Wednesday, 20 September 2017

DIY Aussie Bites

Aussie Bites

So, I know I am totally late to the party here, but just two weeks ago, my daughter had some friends over to play and one of the mommas sent some snacks- oranges and a baggie of mini muffin looking treats. They were delicious. I asked the 5 year old child who brought them what they were, "Aussie bites." Did you make them? No. Where did you buy them? I don't know. So, on to Google! And low and behold- they are apparently a Costco fave! Next step- find a DIY.

See, this is the reason I haven't heard of them, I don't usually buy these types of things. I actually enjoy baking (seriously, my second career is totally going to be a baker/cake maker) and I like being able to control the ingredients and up the health/nutrition. So, thanks to Google, I was able to find a copycat recipe done by The Stay at Home Chef. Now, I always find it interesting how the universe works. I had never really heard of this website or the person who runs it, Rachel, before I googled to find the copycat recipe and it was just last night that I started making up a few batches- after watching her how to video. Then today, on my Facebook feed, a video pops up with a newly familiar face- Rachel of The Stay At Home Chef. This video is an amazing response to negative comments she received based on her appearance, and since I believe in fate, I am rolling with it and adding it here because, well, I think things happen for a reason and in this day and age of electronic anonymity, this is always a good reminder.


Now, on to the recipe!

So, I first made the recipe exactly how she made it- aside from subbing coconut oil for the canola oil, and I actually found it too sweet. So I made a second batch with a few more adjustments. I still think I will probably fiddle with the recipe a bit more since I don't think it's exactly where I want it but I do think the second attempt was a better. Below is the adjusted recipe I used, but you can find the original recipe here.

Aussie Bites

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups rolled oats, ground into flour
  • 1/4 cup (heaping) dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/8 cup whole flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions:

  1. Start by grinding all the rolled oats into flour in your food processor.
  2. Add in apricots, 1/4 cup raisins, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, quinoa, chia seeds and baking soda and process until everything is very broken up and crumbly. (You can use the sunflower seeds as a guide- make sure there aren't large pieces but crumbly).
  3. Pour in the honey, melted butter, coconut oil and vanilla and add in the remaining 1/8 cup of raisins. Pulse a few times until a soft 'dough' forms.
  4. Divide between a mini 24 cup muffin tin and press down.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350F oven.
  6. Let them cool before removing them since they will be a little crumbly while hot- they set as they cool.
Notes: 
  • The original DIY video uses uncooked quinoa, so I did this with the first batch and found they were a bit too crunchy. So, in the second batch I used cooked quinoa. I think in my next batch (after all 48 mini bites are gone...) I am going to use a mixture of cooked and uncooked quinoa.
  • I dropped all the cane sugar because I found the end product too sweet, but kept the full amount of honey. I like the honey because it is a 'healthier' form of sugar, but in the original there is definitely more cane sugar than honey since the honey flavour doesn't come through as strongly at all. If you really want to make it taste more like the original, you probably need to do a mixture- I'd recommend trying 1/8 cup cane sugar and an 1/8 cup honey.
  • I found the original DIY recipe was quite dry when it was done, so I upped the dried fruit a bit to give it more moisture which also helped add a bit of sweetness without the cane sugar.
  • I was toying with the idea of adding some hemp hearts for extra nutrition but, I was out of them on hand. However, I am going to try adding 1/8-1/4 cup in my next batch.
  • I drop the canola oil because it is a junk processed oil. Always, always skip the highly processed vegetable oils. Another good alternative would be avocado oil but I think the coconut adds a nice flavour. Olive oil and nut oils are good too but not in this since it's cooked- these are better raw.
The best part about theses little guys are they are nut free as well, which means school-friendly and freeze well! A great addition to the stored freezer treat stock!



Disclaimer: The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing a Naturopathic Doctor or your primary care provider for individualized health recommendations.

Detox Boosters

Detox Boosters

Like I talked about in the past, I love detoxes. Not the no food, extra laxative kinds, but more a nutritional detox. Giving your body all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients it needs to do the job it was made to do- eliminate waste. The best way to do this is through diet and food. This is a great time to add supplements for an extra boost and support. This kind of a detox I like to do twice a year- generally Spring and Fall- as a way to get back on track. It's also good to do a 'mini' version after splurges (think vacations (especially all-inclusive) and holidays). I talk more about why everyone should consider doing a detox and what the benefits are in one of our Wellness Wednesdays from this past Spring.

However, between these two focused detoxes, there are ways you can boost your detox pathways and organs of detoxification on a regular basis. Try to incorporate some of these easy boosters into your daily routine.

Up the Fruits and Veggies

Your body runs it's detox pathways on vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and your best source of all of these are through fruits and vegetables, which means, the easiest way to give yourself a detox boost is to load up on these. In fact, the antioxidant level of foods are rated by the ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) and is based on a 100g serving. The foods that top the list (minus spices like cloves- which is actually the highest- because who eats 100g of cloves?!) are fruits and veggies. An added bonus is that, fruits and veggies are also an amazing source of fibre which your colon needs to stay healthy. Also, don't forget those more bitter greens- think collards, kale, dandelion, arugula, etc.- bitter tastes help stimulate digestive enzymes and stomach acid production which in turn helps ensure our food is being broken down and absorbed effectively and helps ensure healthy digestion.

Load up on Fibre

Your colon and digestive system is a major pathway of elimination and detoxification. Upping the fibre not only helps improve bowel movements, it helps bind toxins/waste to carry it out of the body and it feeds healthy bacteria, which are responsible for helping with nutrient absorption and even some production as well as keeping your immune system healthy, newer research is even showing a link between gut flora and mental health! Many people immediately think grains, like oatmeal, when they think fibre, but grains are actually quite low in fibre when compared nutritionally to things like seeds, vegetables and even some fruits. Chia seeds and flaxseeds are my two favourite easily added foods that really help to boost not just your fibre but also nutrition. These relatively tasteless seeds can be easily added to smoothies, salads or even water to give you a boost. For example, just 2 tbsp of chia seeds pack 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fibre, 17% of your DRA calcium, 12% DRA iron and 23% DRA Magnesium! Mix some chia seeds into your water with a bit of lemon to make a simple Chia Fresca- the seeds will form a gelatinous coat after sitting in the water for a few minutes, so you don't even notice they are there!

Support your Liver

When it comes to processing toxins, your liver is definitely your power house, this is why most 'detox supplements' tend to focus on Liver support and herbs. However, you don't have to take a capsule to get a little boost. Adding herbal teas like milk thistle or dandelion will both support your liver. Milk thistle is hepatoprotective meaning it helps to heal and protect the liver from damage from the toxins it's processing. Dandelion is more stimulating which means it will increase liver function and bile out put but isn't as protective. Which herbs you use will depend on what your goals are (it's good to speak with your ND to make sure it's the right herb or product for you). Even adding lemon water into your diet can help give your liver a boost- the lemon helps stimulate digestion as well as bile acid production and output. 

However, when it comes to doing a fully planned detox, I still prefer to use a professional quality supplement to ensure that the proper dosage, concentration and herbal constituents are there to get the benefits we are after, but adding a little nutritional boost to your everyday routine is a great way to support your body and a healthy lifestyle!

Disclaimer: The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing a Naturopathic Doctor or your primary care provider for individualized health recommendations.