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Pure Potluck Party : Green Food



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Hello my friends!

March is here and little signs of Spring are coming alive… if not outside (around here) then at least in our kitchen ;)

I love adding more vibrant colours to our meals and green foods especially are beautiful, healthful and do make me think of Spring.

Also, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up – and I think it’s fun to throw in some of the Green Love into our recipes for St. Patrick’s Day. Even if you’re not Irish. If there’s an excuse to party – you party! ;)

Please join the fun and share your healthy green recipe for anything from green smoothies, salads to side dishes, maybe even desserts! ;) 

I think seeing a big splash of green food will get everyone excited about Spring! There sure are no signs of it around here yet – seriously! It’s bitter cold and there’s snow everywhere…. blah. I am ready for some Green happiness, are you?

Just a reminder we’re focusing on plant-based, egg-free, dairy-free and meat-free recipes as well as gluten or wheat free dishes. Some exceptions apply such as using honey or ancient grains that have gluten like spelt and kamut which are very healthy. Recipes should be all natural, with no refined sugar and with no processed ingredients, no preservatives or artificial colours of flavours and organic as much as possible.

Also, I don’t think recipes ever get dated, so please feel free to dust off some old goodies from the archives and share them again ;)

Linking up? Thank you! By doing so, you allow Pure Ella permission to share your recipe and photo on other social media such as Pinterest. Please be sure to add a link to your post that you shared this recipe here on the Pure Ella’s Pure Potluck Party. Thank you! 

 


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Superfood Green Collard Wraps



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There’s something about biting into something that’s awesome and good-for-you that I can’t wrap my head around….

Oh wait, I actually can ;) Green Collard Wraps are something that you can easily ‘wrap’ around your head – it’s fresh pure and healthy food, simple as that.

Sometimes we just try too hard… and get a little confused about healthy eating. When the answer is right there in fresh natural food. That’s why I love these delicious naturally gluten-free and vegan Superfood Green Collard Wraps. These wraps keep it simple yet very delicious. Using fresh green collards as a wrap is amazingly healthy and so great to bite into. And I’ve added fenugreek sprouts for their superpowers to kick things up a notch. All together – this is one great and healthy lunch that I can’t wait to make over and over again! ;)



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Superfood Green Collard Wraps | vegan and gluten-free

10 minutes prep time, serves 2

Ingredients :

4 large organic green collard leaves
2-4 tablespoons vegan mayo (vegeneise)
1 large organic carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 organic cucumber, cut into thin strips
1/2 package of organic firm tofu, cut into long thin pieces
fenugreek sprouts – or any other sprouts available

Directions:

Rinse all vegetables. Peel the carrot and slice into thin matchstick pieces. If using organic cucumber, don’t peel it – there’s lots of naturally occurring silica (a mineral) which is known to help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. Prep all the other ingredients and set aside.

Take the collard greens and cut out the hard inner core. Spread a thin layer of vegan mayo, and pile on the veggies, tofu and sprouts. Roll up with the bottom of the leaf in first, cut in half and serve. Enjoy the goodness!

Amazing Benefits of Fenugreek Sprouts :

  • Fenugreek Sprouts are rich in vitamin C, proteins, fibers, niacin, potassium, iron and alkaloids. It is also rich in a compound called diosgenin which has estrogen-like properties and steroidal saponins.
  • Help control diabetes.
  • Promote weight loss.
  • Help in cardiac health as they help to balance heart rate and blood pressure.
  • They are anti-viral.
  • Rich in antioxidants.
  • Improve digestion.
  • Combat signs of aging, skin problems and helps to promote healthier hair.
  • Improves lactation in breastfeeding moms.
    Not safe for pregnancy however, but great for labour pains and inducing labour. Great to add to your diet if you’re right on your due date.

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This is a great way to say hello to Spring with fresher, crunchier and more raw foods! You will love these healthy vegan and gluten free Green Collard Wraps for lunch, a light dinner or even as a party platter!

