Monday, July 14, 2014

Kale and Squash Brown Rice Bake

I remember doing puzzles every summer as a child, but I only found out this year, that my Mom had one ready for us the day that school ended to help us transition into the summer. Now I realize why I feel like doing a puzzle at the beginning of my vacation or a few days off. So, true to form, when I recently finished a 7 day stint at work, Louis and I pulled out a puzzle to complete. It was really relaxing and fun, and a great way to transition into my weekend. 

Lucky for me, I had more than 2 days off this time so I had time to really start to enjoy my summer. We went paddle boarding a few times, ran some much needed errands, worked on the house, and I did some baking and cooking as well as playing with my awesome new espresso machine.

When I have time like this, I always try to prepare some meals that will work as left overs for the busy days ahead, and this is one of those meals that surely won't disappoint.  

Kale and Squash Brown Rice Bake
adapted from The Spectrum Diet, recipe by Art Smith 2007

2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp finely chopped red pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped celery
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp Italian spices
1 C brown rice
1 C water
1 1/4 C vegetable broth
salt (if using low salt broth)
1 small butternut squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1/2 C canned tomatoes
14 oz can lentils, drained and rinsed
4 C kale, blanched
1/4 C fresh parsley
freshly ground pepper
1/2 C Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Saute the onion, red pepper, celery, garlic and Italian spices in a small amount of oil in a saucepan until they soften ( about 5 minutes)
2. Add the brown rice, water and 1 C of broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Season with salt if desired. Cook until all liquid is absorbed ( about 45 minutes to 1 hour)
3. While the rice is cooking, place the squash cut sides down on a baking sheet and roast until a fork can pierce the flesh ( about 40 minutes). Cool the squash and peel it. Cut into chunks.
4. Once the rice is finished cooking, add the tomatoes and lentils to the saucepan and stir well. Allow to heat thoroughly
5. Blanch the kale until it is tender
6. In a casserole dish, layer the rice mixture followed by the squash, the kale, then sprinkle with parsley and the cheese. Drizzle with the remaining broth.
7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes

Great as left overs!

approximate nutritional information ( for 8 servings)
cal 206
fat 2.8g
  sat fat 1.1g
carbs 40.1g
   fiber 4.5g
   sugars 4.4g
protein 9.6g

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Canada Day! Fresh Mache and Pea Salad & Strawberry Scones

This post won't be long because I want to get outside and enjoy the fantastic weather we've been having. However, I wanted to give you a couple of really fresh testing seasonal recipes with a hint of red and white to help you celebrate our nation's birthday. Happy Canada Day!

Fresh Mache and Pea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
adapted from "Spring Mache Salad" from Food to Live By by Myra Goodman 2006
serves 1

1/2 C fresh shelled peas, sugar snap peas or a combination of both
1-2 large handfuls of Mache
1 large stalk of celery, sliced
2 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

1. Arrange all ingredients in a bowl and top with Lemon Vinaigrette

Lemon Vinaigrette
serves 2-3

Juice from 1/2 of a large lemon + an equal amount of garlic infused olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp dill

1. Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid. 
2. Shake vigorously. 
3. Store left overs in the fridge for use within a couple of days. 

Approximate Nutritional Information per serving with vinaigrette

cal 211
fat 14g
   sat fat  2g
carbs 14g
    fiber 4g
    sugars 5g
protein 6g

Strawberry Scones
adapted from "Raspberry Cream Scones" from Food to Live By by Myra Goodman 2006

parchment paper
1.5 Tbsp chia seeds
1 1/4 C Almond Milk 
3 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C sugar plus 2 Tbsp for topping
1.5 Tbsp baking powder
3 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter cut into bits and chilled
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C fresh strawberries, hulled, washed, and sliced

1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Preheat oven to 400F
3. Mix chia seeds with 1/3 C of the milk in a medium bowl and set aside to gel
4. Place the flour, 1/2 C sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. 
5. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter or your hands, blend the mixture until it is crumbly
6. Add the rest of the milk and vanilla to the chia mixture. Whisk well to combine. 
7. Add the chia mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just barely combined. Gently fold in the strawberries. 
8. Turn out the dough onto a gently floured work surface. Shape the dough into a disk about 4 cm thick. Cut the dough into 10 wedges. 
9. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. 
10. Brush the scones with a small amount of milk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
11. Bake until golden brown and firm to touch, about 15-20 minutes. 
12. Serve warm. 

