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pumpkin-less healthy pumpkin spice latte

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Am I crazy? maybe maybe.  Today was one of those days where I just wanted to cozy up on the couch with a warm mug of pumpkin spice latte and not move a bit.  Tragedy – no pumpkin puree in the house!  Not a problem though, because this recipe is pretty dang good, and I don’t even miss the pumpkin.  Bonus: no having to open a full can or make your own when you’re just going to use a tiny bit anyhow.

pumpkin-less pumpkin spice latte

A cake and greens original
Makes about 12oz

1-2 shots of espresso, or 1/3 cup very strong coffee
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or a few drops stevia, to taste (I use maple syrup)
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
a dash of cinnamon

Pour your espresso or coffee into your mug and stir in spice and sweetener.  Steam or heat and froth your almond milk, and pour into your mug.  Top with a dash of cinnamon.

Enjoy!

pumpkin scones

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I’m a really strong believer in moderation, and in not just saying that half the foods I love are completely off-limits.  This gets pretty tough when I crave all the sugary baked goods that I can think of.  Today I finally decided to bake up a batch of the famed Starbucks Pumpkin Scones.  They’re amazing, and I’m hoping I can limit myself a bit.  It wouldn’t be a good idea to eat the whole batch, yahknow?

These are crazy delicious, like my favourite thing ever.. must not eat all.. Strategy? Give them to friends, freeze most for later.. I like to freeze them on a cookie sheet, then either pop them straight into a bag in the freezer, or individually wrap them.  That makes for lots of future pumpkiny deliciousness.

pumkin scones

This recipe is everywhere, but I slightly modified it from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.
Makes 12 servings

For the Scones:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (just under 1/2 cup)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into little cubes
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons cold milk
1 large egg

For the Powdered Sugar Glaze:
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 Tablespoons milk, or to desired consistency

For the Spiced Glaze:
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat. Cut butter in with a fork, knives, a pastry blender, or whiz in your food processor for a few seconds, until it’s no bigger than small peas.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 4 inches by 12 inches. cut into 3 equal squares, then cut each square in an X pattern (four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

While the scones are cooling, make the powdered sugar glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, use a pastry brush  or a spoon to spread plain glaze over the top of each scone.
While the powdered sugar glaze is firming, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (about an hour).

Try to eat just one and freeze the rest!

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healthy baked falafels

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Baking falafels.. I know, genius!  I didn’t come up with this myself, even though I should have.  I remember several falafel-making failures, where things were too mushy, my oil was too hot, and well.. too oily!  Black burnt falafels aren’t so great.  Solution? Bake them up until they’re perfectly cooked.

I love that falafels are full of so much flavour, and pack a lot of nutritional value from the chickpeas, garlic, and healthy oil.  These are great inside a pita, on a salad, or even by themselves as a snack!

You can use your favourite falafel recipe, or follow this one below, and bake em up.

Healthy Baked Falafels
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

2 cans Chick Peas (540mL each – low sodium), rinsed and drained
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 egg
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon melted extra virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup whole wheat flour or spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

I preheated my oven to 400F.

I dumped everything except the flour and baking powder into the food processor, and pulsed until crumbly.  Then I added half the flour and baking powder, and pulsed a bit more to mix. I added the rest of the flour and baking powder, and pulsed a few more times.

I scooped balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and flattened them slightly into patties.

I baked them for about 25 minutes – until slightly crispy and cooked through, but still soft in the middle.

healthy pumpkin spice latte

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The leaves are changing and it’s getting to be fall. OK, so maybe the leaves here are just falling off because we had such a hot dry summer.. but still, I’ve been itching to wear boots, jeans, and scarves, and sipping on a yummy pumpkin spice latte, and I know they’re at Starbucks now.. but I really don’t want whatever yuckiness they put in theirs, especially not when it’s super easy to whip up at home. You can even skip the pumpkin puree in my recipe and it’ll still taste great. All unprocessed, all-natural ingredients, if you’re fine with coffee.

It’s sweet, decadent, and tastes like fall in a warm mug.

healthy pumpkin spice latte

Recipe adapted from beachbody
serves 1, easily doubled or more

3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons maple syrup, or 2 –3 drops liquid stevia (I used syrup)
1 – 2 shots espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
dash of nutmeg or cinnamon to taste (optional)

In a mug or saucepan, stir together the almond milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup, then heat in the microwave or on the stove until quite hot but not boiling.

Remove from heat and froth or whisk well.

Pour espresso or coffee into a mug, then pour milk mixture on top.

Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

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I find it oh-so satisfying making my own vinaigrettes from scratch. It’s one of those ways in which I feel like I’m taking an extra little step in nourishing my family, and it’s super easy! Often all you need is a jam jar to shake shake shake.

This recipe requires a blender or food processor, and the result is a tangy-sweet strawberry delight that livens up any salad. I love making it with blueberries (frozen even, if that’s what you have!) too. I had it the other night on a yummy kale salad mix. I’ve been making batch after batch of this with fresh local berries, while I can still get them!

Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (or blueberries)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend everything together in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.

