Thursday, 25 December 2014

Our Christmas Feast

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you are all having a lovely holiday season, filled with warmth, family and friends. And good food.
It seemed silly to have a turkey die for just the two of us this year, so I cooked us a non-traditional meal, special nonetheless!

We had lentil-walnut balls with homemade cranberry sauce (recipe here), cornbread stuffing (recipe here), roasted Brussel sprouts, and a simple sweet potato casserole - roasted sweet potatoes mashed with butter and a couple of tablespoons of whipping cream, topped with toasted pecans and brown sugar.

This morning I made my perfect pancakes with some chocolate chips added to the batter, because it is Christmas, after all!

Sending lots of love and joy to you all.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Happy Friday!

At work, we have a magic table. Food appears on it regularly, and at this time of the year, it is insanity: every time you look at it, some new delicacy has popped up. Soups, pretzels, bread, cookies, smoked salmon, crackers, cheese, chilli, fudge, and countless boxes of chocolate have appeared in this fashion over the past few days.
Does that make me want to bake any less? Nope.


Sweet Potato Biscuits: (makes 6)

- 1 small sweet potato (about 1/2 to 3/4 once roasted and pureed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup almond milk or regular milk
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- black pepper, to taste

- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Roast the garlic + sweet potato - about 35 minutes at 375F.
Mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Turn the oven up to 400F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal (optional).
Once the sweet potato and garlic are roasted, scoop out the flesh and the garlic cloves and place into a blender with the maple syrup, butter, water and milk. Blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pepper.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until the dough starts to come together.
Generously flour a clean surface and dump the dough on it. With your hands, knead a few times until the dough holds together (not too much, otherwise your biscuits will turn out very dense).
Flatten into a 1 inch thick rectangle and cut into biscuits using a cookie cutter or a plain old glass.
Place onto prepared baking sheet and glaze.
Bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes.

Delicious with an African Peanut Stew from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Wholesome Apple Crumble

I hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday night!

My Saturday night may have started the same way yours did: I put on a pretty dress and went to a Christmas party. However, I make no apologies for the fact that I am an old lady at heart. After sampling the buffet and going for two rounds of dessert, I decided that it was time to head home. It was, after all, past 8:30pm and therefore past my bedtime ;)
So here I am in my cozy pyjamas, watching a documentary in bed with the dog curled up on my feet (and under the covers), my pretty dress safely put away in my closet. And as lame is it sounds, this is my idea of a good Saturday night. 


I made this apple crumble in 4 little ramequins, but feel free to double the recipe and bake it in an 8x8 pan. I just thought it would be neat to have individual portions in the freezer, ready to be baked on a cold winter night. 

Wholesome Apple Crumble: 

The Filling:

- 3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp potato starch (cornstarch or arrowroot would work too)
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (or pineapple or orange juice)

The Topping:

- 3/4 cup large flake oats, divided (1/4 cup processed, 1/2 cup whole)
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease 4 x 1/2 cup ramequins. 
Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl then spoon into ramequins. 
In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup of the oats with the hazelnuts and walnuts until coarsely ground. 
Combine processed mixture with the rest of the topping ingredients. 
Press topping over the apple mixture in the ramequins. 
Cover with foil and poke a few holes with a fork for the steam to escape. 
Bake covered for 20-25 minutes (35-40 minutes for a double recipe in an 8x8 pan), then remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. 


Good night!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sweet Breakfast Flatbread + Almond Salad + Cilantro/Lime/Tahini sauce

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Mine included some forced relaxation - I have a nasty cold that is cramping my style!
The upside of this: I have time to blog and share of my new favorite recipes.

Starting with sweet breakfast flatbread. Inspired by Oh She Glows' Super Power Chia Bread, this cinnamon-raisin flatbread is delicious toasted and slathered in peanut butter. You can keep it in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days, but I freeze mine pretty much right away and pop a couple of slices straight into the toaster when the craving strikes.

