Walnut Coconut Power Balls

If you like these as much as we do, you may want to plan a heavy workout before you make them!  Since they are sweetened using dates, each ball has approximately 6g of sugar, making them perfect post-soccer snacks, but not something you would want to take to the couch as you pound back a 6-pack!

Speaking of sugar, I don’t know about you, but I would rather eat my treats any day than drink them. One can of soda has approximately 33g of sugar! I can’t even fathom how I used to drink that stuff regularly. It makes me cringe now. The next time you feel the need for a soda, try adding the juice of half a lemon and a tbsp of apple cider vinegar to a glass of Perrier. It’s the best invention ever. I’m pretty sure I learned about that drink from Food Matters, so props to them for that one!

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Walnut Coconut Power Balls

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup Medjool dates (about 12, pitted)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Shredded coconut for covering.

Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until fine.

Add the dates, almond flour, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and sea salt. Pulse until thoroughly combined.

Roll into golf ball sized balls and roll in shredded coconut.

Store in the fridge.

Cauliflower Butter Chicken

This is my absolute favourite recipe to make at the moment.  I make it about once a week and I usually end up doubling the recipe so that we have leftovers as well!  I think I could eat it every day.  Butter chicken and chocolate.  Balance!

Plus, it’s so easy to prepare.  It’s something I can make even when I have 3 little boys running around.  Three!  Arlo is walking now so our house just got a little bit crazier, which means I have to make meals that I can pull together quickly!

If you are dairy free, simply substitute coconut oil when cooking the chicken and onions, and don’t worry about adding any extra at the end.  I usually use salted butter, so you may want to season to taste if you are making the substitution.

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Butter Chicken

Serves 4.

  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ cup butter, divided
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Cut chicken breasts into 1” chunks. In a large pan, add 2 tbsp butter and cook the chicken on both sides until no longer pink. Careful not to overcook them.  You want them to remain juicy! Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt another 2 tbsp butter in the pan and add the onion and cook over medium/low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, garam masala, ginger, paprika, and cumin, and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook over medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes to boil off some of the water.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the rest of the butter. Simmer for 5 minutes to reheat the chicken.

Serve with cauliflower rice, recipe below.

Basic Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Chop cauliflower into small florets. Place cauliflower in small batches into a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice.

Melt the butter in a large pan and add the rice-sized cauliflower. Cook over medium heat, covered, until tender, 5-8 minutes.  Add a few tbsp of water or chicken stock if you need moisture in the bottom of the pot.

While cauliflower is cooking, add salt and turmeric.

The Oscars and a Freestyle Mexican Dip

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Last year I went all out for the Oscars.  We ordered pizza.  I ate 2 slices and washed it down with some Barq’s Root Beer.  Then I proceeded to push out a 9 lb baby in our bathroom 5 hours later 😉  Glad I won’t be doing that again!  3 boys and done!

This year I decided to keep it simple.  Some freestyle Mexican inspired dip: refried black beans, minced beef, and some delicious guacamole.

There will be no more Oscars and pizza nights in our house since I’ve finally made the leap into being 100% gluten free.  I’ve been wanting to do it for years but I never tried hard enough because I was scared to let go of some much loved favourites: pain au chocolat, really good bread, and wood oven pizza (specifically Cremini Mushroom Pizza at Pizzeria Libretto if you’re a Torontonian. Yum!).  But as I continue on this health journey I couldn’t deny my body what it needed, and that’s a very clean diet.

Thankfully it’s not a very big leap from our current diet since our kitchen has been 100% gluten free for years.  We saved the gluten for the occasional pizza, wings, or restaurants.  I’m super excited to see the me I can be without gluten!

Alright, here’s what was on tonight’s menu:

Refried Black Beans

I’m not entirely sure this is the Mexican way, but it’s my way, and it’s delicious!

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Place onion, garlic, and butter in a large pan and cook over medium/low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the black beans and mash with a potato masher.  Add the cumin, sea salt, and chicken stock, and mash once again.  Once they’re as mashed as they’re going to get – you’re done!

Mexican Minced Beef

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (more if you like spice)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef and add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes to boil off some of the tomato water.

Guacamole (this amazing version not pictured because I was also watching an overtired and crying baby while preparing dinner)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 avocados, mashed with a fork
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • optional: 1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

Mash avocados with a fork and then add the rest of the ingredients.  If it doesn’t taste amazing, then there are 2 things you have to play with: the amount of sea salt and the amount of lime juice.  Play with these until this is the best guacamole you’ve ever tasted.

Other potential players:

  • tortilla chips (non-GMO)
  • diced tomatoes
  • organic old cheddar cheese
  • olives
  • hot sauce
  • jalapenos
  • whatever else you want to eat with your delicious freestyle Mexican dinner!

A shout out to Yuri for taking the beautiful photo while I wrestled the food to the table for our 3 little boys!

