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breakfast

breakfast, recipes

Grain-free Granola

 

I don’t like to define my food by what it’s not.

I’d much rather spend my time talking about all the healthy, wholesome ingredients I did put in a recipe, than spend an hour telling someone what I omitted. (“I’ll have the gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, carrot cake – with a side of self-righteousness”)

And yet…I feel the need to tell you that this granola is grain-free because this is definitely not your typical oats-and-raisins granola situation. This granola is full of exlusively the things I cherry pick for in my usual bowl of cereal. Coconut. Pumpkin seeds. Almonds. Dates. That’s it. 

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I have been loving this granola on top of smoothies, as a quick snack or even a topping on homemade banana soft-serve. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

Grain-free Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1.5 cups coconut
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut manna (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place coconut, dates, nuts and seeds in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, to the consistency of granola.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl then add cinnamon and salt and stir to combine.
  3. Add coconut manna and honey and blend in with your hands until crumbly.
  4. Transfer mixture onto a large parchment lined baking sheets
  5. Bake 45 minutes in the oven at 250°, stirring occasionally.
  6. Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

breakfast, reading, recipes

Pancakes and Good Reading

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I look forward to Sunday mornings the way other people look forward to Friday nights. It combines all of my favourite things: breakfast, coffee, pajamas, blankets, family skype dates, reading and Coronation Street.

Here’s a little of what I’m enjoying this morning…

Good reads.

And of course a tasty breakfast.

These panacakes are wholesome, whole-grain and unlike your average boxed mixes will actually leave you feeling energized (not ready for a nap). They are full of protein, healthy fats, fibre…and chocolate chips 😉IMG_0640.JPG

Satisfying Oatmeal Pancakes
yields 1 generous serving

Ingredients

  • coconut oil (for frying)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • optional toppings – berries, nut butter, mini-chocolate chips and a drizzle of honey.

Directions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Mash banana in a mixing bowl. Add 2 eggs and whip with a fork.
  3. Add oat and coconut flours and stir until well-combined.
  4. Pour batter onto frying pan and cook until each pancake is browned and lifts easily with spatula (3-4 minutes). Cook an extra 1-2 minutes.
  5. Serve hot with berries, chocolate chips, nut butter, etc.

 

breakfast, budgeting, dinner, lunch

Healthy Meal Planning on a Shoestring Budget

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When I was 5, my family moved to a hippy commune.

It wasn’t creepy newspaper headlines kind of place. More of an organic farm mixed with a yoga retreat and an extended episode of Thirtysomething. A lot of pastel was worn. Moral of the story is: the people who lived at this place (many of whom I consider family to this day) were exceptionally healthy and they managed to be this way on very little money. Wholesome meals were prepared from scratch in a shared kitchen space using simple ingredients. No chia seeds or goji berries in sight, but loads of whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and farm-raised meat. My parents laugh a little about the move now, seeing it as their “new agey” phase. Still, living with so many inspiring, creative, thrifty, healthy people had a big influence on my life and my approach to well-being.

Which brings me to the topic of this post…healthy meal planning on a budget.

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When I’m strapped for cash one of the first places I cut back is my food expenses.

  1. I start cooking at home 95% of the time.
  2. cut back on fancy health food items that I like to have, but don’t need to have; and
  3. I menu plan. Menu planning makes it so much easier to reduce food waste at home and saves you from surviving off of crappy takeout.

Since I know meal planning isn’t an easy thing for many folks to do, I’ve tried to break it down for you…using a nifty chart.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
BREAKFAST Toast with peanut butter, sliced bananas and a drizzle of honey Oatmeal with apples, sunflower seeds and cinnamon Toast with poached eggs
LUNCH Kale salad with lentils, carrots and celery Bean and grain bowl Sardine salad and crackers
DINNER Fish with brown rice and salad Chicken, potatoes and kale Roast squash stuffed with tofu scramble
SNACKS Homemade granola barsHard boiled eggs Celery and Carrots with hummus and rice crackers Apple and peanut butter

Why did I choose these meals?

Of course it’s all personal preference and feel free to pick and choose the foods you love, but the meals I’ve chosen for this plan are all healthy, easy to prepare and most importantly…cheap! Eggs, grains, beans, peanut butter and root veggies are staples of a penny-pincher’s diet. When it comes to meat and fish, it’s always good to choose cheaper cuts of meat (bone-in, skin on chicken legs for instance) and fish that’s local to your region. This is just an easy way to put it all together!

Shopping List:

  • Eggs
  • Whole Grain or Gluten Free Bread
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Oats
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sardines in tomato sauce
  • Rice crackers
  • Tofu or Tempeh
  • Chicken legs or thighs
  • Local white fish (hake is a great choice)
  • Broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Onion
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Extras: Tahini, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper

Hope you enjoy! Good luck & keep saving those pennies for the things that really matter….Like data overcharges and a new pair of air force 1s. 😉

breakfast

Another day, another bowl of oatmeal.

