Healthy Apple Crisp Muffins- no oil, no sugar, no dairy, no flour!

Healthy Apple Crisp Muffins- oil, sugar, dairy, and flour free!

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Muffins are an easy and highly portable breakfast/snack option but are typically laden with sugar and oil which can make them less than healthy.  I’m always looking for ways to make things a bit more nutritious and try to avoid refined sugar, bleached white flour, and butter when I can.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I never make anything with butter, flour, or sugar, heck I love a good ol’ fashioned shortbread cookie and couldn’t live without making some of those around the holidays but I do try to make small changes when I can to ensure that we eat healthy whole foods as a family!

I made these oatmeal muffins without flour, dairy, sugar, or oil and they turned out so well! My family ate the whole batch in 2 days!!!! They are made with apple sauce, whole grain oat flour, almond milk, chunks of apple, and natural honey.

Here is what makes these a little more nutritious:

  • Toasted oatmeal replaces bleached white flour. (Use oats labeled gluten-free for healthy gluten-free muffins.)
  • Bananas/applesauce keep the muffins moist instead of the usual oil or butter.
  • A bit of honey sweetens the recipe instead of refined white sugar.

These can be made using gluten free oats to make them gluten free and the best part, you can customize the batter to make your favourite muffin flavour! I used chopped apple and shredded zucchini for this batch and they were really good!! Zucchini is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies and it also helps to add moisture to the batter without using oil or butter.

I did add a crumb topping to mine which my kids absolutely loved. I mean who doesn’t love a little oat crisp on top?! The extra sweet crunchy oats really add another layer of deliciousness. You can omit this however if you prefer. I love this recipe because you can get creative and add your favourite add ins.  I have used this basic oat muffin recipe a lot and like to swap out what I put in them to switch things up!

Here are some of my favourite add ins and the recipe below:
  • frozen blueberries *Tip-I keep mine in the freezer until the very end when I’m ready to add them to the batter, then I rinse them in cold water and pat dry.  This will keep them from turning your batter blue or purple!
  • chocolate chips
  • 1/2 zucchini and 1/2 apple
  • 1/2 walnuts and 1/2 raisins
  • fresh or frozen raspberries

Muffin Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats ( 2 cups ground, 1/2 cup whole)
  • 2 Tbsp old-fashioned oats for muffin tops (unless adding crumb topping-see below for ingredients and recipe)
  • 3 large overripe bananas (1.5 cup mashed or or 1.5 cup applesauce- I used applesauce)
  • 1 cup add ins (1 cup blueberries, raspberries, OR 1/2 cup grated zucchini and 1/2 chopped apple as an example) you can get creative here!  I added 1/2 cup grated zucchini and 1/2 finely chopped apple. *Note- squeeze out excess water from zucchini before adding
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tsp real vanilla
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • muffin tin

 

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place oats on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, stirring once (about 4 to 6 minutes). Do not let these get too toasted! Then cool to room temperature. *Note-If you are in a hurry you can skip this step, however the toasting adds flavour!)
  2. Divide oats into portions of 1.5 cups, 1 cup and 2 Tbsp
  3. Turn oven heat up to 350 degrees.
  4. Place 1.5 cups of oats in a food processor and blend/pulse until they reach a rough, flour like consistency.
    Healthy Zucchini Muffins contain no oil, no refined sugar, and no flour. The oil and sugar are replaced with ripe bananas and the flour is replaced with whole grain oats. Zucchini and spices give the muffins classic zucchini bread flavor. Enjoy a fall favorites with no gui
  5. Mash bananas well, they should have no lumps. I use my mixer to mash them before adding the other wet ingredients.
  6. Add eggs, honey, milk and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  7. Add dry ingredients (including the ground oats and 1 cup whole oats) to wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Allow these to sit for 10 minutes to soak the oats.
  8. Optional: Fold in approximately 1 cup fruit (I like them with lots of fruit!), raisins or nuts.
  9. Scoop into muffin tin, lined with muffin wrappers (makes 12 muffins).
  10. Sprinkle muffin tops with the 2 Tbsp of reserved oats or crumb topping (see recipe below) and press lightly to make sure they stick.
  11. Bake at 350 for about 20 -23 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean.

