Nutritionally Nice Nutella

Every Christmas my Mum would buy a box of Ferraro Rocher chocolates for an evening treat.  Us kids would anticipate the moment when she would reach up on to the high shelf in our kitchen cupboard and bring down the hazelnut delights.  Savoring every bite I would eat mine off in layers, eating the outer chocolate-nut coating, gently nibbling the wafer-like interior to get to the rich hazelnut cream that has my mouth watering now!  Ohh did I love that interior gooeyness!!  I wished for just a spoonful of just that alone! Little did I know that Nutella was essentially just that! Nutella is undoubtedly the best tasting and marketed hazelnut spread on the market.  Traditionally Italians spread this on bread or toast for breakfast but these days people make ice cream, cakes, cookies, serve it on crepes, sandwiches, you name it.  My husband discovered Nutella while we honeymooned in Italy having it every morning with his cappuccinos.   While delicious, Nutella is dessert-like, high in … [Read more...]

Espresso Balls

I am not a big coffee drinker, tea is my jam, but sometimes I smell my husbands cup and I crave a little or there are definitely mornings when I need a little extra something to get me going in the morning.  And a chocolate sweet treat....need I say anything about that?  Hmm nope!  These banging espresso balls cover all these bases.  Naturally sweetened by the dates with a little protein and omega-3 kick from the walnuts plus the antioxidants from the raw cacao powder. Seriously why don't I make these espresso balls more often??  I love to make a batch of two of my espresso balls, place them in a labeled container and store them in the freezer so I can grab a few when ever I need them.  I do the same with my sunflower butter balls, carrot cake balls and protein balls which the kids can grab whenever they want a snack or something a little extra to keep them going. With Christmas just days away, these espresso balls were made for that magical morning when already my early bird risers … [Read more...]

Detox Oatmeal Cookie

Detox oatmeal cookies maybe I need to find a new name for this recipe because I know it sounds like an oxymoron right?? One should probably take a break from all cookies during a detox right?  Or what are you adding to these "treats". Stay with me!  We are still on a high from the fun of the festivities (and several helpings of pie, cookies and sweets), my kids get crazy grumpy when I suggest we take a break from dessert or treats.  Who wouldn't right?? Oats, chia and flax to the rescue!  Instead of saying we're going to skip dessert, I offer them some healthier options. These"detox" oatmeal cookies are my solution to the kiddos dessert while still giving them a good dose of fiber, healthy fats and vitamins. This is one of desserts or "treats" on rotation for the next few weeks and probably in the new year as well.  A simple and quick to make oatmeal cookie that can be made with or without the chocolate chips.  I made half the batch with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (2-3 chunks … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookie

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE all things pumpkin! Come October I stock up on my sugar pumpkins and cans of pumpkin and get busy in the kitchen on many things pumpkin! Trader Joe’s is totally in my corner! This year they have even MORE pumpkin items than normal! I’m talking pumpkin pasta, pumpkin butter, pumpkin gluten free pancake & waffle mix, pumpkin bread mix and even pumpkin cheerios!! Seriously awesome!! Such inspiration to whip of so many tasty treats of my own! Thanks to celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving and many weeks of houseguests, I have already made many pumpkin pies and we haven’t even gotten through Halloween yet!! Pumpkin pie will always be a favorite but I also extend the pumpkin love into muffins, cakes and of course cookies! Now that school is in full swing, I thought I’d try something new, Breakfast Cookies! I have tried these before with mixed success, one child loves, one hates or they haven’t kept well. I had all … [Read more...]

Plum & Fig Crisp

It’s hard to believe the Fall Equinox was this past week. It’s the third week of September and we are still in shorts and t-shirts. Not complaining! Just noting this amazing weather! Since moving to the mid-west we have had a lot of colder autumns and I can even remember a few August days pulling out the fleeces. Not fair, As my kiddos would say! Despite being Canadian by birth, I am a friend and lover of warmer weather! So this autumn weather is amazing!! I am eating it up along with all of the end of summer fruit that is still in stores! I’m kind of like a kid in the candy store when I go in and see all the peaches and plums that are still there in abundance! Yay fresh stone fruit! This week’s post is another one using fresh figs!! My little ladies just started their adventure with the local orthodontist so their mouths were a little sore and needed a softer dessert for our Sunday night family feast. Summer fruit crisp with a little cashew cream ice cream was the winner … [Read more...]

