Pumpkin Gingerbread Steel Cut Oats

Well, now that we are almost two months into fall, I can finally share my favourite steel cut oats recipe with you!

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This breakfast is for those mornings when you wake up craving gingerbread and pumpkin pie at the same time. While I would love to live in a perfect world where we could eat gingerbread and pumpkin pie for breakfast every day, I prefer to start off on a decidedly more virtuous note. Not because I shun desserts, but because I like to save those for the end of the day. There’s method to my madness, you see. For me, my morning meal needs to check off the following boxes:

  • healthy fat
  • plenty of satiating and blood sugar-stabilizing fibre
  • a healthy amount of protein (ideally 15-20 grams)
  • a dose of antioxidants from fruit

At this time of the year, it must also be warm. While studying Holistic Nutrition, I learned about Ayurveda. This ancient eastern healing tradition posits that we need to eat warm, cooked food with lots of warming spices during the winter months in order to stoke our digestive fire (agni) and keep our metabolisms healthy. On the other hand, in the warmer months of the year, we can feel free to eat more cold, raw foods because the warmth and energy from the sun naturally stokes our digestive fire. This is purely anecdotal, but I rarely get colds now that I mainly consume cooked food (with the exception of ferments like sauerkraut), lots of warming spices, hot beverages, and some animal fats during the fall and winter. I think there is a lot of wisdom in ancient medicinal modalities, even if they are not completely backed up by modern science.

It also needs to taste good! That’s why I have made it my mission to deliver you virtuous, healthy recipes that still taste good and, dare I say, rather naughty.

Steel cut oats are my favourite way to enjoy oatmeal during the colder months of the year. They’re chewy, warm, and delightfully filling. Just what a girl or guy needs when the mercury plunges.

IMG_0800.jpgThis sweet and lightly spiced porridge will warm you right up on a chilly fall or winter morning! When you soak steel cut oats overnight, they soften, cutting down their cooking time by more than half! That means that this porridge recipe is weekday morning-friendly. Its flavours are reminiscent of gingerbread and pumpkin pie, and it’s packed with fibre, iron, and healthy fats! 

Servings: 2
Time:
8 hours soak time + 15 minutes active time
Cuisine:
Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter, ghee, or virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Toppings:

  • 2 apples, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • Yogurt of choice (goat, sheep, coconut…)

Instructions:

  1. The night before making this recipe, place the oats in a medium glass bowl and cover with 1 inch of water. Soak overnight.
  2. The next morning, drain the oats through a fine mesh sieve.
  3. Heat the butter, ghee, or coconut oil in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add the oats and brown, stirring occasionally, for about two minutes.
  4. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, molasses, salt, and non-dairy milk. Turn up heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil.
  5. Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the porridge has thickened to your desired consistency (some prefer their oats on the thinner side and others prefer a thicker porridge. And some like it JUST RIGHT. Okay, Goldilocks?). This will take between 10 and 15 minutes.
  6. Divide between two bowls and top with the apple, walnuts, and a dollop of yogurt.
  7. Leftovers will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to one week. To reheat, simply add a small amount of non-dairy milk to a pot with your porridge and warm on the stovetop.

 

Chocolate Coconut Buckwheat Crispy Cereal

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For the past eight months or so, I have had an evening routine that involves doing 15-20 minutes of yoga right before bed. My favourite yoga teacher, Juliana from Boho Beautiful, said something in one of her most recent videos that really resonated with me:

“Strength: Something that one achieves through overcoming the things they thought they couldn’t do. That moment when you prove yourself wrong. When you realize that there is an incredible, powerful fire within you. And all it takes is the belief and courage to create that spark. It’s in that moment when your body wants to stop, but your mind says, ‘I’m not done yet.'”

I took those words into the marathon, and they have stayed with me in the three weeks proceeding. I think one of my biggest weaknesses is my reluctance to believe in myself. Increasingly, I am learning that self-confidence doesn’t suddenly appear; rather, it comes from confronting your doubts over and over again. In my case, running a marathon was the culmination of months of both hard work and self-doubt. Completing it taught me that I am strong and capable of doing difficult things. Not everyone has to run a marathon in order to have such a realization, but I believe that the only way to become a stronger person is by constantly proving to yourself that you can overcome the things you thought you couldn’t.

