To kick off November I am sharing a tasty snack recipe that I like making a variation of at least once a month. These date based energy bites are relatively quick to make and the spicy ginger and molasses flavours are fitting for the wintery season we’re edging in to.
Am going to keep the chatter on this post short but I do want to let you know that you should totally make these and bring them to your next pot-luck event or office as a surprise treat for your co-workers (those that I work with may be getting a taste of these soon... just sayin').
Gingerbread Energy Bites Recipe
250 g soaked dates (at least an hour or more if they are quite dry)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp each cloves, nutmeg & salt
1 tbsp molasses
⅓ C each sprouted raw pumpkin seeds, chopped cashews, buckwheat groats, and rolled oats
Blend all in food processor (scraping down the sides however many time you need to get this texture). Makes about 18 small rounds.
Last week I sent out a poll through Instagram and Facebook asking which food people were most resistant to try from these options: Kimchi, Miso, Seitan and Kombucha. All four I've experimented with over the years and like to rotate them in my diet on a regular basis. The poll received mixed results from folks who were keen on them all to those that either were generally wigged out by fermented foods or knew very little about some or all of the choices. As you may have guessed by the title of this post; Miso tallied the most votes so that's where we will start to demystify and share some easy to incorporate recipes for all you lovelies out there!
To begin - What is miso? Basically it's a fermented paste that is most commonly made from soy beans but can also be made from other legumes as well as barley and/or rice. There are also many varieties in colour of miso including white, yellow, brown, red and black. Some can be quite salty while others are sweeter in flavour. Miso is not the most attractive looking product as a lumpy paste with a slightly funky smell. So it makes sense that it's a scary food. Where the hell do you start?!?
Currently I am using Amano brand Shiro Miso - which is white rice and soy beans fermented. It's lighter in colour and not too salty so I find it quite versatile. I also really like chickpea miso and I'll feature that in another upcoming post. Either way - as you can see below the paste isn't all that much to look at but I tell ya the flavour it brings to a variety of dishes is full of that je ne sais quoi umami flavour that is also great for your health!
Secondly - Miso (and all fermented products, really) is alive with microorganisms! That may freak a few people out but stay with me here, k?! It's really good for you (I promise!) and you really don't need much to start making a very positive difference in your gut health. There are many sources on the internet that you can Google for further details. One significant detail to know though is that all those tiny microorganisms in miso (and all fermented products) are not fans of too much heat. Therefore, it's best to add miso straight in to salad dressings and dips or added to dishes near the end of cooking to reap all the health benefits. There are many recipes out there where miso is cooked throughout the process as the umami flavour that miso adds is kick-ass and it works well for many dishes. But really the health benefits are toasted when fully cooking with any fermented product.
Lastly - The Japanese culture have been using miso in their diets for centuries and they have a lot of centenarians where the standard Western diet has not completely infiltrated their traditional foods. I take that information as a good enough reason for miso to be included in my diet too to get in on that longevity. Miso soup is the most common form that Japanese folks consume miso (I'm assuming this... if anyone out there knows for sure or otherwise feel free to comment below) and is likely how most Westerners have tried miso as well. Miso soup is really great but perhaps is a big leap for many to try as it looks and tastes quite different than your standard vegetable or cream soup. So with that in mind we are going to forego any soups here and incorporate miso in to recipes that could already be in your rotation but are in need to be changed up!
For today's Miso recipe we tried a simple and delicious miso glaze on a garden fresh picked zucchini! I've only tried this glaze on zucchini but I can guarantee that I will be using this on other grilled veggies this summer. I happen to be house/dog-sitting as I'm writing this and my friends' house has a great south facing backyard and a wonderful garden. Since they're gone for nearly two weeks there's been a bunch of growth and I'm enjoying the benefits of fresh zucchini today!
While enjoying a brilliant sunny day I figured I'd do all the prep and cooking outside! Minimal ingredients and took all of 10 minutes to prep and cook once I had everything all set and the BBQ heating up. Since I was only cooking for myself I only prepped
So without further ado here's the recipe!
Miso glazed grilled zucchini
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (or safflower oil)
1 zucchini, cut in to wedges (as shown above)
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp maple syrup (honey or agave would do well here too)
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
splash of water to thin the glaze
1 - Heat grill to medium-low heat
2 - Brush all sides of zucchini wedges with coconut oil
3 - Grill wedges for 2-3 minutes per side
4 - While zucchini is grilling prepare the glaze
5 - Whisk to combine miso paste, tahini, maple syrup and Worchestershire sauce in a bowl. Add a splash of water to thin out the glaze to your desired consistency.
