Like many things we cherish, this banana pancake recipe came out of necessity. Let me explain…We always have a mountain of fruits at home but the one fruit that trumps all others in terms of quantity and eating frequency is bananas. Mainly because it’s my son’s favourite and most prized fruit.
His entire face literally lights up as he sees me pull one out of the banana basket. It’s often the first thing he eats in the morning. I sometimes feel guilty for giving him the same fruit every morning so every now and then, I’ll cut up some clementines, grapes or whatever other fruit I have on hand.
The bowl of fruit is usually met with a blank stare. He diligently eats the non-banana fruit but gazes over at the banana basket and points at it with a “nana”… My heart melts and so it’s bananas again the following morning. My husband and I are just as crazy for bananas, but in their frozen form for smoothies and nice cream.
Suffice to say, bananas are a big thing in my family and none go to waste: half are eaten by our son and the other half is frozen for later delicacies. But last week, two bananas unexplainably fell out of the banana basket and went into hiding behind the coffee machine. I didn’t notice them until Sunday morning!
Needless to say, the bananas had well passed their prime but since no food ever goes to waste in our house (it’s one of my worst pet peeves!), I had to come up with something good to make with them, and quickly, before my son realized the treasure I was holding. So I took out my small blender and the recipe for these pancakes was born.
These pancakes are probably the easiest and quickest pancakes I’ve ever made. Even with the 10 minutes resting time in the fridge before cooking them in the pan. And if you’re really pressed for time, you can skip that part. I find the resting time n the fridge gives the pancakes some added oomph (read fluffiness) but is in no way necessary, taste wise.
And of course, like all things banana, they were a huge hit in my family! I actually forgot to take out the maple syrup but no one said anything and we ate them as is. Ok, honestly, we ate them with our fingers like cookies… don’t judge, I’m sure you’ve done it too, and if not, it’s a must try!
I hope your family enjoys them as much as we have. Leave me a comment and let me know what recipe you’ve come up with out of necessity?
Serves: 4 portions
These pancakes are fluffy and filling. They are already sweet from the bananas and agave nectar so you won’t even need to take out the maple syrup… unless you really want to and that’s totally cool too!
2 medium bananas
2 Cups gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill GF flour mix)
2 Tbs agave nectar
1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbs melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup mylk alternative (I used almond milk)
Put all the ingredients in the blender, starting with the wet ingredients, and blend until smooth consistency.
Put in the fridge for 10 mins to rest.
Add cooking spray to a pan and set over medium high heat.
Take out the pancake mix and scoop 1/4 Cup batter at a time in a hot pan.
Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Repeat for the remainder of the batter.
P.S. As you guys may have noticed, some adds have been added to my blog and you will now find some affiliated links. I now participate in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Please rest assured that the products I link to, are all products I personally use and love.
There’s something that just feels so naughty yet so right about eating a donut, especially, for breakfast. I personally consider donuts to be high up there on the comfort food/I’m-going-to-treat-myself-because-I-totally-deserve-it pyramid. But here’s the thing, I don’t just want to eat a donut once in a while. I want be able to eat donuts often, and for breakfast! That being said, and although I’m a firm believer of the 80-20 rule (eat really good-for-you food 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time), I can’t eat a regular donut every morning. That’s way beyond the 20% of indulgence, even according to my standards. Bakery style donuts are heaven in your mouth but they are literally the not-so-good-for-you kind of calorie/fat/sugar bombs. And although they taste amazing, they leave me feeling slightly lethargic. Like, I need to take a nap after this, kind of lethargic. Not something I can afford to do on a Tuesday morning, with a to-do list that looks like Santa Clause’ gift list!
So what to do… make a healthy donut!
So this is what I set out to do. I wanted my donut to resemble the texture and softness of a real donut but I also wanted it to have a little more consistency, not like when you bite into those air-like fluffy donuts, so I don’t have to eat 5 of them to feel like I had a decent breakfast. It also had to be something I was ok giving my 15 month old because he is now at a stage were he wants to eat everything me and my husband eat. And I mean EVERYTHING…
So with a few trials and errors, I think I finally nailed it. This donut is nutrient packed with bananas, oatmeal, high protein pea mylk and almond butter. And I can personally attest to the fact that you don’t need to eat many to be satisfied. I ate 2 and was happily full. No lethargy, no guilt. And this is definitely something you’ll feel good about feeding the entire family. My son had one for breakfast, along with a glass of almond mylk.
