Category Archives: Healthy snack

Recipe: Banana Chia Pudding

This summer my good friend K offered me a chia pudding cup. I never got around to eating it, so I asked her what it was made with and she said banana. The next time I came across some ripe bananas, I figured I would make my own banana chia pudding. I had full fat coconut milk on hand, so I mashed the banana, added coconut milk and Coconut Dream to make my chia pudding. I swirled in some strawberry jam as sweetener and found a tasty snack, or breakfast or alternative to yogurt. Chia seeds also have the added benefit of aiding digestion by moving through the intestines. I prefer whole chia seeds. However, this week, I showed a client how to make this pudding and found she had only ground chia seeds, so we made pudding with just banana and added coconut water as liquid with a touch of cinnamon plus maple syrup to sweeten. Quite pleasant tasting…

I am not going to include a photo of either forms of pudding as they actually look a bit like barf. Think of chia pudding as an alternative to yogurt or a tasty medicinal digestive aid, so give it a try. This is so easy to make that I will suggest you create your own recipe to suit your tastes:

3 tablespoons whole white chia seeds

1/2-1 whole mashed ripe banana

1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)-optional

1/4-1/2 cup non dairy milk of your choice or juice or coconut water

Mash banana in a medium bowl, stir in chia seeds, add liquid to create a pudding like consistency. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight, When ready to serve, stir again and add more liquid for desired consistency. Sweeten with jam, maple syrup or honey. Top with granola, nuts or fruit and enjoy,

A Taste of Morocco: Orange, date and mint

On a recent trip to Morocco, I noticed that there was an abundance of oranges. Seville orange trees, fantastic fresh orange juice at breakfast, and offerings of sliced orange topped with cinnamon as a dessert option (which I did not order, as pastries beckoned). Dates were also widely available in many varieties. Mint tea was a beverage of choice for refreshment of the palate and to aid digestion. Orange, date and mint, tastes of Morocco.

Looking through recipes when I came home, one that immediately appealed to me was a date and orange salad in Plenty More, and of course it was almost featured in an episode on Morocco. I made my own version of the salad with sugar snap peas, orange, dates and mint, which was tasty, but I felt I would prefer the orange, date and mint on its own…possibly as a healthy dessert

I really enjoyed the pure flavour combination of fresh orange, chopped dates, fresh mint and a dash of cinnamon as a refreshingly delicious dessert. Here are the preparation guidelines for a single serving (multiply as needed for additional servings)

One orange

1-2 dates, chopped

5-6 fresh mint leaves

dash of cinnamon

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Slice the top and bottom off the orange, then remove the skin following the curve of the orange. Slice orange across the segments and arrange on a plate. Top with chopped dates, sprinkle cinnamon to taste, then top with chopped fresh mint, and enjoy.

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Recipe: Chia Pudding

I have tried a few chia pudding recipes and found them to be lacking in the taste department and wondered how the name pudding could be applied to the recipes. While in London, my great friend K bought me a coconut chia pudding from Le Pain Quotidien despite my reluctance. This pudding was delicious!! We looked up the recipe and I tested it as soon as I returned home. There are only 2 ingredients to work with to your liking, canned coconut milk and chia seeds. Coconut milk contains healthy medium chain fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are found in chia seeds. In addition, this pudding feels like a dessert without any added sugar.

For one serving (use a ratio of 1 part chia seeds to 4 parts coconut milk to make your desired quantity)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

4-5 tablespoons canned coconut milk (full fat tastes best)

In a small bowl, stir together chia seeds and coconut milk. Refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour. Stir, add water if needed, for desired consistency. Top with chopped strawberries, shredded coconut, fruit of your choice, or passion fruit butter for an ultimate rich taste. Enjoy for breakfast, as a snack or dessert.

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Recipe: Banana Coconut Bread (gluten free)

Banana bread is a food that some little people in my life really love to eat. I’ve tried many different recipes and this one is a current favourite. This banana coconut bread is really easy to prepare, delivers great banana flavour, and the extra nutrition of coconut flour (fibre, iron, healthy fat).

3-4 very ripe bananas

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

3 large eggs

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mash banana until fairly smooth in consistency. Whisk in coconut oil, honey, eggs and vanilla. Mix in coconut flour, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon. Stir until well combined, mixture will be thick. Pat batter into mini silicone loaf pans (consistency is best with mini loaf pans). Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the slightly brown around the edges. Slice and enjoy warm or store in a airtight container, refrigerated for up to 3 days.

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Pineapple Avocado Salsa

This is a recipe I came across years ago in Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine and have adapted to add a bit more zip. This tasty salsa is great with corn chips, as a condiment for grilled pork, chicken, shrimp or rice. The avocado is a healthy fat and the pineapple contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties.

1 ripe avocado, mashed

1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple

1 green onion chopped

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper (optional)

salt to taste

In a medium bowl, scoop out avocado and mash until it is a smooth consistency. Season avocado with salt to taste. Stir in pineapple and green onion evenly. Stir in cilantro and jalapeno. Enjoy!

