flourless superfood mini-crepes…and oh yea, i’m back!

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hey there. it’s been some time since i last blogged. it’s been an exciting and crazy time for me and my family these past few month and blogging had to take a bit of a backseat, but i’m back and feeling inspired to share some great new recipes and also some VERY exciting things i have been working on. stay tuned!

in the meantime, i wanted to share this fabulous recipe i recently tried. we were on a family trip to miami and during a visit to a dear friend she brought out a platter of the cutest little pancakes i ever did see- after one bite, i was smitten. then after hearing the ingredients, i was really in love!

one of the perks of being known as somewhat of a “healthy foodie” among my peers is that everyone is constantly telling me about their adventures in healthy eating. i love hearing about people’s “aha” moments when it comes to eating clean and exploring new and delicious foods. i’m so happy my friend introduced me to these because we’ve got lots of new gluten and dairy sensitivities that i am trying to work around at home (will get into that in some future posts) and this is a perfect simple g-free, dairy free, superfood infused breakfast item that will definitely be added to the repertoire. i made them extra extra thin (crepe-like) and mini (for fun).

and so without further adieu:

SUPERFOOD FLOURLESS MINI-CREPES

INGREDIENTS

4 large organic eggs

2 ripe bananas

2 TBSPN almond butter or sunflower seed butter

2 TBSPN coconut oil

3 TBSPN chia seeds 

METHOD

in a large mixing bowl smash the banana until an almost liquid-y texture is achieved. crack in the eggs and whisk them with the banana using a wire whisk. one by one add the rest of the ingredients whisking the whole way through to maintain a smooth texture with no lumps. let the mixture sit for 15/20 minutes in order to allow the chia to do its job. since chia is a gelling agent the seeds begin the puff up and act almost like oil gelling everything together!

spray a large pan with coconut oil spray (my latest obsession from trader joe’s) and slowly pour in small dollops of the mixture around the pan creating mini and extra thin crepe like pancakes. leave them in for 2/3 minutes on the first side and less than one minute on the other side for a perfect golden brown color. 

VARIATIONS

feel free to add in mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut or even frozen blueberries, or serve crepe-style with nutella, almond butter or even apple sauce. 

the reason that this recipe excites me is because it has a little bit of a lot of good things. protein (from the eggs and  nut butter), omega 3’s (from the chia), potassium (from the banana), and essential fats (from the coconut oil). please refer to the hyperlinks for the benefits of each of these superfoods as noted in prior posts. 

oh…and did i mention it’s kosher for passover? how apropos? that’s the g-free part by the way- no FLOUR- yay passover! (sorta..)

can you believe it’s that time of year again?

a great opportunity to clean out our homes and re-organize our lives for spring. every year i clean out my pantries with the intention of bringing in only healthy, clean foods after the holiday is over. a great time to rid our homes and bodies of non organic foods, GMO’s and the rest of the processed junk that lingers close by all year long. 

i am looking forward to blogging more frequently.

as always, requests can be sent to gourmaya@gmail.com

xx, 

gourMaya 

homemade trail mix

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usually when i come up with a new recipe and subsequently write a blog post, i am inspired by something going on with one of my kids. in this weeks story oliver recently started camp and with camp come long bus rides. in my mind bus rides equal two things; curse words and junk food. yes, i am probably being a little dramatic but this is oliver’s first bus experience so i am keeping a close eye on both things. so far, no potty language has emerged so we are clear on that front. surprisingly, i don’t think he has eaten much junk either but he did tell me that one boy shared his chex trail mix and that it was so yummy. quote “SOOO yummy.”

considering i rarely buy cereal, buying pre-packaged (read: processed, overly salted, chemical filled) trail mix is out of the question so i explained to O that trail mix is only yummy because it is a great mix of crunchy, salty, sweet and tart snacks and that we could come up with our own version.  

i went to the health food store and got about 10-15 items that could work for our trail mix taste test and oliver made the final decision. this recipe is all courtesy of my 4 1/2 year old, so i am pretty proud of it, and must say it is quite good. 

all you need is an extra large mason ball jar and some measuring cups. 

we used equal parts of all of the following;

TART

dried cherries- make sure they are not sweetened with any added sugar. i usually get mine from fairway or the health food store. a perfect sweet and sour kick for your palate. 

