Zucchini Berry Breakfast Muffins

I have been baking oatmeal into lots of baked goods lately, in an attempt to create a variety of reasonably healthy and filling breakfast options. Having food ready to go in the morning has been really helpful in getting my days off to a good start the last few weeks, and this recipe is no exception.

These muffins are delightful because they combine hearty oats with fresh seasonal raspberries and blueberries. There’s nothing better than baking with fresh fruit, and I certainly miss berries in the Fall and Winter when they’re not as juicy (or affordable). Plus, the zucchini in these muffins keeps them moist and lighter than the average oatmeal muffin, so these won’t leave you feeling weighed down. Perfect for a summer morning!

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Peppered Strawberry Quinoa Muffins

My mother has a wonderful recipe to dress up fresh strawberries that never fails to wow friends and family: strawberries, sugar, and black pepper.

It is seriously — and surprisingly — amazing. The sugar breaks down the fruit and creates a syrupy juice and the black pepper’s spice brings out the flavours of the fruit. These strawberries can be eaten on their own or atop some yoghurt, ice cream, and all sorts of cakes.

So I thought: why not put them in muffins?

Read on if you want to see more of this… I promise it is worth it!

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Banana Hazelnut Bread

I have neglected my poor blog lately! I decided to take a bit of an extended break while I finished up my undergrad degree… and I am officially done! Come June 12, I will have a Bachelor’s diploma in my hand and a huge smile on my face. Right now, though, all I have to worry about is an entire summer stretching out ahead of me… bliss!

I can’t say that I cooked a lot while I was studying for my exam and writing my final paper, but I did manage to whip up a few snacks and meals here and there. I am really looking forward to cooking for myself more now that I’ve finished my coursework. I have big plans for May, including some Spring cleaning in my apartment (it looks like a tornado landed in here…) and in my tummy. I’m aiming for fresher food with lots of produce, vegetable-based proteins, and as little refined sugar as possible.

But enough about that and on to the recipe!

This particular loaf got me through a week of breakfasts, and was inspired by my mom’s recipe for hazelnut cake (which I’ve blogged about before). That cake is so nutty and sweet, I can’t get enough of it! Or maybe I can — after all, it is cake, and often I’d prefer a healthier alternative — that’s where this bread comes in. The nuts improve the bread’s nutritional profile as they are a source of protein, so this is probably one of the best candidates when it comes to having a baked goodie for breakfast.

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Buttery Lavender Cookies

My sister and I went to visit our aunt and uncle in Ottawa a few weeks ago, so I went on a little adventure to bring them a nice hostess gift. My father’s side of the family enjoys good food, so I was looking to bring them a few tasty treats. One of the things I ended up giving them was a small package of lavender shortbread cookies. We had them with tea during our stay and they were fantastic — buttery, sweet, and floral.

Of course, when I find a recipe that I like, you can bet that I’m going to try to recreate it in my own kitchen. I approached these cookies in similar fashion to the way I make my tea-infused shortbread cookies (see recipes here and here). That is, I “steeped” the lavender in the melted butter before incorporating the rest of the dough ingredients. I wanted to make sure the lavender flavour would come out through the cookie base, which is akin to a sugar cookie.

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Breakfast Blueberry Oat Loaf

Ever since I’ve started eating breakfast regularly, I wake up every morning and I am ravenous! I’ve graduated from just having a smoothie and I’m now supplementing my morning shake with other foods. In fact, I find that if I front-load my day with good, filling food, I have more energy throughout the day and I tend to eat less junk food. I assume this is because my blood sugar levels are more balanced, but I don’t know for sure.

Because I’m a total breakfast convert now, I’m trying to find some tasty and healthy breakfast options to start adding variety to my morning munching.

My basic criteria for breakfast are:
– lots of protein
– lots of fibre
– as much fruit as possible
– really quick to make
– and of course, it has to taste good

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Tea Infused Shortbread, Take 2

I blogged about tea infused shortbread a while ago, but I decided to try it with Pumpkin Chai this time around because I wanted a stronger tea flavour to come through. My sister and I put these together and added a hint of Saigon Chai for a spicier cookie, without compromising the Pumpkin Chai’s yummy sweet flavour.

I love these. That’s all there really is to say.

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Olive Oil Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

I have already ranted about how lemony I like my lemon baked goods — very lemony. Today, I’m sharing with you another super-zesty recipe. This time, it’s for light, breakfasty lemon scones. I’ve lightened up this traditionally buttery treat by using olive oil as the fat to make it a tad healthier (OK — to be honest, it’s really because I didn’t have anything else in the house when my baking mood struck…). The olive oil flavour does come out in the scones, so feel free to substitute another oil of your choosing, or stick to butter (but double the quantity in the recipe if you do). The substitution makes the scones dairy-free, so share it with your friends who can’t handle lactose!

Crunchy, flakey, lemony goodness!

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Coffee and Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Who doesn’t love coffee and dark chocolate?!

This recipe is adapted from the sensational espresso and dark chocolate shortbread cookies recipe from smitten kitchen. I know lots of food bloggers have tried this recipe and I don’t blame anyone for raving about it because it is simply outstanding! The rolling method is also ingenious.

The only noticeable difference between my version and smitten kitchen’s is that I did not have powdered espresso, so we used instant coffee instead. The results were still fabulous.

My friend Mackenzie and I put these together over the Christmas holidays and he snapped a picture of the shortbread before we popped them into the oven... I was unfortunately included.

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