Apple Cider Vinegar: What’s the hype?

apple cider vin

Apple Cider Vinegar has been making headlines all over lately…so what’s all the hype about? I’m writing this post to give you a short and sweet description of what Apple Cider Vinegar is and what it may be beneficial for.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar? Apples are crushed and their juice is added to barrels or casks along with yeasts to ferment the natural sugars. The result is alcohol. Next, the bacteria are added to convert the alcohol to acetic acid. Finally, the mixture is allowed to ferment for weeks or months, depending on the maker. During this time, non-toxic goo made up of yeast and acetic acid bacteria forms within the mixture

What is “the mother”? This is the goo that I mentioned above. Some companies choose to pasteurize and strain out the goo. Others keep the goo for potential health benefits.

What may be the benefits to consuming apple cider vinegar with “the mother”?

  • May help fight infections and promote a healthy immune system
  • May improve blood pressure and cholesterol
  • May decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • May help maintain a healthy gut
  • May improve calcium absorption
  • Vinegar is associated with cancer fighting properties similar to antioxidants
  • May help with acne when used as a natural toner (balance the pH of your skin)
  • May help with weight loss

How can you drink it? Mix 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar into a large glass of water. Add a teaspoon of natural honey.

braggs

For more information visit Bragg’s website: http://bragg.com/products/bragg-organic-apple-cider-vinegar.html

Perfectly Roasted Chickpeas

I love making my own roasted chickpea snacks. After lots of practice I have finally mastered the cook time to get the perfect crunch! I have discovered that the key to getting the chickpeas crunchy everytime is to place them in the oven while it is still preheating.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-2 cans chickpeas (540mL cans)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
  • Optional: ground sea salt or paprika/chili powder or cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. Pour the chickpeas onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or spray with olive oil. Distribute evenly.
  3. Turn the oven to bake at 425F. Place the chickpeas in the cool oven.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes. Mix the chickpeas regularly to ensure even roasting.
  5. Remove from the chickpeas from the oven and allow to cool for 45-60 minutes.
  6. After cooling, you can add ground sea salt, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon sugar…whatever you feel like to season! My favourite way to eat these is with just a little bit of ground sea salt. I also use these as salad toppers to add a crunch.

roastedchik

Dark Chocolate Salted Crunch Bark

One of my all-time favourite dessert/treat recipes! I’ve posted a very similar recipe to this before….and here it is again because it is so tasty!  This recipe is always a hit with my family and it was a big hit with my coworkers as well. This bark didn’t last very long in our fridge! Give it a try 🙂

chickpea-bark

Ingredients (makes ~12 bars):

  • 1-2 cans chickpeas (540mL cans)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 2 Camino 55% dark chocolate bars (or dark chocolate of choice)
  • Ground sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. Pour the chickpeas onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or spray with olive oil. Distribute evenly.
  3. Turn the oven to bake at 425F. Place the chickpeas in the cool oven.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes and mix the chickpeas regularly to ensure even browning.
  5. Remove from the chickpeas from the oven and allow to cool for 45-60 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, melt your two bars of dark chocolate.
  7. Place your cooled chickpeas in a shallow rectangular Tupperware container with parchment paper.
  8. Add ground sea salt to the chickpeas.
  9. Pour the melted dark chocolate over your chickpeas. Distribute evenly using a spatula so that all chickpeas are coated. Add some fresh ground sea salt on the top.
  10. Place in the freezer or refrigerator for cooling.
  11. Once the chocolate has hardened, pop the large chocolate piece out of the Tupperware container. Remove the parchment paper and place in a large Ziploc bag.
  12. Break up the chocolate into bark bite-sized pieces in the Ziploc bag (this avoids a mess).
  13. Enjoy chilled.

 

Chocolate Chunk Energy Bites… with a surprise ingredient!

Guess what these energy bites are made of?! Primarily CHICKPEAS! Who would have thought?

Chickpeas are a low fat alternative to use in many recipes. Chickpeas are also a great plant-based source of protein, fibre, B vitamins, and iron. Tonight I am hosting a class on this Versatile Bean at our Sobeys Stratford. This is one of the few recipes I came up with to demonstrate this little bean’s great versatility! More recipes will be coming your way after our class.

chocolate chunk energy bites

Ingredients (Makes ~ 24 small bites):

  • 1 ½ cups canned unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup natural almond butter
  • 3 tbsp natural honey
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 1/3 cup oat flour (gluten-free Bob’s Red Mill)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 70% cacao dark chocolate chunks

 

