Moroccan Spiced Lentils

In a push to try and be as conscious of healthy eating as possible, I have been focusing my families dinners around the whole foods plant based lifestyle. Whole foods eating is free from anything processed and that includes oils and sugar, sounds like a challenge? Well, it wasn’t as bad as I thought and what resulted was delicious as a bonus.

I love a good cooking challenge so taking away a few common ingredients can certainly throw a wrench into dinner unless you know a few hacks!

  1. You can avoid oil completely and cook your onions and garlic in water, who knew?
  2. Did you know cinnamon is naturally sweet and can give your dish a hint of sweetness when you are craving a sugar fix?
  3. Combining tomatoes with cinnamon only brings out the sweetness of the tomato and creates a lovely ethnic flavour.

I was so pleased I wrote down this recipe when I created it because all six of my children loved it and asked for seconds! If you’re a parent you’ll appreciate a dinner that gets approval from all of the kids. Someone always has a complaint, but not this time!

I’d love to hear some of your whole food plant based hacks in the comments!

Natasha xoxo

Moroccan Spiced Lentils

Whole Foods Plant Based                Serves 6              Prep time: 10 minutes      Cook time: 30 minutes

Oil Free        Vegan      Gluten Free       Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Red Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Crushed
  • 1/4 Cup of Water (for cooking the onion and garlic in)
  • 1Tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Tsp Salted Lemon Skins (optional, often used in Moroccan cooking)
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (Large size, 796 ml)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Red Lentils
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water

Method

  • Dice onion and crush garlic.
  • Add 1/4 Cup water to pot with garlic and onion, cook on medium / high heat until onions are clear in colour.
  • Add Spices and salt and mix.
  • Add diced tomatoes, red lentils, and water. Stir.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes until the lentils have absorbed the water.
  • Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with lemon and dill.
  • Enjoy!

 

Blood Orange Chocolate Mousse Cake

While I’m more of a savoury girl, I do have a soft spot for mousse tarts and cakes. One of my favourite combos is a lovely blood orange and chocolate mix, think Terry’s Chocolate Orange that pops up at Christmas time, but a fully veganized version… in cake form!

I’m all about simplicity, yet there is something to be said for quality and presentation. This cake truly has it all, quick and easy to prepare, delicious gourmet flavour, and easy to garnish. I especially love this cake for an afternoon tea with the ladies as it’s always a crowd pleaser.

Enjoy,

Natasha xoxo

Blood Orange Chocolate Mousse Cake

The Base

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Raw Peacans
  • 5 Soft Medjool Dates (pitted)
  • 1/8 Cup Water

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until a smooth dough ball forms
  • Remove dough and press into the base of an 8″ spring form cake pan
  • Use oil on fingers from pressing to grease the side on the pan

Chocolate Blood Orange Mousse

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 3/4 Cup Dairy-free Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Blood Orange Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Cacao Powder
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tsp Blood Orange Rind

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy
  • Pour over base and place in freezer or fridge to set (30-45 minutes)
  • Garnish with Blood Orange, Flowers, Fruit, Seeds

Delicious Vegan Creamy Cashew Alfredo

Who doesn’t love a delicious bowl full of pasta smothered in a creamy sauce? This was one of the dishes I missed the most when going vegan and I spent a long time trying to create the perfect vegan hack to a stellar Alfredo. Now, after much trial and error I am so excited to share this recipe with you and hope you will love it as much as I do! This recipe is 100% kid approved and totally gluten free if you used a gluten free pasta.

Enjoy, Natasha xoxo

Creamy Cashew Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Raw Cashew Pieces (I don’t soak, but you can ?)
  • 2 Cups Of Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt (I use Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Pepper

Method

  • Toss it all in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour over your favourite pasta of choice, its amazing over gluten free pasta too!

Savoury Heirloom Tomato Rosemary Cheese Cake on an Almond Truffle Crust

Spring is in the air, and I’m beyond excited for all of the fresh local produce on the way! I am fortunate to live in a community rich with orchards and organic farms, but above all, I look forward to the delicious heirloom tomatoes that make their appearance each summer.

Someone once told me that you have not truly tasted a tomato until you’ve experienced a fresh off the vine heirloom tomato, the uglier the better! There is a mysterious magic to this contorted and vibrant fruit, a flavour like no other and a fresh burst that will have you craving more!

Today I’d like to share with you my favourite way (other than just eating them off the vine) to enjoy heirloom tomatoes. This recipe is always a summer favourite of guests that stop in for a visit, and I am so proud of this creation. I sincerely hope you will love this recipe as much as I do and add it to your collection to enjoy for years to come.

