Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Apple Cinnamon Muffin-tops


Apple and cinnamon is one of my favorite autumn flavour combinations. Apples are in season, and they just scream for cinnamon! 

In my family, muffin tops are a hot-commodity, so when making these cookies, I tried for a fluffy muffin consistency. The secret is to barely mix the batter (similar to a muffin batter), and to wet your hands when forming the cookies because it's super sticky.


I can't be the only one who thinks cookies for breakfast needs to become mainstream right?! Well here's my contribution to that good fight; a low sugar and fat cookie. Pair it with some yogurt for a perfect morning meal πŸ˜ƒ

I was honestly shocked how fast this batch went. 8-year-old M couldn't get enough of them as an after school snack, and the rest of the family literally (I don't use that word lightly) snapped them up.






Apple Cinnamon Muffin Top Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 small apple

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Combine all dry ingredients
  3. Mix in wet ingredients until just combined being careful not to overmix
  4. Wet hands to form medium sized balls- it’s a very wet mixture
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes
  6. Yield: 20 cookies.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Sweet Potato Crusted Potato Knish


Mashed potatoes is a total comfort food, and also a staple dish at many holiday meals. A knish upgrades everyone's favorite side dish into its sophisticated cousin by stuffing it into a crusty outside. 

Go outside the expected, and welcome Autumn, by swapping the original flaky dough with my colourful antioxidant-rich sweet potato crust.

It's pretty, the colours contrast wonderfully when sliced, and man, this tastes great!



This recipe does take a bit of time to make (there's making the dough, and the filling, plus assembling it), but it's always super popular, so I only make it for Fall special occasions! 

Assembling mashed potatoes on dough

Microwaving the sweet potato instead of boiling it can cut down on some time. Depending on the size of your potato, it can be ready in 4 minutes to 16 minutes. Peel it after microwaving, and it's so much easier - the peel just slips off! 


Raw knishes before egg wash
Save the water used for boiling the other potatoes, and use it to make super smooth and creamy mashed potatoes




Sweet Potato Crusted Potato Knish

Ingredients:

Dough:
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
Filling:
  • 1/2 bunch leeks chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 5 small potatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • egg- optional for glaze

Instructions

  1. Microwave or boil sweet potato until completely soft
  2. Peel and mash sweet potato until smooth
  3. Combine all dough ingredients and set aside
  4. Boil potatoes- save this water
  5. Sautee chopped leeks and onion
  6. Mash potatoes well and combine all ingredients
  7. Add in reserved potato water to reach the smooth consistency of mashed potato you prefer

    To assemble:
  8. Preheat oven to 350° F
  9. Divide dough in 2 equal portions, plus about 1/8th to use for decoration
  10. Roll dough into a ¼ inch thick rectangle
  11. Spread filling in the centre of the dough, and fold dough over, so sides overlap
  12. Place seam-side down on baking tray
  13. Repeat with second half of dough
  14. Form a crisscross pattern using assigned dough
  15. Brush with egg wash
  16. Bake for , remove from oven to cool.



What occasion will you make this for?





Thursday, 19 October 2017

What's for Lunch?



Lunch is one of your most important meals of the day (breakfast and supper being the others πŸ˜‰). Packing a lunch is one of the best things you can do for sticking to your eating and budgetary goals, but it can be tricky coming up with lunch ideas day after day. I have some of my go-to ideas, and today I'll share one of my faves, plus some ways to switch it up.

A balanced lunch needs grains, protein and vegetables to keep you going strong throughout your day. Grains provide your brain with fuel, and making it a whole grain allows for slower digestion, both keeping you full for longer and preventing a sugar spike and crash. Protein also slows digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer, and vegetables provide important nutrients and health benefits.



  1. Chose a grain. Bulgur, rice, quinoa, wheat berries and barley are all great options; pick your favorite, or get adventurous and try a new one. (I've been wanting to try sorghum for a while now, but haven't been able to find it yet.)
  2. Grab your eggs: I recommend 2 eggs per person (this is a meat & alternatives serving on Canada's Food Guide, and more filling than just 1 egg)
  3. Season and choose your veggie add-ins; we'll get to those soon!

