Cooking trick #4

Cooking trick #4

Saving Time With Thyme

Sorry, I have my dad’s sense of humour!

Maybe it is just me, but working with fresh thyme always use to be such a headache! Trying to remove all of the tiny little leaves was messy and tedious. I cannot remember which show it was that changed my life, but I finally discovered the trick to removing thyme leaves from the stem! Start at the top of the stem and surround your fingers around the thyme. Gently pull your fingers down the stem, going against the direction of the individual leaves. The thyme leaves will all remove perfectly into your hand without any hassle!

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Thyme
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Surround your fingers at the top of the thyme stem. (Good thing my nail polish is all chipped! and this is a horrible angle of my hand. It was difficult trying to take these pictures on my own!)
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Pull your fingers down the stem, against the direction that the leaves are growing.
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You should have all the leaves sitting neatly in your hand.
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You can clear off the thyme leaves in just seconds this way!

Week 11

Week 11 Meal Plan

Grocery List for week 11


Nutritional Analysis

Kcal

Total

Breakfast

Snack 1

Lunch

Snack 2

Dinner

Day 1

1499

339

0

394

210

556

Day 2

1745

535

0

635

215

360

Day 3

1534

371

0

513

0

650

Day 4

1107

261

0

282

0

564

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Proteins (g)

80.68

59.87

73.45

63.98

Carbohydrates (g)

155.86

189.07

174.94

128.91

Fats (g)

78.31

88.15

75.49

40.76

Omega 6 (g)

4.53

3.39

5.3

4.91

Omega 3 (g)

1.24

2.08

1.98

0.4

Dietary Fiber (g)

18.67

23.82

24.26

21.5

Water (ounces)

100

80

70

70

Steps

5,000

3,600

4,600

Forgot to wear it
Dietary Lows (anything less than 50% of DIV) Vitamin D 4.94 µg, potassium 2036.92 mg B12 0.63 µg, Vitamin D 1.23 µg, Vitamin E 7.08 mg,  Potassium 1942.87 mg Vitamin D 2.85 µg, Potassium 2063.96 Vitamin B12 0.89 µg, Folate, 146.17 µg, Vitamin D 2.11 µg, Calcium 433.62 mg, Iron 8.65 mg, potassium 1996, 52 mg

* My recommended intake based of my sedentary lifestyle 

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

  • 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.

 

Day 1 


 

Breakfast 

Baked eggs with sautéed swiss chard, feta, and pearl onions

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Thoughts: I loved this dish! How can you go wrong with the holy trinity of food as your foundation: butter, onions & garlic! With browned salty feta to top it all off! This is one dish I would definitely make again. I feel a bit lame when I rate my own recipes with a 5/5 because it seems biased, but I am definitely giving this dish a 5/5!

Ingredients (this was my portion)

  • 2 cups washed and chopped swiss chard
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup pearl onions or 6-8 pearl onions, outside skin removed
  • 20 g feta
  • 2 eggs

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add whole pearl onions and minced garlic. Cook until onions are golden brown and garlic is fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add swiss chard to the pan and sauté until chard is nice and tender.
  4. Transfer chard mixture to a small oven proof dish. Evenly spread the mixture and top with feta cheese.
  5. Crack each egg and placing on top of the feta and swiss chard, careful not to break the yolk.
  6. Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes or until eggs are done to your likeness. Top with salt and pepper, enjoy!

Snack – 3/4 cup McDonalds vanilla ice cream 

Thoughts: I promised that I would be honest during this journey. I did not plan to have this. Charley was having a play date with her cousin. We went to gymnastics, the library, and then to be the fun mom and auntie I took the girls to McDonalds. I didn’t order anything. After the lunch, wanting to make the day extra special, I asked if the girls wanted ice cream knowing full well that the excitement of receiving the prospective ice cream was more exhilarating than actually eating it. Sure enough after Charley had 2 bites she lost interest. I couldn’t just throw it out, that would be such a waste of money. So the only reasonable thing to do was eat it! That is my very long-winded excuse for why I had McDonalds ice cream!

On a side note: McHappy Day is Wednesday May 6th! If you are going to eat McDonalds please do so on this day. As many of you know the Ronald McDonald house is near and dear to my family! This is the only time on my blog that I will encourage everyone to eat McDonalds.

On May 6th, $1 from every Big Mac sandwich, happy meal and hot McCafe beverage sold will go to support amazing organizations like the Ronald McDonald House. This is the one day of the year you can enjoy McDonalds guilt free!

Lunch 

Leftover pulled pork sandwich on a pretzel bun

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Thoughts: I had some pork left over from Sunday night that I needed to use up. I had prepared the pork, for pulled pork nachos (super healthy!) for game 3 of Calgary vs Vancouver! For years I was a loyal Canucks fan. I do not know what it is, but I am really pulling for the flames this year! After living in Calgary now for as long as I have, I have finally made the transition to a flames fan! Sorry Canucks! It’s funny, I also lived in Edmonton for a number of years, but I NEVER felt any twinge of loyalty to the Oilers. Anyways, back to food!

Pulled pork is so amazing for leftovers because it is so versatile, and can be used in numerous dishes like nachos, fajitas, pizza the list goes on! I love pulled pork! Pulled pork sandwiches are a go to in our house. Hands down any dish with pulled pork, including this amazing sandwich is a 5/5!

Ingredients (this was my portion)

  • 60g leftover pulled pork (you could also just use deli ham, but portion would vary)
  • 1/2 tsp butter/margarine
  • 1 tsp bbq sauce
  • 20 g cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • 1 small tomato sliced
  • 1 pretzel bun

Instructions 

  1. Warm pulled pork. Also warm bun by toasting in oven with butter/margarine for only 1-2 minutes, you don’t want two croutons!
  2. Spread bbq sauce on bun or mix into pulled pork.
  3. Layer cheddar, then pork, spinach and tomatoes and the bun. Dig in!

Dinner 

Almond-crusted honey dijon tilapia with creamy amaranth 

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Thoughts: This was pretty tasty. Jord really liked this dish. It was not my favourite fish recipe so far. I could not find the Blue Diamond Honey Dijon Almonds. I think if I was able to find the almonds it would have totally made the dish! I am not sure if you can only get them in the States. If anyone can find them please let me know. I would love to try this dish again with the right ingredients. 4/5.

