Black Bean and Corn Salad

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Hi everyone, sorry its been such a long time since I shared anything here, its been a pretty crazy couple of months, but hopefully things are slowing down a little and I can get back to sharing recipes and health tips more routinely with you.

The weather is cooling down on this side of the world, and as soothing and comforting a warm bowl of soup tastes on a cold day, we should still try to include fresh salads with lots of raw vegetables. Our bodies absorb nutrients better from some vegetables when they are raw and others when they are cooked. The best way to ensure you’re getting the most absorbable nutrients is to try and incorporate a variety of vegetables (in a variety of colours) into your meals daily – both raw and cooked. Remember when cooking your vegetables the best methods are steamed and quick boil, refrain from deep frying and over boiling the vegetables.

Here is a list of some vegetables that release more nutrients when consumed raw:

  • beets
  • broccoli
  • onions
  • red peppers

Vegetables that release more nutrients when consumed cooked:

  • asparagus
  • mushrooms
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • carrots

For more information about cooked vegetables vs raw click here.

This salad is a delicious way to enjoy some fresh raw vegetables and high fiber beans and corn.

Black Bean and Corn Salad:

Salad:

  • 1 can black beans rinsed
  • 1 can corn niblets rinsed (or 1 1/2 cup fresh corn sliced off the cobb)
  • 1/4 red pepper chopped
  • 1/4 yellow pepper chopped
  • 1/4 red onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach

Toss everything together well

Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 limes juiced
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 fresh garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp. Tex-Mex seasoning
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk dressing ingredients together well and pour over salad. Toss well till everything is combined.

Place the bowl in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour to allow all the favours to combine and settle.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Enjoy.

 

 

Pistachio and Seed Brittle

Pistachio and Seed Brittle

We love eating nuts in our house, we enjoy them raw, in our baked goods, in our trail mixes and mixed into our foods. I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to incorporate these nutrient rich nuts into our foods.

One of my favourite treats are nut brittle, crunchy sweetened nuts…yum what could be better? I came across a recipe for a nut brittle and adjusted it to add in some extra goodness with sesame seeds and chia seeds (read here for more information on benefits of chia seeds). the result was a delicious treat that could be munched on or added on top of yogurts, parfaits, cereal and smoothie bowls!

Give this simple and delicious recipe a try, you’re going to love it. We ended eating up most of this right away, the kids couldn’t stop snacking on them!

Pistachio and Seed Brittle:

  • 1 cup raw pistachios
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. hemp hearts
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. raw honey

Add raw pistachios to a heated skillet and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, keep stirring to prevent burning.

Add in chia and sesame seeds, continue to cook for another minute or 2. Add in cinnamon powder and vanilla, mix everything together well then add in hemp hearts and honey.

Mix well till everything is well coated. Reduce the temperature to low and cook for an extra minute till all the liquid is dry and the seeds and nuts are stuck together.

Remove from heat and let the brittle cool for 2-3 minutes. Remove brittle from pan and transfer onto a sheet of wax paper and let it cool completely.

Once the brittle has cooled down, break it into desired size pieces and store it in an air tight container.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

Fiesta Chicken

Fiesta Chicken

With our crazy, busy lives I am always on the look out for new recipes that are quick, easy and family approved, this one inspired by my friend Fit SlowCooker Queen  fit the bill perfectly. Visit her page for the original recipe, which I had to make adjustments to because I hadn’t gone to the grocery store first.

If you have a slow cooker you absolutely have to try this recipe, its so versatile and can be used in different ways throughout the week. We’ve enjoyed it on top of brown rice, in quesadillas and finally wrapped into croissants for lunch. Awesome for meal prep, get creative.

Fiesta Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup corn kernels (canned, frozen or fresh off the cob)
  • 2 tbsp. Tex Mex seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Add the can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste to the bottom of the slow cooker pan, place rinsed chicken breasts on top. Add in all other ingredients except for the lime juice and cilantro. Cook on high for 3.5 hours or low for 6. once cooked, shred the chicken with a fork and add in the fresh lime juice and cilantro.

