recipe

I'm baaaack!

guys. I've been MIA and for no good reason at all…aside from the fact that I've been studying my butt off to get my Precision Nutrition Certification! ahh! so hard but so worth it! I mean check it out, I'm official! you're not truly a fitness professional until someone else says you are, right!? but enough about that. I'm returning with a new monthly feature I want to start, starting TODAY.         (drumroll please)…P+N's menu of the month! have any of you ever scoured the internet to find new and exciting recipes to make because you're just so damn tired of the five things you always make? have you ever tried something new from a cookbook in an effort to be innovative, only to discover that it didn't really pan out, or wasn't all that great to begin with? after hearing comments like, "I'm so bored of what I'm making", "I need new recipe ideas", "what do you eat?" "can you just come cook for me?" day in and day out, I've decided that the next best thing - aside from me coming to your kitchen and food prepping for you (which, might one day be arranged) - is giving you a look into my daily menu! I'm giving you healthy, simple and taste-bud-approved recipes that will keep you lean and super satisfied. 

disclaimer: this meal plan is not for everyone. those of you who need variety - eating something different every day of the week, sorry guys, you gotta look elsewhere. that's just too fancy for me. or those of you looking for decadent French cuisine…yeah, no. I'm a working progressional that wakes up at 4am to get to work by 4:45am. some nights I'm not home until 7:30. and as much as I'd love to eat like a Frenchman...

you'll see below that I'm including recipes, as well as portion sizes. you'll notice that Patrick eats a helluva lot more than I do, because his goal right now is to maintain his muscle mass and drop his BF%. it takes an awful lot of food to maintain those biceps. my goal is specifically fat loss. I've taken a break from my strength gain goal to take 6 weeks and focus solely on fat loss. how does my diet differ? currently, I'm eating very few carbohydrates and focusing heavily on lean proteins and healthy fats.

so without further adieu….here's the MENU of the Month:

Breakfast. 

Patrick (+ Nicole on my non-4am days): Feta + Veggie Egg Scramble

ingredients: 6 eggs for him/3 eggs + 3 whites for me, 1/4 cup feta cheese, 1/2 cup red pepper, 1/2 cup onion, 1/4 cup spinach, 1/2 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBSP salsa, 2 pieces of whole wheat toast (for him)

directions: heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. dice veggies and sauté until soft and tender. once translucent, add spinach and pour scrambled eggs on top. add feta cheese and sprinkle with black pepper (if desired). scramble until eggs are cooked to your liking and remove from heat. top with salsa (or hot sauce) and enjoy. Patrick enjoys his with 2 pieces of whole wheat or pumpernickel toast, smeared with 1 pat of butter.

Nicole: on 4am days (+ afternoon snack for Patrick): Vanilla Toffee Berry Protein Shake

ingredients: 1.5 scoops of vanilla pea protein powder for me/2 scoops for him, 3/4 cup frozen berries, 1.5 cups unsweetned almond milk, 1 TBSP natural peanut butter, 12 almonds (+ 1 banana for him)

directions: blend until smooth and enjoy!

Lunch. 

Nicole: Shrimp, Feta + Avocado Salad

ingredients: 8oz of shrimp, 1/4 cup feta, 1/3 avocado, handful of chopped baby carrots, 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar, served over 3 cups of mixed greens.

directions: I buy my shrimp frozen from Costco. once defrosted I cook them in 1 TBSP of butter with minced garlic, paprika and black pepper. once pink, remove from heat and store in the fridge. I pile all of my other ingredients on top of my greens first, and finish with a drizzle of balsamic. basically, pile this on top of your greens and top it off with shrimp, or, try this delicious recipe for a bright summer salad.

Patrick: Garlic Shrimp + Bell Pepper Stir Fry

ingredients: 10oz of shrimp, 2 cups of red/yellow/orange peppers, served over 1.5 cups of brown rice.

directions: shrimp is cooked the same above (guess who does the cooking). peppers are sliced thin and sautéed in 1 TBSP of olive oil with minced garlic, Mrs. Dash salt-free herb/garlic seasoning and coconut aminos. boil brown rice in low-sodium chicken stock for a more flavourful side. try this at home if you'd prefer quinoa in place of rice.

Snack: 

Nicole: roasted salted almonds (24 pcs.) or 2 TBSP of natural peanut butter on a salt-free rice cake (fat loss isn't always glamourous!)

Patrick: (1) two Double Chocolate Protein Cookies  with an apple. yep. we're still stuck on these. we do use pea protein powder and dairy-free chocolate chips instead (warning: don't try these with egg white protein powder, they turn out really spongey.) (2) Protein Shake (see above). you think I'm kidding the boy never stops eating.

Dinner: 

Nicole + Patrick: Ground Beef Burrito Bowls

ingredients: 7oz of ground beef for me/10oz of ground beef for him, 1/3 avocado, 3 cups of romaine, 1/2 cup chopped peppers, 1/4 cup feta (we're primarily a diary-free household, so we stick with sharp cheeses, but you can use cheddar or mozzarella), 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup black beans (for him), 1/4 cup corn (for him), 1 cup cooked cilantro brown rice (for him), 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar.

directions: cook ground beef to your liking. I use paprika, black pepper, basil and oregano. you can also use steak like this recipe, but our little home doesn't have a grill. top all veggies over your bed of rice (if applicable) and serve hot ground beef on top. drizzle with dressing and enjoy! it's like going to Chipotle…only without 5000mg of sodium and less guacamole (sad face).

 

as you can see, Patrick gets to enjoy a lot more yummy carbohydrates than I do, but we choose to eat according to our goals and according to our body types. most of all, we choose to eat well - in taste and in nutritional value. this works for us. we prep all of our proteins on Sunday and re-heat throughout the week. it's easy. it's effective. and it keeps our bellies happy.

stay tuned for next months edition! feel free to request or suggest recipes - or send reviews!

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

feeding a {healthy} family without breaking the bank.

how can I feed my family of 5 fresh, healthy food without going broke?  help! I cook for my family, but then I'm too tired to make something healthy for myself. 

it's easy to cook for 2. but what about an entire household of tiny mouths and sticky fingers? 

 

over the past week I've received more than a handful of requests for a blog post on how to healthfully feed + fuel a family. so ladies (and gents), here it is.

but first, let me ask you this: do your children eat healthy food? real food? unprocessed food? do they eat what you eat (assuming you eat real, whole foods)? if your answer is yes, please go start a bath for yourself and relax. because you are doing something very right. if your answer is no, why the hell not? I know, I know, I'm not a mom. I don't understand. kids are picky, selective and tiny little monsters that only eat finger foods. you can say I told you so someday. but for now, let me say this:

you choose to eat healthy, why? because you know that choosing whole foods and real ingredients will help prevent disease and premature death? because eating well makes you feel good? because you know that your body operates and performs best on real foods? so then, why would you not want those same things for your children?

despite how you might feel, you are more than a sous chef. you are the boss. you dictate what will be eaten. I may not be a mom, but I do have one. and I can vividly recall having to sit at the dinner table for over an hour, eating salmon whilst plugging my nose because I hated it. it was the grossest thing in the world. but it was good for me, and I was not leaving the table until it was finished. and now…I love salmon and look forward to eating it! if all children were allowed to eat only what they wanted, we would all have grown up on mac and cheese and been blissfully unaware that leafy greens even existed. be the adult. make one menu and adapt as necessary.

#1. Learn The Art Of Meal Planning 

You can save a lot of money by knowing what you need and how much you need for each recipe you intend to make during the week instead of buying impulsively at the supermarket. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and pull up Pinterest. Pick 7-14 recipes you want to make (choose some that incorporate the same ingredients - money saver). Write down all the ingredients needed, along with the quantities appropriate for the number of mouths to feed in your house. Budget for leftovers. ta-da! your grocery list is made. cross off anything you already have in the pantry and you've just created your weekly menu.

