2/24/2015

Healthy Chocolate Protein Bites!


I'm a sweet person. And I don’t just mean this in the sense that I’m nice with everyone around me. I mean I prefer sweet foods over salty ones ;)

The only time of the day I crave salty is for lunch. But as soon as I finish my lunch, I’m already craving sweet. This is the reason I always eat dessert. In the last years my desserts have varied from fruits, yogurt, a pice of dark chocolate and lately, I’m obsessed with these cookies. They are not precisely healthy, but still after lunch I always go grab one to satisfy that sweet craving.

This is why I created today’s post. For all of us out there who need something sweet after lunch but don’t want to harm our bodies with junk. These bites are chocolat-y, chewy, sticky and delicious. They are also high in protein and fibre. Just perfect and I hope you like them too :)


Serves 12-14 balls, ready in 15 minutes

Ingredients:
-2/3 cup almonds
-1 tablespoon walnuts
-12 pitted dates
-1 tablespoon cocoa powder
-2 tablespoons peanut butter
-1 tablespoon honey 

Kitchin-it!
1. In a food processor, add the almonds and walnuts and process for about 30 seconds until it looks like flour. Then put this in a small bowl and set aside.


2. Add the pitted dates to the food processor and process for about 45 seconds, until a paste forms.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the dates paste, including the crumbled almonds and walnuts. Process everything together for about a minute. 
4. Form dough into balls with the palm of your hands and that’s it! Enjoy :)


Adapted from Fit Foodie Finds

2/17/2015

Healthier Garlic and Cheese Mashed Potatoes (Cauliflower)

Creamy, cheesy and light mashed “potatoes” that are really cauliflower. 


I was gonna say I’m not a fan of “imitation” foods. Then I realized this is completely false. I love imitating meals with healthier substitutions. 

From the point of view of flavour and texture, there’s a chance that I actually prefer the “original” version over the “imitation” one of most of these foods. However, when you lead a healthy lifestyle you have to avoid those “original” versions every now and then. I’m not saying I ALWAYS eat with healthier imitations, but I do like to experiment and make them every now and then. 


Today’s post is about one of those cases. Mashed potatoes are quite delicious. They are often prepared with cream, lots of cheese and butter. Potatoes themselves have a high glycemic index, meaning they’re not so good for our blood sugar. By substituting potatoes with cauliflower and reducing the usual amounts of dairy, you can get a pretty delicious “imitation” meal that is good for your health.


Serves 6, ready in 30 minutes

Ingredients:
-1 large cauliflower head
-2 teaspoons minced garlic
-1 teaspoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon margarine
-1/3 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/3 cup milk

Kitchin-it!
1. Wash and cut cauliflower into medium pieces. Remove all leaves and green parts.
2. Place cauliflower in a large saucepan and cover with water.


3. Bring to a boil and let is cook for 10-12 minutes, until soft.
4. In the mean time, pre-heat olive oil in a small pan and cook garlic until golden. Set aside. 


5. Drain cauliflower and pat with paper towel to remove excess water.
6. Add cauliflower to a medium bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Half-way through, add the margarine and cheeses. Keep mashing. 


7. Add the salt and garlic and mash some more. 
8. Finally, incorporate the milk and mix well. 
9. Serve as a side dish and enjoy! 



2/13/2015

Healthy, Fluffy and Delicious Waffles!


I’ve got you covered for Valentine’s Day! Actually, I have you covered for every weekend morning for the rest of your life! 

If you’re still asking yourself how, well, WAFFLES is the answer!


Le boyfriend has this credit card thing that lets you accumulate points with every purchase you make using the card. When you have X amount of points, you can exchange them for cool things. The last thing we got was this waffle maker! Other options included a huge TV. I’m sure le boyfriend preferred a waffle maker than a huge TV. 

Well, I just lied…I may or may have not convinced him that a waffle maker is way better than a TV. 

So, speaking of love, you either ask your partner for a waffle maker or if you already have one go make these healthy, yummy and fluffy waffles for your significant other. 