Instructions:
  • Add grain and water to a pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer until all the water is absorbed (amounts of grain, water and time vary, so check here to find ideal cooking times)
  • When most of water is absorbed, add in your raw scrambled eggs and combine with grains until fully cooked
  • Add in your spices: salt, pepper, garlic, cayenne... whatever gets your taste buds sizzling
  • Here's where you can get creative: the veggies! You've got 2 options: 1) Add them into the mixture 2) Top it off. (of course if you want to do both of them, you won't hear me complaining!) 
Wheat Berries + Eggs + Chunky Salsa

Some add-in ideas:
    • a couple tablespoons chunky salsa (adjust your seasonings depending on spice level here)
    • 1/2 can sliced yellow or green beans
    • fridge veggies reaching their prime
    • canned mushrooms
    • frozen green-beans (add before the eggs so the water is boiled out) 
Brown rice + frozen green beans

When going the topping route, you seriously can't go wrong: take any veggie you like, raw/roasted/sauteed etc. and top 'er up. Make it pretty if you want (I'm a proponent of 'pretty food tastes better'), and enjoy your high fibre, high protein, nutritious, filling lunch!!



Bulgar + 2 eggs Topped with 1/2 an avocado and 1 cob corn

Want more lunch ideas? Comment below and let me know :) 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Fig & Oat Squares


Figs, to me, are a special occasion fruit. Traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashana, it's a fruit I look forward to each year. (Figs are in season June to September). The tang of the skin, the sweet and creamy flesh combined with those crunchy seeds is a sensation like no other fruit! 

Figs are a good source of fibre, potassium, vitamin B6, copper, manganeese and pantothenic acid, and have many health benefits associated with eating them. 



With some extra figs this year, I decided to create these oat squares to kinda-sorta-not-really-at-all mimic those fave cookies; Fig Newtons.

The  fig jam filling is naturally sweet and tart (plus that great crunch!), and you may want to make extra for straight eating, because it is that good. 






Fig & Oat Bars

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh figs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. On stove top, bring figs, water and lemon juice to a boil, and allow to simmer until mixture starts to thicken, about 5-10 minutes
  2. Allow mixture to cool for about 5 minutes
  3. Process mixture until smooth
  4. Set aside in fridge
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F
  6. Line 8-inch pan with parchment paper
  7. Whisk together oats, flour, sugar and salt
  8. Add in oil and eggs and mix until combined
  9. Wet hands, and press half the mixture into the pan
  10. Spread fig mixture on top
  11. Crumple pieces of remaining dough on top as crumbs
  12. Bake for , remove from oven to cool.
Yield: 12 squares.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Inside the Honey Dish


There's always a lot of hype around honey, and with Rosh Hashana coming- which is basically a honey celebration, I figured I should take a closer look at this natural sweetener. 


Sugar substitute:

Honey is not a "sugar free" sweetener. It is made up of glucose and fructose (along with small amounts of maltose and sucrose), and has an affect on blood sugar levels. Glycemic Index (GI) is the measurement of the effect in blood sugar from eating, and generally the higher a food's GI, the faster it raises blood sugar levels. Honey's GI is an average of 61 (it varies on location and what it's made from) and in comparison, table sugar is an average of 65. In one study  comparing honey to sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), all 3 had similar impact on blood sugar levels, lipid metabolism, inflammation and increased triglyceride levels, plus increased blood sugar specifically in people with impaired glucose tolerance. On the other hand, there does seem to be a quicker decline in blood sugar levels in honey versus sugar, possibly making it a better option in small amounts. Additionally, a small study suggests that long term  honey consumption may have a positive metabolic  affect on people with type 1 diabetes. One proposed mechanism for why this happens is possibly because of the fructose and the phytochemicals within honey act as a pre-biotic by enhancing bifidobacteria in the gut. This is why honey has a laxative effect for those with fructose malabsorption, and does not fit in a low FODMAP diet. 


