Showing posts with label update. Show all posts
Showing posts with label update. Show all posts

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Yummies for 2013.

Christmas is right around the corner, so I thought I would gather my thoughts and let you know what I am going to make / or would like to make / will never get to but wish I would this season. There's so many good recipes out there, it's honestly so hard to chose these days!


Photo credit - GI365


Breakfast:
  1. Ginger peach smoothie
  2. Peanut butter smoothie
  3. Grain-free Granola
  4. Grain-free Waffles
  5. Grain-free Sweet Potato French Toast
  6. Roasted veggies
  7. Fried eggs
  8. Breakfast bowls 

Beverages:
  1. Homemade Egg-Nog
  2. Almond Milk
Photo credit - Paleoaholic


Mains:
  1. Oven roasted carrots
  2. Classic Pot Roast
  3. Roasted butternut squash and apples
  4. Cauliflower Garlic Mashed "Potatoes" 
  5. Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes 

Sides/Snacks:
  1. Thea's Spiced Nuts
  2. Cranberry Orange Muffins
  3. Sweet Potato Steaks
  4. Guacamole and veggies
  5. Cranberry Sauce with oranges

 Cookies:
  1. Gluten-free Gingerbread men
  2. Peanut Butter cookies
  3. Grain-free Lemon Biscuit cookies
  4. Grain-free Sugar cookies

Desserts:
  1. Triple Vanilla Ice Cream
  2. Grain-free Buche De Noel
  3. Grain-free Carrot Cake
  4. Paleo Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Grain-free Ginger Bread
  6. Santa-Hat Brownies

I hope these recipes will be helpful for you and your special day with friends and family!

Merry Christmas :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Ideas 2013.


Hello, everyone! I just want to say that, yes, I am alive. Medical school does not leave me much time for anything, including the necessities like vacuuming, much less writing a blog post!

With the holidays around the corner (Thanksgiving! Christmas!), I wanted to share some links with you of some yummy things I've been eyeing. This Thanksgiving I'll be spending with my friend S and her hubby and family and friends. She's relatively new to GF and paleo-ish, so it's going to be a fun time in the kitchen making delicious food.


Thanksgiving Ideas 2013 --> just click the links below!

Start your day of food prepping and cooking with this bright and light smoothie, just be sure to add some protein so you don't crash later!

Every Thanksgiving table needs...  Cranberry sauce, roasted veggies of all kinds, cauliflower garlic mashed potatoes, squash fries, some form of sweet potatoes, corn bread, corn bread, (yes two kinds is perfectly acceptable!), brussel sprouts, and green bean casserole, if that's your thing. And what about a broccoli-bacon salad? Or a light and easy spinach salad?

The main event... Want to switch it up this year? How about smoked turkey?

Who loves muffins? My mom's favorite snack and side for nearly any fall/winter holiday is these grain-free pumpkin muffins. If pumpkin muffins aren't your thing, or you want something to more easily please many different taste buds (young and old)... try these crowd-pleasing grain-free cranberry orange muffins, chocolate chips are optional!

This is my favorite pumpkin bread... Pst, it's unsweetened! ;)

Is there anyone who wants egg-nog before Christmas?

Dessert options are many...

My inner New-Englander loves any kind of grain-free apple crisp; this version has a crunchy delicious topping!

And of course there's vanilla ice cream, because apple crisp and paleo pumpkin pie always must be served with ice cream.

Cake, because it just may be someones birthday on or around Thanksgiving.

And for those of you who always need some chocolate, how about some brownies ;)

Lastly... After the main event... make some delicious grain-free waffle sandwiches using all your leftover turkey and cranberry sauce!


I hope you all have a warm and safe Thanksgiving holiday! Enjoy the time with loved ones, and don't forget to crunch some leaves if you have them :)


Monday, July 29, 2013

Reflections On Cooking.

This blog has been a great outlet for me over the years, and has served to be a source of fun, mainly as an outlet to share what I've learned through my own food adventures. I have shared what has worked for me as I've gone gluten-free, soy-free, and grain-free. What keeps me going is my love of the both the gluten-free and healthy blogging community, because I know that if there were not blogs from awesome home cooks when I went gluten-free years ago, I would have felt so lost. Every so often I get a comment from a reader about how much they loved the recipe, and this is what keeps me going. Even though I am very busy, I don't think I ever want to stop having a blog. It's a place to come to share my cooking excitement. While I may not post as frequently as I used to when I was in college, keep my page bookmarked, because you'll never know when something new and tasty will show up.