Sweet Breakfast Flatbread: 

- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 3/4 cup oat flour (I just use oats and process them in the food processor for a minute)
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon
- 2 tbsp chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8x8 pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, one going each way (makes it easier to lift out).
Mix all the ingredients except for the applesauce and water. When well mixed, add liquids and stir until combined. The mixture will be quite runny - that's normal!
Pour into the prepared pan and lightly press/flatten with the palm of your hand until the mixture is spread evenly.
Bake for 25-30 minutes and let cool on a rack before slicing into 8 pieces.


Then, we have almond salad. It is a refreshing change from your traditional tuna, chicken or egg salad, and is wonderful in a wrap or pita pocket with raw carrots, peppers and cucumber, although I am sure you will find many different ways to enjoy it!

Almond Salad: 

- 1 cup raw almonds,  soaked for 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 handful fresh dill
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped green onion
- 4 heaping tbsp hummus
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt + pepper, to taste

Combine almonds, lime juice, garlic and dill in a food processor and pulse until almonds are nicely flaked (see picture below).
Transfer to a bowl and mix in all the other ingredients until well combined.


Finally, we have cilantro/lime-tahini sauce. We have been using a variation of this sauce with pretty much everything, from burgers to falafels to a dip for yam fries. It is THAT good. You can substitute the lime and cilantro with lemon and dill and you have yourself another fresh and healthy sauce which would go swimmingly well with salmon, roasted cauliflower and quinoa, etc etc etc.

Cilantro/Lime/Tahini sauce:

- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- salt + pepper, to taste

Give all the ingredients to your best friend the food processor and let him do the work. Process until smooth and voila!


Take care!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dates & Orange Breakfast Muffins

Hello everyone!

Life is tasting especially sweet lately. Yes, I have been doing a lot of baking. In the less literal sense though, I have been feeling especially lucky and thankful. No particular reason - it feels like lots of amazing things could potentially happen in the not-so-distant future, and that somehow makes me appreciate the present even more, if that makes any sense. What is there NOT to be grateful for, really, when we are healthy, when our families are supportive, when I am blessed with a wonderful group of beautiful and brilliant girlfriends, when we live in a warm and cozy home?

Speaking of sweetness, this muffin recipe is sure to brighten up your mornings. I mostly used dates as a sweetener, which pair wonderfully with the brightness of oranges. And, wouldn't you know it, there is a green veggie hiding in there! You cannot taste the zucchini, but it adds moisture as well as a boost of potassium and anti-oxidants.
If you are looking for a healthy muffin recipe to grab on your way out the door in the morning, this is it!

Date & Orange Breakfast Muffins: (makes 12 muffins)

- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 3/4 cup whole pitted dates (if not soft, cover with boiling water for 10mins then drain)
- 1/2 a small seedless orange, peel and all
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1/2 a medium zucchini)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 12-muffin tin.
In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed and water and set aside - it will thicken to the consistency of egg white in 5-10 minute.
In another small bowl, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside. The mixture will curdle and this is the desired effect. Alternatively, you can use buttermilk and omit this step (and omit the apple cider vinegar).
In a food processor, combine dates, the half orange (no need to chop or peel it - the food processor will work its magic), vanilla extract, maple syrup and olive oil.
Process until the mixture is mostly smooth, then add the milk mixture + the flaxseed mixture to it and process a bit longer to combine. 
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just combined. 
Fold in the zucchini and walnuts
Bake for 16-18 minutes and let cool on a rack. 

Before adding the milk + flaxseed mixtures

The wet ingredients

Before folding in the zucchini and walnuts

Have a great week!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Does anyone notice a trend here?

A carrot trend, perhaps? That may have something to do with the fact that carrots are often all that we can find in terms of produce at the Superstore. There is also the fact that I love carrots. They are sweet and healthy - a winning combo in my books.

