Sunday, May 10, 2015

Raw Hazelnut Brownies


This is my column as it appeared in the May 7th edition of The Hinton Voice. 

[Not only is this recipe raw, vegan, and gluten free… it’s also delicious.


I know, right?  How on earth could a healthy brownie made with only 4 ingredients that doesn’t include butter, sugar, or flour taste that great?  Well dear readers, I’m here to tell you that these brownies are every bit as good as their sugary baked counterparts.  In fact, this recipe satisfies even your most die-hard chocolate lovers.  Even friends of mine that despise all things healthy can’t get enough of the rich fudgy flavour of these decadent treats!

Not only do raw brownies make an excellent healthy snack, they are packed with protein (over 5 grams per brownie!) and tons of fibre (7 grams!) making them great for a pre-workout energy boost.  They are even great for breakfast, and best of all, they are very easy and quick to put together. 

The dough holds together extremely well, making them ideal for raw brownie truffles, energy bites, or even the fudgy center of a homemade ice cream cake. 

They are also great in the summer when the thought of turning your oven on is too much to bear and you’re looking for a rich and decadent treat.

These brownies are chalk full of healthy ingredients that you can not only feel good about eating, but feel great about serving your family too.]


Recipe makes a dozen brownies

Ingredients
- 1-500 g package dates
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- ¾ cup raw cacao (cocoa powder works just as well)

Frosting (double if you like lots of icing)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp raw cocao/cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, rice syrup, etc.)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk of choice

Directions

If dates are fresh, skip to the next step.  If dates are dry, soak in 1 cup warm water for 10 minutes, drain, then proceed with recipe.

In a food processor, blend hazelnuts and walnuts until fine.  Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with cocoa powder.  Set aside.

Transfer dates to food processer and pulse until smooth.  Add nut mixture and blend until ingredients are a dough-like consistency.

Press dough into a pan and chill for at least ½ hour

When dough is chilled, combine icing ingredients and using a whisk (or fork), whip until smooth.

Frost brownies and serve.

- Nutritional Info (per brownie) -
Calories – 254    Fat - 9    Carbs – 29     Protein - 5   Fibre - 7

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thai Curry Soup


This recipe appeared as a Cooking With Jax Column in the May 30th copy of The Hinton Voice. 

Thai Curry Soup

Last week 2 major things happened in my kitchen.  One, I finally perfected the Thai Curry Soup recipe that I have been working on for a couple of months now, and two, I pulled one of the most rookie kitchen mistakes of all time.

I sliced hot peppers and then touched my eyes.

After testing the recipe a couple of times the night before I decided to make up a quick batch to bring to some of my friends to try for lunch.  Just before leaving, I decided to add a couple of slices of hot chili peppers as a garnish to each bowl.  I washed my hands 3 times over, and then continued on with my morning routine.  About 20 minutes after garnishing the soup, I started to apply makeup.  Eye makeup.  You can see where this is heading…

In the nano second between my eyes starting to burn, and me realizing why they were burning, rather than thinking “oh you just touched hot peppers, stop what you’re doing now!” I somehow thought instead “nope, going to rub my eyes a little bit more to see if that helps”.  It didn’t.

I looked in the mirror and saw a glimpse my blazing red eyes just before they sealed themselves shut.  Panicking, I jumped in the shower and sprayed my eyes with water.  Nothing.  Luckily my husband was home and ran and grabbed me a bowl full of water.  I dunked my face into it and opened my eyes a couple of times, head submerged before finally being able to open my eyes just long enough to figure out what to do next.

Turns out a shot glass filled with milk cupped over the eye and blinked into a couple of times will relieve the pain almost instantly.

On the plus side, I now feel a heck of a lot safer hiking in the woods armed with pepper spray.  


Recipe makes 4 Servings

Ingredients
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 L chicken broth
- 2 cans coconut milk (I use 1 can light and 1 can full fat)
- 1 tsp freeze-dried lemongrass (or fresh if you have access to it)
- ½ pgk rice vermicelli (or rice sticks)

Toppings
- freshly chopped cilantro
- green onions
- sliced red chili peppers (hint: wear gloves!)
- chopped roasted peanuts

Directions

Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Melt coconut oil, then lightly sauté garlic and ginger.  Add red curry paste and cook for 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add diced chicken breasts to the pan and cook until no pink remains (about 6-7 minutes).   When chicken is fully cooked, stir in chicken broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  The longer you simmer the soup at this point, the tenderer the chicken will be.

Add coconut milk and lemon grass and bring back to a boil.

Finally, just before serving add rice vermicelli (this will only take a minute or two in the hot soup to soften).

Serve with a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro, green onions, and sliced red chili peppers (being careful to wear gloves of course).


- Nutritional Info (1/4 recipe) -
Calories – 285    Fat - 14    Carbs - 22     Protein - 15   Fibre - 1 
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