Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘Nuts’

Just make your own

I was thrilled to find out that a new bulk store opened here in Victoria.

It is a franchised chain that I often enjoyed while living in Ontario and I have missed it ever since I left!

I think bulk food stores are great.  Because you KNOW it is the same product coming from the same place that the brand name grocery stores and even health food stores are selling you prepackaged for three times the price!

I buy most of my dry goods in bulk, rice, beans, peas, nuts, spices, flours and then I bring them home and have a collection of jars that I put them into and away I go!  I find it makes my cooking life so much easier and cheaper!

But sometimes if you just do things yourself, you can make things even cheaper!

Like take tamari almonds for instance.

I was at the bulk store with my friend when she announced that she needed some.   “Why don’t you just make your own?” I asked, seeing the considerable difference in price between the tamari almonds and the plain ones.

“How do you do that?” she asked.


Well……let me tell you.

You will need:

  • 1 baking tray lined in parchment paper
  • a little bowl or pot
  • about a cup of raw or plain toasted almonds
  • enough tamari ( I just used Bragg sauce) to cover


Put the almonds in the bowl and then give a few good shots of tamari.   Not so that they are swimming, but enough that you know everybody will get coated.

Give the nuts a few good stirs, making sure everyone is covered and then let them sit for at least 10 minutes, but longer is fine.


Heat your oven to 200 degrees.

When you are ready, stir the nuts a bit more and then spread them out on the parchment covered tray.  Try to give each nut as much space at possible.

Bung them in the oven.


Let them dry in there for as long as it takes.   Feel free to take them out and toss them a bit with a spatula.

But you don’t want to take them out until the sauce has completely dried.


Once done, let cool completely before putting into an air tight container.

If they aren’t completely cooled, they will get sweaty and then go soft and you don’t want that!

And there you have it.   Tamari covered almonds!


Taking a break

Well after two weeks straight of practically every meal containing, cheese, cream, butter or sausage in one form or another, we decided that our first meal of 2013 needed to be something healthy.  To take a break from the overindulgence.

What could be nicer than a comforting, friendly bowl of hot oatmeal?

Holidays 2012037

No one says it has to be the boring bland porridge of childhood!

I laid out a selection of toppings to go along with it:

  • fresh blueberries
  • dried cranberries
  • brown sugar
  • hemp seeds
  • milk

Holidays 2012035


It was wonderfully fortifying and a nice rest for the digestive system!


Holidays 2012036

Energy balls or holiday treats?

My friend and I had been out on a full day of serious shopping but knew we had a very special dinner to look forward to, so didn’t want to fill up on pesky lunch!

We were at the health food store when she spied some “energy balls” in the display counter and insisted that we get some.

I’ll admit, they were some tasty energy balls and certainly did tide us over till dinner, but it always gets my goat when these places charge so much for something so simple to make.

So here I will reveal the secret to energy balls!

The key ingredient here is dates!  You must have dates and then everything else can just be whatever you have available.

Start with about 10 dried dates, cover them with boiling water and then let sit for about 10 minutes till they soften up, drain and then put into the food processor.

Grind those up first and alone, because those are what everything else will stick to.

Then, in no particular order, into the processor add:

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cut hazel nuts

etc etc etc

You could add pretty much any nut or seed, even hemp seeds, or dried cranberries whatever small dried thing of that nature that you might have.

Whiz those all up until it resembles a fine meal texture.

Then if you like, add chocolate chips or carob or something like that and then give the processor  a few more pulses till they are mixed in but not pulverized like everything else.

Then on to a parchment covered tray………

I always use gloves for this kind of thing because I really hate sticky on my fingers!

Carefully roll the mixture into a ball, the size is your discretion.   It you are going to use them as a serious energy ball for after work outs or that kind of thing, you could make them golf ball size.

If you want them as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea as I tend to use them you will want them smaller “meat ball” size.

And then if you want to use them as a holiday treat to trick your friends and family into eating something healthy……then just make them small homemade truffle type size.

Then once you choose your size……roll each ball and then either leave as is or you can then roll them in some additional delicious thing like dried coconut or like what I have done with these, sesame seeds or just plain coco powder.


Place them on the tray and then put in the freezer for about half an hour before serving/eating.

Once they have set, you can put them in an airtight container and put them back in the freezer where they will last a good few weeks.  Just give them about 10 minutes out before eating.

Or put them in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy often.

Or pack them up in decorative tins and give them away!

They are a very versatile little thing…..oh and they DO actually give you a boost of energy!!


Oh and PS depending on what you put in them, they are vegan and RAW.

