Super Smooth(ie)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here, which usually leads to some not-so-healthy food choices. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say I needed to stock up on pasta and pierogi again this past weekend.

Whenever we go through a period like this, I end up with this massive need to eat all of the healthy things in existence. My lunches become quinoa- and chard-filled, I buy a (normal person’s) lifetime supply of Greek yoghurt at Costco, and I stick everything that’s green into my blender to make smoothies when I have time.

I like yoghurt, ok? Don’t judge.

Anyways, since I have the Oh She Glows app on my phone, I check it daily to see if Angela has put up a new recipe. There are quite a few smoothie recipes on there, and between the two OSG cookbooks and the app, I have a TON of inspiration for smoothies. And since I was hit with a major craving this morning, I decided to do smoothies for lunch. This meant they’d have to pass the hubby-test AND the baby-test. Talk about stressful.

Green Mango Smoothie

Here’s what I came up with:

Green Mango Smoothie (Thickie)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple juice/cider
  • 1 cup milk (any kind works, I tried both cow’s milk and coconut milk to great reviews)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt (optional)
  • 1 tart or semi-sweet apple (Granny Smith or Gala apples work well), cored and peeled
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups frozen mango pieces (can use fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional, still nice and sweet without it)
  • 1 tbsp protein powder (I used an unflavoured hemp powder this time)
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Ice cubes (optional, if you want a thinner consistency)

Method

  • Place everything except the maple syrup and ice cubes into your blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add ice cubes (or juice) if a thinner consistency is required.
  • Add maple syrup to taste.
  • Enjoy!

I think this is the best smoothie I have made to date. We all LOVED IT. This is extra awesome, especially since my toddler changes her favourite food more often than we change her diaper. She gulped down this smoothie in record time, then turned to me and asked: More? More? More? Total success.

Green Mango Smoothie

If I was making this just for myself, I would use one cup of mango and add a cup of greens (lettuce, sprouts, microgreens). I would also probably add 1 tbsp of flax seeds.

**Please note, the recipe for the Green Mango Smoothie is mine, but has been inspired by the many recipes from Oh She Glows. The views and experiences above are my own and not endorsed/influenced by Oh She Glows or any other third party.

In Summer

Fall is here, but I wanted to share a favourite summer salad with you before the cold weather sets in for good.

Greek Orzo Salad
I had been searching for a salad hearty enough to serve on its own as a meal but light enough to also be used as a side. I also wanted something pretty easy (it had been a long week but I was determined to stay as far away from the burger joint around the corner as I could). We love Mediterranean food (aka I love feta and fresh veggies!) so when this recipe for Greek Orzo Salad from Cooking Classy came up, we decided to give it a shot.

We’ve made it at least 6 times since mid-July. I’ve switched some things up when we were out of an ingredient or two, and we skip the olives (none of us are fans), and it’s been a winner every time.

Greek Orzo Salad

Here are the deets.

Yield:

  • Original Yield: about 6 servings
  • Actual Yield: about 6 servings (unless it’s dinner.. then about 3 servings)

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: none given
  • Actual Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Cook Time:

  • Original Cook Time: none given
  • Actual Cook Time: 30 minutes (orzo-10 min + cooling orzo-5 min + 15 min to cool in fridge)

Notes or Comments:

  • As mentioned above, we always skip olives in this salad, but due to the saltiness of the feta, we’ve never found the need to add extra salt.
  • The first time we made this salad, we had no lemon and neither did the store by our house. We subbed in equal parts red wine vinegar for the dressing and it was delicious.
  • I’ve made the dressing for the salad with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and half lemon/half red wine vinegar as the acid. Our favourite is the half/half version as it gives the salad a bit more bite than just the lemon (could be because of those missing olives).

Verdict: Success! Go make this salad NOW! It’s flavourful, healthy, easy, and works as a light main or side. We’ve had it as a side for BBQ-ed sausages, grilled chicken, as lunch, and as the main course for dinner (who wants to eat hot food when it’s already 42C??). And if you try it with olives, let me know!

Greek Orzo Salad
*** Please note, the recipe for Greek Orzo Salad is in no way mine. All opinions and experiences are my own and are in no way endorsed/influenced by Cooking Classy or any other third party.

