Vanilla Hazelnut Biscotti Granola

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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

Directions:
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.

Happy Monday!

Hearty Hodgepodge Soup

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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!

Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Black Bean Spring Rolls

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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

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 over side closest to you, tucking filling in tightly

Fold in corners on each side

Fold in corners on each side

Tightly roll up until you reach the end

Tightly roll up until you reach the end

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

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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!

Happy Family Day to those who are celebrating!

Maple Apple Baked Beans

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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.

Have a great day!

Caldo Verde ( Portuguese Kale Soup)

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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.

Enjoy!

Greek Yogurt Fettuccine Alfredo

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Oh how I love my pasta, and my all-time favourite just HAD to be Fettuccine Alfredo. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat pretty much any pasta dish, but this white sauce has a special place in my heart. However, as we all know, it is one of the more indulgent sauces you can eat, so it is definitely eaten in moderation.

I have tried numerous amounts of recipes for a healthier version of this beloved dish, but all were just plain gross or tasted nothing like the real deal…until now. I’m not claiming that this is an exact replica of the heavy, fat-laden sauce, but when your main ingredient is heavy cream, it’s a little challenging to find a combination of ingredients that mimic it exactly. But this comes pretty darn close!

This version cuts the fat of this dish from approximately 25g to 9g and contains 18g of protein! So for all of my Alfredo lovers out there, you can now “indulge” a little more often on this dish and of course have the real deal once in a while.

Have a great day!

Greek Chicken Salad Wraps

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! This year Rob and I decided to spend the holidays with our family in Ontario and we had such a great time. It was filled with good food, get-togethers, dinners out, and don’t think I forgot about gym time! However, during our two week stay I did zero cooking (gasp!), and the only contribution to meals was as dishwasher. My lack of contribution was justified because I would never dare interfere with the best cooks I know, our mom’s! However, believe it or not, I actually missed cooking! Well I guess it’s not really that unbelievable since I have a food blog, right?

One thing I love about eating at a family or friend’s house, besides the company of course, is that I come home with new recipes and ideas. This Greek chicken wrap was eaten at my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s place, and I loved that it was fresh, simple, filling and of course, healthy. Given that it met all of the criteria of a perfect lunch, it was one of the first meals I prepared after getting back, and it tasted just as good as the first time.

The filling keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days if you want to take it for lunches, and can even be eaten as is, without the wrap.

Yesterday I started my winter term and so far so good. I’m excited because it will be the first term where all of my courses, except one, are nutrition-related. I found out I still have not escaped biochemistry, but at least it will be focused on vitamins rather than general biochemistry. I’m hoping this semester won’t be as demanding and chaotic as last semester, so my goal to is to get on a consistent posting schedule. I have too many recipes I need to share with everyone so I will try my absolute best to get them up as soon as possible!

Have a great day!

Gingerbread Almonds

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Merry Christmas Eve! I know everyone is getting ready for the festivities starting tonight, but I had to drop in and wish everyone a Happy Holiday and offer up a quick and healthy snack to carry you through them.

These almonds have just the right amount of spice to them and are great for munching on while visiting friends and family. They take no time to prep and bake and can even be made before you head out tonight!

I must keep this short and sweet because where I’m staying has very limited internet. I will leave you with a few pictures of the ice storm we got here in Ontario, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It will definitely be a white (and icy) Christmas here this year!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Puffed Millet Peanut Butter Bites and Cookies

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I have had half a bag of puffed millet sitting in my pantry for a while now, and my new goal is to try to use up most of the odds and ends of random ingredients I have no use for in my day-to-day life. A quick pinterest search and I found these little bites of goodness. However, the first attempt did not go as planned (who knew microwaving peanut butter too long would actually start to cook it!). Not wanting to throw away the pricey natural peanut butter in the recipe, I improvised and made them into cookies. The batch was saved and I now have a new cookie recipe to add to my collection!

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This morning I finally went to hot yoga, after missing it for a few months now. Something about the heat, darkness and deep stretching makes me leaving eveytime high on endorphins and wanting to eat the biggest bowl of fruit and greens I can make.

However, I noticed that anytime I’ve ever gone to yoga the teacher emphasizes not resting your weight on your palms in downward dog, but instead to push through your finger tips. I never understood this concept because I always felt that if I pushed through my fingertips I would literally break them! So, I decided to ask for a tutorial, and now I will be practicing “curling my fingers like a cat climbing a tree” and not put so much pressure on my wrists. Has anyone else had this problem? I find I can’t hold the downward dog as long as I’d want to because my wrists give out, and although she advised that it did take a lot of practice to master this technique, it will do wonders for my grip strength. We shall see!

Happy Sunday!