3 Creative Ways to Eat Chickie Dough!

If you haven’t already heard, Karmel Walters and I are the RD duo behind Edmonton’s fav cookie dough hummus – Chickie Dough. The use of pulses in desserts and baked goods was NOT main stream by any means 2.5 years ago when Chickie Dough made it’s debut, but things are changing quickly (in large part due to WHO naming 2016 the International Year of Pulses). We have definitely gotten our fair share of crazy looks over the years as we ask if people would “like to try our cookie dough flavoured hummus.” But the way their eyes light up when they try it for the first time and realize it is actually ridiculously delicious make’s our job so much fun!

One of the MOST common questions I get is – how do you eat it? So, I thought it would be fun to do a quick blog highlighting three ways to eat Chickie Dough other than using it as a dip.

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Chickie Dough Toast – those of you who have read a food blog or scrolled through Instagram in the last year know that toast is “so hot right now”. I’ve completely jumped on the bandwagon and I think Chickie Dough toast is just about the most decadent (but still nutritious) thing I’ve ever tasted. The best combo, in my personal opinion, is Chocolate Chip Chickie Dough with fresh strawberries on a grainy whole wheat bread. But honestly, the combinations are endless!

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Chickie Dough Ants on a Log – now this one is something that I tell people to try all the time, but I have this strange feeling that no one ever does. You really should. Seriously. Peanut Chickie Dough is the flavor with the least amount of sugar, making it extremely versatile and the PERFECT filling for crisp celery. It makes for a super light, but satisfying snack after work or a guilt free treat after dinner when you are trying to curb your sweet tooth.

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Chickie Dough Parfait – so I don’t know about you, but I’m ridiculously excited for pumpkin spice season!!! I’m not sure I ever liked pumpkin spice anything before we started making Pumpkin Spice Chickie Dough, but now…I have fully converted. The Chickie Dough Parfait was inspired by the uncanny resemblance between pumpkin pie and Pumpkin Spice Chickie Dough. This baby is the equally as tasty, way less fattening cousin of pumpkin pie, topped off with fat free cool whip and crushed up graham wafers.

What is your favorite way to eat Chickie Dough?? Leave a comment below – I would LOVE to hear from you.

 

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Going on Vacation?? Reduce your Jet Lag Symptoms with Nutrition!

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So I don’t know about you – but it feels like every person I know is off gallivanting the world, traveling to far off places, posting about it on social media, and giving me serious travel envy. Then, I was asked to put together a presentation on jet lag for a group of athletes that are traveling to Japan with an exchange program and I thought – I wonder how many people know that you can reduce your jet lag symptoms by adjusting when you eat?? So here I am, telling you!

Jet lag is defined as “extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.” After high school, my friend Alyssa and I hopped on a plane and went to Thailand for 40 days and if I’m going to be completely honest with you – I don’t remember experiencing jet lag at all. But, here I am 9 years later planning for a trip to Italy with my husband and I have a feeling my body won’t be quite as resilient this time around. Common symptoms of jet lag include:

  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • disorientation
  • reduced concentration
  • reduced aerobic fitness
  • reduced anaerobic fitness
  • nausea
  • GI distress
  • joint swelling and stiffness
  • muscle pain and stiffness

So how long does jet lag last? Scientists estimate that it will take one full day to recover for every time zone crossed. So for the athletes that were going to Japan for 10 days and crossing NINE time zones – they could potentially be experiencing symptoms for 9 of their 10 days! Not ideal right?

So – how do you manage jet lag??

First, we need a little background on how our sleep wake cycle works.

Our bodies work on a 24 hour cycle which is controlled by our circadian rhythms. These rhythms are measured by rise and fall of body temperature and levels of certain hormones and they are influenced by our exposure to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight tells our body that it should be awake and darkness tells our body that we should be asleep (for the most part).

Before you leave – you want to try to adjust your sleep schedule as close to your destination time zone as possible. So, three days prior to leaving, try to go to bed and wake up one hour early or later (depending on which direction your traveling). If you are traveling west and typically go to bed at 10PM and wake up at 6AM and you need to go to bed at 11PM the first night, 12AM the second night, and 1AM the night before your flight and wake up an hour later each morning (or do the reverse if you are traveling east) . This will start to transition your sleep wake cycle.