Healthy Breakfast things

I saw this recipe on a magazine page and thought I might like to try them.

Click here  to see original recipe.

They seemed easy enough but once into them I realized they might be a lot more work than I’d planned for and required a number of appliances!

Firstly I didn’t have any ground flax.   Many will argue with me, but we were taught in nutrition school that in order for ground flax to be nutritionally viable,  that isn’t to say it isn’t good as fibre, but in order to reap the benefits of the omega 3 content, you must grind it immediately before using.

So I had to grind the flax seeds.  For some reason I thought I could do it in the food processor, but they are slippery little fellows, so I had to take them out of the food processor and put them into the coffee/ spice grinder to effectivly grind them!

Then I realized I didn’t have any apple sauce, but I did have fresh apples.  Should I put them through the juicer and just use the pulp?  That would require ANOTHER appliance wouldn’t it?  So I instead chopped them up, skin on, and tossed THEM into the food processor and worked them till they were all squashed up. Then poured them into the mix master ( now our third appliance!)

Then I used the food processor again to grate the carrots and ginger, but it was already dirty from the apples, so it doesn’t really count as another appliance.

Then followed the recipe per instructions and then into the oven – appliance number four!

They turned out very nice I must say, even if they were a lot of work.

But keep in mind, they are NOT cookies.   These are very hearty.  I had a couple for breakfast this morning, heated in the toaster oven and dabbed with a bit of peanut butter.  Very filling and satisfying.

I was thinking that they would do good on a hiking trip where you needed some nice compact energy.

Healthy carrot cake cookies

So if you have the time and the appliances, give them a try!

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

Getting back to those people who have trouble eating certain things

I was “clicking around” and found this recipe for a raw, gluten-free, dairy free, egg free chocolate cake!

I happened to have a lot of the ingredients kickin around and wanted something different so I thought I’d give it a try.  I’ll admit that I didn’t have high expectations for this, I thought it would turn out like a lot of those other “healthy” things and taste like saw dust.  BOY was I wrong.  This stuff is awesome!

(Click here )  for original recipe that I started with.

The only changes I made was to add some raw almonds with the hazelnuts, only because I didn’t have enough hazelnuts and I used agave syrup instead of maple, again because I didn’t have enough maple.

The avocado “icing” is soooo creamy delicious!!  Even The Chef didn’t know it was good for him!!  He had three portions!!

I mean don’t fool yourself, it is NOT sugar free!  But at least you are getting your sugar from natural sources and nuts and avocado are full of “good fats”.

This was really great.

Raw hazelnut chocolate cake

Raw Sauce

So you have your “RAW” noodles, but now what?

Well, you could easily just toss those with a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil and eat them as a side dish, but there are a few more interesting things to do too.

For starters you could make a good ol reliable pesto sauce.  Of course for it to be “RAW” you can’t use the parma cheese but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be great.

In a food processor or blender add:

  • 1 -2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup of nuts ( pine nuts or walnuts or a combo of both, or my favorite, raw pumpkin seeds)
  • a few handfuls of baby spinach, arugula, basil or any combo of these
  • Salt & Pepper

Grind all those up and then with the motor still running slowly add olive oil until you get a nice paste. 

Presto you’ve got pesto!!

Toss this with your noodles and you are good to go.

Then there is another more involved sauce, a tomato based one that gives you more of a spaghetti and tomato sauce feeling.

Start with a couple of dried dates and sun dried tomatoes and soak them in some hot water to soften them up.

Then into the food processor:

  • 1 -2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 2 -3 soaked dates
  • 3 -5 soaked sun dried tomatoes
  • 3- 4 leaves of fresh basil  ( or Italian parsley or oregano if that’s all you have)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes roughly chopped, juice included

Whiz theses all up in the food processor till you get a nice chunky consistency.

Now if we weren’t being “RAW” you could add some nice Kalamata olives to this but unfortunately they won’t work if you are being faithful to the raw philosophy.

Toss this sauce with your noodles and it will practically seem like REAL spaghetti and tomato sauce. 

Well, not really but it’s still a good alternative.

On this occasion when I made it, I added a good sprinkle of hemp hearts ( click here to read about them) they are a great source of protein and omega 3 and add a little extra substance.

Raw spaghetti with tomato sauce


Pair it up with a side salad and you have a very nice meal.

