Tag Archives: breakfast

4th of July Berry & Coconut Yogurt Parfait

parfait top

I couldn’t let one of my favorite holidays go by without making something festive to contribute to the red, white and blue section of the blogosphere. This little treat is almost too simple to warrant a recipe or a post but really isn’t simple just what you need on a holiday that’s all about being outside with great friends and family? Then again, making something a little more challenging is always fun too.

These berry and coconut yogurt parfaits are just sweet enough for a light dessert and look festive without even trying. I’m really wishing all of our kitchen stuff wasn’t in storage right now because I have the most perfect cocktail glasses that these parfaits would look beautiful in. They’d also be cute in little 2 oz shot glasses if you happen to have a collection of those. Otherwise a small glass or clear plastic cup will do – I say glass or clear so that you can see the pretty layers.

Leftovers make a delicious and healthy breakfast too (love it when that happens), especially with some added ground flax and walnuts – one of my favorite yogurt breakfast combos that adds a hearty dose of omega-3s and fiber. Not that this treat isn’t healthy on it’s own. Berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants to protect your DNA, and your skin and hair too. They’re good inflammation fighters as well.

blueberries

strawberries

Side note… On our California Highway 1 road trip last week we pulled over for some fresh-picked organic strawberries at a farm stand after driving past miles and miles of strawberry fields being hand picked by workers. Gotta say, I have a whole new appreciation for how we get these little gems. And my god were they the sweetest, juiciest strawberries I’ve ever had. Ever. I mean it; they were candy. Here I am in front of the “you-can-pick” olallieberries. We didn’t have time for that so we just took the pre-picked berries and hit the road in our Mustang convertible (hence the head scarf).

olallieberries

coconut yogurt

These parfaits use coconut yogurt which is a fantastic alternative to traditional yogurts for those that can’t tolerate dairy or are trying to avoid cow’s milk products. It’s  sweeter and a lot less tart than dairy yogurts too which makes it good for desserts. I buy the So Delicious brand and opt for plain. Then you can flavor it however you want with fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries or peaches. It’s much fresher tasting that way and you can skip the added sugar and natural flavorings.

So there you have it – what just might be the simplest dessert for the 4th. I hope your Independence Day is as sweet, juicy and full of life as these little treats. Happy 4th!

parfaits

4th of July Berry & Coconut Yogurt Parfait

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

1 pint coconut yogurt
1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries, chopped

Directions

In a small glass or plastic cup, place a layer of berries (you can do either just strawberries or blueberries, or mix them together) then top with a layer of coconut yogurt. Then add another layer of berries and top with yogurt. Continue alternating layers until you reach the top and make the last layer of berries.

 

3 Comments

Filed under recipes

Seeduction Muffins

IMG_1137

I used to be obsessed (I mean, obsessed) with this bread at Whole Foods called Seeduction bread. It’s the heartiest, nuttiest (or seediest) bread I think I’ve ever had and it’s so so tasty. If you’re not avoiding gluten or grains, I highly recommend it on pure taste alone. You know those breads that are light and fluffy and are actually more air than bread? This is not one of those breads. You know what I mean, right? Have you ever taken a piece of regular white or wheat bread and tried rolling it up into a tiny little ball? If you haven’t done this before with conventional bread, try it. Do it with your kids, it’s tons of fun. You see, most conventional breads on the shelves don’t have much to them and are actually more air and sugar than whole grain. To make sure you’re getting something of substance when shopping the bread aisle, look for the words 100% whole grain; the first ingredient listed should be whole grain, not whole wheat. Whole wheat is tricky. That phrase could still mean that the grain has been processed to separate the bran from the starch. With 100% whole grain, you can be sure you’re getting the nutrition of the whole grain and not just the starch – which to your body is pretty much just sugar.

It’s been about three years since I’ve had a real piece of bread. People ask me, do I miss it? And, you know, I really don’t most of the time. It’s funny how you adjust and adapt to a new way of eating and before you know it it’s just the new norm. But one day I saw that seeduction bread and I had to have it. So I decided to try making my own gluten-free, grain-free version… I got inspiration from one of my favorite blogs – My New Roots. Sarah B. has what she calls her Life Changing Loaf of Bread which gave me inspiration for my own seeduction bread – or muffins. And they’re every bit as hearty and delicious as the one Whole Foods makes.

