I had the privilege to travel to Italy. A long awaited trip that I have been wanting to do for years. This was the destination for our honeymoon, a year after our wedding. Italy just seemed to be the perfect place for so many reasons, Ryan being part Italian, the food being fresh and Italy just being Italy. So either way this trip couldn’t get any better until I had the opportunity to get myself on a Tuscan Retreat.
I was lucky enough to be one of the 16 chosen girls to join Debbie Travis, (TV Host, producer, author and so much more) on her Tuscan Girls Getaway. The trip just seemed to fit so well for me since I was going to Italy anyways. This was a week for me to truly indulge and treat myself to a week full of wonder and amazement. My goals for the retreat were just to relax, enjoy and meet incredible new people, and each one of them was met and surpassed.
For those of you know don’t know Debbie Travis beyond her TV hit show The Painted House, she is a kind, warm, genuine soul with a sense of humour and sense of adventure. Getting to know her personally over the week was a real pleasure.
She lives by the motto Dream it, Do it, Live it. It was her dream to have a place in her paradise, Tuscany for her and her family to escape to. Her even dream is to have groups of fabulous women gather together for a week of pure enjoyment.
Debbie has created success in her life through the media, but she is about so much more than that. Passion, fulfillment, love and joy are at the true heart of her success. I can tell you that because I experienced it.
The week was amazing – the retreat was created with all of us in mind and to truly put us first. We were driven around to different villages by excellent chauffeurs, we did yoga, ate the most amazing fresh foods, drank local wines (sulphite and tannin free) spent a day at a spa, went bike riding through Tuscan hills, went to an organic sheep farm, made homemade pasta, visited local wineries, shopped, and just laughed A LOT together. The ladies came mostly from Canada all the way to New Zealand.
My overall take away message reconfirmed the motto that I try and live by everyday, do what you love and love what you do and that is the true success in your life. I luckily get to do this everyday with the work I do. And on a personal note, I got to feel a sense of true happiness and contentment with who I am, where I am right now in my life.
I wish for you all to do the same. My goals is that you find a way to take a week for youself somewhere during the year that is all about you. I am lucky enough to be able to provide such an experience in March 2013 in Costa Rica where my goal, similar to Debbies is to provide a week that is dedicated to make each person feel special, help them reach their goals and to just relax, indulge and enjoy while being place in a beautiful setting.
I hope to see you there.
Warm Tuscan Farro Salad
What’s in it:
2 cups farro
3 cups of water
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 bunch of greens, kale or swiss chard
4 sweet potatoes (I used white, red and orange ones from the farmer’s market)
½ cup white beans, cooked
¼ cup snap peas, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 drop of white truffle oil (strong flavour)
½ teaspoon sea salt
Optional: Add 2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
Pre-heat oven to 35oF.
Pre-soak farro for 5 hours in room temperature water.
Pre-soak white beans in water for 5-8 hours.
1. In a medium pot bring beans and water to a boil and allow to simmer for 1 hour or so until beans are tender.
2. In another medium pot bring farro and 3 cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of sea salt, lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
3. While the beans and grains are cooking, wash, peel (optional) and chop the potatoes into bite size cubes, place on a baking tray toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and chopped garlic and place in warmed oven for 1 hour.
4. Wash and chop the green vegetables, and snap peas into bite size pieces.
5. When the farro has absorbed all the water and the beans are done, place both into a large bowl. Add in the roasted sweet potatoes, greens and snaps peas. (the greens will wilt naturally with the warm grains, beans and potatoes).
Originally featured in Chatelaine
These cold, dark evenings at this time of year seem to coax out everyone’s sweet tooth. There is just something about the winter months makes us want to load up on sweet foods, but that doesn’t mean we need to load up on empty calories!
With Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and holiday parties fast approaching, we all need to make an extra effort to stay in control not to overindulge. Holiday treats are exciting to serve, fun to make, and make us feel happy. However, they aren’t always healthy. This doesn’t mean that I’m telling you not to enjoy them, but there is no reason to give your body desserts that have no nutritional value, when you can benefit from every bite by making your own desserts with natural ingredients that don’t compromise on taste or your figure!
