Creamy Avocado Dip

Man is this post overdue! The past month went by in a flash, but not without some great memories: bike riding around one of the world’s greenest cities (Copenhagen), lunch at the world’s best restaurant (Noma), catching up with the best of friends (Stockholm), exploring one of the greatest capitals (Washington), and running a 10K PB through the Rockies (Banff).

Needless to say, I haven’t had much time in the kitchen, so Just Indulgence has been rather neglected. But I’m back home and back at it with a phenomenal recipe: creamy avocado dip!

I was not expecting this dip of a few veggies, avocados and greek yogurt to come out so decadent, but after tasting the spatula I was honestly torn between jumping for joy and going in for a re-dip. So huge thanks to Dave’s mom, Janis, for the recipe book that inspired such a beautiful creation.

I cut recipe’s salt in half and replaced the sour cream with non-fat greek yogurt, which couldn’t be a better substitute  – you cannot tell the difference! Plus it dilutes the heavy avocado calories and adds a punch of protein. Serve over rice cakes, on a sandwich, with veggies and pita chips or basically anywhere you’d throw traditional guacamole and you’ll honestly never go back!

A little tip to keep the avocado from going grey: save the pits and plop them into the finished dip. I have no idea how it works, but it’ll sure save the ascetics of your dip!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup 0% fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 avocados, pitted and peeled

DIRECTIONS

  • Toss shallot, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice and salt into a food processor and blend well.
  • Add greek yogurt and blend until smooth.
  • Add avocados and blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving and then enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Per tbsp: 19 calories, 1 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1g protein, 1 g fibre

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Watermelon Mint Feta Salad

Who knew getting engaged would be so consuming! I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since it happened (meaning 2 weeks since my last post!) – it’s still setting in! Dave surprised the heck out of me with the proposal, but I couldn’t be happier or more excited to plan a wedding with the man of my dreams!

Here’s a refreshing salad my mother mentioned she’d made the other night. Perfect for a hot summer day when you’re feeling thirsty and sluggish – four ingredients and that’s it! Even more, it’s so delicious you could eat it as a healthy dessert.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 4.5 oz (130 g) light feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix together in a large bowl, chill until serving and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 6 servings of about 2.5 cups each.

Per serving: 168 calories, 29 g carbs, 4 g fat, 7 g protein, 2 g fibre

 

Jicama & Mango Salad

Dave and I had dinner at my cousin Karen and her husband Shaun’s place a few weeks ago in Vancouver. They prepared an unbelievable dinner for us including this light crunchy tangy sweet salad. Who knew 4 ingredients could make such a delightful dish! Make it as a side dish or throw in some chicken, shrimp or fish and make it a meal.

Dave and I were even thinking it’d even make a great popcorn substitute if we cut the jicama and mango a little larger, and if we ever get around to watching a movie…

I had never cooked with jicama (a.k.a. yambean) before and I’m really sorry I’ve been missing out! This stuff is awesome! I’d call the texture a cross between a raw potato and an apple – though more like an apple in terms of water content. It’s ever so slightly sweet and PACKED with fibre. Here’s how it stacks up to 120g each of apples and potatoes:

Jicama   Apple       Potato

Calories                  46             62             83

Carbs                   10.6g       17.2g       18.9g

Sugars                   2.2g        13.3g         1.2g

Fibre                      5.9g          3.9g         2.0g

Protein                  0.9g             0g          2.2g

Most people have trouble getting enough fibre into their diets, but this salad contains nearly all of your recommended daily intake (25 g in a 2,000 calorie diet) in one serving. For sure a new staple in my house!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 mangos, julienned
  • 2 large jicama, julienned
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix in a large salad bowl, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 203 calories, 48 g carbs, 1 g fat, 3 g protein, 21 g fibre

Fruity Fibre Optics

Post run, this smoothie was a great way to tie us over until we finished making dinner, which turned out to be shredded wheat, berries and soy milk… Figured we’d treat ourselves for the sweat. Actually, we just got lazy after preparing our yogurt snacks and lunches (chicken, broccoli, sweet potato, quinoa and white cheddar) for work today.

Packed with tons of fruit (and therefore mega antioxidants and fibre), with a touch of undetectable spinach for an iron boost, it was so sweetly delicious you could probably have it for dessert. The banana and Greek yogurt really give it the perfect level of creaminess to leave you satisfied.

Fruity Fibre Optics is what Dave would call this creation if he owned a smoothie stand.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups frozen mixed fruit
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 100 g nonfat Greek yogurt

DIRECTIONS

  • Throw it all in a blender and let er rip!

