Juice Pulp Muffins

Ok, so for some of you this might require some trust. Pulp doesn’t sound appetizing, I know. Bear with me though, because these muffins are fantastic. They’re dense but moist, sweet and flavorful but without all of the added heaviness of regular muffins. Part of the new meal plan I started in August included a three day juicing phase. I borrowed a coworker’s juicer then immediately turned around and got my own. I loved it so much! I kind of always knew I would and for years have wanted to try it but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to swallow the cost of one. Luckily, we got this juicer using Mike’s credit card points, so that’s a total bonus and I’m infatuated with the damn machine. I love how little time it takes to make a juice in the morning. I prep everything the night before, maybe 5 minutes of effort, then juice enough for two daily juices. Of course, the recipes are absolutely endless but the only one I’ve discovered that I don’t like involves beets and lemon. Blech! Anyways, I had a hard time with the amount of waste juicing induces. I compost everything, but I thought there was surely a way to use the pulp – afterall, it’s only vegetables and fruit. I found so many awesome ways! Like muffins, soups, salad toppings, stir fries etc! So I set aside the pulp from a carrot, apple, ginger, spinach pulp and started scouring the internet. (The pulp is freezable) I came across a paleo recipe for carrot cake requiring shredded carrot and I went from there. I had to adapt it quite a bit then adapt it a few times but so far, this is the best one. I even burnt a batch and they still tasted great! They’re packed with fibre, protein, healthy fats and all that good veggie goodness. I was hesitant to post them here because the nutritional value looks a little daunting. But honestly, they’re all natural and everything you’re consuming has been minimally processed and has no added sugars, chemicals or preservatives. Basically, all of the ingredients are happily digestible by your body. So do it – I eat one for breakfast with my coffee and one for my afternoon snack. Use any combination of pulp that sounds good to you! I started you off with my favourite.

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Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Garlic

Ripe, colorful, sweet cherry tomatoes. Fresh, strong, pungent garlic. One of the things I miss about living in Victoria is the massive rosemary bush in my garden. That thing had a mind of its own and would mutate every time it rained. I would regularly cut it, post an ad on Craigslist and give bags of it away. Fresh rosemary all year round … I miss that and I’m looking forward to the day I can have an out of control rosemary bush again. Among other things! I love this recipe because it uses all fresh ingredients but it’s also so versatile. It can be used in pretty much anything. I often use it in casseroles, like a spaghetti squash casserole. It’s great as a simple addition to pasta or you can puree the tomatoes and garlic together and add them to a basic marinara. There is a face-punch of flavor, no matter how you use it. But fair warning: your house will smell irresistible!

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Coconut Cream Yogurt

Hi. I haven’t seen you guys in a while! It’s been a rough few months for me and I’m finally starting to get my stuff back together. My dad succumbed to cancer in July, somewhat unexpectedly so I took a month off of work to help mom sort things out. After that, I had no energy, too hot, too tired, too sad to focus on cooking and taking pictures and writing these posts up for you. At the beginning of August though, I hooked myself up with two personal trainers and I feel like my life is on a different track. A path that I could always see off in the distance but could never get to, one that I constantly thought about but could never pull the energy out of the depths for. So, I’ve been going to the gym. And I’ve been given a meal plan. And since August I’ve lost 16 pounds and in the last month I’ve lost 12.75 inches! It’s moments like this that I’m so grateful for this blog because if it weren’t for this and these recipes and all of the work I’ve put into learning how to cook healthy meals, a meal plan would be so much harder! My plan, for now, is gluten free and dairy free. I was already 90% there so I didn’t find this too difficult. This recipe helped me step over the roadblock I had with my homemade yogurt. My trainer was letting me still use the dairy yogurt but that’s all I was allowed to have. I wanted to eliminate it entirely and do the best that I can with this exercise ‘thing’. This recipe makes two servings so I have to make it more often but it takes less than 5 minutes to prep, a night in the oven and we’re done. It’s slightly more expensive but totally worth it as far as I’m concerned – I’m happy to have a sugar free, preservative free vegan yogurt for my morning snack. I’m still in love with the dairy yogurt though and hopefully I’ll be able to incorporate it back into my diet in small doses.

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Chicken Stock

So like I said in the last post, roasted chicken is a double hitter. Roast up your chicken with some spices, butter and veggies and after dinner, remove all of the meat from the bones and throw the carcass in a slow cooker with your roasted veggies (or fresh veggies if you used the roasted ones for dinner) and some water. I’ve done up this recipe with the assumption that you’ll use fresh veggies. You can use any veggies you want and can add any additional spices you want. I’m not sure how aware you are of the salt content of store bought stocks. Even the low-sodium versions are loaded with salt. It’s used as a preservative and I think it’s virtually unavoidable if you’re going to buy it. No judgement though, I have certainly bought my fair share of stocks but there is almost no sodium in this recipe – I didn’t add any more to the crockpot and it has a pure, delicious chicken flavor. This recipe is absolutely just as easy to make as it is to throw the carcass away so I highly recommend it! You can split it into freezable containers and keep it stored away for several months, or you can do what I did and make Garlic Parsley Risotto and Creamy Cheesey Polenta with it – a great hearty soup is also a solid option. It’s great to plan almost a week’s worth of recipes around one chicken, let me tell you!

