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 →
Adding some grains and/or legumes like quinoa and lentils to our salads helps to make them more hearty, a timely adjustment as the seasons change and temperatures drop. Including some tomatoes, tomatillos, herbs and a creamy dressing keeps it fresh, light and flavourful. Continue Reading →
Meal prep, or ingredient prep, is a valuable tool in regularly eating well. If you don’t enjoy leftovers it doesn’t take too much effort to create whole new dishes out of leftover ingredients. Any cooked whole grains can be transformed into a summer salad that is nourishing and satiating without being too heavy for hot summer days. Crisp ingredients like green apples and kohlrabi keep it light and some herbs and greens keep it fresh. 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 →
Overnight oats are a wonderful option for an on-the-go breakfast. Technically, our bodies work best at digesting, absorbing and utilizing food when we are in a calm environment with little distraction from the process of eating. However, sometimes we are just too busy to take that much time to focus on every meal. When that happens, simple and easy to digest meals made from whole foods and not too many ingredients can be a way to get nourished without giving the body too much work. Continue Reading →
Rice bowls are a grounding, nutritious meal that can be a good way to use up leftover odds and ends from the crisper. Here I went for a seasonal version with lots of detoxifying greens, a couple fortifying root vegetables, some cleansing radishes, a refreshing zucchini and a sprinkle of fragrant edible flowers. Tofu, grilled meat or seafood, avocado and creamy dressings are good add-ons to make it extra filling. Continue Reading →
Energy balls can be made with any combination of dried fruits, nut butters, seeds, nuts and whole grain flakes or puffs. They are basically trail mix in another form, though they are just as portable and convenient. I find that they can even be a bit easier to digest because everything is chopped finely. Generally, we do not chew our food enough, putting more stress on the rest of the digestive system to break down each bite. Continue Reading →
Steel cut oats are one of my favourite whole grains. They cook up into a really nicely dense and hearty oatmeal. Around a cup and a half, cooked according to package directions, expands into around 6-8 nourishing servings. I like to make a batch like this, with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, then reheat portions as needed throughout the coming days, with some nut milk to thin in out. Adding in fruit, nuts, seeds and yogurt makes it rich in a wide range of nutrients from fiber, protein and healthy fats to vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Continue Reading →
Quinoa is a very nutritious whole grain that can be eaten hot or cold. It has a nutty flavour and delicate texture that works well as a base for wholesome salads. It is notably high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and a range of nutrients. Continue Reading →