Tag Archives: breakfast

Almond Cherry Bomb Muffins

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I’m just finishing up a long stretch at work and feeling drained. On the plus side, I am feeling much stronger (and faster!) when I ride my bike to work now. Not only that, but I’m actually  enjoying it. When I first started, I knew it was good for me, the earth, and my checkbook, but I just didn’t like it. It was hard. Sometimes you have to “fake it till you make it.” Maybe it’s the much awaited sunshine, but I couldn’t help myself from just smiling every time I got on the bike! The down side? I’m so exhausted that I took an extra “rest day” off from working out today. I usually only take one day off a week, but today I thought I was going for a run and ended up mostly walking. My legs are sore and my energy is low. I hate messing up my schedule, but I have to respect my body.

Other exciting news? My bestie, Michelle, arrived in Portland Sunday! We are now about a 25 minute walk away- much easier than a 4 day car ride or 4.5 hour plane ride. As I mentioned, she is newly gluten-free and I have been making lots of gluten-free treats. I don’t follow a strictly gluten-free diet, but I do enjoy trying new grains and grain alternatives. I feel best when I eat a variety of grains such as rice, quinoa, oats, kasha, and millet instead of just all wheat.

These muffins are actually made with almond flour and are low carb, high protein (a whopping 9 grams per muffin!), and packed with nutrients. I don’t buy almond flour as it is quite expensive. I simply grind whole almonds in my coffee grinder and…voila! Almond flour.  Almonds are high in protein, fiber, vitamin e, calcium, and magnesium. The best part? They taste amazing! Andrew wrote me a love letter after eating one when he came home the night I made them. The phrase “most delicious muffins I have EVER tasted” was used.

But it gets better! They are also ridiculously simple and easy to make. I slightly adapted a genius recipe from Elana for a simple almond flour muffin that she created as part of the “Gluten-free Ratio Rally.” Her basic recipe has just five ingredients, though I changed it up slightly with the additions I made. The “bomb” is the homemade cherry jam surprise inside, and I also stirred some chopped cherries into the batter, as well as chocolate chips in half of the muffins.

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 Almond Cherry Bomb Muffins:

*8 oz almond flour (about 2 cups if you don’t have a scale)

*4 large eggs (I know it sounds like a lot, they act as leavening and binding agents in gluten’s absence)

* 2 tablespoons agave nectar

*1/2 teaspoon baking soda

*1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (Elana uses apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t have any on hand)

*1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

*1/2 cup pitted and chopped fresh or frozen cherries

*8 tablespoons cherry jam

*1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

1. Line 8 standard muffin tins with paper cups, or grease them. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Combine wet ingredients (eggs, agave, vinegar, almond extract). Stir in almond flour and baking soda. Fold in chopped cherries and chocolate chips if using.

3. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, only about half full. Spoon 1 tablespoon of cherry jam into each, then cover with the remaining batter.

4. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Cool and enjoy!


I’m off to enjoy some much needed sunshine! Have a beautiful day!

xo/ Nikita

Patriotic Pancakes

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After another weekend full of lots of dinning out, I was so happy to just make breakfast for my husband and I this morning! Having company is great, but it can be exhausting and my poor tummy needs a serious break from it :( Portland has some great places to eat and drink, but personally, I don’t prefer to eat out multiple times in a row!

This morning deserved a healthy, yet holiday worthy meal. I topped blueberry pancakes with strawberry-banana “ice cream”, more berries, almonds, and a light drizzle of agave nectar.

Blueberry-Oat Pancakes

Dry:

*1/3 cup whole wheat flour

*1/3 cup oat flour (oats ground in coffee grinder works)

* 2 teaspoons baking powder

*1/2 teaspoon sea salt

* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- I put cinnamon in almost everything sweet-ish that I make)

Wet:

* 1 egg

* 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

*1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used fat free, but low fat or full fat are fine)

*1/2- 3/4 cup soymilk (use more for thinner pancakes)

*1 teaspoon agave nectar

* about 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions: Heat skillet over medium heat. Coat with nonstick spray or coconut oil. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients, leaving out the blueberries, and whisk into dry. Pour about 1/3 cup batter onto the skillet and top with blueberries. Makes 4, serves 2.