Complementary Medicine:

Honey is often touted as a natural miracle healer. It does appear to have antimicrobial activity that is similar to antibiotics against certain bacteria (1) and prevents food spoilage and inhibits specific food-borne pathogens (2). While honey has been demonstrated as having anti-inflammatory capabilities, there is inconclusive evidence whether honey reduces inflammation caused from smoking (3). There is evidence that it is effective for healing wounds, burns and ulcers, and sterilizing infection, by stimulating tissue growth and minimizing scar formation (4). It's even more effective for healing diabetic wounds (5) as it combats many microorganisms that are involved in the wound process, and can fight inflammation. This makes it an "all in one" remedy that's safer, faster, more effective and more economical than traditional methods of wound healing.

Antioxidant Activity:

You've probably seen loads of varieties of honey- buckwheat, clover, acacia... Basically, this tells us which flowers were pollinated to make the honey. The flower variety influences the colour, flavour, and antioxidant level of the honey, resulting in over 300 honey varieties! Generally, the darker the honey, the more antioxidant content. Honey has small amounts of many minerals (calcium, iron and potassium among others), but with the small amounts, honestly you're better off getting your minerals and antioxidants from fruits and veggies! 


Want to start using more honey?

Honey is a pasteurized food, but this is only to make it last longer and be shelf stable. It still may contain botulism, and shouldn't be given to children under age 1 (adult's immune system should be strong enough to counter this).

When substituting honey for a sugar in a recipe, use 3/4 cup honey for each cup, and cut down on all other liquids by 2 Tbsp. Additionally, lower the baking temperature by 25 ℉.

At 17 grams of carbohydrates per Tbsp., honey is a good fuel source both pre-activity and during activity. It's possibly better than glucose as it increases heart frequency while keeping the blood sugar stable. 


What do you think? Is honey part of your usual intake, or relegated to once a year? Let me know below! 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies



I've got the perfect school snack for you: high in plant based protein, low GI and high fibre plus nut free πŸ™Œ
How? you ask. CHICKPEA POWER
I love chickpeas. They are low GI, high in fibre, a great source of plant based protein, and are inexpensive to boot.
And even better for the skeptics, you can't even taste them (yay for stealth health!). So bake up a batch and let me know what you think of these chicks. 
😊






Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (540 ml)
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Drain chickpeas and rinse well
  2. In food processor, finely puree chickpeas
  3. Preheat oven to 225℉
  4. Combine all ingredients
  5. Pour into 8-inch tray
  6. Bake for , remove from oven to cool.
Yield: 16 squares.


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Is Popcorn a Healthy Snack?



What's the story with popcorn, is it a healthy snack, a guilty indulgence or something in between? Let's take a look!


  • Popcorn, in and of itself, is a complex whole grain, so it's high in fibre with a low glycemic index.
  • It's naturally vegan, gluten free and low FODMAP
  • A 2 cup portion is equal to 1 Canada's Food Guide grain serving
  • 2 cups provide less than 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fibre, plus magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and small amounts of many other essential nutrients 
  • Serving sizes on packaged popcorn is huge, ranging from 3.5 cups to 7.25 cups! (Have you ever seen such a large serving anywhere else?!) This is because popcorn is so light and fluffy, so it takes a significant amount to add up. 
  • It is considered a choking hazard, so it's recommended to not give to children under 4 (and also anyone who has difficulty chewing and swallowing)
  • Popcorns' bad rep comes from the recipes and additives to make it 'more delicious' or 'fun': Caramel popcorn, chocolate covered,  marshmallows and peanut butter... Here are 6 delish popcorn recipes that will satisfy your snack cravings and won't lessen popcorn's health benefits

Spicy, savoury popcorn from Cheryl Meyer RD of Dish & Delite


Peanut Butter Popcorn & Chili Lime Popcorn from Sarah Koszyk MA RDN Family. Food. Fiesta 

Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn from Brynn McDowell RD from The Domestic Dietitian

Savoury Vegan "Cheesy" Popcorn from Julie Harrington RD of RDelicious Kitchen 

Sweet & Savoury Popcorn Seasonings from Jodi Danen RD of Create Kids Club


Not sure how to make home-made popcorn? Check out this easy 5 minute 'How-To' from Dixya Bhattarai RD of  Food Pleasure & Health

What's your favorite way to eat popcorn? Comment below, and happy snacking :)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Veggie Straws: Where are the veggies?!




