All Posts Tagged ‘soy free

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Paleo Granola

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I’ve been randomly craving granola and yogurt lately. A couple of weeks ago I splurged (nutritionally) on the Love Crunch brand of granola…what a treat! For my taste buds, not my body. Ever since then I’ve been wanting to create my own version, minus the sweeteners and oatmeal and plus some more nuts and seeds.

I’m not usually one for trying to get protein out of nuts and seeds, as I find my body absorbs and uses animal protein much better. But I figured it can’t hurt, right? And, it’s quick and tastes great.

Here’s what I came up with for my first try. Of course you could easily swap out all different kinds of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, this is just what I happened to have. I think cashews would be great in this, but Charley ate the whole container we got from Costco so I didn’t have any left! Notice that there are chia seeds in this mix. They will gel when mixed with liquid (like almond milk or coconut yogurt) so leave them out if that freaks you out. Also, I really wanted to make this with NO sweeteners of any kind, so you’ll notice it doesn’t clump together like regular granola would, because of the absence of maple syrup or honey. Just deal with it, friends.

Ingredients:

-1 cup almonds, chopped

-1 cup pecans, chopped

-1 cup walnuts, chopped

-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

-1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

-3/4 cup dried cranberries

-1/2 cup mixed chia/hemp/buckwheat (I used this brand)

-2-3 tsp orange zest (about one small orange)

-2 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp nutmeg

-1/2 cup melted coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix evenly.
  3. Spread on lined baking sheets and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn!
  4. When it’s toasty and browning and smelling amazing, remove it from the oven and let it cool. Once it’s cooled down, store in an air tight container in the fridge.
  5. Enjoy by the handful (my style) or with berries and homemade almond milk. I attempted some coconut milk chia pudding to go with it (as seen in photo below) but I used a new brand of coconut milk and it was kinda gross. There’s always next time!image1

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

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Whole30 Favourites – Week 4

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Whole30 is complete! As usual, I’m already looking ahead and planning to do another one. It’s funny how that works. You start to feel so good that you can’t wait to do it again.

This round, I learned that white potatoes make me feel exhausted immediately after I eat them. I had become suspicious of this over the past couple of months, so I tested it out over the first week and it’s definitely a problem. So I stuck with sweet potatoes and yams for the rest of the month and had no issues there.

Here are a few of my favourites from this past week.

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Top left: BBQ Chicken Skewers! These were so delicious. I combined a few different Whole30 bbq sauces to make my own sauce: 3oz tomato paste, 1tbsp orange juice, 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1 teaspoon salt. I cut 2 chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes and marinated them in the bbq sauce for about 45 minutes. I chopped bell peppers and pineapple into 1 inch chunks, added grape tomatoes, and tossed them in coconut oil and South African Smoke seasoning from Trader Joes. Then I put everything on skewers and baked them in the oven (in better weather I would of course use the outdoor bbq) at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. I had them plain last night, but will be eating the leftovers on salad later today.

Top right: This was a car lunch again. The night before I marinated a grass fed beef inside round steak in lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin. In the morning I quickly pan fried it and added it to mixed greens, grape tomatoes, strawberries, avocado, and yams.

Bottom left: Car lunch again. Stop judging me! My current schedule has me eating lunch in the car 3x a week, but it’s better than no lunch at all. This was a really simple leftover breakfast of chorizo sausage, yams and apple. I always find this hearty meal so comforting.

Bottom right: Pork side ribs from our 1/2 hog in our freezer. I put them in the crockpot, covered them in this Whole30 bbq sauce, and let them cook all day on low. They were awesome! We had them with my favourite yam dish again and salad. I was pumped to find a great Whole30 bbq sauce! I’ll be using this one again for sure.

I hope my recipe sharing has been helpful for you, and I hope it has helped you realize that Whole30 doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. I also hope my recipe links have pointed you in the direction of other awesome food bloggers. There are so many great resources out there!

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

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Kale and Cauliflower Meatballs

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I am constantly trying to get more vegetables into my kids. It is NOT an easy job. Charley has a super sensitive gag and vomit reflex and Xavier isn’t old enough to have a conversation about why he needs vegetables. He also isn’t old enough to understand bribes either…and I’m only half kidding. I get tired of the constant battles over vegetables and fruit and so sometimes I resort to hiding vegetables in food that I know they will eat with minimal complaints. It’s not solving any problems BUT it’s better than nothing and we are doing the best we can. I threw these together with some veggies I had in the fridge and they gobbled them down. Husband gave the thumps up sign as well so I thought I’d better share the recipe!

Ingredients:

-2 lbs grass fed ground beef

-3/4 cup of finely chopped kale

-3/4 cup of grated cauliflower (use a cheese grater or food processor to grate until it is the size of grains of rice)

-2-3 cloves of garlic

-1 egg (This can be skipped if you are allergic to eggs but it does help hold the mixture together.)

-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1.5 tsp dried basil

-1.5 tsp dried oregano

-1.5 tsp dried parsley

-1 tsp dried rosemary

-1 tsp dried thyme

-1 tsp sea salt

-1/4 tsp black pepper

Note: I often buy this Freeze Dried Italian Herb Blend from my local grocery store when I’m in a rush and use it instead of combining all of the above herbs together. The flavour is fantastic! I also like to use the Freeze Dried Poultry Herb Blend for roasting whole chickens.

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. It is best to do this with your hands to get the ground beef and vegetables mixed really well and sticky together.

3) Roll into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter and place on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil or parchment paper. You will need to really squeeze these meatballs with your hands to make sure the vegetables and meat stick together. Depending on your beef, you may need to add another egg to help with the sticking.

4) Bake for 20-25 minutes and then remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

My children ate theirs alongside some almonds, carrots, and raw cheese. My husband and I enjoyed ours with some steamed broccoli, roasted mushrooms and roasted yams. I wish I had doubled the recipe to have enough to freeze for emergency snacks, but they were too yummy and we gobbled the leftovers up for breakfast this morning.

Enjoy!

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Chorizo Egg Muffins

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I’m always on the hunt for quick protein fixes, especially when I get home from the gym and want to fill my belly right away. In It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, they advise to eat protein 15 minutes after a workout. I try really hard to make sure that happens and sometimes it’s difficult because I’m really not into shakes or fancy drinks. These egg muffins are perfect! You can pack them to take to the gym with you and eat cold, or pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds when you get home. There are all kinds of variations you could do with these: ground beef and salsa, bacon and veggies, ham and raw cheese, etc.

Ingredients:

-10 eggs

=3 chorizo sausage links

=1 tbsp coconut oil

-1 red bell pepper, diced

-half of a leek, diced

-1 small yam, diced

Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) Melt the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.

3) Remove the casing from the chorizo sausage and crumble into the pan. Fry until cooked through.

4) Add your veggies to the sausage in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, and then remove your sausage and veggies from the pan and let cool. (If you cook them too long they will become mushy when baking in the oven.)

5) Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them until well blended.

6) Add in your sausage and veggies and mix well.

7) Pour into a lined or well greased muffin tin and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean and dry. This recipe yielded 15 muffins.

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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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Bacon Wrapped Date Salad

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I’ve got this really great friend. In the past year or so, I’ve watched her completely dive in to a healthy lifestyle for her and her family. She’s a busy super mom who runs an in-home daycare and yet she’s managed to build a healthy lifestyle through working out (often including her kids and husband) and healthy eating. We’re big food nerds and so we often send each other picture messages of what we’re eating. (Don’t judge me. I seriously LOVE FOOD.) The other day she sent me a picture of her lunch: a salad with bacon wrapped dates on top. I drooled a little, and then got to work making my own version. I came up with this, and now I kinda wanna eat this every day for the rest of my life.

Ingredients:

-8 dates

-4 pieces of sugar free, nitrate free, pastured bacon

-2 cups spinach

-1/4 red onion, diced

-1 nectarine, diced

-1/2 tomato, diced

-1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced

-1/2 cucumber, diced

Instructions:

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Using a small, sharp knife, carefully slit a hole in each date and remove the pit.

3) Cut your bacon slices in half so you have 8 pieces, each a couple of inches long.

4) Tightly wind a piece of bacon around each date and secure it by piercing all the way through with a toothpick.

5) Place the bacon wrapped dates on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is cooked to your liking.

6) Once cooked, remove from the oven and gently pat dry each bacon wrapped date. Set them aside to cool.

7) Place your spinach on a large plate or in a large bowl and throw all your vegetable toppings and nectarine on top. Add your bacon wrapped dates and enjoy!

Eat outside as often as you can. Food just tastes better outside.

Eat outside as often as you can. Food just tastes better outside.

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Whole 30 Meal Plan – Week 3

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Week 3! Finally in the second half of Whole30 where everything starts feeling gooooooood. I can’t believe that I can wake up now and actually function without coffee. I definitely still miss the taste, but I’m so glad that I’m not relying on it.

What do you find the most challenging about Whole30? For me it’s definitely the social functions. I hate being the odd one out, not eating yummy treats at a ladies night or dinner get together. I also hate turning down food that has been cooked for me by someone who loves me. A friend of mine had me over last night and baked a wonderful looking gluten free peanut butter pie and I felt awful for turning it down. I REALLY hate being thought of as the girl who is always on a “diet”. That’s not at all who I am, but when you give the 30 second Whole30 run down to someone, it can certainly come across that way.

However, with all that being said, I’ve found that most of those people at those social functions eventually come to me later wanting more information about Whole30. I’ve seen a lot of them change their lifestyle around completely, and then it’s all worth it, right? We’re spreading the Good Food Word. Plus, no hangover, no food baby, and no extra toilet time.

Here’s what I’m eating this week.

Breakfast:

Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin”

Baked Yam and Brussel Sprout Hash

Sweet and Savoury Quiche 

Dinner:

Easy Paleo Pot Roast

Roasted Nectarine Salsa on Wild Salmon

Healthy Braised Pulled Pork

Vegetable and Mango Curry With Basil-Ginger Quinoa (Use cauliflower rice instead of quinoa, chicken instead of chickpeas, and coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.)

Cabbage Rolls

Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon

Bacon Chorizo Chipotle Smothered Meatloaf (I always skip the almond flour here and have no problem, but it IS approved to use on Whole30 for this recipe if you wish to use it.)