Baked Spicy Sweet Potato Fries with a Vegan Southwest Style Dip

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For this recipe I used the Japanese Sweet Potato (reddish skin with yellow inside). The Japanese sweet potato has slightly lower carbohydrate content than the yam (orange inside). Therefore, this makes the Japanese sweet potato a bit more diabetic friendly than its competitor…it also has a slow carbohydrate release time. Sweet potatoes are packed with fibre, beta carotenoids, and vitamin A. Be sure to cook your potato fries with the SKIN ON! The skin of fruits and vegetables pack the highest nutrient content.

Fries –¬†What you will need:

  • 4 medium-large sized sweet potatoes (more if desired)
  • olive oil
  • ground sea salt
  • ground pepper
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • optional: chili flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Scrub and wash your potatoes. Creat a few holes with a fork in each potato. In a microwave safe dish, microwave your potatoes for 3-4 minutes with 1/4 cup of water just to soften them. (This saves cook time and makes for easier slicing).
  3. Remove potatoes from microwave once they have been slightly softened. Cut into French fry sized slices.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread your fries evenly on the sheet.
  5. Drizzle your fries with olive oil, sprinkle with chili powder, ground pepper, garlic powder, and sea salt.
  6. Place them in the oven to bake for approximately 40-50 minutes (until browning). Regularly mix the fries around using a spatula. If you like your fries crispy, place them on broil for the last 5-10 minutes! Keep your eyes on them during this time to prevent burning! ūüôā
  7. Give them a taste and add more spices, salt and pepper as desired.

Serve with my Southwest Vegan Mayo Dip (it’s SO good!)

Vegan Southwest Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise)
  • 2 tbsp plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp Bragg’s Apple cider vinegar
  • ¬†1/2 tbsp chili powder (add more to taste if needed)
  • 1 tsp cumin (add more to taste if needed)
  • 1/2-1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ground pepper
  • ground salt
  • pinch of paprika to taste

Directions: Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Add more spice to suit your taste buds (increase the chili, cumin, and paprika as desired… Be careful with too much paprika as it can be overpowering!) *store the dip in the fridge if you are not using it immediately.*

Why should fibre be a priority in your diet?

Today’s food fact of the day’s spotlight is on fibre. I recently did a presentation in the community and was asked a lot of questions about fibre.. what is soluble fibre? what is the difference between soluble and insoluble fibre? How do I know what foods to eat? Well here is my short summary to understanding fibre. To begin.. fibre is FANTASTIC for our health.

blueberry-bliss-baked-oatmeal

Fiber can’t be broken down and absorbed by your digestive system. As fibre moves through your body, it slows digestion and makes your stools softer and easier to pass.

  • fibrous foods help create and maintain a healthy digestive system
  • bowel regularity ¬†ūüėČ
  • have beneficial effects on blood sugars
  • play a role in heart health

What is soluble fibre? 

  • Absorbs liquid in our bodies (e.g. think oats soaking in water)
  • Plays the main role in lowering cholesterol
  • Helps to control blood sugars (glucose)
  • What foods does soluble fibre come from?
    • Some vegetables & fruits, lentils, legumes, beans, oatmeal, berries, nuts

What is insoluble fibre? 

  • Does NOT absorb water
  • Creates a healthy colon by keeping you regular!
  • What foods can you find insoluble fibre in?
    • seeds, skins of fruit, whole grains, brown rice, wheat bran, etc

Adult women (19-50years) need 25 grams of fibre per day and males of this age group need 38 grams per day. 

Try some of my recipes packed with high fibre ingredients: Blueberry Oat Pancakes , The Ultimate Trail Mix Cookie!, Vegan/Vegetarian Quinoa Chili, Trail-Mix Energy Bites, Granola Cups, The Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie (Dairy Free), Blueberry Crumble Bars (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-free)

 

Feeling Sluggish? Learn how you can you eat for energy…

Do you ever have those mornings where you feel tired, sloth-like, have a lack of motivation, and are crying for energy? (I thought this photo of the pup was a great way to demonstrate that feeling).  Trust. I think we have all been there. So how can we get out of that tired rut?

tired-pup

Diet plays such an important role in our activities of daily living (so does rest). If you are not eating well, choosing the wrong foods, and not getting enough sleep…. you are going to crash and you are going to stay in that rut until you kick those bad habits.

Here are a few tips to help boost you energy level, motivation, and maybe athletic performance.

  • Never skip a meal: listen to your body. Food is fuel. Ensure that you are eating well balanced meals throughout the day with a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates are our bodies primary source of fuel make sure to choose nutrient dense complex carbs such as, quinoa, nut/seed crackers, large flake oats/steel cut oats, sweet potatoes,lentils/beans. These items will keep your blood sugar stable, leaving you satisfied longer.
  • Always stay hydrated! Many of us are not consuming enough fluids on a daily basis. Adults are required to consume a minimum of 2.7L of fluids per day. Remember, to replace fluids after a workout as well. If you way yourself before a workout and after a workout, the weight lost is the weight you have lost in sweat. REPLENISH!
  • Choose high iron foods: Iron is crucial for oxygen transport throughout the body to our muscles and tissues (aka we need it for ENERGY). Choose foods such as, spinach, kale, dried beans, peas, lentils, cream of wheat, oatmeal, and red meat.
  • Choose foods high in B vitamins:¬†B vitamins (especially Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin) play an important role in helping with energy production in our bodies. Foods ¬†to choose for these vitamins include: whole grains, dried beans, eggs, nuts & seeds, mushrooms, and soybeans.
  • Avoid highly processed foods:¬†Avoiding fast food & junk food can help keep your blood sugars balanced and at a healthy equilibrium. These foods tend to be high in unhealthy fats and packed with refined sugars (that’s why they are so addictive). High fat foods tend to make us feel sluggish. High sugar foods cause a quick spike of energy (due to a fast rise in our blood glucose) followed by a quick drop. This effect makes us feel tired and hungry for more unhealthy treats!

