chocolate tahini no-bake cookies
 
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I love using tahini, but was pretty wary of using it in sweet recipes until my mom made me these no-bake cookies. You can’t taste the tahini at all- just an extra rich chocolate flavor.
Since they’re no bake, they are perfect for the summer- no need to turn on your oven!

Make it Better - Anderson Paak

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup cocoa powder
5 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats (I use GF ones)
a pinch of salt
maldon salt or sea salt for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. In a medium pot over low heat, melt coconut oil until liquid. Remove from heat, stir in tahini, cocoa, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in rolled oats, spoon mixture into cupcake liners. Sprinkle maldon or sea salt on top of each cookie (optional, but recommended). Freeze for 20 minutes or until set, then store in fridge.

Recipe adapted from A Couple of Cooks

 
PB & J Chia Pudding
 
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I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast for a couple months now, and while they are great, I’ve been getting really tired of them. One Friday, feeling particularly in need of a treat, I whipped up some PB&J chia pudding for breakfast, and damn! My new favorite breakfast, hands down. Super filling, super delicious.
The best part of this is the blueberry sauce I use in place of jam, so don’t skip it! Just make it the night before so it has time to cool.

Runaway Life- Lu & Sowlmate (Henri Purnell Remix)

INGREDIENTS

For the chia:
1/4 cup coconut milk (the kind from a can)
1/4 cup cashew or almond milk
3 tbsp chia seeds
peanut butter or almond butter ( I’m really loving fatso peanut butter right now)
banana (optional)

For the blueberry sauce:
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

In a bowl or jar, mix milks, & chia seeds together.. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. Add blueberries and sugar to a saucepan. Heat until bubbling, then transfer to blender. Blend until smooth, let cool. When assembling, alternate layers: chia, blueberry sauce, chia, peanut butter, repeat. Optional: top with banana slices.

 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

I’ve been pretty obsessed with Body Energy Club’s Peanut Butter Dream smoothie lately. I usually make my own, but if i’m in a rush or out of ingredients, it’s right on my way to school and is so, so delicious. Once I read their ingredients, recreating this smoothie was pretty damn easy.

Hozier- Movement (Maya Jane Coles Remix)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup almond milk
1 frozen ripe banana
1 large handful spinach (I like to steam mine then freeze it for maximal nutrient absorption)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 heaping tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
2 tbsp peanut butter
4-5 ice cubes

INSTRUCTIONS

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

Lentil Tacos
 
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I’m one of those people who could happily eat tacos all the time- fish tacos, cauliflower tacos, I love them all. These tacos taste more like the classic ground beef tacos I’d have when I was growing up. The lentils make this dish protein packed and, dare I say, just as satisfying as using ground beef. Hot tip- soak your dried lentils in water for up to 2 days before hand to make them easier to digest.

Fat Freddy’s Drop- Hope

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup dried red lentils
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup salsa
corn tortillas
toppings of choice: guacamole, grated cheese, lettuce, sour cream, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, stirring often, until onions are transluscent. Add garlic and stir for a minute. Add lentils and spices, stir for another minute. Add vegetable broth, stir, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes until water is absorbed. Uncover, stir in salsa, and cook for around 5 more minutes until mixture thickens. Serve in taco shells, garnished with your choice of toppings (I highly recommend guacamole).

 
SavouryAlexa ChichakComment
Vegetarian Chili
 
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I’ve never been a big fan of chili- I hate kidney beans, and I didn’t love the flavors, either. This chili is a game changer. The cinnamon adds amazing flavor, and there’s chickpeas instead of kidney beans. It’s super satisfying with the roasted yams and so warming- perfect for cold January.