Original recipe – http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2015/04/14/almond-crusted-honey-dijon-tilapia-creamy-polenta-recipe/

Ingredients 

Tilapia

  • 4 6-oz tilapia filets, patted dry
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour (I used whole grain, whole wheat)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 cup Blue Diamond Honey Dijon Almonds  (I could not find this flavour, not sure if you can only get it in the states)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Amaranth

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cup dry amaranth
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp plain greek yogurt (or milk or cream)

Honey mustard sauce

  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey

Roasted asparagus

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place tilapia on a dry work surface and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle fish with flour on both sides.
  3. In a shallow plate mix together 1 egg, 2 tsp dijon, 1 tbsp honey, and 1 tbsp water. Whisk well.
  4. In a food processor, add 1 cup of almonds. Pulse until ground. Add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and pulse to combine with the almonds. Add mixture to a shallow dish.
  5. Coat each filet in the egg mixture. Then dip it in the almond mixture, pressing gently to ensure that the fish is evenly coated.
  6. Place fish on a baking sheet that is coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the almond crust is beautifully browned and the fish flakes with a fork.
  7. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan prepare the amaranth by bringing chicken stock and dry mustard to a boil. Slowly add amaranth and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. (start to check the grain as you get close to the 20 minute make to make sure that the liquid hasn’t all evaporated and burned the grain on the bottom of the saucepan.
  8. You want the asparagus in the oven for the last 5-7 minutes that the fish is cooking. Simply mix prepared asparagus spears with oil, salt, and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Place in the 400 degree oven.
  9. Once amaranth has finished cooking add the parmesan, oregano, salt and yogurt.
  10. While amaranth is cooking, prepare the sauce. Add 1/3 cup dijon, Worcestershire, thyme, and vinegar to a small sauce pan. Stir together and cook until hot.
  11. Serve the tilapia over the amaranth, with roasted asparagus spears.

 

Day 2 


Breakfast 

Vegan whole wheat chia waffles 

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Thoughts: I am NOT vegan! But this recipe looking interesting so I thought I would give it a try. AMAZING!!! I am already craving this again. I do not know why it was so good, but I cannot wait to make it again! If it is saturday morning and you are out of groceries you can make this entire recipe from out of your pantry. These waffles were wonderfully fluffy and the coconut flavour was subtle but provided a lovely sweet element. 5/5!

Original recipe: http://www.veganfamilyrecipes.com/2015/01/vegan-whole-wheat-waffles.html

My portion 

1 waffle, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 cup berries

Ingredients 

  • 1 3/4 cup whole grain whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 chia eggs (2 tbsp chia seeds, 6 tbsp water)
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil

Instructions 

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. To make chia eggs mix seeds with water in a small bowl and set aside. All to gel for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  4. Add remaining wet ingredients to mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
  5. Pour waffle batter onto waffle iron and bake according to your preferred doneness. I usually have ours set to 4. Usually 2 1/2 – 3 minutes.
  6. Serve with maple syrup, and fruit.

Lunch 

Kale & Beet pesto pizza 

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Thoughts: I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while, but my hesitation was how long it would take to prepare the beet pesto. Yes it does take some time, but I prepared my beets, threw them in the oven and forgot about them for about an hour and went to do other chores. Once the beets are prepared everything else can be prepared very quickly! I feel like I do not even need to say this was amazing, the picture speaks for itself! No question, 5/5!

If you know you want to prepare this pizza later in the week but you will not have time to prepare the pesto, make the pesto a few days ahead and keep it in the refrigerator. You can prepare a healthy dinner in half an hour or less. (I found my pizza only took 15 minutes to cook).

Original recipe: http://www.theroastedroot.net/beet-pesto-pizza-kale-goat-cheese/

My portion 

2 slices of pizza, (1/4 of the pizza)

Ingredients 

Beet pesto

  • 1 cup red beets, chopped and roasted (I used 2 large beets, because beets reduce down so much after being roasted, I definitely had more than needed, but I am fine with that)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roasted (I forgot to roast and just threw them in, tasted fine)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Pizza

  • 1 prepare thin pizza crust (you can also make your own, but I like to save time)
  • 1 cup beet pesto
  • 2 cups kale leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 ounces goat cheese

Instructions 

Beet pesto

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut beets into cubes and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix beets with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place in oven and cook for about 45 minutes, or until the beets are soft and can be pierced with a fork.
  4. Allow beets to cool completely (I didn’t put them in hot, but they were still warm).
  5. Add all the ingredients except the oil (beets, garlic, walnuts, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice) to the food processor. Pulse several times.
  6. Leave food processor running and slowly add oil until all the ingredients are well combined. If pesto is too thick for your blender add a small amount of water until desired consistency is reached.

Pizza

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
  2. Spread beet pesto over pizza crust (if you are making your own crust, make sure you cook the dough before adding the toppings).
  3. Add kale leaves on top of pesto, followed by mozzarella and goat cheese.
  4. Bake pizza 20-25 minutes or to desired crispness.
  5. Allow pizza to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Snack

Half a banana loaf from Starbucks. You would think that I would have learned my lesson from less than 24 hours ago, but I didn’t. I ordered Charley a slice of banana bread from Starbucks, thinking it is probably one of the more healthy options. She ate half and I ended up eating the other half. One slice of banana loaf is a shocking 430 kcal! Banana loaf is one of the highest kcal pastry treats at Starbucks! The cheese croissant is almost 100 calories less! So ya, not going to make that mistake again!

Dinner 

Asian lettuce wraps 

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Thoughts: My friend Janelle sent me this scrumptious recipe! I love lettuce wraps, so I enjoy trying new recipes. The sauce for this recipe is not elaborate, only hoisin and soy sauce. I wasn’t sure how flavourful it would be, but oh man the onions, garlic, and ginger provide the most wonderful flavour to these wraps! I did add couscous because I like to have some sort of starch. I also added a tsp of rice vinegar to each wrap instead of extra hoisin for sauce. These were super tasty and I would definitely make this version of lettuce wraps again! Thanks for sharing Janelle 5/5!  Today was an epic day, perfect scores for every meal!

