The holidays are among us, and you know what that means… Break out the stretchy pants, or don’t and enjoy the healthy spin on these traditional recipes. We can’t gaurantee if you eat the whole pan of sticky toffee pudding that you won’t put on a pound or two, but never fear we have an article on detoxing coming up! Plus, we promise these recipes have some health benefits, so you can feel good one spoonful after another.

Wild Rice Stuffing

Photo provided by Amranth

A little bit about Wild Rice and why it’s so good for you!

True wild rice, the kind that is long and slender and foraged for, is such a delicious addition to a whole food diet. It has a chewy texture and a nutty, almost smoky flavour that work together to make it filling and satisfying. Wild rice is actually a grass rather than a rice. The grains are light to dark brown and are the seeds of the grasses often growing around Canadian freshwater lakes. Not only tasty, wild rice is also plentiful in the B vitamins folic acid and niacin as well as minerals including potassium, zinc and magnesium.

  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice, water or broth to cook (see instructions below)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apple (skin on), gala is nice
  • 3/4 cup dried or fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp cashew or sunflower butter
  • fresh herbs – couple sage leaves, sprig or two of rosemary and thyme, no need to chop, just keep them whole (dried can also be used – about 3 tsp of a poultry spice blend)
  • about tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper

**To garnish at the end – flat leaf parsley and another 1/2 of a lemon, salt and pepper**

Step 1: Cook The Rice

This takes about 45 minutes, so you can do this ahead of time if you would like, even the day before. If you are using the stuffing to stuff a turkey, just cook it in water. If you are using it to stuff a pepper, squash or plain ‘ol casserole dish, you may choose to cook it in a broth to add the flavour profile that would have come from the turkey.

  1. Rinse your rice.
  2. Add it to a pot big enough for the rice to double in size. If you are stuffing this in a turkey, add about 3 1/2 cups of water (you want the rice to be al dente as it will soak up juices in the bird), otherwise 4 cups of water or broth will suffice.
  3. Add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook away leaving the lid on.

Step 2: Dice, Dice, Dice…

Dice up your celery, onion, apple and walnuts and have everything else ready as this is a quick assembly.
When your rice is all cooked, proceed with the next steps.

Step 3: Melt It Together

  1. On medium heat, warm up your pan (a cast iron pan is a great one) and add your olive oil (or butter if you are not cooking for vegans).
  2. Start with the celery and onion and sauté that for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the cashew or sunflower butter and lemon juice. Mix around to “melt” it all together, this takes about 30 seconds.
  4. Add everything else, including the cooked wild rice. Combine well to coat everything. It is done (and, your kitchen smells amazing)!

Now you can stuff your turkey, pepper, squash or fill your casserole dish.

If you are doing the dish thing, add about 1/2 cup of water or broth, cover and cook for about 40 minutes at 325F. Cook the other stuffed things as needed. Before serving, taste your stuffing.

Make sure to season with salt and pepper and a bit of fresh lemon juice. Give it a stir, top with some diced fresh parsley and enjoy!

Of course you could add other vegetables to the stuffing. Leftovers are also delicious and freeze well.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Photography by Olivia George Photography

This recipe just happens to channel that comfort food vibe, but the coconut sugar brings down the glycermic load and it can also be served to vegans, those unable to tolerate dairy, nuts and gluten! That’s right, a comfort food thats gluten free!

Step 1: Almond cream

If you want to go all the way and make your own almond cream, it is well worth it. If not, skip down a few lines for your convenience or nut free options.

  1. Soak 1/2 cup raw almonds in water for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Rinse and drain the soaking water and pop the nuts out of their skins.
  3. Blend them in any blender for 1-2 minutes with 1 cup water until smooth.
  4. Pour through a double cheese cloth, a fine sieve or a nut milk bag so you just have the liquid, saving
  5. the bits as they will go in the pudding below.
  6. Store the almond cream and bits in the fridge until you make the rest of your recipe.

Step 2: Sauce Time

You can skip this step by using a prepared cream from a non-dairy source or if dairy is invited to your table, enjoy the selection of rich and creamy organic and local creams. Either of these options will also make the dessert nut free.

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2/3 cup almond cream or cream of your choice (see above)

Time to Create!

  1. Melt all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and gradually bring it to a boil, whisking fairly constantly.
  2. Once it starts boiling, turn it down a bit (keep it boiling) and set your timer for 3 minutes, whisking gently but constantly.
  3. At the 3 minute mark, the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
  4. Remove from heat and pour 1/2 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch square pan and place the pan in the freezer. Set aside the rest of the sauce, uncovered at the back of your stove (no heat).

Step 3: The Pudding!

  • Soak 2 Tbsp ground flax (brown or golden) in 1/3 cup water, set aside to allow time to gel, or use 2 eggs if not making the vegan version (the flax version works great and adds fibre and an earthiness)
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pits removed and roughly chopped (other date varieties can work as long as they are fairly soft)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil (softened)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup flour (we suggest unbleached organic, whole spelt or for gluten free Namaste Perfect Flour Blend works beautifully!)
  • The bits leftover from making your almond cream (or 2 Tbsp flour if you didn’t make your own cream)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (add an extra 1/2 tsp of baking powder if you are using gluten free flour)
  • 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and ground cloves (a wee bit more if you like it spicy)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • vanilla coconut milk ice cream (or your favourite version of!)