As I mentioned above this versatile dish can be used in a variety of dishes, we enjoyed it served on rice, in a quesadilla and stuffed into croissants.

fiesta chicken stuffed croissants

fiesta chicken croissants

 

fiesta chicken quesadilla
fiesta chicken quesadilla

Cold Spring Rolls

Cold Spring Rolls

Summertime fun all wrapped up!

A refreshing way to add vegetables and a variety of colours to your diet – get creative and have fun.

These colourful fresh rolls are a favourite appetizer (sometimes meal) of mine and I’m sure you’re going to love them as well. They make a great addition to summer BBQs and picnics.

Cold spring rolls are easy to make and so versatile, you can add in any ingredients that you have on hand and they always turn out delicious. All you need to do is a little chop, chop, chopping and the rest is easy. The rice paper wraps are a little sticky to work with, just be gentle and patient with them and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of rolling them. I have included a quick video clip below to show how I wrap them. These can stay in the fridge for a day or two as long as they are tightly sealed.

I have made a few different versions of these depending on what ingredients I find in my fridge, some include chicken, some shrimp and some are just filled with vegetables. A few different examples are shared below, but you can add in or delete ingredients to your personal preference. Dipping these rolls into a sauce just makes them even more delicious, below I have included 3 different dipping sauces I have made and loved.

The first thing to do is collect your vegetables and cut them into long, thin pieces, also if you are using noodles or a protein, prep and cool them first.

I bought a pack of rice paper wrappers at my local Asian market and they have lasted me a while. The rice paper wraps are hard and need to be soaked in a shallow bowl of water for about 10-15 seconds until softened. Once softened, handle them with care, they can rip easily. I usually soak one at a time, then stuff and wrap it before soaking the next one.

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Add your fillings into the middle of the wrap leaving room at the edges.

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Gently roll the wrap at the sides, then from the bottom, try to roll them as tight as you can keeping the wrap sealed at the edges.

 

Here are a few of the different variations that I have made and enjoyed:

Cold Spring Rolls

These were stuffed with:

  • fresh mint leaves
  • sliced red pepper
  • sliced carrots
  • sliced green onions
  • sliced cucumbers
  • chopped spinach
  • lemon pepper shrimp (sliced in half lengthwise)

 

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These were stuffed with:

  • chopped Romain lettuce
  • sliced carrots
  • sliced green onions
  • sliced cucumbers
  • shredded Sriracha chicken

 

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These were stuffed with:

  • sliced avocado
  • sliced spring onions
  • sliced yellow peppers
  • sliced carrots
  • chopped spinach
  • fresh mint
  • spinach rice noodles
  • cooked shrimp (sliced lengthwise)

 

Combination possibilities are endless…

 

Dipping Sauces:

Peanut Ginger Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1 -2 tsp Sriracha sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil,
  • 1 -2 tbsp. water

Mix together well till smooth.

Creamy Spicy Sauce:

  • 1 -2 tsp. Sriracha sauce (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix well till smooth

Sweet and Spicy Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1-2 tsp. Sriracha sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar (or white or apple cider will work as well)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground garlic
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

Add all the ingredients into a sauce pan and heat on lower till sauce thickens.

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Enjoy!

Note: * foodfitnesshealth.ig was my previous Instagram name, all pictures are mine 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlicky Lime Ancient Grain Salad

Garlicky Lime Ancient Grain Salad

Salads are a great way to get in your daily vegetables and the many nutrients they offer. Get creative with your salads they don’t have to be the same boring ones everyday, add in some fun and nutritious items to mix up your regular bowl of green giving it some extra pizzazz.

This salad can be made with cooked quinoa if you do not have ancient grains. Quinoa and ancient grains are a very nutritious add in to any meal, and with a little meal prep you can add them in at the last minute and save some time and effort. Cook a large batch and portion pack them into smaller bags/containers and freeze them. Take them out when you want to add them into your meals, they can be defrosted and tossed into a cold dish, or you can heat them to enjoy them warm. The ancient grain mix I use is made by Trù Roots and contains white quinoa, red quinoa, millet and buckwheat, a high fiber nutritious blend.

When making a salad remember to add in various coloured vegetables and fruits, the more colours you eat the more phytochemicals and antioxidants your body absorbs and the better able it is to fight off unwanted toxins from within. More about the many benefits of eating the rainbow here.