Most holiday desserts – including cakes, cookies, and pies – are full of:
- Hydrogenated oils and saturated fats – These are used to keep most desserts and pastries on the shelf longer (they stick to your hips longer too) and are loaded with dense fats that can cause blockages in your heart and arteries.
- Refined sugars – These can be anything from white powered sugar to table sugar or even brown sugar. Other than being overly sweet and full of empty calories that accumulate on your waistline, they are often used to make your crave more than one piece of pie or more than one cookie.
- Processed white flour – This is often used to make cakes fluffy, light, and airy but give your body no nutritional value aside from starches which equal excess calories.
Choose these wholesome ingredients to make your cakes, cookies, squares, and pies:
- Coconut oil and grapseed oil – These are pure natural oils that can be heated to high temperatures without denaturing their precious fats. They work great in a variety of recipes and are good for you too. For example, coconut oil promotes health and offers a host of nutrients that benefit our skin, hair, nails, and the organs. See here for more info.
- Sucanat, maple syrup, and dried fruit – These wholesome sweeteners can be used instead of sugar in any dessert recipe. Sucanat is dark and rich and a great substitute for brown sugar, especially for gingerbread and date squares. Maple syrup gives a nice smooth sweetness to cookies and cakes and dried fruit is a great natural way to add sweetness without sugar.
- Spelt, kamut, or oat flour – All of these are great substitutes for both white and wheat flour. They are high in fiber, protein, and vitamins and can be substituted one-for-one in any baked recipe that calls for white flour. You can even use unbleached light spelt flour, which is like all-purpose flour and works great for squares, fluffy cakes, and loafs.
To learn how to bake some delicious and guild free desserts, join one of my dessert classes!
Orange Apricot Fig-Date Squares
1 cup chopped apricots, or dates
1 cup chopped dried figs
Juice of 1 orange
½ cup water
½ cup coconut butter
½ cup sucanat, coconut or maple sugar
1 ¾ cup light spelt flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Combine dates, orange juice, and water in a saucepan. Cook, covered, on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a bowl, cream together the coconut oil and “sugar”. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the oats and mix using your hands. The dough will be crumbly but will hold together when squeezed.
- Press 2/3 of the dough onto an oiled 8 or 9-inch square baking pan. Stir the date mixture and spread it over the dough. Crumble the remaining dough on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in the pan and cut into squares.
Marni’s Delicious Knowledge:
People don’t usually know that both figs and apricots are great sources of iron. But make
sure that you buy apricots that are dark brown and not bright orange (due to sulphites).
The rich and decadent taste of dark turkish apricots makes this recipe come to life! Also opt to use coconut sugar for a low glycemic option.
It is a topic of great interest, fear and confusion all at once. SOY! Perpetuated by the media and others alike as a food to stay away from, with or without cancer – soy has been deemed as unhealthy and on the no-no list. I can totally appreciate this to a certain extent. But because of all the confusion and mis-information, I would like to give you some insight from my perspective. Also backed up by Dr. Mercola!
Traditionally soy has been used in Asian and Japanese cultures as a condiment and is a species of legumes, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. Soy is loaded with protein, fat and immune enhancing properties. Nowadays people include soy as the main part of their meal. Not to mention soy has also been added to so many commercial products including milks, cheese and other packaged products as a stabilizer or enhancer. As a result of the health craze regarding soy foods being good, consumers are purchasing anything and everything containing soy thinking they are on the path to health. The issue with this over consumption of soy-based products is that the soy used in the commercial industry is non-organic, genetically modified and so fractionated from it’s original form, that it is no longer a food. No wonder cancer rates have gone up!
So it’s not that SOY is bad for you, it is the type of soy products that we are choosing or over consuming. It is about moderation and choosing the right kinds of soy.
If we look at the traditional fermented forms of soy and choose to eat them in moderation – we can actually enjoy soy foods as they are meant to be enjoyed, as a condiment, garnish or accent to a meal. Eating a slab of soy chicken or TVP (textured vegetable protein) that is the equivalent to a piece of chicken will not allow you to reap the benefits of soy-based products.
Below is a list of healthy forms of soy that you can include in your diet which are the types of soy traditionally used in ancient cultures. And guess what, they are still available today!
Even though I am recommending healthy sources of soy, they should be enjoyed in moderation. Don’t over-consume these items either or you will run into the same health imbalances and problems. Balance is key – and that goes for every type of food!
