Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn

Another week has started, and we have been having some gorgeous weather these last few days! This makes me SO happy! Unfortunately, I haven’t been outside to enjoy the weather as much as I would have liked. This is my first year singing in the Faith and Life Choir, and the last two days we spent many hours rehearsing and performing for our spring concert. It was a really great experience, and I plan to continue singing in this choir when it starts up again in the fall. The only downfall was that we spent a lot of time indoors while the lovely weather was calling us to be outside!

I did make sure to enjoy the warm weather at least for a little while today. Luna sure didn’t complain about us taking her for a walk! But now, I’m excited to share this Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn recipe with you!

Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn

This household really enjoys caramel popcorn! Over a month ago I decided to try to come up with a healthier version for this delicacy. Now, by healthy I don’t mean that it is something incredibly nutritious that you should eat every day. However, I did manage to make it refined sugar free, which is something that I have been trying to consume less of. The first time I tried to make this recipe, there was too much moisture in the caramel, causing the popcorn to shrivel significantly. It was still delicious after baking it, but I knew the recipe required some adjustments.

Today I tried making it again, tweaking the recipe a little, and it turned out much better! It has a rich caramel-like colour and flavour, and baking it causes it to acquire the perfect amount of crispness. It is incredibly delicious, and makes the perfect snack for a movie or game night! However, you might not be able to stop eating once you start. You have been warned!

Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn

I hope you give this recipe a try! If you do, I’d love your feedback! May this week be joyful, productive, positive, and rewarding! Thank you for stopping by!

Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn
This is a healthier version of caramel popcorn, and it is to die for!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  2. 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  3. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  4. 3/4 cup packed pitted dates
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Add the pitted dates to a glass bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 F°.
  3. While the dates are soaking, add the popcorn kernels and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a stovestop popcorn maker. Heat on medium-high until most of the kernels have popped, stirring consistently. When the popping slows down to several seconds between pops, empty the popcorn into a large bowl immediately.
  4. Drain the dates. Using a food processor, purée the dates, pure maple syrup, and the remaining coconut oil, until a smooth and thick mixture forms.
  5. Using a non-stick pan, bring the date mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. Continue boiling on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture has a rich and brown caramelized colour.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
  7. Add the date mixture to the popcorn and fold in gently until evenly combined.
  8. Spread out the popcorn on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you don't have a food processor you may also use a blender, or a hand held immersion blender.
  2. Don't heat the coconut oil on high, as it might cause your throat to feel scratchy.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Refreshing Avocado Salad Dip

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Good gracious today is a warm day! It feels like summer never left us! It’s actually 29 degrees outside! Why am I sitting inside writing this when I should be at the beach!? 😉

You are in luck though, because I have a super refreshing avocado-salad-dip recipe to share with you. I made this recipe a few times recently, and it’s perfect for those hot days when you don’t feel like eating anything warm.

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Lets talk about this beautiful, rich, and creamy green fruit, called the avocado. Not only is it seriously delicious, but it also has many health benefits.

According to Authority Nutrition, avocados are highly nutritious, as they contain 20 different vitamins and minerals. Avocados are high in “heart-healthy” monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as fiber, and contain more potassium than bananas. They can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels, are loaded with powerful antioxidants that can protect the eyes, and may help relieve symptoms of arthritis (in the form of extract). The fat in them can also aid the absorption of the nutrients found in plant foods.

To top it off, apparently one study showed that people who eat avocados are healthier than those people that don’t. Who knows if it’s true, but if eating a fruit that tastes darn delicious also makes me healthier, hey, I won’t complain! It pretty much sounds like a win-win situation to me!

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I grew up eating guacamole with warmed up tortillas whenever we would have a steak BBQ. If there ever wasn’t any guacamole, the meal felt incomplete to me. My love for avocados and guacamole is never ending. And now, of course, I have set myself up for craving my parents’ food (sigh).

This avocado dip is a twist on the Mexican Guacamole. Traditionally, guacamole only has a few ingredients: Avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, and some lime juice.

