Maple Pecan Granola

After my smoothie bowl post the other day, I wanted to provide you with the newest granola recipe I whipped up for a breakfast nutrition class at Sobeys the other day.

Quick, easy, crunchy, chunky, and delicious!

Maple Pecan Granola (~Serves 15 as a topping)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup large flake oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill extra thick organic oats)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup all-natural maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp psyllium seed husk (for a fibre boost – you can swap this out or add in flax meal, chia seeds etc)
  • 3 tsp spelt flour (or whole grain flour of choice)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275F
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and evenly combine.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Evenly distribute the granola mixture across the pan. Pack it down flat about >1 inch thick on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for ~35-40 minutes when beginning to brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. When it is fully hardened into one giant chunk, break up into pieces 🙂
  7. Enjoy

granola

Very Berry Smoothie Bowl!

Happy Hump Day! Are you looking for a mid-week boost and something to cool you down in this hot weather? This smoothie bowl is the perfect idea to refresh, cool-down and a great way to nourish your body. Adding protein powder is optional.. however I strongly recommend adding protein to amp up the satiety of this recipe. I choose Genuine Health’s Fermented Vegan Vanilla Protein powder…it is my FAVOURITE. Out of all plant-based proteins I’ve ever tried it is not “chalky” or “sandy” in texture like many of the other ones out there on the market.

Why choose a fermented plant-based protein powder?

For one, I choose plant-based because I find I get bloating and gut discomfort from some whey (dairy-based) protein powders. Also, plant-based protein powders are a great way to add additional veggies into your diet.

Fermentation is something I always look for when buying a plant-based protein powder. The fermentation process partially breaks down the plant-based proteins which allows for optimal absorption of protein from the product! (you will absorb a higher percentage of the protein per scoop if it is fermented versus the regular not fermented protein). Look for the words fermented or sprouted on plant-based protein powders for the most benefit. 

Smoothie tip! Always sneak veggies in wherever you can. Since this blend involves dark deep and bright colored berries, spinach will be well hidden in the blend. This helps you meet your veggies goals, lower the sugar per serving, increase folate content and amp up the nutritional content.

smoothie bowl

Very Berry Smoothie Bowl (Serves ~1-2 people)

INGREDIENTS

TOPPINGS

  • 1 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (desiccated)
  • Fresh berries
  • 1 Tbsp Nuts/seeds/granola

Instructions

  1. Add frozen berries and banana to a powerful blender (I recommend Vitamix or Ninja)
  2. Add almond milk and protein powder (optional), and blend on low again, until the mixture reaches a soft serve consistency. Use a spatula to scrape the walls of the blender to ensure all the protein powder is distributed evenly.
  3. Scoop into 1-2 serving bowls and top with desired toppings. My favourite toppings are homemade granola, shredded coconut, and fresh fruit. You can add flax meal or psyillium seed husk for a fibre boost as well!

 

Special thanks to my friends at Genuine Health for all the amazing protein samples they’ve provided me to play with. If you are interested in learning more about their products please email me at brooke@ateaspoonofbliss.com 

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!

xo

THE BEST Southwest Dressing (Wholesome Ingredients, Vegan, & Delicious!)

I tried out Vegenaise for the first time back in December…. and fell in love! It is an egg-free mayonnaise. You can opt to use regular mayo or ..I would recommend trying out Vegenaise for this recipe. You won’t regret it. I think it tastes better than the traditional egg mayo. No need to be vegan to enjoy this dip.. it will be a hit with the whole family!

mayo

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Vegenaise “egg-free mayonnaise”
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • Pinch of cayenne

Directions: Mix ingredients together, in the order above, using a whisk. When all ingredients are combined, store in the refrigerator to chill. Serve cold.

*You can top this creamy dressing on salads, sandwiches, use it as a dip for chips, veggies, and much more! It is by far my favourite dressing I have created. Try it out!* This is the same dip that I featured in my sweet potato fry recipe. Great for dipping 🙂

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The Juice Bust! Why you should cut back on juice in your diet.

orange-juice

Many of us believe that consuming loads of orange juice will fuel us with Vitamin C and many other fruity benefits. But… is it really all that good for us?

