Homemade Pad Thai

Pad Thai is an incredibly delicious, authentic Thai dish that I have always been a huge fan of. From restaurants, to fast food, to homemade from the box, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed this meal any of those ways.

So, considering how delicious it is, it only felt right to try and make my own version from scratch. In comes my homemade pad thai recipe.

The beauty of this recipe is that as long as your sauce stays consistent, you can make it your own by adding whatever kind of protein and veggies your heart desires. I have personally done this recipe with chicken, shrimp, and tofu. I can’t pick a favourite… Sorry.

I like to make my pad thai with a combination of rice noodles and zucchini noodles, I find it really adds depth to the meal as well as added health benefits. (more veggies yay!)

This meal is easily thrown together in a matter of thirty minutes, which makes it one of my favourite weeknight meals when you are in a pinch but still want to eat a wholesome, nutritious meal. No take-out on the menu tonight!

Health

What makes this homemade pad thai better than take-out? Besides the fact that it tastes exceptionally delicious, this pad thai recipe is on the healthier side compared to what you order from a restaurant. Pad thai sauce often has a lot of unnecessary added sugar for sweetness. In this recipe all I use is two tablespoons of maple syrup to give it a little punch of sweetness without overpowering all the other sauce ingredients.

There are lots of good nutrients in the veggies of course, and the reason I add zucchini noodles is not to make the dish “lower carb” or lighter in calories, I find it simply gives a nice added texture to the dish, and feels lighter to eat mixed in with the rice noodles! Do NOT worry, I am pro carbs.

Toppings

Just to take this meal up yet another notch, I highly recommend topping your padthai with some crushed roasted peanuts, fresh cilantro, bean sprouts, and if you are really up for a five star meal, make a little bit of peanut sauce to go along with it. My peanut sauce recipe is linked in with the ingredients!

Homemade Pad Thai Recipe

Yield: 4-5 Servings Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 1/3 C Soy Sauce*
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce**
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3-4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • optional: 1 tsp chili paste OR top with chili flakes

*Use coconut aminos for a soy free option instead of soy sauce.

**If you do not have fish sauce sub for a little extra soy sauce if desired

For the Padthai

  • 3-4 servings rice noodles
  • 1-2 spiraled zucchini noodle (optional)
  • 2 carrots peeled and julienned
  • 1 bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of green onion finely chopped
  • 3-inch piece of ginger minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 package medium firm tofu cubed (or other protein including shrimp or chicken)
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 eggs scrambeled
  • Optional for topping: cilantro, crushed peanuts, Peanut sauce, bean sprouts

Method

  1. Start with making your sauce by mixing all ingredients together in a medium size bowl and set aside.
  2. If using tofu, drain water from package and press between paper towel to remove excess water. Then dice into small cubes.
  3. Mince your ginger, garlic, and green onion.
  4. Chop up all extra add-ins including carrots, bell pepper as well as spiralizing zucchini if using.
  5. Prepare rice noodles according to package, drain water, and set aside.
  6. Heat up a large pan to medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to the pan. Then add green onion, ginger, and garlic. Sautee for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add in carrots and bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding in other ingredients.
  8. Add tofu to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. I like to scramble my eggs in a separate pan and mix it in, however, you can also do them in the same pan with everything else.
  10. Add your sauce to the pan, followed by zucchini noodles. Mix to evenly distribute sauce over all ingredients.
  11. Add in rice noodles and toss everything to spread the sauce throughout. (Taste and add more soy sauce if you like it saltier)
  12. Serve with a drizzle of peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, some cilantro, and bean sprouts if you please. (It is optional but these add-ons take it to the next level.)

*Note that if you are making shrimp or chicken instead of tofu to prepare in a separate pan before adding with other ingredients. Cook your protein in a frying pan with a drizzle of sesame oil, sautée ginger and garlic for 2-3 minutes and then cook your chicken or shrimp.

Nutrition

approximate per 1/5th of the recipe without toppings

Calories: 307 total fat: 14g Sodium: 1 173mg Carbohydrates: 39g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 7g Protein: 16g

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

‘Tis the pumpkin spice season! There is something special about warm baked goods in the fall, pumpkin spice flavoured of course, that I look forward to every year.

I felt it was necessary to come up with a super simple snack that everyone would enjoy and get into the fall spirit.

As you probably already know based on other posts on this blog, I am a big fan of muffins for a quick snack. They are super satiating and give me that little boost I need before my next meal.

