Sustainable healthy eating

Essential Ingredients to Adopting Long Term Healthy Eating Habits


Valentines Day Child Friendly Healthy Treat With Heart-shaped Fr

Sustainability

Due to my situation I do not have the luxury of adopting a trendy diet or cleanse that lasts a couple of weeks only to return to old eating habits. I need to sustain this new lifestyle indefinitely. Thankfully you do not lose weight just from eating tofu and hemp seeds. As my good friend Andrea Hayes, founder of One Brick, says “you can have your cake and eat it too.” There are many important factors to consider in order to sustain healthy eating habits for a lifetime.

Portion size

Portion size is key. You can still enjoy your favourite foods, but instead of eating the entire bucket of ice cream pay attention to how much you are having. I measure everything! It is a very insightful habit to get into. For example coconut oil is a very healthy alternative, but just 1 tbsp is already 130 calories with 13 g of saturated fatty acids; that is 65% of your daily intake. If you were not paying attention and just started scooping coconut oil into a recipe without a second thought it could really add up.

When I was a personal trainer I would regularly hear from my clients could that they could never consume the number of servings recommended by the Canadian Food Guide (CFG). Many individuals only focus on the required numbers and not the serving sizes.

The average adult requires 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables, 6-7 servings of grain products, 2 servings of milk and alternatives, and 2-3 servings of meat and alternatives. However, many do not read the specific details of what constitutes as a serving size. One serving of fruits and vegetables is 1/2 cup, one servings of grain products is anywhere from 35 g to 3/4 of a cup, a single serving of milk and alternatives is only 50 g to 1 cup, and for meat and alternatives an individual serving is anywhere from 2 tbsp to 3/4 of a cup.

When you actually break this down many would consider 1 bagel to be 1 grain serving However, 1 store bought bagel is actually 4-5 servings according to the CFG. A 6 inch sub is 3 servings, and a store bought muffin is 2-3 servings. Another variable to consider is that the size of our household dishes have changed significantly. The average household bowl, when full, holds 4 servings of cereal.  Fruit from the grocery store has increased significantly in size over the years. Many would think that one apple, one orange, one banana and one pear would be 4 servings of fruit. When you actually cut it all up and measure it out, it works out to be 10 servings of fruit!!! This information can all be found at  http://www.healthyalberta.com Healthy U is an absolutely wonderful resource.

Being aware of portion size is so important! Everything you put into your mouth counts! 

Nutrient density

Since I have started this journey many people have asked me if I am starving or craving sweets. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. I thought that I was publicly setting myself up to fail. Surprisingly, I have not found myself starving, and my craving for sweets has been minimal. When planning my meals I purposefully only selected nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods are those that are low in calories, but rich in essential micronutrients. Micronutrients include all vitamins and minerals. Energy dense foods on the other hand, are high in calories, but are deficient in your daily intake of vitamin and minerals. For example, instead of consuming white breads that are high in sugar and low in fibre I always select whole grain high fibre grain products. Fibre has many important benefits, but one of its key benefits is keeping you fuller longer. Now that my body has been getting all of its essential micronutrients each day, I often feel completely content.

Being organized

Since beginning this journey I have also learned that in order to maintain long term healthy eating habits I have to be very organized. Day 4 of the meal plan for week 3 is an example of what happens when I am not organized. I programmed everything into my diet analysis at the end of the day instead of at the beginning. I ended up falling short in all of my micronutrients for the day, and being under 50% of my DRI for 9 essential nutrients! If I had programmed everything the day before I could have made adjustments to compensate for my nutrient shortfalls.

Or more simply, on days that I have not planned out what I am going to eat, I lean towards less creative meal options that lack variety such as, a peanut butter and jam sandwich on a croissant!

Variety 

Variety is so important to sustain healthy eating. There are so many delicious healthy options out there. It doesn’t always have to be chicken breast, quinoa, and vegetables. While, that can still be delicious it does become boring if that is all you eat. When I find that I am in a slump I will go to the grocery store and pick a new fruit or vegetable that I have never tried before and learn how to prepare it. I love to do this! It is fun to go outside your comfort zone and discover new foods and flavours. Except durian! I have never cooked with it or tasted it, smelling it is more than enough, not a fruit on my bucket list!

Creativity 

Finally, creativity is fundamental to develop a love for healthy eating. That is why this week I went with the theme Smart approaches to comfort food! On day 1 the meal plan includes roast dinner, day 2 plans for chilli, day 3 kills two birds with one stone and incorporates burgers with thanksgiving dinner (I know amazing hey!!!), and finally day 4 plans for grilled cheese and soup as well as pork fajitas. All of these classic comfort foods have been designed with a healthy conscience.

I hope these essential ingredients to developing sustainable healthy eating habits help to inspire you (see what I did there? Kind of proud of that one)!  

If you would like further information on sustainable healthy eating habits my friend Andrea Hayes is partnering with one of Canada’s national treasures Bob Molle (winner of an Olympic silver medal for wrestling, as well as a Grey Cup champion) to deliver a webcast on the topic March 4th. You can register for the webcast at the following link https://rw155.infusionsoft.com/app/linkClick/3853/884924beb20ae199/40957/ba77ac5174c90856 

Week 3 – Meal Plan

Week 3 – Smart approaches to comfort food


 

The theme for this week is Smart approaches to comfort food. Healthy eating habits need to be sustainable. So I have developed smart ways that you can still enjoy all of your favourite comfort foods while being aware of your nutritional health.

Kcal

Total

Breakfast

Snack 1

Lunch

Snack 2

Dinner

Day 1

1679

567

106

471

154

381

Day 2

1641

605

0

378

94

564

Day 3

1793

430

0

463

172

702

Day 4

1525

497

0

490

104

434

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Proteins (g)

93.73

94.76

84.83

75.03

Carbohydrates (g)

188.59

215.82

236.26

189.71

Fats (g)

67.87

59.74

63.5

64.6

Omega 6 (g)

8.96

9.71

10.8

3.78

Omega 3 (g)

1.29

1.62

1.82

2.41

Dietary Fiber (g)

46.35

46.08

46.49

50.25

Dietary Lows (anything less than 50% of DIV) Vitamin D 2.51 µg Vitamin D 2.29 µg, Vitamin D 2.19 µg Vitamin D 2.19 µg,Riboflavin 0.55mg, niacin 6.31 mg, vitamin B12 0.78  µg, folate 158.03  µg, Vitamin A (RAE) 270. 96  µg, A (IU) 835.47 IU, Vitamin E 2.25 mg, potassium 1621 mg

 

 

  • I started taking a vitamin D supplement because a dietary contribution of vitamin D is clearly difficult to obtain. That is why the only supplement that the Canadian Food Guide recommends taking is vitamin D.
  • Eek! Can you tell that on day 4 I put my meal plan into my diet analysis program afterwards instead of before! Clearly you can see from my dietary lows the dangers of being unorganized. If I had put my meal in the day before I would have made some adjustments to increase and improve these dietary lows. Recommended amounts: Vitamin D 15 µg, riboflavin 1.1 mg, niacin 14 mg, vitamin B12 2.4 µg, folate 400 µg, vitamin A RAE 700 µg, vitamin A IU 2333 IU, vitamin E 2.25 mg, potassium 1621 mg.

*Note – There are a few items that are assumed you still have from making in bulk the week before, Quinoa bites Day 2 and Coconut greek yogurt fruit popsicles Day 1. If you do not have any left over please include the ingredients in your grocery list. They were not accounted for. 