Original recipe: http://apple-of-my-eye.com/2014/07/24/healthy-asian-lettuce-wraps/

My portion 

2 wraps: 2 pieces of butter lettuce, 1 cup chicken mixture, 1/2 cup whole grain couscous, 8 shredded slices of carrot, 1 tbsp chopped peanuts, 1 tbsp green onion, 2 tsp rice vinegar

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I used extra lean ground chicken)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, diced
  • 3/4 cup water chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 5 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • butter lettuce, washed and dried
  • shredded carrots
  • roughly chopped peanuts
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped green onion
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup couscous

Instructions 

  1. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Add in ground chicken and cook until no longer pink. Set aside on a separate plate.
  2. In the same pan, cook onion, garlic, and ginger until golden brown and fragrant. Add the meat back into the pan along with the chopped water chestnuts.
  3. Stir in hoisin sauce and say sauce. Cook everything together for a few minutes.
  4. Prepare couscous according to package instructions.
  5. Scoop couscous onto 1 piece of butter lettuce. Top with chicken mixture, carrots, green onion, peanuts, and sesame seeds. The original recipe said you can top with extra hoisin sauce, I topped with a tsp of rice vinegar.

Day 3 


 

Breakfast 

Beet pesto on toast with basil and goat cheese scrambled eggs

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Thoughts: I had lots of left over beet pesto from the pizza yesterday. I tried to find other ways to use the pesto and came up with this. I really enjoyed this meal. It was a bit rich for breakfast, but I am lame, I could have cereal every morning. 4/5.

Ingredients (my portion) 

  • 1 slice whole grain toast
  • 1/2 tbsp beet pesto
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 g goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 cup fruit

Instructions 

  1. Scramble eggs with cheese and basil. Cook in frying pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, on medium-low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, toast bread. Once bread is toasted spread leftover beet pesto from the day before. Top with cooked eggs and serve with fruit.

Lunch 

Gruyere and chicken crepe with truffle mushroom sauce 

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Thoughts: OH MY GOODNESS! I am going to be the absolute opposite of humble right now, I apologize! This dish was spectacular!!! And I CREATED IT!!!! I was completely shocked when I tried the first bite…. what I made this?!!! Jamie Oliver had nothing to do with this dish?!!! Sorry I know that I am being totally conceited right now, but I was so impressed. This blog has been so therapeutic for me and has helped me stretch and grow in ways that I never expected! I should clarify that the actual crepe recipe is not my own, but the filling is my own creation.

Before this blog I would have called myself a recipe follower, not a cook. I would never go into the kitchen and just experiment. With my scientific background the thought of experimenting without following a precise method, using precise ingredients and measurements stressed me out. I also felt like I was not a good enough cook to play around with ingredients. In the past couple of weeks I have been feeling more convicted to stop following recipes and try to create some of my own. This dish was such an affirmation that I have really grown as a cook since starting my journey (or most likely it is just the truffle oil, one of those ingredients that makes everything taste amazing)! I have officially graduated from my days of preparing at least 5 out 7 meals a week with canned mushroom soup. I humbly (I hope you can detect my sarcasm) give my recipe a 1000000000 x infinity/5! 

Side note: I made an extra crepe for my husband to take to work the next day and he said it was absolutely amazing! He encouraged me to stop following recipes and start doing my own thing. He said his favourite recipes, are often the ones that I have created. Thanks Love! One step at a time, he may very quickly regret that idea! But it is definitely a encouragement.

My portion 

1 crepe

30 g chicken breast

20 g gruyere cheese

1/4 cup mushroom sauce

1 1/2 cup spinach salad

1 tbsp dressing

Ingredients 

Crepes

  • 60 g all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (I use 1% milk)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp melted butter, cooled

Filling

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, halved
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp truffle oil, white
  • 20 g gruyere cheese

Instructions

  1. For the crepes mix together flour, salt, eggs, milk, honey, and butter in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium heat and add canola oil. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are reduced and tender. About 2-3 minutes.
  3. While mushrooms are cooking, mix together worcestershire sauce, honey, vinegar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add liquid mixture to pan with the mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until sauce thickens. Just before removing sauce from the pan, add truffle oil. Mix and remove sauce from heat and place in a separate bowl.
  4. In the same frying pan cook crepes. Heat frying to medium-low heat, closer to low.  Pour 1/3 cup crepe batter into frying pan, and spread batter so it covers the entire bottom of the pan.
  5. Allow crepe to cook for about 1 minute and then flip. Cook the other side for the same amount of time. Place crepe on a separate plate. Repeat step 4 and 5 until all the batter is used up. I made 3 crepes with this recipe.
  6. Place gruyere on half of crepe, topped with cooked chicken breast, and mushroom truffle sauce. Fold crepe in half.
  7. I placed my crepe back in the frying pan just to melt the cheese.
  8. Serve with a simple green salad and top with more mushroom sauce if you desire.

Dinner 

Chicken & Sweet Potato Enchiladas 

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Thoughts:  This recipe was okay. Don’t get me wrong it was very tasty, but it was just a classic enchilada dish. I didn’t really notice the sweet potato with everything else going on in the filling. There was nothing new or life changing with this recipe. If you are in the mood for just some classic Mexican comfort food then I would recommend this recipe. I am not sure if I would make it again. I give this recipe a 3.5/5.

Original recipe: http://www.thecookierookie.com/sweet-potato-enchiladas/

My portion 

1 1/2 enchiladas

2 tbsp plain greek yogurt

1/4 cup avocado

1/4 cup tomatoes

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups salsa verde
  • 2 cups shredded or cubed chicken, cooked
  • 2 cooked sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 can yellow corn kernels, drained and rinsed (I prefer to use frozen veggies instead of canned when you don’t have fresh available, I used 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided (I didn’t add cilantro)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mexican blend cheese, divided
  • 8-12 whole grain whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (optional, used up my sour cream for playoff nachos, so I used plain greek yogurt)

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pour 1 cup salsa verde in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix together cooked sweet potatoes, cooked chicken, beans, corn, onion, cilantro, and spices.
  4. Assemble enchiladas by laying a tortilla on a flat surface and spoon a 1/4 cup of the enchilada filling in the centre of the tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp cheese. Roll tortilla and place seam side down onto prepared baking dish.
  5. Continue step 5 for the remaining tortillas.
  6. Top the prepared enchiladas with remaining salsa, and another 3/4 cup of shredded cheese.
  7. Bake enchiladas in oven until bubbly and golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. I turned the broiler on for a couple of minutes at the end to get cheese nice and golden.
  8. Top with avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream if you desire. Serve.

