Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tuna Salad Rice Cake

Today's lunch... tuna on a rice cake topped with sprouts. Later on I added some cheddar cheese and made a tuna rice cake melt. Delicious!

- 1 can sustainably caught tuna (Raincoast Trading is the best!)
- 1 tbsp greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- any additional mix-ins to suit your fancy (chopped onion, chives, green onion, celery, pickle etc.) I like my tuna plain.
- 2 plain, unsalted brown rice cakes
- Any sprouts of your choice. I used alfalfa but pea shoots and broccoli sprouts are great too.

1. Drain tuna well and add to a medium bowl.

2. Mix in yogurt, sour cream, salt and pepper and any other additions you've chosen. Stir together to mix well.

3. Top each rice cake with about 2 tablespoons of tuna mixture and spread to coat the top evenly.

4. Place sprouts on top of tuna.

5. Add thin sliced cheddar cheese, if desired, and place in toaster oven until slightly melted.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Strawberry Chocolate Almond Milk

The other day I experimented by making homemade almond milk. I looked through a few of my clean eating & raw food cookbooks and browsed online before settling on this recipe from Tasty Kitchen, mostly because it included photographs with step by step instructions. The recipe calls for the addition of vanilla and honey, but I opted to omit those ingredients as I prefer using plain, unsweetened almond milk.

The process was simple enough. Soak the almonds, add them to food processor with water and blend, strain through cheesecloth (I used mesh jelly bags from my canning supplies). Overall I found the experience messy and not really worth the time and effort. Homemade is less expensive than store bought (1 cup of almonds yields approximately 1 litre of almond milk), but the ease and convenience of store bought just cannot be beat.

If you do give homemade a try, be sure to keep the resulting almond meal. Many people throw the byproduct of homemade nut milk production away but almond meal is very nutritious and useful in its own way. You can add it to baking, toss on salads, serve over yogurt, mix in with oatmeal or use it any number of different ways.

With an abundance of homemade almond milk on hand (another downfall - it only lasts a few days), this morning I mixed up a concoction using fresh local strawberries. It was quite refreshing and perfect for my post run pick-me-up.

Strawberry Chocolate Almond Milk (serves 2)

- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup fresh, whole strawberries, stems removed
- 1/2 tbsp agave syrup (optional)

1. Add everything to a blender and blend on high until mixed.

2. Pour into glasses and serve immediately

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Baked Egg Muffins

In my ongoing quest to be more prepared and have meals made ahead, I spent this morning in the kitchen. Along with making a batch of Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Muffins, I also made egg muffins... and not the McDonald"s variety. These "muffins" are actually just eggs and chopped veggies, mixed together, then baked in muffin tins. The resulting egg muffins are great for "grab & go" breakfasts and even better for make-ahead brunches.

Baked Egg Muffins - Makes 12

- 8 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk (any type - I used almond)
- 1/2 red pepper, minced
- 1/4 red onion, minced
- 1/2 tomato, diced
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped (yield's about 2-3 tbsp)
- salt & pepper to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and milk.

3. Stir in veggies, parsley, salt & pepper and mix well.

4. Spoon mixture into muffin tins (approximately 2 oz liquid per cup).

5. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15-20 mins until eggs are set.

Can be served immediately, left to cool, or refrigerated for later use.

Experiment with other mix-in's. Mushrooms, crumbled bacon or sausage, feta or cheddar cheese... the possibilities really are endless.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate

I got this idea and recipe from a co-worker. Homemade raw, vegan chocolate is a great substitution for a expensive dark chocolate bars I usually have on hand. When I have a craving, I enjoy one or two pieces and that is usually enough to satisfy the chocolate monster within. The cocoa powder has a slightly bitter after-taste, which you can mitigate by adding more sweetener. I don't mind the bitter taste and find it's actually beneficial as it stops me from over indulging!

Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate

- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted slightly if solid
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
- 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, whole or chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries (optional)

1. Line a small, shallow dish, pan or tray with parchment or waxed paper. A larger size pan will produce thinner bark type chocolate. A smaller pan will produce a thicker bar type chocolate. You may also have to make more than one batch to fill your tray. I usually make two batches at once, which fills a 8" x 5" tray perfectly.

2. Add coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla and agave to a small bowl and whisk until well blended and smooth.

3. Add in coconut, macadamia nuts and cranberries. Stir together.

4. Pour mixture into lined dish. Using a spatula, spread mixture around to evenly coat the pan.

5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When set, remove from fridge and break into chunks.

6. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated when not in use. Coconut oil has a low melting point so if you leave your chocolate out, you will end up with a big mess!

