Popcorn!

popcorn-nutritious snack!.jpg

Do you enjoy popcorn?  Just say the word and I am taken back to childhood; my Mom heating oil in the pan and popping corn on the stove, then adding lots of butter and salt.  There isn’t a better movie snack than popcorn with that satisfying crunch.

Done right popcorn is a healthy, nutritious snack.  Popcorn is high in fibre and polyphenols which are a group of antioxidants that protect the heart and reduce the risk of cancer.  Popcorn popped at home has no preservatives or artificial flavours and you can control the amount of butter and salt which are added.  Recipe follows!

Microwave popcorn, on the other hand, has a dark side.  Yes, you can get low fat, low salt, buttery popcorn, but it comes at a price.  The bags of microwave popcorn are often lined with chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  PFOA is also used in Teflon and other materials such as pizza boxes.  It is linked to liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer and infertility.  The chemicals in the bag lining vaporize and migrate into the popcorn while it is in the microwave. 

As if that isn’t bad enough, popcorn with artificial flavouring is also a concern.  Diacetyl is one such chemical used for its artificial butter flavour.   Diacetyl is known to cause a rare type of lung disease among workers in microwave popcorn factories.  While many manufacturers no longer use diacetyl in their products, it is replaced with other artificial flavours which can be just as harmful.  Gotta love that buttery smell!

Why take your chances?  Make your own popcorn:  do it the old-fashioned way my mother did;  use an air-popper; or if you want the convenience of microwave popcorn try this:

Recipe:

In a brown paper lunch bag, combine ¼ cup organic popping corn with ¼ tsp of sea salt, you can add butter or oil at this time or after cooking (the bag will become greasy, if added now).  Fold the top of the bag a couple of times.  Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sound of popping slows, being careful not to let the popcorn burn.  Open the bag carefully, because steam will have built up. 

If you haven’t added butter, coconut oil or olive oil, add it now.  Change up your popcorn up by adding spices to it:  cinnamon, chili powder, curry or dill all give popcorn their unique flavours.  Enjoy!

Grain Free Cinnamon Apple Granola - Paleo, SCD, GF Friendly

Today, I am sharing my family's favourite granola recipe.  It is a recipe I came up with while experimenting with raw foods several years ago and it stuck!  It, along with a few other raw recipes are among our faves.  While this recipe may appear lengthy it is well worth the effort and I often double or quadruple the recipe and freeze it.

Grain Free Cinnamon Apple Granola - Paleo, SCD, Gluten free

Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola

  • 3/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cup almonds*
  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts*
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans*
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds*
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds*
  • 1 cup raisins

1.  To begin soak all nuts and seeds in water for 6-8 hours.  Read below for the reason, or skip this step and move on to step 2. 

2.  Pulse nuts in batches in a food processor just until chunky, pouring into a large bowl when done.  Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and raisins to the bowl.  Mix honey, apple, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in food processor until smooth. Pour the honey, apple mixture over the nut mixture and stir until well-combined.  Hating to drag out the food processor, I often chop the nuts coarsely with a knife and whir up the honey/apple mixture in the blender!

3.  If you have a dehydrator, spread onto screens and dehydrate @ 115 F for about 36 hours.  Remember you must re-dry the nuts and seeds as well as drying the honey apple mixture. 

4.  If you do not have a dehydrator, bake at a very low setting to dehydrate nuts and set honey apple mixture.  As I have never dried this granola in the oven, I am unsure how long it will take.  (My apologies!)

 Note about nuts and seeds:

Before making this granola, I always soak the nuts and seeds.  Why you ask?  Well for a number of reasons.  When you soak nuts and seeds you reduce and remove the amount of phytic acid* found in them, help to neutralize enzyme inhibitors and make the nutrients found in the nuts and seeds more readily available.  

*phytic acid found not only in nuts and seeds, but in grains and legumes as well, binds to minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium and chromium in the intestine and carries them out of the body instead of into the system where they are needed. 

Grain Free Banana Bread - GF, Paleo, SCD and delicious!

Grain Free Banana Bread - GF, Paleo, SCD

 

Looking for an awesome banana bread recipe?  Look no further, here it is!  No grains, no added sweetener just fluffy great tasting banana bread.  This one is a hit in our house. Originally from Civilized Caveman, I have altered this recipe to make it legal for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as well as caveman or anyone who wants to eat gluten free! 

 

 

 

Grain Free Paleo/SCD Banana Bread

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 4 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder (omit for SCD)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a 9x5 pan with parchment paper (amazing product) or grease pan well. 

2.  Mash bananas and combine with eggs, nut butter, butter or coconut butter and vanilla.  Mix well.

3.  In a smaller bowl stir together coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder (if using) and sea salt.  

4.  Add dry ingredient to wet, mixing well to combine.   

5. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy! 

Mango Fruitsicles

Frozen Mango on a stick

While on vacation in Victoria on Canada Day this year, I kept seeing people walking by with a frozen mango on a stick.  "Yum", I said to my family, "I want one of those".  While I never found the vendor, the thought stayed with me throughout the trip.  Mangoes are high in vitamin A and C and contain a host of other beneficial nutrients, you can't say that of a popsicle!  

This is such an easy, refreshing treat on a hot day!  While I am sure you can use a popsicle stick to make these, I used a fork, thinking it may be sturdier.  Peel your mango, place a fork or popsicle stick into the mango beside the pit, for children you may want to use mango halves, wrap in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn, allow to freeze and voila!  A frozen treat for a hot afternoon!  Enjoy!

Thanks to my son Zach for being the mango model even headless!

Roasted Chickpeas 3 Ways

Healthy Snacks, Roasted Chickpeas, High Fibre, High Protein, Lowers Cholesterol, Garbanzo Beans, Gluten-free, 

In my quest to find a healthy, crunchy, tasty snack to replace potato chips, I kept coming across recipes for oven roasted chickpeas.  So, beside the taste and crunch factor, I had to try them for a number of reasons:

Chickpeas are high in fibre and protein, and they have a low glycemic index.  This means they will keep you feeling full longer, won't raise your blood sugar, and because of the fibre may help to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol if you eat them often enough.

Not one to do things in a small way, I tried them 3 ways:

Maple Chickpeas (Makes about 1 cup)

  • 15 oz (425 grams) canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans (BPA-free can)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans under running water and pat them dry with a tea towel.

Place beans in bowl, add the olive oil, cinnamon, honey and maple syrup, stir until evenly coated. Spread the beans on a large baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, flipping once or twice until beans are crunchy and no longer soft in the middle. Test taste every few minutes until desired texture is reached.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

  • 15 oz (425 grams) canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans (BPA-free can)
  • 3-4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp virgin olive oil

Rinse chickpeas and put into a medium-sized pot, covering with vinegar. add a dash of sea salt. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let sit in pot for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Drain the vinegar off the chickpeas.  Place on a baking sheet, drizzling with olive oil, making sure to coat well.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 35-45 minutes, flipping once or twice. Keep a careful eye on them after 35 minutes of cooking to ensure they don’t burn. 

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Barbecue Spiced Chickpeas

  • 15 oz (425 grams) canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans (BPA-free can)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp barbecue spice (I use a mix from Planet Organic)
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans under running water and pat them dry with a tea towel.

Place beans in bowl, add the olive oil, bbq spice and salt, stir until evenly coated. Spread the beans on a large baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, flipping once or twice until beans are crunchy and no longer soft in the middle. Test taste every few minutes until desired texture is reached.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

The results were as expected, awesome!  They fill the crunch bill and are very tasty.  My son thought the salt and vinegar ones were the best, but I really enjoy the BBQ chickpeas.