Bloggy Moms January blog hop

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Indian Spiced Chicken

Yummm, probably my favourite Indian dish is Butter chicken, and the homemade recipes I have (I actually have three given to me by friends with Mothers who make real Butter chicken) are delicious, but a bit too many calories for a weeknight meal.

So, when I hit on this recipe from the Dieticians of Canada book, “Cooks” I knew we needed to give it a try in our kitchen.

It was wonderful.  It doesn’t taste exactly like butter chicken, but it as still delicious.  My best suggestion if you are going to make this recipe is mix the spices either the morning or the day before.  This gives them a chance to release their oils and mingle together, just like they would if you were cooking them on the stove.

If you are looking for that extra creamy taste, add 2 tbsp of greek yogurt to the chicken mixture before serving.  Or serve it as a side for folks to add themselves at the table.  To round out the meal, serve with brown basmati rice and a green salad, or steamed green vegetable.

Indian Spiced Chicken (DoC Cooks, page 173) Makes 10 servings, 193 calories/serving with 9.6 g of fat and 24g of protein.

1/3 cup canola oil or grapeseed oil

1TBSP Ground cumin

1TBSP Ground coriander

1 TBSP Ground cinnamon

2 tsp Sweet Paprika

2 tsp hot pepper flakes (to taste)

1 tsp ground giner

1 tsp Garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts

In a small bowl, combine oil, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, hot pepper flakes, garlic powder, ginger, black pepper, and salt.  Stir to make a thick paste.  Cover and let stand for 30 minutes or overnight (best).

Preheat oven to 350F

Cut up chicken into bite size pieces and place in 13×9 sprayed baking dish.  Add spice paste and stir to coat chicken well.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside.

*if you want a more saucy dish, you can add a 14 oz can of no salt, diced tomatoes before cooking, and mix.

Serve with brown basmati rice and a green vegetable.



Apple Spice Protein Bars

Good morning!

This was supposed to make it on the blog last week, and wow, I am not even sure where last week went!  It passed us by so quickly.  On Wednesday night, driving home from skating with my daughter (we have a 30 minute drive home), she said, “Mumma, is it really Wednesday night already?”  and I said, “Yes.”  Her reply (between mouthfuls of hamburger soup that was her supper, since she skates until 7:15), “Huh, no week has ever gone this fast before.”  Oh, just wait, little one!  They only go faster.

In spite of how fast last week went, I did find time to make two batches of these protein bars.  The first batch was from Tosca Reno’s “The Eat Clean Diet for family & kids”.  My daycare monkeys loved them.  My own kids and my husband were on the fence.  They all agreed that they didn’t have enough flavour.  I had to agree with them, and I think the agave syrup was the reason, that and the quantity of spice used was very safe.  (I often find this with recipes that call for cinnamon or nutmeg).  So, I tried them again, doubling the amount of spice used, and adding sunflower seeds and dried cherries, and this time, my own kids enjoyed them.  My husband said they were fine.  He also said the lemon bars were “fine”.  Last night at his mum’s, he told her the supper was fine.  I told him that for an English teacher, his vocabulary was largely lacking in the area of description.  So, then after 14 years together he says, “I don’t like coconut.”  Well, I guess that is a topic for another day, that and the fact that he still goes out and buys macaroni and cheese in a box, at least the last time it was Annie’s.

There is no coconut in these bars, but I did put toasted sunflower seeds and chopped dried cherries in them.  And they are better than fine!  They are delightful!

Apple Spice Protein Bars

1 cup Vanilla IsaPro or other vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup spelt flour or almond flour

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 cup apple butter

1/3 cup Maple syrup (if you have medium grade or dark amber, use that, if you only have light, use that)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 TBSP pure vanilla extract.

1/2 cup chopped dried cherries

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (you could add slivered almonds if you wanted too or instead of)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Lightly spray 9×13 pan.  If you own a Pampered Chef large bar pan, don’t use it, as it is too big!

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including dried cherry pieces and sunflower seeds), and mix well.  In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients and mix well.  Add wet to dry and mix well to combine.  I used my stand mixer and after 5 turns, removed the bowl and finished with a rubber spatula.  Place mixture into the prepared pan, and spread and press down to smooth out.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and firm in the middle.

Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then cut into 16 bars (approx 1 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches).  Freeze with layers of parchment in between bars, so you can grab and go whenever you need them.


