Chocolate Protein Cookies

The last week of my life has been consumed by work and apartment hunting, leaving me with zero time for grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. And physical activity? Well let’s just say I’ve been relying heavily on Cardio LIFE lately (hoofin it all over the city from cruddy rental to cruddy rental, is no joke…believe me).

So while I wish I could be passing along a wholesome, comfort food dinner recipe my empty fridge is telling me that just isn’t in the cards. So in the meantime these grab-and-go protein cookies are my closest approximation. Wholesome? Yup. Comforting? Definitely. Oh, and did I mention chocolatey? That’s just bonus…

One of these cookies provides you with around 10+ grams of protein and a healthy dose of dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. They can be made vegan or sugar free if that’s your scene and if you’re worried about the prep time, just double the recipe and pop half the cookies in the freezer for next time!

Chocolate Protein Cookies
Lightly adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 heaping tbsp almond butter
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used Chocolate Sun Warrior Blend)**
  • 1 large egg OR 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Sucanat OR 1/4 tsp powdered white stevia
  • 2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee (optional, but gives a nice flavour)
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins like chocolate chips, carob chips, walnuts, dried or frozen berries, etc.
**If you don’t use protein powder I think you could substitute with 1/4 cup of oat or whole wheat flour. They would still be higher protein than regular cookies because of the chickpeas. Let me know if you try this out!
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add all ingredients to your food processor except for mix-ins and blend until smooth.
  3. Scoop batter into a bowl and add mix-ins by hand. Form into balls, and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crackly on top – make sure not to overcook.

Enjoy these cookies as midday snack…Maybe paired with an Americano topped off with homemade almond milk (courtesy of MylkUncookies)? Nomm…..

I’ll be back to salads, scrambles, wraps, casseroles and stews soon but in the meantime I’ll stay a happy girl so long as I keep munching on snacks this good and coffee this delicious

Wish me luck as the hunt continues…and give these healthy little treats a try!

Get to Know a Healthy Hipster: Ryan

I am so excited to be sharing another profile today for my “Get to Know a Healthy Hipster” series and trust me this is a great one! I met Ryan when I was 5 years old and we were the only kids living on an organic farm/”intentional community”/hippie commune in rural Ontario. Since then he has become one of the most consistently inspiring people in my life, not to mention my dearest friend. As you will see from his responses, he is equal parts open-hearted, quixotic & depraved, which (if you’ve never witnessed it) is a truly captivating combination…

To read more about this series check out this post.

Name: Ryan
Occupation: Author of On Growin’ Up, Twitter-Enthusiast, Video-Editor & Public Speaker
Location: Cabbagetown, Toronto

How would you describe your style of eating?

Certified Yum-Yum Specialist. I had an eating disorder (way back) in high school, so I think that any rules of what I can and cannot eat are unhelpful. For me. If i want it, I eat it. Yum yum.

What are some of the must haves in your fridge/pantry?

Grainy mustard, balsamic vinegar, sea-salt, coffee, pepper, coloured sugar *in paint tins*, garlic, fresh limes.

Favourite local bar/venue/party to blow off steam?

I enjoy the Beaver and Buddies in Bad Times when heading out, although truth be told, it’s all about the people I’m with. I’ve also had fun singing the only English karaoke song at a Midsummer barn party near Heinola, Finland…

Me and Ryan at the Yves Saint Laurent Luminato opening gala event last year. Best. Date. Ever.

Best place to caffeinate/hydrate?

I caffeinate (much to the baristas’ dismay) at either Mylk Uncookies or Jet Fuel Coffee. Although, I also venture to F’Coffee near Queen and Broadview when I want a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich, wonderful banter with the owner Rob, and the best chocolate f’cookie there is.

Ryan takes his overpriced coffee beverages as seriously as I do.

Greatest hero of fiction?

