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Lower sugar sangria

Sangria.. ahh.. The perfectly quintessential summer drink that’s reminiscent of summer days full of sunscreen, sandy beaches, and patios.

While I don’t think alcohol is a health food, I’ve found a way to make delicious strawberry infused sangria that is a little bit less unhealthy.. No added sugar, plus some kombucha to add depth of flavour.. and a secret ingredient… Cinnamon!

Cinnamon brings a warm spiciness that ties all the flavours together, and brings along some beneficial health properties too. It’s got antioxidants such as polyphenols, and can help to lower inflammation. It can also help to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Since we don’t want loads of sugar rushing around our blood stream, this is a very good thing!

Lower sugar sangria

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • Squeeze of 1/4 lime
  • 1 strawberry, chopped
  • 1 drop stevia (I prefer Now Foods)
  • 1/4 cup kombucha (I used a strong homemade ginger one)
  • Dash of Ceylon cinnamon
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Add a few ice cubes to a glass
  2. Add in wine, squeeze of lime (then add the rind in there), strawberry, and stevia. Stir well then top with kombucha, and gently stir again.
  3. Top with a dash of Ceylon cinnamon
  4. Enjoy right away, or allow flavours to meld in the fridge overnight.
http://www.cakeandgreens.com/lower-sugar-sangria/

Grain-free cinnamon n’oatmeal

THIS! You’ve got to try it, especially if you’re someone who loves traditional carby breakfast foods, but hates being hungry 30 minutes later, or that full-body exhaustion blood sugar crash. That used to be me, every day of my life, since I grew up eating cereal for breakfast. Who can blame my parents? It was the easiest help-yourself thing they could give me when I’d wake up way too early.

But this oatmeal? It’s full of satisfying healthy heart and brain boosting fats – omega-3 and omega-9, lots of fiber, and cinnamon to help balance blood sugar. You need this in your life.

This recipe is for a single serving. You can make it when you’re hungry, or be really kind to your future self and make up little single serving packets.. OR make a huge 10x batch without the almond milk and scoop out 1/2 a cup at breakfast time.. Yessssss!

Top it with some homemade cashew-coconut yogurt and defrosted blueberries (they’re the best because they get all ooey-gooey juicy delicious).

Grain-free cinnamon n'oatmeal

breakfast, snack

1

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons Lakanto sweetener, erythritol, or 2 drops stevia
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (or other nuts or seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk

Instructions

  1. Stovetop: Mix all ingredients together and heat in a saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and top with your favorite toppings.
  2. Microwave: Add all ingredients to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 1:20. (times may vary depending on your microwave). Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to thicken. Top with your favorite toppings.

Note: Dry mix can be prepared in advance and stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry place for up to a month.

http://www.cakeandgreens.com/grain-free-cinnamon-noatmeal/

Kombucha Gummies

Guilt-free gummy candies?!? YES!

This recipe saves me when I’m making kids’ lunches. I’m always struggling trying to find healthy things that they’ll actually eat. Enter these gummies! The kids view them almost as candy, but they’re made with kombucha, a bit of natural sweetener, and gelatin, which is great for the gut, hair, skin, and nails. #momwin

You can make these with any kind of kombucha. Use your favorite, or experiment with all different kinds. I like to use my homemade apple cinnamon version.

About the sweeteners.. I find the best flavor profile happens when you combine stevia with erythritol rather than using one on its own. Lakanto has an erythritol base even though it’s labeled as a monkfruit sweetener (there’s both in there). It’s usually my go-to, along with Now Foods organic liquid stevia.

Kombucha Gummies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite kombucha
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 1T)
  • 3 drops Now Foods liquid stevia
  • 1.5 tablespoons Lakanto sweetener or Erythritol
  • 1.5 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin

Instructions

  1. Add half the kombucha and the lemon juice to a bowl and pour the gelatin on top. Stir gently, then let sit for 5-10 minutes to bloom. This will ensure that everything blends smoothly when you heat it.
  2. Add the rest of the kombucha to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until almost simmering. Stir in the sweeteners until dissolved.
  3. Add in the gelatin mixture and stir or whisk until smooth.
  4. Set your molds on a small baking sheet. Pour the liquid into your molds* and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set.

*You can also use a small glass casserole dish and cut into squares once formed

http://www.cakeandgreens.com/kombucha-gummies/

Homemade Kombucha

I love the zingy taste of kombucha, but when I was spending $3-$4/bottle on it, then opened my eyes to the amount of added sugar/juice in each bottle, I decided to make it at home. It takes a bit of patience and doing things in a particular way, but is a fraction of the cost, and I think it tastes better, so win-win!

There are as many different ways to make kombucha as there are people making it. I’ll share my way, and know that there are a few things that aren’t so flexible, like the scoby doesn’t like to be very hot. You’ll kill it. Also, it likes to brew in darkness, and brewing time really varies based on the temperature of your room.

