5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

5 things I HATED (scream-able) when I was 15:
1. Tofu
2. Kale
3. Sushi (mostly the seaweed)
4. Avocado
5. Dipping sauces for anything. Just salt, thank you.

Now, at (exactly 12 days until I’m) 25, those 5 things have turned into my LOVE (again, scream-able) list.

I want tofu in my pudding, kale in my soup, seaweed in my veggie sushi, avocado on everything, and dipping sauces galore. Things have changed! This recipe is something I would have snorted at as a sassy, 15 year old, but it is totally not tofu-ish at all! It’s sweet, creamy, and so delicious. I hope you enjoy…4 servings quickly turned into 2. Oh well.

All you have to do to make this is throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add salt. Mmmmm.

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Pudding
Recipe taken from Healthy Happy Life
makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb silken tofu, drained (about one fridge-section package)
2 large ripe bananas
3-4 Tbsp peanut butter, chunky/salted
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Salt to taste if needed
2-3 Tbsp virgin coconut oil (this will help firm up the pudding and adds richness (optional)

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a blender and taste test. If needed, add salt.

Pour into 4 serving dishes or a large bowl. Chill until thick. Serve!

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Kale Salad with Oranges, Almonds and Avocado

Yesterday was just another day for me. No Thanksgiving deliciousness, and a giant Kale salad on my dinner plate. I’m Canadian after all, so I ate my weight in mashed potatoes last month.

But with all the gorgeous Thanksgiving recipes that have been popping up all over the internet, I thought I’d give you guys a big kale salad to help detox the body and make you feel like all that binge eating never happened.

This salad is chalk full of goodness. The dressing is simple with fresh squeezed orange juice, olive oil and salt, and the salad itself consists of kale, juicy chopped oranges, almonds, avocado and pomegranate seeds. HELLO health food!

To make this make your dressing first. Combine the juice of one orange with olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and some pepper. Shake or stir until very well combined. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, cut the middle stem part off the kale and place it into a bowl. Peel your second orange and separate the sections. Chop orange sections roughly and place in a bowl with the pomegranate seeds, chopped avocado and almonds.

Drizzle 1/3 of the dressing over salad and toss well to coat. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Oranges, Pomegranate Almonds and Avocado
Recipe lightly adapted from Eat Live Run
Makes one big salad (and dressing for 3 salads)

Ingredients:
1 bunch lacinato kale (“dinosaur” kale”), washed and roughly chopped
2 juicy oranges
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 avocado, diced
10 whole raw almonds
1/2 pomegranate (seeds, of course)
pinch of sea salt and pepper

Directions:
First, make the dressing. Combine the juice of one orange with the olive oil, pinch of sea salt and pepper. Shake or stir until very well combined. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, peel the other orange and separate the sections. Chop orange sections roughly and place in a bowl with the kale, pomegranate seeds, chopped avocado and almonds.

Drizzle 1/3 of the dressing over salad and toss well to coat. Enjoy!

Notes:
-I actually like to let the dressing soak into the kale for about 10 minutes before eating.
-Extra dressing will stay good in a sealed jar for a about a week.

Tuna Fish-Free Sandwich

Let’s talk lunch.

I get genuinely excited when 12:00pm rolls around. Usually leftovers are what works best for me, but sometimes I get in a situation where microwaving isn’t an option or I plain and simply want something different. I have a few fun salads that make the rotation once and a while. I recommend my lemony quinoa and avocado salad, my quinoa with roasted tomatoes, walnuts, and olives, my lentil feta salad or my kale salad with avocado and almonds.

Now I’m hungry.

This sandwich filling is definitely something I am going to add to my ever-growing list. It’s still vegan month, so this sandwich doesn’t actually have any mayo or fish in it. I crushed up a nori sheet for the tuna flavour, mashed some garbanzo beans, and threw in some veganiase. Hellooooo deliciousness!

To make this drain and rinse your beans. Add to large mixing bowl and mash well with a fork. Add in the hummus, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Toss well and taste test. Add the rest of your ingredients until you get the texture that suits you. I like mine a bit chunky. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve on toast or bread and enjoy!

Tuna Fish-Free Sandwich
vegan, makes about 3 cups
Healthy Happy Life

Ingredients:
1 16-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1/2 large lemon (juiced)
3 Tbsp garlic hummus
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 tbsp Vegenaise (or mayo)
1/4 nori sheet, crushed (for ocean-y flavor)(optional)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
salt + pepper to taste
Good quality bread (I toasted mine)

Directions:
1. Open, drain and rinse your beans. Add to large mixing bowl and mash well with a fork.

