Lentil Crust Flatbread (Pizza) Recipe

lentil_crust_flatbread_pizza_recipe

This is a delicious way to include lentils in your diet. I mean, who doesn't like pizza?!

Note that if you have picky kids, don't call this pizza. Because while the crust is delicious, it does taste different than regular pizza crust. So, use a different term than "pizza". Such as "flatbreads". This way picky kiddos won't expect pizza and they'll be open to this new dish that's called "flatbread".

Also, note that you need to soak the lentils the night before you plan to make this dish.


Lentil Crust Flatbread (Pizza) - Crust Ingredients

2 cups of soaked red lentils (24hr then pureed)

1/2 cup water

1-3 garlic cloves (as per your taste preference)

1 TBSP dried basil

1 TBSP dried oregano

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 TBSP olive oil


Lentil Crust Flatbread (Pizza) - Toppings

1 can of tomato puree/sauce

1/2 cup of shredded white mozzarella cheese or feta

Vegetables/protein of your choice


Lentil Crust Flatbread (Pizza) - Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse and drain lentils and transfer into the food processor.
  3. Add 3 garlic cloves, dried basil, dried oregano, sea salt, baking powder and ½ cup of water for consistency.
  4. Puree all the ingredients until smooth.
  5. Heat a heavy-bottom frying pan over medium heat. Use ~1 tbsp of olive oil to grease the pre-heated pan and pour in the batter. Smooth the batter out with a spoon, it will look like a mini pancake. Make sure the batter is THIN.
  6. Repeat this step (should make about 8 mini crusts)
  7. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Then, transfer your flatbreads to a baking tray covered with parchment paper.
  8. Add your tomato sauce, cheese and toppings.
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbling and brown.
  10. Enjoy!

Get more recipes on my recipe page HERE.

Photo and recipe credit: Amazing student Hanna Kim (Thanks Hanna!)

Pumpkin Mousse

healthy-pumpkin-mousse-recipe

Love the flavour of pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie? But looking for a healthy way to enjoy it? Look no further. This mousse is seriously delicious.

I admit that I'm lazy so I make it without the crust. And it's still fantastic! I find that the pumpkin mousse tastes best when refrigerated overnight.

This recipe is a great way to include some more veggies (for picky kids and us adults who can use to eat more veggies too). Pumpkin rocks the vitamin A and has good fibre too.

Baby Food Version: Make this recipe without the crust and omit the maple syrup.


Healthy Pumpkin Mousse Ingredients:

1 cup of full fat coconut milk (put in fridge overnight)

1 can of pumpkin puree

1/4 cup of black chia seeds

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

“Bottom crust”

  • 3 dates
  • 1 cup of raw nuts (e.g. walnuts and pecans)
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Healthy Pumpkin Mousse Directions:

  1. In a food processor, mixer or blender, add all the ingredients. Start with low speed and work your way up to high speed.
  2. Once all the coconut chunks are pureed set aside in a bowl.
  3. For the “crust”, mix together dates, raw nuts, cinnamon, oats, and nutmeg in a food processor until the dates have broken down.
  4. Take a spoonful of the “crust” into a parfait cup and add the pumpkin mousse.
  5. Enjoy!

Get more recipes on my recipe page HERE.

Photo and recipe credit: Amazing student Hanna Kim (Thanks Hanna!)

Lentil Coconut Energy Bites

lentil-coconut-energy-bites

Looking for a healthy snack?
Need something kid-friendly?

This recipe is nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and no-sugar-added.
It contains fibre-packed, protein-packed lentils and pumpkin seeds.
Oh, and it's delicious!

They're perfect for packed-lunches for kids. And, as an afternoon snack for us adults too.

Need a finger-food version for your baby? Simply cut them into smaller pieces. Easy.

Enjoy!


Lentil Coconut Energy Bites Ingredients:

  • ½ cup cooked green lentils (or lentils from a can)
  • ½ cup of pureed pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup of dry oats
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 dates
  • ¼ cup of chocolate chips (optional)
  • ¼ cup of coconut flakes unsweetened (to roll in)

Lentil Coconut Energy Bites Steps:

  1. Cook the lentils in a pot with water for ~25-30 minutes on medium heat
  2. In the meantime, puree ½ cup of pumpkin seeds in a food processor until smooth
  3. Add in fresh dates and continue to puree
  4. Once you reach a paste-like consistency, add in dry oats, cinnamon, vanilla extract and cooked lentils.
  5. Transfer into a bowl and add chocolate chips
  6. Roll into small balls (should make about 9-10)
  7. On some parchment paper, sprinkle ¼ cup of coconut flakes and roll in the lentil coconut bites
  8. Enjoy!

