Sugar Free, Butter Free Peanut Butter Muffins. Am I Paleo yet?

Sugar Free, Butter Free Peanut Butter Muffins


Sugar Free, Butter Free Muffins - Tartine & Maple

Hello all! Before we get started, let me tell you a bit about my recent search and interest; the Paleo diet. Wasat? Well, it’s definitely a bit confusing… Paleo comes from the work: Paleolithic, AKA; cavemen time, like million years ago. OK, so what’s the diet? Self hunted raw meat? HAHA, yeah, well no, that’s where it gets complicated… I put a few pieces of web definition together to resume it as best as possible, so here it goes:

Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumesdairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils

Toxic foods include:

  • Grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, brown rice, …)
  • Legumes (soy beans, peanuts, chickpeas, kidney beans, …)
  • Vegetable seed oils (soybean oil, peanut oil, corn oil, canola oil, …)
  • Added sugar (sodas, candies, cakes, fruit juices, …). Some sugar from natural sources like fruits is perfectly fine.
  • Sources of dairy high in protein (casein) and sugar (lactose) and low in healthy butter-fat.

A focus should be placed on eating a variety of foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. These include:

  • Organ meats (liver, kidney, bone marrow, heart, brain, …)
  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, swiss chard, arugula, …)
  • Meat from grass-fed ruminants (beef, bison, lamb, …)
  • Mollusks and other seafood (oysters, mussels, wild salmon, sardines, …)
  • Egg yolks;
  • Bone broth;
  • Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, …);

Got it? Confusing a bit, no? 1st of all, why avoiding grains and legumes? Not sure… Why the meat as to be “grass feed ruminants”? Because it’s a caveman diet? OK, well did cavemen really cooked fermented food or delicious cake with coconut milk and baking soda??? That’s where I got lost…

Anyhow, the reason why I got interested in this diet, is that 1st of all, when you start to search for healthy recipes, like no sugar cake, or healthy snacks recipe, it seems like the Paleo tag is on everything healthy out there! I mean, where have I been lately? Where those Paleo modern cavemen cooks hided before? It seems like like it’s been the crave for a while, and I totally missed the boat!

Wait a second, I am not becoming Paleo, nonono, huhum, like mentioned before, no will power, therefore, no such restrictions for me! I love grains, legumes, dairy, non-grass-feed-ruminants meat! But I have to admit, I am following at least 5 Paleo bloggers now!

What really interest me is their approach of cooking with alternatives, like no refined sugar, and instead, for example using pureed dates, that’s a great idea! dates are so sweet and nutritious! Or replace butter with coconut oil. I am not sure how coconut oil is so good for you, seeing all the (good) cholesterol that it contains, but I love it! Been using it everywhere lately! Or alternative flours like nut flours; coconut, almond, mashed nuts… oh, and by the way, in Paleo world, peanut is not a nut, just so you know…. HUH? Oh well, it ends in “nut” still a nut to me!

Aren’t you learning a lot today??? Well I did over the past week, and decided to apply some out of this age cooking tips to my healthier baking!

SUCCESS! It was really, really good for a healthy muffin! Oh, I forgot the disclaimer: “healthy doesn’t always mean low calories”, there, that’s done. After all, there is peanut butter, coco oil, dates, whole flour; it is a hearty muffin, but the ingredients, are good for you little inside! I passed the kids AND the coworkers (who have access to fresh amazing pastries from our 4 stars kitchen) test! HOORAY!

Someone is going for more!!! WIN!

Someone is going for more!!! WIN!

But it is NOT a Paleo recipe, just Paleo inspired. I got the base recipe from here, and changed it to the follow (you can go with the alternative options to fit what’s in your pantry, healthiness not guaranteed ;)):

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Honey Peanut Veggies Stir Fry – It’s peanut butter day!!!

Honey Peanut Veggies Stir Fry

Honey Peanut Veggies Stir Fry - Tartine & Maple

So today is peanut butter day!!! yep, that’s right! I discovered recently that there is a food “holiday” almost every day! Yesterday was pie, tomorrow is Irish Coffee (why didn’t it fall on a week-end…), and today is peanut butter!

