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 while...it 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!