Crumb Topping-

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cups coconut oil (in liquid form)- add an extra 1-2 tbsp if your mixture seems too dry once mixed.
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Whisk the coconut oil and honey together until smooth. Place the rolled oats, pecans, almond meal, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil and honey mixture; stir until combined. Add your mixture to the top of the muffins just before putting them in the oven.

2. Enjoy!!

xo Chelsea

Spicy Italian Turkey Burger Soup 🌶

Healthy Spicy Italian Turkey Burger Soup

 

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I’m a bit of a sucker for Italian food and this soup is one of my favourites.  With the colder weather during this time of the year it always makes me want to curl up on the couch and enjoy a nice hot bowl of soup or chili.  When I feel like something hearty but a bit lighter than chili (without all the beans) I like to make this healthy Italian turkey burger soup.  Don’t get me wrong I love beans and I love chili but sometimes I want something just as satisfying that doesn’t leave me feeling bloated like chili can.

This soup is packed full of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins C, K, A, E, biotin, beta-carotene, potassium, flavonoids, phytonutrients, and protein. The balance of healthy carbs, protein, and fats make it a great option for lunch or dinner.

I am a big fan of spicy food so I kicked this soup up a notch and added an extra 🌶 pepper. We like things spicy around my house (well at least my husband and I do) so I typically add the spicy pepper at the end. That way I can remove a few bowls of the soup beforehand so the kids can eat it too.

I often double the batch so I can freeze the leftovers.  It is always nice having meals frozen in the freezer for those nights you need dinner fast and are scrambling for time. This soup is quick and easy to make and there is nothing I find more satisfying than a hot spicy Italian soup to warm you up on a cold winter evening!!

Ingredients:

1.5-2 lb of ground turkey or ground chicken

5-6 fresh tomatoes diced or 1 large can of diced tomatoes.

2 cups of chopped carrots diced small

5 cups of celery diced

2 cloves garlic chopped fine

1 sweet onion diced fine

1 tbs each of fresh thyme, oregano, basil (fresh tastes way better than dried I find)

2 tbs fresh parsley

1 chopped spicy pepper of your choice or chili pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spice)

4 cups beef broth

4 tbs tomato paste

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in a frying pan

2. Add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink.

3. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté until meat is browned and onions are translucent.

4. Put ground turkey in a soup pot.

5. In your frying pan, add the carrots and celery and cook until they are slightly tender. Then add them to the soup pot.

6. Put tomatoes in the frying pan along with the beef broth, tomato paste, and the herbs except the parsley and bring to a boil. Then place them in the soup pot.

7. Stir all ingredients together in the soup pot until combined and summer on low heat for 40 mins. Add parsley at the end and mix together (save a little for the garnish on top if you want!)

8. Enjoy!!

Xo Chelsea

 

 

Juice Cleanse- My 3 Day Journey

Juice Cleanse- My 3 Day Journey

 

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I have always wanted to do a juice cleanse but honestly never thought I would be able to. I’m a big foodie and the thought of drinking nothing but juice for three days seemed daunting to me. Juice cleanses, as you likely know and have become more than trendy over the last couple of years and juice bars have been popping up everywhere. I like fresh pressed juice and would often have one in addition to my lunch for some added nutrients.

Since beginning my holistic journey and studying to become a Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach, my diet has never been better. I don’t even like to use the word diet cause it is not a diet. I am just eating well, really well. So it seemed as though now was the perfect time to try a cleanse. I was used to eating healthy and having minimal caffeine and wanted to see if I could take my clean eating to the next level. I was hoping to give my digestive system a break and my body a rest from processing food. I wanted to consume nothing but nutrient dense vegetables/fruits that are high in phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals and eliminate hard to digest foods.

