Month: February 2014

Paleo Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins

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I’m honored to be the very first “Guest Blogger” here at LoveinFoods!  It’s rather fitting, since my journey to a healthier lifestyle and eating foods that serve my body begins, in many ways, with Abby herself.  Abby is one of the first people who turned me onto yoga (she’s an excellent teacher!) and a huge part of my journey learning about how to cook healthy, yummy foods that really nourish our bodies.

These Paleo Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins are such a treat, and since they’re sans sugar and carbs, they’re a pretty guilt-free one at that.  While eating a paleo diet, I’ve been experimenting with different “flour” substitutes and found that this mixture of almond/coconut “flour” to work well in baked goods;  too much almond flour makes the muffins too dense and also is higher in calories.  I like to enjoy one in the morning with coffee, or as a mid-afternoon snack.  If you don’t eat paleo, or don’t have almond and coconut flour, oat flour would also work well in these muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 4 sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 cups pumpkin (peeled and diced)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour (flakes are okay)
  • 2 table spoons coconut oil
  • 1 table spoon vanilla
  • 1 table spoon baking powder
  • 2 heaping table spoons cinnamon
  • 2 tea spoons salt
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Steps:

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 190 C.

2.  Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and pumpkin.  Chop them into smaller squares, then put them in a large pot.  Fill the pot with enough water to cover the veggies.  Bring to a boil and boil until soft (15-20 minutes).
*Note:  The pumpkin I bought was already pre sliced and chopped.  If you buy a whole pumpkin, cut it, then boil it and remove the skin after boiling.  It will come off easily and you can scrape the yummy pumpkin right off.  You could also used canned pumpkin, but fresh is always better.

3. Drain the potatoes and pumpkin and mash them with a fork, or a masher if you have one.  It should have a mashed potato consistency.

4.  Add the egg, honey, coconut oil, almond flour, coconut flour, vanilla, baking powder and soda and salt.  Mix it all up (by hand is fine) and it will have a very cakey texture.  (If it’s too runny, you can add more almond flour.  Too dry, add more coconut oil.)

5.  Add the raisins and walnuts as the last step.

6.  Line a muffin tin, and put a heaping spoonful into each tin.
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7.  Bake  at 190 C for 50 minutes to an hour.  The tops should be brown and crispy, but the insides will still be moist and soft.  Makes about 18 muffins.

Let cool and enjoy!  These little babies are the closest guilt-free thing to pumpkin pie 🙂

Lots of love ❤
Jules

Oil Infusions made at home!

Have you ever bought one of those beautiful looking bottles with a pretty label saying, “garlic infused olive oil” in a fancy font? No need to waste your money buying a $10 bottle of infused oil, you can make it at home. Nowadays, it is so easy to just buy anything but it will give you a great sense of accomplishment making your own and tasting your creation! These are great gifts for any occasion!

Depending on what fresh herbs you have, or grow, you can create a number of infused oils.

What you need:

  • quality Olive Oil
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Jar

To start, fill your jar about 3/4 full of Olive Oil. Next, add your fresh herbs. This is really going to be the part where you have be creative! For my Rosemary & Garlic Oil, I added 2 garlic cloves and about 3 springs of Rosemary. And for my Thyme oil, I added about 1/2 cup of fresh springs into the oil. Let the oil sit for 2-4 weeks.

My infused oil has been going for about 2.5 weeks and when I cracked it open and used it this week, it was very potent with garlic! I am going to add more Rosemary and let it sit for another week or so.

Have fun and be creative! This will taste amazing with roasted veg, chicken/fish/meat dishes, dressings or really with anything!

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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Happy Monday..or Sunday for those in the West 🙂 The last two weeks in Taiwan have been so cold and dreary, I thought I was back in England! No sun = much harder time to feel warm and happy! My plants sadly agree. Anyhow, we wanted to make a quick under 30 minute food creation for lunch this week and chili seemed more than appropriate. Packed with vegetables, protein, lots of warm seasonings, and of course…LOVE. This will take you about 30 minutes for both prep and cooking, depending on the hastiness of your chopping! Be creative with what you throw in and what grain you would like to serve it on. Remember, the longer anything sits and stews the more intense the flavor. I found after a 30 minute simmer the flavor was bangin’!

What you need:

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, yellow pepper and green pepper, diced. If you don’t have one of these, two will do and maybe you could substitute mushroom or eggplant?
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into little squares
  • 2 cans black beans. If you prefer not to use cans…EVEN BETTER! You can soak and prepare the black beans the day before in prep for this chili. If you are down with the can find yourself two cans of whole black beans with limited seasonings (since you will add your own).
  • 1 large can or glass jar of diced tomatoes. I used whole peeled tomatoes — Because it was all I could find! If you use something other than diced, just pour your tomatoes and juice into a separate bowl and use your hands to break up the tomatoes.
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock. I poured in one cup of water and added one tablespoon of vegetable stock powder!