2. Add in the hummus, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Toss well and taste test. Fold in the rest of your ingredients and mix well.

3. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

4. Serve on toast or bread, with crackers or eat by the spoonful!

Banana Almond Smoothie

Here’s a way to traumatize your kids: take them to the Biodome/zoo/nature center, bring them to see the Beavers, and let them observe the dead beaver floating in the synthetic pond.

This happened to me this past weekend, and I am happy to report that the Beaver was not dead. It certainly looked dead, and stiff, and weird, but The Boy was talking about his horrible experience to a co-worker who assured him that Mr. Beaver was alive. Turns out that this is some sort of resting behaviour. Who knew?!

Something interesting always happens in Montreal, and I love spending time there. There are soooo many awesome food places to try, and can’t wait to keep visiting and trying everything out. When I return home though, I like to get back to a healthy breakfast and came across this awesome smoothie in my bookmarks. Thaaaaank goodness. This is hands down the best smoothie I’ve made all month. Keep in mind, I make a smoothie for breakfast every 20 out of 30 days…so that’s saying a lot! Plus it’s made with almond butter, which it totally delicious. Check it out.

All you have to do is toss all your ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass and enjoy.

Banana Almond Smoothie
Recipe lightly adapted from Cookie and Kate

Ingredients:
1 large frozen banana
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp flax seed
1 cup vanilla almond milk (or other milk if you don’t have any)
1 tsp agave nectar (or honey if you want)
1/8 tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract, but the almond extract really makes it)!

Directions:
Toss all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass and enjoy.

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

One week down of vegan month and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten this many chips in my life. I have always been a sweets girl – like scream from the rooftops “I love chocolate” kind of lady. Buuuuut milk chocolate (my favorite) isn’t vegan so I’ve clung to other options.

Unhealthy option #1 – chips. Especially whole wheat corn chips. Who’s bringing the salsa?
Unhealthy option #2 – dark chocolate. Sure a small amount is, in fact, very healthy, but I dare you to try and pry a piece from my hand once I’ve opened a package.
Unhealthy option #3 – overloading on quick breads. HELLO PUMPKIN BREAD! Like its friend dark chocolate this bread is lovely in small amounts annnnd like all things, not so healthy after you’ve eaten half a loaf. Whoops!

This bread is super moist, with the perfect amount of spice that truly makes it one of the best quick breads I’ve eaten. If you’re not into the whole vegan thing, forget about it! This is simply a wicked-good quick bread that you’re sure to like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8×4″ loaf pans and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, and water.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Fold the ingredients together using a spatula, making sure to incorporate the flour mixture well, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Fold in the chopped pecans.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and arrange 4 pecan halves on the top of each loaf (this just makes it pretty).

Bake for about 60-75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes.

Invert onto a cooling rack. Serve bread warm, in thick slices.

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread
Makes two 8×4-inch loaves
Recipe taken from the Joy the Baker Cookbook.

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 water
1 cup chopped pecans
8 whole pecan halves (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8×4″ loaf pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, and water.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Fold the ingredients together using a spatula, making sure to incorporate the flour mixture well, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Fold in the chopped pecans.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and arrange 4 pecan halves on the top of each loaf (this just makes it pretty).

Bake for about 60-75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Serve bread warm, in thick slices.

Note: Loaves can be wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. These loaves also freeze well!

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Today is one heck of a special day. Like jump up and down, and square dance like you did in high school (or was that just me?) kind of day. My friend Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic just had her first cookbook released: An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair!!

I was so pleased when Faith asked me to be a part of her virtual book launch party and share a recipe from the book with me. The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. After hearing Faith’s story, I am dying to go to the Middle East and eat the food. DYING!

Faith spent six months living in the Middle East, and after returning home, couldn’t stop going back to visit making sure to take in the culture and food more and more each time. Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but made totally easy for the home cook. Faith explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way. I’m totally buying it, and am heading over to order it on Amazon right now! (you can also get it from Barnes and Noble).

After you check out the recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, head on over to Faith’s blog to check out her virtual book launch party to see the other bloggers who are participating. Also, as part of her virtual book launch, Faith is hosting a giveaway of a fabulous set of prizes, which you will totally want to enter for! Even I’m entering…because I like free stuff. DUH!

This recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts is perfect for my November vegan month, but it would also be a perfect side dish for you meat eaters out there. Faith recommends serving it with chicken, beef, or lamb (or any curry dish).

