Yum, yum: 10 healthy snacks on the go

Many jobs, especially PR, can mean a long day, followed by a long evening, followed by an early morning (leading to another long day). Our secret? Beginning the day with an arsenal of easy, healthy snacks that don’t require a fridge, microwave or (much) fuss. Here are ten suggestions of healthy, purse-worthy snacks.

1. Mixed berries in apple sauce

In the morning, add some unsweetened apple sauce to a container with your favourite frozen blueberries, raspberries or berry mix. By mid-day the berries will melt, keeping the snack cold and creating a delicious berry/apple medley. Healthy snacker secret: invest in good, leak-proof Tupperware and always wrap in a plastic bag. You do NOT want blueberry applesauce coating your purse – trust us.

2. Fresh dates

A date that doesn’t disappoint.
Image source.
Maybe not a current pantry staple, but once you start popping these to replace an afternoon chocolate bar, you’ll never be date-less again. They’re high in natural sugars, but also contain potassium and polypenols. If you’re feeling fancy or want to show off, stuff with chopped cashews.

3. Roasted chickpeas

Satisfying crunch. Image source.

If you’re not tempted by the afternoon candy bar, maybe it’s a bag of chips for a salty, crunchy snack. Make these roasted chickpeas from Rose Reisman for an easy, healthy alternative to satisfy that craving. Best part? Just like chips, you can make different flavours by mixing up the spices – try cayenne pepper, paprika, curry powder or cumin. 

4. Roasted almonds

Obviously a handful of almonds, a protein mentioned in every health mag, has to make the list. Take them to the next level by buying raw almonds from the grocery store or Bulk Barn and roasting them yourself. Bonus: roasted nuts will make your kitchen smell divine.

5. Frozen muffins

Rose’s banana chocolate chip muffin.
Image source.
A few recipes for homemade muffins, again from Rose Reisman, our favourite healthy eating guru: banana and date, carrot pineapple, bran banana and raisin or banana chocolate chip. Make a batch on the weekend and throw them in the freezer. They’ll defrost during the day and you’ll have a healthy alternative to a fattening, pricey muffin from S-Bucks.

6. Homemade hummus

What can we say? We love chickpeas. Image source.
It’s easy to make a large batch of hummus and pair it with different vegetables during the week. Try pita wedges, raw carrots and celery, whole grain crackers or whole wheat tortilla chips.

7. Protein shake with skim milk

For those days when you REALLY have no time, scoop some whey protein powder into a Ziplock bag and pick up a small carton of skim milk. Best and least expensive source in the downtown core? Sports Nutrition Depot. They’ll help you choose the right one for what your body needs so you don’t go home with something that is meant for a bodybuilder. 

8. Apples slices with almond butter/peanut butter
Freshly sliced. Image source.

Open bag. Add small knife, apple, and a container of natural almond or peanut butter. When hunger hits, slice apple and dip in almond butter or peanut butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired, to make it feel fancy. Just don’t bring this one to court, an airplane, when meeting royalty, etc. The knife is the key ingredient: whole thing falls apart if you don’t freshly slice the apples.

Two consecutive days on the fourth floor without someone saying “I really feel like popchips” has never ever happened. Ever. Our favourite low-fat, all-natural, grab-and-go snack from the shelves.

10. Homemade granola bars 

Yours will look just as delicious, pulled from your purse at the end of the day.
Image source.

If you just can’t get it together in the morning, make some excellent granola bars on the weekend and bring one each day. The Daily Green has seven healthy granola bar recipes that you can make at home. Go forth and bake.


Yum, yum: Delicious soups

We’ve been chatting lots about cold weather noshes, like coffee and hot chocolate. We asked the crew on the fourth floor about another delicious way to warm you from the inside – soup. There are a million varieties of soup and a hot, steamy bowl is just the thing to make you feel warm and cozy when the snow is blowing outside. 

Our favourite picks were a surprising mix of restaurant faves and recipes from mom. Enjoy!

Alana: The absolute BEST soup I’ve ever had was at Auberge du Pommier. Their Cappuccino de Truffe soup is served like a cappuccino (obviously), but filled with pureed mushroom and truffle soup with velvet shank cream and a hunk of parmesan cheese (that you put in your soup to melt). It’s also accompanied by a delicious Parmesan biscuit. It’s pricey at $19, but in my opinion, worth every penny, especially for a nice treat. You won’t find a better mushroom soup out there – trust me!

Debra: I adore the lentil soup at Mashu Mashu in Forest Hill Village. It’s hearty, thick and great on it’s own or with pita and hummous. I used to live across the street and loved going in regularly to get this soup.  

Rachelle: The Senagalese Peanut Chicken from Soup Nutsy. It’s filling, spicy and has tons of flavour. The crunchy peanuts are a nice touch. Soup Nutsy bowls are always awesome, and this is one of the best.  