I put the dishes in individual serving bowls and let the kids assemble their dinner as they wished, which meant that Oscar ate a bowlful of guacamole and Luca ate 2 tortilla chips after filling his plate with them, declaring “I done!” and running away to play with a truck puzzle.  While they ate, I put Arlo out of his misery by giving him a bottle and then put him to bed.  And then I finally got to eat!  Dinner as usual in our house!

 

German Chocolate Cupcakes

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These babies have been a long time in the making.  I’ve been working on the recipe on and off forever, making them now and then but never really getting excited about them – until now!

I’m really glad I didn’t post them earlier because I’m on a low carbohydrate mission in all of my recipes these days.  There is so much unnecessary sugar in modern day food – it drives me crazy.  I had a muffin last week in a moment of weakness and I went into a sugar coma immediately after.  No wonder I was a walking zombie every day in high school, having delicious sugar-rich cookies every. single. day.  I literally lived off of sugar!  I do not want my kids suffering the same fate, but I also don’t want to deprive them of treats.

I made so many cupcakes testing this recipe that we had them for breakfast the next day along with 2 pints of blueberries.  No sugar crash.  No mommy guilt.  And very happy kids.

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German Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 16 drops stevia (I use Now’s French Vanilla)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12 silicone cups individually greased with coconut oil.

Mash up the banana very well, then add the eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and stevia.

Combine almond flour, cocoa, sea salt, and baking soda, and add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Stir well.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups.

Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (dry).

Let cool in the pan at least 20 minutes.  Hollow out the middle with a tsp.  Ice liberally with the chocolate ganache (careful not to fill the hole) and fill with the coconut filling!

Filling:

  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups shredded coconut
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup coconut cream (solid mass in a can of full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 16 drops liquid stevia

Place egg yolks and 1 tbsp water in a large bowl.  Place the bowl over an inch of  barely simmering water, and whisk until the eggs thicken, about 5 minutes. Add coconut cream and stir until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and mix in pecans, shredded coconut, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and stevia. Set aside.

Ganache:

  • 8 oz good quality 70% cacao chocolate
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat source and add the coconut cream. Stir to melt the cream. The coconut cream brings down the heat of the chocolate. The mixture will thicken and you can immediately ice the cupcakes (after they have cooled a little).

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“Cheesy” Turmeric Broccoli

I think I’ve teased you all long enough with the pictures of this delicious sauce!  It reminds me a lot of the cheese and flour sauce that my mom used to make to get us to eat cauliflower.  But now, the sauce is made of cauliflower!

The nutritional yeast gives the sauce its cheesiness so make sure you have it on hand.  Don’t worry, it’s an inactive yeast so it won’t add to any candida issues.  Plus, it’s full of B vitamins to give you an energy and nutrient boost!

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Cheesy Turmeric Broccoli

  • 2 heads of broccoli – about 8 cups of florets

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in coconut oil over medium heat. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the cauliflower and chicken stock to the pot and cover.  Cook over medium high heat until the cauliflower is tender.

Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a high speed blender and add the nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Blend well.

Lastly, place the broccoli in a large pot with an inch of water in the bottom.  Steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.  Drain broccoli and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain the broccoli well, transfer to a bowl and top with cheese sauce.

Quinoa Chili

Every parent dreams of having a dinner scene that isn’t complete chaos.  Imagine your kids sitting at the table and actually EATING what you put in front of them for once.  This is that recipe.  Not only that, but this is the meal they won’t complain about if they have to eat it tomorrow night as well.

Ok, ok it’s not all rainbows and glitter, I had to bribe them the second night and let them eat on the couch, but still.  And people I have sent this recipe to loved it.  Their families loved it.  And you’re going to put it in your dinner rotation. I pinky swear.

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Quinoa Chili

2 1/2 lbs minced sirloin
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange or yellow pepper, chopped
1 19 oz can kidney beans
1 15 oz can black beans
2 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
roasted jalapenos, hot sauce, and/or avocado to garnish – they’re all delicious!

In a large pot, cook the beef until no longer pink.  Add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the garlic and sweet peppers. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, quinoa, beef broth, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and sea salt, and simmer partially covered for 3 hours to let the magic happen, stirring occasionally.

You can eat it after 1 hour but the longer you leave it the tastier it gets!

Pear Crisp with Salted Caramel Sauce

Our family loved apple crisp growing up.  I can still recall the taste of it – So sweet.  When I got older and started making it myself, I cringed at the amount of sugar used in recipes!  This revamped recipe calls for pears for the sole reason that I didn’t have any apples and didn’t want to go to the store.  This recipe has 3 tbsp of maple syrup instead of the TWO CUPS of sugar the original called for…yikes.

If you choose not to make salted caramel sauce, I would recommend doubling the amount of crumble.  I went light on it knowing that I was going to pour a little extra sugar on top, and the result was perfect.

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Pear Crisp

Filling:

  • 6 cups chopped organic Bosc pears
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour

Topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond four
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla powder
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cut up the pears and mix in the cinnamon and flour.  Pour into an 8×8 inch pan.

For the topping, place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well, melting the coconut beforehand in a pan if need be.

Using your fingers, drop the topping mixture on top of the pears.