Day 1 


Breakfast – Day 1

Breakfast burrito

DSC_0001 DSC_0002 DSC_0003

DSC_0004 DSC_0005 DSC_0006

Ingredients

  • 1/3 Black beans
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 1/4 cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1/2 mango

Instructions

  1. Mix together the eggs and black beans. Pour into skillet and cook on low-medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, layer avocado and cheddar cheese on tortilla. Top with eggs and beans and finish with salsa.
  3. Serve with mango.

Snack 1 – Day 1 

Coconut greek yogurt fruit popsicles 

*Note – these were prepared the week earlier

DSC_0077

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup mixed berries

Instructions 

  1. Mix together yogurt and milk in a bowl. Fold in berries and divide among 4 moulds. (If you do not have popsicle moulds you can use paper cups or the large ice cube trays).
  2. Place in freezer overnight. They will be ready to enjoy the next day.

Lunch – Day 1 

Lentil and chickpea salad

Original recipe: http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2014/9/15/lentil-chickpea-salad-with-roasted-garlic-dressing.html

L1 1 L1 F

*Note – You can make this the night before if you need to take it to work. For my husband I put the warm mixture in a larger container and put the feta, spinach and dressing each in separate containers. At work you can just add the feta, spinach and dressing to the larger container combine and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp Roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup cooked chick peas
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Shallots
  • 25 g feta
  • 1/2 cup spinach

Instructions

  1. In a frying pan warm roasted garlic, lentils, chick peas and artichoke hearts. Place in a bowl after heated through.
  2. In a small bowl combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano and parsley.
  3. Add sundried tomatoes, shallots, feta and spinach to the warm mixture. Top with dressing toss together and serve.

Snack 2 – Day 1

2 squares dark chocolate

Dinner – Day 1

Roast dinner with cauliflower mashed potatoes and roasted green beans

Roast and gravy

DSC_0007 DSC_0008 D1 gravy

D1 R2 D1 Final

This technique for cooking a roast I learned from my very talented sister-in-law, who grew up on a cattle farm. I never use to cook roast because the process intimidated me. After learning this technique I will never cook a roast another way again! Super easy!

Ingredients

  • Tin foil
  • 1 roast (I usually go with some sort of a sirloin cut)
  • 1 tbsp of sunflower or canola oil
  • 1 tsp seasoning (I use epicure 3 onion)
  • 1 package gravy mix (I usually go with clubhouse brown gravy mix)
  • 1 cup beef broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Pull off a large piece of tinfoil, big enough to cover the roast. Place the shiny side of the tinfoil up.
  3. Brush roast with oil. Sprinkle with seasoning and wrap up the roast. You want to wrap it up in a way that you avoid having the juices flow out. Place roast in a casserole dish.
  4. Put roast in oven and allow to cook for 6-8 hours.
  5. After roast has cooked for 6-8 hours, transfer the roast into a sauce pan, cut into the bottom of the tinfoil and drain drippings into the sauce pan. Place roast on a cutting board and remove from tinfoil. Cover with tinfoil and allow to sit while you prepare the gravy.
  6. Add the gravy mix packet to the drippings and stir. Watch to see how thick the gravy is and add beef broth accordingly. You may not need the full cup of beef broth. Just add a little bit at a time until the gravy gets to the thickness that you like.

Cauliflower mashed potatoes 

D1 CM1

D1 CM2        D1 CM3        D1 CM4

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean and prepare the cauliflower. In a large stock pot add 1 inch of water as well as the whole head of cauliflower. Cover and bring to a boil, medium-high heat. Steam cauliflower until you can pierce it easily with a fork.
  3. Once cauliflower is steamed remove from the pot and break it apart.
  • The key to making really good cauliflower mashed potatoes is to make sure you get rid of as much water as possible. Before I put them in the food processor I press them in my sifter to try and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  1. Place cauliflower in food processor or mash with a potato masher.
  2. Once cauliflower is a mash potato consistency add yogurt, cheddar cheese, parmesan and green onion. Mix together.
  3. Pour into a casserole dish and cook for about 25-30 minutes.

Roasted green beans

D1 Green beans 1

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp seasoning (again I used an epicure seasoning, if you don’t have access to epicure I would recommend any of the Mrs. Dash seasoning blends. They are salt and msg free)
  • 1 bag fresh green beans

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Clean and prepare the green beans.
  3. Combine oil, water and seasoning. Pour over green beans and mix.
  4. Place in oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until they are nicely browned and you can pierce them with a fork. Beans will still be a bit al dente.

My portion

85 g Roast

1/4 cup gravy

1 cup Cauliflower mashed potatoes

1 cup Roasted green beans

Day 2 


Breakfast – Day 2

Strawberry pancakes with greek yogurt topping

Recipe inspired by: https://dashingdish.com/recipe/strawberry-protein-pancake-roll-ups-w-yogurt-filling

B2 2 B2 3

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

Pancakes

  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups oats (I think you could even get away with 1 1/2 cups of oats)
  • 2 full eggs
  • 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup strawberries

Topping

1 cup chopped strawberries

1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt

2 tsp strawberry jam

My Portion

2 pancakes

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt

1 tsp strawberry jam

Instructions

  1. In a blender combine together all the pancake ingredients honey, milk, oats, eggs, yogurt, and strawberries.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the ingredients for the topping strawberries, yogurt and jam.
  3. Ladle about a 1/2 cup of the mixture onto a greased frying pan (use spray oil). Watch the edges of the pancakes to turn brown and then flip.
  4. Top with yogurt mixture and serve.

Note: These were really tasty, but very dense and very filling. I actually didn’t even finish my serving. So far, out of the three pancake recipes that I have tried, the banana and egg pancakes are my favourite.

Snack 1 – Day 2

Quinoa Bites

These were made in a large batch and frozen the week before.

Original Recipe http://iowagirleats.com/2012/02/16/mini-ham-cheese-quinoa-cups/

DSC_1092

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • (I still had leftover pomegranate salsa so I threw the rest of that in as well, it was approximately 2 tbsp)

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Spray a mini muffin time with non-stick spray.
  2. Fill each cup flat to the top.
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Allow to cool in tray for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  5. I place 4 in the fridge for my week 2 meal plan and then froze the rest in sandwich bags; placing 4 bites in each bag for future snacks.

My portion

2 quinoa bites

Lunch – Day 2

Roast beef wrap

L2

  • 1 tortilla
  • 50 g roast beef (using leftovers from the night before)
  • 25 g cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp mayo
  1. Spread mayonnaise and mustard on tortilla. Layer on cheddar cheese, spinach, tomatoes and roast beef. Sprinkle with pepper,
  2. Roll up the wrap and enjoy.

Dinner – Day 2

Spicy turkey Chili

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Healthy-Chicken-Chili-Recipe-26278263

D2 5 D2 6 D2 7

D2 8 D2 9

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 thinly sliced poblano pepper (or jalapeño depending how spicy you prefer)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chilli powder
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (or your favourite hot sauce)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic, and poblano and reduce to medium heat. Cook until onions are tender.
  2. Add ground turkey and cook until all pink is gone. Stir in chilli powered and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, broth, brown sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, and salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer. Stir often until chilli thickens (about 45 minutes).
  4. After 45 minutes add beans. At this point I also added an additional cup of chicken stock and mixed in 2 tbsp of cornstarch. Cook until heated through (15 minutes).
  5. For the last 15 minutes cook the chilli uncovered.
  6. Garnish and serve. (Garnish options include: tortilla chips, chilli, plain greek yogurt, Mexican cheese, and cilantro).

