Friday, 31 October 2014

Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is a slow cooker classic, and is great to make for a crowd, or to make extra and freeze it for later.  This version has a mix of spices that kick up the flavour so much, it tasted great even before the barbecue sauce was added.  For this, I used a 1.5kg boneless blade pork roast (pork shoulder), which was perfectly cooked in 6 hours on the low setting.  You might not use all of the spice mix, this mixture should make enough to cover the outside of the pork.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1.5kg pork shoulder
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
Buns, for serving

Directions

Remove strings from pork with scissors and place pork into slow cooker pot.  Sprinkle spice mixture over pork and spread evenly with the back of a spoon.  Flip pork over and add spices to other side.  Add water to slow cooker pot and set to low.  Cook for 6 hours (cooking time will have to be adjusted for weight).

When 6 hours is complete, remove the pork from the slow cooker (using slatted spoons--pork will be very hot) and place on a large cutting board.  Use slatted spoon to remove fat pieces from water remaining in bottom of pot and discard.  Use a fork to remove fat pieces still attached to pork, and discard.  Put pork back into slow cooker pot and shred with forks.  Add barbecue sauce as desired (1/2 cup approximately).  Serve pork on a bun.

Nutrition (serving of pork with barbecue sauce, bun not included)

Calories 418
Fat 28.9g
Carbohydrates 5.7g
Sugars 4.1g
Protein 31.4g

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bananas


Halloween is just around the corner and there is miniature versions of chocolate bars everywhere! Even though I'm trying to avoid them that doesn't mean I still don't get a killer sweet tooth! These banana slices are ridiculously easy to prepare and they definitely hit the spot! And to top if off you get a healthy dose of potassium, protein and fiber! 

Ingredients

1 banana, sliced into coins
2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
1 Tbsp peanut butter

Directions

1. In a small bowl combine chocolate chips and peanut butter. Microwave for 30-45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds until melted.
2. Using a small spoon drop melted chocolate and peanut butter mixture on to banana slices. 
3. Place slices in the freezer for 15-30 minutes until frozen. 

Nutrition (for entire recipe)

Calories 324
Fat 17.4 g
Carbohydrates 44.2 g
Fiber 5.6 g
Sugars 27.9 g
Protein 5.1 g




Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Pumpkin Spice Morning Glory Muffins


The reason I love morning glory muffins is because you really can't go wrong with them! There are so many delicious combinations of ingredients that you can combine to make these muffins, but the key is to find nutrient dense ingredients that work well together. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
6 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 medium apple, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup raisins 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350* and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (I used Trader Joe's coconut oil cooking spray).
2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. 
3. In a different bowl add eggs and whip until combined. Add oil, vanilla, honey, and pumpkin. 
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir in carrots, dates, apple, and raisins. 
5. Divide between muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes. Should make 15 muffins. 

Nutrition (per muffin)

Calories 158
Fat 10 g
Carbohydrates 14.5 g
Fiber 3 g
Sugar 9.5 g
Protein 3.5 g

Carrot Ginger Muffins


I bought fresh ginger this week to make stir fry, so yes, this is my third ginger recipe this week!  When I make a new recipe, I often just open the fridge and see what needs to be used up.  This was one of those.  I was a little bit lazy this time and didn't bother grating the carrots and chopping the ginger, I just threw them both in the food processor, so you can use either method.

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 cup oat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cups carrots, grated
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 egg
2 tbsp coconut oil (or canola)
1/2 cup coconut milk
Canola spray, for greasing

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a muffin tin with canola spray or line with muffin papers.
 
Pour oats into food processor and grind into a flour.  Pour oats into a large mixing bowl.

Chop or food process carrots and ginger.  Set aside.

Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices to mixing bowl with oat flour.  Stir to combine ingredients.  Add fresh ginger and carrots from food processor to mixing bowl.  Add maple syrup, egg, coconut oil, and coconut milk and mix until uniform.

Scoop batter evenly into muffin tins and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until muffin tops are firm.

Nutrition

Calories 165
Fat 5.6g
Carbohydrates 26.7g
Fibre 1.6g
Sugars 11.8g
Protein 2.8g


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Apricot Ginger Cookies

I was recently on a flight in which the in flight snack was a ginger apricot cookie that was chewy and filling.  I wanted to recreate something similar at home, so for this recipe, I just added ingredients until I achieved the texture I wanted.

