Granola Protein Bites

 I had a jam-packed weekend and I’m currently trying hard not to fall sleep as I type but I wanted to share this with you.  I’m a huge hemp protein fan, and I feel a lot of people are not fans because of it’s texture. Hemp protein powder is not smooth like a lot of protein powders on the market, it’s more the texture of finely ground flax seed.

I happen to love the taste and I usually blend it in with my smoothies that include raspberries, blackberries or strawberries because the seeds in the berries match the seedy texture. It’s also good to throw into baked goods like oat cakes, hearty breads or even muffins. Most recently, I’ve been digging post workout snacks like these granola protein bites. My idea was to make a healthy version of a peanut butter ball. These bites are crunchy, a little chewy and contain way more protein and way less sugar and fat than your average pb ball. They are a great little pick-me-up post workout or great to break through the afternoon slump. Substitute almond butter for natural peanut butter, and adjust the sweetness to taste.  These come together in minutes, and will keep in the freezer for a few weeks.

Granola Protein Bites

Makes 16-18 truffle-sized balls.

  • 1 cup low fat granola (I used PC Blue Menu Almond/Raisin)
  • 2 tbs flax seed
  • 2 tsp chia seed
  • 3 tbs hemp protein powder
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp of natural almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tsp of agave syrup

Method

I used President Choice Blue Menu granola pictured below, but any low-fat granola or substantial cereal would work well.

Add granola, flax seed, chia seed, hemp protein powder to a food processor and pulse for about 1-2 minutes until all ingredients are uniform in size.

Turn out contents into a medium sized bowl and add almond butter, vanilla and agave syrup. Combine with a spoon.

Mixture will be a little a bit crumbly, but should come together when rolled. If you like a sweeter taste, add stevia or more agave syrup.

Add about two teaspoons worth of dough into palms and roll until it forms a ball.

Place in a freezer safe dish and repeat until the mixture is gone. Keep in the freezer for a post workout protein filled snack.

Sesame Soy Kale Chips

I’ve never been so excited for the weekend. Well I probably have, but I am damn excited that I got to sleep in this morning. Thanks dogs! I’m going to try to enjoy this beautiful weather outside while getting my house cleaned up. Hang with my lover and hopefully have a fabulous lunch with my step father on Sunday. Patios and margaritas are in order.

In honor of a deservingly lazy weekend I’m giving you a super simple dehydrator recipe. Yes, more kale chips! If you are not feeling the vegan version of creamy onion and garlic kale chips that I’ve posted before I have an easier recipe coming up! Eventually I’ll finesse a perfect BBQ flavoured kale chip, but today is not that day! Today is a day for Sesame and Soy.

Sesame Soy Kale Chips

  • 1 1/2- 2 tbs of sesame oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tsp of old bay seasoning or to taste
  • a bunch of kale, washed, stemmed and patted dry

Method

Wash kale and remove stems. Break into 2 x 2 inch pieces and pat dry with a tea towel or in a salad spinner. Add to a mixing bowl and set aside.

Wash and trim a green onion and slice thinly. Add to a small bowl with sesame oil and soy sauce.

Stir and pour over kale. Massage oil into the leaves of the kale with your fingers.

When it all seems coated, sprinkle old bay seasoning and toss, repeat with the sesame seeds.

Lay each leaf out and flatten onto the dehydrator sheets. Turn your dehydrator on to 125 F and let dry for about 9 hours. The leaves will darken and get crisp.

Serve immediately or up to 24 hours, prolonged storage will tend to re-hydrate the chips.

Raw Oatmeal Date Cookies

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve killed my mini food processor/immersion blender/can’t live without kitchen appliance/problem solver. However, I have not shared with you how I broke it because I wanted to share the fallout of the recipe that arose. My hot water tank also broke over the weekend and I’ll have to take a elaborate bird bath this morning, immediately I felt there was no time like the present.