SWEET

mini chocolate chips- i like “enjoy life” brand because they are soy and dairy free and made with real high quality chocolate. they also make mini chocolate chunks which really meant for baking but can be used here as well. 

raisins- we used three kinds in our mix; regular, golden and zante currants. they each have a slightly different taste and sweetness and add fun color and texture, plus my kids are both raisin monsters. 

CRUNCHY

it has taken me a while to find cereal i am okay with. the litmus test is 3 or less ingredients and no added sugar. ironically both of the cereals i like are O’s, which oliver loves too :) 

cascadian farms O’s - this is the healthy version of cheerios. 

cracklin’ oat bran- flattened out oat squares with round whole in the middle. absolutely delicious in yogurt, on its own or in this trail mix. oliver said its his favorite part

SALTY

whole wheat pretzels- i found salted whole wheat pretzel nuggets at trader joe’s that i love. snyders also makes whole wheat pretzels that are great but they only come as long sticks so would need to be broken up for this mix. i also like flat pretzel chips and they can work in this mix. these add the perfect salty kick. 

feel free to get creative with ingredients! this mason jar will be the gift that keeps on giving. i reach in every day as this is a staple item in oliver’s lunchbox and amelie loves it as a snack. 

(not gonna lie- i also pack a ziplock for myself at work :) ) 

stay cool in this ridiculous heat wave people!

xx, 

gourMaya 

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patriotic muffins

recently, i got gifted a great cookbook for my birthday (thanks DKL!)- “it’s all good” by gwynyth paltrow and julia turshen. i love every recipe on every page, particularly because the philosophy behind many of the recipes was inspired by alejandro jungers “clean gut” movement which i am reading at the moment and very into. 

we are spending the summer at the beach and between the kids, company and a very busy house, i am making various types of muffins and cakes for everyone to nosh on constantly (sometimes more than once a day!). 

i was getting bored of my banana and zucchini muffins and wanted to try something new. this recipe from “it’s all good” has been a HUGE hit. they are called sweet potato and five spice muffins. i was excited to try them- what’s more american than sweet potato? these were perfect for the 4th of july (and i’m dorky like that). i had limited spices with me when making these so i substituted the five spices for just one; cinnamon. sweet potato and cinnamon- thanksgiving on july 4th! yay uncle sam!

they can be found on page 41 or here is my modified version below: 

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1 large sweet potato 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup unsweetned coconut milk 

3/4 cup high quality maple syrup

1 tsp pur vanilla extract

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

a handful of oats for sprinkling

METHOD: preheat oven to 400 degrees. prick sweet potato with a fork and cover with tin foil. bake for about one hour until soft inside. once cooled, scoop out the inside and add to a bowl with the olive oil, vanilla and coconut milk- whisk very well until smooth. in a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients. fold dry into wet and mix well. pour into a greased muffin tin and sprinkle the top with old fashioned oats. bake at 350 for 25/30 minutes. 

these are a great vegan snack or breakfast item. they contain no dairy, refined sugar or processed flour. gourmaya approved in a big way. 

here are some of my favorite (patriotic) shots from this weekend:

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hope everyone had a great 4th!

happy summer!

xx,

gourMaya  

banana bread + the art of modifying recipes

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my friend joanna and i are always exchanging healthy recipes and have a constant back and forth dialogue about how to change the recipes we know and love to make them clean and healthy. in fact, it isn’t uncommon for me to receive a photo and text message to the effect of “does this look too watery? what should i add?” we probably both wing it more than most people when it comes to baking (isn’t baking an exact science?) and sometimes we fail miserably but more often than not, good recipes are born. in this case, a great one. 

while not every recipe can be modified and still taste as good, i have pretty much made the below adjustments to most of my baking recipes and they work!

here is a cheat sheet:

FLOUR:

- white flour can be subbed for white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour on a 1:1 basis in muffins and cakes. even though it is a bit heavier than white flour, it still works. 