Now before we continue on with the recipe, I want to come back to something I wrote at the beginning of this post that I want to clarify a bit: the “I’m-going-to-treat-myself-because-I-totally-deserve-it pyramid”. A few blog posts back, I talked about rewarding yourself with food and how I wasn’t against it at all. Truthfully, that is how I personally reward myself, because food is such an integral part of my life. A passion, really. But here’s something important to take into consideration: I don’t use food to fill a void. I don’t use food as a coping mechanism because I don’t want to deal with certain things/people/emotions/situations in my life. I reward myself with food because I love food, I love cooking food, I love sharing food with others and I get great pleasure from the experience of it all. I don’t indulge to numb some deep hidden pain or forget about what’s going on inside or outside. Rewarding yourself should come out of self-love. To offer yourself something you enjoy and that is good for you. For some, it’s taking the time to sit down with a cup of tea and read a book, for others, it’s going to the spa for a massage, others will choose to do a yoga class or take a bubble bath surrounded by candles and essential oil diffusers. Me, I choose to go to my favourite restaurant with my loved ones or have friends over and share a meal. It’s as much about the experience as it is about the food, which makes it feel so rewarding. And it all comes from self-love, not self-sabotage.
I hope you guys enjoy baking and sharing these donuts with your family and loved ones. Leave me a comment and let me know how you like to reward yourself.
Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Donuts for breakfast
Serves: 12 large donuts
2 Tbs chia seeds, ground
6 Tbs water
1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 Cup spelt flour
1/2 Cup large rolled oats
1/4 Cup agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup bananas, mashed
2/3 Cup mylk alternative (I used pea mylk)
2 Tbs coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a donut pan and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the ground chia seeds and water and set aside. Allow to set for at least 5 minutes.
In a medium size bowl, add the mashed bananas, agave nectar, mylk, oil, vanilla extract and almond butter. Whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
Add in the chocolate chips after batter has been mixed.
This is what happens when I stand in front of my fridge in the evening, looking for inspiration for my next recipe, and I see a beautiful zucchini just chilling there, all alone, somewhere between the romaine lettuce heads and a bag of carrots. It must have slipped my radar when I made my Indian inspired stir-fry the either night. But now, it’s staring back at me and I know I want to cook something with it, but I can’t figure out what exactly. I didn’t have enough to make zoodles for everyone, and it would have been pretty selfish of me to make zoodles just for myself. I could have chopped it and add it to a salad as is, but I wanted to do something with it. Since my fridge had provided me with limited inspiration, I looked into the freezer and saw a bag of frozen organic wild blueberries. Yup. There was the last little bit of inspiration I needed. I was going to make a blueberry & zucchini bread for breakfast the next morning!
Excellent idea I thought!
And an excellent breakfast it turned out to be. The loaf was gone in no time. I didn’t even have time to take out the coconut yogurt or the stewed apples I intended to serve it with. My toddler was begging for more while his mouth was still full and my husband was slicing pieces as he was eating them. Now that’s a winner in my book! Luckily, I was able to steal a piece (a large piece I must admit) for myself and I enjoyed every last bite with a hot cup of coffee.
This loaf has all you need to start your day off right: it’s got fruits, it’s got vegetables, it’s got whole grains and it’s got protein and some wholesome tasty fat. Pretty much all the good food groups are represented here. And did I mention it’s super moist and decadent tasting. You almost feel naughty eating it but you don’t because the ingredients are so good for you!
One of the ingredients I almost always add to a breakfast loaf is oatmeal. I’ve enjoyed eating oatmeal since I was a little kid. Ok, in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy it at all when I was a kid but nonetheless, I ate it every Tuesdays and Thursdays without fail. And my parents gave it to me for good reasons.
According to Adda Bjarnadottir, MS and Hrefna Palsdottir, MS over at healtline.com, oats are a very good source of fiber, especially beta-glucan (which provides us with digestive benefits), and are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains:
Manganese: 191% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
Copper: 24% of the RDI
Iron: 20% of the RDI
Zinc: 20% of the RDI
Folate: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)
Oats are also the only source of a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, believed to have protective effects against heart disease.
So yes, oats are a good thing to add to your diet. Even when I’m having a lower carb day, I include oatmeal either in my breakfast or as a snack. It provides me with sustained energy and leaves me feeling satiated, which is not something I can say about fruits which give me an immediate energy rush upon eating but then leave me hungry and lethargic shortly after. So to make sure I have good energy throughout my morning, I mix my fruits with my oatmeal: winner combination!