Anywhere I've seen kids, I've seen veggie chips/puffs/straws. They sound healthy, with that "veggie" in the title and pictures of fresh, juicy produce on the packaging.  But what's the real deal on this kid and mom friendly snack?

Take a look at the ingredients, and you'll see potato starch is the first ingredient, followed by potato flour and corn starch. And while those are vegetables, those likely aren't the ones your mind conjured up from the packaging. Only after all those is there some mention of other veggies in the form of tomato paste and spinach powder.

You might also expect to see some fibre in these vegetable snacks (because fibre is something expected with vegetables). However, on a 28 g serving bag, you will clearly see "less than 1 gram fibre" (a comparable serving of potato chips will have 1 gram of fibre).

What about some of those vitamins or minerals vegetables are famous for? A serving of veggie straws has 2% of your daily iron and vitamin C requirements, most likely from the potato (to compare, a serving of potato chips has 10% of your daily vitamin C requirements, and the same 2% iron).

So despite their name, and snazzy packaging, veggie chips don't actually have much vegetable power.

If you enjoy this snack, I'm not telling you to toss all your packages. And because it's a packaged snack you can hold onto it for a while with its long shelf life! As it is no more healthy than most other packaged snacks, keep it as part of your snack rotation if you'd like, and try some of these other portable snack ideas more often.


  • Sliced favorite veggies and fruit
  • Popcorn
  • Low-sugar fruit leather
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Prepared ready to eat beets  (like this or this)
  • Canned carrots or mushrooms
  • Frozen strawberries, grapes, bananas, peaches...
  • Trail mix of nuts, seeds & dry fruit


What's your favorite snack to tote around?


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Roasted Eggplant Tomato Dip


With summer picnics and BBQs going strong, this roasted eggplant & tomato dip is the perfect addition to any party, and an easy and fun way to eat your veggies (you know I'm all about those veggies!). 

It's a forgiving recipe, so you can add vegetables you have sitting around (zucchini works particularly well, and you can try parsnips, onion or leek), play around with the spices... I'm not a stickler for sticking to a recipe πŸ˜‰. This version is garlic & onion free and FODMAP friendly. 


Roasted Eggplant Tomato Dip


Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • cayenne to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉.
  2. Slice eggplant and tomatoes in half, place face down on roasting sheet
  3. Roast 45 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, finely dice pepper
  5. When tomatoes are cool to the touch, remove tomato skins
  6. Blend eggplant and tomatoes well
  7. Stir in diced pepper and spices

Total time
Yield:about 2 cups.








Monday, 24 July 2017

4 Tips to Improve Kids' Summer Eating



It's summer! Is this what your eating schedule looks like (constant asking for food and/or eating)? The kids are home, they get bored, so they eat. Or they bug you for food. Sound familiar? Here are 4 tips for making summer eating a little more manageable.



1. Maintain an eating schedule with extra snack times [1].




Establish an eating schedule, including meals and sit down snacks, that work for you and your kids, and stick to it. Firmly tell your kids exactly when to expect the next eating time, and they will stop asking for food in between. Make sure to give plenty of warning though when you first start this up! So for example, when your child gets up from the table after lunch, ask if he’s eaten enough, because there won’t be food coming until snack time in 2 hours. Think of snack time as "mini meals" and include a variety of healthy and fun foods. If kids do ask for food between meals, simply tell them now is not the time, and when the next meal or snack is coming.




2.  Introduce your child to mindful eating.



Ask him to identify why he's asking for food: is he physically hungry (ask him to rate his hunger on a scale of 1-10, possibly identifying if he could have eaten more at the previous meal/snack, or may require a larger meal/snack coming up), emotionally hungry (eating in response to feelings or emotions), or mouth or mind hungry (wanting a certain mouth feel or eating because "it's time to eat")[2,3]. Once your child has identified what he is hungry for, you can help him find ways to feed it that don't involve food.  



3. Make drinking water fun



Children need to stay hydrated, especially if they’re outdoors and being active. Fluid needs increase as they age, but even a 2 year old needs 3 ½ cups (875 ml) of fluid per day just to meet his basic needs before factoring in heat and activity (Click here for more fluid/age requirements).  And while they can get some fluids from juice, fruit, Popsicles and icy treats, there’s a limit to how many of those you want your kids eating (and asking you for), and honestly your best option is water. Because children have an immature thirst mechanism [4], and may not be able to identify or communicate their thirst, ensure that water is always readily available. Make it enticing by keeping it cold, offering fun cups or straws, adding carbonation, or jazzing up plain water with fruit, vegetables... I’ve recently seen rose petals added!



