Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

My Roasted Chickpeas recipe published in alive magazine is now available online. Click on the image to view the recipe on alive‘s website. Photo credits go to alive‘s food photographers.

 

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Fruit Brulé au chocolat

Another one of my healthy dessert recipes published in alive magazine is available online on alive‘s website. Click on the image to view the recipe. Photo by alive‘s food photographer.


Banana Chai Muffins

My recipe for these Banana Chai Muffins was published in alive magazine earlier this year. Click on the image to view the recipe on alive‘s website. Photo by alive‘s food photographer.


Cranberry Chocolate Cookies

Holiday cookie season is over, but my Cranberry Chocolate Cookie recipe published in alive magazine is still available online. Click on the image to view the recipe on alive‘s website. As usual, this dessert recipe is fruit-sweetened and made with whole grain flour. Photo by alive‘s food photographer.


Hummingbird Cake

An article featuring a few healthy holiday dessert (no, that’s not an oxymoron! Moderation is key) recipes created by yours truly was published in alive magazine’s December 2011 issue. Click on the image of Hummingbird  Cake (coconut, pecans, bananas, and pineapple–a southern favourite) to get the recipe on alive‘s website. Photo by alive‘s food photographer.


Frozen Treats For Summer

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

An unfortunate accident involving my brother, my dog, and a container of chocolate ice cream got me thinking about frozen desserts earlier this week. Although I found it was still a little chilly to start eating ice-cold food, I decided to do some experimenting in the kitchen over the weekend and to come up with some healthy frozen dessert ideas to share in this column.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of frozen snacks and desserts. I don’t think I’ve eaten a commercial frozen treat since I moved to Moncton (although I have family in Moncton and have visited Moncton nearly every summer since I was born, I’ve only lived in Moncton for the past three years). When I lived in North Carolina, frozen snacks were necessary for survival on hot summer days and I ocassionally enjoyed frozen grapes and berries at snack time. However, even then I usually preferred desserts like cake or brownies (which I always make healthier than the traditional versions by using whole grain flour and fruit-based sweeteners) to ice cream treats and the like.

My goal for this column was to come up with a few frozen desserts that were healthier than the sugar-laden, super rich store-bought kind and that still appealed to me. The easiest way to do this seemed to be turning to the fruit bowl. I used bananas, apples, oranges, and blueberries to make serveral healthy frozen dessert bars.

The first bar I made was simple. Using the typical chocolate coated ice cream bar as my inspiration, I took a large banana and cut it into two lengthwise halves, coated each half in about ¼ cup melted chocolate chips, and then rolled the halves in a mixture containing equal amounts of finely chopped walnuts and cranberries seasoned with cinnamon. I was originally planning to stick a popsicle stick into each banana half before freezing it, but since I could not find popsicle sticks among the kitchen cupboards, I ended up wrapping them in wax paper instead. When I later enjoyed my creation, I was quite pleased with the taste and texture and found that the wax paper had been a suitable alternative to the popsicle sticks. Making these banana treats was foolproof, although I did have to keep a close eye on the chocolate to keep it from hardening while I worked. Bananas were a particularly good choice for freezing since they didn’t take as much time to freeze compared to the more water dense fruits I experimented with.

Although I’ve never heard of people eating frozen apple pie, I decided to make an apple pie bar after making the banana bars. I chopped a Golden Delicious apple (this is the type that is particularly good for pies) and cooked it over medium heat in a small pot containing about ¼ cup of apple juice. Once the apple was fork tender (less than ten minutes later), I mixed in some cinnamon and ginger and poured the mixture into a popsicle mold. I then added a bit more apple juice and put the bars in the freezer. The end result was delicious (but what else can you expect from a Golden Delicious apple?). The only thing I might have changed if I made these again was the peel on the apple pieces. I might peel it off in the future. That being said, I should note that the peel could be left intact without compromising the texture of the bars, especially since it contains more vitamins than the flesh of the apple.

The last bar I made with this article in mind was an easy orange blueberry bar. I mixed one chopped orange (peel removed obviously) and about ½ cup blueberries and then, after adding a little orange juice, I put the mixture in a popsicle mold and froze it. The bars were satisfying and although I was a bit concerned about the frozen orange pulp’s texture, it wasn’t really an issue.

Nutritious frozen treats are only limited by creativity. They are easy to make and even easier to eat.

 

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on May 22nd, 2010.


Lunch Box Bars

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

As the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year approaches, it is time to be proactive and to start thinking about packing school lunches again. Packing a lunch can be a pain, but it offers benefits too. If you prepare your own lunch, you can choose what to include in it.

However, regardless of what you like to eat, it’s important to keep good nutrition in mind. The Dietitians of Canada’s Healthy Lunches To Go website (http://www.dietitians.ca/HLTG/HLTG_web/content/english/health_lunches.aspx) suggests including foods from each of the four food groups (vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives). Dark green or orange vegetables, whole grains, milk or low fat milk alternatives, and lower fat meat or meat alternatives (e.g. beans) should be priviledged. Beverages and foods other than those that are included in the four food groups and extravagant portions should be avoided.

Of course, be viligant about the conditions your food is kept in before lunch. Be safe by keeping foods warm in a thermos and cold with ice packs and insulated lunch bags.

 

Below is a recipe for versatile lunch box bars, one of my favorite quick-fix lunch foods.

Lunch Box Bars

1 cup (250 mL) dried apricots

1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat pastry flour(a.k.a. white whole wheat flour)

1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

3/4 tsp (4 mL) cinnamon

1/2 cup (125 mL) add-ins (fruit, granola, etc.)

1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.

In a small pot, cover apricots with water. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer until most of the water is absorbed. Puree until smooth using a handheld blender or food processor. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and add-ins. Incorporate apricot puree and oil and press into an oiled 8″ x 8″ pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool, slice, and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

 

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on August 28th, 2010.