We came back from a trip to Las Vegas a few days ago, so pardon my lack of recipe experiments lately - I was busy eating out, taking in the sights of the Grand Canyon, walking the Vegas strip, seeing a Cirque du Soleil show and relaxing a whole bunch. Tough life. I am actually amazed at how relaxed I came back from this trip. I usually get a bit frazzled coming back home, finding it difficult to get back into the rhythm of things, unpacking, doing laundry, catching up on my studying etc. Not this time though. I am just happy to be home, excited to be in the kitchen again, and eager to run and even go to the gym.

Seeing the amazing things that the Cirque du Soleil performers do with their bodies inspires me to become even fitter - and noticing how much poor quality food is around (especially in Vegas!) makes me want to eat even better.

Which brings me back to the carrot salad. It is high in protein (from the chickpeas and the quinoa), with lots of healthy fats (from the walnuts and the olive oil), and you get a good dose of beta-carotene (good for your night vision, amongst other things). And if you weren't sold already: it has raisins it it.

Carrot and Quinoa Salad: (serves 4-5)

For the salad:

- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots (3 or 4 large carrots)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup raisins
- a handful of parsley and chopped walnuts, for garnish

For the dressing:

- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- back pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. One package of quinoa usually yields about 3 cups cooked, so you will end up with leftover quinoa if you cook the whole package. It's a good thing in my opinion (quinoa chocolate cupcakes, anyone?). Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, chickpeas, carrots and raisins. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two if you can.
In the food processor, combine all the dressing ingredients and process until smooth.
Mix it all together and garnish with parsley and walnuts.


Here's to a great week ahead!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Carrot themed post: carrot cupcakes + carrot soup

Happy Friday y'all!

It has been another busy week. I was off work on Monday and Tuesday (which means I work this weekend, unfortunately), and was able to spend time doing what relaxes me most: cooking and baking. I have been fighting a cold for a while now, while The Husband has been in full-on man-cold mode. This, combined with the ever-present emotional roller-coaster of the whole infertility/adoption thing, and you have the winning formula for a drained and blubbery wife.
Thankfully, there is always cake to bring me back to sanity.

The flavour of the week: carrot cupcakes with "cream cheese" icing. I am using quotes here, because I actually made my own cream cheese out of cashews using this recipe, but you can just use plain old cream cheese, of course. To get an idea of how delicious these cupcakes were, know that I was planning on taking them to work after The Husband and I sampled a couple. Well, I regret to inform you, dear coworkers, that The Husband and I ended up eating all 10 cupcakes in 3 days. Enough said.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing: 

For the cupcakes:

- 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring
- 1/4 canola oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely grated carrots
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits, drained

Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 10 liners.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.
In another, medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, oil, applesauce, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.
Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the carrots, raisins, walnuts and pineapple.
Fill liners and bake for 18-20 mins. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cooled before icing.

For the icing:

- 3/4 cup cream cheese
- 1.5 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat all the ingredients together and spread a thin layer on each cupcake.
Reward yourself with one.


The carrot recipe that I will share now is quick, easy, and probably healthier than the cupcakes if you are looking for a main course.

Carrot Coconut Curry Soup:

- 1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 1.5 lbs unpeeled and roughly chopped carrots
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1.5 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups veggie broth
- salt + pepper, to taste

In a large pot, sauté the onions in olive oil until they are starting to soften, then add carrots and sauté for a few more minutes. Add cumin, curry and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk and veggie broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are just soft. Blend the soup in batches, return to pot, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!


One more baking effort worth mentioning is that I made bagels. I don't often buy bagels because of the crappy ingredients that most brands contain, which means that we don't often eat bagels....that has now changed, thanks to this recipe.

And for those who are curious to see how my cashew "cream cheese" turned out, here ya go!

Not too shabby!


Have a great weekend my friends!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Red curry lentil soup + Slow cooker baked beans

I'm back!