I’m not sure about you, but I think I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m no longer settling on my morning bowl oatmeal. It’s what I truly crave. And I’m okay with that.

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Of course I knew my days of corn pops, toaster strudels and nutella spoons for breakfast were long gone. I was comfortable letting that go. But so too are my days of the greasy hangover breakfasts. Pardon me if my eggs these days are poached, not fried. I’m not afraid who knows it. And while we’re on the subject of all things poached, has anyone else started feeling like brunch lines these are just too arduous to bear? And rarely worth the effort? “I’ll make my eggs at home, thank you very much. And mine will have a perfect yolk every time.”

So yes today is just another day. But it’s also the day I encourage you to wake up and smell the French Press, in the kitchen you no longer have to apologize for when people walk in your apartment. Today is the day to own your adulthood. To stop apologizing for being “lame” or “old” just because you’ve mastered the art of taking care of yourself.

Simple Summer Oats: 

1/2 cup oats
1/2 sliced banana
tbsp of each: coconut, goji berries & chia seeds
drizzle of almond butter & raw honey
dollop of greek yogurt 

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So yes…I am eating oatmeal for breakfast. And not because I’m on a “health kick” or a “detox.” For no reason other than that I woke up jonesing for it.

breakfast, recipes

Energizing Antioxidant Smoothie

If December is a month of celebration. Of fun, food, familytimes and fabulous holiday dresses…then what the heck is November? If you ask me, November is a month of dodging bullets. 

Bullet #1: STRESS – Whether you’re a student or a working stiff like me, the month of November tends to fall into that “crunch time” category. End of year budgets, final drafts of papers, it all seems to culminate smack dab in the middle of this strange penultimate month.

Bullet #2: SAD – And by SAD I mean SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER. Ie. “Its grey and cold and dark and I’m depressed” syndrome.

Bullet #3: DEBT – Christmas is coming….is your bank account ready? No? Then charge it! January-me will find a way sort this out.

and finally…

Bullet #4: ILLNESS – Everyone, everywhere is sick. Always.

My tips to dodging bullets 1-3 are mainly to stay conscious of them. Recognize that stress is fleeting, weather is changing and no gifts are worth the hassle of paying off that credit card.

As for Bullet 4…well there’s not much you can do to stop a cold once it’s started you can do your darndest to PREVENT it before it starts. And this nutrient-rich, energizing smoothie is a heck of a good start.

Love antioxidants? This smoothie packs em in like it’s nobody’s businesses.

Energizing Antioxidant-Rich Green Smoothie

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2-3 frozen chunks of spinach (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or a few drops of stevia
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 8-10 ice cubes
  • pinch of xantham gum (optional, for thickness)
  • 1/4 cup of brewed coffee (optional)

Directions:

Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary.

Want another antioxidant rich recipe? Check out these delicious espresso berry muffins!

How do you dodge the November doldrums? Any tips on preventing winter colds?

breakfast, recipes

A Banana Bread Kinda Morning

Sometimes Most of the time, you wake up in the morning in a funk. You’re grouchy-hungry-tired-lethargic and generally lacking in motivation to do just about anything except chug a cup of black tar out of your french press, throw on a wrinkly something or other and stumble your way to work-school-etc.

Today was not one of those mornings for me.

Because today was a banana bread morning.

Yesterday I overheard one of my coworkers saying to another, “How does anyone have time to bake after work? I can barely make dinner let alone get a banana bread in the oven.” And, true to form, I took this as a personal challenge.

I had seen this recipe for gluten free banana bread on one of my favourite blogs and decided to make it exactly as it was shown. Ahem…obviously that didn’t happen. I didn’t have everything on hand in the right quantities, and I wanted to cut back on the sugar just a little. But here is my version (with full props to Ashley for her drool-worthy original).

Simple Gluten-Free Banana Bread


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  • 1/2 cup raw buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup almonds, coursely ground
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup egg whites (or 2 whole eggs)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 heaping tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • pinch of stevia or 2 tbsp raw sugar

Simply mix wet ingredients in a small bowl. Stir together dry ingredients. And gently fold together.

Fill a medium sized bread pan 3/4 of the way full with batter. I lined mine with parchment paper to avoid sticking.

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until a nice solid crust has formed.

Allow to cool completely before cutting.

What gets you out your grouchypants funk in the morning?

(if you say coffee, i’m rolling my eyes and giving you a resounding OBVZ)

breakfast

Cookie Dough For Breakfast

Okay so I know I promised my next post would be full of ridiculously cute wedding snaps (and don’t worry, that’s still coming) but right now I absolutely HAVE to share my most recent breakfast obsession. Because it is delicious. And takes two seconds to make. And did I mention it tastes like cookies? ‘Nuff said.

Also note: I did not create this recipe, it was developed by the genius Gina over at The Fitnessista. I’m posting the way I’ve been making it but I highly recommend her original recipe!

