Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto

Yes, I know I said I was going to blog more last week, but yet again life got insanely busy.  Its been filled with work, beach trips and best friend times.  My best friend is back in town for a short period, I’m trying to spend as much time with her as possible.  We’ve been wanting to take pics, but we just end up ranting for hours and forgetting all about it.

I do however have some photos from the beach.

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Okay, onto the recipe.  This is a great dairy free, nut free basil pesto.  Its great on sandwiches or pasta.

SUNFLOWER SEED BASIL PESTO

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup roasted sunflower seed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.  

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Taste and adjust seasoning.

I’ll try and blog more this week. I’ve got a lot of recipes to share.  Happy Wednesday

Directions

Roasted Red Pepper Butter Bean Dip

I love a good bean dip.  Its great for dipping vegetables and to make a delicious sandwich.  I usually make hummus, but yesterday I realized I was out of chickpeas (the horror!), but I came up with this delicious butter bean dip that might even be better than my favourite hummus recipe and that’s saying A LOT!

ROASTED RED PEPPER BUTTER BEAN DIP

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Ingredients

  • 1 can butter beans, drained.
  • 1 small roasted red pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water ( I like a very smooth runny dip, use less for a thicker dip)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate or serve immediately.

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Very Berry Smoothie

Hello lovelies 🙂  I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, but life has been pretty hectic and its been so H O T here lately that cooking just seemed like some form of torture!

Today I decided to post my favourite hot day smoothie recipe.  This is so delicious and refreshing you will forget about the weather outside.

VERY BERRY SMOOTHIE – 2 smoothies

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana, chopped and semi frozen
  • 2 apples, cored, chopped and frozen
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sweet molasses – optional

Directions

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Have a lovely Wednesday 🙂 I’ll be posting more recipes and photos this week 🙂

Potato Hash browns

I love potato and this recipe is one of my favourites.  Its perfect for when you have mashed potatoes left over.  You can even make this in advance and keep in the fridge until needed.

POTATO HASH BROWNS 6 hash browns

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • 2 large potatoes, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 475F.

Place the grated potato on a paper towel and cover with another paper towel.  Press the water out of the potatoes.

In a large bowl combine the mashed potatoes, grated potatoes, onion, cornstarch, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Form into round discs and place on a greased baking sheet.

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Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy these with ketchup.

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Have a lovely weekend. 

Mushroom Pasta Sauce

This is a delicious pasta sauce that’s creamy and easy to whip up.  

MUSHROOM PASTA SAUCEserves 2

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Ingredients

  • Whole wheat Penne enough for 2 
  • 2 cups chopped button mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped – optional
  • 4 tbsp margarine
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Cook pasta according to directions.

In a medium sized saucepan heat the margarine and saute the mushrooms and onions until cooked.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add in the flour and stir for about a minute.  Slowly add in the milk, stirring frequently until thick. Add the basil, parsley, spinach, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with pasta 

Quick Lentil curry

If you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner, that’s tasty and simple this recipe is for you!

 

QUICK LENTIL CURRY serves 4 

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Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2-3 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam – optional

Directions

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the onions and garlic and cook over high heat, until the onions are slightly browned.  Stir in the curry powder.  Add the vegetable stock, lentils, sweet potatoes. peas, ginger, apricot jam and turmeric powder. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked.  Stir in the coriander and serve over rice or in a roti. Drizzle with a bit of cashew cream if desired.

Have a lovely day! 🙂

Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese

I love a good lentil recipe and this recipe is a perfect example of the beauty of lentils.  This is a very filling recipe that’s great for kids and adults alike.

LENTIL SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESEserves 4

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Ingredients

  • Spaghetti for 4 people
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder – optional
  • 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

In a medium size pot bring the lentils and vegetable stock to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 -20 minutes or until soft.

In a large saucepan on medium heat add about 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Fry for 8 minutes until the softened. 

Add the lentils and stir well, making sure the lentils are well covered.  Add in diced tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, nutmeg , tomato paste, vegetable powder, chili powder and water.  Give everything a good stir and add in bay leaf.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour ( allows flavor to develop) .  Stir occasionally.  Cook spaghetti according to package.

When ready remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.  Serve with crusty bread and salad!

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Hope everyone had a lovely weekend

The sugar issue

I’ve been in two minds lately about the sugar issue.  Yes, sugar is bad for its got numerous negatives for you and makes you fat, but what if you consume it in moderation?  All the recipes I have are really low in sugar, but yet I’m still worried about it.  Going sweetener free is just ridiculous for me, if I don’t make any sweet treats the really bad packaged goods will find its way into the house (the boyfriends got a sweet tooth). 