What an amazing experience this Victoria marathon was. We got to catch up with good friends, tour around a beautiful city, eat some delicious food - and I achieved my goal of running the race in under 4 hours. As usual, I started feeling very sick after 25K or so, and the last hour was a struggle. A constant battle in my head that goes something like this:
"Ugh, I'm so sick; let's just walk for a bit" "No, you can't walk, you said you were going to finish this thing in under 4 hours" "How about not finishing at all? We could just stop all together, call The Husband and get tucked into bed!" "Are you kidding me? We didn't come all this way to give up 6 miles back from the finish line!"..... etc, etc, etc.
Positive Me won over Negative Me. And this victory over my self-doubts makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING.

I'm already feeling back to normal, and starting to think about the next marathon. I'm weird like that.


Back in Whitehorse, fall is definitely here, along with cravings for warm comfort food.

This red curry lentil soup is sure to warm you up! It's not very spicy - just very flavourful. Feel free to add a few veggies in there - I didn't have much on hand when I made this!

Red Curry Lentil Soup:

- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp ketchup
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups dried split red lentils
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
- 3 cups veggie broth
- 1 can corn
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, sauté the onion in olive oil for a few minutes, until soft. Add garlic, curry paste, cumin, nutmeg and ginger and cook for another few minutes.
Add all other ingredients except for lime juice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes.
Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper before serving. Delicious with brown rice, cornbread or homemade biscuits!


This morning, I had some spare time before work and decided to experiment with baked beans in the slow cooker. They did not disappoint! I will be making them again and again.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans:

- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp Ketchup
- 5 or 6 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
- 2 cans red kidney beans
- 3/4 cup veggie broth
- salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and walk away! Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Loved them with couscous and a side of greens.

Have a wonderful and healthy weekend!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My Perfect Pancakes

Happy Friday!

Oh wait. It's Wednesday. It's my Friday though! I am vibrating with excitement, all packed and ready to jump on a plane tomorrow, heading south to run the Victoria marathon!
I feel ready to tackle 26.2 miles. It has taken a lot of running, doubting myself, persevering and finding my confidence again to get to this point.

Another thing that this training has required: FOOD, and lots of it. After stuffing myself every morning with pancakes much hard work, I have finally perfected my pancake recipe. It is the right blend of healthy and decadent - a good fit for a lazy Sunday as well as a busy Monday (you can freeze them and pop them in the toaster and yes, you can have weekday pancakes!).

My Perfect Pancakes: (serves 2)

- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all-purpose instead, but it does decrease the health factor)
- 1/4 quick oats
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 medium banana

In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a small bowl, combine milk, water and maple syrup.
Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until just combined. Slice the banana right into the batter and fold in. If the batter is too thick, add water, 1 tbsp at a time.

Let the batter stand while your pan heats up. You know what to do after this.
Serve with chopped walnuts and warm maple syrup. Drool.

Enjoy - I'm going to bed for some much needed rest!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Mushroom Pesto + Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes


What a very relaxing weekend this has been. Pancakes (I still haven't perfected the recipe enough to share it), running, reading, coffee, good friends, hiking, studying, and a s**t load of cooking. 

Living here in Whitehorse, we all know that when the Superstore is well stocked, you just have to buy it all, just in case a certain product disappears, not to be seen again for weeks on end. This is the case with cremini mushrooms. When they are around, I just have to buy them. And then the fun starts, when I get to decide on the fate of these poor mushrooms. GET IN MA' BELLY. 
So I made a double batch of lentil-mushroom-walnut balls (recipe can be found here), I made mushroom gravy to go with some mashed potatoes, and I made a kick-ass mushroom pesto. It is great on noodles, and fun on pizza with roasted asparagus and caramelized onions...the possibilities are endless!

