Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

I created this recipe for a private client who is both diabetic and gluten-free. Those two words are often synonymous with unnaturally dense baked goods that have a cloyingly sweet and slightly metallic taste (from artificial sweeteners). Not these blueberry muffins! They are just substantial enough to be filling and each bite highlights the juicy, vitamin C packed blueberries. I used agave as the sweetener because of its low glycemic index, and the protein boost from the flax, nuts and nut milk also helps to keep blood sugar levels steady. A pre-mixed gluten-free all purpose flour keeps things simple. The gluten-free all purpose flours on the market generally work well, though be sure to check the package instructions as some do require adding extra ingredients such as xantham gum. If you’re not shying away from gluten, you can certainly substitute wheat flour.

Baked Truffle Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes

Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn’t mean you can’t serve mashed potatoes at your next meal. And you should think about serving this healthy spin on a turkey day classic by combining potatoes with pumpkin and truffle oil! Whether you’re starting from scratch on a cold winter day, or looking for ideas to boost the nutrition in your leftovers it can be easy to elevate the nutrition of your favorite comfort foods.

By adding pumpkin you’re getting a high dose of beta-carotene, which is an important antioxidant linked to lower rates of certain cancers including breast cancer and lung cancer.  Carotene-rich foods are also good for your heart; helping protect against heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Pumpkin is also high in fiber, which is important for healthy digestion, hunger and weight control.

Don’t throw out the pumpkin seeds! Roast them for a family favorite healthy snack.  I like to sprinkle them on salads or even oatmeal.  Pumpkin seeds are rich in the potent anti-inflammatory fat, omega-3s.

I start my mashed potatoes by baking them rather than boiling to help reduce nutrient loss like potassium. Potatoes, even white ones, do contain additional nutrients like fiber and magnesium (in the skin).  It’s easy to roast a pumpkin at the same time you’re baking your potatoes.

Baking the potatoes at the end with bread crumbs and any toppings you desire really makes this dish unique!

A Recipe to Mash Anything (Even Turnips!)

Mashed vegetables are a staple at the holiday table, sweet or regular potatoes, butternut squash and others. Classic holiday potatoes get a bad wrap for being laden with calories and fat; however, small upgrades to classic recipes like this one can help to make a typical mashed potato recipe much healthier and lower in calories, while still maintaining delicious flavor.

These turnips were extremely easy to make, were relatively low maintenance, and this same recipe could be used with any vegetable you can mash including cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots, potatoes and more. The key is taste-testing the recipe as you go to ensure that it’s tasty and palatable. Don’t be afraid to add more spices, a little Himalayan salt, or maybe even a dash of olive oil to add more flavor.

More Tips for Upgrading Classic Holiday Recipes:

  • use coconut oil or butter instead of classic butter
  • use herbs and spices over salt
  • use more nutrient-dense and concentrated sweeteners like maple syrup over white sugar, so you’re able to use less overall
  • use plant-based milks like hemp, coconut, oat, over heavy cream and butter to maintain creaminess and taste without the extra added calories and saturated fat

Also try our other mashed veggie recipes:

 

Note: The nutrition facts are based off 4 small servings.

 

Sweet & Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

One of my favorite spice blends is Five Spice powder. Comprised of, yup, you guessed it, five spices, it is a traditional spice blend in Asia and northern Africa. Not only are these spices full of flavor, but they are good for you too, promoting warmth in the body, decreasing inflammation and aiding digestion and nutrient absorption.

The five spice powder I use comes from Malaysia, and contains star anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and orange peel. Other regional blends might contain ginger, fennel, nutmeg, cardamom or even turmeric. Any blend you use will taste a little different, but all will be delicious.

Go ahead and use my favorite spice blend to kick up a typical roasted pumpkin seed recipe a big notch.

 

 

Guilt-free Creamless “Creamed” Spinach

Now that the weather has turned chilly and Thanksgiving is on the horizon, I have dreams of cozy sweaters and creamy, comforting dishes. While delicious on the lips, those hearty foods that I’m craving aren’t exactly in sync with my stay-fit-and-healthy lifestyle plan. So I decided to create a more nutritious side dish that mimics the lush mouthfeel of the original.

So, how is this creamed spinach guilt-free you ask? Well, it’s vegan and gluten-free, for starters! It also contains wholesome ingredients, like spinach (duh) and nutritional yeast flakes, which lend a hefty dose of iron and B 12, a vitamin that is often lacking in vegan diets. Just a tad of coconut sugar balances out the bitterness of the spinach and emulates the sweetness of heavy cream. It won’t taste quite like the full fat dairy version, but you can feel virtuous indulging in this delicious dish!

A Delicious Vegan Spinach Snack Bar

What better way to celebrate National Spinach Month than with these yummy spinach snack bars! I first tasted these delicious bars on a weekend away with some good friends, one of whom brought these as a treat. Unfortunately hers were made with a hefty portion of whole milk, cheddar cheese and eggs, so I decided to try my hand at veganizing them. Loaded with iron and vitamin K-rich spinach, they also get a boost of protein and minerals such as copper and magnesium from the nuts.

These bars are a belly filling snack, and can even be a wholesome meal. I like to eat them warm as a satisfying breakfast, but they are also good chilled or at room temperature.

 

Joe’s Hiking Fuel: A Recipe for Delicious Granola

As some of you may have seen in Joe’s recent posts to Facebook and Instagram, he had the opportunity to do some hiking in Zion National Park this past weekend.  The trails were long, some very steep, and the 7 hour hiking days required some fuel for the pack.  This granola was made to be easy for transport, to take on the plane, and then to load up in the backpack for the hike.  Not only is it easy to make, and loaded with healthy fats, protein and vitamins and minerals like zinc which is important for immune function, this tasty snack is delicious!

Be sure to pre-portion out your granola in small bags or container for portion control and easy grab and go snacks for your next adventure!

Cashew Cream Stuffed Mushrooms

It’s National Mushroom Month this September so this is a perfect excuse to get in the kitchen and make a favorite mushroom recipe using our tried and true cashew cream recipe. Mushrooms have been touted as miraculous and magical and while those words tend to be used as exaggerated health claims there are loads of nutritional benefits backed up by scientific evidence that mushrooms can proudly proclaim.

Mushrooms have wellness promoting nutrients like Vitamin D, immune supportive properties which may help white blood cells,  reduce risk of certain cancers – check out this free webinar for more info on mushrooms from the National Cancer Institute (USA).  Mushrooms go far beyond the white buttons. Get creative with shiitake, maiitake, reishi types at the grocery store which have long been used in traditional medicine across the globe for a long list of ailments.

These stuffed mushrooms are easy to make and a favorite I like to bring to fall parties and school functions.  Vegan, gluten and dairy free they make a healthy side dish or snack.