Rose, Cardamom and Earl Grey Latte

written by Rebecca Moutoussidis

rose, cardamom, early grey latte, ginger snap cookies, Valentine's Day, gluten free, Dairy free

With the cold, gloomy weather in Toronto, we’re naturally keeping cozy with delicious warm drinks. Wellness lattes are becoming a popular drink of choice lately, and many health food restaurants and cafes are now selling a wide array of warm superfood drinks. Chaga hot chocolate, turmeric golden milk, and matcha lattes are all really popular, but we at Living Kitchen love to experiment with new flavours. 

A while back, I was on Pinterest and came across this recipe for a rose and earl grey latte, and was inspired to make a wellness latte based around these flavours. Valentine’s Day is today and the combination of these flavours matches this holiday perfectly! After loads of testing, I finally developed a delicious, fragrant recipe for a Rose, Cardamom, and Earl Grey latte. If you’ve ever had a London Fog, you’ll love this healthy and soothing alternative! 

Earl grey tea contains bergamot, a citrus oil which is known for its uplifting properties. A 2014 study on 58 hospice patients showed that all participants who simply applied a blend of oil containing bergamot to their hands reported less pain and a decrease in depression symptoms. Every single patient reported this! Bergamot is also known to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Cardamom, another main flavour in this latte, is believed to also contain anti-depressive properties. It is also known to prevent bad breath as well as infections of the throat and mouth and mouth ulcers. It also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Rose, the last main flavour in this latte, has several health benefits. The compounds found in roses are the reason behind this flower’s anti-depressive and anti-anxiety properties. It carries a plethora of health benefits; it is antiseptic and antiviral, helps to treat menstrual cramps, and is also a very well-known aphrodisiac. 

This wellness latte is refined sugar free and vegan, so that everybody can enjoy it. It’s incredibly soothing, and is the perfect Valentine’s Day drink! Whip one up for yourself or special someone today!

Rose, Cardamom and Earl Grey Latte 

Serves 2

½ cup dried edible rose petals
½ cup maple syrup
6 green cardamom pods, crushed
3 tbsp water
2 dates (optional if you want to add more sweetness)
½ tsp rosewater (optional- leave this out if you don’t want a very strong rose taste)
3 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea, or 2 teabags
1 ½ cups non-dairy milk (We used coconut milk, but any non-dairy milk will do!)

Crushed dried rose petals, for garnish

 

Directions:

To make the syrup:

1. Combine the rose petals, maple syrup, cardamom pods and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer very gently for 20 minutes, until reduced by about 1/3. Strain liquid into a container, pressing the rose petals against the strainer to extract as much syrup and release their colour as much as possible.  

2. If using the dates, pour syrup back into the saucepan and add the dates. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for an additional 7-10 minutes, until dates are very soft and begin to fall apart.  Remove from heat and pass the mixture through a fine sieve,  pressing the softened dates through with the back of a spoon. 

3. Add rosewater if desired. 

To make the lattes:

1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and steep the tea for 2-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. 

2. Heat the milk to just below a simmer over the stove and use a whisk or milk frother to develop a layer of foam if desired. 

3. Pour 1 ½ tbsp of rose syrup into a mug. Fill the mug halfway with the steeped tea and top with the hot, frothy milk. Garnish with crushed rose petals and enjoy!  

 

References: 

Peterson, D. (2017). Anxious or Feeling Down: Can Essential Oils Help? Retrieved from http://info.achs.edu/blog/depression-and-anxiety-can-essential-oils-help

Mercola, J. (2016). The Blissful Benefits of Bergamot Oil. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/bergamot-oil.aspx

Pulsiper, C. (2013). 15 Health Benefits of Cardamom. Retrieved fromhttps://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/15-health-benefits-of-cardamom

Organic Facts. (n.d.) Health Benefits of Cardamom. Retrieved from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-cardamom.html

Organic Facts. (n.d.) Health Benefits of Rose Essential Oil. Retrieved from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-rose-essential-oil.html

Pomegranate Chard Pilaf & 5 Foods for Postate Cancer Prevention

pomegranate, swiss chard, radish, pinenut, quinoa, lemon, pilaf, prostate cancer, Thanskgiving

November is now fondly known as Movember, especially if you have had the joy of a special man in your life deciding to outfit himself with an epic moustache for the month.   All joking aside, this is an important movement that helps raise awareness about men's cancers, from how men can check themselves early for signs of cancer to advocating for affordable treatment.

