Turkey “Pop into my Mouth” Poppers

28 05 2014

I love finger food and anything I can “pop” into my mouth. I also love anything that can be made ahead and eaten warm or cold. Some people don’t “Do” leftovers, I am all about the leftover.
I have been using old recipes on my blog a lot.. in the whole ‘Back to Basics’ mode I am in.. I actually refer to it as “Stop eating like an Asshole” but “Back to Basics” sounds like something I could say to my granny. A lot of my old recipes are solid, and still taste delicious to me five years out.

I presented this recipe at a cooking demo this past weekend and because I have made it numerous times, it should really be posted on my blog. It is officially “PART OF THE ROTATION”.
These little meat snacks can be snacks, an appetizer for a party with a side of tzaziki, hot mustard, peanut sauce or even guacamole, served as an entree with a side or used as a slider. I think these turkey poppers with some thai zucchini noodles may be a really good time. Don’t be surprised if you see that recipe floating into your inbox in the near future.

Turkey/Chicken Poppers

1 lb. ground chicken breast (or pre-ground turkey)
2cups grated zucchini, squeezed after shredding to liberate juice
2-3 green onions, sliced
3-4 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 egg
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¾ tsp cumin
olive oil, for cooking


Toss turkey/chicken with green onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper (and cumin, if using). Grate Zucchini into a doubled paper towel. Take the corners of the paper towel and make a bag and squeeze the crap out of the grated zucchini over your sink. You aren’t going to believe the moisture coming out of this. Zucchini has a lot of water, and I find this mixture is wet enough without introducing water into it. Add the squished grated zucchini to the bowl and combine.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat and cook until done OR if you prefer, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.
Test the done-ness by opening one of the poppers up. Raw turkey middle = an ER visit.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, or my favourite jalapeno popper dip!


Latte Cubes; Snack of Champions

25 03 2014

People think I am slightly crazed about jello. I eat it maybe 4 times a week. Whether people call it jello or panna cotta, it is all delicious to me. I have always eaten sugarfree jello but recently started to make versions of it for my nephew Sam. sam's birthday

Sammy loves texture in foods, and while he wasnt fussed about cake on his birthday and really preferred the paper plate, we made him tropical juice flavoured gummies for his birthday that he sucked them back. I have since tried a chocolate-banana-almond milk smoothie gummy that was a huge hit, and raspberry-coconut milk gummy. He is teething and so these are one of the only things he eats when his mouth is off.
The last batch of raspberry-coconut milk gummy cubes were fantastic, and Ken and I ate a bunch before I brought them over to my nephews-niece. I said to Ken, “I should make some adult versions of these for snacks.” and so the espresso latte gummy was born.

You could do green tea, or chai or whatever fruit you have in the freezer. My creative wheels are turning. Cool refreshing snacks that have a whack of side benefits.. WIN WIN! I just recently found unflavoured gelatin at Bulk Barn. I have included the measurements for whatever you end up using below.

Gelatin is fantastic for you.. no lie. I grabbed the list below from Wellness Mama. Tell me these aren’t good reasons to eat gelatin especially since a lot of WLS patients experience these things?

Why Gelatin?
– Supports skin, hair and nail growth
– Good for joints and can help joint recovery
– Can help tighten loose skin
– Can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track
– Great source of dietary collagen
– Source of protein (though not a spectacular one) but its specific amino acids can help build muscle.”

Gelatin is largely composed of the amino acids glycine and proline, which many people don’t consume in adequate amounts as they are found in the bones, fibrous tissues and organs of animals and as a population, we don’t consume these parts as much anymore. These amino acids are needed not only for proper skin, hair and nail growth, but for optimal immune function and weight regulation!

Glycine, which makes up about 1/3 of the amino acids in gelatin powder is anti-inflammatory and evidence is finding that it can help speed wound healing. Glycine in gelatin can also help improve sleep ease and quality.

PSA for gelatin – over

Latte Gummies

2 cups of strongly brewed coffee (or any hot liquid of choice)
2 packages of KNOX gelatin (or 2 tbsp of bulk gelatin)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of Splenda

1 can of coconut milk
2 packages of KNOX gelatin (or 2 tbsp of bulk gelatin)
1/4 cup of Splenda OR 8 drops stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract

If you make this with hot coffee or green tea, then you dont have to boil anything! What you do need to start with is a hot liquid. Add the 1/4 cup of splenda to the hot liquid, and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle the gelatin over the hot liquid and really whisk it in. Gelatin likes to sink to the bottom, so really make an effort and give it a good stir for at least a minute. Prep a 8 x 8 pan (or whatever shape you want to make) and wipe a the bottom and sides with a paper towel that has a slosh of oil on it. This will help with the set jello popping out from the pan and not creating a mess.

Pop into the fridge for a couple of hours. Once the first layer is gelled, open the coconut milk, heat it up to almost boiling on the stove, add the Splenda and stire until dissolved, add the stevia, vanilla and unflavoured gelatin and give it a good stir.
jello coffee and milk
The only difference on technique from above is THAT YOU NEED THIS TO COOL TO ROOM TEMPERATURE before you pour it over the set espresso layer. If it is too hot, then it will start to re-melt the bottom layer and you will have mixing. Which isnt really a big deal because it will taste the same going down mixed or unmixed.
Pop back into the fridge for a couple of hours. Once everything is set, run a knife along the outside edges of the pan, and invert on a cutting tray. It should just slip right out of the pan. Mine stuck a little bit in the middle.. which Ken used as an opportunity to say “those are for me. You can’t eat ugly food!” and gobbled them up.
jello flipped out of pan

I got 54 squares out of a batch in an 8 x 8 pan. I calculated a per square nut so you can eat lots or some… up to you. On average, I can squish 6 cubes into a half cup container for work.
Calories 17, Carbs 1g, Fat 1g, Protein 1g
jello finale

HELLO Spring & Easter Lemon Bars

23 03 2014

Winter 2014 – please die!

My head space is into spring, and while the weather doesnt actually reflect Spring, my need to make springtime treats and foods is full on. We have had our first protein salad this past week and I am fixated on Easter treats, like carrot cake and lemony things.

When I am take out my KA food processor, I usually like to use it a couple of times before I wash it, because washing all those components are a DRAG. I decided to whip these up and then wipe out the processor to shred some carrots, daikon radish and cabbage to make a “bitey” coleslaw. I call it a twofer. Best thing about this recipe is that is NO BAKE!!

Paleo Lemon Bars

2 cups raw cashews (pieces are cheaper and whole cashews)
1.5 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
8 drops vanilla stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice**(see edit)
2 tbsp lemon zest

**EDIT(May 29th, 2014) My friend Lisi has an aversion to coconut and asked whether you could sub in large flake oatmeal. I tested this out last night and the answer is yes. Add the cup of oatmeal at the beginning as per the instructions. Reserve the 1/2 cup until after all the liquid goes in. IF after you add the last of the oatmeal, the mixture isn’t coming together as a dough, ADD another tbsp of lemon juice

Grab your food processor and throw in all the cashews, 1 cup of the coconut (reserve 1/2 cup for the end), and pulse until it is broken up. Throw in the lemon zest, lemon juice, stevia and maple syrup and whip it up until you start to get a dough forming. Add the last 1/2 cup of coconut flakes and pulse until incorporated.

Line a 8 x 8 pan with wax or parchment paper and press into the pan picking off a bit to pop into your mouth. YUM. Let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and cut into AT LEAST 16 pieces.
lemon bar

Nuts on this are dependent on how large you cut your tray of spring goodness. I am quoting for 16 squares but ended up cutting my squares in half again.
So for 16 squares:
Calories 149, Carbs 6 (NET 4g), Fat 12g, Protein 5g, Sugar 2g
Suck it winter!

Cookie Butter = Spreadable Dessert

28 11 2013

Whomever thought crushing up cookies, adding a fat and shoving it into a jar was a genius. I first had some cookie butter when I was in Tucson last year and saw it in Trader Joes. The back label was marginally friendly for me and I was excited promising myself I would smear it on celery as a treat..no carbs with extra carbs.

I ended up using a spoon. Needless to say the half eaten jar remained in Tucson because it was so darn good and the amount I was eating was putting me over my surgical sugar limits.

