Monthly Archives: October 2012

Almond Love

I am a big fan of peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans… but my true nut loves are almonds. I love everything about them, love them raw as a snack, roasted and chopped on salad, as a crunchy coating on chicken or fish, as a delicious milk and mostly as a yummy creamy butter.

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Roasted flax, hemp, maple syrup vanilla almond butter (Shared on wellness weekend): 2 cups raw almonds, 2 tablespoons flax seeds, 2 tablespoons hemp hearts, 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Toss together until coated well. Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350, stirring halfway.

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pre oven

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post oven… I made a larger batch: 1/ cup more almonds, 1 more Tbsp flax, hemp and maple syrup so I would have a yummy roasted almond snack, I love how crunchy they are fresh out of the oven (this will make your home smell AMAZING!)

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Then once the almonds are cooled you just throw them in a food processor and blend away with 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Be patient when blending, it will take a while (about 1o minutes). Make sure you stop and scrape down the sides when needed

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half-way, almond flour

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yummy creamy goodness, I put it on everything!

Since I already had the food processor out and dirty I figured it might be a good time to experiment a little with my new almond butter love so I made some macaroons

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almond butter, chocolate dipped macaroons: In the already dirty food processor add 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened, unsulphured coconut flakes, 1/4 cup almond flour, 1/4 fresh roasted almond butter (recipe above), 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt. Blend until combined well, roll out 1 tablespoon ball and dip and drizzle with chocolate

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for the chocolate sauce I just melted 1/2 cup chocolate with 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Once macaroons are dipped and drizzled, place in fridge to firm up before eating.

These were so delicious and easy (once the almond butter was made), you can sub any almond butter you’d like but I promise you it’s worth the effort!

hope you enjoy 🙂

Happy Halloween! I will definitely be snacking on these bad boys over the sugar laden, processed candy that many will be handing out, does anyone else have any healthy halloween options?

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Yes, that is my feeble attempt at a pumpkin moustache 🙂

Fall is here

I love fall so much! the changing leaves, the cool crisp air and the yummy comfort food 🙂

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Getting out and going for walks has become a highlight of my day, how can it not be with those amazing colours!

After my daily walks I’ve been craving comfort foods and nothing says comfort more than soups and stews. The other day I made a delicious salmon stew of sorts and it was the perfect rainy evening meal, jam packed with tons of veggies and chunks of fresh wild salmon.

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Salmon stew: 1tsp coconut oil, 1 large onion, 3 cloves of garlic minced, 1 carrot chopped, 2 stalks of celery chopped, 1 potato diced, 1 bunch of asparagus chopped (reserve the tips), 1 head of cauliflower chopped up small, 1/2 cup white wine, 3 cups chicken broth, 3 cups roasted tomatoes ( sub large can of diced tomatoes) 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, 1 large filet of salmon chopped… melt coconut oil in a large soup pot, sauté onion until soft, add garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add white wine and allow to simmer until reduced by 1/2. Add veggies and stir for about 5 minutes, add chicken broth and tomatoes. Cover and let simmer on medium low until potatoes are tender. Add salmon, dill and asparagus tips and stir until salmon is opaque. Add salt and pepper to to taste and your good to go! Hope you enjoy 🙂

In my world dinner isn’t complete without a little sweet treat so I whipped up a little something something

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Chocolate Coconut donut with toasted coconut… hit the spot!

1/2 cup coconut flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 cup coconut sugar, 1 egg, 2 egg whites, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 Tbsp applesauce, 1 tsp vanilla… Whip egg whites to stiff peaks, whisk the rest of the wet ingredients, fold egg whites in wet mixture. Mix dry ingredients together and fold into egg mixture. Grease a donut tin and spoon batter in. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Topping: 1/2 cup chocolate of choice, 1/2 tsp coconut oil, 1/2-3/4 cup coconut flakes. Toast coconut flakes in a pan over medium high heat until golden brown. Mix chocolate with coconut oil and melt over a double boiler (or in microwave at 20 second increments). Once donut is cool dip in chocolate and top with toasted coconut.

Hope you enjoy as much as we did

Random eats

Thought I would pop in with some random eats i’ve been enjoying lately.

I’m a lover of all things coconut and comfort, and when I think of comfort food it’s often a throw back to my childhood days. When my sister and I were younger we went through a phase where the only thing we would eat were chicken strips and fries, not the healthiest option now we know what we know about fats and frying…

Anyways I was craving an old favourite and thought i’d whip up something a little healthier but still very yummy.