More Fiber, Please
Without flour, grains or gluten, you may be wondering what’s holding all those seeds together here? It’s a little trick with one super ingredient: psyllium seed husk. Psyllium seed husk comes from a plant and is extremely high in soluble fiber. You may have seen or used it yourself mixed with water as a supplement to, you know, get things moving. Psyllium seed husk’s fibrous qualities happen to make it a good substitute in gluten-free baked goods as well because it works to bind ingredients together.

Like other foods high in soluble fiber, psyllium seed husk is thought to be effective in lowering cholesterol and controlling certain types of diabetes. Look for whole psyllium seed husk or psyllium seed husk powder. A little bit goes a long way, you’ll notice in this recipe it only uses 2 tablespoons.

To get the full benefit of adding the extra fiber from psyllium to your diet, be sure to drink plenty of water too.

IMG_1174

Seeduction
These muffins have five different seeds in them, all with their own health benefits. There’s a healthy mix of Omega-6s and Omega-3s, two essential fatty acids we must get from food while making a conscious effort to maintain the right balance of the two. Most seeds and nuts are higher in Omega-6 which promotes inflammation in the body. When our ratio of Omega-6 far outweighs the amount of Omega-3s we’re getting in our diets – which is usually the case – we end up with way too much inflammation that can end up as the basis for ailments and disease. The key is to make sure you’re getting plenty of Omega-3 fats as well from plant-based foods like flax and chia seeds, walnuts and greens, as well as animal sources like wild salmon and other seafood. Staying away from processed foods and foods prepared with refined seed oils like sunflower, safflower and canola also helps keep your Omega-6 count in check.

I am sort of obsessed with pumpkin seeds. I love adding them to salads or just snacking on them all by themselves. For salads and snacks, I love Go Raw’s sprouted pumpkin seeds. Sprouted seeds and nuts are easier to digest because the sprouting process neutralizes inhibitors and releases enzymes that are dormant when raw. Once a seed is sprouted, it becomes alive all the nutrition packed into that tiny little seed gets activated. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, zinc and iron.

IMG_1186

Just the Flax
We know flax seeds are one of the best plant based sources of Omega-3 fat but that’s not the only reason to add these golden flecks to your baked goods and smoothies. Flax seeds are high in antioxidants and have been associated with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and decreased insulin resistance. Flax seeds are also a the No. 1 source of lignans which are another type of antioxidant and phytoestrogen. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are high in lignans as well.

Flax seeds should always be ground first before consumed so that they can be more easily digested and absorbed. Because of the delicate nature of the oils in flax seeds, ground flax has a much shorter shelf life. So, as a general rule it’s always better to purchase whole flax and grind it yourself. You can store both in the fridge or freezer for a longer shelf life.

I usually grind mine with my Magic Bullet, but a regular ol’ coffee grinder or food processor will work too. In fact for this recipe I pulsed all of the seeds individually in the Magic Bullet and then added them to the mixing bowl one by one. In this recipe, you pulse each just enough to get a coarse chop, but not pulverize completely. The result is a hearty seed mix that’s still crunchy.

IMG_4768

IMG_4866

Seeduction Muffins

Ingredients

2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
dash of stevia

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, combine psyllium husk powder and water and stir. Set aside – after about 5 minutes it will for a thick gel. Meanwhile, place all seeds in a food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely chop. Transfer seeds to a large bowl and add salt, stevia and coconut oil. Stir to combine evenly.

By now the psyllium husk and water should be thick. Add the melted coconut oil to mixture and stir. Pour the liquid into your seed mixture and mix it up well. Cover and set aside for an hour – this allows the seeds time to absorb some of the liquid and the dough will become firmer. (Note: This step does make for a better end product, but you can skip it if you are pressed for time.)

Grease your muffin pan with coconut oil and then spoon the dough into the pan, filling each muffin slot to the top. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Recipe yields 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins.

The Megg Salad Store

You may have noticed a few of the food items listed above are linked. These links take you to the new Megg Salad Store on Amazon.com. I’ve pulled together many of my favorite ingredients, food products, books and tools and organized them in a convenient little online store for you. I get asked all the time for product and brand recommendations so I decided to create a place where you can easily find the items I recommend and use in my own kitchen. Full disclosure: As an affiliate of Amazon I receive a small percentage of any sale made from my website.

