Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Bowl of Goodness

The "Big Bowl of Goodness" is more of a guideline than a recipe, inspired by Oh She Glows and Deliciously Ella.  You can take your favorite ingredients and make it your own.  My recommendation is to have:
  • Protein: chicken, tofu, tempeh, beans
  • Carb: brown rice, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes
  • Roasted veggies (I like peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini)
  • Raw veggies (shredded carrots, beets, chopped peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes)
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Marinated kale
  • Hummus or avocado
These are just suggestions, so feel free to make this any way your heart desires.  I love the big bowl of goodness, because I can prep a bunch of ingredients ahead of time, then throw things together willy nilly when I'm ready to eat! I can mix and match what I've prepped or add a salad dressing to switch the flavors around depending on my tastes.

These bowls are really filling and satisfying.  They are full of nutrients and you can feel good about what you are eating!

The bowl pictured contains the following:

Kale massaged with garlic vinaigrette
Quinoa (with coconut oil stirred in after cooking)
Shredded roasted chicken
Roasted sweet potatoes
Roasted cauliflower
Chopped red peppers
Shredded carrots
Sundried tomato hummus

Roast veggies for about 20-30 minutes at 400F.  Cook the quinoa according to the directions (usually 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, boil, then cover and cook for 15 minutes).  Once the quinoa has cooked, fluff it with a fork and stir in a 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Superfood Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

Superfood Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding recipe

Sometimes you just need something chocolate.  This quick dessert makes just enough for one person and it is chocolate overload!  It is packed with superfoods too - chia seeds and cacao - and topped with more if you add Goji berries for some crunch.  I love how chia seeds magically turn this mixture into a pudding like consistency.  Chia seeds have a massive absorptive power, and they are full of fiber, protein, and calcium.  I've been adding chia seeds to my smoothies, and I even made jam out of chia seeds last summer, but this was my first attempt at chia seed pudding.  I have a feeling this dessert will be on heavy rotation this summer.  It is so simple to make and so delicious!

Superfood Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

3/4 cup coconut milk (you could use almond milk)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tablespoon cocao powder
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon

Goji berries
Toasted coconut
Dark Chocolate Chips
Chopped almonds

Blend together all ingredients in a blender.  Pour into a glass jar and cover.  Refrigerate for a few hours.

Top with toasted coconut, dark chocolate chips, goji berries, and chopped almonds. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Banana Bread Granola

Banana Bread Granola recipe

Okay, I saw this recipe on Pinterest and I had to make it immediately.  I often pin things that look delicious, but I rarely get around to making them.  I'm sure you are the same way.  Pinterest is how my life would be if I had about 20 extra hours in every day to make my life pretty, perfect, and full of delicious food, fabulous clothes, and fantasy vacations.  I love my life the way it is though, and as much as I wish it looked more like my Pinterest boards, I'm definitely more than happy with reality.  BUT, sometimes, life is better if you really do reach into those boards and actually try something new.  And this is definitely one of those occasions... this granola is amazing!  Your house will smell fantastic and your tummy will be very happy.  I had to give some of it away because I would have eaten it all myself (in a day).  I also served it at brunch during the Olympic Gold Medal hockey game, and I think it was a hit.

Banana Bread Granola recipe

Banana Bread Granola

Slightly Adapted from The Minimalist Baker

3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup whole, raw almonds
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flax seed
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium ripe banana, mashed (approximately 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix the oats, cinnamon, sugar, salt, flaxseed and nuts together in a large bowl (see photo).

Whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until well combined, then whisk in banana puree. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly onto one or two baking sheets (making sure it doesn’t get crowded) and bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown. The coconut oil will help it crisp up well, but be sure to watch it carefully as it can brown quickly. It is up to you whether you stir or toss the granola while it is baking. The less you stir it, the clumpier it gets, but watch to make sure its not burning if you do not stir it!

Once the granola is visibly browned, remove from the oven and toss just a bit to let the heat escape.

Cool completely on the baking sheet or in a heat-safe bowl.  Seriously, make sure it is completely cool so that it stays crispy, if you put it in a jar too quickly it will soften (which is still delicious, but I like mine crispy).  Store in a container or jar with an air-tight seal – it should keep for a couple weeks (if it lasts that long without you eating it all!).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Roasted Pepper, Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata

I've hosted two brunches now and served a variation on this fritatta.  It has been a good go-to and it is healthy enough that you can add something sweet to your brunch menu without feeling bad.  This frittata also goes particularly well with mimosas.

It feels good to be blogging again.  I know that 2014 has been a little bit spotty on the blog front, but hopefully things have calmed down enough that I can start cooking new recipes.  In January and February, my diet was pretty boring as I was trying to stay with my carb cycling plan.  It worked and I ended up losing about 10 pounds through the combination of the Vemma Bode program, carb cycling, and my triathlon training.  Now that I am in full training mode, I've adjusted my carb cycling a bit (though still need to keep tweaking it) and I've just been focused on getting enough fuel for my workouts.  But, I am finally into my routine, so there should be more time (and energy) for me to cook up some new dishes!  And of course, I will continue to experiment with low-carb meals -- not just for my own sake, but also for my group that has been following the Bode plan too.  We have had so much fun and everyone has had such amazing transformations since the start of the year.  People have dropped 10, 15, even 20 pounds just by making some simple changes to the way they eat and by ensuring that they are getting some exercise.  I'm so proud of everyone!  And I get to see many of my challenge group next week on our family cruise! My mom even bought her first bikini in years!