I hope you enjoy this loaf as much as my family did. Leave me a comment and let me know if you ate it as is or if you enjoyed it topped with some whipped coconut cream or some home made jam.
Blueberry & Zucchini oatmeal bread
Serves: 8 portions
This breakfast loaf is perfect to make the night before and keeps well at room temperature overnight. It makes for easy mornings, which we could all use a little more of. I made this recipe gluten free using Bob’s Red Mill GF flour mix but I’ve also made this bread with whole wheat flour and it turned out amazing. Also this bread is not very sweet. I didn’t feel the need to add too much agave nectar as the blueberries add natural sweetness.
1 Tbs ground chia seeds
3 Tbs water
1/2 Cup agave nectar
1/3 Cup coconut oil + 1 tsp for greasing
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cup gluten free flour mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 Cup rolled oats (I used Quaker GF rolled oats _ not instant oats)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Cup zucchini, shredded (do not wring out)
1 Cup frozen bluberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a loaf pan with the teaspoon of coconut oil.
In a small bowl, combine the ground chia seeds and the water. Set aside for at least 5 mins.
In the meantime, in a microwave safe bowl, melt the 1/3 Cup of coconut oil.
Add the agave nectar to the melted coconut oil and mix well with a small whisk.
Add the vanilla extract and set aside.
In a larger mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the chia egg to the coconut oil mixture and stir to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir to combine.
Add the zucchini and the blueberries.
Gently stir to mix everything together.
Pour into the greased loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Mine was done in 60 minutes but I’ve bake it at my parent’s house and it was done in 50 minutes. So check after 50 minutes and add time accordingly.
I’ve probably mentioned this to you before, at least once or twice, actually, come to think of it, I think I wrote an entire post on breakfast, but yes, food is what gets me up in the morning. And I don’t just mean it’s what gets me going. I literally mean, it’s what gets me out of bed…that, and a beautifully impatient 14 month old.
More often then not, I go to bed at night thinking about what I’m going to eat the next morning. And then I get all excited at the idea of having breakfast…as I’m getting ready for sleep!
This oatmeal bake is one of those breakfasts that I particularly can’t wait to eat. It’s creamy, rich, dense and oh so satisfying. And since it’s pretty easy to put together, it’s something you’ll get excited about too. And it’s very versatile… I chose mangos and peaches for this recipe because that’s what I had in my freezer (I pretty much always have mangos in my freezer and I’ll explain why in just a little bit…). But I’ve done it with blueberries and strawberries, pineapples and bananas… The combinations are deliciously endless! It’s only sweetened with just a little maple syrup as I like the natural sweetness of the fruits to shine through.
Now back to mangoes… One of the reasons I always have mangoes handy, other then for their obvious amazing taste and texture, is for their nutrition content. Mangoes are vitamin and mineral bombs and provide major health benefits including lowering blood sugar levels, boost brain and bone health, alleviate anemia and increase immunity, just to name a few.
2 billion people are affected by anemia worldwide and 293 million of those affected are preschool age children;
56 million pregnant women are anemic (41.8% prevalence globally);
468 million non-pregnant women are anemic (30.2% prevalence globally)
Those numbers are scary, especially if you consider that iron deficiency (leading cause of anemia) is the most common nutritional deficit in the world.
Like many women, I suffered from anemia for years. I was told it was due to my vegetarian/vegan diet. I was continuously encouraged to eat red meat and calf liver to bring my iron levels back up… little did these people know about the power of plants!
Mangoes are just one of the plant foods that contain iron. If you think you have low iron levels (you can read on the signs and symptoms of low iron levels here), I would strongly suggest you get blood tests done and your results reviewed by a trusted and competent specialist.
Some other great plant foods that contain iron are:
spirulina (love this stuff!)
spinach, kale and swiss chard
chickpeas and black beans
pumpkin, flax and hemp seeds
One important thing I learned when researching high iron plant foods, is that adding vitamin C when eating iron rich foods actually facilitates the absorption of the iron by the body. Hence, the peaches in my oatmeal bake. The vitamin C in peaches compliments the iron in the mangoes… Mind you, mangoes do hold quite a good amount of vitamin C on their own, but a little more, especially this tasty, doesn’t hurt!
I hope you guys enjoy this breakfast and leave a comment to let me know if you’ve ever suffered from anemia and what foods you include in your daily diet.