Benefits of Quinoa:

  • high in protein; a complete protein containing all 9 amino acids
  • contains almost 2x the fiber as most other grains
  • good source of iron and magnesium
  • contains lysine; important for tissue repair and growth
  • helps control blood sugar levels
  • high in antioxidants
  • gluten free

Garlicky Lime Ancient Grain Salad

Salad:
(These are the veggies I had on hand, you can add whatever you have)

  • 2 mini cucumbers chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 1/4 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic chives chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked ancient grains (or regular cooked quinoa)

Gently mix it all together.

 

Garlic lime dressing:

  • 2 tbsp garlic infused extra virgin olive oil (or just extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tbsp lime and spice seasoning (can substitute for 1 tsp fresh lime zest and crushed red pepper to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Whisk well (I usually add dressing ingredients into a jar, close the lid tight and shake, shake, shake).
Add dressing to vegetable mix and toss well. Let rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours for flavours to infuse.

Enjoy!

If you remake this recipe let me know your thoughts, I love hearing from you!:)

Caprese Stuffed Chicken Breast

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Who said eating healthy is boring or time-consuming? All you need is a little creativity and you can have a healthy version of your favourite foods, or enjoy something completely new.

I have taken baby steps with the family for the past few years, making little changes here and there with our meals, sometimes they notice the changes or substitutes and sometimes they don’t but they always eat it. I try to get at least one “experiment” meal in a week, I make adjustments to a favourite or just think up something new. After these meals they will let me know if it’s something to add to our regular roster of meals or not – this chicken was given thumbs up all around, good thing it was easy to make 😉

Caprese Stuffed Chicken Breast:

4 boneless chicken breasts – washed and butterflied (sliced lengthwise down the middle but leaving one side joined)
1-2 fresh garlic cloves minced
1 tsp dried onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
Salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste.

Rub the butterflied chicken breast with seasoning mix all over. Set aside.

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Stuffing:
Fresh basil leaves chopped
Fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
Tomato slices
Take each breast and spread open.
Layer tomato slice, cheese slice, chopped basil, another cheese slice and tomato slice on one half and fold the other side over.
Repeat with other breasts.

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Heat a non-stick skillet with a 1 tsp oil on med-high heat. Add in stuffed chicken and pan sear each for about 2 minutes, turn and search the other side. A quick search to lock in the juices and flavours.

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Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the seared chicken breasts on top a lined cooking sheet. Bake in oven for an extra 15 minutes, check to make sure juices run clear.

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Note: cheese will melt out, you can try to re-stuff the cheese or just cover the top of the chicken with it.
Drizzle cooked chicken with balsamic glaze and serve warm with pasta, zoodles or a salad.

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Recipe for the creamy avocado zoodles pictures above can be found here.

Enjoy 😉

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

I find getting my teenagers to eat healthy a little trying at times, I think I may have waited too long before I tried to make healthy eating a staple in my house. My advice to new parents, introduce as many healthy foods to your babies as you can; familiarize them with different fruits and vegetables early.

I admit that we do have store bought snacks in our house but anything that is homemade is usually healthy. Credit to my kids, they do try it all and I usually don’t share the ingredients with them till after they’ve tried it. Mind you, when I am encouraging them to have brownies or cookies they usually guess that it’s a healthy version 😉

These granola bars are one of our successful afterschool snacks and loved by all of us.

 

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

Dry:

  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cashews (coarsely chop the almonds, walnuts and cashews)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix all the above ingredients together and spread out on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 300F for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

* This step is optional but I love the smell of roasted nuts and oats.

Add in:

  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.

Wet:

  • 1 cup dates (softened in a warm water for an hour)

Blend with a little water.

In a saucepan on low heat add:

  • 1/4 cup pure honey
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
  • blended dates

Mix till all ingredients are combined.

Add the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, mix well till everything is combined.

Transfer the mixture onto a lined tray and pat till flat, mixture will be sticky.

Place the tray in the freezer for 1/2 hour.

Remove tray from freezer and cut into desired size bars.

Keep bars stored in the fridge or freezer.

