I'm so excited to share these fluffy and delicious healthy chocolate muffins with you. They're naturally sweetened with maple syrup, dairy free, nut free and egg free. I've subbed the cocoa with carob powder (a caffeine-free alternative to cocoa) and added in zucchini for extra nutrients and moisture.
I've made them into mini muffins (for my littles hands) but you can make them into regular size muffins or a l0af. Just adjust you cooking time to 20-30 minutes for regular muffins and 50-60 minutes for the loaf.
I hope you love them!
Recipe adapted from my Chocolate Banana Mini Muffins, with reference to
Cookie & Kate.
These hand pies are yummy to eat and super easy to make! They're also an amazing way to repurpose leftovers.
I made them using flour tortilla's (I used white but whole wheat works too) and I filled them with leftover rice and beans but they can be filled with anything Ie. leftover taco meat, roasted chicken & veggies, or make them sweet and fill them with apple pie or mixed berry filling.
What you need:
Small flour tortilla's (whole wheat or white)
1 Egg Beaten
Large Heart Cookie Cutter
Baking Sheet lined with parchment paper
Filling of choice (nothing too runny)
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. You can use an Air Fryer to cook these too. Set the temp to 350F and use your broil rack.
2. Slice a few flour tortillas into hearts using a cookie cutter
3. Spoon filling on one heart tortilla, leaving a 1.5cm border. Using a. pastry brush, brush the border with a whisked egg and top with a second heart tortilla. Pinch the edges with a fork to seal.
4. Place the hand pie on a baking sheet and brush with whisked egg. Bake in the oven at 35oF for 5-10 minutes or until golden.
I love making easy healthy treats for my littles around Valentine's Day especially these easy, healthy, 3 ingredient Frozen Yogurt Banana Bites.
WHAT YOU NEED
This no bake recipe is a big hit with my kids and they love getting involved with making them too, especially when it comes time to drizzle the chocolate!
Line a cookie with parchment paper
Slice bananas into rounds
Dip bananas slices into yogurt and place coated bites on a cookie sheet.
In a small microwave safe bowl melt chocolate chips
Drizzle chocolate over banana slices (or sprinkle with shredded coconut) and freeze until set.
Serve with fresh strawberries
*** Greek yogurt works too you will just have to dilute it with a bit of milk to make it runny enough to coat the bananas.
Here are 9 healthy and creative lunch ideas you can pack your kids for school. Each one is filled with fresh fruits and veggies that add a burst of colour in each box and make it fun and appealing for kids.
#1 Pasta Salad
Cold pasta salad is quick and easy to make and super easy to customize. I've made this one with bell peppers, corn, purple cabbage and feta and dressed it with olive oil. I've served salami, crackers and cheese on the side and my yummy Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cookie.
#2 Zuccini Loaf
If you want your kids to DEVOUR their school lunch then include this yummy zucchini loaf. I've served it with a side of grapes and bell peppers and some kid favourites - goldfish and a cheese string. TIP: If you pack the loaf in the same compartment as the crackers make sure to wrap the loaf in parchment so that it doesn't make the crackers soft. The recipe for this yummy zucchini loaf can be found in my free lunch plan here.
Every time I'm at the grocery store I look for healthy prepared foods that I can easily toss in a lunchbox, like these yummy samosas. I've served them with a variety of fresh fruits and veggies and cubed cheese. Tip: cut corn into small rounds to make it easy for kids to eat.
#4 French toast
For those of you who have been following me for a while you know how much I love packing french toast. It's easy, delicious and I always have bread and eggs on hand so I pack it a lot! Here I've served it with grapes, cheese crackers, bell peppers and cucumbers. Feel free to include a small container of maple syrup with the French toast or just add a little syrup into the egg mixture before cooking it.
Sandwich options are endless so talk with your kids and find out what toppings they like best. A few of my kids favourites are sunflower seed and jelly sandwiches, cream cheese and turkey and cheese. Here I've served it with fresh fruits and veggies. Tip: Slice carrots into star shapes using a mini cookie cutter and score cucumbers with a fork before slicing to make them fun.
I am SO happy that my kids finally like hummus! It's a healthy spread that's packed with fibre and protein and you can buy it at any grocery store in convenient lunch size containers and an assortment of flavours. YAY!! I like to serve it with pretzels and veggies sticks and here I've also added a few fresh strawberries and Surf Sweets Jelly Beans.
