A 5'3 Perspective


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What’s Great This Week?

Happy Friday the 13th! Bring on the black cats and broken mirrors… just kidding. What I am not kidding about is how awesome this past week has been. Here’s why: High Five For Friday

1. Healthy baking creations that are absolutely delicious! I’ll share this recipe next week.
2. Taking part in the Electro Dash with Sarah of My Mostly Healthy Life. She is such a doll – and funny. I can’t wait until we get to hang out again!
3. Date nights with Neezie in Toronto. Nothing beats a night out with someone you love – and good cocktails.
4. Tacos on lettuce wraps – best dinner ever. Seriously, the best.
5. Dating a genius. As much as I complain about participating in his studies – it is really interesting, and even a little fun – but don’t tell him I said that ;).

Thanks as always to Lauren for hosting this bloggy link up!
Have a wonderful day and a great weekend!

xo Lauren


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Boyfriend Approved: Grain and Lactose Free Carob Chip Muffins

I’ll admit it, I’ve been on a complete baking tear these days. Usually when this happens, about 50% of the recipes I make turn out to be worthy of adding to me repertoire. This time, I have yet to find a miss, everything has been absolutely delicious. These muffins are no exception – and I know they are great because Neil was disappointed when we ran out!

Grain and Lactose Free Carob Chip Muffins

Inspired by: Living Healthy With ChocolateGrain and Lactose Free MuffinsIngredients

3/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup peanut butter (you can use 100% almond butter instead)
3 tablespoons honey
2 eggs
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cinder vinegar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup unsweetened carob chips (or chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the honey, eggs, vanilla, apple cinder vinegar and baking soda in a bowl.
Add the almond butter and peanut butter and mix well. Fold in the carob chips.
Spoon batter into nine paper lined muffin cups or a silicon muffin tin and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow time to cool before serving.
Serve and enjoy!

Another easy as can be, healthier recipe!

xo Lauren

PS – Don’t forget to enter the Revlon Haute Tropics nail polish giveaway!!


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Grain and Dairy Free Healthy Zucchini Bread

By now you probably know me well enough to understand two things – one, I like to turn unhealthy desserts into healthy ones, and two, I love adding veggies to dessert recipes. The zucchini bread satisfies both criteria and will trick even the most unhealthy eater into thinking they are indulging – if you decide to share.

Grain and Dairy Free Healthy Zucchini BreadGrain and Dairy Free Healthy Zucchini BreadIngredients

1 medium zucchini, shredded
6 eggs
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or make your own using ginger, cloves and nutmeg)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup coconut flour

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a food processor with the grater blade or a cheese grater, shred the zucchini – do not remove the skin. In a large bowl combine all wet ingredients (zucchini, eggs, coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract) until well mix. Next add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Pour the batter into a well greased loaf pan [I use coconut oil to grease]. Bake for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Easy peasy right?

Happy baking everyone!

xo Lauren


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Raw Chocolate Swirl Cheese[LESS]cake – Grain and Dairy Free

I love cheesecake, like more than you can imagine… but when I became lactose intolerant it was one of the first things I had to give up. It has taken me a few years to find a replacement that I enjoy just as much, probably because my criteria was quite strict – no dairy, no grains and all natural – lo and behold – I found the perfect recipe, and today I am going to share it with you!

Read this recipe with an open mind. When I serve it to guests I never tell them the ingredients until after they have asked for seconds. I promise it is absolutely divine and almost entirely guilt free. Although this recipe has three parts, it is one of the easiest desserts in my repertoire. Make these – this is not a suggestion, you’ll thank me later!

Raw Chocolate Swirl Cheese[LESS]cake

Recipe from: The Detoxinista [my favourite healthy cooking blog]

Raw Chocolate Swirl Cheese[LESS]cakeStep One

Chocolate Crust:

 1 cup raw pecans

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Using a food processor or high power blender, add the pecans and pulse until you achieve a crumb texture – do not over process as you’ll end up with pecan butter, which is not the objective here. Once the pecans are “crumbed” add the rest of the ingredients and blend until well combined. You may need to scrape down the sides to make sure everything is incorporated. Remove the mixture from the food processor and transfer the it to a square 6″ Tupperware, lined with plastic-wrap, and press down evenly. Place the Tupperware in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to allow it to set. During this time you can start the next step – the filling.

Step Two

Cheesecake filling:

 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least an hour

1/2 cup zucchini, peeled and chopped

2 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Combine all above ingredients in a food processor or high power blender and mix until completely combined and smooth. Pour the filling over the chocolate crust and smooth the top using a spatula.