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Roasted Chicken

What’s your take on roasted chicken? Is it a go-to in your house or is it a meal that has strong memory connections for you? Do you have a preferred method or recipe? My answer is – none of the above. I’m sure my mom made it as a kid, but I don’t have any powerful recollections. Both of my Grandmothers were terrible cooks and I don’t often make it, even though my mantra is simplicity on all fronts. Roast chicken is definitely simplicity. Of all the recipes I’ve ever looked at I have never come across one that could be classified as complicated. Even the greats use simple tactics and simple ingredients! I have a trick up my sleeve though – one that I don’t see very often in recipes but when I do see it I says to myself “Eh, they know what they’re doing!” The secret is butter. Ssshhhhh Don’t tell anyone! My mom gave me some large (5-7 pounds!) organic chickens and I haven’t used any because the time it takes to roast those suckers is far longer than I want to have my oven on during the summer months. But now, it’s cold, it’s raining and it’s looking a lot like winter. The best thing about roast chicken though is that it’s a double hitter. Take the meat off the chicken, throw the carcass in a crock pot with some veggies and water and you end up with some wicked (and natural!) chicken stock – which I then proceeded to use to make Garlic Parsley Risotto. It’s been in the oven for 10 minutes and already smells great. I only have two hours left …

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Sriracha Sesame Sauce

There aren’t really many meals or recipes that are complete without a good sauce. I mean, the sauce carries all the flavor! Mike calls food nothing but a ‘vessel for sauce’ and he likes to consider himself a ‘Sauce Connoisseur’. My fridge door is bulging and overflowing with bottles of sauce. That he never uses. Sauce Connoisseur my foot. This sauce is perfect in every way. It’s slightly spicy, a bit smoky, asian-inspired and oh-so-simple to make. Though it has a lot of ingredients, it comes together quickly, doesn’t require cooking and has the special perks of being gluten free, sugar free and so incredibly versatile! There is quite a bit of fat for a sauce, but I consider the fats to be good fats and that’s how I justify it. Mmmm coconut oil.

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Crockpot Curried Beef

Fall is coming. It has been such a hot, dry summer in Vancouver – a rarity to be sure! Basically overnight the temperature went from a range of 20-27 degrees celcius straight down to 9 degrees. Bring on the cool nights and solid sleep! I wake up so much more rested in the fall when the temperatures start to dip. When it comes to food though, I immediately start wanting hearty, bold and full dishes. Something simple but with serious flavor. I threw some stewing beef in the crockpot this morning with some from-scratch curry and as I left for work, asked Mike to give it a couple stirs throughout the day. I got a text around noon that said “what is in the crockpot because it smells f**k’n amazing!” I was excited to come home to a complete dinner but when I walked through the door a “woah” escaped my lips and I hoped the whole neighborhood could smell this. It smells crazy good and I couldn’t wait for the rice to be done. Heaven folks, pure curried heaven.

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Vegan Raw Chocolate Pudding

Hey, I’m not going to lie to you; I like pudding. I think the same goes for most people. It’s delicious! But it isn’t healthy. By any stretch of the imagination. I actually found this pudding more satisfying than regular chocolate pudding. There’s no added sugar. There’s no dairy. It’s all healthy, digestable fats. This is healthy stuff but I can assure you, aside from a slight flavor distinction, you won’t know it’s good for you – and I’m willing to bet good money your kids won’t notice either! That and it better be good for me because I ate it ALL. (don’t judge)

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Coconut Sweet Potato Muffins

Holy smokes, where have these muffins been all my life? I like muffins to begin with but these are moist and light, not dense and heavy like some muffins. They have a great flavor, savory and not too sweet. It was a spontaneous decision to make them and I’m so glad I did. I saw the recipe on Pinterest, knew I had all the ingredients on hand and of course I had just finished cleaning my kitchen, so the timing was perfect. They came together in under ten minutes, which is really my idea of the best kind of baking. You can adjust the ingredients to use what you have on hand or to make them vegan if that’s what you prefer. The ingredients are simple and easy to come by. The recipe only makes 9 muffins and I’ll double it next time. A healthy treat for your and your family. I’m sure your kids won’t be disappointed!

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Spinach and Millet Timbale

Until this afternoon I didn’t know what a Timbale was and I’m willing to bet that a significant number of people haven’t heard of it either. To be honest, I’m not sure I even know now. But, it’s good to know (assume) that I’m not alone. It’s basically a quiche without a crust. It’s similar to a gratin but it is made in a hot water bath to prevent the sides from browning and it comes out of the pan easier. I was looking around for a new recipe for this week and came across this on Pinterest. Seemed easy enough, had all the ingredients, we’re good to go. There’s two ways to make this, I’ve only tried one. If you don’t have ramekins, make it in a large pan, it will take longer for the eggs to set but the results will be the same. You could also make it with quinoa!

**Quick Update – While this dish was great for dinner, it was fantastic as a leftover for breakfast. Warmed up in the microwave, a dash of ketchup and it was delicious. The texture held, the shape held and it didn’t become rubbery or slimy like some quiches do. Next time I’ll do spinach and bacon. Mmmm bacon. (Ended up doing broccoli flowers and roasted turkey and it was better than the original!)

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