omnomnom: gluten free pumpkin chocolate muffins

Last year, I dabbled in grain-free baking and found a couple of really tasty and pretty easy recipes. One thing I noticed, though, was that it could get pretty expensive: most recipes called for a mixture of eggs, coconut in various forms (butter, oil, flour, flakes, etc.), almond flour, and butter (plus chocolate if you know where it’s at!).

While I’d like to pretend that it makes no difference whether or not a muffin or a cookie I eat is made with regular flour or not, I’ll admit that if I take the time to bake something that’s gluten free I feel better about eating it and while I don’t always notice if I have something with gluten in it, the times I do notice remind me that it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to things I make for myself or eat on a regular basis (birthday cakes and cupcakes aside). But since I’m not obsessing over whether or not I eat (certain) grains or not these days, I’ve branched out in my baking and this week, I got creative and, inspired by a recipe for sweet potato muffins on food.com, I whipped up some pumpkin muffins made with brown rice and quinoa flours–much cheaper than using almond flour. I dropped the sugar from the original recipe significantly but I think if I made them again, I would go even lower and see if they’re still tasty (because they definitely were sweet enough and I see myself making these on the regular for afternoon snacks and something to keep in the freezer).

Verdict: they’re delicious!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins
Makes ~16 muffins

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup quinoa flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream coconut oil and sugar. Add eggs and stir ’til evenly combined. Mix in pumpkin. Add flours and baking soda, mixing until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, mixing until evenly distributed. Spoon into lined muffin tins*. Bake for ~20 minutes or ’til a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

*Next time, I am going to try doing these right in a (greased) tin because they stuck a bit to the liners.

 

 

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cold calls for cookies: gluten free peanut butter oatmeal cookies, to be exact

 

 

It may have been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still getting creative in the kitchen. This week, I’ve braved making soup from scratch with leftover chicken bones (something that’s been on my to tackle list ever since I realized how many chickens it takes to deliver one of those oh so convenient club packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the grocery store) and today, with the freeze your face off temperatures outside, I decided that turning on my oven and baking something was a great idea.

I bought a package of quinoa flour at the grocery store a few weeks ago and when I started looking for recipes to use it up, I came across one on the Bob’s Red Mill website for peanut butter cookies. I chose quinoa flour as an alternative to almond flour, which I find pricey. I’m not anti-quinoa and the bag sure made it seem like a good choice:

“Organic Quinoa Flour (pronounced keen-wa) is the most nutritious grain available. It is also one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world. Quinoa is high in protein, calcium and iron. Use this delicate flour when baking. You can substitute this flour for half of the all-purpose flour in many recipes or completely replace wheat flour in cakes and cookie recipes.”

I used the recipe, loosely, to get me started on my own version of a cookie with peanut butter and oatmeal and raisins. They’re gluten free, easy to make, and delicious. Some of mine fell apart but that’s a gift: the baker is obligated to eat the ugly ones!

20140107-171930.jpgGluten Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
½ c. peanut butter (mine happened to be light)
½ c. quinoa flour
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/3 c. rolled oats (gluten free)
¼ c. raisins
¼ c. sunflower seeds

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg ‘til combined. Add remaining ingredients, stirring ‘til blended evenly.

Roll dough into balls (the cookies won’t expand much while baking) and place on cookie sheet. Press down a bit using a spoon.

Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on size) or ‘til golden on the edges. Remove from oven and cool on rack or wax paper.

Enjoy!

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What is your favourite thing to bake?
Have you baked with quinoa flour before?
Do you experiment with recipes or stick with what’s suggested?

Pumped for Pumpkin

I love fall.

I know my blog’s behind – I’ve still got a Summer 2012 (bucket list) page – but the chilly weather and the changing leafs leaf no question: fall’s here!

Besides busting out scarves and boots, I’m also busting out the festive eats. Rather than sugar myself up with pumpkin spice sauce from Starbucks (seriously, I used to get 4 good old pumps in my coffee at least once a day!) or whip up pumpkin bread, I got ambitious in the kitchen and whipped up a batch of paleo pumpkin granola this afternoon.

I credit Sarah for recommending the recipe from PaleOMG that served as my inspiration, which means I will also blame her if I look like a pumpkin after I eat it all. Besides drooling talking about this stuff today, we bonded over our mutual girl crush decided that we’d get along with Juli. If you haven’t gone to her blog, do it now but be ready to leave hungry.

Anyways, inspired I was so I busted out my apron and made like Martha…

Paleo Pumpkin Granola

Ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 tbsp. of flaxseeds
¼ cup raisins
10 chopped dates
pinch each of nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl, mixing to blend.  Set aside.
Combine nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in a bowl. Add to wet ingredients.

Add spices.
Stir til moistened.

Spread on a baking sheet lined with a layer of parchment paper.


