Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hot day. Cold treat? It's Fudgesicle time!

I am currently sitting at our family cottage in Nova Scotia, red wine by my side, desperately hanging on to the last few days of summer. The sun is warm today and the ocean is fresh. Why can’t we have summer more days of the year? I guess that just means you have to enjoy each warm day when you have it.

How did you spend your summer this year? I was fortunate enough to work at the Pan Am Games, go camping, visit with lots of friends and family, and of course I cooked a whole bunch! My summer would not have been complete without cooking and baking. 

I didn’t get out to the farmer’s markets as much as I would have liked but the times that I did just reminded me that it’s totally worth the trip. Fresh local fruits and veggies – nothing beats them! My favourite item to get at a market is corn on the cob. My fiancĂ© says I’m a bit of a corn snob but I can’t help it!! I grew up on the east coast where I could get really fresh corn. I remember being little and waiting for the truck to come back from the field so we could buy a feed to take home. But the two times I got corn in Ontario this year were really good! And guess what’s for dinner tonight at the cottage? Corn on the cob. We picked some up from a farm where they had a bin out front and you just leave your money in a jar.

Anyway, I could go on about corn forever. My main purpose for the post today is to give you a cold treat for these last few summer days. And I don't know about you, but summer is definitely going out with a bang. It's HOT today! I made these fudgesicles a couple of times this summer and they turned out so well. You just need a popsicle mold and only 3 ingredients. They’re dairy free and gluten free too!

3 Ingredient Fudgesicles

4 tblsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4-5 tblsp honey (or to taste)
1 ½ cups coconut milk

Place all ingredients in either a magic bullet, blender, or something with a tight lid like a mason jar, and shake or blend well until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle mold and freeze for at least 4 hours.

You can substitute the coconut milk for almond milk and the honey for sugar. If using sugar, I’d recommend 3-4 tblsp as sugar is much sweeter than honey.




Hope you enjoy this yummy treat!



~Hannah

Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Oats Oats Oats

One of my favourite ingredients is oats. Oatmeal cookies, baked oatmeal, granola bars, porridge... the list goes on. Oats are a great source of protein and fibre. There are approximately 12 grams of protein in one cup of oats. Fibre is necessary in every diet for keeping bowel movements regular. Oats also help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. They can give you a boost of energy and help you feel fuller longer. They are such a great thing to eat before heading to class or rehearsal. And apparently, oats help reduce the risk of childhood asthma. I'm not too sure on that one but I'm interested to look into it more as I developed asthma in my preteen years. Guess I should have eaten more oats!

How do you like to eat your oats?

My peanut butter granola bars are one of my favourite ways to eat oats. They're such a great snack to have on the go. I've been eating them all week! http://cookingfordancers.blogspot.ca/2013/12/snack-time.html
Another favourite is crunchy granola. I love sprinkling it in my yogurt with berries, or sometimes just eating it with a bit of milk. I've even eaten it straight out of the jar. So yummy.
Making your own granola is easy and only requires a few ingredients. It's one of those recipes where you can just put in the ingredients that you have in your cupboard. The only necessary ingredients are oats, honey, and oil. All the others can be made up with what you currently have in your house.

Homemade Granola
Preheat oven 300F

2 cups oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup seeds
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
2 tbsp cooking oil (coconut oil is a great option)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl with a wooden spoon or your hands. Spread the mixture into a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly toasted. Make sure to stir the mixture around once or twice so it toasts evenly.
Remove from oven and let cool. Once it cools it will get the crunchy texture we all love about granola.
Store in a mason jar or air tight container. It will last at least 2 weeks.


Also note, adding that pinch of salt really adds an extra flavour to the granola. If you like to put dried fruit in your granola, like raisins or chopped apricots, add them after it comes out of the oven.
I don't normally put nuts in mine as I work with a lot of children and I like to take yogurt and granola for a snack. So I usually just add more seeds and sometimes I'll add a bit of shredded coconut after it comes out of the oven. In this particular batch I put in 1/2 sunflower seeds and 1/4 sesame seeds and chia seeds combined.

Happy weekend everyone!


~Hannah

Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's Breakfast Time

Have you ever been in rehearsal when someone says, "I haven't eaten all day?" Or maybe you've been that person. Sometimes finding something to eat first thing in the morning can seem almost impossible when you're running out the door. Stopping at a coffee shop to grab something might sound like a good idea but it's costly and things like muffins and other baked goods are packed with ingredients you want to avoid putting in your body first thing in the morning - or ever.

Eating in the morning is very important. It gives you the energy to start your day, helps you be at your best performance, and boosts your immune system. It also helps control your weight. People who skip breakfast tend to eat a larger meal later in the day and then the body will store fat because it doesn't know when it'll eat again. Or the other option of grabbing a snack mid morning because of convenience is usually high in sugar or fat.

To avoid all of this and keep yourself healthy, just eat breakfast. It doesn't have to be a big meal or complex. Just something that is healthy and has vitamins that will keep you going for a bit.

First of all, start your day off with a glass of water. Your body is dehydrated when you wake up so drinking a glass of water first thing will give you energy and help reduce things like headaches. Dehydration is one of the top reasons for getting a headache. Also, you feel hungry when you're dehydrated so having a glass of water at the beginning of your day will help tell you how hungry you really are. If you can add a wedge of lemon to your water, you'll help detoxify your body as well.

Here is an easy, affordable, and healthy breakfast recipe that you can grab on the go. It also works as a great snack too. And it's incredibly versatile! This is the basic recipe below.

Baked Oatmeal
Time: approx 25 minutes
Oven: 350F
Makes 8-9

2 cups Oats
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon or to taste
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
1 egg (optional)
2 tbsp Cooking oil or Melted butter
1 tsp Vanilla (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners and divide batter.
Bake for 20 minutes.


It made 8 for me but depending on the size you make them, you can get a couple more or a couple less. If it's all you are going to grab in the morning then I would recommend making them a bit bigger.

Notes and substitutions:
Quick or instant oats work the best.
Instead of brown sugar, you could use 1/3 cup honey, or 1/4 maple syrup, or 1/4 cup white sugar.
You can use a non-dairy milk like coconut or almond. I used coconut.
The egg is optional for my vegan friends but it does hold them together a bit better. I didn't use one in my last batch and they were still delicious.
I like to use coconut oil when I can so that's what I use in this recipe but a canola oil or other cooking oil will work just the same.
You may omit the vanilla if you wish. It's just there to add a bit of flavour.

My favourite thing about this recipe is you can add in whatever you like. I chopped up an apple in mine and added walnuts and ground flaxseed. They'd also be delicious with berries or dried fruit. Adding in nuts like almonds or walnuts will give you some protein to help keep you full longer and adding in seeds like flax or sesame will give you vitamins your body needs. If you have the time to eat breakfast at home, try topping one with milk and fruit.

Original recipe from manilaspoon.com

Enjoy!



~Hannah

Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Cold Summer Treat

I know it's been awhile since my last post. I just needed to get out of the winter blues and find some inspiration. All it took was going to a Farmer's Market.
I went to the market at Art Scape Wychwood Barns. I had been to Evergreen Brickworks before and a few smaller markets around the city but never to Wychwood. It had all the essentials, and then some. Fresh produce, breads, meats, fish, baked goods and more. It was just what I needed to find some inspiration. There's something about the atmosphere at a Farmer's Market that is calm and blissful.
I know Farmer's Markets can get pricey so I try to limit what I get. I just pick up a few fresh items that aren't always that great at the grocery store like berries or peaches. Although, this was my first market of the year so between that and my grocery trip afterward, I definitely splurged. Whoops! But it was all worth it.
I came home with all my goodies and cooked up a storm. I made raspberry chocolate chip muffins, crustless mini quiches, vegetable stir fry, pad thai (to go with the veggie stir fry), cherry crisp, and peach yogurt popsicles.

What I really want to write about are the popsicles. There are so many great homemade popsicle recipes out there. I found this particular recipe site from Real Food Real Deals on Facebook. There are some great options on there but naturally, I combined a couple and made my own.
My popsicle holders are quite small and this made 7 for me.
I cut up two peaches and put them in the Magic Bullet (blender should work too). Then, in a bowl I mixed a cup and a half of vanilla yogurt, the blended peaches, and a table spoon of lime/lemon juice.
I spooned a small amount of the mixture into the bottom of the popsicle holders then dropped in a couple pieces of raspberries and blueberries. I did 3 layers of fruit in mine. But you can make as many layers as you want!
Place them in the freezer for a couple of hours then enjoy!
Feel free to mix up the fruit. The options are endless! You can also make these with plain yogurt and add in your own sweetener. I'd recommend some honey.
I had one yesterday for a snack and then today I had one as part of my breakfast. They can be enjoyed anytime of the day. They are such a yummy summer treat and take no time at all to make!


Recipe Recap - Peach Yogurt Pops

2 peaches - washed and cut
Berries or other fruit
1 1/2 cups yogurt
1 tbsp lemon and/or lime juice
Honey (optional)
Blender
Popsicle holders

Place the peaches in the blender and blend until smooth. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, citrus juice, honey (if adding), and stir in the blended peaches.
Drop a spoonful of the mixture into the popsicle holder and drop in a layer of fruit. Make as many or as few layers as you want. Put in the popsicle sticks and freeze for a couple of hours.

Here is the link to the original website. Feel free to test out any of the other recipes or if you're like me, you'll just make your own!
http://realfoodrealdeals.com/2014/07/16/10-real-food-popsicle-recipes/

Happy summer everyone!

Enjoy!


~Hannah

Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cookies can be healthy

This post is going out to a group of my friends who, for the month of March, have completely cut out all junk food. This includes candy, sweets, pop, highly processed foods, etc.
Wouldn't it be nice though, if you could still eat some sweets and not feel guilty or get that sugar high/crash afterward? Well, you can. With the proper ingredients you can make desserts that your body will love as well as your taste buds!

I found a chewy oatmeal cookie recipe online and, as per usual, tweaked it a bit. I added in other ingredients like flaxseed and sesame seeds. Flaxseed contains fiber and omega-3, and sesame seeds contain nutrients like calcium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B-1, and iron. These two seeds are great to throw in to any baking to give it a boost of nutrition.

I tend to cook with coconut oil but I know it can get expensive. With this recipe, you have a couple of options. You can use all coconut oil, all a different kind of cooking oil, or you can substitute half the oil for unsweetened applesauce.
Also, for those who don't normally have honey in the cupboard or would like to save it, because it too can be expensive, you can substitute it for 1/3 cup brown sugar. However, this would be unacceptable for my friends who are cutting out sugar ;)

Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup oats (Quick is okay. Just not instant)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 oil (or 1/4 oil, 1/4 applesauce)
1 egg + 1 tbsp water
1 tbsp molasses (optional)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 raisins
1/2 chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
In separate bowl, mix egg with water then add remaining wet ingredients.
Mix wet and dry ingredients. Fold in raisins.
Cool mixture in fridge for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 335F.
Drop rounded spoonfuls on to parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly with fork to ensure even cooking.
Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden on bottom.
Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
Makes 25-35 depending on how big you like your cookies!

Original recipe from wholegraingourmet.com

Enjoy!

~Hannah

Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Muffin Top

For about two years in my high school days, every Saturday morning on my way to teach I would stop and get a fruit explosion muffin. It's full of fruit, right? I also used to really like low fat raspberry and blueberry muffins. Low fat is a good option, right? While they tasted so delicious at the time, I've learned there are other muffin options out there.

Muffins seem to have a lot of mixed reviews. Are they healthy or not?
Well, it depends. They can be full of sugar and fat or they can be packed with lots of healthy goodness. The ones you buy in the grocery store or a coffee shop chain are basically like cake with nuts and fruit in them. The ones I make are healthy and delicious.

They can be a great snack when you're on the go. And they really don't take very much time considering you will get 12 muffins out of one batch. They can also be stored in the freezer for longer lasting time.

I used some ingredients that not everyone will have in their cupboards. But the great thing about these, is that you can use substitutions or omit certain things. They're all listed at the bottom :)

First I would like to give credit to the Muffin Mania cookbook for giving me a basic recipe. Over the past couple of years I've been able to develop my own recipe and the last muffins I made really hit the jackpot.

Hannah's Banana Muffins
Preheat oven 350-375 (If you have an oven on the hotter side, go with 350)  
Serves 12

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 coconut
3 tbsp ground flax seed
2 handfuls of chocolate chips (I used white chocolate and it give them a really nice flavour. But milk or dark will work just the same)

Mash bananas. Stir in honey, egg and oil. Mix in dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon into muffin pan. I like to use the paper cups so they don't stick to the pan. If you aren't using paper cups then make sure you grease the pan well.

Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

For substitutions, you can substitute the honey for regular sugar, coconut oil for vegetable oil (or melted butter but that will definitely add some fat), and whole wheat flour for all purpose flour. You can also omit the coconut, flax seed and/or chocolate chips. Or you can substitute the chocolate chips for walnuts for a banana nut muffin. Using nuts will add a bit of protein.

Mmm these delicious muffins are great any time of the day! For breakfast, snack, or part of lunch. And definitely great on the go.

Enjoy!

~Hannah

Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It's the holiday season and hopefully everyone is able to be with friends and family at this time of year. Most people are running around today and tomorrow finishing up last minute preparations for Christmas. Especially after this weekends ice storm! Not sure about you, but we weren't able to leave the house yesterday so last minute shopping and groceries had to happen today. Amongst all of your preparations, remember to take a moment for yourself and eat! When you're on the go it can be easy to forget to eat. But if you want to keep your energy levels up over the holidays, you still have to eat nourishing foods. Especially, because you are going to eat so many treats and big heavy meals. So throughout the day, take a moment to make yourself some healthy food.

My Dad and I were out and about this morning. When we got back, we were STARVING! So I whipped up a quick toasted sandwich. It's easy to make and you can use whatever ingredients you have in your fridge. I grilled a slice of whole grain bread with cheddar cheese and the other slice plain. Once the cheese was melted I added arugula and tomato and placed the plain slice on top and voila! Easy, quick and cheap. It's a good way to add in those veggies when you are surrounded by treats.

Speaking of treats, I have to post a yummy sweet recipe! Every year, for years, I have made chocolate covered pretzels. I love the sweet and salty combination. But since I've started cooking so much this year, I really wanted to actually make something. So I found caramel chocolate pretzel bark, or as my aunt calls it "Christmas crack." It's so addictive! It's pretty easy to make and doesn't take long at all. The time consuming part it letting it cool. But you can just leave it in the fridge until you are ready to break it up. And no, there is nothing healthy about this recipe.

1 cup of butter (I used margarine)
half bag of pretzel twists
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag of chocolate chips (I used milk but dark would be delicious too!)

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small pot on medium heat, melt the butter. In the meantime, on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover it with a layer of pretzels. Once the butter is melted, stir in sugar. Allow to simmer and bubble slightly but NOT boil. Stirring frequently, the browning process should take about 3 minutes. Pour quickly over the pretzels (it will harden quickly!). Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle chocolate chips and set for about 30 seconds. Once the chips are melted use a spatula to spread evenly. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden. Break it up into desired sized pieces when you are ready!


It's SOOOO yummy!!! And makes great gifts too.

This is the original recipe but as per usual, I changed things up a bit.
http://legumeloyalist.com/2011/03/07/salted-chocolate-caramel-pretzel-bark/

Merry Christmas to all!!! If you're without power, please stay safe and stay together. Don't let your kids play outside. I just witnessed half a tree falling into a driveway and young kids live next-door. Thank goodness they weren't outside today!

Enjoy!


~Hannah

Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.