The other day, I found myself craving peanut butter cookies. The only problem with this is that I don't eat peanuts. In fact, I haven't eaten peanuts or peanut-containing products in over 15 years. So what's a girl to do? I put on my culinary thinking cap and decided to get creative!
Over the years, I have discovered that roasted sunflower butter has a flavour profile reminiscent of peanut butter. So, naturally, that's the food that first came to mind for my cookie-making experiment. And I wasn't to be disappointed! The result was a cookie that satisfied both my taste buds and my nutritional quality standards. Since these cookies are nut-free, they also have the bonus of being school safe.
No matter how much we prize health and nutrition, taste buds are a thing--an inescapable reality of life. While there certainly might be times in our lives where it could be appropriate to be incredibly strict about the foods that we consume, it is my observation that most people enjoy their best health--mind, body, and spirit--when they find a middle ground in which they prioritize real, healthy, nutrient-dense foods, but also give themselves permission to indulge in the occasional health-optimized treat.
I am a big fan of what I like to call "Quality Upgrades." Do I recommend that we go out and buy processed baked goods made with bleached white flour, refined white sugar, hydrogenated oils, and food colouring? Absolutely not. Personally, I strive to avoid these ingredients whenever possible--with no exceptions. That said, just because we might chose to avoid certain substances that are known not to do our bodies good doesn't mean that we shouldn't be able to indulge in...
Every so often, I just crave fudge. While I do love a good organic dark chocolate bar (my usual source of chocolate-y goodness), there is just something about the melt-in-your-mouth texture of fudge that takes me to an extra happy place. The trouble is that most fudge contains ingredients I would really rather not eat. So I don't. At least, I didn't until I whipped up these little beauties...
Do you ever wish that there was a simple, yet festive, crowd-pleasing dessert that you could prepare with minimal time and effort? Guess what? There is! Chocolate bark.
Chocolate bark looks so beautiful and artsy that it's easy to assume that it must take a lot of time and effort to prepare. And yet, it's actually one of the easiest and fuss-free dessert recipes going. Keep a few shelf-stable ingredients on hand and a delicious dessert can be yours in a few easy steps.
270 grams (approx. 10 oz) of dark chocolate, broken into pieces*
3/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, raw
1/2 cup dried cranberries (organic preferred)**
2 Tbsp maple flakes
Pinch of Himalayan salt, finely ground
*I used two 135 gram bars of ChocoSol 75% Darkness, which is sweetened with unrefined cane sugar.
**I look for brands sweetened with organic apple juice, such as Made In Nature, Eden, or Prana.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
It seems like everyone and their mother is lauding the health benefits of turmeric these days. Whether it's in the form of a recipe or a supplement ad, it's hard to peruse a health-conscious magazine, website, and/or cookbook without finding some mention of the impressive health benefits of this vibrant orange spice.
As research continues to accumulate on the myriad health benefits of turmeric, more and more recipes featuring this anti-inflammatory ingredient are starting to emerge. No longer is turmeric rarely found in anything other than curry. Health-conscious cooks are getting creative!
One of the most popular recipes to hit the health food market in recent months has been turmeric lattes. I will be completely honest with you. When I first heard about this creative new offering, I felt almost zero desire to try it. I just couldn't imagine how a beverage featuring a spice that I associate with a rich Indian curry could make for a pleasant beverage....
Do you ever have those culinary moments when you think, "Darn, I'm good!"? I had one of those earlier this week after I found a way to make a delicious pizza after realizing part way through my prep that I didn't have all of the right ingredients. OoOoops.
I had been craving pizza for a couple of weeks, but was biding my time until I could find a cauliflower under $7 that actually looked fresh. Who would have thought that would be so difficult?
If I was so eager for pizza, why didn't I just order "real pizza," you might ask? Well. Simply, I try not to make a habit of eating foods that don't make me feel good. And conventional pizza doesn't usually leave me feeling great.
Once I got home with a cauliflower in hand, I was super excited to get started on my pizza. I had a cauliflower pizza crust recipe in front of me and I was ready to roll. Unfortunately, the recipe called for 2 lbs of cauliflower and my small cauliflower only weighed 1 lb. :'-(
It often seems as though everyone from the butcher to the baker to the candlestick maker is telling us to eat more vegetables. So why not start with breakfast?
Pancakes are one of several quintessential breakfast foods. Sadly, conventional pancakes aren't so great for us from a health standpoint. Most pancake recipes are loaded with refined flour, sugar, and poor quality fats. Most are also made with dairy, which isn't great news for the roughly 5 million Canadians who consider themselves to be lactose intolerant, not to mention those with a severe dairy allergy. Clearly, traditional pancake recipes are in serious need of a quality upgrade!
While these won't taste exactly like the pancakes your grandma used to make (part of why I am calling them "flapjacks" instead of the more common "pancakes"), they are reminiscent and have an hearty, flavourful appeal entirely their own.
Over the years, different cultures have adopted different methods of helping to support immune health and stave off the pesky colds and flus that become all the more common as the temperatures dip--as they have already started to do. A popular one amongst Jewish households is "Jewish Penicillin," more commonly known as chicken broth. While I am not Jewish myself, this is one of my favourite food-based immune system supports. One reason for this is that properly-prepared chicken broth doesn't require "a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down." It is so tasty and flavourful that I would happily consume it for gastronomique pleasure alone.
The health-promoting benefits of chicken broth are more than an old wives' tale. According to a 2000 study published in the Journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, researchers found that chicken soup could help reduce upper-respiratory inflammation, which commonly manifests in hateful symptoms, such as runny nose, nasal congestion,...
I don't know about you but, when the weather changes, so do my taste buds. Thanks to the recent hot, humid weather, I have been all about the fresh, zesty flavour of lime.
One of my favourite ways to enjoy this often overlooked citrus fruit is in the form of a deconstructed key lime pie. It's super simple. Blend a few ingredients et voila! A healthy, craving-quenching key lime pie substitute that is actually good for you!
2 medium avocados, peeled and pitted
2 medium limes, juiced
3 Tbsp of pure maple syrup or light-tasting honey, such as clover or wildflower
Unsweetened organic coconut shreds (optional)
Lime zest, organic (optional)
Place the peeled and pitted avocados, lime juice, and sweetener of choice in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Garnish with unsweetened coconut shreds and/or lime zest and serve.
This recipe yields a velvety, pudding-like texture. If you prefer a denser, more pie-like texture, add a coup...