Category Archives: Appetizers & Snacks

Tomatoes!

Tomatoes-Beautiful
Beautiful homegrown tomatoes!

Tomatoes are a great addition to salads, sauces, dips, chows and chokas.

They even make a great base for soups and are often boiled, stewed, roasted or eaten raw.

These fruits (yes, fruits) are very versatile and can even be used in desserts.

Tomatoes are excellent sources of Vitamins A and C and also contain a key antioxidant called lycopene.  Studies have shown that lycopene may significantly lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe to enjoy the benefits of tomatoes.

Ingredients

2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon minced chive
sea salt to taste

METHOD:

– Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

– Serve and enjoy!

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Low-Sugar Chewy Granola Bars for Kids

Chewy granola bars are a popular snack with the kids.

Most store-bought bars promise to provide heart healthy nuts and whole grains in a snack-form that kids will love.  These come, however, with very high sugar content.  When reading labels, normally the first three ingredients are the major components.  Most of these store-bought bars have sugar in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.  Then, further down the ingredient list, sugar appears at least one more time.

In the wake of an upsurge in the incidences of Juvenile Diabetes, some of the popular cereal brands promised to have less sugar.  Even the popular Quaker Oats chewy granola bars at one point promised that it contained “25% less sugar” than before.  I bought those a while back and still found them to be too sweet.

A short while afterward I found that I could no longer purchase the store-bought chewy granola bars at all.  Not only were they too sweet, they also contained whey and other milk-derived ingredients.

So, I decided to make my own chewy granola bars at home.

After a couple experiments, and prayer, I came up with this Chewy Peanut Butter granola bar recipe.  I used peanut butter as I found it to be a great binder that kept the bars together as opposed to using large amounts of syrups and sweeteners.  This enabled me to keep the sugar content low.

I also used sunflower seeds, walnuts and cranberries which are great sources of dietary fibre.

Try this easy, heart-healthy snack.

Click here for recipe.

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars recipe

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars recipe

A heart-healthy, low-sugar snack that you and your kids will love!

Ingredients

– 2 cups rolled oats

– 1/2 cup peanut butter

– 1/2 cup brown sugar

– 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

– 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

– 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds

– 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

– 2 teaspoons water

– 2 rice cakes (plain)

DRY MIXTURE

– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

– On a baking sheet, spread 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats

– Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 minutes

– Carefully remove from oven and stir

– Put back in oven and bake for another 7 minutes

– Carefully remove from oven and set aside

– In a smaller baking pan, pour 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes

– Carefully remove from oven and set aside to cool

– In a large mixing bowl, combine cooled oats, cooled walnuts, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and mix well

– Next, add 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and mix well.  Set aside

WET MIXTURE

– In a small saucepan, add 1 teaspoon water, then  1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar.

– Turn heat on low and keep stirring** until peanut butter begins to soften up (about 2 minutes)

– Next add 1 more teaspoon water and turn on medium high, stirring constantly**for about 1-2 minutes.

– Take off heat and add 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk and stir mixture until well blended

– Add wet mixture to dry oat mixture and stir with spatula or wooden spoon until well combined

– Next add crumbled rice cakes and stir to combine

– Add remaining 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk and mix well

– Line an 8 x 8 dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray

– Pour mixture into dish and using a spatula or your hands spread mixture and press down firmly ensuring mixture is spread evenly in dish.  Guide hands or spatula along the edges to ensure there are no high and low areas

– Cover dish with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours

– Remove from refrigerator

– Carefully remove foil with granola unto a cutting board

– Cut across in half

– Take the first half and cut lengthways into four strips.  Then cut across making small rectangles or squares

– Repeat the steps with the second half

– Serve and enjoy

* Important – Keep stirring as directed to ensure peanut butter does not burn!

STORAGE TIPS

– Lightly spray the inside of an airtight container with cooking spray

– Place granola squares in single file but not too close together

– If container is not large enough to hold all the squares in a single layer then get a sheet of foil and spray both sides lightly with cooking spray

– Place foil over the first layer of bars, then line more bars in a single layer on top of the sheet of foil.  Cover tightly and refrigerate

Vegan Spicy Spinach Dip

This Vegan spicy spinach dip is easy to make and can be a real crowd pleaser at get-togethers.

Serve hot or cold, with whole wheat crackers, on pasta or on its own.

Here’s my spicy spinach dip recipe.

spicy vegan spinach dip - landsacpe wide

Spicy Spinach Dip recipe

1 pack of frozen whole leaf spinach (450 grams)

½ cup water

¾ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (fine)

2 teaspoons granulated onion powder

2 cloves garlic (peeled)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 pimento peppers (seeded)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon dried basil

1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes (optional)

METHOD:

– In a saucepan, add frozen chopped spinach and ½ cup water and 2 cloves garlic (peeled)

– Bring to boil

– Once the mixture has begun to boil, add ¾ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (fine), 2 teaspoons granulated onion powder, 2 pimento peppers (seeded), ½ teaspoon dried basil, and 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast flakes

– Stir well and let cook for a further 5-7 minutes

– Turn off heat

– Pour spinach mixture into your food processor or blender

– Next, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to mixture and blend well

– Empty contents into serving bowl and garnish with crushed red pepper flakes.

– Serve and enjoy.

Candied Mango with Beets (a.k.a Red Mango)

Red mango is a local favorite fruit preserve.  Sweet, tangy, rich in color, with a hint of spice: this treat is irresistible.

I decided to create my own healthier version without all the fred mangoood coloring and preservatives.

I also used beets to get that beautiful dark red coloring.

Here’s my version of the popular Red Mango.

Candied Mango with Beets (a.k.a Red Mango) Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

500 grams frozen chopped green mango (just over 1 lb)

2 cups beets (roughly chopped – leave skins on)

5 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups brown sugar

2 dried Bay leaves

10 dried cloves

Squeeze of lemon (optional)

 

METHOD:

– In a medium sized pot, add 500 grams frozen chopped green mango, 2 cups beets (roughly chopped), 5 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups brown sugar, 2 dried Bay leaves, 10 dried cloves and bring to boil.

– When mixture has begun to boil, continue to boil uncovered for about 1 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally (or until mango and beets are soft and tender and liquid has turned into a thick syrupy sauce)

– Turn off heat and cool

– Just before serving, add a squeeze of lemon (optional)

Super Simple Pineapple Salsa (a.k.a Pineapple Chow)

pineapple salsa aka chowTrinidadians are famous for making a chow (salsa) out of almost any fruit – Plum Chow, Mango Chow, and now a recent favorite – Pineapple Chow.

Now I have to admit,  even though Pineapple is my favorite fruit I was a little bit skeptical when I saw that it met its ultimate fate in the Trini palate as a Chow.  But, as they say, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, right?

So, I decided to make my own version, without the heavy dose of pepper sauce.

The result?

I was wowed!  I couldn’t believe it tasted so good.

So, without further ado, here’s my super simple (and super mild) Pineapple Chow recipe.

RECIPE

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 pimento pepper, seeded and minced

1 clove garlic, grated

METHOD:

– Add all ingredients to a small bowl

– Stir well to combine

– Serve and enjoy!

TIP: This salsa/chow could also work well as a topping to your favorite

burger recipe.