Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Smoothie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I’m all about versatility. Had a banana that was aging. Bought the wrong yogourt. If at all possible, nothing goes to waste in our house. I find this a great thing to add to a meal, especially if it is low in protein.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup of plain greek yogourt (I bought high fat by mistake so the calories will reflect this)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 cup of Exotic Orange Pineapple Juice (Oasis)
  • 1 cup diced frozen Avocado
  • 1 tsp of splenda (optional)

Directions

  1. Put everything in the blender and mix until smooth (depending on your setting, mine has one for smoothie)
  2. Fill 4 – (500 ml/2 cup) mason jars 3/4 full
  3. Chill and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 230
  • Fat 13.7 g
  • Sugar 14.9 g
  • Carbohydrates 25.1 g
  • Protein 5.7 g
  • Fibre 4.1 g

Smoothies are fun. I like adding avocados to mine as they add that silky feel to them. I would normally have used 0% fat greek yogourt that has a higher protein count but the selection was limited and truth be told, I rushed and didn’t read the label correctly. That would have reduced the calorie count by 50 each serving and added 5g of protein. You can use frozen berries instead of the juice and it will add back the vitamins. Just add a little more milk for volume. Use the fruit you like best and you can even use yogourt with fruit. All you need is a little imagination to have fun and make it your own.

No Bake Bumpy Peanut Butter Nuggets

No Bake Bumpy Peanut Butter Nuggets

  • Servings: 30 small balls
  • Difficulty: Easy
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These are easy to make and quick. You feel to dress up a bowl of sugar free jello, this is a great option. Straight, they are good too.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice concentrate

Directions

  1. Combine peanut butter, milk powder, and coconut in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in oats, ground cinnamon, wheat germ and orange juice concentrate until thoroughly combined.
  3. Shape into 1 inch balls, chill thoroughly before serving, store remaining nuggets in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 46
  • Fat 2.9 g
  • Sugar 1.8 g
  • Carbohydrates 3.8 g
  • Protein 1.9 g
  • Fibre 0.7 g

A healthy serving could be three balls. I think they are great as an add on. Any concentrate can be used. Watch the sugars. You could add a little unsweetened cocoa, would add 1 cal per ball. Can you see it, a chocolatey ball over a light white chocolate sugar free pudding? Possibilities are endless, so have fun and make it your own.

Egg Cups

Egg Cups

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 250 ml of egg whites (8 ounces)
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cooked turkey or chicken chopped
  • 1 cup chopped raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk 3 eggs, egg whites and milk along with the salt and pepper. In another bowl mix your other ingredients. Your turkey with cilantro and sundried tomatoes. (or variation you like).
  3. Spray muffin tin with non stick cooking spray (I used silicon muffin inserts and he used a silicon muffin pan).
  4. Arrange your ingredients at the bottom of each muffin tin.
  5. Using a soup ladle, put your egg mixture into each tin on top of the other ingredients.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops of the egg cups get big and fluffy and slightly golden brown on top.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes before popping them out of the muffin tin.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 90
  • Fat 4.9 g
  • Sugar 0.8 g
  • Carbohydrates 2.4 g
  • Protein 6.6 g
  • Fibre 1.2 g

A young chef came to me with this. What he loved about this was the versatility. He has done this at home over a dozen times and each time he uses what he has in the fridge. When he asked if we could do this together he reminded me that depending what I used, this was low in fat, low in cholesterol, with high protein. They can be used as part of breakfast, a protein snack, or as an hors d’oevres.

The prep time includes cooking your chicken or turkey or saussage. The versatility is fun. He has one version he calls Tex-Mex which is 1 avocado diced, 1 diced bell pepper, a little jalapeño and a little cilantro. I tried mine with hot italian sausage. I will say, careful what you use. Mine made this a little oily. If you use something that is fatty, make sure you remove as much of the fat as possible. You can have so much fun with this and make them your own.

Hamburger Soup

Hamburger Soup

  • Servings: 10 of 1 cup
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Cold weather is upon us. Comfort food is a must. I love seeing the leaves turning colours, cooler nights for sleep, but salads get pushed aside for cozier foods. Here is one of them.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves or 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 19 ounce can (540ml) of chopped tomatoes
  • 10 oz can (284 ml) tomato soup (preferably sodium reduced)
  • 1 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of low sodium beef broth (I use campbell)
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and sliced (relatively thin)
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage

Directions

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the meat and drain off excess fat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook on low heat until onions are tender.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato soup, worchestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and broth.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetables and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 122
  • Fat 4.8 g
  • Sugar 5 g
  • Carbohydrates 8.5 g
  • Protein 11.2 g
  • Fibre 1.7 g

This is an easy soup that is both nutritious and low calorie. It can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. We had it as a main course and it made 6 bowls. You can serve it with a nice sunflower and flax seed bread (see recipe), white bread (see recipe) or country biscuits (see recipe).

Overall, it was a nice comfort food for a cooler night. If you want it spicy, you can add a little cayenne pepper to taste. You can add extra veggies like frozen corn. Possibilities are endless, so have fun and make it your own.