Tempeh: A fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor. Enjoy in stir fries, on sandwiches, ground up into “burgers” or just as is!
Natto: Fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor. Not too familiar with Natto
Tamari, Braggs or Nama Shoyu: Traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes. Tamari is the modern, healthy version of soy sauce. So be sure to kick out the kikkoman and replace it with Tamari. It is pure, gives great flavour, you can also get it as low sodium and wheat free! Great in salad dressings, sauces, marinades.
Edamame: Whole soybeans that are not fermented, but are left in their natural form. Be sure to also buy these organic. They make an excellent snack with some sea salt! Or buy them shelled and load them in a salad or cooked vegetable dish!
On the bottom end of this list (and for a reason!) is tofu. This is something that can be enjoyed VERY moderately if you buy the right kind. Moderately can even mean 1-2x per month!
Sprouted Tofu: When buying tofu it is important to only get it sprouted. You can’t get tofu fermented as it is no longer in it’s whole form but at least sprouting tofu makes it more digestible and increases it’s nutritional value. Tofu needs to be cooked and then it can be enjoyed in stir frys, sandwiches, salads, soups or blended into dips.
There is an incredible brand of soy products available that I want to mention as they take their soy seriously — Wild Wood Organics. They have an array of products, but I would just keep it simple and stick with their tempeh and sprouted tofu. Soy yogurt and soy milk is still a packaged processed versions of soy food that I believe should be avoided. Rice milk and coconut yogurt are much higher on the healthy food chain. So choose wisely.
If soy still isn’t your thing or you have allergies to it, remember there are alternatives, the line Coconut Secrets condiments are all coconut based and can replace tamari like I did in my Pad Thai recipe!
This Arame Soba Noodle Salad recipe will be featured in my Amazing Asian Class on March 7! Join us for more inspiration on how to add soy to your meals!
Arame Soba Noodle Salad
What’s in it?
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp salt
8 oz. spelt, kamut or buckwheat soba noodles (wheat or gluten free)
½ cup arame (sea vegetable)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp gingerroot
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp tamari
1 cup chopped green onions
1 carrot grated
1 cup of toasted pine nuts or black sesame seeds
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame (optional)
How it’s made!
- Bring large pot of water to boil, add basil, rosemary and salt.
- Add noodles, cook until al dente (8-10 minutes) and drain.
- Soak arame in 1 cup cold water for about 10 minutes, drain.
- In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, ginger, vinegar, sesame oil and tamari
- Add warm noodles to sauce and toss to coat.
- Stir in carrots, onions and arame.
- Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds.
Last Monday, family day – Ryan and I went to the Sha Sha Co. factory. If you aren’t familiar with this incredible product line, it is about time you are! Sha Sha Bread Co is a Canadian bakery company that is responsible for making some of the most incredibly nutritious and tastiest products on the market. From a variety of sprouted breads, to delicious heart shaped cookies, and more recently launched is their new bio buds and a sprouted buckwheat snack.
I have been in love with thier products (breads, pizza crusts, flatbreads) for years now, as they embrace spelt as a staple grain, they take pride in the baking process by soaking and sprouting their grains and everything they make just tastes so good and is made with love.
It is one thing to love a product and buy it and use it. But it is another thing to actually meet the creator himself, Sha Sha, and go to visit the factory. Everthing just seemd happen coincidentally. Ryan and I were planning to go and visit the factory on Family Day, and just the weekend before, I attended the annual Organic Groweres Conference and listened to Sha Sha speak at two seperate lectures over the weekend.
Sha Sha is purely passionate about what he does. He is a baker at heart and wanted nothing more than to make the most nutritoius breads and baked goods. He set out on this mission and now has a full thriving business because of it. I can totally relate to this, as a good business just doesn’t come with hard work and money – it comes with passion and love. Something I take pride in everyday with my own business. So after hearing the voice behind the breads and goodies I have been indulging in for years, this made me even more excited to visit his home…the ShaSha Co. factory.
