Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Teriyaki Bird Food

I have to admit, when snacking off the grid I sometimes feel like I eat a lot of bird food…so sometimes I have to get creative.  Nuts and seeds, when properly prepared are wonderful sources of healthy fats, complementary proteins and a host of micronutrients.

Sunflower seeds provide significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.  These nutrients are known to calm and detoxify the entire body, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and help prevent heart both heart disease and cancer (source).

Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are another super seed which are known for promoting prostate health, increasing bone density and reducing inflammation better than pharaceuticals!

“The healing properties of pumpkin seeds have also been recently investigated with respect to arthritis. In animal studies, the addition of pumpkin seeds to the diet has compared favorably with use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in reducing inflammatory symptoms. Importantly, though, pumpkin seeds did not have one extremely unwanted effect of indomethacin: unlike the drug, pumpkin seeds do not increase the level of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the linings of the joints, a side-effect that actually contributes to the progression of arthritis.” (source)

Birds must be amazing healthy little critters, but I bet they are jealous that they don’t have these tasty seeds!

TERIYAKI BIRD FOOD
Ingredients

  • filtered water
  • 1 – 2 TBS Celtic sea salt
  • 1 lb raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 lb raw pumpkin seeds
  • 15 – 20 dates, soaked and drained
  • 1 TBS ginger
  • 2 TBS crushed garlic
  • 2 TBS soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten free version)

Preparation

  1. Place seeds in a large bowl and cover with filtered water.  Add 1 – 2 TBS of Celtic sea salt and soak 8 hours or overnight.  Drain.  Should be about 8 C soaked seeds.
  2. About an hour before seeds are done soaking bring a pot of filtered water to a boil and then remove from heat, add dates and cover.  Allow dates to soak for 1 hour.  Drain.
  3. In a food processor, process soaked dates until a smooth paste forms.
  4. Add ginger, garlic and soy sauce and continue to process.
  5. Scrape paste into bowl with soaked and drained seeds and mix well to coat.
  6. Place on non-stick dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for about 20 hours at 115° degrees. Or use the oven method (below)*.
  7. Store in air tight glass jars.

Eat Well, Be Well (Tweet, Tweet),
April

*OVEN DEHYDRATING METHOD
Spread items to be dehydrated out onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and place in the oven.  If you have a convection setting use it, if not, prop the door open using a small metal object such as a measuring cup to allow air to circulate.  Dehydrate at 150° (or your oven’s lowest possible temperature) for 8 – 12 hours or until crispy.  You will lose some of the enzymes with this method, but will still have a yummy treat!

This post was shared on Read Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Snacking without Barcodes: Nuts & Seeds

If you have little ones at home you know that snacks make up a huge part of their diet.  If I had a nickle for every time one of them said to me “Mama, I want a little snack.”  Well you get the idea.  Snacking is normal and healthy for little people (and for big people too).  The problem is that often the snacks that we offer aren’t as nutritious as the foods we eat at mealtime.  It’s quicker and easier to grab some prepackaged crackers or fruit snacks especially when on the go.  Once you become a label reader you may realize that you are missing out on some easy opportunities to fortify your child’s diet.  But convenience is convenience, and busy parents need that too.  Well, we can have both!  This week I’m going to to offer some suggestions for nutrient dense snacks that you can make and package in bulk on the weekend and have on hand for the entire week.

Nuts and seeds are great options for quick, easy and nutritious snacks.  As I’ve mentioned before, both nuts and seeds contain phytic acid which blocks the absorption of essential minerals, so before you go crazy with the nuts, make sure that you are neutralizing these anti-nutrients by soaking or sprouting.  This is an extra step, but it really doesn’t take long.  Simply soak raw nuts or seeds 12 hours or overnight in filtered water with 1 TBS of Celtic sea salt.  Then put them on a baking sheet and “dehydrate” them at 150°.  If your oven doesn’t go this low just set it to the lowest temperature.  Mine only goes down to 170° and that has worked fine for me in the past.  If you have a dehydrator even better!  Put the nuts or seeds on the dehydrator sheets and set it to 150°.  Dehydrate for 12 hours or overnight. 

If you are able to find sprouted nuts or seeds at the store, you can skip this step, but once you get into the habit of soaking and dehydrating them it’s really no big deal.  Honestly, it’s one minute to put them into the salt water and two minutes to drain them and spread them out onto the baking or dehydrator sheet.  NOTE:  If you are using raw cashews, soak them no more than 6 hours or the texture will be funky.

So once you get into the grove and reach a point where you have nuts and seeds on hand on a regular basis, the snack possibilities are endless.  Here are a couple of our go-to seed snacks.  We keeps seeds and nuts separate because of a nut allergy, but you can definitely mix and match them anyway you like.

POWERFUL PROTEIN BARS
These are our favorite snack lately.  You can double this recipe if you want to make a larger batch.

  • 2 cups soaked and dehydrated nuts or seeds (or a combo)
  • 6 TBS unrefined coconut oil
  • 10 dates

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until it’s the consistency of a very lumpy peanut butter.  Press the mixture into an 8X8 dish or into individual mini muffin cups.  Move to the refrigerator and refrigerate until solid.  Cut them into bars or pop them out of the muffin tins and package in snack size baggies or small containers so that you have them on hand for lunches and on-the-go.

CRUNCHY TRAIL MIX

After you’ve prepared your nuts and/or seeds simply combine them with unsweetened, dried fruits, coconut and a few chocolate chips if it’s a special treat.  Put individual servings into snack size baggies or small containers so that you have them on hand for lunches and on-the-go.

The mantra for this week…”If everything you give them is equally healthy, then it doesn’t matter what they eat.”

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

The First Fringe Recipe

I was determined to be posting regularly by now but the problem is that I’m working on about 10 posts at once. Not as easy to get this “off the ground” as I thought.  But there is no reason I can’t start posting some of our favorite recipes…if you can call them that.  This is one that I made with my 3 yo daughter last week.  It is a favorite family snack, which contains excellent proteins & fats and just enough sweetness to please even the “most sophisticated palates.”  By soaking the seeds the phytic acid is somewhat neutralized therefore minimizing it’s anti-nutritional effects.

Pepita Trail Mix

Ingredients:
-raw sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds (both hulled), enough to fill the baking sheet of your choice in a single layer
-2 TBS sea salt
-filtered water
-raisins
-coconut flakes

In the morning put the seeds (mixed) into a large bowl and cover with water and add the salt.  Soak the seeds in the saltwater all day.  Right before bed, drain and spread the seeds onto a baking sheet.  Put in the oven at 150 overnight.  (note:  My oven only goes down to 170 and that is fine too.)  In the AM remove and cool (they won’t be very hot at all) and then add raisins, coconut and anything else you like, at any ratio like.  If you are too busy in the morning just turn off the oven and the seeds will be fine in there until you get back to them.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April