Apples and cinnamon are both kid favourites in my house. Lately my 6-year-old hasn’t been eating her veggies at lunch – and it drives me crazy. So, I decided I needed to load some veg into her after-school snack.
These muffins are packed with sweet potato, chunks of apple and fragrant cinnamon – and they’re whole grain, too. An ideal treat to devour on a cold winter’s afternoon.
These whole-grain muffins are delicious - and they're loaded with veg and fibre. Perfect for the lunch box or after-school snack.
3/4 cup oat bran
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
one small apple, peeled, diced small (1/2 cup)
1 cup of mashed sweet potato (*see note below for preparing sweet potato)
1/2 cup of yogurt or kefir
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a muffin tin, or line with baking cups.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
Mix in diced apple.
In medium bowl combine wet ingredients, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool.
Prick a sweet potato several times with a fork or pairing knife. Bake in 350F oven for about an hour. Allow to cool, peel, then mash. I usually do this step in advance. I throw a sweet potato into the oven while I’m baking something else, so the mash ready to go. A large sweet potato yields about 2 cups when mashed.
Store muffins in an air-tight container for up to two days.
These delicious scones are kid-approved. I recently made them as an after-school snack and one of my kids said she would trade her LOL doll for another batch. I need to take her up on that…
My eldest daughter is lactose-intolerant. Initially we avoided all dairy but we’ve recently found that there are a couple of dairy foods that she can handle. Butter is one of them. I’ve tried making scones without butter but the alternatives have never been as good. This recipe swaps out the traditional milk or cream (which are no-gos for her) with coconut milk. They are absolutely delicious and it means my lactose-intolerant kid can happily devour these goodies with her sisters.
My young ones are OBSESSED with dogs. I love dogs, too, but am not planning on adopting one anytime soon. Truthfully – it would push me over the edge.
Every Christmas the kids ask for dog. And in the summer when they blow on dandelion flowers and make a wish – they always wish that they could have a dog. Somedays I think I should buck up and make their dreams come true, but in the mean time, I try to support their relationships with our four-legged friends in every way I can. We’ve spent countless hours at the local make-shift dog park hanging out with local pups. We always stop to say hello, shake a paw, give a pat, even when it makes us late. And every Christmas our holiday baking includes gingerbread and dog biscuits.
This year we tried Ina Garten’s (aka Barefoot Contessa’s) Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits. This recipe is a winner, the best we’ve made to date – and it was really easy to make.
Barefoot Contessa's Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
This adapted recipe comes from Ina Garten's <em>Make It Ahead</em> cookbook. She uses stone-ground whole wheat flour, quick cooking oats, and wheat germ. We used regular whole-wheat flour, large flake oats, and omitted the wheat germ because that's what we had on hand. The biscuits still turned out beautifully and they smelled so good that my kids wanted to eat them.
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup large flake oats, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup natural smooth peanut butter
1 cup of water
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
Preheat oven to 325F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all ingredients except water and egg.
With mixer on low speed add the water and the egg and mix until it forms a slightly sticky ball.
Dump dough on well-floured board, knead into ball, and roll out 1/2 inch thick. (We were inconsistent with the thickness and the biscuits turned out just fine.)
Dip cookie cutters into flour and cut out shapes. Collect scraps, roll out again, and cut out more biscuits.
Place biscuits on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with oats.
This easy breakfast is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s also a great weekday make-ahead option which can be portioned out over a couple days.
Kefir is a fermented milk that’s kind of like an unsweetened yogurt drink. It’s thinner that yogurt and thicker than milk. It’s made with milk, bacterial cultures, kefir grains and kefir yeast. It contains more probiotics that yogurt and has a broader range of nutrients. It’s great for your digestive health and your immune system.
Chia seeds are full of essential fatty-acids, fibre, omegas, anti-oxidants, protein, and vitamins and minerals including calcium and iron, which support good heart, brain and bone health. They stabilize blood sugar and fight belly fat and inflammation.
If you like yogurt you should give this recipe a try. I love it and so do the kids!
I love soups. They can be made ahead, doubled and frozen. They work well for lunches and dinners and can be paired with a variety of breads and salads to fill out a meal. More than that, soups are pure comfort food and incredibly good for you! This recipe is simple to make and it remains one of my kids’ favourites.
