Healthy Almond, Raisin & Mulberry Treats

imageThese are another version of fruit and nut energy balls made from almond milk pulp, this time using some dried Turkish mulberries from The Raw Chocolate Company  and also trying out some Pulsin’ Cacao Butter Buttons for the first timePlease don’t mistake these Cacao Butter Buttons for White Chocolate Buttons – I wonder how many people have done that? They are cacao fat, to cook with, not dessert chocolate for eating or decorating birthday cakes.

These cacao butter buttons are so much more convenient than solid blocks of cacao butter which need a hammer and chisel and some hefty muscles to break up! The melted cacao butter not only adds a mild chocolate flavour but also helps bind and firm up the ingredients.

I’ve also used some Golden Linseeds, partially ground to release the nutrients,  which some of you may not have seen or used before. They contain Omega 3, 6, and 9 healthy oils, protein and fibre and are regarded as a superfood. (See Golden Linseeds (aka Flax Seeds): The Original Superfood?)

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All ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten-free and the recipe can also be nutfree if you use an alternative to almond milk pulp as the base. (Eg Tiger nuts are actually tubers and make excellent sweet and creamy milk).

These energy balls are healthy bites of protein, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fibre. They are sweet and fruity but contain no refined sugar.

Measurements are very apporoximate and rely on my short-term memory functioning long enough to write them down!

Ingredients

1 Cup Almond Milk Pulp (see How To Make Almond Milk) or any other milk pulp (which may alter the taste or texture)

1 Cup Raisins

3-4 Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped

1/4 Cup Mixed Golden Linseeds & Sesame Seeds, partially ground

1/4 Cup Pulsin’ Cacao Butter Buttons, melted

3/4 Cup Dried Mulberries

2 Tbsps Apple Juice

Desiccated Coconut and Cacao Powder for dusting

Pulse a few times and then process in bursts, scraping down the sides, until it is the texture you want and will come together to form a smooth ball.

Roll in coconut or dust with cacao powder.

Refrigerate to firm them up. Will keep for several days in an airtight container.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Banana Plum Smoothie with a Warming Dash of Cinnamon

imageThis is a mineral-rich smoothie with protein, fibre and omega fatty acids and a little warming cinnamon spice added now that Autumn is creeping in. Cinnamon has many health benefits including reducing spikes in blood sugar and lowering insulin resistance, as well as helping to balance your metabolism. Yellow plums are reputed to improve iron absorption, possibly due to their vitamin C content. Those with nut allergies can substitute the almond milk with tiger nut milk or any other non-dairy alternative.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten-free, all measurements approximate.

Ingredients

1 Banana

1 Yellow Plum

2 Tbsps Golden Linseeds (lightly ground)

1 Heaped Tbsp Raw Hemp Seeds*

Glass of chilled Almond Milk (see here for how to make your own, it really is very easy and tastes much better than bought)

1 Medjool Date, pitted and chopped

A Dash of Cinnamon + another on top

 Blend and enjoy.

*from http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Golden Linseeds (aka Flax Seeds): The Original Superfood?

The latest post in my mini-series Essential Vitamins and Minerals (see Menu).

imageI was asked if I would write a post about Golden Linseeds as I often use them in my recipes. They are the lighter coloured of the 3 versions of flax seeds – being a golden colour they are commonly known by that term.

They are one of my favourite things to add to smoothies, protein bars and energy balls, fruit and yogurt, muesli, gluten-free bread and so on. I’ll provide some recipe links later on.

A few facts first:

The flax plant grows easily, producing small pale blue flowers, and produces pods of seeds that have been consumed by humans for over 6000 years.

Organic are best, to avoid any potential toxicity, buy them whole rather than in powder form and grind them a little in a coffee grinder or nut and seed grinder, a jarful at a time, and keep it in the fridge. Don’t over do it or the heat will damage them and turn them rancid. Grinding releases the oils and makes the nutrients more accessible. (The most effective way to have them is soaked and sprouted, this removes phytic acid – present in nuts and seeds – which can bind to minerals in the body, and releases even more nutrients, but I haven’t tried this yet).

They have a pleasantly mild, slightly nutty, malty taste. I love them!

(To view the slideshow, click onto the blog).

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Linseeds are one of the most nutritious foods available, being rich in Protein (3 Tbsps = 6g), Fibre, B1, Manganese, Selenium, Vitamin E and especially the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). They are the richest plant-based source of this essential fatty acid, so good for vegans and vegetarians.

In particular, they are one of the best sources of Magnesium, necessary for preventing muscle cramps, for lifting mood, restful sleep, and a healthy gut – see my post Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough? for further information about this essential mineral that many people are defficient in.

Linseeds are also a good source of B6, Iron, Potassium, Copper and Zinc as well as Folates, which help prevent neural tube defects in the foetus if consumed prior to conception and in early pregnancy.

The healthy oils in linseeds are beneficial for healthy skin, hair and nails – try adding 2 Tbsps of seeds or 1 Tbsp of flaxseed oil daily to smoothies to benefit.

1-2 Tbsps of flaxseed oil can help improve acne, eczema and roseacea as well as help reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

 People with Crohn’s or other digestive problems often find some relief when consuming linseeds as they are anti-inflammatory and can reduce gut inflammation. They are also gluten-free.

The anti-inflammatory nature of linseeds is also thought to aid in weight loss. Try adding 2 Tbsp of ground linseeds daily to your diet. They help you feel full for longer and aid the elimination of waste, which otherwise is held onto by the body and causes inflammation.

