April begins the season where markets start to overflow with a wide variety of fun and interesting produce. You can also find fresh and healthy greens right in your own backyard(literally!). Try eating some of those dandelion greens, rather than weeding them out – just be sure to wash them well first.
Happy Spring, everyone!
My Baked Apple Dessert is healthy and delicious, using inflammation reducing Cinnamon and Coconut Palm Sugar – an alternative to white sugar that provides vitamins, minerals, and doesn’t spike blood glucose levels the way conventional sugar would.
At around 150 calories for the entire dish, you can use this recipe as a quick and easy snack, or as a simple and healthy alternative to traditional desserts.
Since you aren’t using chemically laden sugar alternatives, it’s also safe for your kids. My kids love it, and the Coconut Sugar has a touch of brown sugar-like sweetness that provides extra magnesium(which many kids AND adults don’t get enough of)!
The end result will be sweet, delicious, and slightly soft, with just enough “sauce” to keep your apple from being too plain. If you prefer a much softer(mushy) texture, bake for 10 minutes longer than listed.
EDITED 01//23/2014 to add that I have been informed by a YTF follower that Doctor Oz recently had a segment on Coconut Sugar.
Now, knowing Doc Oz, and his tendency to hyperbole(not hating on him… just sayin’), he very likely touted it as some sort of cure all, or miracle food.
Let me say that you’d have to eat tons of it (please don’t!) to really make a huge dent in your nutrition profile, and calorie for calorie, it is the same as white sugar.
The difference is that it’s not nutritionally empty, and doesn’t spike blood sugar as much.
So while I wouldn’t call it any sort of miracle food, in small amounts, it’s a great alternative to white sugar, and the cumulative effect of dietary tweaks here and there can make the difference overall.
- 1 large organic Fuji apple, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar
- 1/2 tbsp of 100% Lemon Juice, fresh or bottled
- 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp water
1 – Preheat oven to 350F
2 – Place apple pieces in an oven proof glass bowl(Pyrex or similar)
3 – Sprinkle coconut sugar and cinnamon over the apples; drizzle evenly with lemon juice and water. Stir until evenly coated.
4 – Bake in bowl for 20 minutes, on a cookie sheet to catch any bubbling over.
5 – Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and enjoy!
Makes 1 large serving, or 2 small.
OPTIONAL: You may try adding a tbsp of unsweetened dried cranberries before baking, as well.
In the past few years, Chia Juices have been springing up everywhere as well… usually with a hefty price tag of $4 or more for a single serving. There’s no need to shell out so much money to get Chia Seeds in your diet. You can make these juices at home for pennies on the dollar.
An added bonus is that you are only limited by your imagination. You can make mixes of juice, tea, and chia, or just use a tea/chia, or a juice/chia combo.
Combine different juices and teas to make a wide range of flavours. Hibiscus, green tea, white tea, black tea, pumpkin spice tea – it all works the same, and you can vary your flavours by the season.
Chia Seeds are gaining popularity now that their health benefits are finally being recognised.
One of their greatest assets are the huge amounts of the Omega 3 Fatty Acid ALA that they contain. These Fatty Acids are wonderful for the brain, potentially warding off cognitive decline in aging, as well as providing some benefits to counteract depression.
The Tryptophan content in Chia Seeds helps boost Serotonin and Melatonin levels, providing sound sleep and even more protection against depression.
Chia Seeds also boast a high fiber content, and helps to stabilize blood sugar. This combination helps to prevent insulin spikes, and helps digestion.
These are only a few of many fantastic health benefits that Chia Seeds provide.
A small glass of this Chia Drink recipe makes a perfect post-workout snack. Keep some premade in your refrigerator to hydrate and restore essential nutrients to the body after a hard exercise session.
Remember that the tea and juice amounts can be substituted by any juice or tea you have available. I recommend juices and teas that have NO added sugar.
Pomegranate-Green Tea Chia Drink Recipe:
- 8 tbsp of whole Chia Seeds
- 1 and 1/4 cups of hot water
- 2 quarts of brewed and chilled green tea, unsweetened
- 2 cups of unsweetened chilled Pomegranate Juice
In a heat proof container, stir your Chia Seeds into the hot water. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine your green tea and pomegranate juice in a gallon sized drink container. A cleaned out milk jug will work, if you don’t have one already.
When the Chia Seeds have plumped up, spoon and stir the seeds into the juice/tea mixture. If your container has an airtight cap, you can shake it for better dispersion.
I recommend letting your Chia Drink chill for a few hours. Making it a day ahead is perfect.
Always stir or shake before pouring into a glass.
Other flavour ideas to try:
- Cherry Juice, Lime Juice + Chia
- Hibiscus Tea, Blackberry Juice + Chia
- Lemon Juice, Black Tea, + Chia
- Orange Spiced Black Tea, Tangerine Juice, + Chia
- White Tea, Orange Blossom Tea, Honey, + Chia
- Green Tea, Lemon Juice, + Chia
- Mint Tea, Green Tea, + Chia
There really is no limit to the flavours you can concoct. Have fun and experiment frequently!