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healthy eating can still be awesome

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Fruit pizza

fruitpizza3Happy Easter, everyone!

OK, I’m a few days late, but you can’t expect me to make an Easter dessert, photograph it, haul everything over to the family gathering, AND blog about it, can you? (No, you can’t…just to be clear…)

This year, I was asked to bring a fruit plate to the Easter festivities. However, I’m an artist (graphic/web designer, to be exact), so I can’t possibly be normal! This is when the idea of the fruit pizza was born.

I wanted to do something that was gluten-free (currently a little nervous about my thyroid), egg-free (‘cuz I’m fascinated with flax these days), and sugar-free (since small children would be eating it). My three-year-old niece was pretty excited about this one. She followed me EVERYWHERE as I was trying to find a place to cut and serve it. So there you go…kid-friendly? You betcha! Yes, they had jelly-beans throughout the day. However, their “crunchy” auntie was not about to be the one to load them up on more sugar! They didn’t even get sugary treats from me in their Easter baskets. That’s just the way I am.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 c. oat flour (make your own in a food processor!!!)
1 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/8 c. honey
3/8 c. Sucanat
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground flax in 4 1/2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine flax and water, and set aside in refrigerator for 20 minutes, until flax has an egg-like consistency. (I find this completely fascinating!)

Meanwhile, combine oat flour, guar gum, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter, honey, and Sucanat. Add flax mixture and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.

Grease a medium-sized jelly-roll pan and spread dough evenly. Bake at 350º for 18 minutes. Allow to cool.

Mine was a big nerd and pulled away from the sides of the pan while it was cooling. It still turned out just fine!


I actually made my crust the night before, just to save on time! Next up, you need to make the creamy goodness:

Cashew cream:
2 c. cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours and then drained
1/2 c. almond milk
1/4 c. virgin coconut oil
2 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in your Vitamix and blend until creamy. You may need to add a little more almond milk to the mixture, if the consistency isn’t what you want. Refrigerate for 2 hours. (You could also do this the night before to save on time! I actually recommend it…)

When you’ve got all of that finished, spread on the cashew cream!


And now – creativity at its finest…


I used strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, mandarin oranges (not the stuff in the can, either), and bananas. Here’s a tip for you: after slicing your fruit, arrange it on a paper towel and let the towel soak up some of the juices. The fruit juices will do tragic things to the appearance of your pizza, otherwise!

For your bananas – do those LAST!!! They turn brown really quickly. You’ll also want to drop them in a little lemon or pineapple juice before placing them on the pizza. This helps to keep them from turning brown…but be forewarned – they’re slippery little things! Be ready for a few escapees…

If you have a particular design in mind, you can be a big nerd like me and sketch it out ahead of time. Seriously, this helps. I also used toothpicks to place the corners of my cross, just so I’d know it would be square. And then – create! Have fun! Who needs frosting when you’ve got all this fruit to play with?

My fruit pizza was an Easter dessert, so I went with an Easter-appropriate design. Really, you could do ANYTHING. Have some fun with it! Don’t be afraid to cut your fruit to make it fit the way you want it. My mind is already creating a billion designs, as we speak.


Next design: ceiling of the Sistine Chapel…(not really).


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Blueberry Banana Pecan Oat Muffins

muffins3When one has leftover blueberries in their fridge, what’s the best way to utilize them? Well, there are probably quite a few good ideas out there, but this time around they turned into a batch of blueberry muffins!

These are some of my favorites. In fact, my family raves about them. I’m not sure I was allowed over for family gatherings for a while if I didn’t bring any with me.

Normally, I’d make these with spelt flour, but this time around I decided to be creative and make a gluten-free version.

Now before I give you the ingredient list, I need to ask, “Does everyone know how to make oat flour?” If you thought that going to the store and buying it was your only option, you’ve been misled…and you’re paying way too much.

Here’s what you do: Put a cup or so of rolled oats into your food processor. Pulse about 10-15 times, and voila! – OAT FLOUR!!! Repeat this process until you have the amount of flour you need. If you want a more finely ground flour, pulse it some more. I decided to leave mine a bit more coarse, and I really liked the outcome. Think about what a container of rolled oats costs. Now think about what a bag of oat flour costs. I think you all see my point.

Do you see those rolled oats in the second container of my header image? Yup…those became oat flour, and now reside in these muffins!

Now that you all know how to make oat flour without spending an arm and a leg, here’s what you’ll need:

3 ripe bananas
1 egg, beaten (you could also use 1 Tbsp. ground flax, beaten in 1 Tbsp. water)
1/2 c. honey
1 1/2 c. oat flour
1 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum (don’t add this if you decide to use spelt flour rather than oat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. olive oil (you could also use 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Mash banans in a large bowl. Add egg (or flax) and honey and stir until combined completely.

In a separate bowl, combine oat flour, guar gum (or xanthan gum), baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to banana mixture, alternating with olive oil (or applesauce) and mix well. Add pecans and blueberries. I generally use pecans in my baking, because my mom is allergic to walnuts. If you’re more of a walnut fan, those would work just as well!


Don’t you just want to stop there and eat the batter when it looks like that? If you made it without eggs, go for it. However, you’ll be missing out on the muffin goodness that awaits you!

Grease a muffin pan and bake at 375º for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Yes, you can use those paper muffin cups, but I hate those things!!! They end up stealing too much of my muffin in the peeling off process.


You can kind of see that I left my oat flour a little more on the “chunky” side if you look at the above photo real closely. I’m glad I did. They turned out awesome!

If you have leftover batter, you could either fill your muffin cups a bit more (which is what I should have done), or use your grandma’s mini muffin pan to make those cute itty-bitty ones (which is what I actually did).

When they’re done, let them cool in the muffin pan for about 10 minutes before removing them. (I just use a butter knife to pry them out, and then place them on a cooling rack.) Cool them completely before storing.


Warning: If you bring these to any family gathering, you may be obligated to bring them to ALL family gatherings in the future. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You could also empower your family members to make their own batch by sending them the link to this post!

(Give them a blueberry muffin, and they eat for a minute. Teach them to make blueberry muffins, and…oh, now you get it!)