Mix and Match

Crisps and crumbles are such versatile desserts. Pick a fruit, add some spices, make the topping, and into the oven it goes. Now, as long as you have a good recipe for the topping, you can make an almost infinite number of fruit combinations. A crisp a week never hurt anyone (or has it?)!

I have some tried-and-true fruit fillings that I like to use for my desserts, but it wasn’t until recently that I came across what would become my number one favourite crisp topping recipe.

I was trying to find a recipe for a strawberry rhubarb pie filling for hubby (his favourite!) and I stumbled across this strawberry-rhubarb crisp recipe from Creations by Kara. It was simple, and I had everything to make the crisp (I was feeling lazy and didn’t really want to make a pie crust), so I made this instead. The filling was pretty good, but the crisp topping was AMAZING!

Now anytime I make a crisp, I use Kara’s recipe, and I have yet to be disappointed. It’s the perfect topping; it never overpowers the filling, stays crisp and chewy, and is the perfectly buttery. You really can’t go wrong.

Peach Crisp
Peach crisp with my favourite crisp topping!

Yield:

  • Original Yield: 1 8×8 pan
  • Actual Yield: I double the recipe for a 9×13 pan

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: None Given
  • Actual Prep Time: 10 minutes for topping, 25 for the recipe, doubled

Bake Time:

  • Original Bake Time: 35-45 minutes
  • Actual Bake Time: around 40 minutes (see note below)

Comments or Notes:

  • I’ve made this as one recipe before, but most often I just use the crisp topping recipe.
  • Bake time will vary depending on your filling. I recommend using the bake time from your filling recipe.
  • If you’re just “winging it”, then I suggest starting with a bake time of 45 minutes at 350F for a 9×13 pan, adding time if necessary.

Verdict: Success! If you’re looks for a go-to, versatile crisp topping, look no further. This topping is perfectly buttery, chewy but crisp, and super simple to make. The recipe as a whole is fantastic as well; it’s the perfect summer dessert. As an added bonus, it’s not laden with sugar! Very much a win in my book.

**Please note, the recipe for the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are my own and not endorsed/influenced by Creations by Kara or any other third party.

Do The Mash… The Potato Mash

Another late post.

Well, at least this time I totally have a string of genuine reasons (and not excuses). Unfortunately I’ll be around sporadically until mid-July, but it’s the Saturday of a long weekend here in Canada, so I have some down time and can write a bit.

What have I been up to? Well, where do I start? The week before heading back to work, Hubby and I ended up buying a house (yay!). We weren’t expecting to buy until late summer, but an amazing opportunity came up so we took it (and all of the craziness it. Then right as I started back from Maternity leave, the little one got sick. She was down and out for two weeks, and of course as she began to feel better, Hubby and I got whatever she had. Ugh. And of course let’s add teething to the mix. Let’s just say I’m tired.

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes
On a positive note, I’ve been trying out lots of recipes from Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows. I have her book, I have the app (and love it!), and I love the blog. What I really like about her recipes is that they’re mostly very simple to make, but they’re always super flavourful and very satisfying. I can make a vegetarian dinner (sorry, but I can’t say no to butter or cheese!) that’s filling and NOT just a pasta or plain salad, that Hubby and little one will eat, and that doesn’t take me 5 hours in the kitchen.

One dish that’s both in the Oh She Glows cookbook (page 207) and is on the app is for Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Love creamy, silky mashed potatoes with fragrant garlic? Love veggies? Or want to sneak in some extra veggies for your picky eaters? This is the recipe to try. You may never go back to plain old mashed potatoes again.

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes
From the OSG app… yum!

Yield:

  • Original Yield: 4 cups
  • Actual Yield: 4+ cups

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Actual Prep Time: 20 minutes (peeling potatoes takes time!)

Cook Time:

  • Original Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Actual Cook Time: about 20 minutes

Notes or comments:

  • I’m the first to admit that my knife skills are quite lacking, so I love that this recipe calls for grating the garlic on a microplane. You can, of course, mince it by hand as well.
  • We’re not vegan, so I skip the vegan butter and use regular butter (obviously it works just fine).
  • I’ve also used both regular cow’s milk as well as unsweetened almond milk and both work very well here.
  • I’ve added a sweet potato to the mix once (I’m obviously a wild one!) and while it tasted amazing, I did have to end up puréeing the sweet potato to match the consistency of the regular potatoes and cauliflower.
  • I’ve never left out the garlic (we love the flavour), but I have added other herbs and spices to give us some variety, and even added some goat cheese once. Super yummy!

