Superfood Gluten Free Cherry and Dark Chocolate Cookies

written by Tamar Saskin

These gluten free cookies are vegan and made with dark chocolate, cherries, oats, cacao nibs, maple syrup, molasses, hemp seeds and flax seeds

Calling all cookie lovers! These gluten free and vegan cookies are extremely delicious and rich in fiber, protein, and low in sugar, making them nutrient dense. We’ve sweetened these cookies with only whole food sweeteners, maple syrup and blackstrap molasses, and a little bit of dark chocolate and cacao nibs make them extra delicious. There is a quarter cup of both ground flax and hemp seeds in the recipe. Ground flax is high in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber (which will keep you feeling full for longer).  A cookie that keeps you full and is guilt free!?!

Hemp seeds are rich in two essential fatty acids called linoleic acid ( this is an omega 6) and alpha linoleic acid (this is an omega 3).   These essential fatty acids can support the body’s immune response and help with reducing inflammation, which can potentially help with inflammatory conditions like eczema. Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, calcium and 25% of their calories come specifically from protein. We used ¼  cup of hemp seeds in these cookies, which means there are 22 grams of protein in them. Hemp seeds contain all essential amino acids and are therefore considered a “complete” protein. This is very rare for plant based foods as many of them (besides hemp seeds and quinoa) lack all of the essential amino acids.

The next important ingredient in this recipe is pumpkin seeds. They add a little crunch and a large amount of nutrients to the cookies. There is 1 cup of pumpkin seeds per batch. Pumpkin seeds are full of essential nutrients and minerals including iron, zinc, and magnesium. Consuming foods such as pumpkin seeds that are high in the antioxidant vitamin E can reduce inflammation and help protect your cells. Studies have shown that eating pumpkin seeds can lead to cancer prevention for breast and prostate cancer.  Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, which is essential for so many processes in the body including your heart health, muscle relaxation and good sleep. Most importantly, they are very easy to add to your diet. Pumpkin seeds can be eaten on top of salads, in granola, or even in delicious desserts like these cookies. Check out the recipe below we hope you enjoy them!

These gluten free cookies are vegan and made with dark chocolate, cherries, oats, cacao nibs, maple syrup, molasses, hemp seeds and flax seeds

 

Superfood Gluten Free Cherry and Dark Chocolate Cookies

One batch makes about 24 big cookies

2 ¼ cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups gluten free flour (we used 1 ½ cups oat flour and ½ cup buckwheat flour)
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup ground flax
1 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup chia seeds
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

¼ cup blackstrap molasses
½ cup maple syrup
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut beverage

½ cup chopped dark chocolate bar
½ cup cacao nibs
1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another.

  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to fold together.  Fold in the chopped chocolate, cacoa nibs and dried cherries.

  4. Line 2 big baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Use a ⅓ measuring cup to scoop the dough and flatten it until it is approximately an inch thick.

  6. Bake cookies for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned.

  7. Cool and then store in fridge.

These gluten free cookies are vegan and made with dark chocolate, cherries, oats, cacao nibs, maple syrup, molasses, hemp seeds and flax seeds

Watermelon Chia Popsicles

Written by Tamar Saskin

these watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Feeling too hot during the summer and need a refreshing snack? Don’t worry, Living Kitchen has got your back!  These vegan watermelon chia seed popsicles are absolutely delicious and refreshing. They are designed to look like a watermelon using different fruits and veggies.

The bottom layer is made with watermelon, lemon juice and chia seeds. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, fat, calcium and magnesium. More importantly, they are loaded with antioxidants and are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon, gram for gram!  Chia seeds also contain a lot of calcium, in fact more than most dairy products gram for gram. This means that they are an excellent alternative to dairy for vegans, and anyone following a plant based diet, for calcium and bone development. Chia seeds are easy to add to your diet and can be included in almost anything to increase the nutritional value of the food. The chia seeds in these popsicles don’t just  add nutritional value, but also a little crunch, basically hidden goodness!

The middle layer of the popsicles is made of coconut milk and monk fruit (or you can use honey instead of monk fruit). The bottom layer, intended to look like the watermelon rind, is made with spinach, banana, and coconut milk. Popsicles are a delicious way to disguise your greens and get them into your daily diet! Spinach is an excellent superfood. It is a great  source of iron, especially for those following a plant based diet who miss out on iron from meat. Spinach also contains calcium and magnesium, minerals that are important for bones and help with maintaining blood pressure. Spinach also contains the green pigment chlorophyll. A 2013 study showed that chlorophyll is effective at blocking some carcinogenic effects.  Spinach also contains Vitamin A, which can help with healthy skin and hair, and is rich in vitamin C, which is critical for building collagen, a protein that’s responsible for giving skin strength.

