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Posts Tagged ‘treat’

This is how I’m squashing my chocolate craving tonight.

photo credit Oh She Glows

While this recipe considers the buckwheat optional, I chose to add it as a tribute to my partly Russian roots, and to give a little extra crunch. My Russian acupuncturist once bought me a bag, telling me it is high in iron and B vitamins, and iz gooood toooo noooorish blaaaahd.

And by now you already know how much I love the humble chia seed, bursting with fiber and omega goodness.

Need I even say anything at all on how I feel about chocolate? It borders on obsession. The darker the better, like 70% or higher.

Here I used the standard 60% bittersweet chips, a la Nestle. Because they have some sugar, I do not use any additional sweetener. If you choose to use darker chocolate, feel free to add a squirt of raw honey or agave.

Chocolate Oatmeal Freezer Cookies

  • 1.25 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp buckwheat groats
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • Squirt of honey or agave (optional)
  1. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop banana and mash into melted chips.
  3. Stir remaining ingredients into chocolate banana mixture and stir well until oats are coated with chocolate.
  4. Spoon mixture evenly into twelve muffin liners and freeze for about an hour, or until firm.

You can leave these in the freezer and they will stay somewhat chewy, not freezing up to a completely solid state. They definitely squash my chocolate fix any time of day or night. Usually night. Late at night. Like now.

Excuse me, I think I hear the freezer calling my name …

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I have always shied away from pancakes because of the heavy way they sit in my stomach. Even the so-called “light and fluffy” ones.

Yeah, right. Light and fluffy, my foot. They sit like rocks in my belly for the rest of the day.

Though not a big fan of pancakes, I was intrigued by a friend’s description of “blender pancakes” for her family’s Sunday morning breakfast. She directed me to this recipe, which she said was pretty much a staple in her household.

We’re always hearing how we’re supposed to add more whole grains to our diet, because refined white flour is totally devoid of nutrients. This recipe is an easy, painless way to up your whole grains, while pleasing even the finickiest of palates.

I made a few modifications and experimented with a couple of different grains and fruits. All versions were great and did not upset my stomach! Stay tuned for future experiments with other grains like millet, amaranth, and quinoa.

Until then, enjoy them as they are … delicious!

Whole Grain Blender Pancakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat or whole spelt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice (cow, goat, rice, almond, soy, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or other vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, Sucanat, or honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 tsp spirulina (optional; be prepared for green pancakes if you choose to use it!)
  • fresh fruit, like blueberries or sliced bananas (optional)
  • butter for the pan
  1. Blend 1 cup of milk with the wheat for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add the rest of the milk and blend for another 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend.
  4. Butter a hot cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and ladle your batter into circles
  5. If using any fruit (blueberries, sliced bananas, etc.) drop onto pancakes
  6. When tops of pancakes start showing bubbles all over, flip pancakes over
  7. Cook until nicely golden brown, and serve piping hot with lots and lots of real maple syrup
Batter should last up to five days in the fridge, if it makes it that long. This recipe also works beautifully in a waffle iron.
Sometimes, I’ll cook a whole batch just to put in the freezer for busy mornings. Just run them through the toaster a couple of times, and voila! A hearty, homemade, whole grain breakfast on the table in no time!

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Whenever I make jam, I always lament that the beautiful pure fruit I laboriously prepare is then laced with a ton of sugar. The regular recipe calls for an almost 2:1 ratio of sugar to fruit.

Gag.

Even with the low-to-no-sugar pectin, if you follow the directions on the box, it’s still a whopping 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit. I usually use organic evaporated cane juice or Sucanat, which is way better than the bleached-out white stuff, but still …

It’s sugar.

Honey is so much better. It has antioxidant and antibacterial qualities, gives a boost of energy, and is totally natural and unrefined. It has a real depth of flavor, whereas sugar is a little one-dimensional.

If you use local honey, your neighborhood bees will be helping to minimize your allergy symptoms by inoculating you against your local pollen. Goes right along with the old “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” theory … a little pollen every day helps keep the doctor away.

And get this: I recently learned that honey is the only natural food on earth that never spoils! It may crystallize and harden, but it never actually goes bad.