Juice is often misconceived as a healthy beverage to quench your thirst and fuel your mornings. Why am I personally against drinking juice (specifically pasteurized juices)? …

Empty calories and high sugar content. Pasteurization removes all the good stuff from our fruit and vegetables. I like to call it drinking empty calories (Empty: limited nutritional benefit).

What is pasteurization? Pasteurization is a high heat treatment process that almost all juices on the market go through to extend their shelf life and remove some harmful bacteria to make the product safe for consumption. Sounds good so far ….

However! Although the pasteurization process may remove the harmful bacteria, in doing so, the high heat also removes fibre, nutrients, good enzymes, and other nutritional components in the process 😦 

In addition to the removal of all these natural benefits, some juices have added sugars, coloring, preservatives, and flavourings. Again, another reason why to opt for the whole fruit versus the juice.

You are much better off eating a whole fresh fruit (e.g. an orange) versus drinking a cup of juice. This way you are getting the most nutritional content possible from the food itself. Choose WHOLE FOOD first! Picking food items in their natural form will have the most benefit on your diet and nutritional lifestyle. Try to avoid processed items as much as possible. Whole food items will keep you satisfied longer due to their higher nutritional content. 

As mentioned by Dietitians of Canada,

“Fruit juice and fruit beverages should be limited. Many of these beverages contain a high amount of sugar which can lead to weight gain.  Fruit juice, even labelled as ‘no sugar added’ still contains a high amount of sugar. Eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking juice. Whole fruits have the added benefits of fibre and other nutrients not found in juice.”

Tips for hydration: 

  • Water should always be your first choice! Stay hydrated throughout the day. Always carry a reusable water bottle with you.
  • Not a fan of plain water? Add frozen raspberries, mango, cucumber, or fresh lemon to your water to amp up the flavour!
  • Working to cut back on juice? Start slowly. Begin diluting your juice with water to lower the sugar and calories. Good things take time so start with small steps to make change.
  • If you must choose juice, choose 100% juice, cold-pressed, and juices with added vegetables to lower the sugar content.
  • What about Cold-Pressed? Again limit the cold-pressed fruit juice. Choose a cold-pressed juice mixed with vegetables and high vegetable content. Cold-pressed juices do not undergo the heat treatment therefore, they have a shorter shelf-life and maintain the fibre, nutrients, and good enzymes. This is why you see natural juices marked up to a high price with a short shelf life! Again whole food is best but, cold-pressed is a step up from pasteurized juice.

 

I hope you learned something new today!

Until next time,

B

 

Chocolate Dipped Chia Energy Bites (happy healthy snacking!)

Hi guys! I am so sorry! I have been MIA from A Teaspoon of Bliss for way too long. I have been very busy with the new job (plus teaching yoga on the side!). Now that I am all settled in, I am ready to get back at it and will continue to share my recipes, nutrition tips, and much more frequently.

To begin, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s start 2017 on the right track. Time to set goals, intentions, and strive to be the best version of you. Healthy can still be delicious. So let’s eat some GOOD food this year. Wholesome, minimally processed, low in sugars, and overall… healthy!

I created this recipe at work the other day and it was a huge hit with our staff and customers. Best part is… it’s packed with healthy ingredients and is nutrient dense to keep you satisfied during your work day.

