Pistachio and Seed Brittle

Pistachio and Seed Brittle

We love eating nuts in our house, we enjoy them raw, in our baked goods, in our trail mixes and mixed into our foods. I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to incorporate these nutrient rich nuts into our foods.

One of my favourite treats are nut brittle, crunchy sweetened nuts…yum what could be better? I came across a recipe for a nut brittle and adjusted it to add in some extra goodness with sesame seeds and chia seeds (read here for more information on benefits of chia seeds). the result was a delicious treat that could be munched on or added on top of yogurts, parfaits, cereal and smoothie bowls!

Give this simple and delicious recipe a try, you’re going to love it. We ended eating up most of this right away, the kids couldn’t stop snacking on them!

Pistachio and Seed Brittle:

  • 1 cup raw pistachios
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. hemp hearts
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. raw honey

Add raw pistachios to a heated skillet and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, keep stirring to prevent burning.

Add in chia and sesame seeds, continue to cook for another minute or 2. Add in cinnamon powder and vanilla, mix everything together well then add in hemp hearts and honey.

Mix well till everything is well coated. Reduce the temperature to low and cook for an extra minute till all the liquid is dry and the seeds and nuts are stuck together.

Remove from heat and let the brittle cool for 2-3 minutes. Remove brittle from pan and transfer onto a sheet of wax paper and let it cool completely.

Once the brittle has cooled down, break it into desired size pieces and store it in an air tight container.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

Energy Balls and Protein Bars

Energy Ball and Protein Bars

It seems by mid-afternoon many of us need a quick little energy fix to keep moving, but rather then heading over to the vending machine or grabbing a pre-packaged snack try one of these. One of these energy ball or protein bars is all you need to put the pep back into your step.

I made a batch of both before Ramadhan started this year. We always open our fast with dates, but I thought we could add in some almonds and chia seeds as well to get an extra punch of nutrients and benefits. We now enjoy an energy ball when we open our fast to help jumpstart our metabolism and give our bodies the energy it needs to begin the digestion process. At Suhroo (early morning) time, right before we close our fast we try to have a protein bar to provide our bodies with some extra protein, fiber and natural sugars to help us get through the day.

Both treats contain dates, almonds and chia seeds which all contain an abundance of health benefits that are important to our diets while fasting.

Benefits of dates:

  • high in fiber
  • help the digestion process, relieves constipation
  • great source of energy
  • high in vitamins and mineral
  • reduce the risk of heart disease
  • can help reduce blood pressure
  • is an anti-inflammatory

Benefits of almonds:

  • high in nutrients
  • loaded with antioxidants
  • help control blood sugar levels
  • can lower cholesterol
  • high in magnesium
  • helps control blood pressure levels
  • can reduce hunger

Benefits of chia seeds:

  • easy to digest super food
  • high in nutrients
  • loaded with antioxidents
  • high in dietary fiber
  • high in omega 3
  • lots of protein
  • helps feel fuller longer
  • high in calcium
  • hydrating

Almond, Date and Chia Energy Balls

  • 1 cup almonds coarsely ground in blended
  • 1/2 cup dates (soaked and softened) blended in the blender
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Mix all ingredients together and place in fridge for an hour.
Remove and roll into balls and roll into shredded coconut or ground nuts for an extra treat.

Almond, Date And Chia Energy Balls

 

 

Vanilla Protein Bars

  • 1 cup oats, coarsely ground
  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 cup cashews, coarsely ground
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder **optional

Mix everything together,

Add in:

  • 1 cup dates (soaked and softened) blended
  • 1/3 cup nut butter of choice (I used a coconut cashew blend)

Mix everything together well.

Pat flat onto a lined tray and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove and cut into desired size bars.

Vanilla Protein Bars

 

Bounty Bites

Bounty Bites

Mmmmmm…chocolate, who says you can’t have chocolate while trying to eat clean and healthy!

I know I keep saying this, but I really do mean it – eating healthy does not mean giving up your favourite treats, it just means you may have to get a little creative and have fun. It may take a little more effort then grabbing a convenient snack but you’ll save all the time regretting your bad choices.

I have always loved Bounty chocolate bars, the deliciousness of the chocolate and coconut combination…mmmm! There was one of these bars in my kitchen for the past couple of days, just sitting on the counter looking at me and calling my name. I was so tempted to reach out and devour it, but knowing what would happen to me after, it just wasn’t worth it. But I didn’t want to deny myself, that just makes sticking to your goals harder, I decided to get in the kitchen and experiment a little. These Bounty bites were born and they tasted great – craving satisfied!