Source: slightly adapted from Karma Chow

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spiced peach quinoa muffins

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Mad carb cravings, that’s me!  I’ve been dreaming up ways where it’s ok to eat an entire pan of brownies, or 2 dozen cupcakes, with extra icing, of course.. Um no, that probably wouldn’t be the best idea, plus I needed a healthy(ish) snack for my daughter to take to preschool next week. 

I searched a bit and found various quinoa recipes.  So these guys still have brown sugar (yes, that’s processed), and white flour in them, so they aren’t exactly Clean Eating approved, but they’re tasty, and they’re definitely healthier than your average cakey muffin. Bonus, they’re one of very very few healthier muffins that my little one will actually eat!  I cut them in half and froze them for many future snack times (after I ate half of them myself, fresh and warm and peachy, of course).

For the quinoa… I like to make a big batch, then use some for breakfast quinoa bowls, and save some for these muffins. They’re great with other fruit too, like apples, strawberries, or plums.

spiced peach quinoa muffins

recipe adapted from Egg & Dart
makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups peaches, pits removed, and diced (plus extra slices for topping)
6 tablespoons softened butter, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmet
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat 2 tablespoons (1oz) of the butter over medium low heat in a sauce pan.  Add the spices, stir, then stir in the peaches. Coat them with your spice concoction, then remove from heat to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla, salt, and baking powder until combined.

Gently fold in the peaches and quinoa into the butter mixture. Add half the flour and fold until just combined, then half the milk and fold again. Repeat. Don’t over-mix. You might still see some flour streaks.

Grease a muffin tin and scoop batter evenly into muffin cups (mostly full).  Top with peach slices if desired, then bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean (about 20 minutes).

Let cool 5 minutes in the tin, then remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack.

vanilla toasted coconut cashew butter

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Oh yummm.. yum yum yumminess. I made this weeks ago and then promptly forgot to share, as I consume more and more of it. I know, I’ve been holding out! This stuff’s amazing, and really not that tough to make. You just need either a food processor or a great high power blender, then you too can enjoy the coconutty vanilla-ey cashewey amazingness. It’s fabulous on toast, and even better on waffles.

vanilla scented toasted coconut & cashew butter

Slightly adapted from The Suburban Soapbox

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
2 cups unsalted raw cashews
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the coconut out and bake for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as you don’t want it to burn. Just let it get golden brown. Set aside

Toast the cashews in the same way (about 10 minutes), until golden.

Dump all your ingredients into a food processor or blender and just keep on blending until it’s nice and creamy.. Depending on the power of your machine, this could be 5-10 minutes.

Pour or scoop into an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks (OK, I’ve had mine in the fridge for a few months now, because I FORGOT ABOUT IT (not sure how!), and it’s still fine.. but best to stick to the 3-week guideline.

easy and flexible no-knead bread

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I want to stuff my face with all the toasts made from this bread! Seriously. Stuff. I’ve always loved homemade bread but don’t want to have anything to do with kneading it, or multiple risings/proofing, all that jazz. No thank you! Enter this crazy flexible no-knead bread recipe. You just stir it up and leave it for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, then bake. It works around YOUR schedule. LOVE.

I made this one with some whole wheat flour and some 10 grain cereal because hey, why not make it healthier than plain ol’ white, right? This recipe has been slathered all over the internet in various forms, but I like this version the best for its flexibility, and not having to cover with flour or re-rise or any of that jazz.

no-knead bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup 10 grain cereal mix or bread mix
1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, whisk together everything except the water, then stir the water in until it all comes together nicely. This may take a few minutes of stirring.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap of a plate and just leave it for anywhere between 12-24 hours in a warm place.

When you’re ready to bake, place a cast iron pot into your oven, then preheat the oven to 500F. Leave the pot in there for 30 minutes, even though the oven will be at temperature before then. You want the pot to get nice and hot too!

Carefully remove the pot and use a bowl scraper to scrape the dough out and into the pot. You won’t be able to move it around once it’s in, but don’t worry if it’s not centered or looks a bit funny. Pop the lid on and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 2-3 minutes to brown a bit more.

Remove from oven and cool. If loaf is stuck to the bottom of your pot, let it cool a bit longer until you can remove it, then cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

Enjoy with fresh made jam.. yummy!

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lemon poppy seed smoothie

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I’ve been having such strong pregnancy cravings for anything carby or SWEET. Like sugar cravings that I’ve never dealt with before. I was ready to run to the grocery store at 10pm just to see if they had any lemon poppy seed muffins. Thankfully I didn’t make the trip, since the closest one doesn’t carry them. Sad face.

Enter the brilliant idea of making a much healthier snack option while still getting that lemon poppy seed flavour. This was delicious, by the way. Not just a bland boring health food thing. It’s all about the yum-factor for me, especially when I’ve got crazy mama cravings like these!

I’ve used Vanilla Shakeology, so I know I’m getting all-the-healthy-things. To keep it clean I used some unsweetened vanilla almond milk, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, and poppy seeds. So so good!

lemon poppyseed smoothie
A Cake and Greens original

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
juice from half a lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
3/4 cup ice cubes

Add everything to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Drink and be energized!

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