Finally, linseeds are packed with anti-oxidants called lignans. They are anti-aging and hormone-balancing, can help reduce menopausal symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as well as help regulate menstruation. 1-2 Tbsps of seeds plus 1 Tbsp of oil daily are recommended. These anti-oxidants are also antiviral and antibacterial and can help reduce the number and severity of colds.

Oh, and Dr Axe* recommends 1-3 Tbsps of flax oil and 8oz of carrot juice for the relief of constipation!

I think that just about covers everything.

(Linseeds like chia seeds can be used as egg replacement in vegan cooking when mixed with water).

As with all similar high fibre foods (chia seeds, for example), be sure to drink plenty of water and other liquids.

We buy our golden linseeds from Buy Wholefoods Online and Suma Wholefoods

As promised here are some links for recipes containing these little specs of nutritional gold:

Omega-Rich Plum & Blueberry Smoothie

Camilla’s Homemade Crispbread

Dipped Naked Tiger Nut, Mango & Orange Treats

 *https://draxe.com/10-flax-seed-benefits-nutrition-facts/

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/flax-seed.html

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Omega-Rich Plum & Blueberry Smoothie

imageI devised this when I was writing a post on Golden Linseeds (see here) and I wanted a recipe to accompany it. Smoothies are a great way to ensure you get the essential fats contained in golden linseeds, along with all the other vitamins and minerals they provide.

Omega fatty acids are essential for brain and nerve health, but our bodies can’t produce Omega 3 or Omega 6, and a couple of tablespoons of linseeds in a smoothie will go a long way to fulfilling your body’s requirement.

Pumpkin seeds also provide Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids while cashews provide a trace amount.

Along with oats, cashews are a good source of magnesium, a mineral we all need but rarely get enough of.

Wheatgrass contains all the minerals known to man as well as protein, fibre, B Vitamins, Viamins A, C, E and K.

The seeds and nuts also add to the overall protein content of the smoothies. 

Plums are a good source of potassium and iron, while blueberries are another item on the list of so-called superfoods, which are anti-ageing, are believed to help prevent and improve age-related mental impairment, and are a source of Vitamin K which is necessary for bone health.

Vegan and Gluten-free, Organic except the maple syrup.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Gluten-free Oats

1 Medium Glass Rebel Kitchen Raw Organic Coconut Water

2 Tbsps Golden Linseeds, partially ground to make the nutrients more accessible

1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds

Small Handful of Cashew pieces

1 Tsp Wheatgrass Powder

A Handful of Blueberries

2 Ripe Plums, stoned and chopped

1 Medjool Date, pitted

1 Tsp Maple Syrup (optional)

 Blend and serve with ice or use chilled coconut water and frozenblueberries.

(If reading this via email, click onto the blog to see the video).

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Tiger Nut, Walnut & Chocolate Orange Cookies

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This is my version of The Tiger Nut Company’s Coffee and Walnut Cookies (see website for original recipe*). They are a great way to use up the pulp left over from making Tiger Nut Milk or Horchata. I have also adapted my original post to include the use of their new Naked Organic Peeled Tiger Nuts, which produce a much finer pulp.

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I don’t drink coffee but these looked so good, we decided to adapt them by substituting orange zest and a tiny squeeze of orange juice.

They are so easy to make.

To make Tiger Nut milk:

100g of pre-soaked Naked Organic Raw Tiger Nuts from The Tiger Nut Company* (almost a Cup) (these peeled tiger nuts give a finer pulp).

Soak overnight in 3x as much filtered water 

Blend with 1 Pitted Medjool Date and Half a tsp Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Pink Hamalayan Salt

Strain through nut bag and save pulp

Keep milk in airtight bottle in fridge.

Ingredients for Cookies

(All ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten-free. All measurements are approximate and may need adjusting, but that means you get to keep tasting and testing!)

Leftover Tiger Nut Pulp

3 Pitted Medjool Dates

Handful of Walnuts + some for decoration

2 Tsps Ground Organic Linseeds/Flaxseeds

2 Tsps Raw Chocolate Company Cacao Powder*

2-3 Tbsps Raw Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

1 Generous Tsp Orange Zest

Tiny squeeze of Orange Juice, be careful, it doesn’t want to be wet.

Splash of Organic Maple Syrup

 Method

Process all ingredients until it starts coming together.

Press together and roll into a ball

Dust a very little Tiger Nut Flour or Cacao Powder onto surface and rolling pin to stop the dough sticking

Roll out and cut into shapes

Freeze for about 15 minutes

(Eat any leftover scraps that won’t form another cookie and lick your fingers – cook’s prerogative!)

Icing

Either:

Gently melt some coconut oil with a splash of maple syrup, a couple of teaspoons of raw cacao powder and a squeeze of orange juice

or

Gently melt some Raw Chocolate Company Pitch Dark or Orange raw chocolate in a bowl over some hot water (but not boiling). You might like to add a drop of coconut oil or cacao butter to make it go a little further and drizzle.

Decorate cookies and top with broken walnuts. 

Freeze and Keep or Eat at leisure!

Ps At the request of Rachel @healthy&psyched, here is today’s video – don’t blame me, it was her suggestion! (I’m not quite sure this is what she meant 😂 Sorry, (not sorry).

*http://www.thetigernutcompany.co.uk

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan