My Favorite Spring Treats

Spring is a time to lighten up, eat fewer refined foods, and move towards the whole, local ingredients that support the health of local farms, the bioregion, and your body.

May this practice of eating simple, seasonal, flavorful food help you connect with nature and welcome each day as an opportunity for rejuvenation and new discovery.

May day is honored in Northern traditional cultures as Beltaine, a celebration of passion, creativity, fertility and the resplendent sun, which shines warmer each day and lingers longer each evening. Spark your passion and creative impulse by getting in the kitchen and making these wholesome treats! They also happen to be vegan and gluten-free.

Sweet Potato Bars

For the crust:

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  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the topping:

  • 1 pound orange fleshed sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and allspice
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)

Chop and boil the sweet potatoes. Keep the skin on for maximum nutritional benefit. Drain them and allow them to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly oil an 8-inch square-baking pan with olive oil. Place all topping ingredients in a food processor bowl and pulse until mixture reaches a coarse meal that's evenly moist.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it evenly and firmly into the bottom. Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until set. Remove from oven.

Place all the topping ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. There's no need to wash the processor between the crust and the topping.

Pour the mixture onto the crust and smooth the top evenly with a spatula. Bake about 25 minutes. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Sweet potatoes: high in omega 3 essential fatty acids to tonify the internal organs and strengthen immunity; rich in carotenoids and omega-3s, whose anti-oxidant content offers anti-inflammatory support; high in vitamin C to boost immunity; rich in B vitamins to reduce stress.

Almond Chocolate Chip Bites

You will need:

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  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup organic unsalted almond butter*
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs

*You can substitute cashew or peanut butter.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 

Using a soup spoon, evenly space scoops of the mixture on the baking sheet. Press down with a spatula or back of the spoon to slightly flatten. 

Bake for about 15 minutes.

Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring and eating!

Almonds: high in monounsaturated fat, which promotes heart health, helps reduce LDL cholesterol, and aids in carbohydrate metabolism, thus contributing to weight loss; high in flavoproteins to balance blood sugar and improve energy levels; rich in vitamin E to promote cognitive abilities and protect the brain.

Thanks to Rebecca Katz for this inspiration!

Favorite Breakfasts with 3 Ingredients Each

Each one of these breakfasts provides protein, fiber and flavor for balanced energy that jump starts metabolism and provides satisfaction.

I love sweet potatoes. They are a staple in my diet because they support the reproductive system, satisfy the sweet flavor, and feed beneficial gut bacteria. They are also rich in anthocyanins to recude inflammation and plenty of dietary fiber to stabilize blood sugar.

Grocery store labeling can cause much confusion. What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? 'Yam' comes from the Fulani (West African language) word 'nyami', which means 'to eat'. Native to Africa and Asia, these root vegetables belong to the Dioscoreaceae family

.Sweet potatoes, instead, are members of the Convolvulaceae, or morning glory plant family. They are more commonly grown in the United States. Breakfast can be easy and delicious. Watch the video and try these recipes and see for yourself! 

Prepare these dishes ahead and have them ready for the week to come.

Kasha Sweet Potato Pie

You will need:

  • Kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)

  • Olive oil

  • Roasted sweet potatoes

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cube and roast sweet potatoes with olive oil (4 tablespoons) and salt (1 teaspoon) on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, place kasha and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, add 1 teaspoon salt, and stir occasionally.

Once sweet potatoes are roasted, remove them from the oven and lower the temperature to 375 degrees.

Oil a pie plate with olive oil. Once the kasha is cooked, spread it into the pie plate. Top with roasted sweet potatoes and bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy with a spoonful of your favorite nut butter. I like tahini.

Sunflower Sweet Potato Flatbread

You will need:

  • Cornmeal

  • Sunflower Seeds

  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Oil a loaf pan with olive oil.

Bring 3/4 cup sunflower seeds in a spice / espresso bean grinder until they reach a flour-like consistency. 

Combine with 1 cup cornmeal and a pinch of salt. 

Add 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes (see preparation directions above) and enough water to make a thick, chunky batter - about 1/2 cup.

If you would like a smooth consistency, blend in a blender or with an immersion blender.

Spread into loaf pan and bake for 15 minutes.

I like to slice it, toast or fry it, and serve it with parsley pistou

.

Coconut Sweet Potato Cakes

You will need:

  • Coconut flour

  • Shredded coconut

  • Roasted sweet potatoes

To prepare:

In a bowl, mix equal parts coconut flour and shredded coconut. 

I also like to add a teaspoon of cinnamon. 

Mix in 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes (see preparation directions above) and smash them with a fork.

Add enough water to make a thick, dough - about 1/2 cup.

If you would like a smooth consistency, blend in a blender or with an immersion blender.

Oil a cookie sheet or baking dish with olive oil. Shape dough into patties and place on the baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

I like mine toasted and drizzled with honey or maple syrup and a spoonful of almond butter.

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