Honey is a staple in my household. I always have plenty on hand. But strawberries are so transient, at their peak just once a year for a few short weeks.

Lucky me, when Whole Foods had a one-day sale on organic strawberries a few months back. Not known for doing things halfway, I came home with 30 pounds.

Some are in the freezer for month’s and month’s worth of smoothies. And some became honey-sweetened preserves, inspired by Sarah’s Musings.

Finally! Easy homemade preserves that I don’t have to make with sugar!

With my Candida-related issues, sugar is always a no-no. In addition, because of my current extremely restrictive Candida cleanse diet, I’m not eating fruit, honey or fruit juice for a while, either.

Making this jam without tasting even a drop was sheer torture. However, Ecogirl and Ecodaddy assured me it is delicious without being cloyingly sweet.

At least I think that’s what they said … I couldn’t really understand them as they spooned it straight from the jar into their sticky mouths, over and over again.

Some call it jam, some call it preserves … what is the difference?

Jam is made with fruit that’s pureed to one consistency. Preserves have big chunks of fruit throughout.

Sometimes I make jam, which is just delectable thinly spread over warm buttered toast.

Sometimes I leave some chunks and make preserves, which are perfect mixed with plain yogurt.

With this recipe, it’s really up to you to what consistency you want to mash the fruit. It can be jam or preserves, you decide!

Either way, it is always delicious, and great for gift-giving. Tie a festive ribbon around the rim of the lid, and surprise the recipient with a little bit of sunshine in a jar.

paired with almond butter on toasted Ezekiel bread, mmmmm ...

Strawberry Honey Preserves

  • 6 cups mashed strawberries
  • 1 cup organic apple juice
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 package low-sugar/no-sugar fruit pectin
  • Preserving equipment: glass jars, lids, rings, canning pot or any large pot, funnel, jar tongs, and ladle
  1. First things first: get your water boiling on the stove in your large canning pot. Sterilize your clean, empty jars by letting them boil in the water. Place the jar lids in a bowl and ladle some boiling water over them … DO NOT put them in the pot of boiling water or it will compromise the rubber seal.
  2. Hull and mash your strawberries. You can leave some pieces chunkier for more texture in your preserves. If you like it smoother, you can pulse in a food processor until it’s a consistency you like.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the mashed fruit and juice. Stir in the pectin and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Once it’s boiling, add the honey and bring it back up to a rolling boil for three minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove fruit mixture from heat and skim the foam off the top with a spoon into a small bowl. Ecodaddy is a big fan of eating the foam as an added bonus. You can eat it, or toss it, but definitely remove it from the preserves or it will make the final product look funny.
  6. Remove the glass jars from the boiling water with your jar tongs, shake out any extra water, and line them up on a dishtowel. Let the water in the big pot keep on boiling.
  7. Working quickly, ladle the fruit mixture into the funnel-topped jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace at the top of each jar. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with another damp dishtowel, and top each jar with a lid. Secure a ring on each jar and tighten “fingertip tight” … tight enough that it’s secure, but not so tight that no steam can escape.
  8. Place lidded jars into the pot of boiling water for a ten-minute bath. When the time is up, pull them out with your jar tongs and do not touch them. Just let them rest. Soon you will start hearing a “pop” from each jar as all the steam escapes and a vacuum is created inside, sealing the jars.
  9. Don’t touch the jars for 12-24 hours, then push down on each lid to make sure it is sealed. If the lid moves up and down slightly with a “click click” sound, then your jar didn’t seal. That’s ok, you can still enjoy the preserves, but the jar has to go right into the fridge to be used in the next week or two. If the jars did seal properly and the lids don’t move, then you can store your jars in the pantry at room temperature for up to a year.
Note: I used six cups of fruit, which makes a runnier, more sauce-like finished product. This is perfect for spooning over plain yogurt to make your own strawberry yogurt, or drizzling over a piece of pound cake. To make a thicker more spreadable preserve a la PB & J, use only four cups of fruit.

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Nothing gets Ecogirl’s wheels turning like food. She makes food out of Play-Doh. She adores her toy kitchen. She loves to “bake” cupcakes on a certain kiddie app on my iPad.

