Tag Archives: coconut

Incredible Carrot Muffins

carrot-muffins

I had some carrots that I wanted to use up so I decided to come up with a recipe for carrot muffins.  This recipe turned out GREAT!  I made 16 small muffins today and there are 3 left.  My kids and my husband absolutely LOVE them.  The best part is, because of the natural sweetness of the carrots and orange juice, I didn’t have to use much sugar.  These muffins are LOADED with carrots so they’re healthy and will make the perfect snack for school lunches and something to grab on the way out the door.

I have a feeling I’m going to be making these A LOT!

NOTE ABOUT THE RECIPE:  I used both oil and butter because I like the flavour and moist texture that using both provides.  However, using one or the other would also work!  I LOVE these with coconut sprinkled on top but you could also top them with chopped walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc. for a delicious crunch and added healthy fat.  You could also add raisins to the mix!

carrot-muffin-with-walnuts

INGREDIENTS (makes about 16 small muffins)

  • 2 small eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp canola/vegetable oil OR coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5  tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • OPTION:  1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed but any orange juice will do)
  • 3 cups shredded carrot (I use a food processor to shred it but a cheese grater works too)
  • OPTION:  shredded coconut to sprinkle on top!

METHOD

  • Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
  • Using a food processor, cream together butter, oil and sugars.
  • Add vanilla extract and orange juice.  Add eggs.
  • Combine dry and wet ingredients and fold until everything is mixed.
  • Stir in shredded carrot.  Do not over-mix.
  • Fill greased muffin tins to 3/4 full.
  • Sprinkle on shredded coconut or nuts, if using.
  • Bake in 375 degree pre-heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before eating (if you can wait that long!).

NOTE:  For more of a ‘dessert’ taste, these are incredible with vanilla cream cheese frosting on top!!

carrot-muffin-with-frosting

Thai Vegetable & Rice Salad with Warm Peanut Sauce

thai vegetable salad

Last weekend I was going for a ‘girls night’ at my friends house and I wanted to make something  interesting, fun, simple and delicious to bring for dinner.

(My friend is a vegetarian so I didn’t include meat with this recipe but some strips of pork, steak or even chicken would be great with this dish.  Prawns would also be AWESOME).

This recipe turned out REALLY well.  We all agreed it was a keeper.  It’s inexpensive to make, full of amazing flavours and textures, incredibly nutritious and satisfying enough to eat for dinner without feeling hungry half an hour later.

NOTE:  Rice, peanut sauce AND eggs can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and simply reheated when you want to serve with salad!!

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

Sauce

  • 1 red Thai chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 heaping Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • pinch salt

Salad

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 packed cups green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup scallions/green onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup beet, shredded
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced thin on bias
  • 1/2 cup carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, sliced (red, orange and/or yellow)
  • 1 cup english cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • OPTIONAL:  1/2 cup bean sprouts and/or 1 cup mango chunks for garnish!
  • GARNISH:  1/3 cup – 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Rice

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Thai chile
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

METHOD

Sauce

  • Using a blender/hand-held mixer, pulse all ingredients together until blended and smooth.
  • Transfer peanut sauce to a small pot/saucepan and add 1/4 cup water.
  • Heat over low heat, whisking often, until smooth and hot.
  • Keep warm over very low heat until you’re ready to serve the salad.

Eggs

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add eggs and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Run eggs under cold water (or put into an ice bath) until cooled, then peel and set aside.

Rice

  • Add coconut oil, garlic kaffir lime leaves and whole thai chile to pot and sauté on low heat until garlic is fragrant.  About 2 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk, water and salt and bring to boil stirring often to ensure you don’t burn the coconut milk.
  • Add rice, stir, cover with lid and reduce heat to very low.
  • Cook rice for 55 minutes (or whatever the cook time for the rice you’re using reads).
  • Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and take out the lime leaves and thai chile.
  • Taste and adjust salt as desired.

Salad

  • Prepare all the vegetables and herbs as instructed above.
  • Mix together in bowl and season generously with salt.