Health

Not only are pumpkin flavoured things delicious to eat, pumpkin is a winter squash that provides a ton of good nutrients. Pumpkin is a good source for things like potassium, calcium, and beta-carotene just to name a few.

The biggest thing to note when purchasing pumpkin purée at the store is to get the raw canned pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling contains lots of extra sugar, and other ingredients that are not nescessary for this recipe!

This recipe also provides a great source of good carbs from the banana, and oats, as well as a little boost of protein from the greek yogurt.

How To Make

Who doesn’t love one bowl recipes? Exactly.

All you have to do for this recipe is grab one medium-large bowl, and you’re all set, no mess in this kitchen!

If you don’t have oatflour on hand, you can easily make some by blending old fashion rolled oats in a high speed blender for 30-40 seconds until they reach a flour consistency. Make a big batch at a time so that you don’t need to do that extra step every time you want to use oatflour!

Enjoy the season!

While these pumpkin muffins are a delicious healthier option, make sure that you still enjoy your favourite thanksgiving treats! Everything in moderation. I definitely see a few slices of my nans legendary pumpkin pie in my future. Enjoy all different types of foods on this special weekend, spend time with the people you love, and make this muffin recipe:)

Healthy Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

Yield: 12-14 muffins Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 25-30 minutes Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 C Plain lactose-free greek yogurt
  • 1/3 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 C pumpkin purée
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C oatflour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

*Pumpkin spice is super easy to make at home, I used this recipe.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  2. Start by preparing your oatflour if you haven’t already. Simply take 2 cups of rolled oats and add them to a blender or food processor and blend until they reach a fine flour size.
  3. Take a medium-large bowl and mash bananas.
  4. Mix all liquid ingredients including, yogurt, almond milk, maple syrup, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.
  5. Add oatflour, baking soda, baking powder, and last but certainly not least, pumpkin pie spice.
  6. Mix to combine all dry ingredients with wet ingredients.
  7. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick baking spray or line with cupcake liners.
  8. Scoop 2-3 heaping tablespoons of batter into each muffin mold. Around 12-14 muffins.
  9. Bake at 425℉ for 5 minutes.
  10. Reduce heat to 350℉ and continue to bake for 24 minutes.
  11. Take muffins out of the oven and let cool until you won’t burn your mouth eating them!
  12. Enjoy with a cup of coffee, some nut butter, maybe read a book. I mean do whatever you want! But enjoy this yummy snack. Okay you get the point.

Nutrition

Based on 1 of 14 muffins

Calories: 94 Total Fat: 1g Sodium: 19mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 7g Protein: 3g

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seed pudding is a recent meal and snack I’ve been seeing lots of lately, and it’s totally worth the hype. I wanted to come up with my own recipe that had the creamiest, most delicious texture imaginable. It requires minimal ingredients, effort and time.

Chia Seeds

We all know that nuts and seeds provide a ton of good nutrients and are great to include in our diets. Chia seeds in particular, have become quite popular in recent years, and I can understand why. Let’s take a closer look at this interesting superfood.

Fiber. I feel like I’m always talking about fiber because it’s an obvious nutrient that we need, but many people lack. Chia seeds contain 9 grams of fiber in a 25g serving. That’s around a third of you daily needs in just 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds.

Secondly, chia seeds are an awesome source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are so important to include in your diet because they are very essential to brain and heart health. Those are two pretty important organs, so we should do our best to treat them well lol. These fatty acids are found in many fish, like salmon or trout. Chia seeds are a great way to obtain these nutrients for people who don’t tend to eat a lot or any fish.

In 2 tablespoons of chia seeds there are 139 calories, 4g of protein, 9g of fat, and 12g of carbohydrates. Going to show that they are a well rounded seed and contain a balanced amount of all three of the main macronutrients.

Toppings

While of course this chia seed pudding is delicious all on its own, you can amp it up a notch by adding all the toppings! Things like fresh fruit, Granola, nut butter, and coconut flakes are a few of my go-to’s.

Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Serves: 2 meal sizes or 4 snack sizes Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp chia seed
  • 1 C unsweetened almond milk*
  • 1/2 C Plain lactose free greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Optional: crack sea salt
  • Optional: 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (or any other flavour you would like!)

*You can use any kind of milk you prefer for this recipe. My favourites are almond milk and coconut milk.

Method

  1. Add all ingredients into medium dish or mason jar and mix to combine.
  2. Refrigerate for 2+ hours (better yet, make it the night before you want to have it)
  3. Once the chia seeds expand in the milk and make a pudding like consistency, enjoy your chia seed pudding by topping it with fresh berries, granola, or whatever you desire and enjoy!