Looking for more healthy, kid-friendly snack ideas? Check out our most popular recipe ever - banana lentil muffins

Recipe and photo by Hanna Kim, student (Thanks Hanna!)

Carrot-Top Pesto

carrot-top-pesto

Reducing food waste is the ultimate win-win. It reduces our environmental impact by allowing less to go to waste. And, by using more of what we buy, it saves us money. So, I've been exploring recipes that use ingredients that normally you'd throw away. Today, student Hanna has perfected a pesto recipe made from the green leaves and stems of carrots instead of the commonly-used basil. Voila - carrot-top pesto! Perfect timing before our local carrots start to pop up in farmers' markets and produce stores.  Thanks Hanna! That's Hanna's handiwork with the camera too :)


Carrot-Top Pesto Ingredients

4-5 carrot top leaves

1/2 cup of olive oil

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp toasted pinenuts (or walnuts or macadamias or almonds)

1/4 tsp salt

Dash of pepper


Carrot-Top Pesto Directions

  1. To toast pine nuts: Lay out pine nuts on a baking sheet or aluminum foil for 200C for 5 minutes, watching them so they don't burn. This can also work with a nonstick pan constantly stirring the pine nuts.
  2. In a food processor, combine carrot tops, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Begin to add the olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Enjoy!

Check out more healthy recipes.

P.S. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan.

Banana Lentil Muffins

lentil-banana-muffins

Banana lentil muffins. Yes, you read that right - banana LENTIL muffins. Lentils can be used in baking.

Including lentils in baking is a fantastic way to reduce the amount of refined flour we eat and get more iron, fibre, and protein. Take note parents of picky eater kiddos who don't like most protein or iron-rich foods. Tip: Serve the muffins with a source of vitamin C (such as berries) to maximize absorption of that iron.

We made this recipe for mini muffins, so that they're a good size for little hands (and tummies). Us big kids can choose to eat 2 - 3 of them in the place of a regular-size muffin. Or bake yours in a regular-size muffin tray and adjust the baking time. We didn't test the baking time for regular-size muffins so I don't have a time to give you (sorry). Keep a close eye on them and use the ever-trusty toothpick-in-the-centre test.

Enjoy!


Banana Lentil Muffins Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ripe bananas (or 2 ripe medium bananas)
  • 1 cup red or green lentil puree (1 cup of lentils boiled in water for 40-45 minutes, drained then pureed)
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of oat flour (blended old fashioned oats)
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, avocado, canola or olive)
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of crushed walnuts (optional)

Banana Lentil Muffins Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. In a bowl, combine all wet ingredients (egg, oil, maple syrup, bananas, lentil purée and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, walnuts and chocolate chips).
  4. Stir into the egg mixture until mixed.
  5. Grease the muffin tins with oil.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. ENJOY!

Mint Chocolate Whip (No Added Sugar)

chocolate-mint-whip-no-added-sugar

Mint chocolate is one of my all-time favourite flavours. The beauty of this recipe is that you can satisfy that mint-chocolate craving without any of the added sugar. I know because that's exactly the situation that created this recipe. I was aiming for a smoothie but the result was more of a mousse in texture. A rich, creamy, decadent, intensely minty chocolatey mousse. YUM! Sometimes the best inventions are discovered by accident.

Serves:
1 big serving or 2 smaller servings.


Mint Chocolate Whip Ingredients

  • 3 dates (pits removed)
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • ⅓ cup of coconut milk (with the fat)
  • ½ cup milk or plant-based milk alternative of your choice
  • 2 drops of peppermint oil
  • ⅛ of an avocado (very ripe)

Mint Chocolate Whip Directions

  1. Blend thoroughly and enjoy immediately!

Looking for more healthy recipes featuring mint? Check out this recipe for pistachio-mint smoothies.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

chocolate-chia-pudding

All I can say is chocolate chia pudding ... yum!