There are many other healthy ingredients in these popsicles, but enough about the health benefits, these popsicles are absolutely delicious! Get to your kitchen and make yourself some delicious popsicles while this hot weather is still going on. This recipe is completely dairy free, paleo friendly, gluten free and suitable for almost any type of diet.

These watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Watermelon Chia Popsicles

Watermelon Flesh Layer:
2 cups watermelon juice (around 3 cups of chopped watermelon blended)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp lemon juice

White Watermelon Rind Layer:
¼ cup full fat coconut milk (from can)
1 tsp monk fruit (you can use honey instead)

Green Watermelon Rind Layer:
1/3 cup full fat coconut milk (from can)
1/3 cup baby spinach
¼ cup of chopped banana or 2 tsp of monk fruit

These watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Directions:

  1. Add the watermelon and lemon juice to a blender and blend until smooth and liquidy.

  2. Stir in the chia seeds.

  3. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds (filling ¾ of the way full).

  4. Place the popsicle sticks in and freeze for about 3 hours to set.

  5. In a bowl-mix together ¼ cup coconut milk with monk fruit or honey. Set aside

  6. Rinse out the blender and add the 1/3 cup coconut milk, baby spinach, monk fruit or banana. Blend until smooth and creamy.

  7. Remove the watermelon popsicles from the freezer and pour a thin layer of the coconut milk mixture over top (don’t fill up completely). Place back in the freezer or another 30 minutes.

  8. Then pour the green coconut mixture over top to fill up the popsicles completely. Place back in the freezer until solid.

These watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Avocado Mint Chip "Ice Cream" Bars (dairy-free and sugar-free)

This is creamy avocado, dairy free, mint chip ice cream that is made with vegan ingredients and also sugar free because it's only sweetened with monk fruit or xylitiol

This is one of those recipes that you won't want to share.  Well, you'll want to share it because it's so delicious, but you might find that you want to keep every last little bite for yourself.  If you're sharing, we highly recommend doubling the recipe!  Creamy avocadoes act as an incredible replacement for the cream and milk in traditional ice cream, making this 100% dairy free.  Besides being dairy free, avocadoes provide an array of nourishing fats from the high level of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats they contain.  Olives and extra virgin olive oil are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which gives them their reputation of being good for heart health.  Avocadoes also contain fiber, potassium, vitamin K and E. 

You'll want to use as much of the darkest green flesh that's against the peel of the avocado because the  phytonutrients are most concentrated in this part of the flesh.  Use a spoon to scoop all of this nutrient rich dark green flesh off of the skin. 

If you are trying to keep your calorie intake up or prevent weight loss due to cancer treatment or any other health condition that's impacting your ability to maintain your weight, then this avocado ice cream is a perfect addition to your diet. 

Another wonderful thing about this recipe is that it's sugar-free.  We've made this ice cream with monk fruit sweetener or xylitol, which do not impact blood sugar at all.  However, if you prefer, you can always sub in another whole food sweetener such as coconut sugar, maple syrup or raw honey.

this is dairy-free and vegan ice cream that is made with avocadoes, chocolate and mint

Avocado Mint Chip "Ice Cream" Bars

2 large ripe avocadoes (or use 3 smaller avocadoes) 
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut milk (beverage) or other non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp monk fruit sweetener
2 drops food grade peppermint essential oil

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or chocolate bar, chopped roughly

Directions:
1. Blend the avocado, coconut oil, milk, sweetener and essential oil in  food processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  You can also use a blender if you don't have a food processor (it's just a bit more challenging to scoop out).
2. Once blended, stir in the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate with a spoon.
3. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan that is lined with parchment paper.
4. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours, until firm.
5. Then cut into bars.
6. If you are storing in these in the freezer overnight or for multiple days, it can be helpful to take out a bar a few minutes before you want to eat it, so that it can soften up a bit.  Best eaten with a fork!

Cacao Cherry Granola Clusters

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

granola, gluten free granola, healthy granola, chocolate granola.jpg

Granola doesn't last very long around Living Kitchen HQ. We love it so much that we could eat it for every meal (alright, maybe we're exaggerating a little bit). While oats are packed with heart-healthy soluble fibre that makes for a satiating breakfast, store-bought versions are often high in sugar - around 12.5 grams per cup according to The Guardian. Eating this first thing in the morning can absolutely be a recipe for a massive energy spike and crash later in the day. 

Homemade granola is definitely the best option if you're looking to control your sugar intake. It is easy to prepare a large batch on Sundays to use for grab-and-go breakfasts or snacks. Prioritize loading it up with healthy fats from nut butter and seeds, adding sweetness with honey or unsweetened dried fruit. 

