Category Archives: Breakfast

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I really should of been a baker. Not a fancy sort with funky icing designs, or cake too pretty to eat sort of baker, but a practical, every day healthy food consumption kind of baker.  Stop at my little corner bakery on the way to work for your breakfast to-go.  I could do it.  Maybe I should do it…

Sixteen years ago when my son was diagnosed with life threatening food allergies (peanuts and tree nuts) I started paying attention to ingredients in food. Up until then I had the grab and shove in cart mentality.

That many years ago there wasn’t a large variety of peanut/nut free foods or even strict allergen listing requirements that is available today. So, if my child was to enjoy a cookie, or a muffin or at that point, bread, I had better get the baking ingredients out and get’er done.  Besides, I started to notice this food in EVERYTHING called ‘Soy’ and labeled in many different forms. Soy lecithin, soy flour, hydrolyzed soy, soy soy soy. After much research into the world of soy, we avoid all soy in this home and if you buy anything premade/boxed etc., you will more than likely find it in the ingredients list. Anyways, this post isn’t about the deteriorating ingredient list in foods, its about super refreshing delicious Lemon Blueberry Muffins.

When it comes to blueberries and baking, the type matters. The small wild blueberries, won’t give you the blue bleed. The taste of biting into a juicy blueberry isn’t as prominent in the small blueberries, so I recommend Blueberries. You can use wild blueberries, just not my fav when it comes to baking.

If you are lucky like us, you will have a Mennonite Blueberry Farm around the corner. I can pop in anytime of year and grab a bag of frozen big juicy blueberries.

Chances are you can buy blueberries in your local area in the late summer when it is in season. The good things about this farm is they don’t use pesticides or harmful treatments so you can just plop them in a freezer bag and have on hand all year around. No washing. (Fantastic for smoothies too).

I also got a wonderful gift recently from a friend who went to Mexico and brought back vanilla.  The good stuff!

Like most of my recipes they have happened by accident and the measurements are my critiquing over time. Ok, here we go.

Side Note: I never advocate for the use of margarine in my baking.  It has a different outcome and really, if you are using margarine, do yourself a favour and don’t.  Seriously, don’t believe all the crap the agencies tell you.  Hydrolyzed anything and soy is not for human consumption!

Ingredients

1/2 cup melted butter
2 large farm eggs
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2 cups of blueberries (frozen is best for the addition to baking)
Zest of 2 organic lemons (zest of anything should be organic to avoid crop sprays)
2 tsp of vanilla
2 cups of AP flour, plus more for blueberry dusting
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt

See that ingredient list?  Wonderful!  Okay, lets get ready to bake!

Preheat your oven to 375 – I use convention oven, but any oven will do.  Line your muffin tray with paper cups.

In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, add your melted butter (room temperature so you don’t scramble your eggs), vanilla, sugar, milk and mix until all incorporated.  Add in your lemon zest.jUNE 2017 058
(yup, those are pretty blue eggs from a friends farm)

Put the frozen blueberries into a bowl and cover them with flour and make sure they are all dusted.

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After your wet ingredients are all mixed well, add in your dry ingredients slowly with mixer on low.  Let it mix for 1 minute on medium speed.  If your batter looks too dry don’t be afraid to add a splash of milk to get the desired texture seen in the picture.  Some flours, especially depending on age, can be more dry than others.  A bit more milk never hurt anyone.

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Remove bowl from mixer stand.  Add your frozen flour dusted blueberries (not all the flour in the bottom of the bowl, just the blueberries) to your batter.  Fold the blueberries in gently.

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Once completely mixed, scoop into lined muffin tray.  Fill them up!

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Put the trays in your preheated oven.  Turn 1/2 way through cooking.  Watch your muffins as they can easily overcook in the matter of 2 mins.  Then you’ll have dry I need a drink of coffee kind of muffins.  Look for a bounce back when gently pushed in the middle to see if it is done.  Cook for 15-20 mins depending on your oven and elevation.

Remove from tray immediately and place on a bakers rack to cool.

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Bakers tip:  Baked foods always continue to cook for a few minutes while cooling.  So its OK to pull from the oven when JUST done, that extra minute you would wait in the oven, let it do it on the counter.

This is such a great ‘summer’ muffin that can be enjoyed at anytime of the year.  The lemon is fresh and the blueberries are juicy!

Thanks for stopping by!