Natasha xoxo

Savoury Heirloom Tomato Rosemary Cheese Cake on an Almond Truffle

Vegan, Gluten Free                            Serves 6                              Bake at 350

The Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Almond Flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 1 1/4 Tbsp Truffle Oil
  • 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

Method

  • In a bowl combine all ingredients and mix until a moist dough forms
  • Press dough into tart pan
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

The Cheese Filling

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Method

  • Soak Raw Cashew Pieces for 15 minutes in warm water to soften them.
  • Add all ingredients into high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy
  • Pour over warm Crust and return to oven to back for 20 minutes at 350 to set.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool before adding heirloom tomato topping.

Heirloom Tomato Topping

Ingredients

  • 2 Heriloom Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Fresh Dill
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Sea Salt Flakes
  • Ground  Pepper

Method

  • Arrange tomatoes and avocado on top of cheese cake.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, sea salt, and ground pepper.
  • Enjoy!

Raw Mexican Cream Of Corn Chowder

After severely burning myself making breakfast this morning I decided that the rest of the days is going to be a raw day! I recall taking a Raw Vegan Challenge a year ago and thinking it was going to be torture; surprisingly, I discovered that raw vegan foods are bursting with flavour and can leave you feeling satisfied if done correctly!

During the month I took the Raw Vegan Challenge I realized I needed to adapt some of my favourite comfort foods to combat my cravings. This Mexican Creamy Corn Chowder was one of my most tasty combinations and was inspired by a base recipe by The Rawtarian! If you’re planning on going Raw Vegan her website is amazing!

Back to this fantastic soup! It’s absolutely delicious and will leave you craving more… thankfully it takes less than ten minutes to whip up so if you are looking for another bowl it won’t take long to make some more!

Enjoy!

Natasha xoxo

Raw Mexican Cream Of Corn Chowder

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free                 Prep Time: 10 Mins                     Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Fresh Corn
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Smokey Paprika

Method

  • Toss everything into a high-speed blender and blend until warm and smooth.
  • Garnish with spices, peppers, tomatoes, corn, onion
  • Enjoy!

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Wild Berry Maca Smoothie Bowl

One of my favourite words at breakfast is “EASY”, this is partly because I have six kids to feed but also because I’m really not much of a breakfast person and usually can’t be bothered to make a big production out of making myself something to eat in the morning. 

I love a breakfast that I can make by simply tossing everything into a high-speed blender and hitting liquify! My Wild Berry Maca Smoothie Bowl is a simple yet nutrient-packed breakfast that will kickstart your day the right way!

Have kids at home? This recipe is absolutely kid approved and will leave their tummies happy and their brains ready for a busy school day! Leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoyed this recipe!

Natasha xoxo

Wild Berry Maca Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • 3 Small Over Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Cup Wild Blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Cup Black Cherries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp Maca Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Almond Milk

Method

  • Toss everything into a high-speed blender and liquify until smooth and creamy!
  • Pour into large bowl and garnish with nuts, berries, edible flowers and seeds if desired.

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Raw Vegan Cream Of Mushroom Soup

I always try my best to give my digestive system a break and eat raw at least one day out of the week. The problem for me is that I like cooked foods and found myself dealing with cravings after a day of raw eating. This being the case I realized I need to get creative in try to hack some of my favorite cooked dishes.

A big bowl of creamy mushroom soup has always been a comfort to me and I was easily able to create a delicious and very filling raw variation! Trust me when I say you won’t believe it’s not cooked, plus this recipe is as simple as tossing everything into a high-speed blender and pressing liquify!

I hope you enjoy this healthy spin on comfort food as much as I did! Leave me a comment below and let me know how you enjoy my Raw Cream of Mushroom Soup!

Love to you all!
Natasha xoxo

Raw vegan Cream Of Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 C Mushrooms (I used brown crimini, portobello, shiitake, and brown shimeji mushrooms)
  • 3/4 C Raw Cashews
  • 1 C  Water
  • 1 Tsp Diced Shallot
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Raw Sauerkraut
  • 2 Large Sage Leaves Chopped
  • 1/4 Tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Tsp Capers
  • 1 Tsp Coconut Aminos ( if you want a more salty flavour)

Method

Toss it all in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and warmed.

