Apple Turkey Burgers

One of my favourite things about warm weather season is BBQ season. And what goes better for a weeknight grill session than a burger?

You may not know this (or if you spend any time with me you will) but my favourite food probably ever is the hamburger. Any kind of burger.. the classic, the fancied, the chicken and turkey burgers, fish burgers, and dare I say it.. even the veggie burger.

Now, the hamburger can be super high in trans fats, and calories but done right, can also be full of veggie toppings, lean proteins and healthy fats. That’s one of the things that I loved about this recipe! It’s full of flavour and texture!

The topping options are endless for this one, but I recommend not over powering the flavours of th patty. I put a sliced piece of Gouda on top of it, as well as some tomatoes, lettuce, sauerkraut and some more of the chutney… all on a thin bun! Next time I might try carmelized onions and a slice of grilled apple!

I want to know what you think! And what you would put on top of it!

Happy Burgering!

Apple Turkey Burgers

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Chicken Fajita Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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I love how easy fajitas are. I’m also a fan of spice (extra spicy please!), so fajitas are a great thing to either have a mild version or a spicy version! (On a different note, does anyone else pronounce Fajitas the non-proper way and say the J, just cuz it’s fun to say…?)

I also love that you can make these lower carb if you’re not feeling the carbs by wrapping them in lettuce instead of a tortilla. Or if you want to get some more calories and fuel, wrap ’em in those tortillas!

Im a huge fan of bell peppers, so that is my main filler, but in the past I’ve also used zucchini in the veggies. However you can add any kind of veggies – it would give it your own flare!

Makes 6-8 fajitas

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts, sliced in to thin strips

1 white onion, sliced.

3 bell peppers, sliced thinly

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup salsa (store bought, or homemade, I used hot compliments salsa)

tsp cumin

tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

tsp lemon pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Guacamole (store bought or homemade, I make  my own – 1 avacado, tbsp plain yogurt, juice half of lime, salt and pepper, & Cajun spice)

Shredded cheese

Butter lettuce or tortillas

Directions:

In a medium pan, heat tbsp oil (olive oil works best in this recipe in my opinion). Add chicken and spices (not salsa), cook until cook through. Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate. Add veggies, and garlic to the pan, and cook until peppers get a little softer, return chicken and add salsa. Cool until everything is hot and mixed together.

Serve and ensemble fajitas at the table.

Enjoy!

The Importance of Meal Planning: Part 3, How to make your recipes that much healthier!

Now that we have the Meal planning stages under our belts and have an understanding as to how to make it easier, how to share the work, and some ideas of what to make, how do we take it that much further to make it as healthy as possible?

A lot of people who are focused on eating healthier and losing fat really start to pay attention to how many Calories they are taking in, and put so much focus on that, and less on where those Calories are coming from. Counting Calories can be important if you’re working towards a physique competition, have a super specific goal in mind, or are trying to gain weight. However, I urge people to stop putting so much emphasis on the number of Calories, and start looking at the quality of those Calories. Because, contrary to popular belief, not all Calories should be listed as the same. (More of this to come in future posts)

So, that being said, now that we are starting to plan out our meals, why not try and make them as beneficial as they are tasty?

There are a lot of quick ways to make your food healthier, without adding a lot of time or extra dollars to your budget. Yes, sometimes higher quality ingredients do cost more, but not always. Here are some suggestions to keep the budget under control:

  • Frozen Vegetables and Fruit (instead of or in addition to fresh produce). If you aren’t going to be eating your fruits and vegetables raw, or you are going to mix them in with something (either cooked or in a smoothie), using frozen produce is just as good, if not better, than fresh fruit. Unless you live somewhere that the produce is grown locally, a lot of the fresh stuff goes on a long journey to get to their final destination. Some of that produce may have been picked weeks prior and have ripened on a truck while it gets to us. However frozen produce is picked at the height of their ripeness, and then flash frozen. This keeps the majority of the nutrients contained in the fruit or vegetable, which means when it gets in your body, you are actually getting more of the benefits of it. Other bonus: You don’t have to worry about it going bad before you can use it, most froze produce is good to use for months after purchase.
  • Brown Rice/Wild Rice (instead of white rice). This one may be a little bit more money than white rice, but you don’t need a lot of it to make yourself feel full. Brown rice and Wild Rice is full of fibre and isn’t stripped of the nutrients that white rice often is. It will mean that you will digest it easier, and it will fuel your body longer.
  • Vegetable Noodles (instead of pasta). So if you haven’t noticed, I am a huge fan of vegetable noodles. If you don’t have access to the pre-made ones, pick yourself up a zoodle maker (they are pretty in expensive, and can pick them up on places like amazon), and make your own! I promise it doesn’t take that long to spiral your own vegetable noodles. Zucchini is my favourite in replacement of pasta. (Don’t get me wrong, I do still love me a good plate of spaghetti!)
  • Read Labels. When purchasing ingredients that are already packaged in cans, bottles, jars etc.. take a look at the labels. Really read them. Don’t just look at the Calorie content on the label, but look at the ingredient list. If you can, avoid the options with added sugar (Corn syrup, maple syrup, white sugar, Glucose-Fructose etc..), with added extra salt (for example, if you are purchasing canned tomatoes or chicken stock, you don’t need to purchase the one with added salt, you can add your own later), or with a lot of ingredients that you can’t read or don’t know what something is (if it sounds chemically – it probably is). Also, limit your intake of products with Trans fats. Now, I am not saying you need to avoid these things all the time; I definitely have Heinz Ketchup in my fridge where the second ingredient is liquid Sugar – I choose to have Heinz Ketchup because it’s my favourite. I am however, aware of what is in it. If anything, just read the label and start to make yourself aware of what you are putting in your body.
  • Whole foods. When it comes down to it, choose foods that are whole and unprocessed. Whole grains, lean protein (that are non processed), lots of fruits and veggies. Sometimes these can be a little bit more expensive, but it will keep you more full, make you feel better (and be more productive), and reduce the chances of needing medical care for preventable diseases.
  • Drink 0 Calorie drinks. This does not include diet sodas. With your meals, drink water instead of juice or soda. Have Tea or Black coffee instead of adding extra sugar or milk to it. This of course does not mean you can’t have any of these things. Milk, Beer, Juice, Wine, Lattes etc… all can have a place; but by changing just a few of your calorie filled drinks to Water or tea, you’d be surprised at how much difference it can make to your energy levels and your waist line.

Meal planning and eating healthy doesn’t have to be a challenging thing. It just takes some time to figure out what you like, what you don’t, what you can make, what you don’t want to. So I urge to you to make small changes to really see what works for you. I also suggest not to change everything all at once, you will find yourself trying to balance too many things at once!

Let me know what you think of this series! Do you have other suggestions? Have you found anything else that works for you? If you have any other topics that you would like to see me post about, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

 

 

Are you looking for ways to change your nutritional habits? Interesting in losing a few pounds? Having more energy? Better performance in a sport? Have you thought about Nutrition coaching? Working with a Nutrition Coach, can help develop healthy habits and food advice without changing everything at the same time. By developing habits slowly, you are more likely to make long term lifestyle changes. If you’re interested, I’m currently taking a few clients who are interested in making some changes. Please send me a PM on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/danilivehappy/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/live.happy.eat.happy/?hl=en for more information!

3 Ingredient Chocolate Protein Pancakes

I’m sorry that this is appearing on Sunday instead of my usual Friday post. This weekend was our first camping trip (yay!!!!!), and before that I was in Kananaskis for a work event, and while, that is no real excuse, I forgot how much work goes in to prepping for a weekend of camping!

So, in hopes to apologize, the recipe today is one of my favourite, quick, and easy breakfast. Packed with deliciousness, and protein, these will help keep your energy up for your day ahead.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Makes: about 3 – 4 pancakes

Time: 10 minutes (if that…)

Ingredients

1 ripe banana

1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (I like to use Chocolate Vegan Shakeology for these! You could also try a different flavour protein powder if chocolate isn’t your thing)

1 Egg

(Optional Toppings, 1 of them, or all of them if you’re feeling crazy!)

Fruit

Peanut butter

Maple Syrup

Honey

Vanilla Yogurt

 

Directions

Mash up the banana well so that there are minimal chucks, add egg and mix well. Mix in chocolate protein powder. Combine and until all of the powder is mixed in. I will probably look like there is too much powder at first, but keep combining, It will start to blend together.

Over medium- low heat, heat up a small amount of butter, cooking spray or oil of your choice (coconut oil adds a nice flavour), in a small frying pan. Once heated, add the batter in small portions in the pan. Once you see bubbles forming on the top, flip over.

Remove from heat, serve & Enjoy! IMG_0437

Bonus recipe! The Classic Margarita (this is part of the 20% of the 80/20 rule)

In honour of Cinco De Mayo, I made us classic margaritas. And what a perfect day for them as it is currently 27C in YEG.

Now, things to keep in mind when making and drinking the classic margarita. They aren’t sweet. Not like the ones over slushie ice that you get at many restaurants. So keeping that in mind, you need to let the tequila shine. So use good quality tequila.

Ingredients:

2 oz tequila

1 oz of triple sec

1 oz of freshly squeezed lime juice

garnish: salt for the rim of the glass, lime wedge

Directions:

Pour all ingredients into a shaker glass, shake over ice; strain into a salt rimmed glass and serve over crushed ice; served in an old fashioned glass.

 

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Beet Noodle and Goat Cheese Salad

IMG_0629If you have read my meal prep series, I mention pre-noodled vegetables. I found at Safeway them a few weeks ago (okay Evan found them and told me about them…), and they have rocked my socks. Not only are they a great alternative to eating pasta (don’t get me wrong though, I like a good pasta), but they are also super convenient, delicious, and who doesn’t love things in noodle form?!

This recipe, I can’t take credit for. This was a Pinterest find. Below is the website and the link to the recipe. I’ve also browsed the rest of the page, and there is some good looking stuff on there – I will try some more of those!

I served the salad alongside a bbq’d pork chop and some left over wild rice from the dinner the night before. But really, it was the salad that was the star.

The recipe suggests eating this cold, but I heated it up the next day for lunch with the rest of the food, and was just as yummy warm (maybe even more so because the cheese melted and made a cheesy coating on the beets)! They also say to spiral your own beets, which is definitely also doable, but the pre-spiraled ones are far more convenient!

Beet Noodle and Goat Cheese Salad – My Life Cookbook

Please share your thoughts on this recipe with me!

The Importance of Meal Planning: Part 2, How to make your cooking days quicker!

So now that you know how to plan for the week ahead and how to share the work, how do you make it quicker?

My friend Lisa and I had a day of making soup a few weeks back and were talking about how recipes often underestimate the time it actually takes to prep all of the vegetables. It can be quite time consuming on a busy evening after work to mince 3 gloves of garlic, dice an onion, slice 2 peppers, not to mention prepping any kind of meat that needs to go in a dish! You’ll see on a recipe: prep time: ‘5 minutes’. Which can be true if you’re a master at chopping or if all of the vegetables magically cut themselves. In all likelihood, it will probably take a little longer that – even longer if you have other distractions such as kids or pets demanding your attention.

So you have some options here. You can do all of the work the day that you make the meal, or you can find some other short cuts.

Shortcut 1: Prep ahead of time: This can be interpreted in a few different ways:

  • You can go all the way and cook the meals in entirety earlier in the week. That way, you have all of the meals cooked ahead of time, so that when you get home from work, or school or whatever keeps you busy during the day, you can just pop the food in the microwave or the oven and cook it up. The great thing about this is that you don’t have to worry about having healthy options during the week. And you don’t have to worry about doing the impulse burger run on your way home. However, the challenge to this is that you need to have a whole day on the weekend dedicated to this. Or at least a good chunk of a day. After grocery shopping, and cutting your veggies and protein, and then cooking them, and then storing them, you may find that you don’t have much time left in the day for other things.
  • Another option is that you just prep the stuff that needs to be cut. While this will still take some time during one of your days off, it does take less time than cooking all of your meals. Chop all of the veggies, slice all the meat. Separate them out in bags or containers so that when you get home all you need to do is assemble the recipe. You can even go one step further, and measure out any other ingredients you need for sauces or dressings.
  • Or, you can do some sort of hybrid of these two. Say you want to have a salad with every meal this week – put together all of the salads for the week and separate them by day. You can cook any veggies that you need and then reheat them at the day of. And then save the cooking of your protein for the day that you are eating it.
  • Lastly, you can also just prep some of the stuff that you need for the week. This is what we do in our household. Every Sunday, we boil a bunch of eggs for breakfasts, pre-portion out raw vegetables to take to work with us, and make any snacks that we might want to prepare for the week. We then leave the prep and cooking for the day that we make the meal.

Shortcut 2: Buy shortcuts: What does this mean? I don’t necessarily mean that you should buy frozen dinners. While those can have a time and place, they aren’t going to help much with health or your budget. However, there are some options that you can buy things to speed up the process. Pre-cut veggies and pre-sliced meat. Some examples:

  • Pre-minced garlic and ginger
  • freeze dried herbs
  • frozen veggies for stirfry
  • pre-diced onions
  • pre-sliced veggies
  • Several vegetables in noodle form (which I have recently found at Safeway and I’m completely in love with!)
  • Veggie trays which you can then separate out into snack portions for the week for mixed veggie bags

If you opt for these options, keep in mind that it will most likely be more expensive. So just make sure that you will use all of it before the best before date. Also, make sure that there is nothing else added to the ingredients, such as sugars or salts (citric acid added to fruit or pre-cut foods is generally okay, as it is natural, and keeps the food from turning a different colour after it has been cut – but you would be right to question anything added).

Shortcut 3: Crockpots and Freezers: I am a big fan of having stuff in the freezer for days where we get back from an adventure late, need something for a lunch, or really just don’t want to cook.

A great way to do this is to make extras of your food. Some things freeze better than others, but I have found that most things will end up still being edible after its been frozen. Pasta Sauces, Soups, Lasagna, Chili, meatballs, cooked sliced chicken breasts – are all regulars in our freezer (especially the soups right now).

Crockpot recipes are great for this. Not only does it save you time in the evening, because if you can put it in the pot before you go to work, it’ll be done by the time you come home – I have also found that those recipes makes enough for a small army, so great option to add to your freezer meals!

Make sure to eat them rather consistently so that you don’t have the risk of them being freezer burned, as well labelling them with a piece of scotch tape, and then writing the contents and the date will help with keeping you honest about how long something has been in there (and also what it is that you’re heating up exactly… unless of course you want to play the frozen food roulette game..)

 

Prepping food shouldn’t be a stressful thing. Find out a pattern that works for you. However not having a plan can lead to unhealthy eating habits such as not getting a balanced diet,  or not eating enough calories by just eating that piece of toast and questionable apple in your fridge. It can also encourage habits of ordering in, eating take out, or fast food on a regular basis – now, don’t get me wrong, I like all of those things, and partake in them as well, but having them on a regular basis can start to have negative impacts on your waistline, wallet and health. Not having a plan can also lead to food waste – which is pretty much just throwing money in the garbage.

So my next challenge for you – Come up with one small thing that you will do this next few weeks to help make your meal planning  little easier. Let me know what you choose? Need some help deciding? Drop me a note! I’d be happy to help. Do you have any other suggestions that work for you?

Next Stage: Making your meal choices even healthier!

 

 

Are you looking for ways to change your nutritional habits? Interesting in losing a few pounds? Having more energy? Better performance in a sport? Have you thought about Nutrtion coaching? Finding a Nutrition Coach, can help develop healthy habits and food advice without changing everything at the same time. By developing habits slowly, you are more likely to make long term lifestyle changes. If you’re interested, I’m currently taking a few clients who are interested in making some changes. Please send me a PM on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/danilivehappy/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/live.happy.eat.happy/?hl=en for more information!