Nutrition

Per 1 of 2 servings

Calories: 215 Total Fat: 11g Sodium: 5mg Carbohydrates: 22g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 8g Protein: 10g

Tofu Tahini Rice Bowl

This meal is in my top 5 for a quick and easy meal to throw together in a matter of 30 minutes. The beauty of this meal is that you can really make it however you like using whatever you have.

It’s also a delicious vegan meal option that all vegans and non-vegans will appreciate. So grab veggies you have in the fridge, press your tofu, nd get started!

Ingredients

Like I said, you can really throw in whatever you like for this meal using what you’ve got in the fridge, however, I of course have some favourites that I will share for this recipe.

The base ingredients are brown basmati rice, tofu, and tahini. The rest is really up to you. I generally like to have eggplant, red onion, and zucchini for my veggies, but I’ll throw in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, I’ve even throw plaintain in there when we had one and it was a delicious addition.

I use brown basmati rice because it has a particularly delicious taste for this meal, however you really can use whatever rice you would like.

Health

This dinner bowl is literally a nutritional powerhouse. From the healthy whole grains in the rice, to the healthy plant-based protein from the tofu, the fats and protein are sourced from the tahini, as well as all of the good micronutrients in the veggies. This meal is setting you up for success.

Let’s start with tofu. There is so many controvercial conversations about whether or not tofu is actually good for you or not. While of course what I say is purely opinion based, I believe there is room for tofu in a healthy diet. Tofu is a good plant-based source of protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. It’s also a good source of mono-unsaturated fats, (the good guys). The debate with tofu is that it has “estrogen-like” properties that could potentially be harmful to women if consumed in large amounts. Like anything else, having too much of something, sometimes can be unhealthy. From my personal research, and opinion, I think that consuming soy protein in moderation is a perfectly nutritious option.

Tahini next. Sharing similar properties to nut butters by being protein rich, as well as containing good healthy fats, tahini is made from sesame seeds formed into a paste. It has a delicious nutty flavour that can be added into common dips like hummus or babaganoush, or simply made into a delicious sauce for the topping of our tofu rice bowls. It is so yummy and is the star of this dish!

Brown basmati rice is an awesome source of good carbohydrates, being a whole grain starch. We can break the whole grain down into three sections. Bran, which is the fiber it contains, the “germ” which has all those awesome vitamins, and the endosperm, which contains the carbs. The rice also has a low glycemic index, meaning that this type of rice won’t spike your blood sugar, and it will digest slowly in your system after consumption. Hence the whole “keeping you fuller for longer” concept.

Not feeling tofu? Switch it up and use shrimp instead!

Side note: If you have an air fryer, feel free to make up your tofu and veggies and throw them in there to cook! it makes them extra nice and crispy.

Tofu Tahini Rice Bowl Recipe

Serves: 4 Prep time: 30 minutes Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 package medium-firm plain tofu
  • 1/4 C tahini
  • 1/3 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chinese five spice
  • 1-2 eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • Any other veggie of choice: cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, etc.

Method

  1. A couple hours, or as soon as possible before you prepare your meal. Drain the tofu and wrap in paper towel, press down with a frying pan or something with a little weight that won’t crush it lol.
  2. When you are ready to make your meal, start by cooking your basmati rice as you can prepare everything else while it’s cooking.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400℉
  4. Cut tofu into rectangular pieces and lay them out on a baking sheet.
  5. Chop eggplant and zucchini, as well as red onion. Place on prepare baing sheet. (Chop any other veggies you wish to add to your bowl as well.)
  6. Once all of the toppings including the tofu and veggies are ready for cooking, I sprinkle lots of chinese five spice onto them. (This is the main spice in this recipe and adds a ton of yummy chinese flavours to the dish.)
  7. Place veggies and tofu in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes or as long as nescessary to reach your desired crispiness. Toss/ flip them about half way through.
  8. Prepare your tahini sauce by adding tahini into a medium size bowl, (Or small blender if you have it) then add almond milk, garlic powder, and salt to taste. The amount of almond milk you add can vary depending on how thick you want your sauce. I like my sauce somewhat thin as it makes it easier to mix into the rice bowl when I’m ready to devour my meal:) *Note: If you have a single serving blender this helps to mix the sauce up more efficiently, but it is not nescessary.
  9. Remove tofu and veggies from the oven once ready.
  10. Once rice is done cooking, add to the bottom of your bowl and then load up on the veggies and tofu as well.
  11. Drizzle a healthy serving of tahini sauce on top of your bowl. The sauce is really what pulls this meal together.
  12. Crack a little salt on top if you wish (I always do) and enjoy your delicious bowl of health!

