Weeknight Winner Wednesday: Basil-Ricotta-Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Lemon

Basil-Ricotta-Parmesan Crusted TilapiaTwo classic Italian cheeses pair up with fragrant basil and zesty lemon to create the perfect creamy, crusted topping for flaky white tilapia fillets.  Perfect paired with roasted or grilled seasonal vegetables, this is an elegant yet easy dinner dish.

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How-To: Make Unsweetened Applesauce at Home

Ripe Apple“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  “You’re the apple of my eye.”  Oh, apples!  So good on their own, so good in desserts (Salted Caramel Apple Bake, anyone?), so good at breakfast (Cinnamon Apple Pie Overnight Oatmeal), so good in soup (Simple Apple Cinnamon Roasted Squash Soup)…the options are endless.  And after all of that shameless self-promotion, what about applesauce?  Well, as you know, I’ve been loving my Vitamix high-speed blender and one of their first recipes I checked out was for Cooked Applesauce.  It’s seriously JUST APPLES.  And any regular jug blender or food processor should do the trick – I’ll show you how in this “How-To” and you can enjoy healthy, homemade applesauce, free of added sugar or preservatives, any time, either as a snack or as an ingredient in a recipe.  No need to go to the store!

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Double Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Double Peanut Butter Protein PancakesIf you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should – I post mouthwatering food photos, including recipe links, pretty much all day every day!), you’ll know that I am ALL ABOUT my Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes.  I eat them at least a few times a week and I never get over how incredibly good they are and how you’d never guess that they’re a “protein” pancake.  I won’t even share them with my own flesh and blood (I keep telling The Golden Graham Boy “you wouldn’t like them – they’re not for kids,” as he doesn’t need that much concentrated protein in one serving, nor the touch of Sucralose that comes in my protein powder.  Moreover, they’re for Mommy and I’m not sharing!).

I didn’t think protein pancakes could get any better – but they did.  I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me they could – but they did.  It wasn’t until I ran out of my regular vanilla protein powder and decided to use peanut butter flavour protein powder instead that the magic happened – and boy, it did!  Still incredibly low in fat, carbohydrates and calories, these Double Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes have 43g of protein per serving and are free of grains, gluten and refined sugar.  You’ll never look at breakfast (or pancake supper) the same way again.

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Weeknight Winner Wednesday: Easy Meatless “Cheater” Chili (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, High-fiber, Low-fat, Vegan)

Easy Meatless Cheater Chili BowlI’m back with the second installment of Weeknight Winner Wednesdays!   This edition features a high-fiber, flavourful meatless chili that you can have on the table in about two shakes (that’s twenty minutes) with one simple make-ahead ingredient.  No sweating over a simmering pot for hours.  And with high-fiber beans stealing the show, no one will miss the meat in this vegetarian, low-fat chili.  YOU control the heat, so you can make this just as hot (or not) as you like.  This is another nutritious and delicious dish you (and your family) are sure to love.

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Weeknight Winner Wednesday: Good-for-you Chicken Fried Rice (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, High-protein, Low-fat)

Easy Weeknight Chicken Fried RiceChicken. Fried. Rice.  How many of your late night Chinese food takeout feasts have featured this delicious, crowd-pleasing side dish?  What if I told you I had an easy, healthy recipe that would slash the fat, pump up the protein and fiber and reduce the sodium without compromising the taste?  You’d probably call me crazy!  (And I suppose you’d be at least partly right).  But in my mission to make EVERY meal supportive of my strength training regimen (high-protein, here I come), I found a way, and my first candidate for Weeknight Winner Wednesdays!   That’s right, I’ll be posting quick and easy, nutritious and delicious, FAMILY-FRIENDLY fare that will be your new “go-to” for weeknight dinners (and the leftovers make great lunches, too!).   Not every Wednesday, necessarily, but Wednesday for sure.  Let’s talk about this craziness…

