Healthy Nutella Recipe!

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Ahhh… The Avengers! You’ll stop at nothing to get a bite of my yummy natural chocolate hazelnut spread. Those super powers come in handy, don’t they!

 

Ok… so who knows what Nutella is?  Or should I ask… who doesn’t?

A few words – Nutella.  Total. Chocolate. Dreaminess.

As I kid I would do back flips when my mom brought this home from the grocery store.  My mom would have to hide it from my sister and I because we would sneak a scoop, sans bread and outside of a “healthy breakfast” or other meal (…as a kid I’d go for a Nutella sandwich for dinner any day!).

As a chocolate lover I can appreciate how amazing Nutella is to the senses.  As a Naturopathic Doctor I cringe at the ingredients.  I honestly don’t know how Nutella was able to tote it’s “part of a healthy breakfast” image for so long before someone called them on it!  Looking at the ingredient list I see it contains loads of sugar and hydrogenated oils.

I have always had the idea floating around in my mind to try making my own Nutella at home.  Over the years I have seen recipes for homemade chocolate hazelnut spread that was healthy.  I recently got the green light one day and whipped some up!  I combined a few different recipes to suit my liking and came up with a chocolate spread that was super delicious!

It was so easy to make!  It’s rich, chocolaty and totally not cringeworthy! 🙂

Homemade Nutella Recipe

1 cup hazelnuts

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 heaping tbsp cinnamon

1/3 cup raw cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup almond milk

Process hazelnuts in a food processor with a “S” blade until very fine.  Alternatively, for a super fine nut flour, process in a spice or coffee grinder.

In a food processor with an “S” blade, add the ground hazelnuts.  Then process on a medium speed while adding one ingredient at a time: maple syrup, cinnamon, cacao powder, vanilla, sea salt and almond milk.  Stop the food processor if needed to scrape sides down. Process until all ingredients are well combined.

Once completed, taste the spread.  And add ingredients to suit your liking and give the food processor another whirl with your addition… for example a little extra raw cacao for a richer chocolate flavour, more cinnamon or more almond milk to thin it out if desired.  A little extra sea salt can be added for those who love that sweet and salty flavour.

This spread can be used to top plain rice cakes, fruit of all kinds (apples, bananas, peaches, pears, berries) and Ezekiel bread (sprouted grain bread).  Now I can see this spread being a great part of a healthy breakfast or snack!

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Zesty Avocado Dip

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In the spirit of the Super Bowl, I’m posting this great dip that we are going to enjoy tonight for the festivities.  I don’t follow football.  We aren’t having a big Super Bowl party tonight.  But I love any opportunity to have fun and make fun food! 🙂

Here’s my fabulous, easy and healthy dip recipe!

ZESTY AVOCADO DIP

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2 ripe avocados

1 bell pepper (any colour), chopped

1/2 yellow or red onion

1-2 cloves of garlic (…Depending on your want of garlic-iness… for those who want the least amount of garlic flavour, use 1 clove but boil it in water for a few minutes before adding it)

1/2 bunch fresh parsley

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (I omitted this from my recipe because I can’t stand cilantro!  LOL!  But I know this herb typically works really well with avocado and this kind of dip, so I included it for all you cilantro lovers out there.  As an alternative, once I tasted my dip, I thought dill would work really well here.)

1/3 cup red wine vinegar or raw unpasturized apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

I threw it all in my food processor and zapped it into a semi-smooth dip.  Straight up, this can be served with corn chips.  It’s so versatile, since it can also be as a sauce for fajitas, chicken, veggies or grains, or used as a dip for quesadillas, raw veggies or crackers.  To make it into a sauce, just increase the amount of olive oil to thin out the consistency if needed.  When a little more olive oil is added, it also makes an AWESOME creamy salad dressing.

Yum!  I love a zesty dip like this!  Game on!

Creamy Dairy Free Salad Dressing

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Thanks to a recipe shared by a friend recently, I found a great twist to my favourite homemade salad dressing that transforms it into a dairy free creamy dressing.  This rich thick salad dressing definitely has become my go-to healthy dressing.  It works well on green salads, and even grain and bean salad dishes.

… and would you believe, the simple thickening agent that replaces sour cream or cream cheese is simply Ground Flax Seed!

My favourite healthy homemade salad dressing goes something like this…

1 part raw unpasturized apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

2 parts olive oil

a good dollop of pure dijon mustard (you be the judge of how much or how little)

a little Himalayan sea salt to season to taste

… I whip this up with a fork and it’s good to go!

The TWIST…

1- 2 tbsp ground flax seed (the more you add, the thicker the dressing)

… now with a fork, whip that into the dressing and within seconds you’ll notice the dressing starts to look just like a cream based dressing.

It tastes great and it’s super healthy.  This is a great way to ground flax seed into a salad without it being gritty or grainy.  The ground flax in the dressing virtually disappears.  Eating flax seed in their ground up state are the way to go!  When the flax seed’s hard outer shell is broken up, the nutrients of the seed are more readily available, as are the lignans (specific plant fibers) that are associated with decreasing cancer risk.

This recipe is fast, simple and versatile.  It’s little awesome things like this that make me happy in my kitchen.  😉

Here Chickie, Chickie

What can I say… my son really likes hummus.  I guess, he comes by it honestly.  🙂

These days, for the sake of convenience, I’ve been buying hummus at the grocery store.  So over the weekend, when he was asking me for some and I realized we were all out, I had a moment and just whipped up a small amount for him.  I crossed my fingers and hoped it would go over well… and it did!  So here’s my recipe for today…A really quick hummus.

I am fortunate to have a hand blender with a matching cup that I threw the ingredients into.  This recipe could also be made in the blender, a food processor or with a Magic Bullet.

I’m also posting this recipe because I literally eye-balled it.  No major measurements… I just went on texture and taste.  I used to make hummus by the book, and always followed a recipe… but more and more I’m getting away from that.  Cooking without a recipe is a great way to go.  These are the recipes that can be tweaked, you can use what you have on hand and it builds confidence in cooking.

If it didn’t work out, I had a base… so I could add a little more of something here and there until I got it right.  This is a simple recipe, so it didn’t take me long, even when I adjusted it a bit.

Here’s how it went down…

LAURA’S “On The Fly” HUMMUS

I pulled out my hand blender and cup.

Then I threw these ingredients together… (I’m giving rough measurements, but I really did just eye-ball it)

– About 1 cup chick peas, from a can, rinsed

– About 1 tablespoon of Almond Butter (traditionally Tahini [aka sesame seed butter] is used but I didn’t have any so I substituted this)

– About 1 tablespoon of pure organic mustard (to add a little zip because I was feeling inspired to add it)

– A sprinkle of himalayan sea salt

– Juice of 1/2 lemon

– Drizzle of olive oil

I started to blend these all in the cup together.

It was a bit thick, so I added a little splash of water and blended again.  It was still to thick, so I added another little splash of water.  This got it to the consistency we like.

It was done in less than 10 minutes and I was taking pictures while I did it!  This was a super fast recipe.

I tasted it… I like to taste the lemon in my hummus, so I added a bit more lemon juice and blended it up again.  I really liked how it tasted after that, so we were good to go and my little munchkin munched up his rice cracker and hummus snack with delight!  🙂