I call it a home, because that is truly what the factory felt like. Being a family run business – it is has the warmth and feel as if we were invited into Sha Sha’s home. With kids and families part taking in the free event on family day you could just see how excited kids actually get about their products. Using bright colours and friendly packaging also thier facility is nut free – which opens it’s doors to even more avenues. The factory also implements green practices that have the environment in mind like re-using water, being efficient with energy and power usage, managing waste and paper trails and sourcing local and organic products as much as possible to keep the costs and travel emissions low! Sha Sha is truly innovative in everything that he does and we all get to benefit from it as a result!
Sha Sha educating his visitors
Lots of Love!
Ready to be enjoyed!
Happy with our goodie bags of treats!
Can’t all factories be like this? Filled with love, making delicious happy and healthy products that everyone can enjoy?
Thanks Sha Sha for being a frontier!
Have you tried Sha Sha breads or products? if not…..
Tell me why you love them and I might just send you some delicious spelt ginger heart cookies!
I love Mediterranean food and all it has to offer, hummus, tabule (as long as it’s quinoa based), salads, lentil soup and even falafel! But I can’t just indulge in any falafel as most are fried and often contain wheat flour. It is about time I made my own version. So last week I was lucky enough to have a good friend of mine mention that she was making a batch of homemade falafels. I had her send over the recipe that she used and then I made my own conversions that suited my palette and my preferences.
I am so super excited to share these with you. I am also so excited that I can now make my own batch of them and store them in the freezer and warm them up for a quick protein power-packed lunch, snack or dinner. They are gluten free (without the spelt breadcrumbs), nut free, vegan and make an incredible addition to any meal.
If you didn’t know this already, falafel’s are made from chickpeas, one of my favourite beans or legumes. They have a unique flavour, are high in protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates and you can do so much with them! Once you have cooked up a fresh batch of chickpeas from scratch, the sky is the limit as far as recipes from soups to hummus or bean dip, coconut curry or a bean salad and now I have one more to add to the mix!
A quick note on cooking your own cooking your own chickpeas. This is by far the more superior healthy way to go, not only will your beans taste better but they will be less “gassy” and you won’t be as bloated. It is vital that you cook your beans with Kombu – a sea vegetable that helps to break down the beans and help with digestion + it is adding a load of minerals and nutrients into the cooking water. It needs to be removed after cooking.
How To Cook Your Beans:
The night before you decide to make beans, pull out a large pot and fill it half full of water. Place the bean in the water and allow to set for at least 12 hours. Use filtered water for best results. The next morning, drain the water and replace with more water. For every cup of beans add four cups of water. Add the strip of Kombu to the pot and begin to boil the beans. Once at a rolling boil, allow to boil for 20 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 4 hours depending on the beans and recommended times on the packaging. Cook until soft. Drain and Serve!
However if time is a factor and you didn’t plan ahead and you want to use canned, go with EDEN organic canned beans. They are preserved with Kombu and the cans are BPA free!
I got really creative and topped my balls on a bed of steamed kale, with roasted brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. Then I drizzled my homemade tahini sauce on top!
Home Baked Falafels
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 small red onion chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons CHICKPEA FLOUR (can use brown rice or quinoa flour)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ground Chia (from Navitas) + 3 tablespoons water (makes 1 egg)
1 grated carrot
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Roll in 1/2 cup Spelt breadcrumbs (Sha Sha)
Preheat oven to 400F.
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, flour, spices, oil and salt, pulse in a food processor until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
3. Form the mixture into 8-12 small balls or patties with wet hands.
4. Roll each ball in breadcrumbs if preferred (or do half and half).
5. Bake in oven for approx. 30-35 minutes or until crispy and golden.
Serve these delights in a pita, wrap with hummus, tahini sauce or on top of a salad.
Homemade Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup pure tahini
2-4 tablespoons of water to thin out
1/2 of one lemon, juiced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Blend all together in blender – it can be as creamy or thin as you desire!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Weekday Meal Planning e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
What would you put your Falafels in or on?
Where have you eaten the best Falafels?
The newest addition to my pantry is my trio of NUDE BEE HONEY’s. This line came out in Toronto by two local boys. I love it. What is sexier then two men starting a honey line?
This brand in particular has some fine packaging, with a slick black label. It is a long tall jar, which is thin and elegant. I would take this honey out for a taste any day of the week. I would even love to just spread it, pour it and blend it into anything I create. It would make for a sweet addition that is smooth balanced and rich. That’s my kind of honey!
