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 out 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!

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Risotto

One of my favourite dishes as a vegetarian was a nice creamy risotto, and like many, before me, I was one of those people who said ” I’d go vegan, but I could never give up cheese, ” and with that, I believed I could never give up risotto. Giving up dairy initially felt like a major sacrifice but after learning more about the dairy industry, and the adverse effects dairy has on the human body it became easier.

I recall a year after going vegan I was at a Sunday brunch at a popular winery where I live, and I came across a massive plate of cheese. Smoked gouda…. one of my past favourites was calling to me, so after a year dairy free I figured what would one cheese cube hurt and I had love smoked gouda so much. So I took a small piece much to the surprise of my also vegan husband who asked if I was sure I wanted to break a year of solid veganism. I decided I just had to have that one little piece and I popped it into my mouth; the flavours startled me. The cheese that I had enjoyed for years tasted nothing like I remembered and had a more oily texture and to be honest really grossed me out.

That was my moment of confirmation, I no longer needed or wanted dairy. A funny thing happens when you go vegan, your taste buds change and natural flavours start to appear that are of such a beautiful quality it leaves you wondering how you’ve lived so long with a blind tongue. I always find it funny when I hear people refer to a vegan or plant based life style as bland when it is quite the opposite!

You don’t need to sacrifice your health or flavour to enjoy a beautiful risotto, this recipe has been a labour of love for me, and I have spend years trying to get it just right. I’m so excited to finally share it with you!

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook time: 22 mins

Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingerdients

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Small Onion Diced
  • 2 Cups Chopped Mushrooms (mix a variety for a gourmet flair)
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove Pressed
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme or Basil
  • 3/4 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 2 Tbsp Wine (any kind will work)
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Dairy Free Milk (I use Cashew Milk)
  • 1/8 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

  • In a pot fry the diced onion in olive oil until it is clear.

  • Add pressed garlic and mushrooms and cook on med/low until the mushrooms have softened.

  • Add Arborio rice and fry on low until the rice is evenly coated in oil, then add wine and stir.

  • Once the wine has mostly evaporated add the veggie broth, dairy free milk, and nutritional yeast, and herbs.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 22 minutes.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste, serve and garnish with vegan parmesan.

ENJOY!

Autumn Pumpkin Bunt Cake with Raisin Whisky Drizzle

 

img_5344

Okay! This is hands down the best cake I have ever created… so far! I am so excited to share it with you today, as I have mentioned in previous posts I live for Autumn and all of the hearty comfort meals that come with the season. This cake is not only dense but moist and full of flavour that is perfectly complimented by a warm raisin whisky drizzle. I am beyond delighted with how this cake turned out and I am sure you will be delighted too.

I could go on and on about how great this cake is but I’d prefer for a moment to talk about Autumn and what the season brings to us. Autumn or more specifically the Autumn Equinox is the time when light and darkness have balanced letting us know that the darkness of winter is coming. It is a wonderful time to go within an work on ourselves; snuggle up, have a cup of tea with a slice of cake and journal about how the year went for you, in a few months this year will be coming to an end.

photo-1446236230627-42f8d9b4ac33

Autumn is also a time of celebration, ancient civilizations would gather and celebrate the bounty of their harvests that would nourish them and allow then to survive the harsh winter. Yes, most of us no longer have to worry about how we will make this through the winter but we certainly have reason to celebrate! We may not have been out harvesting produce but have been working hard in various different areas in our lives and should celebrate that.

For myself I will be celebrating the hard work and completion of acting in my fist Shakespeare play, Macbeth! So much work and time has been put in to learning lines, understanding what my character was saying, developing trusting relationships with fellow cast mates. For me opening night will be the beginning of my harvest and closing night will be a great reason to celebrate!

What have to accomplished this year? No matter how big or small there is always reason to celebrate your victories! Make merry with those you love, smell the smoke on the Autumn breeze, and for goodness sake reward yourself every now and then 😉

Autumn Pumpkin Bunt Cake with Raisin Whisky Drizzle

img_5345

Prep Time: 15-20 mins                                                                                                   Serves: 8

Bake Time: 50 minutes at 350

Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Almond Sour Cream (Blend 1 Cup Ground Almonds with 3/4 Cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk, 1 tsp Lemon Juice, 1 tsp Rice Vinegar, and 1 tsp Sea Salt  until smooth and develops the texture of sour cream)
  • 2 Flax Eggs ( 1 tbsp Ground Flax Seed mixed with 3 tbsp of water per egg you wish to replace and allow to sit for five minutes)
  • 1/3 Cup Grape Seed Oil
  • 1 1/4 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
  • 1 (15oz) Can of Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp All Spice
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Himalaya Pink Salt or Sea Salt

