Over the past couple of years, I’ve found that I feel the best when I avoid grains. Period. I do not have an official diagnoses of any kind, but avoiding grains has really helped me reduce unexplainable aches and pains, as well as brain fog and water retention. In addition, I found that it was also key to shedding those last few pounds that seem impossible to penetrate on the scale. Sticking to a grain free diet isn’t easy, I’m not going to lie, but when you are battling health issues, is seems like a no brainer. Although I try not to let old habits sneak back in, I believe that a little cheat now and then is totally acceptable. The key to my success is often directly related to discovering a few go-to foods that work specifically for me. I’ve collected a few recipes that are both tasty and quick to crab when the cravings come knocking. One of my absolute favourites is this muffin recipe. I almost always have them frozen in my fridge freezer for easy access and a quick snack to grab and go. I generally pop one in the microwave for 30 seconds and smother it in butter…yum!! Although I try my best to avoid grains, I am big on fats and never shy away from butter and high fat cream in my coffee! These are hands-down my favourite muffins, but I should preface that by saying that I try not to eat too much sugar either, so some may find they lack sweetness. My palate has adjusted to minimal sugar in my diet, so I don’t find them bland at all. I have tried many recipes for “healthy muffins”, but I always return to this go-to recipe that was passed on to me by a friend at work. They are 100% guilt free, filling and super yummy!
Paleo Morning Glory Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2 ½ cups almond flour
1 T. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups grated carrot
1 large apple (peeled, cored and grated)
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. melted honey
½ cup coconut oil (melted)
1 cup chopped dates/prunes (or raisins, if you prefer)
*Orange zest (optional)
Grease the muffin tins. (I always cut small squares of parchment paper that are about 1 ¼” to fit right in the bottom of my pan. My mom always did this and the muffins come out beautifully. I peel the little papers off before serving or freezing.)
Combine dry ingredients and mix.
Add carrot, apple, coconut and dates/prunes. Combine well.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, oil and vanilla together.
Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix well. It will be very thick and appear almost too dry.
Spoon into muffin pan and gently pat each muffin down (it’s thick enough to do this). Bake 25 to 35 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean.)
Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to a rack.
*2 T. of honey is not much sweetener as compared to a regular recipe, but I will often lessen the amount. Once you eliminate sugar from your diet, it is surprising how quickly your palette adjusts to needing/wanting less sweetness.
*The original recipe calls for raisins, but I much prefer dates/prunes.
*I will often use a date based sweetener in lieu of the honey. See below:
Place 6 dates and 3 T. of the water in a microwave safe dish and heat for 30 seconds. Remove and use a fork to mash the dates. Add a 4th T. of water and heat another 30 seconds. Remove and stir until smooth.
Be sure to let me know if you decide to try these out. I’d love to hear how you like them. You may be like me and they become a new staple in your freezer!
I’m not gonna lie….this dessert involves several steps and is a bit time consuming. Having said that, it isn’t hard to make and can be made over several days because of the various steps. If you love the meshing of chocolate and coffee flavours…I think you’ll find it’s worth the effort! I had never really tasted a Chocolate Mocha Trifle before, but I had to make a dessert for an event and I love making trifles because they taste good and are relatively stress free. Seriously, not much could go wrong with a trifle!
I somehow got it in my head that I would love to make a Chocolate Mocha flavoured trifle, so I began scouring the internet for that perfect recipe. There were several, but one comment that surfaced more than once in the reviews was that many of the recipes had a “processed” food taste…yuck! I decided that instead of searching for an actual trifle recipe, I would instead look for what appeared to be good Mocha and/or Coffee flavoured desserts. This dessert is completely from scratch (other than the Coffee Crisp Chocolate Bars) and combines several recipes (all of which I tried for the first time for this trifle). The good news is that some of the recipes can be made ahead and frozen until the day you assemble the dessert.
