gluten free

Green Curry Soup with Sesame Tofu

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Warming to the soul, gentle on the belly, and all around satisfying, this is a soup that is incredibly versatile in that you can throw in any veggies you have lying around, serve with soaked brown rice for the big eaters (did I say teenager?) or swap in chicken for tofu, if that’s your fancy.
I find this recipe quick & easy because these are all ingredients that I mostly have in the house, so long as I have about a 25 minute window to get dinner on the table, this soup can make that happen!

But first, a quick word on Tofu…

A while back, we were a bit scared off of soy in the health industry due to its phytoestrogen content. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds and dietary estrogens that can only be consumed through food sources. Due to increases in hormone dysfunction and estrogen dominance issues in both men and women, there have been concerns about the regular consumption of phytoestrogens and their affect on thyroid function, reproductive development, and breast cancer risk. Like so many foods, the consumption of estrogen containing foods is problematic for some and beneficial for others.
As with all fluctuations in nutritional information, is it always important to do what is right for you, as an individual, with differing preferences, needs, history, and health struggles. If consuming estrogen of any kind is problematic for you, likely it is safest to steer clear. For many others, consuming tofu as part of a balanced, plant-based diet, can be health promoting.

Why consuming Tofu could be beneficial:


Soy consumption may actually lower your risks for breast cancer:

“Estrogen has positive effects in some tissues and potentially negative effects in others. For example, high levels of estrogen can be good for the bones but can increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Ideally, you’d like what’s called a “selective estrogen receptor modulator” in your body that would have proestrogenic effects in some tissues and antiestrogenic effects in others.
Well, that’s what soy phytoestrogens appear to be. Soy seems to lower breast cancer risk, an antiestrogenic effect, but can also help reduce menopausal hot-flash symptoms, a proestrogenic effect. So, by eating soy, you may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. “1

More good news:


”According to Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, epidemiologic studies that followed large populations of healthy women for many years either have shown no association between soy and breast cancer or a protective association from eating soy. Even breast cancer survivors may not need to worry. Three studies looking at women’s eating habits and other lifestyle factors after breast cancer found that, in the combined total of 9,000 breast cancer survivors studied, eating soy actually lowered the risk of breast cancer recurrence, even in women with estrogen receptor–positive tumors (although less so), and regardless of whether they were taking tamoxifen.”2

As with all foods that have been processed in any way, choosing the right kind makes all the difference!

  • Choose organic & non-GMO

  • Check the label for weird preservatives & added “flavours”

  • Buy plain (I prefer firm) and marinate yourself - keep reading for a super delicious & versatile marinade

  • Buy sprouted or fermented where possible - these will be more digestible & will make the nutrient value more accessible

My favourite, locally processed Tofu:

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No, we are not affiliates, I just like their product and always love to support local as much as possible!

Ok, so now that you’ve expanded your knowledge base on tofu 🤓, you’ve earned the recipe!

Green Curry Soup with Sesame Tofu

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For the Sesame Baked Tofu:

1 block of tofu drained (I like to slice it into 1/2 - 1” slabs and wrap it in a tea towel on a plate. Then I’ll put lots of weight on top to drain all the water out, usually a large stack of plates, and leave it to drain for an hour or so)
3 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
1.5 Tbsp sesame oil
Lots of fresh pepper

Cut drained tofu into small cubes and toss with all other ingredients in a medium bowl. Allow to marinade for roughly 1/2 an hour. Bake @ 350F for 35-40 minutes, stirring and flipping cubes occasionally, until browned and a bit crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Soup

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1 large onion, diced
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup diced or thinly sliced red pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can full fat organic coconut milk
3 Tbsp green curry paste
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Fresh pepper
1 recipe sesame baked tofu
2 large handfuls of chopped kale/swiss chard/spinach or a blend
Lime wedges for serving
Fresh cilantro for serving

  • In a large soup pot, sauté onion with coconut oil and salt over medium heat until softened. Add ginger, garlic, and cauliflower, broccoli, & red pepper, and sauté another few minutes until fragrant.

  • Add stock, coconut milk, curry paste, sesame oil, tamari, maple syrup and pepper, and stir well with a spatula to remove any clumps. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft but not mushy.

  • Add tofu and greens and allow greens to wilt and tofu to heat through. Serve with a squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro. You may wish to add a few scoops of rice, quinoa, or rice noodles for a larger, more dense meal. Enjoy!