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I added more spices to this dip, including smoked paprika, which gives it that delicious smoky flavor. I swapped the traditional tomatoes and jalapenos for crispy cucumbers and yellow bell peppers. But what really brings this dip to the next level is the mozzarella cheese, and of course, the bacon. BACON. I’ll just let you sit with this word for a while. Yum, bacon… bacon…

…you get the point! 

Serve this recipe with your favorite chips, rice crackers, or roll it up in a warm tortilla. I have also tried adding whole wheat pasta to the dip. This makes a great side dish for grilled chicken or steak, or makes a light pasta lunch on its own. 

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You really want some of this dip right now, don’t you? I can see your head nodding in agreement. Well, I’d suggest you go make some! It would be time well spent, I mean… you’re probably procrastinating while reading this right now anyways, right? 😉 I am only allowing myself to say that, because I know ALL about procrastinating! The struggle is real, you guys! 

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Happy Friday! Let the weekend begin!

Cheers – Erika

Refreshing Avocado Salad Dip
Serves 4
This dip is so refreshing, and so flavorful, you won't want to stop eating it! Serve it with some chips for the perfect spring afternoon snack!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large avocados
  2. 1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
  3. 1/2 english cucumber, diced
  4. Handful of Cilantro, finely chopped
  5. 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  6. 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  7. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  8. 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  9. 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
  10. black pepper to taste
  11. cayenne pepper to taste
  12. 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  13. 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  14. 1/4 cup bacon bits
Instructions
  1. Mash the avocados with a fork.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed.
  3. Serve with with chips or savory crackers.
Notes
  1. You may add whole wheat rotini noodles to turn it into a side dish salad.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Two-Ingredient Peach Yogurt Popsicles

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Good morning my friends! After some rain this week, we’re having a cloudy and refreshing kind of morning here in Winnipeg. Everything is looking so green now! This fills my soul with so much joy. As much as I love sunny days, I love days like these where I can just open the window and have that fresh breeze come in, while hearing the birds chirping their hearts out with joyful morning songs.

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Now realistically speaking, the recipe I am sharing with you today is meant for one of those darn hot days where you would do anything to cool off just a little. So I’m just going to leave this recipe here and you can tuck it away for those warm days that are coming our way soon! But then again, who knows, perhaps you’re reading this from a place where it is hot today! If that is the case you may as well make these popsicles right now! Trust me, it’ll be worth it for three reasons: these are SO easy to make, they are mostly healthy, and so refreshing and delicious!   

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Any popsicle tray will work for this recipe. It might just change the amount of yogurt that you are going to need. The good thing is no yogurt will go to waste, because you’ll just eat whatever yogurt doesn’t get used. That is, if you love yogurt as much as I do! For those of you that need a good popsicle tray, I got my tray from here. I have used mine only once so far, but I really liked it. I’m sure I’ll use it many more times. 

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I will also share a quick tip that might be obvious to everyone else, which I totally didn’t think about. Don’t push the wooden sticks down all the way. We weren’t left with much to hold on to! Oops! There’s always next time!

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I hope you try this recipe out some time soon! Thank you for reading along and being my support buddies. Wishing you all a wonderful day! And finally, some wise words by spongebob: “Let go of what kills you and hold on to what keeps you breathing.” 😉

Two-Ingredient Peach Yogurt Popsicles
Yields 10
A breeze to make and so refreshing! That's all.
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Ingredients
  1. 1L peach yogurt
  2. 20 slices of fresh or frozen peaches
Instructions
  1. Add two peach slices to each popsicle mold, then fill the rest of the way with peach yogurt, tapping the tray occasionally to avoid air pockets.
  2. Cover the tray with its lid, and pop it in freezer until the popsicles are frozen.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Energy Bites

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Hello friends! Look who decided to resurface! I’m finally attempting to get back into this blogging thing. I’m realizing how much I’ve missed it. I’m just going to be honest. Things got really crazy for a while there. You know when everything decides to happen around the same time and you just get overwhelmed and can’t do everything? Well, that’s what happened. We said goodbye to some special people in our lives, said hello to some wonderful newborns, participated in a church play, and did some washroom renos (can’t wait to show you the upgrade!). So I decided I was going to take a break from blogging. Before I continue with this snack post though, I just feel the need to say how thankful I am for God’s love that is beyond understanding, for his presence in difficult times, and for the countless amazing and thoughtful friends that Kevin and I have.

