All Posts Tagged ‘clean eating

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Quick (Car) Lunches

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If you follow me on Instagram you’ll notice that I post photos of my “car lunches” often. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I drop my daughter off at preschool at noon, then head to the gym, put my son in the daycare they offer, workout, pick him up, drive back to preschool for pickup and quickly eat my post workout lunch in the car while we wait for my daughter. Not ideal. Not even close. I firmly believe in sitting down to eat and enjoying it slowly. But I’d rather eat food in the car then not at all, right? And from what I’ve learned from Stupid Easy Paleo, that post workout meal needs to be eaten pretty quickly after exercise. (To be clear, I eat a bit before I leave to drop my daughter off as well. This post workout meal is in addition to a light lunch beforehand.)

Based on the simplest version of the formula I’ve learned from Stupid Easy Paleo and Whole9, my post workout lunches consist of protein + carbs. Make sure you read the whole post on post workout fuel here.

Pictured above is a sample meal that I mix up depending on what produce is on sale each week. In the photo is a grass fed steak from our 1/4 cow share, butternut squash (kept cubed and frozen in the freezer for quick frying), yellow pepper, kiwi, pear and pumpkin seeds on organic mixed greens. Protein (steak) + carbs (butternut squash). The rest (fruit and greens) just fills out my meal and adds extra nutrients.

Other combinations that I enjoy post workout:

Chicken breast, sweet potato, strawberries, bell peppers, mixed greens.

Steak, grape tomatoes, butternut squash, kiwi, pumpkin seeds, mixed greens.

Chicken breast, red cabbage, sweet potato, spinach, peppers.

Salmon, cauliflower rice, peppers, jalapeño, red peppers, mango, spinach, micro greens, coconut milk.

Chorizo sausage, sweet potatoes, cabbage, onion, apple.

Soft boiled eggs, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.

Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce, veggies and Italian sausage.

Tips:

  1. I defrost the meat I am planning on using the night before in a ziplock bag in the fridge. For the steak, I usually marinade it in the bag with lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic and chili powder. For the chicken, I do combos of balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, or just plain salt and pepper. For the salmon, lemon juice and chili powder.
  2. When prepping your meat, always double or triple the amount for lunches that week. No one has time to prep and cook one single steak or chicken breast at a time, ha!
  3. I keep it simple. IF I use dressing (rarely because I’m lazy!), it’s a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If I’m feeling adventurous or have extra time to spare, I’ll mix up some Sunshine Sauce from Mel Joulwan’s blog, The Clothes Make the Girl.
  4. Invest in a thermos or some sort of container to keep your food hot. I LOVE coming out of the gym and getting to enjoy hot food like spaghetti squash. I’ve found it even works well for soft boiled eggs, which really surprised me.
  5. Use frozen, cubed butternut squash and sweet potato/yams. I promise that in this case it is worth the money and your time. I save so much time not having to peel and chop them!

I know what you’re probably thinking…why don’t I just drink a protein shake instead? It’s so much quicker and easier. There’s a lot of reasons, and I’m not judging those who do use shakes (but seriously, lets talk about it over coffee another day), but at this point in my life, the extra few minutes it takes for me to throw together these lunches is so worth it to me. I make sure that my schedule leaves time for this because it is important to me. I DO realize that someday my life may change, and I may feel like I don’t have the extra minutes to do this, but for now, I’m making it work. Also, this food tastes amazing after the gym. They’re full of flavour. I get to actually CHEW them, which is exciting to me. My children look at what I’m eating and ask all sorts of questions about it. This is a lifestyle of preparing and cooking healthy food that is sustainable for the rest of my life. There are zero sweeteners in these meals. (All Whole30 approved, in case you were wondering!) Basically, I feel great when I fuel my body this way.

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Chicken and strawberry salad with Sunshine Sauce

 

Leave a comment with some of your favourite combos – I’d love to try them out!

Eat well, move your body, and have a great week!

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Meatloaf with Whipped Yams

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I made this last night and my husband ate more than half of the loaf in one sitting because he enjoyed it so much! As always, there’s as many vegetables as I can fit in a meal without it falling apart and without my kids noticing too much.

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This recipe is large and yields three meatloaves. One for you, one for a friend who needs a pick-me-up, and one for your freezer. It does take some time (about 1 hour and 40 minutes cooking time) so be aware of that before you start.

