Citrus Fennel Salad

I recently ordered a bulb of fennel in my grocery order and was more than a little intimidated with the bulb that I received.  I had no idea they looked like that and was a little confused on how to attack it.  After watching a few instructional youtube videos I felt confident to make a little something with it.  When I first cracked into it, I was overcome with the delicious licorice scent and seriously spent a few minutes just smelling it.  One of my favourite salads is a combo of fennel and orange, but I also had some grapefruit on hand so I tried a little combo of the 3 with a few ingredients for the dressing and voila!  Super fresh and tasty, and a little bit pretty too 🙂

Citrus Fennel Salad

1 bulb of fennel

1 large orange

1 pink grapefruit

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

1.  Cut off stalks of fennel (freeze and save for a soup stock if you like) and peel bulb.  Thinly slice either by hand or with a mandolin.  Cut orange and grapefruit into pieces.  Toss fennel, orange and grapefruit together

2.  In a small dish mix together olive oil, ac vinegar and sesame seeds.  Toss dressing in with the fennel mixture.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings

Per Serving:

Calories 90      Fat 4g      Carbs 13g      Protein 1.6g

Carrot Cake

I have a few loves in life, my son, my boyfriend, my dogs and carrot cake.  Seriously though, Carrot Cake would be at the top of the list as a part of my last meal…along with waffles, lasagna, poutine and a variety of other things that would put me into a food coma.  Although I have tried carrot cake from pretty much anywhere I could get my hands on it, I had never attempted to make it before….until now :).

Although I appreciate when carrot cake gets all “fancy”, I prefer a nice simple one with a good cream cheese icing which is what the recipe below gives.  I have also decreased the amount of sugar that usually resides in the cream cheese icing, because I feel it takes away from the richness that cream cheese has to offer.  Enjoy!

Carrot Cake

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup canola or vegetable oil

3 eggs

½ tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1½ tsp baking soda

1½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

1½ cinnamon

2 cups grated carrots

¾ cups walnut pieces

Cream Cheese Icing:

½ cup cream cheese (half a package)

¼ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

1½ cups icing sugar

¼ cup walnut pieces

 

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  In mixing bowl combine sugar and oil.  Beat in eggs one at a time and and vanilla.

2.  In another bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

3.  Combine wet and dry ingredients.  Stir in grated carrot and ¾ cups walnut pieces.  Be careful not to overmix, just stir till everything is coated.  Pour mixture in a 9×13 pan and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool cake on a wire rack.

4.  For icing: Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together using an electric hand mixer.  Gradually beat in icing sugar and beat till fluffy.  Spread onto a cooled cake and sprinkle ¼ cup walnut pieces over top.

 

 

 

Coconut Raisin Hermits

Alright, I have been a little bit MIA from the blog in the past couple of weeks as it has been quite busy (I turned 30….eep!), but I am back and I am back with cookies!  I decided to go with Hermits which are bite size little pieces of deliciousness.  The original recipe called for several things which I didn’t have on hand so I made a few substitutions and came up with Coconut Raisin Hermits.   Feel free to toss in whatever you would like as these are very versatile.  I think next time I am going to try out some cranberries and walnuts.

These are in an out of the oven in no time and are the perfect accompaniment to a tea or coffee.

Coconut Raisin Hermits

1 cup butter, softened

1½ cups packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp salt

¾ cup shredded coconut

1 cup raisins

1.  Preheat oven to 375º.  Cream butter and sugar together.  Beat in the eggs one at a time and add vanilla.

2.  In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and coconut together.  Mix into wet mixture.  Stir in raisins.  Drop or roll heaping teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.

Makes about 4½ dozen

Learning Flash Cards

We have been wanting to start using some flash cards with Ryker for quite some time and I had been looking around everywhere, but just couldn’t find what I wanted.  Everything was a little to hippie  or new age.  I just wanted some basic cards with ABC’s, Numbers etc., but there didn’t seem to be any at the toy and book stores that I visited.  And everything I found online was shipped from the states, and it would double the price.

So I got crafty and made my own!

 

I had them printed on regular paper and then laminated to endure a little roughness, and spent a little extra time rounding the edges so they weren’t too sharp.  For storage I think I am going to sew some little pouches for them, but another idea is to hole punch the corners and stick a ring through them.