With so many wonderful vegetables in season during the fall, there are so many options to make delicious and nourishing recipes that can help prevent prostate and testicular cancers. We know it can be challenging sometimes to maintain a healthy diet when the holidays are here, with family dinners and parties that are full of heavy foods, sweet desserts, and festive alcoholic drinks.  But, with the right recipe and ingredients, it's easy to incorporate health promoting, antioxidant rich, and cancer preventing foods in the holiday dinner menus. 

American Thanksgiving is around the corner and then the December holidays will be quickly coming next. Here are 5 ingredients that we recommend focusing on to prevent cancer and are particularly good to incorporate in the diet for prostate and testicular cancers.

 

5 Foods for Prostate Cancer Prevention

Leafy Greens 

Leafy greens are one of the most important vegetables to eat every day.  Not only do they have healthy fiber to keep everything moving and support the removal of toxins from your body, they are full of phytonutrients and vitamins. 

 

Whole Grains

Eating refined grains have been linked with an increased risk in prostate cancer, while whole grains are healthy and provide many nutrients.

Quinoa (which technically is a seed, but used in the same way as grains), brown rice and other types of rice such as red rice, millet, and oats are all great gluten free grains to incorporate into your diet.

 

Omega 3 Rich Oils

Omega-3 fats slow the development of many cancers, including prostate and pancreatic cancer and can help make chemotherapy more effective.  Omega 3's have an anti-inflammatory effect, which keeps the immune system stable as well as prevents cancerous cells from growing.

Try adding flaxseed oil and hemp oil into your diet, as these oils are both rich in omega 3s.

 

Pomegranate

This beautiful and interesting fruit has been studied to specifically see the impact it has on prostate cancer.  Studies have found that pomegranate is linked with reduced Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and prevents prostate cancer cells from replicating.

 

Lemons

Lemons help the liver metabolize toxins as well as provides the body with antioxidants, such as vitamin C. 

We recommend using organic lemons, especially if you are going to use the peel in recipes that call for zest.  Lemons can be used in a variety of ways, from adding zesty flavour to salad dressings to simply making a glass of water more enjoyable.

 

Pomegranate Chard Pilaf

Not only is this recipe rich in nutrients that are good to prevent cancer, but it's vegan, gluten free, and appropriate for most people with dietary sensitivities.

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed
1 small bunch swiss chard, chopped
3 radishes, sliced in thin circles
1 clove garlic, chopped
spoonful of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

Dressing:
2 Tbsp flax oil or hemp oil
1/2 lemon, juiced

Topping:
handful of toasted pinenuts or pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. Cook the quinoa with 1 cup of water in a pot for 15 minutes.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer on low heat.
2. Meanwhile, chop the chard and garlic.
3. Saute the chard with the garlic in olive oil for a few minutes, to wilt.
4. Slice the radishes in thin discs and take the pomegrante seeds out.
5. Toss all of the vegetables together with the cooked quinoa.
6. Add sea salt to taste.
7. Add the flax oil or hemp oil, along with the fresh lemon juice.
8. Add a handful of pinenuts or pumpkin seeds.

 

Sources:

Beliveau, Richard and Denis Gingras. Foods That Fight Cancer. McClelland & Stewart, 2005.

Dietary intakes of carbohydrates in relation to prostate cancer risk: a prospective study in the Malmö Diet and Cancer cohortAm J Clin Nutr 2012 96: 6 1409-1418; First published online November 7, 2012.

