how to make perfect crepes

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how_to_make_perfect_crepes

(Photo by Rikki Snyder)

Is there anything better than crepes? I think of crepes as the little black dress of the food world. They’re great all fancied up with exotic toppings and they’re equally great topped with nothing but a bit of butter, eaten on a Thursday night on your couch while wearing yoga pants and watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Crepes can be a bit intimidating even for an experienced cook, so I’ve teamed up with Oh My Veggies photographer Rikki Snyder to put together a how to tutorial for making perfect crepes. We’ve broken it down step by step to make crepe making a cinch!

And since I’m BFF’s with my freezer, you just know there’s gonna be instructions for bulk prepping and freezing your crepes so you’ve got them on the ready any old time. Hop on over to Oh My Veggies and check it out!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

 

peaches and cream muffins

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peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

I don’t know about you guys, but I am clinging to this summer like my life depends on it. This time of year seems fleeting and fragile, and I want to hold on to it for as long as possible.

Peaches are one of my favourite summer fruits. I believe their lusciousness and fragility warrants only eating them when they are in season and perfectly ripe, and so at this time of year I eat as many as I can. The Italian peaches available here pale in comparison to the juicy Oakanagan orbs I grew up with, but they’ll do with no other choice nearby.

peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

These muffins were part of a brunch spread I made for a dear friend’s wedding earlier this summer. Made with a combination of three flours, the muffin base is sturdy and nutty, yet surprisingly delicate. Sour cream provides a bit of tang, and a touch light brown muscovado sugar sweetens the mixture just so. It’s not often I find myself licking muffin batter out of the bowl, but there it was.

peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

Peaches appear twice. First, they’re finely diced and stirred into the batter where they mellow into little pockets of peachiness once baked. Then, they’re thinly sliced and draped across the top of each unbaked muffin, the red and yellow crescent moon caramelizing ever so slightly as they bake.

I’d highly recommend you make a batch of these while the season’s peaches are still available. And since muffins freeze so well, you could be enjoying peaches and cream muffins weeks beyond the last fresh peach.

peaches and cream muffins // the muffin myth

Two years ago: Carrot and Quinoa Salad
Three years ago: Crispy Skillet Tofu (yum!!!)
Four years ago: Wheatberry Salad with Eggplant

Peaches and Cream Muffins Recipes:

If peaches aren’t handy, I’m sure these muffins would be amazing with other summer fruit. Blackberries especially come to mind. To make oat flour simply whirl rolled oats in a food processor or high-speed blender until a sandy-fine  flour is formed.

Makes 10 muffins. Adapted from Good to the Grain.

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2 ripe peaches, one diced, one thinly sliced
1 cup oat flour (see headnotes)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsps (90g) butter, melted
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten

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Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line 10 muffin cups with muffin cases, or grease the tins.

Prepare the peaches. Slice each in half and twist to remove from the stone. Dice one peach into small (about 1cm) dice. The other, thinly slice. Set aside.

Sift oat flour, all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl.

In a small bowl combine melted butter, milk, sour cream, and the egg and whisk well to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just barely combined. Fold in the diced peach.

Spoon the batter evenly into 10 muffin cases, and top each with one or two thin slices of peach.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan once. The muffins should be slightly puffed and golden on top, and a toothpick inserted towards the center should come out clean. Remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Power to the peach! Peaches are native to China, spread to the rest of the world along the Silk Road, and are in the rose family along with nectarines, plums, and almonds. Fresh peaches are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, especially if you consume the fuzzy skin. They contain a moderate amount of the antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta carotene. There is some evidence that eating fruits rich in vitamin A may be protective against some cancers. Peaches also contain flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants which are protective against free radicals and reactive oxygen species.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web + weekly meal plan

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meal plan August 18-22 // the muffin myth

It’s back to meal planning this week! Because we landed back in Stockholm early Wednesday morning and I went pretty much directly to the office I relied on some take out salads and a couple of freezer meals this week. But I’m back in business! I’m hoping to snag some big zucchinis from the farmer’s market this weekend and experiment with some zucchini fritters. I’m also going to start stocking the freezer and think it’s high time I made this lentil loaf again.

On to the links! This week just so happens to be the 100th edition of What’s Good Around The Web! That means we’ve read 500 food, nutrition, and health articles together so far. Amazing! Accordingly, I tried to find extra interesting articles for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

MM_Web_Icon_FINAL1. Food as therapy. Long, but great read.

2. Coconut water changes its claims. Hrm.

3. What are your thoughts on stevia? Sweet salvation: can stevia be food producers’ Holy Grail?

4. Good news for legume lovers: Beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils increase fullness and could help manage weight.