 

Below is the pdf I created, so feel free to use it! I left a little extra space in between each one to allow for some not so accurate cutting 🙂

 Flash Cards PDF

Cauliflower Shepherds Pie

Mashed potatoes add that oh so creamy delicious layer to shepherds pie, but it also adds the carbs and fat that I am trying to avoid these days.  So I decided to give the cauliflower top a go and see how it turned out.  I was skeptical because mashed potatoes are up there with my favourite foods, but the result was actually quite good.  It also didn’t leave me feeling super heavy after I ate it.  I will definitely be revisiting this one again.

Cauliflower Shepherds Pie

1 head of cauliflower – chopped

2 tbsp low fat sour cream

1 egg yolk

¼ cup skim milk

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ cup low fat cheddar cheese – shredded

1 tbsp canola oil

1 clove garlic – minced

1 lb extra lean ground beef

1 cup of frozen peas

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp paprika

300ml low sodium beef broth (1/3 of the box)

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp cold water

1.  In a pot, boil cauliflower till soft.  Put cauliflower, sour cream, egg yolk, milk, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse till smooth.  Stir shredded cheddar into mixture and set aside.

2.  In a saucepan heat oil and add garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes on med-high heat and add ground beef.  Cook till brown throughout.  Add peas, beef broth, worcestershire sauce,  thyme, onion powder and paprika bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Mix cornstarch and cold water in a glass or small dish and stir into beef mixture.  Let beef mixture simmer for 10 minutes.

3.  Spread beef mixture in a baking dish.  Layer Cauliflower mixture on top.  Place in oven on middle rack and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Makes 6 Servings

Per Serving:

Calories 203      Fat 7g      Carbs 10g      Protein 21g

Ginger Snaps

My Mom’s ginger snaps were the best, but I usually referred to them as Ginger Chews because they were so soft and would just melt in your mouth. I followed her recipe and the results were great! They were not quite my mom’s, but she had some sort of magic mom power….Maybe I’ll harness some of it the more mom like I become 🙂  Anyways, delicious, so try and enjoy!

Ginger Snaps

¾ cups butter – softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

½ cup molasses

2½ cups all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

approx. 2 tbsp granulated sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350º. Cream butter and the 1 cup of sugar.  Beat in the egg, and stir in the molasses.

2.  In another bowl stir flour, salt, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture, mix well.

3.  Roll into 1 inch balls.  Dip into remaining sugar and place on greased baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

Makes 6 dozen

Wild Fried Rice

I love fried rice.  It is a versatile dish that can be used as an accompaniment or even as a main.  Wild rice was my choice for this dish as it provides a varied texture and has more depth in flavour, and when I cooked it I replaced a quarter of the water with some chicken broth for a little extra flavour.  I put a fair amount of veg into this recipe to cut back on the carbs that usually reside in this dish.  Enjoy this simple and tasty version of Wild Fried Rice!

Wild Fried Rice

2 cups wild rice – cooked

1 egg – lightly beaten

½ tbsp vegetable oil

1 clove garlic – minced

¼ cup frozen peas

¼ cup carrots – diced

¼ cup celery – diced

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

¼ tsp pepper

1.  In a large frying pan heat oil and add garlic, peas, carrots and celery.  While the veg are sautéing scramble egg in another pan and set aside once done.

2.  Once veg are tender, add in rice, soy sauce and pepper, stir well and heat through.  Stir in egg.  Enjoy.

Makes 4 servings

Per Serving:

Calories 116.5       Fat 1.5g      Carbs 20g      Protein 5g

Carrot, Coconut & Raisin Muffins

I have a friend who is currently training to run a marathon and she has cut the refined sugar out of her diet.  I totally admire her for her efforts in this venture so I decided that I wanted to bake her a treat while challenging myself at the same time to bake with some alternative ingredients.  I initially went the banana bread route, but my ingredient amounts were off and it didn’t come out as I desired so I will revisit that one at a different time.  I then moved on to muffins and carefully chose the ingredients based on their health benefits, and the result was Carrot, Coconut & Raisin muffins.  Some of the substitutions to the usual muffin ingredients that I made are highlighted below with their health benefits.

