A short while back I blogged about my peach pie recipe and now I’m sharing my FIRST EVER YouTube video demo of the pie filling (that’s me in the picture…my kitchen was a mess!) It’s all shot and edited by yours truly. I’ve spent my summer vacation teaching myself how to use iMovie. To say it’s a little rougher than my usual standards as a TV executive is a MAJOR understatement. But heck, we’re living in the digital world and perfection isn’t going to be possible when I’m doing it all by my lonesome.
Peaches and summer go hand in hand. Before it’s over, be sure to take this luscious, juicy gift from Mother Nature and make something delicious!
I have never been a pie person. But, the one time of year that I become one, is in the summer. Why? That’s when peaches are in season! Apart from the fuzzy skin, a peach is perfection in my books because it tantalizes so many of our senses. The fragrance is magic and the varying shades of yellow, orange and red, speckled around the fruit make each peach a unique visual feast. But of course, it’s the luscious, juicy and sweet taste that explodes in your mouth that makes peaches SO special.
Peach Planning…Before You Start Baking!
Summer wouldn’t be the same without peach pie. So, before it’s over, I wanted to share a recipe. First off, get out there to buy your peaches a few days before you are planning to bake so they have time to ripen. When the natural sweetness of the fruit is maximized, you need less sugar for the filling.
Because of soil depletion, peaches were much richer in vitamins and minerals decades ago compared to today. Also, today, peaches often contain very high concentrations of pesticides. So, if you can, try to buy local and organic. The good news is that peaches DO still have many health benefits and different kinds of antioxidants. They are a great source of potassium and rich in vitamins A and C.
I never thought about herbs as anything but flavour boosters when cooking. But actually, herbs aren’t just good in food. Many herbs are potent medicinal plants. The ones with Latin names ending in ‘officinalis’ have a long history of great healing power. I wish I had woken up to that a little earlier when I planted my garden! Oh Well! Better late than never….and apparently it’s not too late to plant this season.
On mother’s day, my son Alex and I planted a bunch of veggies and herbs in our backyard including mint and basil. For some reason, the basil plant is going gangbusters, but, the mint….not so much. Bizarre considering the fact that mint often takes over your garden since it grows like a weed! It turns out that mint doesn’t like to be beside basil. This, according to my herbal medicine teacher. Who knew? Continue Reading
I promise you’ll like the way this healthy smoothie makes you feel
Turns out, Mom was right. But, you already knew that eating green vegetables seriously improves your health. The more I study nutrition, the more I realize that no matter how many green veggies you eat, you still probably aren’t getting enough. So don’t just eat your greens…DRINK your greens in the form of this healthy smoothie!
Life gets hectic so it’s not always easy to eat healthy. The key is organization and planning. At the beginning of each week I buy and wash a bunch of smoothie ingredients so they are ready to go. That way, it’s faster to throw them in the blender when you are rushing out the door. OR, if you know your morning is tight, put the majority of fruits and veggies in the container the night before so the next morning all you have to do is add your liquid and ice cubes and press ‘start’. Voila, done in about three minutes! I like to make enough for two servings. I drink one at breakfast and save one for a mid-morning snack. A healthy smoothie is THE simplest way to start your day on the right foot and it makes sticking to a clean eating plan SO much easier. Continue Reading
IN THE WALNUT KITCHEN, THE VITAMIX BLENDER REIGNS SUPREME!!!
I’m a convert. I admit it. And I’m here to spread the gospel. I never could understand what the fuss was about when it came to high-end blenders. Anyone I knew with a ‘Vitamix’ (or archrival brand: ‘Blendtec’) sang its praises. Why? I’d ask myself. It’s just an appliance. But, this is not just any kitchen accessory. It’s a power tool for your meals. I can honestly say that since I splurged on this pricey piece of kitchen equipment, not a day has gone by that I haven’t used it. For what? Besides making nut milks like this homemade almond milk recipe, I use this high power machine to make my breakfast smoothie EVERY morning. It’s a great gadget that helps me be healthy. (Check out my recipe for a healthy green smoothie here)Continue Reading
That’s the motto that led me to make these gluten free brownies
Ok, I know I already posted Ellen’s decadent brownie recipe a few months ago which is still my kids #1 favourite dessert. But, since I started making homemade almond milk (recipe posted last week), I’ve been left with a nagging question. What’s a girl to do with all that almond pulp? The solution: gluten free brownies. My latest obsession!
