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  • Easy Peasy Apple Muffins

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    I took my oldest to the Toronto Waldorf School to the Parent and Tot program and am currently back there with my little one. Both of my girls have loved every moment of it. I enjoy getting to talk to other mama's, discuss parenting issues and things that come up with my little ones, and I am "kind of" learning how to knit. I say kind of because I think I might just be knitting challenged. I am always messing things up and needing help. One day I might just have a bunny out of all of this though. I will post the finished product.

    Anyway's, you might be wondering why I am taking about the Waldorf school in a post about apple muffins. Well, the snack at the school is spelt apple sauce muffins. All of the kids love them and the best part, they are made with wholesome ingredients including organic applesauce, honey, flaxseeds, etc. When my oldest was going there I had tried to make the muffins a few times and they just didn't taste the same so I gave up. Now that I am back with my little one I was re-inspired to try. I used to have the recipe but I do not anymore. I just asked the lady who makes them if she has any tips and all she said was to not over mix the batter. Well, guess what? I was an over mixer. That was my problem all along. Such a simple trick to make muffins lighter and fluffier.

    I made these muffins by checking out a few apple sauce recipe ideas and then making my own. My kids really can't get enough of them.

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    I am going to take a quick moment here to explain why I am using spelt flour;

    - Spelt contains gluten but much less than conventional wheat flour that has been altered to contain even more gluten

    - Spelt is easier to digest for many people although should not be consumed by anyone who is celiac, has a gluten allergy or are trying to strictly avoid gluten

    - Spelt is a light fluffy flour and may be used for an easier transition for those who feel sensitive to wheat products

    - I typically cook with grain free flours such as almond and coconut flour however do use spelt as a treat. My kids tolerate it well and love it. I use spelt when making homemade pizza dough, muffins and birthday cake's.

    - It is easy to adapt recipes that contain wheat flour with spelt flour 1:1.

    I also have a gluten free version for those of you who can not tolerate any gluten at all. 

    Anyways lets get back to the muffins! These would make a great addition to packed lunches!

    Apple Sauce Muffins

    • 1 cup organic apple sauce
    • 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk*
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • 3 tbsp avocado oil**
    • 1 egg***
    • 3 drops of Jade Lemon (food grade essential oil)****
    • 2 cups of sifted spelt flour*****
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon

    Directions

    1. In one bowl mix the wet ingredients
    2. In another bowl sift the dry ingredients and mix well
    3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry bowl and gently fold the ingredients together until just combined. As I said it is important to not over mix for a light and fluffy muffin.
    4. You can either add muffin liners, grease pan with butter/coconut oil or use the silicone muffin tray I used (see picture). They pop out easily without having to grease pan. I filled 24 of the mini muffin silicone liners and 4 medium size muffins. The amount of muffins the batch will make depends on the muffin tray you use. Fill muffins moulds 3/4 of the way full.
    5. Option - top with diced apples (or pears), cinnamon and chia seeds.
    6. Cook mini muffins 12-15 minutes and medium muffins 20 minutes. Let cool and then remove from tray. Enjoy!!

    Recipe Note

    * Any type of milk would work here. I really like the thick and creamy texture of the full fat coconut milk. And the extra fats from the milk will help to slow the absorption of the carb's from the flour, also known as lowering the glycemic index

    ** Melted butter or coconut oil would also work. Or olive oil would also work well

    *** Flax egg can be used instead of egg - 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, let sit for 5 minutes before using

    **** Using the food grade essential oil is optional, you can also use a squirt of fresh lemon juice

    ***** Use Bob's Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour to make these gluten free - so 2 cups of all purpose gluten free flour + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (this helps to hold the muffins together so they don't crumble. You can omit if you don't mind a crumbly muffin) The pictures with the chia seeds and apples were made with the gluten free flours.

  • Balanced Energy Bars!

    I love these bars! The original inspiration for them came from the amazing Elana over at Elana's Pantry! I have made the original recipe dozens of times. They are a hit with my whole family. Over the years of making them I have tried many variations. Here is one that I love just as much as the original!

