Vegan Banana Sunbutter Muffins

There are times for flakey, cake-like muffins and there are times for denser, heartier ones. When I came up with the recipe for these bad boys I was definitely searching for the latter. I wanted something small that would still fill me up and tide me during that midday hump and these muffins were just the ticket. They are perfect as pre-workout fuel, a mid-day pick me up or even a late-night snack. Did I mention they are also gluten-free, (optionally) sugar-free and only took me 30 minutes to make beginning to end.

Vegan Banana Sunbutter Muffins

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe mashed bananas
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar OR 1/4 tsp concentrated stevia powder (I use New Roots organic stevia)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 4 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats, ground (makes about 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour with a milder flavour than store bought)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole buckwheat groats
  • 1 tbsp whole flax seeds

Directions:

  1. Mix first 6 ingredients until creamy.
  2. Stir together buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture stirring to combine.
  4. Stir in seeds, whole groats and flax.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees 18 – 20 minutes in a lined muffin pan.
Yields 10 muffins.
Advertisements

Sweat About It

With yesterday marking the official first day of summer it seems only appropriate that we’ve been hit by a real honest to goodness HEAT WAVE. And for all you Americans who don’t believe we get heat up here in the North country, how does 35 degrees outside but feels like 40 (aka. 95 but feels like 104?). Toronto ain’t playin around.

So obvs I can think of no better topic for today’s post than SWEAT itself. Or more specifically, how I’ve been workin up a sweat this week.

20120621-094039.jpg
Pras on the ‘Pod, Plenty of Hydration & Lots of Sunshine got me in my sneakers for some pre 8am sweatyness.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a workout so I thought I’d share my new HIIT routine. It can be done in the gym using a treadmill, elliptical or bike but I am currently all about using it when I run outside. It starts off fairly easy but definitely builds in intensity as you go which is why I have dubbed it…

The Slow Starter HIIT Workout

It goes:

3 minutes moderate
1 minute fast
1 minute slow

Repeat x 5.

A few notes:

– During the moderate sets try to maintain a pace that allows you to breath comfortably and carry on a conversation if you really had to. Your heart is pumpin but you’ve still got your wits about you.

– During the fast sets you are working hard, your chest is pounding and the occasional profanity is probably the only language you could muster. You’re still not in an all-out sprint because you need to maintain it for a minute but you’re pushing yourself.

– During the slow sets you are relaxed and returning your breath to normal. This should not cause you any strain at all.

*If you’re looking for some suggested MPH on the treadmill I usually do around 6-6.5 moderate, 8-9 fast and 3.5-4 slow. When I track my pace outdoors using the Runkeeper App it’s virtually identical. I’m a shorty though so pay attention to your own bod and breathing to find the pacing that’s right for you.

What are your favourite ways to get sweaty in the summer months? I’m open to any and all creative suggestions! 😉

Love Muffins

It’s no secret that I’m a breakfast person. Almost compulsively so. I jump out of bed in the morning and usually have a piece of banana or a fistful of cereal in my mouth before my iphone alarm has finished its first strum.

But I realized a few days back though that while I’m always posting ideas for 5 minute breakfasts like my gluten-free egg and avocado wraps, tofu scrambles, green smoothies and oatmeal bowls, I virtually never mention my favourite grab and go morning meal: MUFFINS!

20120619-084502.jpg

Back in university I was all about the bagel and cream cheese breakfast but these days when I want to grab something on the run reach for a vegan, high fibre, whole grain muffin smeared with earth balance or almond butter. It’s basically cake-for-breakfast but in like a socially acceptable grown-up way.

So when I had the opportunity a few weeks back to taste a whole range of vegan baked goods prepared by Lesley Black, owner of the Love Muffin Bakery, I was more than a little excited.