I have been really interested in raw food and saw a recipe almost a year ago for Maple Cashew Squares on Shutterbean. Tracy describes them like you are eating raw oatmeal raisin cookie dough. Not only does that sound amazing but I thought my boyfriend actually might try one and like it. I kept putting it off, I rarely keep cashews in the house and only get dates once in a while (ha, ha I mean the dried fruit). I finally resolved to pick up some dates, I knew I had oats in the house and for some reason, again, I forgot to get cashews. A little sourfaced, I still wanted to make these cookies, so I tinkered around with what I had. I’m glad I did because now I have a great recipe and a story to share, I’ll try Tracy’s recipe another day.

This recipe makes about 18 small cookies, two per serving is an under 200 calorie snack. There is no cooking involved so these so they come together in minutes and can be stored in your freezer for quite some time.

Raw Oatmeal Date Cookies

  • 1 +1/2 -2 cups of large flake oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter (no sugar or salt added)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 2-3 tbs ground flax seed
  • 2 tbs coconut flour (or unsweetened coconut)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

Method

The original plan was this:

Roughly chop dates and add to a food processor with all remaining ingredients. Process until just combined. Shape into golf ball sized cookies, flatten with palms and stick in the freezer for a few hours. Consume.

This is how the story actually went:

I was worried my mini-food processor would not be able to handle the dates (boy was I right) so I cut the dates into raisin sized pieces and added them to the processor with all remaining ingredients except the oatmeal.

I then tried to turn it on, and not only would it not budge, it started to smoke. I panicked and placed all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. I didn’t want to waste all the ingredients so I added the oats and using a large spoon first and then with my hands, I kneaded the dough until it was very well combined (about 3-5 minutes). I tried to break up bigger chunks of dates with my fingers and slowly added the oatmeal a half cup at a time,  until the texture a little stiffer than play dough.

I then shaped the dough into small golf ball sized cookies, flattening them with my palms. They ended up being a little bigger that the circumference of a twoonie and about 1/2″ -3/4″ thick. I used tin foil to separate the layers of cookies so they wouldn’t stick to each other.

I placed them in the freezer to chill for a few hours. I ate them as a sweet treat and to give me energy and protein, I would imagine the nutritional values would be close to that of a Larabar.

Caramelized Onion Hummus

I don’t know if you noticed but I love hummus! I make hummus bi-weekly, I sometimes buy hummus to try new flavor combinations and as you can imagine, I eat hummus often.

So what do I love about hummus? Two things, first I love hummus for its versatility. I use it as a dip for vegetables and pita, as a pizza sauce for pizzas topped with black olives, red onions and spinach and as a sandwich spread, it makes a great alternative to mayonnaise. I even like to dip my roasted potatoes in it when I make weekend breakfasts at home.

Secondly, I love hummus for its health properties. The add ins, such as olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and tahini contain healthy fats, and high amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Not to forget the main star, chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are one of the best things you can eat out of a can/bag and widely available. I’m a huge fan of the website The World’s Healthiest Foods so I did some digging to find out nutritional information on Chickpeas. Here is what I found; chickpeas are high in fibre making you feel fuller for longer and as a result you will consume fewer calories over the course of the day as well as eating them, by the same effect, helps support a healthy digestion tract. They are also high in manganese and anti-oxidants like vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene.

You may have noticed I have a few variations for hummus on V-spot. When I first started this blog in 2008, I posted a basic recipe for Hummus with three variations; Lemon Dill Hummus, Spicy Hummus and Roasted Garlic Hummus. Since then I have posted two more variations Fire Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Artichoke and Spinach (dip) Hummus.

Today I bring you caramelized onion hummus. Serve this at room temperature, or cold with pita chips, rice crackers and loads of fresh veggies. Great as a sandwich spread, try it slathered on toasted baguette, with Brie and sautéed mushrooms.

Caramelized Onion Hummus

  • 1 medium white onion or 1/3-1/2 of a Vidalia onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled, trimmed and left whole
  • 1 tbs salted butter or margarine
  • a pinch of thyme or rosemary
  • 3-4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 1 lemon, halved and juiced
  • 2-3 tbs tahini
  • a few tablespoons of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Prepare onions by thinly slicing into rings. Use your hands to turn them into individual rings. Trim garlic, but leave in whole cloves and set aside.