Homemade Kombucha

drink

6 cups

Homemade Kombucha

easy homemade kombucha

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic kombucha (from a friend, the store, or saved from a previous batch)
  • 1 scoby (from a friend or the previous batch)
  • 4 tea bags (I like to use organic black tea)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • A really large jar (to hold 2+ litres)

Instructions

  1. Add tea bags and boiling water to the bottom of your large jar, and steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bags, then stir in sugar until dissolved.
  3. Add cold water and ice cubes. Stir until ice is melted. check the temperature. You want it to be between 23C-29C. If it’s too hot still, let it sit until cool enough, otherwise you will kill your scoby and you won’t get any kombucha.
  4. Add back in the starter tea and the scoby.
  5. Cover tightly with a porous lid for it to breathe. I use a piece of fabric and an elastic band, but a coffee filter or paper towel would work.
  6. Set in a dark, warm room or cupboard and wait. I like to go a full 2 weeks for a nice tart taste, but you will want to taste yours after 4-5 days, depending on the temperature of your house. Just take a spoon and dip in. No double dipping though!
  7. Once it’s ready, set aside your scoby and a cup of the kombucha to use in your next batch, then strain it into bottles and store in the fridge.
  8. See below on making it berry flavored or apple cinnamon flavored.
http://www.cakeandgreens.com/homemade-kombucha/

Flavored Kombucha

Ingredients:
1 batch kombucha, fully brewed
1/2 cup apple juice and 1 cinnamon stick, or 1/2 cup berries of choice

Add all ingredients to a large 1-2L jar. Top with a lid and store in a warm, dark place for 24-72 hours. Taste every 24 hours until desired taste is reached. I usually go 48 hours.
Strain into bottles and refrigerate.

Low Carb Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Buns – low carb, keto

These buns, oh my goodness.. I’ve been craving them every single day since I made the first batch. It was GOOD, but I’ve been tweaking it here and there to get things just right and ready to share.

They’re perfectly moist with a nice crumb texture, and are amazing warmed up with some butter. That cinnamon + sweet combo.. YUM! You know what they’re also great for? Topping with an egg and some bacon and cheddar cheese. Breakfast sandwhich win.

Here’s the kicker.. according to MyFitnessPal, they’ve only got 3 grams of carbs per serving. Whaaaat?! The almond flour/psyllium husk combo works wonders.

So please please make these for your Easter celebrations, or for an average Tuesday morning, and let me know how it went

Notes
Working with psyllium husk can be a bit finicky. If the dough seems really ooey gooey, you can add an extra tablespoon and let it sit another 5 minutes, but I didn’t find this necessary.

Low Carb Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Buns – low carb, keto

Breads

5 buns

Serving Size: 1 bun

Low Carb Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Buns - low carb, keto

Delicious slightly sweet low-carb buns perfect to fill in the gap of any pastries you might be missing

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 4 Tablespoons psyllium husks or 2 Tablespoons powdered psyllium
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 2 tablespoons + 1.5 teaspoons Lakanto or Swerve sweetener, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon raisins, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix almond meal, psyllium, flax, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, baking powder, salt, 1tsp cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons Lakanto sweetener in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, olive oil and sour cream, then mix into the dry ingredients until well combined.
  4. Let dough sit for 5-10 minutes so it will be easier to shape.
  5. Meanwhile, mix together 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1.5 teaspoons Lakanto sweetener, and set aside.
  6. Scoop 5 blobs of dough onto parchment paper, and shape with slightly damp hands. You can flatten them or leave them rounded depending on how you’ll be eating them. I flatten for breakfast sandwiches.
  7. Sprinkle each bun with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned.
http://www.cakeandgreens.com/low-carb-cinnamon-raisin-breakfast-buns-low-carb-keto/

Crunchy Peanut Butter Bites – Dairy-free, gluten-free

Sometimes you need a treat that has only ingredients you’d find in  your pantry, or can easily get, and are comfortable eating.. Or maybe you’ve currently got a zillion dietary restrictions and JUST NEED SOMETHING for Halloween.. ya get me?

Cuz hey, it’s Halloween today. Happy stuff-your-face-with-candy day! (or these chocolate gems).

They’re super rich and indulgent, and I totally eat more than one at a time.

 

Crunchy Peanut Butter Bites

8oz dark chocolate, such as Lily’s stevia sweetened dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup  coconut oil
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
3 Tbsp almond meal or powdered peanut butter
4 Tbsp chopped sunflower seeds
pinch sea salt
Place chocolate and coconut oil together in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, then another 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
Stir together the rest of the ingredients until consistently mixed. Scoop into 1.5 teaspoon sized balls. Flatten slightly and set aside.
Drop a small amount of chocolate onto the bottom of mini silicon muffin pan wells (18 -20, depending on how many peanut butter balls you have).
Freeze for a few minutes until hardened, then top each one with a peanut butter ball.  spoon a bit more chocolate over each one until covered, then freeze again.
These are perfection straight out of the freezer, so I pop them out of the silicon pan and store in a freezer bag until a craving strikes.