Another thing that I love about food blogging is the chance to share what I've made with friends and family. I can refer them to my blog after they try a dish of mine, instead of writing them a recipe card. Then if they wish to, they are able share it with their friends, too. I am a big fan of education of all kinds, and I love that (for somethings anyways) the internet is a catalyst for sharing information about food, cooking recipes and techniques.

One thing that always gets me about having a recipe blog though, is the "need" to post something new. Years ago when I wasn't as busy as I am now, this wasn't as hard. Seems like I always had something cooked up, photos taken and ready to share. Now that I am in medical school, I have virtually no time to create a new recipe, get all the measurements right, take pictures I'm actually proud of, and share it with you all. While I am still doing a fair amount of cooking new creations in my own kitchen, I am cooking as I go, and honestly, to keep track of every single spice and ingredient is tiresome. I have never had the patience for that, and that is one reason why there aren't as many savory lunch and dinner recipes here, because after you read an ingredient list with over five spices, who is really going to benefit from reading about my dish? As the number of ingredients and complication surrounding the recipe making increases, the possibility of people making and enjoying my recipe decreases.

The way I cook in my kitchen is half planned, half spontaneous. I like to make a plan in my head of what I want to make for dinner, which is usually a protein and two vegetables, and then go from there. For instance, that week I may discover that I am out of grass-fed ground beef, so I'll defrost some chicken, fish, or steaks instead. Then, when I go to the farmers market or local grocery store, I may find that the lettuce or vegetable I was planning on buying doesn't look very good that week, isn't available, or is either not on sale or overpriced, so I have to buy another kind of veggie to enjoy. I like to call this style of cooking "rolling with it." There is still a budget and a plan, but there is room to play. Why would I choose to buy the more expensive pink lady apples to eat that week, when the fuji apples look just as good and are on sale? That's how I roll.

As I've been cooking for several years now, I do realize that there are some things that I do in the kitchen that people would benefit from hearing about. That's why I've shared some things that I do rather frequently, like making nut mix for my mom (when I'm visiting home), making ice cream in the summer, roasting off some squash fries, whipping up a batch of protein bars for easy eating on the go, and putting together a fun breakfast bowl when I have the time.

Sometimes I feel insecure about my blogging platform since I don't share many of my dinner and lunch meals. I cook as I go, layering on the flavors, and that's hard for me to capture in an adequate enough way that I feel proud to present it in a post.

I would love to do a vegetables series, where I showcase my favorite (basic) ways to cook my favorite vegetables, so you may see this in the future one day. This would be less complex and something easy for me to share with you all. But for now, I am enjoying making whatever I want in the kitchen, and bringing you all to a recipe when I both have time, and delicious results.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: All Clad Measuring Spoons.

Photo credit

I'm a little embarrassed it's taken me so long to do this post. I've been wanting to share this with you for a while now since I started this blog!

I have been a fan of these little measuring spoons for several years now. They have been my constant companions in the kitchen ever since I started my cooking journey. I found them one afternoon while browsing at one of my favorite kitchen stores, Williams Sonoma. At first I was taken with their simplicity and durability, but then I was slightly dissappointed by the price tag. These measuring spoons are very good quality, which is reflected in the price. After thinking it through, I realized that the quality and construction of these spoons would last me a lifetime, so I ended up purchasing them. It was one of the best decisions concerning kitchen tools I've ever made! It's been over four years now and they still look as good as new! Pros: they wash up well, have no nooks or crannies to hide flour residue, they are sturdyand are made of one piece, and so they have no rivets that can come apart. I have no cons to mention whatsoever!

Photo credit

I highly recommend these to all my foodie friends! Check them out. They also make great gifts! I have both the "standard" size set and the "odd" size set. Both sets nest together, which is great for storage. They come with a little click-chain to hold them together, but I prefer to use a rubber band to hold them together (if I am traveling with them, which I do often). Amazon seems to sell round ones, but Williams Sonoma's version are square shaped. In the below picture the small measuring spoons are the "odd" size measuring spoons I previously mentioned. In the above picture are the "standard" size measuring spoons.

