healthy

Classic & Toasted Coconut Granola

I'm a big fan of granola. There's something about sweet crunchy oats that's almost addictive... I generally find the store-bought stuff way too sweet (maybe that's why it's addictive), or too oily, or both - so after many experiments, I came up with this granola recipe that we love around here:

Recipe: Patty's Classic Granola & Delightful Variations
This is a lovely simple aromatic granola. You can make your own delightful variations from this basic recipe.

Variation: Toasted Coconut Granola
In my opinion, the most delightful variation of Patty's Classic Granola :-)

Health Notes: This recipe is vegan and gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats). It has less fat and sugar than most store-bought granola (especially if you make the lower-sugar option) and is full of healthy fiber from oats and flax.

I Love Bananas


I love bananas. (I love them so much that I'm working on a related project...) Here are some delicious healthy banana recipes I'm looking forward to trying:

Quinoa And Banana Pudding Recipe

This healthy not-too-sweet pudding is a great alternative to rice pudding.

Banana Bread Loaf
A high-protein gluten-free almondy banana bread.

Grilled bananas with toasted almonds
A delicately spiced sweet Indian dish.

Banana-Mango Ketchup

Spicy Banana Ketchup
Banana ketchup is a favourite condiment in the Philippines. These recipes both sound amazing.

Vegan Banana Nut Ice Cream Recipe

Rich and wonderful.

Carmalized Banana With Rum Sauce Recipe
This looks way too good ;-)

Let me know what some of your favourite healthy banana recipes are!

Cha-cha-cha-chia!

Over the past few months, I've noticed the ancient Mesoamercian chia seed popping up everywhere. Remember the chia pet? Well, it's the same seed, and it happens to be a super food, high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Chia was one of the most important foods for the Aztecs and Mayans. I bought the raw seeds, and started drinking chia fresca, a Mexican drink simply made by mixing about a tablespoon of raw chia seeds into a glass fruit juice or water, and letting it sit for about 10 minutes so that the seeds become gelatinous - the result is a drink that's both refreshing and satisfying.

Where this nutritious little seed really shines for me, is as a hot breakfast cereal.  A good friend gave me some Chia Goodness to try - and I loved it. Inspired, I came up with this tasty combination of nuts, seeds, and fruit that's become a house favourite:

Recipe: Instant Hot Chia Cereal

Besides being tasty, filling, and nutritious - it's super-quick to make: just add hot water. Another bonus: you can customize the recipe with your favourite nuts, seeds, and fruit - fun!

Instant Hot Chia Cereal before adding water.

Foods that help prevent sunburn

Just read this great entry on one of my favourite sites: How can my diet help protect me from sunburn? Enjoying these foods + responsible sun exposure = a healthy tasty summer:

  • olive oil
  • tomatoes (tomato paste)
  • papaya
  • strawberries, raspberries, cherries
  • oranges, lemons, limes
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine...)
  • mushrooms
  • fish
  • green tea

Sounds a bit like a Mediterranean diet, no?

Sweet Ambrosia Cookies

Ambrosia: The food of the gods. It is said the consumption of ambrosia results in immortality.

Recipe: Sweet Ambrosia Cookies

I can't promise immortality, though I will say these honey-sweetened aromatic cookies are pretty satisfying and delicious :-) Inspired by Tahini Oatmeal Walnut Cookies, these are made with sweet nutty sunflower seed butter, which is abundant in these parts (and for some, easier to digest than tahini). Rich and healthy, these gems also contain oats, pecans, coconut, vanilla and cinnamon. These cookies happen to be vegan and wheat-free/gluten-free - they're really quick and easy to make too!

How to make your own healthy baking powder

The other day I ran out of baking powder, so I decided to make my own. I was delighted with how easy it was, and how well it worked in my recipes - just as good as the store-bought stuff. The best part is, the home-made variety doesn't contain aluminum, so it's much better for you, and doesn't impart an aluminum flavour. (Knowing what we do about aluminum, I'm surprised that some baking powders still have it! To be fair, the store-bought baking powder I used didn't contain aluminum, it had corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, and sodium bicarbonate.) Another bonus to making your own: you can choose your own starch, I use tapioca starch. (Typically, baking powder contains corn or wheat starch, so this recipe is good for people with corn or gluten intollerances/allergies.)

