April 2015 Archive

Pretty Citrus, Cucumber & Mint Water
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For the past few months, my goal has been to increase my water intake. I know it’s good for me, I preach it to my clients, but yet I still struggle to chug the recommended intake of water everyday. One reason is because I get so busy that I forget to drink. Totally being honest here. Another reason is that I just don’t love the taste of water that much to want to drink it constantly.

Since I love pretty things, one strategy that I find has helped to up my water intake is to make my water pretty. Plain and simple, right? If it looks pretty, I’ll be more likely to want to drink it.

So I tested out my theory.

The other day, I noticed that we had a whole load of tangerines sitting in the fridge that no one was eating, so I sliced them up and popped them into my water. I also happened to have some leftover mint from another dish that I had previously made, and thought what the heck. I’ll throw that in there too. And finally, I’ve always loved the taste of cucumber in water because it makes me feel like I’m at a spa or something. So I’m sure you’ve already guessed what I added next. That’s right, cucumbers. Man, you’re smart!

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So FYI..it turned out to be super refreshing!

And guess what?!

I actually really started craving my pretty water and kept refilling my glass throughout the day. I’m pretty sure I met my water quota that day.

It was quite popular with the family too. When I made it for my parents one day, the jug of water went really fast. I even caught my dad trying to refill the pitcher for the third time. Obviously he was trying to suck all the life out of the tangerines, cucumber and mint. I’m pretty sure he was feeling the same way about my water.

It’s pretty addictive stuff.

The first batch is always the best, but I definitely refill the pitcher at least two or three times and let it sit in the fridge throughout the day. Gotta take full advantage of all that flavour, right?

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Pretty Citrus, Cucumber & Mint Water

Ingredients

  • 1 litre of water
  • 3 tangerines, sliced
  • 1/2 a cucumber, sliced
  • 6 mint leaves

Instructions

  1. Fill a pitcher with water.
  2. Wash the tangerines and cucumber. Slice and add to pitcher of water.
  3. Wash mint leaves and add to pitcher of water.
  4. Let the water sit in the refrigerator for at least half an hour for optimal flavour. Enjoy!

Elysia, XOXO
Baby Kale & Blueberry Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
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Kale is a hot food these days. I mean super H-O-T.

I didn’t realize quite how popular kale was until the other day when I decided to serve this kale salad for an event. The second that I said the word “kale,” people swarmed around like wasps.

I practically had to fight them off with my salad tongs. It was THAAT bad.

For those of you who have tried kale before, you know that your jaw is going to get a pretty darn good work out when you chew it, especially when consuming it raw.

But THIS salad actually uses baby kale, which is easier to chew and has a slightly less bitter flavour than your typical kale.

A great option to start off with if you’re a kale virgin. Just in case you’re wondering, kale virgins are people who have never eaten kale before. Just wanted to clear that up.

Now as more of a complete meal, you can also incorporate quinoa into this salad. You weren’t expecting that, were ya? The amazing thing about quinoa, especially when paired with kale, is that it makes for a great fibre-filled side dish. But, of course, if you’re looking for a lighter salad, you can always leave it out. Personally, I liked it both ways!

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Add some juicy blueberries for a pop of flavour and antioxidants, and avocado and walnuts for some heart healthy fats, and you’ll be just one big ball of healthy energy.  Then top it off with some goat cheese for a kick of protein and calcium.

Now perhaps you’re one of those people who absolutely DETESTS goat cheese….. Yesss, I know you’re out there. I ate this salad with my boyfriend one day and watched him as he proceeded to pick out only the pieces of baby kale that did not have an ounce of goat cheese on them. If this is you, then you can always leave it out or sub in feta cheese instead.

And the lemon vinaigrette….ohhh that tasty vinaigrette is really what makes this salad pop with zesty freshness.

I even like to make some extra dressing and save it for other salads throughout the week.

For the record, I usually eat at least two salads per day. I used to get in trouble from my mom when I was a kid because I apparently ate too much spinach.

Sorry that I’m such a screw up mom.

Anyways, my point is that I’m always on the hunt for leftover homemade salad dressing for those times when I O.D. on salad.

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If you want to make this salad more of a complete meal, then just add some protein to it. The other day, I had some of this salad left over, so I just topped it with some grilled chicken breast and it made an amazing lunch!

Baby Kale & Blueberry Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Yield: Makes approximately 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional)
  • FOR THE LEMON VINAIGRETTE
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and honey in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. To prepare the salad, place baby kale in a large bowl. Top with avocado, blueberries, walnuts and goat cheese. Add quinoa if desired. Pour the desired amount of dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  3. Serve immediately. Store the remaining dressing in a container in the fridge for later use (I only used half the dressing).

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

Nutrients per serving (with quinoa):

Calories: 266 • Fat: 21.3 g • Carbohydrates: 17.5 g • Fibre: 4.3 g • Protein: 5.5 g • Sugar: 6.9 g • Sodium: 54.9 mg • Cholesterol: 4.9 mg

Elysia, XOXO
Mini Smoked Salmon & Quinoa Quiches

These mini quiches are gluten-free and packed full of protein and calcium. They make a perfect breakfast, lunch or snack for on the go!

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These days, I’ve really been into experimenting with muffin tins. I mean, if you really think about it, baking in muffin tins (beyond just plain ol’ muffins) is brilliant.

