Pumpkin Blondies with Salted Maple Pecans

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Hello everyone! Sorry I have been MIA this month. As many of you know, I teach, tutor, blog and am currently doing my holistic nutrition certification. I always try and post at least once a week but these days, real life has gotten in the way! If you are one of my Instagram followers (now 10k followers wow!) you know I also visited my sister in NYC last weekend which was so much fun but SO exhausting. If you want to see some of my favourite food spots, you can check out my Instagram posts on the right side of my homepage! Just click on any picture and you can read the caption.

In all this busy-ness I have tried to make sure I get enough sleep and eat well. I still managed to get myself seriously sick this past weekend where I was left literally bed ridden. What I realized is that even if you plan out your time and do everything ‘you are supposed to do’ it is SO important to UNPLUG. What I mean is to emotionally, physically and electronically detach from all the busy-ness that makes up your day. My day consists of waking up at 7:45, making breakfast, heading to work until 4:15, tutoring until 5, 6 or even 7 pm, go to the gym, get home shower, make dinner, laundry etc.. In between I am making sure my Clean Eating Goddess social media areas are covered, thinking up recipe ideas and planning blog posts. By 10 pm I feel accomplished but truly exhausted and I basically just restart the next day. I realized that my sickness was really just pure mental exhaustion and stress! Even if you love what you do everyday, trying to juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities will eventually equal stress at some point and thats ok… It just important to take time for yourself, away from your phone, tv, thoughts, etc… and truly detach from daily life! Go for a walk, have dinner with loved ones, have a drink (or two, or three), paint a mug, just change up the scenery or just do NOTHING!

I can’t imagine adding children to this picture… scary!

In any case..even if I was sick I needed to get back on my blog game. Thank god for Zach who helped me prep everything so I could muster up energy to do some baking/cooking. I have had this recipe stored in my notepad on my phone for weeks! When I think of something that might be delicious, I jot it down anywhere and at a later date start to configure the measurements. Then I put it together, cross my fingers and hope for the best!

These pumpkin blondies are made with…beans! I have seen recipes all over the health food blogs about bean brownies, cookies etc.. The result always looks amazing, so I had to try it myself. Trust me… just like you I had the same reaction. EW. Beans in dessert. But I have to stay these are INCREDIBLE. They are so incredibly moist from the pumpkin and cannellini beans that lend a delicate fudge-like texture that melts in your mouth. The salted maple pecans add a much needed crunch, that frankly I can eat by the handful on my own.

What’s best is that these have no added oil, grain or egg! So vegans, celiacs, health fanatics and foodies alike can enjoy this sweet treat all season long. Whats best is that you can make the entire recipe in the bowl of your food processor. Just pulse, pour, bake and enjoy. Your kids will never know they are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free + packed with protein and fibre! Happy Halloween and Bon appetit!
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Having fun!

Having fun!

Blondie Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cups canellini beans or 1 can well rinsed
• 1/2 cup smooth almond butter
• 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, pure pumpkin)
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used an amber no 2, the darker the syrup the more flavour!)
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• pinch salt
• 4 heaped tbsp coconut flour

Topping Ingredients:

• 1 cup whole pecans
• 2 heaped tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• good pinch sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan. (I used a cookie sheet because that was all that was on hand, use what ya got!)
2. In a bowl of a food processor pulse beans until smooth. Add almond butter, pumpkin, vanilla, maple syrup, baking powder, pumpkin pie seasoning, cinnamon, salt. Pulse until creamy and smooth. Add coconut flour. If the batter looks really wet and runny then add more coconut flour until it is slightly thicker and holds together.
3. Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool COMPLETELY.
4. For the topping: On medium heat, toast pecans in a dry saucepan for 5-7 minutes. Once toasted, add maple syrup and toss pecans to coat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until most of the syrup is dissolved. Add sea salt and allow to cool on parchment or cutting board. Roughly chop.
5. Sprinkle topping on blondies and dig in! The blondies can be quite delicate, fork and knife might be required for some. I went with the hands of course… Enjoy<3

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Protein Pancakes with Maple Blueberry Syrup

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There are all kinds of pancake recipes I have made. Buckwheat, almond flour, brown rice flour, protein powder etc.. Eventually I will get all those recipes up on the blog, but I have decided to share the recipe I go back to time after time. These super easy 4 ingredient pancakes are so incredibly filling without adding loads of unwanted ingredients. Plus, most of the ingredients are right in your pantry. You will get a good daily dose of omega 3s, protein (13g!), vitamins, healthy fats, fiber and carbs that will keep you full until lunch.

