Muffins are a great item to prepare in advance. They freeze well and are very portable, perfect for a healthy, on-the-go snack or light meal. For this version I tried to keep them as nutritious as possible by starting with a base of sprouted spelt and sprouted buckwheat flours. This extra step in the processing creates a whole grain flour that is easy to digest, with more bioavailable nutrients.
From there, the muffins get some density and healthy fats from almond meal (ground almonds) and moistness from apple sauce, Greek yogurt and a bit of cultured butter. Natural sweetness comes from dates and maple syrup and vanilla and cinnamon add a bit of seasonal spice.
I used Honeycrisp apples to make the apple sauce and for the apple pieces in the muffins. They can be a harder variety to source but they most prevalent this time of the year, especially at farmers’ markets. They own up to their name with a deliciously sweet flavour and crisp, juicy texture. Any other sweet varieties like Gala also work well for apple sauce and baking.There are over seven thousand varieties of apples available around the world but across the board, apples are generally a good source of fiber, vitamin C and many powerful polyphenols, many of which act as antioxidants. Several of these nutrients are in or just under the skin so for maximum benefit keep the skin on and for the most ideal option go for organic. Fruits with thicker skins like avocados and oranges have been shown to have lower amounts of pesticides but fruit with thin skin like apples, and especially when those thin skins are eaten, often have a higher concentration.
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1½ cups unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk (or any preferred nut milk)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped (around 16-18)
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup salted butter, softened (cultured if possible; or coconut oil for a dairy-free option)
Preheat oven to 375°. Line 36 muffin tins with parchment paper liners.
Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Place all the wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well until they are fully mixed together. Fold in the apple and cranberries until evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Scoop out the mixture evenly into the muffin tins, filling them around ⅔ to ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Place pans on cooling racks for 5-10 minutes. Once the muffins are cooled enough to touch, take them out of the pans and leave them to cool completely, directly on the cooling racks (leaving them in the pans can make the bottoms soggy). Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few days and in the freezer for up to a few months.
It’s the first day of fall, time to fill the kitchen with pumpkins and incorporate them into healthy, hearty culinary creations. Here I used some puréed pumpkin to make some nutrient-dense muffins. They are also based upon sprouted spelt flour and sprouted buckwheat flour. Spelt is an ancient grain that has been shown to be easier to digest than several newer varieties. Both spelt and buckwheat have a nutty flavour that works well for muffins and using sprouted options ensures maximum nutrient bioavailability. Continue Reading →
One of the most common ways to preserve the bounty of our summer berries is by turning them into jam. The process can be a bit intimidating because the right temperature, sugar content and pectin levels have to be spot on. Out of the nutrition world has come a simpler process that utilizes chia seeds as the thickener. Continue Reading →
Poaching fruit in some kind of other fruit juice makes for a succulent, flavourful treat. Pears have a texture that holds up well and is transformed perfectly by poaching. They become extra sweet and velvety, plus they are neutral enough to take on other flavours well. I like to use bartlett pears that are just starting to soften, they should press in slightly to touch with a bit of pressure, but any variety can be nice. Continue Reading →
Smoothies can be as light or as decadent as desired. They can be filled with a myriad of superfoods or made from a few simple ingredients. This version is more of a dessert combination, made from only four ingredients- fresh nectarines, vanilla bean, cashew ice cream and cashew milk. The nectarines give it a sweet, summery flavour while the cashew ice cream and milk give it a velvety smooth, rich texture and the vanilla increases the decadent factor. Continue Reading →
There are few breakfast options more universal yet varied than bacon and eggs. Here I used thickly cut pancetta, a type of Italian bacon in a frittata, along with some leeks and a base of thinly sliced yams. Continue Reading →
Skewing fruits is a way to make fruit salad into finger food, an easy option for summer get togethers or for snacks on-the-go. This definitely doesn’t require a recipe or specific measurements. They can be more uniform with the fruits in the same order or they can be more sporadic. Continue Reading →
These Canada Day inspired parfaits are made from layers of chia pudding, yogurt and pomegranate arils. The chia pudding at the base is only three ingredients- puréed cherries and strawberries with chia seeds. A little maple syrup would be the perfect addition for some extra sweetness. Continue Reading →
These 3-ingredient pudding cups are an ideal snack for hot days. The chia seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats to keep the mind and body going strong while the mango provides some quick energy and natural sweetness. They both are also great sources of fiber and a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I used coconut milk for a an extra hint of tropical flavour but any nut or seed based milk would work just as well. Continue Reading →
These coconut pineapple flavoured overnight oats are a way to take the flavours of a piña colada into a very healthy dish that can be acceptable first thing in the morning (rum optional). The oats are dense and hearty, and they thicken up to a rich mixture overnight with the help of some chia seeds and coconut milk. Some dates add natural sweetness and some cashew butter makes it all extra decadently creamy. Continue Reading →