Healthy Treats, Snacks

Trail Mix Oat Cookies

IMG_E3323

A few years back, one of my daughters had brought home a cookie recipe from Pioneer Girls- what is that? It’s a faith based “Brownies/Girl Guides”, as I like to refer to it :). The recipe was called Spirit Cookies/Scripture Cookies and each ingredient had a bible verse to go along with it. It was really cute and I noticed that this recipe wasn’t far off from being healthy, simple and free from most common allergies. So, I decided to revamp it and make my own version……except there won’t be a bible verse for each of my own ingredients, I’m not that clever.

Since my original recipe contained gluten and honey, I set out to make batches that were either gluten free but had honey, batches that contained gluten but without honey and batches that were both gluten free and vegan. There were many, many flops-of course my kids loved theses the most, they just didn’t look like the ones in the photo (they were too flat).

Here are a few…..

IMG_3324

I also want to mention that for any gluten free recipe, I’ll try to avoid the majority of premade gluten free flour mixes. These premade flours usually use refined ingredients. It would be beneficial to your health and wallet if you made your own.

As much as it is beneficial to avoid certain foods for optimal health, it’s even better to focus more on what we are adding in to the diet rather than the taking away, ” I can’t have that”, restrictions. The more you add in nutritious foods, the better you will start to feel and your body will crave more of the good foods  (because they won’t taste like high sugar or high salted, deep fried card board 😉 ) and the junk will get pushed to the side, changing your mind set from ” I can’t have that” to “I don’t want that”.  And, all those foods that you used to crave and love so dearly- cookies, pizza, burgers, chips, ice cream, can be revamped and made into something that will love you back!

Let’s talk a little about how these little cookies can be the right kind of treat. We are trying to focus on adding in foods that will give your body something back or feed your cells instead of robbing them. The ingredients in these cookies as opposed to your basic cookie with high sugar, high fat, refined carb content, have more vitamins and minerals to feed your cells, stabilize blood sugar levels and leave you satisfied. When we eat foods that are lacking in nutrients, especially fibre, we feel the need to keep eating. Have you ever eaten a piece of cake or had a cookie and it went down fairly easy, leaving you a bit hungry or feeling like you could go for another piece whether it’s right away or an hour or so after?………

Here’s Why

  • Fibre and The Lack There Of:  Fibre fills you up quickly, leaving you full a lot faster. It also helps you to maintain steady blood sugar levels so that you won’t be crashing soon after a sugar spike and then left feeling tired and in need of some energy (food/sugar/caffeine). In the long run, the lack of fibre coupled with these refined carbs will foster a poor microbial environment in your gut, leading to a condition called Candida. This condition will cause you to crave more of these foods as well, and the cycle will continue if we don’t stop it.

A few things you can do to encourage a healthy microbial environment in your belly are by adding in more whole grains,starting with oats- If you haven’t already, try adding in a bowl of oats into your breakfast menu. If you aren’t sensitive to gluten, incorporate more flours like spelt in place of white flour. Spelt is an older relative to wheat and is easier to digest, especially if it has been sprouted first. Add in more nuts and seeds like raw pumpkin seeds  , flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts or almonds for a nutritional boost. These will help with blood sugar stability as well. If you have a sweet tooth like myself, try using a less refined sugar instead of buying products with sugar already added. This way you’ll have more control over how much sugar is going into your food. Pure maple syrup is a better choice when it comes to added sugars. It still contains some of its vitamins and minerals and thus becomes a sugar that isn’t as quickly released into the blood stream.

Ok, It’s cookie time!