Approximate Nutritional Information
per scone

cal 260
fat 8.9g
  sat 4.9g
carbs 40.6g
   fiber 2.4g
   sugars  10.4g
protein 4.5g

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Charred onions and Fiddleheads

When we were kids, my family would head to northern New Brunswick for at least a week every summer to spend time with my grandparents and extended family. My grandparents owned a farm, so I remember picking (and eating) fresh vegetables and berries, collecting eggs, and running around in the barn and yard. When it was raining or we had moved in for the night, we always played UNO or Lobsters and Fiddleheads. I would take a wild guess that most of you have never even heard of the game Lobsters and Fiddleheads. When I googled it, the only thing that popped up was the abandoned trademark information. I honestly can't remember how to play the game, but I know that the next time I'm at the farm, I'm looking around to find that game and relive some family memories. Outside of playing a game about fiddleheads, fiddleheads were also always on the menu when we were there. My grandmother picked her own fiddleheads and froze them to have out of season. As a child, I don't think I was enamoured with them, but their unique shape helped get them down ( along with a healthy helping of vinegar to mask the bitter taste). Now, I like to have them at least once a year when they're in season, and this is how I like them cooked. I know I'm late posting this recipe, but if you can still get some fiddleheads, this is a simple and tasty way to cook them up.

Charred Onions and Fiddleheads

2 Handfuls of Fiddleheads washed
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful slivered almonds

1. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat.
2. Saute onions in dry skillet until they begin to char
3. Add fiddleheads and continue to saute for another 10 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the balsamic
5. Serve topped with almonds

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Return to Blogging and Chocolate Chili Power Balls

My return to Blogging (and a Life)

Well let's just say that I definitely didn't keep my promise to provide you with a new recipe every week this year. I haven't even been able to do one a month for the past little while, but things, they are a changing. I have a new job, a nicer schedule, and my stress levels are down which means lots more time to do the things I love like cooking, blogging, exercising and eating healthy food.

I've decided to start with a great recipe that I adapted slightly from the Thrive Diet. I am going hiking this weekend with a great friend of mine and need some portable snacks that provide an energy boost and more importantly, chocolate.

It's been a while since I've been on a good hike, and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with nature. Although this time of year is the worst for bugs, the temperatures are perfect for a day outside in the sun. We're going to a mountain that used to be a ski hill. I guess some local residents have been fixing the place up for the last couple of years so that people can enjoy the mountain again on foot or on their bikes. We used to drive by the hill all the time when I was younger so I'm hoping that I get nostalgic when we arrive. I love the memories that seem to resurface in those times.

This recipe is so easy. It only takes minutes to prepare so you could even do it the morning before a hike if you wanted.

Chocolate Chili Power Balls
adapted from "Spicy Chocolate Energy Bars" from The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier 2007

1 small banana
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 C soft medjool dates
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C cocoa
1/4 C ground flaxseed
1/4 C walnuts
sea salt to taste
2 Tbsp hemp seeds

1. In food processor, process all ingredients together except the hemp seeds. 
2. Shape into balls and coat with the hemp seeds

Makes 12 balls

Nutritional Information ( per ball)
cal 129
fat 4.7g
carbs 22.7g
    fibre 3.4g
    sugar 17.2g
protein 2.6g

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mini Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake

Mini Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake


1/2 C favorite cookies, crushed ( I used chocolate chip)
20 ml melted butter

8 oz package light cream cheesecake
20 ml packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp cocoa
scant 1/4 C whipping cream
2.5 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp Kahlua

Whipped Cream
Coffee Beans

1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
2. Grease a 6 inch springform pan. 
3. To prepare crust, melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the crushed cookies. Press the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. 
4. To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cocoa and ginger in a large bowl until smooth. 
5. Bring whipping cream to a boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat, and stir in chocolate until melted. Stir in the Kahlua and blend into the cheese mixture.
6.  Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Cool before removing from pan. 
7. Garnish with fresh whipped cream and coffee beans. 