 

Day 4 


 

Breakfast 

Pumpkin pie oatmeal 

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Thoughts: This was a super fun breakfast! It was quick and easy to prepare. And as promised, it tasted just like pumpkin pie. I found it was a bit too thick so I added some almond milk on top of my portion, along with some pure maple syrup, it was heaven! I would definitely make this recipe again. It took like 5 minutes from prep to eating! 5/5!  

Original recipe: http://www.thecookierookie.com/pumpkin-pie-oatmeal/

My portion 

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups 1-minute oats
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and I added an extra 3/4 cup milk. I do not like thick oatmeal).
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp light-brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Topping options: butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, cool whip topping (caloric intake for these toppings was not considered, I did not add these toppings).

Instructions 

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, combine together oats, milk, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  2. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. (For thinner oatmeal add more milk, for a thicker consistency add less).
  3. Allow to rest for 1 minutes and serve hot and add desired toppings (being aware that toppings means more calories). I did add a 1/2 tbsp maple syrup.

Lunch 

Curried chickpea tomato soup 

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Thoughts: This recipe was sent to me from my friend Tamara. I don’t know why but when I read the recipe I was not that excited about it. I thought there would not be a lot of flavour, again I do not know why I thought that. I am also not a huge chickpea fan.

OH MY GOODNESS! This is why I love this blog! If Tamara had not personally sent me this recipe, and vouched for how good it was, I would have never tried it. I would totally be missing out! This soup was packed with flavour! It was very savoury and super delicious, with all those classic flavours that you hope a curry dish would have! So thank you very much for sharing this recipe with me Tamara! If I had found it on my own I probably would have skipped over it! 5/5!

I would be tempted to try coconut greek yogurt next time instead of just plain greek yogurt. I think it would be a great addition.

Original recipe: http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2012/02/21/curried-chickpea-tomato-soup/

My portion – 2 cups soup (I probably would have been fine with 1 1/2 cups soup, I was surprisingly super full after 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 can (19 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp curry paste, or to taste (I ended up using 2 tsp green curry)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (I used dry it was fine)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups (1L) chicken stock
  • 1 can (19 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh lime wedges

Instructions 

  1. In a pot, on medium-high heat, sauté the onions until they start to turn golden.
  2. Add chickpeas, rosemary, and garlic along with red pepper flakes.
  3. Spoon half the chickpea mixture into a bowl and mash roughly with a fork.
  4. Add chicken stock, tomatoes and curry paste to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
  5. Add yogurt and peanut butter. Use a hand-held immersion blender and puree the soup until smooth.
  6. Stir in crushed chickpeas, add salty and pepper to taste and serve with a squeeze of lime. I found this soup did not need salt and pepper.

Dinner 

Cuban mojo marinated pork, with mint and lime corn on the cob and coconut rice 

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Note: The pork dish is not a complicated recipe, but it is a big time investment! Pork needs to be marinated the night before (I did not realize that so I had to adjust my meal plan). And it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to cook. If you are planning on preparing this dish just be aware of the time and plan accordingly. 

Thoughts: Another recipe from The Food Charlatan. She should really change the name of her blog to the Pork Queen! Both my husband and I really enjoyed this dish. The pork was so tender and the crust on the pork was amazing. However, I think I may have over cooked mine a little bit, I probably should have pulled it out of the oven like 10 even 15 minutes earlier.

I also thought the flavours of the marinade did not infuse the pork as much as I had hoped it would. I didn’t put the marinade in the food processor, I am not sure if maybe that would make a difference. However, I would definitely consider making this dish again because of the wonderful crust and because of how moist a juicy it was. With a few minor tweaks from my side of things, I would give this pork recipe a 5/5.

My portion 

  • 130 g pork
  • 1/2 cup coconut rice
  • 1 medium size corn on the cob
  • 1 tsp mint and lime butter

Cuban mojo marinated pork 

Original recipe: http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2015/04/09/cuban-mojo-marinated-pork-recipe/

Ingredients 

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped (I did not include cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced oregano (2 tsp dried oregano)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 and 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder in one piece

Instructions 

  1. If you have a food processor: Add orange juice, cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and smashed (not minced) garlic cloves. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. Add mixture to a ziplock bag along with the rest of the oil, zest, lime juice, oregano, and cumin. Along with pork.
  2. If you do not have a food processor (or hate washing dishes as much as I do): Add oil, orange zest (I just threw both the orange and lime peels into the ziplock bag from my fresh squeezed juices), orange juice, lime juice, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, minced garlic, oregano, and cumin. Shake it around a bit to mix up and then add pork shoulder.
  3. Place the ziplock bag in a baking dish, and put it in the fridge overnight, or for several hours at least.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Place a wire rack or cooking rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Put pork on the rack and discard the marinade. (The original recipe says to salt and pepper the pork really well, but I find pork is salty enough so I did not do this step).
  7. Roast the pork for 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned. (Do not panic that it is not perfectly golden brown at this point).
  8. Turn the heat of the oven dow to 375 degrees F. Roast for another 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 160.
  9. Transfer to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes.
  10. Carve against the grain and serve.

Mint and lime corn on the cob

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Thoughts: I was trying to decide what would pair well with cuban flavours. So I came up with this really simple approach. My husband loved it, even before he knew it was my creation and not a recipe that I had followed. 5/5!

Ingredients 

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Instructions 

  1. Cook corn by either boiling it, or roasting it in the oven.
  2. Mix together butter, mint, zest and garlic salt.
  3. Once corn is cooked, and while it is still hot spread butter mixture on the corn. Serve with pork and coconut rice.

Cooking trick #3

Cooking trick #3

Measuring sticky liquids

It is always so frustrating to measure sticky liquids like honey. You are always left with some liquid in the measuring utensil and then you have make more dishes by getting a spatula and scooping everything out. Maybe this does not bother you at all, and this is the first you have heard of this being a problem in the kitchen. You probably think I am crazy that this bugs me so much, but it does. I am too lazy to do more dishes. I am not sure where I learned this trick, it was probably Pinterest. Before you put a sticky liquid, like molasses or syrup in a measuring cup or measuring spoon, spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Sticky liquids come out perfectly clean every single time! I love this trick. I find if you are measuring something more than once, like 2 tbsp you have to spray for each measurement.