Mushroom Pesto: 

- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2/3 cup walnuts, divided into 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste

Roast the garlic and saute the mushrooms until most of the liquid cooks off, about 12 minutes.
In a food processor, process garlic + lemon juice + parsley + olive oil + salt.
Add mushrooms + 1/3 of the walnuts and process until the mixture is combined but still has texture. Add the rest of the walnuts and the black pepper and pulse a few times to combine.


And then....there were cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes. We are talking vegan, gluten free chocolate cupcakes made with quinoa and tahini. To me, they were just a delicious piece of chocolate cake. And trust me, I know my chocolate cake. Face your fear of quinoa and try them - you won't regret it!

Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes:

- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 2 cups cooked quinoa

If you do not have cooked quinoa on hand, cook a batch according to package directions.
In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and refrigerate while you prepare the rest - this will allow the mixture to become gelatinous, the consistency of egg whites.
Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.
In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder + baking soda + salt and set aside.
In a blender, blend applesauce + vanilla + almond milk + maple syrup + flax/water mixture. Then add tahini, then quinoa. Blend until smooth and silky - this may take a few minutes.
Pour liquid mixture into the large bowl and mix with the dry ingredients - do not overmix. Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs clinging to it.

For the icing, I used 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips melted on low heat with 1/2 cup coconut oil. I then refrigerated the mixture for a half hour, added 2/3 cup icing sugar, and whipped until fluffy.
Thanks to the coconut oil, this icing hardens after you refrigerate the cupcakes and gives them some nice crunch!
Of course, feel free to substitute your favorite icing recipe.

Enjoy the snow - yes, we are September 30th, after all - and stay cozy, my friends!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sweet Potato Veggie Chili and Cornbread

Happy Saturday!

Tomorrow will be my last long run (20 miles) before the training tapers off until the marathon. I am getting excited! So I am taking it easy today, running errands, cooking, and drinking tons of water.

I have a little bit of time to share my favorite chili recipe and the deliciously sweet and crumbly cornbread that goes along with it. For the chili, don't be afraid of the long list of ingredients - they are mostly stuff that you have on hand. It was originally a turkey and sweet potato chili recipe, so feel free to add some cooked turkey in there (a good recipe for the day after Thanksgiving).

Sweet Potato Veggie Chili: 

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, finally chopped
- 1/4 cup jalapeno or banana peppers
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, with their liquid
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large sweet potato, diced

In a slow cooker, combine the oil, onion, green pepper, jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder and pepper. Cook on high for an hour, until the onions soften.
Add all other ingredients, and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.


Now, let's talk cornbread. This recipe isn't particularly healthy, but it's quick, easy, and delicious!
I added zucchini to the latest one I made (about 3/4 cup grated, and I decreased the milk by 1/4 cup to account for the extra moisture), but it's just as good without. It's a very forgiving recipe. Enjoy!


- 3/4 cup white all-purpose flour
- 3/4 whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup almond milk (or regular dairy milk)
- 1/2 cup water (add more, 1 tbsp at a time, if batter is too thick)
- 1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir in wet ingredients.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

This recipe also makes 12 muffins - they cook faster though, about 20 minutes.


Stay healthy, y'all!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Flourless Cookies and Portable Oatmeal

Happy Wednesday!

I'm on fire in the kitchen today. I have a chili on the go, I just experimented with a couple of recipes that turned out wonderfully, and I am planning on making zucchini cornbread later today. 
I happen to have mid-week day off to make up for the past weekend worked (which I worked to make up for our visit to the Kootenays). Anyway. This is a very welcome day off. 
We have some crisp blue sky, mild temperatures and bright fall colors outside. Love, love, love. 

The first recipe that I was inspired to create this morning is for flourless peanut butter cookies, which taste decadent while packing a nutritional punch. Each jumbo cookie has about 350 calories and 12g of protein. I try not to count calories - which is tough since I happen to know the calorie content of almost everything - but I thought some of you out there might want to have this information. 

