Food Friday: The Ultimate Power Cookie

powercookie.jpg

The power cookie at Whole Foods was always a indulgent snack for me when I was at school in Vancouver so when I found a recipe to recreate it I was hooked! The Whole Foods cookie was HUGE but I would eat the whole thing since it was so delicious. Oats, seeds, molasses, chocolate…what is not to love! These are a little on the heavier calorie side, even though they aren’t your average sugar filled cookie, so in order to cut down on calories I make these a little smaller. It’s enough to satisfy my hungry and my afternoon sweet tooth.

Recipe notes: This recipe makes MANY cookies, so if you want a smaller batch for just you, be sure to cut it in half. If you are gluten free be sure to use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour instead of spelt flour. These keep well in the freezer and I just pull one out for my afternoon snack.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups oats

  • 2 cups spelt flour (or Bob’s red mill 1:1 GF flour will work)

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

  • 1/4 cup flax seed

  • 1 cup cane sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1.5 cups dark chocolate chips

  • 1 1/4 cups raisins

  • 1/4 water

  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

  • 3/4 cup canola oil

  • 1 cup soy milk (almond milk would work too)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

  2. Combine dry ingredients : from oats to raisins. Then combine wet ingredients: from water to soy milk.

  3. Stir the dry and wet ingredients together until just combined.

  4. Portion cookie dough using 1/4 cup measure and place on the baking tray. Gently flatten the cookies.

  5. Bake for 24 minutes or until lightly browned. Continue until all dough is baked into delicious cookies!

Do you have an indulgent “healthy” snack you keep coming back to? Let me know!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

The Foodie's Guide to Gluten-Free

I WISH these were gluten free…

I WISH these were gluten free…

As a practitioner that sees a lot of gut health issues, and conditions associated with it, it is likely that I will ask you go try going gluten free. I do this, not because I am trying to be the stereotypical Naturopath portrayed in movies, but because it can truly have a negative effect on some people’s health. No, it doesn’t effect everyone, or at least everyone the same, but for those with a more chronic condition that they are seeking help with, it is a great place to start. There is research that shows gluten can increase zonulin in the gut, which I’ve spoken about before, which causes a more “leaky gut.” Gluten can cause different reactions, including the obvious bloating and cramping, to swelling, headaches and fatigue.

Gluten-What?

What the heck is gluten though? Gluten is the protein in certain grains, including wheat, spelt, kamut and barley. It is what makes it stick together well. It is not in oats, millet, buckwheat, corn, quinoa, sorghum. In years past, trying to find gluten free bread that didn’t crumble immediately was almost impossible! Luckily now there are so many great options to choose from. I am creating a guide for those patients of mine that need some guidance, but also all those out there wondering whether this is something they should try for their health. (Hint…if you are asking yourself that, you should probably try it!) Halifax has a few less options than bigger cities, so let me know if there are other favourites I may not know about.

My Gluten-free Tips

  1. My number 1 tip for going gluten free is to not worry so much about replacing every type of gluten product you have. You can do a lot with a lettuce wrap, sweet potato, cauliflower or bed of rice. Try a burger on a lettuce wrap, or seasoned ground meat in romaine. Or even sloppy joes in a roasted sweet potato. You will end up buying less gluten free products and eating more whole foods :)

  2. Bob’s Red Mill is my go-to for gluten free flours for baking. No more complicated recipes needed with a binding agent such as xanthum gum, since their blends are all ready to go and come out tasting great!

  3. Eating out when you are gluten free has become easier as well (except for brunch…that’s still hard for me sometimes!). A lot of restaurants have gluten free options or substitutes so all you need to do is ask. A go to for me is just their meat/fish, potato and veggie dish. There is usually always something like that.

Favourite Gluten Free Products

  • Baking Flour: Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour - hands down the best baking flour. It works so well for mostly anything you are baking.

  • Oats: Regular oats - Unless you are celiac, you can use regular large oat flakes. These are a go to for me for quick pre-made breakfasts and snacks. I love my oats!

  • Pasta: GoGo Quinoa Pastas - I get a big bag of their mixed grain pasta at costco and it tastes great. Their cauliflower blend option isn’t as good. Kids also tend to like the 100% legume pastas you can find now, which provide a good source of fibre.

  • Crackers: Blue Diamond Artisan Nut-Thins - These are crunchy and delicious with hummus. Mary’s crackers are a great option as well. Breton even has gluten free crackers in the regular cracker section.

  • Bagel: O’Doughs Thins - This is a new company I think, found at Superstore in the freezer section. They are delicious with a little peanut butter for a quick breakfast if you are craving more carbs (but not with the calories - bonus!). Their sandwich buns are pretty good as well. Little Northern Bakehouse has bagels as well.

  • English Muffins: Glutino brand - I’m not a big english muffin gal but I’ve been told these are the best option.

  • Bread: This one is a toss up depending on what you are looking for. Some options are - Little Northern Bakehouse Gluten Free bread is apparently really good, especially their Honey Oat Bread; Costco Gluten free bread (comes in a pack of 2 loafs); fresh bread at the market (look around, you may find a gem). Glutino and Udi’s are best for making stuffings etc, since they are still a bit crumbly.

