Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hemp Protein and Banana Pancakes

These pancakes were born of combining my love for pancakes with my love for hemp protein powder. I particularly like the one from North Coast Naturals. It mixes readily with other ingredients and is flavor-neutral so never overpowers the taste of the other ingredients.

I bet you could substitute cooked pumpkin or other squash for the banana in this recipe quite easily, if you like.

You will want to have your patience cap on when you make these pancakes.  They take a wee bit longer to cook than a pancake made from a flour batter does.  Just a wee bit, but still, when you are hungry… noticeable.

Hemp Protein and Banana Pancakes

Hemp Protein and Banana Pancakes
Makes 1 serving of 2 pancakes

  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • 3 Tbs egg white
  • 1 Tbs almond milk
  • 2 Tbs hemp protein powder.
  • dash of cinnamon
  1. Mash half of a ripe banana in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the egg whites and beat with a fork to combine with the mashed banana.
  3. Add the almond milk, hemp protein powder and the cinnamon and stir to combine.
  4. Set a non-stick pan over MEDIUM heat on the stove and when it has warmed up, spoon half of the batter into the pan. Allow to cook until edges are set and bubbles appear throughout, about 4 or 5 minutes.
  5. Flip over and cook the second side for about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove to plate and cover to keep warm while cooking the second pancake in the same manner.
  7. Serve with your favorite toppings.
Per serving, without toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 190; Protein 20g; Carbohydrate 23g; Fat 3g; Fibre 9g.

Printable Recipe

Don't forget about the North Coast Naturals giveaway that is open to Canadian residents until April 3rd, 2014.  You can find the details here on this blog post.  Good Luck to you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

North Coast Naturals Giveaway

After using and enjoying all of these products for the past several weeks, I am really happy to be hosting a giveaway for my Canadian readers, sponsored by North Coast Naturals.

Jan 29 NCN arrives 002

I only host giveaways for products that I truly love and want to keep using. The North Coast Naturals items I received certainly fall into that category.  They are sound, nutritionally, and they taste good, and they are easy to use on a day in, day out basis.  I would not host a giveaway if I did not believe that to be true.  I have been blogging about them, and singing their praises to friends and family, and sharing them with coworkers.

I have been enjoying the following North Coast Naturals products and if you click on these links you will be able to read my review and opinion about the product and in most cases, find some recipes I created in using it.
North Coast Naturals is very generously offering to give one of my Canadian readers their choice of 4 of these products to try.  If you win the giveaway, you can choose 4 of these products and North Coast Naturals will send them directly to you.  Awesome.

UPDATE - this giveaway is over and the winner has been notified. Thanks for all your entries!

Use the Rafflecopter form to enter.  All entries will be verified.Two of the entries are mandatory, and after they are completed, there are a few more things you can do to earn additional entries.

Mandatory entries include:

1. Leaving a comment on this post and
2. Leaving your email address in the Rafflecopter form.

Additional, optional entries include:

1.  Following North Coast Naturals on Twitter.
2. Tweeting about the giveaway.  You can do this once each day of the giveaway.
3. Follow one of my product review links and leave a comment on that post – tell me in the Rafflecopter form which product review you commented on and what name you used to comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close at 9 p.m. PDT on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 and the winner will be contacted by email, and also announced here on this post as well. The giveaway prize will be shipped to the winner by North Coast Naturals.  Canadian shipping addresses only.

If you are not entering the giveaway but would like to help me spread the word, please tweet the following

Hey Canadians! Checkout the awesome giveaway from @N_C_Naturals via @WeCanBegin2Feed #teamNCN

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cooking With Coconut Oil by Elizabeth Nyland

I received  a copy of Cooking With Coconut Oil a couple of weeks ago through my association with Fitfluential LLC.

Cooking With Coconut Oil

Cookbooks come and go… some are beautiful but quite impractical.  Others become family favorites with dog eared pages and personal notes, and are passed on through generations. I have a hunch that Elizabeth Nylands’s Cooking With Coconut Oil will be one of the latter!  It has beautiful pictures of course… but most importantly, it is filled with practical, healthy recipes for tasty dishes that  that you will actually want to serve and that ou and your family will be very happy to eat.

You do not have to be a follower of the Paleo diet/lifestyle or eat gluten or grain free to enjoy these dishes and make use of this book.

Elizabeth starts out by explaining how the book came to be, and then shares some information about the the health benefits of using coconut oil, and also describes some of the other basic ingredients she uses in her kitchen.  The recipes are divided into practical categories:
  • Breakfast
  • Salads and Dressings
  • Sides
  • Mains
  • Snacks and Starters
  • Desserts and Baked Goods
And then there is a section of tips on how to follow a Paleo diet for those of you interested, some resources, a recipe index, and some acknowledgments from the author.

We have enjoyed a few of Elizabeth’s dishes so far… and as a matter of fact, I am making the Zucchini Pancakes for breakfast this morning!

I hope you will have a look at Cooking With Coconut Oil for yourself.  I have checked out the Amazon page for this book and see that it is also available for your Kindle.  You can have a ‘peek inside’ the book there as well. ( I am not affiliated with Amazon in any way... just thought I should mention that.)

You can find Elizabeth at her blog Guilty Kitchen if you want to learn more about her and keep up with her news.

Have you seen this book yet?  

Are you a coconut oil fan, too?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

North Coast Naturals Fermented L-Glutamine and Raw Hemp Smoothie

I want to tell you about a couple more of the great products from North Coast Naturals that I have been trying out… Fermented L-Glutamine and Raw Hemp Smoothie.

Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in our muscles.  I decided a while back to supplement with L-Glutamine to aid in my recovery, particularly when doing longer runs and when strength training.  I did a lot of research and decided this was something that would benefit me, and my immunologist agreed.

The Fermented L-Glutamine from North Coast Naturals comes from a fermentation process of beets. Beets are fermented with probiotic cultures, which means a 100% vegan fermented L-Glutamine. North Coast Naturals Fermented L-Glutamine is absolutely pure glutamine from Ajinomoto® — the only glutamine manufacturer in the world with a master drug file number for L-Glutamine.  You can read more about it on their web site.

North Coast Naturals Fermented L-Glutamine is a fine white powder.  And when mixed with water it produces a tasteless, but cloudy drink. If you drank it with your eyes closed, you would think you were drinking plain water.  Sometimes I have it after a workout, or sometimes before bedtime.  And I have also mixed it into an after-workout smoothie.   Again, it is flavor neutral, so never adds any taste to my drink.  If you like fruit or veggie juices, you could certainly add it to them, too.

North Coast Naturals Fermented L-Glutamine
Fermented L-Glutamine in plain water produces a cloudy, flavorless drink.

I really liked the Raw Hemp Smoothie the first time I tasted it. The flavor I have is a very nice chocolate. And it is so easy to use.. just mix a couple of tablespoons of the powder with up to a cup of water, and stir or shake. Instant smoothie.  And delicious.

NCN hemp smoothie
It is a very fine powder, quite similar to cocoa.

NCN hemp smoothie
And mixed with plain water… silky and smooth...  no lumps or chalky taste.

The first time  I tried the Raw Hemp Smoothie, I made drinks for The Captain and I to sip after a workout.  I love chocolate and berries together so I blended some frozen mixed berries into the Raw Hemp Smoothie powder along with some almond milk and a banana. Lovely.  Quite substantial, too.

Hemp, Berry and Banana Smoothies

Hemp, Berry, and Banana Smoothies
Makes 2 servings
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berry blend
  • 1 ripe medium banana, peeled
  • 4 Tbs North Coast Naturals Raw Hemp Smoothie, Chocolate flavor
  1. Put all ingredients in blender and puree till smooth.
  2. Pour half into each of 2 serving glasses.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 206; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 39g; Fat 4g; Fibre 14g.