Nutritional Information per serving without garnish ( 4 servings)
cal 400
fat 20g
  sat fat 12.5g
carbs 52.5g
   fiber 2.5g
   sugar 30g

protein 5g

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cinnamon Plantain Chips

Cinnamon Plantain Chips
adapted from " Crunchy Cinnamon Plaintain Chips" in The Thrive diet by Brendan Brazier 2007

1 large plantain
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 300 F
2. Oil the baking sheet with a small amount of coconut oil
3. Peel and thinly slice the pantain. Place on the prepared sheet.
4. combine the remainig oil with lemon juice, and rub on each plantain piece with fingers. 
5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt. 
6. Bake for 25 minutes

Nutritional Information for 1 serving ( serves 1 ):

cal 355 
fat 14.5 g
   sat fat 13 g
carb 58.7 g
   fiber 4.7 g
   sugar 10.2 g
protein 2.1 g

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
adapted from "sweet pepper hemp pesto" by Brendan Brazier in the Thrive Diet 2007

2 cloves garlic
2 roasted red peppers, seeded
1/2 C fresh basil
1.5 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1.5 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. 
2. If desired, heat gently in a saucepan. 
3. Use as a pizza sauce, a dipping sauce, a topping for burgers, a pasta sauce or a topping for meat, fish or veggies. 
4. Store left overs in the fridge

Nutritional Information for 1 serving (serves 8):

cal 65
fat 5.6 g
  sat fat 0.9 g
carbs 2 g
  fiber 0.8 g
  sugar 1.7 g
protein 1.8 g

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup

And I'm back after a crazy hiatus! I apologize to my loyal followers, but it was a much needed break to take a university nutrition course as well as get a small business up and running. Of course, even though I haven't been posting anything on here lately, I've still been cooking lots of yummy food and taking pics, so I'll be posting something every day or two until I'm all caught up. Today it's going to be Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup. Its one of those recipes you want to keep going back for more, and its okay because its loaded with protein and fiber and low in fat and sugar.  

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup
adapted from 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal Barnard, M.D which can be found here; recipe by Jason Wyrick of the Vegan Culinary Experience.

1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
6 cups cooked black beans, low-sodium if canned
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
Bay leaf
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 small potatoes, chopped

1. Sauté the onion, peppers, and garlic over medium heat until they are soft. 
2. Puree the onion, garlic, and peppers. Add about half the beans and puree with enough water to create a semi-thick soup. 
3. Return this to the pot and add the remaining ingredients (except the potatoes). 
4. Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the potatoes and continue simmering until they’re soft. 
5. Before serving, remove the bay leaf (or eat around it). 

Nutritional Information Per serving (for 4 servings):
Calories: 407
Fat: 1.9 g
Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
Protein: 20 g
Carbohydrates: 80 g
Sugar: 5 g
Fiber: 26 g

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Feta and Quinoa Stuffed Mini Peppers

In honour of the warm spell, we decided it was only fit to fire up the barbecue tonight for supper. I cooked these peppers in the oven, but they go well with grilled meat, fish, or veggie burgers and a nice green salad.

Feta and Quinoa stuffed Mini Peppers

6 mini peppers
1 C crumbled sheep's milk feta
1/2 C cooked quinoa
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 C chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Wash the peppers and cut them in half, lengthwise
3. Mix the feta, parsley, and quinoa together in a small bowl. 
4. Stuff each pepper with the feta mix, and sprinkle walnuts on top. 
5. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. Walnuts should be golden brown. 

Approximate Nutritional Information (per pepper)
cal 161.5
fat 11.2g
sat fat 3.5g
carbs 10.1g
fibre 2.7g
sugars (natural) 4.3g
protein 6.1g