If you are serving this at a party, consider prepping all the ingredients on plates and having your guests make your own wraps! I do this quite often when my friends or sister’s show up and they have fun making and customizing their own delicious collard wraps. (This also means less work for me….. but no one knows that’s my secret – they have even more fun!) Win win! ;)

What other ingredients would you add to your collard wraps?

Looking for more Collard Wrap recipes – don’t miss this post : Collard Greens Raw Wraps with Carrot Slaw Filling

Pure Ella 

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Lemon Poppyseed Loaf (gluten, dairy and egg free Starbucks cake)



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I have this incredible love for the Lemon Poppyseed Loaf from Starbucks.

Ahh… that lemony moist cake with the yummy poppy seeds – wow! This loaf cake brings back great memories…

This was our life a few years ago (does 10 years pass as a ‘few’? It sure feels like it was yesterday) : Me and my soon-to-be husband, living in Port Credit, a sweet little ‘town’ just west of TO, it’s really just a small strip with character buildings of a cute little town and the best part…. it’s right by the lake. We lived there for six years in a small apartment right in the hub of this great little area… now very trendy. But even back in those years, we loved the shops and the lifestyle of live/work in a great area.

We were living the life. We both worked from home and we started many days with a walk out by the lake…. grabbing some coffees and (of course) some Lemon Poppyseed Loaf cake from Starbucks. A little morning stroll, arm in arm when everyone was stuck in cubicles was a dream-come-true. I always enjoyed the little things… the lake, my man, coffees, great conversation and a great cake in my hand were more than the little things – this was, at the time the best years of our life…. Mid 20s and life was good pre-kids and pre-mortgage, pre-health struggles…. I guess we just knew how to create great moments with very little and enjoy every day as it came ;)

Of course, some memories just never fade and looking back to our life in Port Credit always brings a smile to my face. We bring back great stories and treasure them so they don’t fade away. After all… living by the lake is amazing. To have such a great place to relax and have stunning view of the beautiful lake just steps away is amazing. But the best part also, is that our daughter was born there. I have amazing memories of sitting with her as a little baby on the balcony and soaking up some sunshine and going for strolls while hearing the waves splashing. Of course we were outgrowing this apartment and needed to move on and get more room for those early days as family.

But I never wanted to really move. And we swore that one day we would go back to Port Credit. And maybe those days of grabbing coffee and Lemon Poppyseed loaf cake and going for a walk by the lake would be part of our everyday once again….. one day, we’ll see if that happens. Meanwhile, I borrow little pieces of that old life and adapt it to our right now…

We no longer have Starbucks or the lake within a walking distance. And I no longer eat wheat/ gluten, eggs and dairy… so this cake, I dream of, isn’t even possible to grab at Starbucks. Of course, I no longer care…. I can have it all anyway…. We can drive out to the lake, grab coffees and I can pack a home-baked Lemon Poppyseed Loaf cake with us. We can set up a blanket right by the shore and enjoy that sameness that wakes a small heartwarming piece in my heart. We can have a picnic with our daughter and the little baby that will arrive soon… and me and my husband can still get lost in our old life stories and bring back fun memories from years ago, when we sat in the very same spot, dreaming of one day coming here with out kids and growing old together…. ;)



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Lemon Poppyseed Loaf | gluten, dairy and egg free Starbucks cake

Ingredients for the loaf cake:

1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons white chia seed powder
1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/3 cup melted coconut oil or grape seed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 organic lemon

Ingredients for the lemon icing :

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
water if needed

You will need 2 bowls and a rectangular loaf pan, about 6×9″, and parchment paper to line the inside.

Directions :

First, soak the poppy seeds in the milk for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. 

Make a chia egg : Mix two tablespoons of chia powder (preferably white so it blends into the white cake), whole chia seeds are also ok. And mix them with 4 tablespoons of warm water. Set aside for about 5 minutes, the amount of time it takes to gather your ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350F. 

