Category Archives: healthy treat

Recipe: Shortcakes for summer

I have loved strawberry shortcake since childhood. There are differing versions, spongecake layers versus biscuit like shortcake. I have taken a liking to the simplicity of the biscuit form of strawberry shortcake as a delicious summer treat that happens to be low in sugar. I feel it is best to make your own whipped cream with organic whipping cream. Here are two recipes I make regularly with ease and great results. The first recipe was first seen in the the Globe and Mail from Lucy Waverman many years ago. The second recipe is gluten free adapted from the Coconut Diet Cookbook.

Simple shortcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling if desired

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, mix well. Add whipping cream and stir together with a spoon just until the mixture resembles a ball of dough.

Shape dough into a ball with your hands and press into a disc on a lightly floured surface, flatten to 1/4 inch thickness.

Use a round cutter of your choice (2-3inches) and cut dough into rounds, placing onto a baking sheet. Gather scraps of dough and cut until finished. Brush with tops of the rounds with the dregs of whipping cream and sprinkle with a touch of sugar if desired.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until tops are golden. Let cool slightly, slice in half and top with whipped cream and strawberries, enjoy!

Makes 4-6 shortcakes depending on the size of cutter you use.

 

 

Coconut Shortcakes (gluten free)

 

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

6 eggs

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

 

Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut oil, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add coconut flour, mix together with a spoon until a batter forms. Pour into muffin tin or silicon baking cups filling just over halfway. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing in half, serving with whipped cream and strawberries.

 

 

 

Recipe: Party Hummus by the Naked Label

Hummus is a snack I like to enjoy occasionally. There are many opinions on what needs to go into hummus to make it great. I posted a highly purist version without tahini a couple years ago. It took me a while to get to this recipe, as I have tested and absorbed so many hummus recipes over the years. I met the creator of this amazing hummus recipe, Briana Santoro by chance in Antigua early this year. She is a nutrition expert who has compiled a great cookbook Get Naked in The Kitchen with nutrition education, healthy recipes  and most importantly the book has my endorsement for great taste! Briana’s video here and others on her site are fun and highly educational:

http://thenakedlabel.com/blog/2014/03/24/best-hummus-recipe/

I watched this video a while ago and finally got around to making the hummus from memory today. It is so delicious I had to write this up right away and call it party hummus! Briana shares some secret ingredients in the video above. This is my version, hopefully I recalled her secret ingredients correctly (watch her video to know for sure) and I’ll add my chickpea and hummus strategies .

I stock only dry beans in my kitchen, as canned beans seem to give me digestive issues, and beans you cook yourself have better taste and texture. Chickpeas can be a bit tricky sometimes to get the right tenderness without losing the skins. Soaking overnight with baking soda really improves the cooking time and texture of chickpeas. In addition, the technique of blending the tahini with lemon juice first makes an extra smooth hummus in my experience.

Party Hummus from theNakedLabel.com

Soak 1 cup of dry chickpeas in a large bowl of water and 1 tsp of baking soda overnight or for 8 hours plus.

Rinse chickpeas, place in a large pot, and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook chickpeas until tender, 20-60 minutes or more, depending on your chickpeas. Rinse chickpeas, set aside.

3 tablespoons tahini

juice of one lemon

juice of one orange

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 cups cooked chickpeas

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 tablespoons tamari

cumin and paprika to taste

salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend together tahini with orange and lemon juice. Add garlic, chickpeas, olive oil and tamari process until smooth. Season with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, process until combined. Adjust seasoning to your taste, enjoy the hummus with crackers, veggies, or anything else you like for yourself or a party!

 

 

Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Cookies (vegan)

In light of declaring love for the Cookie Monster, I must share this new discovery for a vegan oatmeal cookie (Cookie Monster’s second favourite cookie after chocolate chip). These cookies are made with unprocessed, whole foods and are delicious enough to feed the cookie monster inside any one of us. Oats are naturally a gluten free food, but may come into contact with gluten during processing. Purchase gluten free oats (they are more expensive) if you have that degree of sensitivity. I tend to have Bob’s organic rolled oats in my kitchen most of the time.

I ordered the Oh She Glows cookbook on the based on the inspiring appeal of this oatmeal cookie recipe http://ohsheglows.com/2014/01/17/banana-bread-muffin-tops/. I made them right away, repeated the tasty success several times over, so here is my adaptation of the recipe:

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup pitted dates, packed (soak dry dates, and a mixture of medjool and other pitted dates is nice)

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups rolled oats, separated into 1.5 and 0.5 cups

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional, freshly grated is best)

1/4 cup currants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, mix together dates, bananas, and coconut oil to a fairly smooth consistency. Add 1.5 cups of oats, shredded coconut, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pulse until oats are ground. Power off food processor and remove the blade. Stir in remaining 0.5 cups of oats and currants into the bowl of the food processor.  Spoon batter onto a baking sheet and flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake for 12 minutes, remove and rotate tray, bake for 12 more minutes or until the desired level of browning is achieved. Makes 12-16 cookies.

Enjoy fresh or within 2-3 days or freeze for a week in an airtight container.

Enjoy vegan banana oatmeal cookies warm off the baking sheet!

