Tag Archives: tapp’s tips

Restaurant Style Tahini that Goes With Everything

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 2.41.15 AMTahini is a wonder-food. A thick paste made up of ground sesame seeds, tahini is high in calcium, and B vitamins. Tahini assists in healthy cell regeneration as well as enhancing the immune system and healthy nervous system functioning. The best part is that tahini is very easy to digest so all of the goodness it offers is absorbed by your body and available to your cells within a 1/2 an hour of consuming it.

Parsley is a highly underrated vegetable. Often resigned to being a garnish, parsley belongs on the center stage. This humble little leaf has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. It is high in vitamins (including Vitamins K and A) and minerals (including iron and potassium). Parsley is low in calories but packs a huge nutritional punch.

I use green tahini on everything. I especially love it on cauliflower, or to dip pretty much anything in. Yesterday I even poured it on some leftover brown rice noodles and it was delicious!

Green Tahini

Makes  1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Put the tahini, water, and parsley in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Add salt to taste.

Add honey if it is still too bitter. I find that when I use store bought parsley I tend to use a little honey. My home-grown variety, or one from a farmer’s market, tends to be slightly sweeter so does not require the honey.

Add a little lemon if you choose to. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. Either way it is yummy.

Have a delicious recipe you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments below! 

Originally posted on my website: Tapp’s Tips

The Closest We Can Get to Healthy Candy

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 1.19.47 PMHealthy candy? Is there such thing? Well, not exactly, but some are better than others. These Chocolate Tahini cups have the goodness of tahini going for them, along with the antioxidants founds in good dark chocolate. Yes, there is sugar, and all sugars should be kept in check, but sometimes you have to live a little.

Candy is normally packed with GMO-High Fructose Corn Syrup, preservatives, “natural” flavors and dyes. So, when this time of year rolls around, I prefer to have a healthier alternative. Rather than keep my boys away from any candy at all (which frankly wouldn’t be any fun) I make candy like these chocolate tahini cups and sour gummy bears , or I order from www.naturalcandystore.com and ‘trade’ for the candy they get trick or treating.

Chocolate Tahini Cups

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Place paper mini muffin baking cups in a mini muffin tray.

Melt a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips on the stove. It only takes a couple of minutes. Stir the chips continuously and don’t let them burn!

Spoon out @3/4 of a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each paper baking cup.

Place tray in the refrigerator. Allow to cool for @5 minutes or until the chocolate is almost hard.

While the chocolate is cooling, mix the tahini, honey and salt together in a small bowl. You can use almond, cashew, peanut or sunflower butter in place of the tahini. I chose tahini because I love it’s nutrient profile plus, I am making these for my younger son’s school which is tree-nut free.

When the chocolate is nearly hard, spoon out @1/4 teaspoon of the tahini mixture into each baking cup.

Melt the remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips on the stove.

Spoon the newly melted chocolate on top of the mixture already in the baking cups.

Smooth the surface with the side of a spoon.

Put in the refrigerator to cool for @10 minutes or until chocolate is hard.

After the chocolate is completely hard, tear away the paper baking cups.

These can be kept in the fridge or on the counter.

Originally posted on my website Tapp’s Tips.com

Do you have any favorite chocolate or candy recipes? Share them in the comments below!

How to Make the Versatile Asian Peanut Sauce

aisan-sauce-small-210x150My favorite recipes are those that you can use for multiple purposes. When you’re trying to balance home life with work or taking your kids to a million extra curricular activities – it’s good to have a few recipes that can work for several occasions. One of my favorites is the Asian Peanut Sauce. I adopted it from a website Elena’s Pantry, made a few adjustments and now my family loves it!

It’s really simple and can be used as a pasta sauce, salad dressing or a vegetable dipping sauce.  I personally use it on my grilled chicken satay or in wraps, so really it can go with most everything! The best part is that it lasts for weeks in the refrigerator so you make it once and you have it on tap for a while! Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients

Instructions

I throw all of the ingredients into a high speed blender. Because of this I don’t bother mincing my garlic or my ginger. My lovely Blendtech does it for me. If you don’t have one of these awesome machines, you will need to chop the galic and the ginger finely and then place all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously.

This sauce adds some flavor to just about any dish. Use as you wish.

Store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! Do you have any recipes that are your multi-purpose go to items? Share them in the comments below! Or let us know if you try the peanut sauce and how it works out! 

