Healthy Mexican Treats

Honey Candy
Sweet hard honey candies with sesame seeds: mmm

Check out these fine treats I scored from a little grocery store in Puerto Morellos, Mexico.

happy birthday to me!


it's my birthday!

Just returned from fabulous Mexico - and it was just my birthday too :-) Here's the beautiful cake I made for the occasion: a superb Mexican Dark Chocolate Torte with Honey Vanilla Marshmallow Icing. The cake was a hit: striking and delicious.

Curious about the shirt? So was I when I bought it in the Mayan town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, not knowing anything about Maria Sabina other than she was obviously an important woman... actually she was a shaman!

¡Arriba!

I'm off to Mexico for a couple of weeks -
I'll be back for spring =)

I'll have to track down some tasty little Mexican wedding cakes while I'm there...

Cream Puffs ~

minus the cream ;-)

Here's a great sounding recipe makeover for Cream Puffs. I'll try this recipe using all whole eggs rather than extra whites...

(Healthy) Dark Rum Walnut Brownies


Dark Rum Walnut Brownies: Bittersweet dark nutty fruity chocolaty bliss

Time for some awesome rich chocolaty Dark Rum Walnut Brownies!

Compared to traditional brownies (that generally have a lot of butter/oil, refined wheat flour, refined sugar...) these are healthy. You still need fat and sugar to make a really good brownie - and these definitely have fat and sugar. The difference is this: these have more healthy fats (like egg yolks and omega3-rich walnuts) and healthier sugars (from mineral and fiber-rich dried fruits like prunes). They are also packed with healthy dark chocolate.

Recipe: Dark Rum Walnut Brownies

Yum!

contrast

Rosemary Oat Cakes with poppy-seeds
Rosemary Oat Cakes with poppy-seeds: a pretty little cocktail cracker

Here are some lovely little Rosemary Oat Cakes - this time made with poppy-seeds. Originally, I made these savory little cocktail crackers with sesame seeds. The poppy-seeds are smaller, which helps them adhere better to the dough - particularly when slicing through. The flavour and visual contrast the poppy-seeds provide is also pretty special :-)

Cocoa: Dutch vs Raw

Cocoa beans in a cacao pod
Cocoa beans in a cacao pod (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service)

I'm sure you've all been noticing the studies constantly popping up proclaiming chocolate's health benefits.

In Chocolate, More Cocoa Means Higher Antioxidant Capacity. One thing I recently learned was that alkalized cocoa (like the dark and mellow Dutch Processed cocoa) is lower in healthy antioxidants (here: flavonoids) than the more unprocessed (and more bitter) "raw" cocoa. I figured when it came to chocolate, and by extension cocoa, "the darker the better". Not so for cocoa. Dutch Processed cocoa still contains healthy antioxidants (and tastes awesome), just not many as raw cocoa.

Once again, the less processed food wins as the healthier choice!

Revised: Canada's Food Guide

Canada's Food Guide
Canada's Food Guide (2007)

The Canadian government has just released (on February 5, 2007) a revised version of the Canada's Food Guide.

This guide was first published in 1942 (during WW2) to inform Canadians on how to eat a healthy balanced diet. There have been several revisions of this guide, the last version was released in 1992.

Upon first glance, I think it's pretty good. It provides eating suggestions based on sex, age, and physical activity level. It also states that physical activity is important for healthy living, and provides some guidelines. It's friendly, colourful, and displays the foods in a rainbow - rather than a hierarchical pyramid. It includes "ethnic" foods like kefir and bok choy...

Interesting :-)

beautiful breads...

Came across this nice little description and pictorial on how to make a light rye bread: George's Light Rye Bread Recipe.

I actually haven't made a real yeasty bread yet - though I'm most interested in the whole-grain sourdough variety... (I have made many a quick-bread, flat-bread, cracker, and even whole-wheat soda bread on the BBQ)

I read an amazing book that I borrowed from the library on the topic called
The Bread Book: A Natural, Whole-Grain Seed-to-Loaf Approach to Real Breads by Thom Leonard.

This guy Thom is very hard-core. He basically describes how to source out good seeds, grow your own patch of wheat, mill it yourself, and make your own sourdough bread! I was impressed :-) Now this book is out of print and consequently very expensive.

Back to the web:

This recipe sounds good: Black Bean and Chipotle Bread
(from Sourdough Home: "A Exploration of Sourdough")

~ more on bread later!

peanut butter miso cookies...

peanut-butter miso cookies
peanut butter miso cookies baking in the oven

I've been dreaming about making peanut butter miso cookies for a while... Behold my first attempt happily baking in the oven. The peanut butter cookie dough with savory miso ended up tasting both unique and familiar: addictively good! I rolled each cookie in sesame seeds which produced a fantastic crust.

I'll post the recipe once I've verified that these are, in fact, very awesome :-)

UPDATE: Here's my recipe! Ginger Miso Peanut Butter Cookies