Zucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger Frosting

Zucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingThere’s nothing better then having freshly baked muffins on a Sunday morning. Sometimes you need a sweet side to those scrambled eggs and that can always be especially difficult for someone who’s eating gluten free. Healthy, nutrient rich muffins are a fantastic breakfast idea for those who don’t make time for it. Even if you aren’t hungry right away, you can throw one in your bag and it’ll be ready when that mid morning hunger comes along.

Not only will get a good balance of whole grains, healthy fats and fiber, but you’ll also get a serving of veggies! Have no fear, the only way you’d know theres zucchini is by those green specks, otherwise you’d have no idea. These muffins are awesome on their own, but have added decadence from this vegan cashew ginger frosting. You can play them off as cupcakes for the little ones. As always this recipe is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free… Have a great weekend!
Zucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger Frosting

Muffin Ingredients:

• 1 ripe banana
• 1 zucchini
• 3 eggs
• 1/4 cup coconut oil (add 3 more tbsp if you like a super moist muffin)
• 3 tbsp date syrup (maple syrup or honey will work too)
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tbsp cinnamon
• 1 cup gluten free oat flour
• 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
• 1/2 cup coconut sugar
• 5-6 medjool dates (chopped)
• lemon zest (optional, for serving)

Frosting Ingredients

• 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
• 1 inch piece of ginger (finely grated)
• 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (agave or stevia to taste will work too)
• 1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• pinch of salt
• 1 tsp alcohol free pure vanilla extract (or vanilla powder will work, or fresh vanilla beans from pod)
• almond milk as needed

Makes 12 muffins

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl,mash your banana until no lumps remain. Process or grate your zucchini. Then whisk into your banana mixture. Once well combined add your eggs,coconut oil, date syrup and vanilla.
2. In another medium mixing bowl, sift together remaining ingredients dry ingredients (leave out the dates).
3. Slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet until well combined. Fold in your chopped dates.
4. Using two spoons, add batter to muffin liners until 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. While the muffins are baking, you can make your frosting. Add all ingredients up until almond milk into a food processor or high powered blender. Add almond milk until desired consistency is reached. Store in the fridge.
6. Once muffins have cooled, frost using a blunt knife or spatula. Finish with lemon zest! Frosted muffins have to be stored in the fridge.
Zucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger FrostingZucchini and Date Muffins with Cashew Ginger Frosting

Miso Vegan Power Bowl

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Theres nothing like a mish-mash of different foods in one bowl. Often however, it is difficult for vegans to have a satisfying meal that is both gluten and animal product free. The key here is getting enough protein, that of course does not come from meat. So, is tofu the only option? Not really actually! Beans, seeds, nuts and even vegetables… yes veggies- can be an excellent source of protein. Leafy greens such as spinach for example, give this bowl an added 2 grams of protein. Broccoli also packs a great protein punch- feel free to add it or replace the spinach!

The sesame miso gives an amazing deep flavour. The addition of lime juice and zest give the perfect amount of acid and helps cut the richness. You will get a lot of sweet potatoes and brussels from this recipe, so you’ll be able to make these bowls throughout the week! You’ll just need to make enough of the other ingredients for the amount of people you are serving.

so..what nutritional value are you getting?

miso paste:

Fermentation allows for good for you gut bacteria to grow. Probiotics are great for a healthy gut.

sweet potatoes:

Super high in vitamin A which is essential for growth and development, and for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision.

black bean noodles:

packed with fiber and high amounts of protein.

sesame seeds:

good source of protein, fiber and vitamins!

sriracha:

boosts metabolism

brussels sprouts:

high in vitamin c which helps strengthen our immune system

avocado:

packed with those good for you fats (monounsaturated), which reduces levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease.

cashews:

lots of protein and zinc which helps with vision and curing the common cold

I hope you love this asian inspired vegan power bowl. You will be packed with nutrients and feel fully satisfied without any animal products whatsover. Any meat lover will enjoy this one! Plus- you can serve the sweet potatoes as a side dish for any dish you like!

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Miso Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Ingredients:

(This recipe will give lots of sweet potatoes + brussels so you can make bowls throughout the week, serves 5-6)

• 2 medium sweet potatoes (cubed)
• 10-12 brussels sprouts (quartered)
• 1 tbsp sesame oil
• 1 tbsp gluten free tamari (I use the light variety)
• 1 tbsp gluten free miso (make sure it is not made from barley or wheat)
• 1 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
• 1 tsp sriracha (optional)
• 2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
• the juice + zest of 1 lime

Vegan Bowl Ingredients (amounts given are per one bowl…so multiply by how many people you are serving!):