Originally posted on my website, TappsTips.com

3 Quick & Easy Vegan Snacks For Parties and Home

sauteed-mushrooms

It’s fall, which often means there is a lot of entertaining – whether it is for PTA things, football Sundays or holiday get togethers. It also means school is back in session and time is even more cramped.

It’s difficult trying to figure out something tasty but easy to make when you’re in a rush or trying to feed a lot of people. If you are looking for a good side dish or quick snack to serve, look no further! These three dishes are delicious, vegan and take less than 30 minutes to get done. Make them for yourself on the run or to feed a group!

Asian-Style Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • shiitake mushroom – 2 cups-stemmed
  • sesame oil – 1 teaspoon
  • teriyaki sauce – 2 tablespoons- San-J or my homemade sauce
  • toasted sesame oil – 1/2 teaspoon
  • garlic – 1 clove crushed
  • warm water – 1/4 cup
  • cilantro – 1 teaspoon chopped finely (optional)

Instructions:

Stem and chop mushrooms. (This is a great job for kids. They don’t need to use a sharp knife and they really seem to enjoy it. Maybe it is the act of destroying things, at which my kids are experts, but they get the job done and it takes a menial task out of your hands.)

Heat the oil in a saucepan.

Peel and either chop or crush garlic clove and add to oil.

When the garlic has turned slightly brown and gets fragrant (about 1 minute) add mushrooms.

Mix well so that the mushrooms are coated in the garlicky oil.

Add teriyaki sauce.

Mix well.

Mushrooms are super absorbent so I add 1/2 cup of warm water. Add it very slowly so that the mushrooms absorb it evenly. The flavor is coming from the oil and the sauce so you want to make sure that everything gets mixed well. You don’t want some water logged mushrooms and some over-seasoned ones.

Cook for @ 5-7 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through.

Add toasted sesame oil and mix well.

I like to garnish this dish with finely chopped cilantro or parsley because it’s pretty.

***

Vanishing Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • kale – 1 bunch, curly
  • sesame oil – 2 tbsp
  • himalaya salt – 1/2 tsp

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 300.

Cut the middle rib out of the Kale leaves. Use only the curly green part.

Cut the leaves into bite size chunks and wash well. Make sure that you dry the leaves thoroughly. If the kale is soggy when you put the oil on it it won’t crisp up.

Toss the leaves with the sesame oil. Sometimes I toss them with melted *Ghee which makes them buttery and decadent and taste like movie theater popcorn. Then salt the whole bunch while you are still tossing. Use a good quality sea salt or himalaya salt.

Spread the leaves out on the top of a baking tray; the holes will allow for air to come up from underneath and will result in maximum crunch. Don’t overload the tray. I make it in two batches. By the time the second batch is done, the first one has been demolished.

The kale reduces significantly, so don’t be surprised. When it is done it should be crispy but not overly brown. It takes about 20 minutes.

***

Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika

Ingredients:

  • cauliflower – 1 head or @3 cups
  • sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
  • paprika – 1/2 teaspoon
  • himalaya salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Chop the cauliflower into florets

Place in an oven proof pan

Toss with sesame oil, salt, garlic powder and paprika

Cover with tinfoil

Cook for @20 minutes or until the cauliflower is softish

Remove foil

Turn oven to high broil

Roast for @5 minutes or until the cauliflower gets a toasted look to it. A word of caution. Do not walk away from the oven when something is on high broil. Things burn pretty quickly at that temp. Your beautiful cauliflower can turn into burnt nub in the blink of an eye.

All recipes originally posted on TappsTips

3 Soup Recipes to Warm Up Your Autumn

beet-soup1-1024x768With summer securely in our rearview mirrors, it’s time to start preparing for cooler temperatures. Get out your jackets and scarves, but what about when you’re home?

Soup! Whether you are battling one of those transitional season colds or just want an easy to warm you up as you watch the leaves fall outside. Soups are a simple and quick thing to make in the kitchen, and so easy to turn into your own recipes. And if you don’t finish all of it in one sitting you can always freeze the rest in a ziplock bag to be warmed up later.

Here are three of my favorite soup recipes, perfect for the fall season. Better yet, all of them can be made in 30 minutes or less for those that are always on the go.