Method

  • In the bowl of a mixer add Almond Sour Cream, Flax Eggs, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Cane Sugar, and Pumpkin Puree and mix until combined evenly.img_5323
  • In a separate bowl combine Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, All Spice, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Salt.img_5327
  • Add dry mixture to wet mixture in mixer bowl and combined; stopping every now and then to scrape the side of the bowl.img_5329
  • Pour batter into greased bunt cake pan and place in the oven at 350 for 50 minutes.img_5331
  • Once baked remove from oven and place on cooling rack for ten minutes and then flip pan onto the cooling rack to release the cake from the pan and allow to cool completely.img_5337
  • Drizzle with Raisin Whiskey Sauce and serve!img_5351

 

Raisin Whisky Sauce

img_5352

Prep Time: 5-10 mins                                                                                             Makes: 1 Cup of Sauce

Vegan

Ingredients

img_5335

  • 1 Cup Raisins
  • 1/3 Cup Melted Vegan Butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Dairy Free Milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp Irish Whisky

Method

  • Add Raisins, Melted Vegan Butter, Icing Sugar, Dairy Free Milk, and Irish Whisky to a blender and blend until a smooth sauce forms, you will need to scrape down the side a few times.img_5336
  • Put sauce into a piping bag and drizzle over the fully cooled Bunt Cake.
  • Enjoy!img_5348

Super Simple Coconut Curry with Cardamom Basmati Rice

IMG_5318

As a mother feeding a family of eight a simple yet delicious dinner is always appreciated, the problem is there aren’t many recipes out there that are super low maintenance but will satisfy even a fussy one year old in the process. I always try my hardest to avoid anything processed if I can and spend a good part of my day cooking to ensure I know exactly what my babies are putting into their bodies. My concern over what my children were consuming kick started my journey into recipe creation and has since become a passion of mine.

Since my transition from a vegetarian to a fully plant based lifestyle which happened a little over three and a half years ago, I have been trying to recreate my favourite vegetarian recipes in a more eco conscious and cruelty free manner. You see, when I went vegan I had zero support aside from my husband Mark who made the change with me. I had no idea what I was doing only what I desired to accomplish and I truly felt like a fish out of water.

I had always been known for my baking and cooking skills and now I felt like I no longer could create the fun and unique dishes I once had. Boy was I wrong! I was shocked to discover as many other who have made this transition will say that I had never really understood the beauty of food until I became a vegan. The flavours, true natural flavours of vegetables and fruit untainted by artificial chemicals were out of this world!

IMG_5321

The culinary world was at my finger tips and my kitchen was about to become my sanctuary of creation. I poured myself a glass of red wine (vegan, of course) put on my playlist of crooners such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett and would pour my heart and soul into creation! Cooking is really quite simple once you develop a passion for it and make the decision that you are willing to try new things and forgive the times when recipes fail… that will happen at times and its okay!

This recipe that I’m about to share with you was a recipe of instinct and intuition. I believed that the ingredients would combine beautiful and simply on the rushed evening I threw this dish together for the first time and it came out perfectly! I was tickled to discover that such simple recipe could taste so lovely and be prepared so easily and quickly. All of the kids loved it and ask for it time and time again. I can always tell when a recipe creation is a success when there is utter silence at the dinner table because all six children are enjoying their meal.

So here it is just for you from my kitchen to yours, I hope your family will love this recipe as much as mine does!

IMG_5319

Super Simple Coconut Curry

Prep Time: 10-15 mins                                                         Serves 4-6 (Depending on tummy size)

Cook Time: 30 mins

Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium to Large Onion Diced
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Garlic Cloves Crushed
  • 1 Tsp Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tsp Himalaya Pink Salt or Sea Salt
  • 1 Can of Coconut Milk
  • 4 Cups Chopped Baby Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Corn (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1/2 Cup Rasins
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cashew Pieces

Method

  • Add Diced Onion and Olive Oil to a pan and fry until golden.

IMG_5306

  • Add Crushed Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Cumin, Curry Powder and Salt to Fried Onion and mix.

IMG_5310

  • Add Coconut Milk to Spiced Onion mixture and stir until combined.

