healthy snacks

Coconut and Cinnamon Granola

Coconut & Cinnamon Granola Fetaure Image

I've been on a granola kick lately. It's my current go-to treat, except it's not filled with crap and it keeps my blood sugar stable. It's also gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free. Of course you can add nuts if you'd like, but I omit them since I am sensitive to them. Coconut & Cinnamon Granola

This recipe in particular is one of my favorites. Coconut and cinnamon make a great combination and are both anti-inflammatory. I personally leave out the sweetener and it tastes just as delicious. Try it out with and without sweetener and let me know what you think. Enjoy this granola for breakfast with non-dairy milk, as a snack, or for dessert.

Ingredients

2 cups coconut flakes (not shredded)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tablespoon natural sweetener (coconut nectar, raw honey, grade B maple syrup), optional

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, optional

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to coat evenly.
  3. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until beginning to brown.
  4. Let cool for 15 minutes and store in air-tight container.

Makes ~4 cups

Spicy Chai

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I recently learned that the word 'chai' means 'tea' in India and other parts of the world. I realized how little I knew about the beverage and what it did for me so I did some research. Here's a brief description: Chai is a drink that contains black tea, a combination of spices, milk, and a sweetener. The spices vary depending on the region, but they all make up a warming and nourishing beverage. Chai is great for digestive health, supports the immune system, and boosts mood. It is full of antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory (if made with dairy-free milk).

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I've been making this chai on a weekly basis lately and I'm excited to share the recipe with you. This is a bit different from a chai latte since it doesn't contain steamed milk, but it's still just as delicious and has way less sugar than the concentrates that we find at stores and coffee shops. Enjoy it hot or cold.

Ingredients

4 cups water

1-inch piece of ginger root, sliced

2 cinnamon sticks

6 cardamom pods

5 peppercorns

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 Tablespoons loose leaf black tea (or 3 tea bags)

½ cup milk, unsweetened (almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk)

½ Tablespoon coconut sugar

Procedure

  1. Grind spices cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and fennel seeds in spice grinder or mortar and pestle (make your own with a bowl and a rock or back of a spoon).

  2. Place water, all spices, and ginger root in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Add tea and let steep for 5-6 minutes. Remove tea.

  3. Add milk and sweetener and mix. Strain and serve.

Makes ~4 cups

 

Homemade Dark Chocolate

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These chocolates are the perfect treat to have at home to avoid the white stuff (refined sugar). They're delicious and ridiculously easy to make. The chocolate base is 3 ingredients, that's it! Then you can add your flavorings and toppings of choice. If you like very dark chocolate, omit the sweetener and just use spices to sweeten. My favorite are turmeric and maca powders.

IngredientsIMG_0190

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2-1 Tablespoon coconut sugar or raw honey

Optional Flavorings and Toppings

Vanilla extract

Turmeric

Cinnamon

Ginger

Maca powder

Mesquite powder

Sea salt

Cacao nibs

Raw nuts and seeds

Shredded coconut

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. If adding flavorings, add them now.
  2. Place mixture in chocolate molds or in a small dish lined with parchment paper. Top with desired toppings and place in freezer until firm (about 20 minutes).
  3. Remove from mold or dish. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Serves 4

 

Green Superfood Granola

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This granola is one of my favorite treats. It is grain-free, gluten-free, low in natural sweetener, high in healthy fats, and packed with energy boosting ingredients. It won't give you that sugar crash other granolas and cereals may give you due to their high amounts of refined sugars and oils. I sweetened this green granola with coconut sugar, which has a low glycemic index and won't spike your blood sugar. So what makes it green? Spirulina powder (Click the link to see the brand I buy). Spirulina is a nutrient-dense superfood that has great health benefits and is a great supplement to a healthy diet. Spirulina has a strong and overpowering taste, but just a little bit provides great nutrition. The taste can be masked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (add it to your smoothies and you won't even know it's there). Check out my Superfood Ice Popsicle recipe for another nourishing spirulina treat.

Aside from spirulina powder, I also used maca root powder and mesquite powder in this recipe. These are two other 'superfoods' that contain lots of health supporting nutrients even if using small amounts. Both maca and mesquite powders have a nutty, sweet taste to them. I often use them in recipes to add sweetness without having to add an actual sweetener.

This green granola has the perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness to take care of that sweet craving, but also provides a nutrition punch. I crave it all the time but only let myself make it every so often because it's so addicting. Even though it's addicting, it's still good for you compared to store bought granolas. You can enjoy it sprinkled on yogurt, chia pudding, or in a smoothie. Eat it dry as an afternoon snack, or pair it with almond or coconut milk to make a delicious healthy cereal.