- for bread, try subbing out white flour with with the following rule of thumb. 1/2 whole wheat + 1/3, 1/3 and 1/3 of any non gluten flour of your choice (ie: oat, quinoa, coconut, almond flour, etc, etc, etc). since the whole wheat is so heavy, you use the other flours to lighten up the recipe, because afterall even healthy bread should be fluffy (thanks for teaching me this ale!) 

SWEETENER: 

- not even going to pretend to tackle this one on my own. i have been using this helpful conversion tool i found online that helps you convert sugar to maple syrup, honey, molasses, coconut sugar, and agave. you put in the exact amount of sugar the recipe calls for and it will tell you the  conversion in tsps, tbspns, grams, ounces, or cups. once you’ve used it a few times you will get the hang of it. typically a liquid sweetener is much sweeter so for example i always put one cup of honey instead of two cups of sugar but since you have now increased the liquid in the recipe i also usually add in two or three TBSPNs of additional flour to absorb the liquid. there isn’t an exact science but just keep in mind you always need to offset the extra liquid with some additional dry ingredients (ie: flour, rolled oats, quinoa flakes, etc.)

OIL:

i have pretty much reverted to using coconut oil exclusively in baking. unlike most plant oils, it doesn’t form trans-fatty acids when warmed up to high temperatures. i still use olive, grape seed and other oils in raw foods (ie: salad) but for baking coconut is my oil of preference.you can sub this 1:1 for plant oils in baking recipes it definitely adds an extra step to the mix since coconut oil is a solid at room temperature and needs to be heated up in order to become liquid (and usable in a recipe). 

here’s a tip on using coconut oil: i buy the large tub of coconut oil from costco. as soon as i get home i put it somewhere warm so it turn into a liquid. i then transfer it into a huge mason jar ( since the plastic coconut oil container is probably not BPA free and all that heating and re-heating can release all kinds of uncool stuff into the oil). i then store it in my pantry which is nice and cool. in advance of baking, i stick the mason jar in a shallow pot with roughly a cup of water and turn on a low flame. in no time there is enough coconut oil turning to liquid to use in a recipe. you can then stick it right back in the pantry and repeat the process as needed. 

VARIABLES:

even when recipes don’t call for certain things, you can always pick a few of the below and add them in for fun. it won’t alter the recipe unless you put in too many of the below or choose things that just don’t go together taste-wise. use your judgement and  here are some very loose guidelines:

- a cup or two of rolled oats

- a few TBSPN’S quinoa flakes

- a few TBSPN cacao nibs

- a few TBSPN mini chcolate chips

- a few TBSPN carrob chips

no more than 1/2 tsp vanilla powder 

- two TBSPN mesquite powder (in chocolaty recipes) 

- up to 1/8 of a cup raw hemp seeds

- 2 to 3 TBSPN chia seeds

- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes

- up to one cup puffed quinoa (for crunch) 

- the rind of one lemon or orange

- fresh mint 

- a few TBSPNs of crushed dried lavender or chamomile

and…here is a great example of how jo and i incorporated some of the above modifications into a recipe she found online. the original recipe can be found here, from the blog “anecdotes and applecores.”  it was pretty healthy to begin with, but with our tweaks (mainly subbing out refined flour and oil) it turned into a clean, dairy free, super food infused extravaganza. 

BANANA BREAD 

1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour 

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder 

4 very ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil

3 TBSPN raw hemp seed

some loose oats for sprinkling

METHOD:

STEP ONE: preheat oven to 350 F

STEP TWO: grease an 8x8 inch pan

STEP THREE: in one bowl mix all of the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and vanilla powder)

STEP FOUR: in a second bowl start by mashing the four ripe bananas with a wire whisk until very mushy, then add in maple syrup, eggs, and coconut oil. keep whisking. 

STEP FIVE: pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and combine well. fold in the hemp seeds. 