ASSEMBLY

  • scoop warm rice into four bowls.
  • Add the salad into the bowls on top of the rice.
  • Drizzle each salad generously with warm peanut sauce.
  • 1/2 the eggs, season with salt and pepper and add an egg to each bowl.
  • Top salad with peanuts (and mango chunks if using).
  • Put extra peanut sauce into a small bowl so everyone can add extra sauce as desired.

veggie salad with peanut sauce

 

 

Cherry Coconut Cashew Bars with Dark Chocolate

cherry coconut cashew energy bars with dark chocolate

cherry coconut cashew energy bars with dark chocolate

Granola bars and/or energy bars I have bought in the past have always been loaded with additives and other things I don’t want.  They’re also either too dry, too crunchy, too sweet or have too much fat and calories.  The few that I do like are REALLY expensive.  So a while back I decided to try my hand at making my own.  I figured it would be really easy.  It wasn’t.  I tried a LOT of different recipes and although some of them were good, I didn’t find anything that was great.  Some of them were too dry and fell apart.  Others were too chewy and dense.  The list goes on and on.   I decided to use a few different recipes as a guideline to get the ratio of ingredients right so that my bars would be the consistency I wanted, but I made up my own recipe based on my favourite things (I’ll eat ANYTHING with cherries and dark chocolate!!).

After making this recipe FIVE times, I have finally come up with what I feel is the perfect amount of each ingredient.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is how you can simply substitute one thing for an equal amount of another to customize it.  For instance, you could use almonds or peanuts instead of cashews.  You could use almond or cashew butter in place of peanut butter.  You could use sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds instead of coconut.  You could use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate.  You could even use cranberries instead of cherries…  You get the idea.

Now that I have the ratios down, I will be experimenting with all kinds of amazing flavour combinations!  (I already tried the recipe with dried blueberries and almonds instead of cashews and cherries and it was amazing).

MONEY SAVING TIP:  Some of the ingredients can be quite expensive (nuts, dried cherries, coconut, etc).  I always recommend buying any ingredients possible from the bulk bins to save LOTS of money.  My dry storage is now filled with jars of assorted nuts, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate chips and other ingredients I can ‘play with’!

I have been eating a LOT more nuts, seeds and oats lately and it’s been amazing.  I find that I’m snacking much less on sugary or carb heavy foods and the protein and fibre from the nuts and seeds keeps me full for hours.  I always grab a small energy bar or just a handful of nuts before a workout and I’ve been performing better than ever.

I’m not going to be turning into a gluten-free vegan any time soon but incorporating all these natural, super healthy ingredients into my diet is definitely becoming part of my lifestyle as opposed to a fad.

The below bars are my favourite flavour combination yet.  I’m obsessed with the mix of cashews, coconut, cherry and dark chocolate!!  SO GOOD.  I hope you, and your family, enjoy these as much as mine does!

*Anywhere you can afford to use natural, organic ingredients, I always recommend it.  However, it can increase the cost significantly so it’s completely up to you.  One of the main reasons to make your  own bars, after all, is to save money.

INGREDIENTS (makes 16 square bars)

DRY

  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice (you could use brown puffed rice.  I used Rice Krispies)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted cashews – rough chop
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (use less if you want to make them even healthier)
  • 3/4 cup tart dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tsp salt

WET

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (natural peanut butter is recommended)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

METHOD

  • Heat ‘wet’ ingredients and the salt over low heat in a pot until smooth and combined.  Around 2 minutes.
  • Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl (except chocolate chips unless you want the chocolate to melt).  It’s great both ways.
  • NOTE:  If you want the chocolate to melt all the way through, add the chocolate into the mix before you add the wet ingredients.  If you want to have chocolate chips throughout, LEAVE THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS OUT OF THE MIX UNTIL AFTER YOU ADD THE WET INGREDIENTS TO THE DRY INGREDIENTS.  (Otherwise the warm peanut butter mixture will melt the chocolate.  I learned this the hard way).
pouring wet ingredients into dry ingredients

pouring wet ingredients into dry ingredients

  • Pour wet ingredients from the pot into the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix to combine (I use my hands to do this).  Once it’s cooled down a bit you can add the chocolate chips.
  • Line a baking pan/dish with parchment or wax paper and spray with Pam cooking spray (or use a little canola oil).
  • Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.
energy bars pressed into pan

energy bars pressed into pan

  • Refrigerate  for at least ONE HOUR.
  • Carefully lift parchment/wax paper out of pan and onto cutting board.
  • Cut into bars in whatever size or shape you wish.
energy bars cut into squares

energy bars cut into squares

  • Store in an air-tight container at room temperature with parchment paper separating pieces so they don’t stick together.

energy bars