My favorite Vegan meal

 Near the end of my time in holistic nutrition school ( click here to check out my school) I had to do a work study.  Because my focus was on health cooking as a way to spread the gospel of good nutrition, I choose to work at a restaurant in Toronto called FRESH (click here to check out restaurant).  It was at Fresh that I got the basic idea for this dish, although I’m still not sure what we should call it really. A “Rice Bowl” prehaps?
This is one of my favorite things to make when I’m home alone, or feel the need like to get maximum nutrition for my effort.  It sounds a bit complicated because there are a lot of elements, but once you’ve made it a few times, it gets easy and there are even short cuts you can take.
Let’s begin.

Right off the top you want to put on a pot of your favorite brown rice.  I always use organic short grain brown rice because I just love the taste, nice and nutty, but you can use whatever you like and hopefully if you are a person who reads food blogs, I’m assuming you know how to make rice.

Then choose a protein product.  You could grill up some marinated tofu or in the case of this particular time, I  used pre-marinated tempeh. 

Marinated Tempeh

 I like this brand because it comes pre-cut and already marinated.

Grill it up in a fry pan with a little oil.

Meanwhile you are going to want to steam up some greens.  On this occasion I used broccoli and kale.  You can either steam them on their own in another pot, or the lazy way like me, where I add them to the top of the rice pot when the rice is about half way to three quarters cooked.  You’ll be eating them all out of the same bowl in the end so getting a little on each other while cooking won’t hurt!

Then it’s time to make the sauce.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soya or Bragg sauce
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter OR tahini
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water

Whiz this all up in a small food processor or with a hand blender.  If you don’t have an appliance then chop the garlic and ginger very finely and then mix all ingredients together.


 Now that we have all of our elements ready to go, it’s time to assemble.

Start with a bowl and fill it with about a cup of cooked rice.  Then add the broccoli, kale or whatever cooked greens you are using.  Then the next layer is the protein, tofu or tempeh.

To finish it off, add sauce and then the toppings of your choice.  I like things like toasted cashews or sesame seeds, chopped green onions, grated carrot, sprouts of your choice or whatever bits of other live things you might have.

Then at the very last-minute, to make it a super healthy item, a good splash of flax oil!

This bowl is SO packed with nutritients and surprise suprise, it actually TASTES good too!!


Another quick easy pasta dish

It’s Wednesday, I’m hungry but tired and rushed.  What to have for dinner?

Chermoula sauce to the rescue again!!

This is so super easy.

Boil up some of your favorite pasta, glutton free it that’s your thing.

Meanwhile in a large bowl add:

  •  your left over chermoula sauce ( at least 1/2 cup)
  • one avocado cubed
  • 1 cup of baby arugula

When the pasta is ready, drain well, add to the large bowl with the other items and toss well.  Once that is all well mixed, toss in 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts and toss it up some more.

Transfer to serving bowls and you have a quick easy pasta supper!

This dish is so quick and easy, I don’t even have a picture!

Super healthy snack balls

These are a healthy treat that can take the edge off any sweet tooth.

Easy to make and you can make a big batch and keep them in the freezer.   They are the best thing for an afternoon pick me up.

They are vegan and depending on the ingredients you use can be considered a RAW if you choose to follow a raw foods diet.   And as we know, raw foods are filled with enzymes so they are so good for your belly!

Here is the basic recipe:

  •  10 dates (if using baking dates then soak them in some warm water for 10 minutes before using)
  • ¼ cup of almonds or pecans
  • 2 tbsp flaxseeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  •  handful of dried cranberries or raisins
  • handful of organic dark chocolate chips  ( or raw cacao if making a completely raw option)

As you may have gathered by now,  I’m a big fan of “use what you have” so feel free to add or subtract according to taste or availability, but just try to keep the amounts similar by like ingredients.

I’ve also been known to add to these balls:

  • a few hazelnuts
  • hemp seeds
  • coco powder
  • pure vanilla
  • dried cherries

You get the idea.

Ingredients in food processor

So toss all of these goodies into the food processor and whiz them up until they are coarsely chopped.

Chopped nuts and seeds

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then roll the mixture into palm size balls. 

Rolled nut balls

I’ll admit I always use restaurant type or doctor type rubber gloves to do this because I have an aversion to sticky on my hands, but whatever the case don’t handle them too long or the chocolate chips will start to melt.

They might seem a bit crumbly at first but just keep squeezing them and rolling them in your palm and they will start to stick together nicely.

Place them on the tray and then put them in the fridge for 2 – 3 hours or in the freezer for about an hour.

Then put them in an air tight container and store them either in the fridge for short term use, or in the freezer for longer periods.

Super healthy snacks

Like I said I enjoy 2 or 3 of them in the afternoon to get me over the hump.

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