1. Beet Fennel Soup

Ingredients:

  • beet – 3 medium (about 3 cups)
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • ginger – 1 thumb-sized piece
  • fennel – 1 bulb
  • kombu – 2 strips
  • caraway seeds – 1 tsp
  • cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • tarragon – 1 tsp
  • ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • fennel powder – 1/2 tsp
  • onion – 1 medium (1 cup chopped)
  • chicken stock – 1 quart (may substitute vegetable)
  • ghee – 1 tbsp
  • coconut milk – 1/2 cup (may use soy milk or regular milk)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Scrub the beets well and then chop into 1 inch cubes. Warning – this is a messy business! While your kids might love the mess, I would avoid wearing your favorite white shirt.

Chop fennel, garlic, ginger, and onion. I am pretty rough about it. No fine dicing for me..

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the ghee (or oil) and cook on medium-high, stirring often, until the onion is transluscent.

Turn the heat down to low.

Add caraway seeds, cumin, ginger powder, fennel powder, and tarragon and mix. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add beets and fennel and mix to coat. Let that cook for two to three minutes.

Add chicken or vegetable stock and kombu. Turn heat up to medium-high and cover until the soup starts a low boil.

Make sure to check the soup often so you don’t burn it.

When the soup starts to boil then turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for about a 1/2 an hour or until the beets are soft.

Take the kombu out.

With a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Add coconut milk. Mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Butternut Squash Soup

A bowl of butternut squash soup, which is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, most notably C and the powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, which protect against heart disease, make this soup incredibly good for you too.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 3 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth. If you make it if fresh, that is great. If not, Pacific Foods makes a nice organic one.
  • 1 piece of Khombu (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Put the broth, khombu and cubed squash in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium/low and let cook for 1/2 hour. Remove khombu. Blend with a hand blender until smooth. Add salt to taste.

I usually serve it with a hearty, whole-grain toast.  I like to cut it into strips for dipping. My older son was so excited he couldn’t wait for the toast to come out of the oven.

3. Creamy Dairy-Free Carrot Soup

This soup is a nutrient powerhouse that helps our family get through the colds and flus that often derail the holiday season.

The carrots are rich in Beta-Carotene which the liver converts to Vitamin A. This is important because Vitamin A helps to rid the body of the various toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. If our livers are not functioning properly, we are more susceptible to the viruses and bacteria that make us sick. A healthy liver is needed for a healthy body, so helping it do its job is like a natural form of health insurance.

Ingredients

  • carrots – 4 cups, chopped
  • ginger – 1 thumb-sized piece
  • ghee – 1 tbsp (may use coconut oil)
  • onion – 1 large
  • apple – 1 large
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • coriander – 1 tsp
  • caraway seeds – 1 tsp
  • coconut milk – 3/4 cup
  • chicken stock – 4 cups (may substitute vegetable stock)
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions 

Chop the carrots, onions, ginger, apple, and garlic.

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the ghee (or coconut oil) and cook on medium-high, stirring often, until the onion is transluscent.

Turn the heat down to low.

Add caraway seeds and coriander and mix. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add carrots and apple and mix to coat. Let that cook for two to three minutes.

Add chicken or vegetable stock. Turn heat up to medium-high and cover until the soup starts a low boil.

Stir every few minutes to keep it from burning.

When the soup starts to boil then turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for about a 1/2 an hour or until the carrots are soft.

With a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Add coconut milk. Mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

Welcome Fall! 3 Delicious Recipes for Apple Season

red-applesThis past weekend was the autumn equinox, which means we are officially moving into fall! This is the perfect time for all things involving pumpkins, squash, cranberries, and…apples! This delicious fall fruit is packed with natural sugars, carbohydrates, and fiber – the perfect snack on its own, but also a delicious ingredient for all kinds of recipes.

Here are 3 of my favorite apple recipes for you to enjoy this autumn!

1. Apple Ginger Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

  • apple – 4 cups, chopped
  • ginger – 1 piece, about 1/2 inch cube
  • honey – 1 tbsp
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 250

Steam the apples and the ginger for about 5 minutes. I recommend steaming over boiling because you don’t want to apples to be soggy. Remember, we are taking the moisture out.

Puree the apples, ginger, and honey.

Pour into a pan lined with parchment paper. The pan I use is 9X12. Smooth the surface of the mixture with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula. Make sure that it is distributed evenly. The leather won’t cook evenly if there are thick parts and thin parts.

Bake at 250 for about 3 hours. Check it every 1/2 hour or so. When the leather is no longer mushy to the touch it is time to take it out.

