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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce



I picked up a Clean Eating Magazine for my trip to Texas last week and was super inspired by a few of the the recipes within it and have been trying to weave them into our meal plan since I've been back!  One of the recipes that interested me was the Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos with Jalapeño Cilantro Sauce so I thought I would give it a go!  



The recipe was surprisingly easy to put together and I did change it up a little bit based on what we had on hand.  Actually my homemade taco seasoning recipe which I used for mine has quite a kick lately and I've been trying to figure out what's going on!  I think that the Chili Power I've been using is spicy perhaps!  I've been using a Mexican chili powder for years and never had a problem with it being spicy until recently so maybe I need to switch up the chili powder!  Whatever the reason our Taco Seasoning has been seriously spicing up our meals lately so I decided that I would leave the Jalapeño out of the sauce which I was grateful for as it helped to cool the spice down!



I also used Large Living Butter Lettuce leaves instead of corn tortillas since I'm following the Portion Fix right now and only have 2 Yellow containers per day available!  I love these Living Butter Lettuce packages, I find them perfect for doing lettuce wrapped tacos with any filling and have used them in several recipes.  You can also use large Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves.  



I had 3 Lettuce Wrapped Cauliflower tacos and I would count them on the Portion fix as 2 green containers so that's a win!  I topped my tacos with a little thin sliced yellow pepper and then drizzled with the Cilantro Lime Sauce.  



Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce


Ingredients


Tacos


1 Large Head of Cauliflower but into bite-sized florets
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
8 6 Inch whole wheat tortillas or Large Living Butter Lettuce leaves. 

Cilantro Lime Sauce


1 Cup Fresh Cilantro leaves
1/2 Cup Avocado Oil Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Clove garlic, rouhly chopped
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch Black pepper

Directions


Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside
Prepare tacos:  Bring a large sauce pan of water to a boil.  Add cauliflower and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain Well; transfer to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry.  Set aside. 

In a large bowl, stir together Oil and taco seasoning.  Add Cauliflower and toss gently to coat.  Arrange in a single layer on prepared sheet.  Bake, turning once, until golden, 20-30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare your sauce.  In a blender, food processor or handheld smoothie blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. 

Divide cauliflower among tortillas or lettuce leaves.  Add toppings of your choice and drizzle with sauce.  Enjoy!


Monday, 1 May 2017

7 Day Sugar Detox


I am kicking off a 7 Day Sugar Detox group on Monday May 8th and I couldn't be more thrilled to finally host this group!  I've been wanting to talk about sugar in greater detail for a very long time and I'm finally ready to share what I've learned along the way and help change some lives for the better! 

This group is going to act as a support system for those who find them selves consuming more sugar than they would prefer, or for those who hadn't realized how much sugar is in the every day thins we consume.  We will be learning as we go, sharing our struggles, coping with cravings and reaching our goals over these 7 days and beyond! 

If you aren't already part of the group you can click here to request to join! 

Sugar is lurking everywhere so my hope and intention for this group is for those participating to become more aware of the ingredients in their food.  It’s pretty shocking if you go into a grocery store and grab a box of cereal or a jar of tomato sauce—you’ll quickly see there’s added sugar lurking in almost everything that comes packaged in a carton or can. It’s no wonder we’re addicted.

Below you will find a little more information about the group and info on how and why we are structuring it the way we are.....



Make the Decision
Comit yourself to this 7-day detox.  These changes will reset your brain and body.

Why is sugar so hard to quit??
You’re probably thinking, ‘I get it—the stuff has little to no redeeming value.’ But if you’re trying to quit, it helps to understand why it’s so hard to cut the sweetness out of our diets.
Believe it or not, sugar hijacks the brain chemistry much like drugs such as nicotine, cocaine and heroin do. Sugar, just like certain drugs, makes our brains release dopamine—which signals that something is pleasurable. Each time we eat it, it sugar activates a “reward” pathway in our brain that leaves us feeling as if we always need more. So regular sugar consumption can actually change the gene expression and availability of dopamine receptors in both the midbrain and frontal cortex. Simply put, our brains become tolerant to sugar, thus the increasing need for more.