Breakfasts are usually easy. Pick one or two staples and stick with them. Have time to make eggs every morning? Great! Start your day with an egg and veggie scramble. If not, pre make egg muffins with chopped veggies, bacon, ham and/or cheese. Make a batch of protein pancakes and keep them in the fridge. Keep ingredients on-hand for yogurt parfaits.

Snacks just require some shopping and chopping. Veggies with hummus or guacamole. Hard boiled eggs. Homemade trail mixes. Protein balls. You want something transportable for those trips in the car to and from school, or those after-soccer-practice snacks. Again, make sure you've got the ingredients and then make a batch big enough for an army. Keep the leftovers in the fridge so there's always a healthy snack option at your fingertips.

Lunches and Dinners can be a bit more involved. I'd choose one to make in the crockpot or a wok - something super easy that you can just throw together and make enough for everyone to enjoy. If you have a bit more time to spend in the kitchen, feel free to get creative. Just try to incorporate a protein, a non-starchy veggie, a healthy fat and a complex carbohydrate.

#2. Buy + Prepare in Bulk

It's 2015. Everyone has a Costco membership, right? It should be mandated if you have 2 or more children. because seriously. buying in bulk is the greatest thing ever. Sure! A gallon of olive oil seems excessive, but it'll last you forever and you'll probably pay the same amount for a few ounces at your local grocer. You can get 6lbs. of chicken breast and make it 3 or 4 different ways! Preparing in bulk allows you to repurpose an inexpensive piece of protein in order to get the biggest bang for your buck. Toss some in the crockpot to season and toss on top of salads. Make a soup. Use it in a casserole. and don't forget, once upon a time we ate the same thing every single day. I don't' know where we got the notion that eating something more than once a week is a terrible idea, but scrap it. leftovers are your best friend.

#3. Fresh Is Best - Frozen Can Be Better

Vegetable prices can vary tremendously based on the season. Cabbage and squash tend to be affordable year round, but some of your other colourful veggies can be pricey depending on the time of year. So check the frozen selection! Frozen is just as fresh as fresh…and sometimes even fresher (because it hasn't been sitting on a truck for days on end). Make sure it doesn't have added sauces or salt, and then stock up!

#4. Get A Pet Chicken

I'm only sort of kidding. this wouldn't fly in my house. but seriously. grow your own stuff. shop local. and if you know someone with chickens, ask them if you can buy their eggs.

#5. Don't Buy Drinks

No, your kids don't need juice. Give them an orange instead. and no, they certainly don't need sodas and other sugary beverages. consider it an investment in their dental health. Drink water.

I only have one mouth to feed, but for those superheros among you, you are not alone. Here are some links to great moms who do it all:

http://www.thebettermom.com/bi-weekly-meal-plans/

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/healthy-eating-planner-31-days-of-superfoods/

http://wellnessmama.com/1612/full-week-meal-plan-recipes-shopping-list/

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

the gift that keeps on giving: Fat Loss Cookbook

writing and nutrition are two of my favourite things. this past fall I decided to mush the two together to create the Fat Loss Cookbook. after hearing "I'm so tired of eating the same things all the time. how can I add variety and still eat well?" more than a million times, I decided to write a book that compiles a bunch of really great recipes, adjusted for the most fat-burning potential. there are so many delicious and mouth-watering recipes out there…but if you're going to spend the time to make them, you want to know that a. they taste damn good, and b., they're not adding to your waistline. am I right? I made it as easy as 1,2,3. I found the recipes. I adjusted and modified where necessary to promote fat loss and cut excess calories. I taste tested the recipes. and then I computed the macronutrients so you know EXACTLY what you're putting into your body. can it get any easier? aside from me coming to your house to cook for you, I just did it all little fitness bunnies. 

If you like to eat. or you know someone who likes to eat. and likes to eat well. the Fat Loss Cookbook is probably one of the best gifts you could give them this year. I know everyone in my family will be getting one!

Here are a few of the comments clients have shared with me thus far:

"Made the slow-cooker black bean tacos…fantastic! The whole family loved them. On the menu this week…balsamic pork roast and unstuffed cabbage rolls. Great work Nicole. You're the best!"

"On the menu this week: quinoa stuffed peppers, crunchy top apple baked oatmeal, creamy broccoli white bean soup, turkey burgers and quinoa chicken parmesan! Love the book!"

"I absolutely love the cookbook. I bought one for our household and then bought two more to gift to my family! What a great idea!"

I'd love to hear what you think and which recipes your family loves!

Cookbooks are available for purchase! Give the gift that keeps on giving. Contact me at nnmarie@gmail.com if you're interested!

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

 

 

 

Time: the [not so] secret to healthy eating.

A new study conducted by  The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (if you don't know already, they're a pretty big deal. #crediblesource) revealed that people who spend more time preparing and cooking meals are more likely to have healthier diets. Those who spent the least amount of time in the kitchen also spent the most amount of money on food away from the home and were more likely to eat out at restaurants and fast food chains. Not exactly rocket science. If you aren't cooking and preparing food at home, you'll have to get it elsewhere. But the cool part - when it came to weekly food spending (grocery shopping, eating out, etc.), those who prepared more meals at home spent, on average, $7 less for each family member per week. sooo…all that talk about healthy eating being more expensive is trash. BAM! excuse destroyed.

The study highlights the need for more nutrition education and teaching on how to prepare meals quickly and more cost effectively. I get it, you've got more important things to do than watch quinoa boil, but hey, if it keeps you healthier and saves you money, it's pretty hard to turn down. Take an hour or two out of your weekend and sit down and decide what you want to eat for the week - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - then make a grocery list. Hit up your family owned supermarket, or, you know, wherever you get your food shopping on, and stock up. Then, don't' just unload the groceries, but start the prepping process…wash and chop veggies, cook up some easy proteins, pre-package snacks, etc. And make BIG batches, so that you can have meals readily available for leftovers. Think of it as an investment in your week.

Fortunately for you, because I love this stuff, I've created a Kitchen Workout tutorial:

What Do I Need?

-       Use of an oven/grill

-       Pots + Pans

-       Cooking utensils

-       Groceries

-       An hour or two of free time

What should I make?

The easy answer: whatever healthy food you want to eat!

Step 1. Go grocery shopping.

Step 2. Get rid of your family members and all other distractions. Lock yourself in the kitchen for at least 60 minutes.

Step 3. Make a plan. What meals do you want for the week? How much do you need to make to last you until your next food prep?

Step 4. Get to work!

 

Suggestions:

PROTEINS:

-       Grilled chicken breasts (marinate with balsamic/Italian dressing)

-       Salmon (season with dill + lemon juice)

-       Flank steak

-       Shrimp (marinate with pesto + olive oil)

-       Ground turkey breast (season with basil, oregano + coconut aminos/low-sodium soy sauce)

-       Hardboiled eggs

-       “Undeviled eggs” – hardboiled egg whites stuffed with hummus and/or guacamole

-       Pre-portion Greek yogurt + cottage cheese into Tupperware containers

 

CARBS:

-       Brown rice (made with low-sodium vegetable/chicken broth)

-       Quinoa (made with low-sodium vegetable/chicken broth)

-       Sweet potato fries (season with olive oil + paprika)

-       Overnight oats (place oats in a sealable jar with milk, Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts and honey. Refrigerate overnight.)

 

VEGGIES:

-       - Wash + chop veggies used for breakfast scrambles + salads (e.g. onions, peppers, carrots, celery, etc.)