My Portion 

1-1/2 cups chilli

1 slice of whole grain toast

1 tsp of margarine (I will address the use of butter verses margarine in one of my future blogs and explain why I have chosen to go with margarine)

1 tbsp of sour cream (I wanted to use plain greek yogurt but ran out)

1 1/2 tsp cheddar cheese

Day 3


 Breakfast – Day 3 

This was a good one, probably one of my favourites!

Goat cheese and avocado on toast

B3

Ingredients 

  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread
  • 1 tsp of butter/margarine
  • 20 g of soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1/4 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 1/2 cup strawberries

Instructions 

  1. Toast slice of bread while at the same time spray a frying pan with a quick spritz of oil and cook one egg.
  2. Spread butter/margarine on toast, followed by goat cheese, and avocado. Top with cooked egg and drizzle sriracha over top. (I am not a huge spicy food person but I do love sriracha sauce!)
  3. Serve with fruit and enjoy.

Snack 1 – Day 3 

Coconut smoothie 

DSC_1123

Coconut water smoothie

1/3 cup vanilla greek yogurt

1/4 cup frozen spinach

1/3 cup frozen mango

1/3 cup frozen pineapple

1 cup coconut water

Instructions 

Combine all ingredients into blender and mix until smooth. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Lunch – Day 3 

Leftover spicy turkey chilli 

L3

My portion

1 – 1/2 cups chilli

1 tbsp sour cream

1 tsp cheddar cheese

Dinner – Day 3 

Turkey stuffing burgers with sweet potato fries and spinach salad

This is my mom’s delicious recipe! I consider her an absolute genius for thinking to use stuffing as a binder in turkey burgers instead of just plain old bread crumbs!  

D3 1 D3 2 D3 3

D3 4 D3 F

Turkey Burgers

  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 box turkey stove top stuffing
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • Whole grain buns

Toppings

  • 1/4 cup Spinach
  • 1 tsp Mayo
  • 1 tbsp Canned cranberries

Instructions

  1. Prepare the stove top according to the directions on the box.
  2. Allow the stove top to cool and then mix together egg, ground turkey, parsley and half of the stove top mixture. (you can use the remaining stove top as a topping if you wish, but I didn’t have any room in my caloric intake).
  3. Form turkey mixture into burgers. You can cook them on the bbq or in a skillet on the stove top right away, but it does help to let the sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes so they can set better.
  4. Before cooking the burgers begin work on the yam fries; see below.
  5. Cook burgers on square skillet or BBQ or frying pan on medium heat. The trick to meat: ONLY FLIP ONCE!!! Cook for about 5-7 minutes per side. Cut into the middle to make sure it is fully cooked, clear juices, no pink.
  6. Prepare your bun with mayo, cranberries, spinach and top with burger.

Yam fries 

D3 yam1 D3 yam2 D3 yam3

Ingredients

  • 1 large yam or two medium
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp seasoning (I just used an epicure rosemary garlic spice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. I like to peel my sweet potatoes. Peel and cut potatoes into wedges.
  3. Mix canola oil, water, and seasoning in a small bowl. Pour over fries and mix together.
  4. Place in oven and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes

Spinach salad & Balsamic dressing

D3 salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup sugar peas, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup feta
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Combine spinach, pomegranate seeds, sugar peas, sunflower seeds and feta.
  2. In a small bowl combine sunflower oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Pour over salad and toss.

Confession time: I ran out of time so I just used a tbsp of already prepared salad dressing! Still same amount of calories.

*Note – Breakfast for Day 4 needs to be prepare the night before! And dinner for day 4 is a slow cooker meal. If you are running out the door in the morning and won’t be around all day, you may want to have it in the fridge prepared the night before to you can throw your insert in your slow cooker start it and run. 

Day 4


 

Note – Dinner is a slow cooker dinner so you will need to prepare this earlier in the day. 

Breakfast – Day 4 

Banana Cocoa Overnight oats 

B4 1 B4 2 B4 F

I am always rushing out the door on thursday mornings so I try to plan something that I can grab and eat quickly. I love overnight oats! They are extremely nutrient dense and more importantly delicious! The fun part of overnight oats is that the number of flavour options is endless! This week I went with banana Cocoa http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/222 they were super filling, so I actually only ate half, and then finished the other half for a snack later in the day. I also made some for my husband to take with him to work; I got rave reviews.

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup diced banana

Instructions 

  1. In a container add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, cocoa powder, and honey. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add banana to the mixture and fold in.
  3. Seal the container and refrigerate overnight.

Lunch – Day 4

Soup and grilled cheese

My favourite soup right now is Amy’s organic lentil. I don’t buy it because it’s “organic” and that is the thing to do these days, I simply buy it because it is delicious and I love lentils! Currently at Costco you can buy a pack of 8 cans, which includes 4 lentil and 4 lentil vegetable. Otherwise it can be fairly expensive so you will have to watch for sales, or you are independently wealthy and don’t care. You can find this soup in the whole foods section at Superstore and the organic/gluten free section at Save-on-foods.

L4 1

 

L4 2

  • 1 cup Amys lentil soup
  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 1 tbsp butter/margarine divided
  • 20 g cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Warm soup in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Spread 1/4 of a tbsp of butter/margarine over the front and back of each slice of bread. Place cheese on bread, cover with the other slice of bread and place in a medium-low frying pan. (I know it probably seems ridiculous that I am providing instructions for grilled cheese but you never know. I feel like I am just perfecting the art of grilled cheese making).
  3. Toast each side until golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Dinner – Day 4 

Pulled pork fajitas with southwestern black bean salad

D4 1

 

D4 2

 

D4 3

Pulled pork fajitas 

Ingredients

  • Pork roast (I usually just buy whatever cut is available, I think this meal I used a shoulder butt cut)
  • 1 cup water
  • Cajun seasoning (or just some pepper)
  • 1-2 Whole grain tortilla shell per person
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 can refried beans

Optional toppings

  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Place pork roast in slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Add 1 cup of water and season.
  2. About a half hour before the roast has finished cooking remove from the slow cooker and discard any of the fat. After the fat is removed pull the pork apart with two forks. This can be done either on a cutting board or inside your slow cooker (I love my slow cooker so much and I want to preserve its life as long as possible, so I avoid scratching the surface of my insert with forks.)
  • Did I mention I love love love my slow cooker!!! If you are in the market for a new one I highly recommend the 6-Quart Cook Central multi cooker from Cuisinart http://www.cuisinart.ca/cuisinart_product.php?item_id=435&product_id=470&cat_id=23 If a recipe requires you to brown and cook meat before slow cooking you can do that directly in this multi-cooker! Also the insert is nonstick aluminum; very durable. My last insert was the classic ceramic and unfortunately it cracked right down the centre. Even though the insert is dishwasher safe I still hand wash mine. I cannot say a negative thing about this beautifully designed kitchen gadget!
  1. After pork has been pulled add the onion and peppers for the last half hour of cook time so they can soften up. (you still want them to have a bit of a crunch so keep an eye on them that they don’t over cook).
  2. To assemble fajita spread warm tortilla with refried beans (they alway look so disgusting but man are they ever delicious), then layer with bell peppers and onions, pork and desired toppings.

