Morning Glory Muffins {Gluten and Dairy Free}

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Delicious, dairy and gluten-free muffins that even your children will love!  If you have picky eaters, these muffins will be a great way to get some fruit and veggies into your little peanuts and maybe even the men in your life;).

Breakfast is one of the hardest meals for me to plan for, yet it should be the most important.  My issue is that half the time I am running late and when I don’t have time to make a smoothie, I end up grabbing a piece of fruit and am starving an hour later.  These muffins are full of fiber (to keep you feeling full longer) and nutritional ingredients for sustainable energy.  They also freeze well so double the batch and keep them for last minute healthy breakfast treats.

This recipe was adapted from The Healthy Gluten-Free Life.

Ingredients:

Dry

  • ¾ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup teff flour
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet

  • ¼ cup raw organic honey
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup packed organic brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ organic, unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup warm water

Add Ins

  • ¼ shredded organic coconut
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 large apple, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • ½ cup organic raisins

*All flours can be found at most health food stores – I use Bob’s Red Mill.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk dry ingredients together, set aside.

In a stand mixer, blend honey, oil, and brown sugar together until combined. Add vanilla and applesauce, mix well.  Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, mix on low.  Add warm water until the dough is moist and thick but still able to be poured into muffin pans.  Fold in coconut, walnuts, apples, carrots and raisins.

Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool and enjoy!

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White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies {Gluten Free}

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite bloggers, The Sunday Baker, she is always posting some delicious recipes so definitely check her out! I came across this one and modified it a bit but either way you make them, they are delicious! You can also add in cranberries for an added bonus. 

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White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies {Gluten Free}
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup of oats (certified gluten free)
  • 1 cup oat flour (I used the same oats as above and place in the blender and blend until flour like consistency – works great!)
  • ¼ cup ground cashews (can use blender or food processor)
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup raw organic honey
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats, oat flour, cashews, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda, powder, and salt).  In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients (syrup, honey, pumpkin puree, egg white, vanilla) and mix well.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.   Add in white chocolate chips and cranberries and mix well. 

Line a cookie sheet with wax/parchment paper and using a large spoon, place scoopful of batter onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 7 minutes (half-way through) and remove cookies and flatten with the back of a spoon, continue backing for another 7-8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.  Let cool and enjoy!

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Gluten Free 101

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All of the recent discussions about the debate on gluten can seem overwhelming. Many have asked me “What is gluten? Why is it bad? Do I really need to avoid it?”  So I thought I would share more about this topic for anyone else who may be interested.

Some people may consider going gluten-free to be a “trend” while others legitimately believe it has a debilitating effect on their bodies. If you would have asked me 6 months ago about my take on gluten, I would have fallen into the “trend” category and admitted I was skeptical. That skepticism, along with learning from IIN and becoming educated on the topic from various resources, has completely changed my view on gluten. It has sparked an interest in me that I want to share.

What is Gluten? Gluten by definition is a protein composite (made up of glutenin and gliadin) that binds to wheat and other grains such as rye and barley. Gluten has elasticity and a glue-like capacity to hold flour products together and provide them with a chewy texture.

Gluten is linked to a more common autoimmune disease called Celiac disease, which occurs when the proteins in gluten trigger your immune system to overreact with strong and unusual antibodies. Over time, the reaction caused by these antibodies wears down the villi that line the walls of your intestine. The villi, in a healthy gut, grab and absorb nutrients as food passes through your lower digestive tract. With celiac disease, the symptoms slowly destroy these villi and you become less and less able to process any nutrition from your food. Celiac disease also triggers inflammation of the intestinal wall. This combination of absorption-killing villous atrophy and inflammation sets off a domino-effect of increasingly serious health problems. Some of the more common symptoms of Celiac disease include bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, depression, headaches and unexplained weight loss.

Gluten not only affects those with Celiac disease, but also people with other autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and more.  These autoimmune diseases cause the immune system to mistakenly attack and destroy healthy body tissue, causing internal inflammation and other serious symptoms.  Research has shown that there is a direct relationship between gluten and inflammation, so removing gluten from your diet can be one simple change you can make to help your body heal and, ultimately, feel better.   

Studies have shown that our intake of wheat and processed foods containing wheat gluten might be to blame for an increased incidence of Celiac disease. Decades ago, our family members either farmed or gathered their food sources from local farmers. They also made their own breads and baked goods from scratch with flour that didn’t contain this modified wheat gluten. The rise in celiac disease is not surprising considering our ancestry’s habits vs. the rise in processed foods and the whole wheat phenomenon.

Gluten is still a hot topic today and the subject of a lot of research, but from where the debate stands now, there is no doubt that an increased intake of gluten in one’s diet can have a negative effect on autoimmune disease and internal inflammation.

I, myself, have Hashimoto’s disease, where my body is attacking my thyroid.  I have cut a majority of gluten out of my diet for the past 4 months and don’t intend on bringing it back in.  Cutting out gluten allows me to really think about what I am eating before eating it.  I feel better, I have more energy, and overall I know in the long run this will be better for me and my body.

My mother, on the other hand has seen immediate results by cutting out gluten.  She has suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis since her early 30’s.   She has battled this disease for so many years and is currently taking an injectable medication to control the pain in her joints.  More so than ever, I want to see her gain control of her health and improve her overall well being.  I put her on an anti-inflammatory, gluten free diet 2 weeks ago and today she was supposed to receive another injection but her knees didn’t hurt!! I couldn’t believe it!  Not to mention she has also lost 7 pounds!;) She is waiting another week to see if she can stretch the medication out a bit further.  We will see how she continues but I truly believe there is a direct relationship between gluten, inflammation, and autoimmune disease.