And one morning, while getting ready to do a strength workout with The Captain, I mixed a couple of tablespoons of the Raw Hemp Smoothie powder into a cup of hot coffee, and thoroughly enjoyed the Hot Hemp Mocha Smoothie that resulted.  A couple of drops of peppermint extract would be a lovely addition!

Hot Hemp Mocha Smoothie

Hot Hemp Mocha Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 2 Tbs North Coast Naturals Raw Hemp Smoothie, Chocolate flavor
  1. Stir together and enjoy!

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 90; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 18g; Fat 1g; Fibre 10g.

The Raw Hemp Smoothie also comes in a flavor called Berry Burst.  Sounds quite exotic, no?  I really like that this mix is so high in fibre and low in fat. Check out all the features and benefits on the North Coast web site.  I am sure you will be just as impressed as I was.

North Coast Naturals provided these product to me at no cost… the enthusiasm and opinions are my own.

What is your favorite smoothie these days?

Have you tried hemp protein powders or smoothie mixes?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It is Good to Be Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day

I am quietly proud of my Irish heritage… my Father’s grandparents came to Canada from Ireland and started a large and raucous family and I love to hear the stories, and look at the old family photos.  I recall that there was always plenty of fighting and drinking, music for dancing, and lots of laughter and love.  My own paternal Grandpa smoked a pipe and talked with a brogue, and he was hearty and rough, and I was always a bit in awe of him.

We have always celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day, of course. And it is the one day of the year I know I can count on hearing from my younger brother… even though our parents are gone, and the family is scattered so we are not together often, it connects us to each other. 

I love to celebrate in our home, by preparing a simple Irish meal for The Captain.  Sometimes, it is an Irish Stew with a nice soda bread and a pint of dark red beer (no Guinness for me) and sometimes it might be a more American “Irish” dish… a corned beef brisket with cabbage, and a potato bread.

This year, it will be a cottage pie and a wee drop of Irish Whiskey.  Ah… to be Irish on Saint Paddy’s Day… don’t you know there is nothing quite like it?

March 16 Irish 002

Here is are some Irish Recipes you might enjoy:

Mar 17 shamrock soft serve 002a

And here is another little something for you foodies to think about…

"Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat."
By Alex Levine

A wee bit of whiskey, a little more coffee, with sweetened whipped cream on the top.

How are you celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Gluten Free Banana and Raisin Drop Cookies

I don’t seem to do much baking these days and I really wanted to make something for The Captain this weekend.  He has been so supportive of all the ‘extras’ I have taken on lately… so I came up with these cookies as a treat for him.  These Gluten Free Banana and Raisin  Drop Cookies are not only gluten free, but also grain free, and egg free. My goodness, that sounds so boring… but I can tell you they are very taste-full and have a lovely soft texture.

Actually, I am quite excited about how good they really are…. I ate 3 of them myself! And he really likes them too, thank Goodness.

The Captain loved the raisin drop cookies his Mother made when he was a child so I thought I would try to make something similar that he would really like, but in a gluten free, grain free version.  He doesn’t appear to be suffering from any of the ill effects of gluten sensitivity that some members of his family do, but I do make a point of finding gluten free alternatives for him whenever I can. 

The banana subs nicely for lots of fat and sugar that a regular cookie would have, and also for the egg too.  I made 10 cookies out of this batter… you could make more and rework the N.I. accordingly.  And, you would need to bake them for a shorter amount of time, too.

I used North Coast Naturals Organic Soya Protein in this batter. I like that it is both flavor and color neutral when mixed with other ingredients.  I think you could likely use any soy protein, but not sure if the texture would be as good with a whey or a veggie protein, in this recipe. 

