The Sky is the Limit with Oatmeal

There is something so satisfying about oatmeal. The first is that it is so filling since it's full of protein and fibre. But the second is that the sky is the limit with the endless flavour combinations and toppings. Oatmeal is a great way to start your day, and you should have fun with it. I have two sets of topping combinations that are my favourite. Plus, they cover areas like fruity goodness, crunch, saltiness, and sweetness. The first is a regular bowl of oatmeal that is made creamy with almond milk, and it is topped with sliced strawberries, a teaspoon of peanut butter, a teaspoon of shredded coconut, and 2 tablespoons of hemp hearts.

IMG_0758

The second bowl of oatmeal is also creamy, and has a tad of maple syrup mixed within it for a little bit more sweetness. It is topped with a sliced banana, 2 teaspoons of granola, 2 teaspoons of goji berries, and 2 tablespoons of hemp hearts. IMG_0804

Both bowls make excellent breakfasts, lunches or even dinners. I crave oatmeal all the time and these two combinations really hit the spot. How do you like your oatmeal? What toppings do you like?

Follow me on instagram and twitter.

An Ode to Green Smoothies

A smoothie a day will keep the doctor away! Well that's what I'd like to think. Smoothies are a great way to start a day or finish a workout with energy, goodness, and yumminess. Here are two green smoothie recipes that are sure to boost your energy and fill you up with whole food goodness! The first smoothie is a filling smoothie that boosts protein, and lots of fruits and veggies. This is great for a big breakfast or after a workout. For this smoothie you will need:

2 cups of kale

1/2 cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 a cucumber

1 banana

3/4 cup of almond milk (or any other plant based milk)

2 tablespoons of hemp hearts

1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup or agave nectar

Optional: protein powder (I used Vega Vanilla protein powder)

IMG_8530

The second smoothie is similar but much more fruity. Its also a smoother consistency because of the spinach. For this smoothie, you will need:

1 banana

2 cups of spinach

1 cup of frozen mango chunks

3/4 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries

3/4 cup of almond milk (or any other plant based milk)

Optional: protein powder (I used Vega Vanilla protein powder)

IMG_0820

A smoothie should be refreshing and nutritious. Load up your blender with fruits and veggies and you can't go wrong. Try these easy recipes and let me know what you think in the comments! Follow me on instagram and twitter.

Brain Food: Healthy Gluten Free Banana Bread

Along comes the Winter semester and crunch time for university students everywhere. Brain food is very important to sustain yourself in the times of exams and essays. When I think of brain food, I automatically think of bananas! Bananas are high in fibre, potassium, and many other things. This banana bread is gluten free, low in sugar, and has lots of add-ins that creates a super banana bread! banana bread

You will need:

2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup of butter, melted (I used vegan butter)

1/3 cup of sugar (I used coconut sugar)

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup of flax seeds

1/3 cup of oats

2 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum

1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour

*You can make this with regular all purpose flour and without the xanthan gum if gluten free isn't necessary.

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mash your bananas, and add in your melted butter. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt, and mix thoroughly. Add in the flax seeds, oats, chia seeds, coconut, and mix together. Lastly add in the xanthan gum and gf flour. Mix thoroughly and pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the centre is no longer wet. banana bread2banana bread 1banana bread 3

This banana bread is super easy to make, takes no time at all, and is a healthy sweet treat! It's great for snacking on, or you can use it    as a breakfast or lunch with peanut butter or cream cheese on top. You can substitute any of "healthy" extras for chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit. I personally make this banana bread all the time, and especially when it is crunch time and I need a little healthy yet comforting boost in the snack department.

Follow me on instagram @melodyannep and bloglovin!

