This week I participated in a festive cookie swap. Each lady brings her own cookie dough to the party, and at the party, you are able to sample a variety of cookies. At the end, you trade your cookies, package them in a beautiful assortment, and leave with finished gifts (and new recipes!). You never know what dietary requirements come up at group events so I thought I would create out a dairy-free, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, vegan cookie recipe. Being free of flour, eggs and butter you would think the cookies would be kinda ‘meeh’ but thanks to almond butter they have the cookie goodness we are looking for. The oats create the base of these healthy holiday cookies, and maple syrup is a great low glycemic index sweetener that prevents those post cookie blood sugar spikes. These Easy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of my new favourites, and will be a life-saver recipe when catering for multiple dietary restrictions.
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With so many Energy Ball recipes available on the internet, what makes these Tahini Hemp Energy Balls different? Tahini is made from roasted sesame seeds, and that’s exactly what it tastes like – some would describe the flavour as nutty or earthy. Energy Balls often use protein powders for added protein, where these ones use pure hemp hearts for protein. I’ve opted not to use dates, as I prefer local unpasteurized honey for sweetness instead. The flavour combination of tahini with honey and toasted coconut is what makes these Tahini Hemp Energy Balls one of my favourites, and comparable to the 100 Calorie Peanut Butter Energy Balls which are one of most popular recipes on my blog.
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Tis the season for endless treats. There is no escaping them – at work, a holiday potlatch, a thoughtful edible gift. A small amount of [ideally natural] sugar enjoyed in the company of friends and loved ones is an important part of social relationships and our food culture. We know that when we do have something sweet, balancing it out with a good source of protein or healthy fat can help dampen the effect on our blood glucose (sugar) levels. This helps us to avoid the post-dessert sugar spikes and corresponding drops and for this I am sharing my new favourite go-to healthy dessert. Labna, or yogurt cheese, is high in protein and good fats and makes the base for this two-ingredient gluten-free cheesecake. Labna is simple to make at home and what this high-protein dessert lacks in difficulty, it makes up for in taste.
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As myself and those around me are nearing the intimidating age of 30, a lot of things are spinning through our heads. Babies. Careers. Wrinkles. And as if that wasn’t enough, we women have to seriously think about our long-term health goals. Do I want strong and healthy bones into my elderly years? Do I want to be independent with my daily activities right up until the last day? I think yes. Ensuring our calcium needs are being met is not an easy task. There is only so much kale, kefir, and choy sum we can fit into one day (for other non-dairy sources of calcium see 10 Surprising Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium). With the knowledge that our bones are continuously being built until around age 30, in my last sprint to the dirty thirty I want to make sure I’m giving my bones the nutrients they need. These Simple High Calcium Citrus and Fig Energy Balls are a good way to pack in maximum calcium into a delicious morning or afternoon snack. Chia, tahini and figs are all good sources of this essential mineral, and luckily they all taste great together!
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Not even a week has passed since my return from Indonesia and I can confidently tell you that the thing I miss most is not the warmth nor the beaches, its the food. The flavours and the variety place this cuisine at the top of my list. If you haven’t tried tempeh yet and you are a lover of healthy and tasty food, boy have I got a treat for you. Indonesians enjoy it fried and spicy, and often will add it to dishes such as Gado Gado (see my simplified recipe for Gado Gado Peanut Satay Sauce Recipe) or have it cooked in a spicy sambal served with rice. It is as versatile as tofu, but many prefer the firmer texture of tempeh over its soybean cousin. Here is my play on tempeh, and a good one to get you started on your tempeh journey – Simple Vegan Tempeh “Meatballs”.
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Healthy alternative to pancakes! Good source of protein! Now that I have your attention, let me elaborate on my bold statements. Nutrition Science is an interesting field in that it is ever evolving and recommendations are continuously being improved upon. One area that is under review is our current daily protein recommendations. We won’t know for awhile, but there is some speculation that they are about to be increased. Nevertheless, following a plant-based diet can sometimes leave some of us a bit short on our protein needs – so no better place to start improving on this than with breakfast. This recipe for Simple Steel-Cut Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana offers 15g of protein per serve, which can get you well on your way to meeting your daily protein requirements.
