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Vegan Parmesan Cheese

My Mom had a kids clothing store when we were growing up, and beside it was (maybe still is) a cute little Italian deli. Besides the fact that this meant my sisters and I got first crack at the new West Beach sweatshirts, it also meant a humongous, crusty, ciabatta loaf and a fresh block of parmesan cheese with grater joined us for dinner many nights of the week. Thanks Italian deli, it was fun, I’m glad we broke up but I still miss you sometimes.

in the jar parm

This parmesan cheese doesn’t really resemble the mighty king of cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano –I’m not totally delusional. In fact it might be closer to the scary plastic shaker of parmesan that sat in the door of the fridge or at the by-the-slice pizza joint. It is infinitely better for you though, as it is not only dairy-free but it is actually made out of real food. Nuts actually, and seeds, the stuff you are encouraged to add to your meals anyway.

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Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Balls

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What I really wanted to make for you this week was peanut butter balls. Either a version of the creamy, sweet ones from your childhood, or the rich and perfect ones from The French Laundry cookbook. That was my jumping-off idea, and although the recipe I have created is indulgent in many ways, I could include close to zero of the ingredients from these original recipes and still keep it crushing-cancer appropriate.

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There is still chocolate, which we can all applaud for. Dark chocolate with 70% cacao or higher is a great source of antioxidants and magnesium, and is low in the other stuff, which includes sugar, cocoa butter and possibly other additives. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower percentage of other ingredients, which means the darker the chocolate the better, in the health department.

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Sesame Kohlrabi Slaw with Miso Apricot Dressing

It’s been a while since I turned my oven on. Not to seem ungrateful for all of this sunshine (and vitamin D), but it has been really hot with humidity that Vancouver doesn’t generally see. So maybe I am complaining a little bit, but chin sweat you guys! All of the time.

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So I have been making recipes that require very little heating up, both for me, and the recipients of the meals. It makes it hard to complain about chin sweat when I think about how un-amazing it must feel to add a rough post chemo week into the mix with all of this heat. No ovens no cry.

This recipe requires the very bare minimum of cooking. It is mostly a raw dish in all of its enzyme-rich glory, but not just for the sake of being raw, more because the dish itself feels so right for this time of year. It is made with seasonal produce, but not necessarily the sweet and juicy stuff that you dream about during the winter months. Is anyone familiar with kohlrabi?

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I think it would be sad to be a vegetable that only reminds people of the parts of vegetables that they normally discard (or save for juicing), but it is true, kohlrabi’s taste and texture are very similar to broccoli stems and cabbage cores. But don’t worry, kohlrabi doesn’t wallow in self-pity, it knows that it is unique and beautiful, with lush, edible greens growing out of each of its many strange little arms. And like all self-respecting vegetables, it also comes in purple.

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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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