4. Keep to a sleeping schedule



Though longer nights and less pressured schedules may leave you wanting less hassle around bedtime, ensuring your kids maintain their sleep habits will reflect in their eating habits. A lack of sleep lowers the level of the hormone leptin (the satiety hormone) and increases ghrelin levels (the hunger hormone), as well as affecting appetite control [5].  When 14-17 year olds were sleep deprived, though their hunger levels were not affected, the appeal and their intake of sweets was more than 50% greater than when they had slept a healthy amount [6]. Even children who aren’t sleep deprived, but sleep later, had increased hunger scores [7]. Keeping to a year-long sleeping routine allows your children to maximize their sleeping time, and keep their appetite and eating habits stable as well.



Summer-time eating and feeding can be tough. What tips have you found useful, and how do you manage? 


Monday, 10 July 2017

Tips for a Better Fast



With the fasts of Shiva Asar B'Tamuz and Tisha B'av coming up, it’s the perfect time to discuss what to eat before and after a fast to keep you feeling good throughout the day and with as little negative experience as possible. Though you likely won’t feel energetic, and will be hungry after fasting 16-25 hours, there are better foods to choose prior to a fast that can prolong your fullness, and stave off the almost inevitable weakness and crankiness. Because we can go without food for long periods of time, it’s not necessary to totally change up what you eat leading up to the fast, so you can keep to your regular eating schedule, with some minor adjustments.

BEFORE THE FAST:


WATER


Firstly, and most importantly, is hydration. We all know that water is always important, but now that it’s summer, and hot, we need to be well hydrated even more so than before the winter fasts. But don’t just guzzle down liquid hours before the fast; our bodies are so well regulated that excess liquid will result in the kidneys working overtime, and all that fluid leaving your body. For maximum hydration, start hydrating a few days (at least) prior to the fast, so you’ll be fully hydrated at the start of the fast. When dehydrated, the body will take water out of the cells, causing them to shrink and making the kidneys work harder, effectively overworking the body and causing wear to the cells(1). Low-hydration can both trigger migraines and prolong them. Drinking enough prior to dehydration can reduce their length and intensity.

CAFFEINE


Research shows that caffeine-withdrawal headaches can be prevented by reducing caffeine intake leading up to the fast. However, a 25 hour fast (Yom Kippur was used in the research) is not sufficient time to experience caffeine withdrawal. Having some caffeine on the actual day of the fast may help prevent that headache (obviously not applicable when dealing with an overnight fast), but if you find it helpful, definitely restrict your intake leading up to the fast. Some people may develop headaches simply from the act of fasting over 16 hours, which is when fasting headaches come to play (2), and it should resolve within 72 hours of eating.

FIBRE & PROTEIN


High Fibre & Protein Bowl




Another cause of headaches may be reactive hypoglycemia, low blood sugar after eating (3). This can be prevented by eating foods with fibre and protein, as they slow down digestion, and are more filling (so you’re not ready to eat a couple hours into the fast). Ideally, when choosing your grains and starches, go for complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables for their fibre content (this chickpea lentil veggie soup combines all three!). Fibre is important because it’s filling and isn’t quickly digested, so it keeps you feeling full for longer than low fibre foods (4). Chose soluble fibre, such as oats, sweet potato, beans & lentils, oranges and avocado to keep your sugar and fullness levels stable through delayed digestion. As the most filling nutrient, chose protein containing food, such as beans, fish, eggs, chicken or meat, as they take longer to digest than carbohydrates and keep us feeling full for a longer time.


