Healthy Whole-wheat Banana Muffins

Today’s Menu: Low-fat whole-wheat banana muffins with coconut, flax seed, oats and honey

banana-muffins

We eat a lot of bananas in our household but with the Florida summer heat now in full effect our bananas ripen faster than usually. Today I had a few that were on their way to the bin so I decided to repurpose these and make us a nutritious snack for the weekend. Bananas themselves are packed full of potassium. Potassium is an important mineral for the correct function of tissues, cells and organs in the body, especially normal digestion and muscular function.
Unfortunately muffins tend to contain too many calories, fat and refined flour and sugar but you can still enjoy this breakfast favourite by just replacing a few ingredients. I swapped out the sugar with honey, bleached flour with whole-wheat and added a few non-traditional ingredients like flax seed, oats and coconut for an extra boost.

Makes 12 small muffins
Prep time: 10 mins. | Cook time: 15-20 mins.

3-4 ripe bananas, smashed
1 c whole-wheat flour
1 c oats
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp honey
1/2 skim milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 c unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp milled flaxseed
1/4 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl and transfer to a slightly greased muffin pan. I like to fill mine just above half way to make my portion sizes slightly smaller 🙂

Sources: http://www.livestrong.com/article/230722-banana-nutrition-guide/#ixzz2WIolEfX4

Panang Chicken Curry with Red Cargo Rice

Tonight’s Menu: Thai Panang Chicken Curry with Red Cargo Rice (gluten and sugar free)

chickencurry

As of late my health hasn’t been exceptional (due to high levels of stress I suspect) so I have decided to embrace some new diet rules for the next month or so. I have always been an advocate for clean, natural eating but cleansing has never really been my thing. Probably because I would go into deep depression without solid food in my life. With that said, I have decided to compromise…for the next month, I will enjoy my first 2 meals juiced or in smoothie form and eat a nutritional (real) dinner. Here’s the kicker, everything that goes into my body must be gluten and sugar free.

So there you have it and here’s tonight meal which is one of my favourites and loaded with fibre, iron, protein, calcium +++. Enjoy

Serves 2
Prep time: 15 mins. | Cook time: 30 mins.

1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbsp  red curry paste (be sure this is sugar-free)
2 lime leaves
1/2  onion, sliced
1 large red pepper, sliced (I used 1/2 of each a yellow and red pepper)
8 lg mushrooms
1 cup of fresh spinach
small bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/4 c peanuts, chopped
1 skinless boneless chicken breast, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
S&P

2 c prepared red cargo rice

curryingredients

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Toss in onions and let saute for approx. 1 minute. Add in peppers, mushrooms and chicken. Saute for approx. 2 minutes stirring frequently. Turn heat down to low and add coconut milk, curry and lime leaves. Let simmer slowly for approx. 15 mins stirring occasionally. When ready your sauce should slightly coat the spoon. Stir in spinach, peanuts and cilantro. Season to taste with S&P. Remove from heat and serve immediately over red rice.

Chicken & Pesto Whole-Wheat Crust Pizza

Tonight’s Menu: Whole-wheat pizza with chicken, pesto, artichoke and roasted red peppers

Who doesn’t love pizza?! Oh, but all that fat could leave you feeling guilty for days. Making small improvements to this classic will not only set your mind at ease, your heart will thank you too. Plus, the whole-grain content will leave you feeling fuller longer!

Dough
1 tbsp. honey
1 1/4 c. warm water
1, 1/4 oz pack  yeast
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Dissolve the honey in water and add the yeast. Let sit until the yeast foams slightly (approx. 5 minutes).
In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours.
Combine 3 c. of the flour mixture and salt in a bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
Knead the flour mixture by hand, gradually adding enough of the remaining flour mixture so that the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (approx. 10 minutes).
Shape the dough into a ball and put in a large oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat it with oil.
Allow to rise in a warm location until doubled in size (approx. 45 – 60 minutes).
Punch down the dough and divide into 2 sections. Roll each section into a ball.
Flatten each round into a 12″ circle using your hands or with a rolling-pin, stretching out as necessary to achieve a thin dough.

Top the prepared crusts with your favorite toppings.
My favorite combination is crushed tomatoes, pesto, low-fat mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, chicken breast slices and artichokes.

After you add your desired toppings allow each prepared round to rest in a warm location for 15 minutes.
Bake in a 475° oven until crust is golden brown, approx. 20 minutes.

