It was really hard to work up the initiative to sit down and write this post. I mean, I still can’t think about it without getting blubbery. Especially when I’m sitting alone, like I am now. Luckily this past week I’ve spent a lot of time with my family, which I think has been helping us all get through it. I even laughed the other day when my 98-year-old great great aunt came over and amused us all with her quick wit and stories about her past.
Turning to cooking has also been helping me. The day after we got the bad news and were all feeling a bit foggy headed, I did the only thing I knew I could do to help: I got to work in the kitchen whipping up a cheddar and scallion strata for lunch. It was my way of taking care of everyone.
On Sunday I made a big batch of date squares to serve at the lunch after the funeral the next day. There was already food provided, but I just felt like it was something I needed to do – because date squares were his absolute favourite.
Well, other than apple pie, which was his other favourite.
So to honour his memory, I want to share with you today my apple butter granola recipe that tastes like apple pie. Apple pie that you can eat for breakfast. But made with whole grains, healthy fats from nuts and seeds, and no added sugar, it’s a whole lot healthier than apple pie, while still tasting delicious. I’m pretty sure he would have liked it.
Light, crisp granola made with apple butter that's as healthy as it is tasty. Vegan, peanut free, soy free.
Author: Chelsea Allen
Yield: 3 cups
2 cups rolled oats*
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped almonds
3 tbsp hemp hearts
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup apple butter (not apple sauce - this should be a thick, sweet spread)
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp canola oil
Preheat the oven to 325°C.
In a large bowl combine the oats, almonds, hemp hearts, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set the raisins aside until later.
Then in a small saucepan on the stove, heat up the apple butter, vanilla, and canola oil, stirring until combined. Pour into the dry mix and stir until everything is well coated.
Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, making sure to stir it halfway through. Then remove from the oven and let cool completely. Add in the ½ cup of raisins, then store in an airtight container for up to a month.
*Use certified GF oats to make recipe gluten free.
Sometimes my mind is boggled by how convenient our world has become. From delivery meal services to banana slicers (seriously, how hard is it to slice a banana with a knife?), it seems like our modern lives are riddled with conveniences.
But sometimes it’s fun to take the hard route. I mean it builds character or something, right? Or at least that’s what my parents always told me when I used to complain about having to pack my own lunch in 3rd grade when all my friends had their lunches packed for them.
I hated packing my lunch more than anything when I was a kid – I just wanted to go upstairs to my room and spend my evening reading about salamanders (seriously). But since then I’ve come to appreciate a bit of manual labour in the kitchen. It’s like a form of meditation! Only I don’t have to sit still and shut off my mind for half an hour. Thank goodness, because I suck at that.
But making food from scratch? That I can do.
Most recently I decided to experiment with coconut oil chocolates, which were actually really easy. 10 minutes of prep time then 1 hour in the fridge (or less time in the freezer if you’re desperate), and you’ve got yourself a delicious chocolatey treat!
Healthy homemade chocolates made with coconut oil, raw cacao powder, and maple syrup. Vegan, gluten free, peanut free.
Author: Chelsea Allen
½ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp mesquite powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup toasted almonds
¼ cup shredded or flaked coconut
In a bowl combine the melted coconut oil, cacao powder, mesquite powder, and maple syrup. Stir until combined, then stir in the toasted almonds and coconut, reserving 1-2 tbsp each of the almonds and coconut for sprinkling on top.
Spoon the mixture into 12-16 mini cupcake liners placed in a mini cupcake baking pan, then sprinkle the reserved almonds and coconut on top.
Transfer the pan to the fridge and cool for 1-2 hours before eating, and store the leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.
What in your opinion is a ridiculous modern convenience?
Canadian winters suck. That is an established fact. But for the majority of the past few years, we’ve been blessed with a St. Patrick’s Day miracle. It could have been negative 10 degrees Celsius the week before, but as soon as March 17th hit, the thermometers soared! I remember two years ago I wore a strapless top to my friend’s outdoor party and we spent the entire afternoon basking in the sun enjoying farmers’ market pizza and green-tinted drinks. And the year before I was in a t-shirt on the streets hopping from pub to pub for the Leprechaun Crawl.
But that will not be happening this year because A) St. Patrick’s Day is on a Monday and I’m no longer a carefree student, and B) It’s still going to be cold here for the foreseeable future. So this year I’m celebrating the holiday with this Irish leek and potato soup. Delicious, comforting, and best of all, warm!
Vegetarian, gluten free, and nut free. Vegan option*.
Author: Chelsea Allen
Yield: 4-6 servings
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
800 g Yukon gold potatoes (about 5), peeled and cubed
4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
¾ cup of low fat milk*
¾ tsp salt, or to taste
½ tsp pepper, or to taste
In a large pot heat up the olive oil over low heat, then add the leeks. Saute over very low heat for about 7-10 minutes until they are soft. Then add the cubed potatoes and vegetable broth and cook covered for 40-50 minutes when the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
Put the soup in a high powered blender or use an immersion blender to puree it into a smooth soup with no lumps. Then stir in the milk, salt, and pepper.
Optional step: If you want to make the soup green and add extra nutrients, feel free to add 100 g of frozen spinach. Just mix it into the soup before pureeing with the blender!
*Use almond or soy milk to make recipe vegan.
Normally I don’t add spinach to my leek and potato soup… that was just my creative and desperate attempt to make a green recipe so I could link up with the Great St. Patrick’s Day Greek Food Link Up at The Healthy Maven. The link up post will be up on Friday, so make sure to go check out all the recipes!
Welcome to Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen! I'm Chelsea, a Waterloo, Ontario area Registered Dietitian, cooking class instructor, and advocate for the enjoyment of food. This blog is a collection of my recipes, food adventures, and nutrition musings.