Frozen Strawberry-Banana “Ice cream”

*1 1/2 frozen bananas, sliced

*5 frozen strawberries

*1/4 teaspoon vanilla

*pinch of salt

*dash of agave (optional, may be necessary if bananas are under ripe.

*about 1/4 cup soymilk

Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

(The possibilities for banana ice cream are endless- we eat it for dessert frequently dressed up with chocolate, peanut butter, or different fruits. )

Top pancakes with “ice cream,” additional berries, and sliced almonds. Drizzle with agave if you’re feeling extra fancy. BAM!

Double yum :)

I hope all you Americans are having a good Fourth! Tonight we are making vegetable pizzas on the grill for the first time. Hope they turn out!

Three in one Granola Recipe

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Confession: I am a granola addict. I make it every week, and when I was in India last January, it was the number one food I missed. I know, I know, the internet is full of granola recipes, but I have tried many styles and I think this way is really special! What I love about it most, besides the great flavor, is its amazing versatility. The ingredients are highly customizable to what you have on hand or prefer and it can be used to make chewy granola bars, crunchy granola bars, or crunchy loose granola. What more could you ask for? I am such a granola enthusiast that I actually like to divide the batch in half and do one pan of chewy granola bars for taking to school as snacks and one pan of crunchy crumbles to top my oatmeal with. Here is the general recipe, feel free to substitute your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

The People’s Granola

Dry

Dry ingredients

Dry:

2 cups rolled oats (regular or gluten free)

1.5 cups chopped or sliced nuts (I used hazelnuts and almonds today)

1 cup dried fruit (I used mission figs, but cranberries are a favorite also), chopped if not already small pieces

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1/2 cup puffed rice or other puffed whole grain (adds great crisp and lightness)

1/4 cup sesame, sunflower seeds, or pepitas.

Wet

Wet Ingredients

Wet:

1/3 cup each: Peanut butter (or any nut butter), honey (vegans can use agave), brown sugar *If you have coconut oil on hand, add a tablespoon and use a little less of the former three. It will take it to a whole new level!*

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt (I love the salty-sweet combo- if you are not a fan or avoid salt, you can cut it down to 1/2 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine oats and nuts (not seeds or coconut yet) on a baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, until just barely beginning to become fragrant. Add the seeds and coconut and continue roasting about 5 minutes longer, until everything is a light golden brown and smells fragrant.

Meanwhile, chop the dried fruit if necessary and combine the wet ingredients, either in a small sauce pan or in a microwave safe glass container, such as Pyrex. The saucepan method is more accurate, because you don’t want to burn this mixture, but the microwave is a safe bet as long as you check it frequently.

When all ingredients are toasted, transfer them to a large bowl and add the puffed rice and the dried fruit. Stir to combine. Heat the wet mixture, either over medium- low heat on the stove, or in 30 second intervals in the microwave until the sugar is dissolved. Careful not to boil or burn it! A little bubbling is okay, but too much and it will dry rock hard. I like a caramel-like consistency, especially for the chewy bars.

Now you have to decide what kind of granola you want!

chewy bars

Chewy Bars

For chewy bars:

Line a baking dish with parchment  paper or coat in with cooking spray and turn the mixture out onto it. Wet hands with cold water and press the mixture down until the granola is packed and even. Stick them in the freezer or refrigerator- they can be sliced once they have cooled. They will store well in the fridge for at least two weeks, at least up to a month in the freezer. I have never had them last longer than that in this house!

For Crunchy bars:

Follow the above directions, except instead of sticking them in the freezer, put them back in the over for about 15-20 minutes longer.

Granola Crumbles in Soymilk

For Crunchy Crumbles:

Spray a pan with cooking spray and pour the granola on. Bake 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Alternately, make crunchy granola bars and just crumble half and for cereal use.

What is your favorite way to enjoy granola?