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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I am a reformed pastry fiend. I distinctly remember having my first croissant as a child during a family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. It was unforgettable and I was forever hooked. The problem is, I am no longer a string bean of a girl, growing taller by the day. And simple carbs leave me feeling hungry 40 minutes later.

These days, I love baking with almond flour or coconut flour. They’ve got more protein, fewer carbs, and they feel dense (in a good way). This recipe is based on the Almond Muffin Mania recipe from nutritionist and chef Rebecca Katz. Sofia and I have made them several times and Jason loves them so much, they’re gone within 24 hours! They’re also refined sugar-free.

Sidenote: I did a podcast with Katz about cancer-fighting foods that you can listen to here. This recipe is from her cookbook, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 24 mini muffins
A quick note: I’ve tried these with pumpkin puree and also with canned pumpkin. I try to steer clear of cans because there are often traces of BPA found in cans, but I was able to find one that said it was a BPA free liner. (Let’s hope it was the truth!) The canned pumpkin has a better consistency for this recipe. If you use pumpkin puree, I suggest straining some of the liquid out and omitting the milk.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup canned organic pumpkin or organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup organic milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk
2 organic eggs
1/4 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use TCHO disks 66% baking drops roughly chopped)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a mini muffin tin by generously oiling each cup.

Combine the almond meal, spelt four, baking powder, coconut palm sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk until very well combined. Separately, combine the pumpkin, milk, eggs, oil, vanilla, and spices and whisk until smooth. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well with a rubber spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling each about three quarters full. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until muffin springs back when touched in the center. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then gently run a knife round the sides of the muffins to loosen them before turning them out.

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Avocado Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe

We had amazing food at this year’s retreat to the Lumeria Maui. And when you’re on a yoga retreat, doing many hours of yoga each day you really need a great dessert. This Avocado Chocolate Mousse was, hands-down, the group’s favorite, because hello, chocolate?

The base is nutrient-dense avocado, making it great for the non-dairy people in the crowd. But I’ll just say, for the record, that I love my dairy and I LOVE this dessert. (Since I’m on the low-sugar train I even tried it with less sweetener and raw cacao and that worked, too). I plan to make it on Thanksgiving and fool all my guests who happen to be afraid of avocado as a dessert choice.

Thank you to Lumeria and Chef Ben Diamond for sharing it with us!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup avocado meat (about three avocados)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave
2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup strawberries

HOW TO

1. Place all ingredients except strawberries into a food processor and blend till smooth.
2. Serve with fresh sliced strawberries and mint sprig for garnish
3. Try not to eat all of it at once like Jason does.

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Turmeric Toddy Recipe

Turmeric Toddy Recipe
A note from Jason: I went to Portland this year to teach at Yoga Pearl and, fortunately for me there is a delicious restaurant right inside the studio, called Prasad. Equally as lucky, the food there is amazing. I was nursing a little traveler’s cold when I got there and became addicted to the Turmeric Toddy. We’re so happy that Karen Pride and Brittney Galloway, the creators of Portland’s popular health food establishments Prasad and Harlow are sharing the recipe with us!
Continue reading Read More > >

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Jason’s Favorite Granola

Cinnamon Pecan Granola

A few years ago I visited a yogini friend in Marin and she sent me home with a half a Ball jar of her homemade granola. Suffice it to say, I had guzzled it by the time I was across the Golden Gate Bridge.

I have always been a granola lover – the crunch and the sweetness mixed with the creaminess of yogurt wins me over every time. But most store-bought granola is a giant disappointment: It’s either loaded with sugar and questionable oils, or there’s only three nuts in a whole bag.

Making your own is so easy and it solves all of these problems! It’s also a great activity to do with kids. I’ve been making it with my now three-year-old since she could stand on a stool next to me and stir.

INGREDIENTS
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups pecans
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Pour the oats, pecans, and raisins into a large bowl.
3. Melt the coconut oil until it’s a liquid.
4. Fold in the coconut oil, agave nectar, cinnamon, and sea salt.
5. Stir thoroughly so the whole mixture is evenly coated.
6. Spread evenly on two baking sheets and bake for 15-30 minutes until golden brown. (Granola burns evenly and the timing really depends on your oven. Check your granola after 15 minutes and if it still needs more time, turn the pans.)

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Zucchini Noodles with Perfect Pesto

Zucchini Noodles with Basil Pesto

I’m gonna take you back to an Italian-American family on the east coast (mine) in the 1980s…those were the days when carbs where king and fat was the enemy. What did we eat back in those days? Do you remember the nation’s obsession with Snackwells and pasta? Well, we ate lots and lots of pasta.

Pasta was such a central part of our diet, it could’ve been its own food group in my family. Pasta with fresh tomato sauce, pasta with pesto, fettucine alfredo – all of these delectable dishes were mainstays and by the time I got to high school I was pretty skillful at making all of them.

Unfortunately, my adult waistline couldn’t abide by the processed carb load of a two-pasta-bowl night—-and my hunger wasn’t satiated by an eight-ounce serving size. But a year ago, I discovered zucchini noodles.

I got the spiralizer and, suddenly, I could make my favorite sauces again. At the top of my list is pesto for two reasons: First, it’s a classic dish that reminds me of my childhood. And second, it’s incredibly flexible. I like to call pine nuts “tiny nuggets gold” because they are so delicious and so expensive. If you’re out of pine nuts (or if you simply don’t want to shell out the $$$ right now), you can make pesto with several different types of nuts–I’ve used walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds and they’ve all been delicious. Just be sure to toast them first. Also, when basil isn’t in season, you can use baby kale or baby spinach.

A few cooking notes: I use pecorino romano, which is a sharp, salty, delicious sheep’s cheese. You can also use parmagiano reggiano. The zucchini really shrinks when you cook it, so never fear if it seems like A LOT at first. This amount of pesto and noodles with give you 3-4 hearty portions.

INGREDIENTS
4-6 zucchini (courgette)
1 1/2 cups of fresh basil (tightly packed)
1/2 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup of water
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

TO MAKE THE PESTO:
1. Place the pine nuts in a pan and turn on the heat. Toast them for about five minutes, watching them carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Shake the pan around occasionally to be sure they turn light brown on all sides.
2. Place the basil, cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil into a Cuisinart or blender. Pulse the mixture until it’s finely chopped.
3. If you can, drizzle the water in as the pesto is blending. I start with a 1/4 cup and if it’s just not geling, I slowly keep adding more water.
4. Once you get a consistency you like, add the sea salt and lemon juice.
5. The last step is very important: Taste your pesto! I find that I sometimes need to add more cheese or nuts to get it just right.

TO MAKE THE NOODLES:
1. Choose the medium setting on your spiralizer.
2. Cut the ends off of the zucchini and spiralize away.
3. Put a large saucepan on medium-high heat.
4. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and your noodles. Saute for about 3-4 minutes, until your noodles have softened but aren’t soggy — it’s a fine line, so watch them closely.
5. While the noodles are hot, stir in your pesto and mix well. Serve it up in big bowls and enjoy every healthy, delectable bite.

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