Quick & Easy Recipe: Homemade Hummus

Quick and Easy Creamy Homemade Hummus Recipe from www.YellowTurtleFitness.com I have very specific preferences when it comes to Hummus, and often times, the store-bought stuff just doesn’t cut it. I like my Hummus to be mild, creamy, with lots of garlic, plenty of tahini, and a generous touch of cumin, paprika, and parsley. I also like it to be light and fluffy, as opposed to the pasty, glue-y stuff you find in stores.

Lucky for me, not only is it easy to make Hummus at home, but it’s also cheaper and (usually) healthier.
I like to make a batch whenever my tahini canisters(which I go through fairly quickly) get down to about 1/3 of a cup left. Then, I can refill the can with the Hummus I just made.

You can see exactly what’s going in there, and spice it exactly the way you enjoy it. If you prefer spicy hummus, just add the spices you like. Don’t like Cumin? Don’t use it. Want a black bean hummus? Switch them out with the chickpeas.
Want it to look extra fancy for a party? Throw some extra olive oil drizzle, a dash of paprika, and some extra sesame seeds on top when serving.

Serve it alongside fresh cut vegetables, cut pita bread pieces, etc – One of the easiest party appetizers ever.

Best of all, you can make a big batch of Hummus in less than 10 minutes. What are you waiting for?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tahini (doesn’t have to be exact – eyeball it)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp water (approx)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • OPTIONAL: extra sesame seeds for garnish/crunch, other spices, hot sauce, black pepper, etc

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse until creamy, fluffy, and the texture you prefer. Add more water to thin it, use less water for a thicker hummus.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container if not using right away. Will keep approximately 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

 

 

Healthier Comfort Food: Chicken & Dumplings

Healthy Comfort Food Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings from www.YellowTurtleFitness.com

Healthy Comfort Food Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings from http://www.YellowTurtleFitness.com

Chicken and Dumplings is one of my family’s favourite comfort foods when the months start turning colder. Many traditional recipes utilize butter, shortening, cream, dark meat, and/or high sodium ingredients like “cream of…” condensed soups.

It’s really not very difficult to make over this recipe to be a much healthier option.

Experiment with the basic recipe by switching out similar ingredients. For example, if you’re a vegetarian, you can alter the recipe by switching vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and by switching the chicken breast for “Chicken” meat substitutes.

You can make the dumplings yourself, or save time by using pre-made frozen dumplings(check the nutrition labels, and choose the cleanest, lowest sodium brand you can find) or a healthier brand of canned biscuits(like Immaculate Baking Co) and tearing the biscuits into small chunks. It’s quick, easy, and usually just as good(however, this will likely add more sodium and sugar to the recipe. Your call).

Serve your healthier chicken and dumplings for dinner on those upcoming chilly evenings.

INGREDIENTS

For the Dumplings:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup skim milk

For the Soup:

  • 4-5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup thawed frozen, or fresh, green peas
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/4 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for cooking
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large soup pot, pour the tbsp of olive oil, and bring to medium heat(#5 and 1/2 on numerically labeled stovetops).
  2. Throw in chicken, onion, and garlic. Saute while stirring, until onions are just turning translucent/just beginning to brown, then add carrots and celery. Allow to saute while stirring for 1-2 minutes more. Chicken does not need to be fully cooked to continue.
  3. Add in broth, peas, sage, and thyme. Bring to boil, then place lid on pot, and lower temperature to medium-low(#3 to 4 on numerical stovetops).
  4. Allow to simmer in 15 minute increments. At each 15 minute mark, stir soup thoroughly, then replace lid quickly. You will probably need to do this 2-3 times, until chicken is fully cooked and flavours have melded well.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare your dumpling batter by putting all dumpling ingredients into a bowl, and stirring until combined. Set aside.
  6. When soup is about 10-15 minutes away from being served, put remaining parsley into soup, stir, then slowly drop in large spoonfuls of dumpling batter, stirring between every few spoonfuls. If you choose to use pre-made dumplings or canned biscuit dough, make sure dumplings are thawed first, or biscuit dough is torn into pieces. Drop them in the same way, and cook the same length of time.
  7. Replace lid, and allow to cook another 10-15 minutes before ladling into soup bowls. You may choose to garnish with a liberal sprinkling of parsley and black pepper. Makes 4-5 servings. Enjoy!

