Cuban Inspired Shrimpuritto Guacamole Bowls

Happy hump day everyone! I am confident that I can transport you to an isolated and stunning beach, where you are devouring my finger licking, Cuban inspired, Shrimpurrito Guacamole Bowls. Close your eyes, take a deep breath of the salty ocean air and absorb the rays of sunshine on this wintery day with these gorgeous and boisterous bowls.

My creativity for this recipe was influenced by my trip to Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba, an island off Cuba’s north coast. I was genuinely taken aback by the alluring and stunning scenery, the beautifully generous, gregarious Cuban people and let’s not forget the distinctive and delectable cuisine!

Cuban food has a rich history and the cuisine holds a marriage of many different cultural influences due to colonization/immigration over the years. The blend of Caribbean, Spanish, African and of course local Native American Taino food, lends to unique and mouth-watering flavors. I still dream about the sweet tropical fruit carved into beautiful designs and the fresh succulent seafood!

My husband and I were truly spoiled during our trip, we were able to experience home-cooked Cuban cuisine by a friendly local that we met while lounging on the white sand beaches. He would go out of his way to create us authentic Cuban dishes and wanted nothing in return but to share his culture with us. He would prepare us dishes made with love, consisting of juicy shrimp, spiced and flavorful black beans, steamed rice, Cuban guacamole (amazing mixture of avocado, pineapple and cilantro) and sweet, ripe, tropical fruit. I had to bring back these flavor combinations and influence to Canada to share with everyone with my Shrimpurrito Guacamole Bowls!

These¬†Shrimpurrito Guacamole Bowls are so quick to whip up for a scrumptious and healthy lunch or dinner! They are jam-packed with sweet veggies, protein packed black beans and juicy spicy shrimp. Get creative with these boats, they are fun to make and devour, get ready to make a mess eating these as well, it’s all part of the fun! Buen Provecho!

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An Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl To Nourish The Soul

I’m not entirely sure where or when the fad of Buddha Bowls transpired, but I am sure ecstatic they did! My Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl is an incredibly tasty, healthy and nourishing bowl of goodness. It is packed with fresh nutritious veggies, energy ridden grains and drizzled with my Garlic and Ginger Tahini sauce, that you will be licking every last drop of (it’s SO damn delish!)

So what in the world does Buddha Bowl even mean or consist of!? I like to relate it to a balanced meal, simple and pure food full of nourishment for your mind and soul. Or simply, a big bowl of brimming deliciousness that resembles a Buddha’s Belly? I love it when I can get creative with my food, this bowl let’s you do just that.

I was inspired by my travels in SE Asia for the ingredient profile in my Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl. The crisp, sweet, vibrant vegetables and warm hearty rice in this bowl bring me back to Vietnam’s bright, buzzing food markets and striking rice paddies. The bowl wouldn’t be complete without a melt in your mouth, golden and juicy mango, (I ate about a years worth of mangoes in Cambodia)! The Ginger and Garlic Tahini dressing is tangy and harmoniously brings the whole bowl together entirely.

Rice paddies in Sapa, Vietnam during our hike.

The preparation for this bowl is so worth your time, I promise. I always prep a little extra of each ingredient so I can have a Buddha bowl in a jiffy the next day… or two! I hope my Asian Buddha Bliss Bowl brings you a sense of balance, happiness, peace, nourishment, energy and of course a smile that can change the world! Sorry about the mini Buddha Belly you might have after eating the entirety of this bowl ūüôā

‚ÄúTo keep the body in good health is a duty ‚Ķ otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄĒ Buddha

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All About Quick Healthy Snacks – Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars

Why hello! Thanks for taking the time to check in and happy Thursday everyone. Lately, these gorgeous days have been calling me outside to get active and spend quality time with those I love. Now, I know it can be challenging when out and about to pack healthy snack options, so I have just the recipe for you! My healthy Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars will keep your body invigorated and will help you endure and conquer all those outdoor activities!