Combine all dry flour ingredients in one bowl. Combine sugar and all wet ingredients in another, whisk for a few minutes to let the sugar dissolve. Zest your lemon, then juice it. (if not using organic lemon, be sure to remove some of the wax build up on the skin – you can do this by putting the lemon into a mug or a small bowl and pouring hot boiling water over it to cover completely. Leave for about 10 seconds, remove with a spoon and wipe clean.)

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. If lumps form, use an immersion blender to mix the batter thoroughly. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes, enough to line your pan with parchment paper. (Resting helps the batter to get fluffier as the baking powder is activated better with the dough’s rest).

Bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes. Insert toothpick into the centre to check for doneness. The loaf cake should be golden in colour and firm to the touch, the toothpick should come out dry. Allow to cool completely before serving.

To make the Lemon Icing, add the powdered sugar into a small bowl, add in the lemon juice and mix with a spoon, add a 1/4 teaspoon of water at a time and mixing well to reach the right runny consistency. Drizzle over the Lemon Poppyseed Loaf and serve. Enjoy!



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Now I can go back to those memories with coffee and Lemon Poppyseed Loaf cake anytime I want…. And there’s a little extra pleasure that I can have cake and eat it too! ;)

And there’s something about the Lemon + Poppy seed moist yummy cake that I will always love…. maybe it’s the memories, maybe it’s just the good cake. I know one thing… I like to enjoy good things in life! And this Lemon Poppyseed Loaf cake would be a very good thing in my life right now…. along with my family on that picnic blanket by the lake… that would pure happiness – and I can’t wait! ;) 



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Cabbage Roll Casserole : gluten-free and vegan



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Ahhh there’s nothing better than some homemade comfort food… and Cabbage Rolls do go right to the top of my list for The Best Comfort Food recipes!! ;)

But, do you ever get overwhelmed with the work involved with making cabbage rolls? It’s not hard to roll these healthful cabbage babies up in a roll, but I know the thought used to frighten me once upon a time.

I like individual rolls too… but it’s true they take a little more time to make and god-forbid your cabbage leaves don’t unravel well and you end up with torn leaves – so hard to turn these into rolls! (am I right?)

So of course I’m very excited about sharing this (cheater) recipe with you for a Cabbage Roll Casserole! It’s all the goodness and yumminess of cabbage rolls but done easier as a one-pot casserole dish! Ah man, this stuff is good! And this is also a completely naturally gluten-free recipe that is also vegan – but very much protein rich! Enjoy!!

 

 



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Cabbage Roll Casserole | gluten free and vegan, protein rich

Serves 6-8  Preparation and Cooking : 45 minutes

Ingredients :

1 head of green cabbage
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1/2 cup white (not instant) or brown rice
2 medium onions, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of dried marjoram (or dried thyme or oregano)
1 tablespoon of sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
grape seed oil for cooking

You will need : 2 pots, one large that fits a head of lettuce, one medium to cook the rice and buckwheat, a deep sauteeing pan and a casserole dish.

Directions :

First, start by rinsing the cabbage off and removing some of the handled leaves on the outside. With a sharp knife (and good knife skills) cut into the core and trim some of the inner core away (this will remove the tough parts of the stems on the leaves and it will be later easier to pull the leaves apart). Place the head of cabbage into a large pot, fill the pot with water and set on medium high to simmer for about 10 minutes. Once it’s cooked, gently remove or pour our the water and leave aside to cool.

In a separate pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Check cooking instructions on the buckwheat and rice packaging, they should cook in the same time, but double check. Salt the water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add in the buckwheat and rice and cook as per instructions (together in one pot is fine). When cooked, strain and set aside.

Meanwhile, as the cabbage and rice/ buckwheat are cooking… Start the cabbage roll filling.

In a large sauteeing pan, fry the onions until slightly golden brown on medium low heat. Add in the carrots and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add in TVP, at which time, you will need to add about 1 cup of water as it needs lots of liquid to get absorbed. Add enough water that the TVP is absorbed and isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, but it’s also not runny. Mix in the tomato paste and season. 