Southwestern black bean salad

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/06/southwestern-black-bean-salad.html

D4 salad 1 D4 salad 2

Ingredients 

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cooked corn (roast in oven with tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt until slightly browned)
  • 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp poblano pepper (jalapeno also an option depending how spicy you like it)
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 medium avocado, diced

Instructions 

  • In a bowl combine beans, corn, tomato, onion, scallion, poblano, cilantro, salt and pepper.
  • Squeeze fresh lime juice and stir in olive oil.
  • Marinade in the fridge while preparing the rest of dinner, approximately 30 minutes (but I have dug in earlier and it was fine).
  • Add avocado just before serving (I didn’t not add avocado, I usually do not because we always have leftovers and the salad gets better as it sits. I don’t want the avocado to go brown for leftovers).

My portion

  • 1 tortilla
  • 55 g pulled pork
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp white onion
  • 1/4 cup refried beans
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp salsa
  • 1 cup southwestern black bean salad

Snack – Day 4

I was having a lovely group of ladies over to my house in the evening and I wanted to serve some snacks. I made these as a treat! They were delicious and I will definitely make them again. These brownies are high in antioxidants and fibre. However, they are also very high in sugar! But hey this week is all about smart approaches to comfort food, so this seems like a fitting finish to the end of this week’s theme. If you are going to have a treat be smart by adding other delicious nutrient dense foods such as cacao nibs and pomegranate seeds. Cacao nibs are high in antioxidants and crazy high in fibre. Pomegranate seeds are one of the highest yielding antioxidant fruits and they have many heart health benefits.

Pomegranate brownies with cacao nibs and sea salt

http://withfoodandlove.com/pomegranate-topped-brownies-with-sea-salt/

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (I used normal sugar)
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder (I used cocoa powder, found some of these ingredients were difficult to find just at the local grocery store)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free or AP flour
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips

Instructions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a larger bowl combine coconut oil, sugar, cacao powder and salt. Then mix in vanilla and eggs. Add flour and combine until smooth.
  • I found at this point in the recipe something must have gone terribly wrong! My batter was thicker than cement! I couldn’t even pour it into the dish. I had to use my hands and press it in. I did some research and supposably that is totally fine. The thicker the batter the more fudgy the brownies turn out, which they did. The original instructions throw you off because they say to whisk the flour in. There is no whisking at all!!! I recommend getting your strongest wooded spoon and skipping your arm workout for the day. Mixing this batter will be the equivalent!
  1. Press batter into the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with the cacao nibs, pomegranate seeds, and chocolate chips.
  2. Bake for about 40 minutes. They are done when the edges are formed and you can insert a toothpick and it comes out only slightly wet.
  3. You can sprinkle the top of the brownies at this point with some more sea salt.
  • I didn’t end up doing that because honestly I forgot, but it was for the best because I think it would have made them way too salty.
  1. Brownies need to cool completely before being cut.

Week 2 – Meal Plan

Week 2 – Meal Plan


 

NOTE: A FEW OF THE SNACKS NEED TO BE PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME. PLEASE REFER TO SNACK 1 – DAY 2 (QUINOA BITES), AND SNACK 1 DAY 3 (YOGURT POPSICLES) 

SNACK 2 DAY 2 CAN BE MADE AHEAD AS WELL BUT YOU CAN MAKE THEM FAIRLY FAST AND THEY ARE BEST RIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN. LIKE BANANA BREAD THEY CAN GO A BIT SOGGY WHEN STORED. IF YOU DO NEED TO MAKE THEM AHEAD OF TIME JUST POP THEM IN THE MICROWAVE FOR 10 SECONDS WHEN YOU ARE READY TO EAT THEM! 


 

Kcal

Total

Breakfast

Snack 1

Lunch

Snack 2

Dinner

Day 1

1737

374

178

506

0

679

Day 2

1461

256

94

801

109

201

Day 3

1419

344

109

450

0

516

Day 4

1758

220

0

851

109

578

 

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Proteins (g)

101.59

103.86

117.34

121.67

Carbohydrates (g)

166.02

151.53

131.1

168.3

Fats (g)

63.27

63.63

70.81

74.73

Omega 6 (g)

7.27

6.84

7.93

5.77

Omega 3 (g)

1.27

1.23

1.31

0.8

Dietary Fiber (g)

30.37

32.2

27.62

33.6

Dietary Lows (anything less than 50% of DIV) Vitamin D 2.63 µg, Vitamin E 6.58 mg Vitamin D 3.2 µg, Vitamin E 5.15 mg, Potassium 2302.09 mg Vitamin D 3.56 µg, vitamin E 5.31 mg, potassium 1886.03 Vitamin D 2.32 µg, Vitamin A (RAE) 304.75 µg,  Vitamin E 2.94 mg, potassium 1859.52 mg

* Recommended daily intake for Vitamin D 15 µg, Potassium 4700 mg, Vitamin E 15 mg, Vitamin A (RAE) 700µg


 

Day 1 



 

Breakfast – Day 1 

Greek yogurt and Zucchini pancakes 

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My attempt at I love you pancakes for my daughter on Valentine’s! FAIL!!!

Original Recipe can be found:  http://bakerbynature.com/healthy-greek-yogurt-zucchini-pancakes/

Note – I found my pancakes looked nothing like the original picture. Even after I added the egg whites my batter was still quite thick. While this was very delicious, this recipe was quite time consuming and a lot of work for the final product. I am not sure if I would make it again. Hopefully you have better luck than I did. If you do make this recipe and discover any tricks along the way please share!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (I went with half whole grain flour and half AP flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional, but if you don’t add it sub in an extra tablespoon of brown sugar)
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
  • Butter, for the pan (I typically use 2-3 tablespoons for one batch of pancakes)

Instructions 

1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, Greek yogurt, vanilla, sugar, and honey.

3. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture, and stir just to combined. (I found that the batter was still really thick at this point)

4. Add egg whites to a large bowl and beat on high speed until soft peaks begin to form.

5. With a rubber spatula fold egg whites into flour/yogurt mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Stir in zucchini, mix until just incorporated. (Pancakes will become rubbery if you over mix.)

6. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

7. Cook pancakes until the edges begin to brown and the top of the batter bubbles, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Repeat for all pancake batter.

8. Top pancakes with honey, syrup, berries, or anything else your little heart desires! Serve at once.

My portion

2 pancakes

1 cup mixed berries

1/2 tsp butter/margarine

1 tbsp maple syrup

Snack 1 – Day 1

Coconut water smoothie

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Ingredients 

1/3 cup vanilla greek yogurt

1/4 cup frozen spinach

1/3 cup frozen mango

1/3 cup frozen pineapple

1 cup coconut water

Instructions 

Combine all ingredients into blender and mix until smooth. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Lunch – Day 1

Naan bread vegetable pizza

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Ingredients 

1 piece whole grain naan bread

2 tbsp tomato paste

50 g bocconcini

handful of fresh basil

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes

Instructions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF
  2. Spread tomato paste evenly over naan bread.
  3. Cut bocconcini in half and spread over naan bread. Do the same for the cherry tomatoes.
  4. Top with fresh basil.
  5. Place naan on baking sheet and place in oven for 8-10 minutes. After 8-10 minutes turn on broiler and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or until cheese has nicely bubbled and browned. Keep a close eye on your pizza while broiling, it can quickly burn.
  6. Remove and enjoy.

 Dinner – Day 1

Glazed salmon with mushroom quinoa and sautéed shanghai bok choy

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My husband really hates salmon. I have tried so many recipes to find something he likes and I have never been successful…. until now!!!! FINALLY! Not only did Jord finish his entire filet he said he would definitely eat it again! This recipe was absolutely delicious. I will definitely be making this recipe again. The quinoa was also very good but seemed like a lot of work for what it was. I feel like you could probably simplify the recipe very easily to get something similar.

