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ChocoSol Chocolate


Here's some absolutely exquisite rustic hand-made (healthy!) chocolate I scored at the Toronto Dufferin Grove Farmer's Market made by the talented folks at ChocoSol, whose motto is:

"Pedal-Powered, Stone-Ground, Socially Just and Made Fresh! "

They really do make their chocolates with human-power, grinding and delivering their goods using pedal-power. At the market they were making hot chocolate with a hand-crank blender - very cool! The varieties I brought home were (clockwise from left): dark chocolate with vanilla and cocoa nibs, Mexican spiced chocolate, chocolate with sesame seed and sea salt.

Learn more about ChocoSol's ethical horizontal trading practices, cocoa varieties, drinking chocolate and amaranth. Awesome :-)

Gluten-Free Sprouted Quinoa Rice Bread


It's official: I'm off wheat gluten, for now... I've been avoiding wheat gluten for the last month, and have been feeling generally healthier: less bloating, less overall aches and pains, better mood too :-) I went on a bit of a wheat binge yesterday, and bam! Bloating, joint pain, and a noticeably compromised immune system. Good thing there are many other great things to eat besides wheat out there. Here's a delicious moist gluten-free quick-bread I've been enjoying:


Recipe:
Quinoa Rice Bread

Similar to cornbread, this bread is made with healthy sprouted quinoa and brown rice flour instead of cornmeal. Sprouting the quinoa is easy: rinse the seeds in cold water (3X), then soak the seeds in at least twice as much room temperature water (6-12 hours) and voila! your quinoa is germinated/sprouted. This makes the seeds healthier, easier to digest, and easier to puree (which is perfect for this recipe). This bread is great fresh out of the oven with butter, alongside hearty soups, or toasted and slathered with nut butter and honey for breakfast. The slice in the photo is embellished with almond butter, raw honey, and cinnamon: yum!

Avocado Shakes & Smoothies for St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patrick's day! And now for some festive green fare :-) Here are some great sounding recipes for natural green shakes and smoothies made with avocados:

Avocado Smoothie - Great healthy all fruit recipe.
Avocado - Banana Shake - I love the sounds of this avocado-banana-yogurt combo.
Brazilian Avocado Shake - One could use milk and sugar substitutes in this delicious shake - I'm thinking almond milk and agave syrup, mmm...
Bravocado! Shake - This shake is sweetened with honey, and sounds absolutely divine. (Warning: loud music plays when you're on this page.)
Vietnamese Avocado Shake - Classic.
Avocado Shake with Boba - Similar to the classic Vietnamese shake, but with big tapioca pearls - fun!

Here are a couple of healthy green smoothies I enjoy regularly - sans avocado:

Magic Green Smoothie - Spirulina makes it stimulating, mineral-rich, and super-green.
Green Ginger Pineapple Smoothie - Super raw detox smoothie - great for alkalizing your system. Refreshing and delicious + packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes.

To cap things off, here's a strong vibrant-green antioxidant-rich cocktail: Matcha Martini

Enjoy :-)

rich dark chocolate spread


As a child, I absolutely loved spreading nutella on my toast. These days, I'm more into dark chocolate, as well as natural healthy whole ingredients. I came up with this exquisite silky dark chocolate spread to satisfy my craving:
Recipe: Noir Chocolate Spread

It's perfect for slathering on toast, crackers, rice cakes, or for enjoying with strawberries or other fruit. This sweet decadent raw vegan treat is good for you too: rich in healthy omega-3 flax oil, full of antioxidant-rich cocoa, and sweetened with raw agave syrup.

The bread in the photo is gluten-free quinoa bread from Little Stream Bakery, a superb moist almost-cake-like sourdough bread, my current favorite :-)

Gluten-Free Oats?


Photo of oat flowers (avena sativa) by Andreas Trepte

Are oats gluten-free? For someone with Celiac Disease who can't tollerate wheat gluten (almost 1% of the population), this is an important question. Adi Lucas posted this sweet comment and great question under my recipe for Spiced Pineapple Oat Cookies:

"Hello Patty and thanks for the wonderful recipe. I´m always trying to improve my stash of healthy recipes and this one works great for me! I love oats as it goes fine with the small amount of carbs I include on my daily diet. My question is the following: I have heard that oats are forbidden for celiac disease and as I have a good friend with this problem, I´d like to know what kind of oats you use in this recipe so I can tell her about it. Thanks."