Who reads (fiction) anymore? ducks under rocks and behind the place where people borrow things for several weeks and return them, even more used…oh yeah a libary. I’ve always thought that Karana from Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins was pretty neat. She had lots of courage and was more resourceful than MacGyvor. Oh, and MacGyvor second.
**Can I just say right now this is one of my all time favourite books and Ryan BLEW ME AWAY with this response. Seriously amazingtown.

[Source]

Favourite ways to get active?

I like the idea of boxing. So I joined a gym and had the crap boxed out of me. Thank God for yoga to ease those emotional and physical bruises. Although, I am gonna run a marathon at some point and maybe go back to boxing. I felt pretty tough, for about 7 min.

Who were you in high school?

I was a bit of an emo child who was certain no one liked him. And then, when my yearbook was full of signatures (do people still do that?) I decided that everyone in the school was conspiring against me to make me think I was popular, when in fact I wasn’t. What a great way to feel! Luckily, I left high school and joined the workforce, where these pathetic insecurities could rage onwards endlessly. Just kidding, I work for myself. 😉

You’re on death row, whats your last supper?

I have been going crazy with salads lately. I put a huge handful of lettuce-or-equivalent into a bowl and then make a maple-balsamic-grainy mustard-sesame oil dressing *add those to my pantry must-haves* and then load on whatever I want. Usually avocado. Today: wild rice, soft boiled egg, and some pepitas. One thing’s for certain, whether I’m over my Salad Phase or not by the time I’m on death row, I won’t want to die with Chicken Parmesan and some garlicy linguine breath. No one will want my organs after that.

Most played song on your ipod?

Robyn’s Show Me Love, performed live in Stockholm. 2nd most played: B4-4’s Get Down.

**I must add here that there was once a day when me and Ryan shared ipod headphones and sang Robyn songs at full volume whilst skipping down College St. arm in arm for the better part of an hour. #SoulMates.

And in case you’re not feeling inspired enough…check out this video Ryan made a few years back in response to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty…If this doesn’t make your Sunday, I don’t know what will.

Finding Stability: At-Home Yoga/Strength Fusion Workout

This was just one of those weeks for me where everything felt like it was in upheaval. I’ve been apartment hunting, job hunting (I love what I do but am searching for something more permanent and stable), spring cleaning and even re-evaluating friendships. My family members, though loving and endlessly supportive, are each facing their own set of transitions right now, which leaves me without that “home base” feeling that others rely on in times of change. In other words life, as of late, has lacked any semblance of stability.

Oh and then I cut off all my hair…. 

Ignore my pouty expression, I actually love it. 🙂

In times like these, developing my physical strength, flexibility and balance reminds me that these are qualities I inherently possess and I can trust that (with a little patience) my life will manifest them as well.

So today I am sharing a stability-promoting, at-home, equipment-free, totally empowering and energizing Yoga/Strength Circuit Workout. It takes around 20 minutes and is structured in a pyramid, “superset” format.

  • Pyramid because you work your muscles hardest in the middle but begin and end with lower impact yoga postures
  • Supersets because you complete two excersizes in the same muscle group back to back with no rest between.
  • Fusion because each superset is made up of one yoga-inspired move and 1 strength-inspired move

If you require instruction on any of the exercises I mention here are some useful links:

Basic Sun Salutation
PlankBicycle Crunches
Side Plank
Warrior 2
Lunges
Donkey Kicks
Bridge 

Do you find comfort in physical activity when life leaves you reeling?
What are some of the most “empowering” yoga poses or strength training exercises you do? 

Wholesome Pancake Wednesday: Savoury Blinis

I apologize for being a little late for Pancake Tuesday but since I’m not much for Lent maybe you can forgive me? In return I’m giving you a totally guilt-free (not to mention allergy-free) recipe for savoury pancakes that you can enjoy on Pancake Tuesday and then every day after that since they are free of animal products, fat, sugar and pretty much anything else you might want to give up! As for me, I’ll be enjoying these with a big slather of earth balance, a side of caramelized onions & some freshly smoked salmon…plus a few squares bar of dark chocolate for dessert. To each their own. 🙂

If you’ve never had a traditional blini the concept of a savoury buckwheat pancake might sound a little strange. But when you think of it as chewy, warm, fresh cooked pan bread…things start to sound a whole lot more delicious. I even managed to sneak some extra veggies into this recipe too…cause I just couldn’t help myself.

