2.27.2017

My Four Favourite Healthy Cookbooks

I've been making a lot of the same dishes over and over again lately. Roasted veggies have been my go to because they are so easy and I can do the prep ahead of time. I have roasted veggies down to a quick and delicious science.

I usually have lunches under control. Wraps, roasted veggie bowls with guacamole, soup (my friend Jen recently introduced to Soup Solution so now my freezer is stocked with delicious and healthy soups), or hummus and veggies are typical lunches for me. Dinner, on the other hand, always throws me off. I usually think of Tacos, Pasta... I don't know. I'm just horrible at coming up with dinner ideas on my own.

I have a few cookbooks that are my go to's when I am trying to get inspired with dinner ideas. Some nights I will use these to try to get some inspiration on ways to use the food I have in my house and other days I will be organized enough to pick up groceries for a recipe I want to try. I also use Pinterest but there is something about flipping through a physical cookbook that is really comforting for me.


Clean Slate:  This book focuses on using whole foods in interesting ways. There is a variety of plant based recipes and then some fish and chicken as well. I have found some really great juice and smoothie recipes in here. It's also where discovered a delicious beet, avocado and arugula salad recipe and of course I love the fish tacos, because tacos.

Eat Smart:  I have loved Niomi Smart's YouTube channel for quite a while. She will often show plant based recipes that she makes and while I don't eat solely plant based, I have been finding myself more drawn to more plant based recipes lately. Her lifestyle as a whole is so healthy and motivating so when I saw she had come out with a cookbook I was really excited to try it. It didn't seem like it was available in Canada so I asked my brother if he could pick it up for me on his recent trip to London. (I just checked and it does look like it's orderable on Amazon.ca now which is great). I haven't made anything from her cookbook yet but it's really inspired me to get cooking!

Oh She Glows: Angela Liddon takes recipes we all know and makes them plant based. The baked oatmeal and glo bars are just perfect and so easy. I also have her app which is honestly one of my favourite things ever. She also has a new book out which I'm excited to flip through!

Skinnytaste: The skinnytaste website is honestly such a go-to for me so I had to pick up Gina's book. It's full of recipes we all know and love but they are made a little bit healthier. Kevin and I eat differently so this book is perfect because I am still making food he loves but it's just a little healthier for me. Gina also has another cookbook out and if I remember correctly it has a lot of slow cooker recipes which sounds right up my alley. I'll have to give it a look!


2.11.2017

Quick, Easy and Delicious Valentine's Day Treats!

I don't see Valentines day as a day to celebrate couples, but as a day to celebrate love in general and enjoy a few chocolate treats. Not to brag but I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to sugary sweets.

Lately I've had a love for white chocolate (I might be confusing love with dependency)  so I was on my way to the grocery store to pick up a heart shaped box of Rafaello's. For the record, I stand by my decision to buy myself chocolates for Valentine's Day. Rafaello's are a holiday favourite of mine but I'm technically allergic to the almond in the middle so they aren't exactly the best choice for me. That's when I remembered I had found a recipe for Rafaello's and I decided to have some fun. I also knew that getting creative in the kitchen would be more of a budget friendly option.

Thomas was playing on his own which I knew would give me about an hour in the kitchen so I started with some white chocolate dipped pretzels.


First step was to melt the white chocolate. Using two sauce pans of the exact same size I put a little bit of water in one and brought it to a boil. I placed the white chocolate in the second sauce pan and placed on top of the first one. Since it fit snuggly, the steam from the bottom sauce pan melted the chocolate in the pan above without burning it.

I dipped a few pretzels in the white chocolate and set them aside. Next I added a few drops of red food colouring to create light pink chocolate and dipped a few more pretzels. Then I added a few more drops of red food colouring and repeated the process. This created a pink ombré of chocolate coloured pretzels. I topped those off with a variety of sprinkles I had in my baking cupboard.



Now for the white chocolate truffles! I used this Raefello recipe and it is delicious. It's a vegan recipe so if you're plant based it's a great option for you. I chose to replace the vegan chocolate and butter with non vegan options.