Photo credit

If you need to update your measuring spoons (no plastic!) then check these out. I know I will be passing these along to my children, and they will pass them along to their children. I am also happy to never have to buy measuring spoons again. I prefer to buy quality kitchen products that last, so I don't have to keep rebuying cheaper brands which ultimately costs more money in the end.






PS. I am not paid by any of the above mentioned parties, I am simply expressing my love recommendations of this kitchen tool :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How To Make Peanut Butter More Nutritious.


Despite what a lot of people say, I think it's really tough to eat real food on a budget. Sure, real food costs SO MUCH less than processed foods, but for a girl like me that's only learned to shop for real food, I feel like I pay so much each week and month! Even though this happens, my philosophy is that I would rather pay for food now, and take care of my body, than I would to pay the doctor later.

A few weeks ago I had an extreme craving for peanut butter. I generally avoid the stuff since peanuts are a legume, and legumes should be soaked and cooked before eating like their cousin the bean family. Peanut butter in general is also very hard to digest for many people, and those of us who are allergic to soy can cross-react with peanuts. Peanut butter also contains a good amount of aflatoxin, a toxic substance in the mold created by specific microorganisms that grow on peanuts. Buying organic peanut butter is best for limiting your aflatoxin exposure, but doesn't negate it entirely.

I have been learning how to listen to my body, so I bought some peanut butter.  I think I went through 2 jars in the next two weeks before my cravings for it subsided. And then the addictive cravings started to happen, and because I know the difference between those two types of cravings, I started to cut back. As the weeks of my last quarter of medical school wore on, I still ate the peanut butter here and there, and even started making some peanut butter smoothies in my Vitamix (= mistake, they are so good!). But around the same time I noticed my digestion starting to get worse. Could it be the peanut butter? I did some experimenting and found that it was indeed causing my painful cramping and bloating. Clearly my body can only handle so much peanut butter.


But back to my real reason for this post. Bottom line is that real food costs money. There are several ways to help alleviate the expense, like buying in bulk, sharing with other people, buying meat one from source and freezing it, buying lots of a certain item when it's on sale, buying from farmers markets, and my favorite: always asking "do I really need this?" I find that 75% of the time the answer is no. At the end of the day, all I really need is some good quality protein, lots of veggies, and some fat. One thing that can help the food budget is making compromises where you're comfortable. For many, peanut butter can be a cheap and decent source of protein and fat. But how do you make it even more nutritious? That's where this post comes in.

When I was buying peanut butter a few weeks ago, I had the idea of pouring off the naturally separated peanut oil and replacing the peanut oil with good quality coconut oil. The results were easy and delicious! With each spoonful I knew I was getting some good quality MCT's from the coconut oil, which are great fuel source for the body and keeping your metabolism strong. Removing most of the peanut oil also decreased the amount of Omega-6 fatty acids that my body was getting. Having a low Om6/Om3 ratio in our bodies is vitally important for staying healthy.


To make your peanut butter more nutritious:
  1.  Buy your favorite natural creamy unsalted peanut butter, organic is best. Make sure that the oil has separated on the top. If not, try reaching to the back of the shelf and grabbing one that has separated.
  2.  At home, take the lid carefully off the jar and gently pour off the separated peanut oil. I like to tilt my jar around a few times to get as much off as possible.
  3.  With a large spoon, take about the same amount of coconut oil and stir it into your peanut butter. STIR well! These are fun, or do it by hand. If you don't like the taste of coconuts, you're seriously at the wrong blog, but nevertheless I will tell you that it does NOT make the peanut butter taste coconutty.
  4.  Lastly, add your favorite unrefined sea salt to the mix. Stir well again.
  5.  Sample some off the spoon/knife to double check that it is delicious. Some people like more or less salt.
  6.  Then stick your peanut butter in the refridgerator! It will solidify a little and will spread just like Jiff! But without all the gunk! As it sits out at room temperature on your spoon it will start to melt a little and be more runny. ENJOY!

 
If peanut butter isn't your thing, or if you prefer almond butter, try this with storebought almond butter!

If you'd rather make your own homemade nut butter, check out this cashew cookie butter recipe. Or use either storebought or homemade almond butter to make some cinnamon honey almond butter, or what I like to call CHAB. Which my mom is obsessed with and she calls me every so often saying "Guess what I made today! CHAB!"