I had two objectives for this cookie:  Firstly, to make a dense breakfast cookie.  Second, to make a cookie that doesn't rely on cinnamon for flavour.  If you follow this blog, you may have noticed I use cinnamon and nutmeg in almost all my baked goods and desserts.  I try to use as little added sugars as possible, so cinnamon is usually the easiest way to add flavour without adding more sugar.  Don't get me wrong--I love cinnamon!...but I wanted to try something different this time, so ginger it is.
This recipe can be made gluten free by purchasing oats labelled Gluten Free.  Oats do not contain gluten, but can be subject to cross contamination during packaging.

Makes 15

Ingredients

12 dried apricots, diced
1 cup oats
100g (1 cup) ground almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely diced
1 large egg
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp coconut oil
Canola spray, for greasing

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a cookie sheet with Canola spray.

Chop dried apricots into small chunks (about the size of a raisin).  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, ground almonds, salt, baking soda, ground and fresh ginger and mix until uniform.  Add egg, maple syrup, molasses, coconut oil and apricot pieces and mix until oats and almonds are coated with liquid.

Scoop out dough in tightly packed circles and place evenly distanced on cookie sheet.  Use a fork to flatten tops of cookies.

Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.  Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Nutrition (per cookie)

Calories 101
Fat 4.9g
Carbohydrates 12.8g
Fibre 1.9g
Sugars 6.8g
Protein 2.8g

Monday, 20 October 2014

Baked Apple Cinnamon Beavertails


This weekend, I took a pizza dough out of the freezer, but when it thawed, I didn't feel like having pizza (odd, I know, pizza is one of my favourite foods!).  So I asked myself (and Google), "What else can I make with this pizza dough?" which led me to this Martha Stewart recipe.  I (roughly) followed the recipe, but decided to use maple syrup and peanut butter to sweeten it instead of brown sugar.  If you prefer to make pizza dough from scratch, see Lauren's recipe here.

Now, I suppose you could call this a tart like Martha did.  But as an Ottawan, I took one bite into this and knew it was more than that.  It was a (relatively) healthy Beavertail.  Confused?  Beavertails are  doughnut-like fried pastries topped with chocolate, fruit, etc., and are a staple in Canadian tourist cities.

Serves 4

Ingredients

325g pizza dough (this was half of the thawed store-bought dough)
Canola spray, for greasing pan
Cinnamon, to taste
2 Royal Gala apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil, divided
3 tbsp natural peanut butter (smooth)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Directions

Divide raw pizza dough into four equal pieces.  Spray a large baking sheet with canola spray and place one piece of dough onto pan to use as work surface.  Roll out the dough into a rectangle, keeping the dough as thin as possible.  Fold the dough lengthwise in thirds (the way you would fold a letter to place inside an envelope) to create a long, thin piece of dough.  Roll dough out more to be as wide as an apple slice is long.  Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough, and space evenly on baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Dust the tops of dough with cinnamon.  Set aside.

Peel and slice apples to about 2mm thick.  Place slices on top of each piece of dough, overlapping slices.  Use 2 tsp of coconut oil to brush over top of apple slices.

Place in the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, until dough is lightly browned underneath.  Remove from pan and place on cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before icing.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 tsp of coconut oil oil, peanut butter and maple syrup and stir to combine over low heat.  Pour icing mixture into piping bag (or into a sturdy plastic sandwich bag, then make a small cut off one corner to pipe out icing).  Pipe out icing onto beavertails and serve.

Nutrition

Calories 373
Fat 12.3g
Carbohydrates 58.1g
Fibre 5.5g
Sugars 18.7g
Protein 10.3g

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Slow Cooker Leek, Potato & Turkey Bacon Soup

I recently attempted to make Butternut Squash Soup, and the reason I didn't post the recipe was that it was too thin...and that I didn't have an immersion blender, so I mashed the squash and sweet potatoes in it with a potato masher.  I called my dad, who is a chef, to ask him to send me his butternut squash soup recipe, and after hearing about my substandard potato mashing plight, he immediately went out and bought me an immersion blender (thanks Dad!).  I haven't yet attempted his recipe, but I did use the blender for the first time today to make Slow Cooker Leek, Potato & Turkey Bacon Soup.

This was also my first time working with leeks, and I have to say, they are pretty time consuming to wash and chop, so give yourself a few extra minutes to prepare this recipe.  I sliced off the stems and the dark green section, soaked them in a large mixing bowl to rinse them and then sliced them.
I used PC Blue Menu Turkey Bacon strips for this recipe, but you could also swap it for regular bacon or diced ham, if you prefer.

Serves 6

Ingredients

200g (8 strips) turkey bacon, diced and pan fried
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks
2 leeks, stem and dark green section removed, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 cups chicken broth, no salt added
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 tbsp butter

Directions

Slice turkey bacon into small pieces and pan fry for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Set aside.