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Salmon 

Original recipe http://letthebakingbeginblog.com/2014/10/garlic-ginger-glazed-salmon/

Ingredients 

  • 1lb salmon de-boned
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger

Instructions 

  1. Combine all liquid ingredients in a sauce pan along with garlic and ginger. Stir, bring to a boil. Once at a boil allow to simmer until sauce reduces into a thickened glaze. About 10-15 minutes.
  2. While sauce is reducing season salmon with pepper. Heat a skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add Salmon and cook each side until golden brown. Don’t flip the salmon to cook the other side until you see the fish turn opaque until half way through the filet.
  3. Fish is cooked when it is no longer translucent and can flake very easily.
  4. I place the fish in the oven at 200 ºF to keep warm until everything was ready to plate.

Mushroom quinoa 

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Original recipe: http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2012/10/asian-toasted-quinoa-with-mushrooms.html

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup white mushrooms
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Truffle oil (optional)

For sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Instructions 

  • Heat a saucepan over medium heat, and add 2 tsp. sesame oil. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and quinoa. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning, until quinoa is lightly toasted.
  • Add broth and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 15 minutes until quinoa the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked.
  • While quinoa is cooking, sautee mushrooms in pan with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Once mushrooms are softened add 1 clove minced garlic to the pan. Add cooked quinoa and green onions, and truffle oil if you have it.
  • Whisk dressing in a small bowl, and pour over the quinoa. Stir well to combine and serve

Bok Choy 

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Ingredients 

  • 4-5 heads of shanghai bok choy
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions 

  1. Cut the bottom of the bok choy almost like a head of romaine lettuce, to separate into separate leaves. Wash and dry.
  2. Heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add canola oil along with onion powder and garlic powder into the oil. Make sure not to burn the spices.
  3. Immediately add bok choy to the pan and coat the leaves in the oil and seasoning.
  4. Cover with lid and Cook until bok choy almost becomes translucent and can be pierced with a fork. Only takes about 5 minutes.  You want to be careful to not over cook the bok choy, it should still be a bit al dente.

Note to your portion of quinoa you may want to add 1 tbsp of sunflower seeds for Omega 6 DRI


 

Day 2 


 

Breakfast – Day 2 

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1 cup cereal Power O’s

3/4 cup 1% skim milk

1 cup mixed berries

Snack 1 – Day 2 

Quinoa Bites 

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Original Recipe http://iowagirleats.com/2012/02/16/mini-ham-cheese-quinoa-cups/

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • (I still had leftover pomegranate salsa so I threw the rest of that in as well, it was approximately 2 tbsp)

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Spray a mini muffin time with non-stick spray.
  2. Fill each cup flat to the top.
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Allow to cool in tray for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  5. I place 4 in the fridge for my week 2 meal plan and then froze the rest in sandwich bags; placing 4 bites in each bag for future snacks.

My Portion

2 quinoa bits

Lunch – Day 2 

Mediterranean bean salad

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Original Recipe: http://www.recipecorner.com/bean-side-salad_recipes/mediterranean-bean-salad-jar_recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup cucumber
  • 2/3 cup white beans
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup lentils
  • 1/3 cup chick peas
  • 1/3 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked couscous (prepare as described on the package)
  • 50 g feta

For dressing

  • 2 whole lemons (juiced and zest) or what I did to save time 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 1-2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper

My portion

  • I had the amount up top with 2 tbsp of dressing. It was delicious but super filling; good and satisfying feeling though!

Instructions

  1. Start with the dressing. Combine lemon juice, shallots, garlic, olive oil, and pepper.
  2. In a container like a mason jar, a glass pyrex, or a tupperware layer the ingredients in the following order so avoid anything becoming soggy: 2-3 tbsp of dressing, cucumber, white beans, tomatoes, lentils, chick peas, black beans, cooked couscous, and feta.
  3. Refrigerate and when ready dump contents in a bowl and toss or mix in the container.

Snack 2 – Day 2

Banana Cookies

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Original recipe: http://www.theburlapbag.com/2012/07/2-ingredient-cookies-plus-the-mix-ins-of-your-choice/

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions 

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash bananas together with oats. Once all mashed add in chocolate chips and coconut.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop portion out cookies onto a greased baking sheet.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

My portion 

  • 1 cookie

Dinner – Day 2

Spaghetti squash with turkey tomato sauce with kale caesar salad 

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Ingredients 

  • Spaghetti squash (typically one spaghetti squash should feed two people, half a squash per person)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb Ground turkey
  • 1 container Prepared tomato sauce (or you can make your own, prepare just to save time)
  • 4 -5 Kale leaves
  • Prepare caesar dressing (like Renee’s I tried to make my own, it was super gross I will have to try a different recipe, or some things are just worth buying and not worth the hassle, you pick your battles)

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half and clean.
  3. Place spaghetti squash on baking sheet and brush with oil. Season with pepper. I will sometimes season with Epicure herb and garlic.
  4. Place in oven and cook until you can easily poke squash with a fork and flake into “noodles.” About 1 – 1 and 1/2 hours depending on the size of the squash.
  5. While squash is cooking, brown up your turkey meat. Once turkey meat is completely cooked add tomato sauce and allow to simmer until you are ready to serve.
  6. Remove kale from the stem of 4-5 kale leaves and rinse well. After drying add to a large bowl and combine with 3-4 tbsp of caesar dressing.
  7. When squash is done top with sauce and serve kale caesar salad.

My portion

  • 1 cup spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/4 cup kale
  • 1 tsp caesar dressing

 

Day 3 


 

Breakfast – Day 3 

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Whole grain toast with peanut butter

1 scrambled eggs with green onion, with feta

Sliced tomato with pepper and salt

Ingredients

  • 1 slice whole grain bread
  • 1/2 tsp butter/margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 green onion
  • 25 g feta
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • pepper and salt (very small amount of salt)
  • 1/2 cup mango

Instructions 

Mix in green onion and feta to scrambled raw egg and cook on skillet until cooked through.

Snack 1 – Day 3 

Coconut greek yogurt fruit popsicles 

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Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup mixed berries

Instructions 

  1. Mix together yogurt and milk in a bowl. Fold in berries and divide among 4 moulds. (If you do not have popsicle moulds you can use paper cups or the large ice cube trays).
  2. Place in freezer overnight. They will be ready to enjoy the next day.

Lunch – Day 3 

Greek yogurt egg salad sandwich 

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Recipe adapted from http://damndelicious.net/2013/02/17/greek-yogurt-egg-salad-sandwich-sundaysupper/

Ingredients 

  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup tomato
  • 1 tsp butter/margarine

Directions 

  1. Place eggs in a sauce pan with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
  2. After a minute of cooking at a full boil cover the eggs with a lid that provides a tight seal and remove from heat. Set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and peel
  3. In a large bowl mash together eggs, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and dill.
  4. Toast both pieces of bread. Spread butter/margarine evenly between both pieces. Layer bread with spinach, tomatoes and the egg mixture.