I should also mention that is honey, is untouched, raw in it’s own virgin state. What can be better than that. It hasn’t lost anything; it’s got everything it needs to give me what I need. Nutrients, enzymes, minerals and an unparalleled flavour.
It is also organic, coming from the purest of sources, no chemicals or strong or smelly aftertastes. It was created to be enjoyed… from bottom to top.
Now don’t get too picky, there are three fine honey’s to choose from:
Star Thistle – Works well with all natural of teas and can dress or top any dessert. This superstar possesses after notes of vanilla and lemon.
Honey Dew – This is a darker richer honey, which means it contains more vitamins and minerals. It is rich and fragrant so get your hands on some and add it to some fruit for a warming compote or natural jam.
Wild– The most versatile of the bunch, blending different local nectar’s. This honey goes both ways, and lends itself well to both raw and cooked recipes.
You can’t go wrong really – they all share similar qualities with subtle differences. I think you will be satisfied, no matter which way you go!
Take your honey a little further and use it to your benefit and create something magical together…. a recipe!
Feel free to pour your honey all over anything and everything that you are eating!
Wild Honey-Lemon Poppy Loaf
4 cups light spelt flour
1 cup Wild Nude Bee Honey
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup poppyseeds
zest of 2 lemons
3 lemons, juiced
½ cup vanilla rice milk
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 tsp pure vanilla
½ cup filtered water
1. oil and flour a 9x 5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2. Stir together spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt poppy seeds and lemon zest. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, honey with rice milk. Add to the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
4. Add grapeseed oil, vanilla and water to dry ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients together thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter into loaf pan.
6. Bake for 1 hour at 350F or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Photography by Assaf Friedman
When it comes to whole grains, I feel like Kamut or better known as khorasan always gets the pushover. It is all about whole wheat, rye and even spelt gets the spotlight more than Kamut does. I even notice that I use spelt most of the time in my recipes (unless it’s gluten free). There is nothing wrong with spelt, don’t get me wrong. But there is something very special about Kamut and it is time it gets some attention! In fact before I go on, something very interesting that I just learned and would like to share is that Kamut is not actually the name of the wheat variety, it is the brand name. khorasan is actually the name of the grain that we know to be Kamut. Interesting fact..huh! Or maybe you already knew that. You can still refer to that grain as Kamut, because the grain has been trademarked under that name!
But here is a little more info directly from the source:
KAMUT® is the name of the BRAND, not the wheat. One of the biggest misconceptions about KAMUT® Khorasan Wheat is that the name “Kamut” refers to the type of wheat, while in fact, KAMUT® is the branded name. Bob Quinn, Founder of Kamut International, wanted to assure the quality of the organic, heirloom grain, khorasan wheat. Under the brand KAMUT®, consumers know they can trust this wheat will always be grown certified organic, will always be non-GMO, and will never be altered or modified. KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat is grown under strict production guidelines and every field is tested for high quality standards. Go to http://www.kamut.com/en/trademark.html for more information about this like how “KAMUT” was picked as the name!
The reason why most people don’t use whole grains or unknown varieties is because people are just not informed. It doesn’t mean they don’t like it, they just don’t know. Once they taste it, it surely gets the seal of approval!
Kamut has a whole host of health benefits. Not only does this whole grain provide our body with complex “slow burning” carbohydrates but it is also high in fiber and other nutrients. Kamut in particular is considered a high energy food that is also high in protein and doesn’t cause the same kinds of problems that whole wheat does in our body in terms of gas, bloating, pain and cramping. (The same goes for Spelt, Barley, Rye and Oats they are all very similar). Individuals who are even intolerant to wheat, do very well on Kamut (but not if you have Celiac Disease). It is high in antioxidants, easy to digest and overall causes less allergic reactions and over all discomfort. However if you are gluten intolerant of have Celiac – then you would stay away from Kamut and the above listed grains all together and go for grains like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, milled and brown rice.
Recently I have been experimenting with some different brands of Kamut flour but my latest favourite is from Grainstorm, a local Toronto company that specializes in hand milled fresh grains. I picked up a bag at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and have been experimenting ever since. The good thing to know is that Kamut can replace whole wheat flour in equal amounts in any recipe. You will get a grainier, chewier richer texture with Kamut. you will be pleasantly surprised and you can actually taste the difference!
