Apple snacks

Tahini Caramel Dip is Perfect for Fall Snackin’

The leaves on the trees have turned and all the sweet and tart apples are in season. What’s your favorite kind of apple? This time of year I think tahini caramel dip and apples make the perfect snack. Sweet, crunchy and satisfying.

Tahini caramel dip can also be used swirled into a brownie recipe, thinned and drizzled over banana nice cream or even added to a cup of joe or chai. Give it a try, I think you’ll agree it’s a recipe that delivers on taste without all the sugar found in traditional caramel.

 

Tahini Caramel Dip

Perfect sweet and gooey caramel
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut, dates, tahini
Servings: 8
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (bag) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup dates pitted and soft
  • 2-4 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Pour shredded coconut into a food processor, cover and turn on. Process the coconut until it starts to get creamy. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
  • When the coconut begins to come together into coconut butter, add the dates, vanilla and salt. Process again until the dates break down completely and the mixture starts looking like thick caramel.
  • Stop and scrape the sides of the container. Add 2 tablespoons of tahini and blend until completely incorporated. Stop and taste. If cloyingly sweet or not quite creamy enough, add 2 more tablespoons of the tahini.
  • Store in a sealed glass dish or jar. Can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks. Longer in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature or warm under running hot water to make it dip ready.

Notes

This dip can be thinned with water or plant milk and whisked to make a sauce or drizzle.

 

 

Pumpkin granola w/ yogurt

Pumpkin Granola – Not Just For Breakfast!

This is the time of year pumpkin and pumpkin spice are found everywhere. This pumpkin granola hits all the marks when it comes to tasty healthy breakfast, snacking or other uses.

It’s perfect for breakfast. Most mornings, I  grab a bowl of granola and yogurt along with a cup of chai in the morning. The warming spices hit the spot on these cool fall mornings. But it’s definitely great for more than just breakfast. I will, on occasion, add granola to my lunch salad, and also keep a baggie of granola with additional dried fruit added in the car for when I find myself hungry while doing errands. I also use the granola in cookies or raw power balls and definitely on top of banana nice cream, yum!

The bulk of this pumpkin granola can be oats with nuts, seeds and dried fruit or the oats can be omitted if you don’t want the grains. Remember though that oats are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, so if you tolerate them, find gluten free organic oats to add to this recipe.

The nut and seeds can really be any combination you like. I typically add sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds and then walnuts, almonds and pecans. I like crunchy granola and adding variety increases the nutrient diversity. But you can certainly trim down the additions and stick with just seeds, or just nuts or one or two of your favorites.

Dried fruit can vary also, but with the pumpkin flavors in this granola I like dried cranberries- it just makes it all the more fall inspired.

The pumpkin binder in this granola is a combination of pumpkin purée, honey, maple syrup, molasses, pumpkin spice and a little oil. You cook this for a bit and then stir it into the oats, seeds & nuts.

 

Pumpkin Granola

Fall flavors with a lot of crunch
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: almonds, oats, pecans, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, walnuts
Servings: 12
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil grape seed or mild olive oil
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 cup dried cranberries substitute dried fruit of choice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
    Combine the oats, nuts and seeds in a large mixing bowl. You can use whatever combination of nuts and seeds, more or less, or omitting the oats and adjusting them to the overall for a total of 6.5 cups.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the honey, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, molasses, water and oil. Bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Let simmer for five minutes. It will foam up, so keep an eye on it and stir so that it doesn’t boil over.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, spice and salt.
  • Pour this over the oat & nut mixture and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir to coat everything well.
  • Transfer the mixture onto two sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for another 15 minutes, rotating the sheet pans on the shelves.
    The granola may be done at this point, if it’s golden brown. If not bake for an additional 15 minutes, remove and let cool. The granola crisps up as it cools.
  • When the granola has cooled, add the desired dried fruit.
    Store in an airtight container for up to a month.

 

baked gluten free banana bread

The BEST gluten free and vegan Banana Bread

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I love banana bread and have enjoyed more than my share of banana bread over the years – traditional, vegan and gluten free banana bread. Gluten free bread typically needs more eggs than I like, in order to hold the grain together. Vegan breads typically are not gluten free, because the the gluten is needed to hold things together. This recipe hit the mark. It is an adaptation of a vegan recipe, in which I altered the nut butter, flour and sugar,  And to date, it really is the BEST gluten free banana bread.

 I usually blend my own flour with a combination of oats, brown rice and almond flours. But in this case, I had some 1:1 gluten free flour blend by King Arthur. I picked this blend because it has the greatest amount of whole grains compared  to Bob’s and Pamela’s brands. Tapioca and potato starches are often the first ingredients listed is gluten free flour blends, but in this blend, rice, whole grain brown rice and sorghum flour are listed first. 