The store will be available on meggsalad.com shortly… just as soon as I can figure out how to add it. Any WordPress whizzes out there? 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under recipes

Breakfast Week!

breakfast puns

Get excited! It’s breakfast week on the meggsalad.com Facebook page. I’ll be sharing my all time favorite good and good for you breakfast recipes everyday this week. If you don’t eat breakfast or are confused about what to eat in the morning, or if you’re just plain bored with your a.m. routine, you won’t want to miss these delicious healthy breakfast recipes…

So, hop on over to the meggsalad.com page and click “like” to get a new healthy breakfast idea in your feed every day this week. Who knows, you just might find your new favorite way to start the day.

One of the questions I get a lot is “what should I eat for breakfast?” When you’re changing your diet or just trying to eat better in general, breakfast can be tough, but really it’s the perfect place to start a healthier routine. Breakfast can make or break your day when it comes to energy, feeling good and making good-for-you choices. The wrong breakfast can be like getting on a roller coaster with a big drop just around the corner. But the right breakfast can completely change the course of your day. It’s amazing how when you start the day off on the right foot, it’s like it inspires you to make better choices all day long.

Speaking of inspiration… while you’re on Facebook, get caught up on some of the other tips and inspiration on the meggsalad.com page if you don’t already get them in your feed. I love posting random healthy tips, inspiring quotes and ridiculous things like that little gem of a pun up top.

I say it a lot, good for you has got to be fun. Because it’s not just about being healthy for health’s sake, it’s what being healthy allows you to do. And that’s all the things you love in life – laughing, playing, dancing, following your dreams… when you’re at your best, life is just that much sweeter. I’m looking forward to staying even more connected with you through our fun little meggsalad community on The Book. See ya there!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

anti-inflammatory smoothie

Last week I mentioned how I use food as medicine to help relieve pain and heal. When you approach food from this perspective, food is more than just calories or something to silence a growling tummy. It is information that tells our cells what to do and how to react. Imagine your body is like a computer and everything you put into it is a command on the keyboard. With the right combination of key strokes the computer will perform a given function. In a similar way our bodies’ output directly depends on the input.

Just like any other chemical substance you might put into your body – pharmaceuticals, over the counter drugs, other drugs, alcohol, etc. – the foods we eat create a chemical reaction just the same. And believe it or not, certain foods can have an effect that is just as strong, if not stronger, than one you can get from a bottle.

Take turmeric for example. I talk a lot about this root here because it has incredible healing properties. And several studies have shown it to be as effective as Ibuprofen at relieving pain. So I add it to a variety of foods and dishes when I cook to give myself a regular does of its healing benefits.

Super Power Spices 
Turmeric, along with ginger and cinnamon in this smoothie help to reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it. Here are a few more specific benefits of each:

Turmeric: One of the most powerful medicinal herbs that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine to treat a variety of ailments including arthritis, bruises and wounds. It also aids protein digestion, decongests the liver, acts as an antioxidant and can reduce menstrual pain.

Ginger: In addition to it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, ginger is used to ease an upset stomach, reduce nausea, improve digestion, clear congestion and warm up the body.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon can reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects and fight bacteria. It’s been shown to help regulate blood sugar, reduce LDL cholesterol, and help with hormonal balance that can improve fertility. It’s also high in calcium, iron and manganese.

pre-blend smoothie

Oh-Mega Dose
Another way to bring down inflammation is to make sure you’re getting plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids daily. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and work to balance the abundance of the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids we tend to get so much more of in our diet. When the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 gets out of proportion and skews to the pro-inflammatory side, it lays the ground work for all sorts of problems from allergies to aches and pains to the more serious stuff. The key is to get plenty of Omega-3s from food and even supplements to maintain a proper balance. The hemp and flaxseed in this smoothie are two of the best plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. You can also get Omega-3s from salmon, walnuts and dark leafy greens.

So there you have it, five (count ’em – five!) superfood inflammation fighters crammed into one glass. That’s a mega dose of anti-inflammatories to help kick your pain to the curb and boost your immunity.

