It’s the time of year when I go into full on holiday baking mode. Cookies, pies, fudge, you name it. But it still doesn’t mean a plethora of refined junky foods, no thanks. Instead, I look at the holidays as an opportunity to get creative and experiment with new sweeteners and flour substitutes. Technically none of these are completely sugar free but they all contain natural unrefined sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. Refined sugar free just sounded like a long and annoying title.
Here are some of my favourite treats to make for the holidays, as well as some that I really want to try out this year. I think after I write this post I might run to the kitchen and make those paleo gingerbread cookies. I’m feeling a little blue and lethargic today and I have a feeling the smell of cookies wafting through the house is just the fix.
I’ve made this pie twice now and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. It’s way easier than regular ol’ pumpkin pie and a lot healthier too. The crust is made with macadamia nuts (or whatever nuts you have kicking around) dates and coconut oil and the filling is a creamy combination of pumpkin, coconut milk, aromatic spices and grass fed beef gelatine which is absolutely loaded with health benefits. I was hesitant to use the gelatine as I didn’t want the pie to have a weird consistency, but if you use the right amount it does the job of thickening without creating any weird gummy textures. If you want a purely vegan pie you can get vegan gelatine using agar agar or irish moss which are both seaweeds.
You American peeps haven’t had your thanksgiving yet and my vote is that you try this Paleo No Bake Pumpkin Pie for the occasion. I made it for our thanksgiving and the fam jam went gaga. The best part is that its so light and easy to digest that you don’t get that same lead weight feeling in the pit of your stomach that usually comes along with thanksgiving.
Since we’re on the topic I would also seriously recommend dry brining your turkey 24 hours before cooking it. This technique definitely resulted in hands down the best turkey I have ever had or made. Last year I did a traditional brine, which is great but leaves the meat a bit watered down. Dry brining imparts the flavour from the salt without taking flavour away from the turkey. I suppose I should just write a post on this alone since I’m so passionate about dry brining but you guys I didn’t take any photos because that turkey was gone so fast.
If you’re in the kitchen for an extended amount of time and looking for a great jam, check out this mix, its long, varied and beautiful.
1 1/2 C unsalted macadamia nuts (pecans or walnuts also work well)
1/2 C date paste
1/4 C coconut oil
pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean or vanilla extract
Filling and coconut whipped cream
1 28oz can pumpkin puree OR equivalent amount homemade pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk (left in the fridge for a few hours to firm up)
1/2 C coconut oil
3 Tbs grass fed beef gelatine OR 1 tsp agar agar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30 drops liquid stevia OR 1/3 C maple syrup
For the crust
In a high powered blender or food processor, add the macadamia nuts, date paste, coconut oil, salt and vanilla and blend until all the nuts are crushed and everything is evenly combined.
Press the crust into a springform pan, the smaller the pan the taller the pie will be but I used a 9 inch.
Set the crust in the fridge or freezer to set a bit while you make the filling.
Filling and coconut whipped cream
Using the same blender or food processor add the pumpkin puree, separate the liquid from the coconut cream and add the liquid only. Add the gelatine or agar agar (don't worry about blooming it) and puree until smooth.
Add the coconut oil, spices, salt, vanilla and stevia or maple syrup and puree again until smooth.
Pour over top of the crust and allow to set for at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving.
To make the coconut whipped cream simply use the remaining coconut cream and whip it with a whisk or in a mixer until light and fluffy, you can add a splash of maple syrup or honey to sweeten it up if desired.
Pie serves 8-10 people, place a dollop of coconut whipped cream on each piece and enjoy!
Holy case of the Mondays today. On top of the ‘kill all things’ stage of the whole 30, my little teething monster has been draining 60 calories of comfort a minute from me. I don’t understand how women with children under 3 get absolutely anything done. Murphy’s law is in full swing because as soon as I wrote that he is off on his own smashing remote controls. Do I care? Nope.
How do you cope with ineffective days? I feel like our society superimposes really high standards of productivity. But some days it feels pretty difficult to cross anything off the to-do list. I have to gently remind myself that raising a child is always on the top of that list, and that I must always work on that first.
About this salad, it’s beyond refreshing and packed with craving busting minerals. Often we get those mad cravings for sweets and quick fix foods because of mineral deficiencies. But you know what sucks? Boring salads. Boring vegetables. They give vegetables a bad rep. It’s my mission to never ever make a boring salad. Cruciferous vegetables are particularly detoxifying because they’re so high in I3C or indole-3-carbinols, which help to break down bad estrogen in the body and regulate hormones. Aside from that the fiber and vitamin C in this salad are cleansing and help me feel more vibrant and just plain happy during the first few days of the whole 30. I find that I always have a craving for crunchy foods and this Fennel Grapefruit Detox Salad more than satisfies. Save some of the fronds for garnish or adding to soups and what not, they really impart that lovely anise flavour.