Nutrition

*approximate values based on what I’ve listed above. It will of course vary depending on serving sizes and added ingredients.

Per 1 of 4 servings

Calories: 292 Total Fat: 14g Sodium: 705 mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 5g Protein: 16g

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

When it comes to baking in the summer time I always feel extra inspired to make baked goods with fresh fruit in them. Something about the taste of fruit in the summer is extra delicious and refreshing.

I love making snacks in advance for a quick grab whenever I need a little something throughout the day. Muffins in particular, they are one of my faves.

Lemon blueberry

I’ve used blueberries for this recipe because I love using fresh blueberries in baked goods this time of year and I happened to have some on hand. But you could use raspberries or blackberries as well! Pick your berry.

These muffins have a combination of good carbohydrates from the oatflour paired with some protein from the greek yogurt to make a simple yet perfectly satiating snack.

Lemons are of course an awesome fruit with lots of good healthy properties. Containing lots of antioxidants. Things like Vitamin C and flavonoids. So while all the hype is to drink lemon water to cleanse your soul and whatever, why not just put some lemon into these muffins! I mean go ahead and drink lemon water too, this is just more fun.

How to make

If you want to prep a snack that’s easy to grab whenever, but doesn’t take hours to make, this is the one. Have these muffins all ready to pop in the oven in a matter of 10 minutes! Now that’s efficiency.

Like many of my other recipes using oatflour. I like to start the process by blending my oats into the flour so it’s all set to mix with other ingredients. Or, if you are really ahead of the game, make a big batch of oat flour at once so you don’t need to do it every time you want to make these muffins. Which could be a lot!

You can always just buy oat flour too. But what’s the fun in that?

If you’re interested in more healthy muffin recipes check these out!

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Healthy Strawberry Rhubarb muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Yield: 12 muffins Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 C oat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Zest + juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 C unsweetened greek yogurt*
  • 1/4-1/3 C maple syrup**
  • 2 eggs***
  • 1 1/2 C blueberries fresh or frozen

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl, make your oat flour by blending oats if needed. Mix to combine.
  3. Add all wet ingredients to a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Add your lemon zest and juice as well.
  4. Combine the wet and dry mixture and fold blueberries into the batter.
  5. Spray a muffin tray with non-stick baking spray.
  6. Add even amount of batter into 12 muffin molds.
  7. Place muffins in preheated oven and bake for 19-21 minutes.

*I personally use lactose-free greek yogurt however regular greek yogurt would work as well.

**You could also use honey as an equal substitute. Alter the amount to your liking for sweetness. (I like adding less as the sweetness is just enough not to overpower the tanginess from the lemon.)

***You could equally use flax egg in replacement of regular eggs by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water per egg.

Nutrition

per 1 muffin

Calories: 99 Total fat: 2g Sodium: 123mg Carbohydrates: 17g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 7g Protein: 4g

Veggie and Egg Frittata

I decided to switch it up from the usual sweet meal prep breakfast, and try out a savoury option. All I have to say is yum! This frittata recipe is super simple to make, and the perfect option for a protein-packed breakfast.

Eggs for breakfast

We all know that eggs are one of the most popular breakfast foods out there. And rightly so. They are a great source of protein, and healthy fats. Not only are they good for your health, but they are easy to make and very affordable.

Let’s talk about the whole eggs and cholesterol stuff for a minute. Eggs do contain a substancial amount of cholesterol which is known to be iffy in regards to increased risks of heart disease. However, after many, many, many studies have been done around this subject, a simplified concluding statement would be that the cholesterol found in eggs raises HDL rather than LDL cholesterol. (HDL is the good kind that helps get rid of the LDL).

To keep this short and sweet, in my personal opinion, I believe that eggs should be the least of our worries for not being “good for you”. Instead, try focusing on what you are serving with and how you prepare your eggs. For example, cooking them with healthy oils like olive, avocado or coconut oil instead of butter. Or having a piece of whole grain toast and avocado on the side instead of white bread and six slices of bacon.

Vegetables to start

Fun fact: Vegetables are healthy. Bet you didn’t know that one.

