Gluten Free

Cranberry Coconut Almond Granola

cranberry coconut almond granola

Breakfast? Do you eat it? Although I’m about to sound like the broken record of all broken records, here goes; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When we eat breakfast we give our digestive system the cue to get ready and optimize for a day of nutrient assimilation. But we’ve all been guilty of skipping this essential morning ritual- hey, even I’m guilty of it!

Breakfast is a good time to eat a nice balance of food; fibre to keep you regular, protein to sustain you and carbohydrates to give you the energy you need to conquer your day.

Buckwheat- Your Friend in Health
Althoug buckwheat is not a true cereal, it always finds a place in my granola; but you will be surprised to know that buckwheat is closer to sorrel and rhubarb than it is to the granola mainstay of oats. Both soluble and insoluble fibres lower bad cholesterol, balance blood sugar levels (read: no mid morning crash) and it works to keep our gut healthy. This Vitality Kitchen Granola mainstay is rich in flavanoids that protect the heart and because it’s gluten free- don’t let the wheat in the name fool you- it’s ideal for those adhering to a gluten free lifestyle!

Make Mornings Easier, Make Granola
Each week in the Vitality Kitchen I create yummy smoothies, nut milks and granola as a part of the Breakfast Pack, which is designed for those who understand the importance of breakfast but making time for it slips through the cracks. This week I made a raw, high protein granola to whet my Vitality Kitchen clients appetites, because in my kitchen breakfast is so not boring.

This granola is dehydrated, which preserves the nutrients in all the seeds,nuts and buckwheat; but if you’re thinking, “I don’t have a dehydrator, nor do I want to buy one”, fear not you can dehydrate in your oven- there’s a link to the video below.

With that, I’ll say make love, not war; eat breakfast, make granola.

Raw Cranberry Coconut Almond Granola
1/2 cups raw buckwheat groats, soaked at least 1 hour
1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 tbsp organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries

Soak the buckwheat groats for 1 hour and then drain, rinsing them well; and then allow them to drain again. Transfer to a bowl.

In a bowl, toss the almonds, hemps seeds, chia seeds, coconut, orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup,cinnamon, and vanilla until well coated. Pour this mixture over the buckwheat and mix well.

Spread the batter evenly between two Teflex-lined dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 115°F for about 12 hours (or until they are dry enough to flip over), flip them over and remove the Teflex sheet. Continue dehydrating another 5 hours, or until the granola is dry and crunchy. Remove from the dehydrator and use your hands to crumble the sheets into a mixing bowl. Don’t have a dehydrator? Check out this video and learn how to dehydrate without one!

Add the cranberries and mix well. Store in an airtight glass container either at a cool room temperature, or in the refrigerator.

Leek and Cashew Soup

leek and cashew soup

Happy New Year friends; I still have a hard time writing 2014- TWENTY FOURTEEN. But it’s here! January is here and with January comes resolutions.

I personally hate the term resolution, I prefer intentions; but that’s just me. In any case, t’is the season to detox, cleanse, stop the buck;  whatever you happen to call it, this is when we all refocus and endeavour to make THIS year our best year yet. However, it can be easy to get overwhelmed, as resolving to eat better, exercise everyday and lose 50lbs can be a tall order- even for the most focused among us. So let’s start small shall we.

Instead of mandating a complete life overhaul, that is sure to fall by the wayside by February 1st, why not make a few small changes this month and build on them next month and so forth? In fact, there’s proof that people who make small, tangible changes have far greater success than those who hatch lofty goals that are sure to fail. So you see it’s about SMALL CHANGES.

So let’s start with soup, glorious soup. Soup is a favourite food of mine; it’s hydrating AND nourishing. And when soup is carefully crafted, it’s extra satisfying. This soup in particular is all of these things, and more; as it comes together in less than thirty minutes and offers fibre, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. You know by now how much I love nutritional bang for my buck!

It’s busy around here, as I set up the new Vitality Kitchen space and guide many lovely people through their cleansing journey, so small changes are all I’ve got time for. Let’s do this together shall we!

Easy leek and cashew soup- small changes never tasted so good!

Leek and Cashew Soup

5 leeks, white and green parts only
1 lrg onion, sliced
1 cup raw cashews
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 cups vegetable stock

Slice the leeks and wash them thoroughly- dirt loves to burrow deep into the ridges of leeks. In a large soup pot, heat the oil on medium heat; add the leeks, onions, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the ingredients don’t burn on the bottom. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook and additional 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and with an immersion blender, blend the soup until velvety and smooth.

Raw Zucchini and Coconut Cream Salad

zucchini salad

When most think of raw salads, nowhere in that thought process does winter factor into the equation; and, although, I am generally inclined to believe that in cooler climates, the winter is tailored to warming food, but I also believe that in order to stay healthy and well, ensuring a high intake of raw foods is essential for kickin’ immunity!

