Salt & Pepper Delicata Squash Chips (Paleo, Vegan)


Delicata squash (also known as sweet potato squash) are easy to find in local farmers’ markets lately. I would often look at these interesting striped vegetables, but not buy them as I was not sure how to cook them. An office friend gave me a sample she had made with three simple ingredients: salt, pepper, and coconut oil. I tried her recipe and now I am a convert – thanks Janet!

These chips are so easy to make and really addictive. They are chewy, sweet, and savoury. The next time you have a craving for potato chips, whip up this healthier and satisfying version instead. I bet you will be addicted to them like I am. They are the perfect fall treat.

Sansational!

 

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Makes 1 full baking tray

Ingredients:

1 small delicata squash
Sea salt
Pepper
Coconut oil, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and brush the paper with some of the melted coconut oil.

3. Cut the squash length wise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut each half into thin slices (about 1/4 inch.) and place on tray without overlapping.  ( There is no need to peel the squash.)

4. Brush the slices with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tender and golden.

Sansational Tips:

1.  There is no need to flip the chips.

2.  Use your own combination of spices for a varied version.




Strawberry Banana Chia Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)


This pudding parfait has been my go to breakfast lately. It tastes like a Dairy Queen banana spilt, but without the belly bloat. With fresh strawberries in season, you have to try this Sansational!

Serves 2

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Ingredients:

1 cup almond, cashew, or coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
Sliced strawberries and bananas
Topping of choice for crunch: sliced almond, toasted coconut chips, coconut, pumpkin seeds, walnuts (I used the first two)

Directions:

1. For the pudding: Place the first four ingredients in a mason jar, mix well and refrigerate for four hours to overnight.

2. For the parfait: Layer the pudding with the fruit and toppings. Enjoy!

Sansational Tip:

You can use other fruit such as mango and pineapple to create your own Sansational version. I have tried this parfait with mango and banana for a tropical twist.  So delicious!




Chocolate Cherry Date Bars (Paleo, Vegan)


I love the combination of cherries and almonds (as seen in my previous posts: Cherry Almond Smoothie and Almond Cherry Thumbprint Jam Cookies). These date bars are similar to a Lara Bar and are bursting with the flavours of cherries, almonds, and chocolate. Perfect for an afternoon power lift or grab and go snack.

Sansational!

 

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Makes about seven bars

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw almonds
10 Medjool dates, pitted
½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp cacao powder
¼ cup chocolate chips (I use dairy free, Enjoy Life brand)
dash or two of sea salt
¼ tsp almond extract or 1 tsp vanilla (optional)

 

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor (I used a Vitamix) until a sticky mixture is formed.

2. Grab a small handful and shape into small square bars or balls.

Enjoy!

 

Sansational Tips:

1. Any combination of dried fruits or nuts will work with this recipe. If you don’t have dried cherries, dried cranberries are delicious too!

2. Look for apple juice sweetened dried cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries, instead of the one sweetened with sugar.  I recently bought a mixed bag at Costco and my local health food store always has apple juice sweetened dried cranberries.




Egyptian Lentil Soup (Vegan)


This Egyptian Lentil Soup is so lemony, filling, and warming. It is similar to my Sunshine Soup. The variation is a few spices and that it was made in a VitaClay. A VitaClay is a rice cooker and slow cooker in one. Soups taste so much better when made in the VitaClay and take about one-third of the time than when made in a classic slow cooker. Just throw everything in a VitaClay and puree with a hand blender when cooked. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a VitaClay. A regular slow cooker will work. Cook for about 4 to 6 hours on low in a slow cooker. If cooking on the stovetop with a Dutch pot, just cook the onion and garlic in a little olive oil or coconut oil before adding in the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or so before blending.

Sansational!

 

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Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup dried lentils
1 large chopped onion
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 celery sticks, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup coriander or parsley

 

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to VitaClay pot, except lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cilantro.

2. Cover and set on “Slow Cooking-Soup” mode for 2 hours.

3. Puree soup with hand blender to desired consistency.

4.  Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir well.

5.  Serve and top with coriander or parsley.




Apple Hemp Bake (Vegan)


From Julie Daniluk

 

This is a warm, satisfying and healthy breakfast. Since it makes eight portions, you can make it once and have it for a few days. It smells and tastes like apple pie. It sure beats packaged Quaker oatmeal.

 

Sansational!

 

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Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp sea salt
6 large organic eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 cups quinoa, cooked
4 cups apples, cubed
1/2 cup hemp hearts

 

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well mixed.

2. Pour into a 12 inch baking dish and bake at 350° F  for 35-45 minutes until golden and firm to touch.




Long Squash and Fish Curry (Paleo, Possibly Vegan)


Adapted from detoxinista.com

There is no need to go out for Thai food when this delicious dish can be whipped up in almost no time at all. I picked up a long squash on the weekend and was wondering what to do with it. It was delicious in this curry.  If you haven’t tried long squash, give it a go in this recipe.

It will be Sansational!

Here is my curry:

 

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Here is what long squash looks like:

 

 

Makes 3 to 4 large servings

 

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon coconut oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 long squash (no need to peel or seed), cut into one inch pieces
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk, full fat
1 tablespoon tamari, or soy sauce
4 large pieces of any white fish (Tilapia, Bass), cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh coriander

 

Directions:

1.  Melt the coconut oil in a large wok or Dutch oven over medium heat, and saute the onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add in the long squash and cook for another five to ten minutes until softened.  Add in the curry powder and stir well.

