Sheryl Jesin


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Raw Vegan Avocado Lemon Pudding

As much as I love chocolate, I’ve always had a place in my heart for lemon desserts.  There is something so refreshing about a lemon sorbet, a lemon merengue pie or a lemon square.  Unfortunately, a lot of these desserts are on my do-not-eat list since they generally contain copious amounts of white sugar and butter and gluten!

A couple of nights ago I decided I was in the mood for a lemony treat and whipped up something that turned out amazing.  It was rich, creamy, tart and also healthy.  I made a lemon pudding and its base was avocado.  Avocados truly are super foods – they are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C,  and copper.  They can help lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure.   Plus – they taste delicious!  I am quite sad that we are out of both avocados and lemons because I’d really like to eat this right now!  Must buy some tomorrow.

Recipe – Raw Vegan Avocado Lemon Pudding (gluten free, soy free)

Makes 1 large serving, or two medium sized servings.

Ingredients

1 large avocado

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of one lemon

2-3 tbsp agave

2 medjool dates

2 ice cubes

Method

Place items in high speed blender.  Blend on high speed until smooth.  Enjoy! (Note – this was quite tart – if you like your lemon desserts sweeter, just add more agave.)


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Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice (aka Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk)

As someone who is trying to avoid gluten, I eat a lot of rice.  I eat brown rice cakes, brown rice pasta, and use brown rice flour in baking.  Brown rice is a frequent side dish also!  I like rice – it has quality carbohydrates that give me energy to chase after two kids and helps to fuel my runs.  And it does so without hurting my stomach, as wheat tends to do.

A couple days ago I tried a new rice dish and I have coined it “The World’s Yummiest Rice”.  Both my kids loved it and so did my husband and brother-in-law, so it’s not one of those crazy healthy dishes that I love, but no one else does.   This has mainstream appeal!  I wanted to take a picture of it, but we ate it all up before I had a chance!

It contains delicious Indian spices and the secret ingredient is coconut milk.  The coconut milk makes it creamy and satisfying.   You’ve got to try this!

Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice – Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk (based on Marni Wasserman’s recipe)

Makes 8-10 servings, 15 minutes prep time, 45 minutes cook time

Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice

1.5 tsp cumin

2 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 large cloves garlic, sliced

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp tumeric

1.5 tbsp garam msala

1 can coconut milk (398 mL)

3.5 cups water

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

1.  Add oil, onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and ginger to a large pot.   Set heat to medium.  Stir.  Add in the tumeric and garam masala, and saute until onions become soft and translucent.   Stir often.

2.  Add the rice, water and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered over low heat for 45 minutes.

3.  When the rice is cooked and liquid has been absorbed, add the raisins.   Stir well.   Remove cinnamon stick.  Serve and enjoy!

Note about amount of liquid – different rice may require different amounts of liquid.  Follow the directions on your bag if they differ from what mentioned above.  Factor in the coconut milk and reduce water as necessary.  For example, the rice I had said 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of water.  So I used just under 3.5 cups of water and 1 can (or 1.5 cups) of coconut milk. Check the rice at around 35 or 40 minutes to see if you need to add more liquid.


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Meal planning Monday

Not feeling in a very bloggy mood today, but I will post our meal plan for the week.

Here it is:

Sunday – out for dinner

Monday – vegetable soup, chili over quinoa topped with guacamole, tabule salad

Tuesday – out for dinner

Wednesday – Spinach almond cakes, kale and carrot salad, roasted brussell sprouts

Thursday – same as Wed

Friday – out for dinner

Saturday – to be determined


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Birthday un-cake

I feel very blessed that I will be celebrating my birthday today with a family brunch. My family has been very kind with respect to my new eating restrictions and always ensure that there is some vegetarian, dairy and gluten free food available for me to eat at all family functions.

It’s hard to imagine a birthday party without a birthday cake – blowing out the candles and singing happy birthday are birthday traditions with which even my four year old son strongly identifies.

I toyed with the idea of not having a cake at my birthday, just to make a statement against all the unhealthy birthday cakes that are generally served at birthday parties. Yes, I’m talking about cakes filled with white sugar, white flour and butter, or perhaps margarine or hydrogenated fats! I really don’t mean to be a party pooper – but NO ONE needs to eat these things, even in moderation.

I wanted to put a candle in a bowl of fruit and skip the cake at my birthday brunch. This was causing a lot of distress to both my mom and son – they couldn’t fathom a party without a cake!

So I decided to compromise, and make myself a vegan gluten free cake full of healthy and tasty ingredients. I found this recipe for a Raw Cashew Cheesecake on the Vegetarian Times website. I followed it exactly, except for swapping out the lime juice with lemon juice, since we were out of limes. This cake contains no dairy or eggs or sugar, but boy is it delicious!

