Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten Free!)

I like to think of myself as a generally levelheaded person. However, every once in a while, something (like an EXAM maybe?) sends me totally into orbit.

Over time, I’ve learned that the natural answer to this is taking a mini-break. I’ve already gone for a run today, and the late-night studying had me craving something sweet. Since I’m still working in Sechelt, there aren’t any grocery stores open at 9 PM. I decided to try making healthy-ish cookies with what I had on hand – here’s what I came up with :)

Almond Butter and Oat Cookies

Makes 14 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (in hindsight these are a little oat-y, so if you want to decrease the oats that’s probably fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (I like more!)
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Depending on your oats quantity, you might need to add some flour to thicken the batter – you want it to be pretty thick! If you want to keep the cookies gluten free, I think almond flour would work really well!

Combine everything in a bowl. Bake at 350 deg F for 10-11 minutes. Cool and enjoy! 

 

 

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Zucchini Breakfast Muffins

This is part of a Friday series where I share easy recipes that keep us full throughout the week. Check out previous posts here

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You guys. I have been on the quest for a really good jumbo muffin recipe for a long time, and I think I might have found it. These are just the right amount of fluffy, slightly sweet without making me feel like I’m eating cake for breakfast, and super easy to grab in the morning!

I adapted the recipe from this cool “recipe builder“. Basically you enter information about the flavours you want to incorporate, and the site makes you a recipe. Unfortunately, they don’t have zucchini as an option, but I really love it in muffins so I figured it out.

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Ingredients

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a muffin tin, including the top – this is so key for helping you release large muffins! Line with muffin cups.

Combine flour, protein, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, hemp hearts in a bowl. Gently whisk to combine.

In a separate small bowl, combine eggs, sugar, yogurt, zucchini, bananas, and almond milk. Whisk lightly.

Make a small well in the centre of the dry ingredients bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and use a spatula to fold the batter together. It will be thick – you should just barely be able to incorporate the flour.

Use an ice cream scooper to fill each well with batter – the more full, the bigger the domes of your muffins will be.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. The muffins should be golden when you take them out.

Makes 10-12 muffins.

**Note: you can easily make these vegan! Just substitute flax eggs for the actual eggs, and applesauce for the yogurt (just reduce to about 1/3 cup applesauce). 

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Recent Eats

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that we were eating the same meals over and over again, and probably relying just a little too much on quick options and convenience foods. Luckily, living in Vancouver means there’s a lot of healthy fast food options around, but man, it can get expensive. 

I decided to make an effort to prep more at the beginning of the week, so we’d always have easy options on hand at home. Of course, the post-long-run-whole-foods-latte-and-muffin game is still strong.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share some of the lunch, dinner, breakfast and snack options we munch on! This is a quick, packable lunch that was a hit this week.

Spiralized Zucchini Mediterranean Bowl

Serves 3. Prep time 30 mins.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brussels sprouts
  • 1 package frozen shrimp (peeled, de-veined and tails removed)
  • 1 small can chick peas
  • 2-3 heaping cups spiralized zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2+2 tbsp olive oil (divided), plus more for dressing
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder

Directions

Prep the brussels sprouts: Preheat oven to 425 deg. Slice sprouts in half, and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil. Season with black pepper and a tiny bit of garlic powder. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy.

Prep the shrimp: Sauté the shrimp with 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat, until shrimp are golden-pink.

While shrimp and sprouts are cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients. In a large salad bowl, combine rinsed chick peas with spiralized zucchini (I use this awesome tiny spiralizer!). Add olives, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. Once cooled, add the sautéed shrimp and brussels sprouts.

Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, and toss with a little more olive oil. When adding salt, remember that the parmesan and feta will have already added some salty flavours!

Tip: if you’re making this the night before, like I did for a packed lunch, save the dressing step until the morning. It helps keep everything from getting too soggy. If you’re looking for something a little heartier, it would be great to substitute whole wheat spaghetti for the zucchini!

If you’re looking to make this dish vegetarian, it would also be great with tofu instead of shrimp, or bulked up with extra chick peas and lentils!

Have a great weekend!

Rock N Roll Vancouver Half Marathon – Race Report

 

IMG_4900I’m back again with another sporadic update/race recap! I had an amazing weekend full of friends and running and even a little bit of work, but it felt like the perfect balance. Friday night was a visit to the expo to pick up race bibs and impromptu dinner with friends (We ate at a new-to-me Vancouver restaurant, Bellagio. I had a big salad with salmon on top = yumm).

Saturday started off with (Belgian, duh) waffles at Nero, which is just the best low key way to start a weekend day. Then it was errands, work, more running around and cleaning up in anticipation of Sunday.

Bright and early Sunday morning I joined a bunch of new Vancouver friends and we headed to the start line of the Rock n Roll Vancouver half marathon. This was my first time running an RnR race, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it sure was big. There were 15 corrals (that I could see)!