The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp vanilla hemp protein powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash black pepper*
1/2 banana (preferably frozen)
handful ice cubes

Directions

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

 *black pepper is added to enhance the potency of turmeric and help it get into the bloodstream. A dash a black pepper enhances the benefits of turmeric 2,000 times. 

You Can Feel Better with Food
If the idea of using food as medicine intrigues you or if you’re curious about how you can start using food to feel better, I’d love to help.

Last week I introduced my new program, No Pain, Everything to Gain: 90 Days to the Real You. This program is about making shifts so you naturally crave and want to eat good-for-you foods. We’ll work together to identify problem foods and replace those with ones that make it easy to make the necessary changes for you to feel your absolute best. We’ll look at the complete picture to help you manage all the areas of your life that can affect your well being including stress, physical activity and emotional health to give you a sturdy foundation for long-term health and healing.

I’m offering five free 30 minute strategy sessions this week. If you’re interested in learning more about how small changes can make a big difference when it comes to dealing with chronic pain, email me at megan@meganadamsbrown.com.

5 Comments

Filed under recipes

Oh-Mega Apple Muffins

oh-mega apple muffins

We finally got the rest of our kitchen unpacked this weekend (woo hoo!). And I realized something; it’s amazing what you find you don’t need after your things have been in boxes for three weeks. In that short time I managed to get bitten by the minimalist bug. Yes, me the same person who spent the better part of last year on One Kings Lane shopping for bookshelf accessories. Times change and we change with them I suppose…

Anyway, the thought of having to pack a kitchen twice in a year inspired us to edit our gear to the bare essentials. And we managed to keep six boxes packed up in the garage – stored away and ready to go to our next stop in a year. That was, until I got the itch to make muffins… In my ruthlessness the baking accessories didn’t make the cut. But now they were essential. It was raining. We were cozy. And we just needed muffins. So back to the garage we went (I say we but let’s be honest, it was all Ross – he saved the day again!).

IMG_4365

While he hunted pans I took to the pantry to see what I could possibly turn into a muffin worth eating. Our pantry staples are in need of replenishment but with a little creativity I was a able to scrounge up a pretty ingenious combo if I do say so myself.

Oh-Mega Dose of Omega-3s
Crammed into these muffins are the three top plant-based sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids – flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. What are Omega-3s you ask? They help regulate inflammation in the body and they’re called “essential” because we must get them from our diet – our bodies cannot make them on their own. The challenge with Omega-3s is that they’re sort of scarce in our food supply – you have to know where to look to find them and then make sure you’re eating those foods, like the ingredients mentioned here, plus salmon, sardines and dark leafy greens regularly.

To make matters even more complicated, Omega-3 has an essential fatty acid cousin, Omega-6. The two work together like two sides of a coin. While Omega-3 works to decrease inflammation, Omega 6 promotes it. In the body they perform a sort of balancing act to protect our cells; we need both in the right ratio. But the problem is most of us are getting loads more Omega-6 in our diet than Omega-3 (some 14-25x more) so we’re skewed toward the inflammatory side, which over the long term is not good. Omega-6s are abundant in things like nuts, seeds, grains, cooking oils and out of the box snacks.

You can keep your Omega-6 intake in check by cutting back on the processed foods and opting for olive oil over oils like soy, corn and vegetable. Grass fed meats are also less inflammatory because the animals are getting more Omega-3s from the grass rather than more Omega-6s from grains and seeds. And of course you can get your fill the vegetarian way with the flax, chia and walnuts in these muffins. Wild salmon is a sure bet source as well.

IMG_4333

The Sweetest Thing
You know what else causes inflammation? Sugar. So it would be silly to cancel out all the great inflammation fighting benefits we’ve got going on here by adding something that’s going to take away from that, am I right? Not to worry, the only thing sweetening the sauce here is fruit – no refined sugar, or unrefined for that matter either. Just apples. And you know what they say about apples….

IMG_4383

IMG_4389

IMG_4395

Oh-Mega Apple Muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup apple sauce (2 individual packs)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 small apple, diced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 315 degrees. In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda and salt and whisk until evenly distributed. Add applesauce, melted coconut oil and water and stir to mix. Stir in walnuts, coconut, chia seeds and apple. If batter seems dry or too flaky, add a bit more water and stir/mash until batter holds together.