This recipe was inspired by the amazing oatmeal bake from Cookie & Kate!
Mango & peach baked oatmeal
Serves: 6 portions
This oatmeal bake takes no time at all to put together and while it cooks, you have time to get yourself or your kids, or both, ready for the day. Enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee or tea and top with some vegan yogurt or additional maple syrup, if you wake up with a sweet tooth!
2 Cups rolled oats, (I use Quaker GF large rolled oats)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine Himalayan pink salt
2 Cups pea mylk (I use pea mylk for its high protein content but any mylk will do)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 Tbs chia seeds
6 Tbs water
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 Cups frozen mangoes
1 Cup frozen peaches
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
Pour the frozen fruits in the dish and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and water. Stir and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, ginger, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine.
In another mixing bowl, combine the mylk, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and chia mixture. Whisk until blended.
Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Cover the frozen fruits with the oatmeal mixture and wiggle the dish a little.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a 10 minutes.
Did you sleep well, did you wake up fully rested and ready to start the day, was your morning rushed or flowing flawlessly? Do you need a hearty breakfast to get your through the morning hustle or do you crave something creamy and cozy to go with that steaming cup of coffee or tea? Whatever your night or morning has been like, this breakfast will bring a little festive feeling to your day and I’m sure will put a smile on your face.
It’s no secret that I love breakfast. I always have. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I wake up hungry most mornings but even more so with the types of food that is served at breakfast: protein smoothies, pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit bowls, warm porridge, overnight oats. I was never one to have dinner leftovers for breakfast. No, I crave breakfast food! I’ve actually been know to have breakfast for dinner many times, mostly when my husband is out and I’m home by myself. He doesn’t really fancy pumpkin pancakes with strawberries for dinner. Funny enough, I consider that a treat! Hahaha
That being said, I did, at one point in my life, try intermittent fasting or IF. It was all the craze back in early 2010, when the paleo/warrior/primal diet was all the rage in the dieting/health scene. After reading quite a bit on the subject, including the popular Eat Stop Eat book by Brad Pilon, I thought I’d give it a try. According to some scientific research, intermittent fasting has a lot of benefits for your body such as improving biomarkers of disease, reducing oxidative stress and preserving learning and memory functions, according to Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institutes of Health. According to M. Mattson, there are several theories about why fasting provides physiological benefits. The one that him and his team has studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under a mild stress,” he says “And they respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease.”
So what is intermittent fasting? According to an article written by Greg Nuckols over at Stronger By Science, Martin Berkhan, was one of the pioneers for bringing IF mainstream (Leangains, as he termed it), and his approach is pretty straightforward: Eat all of your daily calories in an 8-hour window and fast the other 16 hours of the day. During the fasting window, you can drink zero-calorie beverages (and you can sip some BCAAs around your workout if you have to train in the middle of your fasting window), but restrict anything with any caloric content.
So how does this apply to your daily life? Well your day would look something like this:
6 am -7 am: wake up
8 am: water and coffee or tea but no sugar or vegan cream added (no calories)
12 pm: breakfast
3 pm: lunch
6 pm: dinner
7:30 pm: snack which is your last bite of food for the day
10 pm – 11pm: bedtime
Essentially, you’re skipping breakfast and eating around lunch time!
If you workout in the morning, you would do so on an empty stomach and could sip on BCAA during your training. If you workout later in the day, you’d have food in your belly to fuel your workout.
Now most people apply IF for weight loss purposes as some experts believe that working out in a fasted state forces your body to release fat stored in your fat cells for energy. This is still up for debate.
Now here’s the tricky part that very few experts discuss: you still need to eat within your caloric range and the proper foods if weight loss is your goal. If you are so hungry by the time the clock hits noon that you scurf down twice the size of your regular breakfast and can’t stop yourself from snacking the rest for the day because you are still so hungry, well you’re missing the point and you won’t see much result, at least in terms of weight loss. Improved health, perhaps. But weight loss, no. You might actually experience the opposite and notice your waistline is expanding instead of shrinking. IF is not about eating all you can shove in your mouth within a smaller window of time, it’s about eating the same things you would normally eat, or preferably less, within a set, narrower, timeframe.