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Coconut crusted chicken strips: about 1 cup shredded unsweetened un sulphured (Very important) coconut mixed with a little salt and any seasoning you would like, 1/2 cup brown rice flour mixed with about a tsp of salt and pepper, 1 egg lightly whisked, and 2 chicken breasts cut into strips. put the egg, coconut and flour in separate bowls (this will get messy), take your cut up chicken breasts and lightly roll each strip first in the flour, second the egg mixture and third the coconut, shake off any excess and lay on a foil lined baking sheet, once you’ve covered all the strips with coconut bake in a preheated oven at 375 for about 15-18 minutes (depending on the size of your strips). I served mine with steamed broccoli and quinoa but it would also be really great with some home made sweet potato fries.

Another tasty treat I thought i’d share was a birthday cake I made for a friend a few weeks ago, it isn’t your normal birthday cake but everyone seemed to loved it non the less

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Vanilla almond cake (inspired by): 2 yolks, 3 egg whites, 1/4 cup coconut oil melted, 1/3 cup real maple syrup (sub honey or agavee), 1 tbsp each vanilla and apple cider vinegar, 2 1/2 cups almond flour (just whip some almonds up in your food processor, not too long or your’ll make almond butter… not a bad mistake to make 😉 ), 1/2 tsp baking soda and salt juice and zest of either 1/2 lemon or 1/2 orange (whatever you prefer, or omit completely). Pre heat oven to 350, grease a cake pan well. whisk egg yolks, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, vinegar, and juice of lemon/orange together well. With an electric beater (or one hell of an arm) whisk egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into yolks, in a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and zest and then fold into egg mixture. Be careful not to over mix or deflate cake too much. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes

And since i’m on the sweet tooth train, one more for good luck. Last week I made some cookies for Monsieur after a long day at work, he seemed to enjoy them and hopefully you will too.

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Almond, peanut, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies (Submitted to wellness weekend): 1/2 cup almond butter (I used Trader Joe’s almond with flaxseeds and salt) 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup rolled oats, pulsed a few times in the food processor to make them a little smaller, 1 egg, 1/2 cup coconut sugar and 1/2 cup chocolate chips: preheat oven to 375, mix together really well, roll into balls and press down with a wet fork to make a criss cross and bake for about 10 minutes.

Anyways thats all for now, hopefully you enjoy those eats as much as we did, i’m off to school tonight so i’ll be back later with a little information tidbit 🙂

FAT…friend of foe?

This is going to be a long one… get comfy!

A lot of people still fear fat based on the premise that fat makes you fat, although this has become the general consensus amongst people they could not be more wrong! Not only do healthy fats not make you fat, they are crucial to optimum health.

There are quite a few different fats out there and in order to understand whether it is a healing or hurting fat we need to ask questions.

What kind of fat is it? How has it been treated? Has it been exposed to light/heat/oxygen/hydrogen/water/acid/base/ or metals like copper and iron? How old is it? What balance of fats do we get (omega-6:omega-3)? Etc.,

The wrong types of fats, wrong amounts and wrong balances are what leads to diseases, however, the right types, right amounts and balances: promote energy, proper hydration, insulation and padding for organs, healthy skin and hair, optimal brain function, help absorb fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K), decrease inflammation, help metabolize fats, proper hormone balance, balance blood sugar, balance blood pressure  etc.,

Sounds pretty great right?

So what’s the difference? Well fats are made up of CHO atoms in chains of differing lengths containing both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. All this means is some chains contain bonds (making them more fluid) and some don’t contain any (solid)

Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) contain no double bonds and are the most stable of the FAs (read: are solid at room temp and are the best for cooking/baking), this is important because they are not as susceptible to degradation from heat, light and oxygen (fats 3 enemies!-they lead to fat degradation). SFAs are very important-they make up ½ of cell membrane structure, are readily burned as fuel (raise metabolic rate), help maintain blood sugar levels, enhance immune system, and aid in the body’s synthesis of the essential fatty acids (EFAs), etc. A few examples are butter, coconut oil, man-made fats (hydrogenated fats, trans fats), and animal fats. Although SFAs have been given the worst wrap they can actually be a great healthy source of fat if chosen correctly- coconut oil VS man made hydrogenated fat.

