A 5'3 Perspective

How To Have Your Chocolate Chip Cookies And Eat Them Too!

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Chocolate chip cookies have always been a comfort food for me, but just reading the ingredients on a package of President’s Choice decadent variety makes my stomach hurt. Lucky for me [and you] I have found an equally delicious recipe without the guilt!

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies (dairy and gluten free)
Recipe from: Living Healthy With Chocolate 20130528-224022.jpg
Ingredients
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1 large egg, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raw honey
¼ cup unsweetened carob chips (or chocolate chips)
pinch of salt

Instructions
Process the almonds and pecans in a food processor until creamy and smooth like peanut butter. Add the egg, vanilla, honey and salt to the almond/pecan mixture and process until well combined.
Transfer the batter into a mixing bowl and gently fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be quite sticky. Using a spoon, place 12 balls of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes or until the edges start to turn brown [I probably left mine in a minute or two too long]. Allow about 19 minutes for the cookies to cool and enjoy!
xo Lauren

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Raw, Vegan, Grain-Free Carrot Muffins with Cashew Cream “Cheese” Icing

I’ve been craving carrot cake with cream cheese icing something fierce lately! I don’t know why, since I was never a huge fan of the dessert, but after weeks of carrot dreams I knew I had to come up with a healthy alternative. These muffins/cupcakes are simple, delicious and the perfect summer treat because you don’t even need to touch your oven!

Raw, Vegan, Grain-Free Carrot Muffins with Cashew Cream “Cheese” Icing
Adapted from: Chef Amber Shae

20130513-214908.jpgIngredients
For the cake:
1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound carrots, peeled if desired, shredded
3/4 cup coconut flour
Stevia to taste (optional)

For the Cream “Cheese” Icing:
3/4 cup cashews soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
1/2 cup nondairy milk of choice
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
15 drops liquid stevia, or to taste
Pinch of sea salt

Directions
Combine the drained dates, carrots, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until almost smooth and well combined.
Add the coconut flour and stir until the batter is combined and uniform. Taste the batter, and if you think it needs a little more sweetness, add stevia to taste. Set the batter aside for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid mixture.
Fill 8 silicone muffin tins with the mixture and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

To make the cashew cream “cheese” icing, combine all ingredients in a blender [I used my Magic Bullet] and pulse until smooth. Place the icing in the fridge until you are ready to decorate your carrot muffins.

Just a note: these muffins taste best when you allow them to defrost for at least 30 minutes so remove them from the freezer with that in mind!

Now you can have your [carrot] cake and eat it too!
xo Lauren


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What’s For Dinner?

Do you ever get sick of eating the same dinners day in and day out? Sometimes repetition makes the evenings easier, but then again, isn’t variety is the spice of life. I am a creature of habit. On any given weeknight you can likely find me cooking some form of chicken or salmon with roasted veggies and sweet potato. Absolutely delicious – but SNOOZE.

Today – I present to you, the easiest mussel dish. You’ll impress yourself and anyone else you serve it to. Although mussels seem to be a dish reserved for ordering at fancy restaurant, they are actually simple to make and require very few ingredients. This dish will be successful as long as you follow three important pieces of advice: buy fresh mussels, use them the same day you bought them and make sure that they are closed before cooking. If your mussels have opened up a bit- don’t panic, just tap them against the counter and they should start to close. Toss any that remain open after a few minutes.

Everyday Mussels

Everyday Mussels

Ingredients

125 grams of chorizo (I use spicy)

1 leek (well washed and roughly chopped – use only the white and light green parts)

2lbs mussels

1 jar of spaghetti sauce (try to use sauce with no sugar added)

1 tbsp coconut oil* (or olive oil)

2 cloves of garlic

pinch of pepper

*I use coconut oil because of the higher smoking point and nutritional benefits – for more information visit: Coconut Oil Benefits: When Fat Is Good For You

Directions

  1. In a large pot sauté leeks, garlic and chorizo in coconut oil (or olive oil) on med-high heat until fragrant. This should take approximately 8 – 10 minutes.
  2. Add mussels, a pinch of pepper and spaghetti sauce. Stir contents well to make sure the mussels are coated in sauce. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Try not to peek at the mussels too many times.
  3. Remove lid and reduce heat to a simmer and stir. Allow the flavours to combine for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
Serve and enjoy!

