what’s good around the web!

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snowdrops // the muffin myth

Ahhhh, spring! We’ve had an unusually mild winter in Stockholm, and already there are little snowdrops poking through the ground.

What’s good around the web is a weekly series where I share some of what I’ve been reading around the web. Each week I post links to five nutrition related articles, good recipes, and just general good reads. I hope you enjoy it! If you’ve got at article or recipe you’d like to see featured, please email me.

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1. The FDA has proposed a new, and much improved, food labelling system. What do you think?

2. Saturated fat consumption is linked to increased levels of dangerous abdominal fat. What blows my mind about this one is they managed to find adults willing to consume an extra 750 calories a day for this study!

3. A little comic relief: organic food makers take down bogus ‘all natural’ claims on food labels. More seriously, is Whole Foods America’s temple of pseudoscience?

4. How wellness can save health. Word.

5. High cost of fruits and vegetables linked to higher body fat in young children.

On my menu this week: Deena’s cauliflower and halloumi dish. Can’t wait to try this out!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

coconutty banana walnut granola

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banana walnut granola // the muffin myth

I run a rescue operation for unwanted bananas.

I don’t discriminate against age or colour, if there is a neglected, speckley banana I will give it a good home. First, on my kitchen counter until it turns black, then in my freezer where it awaits it’s destiny as a tasty smoothie or as no sugar banana bran muffins (we make a batch of these once a week). I only wish I had a bigger freezer so I could take in more stray bananas.

banana walnut granola // the muffin myth

I’ve had banana bread on my brain for ages (whole grain, naturally sweetened, chocolate studded) but can’t seem to get around to making it. I think mostly because I don’t want to end up at home with an entire loaf of banana bread. Real talk: I no longer have the kind of constitution that allows me to eat a lot of baked goods, even the ‘healthy’ kind. I need to plan my banana bread (cookie, brownie, cake) baking for times when I’ve got a crowd of people to feed, or when I can schlep the extras off to the office.

Granola, though it needs to be tended while it bakes, seems for some reason like less of a commitment. Perhaps because I know I’ll be able to store it in an airtight jar for weeks on end, or perhaps because it’s simply a matter of whizzing a few wet ingredients together, folding that into some whole grain oats, coconut, and walnuts, and not ten minutes later my apartment will smell like the most amazing banana bread you’ve ever eaten.

banana walnut granola // the muffin myth

Here’s what’s awesome about this coconutty banana walnut granola. It uses up your old bananas (or some of the stash in your freezer if you’re a banana hoarder like me). It’s naturally sweetened with the bananas and a touch of maple syrup. It smells AH-mazing. It’s super delish straight out of the jar, as a topping on some plain yoghurt, or even on some ice cream. I won’t judge. Plus, home made granola is always way more awesome than the store bought kind, especially because you know exactly what’s in it. And what makes a better gift than a jar of home made granola?

Folks who are gluten free can make this with gluten free oats, or, if you can’t tolerate oats at all, try it with quinoa flakes instead. Be aware that quinoa is a bit thirstier than oats, so you may need to add extra liquid if you go that route. In any case, I hope you try it, and let me know how it goes.

Other granola recipes on The Muffin Myth:
no (refined) sugar chocolate coconut granola
cranberry walnut granola.

banana walnut granola // the muffin myth

One year ago: My Digital Posse (I should do an update to this post!)
Two years ago: Pea Soup with Smoked Porter and Egg Quesadilla 
Three years ago: How to Cook Dried Beans 

Coconutty Banana Walnut Granola Recipe:

Print Recipe

If you don’t have frozen bananas, the browner your bananas are the better. I let mine go black so they become truly sweet, but any stage once they’ve started to get speckled is fine. I used virgin coconut oil, which adds to the delicious coconut flavour, but you can sub in extra virgin olive oil if you’d prefer. This recipe makes about 6 cups of granola.

Recipe adapted from Shutterbean

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5 cups rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 cup raw walnut pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 frozen bananas, thawed, or 2 really ripe bananas

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Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a couple of big baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, whiz together the maple syrup, coconut oil, and bananas. Alternately, you can mash the bananas with a fork and then whisk everything together by hand.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, coconut, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt together. Pour the wet mix over top, and give everything a good stir to mix it together.