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Now on to some delicious things! I made these soft, chewy, delicious energy bites yesterday. I had made them a while ago and didn’t measure out or write down the amount for each ingredient. I played around with this recipe again yesterday, and I think they turned out even better than the previous time. I made sure to write down the ingredients this time because I made them specifically so that I could share them with you!  

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This recipe is very forgiving. As long as you add enough quick oats to thicken the paste enough to form balls, you can really add any ingredients that you love. You could add in shredded coconut, flax seeds, cranberries, other dried fruit… the list goes on.  

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These energy bites make for a really great post-workout snack combined with some cold milk. Eating carbs and proteins within 15 to 20 minutes after a workout, helps restore glucose levels in the muscles and immediately starts repairing muscle tissue. One of the perks of having a phys-ed teacher for a husband, is kind of having my own personal instructor. 😉 Speaking of the gym, along with everything else, my body has been feeling a little neglected for the last month. Does everyone else find it so difficult to go to the gym on a regular basis? If not, please do share your secrets! I find it very difficult to go back to the gym after an extended break. Once I’m on track it usually become easier though. Anyways, I WILL go to the gym today, I promise. 

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I hope you enjoyed this post! If you make this recipe, let me know what you thought about it. Feel free to share the link! Happy weekend to you all!

Cheers! -Erika 

Energy Bites
Yields 34
These chewy and delicious energy bites make a great post-workout snack along with some cold milk!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, soaked
  2. 1/2 rounded cup of peanut butter
  3. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  6. 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  7. 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  8. 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  9. 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  10. 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  11. 1 tsp cinnamon
  12. 1/3 cup raisins or chocolate chips
  13. 1/2 cup white melting chocolate
  14. 1/2 cup milk or dark melting chocolate
  15. 1 tsp coconut oil, divided
  16. Cocoa powder
  17. Sea salt
Instructions
  1. Add the pitted dates to a glass bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for about an hour or until they have softened. Drain off most of the water, setting aside about a 1/4 cup.
  2. Add the first four ingredients to a food processor (or blender), along with the 1/4 cup of water. Process or blend until a thick and smooth paste begins to form. Empty the paste into a medium sized bowl.
  3. Add the pecans, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds to a small non-stick frying pan, and roast them on medium-high until golden brown, stirring constantly. Add them to the date paste.
  4. Stir in the seeds with a wooden spoon, along with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper. Take about one tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll into a ball. Repeat this with the rest of the mixture. Place balls on the wax paper as you go.
  6. Add the white and dark melting chocolate to two separate glass bowls. Add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil to each bowl. Melt both chocolates in the microwave, stirring every fifteen seconds or so.
  7. With a spoon dip and roll the balls in the chocolate until fully coated. Place back on the wax paper.
  8. Add a few grains of sea salt to the dark chocolate balls, and sprinkle the white chocolate balls with some cocoa powder. Leave some of them uncovered. Place cookie sheet in the freezer until chocolate hardens.
  9. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Hummus a la Mexicana with Garlic Baguette Chips

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Here’s a quick and easy hummus recipe, which is really enjoyed in our home. I guess I should say that I’m a big fan of hummus. There’s just something about dipping fresh and warm naan bread into that creamy dip that is so satisfying.

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I love playing around with flavors in food! Other times, I’m probably just trying to come up with a creative way of getting rid of ingredients before they go bad. I’m not sure which of the two inspired this recipe. Probably the first. 

