Category Archives: Snacks

Banana Muffins: Just like Grandma used to make.

Well almost.  They are almost like Grandma used to make.  I’ve replaced a few things, changed the recipe slightly and added some chocolate but let me tell you, Grandma’s essence is the heart of these addictive beauties.  I am absolutely delighted with the outcome of these muffins.

I started with my grandma’s recipe and tweaked some of the ingredients.  The result is a slightly healthier albeit equally delicious rendition of her recipe.  It’s so good.  If you have bananas that are soft, make these tonight!  Your breakfast tomorrow will be the best part of your day.

If you’ve noted the Thomas the Tank Engine wrappers please understand that I live with a two year old who is obsessed with trains and cars.  Imagine the devastation when he realizes we need to remove them in order to eat the muffins. 

Banana Muffins
just like Grandma made 

Ingredients:

  • 2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 c soy milk
  • 3/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 scant c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  •  4 extremely ripe bananas
  • Optional: 1 c chocolate chips
Instructions:
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Line 2 muffin tins with liners.  Lightly spray each liner with cooking spray.
  • Cream bananas, sugars, applesauce, and vanilla.  Set aside. 
  • Combine soy milk with the apple cider vinegar to create sour milk.  Stir and set aside. 
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and corn starch. 
  • Alternating dry ingredients with the sour milk, add to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. 
  • If using the chocolate chips stir them in. 
  • Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
  • Enjoy! 
Extra Information:

  • This makes 24 good size muffins.
  • There are many add ins that would work with these.  I think walnuts would be delicious.  Some coconut or chopped dried fruit might be nice.  Anything your heart desires {and believes would go with banana} is a welcome addition.  Create your own masterpiece!  
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I {heart} Kale

I’m seriously in love with Kale right now.  We use it in everything from salads to smoothies and it brings a smooth flavor to whatever we’re cooking.  Last week we had quite a few small bunches left the night before we were headed to the farmers market and I decided to make some Kale chips to use them up.  Kale chips are delicious.

If you’re looking for a kid/adult friendly way to include more greens in your diet, Kale chips may be the answer for you.  They take an already tasty veggie and crunch it up.  You get crunch, nutrition and some fun at dinner.  It’s a win/win in my book.

My recipe is simple and somewhat vague.  I’ve included step by step pictures so that you can see it’s an inexact but ridiculously easy process and one I highly recommend attempting!

Kale Chips:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 small bunches or 2 large ones.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425. 

Clean the kale very well taking care to remove the tough woody stems from the leaves.  Break the leaves down into smaller pieces and place them in a bowl.  If the leaves are too wet at this point dry them a little before placing them in the bowl.   

This is how my leaves looked at this point.  Once your leaves are prepared, mix the olive oil and soy sauce together and then drizzle over the leaves.  Lightly toss with your hands to ensure the mixture is evenly distributed.  Place the leaves on your pan.  It should look like this:

I know the pan looks too full but trust me, it’s not.  The leaves shrink and everything will be fine.   Place your pan in the oven for 12-13 minutes.  After the alloted time remove pan from the oven.

Evenly distribute the leaves on the pan and place back in the oven for an additional 12-13 minutes.  When you remove the Kale chips from the oven a second time, check to ensure that they are cooked and crunchy.  If not, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer the chips into a bowl and lightly sprinkle onion powder and garlic powder over them.  I use a very small amount of onion powder and a slightly larger amount {though still small} of garlic powder.  The important thing to remember is to start small and taste as you go.  You do not want too much of either.  Gently toss the chips and serve!

Extra Information:

I don’t oil my pan as I have an old, beat up pan that I use for things like this.  The kale really doesn’t stick and if a few pieces do I can usually scrub them off with little to no effort.  If you are using a nice pan I would lightly spray it to ensure ease of cleaning.

You may find you have too much kale depending on the size of your bunches.  If I have a bit too much for the bowl or pan I’m using, before I drizzle the oil on I rescue a couple of handfuls and refrigerate them until I need them.  They keep very well and are quite handy once cleaned and prepped.

Hearth & Soul Hop

Grilled Hummus Wrap

We love hummus in this house.  I’m fairly certain if I gave my son hummus for breakfast he would be the happiest person in the world.  We eat a lot of it because it’s healthy, quick and so versatile.

Lately I’ve grown weary of the standard hummus, cracker and cut vegetable lunch my son favors.  I wanted something different, a little more grown up and this  wrap was the result.  It’s a grown up lunch and takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.  It’s fantastic.

