Category Archives: Scary Sides & Snacks

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Date squares were one of my favourite snacks when I was a kid. My mom would make them regularly and the whole house would be filled with a sweet, buttery aroma.  She was strict about junk food and never bought any sugary cereals, cookies or candies.  As an adult I’m really thankful that I was raised in a healthy household.  My eating habits are generally well balanced, and I tend to favour savoury and salty, treating desserts as an indulgence.  I have my mom to thank for that.  And I also have her to thank for my love of date squares!  I tried to recreate my childhood dessert with these Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares.  Why are they gluten free you may wonder?  Well because April is detox time!

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

For me, detox is a time to restart the system and shed bad habits, but is also an opportunity to experiment with my favourite recipes and turn them into cleanse friendly foods.  These date squares use gluten free flour and oats, and are sweetened with honey and a few drops of liquid Stevia.  I replaced the butter with coconut oil, that still results in a light, buttery crumble. Additionally, I also included some coconut flour to bring out a bit of sweet coconut flavour. Because, more coconut is always a good thing!

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

These Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares are an awesome detox snack because they’re completely cleanse friendly without sacrificing any of the date square tastiness.  Creamy dates are sandwiched between soft, sweet and flaky crumble with hints of coconut and citrus.  Packed full of iron, fiber and magnesium, dates are also said to help with intestinal issues, reduce allergies and can also help to maintain weight, a healthy heart, and aid in sexual stamina.  High in natural sugars and protein, these date squares are a great energy boost pre-work out or a yummy recovery snack post work out.

So basically, you can’t go wrong with these babies. Gimme gimme all of them date squares!

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares
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Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

A healthy, post work out snack, these gluten free dates squares are easy to make and are full of delicious nutrients.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine healthy, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 25
Calories 190 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Parnoosh dates chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1.5 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, plus more for greasing melted
  • 3/4 cup organic honey
  • 2 drops liquid Stevia

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9" square baking dish.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, boil water. Add dates and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until water is absorbed and dates are smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.

  3. Combine the flours, oats and salt. Add coconut oil, then honey (using the same cup, so that the syrup will slide right out) and liquid Stevia. Mix until crumbly but still moist.

  4. Divide crumb mixture into two portions and press one half firmly into the pan to make the base. Using a spatula, carefully spread the date mixture evenly over top. Add the remaining crumb mixture on top by taking small bits and placing them carefully over the dates. Do not spread. Lightly press down the top layer evenly with your hands.

  5. Bake on the center oven rack for 25 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into 25 squares. Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to one week or freeze up to two months. Best served at room temperature.

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

Healthy Gluten Free Date Squares

What was your favourite childhood snack?  How is your spring cleanse going?

What are some of your favourite detox substitutions?  I would love to know!

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Spring is in the air, and that means salad season is here! I want lots of big, beautiful, fresh salads full of awesome, yummy ingredients. With Easter around the corner, we’re all on the lookout for delicious dishes to make for a big group dinner, so I’ve decided to share this Big Italian Salad with you just for the occasion.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

My boyfriend is half Italian so over the years my consumption of olives, cured meat and artichokes has increased, and you could say, they have added more flavour to my life (though, he might have a little something to do with that too!). We try our very best to eat salads regularly, but find it challenging to keep ‘em interesting. There’s only so much tomato and cucumber you can consume before you hit a salad slump. And let’s face it, when all is said and done, I’m a meat and carbs kind of gal.

Yum. Meat.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

But the great thing about my Big Italian Salad is, it has meat! And cheese! The parmesan and salami add just the right amount of salty creaminess. Fresh romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet bursts of cherry tomatoes, crunchy licorice-infused fennel and velvety artichokes. Finally, the bright pop of the olives brings the whole salad to life.

This, my friends, is not your average, boring salad.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

A light, lemony vinaigrette that incorporates some of the artichoke marinade ties the whole dish together. Before you can say “you can’t make friends with salad” you’ll be happily chowing down on a big mouthful of all things Italian.

Big Italian Salad
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Big Italian Salad

This Big Italian Salad is full of awesome, fresh ingredients. Romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy fennel, creamy artichokes and salty salami, olives and parmesan.
Course Healthy, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 small head of Romaine lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1 small radicchio finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 half fennel thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green and kalamata olives pitted and finely sliced
  • 2 ounces salami or your fave cured meat finely diced
  • 227 grams marinated artichokes finely sliced, marinade reserved
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggianocheese grated

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 half lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cheese in a large bowl.
  2. In a food processor or medium bowl combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil. Slowly add oil while whisking or mixing on low.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and sprinkle cheese over top. Toss and serve immediately.