I mean we could talk all day about or favorite things made with PB, or how we just like to eat it out the jar. But here a few things to know about PB:

– It was used hundreds years ago by the Aztec Native Americans

– On the healthy side, Peanut butter (and peanuts) provides protein, vitamins B3 and E,magnesiumfolatedietary fiberarginine,[7] and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid.

– BUT, Some brands of peanut butter may contain a small amount of added partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in trans fatty acids that are thought to be a cause of atherosclerosiscoronary heart disease, and stroke. So go with Natural PB!!! I made the switch a year ago, and I love it!!!

Of course there are tons, I mean loads of baking recipes with PB, but it is also very tasty in savory dishes! In my recent search for new veggie recipes, I came across this one from Carrie On Vegan. Of course I didn’t follow it to the T, but just not even thinking about what I was doing, I ended up with a very tasty veggie stir fry! Even hubb and the kids devoured it!! WIN!

Everyone enjoys PB day!!!

Everyone enjoys PB day!!!

There are no real measurement there, because I didn’t intended to make this recipe for the blog, and as any stir-fry, it’s open to your own creativity!

So in my stir fry, I had:

1/4 onion sliced

2 celery stalks

about 1 cup of shredded white cabbage

1 carrot, sliced

a few broccoli florets

3 big kale leaves, chopped

For the sauce:

1 tbsp natural PB

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp soy sauce


In a wok or large pan, star your stir fry: preheat with a tsp of oil, then add veggies in the order listed. Cover with a lid for a few minutes to steam the veggies.

In a bowl, add the ingredients for the sauce, put in the microwave for 30 sec to soften the PB and honey and stir. Add to the stir fry and blend well. Cook for another 2 min and serve! Add some Tabasco for an extra kick!

Could work very well with a beef or chicken stir fry, and served with plain rice.

Enjoy Your PB night!

That's me enjoying my PB night...

That’s me enjoying my PB night…



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Tilapia en Papillote – Fast, light, flavorful fish dish

Tilapia en papillote

Tilapia en papillote


On my journey to keep up with the good resolutions, I figured I need to try to cook my usual fried tilapia a different way… sure, tilapia is great fried in oil and butter, mostly when the edges are getting all crispy, yum! But that’s loads of fat I don’t want right now. Then I remembered of this easy trick, I used to cook fish a long time ago; “en papillote”.

Papillote is a french word that means “wrapped in”, here, the fish is wrapped in foil. You can add a lot of things, along with the fish, to enhance the flavors. I personally love to wrap it with onions, tomatoes and parsley. The options are endless! Basically, because the fish is totally sealed in foil, it will cook by steam from its own juice that are trapped in the sealed foil. So you virtually need no fat at all to cook it, it just won’t stick, and will still be extra tender.

So possibilities are endless, but this is pretty much how I did the one above:

Ingredients (for one person)

1 tilapia fillet

1 fresh tomato, sliced

a few slices of onion, or chopped green onions

fresh parsley

Mrs Dash lemon pepper seasoning (love this, has no salt, no msg, very flavorful)



1 tsp of olive oil (optional)

Lay a long piece of aluminium paper, big enough to wrap and seal your fish, on a baking tray. If using oil, spread it in the center of the foil. Lay the tilapia, sprinkle some lemon pepper seasoning on the fish. Then lay the onion, tomato and some chopped fresh parsley all around. Season everything with salt and pepper.

Wrap the foil to leave no possible hole. Bake in preheated oven at 400 F for 20 min (more if you cook several fillets together).

Let rest 5 min before opening the foil. Be very careful when opening! Hot escaping steam can burn real bad, trust me, I know… 😦

Serve with rice (love dumping the juices from the fish on my rice), steamed potatoes or veggies.




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The cabbage soup diet: the wrap up!

