Vegan Flower Salad

For the past two weeks I was enclosed in a magical nature place called Te Moata Retreat Centre, where every day I lived and breathed yoga, and ate healthy wholesome delicious vegetarian or vegan meals.

The following vegan salad recipe is inspired by the talented creative chefs at Te Moata who made us beautiful salads daily. It is from them that I learned flowers can be put into salad and eaten. I never knew that flowers had so many variety of tastes, from spicy to sweet!

A few days ago, when I saw edible flowers being sold at a farmer’s market near my friend’s home in Auckland, I let my creative culinary juices run and created my version of a vegan flower side salad, inspired by the kitchen crew at Te Moata!

My friends who ate this salad loved it a lot and it actually took us longer to take photos of it than to eat it! They said it was too gorgeous to eat! 🙂

I hope you’ll enjoy this simple salad recipe and will be inspired to include edible flowers into your own recipes from now on!

 

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Serves: 4 people

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 bag of kale

1 box of cherry tomatoes

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 apple, sliced

1 box of edible flowers

Optional: your favourite nuts and seeds as toppings, and salad dressing

*My favourite homemade salad dressing is a mixture of olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 

Instructions:

  1. Wash, drain and dry kale.
  2. Toss all ingredients together in a salad bowl.
  3. Decorate salad with edible flowers as garnish.
  4. Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Ways To Have An Epic 2015

Love these tips to start off the new year from my blogger friend Tabitha! Check them out so you can be the best healthy and happy person you can ever be this year! 🙂

Tabitha's Gluten Free Dishes

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Happy New Year!  I love new year a time of new beginnings, dreams and goals.  When you consider your 2015 and what you’d like to achieve here are 3 thoughts to help you can manifest your dreams and goals.

Be Kind to yourself

Sounds simple but how we talk to ourselves, our ‘inner critic’ is key to our happiness.  Accepting who we are and celebrating it, not seeking approval from friends, family and work peers or by owning the latest, dress, car, bigger house whatever it might be is a game changer in life.

Changing our inner critic, (the way we talk to ourselves) to be easy going, supportive and not doubt our abilities, and forgive and forget the times we cock it up is a big step forward in allowing ourselves to achieve our goals and dreams.

I’m a big believer in dreams and setting goals but if their…

View original post 579 more words

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

One day I really missed having banana bread, so I looked into my kitchen to see if I had ingredients to quickly bake a fresh loaf of banana bread for my afternoon tea. Luckily I had one egg and one extremely ripe banana left, so I decided to experiment and see if it was possible to make a gluten-free and dairy-free banana bread with only one egg and one banana. I added chocolate chips because I’ve always loved the combination of banana and chocolate. To my delight, the result was one delicious, naturally sweet and dense loaf, perfect for my afternoon snack!

Since then, I have tried this recipe a few times more, and even had family members and friends taste it. After tasting this gluten-free and dairy-free version, some friends asked me for the recipe, so I have decided to put it here for all to enjoy. 🙂

Happy Baking my dear friends and readers!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread: The perfect morning or afternoon sweet snack with a cup of tea or coffee! :)

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread: The perfect morning or afternoon sweet snack with a cup of tea or coffee! 🙂

Makes: 1 loaf

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: about 35 minutes

 

Ingredients:

Wet Ingredients

1 ripe and mashed banana

1 egg

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk/non-dairy milk

2 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

 

Dry Ingredients

1 ½ cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 heaped tablespoon cacao powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons chia seeds

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup bittersweet/non-dairy chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Line small-medium loaf tin with baking/parchment paper.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into a blender/food processor.
  4. Combine dry ingredients (without chocolate chips) in a large bowl.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  6. Add chocolate chips slowly into the mixture.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm.
  8. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Special Note: I would love to try “egg free” for this recipe sometime soon. If you are trying this recipe with an egg substitute, please let me know how it turns out! Thank you. 🙂

Let’s Get Vegan on the Tonight Show!

Help out Vegan enthusiast & foodie Celeste by sharing this on your social networking sites or by reposting this blog. Let’s help her get on the Tonight Show!! 🙂 Thank you!

Honk If You're Vegan

I’ve seen veganism negatively stereotyped on TV many times. The latest hit was on the Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon joked about feeling sorry for the spouses of vegetarians because they’d have to eat yam-burgers. It was about vegetarians, not vegans, but I think the public lumps us all together.

I couldn’t find Fallon’s statement online, but I did find this:

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No wonder people assume that vegan food is crappy – that’s what the media is selling! Vegans know differently, but it’s hard to compete with Hollywood.

Or maybe we can…

Celeb plant-based chef known for The Great Food Truck Race and owner of Seabirds Kitchen, Stephanie Morgan, and I want to get on the Tonight Show and blow Fallon’s socks off with amazing vegan food.

Here’s a photo of the lovely Stephanie.

9355228_orig Celeb chef and owner of Seabirds Kitchen, Stephanie Morgan

But we need your help!

We need BUZZ to for this to fly. So let’s make some…

View original post 48 more words

Inspired to Bake Vegan!

I’m so excited to share with you that today I baked vegan cookies successfully!!  It was my first time too!

I was inspired to give it a try after reading my dear blogger friend Celeste’s Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe.