Ingredients:

-3 lbs grass fed ground beef

-2 eggs

-1 large sweet onion, diced small

-6 cloves of garlic, divided, diced small (4 for meatloaves, 2 for yam topping)

-4 strips of pastured, sugar free bacon, diced

-2 large bell peppers, any colour, diced small

-6 large crimini mushrooms, diced small

-3/4 cup of kale, diced small

-4 large yams, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces

-2 tbsp sugar free dijon mustard (I really like the Organic Simply Natural brand)

-1 tbsp gluten free Worcestershire sauce (omit for Whole30 unless you can find a brand without any sweeteners)

-2 tbsp tomato paste

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Fry your diced bacon in a pan over medium heat. Once it’s cooked through, remove the bacon and set it aside.

3) Scoop out the leftover bacon fat from the pan and toss it with the chopped yams and 2 of the diced garlic cloves in a large bowl.

4) Spread your yams out onto a lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven and roast for approximately 40 minutes, or until yams are soft when pierced with a fork. Once they are soft, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Leave your oven on at 400 degrees.

5) While the yams are roasting, mix your ground beef, bacon pieces, eggs, onion, garlic, mushrooms, kale, and peppers in a large bowl. It is best to do this with your hands to get everything fully combined and mixed well.

6) Add the tomato paste, dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce and mix again with your hands.

7) When everything is mixed well, divide the meatloaf mixture evenly into 3 loaf pans.

One for you, one for a friend, and one for your freezer.

One for you, one for a friend, and one for your freezer.

8) Once the yams have cooled, take them from the pan and blend them in a blender, NutriBullet, Vitamix, or whatever machine you have. You may need to do this in two batches to make sure everything gets whipped smoothly enough.

9) Evenly spread the whipped yams over top of your meatloaves. (In my photo, I only put the yams on two of the meatloaves and left the freezer loaf bare. I haven’t tried freezing whipped yams yet so wasn’t sure how well it would work, plus I was short on yams anyway.)

10) Place two of your meatloaves into the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour. Wrap the remaining loaf in tinfoil or saran wrap and place in the freezer.

11) When meatloaves are cooked through, remove them from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

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I’m big on community and loving each other. You’ll probably hear (or read) me talk about my “village” a lot. When my children were born early and in the NICU for weeks, our community showered us with love by regularly bringing us meals to help get us through the rough time. I can still remember how incredibly loved and taken care of we felt, and I strive to pass that on now. If you know someone who could use a hand, drop this meal off for them. They will never forget it.

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Potato Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

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All of a sudden winter has hit us here in Vancouver. It’s been beautifully sunny and absolutely chilly and we are loving it! We’ve spent hours outside each day soaking up the sunshine and everyone’s mood has been lifted.

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The fresh cold air makes me crave hot soup, and so that plus the fact that kale was on sale at our local market had me coming up with this for dinner last night. This made quite a large pot, probably enough for about 6 bowls.

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Ingredients:

-6 slices of nitrate free, sugar free bacon

-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

-1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped

-2 celery stalks, chopped

-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used red potatoes but any kind will do)

-3 potatoes, diced into bite size pieces (I prefer to leave the peel on for this part)

-6 sausage links, Italian flavoured or chorizo (I did a mix)

-2 large red bell peppers, diced

-2 bunches of kale, stems removed and roughly torn or chopped

-fresh chives, chopped

-4 cups chicken broth

-1 cup water

-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) Fry the bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat. (Put the bacon in your cold soup pot and then turn on the heat to medium to get the most fat rendered out of your bacon – thanks Cherie for that tip!)

2) Once the bacon is cooked, remove it and set it to the side. Remove all but 1-2 tbsp of the bacon fat. (Save that removed bacon fat in a jar for another day…it’s gold.)

3) Fry your garlic, leek and celery in the pot with the 1-2 tbsp bacon fat until it smells wonderful, about 2-4 minutes.

4) Add in your 4 peeled and chopped potatoes and fry for another few minutes.

5) Pour in your chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 or so minutes, until potatoes are soft.

6) While your potatoes are cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat. Remove the sausage casing and crumble the meat into the pan. Cook until there is no longer any pink.

7) When the potatoes are soft, puree the whole pot of broth, potatoes, garlic, leeks and celery. Use a hand held immersion blender or remove the mixture and blend it in a Vitamix and then return it to the pot.

8) Add the rest of the potatoes and the cooked sausage. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes or until the diced potatoes begin to soften.