 

Coconut: A Healthy Food to Try

 I found a fresh coconut in the grocery store today and I bought it immediately, even though I was clueless as to how to crack into it to extract the flesh. And, I do not happen to own a machete. I did find this video, courtesy of Gourmet which offers great instruction:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2UyVEm4Osg

I had to have the coconut today, because I was fortunate enough to buy some (pre-prepared) from a roadside fruit stand recently on the North Shore of Oahu, close to the Fumis shrimp truck. I really enjoy the mild taste and crunchy texture of fresh coconut. Fresh coconut is the ultimate anytime, anywhere snack, with beachside being my favourite location.

Fresh coconut is also a great source of energy in form of easy to digest medium chain fatty acids. The lauric and capryllic acid in coconut has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. The saturated fat found in coconut is plant based and therefore chemically different, with different properties than saturated fat found in animal fat. I consider coconut oil to be a healthy fat, with its numerous health boosting properties. Enjoy the tropical taste of fresh coconut wherever you can.

Recipe: Guacamole

Avocados are a healthy super food with their high monounsaturated (healthy) fat content, fiber content, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin C, copper, and lutein for the prevention of macular degeneration. My favourite way to have avocado is in guacamole. Here is my take on guacamole, everyone has their own, so make it your own with your own additions. I use shallot as a cross between onion and garlic. I feel cilantro and jalapeno are required for zip and spice.

2 ripe avocados

Lime juice to taste (1/2 lime)

1 plum tomato finely chopped

1 shallot finely chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, scoop out avocado, mash with a spoon and mix in lime juice. Add tomato, shallot, jalapeno and cilantro, mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the avocado seed in the guacamole if you are not serving it immediately to help prevent browning. Enjoy with tortilla chips, crackers or with tacos.

 

Appetizer: Salami with Figs

Whenever, I can get my hands on fresh figs, one of my favourite ways to eat them is as an appetizer or snack with salami. Sounds strange, but I find it a pretty delicious pairing of flavours. What place does salami have in a healthy diet? For me, the place is pure enjoyment of its taste. Yes, the nitrates and sodium are not so great for you…enjoying food in moderation is winning here for me.

Pork fat is still of the moment in the foodie world-bacon donuts anyone? I actually ate a bacon apple fritter in April and I cannot say I loved that. Slices of pure lardo are served at Buca, it is delicious and simply melts in your mouth as you feel and taste it. The health claim of pork fat is its composition of 45% monounsaturated fat. Another concept to consider is historically, animal fat has been used for cooking and people were much slimmer in comparison to today. One could also argue that animal fat is less processed than many of the oil products we eat today.

Salami is definitely something to be enjoyed in moderation. Try pairing fresh figs with salami or proscuitto (a more traditional pairing). This is a snack that packs a lot of flavour per calorie…

 

Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Dip

This recipe is inspired by a great dip that Chef Melissa Saunders has made a few times. Her version changed my mind about black bean dip, as I’m not the biggest fan of black bean dip. Her dip was so tasty that I became open to making black bean dip myself sometime. I used this dip for raw veggies and even more fun, a black bean and cheese quesadilla made with corn tortillas.

2 cups or 1 can of black beans

1 clove of garlic, slivered

1/2 jalapeno pepper minced (remove seeds if you prefer a milder dip)

Juice of 1-2 limes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse black beans, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, and jalapeno on high until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add cilantro and pulse again until well blended. Enjoy with fresh veggies, chips or in a quesadilla.

 

Recipe: Healthy Granola

Granola is a food that most of us enjoy for the taste and texture, but consider to be a food that is too high in calories to enjoy regularly. However, the source of the ‘high calories’ is very important to consider. This recipe is wheat free and contains various sources of fibre and healthy fats that we could all use in our diet. The soluble fibre in the oats can help lower blood cholesterol. The pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds provide healthy fats and vitamin E in addition to fibre. The coconut oil provides flavour and medium chain fatty acids, which help your cells absorb nutrients amongst other benefits.  I like to have granola for breakfast with non dairy milk, such as Coconut Dream, and fresh berries. I find it to be a great source of steady energy that tastes great at the same time. Many friends that have tried this granola just love to eat it out of hand as a quick snack.

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup oat bran

1/4 cup whole chia seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1tsp ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup or combination

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut, ground flaxseed, oat bran,  chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. In a small sauce pan, melt together honey and/or maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Pour liquid honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss to coat evenly. Spread mixture evenly on shallow rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 min, remove from oven, use a spatula to stir the mixture to ensure even browning. Bake a another 15-20 minutes until granola is crunchy and browned to your desired level.  Add 1/2 cup of your favourite dried fruits after the granola cools, if desired. Store in an airtight container. Try a 1/3-3/4 cup serving size to see what amount fits your energy needs.