Muhamarra

A few years ago when I was in school taking studying Holistic Nutrition, I met a beautiful chef who shared the same love of food as I do (albeit not vegan food but I adore her nonetheless).  Her name is Christina and among many other things she is a Red Seal chef, Holistic Nutritionist and operates a gorgeous blog  www.honeyandvanilla.com

Throughout my time at CSNN she introduced me to several simple and delicious recipes. I had never experienced Muhamarra before she passed on the recipe and I was over the moon excited once I tried it. This dip works with anything- cucumbers, baked sweet potato medallions, crackers, bread, whatever!

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Pomegranates are a fruit that contain a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help to improve the skin, bone quality, digestion, cardiovascular health and much more!!!

I have used this spread numerous times for different types of get togethers or holiday parties and it is perfect for this time of year. What screams HOLIDAYS more than pomegranate?…aside from a spiced rum and holly nog 😉

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So please do not skip out on the pomegranate molasses. If you don’t know already it has so many uses and tastes delicious. Buy the large bottle (stick with me) and I will help you figure out how to use it!

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Muhamarra

Created by HoneyandVanilla.com

1.5 cups walnuts (lightly roasted)

12oz jar roasted red pepper (or if roasting yourself then use 2 bell peppers)

1/4 cup EVOO

2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

2 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp honey

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried chili flakes

salt to taste

Cooking Instructions

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Season with salt. Allow  to rest in fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Cut up you favorite veggies or pita bread and serve on the side.

Quick Tip: Scoop muhamarra dip into a large Ziploc bag and then cut a small opening in one corner to create a piping bag!

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To create the sweet potato medallions I used a thin sweet potato to start, peeled it and then cut into equal slices. Lay them on a baking sheet coated with a small amount of olive oil and bake at 350 for approx. 20-25 mins (turning half way through)

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Also great served simply as a dip for raw veggies…

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Mushroom Alfredo uncensored

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

Life is not always a bowl of cherries. Sometimes life is difficult and the only way to get through it is to march right through it…but there are no rules that say you cannot do it with a large bowl of pasta and a glass of wine!

I had plans to bring you another lighter & summery-er (?) dish as we finish out August but instead I thought Screw it!, this is what I ate this week and it was freakin amazing. I am learning that I cannot always direct this blog, sometimes I gotta just let it direct me 🙂

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Alfredo sauce (as we know it today in North America) is a comfort food that usually includes cream, butter and cheese. Just mentioning those three ingredients in the same sentence probably makes some of you perk up! However if you are here for my opinion (which I will assume most of you are) then I say why not be a little more kind to ourselves, particularly in our comfort foods. Dairy is hard on our digestive system, our immune system and our adrenals.

The simplest solution to anyone out there that is doing their best to avoid dairy is cashew cream. And when I say simple, I MEAN SIMPLE! Ounce for ounce this “magical” nut cream can replace most any dairy ingredient in a recipe and making it yourself takes less than 30 seconds. Okay, well there is a soaking time to be added on to that 30 seconds but I am trying to make my point dramatic 😉

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Once you have the cashew cream made then you are only minutes away from the creamiest, most satisfying bowl of All Of My Worries Are Soon To Be Gone Alfredo Sauce!

So put on your stretchy pants, pour a glass of your favourite white wine and escape from the world for a few glorious moments.

I won’t tell anyone 😉

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Mushroom Alfredo Sauce

Serves 4 people

Prep Time: 25 minutes plus soaking time for nuts

Approx. 1 1/4 cup Cashew cream (start with 1 cup raw cashews, soak for 1 hour or longer. Rinse and add to blender with 1/4 cup fresh water. Blend thoroughly until super creamy)

2 tbsp Nutritional yeast

1 garlic, minced

1 tbsp non-dairy butter (I use soy-free Earth Balance)

1 tsp truffle salt, or regular sea salt if you haven’t bought yourself a jar of the truffle salt yet 🙂

1 small white onion, thinly sliced

2 portobello mushrooms, gills removed and sliced length-wise

2 tbsp Coconut oil

  • With the cashew cream still in the blender add the nutritional yeast, garlic, butter and salt. Blend until fully incorporated and set aside

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  • In a large frying pan heat the coconut oil and add the onions. Cook on medium heat until golden brown. Approx. 10 mins.
  • Then add the sliced mushrooms and cook for another 5-7 minutes

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  • Turn off the heat and pour the Alfredo sauce into the hot pan to gently heat the sauce. Stir well and then add your favorite gluten-free pasta. Serve immediately.