Also, doing a high intensity workout prior to your flight helps decrease high stress levels  generally associated with flying and has been shown to help with jet lag symptoms.

Fasting has been shown to be very effective in reducing jet lag symptoms. Research shows that participants following a fasting protocol called the Argonne diet were 7.5 times less likely to experience jet leg symptoms upon arrival at their destination and 16.2 times less likely when they returned home. Sign me up!

Here is a modified version that was shared by Precision Nutrition:

  • On your day of travel, eat a normal breakfast and normal lunch.
  • Fast immediately before and especially during the flight – don’t forget to drink lots of water to stay hydrated!
  • When you arrive, eat soon after landing, as close to local meal time as possible.
  • Start a normal meal schedule based on local time.
  • Fasting should last at least 14 hours but can last as long as 24 hours.
  • You may need to adjust actual meal times based on your flight times.

While your traveling – stay well hydrated and continue your fast! The air quality on an airplane is extremely dehydrating so it is super important that you are drinking A LOT of water. Like all the time. I know it’s annoying to have to get up to go to the washroom 9847639 times during your flight but it’s good for you to be up and moving around every hour anyways. Make sure to avoid caffeine on the flight as it can do some damage on your circadian rhythms – that means coffee, tea and most pop. Essentially you should just stick to water and call it a day.

When you board the plane set your watch ahead to match the time zone of your destination.  If fasting isn’t your jam and you plan on eating during your flight, it is important to pack your own food so that you aren’t at the mercy of the planes meal schedule. Try to adopt a similar meal and sleep pattern to your destination so that your body can begin to adjust. Here are some ideas for foods that don’t need to be refrigerated:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Crackers
  • Nut Butter
  • Fruit and Nut Bars
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Trail Mix
  • PB and J Sandwich

Once you arrive – expose yourself to sunlight and spend time with others. This will tell your body that it’s daytime and that you should be awake! If you really feel like you need to take a nap, make sure that you don’t sleep for longer than 30 or 40 minutes. When you wake up each morning try to expose yourself to sunlight as quickly as possible to get your body adjusted to your new time zone.

If you typically eat breakfast at 8AM, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5 PM – try to follow a similar schedule in your destination! This will help your body adjust in the same way that exposing it to light will.

Well – that’s it! I hope this information can help you get the most of your time oversees. I can’t wait to give it a shot during my trip to Italy 🙂

 

Vegan “Nice” Cream – Two Ways

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day!!

If that doesn’t get you excited – then I’m not sure we should be friends…

(Just kidding! – but honestly…)

I LOVE ice cream – but really try to practice moderation in it’s presence. Lucky for me this ice cream is healthy enough to be consumed at breakfast, lunch and dinner (in my personal opinion)!

I clearly could not decide on just one flavor, so you’re getting two:

Strawberry Coconut Cream
&
PB Banana Chocolate

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Strawberry Coconut Cream
(2 servings)

Ingredients:
– 1 banana, sliced and frozen
– 8 strawberries, quartered and frozen
– 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
– 3 strawberries, finely diced
– 2 tbsp coconut flakes

Instructions:
– Add frozen banana, frozen strawberries, and coconut milk in a food processor and blend until smooth
– Combine ice cream mixture with diced strawberries and coconut flakes in a small bowl
– Freeze ice cream mixture overnight or until solid

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PB Banana Chocolate
(2 servings)

Ingredients:
– 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
– 2 tbsp peanut butter
– 2 tbsp chocolate chips
– 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped

Instructions:
– Add frozen banana and peanut butter in a food processor and blend until smooth
– Combine ice cream mixture with peanuts and chocolate chips in a small bowl
– Freeze ice cream mixture overnight or until solid

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Bridal Shower for the Future Mrs. Nielsen

IMG_4458So I’m not sure if you’ve heard – but my best friend is getting marrriieeeddd! I met Janelle at the ripe young age of 6 months and she hasn’t been able to get rid of me since. I am super excited to share some of the photos of the bridal shower that her entourage and I hosted on Sunday. We had such an amazing time planning and preparing for this day and it all paid off!

Theme: Garden/Floral

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Floral Backdrop/Flower Crowns: Lovespun Creations

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Cake: The bride’s super talented future sister-in-law/bridesmaid, Stephanie Nielsen

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Favor: Plantable Wildflower Seed Paper

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Signage: Made by bridesmaid Jen Speelman

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Guest Book: We got the guest book customized and added polaroids of each guest in front of the flower backdrop along side messages for the bride-to-be!

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Flowers: The Enjoy Centre Floral Studio

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Menu: We pulled all of our food and beverage items off of the bride’s Pinterest wall – that way we knew she would love everything!

Savory
Melon Prosciutto and Mozza Skewers
Kale Caesar Salad
Shrimp Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Spinach Artichoke Flatbread
Vegetable Platter
Charcuterie Tray

Sweet
Fruit Skewers
Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake
Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Pomegranate Glaze
Toasted Coconut Fruit Salad with Quinoa and Pineapple Lime Dressing

Drinks
Strawberry Basil Water
Iced Green Tea with Ginger, Mint and Honey
Blackberry Sangria

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T-24 hours until I board a plane to go to beautiful Kelowna, BC for the bachelorette party and I could NOT be more excited to continue celebrating the amazing bride-to-be with this GREAT group of ladies!

Grilled Pineapple with Aquafaba Whipped Cream and Candied Chickpeas

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I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but chickpea water (aka aquafaba) is taking over the vegan food world! It works as an egg substitute and you can now make dozens of things vegan, that previously could not be made vegan – or at least not very well. Mayo, meringue, pavlova, mousse, nougat, macarons, and of course whipped cream 🙂 Though I’m not a vegan, I am a chickpea-a-holic and I love the idea of getting to use them in yet another way.

This dessert uses chickpeas two ways – the water is made into whipped cream and the chickpeas are roasted and candied (and seriously addictive!). Load this on top of grilled pineapple and you have the PERFECT summer treat.

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Ingredients:

Grilled Pineapple
– 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tbsp cinnamon
– 1 tbsp brown sugar

Whipped Cream
– the water from 1 can of chickpeas
– 1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract
– 5 tbsp powdered sugar

Candied Chickpeas
– 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 1/2 tbsp oil
– 1 tbsp cinnamon
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:

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– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
– Spread chickpeas onto a drying cloth and pat dry with another drying cloth or paper towel.
– Put dried chickpeas onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
– Combine oil, 1 tbsp cinnamon, maple syrup and brown sugar in a medium bowl.
– After 20 minutes, toss the chickpeas into the cinnamon mixture to coat.
– Spread chickpeas back onto the baking sheet and put it back into the oven for 25 minutes.
– Turn off the oven and open the oven door and allow the chickpeas to cool – this makes them nice and crunchy!

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Whipped Cream
– Combine the chickpea water and vanilla in a mixer.
– Mix on high until stiff peaks form.
– Add icing sugar and mix on high until combined.
– Transfer to the refrigerator to chill.

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– Ask your husband to turn on the BBQ (just kidding – but actually…)
– Combine cinnamon, lemon juice, and brown sugar.
– Brush pineapple slices with cinnamon mixture.
– Grill pineapple for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until heated through and grill marks appear.
– Top pineapple with whipped cream and candied chickpeas.- Dig in!

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Low Sugar Roasted Strawberry Jam with Balsamic and Basil

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Where did this month go?! Alex and I have been super busy the last few weeks decorating our master bedroom. In January, we (with the much needed help of my dad and brother) painted our living room, staircase and master bedroom WHITE. I absolutely love it. Seriously, can’t get enough! Alex has been careful not to leave the house for long periods of time because he knows if I get the chance I’ll continue right on into our kitchen and there won’t be a color left in site, except for my fast growing collection of copper accessories, of course. I actually bought a hair brush today because it had copper bristles – is that too much?? Anyways – the master bedroom. I have been swooning over white brick and really wanted to do a feature wall. I came across a textured white brick wallpaper on the target website and promptly ordered 4 rolls. I have heard serious horror stories about wallpaper but luckily this was a peel and stick version that was insanely simple to apply, remove and re-apply (which happened on multiple occasions!). We were in the mood to DIY over the long weekend, so after finishing the wallpaper, we hit up Home Depot and bought a ridiculous amount of copper tubing and 2 white marble floor tiles and created white marble and copper side tables for our bed and a decorative copper ladder! I’m not going to lie, I am shocked at how well it all turned out. Maybe this should be a home decor blog?? (joking, I promise).