Syed, Deeba N. et al. “Pomegranate Extracts and Cancer Prevention: Molecular and Cellular Activities.” Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry13.8 (2013): 1149–1161. Print.

Update on Uses and Properties of Citrus Flavonoids: New Findings in Anticancer, Cardiovascular, and Anti-inflammatory Activity. O. Benavente-García and J. Castillo. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008 56 (15), 6185-6205

Brussels Sprouts Kale Winter Salad with Parmesan Mustard Almond Vinaigrette

brussels sprouts kale salad, parmesan mustard almond vinaigrette

This recipe is inspired from one of our longterm private cooking clients because she loves it!  We always focus on making vegetable dense dishes and finding ways to make those deep dark greens and cruciferous vegetables taste amazing.  While we don't cook with dairy products very much (most of the people we work with are sensitive to dairy and find that it causes congestion, inflammation and weight gain), we do enjoy indulging in some high quality, organic dairy every once in a while.  With the holiday season in full swing, there's no better time than now to indulge a little bit (especially when the dish is also packed full of vitamins and phytonutrients that will enhance your health).  In this recipe, we use organic and raw cheese, which makes it easier to digest dairy. 

Brussels Sprouts Kale Winter Salad with Parmesan Almond Vinaigrette

4-6 large kale leaves (you can use green kale or lacianto kale, either will work)
3 cups brussels sprouts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, preferably made with organic and raw milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped very finely
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:
1. RInse off the vegetable.  Slice the Brussels Sprouts very finely or shred in the food processor. Chop the kale finely.
2. Mix together the olive oil, mustard, and lemon juice.
3. Chop the almonds finely or pulse in food processor until finely chopped.
4. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl.

 

Gluten Free Berry Pancakes

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gluten free berry pancakes

Everyone deserves to enjoy pancakes every once in a while.  This holiday season, you can whip up an easy batch of pancakes that are gluten free and can be enjoyed by your friends and family who are sensitive to eating wheat or other gluten containing grains.

Depending on your dietary needs, you could use either coconut oil or butter in this recipe.  We love to use organic butter this time of year, as it is a nourishing and easily digested form of fat that our bodies need in the colder months.  Of course, coconut oil is a nourishing oil as well, but indulging in a little bit of butter once in a while can actually be supportive of you health (unless of course you have a sensitivity to dairy). 

Gluten Free Berry Pancakes

1 cup gluten free flour blend (just make sure that the blend you buy does not include sugar or refined flours like potato starch)
2 eggs
1.5 cups dairy free milk of your choice (we used almond milk)
1 Tbsp coconut oil or organic butter
2 cups mixed berries or berries of your choice

Optional:
maple syrup

Directions:
1. Heat a frying pan (we love to use cast iron) with 1 tsp coconut oil or organic butter for a few minutes, until hot.  Leave the heat on medium to prevent the oil from burning and being damaged.
2. Mix together the gluten free flour, eggs and dairy free milk in a bowl until blended.  The batter should be thick but liquid enough to quickly fall off the mixing spoon. 
3.  Make a small tester pancake in the pan (about 1 cm in size).
4. Once you know that the pan is hot, you can place a few spoonfulls of batter onto the pan to create a pancake (we usually do about 2 Tbsp of better per pancake). 
5. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the bottom of the pancake is solidified.  Flip over and cook on the second side for 1-2 minutes.
6. Place pancakes in a warm oven (275 or 300 degrees) to keep hot for breakfast.  
7. Repeat until all of the batter is used up!  You will need to add more coconut oil or butter to the pan.
8. While the pancakes are cooking, gently heat the berries in a small saucepan for a few minutes until a bit of liquid has been created.  This will be used to drizzle on top of the pancakes. Set aside. 
9. Once the pancakes are all ready, you can serve them with the berry sauce drizzled over top.  Use maple syrup too, if you like!

