Morning Prayer


Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Thy care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to thy ways. Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay. May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Thy praise. Let those around see me living by Thy Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clad in the entire armour of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands. May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In needful transactions let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things….. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth. Order this day all my communications according to Thy wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day.

 

– C. H. Spurgeon

Creamy Vegan Alfredo (GF, DF)

IMG_0307This is my current favourite Dinner Recipe. A perfect comfort food. We probably eat it twice a week these days- it is easy and delicious and nutritious. Plus, my son is going through a picky eating phase, and this is one the foods that he likes and will eat a lot of (after he picks out the peas- he loves them fresh but apparently not cooked). As with most of our dinner recipes, this is a super flexible meal. If you have mushrooms, add mushrooms. If you don’t have peppers, then don’t add peppers. Work with what you have.

Ingredients:

  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • Handful of mushrooms, diced
  • ½ pepper, diced
  • 1-2 cups of peas
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced OR 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ can of canned coconut milk (or 1 small can of coconut cream)
  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • Brown rice Noodles or noodle of choice (I usually use about 3/4 of a 454g bag of pasta, but if I make the whole package then I will just add a bit more of the pasta water into the sauce when combining it all at the end).

Method:
Place water into large pot with generous amount of salt and bring to a boil while working on remaining steps. But do not add pasta into the water yet.
On a large frying pan over med-high heat, cook onions, celery and garlic until fragrant and slightly tender (just 1-2 minutes).
– Add coconut milk and vegetable broth to pan and stir until mixed. Bring to a boil. – Add in mushrooms, pepper, peas, salt and pepper and continue to boil for 1-2 minutes, then reduce to a simmer.
– While sauce is simmering, add pasta noodles to boiling water and set timer for 2 minutes less than what the package directs you.
– Once timer goes off, bring sauce to a boil again and add noodles directly into the pan using a pasta ladle, including bits of the pasta water (don’t shake the ladle to get rid of the water, just scoop it out as fast as you can so that the water comes with the noodles). Once all noodles are covered in sauce, reduce to medium-low heat and stir continuously for 1 minute.
– Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and stir until melted into pasta. Turn heat off and allow to sit 1-2 minutes before serving.

 

Banana Bread (Vegan and Gluten Free)

IMG_0380I had a stash of bananas on my counter that were the perfect “banana bread” brown. I was originally going to make muffins, and would have gotten a much larger batch to last a longer time, but it has been a while since we’ve had banana bread in this house and it was just time to bring it back. So I made this  Vegan recipe that I dug up from our BC Days when I was off dairy and turned it gluten free. It is safe to say that the boys liked it, as it only survived a few short hours. The bread doesn’t rise as high as it does when made with regular flour, but don’t be fooled by the short loaf- it is still crazy good, and very moist!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey/maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 TBSP water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour** (or regular wheat flour if you prefer it)
  • ½ cup of finely ground walnuts
  • 2 TBSP ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda **I was low on all purpose so I mixed ¼ of Bob’s Red Mill GFAP with 1 cup oat flour, ¼ cup coconut flour, ¼ cup buckwheat flour, ¼ cup quinoa flour.

METHOD:

  1. Mix wet ingredients together in a bowl. Add in dry ingredients and mix until just wet. (Too much mixing will make the bread really crumbly so you don’t want to overdo it).
  2. Place in a greased loaf pan and place in preheated oven set to 350F for 50-60 minutes, until top is well browned.
  3. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

Minty Nanaimo Bars (Gluten Free, Vegan)

IMG_0211Nanaimo Bars are one of my all-time favourite treats. It may have something to do with the fact that I grew up just a ferry ride off the shores of Nanaimo- or perhaps it has nothing to do with that and just has to do with the fact that they are straight up delicious. Either way, one day I was lying in bed, dreaming of Nanaimo bars (which I hadn’t been able to eat because my nursing baby doll cannot have dairy, plus we went vegan) and concocted this recipe in my mind. They say that necessity is the mother of invention—-well it’s true. I had made a boxed version of them back at Christmas and realized how the ingredients really are quite simple and that it’d actually be quite easy to veganize them. So I gave it a try a few weeks ago to see if the recipe was as good in real life as they were in my head, and they did not disappoint!