You and I are a lot stronger than we think. All that is needed to cultivate our strength is courage and belief. I challenge myself, and you, to do one thing every week that scares you and that you don’t fully believe that you can do. This could be anything from running 10 km without stopping to saying something positive about yourself every day. Once you face your fears head on, you will probably realize that you had no reason to be afraid, and that you have more strength than you ever knew.

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When I returned home following my marathon weekend with that boost of self-confidence, I channeled it into creative pursuits such as blogging and food photography! The ideas have just been pouring out of me, and I am not complaining about it, seeing as I was in such a slump during the summer months.

One idea that came to me last week was an oat-free granola-cereal hybrid that could be sprinkled on top of smoothie bowls, yogurt, and porridge. Naturally, chocolate featured heavily in my vision. By some miracle, I ended up nailing the recipe on my first try, and I am so excited to share it with you below! It’s sweet, crunchy, chocolaty, and eminently snack-worthy. Bonus points for being vegan and gluten-free. And, if you don’t want to share, simply tell your housemates that you burned your granola, and you will magically have an entire batch of this cereal ALL. TO. YOUR. SELF.

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram using #holisticallie so that I can see your creations!

Happy weekend, friends!

-Allie xx

Chocolate Coconut Buckwheat Crispy Cereal 

Servings: Approximately 5 cups; enough for 10 1/2 cup servings
Time: 15 minutes prep + 50 minutes baking
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw buckwheat groats, soaked for at least 1 hour
  • 1 1/2 cups large flake coconut
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp maple sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Drain and rinse the buckwheat in a fine sieve. Pour it into a clean tea towel and pat it dry.
  3. Pour the buckwheat into a large bowl. Add the coconut, chia, sesame seeds, maple sugar, and sea salt, and stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, cocoa, and vanilla.
  5. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the buckwheat mixture and stir until every last bit of buckwheat and coconut is coated.
  6. Spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  7. Allow the crisps to cool fully on the pan before storing in a large glass jar. They will keep in a sealed container at room temperature for at least a week, and in the freezer for several months.

Detox Kale Caesar Salad

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I watch this hilarious show on CBC (Canada’s public broadcaster) called The Baroness von Sketch Show. It takes a comedic look at narcissistic contemporary culture and offers a witty take on everyday concerns- everything from ordering a coffee to the politics of the day are critiqued through the lens of comedy by four hilarious Canadian female comedians. One sketch from last week’s episode that I’m still chuckling about featured three women meeting up for book club. The host has prepared a BLACK BEAN BROWNIE and is beyond excited to share her creation with her guests. She opens up the container to reveal a dry, crumbly square, just as a late arrival shows up bearing her own brownie. Only this brownie came from a mix, looks and tastes delicious, and totally steals the show. I can relate to the host on so many levels- there are some healthy/vegan creations that you just don’t make for guests, and certain classics that you simply cannot mess around with. I will eat my black beans for dinner and my brownies for dessert, thank you very much.

Now if there is one recipe that both vegan and non-vegan crowds will go positively wild for, it is my kale Caesar salad. And not just any ho-hum kale Caesar salad. My salad features not one, not two, but THREE cruciferous vegetables- kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, all of which have potent cancer-fighting properties- and is coated in the dreamiest, creamiest cashew-caper-lemon dressing. But I didn’t stop there! I added sun-dried tomatoes for a salty punch, along with tempeh bacon and hemp Parmesan! The tempeh bacon is great not only with this dish, but on everything from sandwiches and wraps to pastas, so I recommend making a double batch.

This salad is so nutritionally balanced, it qualifies as a complete meal. In fact, I ate it for lunch for four days straight along with some crackers and hummus. I know that I will be making it over and over again to please a crowd over the holiday season and beyond!

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I’ll be back in a few days with a seasonal pesto recipe. Until then, enjoy this salad!