Chocolate Mocha Trifle Layers:
Chocolate Cake with Kahlúa drizzle
8-10 Café Coffee Cookies
Chocolate Mocha Mousse
Mocha Whip Frosting
2 Coffee Crisp Chocolate Bars, chopped
For this trifle, I used one of my go to Chocolate Cake recipes. This cake is super moist, but a bit denser than some. I like it for a trifle because it is a heavier and holds up better in the layers. For this trifle, I doubled the cake recipe. I did end up with some left over cake, but didn’t want to end up short and not have enough cake for the trifle bowl. My bowl isn’t overly large, but I’m glad I doubled it up, despite the left-overs (which make great cake pops)! I made the cake several days ahead; cooled it completely, cut it into 1″ squares and then froze it in a zipper bag until the day of assembly.
Kahlúa – I used about 1/2 cup of Kahlúa and drizzled it over the layers of cake, as they were added to the trifle bowl.
Chocolate Mocha Mousse:
This recipe was adapted from the recipe found on page 181 in Enjoy! from The Best of Bridge cookbook series. I can’t find the recipe online to link it to, but their recipes are very good and I have several of the books from the series. The original recipe uses chocolate wafers for the base of the dessert and I didn’t need a base, so the recipe is not exactly the same as is in their book.
6 cups (small bag) of miniature marshmallows
1 cup of boiling water
4 teaspoons of instant coffee
1 cup of whipping cream
Melt the marshmallows in the top of a double boiler (or in short increments in your microwave – that’s what I did). While the marshmallows are melting, stir the coffee into the boiling water. Once the marshmallows have melted, stir in the coffee mixture. Cover and chill at least an hour. (I did this step the day before I planned to assemble the dessert.) This is super quick to do, but waiting for it to chill can really slow down the process, so plan ahead.
On the day of assembly. Whip the cream. Remove the marshmallow/coffee mixture from the fridge and whip. Fold in the marshmallow/coffee mixture. Place back in the fridge until all of the trifle layers are prepared and ready for assembly.
Café Coffee Cookies:
This recipe was found on the Betty Crocker site. The cookies turned out great, but I did make a couple of minor changes to the original recipe. I reduced the chocolate chips and omitted the pecans. The recipe calls for one 12 oz. bag of chocolate chunks (I used chips instead). I felt like this was too much, so I only used half a bag (and still felt like that was more than enough). The cookies are very much like a regular chewy chocolate chip cookie with a coffee twist. The recipe says that it makes 15 servings. I made my cookies 1/3 to 1/2 the suggested size and baked them about 10 minutes. Yielded about 3 dozen cookies, give or take (I didn’t actually count them). You can find the original recipe for the Café Coffee Cookies here. I made these about a week before I needed the dessert and frozen them.
Chop/break 8-10 of the cookies for use in the trifle.
Mocha Whipped Frosting:
Again, this recipe is taken from the Best of Bridge Series. I found it on page 196/197 of Grand Slam. The recipe is actually called Mocha Whipped Cream Cake, but I only used the frosting portion of the recipe.
2 cups whipping cream
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup strong, cold coffee
2 Tablespoons Kahlúa
Whip cream with sugar until soft peaks form. Add the coffee and kahlúa. Beat until stiff.
I’ve struggled with digestive issues for most of my adult life. As I’ve gotten older, it seems like a constant battle just to maintain some sort of regularity. I am always assessing what works and what doesn’t and analyzing the variables that may have contributed to my frequent states of constipation. It is very frustrating (and uncomfortable) to say the least! I do take supplements when desperate, but prefer to try and manage through diet and exercise. Sometimes I feel like my whole life revolves around choosing foods that “work” and I’m embarrassed to say that “poop talks” now seem like normal conversation.
Over the years, I have tried many different foods, supplements and diets to help me stay regular and although I have found success at various times in my life, it always seems to evolve into a routine that only works temporarily. In the past, Fibre 1 cereal was always my “go to” breakfast because my digestive system seemed to really like it. I would double-up on the recommended serving size and consume my entire daily fibre goal in one shot. Although I still enjoy it, I found that over time, it became less effective.