What makes hydrogenated oils so ‘bad’ is that their fatty acid chains have been chemically forced to change from a liquid to a solid fat, anytime something is chemically altered it leaves it unrecognizable/usable to the body. Instead of assisting in important bodily functions, these chemically altered SFAs have a tendency to get stuck in our bodies (because our bodies aren’t can’t use them) which trigger a decrease in HDL (good) cholesterol and an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol which leads to clogged arteries and high blood pressure. Consuming hydrogenated trans fats is what causes cardio vascular diseases, not consuming a moderate amount of coconut oil or butter (from happy healthy organic cows of course!). My advice is STAY AWAY FROM TRANS FATS OR ANY HYDROGENATED FATS! Unless your goal is to increase inflammation, decrease your immunity, become fat, get a cardio vascular disease…

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) contain 1 double bond resulting in more fluidity (read: generally liquid at room temperature, solid in fridge- less stable, more susceptible to heat, light and oxygen damage). They are found in numerous oils such as olive oil, flax seed oil, sesame oil etc., By found I just mean these oils don’t solely comprise of MUFA, they also contain a mix of polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Because of MUFAs fluidity they help keep our arteries flexible, help lubricate skin, improve brain function, positively affect cholesterol levels and help maintain our cardiovascular health-all in all that sounds pretty good! these are a good choice of fats but be careful when cooking with them, keep the heat low!

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) contain more than 1 double bond and are even more fluid than MUFAs (read: liquid at room temperature and in fridge, most unstable and susceptible to damage). PUFAs are very sensitive to heat, oxygen and light- they tend to go rancid easily and will turn into free radicals in your body causing damage when they do so (buy in dark, glass bottles). PUFAs can also be known as essential fatty acids (EFAs). Essential meaning our bodies can’t produce them; we must obtain them from foods—omega-3 and omega-6. Both are very important in bodily functions but what is more important is the balance between the two. If omega-6 is more dominantly ingested it produces inflammation, suppresses immune system, leads to high blood pressure, increased allergy response… not so fun!

Omega-6, also known as linoleic acid, from grains and vegetable and nut oils are more commonly ingested in the standard American diet (SAD).

Omega-3, also known as alpha linolenic acid, from flaxseed, chia seeds, walnut oil, EPA and DHA (fish liver oils) are more often passed over. Omega-3’s are vitally important because they naturally thin the blood, reduce inflammation, support brain function, help with behavioral changes, lubricate the skin, support bodily hydration… sounds amazing right! Why have we been skipping over these helpers? and what are the proper ratio’s?

In terms of proper 6-3 ratio, it is standard that people consume about 10-30 parts omega-6 to 1 part omega-3 when ideally we should be getting 1-2:1! We are very far off!

So how do we incorporate more omega-3’s?

Meat eaters should be choosing grass-fed (high in omega-3) meats over grain-fed (high in omega-6) meat. We should be choosing flax seed oil or walnut oil or fish oils to prepare food with (NO HEAT ADDED, always buy in dark glass bottles). We should be eating more steamed or baked fish (high heat or frying damages oils– free radical damage!). Try adding chia seeds/oil, flax seed/oil to your smoothies, try making salad dressings with flax or chia oil, sprinkle flax or chia seeds on your salads, breakfast porridge etc.,

These are just a few examples, basically all I’m trying to say is check in with your diet, do you ingest healthy immune supporting fats or are your predominantly ingesting degraded, inflammation producing, artery clogging fats?

Moral of the story: be very selective about your fats/oils, be very careful with how they are prepared-heat, light and oxygen exposure can degrade them causing them to become free radicals in our bodies (danger),NO TRANS FATS!, more omega-3’s 🙂

lemon, rosemary baked wild salmon 🙂

Peckish

Sometimes I find when 3:00 rolls around I am really craving a little snack, preferably sweet, that can carry me through till dinner. My latest obsession are roasted chickpeas (either canned or dried and soaked). Lately I’ve been tossing a can of chickpeas with about 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon and a sprinkle of coconut sugar. I then bake them on a foil lined baking sheet at 400-425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, shaking the sheet after 10 minutes. You want the chickpeas to be crispy but not burnt. I love snacking on these little bad boys because they give me the sweetness i’m after, as well as the staying power from the protein and fibre to get me through till dinner. If your not a sweet person I have also tossed them with chili and cumin powder as a great vegetarian taco meat substitute in Mexican themed bowls, salads, stir-fry’s etc., as long as you mix lots of guacamole in whatever your eating you will be in love!

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I am a snacker/grazer so these little chickpeas are perfect for me; they are also super portable as an on-the-go snack.

Are you a snacky person? What are some of your go to snacks? Do you crave sweet treats like me or are you more savory?

I have class again tonight so i’ll be back later with a little tid-bit on what we learnt 🙂

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