#7 The veggie Box
If you're kid is a veggisaurus like my Abi then this is the box for them! It's packed with loads of fresh colourful produce. I love mixing fruits and veggies together because it creates a rainbow of colour. You can skip the cheese and crackers or keep it in for some extra fibre and protein. TIP: Cut the top off of the orange to make it easy for kids to peel.
#8 Omelette rollups
If you're littles like eggs you'll have to try these yummy Spinach and Cheese Omelette Roll-Ups. They're easy peasy to make and customize. Click here for the recipe. I like to serve them with mini naan bread and as always, fresh fruits and veggies.
#9 BReakfast Croissant
My kids love croissants and their favourite way to eat them is with a fried egg. If you want to make them even more decadent and delicious try adding a slice of cheese and/or ham. Or simply serve a cheese kabob on the side like I've done above. Click here for my FAVOURITE chocolate chip cookie recipe.
I love pie and my FAVOURITE kind is banana cream. It’s rich, creamy and SO quick and easy to make which means I can make it anytime my family gets a serious craving for dessert!
My banana cream pie recipe is lower in sugar than most recipes and way more fun because I portion the pie into mini glass bowls (mini mason jars work too) and top each with touch of sprinkles for colour!
To make the sprinkle heart: cut a slice of banana into a heart using a mini cookie cutter, dip in sprinkles, skewer with toothpick and place on top of dessert.
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1/4 cup organic cane or coconut sugar
2 1/2 tbls all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tbls butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
CRUST (double recipe if making 1 large pie or buy a pre-made graham cracker pie crust)
1 cup crushed graham crackers
2 tbls butter, cold and cut into cubes
Whipping cream ( Which ever you prefer but I like the real whipping cream you have to whip yourself because it's made without preservatives and sugar)
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.
Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolk to temper the egg (so that it doesn’t scramble). Immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture and mix well with a whisk. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. When the mixture starts to thicken to a pudding consistency, remove it from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter has melted and mixture is smooth.
In a separate bowl mix graham cracker crumbs with cold butter using your hands until well mixed and crumbly. Divide mixture into 3 - 4 small glass jars and press down firmly to create a crust. Top with sliced bananas, cream filling and top with a dollop of whipping cream and sprinkles (optional).
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? I recently built a massive gingerbread dollhouse for the 9th Annual Gingerbread Showdown on the Marilyn Dennis show and it and was BY FAR the craziest thing I’ve ever done! Watch the show here.
I used over 40 lbs of flour & 10 lbs of brown sugar to make the gingerbread cookie frame and it took me just under 1 week to complete from start to finish. I didn't sleep much that week but it was worth it! Watch the behind the scenes highlights in my instagram stories on @little_lunch_love
Why me? Well, the Marilyn Dennis show was looking for local influencers who would be up for the task of building a jumbo show stopping gingerbread house and my beautiful friend Irene Matys, a food stylist on the show (she's also an amazing recipe developer and food photographer) gave them my name!
I was absolutely up for the challenge and had to come up with an epic gingerbread house design quickly to land the show. The first idea that came into my head was a gingerbread dollhouse!! I knew my kids would love it (and me) and I thought the idea was super original and fun. I guess the show loved the idea too because they gave me the spot! Woo Hoo!
So I looked to my family’s favourite holiday movie ‘Home Alone’ for house inspo and called up Deron, a family friend who’s an engineer to help me with the design. I needed serious help making sure the structure could support itself and not crumble before or on the way to the show!
After the template was done I rushed home to get started with my baking. However, I couldn’t use just any gingerbread recipe. It had to be one that would be edible but STRONG! It also had to be a recipe without any leavening agents because I didn't want my panels puffing up in the oven.
After a lot of research this was my recipe:
6 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup margarine
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
In a medium size sauce pot, add your corn syrup, margarine and brown sugar and heat over medium until your margarine is melted. Stir well and set aside.
In a large food processor, add your flour, cinnamon and ginger. Pulse until mixed. Then slowly (very slowly) pour in your margarine/sugar mixture. Pulse or mix on low until a ball forms. Or if the food processor gives up... dump the dough out and continue mixing by hand until a big ball of dough forms. If your dough needs a touch more liquid (because baking is like that sometimes) feel free to add a tablespoon of water, one at a time, until the dough is your desired consistency.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature then roll out on parchment paper into the desired size and thickness. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Check for any air bubbles in the dough at this point and if there are any prick them gently with a toothpick. Then continue to bake for another 5-10min (depending on the size of your cookie). You want the gingerbread to be baked through and slightly brown. If you under bake the cookie it could bend.