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Smoked Tofu Rice Wraps

So we have been in a bit of a heat wave this week. It has been steady at around 30 degrees for most of the week and that is a wee bit hot for me. I am more of a 21-23 degree kind of girl but my veggie garden and flowers are loving it so I will put up with it…that is until the colder weather sets in and then I will find a different temperature to complain about 😉

I have been trying to encourage myself to take my own advice and find dishes that do not require the stove or even the BBQ for that matter! (Did I mention it was HOT?)

Plus my lettuce is fully ready in my garden so they are continually calling out for me to eat them. Fresh lettuce from the garden requires almost no preparation. A little olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice and some salt & pepper is all that it needs. This side can accompany almost any main dish and for this rice wrap meal it is perfect.  My favourite lettuce combo is butter lettuce and arugula plus a small handful of hemp seeds for a little crunch and some much needed manganese, magnesium and iron.

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Eating raw foods is SO beneficial to your body. Raw foods contain vitals elements of the Earth and are essential in a healthy digestive tract.  I admire those that can incorporate a larger portion of their diet to raw foods however the best that I can maintain is about 20% of raw food. However there is no need to pull out your calculator and become one of those people! Just check in with yourself every once in awhile and ask yourself when was the last time your meal was uncooked. If its been a while then plan for a hearty salad for lunch tomorrow or revisit some of your favourite raw dinner recipes. Don’t forget my Pad Thai  with kelp noodles recipe or my Arugula Cashew Cream Sauce. Or how about these Smoked Tofu Rice Wraps?

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You don’t need your chef’s papers to roll rice wraps and they definitely are not as difficult as sushi to construct. Rice paper is much more forgiving and extremely inexpensive so even if you get a tear you may be able to hide it or just toss it and start again. You will need a large dinner plate filled with warm water to rehydrate the wrap before you begin. I usually leave the rice paper in the water for about 1-2 minutes then lift and allow the water to drip off slightly before rolling. But they certainly do not need to be dry as any remaining water will be absorbed into the rice paper by the time you are ready to eat.

A few key points that I have found to help in the rolling process is to start with your ingredients piled closer to one end and then ensure that you pull the sides as tight as you can before you roll. Other than that, it only takes 1 or 2 tries to really get the hang of it.

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Your choice of filling is really up to you but I would highly recommend some smoked tofu for substance… well, also for the incredible flavour! Smoked tofu is readily available wherever you purchase your tofu and is a ready-to-eat product. I have become obsessed with it and I am now finding myself cutting it directly from the block as a snack.  In these rolls I have used carrots, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, smoked tofu, cilantro and basil leaves. Be sure to take the time to chop everything thin as it makes for a more enjoyable bit. If you have a mandolin (you know the one you purchased years ago thinking that you would always use it and never have) then this is the time to pull it out!

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Lets not forget about  THE DIPPING SAUCE, the single most important component of this meal. If you do it properly then you should be picking up the side dish, putting it directly to your mouth and drinking it…you know, like when you are finished your cereal and cannot bare to leave the sugary milk behind in the bowl and don’t have the self-control to just use your spoon 🙂

There are a few store bought dips that are pretty good if you would like to make this meal even easier but why not make your own?

Here is a recipe for a dip that I like to use for my rice wraps;

Spicy Peanut Ginger Dip

1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce (or soy-free coconut aminos)

2 tbsp natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth it doesn’t matter

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili garlic sauce (or add 2 tsp if you like it spicier)

1 tsp ground ginger

2 droppers of stevia *you could use 1 tbsp of honey or 1 tbsp of agave if you want also

2 tbsp water

  • combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together and then pour directly into your mouth! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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