Spelt Pumpkin Bread

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pumpkin bread, spelt flour, cacoa nibs

With Canadian Thanksgiving over and American Thanksgiving a little over a month away, we are feeling the strong craving to eat lots of pumpkin.  This pumpkin bread recipe is rich, but not too sweet.  The yogurt helps increase digestibility of the grains (and using sprouted spelt flour is even better for digestibility). 

 

Spelt Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup cooked pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 cup organic  yogurt
1/4 cup almond milk (or other type of milk)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
6 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup gluten free flour (such as buckwheat flour or quinoa flour)
1/2 cup spelt flour (sprouted spelt flour is best)
pinch sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
handful cacao nibs
handful pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Mix together wet ingredients.  Fold in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour into a parchment paper-lined loaf pan.
4. Top with cacoa nibs and pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, until solidified and firm to touch.  The inside of the pumpkin bread should be moist. 

 

A Thanksgiving of Sides

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Thanksgiving side dishes, vegetable side dishes recipe, vegetarian, gluten free

We always like to make meals that are composed of many different dishes and flavours. Thanksgiving is one of the best reasons to prepare a spread of vegetables seasoned with varied herbs and seasonings.  This year we decided to share our side dish menu with you.  Side dishes are a fantastic way to make any meal interesting and satisfy everyone, whether they are omnivores or vegetarians.  Focusing on vegetables as the main ingredients for side dishes makes it easy to accommodate allergies and sensitivities. 

Thanksgiving Side Dish Menu:

Pomegranate Herbed Lentils and Quinoa
Tahini Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini
Maple Mustard Toasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash
Low-Glycemic Cranberry Sauce
Spiralized Beet Mixed Green Salad

 

Pomegranate Herbed Lentils and Quinoa

1 pomegranate
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
3 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste
large handful walnuts
large handful raisins
large handful slivered almonds
1/2 cup dry sprouted lentils (you can use regular lentils, but it will take longer to cook them)
1/2 cup dry quinoa (sprouted quinoa is best)

Directions:
1. Combine the sprouted lentils and quinoa in a pot with 2 cups of filtered water.  We use sprouted lentils because they are better for digestion than legumes that have not been sprouted.  They are also higher in nutrients and protein than legumes that have not been sprouted.  One of the best perks of sprouted lentils is that they cook in 5-10 minutes.
2. Bring to a simmer and then cover and then simmer for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa and lentils are soft and fluffy.  You might need to add a little bit more water mid-way through cooking if the mixture starts to dry out.
3. While the quinoa and lentils are cooking, prepare all of the other ingredients and combine in a bowl.
4. Toss all ingredients together.  Top with a few pomegranate seeds and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

 

Tahini Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini

You can follow this recipe on our blog post: Za'atar Tahini Roasted Vegetables.  The modifications we did for the Thanksgiving menu: used only zucchini and eggplant (no peppers or asparagus).  We also made a slight variation on the dressing: 3 Tbsp tahini, 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 4 Tbsp olive oil, sea salt, water to thin out.

 

Maple Mustard Toasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash

You can follow this recipe on our blog post: Maple Pecan Brussels Sprouts.  The modifications we did for the Thanksgiving menu: No pecans and added in 1 squash, cut into cubes (roasted it together with the brussels sprouts).

 

Low-Glycemic Cranberry Sauce

1 bag cranberries
2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or more if you need it to be sweeter)
1 cup water
1 orange, juiced

Directions:
1. Combine the cranberries and water in small pot.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. 2. Cook for 15 minutes, until cranberries are broken down and soft.  
3. Stir in the coconut sugar and orange juice, cook for another 5 minutes.

 

Spiralized Beet Mixed Green Salad

1 red beet
1 yellow beet
1 candy striped beet
1 box of mixed salad greens
1 red pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced

Dressing:
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup

Directions:
1. You will need a spiralizer for this recipe.  If you do not have one, you can grate the beets finely in a food processor or by hand. 
2. Rinse off the beets and spiralize or grate.
3. Prepare the other vegetables and mix together in a large salad bowl.
4. Mix the dressing ingredients together.
5. Toss everything together.