Sunday, 29 June 2014

Running snacks


Another blustery day here. Is summer ever coming? We did get a bit of a teaser with two beautiful sunny days on Friday and Saturday. Yesterday, The Husband and I hiked the Fish Lake trail. My ankles are feeling it today (I still ran my 6 miles this morning though).

Thank you Patty, a.k.a. The Best Mother-in-law Ever, for leaving us with lots of your delicious oatmeal cookies. It was so nice to enjoy them at the top of the mountain!


Being in the early stages of marathon training, it's a good time for me to experiment with snacks until I find the "fuelling strategy" that will work best for me on race day. The snacks have to:
- taste good (I'm not forcing anything down my gullet that I don't enjoy)
- be portable
- be easily portioned into small bites
- replenish carbs, but also some salt

Last year, when I was training for the Vancouver marathon, I mostly used sports "gummies" during my runs, such as Honey Stingers and Clif Shot Bloks (see picture below). However, I also struggled with a lot of nausea and gastro-intestinal upset during long runs (usually above 12-13 miles).

This time around, I am trying new things, hoping to find snacks that will not upset my stomach.
So far, it seems like Larabars are working well. I LOVE Larabars, for their great taste, of course, but mostly for the simplicity of their ingredients. The cashew Larabar, for example, contains dates and cashews. That's it. Which, of course, brings me to the conclusion that I should really try making my own, but that's an experiment for another day.

I recently picked up Gin-Gins all natural ginger candy. They are individually packaged chewy candies made with ginger, sugar and tapioca starch. I am hoping that the ginger will help with the nausea - I haven't yet tested them on a day when I actually felt sick though.

The Clif Builder's bars are not a "during the run" kind of snack, but they work well as a recovery snack when I don't have time to sit down for a proper meal. They contain 20g of protein and no freaky ingredients, even though the ingredient list is longer than I like to see it.

Soon, I'd like to experiment with snacks that do not taste sweet, like pretzels, or maybe nuts.

If anyone has suggestions, fire away!


I haven't had much time for cooking and baking this week, but I have finally found a pizza dough recipe worth copying in my recipe book. You can find it here.

I followed it to the letter, and the crust turned out very well: not too thick, not too thin.

I splurged on some good quality whole wheat flour, and I am looking forward in using it in other recipes.

There are few things as satisfying as kneading a nice ball of dough!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Walnut Chocolate Espresso Tart

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am so excited, I cannot contain myself. I improvised big time on this recipe, and I am so incredibly proud of the result! 

What we have here is a chilled dessert, with a crunchy crust and a smooth filling, sweetness from the chocolate and bitterness of the espresso....pure magic. 

Oh, and because The Best Mother-in-law Ever got me a piping bag set and I just couldn't wait to try it, I added some banana icing. Just for kicks. 

I have broken down the recipe into three parts: crust, filling and icing. 

Walnut Chocolate Espresso Tart

The crust: 

- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup coarsely ground walnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. 
Process walnuts in food processor until coarsely ground (see picture below) and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add walnuts, salt and vanilla and stir until well combined. 
Mix in the flour, 1/3 cup at a time, until dough is smooth. 
Press dough into a tart pan with your fingers and bake for 18-20 minutes, until edges start to brown. 
Let cool completely before filling. 

The filling:

- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours and drained
- 1 cup walnuts, soaked for a few hours and drained
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup espresso or brewed coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- pinch of salt

Soak the cashews and walnuts in a bowl of water for at least 2 hours (can be done overnight). 
In a small pot on low heat, melt chocolate chips with cocoa powder, espresso, salt and vanilla extract. 
When melted and smooth, pour chocolate mixture in a food processor and add drained cashews and walnuts, as well as maple syrup. 
Process for a few minutes, until thick and smooth. 
Pour filling into crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. 
Freeze for at least 4 hours, until set. The icing is optional, but can be piped on before freezing. 
Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving, but keep dessert in the freezer otherwise. 

The icing: 

- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 small banana, mashed until smooth
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup icing sugar, divided

Cream the butter with 1/2 cup icing sugar. 
Add mashed banana and lemon juice. Mix until fully combined, the add the rest of the icing sugar. 
Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. 

Have fun with it!
I sure did. 


