Thai Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Hi Guys!

How is everyone’s week going?! Honestly, this week is going much too slowly for me. I’m waiting on some news/call back so I’ve been pretty anxious and restless! I’m currently in the awkward stage of – do I need a drink, or should I go for a run to let out my anxiety. Since I chose to be responsible today I went with neither and decided to right this blog ha!

I’m just popping in today has I have plenty of work to finish up, but this recipe was so easy and delish that I wanted to spread some mid week cheer. SPEAKING of easy…..did you guys watch the bachelor this week? I had to PVR it, so I just watched it. You guys, here is what I know – I used to feel sorry Nick, really I did. However if you honestly choose women like Corrine, I no longer feel sorry as you clearly make poor choices. Mind you, sometimes I wish I could have a nanny at 29 – so I guess, good for her???

Someone remind me why I watch this show?

Bah, back to food! Ok so as per one of my more recent posts, Meatball Masala, you guys know I have a thing for combining flavours and cultural dishes! I find it such an incredible way to bring so much flavour to a simple dish. Anytime I go out to a restaurant, I usually look for unique flavours first or flavours/combinations I haven’t tried. Those are usually the items that excite me the most, and then figuring out how to recreate them at home. That’s when I get all chef crazy, I’ve been told I tend to over analyze menus and get too vocal about them, so I’ve learned to keep it to myself now.

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Now, I wouldn’t say I don’t eat pasta because I’m Italian and hell, if I want pasta I will eat it. However, 90% of the time I want vegetables to be the star of my plate. So I swapped out the grain in today’s recipe and went for spaghetti squash!

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A reason I like to reach for squash is because of it’s blood sugar regulating properties. Now, it’s important to note that blood sugar regulation is closely tied to our overall supply of B-complex vitamins, and that squash provides five B-complex vitamins! Those vitamins are B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate. The unique mix of carotenoid, vitamin C and manganese makes them a super vegetable in my books, being anti- inflammatory, yet another factor that tends to have a nagging effects on blood sugar regulation. I believe by pulling in vegetables like this, we are increasing our intake of superfoods without needing fancy powders all the time. It’s about the quality and method of preparation!

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So today’s crazy simple recipe will give you a superfood boost while being epically delicious!

THAI PESTO SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Yields 4 servings
{Paleo, Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
1 spaghetti Squash
For the Pesto
1 fresh Thai chili, rough chopped
¾ cup (9g) loosely packed mint leaves
½ cup(6g) loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup loosely (12g) packed cilantro
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup hemp seeds
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ – 1/3 cup olive oil
Topping
Addition sliced fresh chili
Micro Sprouts

METHOD

  1. For the Squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet plan with parchment.
  2. Slice the squash down the center vertically and scoop out the seeds – do NOT through the seeds away. See the notes below for baking!
  3. Place both halves of the squash flesh side down on the parchment paper and roast for 25 – 30 minutes. You want it to just be fork tender so it has some texture and it’s not mushy.
  4. For the Pesto: While your squash is cooking, you can make your pesto. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Process on high speeds and then start to stream in the oil. This should yield a thick pesto. Set aside, until ready to assemble.
  5. Once the squash is done, carefully using a fork, pull away the insides, creating the thin squash noodles. You don’t want to let the squash cool too much, because the warm noodles will allow the pesto to really melt in and coat them nicely.
  6. Place your noodles in a bowl and add the batch of pesto, carefully fold the ingredients together until it’s all combined.
  7. Serve, topped with fresh chili and micro sprouts!

    NOTES:

  • If you don’t like heat, remove the seeds from the chili
  • For the squash seeds (pumpkin seeds), rinse them thoroughly, leaving all the stringy bits behind. Dry with a paper towel and toss in a little olive oil and salt. Roast for 6-8 minutes at 400, shaking the pan every few minutes to get even colour! Voila! So easy.

I hope you guys love this combination as much as I did!

Have a good rest of the week, I’ll be back beginning of next week with a super easy side dish to use up those beet greens, they are NOT just for juicing you know!

~Chef Steph

 

 

 

 

Soaked Chai Oats: A Warming Breakfast

Good Morning Guys!