Spread the granola in even layers on the prepared baking trays. Pop into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, pulling the trays out to stir the granola every 10 minutes, and rotating the trays in the oven at least once. Watch the granola carefully towards the end to be sure the edges don’t burn. It should be smelling amazing and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the trays. Transfer to a clean glass jar, or you can store in the freezer in plastic bags. Enjoy!

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Oats are rich in indigestible carbohydrates called beta-glutens which help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Oats are also host to a number of phenolic compounds which have antioxidant properties, are helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, and are a good source of dietary fiber and protein.

Coconut 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.

Walnuts are a rice source of monounsaturated fats (good for your heart) and a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts also have antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties which are protective against cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. Remember that like all nuts, walnuts are calorie dense, so we’re consuming them in moderation

Bananas are a great source of concentrated energy and potassium. They are also a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web!

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Barcelona Half // The Muffin Myth

Hello from Barcelona! Paul and I have nipped over for the weekend for some warmer weather, tapas, cava, and a little 21km run (him, not me) fuelled largely by Spanish olives. This is a pre-race shot of all the runners making their way towards the start line.

What’s good around the web is a weekly series where I share some of what I’ve been reading around the web. Each week I post links to five nutrition related articles, good recipes, and just general good reads. I hope you enjoy it! If you’ve got at article or recipe you’d like to see featured, please email me.

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1. Sweet nothing: The real science behind sugar.

2. The University of Toronto debunks the ‘blood type’ diet.

3. Valentine’s Day may be over, but there’s no reason to avoid these 5 seductive foods for a healthy heart.

4. Four gluten-free myths debunked (this seems to be a theme today).

5. Have I ever told you about the artist guy I dated who silk screened dairy animals onto unwrapped Kraft slices for an art project? They never went bad. But now Kraft is pulling some of the artificial preservatives from it’s ‘cheese’ slices. Still gross, if you ask me. 

Also! The Piglet tournament of cookbooks has begun. I love this! it always helps me decide what new cookbooks to add to my collection.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

strawberry maca milkshake

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strawberry maca milkshake // the muffin myth

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! Or Happy Friday! Whatever you’re into.

As I mentioned previously, Paul and I aren’t in the habit of doing anything special on the 14th of February. This year we happen to be zipping off to Barcelona on the day of love, but it’s for a race, not for romance. I mean, unless you consider a half marathon romantic – and I bet you can figure out which one of us does and which one of us does not. In any case, I’ve got something pink and tasty that’ll put you in the mood… this strawberry maca milkshake.

strawberry maca milkshake // the muffin myth

Milkshake is a bit of a misnomer, as this beaut is completely vegan, but the combination of frozen bananas and strawberries blended up with the malty maca makes a delicious and decadent tasting smoothie you can feel good about drinking.

So what’s this maca all about?

Maca is a root in the cruciferous family (related to broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc) grown in the Peruvian Andes. It is an ancient and resilient plant – it needs to be to grow in those harsh conditions. Maca is an adaptogen, which means it can help to balance hormonal, nervous and cardiovascular systems. It is also said to be quite effective for improving libido, and hey, it’s Valentine’s Day…

Maca has a malty and sweet flavour, maybe a bit caramelly with hints of vanilla. It is delicious in smoothies like this one, and creates a sort of malted milk flavour. However, the flavour is quite strong and a little goes a long way. A teaspoon is plenty to start with, and you can work your way up to a bit more. I pretty much max out at 2 teaspoons, and honestly prefer the flavour of a smaller amount. Due to its influence on the hormone system, people with thyroid issues should not take maca.

strawberry maca milkshake // the muffin myth

I’ve used whole almonds, soaked overnight, instead of almond milk. I’m not a big fan of commercial nut milks as most are full of additives, thickeners, stabilizers and other junk I don’t want, in addition to being sweetened unnecessarily. I also prefer whole foods with all of the fiber intact to something with the fiber and other good stuff strained out. Soaking the almonds overnight softens them up considerably, but if you don’t have a high-power blender you may find your smoothie on the gritty side. If that would bug you, or if you don’t want to wait the time to soak the almonds, go ahead and use almond milk in place of the nuts and water. I also think that soaked cashews would make a great smoothie – almonds was just what I happened to have on hand.

