All posts by Tamara Green

Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

No-Churn Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This easy, no-churn vegan ice cream is going to become your new go-to treat this summer. It’s creamy, minty, refreshing and totally dairy-free. No need to feel guilty after eating a whole pint either; it’s sweetened only with dates and packed with nutrient-rich avocados, cashews and coconut. Top your bowl with a healthy drizzle of melted chocolate and you’ve got the perfect no-bake dessert.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1 14 oz can full fat coconut milk
1 cup cashews
1 Tbsp coconut oil
10 dates
1/4 cup cacao nibs
3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp liquid chlorophyll (for colour, optional)

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Chocolate Sauce Topping:
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil

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Directions:
1. Place the can of coconut milk in the freezer for 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.
2. Soak the cashews for 2 hours and soak the dates in warm water for 15 minutes.
3. Once the coconut milk has chilled, open the can and remove the hard coconut cream from the top and pop it into your blender. Reserve the liquid, you can use it to make smoothies.
4. Drain the cashews and dates and add them to the blender with all ingredients except the cacao nibs. If your blender comes with a plunger use it to push the ingredients towards the blade while it’s blending. Or continue to stop, scrape down the sides and mix. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
5. Pour the ice cream into a parchment-lined loaf pan, using a silicon spatula to ensure you get it all out of the blender.
6. Mix in the cacao nibs until they’re well incorporated.
7. Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours or until you’re ready to eat.
8. Make homemade chocolate sauce by melting chocolate chips in a double boiler, then spoon in coconut oil until silky; drizzle it directly on top of ice cream.

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Get 40 more delicious vegan dessert recipes here.

Photos by Sarah Grossman.

Why Sweet Potato Toast is All the Rage (+ 2 New Recipes!)

Sweet potato toast is all of the rage right now. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s paleo-friendly, inherently gluten-free, Instagram-worthy and just darn right delicious. Some people don’t feel great after eating bread first thing in the morning, and sometimes complain of crashing, bloating or feeling foggy. Sweet potato toast is a creative and nourishing alternative that provides your body with immune boosting antioxidants and helps regulates blood sugar. This makes it a perfect breakfast (or snack) for starting your day off on the right foot.

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Show us your sweet potato toast creations @foodnetworkCA and tag #MyFNCRecipe.

Ingredients:

Fried Egg & Avocado Sweet Potato Toast:
2 sweet potato slices
1/2 avocado
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower sprouts or pea shoots
2 eggs
1 Tbsp butter

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Almond Butter, Apple & Banana Sweet Potato Toast:
2 sweet potato slices
2 Tbsp crunchy almond butter
1/4 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
1/3 banana, sliced
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp hemp seeds

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Directions:

Fried Egg & Avocado Sweet Potato Toast:
1. Cut a sweet potato lengthwise into slices that are 1/4-inch thick.
2. Place 2 of these sweet potato slices in the toaster and toast for 10 minutes, flipping them after 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook 2 over-easy eggs. Heat 1 Tbsp of butter over medium-high and swirl around to coat the pan. Crack each egg into a small dish, like a ramekin, and pour into the pan. Flip the eggs after about 15-20 seconds and then cook for another 15-20 seconds. Remove the eggs and place on a separate plate.
4. Once the sweet potato slices are toasted, fan the avocado slices over them and place the over easy eggs on top.
5. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper over. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and pea shoot sprouts.

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Almond Butter, Apple & Banana Sweet Potato Toast:
1. Cut a sweet potato lengthwise into slices that are 1/4-inch thick.
2. Place 2 of these sweet potato slices in the toaster and toast for 10 minutes, flipping them after 5 minutes.
3. Smear crunchy almond butter over the toast.
4. Fan a granny smith apple over one slice and bananas over the other.
5. Drizzle honey on top and sprinkle with cinnamon and hemp seeds.

Watch this handy guide to all things sweet potatoes, including how to select, store and cook them.

Photos by Sarah Grossman.

6 Ways to Boost a Bland Recipe

We’ve all been there; after we’ve cooked up a storm, we go to taste our finished dishes only to find the flavour falls, well, flat. Something is missing, but we’re not quite sure what it is.

Our taste buds or receptors have five main components: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. When trying to identify what’s missing from a meal, it’s a good idea to think in terms of taste: does it need more sweetness, saltiness, etc. Next time your dish seems to be lacking flavour, reach for one of the six ingredients below.