So go ahead…try something new for dinner this week! Who knows? You might just want to eat them for 40 days straight…

Savoury Blini Pancakes
(Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp buckwheat flour, ground fresh from buckwheat groats for a lighter flavour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup mashed cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned sea salt like herbamare
  • 1/2 cup + 2tbsp hot water

Directions

  1. Stir dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add water stir until well combined.
  3. Scoop batter using a 1/4 cup measuring cup and fry on a lightly oiled/sprayed griddle or pan for 2-3 minutes/side.

Optional Substitutions:

– if you don’t have coconut flour use extra buckwheat or gluten-free flour
– swap out whatever leftover veggies you have on hand for the cauliflower: mashed potatoes, squash, pumpkin or carrots would probably work well

Check out this post for more information on the nutritional benefits of inexpensive, high protein, whole grain buckwheat…it’s definitely one of my all time favourite grains when prepared correctly. Even more reasons to eat pancakes for dinner! 🙂

Healthy Hipster Q&A + A Long Weekend Roundup

Good morning everyone! And those of you living in Ontario Happy Family Day! Is that the worst name for a civic holiday of all time? Possibly. But I have a long weekend in February so who’s complaining?

First up, some exciting news! The Healthy Hipster was featured by Toronto-based sassfactory & pilates instructor extraordinaire Brittany on her blog Fine Tune Pilates. So if you want to hear me rant about exercise trends, scrawny hipsters, the fine art of gym fashion & songs I can’t stop listening to….Read the interview here.

I haven’t spent much time at home over the long weekend so my eats have been extremely grab and go. Reheated steel cut oats, almond butter & jam sandwiches, crackers, baby carrots & fennel, heaps of hummus & about 3 bars of dark chocolate have been my main sources of sustenance. Since these don’t sound like pretty pictures to me, I figured I would dedicate today to a photo journal of the things I officially deemed more important than elaborate meals this weekend.

Stuff I bought:

Tickets for two shows I am crazy excited for in March.

This almond milk cortado @ Capitol Espresso in Parkdale.

New jewellery. I saw this in a little vintage store and immediately exclaimed “IS THAT AN EAR CUFF!? ” Clearly it is now MY ear cuff.

Stuff I did:

Stopped into one of my favourite bars up on Bloor St. West The Piston…Don’t let the all black paint job or the lack of sign fool ya, it’s a friendly little spot that also happens to host some great live music shows. Thursday was no exception as one of my absolute favourite Halifax import bands The Taste tore the place down with swoonworthy Harry Nilsson style pop jams.

The Piston. Source: BlogTO

I also popped into Nobody Writes to the Colonel to wish a happy birthday to my good pal Graham Wright. I’d never been to this spot before but it’s warm, cozy atmosphere put everyone in a particularly adorable mood I think.

[Cute, fuzzy red pics courtesy of Spencer MacEachern]

Friday was a big ol’ Motown dance party called The Big Sound, featuring a local Toronto indie bands singin nothin but the hits. It. Was. Amazing. Don’t believe me? Watch this.

And you guessed it, I’m off again to enjoy this last day of long weekend freedom! Although I must say I’m looking forward to posting some new recipes this week as domestic self is feeling rather abandoned at the  moment and the kitchen is calling my name!