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The Juice Reviewer Is Fired

Yup, that’s right, I’m fired. I fired myself from being the juicing reviewer I wanted to be. Let me explain why I have decided I am not a good candidate to promote or demote juicing as a whole.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that juicing can be an integral part of ones healthy diet. It doesn’t need to be the only type of meal you have, but it definitely can be supplementary and increase your nutrition intake.

The hardest part of juicing is the lack of convenience. I respect that not all of all life’s good choices can be about convenience, but there has to be a way that it can be somewhat attainable for the average person. I am fortunate that I work from home, but I am not home a lot. I’m often doing errands for work, volunteering or just running like a chicken with my head cut off. I do not have a refrigerator in my car to hold the large amount of produce required to juice. Nor do I carry a generator in my car to operate my juicer. I also don’t have a kitchen sink in my back seat to clean it all up afterwards. How would you juice when you’re gone from home, for your job let’s say, for 8-10 hours a day?? I’m sure there are alternatives such as one day I put my juice in a thermos for consumption later, but if you read like I did everywhere about the nutrients leaving very shortly after the produce is juiced, and if you believe all that hype why bother drinking it 6 hours later at work? It’s lacking a level of convenience to help make it a successful journey.

If you worked in an office, I hardly think it would be acceptable or tolerated if you took over the top 2 shelves in the kitchen fridge for your produce for the day, and hogged the counter for your monster juicer that you lug back and forth each day to work. I really do wonder how one would and could do an only juice regime in an office/work environment, or a construction job site etc.

Juicing would absolutely be tolerable for a weekend or a weekend detox. Beyond that for the average person it would be hard to accommodate long term, like let’s say for those 60 days in the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. If you watch the documentary, they didn’t work during the 60 day juicing fast and I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t have 60 days to take off work and excuse myself from my family and all responsibilities. Unless I get Cancer and need chemo and/or radiation. See how that works? Ugh!

Prepping the produce for juicing, in my opinion, is a lot of work, mostly because it’s 5-10 times more produce than you normally would consume in one meal and you’re likely doing this 3-4 times a day. The time it takes to clean the produce, juice it and then clean up after would break my 30 minute lunch break in an office environment. Sure you could prep it at home and lug it all to work, but some produce won’t tolerate pre-prep, like apples, pears etc. Prepping isn’t time friendly but most could and would tolerate that portion of juicing.

It’s also hard to prepare meals for the family and walk away with only a juice in your hand. If you are the meal preparer in your home, it is likely best if you have someone take over this while you do your juice program, if possible. You might even want to excuse yourself from the dinner table during meals, it helps to reduce the cravings and enticement around whole foods. For me it was extra hard to make it work. I make most of our own bread and buns for lunches, bake often and prepare our foods box free, a lot of the reason why is Flyp has food allergies and I prefer to make most of our breads and snack items from scratch. Health wise. While I juiced and removed myself from the responsibility of most meals, it ultimately meant Flyp and Einstein ate less healthy. Let’s face it, not cooking out of a box is more time consuming and when they get home at 7pm at night, the last thing they felt like was starting to cook. They ate way too much pizza during that period.

The excessive obnoxious waste. I blogged about the excessive waste from juicing and how much it bothers me. It’s amazing to me how much produce you need to make a ‘meal’ in a cup or two, but the pulp (left over produce sucked dry) that is left is very disappointing and frustrating. There really isn’t a solid way around this waste. There are some ideas online on how to use the pulp into meals, but really, if you’re juicing and only juicing there isn’t a ‘meal’ in your schedule. The point of juicing is the machine sucks or wind whips the nutrients out of the produce, so isn’t this pulp basically a dead nutrient at this point? And putting it into another meal, essentially nutrient free and feeding to your family should be questioned. If you have backyard chickens they could eat it all up for you, but if you don’t, your composter will definitely be full!! I find juicing an excessive waste program and for that reason, it is not an attainable in my books.

Financially it would be hard to tolerate juicing for a long period of time. It is very expensive to juice. We all know produce costs more than nutrient deprived convenience in a box and when you are juicing only produce you will need to purchase a substantial amount of produce to fulfill ‘meal’ requirements. I juiced primarily organic and my costs were through the roof!! It was on average, $30/day, making it approx. $900 month, for one person. I’m sure you could drop that cost by almost half if you purchased non-organic produce, but you will find most of the produce ingredients you juice on the dirty dozen list. If you’re not going to buy organic, you should definitely avoid the items on the dirty dozen. Most of us juice for the health benefits and/or a detox, both which are very hard to obtain when the produce is ladened with pesticides and herbicides. Financially speaking, organic juicing is not attainable by the average person/income long term.

