Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Good Bite

I’ve written before about my association as the nutrition counsellor for a family who’s first-born daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease and a host of allergies within the last year. I’m glad to say that since the initial assessment, all signs of her anaemia have disappeared and her celiac is being managed very well – she’s able to go back to school and one of her jobs! Like all of us with nutritional issues, she’s relearned how to feed herself and found some products that she both likes to eat and “work” for her system. While they aren’t all “replacement” analogues (like rice pasta and tapioca bread), a lot of the time they fill the void left by the absence of her favourite snacks like Kit Kat bars (which I did recreate).

One of these “snacky” foods that her mom clued me in on were cube-like “bites” of pumpkin and sesame seeds that were basically compacted into holding together and glued with rice syrup. Sounded great – full of good fats, iron and protein. But the not so great part was that they were only at one or two health food shops nearby – and with each single serving bag at $2 or more it was beyond the already strained budgets of this student and her family.

When her mom asked me (knowing I was first and foremost a cook and creator) if I thought I could recreate the pricey bites, I agreed to try without a clue what they were or really how to make them. In the end, though, it was a lot easier than I imagined to whip together – and by adding sunflower and flaxseeds to the required pumpkin and sesame I boosted the zinc, calcium and Omega fats as well. Not having rice syrup on hand (nor being particularly interested in buying any) I mixed up dark brown sugar and rich, local honey for a more flavourful “sticky factor”. The last little flair added in with the fine pink Himalayan salt I used was a teeny drizzle of toasted sesame oil. The taste was instantly boosted a mile high!

From what I heard through the grapevine, the treats came with the young woman on a health retreat and were thoroughly enjoyed. Truthfully, I can’t say I’m glad at the situation (I would give anything to be able to cure diseases and allergies!), but I’m happy I could be of service when the need was there. Even if it is just as a snack server!

Seedy Crunch Bites
Makes 24 pieces
1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
¼ cup whole flaxseed
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 300F, line a 8" square pan with parchment or very well greased foil.
  2. Combine seeds in a medium bowl, set aside.
  3. In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix together brown sugar, honey, sesame oil and salt. Microwave on HI for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the seeds and stir to coat well.
  5. Pour into the lined pan and press down firmly to compact.
  6. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes, then uncover and bake a further 10 minutes.
  7. Immediately after removing from the oven, place the piece of foil back over the top and press the bottom of an identical-sized square pan firmly onto the baked mixture once again to compact it.
  8. Remove pan and foil and allow to cool completely before cutting up into pieces.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 76.3
Total Fat: 4.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 17.1 mg
Total Carbs: 7.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 2.2 g


  1. I love this snack idea, I'll definitely be making these soon.

  2. They sound awesome!

    Tell me, though: were they sticky / chewy and still pliable, or were they more like brittle? The reason I ask is because I notice that you include honey the honey would pull moisture from the air, resulting in chewiness.

  3. D. always teases me about eating "nuts and twigs," so I know he's going to make me this one. (Ahem, David, right?)


Thanks for the feedback!