My love of lifting weights, sweating it out on a long run, and preparing healthy clean foods was not something I was born with shocking I know. Every deadlift, hill sprint, and qunioa salad has been a step in a healthy direction, and a building block for a future of whole body/mind/spirit happiness. I have gathered information along the way from many experts, and many wannabe experts whose advice was later cast to the curb and one of my absolute favourites is Tosca Reno. Tosca is known most prominently for becoming a fitness model, author, and columnist after the age of 40. She turned her life around completely from being fat and frumpy to fit and fabulous - and owes it all to clean eating and a love of iron! Every month she and her teams at Oxygen Magazine and the Clean Eating Diet and hosting a challenge to reawaken health and vitality - and I thought I would pass on Septembers challenge! September is Strike Sugar month and I plan on hitting it hard! Read through Tosca's tips, and she'll continue to post more throughout the month!
Here's to health, happiness, and hitting the gym with purpose!
A friend of mine asked me to teach her how to incorporate beans and lentils into her diet in ways that aren't common ground [like chili for example.] So, being the ambitious person I am, I quickly said yes before realising that I myself rarely use lentils, even though I do enjoy them. Lentils are one of those unique pulses which takes on the flavor of just about anything you throw at it! Not only is is a versatile pantry staple, but it is choke full of goodness! Here's a little blurb on the amazing little pulse we're talking about to entice you to try them if you haven't already: "With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Proteins include the essential amino acidsisoleucine and lysine, and lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world, especially in West Asia and the Indian subcontinent, which have large vegetarian populations. Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids, including methionine and cysteine. Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%). Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish."Source
Dal Baht is the daily dish enjoyed in Nepal, and made primarily from lentils and served over rice. While this is always the first dish I think of when faced with a bunch of lentils, I decided it was time to branch out in honor of my friends request. So, I started searching...and found lots and lots of cookies! What I didn't find were cookies recipes that left me drooling, or cookie recipes that would pack a real nutritional punch, or better yet, cookies that delivered both! So, naturally I created my own. With many taste tester approvals I have now deemed this recipe ready for its big reveal - I hope you and yours enjoy it as well!
Chocolate Chip [Lentil] Cookies
an orignial recipe created by me!
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup naturally creamed honey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup [I'm not talking Aunt Jemima's hear, I'm talking about 100% PURE maple syrup! Don't use Aunt Jemima's or you will have made these really sickly sweet!]
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 flax egg*
1/2 cup lentil puree**
1 cup zucchini puree***
1 tbsp baking powder
2 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350*.Cream the butter in a large electric mixing bowl. Once light and fluffy, add in the honey and maple syrup and continue beating. Add in the flax egg, vanilla, lentils and zucchini then set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients [leave out the chocolate chips] and slowly add to the wet mixture blending as you go. Once the dough is mixed, add in the chocolate chips. Drop by the cookie scoop full [about the size of a rounded tbsp] onto silpat lined cookies sheets. Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes [12 for darker pans and 15 for lighter is what I found.]
Yield: 4.5 dozen
I hope you're little cookie monsters gobble these up - they are a certifiable hit in our home!
*to make a flax egg simply mix 1 tbsp freshly milled flaxseed with 3 tbsp cold water and let it sit for 10 minutes. It will gel together as it sits and act as a binder in this recipe. **to make your own lentil puree blend together 4 parts cooked lentils with one part water. i.e. 1 cup of cooked lentils and 1/4 cup of water. ***zucchini puree is simply made by blending up whole zucchini in the blender.
I love Pinterest! I find ideas, inspirations, and like minded people all in one place! Recipes are some of my favourite things to collect, try, and read and Pinterest helps me get my fill of eye candy when it comes to new food ideas. One recipe in particular caught my eye today and I simply had to try it.Right. Now. So I did. And now you need to!