Dinner – Day 3 

Quinoa crusted chicken breast, with red cabbage and kale salad (prepare an extra plain chicken breast for lunch the next day

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Original recipes: http://www.foodfaithfitness.com/quinoa-chicken-recipe/

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup red or white quinoa
  • 1/2 cup grated goat cheese
  • 1 1/4 tsp italian seasoning (whenever a recipe calls for italian seasoning I just use Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup whole grain flour (if you want to make this gluten free just grind up some quinoa into flour)

My Portion 

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup red quinoa
  • 40 g goat cheese
  • 2/3 cup kale
  • 1/3 cup red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tsp dressing

Instructions 

  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil and add quinoa. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until fluffy and liquid has all absorbed.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Place the cooled cooked quinoa in a large shallow bowl with the goat cheese, italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. In a separate large shallow dish add one egg. And in a third large shallow dish add 1/4 cup whole grain flour.
  5. Line up your dishes with flour first, egg second, and quinoa mixture third. Dredge each chicken breast evenly in flour, then egg, and then quinoa mixture. Press chicken pretty firmly into the quinoa mixture in order to get it to stick.
  6. Place breast on baking sheet.
  7. Bake chicken until golden brown and crispy and chicken is fully cooked, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Kale and Cabbage salad

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Original recipe: http://greenlitebites.com/2013/01/kale-and-purple-cabbage-salad/

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3-4 kale leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups red cabbage
  • 1 cup carrot thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds

Instructions 

  1. Combine olive oil , whole grain mustard, apple cider vinegar, and honey.
  2. Remove kale from stem and wash. Cut red cabbage into thin strips. Combine kale, red cabbage, carrots, and sunflower seeds into a large bowl. Top with dressing and toss.

 

Day 4


 

Breakfast – Day 4

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3/4 cup breakfast cereal

1/2 cup 1% milk

1 cup berries

Lunch – Day 4 

Greek yogurt pesto chicken wrap 

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Original Recipe: http://damndelicious.net/2012/10/22/chicken-pesto-sandwich/

Ingredients

  • 1 shredded chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pesto (that is what the original recipe called for but really would have been fine with a 1/4 cup, a lot of calories in a half cup)
  • 1 whole grain tortilla
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 25 g sliced mozzarella

Instructions

  1. In a bowl combine chicken, pesto, and greek yogurt.
  2. Layer spinach, cheese, tomatoes, and chicken mixture on tortilla. Wrap and eat.

Snack 1 – Day 4

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Banana Cookie – from recipe made on day 2. Warm in microwave for 10 seconds.

Dinner – Day 4

Swedish meatballs with Turkey on egg noodles with roasted sweet peas. 

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Original recipe: http://www.thelondoner.me/2013/12/swedish-meatball-recipe.html

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp AP flour
  • 300 ml chicken stock (I also use an addition 100-200 ml chicken stock to keep the gravy from getting too thick as it sits because I do not add the heavy cream that the original recipe asks for)
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix together ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs, and parsley. For meat into round meatballs and place on a plate.
  2. Melt 3 tbsp of butter in skillet. When butter melts add meatballs to the skillet and cook until brown all over and fully cooked through. After meatballs are fully cooked place in the oven in an oven proof dish at 200 degrees to keep warm.
  3. There should be a small amount of drippings left in the skillet. Tilt you pan to the side in order to pool your drippings and add flour. Mix flour until you get a smooth paste. You may require more flour than 1 tbsp.
  4. Once you have your paste add chicken stock and stir. Increase heat slightly. After liquid has bubbles for a few minutes add mustard, worcester sauce, and honey. Once gravy has thickened pour sauce into a gravy boat. Serve with egg noodles, gravy and meatballs.

Roasted sugar peas

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups sugar peas
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place sugar peas in a large bowl. Mix canola oil, water and italian seasoning into a small bowl  and mix together.
  3. Pour over sugar peas and mix. The addition of water allows you use less oil and make it go a lot further.
  4. Place sugar peas on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and you can easily pierce with a fork. You still want them slightly al dente.

 

My portion

1/4 cup gravy,

1 cup sugar peas

1 1/2 cups noodles

4 turkey meatballs

“Learn to enjoy the cooking process”

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The Proper tools

Many emotions ran through my mind when I was first told that I was no longer allowed to exercise. When I got to the point of being able to think about the more superficial aspects of my condition, I started to worry about how I could possibly control my weight without any physical activity. I wrote a research paper in university on the relationship between diet and exercise.  After reviewing a number of studies it became clear that diet is the most effective treatment for weight loss. While exercise is necessary for weight maintenance and a number of important physiological adaptations it is not key for weight loss.

I confided in my family doctor about my concerns regarding my weight and she gave me the advice that I needed to learn to enjoy the cooking process. I pondered on this for a while. How was I going to begin to love cooking? I love the food network, and watching other people cook, but to cook for myself always felt like a chore. I began to notice that most of the chefs on the food network used Le Creuset cookware for all of their recipes. I wondered, if I had the proper tools would I start to enjoy the cooking process?

The classic excuses

My hesitations with purchasing Le Creuset included:

1. I was not a good enough cook to own such fancy and professional cookware.

2. The cookware is fairly expensive.

Lack of skill

For Christmas two years ago I asked my husband for a Le Creuset Round French Oven. I didn’t know where to start, but the French Oven seemed like a safe bet. My very generous husband not only got me the Round French Oven but a number of other items to start my collection. It was love at first use! To say I am obsessed with Le Creuset would be an understatement. Every single meal that I have used the cookware you would think a professional was involved. And trust me I am not a good cook by any means. If my meals can turn out then anybody can cook when using this amazing cookware. Hesitation number one was quickly debunked.

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Cost 

The next concern was the cost. Yes it is expensive, but trust me it is worth every penny! You will leave it to your grandchildren because it lasts forever.

If you can still not justify the hefty price, then sign up for Le Creuset emails. When they do have sales they are amazing! Currently, if you purchase any Le Creuset French Oven you will receive a 100 dollar gift card up until February 28, 2015. At Christmas they had the 12 days of Christmas and the sales were crazy good! On Black Friday they had buy one French Oven get one Free!

If you are still struggling with the cost you can try your luck at Le Creuset seconds. Places like Home Sense sell Le Creuset seconds. Seconds functionally have absolutely nothing wrong with them, but have some cosmetic damage. As a result of not meeting Le Creuset’s high standards, seconds can be purchased at a significantly reduced cost. I bought my braiser as a second, I have never been able to figure what is wrong with it. The main risk with buying a second is availability.

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The Essentials 

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Okay so we have determined that any excuses for not purchasing the most amazing cookware in the world of “I am not a good cook” or “It is way too expensive” is no longer warranted. Once you start collecting, it becomes an instant addiction. However, if you only have the space in your kitchen for a few items I will recommend my favourite pieces!

1. The French Oven

  • This is the perfect tool for one pot meals from roast chicken to stews and soups.

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2. The Braiser

  • Well it is obviously great for braising, but I use it for so many recipes and techniques other than braising. I use it often for roasting chicken and even making sauces. This is what I love about Le Creuset cookware, it is so versatile. One girl told me she made cinnamon buns in her braiser.

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3. The Square Skillet

  • I just received this item for Christmas and it very quickly made my favourites list. This item is a great way to BBQ indoors!

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4. The Mini Round Cocottes 

  • I had wanted these adorable little pots forever, but I wasn’t sure if I would actually use them. I use them all the time! They are great for portion control and making individual meals. I have made everything from creme brûlée, to french onion soup, to mini meatloafs.

