Healthy Treats; Indigenous Ingredients in Baking

I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit hosted at the Jijak Foundation at Gun Lake Pottawatami, Michigan. Where I got to work with and meet some incredible indigenous chefs and cooks, including Kristina Stanley from Brown Rice And Honey! Kristina is very creative in the kitchen finding wonderful alternatives to make dishes and desserts gluten-free, vegan and more health conscious. We worked together on baking some delicious Sunflower Seed and Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies! I am going to take this opportunity to give a quick breakdown on some of the indigenous ingredients in the cookies.

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Sunflower Seed and Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies

Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are very good source of vitamin E, Copper and vitamin B1, they are also indigenous to North America. If you are looking for a gluten-free flour alternative sunflower seeds are definitely a great way to go for cookies, cakes or even to bread fish. Sunflower seeds add to the cookie a subtle nutty flavor and great texture!  


Corn Meal – Corn meal has a very subtle flavor which is great for baking, it’s also very easily accessible and can be found in almost every grocery store! I love to use corn meal when i’m baking something because it works as a great binder.  

Side note on corn meal; On our farm we grow and grind our own corn, we always have our hand grinder set up in the kitchen to fresh grind corn! The flavor of fresh ground corn meal well surpasses the flavor and freshness of the store bought meal.  The grinder we use is a Lehmans hand crank grain mill.


Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are an amazing egg replacement when baking vegan, because the starchiness keeps the cookie from falling apart. And sweet potatoes have almost no flavor in the cookie and also adds nutrients such as vitamin A.


Maple Syrup – Maple is an excellent natural and un-refined sweetener that also an indigenous ingredient from North America! In this recipe, maple syrup and granulated maple sugar are used to add the perfect amount of sweetness to the cookie.


Blueberries – Blueberries are a delicious berry to use in this recipe because they are wonderful fresh but also freeze very well. The blueberries add a slightly tart and sweet flavor to the cookies, and they are full of antioxidants!  Every summer my family and I drive up to Oregon and hand pick blueberries that we freeze for the winter months!

If you want the recipe for the Sunflower Seed and Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies check out the recipes page!!

A picture of all the chefs and cooks!!

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