Is your mouth watering yet? This recipe is titled 'Asian Slaw with Ginger-Peanut Dressing' and it is as drool worthy as it looks! I ate this bad boy right up at supper time, and my little Eli even gave it a go then opted for the Butternut Squash Soup I had made instead. If you would like to enjoy this colourful dish from heaven, hop on over to Once Upon A Chef to find the recipe. Oh, and this is easier and faster to prepare than anything you'll find. Even hot dogs shudder.
When I was first married, I didn't know my way around a kitchen - unless I was baking cookies of course. My Handsome Husband cooked ALL our meals, and when he was at work or away I simply ate left overs or something from a can. This really didn't bother me in the least, and he enjoyed cooking, so it was a good arrangement for us. Fast forward a few years, and we were expecting our first babe, I was sicker than a dog, bouncing back and forth to the city for specialist appointments, and off work. With all my newly found free time I thought I should at least have supper waiting when my better half walked in the door from work. At first the meals were meager, burnt, and left a lot to be desired. Thankfully, My Man choked down the gruel and encouraged me so that I was able to have the courage to keep on cooking and make it to the place I am today - creating new recipes! What a gift it is to have his unconditional belief in me! One of the first meals I prepared was straight from a can, and tasted horrible, but of course received two thumbs up. We laugh about my humble beginnings in the kitchen now, but seriously guys, this was no laughing matter. How did he choke down that stuff??? In honor of that early disaster, I recreated the meal - this time completely from scratch, using whole food ingredients. No cans required.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
an original recipe, created by me
6 cups water
3 tabs low sodium veggie broth
6-8 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tbsp - ¼ cup water, for sauteing
¼ cup flour
2 cups almond milk
¾ cups nutritional yeast
¾ cups soy yogurt, plain
1 can strained and washed white kidney beans
½ tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Bring first three items to a simmer in a large pot, and let
simmer for 15 minutes.
In a skillet, sauté the onion and crushed garlic until
transparent, then add the flour and milk, stirring constantly until a thick
paste forms. Add this mixture to the broccoli pot.
Add nutritional yeast, and soy yogurt to the pot, then
seasonings. After stirring everything well, ladle into a blender, and blend
until desired consistency. Leaving some soup in the blender, add in the beans
and emulsify completely. Add this thicker mix to the soup pot, and stir to
combine. Serve warm with fresh focaccia bread – so good!
We made this soup while winds drove rain sideways against our windows. It was quite the comfort food amidst the storm :) Darius really wanted me to take a picture of him with his soup, as he would emphatically praise the soup after every slurpy bite. Life definitely becomes more entertaining when kids are on the scene!
Summer holds so much magic for me. From an early age, I came to understand that summer time meant being outside, playing foursquare in the cul-de-sac, heart beating out of my chest at the sound of the ice cream truck [I only have one memory of actually purchasing from said truck however haha] hands scratched and covered in sticky juice while enjoying raspberries right off the bush, but mostly soaking up sun alongside the concrete neighbourhood pool. We swam endlessly and tirelessly, loving every moment amidst the din of giggles, laughter, shouts, and conversations.
This past week we embarked on a family vacation, and most of our time was spent in the pool. Eli brought his trunks to us daily, bobbing up and down with excitement before the word 'pool' even crossed our lips. Darius made breakthrough after breakthrough with his swimming, charging through the barriers of fear he had previously established, and plunging into the water! Here is a little recount of the swimming adventures had by my sweet man-o:
"my swimming adventure was awesome! I wish I could be in han-or-ama again! I love papa so much and wish we could swim all day together!My jumps are amazing and awesome! I love my jumps and wish I could do them again! Swimming underwater feels so good! My favourite part about swimming underwater was when I swam across the pool and did dives into the water! I even got $5!! I am an Olympic swimmer and do great Olympic dives!"
Darius was non stop action in the pool, and inspired his brother to blow bubbles, dunk his head, and even jump off the side of the pool! Here's a little photo recap of the swimming adventures in 'han-or-ama' [I love the way he pronounces that haha!] We loved our time with Papa Aquaman and Karen, cousin Ayden, and all the aunts and uncles that were able to steal time away along with us! We love you guys!