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Spray measuring utensil
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Add sticky liquid like honey, molasses, or syrup
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Pour

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Enjoy a clean measuring spoon and all of your ingredient in your bowl!

Week 10

Week 10

Grocery List Week 10


 

Nutritional analysis

Kcal

Total

Breakfast

Snack 1

Lunch

Snack 2

Dinner

Day 1

1584

373

0

337

224

650

Day 2

1566

425

0

481

238

422

Day 3

1466

490

0

673

0

303

Day 4

1544

290

0

281

202

779

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Proteins (g)

95.63

75

57.37

82.83

Carbohydrates (g)

149.91

178.74

124.15

170.54

Fats (g)

68.41

65.85

86.68

50.93

Omega 6 (g)

10.59

5.17

14.15

3.38

Omega 3 (g)

1.26

1.17

1.97

0.83

Dietary Fiber (g)

17.27

28.24

24.93

19.13

Water (ounces)

95

72

90

60

Steps

3,400

4, 050

2,700

3,700

Dietary Lows (anything less than 50% of DIV) Vitamin D 2.55 µg, Vitamin A (RAE) 302. 62  µg, potassium 2183.98 mg, Sodium (showed up as too high 2316.71 mg, no added salt to my diet) B12 0.58 µg, Vitamin D 0.33 µg,  Vitamin D 3 µg, Vitamin D 0.64 µg, vitamin E 6.74 mg, potassium 2199.26 mg

 

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

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.


 

Day 1 


 

Breakfast 

Egg bowl 

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Thoughts: I was expecting this to not work out. With how much of the egg mixture there was in the tortilla bowl I feared it wouldn’t cook unevenly; leaving some parts over done, and others raw. Surprisingly, I found it cooked fairly evenly and with the cottage cheese it was nice and creamy. If I made this again I would not pour as much of the mixture into the cup. I used the weight watchers 100 kcal tortillas and found they were the perfect size. I am still undecided if I would make this again, not because it tasted bad, but because I have made so many delicious recipes since starting this blog I would probably make something else over this recipe. 3.5/5

Ingredients (My portion) 

  • 1 whole grain tortilla
  • 2 eggs (I only ended up eating 1 1/2 eggs)
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper
  • 1 slice of ham
  • 1/2 cup fruit

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix together eggs, cottage cheese, and bell pepper. You could also add green onion, but our grocery store was out (I know crazy!).
  3. In a muffin tin form a small tortilla so that it creates a cup. Place a slice of ham on the inside. Pour egg mixture into the the ham and tortilla cup. (My cup overflowed, you may want to not pour all of the mixture in your cup).
  4. Cook in oven for 20-25 minutes, until egg is fully cooked. Serve with fruit.

Lunch

Peanut butter and chia jam sandwich

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Thoughts: I still had some chia jam left over from the previous week and I am obsessed with it if you haven’t noticed! I realize a peanut butter and jam sandwich seems lame, but it was the best peanut butter and jam sandwich I have ever had!!! 5/5! 

Original recipe: Chia seed jam was shared with me from my friend Marie

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp leftover jam (you can find the recipe week 9, breakfast day 3)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 75 g Quinoa purple wheat loaf (2 slices)

Instructions 

  1. I slightly toasted my slices of bread, to the point that they were more warm.
  2. Spread peanut butter (or any nut butter) and then chia jam. Enjoy!

Dinner 

Grilled salmon with greek yogurt guacamole, spanish rice, and grilled zucchini 

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Charley tried pure cayenne pepper, while I was not watching. This is her panicking to wipe it off of her tongue!

 

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Thoughts: I found this recipe on a blog called Cookie Rookie. I can totally sympathize with the creator of this blog, she has no formal culinary training. It was a bit later in life that she decided the microwave was no longer a suitable way to prepare her meals, and taught herself how to cook. This is just further affirmation that it is never too late to learn to enjoy the cooking process!

You can definitely expect more recipes from the cookie rookie. I already found one that I want to try for next weeks blog!

I altered the avocado topping for this recipe only because our family has still not acquired the taste for cilantro, which the original recipe calls for. I did like the creaminess that the greek yogurt provided. The rub on the salmon is outstanding! Jordan is always hesitant when I make fish, especially salmon. So he is never a fan when I make fish for dinner. But even he admitted that he would consider eating this again. However, given the choice he would prefer a steak over salmon. I would definitely make this recipe again. 5/5! 

Original recipe: http://www.thecookierookie.com/salmon-with-avocado/

My portion 

  • 150 g salmon
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt guacamole
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup grilled squash

Ingredients

Salmon 

  • 2 lbs salmon, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Greek yogurt guacamole (I used my own recipe, the original recipe has a different avocado salsa topping if you would prefer to use that one) 

  • 2 mashed avocados
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 3 tbsp guacamole seasoning (I used epicure, if you do not have access to a seasoning you can flavour with cilantro and red onion)

Sides

  • 1 cup Spanish rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini

Instructions 

  1. I always prepare my rice in the rice cooker and it takes 1 hour. Begin rice in rice cooker. If you are following the package directions start your rice closer to the end.
  2. Combine salt, chilli powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, and black pepper.
  3. Rub salmon fillets with oil and then rub in the seasoning mix.
  4. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the grill or cast iron skillet to medium heat.
  6. In a medium bowl mix together avocados, greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro and red onion (or guacamole seasoning)
  7. Grill the salmon until preferred doneness.
  8. Top salmon with avocado salsa or greek yogurt guacamole.
  9. To grill zucchini, brush with olive oil, season and grill until tender.

Snack 

Pineapple, Pistachio, Parfait 

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Thoughts: As I entered everything from the day into my diet analysis program I noticed a shortfall in my calcium, vitamin A, and potassium. So at 11:00 pm (hence the picture with horrible lighting) I ran to the kitchen and created a fruit parfait of vanilla greek yogurt, pistachios and pineapple. It was gross, but for some reason I couldn’t stop eating it. Somehow it grew on me. I might even consider making it again ?/5! Still undecided if it was disgusting or a serendipitous masterpiece.

The lesson learned is that I was not even hungry. I just didn’t want to report to you any poor nutrient deficiencies like last week. I added an extra 180 calories and still came up short for my DRI of potassium and vitamin A. I would have rather just documented my nutrient shortcomings. Oh well, that is what this journey is for, to learn lessons and grow along the way.