One final note: Adam's brand peanut butter is the PNW's equivalent to Smuckers on the East Coast, or Laura Scudders down in California. I've liked these kinds before, so it was cool to learn it's all the same company. Kind of like Dreyer's ice cream vs Edy's ice cream on the West Coast vs East Coast.

Happy mixing!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas.

Hello everyone,

Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating the holiday.  I am having a wonderful time relaxing at home with my mom and dad.  Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year simply because it is a time when we slow down, take a moment to rest, enjoy some Christmas music, cookies, and twinkly Christmas tree lights.  A Christmas run or walk is always in order too, and I find myself braving the cold each year to do so.  Christmas Eve is always a very special day for me because it is a time where I get to see my extended family.  I decided to be a little different this year and made a slightly different version of my lemon cookies; I made them instead like little sandwich cookies with lemon yogurt frosting inside.  My mother always likes to make my pumpkin muffins for Thanksgiving and for Christmas, and they always taste so good!  And we have leftover muffins at home! They certainly make for an excellent breakfast!

This year we were blessed with a white Christmas.  We woke up in the morning to light snow and a dusting all over the ground.  The snow kept up all day until it warmed up slightly later in the afternoon, and we ventured outside for some exercise and fresh air.  Tonight I think I am going to make some gluten-free pizza for the family and have "movie" night.  One morning this week I plan to make some waffles and eggnog too.  Eggnog is always synonymous with Christmas in my house ;)  While I am home I also plan on making some spiced nuts, grain-free granola, gluten-free crackers for my mom, protein bars for my sister-in-law, and of course Yule Log for my family when we get together to celebrate a little later in the week.  I also hope to make a gingerbread cake or gingerbread cookies, since I have definitely had a hankering for some spice-y molasses-y goodness lately.  While I have a whole pile (in a three-ring binder, actually) of new recipes I want to try, I think I will mostly be staying with some of my tried and true favorites this year.

I hope you are all healthy, happy, warm and enjoying time with family during this Christmas season.

Jesus is the Reason for this SEASON.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Future of Natural Medicine.

All family, friends, fans, followers and lukers, please take TWO minutes of your time and visit this link:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/include-licensed-naturopathic-physicians-primary-care-providers-federal-healthcare-law-obamacare/rW0MNqMt
Sign the petition to get Naturopathic doctors (doctors who specialize in natural medicine) covered under federal health care. This would further my future profession (I am a first-year medical student), and also open up a whole new scope of practice for NDs so they can be better Primary Care Practitioners for America, as we are LACKING primary care physicians! We need over 2k signatures by this FRIDAY (and have 22k so far, need a total of 25k) - so sign, share, circulate, and get all your friends to sign! Please, think of your health, the health of your children, and the health of America 
For more info on Naturopathic Medicine and what is a Naturopathic Physician, see here: http://www.naturopathic.org/
I plan on doing a more informative post on NM at a later time, (after finals).
Thanks everyone! December is here, and I'll get you some more recipes soon (again, after finals ;).

 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What Is Up and What Is Down.

To say that this has been a busy season of life for me would be a little bit of an understatement.  I've got a lot to tell you about, but I'll keep it short, because I've got more interesting things I should write about, like the grain-free granola I made this week...

This semester was my last of undergrad.  I knew Senior Spring would be very busy and it was.  Besides classes I tried to do as much as possible (not knowing how long I would really still be in California) like hanging out with my friends, going new places, and trying to figure out the next step for after graduation.  The latter was the most hard.  I know my passions, but couldn't figure out how i should use them.  For years I have been thinking about pursuing graduate work in nutrition or going to medical school to become a Naturopathic doctor.  As the semester unfolded it was looking like I was going to stay in California (not move home to the East Coast), find a job, work, and save up some money before going on to whatever graduate school path I decide.  So I applied to jobs, I applied to internships, (one of them was on a old agricultural estate, ie, an organic working farm in Tuscany, Italy), but nothing worked out.  Then during Spring Break I was visiting a friend and I was in the area of an naturopathic school and so I decided to visit.  It really opened my eyes, and when I got back to school I applied to three different naturopathic schools in three days.  And so from the beginning of April to the beginning of June, I juggled finishing up undergrad and planning for medical school in the Fall.  This preparation largely consisted of visiting all three schools for personal interviews.  I traveled to Tempe, AZ,  then to Seattle, WA, and after graduation, to Portland, OR.  All of this within a mere six week period.  I was admitted to all three schools, and given scholarships to two.  And so I am officially, officially, going to naturopathic medical school.  I know this is what God wants me to do.  I feel so much peace and excitement when I think of pursuing this new path.  I'm doing this because I believe He has given me talents and a calling.  My arms are open and I am excited for everything new and all the adventures that await me around the bend.