-       Roasted asparagus/broccoli/brussel sprouts/cabbage (season with lemon pepper + olive oil)

-       Stir fry (e.g. peppers, onions, carrots, snap peas seasoned with coconut aminos/low-sodium soy sauce)

-

Easy Recipe Ideas: 

Slow Cooker Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

-       4 chicken breasts (4oz each)

-       2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces

-       2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” pieces

-       1 cup chicken broth

-       2 garlic cloves, minced

-       1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

-       1/3 fresh basil, finely chopped

-       Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions (to cook):

  1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and place lid on top. Cook for 4 hours. Serve.

Directions (to freeze):

  1. Combine all ingredients and put into a gallon size freezer bag.
  2. Freeze.
  3. Defrost overnight in refrigerator and pour contents into slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Servings: 4 Calories: 415 Fat: 3g Protein: 57g Carbs: 36g

 

Fall Flavors Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

-       1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package instructions

-       2 TBSP honey

-       ¼ cup lemon juice

-       1 tsp Dijon mustard

-       3 TBSP olive oil

-       1 cup Granny Smith apple, diced

-       1/3 cup golden raisins

-       1/3 cup dried cranberries

-       ¼ cup red onion, diced

-       1/3 cup parsley, chopped

-       ½ cup walnuts, chopped

-       2 cup chicken breast, cooked and chopped into 1” pieces

-       Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Slowly whisk olive oil until blended.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together cooled quinoa, dressing and remaining ingredients.
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves: 6 Calories: 487 Fat: 14g Protein: 52g Carbs: 38g

 

Apple Streusel Egg Muffins

Ingredients:

-       3 large green apples, chopped (aprox. 2 cups)

-       3 TBSP warm water

-       1 ½ TBSP butter (or coconut oil)

-       9 large eggs

-       3 TBSP coconut milk

-       1 ½ TBSP coconut flour

-       ¼ tsp baking soda

-       2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium skillet, sauté the apples, water, 1 ½ tsp cinnamon and butter until the apples are the consistency of chunky applesauce or apple pie filling.
  3. Allow mixture to cool before combining with egg mixture.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut milk, coconut flour, ½ tsp of cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  5. Add cooled apples, reserving ¼ cup for garnish.
  6. Spoon egg and apple mixture into parchment lined muffin tips (approximately ¼ cup each).
  7. Gently spoon about one teaspoon of the remaining apple mixture onto the top of each muffin.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.

Serves: 12 Calories: 100 Fat: 6g Protein: 5g Carbs: 6g

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

Quinoa. sweet + savory.

Quinoa. [keen-waa]. n. a grain crop grown for it's edible seeds. or, better known as that stuff that sort of tastes like rice but looks like tiny pasta. it's high in protein and fiber, gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly and contains all 9 essential amino acids. 1 cup of cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked) contains 222 calories. 4g of fat. 39g of carbohydrates. 5g of fiber, and 8g of protein. Coined as a 'superfood', quinoa dates back three to four thousand years ago when it was known as, "the gold of the Incas" as it was believed to increase the stamina of their warriors. I don't know about you, but being unmatched in physical strength and mental endurance sounds pretttty darn appealing. am I right!? but really…why eat quinoa?

- Quinoa is one of the most protein rich grains, containing all 9 essential amino acids and 8 grams of belly-filling protein per cup.

- Quinoa contains almost 2x as much fiber as any other grain (e.g. rice, corn, wheat), helping to prevent heart disease, reduce high blood pressure and diabetes and aiding in weight loss.

- Quinoa contains both iron and magnesium, helping keep your red blood cells healthy and aiding in blood sugar regulation.

- Quinoa contains lysine which helps with tissue growth and repair.

- Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2) which helps to improve energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.

 

But how do I make it!? 

Easy. The cooking process for quinoa is very similar to rice in that, all you need is a pot, some water or stock, a measuring cup and BAM, you're good to go. I prefer to use low-sodium vegetable/chicken/beef stock or bullion to add some flavor to my quinoa, but if all you have is water, that works too! The secret to good quinoa is all about the flavoring. The grain itself has a slightly earthy taste, but quickly absorbs the flavors of the ingredients you add to the mix. One of my absolute favorite quinoa recipes is as follows:

Mexican Summer Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

- 2 cups quinoa, uncooked and rinsed

- 4 cups water

- 1-2 tsp low-sodium beef bullion

- 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

- 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

- 1 avocado, pitted and diced

- the juice of 1 lime

- basil, to taste

- sea salt and pepper, to taste

- optional add ins: chicken breast, feta cheese, corn

 

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan on high heat, bring 4 cups of water and 1-2 tsp of bullion to a boil.

2. Once boiling, add 2 cups of uncooked quinoa. Stir.

3. Reduce to medium heat, cover, and let cook for approximately 12 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

4. Once absorbed and the quinoa has begun to spiralize (little strings will appear), reduce to low heat and continue stirring for an additional minute or two.

5. While quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, avocado and any desired add ins.

6. Once quinoa has cooked to a fluffy texture, remove from heat and add to other ingredients. Mix to combine.

7. Squeeze lime juice on top and mix thoroughly to incorporate. Add basil, sea salt and pepper, if desired.

8. Enjoy hot or cold!

I love making a big batch of this quinoa salad to keep in the fridge for quick meals throughout the week. I'll often add it to a bed of spinach with some grilled chicken and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The best part about it is it's versatility! You can keep it vegetarian, you can add feta for a bigger kick, you can mix in a protein of your choosing (chicken, shrimp, etc.) for a bigger, more nutrient-dense meal, you can stuff it in a cooked sweet potato…the options are endless!

I also really enjoy this sweet quinoa salad with dried cranberries and pistachios by my dear friend Anne over at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen. yum. it's the perfect side dish to complement a savory meal.

So even if you don't know how to pronounce it, you should give it a try. It can be made 100 different ways and it will put hair on your chest (so to speak). How can you go wrong!? What's your favorite quinoa recipe?

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

RECIPE: Caveman Chili over Cauli-Rice

Last night my nose was running, my cheeks were slightly flushed and my tongue was on fire. A weird strain of the flu? Nope. Just a delicious bowl of Caveman Chili. For dinner last night, I served this dish over cauli-rice (one of my favourite sides ever) and today I happily had the leftovers on top of a salad. Mmm mmmm.
Serves: 8
Ingredients:
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 pounds of ground beef (or turkey)
  • 14 ounces tomatoes, canned, drained, chopped
  • 4 ounces green chilies, canned, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more/less, to taste)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
Cauliflower Rice
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • basil and ground pepper, to taste
Directions:
Caveman Chili
  1. In a medium sized saute pan, saute onions, peppers, and garlic until they become soft and translucent.
  2. Add crumbled ground beef/turkey and cook until brown.
  3. Drain off excess fat and transfer the meat and chopped vegetables to crock pot.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  6. Enjoy and serve!
Cauliflower Rice
  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Cut cauliflower into small bite-sized florets. Toss into a food processor (You can also use a cheese grater).
  3. Once cauliflower has taken on a rice-like consistency, add to skillet.
  4. Add minced garlic, basil and pepper (or seasonings of your choice), stirring frequently.
  5. Once cauliflower softens and browns slightly on the edges, remove from heat and serve under a heaping ladle full of chili!

We love to use this recipe in our house because it's something you can toss together in the crock pot before work, forget about all day and have dinner ready in less than 20 minutes! Easy to make and easy to eat. This is a perfect meal to make a large batch of to store in the fridge for the week. You can always toss in extra veggies or omit a few if you don't have them on hand and it still promises to be filling and savoury.

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

Eggs Anyone!?

