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.

The Oscars and a Freestyle Mexican Dip

Photo 2015-02-22, 7 39 19 PM

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!

 

“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.

Lamb Zucchini Boats

Lamb, rosemary, and mint.  The perfect combination to sail away in a zucchini boat!

Yes, it is a little annoying to hollow out the boats, but I love the presentation of it and it really doesn’t take that long.  If you aren’t partial to boats you can just chop up the zucchini and add it to the pot with the lamb mixture.  I won’t take it personally.

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Lamb Zucchini Boats

  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Wash and cut the stalk end off of the zucchinis.  Cut them in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.  Place the zucchini on a baking tray and set aside.

Set oven to 400 F.

In a pot over low/medium heat, cook the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the ground lamb and cook until no longer pink.

Add the mint, rosemary, lemon juice, spinach, salt and pepper, and cook until the spinach wilts.

Carefully spoon the lamb mixture into the zucchini.

Cook at 400 F for 20 minutes.

Salted Caramel Sauce

This happened today, and I can’t keep it to myself.  It’s probably my most favourite recipe ever.

I have always loved caramel.  I still sneak a few of those little square caramels every Halloween, even though I know they’re going to make me feel sick. Last year I even attempted making my own caramel covered candy apples – from scratch.  Don’t do it.  It’s painstakingly annoying and health destroying.

The alternative?  This caramel concoction that takes about 2 minutes to make. It’s like apples were made to be dipped in it.  No more fighting with plastic to open little caramels, and no more caramel sauce filled with dairy.  I’ll be dipping apple slices in this from now on!  And obviously, it’s kid approved.

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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

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend!  Done.

Now cut up an apple, dip it in the caramel sauce, and eat it.

You’re welcome.

Creamy Chicken Soup

There are a lot of soups that I used to enjoy as a kid that came out of a can.  Cream of chicken soup was one of them.  I’m almost certain that I would feel ill if I tried to eat them today.  And while making soup from scratch take a little more effort, you are rewarded with amazing flavour and quality that you can feel good about feeding your family!

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Creamy Chicken Soup

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 5 cups organic chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (I think I used approx a tsp of sea salt)

Chop up the onion, celery, and carrots and place in a large soup pot with the coconut oil or butter over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add the flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the chicken broth and thyme and bring to a boil. Chop up the raw chicken breast into bite sized pieces and add to the boiling soup. Turn down the heat to low/medium and simmer for 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked.

Transfer soup to a high-speed blender and add the coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Return soup the pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

Cranberry Orange Muffins

These muffins took a few weeks to perfect but they were worth the wait!  The recipe makes 15 muffins because each time I tried to change the amount of batter, the muffins didn’t turn out as well as this exact recipe.  I ended up just placing the 3 extra silicone muffin cups on top of the filled muffin tin (each at a joint between 4 muffins in the tin).  I hope that makes perfect sense to you…  If I overfilled the silicone cups, the muffins would cook over the edges and were impossible to remove.

I happen to have xylitol in the pantry, so if you don’t you can either skip it or use a pinch of sugar.  I love the extra hint of sweetness on top since cranberries are quite tart.

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

  • 1.5 cups + 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (vanilla extract works also)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (zest of 2 naval oranges)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • xylitol for garnish

Line a muffin tin with silicone cups.

In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, chia seeds, baking soda, vanilla powder, and sea salt.

In a separate bowl, mash the banana, and add the orange zest, orange juice, eggs, maple syrup, and coconut oil.  Mix well and add to the dry mixture.

Mix in cranberries.

Scoop the muffin batter into the silicone muffin cups, filling them each 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool completely in pan to avoid muffins falling apart!

Enjoy!

 

 

Cinnamon Cookie Cereal

These little cookie bites are the perfect accompaniment to our fresh Ontario strawberries!  We keep a stock pile of berries in the fridge, so this cereal is loaded with organic blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries and topped with cookie bites.

I’m already planning on topping my vanilla coconut ice cream with them later 🙂  Good thing I went to the gym this morning!  I’m pretty sure the kids are going to ask for this cereal every single day from here on in.  It’s delicious, and will destroy your favourite boxed cereal in both the quality and flavour departments.  We top this cereal with unsweetened almond milk and it is perfect.  There’s enough sugar in the berries and cereal that sugar in the milk would have been overkill.

Although it may look like these took forever to make, I had half of the little balls formed before the oven had even heated up, so it’s not too bad.  Totally worth it.

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Cinnamon Cookie Cereal

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl, mix almond flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.

Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and mix well.

Pull apart with your hands into little rustic balls.  Hint: make a little dough snake and you can easily pull small cookie balls off the end.  You can either grease the sheet with coconut oil, or use a silpat sheet – my personal favourite.

Cook at 350° for 8 minutes.  Let cookies cool on the pan and they will harden.

Fill a bowl with your favourite berries, and top with cookie cereal and your favourite milk for a nutritious and energy sustaining breakfast.

Enjoy!

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Mini Paleo Frittatas

I have attempted frittatas many times in the past and none of them have been delicious as this!  There is so much goodness packed into these little gems and the kiddos ate them up despite all of the green!  I’ll admit it was difficult to get them to take that first bite, but once I got big brother to partake, little brother happily complied!

These are also good reheated the next day, so feel free to make a big batch!

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Mini Paleo Fritattas

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, plus more for greasing pan
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, diced
  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (solid top in a can of coconut milk)
  • 5 strips bacon, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a muffin pan well, or use silicon muffin cups.

Place coconut oil, broccoli, bacon, and red pepper into a skillet over medium heat and cook until broccoli is bright green and bacon is cooked.  Cool 10 minutes.

In separate bowl, whisk eggs and coconut cream.  It will be chunky. Add spinach and stir.

Empty the broccoli mixture into the egg mixture and stir immediately.

Drop 1/4 cup of egg batter into each prepared muffin cup.  Bake 20 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in pan, run a knife along the edge and carefully remove.

Makes 7 mini fritattas.

* You may also use frozen broccoli and/or previously cooked bacon. You can substitute another protein if you don’t do bacon!

Fresh Tomato Soup

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Fresh Tomato Soup

  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • 5 organic tomatoes
  • 2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 28 oz can organic tomatoes (796ml)
  • 14 oz can coconut milk (398ml)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Chop up onion, carrots, celery, garlic.  Cook in coconut oil over medium heat until soft.

Chop up tomatoes and add to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.

Bring to a boil and turn down to medium heat.  Leave the soup on medium for approx. 20 minutes to boil off some of the excess water.

Place soup in a blender and puree.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve.

tomato3Proof that the kids loved it!