We created these crunchy granola clusters that are packed with cacao, peanut butter, and dried cherries. It is light on sweetness with only a touch of raw wildflower honey from Beekeeper's Naturals. The best part? It's completely adaptable and you can modify our recipe to include the things you love.

Plus we have an awesome cooking technique that you can use to get nice crunchy clusters! 

healthy granola, granola, honey, raw honey, gluten free

Cacao Cherry Granola Clusters

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut butter (or preferred alternative)
3 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil

Additional Toppings:
3 tbsp dried cherries
2 tbsp dried mulberries
2 tbsp cacao nibs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a small pot over medium-low heat combine peanut butter, raw honey, and coconut oil until completely glossy and smooth.
3. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until completely coated and spread evenly on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. Do not stir it (trust us).
5. Place on a cooling rack, allowing to cool completely to the touch. Once cool, break into large cluster sized pieces and mix with additional toppings.
6. Store in an airtight glass container or mason jar.
7. Serve on top of yogurt, or with a splash of coconut milk and a drizzle of raw honey. 

Let us know what your favourite granola toppings are over on our Instagram page. While you're there, don't forget to enter our Spring Snack Giveaway where you can enter to win a jar of raw wildflower honey from Beekeeper's Naturals.

Happy snacking!

Building A Better Snack Board

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

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Today we’re giving you tips on building an impressive health-forward snack board that is packed with flavour and will please all of the palates at your dinner table. The board we’ve created features an assortment of gluten free crackers, vegetables and fruits and four recipes: earthy beet hummus, thyme and roasted garlic cashew cheese, radish green hemp pesto, and maple citrus candied nuts.

Our recipes would be at home on any snack board, or are great as a stand alone option. Feel free to use them on your board, or keep these three tips in mind to build your own version. View the snack board as a canvas on which you can flex your creative muscles.

Choose a Variety of Options:

Variety is the spice of life, or so the old saying goes, and it is essential when assembling a snack board. Choose not only a variety of items to place on your board - fresh produce, cheeses (or non-dairy options), meats, crackers, nuts, seeds, and spreads - but a variety of textures and flavours as well. Appeal to the 5 tastes by featuring a combination of savoury, salty, sweet, bitter, and sour items. You can add the crunch of raw vegetable crudités while featuring soft pickled ones, or a bevy of fresh fruits with a tangy fruit chutney.

Choose a Theme:

Build your board around items for a holiday, event, season, or a regional cuisine. Is it spring time? Load up your snack board with in-season items like fresh radishes, radish green pesto, and shaved asparagus. Is it summer? Break out the grill and feature loads of grilled in-season veggies like corn and bell peppers. Do you love Mediterranean food? Try beet hummus, marinated artichoke hearts, or harissa roasted chickpeas.

Choose Colour:

When in doubt loading up your board with an assortment of brightly coloured fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits is sure to appeal to our tendency toward eating with the eyes. They are not only packed with flavour, but fibre and phytochemicals that are beneficial for disease prevention. It’s a win-win situation.

Better Snack Board Recipes:

radish green pesto, hemp pesto, vegan pesto, radish greens, radish pesto, root to stem

Beet Hummus:

Beet hummus is a nice break from traditional hummus and lends a rich, earthy taste and a pop of colour to your board. We even experimented and used a bit of smoked tahini from Parallel Brothers in our hummus (local for you Toronto folks).

Ingredients:
1 medium cooked beet
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 15 oz can chickpeas
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to garnish
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp cumin
sea salt, to taste
¼ cup ice water, as needed to thin

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except the ice water in a high-speed blender or food processor, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed. While still running, drizzle in ice water until the hummus has a smooth, creamy consistency.
2. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped herbs.

Radish Green Hemp Pesto:

If you buy radishes with the greens still attached, this hemp pesto is an incredible way to utilize them and avoid the compost bin. Yes, radish greens are edible! They tend to be incredibly sandy, so make sure to rinse thoroughly to clean off any grit.

Ingredients:
1 bunch radish leaves, thoroughly washed and dried
2 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup hemp seeds
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ lemon, juiced
sea salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed.

Tip: If desired, you can add a ½ cup of basil to this recipe to get more of a traditional pesto taste.