Foggy Quay - Tartine & Maple

The beautiful foggy quay on route to the fresh market

To finish where I left off on the previous post about the diet;

4th day: bananas and skim milk, yeah!!! I loved that day! It felt so satisfying for some reason! Maybe the density of the bananas and the dairy withdraw… Also, as I was reading through the FAQ of the site, I made a major discovery: I can have coffee!  I don’t know why I thought I couldn’t, but that was great news! I had a very though night just previously (sick kid), and since I was allowed milk, guess what I had that morning: a grande latte!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the BEST highlight of the day! That night I also went to Zumba, and got my ass kicked, literally!  My friend had this theory that, since this kind of fitness center is overcrowded with people just here because of their New Year’s resolutions, the teachers make sure to kick their butt right off the bat, to eliminate the temporary disturbers… eh, why not, I totally agree to the tactic, if it is indeed what it is! I hate how the gym is always mega crowded only in January!

5th day: meat and tomatoes. Yeah proteins!!! It said that you should have beef, but can substitute with chicken or fish. Since tomorrow is a beef day, that day I had grilled chicken for lunch and steamed fish for dinner. With lots of tomatoes. Was great to have some animal flesh again!!! I know, sounds gross, but heh, I’m a carnivore!

6th day: beef and veggies, as much beef as you want! NICE! I made a stir fry with beef and veggies for lunch and had a grilled steak, a big one, for dinner! It was so filling, I couldn’t even eat veggies that night! I think my stomach shrunk, which is probably a good thing… Now, I have to admit a big faux-pas… See I committed to bake 2 galettes, like the one I posted about in Tartine’s 2013 resolutions: having an epiphany!!!!!!!!  for my son’s school, so had to do some baking that night. And… I miserably caved and licked the spoon multiple time and scrapped the bowl with both satisfaction and anger… hugh, the guilt was terrible! Morale: do not bake while on your diet, even for a good cause!!!! Just don’t do it.

7th and final day: brown rice and veggies. Meh, not that great after a beef day, but it’s the last one!!!

The wrap up: 

As previously mentioned  I usually don’t weight myself. I had this time, weighted myself on the 1st day and after the last day; I lost 3 pounds. It doesn’t sound much when you read that the web-site claims you can loose 10 pounds! I can think of a few reasons why: I didn’t follow the rules to the T. I cheated a couple time, I use my 1 tsp of oil per day, every day, I did had a bit of salt or vinegar, as I just can not eat veggies with nothing on it, and I didn’t have that much to loose in the 1st place. Plus, the site says you can eat as much as you want to to satisfy your hunger, as long as it is allowed food, and I definitely did not let myself going hungry!

SO? Well, I’m happy, I fit in my skinnies again! That’s just what I wanted! Plus forcing myself into eating so much veggies really helped me rediscover how good and simple it can be. I am ready to re-introduce more fresh food in my diet. Also ready all together to eat healthier. I did a run to the natural store this week-end and stocked up on healthy snacks, so no reason to cave again!

Healthy Groceries

Healthy Groceries

Now, what to eat? That’s the tricky part, you can’t just go back to your previous eating after a diet like that and expect to not gain it back on. So I have been really careful all week-end: had some green monster shakes, home made pizza with super thin crust and veggie toppings, big salads, lost of fruits… and I keep busy, to keep myself off of food.

Fine crust veggie pizza - Tartine & Maple

Green Monster - Tartine & Maple

Will see how it goes, but I feel great and want to keep it up!

Ready for the challenge? If you decide to go on (a few friends have started it since my last post, all the best to them!), please, tell me your story! I would love to hear how it goes for you!





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The cabbage soup diet: the wrap up!

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The cabbage soup diet, 3 days in!

cabbage soup

There, I’m doing it, the cabbage soup diet! Yeah, well I say I was going to try it!!! Even if it is all folklore, and I don’t really need to loose so much weight (2-3 pounds would make me feel better), the need to feel cleaner from the inside is my motivation. Not sure if it is actually true, but some say surgeons used to give this diet to patient before heart surgery, because it is supposed to unclog your system from bad fats and all that stuff. Honestly, the whole month of December, all the way until yesterday morning (had my work holiday party last night, and had way too much to drink, so perfect timing to clean up the alcohol too remaining in my system), I have made no concessions!!!

Several friends, with whom I have shared my intentions about this diet, have argued that I really don’t need to lose weight. And fine, I am far for overweight, but even though, not fitting in any of your pants is just not acceptable anymore! It gets to your moral, and your wallet! Let’s face it; it’s cheaper to buy the ingredients for the soup than a new wardrobe!

