Oh hey friends!!!!
Gosh it's been a while. I hope everyone had a relaxing and calm holiday season and New Years, with plenty of tasty treats and cozy cheer. I spent the holiday season back on the island working my old bakery job. It was a month of twelve hour+ days, being up to my elbows in fruit cake and homemade marzipan, but it was so nice to step away from screens for a while and work with my favourite group of people again. Now that I'm back home (and no longer living out of a backpack) life is slowly starting to resume a state of normalcy. I'm finding the grove of prepping meals for the week again, soaking beans and seeds to sprout, and getting used to not having a full array of amazing cookies at my disposal for lunch.
I don't know about you, but easing into healthy eating again has been a total joy for me. With the new year comes a fresh start that gets me jazzed over much needed green smoothies and brown rice bowls. I've washed out the kitchen cupboards, restocked the shelves with all my favourite magical powders and dusted off the running shoes again (and it feels great!)
Helping inspire me to get back on track is Joyous Detox, the new book from Joy McCarthy. I was first introduced to Joy, a certified holistic nutritionist and all around health-food goddess, years ago through my sister (who not so secretly has a major girl crush on her). Joy's new book is jammed packed with 100 refined-sugar free, dairy free and gluten free recipes to 'detox' or just to help you make healthy and wise choices in your day to day life. While this book is not 100% veggie, it is very veg heavy with only a few carnivorous recipes.
Simply laid out with helpful tricks and trips, the book is full of informative sections on foods to avoid, habits to help you detox, and detailed detox plans which is perfect for people like me who need a little help in the organization department. The first recipe I had to try was the Baked Mac and Cheese, which was just the thing for these chilly west coast evenings. I can't wait to try the No Bake Superfood Bars, Citrus Fennel Salad, and Chickpea burger next.
Unlike a lot of other mac and cheeses recipes I've made, this one is probably the simplest and quickest to toss together. While some mac and cheese involve roasting squash, or cooking beans, this one is made with soaked cashews which means that it's easy enough to make for a weeknight supper or a fancy lunch. Basically, the hardest thing about this recipe is remembering to soak the cashews in the morning, but if you're like me and forget things like that, the cashews should soften in boiled water in under an hour. Fresh tomatoes, onions, and sage are added to help fill the veggie quota and add some colour, but I think roasted broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, or wilted spinach would be equally as tasty.
Here's to 2017 and all the tasty food to come <3
From Joyous Detox by Joy McCarthy. Copyright © 2016. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.
BAKED MAC & CHEESE
Serves 4, Print Recipe Here
1 Cup Raw Cashews
1/2 Cup Grated Carrot
1 Cup Boiling Water
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Garlic Clove, minced
Sea Salt and Pepper
2 Cups Gluten Free Pasta
1/2 Medium Red Onion, Diced
1-2 Tomatoes, Chopped (I used a handful of cherry tomatoes)
1/4 Cup Hemp Hearts
Sage or Herbs to garnish
- Begin by soaking the cashews in enough water to cover them. Let them sit for at least 4 hours (or if you're unorganized like myself, soak them in boiling water for about an hour).
- Once the cashews are soften, drain them and combine them with with the grated carrot, garlic and boiling water in a high speed blender, pureeing the mixture until smooth. Add the nutritional yeast, mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste, blending again until incorporated.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the pasta, cooking it until just done. Once cooked drain the pasta and combine the it with the minced onion and tomato***. Pour the pasta and sauce into a 8" casserole dish (or similar size) and bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 15 minutes or until warm and golden.
- Sprinkle the pasta with the hemp hearts before serving.
*** I saved a few tomato slices to garnish the pasta before serving as well as added a few sage leaves I had leftover from a batch of soup. Totally optional, but it adds a little pizazz and colour.