Chestnut Love!

Chestnuts!

Chestnuts!

 
I look forward to this time of year not only because I’m a Christmas-a-holic but I also LOVE Chestnuts! I grew up eating them and they bring back so many great memories. Memories that mostly contain my wonderful grandfather who was like a second father to me. He passed away 11 years ago and I still miss him terribly. I do however have these awesome memories and I truly cherish them.

As per Portuguese custom my grandmother would boil the chestnuts and my grandfather would peel them for me. Yep I had the life eh? 🙂 YUM! I now prefer to roast my chestnuts these days. They are so easy to peel once roasted too which my kids really appreciate! Chestnuts are super fast to cook up and they are a fantastic snack to have this time of year. They are low in calories, have protein, minerals, vitamins, are gluten-free and contain less fat than other types of nuts. They are rich in vitamin C and 100 g provide 43 mg of vitamin C!

Here is how to make this tasty & healthy snack …

 

Roasted Chestnuts

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F
  2. Line a baking pan/cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper
  3. Cut a slit into each chestnut so that the steam can escape when your roasting them. Use a small sharp knife or a chestnut cutter. Don’t skip this step or else your chestnuts will explode in your oven!
  4. Pop them into your oven for 20 minutes.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

* Below is a picture of the chestnut cutter if you’re not sure what it looks like. I’ve wanted one for years but never bought one. This year I finally treated myself to one! The one I’ve pictured is the one I bought but many different types are available to choose from. *

chestnut cutterchestnut cutter

 

 

Blueberry Protein Smoothie

Blueberry Protein Smoothie!

Blueberry Protein Smoothie!

 

 

Blueberry Protein Smoothie

  • 2 cups blueberries (I use frozen most of the time)
  • 1 cup chopped cantaloupe
  • 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup lettuce of choice
  • 2 large peaches, chopped up
  • 2 cups cold filtered water
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley (optional)
  • Ice (optional)

 

Add the lettuce, blueberries, peach, parsley (if you’re using it), protein powder, cantaloupe and water to a blender. Blend well to desired consistency. Adjust water if you think you need to add a bit more. Add in some ice if you want your smoothie colder & blend well.

Enjoy! 🙂

 

*Below are some of the reasons why I use parsley in my cooking but also in some of my smoothies as well!*

 

 

Health Benefits Of Parsley!

Health Benefits Of Parsley!

 

Mixed Greens

Mixed Greens

 

blueberries

 

My daughter holding a perfect yummy organic peach!

My daughter holding a perfect yummy organic peach!

 

 

Green Breakfast Smoothie with Chia!

Green Chia Smoothie

 

This is one of my favourite smoothies to whip up for breakfast! Fast to make, it has simple ingredients and then it’s topped with some healthy chia!!! I use a super huge mug for this baby when I make it! 🙂

 

  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 1/2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 tbsp. chia seeds (for topping)
  • a few frozen blueberries (for topping, optional)
  • a few large ice cubes if you want your smoothie to be colder (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Spirulina

 

Toss spinach, almond milk, mixed berries, spirulina and ice cubes if you’re using them into a blender. Once it’s at the consistency your happy with pour into your large glass or huge mug like I do. Top with 1-2 tbsp. of chia seeds and frozen blueberries.

 

Enjoy your energy booster breakfast smoothie! 🙂

My Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie!

I’m finally posting the recipe for my Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie !!! Many people have asked me for this recipe so here it is! It’s super easy to make and so far everyone who has tried it has loved it! When I cook and bake I pretty much always just eyeball the quantities of my ingredients. Not good when your being asked for your recipes often! I’ve now forced myself to pay attention to the quantities and write down my recipes as I go. This recipe is easily adapted so adjust the spice amounts as desired. Everyone is different. Some people like their pie mild in flavor and others like it strong. I’m kinda of a mid range person and that’s what my recipe reflects. As far as nuts go I prefer to use raw cashew halves in my pie filling as well as the crust. I’ve done it with walnuts and it turns out good in flavor but I find the texture of the pie is much better when I use cashews. So although Thanksgiving has already passed for us in Canada I still made another raw pumpkin pie this week. Hey it’s still fall so I think it’s still appropriate! For my lovely American friends & family this recipe is coming to you in perfect timing! Your welcome! 🙂

 

 

My Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie

 

 

RAW VEGAN PUMPKIN PIE

 

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 cup raw cashew halves (no need to soak the nuts for the crust)
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted

 

Ingredients For the pie filling:

 

 

  • 1 1/2 cup raw soaked and drained cashew halves
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave
  • 1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tbsp.’s cinnamon, or to taste
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin spice, or to taste
  • 3 heaping tbsp.’s coconut oil
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted

 

You will also need:

  • 1 pie plate or desired dish
  • food processor
  • large bowl
  • medium-sized bowl
  • kettle

 

* For best results soak your cashews over night!!! Add the 1 1/2 cups raw cashew halves into a large bowl and cover with water. Give it a quick mix and leave them overnight on your countertop. *

 

Method:

 

