Gingerbread Delights

IMG_4387You know I love flavors and that I tend to go a little crazy when I find one I love! Making everything possible out of it. Like pumpkin, I love pumpkin (and actually this fall inherited a lot of pumpkin) so was making muffins, pies, ice cream, etc. Experimenting with all different kinds of recipes.

My recent obsession is gingerbread. Always fabulous this time of year and something I really enjoy. I love ginger in general and am often making fresh ginger tea and drinking it daily. (Ginger also has a lot of health benefits, like aiding with colds and flu, as well as prevent and eliminating nausea).

IMG_4334But I had never really thought you could do much more with gingerbread than cookies. I had tunnel vision and could not see out of the box. Cookies are the only thing right? Then last month I discovered a recipe for gingerbread waffles. Of course I knew right away that we had to try it. They were fabulous! and everyone gobbled them up. Which got me to thinking there must be other variations of gingerbread something out there. So I started looking – I had so far, cookies, waffles… what about muffins? Gingerbread muffins would surely be delicious.

IMG_0750I did a quick Google search and a number of recipes popped up. I looked at a few, picked the one I liked the best and whipped them up yesterday! Ok I tried to whip them up, I had a bit of a baking travesty. I checked on my ingredients and thought I had everything I needed but as I went along I first discovered I was almost out of barley malt, then ginger, both I had just enough. Phew! Nope, didn’t have enough Earth Balance – shoot! So I mixed it all together and set it aside until after I could run to the store.

Once I had my final ingredient, I finished mixing them up and put them in the oven to bake. I was curious and of course so were the kids (they always want muffins!) They poofed up beautifully and smelled delicious. That lovely gingerbread smell wafting through the house afterschool…Yum!

They were finally done, and after waiting a few minutes for them to cool, we dove in. They were delicious, super moist with just a subtle gingerbread taste, not too overpowering. Now I prefer a little more of a gingerbread flavoring kick, so I am going to play with the spices in this recipe a little to amp up the flavor. Once I do that, I’ll report back to you 🙂 But since I have 36 muffins at the moment to enjoy I won’t be experimenting with that one for a little bit.

You can easily half the recipe if you want to, 36 muffins is a lot, or you can bake them all and freeze them for later (if you remember they are in the freezer, personally I often forget that they are there and end up baking new ones anyway).

I also think these muffins would be fabulous with some kind of icing, which I am also going to experiment with and get back to you. For some reason I am thinking a nice cream cheese option would work…

Now that you are drooling, anticipating that warm moist gingerbread muffin in your mouth, here is the recipe. Completely sugar free and dairy free, it will be a hit at your house too!

Gingerbread Muffins

3 eggsIMG_4385

1 c. barley malt

1 c. coconut sugar

3 1/2 c. flour

1 tbsp. baking soda

1 tbsp. ground cloves

1 tbsp. ginger

1 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

1 c. hot water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Lightly grease muffin tins with Earth Balance. Spoon batter into muffin tin about 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 36 muffinsIMG_4392

What is your favorite gingerbread recipe?

Dairy Free Pumpkin Ice Cream

f27135f65da3b8e4ec8f43df3f65bea5With Thanksgiving approaching I always like to post a new recipe to add to your pumpkin feast – oh did I say pumpkin? I mean Thanksgiving feast. If you have been a reader of mine for the past couple years you will know how much I like, no love, pumpkin, and that I am always on the lookout for pumpkin recipes of all kinds. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin lattes are all ones that I have found, tried and enjoyed so far. But I also love pumpkin muffins and last fall found a fabulous recipe for a pumpkin martini! (oh yes I will post that one soon)

My other love is ice cream, and going dairy free was not easy in that respect (peppermint ice cream is my absolute favorite!). But in my transition I have found some great recipes for ice cream that I can make at home and are very yummy. From orange avocado sorbet to good old fashioned chocolate, I have been very satisfied with these discoveries and now no longer feel denied at having to eliminate dairy from my diet (because honestly if I fall off the wagon, I may enjoy my delectable delight in the moment, but I feel so sick after, seriously just not worth it).

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

So imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe for Pumpkin Ice Cream! Two of my absolute favorite things in one combination. And super super easy to make. It’s easy to do with the kids too as you literally put all the ingredients in the blender, mix it and freeze, that’s it. The hardest part is waiting for it to freeze so that you can enjoy it.

Of course, it was a huge success with the kids and D’Wayne, and D’Wayne’s Mom. Luke and Chloe were asking for some daily until it was gone, which was really only about 3 or 4 days tops. Chloe was even asking for it after breakfast for mid morning snack! which honestly with what’s in it would have been fine, but I delayed her to afternoon snack and felt a little better about that.


It’s also great if you’re in a pinch for a quick dessert you can whip this up and it’ll be ready in no time! Quick, easy and yummy, no one will complain about only having ice cream for dessert on Thanksgiving. Mind you, you could serve pumpkin pie with pumpkin ice cream on top….now we’re talking!!