Light Apple Crisp

Light Apple Crisp

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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It’s apple picking time. That usually means, we have extra apples. Apples are very versatile. Nothing quite like an apple pie, or apple crumble, or apple crisp. So I went looking for a recipe that would fit the bill and not over do it on the sugar. I found a version of this (slightly modified by me) in a diabetic site.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of diced, peeled, cored apples
  • 2 cups of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of flour (I use unbleached)
  • 1/4 cup of rolled oats (not the quick cooking)
  • 2 tbsp of melted light margarine
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • nonstick cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Coat a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, margarine, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and apple sauce. Blend with fork.
  3. Layer apples in the pan and sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over top.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle nuts on top.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 125
  • Fat 2.6 g
  • Sugar 19 g
  • Carbohydrates 18 g
  • Protein 0.75 g
  • Fibre 2 g

The picture I posted does not give it justice. It is quite good. I made the mistake (in the picture) to mix everything together. I had layered my apples, I poured the brown sugar mixture over it and then, oops, I stirred everything together. So mine did not have that nice “CRISP” to it. So if you follow the directions, you will be fine. I promise to redo the picture next time I make it.

You can add more nuts if you like. If calories don’t matter you can serve warm with ice cream. Or you can add a little coffee cream. Someone suggested Light Cool Whip. So as the saying goes, have fun and make it your own.

Ham Linguini Tetrazzini

Ham Linguini Tetrazzini

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This is a feel good recipe that is quick, serves quite a few or has quite a bit left over. This is actually a pretty light version of this recipe. Some of us have to watch how much fat we take in.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of 1lb or 450 gr of catelli linguini
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 cups of ham chopped
  • 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (low fat)
  • 1-1/4 cup of skim milk
  • 1/4 cup of coffee cream (10%)
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of grated low fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp of parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika

Directions

  1. In a large pot, cook pasta as indicated on package.
  2. Once cooked, drain pasta and return pot to stove.
  3. On medium heat, put 1 tbsp of oil in pot. Add onion, garlic and peppers and cook until almost tender approximately 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining tbsp of oil and add the ham. Stir around for about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add milk, cream, both cheeses, cayenne and stir well.
  6. Add flour and stir constantly, bringing up the heat. If too thick, add a little milk a tablespoon at a time.
  7. Once at desired consistency (saucy but not too thick), add pasta and stir. Make sure to coat completely.
  8. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 424
  • Fat 13.9 g
  • Sugar 6.3 g
  • Carbohydrates 55.2 g
  • Protein 20.6 g
  • Fibre 3.3 g

This is a versatile recipe. You don’t have ham or you need to watch your sodium, you can sub for cooked turkey or cooked chicken breast. You can even do it with left over pork chops. You want creamier, and you don’t mind the fat or calories, change to whole milk and heavy cream. I serve this with a nice green salad on the side and it’s a great meal. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Weight Loss Reminders

Weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight is a battle for a lot of us, me included. I was told recently by a dietician that the Four Pillars are the key to being healthy. Exercise, Stress Management, Sleep, Food. I totally agree. If we can keep our portions to a healthy size, exercise regularly, sleep enough, and manage stress there is no reason we all can’t feel better and continue to feel good about ourselves.

Exercise: Movement is important. A lot of us have sedentary jobs. During this pandemic, even something as simple as walking from your car into the office and back made a difference. That alone put 2600 less steps on my pedometer. When your goal is 10000 a day, oops that adds up quickly. Always consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise program but until then, a walk is a good start. It doesn’t have to be a run, or a jog, or 10 miles. Around the block is a good place to start. Today is as good as any other day for a walk.

Stress Management: Cortisol is our stress hormone. It actually helps us in some situations. It increases sugars in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. It helps us react to a bad situation like a child getting hurt, or avoiding a car crash. Too much of it and it turns against you. This will cause a rise in blood sugar, weight gain, suppressed immune system, digestive issues, heart disease. We can’t avoid stress but the key is managing properly. That is not always easy and there are lots of options out there. 

Sleep: A nutritionist told me years ago I needed to get my diet sleep. Sleep deprivation spikes our hormone called cortisol. See in the stress management above the side effects of cortisol. So many things can affect our sleep. Noise, ate too late, stressed, bad bed, and so on. It could be one thing or a combination of things. You need to isolate why you aren’t sleeping enough and correct those issues or at least reduce the amount of times that you don’t get enough sleep. Once in a while should not cause adverse effects. If you lack sleep on a regular basis, you will have an issue in the long term.

Food: Portion control is key. Who says you can’t have something. Unless you are allergic, there is no reason you can not have a food. How much of that food is key. A plate should be 1/2 vegetable, 1/4 protein, 1/4 starch. Smaller dinner plates help. Putting everything in the plate helps too. I also use a scale for weighing my food. Key is moderation. Example, I felt for a snack. I had fresh pineapple but I wanted something sweet. Then a thought of a chocolate fondue where you dip fruit into chocolate sounded sooo good. I opened the fridge and there was a sugar free low fat chocolate pudding. So I put that over my fresh pineapple, You know what, it was good. 140 calories. Healthier than a chocolate bar, still sweet and satisfied my craving. 

