Oooh guys… I MUST tell you about one of my biggest obsessions. Well, actually two of my obsessions but they both fall under the same food category. I’ve also got not one, but TWO recipes to share. Today’s post is brought to you by the number two. And…
Lately I’ve been making a really solid effort to increase my intake of healthy fats, which is one of my goals for 2015. In addition to salmon (aka my favourite food), I’ve been all about the avocados, chia seeds, coconut oil and yes, nuts. My motivations for working on this were mostly related to the following:
- To better balance out my diet. Until now, it’s been very fruit-and-veggie rich with plenty of protein, but lighter on the fats
- To prevent fitness-related injuries. Our cell membranes need fat to be strong and resilient to damage during exercise, and these fats also keep inflammation under control. With a half Ironman-distance triathlon on the calendar this summer, I’m doing everything I can to stay healthy leading up to (and during and after!) that race.
- To improve the condition of my skin, hair and nails. Not that any of them are particularly distressed, but I know my skin in particular could be better.
- To boost digestive health. If you eat as many fruits and veggies as I do, chances are you’re having zero problems with hitting your daily recommended fibre intake. Too much fibre can be just as big of an issue as too little, but fat helps keep the digestive tract nice and slippery so that those high-fibre foods can keep moving along.
Since putting more focus on all of this, I can honestly say that I’ve been completely blown away by the positive results I’ve seen so far. But more about that in another post – let’s get back to talking about nuts.
Back when I was at CHFA West in April, I caught up with 2 of my favourite companies, Navitas Naturals and Prana. Prana’s trail mixes are my absolute favourites, and if you really want to know the way to my heart (aside from a plate of grilled salmon on a cedar plank), it’s Prana’s Kilimanjaro Mix.
Just imagine this: organic almonds, sultana raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, salted cashews, sea salt, and (the pièce de résistance), organic 70% dark chocolate. Huzzahhhhh!
(Oh and just FYI, you can find the great big bag in the photo above at Costco. How’s that for awesome?)
Moving right along to my next favourite thing….
Navitas Naturals now makes these gorgeous Maca Maple Cashews, and oooooooh my goodness. These guys are gold. I’ve talked about maca here on the blog before, but in case it’s new to you, here’s the basics:
- Maca powder comes from maca root, a herb that comes from Peru
- It’s got plenty of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B1, B2, B, C, D and E, iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium
- Historically, maca has been used to increase stamina and combat fatigue
- It’s an adaptogen, meaning that it helps to balance out the nervous system and adrenals
- Maca is also believed to be a good aphrodisiac, but scientific studies are limited so I’ll let you test that one for yourself!
Taste-wise, maca isn’t sweet at all but it creates a beautiful nutty, butterscotch-like flavour when used in recipes like the one I’m going to share with you today. But I can’t really take credit for the uniqueness of this recipe, because it was 100% motivated by my desire to have my Navitas Naturals Maca Maple Cashews without having to pay a ton of money for them. After looking at the ingredients panel, I realized that I could probably re-create them very easily at home with just a few simple ingredients that were already in my kitchen. So I did.
A few quick recipe notes:
Maca root powder: You can find it in health food stores or online in both capsule and powdered form. (I use Vega maca, which is available in both formats). You’ll only need a little bit of maca powder for this recipe, but if capsules is all you have, don’t you worry. Simply open up 4 and empty them out – that should cover the 1 1/2 tsp that you need to coat the cashews.
Cooking time: When taste testing my maca maple cashews against Navitas Naturals ones, it occurred to me that the latter didn’t taste roasted at all. I’m not sure if they’re raw or not, but I found that the light roasting I gave my batch of cashews really helped to bring out the warm, butterscotch-y flavour. If you don’t want to roast yours, I’m pretty sure you could just toss them in the maple syrup and maca mixture, then leave them out in a cool dry place to harden.
Maca Maple Dusted Cashews
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Ingredients (1.5 cups)
Preheat oven to 275F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
In a bowl, toss the cashews with maple syrup and maca root powder, coating as evenly as possible.
Scatter the cashews out on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, flip the nuts, and bake another 10-20 minutes.
Let the cashews cool. If they seem soft when you take them out of the oven, cooling should make them crunchy again.
Enjoy as a snack on their own, or use the cashews to top parfaits, oatmeal, frozen yogurt, or smoothie bowls.
These gorgeous, flavourful cashews are great for so many things like…
- adding to homemade trail mix
- mixing into homemade no-bake protein bars or baked goods
- sprinkling on salads for an unexpected sweetness
- eating straight off the pan you roasted them on (one of my personal favourites)
- using as a topper for oatmeal, parfaits or smoothies
Speaking of smoothies, that’s the second recipe I’ve got for you. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen it this past Sunday, and it was just too good not to be shared in a blog post too.
Coconut Cashew Smoothie
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (1 serving)
- 1/2 cup coconut yogurt
- 2 tbsp coconut meat (coconut milk or more yogurt could be subbed here if you don’t feel like cracking open a coconut, which I’ve learned is quite a project!)
- 1/2 frozen peeled banana
- 1 scoop vanilla Vega Sport Performance Protein in vanilla
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp maple maca dusted cashews, plus more for topping
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth.
Adjust thickness by adding more ice or chia seeds if desired
Pour into a glass and sprinkle with cinnamon and chopped maca maple dusted cashews!
Ok, that’s enough from me. Now it’s over to you! Let’s hear…
- What’s your favourite nut?
- Is there a trail mix or superfood snack that you’re totally addicted to? Let me know and I may attempt to re-create it!