STEP SIX: transfer to the baking pan. sprinkle rolled outs and raw hemp seeds on top and bake for about 40 minutes. 

cool and serve. 

this entire loaf lasted about five minutes in my house.i had to make two in one day :)

enjoy!

xx, 

gourMaya (and jo!) 

a more highbrow way to eat a reese’s

not going to bore everyone with another tirade about the harmful effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) since i did that earlier this week (here), but i will just kindly point out that all of the chocolate bars we all know and love (snickers, twix, york peppermint patties, hershey kisses, etc, etc, etc) all contain high fructose corn syrup.

these are usually quick and easy impulse snacks that are purchased on a whim, at the pharmacy, subway platform or eaten at a co-workers desk (and that i have definitely been guilty of :) thats for you JL and BP).

my personal favorite of this genre has always been reese’s peanut butter cups. however my family’s strong peanut allergies coupled with my aversion of HFCS have made these a no go. so i re-created them here, with sugar free, high quality chocolate, super-foods, and “free-nut butter” (aka not peanut butter if allergies are a concern).

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clean “peanut” butter cups

two 3.5 once bars of your favorite high quality chocolate*

1/8 cup peanut, sunflower seed or almond butter

2 TBSPN chia seed

3 TBSPN raw hemp seed

3 TBSPN puffed quinoa (optional)**

a handful of raw sunflower seeds or slivered almonds (optional)

METHOD

STEP ONE: over a double boiler melt your chocolate until smooth, let it cool for several minutes

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STEP TWO: with a slanted spoon mix in peanut or sunbutter (your choice) until fully combined. slowly mix in chia seeds, hemp seeds, puffed quinoa, and raw seeds.

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STEP THREE: once the mixture is super-food infused and ready to rock, transfer to a mini muffin tin. garnish the top with leftover seeds and nuts

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STEP FOUR: refrigerate for at least 2 hours. remove from muffin tin and keep in freezer. serve for dessert or snack time.

NOTES:

* you can either use semi sweet chocolate. i like scharffen bergers 62% cocoa. i have also recently discovered this sugar free milk chocolate by torino that is amazing. it does contain a hazelnut filling so doesnt really need the addition of a nut butter. it only has 2grams of added sugar though…and no corn products.

any chocolate you select should be fine, just keep an eye on sugar and ingredients to make sure it doesn’t have HFCS.

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** puffed quinoa is pretty hard to find. even my natural food store that has every variety of quinoa and super food imaginable only stocks it by special order. if you are able to find it though, it is a great and very crunchy addition to this recipe.

i told you there was a better way to eat a reese’s.

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xx,

gourMaya

pretzels for dinnner?

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as of late, oliver has been showing some great distaste for certain dinners that used to be my go-to meals. for some reason red meat and chicken gross him out and he has been liking fish less and less. while i wish he would eat these foods, i do believe that some people are vegetarians by nature so i try not to force him. i don’t know if this is a stage, pickiness, or if he really is a vegetarian but while i figure that out i have been desperately trying to get protein in anywhere i can. lots of omlette’s and hard boiled eggs are being had as well as lentils and beans. 

this said, i was convinced that his aversion did not apply to fish so i tried to do a little bit of deceptive cooking last week. when oliver asked “whats for dinner”- i said, “pretzels!” the look on his face was priceless and i think this is probably his favorite dinner to date. not just because it was yummy (which it was!) but also because of the shock value- having a snack for dinner doesn’t really fly around here. he liked it so much, that an entire week later, i received the below as my birthday card (thanks, morah rikki!). be still my heart- he likes fish!

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this is an easy and effortless recipe and could probably also work with chicken cutlets. it also fits in very well with my latest crusade which is to completely eliminate corn products from my house and diet. i used to bread everything with corn flake bread crumbs, but ever since i have started to keep a corn-free home i have needed to find alternatives.

eliminating corn is VERY difficult since corn is in EVERYTHING we eat. if you read labels, you have probably noticed corn syrup, corn starch, or cornmeal are in most of the processed foods we eat. since i have pretty much cut out most processed foods, this isn’t as hard but it is still added to so many “healthy” products and if you aren’t careful about buying grass fed meat and chicken you can bet there’s corn in the meat and poultry you consume as well.

why is corn so bad, you ask?

to backtrack, the corn i am referring to isn’t the yummy corn on the cob you are visualizing. i am talking about the corn crop, which is most times a GMO (genetically modified organism or genetically modified crop). ever since the great depression,  the US government has given about 20 billion dollars to farmers in subsidies- about 35% is given to corn farmers. this makes corn the most prevalent and cheapest US crop. because corn is such a big money maker, the seeds used to grow corn have been engineered in labs to grow corn that’s resistant to herbicides and that’s how you get the corn crop (not the yummy stuff you eat at a BBQ). 

