I find happy hour is the toughest time to stay on a healthy track!
My friend Hana, owner of Cafe Shu, had me over to show me some of her tips and tricks for throwing a healthy and delicious cocktail party! Hana doesn't just like food, she LOVES food and really cooks with a lot of heart! I came over and met with Ruby, Hana's bulldog / sous chef in-training. We got right to cooking!
:: Ruby, taste tester extraordinaire! ::
On the menu: Caesar salad bites, herbed mushroom goats cheese balls, beet romesco dip, and a pineapple-lime cocktail to wash it all down!
Caesar Salad Bites:
These tasted amazing! The dressing was made with tofu and mustard as a base – making the bites completely vegan and delicious! So much better than cheese and oil!!
Hana told me her secret to the chicken is cooking it with a lemon rub and also shredding instead of cubing chicken, it holds more sauce and has a much nicer texture. It really did make a big difference!
2 chicken breasts, baked with salt, pepper and olive oil
1 package silken tofu
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
Lots and lots of fresh ground pepper
Salt to taste
Romaine or endive leaves
Roast chicken at 400F for 25-30 mins, until cooked through. Shred with two forks and set aside. In food processor, combine remaining ingredients (except for romaine/endive). Adjust seasoning to desired taste (adding more Dijon, garlic, pepper or salt). Pour sauce over shredded chicken and mix until well combine. Spoon chicken Caesar mixture into romaine or endive leaves.
Herbed Mushroom Goat Cheese Balls:
Hana whipped these up in 5.5 seconds and they were SO good! I love goats cheese and the combo with the mushrooms was to die for.
1 cup button mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
1 package of goat cheese
1 bunch fresh basil
Sautee 1 cup button mushrooms with 1 clove of garlic. Set aside.
Mix 1 package of goat cheese with mushroom mixture until well incorporated. Roll goat cheese into bite-size balls.
Finely chop 1 bunch fresh basil. Spread chopped basil on a plate and roll goat cheese balls in basil until covered. Let sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.
Beet Romesco Dip:
I've never had a dip quite like this, it was awesome! A hummus-like flavour but with a little more punch!
6 medium beets, roasted
½- 14oz can chickpeas
4 cloves garlic, roasted
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water as needed
Roast beets and garlic in tinfoil packages for at least 1 hour. Let cool. In food processor, combine beets and garlic. Add chickpeas and white wine vinegar and combine. Add parsley and blend again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add water as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Pineapple Lime Cocktail:
If possible juice 1 whole pineapple and 2 whole limes (remove rinds). Mix well. If buying store bought juice, make sure there is no sugar added. Mix 1 cup pineapple juice with 2 TBS lime juice. Mix well. Add 3 parts pineapple lime juice to 1 part vodka….ENJOY!
Cocktail party ready to go!
You can visit Hana anytime at Cafe Shu! She has great catering options with any and all of the food you see here today! She also makes an awesome juice cleanse and will have special offers for Bod Squaders this summer!! Thanks so much Hana for giving us your awesome recipes! Stay tuned for more Beauty and the Bod + Cafe Shu collaborations!
I actually struggle to make it through a day without it! This drink has re-created how I feel about breakfast, smoothies and life in general. It eradicates my hunger pangs for chocolate! I am completely addicted.
Serves 1 really hungry person
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup coconut water – or I also love just more almond milk
4 ice cubes
2 tablespoons of cacao powder (Whole Foods has it and this will last you weeks!)
2 tablespoons honey
Blend everything until completely smooth and drink immediately.
Last week I finally received my copy of, "It's All Good" Gwyneth Paltrow's latest healthy eating cookbook. I really hate to say this but so far I've been very disappointed.
I really love her first cookbook, I think it's nicely balanced with healthy recipes and a few treats sprinkled through the pages. Last week I made her fish tacos and they were to die for! This new book however, basically consists of 20 different ways to cook quinoa.My biggest complain is the formatting is awful, I'm a total picture reader with cookbooks – if it looks good, I'll make it. This new book has 3-4 recipes on a single page! Instead of five different chicken recipes I would prefer just getting the best one. It's really overwhelming and not aesthetically pleasing at all.
If I could only own one of her books hands down I would pick "my father's daughter". It's way more real feeling and the recipes are well thought out and every single thing I've made from it is better than I expect it to taste!
:: Candy Bars ::
This weekend I decided to take the book on a test drive and I made her "Candy Bars". These sounded like they were going to be delicious but again I was not impressed, they were good – not great.
If I were to make these candy bars again I would suggest a few changes to make them better! I think the idea has a ton of potential and I will make them again using these tweaks!
