Apple Pie Green Smoothie

I promise, this will be the last smoothie or shake recipe I post for a little while. I’ve posted waaayyyyy too many recipes for them, but that’s because there’s so many things you can put in them and so many ways to make them… and they travel so well!

Speaking of travel, my commute to work means I spend roughly an hour and a half in my car every day. As much as I love listening to my favourite country station and all the nonsense they tell me about, I want to make better use of my time. I’ve started checking audiobooks out from the library, which is something I really haven’t done since I was 10! This week, I listened to French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. She has some great thoughts on eating to enjoy your food, but also eating in balance. We can still have the treats we enjoy, but we need to balance them out with healthier eating the rest of the time. She also talks about balance in terms of never letting yourself be super starving hungry, but also never letting yourself be so full you can’t move. If you haven’t read it, or listened to it while driving, it’s worth a go with a critical eye.

The beauty of smoothies is that you can literally put anything in it. Half a bunch of wilted kale in the fridge? Throw it in! Odds and ends of frozen fruit? Perfect! And a random jar of applesauce? Why not! Whatever weird and wonderful things you have kicking around the fridge, freezer, and cupboard can all be put in a smoothie. Applesauce is great because it’s so low calorie, but contributes to your daily intake of fruits and veggies.

Meal prep pro tip: if you don’t think you can use all your spinach before it goes bad, divide it up into 1 or 2 cup servings and freeze them in small plastic bags. Then, when you want to make a smoothie, it’s already ready to go. Another option is to buy frozen spinach for your smoothies. Just remember that when the spinach is pre-frozen, you won’t need as much as when you use fresh spinach.

This recipe makes 1 serving.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  1. Combine everything in your blender of choice and blend until smooth.
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Gnocchi with Kale

I was so impressed with this simple tasty dish when I made it for dinner tonight. It’s made from ingredients I had on hand, and was super filling! I was inspired by the fact that there is finally kale in the garden, so I made this while looking forward to bringing in the little crops.

Meal prep pro tip: make your own gnocchi, or any other food you think you’ll like, in huge batches and freeze it in quantities you can actually use. In  January I made four batches of the ricotta gnocchi from Three Times a Day, as well as two batches of pizza dough. I had one nice quiet afternoon, so I blared music in the kitchen and made a huge mess making everything and then got to tuck everything away in the freezer, which was enormously satisfying. Because I’m really cool like that. But the best part is that when I get home from work/the gym/all the other places I run to and from, and I don’t want to cook, there’s something that’s homemade, so I know what’s in it, even if it’s not homemade at that exact second.

This recipe makes 2 servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package prepared gnocchi (or two servings of whatever homemade gnocchi makes you happy)
  • 4 cups kale, shredded into large pieces
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions or until cooked through (it will float).
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the kale. When kale starts to wilt, add the garlic powder and paprika.
  3. Drain the gnocchi and transfer to the skillet. Toss to heat through. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese

 

Apricot Energy Bars

It looks like spring might finally be here!!! Today it is finally sunny and not crazy cold. More importantly, it is not snowing!

So. Show of hands: who has ever been told they should eat more iron? Who knows where to find iron besides red meat? Iron pills can help people with low iron bring their levels back up to normal and are convenient. But what if you want to try to change your diet to work on this? Red meat is the obvious place to start. Game meats like moose or venison have even more iron, if you can find those. Organ meats, for those who can stomach them, are a great option. The iron from animal sources is called heme iron, and is easier for your body to absorb. Non-heme iron can be found in plant sources, like spinach, grain products, and potatoes. These are harder to absorb, but the amount you do absorb can be increased by pairing it with a food that’s high in vitamin C. A food source I would never think to have iron is dried apricots! 1/4 cup serving has about 5% of your daily recommended intake. Granted, that’s not huge, but it’s better than nothing! Let’s remember though, that dried fruits often have added sugar, so look for packages where the only ingredient is apricots. When you’re trying to increase the amount of iron in your diet, it’s also good to know that foods containing calcium, as well as coffee and tea can black some absorption. For me, finding a time when I’m not either eating yogurt or cheese, or downing one of my 47 cups of tea a day is a struggle.

This recipe makes 16 small snack squares. Store them in the fridge to keep them fresh.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  1. Combine the apricots and dates in a bowl. Cover with warm water and let sit 10 minutes to soften. Line a square baking pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. Drain the apricots and dates and place in the food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer mixture to baking pan and press down to fill it evenly. Chill in the fridge 1 hour, or until no longer mushy. Cut into 16 squares.

Chocolate Mint Pudding (Dairy-Free!!!)

Happy Friday everyone! I celebrated the end of the week by getting in a lovely Crossfit workout where I all but tore my hands trying to do toes-to-bar, and now I’m sitting here with a glass of riesling because life is all about balance.

For those of you who haven’t heard, I’m am officially a Professional Home Economist! Yes, you can call me NutriGirl, P.H.Ec., if you want. Last weekend I went to the Ontario Home Economics Association annual conference and I picked up a copy of the cookbook Homegrown, by Mairlyn Smith, which features recipes from P.H.Ec.s from all over Ontario, and has an emphasis on using Canadian ingredients. If you haven’t seen it, track down a copy and check it out. I am so impressed by the variety of recipes and how they use all kinds of cool things in them! That Home Economists for you! A speaker at our conference actually said “Home Economists are like life hackers, before that was a thing”. And that is my little book plug for the day.

So tofu. So many people are against it. Either because it’s kinda colourless, tasteless and slimy, or because it is pretty processed, it’s not very many people’s favourite food. I like my tofu dredged in cornstarch and fried in oil, or stir-fried with a pile of veggies and lots of seasoning. But I do try to eat it from time to time, because it is a good source of protein (10 g per 1/2 cup) and iron (36% of your daily intake in 1/2 cup). And 1/2 cup has less than 100 calories. Tofu also doesn’t always have to be this big brick of beige stuff. This pudding is made with soft silken tofu, to give it that creamy texture.

This recipe makes 4 servings. If you aren’t the biggest mint fan, I would cut the peppermint extract down to 1/4 tsp, or substitute 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla extract. Orange extract would also be a great substitute. I portioned this out into small containers to make my own little protein-filled pudding cups to take for lunch. I’d love to experiment with freezing them too, to make popsicles for the summer!

As per usual, if you like this, or it looks cool, or you have tofu questions, comment here or on Facebook  to give me a shout!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (12oz/320g) package soft silken tofu
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  1. In a blender, food processor, or the cup that comes with an immersion blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend well. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

Here at The Adventures of NutriGirl, we strongly believe in the power of muffins for mid-morning snacking. Also with coffee on Sunday afternoons. I don’t know about you, but by the time I commute to work, work all day, drive to CrossFit, work my butt off, and drive home again, I’m exhausted and starving. One of the best ways to avoid overeating at any point throughout the day is to keep yourself from getting too hungry. Try eating more often to keep from getting to the point where YOU NEED TO EAT ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW. For me, if I’m not tasting something at work, that means I need something with fibre and something with protein. The oatmeal and whole wheat flour in these muffins bring the fibre. I paired these muffins with a couple pieces of medium cheddar cheese to incorporate some protein and fat to keep me full and hold me over until lunch or after my workout.

Since this recipe has both pumpkin and applesauce, you’re getting all those good things from apples that keep the doctor away, plus all the nutritional bang of pumpkin. 1 cup of pumpkin has almost 200% of the vitamin A you need in a day! It also has 17% of your vitamin C. You need both these vitamins to keep your immune system going strong and fighting off any spring colds that might sneak up on you. These muffins are also made with almond milk instead of regular milk so they are dairy-free, for those who don’t agree with lactose.

This recipe makes 12 muffins. Store muffins in a sealed container in the fridge to keep them fresh. Serve with sliced cheddar cheese or a smear of light cream cheese for a treat.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or line it with muffin wrappers.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the pumpkin, applesauce, egg and almond milk to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Portion batter into muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.