Health wise, make sure you have your ducks in a row. On the documentary, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, he did say to consult your doctor prior if you have ANY health issues. The average person who tries juicing does it because they have health concerns and/or issues. My experience with juicing says, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE YOU START!!

I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 pre-diabetes. I didn’t and still don’t have a good solid understanding of how it all works. I was struggling each day to keep my blood sugar down while juicing, and also having some of my highest readings during juicing. It was those damn dessert juices I would make with pineapple, mango and strawberries oh my!! This is all likely due to the fact that I don’t have a good understanding of the glycemic index and wasn’t even aware of the index until a few days ago. All this produce, that all has an index number associated with it, will ultimately effect your glucose levels. Just because it is fruit and vegetables doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be indexed. Who would of known right? You’d think unlimited fruits and vegetables should be a wonderful thing. It is definitely good have a lot of vegetable produce and some fruit, but quantity should be monitored in some cases. (Like diabetes) Lesson learned!!

I can’t give an honest review for the energy and feeling great while juicing. Within a few days of juicing I got a sink-my-battleship cold that Flyp brought home, unfortunately over a week later I’m still battling this beast. As soon as I started juicing the cold was introduced into our home and within a few days my insides were invaded!! So I didn’t feel the benefits of extra energy and feeling great as I was busy fighting off a nasty virus. This is not the juicing programs fault obviously, just makes any input I might have in this area null and void.

I also had what we are assuming was a gallbladder attack during juicing. This has lead to an ultrasound and blood work for the pancreas, liver, kidneys and gallbladder. I have had issues in the past with the gallbladder, where I thought I was having a heart attack and rushed myself to the hospital, thankfully to find out it was my gallbladder. If you’ve ever had you gallbladder bite back, you’ll know it is an experience you’d rather not blog about. It’s painful and until you know what it is, it’s scary!!

There are many reasons a gallbladder attack could have happened, but a sudden drastic change in your diet is usually the culprit to an already temperamental gallbladder. With an extreme change 2 things could of  likely happened. My liver may have dumped all kinds of bile into the gallbladder and without (good) fatty foods to release the bile, it builds up, causes inflammation and can cause stones, infection and better yet, death if ignored. Nice right? Alternatively my liver, when a drastic change in diet is introduced, could of dumped a shit load of cholesterol into the gallbladder causing inflammation and the possibility of stones. When the results from the ultra sound and blood work return I will have a better understanding of what happened.

My recommendations: if you’re going to make a change in your diet that you want to be beneficial and healthy do all your homework first. Make sure you have a full understanding of the pros and cons. It will help you be successful and complete your personal goals. If you have ever had any issues with your organs, talk to your doctor prior to juicing. Don’t be the wild rodeo cowboy with your health like I was. If you have any health issues or concerns, consult your doctor BEFORE juicing, I’m sure it will increase your success rate two-fold.

I am still making a juice in the mornings.  Cucumber, green apple, celery and spinach or romaine lettuce.  It’s nutritious and delicious and a great way to boost me for the day. I’m still getting my walks in, even dragging Einstein to the lake last night with me.

With all that has gone on, it would be very hard for me to preach the positive of long term juicing.  Although I’m not sure I would or could recommend it to the average person beyond a weekend due For many reasons like the inconvenient, high waste and cost factors, I still think juicing is a great addition to any diet for any period of time.  A lot of people make smoothies with fruit, this would be along the same lines.

Most of the positive for my juicing was absorbed with a cold and gall bladder issues.  Better luck (for me) next time!!

Parmesan Crusted Potato Wedge

Nothing quite like a baked potato wedge to compliment your meal.  Add some herbs, garlic and parmesan cheese and you can’t go wrong.

In our home these make it to the breakfast table with Sunday morning breakfast or dinner table.

Recipe

4 large organic potatoes
Cleaned and cut into wedges

Toss in enough olive oil to coat all potato wedges
2 garlic cloves grated over hand grater into wedge mixture
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or more if you like)
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper to taste.

Throw in rest of ingredients into potato amd olive oil mixture and stir well. Ensure potato wedges are well covered with all ingredients and place on baking sheet (I line with parchment paper) and cook @ 400 convection bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft all the way through with fork.

Enjoy with your favourite dip. I like on their own 🙂 I’m a simple gal.