By now the rice and buckwheat should be cooked, strain and add into the TVP mixture. Mix well to combine and season to your liking.

Preheat oven to 350F.

To assemble, pour a little water onto the bottom of the casserole dish just to barely cover the bottom. (This will prevent the cabbage from sticking and burning later). Peel off the leaves from the cabbage, it should be cooled enough now to be handled, if not, wait a bit longer as the inside of the cabbage might burn your fingers. Peel off all the leaves and lay a layer at the bottom of the casserole dish. It should be about 3-4 layers of cabbage. If some leaves tear, not to worry, they will not show in your dish at all.

*Tip*  Peel off all the cabbage and use up the inner pieces in the middle of the casserole and reserve the large pieces for the bottom and top. This will create a nice full layer when serving and it will be easier to cut and serve as the cabbage on the outside will help to hold it together.

Add a layer of the TVP/ rice/ buckwheat mixture on top of the bottom cabbage layer. Your layer could be about 1″high or half of your mixture. Add one more layer of cabbage on top of that and then one more TVP layer. Top with diced tomatoes and season with extra marjoram, salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Place in the oven uncovered and cook for about 15-20 minutes. This dish is fully cooked anyway but it helps to allow the flavours to mingle together and soak up the flavours more when it bakes. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This dish is even better the next day – the flavours get all soaked up together and it is easier to cut clean wedges that don’t fall apart.

You can also freeze this dish and defrost in the refrigerator over night or about 5 hours and reheat and serve. Or portion into small sections for an even faster thaw. Freeze for up to 3 months. Enjoy!

 

 



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Yum! This dish is a winner every time!! I like how my taste buds travel all over the globe and enjoy different flavours, but Eastern European dishes will always have a place in my heart and stomach…. it’s home ;)

I love homemade comfort-food recipes and this one is on top of my list of favourite healthy recipes. I like to make it for two days to feel my family and it’s always such a great meal time when everyone enjoys their food… even my daughter loves this dish!

 

 



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Cabbage is such a great superfood! (Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering and antioxidant rich.) And did you know that tomatoes are healthier when they are cooked? Yes, healthier then fresh tomatoes. And TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) is a wonderful natural source of protein that is packed with 12 grams of protein per 1/4 cup! Did you know? All in one dish, you get a full belly and full nutrition in one yummy supper. Enjoy!

If you want Traditional Vegan and Gluten-free Cabbage Rolls – Check out this recipe – another family favourite.

Pure Ella 

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Pure Happiness is… sleigh rides, winter bonfires and rosy cheeks



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Hello and Happy new week and Happy March!!! ;)

We greeted the new month (of winter) with a really fun getaway…. we went up north to the country to a lovely family horse farm.
I had no idea winter could be so beautiful…
I guess it only gets stunning when you leave the city and find complete winter bliss in the stillness of the season.

We went for horse-drawn sleigh rides on this adorable family farm.
This was a whole day organized by our daughter’s scout group and we were so thrilled to be part of the fun.
Neither I or Miss G. have been on a real sleigh ride before… wow this was magic! ;)

It’s amazing how beautiful winter can be when you go back to the basics and enjoy a day in the country.
There was also a big outdoor bonfire to keep us warm, which I didn’t take a picture of but it came in very necessary when you needed a little warming ;)
The farmer made homemade sausages on the large bonfire grill… I did not eat them myself and brought my own lunch. 

The woods nearby were gorgeous and I was in awe with the surroundings…. I have not enjoyed a winter day like this ever in my life.
We will try to make this an annual winter getaway. For sure. What a way to enjoy a winter wonderland.

 

So we’re in March and Spring is nowhere to be seen… I checked around all the corners.
Nothing, no warming in sight.
So we just have to bundle up for a little longer and wait it out.
I mean come on, Spring where are you?
This time last year we were hitting seasonal warm days, this year we’re hitting record cold days. Brrr…

How are you my dear friends?
What is making you happy lately? Do tell ;)

 



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