I started creating my own granola bars as I was so exhausted in constantly searching for bars that weren’t loaded with sugar or preservatives. I will never go back! I especially recommend these Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars on those ample activity packed days, when you are in need of a quick and energy ridden snack. The dried fruit gives you that quick release of energy, the nuts provide healthy fats and protein to help restore those hard-working muscles and the chewy millet contains energizing minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber! With no refined sugars, dairy, gluten or additives – you simply can’t go wrong with these wholesome and satisfying granola bars. They are impressively addicting, sorry not sorry!

Last week I hit up the cross-country skis trails at the Nordic Center, Canmore, with my darling little sister! The day was perfection, with dazzling snowflakes floating through the air, at times uncoordinated limbs (much improved near the end!), a couple of clumsy falls and copious amounts of stomach cramping laughs. Nostalgia flooded over me as memories of skiing with my grandma came to mind. She always ensured that tea, homemade lunch/snacks prepared with love were packed, to keep our little legs going. Being very much like my grandma, I loaded our backpacks with my delicious Puffed Millet Fruit Energy Bars and of course heart warming tea to parade only our best skiing skills! Taking a little break, we warmed up in the Mountain Lodge with tea and my granola bars. I offered my sister a bar and it was quickly devoured, she may have gone for seconds ūüôā

I hope my bars bring a smile to your face and keeps you invigorated for anything that comes your way! Sending lots of love, xoxo.

 

 

 

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Valentine Lovin’ With Chocolate Coconut Brownies

Did I get you at chocolate coconut brownies? Thought so! Well, to honor the spirit of Valentine’s Day (on Tuesday…reminder to those that forgot!), I thought I would share with you my decadent, moist and rich Chocolate Coconut Brownies. You won’t believe the secret ingredient that make these brownies chocolatey perfection and dare I say it, healthy (32 calories a brownie)!

My love language is through food, this is typically how I win over my husband’s heart! So instead of spending a ton of cash this Valentine’s, why not bake your Valentine (or treat yourself) to these adorable brownie bites! They are simple and quick to bake up, I promise love will be in the air (for the brownie! haha). Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, now go score some brownie points with these brownies ūüôā ! XOXO


Chocolate Coconut Brownies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20-22 bites
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
These decadent brownies have a secret ingredient that make them moist, rich and allow for a dense chocolate bite ... black beans! I say secret ingredient because you truly cannot taste beans whatsoever and only the chocolaty goodness! Oh and guess what, they are healthy, packed with fibre and satisfy that sweet tooth!
Ingredients
  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 9.5 fluid oz canned black beans
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cashew/almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (I use E.D. Smith sugar free maple syrup)
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Dry Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, medium shredded coconut
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Stevia (don't add if using regular maple syrup)
  • 1.5 tbsp (12 gram) oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground coffee beans/espresso grind
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (I use no Krisda no sugar added chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil mini cupcake pan.
  3. Blend black beans, milk and vanilla in a blender until smooth and creamy and then transfer to a medium bowl.
  4. Whisk maple syrup, applesauce and egg into black bean mixture, set aside.
  5. Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl, except chocolate chips.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while mixing well with a spatula.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Fold in chocolate chips into your batter.
  9. Scoop heaping tbsp sizes into mini cupcake pan.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
  11. Enjoy those decadent, guilt free bites!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 brownie Calories: 32 Fat: 1.4g Saturated fat: 0.8g Unsaturated fat: 0 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 4.9g Sugar: 0.8mg Sodium: 81.1mg Fiber: 1.9g Protein: 1.5g Cholesterol: 8.5mg

 

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Kale is Where it’s at!

Good morning…almost afternoon, how time flies on weekends off! On Saturdays I rarely have time to be cooking up a filling and nutritious lunch time meal in between all the activities. But one dish I can always count on is¬†my crafted with love,¬†Warm Kale Mushroom Salad. This is no ordinary kale salad, this is one you will be making repeatedly after you taste one scrumptious forkful, I promise!

 

 

The kale scene has really blown up in the last couple years, as so it should because kale is just so damn tasty and holds super powers, hence the nickname super food! Alright, perhaps kale doesn’t hold actual super powers… but it sure has unbelievable health benefits for such a simple leaf. Kale is a powerhouse food¬†and packs more nutrition than any other whole food out there, apparently an ounce of kale comprises more iron than an ounce of beef! In one heaping cup you’ll have met your daily Vitamin K, A and C levels for the day, be filled with an outstanding amount of anti-oxidants and kale is said to have cancer preventative benefits.