One of my favourite muffins to make this time of year is Carrot Ginger – they are like mini bites of carrot cake. So good!
Approx. 4 mini muffins equals 2 regular size muffins, but it’s hard to keep track they
they are this small!!
Spiced Carrot Ginger Muffins
What’s in it?
2 cups whole grain Kamut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I like to use a lot!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vanilla rice milk
2 organic eggs or 2 tbsp ground flax soaked with 6 tbsp water
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil
2 medium carrots, grated
1-2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1 cup raisins
What You do!
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix dry ingredient
- Add wet ingredients (along with raisins, carrots and ginger)
- Stir until combined
- Pour into mini muffin cup trays (makes approx 36 muffins)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes
For full size muffins- Bake for 20-24 minutes (makes approx 18 muffins)
Have you tried Kamut?
In what or how?
I remember the days when we would drive all the way down to Buffalo to grab a box of hostess mini muffins at Wegmans. It was the concept of mini that was so enticing and the fact that you could only get them in the USA. They also tasted pretty good and you could pop at least five of them and not feel guilty, because they were small right? Well of course the processed ingredients in these boxed muffins didn’t matter at that point in my life. But now they do, and many moons later, I still love muffins and especially mini ones. I have my own mini muffins tray – so I can now put dollops of delicious, wholesome and healthy batter in and make batches of goodness whenever I feel the urge. Actually, these past couple of weeks seem to be all about muffins and snacks. I can stop making them! Maybe because it just that time of year that we want a little more sweetness and more things to munch on. Or maybe I am just making up excuses. Because the truth is they are so much fun to make! Muffins are especially interesting as I always like to come up with new combination’s! One of my favourite muffins back in the day, and still to this day are apple cinnamon. There is something about just a bit size muffin that is so much fun – and they honestly taste better. That’s because so much stuff is packed into such a small space. Especially these ones, which are bursting with apples, cinnamon and currents in every bite. The other best part about mini’s, other than them being super cute, you can pack them up and take them with you on the go! They also make a great snack! They also taste especially delicious with almond or sunflower seed butter.
MINI APPLE CINNAMON MUFFINS
What’s in it?
1 cup spelt, kamut or oat flour
½ cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup oil (coconut or grapeseed)
¼ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 apple, seeded and cut into small cubes (you can even leave the skin on!)
½ cup rice milk
½ raisins or currents
****Trade in the apples for bananas and raisins or currents for chocolate chips or blueberries and make a different variety!
How it’s made!
Preheat oven to 350F
- Measure and combine dry ingredients, flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda cinnamon and sea salt
- Mix wet ingredients, oil, maple syrup, apple sauce, apples and rice milk.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well, making sure there are no lumps. Stir in raisins.
- Spread mixture evenly among 24 mini muffin holes in the tray.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes and remove and cool muffins on cooling rack or tray.
To make 8- 12 full size muffins – bake for 20-24 minutes!
A burger doesn’t always need to go in a bun. A burger can be eaten on a salad, on a pile of grains or just alongside some steam veggies. When I refer to “burger” here, I am talking about an all natural veggie burger made from whole food ingredients. See Recipe Below!
If I were to put my burger on bread, it would be bread made from either spelt, kamut or sprouted grains. Companies such as ShaSha, Little Stream and Grainsfields make excellent breads that are easy to digest, high in protein, fiber and taste delicious!
But in this particular case, I have deiced to put my “burger” in a bowl. Not just in a bare bowl all on its own, but a bowl filled with quinoa, steamed green veggies (broccoli and snow peas from my garden), steamed sweet potatoes and then topped with tahini and tamari toasted almonds. Wow what a bowl! It was a random occurrence of ingredients, but that is the best way to make a meal – especially a vegan one. You can get as creative as you want and just throw a whole bunch of things together and you have yourself a whole foods, balanced meal. Not only is this meal colourful and full of texture but there is also an amazing amount of calcium, protein, fiber, beta carotene, b vitamins, minerals etc… all jammed packed into one little bowl.
Making a homemade veggies burger is also a great way to get in some healthy nutrition and fulfill that urge to eat something that is burger like and has a “meaty” or rich texture. By meaty, I mean (hearty/grainy) so in this case you can use grains, beans, root veggies, nuts and seeds and not even have to go the length of using a faux meat or soy based substitute to get that “patti or juicy burger” option. There are much more naturals options!