Bake for ~40 minutes or ‘til just starting to brown, turning once or twice to ensure even cooking.


Let cool/harden on sheet before devouring placing in an air-tight container.

Thoughts while consuming copious quantities taste-testing:

  • I am such a good cook.
  • Sarah better fund my new wardrobe in a size up.
  • Toasted pecans might have addictive qualities similar to those of heroin.
  • My apartment smells like heaven.
  • Juli is a genius.
  • I look hot in my apron.
  • I need to make granola more often.

Basically, the recipe was awesome. I made some switches—left out some cloves, added in some flaxseeds and raisins—and I’m happy with the turnout. I think I’d like it a little crunchier if I make another batch.

Since I’m just festive out my butt, I tossed the granola on top of an apple this evening. Deeeeelish!

If you make this, I recommend teasing your friends with it on instagram. Or tossing it over an apple–can you say festive flavours for fall? (You can, but maybe you shouldn’t). It’s breakfast. It’s a snack. It’s a dessert. It’s whatever you want.

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Have you ever made a paleo/grain-free/gluten-free granola recipe? Was it crunchy?
What’s your favourite way to use pumpkin?

Sunny Sunday

Today was blissful!

Recipe for a perfect Sunday:

  • get some work done, but not all of it, so you can realize that life still goes on even when you have assignments due in a few days (they’ll get done!)
  • go for a bike ride, preferably with company, and if you can see a flock of wild turkeys (and scare them into flying away), you’re set
  •  make something tasty for lunch, snacks, etc.
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  • continue easing back into running (15 minutes on the treadmill followed by strength/stretching this afternoon)
  • try a new recipe, preferably simple

avocados filled with black beans and salsa with a pinch of salt
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delicious as part of the healthiest taco salad i've ever eaten

  • hang out with a bunch of people who make you as happy as a clam
  • decide that blogging, journaling, foam rolling, and going to bed early are more important than half assing a reading you could do
  • have an epiphany and listen to this song
How was your weekend?
What’s your favourite 3 ingredient recipe?
What’s the coolest animal you’ve seen on a bike ride?

 

 

I should be sleeping

This whole springing forward an hour stuff is making going to bed early in anticipation of an early swim tomorrow hard. But what’s harder than that is not sharing how awesome my dinner was today!

Warning, things are about to get yummy!

First, a recap…Nina and I went grocery shopping and hung out a bit at Starbucks (the weather called for cold drinks–an iced passion tea (unsweetened) for me!).

LOOK WHAT I FOUND!


But, without further ado…the best dinner I’ve thrown together in a while, and it’s vegan! It was inspired by a dish Nina made last week at Sunday Funday! And carb-y! And I used up lots of veggies that were ready to be eaten…

Clean Out the Kitchen Quinoa 

Ingredients:
quinoa, rinsed
olive oil
onion, chopped
sweet potato, chopped
brussel sprouts, cleaned and split
kale, cleaned and deveined
dried cranberries
roasted almonds

Directions:
Cook quinoa.
In the meantime, heat olive oil. Add onions, sweet potato, brussel sprouts*, and kale and cook til soft and slightly browned.

Combine quinoa and veggie mixture.
Top with cranberries and crushed almonds.
Enjoy!

I used SparkPeople.com to make up the recipe and to get the nutrition info for a “serving” for my food log on fitday! I’m going to be eating the leftovers for a few days and I wanted to find a way to make up recipes with nutrition info for a while…resource found! You have to be a member (but I am) but it’s free to join so if you’ve wanted to analyze a recipe just for kicks, do it!

I also made granola bars today! They were based on the amazing ones that Jennifer made at the seminar yesterday—her Crispy, chewy chocolate peanut butter bars.

I took liberty with them and made my own and they came out a) just as crumbly (she said she didn’t add enough honey to hers) and b) really chocolatey. Not necessarily bad things, but when I plugged in the nutrition analysis I realized they were pretty fatty. I did cut down on the honey and kept the nut butter the same,  but I also left out most of the extra nuts too… I get why they might have been skewed and crumbly. This is a work in progress, but a kind of delicious topping for overnight oats I’m thinking…yumm! The nutrition facts kind of scared me, because they’re pretty caloric, but it’s at least healthy stuff. Compared to a store bought bar, they’re not that different AND I know what’s in them….so that makes me happy. I’m not sharing the recipe just yet (because I want to perfect them)!  — but they look good. For now, stick to Jen’s recipe anyways! I’m going to use them kamut flakes in the near future, though!

the finished bars 🙂

crumbly can be good!

Anywho, it’s time for me to find my pyjamas and set my alarm for 5am. This week is going to be a bit ridiculous, but I’ll try to keep on posting because to be honest, I’d go crazy if I couldn’t talk about my day somewhere and blogging lets me pretend that people give a poop whether or not I’ve perfected a granola bar recipe or not…

Are you up later than normal cuz of the time change?
Do you have a perfect bar recipe?

