I have been buying granola bars the past year or so to throw into my bag as a quick snack between meals in my busy schedule. The best part of the granola bars is it comes in a wrapper and is fairly indestructible, otherwise it felt like they could be healthier and more satisfying.
I looked at many recipes and decided to try the one from Oh She Glows, as the recipes do work. I made some modifications, adding a little honey makes for a sweeter bar, so here is an easy recipe for nutritious homemade granola bars:
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3 very ripe bananas mashed
8 pitted dates chopped
Honey to taste if more sweetness is desired
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish or pan with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, mash bananas and add dates, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Stir in oats until well combined. Fold in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, nuts and chocolate chips. Pat mixture into baking dish. Use a spatula to smooth out to even thickness.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool and cut into squares or bars. Store in an airtight container or freeze wrapped in desired airtight packaging. Enjoy on the go!
Recently a client gave me a piece of her favourite banana bread. Her absolute favourite recipe after many years of baking. Truly outstanding. She was kind enough to share the recipe and it comes all the way from Australia! I went to try the recipe and had eaten enough wheat in recent times, so I tried making it gluten free. First it was dry, then I forgot xanthan gum and on the third attempt, replacing the walnuts with chocolate chips, it turned out amazing! Here is the recipe, be sure to use mini loaf pans, the smaller volume increases odds of success, as gluten free baking can be finicky. Also check for doneness sooner than you think, as this banana bread goes dry very quickly while baking.
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend (I used millet, chickpea, sorghum, rice, banana and teff flour, more types of flour is better)
1.5-2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In another medium bowl, mash bananas then whisk together with sugar, eggs and melted butter. Fold dry ingredients into the banana mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into 3-4 greased mini loaf pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking for doneness at 15 min. Tops will be cracked, if a fork comes out sticky, the loaves can sit in the oven that is off for a few extra minutes to finish cooking. Enjoy at room temperature and store in an airtight container.
Gluten free is a food trend that seems to be staying with us. Avoiding ‘farinaceous’ foods for weight control has been suggested for many years, dating back to 1825 in the book, Physiology of Taste. I work with lots of people that choose to eat gluten free to improve health issues they experience. However, I love traditional baked goods and I can only consume gluten free foods I really enjoy, since I do not have celiac disease. This leaves me with the job of locating and creating gluten free foods that I can enjoy and share with you here.
I have been aggravated and disappointed on quite a few occasions while adapting a recipe with alternative flours. The biggest issue is a crumbly texture with a recent most frustrating incident of ricotta pancakes falling apart while I flipped them! I had already conveniently added too much sugar, so I pressed the remainder of the batter into my silicon mini muffin mold:
magic silicon mini muffin mold!
The ricotta and coconut flour batter for pancakes was baked into mini cheesecakes. They were tasty in a healthy sort of way and a lot more appealing than a crumbled pancake!
Coconut macaroons usually are a gluten free option. I tried a vegan version that was quite crumbly, barely held together and was very difficult to create any shape with. Again, the silicon muffin mold came to the rescue for a perfectly formed and browned coconut macaroon! The key is the mold is non stick and allows you to press an otherwise slightly crumbly mixture into a pleasing shape that holds together once baked. This tool may help enhance the success of a recipe you may want to adapt into a gluten free version. My recommendation is to try recipes that have less than one cup of flour to start.
Here is an easy recipe for coconut macaroons that are easy to put together and quite delicious:
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2-2/3 cup of sugar
1-2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract or grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk egg, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Add shredded coconut and mix well with your hands. Spoon and press coconut mixture into the silicon mini muffin mold to the top of each cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes or desired brownness. Cool and enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
The meatless and wheatless tag line caught my attention when I walked through the First Canadian Place underground in December. I bought lunch at Kupfert and Kim this week. I ordered the First Canadian which was quinoa with shredded beets, kale, carrots, cabbage, radish, microgreens, tempeh, sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds and maple dressing. I used a serving of hot sauce as well for flavour.