• 1/2 cup of black bean noodles (any beans or brown rice/buckwheat noodles will work great!)
• half an avocado
• 1/2 cup fresh spinach (kale, or bok choy would be delicious too!)
• shredded carrots
• small handful of roasted cashews
• 1 tbsp green onion
• 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
• 1 tsp cilantro (optional, for serving)
• lime wedges (for serving)
• sriracha (optional, for serving)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place chopped sweet potato and brussels sprouts on a baking sheet or roasting pan.
3. In a small bowl, whisk sesame oil, tamarin, miso, honey, rice wine vinegar, ginger and sriracha. Pour over the brussels and sweet potatoes and mix until well coated.
4. Roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until potatoes are cookies through and golden. Cook longer for super crispy brussels!
5. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare your bowl ingredients. Cook the black bean noodles, chop your green onions, toast your cashews (if not pre roasted), shred your carrots and cut your limes.
5. Remove potatoes from the oven, toss in the juice of one lime + zest and sprinkle with cilantro. Set aside.
6. Arrange your bowl- start by adding about 1/2 cup of noodles at the bottom. Then add your ingredients in piles around the bowl. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds and finish with more sriracha and lime juice if you desire! YUM!
Vegan Power Bowl
Miso Vegan Power Bowl

The Healthiest Bread Ever + Advice for the New Year

IMG_5360A new year allows people to mentally press the reset button and put the bad in the past and reignite hope for the future. We all become a little more attentive to our current state. We look at our jobs, relationships, and most often health and ask ourselves, is this where I want to be? Most of us are driven to do a little more, push ourselves harder and set the bar high. The problem is sometimes the bar is so high, that it is out of our reach. When we are on the highest tip of our tippy toe and still cant reach the bar, that’s when we all give up. Essentially all that is accomplished is some sore feet and a deflated self esteem. So with that said, heres my advice to you in 2015.

Set realistic goals. Set small goals. The more tasks you can accomplish the more confidence and drive you will have to do more. Here are some I think you all can do!

Drink more water!

Start with one glass as soon as you get up and one right before you go to bed. There’s two more that you probably weren’t having before. Just leave two glasses on your night table.

Eat more protein.

Choose a time of day where you feel the most noshy. That’s when I want you to add that extra protein. Do this once a week and see how you feel. Here are some ideas:
Breakfast: Scramble eggs or egg whites and eat those with what you normally eat. Add protein powder to your shakes or to your homemade breakfast bars.
Lunch: Add a lean source of protein to your salad or sandwich such as chicken, fish or tofu.
Dinner: Choose a lean meat to accompany vegetables and a complex carbohydrate.
Snack: Nuts, peanuts, nut butter, hummus… only rule here is to keep an eye on the portions. Follow the serving size on the label.

Cut back on sugar.

I love something sweet after something savory but it doesn’t always have to be a chocolate bar. If dessert is your weakest point, once a week have fruit with a tablespoon of almond butter for dessert instead of cake. Try it for a week and you’ll realize you don’t need more than that.

Exercise.

If you don’t ever exercise, go for half an hour walk once a week for a month. Increase at your own pace, before you know it you might even be jogging. Cold outside? Head to youtube and do 5 minutes of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. Increase your time as you get in shape! Seems attainable right?

Get in the kitchen!

Making your own food allows you to be fully in control of what goes into it. Mark off three days/month on a calendar that will be your cooking days. You can do it.

Unplug.

Leave your phone at home once a month when you are heading out for one meal with loved ones. It feels really good to fully be in the moment sometimes.

Do for others.

Sometimes doing the smallest thing for someone else will make you just as happy as them.

Indulge.

Indulge once a while. Life is about living in moderation. There is no point in eating that piece of cake if you beat yourself up about it for the next week. Make it a point to have something sinful at least once a month and thoroughly enjoy it without any guilt. Make it a rule so you never feel bad about it again. ENJOY! You can get back on track again tomorrow.

To get you started, I am sharing my recipe for Nut and Seed bread that I make almost every Sunday. It is packed with superfoods, healthy fats, fibre, omega 3’s and protein. It is the perfect way to start your day without the guilt you feel from having that baguette. This recipe is adapted from Deliciously Ella’s Superfood Bread. I added a few of my own ingredients to give it a super crusty crust and slightly sweet flavour. All you need is a food processor and a big bowl and you’ll be able to make this bread in 5 minutes or less! Top with nut butters and jam, avocado, or poached eggs for a hearty and well balanced meal. Bon Appetit and Happy New Year!

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Ingredients:

• 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil for greasing
• 1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds + extra for sprinkling
• 1/4 cup slivered hazelnuts (any nut or seed will work too!)
• 1 cup almond flour
• 1 cup buckwheat flour or gluten free oat flour
• 1/2 cup hemp hearts
• 5 heaping tbsp psyllium husk (you can find this at any health food store)
• 1/4 cup chia or flax seeds
• 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds + extra for sprinkling
• 1 tbsp brown rice syrup (honey will work too)
• a good pinch pink salt (or to taste)
• 2 cups cold water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease with coconut or olive oil.

2. In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds until they become a flour consistency.

3. In a large bowl add pulsed pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, almond flour, buckwheat flour, hemp hearts, psyllium husk, chia seeds, 3 tbsp whole pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and salt. Mix well.

4. Add 1 cup of water and stir. Then add brown rice syrup and mix until well combined. Then add remaining cup of water. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes so the psyllium will activate and hold loaf together. The mixture should be pretty stiff.

5. Press mixture into loaf pan and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Pour over a tiny bit of olive or coconut oil to allow the top to crisp up.

6. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

7. Once cooled, slice at your desired thickness. The bread will keep fresh for a few days, but I like to freeze it right away. All you need to do is place a small piece of parchment between each piece and store in a freezer bag. You’ll have bread for months (if it lasts that long) Bon Appetit!

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