“Steel-cut oats have double the amount of fibre and protein as traditional rolled oats, with 4g of fibre and 5g of protein per serve”
What makes steel-cut oats so special? Firstly, you can make a big batch of them on a Sunday night and have breakfast ready for the rest of the week. They taste great cold or re-heated; simply double the below recipe and add more milk or milk alternative in the morning to thin it out. Secondly, they are the least processed type of oats. The grouts are simply hulled, toasted and then chopped into 3-4 little sections, rather than flattened like the traditional oats we are familiar with. Thirdly, oats are packed full of beta-glucans which are known for their cholesterol and blood-sugar lowering abilities. Lastly, steel-cut oats can help us meet our daily protein needs. This is important for muscle synthesis, immune function and overall good health. The addition of peanut butter and organic soymilk or homemade hemp milk (see Simple Hemp Milk recipe) help boost the protein content even further.
Current protein recommendations are 0.8g of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight per day. For the average women this may be around 50-60g and for men 60-70g. There are many facters that determine if a higher protein intake is required including age (muscle synthesis decreases with age), activity level, and health status. If you would like to figure out your exact protein requirments speak to a Registered Dietitian or another health care professional. For most people, aiming for at least 15-20g of protein per meal is a good start.
And so how are they a healthy alternative to pancakes? To me, anything smothered with peanut butter, banana and honey with a is as good as pancakes. You will just have to give’em a try and see for yourself!
Steel Cut Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana
Ingredients for Steel Cut Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk or fortified milk alternative (unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup uncooked, steel-cut oats
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 frozen banana*
- 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp whole flaxseed, (option to grind)
*I prefer frozen banana because they are always available in my house, and are much sweeter. A very ripe, non-frozen banana would do just fine as well.
Method For Steel Cut Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana
- Bring water and milk or milk alternative to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once boiling, add the steel-cut oats and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low.
- In a separate bowl, mash the banana and add it to the oats. Continue to cook on a reduced heat and simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes, making sure to stir often.
- You know the oats are finished when they are nice and creamy. Remove them from the heat and add the peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and flax. Give it a good stir to ensure everything is well blended.
- This dish is great as leftovers for the following morning. Simply store in an airtight container in the fridge, and in the morning add a splash of milk or milk alternative and eat cold or heated.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup in place of honey
Add more protein: Add 2 tbsp of hemp hearts per serving
Make it gluten free: Check for certified gluten-free oats
Make it 50% raw: Add 1/4 cup of raw nuts and fresh berries
Consider food miles: Use Canadian grown oats. Omit the banana and replace with apple, pear or berries
Made with soy milk
Total Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 1.9g
Hurray for popcorn! The guilt-free, crunchy goodness that is oh-so-satisfying when paired with a good movie, and an even better with a friend. My longtime friend Alexa treated me to this amazing combination for my last Christmas gift, with the popcorn kernels in a cute mason jar and the toppings alongside to accompany them. This recipe has been a lifesaver during these dreary January nights. After an overload of chocolate and Christmas treats, what could be better than a night in with your best gal a bowl full of guilt-free Nutritional Yeast and Dill Popcorn.
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Sounds to good to be true doesn’t it. Peanut butter… no bake… less than 100 calories. We live in a world of convenience, and all too often we choose to reach for the sugar packed granola bars or trans-fat laden potato chips when looking for a quick fix. What if I told you that a healthy and tasty treat may only require 15 minutes of your time? Put ingredients into a bowl and roll into balls, easy right? And in return you will get 3 weeks worth of these healthy and convenient no bake 100 calorie peanut butter energy balls.
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Food is incredibly social and food is meant to be shared. The occasion of eating a meal with friends is more about nurturing the sole than nurturing the body. With spring in the air, BBQs and potlatches are in the foreseeable future – no better time to feed and nurture your favourite people! (like you need an excuse)
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I have Lifecycles to thank for my first venture of apple picking in one of Victoria’s most beautiful orchards. Lifecycles is a not for profit organization dedicated to cultivating awareness and initiating action around food, health, and urban sustainability in the area. They have their hands in the right barrels so to speak, and they are always looking for more volunteer fruit pickers.
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