Power Smoothie

(That tastes more like a chocolate-berry dessert.)

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After a week of vacation during which Cow’s Ice Cream made up a fifth food group in my daily diet (hey, it is voted Canada’s best ice cream!), I was happy to get back on track with a run this morning followed by this Power Smoothie fuel. And honestly, even though it wasn’t wrapped in a freshly baked waffle cone, or named something staring with ‘Moo’, it didn’t taste that far off from Cow’s Ice Cream.

The best part is that it’s loaded with super foods, but you wouldn’t even know.

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Ingredients for 1 Smoothie:

– A handful of baby spinach

– 1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks

– 1/2 cup frozen berry blend (I used blueberries, blackberries and cherries)

– 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

– 1 tbsp chia seeds, pre-soaked in water*

– 2 tsp cocoa powder (when combined with the natural sweetness of the fruit, will give a rich, chocolatey flavour!)

– Coconut water, to cover all ingredients

Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients in a blender/Magic Bullet/Nutribullet and blend until smooth.

2) Drink up!

*Soaking chia seeds in water causes them to become softer and gelatinous due to their rich supply of insoluble fibre. You can store soaked chia seeds in a Mason jar in the fridge, adding 4tbsp of water for every 1tbsp of chia seeds. Then, simply add 1tbsp of this seed mixture to your smoothies.

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Breadless Pizza

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The spiralizer goes far beyond making just pasta-type dishes, but who would have thought it could make such things as pizza!

I love the idea of making homemade pizza, right down to the crust. But all that measuring and mixing and kneading and rising is a little too cumbersome for me. This spiralized potato pizza crust, on the other hand, can literally be as simple as two ingredients. The added bonus: it’s completely flourless!

Ingredients for two personal pizzas:

– 2 potatoes

– 2 eggs

– olive oil

– 2 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)

– desired spices (I used cumin and marjoram – also optional)

– desired pizza toppings

Directions:

1) Spiralize both potatoes

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2) Cook spiralized potatoes in a saucepan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, over medium heat, until slightly softened

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3) In a bowl, mix together potato noodles with two eggs, flax seed, and desired spices

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4) Press half of the potato mixture firmly into a pie tin, then quickly inverse the tin to dump the crust onto a greased cookie sheet (Note: don’t worry if the crust doesn’t hold together perfectly upon flipping, it can be remoulded into a circle using a fork); repeat for second pizza crust

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5) Bake crusts at 350F until golden brown and crispy; approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime, slice and prepare pizza toppings

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6) Remove crusts from oven, top with desired pizza toppings, and return to oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes

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7) Slice with a pizza cutter and enjoy your breadless, flourless, veggie-crust pizza!

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The TWO (or, however-many-you-want) Ingredient Pancake

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I always shied away from making pancakes. Not only am I not crazy about them to begin with, but when it comes time to flip those little bubbling circles of goo, disaster usually ensues.

Until I found out that you could make a pancake with only TWO ingredients. Now that, I had to try.

But first, I’ll confess that my version of the two ingredient pancake quickly became the several ingredient pancake, as I creatively fancified and healthified my little breakfast cakes. The good news: this part is totally optional and you can get as creative (or not) as you like!

For about 3 pancakes:

– 1 banana

– 2 eggs (I used one whole egg and one egg white)

Optional add-ins:

– ground flax seed

– chia seeds

– wheat germ

– coconut milk

– coconut flakes

-etc….

To prepare:

1) Whisk the banana and eggs together until a batter-like consistency is achieved.

2) Spray a saucepan on medium-low heat with cooking spray. You’ll want to cook these pancakes at a lower temperature than you would usually cook a pancake, because they are subject to burn very easily .

3) Ladle batter into the pan, achieving a small pancake size as this will be easier to flip.

4) Cook covered until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, and the bottom is firm enough to flip with a spatula.

5) Flip pancake and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.

Serve with toppings of your choice;I went with blueberries, wheat germ, coconut flakes, and a side of almonds and dates.