9) Add your chopped kale and diced red pepper and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

10) Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with chives and bacon.

Enjoy!

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A Healthful Thanksgiving – From My Family to Yours

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That has to be one of the best episodes of Friends, am I right?

My family celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving a week early this year, much to the delight of my turkey loving self. One of the great things about celebrating with my family is that we are all focusing on living healthy, balanced lifestyles, which makes family dinners fun, easy and no one is needing maternity pants.

I want to eliminate your excuses for hopping off the healthy bandwagon around holidays, so here’s the run down of what we ate and a few other recipes that I would like to try next year or some that I think sound delicious. I can’t do the grocery shopping or cooking for you, but these clickable links should save you some time.

As I have explained in previous posts, when it comes to holidays or special occasions, I don’t eat strictly Whole30 or Paleo. Read here about how I found that balance. Basically, pass the pumpkin pie and whipped cream please!

Appetizers:

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

Bacon Wrapped Date Salad

Pumpkin Soup with Apple and Spices

Main:

Turkey

Stuffing

Sides:

Maple Bacon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash (My favourite!)

Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Braised Root Veggies 

Roasted Cranberry Walnut Brussel Sprouts

Cranberry Sauce

We also had some very definite non-paleo perogies, because we’re Ukrainian, and because they’re delicious. There are some things you just don’t mess with. Amen.

Dessert:

We enjoyed a fresh baked pumpkin pie from a local farm, but when I searched online, tons of recipes for healthy pumpkin pie came up. Next year I would like to try something like this one.

Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope you enjoy some time giving thanks with loved ones!

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Whole 30 – Week 5 – Meal Plan

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Only two more days! Congratulations to everyone who has held on this far. Now the most important part is coming next: Life After Whole30. Don’t mess this up! Carefully re-introduce foods in the proper manner. You’ve worked hard so please don’t throw it all away now.

Breakfast:

Sausage Egg Cups

Spicy Breakfast Stew (I’m sure by now you guys have become accustomed to eating weird stuff for breakfast!)

Meat Crust Quiche

Dinner:

Beef Pot Roast

Baked Garlic Mushroom Chicken

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Balsamic Marinade

Spicy Shrimp Butternut Squash “Rice” with Tomatoes

Italian Chopped Salad

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

Previously:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

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Pumpkin Muffins with Zucchini and Banana

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Fall is finally here. I know I’m supposed to be super excited about the leaves falling, cool mornings, and pumpkin spice lattes, but I’m just not there yet. I’m still mourning the loss of the hot sun and late summer nights. My kids however, have fully embraced everything pumpkin. Our local market already has pumpkins for sale and Charley got so excited and begged to take one home. We named it George, and then she helped me cut it up and scoop out the ‘guts’. After baking and pureeing the flesh, we made some of it into these delicious muffins and the rest went into Xavier’s morning oatmeal.

I find paleo baking to be pretty tricky. I usually prefer to use almond flour rather than coconut flour, but Charley’s preschool is completely nut free so I’m having to come up with some new recipes for her. Be aware that the texture of these muffins can not be compared to regular muffins made with wheat flour. Paleo baking is just different, and that’s okay.

Ingredients:

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup shredded zucchini

1 overripe banana

5 eggs

6 tbsp melted grass fed butter (or coconut oil)

1/8-1/4 cup of raw, organic honey (or maple syrup)

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup coconut flour

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well. I used an electric mixer on low to really hide the zucchini and banana as much as possible for my kids but you could mix by hand with no problems.

3) Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.

4) Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mix, stirring to combine as you go until well blended.

5) Spoon muffin batter into lined or greased muffin pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until done.

Charley really wanted to sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on top of the muffins before baking so we did that this time (seen in photo). Not necessary of course, but there are much worse things she could be eating, and if those few chocolate chips get her to eat pumpkin, zucchini and banana, then I consider that a parenting win.

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Whole 30 – Week 4 – Meal Plan

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Breakfast:

Zucchini Fritters

Potatoes O’Brien

Sweet Potato Quiche

Dinner:

Spicy Sausage and Potato Soup (Add more veggies!)

Paleo Butter Chicken (Skip the Naan…sorry guys. Use cauliflower rice instead.)

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy

Slow Cooker Sausage Stuffed Peppers  

Spicy Pineapple Chili (This is one of my favourite recipes to double or triple and freeze.)

Lemon Pepper Spaghetti Squash with Scallops and Kale

Salmon with Avocado Salsa