The picture below is prior to the chocolate dipping of course! I wanted you to be able to see all the good little ingredients in there 😉

image2

Ingredients (makes 24 bites):

  • 15 small pitted dates, microwave to soften for 40 seconds with 1 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • 1 packet or 1 scoop (40g) Chocolate Vega All-In-One Nutritional Shake Protein Powder
  • ¼ cup Sunbutter, or nut butter of choice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch ground sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Outer Coating: 3/4 package Camino 72% dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. In the food processor, combine all the ingredients except for the oats.
  2. Begin to process ingredients in the food processor, Vitamix, or Ninja and make into a paste.
  3. Remove from the food processor and scrape into a new bowl.
  4. Add the oats and knead them into the dough to evenly combine.
  5. Form into small bite sized balls. Roll with clean hands.
  6. Refrigerate and store in a lidded container lined with waxed paper.
  7. Turn the stove top burner onto low heat. Add in ¾ package of the dark chocolate chips. Stir until fully melted. Turn off the burner and remove from heat.
  8. Dip each bite using a tooth pick into the dark chocolate.
  9. Allow these to chill in the refrigerator on a serving tray lined with parchment paper.
  10. When the chocolate is fully hardened, enjoy 🙂
  11. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

The Ultimate Trail Mix Cookie! A family favourite.

The appearance of these guys doesn’t do the flavour justice. MMMmmm these cookies turned out SO good and they are packed with nutrient dense ingredients (…ALOT of ingredients).

trail mix cookies.jpg

What you will need (~18-20 cookies): 

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I have used corn flour, almond flour, and quinoa flour, they all work great).
  • 1/2 cup large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple sugar (found at FarmBoy.. omit and do more coconut sugar instead if you can’t find this ingredient)
  • 4 tbsp coconut smiles (found at costco – see here , bulk barn and FarmBoy also carry these)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew milk (or a nut milk of your choice)
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients.
  3. One by one begin to mix in the wet ingredients to the same bowl. Regularly mix.
  4. When all ingredients are mixed thoroughly together, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Form batter into cookies. (If you are forming them with your hands ensure to wash your hands and leave them a bit wet to avoid all the batter sticking to your hands).
  6. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, let cool. ENJOY!

 

 

Feeling Sluggish? Learn how you can you eat for energy…

Do you ever have those mornings where you feel tired, sloth-like, have a lack of motivation, and are crying for energy? (I thought this photo of the pup was a great way to demonstrate that feeling).  Trust. I think we have all been there. So how can we get out of that tired rut?

tired-pup

Diet plays such an important role in our activities of daily living (so does rest). If you are not eating well, choosing the wrong foods, and not getting enough sleep…. you are going to crash and you are going to stay in that rut until you kick those bad habits.

Here are a few tips to help boost you energy level, motivation, and maybe athletic performance.

  • Never skip a meal: listen to your body. Food is fuel. Ensure that you are eating well balanced meals throughout the day with a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates are our bodies primary source of fuel make sure to choose nutrient dense complex carbs such as, quinoa, nut/seed crackers, large flake oats/steel cut oats, sweet potatoes,lentils/beans. These items will keep your blood sugar stable, leaving you satisfied longer.
  • Always stay hydrated! Many of us are not consuming enough fluids on a daily basis. Adults are required to consume a minimum of 2.7L of fluids per day. Remember, to replace fluids after a workout as well. If you way yourself before a workout and after a workout, the weight lost is the weight you have lost in sweat. REPLENISH!
  • Choose high iron foods: Iron is crucial for oxygen transport throughout the body to our muscles and tissues (aka we need it for ENERGY). Choose foods such as, spinach, kale, dried beans, peas, lentils, cream of wheat, oatmeal, and red meat.
  • Choose foods high in B vitamins: B vitamins (especially Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin) play an important role in helping with energy production in our bodies. Foods  to choose for these vitamins include: whole grains, dried beans, eggs, nuts & seeds, mushrooms, and soybeans.
  • Avoid highly processed foods: Avoiding fast food & junk food can help keep your blood sugars balanced and at a healthy equilibrium. These foods tend to be high in unhealthy fats and packed with refined sugars (that’s why they are so addictive). High fat foods tend to make us feel sluggish. High sugar foods cause a quick spike of energy (due to a fast rise in our blood glucose) followed by a quick drop. This effect makes us feel tired and hungry for more unhealthy treats!