16 Ways to Eat Pumpkin Seeds

 

We may still be months away from pumpkin season, but thanks to our convenient pumpkin seed packs you can enjoy these chewy, tasty, super nutritious morsels any time!

With a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package.

 

Pumpkin seeds are known to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, protect against osteoporosis, promote restful sleep and lower depression. Studies have also shown that they can help prevent kidney stone formation, reduce inflammation for arthritis and boost prostate health.

With all these health benefits, we found 16 versatile recipes that will take you from breakfast through to dinner, including a whopping 10 different ways to spice up your plain pumpkin seeds!

Breakfast

Pumpkin Seed Nut Bread by Running to the Kitchen

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Granola by the Minimalist Baker

Lunch

Baby Spinach, Avocado and Pumpkin Seed Salad by Nigella Lawson

Pumpkin Seed Pesto by Whole Foods Market

Dinner

Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Sauce by Saveur

Dessert

Pumpkin Seed Brittle by Epicurious

 All-day Snacks

10 Ways to Spice up Pumpkin Seeds by Chowhound

Go Nuts for Macadamias

 

When you think of macadamias, Hawaii may come to mind – but they actually come from the land down under! These delicious nuts are native to north eastern New South Wales and central and south eastern Queensland in Australia.

Macadamias are a tough nut to crack, as the saying goes. Containing at least 72 percent oil, they’re encased in a leathery, green husk that splits open as the nut matures. When they fall from the tree, the husk is removed and the nuts are dried. The shell can then be removed using a nutcracker. 

Macadamia nuts are among the fattiest of all nuts, but that’s also what makes them healthy. The majority of the fat in Macadamia nuts is in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids which benefit the cardiovascular system, reducing cholesterol level and help to clean the arteries.

Another health benefit of macadamia comes from their high flavonoid content. Flavonoids help to prevent cell damage and protect our body from environmental toxins. They also convert into antioxidants which destroy free radicals and could protect our bodies from various diseases and certain types of cancer.

 Like other nuts, macadamia nuts contain a good deal of fibre. Eating just 10 to 12 nuts will meet about 10 percent of your daily fibre needs. Macadamia nuts also contain high amounts of vitamin B1 and magnesium, and just one serving nets 58 percent of what you need in manganese and 23 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin.

Check out our nuts

Cranberry Recipes

 

The perfect combination of tart and sweet, cranberries are not just delicious – they have one of the highest nutrient and antioxidant contents. Cranberries have many great health benefits, including lowered risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, decreased blood pressure and more. Ruby red dried cranberries are a great way to enjoy all these health benefits. Here are some of our favorite cranberry recipes, from cookies and scones to a refreshing salad and delectable baked brie appetizer.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies by Trisha Yearwood 

Sweet, creamy white chocolate complements the tartness of cranberries nicely in this super easy recipe.

Cranberry Spinach Salad by Jamie Hensley 

Cranberries are a great way to spice up any salad. Add your favourite protein to this dish to make it a complete meal.

Cranberry Orange Scones by Ina Garten 

Orange zest and juice bring a wonderful fragrance to these scones by the legendary Ina Garten.

Cranberry Nut Granola by Giada de Laurentiis 

This homemade granola recipe packs a punch with both dried cranberries and unsweetened cranberry juice. Mixed with warm cinnamon and maple syrup, it makes for a comforting breakfast.

Cranberry Pecan Baked Brie by Damn Delicious 

This dish is as simple, elegant, and that oozing cheese makes it absolutely irresistible. Just ten minutes of preparation later, you’re on your way to a crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Check out our cranberries!

6 Ways to Enjoy Tahini

 

Gloriously smooth and with a deliciously nutty flavor, Tahini is made by grinding sesame seeds into a paste and is rich in minerals and a great source of protein and calcium. While its best known use is in hummus, a chickpea-based dip, tahini is super versatile and can transform any dish into a savoury delight. Here are some great recipes for you to try.

Cold Sesame Noodles by Mark Bittman

This refreshing dish is perfect for a hot day. Just mix all the ingredients together and enjoy with your favourite crunchy vegetables.

Tahini and Almond Cookies by Natalie Levin

Yes, tahini can be made into dessert too! If you like sesame and almonds, you’ll absolutely love these melt-in-your-mouth cookies.

Roasted Vegetables with Tahini, Lemon and Za’atar by Alexandra Cooks

Tahini and lemon transform plain ol’ vegetables into delicious, flavourful morsels, perfect for a side dish or salad.

Squash and Farro Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette

Whisked with olive oil and lemon juice, tahini makes a wonderful salad dressing. Try it with your own combination of ingredients.

Roast Chicken with Asparagus and Tahini Sauce

This creamy tahini sauce comes together in minutes and goes perfectly with your favourite protein and vegetables. 

Going Gluten-Free

 

Whether you’re gluten-intolerant or just giving a new diet a test run, anyone trying to avoid gluten knows it can be tough finding suitable substitutes.

We’re here to help! From bread to flour to pasta, here are some suggestions for alternatives to common wheat-based products. Get creative and try some of these today.

Flour substitutes

Baking without regular wheat flour can be tricky, but flour alternatives are plentiful and when used in the right proportions and treated with care, can taste great. Almond flour, coconut flour and rice flour are just a few options, and can be used with corn starch, potato starch and tapioca starch with great results. Check out Epicurious’ guide to gluten-free baking here.

Bread substitutes

If you’re dying for a sandwich and don’t know what to make it with, consider making a wrap instead with corn tortillas, or using lettuce leaves to pile your sandwich filling on. Rice cakes also work perfectly as a stand-in for crackers, pizza crust, and even bagels.