  • Instead of Butter or Vegetable Oil, I used Canola Oil.  It is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fats and contains essential omega 3 fatty acids.  It has a fairly light and mild flavour so it is a great substitute in most cooking.
  • Instead of using the full amount of All Purpose White Flour, I used half Whole Wheat Flour.  Whole grains have been proven to decrease the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and pop a little more fiber into your diet.  I did half and half in this recipe as whole wheat flour is fairly dense and I didn’t want these to be heavy lumps.  You can use Whole Wheat pastry flour if you want to go all the way with whole grains and it will provide a lighter effect.
  • Instead of Sugar, I used Raw Agave Syrup.  There is some controversy behind the health benefits of agave, but essentially it is natural and has a low glycemic index so it won’t cause sharp rises or falls in blood sugar.  And just a fun fact for you, Aztecs used to use agave syrup on wounds because of its antibacterial properties.
  • I used Unsweetened Shredded Coconut.  Coconut is higher in fat, but it is the good kind that is full of rich vitamins and minerals.  Coconut has also been proven to decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer and crohn’s just to name a few.
  • I used Raisins.  There is a reason why hikers toss these little treats into trail mixes as they are high in energy and low in fat.
The muffins are great without the icing, but after I had tasted one I wanted it to be just a little bit sweeter so I improvised an icing.
Carrot, Coconut & Raisin Muffins
¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ whole wheat flour
¾ tsp baking soda
1½ baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ nutmeg
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 large eggs
½ cup canola oil
½ cup raw agave syrup
¼ cup skim milk
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups carrots – grated
½ cup raisins
Icing/Glaze:
¼ cup water
¼ cup cocnut
½ tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp agave
1.  Preheat oven to 350º.  In a saucepan mix all ingredients of the icing/glaze and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and place in fridge to chill.
2.  In a bowl mix ap flour, ww flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in coconut.
3.  In another bowl beat eggs.  Stir in canola oil, agave, vanilla and milk.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Stir in carrots and raisins just enough so that they are moistened, do not over mix.
4.  Pour into a paper lined or greased muffin tin.  Bake for 20 minutes.
5.  Wait until muffins are cooled and put a thin layer of the icing/glaze mixture on top.
Makes 12 muffins
Per Muffin:
Calories 174      Fat 8g       Carbs 21g      Protein 3.5g

Lemon Basil Chicken Legs

When it comes to chicken, I struggle with getting it right and it drives me crazy! So if anyone has any tips on how to get a moist tasty chicken breast, please let me know.  For some reason though I can do Chicken Legs,  I have yet to mess them up.  Lately I have had a supply of fresh basil sitting right in my kitchen so I wanted this to be a highlight with the chicken and decided to pair lemon with it for a nice citrus burst.

If it wasn’t for my boyfriend, this plant would be dead…..I have a black thumb (aka forget to water just about everything).

The result was great! There was hints of lemon all throughout the chicken and the crispy skin with bites of basil was uber good.

Lemon Basil Chicken Legs

2 chicken legs

1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp fresh basil – chopped

1 tsp pepper

1.  In a bowl mix together the juice from the lemon, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp of fresh basil.  Make a few ¼ incisions in the chicken legs and place in either a shallow sealed dish or plastic bag.  Pour marinade over and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

2.  Remove chicken from fridge and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle pepper over chicken legs.  Bake at 375° for about 50 mins or until done.  Garnish with remaining fresh basil.

Makes 2 servings

Per Serving:

Calories 244      Fat 11g      Carbs 1g      Protein 25g

Peashoot Salad

I have been on a bit of a peashoot kick lately.  They are a nice break from the usual greens and they have such a great rich and nutty flavour.  I usually just toss them in as an addition to a burger or stir fry, but I wanted to make them the highlight of a recipe.  I made a Peashoot Salad which was super delicious, fresh and healthy, yum!

I’m a big fan of multicoloured heirloom carrots, mainly because of how they look but also because they are so very delicious.

The dressing was so simple to make and will be making an appearance in my food more often

Not only does it taste fantastic, it also looks pretty which is an added bonus if you eat with your eyes like I do.

Peashoot Salad

4 cups peashoots – chopped

1 large carrot – julienned

2 tbsp fresh basil – chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tbsp agave nectar syrup

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

2 tsp sesame seeds – lightly toasted

1.  In a small bowl mix together olive oil, agave nectar, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seeds.

2.  In a large bowl toss peashoots, carrots, and basil.  Toss dressing in.  Serve right away.

Makes 4 servings

Per Serving:

Calories 69      Fat 4.5g      Carbs 3.5g      Protein 3.5g