But doing a real live project in the kitchen … now that is her idea of a little piece of heaven.

Ecodaddy has been home sick for a couple of days, and is getting a bit cabin feverish. Today, he rallied just enough energy to volunteer to bake blueberry muffins with Ecogirl. She was overjoyed, and totally enraptured every step of the way.

These muffins are light and fluffy, and the yogurt really contributes to how tender, moist, and delicious they are. I’ll be honest though: this is a fairly “mainstream” recipe, with white flour and sugar (we used organic flour and organic evaporated cane juice), inspired by Alton Brown’s recipe.

Sidenote: Since I’m on Stage 1 Candida Diet at this point, I can’t actually taste them. No sugar, wheat or dairy, and this one is guilty on all three counts.

Drats.

I’ll tell you this much though: they made the kitchen smell really good. Really really good.

So good in fact, that I threw nutrition caution to the wind and allowed Ecogirl to have two of them, buttered, in lieu of dinner tonight.

Now that’s a good muffin!

Blueberry Muffins
  • 12.5 ounces of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Heavy pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar (can decrease as desired)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp grapeseed or other vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (we used full fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Use 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil to grease the muffin pan
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg and yogurt
  4. Add the dry ingredients, reserving 2 Tbsp to toss with the blueberries
  5. Stir mixture until barely mixed, should still see a little bit of powder
  6. Toss blueberries with 2 Tbsp dry mixture to coat. Stir 1 cup of blueberries into batter, stir 3 or 4 more times. Do not overmix. Reserve the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries
  7. Divide the batter evenly amongst muffin pan to make 12 muffins, and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of muffins. Press down lightly
  8. Place into the oven and increase the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time
  9. Remove from the oven and turn out, upside down, onto a dish towel
  10. Serve immediately or let cool, then store in an airtight container for up to three days

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This yummy sweet green treat was inspired by Earth Baby Yoga Mama. It is dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, raw, and absolutely delicious! It has the rich, melt-in-your-mouth decadence of chocolate, yet is super healthy. And because it’s raw, it contains all the life-giving enzymes and nutrients that are lost through the cooking process.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae found in freshwater ponds and lakes. It is very high (60%!) in complete protein, meaning it contains all eight essential amino acids. This is not so common in the plant world, so already spirulina is pretty special.

In addition, it contains high levels of beta carotene, the rare essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid or GLA (which is also found in breast milk), vitamin B12 (lacking in many vegetarians because it’s mainly found in animal products), iron, magnesium, trace minerals and phytonutrients. A little less than a teaspoon of spirulina (3 grams) is the nutritional equivalent of two servings of vegetables.

All this from a tiny microalgae? Amazing!

Keep reading …

Eating spirulina strengthens your immune system, helps generate new blood cells, improves cardiovascular function, supports healthy cholesterol levels, improves digestion, detoxifies the body, and reduces the risk of cancer through antioxidant protection.

Are you sold yet?

Up until now, smoothies were the main way to feature spirulina in my diet. But with the discovery of these super snacks, my horizons have been broadened and spirulina has found a new way to shine.

Raw Spirulina Super Snacks

  • a handful of raw sunflower seeds (can use your favorite type of nut instead)
  • 4 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 Tbsp raisins
  • 1 Tbsp spirulina powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 squirt raw honey (anywhere between 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp; I used closer to 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Pulse sunflower seeds in blender or Vita-Mix until as close to powdery as you can get them
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until sticky. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times.
  3. Form small balls, place on a plate, then place the plate in the fridge. You can also flatten the balls to look more like cookies.
  4. Let harden a bit; will still be chewy when done, but not gooey.
  5. Enjoy! Store remainder in fridge, but rest assured, they won’t last long …

Spirulina super snacks are great for kids, but if feeding to a child under the age of 1 year, just make sure to substitute agave or maple syrup for the honey .

Honey can contain botulism spores that are lethal to infants. Adults and children over one year are safe. It’s also fine for breastfeeding moms, since the spores are killed on their journey through the GI tract, never making it into mom’s breastmilk.

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