Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins

Lizzie Homemaker's Healthy Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins
These muffins work well for breakfast, lunch, or snack time. Healthy comfort food that you can grab and go.

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.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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These whole-grain muffins are delicious - and they're loaded with veg and fibre. Perfect for the lunch box or after-school snack.

Ingredients

DRY

  • 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

ADD-IN

  • one small apple, peeled, diced small (1/2 cup)

WET

  • 1 cup of mashed sweet potato (*see note below for preparing sweet potato)
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt or kefir
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a muffin tin, or line with baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. Mix in diced apple.
  4. In medium bowl combine wet ingredients, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

*Sweet Potato

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.

 

Blueberry Coconut Milk Scones

lizzie homemaker recipe for lactose intolerant friendly blueberry coconut milk scones
These easy blueberry coconut milk scones are delicious and can be prepped ahead of time.

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.

Coconut Milk Blueberry Scones

Scones are best eaten on the day they are baked. To make-ahead, prep the dough in advance and shape it into a disk, then pop it in the fridge overnight and bake the day of.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) of cold butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, combine flours, sugar and baking powder.
  3. Add butter and pulse until butter forms pea-sized pieces.
  4. Add coconut milk and lemon zest.  Process until just moistened.
  5. Mix in dried blueberries and roll out into an 8 inch disc. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
  6. Cut into 8 wedges, keeping the disc intact.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool.

 

If you don’t have a food processor simply cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, or forks and/or knives.

 

The Best Dog Biscuits We’ve Ever Made

Lizzie Homemaker Barefoot Contessa Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
If you love puppy dogs as much as my littles ones then consider baking these treats for your furry friends and neighbours.  One taste and they’ll be rolling over, playing fetch, and begging for more.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all ingredients except water and egg.
  3. With mixer on low speed add the water and the egg and mix until it forms a slightly sticky ball.
  4. 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.)
  5. Dip cookie cutters into flour and cut out shapes.  Collect scraps, roll out again, and cut out more biscuits.
  6. Place biscuits on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with oats.
  7. Bake for 1 hour.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead cookbook.  The biscuits can be made up to a week in advance.  Store in airtight container.

 

 

Kefir Chia Pudding

Lizzie Homemaker kefir chia pudding blueberries kiwiberry easy healthy breakfast teacup
Kefir chia pudding garnished with blueberries and homemade kiwiberry jam.

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!

Kefir Chia Pudding

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe can be made advance and eaten over a couple of days.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of kefir
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or to taste – you can add more if you like it sweeter)

optional:

  • toppings of your choice such as fresh fruit, chia jam, dried fruit, granola, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes

Directions

  1. Whisk together kefir and chia seeds.
  2. Allow to stand for 15 minutes, add salt, vanilla and maple syrup and whisk again.
  3. Refrigerate for an hour or more so the chia seeds plump up.  I often prepare it the night before.
  4. Serve with toppings of your choice.

 

The pudding can end up a little too thick or thin if you don’t measure properly.  To correct this simply add a little more kefir to thin it out or a scant amount of chia seeds to thicken.

A Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

A bowl of butternut squash soup
This butternut squash soup is delicious, easy to make and incredibly healthy.

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.

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is packed with vegetables and full of flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • rosemary, sage or thyme (1 tsp dried or a couple sprigs of fresh, stems removed)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (for vegetarian option)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cut squash in half, remove seeds, place on baking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary or thyme and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool, then peel and chop.
  3. Add a little olive oil to a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, add onion, carrot and celery, cook for 5-10 minutes over medium-low heat.
  4. Add diced butternut squash and stock, bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a blender and puree.  Blend in Greek yogurt for a little tang and creaminess if you wish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

This recipe can easily be made vegetarian, vegan or dairy-free.  For vegetarian and vegan options use vegetable stock.  For vegan and dairy-free options omit the yogurt.

 

Spinach, Tomato and Feta Frittata

Lizzie Homemaker Spinach Tomato Feta Breakfast Frittata
I often make this frittata on the weekend. It’s so healthy and easy to put together.

This is my go-to frittata.  It’s easy, packed with healthy veg and protein, and I love that I can clean up my prep mess and set the table in the time in takes for the frittata to bake.

Spinach, Tomato and Feta Frittata

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This frittata can also be enjoyed as a light lunch or dinner when paired with a salad.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsps of olive oil or a generous spoonful of garlic confit
  • 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)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat olive oil or garlic confit over medium heat in cast iron or non-stick pan.
  3. Add handfuls of spinach and toss as it wilts.  Continue adding and tossing spinach until the entire package has been added.
  4. Add herbs and/or green onions and toss.
  5. Pour eggs over spinach then top with the tomatoes, feta, fresh cracked pepper and chili flakes (if using), making sure to distribute evenly.
  6. 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

Lizzie Homemaker healthy breakfast chia pudding with cherry chia jam
Chia pudding topped with cherry chia jam, buckwheat groats, cacao nibs and coconut flakes.

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.

Chia Pudding

  • Servings: 1 - 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and can be made advance and eaten over a couple of days.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of your choice milk (almond, cashew, soy and cow’s milk all work well)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

optional:

  • 1-2 tbsp of sweetener such as maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • toppings of your choice such as chia jam, fresh fruit, dried fruit, granola, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes

Directions

  1. Whisk together your choice of milk with vanilla and chia seeds.
  2. Allow to stand for 15 minutes then whisk again.
  3. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight while the chia seeds plump up.
  4. Add sweetener, if desired, and any toppings of your choice.

 

The pudding can end up a little too thick or thin if you don’t measure properly.  To correct this simply add a little more milk to thin it out or a scant amount of chia seeds to thicken.

Cherry Chia Jam

Cherry Chia Jam
This cherry chia jam recipe is healthy and delicious. It contains no added sweetener of any kind so feel free to eat it by the spoonful.

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.

Cherry Chia Jam

This fresh jam can be put together in less than 10 minutes. Then you simply pop it in the fridge and wait for it to thicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • squeeze of lemon

Directions

  1. Add cherries and 1 tbsp of water to a small saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until the fruit starts to break down.
  2. Remove from heat and mash.
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon and chia seeds.
  4. Refrigerate for several hours while the chia seeds plump up and thicken the jam.

This recipe can easily be doubled. Store in fridge for 4 or 5 days or freeze. Canning is not recommended.

Garlic Confit

lizzie homemaker garlic confit baked in the oven
Garlic confit is an indispensable condiment in our kitchen.  The secret to making it is low and slow.

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.

Garlic Confit

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

STOVETOP METHOD

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.

OVEN METHOD

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.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

lizzie homemaker chocolate chip granola bars
These chocolate chip granola bars are easily one of my family’s all-time favourite recipes.

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.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

  • Servings: 24 bars
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

DRY

  • 4 cups large rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs (optional)
  •  generous pinch of salt

WET

  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or another neutral flavoured oil)
  • 1/2 cup liquid honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2.  In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3.  In a medium bowl or large measuring cup combine wet ingredients.
  4. Drizzle wet ingredients over dry ingredients and THROUGHLY combine.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden.
  7. 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).