What I love about these babies is that they are a good solution to a sweet craving for a person like me who has a gluten sensitivity and they are great if you have celiac disease. They are also a little healthier than conventional brownies that use white flour, butter and white sugar. This recipe uses coconut palm sugar which is the boiled and dehydrated sap of the coconut palm. Compared to white sugar which is empty calories, coconut palm sugar is said to retain some trace nutrients from the coconut palm, like: iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to replace your vitamins and minerals with these brownies. We’re talking minimal amounts. The sugar also contains a fibre called Inulin which may slow glucose absorption and explain why coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar.
Although I get a yearning for something sweet, I don’t love desserts that are overly sweet which is why I love these gluten free brownies (depending on your sugar tolerance level, you can reduce the amount of sugar to three quarters of a cup) They are still fudgy and decadent. Cacao nibs sprinkled on top give them a nice added crunch as well. Check them out!
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed moist almond or other nut pulp
1 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed, though natural or raw will work too)
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
2-3 tablespoons cacao nibs
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9″ square baking pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the eggs, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Meanwhile, gently melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan set over a medium-low heat. Add the nut pulp and stir to combine. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the nut pulp mixture is warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. (This prevents the batter from seizing up when all the ingredients are added.)
Turn the mixer to low, and add the nut pulp mixture, stirring just to combine. Add the cocoa powder over the egg mixture and mix on low until just combined; the batter will deflate a lot.
Option: If you like an intense coconut flavour, add shredded unsweetened coconut into the batter.
Spread the batter in the lined pan, sprinkle with the cacao nibs, and bake until the brownies are matte on top, slightly puffed, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, 15-20 minutes. Don’t overbake.
Let cool completely, then lift the brownie out of the pan and cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!
Adapted from Bojon Gourmet
Adapted from Bojon Gourmet
Walnut Kitchen http://walnutkitchen.ca/
For those who want to make gluten free brownies but don’t have the almond pulp. I tried swapping the almond pulp for almond meal. It was an ok experiment. But, I found that the brownies made with Almond meal were definitley a little drier. The clear winner when doing a taste test was the batch which used the almond pulp instead of the almond meal.
That’s certainly the case with this Almond Milk Recipe
I never liked milk. The only way I could stand it while I was pregnant and trying to get some calcium was to have it in my morning decaf latte! Partly, I didn’t like it because I later discovered I was lactose intolerant. But, I also never loved the taste or feel of it in my mouth. For a while I replaced it with soy milk. However, now that I’m studying holistic nutrition, I’m discovering that soy is quite controversial. I want to be better informed before I consume any more of it. So, for the last year, nut milks have been my first choice for cereal, smoothies and hot drinks. But, once I read the ingredients on the milk carton, I was turned off. That’s when I started to experiment with homemade. This almond milk recipe is SO much better than store bought. You should try it out. Plus, I’ve got a great gluten-free brownie recipe which uses the leftover almond pulp. Stay tuned!
Soaking the almonds plumps them up, making them easier to blend if your blender isn’t heavy duty. As well, soaking makes it possible to slip the brown skin off which I tried (as seen in the photo) and later discovered was unnecessary. However, the most important reason for soaking them, is to make them easier to digest. Almonds can be difficult for most people to digest because of an enzyme-inhibiting substance in the brown coating. Soaking removes this inhibitor so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job.
I really got into making nut milks after I bought a high test blender. A Vitamix or Blendtec yield the best results. I know it’s a pricey investment! And it’s so tall that it isn’t easy to store. I hate having clutter on my counters! My solution: I bought the smaller container and it tucks nicely into bi-fold cupboards so it can sit on my counter AND be out of site. The larger container I store elsewhere and pull out when I am making big batches. A nut milk bag is another thing you should get if you are serious about making this almond milk recipe regularly. It only costs about 10 dollars and it is much easier to extract the milk from the pulp compared to using a cheesecloth which is what I used to begin with. If you are just starting and you don’t want to buy anything except nuts, try making cashew milk instead. Raw cashews are much softer especially after they are soaked and it’s not necessary to separate the milk from the pulp. Continue Reading
“Delicate and Delicious” is the best way to describe this baked halibut recipe
Fish can be dicey. It’s not for everyone. But, trust me, you and your guests WILL like this baked halibut recipe. The best part? It couldn’t be easier to make.
