Cranberry Pump-Quinoa Muffins

I can’t resist trying to invent whimsical names for these muffins. Many of the recipes I stumble upon in the Internet, call it like it is, naming the muffin by listing the ingredients… and I guess that this is the most practical way to name a muffin. Meh, I’ve never been known for being practical.
(These muffins are peanut-free)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup raw sugar, Sucanat, or 1/2 cup agave
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup creamy sunflower butter
2/3 cup plus 2 tbs. almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1/2 cup cranberries
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar (do not mix in agave here, if you are using it in place of the sugar), baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the sunflower butter, almond milk, agave (if you’re using it here) and vanilla.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the quinoa, cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack.


Along with the garden at the Playhaus, we’ve also been sprouting! The sunflower greens have been a hit with the kids, they enjoy the instant gratification of picking the greens and eating them right away (who doesn’t?!). Alfalfa sprouts expand far more than I could have imagined, and so we find ourselves with a large quantity of sprouts…. a delicious predicament! I’ve found a recipe for Sprout-Slaw, and we’ll be trying it out next week.

You will need:

2-4 cups Alfalfa Sprouts

1/2 cup chopped pineapple

1/2 cup green grapes, halfed

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. mustard

salt and pepper to taste


Combine sprouts and fruit in a large bowl. Mix other ingredients in a bowl, then stir in the dressing with the sprouts and fruit. Toss to blend. Enjoy!

Almond Romano Pesto

One of my favourite things about warm weather is eating outside. Nothing beats a Playhaus picnic at the park. For this reason, I’m looking through my recipe books for more portable food, and I remembered this recipe. It’s taken from the Rebar Cookbook (a wonderful restaurant in Victoria, British Columbia). This is a pesto intended for soups, but with this warm weather, we’ve put it into a pasta salad. Enjoy!

1 bunch Italian parsley, stemmed

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup grated romano cheese

All ingredients will be added into a blender, the key is to add them slowly so that the puree is not overwhelmingly thick for the blender. Start with parsley, puree. Add the olive oil, and garlic, then the almonds. You may need to stir the mixture between pulses of the blender while adding cheese. It’s that simple! Enjoy this pesto on sandwiches, stirred into soup, or mixed in with noodles. And of course, this recipe is best enjoyed at a picnic!!

Grain Goddess Granola Bars

I adapt this recipe seemingly each time I make granola bars, and regardless, Sarah (Jackson’s Mom) makes me feel as though I’ve performed a miracle each time. Thus, if you are in need of feeling like a Goddess (or God), whip up a batch of these. The reviews from the kids are hit or miss, but the parents love them!

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw millet
  • 3 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl combine oats, millet, and flax seeds. Set aside. In a separate bowl mash bananas, add molasses, coconut oil, and vanilla. Combine the two mixtures and fold in dried fruit.

Divide the batter into a greased muffin pan and press down each granola cake lightly to ensure that they are each formed, and not crumbling after you bake them. Bake for 30 minutes, cool. Keep refrigerated, or freeze.


Gingered Carrot Millet Muffins

makes 12-15 muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour                                                                                         1/3 cup raw millet                                                                                                                 1/2 cup sugar                                                                                                                   teaspoon baking powder                                                                                                     3/4 teaspoon baking soda                                                                                                   1/2 teaspoon ground ginger                                                                                                 2 eggs                                                                                                                                 1/2 cup almond milk                                                                                                            1/3 cup coconut oil, melted                                                                                                  1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger                                                                                             2 cups grated carrots, about 3 large carrots

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin liners. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, millet, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine eggs, almond milk, coconut oil and fresh ginger. Stir in the carrots, then pour all the wet mixture into the dry. Fold the wet into the dry just until combined. This may take a few strokes as the batter is very thick.

Scoop out batter into prepared muffin tins, filling roughly level with the top of the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool slightly. Serve warm or room temperature. Store covered for about 2-3 days or freeze for a month.

Ba-Da Bing, Ba-Da Bean Dip

This recipe was given to me by a friend a couple of years ago. It’s a consistent “crowd-pleaser,” and secretly, is one of the most easy dips to prepare. Serve cold with nachos, or serve warm on rice!

Ba-Da Bing, Ba-Da Bean Dip

1 can black beans

1 can lentils

½ cup catalina dressing

½ cup salsa

½ red pepper, diced

½ green pepper, diced

2 Tbsp. red onion, thinly diced

2 cloves garlic, minced


1. Rinse the beans.

2. Combine all of the ingredients.

3. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to combine the flavours.

4. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Falafel

Sweet Potato Falafel

DOWN TIME: Overnight soaking required; 60 minutes for cooling
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
YIELD: About 30 sweet potato falafel balls

2 cups dried garbanzo beans
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 to 8 tablespoons flour
Meat of 2 sweet potatoes
Sesame seeds

Pita bread
Tzatziki sauce
Roma tomatoes, sliced
A cucumber, thinly sliced

1.  Pour the garbanzo beans in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover the beans by at least three inches.  Let the beans soak at least overnight, and if possible, for a full 24 hours.

2.  Bake the sweet potatoes at 420°F for 1 hour 20 minutes.  Once the sweet potatoes are cool, remove the meat and mash it until a purée.  This can also be done overnight.


3.  Drain the beans.  Place the garbanzo beans, onion, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and sweet potato in a food processor, fitted with a steel blade.  Process until well blended, but not puréed.  Add the baking powder and flour, and pulse briefly, stopping once combined.

4.  Turn the mixture into a bowl.  Form the chickpea mixture into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and place on a baking sheet.  Once you have formed all the balls, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.


5.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the falafel for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

6.  Toast several slices of pita bread.  Stuff the pita with tzatziki sauce, sliced tomatoes, thin slices of cucumbers, and as many warm falafel balls as you can!  Serve warm!