Easter is here! And if your family is anything like mine you probably have a lot of eggs lying around…eggs for hiding, eggs for dying, eggs for eating (and I don't mean the chocolate kind)…so what are you going to make with all those eggs? Try these fantastic (I almost said eggsellent, but rest assured, I edited) recipes from Skinnytaste.com:

Avocado Egg Salad Servings: • Size: 1/2 cup • Calories: 154.7 • Fat: 11.7 g • Protein: 9.3 g • Carb: 4.6 g • Fiber: 3 g • 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4 hard boiled egg whites, chopped (discard the rest)
  • 1 medium avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo)
  • 1 tbsp fat free plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • pinch freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Combine the egg yolks with the avocado, mayo, yogurt, chives, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mash with a fork. Combine with egg whites and adjust salt as needed. Easy as 1-2-3 and perfect for when you don't feel like cooking (or maybe you've been cooking all day and you don't feel like cooking…again). Add to salads, wraps and sandwiches.

Broccoli and Cheese Mini Egg Omelettes Servings: 4 1/2 • Size: 2 omelets • Calories: 167 • Fat: 8.5 g • Carb: 5 g • Fiber: 2.5 g • Protein: 18 g • 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 whole large eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 c. grated cheese of your choice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • cooking spray

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°. Steam broccoli with a little water for about 6-7 minutes. When broccoli is cooked, crumble into smaller pieces and add olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spray your non-stick cupcake tin with cooking spray and spoon broccoli mixture evenly into 9 tins. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, eggs, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Pour into greased tins over broccoli until a little more than 3/4 full. Top with grated cheddar and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the refrigerator to enjoy during the week.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs Servings: 12 • Size: 1 piece • Calories: 44 • Fat: 3 g • Protein: 3 g • Carb: 2 g • Fiber: 1 g • 

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs, hard boiled 
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2-3 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp red onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp diced tomato
  • pinch chile powder (for garnish)

Directions: Peel the cooled hard boiled eggs. Cut the eggs in half horizontally, and set the yolks aside. In a bowl, mash the avocado and 2 whole egg yolks; discard the rest. Mix in lime juice, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Gently fold in tomato. Scoop heaping spoonfuls of the guacamole into the 12 halved eggs. Sprinkle with a little chile powder for color and enjoy. If you happen to have guacamole on-hand, this process becomes a lot easier!

Light Spinach and Feta Frittata Servings: 4 servings • Serving Size: 1/4 of frittata • Calories: 140.6 • Fat: 6.8 • Carbs: 5.5 • Fiber: 2.2 g • Protein: 15.2

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 oz crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions: Squeeze all water from spinach. In a 9 inch non-stick sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and scallions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add salt, pepper, cheeses and spinach and mix well. Pour the mixture into the skillet and cook for approximately 10 minutes (or until egg mixture sets). Serve hot.

and for the sweet toothed foodies among us...

Chocolate Chip Clouds Servings: 30 • Serving Size: 1 cookie • Calories: 53.7 • Fat: 2.2 g • Carb: 8.4 g • Fiber: 1.7 g • Protein: 1.1 g

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:  Heat oven to 300°F. Cover cookie sheet with silpat/nonstick silicone pad. Using a mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together in large bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar a little at a time, then vanilla, beating well after each addition until you get stiff peaks, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is glossy. Sift cocoa onto egg white mixture; gently fold until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop mixture by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Makes aprox. 30 cookies. Bake 34-40 minutes or just until dry. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire rack. Store covered, at room temperature.

 

Have a Happy, Healthy Easter!

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

My new favourite meal. Ever.

Do you like that extra u in the title? Favourite. That's how the Brits spell it and I still have my laptop set to the English - UK setting. I'm just super classy like that. Okay. Food. The reason we've all gathered here today. As the title alludes to, I have found a new favourite recipe (or two). It's delicious. I like it so much I ate it last night for dinner and polished off the leftovers today for lunch. and get this - I was so anxious to eat it that I forgot to take pictures BOTH times. But don't freak out! I've adapted these recipes from Gina at SkinnyTaste.com so if yours looks like hers, you know you've done something right.

First, we have the warm, comforting base: Cauliflower "Fried Rice" 

And no, those are not misplaced quotation marks, because, there is absolutely zero rice in this recipe!

Ingredients: 

Servings: 4 • Portion: heaping 1 1/3 cups • Calories: 108 • Fat: 3 g • Carbs: 14 • Protein: 9 g • Sodium: 868 mg •

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 scallions, diced, whites and greens separated (If I don't have these on hand I'll skip it)
  • 3 tbsp low sodium GF soy sauce

Directions: 

1. Coarsely chop cauliflower into florets, then place half of the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice – don't over process or it will get mushy. 2. Set aside and repeat with the remaining cauliflower. 3. Combine egg and egg whites in a small bowl and beat with a fork. 4. Heat a large sauté pan/wok over medium heat and spray with oil. Add the eggs and cook, turning a few times until set; set aside. 5. Add the coconut oil and saute onions, scallion whites, peas and carrots and garlic about 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. 6. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the cauliflower "rice" to the saute pan along with soy sauce. 7. Mix, cover and cook approximately 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. 8. Add the egg then remove from heat and mix in scallion greens.

Then we have the sweet, tangy top: Stir Fried Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas + Carrots

Ingredients: 

Servings: 4 • Size: just under 1 cup • Calories: 179 • Fat: 5.6 g • Carb: 7 g  • Protein: 27 g • Sodium: 238 mg 

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp water

For the Stir Fry:

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced

Directions: 

1. Combine soy sauce, lime juice, and water in a small bowl, mix together and set aside. 2. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. 3. When the wok is hot, add half of the oil, then add the chicken. 4. Stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and browned, about 3-4 minutes. 5. Spoon the chicken to the side of the wok (or remove and set aside to prevent overcooking) and reduce heat to medium. 6. Add the remaining oil to the wok; add the garlic and ginger, stir for 20 seconds. 7. Add snap peas and carrots, stirring over medium high heat until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes. 8. Add the soy sauce-lime mixture, mix well and cook another 30 seconds to one minute. Serve and top with fresh scallions.

 

While these are separate recipes and can be enjoyed on their own, I go one step further and serve the chicken stir fry on top of a bed of the cauliflower "fried rice". Amazzzzzing. Who wants to come over for dinner!?

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

RECIPE: Wild Caught Cod + Julienned Veggies

My mom's awesome. Case and point…she flew across state lines to nurse me back to good health this week. What a doll! One of the best things about having her home (bed buddy aside) are the delicious meals she makes for us. Last night we had filet mignon with roasted asparagus - I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture. And tonight she fed us Wild Caught Cod over Julienned Zucchini and Carrot Noodles.

I've included the recipe below 'cause I know you're all drooling.

Wild Caught Cod + Julienned Veggies:

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

- 2 cod filets (aprox. 4 ounces each)

- 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- 1 tsp Bayou Cajun Seasoning

- 2 garlic cloves, minced

- ground black pepper, to taste

- 3 zucchini

- 2 large carrots

Directions:

1. Drizzle 1 TBSP of EVOO in a medium sized skillet set on medium heat. 2. Once the oil has spread, add thawed cod filets (we use frozen filets from Costco, but fresh works just as well). 3. Sprinkle Bayou Cajun seasoning (or another seasoning of your choice) on top of fish filets. Note: Cajun seasoning  has a slight punch to it, so depending on your preference you can add more or less. 4. After 4-5 minutes, flip the fish and sprinkle seasoning on top. 5. While the fish is cooking, use your julienne peeler to make your zoodles (zucchini noodles). Proceed with the carrots (coodles doesn't sound as cool). You could also use a mandolin slicer. The result will be similar but you will have ribboned noodles instead. 6. In another medium sized skillet, add the second TBSP of EVOO and, over medium heat, sautee your julienne vegetables. WATCH YOUR FISH! 7. Don't get so enamored with your colorful veggies that you forget about your cod (I've been there). 8. Remove your fish from the heat once cooked through. 9. Add minced garlic and fresh ground pepper to your vegetables and stir occasionally, moving raw vegetables to the bottom of the skillet. 10. Once your veggies are soft and noodly, remove from heat. 11. Serve your Cajun Cod over your julienned vegetables and enjoy!

