Not your Average Hummus

All of this spring weather has me thinking about delicious appetizers to graze on while sitting outside with a group of family or friends. I have always been a huge fan of your average roasted garlic chickpea hummus, however a few weeks ago I found lentil and sundried tomato hummus at the grocery store. I bought it, loved it and decided this would be my next recipe to experiment with.

Since I found the recipe on the Oh She Glows I have made it twice and loved it more and more! As I always do, I took this recipe and made it my own. Being a garlic lover I obviously added more garlic to the recipe! (This is not the recipe to share when talking to people you have never met before) My mom has always cooked with copious amounts of garlic since I was little, so it is only natural for me to eat garlic with every meal.

I will admit I am horrible for making actual measurements when making hummus, however below I gave the approximate measurements. I always taste it and see what it is missing and go from there.

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This hummus has made for a very satisfying lunch. Alongside a lot of fresh vegetables, it provided a sufficient amount of protein to make you feel comfortably full.

Today marks the last day of my Post-Graduate program, I am officially a Corporate Communications Specialist. I am eager to embrace the world of communications and I cannot wait to begin my first job in this industry.

Enjoy!

Mackenzy

Lentil Hummus

Adapted from: Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

1 cup of raw lentils (look for the process to cook lentils)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. tahini

The juice of 1 lemon

3 large garlic cloves (minced)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Start by cooking lentils. While this is occurring, it may take 20-30 minutes, begin with the olive oil and tahini in the food processor.

2. Then add the juice of 1 lemon and minced garlic cloves.

3. Once lentils are cooked, you can let them cool or just add them to the food processor warm. (I couldn’t wait for them to cool down)

4. Puree until combined to your desire and add salt and pepper to taste.

Crispy Kale Chips

I have been continuously looking for the perfect healthy snack and I am definitely one who craves chips.

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So many people have suggested I try making kale chips so that is exactly what I did. I found a great recipe on a blog named Kansas City Mamas. I was really surprised how good they were! They were equally salty and crunchy, exactly what I look for when I eat chips. The better part was that they are made out of kale so you don’t feel so guilty while eating them.

Since it was my first time making them I wasn’t sure how much sea salt to add so I overdid it so some chips were especially salty, but overall still good. I am already excited to make my next batch and perhaps be creative with the seasoning I put on them.

These would be perfect healthy snack for a get together or movie night!

Happy Saturday!

Enjoy!

Mackenzy 

 

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Kale Chips

Modified from Kansas City Mamas

Ingredients:

Kale

Sea Salt

Olive Oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the kale off of the steam and break into smaller pieces, be sure to throughly wash and dry kale. Place in a large bowl and add enough olive oil to cover all of the kale and then sprinkle with the sea salt. Toss around kale until evenly coated. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, try to evenly lay out the kale. Depending how many chips you are making you may need to roast in different batches. Place in oven for approximately 15 minutes or until crispy. You can serve them warm or at room temperature.

Chocolate Avocado Quinoa Muffins

So forget my last post about the spring weather coming, this weekend the winter chill came right back. However, that was not stopping us, we went adventuring in downtown Toronto on Saturday. Emily (my best friend more like my sister) was delivering her presentation about her research, so Karen (pretty much my second mom) and I took advantage of this opportunity to go wandering downtown Toronto. We began at the St.Lawrence Market, I have never been so I was a little overwhelmed. However, what a great place it was, it had so much to offer, we spent three full hours there. I found a quaint little crepe place and devoured an apple, cinnamon and cheese crepe. Boy was it ever good!

We were on the hunt for organic vegetables, cheese, homemade hummus and roasted eggplant dip and we left with exactly all of that. This place would definitely be perfect if you lived in Toronto and wanted fresh meat, fish and cheese. The perfect place to get your basics and I will most certainly be back!

On our trip back we found the food trucks in Hamilton, I have never witnessed so many food trucks with so many options, from a grilled cheese truck to the soup bus. I found myself at the Greek food truck and left with chicken souvlaki on a pita.

This morning Emily and I were on the hunt to bake something, when I remembered that my friend Lauren made these Chocolate Avocado Quinoa Muffins so I followed the recipe on her blog, Make Something. She brought some of these muffins to class last week and I have been thinking about making them ever since.

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There are so many good aspects about these muffins. The yummy chocolate banana taste, the moist consistency and finally how healthy they are for you. No word of a lie, the consistency is like a brownie, who could resist that? These muffins are gluten-free and vegan, because the flax egg is used instead of an actual egg.

I must admit I was very skeptical about the avocado in them at first but you cannot even taste it once it is mixed with the banana.

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Enjoy!

Mackenzy

Chocolate Avocado Quinoa Muffins

Ingredients:

Dry 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup  cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Wet

1 cup cooked quinoa

3/4-1 cup honey or maple syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk/soy milk

1 medium-sized ripe avocado

1 large, very ripe banana

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup chocolate chips (we used dark chocolate chips)

Flax Egg (1 tbsp ground flax seeds and 3 tbsp water)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place 1 cup of uncooked quinoa into 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of freshly ground flax seeds into a small bowl, then add 3 tbsp of water. Whisk thoroughly and let sit in the fridge for at least 15 or so minutes, until the consistency thickens. This is your vegan binder, a substitute for eggs.