We should eat them. Our bodies thrive off of good nutrients, and veggies just so happen to be full of them! One of the best parts of this breakfast is that you can truly add whatever kind of veggies you have on hand. And starting your day with a serving of vegetables is the perfect way to get on a roll with your nutrition for the day.

Sides

There are so many ways to really make this the ultimate breakfast, along with a few other items. This frittata contains mostly protein, so pairing it with some carbs and healthy fats makes it a perfect well-rounded breakfast.

Serve with some avocado, or fresh guacamole if you are feeling fancy, some salsa, or warm up with a little sprinkle of cheese. I like to have this with a piece of wholegrain toast on the side, or sweet potato hash. Make what you want and enjoy this delicious savoury breaky.

Vegetable and Egg Frittata Recipe

Yield: 6-8 servings Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 5-10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2-1 zucchini diced
  • 1/2 frozen corn
  • Optional: 1/4 C fresh dill
  • Optional: 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste (around 1 tsp each)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  2. Add eggs, egg whites and almond milk to a medium size bowl and lightly whisk together. Stir in a crack of salt and pepper as well. If desired, mix in nutritional yeast.
  3. Chop up all veggies going in your frittata. This includes dicing onion finely, green onion, mincing garlic, chopping tomatoes, zucchini and corn if using from the cobb. Also prepare your fresh dill. (You can add a little dill spice if you do not have fresh as well)
  4. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil to the pan.
  5. Add garlic, onion and green onion to pan and sauté for a few minutes until translucent.
  6. Add in the rest of you veggies to the pan and sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  7. Poor the beaten egg mixture into the pan making sure it reaches all sides of the pan.
  8. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer frittata into oven and bake for a final 8 minutes.
  10. Take out and let cool, cut into to servings for meal prep or enjoy fresh!

Nutrition

Per 1/8th of recipe

Calories: 74 Total Fat: 3g Sodium: 80mg Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Protein: 7g

“Chocolate” Mousse Covered Strawberries

All I have to say about this dessert is yum! Okay maybe I have a little more to say, but that’s the main idea.

Chocolate covered strawberries have always been one of my favourite sweet treats. It’s so simple and delicious, a classic that definitely deserves the hype.

Chocolate+Strawberries

As delicious as this iconic dessert is, I decided to try to elevate it, and make it feel like even more of a treat. So here it is. “Chocolate” mousse covered strawberries. I say “chocolate” because there isn’t actually any real chocolate in it, making it perfect for anyone who is lactose intolerant as well.

Not only is this recipe dairy free, but also only has one tablespoon of maple syrup! Trust me when I say that this recipe is perfectly sweet.

To make the chocolate mixture all you need is a blender or food processor!

Health

Strawberries. AKA natures candy. Strawberries are tied for my favourite berry alongside raspberries. There’s nothing like getting a delicious batch of fresh strawberries. Most of us know that fruit is a great sweet food option that provides a bunch of nutrients. Strawberries in particular, are a great source of vitamin C and K to highlight a few. Vitamin C is essential for tissue development, (Like the formation of well-known protein collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body). Vitamin K is important for bone health, and happens to be a fat-soluble vitamin. This means it can dissolve fats and oils.

I’ve talked about the nutritional profiles of avocado and coconut milk, two great sources of healthy fats in my post Healthy Fudgesicles. Check it it out if you have not already!

If you don’t have strawberries, and are just in the mood for chocolate mousse, this is perfect for that as well. So creamy and delicious. I could try and explain how yummy it is forever, but once you try it, the mousse will speak for itself!

I don’t like when “healthy” desserts are just code for “it looks the same as regular desserts but just tastes bad.” I promise this is not that. This dessert is in my opinion, even better than the real deal.

“Chocolate” Mousse Covered Strawberries Recipe

Yield: 2 Dozen strawberries Prep time: 10 minutes Refrigerate: 1+ hours

Ingredients

  • Approximately 2 dozen strawberries
  • 1/2 C canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 medium ripe avocado*
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder

*Make sure the avocado is ripe and not hard or else it won’t help the dessert become creamy as the texture will be too hard.

Method

  1. Start by washing your strawberries (or don’t your choice)
  2. Then add all other ingredients into a blender and blend for a minute, scraping down the sides if needed.
  3. Once your mousse is ready put it in a bowl.
  4. Dip your strawberries in one at time, the mousse should be a pudding like consistency and will come on in a thick layer.
  5. Place your strawberries on a plate and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
  6. Alternately, serve it immediately and dip the strawberries as you go.