IMG_5305

  • Add Chopped Baby Potatoes, Corn, Raisins, and Cashews to Coconut Milk Spice mixture and cook (stirring frequently) on medium/high for 25 mins until potatoes are soft.

IMG_5313

  • Once cooked mix thoroughly as the oil in the Coconut milk may separate a little and sever over rice.

IMG_5314

  • Enjoy!

IMG_5320

Cardamom Seed Rice

Prep Time: 2 mins                                                                                                                         Serves 4-6

Cook Time: 18-22 mins

Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

IMG_5308

  • 2 Cups Basmati Rice
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Cardamom Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Margarine (I use Earth Balance)

Method

  • Add Rice, Water, Onion Powder, Cardamom Seeds, Salt and Margarine to a large pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 18-22 mins.
  • Fluff rice with a fork once its ready.
  • Enjoy!

IMG_5317

There you have it, a simple yet delicious dinner in less that 40 mins. I always get the sauce going then start the rice and find that they will both be ready at the same time. This is a very light curry that is great in the summer with a glass of white wine or in the winter with a glass bold red wine. I always garish with Watercress or Pea Shoots for a nice finishing touch just to add a little flair.

This dish has also been a guest favourite on the nights we decide to entertain and has received rave reviews. I guess the secret is out as this dish is far less effort to create as the flavour would have you believe. I hope you enjoy this simple and quick dinner on those rushed nights when you’d prefer not to be cooking at all.

Warmest Regards,

Natasha 😉

IMG_5320

 

 

Vegan Rosemary Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_5290

Okay, I know it’s still summer and spice cake certainly is a more Autumn and Winter fare but I couldn’t help myself! You see, I live for Autumn and spend the great majority of my summer wishing and willing an early Autumn to come. I know all of the Summer people are ready to smack me for wishing away the summer but I’m just not one for the sunshine and heat.

Nothing makes me happier than a rainy day or sipping apple cider as I watch the leaves fall from the large Autumn Blaze Maple in my front garden. I love the crisp air, the smell of smoke dancing on the wind, and long for the day when it is cold enough to wear my fuzzy red Canada mittens and my cozy red scarf. I adore heavy coats with knobbly toggle buttons and high brown boots with fleecy socks, there honestly is nothing I don’t love about the colder months.

There is something magical and whimsical in the air from mid September to the first snow fall, it’s a grounding feeling. I feel rooted and connected to the earth when the leaves start to fall leaving vibrant piles of orange, red, yellow, and gold on the ground.

Part of the Autumn fun is inventing new spicy, warm, and comforting recipes. This spice cake is one of those recipes. This cake was fun to create and has worked beautifully time and time again, with incredible flavour and texture it’s perfect for an afternoon tea with friends or an evening treat while snuggled up with someone you love. As with all of my recipes this cake is completely vegan down to the cream cheese frosting, nothing makes a dessert sweeter than knowing that it’s cruelty free as well.

IMG_5270

Being that our house is full of kids I never ave any shortage of little helpers when baking! As soon as the kids see the apron go on they all battle over who will be lucky enough to get the spoon. Today however as the sun is high in the sky and the paddling pool is set up in the back garden the kids are enjoying an outdoor adventure. I only have this one little munchkin to indulge in my Autumn fantasies with me. My littlest and cuddliest Miss Aston, she is always excited to have Mommy all to herself. Today the spoon goes to her!

 Rosemary Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Vegan)

IMG_5283

 

Vegan Rosemary Spice Cake

Prep Time: 15-20 mins                                                                                                            Serves: 8

Bake Time: 45-60mins at 350 (bake times may vary depending on the pan used and type of oven)

Vegan

Ingredients

IMG_5265

  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter softened (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 Cup Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Vegan Butter Milk (any dairy free milk with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice added to it)
  • 2 Vegan Eggs (1tbsp ground flax seed to 3tbsp water per egg to substitute, allow to sit for 5 mins)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Finely chopped fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Method

  • In a mixer cream Brown Sugar and Butter.

IMG_5266

  • Add Vegan Butter Milk and Vegan Eggs to the Brown Sugar and Butter mixture and mix until creamy.

IMG_5265

  • In a separate bowl mix Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Allspice, Nutmeg, Fresh Rosemary, and Sea Salt. Mix until combined evenly.

IMG_5267

  • Add dry mixture to wet mixture in mixer and mix until smooth (for a lighter cake you can add more Vegan Butter Milk if you like).

IMG_5279

  • Pour Mixture into a greased cake pan (I used an 8″ Spring Form pan for mine as I wanted a smaller, but taller cake).