So there it goes. I got the information and recipe from this web site: Now, in black is the original recipe, and in red my changes.

  • 6 large green onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes (2 used)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 container (10 oz. or so) mushrooms (didn’t have fresh, used one can of mushrooms, rinsed)
  • 1 bunch of celery (used half of one bunch, not so fan of celery, which was already plenty for me!)
  • half a head of cabbage
  • 1 package spice only soup mix (In the US, Liptons is a good choice) (didn’t used that)
  • 1 or 2 cubes of bouillon (optional) (didn’t used that)
  • 1 48oz can Low Sodium V8 juice (optional) (didn’t used that)
  • Season to taste with pepper, parsley, curry, garlic powder, etc. (added a lot of fresh grinded black pepper, half a bunch of fresh parsley, which adds its share of health benefits!)
  • Other things added/changed:
  • I also added 2 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Organic Beef Base for added taste. Love that stuff, it has so much flavours without all the MSG usually found in cubes of bouillon.
  • Finally I added a bit of dried laurel, rosemary, basilica and savory, can’t be hurting…
  • The recipe said to add 8 to 12 cups of water, but I didn’t have enough room, so I added more water after cooking.
  • The recipe is telling you to use non-stick spray to sauté the onions, but I have to disagree. Cooking spray contains soy lecithin, soy fatty acids and propellants, which I really prefer to replace by a teaspoon of good olive oil… but that’s just me

Now, making the soup, I’m pretty sure you can manage without my instructions… or visit the above site if you need them. Just remember to cut your veggies small enough to be able to eat them easily after cooking. It is not recommended to blend the soup. The action of chewing your food does help making you feel fuller.

Another disagreement with the recipe: It says to cook your soup for 2 hours!!! What a waste of time and good nutriments! I cooked it in a pressure cooker for 20 min after the whistle started, and it turned out perfect! The veggies are cooked enough, there is a remaining crunch to the celery, and I feel like I saved some of the vitamins by not overcooking…

This soup is really not bad I have to say! I didn’t added salt at all since there is some in the beef base, and it wasn’t lacking! I also added a few drops of tabasco to my bowl, and it was much better than anticipated!

So now, it’s been 3 days, how is it going…

If you read on the site, you’ll see that each day, you get to eat certain food, along with the soup.

1st day: fruits. Not bad, love fruits, was a pretty good day! Plus recovering from a hangover, eat so fresh all day was quite satisfying! Every time I felt hungry, I would just eat more fruit!

day 2 lunch


2nd day: vegetables. Not as fun. Not that I don’t like veggies, but rather have fruits, that’s my sweet tooth! Plus veggies without salt or seasoning, huh, kinda hard for me! I did cheat and used a teaspoon of olive oil (authorized cheat …) with lemon juice for topping to my salads, but still… oh, and you’re allow to one baked potato for dinner! Let me tell you, I never savoured a baked potato this much ever in my life!!! It was so good, I kept aside a half to eat later, while hubby was having his chocolate nightly snack, so I wouldn’t cave! That’s right, he ate chocolate in front of me? Rude don’t you think?

Those 2 days, were my days off, and I didn’t do much, beside a nice walk to the park with the kids, even managed to take a nap! So things were good…

3rd day: veggies and fruits. The food wasn’t the problem, but going to work was… I felt so tired all day!!! Not hungry though, and I brought enough soup and fruits to satisfy my hunger, but I was drained! Lack of sugar? Proteins? Starch? Not sure, but today was though. While preparing dinner for the kids, I caved and had a piece, tiny piece of their baked salmon… It smelled so good!!! Oh well, at least it’s not chocolate!

Tomorrow, bananas and milk, I’m pretty excited about that to be honest! Sweet bananas and fresh cold milk… hummmmm.

Keep you updated later this week, wish me luck!

Make sure to read the wrap up! The cabbage soup diet: the wrap up!



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The cabbage soup diet: the wrap up!

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Sugar Free, Butter Free Peanut Butter Muffins. Am I Paleo yet?

