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The Power of Protein and How It Can Fuel Your Day

Protein is something we are all aware needs to exist in our diets. Most of us think of meat, poultry, fish, eggs or tofu. If working out is apart of your lifestyle or you’re an athlete, you may have protein powder or bars as part of your daily routine as well. But you guys, how many of you use milk and milk products as a form of protein in your diet? I am going to guess not many think of them immediately as a protein go-to but rather think of them as a complement like milk for cereal for example or cheese on…well let’s just say cheese on any and everything because it makes everything taste better.

But before I talk about why milk and milk products are great sources of protein, let me first start with what protein is exactly and why it’s important. No matter what your dietary preferences are, protein is an essential macronutrient we all need to help maintain our overall health. Protein contributes to developing antibodies to boost out immune system. For those of you working hard in the gym these days – getting a jump on your 2018 fitness goals, we need protein to help build  and repair our muscles. Especially after a hardcore workout or training.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

Now here’s the deal with how to best optimize your protein intake. A good rule of thumb is to distribute your protein evenly over your meals, so 30 grams during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, referred to as the 30-30-30 Rule. Utilizing milk products as an extra source of protein is often overlooked but I have made a conscious effort to integrate it into my day because the high quality proteins found in them help satisfy my hunger throughout my busy days.  With an increase in frequency and intensity with my workouts now that my body is a much better place post baby, I find that adding more protein from milk, yogurt bowls and even cheese into my diet gives me the strength and stamina I need to make it through the day with work, workouts and Maxwell.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

I am not sure if any of you out there track your intake of protein but to help you get an idea of the amount of protein you can expect to see from consuming milk products in your day-to-day life here’s some numbers to help put things into perspective for you:

  • A glass of milk (250 ml) contains 8 grams of protein
  • 3/4 cup of greek yogurt (175 ml) contains 17 grams of protein
  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (125 ml) contains 15 grams of protein
  • 50 grams of cheddar cheese (1 1/2 Oz) contains 12 grams of protein

Yogurt bowls are an easy way to start incorporating more milk products into your diet. I love added fresh fruit, chia and hemp seeds to mine for a bit of sweetness and crunch. It’s shocking how filling this snack really is. And whenever I need a bit of inspiration on new ways to add milk proteins to my existing meals, I check out DairyGoodness.ca for some recipe inspo. Below you will find the recipe details to a Bean and Barley salad that I discovered recently on the website. I made some slight modifications to it just for taste (removed the olives and used TK peppers) so it still packs all the same nutritional goodness.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

Ingredients

1/2 of pearl barley and couscous

1 can (540 ml) of black, red, white or lima beans (no salt added)

1 cup (250 ml) of cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced in half

1 cup (250 ml) of bell pepper, your choice, diced

1/2 cup (125 ml) of red onion, diced

1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh parsley

1 tbsp of dried oregano

3 1/2 Oz (100 grams) of Canadian Feta Cheese, coarsely crumbled

Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Preparation

In a saucepan, bring 6 cups (1.5 L) of water to a boil and cook barley for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool under cold water, then drain again.

In a large bowl, mix barley, beans, and vegetables.

In another bowl, whisk reserved oil with lemon juice. Add herbs, Feta and pepper and pour over salad. Mix well and serve.

This post has been sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada however all views and opinions are my own

Why You Should Start Your Day With A Little OJ!

Remember that old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well for years apples got all the spotlight but it turns out, oranges are really the stand-out star or at least they should be. And when I’m on the go, sometimes a glass of Florida Orange Juice is the easiest and quickest way to get my daily dose of vitamin C. What many don’t realize, it’s also jam packed with tons of other beneficial nutrients.

Sasha Exeter - Florida Department of Orange Juice

Sasha Exeter - FDOJ

I’ve always been a fan of good ole’ OJ…it’s long been my juice of choice because of it’s naturally refreshing and sweet taste obvi and truth be told, mixed with some champers it quickly becomes my fave brunch bevy on the weekends – pre pregnancy of course! When I started taking prenatal vitamins before I got pregnant, my doctor advised me to take my daily pill with a glass of Florida Orange Juice. Why? Prenatal vitamins can sometimes irritate and be tough on some women’s stomach due to the iron content and vitamin C helps aid in the digestion of the mineral. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Orange Juice, although an insanely amazing source of vitamins for all, is a very important part of a pregnant woman’s arsenal. I still find it a bit crazy how this change in my lifestyle has made me realize that my life is no longer about me anymore. The way I workout, how I eat, sleep and even my working hours now all revolve around what’s best for my little bean – who I haven’t even had the pleasure of meeting just yet. Funny enough,  even the most simple things like adding a glass of Florida Orange Juice in the morning and another post workout can make a huge difference, ensuring that we both get other essential nutrients like folate – a vitamin essential to prevent neural tube defects in babies in the womb that is also important for the formation of collagen (an important component of gums, bones, and cartilage). But for those of you out there that are fitness enthusiasts giving cold press juice and protein shakes all the praises, Florida Orange Juice, similar to bananas, is also a great source of potassium, super important for muscle function and plays a role in helping the body maintain it’s pH balance and electrolytes, making it a great alternative to your go-to post workout hydration.