However and whenever you decide to enjoy your pumpkin ice cream this fall, whether it be a part of your Thanksgiving dinner or simply a snack for another time, you’ll enjoy this quick and easy recipe, full of good nutritious foods and taste galore.


Pumpkin Ice Cream

4 bananas

1 c. pumpkin

1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

4 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Blend together. Freeze.

halloween-pumpkinWhat are your favorite pumpkin recipes? Cause you know…I am always on the lookout for more delicious ways to use pumpkin 🙂

A Nice Tall Glass of Lemonade (freshly squeezed and sugar free!)

homemade sugar free lemonade

One of the many things I love about summer are all the cool summer treats to enjoy, such as popsicles, ice cream and a nice tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. There’s nothing like sitting out on the patio in the summer heat enjoying an iced cold drink (and maybe the company of friends if they’re available).

It’s such a pleasure to just sit and enjoy after working or playing outside. Often times my neighbor Sheila and I would be out working in our yards, perhaps stop to chat for a bit and then agree to hook up later on one deck or the other to pause for a drink, rest and a chat. My mouth is just watering thinking about it! It’s nice, it gives me pause in my day, some social time and something to look forward to. And to me it definitely terms the “Lazy Days of Summer”.

I used to buy the Minute Maid frozen lemonade mix where you just add water; but now that we are sugar free, I am no longer do that. So the other day I got inspired. I had always heard of people making their own fresh lemonade and knew it was fairly easy to do. I also knew that it required a lot of white sugar, but I wondered, is there a recipe out there that I can sweeten my lemonade with something else? Stevia is the sweetener that came to mind so I hopped on Google to find out.

Sure enough many of the recipes I found required this sugar syrup, but once I narrowed my search actually using the word ‘stevia’ (ha ha) I found some recipes that fit what I wanted. I found this recipe on the Nourishing Gourmet by Kim Harris, and is the one that I recently tested out.

I set out to the store ready to buy fresh lemons, excited to make lemonade that afternoon. And would you believe that Superstore had no lemons that morning? Not a single one in sight, I guess maybe the rest of the world decided to make fresh lemonade as well and had decided to stock up 🙂 No worries we made a quick stop at Sobeys, where they were actually on sale (see there was a reason) and got what I needed.

I used my juicer to juice the lemons which though I find can be just as much work as juicing them by hand; because you have to peel them before putting them into the juicer whereas by hand I would not have to – I seem to get more juice using the juicer.

Chloe and Luke were waiting patiently for their lemonade, climbing up onto the counter to see what I was doing. Asking periodically if it was ready yet. Once I had the lemon juice I added the water and then the stevia. The original recipe calls for 1/2 -1 tsp. but I found the lemonade to be quite tart with only this amount, so I ended up putting in 5 times that amount, 2 1/2 tsp. to get it to the taste that we like. I had used the stevia powder but am going to try using the drops next time as I was having trouble with the powder dissolving and mixing in. Which may have been why it took so much. I never even thought of using the drops until I read it in the comments on another website. I’ll try it out and let you know.

Luke, Chloe and Matthew all tested and enjoyed the lemonade, confirming that it was sweet enough. Especially Matthew who had taste tested a less sweeter version when I was adding sweetener. And the twins kept asking for more and more. In fact, I think they would have drank a less sweet version without any problems. Regardless we enjoyed it, it was easy to make and is good for us!

So if you’re looking for a nice tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer day and you have a few lemons kicking around, try out this recipe. Not only will you get a nice vitamin C kick but you won’t have to worry about any sugar rushes for yourself or the kids! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to head out onto the patio…

Freshly Squeezed Homemade Sugar Free Lemonade

1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)

1/2 -1 tsp. stevia powder (or more to taste)*

6 c. water

Mix all ingredients together in pitcher. Add stevia to taste, start with less and add more as desired. Pour into a glass and enjoy! May serve chilled or over ice.

*may use 8-10 stevia drops in place of powder

Want to make your lemonade a little more exciting or add a different flavor? Try adding essential oils. Here are some suggestions and the benefits:

  • 2 drops of Lavender essential oil– floral flavour and calming
  • Slices of nectarines and 2 drops Spearmint or Peppermint essential oil – refreshing and energizing
  • A handful of blackberries and a couple of drops of Basil essential oil – sophisticated and soothes digestion improves focus.
  • Slices of cucumbers and two drops of Grapefruit essential oil – refreshing and curbs your sweet tooth.
  • One drop of Cinnamon Bark essential oil and a dash of vanilla powder or a vanilla bean – Energizing spicy mix that kick-starts digestion.

Other essential oils you could try in your lemonade: lime, ginger, orange, cilantro, cardamom, thyme…

*note: not all essential oil brands are created equally. Due to the lack of regulations on how to produce essential oils currently 95% of essential oil brands on the market  have synthetics and fillers in them and are not safe to ingest. Ensure that you are using a brand that is 100% pure and safe to ingest. doTERRA essential oils are a brand that is 100% pure and safe for internal consumption.