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    • 1.5 cup of cashews
    • 1/2 cup of seeds (I used pumpkin here, can also be all cashews)
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup chia seeds
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup cashew or almond butter
    • 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup or honey (I have also made with stevia to reduce sugar)
    • 1/2 tsp of almond extract
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    •  70% dark chocolate bar + 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • Sprinkle with sea salt (or Maldon flaked salt)

    Directions

    1. Place all ingredients (except chocolate) in a food processor. Process until everything is ground up and the consistency of a nut butter
    2. Pour into brownie pan. And spread evenly.
    3. Place in the freezer.
    4. Meanwhile melt chocolate in a double boiler with 1 tbsp of coconut oil.
    5. Pour chocolate evenly over the frozen mixture. Sprinkle with sea salt
    6. Freeze for about 10-15 minutes until chocolate sets and then slice into bars.

    I store these in the freezer and enjoy cold. You could also keep them in the fridge, they would be too mushy kept at room temperature.

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    These bars make a great snack. I have even had them for breakfast before. They are full of healthy fats, fibre, minerals and protein. And the dark chocolate makes them feel super decadent along with providing some potent antioxidants. They are also very low in sugar making them a great option as a snack to stabilize blood sugar for healthy energy levels, hence the name balanced energy. We don't want any spikes here, just balanced amazing energy.

  • FIsh Taco’s With Mango Lime Salsa

    This dinner can be made in flash and is super easy to make but also has an impressive component to it. It seems kinda fancy right? Well your taste buds will sure think so, but doesn’t seem that way when you are making it!

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    I made this the other night and it was a true hit with my whole family. The best part of this kind of dinner is that everyone can customize for their own tastes and dietary needs. I enjoyed the fish and salsa over a salad with avocado and mango salsa. My husband and one of my daughters enjoyed with the sour cream and my other daughter is allergic to diary so she enjoyed on a wrap with the avocado and mango salsa. It can be tricky meeting everyones dietary needs sometimes, that is why dinners like these are an essential part of my sanity.

    Try these and let me know what you think in the comments below or on social media. I would also love to hear if you have any other topping suggestions.

    Mango Lime Salsa 

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    • 1 mango, chopped finely
    • 1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
    • 1/4 red onion, chopped finely
    • handful of chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • Splash of olive oil
    • A pinch of sea salt

    Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combine

     

    Fish Mixture 

    • 3-4 pieces of cod (or other white fish)

    Sprinkle both sides of fish generously with a good quality sea salt and garlic powder.

    Add 1 tbsp of avocado oil to a pan and pre heat pan to a med-high heat. Add fish. As fish cooks break it up into bite size pieces.

     

    Serving options; 

    • sliced avocado
    • sour cream (preferably organic*)
    • Whole grain wraps (I used La Tortilla Factory’s Gluten Free)
    • Romaine lettuce - dress with lime juice, olive oil and sea salt
    • Extra lime juice

     

    *Most conventional sour creams have propylene glycol in them. This is a by-product from the petroleum industry and in my opinion has no place in our foods. Organic is always ideal when purchasing any dairy products. If that is not within your budget, make sure you read labels as there are some that don’t contain this additive

  • Eggnog Breakfast Smoothie

    FullSizeRenderI am going to keep this blog short and sweet. Eggnog has a ridiculous amount of sugar in it. It also contains an insane amount of calories that will add to the belly bulge of the season. With this smoothie you get all of the same flavours but avoid the belly bulge. Lets face it there is enough temptation over the holidays with all of the extra food and desserts. Lets put the egg nog back on the shelf and enjoy the flavours while boosting our health.

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    Ingredients

    • 1/2 frozen banana
    • 1/4 cup cashews
    • a handful of ice
    • 1-2 dates
    • a little squeeze of lemon
    • Water to cover
    • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 sprinkle of nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
    • a pinch of high quality sea salt
    • 1 serving of high quality vanilla protein powder

    Blend all ingredients in a blender on high except the protein powder. Then add protein and blend until combined

    Please note - if you do not have a high powdered blender and you like things super creamy, you might want to blend cashews, dates and water, then strain through a fine mesh colander.

     

    Happy Holidays!! Hope each and every one of you enjoy a wonderful holiday season spending time with those you love the most. 

  • Top 5 Reasons to Eat Kale and a Delicious Way to Enjoy

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    Here are my top 5 reasons to eat kale;

    • Kale is incredibly detoxifying - Kale contains indole-3-carbinols, sulforaphane, among many other super powdered plant nutrients that keep your liver and hormones happy.

     

    • Kale is low in calories and packed with nutrition - Kale contains more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any food on the planet.