Chicken and Yam Hash with easy Light Slaw

Recently I made a big bowl of easy cabbage and jicama slaw that I’ve been pairing with everything, like this Chicken and Yam hash.. It’s nice to have a container of veggies to add to meals throughout the week without having to think about it much, especially when I’m constantly doing things for the kids and feel like I have *no time.*

Light cabbage and jicama slaw

3 cups shredded green cabbage
3 cups shredded purple cabbage
1/2 a small to medium jicama, peeled and julienned
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice from 1/2 a fresh lime
1 tablespoon soy sauce or alternative (I used coconut aminos)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

All you do is toss everything together, then store in the fridge until needed. It keeps for about 5 days in the fridge.

 

Chicken Yam Hash

Adapted from one of my current favourite cookbooks, The Whole30 Cookbook – recipe by Melissa Joulwan of Well Fed.

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of paprika
2 cups diced cooked yams
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 3/4″ chunks
1/3 cup toasted pecans

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the apple, onion, and salt and cook, stirring, until golden (about 8 minutes).

Stir together the other spices.

Remove the apple/onion mixture then add the other tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan. Heat up the spices for about 30 seconds, then add the yams and chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally  until browned and heated through (about 6 minutes).

Stir in the pecans, and enjoy!

 

Healthy Taco Bake

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Dinner struggles with my two picky eaters is a very real thing in our house. The battles, they bug me so much sometimes. Part of feeling like I’m doing a good job at this whole mom thing is knowing that they’re eating nutritious foods to fuel their bodies.  Oh, did I mention the part about them having many opposite dislikes? She hates tomato sauce, he hates cheese sauce. He loves scrambled eggs with fried onions, she won’t touch it, but she’ll chomp on raw carrots if I bribe her…

This healthy taco bake though – it was a winner for us! And it’s all healthy and balanced, plus it fits into the 21 day fix meal plan perfectly.  You get 1/4 of the entire pan as a serving! (counts as 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, and 1 blue container). So take that, you last 10 pounds!  You can use ground turkey in place of the beef, but I wanted to make it more kid-friendly, plus our chili is with turkey, so we needed to change things up a bit.

Healthy Taco Bake

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 bell pepper (colour of choice), diced
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (low sodium and no sugar added)

Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno, and sauté for about a minute. Add ground beef and break apart, browning for about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until beef is cooked through.

Add lime juice and spices. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Remove from heat and add rice, 1/4 cup of the cheese, tomato sauce, and cilantro. Stir to mix well.

Pour into casserole dish, top with remaining cheese, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes covered.

Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until nice and bubbly and delicious looking.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Lemony Quinoa Spinach Salad with Feta

DSCN5977

Sometimes you really don’t want to cook, so having a big nourishing bowl of this salad in the fridge to dip into is the perfect lunch or dinner savior. Hello mom sanity!  It’s fresh and bright tasting, so I always come back to it when the sun is shining or if I want to feel more summery.  Top it with some grilled chicken to have a perfectly balanced meal.

 

Lemony Quinoa Spinach Salad with Feta
Source: Adapted from Dinner with Julie

1 cup quinoa
4 cups packed spinach – washed
1/2 red onion
2/3 cup feta cheese
zest and juice of one lemon
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
roast chicken (optional)

Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve for a few minutes.  This gets rid of the bitter coating.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add rinsed quinoa.  Boil over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain well, return to the pot and steam with the lid on for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

Put quinoa into a large bowl.  Thinly slice the spinach and add it to the bowl.  Add the onion, lemon zest, and crumble in the feta.

Drizzle the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and oil into the bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss well.

Salad will keep for about 4 days in the fridge.

DSCN5974

Healthy Baked Bananas

2016-04-05 18.23.50-1

I have a wicked sweet tooth, and often just have to indulge, but I don’t want my treats to completely derail me from healthy eating (ok, there’s sometimes a place for a delicious doughnut from a local shop, or a slice of chocolate cake).

This healthy baked banana has no added sugar, just what’s naturally in the banana itself and some stevia-sweetened chocolate chips. You don’t need the typical marshmallows and loads of chocolate. I’ve even topped mine with a few dollops of greek yogurt that I added vanilla stevia to.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, and you’ve got the perfect indulgence.

2016-04-05 18.23.50-2

 

Healthy Baked Bananas

Serves 2

1 Banana – cut open lengthwise
Pinch of Cinnamon
A few sliced strawberries or some blueberries
2 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes
Optional: a teaspoon of chopped dark chocolate (I use Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips)

Sprinkle banana with cinnamon and stuff in the rest of the ingredients.
Wrap in tinfoil and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or bbq for 10 minutes. Top with some greek yogurt after adding in some stevia and vanilla extract.
Enjoy!
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