THE HEALTHY HAG

I COOK … I EAT … I SHARE.

Sweet and Chewy Granola Bars April 5, 2010

Always on the hunt for tasty new versions of homemade and healthy bars, I love trying newly discovered, soon-to-be classics.  These oooey-gooey-chewy sweet nuthins will dazzle your tastebuds and satisfy your sweet-tooth.  They have some great ingredients, but as with all typical granola bars, are a wee bit high on the sugar factor – so no finishing the entire batch in one sittin’ ya hear?  Well, try not too at least … and if you falter (don’t feel guilty, these things are like crack) just up the laps around the park that night, or maybe shave off a glass of vino (oh for the love of Pete why did I just say that?).

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INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup oats (not instant)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup unsalted sunflower OR pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup spelt flour (you could substitute whole wheat)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

Pinch of nutmeg OR Allspice

1/2 cup canola OR sunflower oil OR almond oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried blueberries (or whatever your fave dried berry is)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a square baking pan with parchment paper OR simply grease pan slightly.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl combine canola oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup until  smooth then stir in egg and vanilla extract. 
  4. Combine dry mixture with wet until it just incorporated then add in dried blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly, and bake bars until set (about 25-30 min). 
  6. Remove bars from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire, then cut into desired sizes and shapes and serve!
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Lentils, lentils and more lentils … oh my! March 22, 2010

I’m a lover of the lentil … have you guessed yet?  How could anyone hate these glorious little gems?  So easy to cook, so versatile, so delish, so cheap!  There are so many kinds to choose from too – keeping the boredom at bay.  So, after weeks of adding lentils to just about anything and everything (okay, I was on a bit of a bender you see), here two of my faves, that are ridiculously quick and beyond simple to compile:

QUINOA LENTIL SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dried green lentils

1 bay leaf

1 cup quinoa

1 tsp each turmeric, salt and coriander

¾ cup raisins or cranberries

¾ cup walnuts

2 green onions, diced

¼ cup fresh parsley (or half the amount dried)

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp  white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add add lentils and bay leaf to 3 cups of water and cook thoroughly (read package for specific timing).

2. Meanwhile quinoa, tumeric, coriander and salt to 2 cups of water,  bring to a boil, cover and simmer, 10-12 min.

3. Once both pots are cooked, cool then mix together.

4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt, oil and pepper,

5. Stir in dressing to main grains, then add chopped walnuts, cranberries, chopped green onion and minced parsley and combine thoroughly.

CURRIED LENTILS AND BEANS

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion

2 Tbsp veggie broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

½ cup chickpeas (canned)

½ cup mixed beans (canned) – I used black eyed peas

1 cup cooked lentils (red cook the fastest but almost dissolve completely)

1 ½ cups water

1 cup leafy greens (I used baby spinach)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Sauté onion in oil for 3 min, then add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, broth, beans and lentils, simmering covered, until ingredients are softened and flavours are well combined (approx 5-10  min).

2. Add 1 cup greens, simmer again for 2 more minutes.

3. Serve hot over rice, naan, pr pita!

 

Healthy Peach Muffins August 27, 2009

It’s that time of year again where the fruit basket on the counter and the top shelf in my fridge is overrun with peaches.  Glorious, mouth-watering, chin dripping fresh Ontario Peaches.  Unfortunately, there are only so many I can eat in a day, and so I have had to find creative ways of using them all up.  Enter baking!  These are a healthy alternative to the usually fat-laden muffin realm, and if you’re feeling like you’re not in the peach zone, you could easily swap any berry of your choice here.  The fat here is replaced mostly with yogurt, so it’s a bit friendlier to your hips and tummy.  This batch was even 100% kid approved by my discerning neighbours, 8 and 5 respectively, and by my Grandpa, 89.  Now if that’s not an endorsement, I really don’t know what is.

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour (I used 1 cup rye flour, and 1 cup all purpose – but you could use rice or chickpea flour to make this Gluten-free)

1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (you could use full fat or even peach flavoured if you want)

1/4 cup 1% or skim milk

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or even almonds)

2 cups fresh peaches, cut into very small pieces (skin on)

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350°F, and place paper baking cups in muffin pans (or lightly grease pans).

2) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.

3) In a separate bowl, combine milk and yogurt; set aside.

4) Beat eggs and sugar at high speed for about 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy, then add melted butter and vanilla and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.

5) Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture (start and finish with flour mixture), mixing only to completely combine, then stir in chopped nuts and peaches. DO NOT OVERMIX!

6) Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, and bake on centre rack for 25-30 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).