6 - Once zucchini wedges have been grilled on all sides remove from grill and brush with glaze. Reserving some for dipping as well.
7 - Eat and enjoy!
Now this amount of glaze was plenty for these six wedges with extra for a side dipping sauce. However, since the ratios are so simple this recipe would be really easy to make in a larger batch.
So - do you think you'll try this? Is there a way you've heard of miso being used before that you'd like some help with? Let me know in the comments :)
I'm apparently in love with chia seeds at the moment as I currently have both black and white whole seeds in my fridge as well as a package of pre-ground chia! So there may be a few more chia recipes coming... and why the heck not, right?! They are tiny powerhouses of nutrients, a whole source of plant based protein and full of awesome omegas.
Although I have made chia jams in the past and the flavours have been fine I never really liked the texture of the whole seeds in the jams. I don't know why I never thought to use ground chia instead but now that I have a package to use it became so obvious!
Last night, I wanted to celebrate my first sale of Tonish Concepts wreaths (check them out on Instagram @tonishconceptsyyc - hopefully will figure out a website soon!) with a few new recipes. I remembered watching a YouTube video from French Guy Cooking (he's awesome and oh so Parisian adorable ;)) for different ways of using rice paper wrappers with one way being apple pie rolls. Brilliant! I had all the ingredients so figured I'd gave it a shot. While in the process of starting to prep the apples I got the idea of making a dipping sauce for the rolls and a chia jam seemed like a good idea!
The apple pie rolls didn't quite turn out as I had hoped (I think I needed to soak the rice papers a bit longer...) but that just means I get to try again! However, the jam turned out REALLY good... so needed to share right away.
But... how would I photograph the jam without making it look like a blob of unknown content? Make some bread to showcase the goodness of course! So this morning I made a quick loaf of Traditional Irish Soda Bread (thanks to Gemma Stafford over at Bigger Bolder Baking for sharing her Mom's recipe!). I used chilled coconut oil instead of butter and rye flour instead of whole wheat (it's what I had). I likely could've baked the loaf for a few more minutes as it is just the slightest bit doughy in the bottom quarter of the loaf but I suspect it's a necessary elevation adjustment (Calgary is over 1,000 m above sea-level and all...) but it turned out pretty great otherwise and was the perfect pairing for this chia jam :))
Mixed Fruit Chia Jam
2 cups mixed fruit (I used mostly frozen (thawed though) and added about a half a chopped Granny Smith apple as well)
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp ground chia seeds
1 - In a skillet on medium heat add coconut oil and once melted add in mixed fruit. Stir the fruit and coconut oil together and once the mixture reaches a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to maintain the low simmer and start squishing a few of the fruit pieces to help make the mixture a bit more jammy (real word?) with the back of the spoon.
Note - My fruit mixture had whole strawberries. I removed them and quickly puréed them in the Magic Bullet (could just use a blender or simple mash them in the pan) so there weren't huge chunks of fruit in the final product.
2 - After about 2-3 minutes of gentle simmering add in a tablespoon of maple syrup and stir through fruit mixture. Now is the time to taste for sweetness. Everyone's fruit mix could be different so start with less added sweetener and adjust as needed.
3 - Turn off the heat and sprinkle two tablespoons of ground chia and stir in to the fruit mix. Depending on the liquid content of your fruit mix you may need to add the third tablespoon of ground chia. The mixture should start to thicken relatively quickly and will thicken even more as it cools. If it's still runny after cooling just add a bit more ground chia until it's the right consistency for you.
4 - Pour the fresh made jam in to a mason jar or reused jam/peanut butter glass jar. It's really great warm but wait until it's cooled a bit before adding a lid and refrigerating. Should keep for a week or so... however, fresh jam rarely lasts that long in my kitchen with a fresh loaf of bread. Haha!
It's that simple! Now you need to make some quick chia jam and share your pictures with me :) I'd love to see what fruit mix you use and what you use it on!
1 - It's delicious. Granted I will eat nearly anything. However, these little seeds are excellent vehicles of flavour since they themselves have no flavour so this allows for creative flavour combos... although, I usually lean towards the slightly sweet for the puddings.
2 - It's a portable and make-ahead friendly! A few tablespoons in a mason jar with some almond milk and any extra flavour add-ins and you are on your way to pudding goodness. I usually make a few jars on Sunday night and leave them in the fridge for quick morning breakfasts, a midday snack or a tasty dessert if any last until the end of the week.
3 - Nutrient dense super food! These little seeds have a lot packed in to their tiny packaging. High in protein, fiber, omega-3, iron, magnesium and plenty more. Top off with add-ins like fresh or dried fruits, nuts and seeds and you've got yourself a really great combination of energetic fuel!