Nutrition

Per approximately 4 strawberries

Calories: 84 Total Fat: 6g Sodium: 6mg Carbohydrates: 8g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 5g Protein: 1g

SUGAR

Sugar. In this post I am going to talk about a very problematic topic in the health and fitness world and share my thoughts on this carbohydrate.

I would like to say upfront, before diving into this post, that all of the information I will be providing and everything I say is purely my personal opinion. I am not here to tell people how they should or shouldn’t eat. I’m just sharing the information I know based on my personal research and knowledge, everyone will have different opinions and that’s totally okay!

What is sugar?

Something that seems like it should be a simple question is really not. Sugar is not just the white table sugar that people put in their coffee and baked goods. It’s so much more than that, with so many different names that essentially mean the same thing.

Sugar is a carbohydrate, which is one of the three main macronutrients we consume, along with fats and protein.

Although there are so many different kinds of sugars out there they are all broken down into the same molecule in our bodies. Glucose.

What are the different kinds of sugar?

Now that is somewhat of a loaded question lol. White, brown, coconut, icing sugar, maple syrup, honey, molasses. The “oses” and the “ides”. And we can’t forget about fruit.

The easiest way to categorize sugar is in two categories; added sugar and simple sugar. Added sugar is just that, all of the added sugars that are not naturally existing in certain foods. Things like brown sugar, honey, or fructose are added sugars. Simple sugar is the natural sugar that does naturally exist within foods like fruits, whole grains, and veggies too.

Mono/ di/ polysaccharides

Let’s take a look at the kinds of sugar from a biological stand point for a minute. These refer to the size of the molecules of different sugars. Disaccharides are simply two monosaccharides linked together, and polysaccharides are many linked together. Here is an example of each.

Monosaccharide: Glucose (simplest form)

Disaccharide: Sucrose (table sugar)

Polysaccharide: starch (carbohydrates)

Like I mentioned before, no matter what kind of sugar we consume, or how large the molecule is, they will all end up breaking down to glucose in our bloodstream. Now enough with all that science talk.

Names

Added sugars: corn syrup, sugar, fructose, barley malt extract

Sugar is in everything, and added sugars are hiding everywhere. Take a look at the ingredients list on any sort of packaged snack. Although many of them may not have sugar listed as an ingredient, many of them have added sugars under a different name that are virtually all the same thing.

Examples: Corn syrup, cane juice/ syrup, gluco-malt, agave, anything ending in “ose” such as sucrose, fructose, dextrose, galactose, etc etc.

Is sugar good or bad?

Is it good? Is it bad? Will it lead to cancer, diabetes, or obesity… The list of concern are never ending. I believe sugar is like everything else. We should consume it in moderation. Too much of anything isn’t “good for you”, and sugar is one we should be aware of since it is in pretty much everything we eat.

I’m not here to demonize sugar, and scare people away from it, however I think it’s good to be aware of where and how we consume sugar. Coffee for example. The delicious cup of joy many of us enjoy in the morning to start the day off on the right foot. (Coffee is one of the reasons I am a morning person lol.) If you are adding 2 teaspoons of sugar into your coffee every morning that will tack on a lot of added sugar in your diet overtime. Let’s say you add two to three small teaspoons of sugar to your cup of coffee everyday 365 days a year. That adds up to the equivalency of 7-10 pounds of added sugar over one year. Yikes.

That being said, I’m also not here to tell you to stop eating fruit. That would just be wrong. Because if you look at it from the perspective that all sugar is bad, well then I guess we would just give up all foods. Bananas for example. A medium size banana contains around 14 grams of sugar, which is give or take the same amount as one tablespoon of table sugar. This is where the whole conversation on food quality comes in. The difference between the two, is that bananas are a natural source of sugar, that provides many other nutrients, while table sugar is refined, and heavily processed.

It’s like comparing an avocado to a Big Mac. Big Macs have on average 28g of fat, and so does a medium size avocado. Which one do you think is the higher quality food?

How much sugar should you consume?

Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I talk about this, but the answer remains the same. There’s no one exact number that you should hit each and everyday. If you look this question up on the internet, the common number I have seen is 4 tablespoons, which converts to around 51 grams of added sugar per day. This isn’t counting natural sugars from fruits and veggies. That being said, my personal approach towards sugar consumption, is trying to get as much of my sugar needs from natural sources as possible.

I like to look at it this way – I would rather eat a whole cup of strawberries than add 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar to my coffee. This is a good example of having some awarness towards where and how we consume sugar. Saving the added sugars for occasional use, and the natural sugars as our main source.

Do you need sugar?