Healthy eating is all about eating good fuel for your body AND eating for pleasure. This delicious treat fits both categories. It's chocolatey goodness that's made with chia seeds. Chia seeds are rich in protein, iron and fibre. The result is a gelatinous or pudding-like consistency similar to tapioca pudding. It's also quite low in sugar.

Feel free to play with the recipe. The richest version is made with the canned coconut milk (coconut and chocolate - awesome!). I love orange chocolate and mint chocolate so sometimes I add a drop or two of mint extract or orange blossom water.


Chocolate Chia Pudding Ingredients

3 TBSP           chia seeds

1 cup              milk (dairy, plant-based alternative, canned coconut milk is especially delicious)

1 TBSP           cocoa powder

1.5 tsp             sugar


Chocolate Chia Pudding Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a container with a lid.
  2. Stir well to thoroughly combine.
  3. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow gel to start.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Enjoy!

Healthier Chocolate Nut Spread

chocolate hazelnut spread

You asked for a healthier alternative to the famous (and delicious) chocolate hazelnut spread (you know which one). Today I'm sharing not just one, but 4 alternatives. All are much lower in sugar and have no palm oil. Just in time for back-to-school. I mention back-to-school because you'll not only be looking for packed lunch ideas, but also breakfast ideas for rushed mornings and quick after school snack ideas.

All of these contain nuts or seeds. That's the foundation of this foodstuff afterall. Some preschools and schools are nut and seed-free, some are nut-free (i.e. seeds are okay), and some are peanut-free (i.e. nuts and seeds are okay). Always check with your individual facility to find out exactly what is and what isn't allowed.

An important note, especially if you are introducing these to picky eaters who already are familiar with the famous chocolate hazelnut spread, none of these taste exactly the same. So, don't try to pull a fast one on your little one and swap one for the other. They'll notice the difference - kids have keen observation skills with their food. Call this spread by a different name. This way they will be expecting something different.

A huge THANK YOU to student volunteer Carla for her help with these recipes!

Enjoy!

nutfree chocolate spread

Healthy Nut-Free Chocolate Spread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups toasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ cup canola oil

Directions:

  1. In a pan over medium-high heat, toast the sunflower seeds until light brown and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Using a food processor, process the sunflower seeds until powdery. Scrape the sides.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, icing sugar, milk (optional), and canola oil. Blend until smooth.

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ cup milk (optional)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup canola oil

Directions:

  1. In a pan over medium-high heat, toast the whole hazelnuts with their peels on for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once the whole hazelnuts are cool, rub them in between a kitchen towel to loosen and remove the skin.
chocolate spreads_medmed

Habibi's Chocolate Tahini and Powerplant's Chocolate Sprouted Seed Spread

(Note: In the spirit of being fully transparent, both of these were given to me for free. I did not receive payment to review either. I'm super picky about what foods I'll share with you in my reviews.)

I brought both of these to my co-working space last week so that everyone could try them. Yes, there are perks to having dietitians as friends and co-workers! Both received very positive reviews. Some people preferred one and an equal number preferred the other. Both products have a short ingredient list with only recognizable foods. They're made with nuts or seeds, providing healthy fats (and no palm oil). Each has just a touch of sugar/sweetener. Check each product's websites for a listing of what stores you can find them in.

Powerplant's spread has an intense chocolate taste for you dark chocolate lovers. It has a chunkier texture but smooth mouthfeel. So it's perfect for spreading on a cracker but not on soft bread. It totally screams to be included in your next smoothie.

Habibi's Chocolate Tahini has a milder chocolate taste. A few people found the tahini and chocolate flavours fought eath other. Most of us thought it was delicious (me included). This spread is the more classically kid-friendly of the two.

Looking for more healthy, kid-friendly recipes? Check out my recipe page.

NGC*: Spa Water

Healthy Spa Water with Fruit

I’ve talked previously about how being adequately hydrated is a NGC. But drinking plain water day after day can become boring. A solution is to mix it up – to reignite your interest with flavoured water (a.k.a. spa water). When I mention flavouring water, your mind likely jumps to lemon water. Here are 2 warnings when choosing flavoured waters.

