Pumpkin Spice Latte

Coffee is one of those beverages that is greatly debated…good for you…not good for you…you can discover the pros and cons of this beloved beverage here. Then there’s the latte, Italian in origin and made with espresso and steamed milk. A traditional latte requires an expensive espresso maker. For those of us without such a luxury, a lovely homemade “latte” is still within reach if you own a blender! I hope the pumpkin flavor delights your tastebuds!

  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp maple syrup (optional (or stevia, to taste))
  • 1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred)
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy. Sip & enjoy!

You can also try this with black tea!

Raspberry Ganache Fudge Crumble

I came across this recipe years ago in a local community newspaper. Considering it is grain free, vegan, refined sugar free and no baking is required, I was skeptical, but it looked darn good! So I made it for Valentine’s Day dessert that year, and….yes, instant hit! Imagine the medley of ground walnuts, chocolate, and raspberries together, yum! The sweetness is provided mainly by dates, with a little added honey. The frosting really does have that chocolate-y ooey gooey goodness to it! Along with avoiding sugar, you’ll be getting a hit of healthy fats thanks to the walnuts and avocado. So easy….you can enjoy it tonight!

Base

  • 1.5 cups walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates (hint: soak in water for a few minutes to soften)
  • dash sea salt

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates (hint: soak in water for a few minutes before processing)
  • 1/4 cup honey (use raw/unpasteurized for added probiotic benefit )
  • 1/2 cup ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Topping

  • 1/2 cup raspberries (fresh)
  1. To make the base: combine the walnuts, cocoa powder, and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed. Add dates and pulse until mixed well. The mixture will be lumpy, not liquid-y, but it sticks together well when pressed into a round cake or springform pan (8″).

  2. Place base in fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up.

  3. To make frosting: combine dates and honey in food processor and process until smooth (you’ll need to stop and scrape the sides a few times). Add the avocado and process until smooth. Add cocoa powder and process until smooth. 

  4. Spread frosting over base (you may just wish to do the top, or spread on the sides as well, if you used a springform pan for the base). 

    Place in fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes.

    Top with fresh raspberries and enjoy! 

On its own, the base will keep several weeks in the fridge.

The frosting, kept separate, will keep for 1 week in fridge.

The assembled cake plus frosting will keep up to 3 days in fridge.

Rockin’ Moroccan Stew

This is one of my favorite plant-based dinners, especially in winter. It’s hearty, healthy, and packed with flavor. Even better left over, when the ingredients have had more time to mingle!

I’ve served this to the biggest carnivores, and they all devour it! A mild curry of tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and coconut milk mean a hit of healthy fats, fibre, beta carotene (Vitamin A)…wait…you just want the taste review right?

Can’t go wrong crowd pleaser. Make it tonight!

  • 2 tsp coconut oil (unrefined)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup each diced celery and chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp grated gingerroot
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander, and chili powder
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups peeled sweet potatoes (cubed )
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (19 oz/540 mL )
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained (19 oz/540 mL )
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups thinly chopped kale leaves (spine removed)
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk*
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp light peanut butter (or almond butter )
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro (Optional but lovely)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add gingerroot, cumin, curry powder, coriander and chili powder. Cook for 30 more seconds.

  2. Add broth, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale, coconut milk, raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Mix well. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve hot.

Rebooters, you can enjoy a small amount of this (no more than 1/2 cup) and then round out your meal with healthy fats and other suggested foods. Though sweet potatoes are not one of your recommended foods, a small amount will be fine.

The ingredient list is long, but so worth it! To make it easier to prepare, I get my ingredients ready before I start cooking, sorted by food group (i.e. spices, veggies, canned).

* Cartons of coconut milk are too watered down, so stick to cans for the best flavor and a bigger dose of healthy fats. Ideally, buy organic, as non-organic brands tend to have some junk ingredients.

Thanks to Janet and Greta Podleski for allowing me to share their recipe.

This recipe is slightly adapted to ensure it delivers the best nutrition to my tribe – enjoy!

Holiday Fruit and Nut Bark

 

What’s better than receiving homemade snacks for Christmas gifts?! Giving homemade snacks as gifts of course! This one’s a no-brainer. Minimal time and effort, maximum flavor! Reminds me of a Cadbury fruit and nut bar, but healthified and definitely tastier. Make sure to use good quality dark chocolate, which will contain less sugar. Better yet, buy 100% unsweetened chocolate and sweeten yourself with your preferred sweetener (I suggest stevia or Lakanto). This will make it even Reboot-friendly. I gift it often and it is always a hit!  

