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

The Ultimate Cobb Salad

This Cobb salad is like the best salad you’ll ever meet. And whoever says salad is rabbit food has definitely not made this one. Greens tossed in a light vinaigrette, loaded with delicious grilled veggies, and a little blue cheese, topped with steak all combine to make salad heaven.

This is honestly one of my favourite meals, it’s super easy to make and super healthy. And you can really customize it however you like using what you have.

Cobb salad

the reason I have the confidence in calling this the “Ultimate Cobb Salad” is because it does have some of the basic cobb salad recipe ingredients, however not all of them, and a lot of things added that you don’t typically see in a Cobb salad. It’s just a level up from the usual. :p

Traditional Cobb salads usually contain a crispy lettuce like iceberg or romaine, and is topped with boiled eggs, bacon, tomato, corn, blue cheese, and chicken. Of course all recipes can vary a little bit but this one varies a lot lol.

I like to make this salad and top it with barbecued steak, however, chicken and shrimp also work great. Black beans would also be a delicious substitute if you are looking for a vegetarian option.

Health

This meal is like the ultimate provider of a ton of essential micronutrients. The saying “eat the colours of the rainbow” is definitely attained through this meal. It’s important to eat lots of different colours in our meals to make sure we are getting all the different nutrients that each one contains. Things like fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all important components to include in your diet.

Aside from the veggies, having steak, or any kind of red meat is also a good thing to include in your meal rotation. Red meat is an awesome source of B-12 and iron. (We need these to produce red blood cells) AKA they’re important! Lean red meats are a great source of protein. It’s great to include a variety of different meats and other protein sources to have a well-rounded and balanced diet.

Toppings

All of these toppings are completely optional, so you can customize your salad however you like. These are just some of my favourite ones!

I like to grill the veggies with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to give it a subtle but flavourful punch of taste.

All of the amounts of veggies listed below are just suggested amounts. The beauty of this salad is that you can really make it however you like, adding more or less of each thing to fit your salad hopes and dreams!

Cobb Salad Ish recipe

Serves: 4 meals Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 10-15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

steak marinade

  • 12-16 oz lean steak (since the marinade tenderizes the meat, you can use a “cheap” cut like round steak or top sirloin)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 apple blended (or 3 tbsp sweetener of choice)

Salad

  • 8+ cups of salad greens of choice
  • 1-2 Zucchini
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2-3 corn on the cob
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1-2 bell peppers
  • Other optional toppings: sweet potato, beets, garlic scapes, etc.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil & balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 C Blue cheese

Dressing

  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or another vinegar substitute)

Method

  1. Before I marinade my steak, I like to cut off as much fat as possible to make it easier once barbecued and ready to eat.
  2. Marinade your steak by adding all of your marinade ingredients to a large bowl. Then add steaks tossing to coat all sides.
  3. Leave marinade in the fridge for 4+ hours.
  4. Turn barbecue onto high heat.
  5. When ready to put meal together, start by preparing all veggies for the grill.
  6. Slice zucchini and eggplant into long thin slices that won’t fall through the grill. (Photo’s for how I cut mine are above.)
  7. Cut bell peppers into large pieces as well.
  8. Chop red onion in large pieces. (I like to skewer mine as it is easier to avoid losing them through the grill.)
  9. Prep corn for the grill by shucking if needed.
  10. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the veggies you are grilling. (Zucchini, eggplant, peppers, red onions etc.)
  11. Put corn on the cob on the grill as well. I don’t typically put anything on them.
  12. Barbecue veggies for 2-3 minutes and then flip. They really don’t take long so be on watch.
  13. After about 5-7 minutes take the veggies off the grill and let sit to cool while you barbecue the steak.
  14. Put steaks on the grill and barbecue for 5-6 minutes per side.
  15. While steak is cooking, toss salad greens with a small amount of dressing. I always like to add a small amount at a time and toss until you have your desired amount of dressing. (I never use all of it, I like to keep some on hand in the fridge to quickly throw into my salads!)
  16. Lay greens out on an extra-large plate.
  17. Chop up all of your grilled veggies, corn, avocado, and tomatoes to top the salad.
  18. Crumble blue cheese on top of the salad. (This is of course optional but so incredibly delicious!!)
  19. Cook steak to your liking; I usually average 4 minutes per side for medium. Time will depend on the thickness of your steak and how you like it (i.e. rare, med, well done)
  20. Tent the steak by putting a piece of tin foil over them for 5 minutes. (this helps redistribute the juices in the steak and give the best flavour.)
  21. Slice steak into thin slices and top salad.
  22. Enjoy!