Cookie Dough Breakfast Cereal

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Ingredients:
1 tbsp almond butter
1/4-1/2 cup raw oats (I switch this up based on the toppings I use)
1/2 scoop protein powder (chocolate sun warrior blend for me)

Mash together with a fork until crumbly then top with any/all of the following:

1 cup almond milk
Dry cereal (granola, millet flakes, puffed grains, etc)
Shredded coconut
1/2 banana
Berries
Flax seeds
drizzle of syrup or a pinch of stevia

The doughy bits in this bowl are beyond delicious, and the healthy fats, protein and whole grains make it far more satisfying than your standard cold cereal bowl. The perfect breakfast treat to get you over the humpday blahs. 🙂 Enjoy!

breakfast, dinner, photojournal, snacks, WIAW

WIAW: My first and likely last attempt

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a WIAW it’s pretty self-explanatory. Blogger trend. Take pictures of your eats for 1 day of the week. Not every morsel just main meals and snacks.

Kinda problematic because obviously every body is different, every day is different, yada yada yada. But I write a food and fitness blog so it’s all pretty problematic when you think about it too hard. Grain of salt, people. Here goes…

Breakkinz:A LIBRA solution to the sweet/savoury dilemma

A-SIDE: 2 egg scramble with onions, peppers & mushrooms in a swiss chard wrap

B-SIDE: A cup and half of oats with a chopped peach, soy yogurt, coconut flakes, chia seeds & sunbutter


No decision necessary. Just the way I like it.

LUNCHRidiculously large tupperware full to the brim with kale salad (about half a bunch), shredded beets, zucchini & carrots, sprouts, 1/4 avocado, handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 slice toasted and chopped ezekiel “croutons” & about 1/3 block curried tofu cubes.

Desk snacks

DinnerProtein salad from Fresh – tempeh, chickpeas, quinoa, goji berris & tahini dressing

Evening snacksMany handfuls of sweet potato, beet & yuca terra chips to make up for my lighter-than-average dinner.Chocolate avocado shake for dessert!

Just almond milk, cocoa powder, avocado, maple syrup, ice and a 1/4 scoop of chocolate sunwarrior.

And voila! I certainly won’t make a habit of this since, even as a food blogger, I’d still rather spend my time eatin my food than takin pictures of it…but it was kind of fun just this once 😉

breakfast, healthy treats, recipes

Vegan Banana Sunbutter Muffins

There are times for flakey, cake-like muffins and there are times for denser, heartier ones. When I came up with the recipe for these bad boys I was definitely searching for the latter. I wanted something small that would still fill me up and tide me during that midday hump and these muffins were just the ticket. They are perfect as pre-workout fuel, a mid-day pick me up or even a late-night snack. Did I mention they are also gluten-free, (optionally) sugar-free and only took me 30 minutes to make beginning to end.

Vegan Banana Sunbutter Muffins

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe mashed bananas
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar OR 1/4 tsp concentrated stevia powder (I use New Roots organic stevia)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 4 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats, ground (makes about 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour with a milder flavour than store bought)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole buckwheat groats
  • 1 tbsp whole flax seeds

Directions:

  1. Mix first 6 ingredients until creamy.
  2. Stir together buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture stirring to combine.
  4. Stir in seeds, whole groats and flax.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees 18 – 20 minutes in a lined muffin pan.
Yields 10 muffins.
breakfast, brunch, diy, recipes

Masala, Leek and Fennel Scramble

I don’t think you’re ready for the glory of this Sunday stay-at-home brunch recipe. Sweet, savoury and little exotic, it’s the perfect start to a hot sticky summery afternoon like the one we’re about to have in Southern Ontario.

Masala, Leek and Fennel Tofu Scramble


Lightly adapted from 101 cookbooks

  • heaping spoonful of coconut oil
  • couple pinches of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala 
  • 1 large leek, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 medium bulb fennel, cut into very thin slices
  • 3 tbsp chopped raisins
  • 12 ounces extra firm orgnic tofu, crumbled
  • 2 heaping scoops nutritional yeast
  • 2 big handfuls chopped swiss chard, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp of tahini
  • splash of almond milk

Directions:

  1. Add the coconut oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Stir in the garam masala, and then add leek and fennel.
  2. Stir in leeks and salt and cook until they turn lightly brown and fragrant.
  3. Stir in the chopped raisins, cook them for thirty seconds and then add the tofu and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine and sautee until tofu begins to lightly brown (3-4 minute).
  4. Add chopped chard leaves and sautee until just wilted and bright green in colour.
  5. Pour 2 tbsp of balsamic into the pan and scrape up the pieces on the bottom of the pan as it bubbles and deglazes (1-2 mins).
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the sunflower seeds, drizzle on the tahini and stir together with a splash of almond milk.
  7. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serves 4.

How are you brunching today?