Raspberry Coconut Protein Overnight Oats

Half marathon training is bringing on the change and I only just finished week two!

I haven’t exactly reclaimed my motivation from the dream fatigue I wrote about last week but my determination is back in line after taking it easy in July. With a clear goal ahead, my vision is getting sharper—and one of the things I’m honing in on is nutrition.

It’s key to eat healthfully since my mileage is slowly increasing every week—running on empty (literally) is no longer becoming an option. As a result, I’ve been listening to some podcasts and reading lots about nourishment for distance running. I’ve been trying to keep up with protein, eat more greens, and experiment with “super” foods… Just like the small addition of matcha to these delicious, protein-packed overnight oats—

what a segue!

Raspberry Coconut Protein Overnight Oats
Serves 1
IMG_3323

3/4 c. unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)*
2 tbsp. vanilla protein powder
1 tsp. matcha powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

1/3 c. steel cut oats
1 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 c. unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. raspberries
Hemp seeds or other seeds for topping (optional)
Maple syrup or honey (optional)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk, protein powder, matcha, and extract (if using). Taste and add maple syrup or honey to adjust to your desired sweetness.

2. Pour the protein’d up almond milk into the container you’re making your overnight oats in. (I’m impartial to the mason jar.)

3. Stir oats, coconut flour, chia seeds, and coconut into the almond milk until evenly distributed. Top with raspberries and sprinkle with hemp seeds.

4. Put into the fridge overnight! In the morning, mash and stir in raspberries! Add in nut butters or other toppings to your heart’s content. Nosh!

IMG_3318

Birthday Cake Smoothie

On my birthday, my mom used to let me eat cake for breakfast.

She’d wake me up and bribe me down to the kitchen with it. CAKE! FOR! BREAKFAST! I’d leave school sugar high and pumped that I’d ditched the oatmeal for once. (Thanks for being cool, mom!)

Even though she doesn’t wake me up on my birthday anymore, the craving for that a.m. cake fix is a time-honoured tradition that I cannot and WILL NOT ignore. (I’m an adult damnit!) This smoothie is my 27-year-old compromise. It combines the YUM of cake mix with healthful ingredients like a l’il protein powder, yogurt, and frozen strawberries, a throwback to all the birthday breakfasts that have come before, covered in summer fruit. (Happy Summer Solstice, y’all!) I know, I know, healthy schmealthy… But a smoothie made with ice cream is just a milkshake, and that’s a different blog post.

Side note: lots of recipes I saw said sprinkles were optional… That is false. Sprinkles are only optional if you hate happiness or have food allergies to dye.

Birthday Cake Smoothie
Serves 1 (Easy to double and share the joy!)
IMG_2926

1/2 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 banana, frozen in chunks
1/2 c. plain or vanilla yogurt (regular or Greek)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. white or yellow cake mix, dry*
2 tbsp. vanilla protein powder**
1/3 c. cup almond (or other) milk
Sprinkles(!!!!)

1. Combine milk, yogurt, extract, and frozen fruit in blender until smooth. Add in protein powder and cake mix, blending again, scraping down sides if needed.

2. Add a few extra tablespoons of milk at a time if the consistency needs tweaking to your liking.

3. Top with sprinkles and a dusting of extra cake mix and enjoy! Happy birthday! …Or Wednesday… Or whenever you want this. Mama isn’t here to judge.

*If you’re wondering what to do with extra cake mix, Buzzfeed has lots of suggestions! Alternatively, you can go to your local bulk food store and buy a specific amount just for this! Or make this a bunch more times.

**If you don’t have protein powder just sub this with MORE cake mix!

Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry-Ginger Compote and Date Syrup

Compote is lazy jam. Date syrup is dates blended with water. I’m telling you this because dishes with a bunch of components often sound more complicated than they actually are. Let me smash that: I went for an 8km run Saturday morning, and afterwards these pancakes came together before I was even tempted by my frozen donut stash.

The compote and the syrup are a (pan)cake walk with a little pre-planning. I made them in just minutes on Friday night, so they were table-ready and waiting for breakfast. Before anyone starts yelling about what’s wrong with good ol’ fashioned maple syrup, let me say that post-Whole30, sugar and gluten have become a little scary, so to ease back into grains and syrups, these are gluten-free and the toppings have no added sugar.

The juicy seasonal strawberries with warming ginger match the cinnamon sweetness of the syrup, and together, they lighten the heavier texture and flavour of the buckwheat grain. These pancakes are also BOMB with almond butter. HOW-EV-ER, these would be just as amazing with maple syrup, so pick and choose your components!

Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry-Ginger Compote and Date Syrup
Serves 2 (4 med-small pancakes per serving)
Adapted from Cookie and Kate AND Oh, Ladycakes
IMG_2842
For the date syrup:
8-9 medjool dates, soaked
1/2 – 3/4 c. water
1 tsp. lemon juice
Cinnamon (optional)
Vanilla extract (optional)

1. Soak dates in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain the water and put them in a blender with new water and blend on high until smooth. Start with less water and add more to get desired consistence. Add lemon juice and optional flavourings and blend again. Seal in a jar and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For the compote:
2 c. strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
2 tbsp. orange juice (or water)
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 pinch of pepper (optional)

1. Clean the strawberries and cut into pieces, depending on how you would like the final texture. For a slightly chunkier compote, halve them, for a smoother jam-like texture, try quartered or smaller.