1 square dark chocolate, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 1/2 tablespoons pistachios, 1/3 cup pineapple


 

Day 2 


 

Breakfast 

Whole grain, greek yogurt, applesauce griddle cakes 

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Thoughts: This was tasty. The pancakes were very moist due to the apple sauce and yogurt. They were also very filling. They will definitely help to get you through the morning. There was nothing negative about them, but there was also nothing life changing about them. I would maybe make them again. 3.5/5 

Adapted from: Weight Watchers. (2009). Weight Watchers in 20 minutes. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Ingredients 

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions 

  1. In a small bowl, beat together egg, egg white, yogurt, applesauce, oil and syrup.
  2. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Fold the yogurt mixture in with the flour mixture, until just combined.
  4. Spray a large nonstick griddle or skillet with cooking spray and place on medium low heat.
  5. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet.
  6. Cook until the sides of the cakes look slightly dry and then flip; about 2 minutes.
  7. Cook the other side for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 until all the batter is used up.
  9. While you are cooking the pancakes, melt butter in another frying pan, add apples cinnamon and sugar and cook until apples are tender and smell glorious!

Lunch 

Veggie burrito

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Thoughts:  One of my favourite fast food items is the veggie burrito from Taco Time. My goal was to try and recreate it, with obviously a more health conscience filter (although the original is not that bad). I could eat this every day! 5/5!

Ingredients (my portion) 

  • 1 whole grain tortilla
  • 1/3 cup refried beans
  • 1/3 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup corn (should have been 1/4 cup corn and 1/4 black beans but I totally forgot to pick up the black beans)
  • 1/2 spanish rice (leftover from the night before)
  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt guacamole (leftover from the night before)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salsa

Instructions 

  1. Warm rice, corn and black beans together.
  2. Layer all of the ingredients on top of the tortilla, refried beans, spinach, rice mixture, guacamole and salsa.
  3. Wrap and serve.

Dinner 

Grilled Salad 

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Thoughts: If I did not publish 4 day meal plans each week with brand new recipes for each meal, then this recipe would become a regular in our house. In case you have not figured it out yet, I love grilled vegetables! There is something about the rustic flavour from grilling that instantly makes any vegetable comfort food! I also love warm salads! So this is the perfect recipe, a warm salad with grilled vegetables! I know I already said this about lunch, but I could also eat this meal all the time! This is an easy 5/5, I would definitely make this again. I enjoyed it so much that I would even make it for guests!

My Portion

  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup grilled vegetables
  • 80g chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 zucchini, cut into circles
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into circles
  • 1 eggplant, cut into circles or if really wide pie shapes
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 carton bocconcini cheese
  • 1 chicken breast per person
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard

Instructions 

  1. Warm grill or cast iron skillet or frying pan on medium heat.
  2. Mix zucchini, squash, eggplant, and bell pepper in a large bowl with oil, garlic and onion powder.
  3. Place vegetables on a lightly greased grill, browning on each side for 3-4 minutes; until vegetables are tender and have lovely grill marks.
  4. Keep vegetables warm and cook chicken on the grill. Season how you prefer. Cook about 5-7 minutes per side. (I always place my meat in the oven for a little bit after just to ensure it is fully cooked).
  5. Prepare dressing while chicken is cooking by mixing together oil, vinegar, honey and whole grain mustard.
  6. To prepare the salad, place spinach on a plate or in a bowl (I always use my pasta plates for salads, they work perfectly!). Top with grilled vegetables, bocconcini, and grilled chicken, Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Snack 

Chips and Guacamole

Sorry it was so good I forgot to take a picture!

Thoughts: Today was a great food day! Again another item I could eat every day! The chips are amazing I highly recommend them! 5/5 


Day 3 


 

Breakfast 

Breakfast pizza 

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Thoughts: YES!!! Not to toot my own horn, but this was amazing! I impressed myself! If I had to eat this for breakfast for the rest of my life I would be fine with that. 5/5! But obviously you can be the judge! I will definitely make and eat this again. I found I felt VERY FULL after this meal!

Ingredients (This was my portion) 

  • 1 whole grain tortilla (I used the weight watchers 100 kcal size)
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
  • 20 g sliced deli ham
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 20 g goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup fruit (I had 1/2 cup mango and 1/2 cup watermelon)

Instructions 

  1. Warm broiler.
  2. Spread sundried tomato pesto on tortilla.
  3. Place ham on top of pesto.
  4. Scramble eggs and place on top of pizza.
  5. Top with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese and basil.
  6. Place under the broiler for just 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Keep a very close eye on it, you do not want it to burn. (Confession time: I got distracted for like 2 seconds and ended up burning my tortilla, I ended up having to perform pizza surgery, albeit it was a surprisingly successful surgery (I managed to remove all the toppings in one piece and transplant onto another tortilla shell), no one should have to be put into that position!)

Lunch 

BLT-Stuffed avocados 

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Thoughts: This was tasty, but honestly who doesn’t love a good BLT sandwich?! I would probably not make this recipe again only because making a sandwich is a lot easier and I have no qualms with carbohydrates. The only reason I would make this again is because it does look really cool! There is no question taste is 5/5, but the amount of work to avoid a few extra carbs 2/5!

Original recipe: http://stepable.com/recipes/933/blt-stuffed-avocados

My portion 

  • 1 avocado (two halves)
  • I had all the filling, I cooked the extra separately

Ingredients 

  • 2 large avocados
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional. I used lime juice)
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and cubed (I used 7 cherry tomatoes and did not seed them)
  • 1 cup cubed multigrain bread
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach leaves
  • 2 slices bacon (20 g), cooked and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • (I added a tbsp mozzarella cheese)

Instructions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut avocados in half, remove the pits, and remove the peel (I used a pairing knife to remove the peel). I also removed some of the avocado to make the cup of the avocado larger, to be able to fit more filling.
  3. Rub each the outside of each avocado with some fresh lemon juice, this step is optional, it is to help the avocado maintain its green colour. Put to the side.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together tomato, bread, spinach, bacon, mayonnaise, and oil (and mozzarella or cheddar if you desire).
  5. Stuff the avocados with as much filling as you can, allowing the filling to mound up over the sides.
  6. Place avocados on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the filling is nice and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Dinner 

Ricotta butternut squash, and spinach lasagna with spinach salad 

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Charley eating a block of mozzarella cheese. Keeping it healthy!