Raw Bounty Bites:

Coconut filling:
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1-2 tsp coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
Mix everything together and make small little balls. Place in the fridge to harden.

Raw Chocolate:
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
Mix all ingredients together.

I use a silicon ice tray when making chocolate bites.

Fill each section half full with chocolate.

Remove coconut balls from fridge and place one into each section of chocolate.

Fill the sections with remaining raw chocolate.

Place tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

Remove tray from freezer, pop them out of the tray and keep them stored in a sealed container in the freezer.

That’s it, now you have a healthy treat you can indulge in completely guilt free.
Yum 😉

Benefits of Omega

Benefits of Omega

Omega Seed Blend

Our bodies require many ingredients in order to achieve ideal health. One of those necessary ingredients are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), most of which the body is able to provide itself, except for two; Omega 3 and Omega 6, these EFAs need to be ingested through food.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential for healthy brain development in both children and adults of all ages; they enhance memory, reasoning and problem solving abilities. Omega 3 and 6 are also important for heart health and optimal immune system functions.

Omega supplements are readily available, but getting what we need from raw foods is more beneficial to our long term health. Cold water fish and fish oils are high in omega 3; dark green vegetables, raw nuts (especially walnuts), seeds, nut and seed oils are rich in both omega 3 and 6.

Below is a recipe for an omega seed blend that can help ensure that you are getting enough of these two important EFAs daily without having rely on supplements.

The ratio to keep in mind when making this blend is 3:1 flax seeds to other seeds. For optimal benefits ensure that the seeds you use are raw and unseasoned.

Omega Seed Blend

  • 3 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts

Add all the seeds, except hemp hearts, into a blender/grinder and pulse till ground. Mix in hemp hearts.

An ideal amount of blend to ingest is 1 tablespoon a day which can be sprinkled over cereals, yogurt, smoothies, salads, toast and mixed into batter and mixes.

Keep omega seed blend stored in a sealed container in the fridge.

Enjoy daily 🙂

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

I find getting my teenagers to eat healthy a little trying at times, I think I may have waited too long before I tried to make healthy eating a staple in my house. My advice to new parents, introduce as many healthy foods to your babies as you can; familiarize them with different fruits and vegetables early.

I admit that we do have store bought snacks in our house but anything that is homemade is usually healthy. Credit to my kids, they do try it all and I usually don’t share the ingredients with them till after they’ve tried it. Mind you, when I am encouraging them to have brownies or cookies they usually guess that it’s a healthy version 😉

These granola bars are one of our successful afterschool snacks and loved by all of us.

 

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

Dry:

  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cashews (coarsely chop the almonds, walnuts and cashews)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix all the above ingredients together and spread out on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 300F for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

* This step is optional but I love the smell of roasted nuts and oats.

Add in:

  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.

Wet:

  • 1 cup dates (softened in a warm water for an hour)

Blend with a little water.

In a saucepan on low heat add:

  • 1/4 cup pure honey
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
  • blended dates

Mix till all ingredients are combined.

Add the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, mix well till everything is combined.

Transfer the mixture onto a lined tray and pat till flat, mixture will be sticky.

Place the tray in the freezer for 1/2 hour.

Remove tray from freezer and cut into desired size bars.

Keep bars stored in the fridge or freezer.

Enjoy 🙂

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

 

 

 

Trail Mix Granola Clusters

Trail Mix Granola Clusters

Trail Mix Granola Crumble

We all know that homemade foods are best for us, but sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day. Here is a quick granola recipe that takes no time at all to prep and bake and can be used in multiple ways; to snack on, add to yogurt parfait or as a cereal with milk.

This recipe calls for a trail mix blend, you can make your one or buy one, just make sure its a healthy one with limited amounts of sugar. I found a great organic trail mix that was full of goodness: almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, dried cranberries, goji berries, toasted coconut slices and dark chocolate covered cacao nibs.

Trail Mix Granola Crumble:

Dry:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (they can be lightly toasted in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes for an extra flavour)
  • 1 cup trail mix

Place ingredients in a large bowl, if you toasted the oats please ensure they are cooled.

Wet:

  • 1/2 cup dates (boiled in 1/2 cup of water, then mashed and cooled)
  • 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. liquid sweetener of choice: honey, maple syrup, agave or brown rice syrup

Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold together.