Step Three

Chocolate Swirl:

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon coconut oil, in liquid form

Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth and fully combined. Spoon three lines [parallel to each other] across the cheesecake filling. You will be swirling them soon so it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should look something like this:

Step ThreeUsing a knife and a light touch, drag a knife through the top of the cheesecake back and forth perpendicularly to the lines you made– creating a marbled look like this:

Chocolate SwirlPlace in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When you are ready to serve, you should be able to remove the cheesecake from the Tupperware by lifting the plastic-wrap and then slice into 12 squares. Store and extra in the freezer as they will melt quite quickly. Make sure you serve them chilled.

Now make your way to the kitchen and give it a shot – this is one recipe I just cannot live without!

xo Lauren


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Grain and Dairy Free Blondie Squares

There is nothing I like more than a simple, healthy and delicious recipe – and that is exactly what I am sharing with you today. Careful though, these blondies are extremely addictive.

Grain and Dairy Free Blondie Squares

Recipe slightly adapted from: The Detoxinista

healthy blondie barsIngredients

1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (omit this if the peanut butter is already salted)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup carob chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ square pan with coconut oil.

In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, honey, egg, salt and baking soda until well combined.

Fold in carob chips.

Pour the batter into the greased pan, and use a spatula to smooth the top.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven, cool, cut into 16 squares and ENJOY!

Happy Baking!

xo Lauren


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Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Pumpkin Loaf

I seem to have a lot of success when using pureed pumpkin in my baking. Not only do the recipes taste delicious and savory, but they are always soft and have the perfect texture. Today’s health-ified pumpkin loaf proves me right once again. As usual this is an extremely easy recipe to follow with very few ingredients.

Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Pumpkin Loaf

Inspired by: Slim Palate

Healthy Pumpkin LoafIngredients

1¼ cup almond flour
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
heaping ½ teaspoon of cloves and cinnamon
heaping ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin
2 droppers full of liquid Stevia (if you want this to be a sweet treat use 3)
⅓ cup melted coconut oil + a bit extra for greasing the loaf pan
3 eggs
⅓ cup water

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well [I used a fork to mix].

3. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil to ensure that you’ll be able to remove the pumpkin bread once it has finished baking.

4. Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread around so it is spread out evenly in the loaf pan and place in the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

5. Allow to cool – or not – serve and enjoy!

Healthy Pumpkin Loaf

I like to eat mine warm topped with coconut butter, it is so delicious [and healthy enough to have for breakfast]!

Give it a try – I promise it is worth it!

xo Lauren


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Healthy Cinnamon Spice Muffins [and an announcement]

The holidays may be over but that is no reason to stop treating yourself to a batch of delicious muffins – especially ones that are guilt free. These grain and dairy free muffins are extremely nutritious, but the best part is that they don’t even taste like health food. With only one tablespoon of honey you can indulge without worry!

Cinnamon Spice Muffins

Inspired by The Detoxinista

Cinnamon Spice Muffins topped with Greek Yogurt Icing and Walnut Crumbs

Cinnamon Spice Muffins topped with Greek Yogurt Icing and Walnut Crumbs

Ingredients

1 cup natural smooth almond butter
2/3 cup puree carrots (I used baby food)
1/2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1.5 droppers full of liquid stevia
1 tbsp honey

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in the food processor [or use a hand mixer]. The batter will be quite runny – this is normal. Using a 1/4 cup scoop, divide the batter evenly into 10 lined muffin cups. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the center of the muffin is firm and the top is slightly golden.

If you want to really impress your guest, you can make icing by combining free greek yogurt mixed with liquid stevia. Top with walnut crumbs for decoration.

These muffins are quite dense but they are delicious and easy to make!

                                                                    

And now for the announcement! Today I registered for the Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon. This is an idea I have been toying with for years now [I talk about it here]. My father is an avid runner and has always inspired me. So 2013 is the year – if you see me training, give me a smile and expect a wave – yes I am one of those dorks that gives the runners salut.

You won’t grow unless you push yourself – get out of your comfort zone, you won’t regret it.

xo Lauren


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Walnut & Sweet Potato Biscuits

2013 – boy does time fly! Hopefully you had a great time ringing in the new year and spending time with your loved ones – I know I did.

What better way to start the year than a new recipe. Yesterday I spent a lot of time in the kitchen fooling around with ingredients. I had a few recipes bookmarked that I was dying to try but didn’t have the necessary ingredients. What’s a girl to do when EVERYTHING is closed?! Substitute. But really – do I ever follow a recipe as written? Luckily this time my baking turned out great, so now I can share it with you!