So enjoy your Valentine’s Day, your Friday, and every day. I hope this smoothie helps to get you in the mood ;-)

strawberry maca milkshake // the muffin myth

One year ago: whole wheat chocolate chip cookie cake
Two years ago: spicy kohlrabi salad and lemony roasted broccoli and tempeh with quinoa
Three years ago: carrot ginger muffins

Strawberry Maca Milkshake Recipe:

Print Recipe 

Like I said, tread carefully with the maca. Start with a teaspoon and work your way up to maybe two if you like the flavour and it agrees with your system. Frozen banana works best here for that creamy milkshake texture, but fresh is fine also.

Serves 1

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1 frozen banana
4 frozen large strawberries
1/4 almonds, soaked in water overnight
1 tsp maca powder
1 – 1/2 cups water

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Place banana, strawberries, soaked almonds, and maca in a blender with 1 cup cold water. Blend on high until smooth, and decide if you want to add a bit more water to thin it out. Serve immediately.

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Maca is a good source of iron, calcium and potassium. Maca is also a great source of riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin E and vitamin A, and a powerful anti-oxidant.

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats – this is a healthy fat when consumed in moderation, the same type as is found in olive oil. Almonds are also a good source of manganese, vitamin E (which has antioxidant properties) and magnesium.

Bananas are a great source of concentrated energy and potassium. They are also a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese.

Strawberries are an excellent source of antioxidant and anti inflammatory nutrients. They are a great source of lycopene (good for your prostates, fellas) vitamin C and manganese. They are also a very good source of folate, iodine, and dietary fiber.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web!

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Granville St. Sunset // The Muffin Myth

A throwback to December in Vancouver when I caught this gorgeous sunset down Granville St. With the Olympics happening in Sochi now I’ve been thinking a lot about my home town and the energy of the games from 2010.

What’s good around the web is a weekly series where I share some of what I’ve been reading around the web. Each week I post links to five nutrition related articles, good recipes, and just general good reads. I hope you enjoy it! If you’ve got at article or recipe you’d like to see featured, please email me.

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1. Surefire tricks to get the most out of your vitamin supplements (this one is snippy!)

2. And the opposite side of that coin; vitamin and mineral supplements are not a waste of money

3. The truth about coconut oil (and a great new (to me!) nutrition blog)

4. As peanut allergies rise, trying to determine a cause.

5. 20 practical uses for cocoa cola (and proof it should not be in the human body)

And how about some of these Rawlos for Valentine’s Day?

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

meze bowl

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meze bowl // the muffin mythSometimes I have so much going on at once I feel like I’m failing at everything. Other times I feel pretty on top of the game. Mostly it’s somewhere in the middle.

I’m terrible at getting out of bed in the morning. I’m pretty good at scheduling exercise into my day. I rush out the door in a panic most of the time and tend to turn up to things either right on time or a few minutes late. I’m good at prioritizing my friends and family. I’m a ‘time optimist’ and often feel disappointed for not finishing everything I thought I could get done in a period of time. I mostly rock at packing my lunches.

meze bowl // the muffin myth

Lunch packing takes a chunk of my Sunday afternoon – maybe a couple of hours – and I’d much rather be doing something else. But it is always, ALWAYS worth the effort.

First and foremost, I like to control what I eat. On the rare occasions I do pick something up for lunch it’s never as nutritious as what I’ve packed myself, and more often than not it’s not as tasty. I almost always save money by brown bagging it rather than buying lunch. But most importantly, I’ve discovered that my lunch hour is the most ideal time to fit exercise into my day. I bought a yearly membership at a swimming pool near my office and nip out at lunch for a swim as often as I can. It’s great because I get out of the office, clear my head, come back energized, and my exercise is done for the day. Then I eat lunch at my desk (which, if you follow me on Instagram, is probably something you already know about me) while I work away.

meze bowl // the muffin myth

meze bowl // the muffin mythDon’t let this meze bowl intimidate you. There are components to be sure, but none are overly difficult, and most can be prepared in advance of assembly.

The inspiration for this bowl comes, ironically, from a take-out salad place near my office. If ever I treat myself to a bought lunch I pick up a meze bowl, and man is it delicious. Delicious, but a bit of an indulgence, both in money spent and calories consumed. It’s a touch on the salty side, and comes with a lot more creamy dairy globbed on top than I care for. I was pretty sure I could replicate it at home, and last week when a colleague picked one up and I had my knock off version beside hers, I knew I had, more or less, hit the nail on the head.   

meze bowl // the muffin myth

So, you’ve got to cook up some sort of grain. The original salad uses savoury cooked oats, which is quite common in Sweden, but these sort of ‘dinner oats’ might be harder to find where you are. I’ve used barley and quinoa, both separately and together, and both are delicious. You’ve got to make some hummus (or acquire some hummus, whatever), and you’ve got to make a simple cucumber salad. Beyond that it’s shredding a bit of lettuce (or using bagged greens), crumbling some feta (or leaving it out for a vegan version) and slicing up some avocado. Easy, right?

