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.

Let it Rain Purple with Acai Berries

In honour of musical legend Prince, we are bringing on the purple this week by sharing some of our favourite acai berry powder recipes.

Dark purple acai berries are commonly found in the rainforests of the Amazon. This unique berry has been named the number one superfood in the world with the highest concentration of antioxidants!

Get your daily antioxidant boost by adding just a touch of acai berry powder into your smoothies and shakes, yogurt or desserts. Here are some recipes to turn your palate purple.

Acai smoothie bowls by Chocolate Covered Katie  

Smoothie bowls are the easiest way to enjoy the goodness of acai berries. Simply add your favourite combination of fruit and milk, blend with a tablespoon of acai berry powder, and top with some crunchy granola and more sliced fruit.

Blueberry Acai Cornbread Cakes by the Young Austinian  

Acai berry powder turns this simple recipe into a beautiful piece of art with deep violet swirls in the yellow cake. Perfect paired with fresh fruit slices and a hot cup of tea.

Acai Berry Jam by the Delicious Revolution

This delicious jam will taste great with toast, waffles or ice cream. Best of all, it’s sweetened naturally with maple syrup and fruit, so you can enjoy it guilt-free!

Acai Berry and Coconut Pancakes by the Sweeter Life Club 

These fluffy pancakes are a great twist on a breakfast staple. Your family will enjoy the subtle sweetness and lavender hue of these pancakes, and your body will love the antioxidant boost it gets from your healthy breakfast.

Here is our Organic Acai Powder

Baking with Almond Flour

If you’re looking to cut gluten, switch to a paleo diet or sneak some nutritious superfoods into your family’s meals, almond flour might be the answer. High in protein and low in carbs, almonds are a good source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, which are great for your brain and heart health.

Almond flour works very well in cakes, muffins, pancakes and cookies. To use almond flour in your dessert recipes, try experimenting by replacing regular flour with the same amount of almond flour, but use slightly more raising agent than the recipe suggests. As almond flour is a little heavier than regular flour, the extra raising agent will help prevent your baked goods from being too dense.

Another tip is to prevent sticking by lining your pans with baking paper and buttering them. Be careful when removing your cookies and cakes from the pan as almond flour baked goods can be a little more fragile! Be sure to let them cool before slicing them.

If you buy almond flour in bulk, remember that you can extend its shelf life by storing it in the fridge or even freezing it. Simply thaw your almond flour for 30 minutes before use.

Ready to bake with almond flour? Here are some delicious treats for you to start with.
 

Fluffy Almond Flour Pancakes by The Nourishing Home

These light and fluffy grain-free pancakes come together in an instant, making them the perfect lazy Sunday morning breakfast. Almond flour pancakes can be made gluten-free and dairy-free, so they’re great for anyone with wheat or dairy allergies. To complete your meal, top your pancakes with your favourite fruit and a splash of maple syrup.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies by Gourmande in the Kitchen

This decadent recipe calls for both cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate. Deep, dark and rich, these double chocolate cookies are for true chocolate lovers. They have crackly, brownie-like tops, crisp edges and a fudgy centre. Best of all, you just need 30 minutes to bake them! And shhhh, no one will ever notice they’re gluten-free. 

Strawberry Crumble by Stephie Cooks

If you know how to mix a bunch of ingredients and scatter them into a baking pan, you’ll be able to enjoy this super simple strawberry crumble recipe. Use whatever fruit is in season – berries, peaches, pears or apples – and serve your masterpiece warm or at room temperature. To really make it a showstopper, nothing goes better with fruit crumble than a scoop of ice cream. 

Paleo Banana Bread by Elana’s Pantry

Yes, there is such a thing as a healthy banana bread recipe! This beauty contains three whole bananas and just one single tablespoon of honey for a subtle natural sweetness. Be sure to use ripe bananas to bring out their flavour. 

French Macaron Recipe by Indulge with Mimi

We saved the best for last. Who can ever resist these elegant, dainty French treats? Macarons are a French classic for good reason – the almond flour in them yields the subtlest crisp shell and that distinctive chewy texture. Master one macaron recipe and you’ll be able to experiment with different flavours and fillings. 

Five New Ways to Eat Oats

We all know oatmeal makes for a really healthy breakfast, but let’s face it — sometimes the thought of having the same meal every morning gets
dull and uninspiring. If you’ve got a big bag of oats in your pantry and are looking for new ways to eat it, we’ve got four new ideas for you.

Cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies are an absolute classic, combining chewy oats and sweet raisins in a buttery batter. Switch up your recipe by adding your favourite nuts and substituting other types of dried fruit.

Bread and muffins

Why eat regular white bread when you can make it tastier and with more fibre, just by adding oats into the batter? Try this hearty banana oatmeal bread and these delectable chocolate chip oatmeal mini muffins. You won’t be sorry you did.

Smoothies

Oats — in a smoothie? It's not as crazy as it may sound. See, oatmeal gives smoothies a thicker, more filling consistency, a boost of fiber, and a kick of protein. Why not drink your protein and fiber instead of eating it? If you’re game, try this strawberry oat smoothie and this decadent chocolate peanut butter one.

Pancakes

You may be surprised at how well the chewiness of the oats complements the fluffy batter in these whole wheat oatmeal pancakes. Oats make this recipe hearty and healthy, and give the pancakes a whole new depth of flavour. They taste so good, you may not even miss the maple syrup!

Featured Product: Wild Rice

The Health Promotion Board recently released a controversial report that eating white rice increases one's likelihood of getting diabetes. Whether or not you agree, it's never a bad idea to explore other delicious, healthy carbohydrate options.