Here is the final result:

Raw cashew cheesecake

I had a taste of both the crust and the filling as I was making them, and they were both delish. I think it will be a hit tomorrow. I plan on topping it with some fresh fruit, as suggested in the recipe.


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Recipe – Hemp coconut blueberry muffins

A few weeks ago I went to an amazing cooking class given by Marni Wasserman, a holistic nutritionist.  I have been following Marni’s blog for a while, and have learned so much about healthy eating from her.   The class was informative, interactive, and a lot of fun.   I liked it so much, that I have signed up for another one of her classes in December – Indian cooking.  Can’t wait!

Amongst other tasty dishes, we made delicious hemp loaves in her class.   The recipe can be found here.  Hemp is really a superfood!   Marni explains it:

The protein present in hemp is complete -containing all 10 essential amino acids which makes it ideal for vegetarians, vegans or anyone seeking an alternative source of protein. Hemp also contains balanced healthy fats – both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This makes hemp an excellent natural anti-inflammatory as well as providing the body with healthy oils for skin, hair and nails. If this isn’t enough already… hemp is also easy to digest (because it contains it’s own natural enzymes), contains a high levels of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fibre and chlorophyll.

Marni’s recipe is delicious in its original form, but I switched it up a bit.  Don’t let some of the uncommon ingredients scare you off – they can all be purchased at Whole Foods or your local health food store.  Here’s what I did:

HEMP COCONUT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (Gluten free, and vegan)

Ingredients:

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour OR brown rice flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup hemp flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinammon

1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water (or 1 egg)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup apple sauce

1 large ripe banana, mashed

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

3/4  cup blueberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Mix together the hemp flour, Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour (or brown rice flour) and coconut flour.  Mix in baking soda, baking powder and cinammon.

The dry ingredients

2.  In a separate bowl, mix together flax and water (or egg), vanilla, apple sauce, mashed banana, maple syrup, oil and blueberries.

The wet ingredients

3.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until blended.

4.  Put into prepared muffin tins (greased, or lined with muffin cups).

5.  Bake for 15-20 mins.  The muffin tops should just be just turning brown.

6.  Cook on a wire rack.  ENJOY!

The finished product

This muffin is full of protein and healthy fats and will provide you with lots of energy to make it through a busy day.  You won’t crash and burn with these, like you would with most traditional muffins containing white flour, white sugar and unhealthy fats!  This is a muffin you can feel good about eating.


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Recipe – Avocado Kale Salad

Have I mentioned that I love kale?  Oh yes I have – here and here.  What’s not to love about a leafy green?  They are chock full of nutrients – including chlorophyll – which reduces inflammation in the body and maintains bone health.  Don’t forget about all of the live enzymes in raw leafy greens that can speed up cellular regeneration, providing us with energy and making us feel younger!  And greens also are a excellent source of calcium and iron – we can all use more of those!

I’ve learned a lot recently about nutrition from an amazing book called Whole Foods to Thrive, written by Brendan Brazier.   Brendan is an Ironman triathlete, a 50k Ultra Marathon winner, and the creator of Vega – a line of whole food nutritional products.  You could say he is a plant-based nutrition guru.

Whole Foods to Thrive has an abundance of delicious and healthy recipes.  I’ve been having fun trying out new things that the whole family has enjoyed.   Below is one of my favorites, which has been adapted from Brendan’s recipe on p. 159 of the book.

AVOCADO KALE SALAD

Time – 1o mins, Makes 2 large servings or 4 small

1 head of kale, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

1-2 green onions, finely sliced

1 lemon, juiced (you may want to start with half a lemon, and add the rest of the juice to taste, depending on how lemony you want it)

1 tbsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together with your hands (yes, it is messy but FUN).  Squeeze as you mix, thereby creaming the avocado and wilting the kale   Serve right away.  Did you know that by wilting the kale, you are softening it, making it easier to chew and also to digest?  YUM!   I sprinkled some hemp seeds on mine before eating, adding protein and omega-3s and 6s!

Before mixing
After mixing


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Meal Planning Monday

Last week’s meal plan worked even better than the previous week’s plan.   I successfully incorporated leftovers, which saved a lot of time in the kitchen.  I used that saved time to test out some gluten free baking, which was a lot of fun.   Perhaps I will share some recipes in upcoming posts.

Below is this week’s plan:

Sunday – Scrambled eggs, roasted sweet potato, steamed kale

Monday – Dinner at my parents’

Tuesday – Salmon cakes topped with a creamy cashew garlic sauce, roasted cauliflower, spinach salad

Wednesday – Leftovers from Tuesday

Thursday – Shanghai rice bowl – sauteed spinach, mushrooms and onions on top of brown rice, topped with chickpeas and tahini

Friday – Out for dins

Saturday – To be determined