Posts tagged healthy
Posts tagged healthy
I’m smitten with these Smitten apples! They are sweet, incredibly crunchy, and delicious!
After a quick Google search, I found out that these apples are a mix of the Gala, Braeburn, Falstaff and Fiesta breeding lines. So interesting! Read more about them here.
I always feel like the holiday day of a long weekend ends up being like a bonus: it is this free day that I wouldn’t otherwise have had, a day that I normally would have been at work. Most of the time I don’t even know what to do with myself with all the free time of my bonus day: should I clean the whole house? Or should I do a whole bunch of cooking and try some new recipes? What usually ends up happening is that the husband and I relax, read our books, go for a long bike ride, and just generally enjoy the freedom of our free day.
But something that had been lingering in my mind was a half-used bag of edamame sitting in the freezer. I had gone a little edamame crazy a while back, enjoying it prepared simply with a quick steam and a little pepper. But I found I got tired of it quickly, and now did not know what to do with the rest. Then it hit me while I was grocery shopping last week: I’ll make it into a dip! So at last I had a little project for my bonus holiday Monday.
After a quick internet search for recipes, I decided to use Alton Brown’s recipe for edamame dip, but I adapted it slightly to suit the ingredients that I had on hand. It turned out deliciously, and now I have just a little bit more freezer space!
Adapted from Alton Brown
2 cups cooked and cooled edamame (I used President`s Choice, it is pre-shelled and can be cooked in a flash in the microwave)
1/4 cup diced shallot
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground/dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
Place the cooked edamame, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, ginger and pepper into a food processor and process for 15 seconds. Stop to scrape down the sides and process for another 15 to 20 seconds. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once all of the oil has been added, stop, scrape down the sides and then process another 5 to 10 seconds (or as long as you like really until it reaches a smooth-ish consistency). Store in an airtight container for up to five days.
Weekday breakfast: (my) Bircher museli
I had eaten so-called Bircher muesli a few times at restaurants before I even knew what it was; I just remember thinking it was some form of cold oatmeal that was totally delicious. It wasn’t until I came across this blog post on Peanut Butter and Peppers that I finally figured it out.
I was thrilled to read that making this concoction is incredibly simple and that it uses ingredients that I always have on hand like rolled oats, greek yogurt and an abundance of fresh fruit. Here is my version, adapted from the recipe on Peanut Butter and Peppers.
My Bircher Muesli - serves 2 (small servings)
- 1/2 cup organic quick oats (I used quick cooking and it worked fine, but most recipes say to use regular rolled oats and not quick-cooking oats)
- 1/4 cup shredded apple, cored and unpeeled (use your favourite - I used a Gala)
- 1/3 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup 1% milk
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- a small handful of dried cranberries
- a big dash of cinnamon
- dash of vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together in a sealable container (I prefer glass). Refrigerate overnight for best results! Top with fresh fruit (I used strawberries), nuts, seeds and more yogurt. Perhaps even some honey or maple syrup if you like yours sweet!
Kiwi Kraze Frozen Yogurt
We finally made it to Kiwi Kraze this past weekend. I’d been hearing so much about this new shop, and both the fiancé and I had been wanting to try it. We first enjoyed the concept of self-serve frozen yogurt while vacationing in Las Vegas a few years ago, and we totally loved it!
Upon entering the store, the concept was completely apparent, so we helped ourselves to the self-serve cups and started to examine the flavours. I decided on cappuccino (the beige coloured yogurt), Dutch chocolate (the dark brown coloured yogurt) and white chocolate macadamia nut (the white coloured yogurt). Both the Dutch chocolate and the white chocolate macadamia nut were awesome, but the cappuccino definitely lacked any real flavour. The fiancé opted for orange, cranberry goji and cookie dough. The orange and cranberry goji flavours were great, but, again, the cookie dough didn’t have any real flavour.
All in all, Kiwi Kraze was a delicious treat and we will be returning to sample more of the flavours in the very near future! I am already planning my next combination..maybe banana sorbet mixed with chocolate? Mmmmmmmmmmm. Perfect to go with this spring like weather that is slowly spreading all over Ottawa.
Easy Saturday morning frittata
I felt like something a little more hearty for breakfast one recent Saturday, so I decided to put together a little oven-baked frittata.
It came out fantastic! Super flavourful and fresh, and packed with healthy ingredients. I will be making this more often now that I know how simple yet delicious it is.
Oven baked frittata (adapted from Chatelaine)
- 6 eggs
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 8 slices of bacon, cooked, drained, cooled, patted dry to get rid of excess grease and chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- a couple of small button mushrooms, finely chopped
- a handful of baby spinach and kale, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
- sprinkle of smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie place (using whatever you prefer - I used olive oil cooking spray).
- Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk briskly until combined. Add salt, pepper, herbs and paprika (and any other seasonings you’d like!) and mix. Add all of the veggies, bacon and cheese, and stir gently to combine.
