Blueberry Oat Muffins

Blueberry oat muffinsI’ve made and failed at more muffins than I would like to admit. It’s tougher than you think to make a healthy muffin that doesn’t have all purpose flour and tons of sugar in it. Most of my attempts tasted and looked a lot like a hockey puck. Then I finally found a couple recipes that I thought had potential and came up with my own version that I am happy to say my five year old daughter declared was “awesome!”.

The key to these muffins I believe is the 1:1 ratio of whole wheat flour and oat flour. These muffins have just the right amount of sweetness from a touch of honey and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is a great substitute to refined white sugar. It is a low glycemic sugar that doesn’t lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels. It is becoming easier to find in grocery stores and I highly suggest checking it out.

You will see that I use vinegar in this recipe – don’t let that scare you off. When you add vinegar to milk it is like adding buttermilk to a recipe. This way you don’t buy a big carton of buttermilk when you only need 1/2 cup!

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 1/4 C Whole wheat flour

1 1/4 C Oat flour

1/4 C Coconut sugar

1 Tsp Baking powder

1/2 Tsp Baking soda

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

1 C Unsweetened applesauce

1/2 C Milk

1/2 TBS White vinegar

2 TBS Honey (raw local honey is best)

2 TBS coconut oil, melted

1 large egg, beaten

1 C blueberries, tossed with 1/2 T flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or rub the wells with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour through cinnamon). In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients (applesauce through the egg). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries. This batter should be filled nearly to the top of the cup. They won’t rise as much as traditional muffins do.

bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top gets lightly golden brown.


Raw Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars

Raw Chocolate Cherry Energy BarsIf you know me personally, it’s no secret that I LOVE chocolate. Thankfully, dark chocolate is a treat that I can feel good about eating because it contains healthy antioxidants. If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, eating dark chocolate (in moderation of course!) might actually help lower your blood cholesterol levels. When purchasing chocolate, try to look for organic chocolate that has a minimum of 70 percent cocoa content.

Another way to use chocolate is to add cocoa powder (also known as cacao powder) to sweet or savory recipes. Good quality cacao powder can be found in larger grocery or natural food stores. I found mine next to the protein powders in Whole Foods.

This recipe incorporates cocoa powder, cherries and dates to form a yummy raw bar that is reminiscent of Larabars. I added the quick cooking oats because I like the texture that they give to the bar. This is a great mid-morning or late afternoon snack that can help curb that sweet tooth and give you the healthy protein and fats that your body needs.

These will keep well in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze them and just defrost in the fridge overnight (or even eat frozen like I have done before!)

Makes 8 Bars

Ingredients

1 C Medjool Dates, pitted and roughly chopped

1 C Dried unsweetened bing cherries

1/3 C Quick cooking oats

1/2 C Raw almonds

1 TBS Coconut oil, melted

1 TBS Cocoa powder

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Place dates and cherries into a food processor and blend until they are finely chopped (the mixture will come together to form a ball). Remove to a bowl.

Place oats and almonds into the processor (no need to clean it out first!) and process until finely chopped. Add the cherry and date mixture back in. Add the coconut oil, cocoa powder and cinnamon and process until combined.

Line a brownie pan with wax or parchment paper and press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom. Chill for 20 minutes and then cut into 8 bars.


Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich

Mock Tuna Salad SandwichAs a vegetarian, there are a few staple sources of protein that I work into my daily diet. A typical day may include some kind of nut butter, beans, lentils, quinoa or chickpeas (just to name a few!). This recipe was born when I wanted to try and find a way to use up a half can of chickpeas that I had opened a few days earlier. I wrote the recipe for a whole can of chickpeas, but you can easily halve the recipe like I did today. I am not a big fan of relish (which was an ingredient in most of the recipes I found online), so I decided to add capers. I love the briny quality of capers and I found that they added a really nice flavor. I also adore whole grain mustard so I knew that had to be added as well. With the crunch of the celery and freshness of the scallions, I think this is a great vegetarian lunch.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 15 oz Can of chickpeas, mashed

2 Tbs Mayonaise (I prefer one with an olive oil base OR Vegenaise would work well too)

3 Tsp Whole grain dijon mustard

3Tsp Capers, finely chopped

2 Tbs Scallions, chopped finely

2 Celery stalks, finely diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine chickpeas through celery in a medium size bowl. Add a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Taste to determine if it needs a pinch more salt.