 

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Ingredients

2 cups coconut flakes

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons spirulina powder (I used 2 tsps)

2 teaspoons maca powder (optional)*

1 Tablespoon mesquite powder (optional)*

1/2 - 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar (I used 1/2 Tbsp)

pinch of sea salt

*maca and mesquite powders are optional, but since they add sweetness to the recipe, you might want to increase the coconut sugar a bit if you omit them.

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 225 F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in a sealed container.

Makes ~3 cups

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

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It's about that time. Pumpkin everything! Although I prefer starting my day off with greens, today I decided to switch up my green smoothie for a non-green but still nutrient dense smoothie. Pumpkin spice came to mind. And it was perfect.

Pumpkins are not only delicious and great to bake/cook with, but they also provide good nutrition. They are high in fiber, high in antioxidants, and low in calories which provide health benefits such as: aid weight loss, support immunity, support vision health, and reduce risk of cardiovascular and heart disease.

Here is my version of a pumpkin spice smoothie. Protein is optional, but it is great for stabilizing blood sugar and keeping you full longer.

Ingredients

1 heaping scoop of protein powder (I used brown rice protein powder, unflavored)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened, homemade or canned)

2 medjool dates, pitted (can use a banana to sweeten instead)

3/4 cup coconut water (can use nut milk)

1 Tablespoon sunflower seed butter (can use any nut/seed butter)

2 teaspoons vanilla extractIMG_7766

1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

6 ice cubes

Procedure

  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve.
  • Garnish with coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, or more cinnamon.

Makes 1 serving

 

 

Superfood Ice Popsicles

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Don't be intimidated by the color, these are sweet and refreshing on a sunny day. What makes these popsicles so great is spirulina powder. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is super nutrient dense. It contains protein, vitamins, and minerals that provide great benefit to your health. Spirulina is good for the skin (eczema, acne, rashes), boosts energy, supports the immune system, helps fight depression, lowers bad cholesterol, and helps prevent diseases such as diabetes and cancer. When purchasing spirulina, make sure to buy organic and from a trusted brand.

Ingredients

1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used full-fat)

2 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tsp spirulina powder

1/3 cup almond milk

2 tsp chia seeds

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients except chia seeds in a blender and blend until smooth (make sure dates are fully blended or you'll have chunks).
  2. Place 1 teaspoon of chia seeds into each mold (you can also mix it in the mixture but I chose to put it at the bottom for the visual effect). Pour the yogurt mixture into molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Makes 2

Almond Truffles

Almond-truffles

Yet another great way to use up your leftover almond pulp after making almond milk. If you don't have almond pulp, you can use almond flour instead. Ingredients

~2 cups Almond pulp, dried out* (or almond flour)

15 medjool dates, pitted

3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

zest of 1/2 lemon

Procedure

*To dry out almond pulp: Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and spread out pulp on top. Place in oven and turn the oven light on (oven should stay off). Leave in oven with oven light on for about 12 hours or until completely dried out. I place it in the oven in the afternoon and check it the next morning. It should be completely dried out.

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until dates are chopped up and mixture sticks together when pressed. If mixture is too dry, add some water (start with 1 Tablespoon). If mixture is too wet, add more almond flour. Taste and adjust flavoring if needed.
  2. Roll out mixture into small balls (about 1 inch in diameter) and place in the freezer until ready to serve.

Raw Brownies

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These raw brownies are simple and delicious. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. They are sweetened with natural sugar from fresh dates. Dates are high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation, but they are a great alternative to refined sugars. Just one is enough to curb a sweet craving, they are a great afternoon snack. Besides their sweetness, they are also a good source of fiber, some B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and copper.

This is a simple recipe that you can use as a base and add toppings/spices/flavors of your liking. I almost never make the same recipe. I'm always experimenting with different ingredients. My favorites are grated ginger, lemon zest and juice, vanilla extract, protein powder, orange zest, spices, and different nuts and seeds. Anything goes. Get creative.

Ingredients

1 cup medjool dates, pitted

1 cups raw nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor (can use blender but you will have to move things around with a spatula throughout the process) until dates are finely chopped and mixture sticks together when pressed with fingers. If mixture doesn't stick and is too dry, add more dates.
  2. Press into a parchment-lined baking dish and place in freezer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Cut into 2 x 2 inch squares and enjoy!

Store in refrigerator.