Acid & Tooth Enamel Now don’t get me started on how there is no evidence that lemon water is the miracle cure that it’s touted to be all over the internet. Unfortunately there is a downfall from all the attention that lemon water is getting. The natural acid that’s in citrus fruits (e.g. lemon, lime, orange) can cause weakening of your tooth enamel, especially if you sip on them all day, day after day. Kiwi and pineapple are also quite high in acid. To save your tooth enamel, mix it up. Choose non-citrus options more often and choose citrus options only occasionally.

Hidden Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners The other common downfall to avoid is that many flavoured waters that you can buy contain hidden sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. I’m not against the occasional use of artificial sweeteners, afterall, officially they are approved as safe for use in Canada. However, one of the overarching truths in which I believe when it comes to nutrition is: “food closest to the way nature made them are the healthiest choice”. Artificial sweeteners are far from nature. Therefore, stick with drinks that are close to nature for your day in and day out water consumption.

Spa Water Ideas: Here are some low-acid, low-sugar and artificial sugar-free spa water options. The herbs have the lowest natural acids (i.e. none). The fruits all have a little bit of acid. But don’t focus on what these drinks don’t have, instead focus on what they do have – fantastic flavour! I call them “spa water” – doesn’t that sound luxurious? Feel free to bring out your inner mixologist to create your favourite flavour combinations.

• Mint • Rosemary • Lemon Verbena • Sage • Basil • Cucumber • Watermelon • Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries • Iced green tea • Iced herbal tea • Kombutcha • Concord or coronation grapes

*A Nutrition Game Changer (NGC) is a food or habit that has made a big impact on the nutritional health of clients I’ve worked with. And, in my life too. Some may call these nutrition hacks. But I'm not a fan of that phrase. I share one NGC each month.

5th Annual Homemade Ice Pop Recipes

spinach-kiwi ice pop

It's back, my annual home-made ice pop recipe collection. Some may call these homemade popsicles or paletas. Or, frozen smoothies. Whatever you call them they're a delicious summer treat. I want to give a big shout out to Carla, the dietetic student who is volunteering with me for creating these recipes. My directions for her: the recipes need to be simple, include no added sugar, include fruit and even veggies, and only include easy-to-find ingredients. Oh, and of course, that they needed to be delicious. She sure delivered.

The directions for each recipe are the same:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into molds.
  4. Freeze.

Enjoy her work!

Kristen

P.S. For more delicious, healthy frozen recipes, check out these links:

Spinach Kiwi

Inspired by: http://www.kiipfit.com/spinach-kiwi-popsicles/

Packed with fruit and leafy greens, the vibrant green color of these popsicles comes from blending both kiwi and spinach.

  • 1/3 cup spinach
  • 1  kiwi
  • 2 drops lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water

Mango Lassi

mango lassi ice pop

Inspired by: http://revisfoodography.com/2015/04/mango-lassi/

Inspired from a classic Indian cold drink, mango lassi is a blend of yogurt, fruit and spice. Not a fan of cardamom? Simply omit the spice and you can still enjoy it as a mango-yogurt blend.

  • 1 mango
  • 160 ml greek yogurt
  • 1 small pinch cardamom (to taste)

Cantaloupe

cantaloupe ice pop

This very simple and refreshing recipe allows you to use ripe or extra ripe cantaloupes. No added sugar necessary.

  • ¾ cup cantaloupe
  • ¼ cup water

Get more healthy home-made ice pop recipes here:

5th Annual Healthy Home-Made Popsicles (ice pops, paletas)

4th Annual Healthy Home-Made Popsicles (ice pops, paletas)

2 Favourite, Filling Salads

Full-meal salads are my absolute go-to during the summer months. And, with the growing trend of salads-in-a-jar, I can see that others are catching on. The secret to a perfectly balanced, full-meal salad (that will actually fill you up) is to include whole grains, protein, and healthy fats along with all those veggies. I also like to include a sweet note (such as fresh or dried fruit) and something crunchy for texture. Often foods will do double duty, such as chopped nuts providing protein, healthy fat, and crunch.

Baby- and Kid-Friendly Version: Serve each salad component “deconstructed”, in it’s own little pile. Serve a small dish (ramekin) of the dressing on the side. Or, do a make-your-own salad bar with the ingredients. There is no extra work for baby-friendly, finger-foods – just place pieces on your baby’s tray.

Enjoy!

