Sweet Potato Custard | Beauty Detox

Sweet potato custard

Sweet Potato Custard

October’s Beauty Detox assignment was to create our own version of Kimberly Snyder’s Sweet Potato Custard. By blending cooked sweet potato with tapioca, I was able to achieve that light and creamy texture of a traditional custard without any of the eggs or milk. This vegan sweet potato custard is sweetened with a touch of maple syrup and topped with whipped coconut cream (see recipe below).

Pretty much the only time I ever really eat custard is when it’s part of a prix fixe menu, so in my mind it’s a fancy dessert even though it really couldn’t be more simple. And this sweet potato custard isn’t any different. I kept it easy by baking the custard, which avoided having to stand over the stove stirring the tapioca.

Tapioca isn’t typically baked, but I decided to go ahead and bake this custard in a water bath just like a classic custard. Usually this method is used to prevent the egg from overcooking and curdling the custard, and while this recipe doesn’t contain any egg, I thought it might prevent the outside of the custard from cooking too quickly. I wanted to make sure that this sweet potato custard had a consistent creamy texture throughout, and the water bath did the trick. I refrigerated my custard before removing the ring molds just to be extra sure that it would hold together. By ring molds I mean tin cans, since I couldn’t find my ring molds anywhere. The tin cans did the trick, so remember that for the next time you’re desperately in search of a ring mold! Or, you know, use a ramekin.

Sweet potato custard (flan) with coconut whipped cream

Sweet Potato Custard
 
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This sweet potato custard is thickened with tapioca and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. This baked custard is a creative, completely vegan twist on a classic dessert.
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped
  • 4 tbs tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • coconut whipped cream, walnuts, and maple syrup for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium sauce pan
  3. Add sweet potato and simmer until very tender (10 minutes)
  4. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and combine until completely smooth
  5. Fill ramekins or other oven safe food molds and place in a larger casserole dish
  6. Add boiling water to larger casserole dish to ⅔ of the height of the ramekins
  7. Carefully place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes
  8. Allow to cool completely before serving

Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: Cool coconut milk in fridge overnight. When ready to use, flip can over and open. Pour off liquid and retain leftover cream. In chilled bowl, use a hand-mixer to mix coconut cream, sugar and vanilla until it becomes nice and fluffy. Store leftovers in the fridge, and re-whip before serving.

Sweet potato custard

Find Kimberly Snyder’s Sweet Potato Custard recipe HERE, and check out my other Beauty Detox assignments HERE!

Love sweet potatoes? Try Miso and Sweet Potato Millet Bowls, Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties, or these delicious Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas.

Choosing gratitude in face of a difficult diagnosis

This week’s Beauty Detox blogger assignment was to write about something we are grateful for. Practicing gratitude, meaning thinking of or writing down specific things that I’m grateful for, is something I turn to regularly, especially when I’m feeling down or stressed. It doesn’t always make my problems go away, but it does help put things into perspective.

As Kimberly Snyder writes, “It’s impossible to feel sad, worried or angry and feel gratitude at the same time.” 

For this assignment, I immediately knew what I wanted to write about. It’s something that I’ve been contemplating sharing here on the blog, but it’s also something very personal that I wasn’t sure I should broadcast on the Internet. But it’s something that has played a major role in my life over the last several years, and especially this past year, and sent me on a roller coaster of emotions including sadness, fear, disappointment, and anger, but throughout it all, and especially now, an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

In 2012 I received the news that I’d been dreading. My genetic testing results were in, and I found out that I was positive for the BRCA1 mutation. This is the genetic mutation that caused my mom’s ovarian cancer, which she died from in 2009 at only 55. As a result of my diagnosis, I chose to have a prophylactic double mastectomy in March of this year, which reduced my risk of breast cancer to virtually nothing. While I’m not grateful for my BCRA1 mutation, which I could have definitely done without, I am beyond thankful for the knowledge and ability to do something about it.

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Yes, this is the same procedure that Angelina Jolie underwent. And this is another reason I want to share my story. I remember when Angelina’s news came out, I heard a lot of different reactions. At that time, I already knew I had the BRCA1 mutation, but I hadn’t fully committed to a course of action yet. I remember the women talking about Angelina’s surgery at my pilates class. Although some used the word “brave”, most were using words like “extreme” and “drastic”.

I thought, “extreme?” Do they not know how extreme the risk of breast and ovarian cancer is with this particular genetic mutation? Would they still think it was so drastic if they knew that with this genetic mutation, we have a 40-85% chance of breast cancer and a 25–65% chance of ovarian cancer and that cancers occur at younger ages  and are much, much more aggressive than in women without this mutation? Would they think it was so extreme if they knew that there is no single test that can reliably detect ovarian cancer at a pre-symptomatic stage?

For reference, the average lifetime risk for women without the mutation is around 11% for breast cancer and 1.5% for ovarian cancer. Now, look back up at those numbers above. Isn’t that pretty extreme?

I know lots of people will continue to disagree with this choice. But very few of those people are medical professionals or researchers, who are pretty much in unanimous agreement on this topic, which doesn’t happen often. The science is so strong that our government health plans covers 100% of the costs because they know that prevention will cost them a whole lot less than cancer treatment, which also doesn’t happen often.