Coming Soon! Individualized Online Training

onlineplansRecently, I’ve had to put some people on a waiting list, due to my schedule being maxed out, and have even had to turn a few down for being too far away for me to travel.

Therefore, I have decided to start providing 1 month workout plans online via Paypal.

Sometime within the next few weeks, I will post more details.

I’m very excited to offer this new option, and hope it enables me to help many more people. Have a great week, everyone!

Recipe: Honeycrisp Cinnamon Oats

Honeycrisp Apple & Cinnamon Oats from www.YellowTurtleFitness.comLate Summer and early Autumn is my favourite time of year for produce. Most of my favourites are abundant – figs, black grapes, concord grapes, pears, and… Honeycrisp Apples.
Yes, I know they can be expensive, but nothing beats the light, crisp, super-sweet bite of a Honeycrisp. My children’s inheritance may be smaller, but it’s totally worth it, right?

This simple recipe is perfect for chilly Autumn(or Winter) mornings. You can even prepare a large batch ahead of time, and warm it up as needed.
FYI: It’s also good cold. Similar to a rice pudding.
Of course, you can substitute any type of apple in this recipe, but I highly recommend Honeycrisp, for the superb flavour.
In the same vein, any type of oatmeal can be used, but the cooking directions are specific to Steel Cut(and recommended for their outstanding satiety and fiber content).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 extra large Honeycrisp Apple, diced (do not remove peel!) 
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 cup uncooked Steel Cut Oats
  • 4 tsp Maple Sugar (if desired, you may substitute Sucanat or Coconut Sugar)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring water and salt to boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add apples and oats to boiling water, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or until oats begin to thicken.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer; and add maple sugar and cinnamon. Continue to stir for a minute or two.
  4. Allow mixture to simmer for approximately 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick, and oats/apples are soft.
  5. Remove from heat, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

 

RECIPES: Baked Falafel & Baba Ghanoush on Pita

Recipe: Baked Falafel and Baba Ghanoush on Pita

Recipe: Baked Falafel and Baba Ghanoush on Pita

It has only now, upon typing this, occurred to me that a large number of my favourite things to make and eat are Mediterranean style. Probably at least half of my posted recipes are along those lines. So I hope you guys like them, too. haha!

This recipe can be made a few different ways. I have provided recipes for both the falafel and baba ghanoush, but you could easily use a pre-made version of either.
Just be sure to choose a brand that uses high quality, natural ingredients, and be mindful of the sodium and other additives they may have used.

You also want to make sure the falafel is baked, not fried.

It’s always best to make it yourself – you can see exactly what’s going in the dish – but I can understand being pressed for time. I did use pita bread from a bakery, rather than making it from scratch. So…do what you need to do. Just do it wisely.

If you do choose to make everything yourself, according to my recipes, I can guarantee a healthy, colourful, and delicious lunch or dinner.

First, I have included instructions for how to put it all together.
Then, I have listed below it separate recipes for the Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Spread) and Baked Falafel. 

Putting the Pita Together, as pictured:

INGREDIENTS:

- Good quality, soft pita bread (optional: warmed)
- 2 tbsp Baba Ghanoush (recipe below)
- 2-3 Baked Falafel Patties (recipe below)
- Sliced Tri-colour Bell Peppers (about a handful or two per pita)
- Sliced Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, and/or Grape Tomatoes (about a handful per pita)
- 1/4 cup Fage Plain 2% Greek Yogurt (to dip your veggies)
- 1 tbsp Sliced Kalamata Olives
- 1 large sprig of Dill, for garnish(you may also mix some of the dill in the Fage, for extra flavour)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Spread Baba Ghanoush on split and warmed pita bread
2. Place Falafel Patties, some of the sliced peppers, olives, and tomatoes in pita.
3. Serve alongside Fage and extra veggies. Garnish with Dill and olives.

