I think it's natural for many to step away from a doing a whole lot of baking during the warmer months. We are more inclined to look for refreshing food choices when the sun is beaming down. But, as the weather turns colder and my nesting instincts grow stronger, I find myself being drawn back into the kitchen. There's something about the winter months that make me want to bake up a storm on the weekends. I am constantly looking for ways to turn traditional comfort baked goods into something a little more nourishing, and this past weekend was no exception. I had a few zucchinis waiting to be used, so I thought, what better way than to whip up a loaf of zucchini chocolate chip bread! After a little research, I was able to adapt a few different recipe ideas to make this version of a gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free bread. I generally try to avoid a lot of food labels, but "paleo" was a lot easier to fit into the title. This loaf turned out moist and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness, in my opinion. There are a couple of interesting things to note about the recipe: one of the key ingredients is a mashed banana. This not only adds to the natural sweetness, but also helps give it a great texture. The second thing is that the recipe requires quite a few eggs (6!), but that's stretched out over an entire loaf and helps to add a good dose of protein and healthy fats.
Nutrition Fun Fact of the Day: Egg yolks contain a high level of lecithin, a fat molecule that helps with a number of bodily functions. It not only helps you digest fat, but plays a valuable role in moving waste out of cells and allowing nutrients to move into cells (it helps maintain cell permeability). The take away here is to not be afraid of the yolk! As of recent, I do feel like this message has been received by the general public. The fear of yolks is passing with the increase in available information regarding the health benefits. Some professionals may suggest to limit your yolk intake IF you struggle with high cholesterol. Otherwise, you're probably fine (and will reap the benefits) of consuming the entire egg.
Ok, back to the recipe...
I used dark chocolate chips for this recipe, which I enjoy more than a milk chocolate, personally. This also helps ensure your loaf remains dairy-free, if that's important to you. I am not dairy-free myself, but I do limit the amount of cows milk in my diet to usually yogurt and a little bit of cheese from time to time. Many people, of course, find that cows milk causes digestive distress or other side effects. If you suffer from this, but are not sure why, it's one of the first foods I would suggest removing from your diet as it can be highly inflammatory. There are a couple of brands of dairy-free chocolate chips. For this recipe, I used Enjoy Life, available at most health food stores.
If you're a regular "healthy" baker (if you like to think of it that way),
I would say most of the ingredients needed for this recipe can be found
in your pantry. I didn't have to go out and grab anything special (other
than another carton of eggs so my husband still had breakfast
in the morning), as I use all of these items on the regular. So, without
further ado, let's get into how to make this yummy treat a reality
in your kitchen!
I hope you enjoy this yummy treat on a cold day as much as I did!
It's been months, but I am back with a new blog! And after a lengthy hiatus, I thought I would ease myself back into things with a simple recipe.
Just as a little update, I spent my summer writing an email subscription course for Leanfit Protein, a company based in British Columbia. This was an incredible opportunity, and I had a blast doing it. However, it didn't leave a lot of content in the writing bank for blogging. That said, I submitted my final drafts yesterday and am ready to dive back into Eat.Move.Live.!
Today, I am sharing a very simple "breakfast" cookie recipe that I threw together yesterday. Now that I'm back at work and into a routine, healthy baking has made its way back into my weekend activities. Although the name suggests a breakfast food, these cookies can be easily enjoyed at any point throughout the day. Personally, I knew that a "cookie" wasn't going to cut it for breakfast, so I chose to make mine smaller and just have it as a morning snack. That said, if you're not a huge breakfast person, you can pump up the volume, add in more healthy fats and be left with a perfect grab-and-go food to fuel your morning.
The nice thing about a recipe like this is that it's hard to go wrong. You can substitute ingredients right left and centre, and still be left with something delicious. This was my second recipe of the evening, so I went for fast and simple:
2 cups oats
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used half sunflower butter)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2tsp all spice
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, coconut, etc.