IMG_5278

  • Place in oven for 45-60 mins at 350, you will know its done when you stick a tooth pick into the centre of the cake and it comes out clean with no batter attached.
  • Place cake on cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

 

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_5291

Prep Time: 2 mins                                                                             Serving: Frosts one large cake.

Vegan

Ingredients

IMG_5281

  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 Cups Organic Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Method

  • Allow Butter to completely soften.
  • With a mixer or whisk mix the Vegan Butter and Icing Sugar until light and fluffy.

IMG_5282

  • Add Apple Cider Vinegar and mix (for a more cream cheesy taste add more vinegar until you are happy with the flavour)
  • Place in the fridge until the cake has completely cooled.
  • Frost the cool cake how ever you choose, I like to frost the top and add a sprig of Rosemary as a garnish.

IMG_5286

 

A little taste of Autumn at the end of a long hot summer! Hopefully my wishes for Autumn to hurry along will be answered, but for now I can enjoy this spicy treat to carry me over the last few weeks of summer. I hope you will love this seasonal cake as much as I do! It pairs lovely with coffee, tea, or as my adorable Husband pointed out it goes well with a pint of Guinness which is now vegan WOOHOO! Aston gives this cake a 10/10, I couldn’t have asked for  more enthusiastic taste tester!

Enjoy,

Tasha

 

IMG_5296

Simply Refreshing Homemade Toothpaste!

IMG_4970

I know what you’re thinking, this is a bit too hippie for you but please hear me out I promise you won’t be disappointed! Now I know we’ve all heard about the magical qualities of coconut oil and how it can be used for pretty much anything, but did you know it’s truly the miracle dental oil?

My adventure with homemade toothpaste began with my toddler and baby, I didn’t feel comfortable using a fluoride toothpaste on them at such a young age. When I read the ingredients on the baby toothpastes I found I couldn’t identify most of the ingredients and that didn’t sit well with me. We so willingly put chemicals into our bodies with out fully researching what it is we are ingesting.

Up until that time I had used the standard Crest toothpaste on myself but hadn’t really thought about what was in it. I blindly accepted that it must be good for my teeth, after all it’s dentist recommended right? But as I found it wasn’t vegan-friendly which is incredibly important to me. Most toothpastes you will find in stores are tested on animals and contain Glycerine which is typically animal derived. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me sooner but somehow that fact just slipped my mind when I made the transition to a plant-based lifestyle.

I started to research my options and came across some amazing information about the dental benefits of coconut oil pulling which has been know in some cases to reverse cavities. WHAT!? You can reverse cavities! Part of the process for reversing cavities involves oil pulling with coconut oil daily which is know to be extremely antibacterial and is lethal to dental bacteria.

IMG_4974

Oil pulling is the process where you take a tablespoon of coconut oil into your mouth and allow it to melt, then you swish it around for twenty minutes to kill all off the bacteria. After the twenty minutes make sure to spit out the oil as its full of all the nasty bacteria that was in your mouth. This combined with dietary changes has been proven to regenerate tooth growth, but it takes commitment if its something you want to try. This isn’t an over night fix!

Stay tuned for future posts about how well this is working for myself and my husband with some before (scary) and after photos. It’s a work in progress for us at the moment and we can already see the signs of tooth repair as the area around a small cavity I chose to treat naturally as a “science” experiment is now becoming bright white as the heals. Cool!

Back to the toothpaste which is why you are here after all! I had found a recipe for a homemade toothpaste that looked worth trying but what I found odd was it called for sugar in it. I decided to play around a little bit with the basic ingredients minus the sugar and finally came to a texture I liked. At first it took a little getting used to as I was used to conventional toothpaste and this was certainly nothing like that.

The funny thing I found was that the kids just loved it and would beg to use the homemade toothpaste over the natural children’s toothpaste I have bought for them. In fact everyone in our house preferred it by far! I had the freshest breath I had ever had and could feel how clean my teeth were.

IMG_4973

The real test would be at my dental visit about three months after switching to my homemade toothpaste. Wow, My dentist was impressed! Aside from the small cavity that was there during the last visit, that I had chosen to wait to fill until after my pregnancy was over; everything was looking amazing. There was no further deterioration of the cavity which was strange my dentist said. She asked me what I had been using and I told her about our homemade toothpaste, she was very surprised to say the least. “If it works for you then stick with it!” she said, I thought that was very progressive of her.