Cook at 350F for 35-40 minutes.

For the salted caramel sauce, if you’re lucky enough to have runny almond butter, just mix the ingredients in a bowl.  Otherwise, place all ingredients in a blender.  If your sauce isn’t runny, add more coconut milk to thin it out.

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

Here is my go-to recipe for snack day at my kids’ school.  It’s simple enough that you can make it even when a baby is crying for a bottle, and up to two other kids are driving you nuts – and you need to get them all in a car 20 minutes from now. GO!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil for frying
  • 1 can chick peas (19 oz), liquid reserved
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • ½ tsp salt
  • olive oil to garnish

Put the garlic cloves and coconut oil in a pan over low heat and cook until fragrant but not burned. About 5 minutes

Place garlic, chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, and salt in a high speed blender with about 1/4 cup of the chick pea liquid to get the blender moving.  Blend until smooth, using the temper as much as needed to push the blending mixture around.

Add as much or as little liquid as you would like to get the thickness you desire. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with a good quality olive oil.

How to Succeed

Today has been a stellar day, but it didn’t start out that way!  I was wide awake half of the night, finally falling asleep around 3am, and up again before 7am with the 3 little clones.  I gave Arlo a bottle, made the big kids oatmeal, and finished making enough snacks for 33 kids since I had double snack day duty, and somehow managed to get the big guys to school on time for the first time in awhile!

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Kid-Friendly Snack: Roasted Garlic Hummus and Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Since I’ve been battling insomnia for a couple of weeks I came home and laid down to take a well deserved nap.  An hour and no sandman later, I got up and drove to the forest for some well needed clarity.  I walked for 2 hours while listening to an audiobook, while walking amongst the raining leaves.  Why sit at home and read when you can enjoy this?:IMG_8693.JPG

My fitness goal is set.  I’m just as persistent now as when I initially set the intention.  I take daily action, eat well, and my success is written in the stars.  However, I have yet to set a concrete goal with respect to my career.  I’ve found myself floating in an ocean of possibilities, slowly moving along.  So I started narrowing down my goals today while walking in the fresh misty air.  I’m already getting really excited about working toward them each and every day.  I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and start learning, writing, and plugging away at a book that I’ve officially taken out of the “someday” pile and placed on the top of my goal list. The audiobook I listened to was called “How to completely change your life in 30 seconds” by Earl Nightingale, and it was the perfect walking companion.  I had heard it all before, but this time it really got my attention.IMG_8688.JPG

One of my favourite lessons is this: as long as you keep working toward your goals, you cannot fail.  You may fall – that’s ok.  Falling isn’t failing.  As long as you get up, you’re still in the game.  You’re successful.  Momentary setbacks cannot harm you.  Even if you’re in the lowest possible place you have ever been, a year from now, it will be just a distant memory, and you will be one year closer to your goals!  If you set a clear goal and work toward its fruition every single day, the universe has no choice but to grow the seeds into future success.  Our minds are extremely fertile, and whatever we plant in our minds will grow.  Positive or negative the mind cannot discern the difference.  It’s up to you to plant the seeds you want to cultivate.  It’s easier to be negative.  But know that your returns will be in direct proportion to what you focus on.  Replace any fearful thoughts with a positive goal worthy of your time.

There is no need to worry about how something will come about.  Worry is one of the lowest vibrations that we can find ourselves in.  There is no sense worrying about something you cannot control, nor is there any sense in worrying about something that happened in the past, or things that most likely won’t come to pass.  There is very little that we need to really worry about.  Most worries are situations that we create in our own minds.  It’s been said that 92% of things we worry about are in the aforementioned categories.  Only 8% of our worries are legitimate.

I know I was always afraid of failing.  What I really should have been worried about was my inaction.  My fears that held me back.  You cannot fail if you don’t give up, but you certainly can fail if you never do anything to shape the life you want.  Most people are caught in a stage of quiet mediocrity.  They want success, but they don’t want to work for it.  They get distracted by 1000s of things and never really get anywhere.  What do you want?

Don’t let events hold you back.  Don’t give away your power by making excuses.  It’s not what happens in life, but how you react to events that determine the result.  A famous psychiatrist interviewed the sons of an alcoholic man, and when asked how they came to be on their current paths, they both answered something like this:  “What would you expect having had an alcoholic father?”  One of the men was what you would call a success.  The other, an alcoholic like his father.

Traditional Greek Salad

I LOVE Greek salad.  What I don’t love is ordering it in a restaurant and being incredibly disappointed pretty much every time.  Greek salad doesn’t have lettuce in it.  It’s full of chunky vegetables and kalamata olives!  They should be the star of the show, and not just a garnish atop iceberg lettuce!  Rant over.  Here’s how to make a simple Greek salad that surely won’t disappoint!

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Greek Salad

  • 4 tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 green pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
  • 5 oz goat’s milk feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Serve immediately.

If serving a large number of people, you can cut up all of the vegetables ahead of time.  Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, black pepper, and garlic in a separate bowl and set aside.  Mix in the dressing just before serving.