The leather will be a little hard at this time. It needs to be left out for a few hours in order to soften up. When the leather has some give, cut it into strips and enjoy. It can be left out on the counter in an airtight container for weeks but, believe me, it won’t last that long.

2. Apple Lemonade

I love lemonade. The problem is that it takes a ton of sugar to keep you from puckering up when you drink it. This juice tastes just like sweetened lemonade. The joy is that it is sweetened only with apples. Sounds like a win to me.

Needless to say, this is my kids favorite juice. My younger son says that wants me to “make this all day, and all night, every day.” I don’t think I will be doing that, but it makes me feel much better giving them this juice instead of the hyper-sweetened variety.

The key is to add 1/2 a lemon to every apple you juice.

Ingredients:

  • apple – 1, cored – preferably organic
  • lemon – 1/2 – preferably organic

Instructions:

Put the ingredients through the juicer.

The reason I say to use an organic lemon is that I use the whole thing, peel and all. You don’t want the pesticides and waxy residue in your juice glass, so buy organic. (You should still rinse the lemon thoroughly before use.)

You should core your apple before juicing it. Apple seeds contain cyanide which you most definitely don’t want in your kids drink!

3. Gluten-free Vegan Apple Crumble

I love apple crumb pie. The best part of this pie is that it is so packed with good stuff that you can eat it for breakfast and not feel guilty!

Ingredients:

Crust (and 1/2 the crumble)

  • garbanzo bean flour – 3/4 cup
  • almonds – 1 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • gluten-free oats – 3/4 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • hemp seeds – 1/2 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • chia powder – 1/2 cup
  • coconut oil – 1/2 cup
  • Xantham gum – 1/4 tsp
  • salt – dash

Crumble

  • Half the crust ingredients
  • gluten-free oats – 1/2 cup
  • coconut butter (or oil) – 3 tbsp
  • crushed walnuts – handful

Pie Filling

  • apple – 2 cups, thin sliced
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
  • maple syrup – 1 tbsp
  • apple juice – 1 tbsp
  • grated ginger – 1/2 tsp

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

To make the pie crust mix all of the crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It should have the consistency of dough.

Take out 1/2 of the mixture and press it into a pie tin. You want to make sure it is thin and consistent.

The other 1/2 of the mixture will be used for the crumble mixture so set it aside for right now.

For the pie filling take the sliced apples, lemon juice, ginger, maple syrup, and apple juice and cinnamon and mix together in a bowl (I actually used my juicer and juiced 1/2 a lemon, 1/2 and apple and a piece of ginger and poured that mixture over the apples with the cinnamon and maple syrup)

We ran out of ground cinnamon so my son grated a cinnamon stick into the filling mixture. A little more high maintenance but it worked.

Put the pie filling mixture into the pie crust.

For the crumble, take the other 1/2 of the crust mixture. Add the whole oats, sugar, walnuts, coconut butter, and mix thoroughly.

Put the crumble mixture onto top of the pie. Press it down a couple of times so that the crumble stays in place.

Bake in the oven for ~45 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

How to Make Nut and Seed Milk – 3 Ways

almond-milk-set-shot-1024x768If you’re interested in finding an alternative to dairy and soy milk – or just want a delicious, creamy beverage to sip on or use for smoothies and hot chocolate – then look no further than these homemade nut and seed milk recipes!

I’m outlining almond, cashew, and sunflower seed milk, to start off, though there are certainly others you can explore. Enjoy!

1. Almond Milk

I resisted making almond milk for years. I kept hearing it was easy, but somehow, I couldn’t get my head around it. I don’t like processed almond milk, so I thought, “how good can it be?” Wow! Not only is it simple, it is delicious. To me it tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. Does it get any better than that?

Yes, it does, because it is actually really good for you too. Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E, calcium, folic acid, as well as the minerals magnesium, selenuim, phosphorus and zinc. Almonds are wonderful for maintaining skin elasticity as well as helping to lower cholesterol and being a good source of protein. Dates play a big role here too. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium and calcium and are a awesome natural sweetener.

Ingredients:

  • almonds – 1 cup, raw
  • water – 4 cups
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • himalaya salt – a pinch
  • medjool dates – 5
  • raw cacao powder – 1 tsp (optional; for chocolate milk)
  • honey – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Instructions:

Put 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl, Fill with water.

In a separate bowl put 5 medjool dates. Fill that with water.