Down- Marian Hill, Big Sean

INGREDIENTS

2 sweet potatoes, roughly diced (not yams)
1 heaping tsp cumin
2 tsp cinnamon
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 red chili peppers
2 tins of chickpeas (400g each), drained and rinsed
2 tins of plum tomatoes (400g each)
olive oil
guacamole or avocado (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 F. Add sweet potatoes to a bowl. Toss with a sprinkle of cumin, a sprinkle of cinnamon, salt, pepper and drizzle of olive oil. Roast seasoned sweet potatoes on a lined cookie sheet for approximately 45 minutes. Meanwhile, chop onions and add onions and 2 tbsp olive oil to a large pot. Sautee over medium heat for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Mince garlic and add to onions. Chop bell peppers into bite sized chunks and add to onion mixture, cooking for another 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, add chopped red chillis, cumin and cinnamon. Stir in the plum tomatoes and chickpeas, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Before serving, stir in roasted sweet potatoes and cilantro. Optionally, top with guacamole or sliced avocado.

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver

 
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Ginger "Beef" Lettuce Wraps
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When I was younger, Chinese food was my favorite. Ginger beef was always my first choice, and I’ve been searching for a replacement since I stopped eating meat. Speaking of meat replacements, I’m not a huge fan- for a couple reasons. First, I choose to have my protein sources be as whole as possible- fish, seeds, nuts, etc. Meat replacements typically have a lot of fillers in them to make them palatable. Secondly, I actually don’t like the taste of meat, so most meat replacements are out. This veggie ground round isn’t the most “clean” choice, but the dish tastes so good that I make it anyway, just not too often.

The taste of this dish is bang on- tastes exactly like ginger beef. I was blown away when I first tried it. I really like it in lettuce wraps, but you can always serve it over rice for a more authentic ginger beef dish.

Shakey Graves- Dearly Departed

INGREDIENTS

1 pack Yves Veggie Ground Round
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
Romaine lettuce or rice

INSTRUCTIONS

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add red onion over medium-low heat, sauté until transluscent. Add garlic and veggie ground round, and sauté for another 5 minutes. Then add soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, chili flakes and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, until most of the sauce has been soaked up by the veggie ground. Serve in lettuce wraps or over rice.

Recipe modified from Erin Ireland/ Lord Byron’s Kitchen

SavouryAlexa ChichakComment
Apple Cinnamon Brie
 
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Much like my other recipes, this one was made from a wheel of goat cheese, some crackers, and a lack of anything delicious to bake it with. I always have apples, oats and cinnamon on hand so this got thrown together. It’s remained one of my favorites because I always have these ingredients around, and it combines all my favorite foods into one dish.

I Wish I Was- The Avett Brothers

INGREDIENTS

1 apple, chopped into small cubes
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 wheel goat cheese brie
maple syrup (optional)
crackers of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, add apples, oats, cinnamon and coconut oil. Stir until well combined. Place brie on a baking pan, lined with parchment paper. Score the top of the brie. Add apple mixture on top, and place in oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until melted and golden. If using maple syrup, drizzle syrup over brie. Serve with crackers.

 
Alexa ChichakComment
Watermelon Margaritas
 
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Once again, I’m posting summer drink recipes in September. Even if it’s too cold out for a patio, these will taste just as good inside. The key here is the fresh watermelon juice- once you have that, you can’t really mess it up. I mean, watermelon juice plus limes and tequila can never be wrong.

I Can’t Go On Without You- Kaleo

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup fresh watermelon juice, strained
2 oz fresh lime juice
1.5 oz tequila
1/2 oz simple syrup
Coarse salt, to coat the rim

INSTRUCTIONS

Add watermelon juice, lime juice, tequila and simple syrup to a martini shaker. Add ice, and shake until well combined. Rim glasses with salt, then add fresh ice. Pour juice mixture over ice.

 
BeveragesAlexa ChichakComment
Watermelon Juice
 
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Vancouver has had the best weather this summer, sunny and hot. While that means my apartment is way too hot to sleep in, it also means perfect weather for beaching. When i'm going to be in the heat all day, I love bringing cold drinks to keep me hydrated. My go-to this summer has been watermelon juice, which I honestly cannot describe- it's too delicious for words. All I can say is, make it! It's too good. 

Summertime Magic- Childish Gambino

INGREDIENTS

1/2 small (personal) watermelon, refrigerated
1 lime, skin peeled off
ice

INSTRUCTIONS

Scoop the insides of the watermelon into a blender. Add the peeled lime,  and about a half a cup of ice. Blend until smooth. Add more ice, if desired. 
I like my watermelon juice thick, so I drink it as is. If you prefer a thinner juice, pour the contents of the blender through a strainer, then serve. 