I recently tried a simple recipe recommended to me by a friend. I have never been much of a porridge lover, mostly because I’m fussy when it comes to certain textures. For me, porridge had to be prepared just right in order for it not to trigger my gag reflex. So, when my friend suggested I try eating chia seeds for breakfast in a porridge-like recipe, I was skeptical. In fact, it took me at least a year before I actually gave it a try. Feeling desperate to get my digestive system back on track, I decided to test her recipe out and was surprised that I enjoyed it! The texture hasn’t bothered me and I really do think it has been instrumental in helping me to become more regular once again. It is the perfect way to start your day as it is not only high in fibre, but also a great source or protein.
Chia is the new nutrition powerhouse on the block! It’s 100% gluten free, and high in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants, too.It’s a great addition to any diet for the health benefits, but particularly helpful in gluten free and vegan baking as a both binder and as an egg substitute. (Harris Whole Health)
Chia Seed Breakfast Porridge
1/4 cup chia seeds
cinnamon to taste (a generous amount ~ but I don’t measure)
1 cup of boiling water
fresh or frozen blueberries (or fruit of your choice)
2 to 4 T. of Cracknola (optional, but necessary if you ask me ~ AMAZING homemade grain-free granola recipe)
Place chia seeds in a cereal bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir to coat. Pour the boiling water over the seeds and let stand for 3 minutes. Stir well, as it will be lumpy. (The chia seeds will break open and gel in the hot water.) Add the blueberries and Cracknola for extra flavour. Enjoy!
What is really great about this recipe is that the main ingredient is chia seeds which are not only gluten free, but also considered a superfood because of their high nutritional value. They are not only high in fibre, but also packed with many other nutrients and offer significant health benefits. Dr. Axe has written a comprehensive article on the health advantages linked to chia seeds including anti-aging properties, digestive support, heart health, energy and metabolism booster, diabetes support, weight loss, cancer and dental health. Check out the nutrition profile from Dr. Axe’s article ~ 9 Chia Seeds Benefits + Side Effects:
Chia Seed Nutrition Profile
The reason chia seeds are so beneficial is due to them being rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.
For example, one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contain about: (1)
Chia seeds also contain essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid; mucin; strontium’ vitamins A, B, E and D; and minerals, including sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin and thiamine; and they’re a rich source of antioxidants.
The benefits are so numerous it seems almost criminal not to be incorporating them in your diet. They’ve been a staple in my pantry for a few years now, but up until recently I only sprinkled them on salads or added them to my smoothies. This is the first time I used chia seeds as a main ingredient in a recipe and I’m so pleased with the results. Check out this short video of Dr. Axe’s to learn more about chia seeds:
I am finding that with teenagers in the house, now more than ever, I need to have fresh muffins available for a quick snack or lunch addition. This muffin recipe is a staple in our house. They are super moist and so delicious!
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup of oil (or 1/3 cup apple sauce for a healthier version)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 mashed bananas
3/4 cup chocolate chips
In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg and stir in the milk, oil and vanilla. Once combined, add in the mashed bananas and stir again.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are moist and just combined. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Cut small wax paper squares to sit in the base of each cup (about 1 1/4″ squares). I learned this trick from my mom! The little squares help to prevent the bottoms from sticking and help the muffins to release from the pan easily. Divide the batter among the 12 cups and bake for 18 to 22 minutes.
Once cooled, remove the wax paper squares from the bottoms and place in a sealed container or zipper bag to store. I will often wrap them individually in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. This keeps the muffins fresh and makes them easy to grab and go!
Sorry, no great pictures of this dessert! I snapped this one quickly before putting on the plastic wrap and taking it to work.
If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you already know that I love pumpkin! There is no better time than the fall to try out a new pumpkin recipe and this fall was no exception. In fact, this recipe is so yummy I’ve made it twice and can’t wait for an opportunity to make it again!
Let me begin by saying that this recipe was adapted from Jennifer W.’s recipe Better Than Sex Pumpkin Dessert on Key Ingredient, so suffice to say…it’s delicious!
I’m sure the original recipe is fabulous…. I only changed it because you can’t buy Heath Bits here and I prefer homemade caramel sauce. Here is my version.