So I signed up with a company in Kelowna, where I live, called Glow for their 3 day beginner cleanse which includes 6 fresh pressed juices a day.

 

Here are some of the benefits they say a juice cleanse can provide:

  • Give your system a break from processed and cooked food which allows your body to focus on digesting raw fruit and vegetables which are high in enzymes and nutrients.
  • Increased energy as you are not wasting energy breaking down food so your body can focus on healing and absorbing all of the healthy nutrients.
  • Boosts the immune system by loading up on fresh raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Helps control appetite and cravings by eliminating processed food and refined sugar.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Increases your sense of well-being.
  • Promotes shiny hair and glowing skin.

 

Day 1- I woke up and had a large glass of lemon water with some apple cider vinegar in it. An hour later I had my first juice at 7am. It was really tasty and kind of sweet with the pear in it. The juices are scheduled to be taken every two hours and every other hour you drink a large glass of lemon or aloe vera water. This means every hour you are making an effort to drink either a pressed juice or a large glass of water. The first half of day 1 seemed easy, where things got challenging was at dinner.  Cooking dinner for my family was tough, it was hard to smell the delicious food simmering on the stove and not be able to eat any of it. All I wanted was to have what they were eating but instead I held strong and stuck to my scheduled juices. I made it through day 1 and I must say I was pretty proud of myself for completing the first day.

 

Day 2– I woke up feeling light and energized. I was looking forward to my first juice of the day and was feeling light and almost airy. I was actually surprised at how much energy I had and how much I enjoyed the different juices. As the day went on I didn’t feel too hungry as you are constantly having a large glass of water or juice on the hour every hour.  All the liquid seemed to tie me over and I had plenty of energy from the naturally sweet and nutrient dense juices.

 

Day 3– I woke up feeling like a lean machine. I knew that I only had one day left so I was motivated to complete the cleanse.  I felt really good and was amazed at how much more you taste things when you eliminate everything else. The juices seemed more flavourful each day that went on. I found the ones with beets, carrots, or fruit quite sweet and the flavours seemed more intense. I also liked that it was easy preparing for my day knowing that my meals were already made and ready to go. I’m busy with a full time job as a medical rep, two kids, a husband, and with studying to become a holistic nutritionist in my spare time. So having my meals ready to go on the fly was actually a huge bonus. I didn’t have to think about what I was going to eat for lunch or dinner as my juices were already prepared and ready to go.

 

I did make sure to take it easy and avoided high energy activities, wanting to give my body a rest that it likely deserved. The day seemed to fly by and I looked forward to my favourite juices. Some were sweeter than others, some more tart with citrus. I really enjoyed the beet juices and the ones with pear. The added sweetness made it seem like I was having a delicious dessert.

 

I must say that all in all I am very happy with how the cleanse went. I was feeling like it was going to be the hardest three days of my life but it actually wasn’t as hard as I was expecting. The toughest part was during dinner when I was cooking for my family and watching them eat. Other than that I found the cleanse somewhat easy. Yes I had moments of weakness but all in all the juices surprisingly satisfied me. I felt content and full of energy. I definitely felt like I lost some weight even though that was not my goal in doing the cleanse. I’m sure it was mostly water weight but if you ever feel like you need to lean out and reduce any bloating before a big event, then a juice cleanse can likely help! I have no way of knowing if I improved my digestion, reduced inflammation or if I boosted my immune system but what I do know is that I felt great. I felt lean, energized, and happy. Maybe I was just proud of myself for actually completing the cleanse or maybe it was from all the nutrients I consumed in those three days, I’m not sure. Regardless I enjoyed the cleanse a lot more than I expected I would. I think the 3 day cleanse is just perfect. They say there is no harm in doing a fast for 3 days and I felt like it was the perfect amount of time to take a break from processing foods and to nourish my body!

 

xo Chelsea