Buckwheat Banana Pancakes

There are few foods as comforting as pancakes.  My dad used to make them for my brother and I every Sunday morning when we were younger.  Except his pancakes were made with white flour, white sugar and milk.

When I found out I had an autoimmune disease in highschool, I had to eliminate all of the trigger foods from my diet (gluten, dairy, sugar).  These “trigger foods” cause inflammation in the body which cause autoimmune diseases to flare up.

Fast forward many years later, I’ve slowly been able to incorporate grains back into my diet in small, gluten free amounts.  I have tried many pancake mixes as well as different flour blends and these are by far my favorite. These pancakes are made with a mix of buckwheat flour and ground oats.  They are super fluffy and light and you really wouldn’t know they were gluten free.

Recipe

1 cup of gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas

2 tbsp of almond milk

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender
  2. Blend on medium high speed for 1 minute
  3. Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan and add some of the coconut oil
  4. Place two spoonfuls of the batter into the pan
  5. Once you see bubbles forming on top of the pancakes, gently flip
  6. Store in a preheated oven until you’re ready to eat

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Homemade Vanilla Bean Almond Milk

I stopped buying pre-made/packaged almond milk a few years ago.  Conveniently around the same time I invested in a Vitamix. Store bought almond milk contains thickeners and emulsifiers such as carrageenan which are not the healthiest.  If you own a blender I highly recommend you set aside time each week to make your own.  You can add it to smoothies, make lattes or enjoy on it’s own.  Because there are no emulsifiers it will tend to separate in the fridge so you will need to shake it before using.

Recipe

1 cup of soaked almonds

4 cups of water

2 dates

1/2 vanilla bean

pinch of salt

  1. Rinse the almonds well with cold water
  2. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water.  Soak over night or 8-10 hours minimum
  3. Drain and rinse the almonds and transfer to your blender.
  4. Add 4 cups of water, 2 dates and half of a vanilla bean and salt
  5. Blend on high for 1 minute
  6. Slowly pour the mixture through a nut milk bag over a bowl.  Squeeze the bottom of the nut milk bag until all the liquid is separated from the almond meal.
  7. Transfer to a 1 L mason jar and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Matcha Matcha Match

Matcha has been in my life for years and quickly became a morning staple due to all of the health benefits.  It’s rich in antioxidants, boosts your metabolism and tastes amazing. I absolutely can not drink coffee because it makes me super jittery and anxious so this has been my alternative.  There are two types of matcha, culinary grade and ceremonial grade.  For drinking purposes, always go with the ceremonial grade.  It’s less bitter and has a different flavor profile than culinary grade.  There’s a pretty large price difference between the two so for baking or smoothies I usually use culinary grade which has the same health benefits and is still a high quality tea it’s just slightly more bitter.  Ceremonial grade matcha is meant to be consumed without added sweeteners or milks.

On my recent trip to Montreal, we were lucky enough to stumble upon a family owned tea and spice shop in the Jean Talon market.  We met one of the daughters who is in charge of all the teas and her knowledge on the subject is incomparable. She studied tea in China for 6 years and now imports all of her teas from China and Japan.  If you ever find yourself in Montreal you must stop by.  This shop is magical.  I ended up purchasing some matcha which you can also buy online.

I also drink ceremonial grade DoMatcha which you can purchase here.

For those that don’t know, matcha is made from grinding up the whole green tea leaf.  So you are essentially getting the entire benefits of consuming the whole leaf compared to steeped green tea.

You can read up on all of the health benefits here.

 

Truffle Risotto

Although not the most nutritious of meals, truffle risotto has to be my all time favorite.  I’ve made it well over twenty times and I would have to say the key to making this dish perfect is patience.  It’s not something that you can just put on the stove and come back to when it’s ready.  It requires constant attention and effort.  That’s probably one of the reasons why I enjoy making it so much.  You get to put love into it.  And the constant stirring for 40 minutes is actually meditativeWho knew?

Recipe 

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

5-6 cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup of dry white wine

2 cups of assorted mushrooms

1 large white onion

2 tbsp of butter divided

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan

truffle oil

Parsley to garnish

  1. In a pot, add the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer
  2. In a separate large saucepan, add the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms and 1 tbsp of butter and sauté until golden brown
  4. Add the arborio rice and stir for a few seconds.
  5. Add the wine and stir for about 1 minute until most of the liquid is absorbed
  6. Slowly add the chicken stock to the rice, one ladle at a time making sure the liquid gets absorbed before adding more
  7. Stir constantly between ladles of stock to make sure it all gets absorbed.  Repeat this process until the rice is tender.
  8. Add the remaining butter, parmesan and drizzle with truffle oil (start with a very small amount of oil as it can be very strong)
  9. Garnish with grated parmesan and fresh parsley

 

 

Blueberry Protein Smoothie Bowl

With the return of warm weather, comes the return of the smoothie bowl.  If you’re anything like me, frozen smoothie bowls were the last on the list of things I craved during the cold winter months.  Now that spring is finally here I am happily welcoming them back into my diet.  For the base of the smoothie bowl, your options are endless.  Start with frozen fruit, add nut milk or water, nut butter, protein powder and any other additional superfoods you’d like.  I also usually add as many leafy greens as I can. It’s a great way to sneak in vegetables especially if you’re feeding picky kids. For this recipe I used…

1 cup of frozen blueberries

1/2 banana

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp almond butter

1/2 tbsp ground flax

1 cup of spinach

1 scoop of protein powder (I use  Sun Warrior )

 

For the toppings I used strawberries, 1/2 banana, pineapple, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, hemp hearts, and chia seeds. Get creative!

Almond Butter Cups

A childhood favourite with a healthy twist these almond butter cups are a huge hit with kids and adults. They have no refined sugar or additives and have a good amount of healthy fats to keep you satisfied.  I promise you will LOVE them.  They keep well in the fridge or freezer and last for a very long time if you can resist eating them all at once.

Yields 20

200 g of dark chocolate

1 cup of almond butter

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp salt

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double broiler
  2. In a bowl, mix together the almond butter, honey and salt
  3. Line the bottom of 20 small muffin liners with the melted chocolate
  4. Put in the fridge or freezer until solid
  5. Place 2 tsps of the almond butter filling on top of the chocolate base
  6. Pour the remaining chocolate over the almond butter filling and sprinkle with salt
  7. Cool in freezer until firm
  8. Store in fridge or freezer and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

If you haven’t tried tahini before, go out and buy some now. It’s one of the most versatile products and is packed with healthy fats and protein. It’s made from sesame seeds, and is a great non-dairy source of calcium. You can use it for savoury sauces, baked goods and as an alternative to almond butter or peanut butter if you want to go nut free. This is my all time favourite cookie recipe and it also happens to secretly be really healthy and super easy to make.

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Yields 8 cookies

1 ½ cups of oat flour

¾ cup of tahini

¼ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup maple syrup or honey

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 2.5 tbsp water)

¼ cup chocolate chips

  1. In a food processor or blender, make the oat flour by grinding on high for about 10 seconds or until a fine flour is formed.
  2. In a bowl, beat the egg and add the coconut sugar, maple syrup and tahini.
  3. Slowly add the oat flour to the wet ingredients and stir until combined (it will be quite sticky)
  4. Add the chocolate chips and fold in by hand.

You can play around with different additions other than chocolate chips. I recently made them with chopped dates and pecans and they turned out equally as amazing.

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