Soak them both overnight (or for at least 4 hours)

Rinse the nuts in cool water a few times. Do NOT use the water that the nuts have been soaking in. It will make the milk taste bitter. Rinse the nuts until all of the frothy bits are gone.

Put the nuts, the dates AND the date water into the blender. Make sure to take the pits out of the dates before blending.

Add 4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of himalaya salt.

Blend

Strain the almond milk though a cheesecloth, a strainer with a paper towel, or a nut bag (yes, there actually is something called a ‘nut bag’. I can’t help but giggle when I say it) . That gets out all of the almond bits, so your milk is silky smooth.

This recipe yields approximately 4 cups of almond milk. The almond milk separates naturally, so give it a quick shake before you drink it. It will last for for 3-4 days in the fridge.

2. Cashew Milk

I think that cashews are a perfect food. They are so packed with essential minerals it hard to think of something they don’t do to benefit your health. These awesome nuts support your heart, brain, bone and nerve health. They are also good for skin elasticity as well as hair and nail strength. The best part is that they are a natural anti-depressant. In short, they make you feel good and look good. Did I mention they also happen to be delicious? Lucky us.

Cashew milk is the closest to whole milk in taste and texture. The thickness comes from the fact that this milk does not need to be strained the way that almond milk does. That also makes it much easier to make with less mess.

Ingredients:

  • cashews – raw -1 cup, soaked overnight
  • medjool dates – 4 cups pitted, soaked overnight
  • water – 4 cups
  • himalaya salt – dash
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Instructions:

Rinse the nuts under cold water until the water runs clear. Add all the other ingredients (including the water that the dates were soaked in). Blend until completely smooth.

Drink it, use it in smoothies or on cereal.

3. Sunflower Seed Milk

This one might not be for everyone. The sunflower seeds have a slightly bitter after-taste similar to that of sunflower seed butter. I tend to use it more in smoothies and on cereal. I drink it plain sometimes but my kids won’t touch it like that. “So why should I make this?” You’re probably asking. Because it is really easy, it is incredibly good for you and when you feel like it, you can turn it into a magical potion called Chocolate Cardamom Sunflower Seed Milk. For that, you will thank me.

Sunflower seeds are very high in trace minerals like selenium and magnesium. These minerals are an essential part of what keep our bones strong and our nerves calm. These seeds are also filled with Vitamin E which, like an internal sunblock, protects your skin from UV radiation. Sunflower seeds also help to sweep accumulated radiation out of your system.

I tend to leave my nuts and seeds to soak overnight. As part of my bedtime ritual, I soak whichever ones I plan to use the next day. It doesn’t take much time. You just have to remember to do it which is a task in itself. Once you’re in the habit, it is like second nature. Nuts and seeds tend to be difficult for your body to break down. Soaking them makes them infinitely more digestible.

Ingredients:

  • sunflower seeds – 1 cup, raw (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • medjool dates – 4 large (soaked for at least 4 hours)
  • water – 4 cups
  • vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
  • himalaya salt – pinch

Instructions:

Rinse the seeds under cold water until the water runs clear. Put them and all of the other ingredients (including the water the dates were soaked in) into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. It should be thick and creamy, like a milkshake.

What’s your favorite nut/seed milk? Let me know in the comments section and share your recipes!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

4 Delicious Breakfasts More Interesting Than Cereal

kefir-blue-1024x768No one can skimp on breakfast. My son’s kindergarten teacher said that she could tell which kids had eaten a good, nutritious breakfast. They were the ones who were still alert and interested at 10:30am circle time and kept right on going until lunch. I had to come up with a quick and low maintenance way the get my kids to eat a nutritious meal– and quick! Here are 4 easy, tasty, and nutritious breakfast recipes that are way more interesting – and healthier! – than breakfast cereal or any other average morning fare.

1. Coconut Milk Kefir

Ingredients:

  • coconut milk – 2 cups, full fat
  • Body Ecology Kefir Starter – 1 packet

Instructions:

Shake the cans before opening them. This mixes the milk and the whey so that it is easier to handle. Empty the contents of the coconut milk cans into a clean quart mason jar.

Empty one packet of the kefir starter into the coconut milk. Mix well with a wooden (not metal) spoon.

Cover with a towel or a plate, but leave some room.You want to make sure that air can get into the jar. If it is airtight it will not turn into kefir. Let it sit for @36-48 hours. When it starts to thicken and has a mild “tang” it is done. The colder the place it is stored, the longer it will take and vice versa.