I have a Vitamix, like they have at Booster Juice or any commercial smoothie joint, that works like a charm. They aren’t exactly cheap, but do come with a 7-year warranty and grind through frozen fruit, ice, avocado pits, flax seeds, etc. like nothing else. I highly recommend this machine for anyone serious about smoothies.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 270 calories, 57 g carbs, 1 g fat, 12 g protein, 12 g fibre

Vegetarian Lasagna

I hope everyone had a super fun Canada Day! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – Dave and I spent the long weekend in Vancouver so I was away from my kitchen. Naturally I spent most of the trip doing research for Just Indulgence (read: I gorged myself at every restaurant). We had jumbo prawn garnished cesares, raw oysters, coconut curry, congee, fried rice, chow mein, wonton soup, miso baked tofu, tuna tataki, decadent sushi rolls, green tea ice cream, parsley and truffle fries, smoked salmon salad rolls, bean salads, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, antipasto plates, BBQ chicken, saffron rice, mango jicama salad, lemon baked cauliflower, raspberry cake with cream cheese frosting, rice crispy squares, omelets, huevos rancheros and organic raspberry rhubarb pie with vanilla gelato, to name a few…

Here’s a lasagna post I meant to make last week before I got caught with my mouth full in Vancouver:

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Lasagna is a bit of a pain in the a** to make, but it’s so worth it in the end. To help with time I chopped all the veggies the night before so it was much faster to get cooking after work.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 22 oz/700 ml low sodium pasta sauce
  • 19 oz/540 ml can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup light feta cheese
  • 300 g spinach
  • 3 egg whites
  • 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded light mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS

  • Soak sun-dried tomatoes in 1 cup boiling water, while you prepare sauce.
  • Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add dried spices, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, basil, vinegar, pepper and drained and diced sun-dried tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce temperature and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Cook lasagna noodles as per package instructions.
  • Mix ricotta, feta, spinach and egg whites in a medium bowl.
  • Spread a thin layer of tomato-veggie mixture over bottom of 9″ x 13″ oil-sprayed lasagna dish. Cover with 4 lasagna noodles, followed by 1/3 of remaining tomato-veggie mixture, 1/3 ricotta mixture, and 1/3 mozzarella. Repeat. Finish with 4 lasagna noodles, remaining tomato-veggie mixture and mozzarella
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes, plate and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 358 calories, 38 g carbs (11 g sugar), 13 g fat, 23 g protein, 6 g fibre

THE BEST BREAKFAST: Steel Cut Oats and a Side of Egg Whites

I can’t tell you how excited I am to make this post! This recipe is held very dear to me as it’s what Dave and I eat without fail every morning for breakfast.

I often hear people say they just don’t have time to do a hot breakfast in the morning, but the trick is to make everything the night before so that breakfast makes itself while you get ready for the day with literally a flick of a switch and a couple of stirs.

With such little hassle there’s no reason not to take advantage of a hot and healthy breakfast. A big bowl of oats is such a comforting way to start off your day (we all deserve a little spoiling) and with all that water, fibre and protein pumping through you, you’re sure to stay full well into late morning. Oatmeal (plain instant or large flake) itself is a super healthy breakfast option as a whole grain packed with heart-helping fibre, but I find the steel cut variety, being the least processed of them all, also offers a thick, hearty, chewy texture that’s truly hard to beat.

And what’s a bowl of oats without a super sidekick of protein!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1 very ripe banana, sliced
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (I keep a bag of frozen on-hand at all times)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 plain low fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup (366 g) egg whites

DIRECTIONS

  • Assemble all ingredients but yogurt and egg whites, in a medium pot, mix well, cover and let soak over night. The soaking isn’t necessary, but it sure beats chopping and measuring in the early morning!)
  • Pour egg whites into a microwave-safe dish. Store in fridge over night.
  • First thing when you wake up in the morning, take egg whites from fridge and place into microwave.
  • Stir oats and cook at temperature 3 (low-medium). Go hop in the shower and get ready for the day!
  • Stir once after 30 minutes and let cook for 1o more minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
  • Microwave eggs on high for 4-5 minutes, depending on your microwave.
  • Use a fork to release egg from edges of dish. Turn dish upside down onto plate and divide into servings.
  • Crack a whole lot of pepper on the eggs for flavour, or explore your spice cupboard.
  • Place oats in serving dishes and top with yogurt.
  • Serve and enjoy the best way to start the day!