20120619-084535.jpg

The Love Muffin Bakery delivers vegan and gluten free baked goods made with high quality, healthful ingredients right to your doorstep (free delivery in many areas within the downtown Toronto core). Vegan muffins are prepared using almond milk and applesauce to cut down on processed oils and lightly sweetened with agave.  

20120619-084450.jpg

Lesley is the cute-as-a-button baker putting the Love into Love Muffins.

I had the chance to try the gluten free apple cinnamon muffins, peanut butter squares, double chocolate oatmeal cookies and a banana chocolate chip muffin loaf.

The verdict?

20120619-084558.jpg

While I enjoyed all of the goodies, for me the vegan banana chocolate chip loaf was the superstar of the bunch. It was moist like banana bread and fluffy like a muffin, with an ingredient list so simple it made me wonder whether or not Lesley might dabble in the dark arts. If you’re craving something small and decadent, the double chocolate chip oatmeal cookies were also a delicious alternative to those highly processed, sugar-laden cake pops or two-bite brownies. The only treat that got mixed reviews was the gluten-free apple muffin which I asked a few of my wheat-sensitive pals to taste test for quality control. We all enjoyed the flavor but found the texture a little crumbly when compared to the perfection of the banana chocolate loaf. So I’d definitely suggest sticking with the standard muffins if you aren’t strictly gluten-free.

Thanks so much to Lesley for letting me try her stuff! If you live in the Toronto area I highly recommend you make an order and try out these treats for yourself. I’d love to hear what you think. Order online at The Love Muffin Bakery.Com

Are you a young chef/baker/fitness expert/artist/entrepreneur who’d like your business featured on The Healthy Hipster? Get in touch on twitter @healthy_hipster or by email at healthyhipster@gmail.com.

Weekend Wanderings: Sparkles & Love!

Those two images pretty much sum up 90% of this past weekend and I consider it time well spent. Few things make me happier in this world than sifting through piles of bric-a-brac looking for gems. In the end I scored a yellow ombre vase, a big pile of art and design magazines from the 1930s AND a dress for my bestie’s wedding in July! And for just $46 before alterations it was really the ULTIMATE diamond in the rough.

An assortment of weekend nibbles:


Kombucha samples at Anice Jewellery Boutique.

Vegan lunch at Hibiscus

 

Summer Greens in Brown Butter Vinaigrette…

…And Tempura Tuna Rolls at Cafe Belong

A perfect mix of tasty, wholesome & indulgent. 

That’s really all I ask for in weekend meals.

Despite being in Monday denial I will give you a quickie update on my 6 x 6 plan. It’s still going strong with a nice balance of walks and yoga as well as some added strength training thanks to The Fitnessista. I haven’t been getting excited by the gym lately so I am enjoying these circuit workouts, which are totally doable at home. I did her Week 1 workout twice last week and it definitely kicked my butt even without all that expensive gear around. Always love that.

Hope your weekend was equally sparkly and lovely!

Let’s do our best to keep those feelings going all week long, whaddyasay? 😉

Get to Know a Healthy Hipster (Couples Edition): Alexis & Zane

You are so lucky to get this extra special edition of G2KaHH highlighting some lovely friends of mine from back in my days living in Eastern Canada. Alexis is a fellow blogger over at Domestic Bliss and trust me when I say homegirl knows how to homemake. As for Zane he recently turned his passion for coffee-slinging into his livelihood when he opened his cafe Two if By Sea!
Photo by Ted Power
Names: Alexis & Zane
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
How would you describe your style of eating?
We try to eat as much WHOLE local foods possible. Nothing gets us more excited than eating seasonally, and thankfully Nova Scotian farmers produce some incredible fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat. The local food movement is pretty strong here so it’s quite easy to do most of my grocery shopping at our farmers markets. We also love gardening and try to grow as much of our own produce as possible.