Combine all the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix together.

Puree or mash by hand the avocado and banana. You can use a splash of almond milk to get it mixing, we didn’t need to do that however.

Once mashed, combine with the rest of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Combine the thickened flax egg to the wet and mix all together. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry. Don’t over mix!

Then we cut up the parchment paper into little squares and placed them in the muffin tins and filled them up.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. The insides may seem a bit undercooked but that’s ok!!!

Makes approximately 12 muffins.

The Best Way to Start Your Day

The smell of spring is in the air or maybe I am just being very hopeful, either way the first day of spring is this coming Thursday and I love the beginning of a new season. So I purchased a new pair of running shoes to start the season with a new stride. The new trends this season are really bright and flashy so I went for a beautiful hot pink pair. I am preparing to run in a few 5k races this spring/summer.

Along with my running I will be focusing on finding snacks that are loaded with protein and will stay with me. I feel this is a daunting task especially for me, I love snacks but most of the snacks I grab are lacking protein.

Until a friend of mine, Emily, shared this cookie recipe with me, she found it on Sallys Baking Addiction. Boy was I ever happy she shared this recipe, these cookies are by far one of the best cookies I have made in a long time. I am always struggling to find a cookie that’s healthy and tasty at the same time, these cookies were just that.

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All of the parts to these cookies make them protein packed including bananas, peanut butter, oats and almonds to name a few. On top of that they are naturally sweet with the peanut butter and natural maple syrup or honey.

I often run into problems when finding a good, healthy cookie, they seem to be too dry or taste awful. Well these cookies don’t have those issues at all, they are extremely moist and dense. There is no butter, no eggs, no flour and no sugar and you won’t even be able to tell that they aren’t there!

AKA, these are a guilt free cookie.

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It was extremely easy to make these cookies, the entire process of combining, mixing, making and baking took about 30 minutes. Which makes them ideal to make on Sundays when you are prepping for the week.

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These cookies are the ideal breakfast cookie, if you were to add a scoop of yogurt and fruit with it, it would be exceptionally delicious or they would be easy to eat on the run.

Try them out and let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

Mackenzy 

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Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

2 and 1/3 cups of quick oats (not whole oats)*

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup almond or peanut butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey

2 large ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. The dough will be sticky and thick.

Each cookie will be roughly 3 Tablespoons of dough.  Drop this amount onto prepared cookie sheet and slightly flatten the tops into desired thickness. The cookies will not spread in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes until edges are very slightly brown. Don’t bake any longer or the cookies will taste dry. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets completely. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 1 week. Cookies can be frozen up to 3 months.

* Quick oats are more finely ground than whole oats and easier to mix into the cookies. If you only have whole oats put them into a food processor for a few minutes to make them a little smaller and easier to combine.

Healthy Sweet Potato Chips

Healthy Sweet Potato Chips

Click on the link above and watch an instructional video on how to make these Healthy Sweet Potato Chips.

Healthy Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes (I used two)

Olive Oil (enough to evenly coat them)

Sea Salt (a few dashes)

Peel the sweet potatoes, using a mandolin thinly slice the sweet potato, toss them in a bowl with olive oil and sea salt. Lay the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and place them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Half way through flip them over for a more crispy taste.

Enjoy!

Mackenzy 

Not The Ideal First Date Meal

In lieu of all of the Valentine’s Day festivities, food plays a big part in the celebration, I specifically love a good heart-shaped pizza on Valentine’s. It has been an on going tradition for the past five years, however this year we (Karen, Emily & I) went to Al Dente’s  for our favourite gluten-free roasted vegetable and goat cheese pizza. We added in a slice of peanut butter chocolate cheesecake because well we couldn’t resist the temptation, and we had a good excuse being Valentine’s!

Tonight I was feeling especially crafty, since we just purchased a mandolin, I thought I would attempt to make vegetable sushi. Starting out with a thinly sliced cucumber (that will be the outside shell), then I thinly sliced up red & green peppers, red onion, carrot, avocado, and cilantro (these were all the toppings that went inside). The sauces were also a staple to the sushi so I used hummus, a hoisin sauce dressing, and soya sauce. Altogether these rolls were unbelievably delicious and so light, you could eat 5 without feeling guilty.

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I think the trick is to add a layer of hummus on the cucumber prior to adding the vegetables and then line up the vegetables on top of the hummus. I then drizzled the hoisin dressing and soya sauce on top of the vegetables so that the dressing was infused in the roll. Then roll it up slowly so that the toppings all stay in place.

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These rolls would not be the ideal first date meal, however they definitely should be a top choice! They tend to get a little bit messy and all over your face, but at least they are SO yummy! And yes, they are as good as they look!

