Vegan Apple Pancakes

Fall is here! I am more of a summer gal myself, but there are a few benefits like winter baking and winter flavours like apples and pumpkin. I got a bunch of apples at the farmer's market this weekend, and thought I'd try adding them to brunch this weekend. They turned out delicious, sweet enough to have without syrup if you're so inclined and pretty filling too! I topped them with a licorice butter I got at a local market a few weeks ago. 

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  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup nut milk, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp VeganEgg (optional)
  • 2 tbsp water (as needed)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Add all ingredients, exept baking powder, into a blender and combine until smooth. Add baking powder and blend.  Cook in a greased non-stick pan over medium heat. Freeze any leftovers!

No-Oven Skillet Bread

No Oven Skillet Bread

How awesome is this? This yummy, dense bread reminds me of a fluffier foccaccia AND is bake in a non-stick pan or skillet! 

All you need is a 10-12 inch skillet with higher sides (preferably non-stick) and a top of some sort you can fit on top.  Make sure you plan ahead far enough because it does need to rise for 60 minutes total (minimum).  Inspired by Baker Bettie's No Knead Skillet Bread.

  • 2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 cups of warm water 
  • 1/2 tbsp salt (don't skimp on this!)
  • Olive oil (approximately 1 tbsp)
  • Optional: 2-3 tbsp chopped olives, 1.5 tbsp rosemary,2 cloves roasted garlic

In a large bowl, mix together water and yeast. Add 1 cup of flour and the salt to the bowl and mix together. Slowly (about 1/4 cup at a time) add the rest of the flour, along with rosemary and/or olives if using. Knead a little bit until well combined. Leave in the bowl in a warm place and let it rise for 30-60 minutes (longer is better). While it rises, make the rest of your dinner, or do a short yoga class or dance around a bit.  Once it rises, place the ball on a well floured surface and using your hand, flatten into a 10 to 12 inch disc. Place in an oiled skillet, cover with a towel and let it rise for 15-30 minutes (again, longer is better). Cook the bread, covered over medium heat. The bread will take about 15 minutes on the first side, you will know when its ready to flip when the sides are firm and surface is lightly browned. Cook on the second side at medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Take off heat, and leave covered for about 5 minutes. The bread should sound a bit hollow when you tap it. Once its cool enough, slice into 12 pieces using a sharp bread knife. Best enjoyed dipped with a good balsamic vinegar and oil! 

Demystifying Fortified Food

Consumers are always wary about what goes on in the food industry and how are foods are processed.  While I definitely promote a whole foods diet, we live in a world where it is near impossible to live without packaged foods, and there can be some healthy food items in the aisles of the grocery store!  

There are some places with food industry is actually working to better our health, and that can be in the area of food fortification.  For vegans and vegetarians and others with a specialized diet, it can sometimes be a bit more of a challenge to get the nutrients needed, so fortification can really help. I started to look into fortification of foods a bit more when counselling clients, and let me tell you it can be a bit of a confusing area.  I wanted to break down some of the basics - especially when it comes to vegan and vegetarian foods. 

But is adding iodine to salt a good idea?

This is a question I actually get quite a lot. Table salt and table salt replacements are mandated to have iodine added.  Kosher salts, sea salts and similar varieties are not. Goiters (enlarged thyroid gland) used to be common in some areas of Canada (like the Great Lake where I live!) where soil lacks natural iodine, and by making it mandatory in salt in 1949 it virtually eliminated this issue. So perhaps consider good ol' table salt over some of your more expensive specialty varieties. Between a bit of salt in your cooking (1/4 tsp salt fulfills about half your daily needs), and natural sources you won't have a problem meeting your needs. Currently, the government only allows iodine to be added to salt, baby cereals and meal replacements. 

What else do companies have to fortify?

Companies have to fortify margarine, 'fake' meats, flour, fruit drinks and drink crystals, meal replacements and dairy milks (not yogurt). Most of these are to be similar to what they are closely substituting (like the fake meats, fruit drinks, meal replacements), and others because they are common to the Canadian diets (like flour, margarine, dairy milk) and can help prevent diseases caused by deficiencies. Beriberi, pellegra and rickets used to be more common in Canada before they added things like thiamine (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin D to foods. 

What about vegan foods?

Imitation meat products like vegan ground beef have to be fortified in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and certain amino acids to make them nutritionally similar to meat products. If you don't consume these types of products (or eat them often) you may want to check that you are getting enough of these nutrients other ways, in particular B12, iron and zinc. 

Egg replacers must also have vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Flour (enriched, and white flour) also cover thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, iron and niacin. Breakfast cereals can be fortified with a variety of nutrients including iron, thiamine, niacin, folic acid and zinc but don' have to be - so check the label.

While food companies are allowed to up to 10% of the Daily Value of calcium or vitamin D into their foods, it isn't mandatory at this time for milk alternatives (like soy, nut milks) to be fortified, or yogurts.  So check your labels and try to buy ones that do! It's a huge pet peeve of mine that most plant based yogurts are lacking protein and calcium!! Vitamin D does have to be added to vegan margarines or butter substitutes. 

Shouldn't I be worried about getting too much?

