Chocolate Chip Seed Cookies – for hormonal balance

seed cycling cookies - trust in kim

I’m really happy to be posting this recipe, as I have found these to be very useful little cookies. I know, the word “useful” isn’t usually associated with cookies, but in this case the word fits. You see, I was first interested in the recipe because I wanted to find a tasty way to eat a lot of ground seeds, as part of a natural hormonal balance technique called “seed cycling.”  Seed cycling can help with  PMS, low energy, menstrual cramps, irregular cycles, acne, back aches, headaches, uterine fibroids, hot flashes and more. These symptoms are not normal, although many of us have lived with them for years.

But what is seed cycling, you ask? It involves eating ground seeds daily at different phases of the month, and helps the body naturally re-balance hormone levels. This is for women who are menstruating, peri-menopausal and menopausal. And apparently for men too – they have hormonal cycles as well! There’s more information about seed cycling on this site and here.

The first phase, the follicular phase, happens the beginning of a menstrual cycle. If there is no menstrual cycle, this can be timed to the first day of the new moon. At this time you eat a tablespoon of freshly ground flax seeds and a tablespoon of ground pumpkin seeds daily.

In the second, the luteal phase 14 days later, you eat a tablespoon of ground sesame and sunflower seeds each daily. If there is no menstrual cycle this time coincides with the full moon.

It is important to grind the seeds daily, so they don’t become rancid. Grinding them also allows the body to digest the seeds; flax and sesame seeds in particular pass right through you if they are not ground. I store my seeds in the freezer so they stay fresh.

Now, you might be wondering why I made these cookies when I could just sprinkle the seeds on my yogurt, oatmeal or salad. Well, the truth is that I couldn’t force myself to eat them any other way. I tried mixing it with my plain yogurt  with fruit, but I had a strong dislike of the texture of the seeds in the yogurt, and I wanted to keep enjoying my yogurt snacks.

So I searched around for a while until I found this recipe, and it changed everything. Now taking my medicine is delicious. I altered the recipe a bit to incorporate both phases of the seed cycling, and changed a few other parts of the recipe to suit what I had in my kitchen, and how I thought it would taste better. You could also exchange the chocolate chips for some dried fruit.

So because of the seed cycling I started making these, but there are some other benefits to this recipe. It is gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free and dairy-free.  They also make a great protein snack. So I think a lot of people might enjoy this one.

Oh, and anybody can eat these, not just people who are trying to balance their hormones, or who have food sensitivities. They are a yummy cookie.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you found these cookies helped you, or if you just enjoyed eating them.

Makes 24-28 cookies.

What you need for phase 1 cookies:

  • 1 cup ground pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

What you need for phase 2 cookies:

  • 3/4 cup ground sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup ground sun flower seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

What you do:

  1. Choose which phase you are going to bake for, then combine the freshly ground seeds, rolled oats, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Add the vanilla to the melted coconut oil/butter, then pour it into the bowl with the maple syrup. Stir to bring it all together.
  3. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Using wet hands, form the mixture into slightly flattened balls, about 2 dozen of them. I divide the mixture into 4 sections, then make each into 6 or 7 cookies. Make sure they each have a couple of chocolate chips in them.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, one tray at a time in the center of the oven.
  7. After removing the slightly browned cookies from the oven, let them rest for about 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
  8. Store in the freezer, removing as many as you need for the day. I eat 2 a day.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Eggplant and Pomegranate Molasses

yotam ottolengi butternut squash - trust in kim

Fall is here, so here’s a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe that is delicious and comfort-foody.  It isn’t the simplest recipe, as you have to bake the squash, burn the eggplant (doesn’t sound yummy but it is) and make it into a sauce, plus toast some nuts and seeds.  But if you love to cook you’ll probably enjoy making and eating this one.  The recipe is from Ottolenghi the Cookbook. (Thank you John for this fabulous surprise birthday gift – he saw me oohing and awing over it, and went back and bought it for me.)

I found it wasn’t necessary to add all the oil that the recipe called for, so I cut the oil content from 6 tablespoons to 3.  Feel free to add more oil if you wish.  The cookbook says to let the squash cool before serving, but I changed the order of the preparation so I could take the squash out of the oven last and serve it hot.

What you need for the squash recipe:

1 large butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

1 teaspoon nigella seeds (if you can’t find them it is still so delicious without)

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

1/2 cup basil leaves (I forgot to buy these! but it was good without them too)

salt and pepper

What you need for the burnt eggplant recipe:

1 medium eggplant

2/3 cup Greek yogurt (I used my regular yogurt)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1.5 teaspoons pomegranate molasses

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt and pepper

What you do:

1. Set the oven temperature to 350F.  Sprinkle the seeds and nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned.

2. To make the sauce begin by placing the eggplant over a flame – on your stove-top if you have gas, on a barbecue if you don’t, and in the oven if you have neither of those.  Burn the eggplant for 12-15 minutes, turning with tongs from time to time.  The skin should be dry and cracked, and you should smell a smoky aroma.  If you do this in the oven it will need a much longer cooking time.

3. Make a long cut through the eggplant and scoop out the flesh, doing your best to avoid the burnt skin.  Drain in a colander for 10 minutes, then chop coarsely. (you could get the eggplant into the oven now if you want-see step 5 )

4. Stir together the eggplant, yogurt, oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, parsley and garlic.  Mix together and add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Raise the oven to 425F.  Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut into wedges that are about 2cm thick.  Arrange the squash on a baking dish preferably with the skin side down and brush with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the wedges are tender and slightly browned.

6.  Arrange the squash slices on a serving platter and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle the nuts and seeds on top, then garnish with the basil.  Serve with the sauce on the side.

