kale

As many of you know, I’m in the middle of a major weight loss challenge. It’s no joke. I have to lose a good 15 pounds (25 would be ideal, but I’m being realistic and leaving room for major muscle gain, which I’ve been experiencing big time) by the end of April for a big “After” photo in the June issue of Today’s Parent Magazine. Can you say “eek”?!

I’ll be posting updates on how I’m doing in a new blog on Todaysparent.com. When I have the link I’ll give it to you asap.

In the meantime, I’m loving the green smoothie my naturopath Jennifer Baer recommended for me. And after stepping on my scale this afternoon, I realized that every time I get into a green smoothie kick, I start to lose weight. Every time. I just started drinking them again this week and my weight is ACTUALLY dropping. And I think it’s the kale.

Yes, kale can taste disgusting in a smoothie, but, I’m telling you it does wonders for weight loss. And when you have the right ingredients, and if you blend it well, a kale smoothie can be quite yummy. I splurged a while back on a Vitamix, and I haven’t looked back since. With a 7-year warranty, the exorbitant price is well worth it. ANYWAY! Here are the ingredients. Just dump them in and BLEND WELL:

1 cup kale
1 cup berries
1 banana
1 cup soy/rice milk
3/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
cinnamon to taste

Sometimes I add chocolate Vega Shake-and-Go Smoothie powder for extra protein, omega 3s and chocolaty goodness….

Makes 2 servings (refrigerate for a snack or breakfast the next day).

Enjoy!

Photo: daveeza


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I am thrilled to bring you a recipe from my absolute FAVOURITE vegan cookie company, New Moon Kitchen. Those of you whose children have peanut allergies, or who love healthy baked goods, and, of course, most vegans, know and love this brand. You’ve no doubt seen them in the natural food stores and wholesome bakeries. It’s hard not to dive into these like a regular Cookie Monster — ME WANT COOKIE!  I know, because they gave me a ton to try and share with my family, neighbours, kids’ teachers — everyone loved the cookies. Nom nom nom!

I think I loved “Momints” the most…, but it’s really a toss up: I’m a sucker for those chocolate-chip “Bite Me” cookies, too….

New Moon Kitchen

What we have for you is the recipe by New Moon Kitchen’s “Boss Lady/Baker Babe,” mom-to-be (by now she may have given birth!) Eden Hertzog herself! Thank you, Eden! I haven’t tried the recipe yet — I was too eager to post it for YOU, first — but I can’t wait! ENJOY!

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One-Bowl Oatmeal Cookies (made with spelt flour)

By Eden Hertzog (New Moon Kitchen)

I consider this recipe to be a cure-all for rainy days, sugar cravings, and something fun and easy to do with kids. Everyone loves fresh baked cookies right out of the oven, and this recipe makes it easy – and also healthy (no eggs, dairy products or nuts – safe for most kids!).

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Put on your apron!

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the following ingredients:

1 cup liquid sweetener of your choice – this can be Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup, or Brown Rice syrup. Best to use what you have on hand; these syrups will produce similar results.
1 cup pure sunflower oil
½ c raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla

3. Mix the ingredients together.

4. Then add:

3 cups quick cooking oats
2 ½ cups light spelt flour
2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon

If you feel inclined to add some chocolate to the recipe, throw in a cup of chocolate chips. Or if you’re really being good, use raisins or nuts instead.

*To keep this a one-bowl experience, simply “fluff” the soda/salt/cinnamon into the oats and flour.

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5. Now mix the dry ingredients into the wet (that were sitting so patiently on the bottom of the bowl). Do not over-mix or knead this dough – just fold everything together and be sure that all the dry pockets are gone.

6. Using two spoons, or better yet, an ice cream scoop with a thumb release feature, scoop dough into cookies approx. 1.5” in diameter. If you like a chunky cookie, just leave the batter on the trays as is. If you like a thinner, crisper cookie, press the cookies lightly with the heel of your hand.

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7. Bake at 350F for 12-13 mins (or until golden on top)

If you are interested in taking some of the fat and sugar out of these cookies, you can substitute ½ cup of apple sauce and simply remove ¼ c each of oil and liquid sugar. No one will know….


The Monkey actually ASKED me to make muffins today. And she LOVED these ones. She loved them even more, she claimed, than her favourite STARBUCKS muffins. SO THERE! Ha!

So, I try to keep this blog as vegan as possible. And I’m finding so many baking recipes I love call for eggs. Without further ado, then, I give you vegan egg substitutes — good for vegans AND those who, like me, couldn’t crack an egg properly if their life depended on it….

FLAX SEEDS AND WATER

For one egg, grind 1 tablespoon of flax seeds (or just measure 2.5 tablespoons of ground flax seeds) and mix with 3 tablespoons water. The mixture will become thick and gooey as you beat it. If the recipe you’re using is already pretty wet, you may be able to skip the water — just blend the flax in well. Of course, the best part about substituting eggs with flax (aside from happier hens) is the omega 3 factor! Ground flax is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids.

MASHED BANANAS

For one egg, mash half a banana! EASY! Just, be careful: only use this egg replacer if you don’t mind your baked goods tasting a wee bit like banana….

These are my favourite egg substitutes because they’re so easy and available…. But, there are others. See HERE for more on the above ideas and other great egg substitutes.

In the meantime…, I give you your muffins, Gorgeouses!