Seasonings:

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder — or maybe a little less? It’s up to you!
  • 1/2 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon of red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin — did I mention heaping tablespoon? 🙂
  • Time to get it started ! Dice the garlic, onion and 3 peppers. Saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables become more tender.

  • Add in all your seasonings, mix through and saute for another 2-4 minutes.
  • Add in your tomatoes (with juice), black beans and sweet potatoes and mix together. Then, add in your one cup of vegetable stock or 1 cup of water + 1 tablespoon of stock! ha!
  • Allow chili to simmer for 20-30 minutes with the lid on. Stir every 15 minutes and have a little taste. I think by this point you will be thoroughly impressed with yourself.

Serve on top of your favorite grain. We prepared quinoa to go with our chili.

Yummy food to add on top: avocado, green onions (scallions), sour cream or yogurt, shredded cheese

ENJOY!

Here are some more things we devoured last week:

Homemade granola! — I will post the recipe this week!

Blueberry & Lemon Raw Cheesecakes in personal sizes! — These were INSANELY easy and I can’t believe we have not tried them before now! I will also be posting this recipe with some creative ideas to change it up!

Blueberry Vanilla Chia Oat Cookie!

And the longest title goes too…this lovely yummy creation! These cookies look more like a muffin top but seem more of a cookie to me. They are great for breakfast or a mid afternoon, I have yoga in 2 hours and dinner isn’t until 7, type snack. Easy to make, few ingredients and a little love will get you these!

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What you need:

  • food processor (if you have a high powered blender that should be okay too)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries, or any other fruit for that matter. The original recipe I modeled this after called for bananas. Be creative and remember that changing ingredients just means changes in the food’s taste, appearance, smell, consistency. Either way it all tastes good to our mouths and bellies! 🙂
  • 1/2 cup of dates. I used my trusty Oxford phonics mug and packed that baby halfway full and rather tight. (By the way, if you live in Taichung — Cotsco has dates and they are really reasonably priced and can be used in so many food creations! Best part of using dates? This is your sweetner! If your dates are hard, you can soak them in hot water for 15- 30 mins. This is important because when you blend your dates in the food processor, you want them to become silky smooth!

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  • 1/4 cup of light oil. I used sunflower but you can also use coconut oil.
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts. The original recipe called for chocolate chips but I opted for nuts. Also raisins, crasians, cacao nibs..you get the point?! Be creative and remember this is all about making your taste buds and stomach feel satisfaction and love! With a dash of accomplishment, obviously.
  • 2 cups of oats. I used wholewheat rolled oats but any oats will work. You can also use gluten free for all those intolerants out there.  (Taichungers — I got my oats at Finga’s but they also have them at City Super).

Creation Time:

  • Put your (soaked) dates, oil, vanilla and blueberries into the food processor. Let it run for a few minutes until it is super smooth.

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  • Add in the cinnamon, salt and baking powder and whiz around for a few seconds. Next, add in 1 cup of oats into the processor and let it run for a few seconds, just until the oats are chopped. Depending on how large your processor is, you can add 1.5 cups into the blueberry blend. Mine is smaller and only 1 would fit. Adding more in would slightly change the chunkiness of your cookie but that’s not a bad thing! They are YOUR creation anyway!
  • Pour creation into a separate bowl and mix in another cup of oats. *Remember if you added 1.5 cups in the first whiz around, only add in another 1/2 cup.* This is also the time to add in your nuts, chia seeds, dried fruits or dangerously enjoyable chocolate chips.

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  • Put foil or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spoon your cookies onto the pan. Each cookie was roughly 2 heaping tablespoons. Mine were big enough to be filling and small enough to just take away the hunger edge. You know what I am talking about too. The hungry, irritable, one track mind focused on your next meal. Sure you do, we all experience it sometimes.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Last move is to turn the tray around for another 8 minutes or so. Let the cookies cool and enjoy with an afternoon beer or coffee/tea in the AM.

Please feel free to post comments about any of these posts! We did a lot of cooking, relaxing and eating over CNY.. Here are some more food creation from this past week:

  • Vegetable noodles with a homemade teriyaki sauce

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  • Homemade veggie burgers with sweet potato fries..yum. We also served these with two sauces: sesame, chive and paprika mayo & honey mustard. I was happy overall with this creation but want to get the recipe right before I post — this weekend we’ll try again. 🙂

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