Cacao Cherry Granola Clusters

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

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Granola doesn't last very long around Living Kitchen HQ. We love it so much that we could eat it for every meal (alright, maybe we're exaggerating a little bit). While oats are packed with heart-healthy soluble fibre that makes for a satiating breakfast, store-bought versions are often high in sugar - around 12.5 grams per cup according to The Guardian. Eating this first thing in the morning can absolutely be a recipe for a massive energy spike and crash later in the day. 

Homemade granola is definitely the best option if you're looking to control your sugar intake. It is easy to prepare a large batch on Sundays to use for grab-and-go breakfasts or snacks. Prioritize loading it up with healthy fats from nut butter and seeds, adding sweetness with honey or unsweetened dried fruit. 

We created these crunchy granola clusters that are packed with cacao, peanut butter, and dried cherries. It is light on sweetness with only a touch of raw wildflower honey from Beekeeper's Naturals. The best part? It's completely adaptable and you can modify our recipe to include the things you love.

Plus we have an awesome cooking technique that you can use to get nice crunchy clusters! 

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Cacao Cherry Granola Clusters

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut butter (or preferred alternative)
3 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil

Additional Toppings:
3 tbsp dried cherries
2 tbsp dried mulberries
2 tbsp cacao nibs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a small pot over medium-low heat combine peanut butter, raw honey, and coconut oil until completely glossy and smooth.
3. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until completely coated and spread evenly on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. Do not stir it (trust us).
5. Place on a cooling rack, allowing to cool completely to the touch. Once cool, break into large cluster sized pieces and mix with additional toppings.
6. Store in an airtight glass container or mason jar.
7. Serve on top of yogurt, or with a splash of coconut milk and a drizzle of raw honey. 

Let us know what your favourite granola toppings are over on our Instagram page. While you're there, don't forget to enter our Spring Snack Giveaway where you can enter to win a jar of raw wildflower honey from Beekeeper's Naturals.

Happy snacking!

Building A Better Snack Board

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

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Today we’re giving you tips on building an impressive health-forward snack board that is packed with flavour and will please all of the palates at your dinner table. The board we’ve created features an assortment of gluten free crackers, vegetables and fruits and four recipes: earthy beet hummus, thyme and roasted garlic cashew cheese, radish green hemp pesto, and maple citrus candied nuts.

Our recipes would be at home on any snack board, or are great as a stand alone option. Feel free to use them on your board, or keep these three tips in mind to build your own version. View the snack board as a canvas on which you can flex your creative muscles.

Choose a Variety of Options:

Variety is the spice of life, or so the old saying goes, and it is essential when assembling a snack board. Choose not only a variety of items to place on your board - fresh produce, cheeses (or non-dairy options), meats, crackers, nuts, seeds, and spreads - but a variety of textures and flavours as well. Appeal to the 5 tastes by featuring a combination of savoury, salty, sweet, bitter, and sour items. You can add the crunch of raw vegetable crudités while featuring soft pickled ones, or a bevy of fresh fruits with a tangy fruit chutney.

Choose a Theme:

Build your board around items for a holiday, event, season, or a regional cuisine. Is it spring time? Load up your snack board with in-season items like fresh radishes, radish green pesto, and shaved asparagus. Is it summer? Break out the grill and feature loads of grilled in-season veggies like corn and bell peppers. Do you love Mediterranean food? Try beet hummus, marinated artichoke hearts, or harissa roasted chickpeas.

Choose Colour:

When in doubt loading up your board with an assortment of brightly coloured fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits is sure to appeal to our tendency toward eating with the eyes. They are not only packed with flavour, but fibre and phytochemicals that are beneficial for disease prevention. It’s a win-win situation.

Better Snack Board Recipes:

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Beet Hummus:

Beet hummus is a nice break from traditional hummus and lends a rich, earthy taste and a pop of colour to your board. We even experimented and used a bit of smoked tahini from Parallel Brothers in our hummus (local for you Toronto folks).

Ingredients:
1 medium cooked beet
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 15 oz can chickpeas
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to garnish
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp cumin
sea salt, to taste
¼ cup ice water, as needed to thin

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except the ice water in a high-speed blender or food processor, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed. While still running, drizzle in ice water until the hummus has a smooth, creamy consistency.
2. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped herbs.

Radish Green Hemp Pesto:

If you buy radishes with the greens still attached, this hemp pesto is an incredible way to utilize them and avoid the compost bin. Yes, radish greens are edible! They tend to be incredibly sandy, so make sure to rinse thoroughly to clean off any grit.

Ingredients:
1 bunch radish leaves, thoroughly washed and dried
2 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup hemp seeds
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ lemon, juiced
sea salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed.

Tip: If desired, you can add a ½ cup of basil to this recipe to get more of a traditional pesto taste.