Quit Cold Turkey
When a sugar addict eats even a small amount of sugar, they want more and more.  We must break the cycle and going cold turkey gives us a window to allow significant withdrawal and detox to take place.  Stop all forms of refined sugar:  white flour, artificial sweetners, hydrogenated fats and pre-packaged foods. This also means no honey, no maple syrup, no agave nectar, no artificial sweeteners and nothing sweet except for fresh fruit.

Don’t Drink your calories
No sweetened teas and coffees, no sodas and no juices.

Add Protein to every meal
Include eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken or grass-fed meats.

Consume ½ cup of of beans per day
Beans prevent that insulin spike associated with cravings and fat storage, plus beans are high in protein and lessen the glycemic reaction at your second meal. 

Eat slow foods
Slow foods are foods that take a long time to digest, and these squash sugar cravings because they provide you with a steady stream of calories in your bloodstream, verses a flood all at once.  Fast carbs, like white bread and pasta turn into sugar, spiking insulin and leading to a wide swing in glucose; setting you up for fat storage and cravings. Eat slow foods at every meal.  Go for beans, whole grains (such as steel-cut oats) and high carb vegetables such as butternut squash, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, lentils or peas.
The key, is to eat whole, unprocessed foods that keep you full and prevent insulin spikes.

Meal ideas: Whole grain like steel-cut oats with seeds and berries for breakfast. A salad with a nut-based dressing for lunch and bowl of bean soup or chili.

Include good fats at every meal
Go for nuts and seeds (with meals), avocado and fish, which offer omega-3 fatty acids.

Keep your blood levels stable
Research shows that when you are hungry, you are more likely to crave and eat sugary foods. This is simple to avoid if you just take a little time to plan ahead.
Plan to be hungry about every 2-3 hours. Plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time, or at least have convenient options of healthy food nearby.
If you know you will be gone for more than 2-3 hours, plan ahead and bring healthy snacks with you. Add healthy sources of protein to your meals and snacks, to keep you more satiated for longer.

Manage your stress
When your stressed, your cortisol shoots up.  This will drive up your hunger and can fuel sugar cravings.




Wednesday, 8 March 2017

My thoughts on "Swerve" a new natural sweetener




Just the other day a friend of mine posted a photo of a purple bag saying "Swerve where have you been all my life" the bag read "The Ultimate Sugar Replacement" so of course I had to do some googling and find out what the ingredients were. 

I try to avoid all artificial sweeteners but I can tell you I used to be a HUGE diet coke drinker. I’ve learned that artificial sweeteners are chemicals created in a laboratory for the food industry and they don’t resemble anything our bodies can recognize as food.  Many of the new artificial sweeteners seem like a good thing but we REALLY DON’T know the effects of them until they are out in the market for human consumption for several years and possibly cause problems.  I remember arguing with a family member about Splenda years ago… saying that it wasn’t natural and was bleached and chemically processed but all the advertising stated that it was from the "natural source".  Well guess what.... Natural is just a marketing term used to make consumers believe that a product is healthy.  At that time there was no research on splenda (Suclarose) and everything said it seemed ok, so that family member of mine was completely buying into the marketing of the product but now we know that sucralose is cancer causing and is on the list of the top 5 worst Artificial Sweeteners.  

Now I've only done a small amount of research on this new product "Swerve" but here is what I've learned so far. 

Swerve, the "all-natural sweetener" with no synthetic chemicals, no aspartame, and no genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). But is Swerve really a healthy sugar alternative for health-conscious individuals trying to cut refined sugars from their diet?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not a simple yes or no as it seems to be with many of the newer Sugar Substitutes. This is also why it wont be making it into my cart at the store.  Here's why.... Erythritol is a sugar alcohol like xylitol and while it is preferable to artificial sweeteners like Equal, Sweet'N Low, and Splenda, Swerve is still a highly-refined sweetening agent made primarily from erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol naturally found in plants. Erythritol is also on the list of the top 5 worst Artificial Sweetners. 


A lot of people think these sugar alcohol's are awesome because it decreases the amount of sugar and calories in what they’re consuming. You’ll commonly find it as an ingredient in low-sugar and sugar-free foods, but there are some very concerning and common erythritol side effects — even when it’s used in low amounts, erythritol consumption can cause diarrhea, stomachache and headache.

The reason why it doesn’t provide calories or sugar to its consumer is because the body actually can’t break it down! That’s right — even though erythritol travels through your body, it doesn’t get metabolized. Your body can't recognize it as a food source... just because a sweetener doesn’t have calories and doesn’t appear to affect blood sugar, it does not mean that it’s good for your health.

Besides erythritol, Swerve also contains oligosaccharides (say what?), which the company says are "non-digestible carbohydrates extracted from fruit and vegetable sources." According to other sources, oligosaccharides are complex sugars that can actually help prevent the formation of chronic illness. According to a 2009 study published in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers, oligosaccharides can help promote healthy weight maintenance, modulate gut flora, enhance immunity, reduce diabetes, and lower cardiovascular risk. For me personally if I can't pronounce it, buy it off the shelf, grow it or produce it in my kitchen then it's not an ingredient I want in my food. 

The product also contains "natural flavors," an ambiguous ingredient class that, despite having the word natural in its name, is still a laboratory creation. Though the natural flavors in Swerve are admittedly derived from fruit and vegetable sources, and do not contain hidden monosodium glutamate (MSG), they are still unspecified additives.

To its credit, Swerve is made from completely non-GMO ingredients, and appears to be made from the most natural forms of each ingredient it contains. But for me it honestly just reminds me of Splenda when it was the hot new sweetening product on the market. Remember, whole, natural sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup and stevia leaf are still preferable sweetening alternatives, as they exist in whole form as nature intended. As someone with many diabetics in my family I can tell you that you don't have to turn to artificial sweeteners you can use honey and splenda in moderation, and because they are actually sweeter than sugar you can use less.  

You can decide for yourself but for me if it's created in a lab it's not going into my body! 
It took me a long time to even purchase stevia liquid because the powdered white form of stevia is created in a lab, bleached and processed beyond recognition.  But the liquid form the better solution apart from the whole leave or ground leave which would be a green powder not white!  





Wednesday, 22 February 2017

21 Day Fix Easy Buffalo Chicken Pockets


I did a little creating in the kitchen today while I was home with a sick boy!  Fraser has had an annoying cough for the last few days but last night he slept terribly and the cough kept him from napping this afternoon too.  Sooo..... bedtime is either going to be a breeze or a nightmare!!!  Eeks!  

It's been an exhausting day but I had Buffalo chicken prepped and in the fridge, which I make in the crock pot and shredded in the stand mixer earlier this week, so I decided to use some of it up and change up my lunch for today since I was home.  

I had planned to have a Chicken Parmesan Pocket today but instead I threw together this delicious Buffalo Chicken pocket with ranch dip!  I feel like ranch should always go with buffalo sauce so I used my Homemade Ranch Dressing Spice mixture with a little greek yogurt to make a dipping sauce for it. 



The goat cheese crumbles in the wrap made it so creamy and delicious and the ranch dip made the whole thing really come together!  I'm in love!!!  

This might be my new favourite lunch for work!!  These little pockets are super easy to make and then take to the office and reheat at lunch time. 



21 Day Fix Easy Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Yield: Four wraps
Container Counts:  (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 blue)

Ingredients



3 cups roughly shredded, cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 Cup Franks Buffalo Sauce
4 Whole wheat tortilla wraps
1 cup Goat Cheese Crumbles
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt 

1 Tbsp Ranch Dressing Spice Mix 

Directions



Place shredded chicken in a medium bowl. Add Buffalo sauce and stir to combine. 


Lay 1 Tortilla wrap on work surface, and sprinkle ¼ cup (1 blue container) of goat cheese down the center, leaving a large border all around the cheese. Spread ¼ of the chicken mixture (1 red container) on top of the goat cheese. Drizzle a small amount of buffalo sauce on top if desired. 


Fold short ends of wrap inward toward middle, and then fold long sides of wrap inward toward middle, making a closed wrap.


Repeat with the remaining 3 wraps, dividing the remaining goat cheese cheese and the remaining buffalo chicken mixture evenly among them.


Preheat a dry nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once preheated, add the wraps and cook on the first side until golden brown, about 1 ½ - 2 minutes. Flip wraps and cook on second side until golden, about another 1½ minutes.

While wraps are cooking combine greek yogurt and Ranch Dressing Spice Mix  together.  Serve wraps with Ranch Dressing Dip for dipping.  Enjoy!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

February 20th 21 Day Fix Meal Plan for 1200-1499 Calorie Range



We are getting into a good routine now where our meal planning just seems to be the norm on Sunday morning and doesn't take nearly as much thought or effort.  This morning I made a Raspberry Almond Baked Oatmeal for our week day breakfasts and a batch of banana chocolate chips for the boys breakfasts during the week too. 

Later in the day, after grocery shopping, I prepped the chicken to shred for the week and cut up the rest for other dinners we have planned during the week to make it easy. 

Meal planning literally makes it so that we are able to get it ALL done in the week.  With Taekwondo, kickboxing, working out, packing lunches, reading homework, and running a business in the evenings it gets pretty rushed around here, so it really helps to know exactly what we are cooking and just get to it. 

I've decided to take a step back from my kickboxing classes to take the pressure off myself from going 2-3 times a week to going 1-2 times.  While I love it and have fun when I go, my team is growing and I need more time in the evenings to be able to support them too and that's the priority at this time. 

We have some pretty big and exciting goals for my team this and I've gotta learn that it's ok to say no to some things at certain times in life.  I take so much joy in helping other moms like me change their lives both physically and financially and that part of my job is SO rewarding. 

I don't know about you but I tend to say YES to everyone and everything even when I know I just don't have the time.  When we started kickboxing and TKD I said I probably wont have the time but my need to keep up and get my belts has kept me going consistently and I do enjoy the classes.  BUT I always do my home workouts on top of those classes each week so cutting out that extra little bit of time in the week will free up some time for me in the evenings just like cutting back on TV time or scrolling facebook made a huge difference for me when I first started my business.  I always thought I was so busy but then I realized how much time I spend watching TV in the evenings after the kids were in bed.  It's funny how habits are what we do on auto pilot but when we live with more intention each day we can become our best selves. 

Well anyways here is our meal plan for this week for you in case you are in need of some inspiration or motivation to eat a little cleaner this week!  I hope you have a stress free and productive week ahead!

21 Day Fix Meal Plan for 1200- 1499 Calorie Range




Monday
Breakfast: Raspberry Almond Baked Oatmeal and Greek Yogurt (1 Yellow, 1 red)
Snack: Café Latte Shakeology (1 Red)
Lunch: Greek salad with Greek chicken (2 Green 1 red)
Snack: 1/2 Banana (1 Purple)
Dinner: Chicken Parmesan Pocket (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 blue and 1/2 green)
Snack: Apple and Peanut Butter (1 Purple 2 Spoons)


Tuesday
Breakfast:  Raspberry Almond Baked Oatmeal and Greek Yogurt (1 Yellow, 1 red)
Snack: Tropical Strawberry Shakeology with 1/2 Banana (1 Red, 1 Purple)
Lunch: Chicken Parmesan Pocket (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 blue and 1/2 green)
Snack: Veggies and homemade ranch dip (1 Green ¼ red)
Dinner: Cheddar Broccoli Stuffed Chicken (1 Red, 1 Green, 1 Blue)
Snack: Apple slices and peanut butter (1 Purple 2 tsp)



Wednesday
Breakfast:  Raspberry Almond Baked Oatmeal and Greek Yogurt (1 Yellow, 1 red)
Snack: Tropical Strawberry Shakeology with 1/2 Banana (1 Red, 1 Purple)
Lunch: Greek salad with Greek chicken (2 Green 1 red)
Snack: Sliced peppers (1 Green)
Dinner: Chicken Fried Rice  (1 Red, 1 green, 1 yellow)Snack: Apple Slices and Peanut Butter (1 Purple 2 tsp)

https://coachcrystalp.blogspot.ca/2014/03/homemade-real-food-chicken-fried-rice.html?spref=pi


Thursday
Breakfast:  Raspberry Almond Baked Oatmeal and Greek Yogurt (1 Yellow, 1 red)
Snack: Chocolate Shakeology with 1/2 Banana (1 Red, 1 Purple)
Lunch: Chicken Fried Rice (left overs) (1 Red, 1 green, 1 yellow)
Snack: Sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes (1 Green)
Dinner: Taco Salad (2 Green, 1 Red, 1 Blue)
Snack:  Apple Slices and Peanut Butter (1 Purple 2 tsp)