Protein Food Ideas:

  • Beans and lentils, canned or cooked from dry
  • Edamame
  • Tofu cut into cubes or fingers
  • Grated or cubed cheese
  • Leftover meat and poultry, e.g. shredded chicken, sliced steak
  • Chopped or slivered nuts
  • Seeds, e.g. pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts
  • Hard boiled eggs

Whole Grain Ideas (Starch Foods):

  • Cooked and cooled pasta
  • Buckwheat (soba) noodles
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Farro
  • Pot barley
  • Cooked and cubed sweet potatoes

For inspiration, here are two of my favourite full-meal salads. You’ll notice that there aren’t amounts listed for the salad ingredients – make as much or as little as you want.

Black Bean Salad

black bean salad_medmed

Ingredients

Brown rice

Black beans

Bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)

Corn (cooked from frozen or cut off the cob)

Avocado

Dressing

1 TBSP            Vegetable oil (I particularly like avocado oil)

1 TBSP            White wine vinegar

2 TBSP            Lime juice

1/4 tsp           Ground cumin

1/8 tsp           Cayenne pepper (optional)

Pinch              Salt

Lentil-Farro Salad

lentil farro salad_medmed

Ingredients

Farro, cooked and cooled

Green lentils*, cooked and cooled

Grated carrot

Grated beet

Kale, cut into thin ribbons and massaged with a dash of oil, vinegar and salt

Slivered almonds

Raisins

Dressing

1 TBSP            Good, extra virgin olive oil

3 TBSP            Balsamic vinegar

Fresh cracked pepper

Pinch              Salt

* Do you have difficulty digesting beans? Give lentils a try, they’re less “musical”, and check out my tips for making beans and lentils less gassy.

Carrot Salad

carrot salad

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the classics. Carrot salad is perfect for this time of year - when we're tired of eating Winter fare but we're still waiting for Spring and Summer's local bounty.

Naturally sweet, this is a salad that many non-salad eating picky kids will actually eat.

It's also a very forgiving recipe - make more or less salad as you wish. Reduce the honey if you find it too sweet, or reduce the amount of dressing if you prefer your salads lightly dressed. Enjoy!

Carrot Salad Ingredients

3 cup grated carrot

1 cup raisin, seedless (sultana)

1 tbsp honey (wait to offer babies honey until after 12 months)

6 tbsp mayonnaise (plain yogurt works well too)

1 tsp lemon juice (fresh is best)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

Carrot Salad Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine grated carrots and raisins, tossing lightly.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour mixture over carrots and raisins. Stir carefully until well combined.
  4. Chill thoroughly before serving.
  5. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Version (for kids who don't like their foods to touch) :

  • Set aside some grated raw carrot and raisins. Serve in their own small piles on the plate.
  • Set aside a small amount of the dressing in a small dish.

Get more healthy, easy, tasty recipes here.

2 Easy Matcha Desserts

First, I want to let you know that I am not a baker. Second, I love sweets. So, you know that if I'm sharing a dessert recipe it’s going to be delicious and super easy. The two recipes that I’m sharing today certainly fit this bill. With very few ingredients and steps, they really couldn’t get any easier. They also are healthy choices. And, they’re green – perfect ideas for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day next week. If you’re looking for more green ideas, check out the two green smoothies that I shared for last year’s St. Patty’s Day. I was inspired by a local Matcha café that I’ve been visiting lately. I saw that they had “cooking grade” matcha and decided to give it a try. I added it to two (simple) dessert ideas that I enjoy all the time. And they were really successful. Voila - matcha desserts. Enjoy! P.S. You can find matcha powder in many specialty tea shops or grocery stores with good Japanese food sections.

Matcha Banana ‘Ice Cream’

Matcha banana ice cream

You’ve got to love a recipe with only 2 ingredients! Prepare 1 banana per person. The ½ teaspoon gives a definite matcha taste to the ice cream. If you have a picky eater, you may want to decrease it to 1/4 teaspoon so there’s basically no matcha taste, just some green colour.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (frozen)
  • ½ teaspoon matcha powder

Directions

  1. Take the banana out of the freezer 20-30 minutes before you plan to prepare the ice cream.
  2. Break banana into several pieces and place in the blender.
  3. Add the matcha powder.
  4. Blend until smooth. I use the “ice crush” setting on my blender.
  5. Enjoy!

