Friendly Food Snobs

sweets

blackberry almond cake

It’s early June and the summer lays out full of possibilities. I love this time of year. I have been playing around with the idea of this cake for a few weeks. I finally wrangled all the ingredients including some gorgeous organic blackberries (I ate the extra pint while I baked). Is there anything better than baking with summer fruit?

The blackberries get sort of jammy and even sweeter as they are baked right into this cake. This cake is moist and lower in carbs thanks to the almond flour. It’s perfect all on its own. If you want to dress it up for dessert sift some icing sugar over each slice or add a dollop of whipped cream. I love it with a strong cup of tea in the morning as a treat. Raspberries or blueberries would be lovely too if you don’t have blackberries.

You’ll see in the recipe I used salted butter, and didn’t add any extra salt. Probably a baking purist would critique me for this one – but I always have salted butter in my fridge as my kids love it on good bread as a weekend treat. So if I can do a shortcut – I will. If you do have unsalted butter and prefer to bake with it, I would add 1/2 tsp salt to the recipe. Oh and don’t over mix this batter, stir until just combined. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup superfine almond flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (salted) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2% dairy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter to grease the pan
  • approx. 15 blackberries (rinsed)
  • small handful slivered almonds

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking pan generously with the 1 tbsp butter. I used a 9-inch glass pie plate, however you can also use a round metal cake pan.

Mix the dry ingredients and stir well. Cream the sugar and room temperature butter. Then add in the milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour into the greased pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkled the almonds over the top. Nestle the berries in between the almonds. Be generous with the berries, really cannot have too many. Push them down a tiny bit into the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely (at least an hour or two) before cutting in with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe you might also enjoy blueberry buckle.

meditation, food prep and self care

Rachel Barbaro

We are in the busy weeks leading to the holidays and I was looking at the calendar earlier this week and felt that holiday anxiety set in. So much to do, so many commitments. And then yesterday I found myself eating a  protein bar in the car for lunch. Sad for me, because food makes me so happy usually!

I thought to myself, time to amp up my self care and food prep…I want to enjoy this season and not feel run over by it. I don’t know about you but eating well and taking care of myself seem to be the two foundations to stay calm and present. To be able to enjoy the sparkle in my boys’ eyes when I turn on the Christmas tree every morning or reading a book cuddled under a blanket. It’s the really simple mundane everyday moments that I love the most, not the high pressure ones. Here are a few rituals I’ve found so useful year round, but especially this season. 

Meditate 

I love to find some stillness between my thoughts before I start my day. I practice every morning and have for years. 

Here’s what I do: as soon as I wake up (before caffeine) I take a few minutes usually between five and ten to sit in stillness in my bedroom. (Yes I drink some water and visit the bathroom first..very very quietly to not wake the kids!) I don’t use a fancy meditation cushion or an app. This is old school zen meditation.  I sit cross legged on my bed and shut the door. If the kids are asleep or awake I still practice. And Neil protects those few minutes of the day for me because he knows how important it is. It just resets my mind to a place of stillness before the stream of thoughts and busy starts. Jon Kabat Zinn has a few amazing talks that you can watch on youtube. This post from Mindful.org helped me so much when I started my practice.

Self care/self love

Caring for yourself, honouring yourself is whatever fills up your cup. It is not usually going to spa for me or getting my nails done…after having two kids that isn’t realistic. I need actions that can be done simply and usually at home.

Here are my faves: chai or peppermint tea and watching a foreign movie or doc on Netflix (leave the chores for another day),  doing a mini facial and using a scrub/mask and my best face creams before bed slowly and mindfully, or making it to a yoga or bootcamp class to sweat out the old energy and breath in new. The point is to honour your body. 

Pure fun

Leave all screens in another part of the house and pile onto the couch or bed under a blanket with a magazine solo or with my kids and a dozen of their silliest books.

Walk outside in the trails and parks near my house with or without the little ones, noticing the change of the seasons.

Take myself for lunch or a coffee solo, my friend Tamara reminded me this is called an artist’s date and I love that.

Turn on music (like some 90’s rock or pop) and cook or bake usually super seedy banana bread or a soup that will be used for a few meals.

Onto the recipe below.

raspberry honey chia pudding

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons whole black chia seeds

2 tablespoons plain full fat yogurt

3/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you like)

shake of cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

tiny pinch sea salt

topping ideas: fresh raspberries/any berries, raisins, granola, coconut flakes

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, stir well and cover and set in fridge overnight. When ready to eat give it a stir, and top with raspberries and whatever else you have on hand. If it’s too thick for your liking add a few drops of milk and stir.