Gluten Free Banana and Raisin Drop Cookies

Gluten Free Banana and Raisin Drop Cookies
Makes 10 cookies
  • 3 Tbs brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs soft butter
  • 1 ripe medium banana, peeled
  • 2 Tbs soy protein powder 
  • 2 Tbs coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with mixer until well combined.
  3. Break banana into chunks and add to the bowl. Beat into butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Add protein powder, coconut flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Beat again until batter is smooth.
  6. Add raisins and stir in to batter till evenly distributed throughout.
  7. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 – 11  minutes.
  9. Remove from baking sheet an allow to cool on racks.  Cookies will be very soft until they cool.

Per cookie.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 82; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 11g; Fat 4g; Fibre 1g.

Mar 14 cookies 001
Spoon the batter onto parchment paper, into mounds about 2 or 3 inches apart.

Mar 14 cookies 003
They will be quite soft when they come out of the oven.

Mar 14 cookies 004
Be sure to let cool about 15 minutes so that they firm up nicely… if you can wait that long!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Power-loaded Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

For years now I have gone back and forth between whey and soy protein powders…. until I recently added North Coast Naturals Organic Hemp Protein Powder into the rotation.  Now I have 3 distinctly different kinds of protein powders in my cupboard. And I love and use them all.

I often select a soy protein powder when I am making something with a heavier, thicker batter, such as pancakes, or microwave mug cakes, or even cookies… when I want protein powder with a neutral flavor, and especially a neutral color.  I don’t normally use a soy powder in smoothies or frozen protein pops because I often find that I can taste the soy in these more delicately flavored items.

This North Coast Naturals Organic Soya Protein is high in fibre and a good source of Omega 3.  I like the N.I. Per 2 Tbs of powder: Calories 110; Protein g 10g, Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 4.8g; Fibre 5 g.  For you Weight Watchers, that works out to 3P+ per serving.

I put this NCN Organic Soya Protein to the test by blending it with some almond milk, a bit of cinnamon,  and a banana, and shared it with The Captain one morning recently, before we did our workout.  We both thought it was delicious!  And neither of us noticed any soy taste at all… only banana and cinnamon.  So this NCN powder truly is unflavored. This, to me, is a good thing.

Soy-Banana Smoothie
Our Soy-Banana Smoothies

Since then I have made some wonderful protein-filled pancakes with it, too.  I always have lots of canned pumpkin on hand in the pantry, to fall back on, on days I don’t have cooked, leftover squash or sweet potato in the fridge.   I was craving pumpkin the other morning and came up with these pancakes, to enjoy after a morning workout. 

If you like, use pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, or add dashes of  allspice and cloves along with the cinnamon.  And if you prefer a puffier cake, add about 1/2 tsp of baking powder, too.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
Makes 1 serving
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup egg white
  • 2 Tbs NCN Organic Soya Protein
  • 1 Tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon and more for garnish
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Spoon half of the batter into a non-stick pan that has been warmed over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and cook about 3 minutes till bubbles appear.
  3. Flip and cook the second side 2 minutes and then remove to a serving plate and keep warm.
  4. Cook the second cake in the same manner.
  5. Garnish with your favorite toppings and serve warm.
Per serving, without toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 110; Protein g 17g, Carbohydrate 13g; Fat 5g; Fibre 7g.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
I enjoyed my breakfast with the daffodils that The Captain picked for me that morning!

Do you use protein powders in place of grains in your pancakes, too?

Are you like me and eat pumpkin all year round? 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Grain Free Butternut Squash Pancakes

I made these Butternut Squash Pancakes a few days ago, to use up some cooked, leftover butternut squash that was in my fridge.   And they were so good,  I made them again! I know they would be very similar with cooked and mashed sweet potato, or even canned pumpkin. They were delicious and quite filling, with the almond meal and bit of coconut flour, and whole eggs.  

Yes, it’s a hearty breakfast that will certainly keep you satisfied till lunch.  You might even prefer it for a weekend brunch.

