Friendly Food Snobs

breakfast

gluten free sweet potato muffins

Hi friends. Toronto is covered in snow as I type and cooking and baking is about coziness at home.

Enter these gluten free muffins made with sweet potato. Perfect for chilly mornings with a mug of something hot.  The texture is fluffy and you can’t even tell they’re gluten free.

I make these two ways by varying the add ins. The first version is stirring in pepita seeds and dark chocolate chips. And the other version is raisins and chopped walnuts. I wanted a little indulgence the day I made them so I drizzled a little honey over and served the muffins to the kids for dessert and they went crazy for them, calling them “honey cakes”. It’s the little things!

Recipe makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:
1 cup baked sweet potato
3/4 cup all purpose flour or gluten-free flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
1 egg

Add ins:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips OR 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pepita seeds OR 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash the sweet potato and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool slightly and slice in half and scoop out one cup. (I ziploc the rest of the inside of the sweet potato and freeze it to add to a soup.)

Combine the oil, egg, milk and vanilla with the brown sugar. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate large bowl. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir until just combined. Spoon into lined or greased muffin tins. (I grease mine with coconut oil and a paper towel or non-stick spray.) Bake for 20 minutes.

Great with almond butter or regular butter for breakfast. Or drizzled with honey for dessert. 

If you like baking healthy muffins you may like these no-sugar banana muffins or this protein-packed super seedy banana bread.

zucchini spelt muffins

It’s nearing the end of summer and local fruit and veg is abundant. I love to hit the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings this time of year. Grab some zucchini next time you go and make these muffins. They are moist, easy to make and the spelt flour gives them a fluffy texture and nutty flavour that I love.

I started playing around with more spelt flour recently and I am officially a convert. Why? Spelt flour is easier to digest than regular flour, it’s less processed, has more protein and fibre and gives a nutty flavour and fluffy texture.

I also am a HUGE fan of one bowl cookie and muffin recipes like this one. If you sprinkle the baking powder, soda and spices over the flour it works every time! And one less bowl to wash.

Ok back to the recipe. These zucchini muffins have a walnut and raw sugar crunchy topping that is divine. And I also list a couple different additions below, think raisins, chopped dates or chocolate chips. Not gonna lie the dark chocolate chip version is pretty incredible and my family gobbled them in less than two days. Recipe makes 12 muffins or one loaf. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • 1/4 TSP nutmeg
  • 1 and 3/4 cups spelt flour (I love Bobs Red Mill)
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP baking powder
  • crunchy topping = 2 TBSP chopped walnuts + 1 TBSP raw sugar for sprinkling on top before baking

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine coconut oil, eggs, milk and maple syrup in bowl along with the grated zucchini. (By the way, I never squeeze out the moisture in the zucchini, I know some recommend it, but why squeeze out all that goodness that will make your muffins moist!?) Mix all these wet ingredients well.

Sprinkle over top all the dry ingredients, doing the spelt flour first and then sprinkling the spices and baking soda and powder evenly as best you can.

Stir until just combined. I use a fork or spatula.

Grease your muffin tin with non stick spray or line the cups. Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle the chopped walnuts and raw sugar over each muffin.

Bake 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.

Note: I have made this same muffin recipe with a few variations. You can add 1/2 cup of any of the following: raisins, chocolate chips or chopped dates.

Recipe also makes one loaf. Just bake at a lower temp, 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Check by inserting a knife in the middle. It should come out clean when done. Let bread cool in loaf pan for for an hour.

Enjoy the last weeks of summer friends!

blackberry almond cake

It’s early June and the summer lays out full of possibilities. I love this time of year. I have been playing around with the idea of this cake for a few weeks. I finally wrangled all the ingredients including some gorgeous organic blackberries (I ate the extra pint while I baked). Is there anything better than baking with summer fruit?

The blackberries get sort of jammy and even sweeter as they are baked right into this cake. This cake is moist and lower in carbs thanks to the almond flour. It’s perfect all on its own. If you want to dress it up for dessert sift some icing sugar over each slice or add a dollop of whipped cream. I love it with a strong cup of tea in the morning as a treat. Raspberries or blueberries would be lovely too if you don’t have blackberries.

You’ll see in the recipe I used salted butter, and didn’t add any extra salt. Probably a baking purist would critique me for this one – but I always have salted butter in my fridge as my kids love it on good bread as a weekend treat. So if I can do a shortcut – I will. If you do have unsalted butter and prefer to bake with it, I would add 1/2 tsp salt to the recipe. Oh and don’t over mix this batter, stir until just combined. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup superfine almond flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (salted) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2% dairy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter to grease the pan
  • approx. 15 blackberries (rinsed)
  • small handful slivered almonds

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking pan generously with the 1 tbsp butter. I used a 9-inch glass pie plate, however you can also use a round metal cake pan.

Mix the dry ingredients and stir well. Cream the sugar and room temperature butter. Then add in the milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour into the greased pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkled the almonds over the top. Nestle the berries in between the almonds. Be generous with the berries, really cannot have too many. Push them down a tiny bit into the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely (at least an hour or two) before cutting in with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe you might also enjoy blueberry buckle.

breakfast egg cups

breakfast egg cupsbreakfast egg cups

Only five days until Christmas, can you believe it? I am more organized this year since becoming a mama of two, I mean every present is already wrapped and normally I am always scrambling last minute. I am excited for the holidays and slightly nervous about two weeks of no nursery school for Oscar and keeping him somewhat quiet for Dash’s naps. Yikes. Back to the recipe!