When it is sufficiently “kefired,” put an airtight lid on it and keep it in the fridge. It will keep for a few weeks. It will thicken up more when it is cold taking on the consistency of yogurt.

I use it in place of sour cream, as a fruity yogurt drink, as a yogurt topping on my berries, with apple crumb pie, as a base for smoothies, as a yogurt and  as a “cream” for soups.

2. Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • chia seeds – 1/2 cup, ground
  • hemp seeds – 1/2 cup, ground
  • coconut flour – 1 cup
  • garbanzo bean flour – 1 cup
  • coconut – 1/2 cup, shredded
  • Xantham gum – 1 1/2 tsp
  • baking powder – 1 tsp
  • himalaya salt – 1/2 tsp
  • bananas – 3 mashed ripe
  • vanilla – 2 tsp
  • coconut oil – 1/2 cup, melted
  • maple syrup – 1 cup
  • almond milk – 1 cup
  • dark chocolate chips – dairy-free 1/2 cup

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Fill muffin tins with baking cups or spray pan with a non-stick spray

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well.
Mash bananas in a medium size bowl with the back-side of a spoon.

Add almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips (I use a dairy-free one called Enjoy Life or you can substitute raisins, dried cherries, walnuts, or any other add-in that you think would be yummy). I add chocolate to everything I can.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Fill about 3/4 of the way because they will rise. I like to sprinkle a little bit of coconut sugar onto the tops of the muffins before I put them in the oven.

Bake for around 25 minutes.

These are a great breakfast, a lunchbox or snack. Give one to your kids when they are saying “When’s dinner going to be ready?” and it’s still 1/2 an hour away. It’s just enough to satiate them but not so much that it spoils their dinner.
These muffins are packed with Omega 3’s, potassium, fiber and protein. Not bad for a little muffin.

This recipe yields about 50 mini muffins which is equal to approximately 10 regular sized ones.

3. Oat and Almond Breakfast Bars

Ingredients:

  • garbanzo bean flour – 2/3 cup
  • Xantham gum – 1/4 tsp
  • chia powder – 1/2 cup
  • hemp seeds – 1/3 cup, ground to fine flour
  • gluten-free oats – 1 cup, ground to a fine flour
  • almonds – 1 cup, raw, ground to a fine flour
  • coconut – 1 cup, shredded
  • himalaya salt – pinch
  • figs – optional
  • jam – optional
  • coconut oil – 2/3 cup
  • maple syrup – 2/3 cup

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Heat the coconut oil until liquid. (At room temperature it has the consistency of margarine.) Add the syrup and the oil to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Line a 7X11 baking tray with parchment paper. You’re going to have to use your hands to get this flat and even in the tray.

This mixture does not rise and it does not melt. Whatever shape it has when it goes into the oven is exactly the shape it will have when it comes out.

Bake for 20 minutes. Do not overcook. It will become too hard. The center should remain soft.

Let it cool before you cut it into squares.

I keep the bars in an airtight container on the counter. When you are ready to eat them, cut them in half and add whatever filling strikes your fancy. I rotate between strawberry jam and figs but it can be whatever filling is appealing to you. To make the fig filling, soak a few dried figs overnight, and then blend until smooth.

I give my son 2 bars and a bowl of berries most mornings. This combination makes a delicious and nutritious breakfast that requires very little effort. Works for me!

4. Flax and Sesame Seed French Toast

Ingredients:

  • sesame seeds – 1/3 cup
  • flax seeds – 1/3 cup
  • natural organic sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Udi’s gluten-free chia millet bread – 3 pieces
  • egg – 1
  • fresh berries – 1 cup
  • maple syrup – dollop
  • sesame seed oil – 1 tablespoon

Instructions:

In a dry saucepan, toast the sesame and flax seeds until they begin to pop.
Put the seed mixture in a grinder or a blender. This mixture can be kept for up to 6 months in the freezer, so you can grind a large quantity and save it for future use.

Combine the seed mixture with the sugar. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl wide enough to fit the the bread. Soak the bread in the egg, then, coat it with the seeds and sugar.

In a hot pan, cook the french toast with 1 tablespoon of good quality oil for high heat. I use Sesame Oil. Cook until the bread has got a nice brown crust on both sides. It should take about 2 minutes per side.

Serve with berries and maple syrup.