Layer potatoes in bottom of slow cooker pot.  Season potatoes with paprika, cayenne, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add fried turkey bacon pieces on top of potatoes.  Add celery, onions, garlic and leeks.  Pour chicken broth on top and add bay leaf.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

When there is 15 minutes remaining on the cooking time, remove bay leaf, and add milk and butter and stir.  Replace lid and cook for remaining time.  When cook time is complete, unplug slow cooker and remove lid.  Using a ladle, scoop out half the chunks and pour into a large bowl.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup remaining in the slow cooker pot.  Pour the contents of the mixing bowl back into the slow cooker pot and serve.

Nutrition

Calories 258
Fat 6.8g
Carbohydrates 33.0g
Fibre 4.7g
Sugars 4.8g
Protein 14.8g

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Chicken Sausage and Arugula Salad


This was one of those recipes that just happened. I had some really great ingredients and I was originally going to make an omelette when I decided to make a large salad instead. I was a little nervous but it ended up coming out amazing! Probably one of the best salads I've ever had!

Ingredients

3 cups argula
3 Tbsp red onion
2 large mushrooms chopped
2 Tbsp low fat feta cheese
1 spicy chorizo chicken sausage (I bought mine from Whole Foods)
2 Tbsp poppyseed dressing

Directions

1. Heat up a pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Cut the casing of the sausage and squeeze the meat into the pan. As it cooks, chopped it into small pieces and cook until cooked thoroughly. Remove from heat.
2. Spray pan one more time with cooking spray. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from heat. 
3. In a large bowl layer the arugula, the onions and mushrooms, the feta, and chicken. Toss with dressing and enjoy!!

Nutrition

Calories 328
Fat 17.5 g
Carbohydrate 19.8 g
Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 14.6 g
Protein 24.1 g

Pumpkin Squares


After I made the pecan pumpkin tarts, I had exactly 1 cup of pumpkin left, so what better way to use it than in pumpkin squares! This recipe is great because it's sweet enough to have as dessert, but also healthy enough to have as breakfast or a snack in the afternoon! 

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup pumpkin puree (100% pumpkin)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a square brownie tray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
3. In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, almond milk, eggs, and honey.
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. 
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. Will make 16 squares. 

*You can also make this recipe into mini muffins for a bit size snack!

Nutrition (1 square) 

Calories 132
Fat 5.4 g
Carbohydrate 20.6 g
Fiber 2.5 g
Sugars 11.7 g
Protein 3 g 

Whole Wheat and Chocolate Pancakes


What is better than pancakes on the weekend? Pretty much nothing! This is my favourite pancake recipe - it is filled with fiber from the oats and whole wheat flour, but still has a ton of flavour! Plus the chocolate chips get all soft and gooey! 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 

Directions

1. In a large bowl add the milk and oats and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a different large bowl add the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir with a fork until combined. 
3. In the milk and oat bowl, add the eggs and stir until combine. 
4. Add the wet mixture with the dry mixture and stir until combined. 
5. Heat up a large non-stick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
6. Using a ladle pour mixture into the pan, wait about 1 minute then add 1 Tbsp chocolate chips. When you see bubbles, flip the pancake and wait until the second side is slightly browned (approximately 2 minutes). You should get 10 pancakes. 

*Feel free to top with 100% maple syrup for extra deliciousness!

Nutrition (for 1 pancake)

Calories 161
Fat 4.6 g
Carbohydrate 25.6 g
Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 7.6 g
Protein 6.2 g

Pecan Pumpkin Tarts


Normally our Thanksgiving dinners are filled with glutinous desserts, but this year was a little different. With a few family members watching their sugar consumption our Thanksgiving menu took a change for the better! Above is a sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free pecan pumpkin tart. Its filled with fiber, protein, and vitamin A - Now there's something to be thankful for!

Ingredients

3 cups pecans
1 cup pitted dates
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup date butter
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla 
1 Tbsp melted butter

*If you're not opposed to sweeteners, you can substitute the date butter for 1/2 cup maple syrup for a sweeter taste 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Mix 2 cups pecans and dates in a food processor until it forms a dough. 
3. Spray a muffin tin or mini tart pan with cooking spray. Divide the dough between the cups and press firmly so that you leave a spot in the middle for the batter.
4. In a large bowl mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla, almond milk, date butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Divide batter between the cups. 
5. In a small bowl mix together 1 cup pecans, butter and 1 Tbsp cinnamon. Top each cup with a bit of the pecan mixture.
6. Bake for 25-45 minutes depending on if you are making muffin size tarts or larger tarts. 

