15 recipes for a long weekend stay-cation or easter entertaining

another big lull between posts, my apologies! BUT it’s pretty exciting actually because i wrote my final exam in my final class in school. this meals following handing in my last assignment next week, i will be a holistic nutritionist! cue the applause, *takes a bow*

in all seriousness though, thank you all for sticking through the spotty posting while i’ve been in school. it’s been a juggling act but i have loved writing this blog the whole time and it wouldn’t have been the same without all of you!

while i don’t have a new recipe for you this week, i promise next week i will! for now, i leave you with suggestions for the coming weekend. 

whether you are celebrating easter or are just using the weekend to catch up on sleep and lounge around for an extra day, i have you covered. 

15 recipes for a long weekend stay-cation or easter entertaining

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guests deserve a special breakfast. so why not these fluffy pancakes made with chickpea flour! they’ll never know you got all healthy on them.

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{from left to write} prayers for the stolen

this post marks my second foray into the blogger's book club, from left to write. this month's book was "prayers for the stolen” by jennifer clement, an exploration of the life of a girl growing up in a poor town in mexico where the threat of being stolen and sold for prostitution is a very real and daily endurance. 

 

 

when i signed up to read this book, i knew it was going to be a challenge. not because it was long or full of complex language. it is actually quite short (i read it in 2 mornings) and simply written. i put off reading this book until the last minute.  it was because i knew it would be difficult to read about a story that put into sharp focus the horrors that continue to go on in the world, often unnoticed by many, and just how silly all of my own problems would seem.

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grain-free, paleo and vegan carrot zucchini muffins!

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Hello my lovely veggies! Thank you all so much for all your votes in the Vegan Recipe Challenge! I came in 3rd and that was way more than I was hoping for!

It’s been a busy week around here- I'm so sorry to my fellow bloggers whose blogs I've been neglecting. I am trying the best I can to catch up and will read every one of your wonderful words. But I’m back and eager to share a ton of stuff with you! You can expect some delicious food coming up on the blog!

I'm constantly playing around with my diet, trying to come up with a combination that helps my tummy feel it’s best. For those of you who are new readers, I’ve suffered from very uncomfortable digestion for years and I’m on a quest to correct it! Read this post for a few things that I’ve found helpful recently.

So in playing around with my diet, one thing I’ve tried is cuting out grains. I know, crazy right? It’s something I never thought I would do and I always thought that “paleo inclined” eaters were insane! What do they do without quinoa? Fresh baked goods? No sushi? No BREAD?

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turns out you just need to find the right kind of baked goods!

Just goes to show you the lengths I’m willing to go to fix this problem. And it actually isn't too bad! .

You see, due to the make-up of grains, people with delicate digestive systems often find them aggravating. The carbohydrate content of the grain is primarily made up of starches as well as some sugars that require extra steps to digest. If you are unable to digest them properly due to a weak system, we are left with undigested fragments that are then used to feed the no-so-good bacteria in our system. This can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a crowding out of the good guys. The bad guys can also begin to produce toxic substances that can damage our intestinal lining, leading to something called leaky gut. And what leaky gut basically means is that the tight junctions between your intestinal cells become “loose” due to damage and now undigested proteins and particles can make their way into your bloodstream and cause inflammation, allergic responses and general havoc! All in all, not a pretty picture for proper digestion.

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So through cutting them out, healing can be brought to the digestive system. I by no means think this should be a permanent move, but can be extremely therapeutic for a time!

Now for the fun part- grain-free kitchen experiments! Grain-free baking was really daunting to me, but my recent success with my berry crisp and now these muffins is making me feel like all that fear was unwarranted. Now I can say I LOVE grain-free baking!

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I love that when you bake with nut meals and coconut flour, there is a ton of natural sweetness and healthy fats in there- meaning you can use less added oil and sweetener! Not only that, nut meals and coconut flour are so healthy! Lots of healthy fats and fibre! While they are not exactly low in calories, you’ll find that you are wonderfully satisfied after a small portion.

Like take these muffins. They certainly are not light bites. BUT they are filling, nutritious and delicious. And they surprisingly don’t feel heavy- they have a wonderful crumb that would satisfy the most traditional baker. I hope you all try them- I’m certain you’ll love them!

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Grain-Free Carrot and Zucchini Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Paleo, SCD)

Adapted from these at Amazing Paleo.

Ingredients (12 muffins)

Dry

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt

Wet

  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup melted raw honey
  • ¼ cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Add-ins

  • ½ cup of grated carrots
  • ¾ cup of grated zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 1/8 cup of raisins (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease with coconut oil or line a 12 muffin pan.

Mix all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix your applesauce, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and cinnamon. In a final small bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, water, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Now add the applesauce mixture to your dry ingredients and combine well. Now add in the coconut oil and baking soda mixture. Finally, mix in the carrot, zucchini and raisins.

Spoon the batter evenly into your muffin pan. You want to do this fast since you want to make sure the baking soda and vinegar will still be reacting to give some lift in the oven. Bake for 35min, or until tops are browned and a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

sprouted grain cereal chocolate chip cookies

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I am a firm believer that you can never have too many chocolate chip recipes.

And seeing as this is my 3rd chocolate chip cookie recipe on this blog, I sincerely hope you agree with me.

It all started with a sale. I am a sucker for sales. If there is a bargain sticker slapped on anything, I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. So when my local health food store had this cereal on sale for $2.99 (it normally sells for between $5.99 and $7.99) I just had to buy it, without knowing whether I’d like it or if I’d even use it.

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A sprouted grain cereal with no added sweetener. And it tastes exactly like what you’d expect. Very unsweet. Very healthy. Very blah.