If you’re in the market for a different lunch give this a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Grilled Hummus Wrap:

Ingredients:

  • One 10″ whole wheat tortilla
  • Hummus (I use light hummus but anything would work)
  • Sundried tomatoes.  These can be packed in oil or not according to your preference.
  • 1/2 of a roasted red pepper
  • a handful of baby romaine lettuce
  • 6 small olives cut in half. I like the olives stuffed with jalapenos but again according to your preference here.
  • 6 slices of english cucumber

Instructions:

  • Lay your tortilla flat and cover the about 2/3 of it with hummus.  Definitely hit the middle 1/3 and then move outwards until a fair amount is covered.
  • Lay the english cucumbers on top of the hummus in a strip from the top in a row of 4 with 2 on top of that row.
  • Lay the red pepper on top of the cucumbers.
  • Sprinkle with sundried tomatoes and olive halves.
  • Spread the romaine evenly on top of the wrap
  • Fold up the bottom half and then fold each side in on top of each other.  To aid in making sure my wrap stays together I always add a little hummus to the side that will be on top to make it a little sticky.
  • Place in your panini press and grill until golden brown and warmed through.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • If you make this on the stove in a grill pan or frying pan you’ll have to grill it upside down to make sure the wrap seals before flipping it.  Because of this I would warn you not to overstuff the wrap as it can be disastrous {speaking from experience!}.
  • You could mix things up with other things you like.  When I don’t have roasted red peppers on hand, pepper strips work well.  I also enjoy adding basil and other seasonings from time to time.  The possibilities are endless!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge {dairy free}

Lately I’ve been dreaming of fudge.  The chocolate the melts in your mouth and contains loads of butter and milk.  The kind that is delicious and whipped up by my mother in her kitchen.  You know the kind I’m talking about.  Sadly as I no longer eat butter or milk I can’t indulge in my Mom’s recipe.  Also I’m exhausted after church on Sundays so when I want a treat it has to be easy.   This is my easy, lazy fudge.  So good!  Dairy free!  It’s probably something I shouldn’t eat every day but I figure once in a while won’t likely hurt me.  There are four ingredients and it takes about 20 minutes to pull it all together.   After a couple of hours in the fridge you’ll find yourself with a nice soft fudge square.  Life couldn’t be sweeter.

Cheater Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 3 c chocolate chips {we used dairy free}
  • 1 c natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp soy milk

Instructions:

  • Grease a 9×9 cooking pan.  Set aside.
  • Combine the cornstarch and 2 tbsp of soy milk in a small bowl until smooth.  Set aside.
  • Combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and remaining soy milk in a sauce pan.
  • Melt the mixture over medium-low to medium heat until smooth and lump free.
  • Add the cornstarch mixture to the chocolate and stir until completely combined and the mixture is smooth again.
  • Remove from heat and beat the mixture by hand until it thickens {approximately 10 minutes or so}
  • Pour the mixture into a pan and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • This isn’t your typical hard fudge.  It’s a smooth soft fudge that cuts well and you can definitely get pieces of it to serve individually.
  • This is extremely decadent.  Very little is needed to satisfy a chocolate craving.  If you freeze it you can enjoy some as needed.
  • I used the Enjoy Life brand of chocolate chips.  They are delicious!  If you can get your hand on a bag, try them.  You won’t regret it.

Healthier Coconut Lime Cupcakes

The dark horse of yesterday’s game wasn’t Mario Manningham or the Giants win but instead the healthier version of Coconut Lime Cupcakes that I threw together at the last minute.  I was worried people wouldn’t like them because I had made some serious adjustments like cutting oil, using whole wheat flour and choosing unsweetened coconut.  They were always popular before and sometimes change isn’t good when you’re used to things a certain way.  I shouldn’t have worried though as no one even noticed!  The adjustments didn’t affect the flavor and I would have to say made them even better.  The old recipe was delicious but rather heavy and unhealthy.  This new recipe is lighter yet still retains the flavor and can be enjoyed on a more regular basis.   I hope you enjoy!

Healthier Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 scant c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 c lime juice

For the glaze:

  • 2 c icing sugar
  • 1/4 c lime juice

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Lightly spray or coat a 12 tin muffin tin with oil.
  • Place Coconut on cookie sheet and toast in the oven until brown for approximately 3-5 minutes.
  • Combine all ingredients except for the coconut in a food processor and blend until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
  • Add coconut and process a couple of times until the coconut is mixed in.
  • Divide the mixture evenly among the cups.
  • Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until done.
  • Remove and allow to cool.
  • Once cool combine the icing sugar and lime juice by beating vigorously.  Ensure that all bumps are removed before glazing.
  • Line your counter with parchment paper and place the cooling rack on top.
  • Drizzle the glaze on your cupcakes and allow to set before eating.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • In my original recipe I made 6 instead of 12 cupcakes.  I really like the 12 small cupcakes as they are quite rich but you can make bigger ones if you’d like.
  • You’ll love how fast these are to prepare!  Homemade and just as fast as a mix.  It’s fantastic.  You’ll be a hero!

