Friday, August 30, 2013

Kale and Spinach Greek Yogurt Dip

Kale and Spinach Greek Yogurt Dip recipe

One of the saddest things about living in good ole Canada is our lack of Trader Joe's.  It is really sad.  I love Trader Joe's and Whole Foods (we don't have one of those either).  I used to be able to eat a bag of TJ's dark chocolate covered pretzels in one sitting.  So maybe it is a good thing we don't have TJ's here...

Anyways, the nice thing is that it is sort of easy to figure out how to recreate your favorite TJ's products at home (start by Googling).  While on vacation in the U.S. back in July, I discovered the absolutely delicious Kale and Spinach Greek Yogurt dip from Trader Joe's.  I think we went through 2 or 3 tubs of it while I was on vacation (approx. 10 days), because it was so good, and I loved it so much.  Of course, I had to figure out how to get my dip fix once I got back to Ottawa.

So, I made this dip for my friend's birthday party at the cottage (along with this yummy summer boozy Arnold Palmer and these cookies). It is way better than the TJ's version, so go make it immediately.

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!! Hope your weekend is safe, fun, and full of delicious food!!

Kale and Spinach Greek Yogurt Dip

Inspired by Trader Joes, from How Sweet It Is

1 container of plain 2% Greek yogurt (or about 2 cups of your favorite)
3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup finely chopped kale
1 cup finely chopped spinach
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, smashed, then finely minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. Chop everything as finely as possible.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving for maximum flavor!  Serve with chips, crackers or vegetables.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Triathlon Training and Race

Hi K&K readers!  This is a non-food related post today, but it's also a post that may explain why the blog has taken a bit of a backseat this summer.

Over the weekend, I competed in my first triathlon ever! It was an amazing experience and I had so much fun.  The crazy part is that I think I am hooked on triathlon now!

I think that I've mentioned before that I had always wanted to do a triathlon, and pretty much ever since I retired from swimming about 7 years ago, I kept telling myself and others that I really wanted to try it. Well, it took me 7 years to put those words into action and actually train.


At the start of my training, I attended a triathlon clinic and I highly recommend trying to find one if you want to get into the sport.  We learned all the nuts and bolts of race day, went over training plans, and did drills for each sport.

I followed a training plan, where I ran, biked, and swam twice a week each.  One day was a tempo workout (building up speed toward race pace) and one day was a long, easy workout.  I kept my schedule pretty flexible so that I could do what felt best that day. I took one day off a week.  After a summer of training alone, I'm definitely ready to start training with other people!

Learning to bike with clipless pedals was quite an experience, though not nearly as scary as I had built it up to be in my mind.  I went out on the grass at first and fell a few times while trying to clip in and out.  Note to self: clip out before the bike comes to a stop.  After gaining some confidence and going out on the road, I only fell once and luckily a nice lady with a first aid kit in her car saw it happen! Haha. It is amazing how at ease I feel on my bike now.  It is still definitely where I have the most room for improvement, but I am excited to see my progress from May until now.

Loving swimming again and learning that I really like running were pleasant surprises that resulted from my training as well.  I realized that I thought I hated running, but what I really hated was running on the treadmill.  Ottawa has tons of gorgeous trails and having nice scenery to look at really helped on those long runs!

I have mentioned Tone It Up a few times, and the really fun thing was that Karena, one of the trainers, put together a triathlon training program for the TIU community! Karena was a serious triathlete and after seeing the TIU check-ins, she decided to get back into racing herself.  It was a great resource to have and of course the TIU community has been so supportive!

Race Day!

The day of the race was so much fun.  All the nerves, excitement and adrenaline that I used to get before big
swim meets came back to me.  My race, the Sprint Triathlon, was later in the morning, so I had a chance to watch some of the other athletes compete in the Olympic Triathlon and the Duathlon.  My race was a blast.  It was so fun to get out and compete and put my body to the test.  I felt like my training paid off and I was really happy with my results. I placed 2nd in my age group and 7th overall for women.  And as a former swimmer, I am happy to report that I was the first woman out of the water!! Woo!

The best part of the day was having two friends with me!  They both decided that they would compete as well and both did really well!! I think they are both hooked on the sport now too, so I am super excited to have some training partners!

Also, if you've ever thought about doing a triathlon, do it! There were people of all levels of fitness and experience at the race.  It was such a fun atmosphere, with everyone cheering for each other, and excited for each other. Why not try it?

Next Steps

The next step for me and my training partners is to find some more athletes to train with.  I am going to join a local triathlon club this fall in order to have some people to swim with and to work on my cycling.  Come January, we will switch over to training for spring and summer races.  We will also do some strength training this fall and winter. I really like the results that I have been getting from barre and will continue that, but may also add some CrossFit into the mix. You can bet that I will be keeping myself fueled up as well, so don't worry about this blog.  We will have plenty of delicious, healthy recipes coming your way!!