- Pour into the greased pie plate and push the mixture around a little bit to make sure that all of the ingredients are fairly evenly distributed.
- Cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until the centre is just set. Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two. Slice and serve with toast and fresh fruit on the side.
Individual baked oatmeal cups
Just when you thought I couldn’t find yet another way to love oatmeal, I did just that! When I saw this recipe for individual baked oatmeal cups on the lovely Peanut Butter and Peppers blog, I immediately e-mailed it to myself to make on the weekend.
These little muffins are so versatile; you can add anything you like for flavours (spices, fruit, nuts) and you can adjust your preferred level of sweetness too. I opted to leave mine unsweetened save for a few pieces of chopped granny smith apple on top.
So simple to make, I whipped them up in no time, and I froze the whole batch to be able to pull them from the freezer for week day lunch snacks. They are fantastic!
Pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies
I had about a cup of frozen canned pumpkin that was leftover from some recipes that I made this past Thanksgiving. In search of a recipe that called for such a small amount of pumpkin puree, I found this recipe for pumpkin oatmeal cookies on the Love from the Oven blog.
These are not your regular cookies; they are different texturally, much more cakey and thick than gooey or crunchy. I loved them! The recipe is really simple and straightforward, and the cookies are delicious. What I also have liked about them is that I froze the entire batch, and have been pulling them individually from the freezer to thaw and eat, and they’ve still been fantastic. Click on the photo for a link to the recipe!
Fast Flavours: apple chicken with rosemary vanilla chutney
This has been one of my favourite Fast Flavours recipes by far. Chef Michael Smith took the most simple and delicious ingredients and combined them to make magic!
I have learned to love the combination of apple and either pork or chicken; apples complement the meats so well. I must admit that when I first read through this recipe and saw vanilla as one of the ingredients, I was a little bit tentative. But I got over it pretty quickly!
I have a few recommendations for sides to serve with this dish: the first night, the fiance and I ate it with a side of fresh steamed broccoli to soak up all the delicious juices. In its leftover form, I made some quinoa to go with it, which was also amazing and absorbed the delicious juices just as nicely as the broccoli. Serve it with your favourite starchy side!
Apple chicken with rosemary vanilla chutney, from Fast Flavours by Chef Michael Smith
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 apples, (unpeeled) cored and chopped, your choice (I used Gala)
- 1/2 cup of apple cider or juice
- 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp grainy mustard
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used sriracha)
- Heat a skillet (with a matching lid) over medium high heat. Add oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Once the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts. Cook until first side is golden brown, about 4 or 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side the same as the first.
- Remove chicken breasts and turn down the heat to medium. Don’t worry if the chicken is not cooked all the way though, it will finish cooking in the liquid during the next step.
- Add a splash more oil and the onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apples, cider/juice, vinegar, mustard, rosemary, salt, vanilla and hot sauce. Adjust the heat to bring to a steady simmer. Return the chicken to the same pan, and nestle them in the liquid. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so, turning the chicken breasts once during that time. Serve and enjoy!
Weeknight dinner: slow cooker chicken cacciatore
I had not used my slow cooker in a while so I decided to go through my recipe collection and see what I could try. I forgot that I had printed off a recipe for chicken cacciatore from the Prevention magazine website a while back so it made my decision easy!
This recipe is another great pantry staple (I used dried herbs instead of fresh); I had all of the required ingredients on hand, all I needed was some fresh skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
The result was good; I think it needs a bit of tweaking for next time. Perhaps for the next go around I will make the effort for the fresh herbs. What impressed me most was how the chicken came out: incredibly moist and tender. We served ours on a bed of jasmine rice but I think it could be eaten by itself or over your favourite starch!
Click here to link to the recipe!
Weeknight dinner: egg white omelette on whole grain toast
This is one of my favourite quick weeknight dinners! It takes no time to make and is delicious, healthy and hearty.
- 1/2 cup egg whites (I use Naturegg Simply Egg Whites)
- small handful of fresh chopped kale
- small handful chopped red bell pepper
- 1 green onion, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- sprinkle of smoked paprika and Italian herbs
Heat a non-stick pan and spray with cooking spray. Add green onions, bell pepper and kale, and cook until slightly softened.
Add egg whites, salt and pepper, smoked paprika and Italian herbs. Cook until egg is set, flip for a short time to cook off the other side. If desired, add a dollop of cottage cheese and fold omelette over. Serve atop a slice of whole grain bread and your choice of condiment (ketchup, salsa, sriracha).
Fast Flavours: Oatmeal meatloaf muffins
Continuing on my quest to try one recipe a week from Chef Michael Smith’s newest cookbook, Fast Flavours, I made these oatmeal meatloaf muffins one recent evening.
Chef Smith’s recipe calls for medium ground beef, but I used ground chicken instead. As well, his topping for the loaves indicates horseradish as one of the ingredients, but I’m not a fan so I omitted it.