Anyways, back to the frittata.  When a dish is this full of flavor and also packed with nutrients and protein, healthy eating is a breeze.  The trick really is to make your meals exciting - colorful and flavorful.

Roasted Pepper, Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata

1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups kale
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup goat cheese
5 eggs
1/4 cup skim milk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cut the peppers into 1/2 inch pieces, then toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sea salt.  Spread the peppers out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

While the peppers roast, sautee kale in remaining olive oil with minced garlic until the kale is slightly wilted.

Vigorously whisk together eggs, milk, sea salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Stir in the kale, peppers, and cherry tomatoes.  Pour the egg and vegetable mixture into a casserole dish.  Top with chunks of goat cheese.

Bake the frittata for 35-40 minutes or until the center is firm and doesn't jiggle.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Skinny Strawberry Dark Chocolate Muffins

I love muffins.  Easy to grab and go, but sometimes muffins are calorie bombs full of sugar and more like dessert than a healthy on-the-go breakfast.  These muffins could be made with a little bit less sugar, and I'm definitely going to keep tweaking this recipe, but they are significantly better than what you'll find at your local coffee shop.  These muffins are also reminiscent of chocolate covered strawberries, so even though they are on the healthier side, they taste very indulgent!

Skinny Strawberry Dark Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 scoop Vanilla protein powder*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white beaten
2/3 cup diced strawberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray muffin tins with olive oil cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, protein powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, apple sauce, and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in beaten egg, then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture.  Stir together until just combined, being careful not to overmix.  Stir in strawberries and dark chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin tins with 1/3 cup batter.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

*I use Vemma Bode powder. If you don't have protein powder, add 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Apricot Almond Bars

Apricot Almond Bars recipe
I love having easy snacks to grab on the go.  Lately, I've been reaching for bars.  I like to keep one in my desk drawer at work, or in my purse, to make sure that I don't succumb to "hanger."  And these bars are a homemade version of my favorite bars out on the market - Kind Bars.  These are so easy to make and so close to the original!  You could easily adapt these with different types of nuts and dried fruit, or leave out the apricot to make the Almond Coconut version of the bars.  The best part of these is that you always know exactly what is in them!

Apricot Almond Bars recipe

Apricot Almond Bars

Adapted from Feasting at Home

2 cups nuts (1 cup each, almonds and cashews)
1 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup finely diced dried apricots
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
Pinch of salt

Lightly toast the almonds at 325F for 7-9 minutes.  Mix the nuts, coconut flakes, and apricot together in a bowl.

In a medium pot, stir together honey, water, and salt over medium heat.  When the honey mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low.  Use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature.   It will take about 15-20 minutes to bring the temperature to 255-260F.  After the temperature reaches about 230F, keep a close watch, because it will heat quickly after that.  When the temperature reaches 255-260, stir the nut mixture into the honey until the nuts are well coated.

Press the mixture into a parchment lined 8x8 inch baking dish.  Use the back of a greased metal spatula or the bottom of a glass. Let the bars cool for 20 minutes.  Before they cool completely, then cut the bars.  Store in an airtight container.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

Okay, I really need to get my computer fixed gang.  Last time I posted was for last month's SRC reveal day, and I can't believe that a month has flown by and here we are again posting for Secret Recipe Club.  This month, we were assigned Without Adornment, a blog full of amazing gluten-free recipes, including tons of delicious baked goods. Bean is a smart cookie (she's an engineer), and aims to live life unadorned, meaning to be herself and to be alive! I love the honesty of her blog and her baking and photography skills are quite evident. If you have any food sensitivities, she has you covered with gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, etc. options.

As I flipped through Bean's recipe index, I admit, I was tempted by all the tasty baked goods, but this Coconut Curry Chicken jumped off the page.  After a bit too much indulgence over Valentine's Day weekend (hey, a single girl has to celebrate too!), I was craving something healthy and delicious, yet comforting at the same time.  Not only did I drool over the ingredients, I was also excited that it was a slow cooker recipe, because I honestly don't use my slow cooker enough.  It is a great timesaving way to make an easy and healthy meal, and this recipe from Without Adornment is definitely easy, delicious, and healthy!

For my version, I used light coconut milk and instead of adding the cauliflower florets to the curry, I put the cauliflower in a food processor to make "rice" to serve with the curry. (Just pulse in the food processor until all of the cauliflower is the size of rice, then sauté for a few minutes in coconut oil with salt and pepper over medium heat.) I also cooked mine on low, since I made it overnight and felt like sleeping longer than 5 hours haha.

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

From Without Adornment

3 or 4 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
1 red pepper, seeded and quartered
1 small onion, skinned and halved
2 cloves garlic
1 can coconut (light) milk
1 can tomato paste
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cardamom
3/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
3 carrots, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 c. cauliflower florets, chopped (I used the cauliflower to make "rice")
cilantro or parsley

Add the chicken breasts, chopped red pepper, and carrots to the bottom of your slow cooker.

In a food processor, combine coconut milk, second pepper, garlic, spices, and tomato paste.  Process until smooth.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on either low for 7-8 hours or high for 5 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it.  It should fall apart easily at this point.  Set the chicken aside for a moment.

Create a roux with cold water and cornstarch.  Gradually stir the roux into the sauce in the slow cooker to thicken the sauce. Add the chicken back into the sauce. 

At this point, you can either steam your cauliflower florets and add them to the curry, or you can make cauli "rice" as described above.  Alternative serving options: rice, noodles, or nothing at all.
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