Sunday Brunch: Gluten Free Ginger Pear Almond Waffles

That's a long title. But with long titles, comes deliciousness. (That's not really true, but in this case it is) For christmas, I received a waffle maker! It has become the perfect addition to my little condo, and I've been really enjoying the delicious waffles it makes. Last Sunday I made easy gluten free waffles, and decided to jazz them up. The pear mixture I made to top the waffles is like a simplified version of a compote. It's easy, delicious, and really makes a Sunday (or any day for that matter) special. pears waffle

For the waffles you will need:

1 cup of gluten free flour

1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum

1 egg

1 cup of milk (dairy or non-dairy will do)

Butter or oil for cooking

For the pear mixture you will need:

1 pear, sliced

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of sugar (I used coconut sugar, but any kind will do)

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

A handful of almonds

To start, heat up your waffle maker and mix together the ingredients for the waffle batter. In a pan on medium heat, add the butter. Once the pan is hot, and the butter has melted add in the pears, sugar, and spices. Allow the pears to be coated in the butter mixture, and soften. This will take about 4-5 minutes, which is about the same time as the waffle will take. Add in the almonds and spoon your compote on top of your waffle. Add a little maple syrup if you're a fan, and enjoy. pearspears waffle1

You can make this with apples, walnuts, anything you have on hand. Add some cinnamon or icing sugar at the end, whip cream or even ice cream. Enjoy it with a cuppa or coffee!

Follow me on instagram @melodyannep and bloglovin!

University Crunch Time: Energy Balls of Brain Food

Its that time of year that happens before the most wonderful time of year - crunch time. I have so many essays to do and exams to study for, and quite frankly I need some brain food. Today I made these little energy balls of brain food within 5 minutes. They're delicious, nutritious, and make for a great snack, pick-me-up, or quick breakfast. IMG_3467 You will need:

1/2 cup of dried, pitted dates

1/2 cup of dried cherries (any type of dried fruit can work)

1/2 cup of pistachios (any type of nut)

1/4 cup of oats

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of nut butter (I used peanut butter)

IMG_3436IMG_3462IMG_3464

To start, prep all of your ingredients except the nut butter and place them inside your food processor. Whiz it up until everything becomes small bits. Add in the nut butter, and again, whiz it up! The mixture should become one big ball and when that happens, its done! Make smaller balls out of the mixture into whatever size you like. Put them into a container and pop them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let them chill and come together. You can enjoy them for up to two weeks. IMG_3492

These little balls of nutrition are vegan, gluten free, and so healthy for you. They're all natural and make a great snack between all of the craziness of university crunch time. Try them out and let me know how you like them!

Ps. those lights in the background are from my cute little christmas tree. There will be holiday posts coming soon!

Follow me on instagram @melodyannep and bloglovin!

Vegan French Toast

Today was a stay-at-home-get-away-from-the-cold-and-work-on-1000000-essays-you-have-to-do kinda day. It's exhausting working on so many papers and trying to keep warm. Today in my humble town above Toronto it feels like -18 degrees. With that said, I wanted something warm at lunch and a little bit different than I usually would have, and something very quick! I went with French Toast, of the vegan kind. IMG_3323

This recipe is super easy, warm, and cozy. Slather it up with some maple syrup, fruit, and some whip cream (I opted for coconut whip cream). It'll take you no time at all, and makes you feel so comforting.

You will need:

Bread. I used a whole grain bread, but anything hearty should be fine.

1 cup of almond milk

1 tablespoon of chia seeds (ground or left whole)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

To start, get your pan heating up, and place all of the ingredients (aside from the bread) into a bowl. Mix until its all combined. Let it sit for a few minutes so the chia seeds can thicken up (and mimic eggs.) Dunk each slice of bread into the milk mixture and let it sit for 20-30 seconds per side. Place it into your pan, and let each side become crispy and golden brown. Top your french toast with whatever you have on hand or would like to indulge with.

Follow me on instagram @melodyannep and bloglovin!

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana and chocolate chip is one of my favourite flavour combinations when baking. Last week I was craving some yummy and healthy muffins so I decided to make these quick muffins. I also had some bananas going a little mushy so this was the perfect way to use them up! IMG_3155

You will need:

1 3/4 cups of gluten free flour

3/4 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 cup of almond milk

1/2 cup of oil (I used canola)

2-3 ripe bananas

1 cup of vegan chocolate chips

To start, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and get your muffin pan ready with either baking cups or a non-stick spray. Sift the flour with the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt. Mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk and oil together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine. Mash your bananas, and add them with the chocolate chips into the mixture. Fold them in gently to ensure the chocolate chips don't get mashed too! Scoop the batter into the muffin pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes. They should be golden and a toothpick should come out clean if inserted. Let them cool, and enjoy!