7) Remove finished muffins from pans immediately, and cool on wire rack.

peach-muffin

 

Oh-so-oat-cookies! August 6, 2009

Why OH-SO?  Well, these little gems are OH-SO guilt-free, soy-free, easy to make, can be dairy-free, and if you use non-Quaker brand oats, they’re gluten-free too!  And they’re OH-SO tasty, believe it or not. Plus, they’ve got the added bonus of the bananas, so they’re super healthy and a great way to use up any over-ripened bananas you may have lying around.


Ingredients:
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter, melted (you could also use CANOLA oil to make these dairy-free)
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats (NOT Quaker or other conventional brands, if you want gluten-free)
1/4 cup skim milk (use RICE or ALMOND milk to make these dairy-free)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp vanilla


Directions:

1) Heat oven to 350°F, then puree bananas completely, until they are runny and smooth.

2) Thoroughly mix ALL ingredients together in a bowl, ensuring oats are evenly moistened.

3) Let batter stand for about 5 minutes, then drop heaping teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet.

4) Bake cookies for approximately 15-20 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned (every oven is different so keep a watchful eye near the end).

5) Move cookies to a wire rack to cool.


NOTE – if you make these super-sized, they make terrific ice-cream sammys.  Just scoop vanilla icre-cream and squish between 2 cookies, and freeze for an hour before serving.  Smother with chocolate or caramel sauce for a real gooey mess if you want.  Tastes like summer!!!

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Out-of-this-world Oatmeal PB Bars July 23, 2009

I am always on the hunt for new and exciting tasty treats that are soy-free and healthy.  I’ve experimented with dozens of batches and have adjusted my good ol’ taste buds to accommodate a lot of pasty and good-for-you-but-not-good-tasting snacks.  I was hankering for something oatmealy, healthy and transportable and came up with what according to my hubster, is by far the best thing I’ve ever made.  It’ll be tough to follow up this one with something comparable, but I love a challenge.  These bars are a great way to grab a brekkie on the go or to feast upon with a cuppa java.  They’re also dairy-free so that’s another unexpected perk too!  The batch I made yesterday has been reduced to one bar in less than 24 hours – and there’s only 2 of us to blame.  YUMMERS!

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INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp wheat bran

1 tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 cup natural-style smooth peanut butter (my absolute favourite right now is PB & Co … LOVE their stuff!)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar or sugar in the raw

1/3 cup honey

2 eggs

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries, raisins, dates or apricots (or any other dried fruit you like)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or almonds (or your favourite nut)

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray (I used a bit of oil smudged about with a brush, as all the spray oils I’ve seen have soy).

2. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, wheat germ, and ground flax in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. Thoroughly mix peanut butter, sugar, and honey in a large mixing bowl until blended, then blend in egg, oil and vanilla and beat until smooth.

4. Add reserved flour mixture to wet mixture and combine, then mix in oats, dried fruit, and nuts.

5. Scrape batter into the prepared baking dish and bake fro 20-25 min until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

6. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into bars (about 30 min minimum).

oatmeal-peanut-butter-trail-bars-af

 

“Couldn’t Be Easier” Avocado Salad March 13, 2008

This salad has 4 main ingredients, and makes one hellova healthy start to any meal. It is so quick and easy and tasty, and is rich in vitamins and creamy avocado goodness.

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Ingredients:
1 large head romaine lettuce
1 large tomato chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cut very thinly
1/2 medium avocado, cut into chunks
2 TBSP coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Dressing:
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1) Chop romaine leaves into bite size portions, and rinse in cold water (or spin lettuce dry, if you have a salad spinner).
2) Place all salad ingredients into a bowl.
3) In a separate small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss with salad greens (sprinkle with chopped walnuts, if you wish).

 

Wholesome Gluten-free muffins January 12, 2008

Yes, I am a vegetarian, and yes I try to eat as cleanly as possible. That means organic, high in protein, low in caleries and bad fats, and tasty. Often a hard combo. Throw in that I often cook for gluten-free friends, and I am allergic to soy, and it’s next to impossible to please all. Did some playing around tonight, and ended up with some very yummy healthy muffins. A bit of an oxymoron, but here’s the recipe to try for yourself.

PREP TIME: 15 Min
COOK TIME: 20 Min
READY IN: 35 Min
Recipe yield: 15 muffins
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INGREDIENTS
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup hemp flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup oat bran (omit if really really gluten sensitive, and add more rice flour)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup skim milk (or soy or rice milk if dairy free)
2 eggs, beaten (or egg subsitute if vegan)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sunflower or almond oil
2 apples, peeled, shredded
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped mixed nuts (I used walnuts and sunflower seeds)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Add the milk, eggs, vanilla and oil; mix until just blended.
Stir in the apples, raisins and nuts.
Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake at 350 F (175 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.