Oh, and by the way, after sitting in the back of my car for over two weeks while I was deciding on its fate, the good old scale is finally GONE.
I left it at the "free store" of the local recycling depot today. Hopefully it serves a purpose for someone out there other than being an instrument of torture.

Take care of yourselves, everyone!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

How green is your pasta?

Good morning!

I present to you two of my new loves today: avocado pasta and homemade pesto.

I was a little skeptical of a recipe that basically called for guacamole mixed into noodles. So, being the nice wife that I am, I tried it while the husband was out of town. I loved it! So fast and easy to make, satisfying, healthy and creamy. And, because I am a nice wife (as established previously), I made it again for The Husband - this recipe also got his stamp of approval.

You can find the original recipe here.
I used spinach pasta, because I just really like green stuff.


I had never made pesto before. The Husband came back from the store with 3 packs of gnocchi the other day (also called potato-dumplings). I love them simply served with pesto. Since we had no pesto but a lot of basil, I decided to give it a shot!
I used a combination of several recipes, but pesto is very forgiving so there is definitely room to play around with ingredients and proportions:

- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup fresh mint
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- about 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor, combine herbs, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan until smooth. Add olive oil in a steady stream while still processing (you may have to scrape down the sides a few times) until desired consistency is achieved. You may choose to add more or less olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.

Next time we have a gnocchi craving, I will attempt to make my own.

I wish you all a happy and relaxing Sunday!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A crackers and granola kind of day

Good morning!

Am I ever tired today. I woke up at 5am to run 5 miles before work, and even though I got a decent amount of sleep, I definitely feel like I could have used more! 

I am so happy to be running again though, after a 9 months hiatus. Call me crazy, but I love the constant feeling of soreness, The Goal (marathon), huge and daunting, and the happy endorphins dancing in my body when out on a morning run. 

After running 8 miles on Sunday morning, I thought that the best way to spend the rest of the way would be up on my feet, cooking all afternoon :)

I started by making a big batch of granola (boxed cereal with good quality ingredients is just ridiculously expensive!).

Here is the recipe:

Olive Oil and Maple Granola

- 4 cups large flake oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp water
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups mixed dried fruit and nuts

Preheat oven to 350F
In a large bowl, combine oats, salt and cinnamon.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together oil, water, syrup and vanilla extract.
Pour wet ingredients over dry, and mix well. 
Spread mixture on a baking sheet. 
Bake until golden and crispy, stirring every 10 minutes (about 40 minutes). 
While the oats are still warm, mix in the dried fruit and nuts. 
Let cool completely - the oats will get crispier as they cool.

Then I decided to try something I had never made before: crackers. And Oh My Goodness, I am in love. These crackers happen to be Gluten Free. I do not care much for the whole gluten free movement (unless you have a severe gluten intolerance, that is), but I stumbled  upon a recipe that looked easy and delicious, so I decided to give it a shot, making a few changes along the way.

Gluten Free Rosemary Thyme Crackers:

- 1 cup cooked brown/wild rice blend
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tbsp rosemary 
- 1 tbsp thyme

Preheat oven to 350F
In a food processor, combine rice and quinoa with olive oil until it forms a thick paste. 
Add all other ingredients and pulse until combined. 
Spread paste on parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Place a film of plastic wrap over top of the mixture and use a rolling pin to roll as thin as possible. 
Remove the plastic wrap (duh!) and place parchment paper on baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. 
Cut or rip into cracker-sized pieces, and bake for another 10 minutes or so until crispy (monitor carefully for burning at this point!).

They are so good! They even passed the  Husband taste-test, and he doesn't like quinoa. 
I will definitely be making them again, experimenting with different flavors (sun-dried tomatoes and basil, anyone?).

Any other ideas of flavor combinations are welcome!

Have a wonderfully healthy day, y'all! 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Mushroom, spinach and sun-dried tomato wheat berry risotto


Let's start with a morning smile, shall we?

Now that this is out of the way, let's talk about wheat berries.

Wheat berries and I, we go way back. I just didn't know they were called wheat berries until recently! They were a comfort food for me growing up in France, where they are marketed under the brand name "Ebly".

A few months ago, I asked my parents to bring some back from France for us. Man, had I missed my Ebly. I have since realized that Ebly is just wheat berries, and that YES, we can find them in Canada (just not in a yellow package, but usually in the bulk section).
Wheat berries are whole, unprocessed wheat kernels. They are a good source of magnesium, potassium, B Vitamins and Vitamin E.

