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Pumpkin vegan cheesecake without fake cream cheese

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

At every Thanksgiving dinner since I was a child, my mom made pumpkin cheesecake. It was always a hit at family events and a creative twist to the classic pumpkin pie. When I decided to go vegan, I knew I wasn’t going to forfeit my annual cheesecake and set out to find the perfect vegan recipe. Here is my favourite vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe that I make every year.

Crust:

  • Graham Crackers
  • Vegan Margarine

First off, keep the crust simple. If you try and attempt a complicated crust, it will take forever and there is always a lengthy list of items to make for Thanksgiving dinner as it is. Either purchase a vegan crust or simply use graham cracker crumbs. Crush them up and combine with vegan margarine or coconut oil. Press in a pan until a firm crust has been created.

Cheesecake:

  • 1/2 cup of raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp allspice and cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg and ginger

For the cheesecake, most people use vegan cream cheese, but I prefer to keep it out of the cheesecake. Instead, I use raw cashews. Soak the cashews overnight prior to using them. Blend all of the ingredients together and pour into the pan on top of the crust. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool the cheesecake in the fridge for four to five hours and serve.

This cheesecake recipe is delicious and provides an extra protein kick for vegans. It also has the added benefit of being a healthier version of the original, while still tasting delicious. Enjoy!

5 fun and creative back-to-school lunch ideas

Making back-to-school lunches can be tedious business. Who wants to eat the same sandwich every day? Instead of falling into those bad (yet speedy) habits, why not start the year with a kick and make fun lunches for your kids can brag about at school. On the first day of school today, my daughter was expecting a sandwich and when I told her on the way to school that she as going to be eating soy chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs, she was so excited. Seeing her smile — that’s what makes the effort worth it.

Pizza Quesadillas
Pizza Quesadillas
  1. Lunchbox Quesadilla Pizza

The homemade quesadilla pizza is an easy meal that kids will love. It is also a simple way to conceal vegetables in your child’s food. Simply fry a tortilla with cheese (or vegan cheese), spread on some pizza sauce, and then place cheese and the desired toppings. Cover with another tortilla. Make sure to flip it and brown on both sides. Pitas or tortillas work well enough for these pizzas (or pizza sandwiches), but homemade dough is also a tasty option enjoyable.

By Evan Amos.
By Evan Amos.
  1. Kid’s trail mix

If you are having a tough time cramming all of the snacks into one single lunchbox (and wasting Ziploc bags), why not mix them all into one container? A kid’s trail mix can be made up of several different options including yogurt raisins, goldfish crackers, grapes, nuts and crackers. This is a fun snack option because you can change it daily, which always makes it a surprise for your child.

GlassOfJuice_and_carrots

  1. Lunch “fun due”

If your child is getting bored of sandwiches (and it is still too hot for warm lunches), a “fun due” is another way to make a creative meal. By tearing up bread into pieces and then providing a variety of dips, it makes a kid-friendly version of a fondue. It is important to make healthy and filling dips, including blending fruits and veggies with almond milk to make a thick sauce that can be dipped into. Include cheese cubes and other finger foods to complete the meal.

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  1. Lady Fruit Face

When I was a child, I loved playing with my food. I even went so far as to melt marshmallows into little statues. For this creative snack idea, take different fruits and make fun fruit faces with them. Using an orange slice as the face, take an carrot stick for the mouth, grapes for the hair and raisins for eyes. Kids love seeing the various creations and it will make them excited to eat fruit and vegetables every day.

Silver_dollar_pancakes

  1. Mini Pancakes with vegetables and fruit

Instead of using lunch foods to make a meal, try a breakfast option instead. Make small pancakes and freeze them. They pair well with fruit. Include a little bit of syrup and several different types of fruits for a well-rounded and yummy meal. Pancakes are also another food that is easy to hide healthy ingredients such as flax seed, zucchini, or chocolate hemp protein powder.

Getting kids to enjoy food can be a difficult task sometimes and making creative lunches helps keep them interested in eating well. Using fun foods as a way to conceal healthy items in lunch is another way to ensure your child keeps their energy up and is excited to eat something fresh every day.

What are you packing in your child’s lunches? Let us know in the comments below!

March yourself into a 100 meal journey

It’s been two months since you’ve made that New Year’s resolution to eat well this year … and you may be hitting a plateau. It’s hard to keep inspired and motivated when the weather just makes you want to stuff your face. Luckily, Dieticians of Canada can help you change those eating habits. You may even eat 100 healthy meals in a row! Sound impossible? Trust us, it’s not!

March is Nutrition Month, or at least, it’s labelled that way by the Dieticians of Canada. They started as a Nutrition Week in 1981 and has since expanded into a monthly celebration of healthy eating with a new theme each year. This year’s theme is dedicated to making small changes — one meal at a time. It’s called the 100 meal journey.