the most common form of corn in processed foods is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sweetener that is cheap to produce but incredibly dangerous as it is not fully digestible (since it’s not real food!). HFCS is high in mercury and other toxins and is everywhere in our food supply. when my husband and i food shop, he always defers to me for label approval (yes, i’m the label police)- the number one thing i check for is HFCS.  while i am not a fan of sugary food in general, ones that contain HFCS are the worst as they are one of the main causes of obesity and diabetes in the US today. 

some facts about corn: 

corn is not a vegetable. it is a grain- and not a very nutritious one as it’s fatty acid ratio (omeg-6 to omega-3) is very low.

corn is a fungal host to 22 different fungi. some of these fungi put out body debilitating mycotoxins that can cause disease and other bodily discomforts.

corn (real and not real) elevates our blood sugar levels, making  it high on the glycemic index. 

in short, corn will kill ya so keep up the label reading and be aware that corn is in most cereals, chips, bread, and snack products. as i always say, if you stick to foods that are as close as possible to their natural form (fruits, veggies, whole grains) you won’t have to worry about corn or other GMO’s in your food, but at large our country’s food supply and food chain are very much tainted, especially by corn. you can protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of this food epidemic by preparing healthy meals filled with organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat and poultry and non GMO food products. we can only try our best!

(yes, that was a huge tangent about corn) and without further adieu, here was my effort to make a yummy dinner for oliver that was high in protein, did not contain corn products, and used an all natural sweetener. 

SWEET PRETZELED FISH

- two 6 oz pieces of fresh sole (fillet) cut into strips

- a handful of honey wheat pretzel sticks 

- 2 TBSPN panko crumbs

- one TBSPN honey

- one TBSPN extra virgin olive oil

- salt and pepper to taste 

METHOD (preheat oven to 350)

STEP ONE: cut sole into think strips (think “fish sticks”)

STEP TWO: in a bowl combine fish strips with olive oil, honey, salt, pepper and any other spices you desire until fully covered. 

STEP THREE: in a ziplock bag, crush the pretzels and transfer to a clean bowl. mix in panko crumbs and combine. 

STEP FOUR: dip each strip of fish into panko/pretzel mix

STEP FIVE: spray with olive oil mist and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (closer to 20 minutes depending on your oven). 

serve with some veggies and enjoy !

and…i’m officially a mom who serves pretzels for dinner. happy birthday to me :)

xx,

gourMaya  

homemade granola

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i recently decided to try some homemade granola concoctions because i love putting granola on everything. nut-free granola is virtually impossible to find and for a house with lots of nut allergies that is a no go. after finding a great granola recipe that is so easy to make i don’t know why i have been buying the store-bought kind for so long. it’s crazy easy and crazy good. yes, #crazy. 

the following is a marriage of at least 10 different recipes i saw online. this granola contains no processed ingredients or refined sugar. it is vegan, dairy and nut free and contains the following super-food ingredients; coconut oil, chia seed, hemp seed and sunflower seed. 

raw hemp seeds are extremely nutritious seeds that are very popular in vegan cuisine as they are a complete protein and have many essential fats, vitamins and enzymes. they help lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as control sugar levels. hemp is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help to build up the immune system against disease and also help the body with recovery of disease or injury. a real super food and a fantastic item to sprinkle in yogurt or give your smoothies and shakes some extra thickness and body. hemp has a nutty flavor without actually being a nut. again, #crazy

you can read about the benefits of coconut, sunflower seed, and chia here, here, and here

CHERRY/CHOC GRANOLA

3 cups of old fashioned oats

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw hemp seeds

1/2 cup dried cherries

3/4 cup shredded coconut flakes (unsweetened)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (enjoy life brand or soy and dairy free)

1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract 

1/2 TBSPN cinnamon 

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (melted)

1/4 cup sunflower seed butter 

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

METHOD

(preheat oven to 325)

STEP ONE: in a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients ( oats, sunflower seed, hemp seed, shredded coconut, dried cherry, cinnamon and vanilla powder) with the exception of chocolate chips. 