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1. Vinegar
Vinegar is the most common ingredient to boost a bland recipe. The acidity of vinegar can actually help to balance out the five tastes. My personal favorite is balsamic vinegar, as it not only adds acid but also adds notes of sweetness as well. An acid, depending on which one, can work to increase sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami tastes. Other wonderful vinegars include apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and rice vinegar. Each of them have their place in boosting the flavour for particular cuisines – for instance, rice vinegar is very good at enhancing Asian fare. Vinegar is strong so if adding it to a dish, go slowly, you can always add more but you can’t take away!

2. Lemon
Lemon is one of my favourite ingredients to use to enhance a recipe. The acidity and sourness of a lemon works similarly to vinegar to boost and bring together flavours. You can even use the zest of a lemon to enhance a dish. Zest adds a refreshing flavour with hints of sweetness. If lemon isn’t your thing, try using limes, grapefruits or oranges for varying levels of acid and flavour.

3. Sea Salt
Salt is a classic seasoning to add to any dish when it is bland – but be careful, adding too much salt can ruin a dish. I have included sea salt instead of table salt because it has more of a boldness in flavour. Table salt has also gone through more processing and bleaching. Salt helps to bring out all other flavours while also adding saltiness. If you have specialty salts such as truffle salt, garlic salt or herb salt try using those to add different layers of flavour. Always remember, you can add more but you can’t take away!

4. Mustard
Mustard is a fantastic emulsifier that adds a creamy texture as well as a sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavour. A squirt of Dijon or whole grain mustard can go a long, long way. I especially like to use it in Mediterranean style dishes. There are many different mustards to choose from that can add a whole array of flavour to a bland dish.

5. Tamari
Tamari is a Japanese style soy sauce that can be gluten free and is usually a by-product of miso. This is one of the best ways to enhance a recipe. Simply because it is an Asian ingredient, it doesn’t need to be reserved for Asian cuisine only. Tamari is not as salty or harsh as traditional soy sauce, although it is quite salty. It has a natural sweetness and just a teaspoon can enhance a flavour profile hitting sweet, salty and umami notes.

6. Honey
Honey is a classic sweetener, it is not refined, like white sugar, although it is still incredibly sweet. Sometimes, a dish is simply missing more of a sweet flavour. Honey is so rich and sweet that only a little bit needs to be added. Take a bite of your recipe and if you feel like it’s missing a touch of sweet, slowly add honey half a teaspoon at a time. Remember the golden rule – you can always add more but you can’t take away!

3 Best Homemade Veggie Burger Recipes

Grilling season is upon us and just because you don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious, juicy burger!

Veggie burgers are wonderful for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores; they pack loads of fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. In turn, they help with weight control, prevent inflammation and still deliver a sufficient amount of protein. You can get creative and play around with different flavours and seasonings, like with these three burgers below.

1. Crunchy Sunshine Burger

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Ingredients:
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup brown rice or quinoa (dry)
1 cup beet, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch of black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a pot, combine ¾ cup of brown rice and 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 25 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.
3. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until a sticky mixture forms.
4. Shape the mixture into patties, place on a baking sheet linked with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
5. The burgers should be crunchy yet still moist and soft.

2. Oh My Chickpea Goodness Burger

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Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas (BPA free, if possible)
½ red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 small sweet potato
½ cup parsley
¼ cup chickpea flour
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ lemon, squeezed

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Turn on a food processor; while it is running throw in the garlic clove so it is evenly chopped.
3. Add the sweet potato, parsley and onion to the food processor and pulse.
4. Open the can of chickpeas, rinse them and then add the chickpeas to the food processor. Pulse the mixture so some of the chickpeas are being mashed and some are retaining their shape.
5. Take the mixture out of the food processor and place in big bowl. Add the chickpea flour and seasoning to the bowl. Mix well so the entire chickpea mixture is seasoned.
6. Form into patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

3. Black Bean Rainbow Burger

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Ingredients:
1 can black beans (BPA Free, if possible)
½ cup quinoa, uncooked
¼ red onion, chopped
¼ cup corn
½ red pepper, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp  paprika
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp honey
½ lime, squeezed
1 tsp chili in adobo sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place ½ cup of quinoa and 1 ½ cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Place the red onion, red pepper and cilantro in a food processor or chop very finely.
4. Open a can of black beans, rinse and add to the food processor. Pulse until some of the mixture is mushy and some beans are still intact.
5. Once the quinoa is cooked add it to a big bowl. Pour in the mixture that’s in the food processor.
6. Add in all of the spices, honey and lime. Mix everything together well so it is all seasoned.
7. Shape into patties, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Got Some Healthy Buns?