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Vegan White Chocolate Tart

When I went vegan, I thought my white chocolate days were far behind me, and all that remained was a fond memory… until this morning when I decided enough was enough! I needed to hack white chocolate and veganize it!

The key to a lovely vegan white chocolate is cocoa butter, lightly sweetened with a creamy base. As many of you know, I’m a savage for raw cashews and knew immediately where I was going to find that creamy structure to support the delicateness of cocoa butter, so it was experiment time… it’s always experiment time in my kitchen!

Recipes? Where I’m going, I don’t need no recipes!… Unless I make something amazing, in which case I write it down to share with all of you. So without further ado here is my marvellous morning creation that is not only delicious but also super low maintenance and pretty foolproof!

Enjoy!!

Natasha xoxo

Vegan White Chocolate Tart

 

Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Cacao Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Agave
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
  • Pinch of Salt

Method

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until a dough forms.
Press into tart pan and chill.

White Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 1/3 Cup Cocoa Butter Melted
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup or Agave
  • 3/4 Cup Dairy Free Milk
  • 1 Tsp Maca Powder (Optional)
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt

Method

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Pour into crust and chill in freezer or refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Garnish with fruit, chocolate, flowers.

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50 Ways to Connect with Yourself and Life

On my phone I have a folder for little articles and stories that I consider hidden gems, not wanting to lose these pieces of wisdom I have taken to saving them to re-read in the future. For years I have re-visited this piece written by Neil Legault from Unbelievable You which found me at a time in my life where I felt lost and desperately needing connection. Perhaps you need this in your life too!

50 Ways to Connect with Yourself and Life

1)      Practice Kindness – With everyone and everything.

2)      Exercise, sleep and listen to your body – Your body is your temple. Treat it well.

3)      Simplify your life – Your time is precious.  Spend it living your way.

4)      Be Helpful – Offer someone your help for a day.

5)      Do a Random Act of Kindness – Do a kind act out of the blue. Surprise someone.

6)      Relax and Enjoy the simple things – When you are too busy, it’s hard to enjoy anything.

7)      Do what you Love – Make the time for YOU and what you enjoy out of life.

8)      Drop the useless stuff – Eliminate the non-essential stuff cluttering your life.

9)      Focus on what matters – Remind yourself often about what’s most important in your life.

10)   Have Fun – Don’t take life or yourself too seriously. It’s meant to be an enjoyable.

11)   Reassess your priorities – Is what you’ve been focussing on a priority?

12)   Compliment others – Tell someone about a quality you admire in them.

13)   Compliment yourself – Remind yourself about the qualities you admire about you.

14)   Treat yourself to a day off – Take a mini vacation from your routine. No guilt. Just enjoy!

15)   Make a list of what you love doing – This helps you see more clearly into you.

16)   Write down what you love about you – This list reminds you how special you are.

17)   Get away from negative people – Some people drain all your energy. Be positive and say NO!

18)   Have a day off from technology – It’s amazing how quiet you feel when it’s not there.

19)   Be there for someone – Really be present and listen.

20)   Have that awkward conversation you’ve been holding off – You’ll be happy it’s done with.

21)   Find a personal mantra and live it – Find something that resonates with you and read it daily.

22)   Show someone you really care – Caring for someone is caring for yourself at the same time.

23)   Make space – Clean out your desk, closet, garage… You’ll feel better when it’s finally done.

24)   Laugh as much as you can – Watch funny movies, going out with friends and have a silly time.

25)   Stop trying to fit in – Your happiness and freedom is in being you! You’re wonderful already.

26)   Spend some time alone doing just YOU things. – This grounds you and fosters Self-Love.

27)   Go with the flow – Don’t decide. Let Life move you. If you are invited somewhere then go.

28)   Meditate – Go for a clam peaceful walk, stop thinking and feel yourself being here.

29)   Smile as much as you can – Try to be as genuine as you can.

30)   Connect with Love – See if you can let the feeling of Love be present without an attachment.

31)   Don’t take yourself too seriously – When we do, life gets heavy and grim. That’s the ego.

32)   Forgive yourself – We’re all human and we make mistakes. Let the past go. Today is a new day.

33)   Cut out what’s not working – Is it time to let go of someone or an activity and move on?

34)   Do something unexpected – Try something new. You just might REALLY like it!

35)   Listen to music – Listen to music that really inspires you and fosters joy. This works great!

36)   Practice Self-Love – This is hard but the more you get to know YOU and become the genuine person inside, the easier it gets. Love emanates from the core of your being. It cannot be possessed or given away but the more it flows out of you in every direction the more you become it.