 
Coconut Yogurt
 
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I LOVE Greek yogurt. Love it. My body, on the other hand, does not love it at all. I'm not a fan of store bought non-dairy yogurts either- they're either too sweet, too expensive or full of funky ingredients. That's why I was so psyched to try Minimalist Baker's 2 ingredient coconut yogurt. It took a couple failed tries to get it right- see the ingredient list for my recommendations on how to get it right the first time. It's smooth, tangy and so delicious. I like mine unsweetened, but you can easily add agave or honey after putting it in the fridge for added sweetness.

Nevermind- Dennis Lloyd

INGREDIENTS

1 can coconut milk (the only kind i've found that works is the whole foods 365 brand)
2 capsules of probiotics (professional grade works best, I use Cytomatrix multi-strain 11)

INSTRUCTIONS

Shake the coconut milk well, then pour it into a bowl or jar. Open the probiotic capsules and pour the powder into the milk. Stir with a wooden spoon (not metal!) until combined. Cover the bowl or jar with cheesecloth or a porous washcloth. Let sit for 2 days in a warm place (if your apartment is cold, try putting it in the oven with the light on), then put into the fridge until set.

Recipe from Minimalist Baker  

 
Kale Caesar Salad
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It's been a while since I posted any kale recipes... oops! Since it's pretty much a food group for me, here's my recent favourite kale recipe. This kale caesar is vegan, packed with healthy fats and is super filling. The recipe makes a ton of dressing- you can keep it in your fridge for up to a week. Don't skip the toppings, they add texture and make the salad super satisfying.

Is This Love- Bob Marley Montmartre Remix

INGREDIENTS

Dressing
1 batch garlic cashew sauce
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp capers, chopped
3 tbsp caper juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
sea salt & pepper, to taste

Salad
1 bunch kale, chopped
roasted chickpeas ( I like The Good Bean original salted
vegan parmesan
avocado
optional: smoked tofu, baked
 

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender, combine garlic cashew dressing with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Blend until smooth. Add water in small amount if the dressing is too thick. 

Massage a small amount of dressing into the kale. Add dressing until kale is coated to your liking. Top with roasted chickpeas, vegan parmesan, sliced avocado and optionally, baked smoked tofu. 

 

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Green Tea Lemonade
 
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it's been hot and sunny in Vancouver- and you know what that means, beach weather! (Or will be, once I'm not in class every day). When it's hot out, I need something cool in the afternoon.... and sometimes I want something a little lighter than iced lattes. The shaken green tea lemonade at Starbucks has always been one of my favorites in the summer so this year I decided to try and replicate it. The result? A light, thirst-quenching drink that's perfect for bringing to the beach or for an afternoon pick-me-up. Three ingredients (four if you count water), it's just too easy. I like to make the tea the night before and let it cool overnight, then add the lemon and honey in the morning so I don't have to wait. 

Supercut- Lorde (El-P Remix)

INGREDIENTS

2 green tea bags (I like to use Yogi Tea Green Kombucha)
2 lemons
2-3 tbsp honey or sweetener of choice
boiling water
ice

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large teapot, pour 2-3 cups of boiling water over teabags. Let steep for 5-10 minutes, then remove teabags and let cool. Once cool, add juice of 2 lemons and honey, to taste. Stir or shake well to combine, then store in the fridge until chilled. Serve over ice. 

 
Buddha Bowls
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This semester at school, I go straight into clinic after a full day of classes. This doesn't leave me time to cook, so I meal prep on Sundays. This bowl is something I make almost every week, because it's so satisfying and tasty, and versatile. I've put my favorite combo below: yam, cauliflower, spinach, quinoa, avocado, sprouts, and carrots, but any of the veggies can be interchanged. I like to sub the yams for roasted squash, or the cauliflower for broccoli. If you prefer rice to quinoa, swap it out. The garlic cream sauce really makes this dish, so don't skip it! To streamline the process, roast the garlic for the sauce while your cauliflower and yams are roasting. 