And that explains just why you haven't been hearing for me.  On top of all that my parents are moving, and my older brother is having TWINS next month.  My life is very full right now, which is such a blessing.  So dear reader, know that I am busy, and with all these changes in my life I have no idea what path my blogging is going to take.  Lately it's been the last thing on my mind.  I still cook and bake, and I still read my favorite food blogs, but as anyone who blogs will tell you, blogging takes time and effort.  After a long day lifting boxes or making phone calls or studying, sometimes is the last thing I'd like to do.  Thanks so much for all the comments you've left over the last few months.  It is so great to know that my recipes are making a difference in your lives.  That's why I have this blog.  Helping people make something taste good and have it work for their dietary restrictions and also be healthy (which they thought wasn't possible), really gets me excited.  Keep reading, and I promise you I will keep sharing.  It may not be as frequent, as you've already witnessed, but I will share.  Thanks for sticking around!  I am excited for what's next!  And if you don't already, try following me on Twitter... sometimes I can more easily update that than write a post.

I hope to get a few recipes up this week... stay tuned!!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grain-free Pumpkin Lasagne And An Update

It's been a while since I posted. I am back at school and am busy.

Here's a lightening fast update:

1. I live in an apartment now, not a dorm and that means I CAN COOK my own meals!

2. This vegetable lasagne was one of my latest. It features layers of spinach, cabbage, onion, pumpkin, ricotta cheese, mozarella cheese, organic ground beef and fresh italian herbs.

"Lasagne" - Primal/grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, full of cheese and veggies and meat, complete with one side "ketchuped"
Here's a mini view of the kitchen - notice the saurkraut fermenting in the background!




3. The recipe is coming!

I miss blogging, but don't worry I am still here!
More frequent posts are hopefully in the near future :) Currently I am swimming in microbiology, genetics and several other fun classes.

❤ ♡ ❤ ♡ ❤ ♡

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Woah!

Is all I can say! I've been gone virtually all semester. The last time you heard from me was when I shared my delicious Sunbutter Chocolate Protein Bars. I've been home two days and can't wait to make them again soon, but first let me back up and share a little bit about just where has Meagan of MNuffins been?

Well, I'll tell you, I've been...

Studying the digestive system,


Suffering through Physics 2,


Enjoying the California Spring-time flowers,


Spending some time at Disneyland,


Taking pictures of things NOT related to food,


Finding REAL POT ROAST at Whole Foods,


Eating a couple or a couple hundred salads,


Cooking and experimenting with new meals during Spring Break,


Eating at the first fine dining restaurant of my life,


Snapping pictures of a San Diego coastline,


Having many delicious breakfasts,


Picking up the best magnet ever, thanks to a friend,


Isolating my own DNA,


and much much more!

Overall, it was a very hard semester. But through all that hardship it was clearly a semester of growth. I very happy to say that I am finished and am back in the North East for the summer. It's good to be back. It's been a lot to process emotionally. Finals week, storage and ending up in the airport all happened way too fast. I have experienced so much change already.

I sincerely look forward to sharing more recipes that I've been dreaming up all semester. Thanks for visiting and always checking back even though my posts are not as frequent as they could be. My studies come first. And of course, welcome to all new readers!

Let SUMMER begin :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

CSN Stores Giveaway Winner!

It's January 11th everyone, which means you find out who won the giveaway, which was launched 3 weeks ago! Thank you to everyone who participated and commented away.


Here was the deal:

"The giveaway will close 3 weeks from today, which is January 11th. After that time, the winner will be chosen at random. Entries can be submitted up till the evening of January 10th. The winner will be announced on January 11th. And you will have your new culinary "toy" on your doorstep to play with in the first month of the New Year!"

So without further a do (commonly known as stalling :) I shall announce the winner of the giveaway...

