Ok, these are just downright delicious. I admit it. I was skeptical when I was first introduced to them while on vacation this summer at the Turks and Caicos Islands. But, the sweet and smoky flavors of the banana and bacon create quite a savory snack or appetizer, and of course they provide some good nutrients for our bodies as well. They are super easy to make, and the protein and fat in the meat combined with the carbohydrate in the banana make them a well-balanced after school snack for kids. Plus, who can turn down bacon??
When choosing any packaged meat like bacon, be careful to choose the freshest, highest quality and consider the following:
- go organic or hormone-free
- pick one with the least number of ingredients
- look for nitrite/nitrate free
- best bet is to buy fresh if available
For this recipe, I chose a nitrate-free turkey bacon. Nitrates/nitrites are in pretty much all processed and packaged meats unless noted on the package and can be dangerous to your health, as they are believed to cause: hardening and narrowing of blood vessels leading to heart disease, difficulty regulating blood sugar so increasing the risk for diabetes, an increased risk of thyroid disease, and increased risk of cancer because they contain a precursor to known carcinogens.
- 2 bananas, each cut into 5 chunks
- 5 slices of bacon, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon natural cajun seasoning
- 10 toothpicks
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small dish, combine maple syrup and cajun seasoning.
- Roll each chunk of banana in the maple syrup mixture, and then wrap each chunk with a piece of bacon, securing with a toothpick.
- Place each wrapped banana in a baking dish, and brush a little of the maple syrup mixture on top.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flip, and then brush a little of the maple syrup mixture on the other side.
- Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until bacon is completely cooked.
I picked up these little hemp hearts at Costco last week. I’ve tried hemp protein and oil, and although I’ve seen these little guys on the shelf for a while now, I hadn’t taken the plunge and purchased. Well, I’m glad I did!
So what exactly is hemp? Hemp is a variation of the plant cannabis sativa, and it is used for many, many things besides a nutritious food like fuel, clothing, and cosmetics. As a food, hemp is jam packed with healthy fats including omega 3s and plenty of easily digestible protein that includes all essential amino acids. And, of course hemp provides tons of vitamins and minerals. The hemp hearts are the most nutritious part of the hemp seed (even better!) and lend a rich nutty flavor and delicious crunch too. So pick up some of these little raw goodies the next time you are at your natural grocer or Costco, and try this smoothie!
Other ideas for hemp hearts: add to your “Good Morning Muesli” or sprinkle some on your salads or Greek yogurt.
- 1 frozen banana
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- optional: handful of ice
- Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or other blender, and blend until smooth.
almond coconut crusted salmon with herb mashed cauliflower
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can minimize inflammation in your body that leads to a whole host of diseases including heart disease, cancer, and auto-immune conditions. This salmon dish is an excellent choice for a meal that is not only within the anti-inflammatory eating guidelines but also delivers all kinds of necessary nutrients to your body. Here are 4 tips from Dr. Weil to implement when focusing on eating a diet that reduces overall inflammation. Contact me if you would like to know more.
- Step One: The majority of carbohydrates in your diet should be in the form of less-refined, less-processed foods with a low glycemic load. (I’m a strong believer in gluten-free whole grains if you choose to eat grains.)
- Step Two: Replace your cooking oil. Instead of safflower, soy, sunflower, corn, cottonseed or mixed vegetable oils, or margarine, use extra-virgin olive oil as your main cooking oil. (I also like coconut oil.)
- Step Three: Decrease your consumption of animal protein. Except for fish (such as omega-3 rich wild salmon), animal-derived protein should be limited. (When choosing animal protein, choose clean protein sources – animals that have been raised in as natural environment as possible.)
- Step Four: Eat more fiber. Start slowly and build gradually to eat 40 grams of fiber a day, simple to do if you increase your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables and whole grains.
- 4 salmon fillets
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a food processor (I used my Magic Bullet), blend together almond flour, coconut, and fennel seeds.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on each salmon fillet to taste.
- Place coconut oil in a small dish, and dip both sides of each salmon fillet in the oil to coat.
- Then place the almond coconut mixture in another small dish, and dip both sides of each fillet in the almond coconut mixture to coat.
- Place each coated fillet in a baking dish, and bake for 12 - 15 minutes.
- Serve with herb mashed cauliflower and mixed green salad.
Grilling vegetables is quick, easy, and flavorful. Try grilling your greens like bok choy or romaine as an alternative way to serve them.
Bok choy is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, so it has specific benefits that prevent cancer. Stock up on this low-calorie, zero-fat food that has lots of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K and meet your daily requirement for each of these nutrients. And, you’ll get a healthy dose of folate and vitamin B6 too!
- 1 head bok choy
- 2 tablespoons raw coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
- juice of ½ lime
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
- Cut the "butt" or end off the head of bok choy and wash the stalks with leaves. Lay them on a tray in a single layer.
- In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, Bragg Liquid Aminos, lime juice, garlic, and ginger.
- Brush one side of the bok choy leaves and stalks with the sauce, and then lay them sauce side down on the grill in a single layer.
- Brush the other side that is facing up with the sauce.
- Grill for 3 minutes, and then flip stalks to grill the other side for an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove from grill and serve.
I made these brownies for my kids after school, and they loved them so much that they insisted on taking the picture for this post. So, the picture above is a collaboration of both of their efforts. A really good moist and fudgy brownie is one of my family’s favorite treats. And a treat this one is. It is quite rich, but it is oh so delicious! I sweetened these brownies with Madhava Coconut Sugar, which is a natural sweetener derived from the sugar blossoms of fresh coconuts that are sliced to release the sap or nectar. The nectar is boiled into what is almost like a thick caramel and then dried into crystals. Nothing is removed during this process, so coconut sugar stil contains all of its minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and boron. It also contains 16 of the 20 amino acids, especially glutamic acid. Glutamic acid makes glutamine, and glutamine helps regulate metabolism. Coconut sugar is a good natural gentle sweetener to use in place of white table sugar, as it has a very low glycemic index of 35. However, it is still sugar, so remember small portion sizes! Enjoy!
- 4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
- ¾ cup raw coconut oil
- 2 cups Madhava Coconut Sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- Optional: chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 325 for glass baking dishes.
- Grease a 8 x 8 baking dish with coconut oil.
- Melt chocolate squares and coconut oil in a small saucespan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Stir coconut sugar into chocolate mixture until well blended.
- Stir eggs and vanilla into chocolate mixture until well blended.
- Stir in flour, xanthan gum, and optional nuts until well blended.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.