IMG_3282

Because of their nutrient value and lower refined sugar content, these cookies would be breakfast worthy- the gluten free version is pretty much just an oatmeal bowl in the form of a cookie 😉

IMG_3147

IMG_3275

IMG_3271

IMG_3309

Trail Mix Oat Cookies

Makes: 25-30 small cookies

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raw

1/4 cup sunflower seeds, raw

1tbsp chia seeds

1tbsp cacao nibs , optional

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

2 flax eggs (1tbsp ground flax to 3tbsp water=1 flax egg)

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup unpasteurised honey or 1/4 cup plus 2tbsp of pure maple syrup for the vegan version

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350º F

  1. Make you flax eggs first by putting 2 tablespoons of ground flax and 6 tablespoons of water into a small dish, mix together and let it sit until it sets (see photo below).
  2. Place spelt flour, oats, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk with a fork until mixed well. Next, add in seeds, raisins and cacao nibs (if using), mix together.
  3. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, add in your melted coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, vanilla and flax eggs. Mix until it slightly comes together.
  4. Add your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. If you’re using maple syrup, you will need to let your batter sit for 5 at least minutes before placing onto a cookie sheet because this sweetener isn’t as thick as honey and may make your batter runny.
  5. Using a medium sized cookie scooper or a large table spoon, scoop cookie batter, making sure it is packed firmly and then place dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Once the cookie dough is on the cookie sheet, you might want to pack it together if some of it starts to separate.
  6. Place cookies in preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. We usually bake our cookies for 8 minutes because I like mine a bit softer 🙂
  7. Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Here’s what the flax egg looks like…..

IMG_3233After setting, it becomes similar in texture to an egg.

Gluten Free Version

Makes: 15- 20 medium cookies

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup gluten free oat flour (see note)

1 cup buckwheat flour (see note)

1 cup quick oats, certified gluten free

1 cup rolled oats, certified gluten free

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raw

1/4 cup sunflower seeds, raw

1tbsp chia seeds

1tbsp cacao nibs, optional

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

2 flax eggs (1tbsp ground flax to 3tbsp water=1 flax egg)

1/2 cup  brown rice syrup or 1/2 cup unpasteurised honey if not vegan

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

*Note: For the flours, instead of buying pre made oat and buckwheat flours, you can easily make your own at home. For the oat flour, process rolled oats in a food processor until it is flour like in consistency- it doesn’t need to be super fine. For the buckwheat flour, place buckwheat grouts into a coffee grinder, preferably that doesn’t get used to grind coffee, and grind into a flour (it grinds up quickly).

*This batch of cookies is not as sweet as the others. If you’d like to add a bit more sweetener with out flattening the cookies, you could add in a package of stevia.

Preheat your oven to 350º F

  1. Make flax egg and set aside until it has set
  2. Place flours, oats, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk until mixed well. Next, add in seeds, raisins and cacao nibs (if using), mix together.
  3. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, add in your melted coconut oil, brown rice syrup or honey, vanilla and flax eggs. Mix until it slightly comes together.
  4. Add your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Let batter sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Using a medium sized cookie scooper or a large tablespoon, scoop cookie batter, making sure it is packed firmly and then place dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. If cookie dough doesn’t stay nicely packed, use your hands to lightly pack it back together without flattening the cookie.
  6. Place cookies in preheated oven and bake for 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Let cookies cool on the pan for 5-8 minutes until transferring to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

IMG_3284

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Advertisements
Healthy Treats, Snacks

Raspberry Bliss Bars

IMG_2809

It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve last posted a recipe! We are currently riding into our second week of spring break and enjoying ever minute of it-the absence of rushing to get from point A to point B, not having to do pack lunches or worry about who’s having what for breakfast or even eating it!  Breaking from our busy schedule means I’ve with drawn form my work as well. As much as I love my job, my kids are my number one priority- we only have them for a small window of time before their adulting on their own (hopefully)…..I don’t know about you but my kids seem to grow at a rapid rate!! 😉

Enough of that, how about these bars??

IMG_2774

The bits of cashew along with little bits of raspberry all held together with sweet gooey dates….

IMG_2776

I find these little energy bars to be very indulgent. Their packed with antioxidants, fibre, plant protein, vitamins and minerals. They are also cheaper than their store bought counter part!

These bars are fairly easy to make. If you have dates, nuts/seeds, you can turn it into a number of plant based desserts/snacks- energy bites, energy bars, pie crust, crumble, gooey filling, raw muesli…etc. Just add in a few extras to turn it into something fabulous!

To start the process, I like to grind the nuts/ seeds into a type of nut/seed meal until it looks like this…

IMG_2680

Next, I add in the chewy/dried fruit such as dates and raisins along with the raspberry extract and a pinch of sea salt. Then, process until it forms a gooey dough.