I wanted to plan to make something delicious on Christmas morning that didn’t involve me standing over the stove for a long period of time. Hence these little breakfast egg cups were born. Christmas morning should be cozy and casual and I love these egg cups because they can sit alongside some croissants/fresh bread and berries and fruit on my table and be enjoyed as the morning goes on, more coffee is made and presents opened.

I love this recipe because the only thing you need to prep/cut is one little onion that adds a lot of flavour. I have made these ahead of time and also frozen them. That works, but I do prefer them made fresh.

If you have all the ingredients ready to go in your fridge they are quick to assemble and bake, are toddler approved in my house and do not require a fork and knife to eat..see my thoughts on cozy and casual above. Wishing you a happy and peaceful holiday friends!

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped onion (one small onion)

12 regular size eggs (use only 10 if using large eggs)

2 cups fresh baby spinach 

1/2 cup roasted peppers chopped (drained, from a jar)

1/2 cup feta cheese (or any cheese you want)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

non stick spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a frying pan with a little olive oil, Add the chopped onion, a little salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat until fragant. Add the spinach and cook for another two minutes until wilted. Combine the peppers with the spinach and onion in the pan and mix well.

Coat a muffin tin (12 cups) with non stick spray and fill each one with some of the spinach, pepper, onion mixture. In a large bowl beat the dozen eggs. Pour the eggs over each cup in the muffin tin. (I put the egg mixture in my plastic blender just to pour them because it has a spout, so less mess!) Top with crumbled feta, or whatever cheese you are using. Goat cheese or cheddar would work too.

Only fill the muffin tin 3/4 full as the cups will expand as they bake. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until tops of egg cups bounce back to the touch and look firm. My oven took 23 minutes. Let cool in muffin tin. To remove slide a spatula around the cups and wiggle them out. Store in the fridge for 3 days or freeze for longer. Reheat in the oven for a few minutes or microwave for 30 seconds on high. Hope you enjoy!

meditation, food prep and self care

Rachel Barbaro

We are in the busy weeks leading to the holidays and I was looking at the calendar earlier this week and felt that holiday anxiety set in. So much to do, so many commitments. And then yesterday I found myself eating a  protein bar in the car for lunch. Sad for me, because food makes me so happy usually!

I thought to myself, time to amp up my self care and food prep…I want to enjoy this season and not feel run over by it. I don’t know about you but eating well and taking care of myself seem to be the two foundations to stay calm and present. To be able to enjoy the sparkle in my boys’ eyes when I turn on the Christmas tree every morning or reading a book cuddled under a blanket. It’s the really simple mundane everyday moments that I love the most, not the high pressure ones. Here are a few rituals I’ve found so useful year round, but especially this season. 

Meditate 

I love to find some stillness between my thoughts before I start my day. I practice every morning and have for years. 

Here’s what I do: as soon as I wake up (before caffeine) I take a few minutes usually between five and ten to sit in stillness in my bedroom. (Yes I drink some water and visit the bathroom first..very very quietly to not wake the kids!) I don’t use a fancy meditation cushion or an app. This is old school zen meditation.  I sit cross legged on my bed and shut the door. If the kids are asleep or awake I still practice. And Neil protects those few minutes of the day for me because he knows how important it is. It just resets my mind to a place of stillness before the stream of thoughts and busy starts. Jon Kabat Zinn has a few amazing talks that you can watch on youtube. This post from Mindful.org helped me so much when I started my practice.

Self care/self love

Caring for yourself, honouring yourself is whatever fills up your cup. It is not usually going to spa for me or getting my nails done…after having two kids that isn’t realistic. I need actions that can be done simply and usually at home.

Here are my faves: chai or peppermint tea and watching a foreign movie or doc on Netflix (leave the chores for another day),  doing a mini facial and using a scrub/mask and my best face creams before bed slowly and mindfully, or making it to a yoga or bootcamp class to sweat out the old energy and breath in new. The point is to honour your body. 

Pure fun

Leave all screens in another part of the house and pile onto the couch or bed under a blanket with a magazine solo or with my kids and a dozen of their silliest books.

Walk outside in the trails and parks near my house with or without the little ones, noticing the change of the seasons.

Take myself for lunch or a coffee solo, my friend Tamara reminded me this is called an artist’s date and I love that.

Turn on music (like some 90’s rock or pop) and cook or bake usually super seedy banana bread or a soup that will be used for a few meals.

Onto the recipe below.

raspberry honey chia pudding

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons whole black chia seeds

2 tablespoons plain full fat yogurt

3/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you like)

shake of cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

tiny pinch sea salt

topping ideas: fresh raspberries/any berries, raisins, granola, coconut flakes

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, stir well and cover and set in fridge overnight. When ready to eat give it a stir, and top with raspberries and whatever else you have on hand. If it’s too thick for your liking add a few drops of milk and stir.

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