The winner is #23, Ashley! Congratulations Ashley! Please contact me with your email and address so we can figure this thing out :) and get your mini-food processor on the way to you!

If I am not contacted within 2 days, I will be contacting another contestant and congratulating them on their win!

-Update-
Cyclic Unemployment is the second winner, #36. Congratulations!! I have contacted you via email. Please contact me back so we can get you your prize!



Thanks again everyone :) I look forward to hosting more giveaways in the future.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas Morning: Grain-free Waffles and Fresh Eggnog

Grain-free coconut flour waffles,
pastured fried egg on top.

This Christmas was all about "breaking" tradition and making new ones. My brother G is engaged to a wonderful girl who lives "close-by" so this Christmas it was important to accomodate both families, and also do what was best for them. A happy engaged couple does not want to spend one minute apart, as I am sure some of you have experienced :) We ended up celebrating Christmas with the two of them on the day after Christmas, the twenty-sixth, instead of actual Christmas day. At first, the thought of this really bothered me. But as soon as the day came, I was more than happy to wait. We were very happy to wait and see them and be together as a family. That is the most important part of Christmas day to me. My family means the world to me. The next we had church, since it was a Sunday, what a better way to kick off celebrating Christ's coming and birthday than by going to church that morning? The rest of the day we had fun eating pot-roast, gluten-free Yule Log, opening presents and joking around and sharing stories.

On Christmas morning, my brother and I usually wake up, go down stairs with our presents we bought for our parents to place them under the tree. "Santa" usually comes in the middle of the night. When my parents get up, we have a "grab breakfast" where we eat a little, and open a few presents, and repeat. It's a really relaxing way to do Christmas. When my mom was not so educated in nutrition in my younger years, I would remember she would always make warm blueberry muffins for us. We always had egg nog, but it was the store bought stuff which is full of oxidized cholesterol, HFCS and preservatives. I used to love the stuff growing up, but I haven't touched it since learning about WAPF and real food. This year I was determined to make some real stuff. Thanks to these recipes from Wardeh and AnnMarie, I made the most delicious eggnog I have ever tasted. My brother, who is sold on the stuff from the store, even enjoyed it! That means it passed the "test." This eggnog is so nourishing, full of protein from raw milk and pastured eggs, lightly sweetened with raw honey, a sweetener that actually has benefits!

You can find the recipe for my raw milk eggnog here.

Real delicious EGGNOG, in process!
Farm fresh pastured eggs from happy chickens.
Foamy, nourishing and delicious vanilla
bean-flecked  raw cream/milk eggnog.

Before the eggnog making commenced, however, my parents and I were hungry. We slept in and eventually wandered into the kitchen to make some breakfast. I was lovingly given a new waffle maker from my Aunt on Christmas Eve. The adults in my family do a Secret Santa system, and she had me. Luckily she is a good cook, so she knows what to buy! She gave me the VillaWare UNO Pro Belgian waffle maker, it's so cool because it's one that you turn! Super fun. I was anxious to try it out, so we whipped up some waffles and did! I really enjoyed using it. It was actually my first waffle in about 3 years. I hadn't had any since going gluten-free; we never got around to replacing our old "glutened" waffle maker which my parents received as a wedding present. Miraculously it still works. Mom is going to take it to a second home next week!!

See here for my delicious grain-free waffle recipe.

I trust that you all had a great Christmas. I would like to officially say

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

I must admit I hate saying that, but everyone does, and it would be impolite of me to not ;) right?
Did you do anything different with your family this Christmas?


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Grain-free Cranberry Orange Muffins.


I have to admit that I've always been kind of afraid of cranberries. As long as I can remember the only thing I've ever known about cranberries has been in the form of sugar-overload canned cranberry sauce and equally sweet cran-raspberry juice we used to drink as kids. Only now that I am older did I learn that cranberrries are actually a real thing, and there is such thing as cranberry sauce NOT from a can. Through doing lots of reading, I learned that cranberries are a nutritional powerhouse, full of wicked strong anti-oxidants, but they are very tart. Since they are tart, food companies load all forms of cranberries with sugar (try buying plain cranberries, it's nearly impossible). But around Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can find these berries in their raw natural state in the local grocery stores. 