5. Did you know that forty percent of Americans born between 2000 and 2011 will develop diabetes? This is double the risk of those born a decade earlier.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

simple summer pasta

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simple summer pasta // the muffin mythThe theme of my summer has been all about keeping things simple. Not overcommitting myself, taking pleasure in the little things, and maximizing my relaxing. Though I told my office that I was happy to work remotely should the need arise, it didn’t, and I am thankful for that. And though I brought my camera along with me to the Pacific Northwest with a list of ideas for the blog, I didn’t pick it up once.

I slept, I read, I cooked, I swam, I hiked, I boated, I waterskied, and I married off my baby sister. It was a very, very good three weeks.

simple summer pasta // the muffin myth

The meals are definitely one of my favourite parts of being at my family home. My mother has a great ocean-side garden and the meals often revolve around whatever is ripe. There is a revolving door of friends and family stopping through for dinner, and the house has been built to accommodate big crowds. I think we feasted 20-40 people on multiple occasions this summer.

Simplicity is key when you’re feeding a crowd, but I think also a key component of any summer meal. This pasta fits the bill perfectly.

simple summer pasta // the muffin myth

The produce is uncooked, which means this is a one-pot meal. In-season cherry tomatoes and spinach are tossed with torn leaves of basil, salty black olives, and slivers of punchy garlic. Hot whole-wheat rotini is poured over the top, wilting the greens just so.

Served warm, preferably eaten outside, it is a perfect summer evening meal. The leftovers pack well for picnicking, or for packed lunches if you, like me, are heading back to work this week. Enjoy.

simple summer pasta // the muffin myth

Two years ago: Peach Salsa
Four years ago: Muslimix Spice Muffins

Simple Summer Pasta Recipe:

This simple summer pasta comes together quickly. You can put the water on for the pasta and start chopping your veg, and by the time the pasta is cooked you’ll be ready to go.

Serves 4-6. Adapted from Jamie Oliver

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400g whole wheat rotini
250g baby spinach leaves (about 4 cups packed)
500g (one pint) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
150g (1/2 cup) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
1 bunch (1/2 cup packed leaves) fresh basil leaves, torn
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
6 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

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Put a large pot of water on high heat. When it has come to a rolling boil, salt generously and place the pasta in to cook until al dente – about 10-15 minutes depending on your pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, prep everything else. Wash the spinach leaves and place into a large bowl. Add halved cherry tomatoes, then scrunch with your hands to break down a bit. Now add torn basil, oregano, crushed garlic, and red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain, and immediately add the hot pasta to the waiting vegetables. Toss well to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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Tomato toe-mah-toe. However you like to say it, there’s no doubt that the sweet summer fruits are juicy little bombs of nutrition. Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene – good for your prostates, fellas! Eating tomatoes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few. Eating tomatoes has been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy! Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web!

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wedding

Happy Friday everyone! Paul and I are celebrating five years of marriage today…. what a five years it’s been. Truthfully, not a boring moment. When we said our vows we knew that we’d be moving overseas, though we didn’t yet know we’d end up in Sweden. We promised to work through things anywhere, anyhow, and I’m proud of us for keeping that promise. Moving to a new country, with a new language, without a support system was certainly a test of the early years of our marriage, and I truly believe it is because we made those promises in front of friends and family who love and support us that we are still together today. I can’t wait to see what adventure the next five years might bring!

We’re in the final days of our vacation in the Pacific Northwest and will be making our way back to Stockholm early next week. This means I need to get my head back into meal planning mode! We’ll be arriving home early Wednesday morning to an empty fridge, and heading into the office almost immediately, so I’ll be relying on a few freezer meals I’ve got stashed away, buying a couple of salads, and planning a proper meal plan for the following week. Now on to the links!

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1. Seeking a saner food system. Good read.

2. Advice from a vegan cardiologist. Food for thought.

3. What’s the best bedtime snack? Dr. Andrew Weil weighs in.

4. Are multivitamins worth it? Answers from the Harvard School of Public Health

5. Why are trans fats bad for you? The science explained.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

chia fresca

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chia fresca // the muffin myth

Friends, can we talk about poop?

Not everyone’s favourite topic, but an important one in nutrition. The reality is, what goes in must come out, and for some of us that’s a struggle. I’ve had a number of people complain to me about this issue, and for many, after a quick chat about their dietary habits, it becomes clear that hydration is at the root of the problem.