I made these after work one day. I got home dying of heat and starving for a combination of comfort food and healthy raw veggies. My foray into the new Asian market that just opened up didn’t last long as my son took to throwing his first public temper tantrum (milestones!). But I did manage to sneak out with some rice noodles and a jar of tamarind. I didn’t plan on posting this recipe, but the end result was so beautiful and vibrant and it just oozed with the taste of summer times bounty so I had to share it. The beauty of these Summer Harvest Noodle Bowls is that you can just use whatever fruits and veggies are in season. Every bite is different and the fruitiness of the fresh strawberries goes amazingly well with the umami Thai inspired sunshine sauce.
For the month of August I’m doing this 30 day writing challenge with Andrea Balt and Tyler Greg Knotson called Write Yourself Alive. It’s super fun and engaging so far, the whole community is so supportive and encouraging. I thought I would share some of my writing on here too, just for kicks.
Write a letter to the person you thought you would be by now and explain why you’re better off where you are…
Hey you wild souled creature, hungry for adventure, thirsty for knowledge, lusting for true love and hungry for a different kind of life. I love you so much. Because you are a part of me, a part that I often revert to, dying to escape the mundane and run with the wolves. We’ve been on quite the journey. Just when you were planning your next escape to Africa, where you would’ve studied dance and eaten with your hands on dirt floors whatever was offered, an unthinkable thing happened. A choice erupted, you faced the stark reality that now you could be responsible for another being. Either that or you could prod through jungles, jump off cliffs, eat fried crickets and make love in the street.
That furious drive to go all places, to be wild and completely free will always be with you. Your heart yearns to understand the poor men pulling rickshaws without shoes on, why entire tribes worship a stalk of magical corn and how those with the simplest of lives often seem the most fulfilled.
You never fit in, you weren’t willing to give your life over to debt and the 9-5. You fought that confinement with all your might. With an unsavoury and selfish might at times. In your quest to be this nomadic gypsy queen, you realized something. In trying so hard to always be on the move, you were getting lost. Fear of settling, fear of stillness, a mind so fraught with questions and concern. Go go go, more more more. At times when stillness did come, you found a smothered sadness and a gaping unfillable hole. Maybe at first you tried to fill it with what you thought was love. You pretended for awhile that someone else could light your fire. But it didn’t go away, it lingered until stillness showed itself and that old familiar feeling crept up. Did it matter if you were in Thailand or Australia? No. You got quiet, you started to get to know yourself a little better, to sit with it, to find solace that you weren’t the only one with holes. One day it just clicked. An earth shattering understanding that you my dear, could only find what you were looking for within yourself.
That selflessness that you so admired in others, in the mamas lifting rocks to build castles for false kings just to feed their babies, the kind stranger on the train offering food and shelter only to find that he himself barely has such things. Your heart broke open deeper each time you witnessed these acts requiring no payment in return. And then you were given a choice. To give life, to nourish another, to give over your body, your space, your quiet, your freedom- to care for another.
It’s not like you didn’t have options. No one would’ve shamed you had you made the choice to keep your freedom. You didn’t have to do it. Its not like you had any money or even a spare bedroom in your tent. But you had courage, you had love enough to give and you chose. You chose selflessness, you chose undying unhindered boundless love, you chose to overcome obstacles. Now you see that your freedom doesn’t dwell on aircrafts and cheap hostels, it is within you. You’ve really surprised yourself. Did you know you would be a good mother? Never in a million years did you see yourself here. And hell, your no typical mom either.
Being present to marvel at the amazing discoveries of this new being. Learning how to be a mom is a lot like travelling. You don’t know what to expect. You can read every book and blog on the topic and you still won’t know much. We learn through the richness of experience and motherhood is no different.
Here you are little girl, a woman now, a mother, a lover, a giver, with no regrets and weepy eyes that over flow every time you think about the moment you met that wrinkly little star seed for the first time. You relive it over and over again, so that no matter what happens you never forget. I can’t say that for any waterfalls or meals eaten with my hands on dirt floors. I can say that motherhood has made me better than the person I thought I would be by now.
I have a quinoa salad for every season. But summer is my favourite, when there’s so much abundance all you really need is a simple dressing and whatever local vegetables you have on hand.