Finished product!

I find that this dish is best served in a large bowl and eaten with a spoon. The men in my life prefer to enjoy it over pasta – it is really up to you, but don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of wine to celebrate your cooking accomplishments! Hope you get a chance to try out this simple but delicious recipe!

xo Lauren


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How To: Sugar, Lactose and Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

I probably have the world’s biggest sweet tooth. If it were possible to be healthy and fit and live off treats – I’d be doing it. Since I’ve developed numerous food allergies and sensitivities, and embarked upon a healthy lifestyle quest, eating sweets is pretty much out of the question. Unfortunately, my sweet tooth missed that memo.

Today I am so excited to share a brand new recipe with you. It is one that came entirely from my head – no guidance at all – and shockingly, it turned out. This lemon poppy seed loaf is sugar free, lactose free and gluten free, but the best part is that you’d never even suspect it. Oh and it is pretty much fool proof!

Sugar, Lactose and Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

A light treat that won't make you feel even the slightest bit guilty.

A light treat that won’t make you feel even the slightest bit guilty.

Ingredients

1 and 1/3 cup ground almonds (purchase as is – or home made by blending almonds in a food processor until a flour forms)

1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt (naturally lactose free)

3 droppers full of liquid stevia

1/3 cup of real lemon juice (or the juice of two full lemons)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

4 egg whites

1/4 cup of poppy seeds (more or less depending on your taste)

pinch of salt

Directions

1, Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Using coconut oil, grease a loaf pan.

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool and enjoy.

Ever since it got cold out I’ve been feeling like baking – is anyone else experiencing this urge?

xo Lauren


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Weekend Dinner Recipe: Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I must admit, this is my second attempt at making a cauliflower pizza crust, and unfortunately I still haven’t nailed it yet – but I am much closer and hopefully with a few of my tips, yours will turn out perfectly. This recipe probably isn’t for the feint of heart, it did take me quite a while to make and I was a bit disappointed in the end when I couldn’t remove the parchment paper from the crust. I am hoping this was because I did not put an oil or cooking spray on the parchment paper before baking. That is my first pointer – do NOT forget to grease the parchment paper before forming the pizza.

Cauliflower pizza crust, how strange right? Well, the taste of the crust is actually quite good! Yes you can tell that it isn’t dough – mainly because of the consistency, however, it doesn’t taste like cauliflower either. Top the crust the same way you would if you were using dough, i’ll leave that up to you – I pretty much use every veggie I can find!

So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Inspired by: http://lindawagner.net/blog/2012/01/grain-free-gluten-free-low-carb-cauliflower-pizza-crust-recipe/

For the crust:

  • 1 very large head of cauliflower
  • 1 small package of soft goat cheese (about 4oz.)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp oregano

Ingredients: cauliflower, soft goat cheese, and an egg - not so hard right?

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

First you will need to rinse and chop the cauliflower into small pieces and process in a food processor. Mix until a fine “rice” like consistency is achieved. I had to do this in three batches because my food processor was too small.

You should end up with something that looks like the second picture when it is "riced".

Step 2:

Boil about an inch of water and then add the “riced cauliflower” to the pot with the water and let it steam for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain well using a fine mesh strainer.

Step 2

Step 3:

Place the well drained “riced” cauliflower on a large dry dish towel. Pull the sides of the towel together and squeeze out all of the remaining moisture. Make sure you really wring the towel out, the less moisture, the better your crust will turn out. Just a note, the cauliflower and water is very hot – be careful.

