Thursday, 28 January 2016

Roll the Dice workout


I did this workout with my Boot Camp class yesterday, and it's a challenging but fun workout that can easily be adapted for home. You'll need two dice, a pair of dumbbells and a mat.

We did a 5 minute warm up, followed by round 1 (exercises 1-6 in blue marker) for 12 minutes, round 2 for 12 minutes (in red), and round 3 for 12 minutes (in green), followed by 5 minutes of stretching for a total 45 minute workout. You can adjust the length of time you do each round to fit your desired workout time.

Roll two dice, the first number picks the exercise, and the second picks the number of reps. Note the x5 on the top of the board--the number on the dice was multiplied by 5 to decide the number of reps. For example, if you roll a 4 and a 2, you would perform exercise #4, lunges, for 10 reps. If the number of reps is high, like 30, divide the exercise into 2 sets of 15 with a 10s rest between.


Friday, 22 January 2016

Spinach & Artichoke Pesto

Love me some pesto!  It's great on chicken, grilled vegetables, on a flatbread, and of course, on pasta. Pesto is a great alternative to marinara sauce if you are trying to reduce added sugars in your diet, plus one serving contains 10.8g of heart healthy unsaturated fats, and 6.3g of protein.

Be sure to keep an eye on the pine nuts when you are toasting them. I turned away for a few seconds...they were burnt, and I had to toast a new batch. Not the worst mishap that can happen in the kitchen, but you know, pine nuts are on the pricey side!

Serves 8

Ingredients

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups baby spinach, packed
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
170mL jar marinated artichokes, drained
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano
Black pepper, to taste

Directions

In a frying pan over low to medium heat, toast pine nuts until fragrant, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until uniform.

Nutrition

Calories 168
Fat 13.8g
Saturated fat 3.0g
Carbohydrates 8.2g
Fibre 3.8g
Sugars 0.8g
Protein 6.3g

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Peanut Butter Honey Graham Cookies

Simon and Anna bought me a bouquet of flours for Christmas.
I'm definitely more into flours than flowers. One of the flours is Bob's Red Mill Stone Ground Whole Wheat Graham Flour. I'd never baked with graham flour before, but it makes an awesome cookie! These cookies are a cross between a lightly sweet graham cracker and a dense peanut butter cookie. Simon isn't a fan of traditional peanut butter cookies, but he loved these!

My oven runs hot, so I baked these at 325°F for 10 minutes, but you might have to bake at 350°F, depending on your oven.

Note: I minimized the sugar content as much as possible, so if you like a sweeter cookie, add another 1/4 cup of honey to this. The sweetness level of the recipe is about the same as a honey graham cracker.

Makes 32 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat graham flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup large flaked oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (or unsalted butter)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey (see note above)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg
Canola oil spray, for greasing pan

Directions

In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix until uniform.

In a second bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and egg. Use a hand mixer to blend until smooth and thick consistency is reached. Add flour slowly and mix with hand mixer again until combined.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with canola oil.

Roll dough into 1 inch diameter balls, place on baking sheet evenly spaced apart, then use the back of a fork to flatten cookies to just under 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 9-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Nutrition (1 cookie)

Calories 69
Fat 4.0g
Saturated fat 1.9g
Carbohydrates 7.4g
Fibre 0.8g
Sugars 3.7g
Protein 1.7g

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Slow Cooker Mexican Beef & Peppers

A friend on my Facebook posted a recipe from Kraft on which I based this recipe (thanks, Diana!).

My family is selective in their tomato consumption, so canned tomatoes only get eaten if I puree (hide) them in sauces. They do like salsa though, so I used a small jar (440ml) of salsa instead, and loaded up the bell peppers instead. You can add shredded cheese on top, diced avocado, cilantro, etc.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1.0kg inside round roast beef
440ml jar salsa
2 red bell peppers, sliced into 1cm squares
1 small onion, diced
341ml canned corn (or about 1 1/4 cup frozen corn)
1.5 tbsp taco seasoning (low sodium)
180g brown rice, cooked according to package

Directions

Spoon salsa on the bottom of the slow cooker pot (enough to coat the bottom), then place roast beef on top. Sprinkle taco seasoning on the roast. Add bell peppers, onions and corn to the pot around the sides of the roast. Add remaining salsa on top of beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Cook rice according to the package just before cooking time on slow cooker is complete. Set aside.

Remove roast beef from slow cooker and slice into cubes on a cutting board. Add cubed beef back into slow cooker. Add rice into slow cooker and stir. Scoop into bowls and serve. Optional: Top with shredded cheese, diced avocado, cilantro, etc.

Nutrition

Calories 490
Fat 11.7g
Saturated fat 4.2g
Carbohydrates 39.4g
Fibre 4.4g
Sugars 6.1g
Protein 55.6g

Saturday, 9 January 2016

PB2 Banana Chocolate Chip Squares

Frozen bananas were taking up valuable real estate in the freezer, so it was time to make banana bread. We opted for squares this time, mostly because they bake faster. We were running low on whole wheat flour, so we added PB2 to the dry ingredients instead. If you haven't tried it before, it's dehydrated peanut butter in a flour like consistency.

I ran out of coconut oil, so I used canola oil instead, but you can use either.

Makes 12 squares or muffins

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup PB2
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil (or coconut oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Canola oil spray, for greasing

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Greasing an 8x8 pan with canola oil spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, PB2, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix until uniform.

In a medium bowl, mash bananas, then add maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract. Mash together with a fork again. Add egg and stir.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix just enough to combine. Add chocolate chips, save some to sprinkle on top. Pour batter into pan, spread evenly, then sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Nutrition

Calories 170
Fat 6.4g
Saturated fat 1.2g
Carbohydrates 25.8g
Fibre 1.8g
Sugars 10.9g
Protein 3.2g

Friday, 8 January 2016

Roasted Red Pepper & Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Stuffed chicken is always a winner at our house. We've made Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts before, and I wanted to try another variation. The "prosciutto" I used was actually a leaner cut of charcuterie style ham, and as much as I love prosciutto, I liked this even better! It was leaner and more flavourful.

The chicken breasts I bought were very large, so half was more than enough for me. The nutrition information is calculated for the full chicken breast though.

I served these with Oven Baked Basmati Rice and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Makes 6 chicken breasts

Ingredients

1kg boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 strips prosciutto or cured ham
6 roasted red peppers
Canola oil spray, for greasing
Toothpicks

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with canola oil.

Butterfly chicken breasts by slicing along the side and opening like a book. Place a slice of prosciutto in the centre of one side. Slice a roasted red pepper in half and place each half on top of the prosciutto. Fold chicken breast back over top, then fasten shut with toothpicks. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Bake the chicken in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until juices run clear.

Nutrition

Calories 371
Fat 14.5g
Saturated fat 4.2g
Carbohydrates 4.5g
Fibre 0.9g
Sugars 3.2g
Protein 52.9g