37)   Get rid of Self criticism – We are our own worse critics. We put ourselves down way too often!

38)   Let go of worry – Take a few steps and try to trust that Life will provide for you.

39)   Trust yourself – Have confidence in you and your abilities.

40)   Tell yourself the Truth – This is the foundation of respecting and loving yourself. It is also the cornerstone of your spiritual path.

41)   Grow in Spirit – You grow in spirit when you become more peaceful, kind, loving and compassionate.

42)   Appreciate yourself – Take the time to enjoy just being you.

43)   Cultivate your dreams – Focus on what brings joy and bliss to you. Take a step into it every day.

44)   Feng Shui Your Life – Make changes and surround yourself with things, people and activities that make you feel you.

45)   Try to see the Beauty in all things – So much of life is hidden in front of you.

46)   Have great Sex! – There is nothing like a deep, romantic, loving, passionate connection to make you feel really alive.

47)   Spend time with your lover – Don’t speak, just touch or caress each other. Go for a long walk and be fully present with them.

48)   Spend quality time with your pet – Pets like a dog or a cat are wonderful because they love you unconditionally most of the time. 🙂 That’s why so many people have them. It’s extremely therapeutic spending time petting an animal. It forces you to be present, it forces you to feel.

49)   Spend quality time with your kids – Your complete attention is the greatest gift you can give them.

50)   Spend quality time with yourself – The most important thing you can do 🙂 and the one we neglect often.

“To be able to look back upon one’s life in satisfaction is to live twice.” ~Kahlil Gibran

Vegan Chocolate Maca Mousse Tart

My husband Mark and I recently bought our first patio set, we had been dreaming of one ever since we moved into our home three years ago, but as life tends to go, we always had more pressing expenses to consider. As the parents of six children, we desperately needed our own little relax space and finding a moment of peace in our home to recharge our batteries was becoming scarce.

We excitedly made the purchase not really considering the size of the box it came in and were sad and felt pretty silly when we realized there was no way we would get it into the car with all of the car seats… yes, things we should have thought of in advance. So home we went to empty the Explorer, and Mark headed back to Sears to pick up the box as I scrubbed down the front balcony and hung the string lights that I purchased three years earlier. We managed to assemble the two chairs, love seat, and table before dinner as Sophia and Aston played dress up, then excitedly waited for the kid’s bed time when we could enjoy the space in peace and quiet.

In honour of our new found space, we opened up a bottle of Summer Hill Winery’s Alive Blend along with some fresh fruit and settled in to enjoy the warm summer night. Omara Portuondo played in the background, and the string lights twinkled against the dusky sky, but one thing was missing.

Mark is a savage for chocolate, and I knew the second I saw the little cheeky glimmer in his Irish eyes that he was thinking of something sweet. “You know what would be great with this wine?” he asks, “Let me guess… Chocolate?” I reply, and his smile widens. “Fine,” I say and head into the kitchen pantry, but the chocolate was gone! (One of the mysteries of having a large family is trying to figure out who the chocolate caper is.)

Not wanting to disappoint my sweet toothed husband I decided to quickly whip up a new recipe, and boy did it ever work out! Thankfully I wrote down the ingredients as I went along, (which is something I often forget to do) and I now have what I would consider the perfect Vegan Chocolate Maca Mousse Tart!

I hope you enjoy this decadent dessert as much as we have! Let me know in the comments below what garnishes you used on your tart.

Vegan Chocolate Maca Mousse Tart

Ingredients

Prep Time: 10 mins

Chill Time: 1 Hour

Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

The Crust

  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pecans
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cashews
  • 4 Soft Medjool Dates (pitted)
  • 1/8 Cup Coconut Oil

Method

  • Toss all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a paste forms.

  • Press paste into tart pan, making sure to press the crust up the edges. (Wet hands if the paste is too sticky)

Chocolate Maca Mousse

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews  (I buy raw cashew pieces as it’s usually far cheaper than whole cashews)
  • 1 Cup Dairy Free Milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1/3 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Cacao Powder (You can use Cocoa too)
  • 1 Tbsp Maca Powder
  • 1/8 Tsp Sea Salt

Method

  • Throw all ingredients into blender and blend on high speed until a smooth creamy mousse develops. About one or two minutes.

  • Pour over crust in tart pan and place into the freezer to chill for an hour.

  • Enjoy with your choice of garnish, fruit, coconut whip cream, and cinnamon are some ideas!