2. Place the strawberries and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, using your spoon to break up the mixture as it heats up. When the berries are soft and the rendered liquid is syrupy and bubbly, turn off the heat. Stir in the ginger, chia seeds, and pepper. Let cool slightly, and store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

For the pancakes: 
1 c. buckwheat flour*
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. buttermilk (I used almond milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice)
1 large egg
Ghee or butter for the pan

1. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.

2. In a large measuring cup, pour your buttermilk, or put one tablespoon of lemon juice in and add 1 1/4 cup of whatever milk you’re using. Stir until thickened slightly. Crack the egg into the milk and whisk to combine.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined—it will probably be a bit lumpy, that’s okay! Don’t stress and over-mix!

4. Grease a griddle or frying pan with a little butter over medium heat. Stir the batter once more to make sure it hasn’t separated. Measure out 1/4 c. of batter per pancake and pour it into the pan. When some bubbles appear, and the edges of the pancake are matte, flip and cook for another minute until golden brown. Store in a stove set to 200 degrees on a sheet pan to keep warm (or serve straight away)!

5. Serve topped with compote and syrup, or whatever you like. Nosh!

*If you’re new to buckwheat and want to ease in, or just want fluffier pancakes, swap half of the buckwheat flour in these for AP flour!
IMG_2840

Brunch Caesar Salad with Sweet Potato and Smoky Toasted Pecans

Fellow eaters of the internet: brunch makes miracles. Through brunch, we are enabled to drink champagne before 11 and get sweet and savoury on the same plate. Brunch makes the impossible possible. What I’m saying is that we need to believe in breakfast salad.  This one would look right at home as a cozy brunch side, nestled in next to some home fries, or even as a balance to a sweet dish like cornmeal waffles.

It’s a mix of kale and romaine (a borrowed combo from Oh She Glows), crispy strips of sweet potato roasted with smoked paprika, and ghee-toasted pecans flavoured with liquid smoke, topped with a crispy, pan-fried sunny side up egg. The melt-y goodness of the yolk with the crunch of the kale and nuts, and the garlic warmth in the dressing is just. so. good.

If you’re not an herbivore bound or by the unforgiving laws of the Whole30, you could double down by adding crispy bacon and maybe some shavings of old cheddar to play with the smokiness of the pecans and sweet potato.

This is an easily-doubled recipe that would also make an amazing lunch or dinner too!

Brunch Caesar Salad with Sweet Potato and Smoky Toasted Pecans
Serves 2 (double at will!)
IMG_2809

4 c. romaine lettuce, chopped
2 c. green kale, chopped
1/3-1/2 c. Caesar dressing of your choice, (I like Oh She Glows’ super easy recipe)
2 eggs

1 medium sweet potato, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. unsalted pecans
1/2 tbsp. ghee (or butter)
2-4 tsp. liquid smoke (to taste)

2-4 strips bacon (optional)
Old cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Cut your sweet potato into thin strips or french fry shapes.

2. Toss sweet potato fries with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika, tossing again to coat. Spread out in an even layer on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. While the potatoes are baking, wash and chop the lettuce and kale, putting it in a large bowl.

4. For the pecans, melt the ghee in a medium fry pan over low heat, whisk in the liquid smoke. Add in the pecans and toss to coat. Turn up heat to medium, stirring until fragrant.  Remove from heat, but keep the pan  on the stove for the eggs.

5. Add the crispy sweet potato strips to the greens mixture, top with the dressing and toss thoroughly. Divide salad among bowls or plates, depending on how many people you’re serving. Garnish with pecans.

6. Add more ghee to the frying pan and crack your eggs, one per person, cooking until the edges of the whites are crispy, and the yolks are still runny. (Put a lid on to cook the yolk more thoroughly.)

7. Carefully lift the eggs out of the pan and serve one over each individual salad. Garnish with bacon and cheese, if adding. Enjoy!

Whole30 Primal Egg Coffee

Egg Coffee. Invented by the Paleo/Primal crowd, (the people who also put butter and coconut oil in their java, surprise!), it’s exactly what it claims to be: eggs in your morning brew. Separately, the two words are innocent, but side-by-side they can sound wrong—like “nipple waxing” or “President Trump.” They summon images of steaming black liquid with curdled scrambled egg drifting on the surface—gross.

I HATED the idea of this recipe—it felt strange, pretentious, and downright unnecessary… That was why I had to try it! I was an old man sitting on a dilapidated front porch scowling—back in my day, the only place the two mixed was in our bellies! However, in the spirit of having an open mind and an innovative breakfast, I broke out my stovetop brewer and got cracking. And…despite my fear, I took a big whisk and went for it.

…It was actually pretty good! Slightly creamy, smooth, with a hint of cinnamon and an impulsive half teaspoon of coconut oil adding to the velvet of it. Not only THAT, but the stuff was basically rocket fuel. In the time I usually drink two coffees at work, I only finished half. I went back for a cup of coffee in the afternoon, and found my energy level was actually TOO high and had to have chamomile tea to settle my anxiety. Those Paleos might just be on to something…

Am I about to start doing this on the regular? Probably not, but I’m definitely trying it least once more to see if the rocket fuel is real…

Whole30 Primal Egg Coffee
(Adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple)
Serves 1
EggCoffee

2 c. brewed dark roast coffee or espresso, hot
2 eggs, free range if you can get them, room temperature*, **
Pinch sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. coconut oil (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)

1. Crack two eggs in a small mixing bowl, whisking vigorously until slightly frothy. In the meantime, brew the coffee.

2. When the coffee is finished, slowly pour the finished brew into the eggs, whisking as you go so the eggs don’t cook. Pour and whisk simultaneously (go! go! go!) until the coffee is fully incorporated and the mixture is frothy.

3. Add the pinch of salt, as well as the coconut oil and cinnamon, if including. Whisk again to incorporate.

4. Pour into your favourite mug, have no fear, and take a sip!

*Note: if you decide to go nuts like me and try this, it’s one of the few times I’m going to recommend “free range” or organic anything. It’s a privilege we can’t all afford, but when a recipe only has four or five ingredients, I like to think the way to ensure its success within that simplicity is getting the best ingredients—but only if they’re within your budget!

**To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes before you crack them!

Simple Mexican Shakshuka

Day 15. I’m officially half way through the Whole30 challenge. I’m going strong, and while I’m not missing too many foods, I am missing certain meals… specifically brunch. So rather than mourning the pancakes or waffles I’m not eating right now, I kicked up my breakfast game at home this weekend.

This dish is quick, simple, and it looks fancy if you carry it to the table while it’s all hot and bubbly, like delicious tomato lava. The hardest part of this shakshuka might be all of the chopping prep you have to do, but a few minutes of work will render a fragrant, saucy dish that is comforting and tasty with familiar flavours.

It’s also easy to freestyle and remix. Seriously, this is not a recipe so much as a guideline. Try subbing  crushed tomatoes for diced, substitute half for salsa, top with cheese (let me nosh vicariously), or add more veggies of your choice (corn? black beans? delicious!) into the starting sautee and really make if your own.

Simple Mexican Shakshuka
(Adapted from FoodFaithFitness)
Serves 2-4
IMG_2744

1 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 whole Vidalia onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
4-6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 to 1 tbsp. taco seasoning (I like this homemade one from Budget Bytes), to taste
3-4 c. crushed tomatoes
1-4 large eggs
Salt and Pepper
Chili flakes
For garnish: green onions, avocados, cilantro, lime, hot sauce, cheese. whatever you want!

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On the stove top, melt coconut oil in a medium ovenproof frying pan. Add garlic and onions, stirring over medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add in bell peppers, stirring until slightly softened, then add the fresh chopped tomatoes.

2. Sprinkle the vegetables with taco seasoning and stir to distribute. Add the crushed tomatoes, stirring, and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste the seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or spices to your taste.

3. Turn off the heat. Making wells in the sauce, crack 1-4 eggs into the tomato mixture making wells to hold them* (see note). 

4. Slide the pan into the oven and bake until mixture is bubbly and eggs are baked, about 10-15 minutes. (You can also cook the eggs stove top by covering the pan with a lid, with a shorter cooking time.)

5. When eggs are baked, remove from oven, spoon into dishes and garnish with your toppings of choice. Enjoy the shakshuka alone, or served with tasty sides like refried beans, rice, or tortillas.

*Note:
 if cooking for one, decide on the number of eggs you want and crack those in. After baking, carefully remove the cooked eggs with half of the tomato mixture into your bowl. Reserve the second half of the mixture for round two! Ta da, delicious leftovers. Just add fresh eggs and bake away—the reheated kind ain’t no fun.

IMG_2725

IMG_2727

Matcha, Date & PB Overnight Oats

I don’t get people who don’t like breakfast.

Forget the fact that every health and fitness article totes the same time-worn “most important meal of the day” schtick, breakfast is the fastest road to eating food! We love food! We love breaking the fast! I’ll take any excuse to innovate something tasty to boost the start of the day, paired with a hot coffee. On that note, have another recipe. These vegan oats are chewy, creamy, sweet, and a little calorically dense to fuel you up until lunch time!

This week, because of St. Patrick’s Day, I was feeling a little green-spirited, and that’s where this matcha-infused recipe came from.

Matcha, Date, and PB Overnight Oats
Serves 1

1/3 c. steel cut oats
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. agave nectar or other sweetener (or to taste)
4 dates, chopped
1 tsp. matcha green tea powder
1-2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. smooth natural pb

Optional: to make this creamier, add a few tbsp. of Greek yogurt!

1. Combine milk, vanilla, and agave in a container of your choice. Now, add the matcha powder and whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. Add in oats, dates, and chia seeds, stirring until everything is saturated.
3. Spoon the peanut butter onto the top, but don’t stir it in. It will distribute better when the oats have set in the morning!
4. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight. Stir the peanut butter through to distribute evenly and nosh away!