INGREDIENTS

1 medium yam, diced
1 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
2 large carrots, grated
2 large handfuls spinach, chopped
1 cup quinoa
1 tsp concentrate veggie bouillon or 1 cup veg broth
1/2 avocado
garlic cashew sauce
Optional toppings: pepitas, poached egg, sprouts, pickled red onion

This is America- Childish Gambino

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 F. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drizzle yams with olive oil, salt and pepper. On another parchment lined sheet, drizzle cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast yams and cauliflower for approximately 1 hour, until golden. Meanwhile, cook quinoa in either 2 cups of water with veg bouillion added, or in 1 cup of veg broth and 1 cup water. To assemble, place quinoa, spinach, carrots, yams, cauliflower and avocado in bowl and drizzle with garlic cream sauce. Optionally add toppings: a poached egg, sprouts, pickled red onions or pepitas. 

Mac n Cheeze
 
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Growing up, I was never a big fan of cheese. I didn't actually start to enjoy it until first year university, shortly before I found out i was lactose intolerant 🙈. So mac n cheese was never high on my list, even when my mom and grandma made it from scratch. So, in December when I found myself craving mac n cheese, I was confused, but had to make it and was SO glad I did. This mac n cheese is creamy, savoury and satisfies my cravings without any milk or cheese involved. Boom.

Alaska- Maggie Rogers

INGREDIENTS

2 cups frozen butternut squash (or fresh, roasted butternut squash)
2 cups vegetable broth (I use veg bouillon mixed with water)
1 tbsp butter or vegan butter
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp corn starch (optional, but recommended) 
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup almond milk- 

1-2 cups dry pasta (I use lentil or chickpea pasta)

INSTRUCTIONS

Place squash and broth in a medium saucepan, and heat on medium. Cook until squash is very soft. Drain most (but not all!) of the broth, leaving a few tablespoons left in the pot. Add squash & remaining broth to a blender, along with the rest of the sauce ingredients except the almond milk. Blend until smooth. Add almond milk, starting with a quarter cup, and add more if the sauce is still too thick. In the meantime, cook your pasta in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain the water from the pasta. Pour sauce over pasta, and stir. You might not need to use all the sauce. For an extra crunch, try topping the mac n cheeze with nut "parmesan", the same topping I use on my kale salad. 

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

 
 
Green Juice
 
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Green juice is everywhere these days! It's so tasty and also makes you feel like the healthiest person in the world. I particularly like juices when I'm sick, overindulged on sweets or am a liiiiitle hungover. I also like making my own juices because buying little green juices can pretty expensive. 

I use the term "juice" loosely as I do not own a juicer, and use my Vitamix to blend everything together. I actually like this method more because it keep all the fibre in, which decreases the blood sugar spike in response to the juice, and benefits digestion. 

Pools- Glass Animals

INGREDIENTS

1 green apple
1 apple of the red/pink variety
2 large stalks of celery
1/4 large cucumber
2 large handfuls spinach
1 lemon, peeled
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1-2 cups water
ice, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until well combined. Add ice to taste. Store in the fridge, drink in 1-2 days and shake before drinking.

 

 
Coconut Chia Pudding
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To tell you the truth, I wasn't into chia pudding for a long time. I wanted to be- everyone else was excited about it- but I couldn't get over the tapioca-like texture. This changed once I made it with the real coconut milk- it became way thicker, and is naturally sweet. Now I crave it all the time, as breakfast, a snack or even as dessert. Use whichever fruit you like- my favorite is apples. 

Chia is a fantastic source of fibre, and has some protein as well. Coconut milk is a source of healthy fats as well as a some protein. There's also no sugars added, meaning it's filling, delicious and satisfying, but also full of nutrition.

Rivers and Roads- The Head and the Heart

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup coconut milk (the kind from a can)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Toppings: apples, bananas, blueberries, almond butter, toasted coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

In a bowl or jar, mix coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla and salt together. Stir until well combined. Refridgerate for at least half an hour. Remove from fridge just before serving, and top with almond butter, fruit of choice, and toasted coconut if desired. 

