Tag Archives: sugar free

  • 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.

  • My top 8 ways to get your kids eating more Fruits and Veggies

     It can be challenging to get your kids to eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Here are my top ten tips to creating a more relaxed eating environment; one where your kids will want to eat their veggies.

    1. Don’t Stress about it - If there is stress around meal time you can bet your children will pick up on that and not eat the things you want them too. Kids are super smart and very perceptive. Just provide 2-3 vegetables/fruits at every meal and allow them to make their own choices. You cannot make your child put anything into their mouths that they do not want to put in there. They are more likely to eat more of the things you want them to eat if they feel relaxed.
    2. Serve up some fruit and/or veggies first. Give your children veggies when they are hungry. They are more likely to at least try the vegetables when their belly’s are hungry. Try making a big veggie tray for when they come home from school and their bellies are hungry. Serve up with a healthy bean dip like hummus! Or start your dinner with salad, then have the main course.
    3. Let them pick out what they would like to try- take your kids to the grocery store and get them to pick a new veggie to try every week. If your children are old enough to read, let them help you pick out recipes to try from your favorite healthy cookbook.
    4. Get them involved in cooking. At just over a year, I got my daughter in the kitchen helping me prepare dinner. She would toss the sweet potato fries in olive oil, place the broccoli in the steamer and help mix the salad dressing. She loves it and it gets her more excited about trying the foods.
    5. Don’t use desserts as the treat to get them to eat their veggies - this is often a recipe for disaster. Children will think of veggies as the obstacle they need to get through to get to the dessert and then it can become a life long struggle. Try and keep meal time light and fun by allowing your kids to make their own choices. If they don’t eat their vegetables one meal its okay (this is where Juice Plus comes in nicely), just serve them up the next day. If they are anything like my daughter one day they will eat them like crazy and the next day not too much. That’s ok!
    6. Try different cooking methods - If your child doesn’t like mashed sweet potato, make sweet potato fries, try making a creamy sweet potato soup, or roast in whole and top with some steamed broccoli and melted cheese. It is also a great idea to add some veggies to your ‘desserts’ to add a health boost; try these brownies below. Now this does not replace vegetables at meals, just think of it as an added boost. Kale chips is a great way to get some greens into your kids. Elana's Pantry makes my favourite recipe that is super simple.
    7. Make Popsicles - My daughter often asks for popsicles for breakfast and this mama is A-Ok with that when the popsicles are jammed pack with fruits and veggies. Add some kale, spinach or chard to your smoothies and freeze them in popsicles for a sweet breakfast treat or an afternoon snack.
    8. Be a good role model - You absolutely need to eat vegetables if you want your kids to eat vegetables!!! There is no way around this. Kids look to what we do, not what we say as a guide. You don’t have to eat every single variety but you do need to eat most of them.

    Now for a sweet way to add some produce into your kids life! These brownies are sure to please a crowd. They are fudgy and delicious. 

    Decadent Sweet Potato Brownies 

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    This recipe is slightly adapted from a colleague of mine Meghan Telpner. Find her version HERE!!

    • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (steamed or roasted, then pureed)
    • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup apple sauce (I steamed my apples, and then pureed. About 2 apples)
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 3/4 cup spelt flour, or any other whole grain flour
    • 3/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt

     

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350F
    2. Coat an 8 inch pan with oil
    3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler with the olive oil
    4. Place sweet potato, coconut sugar, chocolate, maple syrup, water, cocoa powder, vanilla and apple sauce in a high powered blender or food processor
    5. Mix the flour, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl
    6. Add the chocolate mixture
    7. Pour batter into a pan
    8. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until firm in the middle
    9. Cool and enjoy!
  • The Most Essential Nutrient....Water!

    Did you know that most of us are walking around dehydrated 24/7?? I often hear from my clients that they are just not thirsty so why would they drink more water! Well I know it sounds 100% counter intuitive however thirst signals have nothing to with optimal hydration. Most of the time, by the time you actually feel thirsty, you are already in a dehydrated state.

    The human body, on average contains 60-70% water! Our brains are approximately 75% water. Feeling fussy headed or mentally sluggish?? Try sipping on water throughout the day!

    Many of us think we are hungry when thirst is the actual culprit. If you are trying to reduce your waist line, improve digestion or have more energy, try making sure you are getting sufficient water for 1 week and see what happens!

    Here are my top tips to keep hydrated.

    1. Keep a 1 litre bottle with you at all times and ensure you are drinking at least 2 per day!Try herbal teas! I love them warm or cold. Remember that caffeine containing teas/coffee are dehydrating making your water requirements even higher. Herbal teas are tasty and help keep you hydrated.
    2. Enjoy a tall glass of warm or room temperature water upon rising! You can add a splash of lemon for an added bonus. Lemon offers a gentle cleaning action for the liver and the bowels!
    3. Add fresh fruit OR mint to your water for added flavor! I keep a couple jugs of water in my fridge at all times and often flavor them with various fruits and/or herbs. Get creative and have fun! I have recently started to enjoy rosemary iced tea. See recipe below.
    4. Enjoy a relaxing herbal tea before bed with herbs such as passion flower, valerian, hops, etc.

    When our bodies are not used to getting sufficient water, we might find ourselves making frequent trips to the bathroom! I can assure you from personal experience and feedback from many clients; this too shall pass! Your body gets used to the extra water pretty fast!

    Important considerations

    1. Ditch the plastic!! Plastic water bottles are not only terrible for our planet as they never decompose. They are also bad for us! There are many toxic chemicals in plastic bottles that leach into the water and then into our bodies! These chemicals disrupt our hormones and are linked to various cancers, hormonal issues and weight gain! Try glass instead, tastes better and makes our bodies and our planet happy!
    2. Drink clean water! If we are going to be drinking at least 2 liters of water a day then we do not want it coming along with toxic chemicals. Drinking pure filtered water is absolutely critical for abundant health. I have a reverse osmosis system in my house which I believe is a great way to ensure our water is pure. You can also use a simple carbon filter that you add to your water bottle on the go that removes chlorine, pesticides, detergents, etc. Check out Santevia for a great water filtration options; http://www.santevia.com. If you have access to quality spring water that would also be a great option.

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    ROSEMARY TEA

    Great for digestion, helps to increase circulation, a mild diuretic and is a rich source of antioxidants.

    Ingredients

    • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
    •  boiling water
    • a glass pitcher (that is safe for hot liquids)

    Place rosemary in a glass pitcher. Bring water to a boil. Pour into pitcher. Allow to cool until it comes to room temperature. Place in the fridge and enjoy!

    Happy Sipping!

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