Almond Sticks

almondsticks2We know how important healthy snacking through the day is. Well, this is a quick, easy snack that`s perfect for keeping you feeling full between meals, so you can eat a proper portion size instead of feeling like you want to gorge at dinner.

Almond Sticks

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

2 celery stalks, each chopped into 2 pieces
1 tablespoon peanut butter
12 raw almonds

Directions:

1. Fill the celery pieces with peanut butter, then add the almonds on top.

Next time you’re trying to think of an easy, nutritious snack, you should definitely give these a try.

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Oven-Baked Tofu Sticks

Filled with protein, calcium and iron, these tofu sticks are a great addition to your collection of favourite recipes, especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. In many cases, when you choose to not eat meat (although this does make you a super awesome person) your body ends up lacking in essential minerals, such as iron. Just 100 grams of tofu gives you 30% of your total daily requirement for iron, which is really quite impressive.

Oven-Baked Tofu Sticks

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1/2 package firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut the tofu into sticks, about 1/2-inch wide each.

3. Line your counter with a couple layers of paper towel, place the tofu sticks evenly across the top, then add paper towel over the tofu sticks as well.

4. Press down on the paper towel so you’re pushing down on the tofu, with any excess liquid being soaked up by the paper towel.

5. Lightly brush a baking sheet with the olive oil, then line the baking sheet with the tofu sticks.

6. Sprinkle the salt over the sticks and cook for 15 minutes on one side, before flipping them carefully and cooking for another 10-15 minutes, until the tofu is lightly browned and crispy on the outside. Serve immediately.

They taste extra delicious with a bit of tomato sauce on the side, for dipping. Because of the need to drain the tofu before baking, it’s good to make these puppies ahead of time – throw them in before a workout at home and they’ll be the perfect post-weights meal, full of protein AND carbs, both which are vital to the body’s recovery process after an intense training session.

Simple but Savory Roasted Tomatoes

There is something so special about the taste of roasted tomatoes. If you haven’t tried them before, it’s definitely time you do.

Simple but Savory Roasted Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

4 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Slice the tomatoes in half across the middle, so you’re separating the top and bottom of each. Remove the stems from both ends.

3. With the tomato pieces facing up so you can see the seeds inside, drizzle the olive oil over the tops of the tomatoes.

4. Sprinkle the basil and oregano evenly over the tomatoes.

5. Carefully place the tomatoes face down on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake the tomatoes for 30 minutes. You can pull the skins off easily once they’re cooked – be careful so you don’t turn the tomatoes into mush because they will be tender – then flip them over right side up to plate them.

These roasted tomatoes are so quick and easy to make, but the taste is divine. You’d think you had spent hours slaving in the kitchen making these things. Try them on their own, over a bowl of egg noodles, or with some asparagus and roasted potatoes for a tasty meal.

Crispy Quinoa and Kale Cakes

quinoacakes1Quinoa is a delicious ingredient, it’s really easy to make, and it can be used in a variety of delectable recipes. That definitely includes this recipe in particular. Just looking at the list of nutritious ingredients in this recipe makes me feel healthier. It takes a bit of prep time to put these pretty cakes together, but trust me, it’s well worth it.

Crispy Quinoa and Kale Cakes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Average
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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
1 cup diced and destemmed kale
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup diced basil leaves
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 tablespoon Tahini paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup oats, ground
1/2 cup grated sweet potato
1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons flour

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix the ground flaxseed and water together in a small bowl, and set aside until it thickens, about 10 minutes.

3. While you’re waiting for the flaxseed mixture to thicken, combine all of the other ingredients together in a large bowl, using a large spoon to mix everything together well. (Avoid using your hands for this part, trust me, or you’ll just end up with a huge mess on your hands…literally). Add the flaxseed mixture once it has thickened.

