Tag Archives: Recipes

Sweet Potato Mash

I don’t know about you, but I’m always having a hard time with side dishes. The meat I’ve got down (pretty much). But the same old boring steamed green beans was getting me down. And now with drastically reducing grains (ie. eating them once in the last 3 1/2 weeks), sometimes I want to add something a little starchier to my meals.

I’ve searched so many times for a recipe for a sweet potato mash. I love sweet potatoes, love the texture of a mash, but every one I saw had sugar and other crap in the recipe. So I made my own.

It’s quick, easy, and best of all, healthy. So if you like sweet potatoes, I’m sure you’ll like my mash.

Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes (you can alter the number you use, based on how many people you’re feeding, and if you want leftovers, which I always do!)

1 c. chicken stock (I have been making my own, believe it or not!)

butter to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Peel and chop sweet potatoes. Add chicken stock in a pot, and fill with water until it covers about 3/4 of the sweet potatoes. Boil until sweet potatoes are tender (I just check with a fork).

Drain sweet potatoes – BUT THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART. Save the cooking liquid in a heat proof container.

Return the sweet potatoes to the pot and mash. Add enough cooking liquid until they are at the desired consistency and runniness. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

I serve sweet potato mash with chicken, lamb, beef – it can go well with any type of meat. Let me know how you like it!

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Roasted Curry Vegetables

Tired of steamed vegetables and salad? Here’s a different way to get your veggies in, and the roasting gives them a sweeter flavour.

I will include one of my favourite combinations of veggies but feel free to get creative and make up your own (I got a tip today on the small turnips, so I’m going to try that one). I’m also going to test it out on the BBQ, so I can make it a summer favourite (when it’s too hot to turn on the oven), not just a winter one. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Roast Curry Vegetables
Ingredients:

1 c. cauliflower

1c. broccoli

1 red pepper

1 small onion (or 1/2 large onion)

1 sweet potato

1/2 mushrooms

1 c. carrots

olive oil

1 tsp curry powder (or to taste)

1 tsp cumin powder (or to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop veggies and put in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, curry powder and cumin (or any combination of spices that you love). Transfer into a 9 x 13 pan (large enough so veggies aren’t layered). Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

That’s it, that’s all! So easy, so delicious and a great way to eat your veggies!

Lemongrass Flank steak and roast beet salad

Had the most delicious dinner tonight. (I’m starting to think I’m over using the word “delicious”, but everything else sounds corny!)

Today was grocery shopping day. It’s moved from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. It’s much quieter on Monday morning! Just me and the old people….

It’s much quicker now to shop as well, as most of my shopping is done in the produce and meat departments, with the occasional foray to find oil, vinegar or some other accompaniment.

For tonight’s meal, I made Flank steak marinated in a lime and lemongrass marinade (thanks Craig fo the recipe!), with leftover sweet potato mash and roasted beet salad. Scrumptious!

Lemongrass Flank Steak

Ingredients:

1 flank steak

lemongrass

1 clove of garlic

1 1/2″ piece of ginger

2 tbsp chopped basil

juice of 2 limes

Directions:

Take a 1″ piece of lemongrass and soften using a mortar and pestle. Add a clove of garlic and ginger and continue to blend. Add basil.

Juice limes and mix with lemongrass mixture. Pour into a ziploc bag and add the flank steak. Massage the bag so the marinade covers the steak. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours (or longer).

Take steak out 20 minutes before grilling. Grill on BBQ or indoor grill.

Roast beet salad

Ingredients

1 bunch of beets

Sea salt

olive oil

thyme

Arugula

juice of an orange (I used 1/2 clementine)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets and remove tops.  Line a 8 x 12 dish with foil. Cut beets in quarters or halves (depending on size) and place in foil covered dish. Throw some salt, basil, and olive oil over the beets. Roast for 45 minutes – 50 minutes (until beets are tender – which always takes longer for me!).

Slice beets once cooled. Line a plate with the arugula and place cooled beets on top. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Drizzle the orange juice over the beets and sprinkle with salt. Serve and enjoy!

Shrimp skewers

I felt like shrimp tonight, and so I fired up the BBQ and made some tasty shrimp!

I served it on top of a salad, and had the most delicious dinner. I must say that some nights I’m really outdoing myself! Some of these meals are restaurant quality…or better. My talent has been finding these awesome recipes! This from the girl who often hates to cook. Maybe I should have people over for dinner more often…..(if only the house cleaning fairies would visit!)

(Oh, wait, I said “girl”. Is it ok to still say “girl” or have I really outgrown that and have to say “woman”. Funny, I still feel like I’m in my 20’s, so “girl” it is.)

The shrimp skewers were simple and quick – easily something you could throw on the BBQ (or inside grill if you have one) and have dinner ready in about 20 minutes. My salad ingredients were mostly cut up already, so I just had to assemble them together.