IMG_2699

I added in the   freeze dried raspberries* last so that they wouldn’t turn to dust in the bars. I wanted keep some of their form so that you can see and taste the berries.

Once your mixture has come together nicely, place it in an 8X8 inch baking pan that is lined with parchment paper. Next, with clean/slightly damp hands, press the mixture out to the edges making sure that it is even.

IMG_2731

You can cover the mixture with an extra piece of parchment paper to help smooth it out even more. Leave the mixture covered and place in the freezer for 4 hours or over night. These bars are better if kept in the freezer until they are ready to be eaten. If you want these bars to be “shelf stable” and lunch kit worthy, use less dates (3/4 cup of packed) instead of the full amount. And to make them nut free, you can use sunflower seeds or a mix of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds instead of the cashews.

Once the bars have firmed up, cut into 10 bars-feel free to cut them up smaller for younger children because these can be quite filling.

IMG_2766

Don’t worry if yours don’t turn out perfectly formed……mine never do. I usually cut off the odd looking edges and they end up becoming samples for the kids that happen to be watching and drooling during the whole process 😉

IMG_2768

A note about the berries….. if you’ve clicked on the highlighted area, you’ve probably noticed that they aren’t cheap! A bag will last for three to four batches of these bars though. Also, I’ve found that if you buy in multiples, they are cheaper.

IMG_2715

Raspberry Bliss Bars

Serving: 10 bars

Time: 5 minutes plus freezing time

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates, packed

3/4 cup raw unsalted cashews

1/2 cup raisins

1/8-1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries*

1 tsp pure raspberry extract*

Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1. Place cashews into a food processor and process until it turns into a crumbly mixture, about 30 seconds.

2. Add in your dates, raisins, raspberry extract and sea salt. Then, process until mixture forms a gooey dough, about 30-60 seconds.

3. Add in your freeze dried raspberries and pulse for 20 seconds. If there are bits of raspberries that haven’t made their way into the mixture, mix them in by hand when taking the “dough” out and into the lined baking dish.

4. With clean/ lightly damp hands, press the formed mixture in the middle, spreading it out evenly to the edges.

5. Cover and place in the freezer for 4 hours or leave in over night.

Enjoy 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Breakfast, Healthy Treats

Vanilla Chia Pudding

 

This pudding recipe is an absolute winner in our household!! Those of you with multiple children that can’t seem to synchronize their taste buds will understand how victorious it is when everyone, including a picky husband ( singing praises that mine isn’t),  can come together and say “this is great, can I have more?”…..someone cue the Hallelujah chorus. Ahhh, feels great, doesn’t it? These are the moments we live for, they are the moments that keep us from going insane 😉

This recipe was adapted from my chocolate chia pudding which is also a winner but I was looking for a little variety.

IMG_1189

Vanilla Chia pudding is so versatile. You can dress it up or down with whatever you have on hand- fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut or you can even add in a nut or seed butter.

This pudding was turned into a delicious breakfast treat for Valentines Day. And of course I had to add some red and pink to it. To me, it tasted like I was eating strawberries and whipped cream…….who wouldn’t want that for breakfast? ♥♥ 🙂

IMG_1316

 

Vanilla Chia Pudding

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsps of chia seeds

1 1/2 cups of full fat coconut milk

1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite milk alternative, we used organic non GMO soy milk

4 Tbsps of pure maple syrup or 3-4 tsps. of Stevia to sweeten

1 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla

pinch of sea salt

 

Instructions:

Place chia seeds and stevia, if using, into a medium sized glass bowl (with a lid) or large mason jar. Then add your milk, vanilla, maple syrup and sea salt.

Next, stir to combined. Make sure there aren’t any clumps of chia seeds. Let it sit for a half an hour and then stir again. Repeat this one more time, this will ensure there is an even consistency. If left without being stirred, the chia seeds tend to for clump together at the top, leaving some of the liquid at the bottom or vice versa. If using a mason jar, place the lid on it and give it a shake a couple times instead.

Place in the fridge for 3-6 hours or make ahead the night before if you are wanting to make this for breakfast.