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Colour

So you have decided to take the big step and you are going to collect Le Creuset.  You now have to make the tough decision of what colour to go with. I started collecting red. I was drawn to white or teal, but decided on red for a few reasons. First red and orange are the two colours that Le Creuset will always have. Since I plan on collecting pieces for a while I can always guarantee that I can get my pieces in red. Even though they have had colours like blue around for a number of years it is not a stock colour, therefore it could all of a sudden not be available. I also decided on red because every item that they sell will be available in red. Some items are not available in all of the colours, such as the really large Round French Ovens.

Another option is to be colourful and not go with one single colour. I so wish I had thought of this when I started! I think we can all agree that we love the Pioneer Woman, Ree  Drummond, she is just amazing and honestly a bit of an inspiration to me starting this blog. She does not have one single colour for her cookware, but each Le Creuset dish is a different colour! Genius! So Rainbow is your other option. Or you could pick two colours like teal and red. There are no limits or rules!

I am not paid by Le Creuset, Le Creuset cookware has just been key in developing my love for cooking.

Week 1 – Meal plan

Week 1 – Meal Plan


 

If you are following along and adopting my meal plans please be aware that everyone’s nutritional needs are very individual. For those who are quite active you may require more calories, along with a varied macronutrient and micronutrient composition in your diet. But please feel free to use and be inspired by my meal plans.


 

For this journey I am utilizing a diet analysis program that I have used in the past. After updating my profile to make adjustments for my new (non-existent) fitness level these were the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) that were recommended:

Total daily Kilocalories: 1733

Protein (g): 72.57

Carbohydrate (g): 191.0 – 276.0

Fat, total (g): 37.0 – 66.0

Omega-6 fatty acid (g): 12

Omega-3 fatty acid (g): 1.1

Dietary Fiber, total (g): 25

Water (g): 2700 that is 10.8 cups per day or 86.4 fl oz

The nutrient breakdown of my 4 day meal plan

Kcal

Total

Breakfast

Snack 1

Lunch

Snack 2

Dinner

Day 1

1652

386

193

416

0

649

Day 2

1729

289

228

315

88

805

Day 3

1519

349

86

358

147

575

Day 4

1681

443

66

334

0

522

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Proteins (g)

85.42

85.58

88.78

81.77

Carbohydrates (g)

168.01

168.71

161.17

124.82

Fats (g)

82.48

83.35

75.06

64.49

Omega 6 (g)

11.82

13.47

13.77

7.93

Omega 3 (g)

1.05

0.98

0.95

1.26

Dietary Fiber (g)

37.66

2.74

31.62

29.7

Dietary Lows (anything less than 50% of DIV) Vitamin D 3.12 µg Vitamin D 2.87 µg, Potassium 2345.76 mg, Vitamin D 3.76 µg Vitamin D 3.56 µg, Thiamin 0.51 mg, calcium 323.6 mg

* Recommended daily intake for Vitamin D 15 µg, Potassium 4700 mg, Thiamin 1.1 mg, Calcium 1000 mg


Day 1

Breakfast – Day 1

Spinach, feta, and sundried tomato scramble

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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp 1% milk
  • 25 g feta
  • 1 cup of mixed berries
  • 1 slice of whole grain toast
  • 1 tsp of margarine or butter
  • 1 cup of tea

Directions

  1. Dice up sun-dried tomatoes and chop spinach (I left the spinach whole but it would work best to chop it up a bit).
  2. Sautee the sun-dried tomatoes in a frying pan along with the spinach for a minute, until the spinach cooks down. Remove into a separate bowl and off the heat immediately.
  3. In another bowl mix together the egg, and the milk. Add the egg mixture to the spinach and feta.
  4. Crumble the feta into the egg mixture and gently stir all together. Add to the frying pan on medium low heat and cook through.
  5. In the meantime toast one piece of whole grain and add 1 tsp of butter or margarine. Also prepare and wash one cup of mixed berries.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

 

Snack – Day 1

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  • 1 apple sliced
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup of tea

 Lunch – Day 1

Avocado and white bean wrap with cabbage and carrot slaw

inspired by http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/creamy_avocado_white_bean_wrap.html

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Ingredients  

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 2 cups Shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can white beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp red onion minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 whole wheat tortillas

Directions

  1. Combine together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and grainy mustard.
  2. Slice red cabbage and carrots into thin strips and place in a medium bowl. Mix slaw with dressing and set aside.
  3. In another medium bowl mash together the avocado and white beans. Once mashed fold in the red onions and cheddar cheese.
  4. To assemble place avocado mixture on whole grain wrap and spread out. Then top with slaw. Fold up and enjoy.

My portion size

  • 1 Tortilla
  • 1 cup slaw
  • 1/2 cup avocado mixture.
  • 12 ounces of water

Dinner – Day 1

Italian sausage and quinoa stuff acorn squash with tahini sauce

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Ingredients 

Stuffed acorn squash 

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • onion powder
  • pepper
  • 2 mild italian sausage
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (red)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  1. Set oven to 400 °F.
  2. Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds. I like to cook my acorn squash face up not face down so I cut the bottom of the squash so it will lay flat on the baking sheet in the oven.
  3. Brush the top of each acorn squash with olive oil. Season with onion powder and pepper. Place squash in the oven. Cook until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork, approximately 30 minutes.
  4. While acorn squash is in the oven, begin cooking the quinoa. It is always a 2:1 ratio when cooking quinoa. Pour vegetable broth along with quinoa into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once the broth reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Usually the instructions say 15 minutes but for red quinoa I find it takes a bit longer.
  5. While quinoa is simmering cook the sausage. Once sausage is fully cooked remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl.
  6. Begin to sautee the pepper and onion. Once the pepper and onion are almost done cooking add the spinach, it will cook down very quickly.
  7. Add quinoa and vegetables to the bowl with the sausage and mix together.
  8. Stuff each cooked acorn with the filling and top with shredded mozzarella. Place back into the oven under the broiler until the cheese browns.
  9. Serve and enjoy.

 Tahini sauce

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  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp of pureed roasted garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp parsley

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients together and serve over stuffed squash.

*Note – Breakfast for Day 2 needs to be prepared the night before


Day 2

Breakfast – Day 2

Overnight steel cut oats

inspired by http://lovelylittlekitchen.com/overnight-steel-cut-oatmeal-plus-mix-ideas/

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Ingredients 

  •   1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  •   1/2 cup coconut milk
  •   1/2 cup steel cut oats
    •   1 tbsp honey
    •   2/3 cup mixed berries

Directions

  1. Mix together the yogurt, milk, oats, honey, and mixed berries in medium bowl.
  2. Divide evenly among three containers and place in the fridge  overnight.
  3. Top with some more berries in the morning or just enjoy straight out of the fridge.

 

 

Snack 1 – Day 2 

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  • 1 cup mango (works out to half a mango)
  • 1 wedge laughing cow cheese
  • 1 slice whole grain toast

Lunch  – Day 2

Mediterranean wrap 

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Ingredients 

  • 1 Tortilla
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1 tbsp tzatziki
  • 25 g feta
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup cucumber
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes
  • olives (optional)

Directions 

  1. Assemble wrap by spreading hummus and tzatziki. Layer with spinach, feta, cucumber and tomatoes.
  2. Roll up and enjoy

Snack 2 – Day 2 

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1 cup sugar peas

2 cups popcorn

Dinner – Day 2

Watermelon, beet and goat cheese salad with grilled chicken

I am sharing with you one of my favourite recipes that I invented. The key to this recipe is to have the beets nice and warm and the watermelon really cold when you assemble the salad. I know watermelon in a salad sounds disgusting but trust me it is amazing!