Although they aren’t always the most photogenic, these simple pancakes (you can even call them crepes) are so tasty. I don’t know about you, but I like A LOT of maple syrup on my pancakes. But like anything, moderation is key, so by adding some fresh blueberries I have found a way to extend the maple-y flavour. As the blueberries break down with the syrup in the saucepan, the mixture becomes thick and syrupy making that measly tablespoon of maple syrup last a lot longer! Plus it is an insanely delicious sweet topping that go great with the banana flavoured pancakes. Add a little crunchy coconut or walnuts to make a perfect breakfast! This recipe is free of refined sugar, gluten, dairy and is great for those watching their carb intake or who are following the paleo diet! Enjoy!

A little update on me:

If you have read my about section I talk about some of the digestive issues that I had been facing. Since cutting out gluten for good, I am happy to report that I have had NO heartburn, indigestion or acid reflux whatsoever and am off any medication. Although I am not back to my daily coffee routine (because I am no longer addicted) I do enjoy the occasional almond milk cappuccino! I also can enjoy a glass of wine without any discomfort which is amazing! From my own personal experience, it seems that wheat was the culprit of all my pain and discomfort. I have been feeling amazing since starting this new way of life and am constantly changing and adapting my diet based on how my stomach is feeling. Everyday is a new challenge and I am excited to share with you what I discover personally and through studying holistic nutrition. Stay tuned!

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Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp flax seed
• 1/2 cup egg whites
• 1 ripe banana (mashed)
• 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
• 2-3 drops stevia (optional)
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
• Optional toppings: coconut, walnuts, peanut butter, almond butter

Directions:

1. In a medium sized bowl, mash banana with a fork (or food process) until smooth.

2. Add egg whites, flax seed, cinnamon, stevia and whisk until combined.

3. For blueberry syrup: In a small sauce pan on medium heat add blueberries and maple syrup and stir. Cook until reduced and syrupy (about 5 minutes)

4. Heat coconut oil on medium high heat. Using a ladle, spoon pancakes batter and fry for about 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top. Then flip! Top with syrup and enjoy!
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Maple Cinnamon Roasted Almond Butter

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I can eat nut butters with a spoon, fork, hand, cracker… just about anything. Seriously, if you guys want your kids to eat more vegetables, its amazing what a little almond, sunflower seed or peanut butter can do to a boring carrot or celery stick. Add some dates, raisins or honey and you have a dessert that includes vegetables! Happy parents! Happy kids! Wahoo!

Some of you might be wondering why I talk about kids often. No, I don’t have children… but I do work in an elementary school. I have become a little mesmerized by what parents are sending in their kids lunch boxes. Not to say feeding a child is easy. A black seed, a creamy texture, a boring color are just a few complaints I hear from kids about why they “can’t” eat their lunch that day. After a long day at work, packing your child’s lunch is the last thing any parent feels like doing. Plus, you get questions, requests and complaints that could make your head spin. Thus comes in the packaged cookies, gummies and a few carrot sticks for good measure.

Don’t get me wrong. A kid deserves to be a kid. No child should live their life without ever trying a Kit Kat. When it comes to school however, kids need fuel. Theres no way around it… food fuels the brain. We wonder why kids these days have trouble concentrating. I suggest before we start prescribing medications we take a look at what kids are eating everyday. Lucky Charms for breakfast (has whole grains… must be healthy right? Mac and cheese for lunch followed by pizza for dinner. Brain food is lacking. Parents have to consider the sugar crashes, dairy pains and lack of protein lows. I have been doing lots of my own research on this topic everyday with the children in my classes and in observing and speaking with parents. I hope to find ways to make feeding and educating children more accessible and simple. Future project in the works! I am so passionate about this and I want to help parents and teachers any way I can!

So back to the nut butter…this maple cinnamon roasted almond butter is unreal. While those nuts were grinding in the food processor, I thought that this was maybe a little too much work when I can buy perfectly made almond butter in a jar. But I have to say, this combination of cinnamon and maple syrup was truly addictive. I had some on gluten free crackers and then eventually just took the spoon straight to the jar. With just a little bit of patience, you will save a couple bucks (nut butter can be really expensive).Furthermore, flavoured nut butters have lots of added oils and refined sugars. I will be working on some more flavour combinations in the future, but for now this is perfect to top on my porridge, toast, chia pudding, banana etc… Bon Appetit!
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Ingredients:

• 2 cups almonds
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp cinnamon
• pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven at 350. Spread almonds on a cookie sheet and dry roast in the oven on 350 for 10-15 minutes.
2. Place almonds in food processor and process for 10 minutes.
3. Add maple syrup, cinnamon and salt and process for another 5-10 minutes until the oils are released and the butter is creamy.
4. Store in an air tight container or jar.

Chef Tips

-Although it may seem that the thick paste will never ever turn into creamy butter… it will. You just need patience! You will see a little smoke coming from the processor… keep a close eye.

-I roasted my almonds prior to making the butter, but it isn’t necessary! It does give a nice toasty flavour though. I highly recommend.

-Adjust syrup/cinnamon to your taste. Add a bit at a time until it suits your taste buds. You are the chef!

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