AFTER THE FAST:


You'll probably be very hungry once the fast is over, but try not to go to extremes in your break-fast meal. You don’t need to fit a day’s worth of food into one meal, and if you’re really in-tune with your body’s hunger and fullness cues, you won’t be able to eat that much. Rehydrating after the fast is extremely important. Dehydration may influence mood, brain functioning, concentration and alertness and short-term memory, plus increase fatigue, confusion and anger. But, all symptoms are reversible, so drink up! Besides for water, you can include soup and fruit and vegetables which have the added bonus of electrolytes you may have depleted while fasting. (Try this spinach quiche if you're looking for a new veggie dish). As you eat, slow down, listen to your body, and eat until you’re satisfied. It may even be helpful to take a break after relieving your initial hunger, just so you can really tune into your needs.


What do you eat before and after a fast to make it easier?

Chocolate Chip Protein Squares


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Peanut butter and chocolate are a perfect couple. In this recipe I've added canned chickpeas for a high protein boost that makes these squares a great option for a post-exercise recovery treat, an afternoon pick-me-up, or even breakfast. (Because who doesn't want cookies for breakfast?!) They are creamy, peanut buttery, and chocolaty- a trifecta of perfection.

If you're looking to include more plant based protein options, pulses are where it's at! They are packed with protein and fibre, and canned chix are just so easy to use: open~drain~eat.
Check out the Half Cup Habit for lots of easy ways to incorporate chickpeas and other pulses into your day. (and chances to win prizes!!)

In this recipe, I recommend using low sodium chickpeas, but if you can't find those, or don't have them on hand, you can use regular chickpeas and rinse them well, which removes 40-50% of the sodium (do this all the time if you're concerned about your sodium intake!).
I also used natural peanut butter here. While you can use other types, they do have sugar in them, so even though this isn't an overly sweet recipe, you may want to cut down even more on the sugar here.




Chocolate Chip Protein Squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 24 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup less 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 /4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Drain chickpeas. If they are not low sodium, rinse well.
  3. Add all ingredients, except chocolate chips into food processer.
  4. Pulse on high for about 5 minutes, until all ingredients are well combined and there are no visible chickpeas.
  5. Add in chocolate chips and pulse until just combined.
  6. Scrape batter into 12 inch pan.
  7. Bake for , remove from oven to cool.
Yield: 8-12 squares.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

GF Spinach Quiche- Low Fodmap



A lot of people struggle to eat their veggies, finding them boring or tasteless. This crust-less spinach quiche is such a great way to incorporate vegetables into meal. My mother has made spinach quiche for Shavuot for years. This year I made it fodmap friendly for y'all who can't tolerate oligosaccharides (it's garlic and onion free), plus gluten free because I don't like quiche crust. Since then, I've made it countless times, because it's. just. so. good!  

I find in general that spinach is an under-rated vegetable; everyone knows it's a healthy vegetable, but it's so hard to incorporate it into our daily food rotation. By pureeing these leafy greens, the texture is obviously changed, so you won't feel like a cow chewing on grass, plus it gives a creamy texture that's not usually associated with greenery. It also gives the quiche an AMAZINGLY vivid green colour that you just can't pass up πŸ˜

Want to know the benefits of eating spinach? It's an excellent source of vitamins K and A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamins B2 and B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. It's a good source of fibre, phosphorus and vitamin B1, zinc, protein, and choline and even more! (Plus you'll feel really virtuous for eating it.) So basically, it's a veggie that should definitely be a part of your diet.

How do you like eating spinach? Comment below

GF Spinach Quiche- Low FODMAP

Serves 8 

Recipe:


1 bunch spinach
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp mustard powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tomato for decoration

Preheat oven to 350℉. Puree spinach, add in all other ingredients and mix well. Pour into an 8 inch square pan. Top with tomato slices. Bake for 30 minutes.





Friday, 9 June 2017

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies + Tiger Nuts




Disclaimer: I received free packages of tiger nuts and flour from Tiger Nuts USA.


Ever heard of Tiger nuts? You're not alone! Tiger Nuts USA tags them as 'a seriously healthy nutritious snack you may not have heard of'.

What are they?

Grown in Spain, tiger nuts are tubers (growing underground like potatoes, carrots and beets) that has widely been used to make a milky drink called horchata. But the popularity for its snacking capability and flour seems to be growing. It's nut free, gluten free, and allergic reactions have rarely been reported.
Tiger nuts contain unsaturated fat and protein, lots of potassium, are high in fibre and natural sugars. They also provide good amounts of manganese, thiamin, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and calcium!


