Posts Tagged ‘superfoods’
Some time this week my son stopped eating bananas. It has happened before. Luckily the past boycotts haven’t lasted more than a week or two. However, in the short term, I have been collecting the peeled and barely eaten pieces of fruit and turning them into simple smoothies. Today’s recipe:
- H2O : 6 oz
- Hemp seeds : 2 Tbs
- Banana : 1
- Kale : 1 leaf
- Raw Honey : 1 Tbs
- Vanilla : Splash
Blend in high-powered blender and serve. If using regular blender, strain before serving. Even though my son is 19 months old, I use a bottle for smoothies(just cut the nipple hole bigger). It’s easier and less of mess than him trying to drink from a regular cup and I don’t have to ruin his sippy cups by making the holes big.
This is my favorite weather: crisp, cold, and sunny. The autumn light is dancing off the brightly colored leaves and much to my son’s delight, there are large orange gourds on nearly every doorstep. Sebastian turns 19 months today and to honor the occasion and his new absolute adoration of pumpkins, I decided to finally break out some autumnal recipes.
Pumpkin pie pudding is one of my favorite post long-run meals when the weather is chilly. Its combination of silky smooth and sweet and spicy makes it incredibly satisfying any time, but especially when you’ve worked up a good appetite! I probably eat it more for breakfast than I do for dessert.
The last two years I have made versions of pumpkin pie pudding countless times. In fact, I usually double it because I love it too much to eat just a little. I also think it gets better after a couple days in the fridge so the flavors intensify. I have a great affection for warm spices and love to grind my own. I didn’t add exact measurements because I rarely measure. I just like to shake and taste. Mix your own favorites and enjoy.
This recipe is incredibly versatile and can be made to accommodate any number of dietary restrictions. The following version is gluten free, soy free, dairy free and technically grain free. It calls for buckwheat, which is a pseudograin and contrary to its name, does not contain gluten. You could substitute any gluten free flour or pancake mix for the starch/buckwheat. I’ve added a vegan substitution for the eggs as well. And it makes a delicious sugar free dessert!
Pumpkin Pie Pudding
- 1 15 oz. can organic pumpkin
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 eggs (or 2 Tbs chia seeds soaked 1/2 cup water- use the gelled water with or without the chia seeds)
- 2 Tbs virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
- 1/4 cup potato or tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/8 tsp pure stevia powder**
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbs cinnamon
- a few good shakes of allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves*
Blend all ingredients in a blender, or whisk together by hand. Pour mixture into slow cooker and cook on low for approximately 5 hours. (depending on your crockpot, it might take a little longer or shorter). Let cool before servings.
*You can also sub pumpkin pie spice or any of your favorite warm spice combinations. Sometimes I add in a little sprinkle of cardamom too, especially if I’m low on allspice.
**To make this recipe sugar free, just increase the stevia to taste and omit the sugar
I love sunflower seed butter, aka sunbutter. These tiny seeds are the most concentrated source of our body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant: vitamin E. Vitamin E is a potent anti-inflammatory with great cardiovascular benefits, plus it’s wonderful for your skin! Interestingly enough, some of the symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are digestive problems and nutrient malabsoption. If you are like me, the last thing you need is another factor contributing to digestive woes or anemia.
Sunflower seed butter is a great nut-butter alternative for those with allergies or people looking to diversify the nutrient content of their diet. My son’s daycare is entirely “nut-free” so I use sunflower seed butter or tahini often as a sandwich-filler.
Unfortunately most of the store bought sunflower seed butter is expensive and contains added sugar. My favorite store bought variety is the Organic Sunbutter because it’s unsweetened and very creamy. However, I almost always end up whipping up my own version of the spread using a mix of roasted and raw sunflower seeds. Trader Joe’s carries one pound bags of roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds for less than $2.00! The salted sunflower seeds often have way too much salt to make a palatable butter. You can also roast your own if you like.
My simple recipe:
- 1 lb Roasted Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds (hulled of course)
- 1-2 TBS Virgin Coconut Oil (you could sub any oil or try without as well)
Whir all ingredients like crazy in your trusty food processor. When making nut or seed butter, I’ve found that you just have to be patient. Sometimes you need a little more oil to get the spread going. You could also use a Vitamix or Blendtech type high speed blender. I prefer to use the food processor because it’s easier to get nut/seed butters out after you make them.
Samantha at Color Wheel Meals is putting together an ebook full of fun and healthy recipe ideas for kids. I finally was able to send my recipe submissions to her recently. I realized it was a great excuse to actually write down some of my favorite dishes instead of always just mixing, baking, and cooking on intuition. I am very guilty of eye-balling and not following formalized directions! This creative outlet is undoubtedly what I love most about food. Making something delicious that is at the same time nourishing is such a great feeling of accomplishment!
And what better place to exercise unrestrained creativity than smoothie-making?