I usually put all the components of the salad out and have everyone assemble their own. That way if someone is leery of watermelon they do not have to add a lot.

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Serves: 5

Salad

  • 5 large beets (peeled and cut into cubes)
  • 4-5 chicken breast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 9-10 cups spinach
  • Half a mini watermelon cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (needed to increase my Omega 6 total)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (divided)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp onion powder

My portion size

Salad

  • 1/2 cup beets (peeled and cut into cubes)
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup watermelon cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp toasted walnuts
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds (needed to increase my Omega 6 total)
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

*Note It may make life a lot easier to prepare the chicken for meal 4 on this day as well. The chicken does not need to be warm for the summer rolls.

  1. Set oven to 375 °F Peel and cut beets into cubes. Mix beets with 1 tbsp of the sunflower oil. Spread on cookie sheet and cook for 30 minutes or until beets can easily be pierced with a fork.
  2. Brush chicken with the remaining tbsp of the sunflower oil and season with pepper and onion powder.
  3. I like to grill them in my cast iron on the stove top first and then finish cooking them in the oven at 375°F for about 25 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170°F. If you do not have a cast iron grill you can place the chicken directly in the
  4. While the beets and the chicken are cooking prepare the dressing. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. When Beets and chicken are almost done cooking, place the walnuts and the sunflower seeds in the oven to roast for only 2-3 minutes.
  6. Once the chicken and the beets are fully cooked, and the seeds and nuts have toasted you can assemble your salad.  Start with the spinach, add beets, watermelon, goat cheese, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and chicken. Top with dressing and enjoy.

Day 3

Breakfast – Day 3

Three ingredient banana pancakes

I have seen this recipe a few times on Pinterest and was always curious if it would actually work. Surprisingly Yes it does work and it was actually really good and filling. Original recipe can be found at http://www.recipebyphoto.com/3-ingredient-pancakes/

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  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp butter/margarine
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup mixed berries

1. Mash the banana with a fork really well.

2. Combine the mashed banana, two eggs and cinnamon together.

3. Cook on stove top at medium to low heat. Make sure pan is hot enough when pouring the batter to make sure it does not spread out too far.

  • For these pancakes it is easier to make them on the smaller side. It was a bit harder to handle and flip them compared to a classic pancake.
  • These pancakes will not bubble in the centre like a classic pancake, instead watch the sides of the batter you will begin to see it cook. Once it has cooked around the edges on the top that is when you can flip the pancake.

4. Once cooked top with butter/margarine, maple syrup and berries and enjoy!

Snack 1 – Day 3 

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  • 1/2 cup carrot sticks
  • 1/2 cup sugar peas
  • 2 tbsp hummus

Lunch – Day 3 

Caprese salad

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/4 bocconcini

Dressing 

  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  1. Combine together cucumber, cherry tomatoes, spinach, avocado and bocconcini.
  2. For the dressing whisk together balsamic vinegar, sunflower oil, honey and dried basil.
  • At first I did not like this dressing. Using sunflower oil instead of extra virgin oil definitely gives a very different taste, but I became obsessed with it by the time I finished my salad.

3. Drizzle dressing over salad and bon appetite!

Snack 2 – Day 3

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  • 6 oz Vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup blueberries

Dinner – Day 3

Toasted coconut cod with pomegranate salsa, kale and coconut rice 

Recipe inspired by http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/01/toasted-coconut-tilapia-with-pomegranate-salsa/

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  • 2 filets of cod
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tsp salsa spices
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups kale washed and chopped up

Cod

  1. To cook rice I use the rice cooker. Replace the amount of water you would normally use with coconut milk.
  2. Toast coconut on medium-low heat.
  3. Season cod on both sides with pepper and lemon juice.
  4. In a cast iron skillet or non stick frying pan add coconut oil. Once melted add filets. *BE CAREFUL the oil spit everywhere when I put the cod in! I would have liked that warning for myself, may have ruined one of my favourite shirts.
  5. Wait until the sides of the cod begin to go opaque, approximately 3-4 minutes. Flip the filet and immediately add toasted coconut. Coconut will adhere to cod.
  6. Once cod is fully cooked (flakes easily) remove from skillet and top with pomegranate salsa.

Salsa

  1. To make salsa combine cherry tomatoes, red onion, pomegranate seeds, lime juice, and orange juice. I also added 2 tsp of epicure salsa spice mixture.

Kale

  1. To prepare the kale season the frying pan with a tbsp of canola oil, the onion powder and pepper. I also added some lemon juice because there was some left.
  2. Add kale and cook in frying pan on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until kale softens a bit and cooks down.

My portions

  • 1 cod filet
  • 1/2 cup cooked coconut rice
  • 1 cup kale

Day 4

Breakfast – Day 4

Avocado with baked egg and salsa

This is another recipe that I have seen in many different forms and I was always curious if it would work and yes it does, but there are a few tricks.

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Ingredients 

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp salsa
  • 2 tsp shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
  2. Cut avocado in half and remove the pit.
  3. This is where one of my first fails happened. You really need to carve out a large area for the egg to sit in. You can see in the first picture the right has been carved out but the left hasn’t, just so you can see the difference. However, the left side was still not big enough and some of the egg spilled over. It wasn’t the end of the world it still worked out fine, just a bit messy.
  4. Crack egg into the avocado hole and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and pepper.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Take out add salsa and enjoy. You may want to add a slice of toast to spread the mixture on but it is good on its own.

Snack 1 – Day 4

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  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup cucumber
  • 2 tbsp Tzatziki
  • I had 1 cup of cucumber for my own snack, it was way too much cucumber! I also had this snack with my lunch.

Lunch – Day 4

Tuna sandwich with leftover pomegranate salsa

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Ingredients 

  • 50 g tuna
  • 1 tbsp mayo
  • 1 tbsp green onion
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate salsa (from the night before)
  • 2 slices toasted whole grain bread
  • 2 tsp butter/margarine
  • a few spinach leaves
  • pepper

Directions 

  1. In a bowl finely flake tuna with a fork. Add mayo, green onion, lemon juice, and leftover salsa in a medium bowl and mix together.
  2. spread 1 tsp of butter/margarine on each piece of toast. Place a layer of spinach on one piece. Spoon tuna mixture on top of spinach. Sprinkle with pepper and dig in!

Dinner – Day 4

Chicken, avocado, mango summer rolls 

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Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced mango
  • 1/4 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/2 sliced avocado
  • 4 halved green onions
  • 1 oz vermicelli noodles
  • Rice paper wraps
  • Peanut satay sauce (I just bought one)

Instructions

  1. Prepare all the components for the inside of the summer roll and place them all on a cutting board close by to make assembly easy.
  2. Vermicelli noodles cook very quickly, be careful to not let them over cook.
  3. Once you have all components for the summer rolls prepared grab a casserole dish that is big enough you can lay the rice paper sheets into it flat. Fill the casserole dish with warm water deep enough to cover the rice paper.
  4. Let the rice paper soak for 5 seconds and then place it on a flat surface. The water will transform the texture of the rice paper to the more familiar consistency of a summer roll.
  5. Lay a few pieces of spinach followed by mango, avocado, chicken, carrots, green onion and finally some vermicelli noodles. Be careful to not over stuff the roll it will make it difficult to roll it properly.
  6. Once all the components are layered on you want to fold the roll like a burrito.
  7. Continue this process until you have either used up all your components or you have made enough for your family.
  8. Serve with peanut satay sauce and enjoy.

My portion – I had two rolls and a 2 tsp of dip