Scotcheroos

scotcheroosWhat is not to love about the scotcheroo? Peanut butter, dark chocolate and crunchy crispy bottom. It is simple to make (no bake) and gluten free and ridiculously yummy. I have been making them for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) for years and they are my sister’s absolute fave thing I think I make. Recipe makes a 9 x 13 dish so there will be LOTS of leftovers. I love to hide a few of these in the freezer (just for me) for a rainy day. I already made a batch for Canadian Thanksgiving and plan to whip up another the week before Christmas. Dashel will be 8 months at Christmas for his first one and I cannot wait. Oscar is 3 1/2 and will probably be gobbling up these scotcheroos as soon as he can get his hands on them after dinner. I follow the recipe from food52.com but make a tiny tweak by adding cinnamon. Onto the recipe below, hope you love them!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use the natural stuff I have on hand)
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi sweet)
1 cup butterscotch chips

Line a 9 x 13 dish with foil or parchment for easy lifting. Measure the Rice Krispies into a large bowl and set aside. Heat the syrup and sugar in a small pot. Stir and remove from heat as soon as it starts to bubble. Add the peanut butter to the syrup and sugar. (I use a spatula for this recipe and it is so easy.) Stir the peanut butter and mix it well with the syrup and sugar then pour over the Rice Krispies. Adding the cinnamon and stir to combine. Pour this into the bottom on the lined 9 x 13 dish and press down firmly with your hands to make an even base.

In a microwave safe bowl mix the chocolate and butterscotch chips and heat in microwave for 30 secs then stir, and repeat twice. (So in the microwave for 3 x 30 seconds = 90 seconds total.) You want to heat the chips JUST enough to combine them and melt them. Wisk the chips and them pour over the Rice Krispie base. Leave to set for two hours before you cut them. Hint: if you want them to be perfect then run the knife you are using to cut them with under hot water and then dry it. The warm knife will help make clean cut squares. Store in a container at room temperature for a week or in the freezer for up to three months. Just thaw one hour before serving.

 

Raspberry chia jam

chia seed jam
chia seed jamchia seed jamI love a slice of seedy sprouted toast for breakfast topped with nut butter and banana slices, berries, honey or jam. I take the time to eat it with a steaming mug of tea or cup of coffee before the day gets crazy and usually before anyone else gets up. It’s my happy place where I plan my day. I know traditonal jam is super high in sugar. I had heard rumours about chia jam and decided to try it. Such a winner! It was so easy and only took about ten minutes to make. Truth: my crew devoured this jam in just four days!

The chia seeds expand and act like natural pectin to thicken the jam. They are also little superfoods high in fibre and healthy fats. You can use blackberries, strawberries, whatever you prefer. The jam will last two weeks in the fridge. I  love it stired into some plain yogurt too. Let me know what you think in the comment.

Ingredients:

3 cups of washed fresh raspberries (two small clamshells)
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp whole chia seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup

Combine berries, water and syrup in a small pot and bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Stir and mash the berries with the back of a fork. Let simmer for two minutes.
Add chia seeds, stir and remove from heat. Pour into a dish or clean jar, let cool and refrigerate covered. If you want a sweeter more traditional tasting jam try adding a little more syrup. We enjoyed it with just two tablespoons, but go with what tastes good to you. The jam takes about two hours to reach “jam like” consistancy in fridge.

This post was sponsored by Metro and all ingredients used in the recipe were purchased there. I only accept sponsorships and collaborations from brands and companies I love and trust, and I always share with my readers when a post is sponsored. In this case I was thrilled to work with Metro to purchase all these healthy summer ingredients and develop this recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

super seedy banana bread

I took my favourite banana bread and pumped it up with chia seeds, hemp hearts and nuts for extra protein and healthy fats. The recipe makes two loaves…and trust me you will eat them both.

Life is busy with two boys and this is my go to breakfast. Dashel arrived in April and Oscar is almost 3 years old in June. I’m doing a lot of batch cooking and baking like this to try to stay ahead of the game..or the next meal/snack!

If you want to freeze baked goods like this bread  let them cool and freeze in freezer bags the day they are made. Then I quickly warm them in the microwave and breakfast is ready in under a minute and I know it’s healthy. Or keep one loaf and give one away to a friend. The bread freezes well and never lasts very long at our house. I love it with almond butter and a hot cup of tea or coffee for breakfast.

Ingredients:
5 large ripe bananas mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted or room temperature coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups large flake oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (or any nut you like)

Topping: 2 tbsp sunflower seeds or pepita seeds to sprinkle on top before baking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another. Combine, but don’t over stir. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or canola oil using paper towel. Pour half of the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the seeds on top. I think this looks lovely once it’s baked. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

You can bake the second loaf right away, or the batter is fine to sit  in the fridge a few hours. Sometimes I also bake the second loaf batter as 12 muffins. Just increase oven to 375 and bake 20 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Enjoy!

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