I wanted to send out some good weekend vibes to you all, considering that last week was crazy busy for me with a few really exciting work opportunities and projects coming up to keep my creative mind working to develop some really delicious menus and recipes!

In order for me to get everything done in a day, how I start my day is really important. Routine is really crucial to me, so when it comes to diet and exercise I make sure to stay on top of what keeps me thriving so I can tackle each day.

In the past few weeks I’ve been plating around with my diet, adding some food items back in and taking a much more “stress free/no rules” approach. Personally, I’ve been Gluten free for 10 years and then paleo for the last 2 years. However, once in a while depending on how I’m feeling I’ll happily eat sourdough bread or use spelt grains/flour, both of which I’ve never had a problem with. I follow an 80/20 approach however recently I’ve been bringing back some extra “non paleo” foods. Everyone functions differently and everyone’s situation is different and for me I’ve noticed that with my hectic routine adding some extra carbs in has been really beneficial with helping me manage stress, to my recovery from training and helping to balance my hormones. Also it helps me remember to not get caught up in labels, and allow food freedom based off what foods really feel good to me from an intuitive approach.

I find that I’m usually being pulled in two different directions, the chef and the nutritionist – when really I’m working to pull the two together and not have them divided. Yet I find, in the nutrition realm, many of us Nutritionist have to explain why we choose to eat certain foods, or follow certain diets: eat higher fat, eat wheat, eat white carbs, eat plant based or go out for a burger. Here is my stance: eat what you want, when you want as long as it makes you happy and feel good! So if I want to eat oatmeal, I really don’t owe social media an explanation!

Speaking of which, lets chat about oats! I used to love oatmeal for breakfast, however for a while they didn’t always sit well with me and left me ravenous 2 hours after I’d eat them! So I’ve been playing around with soaking and fermenting grains the past couple of months and seeing how they would effect digestion or nutrition.

What I’ve noticed is that soaking rolled oats, not quick oats, with lemon juice for 12 hours there is a drastic reduction in starch and phytic acid. They become much easier to digest, they take half the time to cook and they dont have a crazy effect on my hunger levels or metabolism! So it’s a winning trick in my books and a good one for those days I need a little extra carbs or I just want a warming bowl of oats especially in the winter months!

Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of a nicely plated serving of Chia Farro Porridge, a dish we teach in the Fundamentals of Plant Based Cooking from the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, Online. I pick a few dishes a weeks to plate, to show the student other variations and unconventional versions of plating. I loved the flavour of the chia base we made, so I wanted to simplify it slightly and use the soaked oats to create a really hearty breakfast that would stimulate the digestive system as well.

NOTES:

  • These look like a lot of ingredients and steps BUT I assure you this is really simple and  I’ve just sectioned the ingredients so there was no discrepancies with following the recipe!
  • I’ve chosen to top it with ghee, because if you’ve never had ghee with your oats you are missing out! However ghee paired with the chai flavours a really lovely combination and is also a really comforting fat for digestion!

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CHAI SPICED SOAKED OATS
Yields 1 portion
{Gluten free, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
Soaked Oats
1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free)
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Chai Almond Milk Base
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tea bag (black tea)
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch coriander
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch of Himalayan salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional or 1 packet of stevia)

Cooking
Soaked Oats
Chai Milk Base
½ Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp almond milk

Topping
1 Tbsp ghee
orange zest
½ tsp Black sesame seeds
2 tsp Dried currants
1 tsp Cacao nibs

METHOD

  1. The night before making these oats, add the rolled oats, water and lemon juice to a small bowl. Stir together and leave on the counter over night undisturbed.
  2. In the morning when you are ready to cook, if there is residual water in the bowl, strain and rinse the oats. They will be very soft so handle gently. Then set aside until needed.
  3. In a small sauce pan, add all the Chai Milk Base ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer with the lid on to steep the tea bag for 3 minutes. The squeeze out the tea bag and discard,
  4. Add the rinsed soaked oats and bring back to a simmer with the lid off for 5 minutes, then add the ground flax and stir in the 2 Tbsp of almond milk. The flax will make the oats quite thick so the additional almond milk helps to loosen it. Stir together for 1 minute, then pour into a bowl immediately.
  5. Top with ghee, a few strokes of the orange zest, black sesame seeds, dried currants and cacao nibs and enjoy!

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Happy Sunday Guys

Chef Steph

{Tasty Tuesday} Paleo Creamed Spinach

 

Question: How many of you are done your Christmas shopping? So every year, I’m that person who gets it done by the first week of December. This year, for a reason I still have yet to come up with, I waited to the week of Christmas. Yesterday I ventured out with a very solid plan and detailed list to get everything done. Well, it took 5 hours of: waiting in copious amounts of lines to either enter a store or to pay, running through and over many people, witnessing people loose their children (LIKE WHAT?!), probably loosing 5 lbs of sweat and parking in essentially a new city. It was hell – but it’s done, and I will never make this mistake again. For those of you who enjoy this rush of last minute shopping, good for you but you are crazy – my type A personality can’t handle it!

Luckily I had prepped this recipe, so I came home to solid meal to help revive my spirit a little. Being Italian, we never really grew up with creamed spinach, unless it was spinach and ricotta stuffed into cannelloni pasta. I recently purchased Jamie Oliver’s new Christmas Book – which is an obviously thing for me to do, since I have every other book of his. As I was browsing, his creamed spinach totally intrigued me. I decided it to give it a go but put a little paleo and dairy free spin on it. I loved the result and would make this again, especially for a family function or Christmas Day lunch. It feels really rich and comforting, which is perfect for this snow filled winter we are having. However, the remixed ingredients keep it satisfying and waste friendly! This is also a great make ahead recipe, it can be prepped and assembled the day before and baked off for dinner which is excellent for party planning or hosting a dinner.

I’ve included an option with cheese which I have made also – they are both greatscreen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm, but IF I had to choose, I like the version with cheese better.

OH! Before I get to the recipe guys – remember there is only 4 MORE DAYS to grab our Holiday Ebook filled with perfect party recipes: apps, desserts and cocktails all given a healthful spin!

The book is still available to purchase for only $9.95,  you can have a look at the link below!

https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

I’m super proud of this one, and I’m happy to share it with all of you!

Now, for the recipe!

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Paleo Creamed Spinach
Yields 6 – 8 side servings
{Paleo/Diary Free}
– Inspired by Jamie Oliver

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs fresh spinach
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ whole nutmeg, grated
pinch of salt
½ cup coconut cream
For the Crumble
2 Tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for vegan option)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (or 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese)
1 cap pecans
1/3 cup almond flour
½ tsp salt (if you use cheese reduce this to 1/8 tsp of salt )

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×11” baking dish with ghee, coconut oil or olive oil.
  2. Using a deep pot (so all the spinach will fit), heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat and add the minced shallots and garlic, once fragrant add the spinach, oregano and then grate the nutmeg right in.
  3. Cook the spinach until wilted, the spinach will release much water- you want to cook it until the water is cooked out. Finish with a pinch of salt and then set aside off heat.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the ghee, nutritional yeast, pecans, almond flour, and ½ tsp salt until it forms a loose crumble. Then set aside in a separate bowl.
  5. No need to wash the food processor, add all the spinach and the ½ cup coconut cream and pulse together until combined. Don’t turn this into a puree, just pulse a few times to replicate chopped spinach,
  6. Pour into your prepared baking dish and top with your crumble. You can either live an edge of the spinach as shown in the picture, or cover the entire top with the crumble.
  7. Place into your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. This is delicious both right from the oven and cold.

Note: This makes an amazing addition crumbled into a breakfast frittata, so leftovers are a definite plus in this case!

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I hope you guys enjoy this one, countdown to Christmas is one everyone!

-Chef Steph

{Merry Monday} Curry Carrot Soup with Smokey Almonds

Happy Monday Guys!

I figured I’d do you a favour and start your week off with a warming recipe because the first legit snow fall came yesterday and I think this snowy weather is here to stay!

Truthfully I’m happy about the weather change, primarily because as it gets colder the food I choose to eat changes along with it. Enter: soups, stews, braised dishes, hot chocolate, hot cider, mulled wine, warming breakfast bowls, spicier dishes, curries and broths. Usually, I’m not a winter person – but this year I’ve had a change a heart, however I should probably find winter boots – like proper winter boots and not another pair I cheap out on.

