sweet treats

Medovníky: Slovak Spiced Honey Cookies

Medovniky, a Slovak Spiced Honey Cookie, is a favourite in the winter months - Almost Bananas

Slovak medovníky is translated as gingerbread, but it is a very different cookie, in my opinion.

Medovníky can but doesn’t have to have ginger in it, never has molasses, and has a much drier texture than gingerbread cookies. Instead of molasses, medovníky are sweetened with honey.

They are sold beautifully and elaborated decorated by artists wielding an icing bag. More medovníky cookies are made and given around Christmas time, as they are full of warm spices. The cookies can be hung as a tree decoration, as I have done here with the decorated cookies.

The cookies themselves aren’t super sweet, probably because they are usually caked in icing. I actually like them plain and are perfect tea or milk dunking cookies.  Click to continue reading

Medovniky or Perniky Spice Mix (simple and elaborate versions)

Spice mix for making Slovak medovniky or perniky, simple and elaborate versions - Almost BananasMedovniky (recipe) are Slovak spiced honey cookies eaten year round but made especially during Christmas and the winter season. Perniky are soft cookie ‘sandwiches’ with plum butter and uses the same spice mix as medovniky. Available to buy prepackaged in Slovakia, this spice mix is for those who don’t have medovniky spice mix in their store, or for those who just want to experiment and make their own.

One of the adjustments of moving to a new country is getting used to different packaging and availability of foods, including spice mixes. You would never find pumpkin spice mix in Slovakia, for example, even though all the spices are common here.

I’ll never forget the time I first made chilli here. It was within the first few months of coming to Slovakia and I bought a package of ‘chili’ and liberally dumped the contents into the pot. But it was pure chili pepper, not chilli powder like I assumed. It was a spicy mistake (although I think I realized my mistake before it was too late and managed to scoop out a good amount of the pepper).  Click to continue reading

Spice Cookies (AIP Paleo, GAPS) nut, grain and egg free

These spice cookies are perfect for dunking in tea (if you can’t dunk them in milk). These are very allergy friendly, without gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, or eggs.

AIP Paleo Spice Cookies

Eveyone knows there are 12 days of Christmas, but did you know that they start on Christmas day? Meaning that today is the 5th day of Christmas.

For me this works out well – I had a whole list of goodies I wanted to make gifts with and it didn’t get done before Christmas actually happened. I’ve been planning to make gingerbread houses as well, and, well, that hasn’t happened yet either.

But the good thing is that there are still 7 days of Christmas left. “Merry 10th day of Christmas…here is your Christmas gift. I’m not late, really.” Click to continue reading

Nuts in Honey: a handmade gift

Nuts in Honey sweet Christmas gift

When do you start getting ready for Christmas?

In general, I start thinking about gifts in September but then do nothing until the last ten days beforehand. I want to make all sorts of cutesy crafts with the kids and get into that holiday spirit, but we’re lucky if we get some paper snowflakes cut out and taped to the window. I plan handmade gifts for everyone I know, and then end up with none.

This year, I’m going to get it all done in a timely manner. And trim my expectations to be a little more realistic.

Now, however, is a good time to start thinking about handmade gifts. If you feel intimidated by the idea, it can actually be quite simple They don’t have to be fancy, you don’t have to be crafty. Click to continue reading

Basil Lemon Walnut Cookies

These delicious raw cookies use basil, normally a savoury herb, to increase the complexity of these easy cookies. Lemon adds a touch of sunshine to a walnut and honey base.

Basil Lemon Walnut Cookies

I recently attempted to do GAPS. Attempted is the key word.

For those who don’t know what GAPS is, it’s a protocol to heal the gut. This does not affect only digestive issues (bloating, constipation, diarrhea), but helps improve other health issues as well. The acronym stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome, as Dr. Campbell-McBride developed the program to help her autistic son.

The idea is that an impoverished digestive system can lead to a myriad of health problems because the food you eat actually becomes toxic to your body. The diet starves toxic pathogens in the gut by not eating disaccharides (like sugar, grains, potatoes, etc), heals the lining of the digestive tract with lots of bone broth (gelatin and lots of nutrients), and replaces the bad pathogens with good probiotics. As the gut heals, you slowly re-introduce foods back in, but it can take anywhere from six months to two years.

It’s pretty intensive, but I wanted to try for a number of reasons for our family, including dairy intolerance, bloating, ADHD, and a few other behavioural issues. (GAPS can also help heal allergies and food intolerances.)

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Apricot Shortbread Crisp

Apricot Shortbread Crisp

What do you call baked fruit with an oat/flour/butter topping? Crisp? Crumble? Cobbler? I usually say crisp, though the usual oat and butter topping is more crumbly than crispy. A cobbler is more cakey, no?

Well, whatever you call it, I’ve got a new take that has become one of my favourites.

It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s delicious. It’s healthy. Can you ask for anything more in a recipe? It only has three, yes, three ingredients.  Click to continue reading

Apricot Juice Syrup

Any fruit can be used to make this juice concentrate. Keep in the fridge and pull out to make an instant glass of cold apricot nectar  to drink on hot summer days.

Apricot Juice Syrup

It’s apricot season right now, trees are laden with orange spheres of tart flesh.  It’s rather decorative, orange set against green. When tree fruits are in season, however, they come in a deluge but are soon over, gone for another year.

When we had the first basket of apricots, my husband buried his face in them and inhaled. “Ah,” he sighed, “the smell of summer.” When he was a child, his family would pick boxes of apricots and take them to sell in a spa town.  Click to continue reading

3 Ingredient AmazeBalls

3 Ingredient AmazeBalls

Sometimes accidents are happy.

I went into a bio shop (health food store) the other day looking for carob, which I happen to actually like. The package I bought was opaque and when I opened it at home I realized that the powder was much lighter than normal. It was only then that I noticed that on the package was written “raw carob”.

Most carob powder, made from the pod of the carob tree, is dark brown. Roasting the pod creates a strong, very distinct flavour. I like it, some hate it. Raw carob, on the other hand, is a light brown and has a much more subtle flavour.

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Cherry Mint Spritzer

 

Cherry Mint Spritzer

When I came to Europe, one difference that took me by surprise was the water. Europeans buy water more than I remember in North America, and there are so many options to choose from. Most people buy sparkling water, which I still haven’t really gotten used to. There are three types of water: no fizz, lightly fizzy, and regularly fizzy. Click to continue reading

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