Most importantly, they are delicious. They are quite versatile and can be used in most recipes that call for pasta, or rice...

Hence this mushroom, sun-dried tomato and spinach risotto!

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 cups (packed) spinach
- pinch of salt
- ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup uncooked wheat berries
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup white wine (pardon the giant bottle - the parents were just visiting...)
- Vegetable stock (I used 2.5 cups, but you may need more or less depending on how much liquid is absorbed)
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped

- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts

Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil, until onions are translucent.
Add mushrooms and cook until soft, then add spinach and sauté for an additional minute or two.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the wheat berries, balsamic vinegar and white wine.
When white wine is completely absorbed, add a 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.
When the pan is mostly dry, add another 1/2 cup of broth.
Repeat until the wheat berries are cooked (it took me about 20 minutes and 2.5 cups of broth).
Add the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and optional ingredients if desired.


I absolutely loved this risotto. It was filling without being too rich - the perfect meal to end a Saturday of Zumba, swimming, walking the dog and studying. I feel sorry for The Husband who is out of town, but the good news is, there are lots of leftovers!


Now let's play a little game:
Can you guess which junk food these ingredients belong to? Please post your answers in the comments below or email me at!

Have a wonderfully healthy weekend everyone (just don't eat the stuff in the picture above)!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Happy Hump Day everyone!

So. Kids. There is a reason why all the recipes I have come across call for half white flour and half whole-wheat flour in burger buns. I had made them before, following the original recipe to the letter (without wheat gluten). They had turned out wonderfully soft and fluffy.

This time...not so much! They were definitely...crusty. They tasted great, and would made great dinner roll or bread - just not the ideal burger buns!

I got the original recipe for Holy Cow Vegan: Whole Wheat Burger Buns.

Nevertheless, it was a delicious meal. These chickpea/sweet potato burgers just never disappoint!

Here goes:

- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1 medium sweet potato, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 of an onion, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup oats, processed into coarse flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I use Panko)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, process the oats with the almonds (until coarsely chopped), then add the chickpeas and process until mostly smooth.
Place mixture in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients, mix well and form patties.
These burgers can be baked (about 12 minutes each side), or barbecued until slightly charred (our favourite).

Serve with hummus, lettuce, pickle and tomato on a SOFT (haha) burger bun. A-MA-ZING.


It has been a few days of life without the bathroom scale. So far, so good. I feel like I am forced to listen to my body even more, eating nutritious foods when I am hungry and stopping before I feel too full.
I disregarded my hunger/satiety cues for so may years, I am still learning to recognize them.

Alright peeps, I am off for a quick post-dinner walk with the dog, then it will be time for some studying, powered by some herbal tea and an almond butter ball or two!

Have a lovely rest of your week, and I will most likely be posting on Sunday - I have a fun game in store!

By the way - if anyone knows of a healthy recipe for SOFT burger buns that does not include white flour, please let me know in the comments below :)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Fitting it all in

Good afternoon!

I am having a great day, feeling productive! It started with some studying, then a three mile run and breakfast before going to work. On days like today, it seems like cramming everything that I want to do in one day is no problem 
But what happens when life happens? When friends invite you over, when family comes to visit, when the dog poops on the bed (knock on wood, it hasn't happened in a while) or when work gets crazy? 

I don't have all the answers. It's a constant juggling act. Marathon training, work, friends, husband, walking the dog, studying for my nutrition diploma, yoga, baking, cooking, and still finding time to "turn my brain off" with, aherm...reality shows. Oh yeah, and now blogging. I am aiming to post at least 2 or 3 times a week - we'll see how this goes!

I had a relaxing evening last night, having a simple dinner (baked sweet potato and a big salad).

I poked garlic into the sweet potato before baking it for extra flavor :)

I also prepped dinner for tonight, because I work until late and I know I'll be starving after work (and yes, The Husband could be cooking dinner, but I just really felt like cooking last night). 

I made chickpea patties, that we'll just have to barbeque (well, I say "we" but I'll make The Husband do it - he's the BBQ master).

I also made whole wheat buns. It was my first time using only whole wheat flour instead of half whole wheat and half white - I think they turned out fine but I didn't get to try them, so I'm eager to see what they will be like for dinner tonight!

I will post the recipes later this week, so check back in a few days!