The Dieticians of Canada are promoting a series of fun events across the country that help Canadians eat healthy meals throughout the month of March. Each week of the month has a specific theme. March 16 is also Dietician’s Day and is an opportunity to take part in healthy eating events across the country, details of which can be found on this activity map.  This year, the weekly themes are: Getting Started, Quality Counts!, Prioritize Portion Size, Try Something New!, and Make it Stick.

Getting started in any healthy eating initiative can be daunting, but there are certain steps that you can take to get the process started. Creating a list of healthy eating goals and then posting it in your desk area or on the fridge will help enforce the new habits. It also takes a community to make a great change — enlisting friends and family. Instead of waiting until the last minute — because let’s be real, it’s exhausting to figure out dinner at 7 p.m. — try making a weekly meal plan.  Remember: whole grains instead of white bread and fill that list with fresh veggies and fruits!

Quality cooking is essential in any healthy meal. Dieticians of Canada provide Cookspiration, a link with several delicious recipes that help to plan for hale and hearty options. The Dieticians also provide apps that can be installed to help set goals, give portion size measurements, and provide ideas for the 100 meals healthy eating plan. Some of the better apps are eaTracker and eaTipster.

The number one tip: be prepared. If you are in a hurry, prepare smoothies in advance with frozen fruit, ground flax and hemp seed, spinach, and almond milk. A great snack for those on the run is peanut butter, banana, and trail mix in a whole-grain tortilla for a yummy breakfast.

Another tip the Dieticians of Canada provide in their 100 healthy meals campaign is how to pack protein into meals. Protein reduces the appetite and keeps people healthy. Lentils are a great way to sneak protein into dishes, because the grain has the capability to take on whatever taste is in the dish at hand. The ground-up chickpeas in hummus provide a yummy dipping option with veggies. Pairing protein-packed foods with high-fibre foods is another great way to fill up and avoid overeating. Fantastic fibre foods include whole veggies and fruits, whole grains such as barley and lentils, nuts, seeds, and beans.

Finally, don’t give up! Making healthy lifestyle changes can be a challenge, but the rewards are great.

Are you brave enough to tackle the 100 meal challenge? Leave us some of your meal ideas below!

Carrots, kale, and oranges, oh my!

Are you finding yourself yawning half way through the day? Healthier lunch options may help to alleviate the desire for an afternoon cat nap.

Lunches can be hard, but never fear! Women’s Post has you covered with some healthy options for your lunch. These foods will keep you healthy, restore your energy, and ultimately help you be more productive on the job. According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly two-thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit each day. Foods that have high levels of trans-fats and additive properties can damage brain function and lower productivity.

Trans-fats weaken the physical structure of the brain, which decreases memory and brain function as well as causes lower levels of physical energy. A study by the Mental Health Foundation concluded that additive properties can be dangerous to the body at work because

“when the brain is ‘flooded’ by an artificial influx of a neurotransmitter (for example, adrenaline triggered by a strong coffee), the brain’s receptors respond by ‘closing down’ until the excess is metabolized away.”

Eating fresh fruits, veggies, and healthy snack options instead of drinking coffee and eating sugary snacks will maintain your energy levels better. If you are enticed to make the change to a healthier lifestyle, here are some tips that can make lunch stress-free.

Sliced_cucumbers_and_tomatoes

Advice from a girl guide: always be prepared

Preparing meals in advance saves time during a busy week inundated with meetings and long commutes. Taking an hour on Sunday evening to prepare an assortment of vegetables and fruits make it easier to grab them before heading out the door. Preparing food in advance also helps to use more of the fruits and vegetables that are purchased because they are pre-divided for consumption.

Cutting cucumbers, carrots and peppers, mango, cantaloupe, and other fruits and veggies in advance helps to make them more edible and simple to prep before work. Try preparing a large bowl of salad without adding dressing and then distributing it into containers for the week. Another source of preparation is making smoothies and freezing them, then allotting a daily portion into a reusable container for a snack on the job.

containers

It’s all in the containers

Purchasing containers that have several compartments is a great way to bring fresh foods to work instead of packaged options. Without reliable modes of transportation for our healthy options, spills or rotting can occur. Bento boxes are a great to use for transferring fresh fruits and veggies without spilling it on the streetcar.

Mason jars are also a great type of container to use for fresh foods. The jars are sealed and extremely useful for pre-divided salads, yogurt and granola or cold pastas with a delicious sauce. Plus, they look really nice when placed strategically on your desk.

 granola bars

Homemade goodies vs. packaged goods

Homemade snacks are a healthier option that pre-packaged foods and are even more delicious when fresh. When cutting veggies and fruits for the week, preparing a few easy snacks can help when you get the munchies while at the office. Curried cashews are an easy and delicious option; simply douse the nuts in curry powder. Homemade granola bars are also an easy choice, combining a number of simple ingredients such as oats and bananas and then freezing it for a treat during the week.

Eating a healthy lunch helps restore energy at the workplace, changes eating habits to make better food choices, and alleviates symptoms of depression or exhaustion during the day. Next time you are the grocery, challenge yourself to buy as much fresh food as possible, and don’t forget the jars!