The best part about this meal is…well, a few of the best things:

- It's delicious and you can season it however you like. For example, I try to avoid added salt, ergo, we added garlic + pepper to our vegetables and got a little wild with the Cajun seasoning.

- It's very low in calories. 4 oz of cod is approximately 120 calories of lean protein. 1 cup of zucchini goes for about 20 calories and 1/2 cup of julienned carrots only runs you up another 26 calories. Throw in a TBSP of olive oil and you're still only looking at a 286 calorie meal. BAM. Room for dessert maybe!?

- It's quick and easy. Two adjectives that don't always have positive connotations, however, when applied to your required culinary investment, take it and run.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

To Do List: Cook! Eat! Enjoy!

It's not the best kept secret that I'm not your every day Emril in the kitchen. (Lagasse - for those of you who are less culinary savvy than I am). In fact, I once had a date tell me that our "relationship" (mind you, we had only met an hour earlier), was at the end of it's road because he was, in fact, looking for someone who could cook. Ouch! I think I went home and stood in the kitchen barefoot just to prove that I could. Just kidding. Back to the point - I wouldn't stand a chance on any of those cooking competition shows on cable. It certainly doesn't stop me from watching them, but seriously!? How do those home cooks do it without a recipe? As a single girl cooking for one, I do a pretty darn good job. I have my favorites that I whip up on a weekly basis, but since going Paleo in 2014, I've had to broaden my repertoire to include grain-free treats to keep my belly full and workouts strong. Here's how it usually goes down - knowing I have a few hours of free time, I roll up my sleeves, turn up the music and make sure I have the fire extinguisher ready (again, I kid. I'm not thaaat bad.) I set out all of my ingredients, make sure I have the recipe easily accessible and get down to business. An hour or two later, usually something smells good and is in the oven along with the mess that's made its way to the floor…and the sink…and halfway into the dishwasher. But hey! No one ever said the process had to be pretty. As long as it tastes good, it's a success in my book.

I'm not quite sure how this turned into a diary entry, but without further ado...

Recipes I'm Dying To Try But Haven't Gotten Around To Yet:

1. Paleo Mini Meatloaves from PaleoSpirit:

They look like little cupcakes! But made with a heckuva lot more protein and zero sugar. As someone who would rather snack all day long instead of sit down to a few big meals, this is the perfect on-the-go meal.

2. Bacon Wrapped Barbecue Chicken from TastesofLizzyT:

I have a colleague who just l o v e s bacon. In fact, for her birthday I made her chocolate bacon chip cookies and I think she may have kissed me. Sure, who doesn't like bacon? But this girl goes so far as to wrap her Thanksgiving turkey in bacon! So, Carla Beam - this one's for you babe.

3. Paleo Crockpot Jambalaya Soup from Lifesaplate:

I thought crockpot meals were a mom thing, but boy was I wrong. Throwing dinner together in the morning and letting it simmer all day long is a quick fix for the whole "there's nothing to eat for dinner" scenario, regardless of who you are or how old you are, offspring or not.

4. Beef and Blueberry Stuffed Sweet Potato from ForeverFit:

I'm not totally sure how I feel about this one. Typically, I keep a very strict fruits, yes. veggies, yes. together? hell no. opinion, however, this might just be so crazy good I'll make an exception. Savory beef combined with sweet notes from the potato and berries…it just might be the best thing ever.

5. Avocado Stuffed Burger from CivilizedCaveManCooking:

If this doesn't have you salivating, there's something seriously off with your programming. Because this. is. awesome. Swap out the mayo and cheese for a healthy monounsaturated fat like avocado and you've got a mouth-watering, nutritious and delicious burger. Who wants to come over and grill with me tonight? Seriously. I can't wait to make this.

6. Cauliflower Crust Bacon Pizza from LMichelleK:

Growing up, Friday nights were pizza night in our house. Quality time spent with the family, complete with stringy cheese and fizzy drinks. Flash forward 15 years, throw in a gluten allergy and a few lactose sensitivities and suddenly we're those healthy people who spend time together over cauliflower crust pizza and sparkling water.  Warning: Things can get VERY messy…but that's the price you pay for a leaner body and a longer life.

7. Primal Pizza Pie Layer Casserole from BeautyandtheFoodie:

I hear the word casserole and cringe. You know…those dishes all the sweet ladies from church bring to your doorstep when you're recovering from the flu or just had a baby. You can't quite identify what it's made of but it tastes too good to be healthy. Well, this is a much better alternative. Skip the crust and the breadcrumbs and use a protein-base instead! Ta-da! An easy, family-friendly meal to use and share.

8. Raw, No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies from LivingHealthyWithChocolate:

What fun is life without a little dessert, right? These grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free and Paleo friendly brownies look absolutely decadent and BONUS - no baking required! What's in them, you ask? Only the good stuff.

If you beat me to these recipes, let me know what you think! I'm anxious to make all of them, but I just cleaned the kitchen…so I'd like for it to stay that way for awhile. :) I can't wait to hear your reviews. Have fun and enjoy your healthy treats.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

{Valentines} Dinner For One:

{Insert a heavily-sarcastic, witty comment about Valentines Day as a single girl here}

Cooking For One: Spaghetti Squash Bolognese 

This is one of my new, all-time, favorite meals. I discovered it last month in my Practical Paleo cookbook and can't get enough! I almost always reach for seconds and because it's so healthy, I can't even feel a little bit bad about it. In fact, the last time I had this meal I was sitting down to eat with my family and my 6'5'', 200-pounds-of-solid-muscle cousin (that is relevant, I promise) said, "I love that you can eat that much." No shame. This delicious meal does require a bit more cook time than usual, but since it is Valentines Day after all, I decided to spoil myself by spending a few extra minutes in the kitchen this evening. I really know how to go all out. You've gotta love yourself first and all that...

Ingredients:

Serves: 3 large portions. trust me, you'll want to eat that much. 

- 1 spaghetti squash (those oblong, yellow things in the veggie aisle)

- 1 lb. of ground turkey (beef and pork also work well)

- 2 TBSP. coconut oil, butter or bacon grease

- 1 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

- 4 strips of bacon, cooked (optional)

- 1 large onion, diced

- 1 large carrot, diced

- 2 stalks of celery, diced

- 2 garlic cloves, minced

- 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut milk

- 3 oz (half a can) of tomato paste

- sea salt + pepper, to taste

Instructions: 

1. Cut spaghetti squash in half, removing seeds and that stringy mess you find inside of a pumpkin. 2. Drizzle EVOO on the insides and place squash halves face down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. 3. Cook for 45 minutes at 475 degrees, or until a fork can be easily inserted into the skin of the squash. 4. While the squash is in the oven, warm coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 5. Dice onion, carrot and celery and add to pan. 6. Stir occasionally until vegetables are opaque. 7. Add garlic and let cook for an additional minute.

8. Add meat and stir until cooked through. 9. Once the meet is brown, add coconut milk and tomato paste. 10. Reduce heat and let simmer for an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the liquid has cooked in. 10. Crumble cooked bacon on top and mix in. 11. Remove from heat.

12. Once the squash is cooked, carefully flip the halves over and take a fork to the inside flesh, yielding thin noodle-like pieces.

13. Serve bolognese over (or next to) spaghetti squash and enjoy!

Calories per serving: 336 Carbs: 31g Protein: 37g Fat: 8.9g

Dinner for one. Check. Red wine (it's good for the heart). Check. Sappy rom-com. Check.

Happy Valentines Day my little fitties.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

Winter Workout + Healthy Hot Cocoa = Best SNOW Day Ever!