I'm off to study some more on my lunch break. 

Have a wonderfully healthy day!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Fun run, almond butter balls and stir-fry

Good morning!

This morning doesn't exactly feel like summer. It's all grey, windy and blah outside. So I figured I would start the day with a cozy candlelit breakfast! Why not! 

I had peppermint tea, cantaloupe and oatmeal loaded with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. 

I was starving last night after a busy day that started with a local fun run. The course was about 5.4 miles, and since I am in the early stages of training for a marathon, I considered it my long run for the week. 

I decided to try a stir fry recipe from Oh She Glows. Hers was "light on the noodles", but since I was so hungry, I decided to double the noodles! In hindsight, I should have just stuck to the original proportions - all these soba noodles took away from the veggie deliciousness. It was a great recipe though, and I would make it again with some adjustments:
- I would use honey instead of granulated sugar
- I added yellow pepper and mushrooms, which worked really well, but I would use more carrot and less mushroom next time
- Stick to the "light on the noodles" part :)

And ta-da, I have lunches for the week! (And I am obsessed with Mason jars)

A couple of hours after dinner, I was craving some almond butter balls in a major way! I made them for the first time last weekend for a friend's baby shower and it was love at first bite. I found a recipe for peanut butter balls on that same blog (Oh She Glows) and really wanted to try it, but I was almost out of peanut butter. I did, however, have a giant jar of almond butter that we got from Costco in Vacouver a few weeks ago. Instead of rice crisp cereal, I used a crushed up rice cake - worked like a charm! I'm obsessed with these!

Here is the (modified) recipe:

- 1 cup almond butter (I used all-natural roasted almond butter with no salt or sugar added)
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2-3 tbsp coconut flour for desired consistency
- pinch of salt
- 1 crushed up rice cake
- 3/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (I was out of dark)
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Mix almond butter with maple syrup. Add coconut flour, one tbsp at a time, until mixture is thick enough. Add salt and rice cake crumbs. Form balls (about 20).
Stick in the freezer with you melt chocolate chips with coconut oil over low heat. When chocolate is melted, take the balls out of he freezer and roll them around, one by one, in chocolate with a fork. 
Freeze for about 25-30 minutes. 

I had a couple with a cup of vanilla roibos tea and it was heavenly. 

Did I mention that I am obsessed with Mason jars?

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Ditching it

I am that person. The one who posts pictures of her meals on Facebook. I do it because I am proud of them, but I realize that, maybe, not every one of my friends wants to see what I made for dinner. I know that some of you out there might though - just like I cannot get enough of blogs like Oh She Glows, No Meat AthleteFitSugar and Holy Cow to name a few. Enter this blog. If you are interested in nutrition, then come check it out.

I have never been a private person. Most people around me know that I have struggled with an eating disorder, that I currently battle infertility.

Over the past few years, I have freed myself from negative self-talk, calorie-counting, binge-eating and alcohol. I have discovered a passion for cooking healthy recipes and baking decadent treats (a good balance, I think!), and embraced my passion for nutrition. I am learning every day to love my body and accept myself for who I am, even when I don't love what I see in the mirror.

There is just one more thing that needs to go. Dun dun dun dun..... THE SCALE.

Since I was 11 or 12, I have been weighing myself every single day, usually twice a day, as a feeble attempt to feel "in control". What has happened instead, is that the scale has been ruling my life, dictating whether I should feel good about myself or not on a given day.

So it is time. Time to ditch it. I figure that blogging will keep me accountable and honest with myself on this journey. It is very scary for me to think that, come tomorrow, I won't know how much I weigh. The irrational fear is that, without the scale and its illusion of control, I will get bigger and bigger. Deep down, I know that it's a ridiculous way to think. I know that I will most likely just maintain my weight if I keep listening to my body and treating it with respect.

Now there is one question left...what the heck should I do with the scale? I could give it to a friend, but it would feel like handing out a poisoned apple. I could just leave it in the "donation box" of my recycling depot. I could smash it with a hammer , as one of my girlfriends suggested, but it would feel like a waste.

Any ideas?

To whomever is reading this, thank you for visiting my blog! I will be testing and reviewing recipes, sharing my own from time to time, and just writing about my quest for eating life in general.

Stay tuned!

I shall leave you with a couple of pictures of Maggie, our odd looking and poorly behaved dog, that The Husband and I love so much!