 

Yams Three Ways
 

My inspiration for these little flavor bombs was the avocado toast at TurF in Vancouver. Their gluten-free option for avo toast was to have it on top of a baked sweet potato- and let me tell you, it was amazing.  I've made three different yam 'toasts': goat's cheese feta with sprouts, fig jam with goat's cheese, and avocado smash. 

Bloody Water- Kendrick Lamar with Anderson .Paak, Ab Soul, James Blake

INGREDIENTS

1 large yam, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter or vegan butter of choice, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Optional toppings: 
Sprouts
Goat cheese feta
Fig jam
Soft goat cheese
Avocado

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400F. Place sliced yams on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Spray lightly with oil of your choice (I like avocado oil), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for more 20 minutes, until slightly browned and cooked through. Remove from oven. Combine melted butter with garlic, and brush garlic butter onto yam rounds. Bake for 5 more minutes, then remove from oven and add toppings. 

For feta topping: Preheat oven to broil. Cover yam in goat's cheese feta. Place back in oven and broil until goat's cheese is slightly browned. Remove from oven, and top with sprouts, if desired. 

For fig topping: Spread fig jam over yam round. Top with soft goat's cheese. 

For avocado topping: Slice avocado and gently mash with salt, pepper and red chili flakes. Spread onto yam.  

 
SavouryAlexa ChichakComment
Almond Butter Truffles
 
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These truffles are like little bombs of deliciousness. They're super quick, ridiculously easy and perfect for dessert or a snack. Plus, they are sweetened entirely with dates which make them (somewhat) less sinful than your average truffles. Don't be afraid to be heavy-handed with the salt: the combination of salty and sweet is what makes these so addictive! 

Rusted Root- Send Me On My Way

INGREDIENTS

10 large pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp almond butter
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil
optional: chia seeds or large flake salt for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

Add dates, almond butter, sea salt and vanilla to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. With wet hands, roll into balls (about a teaspoon each), and place on parchment paper covered tray. Freeze the balls for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt dark chocolate with coconut oil, stirring often over low heat. After 15 minutes, dip balls into the dark chocolate, place back on the tray. If choosing to, sprinkle  with kosher salt or chia seeds. Place back into freezer. Serve straight from the freezer (they taste best when chilled!)

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows 

 
SweetsAlexa ChichakComment
Garlic Cashew Cream
 
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One of the things I strive for with all my recipes is to make them easy- quick, with minimal ingredients. This recipe is the epitome of quick and easy- put 4 ingredients into a blender, and boom. I make it and leave it in my fridge for the week and throw it on/in everything-dip for carrots or roasted yams, for drizzling over glory bowls, for adding flavour to my soups. If you have extra time and are feeling fancy, try roasting the garlic before blending for extra flavor.

Electric Love- BØRNS 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup- 1 cup water
2-5 cloves garlic, crushed (I highly recommend roasting it first, but it's not necessary)
salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Soak cashews for about an hour. If in a rush, soak in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Drain the water, then add nuts, fresh water, garlic, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth. If you'd like it to be thicker, add more cashews. If you'd like it to be thinner, add more water. 

 
SavouryAlexa ChichakComment
Mulled Wine
 
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I made mulled wine for the first time about two weeks ago, for my class Christmas party. It was my first time making it and I was a little unsure about how good it was going to be. I was seriously mind blown- but I mean, can you go wrong with wine, spices and sugar?  I've made it four times since then, because my friends and I can't get enough. It comes together really quickly, so it's an easy thing to make while entertaining- and impress all your friends. Don't be shy to use the cheapest bottle of wine on the shelf, we even made it with boxed wine and it was just as good. As well, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a bigger batch. 

Sia- Snowman

INGREDIENTS

1 bottle red wine
1/2 cup apple juice
1 navel orange, thinly sliced into rounds
3 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
5 whole cloves
1/4 cup fireball
1-3 tbsp honey or sugar of choice, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Add apple juice, spices and orange to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Add wine and fireball, simmer for ~10 more minutes. Add honey or sugar to taste. Serve warm.