Shoveling and sledding are both great calorie burners, but if you're stuck inside or you have one of those husbands who shovels for you (I hear some of them do that), here's a great, quick, at-home plyometric workout for you: 200 Squat Jumps 

+ 10 pushups every time stop

GO! Your quads will be on fire after two dozen squat jumps, so imagine how they'll feel after 200! Remember that you can take a break and shake out those legs any time you need to…as long as you drop down and crank out 10 of your best pushups.

Are you up for the challenge?

--------------------

After you get your sweat on, be it from squat jumps, shovelling or sledding, enjoy this tasty treat:

Mexican Hot Chocolate according to MinimalistBaker.com:

Serves: 2

Prep + Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk (I use a combination of unsweetened coconut and almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (you can use more or less depending on your chocolaty preference)
  • optional: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • optional: 1 Tbsp stevia, agave or honey, depending on your taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

Instructions:

1. In a small saucepan, bring your milk to a simmer over medium heat.

2. Add cocoa powder, protein powder, stevia (because my protein powder is sweetened with stevia I find that I can skip the extra TBSP of sugar) and spices. Whisk vigorously.

3. Serve as-is or topped with a non-dairy coconut whipped cream (see below).

 

Easy Coconut Whipped Cream according to Detoxinista.com:

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk (cream only)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

** Maple syrup can be substituted for honey, liquid stevia or coconut nectar instead

Instructions:
  1. To get started, you’ll want to chill your can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferable overnight (or in the freezer for 30 minutes if you're short on time). When you remove the chilled can, be careful not to shake it - you want the cream that floats to the top to stay separated from the liquid portion at the bottom.
  2. Carefully open the can of coconut milk and scoop the thickened cream into a mason jar. Reserve the remaining liquid in the can for a morning smoothie!
  3. Add pure maple syrup and vanilla extract to the heavy coconut cream, then screw the lid onto the mason jar. Shake vigorously for 3-5 minutes, until the cream is thickened and fluffier in texture. (You can also choose to beat your coconut milk with a mixer in lieu of shaking if your arms are tired from all those pushups).
  4. Serve immediately over your cocoa or favorite fruit! Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

 

Happy {Healthy} Valentines Desserts:

First, let me just say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for the warm and genuine reception I received from all of you in regards to my personal response to the controversial Biggest Loser finale. Your response was overwhelmingly heart-warming. The comments, messages and personal conversations I was blessed with in return made every word worth it. So, truly, thank you. Now…enough of the sappy stuff! On to…Valentines Day! I hope you caught that. I don't know about you, but growing up in our house Valentines Day was a big deal. Family dinner was always a requirement in our household, but nothing quite compared to Valentines Day. We would all get a little bit dressed up and sit down to a candlelit table, sprinkled with tiny confetti hearts. The table would be set with red, decorated with the bouquets of flowers dad bought for "the girls". We'd eat something fancy  - anything looks fancy when you're eating by candlelight - and after licking our fingers clean we would lift out plate to find the first of many clues. Clues that had been written and hidden around the house, so that we could scavenge our way to a Valentines Day surprise!

Go to the place where pocketed treasures are lost by you and found by me would lead me to the washing machine, where another clue would be found and the hunt would continue until our final card brought us to a special little something. Usually it was a new pair of pyjama pants, a movie or some other small token we'd ooh and ahh over. I'm not sharing this with you to prove just how awesome my family is (that's a given), but to simply affirm just how much the little things can mean. It didn't much matter what was found underneath all the tissue paper and confetti hearts, but rather, it was the effort, the love, that was poured into quality time together that made the experience something remembered and cherished. 

So as we prepare to celebrate Valentines Day, remember to celebrate the small things. Your relationship status is moot, because regardless of who you're with (or not with), there is always someone you can shower love upon.

- Write a letter (not an email) to someone who needs a kind word.

- Shovel a driveway for a neighbor, scrape off the ice from a strangers car.

- Invite someone over for dinner who needs a friend.

- Schedule a date with your husband or wife.

- Be kind. Let love in.

For those of you celebrating with a night in, be it with your family, your friends or someone you can think about kissing without getting totally sick to your stomach, here are a few healthy sweet treats to share:

 

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake 

Sweet Potato Brownies

Banana Bread Chocolate Truffles

Strawberry Banana Pie

Because what's Valentines Day without a little extra sugar to go around? But after all the dessert is eaten, remember what truly matters. Candy hearts grow stale and flowers fade, but love given and love received can last a lifetime.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

Salmon + Spinach Frittata:

After arriving home from a killer workout at the gym I wanted to refuel with something protein-heavy and hearty. Since I'll be flying later today and snacking on finger-foods for dinner, I wanted to make sure I filled up on the good stuff before takeoff time. I dug around to see what I could scrounge up and settled on eggs. Always a winner, right? I decided to make a single-serving frittata (because I won't be home to enjoy the leftovers). But since most of you are cooking for families and/or preparing your meals for the week, I'll include the entire recipe:

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients: 

- 8 whole eggs

- 1 cups of spinach, fresh or frozen

- 1 yellow onion, sliced + diced

- 1 clove garlic

- 1 TBSP. olive oil, butter or bacon grease

- 4 oz. wild pink salmon

- peppa + salt, to taste

** optional: add 4 small fingerling potatoes

Directions: Sautee onion with olive oil/butter/bacon grease over medium heat until tender. Add garlic and continue to cook for a bit longer. Add spinach (if you're using frozen spinach, make sure you drain it before adding to the recipe). If you're choosing to add potatoes you can soften them in the microwave separately, slice into thin rounds and layer on top. Flake salmon and layer on top of veggies/potatoes. Whisk eggs together and pour the mixture evenly over the top. Cook on stovetop for 10 minutes, transferring to the oven for an additional 20 minutes (or until eggs are set and slightly browned on the edges). Remove, slice into quarters and enjoy!

Using what I had on hand, I chose to use 1 whole egg and 3/4 c. of liquid egg whites as well as a 4oz package of drained, wild Alaskan salmon. Since I'm still following the paleo plan, I chose to forego the potatoes and topped my eggs with 2 TBSP of medium salsa for a little punch! Mmmm mmm. I wasn't disappointed. I was warm, full and satisfied. Adding salmon to eggs isn't something I grew up doing, but having lived in the UK for a year, I learned that it's quite a hot commodity in some parts of the world! And I'm not the only one who agrees. This recipe got 4.5 stars (out of 5) over at cookeatshare.com! We should start making it a thing in the US. Who's with me!?

What do you like to add to your eggs?

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

Shepherds Pie…made healthy

Seeing as we were SNOWED IN yesterday, I decided to throw my oven mitts on, get adventurous and make some Shepherds Pie. sorta. I knew I had some ground turkey breast in the freezer and a big 'ole head of cauliflower in the fridge so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I made my dish as two separate components, however, you can choose to smoosh 'em together to make one too-good-to-be-true Shepherds Pie. Ingredients:

- 2 lbs. of ground turkey

- 1 red pepper, diced

- 1.5 large onions, diced

- 3 cloves of garlic

- 1 TBSP coconut oil

- cayenne pepper and sea salt, to taste

-------

- 1 head of cauliflower

- 1 TBSP butter

- 1 TBSP coconut oil

- splash of milk (unsweetened almond, soy or coconut can be used) or chicken stock

- sage, rosemary, pepper and sea salt, to taste (thyme and chives are also tasty additions)

Directions: In a pan on medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add diced onions and peppers (mushrooms too if you like those). Stir occasionally until onions are translucent and soft. Add ground turkey breast and continue to sautee with vegetables. Add garlic and herbs to taste. I used a dash of cayenne pepper and sea salt, but you can choose to get creative with spices and seasonings! Cook until meat is golden brown, remove from heat and set aside.