Nutrition (for 1/12 recipe)

Calories 305
Fat 22 g
Carbohydrate 28 g
Fiber 6 g
Sugars 20 g
Protein 5 g




Monday, 13 October 2014

Slow Cooker Turkey & Rice Soup

It's Thanksgiving, so this is my second turkey recipe this weekend (I bought two turkey breasts that were half a kilogram each).  This recipe can be prepared with boneless, skinless turkey breast or chicken breasts, and wild rice or brown rice.  If you are using regular rice, you can put it in the slow cooker for the full cooking time, but if you are using instant rice like I did, add it to the pot when there is 30 minutes remaining on the cooking time.  I used no salt added chicken broth, so I found it needed additional salt, but if you are using stock with salt, you can omit the salt.

Serves 6

Ingredients

500g carrots, peeled and sliced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
500g turkey breast (or chicken breast), boneless and skinless
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
6 cups chicken broth (no salt added)
1 bay leaf
1 1/3 cup (120g) instant brown rice

Directions

Layer carrots, celery, onions and garlic in the slow cooker pot.  Slice turkey breast into 1 cm wide strips (about the size of a chicken finger), and layer them on top of vegetables.  Add dried herbs and salt and pepper on top of turkey pieces.  Pour chicken broth into pot.  Add bay leaf on top.  Cover and set to 4 hours on high.

When there is 30 minutes remaining on the cooking time, remove lid and scoop out the bay leaf.  Pour the instant rice into the pot and stir.  Replace lid and cook for remaining 30 minutes.  When cook time is complete, use a wooden spoon to break up large pieces of turkey.

Nutrition

Calories 231
Fat 2.8g
Carbohydrates 30.7g
Fibre 3.8g
Sugars 9.3g
Protein 20.2g

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sweet Potato Spiced Cookies

These oatmeal cookies are chewy and mildly sweet.  I chose to use a sweet potato for its natural sweetness (so I could cut back on the added sugar), but you could swap it for pumpkin puree and add a little more maple syrup if you prefer.

For a gluten free option, be sure to purchase oats labelled Gluten Free, as regular oats can be subject to cross contamination with wheat products.

Makes 24

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, microwaved and cooled
2 cups oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp coconut oil (or Canola)
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp molasses
1 large egg
Canola spray, for greasing

Directions

Poke holes in a sweet potato and microwave for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender.  Allow to cool.  Slice open sweet potato and scoop out flesh (should be about 1 cup) and put into a bowl.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor or blender, pour oats and grind into a flour.  Pour oat flour into a large mixing bowl.  Add baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice and mix.  Add sweet potato, coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses and egg.  Mix until uniform.

Spray a baking sheet with Canola spray.  Using a 1 tbsp measuring spoon, scoop out batter and place on baking sheet with space between cookies.  Using a fork, gently press down on cookies to flatten the surface.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Nutrition (per cookie)

Calories 55
Fat 1.8g
Carbohydrates 8.6g
Fibre 1.0g
Sugars 2.6g
Protein 1.3g

Friday, 10 October 2014

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Artisan Bread Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving!  I made my Thanksgiving dinner in the slow cooker, which is perfect if you are cooking a skinless turkey breast.  I based this recipe off one from shugarysweets.com.  I made a few changes to the recipe. This recipe is perfect for a small group, or even just a family dinner.

The highlight of this dinner was the stuffing.  I had gone to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients, and despite having a list, missed the bread completely.  I asked my boyfriend to pick up some bread for me, and he chose a loaf of artisan multigrain pumpkin seed bread from the bakery section, which gave the stuffing a great texture and flavour.

The downside of this recipe is that there are no drippings with which to make gravy, so I just used a packet to make turkey gravy.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1.0kg boneless skinless turkey breast
1 cup chicken broth (no salt added)
1 loaf artisan bread, cubed, with crusts
2 celery stalks, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 apple, diced, with skin
1 tsp salt
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
Canola spray, for greasing pot

Directions

Spray slow cooker pot with Canola spray. Place turkey breast in slow cooker pot and pour chicken broth over top. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of turkey, then season with black pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine bread cubes, celery, onion and apple.  Add salt, poultry seasoning, sage and pepper and toss to coat.

Pour stuffing over top of turkey breast and slice the tbsp of butter into small chunks and evenly distribute across the top of the stuffing.  Place lid on slow cooker and cook for 4.5 hours on high.

Nutrition (for 1 serving of turkey, stuffing)

Calories 433
Fat 7.6g
Carbohydrates 59.6g
Fibre 10.9g
Sugars 20.2g
Protein 31.3g