Everything Free Carrot Muffins

If you’re like me, I LOVE snacking! Here’s one of my favourite Fall flavour inspired Apple Cinnamon Carrot Ginger muffins. The perfect sweet and spicy snack on a cool Fall day. Oh and yes, these muffins are healthy and grain/gluten/dairy/nut free, paleo and vegan (if using flax egg).

Make these ahead of time and store in an airtight freezer bag or container. Grab and go in the morning and enjoy as a mid-morning or afternoon snack!

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Prep time: 20 mins, Cook time: 35-40 mins

Serves: 12

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup grated peeled carrot (approx 2 carrots)

1 cup grated peeled/cored apple (I used Gala)

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup apple sauce or mashed ripe bananas

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2/3 cup raisins or currants (opt)

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

3 flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups almond flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tray with muffin liners.

  1. Grate the carrots and apples (either use a food processor or grate by hand).

  2. Grate or mince the ginger with a knife.

  3. Make the flax eggs (mix it and set aside for a few minutes).

  4. Mix the wet ingredients (grated carrots/apple/ginger, apple sauce or mashed bananas, flax eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla).

  5. In a separate large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (almond flour, shredded coconut, raisins or currants, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

  6. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix with a spoon.

  7. Scoop out the batter evenly into each muffin liner.

  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes (depending on your oven). Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Summer Grillin'

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When it's hot out, I love BBQ'd veggies  Something about that grill taste that just sings summertime!  Barbequing is a great way to cook lots of veg for the next few meals.  I'm all about efficiency!  

Make it fun by choosing a variety of vegetables and fruit, then skewer them!  It looks pretty and you can even get the family involved!  Hey, again, it's all about efficiency.

Super Simple Summer Kebabs - serves 4

Ingredients

1 pint cremini or button mushrooms - halved

1 large red or sweet onion - quartered

2 zucchinis - sliced

1/4 pineapple - sliced

2 large bell peppers - cut into chunks

shrimp or chicken (opt)

avocado oil - drizzle

salt and pepper - to taste

Directions

1.  Wash, dry and cut all the ingredients.  Place everything in a large bowl and drizzle with avocado oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss.

2. Skewer the ingredients somewhat tightly.  If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30-minutes prior to use.

3. Grill until done.  

Pro tip:  Grill extra for next day's lunches or dinners.  

The Ultimate Salad

It's summertime and I don't know about you, but I try not to heat up my house with the oven or even stovetop cooking.  So when I want to eat light, yet keep me full, I turn to my ultimate salad.  

Making a BIG salad is your solution to saving time and offering you variety.  The trick is to have all the ingredients washed, cut and prepped in containers ready to go.  So when it's time to eat (or pack your lunch), it's simply an assembly line.  This also keeps all the salad components separated and fresh.

This is my go-to ultimate salad recipe.  Switch things up by trying different proteins, greens, and salad dressings.  

Ultimate Salad

Ingredients

4 cups lettuce (green and/or red leafy, romaine), washed, spun and chopped into bite sizes

2 cups of baby spinach, washed and spun

2 carrots, peeled and grated

2 bell peppers, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained 

1/2 cup cucumber, chopped 

1/2 cup roasted beets, chopped (recipe below)

1/2 cup jarred artichoke hearts, chopped

1/2 cup canned hearts of palm, sliced 

1/2 cup olives, sliced in half

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1/4 cup olives, halved

avocado - sliced or diced

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sprouts (pea, broccoli)

Directions:

  1. Wash, dry, cut and place all ingredients in separate containers.  
  2. When ready to eat, assemble the salad with your choice of ingredients.
  3. Drizzle with dressing of choice (recipes below).

Alternative protein options:  cooked chicken breast, baked salmon, cooked shrimp, thinly sliced sirloin steak, tofu or tempeh,  hard-boiled eggs, lentils

Pro tip:  To keep greens fresher for longer, place a damp paper towel over washed greens.  Seal in a bowl or container and place it in the fridge.  

Roasted Beets

Ingredients

4 fresh beets (golden, red or rainbow)

avocado oil

salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. 
  2. Wash and pat dry beets.  Cut ends off. 
  3. Cut four pieces of foil paper (large enough for each beet).  Place beets on foil paper.
  4. Drizzle beets with avocado oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Wrap in foil paper.
  6. Place beets directly on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes.  Beets are ready when you can penetrate them easily with a fork.
  7. Allow to cool, then peel using plastic or latex gloves. 
  8. Chop into pieces for the salad.  Store in an airtight glass container.