Nutrition

per approximately 1 of 4 servings

Calories: 458 Total Fat: 25g Sodium: 111mg Carbohydrates: 36g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 12g Protein: 30g

Spelt Flaxseed Bread

I love carbs. In all shapes and sizes. Bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, muffins, the list goes on. In comes this amazingly delicious spelt flaxseed bread recipe. It’s perfect for all your bread needs. Like sandwiches, toast, on the side of your soup, or my personal favourite, eating straight out of the oven completely plain. The only negative thing I have to say about this bread is that you may never be able to eat store bought bread again.

Bread Baking

Even though bread baking can seem intimidating and complicated, having to follow measurements precisely, and yeast activating, letting it rise, yata yata yata. This loaf is actually fairly simple and I have a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to bread baking.

  1. Make sure your yeast hasn’t gone bad, if it’s past its expiry date, chances are it might not properly activate, leaving the bread flat and the baker sad.
  2. Make sure you let your yeast activate. To start, you will simply sprinkle it over warm water and leave it for a few minutes. It should become bubbly if it’s activated.
  3. Homemade breads often end up being more dense than store-bought. To have a nice airy loaf just make sure you knead your dough enough.

Although I am a sourdough fanatic, this spelt flaxseed bread is my absolute favourite non-sourdough bread. It’s so light and airy, and has a subtle sweet and salty taste that makes it perfect for sweet or savoury purposes.

Even though this was a combined effort, I have to give credit to my brother for this recipe, as he originally made it with whole wheat flour, which was also delicious! One day he was making it and we didn’t have any whole wheat flour so I said to substitute with spelt flour, and it was even more delicious! So although I am the one writing this blog post he is definitely the mastermind behind this incredible loaf of joy. Lol

Seed mixture

As a finishing touch to our bread, a necessary step, (in my opinion) is lots of seeds on top of the loaf once you have brushed it with egg wash.

My favourites are chia seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. I don’t tend to measure them out. I just place them in a mason jar, cover it and shake to mix them all together. Sprinkle it over the bread, and then they’re all set for baking.

Health

Why are carbs important? In a nutshell, carbohydrates are the macronutrient that our bodies turn into glucose molecules that are used as energy. This is why carbs are often referred to as athlete’s “fuel”. Once you’re done working out, your “glycogen stores”, aka how carbs are stored in our muscles are depleted. That’s when you should eat more carbs to replenish your glycogen stores.

Spelt flour is an ancient grain with a sweet, nutty flavour and can be used for many breads or other baking recipes. It creates a light and airy texture for your baked goods which is always a win. While spelt is mainly a source of carbohydrates, it also contains more protein than wheat, with around 5g per serving. Spelt flour is also more water-soluble than wheat which means that it’s easier for our body to digest.

Last but certainly not least, flaxseeds contain so many nutritional benefits it’s not even funny. They are full of omega-3’s as well as fiber, and they are a good plant-based source of protein and healthy fats as well.

Spelt Flaxseed Bread Recipe

Yield: 2 loaves Prep/Rise time: 2 hours Bake time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 3/4 + 1/4c spelt flour*
  • 3/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2-4 tbsp of mixed seeds to top

