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Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins
On the weekend, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Jeff and I have perfected our Saturday morning breakfast, which we take turns making: soft scrambled eggs with cheese and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt; crispy bacon and a buttered, toasted bagel from St. Urbain or Griffs — depending on where we did our grocery shopping. Saturday morning breakfast is best enjoyed on the couch and will keep you full well in to the afternoon. Or whenever the desire for a Le Gourmand cookie becomes unbearable.

Weekdays are a whole other story. I’ve never been one to linger in the morning, I just want to get up, get out and get on with my day. That means for most of my adult life breakfast has been enjoyed either on public transit or at my desk.

When there’s good fruit to be had, there’s nothing better than a mountain of berries topped with yogurt and homemade granola. As the last of the berries disappeared from the farmer’s market and mornings began to have that undeniable winter chill, I began to crave something I could really sink my teeth into. I was craving muffins.

I try to be virtuous when it comes to breakfast through the week and muffins generally sit closer to the cake side of the spectrum than say, the green smoothie side. Luckily, these muffins satisfied my carb craving without making me feel guilty. They are packed with protein and fibre, and the coconut oil gives them a luscious, buttery texture.

I made these one Sunday afternoon before our wedding, knowing that things were about to get a little crazy and I’d need a grab and go breakfast that packed a nutritious punch, lest I start reaching for the bagels and cream cheese. Then, I made them twice more before we left and once again as soon as we got home. If that’s not a testament to how good these muffins are, I simply don’t know what is.

Morning Glory Muffins
Makes 16-18 muffins
Adapted from That’sFit.ca

I’ve made these muffins both with and without liners. I highly recommend going for paper liners when making these bad boys, because they tend to be a little sticky when they come out of the oven. Make sure you let your coconut oil and eggs come to room temperature or else the cold egg yolk will cause the oil to get chunky.

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup Sucanat sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rainsins
2 cups shredded carrots
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
3 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

3. In a separate, large bowl combine raisins, carrots, apple, coconut, almonds and seeds and combine. Add coconut oil and mix until well-coated.

4. Whisk eggs with juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the fruit and nuts, combine well.

5. Fold nut mixture into flour and mix until no dry flour is visible.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then remove on to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer.

Crock-Roasted Chicken

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Okay, I’m just going to come out and say this.  Back in August I finally experienced my “that’s it!” moment and decided I was going to do something about the butter weight I’d accumulated.  I joined Weight Watchers and started losing weight.

Three months later I’ve lost 19.6 pounds and am just 2.4 pounds away from my first goal — which was to lose 10% of my body weight.  I wrote a little bit about changing my relationship with food back in September, and wondered if this would change mise en place.  It’s been pretty quiet around here, so it apparently did.

I can admit that I may have been a little embarrassed, worried about how “being on a diet” might affect my foodie cred (lame, I know). But being on Weight Watchers has also forced me to recalibrate all of the things in my life.  Finding time every day to work, exercise, eat well (i.e. actually taking time to eat lunch and not just shoving a slice of pizza into my face between paragraphs), cook, shower, relax, pay attention to my partner, family and friends, and oh yeah, sleep, has been a challenge.

So forgive me if after all that blogging hasn’t been high up on the priority list. Finding balance hasn’t been easy, but I think I’ve got it. My secret weapon: our new slow cooker!

About a month ago I dragged Jeff out to the Bay to purchase a slow cooker.  Once home in the elevator a neighbour noticed the box and lamented that our lives were about to be transformed.  And boy, was she right. After a long day at work we can come home to a hot meal without lifting a finger. We’ve enjoyed chili and stew and soup and the best roast chicken I have ever had in or out of a restaurant.

What are you waiting for? A slow cooker is definitely the secret to eating well on the run.

Crock-Roasted Chicken
Adapted from Prevention Guide Slow Cooker Recipe Book

Ingredients:

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 1/4 to 4 lbs)
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Rinse and pat chicken dry, removing any visible fat. Discard giblets and neck. Coat 4-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. Combine paprika, onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper in bowl. Stir in warm water by the teaspoonful until thick paste forms. Coat chicken inside and out with seasoned paste before placing in cooker, breast side up.

3. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours (or on high 3 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours). Remove chicken from cooker. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and carve. The meat will be so tender it will just fall off the bones.