How-To: Make (the best!) Mayonnaise at Home (Paleo, Whole30)

Homemade Mayonnaise Quick and Easy

Ready for a healthier version of something you likely already have in your fridge?  A creamy, cool condiment gets the makeover treatment.  I’ve culled the web and done a lot of experimenting on your behalf to bring you The Best Homemade Mayonnaise (Ever).  I didn’t just make this up on my own, but I will share the unique combination of ingredients and technique I used for the richest, creamiest, most-delicious mayonnaise you have ever tasted, without any of the less-than-desirable ingredients and additives you might find in store-bought stuff.   Keep reading

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How-To: Make (Raw) Cashew Butter at Home

Homemade Cashew ButterIt’s time to fire up your food processor!  I’ll take you through the process of making your very own raw cashew butter at home.  I learned so much from The Healthy Foodie in her post All Natural Homemade Raw Cashew Nut Butter, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Keep reading

How-To: Make Macadamia Butter at Home

Homemade Macadamia Nut Butter SpoonfulIf my How-To: Make Hazelnut Butter at Home inspired you, then hopefully this How-To will elevate you.  I’ve taken what I’ve learned from making nut butters, including different flavour combinations, and come up with this gorgeous roasted macadamia nut butter with vanilla and sea salt.  (And if the last How-To didn’t inspire you to fire up your food processor – or high-speed blender – then maybe this one will.)

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How-To: Make Hazelnut Butter at Home

Homemade Hazelnut Butter

As you know from my previous How-To entries, I’m not exactly re-inventing the wheel over here.  What I do hope to do, though, is provide you with the education and vicarious experience to give you the confidence that if I can do it (little ol’ me!), then so can you!  Everything you could possibly need to know (and more) on making your own nut butters at home has already been published on the web.  So, I’m just throwing my post into the fray and I highly encourage you to check out Tasty Yummies’ How to Make Homemade Nut Butters for even more insight into various other nuts and flavour options, as well as thoughts on soaked nuts vs. unsoaked nuts, raw vs. roasted and all things nut butter-related!

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How-To: Make Unsweetened Applesauce at Home

Ripe Apple“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  “You’re the apple of my eye.”  Oh, apples!  So good on their own, so good in desserts (Salted Caramel Apple Bake, anyone?), so good at breakfast (Cinnamon Apple Pie Overnight Oatmeal), so good in soup (Simple Apple Cinnamon Roasted Squash Soup)…the options are endless.  And after all of that shameless self-promotion, what about applesauce?  Well, as you know, I’ve been loving my Vitamix high-speed blender and one of their first recipes I checked out was for Cooked Applesauce.  It’s seriously JUST APPLES.  And any regular jug blender or food processor should do the trick – I’ll show you how in this “How-To” and you can enjoy healthy, homemade applesauce, free of added sugar or preservatives, any time, either as a snack or as an ingredient in a recipe.  No need to go to the store!

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Double Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Double Peanut Butter Protein PancakesIf you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should – I post mouthwatering food photos, including recipe links, pretty much all day every day!), you’ll know that I am ALL ABOUT my Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes.  I eat them at least a few times a week and I never get over how incredibly good they are and how you’d never guess that they’re a “protein” pancake.  I won’t even share them with my own flesh and blood (I keep telling The Golden Graham Boy “you wouldn’t like them – they’re not for kids,” as he doesn’t need that much concentrated protein in one serving, nor the touch of Sucralose that comes in my protein powder.  Moreover, they’re for Mommy and I’m not sharing!).

I didn’t think protein pancakes could get any better – but they did.  I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me they could – but they did.  It wasn’t until I ran out of my regular vanilla protein powder and decided to use peanut butter flavour protein powder instead that the magic happened – and boy, it did!  Still incredibly low in fat, carbohydrates and calories, these Double Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes have 43g of protein per serving and are free of grains, gluten and refined sugar.  You’ll never look at breakfast (or pancake supper) the same way again.

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How-To: Plan and Prepare Healthy Meals

Image source: http://averyleighdesigns.com

Image source: http://averyleighdesigns.com“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  This axiom is attributed variously to the late war-time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and to self-help guru Alan Lakein.  Regardless of who said it, it rings true in many realms, not the least of which is health and wellness.  “Fitness starts in the kitchen,” is another popular adage.  I believe both of these statements to be patently true, especially when you are first starting out with healthy eating and active living.

Changing habits is hard work, and until better-for-you choices become reflexive and automatic (this comes with experience and practice), it can be nice to set yourself up for success in as many ways as possible.  Planning and preparing for healthy meals (and snacks) can help to take the guesswork out of your day and help you to make good decisions when hunger pangs strike you at 2:43pm on your way past the vending machine (or even 2:43am when the middle-of-the-night-munchies strike).  Being able to get healthy, family-friendly meals on the table in less time than it takes for the pizza delivery to arrive also means that you will be less likely to pick up the phone for takeout in the first place!

This post is dedicated to bringing you guidelines, tips, tricks and suggestions for healthy meal planning and preparation.  This will support your wellness goals and hopefully save your sanity during the weekday dinner rush!

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Weeknight Winner Wednesdays: Reader Input Needed!

Alright, faithful readers (I know you’re out there!). A short blog post, for once (hooray, you may be thinking). I had a brainwave today, and I wanted your input. My idea is to adopt a “day-of-the-week” post. You know, there’s Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays and Wellness Wednesdays and Freaky Fridays and all that? I was thinking about “Weeknight Winner Wednesdays.” I will try to post a quick and easy recipe for a family-friendly (and nutritious and delicious) weeknight meal every Wednesday. Or maybe every other Wednesday. But definitely on Wednesday! What do you think? Would you like to see more easy, healthy meal ideas and recipes from me? Love it? Hate it? Let me know! You can e-mail me any time, or share your thoughts in the comments or in social media. I want to hear from YOU!

Thanks!

-Lauren (a.k.a. The Golden Graham Girl)

Maple Cinnamon Ricotta-Stuffed Dates with Walnuts & Pear (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Maple Cinnamon Ricotta Stuffed Dates with Walnuts and PearA host of flavours and textures come together in this elegant yet easy recipe.  Soft, caramel Medjool dates are balanced with a fine-textured Ricotta cheese filling.  The flavour of the cheese is slightly sweetened with the addition of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon adds subtle warmth on the palate.  Each creamy bite is complemented with the crunch of chopped walnuts and crisp fresh pear.  You can just as easily serve this to a roomful of guests or prepare it as a delicious (and still nutritious) snack for yourself.
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Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Refined sugar-free)

Maple Cinnamon Cream CheeseMaple Cinnamon Cream Cheese.  It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m Canadian and yet I’d never even thought of this before.  But it wasn’t until I decided to make my (High-Protein) Cinnamon Roll Overnight Oatmeal that I thought about combining maple syrup, cream cheese and cinnamon into one smooth, creamy spread.  Sure, I love plain cream cheese on my bagels.  And I slather my pancakes and waffles with pure maple syrup, straight from my home province of Nova Scotia (until my current stash runs out).  But why limit yourself when you can spread either or both with this awesome Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese?  It’s also great as a dip for fresh fruit (apples and bananas are my top contenders – let me know what else YOU try in the comments) or on crackers or breadsticks.  Or heck, just eat it straight out of the bowl (I’m in no position to judge, trust me).

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