Date Squares [Paleo, GF, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar Free]

Date Squares

Ingredients:
Top & Bottom Layer:
2 cups oats (I used Hilary gluten-free)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp coconut sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch cinnamon

Date Filling:
375g dates (the packed and pitted packages)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut sugar
1/4 tsp lemon
Pinch salt

Instructions:
1. In a saucepan on medium heat, add the dates and water.
2. You want to mix around the dates and water to make a paste. Add in the rest of the filling ingredients. Continually stir and mix to make a paste.
3. While this is sitting, in a bowl combine all the ingredients for the top and bottom crust and mix.
4. Preheat oven to 350F.
5. In a greased small pan, add the oat mixture to create the bottom layer. Pack it down!!
6. Remove your date paste from the stove and spread it on top of the bottom layer in the pan.
7. Now add your top layer of the oat mixture on top of the date layer.
8. Place in the oven for ~25 minutes until the top layer is browning.
9. Store in the refrigerator (almond meal is more susceptible to rancidity than regular wheat flour).

Chickpea Dark Chocolate Bark

Chickpea Bark

You need to make this. It is like a healthier, lower fat, guilt-free twist on the traditional almond/nut chocolate barks…. BUT BETTER.

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground sea salt
1.5 cups dark chocolate wafers (70%)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Mix in a container to coat them in 1.5 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp ground sea salt.
3. On parchment paper, place in the oven on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for ~50 minutes (until crunchy). Note: toss them around once in awhile to evenly bake the.
4. Remove from oven and allow the chickpeas to cool for at least an hour.
5. In a small baking pan lined with parchment paper, pour in the chickpeas.
6. Melt the dark chocolate on the stove on low-medium heat.
7. Pour into the pan to coat and cover the chickpeas.
8. Place in the freezer. Allow to harden.
9. Break into “bark” pieces once hardened.
10. Enjoy 🙂 … store in the refrigerator.

Cauliflower “Alfredo” Sauce (Dairy Free & Vegetarian Option)

Cauliflower %22Alfredo%22 Sauce - Chicken

Ingredients:
3/4 of a medium head of cauliflower
1/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp ground sea salt
1.5 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:
1. Steam cauliflower (chopped) in a microwave safe container with 1/2 cup water for 8 minutes (until soft).
2. Drain cauliflower. Put in the blender with 1/4 cup broth (chicken or vegetable).
3. Blend until makes a “cream” with no chunks.
4. In a skillet on low-medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil to bottom. Then add in your cauliflower blend.
5. Stir in the crushed garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, onion powder, lemon juice, basil. Add in another 1/2 cup of broth slowly while continuously stirring.
6. Stirring continuously, allow to cook on the stove top for at least another 10 minutes to bring out all the flavours!
7. ENJOY 🙂 You can put this on your pasta noodles, zucchinni noodles, on a chicken breast and vegetables like I did… and so much more!
Cauliflower Sauce Alfredo

Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter: The Face-Off

Peanuts & almonds

Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter

Let’s be real. I don’t think you could go wrong with ANY nut butter. Nut butters are a great source of protein and healthy unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are known for their significant role in lowering LDL cholesterol (“the bad cholesterol”) and also lowering triglyceride levels. Therefore, nuts and seeds are extremely beneficial to your heart health; preventing heart disease, type II diabetes, and other health issues.

I absolutely LOVE nut butters before and after exercise. One tbsp of almond butter or peanut butter before a long run has a substantial satiety value (feeling of fullness) from its protein content. It provides me with enough energy throughout the whole exercise. Due to their high fat and protein content, nut butters have a slow release in the gut and have the ability to maintain stable blood sugars.

Peanuts versus Almond: The Face-Off

Between peanuts and almonds, the difference in protein content and healthy fat content (the macronutrients) is minimal. Carbohydrate content between the two butters are the same at 3g per tbsp. Peanut butter/peanuts contain the slightest amount more of saturated fats versus almond butter/almonds but it is hardly noticeable. However, the difference between the two lies within the smaller micronutrient content (and of course the price!!! Almond butter is almost 3x the price of peanut).

Almonds contain a more substantial amount of Vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium in comparison to peanuts. Vitamin E is important to our bodies for maintaining a healthy immune system and healthy bodily processes. Additionally, vitamin E plays a role as an antioxidant and protects our cells from free radicals.