 

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings (of which Dave eats 3!).

Oats & Yogurt

Per serving: 249 calories, 47 g carbs (11 g sugars), 3 g fat, 7 g protein, 8 g fibre

Egg Whites

Per serving:  43 calories, 10 g protein and that’s it!

Broccoli Apple Grapefruit Salad

I wanted a super light and juicy salad to accompany the dense savoury crispy garlic mint pressed tofu I made for dinner tonight. This salad worked great, beautifully contrasting the garlic and mint flavour with one of dill and mustard.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups broccoli, bite-size pieces
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grainy dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill

DIRECTIONS

  • Microwave broccoli on high for 3 minutes. Chill in refrigerator for at least half an hour.
  • Combine olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, garlic and dill. Mix well.
  • Toss broccoli, apple and grapefruit in dressing.
  • Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 

Makes 2 large servings.

Per serving: 202 calories, 30 g carbs, 10 g fat, 5 g protein, 7 g fibre

Crispy Garlic Mint Pressed Tofu

This was my first time pressing tofu, and wow, am I glad I did! It’s a keeper and has a solid place in my repertoire for when vegetarian friends come for dinner. I know some people aren’t a big fan of tofu’s spongy wet texture, so this is a great way to get away from that while still being able to enjoy the benefits of this inexpensive and lean source of protein. I’d almost describe the pressed tofu as having a chicken texture, in fact it quite looks like a thin strip of chicken when you cut into it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh mint

DIRECTIONS

  • Cut tofu crosswise into 4 slabs. Firmly blot each slab between paper towel to remove excess water.
  • To make marinade, combine all remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover tofu on all sides with marinade and place on a plate. Cover with plastic and let sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
  • Heat large frying pan on medium-high heat.
  • Remove tofu from marinade and press off excess liquid with paper towels. Reserve marinade.
  • Arrange tofu flat in frying pan. Cover tofu with another frying pan, weighing upper pan down with a full kettle or large can of tomato sauce or beans.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, reduce heat to medium and cook for another 5 until well browned.
  • Flip tofu, press and cook until browned, about 7 minutes.
  • Place tofu on serving dish. Pour remaining marinade into pan, heat briefly and use it to garnish tofu.
  • Serve over rice, quinoa or another grain and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 330 calories, 6 g carbs (1 g sugar), 26 g fat (4 g saturated), 22 g protein, 1 g fibre

Red Pepper Egg Cups

Last night the girls came over for brunch… though it was dinnertime… so really it was brinner, or a dunch… whatever it was, it was darn delicious. We had a super fun time cooking, catching up and sharing healthy secrets. Sophia in particular brought over these amazing gluten-free brownies made from black eyed peas, which I will definitely be trying out in my own kitchen in the near future. My contributions to the evening were banana apple pumpkin muffins and these roasted red pepper egg cups – a total experiment that turned out beautifully. The roasted red peppers softened right up and caramelized into a certain sweetness that complimented the savoury attributes of the onions, spinach, egg and cheese.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 4 whole eggs (or 8 egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Cut peppers in half height-wise, seed and arrange on baking sheet covered in aluminum foil.
  • Crack an egg into each half.
  • Top with onions, spinach, cheese, salt and pepper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 119 calories, 7 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 7 g fat, 9 g protein, 2 g fibre

Along with our delectable eggs we enjoyed this beautiful fruit salad compliments of Sophia and a fresh batch of gluten-free Banana Apple Pumpkin Muffins.

Eggplant Lasagna

This is quite possibly the most delicious dinner I’ve made – though it might be a tie with Mexican lasagna, which will be posted soon – AND it’s vegetarian!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup large flake oats
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 3 cups pasta sauce (low sodium if possible)
  • 1 cup shredded light mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine oats, parmesan and basil in a shallow bowl or deep plate.
  • Beat eggs with a fork in another shallow bowl or deep plate.
  • Cut each eggplant into 8 round slices.
  • Dip each eggplant round into the egg and then press it into the oat mixture, coating both sides.
  • Place coated eggplant rounds onto a baking sheet sprayed in olive oil. Spray tops of eggplant rounds.
  • Bake eggplant at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, turning and spraying with olive oil half way through.
  • Assemble lasagna by spooning 1 cup pasta sauce over bottom of 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. Follow by half the eggplant rounds, another cup of pasta sauce, half the mozzarella and repeat.
  • Sprinkle parsley on top and bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Remove from oven, plate and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 205 calories, 24 g carbs, 8 g fat, 12 g protein, 5 g fibre