I simply adore kale, I know not everyone does due to its tougher leafy nature and at times bitter taste, but it’s all in its preparation and highlighting it’s attributes when it really shines! When buying kale I recommend looking for the organic, softer, small-leaved curly kale, it tends to be less tough, slightly sweeter and absorbs¬†any flavor you throw at it. When preparing kale, ensure to cut off the hard stems, wash it in warm-hot water to assist in softening the leaves, then I dress it while prepping the rest of the salad, this will ensure soft and savory kale leaves!

My Warm Kale Mushroom Salad has so many mouth-watering flavors, earthy garlicky mushrooms, carmelized onions, lemon pepper basted kale leaves, topped off with melting creamy goat cheese and crunchy buttery walnuts. I absolutely love this salad and have converted several non salad eaters into believers, I have testimonies! Try it out today for a lunch to help you power through your Saturday! XOXO

 

 

 

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Warming the Soul with Soup and Paying it Forward

Good morning all you lovely souls! I have to say the last couple of days have been pressing for me and at times I found it difficult to stay positive. With the freezing cold temperatures, car troubles and a crippling migraine, I was feeling quite defeated! I decided to step back, take a deep breath, re-examine everything that had unfolded and in doing so, I could appreciate the beautiful that had come from my struggles. From a generous and compassionate stranger, to kicking my migraine with a big bowl of my Rustic Cabbage Chickpea Soup, I am looking forward to sharing both with you!

It all started with my car having a flat tire on a -25 degree Celsius kind of day, topped off with a too close for my comfort, near car accident. Don’t you worry, I averted the accident somehow and I pride myself in being able to change my own flat tires (due to being a stubborn and bad ass woman) and having had several flat tires in my short lifetime already. The experience is certainly elevated in hypothermic temperatures! As I slowly, but surely, gathered my tools to change the deflated tire, out of nowhere appeared a young gentleman! Before I could even blink he had my tire changed and walked me through the whole thing! This act of kindness brought a massive smile to my half frozen face and I couldn’t find words to thank him enough, he simply smiled back and I felt through his eyes that perhaps all he needed me to do was… pay it forward.

I was the lucky beneficiary behind his good deed that day and I truly believe in paying it forward elsewhere to show appreciation. I was reminded that one simple good act may go an incredibly long way for someone, whether it be small or substantial. Will you join me in showing gratitude through a¬†random act of kindness today? Let’s make¬†our world feel a little warmer, I’d love to hear how you payed it forward! I think we need it now more than ever, especially with all the negativity around us lately.

I was then hammered with a migraine to top it all off! After some much-needed rest, I was starting to feel better and an appetite started to arise! You know when you dig through the fridge and forgot you had cooked up something divine two days prior and you cry for joy when you find those left overs? No? I most certainly do. I stumbled upon one last, much-needed, warming and comforting serving of my savory, Rustic Cabbage and Chickpea Soup! This soup is so easy to make, it is full of comfort with hints of sweet leeks, crunchy cabbage, bursts of sweet tomato and a rich broth, it brings heart warming flavors and it certainly was migraine soothing!

In the last couple days I was beautifully reminded that in every random act of kindness there is a deeper meaning and that act can impact someone in such an indescribable way. It is more important now than ever to pay it forward and show our love and appreciation in everything we do. Thank you to the amazing individual that changed my tire and got me home safe, I will certainly be paying it forward.
Image result for small black heart

 

 

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Lasagna With Love, From Venice

I’ve been dying to share my Venetian inspired lasagna with all of you! What better day to cheer you all up with a comforting, nourishing and love filled lasagna than on this snowy¬†Monday? Let’s close our eyes and transport ourselves to the canal lined streets of Venice, Italy, where smooth sailing gondolas glide through the water, mysterious passageways are around every corner and the quaint cobblestone streets are filled with mouth-watering aromas¬†of fresh-baked pastries and hints of espresso. I was truly inspired by the culture, cuisine and back streets of Venice, this is how my¬†Butternut Mushroom Lasagna¬†came alive!

The best way to see Venice is truly just to get lost, throw that map in the air and explore! My husband and I decided to veer off the touristy walk ways, burrow ourselves into the culture¬†and a whole new enticing and enigmatic Venice was unveiled. We stumbled upon shops full of ornate, bright Venetian masks, inspiring and eclectic art galleries, traditional family run restaurants, charming cafe’s and of course stunning Venetian glass pieces. Our unexpected expedition and grumbling tummies led us to experiencing¬†symbolic Venetian dishes around every corner.

My Butternut Mushroom Lasagna¬†was inspired by a variety of flavors and ingredients that I devoured while in Venice. I can still taste the¬†flavors of¬†woodsy mushrooms layered on a crostini (Venetian Cicchetti) and how could I forget Italy’s famous, fine, sharp Asiago cheese. Italy is obviously is known for it’s¬†delectable¬†lasagnas, Venice offers lasagna made with a nutmeg infused, white bechamel sauce instead of a tomato base. Um, let’s not forget¬†dessert (or the too many desserts!) the¬†lemony and sweet Fritellas (donuts) were to die for. I asked myself, how do I create a healthy and wholesome Venetian inspired meal with all of these delights that hit my mouth?!

Let me introduce you too my tasty and¬†grain free lasagna. My¬†Butternut Mushroom Lasagna¬†has layers of sweet butternut squash in place of heavy pasta, meaty mushrooms, savory leeks and onions, fresh thyme, juicy chicken, lemony ricotta with a hint of nutmeg, fresh spinach and lasagna isn’t lasagna without some¬†sweet tomatoes! Top this gorgeous lasagna off with Italy’s finest Asiago and Parmesan shredded cheese. You will be transported to (a healthier) Italy with one bite of this delicious dinner recipe, try it tonight! Buon appetito!

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Scrumptious Superbowl Eats

Hello to all of you on this gorgeous winter wonderland kind of day.¬†I’m here to assist you in planning your Super Bowl menu with healthy and scrumptious eats! This weekend, as many of you know, is Super Bowl Sunday!¬†The Super Bowl is a time to¬†entertain friends and family for that thrilling game day gathering or it leaves you wondering what appy to bring that everyone will love.¬†Now I have to admit, I don’t follow football in the least, but any excuse to whip up delectable¬†cuisine, capture laughs and game spirit, sounds tremendous to me! I have the perfect trio of sweet with heat meatballs, crunchy cheesy chickpeas and a hearty and warming chili for the big day!

I want to share my favorite nutritious finger food appies and game day chili that won’t leave you feeling heavy and perhaps allow for another beer or two! I created my¬†Sweet With Heat Buffalo Meatballs¬†specifically for occasions like these and they are always gone in a flash, so make extra. These meatballs are incredibly simple to make, the sweet green apple with the spicy buffalo sauce are such a yummy flavor combination and easy to serve with a toothpick in each!

Instead of grabbing that bag of chips at the store, grab a can of chickpeas instead and transform them into a crunchy garlicky and cheesy treat!¬†My¬†Roasted Cheesy Garlic Chickpeas¬†are a great alternative to those empty calorie chips and they pack an impressive amount of protein and fiber as an added bonus. You may have to practice a little self-control with these guys… they are very addicting! They are a great option for those who are vegetarian or vegan too.

I don’t know about you, but the Super Bowl screams hearty chili to me… especially on these winter days! After snacking on yummy finger food, whip out this delicious chili recipe, my Butternut Black Bean Crock Pot Chili¬†will for sure be a hit! Throw your healthy ingredients¬†in that crock pot tomorrow morning and your chili will be waiting to serve those hungry (perhaps slightly buzzed!) guests¬†on time for game start. I hope I’ve inspired you with a well-rounded menu for the special game day, remember to enjoy this gathering with¬†family and friends, grab a drink and get cheering! Happy Super Bowl everyone!