If you make this soup, please let me know how it goes!! Better yet, take a most beautiful pic and post it on Instagram or Facebook and tag me 😋! I want to know if you are using my recipes!

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Resources:

1 - Greger, Michael, M.D., FACLM, “How Not To Die”, pg. 195
2 - Thalheimer, Judith C., RD, LDN, https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/040114p52.shtml

Double Layer Almond Chocolate Fudge Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

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The time has finally come to post this birthday cake!! 🤪

Every February, my son’s birthday comes around, and I find myself so busy trying to plan a party, come up with a cool gift, make awesome party food, hammer out a delicious AND nutrient rich birthday cake, while meeting all the requirements of the birthday boy…that when and if the time comes to write out the cake recipe and post about it, I’m just too bagged!

Well, this year is different, my friends.

Although none of the above changed in any way, I have taken the time this year to get this recipe to you because it has FINALLY become my favourite, decadent, no-non-food-weirdness-ever, chocolate birthday (or anyday) cake!! And it has been officially taste tested by a pack of the harshest critics….11 year old kiddos!

Several years in the making, here’s a birthday cake that can accommodate all the dietary restrictions, make all the tastebuds sing, is moist and not overly dense, AND satisfies my NUTRITIONISTA REAL FOOD requirements (which is not always that easy!).

Double Layer Almond Chocolate Fudge Cake
with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

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Ingredients:
3 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature (for a vegan cake, replace eggs with 3 flax or chia eggs)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup applesauce
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Chocolate Avocado Frosting:
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 ripe avocados
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
Instructions:

  • Line 2 x 7” cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease them with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 350F.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, sugar, baking soda & salt, until there are no lumps or clumps.

  • In a separate medium bowl, combine eggs, coconut milk, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and maple syrup, and whisk together until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into the dry mix and combine gently with a large spatula. Do not over-mix.

  • Pour evenly into your 2 cake pans and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, preferably overnight, before frosting.

  • For the frosting: In a double boiler (or a glass bowl set over top of a medium pot with a few inches of water) melt chocolate chunks and coconut oil until runny. Transfer melted chocolate mix to the food processor and add in all other ingredients. Combine until smooth and thick. Adjust sweetness as desired (dark chocolate chunk sweetness will vary).

  • For cake assembly: Remove one cake from pan (don’t forget the parchment!) and place on a large serving plate. Evenly spread a thick layer of frosting over the top of the cake (I like to use a small spatula or a bread knife for this). Carefully remove the second cake from its pan and set on top of the bottom layer. Spread all remaining frosting over the top and along the sides of the cake to cover completely. Cake will keep on the countertop for roughly one day, refrigerate leftovers (if there are any 😉).

If you make this cake, please drop me a note with your feedback or kitchen dancing enthusiasm!! I want to know how it went and if I need to make any adjustments to the recipe!
Happy cake making celebration 🎉


Yam & Quinoa Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

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I am a die hard salad lover, I’m not gonna hide it!
But even for us die hards, you really must continue to mix it up in the kitchen or the salad ho hum boredom, can’t stand that same bloody balsamic vinaigrette one more day, takes over. During the winter months, it’s a great move to mix in some seasonal root vegetables with your leafy greens to shake up the salad routine. By also adding a high protein & complex carbohydrate component in the quinoa, this salad is a well rounded meal that will last you quite a few days!

Why we love Yams 🧡

  • Yams are a great source of vitamin C, fibre, potassium, manganese, and B vitamins

  • Yams are a starchy vegetable, made up of carbohydrates and dietary fiber which helps stabilize blood sugar levels - beneficial for diabetes

  • They are known to reduce cardiovascular disease due to their high B6 content

  • High in antioxidants and beneficial to proper function of the immune system

  • Rich in minerals: vitamin A, C, B, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid, as well as calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron and phosphorus

  • High vitamin A contained in the yam is converted into beta-carotene which helps to maintain healthy mucous membranes in the eyes, aiding night vision and age related vision loss, and also supports healthy bone development and provides protection from lung and mouth cancers

Why we love Quinoa 💛

  • Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids

  • It is high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants

  • Contains plant compounds called flavanoids known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-depressant qualities

  • Is low on the Glycemic Index which makes it great for stabilizing blood sugar levels

Yam & Quinoa Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

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Ingredients:

1 medium sized Yam, cut into 1” cubes
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh pepper
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
2-3 cups packed spinach leaves, chopped small
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 red pepper, diced small
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1/3 cup fresh cilantro (optional)
For the Sesame Ginger Dressing:
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh pepper
Instructions:

  • Toss cubed yams in melted coconut oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast @ 375F for 25 minutes or until cooked through but not mushy. Cool slightly.