 

Everyday Dressing

Ingredients:

    •    1 garlic clove, minced

    •    1/4 lemon, juiced

    •    1 tbsp dijon mustard

    •    1/2 tbsp champagne (or white wine) vinegar 

    •    ½ cup olive oil or avocado oil

    •    salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl or food processor, add garlic.
  2. Add mustard, champagne vinegar, lemon juice.  Whisk.
  3. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking (or processing) quickly until combined.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

    •    2 medium avocados

    •    1 lemon, juiced

    •    ½ cup olive oil

    •    ½ cup water

    •    2 cloves garlic

    •    2 tsp honey

    •    2 tsp parsley (I used dried, but could use fresh)

    •    salt & pepper to taste

    •    cayenne to taste

Directions:

    1    Add all dressing ingredients into a food processor, except the olive oil and water

    2    While the food processor is running, drizzle in oil and water and mix well

Notes:  Only dress salad that will be eaten immediately.  Unused salad should be tightly sealed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Store dressing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  Making your own dressing is easy, inexpensive and you know what goes in it.  You’ll never buy again!

Do you have your own ultimate salad recipe?  Please share!

3 Unconventional Breakfasts

Do you ever struggle with variety at breakfast?  Tired of eating the same old same old?

Well, the only "rules" around breakfast are the ones we put on ourselves.  Why not have a salad with a healthy protein for breakfast?  Or perhaps lentils, rice, and avocado? Or eggs with a baked sweet potato?  

The best part is that you can prep these meals ahead of time and simply reheat in the morning for a quick, delicious and balanced breakfast that will give you lots of energy to start your day.

Here are 3 of my favourite unconventional breakfasts:

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1.  Rice bowls are a versatile breakfast.  This breakfast has become a gamechanger for our household.  It is a healthy, balanced breakfast that is oh so easy to prep in the morning.  Not to mention delicious and keeps us satiated for hours!  

Pro tip:  Cook your rice and protein ahead of time (can stay in the fridge in an airtight glass container for 3 days).  Optional to add some cooked mushrooms and/or tomatoes with broccoli sprouts for extra nutrients!  Add half an avocado before serving and a side of fresh fruit.  There you have it!  

Ingredients - serves 1

Brown rice - 1/3 cup cooked 

Lentils - 1/2 cup cooked 

1/2 avocado - sliced

Cooked mushrooms - 1/4 cup (opt)

Grape tomatoes (halved) and broccoli sprouts (opt)

1/2 cup berries

Directions

1.  Reheat the rice and lentils in the microwave.  

2. Slice the avocado.

3. Assemble everything in a serving bowl.  Add tomatoes and sprouts (if using).

chicken salad

2.  Chicken salad.  Yep, salad for breakfast.  Cook extra chicken the night before and have it for breakfast the next day on a bed of salad plus a side of fruit.  Get creative and switch up your proteins and salad choices to give you even more variety throughout the week.

Ingredients - serves 1

4 oz cooked chicken breast - sliced

garden salad - 2 hand fulls

Dressing:

    •    1 garlic clove, minced

    •    1/4 lemon, juiced

    •    1 tbsp dijon mustard

    •    1/2 tbsp champagne (or white wine) vinegar 

    •    ½ cup olive oil or avocado oil

    •    salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl or food processor, add garlic.
  2. Add mustard, champagne vinegar, lemon juice.  Whisk.
  3. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking (or processing) quickly until combined.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pro tip:  Make extra dressing and keep it in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

3.  Taco eggs.  Doesn't that sound amazing already?  Enough said.

Ingredients - serves 2

1 tbsp avocado oil

1/2 cup cooking onion, diced

10 ounces ground meat (beef/chicken/turkey) or firm tofu cut into small cubes

1/2 cup white or black beans, rinsed and drained (opt)

4 eggs or 8 egg whites, whisked

1 avocado, sliced

4 lettuce leaves (Boston Bibb works well), washed and dried

salsa (opt)

cilantro (opt)

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender (about 2 mins).  

2. Add the meat or tofu and cook until browned.  Add beans if using.  Add a tablespoon of taco seasoning.  Mix through.  

3. Add the eggs (or egg whites) and stir until cooked.  Remove from heat.

4. Scoop the egg mixture on lettuce leaves, add salsa (if using), avocado and cilantro.  Serve immediately.

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Taco Seasoning:

10 tsp hot chili powder

8 tsp smoked paprika

5 tsp onion powder

5 tsp oregano

3 tsp sea salt

3 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper to taste (opt)

1 tsp red chili pepper flakes to taste (opt)

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together.  Store in an air-tight container.  Keep in a dark, cool place for up to 3 months.  Use on eggs, meat, fish, veggies, tofu, tempeh.

Pro tip:  To save time, cook the protein ahead of time and keep it in an airtight glass container in the fridge.  When ready to cook, simply toss it in the skillet with the eggs!

Hope you enjoy these breakfast recipes.  Quite honestly, I would have any of these meals for lunch or dinner as well!  Do you have any unconventional breakfast ideas?  I'd love to hear them.