Category Archives: Healthy Treats

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

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Ok, honestly..how many people actually have time to sit down and have a nice breakfast during the week?! I remember the days when I would wake up at my leisure, have a nice pancake breakfast, and take my time getting ready for a class starting at noon. Those days are long gone, out the door, can’t even really remember if they were a reality or not!

Now my schedule goes like this…alarm goes off at 5:40 am…hit the snooze…alarm goes off at 5:47 am…can’t hit the snooze again…better get up or I’ll fall back asleep and never make it to work…shower…go to the kitchen….put my lunch together…inhale a bowl of cereal or some pb toast…back upstairs to finish getting ready…out the door at 6:45 am!

Now, I really refuse to wake up earlier than 5:40 am, and I hate having less than 5 minutes to eat my breakfast so more often than not, I take something to work to eat at my desk. Breakfast is such an important meal that it really can’t be skipped, and it’s important to get something nutritious in to start off your day! When I saw these muffins, I knew they would be a perfect bring to work breakfast. They combine hearty oats, fresh blueberries, and super powered walnuts which are full of omega-3s! One of these little babies along with a banana or yogourt is a perfect breakfast, and something that’s easy to grab on the go when mornings are crazy. These will also freeze well so you could just take them out as you need them.

**The original recipe had 2 tbsp of honey as well, but I just completely forgot to add it in! The muffins are still delicious as they are, so it’s up to you if you want to add it in or not. If you do, add it when you’re combining the brown sugar, applesauce etc.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Slightly Adapted from Skinny TasteIMG_0268.JPG (2)

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine oats and milk in a small bowl and soak for 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, applesauce, egg whites, oil and vanilla, and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add oat mixture to wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, and stir until just combined.

Fold in blueberries and nuts.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, and bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy Treats, Muffins

Baked Oatmeal

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There’s something so comforting about waking up on the weekend, and being able to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and actually take a little time to prepare a delicious breakfast. During the week, breakfast is always an afterthought through the hustle and bustle of getting ready and getting out the door on time for work. I never skip breakfast, but it usually consists of something quick and cold like a bowl of cereal. Don’t get me wrong, I looooove my cereal, but a warm breakfast is always welcome every now and then. Usually on the weekends I will make some oatmeal, or pancakes, but I have been meaning to try baked oatmeal for a while now as I have seen it popping up all over the blogosphere lately.

Baked oatmeal is somewhere between regular oatmeal and a muffin. It’s denser than a muffin, but it does have that ‘cakey’ texture to it. Basically, it is AMAZING! I was able to throw this together pretty quickly and we enjoyed ourIMG_1546 coffee while it was baking away in the oven. I improvised a little to use what I had on hand, and I can see so many ways to customize and change this base recipe in the future by adding different fruits or nuts.

If you’re looking for something warm, comforting and FILLING for a lazy weekend morning, give this a try. It’s healthy too so you can feel good about starting your day right, and it will keep you full for hours on end!

There is no sugar added, so if you favour a sweeter oatmeal, you can add a little brown sugar or honey, but we found it delicious as is. The banana and apple add a natural sweetness, and you can  serve it with fresh fruit or a drizzle of maple syrup as well. 

This makes enough to serve 6, but you can always keep leftovers in the fridge to reheat during the week!

Baked Oatmeal

Slightly Adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oatsIMG_1538
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups  milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce*
  • 1/3 cup yogourt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup coconut, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, steel cut oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine milk,egg, applesauce and yogourt and mix to fully combine.

Add milk mixture to oat mixture and stir to combine. Stir in bananas, almonds and coconut.

Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish (mine was a square dish, but as long as it holds 8 cups of liquid, it should be big enough no matter what shape it is)

Sprinkle cinnamon on top and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown.

Serve with fresh fruit, milk, yogourt, maple syrup or to your liking!

*I didn’t have any applesauce but I did have a lonely granny smith apple hanging out in the fridge. I peeled and chopped it into small pieces, and microwaved, covered, with a bit of water for 2 minutes. Mash it up and you have makeshift applesauce!

 

 

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Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

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I hope everyone is surviving after that frigidly cold weekend we just experienced. Maybe you all didn’t feel it, but I definitely felt it in Ottawa and I was not too impressed that I had to drag my winter coat out of the closet this weekend. If there’s one thing that puts Toronto above Ottawa, it’s the weather! It’s so freakin’ cold in Ottawa! It’s not even natural sometimes! Thank god summer is on the way…I am already dreaming about patios, beaches, swimming, hot dogs, ice cream, and SUN! Remember when you were a kid and summer seemed to last f0r-ev-err. All you had to do was wake up, find your friends and run around outside all day everyday eating popsicles and filling up your little paper bag with 5 cent candies at the convenience store. Do they still sell 5 cent candies at the convenience store? I may have to check this out one day soon.

Anyways, this treat can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike! I am very interested in finding ways to reduce the amount of processed food that I buy at the groIMG_1516cery store. While we don’t buy granola bars all the time, they are good to have on hand for a quick snack when time is short. I am obsessed with these chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels found at the bulk barn, so this recipe really caught my eye. The peanut butter-pretzel combo is almost magic.