The thing is, if you add extra fiber to your diet, which you should, you also need to add extra hydration to help your system process the fiber. Extra fiber without extra hydration ends up having the reverse of the intended effect, which results in an unhappy digestive tract.

chia fresca // the muffin myth

The Chia Fresca is simply a drink with chia seeds stirred in, left to sit while the chia seeds soak up some liquid, and then guzzled down. Because chia seeds hold up to 10x their weight in water, the little fiber bombs enter your system already hydrated. This means that rather than absorbing liquid from your digestive tract, the Chia Fresca provides liquid. This not only helps with hydration, which is great for athletes pre or post workout, or any of us on a hot day, but it can also help get things moving, if you get my drift (and I know you do).

But don’t think of this wonder drink as something just for when you’re feeling plugged up! I particularly like drinking a Chia Fresca if I’m fasting (a topic for another time) as the hydrated little seeds provide a sense of satiety. It’s wonderful on a hot day, before a long run, or just at any old time if you’re trying to get more chia into your diet.

And just what’s so great about chia? Read on for more info!

chia fresca // the muffin myth

One year ago: Mexican Black Bean Skillet
Two years ago: Raspberry Cornbread 

Chia Fresca Recipe:

Consider this recipe a jumping off point. I keep it simple with water and a squeeze of lime for my Chia Fresca, but you don’t have to stop there. Try using coconut water instead of plain old tap water. Want it a bit sweet? Stir in a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. Don’t like lime? Try lemon, grapefruit, crushed up strawberries, or whatever else you’ve got on hand.

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1-2 cups cold water
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 wedge of lime

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In a large glass combine the water, chia, and a squeeze of lime juice. Stir well to avoid clumps, and set aside for 10-15 minutes. You will have to stir again as the chia seeds will settle with time. When the seeds are well hydrated (they should look sort of like a tomato seed with the jelly layer around it), give the glass a final stir, and drink immediately.

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Ch-ch-ch-chia! Chia seeds are a concentrated source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are rich in dietary fiber. They are an excellent source of essential minerals such as phosphorous, manganese, calcium, sodium and potassium. Due to the exceptional water-absorption properites of chia, it can help prolong hydration and help the body retain electrolytes at times such as during exertion. Whole, water-soaked chia seeds are easily digested, and their nutrients can be quickly absorbed by the body. Once soaked, chia seeds bulk up, then work like a cleaning crew in our digestive systems. As they move through the intestinal tract, they help to dislodge and eliminate accumulated waste in the intestines. Many people find their stools also become more regular once they eat chia.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

vegan BLAT

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vegan BLAT // the muffin myth

I get a lot of questions about my vegetarianism from people that can’t seem to wrap their heads around it.

“But isn’t it hard?” 

“Don’t you miss meat?”

“Not even bacon?”

The answers are no, no, and no.

vegan BLAT // the muffin myth

There are many different reasons for vegetarianism, personal, political, ethical, religious, ecological, and so on. Mine is pretty simple – I plain old just don’t like meat. I don’t like the taste, the texture, or the concept.

I don’t do much in the fake meat department, but this coconut bacon is a total game changer. When I posted the recipe back in July someone mentioned doing a BLT with coconut bacon and I knew it had to happen. And since everything is better with avocado, I decided to go for a vegan BLAT.

vegan BLAT // the muffin myth

If you’ve got the coconut bacon already made, this is one of the easiest meals you could throw together. Lightly toasted whole grain bread (I used a delicious beer bread with cracked rye) is smeared with avocado, sprinkled with coconut bacon, and topped with fresh sliced tomatoes and lettuce.

vegan BLAT // the muffin myth

Folks, this sandwich is good. Really, really good.

I’m not sure how well it would pack as the coconut bacon tends to lose it’s crispness, so I’d recommend either making these to order or packing the coconut bacon in a separate container to be added to your sandwich at the last minute. But I must warn you, last time I took a container of coconut bacon to the office I had all kinds of people dipping their fingers in for a taste.

Made to order or packed in components, this vegan BLAT would make a great breakfast, lunch, dinner, picnic, or late night snack. Enjoy it while the late summer tomatoes are starting to make their appearance – you won’t regret it.

vegan BLAT // the muffin myth

Four years ago: Trant Road Blackberries, Two Ways

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Vegan BLAT Recipe:

When a recipe is as simple as this one, I always try to strive for the best possible ingredients. There are only four, plus the bread, so quality matters here.

Makes one sandwich

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2 slices whole grain bread, lightly toasted
1/2 a ripe avocado
1/4 cup coconut bacon, or more as desired
4 thick slices of tomato
2 large leaves of lettuce

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To assemble your BLAT, spread one slice of lightly toasted bread with the avocado. Sprinkle coconut bacon over top, then layer the tomatoes and lettuce on top. Finish with the second slice of bread. Enjoy!

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Coconut is contains saturated fats, which, for ages were demonized as being ‘bad fat’s. Current research indicates there are actually different types of saturated fats, and some types of saturated fats, including those found in coconut, are good for you. Everything in moderation.

