Picnic Food

Spiced Almond and Quinoa Salad

We often hear about the benefits of eating a diet rich in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses, and grains. As this advice is very general in nature, I was interested to read about the suggested goal to aim to eat at least 30 of these plant-based foods a week.. The benefit of this is that research claims that this mix will promote a more varied gut bacteria which will ultimately lead to a healthier gut microbiome.

Orange and Lemon Sweets (Vegan and GF)

When you think of oranges and lemons, what comes to mind? More than likely it is a vision of a couple of citrus fruits characterized by their leathery rind, white pith and juicy segments! Not at all surprising as these fruits are a common ingredient in baking and cooking and can have many uses for both sweet and savoury dishes. However, when I think of oranges and lemons something quite different comes to mind.

The “Happy Pear” Flapjacks

Although these treats are definitely unlike any flapjack I have ever tasted, the appeal of this healthy treat is that you can be creative with the ingredients and mix up the fruits and nuts as long you keep approximately the same volume of ingredients. I modified the original recipe replacing some of the walnuts with pistachio nuts and adding sunflower seeds in place of some of the pumpkin seeds to add colour and texture.

Raw Ginger Bites (Vegan and GF)

Ginger is one of my kitchen staples and I appreciate its versatility as a kitchen spice for both savoury and sweet dishes.

Not only is ginger valued for the bite it adds in the kitchen but, historically, ginger has also been used as a preservative, a tonic to treat common ailments and is renowned in both Eastern and Western medicine as a digestive aid. After the holiday season, which can involves eating more rich foods than normal or, in general day-to-day eating, ginger can serve as a natural remedy to assist with the digestive process.

Three Variations of Lime Tahini-Based Sauces or Dressings

As tahini is high in protein but relatively low in saturated fats, I tend to use it mostly to enhance the flavour and nutrition of a simple salad or meal of roasted vegetables. A different sauce makes for a different meal. One of the most popular and simplest sauces to make is lemon tahini which creates a deliciously rich, creamy, nutty, and tangy sauce which goes with many dishes.

As I use the lemon tahini sauce so frequently, I started looking for variations and discovered a tasty selection of lime-based tahini sauces. Similar to lemons, limes also add additional flavours and health benefits to a meal.

Gingerbread and Cranberry Chocolate Cups (Vegan and GF)

Throughout history, winter solstice festivals have been held across the world to celebrate the changing seasons and to mark the longest night of the year and rebirth of the Earth. The origin of baking treats for holiday festivities such as Christmas dates back to these solstice rituals.

One of the reasons these celebrations tended to revolve around food was because it used to be necessary to feast before the winter famine. In addition, the festivities and food often had an emphasis on the Earth itself incorporating natural foods.

Full of natural foods such as nuts, berries and spices, this recipe makes a delicious, healthy treat which can be enjoyed as part of holiday celebrations or packaged and shared as special gifts.

Triple Layer Tahini or Caramel Bars (Vegan and GF)

Traditionally, treats have been considered unhealthy as they tend to be processed foods, high in calories with little if any nutritional value. They can also contain harmful levels of added sugar, sodium and fat. In some ways, this “unhealthy” aspect of treats seems to defeat their intended purpose if the rituals of celebrating, rewarding or consoling includes eating potentially unhealthy ingredients.

Even though a lot of the WFPB treats contain healthy and nutritious ingredients, they still need to be consumed in moderation especially if they are part of a weight loss plan. However, there is no doubt in my mind that all treats are not created equal so next you are looking for food to treat yourself, why not give one of these healthy and nutritious WFPB treats a try?

Apricot and Peanut Recovery Bars

After any endurance event the body needs time to recover so it can reenergize itself for next time. For the body to recover more quickly, another important piece is choosing the right foods.
This is one of the challenges I face as I often don’t feel like eating after strenuous activity. However, these tasty apricot and peanut butter bars provide a great mixture of healthy ingredients that I find appealing even right after a workout to help kickstart the recovery process..

If you are not athletically inclined, the good news is that recovery bars are not just for after sports! There are lots of situations in life that involve recovery and the one most of us experience at some point is stress. Much like a workout, the “fight or flight” response of stress can impact the body leaving it needing recovery. As this can come in the form of time, rest and healthy sustenance, these decadent bars make a great recovery treat for even the worst of days!

Raw Sweet Potato Salad with Curry Almond Sauce

When it comes to eating vegetables, I am not a big fan of crunching them uncooked and generally prefer roasted, stir fried or even boiled.

Despite this, I did enjoy this raw sweet potato salad with a curry almond sauce! I had prepared a similar dish many months ago in which the sweet potato spirals were stir fried for about 5 minutes before adding them to the salad which softened them slightly. However, this recipe is authentically raw! As it involves no cooking, it is great for a summer meal when you don’t want to turn the stove on or, alternatively, it can be served as a light side dish to add a fresh flavour and crunch to a warm, winter meal.

Oat and Apple Biscuits (Vegan and Gluten Free)

What comes to mind when you think of a biscuit? My guess is that it probably depends on where you live! Having grown up in one country and then lived most of my adult life in another, I have found there are several words that are used quite differently in each country. One of these is the humble biscuit!