Here is a list of all the sugar and sweetener options out there:

CANE SUGAR

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I’ve grown up on cane sugar, I use to live right across the road from a sugar cane farm.  Cane sugar is one of the most genetically modified foods on the market and already has a bad reputation for making kids hyperactive, but what is the truth about cane sugar?!

After reading this post with a whopping 141 reasons sugar sucks, it really starts scaring some sense into you.

Cane Sugar Positives :

  • Its cheap
  • It makes a mean facial scrub
  • unrefined cane sugar does have some valuable nutrients and minerals ( IN MODERATION)
  • It contains magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and iron. (unrefined)
  • Gives you energy.

Cane Sugar Negatives:

  • Its addictive
  • Causes sudden increase in glucose levels
  • Sugar increases the risk of obese, diabetes and heart diseases

  • Sugar causes aging

  • Can cause dental decay

Links

Sugar Positives

Sugar negatives

MAPLE SYRUP

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This delicious topping for pancakes is ridiculously expensive here! I only get it when I want to splurge.  Its not even worth it, the biggest size we get here is 500 ml. 

Maple syrup positives:

  • Its an antioxidant powerhouse
  • It settles digestion
  • It helps muscle recovery
  • Its filled with nutrients
  • A 1/4 cup serving of maple syrup contains more calcium than the same amount of milk and more potassium than a banana.

Maple Syrup Negatives:

  • Its not easy to get if your not living in America or Canada

Well I couldn’t find any other negatives and that’s just my negatives! 

Maple Syrup positives

AGAVE NECTAR

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This is slightly cheaper than Maple, but is still way to expensive and after reading that this was one of the worst things you can eat on facebook, i was more than upset!

Agave Nectar Positives:

  • Low glycemic sweetener
  • anti inflammatory benefits
  • Immune boosting
  • Aztecs used agave syrup to treat wounds because of its antibacterial properties.
  • Helps aid in weight loss

Agave Nectar Negatives:

  • Agave nectar has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener
  • Inulin, also a complex carbohydrate, makes up about 50% of the carbohydrate content of agave.
  • It is a highly processed

I can’t even continue 😦 you broke my hear agave!!

Positives

Negatives

More negatives

STEVIA

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This little plant is 300X sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount is needed.  This is found in most health stores.

Stevia Positives:

  • A no carb no calorie Substitute 

  • Aids in calcium formation

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Lowers blood sugar

  • Has antibacterial properties

Stevia Negatives:

  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Myalgia (muscle pain) and dizziness
  • Mutagenic activity
  • Numbness
  • Interferes with blood pressure

Pretty scary stuff!

Positives

Negatives

 

COCONUT PALM SUGAR

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I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m anxious to try it.  Its got a brown sugar look to it.  Derived from the flowers of the coconut tree, is an organic, sustainable natural sweetener.Coconut sugar is minimally processed, unbleached and contains no preservatives.


Coconut Sugar Postives:

Coconut Sugar negatives:

  • Slightly high in fructose

Guess we will have to wait and find out more about coconut sugar, negatives always appear when you start getting happy with a sweetener.

Positives

Positives – negatives

Its scary to read some of these negatives.  I always worry about things like this, but that blows my mind is that people are still giving their kids candy with corn syrup or that’s loaded with sugar.  I do believe everything in moderation is fine, but that doesn’t mean I want to poison my body with moderation.

 

What sweetener do you prefer? Do you avoid all sweeteners?

 

Making the salt switch to Himalayan salt

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I’ve always been a little worried about my sodium consumption.  I’m a salt freak, I could add salt to everything, but after the endless complaining that I consume to much salt I started looking for other ways to get my fix.  Himalayan salt was the answer, this little pink beauty was the key.  I could still have my salt fix and reap the endless amounts of health benefits. 

Himalayan salt is unrefined and unprocessed, it contains the same 84 minerals and elements found in the body.  No wonder this is called the “white gold” in the Himalayas.

Health benefits of Himalayan salt:

  • Increase energy levels
  • controlling water levels within the body
  • Promoting stable ph balance in the cells
  • Increasing bone strength
  • Prevents cellulite
  • Reduces chances of developing rheumatism, arthritis and gout
  • Supporting healthy respiratory function
  • Aiding vascular health
  • Encouraging excellent blood sugar health

That’s just to name a few.  Make the switch today!

 

Sources : Global healing center

                 Livestrong 

 

Chocolate milkshake

I was never a big fan of milkshakes, but this just blows me away.  Its a simple recipe made with bananas for a perfectly thick shake. The best part about this recipe is that its not loaded with fat!!

CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE2 servings  

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk or nut milk
  • 4 large bananas, chopped and frozen
  • 3 tbsp cocao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (Add extra creaminess) 
  • 1 packet stevia or sweetener to taste

Directions

Add everything in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Serve immediately.

I like adding cocao powder instead of normal cocoa, because of all the health benefits.