Are you a Spark People member?

A new breakfast staple

Chocolate at breakfast…yes. yes. and more yes.

Yeah I did.

New food rule: If you wouldn’t eat it in the morning, you shouldn’t eat it at night.

So to keep chocolate in my diet, I threw some on my pre-swim banana, with a bit of honey. I’m sweet and so is this breaky.

After a decent swim (felt a bit tired after yesterday), I spent a bit of time at the library where I devoured what might have been the perfect overnight oats mix, which I know I posted on eatplayluvblog, but needs to make a home on here. Today I had it with a big ol’ coffee. Mmmmmm.

Overnight Oats in a Can…of Pumpkin

Ingredients
pumpkin (when you get to about ½ cup, go for it!)
½ cup porridge oats
100g vanilla yogurt

Toppings (optional)
raisins
almond milk
pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
nut butter or crushed nuts

Directions
Combine ingredients in can at night.
Leave in fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning with toppings of your choice.

Anddddd enjoy, kiddos.

The library led to the Gazette, which led to a massage for my hip (ow—had your psoas/iliacus released lately?) which took me to a meeting of that committee for healthy eating on campus that I mentioned I went to a meeting for last week (excited!) which brought me back to the Gazette! Now time is flying by, work is confusing me (hence the blog break – sorry fellow editors, I rarely blog on the job but today I couldn’t resist). In there was a tasty lunch featuring a big salad with beets, goat cheese, almonds, and salmon with an apple! I snapped a picture in the meeting trying to be discreet. Food bloggers I’m sure you can relate to this being difficult.

Up next is teaching bootcamp (stay tuned for the workout!) and doing my physio work.

Did I mention 6am til 8pm is a long ass day on campus?

Cuz I wanna go home and crash, NOT write the draft I promised myself I would tonight. Now that I think about it, Friday at midnight deadline seems pretty far away. 🙂 Let the procrastination begin.

Would you eat chocolate for breakfast?
Have you ever snapped a picture secretively? Or do you just tell people what you’re doing? 

I’m a monster

A SPINACH MONSTER! The title comes from a discussion I’ve had with a few different people about how Cookie Monster jumped on the “healthy train”  (ridiculous in my mind if this is being considered a legit way to address obesity/health issues amongst kids)…and from the bag of spinach that I dominated tonight. Granted, it was going to go bad, so it had to be used–and my favourite ways are to make spinach chips (a la kale chips) OR to toss it in a smoothie. I had bigger and better plans than a smoothie for dinner, sooo spinach chips it was!

You should eat the whole bag chips

 

Ingredients:

spinach
olive oil
salt or other seasonings

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Toss spinach with olive oil–all the leaves should get some love but shouldn’t be damp.
On a cookie sheet, bake the spinach in a single layer til it gets a bit crispy.

Enjoy!

I also made a burger—meatless Monday (or lifetime, :)) approved! And the tastiest part? The nutritional yeast (nooch, my new fav word) “cheeze” I made. I have so many ideas for this stuff–pasta or maybe macaroni and cheese sauce (a la Oh She Glows), some ideas from Love, Veggies, and Yoga, nachos…I thought I was STUFFED after dinner but I just got hungry.  You should probably try these recipes!

Perfect Portobello “burgers”

Ingredients:

Portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
olive oil
onions, diced
garlic, diced
Ezekiel bun, toasted
cheeze sauce – see recipe

Directions:

In a frying pan, sauté olive oil, onions, and garlic.
In the microwave, cook mushrooms til tender (about 2 minutes).
In the meantime, toast Ezekiel bun and prepare cheeze sauce.
Spread cheeze sauce on bun, add a mushroom cap, and top with garlic/onion mixture.
Enjoy!

Cheeze sauce
My take on the “How It All Vegan” recipe

Ingredients:

½ cup nutritional yeast
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine the ingredients.
Heat over medium heat, stirring with a fork constantly ‘til melted.
Remove from heat – “cheeze” will firm up as it sits.

The rest of today’s eats were far less photogenic:

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pre swim greek yogurt with a splash of chocolate soy milk and some kamut flakes for crunch

my lunchbox: a spinach/maple/sweet potato/almond butter salad (lunch), an oatmeal/chocolate soy milk/banana/almond mix (breakfast), and an apple (snack) -- the LARA bar survived, mostly because someone brought Hershey Kisses to the office!

I’m just at Starbucks now with Nina (love this girl) about to get down to a bit of writing I have been putting off all day. I’ll blame it on all the love I poured into this morning’s post about my recovery — and that’s not a bad thing. Thanks for all the feedback and love, guys!

Whatdya think about Cookie Monster switching over to Veggie Monster?
How was your Monday?
Did you go meatless today?

Have you ever tried nutritional yeast? Thoughts?