INGREDIENTS
(Makes 12)

2 cups oat bran (preferably a hot cereal mix — get your high fiber!)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk substitute (I used rice milk)
1/2 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil of your choice)
1 organic egg or egg replacer (beaten)(see above)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup ground walnuts (grind a small handful of whole walnuts)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease muffin tin.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

4. Pour the dry mixture into the wet, and combine until just blended.

5. Spoon the mix into the muffin tin.

6. Bake for 20 minutes (or until they look ready to you — golden…).

7. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. And ENJOY!

Let me know what you think and, of course, any tips or variations you have!


By now, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a big fan of THE MUFFIN. Muffins are just SO EASY and always YUMMY. If they’re made nutritiously, they’re like CAKE without the fat and calories.

The muffins I’m sharing with you are adapted from one of my foodie favourite books, Enlightened Eating, by Caroline Marie Dupont, a very talented energetic healer, and nutrition and meditation expert whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with — she did some energy work on me, and it was UNBELIEVABLE.

Anyway, I was in a bit of a hurry, but I REALLY wanted to make the kids something homemade and nutritious to munch on because, as you know, I’ve been feeling down about my cooking lately…. I opened the pantry for an easy organic muffin mix that I THOUGHT I bought. But, alas, there was none in the pantry. And, then I remembered I never actually bought it; I’d put it back on the shelf last minute, SWEARING that I’d bake muffins from SCRATCH. No copping out this time.

So, I went through ALL my cookbooks, as I do EVERY time I go to bake muffins, and I found a surprisingly EASY one, with very few ingredients, AND VEGAN. Sweet!

You know, vegan muffins are not just good for vegans: no eggs = almost NO MESS. So, without further ado, I give you….

ENLIGHTENED APPLESAUCE MUFFINS!

INGREDIENTS
(Serves 12)

1/2 soy milk (I like the YU soymilk with omega 3s in it; you can substitute ANY kind of milk, including dairy for this, though)
1 cup applesauce
3 tbsp. olive oil or butter
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp. ground flax seed (I used about 3 Tbs)*
2 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 – 2 tbsp lemon zest (I didn’t have lemons, so I left this out)
1 cup raisins or currants

*Always grind your flax seeds right before using them. I use a really small coffee grinder. So quick and easy.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil the muffin tin. Caroline suggests using coconut oil. I used an organic canola oil spray that I have — not the ideal choice, but I use so little….

2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the wet ingredients and ground flax seeds.

3. In another larger bowl, mix the dry ingredients and then fold in the wet ingredients.

4. Add the raisins and stir until everything’s mixed and you get a nice moist batter (never over-stir when baking).

5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin.

6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

7. Let the muffins cool for 5-10 minutes, and remove them from the tin.

Muffins freeze really well. So, you can put some in an air-tight container to freeze. This will prevent you from eating them all at once, too……. ENJOY!


I’ve been trying to do REALLY FUN things with the monkeys as much as possible lately. I realized that, if I’m going to be a stay-at-home-mom, it has to be about US — not JUST about them. Because if it’s JUST about them, NOBODY is benefiting. The happier mama is, the happier EVERYONE is.

So, we were lazing around on Sunday, and I decided we should BAKE MUFFINS! I could teach the monkey a little something about baking, AND we could all enjoy a HEALTHY alternative to the Halloween treats still sitting on our kitchen counter….

The recipe for these muffins was adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks right now, Nutrilicious: Food for Thought and Whole Health. I didn’t have any syrup, so I used my favourite natural sugar alternative, Agave Nectar, instead (which, BONUS, is lower on the glycemic index). I also felt the dough turned out a little dry, so I added more rice milk. The rest is pretty close to the original recipe. OH! Except for one more thing. The author calls for ALLSPICE. I would strongly advise using cinnamon instead. I have no idea why she chose allspice. Blech!

Other than the allspice, the muffins turned out GREAT! Nice and dense and filling and extra sweet because of the raisins…. AND, they’re super HEALTHY: high in fiber and a source of omega 3’s, baby! AND, NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THESE MUFFINS…. Love….

And, by the way, even though it says they’re optional? The SUNFLOWER SEEDS AS GARNISH is a must! They add both a satisfying crunch and necessary nuttiness!

INGREDIENTS
(Makes 12 yummy muffins)

2 tbsp ground flax seeds (buy them whole and grind them with a coffee grinder before use)
1/4 cup unrefined vegetable oil (I use Canola)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup OR agave nectar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup rice milk (or, I would think, any milk alternative)
1 cup whole spelt or whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp ground allspice cinnamon
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup organic raisins
Sunflower seeds for garnish, NOT OPTIONAL

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 375º F.

2) Grease muffin tin so muffins don’t stick, and set aside.

3) In medium-sized bowl, pour in the oil, syrup/agave nectar, bananas and rice milk. And, STIR IT UP!

4) In larger bowl, pour in the ground flax, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, oat bran, and raisins. And, MIX it up!

5) Pour the liquid mix over the dry mix just until the two are blended.

6) Fill the muffin tins with the mix.

7) Sprinkle the muffins with sunflower seeds.

8) Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick (or knife) poked into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

The author of Nutrilicious, Edith Rothschild, says these freeze really well! So, place a bunch on the kitchen counter (covered if storing for more than a day), and pack the other bunch in an airtight container and freeze.

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