These meze bowls make a tasty, nutritious meal, and they pack well for lunches – I made a few day’s worth at a time, leaving the avocado off until the last minute. Whether you’re a lunch packer or not, and whether you’ll make all of the bits and bobs or assemble your own version, I think you should give this a try. Let me know how it goes!

Looking for other bowls that pack well for lunch? How about:
Heather’s Hallelujah Bowl
Multigrain Edamame Salad
Wild Rice and Chickpea Salad
Kale and Butternut Squash Salad
Brown Rice Sushi Bowl
Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

meze bowl // the muffin myth

One year ago: Beluga Lentil Salad with Halloumi Croutons
Two years ago: Cranberry Walnut Granola
Three years ago: Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Meze Bowl Recipe:

Print Recipe

If you’ve got all of the components made in advance, the meze bowl comes together in just a couple of minutes. Leave avocado off until just before serving if you’re going to pack several lunches at a time. For extra flavour, cook your grains in vegetable broth.

Portions below are for 4 meze bowls

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4 cups shredded lettuce or other greens
2 cups cooked barley, quinoa, brown rice or other grain (cooked in vegetable broth)
1 batch of cucumber salad (recipe below)
1 cup chipotle hummus (recipe below)
1 cup crumbled feta (optional)
2 ripe avocados
1 lime, sliced into quarters for serving

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To assemble the meze bowl, layer the lettuce into the bottom of a large bowl, followed 1/2 of cooked barley (or other grain), and 1/4 of the cucumber salad. Top with 1/4 cup crumbled feta, 1/4 cup chipotle hummus, and 1/2 of an avocado, sliced. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

Cucumber Salad:

1/2 of a long English cucumber, diced
1/2 of a large red pepper, diced
1/4 of a medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp salt

Toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside until ready to serve.

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Chipotle Hummus

This will be more hummus than you need for 4 bowls, but it is delicious in other ways as well, and will last about a week in the fridge. Chipotle hummus recipe adapted from my Game Changing Hummus.

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1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini paste
2-4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use 4)
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 – 1 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 cup reserved chickpea cooking water, or water

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Place the cooked chana dal or peeled chickpeas in a food processor and pulse for about one minute. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, chipotles, and salt, and pulse the food processor to combine. With the food processor running, add chickpea cooking water one tablespoon at a time, until the hummus reaches your desired consistency. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times.

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Avocados are an extremely fatty fruit! 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!

Chickpeas are a super food! They’re a very good source of folate, protein, dietary fiber, phosphorus and iron. The fiber in chickpeas is mostly insoluble, which is really good for our digestive tracts. You can read more about the health benefits of eating chickpeas here.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web!

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Stockholm City Hall // The Muffin Myth

We haven’t had a bright sunny day like this in a while, but the days are getting notably longer now, so can’t complain. Looking forward to the spring, that’s for sure!

What’s good around the web is a weekly series where I share some of what I’ve been reading around the web. Each week I post links to five nutrition related articles, good recipes, and just general good reads. I hope you enjoy it! If you’ve got at article or recipe you’d like to see featured, please email me.

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1. Have you seen this great short film with Michael Pollan on how cooking can change your life?

2. Is wheat bad for you? Not for most people.

3. The link between exercise and immunity.

4. An apple a day? Apple polyphenols may change gut microbiota.

5. A look inside the protein bar.

Hey, it’s the Super Bowl! Have a Beergarita! (I’ve already had two)

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

five minute feel better coconut curry soup

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five minute feel better coconut curry soup // the muffin myth

I recently read this article about why being busy isn’t respectable anymore, and it made me think a lot about what I’ve got going on right now. I’ll be defending my thesis in 134 128 127 125 days. That’s 134 128 127 125 more days of a full time MSc thesis plus a full time job, which is, depending on when you ask me, totally manageable, totally overwhelming, totally awesome, or totally bonkers. I can hardly complain about it, though, as I’m the one who signed up for this madness.