When you read the ingredients below, you may think that butter isn’t healthy. I believe that we need to have some healthy fats in our diet, and believe it or not, many nutritionists and naturopaths believe that butter is healthy, when used in moderation. I don’t use it every day, but there are certain times I do use butter. Our bodies need fat, so make sure you include a healthy fat every day – butter, animal fat (yep, animal fat), olive oil.

If you want to be healthier, ditch the margarine and replace with butter – the fats in margarine are the unhealthy fats!

(Just a reminder – these aren’t actual photos of the meals, for the most part. I get so excited with what I’ve just created that I finish it BEFORE I remember to take a picture! Note to self – must remember to photograph meal before eating.)

Shrimp Skewers

If you have frozen shrimp, but the shrimp in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, take room temperature butter (unsalted), and add in 1-2 garlic cloves (depending on your taste).

Peel shrimp, then place onto skewers. I put 6 shrimp per skewer.

Baste both sides of the shrimp with butter mixture then place on grill.

While cooking, turn shrimp and baste. Cook until shrimp are fully pink.

Salad

Ingredients:

Lettuce (this time I used red lettuce – it was soft and buttery!)

Red pepper

Cucumber

1/2 avocado

crumbled goat cheese

sprouts sprinkled on top

Take shrimp off skewers and serve on top of salad

Apple Cider Salad Dressing

Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add a dash of maple syrup. Add 1/2 tsp of mustard powder and shake to mix.

Pour dressing over salad.


Voila. A simple and delicious dinner!!

Breakfast Omelette

My new favourite breakfast is quickly becoming the breakfast omelette. The past week I’ve been alternating between omelettes and smoothies for breakfast (depending on how much time I have!).

The great thing about an omelette is it makes it easy to have veggies and protein for breakfast.

Here’s my recipe for today’s omelette.

Tomato, Pepper and Avocado Omelette – cooking time, approx 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

Coconut oil

Chopped onion

1/4 red pepper

1 plum tomato

1/2 avocado

Chile powder (to taste)

2 eggs

salsa

Directions:

In pan, melt coconut oil. Add onion and pepper and brown for 2 minutes. Add tomato, avocado and chile powder and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer from pan to a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy. Pour the egg mixture into the empty pan. As the egg cooks, lift up the sides and let the uncooked egg run underneath. When the egg is almost set (no runny egg left on top), spread the tomato mixture to one half of the omelette. Flip the other side of the egg on top, so that the egg is folded in half (and over the tomato mixture). Cook for another minute or two on each side.

Serve with salsa for a healthy and tasty breakfast!

The evolution of snacking…and some ideas (plus one recipe!)

Did we snack when we were young? There were no 100 calorie “snack packs” to buy. Most snack (ie. junk) foods only came in the larger size (think, chips). Heck, even pop wasn’t easy back then as you had to open it with a can opener (remind me to tell you of the time at the hunting camp that my cousins and I tried to open cans of pop with screwdrivers while dad and the other uncles slept).

(I was hoping not to show my age with this post, but think I might have blown that!)

I don’t remember “snacking”. Some days, mom would have fresh baked chocolate chip cookies made when we got home from school. But it wasn’t part of our culture as it is today. Convenience is king.
I do remember eating proper meals – a great breakfast that got you off to a great start, a hearty lunch and dinner. Of course our lifestyles have changed since then – we’re busier, on the go and as a result, time starved. Not  only does that mean that we look for convenience in our food, but it also means that we don’t have time (or don’t MAKE time) to prepare and eat proper meals.

So we snack.

I have realized over the past week that in having the time to make all 3 meals (have I made anyone jealous yet??), I have done a lot less snacking. Even in the afternoon.

I started off the first few days with snacks, but not so much lately. I didn’t even eat lunch yesterday.

I attribute that to 3 things:

1) As I mentioned, eating a larger breakfast and lunch than I’m used to (but definitely healthy)

2) NOT EATING GRAINS! I don’t feel hungry after eating, and rarely even feel full. Just feel satisfied.

3) No caffeine, so I don’t have the afternoon dip, meaning I don’t go reaching for a sugary snack to lift me up.

And one bonus…..

4) I am at home so if I am a little tired, I nap instead of eat! Although I have to admit that I’ve only done this 2 or 3 times in the past 6 weeks. But at least it’s an option.

There are lots of diet plans that recommend you eat 6 small meals a day, and honestly, that’s never really worked for me over the long term. But I have often been guilty of not eating enough for breakfast and lunch, which hasn’t helped my cause. And god help me if I ever missed a meal – I got MEAN!

I truly believe that by trying to better regulate my insulin levels by eating mostly protein, fruits, veggies and nuts has helped me reduce my snacking. Let’s see if it continues – I know, one week isn’t enough to say this is long term success!

But since the title of my post is “and some ideas” there is a convenience factor, and often time people are on the run so there is longer time between meals, or just don’t have the time for a hearty meal. So here is the idea part…

Keep in mind that all of my snack ideas will be gluten, sugar and dairy free! I also like to have protein where possible with my snack.