Once you are confident all the moisture has been removed, place the cauliflower into a large bowl and add the egg, goat cheese, and oregano. This is the fun part, mix the ingredients together using your hands – really make sure everything is combined. Things should start to stick together a bit.

Step 3

Step 4:

Line a cookie sheet [or pizza pan] with parchment paper and GREASE WITH OIL [or cooking spray]. Do not, I repeat, do not forget this step. You will be sorry… and picking parchment paper off the bottom of your pizza crust – like I did.

Drop the cauliflower onto the greased parchment paper and use your hands to form a thin, even circle. I kept the sides higher to mimic the crust of a pizza – I would recommend doing that.

Unbaked cauliflower "pizza" crust.

Step 5:

Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 35-40mins. Remove and top with your favourite pizza toppings. Place the pizza back in the oven for about 7 minutes to melt the cheese and soften the veggies.

There you have it, homemade cauliflower pizza crust.

I meant to take a picture of the whole pizza but I was too hungry to wait.

You can see in the picture above that the parchment paper was ripped to shreds and stuck to the crust, but I am pretty sure greasing it with oil or cooking spray will fix that problem. My guests told me it was a hit and would definitely eat it again.

Hope you enjoy!

PS – GO SENS GO!!!

Sens swag is taking over the office!!

What’s For Dinner?

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As you may or may not know, I have become a bit of a foodie over the past few years [probably because of my boyfriend], so I thought I’d share one of my favourite, healthy dinners. You probably haven’t seen this dish often, but it is beyond delicious. I think I could eat some variation of this every night!

So here you have it [drum roll please]… Zucchini Pasta!

Yes that is correct, zucchini made into noodles! Now this dish does require some effort and an interesting gadget, but it only takes about half an hour from start to finish. First, you have to get yourself one of these nifty “spiral vegetable slicers”… You can find them online for about $40 bucks, [check out this site: http://www.rawnutrition.ca/html/spiral_slicer.html ] or do a Google search – if you have any patience, this is the best way to buy. I couldn’t wait to try it so I bought one at Ma Cuisine in Ottawa for $80, although it was double the price, I still think it is worth it.

Here is what I use:

Step one… Figure out how to use this tool. The English instructions were extremely brief so I just decided to wing it. With this tool, you will have to cut your zucchini in half, or maybe even into thirds depending on the side. Try to choose the straightest zucchini you can and make sure you wash them well because you will be eating the skin too. You can see what it looks like in the picture below, but I’ll try to explain. Basically, there are some pieces of plastic that protrude from the top of the handle and there is one metal spike just in front of the blade. You have to fit your zucchini pieces in there lengthwise. Once you’ve done that all you have to do is spin… and spin…. and spin… and spin…. oh and then spin again. This part kind of takes a while, but I promise it is worth it.

You’ll end up with something like this:

 

When I am cooking for two I usually use five zucchinis. Yes, five – once you heat the noodles and get rid of all the water, they shrink down to about half the amount. Plus, what is better than extra veggies? We could all use another helping of delicious greens!

Use a frying pan and cook them at medium – high on the stove top. I don’t add anything to the pan, I find the moisture in the zucchini is enough to make sure they don’t stick. The cooking process only takes about 15 minutes, it is really just to heat them and get rid of some of the water. During this time you can make your sauce!

I used fresh spicy tomato sauce from my favourite Ottawa grocer, La Bottega and added extra lean ground turkey, onion and bok choy. You can really use whatever you like though.

   Now all you have to do is drain the “noodles” in a strainer to get rid of any remaining moisture. I usually press down on them with something heavy, or just a spatula and some brute force… kidding… kind of.

Serve and enjoy!

It is hard to see the noodles under my excessive pile of sauce but they are delicious! If you are trying to incorporate more veggies into your meals, this is a great option. You really feel like you’re eat spaghetti.

You don’t have to use zucchini, try it out with other veggies! I am so happy I bought this crazy contraption – I highly recommend it!

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