Serves 6 waffles, ready in 30 minutes

Ingredients:
-2 eggs
-1 & 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
-1 & 3/4 cups of milk
-1/4 cup of olive oil
-1 tablespoon brown sugar
-4 teaspoons baking powder
-1/5 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Kitchin-it!
1. Preheat waffle iron
2. In a medium-large bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer.


3. Add the rest of the ingredients one at the time and beat well. Don’t use a blender or an electric mixer since the dough may become too thin and it won’t work. Get your arms working with that hand mixer!


4. Pour mixture onto the waffle iron. The quantity you pour varies between different brands, I poured about 3/4 cup of mixture for each waffle.


5. Cook according to your waffle directions, until golden brown.


6. Serve with peanut butter, fruits, yogurt and/or maple syrup! Enjoy!


Recipe adapted from All Recipes

2/05/2015

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash!


One of my favorite foods is pasta. Actually, anything Italian…be it pizza, ice cream or lasagna, it doesn’t matter, I’ll eat it. 

It’s no news that pasta dishes are quite loaded in carbs. In theory, one serving of pasta is 1/2 cup. In practice, very few people respect this serving size (myself included) because it’s actually not much. 


There are a few things you can do to make this feel like more. One of those things is spaghetti squash. One cup of spaghetti squash has 2g of fibre but only 10g of carbohydrates. It has no fat and has vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Plus, it counts as 1 to 2 servings of vegetables, that’s 1/4 of what you need in a day!

The taste and texture is very similar to that of regular spaghetti. With a good homemade sauce and a little bit of parmesan on top, you’ll have a delicious, healthy and filling meal to enjoy!



Ingredients:
-1 spaghetti squash
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 pinches of salt
-1 pinch of pepper

Kitchin-it!

1. Pre-heat oven to 380*F. 
2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise



3. Scoop out the inside and take out the seeds



4. Brush the inside of each half with the olive oil. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper



5. Place the halves facing down on a baking dish


6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes


7. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and with a fork, scrape out the spaghetti strands



8. Serve warm with the sauce of your choice. I had mine with this tomato sauce and a little bit of parmesan. It was amazing!



2/02/2015

Healthier Chocolate Milk!


Today’s post exists because of exercise. 

Ok, that doesn’t make any sense, let me explain. 

A while ago I shared a few tips about what to eat or drink before, during and after a workout. One of the things listed in the post-workout options is chocolate milk. 


As some of you know, I play volleyball once a week. Also, I recently started to attend yoga classes. On top of that, Zumba will be added to that list starting next week. As you can imagine, I like to have snacks to recover after any of those workouts and chocolate milk tends to be my go-to option. It gets fast to your bloodstream, it has proteins, it’s delicious and it's easy to pack. 

I used to buy a Soy Chocolate Milk that I love but realized it was getting expensive. One package of 3 chocolate milks costs about 6$ and the cheaper options I've seen aren’t really healthy, so that’s when this recipe was born! 

I’m happy to report that it tastes as delicious as the one I used to buy at the supermarket and has less added chemicals and sugars!


Serves 5, ready in 10-15 minutes. 

Ingredients:
-1/3 cup brown sugar 
-1/3 cup water
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-6 cups of cold milk (I use 1%)
-2 pinches of salt

Kitchin-it!
1. Make the chocolate syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. 
2. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and mix until smooth.


3. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
4. In a blender, add the chocolate syrup, milk and salt. Blend until smooth and serve! NOTE: For this step I had to divide the mixture into two because my blender is not big enough. Another option is adding 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup to a glass, then 1 1/2 cups of milk and stir well.



5. Enjoy! 


Adapted from Food Network

1/29/2015

Healthy Quinoa Patties + Benefits of Fibre!


If I were to make a list of what makes a food healthy, fibre would most certainly be at the top of that list. Now, why is fibre healthy? Why do nutrition experts recommend diets high in fibre? 

Today I want to share the reasons why you should include more fibre in your diet and then hope you go, do these quinoa patties that are a great option for that.