STEP TWO: in a small saucepan over a medium flame melt 1/4 cup coconut oil. once it is melted, add in sunflower seed butter, maple syrup and unsweetened apple sauce. once everything is incorporated, remove from flame. 

STEP THREE: pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon until fully combined. add in the mini chocolate chips and stir gently as to not melt them and turn the mixture too dark. 

STEP FOUR: spread a thin layer of the granola inside of a large aluminum tin and put in the oven for about 45 min. keep mixing every 10 minutes with wooden spoon. once it starts to develop a crunch- it’s ready!

NOTES AND NUTRITION FACTS:

*feel free to sub in nuts for seeds and almond or peanut butter for the sunbutter if allergies are not a concern. 

** i know that most of my recipes call for a parchment lined baking sheet- i tried that here and both items were no bueno. you need an aluminum tray with some depth for this recipe. i learned the hard way that a flat baking sheet is a disaster waiting to happen since you have to keep mixing every 10 min and its bound to get all over your oven floor. not fun. a large aluminum tin will do just fine here. also, for some reason the parchment paper does not allow the oats to fully cook because it retains moisture and doesn’t get hot enough. i’m perfectly happy dumping this whole mixture into a tin. how easy is that?

*** granola is amazing over yogurt or in lieu of cereal with a bit of coconut milk (non-processed cereal!? GASP!). it can even be sprinkled over a sweet summer salad (i’m thinking arugula, sauteed apricots with a balsamic reduction?)

**** i usually store my granola in an airtight OXO container. it can last up to 2 weeks….but it would never last that long around here :) 

in sum, we are #crazy for good granola. 

ENJOY!

xx,

gourMaya  

carrot muffin; a recipe

here is an improvement to my zucchini muffin recipe using…you guessed it- carrots. 

these muffins have no refined sugar or processed flour and they are nut and dairy free. 

this recipe is a great muffin base. the vegetable can be interchanged and things like coconut flakes, vanilla, lemon zest, cinnamon, and choc chips can always be added in as extras depending on your mood. feel free to use any oil you like- i am really into coconut oil these days even though it is definitely an extra step to melt it as its natural form is a solid (unless you live in the tropics). 

this particular carrot muffin recipe boasts the following super food combinations: coconut oil - read about the benefits here and carrots- read below! 

carrots are a rich source of carotenes, namely beta-carotene and vitamin-A. studies have found that flavonoid compounds in carrots help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.

carotenes are converted into vitamin-A in the liver. beta-carotene is the major carotene that is present in these roots. beta-carotene is one of the powerful and natural anti-oxidants that helps protect body from harmful oxygen-free radical injury.  in addition, it also has all the functions of vitamin-A such as vision, reproduction (sperm production), maintenance of epithelial integrity, growth and development.

carrots are rich in poly-acetylene antioxidant falcarinol. studies shoes that falcarinol in carrots may help fight against cancers by destroying pre-cancerous cells inside of tumors.

fresh carrots are also rich in vitamin-C. vitamin-C is a water soluble anti-oxidant. it helps the body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth and gums. Its anti-oxidant property helps the body protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals.

this root vegetable is especially rich in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. 

lastly, carrots also compose healthy levels of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. 

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CARROT MUFFINS

2 cups of white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (or one and one) ***

1 cup of old fashioned oats

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs whisked

1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil (melted)

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1  jar of baby puree** (fruit of your choice) or 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 1/2 cup carrot shredded

in a bowl mix all of the dry ingredients; flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla powder and cinnamon. 

*optional- 1/4 cup shredded coconut flakes, the zest of one lemon or some mini choc chips

mix wet ingredients; whisked eggs, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, fruit puree or apple sauce, and shredded carrots.

fold wet ingredients into dry and mix well. 

sprinkle some loose rolled oats on top of muffins before putting them in the oven. 

put in at 350 for 25/30 min in miniature muffin tins.

cool and serve. 

notes:

** i felt that this recipe needed a bit of added moisture. any baby jar can be used. i am partial to earths best pear puree or apple/blueberry but any will do. you can even use 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce, a mashed banana or homemade puree if you have some!