Don’t feel like you’re ever limited to just drinking OJ on it’s own. Because of it’s sweet taste, it can be the perfect addition to your favourite smoothies or cold pressed juices, adding just the right sweetness. Also, if you head to FloridaJuice.com, you will find a treasure trove of healthy snack and meal recipes that include Florida Orange Juice you can make at home – I’m going to be trying out these Oatmeal Orange Pancakes this weekend!

 Sasha Exeter - Florida Department of Orange Juice

Photography by JessBaumung.com

I created this blog post as a paid collaborator for Florida Department of Orange Juice. All opinions and advise are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and/or have used prior to being contacted. 

Next Level Wonderful Pistachios Crusted Salmon

Elaborate and sophisticated meals is not what I am known for at our house. I leave all the culinary heavy lifting to the Mister. Not quite sure why but the longer the list of ingredients I see in a recipe, the more intimidated I get. Probably because the more ingredients usually means more (preparation) time and more clean up at the end. Neither of which excite me. We made a pack at home to eat dinner together every night and in the kitchen not sitting on the couch in front the TV. I know it sounds a bit corny but I think it’s been integral to the success and strength of our relationship. With our work week hours being later than most, this sometimes becomes a challenge resulting to turning to quick fix dishes that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Salmon is definitely a hit around here because it’s a super easy way to incorporate healthy Omega 3’s into our diets but let’s be real here, when you’re eating fish 1-2 times a week, you need to start getting a bit creative with your recipes. With salmon being so soft and fleshy I thought creating a pistachio crust using Wonderful Pistachios with a touch of honey and mustard would be a perfect juxtaposition of both taste and texture. Occurring to me while woofing down a handful of the brand’s addictive “Sweet & Salty” flavoured nuts. Sure there’s a few other nuts I could have chosen, so why Wonderful Pistachios? Besides tasting amazing, they are a source of vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and fibre, adding extra nutritional value to this ridiculously delicious protein option. Making this is pretty much fool proof for those of you who also get intimidated with Julia Childs-like recipes (trust me!) and literally goes well with almost anything.

PISTACHIO CRUSTED SALMON


Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cook Tim:e 20 minutes     Total Time: 25 minutes     Servings: 2


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 salmon fillets (approx. 6 oz each, skin on)
  • half cup of crushed unsalted Wonderful Pistachios
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp course grain mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Rinse salmon and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange fillets on foil (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste
  3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard and honey. Spoon mixture and spread evenly over top of each piece of fillet
  4. Coarsely chop pistachios in a food processor, coffee grinner or by hand and combine with Panko bread crumbs and oil. Spread pistachio mixture pressing lightly to adhere
  5. Bake until salmon is cooked through to your liking and nuts are golden for approximately 15-20 minutes. Let salmon rest for 5 minutes outside of the oven before serving. Pair with a side of your choice; salad, quuinoa or grilled veggies and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios®, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Train Hard, Snack Smart with Wonderful Pistachios

The two most important factors that play a role in your overall fitness are 1) how you train/workout and 2) how you eat and snack. Everyday I see an alarming amount of people on social media posting their workouts and sharing their runs but no real progress. Most often than not, the reason behind this is poor diet or them not doing the amount of training they claim to be doing on social media. For me, it’s always been simple. I like to stick to functional workouts based on basic training fundamentals, keep my body guessing by frequently mixing up my works and ALWAYS snack smart. And I love the idea of athlete inspired workouts. Why? Because I know they are effective and how could it not be cool to train like some of the best athletes in the world?

For the next year, I’m teaming up with the Wonderful Pistachios brand and will be sharing different ways for you to enjoy them on-to-the go and how they can be incorporated into your favourite dishes at home. Both nutrient dense and delicious, pistachios have long been my nut of choice, mainly because of their monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fibre, protein and antioxidant content. I know for some there is a concern regarding the calorie count with pistachios but the good news is, researchers say sticking to in-shell pistachios can significantly slow down consumption because the empty shells offer a visual cue of how much you’ve eaten. Actually, preliminary behavioural studies have proven that in-shell snackers ate 41% fewer calories than those who snacked on shelled nuts, which is commonly known as the “Pistachio Principle“.

