Hi friends! Can you believe how quickly this year has been flying by? I don’t know about the rest of you, but lately it feels like my days are growing shorter and there isn’t enough time to get everything done. … Continue reading
Happy Nutrition Month!
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty darn sick of this winter weather and cannot WAIT for spring to arrive!
Spring = sunshine. And warm weather. And patios. But most importantly, BARBECUING.
Need I say more?
If you’re going through BBQ withdrawal and are craving a burger, this is the perfect meatless recipe to satisfy your craving (and your waistline). I started out following a recipe from How Sweet It Is, but it ended up evolving into something a little bit different.
These burgers are hearty, a little bit spicy, and packed with superfoods like sweet potato, quinoa and coconut oil. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and carotenoids, which help promote healthy skin and vision. Combined with the quinoa, these burgers pack a protein- and fibre-packed punch! Plus they can be easily modified to be vegan and/or gluten-free :) I wish I took some more photos of these tasty morsels, but they looked so good I just couldn’t wait to eat them.
So… while you continue to wait impatiently for spring, at least you won’t go hungry…
Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers
Makes 4 patties
1 medium sweet potato
½ large red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I used gluten-free oats, pulsed in a food processor)
¼ cup parmesan cheese (use nutritional yeast for a vegan option – I used half of each)
3-4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 egg (for a vegan option, combine 1 tbsp ground flax seed with about 3 tbsp water to make a flax “egg”)
2-3 tbsp sunflower seeds (or other seeds like chia or pumpkin.. whatever you have on hand)
1 tbsp peanut satay sauce or natural peanut butter
- Pierce the sweet potato a few times with a fork and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes, until tender. Let cool; peel and place flesh in a large mixing bowl.
- In a medium frying pan, heat half the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the peppers, garlic, chili flakes, and a dash of salt and pepper and stir fry until the peppers are tender. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well to combine, mashing the sweet potato as you go. Put in the fridge to chill for about 10-15 minutes. *Note: if the mixture seems too wet, add some more breadcrumbs. If it seems too dry, add some water 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Heat the remaining coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Form the sweet potato mixture into 4 equally sized patties and fry until golden – about 4-5 minutes each side.
- Enjoy on a whole grain bun, or simply on a bed of organic greens topped with your favourite condiments! I just added a few slices of avocado to mine :) Happy eating!
Be Well xo
This is officially my 100th blog post!
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 2 years since I started this blog back in February of 2012. What started as a creative project to “beef up” my resume has turned into something I’ve now managed to sustain for a couple of years – all thanks to the support of you, the readers!
I know I don’t post as often as I used to when I first started this blog, but I’ve kept it up because, well, I think it’s fun, but also because of the support and encouragement I’ve received along the way from friends, family, and random strangers on the Internet.
Those of you who know me know that I’m a bit of an Instagram addict. I’m one of those lame people that like to constantly post pictures of food (#sorry #notsorry). It means a lot when people comment on my food pictures saying how tasty it looks, or even asking if I can share the recipe. I LOVE food and I LOVE to cook. I’m no expert, but knowing that certain meals I create inspire other people makes me happy :) So thank you for sticking with me on this wellness journey, regardless of whether you’ve read one post or kept up with them all!
To commemorate this milestone, it’s only appropriate to celebrate with cake. Apple cinnamon cake.
Okay, perhaps this recipe doesn’t fit your traditional definition of “cake”, but it’s as healthy as cake comes and in my opinion is pretty darn close to the real thing! If you remember my last post, I was lucky enough to get a juicer for Christmas. I’ve been using it a lot lately and have been searching for new ways to put the leftover pulp to good use.
I stumbled across a recipe for a whole wheat zucchini loaf, and after a few modifications ended up with a delicious, hearty, fibre-packed loaf of apple cinnamon goodness. I keep making homemade apple juice just so I have pulp handy to make this recipe – it’s THAT good.
Plus it can also be easily adapted to be vegan and/or gluten-free.
So without further ado… let’s eat cake!
Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Loaf
1 1/2 cups apple pulp (equals about 5 large apples + 1 lemon, juiced)
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 cup date sugar (about 20 pitted dates put through a food processor. I was hoping they would be pulverized into a sugar-like substance, but they ended up more like a sticky paste, which was fine.)
2 eggs (to make this recipe vegan, try using 2 flax eggs. 1 flax egg = 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour (to make this recipe gluten-free, try substituting with gluten-free options like almond flour, coconut flour, etc.)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4 tbsp apple juice (if necessary*)
1. Combine the apple pulp, oil, date paste, and eggs in a large bowl. The date paste was so sticky it was hard to combine everything using a spatula, so eventually I gave up and just used my hands to mix everything together.
2. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients (flour, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon). Add to the apple pulp mixture and combine. If the mixture seems too dry, add the apple juice*.
3. Bake in a loaf pan greased with coconut oil at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
This loaf slices up nicely without crumbling apart, even when it’s fresh out of the oven. I like to top a slice with peanut or almond butter and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds :) That’s pretty much the same thing as cake, right?
Be Well xo
I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season, staying warm, and eating lots of tasty treats!
“Santa” was kind enough to bring me a juicer for Christmas! I took some time today to test it out and made some green juice (kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon, and green apple), then froze the leftover pulp in an ice cube tray so I can easily throw them into green smoothies. I can’t wait to try making fresh orange juice :)
I had so much fun with it that I wanted to make something else, so I decided to try juicing some veggies to create broth for soup. From there I improvised, throwing whatever I had lying around the kitchen into the pot, until I ended up with this delicious stew! It’s the perfect meal to sit back and relax with after a busy week of holiday celebrations :) It’s also vegan and gluten-free!
Rosemary Quinoa, Bean & Butternut Squash Stew
1 small onion
1 red pepper, de-seeded
1 stalk of celery
Vegetable juice & pulp
500 mL no-salt-added vegetable broth
2 cups chopped butternut squash
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can white cannellini beans
1-2 handfuls each of kale and spinach
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder
A couple of pinches of dried sage
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. To make the vegetable juice, put the tomato, onion, pepper, carrots, and celery through a juicer. Pour the juice and pulp into a large stock pot. Add the vegetable broth, squash, quinoa, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and squash is tender. You may need to add some more water as you go, if necessary.
2. Add the beans, kale, and spinach and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in large bowls and enjoy!
Be Well xo
Well, I did it! Despite the wind, rain, and cold weather.. I ran my first 5K race and finished in EXACTLY 26 minutes! I was surprised at how quickly time seemed to pass while I was running, and was even more shocked to learn that I had actually achieved my goal of running it in 26 minutes. Prior to race day, my fastest time had been just under 28 minutes. I guess the adrenaline rush and desire to escape the awful weather helped!
I’ve now started tackling a new challenge – a 21-day elimination diet. Since the beginning of November, I’ve eliminated wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and coffee from my diet. Am I crazy? Perhaps. But for the past couple of months I had been finding I often felt sick after eating, as well as super tired.
After looking a bit more into my symptoms, I decided it might be worthwhile to try a 21-day elimination diet in order to detox and “re-charge my batteries”, so to speak. It’s also a helpful tool to figure out whether you have any food allergies/sensitivities, which could very well be the source of my discomfort.
I’m currently 16 days in and it’s been an interesting journey! The first few days were definitely the hardest and I battled some pretty intense cravings – mostly for wheat products, like bread. I also suffered from headaches for the first little while due to caffeine withdrawal. I probably should have gradually cut back instead of jumping from my usual two cups a day to nothing more than green tea.
After the first few days things started getting a bit easier. I had to really plan ahead and prep meals in advance in order to avoid giving in to cravings. I even re-organized my cupboards by placing the things I could eat on the bottom shelf and things that were “off-limits” on the upper shelves – just sliiiiightly out of my reach ;)
Now that this cleanse is almost over, I can honestly say I have noticed some changes. For starters, although I’m still tired most days (nothing new there), I now have the energy to make it through the day without coffee – something I haven’t been able to do in years. Literally. I’ve also noticed I’m able to fall asleep a lot faster. Finally, most of the negative symptoms I had been experiencing for the past couple of months have disappeared – no more headaches, bloating, stomach cramps, and less joint/muscle pain. Once the weekend hits, I’ll be starting to re-introduce certain foods back into my diet to see if my body experiences any of those symptoms again. Hopefully all goes well!
If you’re thinking about trying an elimination diet, I would say that it’s definitely worthwhile. As long as you plan ahead and are willing to get creative in the kitchen, you might just find the three weeks pass by fairly quickly. The hardest part is planning around social events! It was pretty tricky to find foods to eat when going out for dinner with family/friends, so I had to make a few exceptions sometimes.
Looking for some ideas to help kick-start your own elimination diet? Here are some of the meals I’ve made so far. I included links to recipes where I could!
Chili-lime lentil tacos with cauliflower tortillas
Cilantro lime rice, black beans, kale, squash & homemade guacamole
Be Well xo