Verdict: Success! I’ve made this as a side at least 5 times now and we haven’t even thought of making just plain mashed potatoes. This has become our go-to potato side and I’m sure you’ll love it too. It’s an easy dish to customize, so feel free to put your own twist on it!

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes

*Please note, the recipe and app image for Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are my own and not endorsed/influenced by Oh She Glows or any other third party.

    Am I “Glow”-ing Yet?

    Hello lovelies!

    It’s been waaaaaay too long since I’ve posted, and I’m very sorry about the MIA-ing here and there. Over the past month I was busy trying out new recipes on my Pinterest board and planning my little one’s first birthday party. I’ll do a post on that later, because why not (I used some Pinterest inspiration of course!).

    For today, however, I want to jump on the bandwagon of a VERY popular blog (and now cookbook and app!)… You guessed it. Oh She Glows.

     

    Oh She Glows cookbook
    My copy!
     
    Now let me start by saying that we’re neither vegan nor vegetarian, and we’re not following any specific dietary restrictions or fads. I’m just hell-bent on having us eat as healthfully as possible (without breaking the bank). I suppose that in loving the recipes we’ve tried so far, it’s a great testament that many (if not all) of the recipes are tasty and filling enough for the average omnivore.

    We haven’t had many of the recipes as of yet, and some I’ve modified a touch or added meat as the optional protein (hubby and tofu are not friends), but they’ve all turned out great and the modifications are such, that the recipe would retain the nutrition and flavour of the original.

     

    Raspberry Mousse Chia Bowl
    Screencap from the OSG app… yum!!
     
    Now, onto the first review: the Raspberry Mousse Chia Bowl. Now, I can’t seem to find this exact recipe on the blog, as I got it from the app, but the chia pudding component is here or here or on page 225 in the book and the mousse component seems to be in the app only. Sorry for not having any of my own pictures, I just always forget to take one before devouring this for breakfast.

    Yield:

    • Original Yield: 3 servings
    • Actual Yield: 3 servings

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Actual Prep Time: 10-20 minutes (less time if you skip the mousse)

    Cook/Chill Time:

    • Original Cook/Chill Time: 1 hour or overnight
    • Actual Cook Time: overnight (I found the chia pudding to not be quite as thick as I like it after just one hour with the given amount of milk)

    Notes or Comments:

    • I’m sure it’s been said a hundred times, but if you aren’t a fan of the tapioca consistency, skip this recipe. I love tapioca, so it was a win for me.
    • The first time I made this I was out of avocado so I skipped the mousse component and had the pudding with granola and fresh fruit. You NEED an acidic fruit like kiwi or berries for this pudding otherwise the creaminess can be a bit overwhelming. I ended up adding extra fruit half-way through eating. I’d skip the banana for this one.
    • If you make the mousse, you can go easy on the fresh fruit, as it’s the perfect compliment to the chia pudding.
    • I don’t have the time as of right now to make my own almond milk, so I’ve made this recipe with store-bought almond milk (if you use sweetened, skip the maple syrup sweetener!) as well as plain cow’s milk (I used half of the maple syrup). Both options gave me a creamy, decadent pudding perfect for topping with fruit, mousse, and granola.

    Verdict: Success! This is a delicious way to start your day (and it’s healthy! Yay!). This is a recipe that can be modified and adapted to your tastes (and available ingredients!). It’s simple and quick to make, especially if you’re not making your own milk, and sets up ready to eat overnight in the fridge. Just cut up some fruit, put everything together with your lunch, and you can have a filling and delicious breakfast without resorting to that box of Lucky Charms.

    **Please note, the recipe for Raspberry Mousse Chia Bowl is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are my own and not endorsed/influenced by Oh She Glows or any other third party.

    Banana + Chocolate = Love

    I’m sorry I’ve been MIA for so long. I’ve been meaning to get this post done for a couple weeks but the universe didn’t seem to agree. First we had a tooth come in (read: mom gets no sleep), then al three of us were sick, then we had an insanely busy week, and that all ended with another tooth cutting through yesterday. The whirlwind life of a (fairly) new mom, I tell ya. Anyways, I know you’ll all forgive me once I tell you about this to-die-for recipe I tried out.  