It took me about 2 days to bake all of the gingerbread for the gingerbread house. There were a total of 23 panels and they weighed a TON so I decided to build the house laying down to make it easy to glue together with icing. I used pre-made icing from Bulk Barn and tinted it with brown food colouring to match the gingerbread house.
While the icing was drying on the frame I got to decorating the walls with fondant (for wallpaper) and icing.
I started making the furniture using graham crackers as the base and wrapped them with fondant.
The Christmas trees were made from sugar cones decorated with icing and sprinkles.
Then I went to Bulk Barn to buy all the candy for the house. They had the most amazing selection of candy and icing. Some of my favourite purchases were:
Now I had only two full days left to decorate and that meant I had to prop up the house. I was SO nervous but my husband and I carefully propped it up and it didn’t crumble! HURRAY!!!
Then I called my mom and a few friends over to help me finish up the house. Even my kids got involved! I was overjoyed at the love and support from everyone. I was super appreciative too because I could never have done this alone.
The gingerbread house was finally finished and I was in love!
Now it was time to pack it in the car and take it to the Marilyn Dennis show. My husband and I carefully lifted it up and carried it out of the house into my sisters car. It made for quite the spectacle on the street. Thanks for this photoTara Noelle!
Everyone loved the gingerbread house on the show and I'm happy to say it took first place. I am so grateful to the Marilyn Dennis show for giving me this opportunity. I had the most incredible time and learned so much. Thank you.
Special thanks to my husband Andrew for all of his patience, love and support while I made a complete disaster of our kitchen EEK! To my mama for cheering me on every step of the way (then stepping in and helping me finish it up). To my kids Brookson and Abi, mama is so sorry you couldn't eat or play with the house for the week. To my sister Jamie Kalynuik from Toronto Yoga Mamas for driving me and being with me at the show. Oh, and thanks for parking your car in the middle of the street during rush hour so that I had an audience when loading the house into your trunk - which you forgot how to open, then accidentally had loaded with a stroller! haha
To Tara Noelle for capturing all of these beautiful photos. To Bulk Burn for all of the candy and icing for my house. And to my beautiful competitor Betty from @stemsandforks This was a huge undertaking for both of us and we both walked away winners!
If you've read this far.... thank you! Your support means the world to me too and I appreciate it with all my heart.
Merry Christmas Happy New Year!
One of my favourite recipes to make in the fall is Lentil Soup. It's hearty, delicious and always a hit with my littles!
When I make lentil soup, I always make a double batch so that we can enjoy it for dinner with crusty bread and have enough leftover to enjoy for lunch the next day. Just reheat the soup the next morning and pack it in your kids thermos. I love to serve a butter croissant and fresh fruit on the side.
Tip: Separate the lentils from the broth before storing in the refrigerator over night or else the lentils will absorb all the broth and become too mushy.
1 small onion, chopped
1 small white potato, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chapped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups dry green lentils
1 bay leaf
2 tbls white vinegar
2 tbls olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, potato and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic and bay leaf and cook until garlic is fragrant.
Stir in lentils, and add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Optional: If you and your littles love tomatoes you can add 1 small can of crushed tomatoes to this recipe.
I’m so excited to share my FAVOURITE new fall cookie recipe with you!
These soft, chewy and double chocolaty cookies with a hint of pumpkin flavour are quick & easy to make, naturally sweetened and totally kid (and mom) approved!
They pack perfectly in a lunchbox and freeze like a dream so make sure you bake a double batch!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 1 baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix maple syrup, pumpkin puree and vanilla until well combined.
Add in the cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt and mix again until well combined.
Add in the rolled oats 1/2 cup at a time mixing batter each time to make sure oats are completely covered with chocolatey goodness!
Lastly stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons) scoop the cookie dough portions onto prepared baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Gently flatten and shape cookies with your hands.
Bake 10-11 minutes and enjoy!
Note: You can sub the pure pumpkin with sweet potato, banana or any nut/seed butter.
Wondering what lunches to pack your kids their first week back to school? Read this article for 4 easy and exciting lunch ideas.
ACAI –BEET-BERRY SMOOTHIE BOWL WITH HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK + NUT BUTTER, GRANOLA CRUMBLE, TOASTED COCONUT + FRUIT
2 ½ Tbsp acai powder (I like this one by Organic Traditions)
3 cups frozen blueberries
3 frozen bananas
4 tbsp almond butter (recipe below)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 small beet, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 cups almond milk (recipe below) or coconut milk