Thanks to the Wonderful Pistachios team, an exclusive group of us were lucky enough to participate in an intimate workout based on Toronto Maple Leaf’s Left Winger, James van Riemsdyk’s off-ice training at SWAT Health – a high performance training studio for elite and professional athletes. The workout, led by SWAT Founder and former football player Kyle Ardill, was no joke. We kicked it off with some dynamic movements and stretches to get are bodies warm and loosened up, followed by speed and agility work. All elite athletes train hard during their season, which are reflected in their physiques, however hockey players are notorious for the strength of their lower bodies. Specifically, quads and glutes. That means, we were getting ourselves into a 40 minute session focusing on the targeted muscles that allow hockey players to be quick and strong on the ice like; skater lunges, weighted side and reverse lunges, one legged dead lifts, a series of glute activations with resistance bands and a killer core workout circuit. If that wasn’t enough, Kyle had me end the session with some sled work (with him on it of course!) with the weight totalling over 300 lbs.

What many people often forget, what you eat post workout can be just as important as the workout itself. Usually we find it difficult enough to squeeze in a workout throughout the day, let alone take time to prepare a meal post workout, but nobody can ever be too busy for a smoothie. They are quick to prep, tasty AF and when you pack them with the right ingredients, they can actually be rather filling, helping you stay full until your next meal. On hand that morning was Registered Dietician and Abbey’s Kitchen founder Abbey Sharp, who helped create our post workout treat, a Pistachio & Tahini Protein Smoothie that you can easily make at home by using the following:

  • 1/3 cup Wonderful Pistachios, unsalted and shelled
  • 1 cup 2% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 ripe figs, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 dates, pitted and diced
  • 2 tsp, tahini
  • 1 cup 1% milk (or you can substitute for Almond milk if you’re lactose intolerant or prefer the taste

Photography by Charlie Lindsay @DonCharleone

OPTIONAL GARNISH:

  • 1/3 cup Wonderful Pistachios, unsalted and shelled
  • 1 cup 2% Plain Greet Yogurt
  • 4 ripe figs, stems removed and quartered

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a blender, pulse the pistachios until they reach a ground up consistency. Add in the yogurt, figs, dates, tahini and milk. Puree until smooth. To serve, pour into two glasses. Top with sliced fig, crushed pistachios and pomegranate arils.

Stay tuned fin 2017 for more of my snack and meal ideas with Wonderful Pistachios #GetSnackin

Quinoa Salad with Pickles and Kale

Hey guys, Kristen Vander Hoeven here from the SoSasha.com team bringing you another quick and easy bowl recipe that you can quickly make at home this week. Quinoa, quinoa, quinoa…everyone’s obsessed with quinoa. It’s basically the perfect blank canvas for an infinity amount of recipes. You can turn it into anything you like and trick your mind and belly into thinking your eating a big delicious bowl of bad carbs. I’ve adjusted this recipe to compliment my salmon but as time passes I will add and modify different recipes on how I prepare this golden grain.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

I added dill pickles this time to compliment the fish as well as bring that sour element to cut the flavour of the buttery salmon. I love added fermented food to almost anything I’m eating. It aids in digestion which helps to eliminate bloating. You can try different fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

QUINOA SALAD WITH PICKLES & KALE

PREP: 25 min

COOKING: 30 min

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube (if you have home made stock use that instead)
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 large dill pickle spears diced
  • 1 cup of kale loosely chopped
  • 1 green onion

DRESSING:

  • 6 tablespoons EVOO
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

Add all of your ingredients and dressing to your quinoa. You can serve warm, cold, whatever you wish. NOTE: For the perfect fluffy quinoa, start by rinsing your quinoa in a mesh strainer. This helps take off a weird coating that the grain has which can lead to it being a bit bitter and unfluffy. Once rinsed, placed quinoa into a sauce pan with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toasting your quinoa before cooking brings out a nutty delicious flavour. After it’s all toasty and fragrant, add your water or cooking stock. Bring to a oil then turn your heat down and simmer with lid on for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat but leave on the lid and let sit for another 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with a fork.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and PicklesPhotography by Jilly Botting

For more recipe inspiration and healthy meal ideas, follow me on Instagram using the handle @KristenVanderHoeven, xoxo

Kristen’s Summer Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Hey guys, Kristen Vander Hoeven here…it’s been a while but I am back in the kitchen with Sasha and excited to share some of my favourite summer recipes that you can easily duplicate at home. During a recent afternoon hanging out we both discovered that during the warmer months we prefer “low maintenance meals” – grilled veggies and salads paired with protein or fish. But sometimes we can get into a salad rut, prepping the same version of the classic side, which eventually just gets boring. I’ve created a delicious Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad that has been a hit with my cottage guests and followers over on my website SpooningNForking.comNot too surprising because who doesn’t love summer corn and fresh strawberries?

Grilled Corn and Strawberry Radish Salad

PREP: 20 MIN
COOKING: 5 MIN

INGREDIENTS DIRECTIONS
3 cobs of corn
1 cup of sliced strawberries
4 radishes sliced (I used a mandolin)
1 handful of basil roughly chopped
2 tbsp of diced chives

DRESSING
3 tbsp of sherry vinegar
6 tbsp of Evoo
1/2 tbsp on maple syrup
1tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of ground pepper


Turn on your grill to medium heat.  Remove your corn from the husk and place on grill rotating every 3-5 min.  You want to char your corn but not kill it!! See note below if you do not have a grill.