Once I had made the truffle mixture I had to move pretty quickly. I needed to do everything before the mixture cooled completely. I scooped out 3 little scoops of white mixture using a small cookie scoop. I cut each one in half and set them aside. Then, using the same process as when I dyed the chocolate pink, I dyed the truffle mixture a light pink. I scooped out 3 little scoops and cut them in half. I then repeated the whole process one more time with a darker pink truffle mixture.



I rolled the white truffles into small balls and then in the coconut. For the pink truffles I attempted to dye the coconut a light pink with little success. I ended up with a very light pink and white coconut mixture with a few hot pink pieces of coconut mixed in. At this point I was running out of Thomas free time so I just finished up coating the truffles with what I had.

I also decided to get festive and turn a few of each colour into little hearts which I think turned out adorable.


I think these truffles and pretzels would look so cute in little bags and given as gifts! They will also look equally as cute in my fridge and then given to myself for Valentine's Day.

If you're looking for a couple quick, easy and delicious last minute treats for V-Day I highly recommend giving these a try. If you can only make one... I have a soft spot for these truffles. They are insanely addictive. Even if you don't feel like dying them different shades of pink they would still be such a great gift for someone!

Or, if your Valentine's Day looks anything like mine, you will be eating these treats while watching Scandal on Netflix while a baby sleeps on you.

Happy Love Day from my little kitchen helper and me.



1.30.2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Store bought granola bars and protein bars and I don't get along. Most of them are full of sugar and I'm trying to be mindful of how much sugar I'm putting into my body. I also have a tree nut allergy and most of the more natural bars are full of nuts.

When I first saw this recipe it seemed too good to be true. It had minimal ingredients (I had all of them in my cupboard already) and seemed extremely easy to make. It was vegan, gluten and refined sugar free. It was chocolatey, healthy AND a good source of protein. I've experimented with most of these ingredients enough to know that it seemed like they would taste good. One issue I have with trying new bar recipes is it's usually hit or miss whether they will stay as bars once cut.

I'm happy to report that these bars are delicious!  They stayed in bar form nicely and I'm hoping they will help me curb my sweet tooth.


 CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BARS
Recipe from What Molly Made with a few small changes

INGREDIENTS

• ½ cup natural peanut butter  
• ⅓ cup coconut oil
• ½ cup 100% pure maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• ½ cup chocolate protein powder
• ½ cup cocoa powder
• 4 cups organic rice puffs or rice cereal

• ½ cup dark chocolate chips, optional (I chose not to include them)
• ½ cup natural peanut butter, melted for topping

DIRECTIONS

Cover a 9x9 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup. Place in the microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture then place it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds to melt completely. Whisk together until combined. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Add the protein powder and cocoa powder and mix well. Mixture should be thicker but still wet. Add the rice puffs and stir to coat completely. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and press gently to set the bars in place. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. While freezing, place the peanut butter in a small microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds until melted. When bars are set, drizzle peanut butter over top. Place bars back in the freezer for 10 minutes. Cut into bars and enjoy! You can keep them in the freezer for up to two weeks.

If I were to make any changes the next time I might up the amount of coconut oil and lower the amount of peanut butter by just a little bit. I think it'll help keep the bars firmer. I would also consider putting in half the amount of protein powder and replacing it with some cacao powder for the health benefits it would bring to the bars.I randomly had chocolate protein powder on hand but if I didn't I would just use cocoa and cacao.

Enjoy!

1.24.2017

Reflecting on January

With January coming to an end (what!?) I've been reflecting on how the year has started. As far as my new years resolution of "Effort" goes, I think I'm doing pretty well. It's been helpful when trying to stay motivated to ask myself how much effort I'm putting in and will I see the results I'm looking for. I've also been trying to set weekly and/or monthly intentions. Right now I'm challenging myself to live a little more in the uncomfortable. Getting out of my comfort zone will be really important in ensuring Thomas gets to try new things and gets all the experiences I would like him to have.

I'm also trying to really slow down and enjoy every day a little more. I'm always looking ahead and if January has reminded me of anything it's that Thomas is over 6 months old and time is flying by. I'm definitely loving watching him get older but I really want to cherish each moment of it.



Wearing:
Aldo Pumps