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Happy Rolling!

Enjoy!

Mackenzy 

Vegetable Sushi Rolls

Cucumber

Red Pepper

Green Pepper

Red Onion

Carrot

Cilantro

Avocado

Hummus

Hoisin Sauce & Lemon Juice (combined)

Soya Sauce

* The amounts will all be based on how many rolls you wish to make.

It Will Make You Go, Gluten-Free Banana Bread!

It’s yet another cold Sunday winter morning, so what better to do, than bake?

There is so much excitement of the 2014 Olympics that began on Thursday in Sochi. So far Canada has received 1 Gold, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze medals. In the first opening days they have already made our country proud. The opening ceremonies took place on Friday at 11 a.m. unfortunately I was unable to watch at that time, so I awaited the rerun that took place on Friday evening. I thought the ceremony was quite the spectacle. It took us through Russia’s history, including the alphabet, that mentioned a historical moment for each letter. Following that we were shown the little 9 year old girl who would take the audience through the story. She was elevated into the air and suspended while floats demonstrating the country past her by. Following that was the grand entrance of all of the athletes, Canada’s uniforms were amazing, I thought they were truly Canadian, and really made the country stand out. Every athlete was wearing their Canada hat, it was really neat to see them walking in all in uniform. So excited to watch the rest of the games. Go Canada Go!

In lieu of all the events on during the day, I was tied to the TV so I felt it was only necessary to do some baking at the same time. I found this recipe for Gluten-Free Banana Bread on Confessions of a Gluten Free Mom it caught my eye for two reasons. 1. It looked extremely easy and 1. It was also sugar free, how could I go wrong? 

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This bread was delicious. I could not have picked a better recipe. It was super moist and was unbelievably yummy. It is the perfect snack and it doesn’t make you feel guilty. I will admit I am a culprit of craving a sweet snack after dinner, and this recipe was the perfect match.  I will definitely be making this again. 

p.s. try warming the bread up before you eat it, you can thank me later. 

Enjoy! 

Mackenzy

 

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Banana Bread

 
2½ cups Brown Rice Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
1½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground Nutmeg
½ cup chopped walnuts (I did not add)
2 Eggs, beaten
6 ripe Bananas, mashed
⅓ cup Raw Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ cup melted Coconut Oil
Added: a handful of chocolate chips & a handful of raisins 
 

 

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray bread pan with coconut oil spray.
  2. Mix rice flour, baking soda, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped pecans together.
  3. In separate bowl, mix the eggs, mashed bananas, honey, vanilla, and melted coconut oil.
  4. Add banana mixture to dry mix.
  5. Pour batter into your bread pan.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Apples and a lot of Cinnamon Gluten-Free Muffins

Why does it always happen when you are looking forward to the weekend that it flies by so quick?

This weekend was all that I could have asked for and more. The boyfriend came up for the Keith Urban concert “Fuse” on Friday night in Toronto. He was simply amazing, we could not have asked for a better show. We decided to make the most of our time in Toronto with a little bit of shopping at the Eaton Centre and then visiting the new “Ripley’s Aquarium,” which on a Saturday afternoon was mayhem. However, it is definitely a MUST see, I would recommend it to anyone, the perfect activity for a date. Plus you learn all about the fish living in our Great Lakes all the way to the oceans. Do you know how many teeth sharks have? Feel free to count.

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You would have thought when we got home we would have been tired, however I found this recipe on Quest for Balance and I was too excited about it, so I began my quest for the perfect Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

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Through personal preference I made a few changes to the recipe and gave it my own little twist. I chose to use granny smith apples because well they are one of my favourites and have a great sweet taste to them. I decided not to use milk so I included more eggs (not quite as many in the picture) and I added apple sauce (yet another great natural sweetener) instead. Lately I have been loving coconut oil, so I resorted to using that instead of olive oil. I also added more cinnamon because who doesn’t love a spoon full of cinnamon?

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This recipe was simply divine and they turned out perfectly. They were small in size and perfect for a simple snack in the middle of the day. Plus who could resist a warm apple cinnamon muffin with a cup of tea on a cold winters day? NOT me that is for sure. The boyfriend loved them as well, so I was sure to send some with him for his drive back home.

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This time I made sure to capture photos throughout the entire process so you could follow as I baked. I am always looking for new recipes so stay tuned to what I will come up with next. Happy Sunday my friends!

Enjoy!

Mackenzy

Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Adapted from: My Quest for Balance

2 cups oat flour (I used brown ride flour)

1.5 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 egg, beaten (I used 3 eggs & 2 tbsp. apple sauce)

3/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup melted raw honey (I did not add quite as much)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tbsp. olive oil (I used coconut oil)

1 apple, chopped (I shredded 2 apples)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oat flour, cinnamon and baking powder. In a small mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients: almond milk, honey, vanilla, olive oil. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, do not over mix. Fold in the chopped apple. Fill lined muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the center.