Pumpkin Muffins

IMG_4346I’m not sure when this obsession with pumpkin-flavoured things started, but as soon as the air starts to get a little cooler, and the season starts a changin’, I am determined to consume all of the pumpkin! That being said, I’ve been hard at work searching for the perfect pumpkin muffin recipe, and since I couldn’t find it, I decided to tweak a few different recipes to come up with my best version. Take note, the ‘perfect’ recipe in this scenario is one that doesn’t have a ton of sugar (so I can feel okay sending it as a snack for my one and a half year old), but still tastes good. Not too mushy, not too dry. You know, I’ve set the bar pretty high!

So here’s what I’ve come up with…and if you try it out, be sure to let me know what you think!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (you can play around with this depending on how much spice you like)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tray with liners (I like to use silicone liners myself).
  2. Add the pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla and oil to a large bowl and whisk together until combined.
  3. Mix together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices. Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Be sure not to over-mix, stopping as soon as the flour disappears.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until the tops lose their shine and they bounce back to the touch.
  6. Let muffins cool before removing. Place onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Advertisements

oatmeal strawberry banana muffins

IMG_3743

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…strawberry season! If you’re like us, you’ve already purchased a number of flats, your freezer is full and your fridge is overflowing! So in searching for new ways to use up some of these insanely delicious berries, I’ve come up with a tasty muffin recipe for you all to enjoy.

Besides being delicious, these muffins also offer some nutritional benefits. The steel cut oats are a good source of soluble fibre and non-heme iron, and the strawberries provide vitamin C, which aids in the absorption of iron. So pick up some local strawberries, bake and enjoy!

Ingredients

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¾ cup quick oats (I used Bob’s steel cut quick oats)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

1 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or melted butter)

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 medium sized bananas mashed

2 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup)

¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1 cup diced strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and lightly coat muffin cups with melted oil (makes 24 mini muffins, or 12 regular sized muffins).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil, egg and vanilla. Stir in mashed banana, honey and yogurt, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the strawberries.
  5. Divide the mixture into muffin trays, and bake 15-17 minutes for mini muffins, 22-24 for regular sized muffins, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

~ love fully and fuel simply, ATS

turkey taco bowl

Turkey taco bowlSometimes the best things are the ones you didn’t plan at all! Enter, the turkey taco bowl! In all honesty, this recipe was completely unplanned and made on a whim, but it turned out so well that I just needed to share. The recipe includes all the flavours of the ever-popular taco, with some extra veg to kick up the nutritional value!

Ingredients

2 large zucchini

salt & pepper (to taste)

2 large bell peppers (I used red and orange)

garlic seasoning (I used this one here)

Avocado oil

1 lb lean minced/ground turkey

Homemade taco seasoning to taste, depending on how spicy you like your tacos. I honestly can’t remember which one I used when I made my mix, but something similar to this (homemade taco seasoning)

1/2 cup regular hummus

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 avocado

Cheese of choice
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Use spiralizer to cut zucchini. Toss spirals with some salt, and let drain in a colander for about 1/2 hour, pressing on it and stirring gently a couple of times.
  3. Meanwhile, cut bell peppers into strips and toss with avocado oil (about 1 Tbsp) and garlic seasoning to taste. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake until tender, approximately 20-25 minutes, flipping once part way through.
  4. Sauté turkey on medium heat and add taco seasoning to taste. Meat should be cooked to a temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).
  5. Combine hummus and lemon juice for dressing.
  6. Sauté zucchini noodles in avocado oil (about 1 Tbsp) on medium heat, for about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Plate individually, adding zucchini noodles, peppers and turkey. Top with avocado, grated cheese of your choice and lemon hummus dressing. Add other toppings if desired, which may include salsa, plain Greek yogurt (a healthier alternative to sour cream), or crumbled corn chips.
  8. Enjoy!

~ love fully and fuel simply, ATS

 

7 tips for baby/toddler nutrition + the easiest baby pancakes

After posting about the ridiculous amount of food my 11 month old baby consumes for breakfast, I had a number of comments and questions about what I feed him and how I get him to eat such nutritious food. Besides the fact that I make delicious food that no one can resist (wink wink, nudge nudge), I do have a few tips I can pass along that may be helpful. And since I’m feeling generous, I’ll also share a super easy pancake recipe that’s packed with nutrients (which came with a little help from my mama friend).

Tip #1: Try Everything

Can you believe that I had never tried a kiwi until I bought one for my baby?! How is that even possible?! It’s likely because my parents never bought them, so they were just never on my radar! For many of us, it’s often difficult to get out of our comfort zone when it comes to food, but it’s important to introduce as many types of foods and flavours as possible. This includes adding different spices to foods, and also including strongly flavoured foods, such as salmon or onions. Nobody likes bland food, even babies, and yes, my 11 month old eats salmon and onions! Keep in mind that children who are raised in families who eat a wide variety of foods are actually more likely to eat a variety of foods themselves!

Tip #2: Keep Your Comments to Yourself

My husband struggles with this one…a lot! Just because our little ALWAYS eats his broccoli last, doesn’t mean he doesn’t like it, or that he won’t eat it, because he ALWAYS eventually does! These little humans listen to everything we say…EVERYTHING, and if what they hear from you is that they don’t like broccoli, they’re probably going to think they don’t like broccoli. See how this works?! Try to steer clear of comments regarding what your child likes and doesn’t like, and allow them to make their own conclusions!

Tip #3: Try and Try Again!