First Canadian at Kupfert and Kim Meatless and Wheatless
The First Canadian with its blend of veggies and quinoa makes for a healthy, satisfying vegetarian lunch. It is a great way to enjoy a variety of veggies for a work day lunch. The dose of veggies is likely to help keep your energy levels up after lunch. The selection of sweets at Kupfert and Kim are good nutritional energy boosters-possible afternoon snacks. The breakfast selections look appealing, as they are breakfasts I would be likely to make and serve to guests myself.
Posted in gluten free, Greens, Healthy food, plant food, Recommendation, Restaurant review, Review, Toronto
Tagged First Canadian Place, gluten free, Kupfert and Kim, meatless and wheatless
This is a recipe I put together yesterday after having sweet potato soup recently suggested to me as a soup idea. Sweet potatoes contain vitamins B, C, D, magnesium, potassium and beta carotene. I looked through a few recipes and came up with this version. The red lentils add an extra nutritional boost as well. I quite enjoyed the thick texture and rich taste of the coconut along with the spices, which have a slight curry flavour.
Sweet Potato Soup
4-5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4-5 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of red lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon creamed coconut (concentrated coconut, available at health food stores) (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 stalk lemongrass
8-10 cilantro stems
salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
In a large pot, saute onion, garlic, apple and sweet potato until softened. Add vegetable stock and red lentils, bring to a boil. Add creamed coconut, cumin and tumeric, stir. Add lemongrass and cilantro stems. Simmer until sweet potatoes are very soft. Remove lemongrass and cilantro stems. Use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to your taste. Enjoy!
I love lobster rolls and lobster tacos. I had a lobster roll this summer in old Montreal by the water at Muvbox http://www.muvbox.ca/en (we were actually out for a run and had to stop for a lobster roll!)
Lobster tacos were always amazing at Bymark http://bymark.mcewangroup.ca/with their slight Asian influenced flavour. Their shrimp version is quite good as well.
Sometimes, I am lucky enough to have lobster cooked for me by my parents. Then, I make lobster sandwiches for our family. The inspiration for lobster tacos came recently when my mom mentioned she couldn’t have a lobster roll while she is not eating bread. Here are the loose recipes for both a lobster roll and a lobster taco. The taco idea can be used as a gluten free substitute for various sandwiches, if the soft corn tortilla is appealing enough for you.
Small dinner rolls ( I like Cobs bread www.cobsbread.com)
cooked lobster, shrimp or crab meat
chopped green onion
Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper
This is a loose recipe for whatever quantity of lobster you have on hand. I would suggest 1 tablespoon of celery, green onion, and mayonnaise for every cup of cooked lobster you have. In a bowl, combine lobster, celery, green onion and mayonnaise. Season mixture with Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste. Spoon into sliced rolls-enjoy!
Chopped, cooked lobster, shrimp, or crab
Hot sauce http://www.vivianlaw.ca/recipe-tanzanian-hot-sauce/
Warm tortilla in a pan. Spread guacamole onto tortilla and top with chopped lobster, cilantro and hot sauce. Enjoy!
After perfecting the spicy mango lime dressing this summer, I worked on a gluten free noodle salad that would include lots of veggies to create more of a meal with the salad. Napa cabbage delivers a light crunch with a milder flavour and the sugar snap peas add a touch of sweetness with their crunchy texture. I quite enjoyed the blend of flavours and textures, and so did my testers.
1 250g package buckwheat and sweet potato noodles (or 250g rice noodles)
8-10 leaves of napa cabbage, chopped finely
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut thinly crosswise
2 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves chopped
1/4 cup-1/2 chopped cilantro
1/2 fresh mango, cut into thin match sticks
Spicy Mango Lime Dressing – http://www.vivianlaw.ca/recipe-spicy-mango-lime-dressing/
Cook noodles according to package instructions, drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large bowl, toss together noodles, cabbage, sugar snap peas with the dressing, mix well. Top with mint, cilantro, and mango, mix again gently. Serve and enjoy at room temperature.
Make this salad a meal by topping it with some lean protein of your choice. Try tofu cubes, shrimp, fish, grilled chicken or pork.