grain-free, paleo and vegan carrot zucchini muffins! {v}

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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.

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!

muffin 2.0: blueberry muffin bites

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There’s just something about a muffin- with it’s delightful add-ins that contrast beautifully with a cake-like texture, muffins have to be one of the most loved foods ever. I mean, you can’t go into a coffee shop without these playful little baked goods tempting you. From the pastry display they beckon you, trying to convince you that they are healthy- “Look at all my big juicy blueberries” one might say, or “There’s bran in my name so that must be good” says another. Other’s don’t even pretend and stand proud as the dessert-for-breakfast pastries they are- “I’m full of chocolate chips and I like it that way!”

I work in a place where I am teased by these delicious parcels of goodness everyday- the smells alone are enough to get me! Which leads me to try and create healthy versions of them at home so I can indulge on my own terms :)

These aren’t muffins, but damn they taste like them. They are packed full of blueberry flavour, accented by cinnamon and vanilla to bring forth memories of muffins fresh from the oven. The taste of these isn’t the only thing pulling for them though- they are loaded with omega-3s from the walnuts and some whole grains from the oats. Just one little bite will help curb your sweet craving AND satiate your hunger, which none of those cake-like beauties can claim, no matter how flirtatiously they wink at you.

My friends, this is the Muffin Version 2.0 :)

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Blueberry Muffin Bites (Vegan, Gluten-free*, Sugar-free, Soy-free)

Makes ~14 bites.

These taste just like they’re baked counter parts without all the added sugar and refined flours! They make the perfect snack that can be carried around with you for all those snack emergencies. Plus, they don’t require use of the oven- great for warm weather!

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (*make sure they’re gluten-free certified!)
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

Process the all the ingredients except the oats in a food processor until the nuts are in very small pieces and the dates have broken down to form a dough that will stick together. Add in the oats and pulse until small and combined. You could just throw the oats in at the beginning but adding them in later gives the bites a nice texture!

Scoop out the mixture in heaping tablespoons and roll into balls.

Store in the fridge. Can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold.

Hope you all enjoy this recipe :) But if you reeaaaaalllllly want a baked muffin, check out my whole-grain raspberry muffins!

Oh and P.S., I’m 4 for 4 :)

I’m submitting these to Wellness Weekends!

raspberry muffins

The pastry case at Starbucks and me are fast becoming enemies. Not only does it take FOREVER to set it up in the morning (why are there soooo many items?) but it is constantly making me crave food that is just terribly bad for me! Then when I go up to the counter to get a drink on my break, I have to wait in line and stare at the cookies, loaves and muffins just daring me to order one. However, since not a single option in that case is vegan (except the bagels) or even a little wholesome I have managed to resist (and even with my discount I don’t reeaaalllly want to pay for them, they aren’t going to be thaaat amazing). But the cravings live on! So, since I have most of today free I decided to bake up my own muffins. These are healthy, vegan, gluten-free, completely whole grain and 100% delicious. They will definitely satisfy any kind of pastry craving facing you. I will be packing these in my work lunches from now on :)

Raspberry Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free Option, Refined Sugar Free)

Inspired by these. I know those are blueberry but raspberries were calling my name.

Makes 12 muffins.

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour + 1 tbsp, divided (use certified gluten-free oat flour for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • generous 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • generous 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup ground chia seeds (or ground flax)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • dash apple cider vinegar
  • 7 drops stevia
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries (or any other kind you fancy)

Preheat oven to 350 (I used the convection setting so it actually ended up at 325) and grease your muffin tin. Sift the 1 1/2 cups oat flour, with the buckwheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and mix well. In a second smaller bowl combine the applesauce, chia seeds, coconut oil, coconut sugar, almond milk, apple cider vinegar and stevia. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture and combine well. In another bowl combine the raspberries with 1 tbsp oat flour to coat them so that the raspberries won’t bleed as much into the batter. Fold in the raspberries and spoon into the muffin tin. Bake for 22 min, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for 5 min then transfer to a cooling rack to finish.

These are simply scrumptious. They have a little crunch and tartness from the raspberries, an earthiness from the oat and buckwheat flours and a just sweet enough without overdoing it. They were lovely plain or spread with liberal amounts of….

coconut butter

and raw almond butter.

I ate 2 right out of the oven.

Take that pastry cravings!!!