In a nut shell, yes. Yes we need sugar, and we all need different amounts based on our bodies and lifestyles. Sugar is our bodies main source of energy, being way more readily available than fats and protein. All food is fuel, but (carbohydrates aka sugar) are in particular. To sum up, do not fear natural sugar! Don’t fear added sugar either, simply be aware of what and how much you are putting into your body.

How to eat less added sugar

There are so many ways to be eating less added sugar, and here are a few tips.

  1. Eat as little processed foods as possible. Pretty much all processed foods have added sugars in them for different reasons. One being because it makes the product taste better of course. But it also helps with preservation once they have been packaged and ready to be sold. Most of the time, food doesn’t naturally stay good forever, hence added sugar and other preservatives.
  2. Add less sugar than a recipe calls for. So many baked goods and other recipes call for way more sugar than necessary. My Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is a great example of a delicious, sweet dessert or snack that has a little added sugar, just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  3. I also like to use fruit as natural sweeteners for lots of things. My Avocado Date brownies for example, they have no added sugar, just the natural sweetness from the dates.
  4. Last but not least, it’s the little changes that lead to big differences. Don’t cut sugar out completely. Try making small swaps in your everyday life. Maybe don’t add sugar to your coffee every morning, Add water or milk to your smoothies instead of juice, premake your breakfast for the whole week at once so you aren’t rushed in the morning and grabbing cereal half of the time.

All this stuff is easier said than done of course, but focusing on small changes one step at a time will lead to good habits and greater changes in the long run!

Conclusion

Sugar will kill you. Totally kidding of course. Rather sugar is an essential part of our food life that has always been and will always be present.

Try to do the best you can to get as much sugar as you can from natural sources. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. And keep the added sugars to a minimum, enjoying on occasion.

So have that ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Have a nice big piece of cake on your birthday. Or simply have a cookie if you really want one. Don’t fear natural sugar or added sugar. Consume it in moderation. There’s no point in cutting them out completely. After all, food isn’t just about being strictly perfect all the time. There is much more to it.

On the other side of the spectrum, eat your veggies, make delicious fruit smoothies, have a nice sandwich on your favourite loaf of whole-grain bread. Fuel your body, because let’s face it, it’s the only body you will ever have. Eat the foods you enjoy, and appreciate all foods for what they are.

Last but not least, do not get caught up in everything the media has to say about sugar. As the reason for all the controversy is because everyone is different! There are hundreds of articles on the subject of sugar and they will each be different. There’s no one right answer. Find what works for you and roll with it.

Coconut Shrimp

I absolutely love using shrimp to make meals. It’s super versatile and easy to use. You can thaw it out in 10 minutes and you are all set for a quick pull together meal.

Coconut shrimp is a great appetizer, or it can be paired with a few side dishes to make a delicious meal. A few of my favourite dishes to go along with it is fried rice or veggie pad thai.

Coconut

You can buy shredded coconut in the baking section at the store in a bunch of different sizes. I typically choose the “medium size” and always get unsweetened, as the natural sweetness of the coconut is perfect for a recipe like this. Coconut is a mixture between a fruit, nut and seed. Considered a drupe. Other drupes are things like olives and peaches, all containing only one seed in the middle. And while it is a higher calorie fruit, containing much more fat than most, it still has many nutrititonal benefits.

Of course, the ever popular coconut oil is derived from coconut, therefore when you eat coconut you are getting all of the oil’s saturated fats within. Saturated fats are very controversial, I know. However, despite all of the bad talk it gets, a healthy amount of saturated fats is perfectly healthy in moderation.

How to make

I feel like anyone who has an air fryer will hype up how amazing they are. I am one of those people. I use my air fryer for so many different recipes, it is super handy.

That being said if you don’t have an air fryer, you can equally make these in the oven as well. The crispiness just isn’t quite the same. If you have an air fryer you know what I mean. Lol

Coconut Shrimp Recipe

Serves: 4 Mains or 6-8 appetizers Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of frozen shrimp
  • 3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp emerald essence seasoning OR
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1-2 eggs

Oven Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425℉
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Start by defrosting your shrimp if they are not fresh by placing in a warm water bath. Then peel shell if they are in the shell.
  4. Lightly whisk eggs in a small bowl.
  5. Pour shredded coconut onto a large plate and mix your seasonings into the mix.
  6. Place shrimp in egg wash, then place shrimp in coconut shreds and pat down to coat in coconut.
  7. Place on a lined baking sheet.
  8. Repeat for all shrimp and place in oven.
  9. There will probably be leftover coconut shreds after, but if you run out simply add more to the plate.
  10. Bake for approximately 10 minutes and then flip the shrimp to crisp both sides.
  11. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until they have reached your desired crispiness.
  12. Serve as an appetizer with plum sauce or with your favourite side dishes.