Heath Canada does regulate how much vitamin or mineral can be added to a product. Some can be added in amounts of 20% of the Daily Value if they have very low risk, while others can be added only up to 10%.  There are some nutrients that the public is usually meeting their needs of, or may pose some risk if people have too much (or haven't been studied enough for risk), so these can only be added to certain food products or not at all. 

Savoured Bottomline: 

Fortified foods are nothing to fear, and can help you get the nutrients you need.  This doesn't mean you need to go out and buy more packaged products than you currently do, but now perhaps you can make the most out of the packaged products you do buy.  If you want to know more detail about food fortification in Canada, visit the food inspection agency website

Dreamy Creamy Awesome Vegan Spreadable Cheese

Trust me. You can even get dairy eaters on board with this one. This recipe tests your patience a little bit but is worth the work!

vegancheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of rejulvelac (details below)
  • 2 cups of raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Making rejuvelac: Place 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water in a mason jar, cover in cheese cloth and let sit for 2 days. Drain, rinse and then add more water about 2 times a day until sprouts form. Drain the liquid again, then place back into jar with 4 cups of water. Cover with a cheese cloth and let it sit for 2-3 days. The cloudy liquid that forms is your rejuvelac. 

Making cheese: Place your cashews in a high powered blender with 1/4 cup of rejuvelac. Blend well, adding more liquid as needed.  Add in miso paste and blend. Place mixure into a container and cover with plastic wrap or lid. Allow to sit in a dry, dark place for about 2 days to allow a tarter flavour to develop. Blend in the remaining ingredients.  Place 1/4 to 1/2 the cheese into plastic wrap in a tube-like shape (covering in any flavourings you would like) and wrap tightly. Store this in the fridge for up to 1.5 weeks. Leaving the cheese in the fridge for another 1-2 days will firm it up slightly more.

Enjoy xo

Blissed Out Granola

I cannot get enough of this granola.  I always have a supply of it in the cupboard and its super easy to make!  I love it because its much lower in sugar and fat than a lot of the granolas you can find at the grocery store, and the spices and add ins can be tweaked.  

A few ways I often tweak this granola recipe "base":

  •  Leave out the dried fruit or coconut
  • Replace some of the syrup with blackstrap molasses and nutmeg for a fall flavour
  • Add in roasted/ dried lentils 
  • Add puffed Kamut cereal
  • Add in cocoa, pumpkin spice or other flavours

I hope you enjoy this recipe xo.

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1 1/4 cup nuts (then chopped)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 up canola oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit

Add all ingredients except dried fruit and any puffed cereal into a large bowl and mix well. Place on a baking tray in a single layer and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for approximately 45 minutes (or until lightly browned). Stir several times while cooking. Add the dried fruit and any puffed cereal immediately. Store in a cool, dry place.

My time at Yandara 200hr YTT

This yoga training was an amazing gift.  Here are some of my highlights of my impression of Yandara and an international intensive teacher training:

  • Being around 'like' people. It was great to spend two weeks with an amazing group of ladies (the October group happened to be all gals) with similar interests. We were able to connect really quickly and have some deep conversations as well as a lot of fun.
  • Peace and quiet.  Between learning to meditate, silent breakfasts, and being disconnected from technology and "city" noises, Yandara is a great place to contemplate.  Reflecting back about a month out of my training, its amazing how much mental energy we put towards pointless things daily. When I came to this training I was looking to learn yoga and relax a bit, but it was really so much more than that. I would 100% recommend this program to someone even if they have no plans on teaching yoga: everyone needs to take a moment away from it all for a change in perspective.
  • Yoga!  Yandara isn't focused on a certain style of yoga.  There are elements of iyengar, and it does emphasizes a vinyasa practice (which most were interested in eaching).  Instead the emphasis in this training is how to teach yoga and teaching it safely. They take you through adjustments of poses, and cuing. Between the yoga classes, teaching and receiving adjusments it allows you to "feel" the poses. I'm a bit obsessed with progressing my arm balances and inversions, and we did have some time to play with these. 
  • A balance in spirituality.  I had always been a 'yoga for exercise' kind of girl.  I am still very new to seeing yoga as more than just the physical practice.  I did find this program had a very balanced approach to the spiritual aspects; it wasn't "too out there" so to speak. During the philosphy/ spiritual training hours, we focused on self-discovery and yoga philophy (chakras, 8 limbs, etc.).  I think this is truly what makes Yandara very unique, because I'm not sure other trainings build in working towards personal growth.  It may seem unecessary, but I think that "magic" and connection you feel in some yoga classes is because that teacher has a level of self understanding and connection. This is always a journey but Yandara will help you to get the ball rolling.  

The downfall of an intensive training is there is so much to learn in so little time.  I must admit, I wished I had some more time to go through the poses and practice teach. I didn't feel like I was leaving there ready to teach right away. But, I had been warned by multiple teachers before I left that 200 hr is only the start of the journey to learning and teaching yoga.  Another part of it is confidence level, I am working on my desire to always "get it perfect", which became very apparent in some of my teaching sessions. However, with all that said there were some sessions where our discussions would go overtime, cutting into our practice teach sessions. This was a shame given how much we had to learn.  It would be very helpful if you are attending an intensive session to attend yoga regularly (5 times a week) before you go, and have some experience teaching another modality. 

If you are looking into Yandara training and have any more specific questions about it, please feel free to ask me! 

Light and love xo.