Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This is one of my favorite recipes from Clean Eating Magazine.  It’s been a staple in our home for a few years now! There isn’t much I’ve changed.
I used brown sugar instead of sucanat (but reduced the amount).  I’ve also added a splash of pure vanilla and depending on what is in my pantry I’ll use milk chocolate chips instead of dark.
Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted natural almond butter (I use Maranatha)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F
In a medium bowl stir the first 6 ingredients until well blended.
Stir in chocolate chips
Roll dough into balls and space evenly on parchment lined cookie sheets
Bake for 10 minutes
After 10 minutes of baking, press cookies flat with a fork
Bake for an additional 5 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to fully cool on cookie sheets (they will crumble moved when warm!)
Makes 20 cookies
Enjoy!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/under-45-minutes/almond-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

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Thai Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

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Today was one of those days when I looked at the clock and thought oh man it’s 4pm and I’ve given little to no thought as to what to make for dinner!   I had a quick look in the pantry…when all else fails there’s always soup!  I had sweet potatoes, squash, coconut milk, chicken stock and a jar of Epicure Thai Seasoning.  After a quick internet search for a thai butternut squash soup I realized I might be missing too many ingredients to pull this off!  (Onions, garlic, red curry paste, peanuts and scallions) Oh well…I had most of the essentials and was pleasantly surprised with how quickly it came together and how yummy it turned out…even if it was a stripped down version!

Ingredients:
1 tsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
1 piece fresh ginger peeled and grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed
1/2 of a medium sized butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 can coconut milk
3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 lime juiced
1 tsp thai seasoning (Epicure)
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add ginger, sweet potato and squash, stirring often.
After 2-3 minutes add broth, coconut milk and thai seasoning.
Bring to a boil then reduce to low.
Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potato and squash are easily pierced with a fork.
Puree with immersion blender until smooth.
Stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Enjoy!

*If you have onions and garlic kicking around your pantry by all means add 1/2 cup diced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic (with the ginger and sweet potato/squash step)
***red curry paste…I’m almost positive my boys would have turned up their noses if I had added this. They’re not fans of anything curry (such a shame! They don’t know what they’re missing) That being said if you choose to use the red curry paste add 1 tsp with the ginger and sweet potato/squash step. *tip* stir in the broth slowly as to break up any lumps of paste. I would also omit the thai seasoning. I have a feeling these flavours would not compliment each other.
Garnish with green onion and crushed peanuts if desired.

Thai Butternut & Sweet Potato Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

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My Saturday trip to the farmers market usually results in an afternoon of washing, peeling and dicing veggies for a simmering pot of soup. Or as my husband now refers to it “Soup Saturday”.
Today I made 2 batches of soup: Carrot Ginger, and a hearty chicken soup with barley, lentils, carrots, celery and beet leaves thrown in at the end. (I’ll post that one soon!)
I hope you enjoy this pureed soup. The recipe was found on the site http://www.culinaryarts.about.com (Puree of Carrot Soup) I’ve changed the recipe by substituting the 2 tbsp of butter for 1 tbsp avocado oil, used sweet potato instead of russet, added ginger and finally omitted the wine for water. Don’t get me wrong I love white wine but I’d rather drink it from a glass than cook with it! This soup is perfect for an autumn Saturday, or any other day of the week soup is on at your house!

Ingredients:
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 bunch carrots (about 5 carrots or 2 1/2 cups) peeled and diced
1 small yellow onion diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
1 sweet potato peeled and diced
4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup – 1 cup water *reserved*
1 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and grated
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
In a large stock pot heat oil over medium heat.
Add carrots, onion and garlic. Stir often and cook until onion is translucent (2-3 minutes)
Add sweet potato, stock and ginger.
Increase heat to med/high and bring soup to a boil.
Once boiled reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potato and carrots can easily be pierced with a fork.
Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency.
Return to heat and add reserved water to thin soup if needed. (I used approximately 1/2 a cup)
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Tips:
*If using a standard blender allow soup to cool slightly before blending.
**Double this recipe and freeze the leftovers for busy mid-week dinners

carrot ginger soup

Apple Cheddar Muffins

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Apples and cheese.  It’s a match made in heaven!  I searched the web for an apple cheddar muffin after I devoured a slice of apple pie with cheddar earlier this week. For as the saying goes “apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze”

The recipe I found was posted on http://www.globeandmail.com and I’ve made a few minor changes by reducing the amount of butter, substituting oat flour for whole wheat and adding some oats.  I hope you enjoy them!

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup quick oats milled (run through food processor) or 1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 quick oats (left whole)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup faux buttermilk (mix 1 cup milk with 1 tsp white vinegar)

1 egg

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup grated and lightly packed old cheddar *divided

2 cortland apples peeled and cut into small pieces (about 2 cups)

Method:        

Preheat oven to 375F

Line muffin tins with paper cups

In stand mixer add dry ingredients and mix well.

In a small bowl mix together beaten egg and buttermilk

Add melted butter and egg/milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Fold in apple pieces and 3/4 of a cup cheese.

Divide the batter equally among 18 muffin cups.

Top with remaining 1/4 cup grated cheese.

Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Store leftovers (if any) in an airtight container.

Makes 18 muffins.

Apple Cheddar Muffins

Grilled Asparagus with Feta

Here’s a quick and easy way to prepare fresh Ontario Asparagus.

Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus (trimmed, washed and patted dry)
1 tbsp avocado oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese (or soft goat cheese)

Method:
Set oven to broil.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Evenly space asparagus on cookie sheet.
Drizzle with avocado oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place under broiler for 4 minutes.
Flip asparagus with tongs and broil another 3-4 min (or until desired tenderness)
Place on serving plate and top with crumbled feta and fresh ground pepper.
Enjoy!