  1. While your corn is cooking (and you are keeping and eye on it) slice your strawberries, radish a prepare your herbs.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl combine all of your dressing ingredients.
  3. Once your corn is cooked, let cool slightly until you can handle it comfortably.  Stand your corn on your cutting board, then with a sharp knife, slice down along the cob.  Not going to lie…this is messy AF…but worth it…so don’t use canned corn!!!!!
  4. Combine all your ingredients into your salad bowl, add dressing and toss.
  5. Try not to eat all at once 😉

NOTE: If you do not have a grill of some sort, you can do this in a large skillet on high heat or directly on top of a gas burner.

Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Delicious Genuine Health Recipes Your Gut Will Thank You For

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

We’ve been talking a lot about the benefits of fermented supplements amongst the team here at So Sasha and have become a bit obsessed on it’s health benefits. Earlier this week Sasha schooled us on the importance of gut health and how to diagnose a very common, undiagnosed condition called “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. In case you happened to miss the post you can check it out here. I may not suffer from a leaky gut but god knows I want to prevent one and it turns out that Genuine Health’s fermented vegan proteins+ products improve the intestinal (mucosa) lining , which we rely on for optimal immune function and allows for an efficient flow of nutrients to tissues and organs. It also has been proven to help in the aid of digestion which is also critical – did you know that 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive issues each year? To make matters worse, we often eat foods with partially removed anti-nutrients making us deprived of foods intended nutritional potential and sometimes suffer from unwanted side effects like bloating and gas. Only fermentation can make nutrients readily available for proper absorption by the body.

So after getting the low down on all of this, I have come to the realization that I must integrate fermented vegan proteins+ into my diet right away and so should you. Incorporating it regularly can be pretty easy, especially if you’re into smoothies and smoothie bowls, but I took a stab at creating a pretty delicious recipe for the ultimate guilt-free cinnamon buns. The latter is because I watched the movie “Daddy’s Home” this past weekend and the breakfast scene had some in it so they’ve been on my mind. Instead of going to the closet mall to drown myself in a Cinnabon I decided best to make my own so I’ve created some including Genuine Health’s fermented vegan proteins+ powder. These won’t taste like the ones you get at the mall…but they do taste amazing and you’ll not crash and feel like shit after eating. These have been taste tested by my guy who “prefers the real stuff” and he really only has amazing things to say about them.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Fermented Vegan Proteins+ Vanilla Cinnamon Buns Prep time: 20 min Cooking: 27 min

 Ingredients:

 ROLLS

  • 1 3/4 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop of fermented vegan proteins+ vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee, softened (I used coconut oil..the hard white stuff at room temp)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey, softened
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (Room temp is important!!!)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

FILLING

  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans (optional)

GLAZE

TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl bowl, whisk together the coconut oilraw honey, vanilla and eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the almond and coconut flourand sea salt.  I sifted all my ingredients through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of all lumps but you can also do this with a fork, breaking up any chunks.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture and knead the dough until it is smooth. If the dough is too wet, add 1 tsp. coconut flour at a time until desired consistency is reached. Place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. While the dough is cooling, mix the coconut oil and raw honey for the filling together in small bowl and set aside.
  6. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper, sprinkling a little almond flour on each side of the dough before rolling. You want to form a large rectangle (see pictures below).
  7. Drizzle the filling evenly over the dough, using the back of the spoon to spread it all around. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top and then the pecans (optional).
  8. Roll the dough, starting at one of the shorter ends, until it forms a log. You want to work carefully and slowly in order to get the dough to roll correctly. Once the whole log is rolled, roll it gently until it is smooth on all sides. Wrap in clear wrap and place in freezer for 10-15 min.
  9. Slice the roll into 2 inch thick sections using a large chef knife. You should have about 9 rolls. Lay each piece (flat side down) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake 20-27 min or until the tops are lightly browned. Keep your eye on them – better they be underdone than overdone.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl while the rolls are cooling.
  12. Drizzle with the glaze and add toppings (optional) right before serving.

Cinnamon buns not your jam? Not to worry, I got you covered with a smoothie bowl recipe which are all the rage right now. And for good reason, they are almost to beautiful to eat in some cases. Sometimes our bodies crave something more than a shake. There are actual studies that prove the act of eating solid foods can leave you feeling more full and satisfied. So a smoothie bowl is absolutely the perfect replacement when you have the time. You can basically make it as beautiful or ugly as you want…Its going to taste the exact same….but for the creative purpose of this post I put my best foot forward 🙂

I love adding fermented vegan proteins+ because it gives that extra boost of flavour and sweetness leaving my body feeling satisfied without any bloating or discomfort. For anyone who hates the taste of protein powders, Ive been feeding this to my bf for a week and he hasn’t even noticed…lol…its that good.