So the next time you want to get a little creative and make a burger and throw it in a bowl – make sure to fill both the burger and the bowl up full tasty and nutritious ingredients!
If you have a veggie burger recipe that you would like to share…please leave a comment!
Black Bean Veggie Burger
1 cup black beans, soaked overnight or use 1 can or Eden organic black beans
1 cup sweet potatoes, shredded
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup red onion
1/4 cup spelt flour
2 tablespoons tamari
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
- Rinse soaked beans, place in a pot with water (cover by 1-2inches). Bring water and beans to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1-11/2 hours. Remove from water and drain. Or rinse and drain can of organic black beans.
- Place beans in a bowl and mash. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Scoop 1/3 cup of batter at a time to form burger patties.
- Place burgers on a baking sheet (you may need two)
- Bake in oven on 350 F for approx 45 minutes.
- Serve with sprouted buns, a salad or and enjoy!
Choosing the right warming foods to eat during these below freezing cold days is key nourishing you body and soul. It’s not enough to just take a hot shower and have a bowl of soup. There are in fact some particular foods and spices that warm up your body up from the inside out. The body naturally craves, starchy, heavy and sweet foods during the winter season. So instead of going for the processed stuff like donuts, Alfredo sauces, cakes and pies or other rich and dense foods which leave you feeling lethargic and draggy – not to mention the calories they pack in. Why not try making your own satisfying creations in the kitchen! You can still fulfill your cravings by choosing the right ingredients. Not only will you be satisfied with just one serving but you can also feel great knowing that you made it from scratch!
Choosing warming foods like cooked grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta’s or baked yams and even a variety of soups and stews are sure to keep you warm during these frigidly cold days. You can even satisfy those sweet cravings with some home baked goodies like muffins and pies made with whole grain flours and natural sweeteners. If you are on the go, get yourself a reusable stainless steel mug and fill them up with warm herbal teas to sip throughout the day. When you are at home, brew yourself your own loose leaf teas or try making your own chai latte’s or dark pure cocoa hot chocolate!
I encourage you to use a variety of warming spices in different ways. Try using cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, cumin, turmeric and cloves. Your body and your taste buds will thank you for their warmth and delicious essence.
Since apples are so widely available during the winter months and there is nothing better then a little cinnamon and nutmeg to warm you up, I decided to make apple pie for my family dinner last night. I have to admit, I love to bake – but pie making isn’t my specialty. So I promise that this recipe is simple enough that anyone can do it… I promise!
I even went the length of making my own ice cream…I know what you are thinking. Ice cream is cold and it’s not healthy! Well not true if you make your own with the right ingredients and warming spices. I now have this amazing ice cream maker which means that I can use anything as the base! So I chose organic pure coconut milk (to read more on the health benefits of coconut milk check out my posting CooCoo for Coconut). I blended that up with some maple syrup, cinnamon and agar for a creamy consistency. Then the whole thing churns and makes delicious “ice cream” that I can put on top of my warm apple pie!
Hot Apple-Cinnamon Pie…”A La Mode”!
1 1/4 cups light spelt flour
1 cup spelt flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons maple sugar
Pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup cold coconut butter
1/3 cup ice water
4 cups tart apples, such as granny smiths, jonathan or spy, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1. Sift the flours, cinnamon and salt into a medium bowl. Add the oil and mix well.
2. Add the ice water gradually to the mixture while continuing to mix the dough. Continue to mix until dough is firm but not flaky. Roll up the dough, put into a bowl, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Form the dough into 2 balls. Roll one out into a circle with ½ inch thickness. Press into an 8-inch pie pan and trim, leaving ½ in all around.
4. Preheat oven to 350 F
5. In a large bowl, combine the apples, maple syrup and lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix together the arrowroot, cinnamon and nutmeg, then toss with the apple mixture. Add the filling into the pie shell.
6. Roll out the second ball of dough into a circle large enough to cover the pie. Top the pie with the dough, then trim any excess dough and crimp the edges. Cut 3 slits in the top crust.
7. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the piecrust is golden.
Serve with vanilla rice or soy ice cream or make your own!