Enjoy!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

4 Cooking Inspirations for Labor Day!

pesto-small-1024x682Labor Day is just around the corner! Here are 4 delicious and simple recipes to inspire your cooking energy, perfect for a late summer, daytime feast. Enjoy!

1. Basil and Sorrel Pesto

I love pesto. The best part about it is that it can be made out of anything you want – or happens to be in your kitchen. The basic rule is that pesto must have oil, a vegetable or herb, and a nut. Personally, I think garlic is almost always a must, but those who don’t like garlic can skip it.

That said, my favorite new combination for pesto is basil, sorrel, garlic and pine nuts. The combination is so fresh tasting, it’s like summer on a fork. I have been using this pesto recipe on everything: pasta, in sandwiches, drizzled on roasted vegetables, as a dipping sauce, or just straight up with a spoon. Yes, it is that good….

Make a batch and keep it in your fridge. It will stay fresh for about 4 days.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil – 1/2 cup
  • basil – fresh, 1/2 cup
  • sorrel – fresh, 1/2 cup
  • pine nuts – 1/4 cup
  • lemon – juice of one
  • agave – 1 teaspoon
  • garlic – 1 medium clove
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor, and enjoy with pasta, sandwiches, or veggies (like the cauliflowers, up next!).

2. Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika

I am having a love affair with paprika, specifically sweet Hungarian paprika. I am finding myself making up recipes whose sole purpose is a paprika delivery system. Obsessed? Perhaps, but as obsessions go, this is a good one.

This beautiful fiery red spice is high in Vitamin C, as well other essential vitamins, and is a storehouse for many phytonutrients. Paprika boosts circulation, works as an antibacterial and boosts the immune system with a good dose of carotenoids.

Let’s not forget the paprika’s delivery system; cauliflower. This great cruciferous vegetable has a similar nutrition profile to that of broccoli and cabbage. It’s packed with anti-oxidants and b vitamins as well as a host of essential minerals. Cauliflower is high in fiber but low in calories, so go ahead, have a second helping.

Ingredients:

  • cauliflower – 1 head or @3 cups
  • sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
  • paprika – 1/2 teaspoon
  • himalaya salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Chop the cauliflower into florets

Place in an oven proof pan

Toss with sesame oil, salt, garlic powder and paprika

Cover with tinfoil

Cook for @20 minutes or until the cauliflower is softish

Remove foil

Turn oven to high broil

Roast for @5 minutes or until the cauliflower gets a toasted look to it. A word of caution. Do not walk away from the oven when something is on high broil. Things burn pretty quickly at that temp. Your beautiful cauliflower can turn into burnt nub in the blink of an eye.

3. Fish Sticks with Chia and Hemp Seeds

What I love most about this recipe is that it takes the typically unhealthy part of the fish stick and turns it into something super healthy. The chia seeds don’t add much flavor, but they pack a huge nutritional punch.

Fish is an excellent source of low fat protein. White fish is rich in B vitamins which help eliminate toxins from the body and keep the skin, nervous system and red blood cells healthy.

The chia seeds are the real powerhouse here. They are rich in Omega 3′s,  calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber, protein, selenium, antioxidants, folate and lingans among others. Basically, they are good for everything. Any place you can add chia to your diet is a good thing.

The hemp seeds also offer a number of phytonutrients, amino acids, fatty acids, and protein along with a balance of Omega 3′s and 6′s. Mostly I like them because they add a slightly nutty flavor which I really like.

These healthy fish sticks can be made anytime and reheated in a toaster oven. They keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. They also make a good lunchbox item.

Ingredients:

  • white fish – 1/2 lb. Sole, tilapia or flounder will work. It’s best to use wild-caught fish.
  • breadcrumbs – 1/3 cup – I use organic gluten-free ones.
  • parmesan cheese – 1/3 cup
  • chia powder – 1/3 cup
  • salt – 1/4 tsp
  • egg – 1
  • milk – splash
  • hemp seeds – 1 tbsp (optional)
  • oil – 2 tbsp of canola oil or other good high-heat oil

Instructions:

Combine the breadcrumbs, chia powder, parmesan cheese, hemp seeds and salt in a shallow bowl.

Beat the egg and milk with a fork in separate  bowl.

Cut the fish into nugget size pieces.