Spoon batter into lined muffin pan and bake at 315 for 40-45 minutes. Cool before serving.

5 Comments

Filed under recipes

Pumpkin Granola (Grain-free)

pumpkin granola

Are you tired of pumpkin yet? Ya, me neither.

You know what I am tired of though… my Pinterest feed showing me delicious looking pumpkin treats that I can’t eat. I swear if I see that two ingredient pumpkin brownie recipe one more time…

So, instead of taking my frustration out on the iPad, I went to the kitchen – determined to partake in the pumpkin extravaganza. And also contribute a little pumpkin something to the Internet for all us gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free folks. So here goes… grain-free granola that puts that brownie in it’s place.

ingredients

The recipe starts with canned or boxed pumpkin, but be sure to get the pumpkin puree, not the pumpkin pie (sugar). Combine pumpkin with the applesauce (for sweetness), vanilla, and spices.

mix ingredients

Then mix in the nuts, seeds and coconut and stir to coat everything evenly with the wet ingredients. I used almonds, pecans and pumpkin seeds, but you can really use whatever you want – walnuts would be good too, or cashews…

photo-(7)

Spread the mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, smoothing evenly to cover the tray. Pop in the oven and bake 40-50 minutes – stirring and respreading about half way through the bake time. When browned and crisp, remove from oven and allow to cool and harden. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Snack by the handful or bowl and enjoy!

IMG_3509

Pumpkin Granola (Grain-free)

Ingredients

1/2 can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp nutmetg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions

In a large bowl combine the first nine ingredients and mix well. Add in the nuts/seeds and coconut and stir until they are evenly coated with the wet ingredients.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread out the granola mixture so it covers the sheet evenly.

Bake at 325 for 40-50 minutes. Check granola at half way point and move around to help it cook evenly. After baking, allow to cool and harden.

1 Comment

Filed under recipes

Carrot Ginger Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

IMG_3454

OK, I’ll admit, cookie may be a stretch here. This is entirely too good for you to be a cookie. But just go with me on this one…

Imagine… It’s 7:45 a.m. and you’re going to be late for your 8 a.m. meeting if you don’t get yourself out the door in the next minute. Breakfast isn’t happening, but you can grab an apple? some nuts? maybe a Larabar? or how about a homemade even-better-for-you breakfast treat? Way better option, right?! Sure, you have to make them ahead of time, but the pay off in satisfaction, energy, and starting off on the right foot is totally worth the investment if you ask me.

It’s tough to get convenience and healthy in the same package. I find it’s a combo that in most cases is just too good to be true. But, I’ve learned that with some preparation and investment on the front end, it can be done. You just have to suck it up and spend a little time in the kitchen.

IMG_3396

IMG_3407

If you’re still with me after that one, hear me out… I truly believe that the healthiest food possible comes from your kitchen or the one of someone who loves you. Anywhere else, and your health and wellbeing is just too far down on the priority list. Sure there are some great food products out there. And options for gluten-free, dairy-free prepared foods are beyond what were in our wildest dreams five years ago. But gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, etc. is not the same as good for you. I’m totally guilty of letting my guard down in the presence of the allergen-free label. When shopping, please, for the love of God, keep reading those labels. And watch for sugars and refined flours. OK, I’m done.

IMG_3416

IMG_3411

So, I originally got this recipe from Angela Liddon over at Oh She Glows (love her blog!) then changed it up a bit – using less maple syrup and more applesauce to cut the sugar content even more (it is breakfast afterall). I think every time I’ve made these I’ve changed something… like using ghee (or butter for those that can take it) instead of coconut oil. Or trying it with buckwheat flour. Subbing the oats for quinoa flakes. Lots of options here so by all means, save a trip to the store and use what you have on hand.

The real stars here are the flax, carrots and ginger. I mean, talk about a killer way to start your morning with these three! From the flax, you get a healthy does of Omega-3s right off the bat. Omega-3s are one of those nutrients you really have to pay attention to make sure you’re getting it in your diet because our bodies don’t make it – we have to get it from food. Omega-3 (inflammation cutter) is a duo with Omega-6 (inflammation builder) and they’re constantly performing a balancing act. The ideal ratio between the two is 1:2. But in today’s world this is pretty tough to achieve. The problem is it’s so much easier to get Omega-6 (nuts, seeds, cereals, out-of-the-box snacks…) than the not quite as easy to find Omega-3 (flax, salmon, walnuts…) so we end up out of balance with way too much inflammation than our bodies really need to stay healthy. Too much inflammation leads to all sorts of problems from alleriges to Alzheimers. So, to that I say, have another cookie!