Leftover Tip: try wrapping two spears of asparagus in a slice of black forest ham or prosciutto!

Grilled Asparagus with Feta

Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins

This recipe comes from a cookbook given to my husband from one of his students*. She compiled a cookbook called “Cookin’ In Brooke’s Kitchen” when she was just 10 years old to raise money for her cousin Juliana who was diagnosed with Leukemia. Brooke published a 2nd edition of the cookbook in 2004 and in the introduction she writes that Juliana is now cancer-free!

I’ve modified “Brooke’s Famous Chocolate Banana Bran Muffins” here are some of the changes I’ve made: Barley flour instead of all-purpose, grapeseed oil instead of canola, egg whites instead of eggs, increased the amount of banana and added oats & flax. They turned out really well!

Thanks Brooke for the inspiration. Not only for recipes, but for showing the world that even at the young age of 10 you made a difference in Juliana’s life and others who are battling leukemia & lymphoma.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup bran
3/4 cup quick oats
3/4 cups barley flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 tbsp flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup milk (1 %)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
4 tbsp egg whites
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 ripe bananas)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350F
In a large mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.
In a separate bowl combine milk and vinegar. Let stand for 5 min
Add remaining wet ingredients to the milk & vinegar, mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir until just blended.
Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Spoon into prepared muffin tin (3/4 full)
Bake for 15-18 min or until toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
Enjoy!

*To learn more about Brooke Harrison follow the link below:

http://cep.anglican.ca/tag/cookin-in-brookes-kitchen/

Guacamole

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Here’s a quick and easy appetizer you can whip up in just a few minutes with no need for packaged seasonings…it’s just a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados peeled, pit removed & mashed
1 lime-juiced
1 clove of garlic-minced
2 tbsp red onion-minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 grape tomatoes-diced
handful of cilantro-chopped (optional)

Method:
In a mixing bowl mash avocados, add lime juice, garlic, onion, salt and pepper and
mix just until combined…it should be a little chunky.
Just before serving add tomatoes and cilantro.
If you are not using it right away, cover with plastic wrap (on the surface of the guacamole) to prevent browning.
Serve with tortilla chips, use as a condiment for burgers, or as a dip for quesadillas…the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy!

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Avocado-Chocolate Chip Muffins

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This recipe is from the October issue of Clean Eating magazine. My friend Erin raved about how good they were on her blog.  http://happierhealthiermorefitme.com/2012/10/11/three-things-thursday-17/
I had to run out and pick up a copy! Seeing as this is a Clean Eating recipe, I didn’t have to change a thing in order to make it healthy. However, I did still play around with the ingredients to suit what I had on hand in my pantry. This is the 3rd time I’ve made these muffins and I think I have perfected the texture. I have also doubled the recipe, because if your house is anything like mine they will be gobbled up in a day! I like to pop a few in the freezer to have on hand for school lunches.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
2 ripe avocados-peeled, pitted and mashed
2 ripe bananas -peeled and mashed
4 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F
Line muffin tin with paper or parchment liners
In a measuring cup add milk and vinegar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes
In a large mixing bowl add mashed avocado, banana, grapeseed oil, vanilla extract and eggs. Mix well.
Stir in soured milk mixture.
In a separate bowl wisk together dry ingredients.
Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir just until mixed.
Fold in chocolate chips
Spoon batter into muffin cups filling 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

*original recipe
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa or greater)
Clean Eating October 2012 pg 22

Pumpkin Soup

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It’s November…”Humidex” has been replaced by “wind chill” and the rainy, cold, dark days of Fall have settled in.  Time to warm up with some comfort food.   But take heart, comfort food doesn’t have to be laden with butter and heavy cream.  I’ve lightened up this pumpkin soup by replacing these comfort food staples with olive oil and coconut milk. The result is a delicious soup that is still comforting on a cold fall evening.

Recipe
1 small pie pumpkin
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp cumin
fresh ground pepper to taste
Garnish with greek yogurt

Method:
Step 1
Preheat oven to 400F
Cut pumpkin in half & scoop out seeds.
Place pumpkin cut side down in a glass dish and fill with 1 inch of water.
Bake for 40 min or until flesh is easily pierced with a fork.
Allow pumpkin to cool before removing flesh.
Step 2
In a stock pot add oil and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat until garlic just starts to brown.
Add chicken stock, pumpkin, sage, cumin and black pepper.
Bring mixture to a boil.
Add coconut milk and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Transfer soup to a blender and pulse until smooth.
Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt if desired.
Enjoy!

Serves 4

*step 1 can be done a few days before. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
(I’m sure canned pumpkin could also be substituted…)

Banana Date Breakfast Cookies

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This cookie recipe is adapted from “healthy banana cookies” found on allrecipes.com (link at bottom of this post). I’ve made a few changes:
-grapeseed oil instead of vegetable oil
-added flax meal and hemp hearts to up the fiber & omega’s
-added chocolate chips to entice the kids!

Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas*
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 3/4 cups rolled oats (I used a combo of quick & large flake oats)
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl mash bananas with the back of a fork until smooth.
Add oil, vanilla and dates. Mix well.
Add oats, flax meal, hemp hearts and chocolate chips. Stir until combined and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased (or parchment lined) cookie sheets.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 30 cookies.

*the more brown spots on the bananas the sweeter the cookie!
**try baking these in a 9 x 13 baking dish for “granola bars”.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/healthy-banana-cookies/