Grain-Free Protein Pumpkin Loaf Recipe

Mmmm. Is there anything better than the smell of baked goods rising in the oven? I have fond memories of learning to bake at my mother's elbow as a child. Unfortunately, baking often takes a back seat to healthy eating regimes because processed goods are often packed with white sugar, chemicals and bad fats. Thankfully there are options for those of us with a serious need to "knead" (hehe!).

I developed this loaf recipe after testing out a few recipes I found floating around the internet. I finally seemed to have achieved the perfect amount of fluffiness, moistness and spice, while maintaing lots of nutrition.

I nearly melted from the smell wafting from the oven this morning. Give it a try. I'd love to know what you think.


Yields: 10 slices

Helpful Tools:

  • 2 glass mixing bowls (1 small, 1 large)
  • 1 hand mixer
  • Spoon measures
  • Cup measures
  • 1 loaf pan
  • 1 fork
  • 1 spatula

Ingredients:

  • 3 free-range, large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling - way too sweet)
  • 2 cups ground almonds (Bob's Red Mill or JK Gourmet)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 scoops Sun Warrior Warrior Blend Vanilla protein powder (or protein powder of your choice) - 1 scoop = 21g
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Coconut oil (for coating the pan)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking loaf pan with coconut oil.
  2. In large bowl beat eggs with a fork until well combined. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Add pumpkin puree and honey and beat with the electric mixer until well combined. About 1 minute.
  4. In small bowl combine ground almonds, sea salt, baking soda, baking powder, protein powder and spices.
  5. With the mixer set on low, slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients periodically stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until everything is well combined.
  6. Scoop the mixture into your prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake in he oven for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Let cool & enjoy. Best served with apple butter (like Wellesley's), almond butter or remaining pumpkin puree.

Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Most mornings of the week I prepare breakfast for my husband and myself & it is usually a smoothie.

This morning I was especially inspired to whip up something delicious because I had just had a seriously hard leg workout. My body was screaming for nutrition! So a Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Smoothie it was! It definitely helps that it tastes like dessert, too.

Benefits: An awesome dose of protein to feed your muscles post-workout, lots of clean fuel to keep you going all morning, more than half of your daily fiber intake, trans-fat free & packed full of magnesium & potassium for more post-workout recovery.


Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp organic peanut butter (I like Nuts to You, but use whatever brand you like)
  • 1 scoop Sun Warrior Warrior Blend Vanilla protein powder (or protein powder of your choosing)
  • 1.5 Tbsp raw cacao powder (this is the chocolatey, good-for-your-brain & muscles part)
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened, almond milk

Method

Blend all ingredients together in your blender, Vitamix or Magic Bullet and enjoy!

Let me know how yours turns out in the comment section below.

Healthy Frittata Recipe

I made this delicious arugula frittata recipe for Mother's Day Brunch. It was tasty and filling. Making frittatas ahead of time to have ready for breakfast each morning is the perfect way to be ready for the day without the typical morning rush. They keep well in the fridge for at least 3 days. The rest of our delicious Mother's Day feast can be found here.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large potatoes, thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline)
  • 3 handfuls fresh arugula
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (of your choice)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Methods

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Set aside.
  3. Heat coconut oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until golden. Then remove and discard garlic, keeping coconut oil in the pan.
  4. Toss potatoes and onions in a large bowl along with salt and pepper. Then add to the skillet with coconut oil. Cook, turning often, until golden – about 10 minutes.
  5. Slowly add in arugula handful by handful until it has cooked down.
  6. Then add the egg and milk mixture stirring just enough to ensure everything is evenly combined. Then place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked on top. Cool and serve.

Sugar Pumpkin Smoothie

With Thanksgiving greeting us this weekend in Canada I am excited to share a Sugar Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe with all of you. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving to recognize the harvest, and with harvest time comes a whole host of goodies from the earth. Sugar pumpkins are just one of these delicious offerings. Nutritionally, sugar pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin A (notice their orange colour), Vitamin C, fiber, potassium and even a little bit of protein.  They also boast a sweet taste, which makes them the perfect addition to most fall meals.

So after you've spent Thanksgiving weekend pureeing sugar pumpkins for pumpkin pie, why not save some for a delicious protein smoothie perfect for post-workout refuelling:


Ingredients:

Methods:

  1. Blend in your blender or Magic Bullet (my kitchen saviour) for 1 minute.
  2. Enjoy within 1 hour of your workout for optimal muscle uptake and recovery.

What are your favourite pumpkin recipes for fall?

Grain-Free "Corn" Bread Recipe

It's a hot summer day and I'm busy preparing a delicious meal for me and my significant other. Spicy, barbeque chicken is on the menu along with roasted sweet potatoes and a vibrant green salad. But something is missing from this mid-August meal. Something - warm and soft. Southern. Sweet. Corn bread!

I sigh as I remember I've been following a grain-free diet for the past 2 months, and treats like corn bread fall right into that category - corn and all.

Then I remember almond flour makes a pretty fantastic replacement for grain flours in most baked goods. There must be a recipe out there. I search, and indeed there are a few. I meld them together into my own little creation and here's what happened...


Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups almond flour (try JK Gourmet or Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Coconut butter (for greasing the pan)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 6" round pan or 8" square pan with coconut butter.
  2. Combine all ingredient in a large bowl and mix at until fluffy for about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour into your baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown, the center is springy and a knife comes out clean.
  4. Spoon out hot and steamy and enjoy with your meal.

30-Day Alcohol-Free Challenge

You  may think I am completely nuts for having gone alcohol free in the middle of the summer months, but it was an excellent challenge which I am glad I accepted. Leading up to this challenge I was given some perspective by my patients. As a primary care provider it is crucial to ask my patients about alcohol intake. I noticed that a majority of them had a lower intake than me. This realization certainly got me thinking.

I knew I had come to rely on alcohol during challenging times while heavily studying and dealing with lots of family matters that had cropped up this year. A glass of wine or 2 at the end of the day just seemed to ease my worries. But 14 drinks a week is right on the borderline of healthy and not-so-healthy... and somehow this (future) naturopathic doctor wasn't taking a dose of her own medicine.

In comes trainer, Rita Catolino, who has been helping me get back into the shape I lost during some of my most challenging times. She encouraged me to ditch alcohol for 1 month.

Hmmm... I thought she was crazy, too. But why not give it a try.

It all began on July 15th. I spoke to my significant other about the changes, and he fully supported me & even decided to join in the fun by cutting out alcohol during the week. I made it through a bachelorette party, a wedding, and 5 days at the cottage all without indulging.

Amazingly enough, going cold turkey has made me desire alcohol much less, and it certainly left a lot more room in the budget for... shoes... I mean, um, not shoes.

Alcohol is a sugar that often has no benefits. In days gone by beer was considered a food and was extremely nutritive, but with today's heavy processing this isn't the case. And even though red wine has heart-healthy antioxidant powers like those from resveratrol it should still be enjoyed in moderation.

What is moderation? Less than 7 drinks/week for women and less than 14 drinks/week for men.

Now, I am thrilled to say I am done the challenge (see my countdown calendar above). I celebrated with 2 glasses of sparkling wine. And I won't have another drop until the weekend.

Care to try it yourself? Try alternatives like Rise Kombucha, my Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea, or anything with soda water, lemon, lime and mint to give your water a kick.

Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea

Nothing says summer like iced tea and boy does my significant other make a good one!

I have embarked on a 30-day no alcohol challenge this summer and in light of this Mat decided to make me a fun summer drink - Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea.

It's a perfect after-dinner drink for sipping on the balcony, porch, beachside or on the dock. Lemon stimulates liver detoxification, spearmint aids digestion and cools, lemongrass & kombucha aid immunity & green tea boasts major antioxidant properties.

Here's how to whip up this delicious, refreshing drink in no time:


Ingredients

Methods 

  1. Brew 8 tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water. This may seem like an odd ratio, but iced tea has a tendency to lose strength of flavour so using more teabags is crucial. Add honey. Let cool for 1 hour.
  2. Combine brewed tea and honey and sparkling water.
  3. Cut lemon in half crosswise. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 the lemon into the iced tea. Cut the remaining lemon into thin wheels for garnish. Top with mint & enjoy.

Tip: Replace the sparkling water with ice to make a slushy iced tea instead.

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia Seeds and Chia Seed Jam Recipe

Gone are the days of chia seeds being known only for their ability to create chia pets! This seed is an all-around super food with star nutrients being fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, & iron. They also contain a host of powerful antioxidants, including caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and quercetin. Chia’s fiber content really is something to marvel.

Chia seed has more fiber per 100 grams than barley, wheat, oats, corn, and rice.

The soluble fiber present in chia seeds creates a gel in the stomach when exposed to carbohydrates thereby slowing down the digestive process of carbohydrates and reducing the spike in blood sugar after a meal. Chia seeds are also very high in protein and antioxidants. This is especially beneficial for diabetics.

Chia seeds have become exceedingly popular amongst the healthy crowds over the years. It is an excellent appetite suppressant because of its high amounts of fiber and protein. Chia seed can sustain you for hours, which is why it was used by the ancient Aztecs to sustain warriors during battle. In fact, 1 Tbsp of chia seed would sustain Aztec warriors for 24 hours during battle! In this day and age when food variety is certainly not  a problem, it is still important to maintain a balanced diet. Chia can be incorporated into your nutritional plan as a topping on oatmeal, an addition to smoothies, and in baked goods. But my favorite use of chia is as a healthy a jam. Chia seed contains about 5% soluble fiber. It soaks up lots of water and appears as clear mucilage (that means gel). Imagine that beautiful gel coating and soothing your intestines. Glorious!

Here’s a quick recipe for Chia Jam:


Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds (black or white)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Stevia to taste

Method:

  1. In a medium bowl combine chia seeds, stevia, and water.
  2. Let chill for 30 minutes. During this time the chia will absorb all of the liquid and gel.
  3. Serve cold on toast or on its own.

2 Methods to Test for Food Sensitivities and Allergies

Food sensitivity and allergy tests – are they or are they not reliable? This has been a hotly debated topic in the health world. It seems that every other person is talking about a food to which they are "allergic". Here are a few ways to test food sensitivities and allergies:

IgG Blood Tests: This is the current test used to determine sensitivity to a food based on an response by immunoglobulin G. Unfortunately, it can give false positive results if you are eating a lot of a particular food, or false negative results if you're not eating a food. 

Skin Prick Allergy Tests: These are conducted by an allergist to determine if an immunoglobulin E (IgE) response to typical allergens like peanuts, pollen, and bee venom is present. A hive-like reaction will occur in response to substances to which you are allergic.

Ultimately, IgG food sensitivity tests can impart a great cost. So what deems them necessary? If you are absolutely not willing to make dietary changes to determine your food issues, then a test is definitely worth doing. And if you’ve tried the standard elimination diet without success it might be just what you need to determine your issues. Whether or not they are highly reliable is a moot point since they may reveal a sensitivity you’ve never even considered and isn’t removed by a typical elimination diet!

A food sensitivity test may be just what the naturopathic doctor ordered!