Method

  1. In a large bowl add warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Let it rest for around 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Mix in the milk, honey, and oil.
  3. Start by adding 1 cup of flour, ground flaxseed, and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Then add the rest of the flour and mix together.
  5. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  6. If you have a stand mixer use dough hook attachment knead until the dough becomes smooth. Around 5 minutes. Or knead by hand for around 7-8 minutes.
  7. Spray or lightly drizzle a bowl with olive oil and place dough into the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Once it has risen, being around double in size separate the dough into two pieces, gently shaping into a loaf shape. Line loaf pans with parchment paper (or spray non-stick spray, but I find it works the best with parchment paper). *I find this dough fairly wet compared to other breads I have made, so if you think necessary, add a couple tablespoons of flour so it is easier to handle. This is where you can add the extra 1/4 c of flour if needed. (I always wet my hands before handling the dough so it won’t stick.)
  9. Cover the pans with a towel and allow them to rise for another 45mins – 1 hour.
  10. The bread should have risen to fill the bread pan most of the way if not all the way.
  11. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  12. In a small bowl lightly whisk an egg and brush egg wash over loaves. (Brush gently so it doesn’t lose its shape.)
  13. Sprinkle seed mixture over top. I usually do a mixture of flaxseed, chia seeds, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds.
  14. Turn preheated oven down to 375℉ and place loaves in oven.
  15. Bake for 30-33 minutes.
  16. Let bread cool for ten minutes if you can wait that long.

Nutrition

For 1 of 12 slices per loaf

Calories: 102 Fat: 3g Sodium: 300mg Carbohydrates: 16g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g Protein: 3g

Watermelon Mint Salad

Yup I know. I post a lot of salad content. And I’m definitely not ashamed of it. Salads are easily my favourite meals/ side dishes because there are endless possibilities to make them seriously epic tasting.

This one in particular, just screams summer. It is incredibly refreshing thanks to the watermelon and mint. Sweet from the honey dijon vinaigrette and perfectly paired with some saltiness from crumbled feta on top. If I can say one thing about feta, it is that it’s perfect for a salad topper.

Ingredients

This salad has a base of mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette. Then added in fresh watermelon and mint, as well as avocado, cucumber, and feta. It’s that simple!

Health

This salad contains lots of good nutritional value from all of the different ingredients.

Watermelon is 92% water, hence the name, so it’s a great way to stay hydrated through eating instead of just drinking plain old water all the time! Watermelon is a great addition to the salad, and also a great option to eat for “volume”, meaning you can eat a ton of it for only a little amount of calories. For example, an entire medium sized watermelon contains around 650 calories. That is the same amount of calories in around 6 tablespoons of peanut butter. Both are great healthy foods, just with different portion sizes and nutritional profile.

Mint provides many nutritional benefits, like containing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These can improve teeth and gum health.

Avocado is commonly known for being a great source of healthy fats, however they are also considered a “superfood” being one of the most nutrient dense foods you can think of. Packed with vitamins and other good stuff.

And of course, we can’t forget about the homemade dressing. Store bought salad dressings are often full of saturated fats, sugar and salt. And while there’s nothing wrong with a little in moderation, this recipe has a homemade salad dressing you can use for any salad your heart desires! By making it at home you can control what things you put in it and avoid all of the processed and unnecessary ingredients. It’s easy to make and tastes wayyy better.

Watermelon Mint Salad Recipe

Yield: 4-6 Side dishes Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Mixed greens*
  • 2 c cubed watermelon
  • 1 c diced cucumber
  • 1 C fresh mint
  • 1/3 C feta cheese
  • 1 large avocado cubed

Salad dressing

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar**
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard***
  • 1/2-1 tbsp maple syrup

Notes

*You can really make as little or as much salad as you want depending upon how many greens you add so it’s totally up to you how much you want.

**Rice wine vinegar can be subbed for white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar as well

***Regular dijon mustard also works for this recipe but I wouldn’t recommend regular mustard.

You can choose how much dressing you add to your salad based on your personal liking. I like just a light dressing coating the greens that isn’t overpowering the rest of the salad, so I usually have some dressing left over from this recipe that I will use the next day.

Method

  1. Start by washing your greens if not done already.
  2. Chop watermelon, cucumber, avocado, and mint.
  3. Prep dressing by adding all ingredients to a mason jar and shaking. Add more sweetener or vinegar to your desired flavour. (But remember it’s just a background flavour)
  4. Toss greens and mint with dressing and put on a large serving plate or salad bowl if you prefer. (I love putting my salads on large plates as it’s easier to load it with toppings, but do whatever you would like!
  5. Top with watermelon, avocado, and cucumber.
  6. Crumble feta on top. (The amount of feta is purely based upon how much or how little you want!)