Even though my little guy immediately puked the first two times he tried eggs, I kept at it! And yes, the third time WAS the charm! It is important to keep in mind that it can actually take eight to ten exposures to a new food before it is accepted. Trying the same food different ways, or served with other foods can be helpful, so try and try again!

Tip #4: Make Food FUN

If making broccoli look like trees standing in a pile of hummus will get your child to eat it, what’s a few extra minutes to make the plate of veggies look like a forest?! Kids like things that are fun. Period. So making food fun makes it more likely that your child will get excited about food. Allowing kids to help in the kitchen with age appropriate tasks can also make them more excited to try new foods! Our little guy isn’t even a year old yet, and he loves to sit at the island and watch us cook, and yes, also try to grab everything within arms reach!

Tip #5: Allow Independence

Kids are messy, you knew that getting into this (is what I try to remind myself of), so let them explore. If it means a few extra pieces of food end up on the floor because they weren’t spoon fed their entire meal, then get a dog! 😉 Allowing your child some independence in choosing from options on their plate is important to their development, and bonus, it leaves your hands free to eat your meal while it’s still warm!

Tip #6: Never Force

Children have an innate ability to regulate their intake, meaning they will only eat what their body needs. Unlike adults, children will not eat more than what their body actually requires in terms of energy, but this innate ability can be altered by external factors such as forcing a child to clean their plate, or to eat a meal because it’s time to eat. Allow your child to use his/her own internal cues and decide for him/herself when they are hungry or full.

Tip #7: Hide the Goods

Sometimes, it must be done. Hide those extra nutrients wherever and whenever you can. Sprinkle some hemp hearts on peanut butter toast, blend up some veggies to make a sauce for noodles, or hide spinach in these super easy nutrient-dense pancakes:

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 egg

two large handfuls of spinach

cinnamon (I’m not going to lie, I didn’t measure)

coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)

peanut butter (optional)

hemp hearts (optional)

Directions:

Mash banana and add egg and cinnamon, mixing together until combined.

Add spinach to a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add to banana/egg mixture.

Heat pan on low and add a small amount of coconut oil. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture per pancake to the pan. Cook until the pancake has solidified, and flip to cook the opposite side.

Top with peanut butter and hemp hearts, or other topping of choice. Serve with fresh fruit and enjoy!

~ATS

Information adapted from Nutrition Through the Life Cycle 5th Ed., JE Brown

 

 

my many loves

As a lover of, and what you might call a dabbler in many things, I’ve continuously strained to find what I’m most passionate about. I’ve often struggled with hearing others discuss their passions in life, and found myself wondering what is my passion, what do I love THE VERY MOST?! Recently I’ve begun to discover that passion doesn’t necessarily mean that you must love one thing more than all others, and that if you allow it, your passion can be spread over many things, many opportunities, and many adventures in life. The more I’ve become accepting of this, the more I’ve begun to acknowledge the fact that I can be a lover of many things, and that there is room in my life for anything that I feel passionate about. This realization has also allowed me to discover the importance of my time, and the precious moments I am able to spend each day doing something that I truly love, and spending time with those who bring love and positivity into my life.

This journey of self-discovery began a few years ago, as a late 20-something, with no stable career after five years in university, and yet what seemed like no free time to do any of the things I truly enjoyed. To save you from the long and drawn out story, I ultimately made the decision to switch gears and re-focus on something I was excited about. I chose to put my teaching career on the back-burner and focus on building a career in nutrition and health. The decision didn’t happen quickly, or easily, and thankfully I had, and continue to have 100% support from my incredible husband.

So here I am, four years later, only a graduation ceremony away from earning my third degree, which may mean nothing to many of you, but to me it means a whole realm of things. It means I chose to do something scary, to take a risk and to work my ass off doing it. It means I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who I know will continue to be a part of my life, both as friends and as colleagues. It means that I have continued to learn about, and live a life surrounded by one of my life’s passions, and it means that soon I will have the opportunity to build a career in an area that I love. Although it can become discouraging at times, I must force myself to think back on what I have already been able to accomplish, and that as long as I continue to fuel my passions and spend those precious moments doing something I love, each decision I make and opportunity I embrace will enrich this experience that is my life!

~ATS

strawberry shortcake ONOs

IMG_3107

 

Strawberries, vanilla, cream, sugar – delicious, but not the best choice for a go-to breakfast. This version of strawberry shortcake however, delicious AND nutritious!

 

 

 

Ingredients

1/3 cup quick oats

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp honey

1/8 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup (or more) strawberries

coconut whipped cream

Directions

Add oats, chia seeds, honey, vanilla and coconut milk to mason jar and stir well until thoroughly mixed. Add strawberries and refrigerate over night. Add a small swirl of coconut whipped cream in the morning and enjoy!

~ATS

pb & j ONOs

IMG_3087

It’s true, I even have the shirt to prove it, peanut butter is my spirit animal! So naturally, I decided to begin ONO week with pb and j overnight oats, a healthier alternative to pb and j on toast. If you’re a pb lover like me, this may become a morning staple!

Ingredients

1/3 cup quick oats

1 1/2  tsp ground flax

1 tsp pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp natural peanut butter

2/3 cup almond milk

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

crushed walnuts

Directions

Add oats, flax, syrup, peanut butter and milk to mason jar and stir well until thoroughly mixed. Add raspberries and refrigerate over night. Add crushed walnuts in the morning before enjoying!

Tips: Stir the oats well in the morning before consuming in order to break up the raspberries. This will ensure you get that pb & j flavour in every bite! Also, as with all of the ONO recipes, by doubling the batch you can make breakfast for two mornings instead of just one!

Let me know how you like this one, and stay tuned tomorrow for ONOs #2!

~ATS