Raspberry Swirl ’N’ice Cream Bowl Prep time: 5 mins

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

  • 1 scoop of fermented vegan  proteins+ powder
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Cashew butter
  • 1 cup Frozen Raspberries
  • 2 Dates
  • 1 Frozen Bananas

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth consistency. Top with whatever ingredients you have in your fridge and serve.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegans Proteins+

Our friends at Genuine Health are giving you an opportunity to win 1 in 8 fermented vegan proteins+ prize packs valued at $200 each. Click here for contest information and to register online. Contest is open to Canadian residents over the age of 18 until 11:59pm on April 30th, 2016. Check out Genuine Health’s “The Daily Digest” to discover more details on the benefits of fermented vegan proteins+ supplements. #LoveYourGut #LoveHowYouFeel #NoBloat 

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+Photography by Jillian Botting 

Get more recipe inspiration from our talented and beautiful culinary expert by following Kristen Vander Hoeven on Instagram.

Guilt Free Meal Ideas: Ahi Tuna Quinoa Poke Bowls with SOTO Sake

Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl

Shoyu like Tuna, you say?

Our crew here at SoSasha.com is always looking for guilt-free indulges when it comes to our food. Just because we want to eat clean and healthy doesn’t mean we should have to feel like we’re sacrificing anything, know what I mean? Enter my Ahi Tuna Poke Shoyu Bowl served with SOTO Sake. Shoyu (pronounced SHOW-YOU) is just another name for soy sauce and let’s be honest, a good use of word for a pun! Last year my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to travel to Hawaii.  If you’ve never been before, it should definitely be on your destination bucket list. The country is beautiful, the people are warm in nature and the food does not disappoint.  It wasn’t until our trip that I discovered that Hawaii has a huge Japanese influence, which largely impacts its cuisine.  This is likely where and when my obsession for Poke bowls started. By the way, “Poke” is pronounced POH-KAY and all it really means is to cut or chunks of raw fish…sorry for the pronunciation lesson guys!
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
adapted from IAmFoodBlog
 
I decided after digging through millions of Tuna Poke recipes on pinterest, that I would just doctor my own.  One that would be manageable, keeping in mind the ingredients I have access to. Side note: I get that using raw fish at home can be completely intimidating. For the longest time I thought it was sketchy and you needed some special kind of fish.  This is not entirely the case.  All you need to find is a fish monger with great reviews and no funky smells.  Reviews and blogs can be really helpful when sourcing out these types of shops.  When you go to buy your tuna, just make sure you ask for sushi grade.  This means that by wholesale standards you are getting the highest quality of fish available. Check out this link for more info and guides on how to shop for sushi grade. My Tuna Poke bowl is a little off the traditional path, but none the less delicious and healthy.
What you’ll need…
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 lb. fresh ahi (sashimi grade) tuna, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • smoked sea salt, to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds, to taste
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • radishes
  • cabbage (next time I will be adding Kimchi instead)
  • cucumbers
  • sprouts
  • crispy shallots
Directions
  • In a small bowl combine soy sauces, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. 
  • In a separate small bowl, gently toss together the tuna, green onions, and diced onion. Add the soy sauce mixture to the ahi and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Remove Poke from fridge and taste to see if you need too adjust any seasoning (soy sauce, sesame oil, and smoked sea salt). 4. Scoop quinoa into bowls and add your toppings of choice.  Add a generous amount of poke to the bowls and sprinkle on sesame seeds. 

Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl

Ok, so what are we doing to wash down this bowl of deliciousness? SOTO Sake. We are kinda crushing hard these days on SOTO for various reasons. I am passionate about quality ingredients, so I love it for it’s dry finish and mild taste. It’s a super premium sake, using only the very best ingredients – finely polished rice and fresh mountain water. If you were to ask Sasha why she loves it, I have no doubt that besides the taste, she would mention the fact that it’s gluten free and has no preservatives or additives.  The best part, each bottle comes with this chic, decorative square piece of denim over the cork, as a nod to the Japanese craftsmanship of their beloved denim. SOTO Sake is currently available in both New York and Miami but will be made available in additional markets soon. For a full list of establishments and retailers carrying the brand click here.
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
Photography by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.ca
For more recipe ideas and inspiration (we all need some from time to time), follow me on Instagram @KristenVanderHoeven. Mahalo!

Greens+ Extra Energy: The Key to Optimal Health and Energy

Greens+ Extra Energy

I don’t know one person who doesn’t wish they had more energy. I mean, how many cups of coffee do you need to make it through the day? Sure, the caffeine from coffee can give you an immediate boost of energy but that artificial energy can distance people from their natural energy rhythms. Excess caffeine also goads the adrenal glands into releasing stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that can put the brain and body into a panic like state. I am proud to say, I am no longer a daily coffee drinker and have turned to healthier alternatives like Matcha Green Tea and Genuine Health’s Green+ Extra Energy to help me get through my busy days.

Rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, probiotics and standardized herbal extracts, the change in my energy level during the day has been absolutely mind blowing since integrating Greens+ Extra Energy formula into my daily routine. So why is Greens+ so effective and can it actually replace coffee in your diet? The answer is absolutely. The kick you will experience from both the Kola Nut (which contains naturally occurring caffeine) and Taurine will give you 100% energy,  0% crash plus the benefits of 23 hand selected ingredients proven to bridge nutrient gaps in your diet.

Greens+ Extra Energy

Greens+ Extra Energy

Greens+ Extra Energy

Although working out is important, I truly believe that an alkaline diet is the foundation for optimal health. For me, sticking to alkaline forming foods such as; leafy green veggies, fresh fruit, quinoa, green tea, hemp, goat’s milk, chia seeds, flax, EVOO, anything coconut and almonds, has dramatically improved my health condition. Even if you already have a good diet, eating foods that will alkalize your body will not only increase your energy but also boost your immune system, balance pH levels, support mood/cognitive function, improve digestive health and much more.

There are 3 easy ways to take Greens+ 1) Shake with water 2) Mix into smoothies 3)Add to recipes. I actually LOVE the taste of Greens+ Extra Energy just on it’s own with water but I also toss a scoop into a smoothie an hour before a workout. This Peachy Green Smoothie is smooth, creamy and will keep your tummy satisfied until your next meal.

Greens+ Extra Energy

1 frozen Banana
1 cup frozen peaches
1 scoop Greens+ Extra Energy Orange
1 tbsp almond butter
1 date
1 1/2 cup of water, or liquid of choice
Directions: Throw everything into a Vitamix or blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Greens+ Extra Energy

This year I have decided to grow my squad and bring Kristen Vander Hoeven to the team. An old friend, fitness fanatic, fellow foodie obsessed with health and who is currently completing her culinary degree at Toronto’s George Brown College. I recently spent the day in the kitchen with KVH and she showed me some new ways to enjoy Greens+ Extra Energy with my Paleo diet. Here’s Kristen’s take on two easy and energy enhancing recipes:

Paleo Greens+ Muffins

If you’re like me, you love eating a LOT of crap that’s not good for you, so it’s become a great passion of mine to figure out alternative methods to satisfy my cravings. For those of you who eat Paleo, know know it’s exactly that. These little babies are not only delicious, good for you and Paleo friendly (I know…you’re welcome).  Even though baking paleo may seem intimidating – it’s actually not.  Trust me…I suck at baking and I attempt it all the time.  Once you learn a few tricks (like a room temperature egg will actually change your results) it’s not that bad and super rewarding.   I mean…the fact that I could eat 10 of these and still feel good is pretty damn awesome.

Here’s the ingredients you’re going to need….
Greens+ Extra Energy
1 tablespoon Greens + cappuccino green supplement
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of Cinnamon
4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
Preheat your oven to 325°
1.  In a large bowl combine your Greens + Energy powder, coconut flour, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.  Its a good idea to put your dry ingredients through a sifter to eliminate any clumps in your mixture.
2.  Once you’ve combined your dry ingredients, add your coconut oil and egg whites.  Combine with mixer, then add 3 whole eggs, maple syrup and vanilla bean paste.  If you do not have vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract will work just fine.
3.  Grease your mini muffin tray with coconut oil, ghee or a grass fed butter.  Fill each tin to the top.  Bake for 8 minutes, or until muffins are firm to touch. Check every 1-2 minutes. You can try poking with a skewer, if it comes out clean you are good to go.
Greens+ Extra Energy
Greens+ Natural Orange Energy Balls
I could literally eat these balls all day – everyday. They taste exactly like raw cookie dough which takes me back to when I was a kid and would beg to lick the batter bowl. Now that I am an adult, and care about my health, and the size of my thighs…I try to avoid doing things that make me sick 🙁 These balls are perfect. I recommend eating them frozen, it makes each bite last longer. Ideal for pre/post workout or during lazy day Netflix marathons. The only problem you will have is not having enough…probably a good idea to double this recipe.
Greens+ Extra Energy

Here’s the ingredients you’re going to need…

2 1/12 Coconut oil (the hard stuff, not the liquid)
2 tbsp Cashew butter
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1/2 tsp Vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will work as well)
1/3 Scoop of Greens + orange powder
1/2 cup Rolled oats
1/3 cup Almond flour
1tbsp Hemp hearts

*To coat your balls (I realize how bad that sounds) use a 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut shavings

Greens+ Extra EnergyPhotography by Jilly Botting

1. In a medium size bowl combine your wet ingredients with a mixer until smooth (cashew butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste).
2. Once mixture is creamy add the rest of your dry ingredients.
3. After all your ingredients are combined, clean the sides of your bowl with a spatula and bring your mixture together. Place your bowl in the refrigerator for 5-10 min or until your ingredients are firm. If you are in a rush and cannot wait for mixture to harden, no worries. Proceed with rolling out your balls and keep a bowl of cold water on hand to keep your hands semi clean in between balls.
4. Place your raw balls into shallow dish of unsweetened coconut shavings to give them a light coating.
5. Keep the balls in the freezer.

