Autumn Lattes 3 ways – Matcha + Chai + Pumpkin Spice

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My favourite season is now officially here! Colourful blowing leaves, pumpkins galore, roadside stands selling hearty fall produce, apple cider, pumpkin farms, corn stalks and hay bales, Thanksgiving and Halloween spirit, hoodies, jeans, cozy knit sweaters and boots, cool temperatures and warm food.  And of course pumpkin spice lattes!

There’s no better way to kick of the fall than with a seasonal latte. As you walk through the city when the weather cools down, the iconic green and white starbucks cups pop up everywhere full of delicious chai, vanilla, and pumpkin spice flavours. And a latte in the morning (and possibly the afternoon and evening!) adds a wonderful comfort on a cool fall day.

But as fancy and complicated as everyones favourite fall beverages may seem, they’re actually totally DIY-able and involve minimal effort!

Here are some easy recipes for three of my favourites….Matcha, Chai, and Pumpkin Spice

1. Matcha Latte 

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Matcha Latte

1 serving

  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other milk)
  • 1 tsp matcha tea powder
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  1. Mix the almond milk, maple syrup and nutmeg in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the matcha tea powder and mix well with a hand mixer or milk frother. You can also just use a whisk or fork but that tends to leave clumps.
  3. Enjoy!

2. Pumpkin Spice Latte 

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Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you’re anything like me, then at this time of year pumpkins are fighting for space on your countertop, and leftover bowls of cooked pumpkin in the fridge aren’t uncommon.  So it’s that much easier to whip up a latte.  Whenever I cook a pumpkin I save a couple of pieces just for that purpose. So when the pumpkin spice craving hits there’s no muscle power needed to cut the pumpkin and no waiting around for it to roast…. It’s cooked and ready to use! But if you don’t have any leftover pumpkin and don’t want to take the time to cut and cook one then you can also use canned pumpkin.

1 serving

  • 1 cup almond milk  (or any other milk)
  • 1 serving of espresso
  • 1 heaping tbsp of pureed roasted pumpkin (or use canned pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup, agave or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  1. Mix the almond milk, espresso, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the pumpkin, reduce heat and mix well with a hand mixer. Alternatively, you can pour the milk mixture into a blender to incorporate the pumpkin.
  3. Froth using a milk frother if desired
  4. Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy!

 

3. Chai Tea Latte   

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Chai Tea Latte

1 serving

  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other milk)
  • 1/4 cup strong chai tea (1 chai tea bag + 1/4 hot water)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup, agave or other liquid sweetener
  1. Put the chai tea bag in 1/4 cup hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the maple syrup, spices and chai tea. Stir well for 1 minute
  4. Froth using a milk frother
  5. Pour into your favourite mug, sprinkle some cinnamon on top and enjoy!

 

Chewy Carrot & Sunflower Seed Crackers + Canapés

image It’s that time of year when pool parties, bonfires, and warm summer bbqs are replaced with indoor get togethers and that means that instead of simply grabbing something frozen to throw on the bbq we’re faced with the task of coming up with more weather appropriate dishes to serve.

Whether you’re celebrating an occasion, having friends over just because or just have a bowl of hummus waiting to be dipped into, these carrot and sunflower seed crackers are just what you need!

Salty

Chewy

Seedy

100% healthy

Flour-free

Oil-free

This isn’t your traditional crispy and crunchy cracker but more of a soft and chewy version similar to a flatbread. They’re loaded with fiber rich carrots and tons of seeds. Perfect for munching on straight from the bowl or for dipping.

And if you need something a little fancier to serve your friends and family you can easily jazz these crackers up by topping them with some avocado, herbs, and sun dried tomatoes for instant, bite-sized appetizers!

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Makes 30-35 crackers

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2.5 cups grated carrots
  • 4 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional-  I like to eat these crackers plain but if you want to add some more flavour you can try either:
    • 1 tbsp minced ginger
    • 1 clove of garlic and some chili flakes for more of a kick
  • sesame seeds,poppy seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and extra sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Grate your carrots and set aside
  3. In a food processor, process the sunflower seeds into a fine powder. Add the carrots, flax seeds, salt, pepper, sesame seeds and any optional ingredients and process until everything is combined
  4. With the food processor running, slowly add the water in a thin stream. The mixture should be thick, but moist enough to spread.
  5. When everything is well combined, spread the dough onto the parchment lined baking sheet so it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Sprinkle on any seeds that you’re using as toppings and press them into the dough with your hand.
  7. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut into bite sized squares (it’s easier if you do this before baking)
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crackers are dry and crispy

Canapés three ways – to turn these crackers into fancy litte appetizers just top them with one of the following combinations or come up with your own

  • Spread the cracker with a layer of tahini, and top with a piece of sliced avocado, a leaf of basil and a couple slices of chili pepper
  • Or: spread the cracker with mashed avocado and top with 1 or 2 sun dried tomatoes and chopped chives. This is my favourite!
  • Or: Spread the cracker with mashed avocado and top with 3 or 4 pieces of sliced cherry tomato and a basil leaf.

Hummus, baba ganoush, pesto, or vegan cheese shreds would also make great toppings!

 

Almond Milk + Chewy Chocolate Chip Squares { Made with Almond Pulp!}

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I love homemade almond milk! Not only is it delicious…it’s simple, quick, and cheap to make! I used to make almond milk using a cheesecloth, but I recently started using a mesh laundry bag (the kind used to protect small wash items and delicates) and it’s so much cleaner and easier! Just line a jar or jug with the bag, fold the edges over the top, pour in the milk, squeeze out any remainder and you’re left with a bag of almond pulp perfect for baking something delicious.