Happy Packing!


Lemon Coconut Protein Bars

I spent almost 3 days this week searching the ‘Net and through my cookbooks for a recipe for Lemon Protein Bars, or lemon-coconut protein bars, or lemon meringue protein bars.  And while I could find lots of recipes for Lemon bars (of various sorts) and I could find recipes for protein bars with coconut, and I found one recipe for Lemon coconut protein bars, with Crystal light drink mix powder in it.

So, then I sat down with the protein bar recipe that I have used in the past, and started substituting on paper, to see how it sounded and if it seemed to work together.  What spices do you put with Lemon?  Well, really, if you have lemon and coconut, you just want vanilla in there.

The other big dilemma was the sweetener.  I don’t like agave syrup, and I didn’t want the smokiness of maple syrup (besides Maple and Lemon are two tastes that deserve their own space, not to have to compete with each other).  Honey again, like maple syrup has its own flavour and we really wanted to Lemon to come through.  We settled on evaporated cane juice or crystals.  You can use more if you want, as these bars are not sweet like what you might get in a commercial protein bar.  In fact they almost beckon for a little bit of icing sugar drizzle on them.  And for the kids, I just might do that.

The final product reminds me a bit of a gentle sweet bread my friend Kay used to bring in her lunch when we were kids.  Her family was from Barbados, and I don’t remember what it was called, only that I loved it when she shared it with me.  Or if I went to her house to play and her Mum gave us some for a snack.  Not too sweet, but oh so good.

Here is what we came up with (my tasters and I ).


Please note: if you have Lemon extract on hand, it would be good to use it.  It will give that extra shot of lemon flavour that will take these to the next level.

Lemon Coconut Protein Bars

Preheat your oven to 325F. Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with oil (mild flavoured oil like grapeseed or canola).  Please note to any of you out there who ownPampered Chef’s large bar pan, don’t use it.  It is too big.

1 cup Vanilla Isapro, or other vanilla protein powder

1 cup spelt flour (or almond flour)

2 cups rolled oats, ground coarsely in the food processor or small chopper

1/2 wheatgerm or oatbran

1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)

1/2 cup evaporated caned sugar, with 2tsp removed and set aside

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups smooth unsweetened applesauce

zest from 2 lemons

1/4 cup lemon juice, essentially the juice from 2 lemons

1/4 cup coconut oil (softened, melted slightly)

1TBSP (or so) Pure vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten or the equivalent amount of” flax eggs” or other egg replacement

1 tsp Lemon extract (optional)

Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Put all wet ingredients into a smaller bowl and mix well.

Add the wet to the dry and mix until well combined.  I used my stand mixer and gave it about 5 turns and then took it off and finished mixing with a rubber spatula.

Place mixture in the pan, and spread and press to smooth evenly.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch in the middle.

Juice 1/2 lemon and combine with the reserved 2 tsp of evaporated cane juice.  Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the bars and drizzle with sugar lemon mixture.  Cool about 15 minutes in the pan and then cut into 18 bars, about 3×2.  Place in container lined with parchment (and between the layers) and freeze those you aren’t going to use right away.

Happy Packing!


Clean Lunch Menu for January Week #4

Oh my goodness!  We are coming to the end of January!  Yahoo!  And bring on February…the month of Lunar New Year, Valentine’s day and Birthday cake, if you are a member of our extended family.  Yes, February is just all about the birthdays, it is a bit nuts.

However, that is for a later post, because you came here for some lunch ideas.  We are a soup and sandwich gang around here this week, I think.  Well, sandwich is a loose term, meaning we are including wraps, sandwiches, and maybe even a bun or a bagel in there this week.  A tip, if you have littler ones and want to make them a “bunwich”, after you cut the bun in half, hollow it out a little bit, as it makes it easier for them to bite into and also, removes some of the “bread” of lunch, so they actually eat more of the filling.

That and my little darlings of daycare land have asked (and asked and asked) for Grilled cheese sandwiches.  So, this week, I am going to say, “Yes!” we are having grilled cheese sandwiches because Friday is a Pro D Day, so I have the big kids to feed at lunch as well.