One common concern as to why some people may avoid peanuts is due to their risk of Aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are produced by a fungi (Aspergillus flavus). This fungi is common to crops that have grown in conditions of high humidity and temperature. Aflatoxins manly effect the liver and may increase risk of liver cancer. HOWEVER, Aflatoxin in peanut butters, and other at risk foods, is regulated and inspected by the FDA/USDA to ensure safe levels are always met for safe food consumption. 

Comparison: Based on PC Blue Menu Natural Peanut and Almond Butter

Per 1 tbsp Peanut Butter Almond Butter
Calories 100 cals/tbsp 90 cals/tbsp
Protein 3g 3g
Fat 8g 8g
Vitamin E Not A Significant Amount 35 % of Daily Value
Potassium 100 mg 105 mg

Cajun Honey Glazed Chicken Salad ft. Roasted Beets

Cajun Honey Glazed Chicken Salad

Woooo this warm weather has got me PUMPED up. Nothing beats summer meals and barbecuing! Tonights menu included BBQ’ed chicken and BBQ’ed roasted beets on a bed of kale greens and many other nutrition boosters.

This recipe is for 3 people:

For the Cajun Honey Glazed Chicken:
3 tbsp honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
+ 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Light the BBQ (med-high heat).
2. Combine and mix ingredients — coat 3 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the glaze.
3. Place on the BBQ. Cook thoroughly (~20 minutes) until no pink throughout.

For the Roasted BBQ’ed Beets
You will need:
1 or 2 large beets.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper

1. Scrub and wash the beets.
2. Slice into thin wedges. Place on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 2 minutes to pre-cook.
3. On a piece of tin foil, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
4. Add the pre-cooked beets. Add 1 more tbsp of olive oil drizzled evenly on top of beets.
5. Sprinkle with ~1/4 tsp ground sea salt and 1 tsp ground pepper.
6. Add on the BBQ wrapped in tinfoil with the chicken. Cook for ~10 minutes — Until you can poke with a fork and they are soft 🙂

For the salad:
1/2 bunch of kale, washed and massaged, chopped
1 cup spinach
1/3 cup maple glazed pecans
1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 a large cucumber, chopped
1 small avocado, diced.

Distribute salad equally, add beets on top, and slice each chicken breast to add on top also.
Use your own favourite dressing or make a quick little homemade Balsamic like I did:

Balsamic dressing:

1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp natural honey
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed

Raw Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Squares

Raspberry Choco Squares

JUST in time for Easter! A tasty decadent dessert.
Recipe makes 12 large squares:

Bottom Layer:
1 cup pitted dates, microwave for 40 seconds with 1 tbsp of water and mash/blend.
2/3 cup cashews, smashed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp shredded coconut

Combine and blend all ingredients. Pack into small pan. Put in freezer and start making second layer.

Middle Raspberry Layer:
2/3 cup frozen raspberries, microwave for 15 seconds to soften
1/3 cup shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup cashews, smashed
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tbsp almond butter

Combine and blend ingredients. Add on top of bottom layer (once the bottom layer has hardened).

Top Layer:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil

Combine and mix ingredients. Add on top of raspberry layer (once the raspberry layer has hardened).

Store in the freezer. Each chilled!
Enjoy 🙂

Chicken Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Spicy Chicken Meatballs

Spicy Tomato Sauce:
1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes
1/2 tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce (you can add more to taste if you are daring)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 tsp chili powder
A pinch of sea ground salt and pepperChicken Meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken
1 tbsp egg whites
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture together and put into a clay-baker/oven-safe casserole dish. Add in the meatballs.

Chicken Meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp brown rice flour
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Mix ingredients together. When fully mixed, form into balls.
3. Add balls into a preheated skillet greased with olive oil.
4. Cook on medium heat (rotating regularly) until edges are all golden brown.
5. Add meatballs to the sauce in a clay baker or covered casserole dish. Ensure they are fully covered to soak of the flavouring and sauce. Cook for ~1 hour in the oven at 350F.
6. Serve over a bed of cooked quinoa and top with sautéed red onions and red pepper.

Enjoy 🙂