I changed the recipe only slightly from the original  only to use what I had on hand. I used Cheerios instead of the puffed rice, and canola oil instead of the butter. I also used salted peanuts to increase the salty factor a bit. I think the recipe is pretty forgiving, so use what you have on hand, keeping the liquid to dry ratios as they are.

These are really really good, and my intentions of keeping them on hand for emergency snacks didn’t work so well once I tasted them. But, at least I can feel relieved because I know EXACTLY what went into these granola bars, and I can be confident that I’m not ingesting anything weird with a long chemically-sounding name.

Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

Slightly Adapted from How Sweet EatsIMG_1521

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Cheerios cereal
  • 1/2 cup salted pretzels, crushed
  • 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used the natural kind)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp + 2 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (I used the mini ones)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine oats, Cheerios, pretzels, flaxseed, brown sugar and flour. Stir to combine.

Add peanut butter and mix well with a spoon to incorporate (You will have to stir it for a few minutes, and it will begin to resemble a ‘dough’. Everything should be fully combined).

Combine canola oil with vanilla, and add to dough. Add honey and stir to fully moisten and combine everything. Stir in chocolate chips.

Press dough into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting or it will be crumbly!

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Almond Butter Banana Muffins

Almond Butter Banana Muffins

It’s been a long time, I know, but I’m back, and I have an amazing recipe for you! I was so excited at the idea of this recipe, and even more excited when I tasted the finished product. These banana muffins are perfectly moist, flavourful and addicting! The best part about them is that they contain almond butter instead of oil or butter, and that they contain oats rather than flour. You don’t even taste the almond butter, it just acts as a fat in place of the traditional less healthy ones. You HAVE to try these, I am begging you! They are probably the best banana muffins I have ever had, and I don’t have to feel as guilty when eating them. The protein from the almond butter and the whole grains from the oats make these a great breakfast. I like to enjoy one alongside some yogurt for a quick nutritious breakfast.

You could try subbing peanut butter for the almond butter, but use the natural kind (ingredients should only include peanuts and maybe salt).  If you’re not on the almond butter train yet, get on it! You’ll never look back, I promise!

Almond Butter Banana Muffins

Adapted from Heather Eats Almond Butter

  • 3 ripe mashed bananas
  • ¼ cup almond butter (or any nut butter)IMG_1319
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups oat flour (pulse 2 cups old fashioned oats in food processor**)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt (leave out if using salted nut butter)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Stir together bananas, almond butter, sugar, egg white and vanilla until combined and creamy. In a separate bowl combine oat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add dry mix into wet mixture, stirring just to combine. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into paper lined or greased muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 mins until a toothpick comes out clean.

**To make oat flour, put 2 cups of old fashioned oats (the big flake ones, not the instant kind) into a food processor and pulse a few times until they are broken up. I didn’t blend mine until it was powdery like flour, I left a bit of texture, but it’s entirely up to you how fine you want the oats to be.

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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy Treats, Muffins, Quick Bread

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

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It’s peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butta, jellllay! I don’t know why this song comes into my head whenever I think about peanut butter (which is more often than you might want to know..hehe), but it is pretty catchy. I only have one question, what the heck is peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, but if you need a little refresher, watch the video again. Try not to get the song stuck in your head!

This comes from the era of other great web videos like this one. Watch out for that snake! Remember when such simple things like these were the joys of the internet? I remember waiting for my computer to dial up to the internet so I could watch this gem of a video in 1999. And then my mom would pick up the phone to make a call, and the internet would disconnect. Those were the days! Remember when you had to monitor your internet minutes to not go over the limit? And waiting an hour for one song to download on Napster? These are the stories I will tell my children one day…hahaha.

IMG_0694Anyways, if you know me or not, you must know that I am addicted to peanut butter. In the past I have been capable of eating a 1kg jar of peanut butter in one week. This habit got so out of control that I had to cut back. I will eat peanut butter with almost anything.

I think it all started when I was younger and I would whine to my mom about wanting dessert, and she would give me a spoon of peanut butter.

One time in my first year of university, I accidentally left the lid off my jar of peanut butter while I went to class, and when I came back, the whole room smelled like peanut butter! I don’t know if my roommate remembers this, but she was kind of disgusted. Hehehe…sorrrrry!

This recipe comes from one of my favourite blogs, Peanut Butter Fingers. I always like to find recipes for ‘healthy’ treats that I can pass off as dessert, but not feel like I’ve overindulged.  These also work as a great post or pre workout snack! A little protein to fuel you up! Even better is that this is no bake!IMG_0688 These are SO delicious. I had one for a snack at work, and all I could think about the rest of the day was coming home to have another one. Even my non peanut butter loving, dessert hater boyfriend thought these were amazing. Trust me, they are AMAZING! and HEALTHY!

I love the combo of peanut butter and dried cranberries. It’s like peanut butter and jelly! I get my dried cranberries from a natural food shop in Ottawa, and they are sweetened with applesauce, which means no sugar added, which I love!

This recipe can be adapted with as many add ins as you like! You could add raisins, other dried fruits, chocolate chips, nuts…the possibilities are endless.

