The Ultimate Trail Mix

The Ultimate Trail Mix

Trail mix is one of those great make ahead snack items that can literally be taken anywhere. Stick a bag in your purse, have a container in your desk draw, or keep a little stash in your car, it is the perfect portable snack for those moments of low energy and intense hunger.

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Not only can trail mix be made in large batches and stored for weeks (or months…if it lasts that long) in the fridge, but it is packed full of healthy fats, protein and good nutrients which keep us satisfied and energized.

Make ahead meals and food prep days are essential for busy people/families and the success of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. If we plan and prep our weekly meals ahead of time we have no excuse in those moments where we are ravaged with hunger and have no energy to cook. All we have to do is open the fridge and pull out the items we have prepped ahead of time. This prevents that stop at the fast food store on the way home or reaching for that frozen pizza. A little time on the weekend (or whatever day works for you) saves us a lot of time during the week and helps keep us on track with our healthy eating goals. Trail mix is one of those easy make a head recipes that will keep us on track and out of the cookie jar.

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Maybe I will write a post next week with tips for meal prep and meal planning… stay tuned for that.

For now try this delicious trail mix and keep it handy for those moments of low energy and little time.

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Ingredients:

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup walnut pieces, chopped

¼ cup hazel nuts

¾ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup cashews

½ cup Brazil nuts, chopped

¾ cup mini dairy-free or dark chocolate chips

½ – ¾ cup raisins or dried cranberries

Directions:

Simply toss all ingredients in a bowl to combine and then transfer to an air tight container. Store in the fridge for a quick and delicious snack.

 

Happy Snacking!

XO Deanna

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Food Friday: For the LOVE of Sugar Cookies

For the LOVE of cookies

Happy day before Valentine’s Day! I have one last valentine’s inspired recipe to help you spread the LOVE!

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These gluten-free and vegan sugar cookies are the perfect food gift – package in a pretty bag tied with a bow – they just make the cutest little heart felt gift!

You can cover with icing and sprinkles, dip in chocolate or decorate with a message of love – like those conversation hearts…..so CUTE!

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I was so excited I made a double batch and sent some pretty packages with my mom to spread the feeling of LOVE at work – I couldn’t help myself. I finally created the perfect recipe that holds its shape and has that slight crunch. You don’t know how much excitement this brings me – I did the happy dance around the kitchen.

 

Lovely Cut-out Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

¼ cup coconut oil, room temperature

¼ cup vegan butter (I like soy-free earth balance spread)

5 Tbsp. almond milk (other dairy-free milk)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup powdered sugar

2 cups gluten free flour blend

2 Tbsp. tapioca starch

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

*I like to make my own large batch of gluten-free flour blend using 4 cups brown rice flour, 1 1/4 cups tapioca starch, 1 1/4 cup potato starch, 4 tsp guar gum. I mix everything together and store in an airtight container.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine coconut oil and vegan butter. Cream together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add milk and vanilla and cream another couple minutes.
  3. Add half the powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add the remaining sugar and beat to combine.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour blend, tapioca starch, salt and baking powder. Add flour to mixer in small batches, mixing in between. Once all flour is added turn mixer to medium high and beat for a couple minutes to bring everything together.
  5. Remove dough from mixer and form into a disk using your hands. Dough should hold together but not be sticky.
  6. Place one piece of plastic wrap or wax paper under and on top of the dough disk, this will take the place of excess flour and prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Roll the dough to about ¼ – ½ inch thick and cut with your favourite cookie cutter. *if using wax paper let it hang over the counter a little and hold with hip to prevent sliding.
  7. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake about 8-10 minutes, just until set and lightly golden on the bottom.
  8. Let cool completely before icing.

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Icing:

2 cups icing sugar

2 – 4 tsp dairy-free milk (depends on preferred thickness)

Directions:

Add sugar and milk to a small mixing bowl and mix to combine. *Start with a little milk and gradually add until you reach your desired consistency.

Place into a piping bag or zip top bag to easily decorate cookies.

*you can also melt some chocolate and dip half the cookie, top with sprinkles before baking, or use icing to write little love messages.

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Have fun decorating and gifting these gems to the people you love. There is nothing better than making people delicious treats to brighten there day.

XO Deanna

Loving Pancakes: Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Valentine’s day is quickly approaching. As everyone is thinking about dessert and their after dinner treats, I can’t help but think about breakfast (…and dessert). If you want to have enough energy to enjoy all your love day activities it is crucial to nourish your body with a great breakfast…maybe in bed!

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These delicious gluten-free and vegan pancakes are the perfect healthy yet decedent breakfast to surprise your sweetie with. I even took things one step further and made mine into cute valentine’s day inspired shapes. Its fun to make things a little more special.

Valentine’s Day Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups Almond milk

1 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar

1 cup Gluten-free All-purpose Flour (with guar or xanthan gum)

*1/2 tsp guar/xanthan gum if missing from flour blend

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup Grape seed oil

½ -1 tsp Vanilla

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Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine almond milk and vinegar, let stand for 10 minutes to curdle.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisk to combine.
  3. Add oil and vanilla to the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to the wet and whisk to combine.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet or crepe pan over low heat. Use ¼ cup measure to divide pancake batter. Pour batter onto heated pan and cook about 3 minutes, until the bottom starts to set and bubbles form on the surface. Flip and cook another couple minutes.
  5. Adorn with your favourite toppings: chocolate chips, maple syrup or fresh fruit.

