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My Favourite Pasta, Healthified

Happy Waffle Wednesday!!

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I woke up this morning with waffles on the mind, but decided to wait until Wednesday to have them. Then I realized it is Wednesday! It’s like that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine needs sugar every afternoon in the office. My body wants waffles every Wednesday. And who am I to say no?

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Similar simple recipe as always:

  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • one scoop (30g) unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet (or the equivalent to 2 tsp sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp egg whites
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

Topped with vanilla yogurt, blackberries, blueberries and homemade coconut chia granola. The berries were on sale this week. In January? I’ll take it!

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In honour of Waffle Wednesday, I dedicated a whole album to it on my Facebook page. Check it out if you need some topping ideas! There are freezer waffle variations in there as well.

It’s a slow week over here as I get back into the swing of things after being home for so long. On the bright side, it’s provided me with ample time to make dishes that I’ve had bookmarked forever!

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First up is Jessica’s Autumn Mac and Cheese.

I ended up completely bastardizing this recipe, but the inspiration was still there ;) It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest pasta fan. I just don’t like the taste or texture of slimy noodles. But one dish is the exemption: mac n cheese.

I was originally drawn to this recipe because of the addition of butternut squash. My favourite sweet squash sounded like the perfect addition to a cheesy mess!

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I am however still a cheapskate. I left out the brussel sprouts for a much cheaper bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli.

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To me, mac n cheese is all about the elbow macaroni. I went for the whole wheat variety as I like the grainy texture.

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Rather than roast the squash, I just chopped it up and zapped it for five minutes. Apart from being a cheapskate, I’m also an impatient cook.

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Y’all know I’m a girl who likes her protein, so I added a pound of browned extra lean ground beef to the mix too.

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I did however follow Jessica’s directions for the roux. I know from experience that it’s the key to a creamy concoction! Just 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp flour, 2 cup milk whisked with the shredded cheddar cheese. I decreased the amount of cheese by almost half for the sake of my expanding waistline.

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Poured over top the mix and sprinkled with, no, not breadcrumbs or more cheese.

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Nutritional yeast flakes! It has a very cheesy taste and is one of the richest vegetarian sources of B vitamins.

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A Bastardized Mac n Cheese Recipe
(as inspired by How Sweet Eats)

  • 225g whole wheat macaroni (around 1 1/3 cups uncooked)
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/2 bag frozen broccoli & cauliflower (or whatever you like, really)
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 5 oz cheese (I used old cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

Directions
Cook the noodles in water and brown the beef in a pan. Peel and chop the squash into 1 inch cubes and microwave lightly covered in a bowl for 5-6 minutes. Defrost the frozen veggies in the microwave as well.

In a small pan melt the butter and whisk in flour. Add milk, then slowly add the grated cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly. Mix together noodles, meat and veggies and place in a 14×9 casserole dish. Pour milk mixture over top. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

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I got six meal-sized servings out of this which I also like to eat on top of cooked spinach. I lovelovelove the cheesy sauce with the butternut squash. I also appreciate how the squash adds volume but reduces the calories in a typically high-calorie dish.

In other news, my Simply Switches are still going strong!

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Thanks to citrus season, clementines have replaced my usual piece of chocolate for dessert. There is nothing wrong with a piece of chocolate, but I’ve replaced some of those empty calories with something a little more nutritious.

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Another new dessert I’m loving is crystallized ginger! Mind you, it still has cane sugar. But I love how the strong taste doesn’t leave my tastebuds craving anything else once a meal is complete.

I’ve also discovered that my homemade Maple Cinnamon Oat Bran Protein Bars fit perfectly in my little IKEA tupperware containers.

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It’s the little things ;)

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite pasta dish? No surprise here, mine’s Kraft Dinner. Yes, the kind from the box with the powdered cheese.

 

**For anyone in the Toronto area, Morgan and I are hosting a blogger lunch in the city at noon on January 22. Vegan/vegetarian friendly. It’s my birthday weekend, so I promise there will be cake. E-mail Morgan at Morgan.Shuker@gmail.com to RSVP. Hope to see you there!**

The Food I Brought Home

Happy Monday! Or, I hope it was a happy one for you :) I didn’t mention this on the blog last week, but after returning from California, I was bed ridden for two days with a fever. I had to cancel all my clients on Thursday and call in sick to the running store. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in a nutrition course aaaallll weekend as I felt like junk. But today I woke up feeling mysteriously better! And I worked out for the first time in five days. Good times. Depending on your perspective.

In all of my San Francisco recaps, I spoke a lot about the food I ate in San Francisco. But I have yet to talk about the food I brought back from San Fran!

Remember this photo of me elated inside of a Trader Joe’s?

Well here are the goods:

 

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Almond Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds (crunchy & salted) + Sunflower Seed Butter (aka sunflower seed crack)

I’ve been eating these by using one of my favourite ways to eat nut butter… on oatmeal!

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Cathy was gracious enough to send me to California with samples of Simply Bars. Including their new protein oatmeal. Instant oatmeal with a light strawberry flavouring, bulked up with their signature protein-packed puffed soy.

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First I ate it hot. With yogurt stirred in and topped with TJ’s almond butter and maple syrup.

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I must say, I do not like this almond butter as much as Naturally More. It can do better.

Next up is the sunflower seed butter.

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I ate this with the Simply Bar raw oatmeal, stirred in with cold yogurt, cinnamon and grapes.

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My heart will always belong to TJs sunflower seed butter. So smooth and creamy, with the perfect amount of salt and sweet to cut off the bitter edge of sunflower seeds. Yumm-o.

Next up, I got some 21 Seasoning Salute per the recommendations of Janetha and Danica.

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I roasted a chicken last week, seasoned with this stuff, as well as sprinkling it on the roast veggies.

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A picture of how I utilized some of the leftovers – in a pita of course!

For fun, I added another TJs goody to the sandwich.

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I love this salsa! Because of my pineapple allergy, I can’t eat a lot of fruit salsas. But this stuff is pineapple-free. I’ve been eating it with carrots too, and the sweet undertones of the salsa pair perfectly with the sweet raw carrots.

I of course had to pick up a couple of my favourite bars ever.

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Yup, Clif Mojo in Peanut Butter Pretzel is my favourite tasting bar ever!

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I used to be addicted to those “Sweet n’ Salty” bars. Well this is like those, but a million times better. Real hunks of pretzel, peanut butter chips and peanut chunks to make the flavour pop. The texture is the perfect mix of crispy and chewy. I’m glad I only bought two of these, as I’m pretty sure I could find an excuse to eat one with every meal :P

Speaking of which…

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Don’t buy these.

Peanut butter filled pretzels are no good.

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And by “no good” I mean “so delicious” that you won’t be able to stop eating them until the bag is gone. Ohmy. You’ve been warned.

I didn’t leave San Francisco with just Trader Joe’s goodies! My bloggie friends hooked me up too!

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At Friday night’s welcoming reception, we all participated in a foodie gift exchange. I totally copped out by giving away a jar of maple butter. I immediately felt bad once I was paired up with a local San Franciscan who hooked me up.

Peet’s Coffee holiday blend because Peet’s started in San Fran.

Then a cone and filters to make my coffee with!

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Easiest process of making coffee yet. All you gotta do is heat water until just boiling. Add your coffee to the paper filter, and pour the water over top to let it drain through.

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Voila. Delicious coffee almost instantly. Apparently this is the best way to have it. I can’t judge yet because the Peet’s coffee is so much better than the cheap stuff I usually buy!

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My roommies in San Fran were also quite generous. Janetha brought us all homemade trail mix including her mom’s homemade dried apples. Also included almonds, cranberries, rolled dates and dark chocolate chips.

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I gobbled this up. Such a good mix and flavour combo! Props to Momma B for her dehydrating skillz ;)

We also got some reeeeally good dried fruit in our swag bags.

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I didn’t quite get why everyone was raving about the Frog Hollow pears that were available all weekend. But these dried peaches are top notch. A million times better than any ole’ dried apricot.

Of course, I returned back to Canada with pounds of Ghirardelli chocolate.

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I’m a pretty faithful Lindt or Ritter Sport girl, but this Luxe Milk Almond may convert me.

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I have half a square left. I think I have to eat it after looking at this picture.

Danica hooked me up with a plethora of Annie’s goodies. I haven’t come close to eating my way through them yet, but I am really enjoying them! We don’t get a lot of Annie’s products here.

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I’m a candy fiend, so these Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks are perfectly portioned to nip that sweet tooth, without all the crummy ingredients of the other stuff.

Was most excited to try the Annie’s Shells.

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Their take on Kraft Dinner. Which Kraft just calls “Macaroni & Cheese” in the States. Weird. Anyways, while I’m not a huge pasta fan, I grew up eating Kraft Dinner and will always have a soft spot for this comfort food!

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I cooked it using almond milk. Plumped it up with a couple cans of tuna and frozen veggies. As well as a small handful of shredded mozzarella for added cheesiness.

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LOVED. Plain and simple. The end.

 

I do believe that is enough food for one evening. If you don’t mind, there’s a half square of Ghirardelli in the fridge calling my name ;)

 

Question of the Day: What is your most favourite recent food buy? Pretty sure all of mine are displayed here :)

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