I first had my husband try them, because he is a very picky dessert eater and my toughest critic (in the good way). He smiled and laughed as he ate them (which is a good sign) and said that they were the best recipe I have made to date. His response was thrilling and I decided to bring them to my family to see if it wasn’t just his hunger talking. They all loved them as well! My sister-in-law made me laugh- Immediately after she took a bite she told me that, knowing it was gluten free and vegan, she had taken the smallest piece there because she didn’t expect good things. She was visibly surprised and told me they tasted like an After Eight. I’ll take it!

After taking a photo and posting it to instagram, a bunch of people asked for the recipe. I mostly eyeballed it the first time so coming up with a transferrable recipe was a great excuse to make them again and now it is finally in writing.

Disclaimer: These definitely do not fit into the “healthy” category. They may be healthier than store bought, but definitely should not be considered health food.

INGREDIENTS:

Base Layer:

– 2/3 cup ground walnuts (I take about 1 cup of walnuts, place them on a cookie tray and toast them for 8-10 minutes at 425F, let them cool, then throw them in the food processor.
– 1 cup graham crumbs (Gluten Free)
– 2/3 cup Shredded unsweetened coconut
– 1 cup Oats
– 2/3 cup Coconut Oil
– 1/3 honey (or maple syrup for Vegan)
– 6TBSP Cocoa Powder
– 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
– dash of salt
– 2 TBSP Almond Milk

Middle Layer:
– 1/3 cup coconut oil- do NOT melt
– 4 ½ TBSP Almond Milk
– 1 ¼ tsp Mint Extract
– 3 ½ cups icing (confectioners) sugar
– ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Top Layer:
– 1 bag GF, DF Chocolate Chips (250-300g)
– 2 TBSP Coconut Oil (Could also use Vegan butter or margarine)

THE HOW-TO

Base Layer:
1- In a bowl, combine walnuts, graham crumbs, coconut and oats. Set aside.
2- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt coconut oil. Once melted, add in honey and cocoa and mix until smooth. Once smooth, add in salt and vanilla and stir again. Finally, add in almond milk. (The almond milk tends to make the coconut oil separate from the mixture so add it last).
3- Immediately after adding the almond milk to the chocolate mixture, quickly combine the chocolate mixture with the dried ingredients that were set aside until everything is well mixed.
4- Transfer base mixture into a lined 9×13 pan and pat down until the whole pan is covered and evenly dispersed. 5- Place pan in freezer to set while working on second layer.

Middle Layer:
1- Scoop coconut oil right out of container into a bowl. You need approximately 1/3 cup- do NOT melt the oil to measure it out. You want it to be fluffy the way that it is when it is scooped. Place bowl into the freezer for a minute or while you tidy up the ingredients from making the base layer.
2- Pull bowl out of freezer and beat the chilled coconut oil with a mixer (the way you would butter) until it is smooth and the clumps are out. It should only take 30seconds-1 minute- any longer and the oil will start to melt, so just do it long enough to break up the chunks.
3- Add in 1 cup of the icing sugar, 1 ½ TBSP of Almond Milk, ¼  tsp Mint extract and ½ tsp vanilla extract then Mix on high until well combined.
4- Repeat step 3 two more times.
5- Add in remaining icing sugar ( ½ cup) and Mint extract ( ½  tsp) and mix- again on High until well combined and smooth- should make peaks and look like cake icing.
6- Scoop out onto base layer, distributing it evenly over the whole surface. Place back in the freezer to chill while working on the top layer.
***Optional: You can either leave the middle layer white or you could add in a touch of green food dye, or even add a drop of chlorophyll to turn it green so it looks minty***

Top Layer:
1- Place large glass or metal bowl over a medium sized saucepan filled with water and place on high heat to create a double boiler. Once the water is boiling and the bowl is hot, add chocolate chips into the bowl, stirring gently until melted. Take bowl off heat and stir until smooth.
2- Stir 2 TBSP coconut oil (or substitute of choice) into melted chocolate until amalgamated.
3- Pour chocolate sauce over top of middle layer. Smooth into corners and then jiggle pan side to side to level it all out.
4- Place pan back in the freezer for 15 minutes. If chocolate topping is still not fully set, place back in the freezer for another 5 minutes. Pull dessert out of the pan by holding the parchment and lower onto a cutting board. Cut through the bars to create the desired sizes you want. The goal is to get the chocolate so that it isn’t so soft that it oozes everywhere, but not so hard that it cracks when you cut it.
5- Place back in the freezer until fully set then store in airtight container in the fridge or freeze them for later.

Last step, but definitely not least- ENJOY! If you try the recipe out, I’d love to know what you think!