Matcha-Coconut Chia Pudding

matcha desserts - matcha chia pudding

Serves 4

Feel free to reduce the sugar to zero in this recipe. I enjoyed the balance at 1 teaspoon. Choose a regular fat (i.e. not low-fat), canned coconut milk to get the creamy texture and rounded flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl or Tupperware container, mix together matcha and sugar.
  2. Add the chia seeds and coconut milk.
  3. Stir to combine well.
  4. Let sit on the counter for about 10 minutes to allow mixture to start to gel.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. Enjoy!

Check out more recipes here.

Peanut Banana Chocolate Ganache Bites

Decadent peanut banana chocolate ganache bites plate

YAY! It's my annual chocolate recipe. Perfectly timed for Valentine's Day.

If you're new to following me you might wonder why a dietitian is sharing a chocolate recipe. Quite simply, because food is more than just fuel for our bodies. Food feeds our minds and soul too. Denying ourselves the pleasure of food isn't healthy.

This recipe is super simple to make. And WOW is it decadent. Like the middle of a truffle without that pesky shell. I first made experimented by making this in regular-sized muffin tins and it was simply too much (and believe you me, it takes a lot of rich chocolate to make me come to that conclusion!). Mini muffin tins make the perfect size. Just like those 2 bite brownies, but healthier for you and more decadently delicious.

These really are for dark chocolate lovers. So they may be more of an adult treat. But you never know. Make them with your kids and see what their verdict is.

The inspiration for this recipe was from chocolatecoveredkatie.com

If you follow these lifestyles, you'll be happy to know that these heavenly bites are vegan, paleo, gluten-free and have no added sugar.

You can easily make them peanut-free by omitting the peanuts. Go completely nut-free (note: they do contain coconut) or substitute pistachios, chopped almond, or hazelnuts for the topping.

Peanut Banana Chocolate Ganache Bites Ingredients

  • 4 TBSP coconut butter (Note: This isn't the same as coconut oil. Also, if your jar of coconut butter has separated, scrape off the oil and use the lower level - the coconut butter)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 3 small pinches salt
  • 4 TBSP unsalted peanuts

Peanut Banana Chocolate Ganache Bites Directions

This recipe happens really quickly so you'll want to prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking.

  1. On a small plate, mash the banana really well.
  2. Chop peanuts.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut butter, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the mashed banana. Stir constantly until completely combined.
  5. Lower heat. Add cocoa powder and 1 pinch of salt. Mix well and remove from the heat.
  6. Moving quickly, spoon into a mini muffin tin. Be careful, the mixture is very hot.
  7. Top with chopped peanuts and sprinkle with salt.
  8. Freeze for 1 hour.
  9. Enjoy!

Note: The ganache bites are at the absolute perfect texture when eaten after freezing for 1 hour. If you make them ahead of time and freeze for longer, remove them from the freezer and warm them to room temperature for at least 30 minutes (otherwise they'll be rock hard).

Check out these other healthy chocolate recipes:

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Nut Spread

Mint Chocolate Whip

Roasted Chickpeas - 4 Ways

roasted-chickpeas-4-ways

It's official - 2016 is the year of the pulse! Pulses, such as chickpeas, are high in vegan-source protein, high in fibre, low-glyemic carbs, and contain lot of other nutrients. Did you know that we grow lots of them in Canada? Roasted chickpeas are a delicious way to eat more pulses. My friend Margie Barnard, a fantastic cook (we're talking Four Seasons Hotel), and I developed these recipes. We each had our favourites, so I’m sharing all four. The steps are the same for all of them.

Whole chickpeas are a choking hazard for little ones, so this is a good snack idea for kids 3 years and up (and us kids at heart).

Roasted Chickpeas Directions

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  2. Pat dry the chickpeas until well dried (otherwise they’ll be mushy).
  3. Combine all the other ingredients in a medium-size bowl.
  4. Toss the chickpeas into the mixture. Coating the chickpeas well.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread the coated chickpeas onto the parchment paper-lined sheet.
  6. We played around with the oven temperatures while they were cooking so I’m afraid that I don’t have exact temperatures and times for you. We started at 400 degrees for the first while, then stirred the chickpeas and reduced the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Keep a close eye on them while they bake. You’re looking for them to turn a golden brown colour. And, when you taste them, they have a crunchy shell and are soft in the middle. The recipes containing honey turned the darkest colour, the fastest.
  7. Allow to cool, then ENJOY!