Most buns are made from white flour, which robs your body of nutrients and provides no real nutrition, and many of our bodies simply cannot tolerate whole-wheat based buns. In order to have your bun and eat it too, there are plenty of alternatives to amplify your burger and still maintain your health.

Gluten-Free Buns

A lot of people are sensitive to gluten, which is why the gluten-free craze is blowing up! Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, which gives it is a nice, fluffy texture. Although delicious, gluten can actually be the culprit of a lot of digestive and inflammatory issues. While I don’t necessarily believe everyone needs to remove gluten from their diet completely, it’s something you may want to limit and be conscious of when you’re eating it.

There are tons of gluten-free baked goods out there at health food stores and conventional grocery stores as well. Check the freezer section for gluten-free buns, but be sure to read the ingredients! There may be some additives you’re not familiar with such as xanthan gum. If the ingredient list gets too long or looks a bit too scientific, try searching for another brand. Alternatively, try experimenting in the kitchen with gluten-free flours and make your own!

Sprouted Buns

The act of sprouting grains is a really interesting process. Grains that are sprouted have higher protein and nutrient content; they have much higher levels of vitamins B and C than other options. Many people who are sensitive to certain flours can actually tolerate sprouted grains, and there are also great companies that make sprouted burger buns, sprouted wraps and sprouted bread . Check the grocery store freezer section or fresh bread section to the find some sprouted goodness.

Wraps & Bread

There are many different varieties of healthy wraps and bread out there; spelt, kamut, quinoa, gluten-free and sprouted. If you’re looking to have some carbs with your burger but don’t care if it’s a bun in particular, try slicing your burger and placing it in a wrap or using two pieces of bread. This way you’ll have a much heartier carbohydrate and still enjoy your delicious veggie burger too.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

Super Easy, No-Fail Healthy Bread Recipe

Bread is one of the most beloved food staples. There is nothing like slicing into fresh bread in the morning and smearing it with a hearty layer of almond butter, jam or butter.

The problem with a lot of commercial breads that line grocery store shelves is that they are loaded in preservatives and refined flours. These breads might appear healthy, proclaiming to protect against heart disease and high cholesterol; however, they are riddled with unwanted ingredients.

Pick up your average bread in the grocery store and find words like monoglycerides, calcium propionate, diglycerides and sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate. While all of these ingredients have their specific purpose to leaven, emulsify and liquefy, many of these ingredients can actually wreak havoc in the body. This does not even take into account the commercial breads made with refined flours that have removed any semblance of fiber or micronutrients.

The answer to finding the most delicious, healthful bread is to make your own. This recipe is with spelt, tolerated by those with wheat sensitivities and it is higher in protein, fibre and contains nutrients that’s easier to absorb in the digestive system.

Bread making can be quite challenging and laborious but this recipe is to do. Get ready because your kitchen is about to become the best bakery in town.

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Sprouted Spelt Artisan Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups of sprouted spelt flour
1 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 ½ cups of luke warm water
¼ cup of oats for dusting

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, yeast and sea salt into a large bowl.
  2. Add the water and mix until shaggy dough forms, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let it sit for 12-18 hours overnight.
  3. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 °F. When the oven has reached the desired temperature put a dutch oven into the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place the dough on a floured surface and form into a ball. You do not need to knead the dough, so even though it may be tempting, refrain from doing it! Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest until it’s ready to go into the oven.
  5. When the oven has been preheated for 30 minutes, take the dutch oven out, sprinkle the bottom of it with a small handful of oats (this prevents the bottom of the dough from immediately sticking and burning).
  6. Place the dough in the dutch oven, put it back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes covered and then a final 15 minutes uncovered.
  7. Take it out, let it cool for 10 minutes.

Get Creative

Add different combinations of ingredients for a gourmet loaf that will be a great addition to any entertaining table.

  • Olives and rosemary
  • Thyme and grapes
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and craisins
  • Millet, quinoa and oats
  • Sundried tomato and garlic
  • Asiago and basil

Notes: Visit your local health food stores to find sprouted spelt flour.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

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