4. Form the mixture into small patties and place evenly spaced on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use about 1/4 cup of the mixture per patty, using an actual dry measuring cup to do this, if possible. (Just trying to make it easier for you). Not only is this important to ensure you get the most accurate measurement per cake (you should end up with 12 patties at this size), but it’s also perfect for scooping out the mix to form the mix into nice little perfectly shaped patties for you. Just make sure you form each patty tightly together and flatten it a bit like a hamburger, so they’re not too high (the name “cakes” is a bit deceiving), otherwise they may fall apart on you while they’re cooking or after when you’re trying to eat them.

5. Bake the patties for 15 minutes, then carefully flip them over and cook for another 10 minutes.

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Serve with some fresh raddichio salad, a tasty spinach and feta salad, or even alongside some roasted sweet potatoes. I’ve also enjoyed them with some tzatziki sauce on the side, which I definitely recommend trying if you want to experience ultimate deliciousness in your mouth.

Kale Chips

kalechipspic1Kale chips are one of my all-time favourite go-to snacks, and there are a few perfectly good reasons why. For one, kale is one of the best green vegetables you can pick up when you’re out doing your shopping. Full of Vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, folate and protein, kale helps manage your blood sugar, makes you feel full longer so you’re less likely to nosh on things you shouldn’t, and in fact, most people actually consider it to be one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet. Pretty impressive. Lucky for us, they also taste pretty damn good too.

Kale Chips

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1 head of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Rip or cut the kale from the stalks (I hold the stalk in one hand and rip up the side with the other) and continue tearing the pieces apart until they’re medium-sized, about 2 inches by 2 inches in size. Of course these are pieces of floppy greens, so don’t worry about getting it perfect, this is just to give you an idea of the best size for turning out crisp, delicious kale chips.

3. Place all of the kale pieces into a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over top of the kale. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, as well as the Cajun spice, then mix the kale around with your hands so all of the pieces are coated. In place of the Cajun, you could use some dill, a splash of vinegar, or any other flavour you think you’d prefer, or just stick with your basic salt and pepper and they’ll still be delicious. If you do use vinegar or any other liquid on your kale chips, it’s best to do after they’re done cooking, to avoid ending up with soggy chips.

4. Place the kale pieces onto a baking sheet, a large enough baking sheet that there’s room for only one layer of kale, so the pieces aren’t layered on top of each other. Keep in mind – the kale shrinks down a lot so don’t be worried if it looks like you have enough kale to serve the neighbours too when you’re preparing it.

5. Bake the kale chips for 9 minutes (even just 1 minute makes a huge difference with kale chips, because the pieces wilt down and become very thin, and you don’t want them too soft or burning on you). Flipping them around about halfway through helps ensure all the pieces get cooked nice and evenly.

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Trust me, once you try these kale chips, you’ll be making them all the time.

Homemade Almond Butter

almondThere’s nothing better than learning how to make something healthy yourself at home. Not only is it already nutritious to start with, but now you can save yourself time and hassle of getting it at the supermarket and do it yourself. The best part is that most things really don’t take that long to make, especially once you make them a couple of times and become the cooking pro-star you know you are, and it’s well worth doing it yourself. I love the feeling of making something myself at home, seeing exactly what goes into it and knowing exactly what I’m putting in my body. (Not to mention the extra few bucks leftover for other things when I head to the market or grocery store next time).

Almond butter is delicious with so many different things, but one of my favourite ways to enjoy it is with a freshly sliced apple. Try whipping up a batch of almond butter yourself at home – you’re sure to want to once you see just how easy it really is.

Homemade Almond Butter

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

2 cups raw almonds

Directions:

1. Put the almonds into a food processor and blend well. This can take some patience, and will definitely be pretty loud, but keep at it and you will end up with an almond paste with a thick consistency, perfect for dipping or spreading.

It’s literally that easy, and you can store this tasty almond butter refrigerated for 2-3 weeks, or if needed, freeze it and it is good for about 3 months. Don’t worry about it freezing solid during that time, as the natural oils from the almonds will prevent this.

Stuffed Pepper Pieces

Bell peppers are one of the healthiest types of veggies you can eat, and there are so many yummy ways to eat them. This recipe can be used for any colour of peppers, even jalepeno peppers if you can stand the heat. (Sometimes I’ll use a jalepeno pepper for myself and a regular bell pepper for the little one, so you can do whatever works for you). It’s really easy to do and is perfect as an appetizer for a get together at your place, or as a side with your main course.