3.  Add in the coconut milk, tamari, and salt and stir well. Add the fish.

4.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through.  

5.  Top with coriander and enjoy!

 

Sansational Tips:

1.  You can make a vegan version of this recipe by omitting the fish and serving with quinoa.

2.  If you don’t have long squash, this recipe works great with other veggies as well such as sweet potato, cauliflower, peppers, or broccoli (use about 1 pound of veggies).




Almond Cherry Thumbprint Jam Cookies (Paleo, Vegan)


Adapted from Detoxinista.com

 
Cherry and almonds is one of my favourite flavour combinations (see my previous Cherry Almond Smoothie post). These cookies are filling, not to sweet, and healthy enough to eat for breakfast. Any jam can be used (try my Strawberry Raspberry Chia Jam) or try the easy to make cherry jam below. Yes, it is easy to make this jam as there is no waiting or gelatin used – just Omega 3-filled chia seeds to act as the binding ingredient.

Sansational!

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Makes 16 – 24 cookies (depending on your desired size)

FOR THE COOKIES

¼ cup coconut oil, softened
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups almond flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

FOR THE CHERRY JAM

½ cup fresh or frozen cherries
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a Silpat. In a small saucepan, combine all of the cherry jam ingredients, bring to a boil and let cool and for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the cookies.

2. In a separate bowl, cream together the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts until smooth. Gradually stir in the almond flour and sea salt, and mix well until a uniform dough is formed.

3. Scoop the dough by tablespoons and use your hands to roll into smooth balls. (I made mine into one inch balls and this made 16 cookies). Place the balls onto the lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, and use your thumb to press into the center of each cookie, creating a well for the jam.

4. To prepare the cherry jam filling, transfer the jam ingredients into a high-speed blender, and blend until uniformly combined, about 1 minute.

5. Use a spoon to drop a dollop of jam into the center of each cookie.

6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!




Pecan Chocolate "Shortbread" Bars (Paleo, Vegan)


If you are looking for a nutty, sweet bar, then this is the bar for you. Perfect for that afternoon craving. They won’t last long as these are a taste explosion.

Sansational!

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FOR THE SHORTBREAD CRUST

6 tsp coconut oil
2 cups almond flour or almond meal
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

FOR THE CARAMEL FILLING

1 and 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
1 tbsp almond milk, or more if needed
pinch of fine grain sea salt

FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp maple syrup (or a little more if you like it sweeter)

AND

21 pecan halves (more/less depending on the number of your bars)

 

1. TO MAKE THE SHORTBREAD CRUST: Line a 8 x 10 baking dish with parchment paper.

2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Remove from heat and add the almond flour/meal, maple syrup, and salt. Mix until well combined.

3. Pour in parchment-lined dish and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes until almost set (don’t worry if a little wet looking in the middle).

4. TO MAKE THE CARAMEL FILLING: Soak dates in water until soft (only if necessary) and drain. Place pitted dates, almond butter, milk, and salt in the food processor and process until almost smooth.

5. Spread the caramel layer over top of the crust until it’s as smooth and even as you can get it. Place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set.

6. TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Mix in the cocoa powder and maple syrup and stir until smooth.

7. Pour evenly over the caramel filling. Place back in freezer until set (about 10-15 minutes).

8. Once firm, pull the whole thing out by parchment paper and cut into desired size bars. Place a pecan half on each.

9.  Enjoy right out of the freezer.




Curried Coconut Butternut Squash with Tempeh (Vegan, Possibility Paleo)


This is another one of my favourite winter stews.  It is similar to my Spicy “Peanut” Chicken Stew with the same rich, comforting, and filling qualities. The combination of the coconut, lime, and spices makes it a Sansational.

Perfect for this cold winter!

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 red onion, diced
1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tsp jalapeño flakes
2 tsp curry powder
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 kafir lime leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 pkg of tempeh, cubed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft (about 4 minutes).

2. Add the ginger, bell pepper, garlic, squash, and jalapeño flakes, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, coconut milk, kafir lime leaves, and broth.

3. Simmer and cook until the squash is tender (20 to 25 minutes). Remove the lime leaves and puree with hand blender until smooth.

4. Add the tempeh and simmer for another 10 minutes.

5 . Add the lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Sansational Tips:

1. This stew is just as delicious without the tempeh or you can substitute it with cubed chicken.

2. You can use frozen, packaged squash to speed up the cooking time.

3. Kafir lime leaves are found in most Indian grocery stores.

4. I like using dried jalapeño flakes to save time, but you can use a fresh jalapeño if you wish.  Dried jalapeño flakes can be found in most Bulk Barn stores.

5. I used a VitaClay slow/rice cooker for this recipe. Just through everything in the pot, stir, and cook on the “stew” setting for 2 hours and puree the soup with a hand blender right in the clay pot. (Remove the tempeh cubes before pureeing and add back in when done).




Cherry Almond Smoothie (Paleo, Vegan)


Cherries and almonds are so delicious together and I believe are an under-utilized combination. I bought a bag of organic frozen cherries at Costco last weekend and thought I would try the cherries in a smoothie with almond flavourings. The result was… Sansational.  Try it for breakfast!

 

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Ingredients:

1 cup pitted cherries, fresh or frozen
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Vega Protein & Greens)
1 tbsp almond butter
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract 1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
1/2 cup coconut water 6-8 ice cubes ice

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.

Sansational Tip: I often prepare my smoothie ingredients in the blender cup the night before and leave in the refrigerator overnight to take out for easy blending in the morning. This makes for a quick grab and go smoothie.