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As with anything I choose to make, I really try to make sure what I eat packs some sort of nutritional value as well of flavour. I despise eating flavorless food, or when I see people post recipes that after one glance the flavour profile is just not there – it makes me crazy. So even with a simple soup, like the one I’m sharing below, jazzing it up can be both simple, cost effective and fast!

Fun fact about me: As Italian as I am, Indian cuisine is literally one of my absolute favorites. I would love to learn this cuisine from the traditional aspect. I love to use elements of Indian cuisine because in my professional opinion there is something about the specific spice combinations that makes the food so enticing and enjoyable!

What I love about soups is that they are the perfect vessel to pack a dose of nutrition and they can be super digestive friendly. They are in my emergency toolbox, for when my digestive system isn’t co-operating and I know getting in some anti-inflammatory nutrition would be beneficial.

Carrots, don’t usually shine alone and sometimes they should, because they come with their own arsenal of nutrients: There is some research showing that cooking them may actually help to boost their nutritional content, opposed to eating them raw. Interestingly enough (which is helpful for the colder seasons), cooking carrots yields  higher levels of beta-carotene and phenolic acids than raw carrots. They are a true gem when taking about brain health, vision health, cancer prevention, liver health and lower systemic inflammation. Paired with the warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, garlic and curry (all of which help to sooth digestion and low inflammatory responses in the body) make this a truly special mix.

My recipe today is particularly very easy, it can be made any night of the week where by one vegetable is the star, it’s anti inflammatory, digestive friendly, seasonal and very warming!

CARROT CURRY SOUP
Yields: 6 servings
{Paleo}

INGREDIENTS
For the soup:
2 Tbsp ghee
2” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
½ tsp cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp red curry powder*
1 tsp ground coriander
2lbs carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
1 ½ tsp salt
3 ½ cups chicken stalk
½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk
For the garnish:
½ cup Almonds
½ tsp chili
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp salt
Olive oil
Chopped Cilantro

METHOD

  1. Start with your garnish, so it’s ready to go and you don’t forget about it when serving: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss Almonds with chili, smoked paprika, salt and a dash of olive oil, and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast for 7 minute and let cool.
  3. Once cool, roughly chop and set aside with your chopped cilantro until ready to use.
  4. For the soup: In a medium pot, add the ghee over medium low heat. Add the minced ginger, cinnamon, sliced garlic, red curry powder and ground coriander. Stir together and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. You really want the spices and ginger/garlic to be quite pungent.
  6. Now add the chopped carrots and stir together. Add salt and chicken stock, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 – 25 minute until carrots are fork tender. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to really release all the flavour.
  7. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in batches, but if you have a vitamix then this will all fit in one shot. Scoop your carrots and broth, into your blender, and blend on high speed until completely smooth.
  8. Make sure some steam has room to escape otherwise your lid will pop off, make a huge mess, and most likely burn you!
  9. Pour your smooth soup back into you pot, add the apple cider vinegar and coconut milk, bring back to a gentle simmer and you are ready to serve.
  10. Serve with the toasted smokey almonds and chopped cilantro.

This is epic guys, enjoy it!

*NOTE – I really like red curry powder for its heat, so if you use regular curry powder add ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper to the soup.

Stay warm guys, and make your Monday a littler better by getting cozy with a  cup of this soup.

-Chef Steph xo

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Self Reflections + Zucchini Flowers

Hey Guys!

So I’m guessing only really cool people blog on Saturday nights, yeah? Well, obviously since I’m here making sure you guys have this recipe before Sunday Brunch, or before you hit the farmers market tomorrow!

Today has been an interesting day, it’s been a day full of self reflection and really taking a closer look at the direction I want my career to go. Having real time for yourself can be scary – especially when you are used to the “grind” or the crazy long hours. When you have real time, you start to really think things through and create this sense of reflection – which I think is important especially when you’re trying to decipher what really makes you happy and what YOU really want.

After leaving my Executive Chef role two things struck me:

  1. I realized my passion had been lost and tangled
  2. I was not in my happiest place, because I lost my personal authenticity along the way.

For someone who lives to be creative and enjoys the pleasures of being in a kitchen, these were two hard things for me to swallow. I learned that no role is truly worth it, if you are not thriving along the way. I’m not sure there is any feeling more awkward then feeling like you’ve lost your mission or your personal self.

Anyways, I’m sharing this because this is a thing called L I F E, and unfortunately, we are thrown these experiences and emotions to help us gain a new found sense of strength. Being a #ladychef is not easy, but in my heart I know it’s worth it especially when I know I have a greater mission to seek out.

As I post and create some recipes for you guys over here, I’ll also being getting into some ways of re-exploring and re-creating that path I initially started out on, hell, maybe I’ll create an entirely new one.

The universe is a funny thing, it places you with feelings of discomfort – to give you the power to create some unique magic and that’s the exact intention I have moving forward.

Ok Ok…. You came for the recipe I’M SURE so let’s get into some cooking fun.

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If you should happen to come across some zucchini flowers, I highly suggest you grab some. Here’s the thing right, sure you can fry them but why not skip the frying and apply them to a protein packed savory breakfast? Most people don’t even know zucchini flowers can be eaten raw and added to a salad! Most associate them with being stuffed with ricotta cheese, battered and fried….no complaining about that either, but these delicate fresh items were meant for more then just one application.

My garden only produced four of these beauties, so we picked up more at the farmers market!

My father was the one who inspired this recipe. His original recipe was more “cake like” using whole wheat flour, where as mine is more “frittata like” using almond flour and egg.

These are actually perfect for breakfast or as a mid day protein snack. They pack, store and travel really well and the bonus is that they are delicious both hot and cold.

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ZUCCHINI FLOWER FRITTATA MUFFINS
Yields 15
{Paleo, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
1 lb zucchini flowers – remove stems and inner stamen
8 eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 tsp chili flakes
½ cup/ 65g grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ cup/ 150g almond flour
1 lb zucchini flowers – remove stems and inner stamen
Ghee – for greasing the muffin trays

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and liberally grease two muffin trays.
  2. Depending on where you got the zucchini flowers, you will need to gently wash them. I just used a wet cloth.
  3. Remove the stem, and inner stamen (the yellow pollen like stem in the center). Once clean and dry, slice them in thin strips, Chiffonade them, then set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the eggs and whisk.
  5. Then add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, coconut milk, chili flakes, parmesan and almond flour. Mix gently to combine everything.
  6. Scoop a level 1/3 cup into each portion.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, the let cool for 10 minutes before trying to remove them. Then let them rest on a cooling rack.
  8. They will last up to 5 days, stored in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

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Alright guys, happy Saturday – I’m off to go crack open a bottle of cider and kick it by the fire pit!

-Chef Steph

Sautéed Broccoli Leaves w/ Cherry Tomatoes

Broccoli leaves are the new kale people…..

I’m not trying to create some nifty slogan, I’m being dead serious.

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There is a bit of a back story with this recipe, which revolves around the never ending Garden saga. With our garden this year I want to attempt to grow as much as I could, which clearly I’ve learned a lot from.

Enter the broccoli plant, so oddly enough broccoli didn’t even grow but instead I got this massive bush of broccoli leaves. Needless to say I was very confused and there was not a single Youtube video to help a girl out. I ended up having to pull the entire plant because it was engulfing the surrounding veggies.

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My options were either juice all the leaves, but in all honesty, pressed juices haven’t been sitting well with me recently – so that was a NO, or, cook them up for an easy weeknight side.

I’ve never used broccoli leaves, but they have a similar texture and feel to collard greens and I’m really against waiting produce – it’s always important to try and find a use for everything.

I feel like it’s the newest Super Green Leaf we should try and get our hands on because they contain some pretty rad nutrients to give our immune system an epic boost.

In 30 grams of broccoli leaves, which you probably throw away, there is 90% of the required daily doses of vitamin A, which is very important for improving our eye sight, immune system and skin health. There is also a full daily dose of vitamin C and plant compounds called glucosinolate which aid in proper detoxification and cancer prevention. So in my professional opinion, I think this super green is a fantastic veggie to try and have some fun with!

Todays recipe is simple enough to throw together any night of the week for a fast simple side dish. Since broccoli leaves are a little more tough and sturdy, then kale or swiss chard, they do hold up well, so it’s a great veggie to prep ahead of time.

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I threw also in some garden cherry tomatoes because I love how sweet they are at this time of year.

 

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Sautéed Broccoli Leaves With Cherry Tomatoes
Yields 6 – 8 Servings
{Paleo/Vegan} 

INGREDIENTS
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp chili flakes
2 lbs broccoli leaves, sliced into think ribbons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
salt, to taste

METHOD

  1. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium high , add the sliced garlic and chili flakes. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
  2. Once fragrant add the sliced broccoli leaves and sliced cherry tomatoes to the pan, use tongs to move everything around.
  3. Since they are sturdier, they will take a few minutes longer to cook then kale or other leafy greans. I found them to be perfect after 6 minutes.
  4. Season with salt, to your taste and serve!

NOTE:

  • Make sure your broccoli leaves are completely dry after washing, otherwise when they hit the hot pan oil will splatter everywhere.
  • I had a lot more leaves to work with then what you may find elsewhere, hence why I used so much, but this recipe can be scaled down with no actual recipe!

Happy Friday Guys!

Stay tuned for the next recipe coming your way, Zucchini Flower High Protein Muffins, the perfect high protein, low carb breakfast to fuel you day.

Tell me something fun: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve attempted to plant and how did it turn out?

– Chef Steph

 

 

 

 

Grilled Radicchio with Crispy Beef Bacon and Parm

Hey Guys, Happy Tuesday!

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend whether you celebrated Canada Day or July 4th, I mean really, they both involve good food, good drinks and good times with people you love!

I really wish I had a long weekend to enjoy, but #cheflife doesn’t always accommodate long weekends. I was hustling along with our brunch service as we were epically short staffed; however my crew killed it as always.

Sundays on the other hand, I’m off work and can enjoy some time outside in my garden with a cider in hand (summer tradition), BBQ and make food I don’t get make on a day to day.

I’ve been pretty lucky with the garden this year, I have never planted one but I’ve always been around them through my family. I wanted to grow a good amount of veggies that I could use over the season, into the fall and preserve for winter.

 

So far the only thing I’ve messed up is my cilantro, which is really embarrassing because herbs are the easiest thing to PLANT! I also didn’t plant my beets deep enough so I had to pull them earlier then normal but non the less, they turned out and I have some amazing beet greens to juice.

There is something very nostalgic about being in a garden and utilizing what is pulled right from your back yard. I grew up with 2 sets of grandparents who lived for their gardens, and never let any item go to waste. So much pride and love when into what they planted, which I believe, is what makes home grown food taste and feel that much better.

For my recipe today, I’m using some radicchio I pulled out of the garden. One plant was ready, so I figured why not use it!

My favorite way to eat radicchio is grilled; there is something about grilling leafy vegetables that I love. I really enjoy the combination of smokey + fresh flavours coming together. Other then radicchio, I dig romaine, bok choy and endive grilled as well. They add a smokey twist to a salad, vegetable platter or power bowl!

Another reason radicchio has its place in my diet is for it’s nutritional profile regarding your digestion and liver.

Liver Health: Being a bitter leafy vegetable that’s mild in spice, it helps stimulate the production and excretion of bile, which plays such an important role in digesting fat and pulling excess cholesterol and toxins from the body. I believe in doing one thing every day that helps support your liver and eating bitter greens/vegetables is one of the easiest ways.

Digestive Support: The inulin and polysaccharides in radicchio help encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which keeps both our immune and digestive system running properly. With it’s high fiber content, it ensure proper colon cleansing and removing harmful bacteria (anti-microbial properties).

I understand that bitter vegetables are not something everyone enjoys, but what it comes down to is finding a way to prepare them that allows you to enjoy every bite!

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The recipe below is simple enough to make any night of the week and it’s jazzed up with a little extra flare!

Grilled Radicchio with Crispy Beef Bacon and Parmesan
Yields: 4 side servings
{Paleo, Gluten Free}

INGREDIENTS

1 head radicchio, cut in quarters
Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
3 slices of beef bacon, or traditional bacon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Parmesan, grated
Small bunch of basil, I used micro basil

METHOD

  1. Heat your grill to medium and drizzle your radicchio quarters with olive oil. Just enough to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the radicchio quarters on the heated grill, grill on each side for 2-3 minutes until lightly grilled. You want the radicchio to still hold its shape and not completely wilt away.
  3. In the mean time, place your bacon on the grill also. If you haven’t had bacon on the BBQ you are clearly missing out.
  4. Grill the bacon on each side for 3 minutes, until crispy. Then finely chop when cool enough to handle.
  5. When ready to plate, lay the radicchio out on a platter. Drizzle with the lemon juice, grate a good amount of parm over top, crumble over bacon and top will basil.
  6. Eat right away for best flavour and texture.

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I hope you have a great week guys, and if you love radicchio as much as me be sure to give this recipe a go!

-Chef Steph

Avocado Lime PROTEIN Pudding

Hey Gang!

Chef Steph here dropping in for a quick recipe for you guys!

A couple years ago I was known as the Chia Queen, because I basically became a chia pudding hoarder!

I literally couldn’t live without it! Then for whatever reason I fell off the chia train. I really like to rotate my foods so after a period of time I needed a change up. However those chia cravings are starting to kick in, now that the weather has decided to cooperate and be nice!

There are many ways to enhance your chia bowl to A) be satisfying (something I find many chia recipes are not) and B) nutritionally dense. There are ways of adding extra nutrition into your chia bowl, to enhance it’s nutritional profile, some options are:

  • nut/seed butters
  • oils: hemp seed, flax, MCT, dare I say- EVOO (don’t knock it till you try it)
  • Superfoods/Boosters: protein powder, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, maca powder, matcha, spirulina, bee pollen

In terms of what makes a chia bowl satiating:

  • Fat: fat is our holy grail for all things satisfying. It provides that mouth feel that signals our brain with that satisfying feeling – which we need to stop over eating. Fats I love; coconut milk, avocados, oils (as listed above), nut/seed butters, ghee, additional nuts/seeds and coconut.
  • Protein: Yes chia seeds provide protein but for active people, especially if a chia bowl will act as a meal – it’s not quite enough. So adding a protein supplement will be helpful in boosting protein intake and feeling full longer.
  • A touch of sweetness: Have you ever just mixed chia seeds and water , then ate it? It sucks. Period. I mention a touch of sweetness because it helps balance flavours and provides us with that sense of enjoyment. You can do this with; fresh berries or any fresh fruit, dates, raw honey or Manuka honey, a little maple syurp, date sugar (contains fiber) or stevia.

While working the new Genuine Health, Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+ I wanted to use this protein to boost a chia pudding recipe. I’ve been reaching for this protein powder particularly because the new fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ is a lifestyle protein and the perfect addition to any smoothie, favourite baked recipe, or can be enjoyed simply shaken with water, milk, or beverage of your choice.

A couple weeks back at work, we had the chance to cater an Avocado Event hosted by The Healthy Maven. One of the recipes I made was a Key Lime Avocado Chia Pudding. I was obsessed with it – with a crispy almond crumble topping, oh my god….heaven. I wanted to take that recipe give it a protein shake up and share it with you guys!

This protein in particular made it extremely creamy and rich, if you want more health information on it, you can read my last post or check out their site page. The main reason I use this protein is specifically because of it’s digestive health support and how it aids in digestion rather then negatively effects it. It also contains 25 grams of fully fermented protein, which is an excellent boost to your daily diet regime!

NOTE: I cut the sweetness in this updates recipe, from my original, because this protein powder contains stevia, and I decided to drizzle the top with a little honey this time around. However I listed the actual amount of honey used in the original recipe and based of you’re preference you can add it or not.

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Avocado Lime PROTEIN Chia Pudding
Yields: 3 meal servings
{Paleo, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
2 cups almond milk
½ a ripe avocado
2 scoops Genuine Health, Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+ Vanilla
Fat pinch Himalayan sea salt
1/3 cup coconut mana (coconut butter)
1/3 cup lime juice
zest of 2 limes1/3 cup chia seeds
Optional: ¼ cup honey

Toppings:
zest of 1 additional lime
Toasted pecans, chopped
Slices of lime
Drizzle of honey (if honey wasn’t added into the recipe)

METHOD

  1. In a blender, add the almond milk, avocado, protein powder, Himalayan sea salt, coconut mana, lime juice, lime zest and optional ¼ cup honey.
  2. Blend until completely smooth then pour into a container and whisk in the chia seeds.
  3. Let set in the fridge over night over night.
  4. When ready to serve, top with additional lime zest, chopped pecans, lime slices and the drizzle of honey.

key lime chia 3

Happy Friday Guys!

Eat, fuel, thrive….and eat chia 🙂

-Chef Steph

Genuine Health Review + Protein Parfait Recipe

8429-fermented_greek_yogurt_proteins+_vanilla R00I’ve had a love hate relationship with protein powder for as long as I can remember. I’ve always attempted to take different powders, either in a smoothie or post workout, yet it always ends up with me crunched over from uncomfortable stomach pain. If you read my story  you know that I have a long history with debilitating digestive issues and now that I’ve got my health in check, I’m very particular about the type of supplements I choose to consume. Even though I’ve come from the fitness realm, I’m still very much involved in it especially regarding the nutritional/performance aspect, therefor I understand there is a need for adding in protein powder to our daily routine. For some people they need it to support training and recovery, for others they don’t physically consume enough protein so they need to supplement and some people who are recovering from a certain illness need extra protein to help their cells and tissues heal properly.

At work we use Genuine Health products in our smoothie bar and even in some of our baked goods, so I’ve been a fan and very familiar with their products for a while now. However when their new fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ came out I knew I had to give this a try. I wanted to give you guys a proper review because anytime I come across products that makes me feel great, I know they are worth sharing. Plus I have a delicious recipe to share to enhance your morning breakfast routine.

Let’s talk protein powder: The reason some people don’t recommend protein powder is because chances are you are most likely not absorbing a good portion of the standard 25grams. It all comes down to the state of your gut and how effectively the protein can be digested and absorbed by your body. Fermented foods help to support your gut health and aid in strengthening it, to allow for better digestion, nutrient absorption and overall comfort. Genuine Health, the leader in fermented supplements , has introduced the next big innovation and the first of it’s kind, fermented Greek yogurt proteins+. It’s been formulated to provide maximum absorption, strengthen gut and digestive health, and provide 25 grams of fully-fermented protein from clean, grass-fed California dairy.

Oh and side note: it’s hormone and antibiotic free, gluten free, soy free, AND non-GMO….winner winner!

Simply put, I love this product for what it offers my digestive health and my physical performance. As a nutritionist and fitness enthusiast I hold both at a high level of importance.

Alright so lets enjoy this awesome simple recipe, that’s perfect for breakfast or a mid afternoon snack during a busy day.

parfait

BREAKFAST PROTEIN PARFAIT
Yields 2 Servings
{Gluten Free, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
For the Quick Chia Jam
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp lemon Juice
2 Tbsp chia seeds
For the Yogurt Mix
1 cup sheep yogurt (or yogurt of choice, but 2% or higher)
1 scoop fermented Greek yogurt proteins+
Toppings
Pomegranate seeds
¼ cup Chia Jam
Hemp seeds
Pee pollen
Lemon zest

METHOD

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir your fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ powder and sheep yogurt together then set in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.
  2. In a small pot, over medium heat, bring the blueberries, lemon juice and chia seeds to a simmer. Let simmer until thickened, 6-8 minutes. Make sure to stir often to avoid the chia seeds from sticking together. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. To assemble: Scoop your yogurt protein mix into 2 serving glasses, I used stemless wine glasses, because why not?
  4. Top each with 2 Tbsp of chia jam, pomegranates, hemp seeds, bee pollen and lemon zest and serve!

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Ps….These bars are pretty delicious, let’s talk about crushing those sweet tooth cravings the non bloating, energizing and healthy way!

8597_fGYp+ cinnamon pecan_R00_highEat, fuel and thrive guys!

-Chef Steph