Roasted Garlic and Thyme Cashew Cheese:

This is an excellent option to add to your board if you’re vegan or have lactose intolerance and are looking for something to fill the void of a traditional cheese. It is creamy, bright ,and herbaceous. The thyme can be swapped for other herbs if you’re looking for a different flavour profile for your board. Dill, chives, basil, or tarragon are all fantastic choices.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp lemon zest
3 cloves roasted garlic
3 tsp fresh thyme, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
water, as needed to thin

Directions:
1. Soak cashews overnight in warm water, draining and rinsing thoroughly. If you’re in a time crunch, you can soak in hot water for an hour.
2. Combine soaked cashews and remaining ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth and spreadable, scraping as necessary with a spatula.
3. Using wet hands, you can optionally roll your cheese into a log or ball, placing on a small piece of parchment or wax paper. Otherwise, place in a bowl.
4. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and cracked black pepper.

Maple Citrus Candied Nuts

These crunchy clusters are the perfect balance of sweet with a bright hint of orange. Feel free to use pecans in this recipe or substitute for walnuts, almonds, or pistachios.

Ingredients:
½ cup pecans
1 tsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp orange zest
pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and orange zest. Add in pecans (or nuts of choice) and stir to coat.
3. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, checking on and stirring them periodically.
4. Allow to cool and serve.

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If you’re racking your brain for something to make for a dinner party or a potluck, this snack board is sure to be a show stopper!

These four recipes are some of the things that we like to include, but we’d love to hear what your must-have snack board items are. Give us a shout in our comments section, or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. 

Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

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Have you ever had a plate full of sushi and feel ravenously hungry a few hours later? We love sushi, but are always looking for a way to make it more nutritious. Most rolls contain deep fried tempura and starchy white rice – not the best choices to make for blood sugar balance or disease prevention.

We were inspired to create these vibrant sushi rolls packed with cauliflower rice, raw veggies, and a drizzle of tangy tahini lime sauce. Cauliflower is a fibre-packed cruciferous vegetable that is a powerhouse for disease prevention. It’s not only delicious, but is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which can protect your cells from free radicals and inflammation.  It also contains the phytochemical glucosinolate, which has been studied for its role in cancer prevention. A study completed by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed significantly lower lung cancer risk in women who consumed cruciferous vegetables (Feskanich, D., 2000). 

These are easy to customize with your favourite fillings and are a great option for those following a grain-free diet. Make this a full meal by serving with a heap of leafy greens dressed with our Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing.

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Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls:

Sushi Rolls:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets and riced in a food processor
2 tsp coconut oil
¼ cup water
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp sesame oil
Salt, to taste
1 medium beet, peeled and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 English cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
3 green onions, sliced
6 sheets nori
Toasted black sesame seeds (optional)

Tahini Lime Ginger Sauce:
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp tamari
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fresh ginger
½ tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp sesame oil
Water, as needed to thin

Directions:

  1. Add chopped cauliflower florets to a food processor (see tip). Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Melt 2 tsp of coconut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add riced cauliflower and sauté for 1 minute. Add water and cover pot with a lid, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until completely cooked. This will allow the cauliflower to steam and become tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare remaining vegetables for sushi roll.
  4. Combine all ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl, adding water 1 tsp at a time to create a thinner texture if desired.
  5. Using a clean tea towel or a cheese cloth, drain out excess liquid from the cauliflower rice. Mix in rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and salt into the cooled rice.
  6. Lay a bamboo sushi mat flat on your counter or cutting board. Place the nori with the shiny side down on top of the mat. Spoon about 1/3 cup of rice onto the nori, spreading out evenly and leaving the bottom third of the sheet (farthest from you) bare.
  7. Place rows of your veggies in the middle of the rice. Carefully roll the top of the nori over the veggies with firm pressure. Continue to roll away from you, dabbing the farthest edge of nori with water to seal it up.
  8.  Using a sharp knife, slice each roll into 6-8 pieces. Serve with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and a drizzle of tahini lime ginger sauce if desired.
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Tips:

  1. If you do not have a food processor, feel free to use a grater to grate the cauliflower into small pieces. You can also finely chop using a knife. Prepare as usual.
  2. You can roll on top of a clean tea towel, or just use your hands if you don’t have a sushi mat on hand.

References:

Feskanich, D., Ziegler, R. G., Michaud, D. S., Giovannucci, E. L., Speizer, F. E., Willett, W. C., & Colditz, G. A. (2000). Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Lung Cancer Among Men and Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, (22).

Higdon, J. V., Delage, B., Williams, D. E., & Dashwood, R. H. (2007). Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacological Research : The Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society, 55(3), 224–236. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2007.01.009

Roasted Carrot Hummus with Herbed Flatbread

roasted carrot hummus recipe

Everyone loves to dive into a great dip but sometimes it can feel a little repetitive. An easy way to mix it up is to blend in some veggies to change the flavour and add in some extra nutrients.