So here is one of my toddler son’s favorites. Blend all ingredients together and enjoy:
- 4-5 oz water
- 1 TBS hemp seeds
- 1-2 tsps bee pollen
- 2 dates
- 1-2 oz of unsweetened almond milk
- splash of vanilla extract
- large handful of baby spinach
I got the idea for “baby shakes” from Natalia Rose’s website. She has a wonderful community forum that I joined a few years ago. Now that my baby is a toddler (he turned one at the end of March!) and drinking from a sippy cup, I thought I’d create my own little nutrient-packed smoothies.
- 1/4 Cup sunflower seeds
- 1 Cup water (filtered if you need to)
- 4-5 Frozen strawberries (organic is best, conventional strawberries have tons of pesticides)
- 1/4 Frozen wild blueberries
- 1 tps raw local honey (omit if baby is less than 1 year)
Blend the sunflower seeds with the water at high speed first to make sunflower milk. (I find this really tastey by itself). Then add berries and honey. A high-powered blender (like a vitamix or blend-tec) makes this a much smoother, less seed-filled drink. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you will probably need to strain out the seeds. I’m excited about starting smoothies and can’t wait to add some greens and avocados too!
*This probably goes without saying, but this recipe makes a yummy, nutrient-dense adult beverage as well!
Dark chocolate is my favorite dessert. Often I have a double whammy of my homemade cocoa with a few squares of premium chocolate. The irony is that I never liked chocolate until after I discovered that I was allergic to gluten. I’m not sure why, I just hated the waxy consistency and felt like it was over-dominant and overly sweet. Even as a child I always gravitated to the more subtle flavors like cinnamon or vanilla.
Actually what made the difference was all the chocolate research and tasting that I did for my cookie recipes. I became obsessed with chocolate production, with cocoa mass content, with the purity of the ingredients and with the absence of soy lecithin…. something that I very much contribute (along with low quality milk solids) to the waxiness of my childhood Halloween candies.
It’s no secret that cacao is a superfood. The bean is high in antioxidants and a delicious source of minerals… including IRON. Next time you are shopping for dark chocolate, look at the nutrition label and check the iron count. The brands vary, but all the bars that have a high cocoa content should supply a really decent amount of iron! It by far my favorite iron-rich foods… pumpkin seeds are second!
So, I thought I would share some of my favorite eating and baking chocolates…. (a note of disclaimer: the darker the better for me!) And although there are some lovely raw chocolates, they don’t have the complexity of flavor that I find from some of these amazing chocolate gurus. Here are my faves in order for least intense to most hard-hitting.
Small chocolate producer in the Bay area. These are the big chips I used in the Sift Bakery Double Chocolate cookies. They are organic and Fair Trade Certified, vegan and soy free! They have a number of other quality items too. These were my snack during long days at the bakery!
Just the right amount of bitter bite and smooooth. When this goes on sale at New Seasons, I buy a case full. This bar is truly astounding. Organic with just three ingredients: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, raw cane sugar. They have an Allergy note on the website, saying that the machines are cleaned to a very high standard. I have never had a problem with these and I am very sensitive. There are many other chocolate bars that I’ve tried and won’t eat again because of reactions, but these feel very clean to my system. Chock it up to German fastidiousness.
This company is from Seattle and it rocks. The Origin Bars all have distinct flavors, like fine wines or coffees where you feel you are tasting the nuances in the soils from different regions of the world. hmmm. And 91% is just hardcore, but not bitter. I love it. The higher the cocoa content, the less I feel like I need to satisfy the jones. No soy, no dairy, it’s beautiful!
OK, I admit that 99% cocoa content sounds extreme, and maybe it is… but this bar is sweeter than expected. The first time I bought a tiny square of it at Portland’s chocolate boutique (HEAVEN) Cacao, I was expecting it to taste like chomping on a square of baker’s chocolate. Was I wrong! The Noir Infini is an intense experience and not for the mainstream snicker’s addict… but it is a cocao-lover’s dream. In addition to a tiny amount of sugar, it contains bourbon vanilla, a hint of orange and undisclosed spices. Lucky for me I can’t taste the orange, I just taste intensity.
Here’s my cocoa recipe again:
1-2 TBS Raw Cocoa (I love Nativas Naturals)
pinch celtic sea salt
2 packets stevia (I love NuNaturals)
6-8 oz Hot H2O
2 oz Coconut Milk (like SoDelicious- I use the unsweetened)
optional: sprinkle of cayenne or cinnamon or both!
1 Cup blueberries (I use the frozen wild blueberries from Trader Joes)
Awe, my addiction has a new outlet…. of course, I’m talking about chocolate. Ian thinks I’m crazy- it’s too bitter for him (he hates coffee and IPA and Kombucha too). But, somehow my tastes just keep getting more extreme. I’ve been munching on 99% cacao bars from Michel Cluizel! They are stocked by our local gourmet chocolate boutique named Cacao. I guess you could say I’m like a kid in a candy store there. Cacao presents chocolate like fine wines, olive oils, or coffees. Maybe you could call them the Chocolate Stumptown. They specialize in thick, unbelievably rich “drinking chocolates” that almost resemble hot pudding. My favorite is made with coconut milk and exotic spices that feeds my need for cayenne laced coco-ness.