Enjoy!

Breakfast: A Photo Essay

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
-A.A. Milne  
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The there’s-nothing-unhealthy-about-this-brownie Brownie

Alternate title: I invented a recipe…and it worked!

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I had lunch and had just settled in for a productive day of Sunday studying, when I was hit with an intense chocolate craving. So, naturally, the self-discipline portion of my brain kicked in to encourage me to power through, reading about health program implementation instead of dreaming up decadent creations that I could be baking. And it worked. For a little while.

Eventually, (and by eventually, I mean about 3 minutes into my readings), I decided to succumb to the temptation, reminding myself that it’s healthy to take a study break periodically and do something creative. Even if, well, the studying hadn’t actually occurred yet.

I knew that I wanted to make something involving chocolate that was still healthy. Something that my brain would think of as dessert, but that my body would see as a hearty afternoon pick-me-up. That way, I could eat the leftovers all week long for well-balanced, nutritious school snacking (if of course, any leftovers remained, which they didn’t).

So I got to searching the web for the ideal recipe. But I couldn’t pin down any that spoke to me. Many claimed to be healthy by including pureed beans, but went on to add cups on cups of sugar. That’s when the tiny seed of a super-crazy-idea was planted in my brain: I could invent my own recipe. I’m the person who changes a recipe by a quarter teaspoon and renders it inedible to a hungry bear, but maybe it was all the health program planning I’ve been doing lately, because some part of me was actually ambitious enough to consider taking on this feat. I had made brownies of a similar sort in the past, so I had a general idea of what needed to be included: something to hold it together, something to sweeten etc….and this is what I did:

(And it actually worked! And it’s actually healthy! And it actually DOES taste good, trust me.)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup canned mixed beans (or chickpeas or black beans)

– 1 very ripe banana

– 1 individual serving container of applesauce

– 1/2 cup coffee (NOTE: the coffee gives the brownies a rich flavour but will reduce the sweetness, so if you’re interested in a sweeter brownie and don’t want to add more sweeteners, I would suggest omitting the coffee and replacing with milk)

– 1/3 cup cocoa powder

– 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

– 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/4 cup honey

– 1 egg

– 1/3 cup chopped pecans, plus extra for sprinkling on top (or walnuts, or chocolate chips if you want something richer!)

1) Blend the beans, banana, applesauce, coffee (or milk) together in a food processor/blender/magic bullet until smooth

2) Mix in the remaining ingredients

3) Pour into a brownie dish lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with chopped pecans

3) Bake at 350C for approximately 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out relatively dry

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Overnight Oatmeal

It’s been over two months since Christmas and I’m still spiralizing my heart out. I have lots more recipes and photos that need to make their way onto this blog… Oh, and ‘spiralize’ still has not yet become a real word in the English language. *sigh*

Anyway, all that to say, although I’m still hooked on veggie noodles, I’ve recently developed an obsession for another cooking “theme”.

Mason Jar Meals!

Because, seriously, there’s just something about that little old fashioned glass jar that makes my soul happy. And stuffing it with food, well, that just amplifies the happiness.

:)

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I adapted this recipe from a post I found on Pinterest and it works like magic. You can have healthy, delicious, dessert-like breakfasts for the week in 10 minutes–max.

Per jar/serving:

– 1/4 cup oats

– 1/4 cup yogurt (I used 0% plain greek yogurt)

– 1/3 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk, but regular milk or almond milk will work just fine too)

– 1 tablespoon chia seeds (I put those little super seeds in everything I can)

– 1 teaspoon maple syrup

– a couple generous scoops of fresh or frozen fruit to top (I used frozen mixed berries and frozen cherries)

1) Place all ingredients except fruit in each jar.

2) Add lid and shake until combined.

3) Remove lid and add fruit to top of jar.

4) Replace lid and refrigerate overnight.