These mini meatloaves were very easy to put together and pop in the oven, and I really liked how quickly they cooked versus loaf-style meatloaf, which usually has to cook for at least an hour or more. The result? Delicious, moist mini loaves, full of flavour and texture. These are definitely on my easy weeknight dinners list! We served our mini loaves with steamed green beans (and roasted acorn squash for me).
Click on the photo for a link to the recipe.
Chuck Hughes’ beet salad
This salad already made a small appearance in an ealier post but I wanted to share the recipe for it as it is just so easy, delicious and healthy!
My sister and I made this salad as part of our Ode to Chuck Hughes Feast, which we created using recipes from his cookbook, Garde Manger. We are both big fans of Chuck and became even bigger fans after dining at one of his Montreal restaurants, Le Bremner, earlier this year.
We chose this beet salad to accompany the more rich mains that we had selected to make (Chuck’s clam chowder and lobster rolls) and because we were able to find a mixture of all sorts of lovely beets (candy cane and golden) from my local farmer’s market. To make the salad, Chuck calls for the cleaned and washed raw beets to be shredded, but my sister and I decided to do a small dice instead. Next, chop up some fresh dill to taste; we used quite a bit as we really like dill! Place the chopped beets and dill in a serving bowl and add a splash of both olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper; toss and serve! The salad was fantastic - so fresh and delicious!
Steel cut oatmeal
Like I said on National Oatmeal Day, I eat a lot of oatmeal. But something that I’ve only recently tried has become my new favourite: steel cut oats!
I bought the President’s Choice steel cut oats as they were on sale for $1.88 for a 840g size package, a steal of a deal if you ask me! My main purpose for purchasing the oats was to try out some different slow cooker recipes (that’s a story for another day), but I finally got around to giving the stove-top version a try one recent Sunday morning. I followed the package directions (but halved the recipe as the boyfriend was not interested in the least) and, when there was just a few minutes left of cooking time, added half a chopped Gala apple, a small handful of dried cherries, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some slivered almonds. It was everything I had hoped it would be: thick, hearty and tasty.
I’d love to be able to make this at work for breakfast each day, but the microwave directions call for an insane amount of time so I think this will either have to remain a weekend-only treat or I will have to explore the idea of making a batch ahead of time and reheating individual portions for breakfast.
What I love most about oatmeal is that the opportunities for flavour enhancement are boundless; let your flavour imagination run wild!
Happy National Oatmeal Day!
National Oatmeal Day might as well be every day for me! I eat oatmeal very, very often, so much so that I’ve got it down to a science: half a cup of these oats, mix in some dried fruit (usually dried cherries or cranberries), some chopped nuts (usually almonds, walnuts or pecans) and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add boiling water, stir, wait, enjoy!
Oatmeal is a food for which I developed a taste quite late in life, relatively speaking. I didn’t really come to adore it as much as I do now until just a couple short years ago, in my late 20s. I realized that it was one of those foods for which the preparation was a key factor. Having had it prepared for me a certain way when I was a child (soupy, wet, watery) made me think that there was no other way that it could be eaten. It wasn’t until I played with it a little bit and discovered the way that I liked it prepared (quite dry, not soupy) that I fell in love.
To officially celebrate National Oatmeal Day, which happens each year today, October 29, I decided to make this delightful apple pie baked oatmeal. I found the recipe on the fantastic Nutritious Eats blog (click on the photo for a link to the recipe), and, after quickly scanning the ingredient list, I was psyched to realize that I had all the ingredients on hand to make it. It is so simple to put together and smelled amazing while slowly baking away in the oven. The result was delicious, hearty and paired perfectly with my steaming cup of coffee. I added a generous dollop of non-fat greek yogurt to my oatmeal for an extra textural sensation and to crank up the creaminess factor. The best part? I get to re-heat all week and re-live National Oatmeal Day over and over again while I enjoy the leftovers!
Marbled Banana Bread
Banana bread is one of those baked goods for which most people have a go-to recipe, one that they use all the time and maybe even know the recipe by heart. Perhaps it was their Mum`s recipe, or just one that that they`ve come to know and love.
I fall somewhere in the middle of this scale. I have a few favourite recipes, but I also absolutely love to try new ones. The ingredients in banana bread are such that they can be changed in so many ways. I like to try healthier variations, like using apple sauce or yogurt as part of the wet ingredients, or not so healthy variations with lots of butter or oil (just telling the truth!).
I must admit that, in all these years, I`ve never attempted a marbled banana bread until now, and one that is so simple! The recipe, which is from the lovely Post Punk Kitchen blog, came up in my blog feed and I was a little unsure at first - there are no eggs in this recipe - but I went for it. The verdict? A-ma-zing. I think what intrigues me the most is the simplicity of the chocolate swirl: it is a few tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and hot water mixed together to form a paste, and then combined with some of the banana mixture.
You know what? I think I found my new go-to banana bread mixture! Click on the photo for a link to the recipe.
P.S. - This is technically a vegan recipe, but I used regular old milk instead of non-dairy milk.