So now over a year later we are still going strong with our homemade paste and are still loving it. I can honestly say I really look forward to bushing because its just so refreshing! The kids enjoy it too and love to help make a batch when ever we are getting low.

About six months after we made the switch we went on a holiday, for convenience sake and to use up what we had in our travel bag we took a small tube of crest along. Man was it sweet! Way way too sweet, why on earth are we adding sweetener to toothpaste! Okay, I get it that it adds to the flavour but honestly people! After more research we discovered this actual cane sugar that is used… the number one culprit for creating a bacteria breading ground in our mouth. BLAH! So just think of how many chemicals are needed to stop the sweeter for doing damage…

If I haven’t sent you running for the hills yet then congratulations you have graduated to a new level of hippie! Your reward? My homemade toothpaste recipe! I hope you love it, and I cant wait hear all about it. Please comment if you have any questions! Go on give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!

IMG_4970

Homemade Coconut Oil Toothpaste

IMG_4957

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup of Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup of Aluminum Free Baking Soda
  • 20 Drops of 100% Pure Peppermint Oil

Method

  • With a small whisk whip Coconut Oil and Baking Soda until smooth and fluffy, if the coconut oil is too hard you can always warm it until soft.

IMG_4964

  • Add the Peppermint Oil drops, I use 20, but you can use more or less.

IMG_4965

  • Whisk it all together and pour into a 250 ml glass container.

IMG_4974

  • Place in refrigerator if you want it to be firm, or just seal with a lid and place in the bathroom.

IMG_4973

It is amazing how easy this recipe is and how fast you can whip it up! It’s fool proof and teenager proof if you’d like to give them a task. After seeing the benefits I know I’ll never be happy going back to conventional toothpaste. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. You can always alter the texture by adding either more coconut oil or baking soda, its very flexible.

For more info on natural dentistry check out Holistic Dental Care:The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums by Nadine Artemis, it’s a fantastic and informative read.

Enjoy those happy healthy teeth!

Cheers Natasha Daly!

Earl Grey Lemon Shortbread Cookies

blog2 033

One of my favourite things about visiting Ireland is that no matter what time of day it is always an acceptable time for tea and biscuits (or cookies as we call them in North America). The food in Ireland is outstanding!! The vegetables have this beautiful earthy taste and the breads are hearty and flavourful. It’s impossible not to indulge when you have so many beautiful things to eat.

I remember returning home to Canada after my first trip and saying to my husband Mark that everything tasted like cardboard at home. He, being from Ireland would laugh and agree! He has always raved about the amazing food and the rich and raw flavour of the fresh produce. Everything you eat tastes as if it were just pulled from the earth or plucked from a branch or vine.

In preparation for my first trip over my Dad who also happens to be from Ireland asked me what on earth I was going to eat over there. From what he could recall from his childhood everything was smothered in butter and came with meat. I assumed I’d be eating salad most of the trip and had prepared myself for that, after all it was a small price to pay for the amazing scenery and culture of the country.

I was absolutely delighted to find that Ireland was a great place for a vegan to travel and there were many options available. A plate of roasted veggies was an absolute delight and there were many unique restaurants that had fantastic vegan options available in Dublin in particular. But at the end of the day it was always tea time that was my favourite, unfortunately vegan cookies and biscuits weren’t plentiful.

blog2 032

So in the spirit of my trips to Ireland and my love of tea time I’ve created a vegan tea cookie for you to enjoy. With it’s soft lemon flavour and the hint of Earl Gray tea it is sure to delight the taste buds. The only problem with these easy to make delicious cookies is that they don’t last long because they are so so good!

My kids go mad for these cookies and with five daughters tea parties are common occurrence in our house. They love to dress up and pull out the pretty mugs with a pot full of Strawberry Tea. I love to watch them get into deep conversations and share stories about their week, I’d like to think they will still being chatting over tea as adults.

From me and mine, to you and yours! Enjoy my Earl Gray Lemon Short Bread Cookies, please comment if you have an questions about the recipe and let me know how they turned out for you!

Warmest Regards Natasha

Earl Gray Short Bread Cookies

blog2 033

Prep Time: 10 mins    Bake Time: 20 mins at 350                                              Makes:12

Vegan

Ingredients

blog2 001

  • 1 3/4 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Cup of Organic Cane Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup of Vegan Margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp of Loose Earl Gray Tea
  • 1/4 Tsp of Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp of Vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp Dairy Free Milk

Method

  • In a mixer cream Sugar, Margarine, Vanilla, Lemon Juice and Salt until combined and smooth.

blog2 008

  • With a Motar and Pestle grind the Loose Earl Gray tea leaves into a powder.

blog2 012

  • Add Flour and ground Tea to wet mixture and combine until dough becomes pebble like.

blog2 013.