Back in the fall I had the opportunity to take some (amazing) classes at The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. One of the classes was with Chef Megan Huylo who is an incredible chef and inspiration. This recipe is inspired from one of hers. After diving into Megan’s recipes, I got inspired to mix it up a little and share it with all of you.

Traditionally hummus is with tahini but with all the allergies and restrictions for kids’ lunches these days, try swapping it with something else like mellow white miso. That way you can keep it in the fridge and the kids can grab it easily for their lunches or snacks. Miso is great for many things as it is a fermented food that is very nutrient dense and can add a lot of depth in flavour to dips, soups, sauces and more.

If you’re doing this recipe for a party or event, make the dip the day before and garnish it just before you serve it. The flatbread tastes best on the day you make it.

roasted carrot hummus recipe

 

Roasted Carrot Hummus with Herbed Flatbread

For the hummus:
1 lb carrots, chopped
3-4 tbsp avocado oil, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt
pinch black or white pepper, ground
pinch of cayenne pepper
1  and 3/4 cups (one 15oz) Chickpeas or White Beans- drained & rinsed
1 Tbsp mellow white miso
1 lemon, juiced

For the flatbread:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup filtered water
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp za’tar spice
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp thyme
1 1/2 tbsp Avocado Oil plus extra for pan & garnish.

Roasted Carrot Hummus recipe

Directions:

For the hummus:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Wash and chop the carrots in equal sized pieces. Only peel the carrots if they are not organic. Place on lined baking sheet.

3. Toss the carrots with about 1-2 tbsp of avocado oil, sea salt, pepper and cayenne until everything is evenly coated. Roast for 20-25 min or until browned and tender. (Depending on the size of the carrots, cook longer if bigger).

4. In a food processor, combine roasted carrots, miso, 1-2 tbsp avocado oil, lemon juice, and cooked beans (of choice). Blend until smooth. Add 1-2 tbsp Avocado oil as needed. Save some oil to garnish.

roasted carrot hummus recipe

 

For the flatbread:

1.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together chickpea flour with filtered water, sea salt and spices. Let it rest for about 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place cast iron pan in the oven under the broiler.

3. Once pan is hot, remove with oven mitt and lightly coat pan with avocado oil and spread evenly. Pour batter into the center of the pan and level out with a spatula.

4. Return the pan to the oven and broil for 5-8 minutes until the flatbread begins to blister and brown.

5. Remove flatbread to a cutting board and cut into bit size pieces. Garnish with extra spices, sea salt and avocado oil.

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Writing and Photos by Lara Rae from The Healthy Garage

Blueberry Banana Ginger Spelt Oat Muffins

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Ever crave a muffin in the morning that's perfect for breakfast but not too sweet? We are always trying to find recipes for baked goods that won't give us a sugar rush or that shaky feeling that comes from eating something too sweet for breakfast.  This recipe is a lovely combination of spelt, oat and buckwheat that creates a flavourful, rich flour that's also still fluffy.  Buckwheat is a gluten free flour that we love to bake with, but it is very dense when used on it's own.  That's why spelt flour and oat flour give the muffins a better texture.  You are going to love the bite of candied ginger in these muffins, it pairs beautifully with the familiar sweet taste of banana and the fresh pop of blueberries.

Blueberry Banana Ginger Spelt Oat Muffins

1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
pinch of sea salt

1 cup mashed bananas (about 2)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup dairy-free milk
2 eggs

1 cup blueberries (we like to use frozen wild blueberries)
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped in small pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Mix the wet ingredients together.  Fold in the dry ingredients.  Then stir in the blueberries and chopped candied ginger.

  3. Portion out into a mini muffin tin, lined with muffin liners. Alternatively, you can bake in a normal sized muffin tin.

  4. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through and knife or toothpick comes out clean. If you're making larger muffins, they might take a little longer to cook in the center.

Blueberry Banana Ginger Spelt Oat Muffins

Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

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If this recipe had another name it would be "All the warm and fuzzy holiday feelings sauce!"  It's our warming, spiced, boost your immune system winter sauce that's the perfect combo of sweet and tart.  Cranberries, orange, and apples simmered with fresh ginger root, cinnamon and maple syrup will make your home smell so comforting and welcoming.  We love eating this sauce with breakfast, as a snack, as a healthy dessert or you can use it in any meal where you would use standard cranberry sauce.

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Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

1 bag of cranberries
1 apple, diced
1 orange, peeled and chopped roughly
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated or minced
1 cup water
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

1. Rinse off the cranberries and apple, and peel the orange.

2. Dice the apple and cut the orange roughly in small pieces.

3. Grate or mince the ginger root.

4. Combine the cranberries, apple, orange, ginger root and cinnamon in a pot.  Pour in the water.

5. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until the fruit is soft and cooked well.

6. Stir in the maple syrup.  You can mash the fruit if you prefer that it is smooth.

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