     

    • Anti-inflammatory- one of the reasons kale helps combat inflammation is the omega 3’s it contains. In only 100 calories of can your get 350mg of omega 3’s. Vitamin K is also a key nutrient in reducing inflammation and kale happens to be a star in this nutrient.

     

    • Kale is an excellent source of fibre and magnesium - both help keep bowels happy and healthy. Fiber gently sweeps the colon keeps it clean and helps food pass along at an ideal speed and magnesium helps draw water into the bowel keeping it hydrated. Trust me you don't not want a dehydrated bowel, think pebble poop that is hard to pass. No thank you!

     

    • Antioxidant Rich - In addition to familiar antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene, kale provides us with at least 45 others (probably much more as we continue to learn more and more about foods). Antioxidants are important for so many things including keeping our heart healthy, immune systems happy and each one of our trillions of cells thriving.

     

    • Ok, so now that we understand why our bodies and each one of our trillions of cells love kale, let make it taste amazing so we love to eat it. I think this recipe does just that. It is my current fave way to enjoy this leafy green. And best part is the salad can store in the fridge and stays good for at least a day. I love that. I make it for dinner and have a salad ready to go the next day for lunch.

     

    Here is the recipe!

    Creamy Dinosaur Kale Salad 

    Ingredients 

    • 1 bunch of Dinosaur Kale, washed, dried and chopped finely (also known as Lacinato or tuscan kale)*
    • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • a pinch of sea salt

    Place all ingredients into a large bowel and massage lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt into kale. Set aside and make dressing**

    Dressing 

    • 1 cup of cashews (preferably soaked for at least 4 hours and then drained, but not essential)
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1.5 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove

    Add all ingredients into a high powdered blender of food processor and mix until smooth and creamy.

    Putting It All Together 

    • 1 chopped apple
    • 1/4 cup dried current
    • 1 grated carrot
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped

    Add the dressing and the rest of the ingredients. Mix and Enjoy!!

    Please not all extra salad ingredients are optional. Add whatever you like!

    *Can also substitute for your favorite variety of kale

    **Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit can further enhance its beneficial phytonutrient concentration and makes it easier to digest because the lemon breaks down the hard fibers.

     

    Now go ahead and buy kale! Let me know in the comments below how you feel about kale. Have tried it? If not, what stops you from buying it? If you have, what is your favourite way to enjoy?

     

    Source - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

  • My Favourite One Pot Meal

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    I love cooking one pot meals. Especially since I have become a mom of two. Wowza life is busy with two little ones running around the house. Finding a quick meal, that provides leftovers is essential for my sanity.

    The other week I found a new fancy recipe for salmon that had a balsamic glaze on it. I reduced the balsamic to create this thick syrup made some roasted veggies. The balsamic glaze was defiantly a time commitment but it sounded delicious. I also made a creamy sauce (with tahini) for the baked sweet potatoes. Along with some other roasted veggies and a salad. I put a lot of work into this dinner! Well, it was a complete FAIL!! The salmon was gross, just really bad. I liked the tahini cause on the sweet potatoes with the roasted veg but was not a hit with the family. I ended up giving my daughter some leftover pasta. Can you relate?

    Needless to say it was nice to go back to a tried and true recipe that everyone in my family loves!! And best of all makes a great lunch for the next day.

    The great thing about this recipe is once you get everything into the pot the stove does the rest of the work. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare and then you can let it do its thing while you spend time with the kids or get other stuff done!!

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    Chicken Cacciatore 

    Ingredients

    • 4-5 drumsticks (bone in)
    • 4-5 chicken thighs (bone in)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1/3 cup white wine (optional)
    • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup of katamalia olives
    • 1 cup of green olives
    • 4 cups of sliced mushrooms
    • Coconut oil or ghee/butter for cooking about 1 tbsp

    Directions

    In a large dutch oven pan, add coconut oil or ghee and turn heat onto medium high heat. Add chicken and cook on both sides until brown. Set aside.

    Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add wine to pan and let simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.

    Add tomatoes, olives and chicken into the pot. Bring to a low boil then put on a simmer. Simmer for at least 1 hour, ideally 2.5 hours.

    Take chicken pieces out of pot and take meat off the bone. Add back into the pot along with the mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes until mushrooms are cooked.

    Serve over spaghetti squash, pasta, brown rice, quinoa, zucchini noodles, the options are endless.

    Top with some fresh parsley or chives and serve along side something green for a complete meal.