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine the rinsed/drained chickpeas, almond butter, honey, cinnamon powder, and vanilla.
  2. Process these ingredients until completely combined into a thick puree.
  3. Using a spatula, scrap the mixture from your food processor into a large mixing bowl.
  4. In the large mixing bowl, add the oats (a small amount at a time) and mix in thoroughly.
  5. Next add the maple syrup and mix.
  6. Finally, add your flour. Add ¼ cup at a time with regular mixing. (It is difficult to combine so the smaller amount at a time, the better).
  7. Fold in your dark chocolate chunks.
  8. Form the mixture into bite sized bites and place in the refrigerator for storage.
  9. Eat chilled and enjoy 🙂

Easter Quinoa Crunch Bites

If you follow my instagram, I just posted a Instagram story making this recipe. Watch the clips and you will see how quickly you can whip up these Easter treats! They are simple and fast to prepare. So if you’re in a hurry, definitely try out this recipe for the weekend. They are always a hit with my family… we just add the mini eggs as a treat for Easter.

easter cookies 3

What you will need:

  • 2 Camino 55% chocolate bars
  • 1 1/2 cups GoGo Quinoa Puffed Quinoa Cocoa Cereal (or a puffed rice cereal)
  • 2 small bags of mini eggs
  • Optional: ground sea salt to taste (some of us love a little sweet and salty!)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the dark chocolate.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, add 1 cup of quinoa cereal to a large mixing bowl.
  3. When the dark chocolate is thoroughly melted, pour the chocolate into the mixing bowl.
  4. Mix the ingredients with a spatula until all of the quinoa is covered in the chocolate. Add your other 1/2 cup of quinoa and do the same thing.
  5. Set aside the mixing bowl. Chop up one small package of mini eggs.
  6. Add the crunched mini eggs into the bowl.
  7. Form into bite-sized cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Using your other bag of mini eggs, add a mini egg on the top of each cookie.
  9. Chill in the freezer or fridge.
  10. When the chocolate has fully hardened, remove from the fridge, and enjoy 🙂

easter cookies

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

 *This recipe is a low carbohydrate alternative to regular pizza dough.  It can also be made gluten-free.*

TIP: If you do not want to end up eating your pizza with a fork and knife, I recommend going light on the cheese or cooking both sides of the crust before doing your toppings. How? Cook the crust for ~10-15 minutes until browning and then use a plate to remove the crust from the parchment paper. Slide/place the cauliflower crust back on the parchment paper so that the bottom side is now turned up. Bake for ~10-15 minutes again until this side is browning. After both sides are baked – add your toppings and put in the oven one last time.

cooked final pizza
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Crust Cook time: 10-15 mins (more if you are cooking both sides)
Total time: ~40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower florets (500g)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan (from container)
  • 2 tbsp spelt flour (or gluten-free flour of choice.. e.g. almond meal)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp ground sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cheese cloth

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Place the chopped cauliflower florets in the food processor. Pulse for approximately 30 seconds until the cauliflower resembles snow.
  3. Place the ground cauliflower in the microwave-safe container. Microwave for 3 minutes covered.
  4. Remove from the microwave and allow to cool.
  5. Place cauliflower on the cheese cloth and ring out as much water as you possibly can. (Squeeze as hard as you can! The more water removed the better your crust will turn out).
  6. When finished removing the water, place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add every ingredient except for the egg. Mix.
  8. Add the egg last and stir until the mixture is fully blended together.
  9. When evenly combined, spread and pack down the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make into your desired shape.
  10.  Bake for ~10-15 minutes until browning. Remove from the oven.
  11.  Add your favourite pizza sauce, toppings, and whatever your heart desires!
  12.  Bake for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy 🙂

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Orange you glad to hear from me?

 

Fresh oranges

Today I thought I would do a spotlight on the benefits of oranges.

  • Oranges are a great source of natural sugars (carbohydrates) to provide your body with energy.
  • Oranges are PACKED with Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a role in the healthy growth of bones, teeth, skin and other body tissues.
  • Vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron from plant-based foods! Neat right? So, if you are vegan or vegetarian make sure to get enough Vitamin C in your diet because it will help you absorb iron from your plant foods like beans/legumes.
  •  Vitamin C also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Oranges are high in potassium, which makes them a great post-workout snack. Potassium is an electrolyte that we lose in our sweat during exercise. Potassium is a mineral important to maintain the health of your nerves, bones, kidneys, and muscles.
  • Food tip: Skip the orange juice and opt for the fresh whole fruit to get all the benefits. Why? During juice processing (“pasteurization”), the high temperatures destroy the good stuff! We lose fibre, nutrients, and enzymes. After processing, we have a drink full of sugar, calories, and no nutrients or fibre. (I like to call this empty calories).

sad oranges