Around 80% of the calories in an avocado come from fat, which is about 20 x higher than most fruit. However, about 65% of this fat is healthy monounsaturated fat, in particular oleic acid. Avocados also contain an incredible range of phytonutrients, and many vitamins and minerals. Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, and potassium – more potassium than a banana even!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web!

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morning on the coast // the muffin myth

Happy Friday! I’m coming at you again from the sunny Sunshine Coast of BC, with some great food, nutrition, and health articles for your weekend reading pleasure. Enjoy!

MM_Web_Icon_FINAL1. This is a great article about fat: three new fat facts that could have saved us a lot of trouble.

2. Eating food from plants that have struggled to survive toughens us up as well.

3. Probiotic logic vs gut feelings.

4. Fried food consumption and your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

5. Thoughts on being gluten intolerant… intolerant.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

mediterranean chickpea salad

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mediterranean chickpea salad // the muffin myth

For many years I thought that I didn’t like Greek salad. Too salty! Too oniony! Too briny! Swimming in dressing! Fortunately I came to the realization that I’d been eating crappy Greek salads and totally changed my tune.

Over the course of my MSc program in nutrition, my cohort of international nutritionists hosted many potluck meals, and our Greek nutritionist, Thanasis, almost always contributed some sort of rendition on a Greek salad. Though he lamented the quality of ingredients available in Sweden (Here is a Greek salad. It has the worst tomatoes, the worst cucumbers, the worst feta, and the worst olive oil.) I thought his salads were fabulous. Not too acidic, and with a generous quantity of olive oil, they were just the Greek salad I’d always been looking for.

mediterranean chickpea salad // the muffin myth

I can’t call this a Greek salad because I’ve totally bastartized it, so Mediterranean Chickpea Salad it is. The red onions are mellowed out by a brief marinate in red wine vinegar, a trick I learned here and have never stopped using. It’s vegetable heavy, olive moderate, and made more substantial with the addition of chickpeas for protein and heft. I’ve left out the usual feta, replacing it with optional croutons of seared halloumi which are served on the side and easily left out for a vegan salad.

mediterranean chickpea salad // the muffin myth

This salad packs up decently well and makes for good picnic fare, and it makes a lot so is great for sharing. It will last only a couple of days in the fridge before the cucumbers and tomatoes start to go all wilty, so you may want to scale the recipe according to your needs rather than being left with a huge quantity of salad you’re frantically trying to go through before it becomes sad. Like all salads this one is a template for your palate, so I’d love to hear how you make it yours.

mediterranean chickpea salad // the muffin myth

Two years ago: Boiled Broccoli with Poached Scrambled Eggs

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Recipe:

I’ve strayed from my inspiration and made this a salad quite light in oil. If you have some, though, feel free to drizzle a little extra good quality olive oil over the top when you serve this. You won’t regret it.

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1/2 a medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground sumac
1 long English cucumber, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups chickpeas (about 1 400g tin)
1/2 cup kalamata olives
200g halloumi, cubed (optional)

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Place the sliced red onions in a small bowl. Toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sumac and set aside to marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

In a large bowl combine diced cucumber, tomato, red pepper, chickpeas, and olives. Add the marinated onions and all of the accompanying liquid, and toss the salad well to combine.

If using halloumi croutons, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add a tsp of olive oil, and sear the halloumi cubes for a few minutes, until they are golden on all sides. Remove from the heat.

To serve, spoon the salad into individual bowls, tossing the salad a bit before serving as liquid will have settled to the bottom. Top individual bowls with halloumi croutons, or leave them off for a vegan salad. Enjoy!

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 Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are a super food! They contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup, which is 50% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber.  About two-thirds of the fiber in garbanzos is insoluble, which is great for digestive health, particularly in the colon. The remaining third is soluble fiber, which can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides; important for cardiovascular health. The protein-fiber combination in chickpeas is key for stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace. This protein-fiber combination is also beneficial for improving our sense of satiety, which can help prevent over eating. Chickpeas are notable for antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, but also contain concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients such as flavonoids and polyphenols.  Chickpeas also contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body’s omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made. Chickpeas for the win!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

how to build a perfect meal bowl

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how to build a perfect meal bowl

It’s no secret that I love me a good meal bowl. I love them morning, noon, and night. I love them as packed lunches, and I love them for easy and nourishing weeknight dinners. Have you ever wondered what the formula for the perfect meal bowl might be?

Why don’t you let me tell you! Hop on over to Oh My Veggies where I’m cracking the code for building a perfect meal bowl, aaaaaaand, I’ve got links to 18 fabulous meal bowl recipes for your dinner inspiration. Enjoy!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

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