Tomato Gazpacho, get that summer in a soup!!!

Tomato Gazpacho

Heads up people! Summer is almost over!!!!

Sorry if I’m breaking the news to you, but it’s unfortunate facts… But there is still the long week-end to enjoy before it really tastes like fall. Even if its official date is September 22nd, for me, like most of you, it starts right after Labor day: School, dead leaves, shorter days, rain (thanks BC) are not waiting 22 more days, you know…

This year particularly, I feel very anxious about this summer end. My oldest kid, my son Matthew, is going to school for the 1st time!!! Well kindergarden, but still! He is not a baby anymore!!! Well of course, he is 4 after all. But every kid is a baby until they go to school, no???

Anyway, let’s enjoy it. Let’s enjoy those wonderful products of summer, like fresh ripped tomatoes! If you are one of those lucky ones and have had so many tomatoes in your garden, that you just don’t know what to do with them (and I envy you, I had NOTHING growing this year …), this is the perfect recipe for using them all!

Gazpacho is a cold soup with a tomato base, originating from Spain. But you can read more about it here.

Super fresh, zesty and a bit spicy, if you like it this way, you can customize to the infinity and slurp on it at any time!!!

Happy Labor Day week-end!!!!

Ingredients (5 cups)

  • 5 or more ripped tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t tabasco
  • fresh chives and basil


  • Peel the cucumber, dice the garlic and herbs, chop all the veggies. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until there is no more visible chunks.
  • Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serve in bowls, glasses or shallow plates. You can add more chopped basil, drops of olive oil, or dollops of fresh goat cheese for serving, and side of toasted bread, tapenade and cheese.

For the easy to print, share and e-mail recipe, visit my Recipage.

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Pickled Cucumbers a la French!!! (“Cornichon” kind)

Pickled Cucumbers

It’s done! I thought it would happen this year, but yeah! Pickling cukes is something I try to do every summer, because I do it the french way, wich is quite different from the regular american pickles.
Those of you that have travelled to France might be familiar with “cornichons“, or gherkins, which are really the replacement to your pickles. They go in sandwiches, salad, accompany your toast of cheese and deli meat. But they are way smaller than the american cukes,
and prepared differently. Therefore I always pick the smallest ones here. We just cover them with salt overnight and store them in vinegar with tarragon and pepper.
Anyway I realize this week that the season for cukes is coming to an end, and I work everyday, farms would be closed when I get off, weekend not here!!!! Panic! Thankfully my friend E. Was able to get some for me on Friday. So after work, pickling time started, and needed to be other before we leave for the weekend! Totally manageable, pickling cukes really doesn’t require special skills, just a couple of hours, vinegar, salt, herbs and jars!
Want to give it a try? Hurry! Season is almost over!
Happy pickling!

Ingredients (about 10 lbs)

  • For 10 lbs of cukes
  • 1 gallon natural white vinegar
  • 2 lbs kosher salt
  • 2 garlic bulbs
  • 1 fresh bunch of Tarragon
  • Mustard seeds
  • Whole pepper corns assorted: black, white, pink


  • Clean the cukes by wiping them with a clean cloth, do not wash with water.
  • Set up a grill over a large container or sink. Cover the grill with a clean cloth so salt will not fall through. Place one flat layer of cukes. Cover almost completely with salt. Place another layer of cukes and salt as needed. Leave as is overnight. Do not leave in salt more than 10 to 12 hours, or they will get too soft

  • Clean enough jars and lids. I soak them overnight in hot water with a cup of white vinegar to remove any smell. In the morning, scrub, rinse and dry.Remove as much excess salt from the cukes as possible by wiping them with a clean cloth. Place the cukes in the jar, vertically will save space and will be easily accessible. Leave a bit of room as they will absorb vinegar and get bigger. Then add a few peeled garlic cloves, tarragon, 10 to 30 pepper corns depending on the size of your jar, and 1 to 3 teaspoon of mustard seed. Fill jars with vinegar, leaving an each from the top. Close jars and Store in a cool and dark place.
  • Wait about a month to enjoy!

Find the easy to print, share, e-mail recipe on my Recipage.


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