  1. Place the dates in a medium-sized bowl and add boiled water to them from your kettle. Let them sit there 10-20 minutes to soften up.
  2. After your dates have softened you can remove 2 from the bowl and after pitting it add it to the food processor. Your now going to make your pie crust. Add in the 1 cup of raw cashews and the 1 tbsp. of shredded coconut. Use the pulse option in order to just combine the ingredients slightly. I then use the low setting on my food processor to combine the ingredients well.
  3. Remove the crust ingredients and add them to your pie plate. Use your fingers to press down the mixture and spread it out evenly. Set aside.
  4. Remove the other 10 dates from the water and remove the pits. Add them to the food processor.
  5. Strain the water out of your 1 1/2 cups cashews and add them to your food processor as well.
  6. Add in the 1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree, 1 heaping tbsp. cinnamon, 2 tsp. pumpkin spice and the 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract.
  7. Next add the 3 heaping tbsp.’s of coconut oil
  8. Pulse to just chop everything slightly and then use the high-powered option and blend well. I stop mine and use a spoon to scrape down the sides of the processor a couple of times in order to make sure that the nuts puree well.
  9. It should be a beautiful smooth consistency. Taste and adjust the spice as needed at this point.
  10. Transfer the pie filling into your pie plate. Smooth it out evenly and cover it up with clear cling wrap.
  11. Pop it into the freezer for at least 4- 6 hours until it’s set and firm. Once it’s set really well you can place it into the fridge. Take the pie out a few minutes before your going to slice and serve it so that it comes to room temperature.

 

* I’ve also been known just kept my pies in the freezer and only cut the slices I need. I let them come to room temperature and serve them.  My kids enjoy adding whipped cream on top of their pie slice but I eat mine plain. I think it’s perfect just like that!  🙂

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie

 

~ Squash & Bell Pepper Soup ~

I grow butternut squash in my vegetable garden every year. They are very easy to grow and I love eating healthy squash in a variety of ways. One of my favourite ways to enjoy it is roasted and then I puree it into a lovely soup. Often I like adding bell peppers to my soup for added nutrition as well as for another dimension of flavor. This soup doesn’t require many ingredients and a lot of time to make. The only time-consuming part is the time that it is roasting in the oven. Find other things to do during that time and the time will pass very quickly. I like popping my squash into the oven in the morning. It cooks for an hour while I get ready in the morning and get my kids ready and off to school. That way once dinner comes all you have to do is puree it and heat it in a pot! So easy! It always seems that the simplest recipes are the best ones! Here is my recipe based on 2 large serving sizes. Double it if you like and eat it more than once this week! 🙂

 

 

Squash!

Squash!

 

 

Healthy Squash & Bell Pepper Soup!!!

Healthy Squash & Bell Pepper Soup!!!

Squash & Bell Pepper Soup!

 

What you will need:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • salt, black pepper & paprika, to taste
  • 2 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • Chopped onion, I use less than half of an onion
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • extra virgin olive oil

 

Squash & Bell Pepper Soup!

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Cut your squash in half and remove the seeds.
  3. Place into a baking dish and drizzle a little olive oil on it and season with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Cut up your bell peppers in chunks and the onion then place them into the baking dish as well. Keep the onion chunks rather large.
  5. Add your peeled and whole garlic cloves to the baking dish.
  6. Roast for 1 hour. I give the bell peppers a mix at the half way point.
  7. After removing your squash and peppers from the oven let them cool off in the dish.
  8. Once your ready to puree your veggies then add them to your blender. Also add 3/4 cup water to the blender too.
  9. Once blended thoroughly transfer to a medium-sized pot and heat at a low-med heat. Add 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk to the soup.
  10. 10. Season with Himalayan salt, black pepper and a little paprika and give it a good mix.
  11. Transfer to soup bowls and enjoy immediately while it’s hot!

 

squash soup

That’s it! So simple right? Enjoy!!!  🙂

Enjoying My Soup Outdoors! :)

Enjoying My Soup Outdoors! 🙂

Collard Wraps

Collard Wraps

 

I grew up eating collards and every year I grow them in my vegetable garden. They are incredibly healthy and I use them a lot in my soups. I also really enjoy using them to make healthy wraps instead of using a tortilla. Our waist lines will thank us for these small healthy conscious choices that we make!!! You can eat the collards raw if your using small leaves. Mine were large and a bit tough so I popped mine into boiling salted water for just a few seconds just to soften them slightly. Once I remove them from the water I pat them dry with paper towel or a clean tea towel. You can eat them wrapped up with veggies and add optional sautĂ©ed tofu strips if desired. I like to add homemade garlic Dijon dressing to them sometimes just to give them some extra flavor. 🙂

 

Garden Fresh Collards

Garden Fresh Collards

 

What you will need:

  • Washed Collard leaves, as many as you need. Small leaves can be used for one wrap. The larger leaves can be cut in half and you can make two wraps with them.
  • Chopped/Julienne veggies of choice. I like adding carrot, cucumber, sprouts and bell peppers to mine.
  • small bowl
  • Serving dish or plate
  • 1 tsp. natural garlic Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
  • black pepper, to taste
  • pot with water and  a dash of Himalayan salt to it

 

Collards

 

Method:

  1. Place pot of water on to boil with the salt.
  2. Make the dressing by adding the garlic Dijon mustard to a small bowl, then whisk in the apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add desired amount of pepper and give it another mix.
  3. Chop/Julienne your veggies of choice.
  4. Add the collard leaves to the pot of boiling water for just a few seconds to soften slightly.
  5. Remove the collard leaves and pat dry with paper towel or a clean tea towel. Allow them to cool before assembling your wraps.
  6. Once cooled add the collard leaves on a time to a plate or cutting board so you can start filling your wraps. Add a little of each vegetable of choice. If your going to be eating these wraps right away then you can add a drizzle of the dressing in the wrap before you close it up. If you’re not eating them right away then I suggest you just place the dressing on the side. You can add the dressing to them later or else you will have soggy wraps!
  7. Transfer each wrap to a serving dish or plate.

 

That’s it! So easy and fast to make and collards provide you will incredible health benefits!

Enjoy! 😀

 

Collard Wraps