I added chia seeds for an extra healthy punch. Have you heard of chia seeds? They are a great superfood packed with lots of health benefits! I get mine at the bulk barn. The original recipe also included brown sugar which I cut out. The honey made it sweet enough in my opinion! I used 1 cup of natural peanut butter, and 1/2 cup of crunchy regular peanut butter, but you can easily substitute all regular pb.

They are really delicious, and the peanut butter-honey combo reminds me of the peanut butter and honey sandwiches I used to eat when I was younger!

IMG_0697Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 5 cups bran flakes
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Melt honey and peanut butter in microwave until smooth and slightly runny ( Since my natural peanut butter was really runny, I only microwaved for 30 seconds, but you just want the peanut butter mixture to be thin enough to be able to incorporate with and coat the bran flakes. Add cinnamon and stir until dissolved.

Stir into bran flakes, flaxseed, chia seeds and dried cranberries.

Press into an 8×8 pan, lined with tinfoil overlapping the ends. Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight before cutting into squares. The overlaying tinfoil makes it really simple to lift  the whole thing out of the pan to slice!

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Banana Zucchini Bundt Cake

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I am slowly figuring out how wordpress works, and I have to say, all of the other bloggers are right, wordpress is much easier than blogger! While there may not be as many style customizations available, the ease of navigating around the blogging ‘dashboard’ outweighs it. T

To celebrate my new blog, and to ease the transition from summer to fall, I made this bundt cake because I looooove bundt cakes! They look so pretty when they come out of the pan, and they are so much easier than making a layer cake. I also love zucchini bread, which my mom used to make all the time. I saw this banana zucchini combo and I knew I had to make it right away! Zucchini is super cheap these days, and it’s always good to add some vegetables into cake, that makes it healthy right?! This recipe is also really simple and doesnt require a mixer!

In all honesty, I did healthify this recipe a little bit. Just enough to make me think its healthy, but not enough to make it taste gross (trust me, usually baking recipes that claim to be ‘healthy’ taste like cardboard, and you may or may not end up dumping it all in the garbage when you make it).

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I swapped out half the oil for applesauce (healthy tip: applesauce can replace oil in many recipes, and you wont even notice!)

I used half whole wheat, half all purpose flour, you could even try it with all whole wheat if you like

IMG_0672I also used 2 eggs and one flax egg (this was out of necessity since I discovered that we only had two eggs left in the fridge). A flax egg is a good vegan substitute for eggs in baking, just combine 1 tbsp of ground flax seed with 3 tbsp of water and stir to combine. Let it hang out on the counter for a few minutes until the mixtures gets a little gloopy (don’t know how else to describe it, hopefully you know what gloopy means?)

Banana Zucchini Bundt Cake

Adapted from Food.com

  • 3 eggsIMG_0683
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raw zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Butter and flour a bundt pan. Shred zucchini and set aside. Mash banana and set aside.

Combine eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and mix with a fork to combine.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir until just combined. Add in zucchini and banana and mix until incorporated.

Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert and unmold cake from pan, and continue cooling on the wire rack.

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Filed under Cakes, Healthy Treats

My Favourite Granola

Ola!

 Today I thought it was time for a more health conscious recipe. It sounds like it won’t be very much fun, I know…but trust me, this one is really really good! While storebought granola is very delicious, it is full of added sugars and ingredients that nobody has ever heard of. I found this recipe on the Cooking Light website and I thought it looked pretty good. I have a subscription to Cooking Light and every single recipe I’ve made from them has been amazing. Honestly, a lot of ‘healthy’ recipes are not that great, and just taking out all the high fat, sugar ingredients leaves you with nothing, and the results definitely show this. However, a lot of the recipes from Cooking Light are really good, and they do manage to make them more healthy them as much as possible.
Back to granola, I’ve made this recipe a few times and each time I find another way to make it better. This recipe is great because you can customize it as much or as little as you like. I usually use whatever nuts or dried fruit I have on hand, and you can also add coconut or chocolate chips at the end if you like!

We like to eat this over yogourt, mixed in with cereal or just for a snack on its own! It doesn’t last very long around here, so I should probably start making double batches!

I’ve adapted the recipe from the Cooking Light original by reducing the brown sugar to 1/8 cup and increasing the baking temperature. I found that baking it at 300 degrees as the recipe suggests left it a little too soft. Keep a close eye on it when its baking because it can turn very dark brown very quickly…I learned this the hard way, although the granola is still good, just a little toasty :). The baking times are really up to you and up to your preference on how crunchy you want it to be in the end.

Granola
adapted from Cooking Light
Preheat oven to 315 degrees
  • 2 cups rolled oats (I recommend using the large flake, but quick oats will work too)
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3cup honey
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit
Combine first four ingredients in a medium sized bowl
Combine orange juice, honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat on the stove, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved
Remove honey mixture from heat and stir in canola oil and vanilla
Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients and mix to coat
Spread on a baking sheet in a thin layer
Bake for 10-15 mins, stir well to flip granola
Bake for 10-15 additional minutes
Stir in dried fruit if desired
Store in an airtight container

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