Enjoy!

Maple-Nut Granola

maple-nut granola - trust in kim

For breakfast I usually eat a bowl of fruit and homemade yogurt.  It’s so delicious, but I find sometimes it’s not enough to get me through the morning.  I haven’t made granola in ages, so I thought this would be a good time to rework an old recipe. I’ve used maple syrup for a little sweetness, and a bit of olive oil to make it nice and crunchy.  I think the amount of sugar and fat are quite reasonable, especially when you look at the fat and sugar content of commercial granolas.  The nuts themselves have a high fat content, but it’s a healthy fat, and one of the reasons why  serving of granola should be small.

What you need:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 300F.

2. Combine the oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oil,maple syrup and vanilla to this and combine thoroughly.

3. Spread this mixture evenly on a baking tray.  Bake for 2o minutes.

4. Add the pumpkin seeds and coconut to the baking tray and combine with the other ingredients.  I like to add these later in the cooking process so they don’t get too toasty.

5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want to watch it towards the end of the cooking time, just in case your oven in running a little hot.  The granola should be a golden colour, but not browned.  I think it tastes burnt when it gets browned.

6. Allow to cool completely on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.

Tomato Pesto

I haven’t made this in ages, but now that I’ve reminded my taste buds, I’ll be making it again soon.  This is a twist on traditional pesto, with a base of tomato.  It’s so easy to make, and works well on pasta, spaghetti squash, or steamed julienned zucchini, which is pictured.

What you need:

1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and chopped (use pumpkin seeds if you don’t like pine nuts)

1  small can of tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup grated parmesan

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

1. Mix all the ingredients together.  If you have time, let it sit for about an hour.  If not, serve it on top of your favourite pasta or one of the other suggestions above.

 

Pepita Pesto on Spaghetti Squash

I told a friend that I’d make a green meal for St. Patrick’s Day.  I wanted to use natural greens (no food colouring), so here’s what I came up with – green pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, in basil pesto.  I chose spaghetti squash because it’s nice and light.

What you need:

1 spaghetti squash

1/4 cup  toasted pepitas (otherwise known as pumpkin seeds)

3/4 – 1 cup basil

1/2 clove of garlic

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre brand)

olive oil

salt

pepper

What you do:

1.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half and bake for 30-40 minutes on 400F, or until you can remove the squash easily with a fork in stringy strands.

2.  Toast the pepitas lightly.

3. Place the pepitas in the food processor and grind well.

4.  Add basil, garlic, salt and a bit of pepper to the pepitas and add as much olive oil  as you need to make it smooth.  Then add the parmesan and give it one last whirl.

5.  Remove the squash from its shell with a fork.  Top with pesto.

I’m serving it with peas, but that’s just to add more green for St. Paddy’s Day!

Healthy Homemade Maple Granola

Commercial granolas have a lot of sugar, fat and even salt added, so I tried to stay away from adding a lot of those to this recipe.  Nuts contain a lot of fat, but it’s a healthy fat, so you’re okay if you eat a moderate portion.  Two of the things I like about making my own granola are:  I know exactly what’s going in it, and I can change the ingredients to suit my own taste and what I happen to have on hand.  So feel free to substitute for your favourite nuts and seeds.  Do beware that some seeds, like flax and sesame, are more freely digested and therefore benefited from, if they have been ground  – probably not the best choices for substituting here.

What you need:

4 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup dried, not roasted, pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup coconut ribbon or other unsweetened,dried coconut

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter (or oil for vegan and lactose-free)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

dash of salt

optional: 1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit

What you do:

1.  Combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

2.  Melt the butter and add the vanilla, salt and maple syrup to it.  Stir this liquid into the nut and oat mixture.

3.  Spread evenly onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.  Set the timer for 10 minutes, then give it a stir.  Stir again after another 10 minutes, then check and stir every five minutes until it is golden brown.  If you can hear the pumpkin seeds popping you know it’s done.

4.  Remove from the oven to cool and add the coconut and optional dried fruit.  I prefer to add the fruit with each serving rather than adding to the recipe, so the fruit stays moist and the granola stays crunchy.  That way I can also vary the type of fruit I add, whether it be dried (if I need to take it ‘to go’) or fresh.

5.  Store in an airtight container.  Of you think it will take you more than a few weeks to consume or give away parts of this recipe, it’s a good idea to keep it in the fridge.  Because  nuts oil they are susceptible to spoiling – refrigeration helps avoid this problem.

My Best Bran Muffins

These taste great, and they’ve got lots of fibre-rich bran.  I usually add raisins and pecans, but this time I substituted pumpkin seeds.  Dried cranberries are a great alternative to the raisins.

I mixed the dry ingredients the night before, so when I got up I just had to turn the oven on, add the liquids, and place the mix in muffin tins.  Fresh hot muffins in 20 minutes!

Makes one dozen, and freezes well.

You need:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 & 1/2 cups bran

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 eggs

1 cup milk (soy is good too)

2 Tablespoons molasses

1/4 cup butter

What you do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F.

2.  Stir dry ingredients (flour to pecans) in a large bowl.  (If you are making it ahead for tomorrow, this is all you need to do for now.)

3.  Melt butter, then mix in the milk slowly, so the butter doesn’t harden when you add cold milk.  Add molasses.  Pour the liquids, along with the slightly beaten eggs, into the dry ingredients.  Mix only until the ingredients are combined; if you mix more you’ll get tough little muffins.

4.  Place mixture in muffin tins lined with paper baking cups.

5.  Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.  Take muffins out of tins and cool on a rack for a few minutes before eating.

6.  If you freeze them, make sure they’re completely cool.

Enjoying a muffin in the mountains!