4. Fresh Cherry Snow Cones
This idea came from George, my 6-year-old and up-and-coming chef. We had been on a play-date where they had been given those brightly colored frozen ice sticks. When the boys asked if we could buy ice pops like that I said no, they are nothing but sugar and dye, but maybe we could come up with another idea. George piped up and said “I have an idea! Why don’t we use fruit juice instead of the sugar and dye? We can just blend it with ice.” Well, one thing led to another as we experimented with shaved ice and fruit and, presto, the way-cool Fresh Cherry Snow Cone was born!

I used cherries because I happened to have some nice looking organic ones and I thought the color would be bold. Keep in mind that this same idea can be translated into any fruit or fruit combination. I am currently looking forward to making a lemon and ginger one, or a kiwi and pear, or a watermelon basil…. They all sound so good I can’t decide.

Makes 4

Ingredients:

  • cherries – 1/2 cup pitted
  • honey – 1 tablespoon
  • ice – 4 cups
  • himalaya salt – a pinch
  • water – 2 tablespoons

Instructions:

Put the ice in the blender. I use the ice crush mode. Blend until all the ice is broken into fine pieces.

Scoop the ice into 4 bowls and set aside.

Put the cherries, honey, salt and water into the blender and blend until smooth.

Pour equal portions of the cherry syrup over the ice and serve immediately.

 

What will you be cooking this Labor Day?

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

3 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Meals in 30 Minutes or Less!

pizza-sliceAs a nutrition counselor and a mom, I understand how overwhelming it can be to prepare healthy, wholesome meals that kids and parents alike will enjoy. Because who has time to labor in the kitchen for hours when there are a million other things to do?

Here are 3 delicious – and healthy! – recipes you can whip up in 30 minutes or less. Enjoy!

1. Pasta with Cherry Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

Prep time 5 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes (including pasta)

Ingredients:

  • cherry tomatoes – 2 cups
  • sesame oil – 1 tablespoon, refined for high heat cooking
  • thyme – 1 tablespoon fresh, crushed
  • garlic – 2 cloves, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • basil – fresh, as garnish

Instructions:

Put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. I prefer a brown rice pasta but any will do.

Wash and then slice the cherry tomatoes in half.

Peel and slice the garlic very thin.

Pinch the end and  slide the leaves off of the stalks of thyme. Chop and then crush them with the flat side of the knife. This releases the flavor.

Heat the oil in a saucepan.

When the oil is hot add the garlic.

When the garlic gets aromatic (about a minute) add the tomatoes and the thyme.

Sautee until the tomatoes are soft. This will take about 3 minutes.

Add salt and pepper and serve over pasta.

I like to serve this dish with a salad. It’s quick and easy summer meal that won’t disappoint.

2. Gluten Free Chicken Satay

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • chicken – boneless 2/12 lbs
  • garlic – 6 cloves
  • agave – 3 teaspoons
  • tamari – 1/2 cup
  • ginger – 4 teaspoons
  • lime juice – 2 fresh squeezed
  • sesame oil – 1/3 cup
  • coriander – 4 teaspoons
  • black pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • himalaya salt – 2 teaspoons

Instructions:

Cut the chicken breasts into 2 inch cubes. Set aside.

Add all of the ingredients (minus the chicken) to a high speed blender and blend until mostly smooth.

Put the chicken in a shallow dish. Pour marinade on. Mix well. Make sure that the chicken is completely coated. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to cook, place the chicken on skewers. I usually use about 4 cubes per skewer.

Make sure the grill is hot.

Place on medium heat for @7 minutes a side.

3. Personal Spinach Pizza

Ingredients:

  • spinach – 1 bag (preferably organic)
  • tomato sauce – 1/3 jar
  • whole-grain pizza crusts – 2 personal size
  • oil – 1 tsp
  • dairy-free Daiya cheese – 1/2 bag

Instructions:

Wilt the spinach. You can either saute it with a little oil or steam it. Steaming is more virtuous but either will do the job. It will only take about a minute.

Blend 1/3 of the spinach with the tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” food. You can add just about any vegetable you want to it. My favorites are the ones I tend to have a hard time getting my kids to eat on their own. Bok choy, leeks and beets are some of my favorite add-ins.

Take the remaining spinach and roughly chop it.

Spread the tomato sauce on the pizza crust. Be generous about it.

Spread the cheese on top.

Bake for @10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is a golden brown.

The leftovers (if there are any) make for a very exciting lunch box item. Reheat in a toaster oven and pack in an air tight container. You get to be a superhero while giving your kids a nutrition packed meal.

Works for me!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

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