The potato and tapioca flour/starches used in gluten free flours are simple starches and go into the bloodstream like sugar, quickly raising the blood sugar. Whole grain flours have more fiber and slow that process down so the spike is not as rapid. So I encourage using whole grain flours above processed flours and starches. Many gluten free products are made with high starch concentration resulting in greater impact on blood sugar regulation. So take caution when eating gluten free as it can increase insulin resistance if the majority of products eaten are made with high starch content flours.

The sweeteners in this bread are bananas and just a little maple syrup. The maple syrup can be substituted with honey or another liquid sweetener. Try making a date syrup by blending dates and water.

Tahini is my favorite butter to use in this recipe, but cashew butter is mild as well. Other seed and nut butters can be used, just be mindful of the flavor that comes with it. Peanut butter and almond butter have strong flavors. 

The stir ins can be anything you fancy – any nut, seeds, dried fruit or chocolate chunks. Some combinations to consider are: cranberry-walnut, raspberry-white chocolate, chocolate chip-coconut, apricot-coconut, cherry-pumpkin seed and mixed berry-pecan.

The BEST (gluten free and vegan) Banana Bread

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana, bread, gluten free,, vegan
Servings: 8 pieces
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • mixing bowl
  • 4X8 bread pan

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas brown
  • 1/3 cup tahini or cashew butter almond or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup honey or date syrup
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 2 tablespoons plant milk almond, oat, coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl. mash the bananas.
  • To the bananas, add the wet ingredients and flax meal, mix well.
  • In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the banana mixture and stir.
  • Fold in the walnuts and coconut flakes.
  • Transfer to an oiled bread pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Notes

The tahini can be replaced with any other seed or nut butter, just keep in mind the flavor will transfer. Tahini and cashew butter are very mild compared to others.
The coconut flakes and walnuts can be substituted with your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit or chocolate chips

 

 

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Ooh My! You will adore this recipe roasted carrot hummus if you like savory snacks and creamy spreads that can be topped off with a variety of veggies and sprouts. This savory hummus recipe is is quick and easy to blend together and if you don’t have tie to roast the carrots, just shred some raw carrots and add a little sprinkling of dried herbs to ramp up the flavors.  For traditional hummus flavor keep the Mediterranean spices, but for a creative edge, try garlic with rosemary and thyme.

When roasting carrots, if you cut the carrots into similar size pieces, they will cook evenly within a set time. when I roast vegetables I will typically roast a large quantity to have ready to use in other dishes or as sides. So fill up your baking sheet and get roasting, use a portion for this recipe.

To roast carrots, cut and toss with a little olive oil or to be oil-free, use broth or coconut aminos to coat the carrots. Sprinkle with salt and dried herbs and roast at 375-400 for 20-30 minutes. Length of cooking time will depend on the size of your pieces and the temperature.

When they are fork tender, they are ready. Use some in this recipe and save the remaining pieces for adding to a grain wellness bowl or even blended with some broth into a rich and creamy soup.

Roasted Carrot Hummus

A perfect dip or spread, packed with a nutritional punch and gentle sweetness.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: carrots, chickpeas, dip, hummus, spread, tahini, white bean
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor
  • knife
  • Blender (optional)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup roasted carrots mashed
  • 1 ½ cups or 1 can cooked chickpeas
  • 3 T tahini
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 T cumin
  • 2-6 T water
  • 1 T olive oil optional
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Carrots can be roasted or raw in this hummus.
  • To roast, cut carrots in half or in large chunks, toss with some olive oil or broth and place on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 for 20-30 minutes. (Roast a big batch to eat and keep out ½ cup for this recipe)
  • If using raw, shred the carrots before continuing.
  • Combine carrots, chickpeas and remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Start with the least amount of water and add more water if needed, to reach the smoothness and consistency desired.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl to use as a dip or spread onto toast, tortillas or collard leaves and pile high with chopped vegetables and avocado and roll up to make wraps.
  • Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Three Ways to Use Your Canned or Dry Beans

We have been under stay-at-home orders for about four weeks now. Did you stock up on canned items or dried beans?  I ended up getting the last 2 pound bag of navy beans on the shelf when I was shopping a couple weeks ago.  I have since batch-cooked them all, giving me a large quantity of white beans to incorporate into snacks and meals. I froze a few bags, used some in this SOUP and came up with the following three ways to use your canned or dry beans. For a primer on cooking dry beans go HERE.For each of these recipes you can use canned beans or some you’ve cooked yourself. Any white bean will do.

The first recipe is for a snack dip or lunch spread and one of the favorites in my house, Roasted Carrot Hummus, where we load it on flatbread crackers or pita bread and pile on chopped veggies or raw kraut or kimchi.