Greens+ Extra Energy

We could go on and on about the benefits of Greens+ and really there are countless ways you can incorporate it into your day. What had started with just one formula variant (Original), Greens+ has now expanded into an entire category, and probably most arguably Genuine Health’s most lucrative products. With formulas created specifically for detoxing, healthy skin, kids, to build strong bones, for those with food sensitivities/allergies and much more; there’s a Greens+ for every need. For the meantime, we are hooked on the Extra Energy formula which is available in Natural Orange and Cappuccino flavours and also comes in convenient tablets. For more information on any of the above mentioned products within the Genuine Health family or to find additional recipe inspiration head to GenuineHealth.com.

Quick and Clean Post Workout Fuel

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It’s shocking how many people overlook the importance of nutrition when it comes to overall wellness and weight loss. Truth be told, what we put in our mouths is more crucial than the time we put in the gym. One of the most common questions I get asked is, “what should I eat post workout that won’t cancel out the calories I just burned?”. Actually, this may be the best news you will hear this month but you you can’t cancel out calories you just burned off during a workout. When you work out, your body burns fat to be used as energy. If you eat right after your workout, those calories won’t be used to replace the burned body fat. Truth be told, your body only stores food as body fat when it doesn’t have anything else to do with the extra calories you eat. Post workout, your body needs to start restoring and repairing itself from your training, so in other words, it needs the calories.

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Your body uses the protein you intake to repair and build the muscles that were broken down during your tough workouts. Eating immediately post workout has a few other benefits. The calories you ingest will be used by your body automatically instead of being stored as fat. Eating after a workout can also increase your body’s insulin sensitivity or its ability to use carbohydrates, which is super important for weight loss.

What I eat after I workout depends on how vigorous the exercise was and at what time of the day. Sometimes, if it’s very early in the morning I may not have a huge appetite, where a protein packed shake and a cold pressed juice will do the trick or if it’s later into the day or evening, my body craves something a bit heavier. Here’s some easy options you may want to incorporate into your post workout routine.

The Go-To Salad: Belmonte Raw’s Moroccan Kale Salad

HBNewYouThe above shot at Belmonte Raw for Hudson’s Bay by David A. Pike. Wearing Lole Women

When my time is limited post workout, I have several options close to Equinox located in “The Path” (or what I refer to as Toronto’s underground city). It’s kind of the best. Retail shops, liquor stores, restaurants, everything you could ever need and want without ever having to go outside into the freezing cold. My friends at Belmonte Raw recently opened a location there that services the Financial District and within 5 minutes I can scoop up one of my fave salads to go without skipping a beat. But when I have a little more time, I like to prepare something at home where I can also have the option of adding some sort of protein to the salad; tuna, salmon, chicken or steak; like this colourful Rainbow Chopped Salad (shown here without protein).

Rainbow Chopped Salad

Ingredients: 

1 large head romaine lettuce, cored and chopped

1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 handful of parsley, stemmed and finely chopped

1 apple, chopped into cubes

1 asian pear, chopped into cubes

1/4 cup wakame soaked for 15 minutes, rinsed and drained

1 sheet nori, cut into thin strips

1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets

1 cup of pomegranate seeds

1 avocado, peeled and sliced into cubes

1/2 cup of dried apricots diced finely

1.2 cup of sunflower seeds (optional)

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper and your choice of protein (fish, chicken or steak) to taste

*Yields 4-6 servings 

Directions: Don’t feel you have to use this exact recipe. Feel free to remove or add ingredients as you see fit. You can think of this as the ultimate bowl of nutrient dense goodness. Add the simple vinaigrette or your choice of dressing, toss everything together and let marinate for at least 15 minutes before eating. SSFitTip: Make before your workout so you can devour right after your sweat sesh.

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I don’t think I’ve met a smoothie I didn’t like. I mean, what’s not to love right? Quick to make, you can pack in tons of nutrients, usually on the sweeter tasting side, making it enjoyable to drink. It’s almost impossible to get the recommended amount of folic acid from greens, so blending and juicing dark leafy green veggies like kale and spinach makes things a bit easier. Even those who don’t like the taste of green based smoothies, will love this Stevia-Sweetened Green Tropical Smoothie.