What are some of the must haves in your fridge/pantry?
Brown rice, quinoa, lots of seeds and nuts, goat cheese, my favourite local cheese “Old Growler” by That Dutchman, leafy greens, lemons, an assortment of oils and vinegars, and homemade preserves.
Alexis’ Homemade Oatcakes

Favourite local bar?
Alexis: Well I’m currently about 7 months pregnant so a club soda mixed with bitters or rhubarb syrup is as wild as I get right now, but usually I would indulge in some of Jeff Van Horne’s cocktails at the Bicycle Thief or tuesday nights at Untitled Eats. Obladee is another favourite which I still enjoy because of their fantastic cheese and charcuterie selection.

You’re on death row, whats your last supper?
Alexis: Can we assume Zane is cooking? If so, maybe some pork chops, risotto and seasonal vegetables. Or maybe his famous baked ziti.
Most played song on your ipod?
Probably something Motown.

Life goals and aspirations for this soon-to-be family of three?

Two if by Sea Cafe is currently being considered for an entrepreneurship award that would allow them to expand and open an ethical roastery right in Nova Scotia! Check out this video to hear all about their plans and then click here to vote for the project!

Hipsters with ambition? They may be a rare breed but they’re out there so show your support!

Simple Tempeh Sautée



Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 1 block tempeh, sliced into very thin squares (mine ended up about 16 cuts lengthwise, 5 widthwise)
  • 1/2 head napa cabbage
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • splash of mirin or sherry
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sautee lightly until they are just transparent (2-3 minutes). Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
2) Add tempeh slices and stir to combine.
3) Brown tempeh slices on both sides being careful not to break them as you turn them.
4) Add carrots, zucchini and cabbage. Stir to combine
5) Pour a splash of mirin or sherry over the veggies and tempeh to deglaze the pan, scraping up the pieces on the bottom as the alcohol cooks off. Then add miso paste and vegetable broth.
6) Allow mixture to simmer, stirring frequently until vegetables are cooked through.

Serving suggestions:

Top with ume plum or rice vinegar, avocado, a drizzle of tahini, a dash of sriracha garlic hot sauce, torn basil leaves and/or a squeeze of lime juice.

Enjoy with steamed brown rice or a side of sweet potato.

Summer, Unplanned.

To me, a dinner party isn’t something you plan for. It’s something that happens naturally amongst friends because conversations (and mid-afternoon libations) are flowing so easily that you can’t bring yourself to leave.

This weekend marked the official start to summer for me because I found myself stumbling into one of those impromptu suppers. I spent much of the afternoon strolling along the beaches the span across Toronto’s east side with a dear friend, climbing rocks and picking blades of grass and generally exploring the world in the same ways have since I was six years old.

After hours of beachside wandering we were thirsty and starving so we stopped into the local grocer’s to pick up some chicken and fresh asparagus for our summer meal.

If this afternoon has set the tone for my summertime adventures, I’m in for a very special season.

When was the last time you went plan-free? Where did your freedom lead you?

 

Get to Know a Healthy Hipster: Sass

First of all, I need to preface this by saying that when Sass Jordan agreed to be interviewed for this series I dropped my phone and squealed like an 11 year old year old at a Justin Bieber concert. Because back when I was a pre-pubescent Canadian tween searching for identity and acceptance, I looked up to Sass (along with other female CanRock icons like Alanis Morisette and Jann Arden) with equal admiration and abandon. There was something in those songs, a depth of emotion I had never known yet somehow knew to anticipate, that I found utterly captivating.

And now all these years later Sass continues to inspire me with her balanced approach to health and wellness…which is obviously paying off cause girl looks GOOD after years in a profession that tends to age people pretty quickly. I really hope you enjoy reading this as it was a real treat for me…and make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of some AMAZING vintage Sass power ballad action – SWOON!

Name: Sass
Occupation: Singer/Songwriter
Location: Planet Love, Canada

How would you describe your style of eating (eg. vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, flexitarian, omnivore, bacon-enthusiast)?

Well, I sure ain’t an omnivore – and I am lucky I have the choice not to be, thanks to where I live in the world at this time .. I would say I am vegetarian leaning toward vegan, although occasionally I might eat something that was made with eggs in it, like a pancake or pasta.