Pumpkin Poke Cake Dessert
Yield 8 – 12
1 box spice cake mix
2 cups pumpkin puree (be careful not to buy Pumpkin Pie Filling)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tub Cool Whip (I bought the larger size and had some left over, even with a generous layer)
½ bag SKOR Bits (original recipe calls for Heath Bits)
1 batch of Ree Drummond’s homemade Caramel Sauce . The original recipe calls for a jar of Caramel Sundae Topping, but it is worth the tiny bit of extra effort to make your own ~ so good!
Preheat your oven 350º and grease a 9 X 13″ cake pan.
In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and pumpkin puree until a smooth batter forms.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake according to the directions on the cake mix box.
Test with a toothpick to ensure it is cooked. (Toothpick should come out clean when poked into the cake.)
Let cool for about 10 minutes after baking. Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake. (The first time I made this, the holes were nice and uniform, the second time they seemed a bit gooey and I was worried the cake wasn’t cooked even though I’d tested it. Don’t panic, mine tasted great both times.)
Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake and spread as is necessary to fill the holes.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the fridge and spread a generous layer of cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle the SKOR bits on top and drizzle with caramel sauce. Reserve the balance of the sauce to serve over each individual piece.
Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight, if possible.
This recipe is super easy and a real crowd pleaser! Enjoy and thanks Jennifer!
If you love pumpkin as much as I do, why not check out some of my other recipes!
Over the holidays I was searching for some Christmassy recipes for a dinner party we were hosting. I love trying new recipes and am really into cranberries right now. Cranberries are a super food that often gets overlooked because of the tart flavour. Obviously, as a stand alone snack, they aren’t great, but I often add frozen cranberries to my morning smoothies and love them. WebMD suggests that cranberries are second only to blueberries in their total antioxidant capacity.
Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fightingantioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.
One cup of whole cranberries has 8,983 total antioxidant capacity. Only blueberries can top that: Wild varieties have 13,427; cultivated blueberries have 9,019.
Dr. Nalini Chilkovalsooutlines seven reasons why we should include cranberries in our diet on Cancer Schmancer. Check it out to see how cranberries can benefit your over all health and wellness.
I came across this recipe for Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini on NeighborFood and it sounded delicious. Sometimes when you read a recipe you just know that it is going to be fabulous. Such was the case with this one. I knew it would be a winner and it certainly did not disappoint ~ thanks Courtney! You really must visit her blog and check-out the fabulous pictures. When I made these I was in the midst of preparing for company and in all honesty pictures were a mere after thought (and as you can see my daughter had changed my camera settings and I didn’t even get one good picture).
Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. olive oil
½ a french baguette, sliced thin
12 ounces fresh cranberries
2 T. balsamic vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 T. rosemary
4 ounces triple cream brie, thinly sliced
fresh thyme sprigs to garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine the butter and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with the oil mixture and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
3. In a second small bowl, add the cranberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and rosemary. Mix. Spread the mixture out on a rimmed baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
4. Place the cranberries in the oven and roast for five minutes. Add the tray of baguette slices to the oven. Roast for an additional 6 minutes. Remove the baguette slices to flip them over and return to the oven for another 4-6 minutes, or until crispy and golden. At this point, the cranberries should be popped open with juices running out. Remove both the cranberries and baguette slices from the oven.
5. Top each baguette with a slice of brie and a spoonful of cranberries. Garnish with thyme, if desired. These can be served while the cranberries are still warm, or you can make the components ahead of time. The cranberries can be chilled overnight and the crostini will keep in a zip lock bag. Simply assemble and serve at room temperature when you’re ready!
When I made this appetizer for our dinner party, I ended up with a small amount of the cranberry mixture left over. I simply refrigerated it in a covered container and served the cold mixture over a bed of greens with purple onion and feta. No dressing necessary. This made a salad that was both beautiful and delicious! In fact, it was so good that I’ve since made another batch just for salad topping. Mmmm….so good!
The combination of flavours in this recipe is so great, that I really hate to mess with it. However, I do try to reduce the sugar in recipes when possible. Next time I make it I will try to reduce the sugar amount slightly – I might try 1/3 of a cup and see how that works. Enjoy!