I won't keep you waiting any is the recipe!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:

- 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup all-natural peanut butter (I used the crunchy variety, but smooth works just fine)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, and drop balls of dough onto baking sheet (I used a silicon baking mat, but otherwise you might want to lightly grease your baking sheet). Flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Let cool completely on a wire rack before devouring! This recipe makes 9 jumbo cookies. 

Before baking

After baking, and before disappearing!


As the Victoria marathon gets closer (less than a month to go!), I am starting to think about what foods I will eat on race day. While training this summer, a big bowl of oatmeal is what has worked best for me before long runs. I found myself wondering how I was going to be able to make good quality oatmeal in my hotel room on the morning of the race. This morning, I had a lightbulb moment: why not make PORTABLE oatmeal? I basically made my usual stovetop oatmeal into a baked and portable breakfast. 

Portable Oatmeal:

- 2 mashed bananas
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups large flake oats

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 4 half cup ramequins (a jumbo muffin pan would work as well). 
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, and scoop into ramequins. Pack tightly. 
Bake for about 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes. 
As soon as the ramequins are cool enough to handle, place oatmeal on a wire rack so that the bottom doesn't get soggy. 

Each dense baked oatmeal portion contains about 300 calories and 8g of protein. You can, of course, play around with the recipe and substitute your favorite oatmeal ingredients!

Enjoy the rest of your week! 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Catching Up

Hi y'all,

Life has been so very busy. You know what fixes everything though? A visit at my in-laws. I get to catch up on down time, family time, and, of course, blogging. I always come home feeling refreshed, refocused, reminded that family is what matters most.

I have been wanting to share a few recipes with you; none of them are my own creation, but all of them are worth trying in my opinion!

To start, let me ask you this: what if the best hot chocolate you ever had did not have an ounce of dairy in it? Would it turn your world upside down? It sure rocked mine.

You can find the recipe here. Hands down, it was the best hot chocolate I have ever had - dairy or no dairy!

Switching gears, this potato and lentil salad is healthy and hearty, perfect as a vegetarian entree paired with a hot cup of soup or as a side to chicken or fish. I have made it many times now, and have no intention of stopping! Click here for the recipe.


Last but not least, I was intrigued by this Super Power Chia Bread recipe. Now, keep in mind that this isn't your typical slice of bread, but it is a dense, filling, nutritious and delicious snack. Slather some hummus on it and top that off with slices of avocado, and you're good to go!

Soon, I will attempt a sweet version of this bread - I'm thinking raisins and cinnamon....I'll keep you posted.

Eat your greens and have a nice week!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Good old basic brownies and chia seed jam


I haven't been cooking a ton because of kitchen renos  - The Husband has been working on getting rid of our 80's pink laminate countertops and replacing them with concrete, also installing a new sink and faucet. Next, a tile backsplash. I'm so excited!

I did make some brownies the other day though. And not a "healthified" version either - just good old basic brownies. I do believe that when you eat well most of the time, there is definitely room for some butter, sugar and chocolate in your diet!

Good Old Basic Brownies:

- 1/2 cup butter
- shot of espresso, or 1/4 cup brewed coffee
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 oz coarsely chopped baking chocolate, or 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a square pan with parchment paper (2 criss-crossed pieces make it easier to lift the brownies out). I also sprayed the parchment paper with olive oil as an added precaution!
In a medium-size pot on medium heat, melt the butter until slightly brown (about 10 minutes). Add the espresso, sugar and cocoa powder. Take off the heat and mix well - the mixture will be a bit dry and crumbly. Let cool for a few minutes. 
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing vigorously before adding the other. Once the mixture is smooth and shiny, add salt, baking powder, vanilla and flour. Stir until no streaks remain. 
Fold in the chocolate chunks and pour into prepared pan. 
Bake for about 25 minutes (mine took a little longer because of the glass pan). Cool in pan on rack before lifting out and cutting into squares. 



I had a bunch of strawberries sitting in the freezer, so I decided to try a chia seed sam. Chia seeds form a gelatinous coating once immersed in liquid. Works like a charm! They add fiber and protein to this jam, while reducing the need for sugar. 