  • Warm Weather…bring on the popsicles!

    Happy Sunshine Everyone!! Well, it is at least sunny around my area. We have had a rough winter and a very cold spring so far so I am incredibly grateful for a few warm sunny days.

    My 3 year old loves popsicles. And so does my baby (10 month old) as of the last couple weeks. The funny thing is my 3 year old hates my smoothies. Every time she even tries one, which she often won't, she always says "no, not good". I have tried so many different smoothie recipes and the majority of the time she doesn't like them. However, here is my super sneaky trick, I freeze the same smoothie into popsicle mould's and like magic, she likes them.

    We have been on a popsicle making bonanza around here. We have tried a few new recipes and this one in particular is defiantly share worthy. This one is a bit too rich and thick for a smoothie but is great for a creamy popsicle.

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    Here are the ingredients

    • 1.5 cups pineapple
    • 1 cup mango
    • 1 can of thai coconut milk
    • 2 drops of orange essential oil* (optional)
    • 10 drops of liquid stevia (optional)

    Blend and fill popsicle mould's. I often use my Zoku. Love the product. I only have the single one though so I also use plastic (BPA free) mould's.

    *I only use Young Living essential oils for this. The oil that you are using must be a high quality and food grade. Orange essential oil is a potent antioxidant known for its ability to ward off cancer. It is also great for digestion and very uplifting. I also love diffusing it in my home!

    Making your own popsicles is a fun thing to do with little ones and a great way to get some great nutrition in a fun way. I also make ones with added greens, cucumber, beets, etc.

  • Shedding the baby weight

    Getting back into shape after having a baby can be tough sometimes. If you are breastfeeding, that takes up most of your day and if you are bottle feeding your day is spent making formula sanitizing bottles, not to mention changing diapers, laundry, keeping up with the house cleaning, etc.  You are sleep deprived (no matter how well your baby sleeps they still need to feed during the night), super busy and often looking for quick fixes when it comes to meal time. It is so easy to get into the carb/sugar and often caffeine cycle to get you through your day. I am here to tell you from personal experience and also from my professional knowledge as a nutritionist, with a few changes you will feel better and prevent those overwhelming cravings for the wrong foods.

    Here are my top tips to get back in shape post baby;

    1. Get moving - put your baby in the stroller or even better a baby carrier (adds extra weight to burn a few extra calories, just make sure you have good posture so you don't hurt your back) and go for a walk. Moderate exercise is also a great way to combat stress and reduce unwanted cortisol (cortisol is known for is ability to aid in fat storage). And it also will burn some extra calories while soothing your baby. My little girl was always happiest in the baby carrier. If the weather does not permit, hop over to your local mall and do some laps or try putting on some music and shaking your booty or my favourite rebounding (mini trampoline) for 10 minutes to 1 hour.

    2. Ditch the sugary treats and refined carbs! I know this one may seem tough when you are not sleeping. Our bodies scream for sugars and carb’s when we are lacking sleep. First thing you need to remember is those sugars are such a short energy boost and will leave you more fatigued in the end. Second thing to think about is enjoy ‘TREATS’ that wont affect your blood sugar the same way. My go-to is organic dark chocolate, must be 70% or higher or I bake cookies using low glycemic coconut sugar and whole grain flours.

    3. Eat small amounts of protein rich foods throughout the day. Protein is essential for keeping our waist lines in check. It is key in balancing your blood sugar and it also promotes glucagon which is a mighty fat burning hormone. Ideal protein foods include hempseeds, lean meats, beans, lentils, greek yogurt, high quality protein powder and eggs. Aim to get some at every meal to beat the cravings and keep you feeling full.

    4. Don’t drink your calories!!! This is such a critical tip. Drinking juices and pop do not make you feel full at all. All they do is spike your blood sugar, followed by fat storage, then a crash and then you crave more sugar. Stick to herbal teas and water to hydrate your self.

    5. Sleep when you can!! It is so important to get as much sleep as possible. When we are not sleeping properly our cravings can be out of control. So instead of reaching for the cookies as soon as your baby goes down for the night, sometimes just go to sleep. If sleep is not an option, try taking deep relaxing belly breaths to decrease the effects of stress and balance hormones.

    Hope these tips will help you get back to your best self post baby. I know they helped me!

    I am curious, do you have any more tips to help shed the baby weight? I would love to hear from you!

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