Blueberry Zucchini Muffins


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Yea. I just made healthy muffins. Wait what?
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These muffins are loaded with good things like shredded zucchini, fresh blueberries and whole wheat flour. Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to butter/oil to keep these muffins moist. Cinnamon adds flavour and according to google, it’s pretty good for you too!
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If you’ve never tried baking with zucchini, you’re probably feeling a little skeptical. I know I was at first, until I baked this double chocolate zucchini bread. It immediately became one of my favourite indulgent breads to bake, and my manly man housemate totally approved and managed to eat a slice every day for a week! You totally can’t taste any sort of zucchini/vegetable flavour in that bread or these muffins.
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These muffins are bursting with fresh blueberries and I love how pretty the green and blueish-purple looks. These are the perfect springtime muffin after a long winter season, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
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Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
Yields: 12 muffins 

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.In a small bowl, stir together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and lemon zest.  In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and greek yogurt.  Slowly stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.  Fold in the zucchini and blueberries.Scoop 1/4 cup batter each into the wells of your lined muffin tin.  Bake  for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool.Store in an airtight container – can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to two months.
—SOURCE—
adapted from Cooking Ala Mel

 

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Ethereally Smooth Hummus

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It’s funny because just a few months ago I shared this hummus recipe with you and marvelled over how I was able to almost achieve hummus perfection without having to peel all of those darn chick peas one by one. And then one rainy day I found myself alone in the kitchen with a can of chick peas. So obviously my natural instinct was to just put the can away in the pantry where it belonged, but something inside me had changed. It kind of felt similar to the change that took place deep inside when my body realized that I hadn’t had a poutine in a month and was sort of okay with it, but not really. Did any of that make sense? I think what I’m trying to tell you is that hummus with all the chick pea shells are good, but hummus without all that extra chick pea shell baggage, because who likes extra baggage right, is completely and utterly phenomenal. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change can lead to skinnier thighs and unbelievably smooth hummus.

Ethereally Smooth Hummus

Yields: 1 3/4 cups hummus

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups cooked, drained chickpeas (from a 15-ounce can)
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon table salt, or more to taste

Directions:
Drain your chickpeas and peel. This is easiest when you take a chickpea between your thumb and next two fingers, arranging the pointy end in towards your palm, and “pop!” the naked chickpea out. Discard the skin.

In a food processor, blend the chickpeas until powdery clumps form, a full minute, scraping down the sides. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and blend until pureed. With the machine running, drizzle in water or reserved chickpea cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get very smooth, light and creamy mixture. I find I need about 3 tablespoons for this volume, but you may need slightly more or less.

Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or lemon if needed. I do recommend that you hold off on adding more garlic just yet, however. I find that it “blooms” as it settles in the fridge overnight, becoming much more garlicky after a rest, so that even if it doesn’t seem like enough at first, it likely will be in the long run.

Transfer the hummus to a bowl and rest it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, longer if you can, before serving. Enjoy!

—SOURCE—
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2-Ingredient Vegan Banana-Oat Cookies

IMG_4237So I guess the title of this post gives away exactly what the 2 ingredients are in these cookies, and if the title didn’t then the picture above definitely does! My sister had originally told me about these magical 2-ingredient cookies months ago but I didn’t believe her, and when I heard what the ingredients were I felt very skeptical. But one day I found myself desperately craving something sweet and baked but did not have the time or energy to whip up a batch of cookies. However I did happen to have a banana and a cup of oats and that was how I was finally introduced to these brilliant cookies. 1 banana, 1 cup of oats. You will have cookies baked and ready to eat in literally 20 minutes from the second you start. These cookies may not be the sweetest, the prettiest, or the most flavourful but they are good enough to satisfy any serious cravings. The bonus (as if only needing 2 ingredients and 20 minutes isn’t enough) is that they are a healthy, vegan alternative to traditional cookies and you can pretty much customize them any way you like!
IMG_4240The first time I made these, I stuck with 1 banana and 1 cup of oats, and added a handful of raisins as well. The raisins added a nice flavour and texture, but I found that while these cookies were amazing fresh from the oven, they dried out quite a bit after a few hours. The next time I made these, I used about 3/4 cup of oats, a handful each of chocolate chips and flax seeds, and 2 dashes of cinnamon and they were out of the world. AND they stayed pretty moist throughout the day. I ended up baking the exact same cookies 5 days in a row, and then I ran out of bananas, so sad. So try these cookies and don’t be afraid to experiment!

2-Ingredient Vegan Banana-Oat Cookies

Yields:  About 6 small cookies

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
1 cup quick oats (use a bit less if you want your cookies to be more moist)

any additional mix-ins you like, including but not limited to: chocolate chips, raisins, craisins, cinnamon, flax seed, berries, nuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick spray. In a small bowl, break your banana into smaller pieces by hand and add the oats and any additional mix-ins you have chosen. Combine all ingredients together by hand until the batter has reached a uniform consistency. Using your hands, scoop out a small amount of the batter and form into a circle, then place on the baking sheet. Continue until there is no more batter left. The number of cookies you will get depends on how small or large you form them.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, and let cool slightly before devouring. Enjoy!

—SOURCE—
based off of Blogilates

Mushroom, Chicken and Soba Noodle Soup

I’m a huge fan of soba noodles, they somehow satisfy a serious carb craving without making you feel like you just ate a heavy meal afterwards. Growing up, I was lucky to have a mom who made a lot of authentic, Japanese-style home-cooked meals. One of my favourite meals was always chilled soba noodles in a light soy-flavoured sauce with a sprinkling of dried nori seaweed on top. Although I’ll always love that classic way to enjoy these buckwheat noodles on a hot summer day, the world of food blogging has opened me up to so many different ways of preparing soba noodles, and I’m happy to say that this soup won’t disappoint. It’s healthy and flavourful and oh so good. If you love soba noodles as I much as I do, you should also check out this sesame soba noodle salad..yum!

Mushroom, Chicken and Soba Noodle Soup
Yield: about 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2½ cups mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (shiitake or cremini)
4 scallions, sliced, with white and green parts separated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. grated fresh ginger (peeled)
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
6 oz. soba noodles
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
12 oz. baby bok choy, ends trimmed
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
Heat the oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, white scallion parts, garlic and ginger to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.

Add the soba noodles to the pot and cook at a boil for 5 minutes.  Stir in the shredded chicken and bok choy and cook 2 minutes more, until noodles are tender and bok choy is wilted and slightly softened.  Stir in the lime juice and soy sauce.  Adjust seasoning with kosher salt if needed.  Top with scallion greens.  Serve warm.

—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats, slightly adapted from Kitchen Confidante

Sesame Soba Noodle Salad


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Today is a lazy kind of day. I’m lounging, listening to Taylor Swift’s new album on repeat, occasionally pausing my iTunes so I can watch a tear-jerking YouTube video like this one. I’m also daydreaming about owning a pair of theseLouboutins one day and dropping out of school so I can go back to camp next summer. I’ve also decided that I’m going to marry Hunter Hayes just so that he can sing me this song every day.

On lazy days like today, I don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into making a meal. That’s what sesame soba noodle salads are for! Soba noodles cook pretty quickly, much quicker than regular pasta, so by the time you finish chopping up a few things and making a to-die-for nutty vinaigrette, your soba noodles will be ready and you just have to throw everything together! Soba noodles are also a nice change from usual pasta but still satisfying in the carbohydrate department. I love this salad freshly made and as leftovers, served cold :)

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Sesame Soba and Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
9.5oz soba noodles
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 loose cup cilantro leaves, minced
1 (12oz) package shelled edamame
sesame seeds (optional garnish)

For the Dressing:
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons honey
salt to taste
Directions: Before cooking the noodles, prepare all of the raw ingredients. Chop the bell peppers, thinly slice the green onion (or scallion), and mince the cilantro. Add veggies and herbs to a large mixing bowl.Prepare edamame according to package directions. If frozen, cook for a few minutes in warm water to bring up to room temperature. Make sure your edamame is shelled (no one likes to eat chewy pods!).One the veggies are all prepped, go ahead and cook the noodles. Soba noodles only cook for 4-5 minutes, so don’t wander too far. Once the noodles are cooked, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water immediately.In a separate bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.Combine noodles, veggies, and dressing in the mixing bowl and toss until everything is well combined. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to garnish, serve, and enjoy!

—SOURCE—
Daily Garnish

 

Pumpkin Yogurt Parfaits

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I adore any baked goods that feature pumpkin, but had yet to try pumpkin puree in it’s raw form until these parfaits. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of pure pumpkin, but when it’s mixed with brown sugar and the right spices to make it sweeter and more pumpkin pie-like, I’m all over it. That’s why I’m in love with these pumpkin yoghurt parfaits, a fun and healthy snack or dessert!  I have tried these parfaits 2 separate times with plain and vanilla greek yoghurt, and found that with the plain greek yoghurt, I ended up drizzling a bit of maple syrup on top to sweeten it up a bit. Therefore I recommend using vanilla greek yoghurt! I also couldn’t find any whole graham crackers at my local grocery store and had to make do with graham cracker crumbs, but I’m positive that crushed graham crackers would really take these treats to a whole ‘nother level!

Pumpkin Yoghurt Parfaits

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
1 pkg (1/3 box) graham crackers

Directions:
Stir together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar in a bowl.

Unwrap the graham crackers and place them in a gallon sized zip top bag. Crush the crackers with a rolling pin.

Layer the graham crackers, seasoned pumpkin puree, and yogurt into four containers. Feel free to create the layers in any order. My layers went as follows: graham, pumpkin, yoghurt, repeat.

Either enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

—SOURCE—
Budget Bytes

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