And that was exactly my downfall: I would be so hungry by the time lunch rolled around, that I would eat twice and even three times the amount of food I would normally eat at one sitting and I would still eat my regular portion meals and snacks for the rest of the day. Actually, I was simply hungry all day. As if I was never fully satisfied and my body was trying to catch up to my missed meal. The worst days were when I trained in the morning (which is pretty much the only time I have in my day to exercise!). Those days, I could eat continuously! And I felt like it was just not never enough food…
So after a few months (yes, I did stick it out for about 6 months – I wanted to see if my body would finally adapt to this new way of eating – it didn’t!) I came to the realization that this IF thing was just not for me: I need my breakfast in the morning, preferably within one hour or so of waking. I need fuel to start off my day and I need more fuel to sustain me throughout the day. So I would say my eating window is 11 hours: from around 8am to 7pm. That’s what works for me. And if there’s one things I’ve learned through my years of reading science articles on the latest diet and nutrition trend is that no matter what experts say, your body knows whats best. I’m not talking about your cravings, I’m taking about your actual body needs to strive. I’ll discuss Intuitive Eating in a later post.
In the meantime, if breakfast is as important to you as it is to me, here’s a festive overnight oats recipe to get your day started off right.
Hope you guys enjoy this recipe. Leave me a comment to let me know if you’ve tried intermittent fasting and if it worked for you.
Overnight festive oats
Serves: 4 portions
These overnight oats are super easy to throw together and make for an easy peasy breakfast on busy mornings. Get your children involved and let them choose and prepare their toppings the night before. Have some sliced fruits and nuts available and a few glass jars. It’ll make for a fun family activity.
3 Cups gluten free rolled oats (I like instant oats better as I find they absorb liquid faster)
2 Tbs chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
12 drops of liquid Stevia
4 Cups nut milk (I use pea milk for added protein)
1/2 Cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 Cup dried cranberries (try to buy sulphite free)
1/3 Cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 Cup fresh cranberries or other fresh or frozen fruits such a bananas, pears, peaches or blueberries
In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds and cinnamon.
Divide amongst 4 glass jars.
Divide and add the milk and 3 drops of stevia in each jar. Stir to combine.
Let set overnight in the fridge or at least for 4 hours.
In the morning, top each jar with walnuts, dried cranberries, shredded coconut and your choice of fruit.
We have survived Monday and I think this deserves cake! A healthy, nutrient pack, breakfast cake that is… Something a little sweet and just naughty enough to accompany a hot cup of coffee or tea, whether you’re storming out the door with mug and cake in hand or just nestling down in your favourite chair to enjoy some me time before the day gets crazy. Either way, this cake is for you this morning!
I have the fondest memories of breakfast cakes. When I was growing up, my mom used to make her breakfast yogurt cake. On Sunday nights, my mom would make her own yogurt in a weird looking container that she probably owned since the early 70’s. The yogurt would ferment and “cook” all night then chill all day Monday. Then on Monday night, she would make her yogurt breakfast cake with the freshly made yogurt and fresh strawberries. It was a dense, thick and only slightly sweet cake, that kept us full and satisfied well until lunch time. My mom would always serve us a slice a cake with additional fruits on the side like a banana or an apple. And she insisted we eat the fruit. No fruit, no cake!
Needless to say, the cake was always a huge hit in our house and it didn’t last longer then that very morning… Although we always asked my mom to make it more often, she kept it as a treat for us and would never make it more then once a week or even once every two weeks. Looking back now, I understand how time consuming making that cake was since my mom always insisted on making her own yogurt. Being a mom myself now and juggling a crazy work schedule, I’m even more grateful of how well my mom fed us as kids and how she instilled in us the love of good wholesome, homemade foods.
So this cake is somewhat of an homage to my mom’s breakfast cake. Although I don’t eat yogurt anymore, this cake has the same dense, thick and only slightly sweet taste as my mom’s breakfast cake. And I think she would be proud as it is full of good for you ingredients like carrots, zucchinis, applesauce and coconut oil. Come to think of it, I might make it again today, in the gluten free version, and bring her a slice!
Hope you guys enjoy this cake! Leave me a comment and let me know what childhood breakfast you grew up loving…
Breakfast Zucchini Carrot Cake
Serves: 12 portions
This cake is perfect for breakfast on the go. I’ve made this cake with both a mixture of wholewheat and buckwheat flour and with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. It turned out great both times. Since this is a breakfast cake, it’s a lot more dense then your usual airy and fluffy dessert cakes. I also don’t like my breakfast cakes to be too sweet. If you like sweet cakes in the morning, you can bring the sugar content up to 3/4 Cup instead of the 2/3 cup indicated in the recipe. Enjoy it with a side of coconut yogurt or a nice cup of hot coffee!