I’m always cooking up new recipes for the Vitality Kitchen menu, and I believe that during this season we can still enjoy raw foods, like salad, that are able warm our bodies up. And, zucchini, which is related to melons, cucumbers and other squash are a light and cleansing food; they contain a high volume of water, are low in calories and are brimming with vitamin C. And in the winter months where we are dry and coup’d up inside, foods that are cleansing and help ward off illness are a welcome addition to any meal.

Zucchini- What Is It Good For?!
The phytonutrients in zucchini promote bowel regularity and aid in water balance; which makes this magical gourd a natural diuretic and laxative.

While zucchini is a natural diuretic and laxative, the fibre, vitamin C and beta carotene help regulate our blood sugar; and the enviable amounts of manganese help the body metabolize protein and carbohydrates, digest fat, produce sex hormones and lower blood pressure.

Simply The Best
From their skin to their seeds, zucchini are entirely edible- waste not, want not! And as a cooling, sedative food, zucchini is useful in treating tired adrenals (kidneys) and frayed nerves- perfect for the upcoming holiday season!

Key nutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote healthy eyes, are concentrated in their skins; however, if you are going to eat the skin, PLEASE go with an organic zucchini; I care about you and your health, so trust me on this one…

Creamy, Raw, DELICIOUS
This salad came to be as I was testing recipes for my Raw Rookie Cleansing program– the program is a juice and raw salad cleanse; and I like to keep things fresh and new for my clients…and also for me, because I LOVE creating in the kitchen! And blending coconut flakes with water, curry paste, fish sauce and tamari creates a velvety cream that kicks raw zucchini up more than a few notches and excites me like no other!

Spicy, creamy and oh so tasty; who said raw salads we’re a summer thing?!

Raw Zucchini and Coconut Cream Salad

1 lrg zucchini, washed
3/4 cup unsweetened, unbleached, organic coconut flakes
2/3 cup water, room temperature
1 heaping tbsp curry paste
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp tamari sauce
1/2 tsp hot chili sauce
1 tbsp black chia seed

With a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini, creating long threads; set aside.

In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients except the chia seeds and blend until smooth. Toss with zucchini and sprinkle with chia seeds to serve.

**Unlike cucumber salads, this salad can be dressed ahead of time and still maintain its integrity.

The Paleo Diet Approved Cauliflower Rice

paleo diet cauliflower rice

Paleo, Paleolithic, Caveman or Ancestor, whatever you call it, the diet our ancestors have consumed throughout evolution is once again gaining popularity. This morning I paid a visit to CTV Morning Live Edmonton and shared a recipe for cauliflower rice; a real rice mimicking recipe that falls within the confines of the paleo diet.


Paleo Basics:

Avoid Grains, Legumes and Sugar
500 years ago, before the advent of agriculture, the consumption of grains, and legumes simply wasn’t possible, so you won’t find them on a paleo plate. And we all know the perils of sugar consumption, and paleo diet rules prohibit the consumption of sugar, because back in the day sugar was a rare luxury and not a daily indulgence; this includes, honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup, no matter how organic/local. Stevia is a leaf that is super sweet and serves as a substitute for sugar that is paleo approved!

Stick To High Quality Meats
Since your plate is largely animal protein, the source is extra important. Processed meat is NOT what you want to consume EVER, especially if you are paleo; what the animal eats, you eat. Grass fed, pasture raised or organic meat and chicken, in addition to wild fish is the type of animal protein you want to consume.

Cool It On The Fruit
Although you are allowed fruit, on the paleo diet you want to limit your fruit intake and focus primarily on berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) which generally boast a less sugar than other fruit.

You know I love good fats, and the paleo diet indulges me! Coconut oil, grass fed/ organic butte, ghee, lard, tallow,avocado, olives/ olive oil etc. are all fair game- go wild and see you hair, skin and nails improve!

As with any diet, this may not be right for you; if you are eating a paleo diet and find yourself just not feeling “right”, try something else- I say this to vegetarians and vegans as well.


Cilantro Infused Cauliflower Rice

I believe that when we give up certain foods, in order to ease the transition, it’s essential to find ways to satisfy cravings; and having grown up in North America, most of us are conditioned to have rice, pasta, potatoes and the like on our plates, so eating paleo can prove challenging. Enter Cauliflower rice!

Cauliflower, chopped finely and sauteed in coconut oil and butter, mimics the rice of our youth! And it takes so nicely to customization.

Cilantro Infused Cauliflower Rice
A “rice” dish that our ancestors would approve of, the perfectly Paleo, cilantro infused cauliflower rice.

•    a small head of organic cauliflower, chopped coarsely
•    2 tablespoons of butter
•    1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
•    1 tbsp chopped cilantro
•    1 tsp salt
•    1/4 tsp pepper

In a sauce pan on medium high heat, melt the butter and coconut oil. Pat the cauliflower pieces with a clean cloth, to ensure they are dry. Add the cauliflower and saute for 5-7 minutes; once the cauliflower begins to caramelize, cook for an additional 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro; serve hot with stews and curries, or serve cold in salads.

Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


For the full transcript of my Paleo Kitchen Cooking Class, sign up for the Color Me Healthy Newsletter!