In a skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add in onions and whole garlic cloves and season with thyme, salt and pepper. Let sit about 5-8 minutes turning occasionally so it will not burn. Add in butter and stir well to coat. If you are using white onions and want a sweeter caramelized onion you can add 1/2 tsp of sugar at this stage. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the onions and garlic cloves are browned well and soft. Be careful not to burn.

While the onions are cooking add the green onion to a food processor and mince.Then add in the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini and remaining olive oil and run until the mixture is smooth and well incorporated.

When the onions are caramelized, add them to the food processor and mix around a little with a spoon. Process a for a few pulses if you want the onions to remain chunky or process for longer if you like it smooth. Add water or additional olive oil to thin to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

I actually really like this hummus served warm and you can eat this right away. However, if you leave the hummus to cool in the fridge it sets nicer up and the flavors improve. I did not try this, but I imagine you could bake this in the oven for a few minutes, top with some gruyere or daiya for a warm dip served with toasty bread and it would taste kind of like a french onion soup dip. Yum, now I need to try that too!

Coconut Bacon

Now the recipe, I hope, you all have been waiting for. A recipe so good, it needs to come with a warning. Don’t worry it’s not a mean warning, it’s a helpful warning, because it really is, that good.

You are going to want to make this facon, you probably are not going to want to de-construct a coconut right away but think of my writing voice being your future self. Your future self who is standing at the stove stuffed to the gills and still picking away at the cookie sheet. The future self who feels like, ‘why, WHY didn’t I do this sooner?’

Now picture my writing voice as insight for right before you go to the grocery store.  If there was a time that you did eat bacon, and there is some meal or food you miss the taste of, get the ingredients for that. Write them down now, with the ingredients from the recipe below and go shopping immediately.

So if your favorite breakfast was pancakes and maple syrup with a side of bacon, you better be picking up stuff to make pancakes and triple checking you have maple syrup (you need it anyway).

For me that food was a BLT and my favorite way I remember having it was, was made on a bagel with tons of mayonnaise. I traded up my mayo for avocado sandwich spread to keep this indulgence vegan, but the next day I ate it on egg sandwiches, I crumbled it on salads, I snacked on it , cold, right out of a ziploc container. It’s that good.

After eating this facon, you may feel like you have to write fan mail, you may be compelled to comment, or you may decide you have to call in sick today from work. On second thought, maybe plan to make it this weekend.

 Coconut Bacon
  • a fresh coconut shelled and cut into thin strips (yields 2-2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp smoked/not smoked paprika
  • 1/2 dried rosemary
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Method

You can get large flaked coconut, I am not sure if you can get it at the bulk barn but you may be able to get it at a health food store and this will do the same thing. Personally and without trying it that way, I still think I would prefer the fresh coconut. Luckily for you I just posted a step by step guide on how to to open one.

Pre- heat oven to 350.

Make the marinade by combining everything but the coconut in a medium bowl. Pour marinade over coconut and let sit for 15-30 minutes, turning every once in a while to make sure it’s evenly coated.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Turn out marinaded coconut onto parchment. Place in oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes overall.

After 10 minutes, remove from oven, salt and flip coconut. Place back in the oven and check on it about every 5 minutes after that turning when the edges seem to brown. The longer you bake it the more you should be checking on it because it will burn quickly once it gets to a certain stage.

Not every little piece is going to brown deeply but that is ok, when I reheated it I always did so in a non-stick skillet and browned it while I heated it through.

I like mine salty and I found adding sea salt during the cooking phase made it taste more authentic. If you are on a low salt diet, skip this step because it is a lot of salt and make sure you use the low salt/ light soy sauce.  Store in the refrigerator, it keeps for a week but it won’t last that long, trust me.

Ok…one more then I’m done.