  • Burger buns: Udi’s Hamburger Buns - I discovered these in the summer and I was very impressed! I’ve you aren’t going for the lettuce bun, try these.

  • Pizza: Sabatassos Gluten-free Pizzas - Since I can’t eat dairy, these came highly recommended by a great source. Found at Costco and they are apparently amazing!

  • Mac & Cheese: Annie’s Mac & Cheese - Another that I haven’t tried myself but is a great option for quick meal for yourself or kids.

There you have it, some great options for those of us that are gluten free! I promise it isn’t so bad. I love to cook and I’ve made out alright 😉

Any favourite products of yours I’m missing here? Let me know!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Cauliflower Pizza with BBQ Chicken

His and Her slices. We were too hungry to take time for a beautiful pic :)

His and Her slices. We were too hungry to take time for a beautiful pic :)

Oh boy, I finally found the perfect cauliflower pizza crust recipe and it is delicious! This has been hit or miss for me over the years but I found the one I now want to write down and keep returning to. I have never been a pizza fanatic since I am lactose intolerant and gluten free, so I’m pretty open to different takes on pizza, but my hubby IS a pizza fanatic and he really enjoys this. Ok, ok, he still needs his fix of the real deal but when we are eating healthy during the week he’s all for it. If you have been prescribed a gluten free diet (by me perhaps or someone else), eating a low carb, paleo or keto diet, or just want a lighter option that is healthy for you this is a great option! Heads up however that this recipe takes some time to make. So it isn’t going to be your quick 30 minute dinner option for a weeknight. OR you can prep the crust beforehand on the weekend, freeze it and voila - a 10 minute meal! Another note, make sure to double (or triple) the recipe if you have big eaters in your house or want leftovers. This amount only made 2 pieces each for us. It is filling enough with all the toppings I put on but worth making extra with all the time involved.

Feel free to mix up the toppings to your liking as well, omit cheese or not (I have to of course - so its more a flat bread with veggies and chicken for me). So here it is!

Ingredients: (Serves 2 not so starving people)

  • 3 cups cauliflower florets

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (or just under if using goat cheese)

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 3 tbsp (up to 1/4 cup) soft goat cheese - can omit if needed

  • 2 tsp italian seasoning

  • Sea salt, pinch

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken

  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce

  • Red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1-2 mushrooms, sliced

  • Mozza cheese - optional

  • Pizza sauce

Directions:

  1. Steam cauliflower until tender with a fork. Let cool. (I did this earlier in the day) Add to food processor and process until rice-like (or even smoother). Using a nut mylk bag, cheese cloth or tea towel, squeeze out all liquid from the cauliflower, or at least as much as you can. This step is important. Add the cauliflower to a medium bowl with eggs, seasoning, cornmeal, salt, goat cheese, olive oil and mix well.

  2. Spread “dough” on parchment paper lined baking sheet, using a spatula, into a circle or rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 425F for 25 minutes until golden. Flip over using the parchment paper and bake another 5-10 minutes to brown on other side, without parchment.

  3. Remove and add thin layer of pizza sauce, mozza, red onion, mushrooms and bbq chicken (or toppings of your choice of course). Broil for a few minutes or bake for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

    Enjoy!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Shrimp "Bruschetta"

www.jamieoliver.com (I ate mine too quickly to take a picture!)

www.jamieoliver.com (I ate mine too quickly to take a picture!)

What a great summer meal that is a little different than the usual burger and salad on the BBQ. I was inspired by Jamie Oliver for this one. I really enjoy his style of cooking because he uses fresh ingredients, the meals are a little rustic and he doesn’t need things to be too pretty, just taste delicious! I very rarely cook shrimp at home but I wanted to try something different. It has also been way too hot to put the stove on for even a short period of time. Lastly, this meal comes together very quickly making it a great weeknight meal for the summer months. What took the longest was peeling the shrimp. This is spicy with the green chilis so if you do not like spicy decrease the quality of peppers or omit completely.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 green onions, diced

  • 1 red chili/2 green chilis, finely diced

  • 1 bag easy to peel frozen shrimp

  • 2 slices of bread

  • 1 clove garlic - 1/2 minced, 1/2 to rub on toasted bread

  • 1 large can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

  • 2 large tomatoes, diced

  • snow peas, 2 large handfuls

  • lemon, zest and juice

  • parsley

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Thaw shrimp under cold water in a colander and peel.

  2. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a wok (but any pan will do) on medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until the colour starts to change then add chilis and green onion. Add snow peas and a very small splash of water to help steam. Mix and let steam for a few minutes.

  3. Meanwhile lightly toast bread and rub with garlic for flavour.

  4. Add drained butter beans and steam and stir for 5 minutes. add tomatoes now (or mix in fresh tomatoes at the end which is what I did!), minced garlic, some lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste. Finally garnish with some chopped parsley to taste. *Mix in tomatoes now if you prefer them fresh.

  5. Place garlicky toast on a plate and top with shrimp, bean and veggie mixture. Enjoy! Leftovers are great for lunch as well even without the toast.

Let me know what you think in the comments below :)

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen