When it comes to weeknight cooking, I tend to have one of two very different approaches: maximum efficiency or maximum effort. On a maximum efficiency day, I eat out of a giant
mixing salad bowl that is usually layered with greens (arugula, kale, spinach), sweet potatoes or brown rice and some kind of quick and cheap protein (chickpeas, tuna, tempeh, etc). On a maximum effort day, I do things like make my own pizza crust from hand-ground almond flour or whip up 7 layer vegan mousakka. Usually on these days I usually end up snacking so much by the time dinner finally hits the table that I’m too full and tired to enjoy my meal, let alone clean up after myself.
This evening I tried my hand at some kind of middle ground, and the results were fairly tasty.
Masala Chicken, Green Beans and Lentils
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1.5-2 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- coconut oil
- 1 lb bag of green beans
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1.5 cups cooked lentils
For the chicken
- Preheat the oven to 425
- Heat coconut oil on a large frying pan on med-high heat.
- Massage chicken breasts with salt and garam masala.
- Add chicken to fry pan and cook about 4-5 minutes or until browned, then flip to the other side and repeat.
- Place browned chicken on a lined baking sheet and place into the hot oven. You can also use an oven-safe pan and place it directly into the oven.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through but still tender.
- Allow to sit for a few minutes, then slice.
For the green beans and lentils
- Cook lentils according to package instructions (i usually use a bit over a 2:1 ratio)
- Melt coconut oil in a large pan or wok.
- Add green beans and garlic and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add tamari and a small amount of water (1/4 cup max). Simmer and allow to reduce by half.
- Add cooked lentils to the mix and stir well to combine.
Serve sliced chicken on top of lentils and green beans. Serves 2-4.
I can’t place exactly when black bean brownies came on the scene. Maybe it was something cooked up by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife – you know, the one notorious for her putting vegetables in all sorts of inappropriate places? Or maybe it was The Happy Herbivore, the first place I ever saw them. Either way, they have become a staple of the “tricked-you-this-is-actually-healthy” dessert genre.
While I enjoy healthy desserts as much as the next healthy living blog addict, but my philosophy on healthy desserts is to keep them to yourself. For two main reasons.
1) You made them for yourself. You took the time to shop at the health food store, dropped a bunch of cash on chia seeds and maca powder then spent all afternoon in the kitchen so that you could enjoy a delicious baked good without feeling like garbage afterwards. Keep half the batch in the freezer if you need to but you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
2) When you push a bite of a “healthified” treat on a friend or a co-worker and then surprise them with its secretly beet-infused contents, you’re not sharing you’re looking for validation. If they don’t enjoy the treat, it will probably make you feel self-conscious and judged. If they do enjoy it, you’ll feel proud and like you beat the system. Either way, who cares what they think? Wasn’t it supposed to be a treat for you in the first place? Obviously you should offer a bite to a pal if they ask, but maybe just let them try it and spare them the ingredient list?
ON THAT NOTE….
Here is a recipe that’s just for you. These are nice, dense chocolatey brownies that – no secrets here – are made without any sugar and are loaded with fibre. I have a feeling you’re exactly the kind of person who will appreciate them.
Black Bean Brownies
- 1.5 cups cooked black beans
- 1 cup soft dates or raisins*
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
*If your dried fruit is too firm, simply place it in a bowl and add some boiling water. Let it sit for 5 minutes then drain.
- Place dried fruit, cocoa, beans and almond milk into your blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Pour wet batter into a large mixing bowl and mix in 1/2 your chocolate chips
- Finally add coconut flour and allow the batter to sit for 3-5 minutes or until it thickens up a bit
- Pour mixture into a greased or lined 8×8 baking pan
- Top with remaining chocolate chips
- Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the centre is firm
- Remove and allow to cool completely before cutting, otherwise the brownies will crumble
- Cut, refrigerate and enjoy
I’m already nostalgic for fall.
I’ve always said October is the greatest (my birthday, pumpkin pie AND halloween all in one month? no competition!) and this year was no exception. So far I’ve traveled to rural Pennsylvania to catch my first college football game (y’all are crazy), spent some time in the wilderness hiking through the changing leaves and even flew to NYC for a weekend of art, food and moderate debauchery…more on that soon.
Anyhow in honour of my tender feelings towards my very favourite month I thought I would post a recipe starring the official ingredient of autumn…PUMPKIN!
This simple recipe is perfect to whip up on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy for lunches or quick dinners throughout week.
Turkey, white bean and pumpkin stew
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium diced white onion
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 diced celery stalks
- 1 package lean ground turkey (could sub for 1 block of tempeh, grated)
- 1.5 cups cooked white beans
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- sage and thyme
- salt and pepper
- Sautee onions, garlic and celery in olive oil on medium heat until just soft.
- Add ground turkey and cook until just brown, draining if necessary.
- Add in beans, pumpkin, spices and veggie broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmering.
- Simmer everything together for about 30 minutes or until the broth is thick.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
In my opinion, the ideal Sunday is spent wasted entirely.
Today was almost perfectly that. It was a sleep in, watch Coronation Street, wear wooly socks for the first time all season, drink 3 cups of green tea, chat with my grandmother, listen to Sarah McLachlan, read my own tarot and make my own chickpea-spread kind of day. The dream, no? And while I can’t share with you the joys of my day…I can share the fruits of my labour.
Seedy Sunflower Hummus
- 1 small clove garlic
- 2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked from scratch
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp olive or flax oil
- Process all ingredients in a food processor til smooth and creamy.
- Add water if you need to until you reach the right consistency.
- Eat it with a spoon. Repeat all week.
Oh…and in case your wondering…the chariot signifies mastery and triumph which i choose to interpret as my success in hummus and in life.
It’s been a cold and rainy (dare I even say…snowy) April here in Toronto. So as much as I’d like to be transitioning to fresh spring salads come lunchtime, the thought of something warm and satisfying is far more appealing.
This not-quite a salad, not-quite a casserole is reminiscent of a classic creamy tuna noodle casserole minus the white pasta and soup-in-a-can sauce. Plus its beyond simple to whip together and can be served hot, cold or somewhere in between.
No-Cook Tuna “Casserole”
(Gluten and Dairy Free)
- 1-2 cans tuna
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1.5 cups cooked millet
- 2 big handfuls of spinach, coursely chopped
- 1/2 jar capers, chopped (about a palmful)
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- pinch of garlic powder
- salt and pepper
1. Mix together millet, chickpeas and tuna in a large bowl.
2. Add in 1 tbsp tahini, nutritional yeast and mustard.
3. Mix in the fresh chopped spinach and capers and the other tablespoon of tahini. Use your hands to mix the salad, ensuring all the leaves are separated and coated in dressing.
4. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of garlic powder. Stir again to combine.
On the hunt for a gluten free treat that doesn’t require 8 kinds of overpriced cement flour to stay together? Well look no further.
These cookies are tasty, cheap & ready in a snap. Did I mention they only have 5 ingredients? Srsly I’m always lookin out for you guys.
Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies
- 1 cup all natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 banana
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix peanut butter, sugar and egg until well combined.
- Add coursely mashed banana
- Use a tablespoon to scoop onto wax paper and press down with a fork. Top with extra banana slices if desired.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. They will still be very soft when they come out of the oven so make sure you allow them to cool completely before serving.
Makes about 16 cookies.
Eat em up!
One of the benefits of living in a big city – and the thing I missed most when I moved away – is the sheer variety of foods I have access to. I live in a Tibetan neighborhood, two blocks from my favourite Portuguese bakery (egg tarts. i die.) and three blocks from a string of West Indian roti restaurants with the hottest pepper sauce I’ve ever tasted. I mean…I’m the luckiest girl.
Beyond restaurants, my city is also full of these tiny hole-in-the-wall grocery stores that full of inexpensive “specialty” foods. Yesterday, when I made a stop at one of these grocers to pick up Chana Masala seasoning, I spotted a massive bag of Chickpea Flour for under 4 dollars. MINE!
I’ve experimented with Chickpea Flour (or besan) before but nothing has ever compared to this latest win. I tasted something similar to it in New York from a vegan foodstand at a farmer’s market in the lower east side and this was my first attempt at recreating what I’m loosely referring to as a “frittata” in that it is savoury, high in protein, can be mixed with any veggies you like and baked. I don’t have a fancy cast iron pan but I imagine it would be perfect prepared in that.
Savoury Breakfast Frittata
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 2 cups liquid (I used a mix of almond milk and water)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp dijon
- 1 cup of mixed sauteed vegetables (onion, asparagus, zucchini, peppers etc)
- italian seasoning blend
- salt and pepper
- Mix all ingredients together except vegetables together in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour into a loaf pan or baking dish lined with parchment paper or well greased with coconut oil
- Sprinkle cooked veggies evenly across the pan.
- Bake on 350 for around 30 minutes or until browned on top and cooked through.
- Allow to cool completely, cut & enjoy!
Life, lately you ask?
Hectic. Dynamic. Incredibly fulfilling.
Ahh the plight of the working gal in her mid-twenties.
im pretty into moons these days. anything lunar, really. i cant tell if its like a feminist thing or a trendy gothy thing or in some way related to my general love and appreciation of all things astrological….but i just thought you should know since we’re getting reacquainted.
Other things I’m into lately…
- new boxy topshop blazer i bought on sale for $40. woot.
- feel good guru and generally all things raw and vegetable
- my pendleton docs
- GIRLS season 2
- the new tegan and sara album (whatevvvver guys, i know its pop music but i like pop music and i think its good. im also pretty into taylor swift right now. moving on…)
- Solar Raw cheesy kale chips. How did I just discover these? I’m an addict on the road to rock bottom and there’s no turning back.
And (of course) the most important thing I’m loving lately… this delicious grain-free totally guiltless banana bread. Honestly no amount of busy-lady life could keep me from sharing this recipe with you because I am totally IN LOVE. It’s moist and delicious and not at all like the dense gluten-free baked goods I’m used to. PERFECTION.
Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread
(Gluten, Grain, Nut & Sugar Free)
Adapted from here
Photo Credit: The Vibrant Family
- 2 eggs
- 3 bananas (mashed)
- 2 tbsp honey or a pinch of stevia
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 white tbsp chia seeds (mix with 3 tbsp water and allow to sit for 5 min or so to form a gel)
- 3 tbsp dark chocolate chunks (use a cut up chocolate bar if you like)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- dash of cinnamon
- Blend eggs, mashed bananas and coconut oil together, plus honey if using.
- Mix the dry ingredients and then combine with wet ingredients.
- Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
The result will be a very soft and cake-like banana bread. Ideal for breakfast, snacks or any other time you please!
What’s your go-to healthy treat right now? What else are you loving lately?
While I’ve got lots of holiday recipes and baking on the horizon this season, I thought I might take a minute to revisit a few of my older recipes that both you and I may have forgotten about…
5 minute Figberry Jam (sugar free and ridiculously easy)
Gluten-Free Flax Lace Cookies
(I really need to take some new photos because this one just doesn’t do these cookies justice. These crunchy, sweet & buttery bites are a crowd pleaser but they are completely wholesome and a definite Holiday favourite of mine.)
Roasted Pumpkin Seed & Edamame Snack Mix
Gluten-Free Paprika and Rosemary Stuffing
Pumpkin Barley Risotto (A great side or alternative main dish)
Twice Baked Apple Cider Brussel Sprouts
Savoury Apple, Dijon & Kale Cornbread
And of course you can never go wrong with a big batch of cranberry & chocolate packed ULTIMATE COOKIES
Hope you enjoy these & maybe even give them a try this season!
What are your go-to Holiday recipes?
This coconut chocolate bark is, to put it simply, a revelation.
And like most revelations, it started out with humble beginnings. With a very utilitarian purpose. I was simply looking for new ways to incorporate coconut oil into my diet.
You see, in addition to all the benefits of coconut oil (which my nutritionist pal Joy has summarized beautifully in this post), it is also known to be a very healthful choice for people with gallbladder disease…which I have and have had since the age of about 8.
I haven’t mentioned this on the blog before because it seems like a total overshare, but I thought I’d say something now in case there are others out there who suffer from the same thing. And no, gallbladder disease is not something that only affects people who are overweight or over 50. Young’ins like me can be susceptible too for a wide variety of hereditary reasons (in my case a rare blood disorder). Represent.
So how does coconut oil help? Well, a doctor told me recently that coconut oil is unique because, unlike other fat sources (even healthy ones), it avoids your gallbladder entirely. That’s good news for everyone, not just gallstoney weirdos like me, because it is converted to usable energy very quickly leaving you feeling satisfied and energized, without the sluggish feelings that can sometimes accompany a high-fat meal. Universal win. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Coconut Chocolate Bark
Vegan, Grain-Free and pretty much everything-friendly.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp plain, vanilla or chocolate vegan protein powder (I used sun warrior blend)
- 1-2 tbsp liquid sweetener or a few drops of good tasting stevia
- 1/8 tsp vanilla
- 2 tablespoons finely ground coconut
- Combine all ingredients except vanilla and coconut in a small microwaveable dish and heat in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds or until just bubbling.
- Add vanilla and coconut
- Transfer to a small freezer-friendly container, lined with saran wrap. I used a pie plate. Spread the mixture out thinly and pop into the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until set.
- Remove chocolate bark from freezer and slice into 12 pieces. Store in the fridge to avoid melting.
Nutrition facts: Around 50 calories/serving. 5 g healthy fats. 1.5 g protein.
I enjoyed 2 big pieces (plus many spoon/bowl licks) as part of my breakfast this morning. Delicious. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!