EAT EM UP: SATURDAY LINKS

London-based, Nigerian-born designer Duro Olowu serves up a visual feast of West African, 70s inspired print. [TMagazine]

Fashion how-to: defrumping oversized sweaters.  [Refinery 29]

A visual history of Toronto’s yuppie-laden Liberty Village before all the loft conversions. [BlogTO]

Au Revoir Simone stole Miu Miu’s glasses…allegedly. Sweet melodies be damned, I always knew those girls were trouble. [NylonMag]

More reasons to love David Lynch. [Guardian]

Montreal electro-pop singer Grimes loves Mariah Carey & Tumblr. Displays passive aggressive disdain for Lykke Li. [Pitchfork]

Science still doesn’t understand female orgasms, but wants you to have more of them. [Women’s Health]

Happy Saturday Procrastination Day!

Weekend Meal Prep: Crockpot Chicken Chili Verde

The crockpot doesn’t always get a lot of play on the weekends as it has a reputation of being used exclusively for Monday-Friday (aka. boring) dinners. But I think it’s actually a great idea to prep yourself a simple crockpot meal on a Friday so that you can something wholesome and delicious in the fridge before the busy weekened hits. For me, having food like this prepared at home helps me avoid mindless spending on lunches and dinners so I can save your pennies for the fun stuff like cocktails, movies, galleries, concerts and general weekend fun and/or debauchery.

As an added cost-saving bonus, this was a great way to turn my two organic, free-range, locally sourced and ridiculously expensive chicken breasts into 4 meals rather than two by adding vegetables and protein-rich white beans.

Chicken and White Bean Chili Verde

Ingredients

  • 2 whole skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 tbsp flour (unbleached white, spelt or GF rice flour)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can of tomatillos, mashed very well or quickly run through a food processor
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp chili seasonings (1.5 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, .5 tsp paprika)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups cooked white beans

Directions

  1. Dredge chicken breasts in flour mixed with a little salt and pepper. Add to a slow cooker.
  2. Cover chicken breasts with veggies, beans, seasonings, vegetable broth & crushed tomatillos.
  3. Cook 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.
  4. Remove chicken about 30 min- 1 hr from the end of cooking and shred in a bowl using two forks. Return to crockpot.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

Serve with nachos, on brown rice or on a bed of lightly steamed kale. Top with salsa, greek yogurt, hot sauce, fresh cilantro or cheese.

EAT MORE Shopping List 2

Thought I would follow up with another shopping list based on my EAT MORE meal planning series. This week I ended up buying mostly produce and a few odds and ends to fill out the standard pantry items listed in my cheat sheet. I also listed some of the items I already had in my pantry/freezer in italics just to refresh your memory.

Click to Print

This is what my groceries looked like when I got home. Basically a forest.

And I was pretty proud with the sum total of this epic grocery haul…

Not too shabby…

I’ve already busted out the crockpot and I can’t wait to share some of the recipes I have planned with you later this week.

In the meantime, here is how I’ve been fueling up lately.

 This was the a meal I made at home using the dregs of my last grocery shop: 

1/2 smashed Japanese sweet potato (love these)
tofu & broccoli stem scramble
small mixed green salad with pepitas & pecans

Some restaurant fare at Sadie’s Vegan Diner

Mixed bean chili served on greens & topped with a poached egg and a bottle of hot sauce
…and yes I ordered the poached egg on the side, then put it on top. Reminded me of the Pisto with Egg I used to eat in Spain…I should really whip up a batch of that…SO good. 

Valentine’s Day dinner, anyone? 

I went to to town at Sushi Shop . My plate (pictured at the back) included veggie sushi, avocado/bbq eel dragon roll, salmon sashimi & bean curd/shitake mushroom sushi. Plus an unpictured green salad & half a bowl of miso soup.
SUSHI COMA BLISS.

I’m off to make some lunch with all these new groceries then heading over to Social Media Week, Toronto for some really great sounding workshops geared towards the uber-nerdy media savvy. Hope you all have a happy, productive Thursday! 🙂

Healthy Living in an Urban Context

Good morning! How’s everyone managing with their emotional hangovers after Valentine’s Day? A little too much intensity maybe? Some high highs? Some low lows? Hours of self-contemplative processing with friends or partners?