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I hate throwing the pulp away and I was craving something chocolatey so I mixed the almond pulp with a few other staple kitchen ingredients and the result was these dense, sweet and chocolatey squares topped with blended dates and agave. They’re chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and pair just as well with a glass of milk as they do with a coffee or latte.imageimageimage imageimageimage image image

Almond Milk

Makes ~ 1 L

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 4 cups cold water (or a little less for thicker, creamier milk)
  • Optional ingredients for flavour – 4 large dates, maple syrup or agave, cacao, 1 tsp ground vanilla

Directions

  1. In a bowl, soak your almonds in boiling water for 30-60 minutes  (Use enough water to cover them)
  2. Drain and rinse the almonds, and put them in a blender with the 4 cups of cold water.
  3. Blend for 3 or 4 minutes until the mixture is white and creamy
  4. Put whatever you’re using as a strainer over a large pitcher or container and pour your almond milk in. Squeeze the bag or cheesecloth to make sure you get all of the milk out.
  5. If adding any of the optional ingredients for flavour – Rinse your blender and pour the milk back in along with any added ingredients. Blend for 1 minute.
  6. Pour into a glass jar or jug and store the milk in the fridge. It will last about 3-4 days.
  7. Keep the leftover almond pulp!

 

Almond Pulp Chewy Chocolate Chip Squares 

Squares

  • Leftover almond pulp from the almond milk (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips or a chopped chocolate bar (I used a dark chocolate bar chopped into chunks)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup or agave

Date Paste for the top

  • 15  soft dates, chopped
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup almond milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix the flax seeds and 3 tbsp water in a small cup and let sit for 5 minutes or until it forms a thick mixture
  3. Using a hand mixer or blender, mix all ingredients for the squares except the chocolate chips and blend until everything is well mixed.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips
  5. Line the bottom of an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper, spoon the mixture in, and spread it evenly.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top
  7. While the squares are baking, mix all ingredients for the date paste until you have a thick, smooth mixture.
  8. Once the squares are out of the oven and cool, spread the date paste on top and cut!

Mile High Tofu and Loaded Veggie Sandwich

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This simple but hearty throw together sandwich is the perfect choice for a quick lunch or an easy dinner!  It’s healthy and satisfying, and all you need is some good, bakery style bread, an assortment of veggies and some dijon mustard.

This sandwich is stacked with a colourful assortment of vegetables – starting with a generous slather of creamy mashed avocado, and then piled with shredded beets, carrots, cucumber, sweet red onions, tomato, spinach, roasted sweet potato fries and parsley- And two thick slices of smoky, crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside tofu.

All this is squished together between a whole grain bun to make a delicious mixture of cold, warm, crispy, tender, sweet and spicy textures and flavours. And the sweet potato fries add some warm fall flavour and pair perfectly with smoky tofu and a spicy dijon mustard

 

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Smoked Tofu and Loaded Veggie Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

  • 2 whole grain buns
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 cup shredded or peeled beet root
  • 1 medium sized carrot, shredded or peeled into thin slices
  • 1/4 of a large cucumber, cut or peeled into thin slices
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, cut into  thin slices
  • handful of spinach leaves (3 or 4 for each sandwich)
  • 1 sweet potato + a splash of olive oil
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • 4 slices of thickly sliced smoked tofu (or plain)
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Cut your sweet potato into thin, french fry style slices. Toss in a bowl with a splash of olive oil and salt if desired and bake at 450 F for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes start to turn brown and the edges puff up a little.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and fry your tofu for 5 minutes on each side
  3. Using the back of a fork, mash your avocado in a bowl and spread on the bottom half of each bun
  4. Spread 1 tbsp of dijon mustard on the top half of each bun
  5. Add all of the veggies, tofu and 5 or 6 sweet potato fries on top of the avocado. Add the top half of the bun and squish together
  6. Serve the rest of the sweet potato fries on the side

Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Breakfast Oats

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There’s no better way to start the day than with a delicious and indulgent breakfast…And breakfast food is the best! There are so many options, both sweet and savoury. Fruit salad, smoothies, french toast, pancakes, muesli, breakfast sandwiches….. the choices are endless. This recipe is a super healthy, and delicious bowl of oats smothered in a rich, bold chocolate sauce and full of fruit, nuts, and healthy fats.

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This oat bowl is a perfect excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast! It’s packed full of nutrients and super healthy foods….whole grain oats mixed with strawberries and banana, hazelnuts and flax seeds.

…And with coconut oil and organic cacao, even the chocolate sauce is healthy enough to eat every day!

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Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Breakfast Bowl

for 2 portions

Oatmeal

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups almond milk, other milk or water
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • handful of hazelnuts or other nut, chopped
  • 10 fresh strawberries, chopped

Chocolate Sauce

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup or agave

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the oats in water or milk until they have absorbed all of the water (about 5 minutes)
  2. While the oats are cooking, mash your banana with the back side of  a fork in a small bowl
  3. Mix all three ingredients for the chocolate sauce and stir well.
  4. Once the oats are cooked, add the mashed banana, flax seeds, cinnamon, chopped nuts and chopped strawberries
  5. Put into bowls and drizzle the chocolate sauce on top