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat better and get into shape, I would recommend whipping up a batch of these Walnut and Sweet Potato Biscuits – they are lactose, gluten and sugar free [crazy right?!] and pass the boyfriend taste test. Oh and they are so simple to make as long as you have a food processor or blender.

Walnut & Sweet Potato Biscuits

Inspired by: A Dash of Megs’ Sweet Potato Biscuits

Gluten Dair Sugar Free Walnut and Sweet Potato Biscuits

Ingredients

1 large baked sweet potato

2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 cup egg whites

1 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt (naturally lactose free)

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp almond coconut milk

1 tsp cinnamon

2 droppers full of liquid stevia

pinch of salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Grind 1 cup of walnut pieces in the food processor until it becomes a crumble like texture. This takes between 45 seconds to a minute.

3. Add the remaining ingredients into the food processor and mix until a smooth batter forms.

4. Drop batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I was able to make 9 biscuits from this mixture.

5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tops have browned just slightly.

6. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Healthy Treats

These biscuits are really tasty and moist have good crumb. They melt in your mouth!

If you’re interested in the nutritional information for these biscuits [1 serving = 1/9th of the batter] here it is:

Calories: 121 / Carbohydrates: 9g / Fat: 8g / Protein: 7g / Sodium: 42mg / Sugar: 3g

Now that is a good looking nutritional profile – eat up!!!

What have you been baking lately? Any healthy treats?


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Dairy and Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

A few months ago I received a few silicon muffin tins from a friend, I had been dying to try some new recipes using them but life got in the way and I never really got around to it. Last night I decided to whip up some delicious allergy friendly blueberry muffins. I was inspired by a recipe I found on Pinterest for healthier dairy free muffins but  I chose to try quinoa flour so they would be gluten free. If you are vegan you can substitute the one egg for a flax egg or another vegan egg substitute. I used a combination of natural sweeteners because it was all I had left in the house – it makes for an interesting flavour but is definitely not necessary for the recipe. You could use between 2/3 and 3/4 of a cup of either honey, raw agave, or natural maple syrup instead – depending on how sweet you like your muffins.

Dairy and Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Inspired by: http://www.squidoo.com/whole-wheat-blueberry-muffin-recipe 

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 3/8 cup natural maple syrup
  • a few drops of stevia if you like your muffins a little sweeter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (could use another milk substitute depending on your preference – or regular milk if lactose isn’t an issue)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg (or vegan egg substitute equivalent)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries  (I prefer fresh because they stay in tact and don’t turn the batter blue)

What to do:

Step 1 – Pre-heat the oven to 400F

Step 2 – Combine the first3 ingredients into a bowl. If you are using quinoa flour, don’t be alarmed by the smell, it isn’t the most pleasant but I promise you won’t taste it!

Step 3 – Melt the coconut oil and set aside, you will add it to the wet ingredients last. Just to clarify, it should be 1/3 of a cup when melted.

Step 4 – Using a large bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients (raw agave, natural maple syrup, stevia, egg, almond milk and apple sauce). Stir together and then add the melted coconut oil. The reason for adding it at the end is that once it touches any ingredient that is wet and cold it will begin to solidify – you want to avoid this.

Step 5 – Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix well with a fork until there are no clumps.

Step 6 – Fold in blueberries.

Step 7 – Grease a metal muffin tin, or use a silicon muffin tin and fill 12 spots to the top. These muffins do not rise much at all.

Step 8 – Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Muffins in the oven!

They should look something like the picture above. Just a tip, if you are using silicon muffin pans, be sure to put them on a baking sheet before filling them. It will be much easier to get them in an out of the oven.

Step 9 – Remove the muffins from the oven after 20 minutes have elapsed. If you used a silicon muffin tin, take them off of the baking sheet to allow them to cool faster and then place the silicon tins of a wire rack. It is important to let them fully cool before removing them. These muffins are very moist and will not come out of the tins easily if they aren’t at room temperature. This is always the hardest part for me. I hate waiting!

Step 10 – Share with friends and enjoy!

NOM NOM NOM!

So there you have it! Dairy and gluten free blueberry muffins (with a vegan option). I must say, for such a healthy muffin, they taste absolutely amazing. If you use the ingredients I used in the same quantities the muffins come in at just under 150 calories each with 3 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbs – not so bad!

Hope you like them as much as I do!