Peanut Sesame “Zoodles” (Zucchini Noodles)

Peanut Sesame Zoodles ( Zucchini Noodles )Clearly, I’m still having a great time playing with the Spiralizer I got for Christmas. If you don’t yet have one, you can still make this recipe, but you’ll have to find another way to make the noodles(ribbons/cutting). It’ll probably be a LOT more time consuming(and the noodles will not have that perfect noodle roundness) that way, so I recommend getting a Spiralizer if you enjoy these sorts of recipes.
I’ve found that any noodle based recipe, any type of cuisine, work perfectly with the zucchini noodles – all for fewer calories, with the same flavour. The zucchini seems to take on the flavour of whatever sauce you put on it, so it isn’t overly veggie-like. They also have the same texture of a perfect al dente noodle – and the same dishes can be made in mere minutes. This is also a great way to sneak extra vegetables into your diet.

I’ve always loved cold Peanut Sesame Noodles, so I decided to try this take on it. It turned out great – so I’m sharing it with all of you. I miss absolutely nothing(except calories) by switching out the noodle base for zucchini, and you can even add chicken or chickpeas for a little extra protein. This is easily my favourite recipe I’ve made with the Spiralizer so far.

If you have trouble finding the PB2 listed in the recipe, you can switch it out for a tbsp of Peanut or Almond Butter. Just heat and thin it with water first. Don’t use too much water, however – the recipe has other liquid ingredients that may throw off the base, making it too watery. So I recommend the PB2 if you can find it.

This recipe makes a HUGE bowl of noodles; so you can make a meal of it, or split it in two to four portions as a side. You’re probably looking at approximately 300-350 calories total, for the entire recipe(as written).
It’s super easy, and takes less than 10 minutes, start to finish. Hope you enjoy it!Peanut Sesame Zoodles ( Zucchini Noodles )

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large zucchini(larger zucchini have less flavour, so these are ideal for zoodles)
  • 2 tbsp PB2 (if no PB2 available, see text for alternate instructions)
  • 1 tbsp water, to thin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Spiralizer, to make Zoodle Noodles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all powdered ingredients into a bowl with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Mix well.
  2. If sauce is not thin, add tbsp of water of water slowly, stirring, making sure that it becomes thin, but NOT watery.
  3. Cut ends off of your 2 zucchini, and Spiralize both into a large bowl.
  4. Add sauce to bowl, along with sesame seeds and desired amount of red pepper flakes(I only use a pinch or two).
  5. Toss thoroughly, being sure to coat all noodles well with sauce. You may use extra sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Oven Roasted Balsamic Herbes de Provence Brussels Sprouts & Carrots

Roasted Balsamic and Herbes de Provence Brussels Sprouts & Carrots

If you pay any attention to my In Season Produce charts, you probably know that December’s chart has Brussels Sprouts listed.

I had been holding on to this post for a while, so I thought December would be the perfect time to post it.

I know the title of this is looooooooong, and probably sounds overly complicated. Not so!
If you’ve been reading my website for a while, you’ve probably realised that I do not do complicated.

This fancy sounding healthy side dish is simple to make, and doesn’t take very long to compile. Let’s get to it!

INGREDIENTS:

herbs

  • 1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts, halve the small ones, quarter the large ones
  • 1-2 lbs of cut baby organic carrots (you can use carrots you cut yourself, but this is much faster/easier)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Herbes de Provence(available in most grocery store spice aisles)
  • Balsamic Reduction for drizzling over the vegetables
  • Sea Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Place all ingredients except balsamic into large baking or roasting pan
  3. Mix everything together until vegetables are nicely coated, then drizzle balsamic reduction generously on top. It should look something like this:
    beforecooking
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until vegetables are nicely crusted, and browned to the degree you prefer. Serve warm.

Recipe: Roasted Balsamic and Herbes de Provence Brussels Sprouts & Carrots

Quick & Easy Recipe: Homemade Hummus

Quick and Easy Creamy Homemade Hummus Recipe from www.YellowTurtleFitness.com I have very specific preferences when it comes to Hummus, and often times, the store-bought stuff just doesn’t cut it. I like my Hummus to be mild, creamy, with lots of garlic, plenty of tahini, and a generous touch of cumin, paprika, and parsley. I also like it to be light and fluffy, as opposed to the pasty, glue-y stuff you find in stores.

Lucky for me, not only is it easy to make Hummus at home, but it’s also cheaper and (usually) healthier.
I like to make a batch whenever my tahini canisters(which I go through fairly quickly) get down to about 1/3 of a cup left. Then, I can refill the can with the Hummus I just made.

You can see exactly what’s going in there, and spice it exactly the way you enjoy it. If you prefer spicy hummus, just add the spices you like. Don’t like Cumin? Don’t use it. Want a black bean hummus? Switch them out with the chickpeas.
Want it to look extra fancy for a party? Throw some extra olive oil drizzle, a dash of paprika, and some extra sesame seeds on top when serving.

Serve it alongside fresh cut vegetables, cut pita bread pieces, etc – One of the easiest party appetizers ever.

Best of all, you can make a big batch of Hummus in less than 10 minutes. What are you waiting for?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tahini (doesn’t have to be exact – eyeball it)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp water (approx)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • OPTIONAL: extra sesame seeds for garnish/crunch, other spices, hot sauce, black pepper, etc

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse until creamy, fluffy, and the texture you prefer. Add more water to thin it, use less water for a thicker hummus.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container if not using right away. Will keep approximately 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

 

 

Healthier Comfort Food: Chicken & Dumplings

Healthy Comfort Food Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings from www.YellowTurtleFitness.com

Healthy Comfort Food Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings from http://www.YellowTurtleFitness.com

Chicken and Dumplings is one of my family’s favourite comfort foods when the months start turning colder. Many traditional recipes utilize butter, shortening, cream, dark meat, and/or high sodium ingredients like “cream of…” condensed soups.

It’s really not very difficult to make over this recipe to be a much healthier option.

Experiment with the basic recipe by switching out similar ingredients. For example, if you’re a vegetarian, you can alter the recipe by switching vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and by switching the chicken breast for “Chicken” meat substitutes.

You can make the dumplings yourself, or save time by using pre-made frozen dumplings(check the nutrition labels, and choose the cleanest, lowest sodium brand you can find) or a healthier brand of canned biscuits(like Immaculate Baking Co) and tearing the biscuits into small chunks. It’s quick, easy, and usually just as good(however, this will likely add more sodium and sugar to the recipe. Your call).

Serve your healthier chicken and dumplings for dinner on those upcoming chilly evenings.

INGREDIENTS

For the Dumplings:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup skim milk

For the Soup:

  • 4-5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup thawed frozen, or fresh, green peas
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/4 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for cooking
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large soup pot, pour the tbsp of olive oil, and bring to medium heat(#5 and 1/2 on numerically labeled stovetops).
  2. Throw in chicken, onion, and garlic. Saute while stirring, until onions are just turning translucent/just beginning to brown, then add carrots and celery. Allow to saute while stirring for 1-2 minutes more. Chicken does not need to be fully cooked to continue.
  3. Add in broth, peas, sage, and thyme. Bring to boil, then place lid on pot, and lower temperature to medium-low(#3 to 4 on numerical stovetops).
  4. Allow to simmer in 15 minute increments. At each 15 minute mark, stir soup thoroughly, then replace lid quickly. You will probably need to do this 2-3 times, until chicken is fully cooked and flavours have melded well.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare your dumpling batter by putting all dumpling ingredients into a bowl, and stirring until combined. Set aside.
  6. When soup is about 10-15 minutes away from being served, put remaining parsley into soup, stir, then slowly drop in large spoonfuls of dumpling batter, stirring between every few spoonfuls. If you choose to use pre-made dumplings or canned biscuit dough, make sure dumplings are thawed first, or biscuit dough is torn into pieces. Drop them in the same way, and cook the same length of time.
  7. Replace lid, and allow to cook another 10-15 minutes before ladling into soup bowls. You may choose to garnish with a liberal sprinkling of parsley and black pepper. Makes 4-5 servings. Enjoy!

Recipe: Honeycrisp Cinnamon Oats

Honeycrisp Apple & Cinnamon Oats from www.YellowTurtleFitness.comLate Summer and early Autumn is my favourite time of year for produce. Most of my favourites are abundant – figs, black grapes, concord grapes, pears, and… Honeycrisp Apples.
Yes, I know they can be expensive, but nothing beats the light, crisp, super-sweet bite of a Honeycrisp. My children’s inheritance may be smaller, but it’s totally worth it, right?

This simple recipe is perfect for chilly Autumn(or Winter) mornings. You can even prepare a large batch ahead of time, and warm it up as needed.
FYI: It’s also good cold. Similar to a rice pudding.
Of course, you can substitute any type of apple in this recipe, but I highly recommend Honeycrisp, for the superb flavour.
In the same vein, any type of oatmeal can be used, but the cooking directions are specific to Steel Cut(and recommended for their outstanding satiety and fiber content).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 extra large Honeycrisp Apple, diced (do not remove peel!) 
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 cup uncooked Steel Cut Oats
  • 4 tsp Maple Sugar (if desired, you may substitute Sucanat or Coconut Sugar)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring water and salt to boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add apples and oats to boiling water, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or until oats begin to thicken.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer; and add maple sugar and cinnamon. Continue to stir for a minute or two.
  4. Allow mixture to simmer for approximately 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick, and oats/apples are soft.
  5. Remove from heat, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

 

RECIPES: Baked Falafel & Baba Ghanoush on Pita

Recipe: Baked Falafel and Baba Ghanoush on Pita

Recipe: Baked Falafel and Baba Ghanoush on Pita

It has only now, upon typing this, occurred to me that a large number of my favourite things to make and eat are Mediterranean style. Probably at least half of my posted recipes are along those lines. So I hope you guys like them, too. haha!

This recipe can be made a few different ways. I have provided recipes for both the falafel and baba ghanoush, but you could easily use a pre-made version of either.
Just be sure to choose a brand that uses high quality, natural ingredients, and be mindful of the sodium and other additives they may have used.

You also want to make sure the falafel is baked, not fried.

It’s always best to make it yourself – you can see exactly what’s going in the dish – but I can understand being pressed for time. I did use pita bread from a bakery, rather than making it from scratch. So…do what you need to do. Just do it wisely.

If you do choose to make everything yourself, according to my recipes, I can guarantee a healthy, colourful, and delicious lunch or dinner.

First, I have included instructions for how to put it all together.
Then, I have listed below it separate recipes for the Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Spread) and Baked Falafel. 

Putting the Pita Together, as pictured:

INGREDIENTS:

– Good quality, soft pita bread (optional: warmed)
– 2 tbsp Baba Ghanoush (recipe below)
– 2-3 Baked Falafel Patties (recipe below)
– Sliced Tri-colour Bell Peppers (about a handful or two per pita)
– Sliced Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, and/or Grape Tomatoes (about a handful per pita)
– 1/4 cup Fage Plain 2% Greek Yogurt (to dip your veggies)
– 1 tbsp Sliced Kalamata Olives
– 1 large sprig of Dill, for garnish(you may also mix some of the dill in the Fage, for extra flavour)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Spread Baba Ghanoush on split and warmed pita bread
2. Place Falafel Patties, some of the sliced peppers, olives, and tomatoes in pita.
3. Serve alongside Fage and extra veggies. Garnish with Dill and olives.

BAKED FALAFEL INGREDIENTS:

– 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 3-4 tbsp flour of your choice (I use whole wheat all purpose)
– 1 tbsp chopped garlic
– 1/4 cup chopped onion (I prefer yellow, but white or red onions are great to use, too)
– 1 tbsp tahini (optional. I like a little tahini in mine)
– 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
– 1/2 tbsp parsley
– 1 tsp coriander
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1/2 tsp salt
– a few grinds of cracked pepper
– olive oil, for greasing the muffin tin

BAKED FALAFEL DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400F, and lightly mist a muffin tin with olive oil
2. Place all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor, and pulse until thick, and well combined. Mixture should NOT be smooth or super-pasty. Add small amounts of extra flour if necessary, until at desired consistency.
3. Roll mixture into equally sized balls, and place in each tin of the muffin pan. There should be just enough to fill an entire 12 count muffin tin.
4. Lightly mist the tops of the falafel balls with more olive oil.
5. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Tops should be crispy, and lightly browned when ready.

BABA GHANOUSH (EGGPLANT SPREAD) INGREDIENTS:

– 1 medium eggplant, washed and dried
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 2 tbsp tahini(sesame paste)
– 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
– 1/2 tbsp parsley
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– tbsp olive oil, plus extra to coat eggplant

BABA GHANOUSH DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Poke holes in eggplant, rub or mist eggplant with olive oil. Then, place on cooking sheet in oven for 25-30 minutes, until soft and well roasted.
3. Cool, peel, and mash eggplant.
4. Place eggplant mash in a food processor with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
5. Should keep well in a sealed container in refrigerator for about a week. Use as a spread or dip. Best when served cold.

 

Easy, Healthy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs w/ Spiced Honey Creme

Healthy & Easy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs with Spiced Honey CremeThis time of year, the biggest fig crops are bursting forth – bringing with it one of nature’s healthiest and most luxurious desserts.

Figs are nutritionally dense with B-vitamins, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, and lots of Fiber.

This makes them a smart snack or dessert, as well as an amazing addition to salads and entrees.

This is probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted, but I’m a huge fan of simple healthy dishes. Eating healthy never has to be difficult or especially time consuming.

Each extra large fig half with honey and walnuts is approximately 70 calories. 2 halves would probably be the ideal portion size, bringing your dessert to a very reasonable 140 calories.

Less than 150 calories for a dessert this delicious, healthy, and elegant? Amazing(not to mention impressive looking to guests, with not much work on your part)!

On with the recipe.
INGREDIENTS:
serves 4

  • 4 extra large, fresh figs
  • 3 tbsp slightly warmed Spiced Honey Creme (my favourite brand here)
  • Fresh unsalted shelled walnuts (chopped or whole. your choice) 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice each fig in half, and line up neatly on your serving plate.
  2. If using chopped walnuts, press a generous amount into the middle of each fig half. If using whole walnuts, press a walnut half into the belly of each fig.
  3. Lightly drizzle the warmed Spiced Honey Creme over the figs, concentrating most of the honey over the areas with walnuts.
  4. It’s that easy! Serve and Enjoy.