Jan is still a few weeks post-marathon, so he agreed to pace me instead of racing hard. I was looking for something under 1:45, so we lined up at the front of the second corral and got cozy – it sure was packed in there! Corral 1 went off, and 30 seconds later it was our turn.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.11.31 AMI was trying really hard to let Jan pace and not stare at my Garmin (plus it took my watch a while to find satellites). So, when we came up to the 1km mark I didn’t know how fast we’d gone – I saw Jan look at his watch, surprised, and I asked if it was too slow. “No – fast” was the reply. Ok, I can work with that :)

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We carried on, passing the 1:40 pace group, towards the east side of Vancouver and the Dunsmuir viaduct. By the time we hit 10k, along the seawall, I was feeling awesome and we were on pace for well below 1:40

I started to worry when, at 16k, Jan looked at me and asked if I was ready to suffer. I was kinda thinking “uh, what have I been doing for the last 3k?” but I nodded and we picked it up a little heading onto Pipeline road and Stanley Park. Around the back section of the park kilometers 17-19 were rolling hills, and I started to blow up at 18. My legs felt awesome but I had this pain deep in the left side of my chest that was worse with every deep breath. I knew it was muscular, but I was scared to push any harder (I was also not wearing my HRM! Can’t find it!).

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.46.06 AMWe held on and Jan basically dragged me across the finish line, but it was still a pretty big PB for me! 8 minutes – totally makes me curious to see what I can do on a flat course!

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After the race Jan had a bunch of friends over at his place for brunch. We made buckwheat pancakes, bacon, eggs, chips+guac, these amazing pumpkin cookies, fruit salad, sausages and baked pears.

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And after brunch, we cleaned up, chilled out for about 30 seconds, and got ready for the Florence and the Machine concert! It was so great, even though we were both pretty tired. I slept like a baby, but what a great weekend!

A Last Minute Adventure

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Hello from the airport again! I know what you’re thinking – another flight? If you’ve been following along so far (and I don’t blame you if you haven’t, I barely know what time zone I’m in), you know that interviews are done and I’m officially done with all my scheduled travel.

Well, right after my last interview I got to youtube-ing and found myself bouncing over to photos of amazing beaches, surfing, swimming, and general adventure in Costa Rica. On a whim, I clicked over to Kayak, my go-to for booking cheap flights, and they weren’t that bad. I realized I still have about 5 days off since I banked all my vacation last year. So, on a very big whim, I booked a flight. And then a hostel. And then I called my parents for a ride. And that’s how today, less than 48 hours after my last interview, I’m sitting at the airport again, on my way to the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica for a solo surf adventure.

I’m beyond excited to meet some cool people, check out amazing beaches and generally relax. I don’t plan on opening my laptop at all, unless it’s to do a photo dump. Over the past few weeks, I haven’t been sleeping well, my resting heart rate has been elevated, and I can just tell that my body needs a major reset. Of course, since I got home from Montreal, unpacked, did laundry, repacked and came back to the airport, both my workouts this weekend got skipped. I figured I’ll just do them by the beach :).

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they rescued me from my packing nightmare & I made dinner – seems like a sweet deal to me!

I also had the chance to have a few friends over for dinner (and obviously packing advice) last night, and it was so great. I just threw this turkey chili recipe (which I make with a combo of extra lean ground turkey and lean ground chicken) in the crock pot as soon as I got home, and by the time they arrived it was ready. We added a super simple salad and that was it! It’s going to be awesome for all my med school friends to be back in the same place next week.

I have posts scheduled to go up on Tuesday and Friday as they normally would, but unless I get the chance to do a quick update, Tuesday’s training post won’t be totally complete. I’m looking forward to sharing stories and photos when I get back! As always, you can find my most up-to-date adventures on instagram!

xo

New Year’s Brunch

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New Year’s, 2014

I can’t believe how quickly this week flew by! Today I’m hosting a bunch of friends for a New Year’s Brunch – this is the second year I’m doing it, and it’s something I’ve really looked forward to. I mean, I love the excuse to drink mimosas, plus brunch is so easy to put together and it’s really great to see some of my favourite people around my table (which is actually my table plus my desk pushed together!).

This year, I put together a really simple menu that includes a few things I can make ahead – perfect for this busy ICU rotation and gave me enough time to sneak in a run this morning! I linked to recipes if I could find them.

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Mains

Extras

  • Grilled pears – I made these at Thanksgiving for a simple and light dessert!
  • Mixed berry fruit salad – my mom has been making this for brunch for years, so I just copied her. The secret is to let the fruit sit in a bit of white wine and sugar overnight (isn’t the secret always wine?)!
  • Smoked salmon nibbles
  • Yogurt + toppings (granola, mixed nuts, honey)
  • Fresh bagels with jam, butter and nut spreads

Drinks

  • Sparkling water with fresh citrus fruit – this is another staple I’m copying from Mom. So easy, pretty and delicious. Here’s a quick overview.
  • champagne – I thought about making mimosas but I think just having champagne and OJ on hand is easier, so everyone can do what they like.
  • OJ
  • coffee – espresso and Canadian
  • tea

I don’t remember the exact details of last year’s menu, but I did do stacks of mini pancakes, monkey bread and mini quiches! I usually put the food out on my island buffet-style and have drinks and condiments on the table.

For more menu ideas don’t forget that you can always check out my pinterest boards!