Food Friday: Valentine’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Blondie

One of my favourite past times is creating delicious quilt-free recipes. I love taking classic favourites and making them gluten-free, vegan and lower in sugar. Nailing a healthier version of an all time classic brings extreme JOY!

I thought I would take this opportunity to create 3 different guilt-less valentine’s day desserts that you and your special valentine can enjoy. I will have a different Food Friday recipe coming to you every week until valentines day.

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First up, this dreamy chocolate chip cookie inspired blondie. It has all the flavours of a classic chocolate chip cookie but the shape and fluffy-ness of a blondie.

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Ingredients:

2 chia eggs (2 Tbsp. ground chia seeds + 6 Tbsp. warm water)

1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free)

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups Gluten-free flour mix with guar/xanthan gum

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup chocolate chips (can use dark choc. or dairy-free chips)

*I make my own gluten-free flour mix combining 4 cups brown rice flour, 1 1/2 cups tapioca starch, 1 1/2 cups potato starch and 4 tsp guar gum. Mix all ingredients together and measure out required amount of flour.

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl combine your ground chia seeds and water to make your chia eggs. Whisk together and put to the side.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine vegan butter, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer to cream butter and mix in sugar. Add chia eggs and beat with mixer to combine.
  4. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix with mixer to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Press batter into a greased brownie pan and bake 25-30 minutes, just until sides turn light golden and the top firms up. Let cool and either cut into slices or just dive in with a spoon (that’s how I roll)!

    PS. It’s also amazing warm out of the oven or heated up later with a spoon…soft, gooey and delicious.

    Enjoy!

    XO Deanna

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Immune Booster: Prevent the common cold

Tips for preventing the common cold

The dead of winter has arrived and brought flu season with it. You might have noticed people all around the office, at the store and maybe even at home are suffering from a cold. Not to worry, I have some great immune boosting foods and habits that will help you kick flu season in the butt!

Prevent getting that dreaded winter cold by supporting your immune system and flooding your body with nutrients. Probiotic rich foods and alkalinizing fruits and vegetables are the key to fighting infection and keeping your immune system strong.

Our body is made up of more bacteria cells than human cells which makes its extremely important to support the production of good bacteria and starve the bad. One of the best ways to achieve this is by supporting probiotic consumption and reducing acidity through decreased sugar, grain and red meat consumption.

Certain foods have been shown to support our immune system, therefore preventing colds and flu from taking over our body. These foods all help promote an alkaline body and support beneficial bacteria with probiotics. This info. graphic will help summarize some of the beneficial foods.

12 immune boosters

Immune Boosting Foods:

  1. Garlic – It is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. It’s active ingredient, allicin, helps fight infection and kill bacteria. Garlic is also great for unplugging those sinuses. Try to have garlic in its raw state for the best benefits.
  2. Citrus – Fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruit contain loads of vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant helps to reduce cold symptoms and make you feel human again. However, I do not recommend getting your vitamin C from the processed orange juice found in the grocery store. Put your thumbs to work and peal a real orange or dive into a grapefruit.
  3. Zinc – essential for normal immune function, it is necessary for the prevention of colds and flu. Try adding pumpkin seeds to salads or having a trail mix. Also try adding oysters, dark chocolate, and lamb to your diet.
  4. Ginger – this incredible root is perfect for healing a scratchy throat and suppressing that nasty cough. It contains sesquiterpenes, a chemical which targets the common cold virus. Add some ginger to boiling water and lemon slices for a delicious immune supporting tea.
  5. Honey – anti-microbial and contains antioxidants which help fight infection and strengthen the immune system. Take a tsp for a natural solution to a sore throat, the honey will provide a coating that will sooth the pain in no time. * don’t give honey to children under the age of one, their immune systems are not quit mature enough to defend botulism.
  6. Probiotics – foods rich in probiotics such as kombucha, kimchi and kefir help to support gut function and fight the invasion of bad bacteria. Probiotics can also be found in supplement form for higher concentration.
  7. Tea – herbal teas have been shown to help fight infection and the warmth helps to sooth your throat.
  8. Water – staying hydrated is essential for supporting proper immune function. Dehydration slows down your immune system making it less efficient in fighting infection and bacteria.

