Make it green

I used to be one of those people who never watched what I ate. I ate everything, anything, whenever, wherever. Since I became a little more cautious of what I put in my mouth, I began noticing how certain foods make me feel. Some make me feel tired, uneasy, thirsty, bloated and so on. I must admit I do cook a lot. I enjoy it and it’s very cost efficient for someone trying to save money. Like others, I do enjoy going out to eat with friends, trying new restaurants. The challenge is to still enjoy going out to eat with friends but still making healthier choices.

I recently visited Romer’s burger for the first time. How can a burger be healthy? Romer’s Burger Bar offers a “make it green” option for their signature burgers. Definitely a guilt free alternative to carb loaded wheat breads!

For only $.75 more you can have this amazing lettuce bun. I don’t think over ever been so excited about lettuce. It was so crisp, fresh, and… Sweet. Feast yourselves on The Chorizodor burger!

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Chorizo-spiced beef & pork patty, cheddar, pepper jack, Boursin, tomato, avocado, sweet onion, and Diablo sauce.

The burger could’ve used a bit more spice to it but definitely was a good pick. Perfectly crusted patty.

For the same $.75, you can also substitute the regular burger bun for brioche, skinny (not sure what this is), or gluten free option.

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Wholewheat lemon rosemary shortbread cookies

These turned out amazing! I substituted regular all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and was a bit afraid it would turn out dry and less buttery like how shortbreads are meant to be. Definitely hit a home run.

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2 sticks/ 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Dash of course salt
zest of 1 medium sized lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups wholewheat flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1. Mix the butter and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until combined.

2. Add salt, lemon zest, rosemary and the vanilla extract beat until light and fluffy approximately 3 minutes.

3. Add the egg, mix until combined. Reduce the speed of mixer and add flour until just combined.

4. Place a large sheet if plastic wrap on your counter (about the size of a baking pan). Transfer dough mixture lengthwise across the plastic wrap. Roll dough into a log about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Refrigerate over night.

5. Preheat oven to 375. Cut log in 1/4 inch slices. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment about 1” apart. Bake 15- 20 min. until edges appear golden in color. Allow to cool before serving.

Credit: http://blog.moonberry.com/rosemary-lemon-butter-cookies/

To take it to the next level I also made a lemon basil glaze for the cookies.

Ingredients:
Juice of half a lemon
3 cups icing sugar
1 tbs thinly chopped fresh basil

Mix ingredients together and spook enough to cover the top of the cookies. Let the glaze set before serving. If the glaze is too running feel free to add more icing sugar.

Paleo Banana Cookies

What to do with those spotted bananas. Personally they’re a bit too sweet for me to eat as is so I always look for ways to bake with them. The sweetness allows you to minimize added sugars in whatever you plan to whip up 🙂


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1½ cups almond flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
½ to ¾ cup bananas (mashed)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
¼ cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

1. In a medium bowl mix together almond flour, flaxseeds, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl combine bananas, coconut oil, vanilla, and egg. Mix well.

3. Combine wet banana mixture to dry ingredients until batter-like consistency.

4. Fold in nuts to mixture til evenly distributed.

5. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes. Scoop the batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand. If the batter sticks to your hands, wet your hands with water.

6. Bake cookies at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges and bottom start to brown. Let the cookies cool and enjoy!

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Healthy Substitute Chocolate Cupcakes

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Here it is. The real reason I created this blog is to share some of my favourite foods that have been substituted with healthier ingredients. I try to stick to a healthy diet but I LOVE FOOD. And by that I mean all kinds of foods and all types of cuisines.

Sticking to a healthier diet doesn’t mean giving up on the foods you love. Like they say, everything in moderation and sometimes we just got to indulge a little.

Through kitchen experiments I’ve been able to substitute ingredients for a healthier alternative.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk (you can also use low fat milk or soy milk)
1 large egg, whisked
2/3 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweeted apple sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil but you can also substitute with coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 good quality unsweeted cocoa powder
3/4 tsp bake soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Whisk. In a medium size bowl, combine wet ingredients. Mix.
  3. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry, combining with a mixer or wooden spoon, until all lumps are gone. Careful not to overmix.
  4. Fill each cupcake about 3/4 of the way with the batter.
  5. Bake for 16 minutes or until set. Test cupcape with a toothpick (it shouldn’t have anything on it). Let cool completely before applying the frosting.