142g/5oz baby spinach (or go spinach heavy like I usually do and use 312g/11oz)
a handful of chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil or dill and/or a couple sliced green onions
1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed
8 eggs, whisked
fresh cracked pepper to taste
pinch of chili flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Heat olive oil or garlic confit over medium heat in cast iron or non-stick pan.
Add handfuls of spinach and toss as it wilts. Continue adding and tossing spinach until the entire package has been added.
Add herbs and/or green onions and toss.
Pour eggs over spinach then top with the tomatoes, feta, fresh cracked pepper and chili flakes (if using), making sure to distribute evenly.
Transfer frittata to oven and bake for 20 minutes.
To release the frittata run a spatula or knife around the edge of the pan. You can cut it into wedges in the pan and serve it family style (with one less dish to clean). Or transfer the frittata to a plate or cutting board and cut it into wedges for a nicer presentation.
I love eating this frittata with chipotle hot sauce or a hot pepper relish.
Chia pudding has to be the easiest make-ahead breakfast and it’s incredibly versatile.
It’s also very healthy as chia seeds pack a big punch. These little gems are full of essential fatty-acids, fibre, omegas, anti-oxidants, protein, and vitamins and minerals which support good heart, brain and bone health. They also stabilize blood sugar and fight belly fat and inflammation. It’s no wonder this superfood is becoming so popular.
If you find it hard to manage breakfast before work, chia pudding is a great option to have ready to simply grab and go. My husband often rushes off to work in the morning and loves to bring this to eat at his desk.
At home I take the time to turn my chia pudding into a pretty breakfast bowl with an assortment of fresh fruits or chia jam and sprinklings. It’s a lovely way to start my day.
The most basic version is simply 1 cup of milk to 1/4 cup chia seeds. For vegan options you can use nut milks such as almond or cashew, or soy milk if you wish to go nut-free.
Give the mixture a stir after 15 minutes or so, otherwise the chia can clump together which yields an undesirable texture.
This cherry chia jam was a huge hit with the littles. They ate the entire jar so next time I will definitely have to make a double batch.
Chia jam is so easy to make and it’s incredibly healthy. I make some every week with whatever fruit happens to be in season. And when nothing local is in season I often use frozen fruit instead. Dark cherry is my absolute favourite in the winter. It’s perfect with warm oatmeal on a cold winter’s day.
Garlic confit is incredibly easy to make and it’s a staple that we always have in our fridge. Compared to raw garlic it is rich, sweet and creamy. It’s great in marinades, mashed potatoes, sauces, soups and stews. I love using it as a base when I cook up greens. You can even spread it on bread. The garlic infused oil is perfect for roasting vegetables, in dressings and dips and adding to tossed pasta. Really, it can be drizzled on anything you fancy. It is so versatile.
There are two ways to make it – on the stovetop or in the oven.
2 or 3 heads of garlic, peeled (you can easily double or triple the recipe – use as much as you want)
enough olive oil to completely cover the garlic
Place peeled garlic cloves in a small saucepan, completely cover with olive oil, and slowly poach at a very low temperature for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.
Preheat oven to 275F. Place peeled garlic cloves in an oven proof dish, completely cover with olive oil, and bake for about an hour and a half until golden brown. Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.
The garlic confit can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks. The cloves should be completely covered with the oil.
When I started making these chocolate chip granola bars in the fall they quickly became a family favourite that was put into heavy rotation. I whip up a batch every week. They are easy to make, tasty, and infinitely cheaper and healthier than store bought. They are nut-free and sesame-free, making them safe to bring to school and community spaces with allergy-friendly food policies. They also keep well. I pop them into the daughter’s lunch box, and pack them for snacks at the park and for after-school activities throughout the week. My husband also takes them to work to munch on when that afternoon slump hits. The ingredients are all from the pantry.
1/2 cup avocado oil (or another neutral flavoured oil)
1/2 cup liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup combine wet ingredients.
Drizzle wet ingredients over dry ingredients and THROUGHLY combine.
Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and PRESS DOWN FIRMLY to shape it into a rectangle (about 10×11 inches). If you don’t press it together well and it’s loose then you’ll end up with granola instead of granola bars.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden.
Allow to cool – for at least 15 minutes, then cut into bars (thirds lengthwise, then eight across).
These granola bars can be stored in a container for a couple weeks (if they last that long).