All Posts Tagged ‘Healthy food

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 2 – Camping

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I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with camping my whole life. My (brave) parents took all four of us kids camping every single summer for as long as I can remember. And I’m not talking weekend camping, I’m talking 2-3 weeks at a time with no showers, no flushing toilets, no fancy RV. I loved it as a young kid, hated it as a moody teenager, and now I’m back to loving it as an adult. Looking back, I’m so incredibly grateful to them for giving us those amazing, natural, old school, get-outside-and-breathe-that-fresh-air kind of experiences. Just don’t tell them I said that.

I’ve been hearing all summer from people that it’s impossible or just too difficult to stay healthy on vacation, and especially while camping. I decided to try and prove them wrong. (Read Part 1 to see a detailed explanation of how we stayed healthy in Whistler here.) 

You CAN eat healthy and keep up with your balanced lifestyle while camping with minimal preparation, and still leave room for some treats here and there. My husband and I just finished a 5 day road trip to Banff and Jasper, British Columbia, and I promise you we didn’t climb mountains with hot dogs and muffins in our bellies.

Hiking around Lake Louise

Hiking around Lake Louise

Here’s what I packed and how we enjoyed our adventures, completely guilt free.

In an electric cooler I packed:

1 batch of frozen homemade meatballs (previously made and frozen before our Whistler trip), separated into ziploc freezer bags of 5 for quick defrost

1 batch of frozen homemade sausage patties (previously made and frozen before our Whistler trip), separated into ziploc freezer bags of 4 for quick defrost

6 hardboiled eggs

1 pound of frozen grass fed beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 frozen farmer sausage 

4 bell peppers, chopped

3 sweet onions, peeled and chopped

Approximately 20 mushrooms, washed

2 large zucchini, chopped

5 red potatoes, scrubbed 

4 apples

1 bunch of bananas

A big bag of carrots

3 packs (about 350g total) of sugar free, nitrate free beef jerky

4 Larabars

1 glass container of our leftover breakfast from the morning we left (a skillet mixture of chicken sun dried tomato sausage, kale, swiss chard, peppers, potatoes, onion and apple)

A sealed glass container of coconut oil

For cooking supplies I packed:

2 plastic plates

2 forks and 2 knives

1 sharp knife

Heavy duty aluminum foil

1 cutting board

1 frying pan

Propane stove (with propane and matches)

Garlic Salt

Pepper

We dropped our kids off with my parents and left late in the afternoon and drove straight to Golden, BC. We ate before we left and then snacked on veggies, hard boiled eggs, and meatballs for a quick dinner in the car. The next morning we left early to finish our drive and had a similar meal for breakfast in the morning, eating the sausage patties instead of meatballs. (Because I separated the meatballs and sausage patties into ziploc freezer bags, I was able to pull them out of the cooler and let them defrost for 10-15 minutes before eating them). 

For the next three nights we camped in Jasper National Park. We spent each day exploring and adventuring around Jasper and Banff and spent as little time as possible at our actual campground, so here are some of the quick combination meals I came up with for dinner each day. I made a little extra each night to warm up in a pan on the propane stove for breakfast in the morning. Lunch was always a mixture of eggs, veggies, jerky, Larabars, meatballs and sausage patties.

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Tinfoil Steak Dinner

I piled half of the stew meat on 2 large torn pieces of layered tinfoil. I sprinkled it with garlic salt and pepper, then added the diced potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. I wrapped it in the tinfoil and sealed it tightly at the top, and cooked it on a grate on top of the campfire for approximately 20-30 minutes. Depending on the size of your stew meat chunks and vegetables, check on it every 15 minutes or so until it’s cooked to your liking. We ate it right out of the tinfoil to save dish washing time.

Some possible variations: throw in a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or steak spice.

dinnerfire

Tinfoil Farmer Sausage Dinner

I did the same thing as the Steak Dinner, just replaced the stew meat with sliced farmer’s sausage. Farmer’s sausage usually has a high salt content, so skip the salt on this one and add chopped apple to balance the flavours. This cooks much quicker, so check every 10 minutes or so for doneness. 

If we had stayed longer, I would’ve done the same thing with a cut up chicken breast, pineapple, red onion and more vegetables. By making different combinations, you can have different flavours each night, all healthy and satisfying.

steakdinner

Eating this way gave us lots of energy for all of our hiking and canoeing adventures, and left room for treats in the cute little town of Banff, at the Lake Agnes Teahouse, and the occasional S’more. If you skip the extra treats, the whole road trip and camping trip could easily be Whole30 approved.

We are hoping to squeeze in another short camping trip before the summer is over, so leave a comment with some of your healthy camping ideas. I’d love to try them out!

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 1 – Whistler

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Over the course of this summer, I’ve heard a lot of this:

“I’ll start eating healthy after my vacation is over.”

“It’s impossible to eat healthy on vacation.”

“It’s too hard to eat healthy while camping.”

“Whole30 is impossible on vacation.”

Of course, I took this on as a challenge to prove that it IS all possible, and that it’s not that difficult or time consuming with a little guidance and prep work. We had two short trips almost back to back, giving me two opportunities to test out my ideas. (Read Part 2 – Camping to see how we stayed healthy on our road trip to Alberta).

First, we got to spend a weekend in Whistler with our good friend and her daughter. We stayed in a lodge with a full kitchen, making this the easier of the two challenges. Still, we only had 2 nights there, and I wanted to spend as little of that time in the kitchen as possible, so I prepped almost everything ahead of time.

whistlerfood

Here’s a complete list of what I packed:

Green beans

Kale/Swiss chard mix, washed and torn

Yellow carrots

1 large zucchini

4 avocados

1 bunch of bananas

Cherries

Apples

1 dozen eggs, half of those hardboiled

Chicken (2 large bone-in breasts and 2 large thighs)

Homemade sausage patties

Homemade meatballs

Partially cooked diced yams

Cooked beets

Cashews

Larabars

Date/Coconut balls

Black coffee

At first glance, all that cooked food may look like a lot of prep work, but it really wasn’t. I like to keep it simple and use shortcuts.

For the chicken, I threw it all in a crockpot the night before with about 1 tbsp of rosemary, 1 tbsp of basil, 1 sliced lemon, salt and pepper, and drizzled olive oil on it. I let it cook all night on low, then let it cool in the morning and packed it away in tupperware. This took about 5 minutes of hands on time.

For the beets, I also used the crockpot. I scrubbed them, threw them in the crockpot and covered them with an inch or two of water. I cooked them on high for 2 hours. Once they cooled, I slid off the peels and then packed them in tupperware. Maximum ten minutes of hands on time.

The meatballs and sausage patties were what took the most time, and so I doubled both recipes knowing that I could use the extra for camping the next week. For the meatballs I used the Greek version of Melissa Joulwan’s meatballs. I packed half of them in a tupperware and froze the other half in a ziploc freezer bag for camping. For the sausage patties, I used my absolute favourite homemade sausage recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo, found here. I did the same as I did with the meatballs, packing half in a tupperware container and freezing the rest in a ziploc freezer bag for camping the next week. This only took about 30 minutes of hands on time the night before our trip.

While the meatballs and sausage patties cooked in the oven, I peeled and chopped about 6 small yams. I fried them in coconut oil but left them slightly hard so that they wouldn’t get mushy over the next few days. This took about 15 minutes of hands on time, and about 15 mins of frying time. 

The morning of our trip, I threw it all in a cooler and unloaded it all in the fridge once we arrived. Over the weekend, we simply ate different combinations of all these foods. Bonus, we came home with a ton of leftovers that we ate at home over the next couple of days. All of this food was Whole30 approved, and because I’m not actually doing the Whole30 challenge this month, eating this way for our 3 main meals a day left room for treats like this that I found at the Whistler Farmer’s Market:

applebaconpie

Apple Bacon Pie. Seriously.

Spending the small amount of time to do this ended up saving us a ton of money (dining out in Whistler is expensive!), a lot of frustration and exhaustion trying to keep our two wiggly children quiet and entertained at restaurants, and left us with so much extra time to explore and have fun. 

Try it, I know you can do it!

(Side note: I was so happy to bump into Caveman Grocer at the Whistler Farmer’s Market. Check her out!)

Kayaking in Whistler

Kayaking in Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

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Lemon Pepper Spaghetti Squash with Scallops and Kale

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I absolutely love scallops! They are a quick and easy source of protein and completely versatile when it comes to flavour. This is one of my favourite lunches to eat post workout.

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash, cooked and threaded into ‘noodles’

8-10 scallops, ocean wise

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped, stems removed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/8 cup of Tessemae’s Lemon Pepper sauce, approximately

Directions

1) Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat.

2) Pour into the pan about half of the Tessemae’s Lemon Pepper sauce

3) Place your scallops in the pan, leaving lots of wiggle room between them. Leave them to cook for 3-5 minutes.

4) Flip over your scallops and allow them to cook for another few minutes.

5) Add your red pepper and stir to combine with the scallops. Let cook for a minute.

6) Add your kale and the rest of your Tessemae’s sauce. Mix everything and fry until kale is softened and scallops are completely cooked through.

7) Remove from pan and serve over spaghetti squash noodles. Enjoy!

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Balsamic Beef Stew

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I woke up to the sound of pouring rain this morning and immediately thought to myself that today is a good day for stew. A couple of hours later I got a text from my sister in law asking if I had any good stew recipes. Great minds think alike! There’s just something comforting about curling up with a bowl of hot stew while the rain comes down outside….

Ha! Who am I kidding? No mom ever gets to eat their stew while it’s still hot. I’m usually scarfing down my dinner as fast as I can while simultaneously doing the airplane move, trying to shovel food into my 1 year old’s mouth and chanting “You can do it!” to my 3 year old, desperately trying to convince her to eat her carrots. Bonus points if I can get the dirty dishes loaded before the 1 year old climbs out of his high chair and starts climbing right into the dishwasher. What is it with babies and dishwashers? Good thing he’s so cute!

IMG_9921Back to the stew. It takes some time, but the end result is completely worth it. Serve it with a side salad and enjoy!

Ingredients

1 lb stewing beef (grass fed and local if possible)

1 tbsp steak spice (sugar free)

1 tbsp coconut oil 

4 cups of yams, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

2 cups of parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

2 cups of carrot, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp of fresh rosemary, chopped (dried will work just fine but fresh is always better!)

1 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves

2 cups beef bone broth (sugar free)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (sugar free)

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Dry the stewing beef by blotting it with paper towel. Toss it in the steak spice to coat it evenly.

3) Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and melt the coconut oil in it. Working in batches if necessary, brown all sides of the beef in the pan. Don’t crowd the beef, give it lots of wriggle room to properly brown the sides. Remove the beef to a dutch oven or large, deep casserole dish with a lid. 

4) Pile the yams, carrots and parsnips on top of the beef.

5) Return to the same saucepan and add your onion, rosemary and thyme. Saute for a few minutes to soften. Add the bone broth and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil, all the while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the juicy beefy bits.

6) Pour the contents of the saucepan into your dutch oven or casserole dish, put the lid on, and place it in the oven for three hours, if you can wait that long. The delicious aroma will drive you crazy while you wait! Enjoy.

 

 

 

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Spaghetti Pie with Charley

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IMG_9710If you aren’t already addicted to PaleOMG yet, you need to go check it out NOW. Juli, the creator, is hilarious, down to earth, and all of her recipes have been a big hit in our household. We very slightly tweaked her recipe Almost 5 Ingredient Spaghetti Pie just buy adding some extra vegetables. All credit goes to Paleomg. She’s a genius!

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash, cooked and threaded into noodles

1 pound of Italian sausage (pastured pork and sugar free)

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 cup of pizza sauce (sugar free)

1 tsp of dried basil

3 eggs, whisked

1 green pepper, diced

5 mushrooms, chopped

1 cup spinach

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Heat a large pan over medium heat and fry the sausage, onions, and green pepper until sausage is cooked through and no longer pink.

3) Add the pizza sauce, basil, mushrooms and spinach and stir well.

4) Combine the entire mixture with the spaghetti squash threads in an 8×8 baking dish.

5) Mix in the whisked eggs until the eggs are no longer visible.

6) Place in the preheated oven and bake for approximately one hour, or until set in the middle. Let it rest a few minutes before serving.

Charley had a great time making this with me, but made sure to pick out anything green once it came time to eat it. Baby steps, right?