Well it’s a new day and you can take comfort in the fact that all your drama does not have to get sorted out right now. Sure, decisions will need to be made but that will happen naturally in time and all this social pressure won’t help things along. So I suggest a February 15th emotional detox.

Read a magazine. Watch Downton Abbey. Return to that pile of abandoned knitting. Give that brain of yours the distractions it craves and your emotional well-being will thank you.

My contribution to your day of distraction? Go check out my guest post over at The Balance Project as part of the Canadian Healthy Living Blogger Series. I was honoured to participate in this series although I was pretty intimidated by the task of single-handedly representing Toronto. But I tried my best to write from my own experience while providing some helpful tips for cityfolks in general…I really hope you enjoy it!

Here’s a link to my post focusing on…

The Top 3 Obstacles to Healthy Living in An Urban Context (And How to Overcome Them!)

So far there have been posts from Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario & Yellowknife – you can check them all out here!

Rustic Chocolate Hazelnut Tartelettes

I had big plans for my Valentines Day recipe. I was going to make something rich, indulgent and totally unique. Then life came along and I found myself in the suburbs yesterday helping my grandparents grocery shop…only to return home to my own empty cupboards. And so went my best laid plans….

Still, I was committed to making something delicious for myself and the special people in my life to wake up to tomorrow. So I improvised. I used what I had on hand, in the quantities I had on hand. A few squares of dark chocolate, a bit of flour, a little coconut oil and some of this sweet, decadant hazelnut butter  made locally on Manitoulin Island. And low and behold, I ended up creating something that was a little bit…great.

The crust in this recipe is quite basic. But it’s dairy free, simple & has the taste and flaky texture of toasty pie crust edges if that makes sense to you. The hazelnut & chocolate layers are smooth and satisfying and taste like the love child of a ferrero rocher and a boston cream doughnut.

So even though the result wasn’t anything like I’d expected or planned, I made it work and happened upon something quite lovely and special. And since we’re on the sappy Valentine’s theme, wouldn’t you say this same principle applies to your very best relationships? I’ve loved some truly lovely, truly special people in my life and none of them were anything like I could have predicted but I’m all the better for knowing them.

Rustic Chocolate Hazelnut Tartelettes
(Vegan)

For the crust

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour (or white flour)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1.5 tbsp sucanat
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Mix flour with COLD coconut oil, using your fingers or a fork to mash until crumbly.
  2. Add in sugar, salt and ice water 1 tbsp at a time. Adjust water/flour combination if necessary until dough is dense but rolls easily.
  3. Separate dough into 4 parts. Use your hands to roll each section into a ball then use a rolling pin or saran wrap covered wine bottle to flatten out dough. I did this on a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  4. Transfer rolled out dough into well greased muffin cups, removing excess dough around the edges. If you want, go around the edges of each pastry cup with a fork to give the edges that “ribbed” look. Repeat with the other 3 tart shells.

For the filling

  • 1.5 tbsp hazelnut butter (peanut butter would be delicious substitution, I’m sure)
  • 1 tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 squares dark chocolate (1/4 dark chocolate bar)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp sucanat
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2tbsp water

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of almond milk to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Stir in nut butter and honey and stir until melted.
  3. Combine cornstarch and water and add to milk mixture, stirring vigorously for about a minute until thick. Taste and adjust sweetener to taste (I used a sweetened nut butter so you may require a bit more).
  4. Pour into pastry cups, filling about 2/3 of the way.
  5. Back in the sauce pan, add another 1/2 cup almond milk and melt in dark chocolate and sucanat. Mix cornstarch and water then add to pot, stirring vigorously for about a minute or until thick.
  6. Top hazelnut filling with chocolate sauce, leaving at least 1 inch of room at the top of each pastry cup.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until pastry has browned and filling is set.

Yields 4 large tarts or 8 mini tarts. 

I’d love to hear some of your favourite unexpected success stories in love, life or baking!