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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Category Archives: healthy

The summer continues to fly by and I can’t believe we’re past the middle of August already!  I have been doing tons of cooking and baking, but obviously not a lot of blogging!  I’m going to try and get some of my new creations written down over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

Canadian Living Magazine has been busting out some awesome editions lately and this month included a little bonus mag called “Just for Moms” which highlighted some back to school lunchbox recipes.  One recipe for Chewy Quinoa Bars caught my eye because of an ingredient I haven’t tried yet: quinoa flakes!  I found some at Bulk Barn – they aren’t exactly cheap (over $6 for 350g, but it seems like there are many applications for these fluffy things!)  I fooled around with the recipe and came up with something I knew I would like.  A lot.  These have been a big hit at our place and around the office; they are quite filling too!

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Chewy Chocolate Quinoa Bars (adapted from Canadian Living Recipe, Fall 2013)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa  IMG_0690

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup tahini

1/3 cup liquid honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 1/2 cups large flaked rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (in Red Deer, buy at Pure Earth Organics)

1 cup quinoa flakes

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1/2 cup pepitas

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 13×9″ cake pan with baking paper and coat with non-stick spray.

Toast the quinoa (not the flakes!!) in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, for about 8-10 minutes or until fragrant.  Set aside to cool.

While the toasting is going on, combine the corn syrup, tahini, honey and oil in a medium sauce pan, stirring often until smooth and combined.

In a large bowl, combine the toasted quinoa and quinoa flakes, coconut, pepitas and chia seeds.  Pour in the liquid mixture and stir to combine; at this point add about half of the chocolate chips and stir until melted.  Press the mixture into your prepared cake pan (isn’t it nice being prepared?)  Chuck into the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on the top, pressing in slightly.  Let cool completely and then shove into the fridge for about half an hour before cutting into bars.

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Finally it feels like summer time and that means backyard bevvies and patio noshing!  This weekend I took advantage of the great deals on strawberries and whipped up a batch of strawberry salsa – I usually just “wing it” and make up the recipe as I go, but this time, I decided to record as I went so I can share with you!

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Strawberry Salsa

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped small IMG_0683

1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 – 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

zest & juice of one large lime

2 tbsp agave nectar

2 tbsp each finely chopped fresh mint & finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp finely chopped red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

dash/crank of sea salt

Method: IMG_0685

Preparation is pretty easy.  Chop all of your fresh stuff, add the rest and stir to combine – how easy is that?  I let it stand at room temp for about an hour to let all of the flavours mesh together.   Serve with your fave chips and margaritas!!

 

 

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Today I got up early and made a batch of my yummy Banana Chocolate Chunk Quinoa cookies and a big batch of a seed filled granola that would make any bird’s feathers fly!  This granola is full of pepitas, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and even tiny little poppy seeds!  I chucked in some shaved coconut and sliced almonds too, this is so good – sprinkle it into yogurt, top muffins with a sprinkle of it before baking, or add it to your oatmeal for a bit of crunch.  This was inspired by a recipe in the latest Bon Appetit magazine.

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“Seedy” Granola

Ingredients:

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup agave syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 cups rolled oats

2 cups coconut shavings

1 cup each pepitas and sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tbsp each poppy seeds and  flax seeds

Method:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly coat with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the egg with the syrup, coconut oil, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.  IMG_0468

Add all of the other ingredients and stir to coat evenly.  Spread onto the cookie sheet and chuck into the oven.  Bake for about an hour or so, stirring every 15 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown (this doesn’t really happen till the last 20 minutes or so!)

When all nice and golden, let cool completely before storing in an airtight container – it will stay nice and fresh for a couple of weeks.

 

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Today I’m on a little work retreat and decided to make some treats for the gang.  I have been craving bran muffins and was attracted to the recipe for Raisin Bran Muffins in my fave cook book, yep you guessed it: Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood.  But my dilemma: I didn’t have any quinoa flour and it was 11pm when I started baking… hmmmm.  I googled a bit and found that I could actually ground my regular quinoa in the food processor and make my own flour!  The only thing was that I was doing this late at night and didn’t want to wake a child or a husband so I will admit it could have been ground a wee bit finer.  But the muffins turned out pretty good and people commented that they enjoyed the crunchiness of the whole quinoa seeds that seemed to float to the top!

The other main ingredient switch-up that occurred was that I accidentally poured almond milk rather than regular milk that I was going to turn into “sour milk” – has anyone ever attempted to make sour milk with almond?  One other change: I hate raisins, so opted for trail mix!

Trail Mix Bran Muffins
Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fancy molasses
2 large eggs
1 cup almond milk
1 1/2 wheat bran
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup fruit & nut mix, chopped

Method:
Preheat oven to 425degrees and spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray.  Combine sugar & oil in a large bowl and mix until smooth.  Beat in molasses and eggs.

Stir in almond milk and bran – set aside.

In another bowl, mix all of the remaining dry ingredients and then gently fold into the bowl with the wet ingredients.  Don’t overmix!!

Bake for about 14 minutes.  Let cool in pans for about 5 minutes before removing and let cool completely on racks.

Is anyone ever really ready for Christmas??  It comes so fast and is over so quick and then I think to myself – crap I forgot to make this or that!  This year has been really busy for our family plus sick kid and husband equals not that much time in the kitchen for doing the things I need to do!  Last night I whipped up the most delicious little recipe that came inside a little insert “50 Edible Gifts” from this month’s Food Network Magazine.  Get this: another way to use almond butter!!  OMG I love it – super fast and easy and looks hella impressive too!  I think this one would be a fave among your heath-nut type pals b/c they are not too sweet and really minus the sugar are a fairly healthy little choice!

Coconut-Almond Truffles
Ingredients:
3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut + more for rolling
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

Method:
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.  Combine all ingredients in a ball, working into a dough – it takes some time, but eventually comes together.

Using a 1 tbsp measuring spoon, portion out the dough. 

Using your hands, roll the portions together (use a good amount of pressure too) then roll in the extra coconut.

Lay out on your prepared cookie sheet and chuck in the freezer overnight.  Looks fancy! Was easy!!

Does your husband ever get on a crazy kick and buy weird food items that no one will ever eat?  Mine bought almond butter and I’ve got to tell you – I’m not a fan of it.  I thought it would be delightful on apples slices, but no.  So rather than have the jar go to waste, I started seaching around for ways to use it up.  Almond butter cookies seemed like a natural way to go, so here’s what I came up with:

Almond Butter Cookies
Ingredients:
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp hemp seed oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup coarse chopped almonds

Method:
Preheat oven to 350degrees.  Combine almond butter, syrup, oil & vanilla in a large bowl.  Add the flour, soda and salt and stir.  Add the chopped nuts and mix well.  On cookie sheets lined with baking paper, drop dough in medium sized balls*, then flatten with the tines of a fork.  Bake in centre of oven for 10 minutes.  Let cool on a rack completely.

*these cookies are not too sweet, so if you want, you could roll the balls in sugar in the raw first – I am totally going to do that next time!  For the record, these cookies got a great reviews at the office, but I think it’s b/c I really talked up the super-low-fat/only natural sugar angle.  Also, the reason I chose hemp seed oil was because I could imagine the nuttiness of the oil enhancing the flavour of the almonds and it totally did!  Anyways – other ways to jazz these up could be with some dark chocolate chips maybe???  If you fool around with the recipe and come up with a winner, let me know!!

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