I could seriously eat this entire bowl in one sitting. The salad is so fresh and lightly dressed that all the other flavours are allowed stand out, and it’s addictive. But, one must learn to share, so here you go my friends, some salad to go with your roasted ham.

What are you making for your big Easter dinner?  Let me know if you liked my Big Italian Salad and what type of cured meat is your favourite!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

You know what I love more than overpriced chocolate and flowers? These Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes of course!

Seriously, I truly adore quinoa, chickpea and latkes. Coming together as one, in perfect harmony.

I’ve always been more of a savoury kind of gal.

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Here’s the deal with Valentine’s Day. I love the story of Saint Valentine, a priest who was imprisoned for ministering Christians who were being persecuted by the Roman Empire. He performed weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. While imprisoned, he healed the daughter of his jailer, and on the day of his execution he left her a letter signed “Your Valentine”.

I’m all about celebrating a day of love, but c’mon do we have to ruin another holiday with excessive consumerism? (But of course we do!). Somewhere deep within my dark soul lies a cheesy romantic, but it’s going to take more than shitty chocolate and expensive flowers to make me swoon.

What’s that you say? Would I like some brie and baguette? Oh well, you shouldn’t have…<<blush>> <<eyelash flutter>>

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

I know we all say “but you should be celebrating your love all the time, not just on Valentine’s Day”. Every day kinda does feel like Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend, because I always feel loved, and hope I make him feel the same. I like the spontaneity of nice gestures or when we give each other little gifts throughout the year. Like when he bought me this cute skull egg mold:

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes-Skull Eggs

Skull Eggs

I know, so sweet right?  Skulls are always better than hearts, in my opinion.

However if you read my blog, you know I love any excuse to create thematic food. I’ve had this heart shaped mold sitting in my drawer for ages, so for my Valentine’s Day post I decided to make my Quinoa Chickpea Latkes and give them some extra love!

This was a recipe I developed during the first year of my blog, and I actually won third place in a local newspaper contest. My recipe was featured in the Toronto Star and I won a free ticket to this awesome local food event called Feast of Fields. The inspiration behind the recipe was to create a gluten free pancake-latke hybrid for my friend who suffers from many food allergies.

The Quinoa Chickpea Latke was born.

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Originally I named my creation a “latcake”, a potato-like pancake, but now I feel it leans more towards a latke. But my latke is made with all kinds of tasty and nutritious ingredients. Quinoa is the base and the egg mashed with the chickpea binds the whole patty together. Packed full of protein from the quinoa and chickpeas, these latkes are also high in fibre with the addition of flax seed and spinach.

Super food latke? I think so!

I love these patties because they can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a vegatarian burger for lunch or dinner. They’re so versatile and go with any number of sweet or savory toppings. My favourites are tofu mayonnaise with pickles, salsa or apple butter. My boyfriend loves them with red chili jelly!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes
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Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked organic quinoa
  • 19- oz (540-mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cups flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 cups organic baby spinach
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • oil for frying (I prefer avocado oil)

Possible toppings:

  • tofu mayonaise
  • gherkins
  • red chili jelly
  • mango chutney
  • apple butter
  • broccoli sprouts
  • hummus
  • tzaziki
  • cottage cheese
  • avocado

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa as per directions or in a rice cooker.
  2. Drain and rinse chick peas.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and chick peas and mash well with a potato masher.
  4. Add flax seeds, pesto, curry, salt and pepper.
  5. When the quinoa is cooked, add to the large bowl along with the spinach.
  6. Mix well until the spinach wilts from the hot quinoa. Shape into six to eight 2.5"-3" round latkes.
  7. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 3-4 latkes in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Carefully flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove and cover with foil to keep warm.
  9. Repeat for remaining latkes. Top as desired.
Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

I like to look at Valentine’s Day as a day of love for anyone in your life, and <<cliché>> the best way to say “I love you” is with a homemade gift. I remember as a kid we would make a valentine for every kid in class so that no one was left out. Maybe we can still turn this holiday around folks! Cook up a batch of these latkes, and bring them to the office, or give some to your neighbours.  Spread the love!

What was the last nice gesture you made for someone you love? Let me know what toppings would be tasty on these Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes