Haystack Cookies

25 May

ImageI was craving chocolate something fierce the other day and had NOTHING to snack on.  Not even the ol’ standby of a handful of chocolate chips (or morsels, as my husband lovingly refers to them as).  Babies were napping (or at least trapped in their cribs!) so I couldn’t go to the store and get myself a treat.  To the computer I went and looked at some treats I had recently “pinned.” When I spotted this little number from The Little Red House.

We grew up eating these bad boys under the name of “Haystacks” or “Lois’ (my mama’s) Favourite Cookies”

So here they are, with just a couple little changes of my own.

Haystack Cookies

  • 1/2 C raw honey
  • 1/4 C + 1/8 C *cacao powder* (or cocoa)
  • 1/4 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 C coconut oil
  • 1/4 C almond butter
  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 1/3 C shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

Image* cacao is cocoa in its purest, unrefined form, which is milled at a low heat to maintain all of its nutritional benefits.  It is an excellent source of antioxidants, magnesium and iron.  Pretty much, you’re doing yourself a favour to make and eat these cookies!  I have been using the brand Navitas Naturals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

  1. mix honey and cacao together in small sauce pan, over medium heat
  2. add almond milk and coconut oil, continue stirring and bring to boil
    ImageImage
  3. boil for one minute, remove from heat
  4. stir in remaining ingredients
  5. drop by heaping spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets
  6. put in fridge (or freezer if you’re really impatient!) to set
  7. shove it in your face!
    Image
 

Balsamic Pot Roast

23 May

Balsamic Roast-2I love having a few lazy meals up my sleeve for times when I just don’t feel motivated to cook!  The slow cooker is great for that.  Even if it still requires time and prep, somehow doing it at the beginning of the day, and having dinner ready for you 6 hours later makes it seem so effortless!  This is a great one pot meal because you just throw in the veggies with the beef and the broth and let it all simmer away!

Balsamic Pot Roast

  • 2-3 pound frozen boneless roast beef (I used eye of round)
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth (Epicure is great brand that doesn’t have all the additives)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    Option: (add the following items if you want to have a one pot meal, and sliced meat.  If you just cook the meat and marinade you can keep cooking until it is falling apart and it makes a DELICIOUS pulled beef!  You just need to take two forks and help shred it a bit.  If it does not easily shred, keep cooking!)
  • 3 carrots chopped into large chunks
  • 2 or 3 good sized potatoes, quartered
  • 2 small onions quartered
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Method 

  1. Put roast into slow cooker
  2. Measure broth, vinegars, sauces and seasonings into a 2 C. glass measuring cup (makes it easy to measure as you add each ingredient), whisk togetherBalsamic Roast
  3. Pour broth over roast
  4. Add veggies, lovingly placing them around the roast!!
  5. Cook 4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low (cooked from frozen should get you a nice, slice-able roast!  If your meat is already defrosted try 4 hours on low, or if you want it to be cooked to the “shreddable” stage, stick with the times/temps listed!)
  6. Spoon gravy out of slow cooker and place in sauce pan on med-high heat
  7. Mix cornstarch in small bowl with a few tablespoons of water, until well blended, pour into gravy while stirring
  8. Stir frequently until mixture thickens slightly
  9. Pour gravy over sliced meat and veggies
  10. Stuff it in your face

Balsamic Roast-3Adapted from recipe at Eve Was (Partially) Right

Tuna Salad

23 May

tuna saladOnce upon a time I used to have a day where I either had no desire to cook anything, had nothing in the freezer/fridge/cupboards to cook, or got so busy with the kids I ran out of time to cook.  That still happens, quite frequently.  BUT I no longer allow myself to fall into the trap of letting my husband pick up fast food, or frozen pizzas from the grocery store.  I found myself in this very situation last night, and realizing I had a couple of cans of tuna, googled “clean tuna salad” to see what came up.

I found a recipe on the fantastic website, The Gracious Pantry, and set about to make some up before I lost the tiniest bit of motivation I had to prepare a healthy dinner!  I made a few slight changes, and we ended up putting our tuna salad onto whole wheat roti with a bit of grated cheese on top and making tuna melts.  There are endless options on how to serve this- a basic sandwich, in a whole grain tortilla with lettuce, served over greens for a nice salad etc.  So NO EXCUSES!  Easy, healthy, quick meal!  (This pep talk is really for myself!)

Tuna Salad

  • 2 cans tuna
  • 1/3 C plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • small handful of grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 chives, (or a green onion, scallion, etc.)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp dijon
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
    Method
  1. drain cans of tuna
  2. mix all ingredients together in medium bowl
  3. stuff it in your face!

Rhubarb Berry Crisp

21 May

rhubarbcrisp
It’s spring!  The time of year when rhubarb starts to grow like crazy, and nothing else will yet…!  I’m not crazy about rhubarb but I have such a healthy plant that I’m determined to find a few recipes and enjoy nature’s bounty.

When evenings are still pretty cool, nothing beats a sweet and warm crisp of some sort for dessert.  Combining berries, apple and rhubarb takes a bit of the bite out of the rhubarb, but it is a MUST to pair it with vanilla ice-cream (like this delicious homemade coconut milk icecream!)

Rhubarb Berry Crisp

  • 2 C. chopped rhubarb
  • 2 C. berries of choice (if using frozen berries, thaw first and try to drain off as much liquid as possible)
  • 2 peeled, chopped apples
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot (or whole wheat flour)
    Topping:
  • 1 C. oats
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/4 C. coconut sugar (or sucanat*)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 C. coconut oil

*sucanat is a whole, unrefined cane sugar, which makes it a good alternative to regular cane sugar (or other refined sugars) if you are looking to eat clean.  This is the brand I have been using, and I’ve found it at Save On Foods and Superstore.

Method

  1. Mix rhubarb, berries, apple, cinnamon and maple syrup together in a large (9×13″) casserole dish.  Sprinkle with arrowroot (or flour) and gently mix in.
  2. In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, ground flax and salt.  Add coconut oil and mix it in by squeezing it together with your squeaky clean hands (or you can use a pastry blender if you think that’s yucky!)
  3. Sprinkle topping over fruit layer
  4. Bake for around 45 min. at 375 F.
  5. Allow to cool slightly and serve with your favourite vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

    revised from Clean Eating Magazine
    dinner-2

Basic Coconut Milk Icecream

21 May

icecream2
For my birthday I treated myself to the Kitchen-Aid ice cream maker attachment!  I have a weakness for ice-cream and it just doesn’t fit into my new clean eating lifestyle so I was excited to be able to try my own versions using coconut milk or yogurt instead of cream!

First thing is first, make sure you get full fat coconut milk!  Come on, you are already giving up real cream and going healthy so you gotta make sure it still tastes rich and delicous!  It’s just a much healthier fat.  I found a 2 for $5 sale on the Thai Kitchen brand and have been happy with it.

Image

You’re going to want to make sure you shake these fellas up real good to blend the thick creamier part with the more watery part.  You can always scrape out whatever is still clinging to the can.  You don’t want to waste any icecreamy potential!

Here is the recipe I am using for basic vanilla ice-cream.  Mmm mmm!

Basic Coconut Milk Icecream

  • 2 Cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • *2 tsp arrowroot*

Image
* arrowroot is a natural thickening starch that will supposedly keep your icecream from getting all those ice crystals.  Also, I heard booze… a little vodka or Bailey’s next time perhaps!?  I plan on sharing this with my 2 year old, so will stick to the arrowroot.  Bob’s Red Mill is a good brand.

  1. blend all ingredients together really well (I mixed it up in my Magic Bullet to make sure the honey and arrowroot were well incorporated)
  2. pour into bowl and chill in fridge first
  3. follow instructions for your icecream maker

VOILA!!

Image

-recipe adapted from cookieandkate and The Nourishing Gourmet

Clean Eating Update!!

15 May

FLASHBACK TO EARLY 2012………………

Sooooo last time I decided I was going to try Clean Eating, I read this book, and got REALLY pumped!

I ate SUPER healthy for about a week and a half, felt awesome, excited, optimistic about the future and my potential to become happier, healthier, and fitter!  Then suddenly, as my body was detoxing out all the sugar and refined crap I had been eating I felt SOOOOOOO SICK and TIRED and YUCKY!!  How long would this detoxing phase last before I started to just feel good!??  But, wait a minute… AH HA!

 

 

So, it was MORNING SICKNESS!  After a period of eating hardly anything but crackers and lemony drinks, I fell into the classic “I’m pregnant I can eat whatever I want” and thus began the period of sending my husband out for chocolate, icecream, french fries, lemonade, whatever this little mama desired!  Needless to say I did not pick up again on the Clean Eating!

Lukas-9

We had a beautiful baby boy, Luke, in November.  Christmas rolled around and I devoured Nanaimo bars, shortbread cookies, and all sorts of other Christmas baking, in sort of a “last supper” mindset… knowing full well that in January we were going back to business with this Clean Eating.

I READ THE BOOK AGAIN!!  GOT INSPIRED, PUMPED, EXCITED!  And began to cook more clean and incorporate the clean eating principles:
-eat 5 or 6 small meals/snacks a day
-eat protein with a complex carb every meal
-drink water like it’s your job
-cut out all sugar and refined, processed, unnatural foods!

Let’s just say it was an adjustment.  Sugar is in pretty much EVERYTHING.  Ketchup, yup.  Oil based salad dressings, yup.  Yogurt, yup.  If you’re lucky, the ingredient list will just say “sugar.”  Sometimes you have to do detective work and find sugar by it’s other names.  Anyways, I had to learn how to replace these staples with new choices… herbs and seasonings instead of processed condiments, my own oil/vinegar/herb concoctions instead of salad dressing from the store, and plain yogurt with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey.

BLOGGITY BLOG TIME!  I first started this blog without any clear intentions.  A place to store random thoughts… now I’m reviving it because I’m just about 6 months into my new CLEAN EATING lifestyle and I’m loving it so much, and finding so much success with it, and my head and heart are bursting with new found favourite recipes and I want one place to keep all of them.

So here it is… CLEAN.EATING.MACHINE.  A place to find my favourite recipes, and cleaned up versions of the things you thought would never touch your lips again if you were eating healthy!!

Clean Eating Challenge

19 Feb

Well, I think it’s time to do something about my eating… Too many times I’ve had an eating plan (eat healthy during the week and then eat whatever on weekends) and then fallen away from it because I didn’t plan ahead for meals, or my husband has a McDonald’s craving and I jumped on the bandwagon or there’s some special event/dinner/birthday/occasion and I feel like I “deserve” to eat all the unhealthy stuff.

I have tried numerous diet/weight loss plans- weight watchers, Body for Life, and cleanses and I know what it takes to eat healthy but I just don’t seem to follow through.  Recently I found myself feeling jealous when I read a friend’s blog post about following the clean eating plan for a month and finding her already petite body tightening and shrinking and becoming leaner and healthier.  It is ridiculous to eat my daughters leftover birthday cake late at night while being jealous that my friend who is following through on eating healthy is becoming leaner!  I recognize the ridiculousness in this and am ashamed of it!  Soooo, typically I would say “Starting on Monday I’m going to begin the Clean Eating plan.” But, Mark is big time believer in not starting on Monday/1st of the month/after such and such a holiday, he believes if you are serious, you start today!  So today for lunch, while he was eating a cheeseburger and fries, I resisted temptation and had a huge salad with lots of fresh greens and veggies, avocado, boiled egg and a homemade dijon vinegarette.  I didn’t feel satisfied after I ate, which I often don’t with salads, cause I feel like I need something grainy, or bready, to actually chew… not just leaves… but, I had a big glass of ice water with a squeeze of lime and waited a bit, and now I feel perfectly satisfied.  Not full, not boated, not hungry, just 100% comfortably content… kinda like my body has just been perfectly and properly fueled… funny how that works.

Anyways, so I’m excited to join Macy in healthy breakfasts of hot cereal (oatmeal, red river, cream of wheat etc.) with berries or other fruit, and my big healthy salads for lunch.  I’m looking forward to exploring some of the delicious recipes from Clean Eating for dinner.  I’ve already made a few meals from Clean Eating that even Mark has loved!  Lots of Mexican influenced recipes, and a few chicken stirfry/stew type of dishes.  I think the challenge for me will be finding good snacks for in between meals.  I tend to get bored of the typical cottage cheese, fruit, yogurt etc. types of healthy snacks.  But Clean Eating isn’t like Weight Watchers or Atkins or something in that you are limiting carbs cause of high calories or points.  You are cutting out REFINED foods and eating foods in their most natural and pure (clean) form.  So, I could find a recipe for some delicious clean muffins, and maybe I’m using honey or maple syrup instead of lots of white sugar, and whole wheat flour instead of white.  I’m sure there are lots of options.  There are even clean desserts if you look for them.  So this should be okay if I plan for it and have lots of healthy clean foods on hand.

I’m setting the goal of following Clean Eating for one week to begin with.  I know myself, and if I say I’m going to do this faithfully for one month, or until Easter or something down the road I will feel overwhelmed and I will give up at some weak moment!  But, to say I can do this for a week should be attainable, and then I will renew the commitment after that point.  I know that the fat will melt off my body when I stick to this healthy way of eating, but I will also combine this with regular exercise to really make a difference.  I have been going for lots of walks with my friend and neighbour Andrea, and Macy and Andrea’s dog Finn.  I wear Macy in a backpack because of all the snow and our walk consists of uneven ground with slight dips and rises and two significant (well, significant to me with about an extra 30 lbs on my back) hills.  We’ve been going about 3 or 4 times a week, so I will say I’m committing to going 3 times a week (even if Andrea can’t make it, Macy and I will go on our own) and going to the gym 2 times a week.  That is 5 days of decent exercise combined with healthy eating.

I’m looking forward to seeing a difference in how I feel (and possibly even look) at the end of the week!