Recipe: Aluminum-free Baking Powder

Happy healthy baking :-)

Sprouted Quinoa Cornbread


Fresh cornbread with homemade guacamole: yum!

Here's another healthy tasty quick bread for cornbread lovers ~

Recipe: Quinoa Cornbread

I've updated classic cornbread to make it healthier, without compromising flavour or texture. Like my Quinoa Rice Bread, this is also made with germinated/sprouted quinoa seeds, resulting in a moist delicious nutritious bread that's surprisingly easy to make. (I've served it to non-health nuts with rave reviews :-) It's also great for special diets, as it's naturally gluten-free, and optionally dairy-free and sugar-free.

Fresh cornbread with guacamole.

Surrounded by a lovely crust, this cornbread is terrific warm and fresh out of the oven. If keeping longer than a day, I wrap it up and store it in the fridge, and then toast or grill thick slices - particularly good topped with homemade guacamole, or butter and honey!

Toasted cornbread with butter and honey.

ChocoSol Chocolate


Here's some absolutely exquisite rustic hand-made (healthy!) chocolate I scored at the Toronto Dufferin Grove Farmer's Market made by the talented folks at ChocoSol, whose motto is:

"Pedal-Powered, Stone-Ground, Socially Just and Made Fresh! "

They really do make their chocolates with human-power, grinding and delivering their goods using pedal-power. At the market they were making hot chocolate with a hand-crank blender - very cool! The varieties I brought home were (clockwise from left): dark chocolate with vanilla and cocoa nibs, Mexican spiced chocolate, chocolate with sesame seed and sea salt.

Learn more about ChocoSol's ethical horizontal trading practices, cocoa varieties, drinking chocolate and amaranth. Awesome :-)

Gluten-Free Sprouted Quinoa Rice Bread


It's official: I'm off wheat gluten, for now... I've been avoiding wheat gluten for the last month, and have been feeling generally healthier: less bloating, less overall aches and pains, better mood too :-) I went on a bit of a wheat binge yesterday, and bam! Bloating, joint pain, and a noticeably compromised immune system. Good thing there are many other great things to eat besides wheat out there. Here's a delicious moist gluten-free quick-bread I've been enjoying:


Recipe:
Quinoa Rice Bread

Similar to cornbread, this bread is made with healthy sprouted quinoa and brown rice flour instead of cornmeal. Sprouting the quinoa is easy: rinse the seeds in cold water (3X), then soak the seeds in at least twice as much room temperature water (6-12 hours) and voila! your quinoa is germinated/sprouted. This makes the seeds healthier, easier to digest, and easier to puree (which is perfect for this recipe). This bread is great fresh out of the oven with butter, alongside hearty soups, or toasted and slathered with nut butter and honey for breakfast. The slice in the photo is embellished with almond butter, raw honey, and cinnamon: yum!

Avocado Shakes & Smoothies for St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patrick's day! And now for some festive green fare :-) Here are some great sounding recipes for natural green shakes and smoothies made with avocados:

Avocado Smoothie - Great healthy all fruit recipe.
Avocado - Banana Shake - I love the sounds of this avocado-banana-yogurt combo.
Brazilian Avocado Shake - One could use milk and sugar substitutes in this delicious shake - I'm thinking almond milk and agave syrup, mmm...
Bravocado! Shake - This shake is sweetened with honey, and sounds absolutely divine. (Warning: loud music plays when you're on this page.)
Vietnamese Avocado Shake - Classic.
Avocado Shake with Boba - Similar to the classic Vietnamese shake, but with big tapioca pearls - fun!

Here are a couple of healthy green smoothies I enjoy regularly - sans avocado:

Magic Green Smoothie - Spirulina makes it stimulating, mineral-rich, and super-green.
Green Ginger Pineapple Smoothie - Super raw detox smoothie - great for alkalizing your system. Refreshing and delicious + packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes.

To cap things off, here's a strong vibrant-green antioxidant-rich cocktail: Matcha Martini

Enjoy :-)