Apple Candy Doughnuts

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When I was a little girl, my mom tricked me to eat fruit by cutting it up into small pieces and calling it ‘candy.’ Every night before bed, she would cut up an apple into very small pieces and while reading stories, I would snack on ‘apple candy.’ To this day, I still make myself ‘apple candy.’ Now that it’s fall, the most appropriate season to enjoy apples, Apple Candy Doughnuts make for a delightful breakfast. Enjoy them with a warm cup of tea and a cozy blanket on a crisp autumn morning.

yield: 8 small donuts

3/4 cup unbleached organic flour
1 cup minced apple (approximately one medium sized apple)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup rolled oats (I used extra thick rolled oats)
3 Tbsp water
1/3 cup & 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
the smallest sprinkle of sea salt

Method

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients and the apple. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once the batter is evenly mixed, spoon it into a doughnut pan and evenly fill each cavity to the top.

Bake the doughnuts for 20-25 minutes until the tops of them are lightly crisped. Remove them from oven and allow them to cool for approximately five minutes. The doughnuts should easily pop out of the pan, but carefully use a butter knife if you need a little bit of help.

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Winter Chickpea Potato Stew

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This perfect, one pot, sweater weather stew is warm and comforting for the tummy like a cozy hug. It's hearty and nourishing, satisfying and tasty and best of all, affordable and EASY. A perfect family meal. 

yield: 6 servings

1 pound organic potatoes, cut in quarters
1 tsp high quality olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tsp paprika
1 large red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced in strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can low sodium chickpeas, well rinsed)
1 cup filtered water
juice from 1 lemon  
pink salt
pepper

Method

Begin by heating the oil in a large soup pot. Add the potatoes, onions, paprika and sliced peppers and cover the pot. The moisture will collect and drop onto the vegetables to prevent them from burning while softening the potatoes. After 20-25 minutes, once the potatoes are soft, add the garlic to the pot and season with a sprinkle of salt and plenty of black pepper. 

Stir well and then add the dried parsley, tomatoes, chickpeas, water and lemon juice. Cover and cook over low heat until the potatoes are completely tender, and add more salt and pepper if needed. 

Enjoy with a crunchy slice of sour dough bread. 

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inspired by Deborah Madison's Potato and Chickpea Stew in her book In My Kitchen

Ivy's First Birthday Cake

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My baby is one! I can't believe it, but also I can. I cannot imagine my life without her in it, this past year has been the most incredible, challenging, emotionally intoxicating, hormonally wild, physically demanding, exhausting and exhilarating year of my life. I've learned a meaning of love that I never knew existed. 

Although I hadn't planned on giving her a cake to smash for her first birthday party, as the day approached I couldn't help myself. This cake is fully vegan, made from healthy whole food ingredients, naturally sweetened and also very tasty! 

For the cake: 

1 cup unbleached organic spelt flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp whole chia seeds
1 ripe, brown spotty banana
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:

1 can coconut cream, refrigerate overnight
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Next, add the chia seeds and water to a bowl and set them aside until they congeal and become a gel-like texture. A 'chia egg.'

In a large bowl, mash the banana down with a fork. Cream in the applesauce, maple syrup and the rest of the wet ingredients along with the chia egg. Whisk well and then add the dry ingredients. Gently whisk until all ingredients are well combined. 

Divide the cake batter evenly between three 4" spring-form pans. Bake for 15 minutes or until you can successfully do the toothpick trick. (Stick a toothpick into the cake's centre and remove it - if the cake has baked through, the toothpick will be clean. If not, pop it back in for a few more minutes.)

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Start by removing the can of coconut cream from the fridge, opening it and scooping the creamy white layer off the top. Add it to a mixing bowl and save the water/milk for a smoothie or a soup. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Beat the coconut cream with a handheld mixer or a whisk (like I do) until it's very creamy and thick. Put it back in the fridge for about half an hour if you need it to thicken. 

After the cakes have cooled, with a knife, carefully slice the top off of two of them so they can stack nicely. 

Add icing on top of the bottom cake layer. Smooth it nicely with a flat spatula. Then add the second layer doing the same thing and finally the top layer. With the same flat spatula, ice the rest of the cake. 

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Bird Cakes

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I made these patties for Ivy Bird and have been feeding them to her for lunch or dinner. She LOVES them. They're easy for her to pick up and eat by herself and super fun to play with (because they crumble easily.) We also eat them as veggie burgers. Make them, you'll love them.

yield: 25 small patties

1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup red lentils, cooked
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
4 cups spinach, firmly packed
½ cup tahini
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano

Method

Begin by rinsing the rice and lentils very well, stirring in a colander under the running water until ALL of the bubbles have disappeared.

Add them to a large pot with 4 cups of water and cook until soft. Next, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Combine the carrots, tahini, spinach, spices, cooked lentils and cooked rice in a food processor and blend.

With your hands, form patties and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip them and bake for another 20 minutes.