Savoury Roasted Chickpeas

15oz can chickpeas

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

Garam Masala Roasted Chickpeas

15oz can chickpeas

1 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp olive oil

Honey Roasted Chickpeas

15oz can chickpeas

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Sweet & Salty Roasted Chickpeas

15oz can chickpeas

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp canola oil

1/4 tsp salt

See more healthy, delicious recipes.

Squash Soup with Orange and Ginger

squash-soup-carrot-orange-ginger

This squash soup, with its bright orange colour and warming ginger is my “chicken” soup that I eat when I have a cold or the flu. Or when I’m looking for comfort food to warm me on a cold day.

This is a “Kristen” recipe – very imprecise but also very flexible. It takes some time with all the chopping. I recommend making a big batch because it freezes well.

Squash Soup Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil (preferably olive oil)
  • Member of the allium family (onion, garlic, leek, shallots)
  • Ginger (I like about an inch)
  • 2 or 3 kinds of orange vegetables like winter squash (my favourite is butternut but any kind will work including pumpkin), carrots, yams, sweet potatoes
  • Vegetable stock, chicken stock or water (water will make the blandest soup – use as a last resort)
  • Orange juice
  • Salt or seaweed
  • Fresh ground pepper

Squash Soup Directions

  1. Finely chop the members of the allium family.
  2. Grate the ginger.
  3. Peel and chop the orange veggies. Cut squash, yams, and sweet potatoes into ½ to 1 inch pieces. Cut the carrots into coins. Carrots take longer to cook than squash and yams/ sweet potatoes are in the middle. So, you will want the carrot pieces smaller than the squash pieces and the yam/ sweet potato pieces middle in size.
  4. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Heat it over low-medium heat. Add the allium family members and cook until onions/ shallots are translucent or the leeks have softened.
  5. Add the ginger and orange vegetables and sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add enough stock to just cover the veggies. Add seaweed or salt. Cover with a lid, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently until the orange veggies are soft, stirring periodically. Add stock/ water while cooking, if needed.
  7. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  8. Using a blender or hand-held mixer, puree the soup, adding orange juice one splash at a time until you reach your desired consistency and flavour.
  9. Return to the pot and re-heat. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper.
  10. Enjoy!

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J-K Spaghetti Sauce

J-K spaghetti sauce

I’ve even had Italian guys say that this is the best spaghetti sauce that they’ve ever had (but don’t tell their Moms). It’s my adaptation of my Mom’s recipe. This sauce is one of my comfort foods. I smell it cooking and I'm transported to my childhood home. A thick sauce is great for spaghetti. For lasagna, thin the sauce with some water. While it does take a longer cooking time, it makes a big batch. And, the taste improves with time. So put some in the freezer in single-meal size containers for quick dinners on busy weeknights.

Finger-Food Version: Choose short pasta (e.g. penne) or cut long noodles into more easily-managed pieces.

Deconstructed Version: Serve plain noodles with the sauce on the side. Serve some familiar raw veggies and/or fruit with the meal.

 Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients

2 TBSP                      olive oil

1 pound                     ground bison (or extra-lean beef)

1                                onion, chopped

2 cloves                    garlic, minced

1                                chili pepper (e.g. jalapeño)

3 cups                      chopped vegetables (e.g. green or red peppers, mushrooms)

1 can (796mL)         diced tomatoes

1 can (156mL)         tomato paste

1/3 cup                     red wine

1 tsp                         sugar

2                              bay leaves

1 TBSP                   dried oregano

2 TBSP                   dried parsley

salt & pepper

Spaghetti Sauce Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot with a heavy bottom, over low-medium heat, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion. Cook the onion, stirring, until translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic, chili pepper, and bison. Increase the heat to medium. Sauté until the bison is just turning brown, stirring frequently and breaking up any large pieces of meat.
  3. Add the vegetables and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring.
  4. Add both cans of tomatoes, wine, sugar, dried herbs, salt & pepper.
  5. Cook the sauce, uncovered, for several hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook the sauce, the better the flavour.
  6. Enjoy!

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