-Allie xx

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Detox Kale Caesar Salad

Servings: 4, with extra dressing
Time: 45 minutes active time plus 1 hour marinating time
Cuisine: Vegan, American, Mediterranean

Ingredients: 

Cashew Caesar Dressing

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours or boiling water for at least 45 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup filtered water, plus more as needed

Tempeh Bacon 

  • 1 8-oz package tempeh
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium tamari
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Knob of ghee or refined coconut oil for cooking

Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 cups finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced, plus more for topping
  • Sunflower Parmesan, made with hemp hearts instead of sunflower seeds

Instructions:

  1. Make the dressing: Drain the cashews and place in a high-speed blender. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and blend until very smooth and creamy. Taste and add additional sea salt if needed. If your dressing is too thick, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until you have achieved a pourable consistency.
  2. Make the tempeh bacon: Place the whole block of tempeh into a steamer basket or a large pot of boiling water. Steam or boil for 3 minutes. This step is entirely optional, but it opens up the ‘pores’ of the  tempeh, allowing the marinade to penetrate it more easily.
  3. Thinly slice the tempeh into 1/2 cm strips and place in a 9×13-inch dish.
  4. Add tamari, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and pepper into a jar. Shake vigorously to combine and pour evenly over the tempeh strips. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours (the longer it marinates, the more flavourful it will be).
  5. Prepare the salad: Combine the Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage in a large bowl. Pour 1 cup of the dressing on top and massage it into the vegetables with your hands. You want every last piece of kale to be coated with dressing. Add more dressing as needed- you want there to be enough dressing, but you don’t want it to be sopping with it, either. Use your judgment here! (Leftover dressing is great on sandwiches as a vegan aioli-type spread, or as a dip for roasted sweet potato fries.)
  6. Cook the tempeh bacon: Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tempeh bacon strips in an even layer. Cook for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy, flip, and cook for three minutes more on the other side. Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack until ready to serve. Repeat with any remaining bacon.
  7. To serve, divide salad among four plates. Top with extra sun-dried tomatoes and hemp Parmesan. Serve tempeh bacon on the side.

 

Pumpkin Spice Nutella Sandwich Cookies

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Are you tired of pumpkin yet? I certainly hope not. I, for one, am in full pumpkin mode over here and won’t stop until the first signs of spring. Seriously. And once you taste my latest cookie creation, you pumpkin skeptics just might be doing an about-face and running straight towards my kitchen. I’ll be there, waiting for you with a batch of these heavenly morsels close at hand.

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I don’t mean to brag, but this may be the most drool-worthy cookie that I have ever created. Fall is here, and that can only mean that winter is coming. There’s no better way to prepare for the coming cold season than with a little bit more indulgence than usual.

These cookies are sweet, a little spicy, and wonderfully soft and cake-like. Oatmeal gives them a toothsome texture, while pumpkin provides just enough moisture. Nutella is spread in between two cookies, and then you eat them as you would a sandwich. Elevated pumpkin cookie sandwiches, if you will. Double the cookies equals double the fun, and I have a feeling I will be making these over and over again for the rest of 2018 and into 2019. Hopefully you love them, too!

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Note: For this recipe, I use a European version of organic Nutella that I purchase from a local organic grocery store in Ottawa. Use your favourite store-bought chocolate hazelnut spread or a homemade version if you are feeling industrious!

Pumpkin Spice Nutella Sandwich Cookies 

Servings: 16 cookies or 8 sandwiches
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened, or virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 16-24 tsp chocolate-hazelnut spread of choice

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer in a large bowl.
  3. Add the egg yolk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. If the dough is too wet to roll into balls, add more all-purpose flour, a tablespoon at a time, until dough can be rolled between your hands without sticking.
  6. With wet hands, divide dough into sixteen equal-sized balls. Place 8 balls on cookie sheet, leaving plenty of space for them to spread out during baking. Flatten lightly with slightly wet fingers.
  7. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden and crisp around the edges.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and placing them on a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining 8 cookies.
  9. Once cookies have cooled completely, spread 2-3 tsp of chocolate-hazelnut spread on the bottom of a cookie. Top with a second cookie. Repeat the process for the entire batch. You should end up with 8 cookie sandwiches.
  10. Cookies will keep at room temperature for five days, although they tend to mysteriously disappear within 48 hours.