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Beet Salad with Herbed (Macadamia Nut) Ricotta

I remember a time when beets were scary. They were vac-packed and soggy in the produce section of the grocery store, or sliced up in a can, which rarely equals delicious. Despite their endearing colour (purple, you guys!), they fell flat and tasted like dirt.

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Luckily, sooo much has changed. It is now much easier to get beets that recently grew in the ground, often with their greens still intact, meaning their dirt-living life wasn’t too long ago. It’s natural that their earthy flavour still lingers, but that natural sweetness that comes from a freshly dug-up beet is undeniable, and their texture, both when raw or cooked, is something to celebrate too. Oh yeah, and they’re good for you.

They are full of phytonutrients that vary based on the colour of your beets, so by eating a variety of colours (just like all foods) you will get a broader range. They also boast anti-inflammatory super powers, are full of anti-oxidants and aid in detoxification.

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Buying beets with their greens intact is usually the freshest option. The leafy beet greens and stems deserve a blog post all to themselves, so I’m not going to get too into it here, but keep them and juice them or sauté them with some garlic. They are packed with anti-cancer and they taste good too. For this recipe, for me, it was a little bit too beet on beet to use them as well as the roots, but this way you get two meals out of one veg. Bonus.

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Grain-free Falafel

Having just spent a couple of weeks in parts of Europe where the food, is smooth, rich, mild, and temperate, I need a change of (flavour) scene. It was all so delicious, but now I crave spices, herbs, bitter, tart, and a little bit of aggression. I hope you do too.

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Hello falafel! I indulged in a couple of Maoz moments while I was away, to counter some of the delicious but rich and thematic everyday fare (Maoz -a veggie falafel stand that has a tendancy to pop up exactly when you need it, all over Europe). This is where the inspiration is coming from this week (in part, because I couldn’t wrap my head around Crushing Cancer Croissants. Yet.)

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The healthier, Crushing Cancer version of the falafel is baked at a low temperature instead of fried, refined oil-free (all of the fats are whole fats, derived from nuts and seeds), and gluten and bean-free. Everything on my site is naturally gluten-free, (we are looking to lower inflammation, not cause it, right?) and the lack of beans in this recipe is good news if you have trouble digesting them, but the culinary reason that I am using almonds, pumpkin seeds and flax in place of the mighty chickpea is that they create a firmer texture with a bit of crunch (we are looking for crunch from somewhere other than the deep fryer).

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Avocado Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons

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This post is about a recipe that has been a bit of a game changer for me. I feel like invented it, although I’m (quite) sure I wasn’t the first. It came to me when I was thinking about where I used the most refined fats in my cooking. When they are extra virgin and super fresh, oils can be healthy, but more often than not, they sit on your counter instead of your fridge, and can be rancid before they even get to your grocery cart.

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Although I do use some oils (mostly extra virgin coconut or olive oil), I try to use whole-food fats in their place whenever I can (avocados, coconut, nuts, seeds). It’s not always possible, but often it is (especially if you are not deep frying), it just takes a little more creativity. The first time I tried making salad dressing with avocado in place of any oil, almost everybody within texting (also whatsapp) distance got to hear about it. To be fair, it was that exciting. It opened up a whole new world of even healthier fat, enzyme-rich, oil-free, salad experimenting.

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Soup-Greening (Pea & Spinach Soup)

More of a concept than a recipe, this post is paying homage to the green smoothie and all of its chlorophyll-ific powers, by lending the same concept to a different dish. Meet the green smoothie’s lower glycemic, gently cooked cousin: green soup. Greens soup. Green smoothie soup…I’m still working on it.

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You can start with any soup, much like a green smoothie can have any fruity base. If you want the vibrant green, use lighter coloured, low acid vegetables as the base (onion, leek, sun chokes, artichoke). Know that if you use a tomato soup base (much like using a berry base in a smoothie) you will wind up with something delicious, that could possibly resemble swamp water. Although I do think that the ‘you eat with your eyes’ concept applies less to the person cooking the food (if you know what went into it, and that it is going to taste delicious, it will, even if it’s not pretty, right?) if you are cooking for someone else who may be feeling under the weather and doesn’t feel much like eating, it will be harder to coax them in with swamp water-looking delicious food, than with delicious-looking delicious food. Trust me.

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Any greens will work, although spinach will get the smoothest, especially if you don’t have a high-powered blender. It is also quite bland, which can work in your favor. The up-side of making a green soup rather than a green smoothie, is if there are green bits that won’t blend in smoothly in your sad-ish blender, they will still steam and mellow into the soup. Anyone ever try to blend kale into their smoothie while on vacation using a blender from the 80’s? It feels like you are eating lawn trimmings. Like a cow. Again, you won’t have that problem here, give kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, and collards a try. Just keep in mind, they will impart their flavour into the soup.

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