I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember and it’s a wonderful tradition that I now love to share with my children. Both my children love it – the measuring out of ingredients, the mixing and the licking of the bowl after everything is in the oven. Think baking needs to be just sugary chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles on the top? Think again. There are so many ways to bake with lowering the sugar content and adding in nutritious ingredients like fruit or vegetables.
I’ve posted on my blog many times about some really great alternatives to traditional baked goods. Try my delicious sweet potato brownies or chocolate ginger beet and pear muffins with chocolate gaze or my apple and oatmeal bars. These all make perfect after school snacks or weekend teatime treats.
These simple muffins came about because we belong to a winter CSA where we get a weekly share of apples and pears (cue the cockney rhyming slang) and I was looking for a recipe that used fruit as a sweetener. There’s only a little but of sugar in this recipe but I think you could probably omit it entirely (except for the honey) and not notice it at all. These are easy and quick to make and taste delicious hot and fresh from the oven and keep for a couple of days in a cookie/biscuit tin too.
Apple – Banana – Oat – Raisin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup of butter)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons of local honey
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup raisins
1 apple, cored and cut into very small fine pieces
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup of oats (I like jumbo oats but instant will do too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a good pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cream together the butter and sugar and then mix in the eggs.
- Add the mashed banana and apple and honey. Mix well.
- Add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix very well. Mix in the raisins. The mixture will be fairly moist.
- Spoon into muffin liners in your muffin tin.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top is brown. Leave in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes to cool.
My kids love pancakes and they beg me to make them most mornings of the week – even though I generally end up making oatmeal and smoothies and reserve pancake eating to the weekends. I try to make whole grain or buckwheat pancakes for them with bananas or other fruit but I recently found this super easy recipe that gets its natural sweetness from just a few bananas.
It’s that time of the year again when all the shops are full of red and pink candy and boxes of chocolate. Valentine’s Day can be a real problem if you’re trying to stay healthy and stick to your New Year’s Resolutions. I’m here to tell you that you can have chocolate and stay healthy too! This is a decadent chocolate smoothie for your valentine which would be a perfect accompaniment to my strawberry heart gluten free breakfast pancakes. It contains raw cacao, chocolate protein and maca known for increasing libido and fertility. Raw cacao is full of antioxidants and great for heart health and it adds a really delicious deep chocolately flavor to this smoothie too. Make this smoothie and everyone will fall in love with you!
I’ve gone a little bit apple crazy this month, even though it’s not strictly apple season. I ordered extra apples in my CSA box this past week which I made a huge batch of apple sauce with and today, I made this simple and delicious apple and oatmeal bar with the applesauce too.
I’m always trying to find healthy snacks for my family that aren’t filled with sugar and are nutritious and will fill them up and give them energy. The apple and oatmeal bars are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen and will last you a few days. They are also easy to pop into lunch boxes or have for breakfast if you are pressed for time.
This recipe is forgiving enough that you can add in different fresh and dried fruit (I imagine pear and figs would be delicious here) and spices (allspice or nutmeg for example). You could even add an extra 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds too. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and dairy free and perfect if you are on any clean eating or detox program.
I organize a lot of food based cleanses and detox programs throughout the year. One of the recipes that my clients love the most is this warming morning elixir. It’s a little bit different to drinking warm water with lemon (although that has amazing health benefits too!) and is a great way to start your detox or any day of the year. It’s also perfect for when you feel a cold coming on. It’s great for your digestion and skin, is very cleansing and has antibacterial properties (the lemon and honey really help!) plus it warms you up in the middle of the winter. Yes, it’s currently snowing outside and I need this drink. The ingredients are listed in the photo above but you could also add a little cayenne for an extra kick or some of the super spice turmeric. Just put everything in a large mug or glass and you are good to go.
I was faced with a glut of pears in my CSA box this week. I love eating pears and so do my kids – in fact, it was their first ever solid food when they were babies and they both love eating pear slices for breakfast or after school snack. Pears remind me of growing up in the English countryside and my Granny and colder weather and the pear tree in our garden that always seemed to produce hard pear bullets year after year that we didn’t quite know what to do with.
Do you love green smoothies as much as I do? I have one nearly every day, adding in kale, chard, spinach or parsley and watercress into mine. Green smoothies are so delicious and nutritious. If you have digestive problems, it’s the perfect way to add extra greens into your diet.