This next recipe is a hearty salad with White Beans, Oranges and Arugula. I love fresh greens with beans. Another combination to consider is: roasted chickpeas with garlic and back pepper, or plain tossed with shredded kale, bell peppers and tomatoes with a balsamic dressing

The third bean-based recipe is a Mediterranean Skillet Meal. It’s easy to make with staples on hand. Again canned beans work just as nicely as your own cooked beans. I had artichokes and canned tomatoes in the pantry, so this came together quickly. If you make this during the summer when the tomatoes are at their peek, slow roasted tomatoes substituted for the canned tomatoes are lovely!

Try one of these recipes or all of them and make beans a common ingredient in your meals. Not only do beans taste good and have a nice supply of vitamins, minerals and fiber, they actually improve the gut microbiome, which is an important part of the immune system. At this time, during this pandemic, the immune system is vitally important. (Actually it is all the time.)

Quick Whole Food Snacks To Have On Hand:

Whole fruits and fruit salad

Raw Vegetable sticks or sliced, in separate containers ready to go.

Thinly sliced root vegetables, tossed with aminos or a little olive or coconut oil spray, baked until crispy chips

Dates stuffed with a whole almond or pecan or nut butter and kept frozen. This is like caramel candy.

Trail mix– combine nut and seeds mixture with chopped dried fruits, cacao nibs and coconut flakes, optionally season with spices, cayenne and salt

Kale chips– Tear leaves off the stem, massage with olive oil or aminos and sprinkle with herbs/spices, salt and toss. Or for a sweet salty chip toss with a teaspoon of coconut sugar and salt. Bake at 300 for 15 minutes, turn and bake another 5-10 checking so they don’t burn. If you have a dehydrator, dry overnight.

Popcorn – toss with 1 T each of coconut oil and maple syrup, sprinkle with cinnamon

Popcorn – toss with coconut aminos and nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor

Spiced nuts/seeds – toss choice of nuts/seeds with coconut aminos, garlic powder and cayenne or a little maple syrup and water, sprinkled with cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and pepper, bake at 325 until dry and crisp.

 Fruit Sorbet – 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen cherries or berries, ¼ cup dairy free milk blended together on high speed until smooth, thick and creamy soft serve texture. Use a food processor if you don’t have a high speed blender.

Cranberry Orange Fig Relish

  • 8 dried figs, softened and chopped
  • One 8 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (about 2 cups)
  • 1 navel orange (rind removed using a sharp vegetable peeler and chopped, peel and cut into chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar, powdered
  • 2 tablespoons or more, coarsely chopped crystallized ginger

 

Coarsely chop the figs in a food processor. Add cranberries, orange pieces and rind and pulse to chop and combine with figs. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.  Pour into container and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

If the sauce is overly liquid, add a tablespoon ground chia seeds, stir well to mix evenly and let sit to thicken.

Can be made one week ahead. Keeps well in fridge and/or freezer. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy this relish with herbed hemp spread, as a tart filling with sliced fruit, as a canape topping or spooned over roasted squash! Or really any way you wish.

Herbed Hemp-Pine Nut Spread

  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup pine nuts (may substitute macadamia or cashews)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of white miso (can be omitted – add ½ t salt)
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

Combine everything, except the herbs, in a food processor or  blender and process until a thick paste forms. Start slowly with the water by adding 3 tablespoons initially and adding more if needed. When the consistency is reached, add the herbs and pulse to combine.

Serve this as a spread or dip. This can be layered with pesto, olive tapenade or cranberry orange fig relish to make a festive presentation.

Golden Pumpkin Spice Honey

This recipe is so nice to have on hand for making quick warm spiced drinks to enjoy in place of your morning cup of coffee or as a relaxing evening cup of comfort.

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon utmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/4 cup honey

Mix everything together in a small container and jar.

When ready to use, spoon 1 teaspoon into warm plant milk or hot water, stir and allow the spices to disperse andsteep for 5 minutes Enjoy!

this honey mixture can also be stirred into coffee, hot cocoa or drizzled over plant yogurt or baked apple dessert, or blended into a smoothie.

Cashew-hemp Yogurt

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
    • 1/2 cup filtered water
    • 1 probiotic capsule, opened or dairy-free yogurt starter

    Strain and rinse the cashews, add to a blender along with the hemp seeds and water. Blend on low speed, increasing speed up to high speed and blend until mixture is smooth. It will likely begin to warm up and may take a couple times of stopping and scraping sides to incorporate all the seeds.

    Add the probiotic powder or starter to the mixture and blend quickly to combine.

    Pour mixture into a jar and cover. Place the jar in a warm environment, you want to keep the temporary steady at around 110 degrees. This can be done by warming your oven to 200 and turning it off, placing jar inside and turning on the light. Keep the oven closed for 6-10 hours. A dehydrator or insta-pot can also be used to provide a controlled temperature for the culturing the yogurt. After culturing for that time, stir the yogurt and refrigerate to set. It will keep several weeks.