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Need a better breakfast that is easy and quick to make?  Bonus is it’s low in added sugar.

Base Ingredients:

1/3 cup large flake oats

2/3 cup boiling water

1 heaping tbsp natural nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix and Match your toppings!  Some ideas include:

1 tsp ground flax seed

1/2 cup chopped apple, pear, banana, strawberries or whatever other kind of fruit you have on hand

1/4 cup chopped nuts – walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.

1/4 cup dried fruit

unsweetened applesauce

low fat yogurt

low fat milk to taste

Directions:

1. Boil water in kettle.

2.  Measure oats and spices and put into bowl.  Stir.

3.  Measure boiling water and add to bowl.  This should cover the oat mixture.  Use a plate (upside down) to cover bowl.  Let oats cook for 5-10 minutes.

4. Add toppings and enjoy!

To make this recipe even easier, measure out oats and spices into a bowl the night before  – cover with lid.  You can also prep your toppings ahead of time.

To maximize time in the morning, use the 5-10 minute “cook” time to get dressed, do hair, etc.

Recipe adapted from”The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook” by Tosca Reno.

Mexican Green Bean and Corn Soup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp canola oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

1 large carrot, sliced

1 large waxy potato, diced

1 can diced no-added-salt tomatoes

1 zucchini, diced

1/2 radicchio, shredded

4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1 cup corn kernals (frozen or no-added-salt or sugar canned)

15-20 green beans, cut into bite-sized lengths

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tbsp vegetable bouillon base , low-sodium, powder

Garnish:

cilantro to taste

jalapeno, sliced

tortilla chips

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large, heavy soup pot.  Saute onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Sprinkle in spices.

2.  Stir in carrot, potato, tomatoes, zucchini and radicchio and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Pour in stock.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

4.  Add extra stock if needed.  Stir in corn and beans and cook for an extra 5-10 minutes or until beans are tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5.  Ladle soup into bowls and add garnish.

6.  Take home gold medal and enjoy your victory!

Recipe adapted from “Mexican Vegetable Soup with Tortilla Chips” from Greatest Ever One Pot Easy and Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes by Barnes&Noble.

Hi Friends,

I’m back —- and here is a bronze medal winning recipe for you all!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup non hydrogenated margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups large flake oats

1/4 cup bran or wheat germ

2 tbsp ground flax

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 chopped pecans

1/4 cup m&ms

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375’F.  Line cookie sheets with moistened parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, cream together margarine and sugars.

3.  Add egg, water and vanilla.

4.  In a separate bowl mix together all remaining ingredients except for pecans, dried cranberries and m&ms.

5.  Add dry mixture to wet and stir until just combined.  Add pecans, dried cranberries and m&ms.

6.  Drop by rounded teaspoon onto cookie sheet.

7. Cook for 12-14 minutes.  Enjoy!!

Recipe adapted from “Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” recipe from Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health by Liz Pearson and Mairlyn Smith.  Funny thing is, I had a whole different cookie recipe planned.  I did forget to read all of the recipe details ahead of time – and long story short, I had to choose a new recipe and started panic baking less than 30 minutes before the entry deadline.

Pretty good for a first try!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms, rinsed and drained (10 oz)
  • 1 large carrot, finely sliced (julienne)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, finely sliced (julienne)
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth, sodium-reduced
  • 6 cups water + 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, sodium reduced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tbsp green onion, sliced
  • 1 bag uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 3 cups baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large pot.
  2. Saute mushrooms, garlic, ginger, carrots and red pepper for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add broth, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and spices.  Add onions and shrimp.  Bring to boil.  Add spinach.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Mo muffins, less problems.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup applesauce (can be flavoured, unsweetened)

1 banana, mashed

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup bran

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch cloves, nutmeg, and allspice

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350′ and prepare muffin tins.

2.  In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and the almond butter.  Add banana, applesauce and egg.  Mix well.

3.  In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

4.  Add flour mixture to almond butter mixture.  Mix well but do not over-stir.  Add remaining brown sugar and stir to combine – again, do not overmix.

5.  Divide batter into muffin tin.  Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Holidays are nuts!

Spiced nuts make delicious gifts.

Spicy Sweet Nuts

Ingredients:

1 large egg white

1 tsp salt

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne powder

1/2 tsp paprika

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 cups mixed nuts, unsalted (if salted, omit salt above)

Directions:

1.  Set oven to 325′.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk egg white in a large bowl until frothy.  Add spices and whisk until blended.

3.  Add nuts to bowl and stir to coat.

4. Add sugar to nut-spice mixture and stir well to coat.

5. Transfer nuts to prepared pans.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Stir.  Bake for 10 more minutes or until nuts are toasted and crispy.  Let cool.  Store.

This recipe may not be exact as it was over 2 weeks ago when I last made these nuts.  They were given away as gifts and I think that they were a huge success.  Recipe adapted from “Brown Sugar and Chili Spiced Nuts” recipe found in the Metro.

If this recipe taught me one thing, it’s to read the recipe before and during the baking process.  If you mix the sugar in at the same time as the spices, your nuts will turn out fine but not as nice as if you follow steps above.

Curried Lentils with Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1 can (540 mL) lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (796 mL)  diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add olive oil and onion.  Saute for 2 minutes.  Add the spices – feel free to add more than the recipe calls for – that’s how I do.  Mix well.  Cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the lentils and diced tomatoes.  Stir until well combined.
  3. Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove lid and turn heat to medium.  Add the garlic and mix well.  Add the spinach and stir until it wilts.  Serve.

This is a Liz Pearson recipe from her book Ultimate Foods For Ultimate Health.  At first I was skeptical, but I actually love this cookbook sooo much.  It has great recipes.  Because I made this recipe for Bake Off, and it had to sit and wait a while before judgment time, I added some cream to it to make it more moist.