    Triple Chocolate Banana Bread 
    We’ve always loved banana bread. I’ve tried several different recipes for all sorts of kinds of banana bread. Plain, buttermilk, seven bananas, bananas and blueberries, oats, applesauce-based, chocolate, peanut butter… After all of that I’m still in search for the perfect plain banana bread, but lucky for me I stumbled upon and made this phenomenal Triple Chocolate Banana Bread from Spend With Pennies.

    Best. Decision. Ever.

    You could seriously take over the world with this stuff. Or at least become president or something equally as grand.

    The first time I made this, I skipped the chocolate glaze on top and it was still heavenly. The second time, I subbed the regular chocolate chips for larger, white chocolate pieces. That variation was my favourite… The white chocolate was nice and melted coming out of the oven (I only waited until it cooled enough for me to not get burned before cutting myself a generous slice), and once it cooled completely, it gave the bread a nice crunchy element… Like adding nuts, except so much better.

     

    Triple Chocolate Banana Bread
    Look at those chocolate chunks!
     
    Let’s talk details.

    Yield:

    • Original Yield: 1 9in x 5in loaf
    • Actual Yield: 1 loaf (about the given size)

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: none given
    • Actual Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Bake Time:

    • Original Bake Time: 50-60 minutes
    • Actual Bake Time: 55 minutes

    Note or Comments:

    • As noted above, you can easily swap out the chocolate chips for white chocolate (and I’m sure dark or semi-sweet chips would be lovely as well).
    • Also as noted, you can skip the glaze for a less-sweet option that is still decadent and super-delicious.

    Verdict: Success! If you love bananas, go make this now. If you love chocolate, ditto. If you aren’t a fan of bananas, this recipe will change you. And if you don’t like chocolate… Well, we can’t be friends. Sorry. Although I’ll accept a loaf of this bread as an apology and reconsider.

     Triple Chocolate Banana Bread 
    **Please note, the recipe for Triple Chocolate Banana Bread is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are my own and not endorsed/influenced by Spend With Pennies or any other third party.

      You Can Never Go Wrong With Creaminess

      I have to say, that for all of my efforts to eat healthy, I will never say no to a cream soup or dish. Now, that’s not to say that these dishes can’t be healthy, but tou don’t typically associate ‘cream’ with ‘healthy’. But take this Spinach Tomato Tortellini from Damn Delicious for example. Lots of yummy spinach, healthy tomatoes, some tortellini (you can choose a whole-grain version to up the health-factor)… There’s nothing unhealthy about it really. A bit of fat is good for you, anyways, and you’re getting calcium and other vitamins from the cream. Go ahead. Treat yourself.

      This is a dish where the timing relies almost solely on how quickly your tortellini cooks. The recipe says 15 minutes, but if you’re cooking frozen tortellini like mine that has a cook time of 20-25 minutes, you’re a bit out of luck. However, if a friend showed up at your place with ready-cooked tortellini, you could have this dish on the table in about 10 minutes. You could go with fresh pasta, too… That has a cook time of about 5-10 minutes.

      Also, if you have a friend that would randomly bring you cooked tortellini, send them here. I need to meet them. 

       Spinach Tomato Tortellini 
      Yield:

      • Original Yield: 4 servings
      • Actual Yield: 4 servings

      Prep Time:

      • Original Prep Time: 5 minutes
      • Actual Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time:

      • Original Cook Time: 10 minutes
      • Actual Cook Time: varies with pasta; spinach-tomato cream sauce 8 minutes, pasta according to package directions 5-25 minutes

      Notes or Comments:

      • As I mentioned above, the cooking time varies with the pasta. I used a frozen tortellini and it took double the time to cook than a fresh pasta would. Keep this in mind when prepping this dish.

      Verdict: Success! This is a quick and simple dish that gives you that comfort-food feeling while still providing you with your required intake of veggies. It’s super tasty, and even picky eaters will love it (hubby isn’t a fan of spinach, so we used 2/3 of the given amount).

       Spinach Tomato Tortellini

      **Please note, the recipe for Spinach Tomato Tortellini is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.