For additional information regarding this topic, I recommend reading Dr. Susan Blum’s book “The Immune System Recovery Plan”.  It is incredibly insightful and a very easy read.

Below are some helpful websites and a link to my recipes which include a few gluten free options:

http://www.celiaccentral.org/Gluten-Free-Food/

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/service/gluten-free-products-list

https://mindfulhealthyliving.com/category/recipes/

It is my intention to bring awareness and light to topics such as this one and to ultimately empower others to take control of their health and well being.  Knowledge is power.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns –I would love to hear from you!

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Eggplant Lasagna – Gluten Free Option!

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Eggplant Lasagna – Gluten Free
Serves 8
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium red pepper (chopped)
• 2-3 garlic gloves (minced)
• ½ cup chopped onion
• 1 lb lean ground beef
• 1 Jar of your favorite marinara (homemade marinara works just as well!)
• Fresh basil
• Fresh oregano
• 1 Eggplant (sliced lengthwise ~1/4 inch thick)
• 6 cooked brown rice lasagna noodles (for Gluten Free Recipe)
• 1 cup Part Skim Ricotta
• ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
• 3 eggs
• ½ cup part skim mozzarella

Directions:
In a large sauce pan, cook the ground beef and drain.

In medium saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté red pepper and onion until tender (~5 min), add garlic and sauté until golden brown (~1 min). Add basil, oregano and 1/3 of the marinara sauce. Add this mixture to the ground beef. Remove from heat.

Combine ricotta, parmesan cheese and eggs. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with approximately ½ cup of the remaining marinara sauce. Place 3 lasagna noodles lengthwise on top of the sauce, add half of the cheese and egg mixture, top with eggplant and half of the remaining sauce. Repeat again. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for approximately 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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Chicken “Fried” Rice!

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Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Here’s what I will be making for dinner tonight, a recipe that is packed full of nutrients and tastes so delicious. It can be easily modified as well for those following a vegan diet. Makes a great entrée!

Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil if you prefer)
• ½ onion, peeled and diced
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 1-2 egg(s), beaten (optional for vegan diet)
• ½ zucchini, diced*
• ½ cup of green peppers, diced*
• ½ cup of red peppers, diced*
• ½ cup of button mushrooms, sliced*
• 2 cups cooked long grain brown rice
• 3 tablespoons shoyu**
• 1/3 cup of water
• sea salt to taste
• ½ pound of chicken or tofu, chopped (optional for vegan diet)
• 2 scallions, minced

*You can use any array of vegetables you would like (other options that taste well are peas, broccoli, corn, etc).
** Shoyu is a dark brown soy sauce made from soybeans that have been naturally fermented; contains wheat. This can be found in most grocery stores.

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onion and garlic for approximately 2-3 minutes. Add in remaining vegetables and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add egg and mix until cooked. Add sea salt for taste. Add cooked rice, shoyu and water to pan mixture. Cover and steam for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with scallions.

Cheers to healthy cooking!

Sunday Morning Omelet with a few Anti-Inflammatory Sides!

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Omelets are an excellent way to incorporate vegetables in your morning meal.  I use anything from tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, green and red peppers, and maybe a tiny bit of cheese if your digestive system can handle it ;).

I typically do 1 full egg and 1 egg white to cut down on the saturated fat from the yolk.  I then, chop up all my vegetables and place them in a small pan with a tsp. of olive oil and sauté for a few minutes.  I whisk my eggs and the tiny bit of cheese mixture together and add to the veggie mix.  Cook on medium to low until most of your egg mixture is not runny and then with a spatula flip over and cook ~1 min and then fold over like an omelet.  Voila!  Delicious and nutritious breakfast for any morning!

I also add some blueberries, which are an anti-inflammatory food for those of you who have autoimmune diseases and have some silent (internal) inflammation.  Blueberries are good for my Hashimoto’s to reduce any internal inflammation.  I also added a Food for Life, Gluten Free, english muffin.  Why Gluten Free?  Products that contain gluten can also have an inflammatory response, not to mention it can prevent your thyroid from producing thyroid hormone, something that I, having Hashimoto’s, wants to avoid as much as possible.  Gluten free english muffins are perfect for breakfast and don’t make me feel bloated or weighed down and lethargic. 

For more information regarding my story and Hashimoto’s, please visit here.  Any questions regarding anti-inflammatory foods, please contact me at lacey.maiman@gmail.com . I would love to hear from you!

Easy No-Bake Chocolate Oat Cookies

chocolate bakesIf you are like me and love your Friday nights at home baking or cooking then you will like this recipe! It’s so easy, a bit of a healthier version of that chocolate chewy goodness from our childhood and even my boyfriend who can be somewhat picky at times really loved these! Great for kids too!

Ingredients:
•2 cups organic quick-cooking rolled oats (gluten free if all natural)
•3/4 semi-sweet Cacao Chips (gluten free if you get the Ghirardelli or Sunspire brand)
•1 medium ripe banana (optional)
•1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
•2 Tlbs. organic raw honey (can get this at Trader Joes or other local health stores)
•2 Tlbs. of all natural peanut butter (can be found at most grocery stores)
•Fruit to pair it with (optional)

1. Mash ripe banana and mix in vanilla and honey.

2. Slowly melt the chocolate in the microwave (~2 mins). Stir until smooth and add in the peanut butter. Mix well.

3. Add chocolate mix to the banana mix and mix well. Add the rolled oats until they are all evenly coated.

4. Place a heaping tablespoon each into a non-stick, mini muffin pan. Press tops flat with a spoon and place in the fridge for about an hour to set.

5. Remove with a spoon when you are ready to indulge and add some fruit for color and taste if desired, yum!!

*Keep leftovers in the fridge for taste and freshness.

Yum!! Cheers to Mindful, Healthy Living