Strawberry Chia See Jam:

- 1 lb  frozen strawberries, washed, leaves removed (duh!)
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Simmer everything on low heat for about an hour, mashing the strawberries with a potato masher. 
That's it!

Have a lovely week!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Rosemary/oat bread


I have been going, going, going for the past little was time for my body to yell STOP. I stayed home today, feeling like I could barely move. Sore throat, aches and pains all over, dizzy - you name it. 

I was getting bored, in bed all day, and I was craving some fresh bread - fitting for a rainy day. Because I had nothing but time, I experimented with this rosemary/oat bread. It did not disappoint! With a thin, golden crust and a soft core, it would be perfect for sandwiches. 

Here goes....

Rosemary/Oat bread:

- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp of the warm water with the sugar, and sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave it to proof for 10 minutes or until foamy. 
Pour the remaining warm water over the oats and leave to soften, for about 15-20 minutes. 
In a big mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, oats, olive oil, rosemary, maple syrup and salt. Mix well. Add whole wheat and all purpose flour and mix until dough starts to come together. Tip onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes. 
Place ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rest for 2 hours. 
After 2 hours, punch down the dough to deflate slightly, then place into an oiled loaf pan. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a few oats, as well as a pinch of dried rosemary. Lightly press the oats and rosemary into the dough. 
Before the second rise

Cover again and let rest for another 1.5 hours. 
After the second rise

Preheat oven to 350F. 
Bake for 20 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil and bake for another 25 minutes. 
Turn loaf onto a wire rack and let cool for a bit if you can resist digging into it right away!


I feel guilty for missing work and my run today (and possibly tomorrow if I don't feel better), but sometimes, the body forces you to stop and rest. 

I had a very bad long run on Sunday under the Vancouver sun. I struggled to keep going as my legs just didn't seem to cooperate! I should have listened to what my body was trying to tell me then!

Have a relaxing evening everyone :)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday night Naan bread

What a nice weekend!

Yesterday was a busy day for me: running a half marathon as part of my marathon training, cleaning the house, finishing one of my nutrition course test papers, and, last but not least, catching up on The Bachelorette and Teen Mom. Yep. 
Today, The Husband and I headed to Skagway for a rainy hike and some Thai food. A good combo, let me tell you!
For dinner, we started with a whole baked brie (which we demolished), and then had veggies with humus and naan bread. Easy and fun!

Stove-top Naan Bread: 

- 3 tbsp plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp milk
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 cups all purpose flour (I actually used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose - makes for a bit of a denser bread - up to you!)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- salt, as required

Mix yogurt, milk, oil, water and sugar. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 
Knead until dough is soft (about 5 minutes). 
Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. 
Let rest for about an hour. 
Roll the dough into a sausage shape and cut into 5 or 6 pieces.

Flatten into discs with the palm of your hand, cover with damp cloth, and let rest for another 20 minutes or so. 

With a rolling pin, roll discs out until thin (they will puff up in the pan).
Yes, I am wearing pyjamas. 

Cook in dry pan on med-high until bubbly on one side, then flip and cook for another minute or so.


I hope everyone had a lovely weekend as well. 

Sleep is in order now. 

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Homemade "Laraballs"


I am really getting into the "meat and potatoes" of my marathon training program. 68 days to go until the race! I ran 15 miles on Saturday, and my next long run will have me cover 17 miles. No weird aches and pains so far - crossing fingers!
I have, however, been feeling a little weak, a little slow. There was a time, last year, when my friend Jennie and I would run some crazy hills like the wind! Now I find myself breathing hard and wanting to take walking breaks once in a while. 
It is time to add some strength training to my routine. Gym, here I come (barf)!

In my quest for handy running snacks, I attempted some Peanut Butter / Chocolate Chip Laraballs - energy balls inspired by my favourite flavor of Larabars. 