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Now I have to say that hummus will be even better if you’re outdoors. Something magical happens when you eat food while out in nature, with friends, after being active. Seriously, food always taste better this way. I remember sitting on these big rocks by the river, eating store-bought hummus with our friends, while out on a five-day canoe trip. Some time after the trip I bought what I thought was the same hummus, and it just didn’t compare. So if you’re new to hummus, perhaps it is time to plan an outdoor activity and bring it along as a snack, and it’s guaranteed to blow your mind! 😉  

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I decided to take the traditional hummus dish, and infuse it with some Mexican flavors. I used Rajas Rojas peppers in this recipe, which can be found in Mexican and South American grocery stores. You could also replace them with canned roasted red peppers, for a less spicy version (although the flavors will be different).

Usually I eat this dish with warm naan bread, but I decided to try and make some garlic and paprika baguette chips instead. You may also use it as a veggie dip. ENJOY! 

Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

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Hummus a la Mexicana with Garlic Baguette Chips
Mexican inspired hummus, with crunchy garlic baguette chips for dipping!
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For the hummus
  1. 1 can chick peas (drain and preserve liquids)
  2. 5 tbsp. of the preserved liquids
  3. 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  4. Juice of one large lemon
  5. 1/4 cup tahini sauce
  6. 1 large clove of garlic
  7. 2-3 slices of red pickled jalapeños (Rajas Rojas)
  8. 1 1/2 tsp. of the red pickled jalapeños juice
  9. 1/4 tsp. paprika
  10. 1 pinch of cumin
  11. 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
For the Baguette Chips
  1. 1 fresh baguette loaf
  2. 5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 tsp. paprika
  4. 1 clove of garlic, pressed
Instructions
  1. For the hummus, add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy. Pour into a deep dish, garnish with paprika, whole chick peas, and extra virgin olive oil.
  2. For the baguette chips, cut the bread into .5 cm thick slices. In a bowl, combine oil, pressed garlic, and paprika. Use a basting brush to apply the olive oil mixture to each slice of bread. Toast in toaster oven until golden brown and crispy.
Notes
  1. Add more or less hot peppers, depending on how spicy you want the hummus to be.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Tropical Bliss Chia Pudding

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Today I have a quick, easy, AND healthy pudding recipe for you! There’s no cooking involved here. All you need to do is simply puree all the ingredients in a blender, then let the chia seeds take it from there. The chia seeds absorb the liquid, which gives them a tapioca-like texture.  

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I know there’s been a lot of hype around chia seeds, but I think they are actually a pretty amazing food. Not only are they a great source of fiber, but their quality to absorb liquids allows for such an easy and natural way to thicken recipes, without altering the flavor. It accomplishes all this, while also adding healthy nutrients to your body. A win-win situation? I think so!  

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I was determined to use real coconut bowls for these pictures, so I bought a coconut, thinking, there will for sure be tutorials on YouTube on how to open this thing. I was right about the existence of such tutorials, however, getting it to crack wasn’t as easy as they made it look (I probably picked the wrong coconut)! After A LOT of hammering and a REALLY LOUD kitchen, it finally cracked! Totally worth it. 😉 I just hope I didn’t scare my neighbors! 

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This pudding stores well in the refrigerator and serves as a quick healthy breakfast if you’re on the go. You can also pack it for lunch as a small dessert for when that sweet tooth starts craving something sweet. 

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I was excited to finally paint my nails! With my seasonal garden stand job, which by the way I’m loving, having nice nails has not been a priority. I knew that they were going to get ruined quickly, as my job is quite hands on. It still feels good to have a bright and happy color staring back at me while at work. I hope you guys find joy in the small details this weekend!

Oh, and seriously, go make yourself this chia pudding and let me know what you think! HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE!! 🙂

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Tropical Bliss Chia Pudding
Serves 4
A quick and healthy summer treat!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 can (400 ml.) full-fat coconut milk
  2. 2 mangoes, peeled
  3. 1 peach, peeled
  4. 1 nectarine, including peel
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla
  6. 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  7. 1 tbsp. agave nectar
  8. 1 pinch of salt
  9. 6 tbsp. chia seeds
Instructions
  1. In a blender, puree all of the above ingredients (except chia seeds).
  2. Stir in the chia seeds, refrigerate for an hour, and serve.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/