***white whole wheat flour is milled from hard white spring wheat rather than the traditional red wheat (which gives it the darker color). it has the same nutritional value of whole wheat but i find the consistency to be less rough than regular whole wheat and a little smoother. i like it for recipes like this which dont have any sugar and with regular whole wheat are just a little too “healthy” tasting. 

these muffins are everything. 

have a great week everyone!

xx,

gourMaya 

the milk debate…

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for those who are who are regulars on my blog, you know i am not a huge fan of cow’s milk. while i think there is nothing wrong with limited dairy intake in the form of yogurt and cheese, i do believe there is an unnecessary amount of propaganda in this country (fueled by the dairy industry) to make people believe that milk “does a body good.” yes, it’s high in calcium, and good for your bones, but so are most fruits and vegetables (they just don’t run multi million dollar ad campaigns with sexy celebrities showing off their biceps). 

when my son turned one a few years ago, it wasn’t even a question. i was going to switch him from formula to cow’s milk and pray he wouldn’t notice the difference. he didn’t  he liked the milk and gradually weaned himself off of it by 18 months. in hindsight, i consider myself lucky. there are plenty of 3 and 4 year olds i still see who cannot get to bed without their bottle of milk. the bottle issue is a different conversation, but the milk issue is pretty opaque in this country;  do our children really need to consume 8 to 32 oz of a liquid that is derived by a mammal other than ourselves? are there any other mammals in nature that the drink the milk of another mammal? why are we pushing this beverage onto our babies in the first place? why does the FDA have allowable levels of puss and blood in milk? 

i am definitely jaded by several documentaries i have seen analyzing this topic. i am all about moderation, but ultimately do not believe that cow’s  milk is an essential for our kids. 

when amelie was about 4 months, i was returning to work and needed to switch her to formula she developed bad acid reflux. we chose similac alimentum which has broken down enzymes and proteins and typically given to babies with bad acid reflux or absorption issues because it is easy to digest (it also smells disgusting and costs a fortune!).

when amelie turned one, i was plagued by the question of what i should switch her to? so much so, that i only recently weaned her off of formula due to my indecisiveness. my pediatrician and i both agreed on one thing; she is eating well and getting most of her nutrients from a varied diet. any milk she will drink at this stage is simply complimentary. given that she was doing well on her formula and getting everything she needs from it should stay on it as long as she wants. 

i was cool with this decision to let her have formula past the age of one if it would enable me from sparing my baby any excessive dairy intake.

fast forward a few months and i was at my chiroprachter/kniseologist’s office. as i was lying on his table and gazing around the room i cound’nt help but notice a very old can of alimentum on his shelf. this piqued my interest. ” hey doc, why do you have a can of alimentum on your shelf?” he explained that even though his preference is breast milk (obviously) whenever mom’s ask him about an acceptable formula he always reccommends alimentum as it is the only formula who’s first ingredient isn’t corn syrup. several thoughts were going through my head; 1) phew! thank god she’s on alimentum 2) EVERYTHING under the sun has it’s constraints. dairy, formula, probably even water. 3) why on earth would baby formula companies use corn syrup- a terribly refined (and cheap) form of sugar?

i explained to my chiro that i have been giving my daughter this formula and haven’t switched her to milk and i feel so much better knowing he approves of it. his first question was “liquid or powder?” my response: well i started off on the liquid (and was thrilled at the time to discover it didn’t have corn syrup or sugar) but later switched to powder. why? his response- “the liquid has no corn syrup, the powder does. you need to get your baby off of that ASAP.”

YES. full confession. i, gourmaya, was giving my baby a formula that’s first ingredient was corn syrup- without even realizing it! who would have thought the liquid and powder versions of the very same thing could be so different. 

i felt totally depressed as i left his office. for those of you who read this blog, you know my feelings about refined sugar and processed foods. i felt like the worst mother in the world. 

i had to make a decision very quickly because i knew i would never give her alimentum again (i have 2 full un-opened cases if anyone needs). 

and so, my husband and i decided on coconut milk. if you compare the nutrition facts to cow’s milk it has higher percentage of fat (which is needed for a baby’s brain development) and it is a healthier fat since it is a medium chain triglyceride which is a fat that is easier for the body to metabolize. 

here are some awesome facts about coconut from a recent post my trainer and running coach wrote on her blog about coconuts. please visit her blog to read the whole posts. we definitely share a love of coconuts (among other things) and i think she summarized why coconut is such an amazing natural alternative to so many things (oil, dairy, water, skincare, etc). 