1 1/2 Cup grated zucchini
2 Cups grated carrots
1/2 Cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/3 Cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/3 Cup coconut sugar
3/4 Cup milk alternative (I used cashew milk)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 Cup coconut oil, melted
1 3/4 Cups wholewheat pastry flour
1/2 Cup buckwheat flour (replace both flours with 2 1/4 Cup GF flour if needed)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Grease an 8X8 glass baking dish and set aside.
In a bowl, combine your shredded zucchini, carrots and coconut.
Add the sugar, milk, vanilla extract, applesauce and coconut oil and stir to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Whisk to combine well.
Add the zucchini and carrot mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon to combine evenly.
No need to overmix, the cake batter will be thick.
Pour the cake batter into the greased dish and place it on the middle rack in the oven.
Bake for 35 minutes. The top will be golden brown.
Take out of the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
It’s Friday. Finally Friday! The day most of us look forward to all week… In all honesty, as much as I love Fridays, Sunday is my favourite day of the week. Maybe because growing up, Sunday meant time spent in the kitchen with my mom and often times my grand-mother (which meant a lot of fresh bread, cookies and cakes being made!). It also meant family dinners and football. Although I don’t cook with my mom nearly as much as I would want to anymore, I still spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen, with football games playing on tv in the background and most often, my son, husband and dog, close by, to taste test. So in a way, Sundays have kept that same childhood family feeling.
But we are Friday today and for many people, that usually means the beginning of a lot of decadent, rich food and unstructured meals for the next couple of days. Myself included, I find it harder to eat healthy and on time on weekends. I don’t want to have to rush to make and eat breakfast. I usually have a much bigger breakfast, since it’s my favourite meal of the day, and so lunch becomes more about grabbing whatever is available in the fridge and can be eaten as I go about my busy day of chores. And when my hectic day is finally over, I do feel like I deserve to reward myself with a nice dinner that consists of a little more then roasted vegetables, lentils and brown rice…
I know how you feel. I feel the same. Every Friday. Every weekend. But here’s the thing: I have goals! Health and fitness goals. And as much as I love food and as crazy as my days get and as much as I feel good about treating myself to an entire weekend of fried gnocchis, pizza, burgers, fries, coconut ice cream and brownies, I know it’s only delaying me reaching my goals. So what to do?!?
Well first off, I don’t believe in depriving myself of any good food. I also don’t believe some foods are bad and others are good. I do believe in having a great meal over the weekend and yes, I do see it as a reward and I don’t see anything wrong with that. There’s a lot of talk about not rewarding yourself with food because it creates a negative association to food. You should reward yourself with a spa day, a new pair of running shoes or whatever other non-food related thing one may want.
But I love food. And a lot of my life revolves around food. So yes, when I’ve had a hard week, I want a good meal with my husband or my friends or both, that I can look forward to. But here’s another little important thing: my reward meal is not a weekend long meal! It’s one meal…ok maybe two meals. That’s it. And the rest of the weekend, I make sure I eat well and have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables handy, healthy homemade granola to grab on the go, bags of nuts and dried fruits I keep in my purse and a full bottle of water with lemon juice. Those naughty meals are what keep me wanting to eat healthy so I can feel good about having that reward meal. I also know that if I eat crappy all weekend, I’m going to feel crappy come Monday morning and that no longer feels like a reward, it feels like punishment!
This is where treats like this Chocolate Espresso Nice Cream come in handy. It’s full of good for you food, it makes a great quick & easy breakfast or a nice snack to hold you over until dinner and it’s just decadent tasting enough to satisfy your naughty cravings.
Hope you guys enjoy it and leave a comment to let me know what your favourite reward meal is and how you handle your weekend cravings!
Chocolate espresso nice cream
Serves: 2 portions
This makes a great breakfast and espresso gives you that little boost of extra energy. If you don’t want the caffeine, make it with decaf espresso. Serve it with some chocolate shavings on top and maybe even a little vegan whipped cream if you feel really naughty…
4 frozen bananas
1 14 oz can butter beans
1/2 cup espresso, chilled
1 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate, roughly chopped (extra for serving)
2 drops liquid Stevia (optional – if you like your nice cream really sweet)
Take out your food processor and add the grating disc. Insert the frozen bananas in the feeder and grate away on high.
Once all bananas are grated, take the grating disc out and switch to the s-shape blade.
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and turn on high until you reach an ice cream like consistency.
