort food!
You can serve these as a fun appetizer or a full meal, paired with a nice salad for example. We've always got both avocados and sweet potatoes lying around in our kitchen so this is a regular weeknight meal that's great when you're short on time but don't want to eat another bowl of cereal or toast with peanut butter (yeah, it happens!).

I found this recipe on the another great blog called Choosing Raw - I highly recommend you check it out if you're looking for some new plant-based recipes that are interesting and nutritious.

Chili-Rubbed Sweet Potato Rounds with Guacamole

Serves 4

For the chili spice rub:
2 tbsps chili powder
1 tsp paprika (I use regular here, but use smoked paprika if you want a smoky flavor!)
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
Dash cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want the heat)

For the Potatoes:
1 large sweet potato, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Canola oil
1 recipe guacamole

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix spices together for the rub.
Brush or spray potatoes lightly with oil. Sprinkle them with the spice rub, mix well. Roast round for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden on the bottoms. Flip and roast for another 12-15 minutes.
Whip up a batch of classic guacamole.
Serve roasted rounds topped with a dollop of guacamole!

May 18, 2012

Sloppy Joes

I remember when I was a kid, one of my favourite meals was Sloppy Joes. They were basically spaghetti sauce with ground beef added until it was thick enough to stay put on the bun. Oh my, I loved this meal! This version is much healthier and let's just say, a bit more refined. It combines earthy lentils with the delicate crunch of walnuts. It's got a tomato base, but not overly so, allowing the rest of the flavours to shine!

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks, the Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook from Dr. Neal Barnard, he's the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The original recipe was for stuffed cabbage (which are also amazing), but I had some leftover filling one day and decided to serve it on a whole grain bun and call it a Sloppy Joe! I've since made a few adjustments to the original recipe to better fit my memory of what this classic sandwich tasted like. And just like my memories, this sandwich is a little messy, so have napkins nearby!

We love these in our house and usually prepare a double batch whenever we make them...leftovers can be frozen in individual servings and thawed for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner!

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth or vegetable oil for frying
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 can tomato paste (more if you like your sandwiches more tomato-y)
2 cups water
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup dried brown lentils
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice (e.g. brown basmati)
3/4 teaspoon salt whole grain burger buns

1. Over medium heat, saute onion in with oil or broth until they brown. Add the garlic, cumin, black pepper, and coriander then saute for two minutes. Next, add tomato paste and saute for three minutes while stirring. Mix in two cups of water and bring to a boil.

2. Add in walnuts, lentils, and the rice. Cover until water boils again and reduce the heat to low. Cook for thirty minutes or so until lentils and rice are tender. Depending on how you like your Sloppy Joe consistency, you may need to add a bit more water near the end of cooking time to thin it out a bit.

3. Spoon mix onto whole grain buns (toasted is a nice touch). Enjoy!

April 1, 2012

Banana Soft Serve

What if I told you that you could make your own ice cream right now with only one ingredient...frozen banana? You'd think I was a little nuts...or at least forgotten what real ice cream actually tastes like! And you might be right; but I do know this stuff is AMAZING! I'd seen this technique all over the blogs for a while and I'm not sure why it took me so long to try it at home, but when I finally made it I was truely blown away! This stuff tastes and lookes just like soft serve ice cream! And it's so easy to make it's almost criminal...

I've provided a few extra pictures to give you some context for what to expect when you try this at home.

First, as seen below, peel two frozen bananas and chop them into approximately 1 inch chuncks; then throw them into your food processor.

(Note: I think a food processor is probably key for this recipe, if you're trying with a blender, I'd suggest cutting the banana into smaller chunks to start...that may help.)

Next, blend the banana for 2-3 minutes until you see it getting nice and creamy, like below. Scrape down the bowl to incorporate any escaped banana chunks.

This is where it gets fun, at this point, add any flavours or additions you'd like to personalize your ice cream. My favorite is a touch of salt and about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (as pictured above). You could also add other frozen fruit or just plain vanilla. Continue blending for another 1-3 minutes until it reaches a desired consistency. Sometimes at the end I like to drop in a big spoonful of creamy peanut butter and just pulse it through until it's just barely incorporated...Oh my! Heaven!

Just keep in mind that the more ripe that banana, the sweeter the ice cream - so save those really spotty and soft fellas for a special (and very guilt free) treat!


March 29, 2012

Broccoli-Almond Pesto with Rice Noodles

Phew! It's been a busy few months...resulting in a severe lack of posts! My apologies. The good news is that I've got a good number of recipes ready and waiting to be shared with you in the coming weeks - Yay!

So, back to it...it's spring again, and that means time to clean up our diet a bit. By way of another blog I frequent, I found a great New Year's cleanse hosted by Whole Living Magazine. It's called the Whole Living Action Plan 2012. It's a three week diet cleanse that has you omitting everything except fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, beans/legumes/tofu (in week 2), and gluten-free grains (in week 3). For non-vegetarians, the diet also permits the addition of seafood and eggs in weeks 2 and 3 respectively. It sounded challenging in the beginning, but after the first few days we got the hang of it and really enjoyed starting the day with a big smoothie and eating a new variety of vegetables and fruits throughout the day. We all get in our ruts where we find ourselves eating the same things week after week; this was a fantastic kickstart to get back to eating new and varied whole food meals!

We're currently rounding out our third week and feeling fantastic. I've gained energy and lost some weight (yay!). I highly recommend it for anyone feeling the effects of the long winter (both in health and pant size!). Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes from the Action Plan so far...it's a Week 3 recipe but it was soooo worth the wait!! It combines almonds, basil and broccoli to create an incredibly vibrant pesto...one that I would happily use in place of any other based on a standard recipe. Trust me when I say you'd never know there's broccoli in there! Because the diet is exclusively gluten free, it calls for use of rice noodles; however, use any noodles you'd like based on your own preferences.

Rice Noodles with Broccoli-Almond Pesto


1 head broccoli, florets and sliced stems
6 tablespoons raw almonds
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
8 ounces rice noodles
Sliced almonds (optional)

1. Steam broccoli florets and stems until bright green and just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking process and set aside. Roughly chop 1 cup cooked florets; set aside.

2. In a food processor, puree almonds until they resemble a course meal. Add remaining ingredients (except noodles) and puree until smooth. Set aside.

3. Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, drain noodles, and return to pot. Toss with pesto, adding reserved pasta water until creamy. Top each bowl with chopped florets, small basil leaves, and sliced almonds.


This recipe was adapted from Whole Living Magazine's Whole Living Action Plan 2012