I’m not out to change anyone’s opinion, but by sharing my story I hope maybe some people will think, “hey, if Jill chose to do this, maybe it’s not really that crazy after all.” I also just met a girl at a party over the weekend who was going to be doing the genetic testing in the near future because her father had prostate cancer (also linked to BRCA). I shared that I am so happy I made the decision to do this, because although I don’t know what else will get me, I know that it won’t be breast cancer. I shared that although it’s major surgery and the recovery isn’t easy, the anxiety I experienced before receiving my test results and before undergoing the surgery was so much worse. I shared my experience, and she told me it was comforting, since now she knew that even the worst case scenario wasn’t all that bad.

My journey isn’t over, since I have a surgery in November to complete the reconstruction, and the next step will be to take care of my ovaries, which is a whole other complex set of decisions. But I am so so so thankful for the opportunity to take these preventative measures. I’m so grateful for my wonderful medical team and thankful for a wonderful recovery with amazing support from my sister, boyfriend, friends and coworkers. I was lucky that I didn’t run into any complications, and I’m completely thrilled with my cosmetic results. I am grateful to my mother for having the test done when she received her own cancer diagnosis and I’m grateful that science has come so far to enable this option which didn’t exist when her own mother died of the same cancer 20 years before. Through this whole process I have been so thankful that I live in a country where this testing and treatment is made available to me at no cost, and thankful for access to some of the leading doctors in this field. I am just so grateful for the knowledge about my BRCA1 mutation and for the ability to do something about it. Thanks mom. Thanks science.

If you or someone you know is faced with this difficult decision, visit My Destiny or the Prophylactic Mastectomy Facebook Group for information and support.

Mushroom Kale Spring Rolls | Beauty Detox Challenge

kale mushroom spring rolls

This week’s Beauty Detox assignment was to create a variation of Kimberly Snyder’s Warm Kale and Mushroom Beauty Salad. I made my salad over the weekend and then I used the leftovers in spring rolls for dinner last night. I didn’t photograph my salad on its own, so here I’m sharing my Kale and Mushroom Spring Rolls. I enjoyed them with a bowl of miso soup and a small salad topped with sauerkraut and black sesame seeds. So my entry for this week’s challenge is a salad in a spring roll, ok? Yeah, let’s go with that!

I recently made spring rolls and cooked them with a quick shallow fry. They tasted great but a couple didn’t hold together that well and I thought they might have soaked up a bit too much oil. This time around, I baked them in the oven and it was a lot easier that having to stand over the stove while avoiding getting burned by hot oil.

baked spring rolls

I sautéed my vegetables first since they were originally made for the salad, but another option is to coat the raw veg with a tablespoon of oil before wrapping. That might increase the bake time a bit.

Usually in a stir-fry salad like this, I would add some tamari. But since it’s Sugar-Free September, I’ve been avoiding most sauces. To give this salad flavour, I loaded on the spices, and the flavours worked really well in my spring roll version, too.

Mushroom Kale Spring Rolls
 
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Author:
Recipe type: vegan, vegetarian
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 6 rice paper wrappers
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1" ginger root, minced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped zucchini
  • ¼ cup chopped broccoli
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp crushed chili pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Place a wire baking rack over a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with small amount of oil
  3. Heat 1 tbs oil over medium heat
  4. Add mushrooms, kale and onion and sautee for 3 minutes
  5. Add remaining vegetables, garlic, ginger and spices
  6. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, until kale is softened and onions are translucent
  7. Working one at a time, prepare rice wrappers by placing in a shallow dish with warm water for 30 seconds
  8. Transfer to a clear surface and place ½ cup vegetables in centre
  9. Fold over sides and roll, placing seam side down on baking rack
  10. Brush each roll with remaining oil
  11. Bake on rack over sheet for 20-30 minutes

kale mushroom spring rolls

 

Make sure to check out Kimberly’s warm kale and mushroom salad. And for my other Beauty Detox assignments, click here.

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash | Beauty Detox

For this week’s Beauty Detox Assignment, Kimberly Snyder asked us to come up with a recipe using squash. Her recipe for Baked Kabocha Squash with Mushroom Sauce inspired this dish. I looked for the kabocha squash, but it was quite expensive at Whole Foods, so I went with my favourite: spaghetti squash.

Simply tossed with a mix of zucchini, cherry tomatoes and diced onions, the squash was coated in a creamy lemon basil sauce.

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash

This dish would be so beautiful served as a Thanksgiving side. Sweet potato instead of zucchini, and quinoa and cranberries with a dash of cinnamon.

In this recipe, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast add a creaminess to the peppery lemon basil sauce. I topped the noodles with a poached egg for a complete dinner meal.

This is another great meal that satisfies while keeping to the Sugar-Free September guidelines.

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegan, Vegetarian, Pasta
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ white onion, chopped
  • 6 large basil leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 4 poached eggs (optional)
  • Sauce: ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp tahini, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp hulled hemp seeds, 2 large basil leaves, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp minced garlic, juice from ½ lemon, ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground pepper, adjust to taste.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and roast, face up, for 1 hour
  4. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor combine sauce ingredients and blend until combined
  5. Heat coconut oil over medium heat and sautee zucchini, cherry tomatoes and onion until softened, about 10 minutes
  6. Once cooked, shred squash using two forks
  7. Toss squash with sauce, sauteed veg and chopped fresh basil
  8. Top with poached eggs (optional)

Lemon Basil Spaghetti Squash