Thanks for following along!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Pumpkin Spice Latte Smoothie

It's time for Secret Recipe Club again! Each month, the SRC members are assigned another member's blog to explore.  We all pick a recipe to make and share, exposing our readers to lots of fun new blogs! This month, I was assigned Life on Food, a blog written by Emily.  Emily and I are about the same age, and we both happen to have studied Economics.  Obviously we both also loooove food!  Her blog has tons of delicious recipes and as usual I had a hard time choosing (my email to myself with links to choose from had at least 6 recipes).

Let me tell you, this month was an adventure in terms of SRC.  I had finally decided on a recipe to make from Emily's blog: Coconut Zucchini Bread, and then I decided to make some toast before making dinner.  Well, I don't own a toaster, so I make my toast in the oven.  And guess what, my oven caught on fire!! Like, the element at the bottom literally had a hole burnt completely through it. Needless to say, it was Friday afternoon, and my landlord didn't answer his phone.  Of course, I had left my recipe til the last minute (not even as bad as normal though to be honest), so I quickly had to come up with something else to make from Emily's blog -- something that didn't require baking or even using the stovetop (my range is old and kind of scary, so I didn't want to take any chances).

Well, it was like the heavens opened and pointed me in the direction of this smoothie recipe.  You see, I had also just recently been discussing the topic of Starbucks' fall menu and when it would return, especially given the cooler temps we've been having here in Ottawa.  My favorite thing on their fall menu is the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  So when I saw Emily's smoothie recipe, I knew it was meant to be and the best possible outcome of my oven disaster.  Plus, I had just made a batch of cold brew coffee and I obviously have a well documented love of smoothies.

This smoothie definitely satisfied my fall cravings!  It was delicious! Thank you Emily!

Once my oven is fixed, I have a long list of recipes to try from Emily's blog! Seriously, go check her blog out!  Your tummy will thank you!

Pumpkin Spice Latté Smoothie

From Life on Food

1 frozen banana
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup coffee (I used 1/2 cup cold brew, since it's a bit more concentrated)
1 cup coconut milk (I used unsweetened)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
*I also added 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Add all ingredients in blender. Run till smooth, about 3 minutes.

See the rest of the SRC Posts below!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tipsy Peach Tea Lemonade

Tipsy Peach Iced Tea Lemonade recipe

Happy Friday friends!! Can you believe that it is nearly the end of August?? I can't! Where has the summer gone? I say we squeeze the last drops of summer out and make the most of the remaining sunny, warm days! Sound good?

Well, speaking of squeezing, I have a freshly squeezed, delicious cocktail to share with you today.  Put this on your weekend menu or save it for those Labor Day parties (or both!).  This fancy version of the Arnold Palmer is my new favorite summer cocktail.  It is so good.

I made up a batch of these to take my friend's birthday party at the cottage and they were the perfect sipper for sitting on the dock and enjoying the sunshine!

Tipsy Peach Iced Tea Lemonade recipe

Tipsy Peach Ice Tea Lemonade

Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

6 tea bags
1-1/2 cups water

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (no pulp)*
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
plus 4 cups water

1-1/4 cup vodka
1 peach, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
5-6 sprigs of fresh mint

For the tea: Either boil water in a small pot, then add the tea bags and let steep for 4-6 minutes OR place the tea bags in a bowl and pour boiling water from a kettle over them, then steep for 4-6 minutes.  Remove the tea bags and cool, then add the tea to a large jug.

For the lemonade*:  In a small pot, combine sugar and 1 cup water.  Over medium-low heat, stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool, then add it to the jug.

Squeeze lemons (approximately 7-8 lemons) and strain the juice, until you have about 1 cup of lemon juice.  Add the lemon juice and 4 more cups of water to the jug. Stir well to combine.

The lemonade and tea mixture can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

A few hours before serving, add the vodka, sliced peaches, lemon, and a few sprigs of mint to the jug.  Serve over ice and enjoy!

*You could also use lemonade from concentrate if you want (go for about 5-6 cups or to your taste). I think freshly squeezed is better, but it is a tiny bit more time consuming.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

# 500 Peaches and Cream Ruffles

Wow, this is the 500th post of the blog and I almost feel bad that Kelsey is not writing this one.  K and K Test Kitchen is really her baby and she so graciously asked me to be a part of it.  It has been months since I (the other K and mother) contributed a blog post for Kelsey! She has been so busy that I should have stepped up sooner to help out. This week she is in Montreal for a conference and doing the final week of workouts before her first sprint triathlon, so cooking is not on her agenda. She was so happy that I said I would find something as she feels she has be slacking on the blog. So I apologize too for not being a bigger help to her.  A special thank you to all the followers that have been along for the journey!

Tim and I are visiting our friends in Merritt, BC and we picked up a case of peaches to bring to them. Over the weekend two more cases were given to Jean (my host) and so we decided that something had to be done with the peaches. When I came upon this recipe in the Canadian Living cookbook, it was with strawberries and I know it would be delightful with peaches. The Peaches and Cream Ruffle was wiped up to be dessert. This recipe did not disappoint and Jean said, "it was fitting for a fancy restaurant and it was so easy to make!" The actual hardest part was keeping the guys from eating the wafers before we got to dessert!