IMG_3433

When making treats like these, I like to make a big batch and then freeze half. It saves half the time (and mess). In just about an hour, you can get countless breakfasts (and snacks) taken care of. And save yourself from shelling out $1.50+ a pop for a not-quite-as-good-for-you store bought bar. Plus when you make them yourself, you get to lick the bowl (or your fingers) when you’re done. Have fun!

IMG_3439

Carrot Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

(recipe adapted from Oh She Glows)

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup ground flax seed
½ cup almond meal
½ cup coconut flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes (or gf rolled oats)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup currants
1 cup lightly packed shredded carrots
3 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
¼ cup pure maple syrup (or another liquid sweetener)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated ginger

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the flax, almond meal, coconut flour, quinoa flakes, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and currants. Grate the carrots and ginger (I fed them through the grater in the food processor) and set aside. Melt the coconut oil over medium-low heat until liquid. Pour oil in a bowl and then add the applesauce, maple syrup, carrots, ginger and vanilla. Stir well to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well (the dough will be very sticky). Using a spoon and your hands scoop out dough and form into 12 cookies. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 14-15 minutes.

2 Comments

Filed under recipes

Orange & Spice (and everything nice) Pumpkin Muffins

IMG_2900

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is having a big breakfast at my parents house. Even though we’re all grown up now and (almost) out of their house (the front door is a revolving one these days, but I think they like it that way…), we spend the night on Christmas Eve and wake up in the home we grew up in. Things aren’t quite the same – I have a husband. And my old room is now an office. So my brother gets bumped to the couch to give us old marrieds his bed (sorry, Michael). But for one night we’re all under one roof again and it makes me smile.

It’s the thought that years ago we were waking up at the crack of dawn, sneaking out to see what Santa had brought us. And now we will be trying our hardest to sleep in as long as possible. And then, instead of going straight for the presents, we’ll go for the coffee (it will be needed after a late night of drinking wine, talking and laughing with aunts, uncles and cousins). And in the morning we’ll have a leisurely breakfast with our traditional foods and some new additions (gluten and dairy free of course).

This year I’m making these gluten and dairy-free pumpkin muffins that are full of holiday spice and fresh orange for Christmas. Oh, and I threw in some chocolate too… They’ll be an addition to our traditional bacon, eggs, waffles, coffee cake and (drum roll) Pilsbury cinnamon rolls. When we were kids, we’d fight to the death for that “middle one.” Ooh, and the extra icing. This year, Ross, I’m tagging you to represent — Don’t be afraid to use those elbows. That warm, gooey center is worth it.

So maybe not that much has changed…

I hope you have a wonderful holiday full of indulgences… but most importantly love, laughter and memories. Merry Christmas to all!

IMG_2892

Orange & Spice (and everything nice) Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch sea salt
1 can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1 cup milk (cow, almond, coconut, rice…)
2 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1/2 chocolate chips (to keep these dairy-free, you can use vegan, available at Whole Foods) (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Either line muffin pan with liners or grease using coconut oil. This recipe makes about 18 large muffins or 36 mini muffins. Or mix it up like I did with 24 minis and 6 large.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well. In a separate bowl, large enough to hold all of the wet ingredients, beat the eggs. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture (or vice versa) and stir to combine. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into muffin tins to a little more than 3/4 full. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden on the outside and baked through. You should be able to stick a toothpick through the center and pull it out clean.

4 Comments

Filed under recipes

Banana, Peach & Peanut Butter Smoothie

It may not sound like your traditional fruit smoothie combo, but just trust me on this one… You’ll take one sip and think “OMG, this is breakfast?!” Banana and peanut butter – there’s no surprise there. And when the classic combo is frozen and blended it’s creamy, rich deliciousness. For breakfast.