 

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Thoughts: Both myself and Jordan were not the biggest fans of this recipe. It desperately needed a sauce of some kind. It was too dry. There was also a crazy number of noodle layers. I wanted so badly to like this dish! I will not make this again 2/5!

Original recipe: http://juliasalbum.com/2014/11/butternut-squash-and-spinach-lasagna/

My portion

  • I cut the lasagna into even 12 pieces, I had 1 piece of lasagna
  • 2 cups salad
  • 1 tbsp dressing

Ingredients 

Butternut squash filling

  • 2 cups butternut squash puree (2 small butternut squash, extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk (or more if needed, I add an extra 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • I added a 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Spinach filling

  • 1 cup cooked spinach (8oz uncooked (I just used one bag frozen spinach)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste

Other ingredients:

  • 10 oz lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • italian seasoning
  • paprika
  • basil

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. To prepare the butternut squash puree, peel, remove seeds, and cube squash. Mix with 1/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes until squash is tender. Place in a food processor or blender and puree.
  3. Add ricotta cheese, milk, salt and nutmeg to the food processor with the squash puree. Mix well add more salt if needed.
  4. Defrost spinach and ring out excess water. Mix spinach with ricotta cheese, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix, taste, and add salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. I used oven ready noodles and then read that they are only appropriate for tomato based lasagna, eek! Well I either really lucked out or oven ready noodles work fine in this dish! They were perfectly al dente! However, if you don’t want to risk it buy a normal box of lasagne noodles and prepare according to the package instructions.

Lasagna assembly

  1. Prepare a baking dish by spraying with nonstick cooking oil. Spread 1/3 of the squash filling on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with lasagna noodles (oven ready or cooked, without overlapping)
  2. Spread half of the spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with noodles.
  3. Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash mixture, then sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  4. Spread the remaining squash filling over final noodle layer. sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese. Generously sprinkle with italian seasoning, paprika and basil.
  5. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

 

Day 4 


 

Breakfast 

Starbucks! 

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Thoughts: There are somedays that you just don’t feel like cooking. During those occasions it is nice to know your smartest options.

At Starbucks this morning, I ordered a Venti unsweetened passion tea, which is zero calories. And a spinach feta breakfast wrap, which is 290 calories. I love the unsweetened passion tea, some may find it to bitter. If you are not ready to quit the sweet syrup cold turkey you could ask for it half sweet or even just one pump of syrup. The classic syrup and raspberry syrup are both really good in the passion tea.

Each pump is 20 calories or just over 1 tsp of sugar.  A normal sweetened passion tea has 6 pumps of syrup or 7.5 tsp of sugar. You can figure out how many teaspoons of sugar is in something by looking at how many grams of sugar are in an ingredient. There are 5g of sugar in one pump of flavoured syrup and 4g = 1 tsp of sugar. So 6 pumps of syrup at 5g each is 30g divided by 4, means each venti iced tea has 7.5 tsp of sugar. If you add lemonade on top of that it would again increase your sugar content.

Starbucks does have a small selection of tall drinks under 200 calories and they also have a few snack options for under 300 calories

Lunch 

Leftover Lasagna 

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Thoughts: So I realize I gave this recipe a poor review. There was so much leftover that I needed to plan for leftovers. I wasn’t really excited for lunch since I was not a fan of this recipe, but hold the phone!… This is one of those few recipes that is better the day after! My husband always feels that way about Chinese food. He is a firm believer that it is better the second day, I disagree! So lasagna leftovers 4/5!

Dinner

Surprise cooking class at Sunterra Market (Thanks sis!)

Sorry all of the photos in the section are from my iPhone 5!

I had a pork meal planned for dinner. However, my sister called and surprised me with a night out for my birthday. She signed me up to take a cooking class at Sunterra Market. Sunterra offers four different class formats, including: Lunch ’n’ Learn, Social Kitchen, Perfectly Paired, and Kid’s Kitchen. My sister registered me for the social kitchen class. The theme of the night was One Pan Wonders.

The concept of the social dinner is that you prepare your meal with a random group of strangers. It was a very generous and thoughtful gift from my sister, but she was sending me on my own to take this class, with 18 people who were probably all going with a friend. This made me anxious! My husband offered to come with me and that we could make a date night out of it. I am so glad that he did because we both had a great time, but pleasantly if he didn’t come with me I would have been fine! Through out most of the class we really did not talk to each other, we were connecting and bonding with some amazing individuals! By the end of the class strangers became friends.

If your goal is to learn how to cook this may not be the best option for you. There is a very educated chef available to assist you in cooking the meal, who is more than happy to answer all of your questions, and show you the odd cool cooking trick. However, if you want to enjoy your delicious meal before midnight there is just not the time to teach and direct every person through each step. As a result, the dishes are split up into stations and you can select which dish you would like to work on. You can also decide to move from station to station. Most of the prep work is done for you, but there is still some left so you can get your hands dirty. After about an hour, all the prepared food is laid out buffet style and everyone helps themselves. Even though you are not receiving a classic home economics lecture, it is still a fun and worth while way to spend the evening.

Okay lets get down to what you really care about…the food! There were 5 dishes on the menu and all one pan meals. I did find that there was a ton of rice! I have never eaten so much rice, but if you are preparing these meals at home you are not going to be making all 5!

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Each station is prepped and ready for you to dive in and prepare your meal. This was the paella station.

 

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Chicken pelau station

 

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Goulash station

 

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Everyone works and cooks together

 

Note: This was meal was extremely complicated and difficult to determine diet analysis breakdown. I had to make a few assumptions to find out the caloric intake for each recipe. My numbers are fairly accurate, but not precise. 

I had 1 glass of white wine

The caloric intake is included with my snack.

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Chicken Pelau 

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Thoughts: This was okay. It almost needed another flavour level though. One of the girls we had connected with mentioned that it could be really good with some sort of citrus, like orange juice and I completely agree with her genius remark! That would take it over the top. Based off of my current experience of this dish, I would give this a 3/5.