P.S. I think Kelsey would approve of this choice and the pictures were done with my iPhone!

Gorgeous peaches from the Geddes farm in Kelowna, BC

Peaches and Cream Ruffles

Recipe adapted from Canadian Living’s Country Cooking

3 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced and drizzled with lemon juice
½ blueberries
1-1/2 cup whipping cream
Icing sugar


¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup corn syrup ( substituted honey )
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp finely chopped almonds
½ tsp brandy or vanilla

Wafers: In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter and corn syrup; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Combine flour with nuts; add to sugar mixture along with brandy and mix well. Drop batter, 1 rounded tsp for each wafer, to form three rounds about 3 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake, 1 sheet at a time in a 350 F oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown and bubbles break but don’t fill in. Let cool for 1 minute or until easily lifted with a wide spatula.

Remove 1 wafer at a time and using both hands, quickly pinch edges to create ruffled appearance. Repeat with remaining batter to make 12 wafers. Let cool.

To assemble spread 2 tbsp of cream over 1 wafer per serving. Top with peaches and a few blueberries and another 2 tbsp of cream. Top with another wafer and repeat layering of cream and fruit. Top with another wafer and garnish with whipped cream, icing sugar, peaches and berries! Make 4 serving

Friday, August 16, 2013

Healthy Maple Coconut Oat Bars

I have a major sweet tooth and one of my favorite things to do lately is figure out ways to satisfy it, while also trying to stay "clean and lean."  These maple coconut bars pack a serious flavor punch and they aren't the worst for you.  Plus, lately I have been obsessed with anything coconut flavored and these definitely hit the spot for me.

I've been really intrigued by coconut flour lately, so I bought a small bag of it from the bulk section of my local health food store.  Coconut flour absorbs liquid like a sponge, so when substituting it for other types of flour, make sure you increase the liquid in the recipe.  Here, I switched out brown sugar for maple syrup, so that did the trick. You also only need about 1/3 of what you would use for regular flour. Here 1 cup of flour became 1/3 cup of coconut flour, which reduces the overall carbs in the recipe.  Finally, coconut flour is amazing.  It is rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats!  It is a great gluten-free option too.

Healthy Maple Coconut Oat Bars

1/2 cup unsweetened, toasted coconut flakes
1-1/4 cups oats
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Blend together maple syrup and coconut oil until creamy.  Add the vanilla protein powder, salt, and coconut flour and blend until well combined.  Stir in coconut and oats.

Press the mixture into a parchment lined 8x8 inch baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes at 375F.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tomato Watermelon Salad

Tomato Watermelon Salad recipe

You all must be pretty hungry. I haven't shared a new recipe with you in so long, and I'm sorry for being such a food blogging slacker. Let's just call it quality over quantity.

This salad was a huge hit at the family BBQ we had while out in Seattle. It has this unexpected pairing of sweet, salty, and tangy flavors.  I was really surprised at how well watermelon worked with what is basically my all-time favorite salad (tomato and cucumber with basic balsamic vinaigrette).  Anyways, the watermelon really makes this salad special.  It is light and refreshing, and full of flavor.  We still have over 40 days left of summer, so put this on the menu at your next BBQ or picnic!

Tomato Watermelon Salad

Adapted from Women's Health magazine
Serves 4 (I doubled this)

2 cups watermelon, diced
2 cups mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 cups English cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced (I used Walla Walla onions)
10 basil leaves, chiffonaded
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber and onion.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper.  Add the basil just before serving.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ultimate Summer Salad

Ultimate Summer Salad recipe

Last weekend, I went down to the farmers market and went a little crazy.  I'm pretty sure I bought $40 worth of fruit, vegetables, and miscellaneous things (dill pickles...). I love that the farmers market here is so full of fresh produce and has such an amazing variety.  After wandering around the market, stopping at almost every stand, I had a basket laden with goodness and was excited to get into the kitchen.

Almost every single magazine that I bought for my vacation (I only buy magazines when I'm going on the plane), Food & Wine, Self, and Women's Health had a recipe for a veggie packed salad with a light vinaigrette.  I took elements from all three and added my own pizzazz for what I shall deem the "ultimate summer salad."  This salad is fresh, bright, spicy, crunchy, and delicious. You could add almost any vegetable you want to it. In fact, I actually bought radishes and avocado and forgot to put them in the salad. Go crazy! Go fresh! Go hit up your local farmers market this weekend!

Ultimate Summer Salad recipe

Ultimate Summer Salad

3 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
1 red pepper
2 cups green beans, cut in pieces
1 cup shelled, frozen edamame beans
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 jalapeno, sliced in thin slices
1-1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
Zest from one lime
10 leaves basil, chiffonaded
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Roast red peppers, cut into thick strips, and corn with a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt at 400°F for 10 minutes.  When the peppers are done, dice and add to the salad.

Boil green beans and edamame beans for about 3-5 minutes.  Drain the water, then immediately submerge beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Whisk together dressing ingredients: lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime zest, and honey.  Pour over the vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with basil.

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