*to make festive shapes pour batter into a squeeze bottle, this makes it easy to draw shapes. Make the outline first and then fill in the middle.

I hope you enjoy these delicious pancakes and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

XO Deanna

Apple Walnut Bars: Two ways

February is heart health month and what better way to protect your heart than eating delicious dessert like snacks. I have created two versions of a delicious apple walnut bar for your enjoyment and heart health.

These bars are loaded with heart healthy ingredients used to help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and protect against arterial damage.

Oats – contain omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, and soluble fiber. Consumption of oats has been shown to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, protect against inflammation.

Walnuts – contain heart protective omega-3 fats and blood pressure lower nutrients such as Magnesium and phytosterols. The rich fiber content helps reduce cholesterol levels while antioxidant rich vitamin E helps protect the heart from harmful free radical damage. These nutrients and antioxidants also help boost immunity, reduce risk of blood clots, and reduce risk of heart attacks.

Apples – soluble fiber content helps lower LDL cholesterol levels, while antioxidant vitamin C helps protect against free radical damage.

Chia seeds – contain high levels of omega-3 fats which protect against inflammation and fiber which helps to lower cholesterol levels, both reducing risk of heart disease.

First up, sweet tooth satisfying apple walnut pie bars. These little beauties combine the gooey filling of an apple pie with the portable crunch of a bar. These are perfect for and after dinner snack or even a fantastic breakfast. The high fiber and low sugar content will satisfy that sweet tooth without sky rocketing blood sugar.

Apple Walnut Pie Bars

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 chia egg (1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds + 3 Tbsp. warm water)

1 ½ cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/3 cup ground walnuts

½ tsp salt

4 madjool dates, soaked, chopped

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

4 Tbsp. coconut oil

Filling:

3 apples, peeled, diced (I like a mix of green and red)

1 tsp cinnamon

4 Tbsp. tapioca starch

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 ¼ cup water

Crumble:

½ cup gluten-free rolled oats

½ cup ground walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

apple walnut pie bars

Directions:

Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl make your chia egg. Whisk together ground chia seeds and warm water until a gel forms. Set to the side.
  3. In a food processor add oats and pulse for a couple minutes until it resembles flour. Add walnuts, salt, and dates. Pulse to combine.
  4. Add maple syrup, coconut oil and prepared chia egg. Pulse until everything combines and a slightly sticky dough forms.
  5. Press dough into a parchment paper lined brownie pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool.

Filling and crumble:

  1. In a medium sauce pot combine all filling ingredients and stir to combine. Heat over low until apples start to soften and filling thickens and starts to form a gel like texture. Cool slightly and pour over cooled crust.
  2. Combine all crumble ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over apple filling.
  3. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Let cool.
  4. You can serve slightly warm or place in the fridge to set completely.

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Second recipe is great to have on hand for an afternoon snack or pre/post workout treat. These delicious snack bars store perfectly in the fridge or freezer so you have a delicious snack any time you want.

Apple Walnut Snack Bars

Ingredients:

1 chia egg (1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds + 3 Tbsp. warm water)

2 ¼ cups rolled oats

1 cup ground walnuts

½ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

8 madjool dates, soaked, chopped

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

4 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 cup apple, grated

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Directions:

  1. In a small bowl make your chia egg. Combine ground chia seeds with warm water and whisk until a gel forms. Set to the side.
  2. Add oats to a food processor and pulse a couple minutes until it resembles flour. Add ground walnuts, salt, cinnamon, and chopped dates. Pulse until ingredients combine.
  3. Add maple syrup, coconut oil, and prepared chia egg. Pulse to combine. Add grated apple and pulse just to combine.
  4. Remove dough from the processor, it should hold together and be slightly sticky. Press into a parchment lined brownie pan and place in the fridge to set. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

apple walnut snack bars

Hope you enjoy both of these delicious heart healthy treats!

XO Deanna

Food Friday: Valentine’s Chocolate Cupcakes

Valentine’s Chocolate Cupcakes

When you hear the words valentine’s day most people think of chocolate. Yes, we think of love but mostly we think of receiving that heart shaped box filled with assorted chocolates, don’t lie. Why not switch things up this year and surprise your valentine with homemade chocolate cupcakes. Nothing says LOVE more than something made from the heart.

Everyone can run to the store and buy the generic box of chocolates, but how special would it be to know that the one you love slaved in the kitchen making a special chocolate treat just for you.
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These delicious gluten-free and vegan chocolate cupcakes are the perfect after dinner treat and they won’t have you feeling bloated and weighed down for your after dessert adventures.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond milk

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, room temperature

1 cup raw sugar

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chip

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup. Let stand for 5 minutes to curdle.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set to the side.
  4. Combine water and cocoa powder in a small sauce pot and warm over low heat until cocoa powder melts and everything combines.
  5. In a large mixing bowl cream together coconut oil and sugar using an electric mixer. Add chocolate mixture and beat to combine.
  6. Add half flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and beat to combine. Add almond milk mixture along with vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  7. Add remaining flour and fold in with a spatula. Add in chocolate chips and divide batter into a lined cupcake pan.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool completely.

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Icing:

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup vegan shortening

2 Tbsp. almond milk

2 tsp vanilla

3-4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl cream together vegan butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and almond milk and continue to beat.
  2. Gradually add 1/2 cup powdered sugar at a time, beating between each addition.

Generously swirl icing on top of cooled cupcakes and top with festive sprinkles. These chocolate beauties are sure to impress.

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Enjoy!

XO Deanna