  • Cook quinoa by combining dry quinoa with water. Season with a little salt and 1 tsp of coconut oil, if desired. Cool slightly.

  • For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake or stir until well combined.

  • In a medium salad bowl, combine all salad ingredients with a fork. Coat with roughly 1/4 - 1/3 cup of the dressing, adjusting seasonings and volume of dressing as you go. Note: start with a smaller amount of dressing and add a little more at a time so as to not have it be too soaked.

  • Will keep up to 5 days in the fridge.

If you try this recipe, PLEASE let me know how it turned out & how much you loved it (and even if you didn’t 😉) AND if you’d like more recipes like this one, sign up for the Newsletter below!

My ongoing advice for this New Year of 2019: EAT MORE PLANTS!!

Bonk Bars

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I have to admit that I have a big time soft spot for my Bonk Bars.
They were one of my first original recipes that people were really excited about. On top of that, the honest-to-gosh-golly-goodness truth is that I just LOVE them SO much. They are my absolute favourite bar to have hanging around when I’m training for a distance run, rehearsing like mad for a dance show, or just being the busy body, high-functioning human that I am. They are THE perfect afternoon slump, pick-me-up bar with all those great combinations that we love so much: macronutrient balance, nutrient-density, and total flavour jam!

These bars were inspired by a good friend who is hypoglycemic and tends to “bonk” (have a blood sugar crash inducing fits of rage and/or extreme grumpiness) if he doesn’t eat good food regularly.  Loaded with blood-sugar stabilizing fiber (dates), fats (coconut oil & chia), proteins (nuts & seeds), complex carbs (oats), and natural sweetness, these are fool-proof bars for active people, athletes, teenagers, regular “bonkers”, and sweet-treat lovers everywhere. Easy to throw together and incredibly satisfying, these will keep well for weeks in the fridge (I dare you to try) and freeze well too!
Stay grump-free.
Look out for your friends.
Prevent “Bonking”.

Print

Bonk Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: Snack, Healthy Treat, Power Snack

Cuisine: Vegan, Real food, Nutrient-dense, Vegetarian, Raw

Yield: 16 bars

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup medjool dates

  • 1 cup almond butter

  • 1 cup oats

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds

  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

  • ¼ cup shredded coconut

  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

  • ¼ cup goji berries (mulberries/golden berries)

Instructions

  1. Soak dates in boiled water until soft (about 7-10 minutes).

  2. In food processor, combine dates and almond butter until smooth. Add oats and coconut oil and pulse until roughly combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

  3. Add all remaining ingredients and combine.

  4. Pour into a lined 8 x 8 square pan and press down with wet hands until evenly distributed and smooth.

  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares. Store in fridge.


If you try these Bars and love them (or not), let me know how they worked out for you!!

Love these? Want more recipes like this? Check these out:
Sesame Chocolate Power Balls

The Ultimate Cookie

Coconut Banana Muffins

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Our summer has finally chilled out enough to turn my oven back on and it’s good timing because my boys were craving some muffins and I was dying to create.  I also happened to have some pretty brown, fruit fly lovin’, bananas begging to be a part of something fantastic!

These muffins are vegan, gluten-free, and as sweet as brown are your bananas! (The browner the better). Note: if your bananas aren’t quite there yet, pop them in a brown paper bag overnight to quicken the ripening period.

Coconut Banana Muffins

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Ingredients:

2 cups DIY gluten free flour blend (I use this one)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp himalayan sea salt
4 large, very ripe, bananas
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut cream (if you don’t have any coconut cream, scoop off the cream from a can of coconut milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded, unsweetened, coconut (1/4 cup reserved)
1/3 cup high cacao content chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with parchment paper or reusable silicon liners.

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk together.

  • In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add in sugar, oil, cream, and vanilla, and combine. Pour wet mixture into dry and stir with a large spoon.  Stir in 3/4 cup of shredded coconut and chocolate chips.

  • Spoon muffin mix into the tins and sprinkle with remaining coconut.

  • Bake for 22-25 minutes until slightly brown around the edges and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  • Cool completely and store covered with a dish towel to enable air circulation.

Note: I like to set half the batch aside to freeze for lunches and watch the others get devoured in just a few days. Enjoy!