Not that I have anything against this cereal. I think this is a huuuuge improvement on a lot of the cereals available on the market. The grains are sprouted making them easier to digest and there is no added sugar meaning it won’t cause a blood sugar spike after eating it, which is the last thing anyone needs first thing in the morning.

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But the prospect of eating the whole box left me looking for other way to enjoy it than on top of smoothies (as I do) or with nondairy milk. Then I remembered a cookie recipe I had seen on pinterest that used granola and I got to work.

That’s how Sprouted Grain Cereal Chocolate Chip Cookies were born.

And guys, these are probably my favourite chocolate chip cookie to date!

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These are definitely on the crunchy side of the chocolate chip cookie scale, so for those of you who prefer a soft cookie, you won’t find that here. But I urge you to try them anyway! They have a crunch that is oh so satisfying and makes them extremely dunkable (yes I just made that up) with a soft inside. I used chopped bitter sweet chocolate for the chips, but feel free to use your favourite chocolate bar or chips. Sweetened with coconut sugar and nectar and with no flour to speak of these are pretty gosh darn healthy. And sprouted grains = easily digestible. So eating a whole load of these won’t leave you in digestive distress! Well it might, but definitely less than your typical cookie ;)

Feel free to substitute your favourite  sweetener in place of the coconut (maple syrup and sugar would be delicious) and your favourite cereal. If you use a sweetened cereal you will probably want to adjust the sweetener in the recipe. Also, if you prefer a chocolate-less cookie (man I am fuuullll of them today), dried fruit and nuts would be delicious as well!

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Sprouted Grain Cereal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan, Sugar-Free)

Ingredients

wet

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut nectar

dry

  • 1 1/2 cups sprouted grain cereal (I used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips/chopped chocolate

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all the wet ingredients in a saucepan on the stove top over low heat. Heat until the coconut oil is just melted and all the ingredients mix together. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly so it won't melt the chocolate.

Add all the dry ingredients except chocolate to a large bowl and add the slightly cooled wet ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Place spoonfuls of the batter on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 14 min until edges are golden brown.

For other cookie goodness, check out my other recipes!

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oatmeal tahini date cookies

oatmeal tahini coconut lime cookies

cherry chocolate chip cookies

quinoa chocolate chip cookies 

raw oatmeal raisin cookies

nutmeg logs

Happy Monday!

pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip muffins

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happy monday everyone! i hope you all had lovely weekends and are feeling ready to take on the week. i worked all weekend but somehow managed to be productive and have some fun, so it was definitely solid.

i’ve been resisting posting too many pumpkin recipes, or even making too many. that’s why this year i limited myself to one can of pumpkin. one can means fewer pumpkin creations and less pumpkin goodness, yes, but it also means i have to eat less of them which is a good thing. i swear sometimes having a blog makes me eat so much more than i should! i make full-sized recipes, which only i end up eating, leading to so much food! needless to say i eat more sweets than i should ;)

so when faced with 1/2 a can of pumpkin left after making my no-bake pumpkin mousse cake on thanksgiving, i decided muffins would be the perfect treat to make. not only are pumpkin muffins one of my favourites, but muffins freeze so well! meaning i could freeze most of the batch and not feel obligated to eat the entire batch within a week.

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i made these at my parent’s house so the ingredients were made up of things i had left there after moving and wanted to use up. using what’s available forces you to get a little creative and these turned out so well, you would never be able to tell i was just trying to “clear pantry space” for my parents.

that being said, they have significantly more pantry space now than when i lived there. i guess not having to stock gluten-free flours and pasta in addition to their gluten-filled versions as well as ridiculous quantities of sunwarrior protein powders, chia seeds and various other superfoods helps too. there was space, something i’m seriously lacking in my new place. not that i’m complaining- can one really have too many superfoods ;)

holy side-tracked. back to the muffins- these muffins are delicious, healthy and sweet, everything you would want in a muffin. they aren’t gluten-free since i used some of my favourite kingston-local whole grain spelt flour to make them, but i bet you could substitute your favourite gluten-free blend with good results!

if you can have some gluten though, there are lots of reasons why spelt flour is a delicious and healthful alternative to wheat flour:

  • deep nutty flavour that works really well in baked goods

  • low in gluten

  • has a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to more inbred grains

  • excellent source of vitamin b2 manganese, copper and zinc

  • higher in protein then wheat

  • easier to digest than wheat- the gluten in spelt is water-soluble unlike wheat gluten which does not break down in water. this means it is degraded by heat and easily broken down by mixing action- this means chewing easily breaks down the gluten which allows your digestive enzymes and juices to work on the surface of the food. wheat forms a bolus in the digestive system, making it difficult to digest

  • the water-solubleness also makes spelt nice to bake with- no danger of over-mixing!

  • fewer digestive and inflammatory issues than with what- easier to digest and doesn’t contain some of the enzyme inhibitors wheat does which prevent complete digestion

so give spelt flour a try! you many find you feel better when eating it for many reasons above. plus it’s pretty darn delicious. bonus points for fresh-ground local spelt!

these make a great breakfast on-the-go or snack. especially tasty warm and spread with coconut oil/butter!

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pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip muffins (vegan, wheat-free, refined sugar-free)

inspired by these cinnamon pumpkin muffins from healthy happy life.

ingredients (12 muffins)

dry

  • 1 3/4 cup whole spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt

wet

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, mixed well and set aside to gel)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

instructions

preheat the over to 350f. grease a 12 muffin tin, or use muffin liners.

mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and all the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. add the wet to the dry and mix until combined. fold in the chocolate chips.

spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake for 22 minutes, until golden brown and knife inserted comes out clean!

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all spread with coconut oil, ready to devour!

I am sumitting this post to Wellness Weekends!

have a lovely day everyone!

oh and you still have a couple days to submit to healthy vegan friday, so definitely head over if you have a vegan recipe to share!