Benefits of fibre:

-It helps reduce cholesterol. Then again, why would we want this? Cholesterol and other fats, when in excess, can accumulate in our arteries, block them and cause heart diseases or strokes. I’m pretty sure no one wants this and a way to help prevent it is by having a diet high in fibre.

-It makes you feel satisfied (or full) for a longer period. This is especially important for people who want to lose weight. When people want to drop a few pounds a common issue they face is that they feel hungry all the time. Fibre is a great way to avoid this since it's slowly digested by our stomach and can therefore make us feel full for longer.

-It helps regulate blood sugars. And, one more time, why would we want this? Having high levels of sugar in our blood can slowly damage our insulin response, leading to diabetes. Insulin is that awesome thing that helps our bodies get the sugar we eat so that we get the energy we need. When insulin is not responding, we can have high levels of sugar in our blood and this can damage other organs such as our eyes, kidneys and heart. Fibre is a great way to avoid this since it's slowly absorbed. This will help control the insulin response and aid in the prevention of diabetes.

-It normalizes bowel movements. The details and ways of how this works can sound unappealing. Let’s just say that you can prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and other diseases related with our intestines. I’m pretty sure this is something we all want!

These are the most important benefits of fibre. Some foods that are high in fibre include whole grains, seeds, beans and legumes, and fruit and vegetables. 

Now, let's get to the recipe of these quinoa patties! They are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, high in fibre and nutrients, plus, super delicious!


Serves 10 patties, preparation: 10 minutes. In the fridge: 30 minutes. In the oven: 40 minutes. Total: 1h 20 mins. 

Ingredients: 
-4 eggs
-2 and 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa (about 1 cup un-cooked)
-3/4 cup rolled oats
-200g feta cheese reduced in fat
-2 cups of spinach, chopped
-1 medium carrot, grated 
-2 pinches salt and pepper
-1 tablespoon olive oil

Kitchin-it!
1. In a medium-large bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine


2. Place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 425*F and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
4. Form about 10 patties with your hands and place them in the baking dish. 
5. Bake for 22 minutes, then flip to the other side and bake for another 18 to 20 minutes, or until the patties look golden.
6. Serve warm and enjoy! 


Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

1/26/2015

Acorn Squash & Chickpeas Healthy Quinoa Salad!


Looks like I just made you one of the most delicious and easy healthy meals in a while! Plus, it looks pretty, doesn’t it?

I’m always on the look for new lunch ideas. I never struggle with breakfast because it tends to be constant. I usually have toast + peanut butter + fruit + decaf coffee. Some weekends I’ll have waffles or pancakes. So yeah, breakfast is not an issue creatively speaking. However, with lunch I try to not get stuck with eating the same thing over and over again. 

Well, I’ve got good news! I found a new meal that both le boyfriend and I love and it’s not only healthy but delicious and easy to make. I hope you enjoy it too :)


Serves 5-6, ready in 40 minutes

Ingredients:
-2 cups of cooked quinoa (follow package instructions)
-1 medium acorn squash, cut into wedges
-1 tablespoons olive oil
-1 small-medium red onion, chopped
-1/4 cup vinegar (I used raspberry vinegar)
-2 teaspoons brown sugar
-Cilantro (coriander) leaves to taste, chopped (I used about 3 tablespoons)
-1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
-150g feta cheese, cut into small squares
-6 teaspoons lemon juice

Kitchin-it!
1. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
2. While the quinoa cooks, preheat oven to 425*F. 
3. Place the pumpkin wedges in a baking dish and with the help of a brush cover them with olive oil. If you have oil remaining, put it aside.


4. Roast pumpkin for 10 minutes. 


5. Add the onion and roast for another 15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
6. In a medium-large bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, cilantro, chickpeas, quinoa and the remaining oil (if any). Mix well.


7. Serve this mixture and top with pumpkin, onion, feta and lemon juice.
8. Enjoy!


Recipe adapted from Donna Hay