Spiked Watermelon Mint Refresher

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Spiked Watermelon Mint Refresher

I’ve been a bit obsessed with making watermelon juice lately!  It takes just 1 min to make and I find it sooo refreshing on a hot summer day.  It’s basically just watermelon that is first blended then strained which makes it naturally sweet and delicious.  I like to make it and use the juice in a couple of different ways.  If I am looking for a little extra flavour in my water,  I’ll add a tbsp to sparkling water for a non alcoholic option or when I’m feeling like a tasty craft cocktail,  I’ll add it to a little vodka!

Typically a lot of craft cocktails have added sugar or simple syrup in them.  I personally don’t love super sweet drinks and prefer to skip the added sugar.  I find the watermelon juice adds the perfect amount of natural sweetness.  That being said if you like your drinks on the sweet side, you are welcome to add a touch of simple syrup!!  I’ve been experimenting with different concoctions and I finally found one I like.  I call it The Spiked Watermelon Refresher and it’s one of my favourite summer drinks.  With the fresh juice, lemon, and mint it really is full of flavour and one I’m sure you will like!!

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE WATERMELON JUICE:

1 cup diced watermelon (rinds removed)

FOR THE WATERMELON COCKTAILS:

Handful of mint leaves
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup watermelon juice (see above)
3/4 cup soda water                                                                                                                                 4 small lemon wedges (optional, for garnish)
4 small watermelon slices (optional, for garnish)

DIRECTIONS

FOR THE WATERMELON JUICE:

1. Place chopped watermelon in a food processor. Blend until watermelon is smooth.

2. Place a wire strainer over a large mixing bowl and strain watermelon juice into the bowl. You may need to strain the juice more than once to remove all of the solid pieces – you want a smooth watermelon juice!

3. Set juice aside.

FOR THE WATERMELON COCKTAILS:

1. Add the mint to a large cocktail shaker and muddle with a spoon to start releasing some of the flavor.

2. Add vodka, lemon juice, and watermelon juice to cocktail shaker. Add a handful of ice and shake to chill.

3. Put a handful of ice in each of four drinking glasses and divide watermelon cocktail evenly between glasses.

4. Garnish with a mint leaf, a lemon wedge, and a watermelon slice (optional) and serve immediately.

Cheers!

Xo Chelsea

Marinated Chicken Souvlaki

Marinated Chicken Souvlaki

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BBQ season is in full swing and these Marinated Chicken Souvlaki skewers are a perfect way to eat healthy this summer.  They take 5 mins to prepare, 2 hours to marinate (for the best flavour), and another 15 mins to BBQ.   I like to serve them with tzatziki, a big Greek salad, and a side of pita bread.  The fresh squeezed lemon, garlic, olive oil, and oregano give these a zesty flavour that is sure to impress everyone in the family.

This marinade also works well with tofu, lamb, or beef so you can use the protein of your choice.  You can also add cut up bell peppers on the skewers if you want to add extra veggies.  If I’m entertaining I like to make them with peppers to add some colour.  I just lightly coat the veggies with olive oil before grilling and then I sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper. I also often make my own garlic tzatziki sauce and have included the recipe below.  Happy Grilling!

Chicken Souvlaki Marinade

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces

6 wooden skewers

Greek Yogurt Tzatziki

Ingredients:

1 (6 oz) container plain unsweetened Greek-style yogurt

1/2 english cucumber peeled and grated

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp white vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pinch salt

 

Directions:

  1. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, 2 cloves minced garlic, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large resealable bag. Add chicken, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Mix yogurt, cucumber, 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1 pinch salt together in a bowl. Refrigerate tzatziki sauce for flavors to blend, 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Pre-heat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Soak wooden skewers in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto the soaked skewers. Discard unused marinade.
  5. Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently until nicely browned on all sides and chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 8 minutes per side. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

Enjoy!

xo Chelsea

 

Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

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Now this is what I call ‘fast food’.  This creamy Basil Pesto Pasta can be whipped up in less than 15 mins and is a family favourite around here.  The pesto is really easy to make and I often put it on top of whole wheat pasta noodles or Zucchini noodles if I’m wanting to keep things light.

Basil is one of the herbs I like to grow at home as we use so some much of it.  I love how versatile it is and that it can be added to so many dishes.  We love using pesto for marinating meats, adding it to garlic bread, or mixing it with our favourite noodles.  It takes just a few cups of fresh basil, a little parmesan cheese, garlic, some pine nuts, and you have a super satisfying sauce in no time.

I like to add cherry tomatoes, additional parmesan cheese, and extra basil if I’m making pasta.  When marinating shrimp I generously brush it on and then throw them on the BBQ for a quick and easy summer meal.  It also is amazing sandwiched between slices of french bread for a delicious garlic toast.  The options really are endless when it comes to finding ways to use up this tasty basil pesto sauce!

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Fresh Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts

Directions:

1. Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender.

2. Blend to a smooth paste.

3. Enjoy!

xo Chelsea

 

 

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

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Now that summer is upon us I’m always looking for new salad recipes.  This Mediterranean Chickpea Salad is a spin-off of your traditional Greek salad and it’s really delicious.

It’s loaded with lots of goodies and has basically everything except the kitchen sink!  The sun-dried tomatoes, mint, parsley, and chickpeas really take the flavour to the next level. The chickpeas add some good protein and I used a local goat Feta which added the perfect amount of saltiness.

This salad is perfect to bring to your next summer BBQ!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Ingredients

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 cucumber diced

4 Roma tomatoes diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)

1/2 red onion diced

250 grams of feta cheese crumbled or cubed

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil chopped fine

1 can black olives (or your favourite olives) sliced

3 tbsp mint chopped

1/4 cup flat parsley chopped

Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic (I added 2 but love garlic)

1-2 lemon juiced (I used 2 as my lemons were small)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Dash of Salt and Pepper

Instructions

1.  Make the dressing by placing the dressing ingredients in a container with a lid and shake up.  Or use a blender to emulsify.  Place the dressing in the fridge.

2.  Chop all your veggies and place them in a bowl with your chopped parsley, mint, and chickpeas.  I like to leave a little extra mint and parsley for using as a garnish at the end!

3.  Pour dressing over the salad.  You likely won’t need all the dressing.  I added approx half and then mixed everything to see how it looked.  Everyone has their own preference on how much dressing they like and I personally don’t like when it gets too soggy.

4.  Add the cubed Feta and toss again.

5.  Place the salad in the fridge until ready to serve.  Remove and toss before serving. This is where I will add more dressing if it seems to need it.

6. Garnish with crumbled feta, parsley, and mint if you like.

7. Enjoy!

xo Chelsea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Berry Oat Muffins

Healthy Berry Oat Muffins

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These simple, healthy berry muffins are a perfect example of how I don’t like to overcomplicate things when I bake.  I like fresh food that is easy to make and doesn’t take up a lot of my time.   I’m busy and I’m sure you are too.  So as with most of my recipes, my philosophy is good food in a short amount of time.  Simple dishes that are easy to re-create but packed with good nutrition and healthy ingredients.

These muffins are soft and fluffy, made with whole wheat, contain as many blueberries/raspberries as I could squeeze into the batter, and are basically everything an oatmeal muffin should be. No more. No less.

There is absolutely nothing fancy about them, which, as it turns out, is what makes them perfect in every way.  You’ll find them equally comfortable beside a cup of black coffee as they are with yogurt for an afternoon snack. The light amount of butter makes the blueberry muffins rich but not too rich to deserve their “healthy” designation, and a handful of oatmeal gives them a more satisfying texture.

They are low-calorie but packed with whole wheat and oats for a good boost of fibre.  They are perfect for a healthy breakfast or as a snack.  You can also use dairy free milk, coconut oil instead of butter, and coconut sugar instead of brown sugar to fit your dietary preferences!  The true star of these healthy muffins, however, is the berries themselves. They’re snuggled into every bite, with the tender, buttery muffin batter enhancing, not overpowering, their juicy taste.

 

YIELD: 12 muffins                                                                                                                        PREP TIME: 10 minutes                                                                                                               COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour, divided
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder (I prefer aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk or almond milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or coconut oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries or raspberries or a combo.  I did half and half!

 

Directions

  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and pre-heat to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with paper liners, then coat the liners with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients to the well, then carefully stir with a wooden spoon, just until blended.
  4. Gently toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour, then fold them into the batter, discarding any excess flour that doesn’t stick to the blueberries. (This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.)
  5. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven, and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

 

Store leftover healthy blueberry muffins in the fridge or wrap individually in plastic, place in a ziplock bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.

Xo Chelsea

Healthy Carrot Cake Granola Bars

Carrot Cake Granola Bars

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I’m always looking for healthy snack ideas for my kids and for different ways I can sneak in veggies that they won’t oppose.  I found this recipe from Pinterest and absolutely love it!  It’s from the girls at Super Healthy Kids and they have some great recipes for picky eaters.  The recipe and all the photos are theirs and not mine but it was too good not to share!!

I don’t know about you but my kids can be picky especially my toddler.  If he even spots a veggie these days he immediately puts up his hand and says ‘gross’.  Like how did he even learn that??!  While I love his funny little personality his picky eating habits drive me crazy.   I’m always worrying that he is not getting enough nutrients and eating enough nourishing food when he needs it the most.  That’s where I have to get creative and try to make things that secretly contain veggies.

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My kids love granola bars so I just had to try these carrot ones.  They are full of healthy ingredients and use natural honey rather than processed white sugar so I feel good about them eating them.  The flax, nuts, oats, and almond Butter add protein, healthy fat, good fibre, to help keep the kids full without all the junk you can find in some store bought bars.

They are also made with flax egg instead of real eggs to help the ingredients bind so it’s great for anyone who may be allergic to eggs.  These remind me of those crunchy Nature Valley bars I used to have as a kid.  These are similar in crunch but are a healthier version and are really easy to make.  I hope you like them as much as I do!!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon – flaxseed, ground
2 1/2 tablespoon – water
1 3/4 cup – oats, dry
1/2 cup – pecans, chopped
2/3 cup – raisins, seedless
1 medium – carrot
1/3 cup – coconut flakes
2 teaspoon – cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon – salt
1/2 cup – honey
1/4 cup – almond butter

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a 3 quart baking dish with parchment paper.

2. Combine ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl to make a flaxseed “egg.” Allow to sit for 10 minutes to congeal.

3. Pulse oats and nuts in a food processor until semi-finely chopped but not powdery. (This helps them to bind into a bar better than when they are left whole or chunky).

4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine pulsed oats and nuts, raisins, grated carrot, coconut, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

5. In a microwave safe bowl, heat honey and almond butter for 20 seconds, or until easy to stir together.

6. Add the honey/almond butter mixture and flaxseed egg to the medium bowl with oat mixture. Stir until fully mixed.

7. Pour mixture into lined baking dish and spread out until it is even and about 1/2 inch thick (mixture likely will not cover the entire length of the baking dish).
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges slightly brown.

8. Remove from the over and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting bars. Let cool completely before removing and eating bars.

Makes approximately 12-14 bars.

xo Chelsea 

 

Classic Vinaigrette Dressing

Classic Vinaigrette Dressing

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This dressing is really simple to make and it’s always a big hit when I’m entertaining.  It’s my husband’s favourite and I’ve stopped buying store bought dressing for a few years now because we love it so much. It is made from natural ingredients that I always have around the house and seriously takes just 5 mins to make.

I love that it is made using apple cider vinegar, has no added preservatives, and it’s made with heart healthy olive oil.  As some of you may know, apple cider vinegar has many nutritional benefits.  It helps to detoxify the body, aids in weight loss, balances your pH levels, and helps to balance blood sugars.  The list really goes on and on for apple cider vinegar so I try to incorporate it in my recipes when I can.  I do add honey to mine as I like a tiny bit of sweetness to balance out the tanginess of the dressing but if you are trying to cut sugar or like your dressing tart feel free to skip the honey!

Ingredients:

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 lemon juiced

1 clove of garlic minced

1/2-1 tbsp honey

1/3 olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 dash of pepper to taste

Instructions:

Mix together all ingredients except for the olive oil.  Once mixed slowly whisk in your olive oil or blend in a blender.  Separation is normal after it has been sitting for a period of time. Just whisk up or shake your dressing in a jar to emulsify.

*This dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and yeilds approx 1/2 cup when prepared.  I put mine in a sealed mason jar so I have dressing on hand when I need it!

I hope you enjoy it!

Xo Chelsea

 

Watermelon Popsicles

Watermelon Popsicles 

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How pretty are these watermelon popsicles??!  I just love how colourful they are and my kids love them too.

With the weather getting a little warmer and summer just around the corner I’ve been trying out new popsicle recipes for healthy treats at home.  Using all natural fruit, no processed sugar or preservatives, these are a great option for a guilt free treat.  They are naturally low in calories, are packed full of immune boosting vitamin C, and have a good source of vitamin A.  They also contain potassium which helps to balance fluids in the body and keeps you hydrated.

These popsicles are also dairy free, vegan, and gluten-free if anyone has any dietary restrictions!!

Ingredients

2 cups Watermelon, diced (seeds removed)
1 cup Strawberries
½ cup coconut milk, regular or light
1 cup Kiwi, diced

Instructions

1. In a food processor or blender, puree the watermelon and strawberries until smooth and set aside.

2. Puree the kiwi until smooth and set aside.

3. In your mold, fill ⅔ way with your watermelon puree. Freeze this layer for 30 minutes.

4. For the next layer pour in a layer of coconut milk on top of the frozen watermelon, leaving room for the kiwi layer on top. Pop back in the freezer for another 30 minutes.

5. Pour the pureed kiwi on top of the frozen coconut milk. Freezing in between layers gives you lovely clean layering.

6. Cover mold, add sticks and freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight. They will keep in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.

TIP: Run the molds under warm water to loosen up the popsicles.

xo Chelsea

Blueberry Chia Jam

Blueberry Chia Seed Jam

Looking for a healthy jam that is not loaded with sugar?? This Chia Seed jam is really easy to make and it has just 4 ingredients.

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Made with natural sugar, fresh fruit, and Chia seeds it is a perfect complement to those who are trying to eat healthy.  The gelling power of these tiny little seeds, allows us to transform a few cups of ripe fruit into a low-sugar, spreadable, spoonable, jam in about 20 mins!

Chia seeds are a superfood and are packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, they are rich in fibre and protein, and they turn any liquid into a thick gel.  They absorb several times their mass in liquid, creating a jelly-like substance in the process.  The jam works great on top of toast, added to yogurt, or as an ice-cream toper!

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Ingredients

• 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

• 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste

• 1 to 2 tablespoons honey, agave, maple syrup, or sugar, to taste

• 2 tablespoons chia seeds, plus more if needed.  TIP: Blend your Chia seeds first if you don’t want jam with seeds in it. Some people don’t like how Chia seeds get stuck in your teeth so you can pre-blend them to make them fine which will give you a jam with a smoother consistency.

Instructions

1. Prepare the fruit as needed: Remove stems and wash blueberries.

2. Cook the fruit until it starts to break down: Transfer the fruit to a saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until the fruit breaks down and becomes syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Mash the fruit with the back of a spatula or a potato masher, leaving it as smooth or as lumpy as you like.

4. Stir in the honey and lemon juice: Off the heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of the honey and lemon juice. Taste and add more honey or lemon juice to taste.

5. Stir in the chia seeds (I blend mine in a food processor first) and let stand 5 minutes, until thickened: This won’t quite reach the firm consistency of regular jam, but it will noticeably thicken. If you’d like a thicker consistency, especially with very juicy fruits, stir in more chia seeds 1 teaspoon at a time.

7. Transfer to a jar or other storage container: Once the jam has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to a jar or other storage container. Store in the fridge for about 2 weeks. The jam will thicken further and become more set once completely chilled. The jam can also be frozen for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge before using.

Recipe Notes

No-cook chia jam: Mash the fresh fruit with a fork until pulpy and juicy, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. You can also combine all the ingredients in a blender, or use an immersion blender, and blend until the jam is completely smooth.

Uncooked chia jam tends to be a bit looser and more sauce-like than the stove top version; add extra chia seeds if you’d like a thicker consistency.

Enjoy!

Xo Chelsea

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Oat Cookies

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Oat Cookies

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I call these little treats Mookies!!  They are a super healthy banana cookie with a thick chewy texture.  Made with ripe bananas, oats, and natural peanut butter they are made from whole foods with no added sugar, eggs, flour, or dairy!  They are quick and easy to make and you can add you favourite mix -in like chocolate chips (these obviously add sugar but I like a little dark chocolate in mine!), raisins or a combo of both if you like!

My family loves these for breakfast or as a healthy snack! We hope you like them too!

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Ingredients

2 large mashed bananas

1 cup oatmeal (raw normal Oats or quick Oats)

1 heaping spoonful of natural peanut butter or almond butter (1-2 tbsp)

Dash of cinnamon

Optional:

Chocolate chips, nuts, raisins… 2- 3 tbsp of your favourite add in!

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mash banana in a mixing bowl.

3. Add peanut butter and mix together.

4. Stir in Oats and cinnamon.

5.  Add chocolate chips, nuts, etc and stir until mixed into batter.

6. Drop by the spoonful onto a baking pan.

7. Bake for 15 mins or until slightly browned and let cool.

8. Enjoy!!

xo Chelsea