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Ingredients:

1/2 frozen banana

1 medium tangerine, peeled

1.5-2 cups of coconut water, preferably from young coconuts but bottled is fine

2 cups of kale, chopped

1.2 cup of frozen pineapple

8-10 drops of Sweet Leaf tangerine stevia

*Makes 1-2 large drinks

Directions: Mix all of the ingredients in a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, until smooth.

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If it wasn’t considered to be ridiculous, I could easily eat breakfast food for every single meal. There’s always been a special place in my heart for pancakes, crepes and french toast, but for the most part when you eat them at restaurants they aren’t the healthiest. I have come determined to find or create healthy versions of my favourite meals this year and these Red Quinoa Pancakes are pretty delish.

Ingredients:

2 organic, free ranged eggs

2 cups of coconut or almond milk

1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

1.5 cups of flour (I prefer to use unbleached wheat or spelt flour as a healthier alternative)

1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of sea salt

2 cups of red quinoa, cooked

*Makes 20-24 pancakes

Directions: Place milk in a small bowl and pour in the lemon juice. Stir once and let sit for 5 minutes. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix together. Place eggs in a mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk. Add the coconut oil, dry ingredients and milk to the eggs and mix until combined. Add the quinoa to the batter and mix until combined (make sure to not over mix). Head griddle to medium-medium/high and grease with coconut oil. Pour batter onto the hot griddle (roughly 1/4 cup per pancake) and allow to cook for a minute or so, or until the top of the pancake has bubbled and the sides are cooked. Flip pancake over and finish cooking on the other side for another 30 seconds. Add desired fruit or other toppings and your fave syrup.

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When I workout later into the day, specifically in the evening, I finish feeling absolutely famished. If I don’t find something healthy and filling right away, it can lead to danger. I like to eat my dinner early so I need something that’s healthy and that will keep me satisfied until the next morning.Whether your a vegan or not, you must try this Green, Clean Lasagna with Kale Marinara Sauce.

Ingredients: 

olive oil cooking spray (for the baking dish)

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 yellow onion finely chopped

4 cups of sliced cremini mushrooms

2 cups of shredded lacinato kale leaves

2 cups part skim-ricotta cheese

3 cups of homemade kale marinara (recipe below)

6 no boil lasagna sheet noodles

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray and set aside. In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and shredded kale, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Put the ricotta cheese in a large bowl, and, using a spatula, gently fold in the cooled mushroom-kale mixture until completely incorporated. Assemble the lasagna

Using the prepared baking dish, assemble the lasagna in six layers as follows: 1 cup Homemade Kale Marinara, spread evenly; 3 lasagna noodle sheets (arranged in a single layer); 3⁄4 cup of the kale-mushroom-and ricotta mixture, spread evenly. Repeat the layering a second time, then top with the remaining kale-mushroom-and ricotta mixture, and finish with the grated Pecorino or Romano on top. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the preheated oven, on the middle rack, for about 25 minutes.

After 20 minutes have passed, remove the foil from the baking dish and move the baking dish to the top rack. To finish, bake, uncovered, for another 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how you love your lasagna finished. Remove the lasagna from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Ingredients for Kale Marinara Sauce:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped finely

5 garlic cloves, finely minced

Two 28-ounce cans of unsalted organic crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup of fresh oregano

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

1 cup of finely julienned lacinato kale

Directions:

In a large stockpot, warm the extra-virgin olive oil over low heat. Add the diced onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes on low heat. Add the crushed tomatoes and fresh oregano leaves and give the sauce a good stir. Cook on low for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the sauce has reduced and thickened, finish with the sea salt, balsamic vinegar, and julienned kale. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes and serve or use in recipes as needed.

HBNewYouELXR Juice Photography by Danielle Reynolds

Cold pressed juices post workout can help your training through assisting you to stay hydrated and also offers essential nutrients to support muscle development, strength, and provides nutrients which can help reduce oxidation and inflammation due to strenuous exercise. Juicing is also ideal to alkalize your body after a heavy workout. The most significant thing to remember after a workout is that you have to get the vital nutrients back into your body in the easiest and fastest way possible. Then afterwards, have a meal which has fiber. I always turn to ELXR Juice Lab to nourish me with their cold pressed juices.

Post workout, my go-to’s are usually the Pina Vida). This refreshing blend assists with muscle recovery, it’s also an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing while providing an energy boost. Other faves is the brand’s Second Base; packed with tons of vitamins and minerals, Beta Rush because of it’s energizing properties that give me the extra push to get through the rest of my day and Support Group for it’s ability to stabilize blood sugar levels.

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There’s no better time like now to cleanse and detox. Want to start your new year with a 1, 3, or 5 day juice cleanse? Use my promo code “So Sasha” when you order your cleanse package from ELXRJuiceLab.com to receive 15% off your order.

For more lifestyle tips and style inspiration, make sure to follow @HudsonsBay on Instagram and Twitter or use the hashtag #HBNewYou for more of our wellness collaboration.

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