I was getting a bunch of recipes together for the holiday “Survival” series for the York Region WLS group and I came across an unfriendly DIY cookie butter recipe. I thought “this would make a great hostess gift if it turns out” and set out to make a batch to see if this was a good gift or a recipe that just doesn’t ‘cut it’ as a lower carb-sugar free option. Ken and I love this stuff and smear it on everything. I have given it to friends who are “OMG this is fabulous”… on and off plan friends. The true testament to how good something is is when people who aren’t sugar free consume massive quantities! Make some for yourself and see what you think!

Homemade Cookie Dough Butter
adapted from wickedgoodkitchen

1 cup nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, macadamia butter, sun butter…)** I used cashew butter as it has the sweetest taste
1/2 cup butter, salted or unsalted
3 tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup *whatever sweetener you care to use given your diet
1/4 tsp cinnamon or more
A dash of nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt or less (not course ground)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla
3 tbsp mini chips (optional)

Brown the butter by heating it up in a sauce pot on low heat until it becomes golden brown. Take the butter off the burner right after it reaches this point to prevent burning. In a medium sized bowl add the melted browned butter, nut butter and coconut flour and stir.

Next, add the sugar free maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and vanilla and stir. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take it out of the fridge and stir in the chocolate chips. If you add the chocolate chips before going in the fridge they will just settle to the bottom. Store the cookie dough butter in the fridge in a mason jar or an air tight container.

Use this as a gift for a hostess OR serve with fruit or crackers for a sweet dip at your next party.
cookie butter

Un-Rice Pudding: Raisin Haters Move On

4 11 2013

The week of comfort food continues…
I love rice pudding..but rice no longer loves me. I miss a steaming bowl of warm rice pudding and I use to make it quite often. Probably one of the reasons why I needed WLS..lol

The fondest memory of rice pudding was at the cottage. As kids we use to head up to Crane Lake Resort every year for the last two weeks of summer. Three generations of Dunnells would be up there fishing, water skiing and running around with lighted cat tails (fire and children.. can you tell it was the 70s?)
Every night all 8 of us would head to the lodge and they would cook us a meal. One night they made rice pudding, still warm, and served it to us in cereal sized bowls. I remember after a long day of fishing and running off the dock swimming, that rice pudding was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Can Cauliflower be the new Rice? Yes, yes it can.

I know some of you are highly skeptical of this dessert as it may *seem* like a weird pairing. If you were a hardcore rice pudding fan, like myself, this is a good substitute. This can be made for your morning “oatmeal”, snack, or a dessert. Based on an old weight watchers recipe, this version is way lower carbs, no sugar and uses coconut milk so make it friendly for the lactose intolerant.

Un-Rice Pudding

Adapted from a Simply the Best Weight Watchers cookbook

2 cups of rice cauliflower, uncooked
1 can of coconut milk, full fat
1/4 cup of Splenda, or sweetener of choice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, large, beaten
1/3 cup of water
2 tbsp of arrowroot starch (or potato starch or if you must corn starch)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
a splash of rosewater (if you want)


Grab a pot and put it over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the riced cauliflower and stir occasionally. You are in essence steaming the water off the cauliflower. This should take about 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and Splenda and let the mixture come up to a simmer.

On the side in another bowl, mix the eggs, water and starch together. Once the mixture is simmering, add the egg mixture to the hot simmering mixture and stir until the the pudding thickens.

At this point pull it from the heat, mix in spices and raisins. This should make 8 servings or even less if you want to have a big bowl.

I based my nutrition on 8-1/2 cup servings.
Calories 132, Carbs 11g(NET 10), Fat 8g, Protein 2g, Sugars 7g

Pumpkin Truffles = A Taste of Fall

24 10 2013

Those who read my blog regularly know I have a slight pumpkin obsession which kicks into high gear in the Fall. Right on schedule, the temperature dips and I am craving my fibreous pumpkin friend to beef up soups and stews to make my belly feel warm and happy. Pumpkin is fabulous for our systems, is versatile enough to throw into savoury things like chili or into desserts, which creates bulk and can replace grain flours in your favourite dessert.

Pumpkin is a miracle food with the exception of anything that Starbucks does with pumpkin. I am sorry Starbucks but pumpkin products should ACTUALLY contain pumpkin.

For those who read my blog regularly you also know I have a thing about truffle and bite-sized desserts. I haven’t met a baked good yet that I has left me gagging with disgust so portion control is a bit thing for me. A whole slice will be eaten, so scaling things down to bite-sized portions makes for better grab and go as well as better on the waist-line.

I am really watching what I eat at the moment as my weight is slightly up and we are heading into the holidays. Ken and I recently had a tragedy and put down our lovely girl Winnie cat. She had been suffering from renal failure since the summer. Worst-Best (for her) thing that I have ever done. I never wish the experience on anyone. We had been playing cat nurse for months, and I often opted to head home to spend time with her then to head to the gym. I let my exercise and food choices slide a bit. After the sickness had ended, I grabbed a can of pumpkin from the pantry and got back on the horse.

I hate that pumpkin is in 28 oz cans. That is A LOT of pumpkin to deal with all at once. In one can I made pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin chia pudding, pumpkin brownies and pumpkin truffles (featured here). Opening a can of pumpkin is a COMMITMENT.
So the next time you need 1/2 a cup of pumpkin and are trying to use the rest up, make up a batch of these for the fridge.

Pumpkin Protein Truffles

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of almond butter (or any nut butter-cashew would be awesome in this)
2 tbsp sf maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil (or FOC)
1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
1 cup of almond flour + more if needed (see instructions)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
10 drops stevia
a dash of salt

Optional: 70% or higher chocolate bar (to melt for coating)

Mix almond butter, coconut oil (or FOC) with pumpkin until they are incorporated. Add maple syrup, stevia, and mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and give it a good stir. The consistency should be like a dough and when you mix the batter, it should be coming off the sides of your bowl. If not, then add 1/4 cup of almond flour at a time until this happens.

This seems loosey-goosey but it has a lot of do with what nut butter you used (some have more oil than others) and what type of almond flour you use (some are milled finer, absorb more liquid and therefore you use less)
Pumpkin spice cake mixed with cream cheese frosting

Roll into 30ish balls and pop in the fridge to chill overnight. I tested one for poison before they went into the fridge. You can leave it as is, or the next day nuke some chocolate, dip in the pumpkin truffle and coat. These are a good time.. they are spicy from the pumpkin spice and good for your soul. Nutrition on these varies dependent on nut butter and how much almond flour you ended up using.

For me I got for two large truffles : 171 calories, Carbs 6 (NET 3g), Fat 14g, Protein 8g, Sugars 2g
Winnie would have approved of this dessert! She liked when I puttered in the kitchen, always at my feet hoping for a little nibble.


Cookie Dough Bites: Not Tube Food

8 10 2013

I think everyone can relate to secretly eating some raw cookie dough at one point or another in their lives. I have the Martha Stewart of mothers, who makes everything from scratch. Her mantra is “I can do it better than buying it at the store” The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess..lol
As I got older and started shopping for myself, I was secretly excited to buy things like Kraft Mac & Cheese and Pillsbury cookie dough in a TUBE! How atomic age cool is that having food in a TUBE?

Fast forward to today and while I wouldn’t dream of touching the cookies in a tube because there are more chemicals in it than real food, I like the idea of having a version of it, especially if I am going to make some ice cream at home. Hi vanilla ice cream with cookie dough chunks!

This is my version of Chocolate Chip cookie dough from a tube… It is also Paleo, so as far as I am concerned.. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

Give this recipe a try and see how it stacks up against the tube alternative.

Cookie Dough Truffles
recipe by moi
½ cup of butter, melted
½ cup of sf maple syrup
1 cup of almond flour
¾ cup of coconut flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
¾ cup of sf or high cocoa chocolate chips
Coating (optional): 72% or higher cocoa chocolate, melted in the microwave

Melt butter on stove or in microwave and add to a large bowl with the sf maple syrup. Add in the vanilla extract and then the two flours and give everything a large stir. You may need to add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, until the mixture starts to pull off the sides of the bowl. Add the cinnamon and the chocolate chips.
Roll each into the desired size and pop into the fridge to chill overnight.

The next day you can melt chocolate in the microwave to coat or eat them as is. This recipe made 40 small balls, so definitely enough to bring to a party. The texture is a bit more grainy because of the coconut flour, but this is still a good time and an easy no-bake-but-looks-fun dessert to bring to a party.
Would you say no if someone handed you this??