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Food is not the only answer to supporting our immune system. We also have to manage our stress levels and support our sleep habits.

  • Take 10 deep breaths whenever you feel stressed or anxious. This helps to calm your nervous system and reduce the stress response.
  • Do yoga or meditate to help relax your mind and body
  • Go to bed before 11 and get 9 hours of rest
  • Sleep in a completely dark room. use an eye mask to block nay light from alarm clocks, TV’s, or street lights.

Give these immune boosting foods and lifestyle tips a try and prevent the dreaded cold.

XO Deanna

Calcium … hold the milk

Everyone talks about the importance of consuming dairy products for calcium.  Have you ever stopped to consider how many other foods contain high levels of calcium? Cow’s milk is not the end all and be all when it comes to calcium.

There are a number of whole food options that contain high levels of calcium along with an abundance of other essential nutrients, without the extreme acidity and nutrient stealing properties of cow’s milk.

I have put together a fun info graphic for you showing 10 whole food sources of calcium. These are all great options for a vegetarian or vegan diet.

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In summary dark greens, nuts/seeds, and beans/legumes are great calcium rich sources.

Embrace variety and remember to eat your calcium!

XO Deanna

Meatless Monday Specials

Meatless Monday has become a popular and trendy health fade within the past few years, but did you know it stems back to WWI and war rations.

The health benefits behind the meatless meals are great. Meat is hard on our digestive system and extremely acidic to the body. Acidity is the ideal environment for the development of disease and inflammation. Just one meatless meal a week adds up over the year and can have great health benefits.

Today I have two easy and equally delicious Meatless Monday meals for you.

Veggie Chili:
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 peppers, diced
1 1/2 carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
2 large cans diced tomatoes
2 cans beans (your choice)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot heat 1 tbsp oil over medium low heat. Sauté onions, peppers, carrots and celery until slightly soft. Add tomatoes, beans and stock and stir to combine. Add in spices and stir to combine. Cook over low to medium-low heat until liquid is slightly reduced, about 45 min to 1 hour.

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Veggie Minestrone Soup:
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup chopped kale
1 1/2 cartons vegetable stock (about 6 cups)
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pot over medium low heat, sauté onion, peppers, carrots and potatoes until slightly soft. Season with salt and pepper and add cauliflower and broccoli, cook 2 minutes. Add stock and water along with the bay leaf and stir. Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes. Add kale and cook another 10 minutes. Don’t forget to remove bay leaf before serving.

Hope you enjoy these delicious and warming Meatless Monday recipes.

Enjoy!

XO Deanna

Cinnamon Crunch Granola

When you’re looking for a quick breakfast or snack there is nothing better than granola! The crunch of granola alongside some vanilla Greek yogurt or almond milk is absolutely AMAZING! The subtle sweetness and satisfying crunch make the perfect pair.

Many store bought granolas are loaded with refined sugar and hidden additives that just spike your blood sugar and leave you scrounging the kitchen for something else to eat.

This granola recipe will provide all the things you love about granola without the nasty refined sugar and lack of satisfying nutrients. It has healthy fats, great sources of protein and a touch of natural sweetness that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free)
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened Apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

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Directions:
1. In a small sauce pot combine coconut oil and maple syrup. Heat over low heat until coconut oil is melted.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients and toss to combine.

3. Add Apple sauce and maple syrup mixture to the dry ingredients and toss to combine. You want all dry ingredients to be coated and moist.

4. Spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake @ 350 for 40 minutes, tossing half way through cooking time.

5. Let cool and store in an airtight container. I love to use mason jars. They’re just so cute!

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Enjoy!

XO Deanna