"Coconut is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic.. Coconut is a potent cleanser of our digestive system and can be used to heal a range of digestive issues. It helps the body fight off infection so its best to consume when you begin feeling sick. Eating coconuts are also excellent for one’s immunity because they kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. It can help treat illnesses such as influenza, lice, throat infections, urinary tract infections, tapeworms, bronchitis, and numerous other ailments caused by microbials. Plus, coconut has been proven to have anti-cancer effects especially of the colon and breast because of its ability to protect the body from infection while simultaneously cleansing the system."

 i wish i had made this move sooner. like anything, the first few days were hard, but now it is part of amelie’s routine. she loves her coconut milk as much as she loved breast milk and baby formula. a big part of parenting is making good decisions for your kids. i was stalling this decision because i did’nt want to rock the boat but in turn was giving my baby something she could live without. i look forward to continue making good decisions on her behalf and also teaching her and oliver how to make good choices for themselves once they are old enough. 

weigh out your options when it comes to picking the best formula, milk, or food. to nurse or not to nurse? red meat or no red meat. every decision has pros and cons and nothing is totally perfect. if you educate yourself, read everything you can, and speak to experts you will be in the best position to make optimal decisions for you and your family. 

i’ve learned so much from this expirience with the milk/formula and hope that by sharing it you did to. 

xoxo, 

gourMaya

healthy biscuits courtesy of oz

thanks to instagram, bloglovin, and tumblr (three of my most heavily utilized social media platforms) i have been introduced to so many awesome food bloggers, many of them with a clean food, raw or nutritional focus. i noticed a lot of the bloggers i now follow regularly are australian. i guess it makes sense, australia is known to be an active and adventurous  society (as a whole) and so it’s not surprising that being health conscience goes hand in hand with that.

on april 25th my social media outlets were blowing up. all of these aussies were blogging about “anzac day”- apparently a national holiday in australia to commemorate all those who lost their lives serving their country- sort of like our veterans day.

on this day it is a tradition to bake anzac biscuits- a treat that the wives of australian soldiers used to send with them before they left for service, and now they are the official biscuit of that day.

hmm..if america had an official biscuit I wonder what it would be. likely an oreo. so very sad. 

how cool that the official national cookie is actually a healthy one?

i saw several variations of this recipe in different places (some healthier than others), but decided to give it my own flair by adding in some nuts and date puree. here is my very own iteration of the Australian Anzac Biscuit.

these biscuits are totally vegan, do not have refined sugar, or processed flour and are dairy-free. 

image

ANZAC BISCUITS

2 cups whole spelt flour

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup ground nuts or seeds (sunflower seed, hemp seed, almond, walnut, etc)

1/2 cup boiling water

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)

1 cup pitted medjool dates (pureeed)

1 cup coconut oil

METHOD:

STEP ONE: start by creating the date puree. bring one cup of water to a boil and turn off the flame. immerse one cup of pitted dates in the boiling water. after 10 minutes of immersion transfer the dates and about 1 TBSPN of the water from their pot into a food processor and give it a whirl. set date puree aside to cool. 

STEP TWO: mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, except for baking powder. (i put my sunflower seeds in the food processor to get them really finely ground but you can put them in chunkier as well or skip this ingredient altogether). 

STEP THREE: in a separate bowl, combine the boiling water and honey. add in the baking powder and you will see a very cool bubbling reaction. mix well.

STEP FOUR: pour the bubbly mixture into the dry ingredients along with the coconut oil and date puree. a dough will begin to form. mix well with a slanted spatula or wooden spoon.

STEP FIVE: scoop little cookie sized portions onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or two) and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. these will only begin to harden once they are fully cooled off.

cool, serve and enjoy! great breakfast or dessert item for kids  and adults (unless they have nut or seed allergies. please leave this part out if they do!) 

thanks aussies, for the inspiration! disclaimer: i will never eat vegemite. 

ozzie ozzie ozzie. oi oi oi. (sorry I had to).

xx,

gourMaya