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip "Laraballs":

- 1 cup dates, soaked for at least 30 mins and drained
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp crunchy all-natural peanut butter
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips

In a food processor, process dates, salt, vanilla extract and peanut butter until a thick paste forms. This can take several minutes, and you may have to scrapes the sides of the food processor a few times. 
Pulse in the chocolate chips. 
Line a cookie sheet that fits in your freezer with parchment paper. 
This is when it gets messy! Form balls by rolling dough between the palms of your hands. This recipe makes about 12 balls. 
Freeze for at least 20 minutes, then store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
I will try wrapping the balls individually and taking a couple on my next run. 

We'll see how that goes...

Good night everyone!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Quinoa Granola

Good evening, friends!

I am excited to get The Husband back tonight, after him being away for the past week.
There was a time when I could not stand being alone. I felt abandoned whenever The Husband had to leave, whether it was for a night out with friends or for a few days at a hockey tournament. I used to drink and eat until I fell asleep, and that was how I filled my evenings.
I have somehow, over the past year, learnt to take care of myself, and I enjoy my time alone now (not as much as The Husband's company, mind you). I cook, bake, run, walk the dog, read, study, watch stupid shows and drink tea. The dog, cat and I have a grand old time!

I made a batch of quinoa granola last night. I got the recipe from It's All Good, Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook. It makes a great breakfast with a sliced banana and some plain yogurt. It seems to keep me full for longer than traditional granola, probably because of quinoa's high protein content (fun fact: quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs).
And why should it only be a breakfast food? I may or may not just have had some with Cherry-Amaretto ice cream....

Quinoa Granola: 

- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3 cups quinoa flakes
- Pinch of coarse sea salt
- 2 1/2-3 cups mixed chopped nuts/seeds/dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk olive oil and maple syrup in a large bowl.
Add quinoa flakes, and mix until well combined.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake, stirring a few times, until crunchy and golden brown (about 25 minutes).
While cooling, add nuts/seeds/dried fruit and sprinkle with sea salt.


That's all for today!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Muffins

Hello hello,

I hope everyone is having a fantastic start to their week! Mine has been busy, as usual. Study, run, eat, work, eat, study, sleep, repeat. Why do I do this to myself?

Nutrition is super-important for all of us living fast paced-lives. I am always trying to come up with ways to sneak extra vitamins and minerals in my diet, especially in the form of veggies. 
There was one thing that I have been too chicken to try until now....THE GREEN SMOOTHIE.
Yes, I did what I swore I would never do: I added spinach to my smoothie.
Let me tell you, I was shaking in my boots before drinking this thing!

Verdict? It wasn't that bad. You can't really taste the spinach when there is a banana in there. Still, I would rather eat my veggies than drink them. I will attempt the green smoothie again in the near future though!

Speaking of healthy snacks, I whipped up these peanut butter and sweet potato muffins a few nights ago. I was intrigued by this strange flavor combination that I had seen on a few blogs, so I decided to give it a go (tweaking the original recipes, of course). I was expecting these muffins to be very dense, but they were surprisingly light and fluffy! I loved them and would definitely make them again.

Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Muffins:  (makes 9 muffins)

- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I used whole milk, but even almond milk would work well)
- 3/4 cup sweet potato, cooked and pureed
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter (I used the crunchy kind)
- 1/2 cup oat flour (I just grind oats in the food processor)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a muffin pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together applesauce, milk, sweet potato, oil, vanilla, egg, maple syrup and peanut butter.
In a large bowl, combine oat flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Pour the wet ingredients over dry, and mix until just combined.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan, and bake for about 20 minutes.


In other news, our garden is doing really well!
I just went and grabbed some fixings for dinner: lettuce, tomatoes and dill. Thank you, Husband and Mother-in-law for all your gardening! I am now reaping the rewards of your hard work, hee hee hee.

'Night y'all!