My Candy Bars
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Grind the cashews in a food processor into a very fine meal. Add the dates, almond butter, maple syrup, coconut, and almond extract. Pulse until you have a sticky dough ball.
Roll the dough onto a sheet pan so it's about 1 inch thick then place in the fridge until firm (4 hours), if you're in a rush freeze for about 30 minutes.
Then melt chocolate and brush a thin layer over the hardened dough mixture. Put back into the fridge for 20 minutes or until completely firm.
Serve cold – straight from the fridge.
Bottom Line: This cookbook gets a 4/10 in my books but her first book is a 10/10 – hands down the best resource in my kitchen.
Sometimes the most special date nights are the spontaneous ones!
It's not often that Matt and I share the same weeknight off. Actually we haven't had a free Monday night together since September!! So when my last client cancelled yesterday ending my day early I decided to take the extra hour and make a fun dinner party for two!
I've been wanting to make Gwyneth Patrow's fish tacos for awhile now but for some reason Matt has always turned up his nose. I knew once he tried these he would fall in love. Six tacos later he confirmed his adoration. These are not your typical fish tacos!
Not the healthiest option in her cookbook but you could always grill the fish instead of frying it. But everything is so much more special fried!! And I ran 12k yesterday so fry away!!
On the side we had a glass each of my favourite organic red wine – Bonterra, which is on sale now at the LCBO for $14!! I'm not too sure about the specific benefits of organic wine but I can tell you this one tastes delicious.
Hurray for date night dinners in! This recipe is a winner and really easy to make! We were eating in less than 40 minutes from start to finish.
For the Cabbage
1/2 very small green cabbage, coarsely chopped
Juice of one lime
Pinch sea salt
For the Pico De Gallo
1 pint grape tomatoes, halfed
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of one time
Pinch sea salt
For the Fish Tacos
Safflower oil, for frying
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup beer (the rest is good for you or date to drink while you're cooking!)
1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets (cod, pollock, and or haddock) – we used cod and it was great, cut into 1 inch cube pieces – the batter will make the fish bigger
Make the salted cabbage: Combine everything together and let it sit for 20 minutes. The cabbage will wilt slightly, but will retain its crunch.
Make the pico de gallo: Combine the tomatoes, onion, and cilantro in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and lime juice.
Make the fish tacos: Pour 2 inches of safflower oil in a large cast iron pot or pan. Heat to 350°F. You can tell when it's ready because the fish will start to sizzle once you drop it into the oil. Takes about 3-4 minutes to heat up. Meanwhile, combine the flour, beer, a pinch of salt, and the pepper together in a large bowl. Dredge the fish in the batter and gently place in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry for 3–4 minutes, turning here and there, until nicely browned. Remove to a paper towel–lined plate, sprinkle with a little salt, and repeat with as many batches as necessary until you've cooked all your fish. To serve, warm the corn tortillas on both sides in a skillet with just a bit of oil or butter. Serve a stack of them alongside all your fillings. To assemble, lay 2 or 3 pieces of fried fish on tortilla, scatter generously with pico de gallo, a bit of salted cabbage, and some guacamole. I like mine with hot sauce too.
I couldn't believe how easy, delicious and filling the juices actually tasted. I certainly didn't think this would be my experience at all. I was worried I would be hungry all the time and unable to focus properly but I've actually found the opposite to be true.
I made a promise to myself at the start of the cleanse that if it impacted my work or my workouts at all I would stop immediately and return back to food. I never once felt deprived or STARRVINGGGGG like I have in the past on other cleanses involving food.
Pros of the cleanse:
My digestive system, which (TMI) has historically been troublesome, works amazingly well right now
My body feels lighter (and it is by 4 lbs – not that I was doing this for weight loss but a great side effect)
I feel like I have a new awareness to what hunger actually is
I really like green juice now
I liked that you don't take pills with this cleanse, feels more natural
Three days is manageable and you can still feel like you've accomplished something
Unlike other cleanses I've done with food I like the regmented way of the juice cleanse, there is no wiggle room which I found easier to follow
Cons of the cleanse:
Next time I do this I'm going to invest in a proper juicer, blending worked but juicing would be ideal and better tasting
I was a little light headed the morning of day two but other than that I felt amazing
Although I was never hungry I did miss food a bit
I highly recommend trying a juice cleanse! Three days ago I would have thought I'd be begging for food right now but I'm doing really well and I'm not having any cravings for junk food at all. I think Matt and I are going to try a monthly cleanse and see how we feel. I hope my next experience is as positive as this first one!