Patty's Pumpkin Pudding Pie

They say that the smell of pumpkin pie baking in the oven is an aphrodisiac. They also say that it's good to bake one while you're having having an open-house to sell your home - chances of scoring are higher. I bake them often in the fall and winter, as they're the perfect seasonal dish (winter squash is one of the few vegetables that will keep for months), and they're supremely delicious.

Most days, I prefer making variations of this pumpkin pudding to a traditional pumpkin pie. Why? Because it's healthier (no refined ingredients or empty calories), quicker and easier to make - and I'm more into the filling than the crust. Here's my quintessential recipe: Patty's Pumpkin Pudding

Like a clafouti, this pudding makes it's own "crust" and is sliceable when cooled down. Beautifully spiced and rich, it can be embellished with a layer of crunchy caramelized nuts. This is an easy and flexible recipe where you can play with the ingredients and their proportions - so have some warm sexy winter baking fun!

ps - here are some tips on how-to take a classic pumpkin pie recipe and make it healthier - without compromising flavour: Hi there pumpkin pie!

Green Ginger Pineapple Smoothie

This is my new favorite uber-healthy morning smoothie:
Green Ginger Pineapple Smoothie

Here are the things I love about it:
- full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- made with enzyme-rich pineapple and easy to digest
- great for detox, candida, and alkaline diets
- full of fiber
- quick and easy to make
- refreshing, revitalizing, and delicious!

Candida, Xylitol, & Spiced Pineapple Oat Cookies

I was recently on a moderate version of the candida diet (a.k.a anti-candida diet). It's a particularly difficult diet, as you need to "starve the yeast" (candida) in your system by NOT eating sugar (refined, natural, sweet fruits...), yeast, refined flours (including starches), mushrooms, fermented food (tofu, cocoa, tea), vitamins/supplements with yeast (like most B vitamins), most dairy, alcohol, vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), nuts/seeds (because they often have mold on them)... The hardest part for me was not eating nuts!

caffeine, supplements, teflon, & fortune cookies

7 Food Hacks to Stay Alert Without Caffeine
The low-down: 4-5 meals/day, low-glycemic foods before bed, fruit on an empty stomach, less meat, more water, whole grains, a low-glycemic snack between lunch and dinner.

How to Find Pure Products in a Sea of Supplements
Thorough write-up on which natural health products are pure and healthy: vitamins, oils, herbs, teas, grains...

Chemical Used in Non-Stick Cookware Continues to Prove Its Toxicity
Avoid teflon and toxic "telomers used to make the stain and grease repellent coatings for fast food containers, apparel, and carpeting... Alternative food storage and cooking source suggestions include glassware, stoneware, and enamel coated cast iron."

Giant Chocolate Fortune Cookies
Very fun recipe!

The Noble Pineapple


photo by Ian Britton

As a child, I have fond memories of eating fresh sweet juicy pineapple on the beaches of Southern Spain. Young gypsies were selling it, walking on the hot sands yelling "brrrrrrrrr pina!". I still love scoring a beautiful fragrant pineapple :-)

While visiting Mexico last winter, we would buy it from women selling it at the side of the highways, who would offer it to you as you crept over the massive speed-bumps designed to slow-down vehicles near towns. The women included a little pouch of chili spice to sprinkle on the fruit: I highly recommend eating fresh pineapple with chili spice!

Recently, I've rediscovered pineapple and have been enjoying it almost every day. First, it's a gorgeous thing, and I love spotting a particularly nice one at the fruit stand, bringing it home, and then staring at it for a day or two. Next, cutting it up is quite satisfying and easy to do - my partner usually gets to do this. Finally the booty: sweet fragrant juicy fruit! Besides being awesome tasting, pineapple is very healthy, full of vitamin C, manganese, and the enzyme bromelain that helps you digest protein - this is why it's particularly good with fish and meat.

Bonus: the noble pineapple happens to be the food of the week on the world's healthiest foods.

I will post some super pineapple recipes next...