Carrot Cake Muffins

I flipped through recipe books quite a lot this week looking for perfect superbowl recipes.   I knew from the very start of planning that the layered taco dip I make would have to be served along with some other treats my family loves but I wanted something sweet to finish off the evening and I couldn’t find the right one.  I got to work and picked out a few recipes, narrowed them down and then changed my mind this morning.  I threw caution to the wind today and made a healthy version of my Coconut Lime Cupcakes.  Then to make sure no one left hungry {highly unlikely but you never know} a dozen carrot cake muffins.

Here is the Carrot Cake Muffin Recipe.  They were delicious! I began with the Happy Herbivore Recipe and then made some changes to make them my own. When one is cooking healthy muffins with no oil, moisture can be a problem.  As a result I boosted the applesauce to make sure they didn’t dry out.  I’ve made them both ways and I have to say I like the changes better.  The addition of the walnuts and raisins makes it a truer carrot cake and the added applesauce keeps everything moist.  I will definitely make these again!

These muffins are healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast and tasty enough to be iced and served as dessert.  If you don’t tell people they’re made with whole wheat flour, they will never know!

Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Muffins

(As you can see 2 are already missing from the dozen!  They are so good.) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 2 scant c applesauce
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • 1 large carrot shredded

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place muffin liners in pan and grease lightly with cooking spray
  • In a small bowl combine applesauce, shredded carrot, chopped walnuts, raisins and vanilla.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix well.
  • Fill 12 muffin cups.
  • Bake for 23-27 minutes.
  • Once the muffins are done, place on a cooling rack.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • The muffin cups will be very full.  It’s completely fine.  They will be nice big moist muffins but not the mutant size muffins you see in coffee shops.  Don’t worry about them overflowing as they cook.  They don’t rise that much {as you can see in the picture}.
  • Don’t over bake them.  You want to make sure that the fork/toothpick comes clean of course but if you bake them for too long they may dry out.  Moisture is a good thing.
  • Feel free to mix up the add ins if you so desire.

Healthier Chocolate Chip Muffins

When X. was born, we were at the hospital everyday for close to a month.  We got to know the facility like the back of our hands and there was a Tim Horton’s in the basement (a very tiny Tim’s) that served much better muffins and coffee than the cafeteria.  Everyday when we ate lunch we would head down stairs and take our freshly packed soup out of our lunch bags and finish it off with a Chocolate Chip muffin.  It became a problem for us.  We loved them that much.

The Tim Horton’s Chocolate Chip muffin is deadly.  According to the Tim Horton’s  website, it comes with 410 calories, 15 gm of fat, 2 gm of fibre.  It’s more cake than muffin and definitely not the healthiest dessert choice.  Calorie wise it’s better to eat a donut!

Since that time I’ve tried to stay as far away from those muffins as I can.  They are much too high in calories and fat for my liking and the fibre leaves a lot to be desired.  I had always wanted to make my own version, but I never got around to it until now.  I can thank an afternoon spent with a toddler who wouldn’t sleep and needed many activities to keep him happy for this recipe.  They are very good and much healthier than the Tim’s version.  No added oils, whole wheat flour and a healthy dose of cinnamon make these a keeper.  I’ve already made a second batch and the last muffin was eaten today.  I guess I’d best get back in the kitchen.

I hope you give these a try if you’re looking for a healthier option in your muffin repertoire.  They are delicious!

Healthier Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 c sugar (I used cane sugar in one batch and white sugar in another.  They both turned out great).
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 scant c applesauce
  • 3/4 c milk (I used soy but I’m sure any variety would be fine).
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare the muffin tin by placing liners in cups and lightly spraying the liners with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar.
  •  In a small bowl combine cornstarch and milk beating the mixture with a small whisk or fork to remove all lumps.
  • Add apple sauce to the cornstarch mixture.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
  • Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between all muffin cups.
  • Place muffins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • I lightly spray the liners to ensure that the muffin comes out.  When you cook with no added oil, the liners tend to stick.  If you forget this step you might lose 1/4-1/3 of your muffin on the bottom.  It doesn’t need a lot of spray, just a little and it saves you a lot of hassle when you want to eat your muffin.
  • The muffin cups will be very full of batter once you distribute everything evenly.  Don’t worry about this.  Your muffins will rise nicely, shouldn’t make a mess and everything will turn out fine.