Anyhow – all of that has nothing to do with the dang tasty jam that I dreamed up this week! With summer right around the corner, the YEG produce sections have been seriously more plentiful, the fresh berries especially. I have a thing for PB and J and as a result have about five varieties of jam in the fridge right now. Why not add another?? I was inspired by a blogger I follow, Joy the Baker, who recently posted a Roasted Strawberry Shortcake with Basil Cream. My brain immediately translated this to… roasted strawberry and basil jam mixed in to homemade yogurt! Same delicious flavor profile, ridiculously lower in calories (because let’s be serious – bathing suit season is coming). If you try this recipe be sure to leave me a message in the comments below and let me know what you thought 🙂

Low Sugar Roasted Strawberry Jam with Balsamic and Basil

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the strawberries, balsamic vinegar and sugar.
  3. Spread mixture evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  5. Combine roasted strawberries, chia seeds and fresh basil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Transfer jam into a clean jar and refrigerate.

 

 

Homemade Yogurt

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My husband and I carpool to work. We haven’t always, but over past year we have been lucky enough to both work in the same general area, which happens to be about ten minutes from home! I love carpooling – we save a bit of money on gas and my husband makes me laugh before 7 AM just about every day. Because we are so close to home, we usually head there for our lunch break (bonus: that means I don’t have to spend time thinking about what to bring for lunch).

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About two weeks ago we were on our way home for lunch and a commercial came on for a one day sale at The Bay. Le Crueset French Ovens on sale for $159, regular $400!!! I have been dreaming about a french oven for quite some time and that was a smokin’ deal (in my personal opinion). Long story short I immediately got Alex to turn the car around and head straight to The Bay.

Homemade yogurt was one of the main reasons I was wanting to purchase a french oven. I had no idea how easy it was to make yogurt at home until about a month ago when I came across an article from The Kitchn. For those of you who know me well, you know that I can be very frugal when it comes to grocery shopping. Yogurt was one of the products that I feel is totally overpriced. $7 for a tub of greek yogurt seems a little high – am I right?! Needless to say, I will NOT be purchasing yogurt again anytime soon cause I am totally pumped about what I can make with a 2 L of milk and a little bit of patience, right in my own kitchen.

Here is what you need:

  • French oven or heavy sauce pan with lid
  • Instant read thermometer
  • 2 L of milk (I used 1% cow’s milk)
  • 1/2 cup of plain commercial yogurt with bacterial cultures (I used a plain non-fat PC brand greek yogurt)

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Instructions:

  1. Heat the milk over medium heat. Stir gently throughout to avoid the milk from scorching.
  2. Once the milk reaches 200 degrees F – remove from heat. Allow the milk to cool to 115 degrees F. Stir occasionally to help reduce the temperature  more quickly or put the french oven in an ice bath.
  3. Remove 1 cup of warm milk and combine with 1/2 cup of commercial yogurt in a separate bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the thinned yogurt back into the warm milk and whisk gently.
  5. Cover with a lid and transfer into a room temperature oven (I tried this after cooking something in the oven and it was too hot and did not work!). Turn on the oven light to keep the milk warm while it sets.
  6. Let yogurt sit overnight. Avoid stirring the yogurt until it has fully set.
  7. Once the yogurt is set – remove it from the oven and drain off any whey from the surface of the yogurt.
  8. Whisk the yogurt prior to transferring into jars for a smooth and cohesive texture. Cover and refrigerate.
  9. Make sure to save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt to use in your next batch! The yogurt will stay good in the fridge for about two weeks.

This is a traditional yogurt – not a greek yogurt! If you want a thicker texture you can drain out some of the whey using a strainer and a cheese cloth, use a higher fat milk, or add 1 cup of skim milk powder to the fluid milk during the cooking process.

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PS. I added 1/4 tsp of coconut extract and 1 tsp of granulated stevia to 3/4 cup of homemade yogurt and topped it with toasted coconut and sliced strawberries and it was pretty unbelievable. I’m on the coconut bandwagon and I am NOT getting off. But really, the sky is the limit when it comes to mix ins!