This recipe is incredibly versatile. The only required ingredients are coconut oil and cocoa powder. Other than that, you are free to experiment and add in or remove whatever you'd like. You can also make bonbons by using mini muffin tins or make chocolate bars by scoring the chocolate after it has set slightly, then cutting it into bars when completely set.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Smoothie of the Day - Carrot Banana Blueberry

Part of my regular routine when I'm working is a morning smoothie. Everyday I mix up something different based on what I have on hand. This is what I came up with today:

Carrot Banana Blueberry Smoothie:

- 1/4 cup carrot juice
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 whole banana, broken into pieces
- 2 tbsp plain cultured coconut (a.k.a. coconut yogurt)
- 1 tsp fiber supplement

Toss everything in a blender and blend until smooth! The orange from the carrot juice mixed with the blueberries makes a strange dark purplish-brown colour. It doesn't look too appetizing but it tastes just fine.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quick Dinner - Vegan Burger

When I'm on the go and don't have time to cook, or when it's too hot outside to even consider turning on the stove, I throw together a burger. It's so quick and easy to make, I quite literally, throw it all together and eat in about 5 minutes.

Take two patties of your favourite veggie burger. You could also use meat patties if you wish. Heat patties as per package directions. Top one patty with whatever condiments suit your fancy. I used ketchup, mustard, red onion, tomato, spinach and spicy dill pickles. Top it off with the other patty.

There you have it. An easy, quick and tasty meal. Amy's Gluten Free Sonoma Veggie Burger's are gluten, soy and dairy free and work great for this. If you are okay with eating soy and gluten you can also try Yves Veggie Burgers. They are good also.

The only complaint about this concoction is the mess! This one requires a knife and fork. :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tropical BBQ Chicken & Mango Salsa

Excuse the crappy cell phone picture.

Trying to eat more protein and veggies can be very boring, especially when one is too busy to get creative and there isn't much time to prepare a meal. This recipe is a modified version of the "Caribbean Chicken" recipe from The Eat Clean Diet: Recharged. It's very tasty, easy to make and can be served in many ways. I cook a few chicken breasts at a time and save them for lunches and even snacks throughout the week.


- 1 orange

- 1 lime

- 1 tbsp agave nectar

- 1 tbsp sucanat

- 1 tbsp minced ginger

- 4 gloves garlic, minced

- pinch ground cinnamon

- pinch ground nutmeg

- 1 tsp hot sauce of your choice

- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

- 1 tbsp ketchup


1. Remove the zest from the lime and orange, setting aside for later use, then juice each fruit.

2. Add juice, agave, sucanat, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg to a jar and shake well.

3. Place chicken in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

4. When ready to cook, remove from marinade and place chicken in grill pan or over BBQ until cooked through.

5. While chicken is cooking, pour marinade into a small sauce pan with citrus zest and heat over medium-high heat. Boil until sauce has reduced slightly. Lower heat and add ketchup. Bring to a boil again and boil for 5 minutes.

6. Pour sauce through a fine mesh strainer, using the back of a spatula to squeeze out the liquid. Discard the solids.

7. Once chicken is cooked, remove from grill and baste with the strained sauce.

Eat hot off the grill topped with mango salsa and grilled veggies, or slice and serve warm or cold over spinach salad. Top your salad with the left over Tropical BBQ sauce.

For an easy Mango Salsa, chop 1 fresh mango, 1/2 a small red onion and 1 handful of fresh cilantro. Toss together in a bowl with lime juice, salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes or hot sauce.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New(ish) Food Outlook - Paleo Eating

Here I am, back with more excuses! In the six months since I've been absent from my blog, I bought a house, moved and started another job. Lots of changes and very busy.

My food and diet profile has also changed. While I am still into healthy, wholesome, natural, fresh, local etc. etc., I am also more interested in the Paleo way of eating. The Paleo diet is grain free, sugar free, gluten free and dairy free. It is based around the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our paleolithic ancestors and is sometimes referred to as the "Caveman diet". Less emphasis on grains and dairy and more emphasis on plants and animals. As always, mine is a modified approach, and I have not eliminated anything completely from my diet. Instead, I am making a concerted effort to use alternative ingredients. Instead of cow's milk and yogurt, I have been enjoying almond milk and cultured coconut milk (coconut yogurt) in my daily smoothie. Instead of cheese and crackers for snacks I have fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs or some deli meat. I've upped my protein intake through lean meats, poultry, fish and eggs, and lowered my refined carb intake by greatly reducing my intake of grains, breads, pasta and other related items. I have really started focusing and increased my efforts over the last couple weeks so there have been no physical changes yet, but I hope to use the blog to post some of the new recipes I've been enjoying.

If you are interested in the Paleo way of eating, do a Google search on "Paleo Diet". One blog I find particularly interesting and helpful is Rubies and Radishes. The author, Arsy, has written some very informative posts on the topic. As well, this article from Newsweek magazine may be of interest.

Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing, in Newsweek, via The Daily Beast.

I will be back soon with a delicious Tropical BBQ Chicken recipe that is great on its own or in a salad.

If you have any tips on Paleo eating or any great recipes, let me know.
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