Pancake and oatmeal substitutes

We all love pancakes for a leisurely breakfast, and you can still have them by replacing wheat flour with cornmeal or corn flour, like in this recipe. How about oatmeal? If you must have your carbs in the morning, consider corn grits instead.

Pasta substitutes

There’s nothing better than a bowl of piping hot pasta slathered in your favourite sauce – and you can still get your fix with rice noodles, or by creating zucchini or eggplant ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Spaghetti squash is also a great alternative – roasted and pulled apart with a fork, it looks exactly like noodles!

Flax Seeds: 5 Health Benefits


Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. 

Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Add two tablespoons of flax seeds to your daily smoothie to enjoy these wonderful health benefits.

1. Healthy Skin and Hair

The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema.

2. Weight Loss

Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA fats may also help reduce inflammation.

3. Lower Cholesterol

The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. Soluble fiber also traps bile, forcing the body to make more and using up excess cholesterol in the blood.

4. Antioxidant properties

Flax seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Lignans provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health. Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties.

5. Digestive Health

Perhaps the biggest flax seed benefits come from it’s ability to promote digestive health. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain gastrointestinal health. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or other digestive ailments, as it can help reduce gut inflammation.

Dried Apricot Recipes

Since apricot season is a mere few months, we like to get our year-round apricot fix from the dried version. Dried apricots are convenient and keep well, and they are a fantastic source of vitamin A, potassium and fibre.

We’ve got all your dried apricot needs covered here with five great recipes for breakfast, snacks, dessert, and even dinner.

Apricot Couscous by Tyler Florence

Dried apricots add a subtle sweetness to this delicious couscous recipe. Serve it as a side to complete an elegant dinner menu.

Chia Pudding with Dried Apricots and Pineapple by Bon Appetit

No time to make breakfast in the morning? This overnight chia pudding recipe allows you to sleep in a little longer! Simply mix the pudding ingredients together the night before and chill, then top with dried fruit in the morning.

Olive Oil Granola with Dried Apricots and Pistachios by Melissa Clark

Sugar and spice and all things nice! This recipe combines sweet apricots with warm cinnamon and cardamom, giving your granola a flavourful twist. 

Lamb Tagine by Simon Rimmer

Apricots aren’t just for dessert – try making this rich, hearty Moroccan lamb tagine for dinner. Don’t worry, you don’t need a traditional earthenware tagine – any pot will do!

Apricot Oat Bars by Giada de Laurentiis

Why settle for store-bought when you can make these delicious treats so easily at home? These apricot oat bars are great for breakfast, dessert, and a portable snack on-the-go. 

Delicious Hazelnut Recipes

Heart-healthy, high in vitamins and minerals and oh-so-delicious, hazelnuts add a nutty and fragrant flavour to any dish. We all know hazelnuts go perfectly with chocolate, but have you tried them with cheese and even vegetables? Hazelnuts are irresistible in baked goods and desserts, and equally delightful in savoury vegetable dishes, pastas and appetisers. We’ve selected five of our favourite hazelnut recipes for you to try (including one for homemade nutella!). 

Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Shortbread by Dave Liberman
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dave-lieberman/chocolate-dipped-hazelnut-shortbread-recipe.html

Chocolate-Hazelnut Banana Bread from Cooking Light
http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/from-the-editors/banana-bread-recipes-staff-favorites/chocolate-hazelnut-banana-bread

Toasted Hazelnut Salad with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnut Vinaigrette from Epicurious
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/toasted-hazelnut-salad-with-dried-cranberries-and-hazelnut-vinaigrette-14282

Homemade Nutella from The Splendid Table
http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/homemade-nutella

Roasted Pumpkin Hazelnut Crostini from Annie’s Eats
http://www.annies-eats.com/2014/11/10/roasted-pumpkin-crostini/

7 Reasons to Love Oats

Whether in the form of oatmeal, granola or mixed into baked goods, oats are always a great healthy option for breakfast or a midday snack. Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients. Here are just seven of the many health benefits of oats.

Oats help to lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart disease
Oatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fiber. One component of the soluble fibre found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fiber which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol and preventing heart disease. 

Oats help to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes
Eating oats can spread the rise in blood sugars over a longer time period. Control of blood glucose and insulin levels is essential in preventing many of the complications associated with diabetes. 

Oats help to reduce cancer risk
Oats, like other grains and vegetables, contain hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals). Many phytochemicals are thought to reduce a person's risk of getting hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrium and ovarian cancer. 

Oats help to reduce high blood pressure
A daily serving of whole oats rich in soluble fibre can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication. 

Oats help to promote healthy bowel function
Fiber is necessary in keeping bowel movements regular and oats are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber absorbs many times its own weight of liquid, making stools heavier and speeding their passage through the gut.

Oats help to maintain healthy weight
As the soluble fiber of oats is digested, it forms a gel which delays the stomach emptying, making you feel full longer and preventing over-eating. 

Oats help to boost athletic performance
Oats have been shown in scientific studies to favorably alter metabolism and enhance performance when ingested 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise of moderate intensity.

 

Joanna Kang

7 Reasons to Eat Quinoa

Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire back in the day. They referred to it as the mother of all grains and believed it to be sacred. It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only reached “superfood status” a few years ago!

The year 2013 was actually called The International Year of Quinoa”by the United Nations (UN), based on its high nutrient value and potential to contribute to food security worldwide. NASA scientists have been looking at it as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space, mostly based on its high nutrient content, ease of use and how easy it is to grow!

To cook quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked with this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.

Here are seven health benefits of quinoa:

1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels and may help you to lose weight.

3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function.

4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control.

6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells. 

7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

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