One Pot Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew with Cashew Coconut Lime Cream

arial view of pot of red lentil and sweet potato stew with limes and cilantro on the side

When the weather turns cold and food is scarce, some animals such as bears hibernate to survive. Although people do not have the same metabolic characteristics needed to hibernate, I often feel the inclination to cocoon during the cold months of the year.  However charming this concept seems, the “not eating” aspect of hibernation has far less appeal. In contrast to the fasting bears, during these dark and cold days, I feel that nothing beats the comfort of a simmering pot of a hearty stew.  

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Raw Ginger Bites (Vegan and GF)

stack of four raw ginger bites biscuits with stack of four more biscuits in background

Ginger is one of my kitchen staples and I appreciate its versatility as a kitchen spice for both savoury and sweet dishes. Although I have heard many words to describe the flavour of ginger such as “hot, zesty, biting, sweet, warm”, it can generally be relied on to add a spiciness, juiciness and pungency to cooking. Ginger is available in several forms including fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, and powdered and can be used in many different ways.

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Three Variations of Lime Tahini-Based Sauces or Dressings

Three jars of lime-based tahini sauces: lime cilanto, ginger lime and spicy lime. Scene decorated with cut limes and scarf
Front to Back: Lime Cilantro, Lime Ginger and Spicy Lime

Tahini, the paste of crushed sesame seeds, is rich in nutrients, protein and healthy fats and it continues to be one of my most used and versatile ingredients. As well as adding protein and nutrients to a meal, the earthy flavour of tahini lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes making it an easy addition to sauces, dips, dressing or desserts.

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Gingerbread and Cranberry Chocolate Cups (Vegan and GF)

two stacks of two gingerbread and cranberry dark chocolate cups with holly decorations

Throughout history, winter solstice festivals have been held across the world to celebrate the changing seasons and to mark the longest night of the year and rebirth of the Earth. Interestingly, it is these solstice rituals that mark the origin of baking cookies and treats for holiday festivities such as Christmas.

Since it was often necessary to feast before the winter famine, the solstice celebrations tended to revolve around food. In addition, the festivities and food often had an emphasis on the Earth itself and tended to incorporate natural foods such as nuts, berries, and spices.

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Christmas Mincemeat (Vegan and GF)

two jars of mincemeat with holly and Christmas decorations

Growing up in England, one of my strongest associations with feasting at Christmas includes mince pies! These days I make my own mincemeat and tend to experiment with different variations every year. Although the recipes generally include a mix of fruit, dried fruit and spices, one of the beauties of modern mincemeat is that it is extremely flexible and forgiving.  Some years, I have been ambitious enough to make candied peel from scratch. Not this year, however! Still, regardless of how it evolves, mincemeat with its distinct taste and aroma will always be a holiday favourite of mine.

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Quick and Easy Lunches (Vegan and Gluten Free)

plate of avocado toast and tomato tahini toast

Most of us have grown up with the idea of eating three meals a day which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though lunch is now established as the second meal of the day, it hasn’t always been this way. According to Denise Waterman of BBC News Magazine, during Roman times to the Middle Ages, “lunch as we know it didn’t exist – not even the word.”

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plate of avocado toast and tomato tahini toast

Most of us have grown up with the idea of eating three meals a day which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though lunch is now established as the second meal of the day, it hasn’t always been this way. According to Denise Waterman of BBC News Magazine, during Roman times to the Middle Ages, “lunch as we know it didn’t exist – not even the word.”

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Raw Sweet Potato Salad with Curry Almond Sauce

When it comes to eating vegetables, I am not a big fan of crunching them uncooked and generally prefer roasted, stir fried or even boiled. It is a similar story with fruit.  Although I do enjoy more raw fruits over raw vegetables, the cooked version of many fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, berries and even bananas definitely has more appeal.

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Apple and Blackberry Crumble (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Bowl of apple and blackberry crumble (vegan and gluten free) and ice-cream with serving dish of crumble in background.

One of my favourite desserts from childhood is the classic crumble with either an apple and blackberry or rhubarb base.  Where I grew up there was an apple tree and large rhubarb patch at the bottom of our garden as well as several local areas to pick blackberries. Back then, all these fruits seemed abundant and were basically ‘free for the picking’. These days I seem to have fewer opportunities to forage and am always amazed to discover how supermarkets wield a relatively hefty price tag for these same items today!

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Double Blueberry, Lemon and Almond Granola

Bowl of double blueberry, lemon, almond granola

There is nothing quite like the sweet taste of a fresh, ripe blueberry. These small, plump berries with their deep, rich color are amazingly versatile and their fresh, fruity flavour can serve to enhance many foods as well as being a delicious addition to a variety of dishes including pancakes, pies, tarts, muffins, sauces and cakes.

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Sweet Potatoes and Yams – What is the difference?

Bowl of mixed orange, white and purple sweet potatoes, roasted with paprika and cinnamon.

When I was first introduced to whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) eating, I followed recipes by Deliciously Ella who is based in England. Sweet potatoes were often used, however, from a North American perspective, the sweet potato looked suspiciously like a yam! Then, during my last trip to England, I noticed that the supermarkets were full of what I understood to be “yams” but were abelled as “sweet potatoes.”

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