  • Hardboiled egg with veggies (carrots, red pepper)
  • Hummus with carrots
  • Black bean dip with veggies. For black bean dip, mash a cup of black beans, add tomato, lime juice, cilantro, cumin and chile powder. Delicious!
  • Apple with almond butter
  • Tuna (with a bit of mayo, lime juice and cilantro), and put in a lettuce leaf for a wrap
  • Chicken, salsa, cumin and chile powder in a lettuce leaf wrap
  • Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews – with a little dried fruit (make sure nuts are raw and unsweetened. And as my friend Laurie pointed out, with no oil)

Here is a fantastic recipe for Energy Balls that I got from Mark’s Daily Apple. I made them today, and they’re great. Not sweet. But a bit chocolate-y (don’t worry, I added unsweetened cocoa powder – it’s allowed!).

Here’s the recipe:

“Energy Balls” from Mark’s Daily Apple

1/2 cup each:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecan nuts
  • Hazel nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • 3-6 dates
  • 2-4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

To taste:

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Freshly ground coffee
  • Shredded coconut

Instructions:

Run the nuts and pumpkin seeds in a food processor until ground into a fine flour.

Remove the nut flour and grind the dates and shredded coconut in the food processor until smooth.

Mix these ingredients together with coffee and cocoa powder according to taste.

Finally, add the coconut oil and mix it all together by hand. Roll the paste into small nibbly balls and sprinkle them in shredded coconut.

Here’s another bonus recipe which was also great. They have melted chocolate, which as long as it’s over 70% cocoa is fine…but I’m saving that for after the first 4 weeks.

Gluten Free Almond Power Bars – Elana’s Pantry

2 cups almonds (raw)

½ cup flax meal (flax seeds ground in a vita-mix)

½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

½ cup unsalted creamy roasted almond butter

½ teaspoon celtic sea salt

½ cup coconut oil

4 drops stevia

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate 73% (optional)

  1. Place almonds, flax meal, shredded coconut, almond butter and salt in a food processor
  2. Pulse briefly, about 10 seconds
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat
  4. Remove coconut oil from stove, stir stevia, agave and vanilla into oil
  5. Add coconut oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste
  6. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish
  7. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens
  8. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously
  9. Spread melted chocolate over bars; return to refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chocolate hardens
  10. Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve
Would love any more snack ideas you have! Leave them in the comments!

“Spaghetti” and meat sauce…yes I said spaghetti

I just didn’t say what kind of spaghetti…

I had the most delicious dinner. “Spaghetti” and tomato meat sauce. Spaghetti squash that is. I’ve heard people for years recommend spaghetti squash as a replacement, and thought “ya, right”. Tonight, I tried it. Delicious. And I didn’t get a full feeling afterward. It was delicious and filling, but not too filling. The best part is I have leftovers for tomorrow. Woohoo!
Here is the recipe for the sauce, courtesy of Mark’s Daily Apple.

Tomato Sauce for pasta

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium white onion, diced
1 red and yellow bell pepper,  diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tbs. rosemary chopped
1 tsp. thyme chopped
1 can 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can  6 oz. tomato paste
½ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. chili pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

Optional add-ins:
Mushrooms, zucchini or spinach

Method:
Coat pan with olive oil and add ground beef, onions, bell peppers, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Saute until ground beef turns brown.  Add remaining ingredients and let simmer. With a dish like this, patience is a virtue – the longer it simmers, the longer it gives the ingredients to mingle, creating a more robust, flavorful sauce.

I let it simmer for an hour and a half, and it was wonderful.

Spaghetti Squash

Cut squash in half and spoon out the seeds and “guts”. Place the squash on a cooking tray, cut side down. Place in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. I cooked mine in a toaster oven, and it took about an hour and 15 minutes. When tender, scrape the flesh and it will come out as strands, similar to spaghetti. Serve with sauce on top.

I know – if you look at the Detox plan you’ll notice that I did add ground beef, but have made a decision that I’m going to follow the Primal Blueprint more than the detox. And the only difference in the short term is adding red meat and cutting out grains entirely. I want to eat as clean as possible for the first 4 weeks, and then I will add back some of the red wine and dark chocolate that’s allowed on the Primal Blueprint!

I feel better this week than I have in a long time. More energy, less fog. Still don’t have that 100% clarity, but I feel great. I sleep well at night, and wake up without an alarm clock (doesn’t hurt that I don’t have to be anywhere early in the morning).

But the biggest thing? I’M NOT HUNGRY!! I can’t tell you how huge that is in light of how I would eat after dinner – for much of my life. I’m pretty sure that simple carbs have been the problem all along. Because in the evening I would get into crackers, ice cream, bread…of course, not healthy stuff. For the past week, I haven’t eaten anything after dinner. The only thing I may have is chamomile tea, and that hardly counts!

Of course, it’s only been one week. So let’s see how this goes.