Yesterday was my first day home, which of course involved a trip to the farm, the grocery store and the natural food store with my mom. It was such fun :) To say that I like the grocery store is a bit of an understatement! As I was walking through the produce section, I spotted some organic cranberries. So I took a risk, bought them, and brought them home. My main motivation for the purchase was my dad, who is currently under the weather with a bit of a cold. He's been busy and his immune system is tired, so it caught him. What better to help him fight the icky germs than to make him a superfood muffin and brew him a cup homemade immune boosting tea? (Which I made myself at the health food store :D) So I set to work on these muffins.

Dark chocolate chips, plain, and sugar crystals!

Grain-free Cranberry Orange Muffins.

    3/4 cup  coconut flour – sifted
    1/2 cup  blanched almond flour – sifted
    1/2 tsp  celtic sea salt
    1/2 tsp  baking soda
    1/2 one  large (7”) organic vanilla bean pod seeds
    1/4 tsp  cloves
    1/2 cup  maple syrup (grade B is best for flavor)
    1/2 cup  organic coconut oil – melted
    2  real eggs
    1 cup  soured raw cow’s milk - buttermilk would work too
    juice  of one clementine orange
    zest  of one clementine orange
    1 cup  ground walnuts
    1 cup  organic fresh cranberries
   

To make your muffins:
  1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees convection. Place muffin papers in muffin tins.
  2) Combine milk, vanilla bean seeds, orange juice and zest in a large bowl. Mix well to make sure the vanilla seeds are distributed, and pour in cranberries.
  3) In another bowl, combine coconut flour, almond flour, salt, cloves and baking soda, making sure there are no lumps.
  5) In a small sauce pan, combine coconut oil and maple syrup. Gently heat until coconut oil melts. To not let mixture get very hot.
  6) In a small bowl, crack the eggs and whisk until bright yellow.
  7) Whisk eggs and coconut oil mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Pour in milk, and lastly, add the cranberries and walnuts. Mix until just combined.
  9) Scoop batter into standard muffin sized tins with a 1/3 cup measure.
 10) Sprinkle the tops with dark unsweetened chocolate chips or large sugar crystals, if desired.
 11) Bake for about 30-35 minutes (mine took exactly 33) and remove when a test inserted in the middle comes out clean, the tops are set and golden brown. 
  12) Let cool in the muffin tins for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. This lets the bottoms of the muffins firm up and not become soggy. Enjoy!

Dark chocolate chips

These are a great dessert or breakfast option. My family and I each had one after our dinner last night. They are not overly sweet, which I like. The liquids, eggs and coconut flour makes this muffin super moist and not the least bit dry. And the combination of immune boosting coconut oil, cranberries, nourishing eggs and mineral rich maple syrup pack a nutrition punch against these foreign invaders...

A bacteriophase (form of virus), infecting a cell!
Photo credit: USC
This is a human rhinovirus - the cause
of the common cold! Photo credit: Virusworld

I couldn't resist showing some science pictures. ;) 

Merry Christmas! 
^ It's after finals and I am finally beginning to believe that it's Christmas time. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed the time with family, friends and good food. Many of you mentioned how happy you were for all the Thanksgiving ideas I shared. I'm so glad that I helped! Since I heard such a great response from my Thanksgiving post, I will definitely be compiling a Christmas recipe post. I hope to do this soon so you readers will be able to plan ahead! My Thanksgiving was great, and I only have ONE picture to show for it. I enjoyed the day and wasn't taking pictures. I do wish I had taken more, but it was nice to spend the day relaxing (and cooking). N's family was so nice to host me again, since I have too far to fly home.

Also, for all of you who would like to know, I survived finals. Survived is the word to describe it because that's just what happened. Since I am a human biology major, I have alot of work to do. I am not complaining. I love it. That being said, it is very hard to study for tests for three science classes as well as a Theology class, as well as complete other miscellaneous homework that has to be done. I believe that I did alright on all my finals, which is definitely a praise.. but I won't know what my grades are like until January! I don't like the suspense!! Overall, I've had a very emotional week, and I can easily say my limbic system is exhausted. I still feel joyful, blessed and happy to be home. We don't even have snow yet! :( Cross your fingers for a white Christmas!!

See the muffin? = Yummy topping!

It's so nice to be back! Enjoy making these muffins! They also make a GREAT breakfast topping