Lara: I’m not a very big soup person, it just never appeals to me. However, if I do have soup, it is from a few places. I like the pea soup from United Dairy Bakery. I also dig a good bowl of pho, but haven’t yet found a great vegetarian option. Any suggestions?

My favourite soup is my mom’s incredible curried cauliflower soup. You wouldn’t know its cauliflower, and the drizzle of honey on top is a not-too-sweet surprise and cuts the curry. The rich flavour comes from how long the cauliflower is roasted for. Yum.

Michelle: I am not really a huge soup person, but I do love a classic chicken noodle soup once in a while. I mainly eat soup when I am feeling sick, and I will make myself Lipton Chicken Noodle soup and break up a lot of soda crackers into the bowl and let them get a bit mushy. For some reason it is the only thing I can eat when I am feeling under the weather. It makes me feel all warm and cozy so I can rest and get better quickly!

Carly: When in culinary doubt, I see only two options – Google Martha Stewart or head to the nearest Pusateri’s. This gourmet foodie shop has the best PB + J party sandwiches, red velvet cupcakes and asparagus soup. Made with puréed asparagus and a little something spicy, this green soup will fill your daily veggie requirements. Add some cheese, and trust me, this is no cup of Campbell’s.

Christina: My favourite soup is A. Walters’ (a.k.a. my mom’s) homemade potato leek soup. The name doesn’t sound appealing, nor does it look particularly appealing, but it tastes fabulous. It’s thick, a little nutty and warms the heart on a cold winter day. Added benefit? Both my brother and sister aren’t fans, so it leaves more servings for me when I go home for a visit. Ma Dukes is usually great about making extra (thanks, Mom!) and sends it back home with me. 
Abby: I am a huge Thai food fan, so I regularly crave the shrimp lemongrass soup from Thai Paradise, a tiny little restaurant in Baldwin Village. It’s pretty authentic, spicy, and the shrimp are so fat and tasty. I love the complex flavours of the soup; lemongrass has got to be one of the most delicious seasonings ever. My mouth is now watering.

Lisa: I don’t care what anybody says! My mom makes the best soup in the whole entire world (ahem… Lara and Christina…). My fave is mushroom. Made with cream, loads of mushrooms, a little flour, some butter, and salt and white pepper to taste. Simple. Savoury. Super fattening. It’s so good. I would tell you all to try some, but she lives in North Bay. 

Where do you get your favourite soup? We want to know!

Yum, yum: The Toronto Temperance Society

You may have heard about the Toronto Temperance Society, but then again, you may not have. Although it’s a private club that’s worked hard to keep their speakeasy-esque location under wraps, The Toronto Temperance Society has become Toronto’s worst-kept secret. The TTS is an exclusive club for people who are serious about cocktails. And no, not a Cosmo or a Chocolate Martini, but good, old-fashioned cocktails, focusing on quality ingredients that allow a drinker to appreciate the subtle flavours of spirits.

We were invited to come and sip a few cocktails at the members-only club, and discover the secret of an amazing mixed beverage.

We tried several cocktails (including the first-ever cocktail, the Sazerac), and got some inside scoop about what sets them apart from your typical bar. Co-owners Bill Sweete and Casey Bee (who also own Negroni and the downstairs resto Sidecar), wanted to bring something unique to Toronto and the TTS was born. They focused on making sure everything is “just right”, rather than having the masses descend upon their cozy, cool bar.

We were blown away.

You don’t realize what a difference good ingredients make until you taste a TTS drink. We tasted a few, and each was spectacular. Flavours of rum, rye, whiskey or gin were not masked by fake sugary juices; rather, they were enhanced by house-made tonic, flamed orange peel, a house-made brandied cherry or a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice.

The TTS also imports hard-to-find liquors and spirits; host beer, Scotch, cognac and wine tastings; have experts available to chat details; and make ice that doesn’t melt as quickly (seriously).

Sure, the $285-annual membership fee might seem a little steep to enjoy some drinks at a bar. But it’s cheaper than the TTC, and infinitely more enjoyable. 

It’s totally worth it. Go. Find a friend who is a member and beg them to take you, or pony up and get a membership (one membership can be shared by a couple, btw). You’ll never want a gin and tonic from anywhere else, we promise.

The Toronto Temperance
*This is an original Toronto cocktail, which, ironically, has not been available here since pre-1920’s. It uses Proof, which is the first spirit ever produced in Toronto.
2 oz. Canadian rye (they used Proof)
1/2 oz. Fernet-Branca
1/2 oz. simple syrup
a dash of angostura bitters

Measure all ingredients into a glass mixing pitcher (or martini shaker) with a few ice cubes. Shake, and strain into cocktail glass.

Finish with a flamed orange garnish: heat a slice of orange peel with a lighter, until the oils emerge from the skin and drop into the drink.

*We were enjoying ourselves so much that we forgot to snap photos. Photo above from Toronto Temperance Society website.