Friday
Breakfast: Over night oats (1 Yellow)
Snack: Café Latte Shakeology (1 Red)
Lunch: Taco Salad (1 Red, 2 Green)
Snack: Banana (2 Purple)
Dinner: Homemade Pizza (1 Yellow, 1 Blue, 1 Green, 1 Red)
Snack: Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt (1 Red, 2 tsp)

Sunday Prep

Prepare Shredded Chicken

Raspberry Almond Baked Oatmeal


This weekend I modified by Blueberry Baked Oatmeal recipe slightly to use the berries we had in the freezer since our blueberry stock has run out *sad face*.  So I decided to use raspberries instead.  I swapped out for raspberries a few weeks ago except Gord found the oats a bit too tart with raspberries so this time I added a touch more maple syrup and it's absolute perfection! 

I personally love the raspberry almond combo so I'm looking forward to our breakfasts this week.

With that done it's time to move onto meal planning for the week!  Be sure to check out this weeks meal plan and all the others here!

By the way I've got a new way for fans of the blog to get notifications of new blog posts!!! You can subscribe to my mailing list  and receive an email after I've posted a new Recipe!! How awesome is that!  

Click the link below and fill out your email address to receive an email when new recipes are posted!

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Raspberry Almond Baked Oatmeal


Serves 9

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 TBSP Chia Seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder 
¼ cup slivered almonds (plus more for topping)
½ cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups Milk of your choice
1 large egg 
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 TBSP melted coconut oil or apple sauce
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 square baking dish and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, salt, almonds and chia seeds. Set aside.
3. In another small bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, milk, egg, maple syrup, applesauce or coconut oil, and almond extract.
4. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the raspberries and stir again. Pour mixture into prepared pan.   Top with sliced almonds and blueberries.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden and oatmeal is set. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Note: You can divvy up the leftovers and reheat for breakfast all week long.  

Monday, 6 February 2017

Greek Chicken and Greek Salad Meal Prep



Lately I'm all about the meal prep.  Life is too busy to be thinking of and making lunch every night before work, so I've been trying to prep lunch and breakfast in advance so I can just grab and go. 
I prepared 5 mason jars for a weeks worth of lunches filled with greek salad over the weekend, threw together some greek salad dressing to top them with and half my lunches for the week were done in less than 5 minutes!  Not to shabby!  
Then I found a tasty looking Greek Lemon Chicken Recipe over on the Cooking Classy blog that I decided to try to add some protein to my lunches to go with all my veggies.  
Lunches complete.  
All my meals appear to be in Mason jars for the week, what with my blueberry baked oatmeal portioned out and stored in mason jars and now the salad too!  BUT I think I will have to use a different container for the chicken as my fridge can only take so many jars.  



Grilled Greek Lemon Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 small or 2 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
Directions
  • Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound thicker parts of chicken to even thickness. In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper).
  • Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag, pour in olive oil mixture. Seal bag while pressing air out. Rub marinade over chicken. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to marinate 2 - 5 hours (rotate bag and move chicken around halfway through if possible). Preheat grill over medium-high heat (to about 425 - 450). Or preheat oven to 350.  
  • Brush grill grates lightly with olive oil. Place chicken on grill, close lid, and grill about 4 minutes per side, or until chicken registers 160 - 165 degrees in center of chicken on an instant read thermometer. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, garnish with fresh parsley then serve immediately. 
  • I baked my chicken as it was an easier clean up and it's snowing here so I wasn't using the BBQ.  I baked the chicken breasts for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  
  • Original Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Greek Salad Jars

Ingredients


1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
4 mini cucumbers
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 purple onion chopped

Directions


Chop all veggies into bite sized pieces. Toss together in a medium sized bowl and portion into 5-6 Mason Jars.  
When ready to eat, pour 1-2 Tbsp Greek Salad Dressing Recipe over top and shake to coat.  


Greek Salad Dressing Recipe

Yields: ½ cup

Ingredients

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, smashed with side of your knife then peeled*
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
3 pinches of salt

10-15 grinds black pepper

Directions 

Add all ingredients to a mason jar or any type of container with a top. Cover and shake vigorously until combined. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Cover and store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Stir before serving.

Recipe Source: Little Broken

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