IMG_3119IMG_3123IMG_3137

These muffins are so moist, and delicious. Again, everything you should already have on hand which makes them budget conscious. You can easily make this recipe without the vegan or gluten free ingredients; you can sub them out at a 1:1 ratio and they'll turn out just fine. I popped my muffins in the freezer so I can have them on hand anytime. Also so I wouldn't eat them all in one day! To freeze, wrap up each muffin with plastic wrap and pop them into a freezer bag!

Give these muffins a try and they'll definitely be a go to for you!

IMG_3147

Follow me on instagram @melodyannep and bloglovin!

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Do I have a pumpkin problem? Maybe. But at least its really good for you! Pumpkin is full of good things like Vitamin A, Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin C, and the list goes on and on. I'm also a firm believer in having breakfast every morning so I bridged my favourite, oatmeal, with my other favourite, pumpkin, and created Pumpkin Oatmeal! After making the pumpkin muffins (which are seen in my last post), I had about 2 cups of pumpkin puree leftover. I made oatmeal the same way I do every morning (either instant or with a pot and boiling water), and I simply added in about 4 tablespoons of the puree. It left it so creamy, and ultra filling. I topped it with pepitas, flax seeds, hemp hearts, and chia seeds for added nutritional benefits.

If you like pumpkin, why not start your day with it!

IMG_2368.JPG

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Oat Muffins

IMG_2770

Tis the season of pumpkins, and I love pumpkins! They're extremely good for you, tasty, and they encompass autumn so nicely. These muffins couldn't be easier or quicker to make (or cheaper). If you like pumpkin, then you'll love these! You will need:

1 cup of pumpkin puree

2 1/4 cup of almond milk

1/3 cup of vegan butter

2 tbsp of vanilla extract

1 cup of gluten free flour

1 cup of oats

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1 tbsp baking powder

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp of salt

1 cup of coconut sugar

and a pinch of cinnamon

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Mix the wet ingredients together thoroughly. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add a cup at a time of the dry ingredients into the wet until everything is well mixed. Scoop your batter into your muffin tin and bake! You can top them with some oats and coconut sugar for added crunch. Let them bake for about 20 minutes.

IMG_2760

IMG_2765

IMG_2770

You can easily sub out the oats for chocolate chips, pepitas, dried fruit, pretty much anything you can on hand. They're great in the morning, or evening, or anytime of day (I really like them). And to put them into perspective, family members who shutter at the thought and taste of gluten free baked goods, loved these! Enjoy these little pumpkin goodies!

Brunch Love

Going for brunch, I think, is money well spent. You get a beautiful and hardy meal that will keep you going for the majority of the day. And usually, brunch is extremely well priced. My favourite place for brunch is Symposium. Symposium is a chain of restaurants all across the GTA that provide you with wonderful food, a warm environment all at a great cost. I don't have any complaints about the place, and have been going there since I was a wee little girl. The last time I went I had waffles with strawberries, a bowl of fruit on the side, and a magnificent latte. I can't express how yummy or how filling this was, because I'll just start drooling. Mmmmm. My dad, who I usually go with to Symposium, had the french toast with bacon, a bowl of fruit, and a latte as well. With tip, tax, and everything in between, our total was $25! Yup, that was a good deal especially since we were held over until dinner.

Symposium also has great daily specials, my favourite being 2 for 1 HUMUNGOUS cake slice Sunday! You need to check the place out if you haven't already.

When you go out, spend your money wisely, because the worst thing you can do is spend your rent money on your times going out. Talk to you soon!

IMG_2270.JPG

Breakfast for Dinner

I love food. I love meals that involve carbs, potatoes (more carbs), and my new found love of bacon. Breakfast happens to involve all of those things with a nice mixture of fruit as well. It also happens to be a meal that doesn't cost much and can feed an army of people. Breakfast can be served three times a day, and today I had a proper breakfast for dinner. Breakfast for dinner should include all of your favourite things to eat for breakfast! Make pancakes, toast, eggs, bacon, sausages, hash, french toast... The list literally goes on and on. Throw in some coffee, tea, fruit, veggies, and a sweet dessert like cinnamon buns, and you're done! Everything you would make is inexpensive, and you might already have on hand. (Yet another good way to clear the fridge!)

So when in doubt of what to make for dinner for a group or just yourself, think of breakfast! You'll be happy you did!

Image

Image

Image