Fall is in the air and I couldn’t be happier! I must admit I was getting a little worried that we would be skipping fall altogether here in the west, what with the week of SNOW, rain and gloominess…but we have made it through the freaky weather and I now have hope that I’ll still be able to enjoy the changing of leaves and crisp air for at least a few weeks.
With fall comes colourful and delicious fall vegetables! I was strolling through the grocery store last week when I stumbled upon a huge bag of fresh golden beets for only 98 cents! Could this even be real? After double checking with the staff, I was pleased to find out it was not a mistake. Needless to say I had to buy them, even though I’ve never seen or eaten them. I know, my fourth year studying nutrition and this is foreign to me? This just proves that as food-obsessed as I am (and I mean that in a good way of course), there are still so many foods I have yet to discover.
So now I was at home with a huge bag of these beets and no idea what to do with them. The only time I have ever eaten beets was a few years ago when I ate the red ones, raw, in a salad. So naturally, I decided to go with what I knew and whipped up this quick and fresh salad using common ingredients you likely already have.
After sharing this idea with some friends, and getting weird looks, I realized that many people don’t know that beets are delicious eaten raw. Not only does it save you time from having to cook them, but it’s also a fun way to get some raw veggies in your diet. They are very sweet and super crunchy, similar to a carrot. You can even make a huge batch and throw this into a salad or use it as a filling for wraps.
Now all you need to do is track down some of these beets and you are “golden”.
Raw Golden Beet Salad
6 golden beets, peeled and halved
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1. In a large food processor fit with the shredding blade attachment, shred all beets and place in a large bowl. If you don’t have a processor, you can shred it by hand using a cheese grater.
2. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and toss until fully mixed.
3. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for an hour to let the flavours blend more.
I have recently developed a love for stir-fries. It’s an easy way to cook up forgotten vegetables in the fridge at the end of the week and are simple enough that you can whip one up when you forgot to plan for dinner. It’s also a great way to experiment with new-to-you vegetables (such as bok choy in my case) because you don’t have to commit to one vegetable. I’ve had sautéed bok choy once before this, but it didn’t really blow my mind. I decided to try it out again after seeing the adorable baby bok choy in the grocery store. They were just so cute and small, and begging me to give them another shot, how could I say no?
Well I’m glad I did because it now makes a regular appearance in my stir-fries. When cooked, the white stalks stay slightly crunchy, while the leaves wilt down, so they add great texture to the dish.
You can eat this on its own, or serve on top of some rice or pasta for a heartier meal. When choosing a sweet chili sauce, try to compare the sodium content on the labels and choose the one with the least amount. I forgot to pay attention to the brand I used, but it contained approximately 200mg sodium per serving, which is the lowest I’ve been able to find thus far.
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 pound of chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
8 large handfuls of baby bok choy, chopped
1/2 cup canned water chestnuts
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast pieces and cook until browned and inside is no longer pink (about 8 minutes).
2. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate. Add 1 tbsp sesame oil to skillet and turn down heat to medium-low. Add red peppers and saute for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add cooked chicken, garlic and ginger to pan and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chili sauce and soy sauce, then toss in bok choy and water chestnuts, stirring to combine.
3. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water and pour into skillet while stirring.
4. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens and bok choy wilts.
5. Serve warm over brown rice or grain of choice.
In this household coffee is consumed in the presence of either breakfast or some sort of baked good whenever possible. For this reason, I tend to always have some sort of healthy bar, muffin, cookie, or other baked concoction ready to go for this occasion, or as a quick grab-and-go snack for school/work.
I love this recipe because you can make it whatever kind of muffin you want. If you don’t like peanut butter, no problem, any nut or seed butter would work (ie. almond butter or sunflower seed butter). Don’t like coconut? Still not a problem because you can omit it all together or replace it with dried fruit or chopped nuts. If you don’t like chocolate chips well then there is something wrong with you, um, I mean you can do the same thing as suggested for the coconut, omit or replace it!
Another great thing about these muffins is that using ripe bananas means their natural sugars have broken down, so they are sweet enough that you don’t need to add much sugar (or in this case stevia) to get the right sweetness.
Flourless Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup peanut butter
2 medium ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 packets (2 tsp) of stevia powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line or spray a 12-cup muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add peanut butter and mix with fork until smooth (some chunks of banana are fine). Add eggs, vanilla, stevia, and cinnamon and mix well.
3. Add coconut and chocolate chips and mix with a large spoon.
4. Fill each muffin cup slightly less than full and bake 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
5. Let cool 10 minutes.
I’m baaaaccckkk! I promise I have many valid excuses for taking a hiatus and being MIA.
Five months ago, life got REAL as I finalized my dietetic internship package (which I had been pouring my life and soul into for 3 months), applied for an internship, and got accepted for an interview. After one of the most stressful two weeks of my life, this happened…
You can imagine I nearly lost my mind when I found out I got accepted into the dietetic internship. Finally 3 years of hard work, sacrifice, and occasional breakdowns payed off, and I am now one step closer to becoming a Dietitian.
After my acceptance, life kicked into high gear. Right after finals I had to complete a prep course for the internship while having the opportunity to work as a Grade 9 tutor. I then had 2 weeks to get my accommodations and paperwork in order before I temporarily moved 4.5 hours away to the smallest town I have ever been to for a one-month clinical rotation. It was something I had never done before, and will likely give a bit more detail about this in a future post, but for now I will sum it up by saying it was one of the most amazing experiences and exceeded my expectations.
After one month on my own, I came back home and have been/will be spending the last few weeks before my LAST YEAR of university (I still can’t believe it) getting things in order, working on my tennis skills (which apparently I have improved in the last month, all thanks to the tennis club I joined during my rotation), and enjoying time with my hubby and friends.
Well there you have it. I now have one more year of undergrad and then I finish the rest of my internship immediately after. It will be yet another crazy year (plus), but I am so excited that I can actually enjoy my last year in school without stressing out about getting into the internship. A less crazy school life means more cooking and baking, which means more blog posts (or at least that’s the plan)!
Stay tuned for more healthy recipes. I intend on writing more about nutrition and how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle, so if you have any special requests, please send them my way via email!
I think granola has got to be one of the most misleading health foods out there right now. The ingredients are usually easy to pronounce and natural (check), the nutrition stats say loads of fibre (another check), and the main ingredient is oats, which is full of soluble fibre (triple check). However, if you look just a little closer it is usually LOADED with calories, sugar and fat. I’m not saying all granolas are to be avoided, because there are many great brands out there, but when eating this health food, be sure to dart your eyes towards the serving size used on the nutrition label because chances are it is much smaller than what you’re actaully eating.
So how can you guarantee you’re eating healthy granola without too much sugar or fat…make your own! Granola has got to be one of the easiest things to make. Just mix a bunch of ingredients together and toast it up in the oven. It requires minimal attention, so you’re free to do other things while it bakes.
My favourite way to eat granola is by either sprinkling 2 tbsp on strawberries and yogurt or adding 1/3 cup to bran flakes for some extra flavour in the morning.
The only problem is that it probably won’t last very long once your family/friends catches wind of it in the house!
Vanilla Hazelnut Biscotti Granola
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups large flake oats
¾ cups hazelnuts
¼ cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl mix coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt with a spatula. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently until fully coated.
3. Lay flat on baking tray, spreading out with a spoon.
4. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Do not stir to avoid losing the shape of the chocolate chips.
5. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes, Break apart with a spoon and store in an airtight container.
Well hello there everyone! Instead of boring you with how busy my school schedule has been the past month I will just get straight into sharing one of my all-time favourite soups. Now I understand that’s a pretty epic statement, but you will know exactly why I said this after you conjure up a batch.
Hodgepodge is a term I heard way back, and it’s pretty much just a quirky way of describing a soup with a bunch of different ingredients, which is exactly what this is. Although you can use any kind of mixed vegetables, I find the combination of the corn, peas and green beans adds a sweet undertone that makes this soup that much more addicting. The best part….it tastes even better after being refrigerated for a day. An even better part…although this soup is technically vegetarian, it is still filling enough to eat on its own for lunch, hence the use of the term “hearty”. Just add a piece of fruit for dessert and you are good to go!
Hearty Hodgepodge Soup
Makes 4-6 servings
1 large onion, chopped
1 ½ cups frozen mixed veggies (I used corn, peas and green beans)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups water
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ cups whole wheat penne, uncooked
¾ cup white beans
3 cups raw spinach, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic for about 8 minutes, or until soft.
2. Add water, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed veggies, oregano, basil, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes.
3. Add pasta, spinach and beans. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Serve warm.
It has been starting to warm up a bit around these parts after some brutally cold weather, which inspired me to make more of a summery dish (in my opinion). Although I really enjoy crispy baked spring rolls, I have never tried uncooked spring rolls…and they were fantastic. They’re really easy to take for lunch, but didn’t last as long as I would have liked in the fridge, so be sure to consume them within two days to prevent soggy rolls!
Keeping with yesterday’s theme of super quick and easy, the filling will take about 1 minute to assemble and I have included some easy step-by-step instructions to follow when putting together the rolls. Do not be intimidated by the work involved because once you get into your groove, it will take you no time at all.
I typically do not buy many pre-made sauces and dressings, but a while ago I tried to make a sweet chili sauce, but couldn’t find the right peppers needed, so it did not taste as authentic as I would have liked (not to mention it burned my mouth with one drop). Therefore, I decided that since I couldn’t find the specific pepper needed, I would just buy it already made. Just be sure to check the sodium content (try for less than 300 mg per serving if possible) and look for minimal ingredients in the ingredients list, rather than a long list of names you can’t pronounce.
Lay 2 tbsp. of filling along centre, leaving about a 1/2 inch on the sides
Fold over side closest to you, tucking filling in tightly
Fold in corners on each side
Tightly roll up until you reach the end
Sweet Chili Black Bean Spring Rolls
Makes 22 rolls, serves 4
4 cups coleslaw mix
2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sweet chill sauce
22 rice papers
1. In a medium bowl, mix together coleslaw, black beans and sweet chili sauce until fully coated.
2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and lay out a large dish towel on the counter.
3. Dip a rice paper into the bowl for 10 seconds, remove, and lay on a dish towel for 1 minute.
4. Carefully remove the rice paper and transfer to a large cutting board. Working with three at a time, spread out 2 tbsp of filling along centre of the roll, leaving about half an inch on the ends.
5. Fold over side closest to you, tucking in the filling, then fold in both corners on the sides.
6. Roll up until you reach the end. The rice paper is sticky enough to keep the roll from falling apart.
7. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
I have now officially started my reading week, which means I can now start posting all of these recipes I have been eager to share with you! Although I do have school work to do (naturally), I plan on watching as much of the Olympics as possible along with catching up on my blog reading!
Due to my busy and hectic schedule the past few weeks, I have been experimenting a bit more with my slow cooker. It really is a great feeling to have dinner already warm and ready for you as soon as you step through the door…oh and not to mention the wonderful aroma that fills the house.
Given that my main use of a slow cooker is to reduce my prep time, this recipe will literally take you about 5 minutes to put together. You can assemble it quickly before you run out the door because no real prep time necessary.
I served this sweet and tangy chicken over leftover brown rice from the day before, along with steamed vegetables. To keep with the minimal prep theme, I recommend you cook extra of whatever grain you prefer the night before, so you can just heat it up and serve without having to wait for it to cook. However, if you forgot to do this, then just quickly steam a big batch of frozen mixed vegetables, drizzle with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then call it dinner!
4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 1/2 lbs)
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. canola oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ medium onion, diced
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1. Lay chicken breasts flat in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, except cornstarch.
3. Pour over chicken, cover, and cook on low for 4 hours.
4. Once done, transfer chicken to a large plate.
5. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan and heat on medium-high until brought to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
6. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and 3 tbsp of water until dissolved. Whisk cornstarch mixture into sauce, cooking for about 2-3 minutes and whisking until thickened. Set aside.
7. With two forks, shred the chicken in the plate, then add back to slow cooker. Pour sauce over chicken and mix until fully coated. Serve warm.
I have now made this dish about five times, which is a big deal in my house because we typically don’t eat the same dinner twice in one month. However, I love this dish because it’s a great take on beans, which most of us don’t get enough of in our diets. Looking at them, many people just don’t know what to do with them. They’re kind of boring on their own, so you need to dress them up a bit and this is the perfect attire for them!
This recipe makes quite a big batch and keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days, making it great for quick lunches. The first night I make this I serve it warm over a bed of quinoa or brown rice and then toss just over 1/2 cup of them over a large green salad for lunches the next few days. It makes lunch prep so quick and easy and the best part is that no dressing is needed because once mixed up with the greens, the sauce acts as the dressing. Mindblowing, I know. It just can’t get any easier than this.
1 tbsp canola oil
1 large onions, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 large apple, chopped
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 ¼ cups crushed tomatoes
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp paprika
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with oil.
2) Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, garlic and apples and sauté another 5 minutes.
3) Add beans and stir until mixed. Remove skillet from heat and add remaining ingredients, stirring until evenly mixed.
4) Pour into oiled baking dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir, and bake another 30 minutes.
I know that kale is one of those foods that has become super trendy these past few years, but I’ve been eating the green stuff since I was a kid in the form of this creamy and light soup. There are a few versions that you can make, but this is my most favourite one. If you’ve ever been to a Portgueuse wedding there is a 99% chance you have already tried this, and for those of you that haven’t, you won’t be disappointed!
There are so many dishes that I love and have been eating since I was a kid, but I’ve never actually taken the time to write down the recipe. I’m slowly starting to bug my mom for all of them, but it can be difficult at times because she can make most of the traditional dishes with her eyes closed and doesn’t actually follow a recipe, which means I have to try and interpret “a little of this” or “a spoon of that”…so far so good though!
I have included two preperation methods in the directions. One is made with homemade beef stock that will only add an extra 10-15 minutes to your cooking time, and the other version is made with store-bought beef broth (which can be vegan) and excludes any meat. Both ways are just as delicious, so it really comes down to preference.
Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup)
10 cups water
1/2 lb beef shoulder roast, cut into 3 pieces (or 2 beef bouillon cubes)
6 medium potatoes
1/2 chorizo sausage (optional)
4 cups finely chopped kale
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
1. Fill a large pot with water and add beef and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
2. While making the broth, dice potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Remove beef and set aside. Add potatoes and chorizo and bring to a boil.
3. Lower heat to med-high, partially cover pot and boil for 15 minutes.
4. Remove chorizo and set aside. Blend the potatoes and broth until creamy. You may have to do this in 2-3 batches or you can use an immersion blender.
5. Return puree to pot and bring to a low simmer. Thinly slice chorizo and add back to the pot. Add kale and oil and stir until wilted and bright green.
6. Serve warm.
For a Vegan/Quicker Option:
1. Fill a large pot with water and add bring to a boil. Add beef bouillion (use a vegan version such as McCormick if choosing vegan option) and potatoes, partially cover and boil at med-high heat for 15 minutes.
2. Blend the broth and potatoes (as above). Return to pot and bring to a simmer.
3. Add kale and olive oil and stir until wilted and bright green.
NOTE: The beef can be shredded and used in salads or sandwiches for lunches or dinner.
Hi, my name is Christina and I'm a former Personal Trainer turned full-time University student studying to become a Registered Dietitian at the University of Alberta. I started this blog as a way to share healthy recipes, tips and information I learn on the road to becoming an RD.
I would love to hear from you so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org