Enjoy vegan banana oatmeal cookies warm off the baking sheet to indulge your cookie monster-

 

Recipe: Coconut Black Rice

Black rice is something I have tasted sporadically over the years in various forms of Asian  fusion cuisine. Earlier this year, I had coconut black rice served with fish in Kauai and then as coconut black rice pudding at Foxley.  Both were delicious and I had to learn how to make it. Black rice contains fiber and antioxidants in addition to its interesting taste and texture. Here is my recipe for coconut black rice, a dessert I have served topped with mango and strawberry to delighted guests. The rice also makes a nice alternative breakfast topped with fruit and nuts. The grated fresh coconut is a nice touch and dry shredded coconut works as well. Omit the sugar and cook for less time if you wish to serve it as more of a savoury side dish.

1 cup black rice, soaked overnight or a few hours in water and rinsed

2 cups water

1 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons of organic sugar

1/4 cup grated fresh coconut or shredded unsweetened coconut

Bring rice, water and coconut milk to a boil in a pot. Remove the lid and simmer on low heat until water is absorbed or rice is desired tenderness, about 45 minutes. Stir periodically, check for doneness, and add more water if necessary. Stir in sugar and coconut before serving. Serve warm, topped with fresh mango and/or strawberries if desired. Enjoy!

 

Making Life Good-Chocolate Finds

Chocolate can be a healthy food with its antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, minerals (potassium, magnesium, zinc) and feel good effects that most people experience. Dark chocolate is a better choice with its higher content of cocoa and lower sugar content. It takes some taste testing to find one that you like, so enjoy the process.

Years ago, I was introduced to Purdys chocolate in Calgary. They have the best freshly dipped icecream bars. They are dipped in chocolate and rolled in fresh nuts right before your eyes-yum! And they are a reasonable portion size. Purdys makes the best ‘turtle’ (chocolate, caramel and pecan) confection, called Sweet Georgia Browns. Just popping in yesterday, I found their new single origin dark chocolate Peru, made with TCHO chocolate (which I came across during a run in San Francisco). In addition, their Goji Berry dark chocolate bar with cocoa nibs is delicious and slightly addictive. Purdys is a proud Canadian business with high quality product and service www.purdys.com

IMG_3276

delicious and healthy choices from Purdys

TCHO chocolate is a nicely packaged, delicious product with innovative business practices for the world of chocolate making from bean to finished product. I discovered their product on a run by their Pier 17 location. I like the Pure Notes ‘chocolatey’ bar and it was a great stocking stuffer with its mini CD like packaging-chocolate music:

My pick of TCHO

Recipe: Fall Fruit Crisp

This is a rather loose recipe to inspire you to make a healthy dessert anytime. I consulted with Chef Melissa Saunders to ascertain the appropriate amount of fruit per person. For example, if making apple crisp, allow for about 1-1.5 apples per person you are making crisp for. Or about 1 cup of fruit per person. I tend to leave the fruit plain to let the natural flavour come out through the cooking process. You can always squeeze a little lemon or add a sprinkle of sugar or honey if desired.

For the crisp topping. I prefer a simple version with just oats, butter, and brown sugar, because it has more crisp. It is also easy to create a gluten free version by using gluten free oats. Oats on their own are gluten free, it is in processing that they may come into contact with gluten. The formula for the crisp topping would be 1/4 cup oats, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar per person. You could use coconut oil instead of butter to make this a vegan recipe.

Crisp Topping

(Serves 4 as an example)

1 cup quick oats

1/4 cup butter at room temperature

1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange sliced fruit in an even layer in a glass baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together oats, butter and brown sugar with your hands until well combined.

Spread over prepared fruit in glass baking dish.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until topping is browned as desired. Enjoy warm on its   own or with a little whipped cream or icecream.

Treat Inspiration: Yogorino’s

I walked by Yogorino’s during my last trip to San Francisco. I had eaten plenty already, but their tagline was ‘the best tasting yogurt in the world’ caught my attention. And there was something about the shop that seemed a little different than the choose your own topping frozen yogurt places that are proliferating everywhere.

I went in and inquired about the claim and the helpful young lady there, Aljarice was happy to give me a sample. The frozen yogurt, which I tasted with no toppings was delicious, with a creamy texture like soft serve icecream. This frozen yogurt was the best I have tasted from a frozen yogurt shop. She told me the difference was 2% organic yogurt and natural sweeteners.

I had a mini sample with a little bit of topping for fun, very tasty and satisfying because of the creaminess of the yogurt.

I was told that the small portion of the frozen yogurt before toppings is 80 calories and a similar amount of sugar to regular sweetened yogurt, but so much more fun to eat! This was such a tasty treat, that I almost forgot that it qualifies as a healthier type of treat. It was like having an icecream with probiotics, lower fat and real fruit toppings. 
Yogorino’s is in San Fran and Philadelphia so far in North America, but is fast growing in Italy where it originates and is branching out through Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. 

Blue Hawaii Acai Cafe

I saw a few spots on Oahu, Hawaii last year that served ‘bowls’ of fruit, non dairy milk and granola that looked interesting, but I did not get around to trying out. I finally tried an acai bowl yesterday at Blue Hawaii in San Francisco. What I ordered was called the Blue Hawaii and it consists of frozen acai pulp blended with organic soy milk, topped with organic granola, sliced banana, strawberries, blueberries and honey. It was a delicious refreshing treat that was satisfying and great to have for some energy just before a run. I imagine it would be good to have after a workout as well. My Blue Hawaii acai bowl was so delicious that it qualifies as a healthy dessert, breakfast or snack in general. The antioxidant boost that the acai and berries provide is a great bonus!

Blue Hawaii Acai Cafe is in Honolulu, San Francisco and Shanghai so far. Look for an acai bowl at a juice bar near you. Otherwise, I will have to try and replicate the recipe myself and post it here.