 

In a separate pot on high heat, bring water to a boil. Chop cauliflower into small florets and add to pot. Boil until florets are soft. Once cooked through, remove from heat and drain excess water. Mix cauliflower, butter, coconut oil and seasonings in a blender.  (You can choose to use 2 TBSP of either butter or coconut oil if you prefer, as opposed to 1 TBSP of each). If you're looking for a good workout you can choose to forego the blender and mash by hand. Puree until creamy and smooth. You might find that you need a bit of milk/stock to help yield a creamier texture. If desired, add and continue to blend until you achieve the desired consistency.

In review: Let me just tell you, I LOVE mashed potatoes. I could eat them all day every day I love them so much. However, since becoming a nutritionist and doing more than a little research on all things food related, I have eliminated my white potato consumption. I'm a first born. We're all-or-nothing kind of people. Fun Fact: According to a study conducted at Harvard, white potatoes are the #2  food that promote weight gain. Don't freak out! Everything in moderation. So, needless to say, I was super excited about these mock mashed potatoes. And I was not disappointed! Deeeelicious. I served myself a big bowl of cauliflower mash with my caramelised ground turkey breast on top and wa-la, Shepherds pie done healthy!

If you're looking for something a little more structured, perhaps to serve at a family dinner, check out this Shepherds Pie recipe from Oven Love. Let me know what you think! I can't imagine a more heart-warming, comforting meal to enjoy during these cold, winter days.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

SNOW DAY: Protein Peanut Butter Cocoa!

I'm not sure where you are geographically, but those of us in Lancaster, PA are enjoying a snow day today! What's better than a warm cup of sweet cocoa on a cold, snowy day? How about adding peanut butter to the mix!? I mean who isn't obsessed with peanut butter!? Throw on your wool socks, blend this chocolaty treat together and cozy on up with the family. The best part about this recipe - you get 28 whopping grams of protein in one serving.

Ingredients: 

-  1 frozen banana

- 2-3 TBSP of cocoa powder (depending on how much of a chocoholic you are)

- 6 oz of plain Chobani Greek yogurt (you can also use vanilla)

- 3/4 c. milk (unsweetened almond, coconut or soy milk can be substituted)

- 2 TBSP. of PB2 or 1 TBSP. peanut butter

- 1 TBSP. honey, maple syrup or agave

** if you prefer, you can substitute 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder for 1 TBSP cocoa and honey

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into the blender, in the order listed, and blend on high until thick and smooth. You may need to stop and stir/scrape down the sides of the blender a few times. For a thicker consistency, add a few ice cubes. For a thinner consistency, add more milk or water. If you're feeling reaaaaally naughty, you can drizzle some chocolate syrup on top (as illustrated). Pour it in a mug and cozy up by the fire! Protein PB cocoa in a cup!

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

Rainbow Cabbage Salad

Crunchy + sweet go together like PB + J. Am I right? So when I saw a recipe for Rainbow Cabbage Salad over at Oh She Glows, of course I had to try my own version. So, today I ran to the supermarket to pick up a few things in order to execute this lovely dish.

 

Shopping Cart:

- 1 small head of purple cabbage (aprox. 6 cups, chopped)

- 1 large carrot, grated

- 3 stalks of celery, diced

- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced

- 2 handfuls of fresh parsley (or herb of choice)

- 1 large apple, thinly sliced

- 4 TBSP. pine nuts

Most cabbage slaw recipes pair the salad with tahini dressing, however, because I didn't have any tahini on-hand I chose to use a lighter dressing. The fact that I don't even know what tahini is might also have something to do with it. I'll work on that for next time… 

Dressing:

- the juice of 1 orange

- 3 TBSP olive oil

- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

- freshly grated ginger, to taste

- salt + peppa

This recipe will make enough for 4 servings and there's no cooking involved! Just a lot of slicing and dicing. After you chop up all your ingredients, toss them in a bowl, drizzle dressing on top and taste the rainbow! I really like the crunch of this salad by itself, however, when making it a meal I topped it with 5oz of drained tuna. Sweet, tangy, crunchy and filling. Everybody wins.

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

Why You Should Eat Salmon:

In our household growing up, we weren't allowed to leave the dinner table until we had finished our dinner. That meant that when salmon was on the menu I would sit there for an awfully long time. I remember many occasions where I would plug my nose, take big bites and try to swallow quickly before reaching for my water in order to prevent tasting as much as possible. It's safe to say I hated salmon. Today…I look forward to ordering the oily fish whenever possible. I'm sure growing up had something to do with my change of preference, however, I also think that learning about the benefits of Omega 3's played a huge role in my determination to enjoy fish. Salmon is a highly nutritious food! We're going to assume that I mean wild caught, Alaskan salmon because there are a host of concerns and health issues surrounding farm-rasied anything (be on the lookout for a Farm vs Fresh blog post - it's a big deal).

Benefits of Salmon:

-  A 4 oz serving contains a full days requirement of Vitamin D and over half the daily requirement for B12.

-  High in Omega-3 fats. Omega 3's reduce inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is turning out to be at the base of many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancers and arthritis. Omega-3’s also help prevent the blood clots which cause many strokes.

Omega-3 fats have also been shown to have the potential to slow cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. People who have sufficient levels of Omega-3’s seem to have less depression, aggression, and suicide risk.

Omega-3 is termed as an essential fatty acid because the body cannot synthesise it itself and must be obtained from the diet. Aim to eat oily fish - such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and fresh tuna - at least three times a week.

 

Recipe: Lemon + Rosemary Broiled Salmon (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

- 1 lb. of wild salmon (whole or in 4 oz. portions)

- 1 lemon, sliced

- 2 TBSP. coconut oil, butter or ghee.

- rosemary, sage and sea salt, to taste (aprox. 1 tsp. combined)

1. Set oven to a low broil setting 2. Place thinly sliced pats of butter (or fat of your choosing) in the bottom of the baking dish  3. Place salmon in the dish and sprinkle with rosemary, sage and sea salt. 4. Add more thin pats of butter on top of the salmon filets and top with slices of lemon. 5. Broil on low for 10-12 minutes or until salmon is cooked to your liking.

** Note: If you don't have a broiler, you can bake salmon at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes for similar results. 

In review: I was really pleased with how my salmon came out. I enjoyed the lemony fresh flavor, paired with roasted broccoli and brussel sprouts. I was surprised how hassel-free this recipe was. I purchased frozen, Wild Alaskan filets (watch out - they are pricey) and defrosted them in the fridge over night in preparation of making them today. Dinner in 15 minutes! BAM. What oily fish do you plan on making this week? 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

Vegetables for Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

Breakfast: Blueberry + Kale Omelette

I know what you're thinking…blueberries and kale? in eggs!? I thought the same thing when I stumbled upon the recipe over at Stupid Easy Paleo. But, having just gone to the supermarket, I had all the necessary ingredients (minus the coconut aminos) and was lacking a good excuse not to try it. That's one of the things I like the most about this Paleo challenge - it's pushing me out of my comfort zone. Never before have I cooked with coconut oil or even successfully made anything with kale! But look at me now.

True story: I once went on a date with a... (grammatically, I want to say gentleman, however, he was not)…and was told that he was "looking for a wife, and since I couldn't cook, I was not going to be that person." Yeah, we never saw each other again. For obvious reasons. His loss! Cause look at me now suckerrrr!! That might have gotten a bit out of hand. But seriously!? 

Back to the point: Breakfast. Try this omelette. My attempt looked a bit like a kitchen sink rendition and less like the traditional half-moon omelette. But it was tasty. I chopped my kale up in small, teeny tiny little pieces seeing as I'm a texture person. You people who like rice pudding are seriously messed up in the head. But I must say that I liked this new twist on eggs! The eggs were savory, the kale was earthy and the coconut oil and blueberries were sweet! As previously mentioned, I followed the recipe sans the coconut aminos…so I'm not sure how that changes things, but nevertheless, it was a filling and innovative way to start my morning! Veggies for breakfast! Since having tried this fruit + veggie combo with eggs, I think they'd make a great addition to any coconut milk smoothie - stay tuned for that!