I’m so excited about today. My mother-in-law is coming over for breakfast and then we are headed out to the flea market. Finnegan’s flea market is an outdoor market in the town of Hudson, just a 15 minute drive away from our house. The market is only open on Saturdays from May till October and has been around since 1972. Finnegan’s market is a huge market with 100 or so vendors offering all kinds of goodies like antiques and organic produce. My aim for the day is to find all kinds of cool props for my food photography, buy some beautiful organic produce to inspire my recipes for the week and eat all the delicious vegan baked goods I can find.
And since the predicted weather for the day is cold and overcast, and because I don’t want us to make the rookie mistake of going to the market on an empty stomach, I’ve prepared my glorious fall breakfast. This breakfast is made of cream of barley that’s cooked in chai tea and served with caramelized butternut squash. It’s warm, nutritious, sweet and luscious. This breakfast is going to set the tone for the rest of the day.
I chose cream of barley as opposed to regular oatmeal as it has a much creamier taste and is not as chewy as oatmeal. Although I do enjoy1 oatmeal quite often, there’s something that makes cream of barley feel more like a weekend treat. And to cook it in Chai tea simply infuses all those delicious flavours into your breakfast. The longer you steep the tea, the bolder the flavours. I personally steep my tea for about 2 minutes when used for cooking. When it’s for drinking, I like it a bit stronger so I’ll steep it for 5 minutes. You can use any variant of Chai tea you like, whether you want the energy boost of Chai black tea, the detox benefits of Chai green tea or if you’re like me, and you just want a sweet Chai herbal tea. My personal selection is a Chai rooibos tea from Yogi Tea.
Rooibos tea is from South Africa and according to Organic Facts, “the health benefits of rooibos red tea include its use as a cure for nagging headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension, allergies, and premature aging. The tea is absolutely free from caffeine content and is also low in tannins. It is also rich in many mineral contents such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium and alpha hydroxy acid. It also contains antioxidants”. Now that’s something I want to drink more of!
I hope you guys enjoy this breakfast and let me know what tea you chose!
Glorious Fall Breakfast
I buy cream of barley at my health food store but if you’re having trouble finding it, you can easily replace it with oatmeal or cream of wheat. Simply cook the cereal according to the packaging as it has a different water to cereal ration then cream of barley.
2 cups of water
1 Chai tea bag
1/2 cup cream of barley
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into little cubes
1/2 Tbs coconut butter
1 Tbs coconut sugar
In a pot, bring the water to a boil on high heat.
Take the pot off the heat and add the tea bag. Steep for 2-5 minutes, depending on taste.
While the tea is steeping, prepare the butternut squash and steam cook for 10 minutes or until tender.
Remove the tea bag and bring the pot back onto the heating element.
Bring the water/tea back to a boil and add the cream of barley. Stir and reduce to low heat.
Let the cream of barley cook on low heat for 5 minutes then remove the pot from the heat. Stir.
While your cream of barley is slowly cooking off heat, add the coconut butter and coconut sugar to a pan set on medium high heat.
When the coconut butter is melted and mixed with the sugar, add the cooked butternut squash.
With a spatula, coat the squash with the buttery sugar mixture.
The squash will start to caramelize.
Allow all the squash pieces to caramelize for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour the cream of barley into a bowl and top with sweet butternut squash.
I can’t believe we’re Friday already. The week has just flown, right by me. Part of me is excited, read relieved, that the weekend is just around the corner, mainly because the 3 hours a day commute to work has taken a toll on me this week (read my previous post here). Part of me wishes there were less items left on my “weekday” to-do list. Because yes, there is a “weekday” to-do list and a “weekend” to-do list. The difference between the two resides mostly in what I can get accomplished when my son is with me, i.e. groceries and what I can’t get accomplished with him, i.e. getting a good workout in at the gym.
Admittedly, these days, most of my workouts are done at home, as is my yoga practice. Although I try to get to the gym at least once a week so I can happily lift heavy things and make it to an Ashtanga yoga class, it’s not always possible. So home workouts have been my saving grace. I don’t have really heavy weights to lift at home, but lucky me has a very handy husband who crafted me a beautiful wooden plyobox, inspired by Rogue crossfit gear.
My home workouts are geared more towards full body weight workouts that can be done within 30 mins but still get my heart pumping and my muscles sore. I also put a lot of emphasis on my core, as it is still weak from pregnancy and it helps with my challenging Ashtanga practice. With early morning workouts and a demanding work schedule, it’s no surprise that my body needs all the nutrients it can get. And as I explained on my About me page, I always need to make sure I have enough protein in my diet. It’s what keeps me energized, satisfied and functioning well.