  • 12 ozs Dark Organic Chocolate (*if needing dairy free, ask for it at a health food store)
  • 1/2 cup Cherries (*tart, dried (unglazed))
  • 1/2 cup Almonds (*roasted, chopped in half)
  • 1 tbsp Instant Espresso Powder (or finely ground coffee)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Coarse Sea Salt (*don't skip this, it enhances the flavor!)
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break chocolate into chunks and melt in double boiler (I use a heat proof dish which fits over a pot with boiling water). Stir constantly as it melts.
  2. Set aside about 1 tbsp each of the almonds and cherries as toppers. Add remaining ingredients to the melted chocolate and stir to mix in.
  3. Spread chocolate mixture on baking sheet and sprinkle the almonds and cherries you set aside on top. Chill in fridge for about 30 minutes, until firm. Cut or break into pieces of desired size. Best stored in fridge.

(Recipe adapted from Alive Magazine, December 2014).

Peruvian Ceviche

 

Having just spent two amazing weeks in Peru, my husband and I feasted on their national dish, ceviche, multiple times. It’s Peru’s answer to sushi and is quite easy to whip up. Lightly marinating fish in lime juice and salt kills any harmful bacteria…who knew?! Plus it provides a refreshing, light citrus taste. We ate it as a main course, served with boiled sweet potato and corn. It also makes a great appie.

This is the recipe closest to what we made in our cooking class in Arequipa, and it comes with great reviews. This is absolutely Reboot-friendly – just choose a different side dish with some healthy fats.  

  • 2 lbs tilapia fillets (or 2 lbs other firm white fish fillets*) (cubed)
  • 4 garlic cloves (or more, to taste) (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 habanero pepper (seeded and chopped (or real Peruvian Aji Amarillo, if you can find it))
  • 10 limes (or more) (freshly squeezed and strained to remove pulp, enough to cover fish)
  • 1 red onion (thinly sliced and rinsed)
  1. Combine all ingredients except red onion and mix well.

    Place red onion on top and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

    Before serving, mix well and serve with lettuce, corn, avocado or other cold salad vegetables on the side.

It is important to use non-fatty fish. So salmon does not work in this recipe. Bay scallops, halibut, or cod would work.

It is important to use a juicer that presses the juice out of the limes, not one that will tear the membrane of the lime sections since this will make the lime juice bitter.

The traditional ceviche recipe includes adding some fish broth to the marinade AFTER the fish is ready, though this particular recipe (adapted from Genius Kitchen) does not utilize fish broth. The marinade is known as leche de tigre, or tigers milk, in Peru. Before serving, pour some of the juice in a shot glass to go with the ceviche. Voila! True Peruvian delicacy in your own home! 

The image is what the final dish looked like in our Peruvian cooking class. Once the fish was ready, we combined it with 3 different sauces of varying heat, hence the 3 separate piles on the plate. The cup contains the original fish in its marinade, or tigers milk. 

Ginger Gem Stir-Fry

Does it get any simpler than a one-pan stir-fry? Chop your veggies and meat, throw in the pan with some flavor enhancers and you’re done! Swap the meat and veggies for whatever you have on hand – stir-frys are truly versatile! This one uses fresh ginger, known to aid digestion, and is powerfully anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. A 2015 study also found ginger lowered blood sugar by 12% in Type 2 diabetics!  Good quality sesame oil* has natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties while adding great flavor to any stir fry. Love up your gut!

  • 12 oz pork tenderloin or chicken breast (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium size red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil*
  • 1 tbsp mint, parsley, or cilantro (optional garnish)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tsp fresh ginger (finely grated)
  • 1 tbsp Bragg sauce or gluten-free tamari/soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry (or dry red or white wine)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch *Rebooters, use 2 tsp almond flour or 1 tsp chia seeds
  1. Heat avocado or coconut oil in wok or frying pan to medium-high. Add meat and stir fry until cooked through. 

  2. While meat is cooking, whisk together sauce ingredients. 

  3. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Add chopped veggies to pan and stir fry to desired doneness. 

  4. Add meat and sauce to pan and cook about 1-2 minutes. Mixture should thicken slightly. 

  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with sesame oil, and add herb of choice for garnish.  Enjoy with a side of brown rice (Rebooters, use konjac or cauli-rice).

  • Ideally, use non-GMO, expeller/cold-pressed coconut and sesame oils. Poor quality oils challenge your liver, which is an integral part of your digestion. 