Original recipe: Sunterra Market

My portion: 1/3 cup pelau (148 calories)

Ingredients 

  • 2 oz.(4 tbsp) canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2-3 jalapeños, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 chicken breast, cut up into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups pigeon or black-eyed peas, soaked for 24 hours and drained
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup butternut squash, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter

Instructions 

  1. Heat oil in a large pot and add sugar. Cook until the sugar is caramelized.
  2. Add chicken and stir until well coated.
  3. Add onion, garlic, jalapeños, and tomato pasted. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until the chicken is almost cooked.
  4. Stir in rice, squash, carrots, peas, stock or water, and coconut milk.
  5. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat low and cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
  6. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Gently fold in parsley, green onion, and butter

Thai Curry Pork 

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Thai curry pork and paella

 

Thoughts: The class seemed to be all in agreement that this was their favourite dish and I have to agree! I loved this dish, it could be because there is 3 CUPS!!! of coconut milk and a significant amount of oil. You would really have to watch your portion control with this meal. I also found that this was super spicy, so I would probably cut down on the spice if I made it again and I might also consider using boneless skinless chicken instead of pork. This is probably not the most health conscience meal you can prepare, but oh is it ever tasty! 5/5!

Original recipe: Sunterra Market

My portion: 1/2 cup coconut rice, 1/2 cup Thai curry pork (319 kcal)

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs Sunterra Farms Pork Loin boneless, cut into 1 1/2 x 3/4-inch strips
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 chilies,sliced
  • 2 lime leaves, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup panaeng curry paste
  • 1 lime, zest only

Instructions 

  1. Heat oil in a pan and fry curry for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add pork and lime leaves, cook for 2 additional minutes.
  3. Pour in coconut milk and bring to a boil for 15 minutes or until meat is tender.
  4. Add fish sauce, sugar and sliced chilies.
  5. Serve in a bowl over coconut rice and garnish with lime zest and basil.

Hungarian Goulash 

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Goulash and chicken pelau

 

Thoughts: This was probably one of my least favourite dishes, but I am definitely willing to try and make it again. This soup really needs to stew for a while to make the meat perfectly tender and to develop the flavours more. I think that the soup was rushed. So even though I would only give this dish a 2/5 I still really want to try it again, I think there is great potential there!

Original recipe: Sunterra Market

My portion: 1/2 cup soup, 1 tsp sour cream (67 kcal, the calories for the meal will vary greatly depending on how much beef you take)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 lb beef shoulder, fat trimmed cut into 11/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 10 cups beef broth
  • 3/4 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings optional: sour cream

Instructions 

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and caraway seeds. Sauté until onion softens, approximately 8 minutes.
  3. Saute beef and paprika until beef is brown on all sides, 15 minutes.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up the yummy brown bits on the bottom.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is just tender, about 40 minutes.
  6. Mix in potato, parsnip, carrot, and garlic. Simmer for 15 more minutes until vegetables and meat are very tender.
  7. Cool slightly. Stir in parsley, season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Top with sour cream.

Paella 

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Thoughts: This was really good. You usually cannot go wrong with a classic dish. My only hesitation in making this meal again is how difficult it may be to find and gather all of these ingredients. 3.5/5 I give it this rating because It was not overly memorable for being good or bad.

Original recipe: Sunterra market

My portions: 1/2 cup paella (245 kcal)

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 strips Sunterra Farms Bacon, Chopped
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed saffron threads
  • 2 cups canned clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 lb squid, bodies cut into 1/2 – inch rings
  • 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • Lemon wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste or cajun spice

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium to high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until fat is rendered, approximately 6 minutes. (Depending on how much fat is rendered, transfer bacon to paper towel and drain fat, but during the class they just left it all together).
  3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pot and cook over medium heat until brown, about 7 minutes per side.
  4. Use tongs and remove chicken from pot and set aside. Add chopped onions, and garlic. Saute until they begin to brown, scraping the brown bits as you go, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in rice, roasted red pepper and saffron. Add clam juice and stock to pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour rice mixture into 15x10x2 inch glass baking dish. Arrange chicken, shrimp, squid, and mussels in rice mixture. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and peas.
  7. Cover with foil and cook until rice is tender, chicken is cooked through and mussels are open. (Discard any mussels that do not open)
  8. Remove foil and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon.

(I helped to prepare this dish, but I am pretty sure they just cooked everything all together in one pot and never put it into the oven to cook)

Chocolate Risotto Pudding 

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Sorry I couldn’t really stage this, I did the best I could to make a pile of brown rice look pretty, but don’t worry it tastes really good. I only ate half of this portion.

 

Thoughts: This was very tasty. However, I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I had not had rice in 3 of the 4 dinner dishes. No body should ever consume that much rice! I am not expecting the results on the scale to be very impressive tomorrow morning! 3.5/5

Original recipe: Sunterra Market

My portion: 1/3 cup pudding (84 kcal)

Ingredients

  • 935 g whole milk
  • 100 g arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 30 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200 g bittersweet chocolate
  • 60 g golden raisins

Instructions 

  1. Pour milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add rice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, string frequently.
  3. Lower temperature to keep mil at a slow, steady simmer.
  4. Allow milk to simmer for 12-15 minutes or until rice is cooked through; stirring occasionally. About 1/4 of the milk will have boiled away.
  5. Remove pan from heat and, using a heatproof spatula stir in butter.
  6. Once butter has melted pour a little bit of the not mixture into chocolate and stir gently.
  7. Scrape chocolate into pot and stir with rice in ever-widening circles, you want to just combine the ingredients.
  8. Add raisins.
  9. We had the pudding warm due to time, which was lovely. But the recipe calls you to place pudding in serving vessels, press top with plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to create an air-tight seal and place in the fridge once pudding reaches room temperature.

Cooking trick # 2

The best way to cook sausages

When I first started to cook, every time I would make sausage I found the centre was not fully cooked until I had completely burned the outside. I never understood how breakfast sausages at restaurants would always come out perfectly golden brown. After pondering my dilemma for a little while I remembered that mom use to cook hot dogs for us as kids on the stove top in boiling water. I gave it a try with sausage. Once the sausage is fully cooked I transfer the sausage to a frying pan just to brown. I will never cook a sausage another way again! It looks gross while you are cooking it, but trust me it is the best way that I have found for getting a perfectly golden brown sausage. If you are a professional chef you may be cringing at my methods, but I am sticking to it!

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Boil water in a sauce pan.
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Add sausages to water and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
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Transfer sausage to frying pan.
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Fry sausages until perfectly golden brown.