What are some of the must haves in your fridge/pantry?

Must have quinoa, brown basmati rice, lentils and rice pasta .. organic spinach, kale, apples, celery and chia seeds.

Favourite local bar/venue/party to blow off steam?

Hmmm .. my friend, Julia Hanna has a restaurant in Oakville called Ritorno that I like a lot.

Best place to caffeinate/hydrate?

There’s a place in Vancouver that I really like for coffee called Caffe Artigiano, but in Toronto it’s definitely Dark Horse Cafe on Spadina north of Queen Street.

Vintage Sass (Babe, much?)

Greatest hero of fiction? 

I can’t really pick one .. but today I’ll say Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond, from Dorothy Dunnett’s brilliant The Lymond Chronicles.

Style icon?

I guess it would be Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh and sometimes Steven Tyler

Favourite ways to get active?

Walking and rebounding .. I’m also into the Five Tibetan Rites.

Who were you in high school? 

A drop out. Definitely not a cool kid, although we thought we were. We smoked cigarettes and other things, and listened to music all day long, and plotted our future as rock stars.**uhhhmmmazing. 

You’re on death row, whats your last supper?

I wouldn’t be hungry.

Most played song on your ipod?

Changes constantly .. right now it’s Razed, by my band S.U.N.

(And just for Sass) Any sage words on how to strike a balance between healthy living and the ultimate hipster lifestyle: rockstardom? 

Well, rockstardom is not AT ALL a hipster lifestyle! It’s incredibly hard work, non-stop and utterly relentless. You have to put yourself and your health first, as much as possible. So, trying to get in some walking, trying to find vegetarian, organic places to eat .. it’s so unpredictable that it’s very difficult. Keep an optimistic attitude and drink a lot of water!

Thanks SO MUCH to Sass Jordan for participating in this series. As promised here’s a vintage Sass video I’m loving right now. And I definitely encourage everyone to check out her new band S.U.N as well as they head out on tour this summer!

Masala, Leek and Fennel Scramble

I don’t think you’re ready for the glory of this Sunday stay-at-home brunch recipe. Sweet, savoury and little exotic, it’s the perfect start to a hot sticky summery afternoon like the one we’re about to have in Southern Ontario.

Masala, Leek and Fennel Tofu Scramble


Lightly adapted from 101 cookbooks

  • heaping spoonful of coconut oil
  • couple pinches of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala 
  • 1 large leek, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 medium bulb fennel, cut into very thin slices
  • 3 tbsp chopped raisins
  • 12 ounces extra firm orgnic tofu, crumbled
  • 2 heaping scoops nutritional yeast
  • 2 big handfuls chopped swiss chard, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp of tahini
  • splash of almond milk

Directions:

  1. Add the coconut oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Stir in the garam masala, and then add leek and fennel.
  2. Stir in leeks and salt and cook until they turn lightly brown and fragrant.
  3. Stir in the chopped raisins, cook them for thirty seconds and then add the tofu and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine and sautee until tofu begins to lightly brown (3-4 minute).
  4. Add chopped chard leaves and sautee until just wilted and bright green in colour.
  5. Pour 2 tbsp of balsamic into the pan and scrape up the pieces on the bottom of the pan as it bubbles and deglazes (1-2 mins).
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the sunflower seeds, drizzle on the tahini and stir together with a splash of almond milk.
  7. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serves 4.

How are you brunching today?

“Yoga Freelancing”: A Guide to Self-Led Practice

I know I’ve been mentioning my heart-on for yoga lately so I thought it was about time I discussed exactly what that looks like for me. Much like my flexitarianism, my relationship to yoga is highly personalized and often awkward to explain. However I think I hit the nail on the head lately when I told a friend: I’m definitely not a yogi …more of a yoga freelancer.  