Nutrition

Based on approximately one of six servings

Calories: 111 Total Fat: 7g Sodium: 55mg Carbohydrates: 9g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 5g Protein: 4g

Baked Oats

Famous breakfast

This breakfast is great for a number of reasons. One, it’s super quick and easy to put together and throw in the oven. Two, it’s a great way to prep your breakfasts for the entire week at once. And three, it’s really really good.

I love oats in so many different ways. From overnight oats, to savoury oats with eggs and veggies, to my banana bread recipe. They’re so versatile and great because they are one of the healthiest foods out there. These baked oats have definitely made their way into my breakfast rotation.

Customize

Make these baked oats extra tasty in the morning by adding lots of yummy toppings. I love the oats both warm and cold. Then I top them with yogurt or nut butter, and of course some fresh berries. You can also add a little milk to the bottom of a bowl and enjoy them that way. The oats are your oyster.

Health

While of course you can eat these for any meal of the day, I am going to focus on the importance of a healthy breakfast and how these oats meet all the criteria of a good breakfast.

The description is right in the name. Break-fast. This meal is the first thing we are putting in our stomach after sleeping and breaking a fast. This is where the name fasting came from, which has become a popular trend in recent years. So, when you are eating your breakfast you’re fuelling your body for the first part of the day after your resting period.

This oatmeal bake provides all the good stuff we look for in a meal. Protein, from the protein powder, eggs and/or yogurt. Healthy carbohydrates from the classic oats. And healthy fats from toppings like nut butter. Having a well rounded meal to start your day will provide you with sustainable energy and kickstart your day on the right foot.

Protein Powder

The overwhelmingly large market for protein powders leaves it difficult to know how to pick the right one. Of course there are many different kinds of protein powder for different purposes, but here are a few things to highlight when trying to choose the right one.

  1. Of course number one is the ingredients list. Some proteins will have lots of unnecessary added ingredients that are not what you are looking for. So try to make sure it has a nice short ingredients list. Hint: anything that ends with “ol” tends to be sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners.
  2. Whey, casein, egg white, pea, hemp. There are lots of different proteins derived from different things to create powders. Whey is the protein from milk and is very easily absorbed by the body, unless you have any intolerance to milk of course. Casein is another protein from milk however it is more slow releasing, keeping you fuller for longer. Soy, rice, pea and hemp are all examples of plant based proteins, and a great option for those who avoid dairy. They are often combined together in protein powders as particular plant-based options lack in some of the essential amino acids. (We need this to help build muscle)

Fun fact: If you are choosing a pea-protein and have food allergies you are in luck, as pea-protein is hypo-allergenic!

3. Like I mentioned, the right protein powder for you will depend upon your goals and likes. However here are my favourite proteins to take a look at.

Magum quattro whey isolate

Canadian Protein Vegan protein blend

Baked Oats Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 30 minutes Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 egg*
  • 2 egg whites*
  • 1 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 C old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 scoops protein powder of choice
  • 2 C frozen berries of choice

*Or use 2-3 tbsp of ground flaxseed with 9 tbsp of water to replace egg with a flax egg instead!

Method

  1. Start by preheating oven to 350℉.
  2. Mash two ripe bananas in a large mixing bowl until completely mashed.
  3. Add egg, egg whites, almond milk, and vanilla and mix all together.
  4. Add oats, salt, cinnamon, and protein powder. Mix all together.
  5. Add two cups of frozen berries of choice to the mixture and combine all together.
  6. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non stick baking spray.
  7. Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes.
  8. Take out of oven, let cool and serve with yogurt, milk, nut butter, or whatever you can think of! Enjoy at home or on the go!

*If you don’t have protein powder, this recipe will still work completely fine! However the powder adds sweetness to it so you may want to add honey or maple syrup to your liking as a replacement.

Nutrition

Per 1/8 of the recipe

Calories: 191 Total Fat: 3g Sodium: 203mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 6g Protein: 12g