One Bowl Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins (Vegan and Gluten Free)

close up of three chocolate pumpkin muffins with two pumpkins in background

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and this is traditionally a time for gatherings to give thanks and share a feast. However, the act of giving thanks and expressing gratitude around harvest time is nothing new.

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Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

serving dish with farro, kale and roasted sweet potato salad

As we move towards the holiday season, it can be challenging trying to cook for a “mixed-eater household” or, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, visiting family and friends when “traditional” holiday meals are being served. In a household with a mix of meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, the Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad can make either a hearty lunch or a tasty and satisfying side dish that everyone can enjoy.

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A Toast to Toast

board with toasts with different toppings - dried figs, kiwi, banana and blueberry, strawberry

My early memories of toast is as a breakfast food usually topped with the basic spreads of butter and jam.  At that time toast was considered a “thrifty” choice and was often an economical way to use up stale bread.  Over the years, this “comfort food” has evolved and become a significant food trend to the extent that some toast creations are now referred to as “artisan”.

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Cranberry and Almond Vegan Breakfast Bars

close of cranberry and almond vegan breakfast bars

Mid-September marks the start of the cranberry season in British Columbia and the harvest of the first berries. Red fields of ripe cranberries is a feast for the eyes and, as the majority of cranberries are harvested between September and November, for the next few weeks masses of cranberries will be seen floating in the bogs around the lower mainland and Vancouver Island.

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Vegan Fig Rolls as Healthy Snacks or “Fuel Food”

Image of three fig rolls or fig newtons stacked

I have always considered Fig Rolls (UK) and Fig Newtons (North America) as a relatively healthy choice in the world of commercial cookies and biscuits. As easily digestible carbohydrates, they have also been a tasty favourite as “fuel food” for sports. However, they still fall into the category of processed food and so I was pleased to come across a naturally sweetened, gluten free, no-bake alternative to these popular commercial treats.

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Plant-Based Ice Cream (“Nice Cream”) with Caramel Sauce

bowl of nice cream with frozen berries

Who doesn’t love ice-cream? It seems that ice cream is probably one of the most popular desserts consumed today and, as a result of refrigeration, it can now be a household staple. Enjoyed globally, each country has its own version of the frozen treat such as gelato in Italy, kulfi In India, and mochi in Japan.

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Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

plate of chocolate cranberry muffins

Recently my computer suffered a sudden unexplained and extremely inconvenient demise.  As the computer was long past its prime, it was not worth making any attempt to restore the machine and the important piece was the loss of data. With most of my data on a back-up drive, I decided to cut my losses and retrieve what I could from there.  This exercise turned into a bit of a trip down memory lane as I sifted through old documents.

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Tropical Vacation Granola

jar of tropical vacation granola

As we move through August, I can’t help but notice that the evenings are getting darker just a little earlier and there is no doubt that summer is slipping inevitably into fall. The older I get, it feels as though time is moving faster and faster. Apparently this may be no illusion and there are various interesting theories and scientific research which suggest this might actually be the case!

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Mango and Date Energy Bites

green cutting board with selection of mange and date energy bites, shredded coconut and dried mango

When I first got involved in triathlon training, I was introduced to the world of energy gels and bars. These are items made up of mostly simple sugar and they serve to replenish depleted carbohydrate stores during extended exercise. At that time I was more interested in performance so, as they did their intended job, I did not give a second thought to what was actually in them.

As I am now trying to follow a more whole foods-based diet, when I began training for a 100km cycle ride I started to experiment with different foods for fuel. My staple had become a couple of Medjool dates which sustained me for shorter rides of under 50km. However, as my distances increased, I found I needed a little more of a boost.

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Dessert with Benefits: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

two dishes of chocolate avocado mouse topped with chocolate chips almonds
Chocolate (Cacao) Avocado Mousse with slivered almonds and mini chocolate chips [Photo Credit: Joanne/Blair @ thedragonspicnic.com]

A dessert with nutritional benefits may seem too good to be true! However, there is no catch and just by including fruits and vegetables in desserts and selecting choice sweetening agents, this can be a reality. Chocolate (Cacao) Avocado Mousse is a creamy, rich mousse made with avocado and is dairy, gluten and refined-sugar free.  Super simple to make, it tastes decadent and is packed with nutritional value and health benefits!

When I was quite young, one of my first memories of the concept of vegetables in dessert happened shortly after I arrived in Canada when someone in a coffee shop ordered a carrot cake.  Of course, carrot cake is commonplace now but up until that moment, I had never heard of such a thing. I recall staring at the customer in wide-eyed amazement as my my mind reeled with an array of very unappetizing images of what a “carrot cake” might be.

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