Serving suggestion: Serve open faced on Rye Wasa crackers or your choice of toasted bread, topping with sliced tomato and baby spinach.


Fruit and nut breakfast cookies

fruit and nut breakfast cookies I have experimented with many breakfast bars and “cookies” over the last couple years and was usually disappointed with the results. They were either too bland, had too much sugar or didn’t hold together well. This recipe can be modified quite a bit to include the kinds of nuts, seeds and dried fruits you prefer. I am already thinking of ways to use my favorite dried apples in the next version!

This is one cookie that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating for breakfast!

Makes 8 large cookies

Ingredients

3/4 C Quick cooking oats

3/4 C Oat bran

1/2 C Unsweetened coconut flakes

1 TBS Chia Seeds

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp Salt

1/4 C Walnuts, chopped

1/4 C Sunflower seeds

1/4 C Golden raisins

1/4 C Pitted dates, chopped

1/4 C Unsweetened dried cherries, chopped

2 Very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 C Coconut oil, melted

1 TBS Honey

1 Tsp Vanilla paste (pure vanilla extract will work as well)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a silpat on a large baking sheet (you can also line with parchment or rub a small amount of coconut oil directly on the pan to prevent sticking)

In a large bowl, combine all the dried ingredients (oats through salt). Add dried fruit and nuts being sure to stir well so the fruit doesn’t clump together.

Add the mashed banana, coconut oil, honey and vanilla to the bowl and stir well to combine. Use your hands to form eight cookies. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown slightly. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet.

These cookies freeze very well. Just thaw in the refrigerator overnight or put one in the microwave for approximately 20 seconds to thaw.


Buckwheat and Oat Banana Pancakes

Buckwheat and Oat Banana Pancakes I’ve taken a little hiatus from blogging after making the life changing decision to leave my corporate job FOR GOOD. Thanks to a very supportive husband, I left my marketing job at the end of August and I am now a stay at home mom and part-time student. I am currently studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach! My hope is to start a private practice and conduct 6 month health coaching programs in-person or on the phone in the Spring of 2013. Health and wellness has always been a big part of my life and now I am on the path to actually do what I love as a career! If you are interested, check out my business Compass Nutrition on Facebook. My page includes lots of helpful information on healthy living.

I hope to have 2-3 recipes a week to share with you now that I have more time to devote to cooking!

But now back to the subject of these wonderful pancakes! I have been on a quest the last year to try and broaden my daughter’s horizons with breakfasts. I found a couple recipes that I mashed together to create this healthy pancake that is also KID FRIENDLY! To tame down the buckwheat flavor, I also added in whole wheat and oat flour. I like to serve these with more bananas on top, toasted walnuts and a little pure maple syrup.

Makes 8 pancakes

Ingredients

1/4 C Buckwheat flour

1/4 C Whole wheat flour

1/4 C Oat flour

1 TSP Baking powder

1/2 TSP Baking soda

1/4 TSP Cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 Large ripe banana, chopped into 1/4 in dice

1 TBS honey (raw local honey is best if you can get it)

1 TSP vanilla bean paste

1 C buttermilk

1 Egg

1 TBS Coconut oil, warmed to liquify

Combine dry ingredients (buckwheat flour through salt) in a small bowl. In a medium sized bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. The coconut oil may start to solidify once everything is combined – that’s OK. It will liquify again once it hits the skillet. Add dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. If using a nonstick skillet you should not need to spray the pan. If you are using a stainless steel pan, you can spray it with cooking spray, or add a tsp of coconut oil to coat the pan to coat and prevent sticking.

Add enough batter to make a roughly 6″ round pancake. It is ready to flip when you start to see bubbles on the surface (about 3 minutes). Flip and cook about 2 minutes more. Repeat with remaining batter.