A couple of years ago, when my youngest son Cole had to have several teeth pulled, I had my fridge and pantry stocked with food that needed NO chewing. Sadly, apart from soup, most of it was junk food like Jello, pudding and popsicles. But, I didn’t care… whatever it took to get him over that painful hump. That night, I made baked halibut for dinner assuming he would sit this one out. To my surprise, he asked to try the baked halibut. Not only did he scarf down one piece, he asked for and ate another one! He loved it! Proof that this is a winning recipe. If you can get a kid to eat seconds of fish after dental surgery, you know you’re onto something. Continue Reading
It’s been a while! Did you think I stopped blogging? Here’s what’s been going on. I’ve been juggling some development work, multiple courses, school assignments/exams and half marathon training which has been VERY humbling…Turns out, I’m not nearly as fit as I imagined. Life has been busy, but SO invigorating. Did I mention that I also learned how to play Mahjong? I’m enjoying it all at the expense of my blog “Walnut Kitchen”. I’ve been remiss about posting, but I haven’t stopped eating, so here goes another recipe recommendation. Asian Baked Salmon.
Has this ever happened to you? Or, maybe I’m just losing it. (hence, trying to keep Alzheimer’s at bay with all the courses I’m taking) In a messy box where I keep recipes, I accidentally came across this old standby that I haven’t made in years. I have no idea why I stopped? In fact, a friend who I gave this recipe to ages ago, reminded me about it when I was looking to her for inspiration on what to cook! So, I just had to make it again. The verdict: Asian baked salmon is quite simply divine. I won’t wait so long to make it again. You should try it too.
Whether you are making it as a family supper or as the main attraction for a dinner soiree, the best thing about it is that you do all the work ahead of time. Trust me, there’s barely any slaving away in the kitchen beforehand. Baking rather than barbequing is a little more conducive to enjoying the pre -dinner conversation. Bonus!
Not only is this a satisfying meal, I’ve been learning so much recently at the course I’m taking at the Institute for Holistic Nutrition about the benefits of this fish. Salmon is a great source of Vitamins D, B3, B6 and B12. Fish is also a great food to eat to reduce inflammation which is a huge problem for most of us, especially in our lower gut.
If you can, try to get wild salmon. It is far more nutritious and much safer compared to the farmed varieties which can contain toxins. In fact, the more I learn, the more convinced I am that spending the extra money is worth it. I served my Asian baked salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts. If you decide to do the same, don’t forget to put the veggies in the oven at least 30 – 40 minutes in advance of the salmon.
This pumped-up version of the children’s classic is amazing no matter how old you are! Even though it takes a little more time to prepare, I promise this recipe is FAR superior to the one on the side of your Rice Krispies cereal box. These Rice Crispy Treats are packed with so many nutritious and healthy ingredients that you can say “bye-bye” to the guilt normally associated with eating something sweet.
Bonus #1 No sugar
Bonus # 2 No butter
Bonus #3 No marshmallows
“Karma Krispy Treats” is a recipe created by Marni Wasserman. I fell in love with these scrumptious delights at a class I attended recently. I’m SO excited that she let me share this Rice Crispy Treat recipe on my WALNUT KITCHEN blog; it gives me an opportunity to shine the light on someone who has truly inspired me and influenced the direction I am taking in the kitchen and beyond.
Marni’s life is rooted in healthy eating. She’s a Certified Natural Chef, Culinary (Holistic) Nutritionist, Health Strategist, Author and owner of Toronto’s first plant-based cooking studio. But that’s not all!!! She is also the co-host of “The Ultimate Health Podcast” AND recently came out with an app designed to help you start practicing and adopting healthy habits. It’s appropriately called “Habits”. I don’t know where she finds the time and energy to do it all!
Two weeks ago, I started a part time program at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, thanks, in part, to Marni Wasserman. So, it seems fitting to give her a shout out. Thank you Marni for helping me find my new passion, to learn more about the food we eat, to blog about it, and to try to transition to a more plant-based diet.
Karma Krispy Treats
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup smooth almond nut butter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or coconut nectar)
1/2 cup liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried raisins (I used dried cherries and goji berries instead)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup each: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal (I combined the puffed rice with puffed quinoa)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1.Spread the nuts and seeds on a larger baking pan and lightly toast in the oven on a low heat (200˚F) for about 10 minutes
2.In a large saucepan, heat together coconut oil, almond nut butter and rice syrup on a low heat and at the last moment add the honey and vanilla and heat until blended
3.In a separate bowl add the rice cereal and oats and mix in the almond mixture until the grains are well coated
4.Add the apricots, raisins, almonds, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds; mix well
5.Using lightly oiled hands, press mixture evenly into greased (with coconut oil) 8 inch square cake pan. Let stand for 15 minutes or until firm. Cut into squares and ENJOY the rice crispy treats!