I followed Celeste’s amazing recipe step by step with a few substitutions/additions to make it gluten-free and nut-free for an Easter celebration.

Please click here to see Celeste’s recipe: http://honkifyourevegan.com/2014/04/17/orange-chocolate-chip-cookies-vegan

I love reading Celeste’s blog (http://honkifyourevegan.com), as she writes about so many interesting and diverse topics on veganism, has fabulous ideas and  yummy recipes, and shares her personal plant-based diet journey along the way.  Check her blog out when you have time, and I guarantee you’ll be better informed on veganism and inspired by her! 🙂

 

If you like to make these cookies gluten-free and nut-free, here are the ingredients I used:

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

6 tablespoons water

2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons orange zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

 

*I baked the cookies for 10 minutes so they are soft and chewy.

 

Here is a close up of these delicious Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chip  Cookies:

The combination of orange, cranberries and chocolate makes this cookie very refreshing! :)

The combination of orange, cranberries and chocolate give these cookies a delicious refreshing taste!

 

Thank you for the vegan baking inspiration dearest Celeste! 🙂  You totally rock!!

 

I wish you all a beautiful week ahead and if you celebrate Easter, Happy Easter! 🙂

XO,

Violet

 

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I feel like I haven’t posted a recipe for a long time, so to match with today’s freezing cold wintry day (where I live), here’s a scrumptious, soft and sugary but healthy bite sized cookie to go with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee!

Also, I have it on good authority that children love eating these cookies as a healthy snack, so I’ll say this recipe is kid-friendly too! 😉

Here is my Cinnamon Sugar Cookies recipe, adapted from Bulk Barn’s Sugar Cookies recipe.  Enjoy! 🙂

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Makes: 24 cookies

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 13-15 minutes

Total Time: about 25 minutes

 

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup organic coconut flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, vanilla and oil together.
  3. Stir in coconut flour and leave batter for 5 minutes so it can thicken.
  4. Combine cinnamon with 1 tablespoon sugar in a little bowl.
  5. Take 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball.
  6. Roll ball into cinnamon mixture completely.
  7. Put on cookie sheet and flatten ball a little bit.  Cookies should be placed 1 inch apart.
  8. Repeat steps 4-6 until dough is done.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes.
  10. Let cookies cool completely or enjoy a warm one after waiting for about 10 minutes! 🙂

 

Special Note:

-Cinnamon: This sweet and fragrant spice has a lot of health benefits.  To name a few: it regulates blood sugar, reduces pain linked to arthritis, is anti-microbial so may help to stop the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi, and has fibre, calcium and manganese which are all good for the body.

 

Resources on Cinnamon:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html?page=1

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68

http://www.livestrong.com/article/22014-cinnamon-health-benefits/

Healthy Holiday Baking Recipe #2: Mint Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies (Gluten-Free)

When I went shopping for baking ingredients, I got inspired by the mint chocolate chips and Christmas-coloured chocolate chips (red, green and white) at the store.  Therefore, I couldn’t resist buying both to create these yummylicious and fun Christmas cookies!

As promised, here’s the second recipe to my healthy holiday baking.  These gluten-free and light cookies are perfect for anyone who is health conscious but loves chocolate, or the combination of mint and chocolate!  My sister-in-law, who is one of the fittest person I’ve ever known, came over last night and ate about ten of these.  Trust me, you eat about 6 of these, and you won’t feel bloated or guilty overindulging! 😉

XmasMintCookies

Makes: 24 cookies

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: about 25 minutes

 

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour (I used Robin Hood’s Nutri Flour Blend Gluten Free: http://www.robinhood.ca/Products/Nutri-Flour-Blend-Gluten-Free)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Wet Ingredients

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup organic coconut palm sugar

2 organic eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Extra

1/2 cup mint chocolate chips

1/2 cup Christmas chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix olive oil and sugar until well combined.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  7. Slowly add chocolate chips into batter, making sure both mint and Christmas chocolate chips are evenly distributed.
  8. With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on the baking sheet and flatten it slightly.  Continue until batter is gone, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes.
  10. Enjoy! :)

 

Special Notes:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:  used in replacement of butter/margarine because it’s not only healthier (cuts back on cholesterol and saturated fat content) and dairy-free, it also makes the baked goods lighter and moister!

Here’s a good site for more information and it even has a butter/margarine to olive oil conversion chart for baking: http://thepassionateolive.com/wp/baking-with-olive-oil-instead-of-butter/

Organic Coconut Palm Sugar: I’m really loving this new natural sweetener I discovered recently for baking.  As mentioned in my previous post, this natural sugar has a low glycemic index; it also has a high nutrient profile (to name a few: iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium).  To learn more about it, read this very informative article about it: http://authoritynutrition.com/coconut-sugar/

-To reduce the sugar, you can decrease amount of sugar and chocolate chips to your liking.  Also, you can replace chocolate chips with same amount of dried cranberries, raisins and/or nuts.  Be creative! 🙂

-If you don’t have mint chocolate chips, you can replace it with crushed candy canes to give it a minty taste.

 

Wishing you all love, peace, joy, hope and light this wondrous holiday season with your family and friends! 😀

xoxo, Violet