Our schedule, like so many other families, is crazy busy. I’m finding it harder and harder to stay on top of things and one of the areas I feel like I’m failing is in providing my family with good quality meals on a regular basis. I would say we eat well most of the time, but lately I’ve been feeling as though we are having more last-minute pulled together meals and I’m just not satisfied. Last weekend, I decided to find more slow cooker meals because I find it so much less stressful to come home at the end of the day and have our meal ready or at the very least close to it. In my search, I ended up on a great site called Who Needs a Cape (love the name). On the site, Katie shares how to make 40 slow cooker freezer meals in 4 hours. No way! I was intrigued and spent quite a bit of time exploring the site. What fascinated me the most was that I could pre-make the meals, freeze them and then just dump them in the slow cooker without having to spend time preparing the slow cooker meals in the morning before work. It almost seemed to good to be true.
In my reading, I discovered, that she also posted different options including how to make 7 meals in one hour. This seemed like a great place to start because some of the larger meal plans (30 and 40) involve doubling recipes and making enough for two separate meals. This makes great sense if your family likes the recipe, but if not, it could be a big waste of money. (I was also a bit concerned about the recipes tasting watered down because in my experience, freezing sometimes does that.) So, on my last day off, I spent the morning grocery shopping (using the shopping lists she provides on the site – so great!!) I got home at noon and by 12:10, I was making the first slow cooker freezer meal. I can’t say I was super organized. I was taking ingredients out as I needed them and labelling bags as I went. In the end it took me an hour and half to complete all 7 of her meals. However, I was “on a roll” and ended up making a few other recipes that I had found on-line. In the end, I made 13 meals in 3 1/2 hours. I was so excited (and exhausted), but the true test will be when the meals are served to my family. I must say I was pretty proud of my accomplishment and the fact that I tried 11 new recipes in one day seemed like one of the craziest things I’ve ever attempted in the kitchen.
Last week, we ate the first slow cooker freezer meal and it was a huge success! The whole family gave the Sausage & White Bean Slow Cooker Soupa thumbs up. I didn’t adapt the recipe at all, but in the future I’ll be sure to double it. The only complaint was that there wasn’t any left! I was even more excited about my 3 1/2 meal marathon after we’d tested the first one and it was hit. I can’t wait to try the next recipe and see how it scores with the family.
Crumble breakfast sausage into pan and cook thoroughly, drain & let cool if freezing. Place all items into slow cooker, stir and cook on low 6 hours. If freezing, add all ingredients EXCEPT chicken broth into gallon-sized freezer bag. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before placing into slow cooker. Add chicken broth & cook on low 6 hours.
I can’t say how much the meals cost because I bought items far beyond what was needed for the meal preparation and had many of the required items on hand already. What I do know is that it will help reduce the stress of not knowing what to make for dinner, the frustration of having to run to the grocery store for items we don’t have in the house or even worse, the feelings of defeat when you accept the futility of being at a total loss and order-in or pick-up fast food as a last resort. Obviously, the few hours spent preparing seems like a miniscule sacrifice in comparison to the rewards of convenience, stress free meal times and the peace of mind knowing that your family is getting a well-balanced home cooked meal. I’m feeling blessed to have found Who Needs a Cape ~ this might just be life changing… can’t wait to taste the remaining meals!
PS We’ve tried two of the other new recipes that I found and used that day, but will far less success. Both were found on a different site and although super easy to prepare, the results were less weren’t very impressive. The Chicken Broccoli Alfredo and Hawaiian Chicken had mixed reviews, but no one thought they were great. I am still very optomistic and can’t wait to try the remaining 6 meals from Who Needs a Cape. I’ll keep you posted.
I often google recipes and have had good success searching the net, but my favourite recipes are generally those that I’ve collected from family and friends. Although I had never tasted this chili before trying the recipe, it was highly recommended from a friend at work. She said it was one of her family’s favourite recipes and that it was super easy to make. I had been wanting to try it for several weeks, but only got around to it last Sunday. I can’t say there was anything Easter-like about the meal, but it was incredibly good and easy to make.