Spread mixture out on a lined cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Gently break into large pieces and turn them over. Return pan back to the oven and bake for an extra 10 minutes – be careful it doesn’t burn.

Remove the ray from the oven and let cool completely.

Once it is completely cooed break up into desired size pieces.

Keep stored in an airtight container.

 

Chocolate Banana Nut Muffins

Chocolate Banana Nut Muffins

 

Banana Nut Muffins

Oh my, these are so good! It’s hard to believe that they’re grain/flour free and sugar free.

This is not one of my recipes but I thought I would share it with you here so we’ll always know where to find it. I have made a couple of changes to the original recipe which can be found at Tip Hero.

There are many modified versions of banana muffin recipes floating around,  I have 2 – 3 that I used to use regularly. It’s a personal preference of what flavours you like and if you have any dietary restrictions. This recipe uses peanut butter so it would not be an option if you or a family member have a nut allergy but there’s no flour which makes it ideal for people with gluten allergies or sensitivities.

This is such a quick and easy recipe, it’s become a favourite go to for afterschool snacks at our house and once you try it I’m sure it’ll become a favourite at yours too.

Chocolate Banana Muffins

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs20160308_161817-1
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda*
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk* (or milk of choice)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup flax meal*

Add all the above ingredients into a blender and pulse till smooth.

Fold in:

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or cacoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or nut of choice

Pour into a muffin cups about 3/4 full and top with desired toppings.

Bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes.

Yields 12 muffins.

  • ingredients that I added in that were not in the original TipHero recipe.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

20160308_164333-1

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Slices

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Slices

It’s the holidays and if your family is anything like mine, they are always ready to have a snack.

Here is a healthy snack that the kids (and I) love, and is quick and easy to make.  The best part is that you only need 3 ingredients, which you probably already have in the kitchen, and the kids can help you make it or they can make it on their own.

All you need is:

  • bananas
  • peanut butter (all natural is best)
  • chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark or stevia sweetened)
Slice the bananas about 1/2 inch thick and place flat on a dish.
Add some peanut butter on to the slices and top with a chocolate chip or two.
That’s it!  Enjoy.
Warning:  these are highly addictive and it’s hard to stop at just one 😉
 Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Slices

 

Chocolate Chip Bliss Balls

Getting healthy treats ready for the holidays, and these bliss balls live up to their name – they are pure bliss!

I find that keeping healthy treats ready and available help me satisfy my cravings guilt free and without sacrificing my health/fitness progress.

  • 1/4 cup dates soaked and softenedChocolate Chip Bliss Balls
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
Place all ingredients into a blender/processor and pulse till blended.
Fold in 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (I use a Stevia sweetened brand), mix well.
Take tablespoonful’s of the mixture and roll into balls.
The balls can then be rolled in shredded coconut, cocoa powder, crushed nuts, ect. for an added treat.
Keep bliss balls stored in the refrigerator.
Enjoy!

 

Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies

Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies

My kids come home from school famished and are always looking for something to eat. We try to keep it healthy with fruits and vegetables but they love their baked goods. I was a little late in introducing them to healthier options, I wish I started when they were younger, it’s much harder to convince teens. Whenever I would bake a healthy version of something for myself and offer it to them they would be quick to refuse.  They said if I could eat it then they would rather not have any…I think it had something to do with my earlier failed experiments, plus knowing that it’s going to be gluten and refined sugar free.
After some more experimenting and my omitting the fact that it was something healthy that I would eat, we have found some healthy baked goods that they love, in fact they ask for them themselves. My daughter now claims that healthy baked goods are all pretty good – high compliment.
This cookie recipe was one of the experiments that passed with flying colours – they love it so much they ask for half the batter to be baked and the other half they eat raw.

Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies:

1 cup grounIMG_20141114_182024d almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 banana mashed
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup dates soaked (to soften), drained and pureed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 coarsely chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate chips (sweetened with stevia)

Mix dry ingredients together (except chopped almonds and chocolate chips). Add in the moist ingredients and mix well. Fold in chopped almonds and chocolate chips.  Spoon onto baking sheet and bake at 325°F for 15 minutes.
Top with raw chocolate almonds (recipe below), sliced almonds or dark chocolate chips.
Let cool and enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Covered Almonds:
1 tbsp coconut oil meltedIMG_20141113_204423
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 tsp stevia sweetener (more or less to taste)
15-20 raw almonds (may need more or less)

Dip the almonds into the raw chocolate sauce. Place individually onto lined sheet and freeze. Once frozen place them into a container. Keep frozen till ready to eat!