Mega Moist Banana Blueberry Muffins

As you can see in my lack of recent posts, I haven’t cooked much as of late. Family Thanksgiving gatherings in Vancouver, training for / running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and business day trips out of town have somehow all gotten in the way of me and my kitchen. So when I finally had a weekend at home to sort myself out, all I was craving was the simplicity and comfort of never-fail bananas, blueberries and maybe some carbs (still trying to kick my carb addiction after running that darn half!). This recipe uses whole wheat flour, but you could easily substitute oat (for gluten-free), spelt, (dare I suggest) white or any other flour you like.

My mother used to (all the way up until I moved out of home last year) make us fresh muffins for breakfast every second day and would always put chocolate chips in mine (you’re the BEST, Mom!). But rather than crack open the Costco-size bag of Chipits in my freezer (cause once they’re open they, quite pathetically of me, become my go-t0 afterwork snack) I opted for the bag of frozen blueberries, which may have been even better than the chocolate. Okay no, who am I kidding, chocolate always wins, but the blueberries are pretty darn good.

At the very least the blueberries do cut out enough sugar and fat that these muffins only have 121 calories each, meaning you can have not one, but TWO, for breakfast and still have room left for yogurt or fruit. Or enjoy the best of both worlds and do half and half chocolate-blueberry!

INGREDIENTS

Dry

Wet

and 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
  • In a medium bowl, or large liquid measuring cup (as above), mix all wet ingredients.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until dry are moistened.

  • Fold in blueberries.
  • Pour batter into muffin tin (for 12) sprayed with oil.

  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick pushed into the centre comes out clean.

Just look at how golden these guys come out of the oven!

  • Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before removing to cooling rack…or skip the cooling and just dive right into one!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 12 muffins.

Per muffin: 121 calories – 26 g carbs – 3 g fibre – 1 g fat – 4 g protein

Chocolate Covered Fruit Pops

On Saturday we celebrated the soon-to-be motherhood of one of my best friends. In preparation for the 53 confirmed guests, we got started cooking on Friday night and basically didn’t stop until 3 PM the next day (my feet were killing me from the kitchen tile)! With six pairs of hands we managed to pull of decorations, goodie bags, and 17 menu items! So expect a few finger-food posts this week.

These fruit pops were a total party hit! I saw them go by on Pinterest (where would we be without it) and thought they’d be a fun little treat for the guests. Plus the fruit and dark chocolate has got to make them kind of healthy… right? I’m actually thinking of making a chocolate-free version as an everyday frozen treat.

They’re really easy to make, but do require about an hour with all the fruit chopping, chocolate melting and pop freezing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bananas, each cut into 12 pieces
  • 12 medium strawberries, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into 24 bite-size pieces
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, though any oil will work
  • 24 toothpicks
  • 2 tbsp each flaked coconut and chopped almonds for topping

DIRECTIONS

  • Skewer a piece of strawberry (on top), banana and pineapple (on bottom) onto each toothpick.
  • Arrange all pops on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes. I had left them over night to break up prep time for these.
  • Melt chocolate with coconut oil using a double boiler. You can also do this in the microwave, but use short 20 second burst to avoid burning the chocolate.
  • Remove pops from freezer and dip half of each piece in chocolate, press in topping (coconut or almond separately, or both together!) and return to baking sheet, standing them up on their side.
  • Return tray to freezer. Remove 5 minutes before serving to let soften and then enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 24 pops.

Per pop (not including toppings): 50 calories, 8 g carbs, 2 g fat, <1 g protein, 1 g fibre

 

Miso-Glazed Salmon

I came across a package of miso in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t leave without it. Miso is one of my favorite restaurant flavours, plus it benefits from various enzymes, probiotics and vitamins, so I figure I had better explore its wonders in my own kitchen.

This salmon came out perfectly and was so easy to make that I would do it every night from now on but sadly that wouldn’t do much for this blog…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb (450 g) wild salmon
  • 2 tbsp light miso paste
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 1.5 tsp sesame oil
  • 5 drops hot pepper sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • pinch sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

  • Place salmon fillet on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Mix remaining ingredients, except sesame seeds, in a small bowl.
  • Brush salmon with light layer of glaze.
  • Broil on high for 8 minutes.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, serve with rice and steamed Chinese broccoli or bok choy, and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 200 calories, 4 g carbs, 9 g fat (the healthy kind!), 23 g protein, 1 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

Shrimp & Tofu Red Thai Curry

When I see a thai curry on a menu I just can’t help but indulge myself, though I cringe to think of the hidden fats and salts seeping into me. Needless to say, this has been a dish that’s been on my learn-to-make-healthy list for a while. Using lite coconut milk and drastically cutting the fish sauce, this curry is actually really healthy and totally satisfying!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 6 spears asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 large zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 small can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 40 jumbo shrimp (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • red chili flakes to taste