Because I have taken on a bit more than I can handle, I’ve had to do some priority shifting. I’ve chosen time over money and hired a cleaning service for our apartment, which is the Best Thing Ever. I’ve chosen convenience over selection and started ordering most of our groceries online. Because I realized I don’t function well when I’m over tired, I’ve chosen a little extra sleep over that chunk of time I’d been spending on blogging in the early hours of each morning – and I miss it, but I don’t regret it.

five minute feel better coconut curry soup // the muffin myth

The good news is, just yesterday I finally finished the terrible /horrible /scary (to me) data extraction phase of my thesis work (hence all those crossed out numbers up there), and ran the meta analysis (with a lot of hand holding from my supervisor). The results are in, they’re crazy significant (that’s really good!) and now the only thing standing between me and finishing this thing is writing a paper. Plus some silliness about a defence. That I can handle.

Keeping myself well-fuelled with nourishing food through this time has been a challenge. It definitely requires planning and preparation, which I am better at some weeks than others.

This was a good moment – a spicy, gingery broth scented with green curry paste and coconut milk, a few handfuls of vegetables and some edamame tossed in at the last second. If you’ve got the vegetables pre-chopped you can have hot soup in about five minutes. If you make the broth in bulk and freeze individual portions, you’ve got an easy and nutritious meal on standby. I can’t tell you how many times a portion of soup in the freezer has saved me.

This soup has the kind of heat, speed, and feel good factor that it’ll perk you right up if you’re feeling sniffly, or feeling blue. Trust me, try it out. Not into curry? Try this Five Minute Feel Better Miso Vegetable Soup instead.

five minute feel better coconut curry soup // the muffin myth

One year ago: Tomato Spinach Lentil Soup (freezes really well!) and Pizza Sallad
Two years ago: Tom Yam Soup and Home Made Bagels
Three years ago: Savoy Slaw

Five Minute Feel Better Coconut Curry Soup Recipe:

Print Recipe

The veggies and proteins you add to this soup are, obviously, up to you. I used broccoli, carrots, red cabbage, and edamame. Red cabbage is nourishing and delicious, but be warned it stains the broth a pink / purply colour quite quickly.

Serves 2

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1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
2 green onions, diced
1Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups good quality vegetable broth
1 tsp green curry paste
1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut milk
Juice from 1/2 a lime

Add ins:
small broccoli florets
carrot, peeled and julienned
red cabbage, thinly sliced
edamame

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Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the green onion, ginger, and garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes, until onion is soft and garlic is just beginning to brown.

Add vegetable broth, and whisk in the green curry paste. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, and the lime juice. Be careful that the broth doesn’t come to a boil once the coconut milk has been added to avoid curdling. Taste and decide if you’d like a bit more coconut milk or a bit more lime.

Add the vegetables, and cover with a lid. Let them steam for about 1 minute, then remove the lid and serve immediately.

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Ginger is a host to several therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. Perfect for both upset tummies, and cold and flu season.

Edamame is a great source of both protein and fiber, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B2, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and potassium. Edamame is the best whole, unprocessed form of soy you can find, which makes it a great choice. Opt for organic whenever possible as GMO soy is extremely common.

Cabbage is chock full of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and cancer fighting glucosinolates. It is an excellent source of vitamins C, K, A, manganese, folate, and dietary fiber. Additionally, cabbage has cholesterol lowering benefits. When you eat cabbage, fiber-related nutrients bind together with some of the bile acids in your intestine, which causes them to remain in the intestine and then pass through you (you know what I mean) rather than being absorbed. Your liver then needs to replace these bile acids and does this by using up some of your existing supply of cholesterol, which then causes your cholesterol level to go down. Cabbage for the win!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

what’s good around the web!

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I’m loving how our days are getting longer now! Summer is still a long way away, but afternoon sunsets like this are pretty spectacular nevertheless.

What’s good around the web is a weekly series where I share some of what I’ve been reading around the web. Each week I post links to five nutrition related articles, good recipes, and just general good reads. I hope you enjoy it! If you’ve got at article or recipe you’d like to see featured, please email me.

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1. The science behind how your productivity is determined by what you eat.

2. Nestlé links with US human cell supplier to advance nutrition research. Um, scary?

3. Nutrition trends for 2014, according to dieticians.

4. The Mediterranean diet gets a prairie makeover.

5. What’s your take on intermittent fasting diets? (Can you guess what mine is?)

Also: Gin and Jam! I’m so into this! I’ve been skipping the simple syrup as I think the jam sweetens the drink plenty on it’s own. I’m loving different gin / jam combinations.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

Heather’s Hallelujah Bowl

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Heathers Halleluja Bowl // The Muffin Myth

Hello friends! Happy new year!