What I mean by that is that I love to practice yoga but I do so without a set studio, instructor or schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the typical yoga studio experience but it just doesnt always suit my lifestyle, namely because it tends to be:

Costly.

No matter how you slice it, boutique yoga studios are expensive. And because yoga often supplements other forms of activity, the costs are typically above and beyond your already maxed out “fitness” budget.

Competitive.

I know many yoga studios now focus on a “non-competitive” atmosphere, but it’s still challenging not to compare yourself to others in the class. No matter how zen I get, there’s still a little Type-A voice in my brain telling me I should be going for that headstand…especially when that scrawny blonde over there is doing it and she could barely manage the proenza  bag she walked in with.

Inconvenient.

As far as timing goes, I’m never sure quite where yoga practice fits into my day. Evenings are already so busy and while early mornings would be ideal, there are virtually no studios near my apartment. **My neighborhood is still in those awkward early stages of gentrification where like, I know where to go for an almond milk latte but my bike’s still gonna get stolen while I’m ordering.

While these things could have put me off the mat completely, my new MO is to apply my DIY philosophy to my yoga practice which brings me to the main event here…

The Healthy Hipster’s Guide to Self-Led Yoga
(which you can practice at home, in the park or under a nearby waterfall…Im looking at you Portlanders…Portlandians?)


Note: It is important to attend guided yoga classes prior to practicing at home to ensure you understand how your body should be aligned in each posture. This will be important for avoiding injuries.

BASIC TIPS

1)      Set a time frame: How long do you realistically want to practice?

2)      Set specific physical goals: How do you want your body to feel at the end of your practice?
Eg. I want my core to feel stronger. I want my shoulders to feel more relaxed.

3)      Set an intention: How do you want to feel mentally at the end of your practice?
Eg. I want to feel

4)      Find a space where you feel comfortable completing your practice.

5)      Move through a basic routine, adding or adapting postures to meet the physical goal you’ve chosen for that day.

ROUTINE TEMPLATE
(Click to Print)

Adapted from here
For tips on additional poses or images of the ones I mention below Yoga Journal is a great resource. 

Warm up:

Seated deep breathing and move into cat/cow postures to stretch out your back.
Move through 5 rounds of sun salutations. On the last round remain on the ground.

1) Standing postures.
Choose 2-3 then repeat leading with your other leg.

Push up into downward facing dog, then step forward into a lunge. Raise arms above your head and hold this deep lunge for 5 breaths
Move into Warrior II, hold for 5 breaths. Move into reverse warrior hold for 5 breaths. Back to down dog.
Repeat on the opposite side.

2) Balance Posture:
Choose 1 and repeat on both legs.

Step forward and return to tree pose then move into a standing balance posture (opening your hips and resting your foot above or below the knee of the opposite leg, holding your foot then extending your leg out in front of you, etc.). Hold for 8-10 breaths.
Repeat on other leg.

3) Back Bends, Folds and Inversions
Choose 1-2 back bends followed by 1-2 folds and 1-2 inversion postures.

Use a sun salutation to bring you back to the floor, move into baby cobra and hold for 5 breaths releasing. Then full cobra and hold for 5 breaths.
Push into child’s pose for 3 breaths.
Transition from child pose to a seated forward bend. I like to hold for 5 breaths then release 3 times to really fall deeply into the stretch.
Extend and stretch your body along the floor then bring your legs up and over into plow pose (make sure you protect your neck and back by placing your arms on your lower back). Extend your legs up into the air if you feel comfortable doing so.
Add  wheel pose for serious strength and stretching.

4) Twists. 1-2, repeated on both sides.   

Laying on your back bring your knees down to one side, keeping your shoulders on the floor and gazing in the opposite direction. 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Come into seated and move into a seated twist (my favourite one is called half lord of the fishes….it also has the best name)

Cool down:

5 minutes of savasana or relaxation pose.

And that’s it!

What are  your thoughts on self-guided yoga? Too intimidating? Or worth a shot?