Air Fryer Method

Depending on how many you are making will vary how many batches you do. For example, when I make around 14-16 ounces of shrimp, I do around three batches. When one batch is done I set them aside and then at the end before serving I will put all the cooked shrimp back in the fryer for two minutes to heat up.

  1. Defrost your shrimp if they are not fresh by placing in a warm water bath. Then peel shell if they are in the shell.
  2. Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Pour shredded coconut onto a large plate and mix your seasonings into the mix.
  4. Place shrimp in egg wash, then place shrimp in coconut shreds and pat down to coat in coconut. Repeat for all the shrimp.
  5. Preaheat air fryer to 400℉ for 3 minutes.
  6. When ready, put your first batch of shrimp in, spray with a little olive oil spray (optional but helps the crispiness), and cook at 400℉ for 6 minutes.
  7. Repeat for the remaining two batches.
  8. Once done the third batch, add all the cooked shrimp into the fryer basket and return to cook for a final 2 minutes.
  9. Serve as an appetizer with plum sauce or with your favourite side dishes.

Nutrition

Approximate value per 1 of 4 main servings.

Calories: 218 Total Fat: 13g Sodium: 1 245mg Carbohydrates: 5g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g Protein: 18g

Kale Chips

Kale is one of my absolute favourite greens. If you know me that’s saying a lot because I love all greens. And another way to use kale differently than sautéing or using for a salad, is making delicious, crsipy kale chips.

Kale chips are a great snack or appetizer whenever you’re in the mood for something salty. They are also a great way to use up that kale that has been in the fridge for a little while without letting it go bad!

Health

You may have heard before that kale is one of the healthiest foods out there. This is very accurate. Kale has quite the list of nutritional benefits. it is a very nutrient dense cruciferous vegetable that is packed with fiber. Kale is a great source of vitamins as well. Interestingly, one cup of kale has a larger amount of vitamin C then the famously known orange. It also contains almost 800% of your daily vitamin K intake. So it’s safe to say you’ve got vitamin K covered when you eat kale! One more fun fact about this nutritional powerhouse, is its calcium content. One serving of kale contains more calcium then a serving of milk does.

Chips

There are a few pieces of key information to making these chips perfectly. 1) Seasonings. 2) Oil. 3) Cook time. First things first. When it comes to oil you only need a small amount to coat the kale without drenching them and becoming soggy. If you have non-stick cooking spray I find this is really helpful to get all pieces having the perfect amount of oil. If you don’t have any spray just make sure you lightly drizzle the kale and toss it around to evenly coat.

Then of course, the way to spike the flavour into these chips is adding some salt, along with garlic powder, and cayenne if you like a little spice. Or “kick” as my grandfather would say. Make sure NOT to add too much seasoning, as the kale chip pieces take on lots of flavour from a small amount.

Lastly, cook time. Not gonna lie, I usually put these in the oven thinking I will check on them and take them out when they look ready. That usually leads to a few burnt ones… So I recommend setting a timer and checking on them so they don’t burn on you.

Kale Chips

Servings: 4 appetizers prep time: 3 minutes cook time: 10-15 minutes Total time: 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • Olive oil (spray or regular)
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne*

Note

There is no specific amount for the seasonings as I find its just easier to sprinkle a little bit of each on top. It should be around 1-2 tsp of each seasoning. More or less to your liking. For example, I love garlic powder so I always add a little extra of that. Make sure that if you are sensitive to spice you alter or omit the amount of cayenne.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉
  2. Wash head of kale and remove greens from the stem, as the stem is too tough to use for the chips.
  3. Don’t worry about making the pieces of kale too small as they wilt down quite a bit while cooking.
  4. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and lay chips out evenly.
  5. Spray with olive oil or drizzle on top. Toss kale to coat evenly.
  6. Season the chips with salt, garlic powder and paprika if desired.
  7. Place in preheated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. It’s easy to tell when they are ready if you try one and its perfectly crispy. If its not quite ready yet, leave it in for a few more minutes.

Nutrition

Per 1/4 of the batch with olive oil spray

Calories: 40 Fat: 1g Sodium: 611mg Carbohydrates: 7g Sugar: 0g Protein: 2g