Coconut flours vary so the amount of almond milk required to get the batter to the right consistency may change from time to time. I really think that the amount of humidity in the air makes a difference when using coconut flour. The first time I made them I used only 2 Tbs of almond milk.. the second time I needed 3 Tbs.

Butternut Squash Pancakes

Butternut Squash Pancakes
Makes 1 serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs almond meal
  • 2 tsp coconut flour 
  • 1/2 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash 
  • 2 - 4 Tbs almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Beat the eggs till frothy in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the almond meal, butternut squash, coconut flour and cinnamon.  Mix well.
  3. Add 2 Tbs of the almond milk and mix. If the batter seems too thick, add more, 1 Tbs at a time till desired consistency… not too runny.
  4. Set your non-stick skillet on the stove top over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measure, spoon the batter into the pan. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, then flip and cook the second side.
  6. Remove to serving plate and keep warm till 5 pancakes are cooked.
  7. Serve with toppings of your choice. 
Per serving, without toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 8.
Calories 286; Protein 17g; Carbohydrate 16g; Fat 18g; Fibre 5g.

Butternut Squash Pancakes 001 
My pan only has room for 2 cakes at a time.

Butternut Squash Pancakes 003
Flip, and cook the second side.

Butternut Squash Pancakes 004
I topped mine with banana slices and a bit of syrup.  Nut butter would be good too, or some coconut shreds.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Chicken in Banana Curry Sauce... Sweet and Savory

You have simply GOT to try this recipe. And if you don’t eat meat, use a bit of water in place of the chicken broth, and serve the sauce over tofu or quinoa, barley, or cauliflower rice. This Banana Curry Sauce is just too good to pass up.  It is slightly sweet, very creamy, and has just a hint of curry… so if you think you aren’t a curry fan, this is the one for you!

It comes together quickly and without a lot of fuss.  Basically, you put the sauce ingredients into a blender to puree the banana… you dredge the chicken with a bit of cornstarch and then brown it...  you put the chicken in a baking dish, cover it with the sauce and pop it into the oven for a while.

Make any changes you need to.  Use coconut oil instead of the olive oil… I think it would be even better, actually.  And if you like, use 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of 2 large breasts.

This version is gluten-free, because I used cornstarch instead of flour to dredge the chicken pieces.  If you eat Paleo, you could use arrowroot powder, or even skip this step and just brown the chicken pieces. 
And serve with veggies of your choice.  So many variations to support your own food choices... but the outcome will be fabulous!

And it SMELLS so good while it is cooking, too.

Ta da!  
Awesome Dinner. Company Worthy. Happy Family.  
Try it!

Chicken in Banana Curry Sauce

Chicken in Banana Curry Sauce
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 medium ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 Tbs medium curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbs lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 can coconut milk (200 ml)
  • 3/8 cup chicken stock
  • 2 large chicken breasts, about 18 oz in total
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • cilantro for garnish (optional but very tasty)
  • salt and pepper to season
  1. Combine and puree the first 7 ingredients.  Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Cut the chicken breasts in half so that you have 4 equal-sized pieced.
  4. Place the chicken in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with cornstarch. Toss to coat the chicken pieces.
  5. Heat the oil in  a skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH.
  6. Place the chicken pieces into the skillet and brown both sides, then transfer them to a 9 X 13 baking dish that has been coated with non-stick spray for easy cleanup.
  7. Pour the banana mixture over the chicken pieces.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and set into the oven.
  9. Bake 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  10. Remove chicken to serving plates. Ladle sauce over the top and garnish with cilantro.
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 7.
Calories 291; Protein 29g; Carbohydrate 13g; Fat 13g; Fibre 1g.

Feb 24 Banana Curry Chicken 002
I enjoyed mine over mashed sweet potato.

Feb 24 Banana CurryChicken 001

Feb 24 Banana CurryChicken 002
The next night we heated the leftovers in the mike and they were just as good.

What do you think?  Will you try it?