Sometimes, life can feel like a race – a competition. As if there is this pressure to be everywhere, do everything, and jump on every opportunity that comes your way, for fear of missing out or falling short. As a dietetic student in Ontario, competing for internships upon graduation puts me in this exact situation. Even though I won’t start my applications for another 2 years, time is of the essence when it comes to building my resume and accumulating experiences that will get me where I need to go.
I love being involved, and I have definitely taken advantage of some of the opportunities that have come my way through school. I have also looked outside of school, and ventured out into the community to contribute in rewarding ways. Just this week, I spent one morning with Growing Chefs! Ontario at a lovely little school here in London to assist with their school program. We facilitated a ‘foods with moods’ lesson which focused on eating with our senses. The kids sat eagerly around a circle as we looked, felt, tasted and smelled different veggies. I think my favourite part was when we asked them if their veggies could talk, and of course they thought that was silly. But the looks of wonder and amazement we got when we asked them to all take a bite of their carrot sticks on the count of three, was pretty darned cute. A symphony of carrot crunching erupted, and ear-to-ear smiles were had all around.
Our next stop was a grade four class whose lesson was a little more advanced. We taught them about the different parts of the plant, and how to make a salad complete with leaves, roots, and stems using the delicious math of how to make salad dressing! They had a great time mixing up different blends of acids (chocolate vinegar was a hit, for obvious reasons), oils, and seasonings from our vast assortment, and eagerly gobbled up a plate of fresh cut veggies and fruit which they happily dunked in their fresh, homemade dressings. How cool is that?
Opportunity is all around you. You’ve got 24 hours in a day. Figure out what you want to spend those hours doing, determine what you need to get done to get where you want to go, and the race will take care of itself.
I’m going to leave you with a winning recipe that I happened to get right on the first try! The odds must have been in my favour tonight because the alterations I made to the original recipe were mostly for lack of having enough of the all the ingredients it called for, and somehow, magic happened. The secret to these truly tasty bites is chestnuts! I buy them pretty often, as they make for a really convenient and heathy snack for any time of day that you can easily throw into your back pack or work bag in a rush. I usually just eat them straight from the bag, but I had recently stumbled upon some delicious looking recipes that called for chestnut flour, and me being me, figured that there must be a way to incorporate whole roasted chestnuts instead, as an alternative to the processed flour.
Chestnuts are a low glycemic food, meaning they won’t cause a drastic spike in your blood sugar and the subsequent crash that follows, leaving you feeling hungry and irritable. This is in part due to their high fibre content which helps to slow the digestion process. They are also relatively low in fat for a nut. For example, a 100g serving of whole roasted chestnuts contains just 1.38g of total fat and 130 calories, as compared to a 100g serving of dry roasted almonds which will run you 52g of fat and 598 calories.
I’m not knocking almonds! I really do love them as much as the next person and consume them regularly, I just keep my portion sizes small and generally try not to overdo it on any one particular food. Even though almonds are higher in fat than chestnuts for example, they contain key nutrients like vitamin E, and are much higher in protein than chestnuts are.
It’s always a trade off – and that is the reason why variety in your diet is SO important! Chestnuts are also packed with vitamin C. A 100g serving contains about 30% of your daily recommended value!
Full of ginger flavour, and plenty sweet enough with the addition of just 2 tablespoons of molasses. The dough is a joy to work with – moist enough to stick together, but not so messy that rolling it into balls with your hands turns into a sticky disaster. A wonderful, bite-sized sweet treat definitely worthy of making again.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough Bites
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. molasses
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 100g package whole roasted chestnuts
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 3 tbsp. ground flax
- 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Melt the coconut oil and molasses in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
- Measure the rest of the ingredients directly into a food processor.**
- Pour the melted coconut oil and molasses into the food processor. Blend until a sticky dough forms.
- Roll into balls.
- Optional: You can roll the balls in coconut, or cocoa powder to add another flavour dimension, and dress them up a bit – it makes them look like decadent truffles!
- Store in the refrigerator.
**Note: For a more uniform dough, you can process the candied ginger separately, and process the oats into oat flour before adding the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise, if you don’t mind seeing some bits and pieces of your ingredients as you mow down on these chewy little bites, then go for it, and just throw everything into the food processor in one go!