Whole raw (unpeeled) Tiger nuts


How do they taste?

I shared a bag of the peeled tiger nuts with my family. Here's their reactions:
  • surprise that they were chewy and not crunchy (they look hard so we expected a crunch)
  • it's sweet!
  • it tastes sort of like chestnuts- or parsnips (the company describes it as a coconut flavour)
  • "it's so good"
  • "you can get seriously addicted to these"
  • They're so filling!
When trying the unpeeled ones, we found them even more enjoyable with an extra crunch and slightly decreased sweetness. I could definitely get into these!
    Looking online for a recipe with tiger nut flour, I found loads. BUT, they were either vegan or had ingredients that I don't have or use (or both). So I did what I do, and made my own recipe.

    I decided to do a chocolate chip cookie recipe to see what this flour really tastes and acts like. Gotta say, these cook's are good! Need proof? This recipe makes 15 medium sized cookies. The first batch was finished so quickly that I was forced at gun point to make another batch STAT.







    Tiger Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cups Tiger Nut flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 Tbsp. oil
    • 1/8 cup white sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
    2. Cream together eggs, oil and sugars.
    3. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, trying not to overmix.
    4. Fold in chocolate chips.
    5. The dough will be pretty wet, so you may want to use your hands to do this. Form into medium sized balls and flatten on cookie sheet.
    6. Bake for , remove from oven to cool. Yield: 15 medium cookies.


    Would you try Tiger Nuts? What would you try baking?

    Tuesday, 9 May 2017

    What are chia seeds? And why I keep making chia pudding...



    I wasn't introduced to chia seeds from Instagram, but the plethora of pictures of pretty puddings and overnight oats did spur me into buying a package when I saw them on sale.

    When I first was introduced to chia seeds in school, I was fascinated with the way they gel up without any heat and can create puddings, jams... in hardly any time. So when I finally got my hands on some I was pumped to try it.

    Quick interjection here to explain what are chia seeds and why anyone would want to eat them:

    Though they don’t have much flavour, chia has a lot of nutritional benefit. It is a source of plant protein, and is gluten free and low FODMAP at 2 tablespoons. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc, along with essential omega 3 fats, and soluble fibre, assisting with lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. And unlike with other seeds, such as flax, you don’t need to grind chia to get the benefits; you can simply add it to your food and enjoy the nutritional boost (check out this great seeds comparison)! And like I've found, a package can last really long because you only use a few tablespoons at a time.

    Now back to my experimentation.
    First I tried adding chia seeds with some coconut milk, coconut flakes and dates, and it really got a pudding consistency (aka, it "pudded") and looked really pretty. But it still gives me bad feelings when I remember how it tasted. I'm not sure though if that was the coconut milk or the chia texture... My mom was a big fan though!



    Next I tried a cranberry "jam", and that was a big hit, and so delicious! The chia seeds worked really well in that, and the jam texture was spot on.


    Here's the recipe. Really simple to make, and so good on meat & chicken, and especially on a PB&J.

    Cranberry Chia Jam

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups whole cranberries
    • 2 Tbsp. water
    • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
    • 2-3 Tbsp. brown sugar
    • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
    Place cranberries and water in a covered saucepan over medium heat. 
    Cook until cranberries begin to bubble and pop, about 10 minutes.
    Remove from heat and mash cranberries with a fork
    Stir in remaining ingredients.
    Transfer to glass container with airtight lid, and allow to cool before refrigerating.
    Makes about 1 cup and lasts in fridge up to one week.



    Most recently I tried a pudding again (Instagram pics got me!). This time I combined pureed strawberries and almond milk + vanilla sugar. Though significantly tastier than my first try, I still wasn't a fan (neither was Mom this time; she doesn't like almond milk). So I combined it with oats to make overnight oats, and that was terrific (Mom was also a big fan).



    For now, I'm adding chia seeds to my overnight oats and I'll definitely make more fruit jams with it because it's super cool that you can get a jam texture without adding pectin or sugar. As for making a pudding? I'll probably be convinced to try it again. Maybe a chocolate chia pudding would be good...

    Have you tried chia seeds? What's your go-to way to enjoy them?