If you follow me on instagram, you’re probably aware that I spent the holidays hanging around a hospital. My mom had a fairly major reconstructive surgery on her spine just before Christmas, so I flew to Vancouver to be with my family during that time. I packed all kinds of books, knitting, episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and enough edited photos to crank out at least four blog posts, which I thought I’d merrily tap out at my mom’s bedside while she recouped. It ended up being a much more intense couple of weeks than I think any of us expected, and though I lugged my computer and my book and my knitting between my sister’s apartment and the hospital each day, it all sat virtually untouched for the duration.

Though it wasn’t the easiest of trips, there isn’t anywhere I would have rather been, and the way my family rallied together filled my heart to bursting. This year was all about presence, not presents, and from that respect it was a very good Christmas.

Heather's Halleluja Bowl // The Muffin Myth

After two weeks of consuming a diet that was essentially hospital cafeteria food and snacks (i.e., cheese), it’s good to get back into my kitchen and put some wholesome food into my belly.

This bowl full of goodness is something my mom and I made together when we last cooked together, and so I’ve dubbed it Heather’s Hallelujah Bowl. It has fairly basic beginnings and from there is open to interpretation. A bed of whole grains go down first – in this case brown rice – followed by whatever vegetables you like, some cubes of crispy fried tofu, and some crunchy almonds. It can be enjoyed hot or cold and mixed up any way you like.

Heather's Halleluja Bowl // The Muffin Myth

So what pushes such a humble bowl of ingredients into a hallelujah situation? You guys, the dressing. It’s a creamy combination of some of my favourite things; nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, soy, tahini… so much yum! If the portions seem a bit crazy, just know that the dressing recipe makes almost enough to bathe in. You could cut it in half, but it’d be a real shame since once you try it you’ll want to douse pretty much everything in it. For real – and I don’t even like salad dressings usually! I have cut the oil down a bit from the original, and there is probably room to cut it down a bit more if you wanted to. My advice is to keep it as is and use the dressing in moderation on a big beautiful bowl of brown rice and veggies. Hallelujah!

Heather's Halleluja Bowl // The Muffin Myth

One year ago: Orange Braised Broccoli
Two years ago: No-knead Bread
Three years ago: Next Level Hummus

Heather’s Hallelujah Bowls Recipe:

Print Recipe 

If you’ve cooked your grains ahead of time this recipe comes together really quickly. I like to cook up a big pot of brown rice, farro, or quinoa at the beginning of the week to use in meals throughout. You can also freeze cooked grains in individual portions for busier times. I’ve included proportions for four Hallelujah bowls, but like I said, you’ll have much more dressing than what you need. Leftovers will last a couple of weeks in the fridge, and I don’t think you’ll have trouble using it up.

Recipe Adapted from Whitewater Cooks

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For four bowls:

4 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup grated carrot
2 cups spinach leaves or other greens
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 pkg (250g) firm tofu, cubed
1/2 cup toasted almonds

For the dressing:

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce (I use Braggs)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp tahini paste

.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the cubes of tofu until they’re browned on all sides. Lightly steam the broccoli and cauliflower florets – just for a minute or two until the broccoli is bright green. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and drain well.

Whisk all dressing ingredients together, or use a blender to emulsify.

Layer brown rice into the bottom of four bowls. Top with spinach, grated carrot, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, tofu cubes, and almonds. Top with dressing (go moderately!) and serve immediately.

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Okay, so the dressing here is full of all kinds of good and nutrient rich ingredients, but it also packs a pretty good caloric punch. Go moderately – a little goes a long way!

Broccoli is good for you, right? It is a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and high broccoli consumption is thought to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and some cancers. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is a great source of vitamin B5, potassium, dietary fiber, and a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins B1-3, and iron. Brown rice is a source of dietary fiber, manganese, selenium, magnesium, and tryptophan. Did you know that the process of converting brown rice to white rice destroys 60 – 80% of the vitamins and minerals, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids? Think of white rice like cake, it’s a special occasion food and should be eaten in moderation. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole food with a myriad of health benefits from colon health to cholesterol lowering. You can have your cake and eat it too!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014

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