The original recipe was found on Rita’s Recipes and I only made one small adjustment when I made it. I used my “go to” Spicy Red Pepper canned tomatoes instead of those Rita recommends.
Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili:
Makes approximately 4-5 servings.
2 frozen chicken breasts* (I love that I don’t even have to thaw them for this recipe!)
1 – 19 oz. can of Spicy Red Pepper Tomatoes
1 can of kernel corn (with the liquid)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of dry Ranch dressing mix
1 Tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese
Add the first 8 ingredients to the crock pot in the order listed above. Stir to combine and then add the cream cheese on top. Set the slow cooker on low and cook the chili for 6 to 8 hours, stir it once or twice during cooking to mix in the cheese (if you are home). Shred the chicken using two forks. I did mine about an hour before serving and I think this might help the chicken to really absorb the flavours. Serve over a bed of rice.
Honestly, this might be the easiest meal I’ve ever prepared. It took me about 5 minutes to open the can and dump everything in the pot. No chopping or cutting….so easy and yet super yummy. I always know a meal is a hit when everyone in the family gives it a enthusiastic thumbs up and asks for seconds. I’ve come to realize that Mexican type dishes seem to have the best chance of scoring big with the whole family. I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll as the new Chicken Enchilada recipe got high ratings from my family as well.
*I think you could stretch this recipe a bit further by simply adding one more chicken breast. There is enough “liquid” base to support the extra chicken without altering anything else. I haven’t tried this, but think it would be worth a try to have some leftovers for lunches in the fridge.
I’ve been dealing with several health problems over the past few months and in my struggle to get my life back on track, I decided to commit to consuming green smoothies on a regular basis. I had tried several variations in the past and have to admit that healthy or not, they were just too “nasty” for me. However, when push comes to shove and your health is on the line, it is amazing how one can actually suppress the gag reflex and learn to enjoy these “puréed salads in a cup”.
If you landed here expecting me to tell you how delicious this healthy smoothie recipe is and that it is an absolute must try…this is not the post for you. I believe in being transparent and completely honest. When my friend passed this recipe along and I tried it for the first time, I was not a raving fan. In fact, when she asked me how I liked it, I said, “Okay, I guess…I didn’t throw-up”. And this was not really an exaggeration. If you are used to those creamy fruit filled dream like smoothie sensations like I was…brace yourself.
Green smoothies are not really that great tasting and the texture of mine don’t ever seem to get as smooth as in a fruit smoothie, but the strange thing is….within a couple of days you develop a taste for them. I mean I actually crave this cup of goodness. I can’t say it’s the flavour or the texture, but more so like I know I’m drinking a glass of nutrients or a cup of health…I can’t quite explain it, but I’m hooked. I now drink green smoothies most days (at least 5 days a week) and can honestly say I miss them on the days I don’t . Green smoothies are one of the easiest ways to pack so many essential nutrients and vitamins into one meal.
Robin’s Original Green Smoothie Recipe:
What I love most about Robin’s recipe is that each and every ingredient that she uses was picked for its nutritional elements. To find out more about some of the many health benefits of the ingredients, just follow the links.
Dump all the ingredients in a blender and mix to desired consistency.
In order for this “green smoothie” thing to work for me, I knew I had to tweak it so that it was more than just tolerable. Here is what I discovered:
I basically took Robin’s recipe and made a few adjustments so that it worked for me. For starters, I needed to change the colour and add a hint of sweetness to the mixture. I decided that frozen fruit would be the best option. Blueberries work really well because they are healthy, add that element of sweetness and above all create a deep purpley colour that looks delicious. For me, digestion is one of the problems I’m constantly dealing with, so cranberries and pineapple are also great options in terms of the health benefits. The downside is that neither do much for the smoothie in terms of colour. The cranberries create a smoothie that is a disgusting brownish green and the pineapples don’t adjust the green colour at all. When I add cranberries, I will often add in a number of blueberries as well, just to help with the colour.
I often find myself rushed in the morning and as much as I would like to have a fried egg along with my smoothie, I generally find, I just don’t have time to do both. So, if my smoothie was going to serve as my entire breakfast, I had to incorporate some protein into it. I decided to add chia seeds and flax meal to add a substantial amount of protein to my drink.