Time To Create!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Put the dates, baking soda and boiling water in a glass or metal bowl and cover with a plate to keep the heat in. Set aside to allow the dates to soften.
  3. Whisk together the coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup and flax mixture (or eggs).
  4. Add the dry ingredients right on top of the wet.
  5. Put your soaking dates and water in the blender and if you made your own cream, add your leftover almond bits to the date mix.
  6. Blend for about 30 seconds. *This does not need to be smooth.*
    Add the date and almond bit mixture to the bowl along with the walnuts.
  7. Mix everything together until just combined.
  8. Take the baking dish out of the freezer and slowly pour your batter over the cooled toffee.
  9. Put your pudding in the oven for about 30 minutes until it is firm enough in the centre that you can press lightly without your fingers going through.
  10. Take out of the oven and poke about a dozen holes in the top with a fork. Drizzle the rest of the sauce over the top and place it back in the oven under the broiler (on low is good). Set your timer for 1 minute and watch closely so as not to burn all of your hard work!
  11. Remove from oven and cut into 9 squares. Scoop out with a spoon and cover with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Spiced Chaga Latte

Photography by Olivia George Photography

Channel your favourite flavour this season, Pumpkin Spice! This healthy recipe has a spin using Chaga! We couldn’t be more excited to indulge in this fungus, here’s a little bit about it:

Chaga is a mushroom that attacks birch trees, Wild Chaga has shown in research to:

  • Be an adaptogen. This means that if the immune system needs to be stimulated, Chaga encourages the body to stimulate the immune system and if the immune system is overactive and needs to be calmed
  • Quench” the oxidizing activity in the body through the high amount of antioxidants. This is especially supportive to reduce inflammation and present with anti-aging characteristics (including skin and hair appearance and organ function)
  • Support cancer treatments. Chemotherapy and radiation can have many side effects on the body including things like nausea, insomnia, poor appetite, fatigue, etc. Chaga has shown promise in reducing these side effects in some patients.
  • Normalize cholesterol and blood pressure by breaking down “bad” cholesterol in the blood stream creating less arterial plaque and stronger arteries.

Step 1: Make your tea

  1. Take about 2-3 tsp of wild chaga (New Earth and Harmonic Arts are great choices) and put it in a pot on the stove.
  2. Add about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. It will start to turn a dark brown colour.
  3. You can use it in about 10 minutes if you haven’t time to wait, but the nutrition with mushrooms just increases the longer and hotter that they get. You can simmer that, covered, for around 5 hours if you want.
  4. When you are done boiling, strain (but keep the bits) and your tea is ready to use in the recipe below.

Step 2: Get Your Ingredients Ready

  • 4 tablespoons roasted pumpkin (or canned organic pumpkin puree in a pinch!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder, or scrape the inside of a vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice blend (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg), use the most potent spices you can find to increase the value (if you like it extra spicy then add an additional 1/2 tsp each true cinnamon and a tsp of fresh ginger, yum!)
  • 3 cups hot chaga tea (instructions above)
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk (or whatever milk you like, but go for the full fat)
  • 4 tbsp – 1/4 cup maple syrup (depending how you like it, Angela likes it sweeeeeet!)
  1. Combine and heat up liquids (tea, milk and maple syrup.)
  2. Meanwhile, add pumpkin and spices to blender.
  3. When liquids are good and hot (be careful, this is a blender with hot liquids now), add to blender and mix with spiced pumpkin.
  4. Blend well and serve. Makes 2 large adult servings.
  5. Add a bit more warm water or milk to include extra for the kids.

Enjoy!!!

Learn about more about Amy from Amaranth, and what she loves most about 4th!

Amaranth’s Community Ambassador, Amy Buckman can be found whipping up new recipes for the Amaranth Blog, talking to kids in schools about food related curriculum and maybe even through the lens on Breakfast Television.

Did you know; While the Amaranth flagship location in the NW corner of the city is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, the 4th Street Market opened in the fall of 2013.

What was the inspiration behind the start of your business? To expand into a location in the core of the city.

Amy: Something you might not know, it’s a team environment, Our staff are amazing. Everyone takes really good care of each other.

and we have an extremely fascinating staff, The manager of 4th Street Market, Oliver Thiessen, is a singer songwriter for Omarandthebear.

What you love most about 4th Street?

Amy: All the foot traffic and the feeling of really being a part of someone’s day. Everyone is on their way somewhere or coming from something interesting.

And of course!!

Your one guilty pleasure. Air travel and wood burning fireplaces.

Now that we know your guilty pleasures, what’s your favourite thing to do on a brisk Calgary day?

Amy: Dress up in cozy layers and walk my golden retriever. It is so quiet and you can feel the fresh snow compact under your boots. The sun shines through the snow on the branches of the sleeping trees. Magic!

Want to learn more about the team at Amaranth? Follow them socially on Facebook, and Twitter.