4 - They make an excellent egg replacer for baking! Just combine 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, let sit for 5-10 minutes and you now have an egg replacer for cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or sweet breads! Sometimes I combine ground chia and flax seeds for an ultra nutrient dense egg replacer for baking too.
5 - They can be used to make a jams that do not require commercially produced pectin and the ridiculous amount of sugar needed to make the pectin work. Just berries of your choosing, a bit of sweetner (I like maple syrup or local honey) and chia seeds! Here's one of my favourite recipes from Oh She Glows :)
This is how I make my chia puddings:
Chocolate Chia Pudding
4 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1 tsp camu camu*
1 tsp non-gmo soy lecithin**
1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
1 tbsp maple syrup (honey or agave works too)
Toppings: sliced fruits, chopped nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, etc.
1 - Combine first six ingredients in a straight sided mason jar. Screw on lid and give it a good shake to mix all the dry ingredients together.
2 - Add milk and sweetener, replace lid and shake well.
3 - Remove lid and using a spoon or small spatula scrape down the sides of the jar to ensure everything is on the liquid.
4 - Replace lid again and let sit for 30 minutes or place in fridge and use within 5 days.
5 - When ready to eat just remove lid and place whatever toppings you'd like on top, mix and chow down. Or pour in to a bowl for added pretty presentation points ;)
*Camu camu is totally optional. I've recently been adding this to my chia puddings for additional vitamin C and antioxidants. Found it at The Light Cellar here in Calgary.
**Non-GMO soy lecithin is also totally optional. However, adding a lecithin add-in is something you may want to consider as a neurotransmitter it aids in memory retention (among many other benefits)! Another great find from The Light Cellar here in Calgary.
Do you include chia seeds in your daily/weekly diet routine? How about baking with it? If you haven't tried it before do you think you may give it a shot? Let me know in the comments or send me a direct message if you have any questions! Enjoy :)
I recently learned about Chinese tea eggs and my mind was spectacularly blown. It's a relatively simple double technique that only special requirements are time and a bit patience. If you're a fan of something savoury and different to mix up your protein intake or better yet for serving on Halloween these will do the trick... pun intended ;) haha!
Spooktacular Devilled Eggs
1 dozen eggs
1 - Place all eggs in to a pot of sufficient size and fill with water to cover by about an inch.
2 - Cover and bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil for about 7 minutes.
3 - Turn off heat and let eggs to sit in hot water for 3 more minutes.
4 - Remove eggs to a strainer and discard of the water.
3/4 C soy sauce or tamari
3-4 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole coriander
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 tsp whole peppercorn
2-3 black tea bags
Water to cover
1 - Since the freshly boiled eggs will likely still be quite hot use a clean kitchen towel or oven mitt to hold the egg. Then with the back of a spoon crack the eggshell all over to have generally even cracking. Once cracked place egg back in to the pot. Do this to all the eggs.
2 - Add rest of the ingredients to the pot ensuring everything is fully emerged in this new sauce.
3 - Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a rolling simmer and set a timer for 60 minutes.
4 - Check once in while to ensure all the eggs are still fully submerged.
5 - After the hour, turn off the heat and leave eggs in the sauce until room temperature. Once fully cooled move pot to the fridge and let the eggs continue to soak in the sauce for at least overnight. However, the longer they are left in the sauce the further the flavour will penetrate the egg white even more. They can certainly start to be eaten right away but I highly suggest leaving them for as long as you can. I actually let some sit for a week and the flavour was AMAZING!
This is where you can just use the eggs sliced on top of a salad or just straight from the shell in to your mouth... However, for added entertainment value here's how I devilled them:
2-3 tbsp olive oil (may need more or less depending on dryness of yolks and personal preference)
2-3 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2-4 tsp dijon or yellow mustard (your call)
1/2-1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
smoked paprika for sprinkling on top
Chives for extra fancy looking eggs
1 - Gently peel all eggs and slice lengthwise.
2 - Remove all yolks to a bowl and place all white on a nice serving dish.
3 - Add ingredients to yolks (using lesser quantity options to begin) and using a fork mash all the yolks together until everything is smooth.
4 - Taste the mix and adjust seasonings to your preference.
5 - Using two spoons or a piping bag divide the yolk mixture among all the egg white halves.
6 - Sprinkle each with a small dash of smoked paprika and place a small slice of chives in to each one for an added Halloweeny touch.
Not too hard to make at all and the end results are unlike anything I've made before. So tasty and I'm pretty sure I'll make these year round, just cause.
Now over to you lovely readers! Are you going to give these a try?! I sure hope you do and let me know how they turned out for you :)