In my car I only have the radio, I wish this wasn’t the case but #firstworldproblem. Anyhow, I don’t normally listen to top 40 and I never even had it on the radio until moving back to the city recently. It’s weird, popular music isn’t necessarily any good for the most part but it is fucking catchy.
One song that I can’t get out of my head, and I don’t even know what it’s called is, I can’t feel my face when I’m with you, but I love it, but I love it.
What does this mean? Does anyone know? I love singing it, and its one top 40 song that doesn’t immediately make me switch the station, but I really don’t get it.
Maybe I just need to crank it, nosh some of this super summer quinoa salad and let my imagination dream of numb faced star crossed lovers whacking each other without sensation.
My friend Amanda says I’m 3 years behind on everything to do with pop culture. This is pretty accurate. I didn’t know who Nicki Minaj was until like, a week ago. I like her new song too, even though it probably isn’t all that new and is rather sexist, it’s catchy as hell.
Another pop culture phenomenon I didn’t know about was Game of Thrones. Dear God. I am so glad I never knew about this show until now. There is no way I would be able to have survived the pending mystery of whether or not Theon really killed Bram and his brother in Season 2. I know you guys are way beyond that now since it’s onto Season 6 but still, I would have died not being able to watch the very next episode right away.
One thing I am up on is this whole Cecil the lion thing. Okay, it’s absurd that people still kill animals for fun. Any animal. There’s a similar situation in BC where our premier is allowing permits to be doled out for up to 500 grizzly bears to be hunted per year. It’s the insanity of our culture at its best. In the midst of public outcry though, some very important points have been brought to light. My favourite being that if people cared half as much about GMO’s and bills being passed making Monsanto nearly unstoppable in their quest to not tell us what we’re eating, we’d have a lot more control over our food system. Or the fact that 90% of the animals we eat every single day are raised in inhumane, unnatural conditions. It’s speciesism at its finest, is it not?
What other poppy happenings have I missed?
What I do miss the most is living near a clean pristine river and swimming in the lake on a whim. City life is a huge adjustment, but I’m trying to embrace it. The benefits of pad thai at the drop of a hat and amazing markets are pretty sweet. But hey, who knows what’s next.
Hello lovelies, it’s been awhile and I’m all up in a spring tizzy. My how time flies as the days get longer, along with the to-do list. My mom and grandma are visiting right now, gigi is meeting her great grandson for the first time!
As a lovely surprise I made them this decadent raw pie, oddly reminiscent of a pink creamsicle. The rhubarb in our garden is off the hook, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. The more you pull, the more springs up. I find myself searching for new ways to use rhubarb, aside from pie there are few ideas out there. Any ideas?
The new moon just passed so we took the opportunity to plant seeds in the garden. In biodynamic gardening, planting and harvesting is planned according to the lunar cycles. Which makes good sense, as the moon affects the ebb and flow of all H2O containing life. As the moon grows so do the plants, hopefully, fingers crossed, it’s the first year I’ve had a garden in awhile.
More about this pie. Roasted rhubarb is the way to do rhubarb, this roasted rhubarb + vanilla cream raw pie is healthy and light yet super satisfying. You’re going to love it, even if you hate rhubarb. I tricked my mom, who claims she hates rhubarb, but when I gave her a slice she unknowingly bit into it and thought it was oh so delicious. This brings to light a lot of misconceptions about rhubarb. Many folks think it’s too sour or stringy or bitter. I beg to differ, especially when roasted as it caramelizes the natural sugars. Do give this pie a chance, I wouldn’t lead you astray.
3/4 C raisins or dates (soaked for at least 30 mins)
1/2 C + 1/2 C + 3 Tbs coconut oil
2 C raw cashews (soaked 4-8 hrs)
1 C coconut milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/3 C raw honey or maple syrup
pinch sea salt
4 large rhubarb stalks
1/3 C raw honey or coconut sugar
Preheat oven to 400F and roast rhubarb on a baking sheet for 20 minutes.
Using a food processor or high powered blender, combine raw almonds, rainsins or dates and 1/2 C coconut oil until smooth. Press this crust into the bottom of a 12 inch springform pan. Set in the freezer while making the filling.
Clean out the blender or food processor. Add the drained cashews, 1/2 C coconut oil, coconut milk, honey or maple syrup and vanilla and blend on high until super smooth and creamy. Pour over the set crust and place back in the freezer while making the topping.
Clean out the blender or food processor and add rhubarb, 3 Tbs coconut oil and honey or coconut sugar. Pour topping evenly over the vanilla cream and allow to set in the fridge or freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.
Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.