Monday: BLT chicken wraps (hint: I chop up one strip of bacon very small, and mix it into a few tablespoons of plain yogurt, with a tiny bit of honeyed mustard for the spread for this wrap), apple spice protein bar, vanilla yogurt with frozen berries and a banana

Tuesday: Lentil Soup with Smoked Turkey sausage, cottage cheese, apple, and two oatmeal cookies

Wednesday: Wasa Crackers, chopped chicken salad, veggie sticks; Cranberry-Oatmeal muffin, fruit kabob (melon, mandarins and pineapple)

Thursday: Late Tuna Casserole with lots of veggies, (we call it Late, because Mum makes it late at night for the next day’s supper), lemon-coconut protein bar, apple and orange slices

Friday: Grilled Cheese sandwich with Quick homemade tomato soup, veggies


Monday: Baked Taco pasta

Tuesday: Lentil Soup with smoked turkey sausage

Wednesday: Shepherd’s pie

Thursday: Late Tuna casserole with lots of veggies

Friday: Grilled Cheese sandwich with Quick homemade tomato soup

Happy Packing!


Asian “Salisbury” Steak with Wilted Spinach and Brown Rice

Hello!  Are you hungry?  Just reading that title makes my mouth water.  The original recipe comes from an old Eating Well magazine, from February 2006, but I have made a few changes given what we have in the cupboard and the number of people we are eating it in our house!  It also got the stamp of approval from our resident picky eater (who rarely turns his nose up at beef!).  I made this recipe for 8 rather than 6 because my hope is that there will be enough left so that my dear hubby can take it for lunch.

Asian “salisbury” steak  with wilted spinach – serves 8 – approx 303 calories per serving plus rice.

2lbs lean ground beef or bison

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup diced orange pepper

1 cup chopped green onion

1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs

4 TBSP Hoisin sauce, separated.

2 1/2 TBSP minced fresh ginger

3 tsp Canola oil or grape seed oil

2 6oz bags of baby spinach

1/2 cup rice wine or sherry (I used rice wine)

Place the oven rack in the top third of the oven.  Preheat the broiler to high.  Coat broiler pan using an oil spray pump (I used canola oil as it has a higher smoke temp than olive oil or grape seed oil, in my experience).  Mix ground beef with red pepper, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, ginger and 3 tbsp of Hoisin.  Shape into 8 oblong patties. Brush patties using 1 tsp of oil.  Place on broiler pan.  Broil, flipping once, for approximately 4-5 minutes a side.  Note you can also do these on the BBQ.

Heat  remaining 2 tsp oil in skillet on medium high.  Add Spinach and cook just until wilted (1-3 minutes).  Divide wilted spinach among plates.  Return the skillet to the heat and add remaining 1 tbsp Hoisin sauce, add rice wine and stir until slightly reduced (one minute).  Place cooked steaks on spinach and drizzle with sauce.   Serve with side of brown rice.



Clean Lunch Menu for January week #3

Hello!  This is a little bit later than I wanted, but we were at the rink for 6:30am (add a 55 minute drive to that and we left the house just shortly after 5:15!).  I laughed when the radio DJ said, “good morning to you and thanks for joining us this early on a Saturday morning.  Where are you headed?  Figure skating? Hockey?  Or maybe off for a workout before the family gets up?”  It left me wondering if he saw me out the window as I drove past.  Yes, we were headed to skating.  Back home now and on with the day!



Monday: Twice baked Taco Potatoes, apple, pear, Blueberry spelt muffin

Tuesday: Buffalo chicken and spinach wraps, veggie sticks with yogurt, kiwi and frozen berries

Wednesday: Veggie and roasted red pepper hummus wraps, cottage cheese, orange slices, ginger cookie

Thursday: Tuna quesadillas with salsa, yogurt with frozen berries, apple-spice protein bars (this recipe comes up this week!  so excited to share!)

Friday: A Better Chinese New Year soup (from Clean Eating Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013)

R is for...Recipe!


Monday: Vegetable soup with Cheese quesadilla

Tuesday: Cleaned up Peanut butter and Jam sandwich (from Tosca Reno’s book: The Eat Clean Diet for Family & Kids, page 231) with homemade tomato soup – my current Daycare gang are Peanut butter junkies, and they always ask for Jam with their peanut butter… so I am subbing thawed (and drained) and mashed frozen berries

Wednesday: “Hamburger” Soup (your hamburger soup recipe made with Yves’ Regular Veggie Ground round)

Thursday: Tuna Quesadillas with veggie sticks

Friday: Quick turkey bolognese with whole wheat pasta

Happy Packing!