Although my recipe fluctuates and changes constantly, this is my basic plan:
liquid (water or good quality fruit juice with no sugar added – usually pineapple or cranberry)
1 to 2 Tablespoons of flax meal (ground flax)
2 to 3 Tablespoons of chia seeds
1/2 cup of frozen fruit (blueberries, cranberries or pineapple chunks)
One of the biggest challenges is not making too big of a batch. I have a 16 oz cup with a straw and lid and my recipe usually fills that plus about 1/2 more. I wish I could get it exactly right, but I never seem to be able to. Of course, if I actually measured each and every ingredient every time, I would be able to perfect this, but I am often in such a rush I just eyeball the amounts as I throw them in the blender. Robin will often place the prepared veggies in her blender and set it in the fridge the evening before. This way she just has to add her liquid (and berries for me) to quickly whip it up in the morning. I never seem to be that organized or have the energy left to prep it at the end of the day, so I am pulling it together last minute. I probably have the time down to about 5 minutes and always take my smoothie in the car, so it is still a quick and easy breakfast.
In summary, I am totally hooked on my green smoothies, but you really do have to “give it time”. Play with it a bit and commit to a week before giving up. I actually have a hard time drinking fruit smoothies now. They just seem soooo sweet. Much like when I went from drinking double double coffee to cream only. At first, it is not easy to take, but eventually you can’t even stomach the sugary taste.
Although I still enjoy my smoothies, I sometimes find it hard to enjoy a frozen drink on winter mornings when the temperatures are hovering between minus 20 and 40 degrees! I presently tend to be opting for eggs most mornings. However, I’ve recently been doing some research on the benefits of juicing. I had never really given juicing much thought and still am not sure if I’m up to the chore of cleaning the machine after each use. (I can be lazy that way.) However, Dr. Josh Axe is a real supporter of juicing and I totally respect him and his opinions.
Juicing is an easy way to get a whopping heap of fresh veggies (and fruits) into your diet in one easy shot – or however many you want a day. You can consume far more of these veggies and fruits with juicing than you could probably eat in the same amount of time.
A fellow blogger recently shared a post written on Health Ambition that outlined the health benefits of celery. Their article: 7 Surprising Celery Juice Benefits absolutely substantiates the advantages of including celery in juices (and I suppose in my smoothies as well). I also love the fact that there is a free download for juicing recipes. I recently borrowed a juicer from a friend and can’t wait to try some of their recipes! Juicing is a great way to optimize the number of nutrients in your diet and research suggests it can also aid in weight loss. With the big 50 looming in the not so distant future, I have noticed how easy it is for those few extra pounds to show up on the scale and how much more difficult it has become to make them disappear again. If you decide to giving juicing a try, let me know about your experiences. Be sure to check out the article on the health benefits of celery!
I am always on the lookout for quick and easy meals that can easily be prepared after a long day at work. I recently bought a box of chicken breasts that for some reason just didn’t seem to be of the highest quality. I decided to pre-boil the breasts and then use the cooked chicken for easy meal preparation. I found this Chicken Enchilada recipe on All Recipes. It had high ratings and looked super simple to prepare. I was able to whip it up in about 15 minutes with the chicken having been pre-cooked.
I can’t say this is anything fancy, but I give it a 5 STAR rating. It got rave reviews from the whole family which is not an easy feat and was super easy to make. The flavour was great and I made do with the ingredients I had on hand, which meant that I did make a few modifications to the original recipe.
1/2 cupchopped green onions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly grease a large baking dish.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the green onions and sauté until tender. Add the garlic powder, and then stir in the green chiles (or broiled jalapenos), cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well.
Set aside approximately 3/4 of the sauce.
Add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan. Stir to mix.
Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
The original recipe calls for 6 tortillas and suggests that it serves 6. I found the filling was more suitable for 4 tortillas, but we were all left wishing there were more. I would suggest doubling the recipe or sticking to a single recipe and serving the enchiladas with soup or salad for a more complete meal.