 

Crispy Carrot Salad

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So, I think it’s safe to say that I’m inspiralized. I’ve had my spiralizer in business for five days and I’ve already spiralized four vegetables (cucumber, carrot, butternut squash and potato), and made three spiralized meals. I’ve been getting some inspiration from www.inspiralized.com and dreaming up many of my own ideas as well. I’ve also been practicing photographing my creations for use in my blog (and possibly in a cookbook someday?).

If I ever do write a cookbook, I’ll have to work on giving more precise measurements. My cooking style is more of a “eyeball it and hope for the best” approach, rather than using precise measurements of quantities. In many cases, as in this carrot salad, exact quantities aren’t worth the fuss. Here is a list of what I used, and you can add as much or as little of each as your inner foodie desires (about a handful of each should do).

– 2-3 large carrots, peeled and spiralized

– crumbled feta

– candied pecans (see previous post for recipe)

– dried cranberries

– sesame seeds

– snow peas, halved or left whole

– grape tomatoes, halved

– balsamic vinegar to dress

– 4 poached egg whites

– pepper

1) Spiralize carrots and place in large salad bowl

2) Poach egg whites and season with pepper

3) Add remaining ingredients to carrots

4) Top with poached eggs

Serves: 4

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Butternut Squash “Pasta” with Marinara Sauce, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese and Fresh Basil

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Santa brought me a spiralizer! And I’m already addicted.

Yesterday marked my first spiralized creation, and hopefully a year full of many more to come. This one was inspired by the Butternut Squash Ravioli that I adore from Milestones. Instead of stuffing ravioli with butternut squash, as they do at Milestones, here, the butternut squash IS the “pasta”. I added many of the same toppings to give it the same great taste; a healthier (and way easier) version of a delectable dish!

For the “Noodles”:

– 1 butternut squash (cylindrical part peeled, and bulb part discarded)

1) Spiralize on the “spaghetti-like” setting of your spiralizer.

2) Place in steamer and steam about 5-10 minutes or until tender but firm enough to not turn into mush when scooping into bowls.

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For the Marinara Sauce:

– 2 large tomatoes, diced

– 1 onion, chopped

– 1 clove garlic, crushed

– 1 cup jarred tomato sauce

– 1 tsp olive oil

– ~2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped finely

– pepper to taste

1) Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until soft

2) Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes

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For the Candied Pecans:

– 1 cup pecans, halved or chopped

– 2 tbsp brown sugar

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1) Spread pecans out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and broil on medium for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted

2) Combine olive oil, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until gently bubbling

3) Add toasted pecans to mixture and stir until well covered

4) Return pecans to baking sheet and spread out to allow coating to harden

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Putting it all together:

– 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

– 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

1) top butternut squash noodles with marinara sauce

2) sprinkle pecans, crumbled goat cheese, and fresh basil on top in any order your inner foodie desires

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Voila! Simply spiralized.

 

 

Lively Lunchboxes

Lunchbox Lovin’! My sister got bored of the standard school lunches, so I decided to take up the exciting challenge of lunchbox making–bento box style! I will add more as I make them, but so far she’s enjoyed…

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-mini pita pockets with hummus and tabouleh to stuff, with a side of vanilla yoghurt topped with fresh strawberries and raspberries

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-leafy greens, beet and goat cheese salad with raspberry/grape skewers, turkey rolls and red bell pepper with hummus for dipping

 

Autumn Applesauce with Pumpkin and Pecans

A cozy autumn recipe to kick off the fall..

Very easy and healthy!

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– 8 apples

– 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

– chopped pecans

– cinnamon to taste

1) Peel and chop apples, and place into a saucepan

2) Add enough water to the pan to almost reach the top of the apples

3) Bring to a boil, then let simmer about 15 minutes or until apples are soft

4) Drain excess water and mash apples for a chunky consistency, or puree for a smooth consistency

5) Stir in pumpkin, desired amount of pecans and cinnamon to taste

6) Serve in individual ramekins topped with pecans and cinnamon

Makes 10 servings.