So with that in mind, I’ve created a protein packed nice cream. For those of you who don’t know what nice cream is, it’s actually a frothy, creamy, dreamy concoction made of frozen bananas and whatever else you fancy, that tastes just like ice cream but is the nicer version as it contains no animal products. I love nice cream and since it’s healthy and good for you, why not have it for breakfast! But I needed to find a way to incorporate protein in it to feed my muscles after my workouts. So after a few attempts, I’ve found the perfect secret ingredient: butter beans! Butter beans or lima beans, are packed with protein (8 grams of protein per 100 grams), have a nice smooth texture and a very subtle taste that can’t be distinguished when blended with frozen bananas. Winner!
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and that it keeps your muscles fuelled up! Let me know if you want me to share some of my workouts with you.
Protein Packed Pumpkin Spiced Nice Cream
Serves: 1 portion
This nice cream is really easy to make, is packed with protein and has a nice subtle pumpkin spice flavour. To make sure I always have frozen bananas on hand, I stock up when they go on sale, slice a bunch of them up and individually freeze the slices on a pan in the freezer before transferring them to a closed lid freezer safe container. Also, if pumpkin spice isn’t your thing, don’t be shy to experiment with other spices like ginger or just add some vanilla extract.
2 cups frozen banana, sliced
1 14 oz can butter beans
1/2 cup mylk (my new obsession is Ripples unsweetened pea mylk)
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
2 drops liquid Stevia (optional – if you like your nice cream really sweet)
Rinse the canned beans.
Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until you reach a smooth, creamy texture. And voilà!
Today is a big day for me. My son is now in daycare full-time (he’s 13 months) which means that I’m officially back at work full-time also. Although I never really stopped working, today feels different. Very different. Probably because today is the first day that my husband dropped off our son at daycare so I could map out the walk to the train station that’s not too far from our house. Probably because I had to pack all my food, coffee and water to prepare for my 1:30 hour commute to work. Probably because it just dawned on me that I’ll now be doing this every morning and every night. See, up until a few months ago, we lived rather close to my work. But our offices moved…1:30 hour away from where we live. It’s gonna be an adjustment. But because I truly believe there is a positive side to everything, here’s the good that I see coming out of this:
My husband gets to spend time quality alone with our son in the morning. Necessary male bonding!
I have all this time to write posts and think about creative and fun recipes for you guys.
I have time to think, period! Loll
So come to think of it, this is gonna be great! And frankly, there really is no other way to look at it because I’ve got a long road ahead of me.
Needless to say, I needed a really good and hearty breakfast to bring with me this morning.
I wanted something that would be easy to carry, didn’t need assembly, was satisfying and filling and would make me smile because yes, good food does make me smile. So as I was going through different ideas last night, I finally settled on my decadent granola. That would definitely make me smile in the morning!
This delicious mix of rolled oats, mixed nuts, shredded coconut, dark chocolate and maple syrup pairs well with anything. Whether you want to devour it by the handful, sprinkle it on top of some coconut yogurt or drench it with your favourite mylk, this granola is absolutely divine. I personally love to enjoy it with my new mylk obsession: Ripple’s unsweetened pea mylk. It is just so smooth and creamy. It’s the only mylk my son will drink and we buy it by the case.
I hope this granola makes you smile this morning and let me know how you’ve enjoyed it!
This decadent chocolaty granola recipe can easily be played around with to suit you and your family’s taste. I used walnuts and pecans in this recipe but you can easily add almonds and pistachios instead if you prefer, or pumpkin and sunflower seeds. You can also sub the chocolate for dried fruits if you want to make it a little less decadent. I also used coconut butter to help bind everything together. I find coconut butter adds a greater creaminess and flavour then just coconut oil. But feel free to play around with that too. Once cooled, you can store this granola in a glass jar in the refrigerator for at least 10 days.
2 cups GF rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shredded dried coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup chocolate chips, 70% cacao
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs coconut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
a pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, melt the coconut butter in the microwave for a few seconds.
Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together and toss with your hands. It’s messy but so much fun!
Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in the oven for 8 minutes then flip the mixture around with a spatula.
Return to the oven for an extra 2 minutes or until the oats and nuts are toasted.
Take out of the oven and let cool for at least 10 mins.