Stuffed Pepper Pieces

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Average
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Ingredients:

1 cup fire roasted tomato hummus
4 bell peppers
2/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut the four sides off each pepper, leaving you with 16 pieces total.

3. Spoon a thin layer of hummus evenly onto each piece.

4. Put the almond milk into one bowl, the flour into another with the salt and pepper, and the breadcrumbs into a third.

5. Dip each pepper piece into the milk, then into the flour, into the milk again, and finally into the breadcrumbs to coat allover.

6. Place the coated peppers onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes.

Serve this dish with a delicious garden salad or even just some leafy greens such as watercress, spinach or arugula.

Focaccia Bread with Herbs

Focaccia bread is typically topped with herbs or other ingredients, the dough quite similar in texture and style to pizza dough. In fact, it is often used as a base for pizza, but also serves well as a sandwich bread, or even as a side to meals like fresh veggie salads or soups. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own, and you don’t even need any fancy bread maker machine to do it.

Focaccia Bread with Herbs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Average
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Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. In a large-sized pan over low heat, add the olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and pepper.

2. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and honey. Stir a few times, then let it sit for about 5 minutes.

4. Add 1 cup of the flour into the warm water mixture, and about 1/4 cup of the olive oil mixture from the pan. Stir a couple of times to mix everything together, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

5. Stir the remaining flour and the salt into the bowl, and you should see it transforming into more of a dough-like consistency.

6. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured board, kneading it about 10 times to get it smooth. You don’t want to overdo it, or the dough will become sticky and hard to manage.

7. Place the dough in a separate, medium-sized oiled bowl, cover it with a warm damp towel and let it rise for about an hour.

8. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Oil a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet with about 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil mixture.

10. Transfer the dough onto the baking sheet, spreading it out evenly.

11. Dimple the top of the dough with your fingers, then drizzle the remaining bit of the olive oil mixture over top. Let the dough sit for 20-30 minutes, until it puffs up slightly.

12. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the top of the dough has browned lightly. Transfer it carefully to a cooling rack and allow it cool to room temperature before serving.

This is one of the few types of bread I will actually eat, and it’s definitely worth trying out for yourself.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise isn’t exactly the best food to include in your diet on a regular basis, but at least if you’re going to enjoy it, make it from scratch at home. The difference in flavour compared to regular store-bought brands is enough reason alone, but what’s more, you’re saving yourself from consuming a ton of additives, preservatives, and extra sugar. Not to mention that container of mayo you’d pick up at the store has been sitting there for weeks, maybe longer. Why put that in your body when you can make it yourself fresh at home in just a few minutes?

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

1. Whip the egg yolk in a medium-sized bowl.

2. Add the lemon juice, mustard powder and salt, mixing everything together well.

3. Slowly drizzle the oil in, whisking gently until all of the oil has been added. You will notice the mixture start to fluff up as you keep adding oil and whisking. Continue whisking slowly until the mixture is uniform.

Enjoy this homemade mayonnaise with some sweet potato fries and your mouth will thank you. Or try this spicy version of homemade mayonnaise. Store in a covered container, where it should stay good for about 3-4 days.

Sweet Potato Fries

We all know how healthy sweet potatoes are, and this is one more way of whipping these delicious orange tubers into a tasty dish.

Sweet Potato Fries

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cajun powder

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut the sweet potatoes into thin fry shapes.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, toss the sweet potato pieces with the olive oil.

4. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and Cajun powder over top of the sweet potatoes and toss around so all the potatoes are coated.

5. Place the sweet potato pieces evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

6. Flip the potatoes and bake for another 15 minutes.

7. Remove with a spatula and serve immediately.

Serve with a side of fresh leafy greens — think arugula, romaine and chard with some fresh lemon juice squeezed over top — with some yummy homemade chipotle mayo, or spicy mayo.