Combine oats, nut butter, banana, spices, baking powder/soda, salt, vanilla, and honey. Fold in cherries and pecans.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and spoon on batter at desired size. Cook at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
And voila: cookies for breakfast!
I know that naming recipes is not one of my strengths. So if your creativity is sparked, please feel free to shoot alternative name suggestions my way. Trust me: ideas are appreciation, and I could use all of the help I can get.
I am forever making batch after batch of granola. I top my cottage cheese with it nearly every day, and find my own recipes far more satisfying than what I can purchase in-store. It's also one of the simplest things you can make, and doesn't require specific steps/ingredients.
It's that reason that I end up with a different batch every week. I just throw stuff in a bowl and see what happens. However, using my regular laissez-faire method last weekend, I turned out my best batch to date. So then I was presented with the challenge of remembering what I put in it, and how much. Using my best estimating skills, I wrote down the recipe (a big thanks to my friend Taryn for giving it a shot and confirming that it is, in fact, delicious, and made for the exact texture I was aiming for).
Why was this batch better than the rest? I think it had something to do with the perfect balance of crunchy, sweet and nutty. Hard to say. Anyway, if you're a granola lover, but are not interested in paying the astronomical prices charged for the packaged stuff, which is always way too high sugar/fat anyway, give this one a go:
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small sauce pan, bring the oil and syrup to a slight boil. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla. Pour the liquid mixture onto the dry goods and combine until covered. Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread the granola on the pan, evenly. Press down slightly using a spatula. Put the pan into the oven and let bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan, and allow to bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown very slightly. Remove, and allow to cool. When transferring to a container, you will need to gently break the granola up into smaller pieces, as it will most likely lift in large chunks.
Voila! My best batch yet.
There’s no denying it. One of the best parts of Christmas is the copious amounts of baked goods that turn up everywhere you go. But for anyone with food intolerances, indulging in festive treats can often leave you in a bit of a pickle. This morning I was in the mood for homemade cookies. And although what I landed on was by no means a traditional Christmas recipe, it cured my craving for something sweet, while filling my condo with the aromatic scent of freshly baked goodies, all the while remaining gluten and dairy free (and even egg free, if you’d like).
These yummy little nuggets were adapted from Danielle Walker’s recipe, made with a few personal modifications. Danielle’s recipes are geared towards families living with various food intolerances and allergies, so if you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit her site and dive into her cookbooks. Her fresh take on the everyday staples never disappoints.
Here is my version, creatively titled Peanut Butter Chocolate Cherry Cookies (alternative name suggestions welcomed):
Grab-and-go snacks are important for those busy days. They're also handy to have around in times when hunger sneaks up, unexpectantly. Without good choices readily accessible, you're more likely to make a food decision you'll later regret.
Recently I have been whipping up weekly batches of my own granola bars, adapted from Oh She Glows author, Angela Lidden's Glo Bar recipe.
These little bars of deliciousness are made with real food and don't contain any of the unidentifiable crap found in many store bought brands.
I'll be testing today's batch out on my almost-3-year-old niece and am fairly confident they will get the toddler seal of approval.
So the other day, a Buzz Feed post popped up on my Facebook. It was a delectable looking pancake that involved a Nutella stuffed centre. Um... yes.
I don't have any Nutella. But many of you know that I do make a lot of pancakes. Ok--so they're protein pancakes. But I love them. I decided that I could easily come up with a similar creation. It may not be quite as delicious, but it would make for a better breakfast choice.
I often use a product called PB2. It's essentially dehydrated peanuts, leaving you with a powder that, when water is added, creates peanut butter. I love peanut butter on the regular, but it's easy to overdo it on the stuff. I.e. you go in for a taste and soon realize you've eaten half the jar with a spoon. When this happens, PB2 is a good alternative because it's reduced calorie, but still packed with flavour.
I whipped up a serving of chocolate PB2 and followed the video tutorial provided by Buzz Feed (very technical, with about 4 steps).
The result was my regular protein pancake with a delicious surprise inside! For instructions on how to make a protein pancake, see my post here.