  • Add 1-2 Tbsp of Dairy Free Milk to bring the dough together until the dough comes together and holds its shape.

blog2 018

  • Remove from mixer and place on a parchment sheet, form the dough into a log and roll in the parchment paper.

blog2 019

  • Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm enough to cut.

blog2 021

  • Slice the log into 1/2 inch rounds and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom.

blog2 022

  • Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10 mins.
  • Enjoy!

blog2 035

These tea cookies are the perfect addition to your tea party, beautiful texture, light lemon and tea flavour! I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as my family and I do.

Warmest Regards Natasha

 

Black Forest Cake Macaroons

Blog 032

I have a confession to make, I’m a major sweets junkie! One of the biggest challenges for me when I decided to make the change to a Plant-based lifestyle was letting go of milk chocolate and creamy desserts. I felt like a fish out of water as the majority of my staple baking ingredients like milk, butter, and eggs I could no longer use. I resigned myself to the fact that my creative baking days were over and that I would live a life where the only dessert I could enjoy was dark chocolate.

How wrong I was! After a few months I decided to start researching more into what alternatives I could use in place of the ingredients I made the choice to exclude from my diet. I was delighted to find that not only did I have a great Plant-based alternative for every ingredient I needed but that they were actually more cost effective and delicious!

Blog 023

So off I went to re-learn how to bake. What started out as feelings of confusion turned into a great and very fun adventure into recipe creation! Since my family and I made the change I have been busy creating and experimenting with original recipes that would be tasty and that the kids would love!

Gone are the days of worrying about salmonella poisoning from cookie dough, my kids are as grateful as I am for that! The down side is we tend to indulge on the cookie dough a little too much making for less cookies; which isn’t really a problem as I prefer the dough!

After mastering cookies and cakes I decided to try my hand a macaroons as from time to time we have guests in our house who are on a Gluten Free diet. I spent months trying to figure out the correct combo to make a delicious macaroon worthy of swooning. The kids weren’t much help in the process because even the failed macaroons still taste pretty good. The goal was to create a great tasting macaroon with a nice texture that would hold its shape.

Blog 026

Finally I got the combo right for a basic macaroon and thought I could take it one step further with some creative flavour combos. That was when I happily by accident made my first Black Forest Cake Macaroon! How I had missed a good slice of Black Forest Cake and this macaroon took me back to the birthday cakes my Oma would bake for my Mother every year when I was young.

I am so very excited to share this recipe with you today! One of my favourites and one I am quite proud of that I’m sure you and your family will enjoy. The best part is they are super easy to make, minimal mess, and a quick treat to whip up for last minute guests. Enjoy!

 

Black Forest Cake MacaroonsBlog 032

Prep Time: 20 mins                                                                      Makes: 14, in a baby muffin tin.

Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients List

Blog 008

  • 1  1/2 Cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup of Ground Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup of Cocoa or Cacao Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp of Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt
  • 1/3 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2  1/2 Tbsp of Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup of Dried Tart Cherries

Method

  • Add Unsweetened Shredded Coconut, Ground Almonds, Cocoa Powder, and Salt to a Food Processor. Process until combined evenly. Blog 011
  • Add Maple Syrup, Vanilla, and Coconut Oil to Dry Mixture. Process until combined and a ball has formed.

 Blog 014

  • Add Chocolate Chips and Sour Cherries to the Food Processor. Combined everything evenly.

 Blog 015

  • Line a baby muffin tin with plastic wrap, spoon enough mixture into each form until full and press down evenly making sure the top is smooth.

Blog 016

  • Cover the pressed macaroons with the remaining plastic wrap and place muffin pan into the refrigerator for 20-30 mins until the macaroons have set. 5-10 minutes in the freezer if you’re in a rush.

Blog 017

  • Unwrap and enjoy!

Blog 042

These macaroons will stay quite fresh for up to a week if sealed in a container in the fridge. They can be left at room temperature but be aware if you are in a warmer climate that they could lose their shape or melt if it’s too warm.

I hope you enjoy my Black Forest Cake Macaroon recipe! Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I will happily answer them. Let me know how they turned out for you!

Warmest Regards Natasha