Serves 12 cupcakes

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Light Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

6-ounce less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup non fat greek yogurt
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup good quality raspberry jam

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, using a mixer, combine cream cheese, yogurt, confectioner’s sugar, and raspberry jam until smooth.
  2. Let sit in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  3. Once completely chilled, transfer to a piping bag and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Place a fresh raspberry on top for garnish.

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Homemade Guacamole

Serving: 2 cups of guacamole

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Ingredients:
2-3 ripe avocados
1 lime, juiced
1/2 diced purple onion
3 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
pinch sea salt & pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
3 dashes tabasco sauce (optional)

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper and tabasco sauce.

Great healthy snack and very simple to make.

TIP: To ripen avocados quicker, wrap them in newspaper or place them inside a closed paper bag.

Broccoli + Roasted tomato quiche

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Pie crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tbs butter, chilled and cut into small dice
2 tablespoons ice water

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Filling:
3 eggs
1/3 cup egg whites
1/3 cup almond milk
1/3 cup cottage cheese
5-6 broccoli florets
1/3 cup roasted tomatoes
Dash salt and pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg

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Making the pie crust (without food processor):
Mix the flour and salt into a bowl. Add butter into the flour mixture. Using your fingers, break up the butter into pieces that resemble coarse crumbs. Make sure this process doesn’t take too long as your fingers will begin warming the butter. Add the ice water gradually until the dough comes together into a ball.
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Make the Quiche:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the pastry out to fit a 9 inche pie pan. Line the tart pan with the pastry.
In a medium bowl, using a large fork, beat the filling mixture until well blended. Pour the mixture into the uncooked tart shell. Pop the tart pan onto the hot baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set.

Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Quinoa Tuna Patties

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Serving size: 5 patties

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 can solid tune (I used Gold Seal)
3 eggs
1/3 fresh bread crumbs (I used the ends of my sprouted wheat toast and placed a slice in the oven until crispy brown)
1/2 cup chopped kale
1/4 cup cilantro (or more if you like)

2 tbs feta
2 tbs cottage cheese
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp onion/garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

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Directions:

1. In a food processor, grind the toast into fine crumbs.

2. In a mixing bowl combine cooked quinoa, bread crumbs, eggs, kale, cilantro, feta, cottage cheese, and seasonings.

3. Using a spoon, scoop the patties to a desired portion and form with hands.

4. Place patties on baking tray and refrigerate for 30 mins.

5. Heat non-stick pan on medium and add about 1 tbs olive oil.

6. Cook patties for about 2-3 mins per wide depending on the thickness. You should only be flipping the patties once.

Feature Friday: Salad Ideas

I LOVE salads. Its funny how most people feel deprived of “real” food when eating salads but really, they’re very versatile. Quite frankly I find salad recipes pretty unnecessary. There’s no right or wrong in putting together a salad. You can put as little or as much of the foods you love. By food I mean, real food. Not a chip and candy medley.

Anyway, I stumbled upon a nice little salad chart from Cupcakes and Cashmere.

20130501-002925.jpgIf you’re a salad newbie, I would suggest to begin by writing down all the healthy foods that you DO already love. Do you like avocados? Tomatos? Cucumber? Salmon? Beef? Nuts? Apples? With a list of the foods you already enjoy it’s easy to just throw a few of the ingredients together and whip up an amazing salad.

 

Protein pancake

This was my first attempt making a protein pancake. It’s actually quite simple!

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1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 banana
1 tbs protein powder (I used Vega chocolate)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup water

Blend ingredients together and slowly add more water if needed. The batter should be pourable but not runny.

Cook on medium – medium low heat. Top with any fruits you like. I topped mine with more bananas and a mixture of Greek yogurt, almond butter and cocoa powder. Yum!