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Quick and Easy Curried Chickpeas with Brown Rice (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Low-fat, Vegan)

Quick and Easy Curried Chickpeas with Brown RiceCraving Indian food but don’t have time to cook?  Wait – don’t pick up that phone!  You can get all the great taste of Indian takeout without the guilt with this super-fast, easy (& healthy!) recipe.  Serve it on its own as a light lunch or dinner or pair it with your favourite Indian dishes as part of a family feast.  This vegan dish still packs a punch of protein from the chickpeas and brown rice and is a great source of fiber.  It’s gluten-free, too!  You can throw all of the ingredients in this single serving recipe into a to-go container for an easy on-the-go meal (just heat and eat) OR multiply the recipe to feed the whole family.

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Maple Cinnamon Ricotta-Stuffed Dates with Walnuts & Pear (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Maple Cinnamon Ricotta Stuffed Dates with Walnuts and PearA host of flavours and textures come together in this elegant yet easy recipe.  Soft, caramel Medjool dates are balanced with a fine-textured Ricotta cheese filling.  The flavour of the cheese is slightly sweetened with the addition of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon adds subtle warmth on the palate.  Each creamy bite is complemented with the crunch of chopped walnuts and crisp fresh pear.  You can just as easily serve this to a roomful of guests or prepare it as a delicious (and still nutritious) snack for yourself.
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(High-Protein) Coconut Oatmeal Banana Bread (Gluten-free, Low-fat, Refined sugar-free)

Coconut Oatmeal Banana Bread BakedBanana bread has got to be one of the most versatile quick breads on the go (a bread leavened with baking powder and/or baking soda vs. yeast is considered a “quick” bread). Countless recipes and variations proliferate on Pinterest and elsewhere on the internet. And rightfully so! Banana bread is healthy, nutritious and downright delicious! The natural sweetness of bananas means that often no other sweetener is needed (as in this recipe) and bananas’ binding properties make them great in gluten-free baking as well. Plus, there’s something so comforting and appealing about the smell of banana bread baking in the oven. I figured it couldn’t hurt to add yet another easy, healthy recipe to the mix. High in protein (as always), this recipe is also gluten-free, low fat (no added oils or butter) and features super-trendy, delicious, high-fiber coconut flour!

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(High-Protein) Power Pumpkin Pie (Gluten-free, Refined sugar-free)

Power Pumpkin Pie (High-Protein)Pumpkin. Protein. Hmmm…where have we heard THAT pairing before? I just can’t help myself. Pumpkin pie is in my top threefive favourite pies of all time (along with Apple, Blueberry, Strawberry-Rhubarb and Pecan Pie).  To me, pumpkin pie is a real standout because its flavour and texture are so rich and creamy without actually needing to be rich in fat and calories.  The beautiful burnt orange colour of ripe pumpkin is so alluring and any time something with cinnamon is baking in the oven, everyone is drawn to the kitchen.  This easy, healthy, high-protein recipe is a surefire way for even the most hardcore gym buffs to have their cakepie and eat it, too.

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(High-Protein) Pumpkin Cheesecake Chia Pudding (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Chia Pudding (High-Protein)So, I definitely like pumpkin. And I definitely like making high-protein recipes (don’t ask me how much I spend on protein powders – it’s almost embarrassing, really).  Now, does it come as a surprise that I LOVE cheesecake? (I mean c’mon, who doesn’t love cheesecake? Really? Are you sure?).  There’s just something about that rich, creamy, not-too-sweet dessert that just makes me weak in the knees.  But, alas, too many cheesecakes will not only make me weak in the knees, but also soft and pudgy in various areas that I work hard to keep a little bit firmer.  The natural solution is a high-protein, low-fat version of cheesecake that keeps the great texture and flavour that I love, but loses some of the calories, fat and refined sugar.  Welcome to the wonderful world of Pumpkin Cheesecake Chia Pudding – I promise it’s another easy, healthy recipe you can whip up in minutes.

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