Just recently I was asked by a girlfriend to share some new kale recipes. She wanted to add kale to her diet and didn't really know how. I told her that I didn't have much experience with the green leafy vegetable but that I'd work on experimenting with a few recipes.

The basics: Kale Chips. Admittedly, I had tried making these before and I think I may have left them in the oven for too long because when I asked my family to taste them I only received grimaces and negative reviews. They tasted a lot like burnt brussel sprouts with a weird, crunchy texture. But, since I'm resilient, I gathered my ingredients and tried again dammit! 

Ingredients:

- 2 large bunches of kale

- 1 TBSP. coconut oil

- garlic powder, to your liking

- sea salt + pepper

1. Set your oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. 3. Remove leaves from kale stalks, breaking them up into small, bite sized pieces. 4. Toss kale into a medium sized bowl. 5. Melt coconut oil and drizzle over kale leaves. 6. Massage oil evenly into the leaves. 7. Once covered, add garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste. You could also use some cayenne pepper if you favor a little spice! 8. Evenly spread leaves onto lined baking sheet. 9. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges are crispy and golden brown.

WARNING: these burn very quickly turning to brown dust in the blink of an eye, so keep an eye on the oven!

In review: Success! I enjoyed these chips as a compliment to my lunch. I liked these much better than my last batch. I was vigilant in my timing and the result was an earthy, slightly tangy green chip substitute. Would I make them again? Yes. Would I serve them at a dinner party? No. A health food dinner party? Yes…actually, that's a brilliant idea! Let's throw one of those! 

Dinner: Beef + Asparagus + Red Pepper + Carmalized Onion Stirfry 

Whew! That's a mouthful. And boy was it ever!! I was really excited to have a few unexpected hours to myself the other day so I decided to get a head start on my kitchen workout - preparing/cooking/portioning my food for the week - so that I can enjoy healthy meals on-the-go instead of ordering in or hitting a drive thru due to a tight schedule and/or lack of cook time. I knew I wanted to make the flank steak I had purchased the day before, but I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make it. I opened the fridge and grabbed a few veggies that needed to be eaten and asked myself, what can I make with these ingredients that tastes amazing? Easy answer, STIRFRY! Stirfry can be anything you want it to be and it takes you only a few minutes to make a big batch.

Ingredients:

1 lb. flank steak, cut into strips

2 TBSP. coconut oil

3 cloves garlic

the juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp. grated ginger

1 bunch of asparagus spears

1 large red pepper

1 large sweet onion

1/2 tsp red or cayenne pepper

1/4 c. organic chicken broth (could use vegetable)

1 large scallion

1 green onion for garnish

sea salt and pepper, to taste

** mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, etc. can all be added according to your preferences and fridge contents!

Instructions:

1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large frypan. 2. Season beef with garlic, salt and pepper. 3. Sautee in oil until browned on all sides. 4. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate, set aside.  5. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, ginger, pepper and chicken broth. 6. In the reheated pan, cook asparagus, peppers and onions until they begin to soften. 7. Add chicken broth mixture, cover, stirring occasionally until the broth has reduced and the vegetables are tender. 8. Return beef to the pan and add diced green onions. 9. Mix until coated. 10. Allow to simmer for a few minutes and then wa-la!

This recipe can serve up to 4 people, or can be stored and eaten throughout the week. If you're not eating strictly paleo, you can enjoy the stir fry over 1/4 c. of brown rice or quinoa to add a healthy, whole grain carbohydrate!

In review: It was delicious. Did I mention I love cooking with coconut oil? It makes everything taste better. I also added a few sesame seeds (mostly because I think they look nice), even though there is no soy sauce or distinct Asian flavors in the dish. Play with it! I was more than satisfied with this high protein, high fiber  filling meal. Plus, I felt pretty awesome about having included vegetables in my breakfast, lunch AND dinner. 

Eat well. Live well. Be well. 

 

Fish + Eggs…or maybe Eggs + Fish

Here are three delicious recipes I want to share with you. Lotsa eggs! Why? Because they're cheap, tasty and have a good amount of protein and healthy fats. BAM. So grab your grocery lists and start planning! 

image from afreckleintime.wordpress.com

Breakfast: Egg + Veggie Scramble 

Ingredients:

- 2 whole eggs

- 4 egg whites

- 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- 1/2 c. red pepper, chopped

- 1/2 med. sized sweet onion, chopped

- 1 c. spinach

- 2 TBSP. salsa (optional)

If you're looking for a high-protein, high-fiber breakfast this is it. It takes 5 minutes to make and fills you up with a lot of the good stuff for a very low caloric price. Funny story: I was having breakfast with my dad one morning and upon noticing my plate piled high with eggs and veggies he looks over and says, "are you seriously going to eat all of that!?" Nodding, I said, "the best part is my manly breakfast is 4x as filling as your mini bowl of granola AND it's 1/3 of the calories." Win. Choose wisely and your food will fuel you.

Directions: In a bowl, scramble your eggs + egg whites. Using a frying pan, on medium heat, sautee onions and peppers with 1 tsp of EVOO. Once your onions become translucent, add your egg mixture and spinach. Scramble or flip into an omelette. Once the eggs are to your liking, remove from heat, top with salsa (for a little kick!) and ta-da...breakfast fit for a king! Oh…I also added two strips of bacon. Obviously. :)

Lunch: Leftover Tilapia + Roasted Broccoli 

I polished off the tilapia I made using the Citrus Macadamia Nut Sole recipe over a BIG bed of roasted broccoli - one my new favorite green recipes. I'm a believer in all things broccoli, but roasted is, hands down, my favorite way to enjoy the cruciferous veggie. Grab a baking sheet, a piece of tin foil and the following ingredients:

- 1 head of broccoli, chopped in small bite-sized pieces

- 3 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil

- 1-3 cloves of garlic, minced

- salt and pepper, taste (or any other of your favorite seasonings.

Directions: Set your oven to 400 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with tin foil. Toss broccoli in a large Ziplock bag with EVOO, garlic and lemon pepper tossed in (when I make this recipe I prefer to omit the salt and use lemon pepper to season).  Shake liberally. Sprinkle your seasoned broccoli on your baking tray and pop in the oven for 20+ minutes or until your broccoli is crispy brown on the edges. You can find a similar Rachel Ray recipe here.

Dinner: Poached Eggs + Brussels 

Brussel sprouts might just be my favorite vegetable. (Insert record screech here). Yep, you heard right. I love brussels. Boiled, they are just little gross green balls of cabbage, but roasted, they are sweet, crispy bites of everything you could ever want and need. Okay, okay, so that's one step too far, but STILL, like many things, if given the proper TLC brussel sprouts are the bomb.

Ingredients:

- 2 eggs

- 1 package of brussel sprouts (aprox. 2 cups)

- 2 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- 1 TBSP. lemon pepper (or seasoning of choice)

Directions: Slice sprouts in half. Grab a Ziplock bag. Toss sprouts, olive oil and seasoning in the bag and shake what your momma gave you. And the bag. Don't forget to shake the bag. Spread evenly on a tin-foil lined baking tray and bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Crack eggs into boiling water and leave for 2-3 minutes. Top roasted sprouts with eggs and dig in. If you did it right, the gooey centre of the yolk will be like a sauce over the top of your greens. Yum.

** If you're not a sprout person (don't tell me - my opinion of you will change forever), this recipe can also be done with roasted asparagus. Just as tasty with the same nutritional benefits!

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well.