If your pudding turns out a little thinner than you’d prefer, add 1-2 tsp of chia seeds until desired thickness. Be sure to wait a bit because it takes a little while for the seeds to plump up. If your pudding ends up being too thick, add milk of choice until desired consistency.

 

Hope you enjoy!!

IMG_1209

 

Drinks

MORINGA TEA LATTE

IMG_0147

What Is Moringa Anyway?

Moringa is a small tree, also known as a “Miracle Tree” or   “Horseradish Tree”. This tree comes from India and parts of it have been used to help certain ailments for many years. The best quality brands are the ones that try to retain as much of the nutrients in moringa as possible. To do this, the leaves are kept raw by gently drying them. They are then ground up into a fine powder-this is what to look for at your local health foods store.

IMG_0252

 

Moringa’s  Health Benefits

Like chlorella and cilantro, moringa produces phytochelatins. In a study with rats and mice, theses phytochelatins helped to bind up heavy metals. In chlorella, these phytochelatins are also known to clean up heavey metals in bodies of water.Until further research is done on humans………it’s a wonder if they’ll have the same affect in us?

However, we do know that moringa is a great source of non-heme iron. In just 6 grams or 2 teaspoons, it contains 15% of your daily recommended intake. It’s also a great source of vitamin A,E and C which are also antioxidants. At 10% a serving, moringa a great source of calcium as well.

With 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fibre ( per serving) on top of all the other nutritional value, makes this a food supplement worthy of trying!

IMG_0148

Moringa Tea Latte

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup of preferred milk alternative ( unsweetened). I use Silk organic soy milk in this recipe for taste and texture.

1/4 cup of boiled water

3 Medjool dates, pitted

1/4 tsp of pure vanilla extract

1 tsp of moringa leaf powder

1 tsp of coconut sugar (optional)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place dates and boiled water into a blender and let them soak for a couple minutes. Heat milk while dates are soaking. Then, add the rest of your ingredients, including milk, into the blender. Blend on low for 20 seconds and then on medium/high for another 20 seconds.

If you don’t like as much froth in your latte, blend for less time.

CHEERS!

 

 

 

 

 
Drinks, Healthy Treats, Smoothies

Chocolate Mint Green Smoothie

This Month has been jam packed with activities and events and yet it seems like we we’re just starting the first week of December. I find my self wanting December to slow down. If you’ve already been to a few Christmas parties or family gatherings, you might be like me and you’ve over done it a little…..or a lot!!

After eating a few too many of the things I don’t normally eat, I decided my digestive system needed a little siesta! But I still wanted to enjoy some of the holiday flavours…….that is when this green, healthy holiday smoothie, was birthed.

 

Chocolate Mint Green Smoothie

Chocolate Mint Green Smoothie

Recipe:

 

Chocolate Sauce:

1/2 Cup plus 1 Tbsp of preferred milk alternative

1/4 Cup  medjool dates, pitted and soaked

2 Tbsp good quality cocoa powder

1/2 tsp Pure vanilla

Pinch of sea salt

 

For the Smoothie:

2 Cups Baby Spinach, washed

1 Cup preferred milk alternative

4 Medjool Dates, pitted

1/2 Frozen banana

3-4 Mint leaves

1/8 pure peppermint extract or 1-2 drops of food grade peppermint oil

Small handful of raw pumpkin seeds (optional)

 

Instructions:

Prepare the chocolate sauce first. If you don’t have a high speed  blender, soak your dates for two hours in the milk that you’ll be using. If you’re pressed for time, you can soak the dates in boiling water for 15-30 minutes, be sure to drain the excess water afterwards. Place all your ingredients for the chocolate sauce into a high speed blender or you can use a hand held blender and blend until mixture is smooth. Pour into a small bowl, set aside and rinse your blender.

For the smoothie, place all your ingredients into your blender, adding the milk last and blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until your smoothie is well blended.

Add a tablespoon of the chocolate sauce to the bottom of a medium glass. If you want, you can add some of the chocolate sauce to the top of the glass and let it drip down into the glass if you’re feeling a little creative. Then, pour in the green smoothie and drizzle a little extra chocolate on top if you’d like 🙂

 

Hope you enjoy this little healthy indulgence!

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!