Cold Avocado Mint Soup

 

This chilled blender soup is lovely for summer entertaining. Cucumber, mint, and avocado… velvety and satisfying! Low glycemic load, and full of healthy fat and fibre to fill you up. Did you know avocados contain compounds which protect against inflammation? Research also found they may reduce the risk of cancer. Mint has been used for thousands of years. It aids in upset stomach or indigestion and is thought to increase bile secretion, needed for digestion of those amazing heart-healthy fats from the avocado! Can you say YUM?!

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tbsp. plain yogurt (organic, grass-fed ideally)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh mint
  • 4 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 radish (optional, for garnish)
  • 1 sprig fresh mint (garnish)
  1. Place everything except the radish in a blender and add 1 cup cold water. Process until smooth.

  2. Chill for at least 1 hour. Serve garnished with the radish and remaining mint leaves.

No mint? Cilantro also works in this soup!

https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/recipes/a809/cold-avocado-soup/

Lunch in a jiffy!

 

For those days when you literally only have 5 minutes to grab a healthy meal. Grab an avocado, a tomato, a can of tuna, and with a couple of your fav condiments, you are done! 

In addition to its high percentage of monounsaturated fat, avocado offers other unique fat qualities. It provides us with phytosterols including beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. This special group of fats has been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits to our body systems, including our cardiovascular system. Along with good fibre content, it also improves conversion of beta-carotene in the tomato into active vitamin A.

Tuna provides some healthy Omega 3 fats, which are also anti-inflammatory, and which our cells need to function optimally. 

  • 1/2 can tuna, packed in water
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 small avocado (or half large)
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Mix the tuna with some olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper first, then transfer to a plate and add the tomato and olive oil. Alternatively, put everything on the plate first and simply drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over top and finish with salt and pepper.

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

One of my favorite childhood meals was pepper steak! I enjoyed the sweet and spicy combo, and it was a welcome break from the “meat and potato” suppers that dominated our household. In order for it to remain in my current meal repertoire, I needed to give it a makeover…ketchup and brown sugar be gone!  I’m sharing my remake since my husband, who is not a fan of stew-style dishes, loved it!  Some recipes do this dish in a wok, but I love slow cooker meals on weekdays. Either way, it’s yum!

  • 2 lbs round steak* (cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips (sirloin or stew beef works too))
  • 2 bell peppers (any color, thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup onion (sliced into 1/2 inch wedges)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger or 3/4 tsp dried
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 cup organic beef bouillon (low sodium)
  • ¼ cup gluten-free soy or tamari sauce ( )
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (you can sub with cider vinegar)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot starch (Rebooters, use 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour )
  1. In a bowl combine ginger, garlic, bouillon, soy sauce, vinegar, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Place about ½ of the steak strips at the bottom of the slow cooker, top with sliced bell peppers and onions, and remaining steak. **

  3. Pour liquid mixture over meat.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, until meat is tender and cooked.

  5. About 30 minutes before serving, in a small bowl whisk together four tablespoons of cold water and starch or coconut flour. Set the slow cooker on high (if it isn’t already) and pour the thickener into the pot, stir, then cover and cook another 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

  6. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve over rice (or cauli or zucchini rice if on a Reboot) and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

*Grass-fed beef is higher in healthy Omega 3 fats, so I recommend it where possible.

** If you are able to add the peppers in about halfway, that is ideal. They won’t be as soft. If you are at work all day, then adding them in with the meat is the only option (but know they will be soft, not crunchy).

Adapted from: https://www.theironyou.com/2017/09/crock-pot-pepper-steak.html

Grilled Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Salad

 

Tired of the same old green salads?  This recipe should be called the Super Simple Summer Salad! Grilled eggplant, sun-dried (or fresh) tomatoes, fresh basil, red onion, arugula and olive oil = mediterranean magic! I was transported back to my travels in Italy and Greece. Make it today (and devour it tomorrow, as it requires an overnight to really develop the flavour). 

  • – 1 large eggplant (sliced into 1" thick pieces)
  • – 4 ounces sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • – ¼ cup fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • – 4 cups arugula (washed and spun dry)
  • – ¼ red onion (sliced thinly)
  1. – Preheat grill and cook eggplant 10-15 minutes flipping every few minutes and keeping a close eye to prevent charring (will be on the crisp side).
  2. – Remove eggplant and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  3. – Place tomato (if using sun-dried; if using fresh, wait until right before serving to add), basil and oil in food processor.
  4. – Whiz until coarsely chopped.
  5. – Place in glass or ceramic bowl and stir eggplant in and cover tightly.
  6. – Chill overnight; remove from refrigerator 10 – 15 minutes before serving on top of arugula, with onion on top of that as a starter or add your favorite protein to create a full meal.

Recipe credit: www.paleoista.com

*Not suitable for those avoiding nightshades.