Enjoy 🙂

Cranberry Nut and Seed Granola Bars

 

 

 

Creamy Avocado Pesto Zoodles

Creamy Avocado Pesto Zoodles

I find zoodles a great alternative to pasta, just substitute them in any recipe you would otherwise use spaghetti, linguini or fettuccini pasta. For those of you who are unfamiliar with zoodles, they are made from zucchinis that are shredded using a spiralizer, and the results are long swirly strands the perfect substitute.

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I find that there are days when I am craving pasta, more the sauces that are mixed with pasta and that’s when I pull out my spiralizer and satisfy my cravings. The other day it was pesto sauce that I really wanted so I started experimenting in the kitchen and ended up with a healthy pesto sauce. Not only was this sauce delicious tossed with the zoodles but I made a few adjustments to the sauce and used leftovers as a salad dressing and as a base for egg salad. One recipe used 3 different ways – definitely a winner.

It’s a quick and easy recipe with minimal clean up – just the way I like it 😉

Creamy Avocado Pesto Sauce:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 fresh garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts if you have)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional or to desired taste)

Place everything into a blender and pulse till smooth. Add a little water (or milk for a creamier sauce) till desired consistency is reached.

This sauce can be tossed cold with cold zoodles for a crunchy cold salad or heated in a skillet with zoodles for a warm meal.

I added in some chick peas and grape tomato halves for a warm meal.

 

Creamy Avocado Pesto Dressing:

Use left over sauce and add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to thin out the consistency. Add dressing to your salad and toss well.

 

Avocado Pesto Egg Salad:

Add 1 hard boiled egg chopped to any leftover sauce and mix well and top your favourite bread or crackers for hearty healthy lunch.

 

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Trail Mix Granola Clusters

Trail Mix Granola Clusters

Trail Mix Granola Crumble

We all know that homemade foods are best for us, but sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day. Here is a quick granola recipe that takes no time at all to prep and bake and can be used in multiple ways; to snack on, add to yogurt parfait or as a cereal with milk.

This recipe calls for a trail mix blend, you can make your one or buy one, just make sure its a healthy one with limited amounts of sugar. I found a great organic trail mix that was full of goodness: almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, dried cranberries, goji berries, toasted coconut slices and dark chocolate covered cacao nibs.

Trail Mix Granola Crumble:

Dry:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (they can be lightly toasted in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes for an extra flavour)
  • 1 cup trail mix

Place ingredients in a large bowl, if you toasted the oats please ensure they are cooled.

Wet:

  • 1/2 cup dates (boiled in 1/2 cup of water, then mashed and cooled)
  • 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. liquid sweetener of choice: honey, maple syrup, agave or brown rice syrup

Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold together.

Spread mixture out on a lined cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Gently break into large pieces and turn them over. Return pan back to the oven and bake for an extra 10 minutes – be careful it doesn’t burn.

Remove the ray from the oven and let cool completely.

Once it is completely cooed break up into desired size pieces.

Keep stored in an airtight container.

 

Chocolate Banana Nut Muffins

Chocolate Banana Nut Muffins

 

Banana Nut Muffins

Oh my, these are so good! It’s hard to believe that they’re grain/flour free and sugar free.

This is not one of my recipes but I thought I would share it with you here so we’ll always know where to find it. I have made a couple of changes to the original recipe which can be found at Tip Hero.

There are many modified versions of banana muffin recipes floating around,  I have 2 – 3 that I used to use regularly. It’s a personal preference of what flavours you like and if you have any dietary restrictions. This recipe uses peanut butter so it would not be an option if you or a family member have a nut allergy but there’s no flour which makes it ideal for people with gluten allergies or sensitivities.

This is such a quick and easy recipe, it’s become a favourite go to for afterschool snacks at our house and once you try it I’m sure it’ll become a favourite at yours too.

Chocolate Banana Muffins

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs20160308_161817-1
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda*
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk* (or milk of choice)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup flax meal*

Add all the above ingredients into a blender and pulse till smooth.

Fold in:

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or cacoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or nut of choice

Pour into a muffin cups about 3/4 full and top with desired toppings.

Bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes.

Yields 12 muffins.

  • ingredients that I added in that were not in the original TipHero recipe.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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