Mama’s Fig Bars

School for the kids has started but the produce section is still rich with end of summer fruit and veggies! We are eating as much of these goodies as we can. Lots of peaches, nectarines, plums, berries, figs, summer squash, local corn, tomatoes, we love it all!! One of my favorite end of summer fruits is figs! I love grilling or sautéing them in balsamic vinegar and throwing in a salad or cutting them up and throwing them in our overnight-oats or cereal. My girls are less wild about eating them right out of the fruit bowl but once cut up, cooked or baked they love them, too. Their natural sweetness, like medjool dates, lends itself well to lots of dishes acting as a key sweetener. Figs nutritionally offer a number of essential minerals (magnesium, calcium, copper and potassium along with vitamin K and B6 and are high in fiber. When figs are dried their nutritional value increases. For example half a cup of fresh figs contains as much calcium as a half a cup of milk but only two large … [Read more...]

Red Velvet Vegan Cupcakes

I had never heard of red velvet cake or cupcakes growing up.  Think they originate from the south and are often people dye hard favorite cake or cupcakes!  The name alone sounds divine, rich and oh so good!  Who wouldn't want one? It took me a few attempts to find something that would give my cakes a red'ish color and figure out how to make my healthier version close to the original.  The beets add a great red tint to the cake and icing.  These chocolate cakes are not a family favorite and I can't help but love that they are a one bowl wonder.  Quick to whip up for parties or an afternoon with friends.  Today's batch was whipped up to share with the kids on our street to celebrate "back-to-school" and the end of a fun summer!   They were a big success and some even asked if we could make this annual tradition....cupcakes every day on the first week of school!  Sounds like a plan to me! Red Velvet Cupcakes My take on red-velvet cake!  A healthier version of the original which … [Read more...]

Spinach Vanilla Cupcakes

I know it may sound nuts to put spinach in a cupcake?  Or there is no way your little ones are going to eat it if they know it has spinach into.....so don't tell them!  At least not until they have devoured these treats! I add spinach often to the girls smoothies because its an easy way to throw in some greens without them knowing.  The flavor and often color of the spinach is masked by the flavor of the other fruit.  Same thing works here!  The cakes come out a tinge green but make it fun or add a fun icing or topping.  My gals used to call these Kermit Kakes because they were a little green like Kermie!   They are a fun spin on an classic kid (and grown up) dessert.  My kids actually ask me to buy spinach so we can make these treats! Light and less sweet than the usual cupcakes you may get a birthday parties, when topped with an easy icing, coconut cream or a good dollop of jam, they are a yummy guilt-free goodies packed with goodness. SPINACH VANILLA CUPCAKES  1 Ener-G egg … [Read more...]

Power Protein Banana Bread

There is nothing like waking up to the smell of homemade banana bread!!  I had a roommate in college that used to make banana bread of Sundays.  The scents from our tiny shared kitchen would flow into my room and wow was that not always a good excuse to take a study break!! Bananas are a key staple in our house.  We throw them in our smoothies, mash them into overnight oats, put them on seed butter toast, whip them up into 'nice cream' or throw them in pancake, muffins or this yummy Power Protein Banana Bread!!  Given it's harder to buy super ripe bananas at our usual grocery stores, every few weeks I tend to buy several dozen bananas  and let them go nice and brown and spotty or super ripe.  Super ripe bananas are easily mashable and add natural sweetness to your baked goods, smoothies or oats.  I also like to freeze the spotted brown bananas for the same reason.  Friends or neighbors have been shocked to see the numbers of bananas we have ripening in our window sills at times but … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Did I mention our family is nuts about pumpkin? You’d never guess that from the number of pumpkin blogs I have written over the past couple of weeks, but we are we love pumpkin!! We love adding it to everything! We throw it in our oatmeal, smoothies, pancake and waffle batter, we make cookies out of it, soup, pasta cream sauces, chicken curries, you name it. Pretty much any type of dish we have added pumpkin! So we didn’t go vary long this season before whipping up a few versions of pumpkin muffins. I usually make gluten-free Pumpkin Buckwheat Muffin recipe but one morning I was out of buckwheat and low on my gluten-free mix so I had to improvise. The result was the recipe below, which in a recent taste test, two out of three of my tasters preferred. Though it was a very close decision that required multiple muffins to decide! Option to use canned pumpkin puree or roast and puree your own pumpkin (see Roasted Sugar Pumpkin).   Pumpkin Oat Muffins Healthy wheat-free, … [Read more...]