Roasted Garlic and Thyme Cashew Cheese:

This is an excellent option to add to your board if you’re vegan or have lactose intolerance and are looking for something to fill the void of a traditional cheese. It is creamy, bright ,and herbaceous. The thyme can be swapped for other herbs if you’re looking for a different flavour profile for your board. Dill, chives, basil, or tarragon are all fantastic choices.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp lemon zest
3 cloves roasted garlic
3 tsp fresh thyme, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
water, as needed to thin

Directions:
1. Soak cashews overnight in warm water, draining and rinsing thoroughly. If you’re in a time crunch, you can soak in hot water for an hour.
2. Combine soaked cashews and remaining ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth and spreadable, scraping as necessary with a spatula.
3. Using wet hands, you can optionally roll your cheese into a log or ball, placing on a small piece of parchment or wax paper. Otherwise, place in a bowl.
4. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and cracked black pepper.

Maple Citrus Candied Nuts

These crunchy clusters are the perfect balance of sweet with a bright hint of orange. Feel free to use pecans in this recipe or substitute for walnuts, almonds, or pistachios.

Ingredients:
½ cup pecans
1 tsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp orange zest
pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and orange zest. Add in pecans (or nuts of choice) and stir to coat.
3. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, checking on and stirring them periodically.
4. Allow to cool and serve.

snack board, vegan snack board, vegetarian snack board, snacks

If you’re racking your brain for something to make for a dinner party or a potluck, this snack board is sure to be a show stopper!

These four recipes are some of the things that we like to include, but we’d love to hear what your must-have snack board items are. Give us a shout in our comments section, or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. 

Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

sushi, paleo sushi, cauliflower sushi, vegetarian, vegan, vegetarian sushi

Have you ever had a plate full of sushi and feel ravenously hungry a few hours later? We love sushi, but are always looking for a way to make it more nutritious. Most rolls contain deep fried tempura and starchy white rice – not the best choices to make for blood sugar balance or disease prevention.

We were inspired to create these vibrant sushi rolls packed with cauliflower rice, raw veggies, and a drizzle of tangy tahini lime sauce. Cauliflower is a fibre-packed cruciferous vegetable that is a powerhouse for disease prevention. It’s not only delicious, but is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which can protect your cells from free radicals and inflammation.  It also contains the phytochemical glucosinolate, which has been studied for its role in cancer prevention. A study completed by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed significantly lower lung cancer risk in women who consumed cruciferous vegetables (Feskanich, D., 2000). 

These are easy to customize with your favourite fillings and are a great option for those following a grain-free diet. Make this a full meal by serving with a heap of leafy greens dressed with our Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing.

sushi, cauliflower sushi, paleo, paleo sushi, vegan sushi, cauliflower rice, grain free

 

Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls:

Sushi Rolls:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets and riced in a food processor
2 tsp coconut oil
¼ cup water
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp sesame oil
Salt, to taste
1 medium beet, peeled and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 English cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
3 green onions, sliced
6 sheets nori
Toasted black sesame seeds (optional)

Tahini Lime Ginger Sauce:
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp tamari
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fresh ginger
½ tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp sesame oil
Water, as needed to thin

Directions:

  1. Add chopped cauliflower florets to a food processor (see tip). Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Melt 2 tsp of coconut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add riced cauliflower and sauté for 1 minute. Add water and cover pot with a lid, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until completely cooked. This will allow the cauliflower to steam and become tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare remaining vegetables for sushi roll.
  4. Combine all ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl, adding water 1 tsp at a time to create a thinner texture if desired.
  5. Using a clean tea towel or a cheese cloth, drain out excess liquid from the cauliflower rice. Mix in rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and salt into the cooled rice.
  6. Lay a bamboo sushi mat flat on your counter or cutting board. Place the nori with the shiny side down on top of the mat. Spoon about 1/3 cup of rice onto the nori, spreading out evenly and leaving the bottom third of the sheet (farthest from you) bare.
  7. Place rows of your veggies in the middle of the rice. Carefully roll the top of the nori over the veggies with firm pressure. Continue to roll away from you, dabbing the farthest edge of nori with water to seal it up.
  8.  Using a sharp knife, slice each roll into 6-8 pieces. Serve with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and a drizzle of tahini lime ginger sauce if desired.
sushi, sushi roll, cauliflower sushi, paleo, paleo sushi, vegetarian, vegetarian sushi, cauliflower rice

Tips:

  1. If you do not have a food processor, feel free to use a grater to grate the cauliflower into small pieces. You can also finely chop using a knife. Prepare as usual.
  2. You can roll on top of a clean tea towel, or just use your hands if you don’t have a sushi mat on hand.

References:

Feskanich, D., Ziegler, R. G., Michaud, D. S., Giovannucci, E. L., Speizer, F. E., Willett, W. C., & Colditz, G. A. (2000). Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Lung Cancer Among Men and Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, (22).

Higdon, J. V., Delage, B., Williams, D. E., & Dashwood, R. H. (2007). Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacological Research : The Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society, 55(3), 224–236. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2007.01.009