If like us, you can't live without rice, you might want to try wild rice, an exceptionally nutritious choice with a lovely nutty flavour.

Unlike regular white and brown rice that we consume in Asia, wild rice isn't actually rice! It's classified as grass that happen to produce edible grains. Three of the four known species are native to North America and have long been harvested by native Americans. The fourth is native to China where it is now more common to consume the stem as a vegetable instead of the grain.

Just one cup (around 164 grams) of cooked wild rice gives you a significant amount of B vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. In addition, a study has found that wild rice contains 30 times more antioxidant activity than white rice.


How to cook wild rice

Wild rice can be steamed or boiled just like regular white rice, but it needs more water — three cups of water per cup of rice— and takes longer to cook. A cup of raw wild rice will typically yield 3-4 cups after cooking. For additional flavour, try cooking wild rice in chicken stock instead of water. 

Wild rice is particularly popular in North America and is often served as salad, baked casserole dish, or even a stuffing for poultry. Here are some recipes to try.

Miso ginger wild rice with carrots and cabbage from Whole Foods Market

Creamy baked chicken and wild rice casserole by Sunny Anderson

Wild rice with mushrooms from the New York Times

Producer in the Spotlight: Ocean Spray

If you’ve tasted our Ruby Dried Cranberries, you’ll know that these delicious tart morsels make the best snacks, salad toppings, and yogurt mix-ins. Our Ruby Dried Cranberries are brought to you all the way from Ocean Spray, a company with an 85-year long history of growing quality fruit across the USA.

Ocean Spray was formed in 1930 by three cranberry growers with a simple love of cranberries. Led by lawyer and grower Marcus L. Urann, the three began coming up with new and innovative products made from cranberries. Since then, the Ocean Spray cooperative has grown to more than 700 grower families all across North America, many of whom operate farms that have been in their families for generations. Thanks to their expertise and dedication, Ocean Spray has grown into the trusted brand they are today.

The cooperative’s first product was jellied cranberry sauce, followed by original Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail hitting the shelves in the early 1930s, beginning a long tradition of quality, innovation, and success. The rest, as they say, is history.

As a Grower-Owned Cooperative Ocean Spray prides themselves on the high quality and most importantly the safety, of their products. For more than 85 years, Ocean Spray farmers have been growing cranberries and grapefruit that are GMO free.

At Ocean Spray, caring for the land runs deep. Ocean Spray is committed to managing their business in a way that minimizes their environmental impact, from conserving water, to reducing energy use, and cutting unnecessary waste and product packaging. 

Try their dried cranberries in our retail store, or order wholesale for a whole range of dried fruit products and cranberry concentrates.

5 Ways to Enjoy Almonds

There are so many ways to get your daily serving of almonds as these versatile nuts can be made into a salad, eaten whole as a snack, or even blended into a spread or beverage. Almonds are among the healthiest of tree nuts. Just a handful of nutrient-rich almonds a day helps promote heart health and prevent weight gain, and it may even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer's.

Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium, and a significant source of protein and fiber. One 23-almond serving packs 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats, and just 160 calories! Here are five of our favorite recipes to try.

Almond butter is a great healthy alternative to peanut butter. All you need is almonds and a food processor, and you'll have a creamy spread to eat with toast and waffles, or spoon onto apple slices for a midday snack.
Homemade almond butter by Detoxinista 

Almond milk is an excellent dairy alternative for vegans and those who are lactose-intolerant. As an added bonus, almond milk has a delicious mild nutty flavour. Try this recipe which gives the almond milk an extra kick with vanilla and cinnamon.
Vanilla-cinnamon almond milk by oh she glows

Raw almonds are delicious on their own, but this spiced almond recipe will blow your mind. This recipe turns ordinary almonds into irresistible morsels that will be the hit at any cocktail party.
Spiced almonds by the Food Network 

Need a simple gift idea for Mother's Day? These chocolate almond hearts make the perfect present for any nut lover. In just twenty minutes, you'll have a box full of heart-shaped almond treats to impress Mum!
Chocolate almond hearts by Southern Living

Slivered almonds add just the right amount of crunch to any salad, while giving you an added protein boost to keep you feeling full longer. Try this delectable strawberry spinach salad recipe that has just six simple ingredients.
Strawberry spinach salad by Southern Living 

Why We Love Superfoods

Superfoods like blueberries, salmon, kale and quinoa have been more popular than ever, thanks to the great nutritional value and health benefits they promise. Whenever you feel like opening a bag of potato chips instead of having a handful of almonds as a snack, remember these wonderful benefits and you might just change your mind.   

Superfoods help your body fight free radicals. Superfoods like berries are rich in antioxidants, which destroy the free radicals that can damage the cells in your body. This protection improves your health and reduces your risk of disease.

Superfoods can strengthen your immune system. The nutrients and phytochemicals present in many superfoods keep your immune system strong so you’re less likely to fall sick.

Superfoods help you maintain a healthy weight. Superfoods like oats which are high in fiber and low in calories allow you to enjoy more of them without adding many extra calories. Others like almonds are rich in protein, fiber, and good fats that keep hunger at bay.

Superfoods may help reduce the risk of cancer. Some studies have shown that the nutrients, fiber, good fats, and phytochemicals found in certain superfoods like berries, walnuts and garlic can lower the risk of several types of cancer.

Superfoods can keep your heart healthy. Those same nutrients, fiber, good fats, and phytochemicals also protect your heart by reducing inflammation and keeping blood vessels healthy.

Superfoods help maintain your youthful complexion. The antioxidants in superfoods reduce damage to your skin, and many foods are rich in vitamin C that keeps connective tissue strong. This combination leads to beautiful, healthy skin.

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