Muffin tin meals mean greater portion-control (if you don’t eat them all), shorter cooking times, and larger batches of food that you can freeze for later. Who doesn’t want larger batches of food?

Huge time saver if you ask me.

Plus, when you cook anything in a muffin tin, especially a mini one, the end product is absolutely adorable (provided you cook it right…)

I mean look at these things. Are these not the cutest little egg cups you’ve ever seen?!

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I served these babies up at work the other day and even the men were drooling at the sight of them. I don’t usually associate big brawly men with cute little dainty egg cups, but they were all over it. Some even dragged their wives across the store floor to try one.

Now because I know that convenience is a huge factor for busy people, I’m always trying to come up with quick and healthy recipes that can be made ahead of time. That way, you can basically just grab and go.

That’s honestly my secret for pulling it all together in the morning – prepping ahead of time so that I can just grab n’ go.

Pretty much how I function in life.

What I love the most is that these little egg cups are super convenient and perfect for any meal or even snack.

Plus, they’re perfectly balanced with all four food groups, so you’re getting a dose of protein, calcium, fibre, and potassium by consuming just a few of these little cups. Another thing I love – no-brainer recipes that make meal planning simple.

Pair a few of these mini frittatas with a piece of fruit at breakfast, or a side of veggies at lunch or dinner, and you’re good to go!

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Mini Smoked Salmon & Quinoa Quiches

Yield: Makes approximately 30 mini cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced smoked salmon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Dash of salt & pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. Coat a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and fill each cup to the top with egg mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cups are golden brown. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tin

Notes

TO FREEZE: Place baked cups on a baking sheet. Freeze for approximately 30 minutes, or until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag. Microwave for 20-40 seconds depending on how many you’re reheating.

Recipe Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Nutrients per serving (for one mini cup):

Calories: 60 • Fat: 1.8 g • Carbohydrates: 7.6 g • Fibre: 0.9 g • Protein: 3.3 g • Sugar: 0 g • Sodium: 53 mg • Cholesterol: 13 mg

Elysia, XOXO
Chocolate Almond Energy Bites

I have a secret. I absolutely LOVE chocolate. The richer and fudgier, the better. That’s probably the number one reason why I chose to make my first official recipe post about chocolate.

Now, I know that in order to reach my health and fitness goals, I can’t constantly be pigging out on chocolate bars and warm fudgey lava cake (my absolute fav).

That’s not going to get me too far.

So I’m always on a mission to come up with healthier recipes that still involve that rich chocolat-ey taste, without the guilt and negative side effects. If you know what I mean.

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to these delicious chocolate almond balls.

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Now while we’re sharing secrets, I also have another confession to make. Somehow, over the past few years, I’ve managed to gain the reputation of being the “Balls & Bites Dietitian.” Yes, you heard me.

Balls & Bites.

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but it did.

I don’t know if I’ll ever shake the title because I continue to serve up balls and bites everywhere I go. Why? Because they’re cute, healthy and make a great pop-in-your-purse, gym bag, car, or “I really need some chocolate NOW” kind of snack.

I initially made 150 of these delicious little balls for an “Eating for Energy” presentation at a ladies ski event about a year and a half ago. The funny thing is, I still get phone calls and emails from ladies who attended this event (and they’re friends and friends’ grandmas) requesting this recipe.

In fact, I just got a phone call the other day from a rather panic-struck lady who had lost her energy ball recipe. Now I totally empathize with this lady. I would be pretty distraught if I lost my energy ball recipe too.

Lucky for her, I didn’t lose the recipe. In fact, I have plenty more where this one came from and I’ll be sharing them here for all of you to enjoy! YAY!!!

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Now let’s get to the juicy details. My favourite thing about these little balls is there is no sugar added because they are naturally sweetened with dates. Pretty sweet deal, eh? Those dates also happen to add a dose of fiber, which keeps you feeling full for longer.

We can’t forget the almonds (another one of my favs) which provide those healthy monounsaturated fats. AKA great for the heart. And last but not least, there’s unsweetened cocoa powder which lends that rich chocolate taste, and a ton of antioxidants, which is great for the skin and anti-aging! Chocolate….great skin…..and anti-aging?! I’m in.

Can you see why I love these balls so much? Pop em’ in your purse for a quick on the go snack, make them for a party or get together (no one will ever guess they’re healthy). I trick people all the time. Shhhhh!! Or save them for a healthy treat.

Hope you enjoy!!

Chocolate Almond Energy Bites

Chocolate Almond Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cups natural almonds
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 15 fresh pitted dates
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions

  1. Combine almonds, cocoa and cinnamon in food processor. Process until crumbly.
  2. Add vanilla, dates, coconut oil and water. Process until mixture is combined. If mixture is still dry, add a teaspoon or so of water. The texture should be firm and sticky.
  3. Remove mixture from processor and form into balls.
  4. Pour unsweetened coconut into a small bowl and roll the balls in the coconut until well coated.

Notes

Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for no more than 3 months.

Nutrients per serving:

Servings: 35 • Calories: 47 • Fat: 3.2 g • Carbohydrates: 4.4 g • Fibre: 1.3 g • Protein: 1.4 g • Sugar: 2.6 g • Sodium: 0 mg • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Elysia, XOXO