Let’s make this, shall we? Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.

Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.

Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.

Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
“ROZ MLOW’WAN”
Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

Ingredients:
1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

Directions:
1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

OPTIONAL: Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Walnuts and Olives

After three full days of being vegan I can honestly say my my life hasn’t changed very much. I’m a vegetarian anyway, and all that’s really changed is that I haven’t been adding cheese to my food or baking with butter (which I can totally miss out on for a month).

Two questions keep popping up that I thought I would address:
1. “What do you eat for protein”?, and
2. “Don’t you run out of choices”?

I went out for dinner with my Grandparents last night and they asked “when are you going to eat normal again?” which pretty much translates to “if you don’t eat what we eat, how can you possibly eat at all?” It’s a bit annoying, buy hey! We can’t all understand each other. And I’d like to give answers to the above two questions, that might be helpful to you too!

1. Protein isn’t just meat, and I certainly do not only eat tofu. If I want a snack I’ll eat some hummus and carrots, peanut butter and banana, apple and almond buter or some raw nuts. For lunch and dinner I like eating as many different beans as possible see here, here and here. This recipe is also chalk full of protein! Protein can be found in grains like quinoa, lentils, beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, etc.), tofu, tempeh, nuts and so many more things than I can possibly explain. Hopefully this helps!

2. If you read the above answer, NO I do not run out of choices. That’s part of the reason that I’m doing this vegan month. I want to be able to cook with foods I haven’t before, explore different ways of cooking, and try new things. If you honestly thing vegans and vegetarians eat the same thing every day. You are so, so, so wrong. It’s like asking a meat eater how they eat chicken every day. Silly question right? Exactly.

Anyway, I’m excited for the rest of this month to progress, and look forward to all the exciting new recipes I’ll be making. Like quinoa….so good!!

To make this recipe, preheat your oven to 400. Spray foil with cooking spray and place cherry tomatoes on top. Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes. They will start to burst and char—you want this! After 30 minutes, remove tomatoes from the oven and place in a big bowl.

Spread the walnuts out on a foil-lined sheet try and toast for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Remove and place toasted walnuts in the same bowl as the tomatoes.

Combine the quinoa, bay leaves, water (or broth) and spices in a saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Add the quinoa to the walnuts and tomatoes and stir in the olives. Season with salt to taste. Serve chilled.

Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Walnuts and Olives
serves 4 (or 6 as a side-dish)
Recipe taken from Eat Live Run

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3 cups water or vegetable broth
16 oz cherry tomatoes (mix of orange and red if you like!)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt (or, to taste)
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.

Spread the walnuts out on a foil-lined sheet try and toast for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Remove and place toasted walnuts in a mixing bowl.

Spray foil with cooking spray and place cherry tomatoes on top. Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes. They will start to burst and char—you want this! After 30 minutes, remove tomatoes from the oven and place in the same bowl with the walnuts.

Combine the quinoa, bay leaves, water (or broth) and spices in a saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.

Add the quinoa to the walnuts and tomatoes and stir in the olives. Season with salt to taste.

Serve chilled.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Happy November! I can’t express how excited I am for this Sunday to roll around. 1 extra hour of sleep is all kinds of heaven for me. Especially after this wild week I’ve been having at school.

Another thing to be excited about is that starting today, November 1st, I will be vegan for an entire month! I hope you guys are willing to play along. I will be posting vegan recipes for one month, and talking about how my experience is going. Who knows how it will go, but I’m excited to find out!

To start off this month, I thought it would be a good idea to begin with the first meal of the day. A delicious fall inspired breakfast that is super smooth and delicious. I’m in total love!

This is super easy. To begin, bring water to a boil over medium heat and stir in oats. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often, then remove from heat. Stir in sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. I used 2 Tbsp of sweetener (brown sugar and agave nectar), but feel free to use more or less sugar. It depends on your tastes!

Place oat mixture into a bowl and top with walnuts. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Serves 1
Adapted from Mississippi Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
2 tablespoons of “sugar” (I used 1 Tbsp of light brown sugar and 1 Tbsp of Agave nectar)
1/2 cup pure canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
A few crushed walnuts for topping (optional)

Directions:
Bring water to a boil over medium heat and stir in oats. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often, then remove from heat.

Stir in sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. I used 2 Tbsp of sweetener (brown sugar and agave nectar), but feel free to use more or less sugar. It depends on your tastes!

Place oat mixture into a bowl and top with walnuts. Enjoy!