Top with more banana, toasted almonds and pure maple syrup. YUM!


Sweet and Spicy Stovetop Beans with a Mango and Pineapple Salsa

Sweet and Spicy Stovetop Beans with Mango and Pineapple SalsaSince I decided to go back to eating vegetarian earlier this summer, I have been on the lookout for new ways to use beans. Not only are they a great source of protein, they are also full of fiber AND they are inexpensive! Even the organic beans that I buy are only $1.79 a can. This recipe was born one night when I got home from picking up my daughter from camp and realized that I was missing some ingredients for the meal I had planned. I always have beans on hand, so I decided to concoct a quick stovetop bean recipe.

The photo doesn’t do this meal justice. I promise you that the combination of spicy and sweet is a party for your mouth. This meal is now on our regular meal rotation and every time I cook it my husband declares “I love this stuff!”. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Serves 4

Ingredients

Stovetop Beans

1 Tsp Olive oil

1 Large onion, small dice

2 Cans of small organic red beans, rinsed

1 TBS Fresh grated ginger

1 Clove of garlic, minced

1/4 Tsp Dried thyme

1/4 C Dry sherry

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1/2 C Organic ketchup

2 Tsp Chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (you want a mix of both adobo sauce and pepper)

3/4 C Water

Salt and pepper to taste

Salsa

1 Ripe Mango, peeled and cut into 1/2 in dice (If you are unsure how to cut up a mango, click here for simple instructions)

1 Cup Pineapple, cut into 1/2 in dice

1/2 C Jicama (daikon also works nicely), cut into 1/4 dice

1/2 C Red pepper, cut into 1/4 in dice

2 TBS Cilantro, finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 Tsp Cumin

Dash of Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients except salt and pepper and simmer, covered over low heat until  sauce has thickened, approximately 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While beans cook, combine all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serving suggestion: With a little brown rice on the bottom, tropical salsa and a little diced avocado, it’s a filling and best of all HEALTHY dinner!


Cold Peanut Noodles with Crunchy Vegetables

Cold Peanut NoodlesI’ve tried at least a dozen recipes for peanut noodles over the years. I absolutely adore the combination of peanut butter, soy, ginger and chili mixed with noodles and crunchy vegetables. After many tries in my kitchen to find the perfect sauce and variety of vegetables, I think that this a keeper. It’s like a rainbow on the plate and quite pretty to look at (we do eat with our eyes first after all!).

This is a great summertime meal and tastes even better the second day once all the flavors marry overnight (you just may need to add a tiny bit of water to thin the sauce back out). Even my husband who says he doesn’t like peanut noodles is a fan of this dish.

Tip: I always found that mixing all the vegetables and noodles together just didn’t work because all of the veggies fell to the bottom of the bowl and you had to fish around to make sure you got enough. So instead of mixing everything together in one bowl, mix them separately and add the veggies to the top of everyone’s plate after you portion out the pasta.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Sauce

1/3 C peanut butter (you want something with no sugar added- I prefer organic)

1/4 C Rice vinegar

3 TBS Tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)

2 tsp Ginger, minced or grated on a microplane

1 tsp Hoisin

1 1/2 TBS sweet chili sauce

1 tsp Sesame oil

3 TBS Water

Noodle salad

8 oz Soba noodles (I like Yam soba, but you can use whatever you’d like)

1 C cabbage, thinly sliced (you can use red, green or Nappa)

3 Large carrots, cut into matchsticks

1 Large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

5 oz Edamame, cooked and cooled

1/2 C Cilantro, chopped

1/4 C scallions, thinly sliced

2 TBS Sesame seeds

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. Mix the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, edamame and cilantro in a medium size bowl and set aside. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water, drain and add to a medium size bowl. Add half of the dressing to the noodles and half to the veggies. tossing each to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, you can add another TBS of water.  Portion out the noodles among six salad plates and then divide the veggie mixture over the top. Sprinkle with scallions and toasted sesame seeds.


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