Patties will keep fresh in an air-tight container in the freezer for two months.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

This eggplant spread is absolutely perfect for cozy sweater weather, slathered on baguette, but equally as satisfying in the summertime on a blanket for a picnic in the park. It's easy to make and delicious to enjoy with friends and family. 

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

2 small eggplants or 1 large eggplant
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1⁄2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 1⁄2 Tbsp lemon juice
sprinkle of salt & pepper

Method

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. With a fork, puncture holes into the eggplant and then bake it for 1 hour, until it has fully roasted and is oozing out goodness!

Meanwhile, while it is baking, sauté onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until both are golden brown. Once the eggplant has finished baking, cut the top off, chop it into smaller pieces and transfer it to a food processor. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice, salt, pepper and additional tablespoon of olive oil. Chop with an S-blade until somewhat smooth — hearty chunks of eggplant and pepper give this spread some texture. Remove and serve.

This spread will stay fresh in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Ashley's Guacamole

What would life be without guacamole? Seriously — I put guac on everything from salads to toast to soup to chilli. I even eat it on its own sometimes. It's so easy to make and with a few simple ingredients, this delicious, healthy fat snack can be whipped up and enjoyed in no time!

3 avocados, pitted and peeled
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
juice from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp pink sea salt

Method

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash with a wooden spoon. I like my guacamole to be quite chunky so I leave large pieces of tomato and avocado in it. 

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Simple Grain Bowl

Weekdays can be busy! Trust me, I get it. That's why I like to be prepared. On Sundays, before the start of another busy week, I like to take time to plan what we're going to be eating during the coming days.

I often roast a pan of vegetables with a few simple spices like oregano and cracked black pepper and make some whole grains, like quinoa or brown rice, to keep in the fridge. This way, I can easily and quickly throw together a bowl of fresh, healthy food and maximize my time while Ivy's sleeping.

Cooking guidelines I follow:

1 cup rice = 2 cups water
1 cup quinoa = 1 1/2 cup water
1 sheet of chopped vegetables = 1 tbsp oregano (no oil)

BASE
Quinoa
Brown rice
White rice
Barley
Millet

VEGETABLES
Shredded cabbage
Roasted sweet potato
Mixed greens
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Avocado
Cucumber
(your choice)

TOPPINGS
Sauerkraut
Hummus
Everyday Tahini Sauce
Salsa

Method

Add your grain, vegetables and toppings of choice to a bowl and enjoy!

Cauliflower Popcorn Bites with Avocado Dipping Sauce

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We have a bit of a potato chip problem in our house sometimes. It ebbs and flows, but on any given day if you were to ask my husband or myself if we’d like to snack on some crispy kettle cooked potato chips, we’d always say yes.

Understanding that this isn’t the healthiest option and should be considered an occasional treat, we’re constantly on the hunt for crispy, flavourful, bite-sized healthy snacks to fill the void — something more exciting than kale chips.

These oil-free, healthy, minimal and super easy cauliflower bites do just the trick! I invite you to have fun with the seasoning by experimenting with cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, turmeric — whatever you prefer.

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1 head cauliflower
1 tsp red chilli flakes
sprinkle pink salt
sprinkle black pepper
juice from 1 lemon

Avocado Dipping Sauce
1 avocado, peeled & pitted
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Then, cut the cauliflower into small pieces and put them in a bowl. Add the chilli flakes, salt, pepper and lemon juice and stir to ensure the cauliflower is evenly coated. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to scrape out the leftover lemon juice and drizzle it over the cauliflower. Pop them in the oven for 25 minutes, taking them out halfway through to turn them up.

While the cauliflower is baking, combine in a small food processor the avocado and lemon juice and blend until smooth.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow it to cool. Enjoy this as an after school or after work snack, in the evening, or get creative and add these bite sized treats to a salad, pasta or curry. They add flavour and fun to many dishes.

Basic, But Really Good, Salad

Salads have a reputation for being boring, but that couldn't be further from the truth. If you're not used to eating fresh foods and your usual go-to meals are fast food or take out meals, there is a process of training your tastebuds to enjoy fresher and more natural tastes.

I promise you, that within a few weeks of eating fresh, healthy, plant-foods in their whole form, your tastebuds will actually crave the crunch of a carrot and the zingy fresh taste of avocado and lemon juice.

This is a very basic, but very good salad that you can change up depending on how you're feeling. Experiment with different vegetables, add tofu if you choose, throw in some mango or strawberries, the sky is the limit! Have fun! 

1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed, washed and chopped
1 avocado
juice from 1/2 lemon
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
hemp hearts
fruits and vegetables of your choice (chopped apple, carrots, cucumber, etc.)

Method

In a large bowl, massage the kale with avocado and lemon juice until the kale is soft. Next, the vegetables of your choice. Sometimes I like to add sliced apple, and cranberries. Sometimes I add sliced carrots and cucumber. Sometimes I just add grape tomatoes. Whatever your body is craving, that's what you'll be adding! Top with your desired amount of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp hearts and enjoy! 

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