Curry Paste

  • 1 shallot
  • 3 tbsp minced lemongrass
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or brown/white sugar)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

DIRECTIONS

  • Place all curry paste ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Bring coconut milk, leaves and curry paste to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add in all vegetables, tofu and shrimp, cover and let simmer until shrimp are no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat, serve over steamed rice and garnish with red chili flakes and cilantro. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 351 calories, 20 g carbs (8.5 g sugars), 16 g fat, 32 g protein, 4 g fibre

Chicken Feta Fajita Salad

Hot summer days call for light summer salads! We were totally craving Mexican food yesterday to go along with all the heat, but figured we’d replace the carbs from the fajita tortilla shells with a couple of Coronas 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts (450 g)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 10 drops tabasco sauce
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 60 g light feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime

DIRECTIONS

  • Slice chicken into long strips.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large frying pan.
  • Add chicken strips and stir until all sides are cooked, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add in chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, pepper and tabasco.
  • Add bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Stir and cook until vegetables soften. Remove from heat.
  • Divide baby spinach among serving plates and top with chicken and veggies, followed by avocado, feta and cilantro.
  • Serve with lime wedge on the side and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 386 calories, 18 g carbs (4 g sugar), 14 g fat, 43 g protein, 8 g fibre , 334 mg sodium

Jerk Chicken Mango Salad

I went over to my girlfriend Afshaan’s last night to plan her baby shower (baby due late August!) but naturally we ended up more focused on the food we were going to eat right then than the party we should have been planning… guess we’ll just have to get together for another girls night!

Afshaan mentioned she had had an awesome jerk chicken salad with mango and coconut at a restaurant in the city, so we took that as inspiration for this spicy and coconutty-sweet salad.

All I knew about jerk spice was that it was made up of a plethora of spices, so we just threw whatever sounded good into a bowl with a little white vinegar and olive oil and voila, jerk spice! It actually turned out REALLY tasty. I must say, we impressed ourselves.

The salad dressing was even more delicious and simply coconut milk, lemon juice, chives, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Easy to whip up and only 30 calories per tbsp!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups spring mix salad greens (or spinach would be great too!)
  • 12 baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tbs crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp craisins
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 small mango, cut into bitesize pieces

Jerk Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad Dressing

  • 2 tsp coconut milk
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all jerk spice ingredients together in a small bowl. Lay 1 tsp of sauce on baking sheet and place chicken breast over top. Pour remaining jerk sauce over chicken. Bake for 28 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Lay lettuce mix over serving plates followed by carrots, craisins, mango and feta. Top with salad dressing.
  • Remove cooked chicken from oven. Slice, lay over salad, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 395 calories, 36 g carbs, 15 g fat, 36 g protein, 7 g fibre

Zucchini Pizza

Yesterday I biked ALL the way to the grocery store (okay, it was only 15 minutes) to find they didn’t have the large whole wheat pitas I was excited to use as pizza crust. So what’s a health nut to do? Not compromise with white flour pitas, that’s for sure! Nope, they actually got a whole lot healthier and lower calorie (only 100 per piece) with zucchini!

I had remembered seeing a zucchini pizza go by on my pinterest feed, so I figured it was a good time to check it out. The verdict is: total winner!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 4 sticks turkey pepperoni (120 g)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 120 g light mozzarella, shredded
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Cut zucchinis lengthwise into four slabs.
  • Place on baking sheet covered in parchment paper and spray lightly with olive oil.
  • Broil on high until they just start to brown, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cover with toppings.
  • Broil on high until cheese browns.
  • Sprinkle on red pepper flakes, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 8 “slices”.

Per slice: 100 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g fat, 8 g protein, 2 g fibre

Pork Tenderloin Gumbo

Gumbo is pretty healthy as it is, with all those onions, tomatos and other stewed veggies, but I figured why not make it even healthier?! So I cut the sausage and substituted it for some lean pork tenderloin! Though one serving is only 337 calories, I couldn’t even finish my plate with all the spice, super filling veggies and lean protein. Super comforting and super healthy – this is my kind of meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 cups sliced white mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat olive oil in large pot. Add pork and stir until cooked on all sides, about 8 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, celery, onions and garlic. Stir until veggies soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, oregano, chilis, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add sweet potatoes and zucchini and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once sweet potatoes are soft, remove from heat, stir in cilantro and serve hot. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 337 calories, 39 g carbs, 6 g fat, 32 g protein, 8 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!