BAKED FALAFEL INGREDIENTS:

- 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3-4 tbsp flour of your choice (I use whole wheat all purpose)
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped onion (I prefer yellow, but white or red onions are great to use, too)
- 1 tbsp tahini (optional. I like a little tahini in mine)
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- a few grinds of cracked pepper
- olive oil, for greasing the muffin tin

BAKED FALAFEL DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400F, and lightly mist a muffin tin with olive oil
2. Place all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor, and pulse until thick, and well combined. Mixture should NOT be smooth or super-pasty. Add small amounts of extra flour if necessary, until at desired consistency.
3. Roll mixture into equally sized balls, and place in each tin of the muffin pan. There should be just enough to fill an entire 12 count muffin tin.
4. Lightly mist the tops of the falafel balls with more olive oil.
5. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Tops should be crispy, and lightly browned when ready.

BABA GHANOUSH (EGGPLANT SPREAD) INGREDIENTS:

- 1 medium eggplant, washed and dried
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tahini(sesame paste)
- 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tbsp parsley
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- tbsp olive oil, plus extra to coat eggplant

BABA GHANOUSH DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Poke holes in eggplant, rub or mist eggplant with olive oil. Then, place on cooking sheet in oven for 25-30 minutes, until soft and well roasted.
3. Cool, peel, and mash eggplant.
4. Place eggplant mash in a food processor with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
5. Should keep well in a sealed container in refrigerator for about a week. Use as a spread or dip. Best when served cold.

 

Easy, Healthy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs w/ Spiced Honey Creme

Healthy & Easy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs with Spiced Honey CremeThis time of year, the biggest fig crops are bursting forth - bringing with it one of nature’s healthiest and most luxurious desserts.

Figs are nutritionally dense with B-vitamins, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, and lots of Fiber.

This makes them a smart snack or dessert, as well as an amazing addition to salads and entrees.

This is probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted, but I’m a huge fan of simple healthy dishes. Eating healthy never has to be difficult or especially time consuming.

Each extra large fig half with honey and walnuts is approximately 70 calories. 2 halves would probably be the ideal portion size, bringing your dessert to a very reasonable 140 calories.

Less than 150 calories for a dessert this delicious, healthy, and elegant? Amazing(not to mention impressive looking to guests, with not much work on your part)!

On with the recipe.
INGREDIENTS:
serves 4

  • 4 extra large, fresh figs
  • 3 tbsp slightly warmed Spiced Honey Creme (my favourite brand here)
  • Fresh unsalted shelled walnuts (chopped or whole. your choice) 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice each fig in half, and line up neatly on your serving plate.
  2. If using chopped walnuts, press a generous amount into the middle of each fig half. If using whole walnuts, press a walnut half into the belly of each fig.
  3. Lightly drizzle the warmed Spiced Honey Creme over the figs, concentrating most of the honey over the areas with walnuts.
  4. It’s that easy! Serve and Enjoy.

Bourbon Smoked Paprika-Lime Corn on the Cob

Bourbon Smoked Paprika-Lime Corn on the Cob recipe from www.YellowTurtleFitness.comSummer cookouts often have fatty, unhealthy side dishes, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

One of my favourite sides to make is not only super easy and delicious, but healthy, too. This time of year, the fresh corn is at its best – so get it while you can!

You can throw these on the grill for 15 minutes, as written, if you’d rather, but this particular recipe is for the oven. So you can make your Bourbon Smoked Paprika-Lime Corn on the Cob rain or shine.

*note* Regular smoked paprika is fine to use, but I prefer the bourbon smoked, and highly recommend it. 

INGREDIENTS:

Bourbon Smoked Paprika (or plain smoked paprika)
- Sea Salt
- Husked and cleaned Ears of Fresh Corn, as many as needed for your guests
- 1 or 2 limes, cut into wedges
- Aluminum foil
OPTIONAL: Cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400F, and prepare squares of foil large enough to wrap securely around each ear of corn.

2. Place each washed and husked ear of corn onto a square of foil.

3. Squeeze wedges of lime generously over each ear of corn.

4. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on each ear of corn.

5. Generously dust each ear of corn with Smoked Paprika, then roll each ear up tightly with foil, being careful not to rip foil.

6. Place all ears on a cookie sheet to catch any drips, then place in oven for at least 20 minutes.

7. Unwrap and serve! Dust with Cilantro, if desired.

Even without butter, and at only 125 calories per LARGE ear of corn, they are anything but bland. Lots of flavour, natural sweetness, and perfect for Summer(or any time!).