So what can we take from this? Everything is connected. If one thing is out of balance, you will struggle to lose or maintain your weight. We need exercise regularly, manage our stress, sleep well, and have good portion control of our foods. There are no limits on possibilities on how to make this happen, we have to understand it, embrace it, and make the plan our own.

Corn Black Bean Salad

Corn Black Bean Salad

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Oil and lime based

On a July 4th celebration, a young chef asks the master chef for the recipe for the Corn Black Bean Salad he just had. The master chef gave a revised recipe as the original served 250. This version serves 20 side dishes. If you add an extra protein, it can serve 10 as a main dish.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 corn cooked and shucked
  • 3 large avocado cut in cubes
  • 3-4 limes juiced
  • 1-1/4 cup of cilantro chopped
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups of black beans (canned rinsed)
  • 4 bell peppers of various colours chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped finely
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a very very large mixing bowl put all ingredients together (I used two large bowls and divided everything evenly)
  2. Refrigerate

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 197
  • Fat 10.5 g
  • Sugar 5.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 25.2 g
  • Protein 5.1 g
  • Fibre 5.6 g

You need to bring something to a large picnic? This is a great option. I’ve changed it up a little. I thought I’d omit the lime juice (didn’t have any handy) and the oil, and put in 1 cup of sour cream instead and that was a success. You can always do both versions by separating the salad into two mixing bowls. Then in one bowl, put half the oil and lime juice mixture, and in the other 1/2 the sour cream. Had leftovers so prepared a chicken breast on the grill and added 3 ounces to 2 cups of the mixture and that made a great meal. You could do this with fish, steak, tofu, anything at all. I can even see a hard boiled egg. Possibilities are endless as long as you can see it, do it. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Sour cream based

Skinny Banana Bread Muffins

Skinny Banana Bread Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Skinny muffins that are flavourful and moist. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Well, it is and they are healthier than most. These banana muffins have no oil, low sugar and are only 130 calories. I apologize to the store bought or coffee house muffins.

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas mashed (about 1-1/3 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cup all purpose flour (whole wheat makes them a little more dense)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tin with paper liners or silicon liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash bananas, add egg, vanilla, sugars, and cinnamon and stir well to combine.
  3. In a larger bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add banana mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Gently stir in melted butter. Don’t over-mix the batter as the muffins will be tougher.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 18-25 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 130
  • Fat 2 g
  • Sugar 9 g
  • Carbohydrates 23 g
  • Protein 2 g
  • Fibre 2 g

Note: You can freeze these for up to 2 months in a freezer safe ziplock bag. Make sure that they are completely cooled and get as much of the air out of the bag first.

If calories or sugar are not of concern, you can add walnuts, raisins, cranberries, or even peanut butter (if you add peanut butter, you will need to add an equal amount of flour). This makes the possibilities endless. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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THIS IS NOT GOOD IF YOU ARE COUNTING CALORIES. This is a good salad, a little high in calories but hey once in a while, you have to say, ok, I will indulge. I started this recipe as this was something I had in a restaurant but their version was 1000 so I did all I could to reduce it. I have a few more tricks that I will mention in closing. So let’s get to it.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Taco Seasoning Mix (Old El Paso)
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans (if you use canned, make sure to rinse)
  • 1 lb of extra lean ground beef
  • 45 grams or 1.5 ounces of Cheddar Cheese (reduced fat)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 corn on the cob
  • 1 cup of Salsa (Herdez Salsa)
  • 1 cup of Cilantro chopped
  • 2 cup of Spinach
  • 2 cup of Cooked white rice
  • 2 jalapeño chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put tortilla shells in mold and cook for 10-12 minutes
  3. In a boiling pot of water cook corn for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Once cooked, rinse with cold water to stop cooking and shuck.
  5. In a pan, brown the ground beef and make sure to loosen.
  6. Add Taco mix and cook using directions on package.
  7. Now is assembly, shell, put in rice at bottom, put black beans, taco mixture. Then top with corn, onion, jalapeño, avocado, cheese, cilantro, spinach and salsa.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 622 each
  • Fat 18.9 g
  • Sugar 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 82.8 g
  • Protein 31.7 g
  • Fibre 8.3 g

I started making this at home ironically because I had left over rice and thought of the salad we sometimes have at the mexican restaurant. Want to save time, everything can be prepared ahead of time. Just don’t cut your avocado until the last moment or you can use guacamole. If you want to save some calories, omit the rice at the bottom. I usually use my own salsa which is made to my taste and heat level. I’ve seen this recipe done with refried beans instead of black beans, and brown rice instead of white rice. The possibilities are endless, you can use fish, chicken, pork, completely vegetarian, beyond meat, anything. Let your imagine go, have fun and make it your own.