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The Ancient Spice, Turmeric

Can you believe it, February 1st is suddenly upon us! I’ve always seen February as a transition sort of month, leaving the old year¬†behind and looking ahead to what the next eleven chapters of this year will bring. Although our surroundings are still clutched by snow and ice, we can feel a shift starting to evolve and a promising hope that perhaps Spring is just around the corner. Now I know it’s been a tad chilly the last few days, so my premature hopes of Spring might just be a dream, but these brisk¬†days¬†had me¬†craving revitalizing, warming, rich soup and mysterious golden lattes. Thank you cold winter days for revitalizing my love for the warming, golden and beautiful ancient spice, turmeric.

I do tend to use turmeric powder in my curry dishes or I add it to a dish that could benefit from its stunning golden hue. But last week as I was bustling through the farmer’s market, I saw out of the corner of my eye a vibrant orange root calling my name. For those of you that know me, know that I smell everything… (yes I’m that weird person smelling fresh produce, I’ll admit) so my first instinct was to sniff this gorgeous little root and I was pleasantly surprised how different it was from the bitter powdered version. Hints of orange citrus, muddy earthy tones and gingery spice hit my nose – like sun showers in a magical¬†forest, I was exhilarated! That night, no word of a lie, I woke up at 3 AM and a recipe idea hit me square in the face for a heart warming turmeric soup, I needed to use this magnificent root!

This wee vibrant root inspired me to create my, Sweet Potato Carrot Turmeric Soup and fabricate¬†Golden Lattes! The flavors developed in this quick and easy soup are mind-boggling and I had to jump on this strange idea of turmeric lattes and see what all the hype was about, boy am I glad I did, it was HEAVENLY! I am warning you in advance, turmeric stains like crazy… before I could get my hands under water I had fallen victim to its yellow powers and I was asked shortly there after, by my loving sister, if I had an accident with self tanner… Thanks J ūüėČ I will take the yellow stained hands if it means reaping the many benefits of this spice! Turmeric¬†has mood stabilizing properties, it aids in wound healing, encourages balanced blood sugars, is an impressive aid in digestion and of course… it looks pretty and tastes so inviting! SO, try these recipes out and let me know what you think of this ancient spice!

For this heavenly latte, I warmed up unsweetened cashew milk on the stove top, added 1 tbsp pure pumpkin puree, 3/4 tsp fresh grated turmeric, 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp coconut sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, pinch of cardamom and salt. I let it heat up until just boiling, added it to my blender to froth up and sipped away on this weirdly amazing latte!

Have an amazing night everyone, xoxo!

 

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Weekends = Crock Pot Dinners!

Rise and shine everyone, it’s Saturday¬†morning and the weekend has just begun, time to get going! I know the weekends can be quite the frenzy, trying to pack in as much as imaginable¬†into 48 precious hours, so who has time to cook dinner? This is why I have a true deep love for my trusty crock pot that has never failed me. When i need a scrumptious dinner to be prepared at the end of the day, it comes through for me every time. Let me save you some time this weekend to focus on the meaningful moments; making beautiful memories, laughing, loving and consuming hearty and mouth watering, Butternut Black Bean Crock Pot Chili!

Butternut squash is a such a gorgeous, versatile and easy to work with ingredient, it beautifully absorbs any flavors you throw at it. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and has found to be an anti-inflammatory super food! I recently educated myself on picking the perfect butternut squash, you want the squash to be: heavy for its size, stem intact and firm, skin matte (not shiny – means it was picked too early), and when you tap it, it should have a “woodsy” sound. That should lead you to the perfect squash… now go tap away on those squashes… haha. I adore butternut squash and had to incorporate it into a chili recipe, I let the ingredients shine and this chili is truly scrumptious.

There is nothing better than digging into a hot bowl of chunky, veggie loaded chili, with smokey and sweet flavors that are so inviting and comforting at the end of a busy day. I recently made this for a very special and significant family gathering in my life, we shared many laughs and tears and the bowls were wiped clean, literally! I more than anything wanted to create a chili recipe that encompasses love and leaves you feeling delightfully satisfied, I think this is it! Try it out this weekend, gather your family and friends, share beautiful food and smile! Sending much love, Xoxo.

 

 

 

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