Buon appetito! xo

Vegetarian Bolognese on Brown Rice Pasta

Tonight’s Menu: Protein packed vegetarian bolognese on brown rice penne pasta (spiked with turkey sausage for us meat eaters)

I love a good meat sauce but let’s be honest, Nona’s classic can be loaded with fat and calories. Although I have a few favorite lower fat recipes made with extra-lean beef, this one made with lentils is a great alternative and contains less guilt. Plus, vegetarian friendly for all our meat-free friends.
Good-to-know: Lentils are packed full of cholesterol-lowering fiber making them a great choice for those with blood-sugar disorders as they prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Also great for those watching their waistlines as they are high in protein and low in calories, only 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 mins. | Cook time: 30 mins.

1/2 c. red lentils (rinsed)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (diced)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 green pepper (sliced)
10 mushrooms (sliced)
2 celery stalks (sliced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 x 14 oz can diced tomatoes
5  basil leaves (chiffonade)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
S&P
1 c. vegetable stock
3 turkey sausage (cooked and thinly sliced) OPTIONAL

Cover lentils with water and boil for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet, add onions, peppers and mushrooms and cook until slightly softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes or so. Add tomato paste, mixing in well with the garlic and onions. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan frequently, so the tomato paste is cooked but not burning.

Add the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, deglazing the bottom of the pan a bit. Add diced tomatoes, herbs, paprika and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add lentils (and sausage if desired)  and reduce to a low simmer for about 25 minutes, until liquids are reduced and mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally. Add the cinnamon and season to taste with S&P.

Serve over cooked brown rice pasta or your pasta of choice.

Buon appetito! xO

Maple Pecan Cornmeal Muffins

Low-fat maple pecan cornmeal muffins

I love maple syrup! Given the chance I will add it to anything. In this recipe for cornmeal muffins the added maple gives a traditionally bread-like muffin a sweet kick, making it a perfect breakfast choice paired with a large latte. Best yet, you can enjoy these without gaining a muffin-top!

Makes 12 muffins
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. maple syrup (the real stuff!)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. fat-free plain or vanilla yogurt
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup cornmeal
1 c. skim milk
1/2 c. pecans (coarsely chopped)

Pre-heat oven to 400°. Line muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and cornmeal. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, syrup, salt, applesauce, and vanilla.  Stir in the yogurt and mix until well blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients and milk to the sugar mixture alternating between the two. Mix until well blended. Add the pecans, mix and fill muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes.

xO K

Healthy Olive Infused Hummus

Healthy Black Olive Infused Hummus

I love love love good hummus. My previous BF’s family was Armenian and spoiled me with some unbelievable meals, most being served with hummus and baba ganoush. I put it on everything. Although hummus is packed full of fiber it is still quite high in fat. Moderation is key but if you’re like me and can’t get enough, try this healthy alternative. I must admit, not quite as good but still tasty none the less.

5 oz. can chickpeas, drained
3 tbsp. tahini
2 cloves of garlic
5 black olives with pits removed
1⁄2 tsp. cumin
1⁄2 tsp. salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp. olive oil
2/3 c. plain fat-free yogurt
1⁄4 c. water

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. Set to puree and scrape the bowl frequently. If the mixture is too thick add a small amount of water at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Test taste and add more lemon, salt or pepper as needed. Spoon into a shallow bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of cumin. Hummus can be stored in your fridge covered for up to 4 days.

French Inspired Salad Dressing

Today’s Menu: French Inspired Salad Dressing

Whenever I am traveling to Paris or even Quebec I have never once been asked “What dressing would you like with your salad”. The salad always arrives with a similar topping usually a translucent vinaigrette of sorts with or without tiny mustard grains. Just like most french food keeping it simple and familiar is the key to their cuisine.
I can honesty say I never keep store-bought dressings in my fridge. Dressings are so easy to make, the trick is to make more at one time and store it in your fridge for the next few months. Here is my variation of this classic french style vinaigrette. Feel free to add fresh herbs to the recipe if you choose; a sprig or two of tarragon or rosemary work best.

4 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. grainy mustard
1/2 clove minced garlic and reserve other half
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Rub the inside of a small wooden bowl with the reserved garlic half then place it in the bottom. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well for approx. 2 minutes. Pour into a wide mouth mason jar or dressing bottle. Try to let the dressing sit for 24 hours before serving so the flavors can meld. Store in the fridge for up to 2 months.