As for the peaches, they’re just too good right now to not put them in everything. I’m slicing them up and adding them to salads, salsas and, like here, smoothies. Buy some peaches on sale, slice them up and put them in the freezer to blend up with your other favorite fruits. I like: blueberry + peach…. mango + peach… or peach + peach.

I usually blend in a tablespoon of ground flax seed to add fiber along with antioxidants and a dose of omega-3 fatty acid, which helps to reduce inflammation in the body. The ground flax blends in easily to where I don’t even notice it. All I taste is the next best thing to ice cream… for breakfast.

Ingredients:

1 banana, sliced and frozen
3 slices of frozen peaches
1 tbsp organic peanut butter*
1tbsp ground flaxseed
1½ cup almond milk

*look for organic, fresh-ground peanut butter that’s made just using peanuts – no sugar.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in blender (I use the magic bullet) and blend until smooth. Add almond milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

6 Comments

Filed under recipes

Homemade Cereal

I’ve always had a serious appreciation for cereal. As a kid, I loved it so much I wouldn’t even put milk in it – I never understood why one would one do such a thing as to dampen that satisfying crunch. Like most kids, I went through stages of favorite boxes. The childhood staple was hands down Frosted Flakes. Then Oh’s – do you remember those? In my more mature high school years I gorged on Raisin Bran Crunch and Honey Bunches of Oats. And in college I rediscovered the greatness of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Mmmmm.

Up until I went gluten and dairy free I still had my cereal just about every morning for breakfast. It’s easy, filling, and goes perfectly with a cup of coffee and/or orange juice. The problem is most out there are loaded with sugar and empty calories that set you up for a spike in blood sugar and energy followed by a just as rapid decline later in the morning. We feel it as adults. So just imagine what that kind of roller coaster does to kids who eat these sugar-laden flakes before heading out the door to sit in a classroom. Um, can you say disaster?

When shopping for a cereal, like all boxed foods, check the labels. Read the ingredient lists closely. A lot of popular cereals list sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) as the second or third ingredient. Ingredients are listed in quantity so that means there’s more sugar in it than just about anything else. If there’s any sugar at all in your cereal of choice, it should be way, way, down on the list. Like, last. What you want to see is “whole-grain” and it should be pretty high up there. The more whole-grains, the more satisfying and filling you’ll find a cereal to be. Whole-grain means the fiber is intact, which happens to the most nutritious part of a whole grain – and it helps to regulate the breakdown and absorption of the starch into your blood stream. That means no more highs and lows and a more sustainable energy to last you through the morning.

As I mentioned, I ate cereal almost daily for breakfast up until going gluten-free. My favorite cereals were some of the harder food items for me to part with. I know there are gluten-free cereals out there, and I’m sure some are quite good, but, oh, those labels. Instead I opted for rice cakes and peanut butter, smoothies, and fruit and nuts in the morning. Until one day I just couldn’t take it anymore. I craved that crunch. So I went to the blogs and sure enough Sarah B. didn’t disappoint. I found her Simple Gourmet Granola and I’ve been keeping my pantry stocked with the stuff ever since.

I remember making the cereal that same morning, popping it in the oven, and feeling frustrated that I had to wait for it bake rather than pouring it from a box. Is this what my life has come to?  I have to make everything?! Ugh. When it was finally ready and I snuck a few flakes to taste, I remember that crunch… I thought, “THANK YOU GOD!” grateful to be reunited with an old go-to. I have the same reaction whenever I discover or make anything gluten/dairy-free that I thought I might never enjoy again. And you know what? Often the new version is even better than the old. Or maybe it just tastes that way when you appreciate it that much more.

Homemade Cereal

Ingredients

4 cups whole rolled oats*
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup coconut flakes
4 tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup honey
¼ tsp salt

*If gluten-free, make sure to purchase certified gluten-free oats.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a large baking sheet with coconut oil.

Heat a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add coconut oil and honey to the pan to melt. Stir the two together to combine.

In a large mixing bowl, add oats, almonds, coconut flakes and salt. Stir to combine.

Slowly pour coconut oil-honey mixture over the cereal. You want to cover as much of the cereal as possible so drizzle over the surface to cover, then stir to mix evenly.

Pour cereal mix onto baking sheet and spread evenly across sheet.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Leave a comment

Filed under recipes