Puffed Quinoa Seed Bars

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Gluten-free, dairy-free and nutrition packed bars made with only whole ingredients.

I was looking to make bars similar to one of my favourite brands, KIND bars. However, I had no almonds and nuts in the house so I decided to do a puffed quinoa bar version instead using whatever ingredients I could find! They are actually SO good and quite easy to make!

What you will need (makes ~6 small bars):

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp almond butter, softened
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp almond meal/flour (or you could use coconut flour)
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • 3/4 cup puffed quinoa (can be found at Bulk Barn)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • Optional: dark chocolate chunks (at least 70% cacao).
  1. Preheat oven to 300¬įF (149¬įC). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on¬†the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix the honey, vanilla, almond meal, salt, and almond butter together until combined. Fold in the puffed quinoa, pumpkin seeds, hemp, peanuts, raisins, and optional dark chocolate chunks (at least 70% cacao).
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You really want it packed in tight- as tight as possible. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This helps firm up the bars which makes them stay compact. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment.
  4. ENJOY!

Vegan/Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

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This recipe is warm and filling for those cool nights ahead of us. It is packed with various sources of plant-based proteins: quinoa, red kidney beans, chickpeas, and textured vegetable protein (TVP). This recipe also passed the test with my dad (a meat-eater)… he absolutely loved it! I calculated the nutrition facts based on 12 servings and you will get ~170 calories per serving/bowl.

You can also make this recipe not vegetarian by removing the TVP and swapping for ground chicken or turkey. Why not ground beef? Ground beef is higher in saturated fats and calories and I do not consider this a lean source of protein. However, everything in moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle! 

Note: If you are swapping to add ground meat to your chili instead of plant-based proteins, cook in a skillet first and then add into the large pot when it in fully cooked. Also, you may need to add a bit extra broth so that it does not get way too chunky.

What you will need: (Serves ~12-14 bowls)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • 1.5 cups sliced mushrooms

*Saute the above ingredients first.

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (500 mL)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp TVP (found at bulk barn)
  • 1.5 cup chickpeas
  • 2 cups red kidney beans
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn niblets
  • 3.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Ground sea salt to taste
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Saute the top bundle of vegetable ingredients in a skillet on medium-high heat first (with regular mixing).
  2. While your vegetables are cooking, prepare a large pot. Add you tomatoes, veg broth, uncooked quinoa, and TVP. Let this sit on medium heat to begin to cook the quinoa and TVP.
  3. After ~10-12 minutes of sauteeing of the vegetables, when they are finished, you can add them to the large pot. Stir in with the other ingredients.
  4. Add in the rest of your seasonings and beans to the large pot.
  5. Lower the burner temperature to low after ~10 more minutes of cooking everything together.
  6. Allow the chili to simmer for at least an hour to bring all the flavours out.
  7. You can eat immediately, store in the refrigerator or freezer for later consumption. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts per serving (based on 12 servings): 170 calories, 3.9g fat, 25g carbohydrate, 8g protein. 

 

 

Chocolate Chia Breakfast Bite Cookies

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Who wouldn’t want cookies for breakfast? Usually it’s morally incorrect to actually have cookies for breakfast… but we can let it slide with this recipe. These cookie bites are great to grab on the go or take to work as an energy boosting snack… and only 60 cals per cookie! Made with whole food ingredients they are refined sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, and free from any added oils.

Nutrition Breakdown (per cookie): 60 calories, 2.6g fat, 7.8g carbs, 2.3g protein. 

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What you will need (makes 12-14 bite -sized cookies):

  • 1 cup gluten free quick oats
  • 1/2 cup One Degree’s gluten free corn flour (or gluten free flour of choice)
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 packet stevia (omit if desired and add 0.5tbsp extra maple syrup)
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew Milk (or dairy free milk of choice)
  • 2 tbsp almond butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp egg whites (if you want to make these cookies vegan – make flax “eggs” substitute ¬†instead).
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground sea salt
  • Optional: dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Mix in wet ingredients one at a time into the same bowl.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, form your cookies into small balls. (~12-14 cookies).
  6. Bake at 350F for ~20-25 minutes until browning and no longer wet in the middle.

 

 

Dark Chocolate Almond Oat Bark (Vegan + Gluten Free)

vegan dark chocolate oat almond

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup packed/pitted dates, soften for 40 secs
  • 1/3 cup cashew milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 2 tbsp natural almond butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ~3/4 cup dark chocolate melting wafers

Combine all ingredients except the dark chocolate in a Vitamix or food processor. Blend until evenly mixed. Spread into the bottom of a dish line with parchment paper. Spread it about 1/2 an inch thick. Put the dish in the freezer until bottom layer has hardened. 

Melt dark chocolate (~3/4 cup dark chocolate melting wafers). Remove the dish from the freezer. Spread dark chocolate on top. Put back in the freezer. When the dark chocolate has hardened they are ready to eat! 

Store in the freezer. Enjoy ūüôā