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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Category Archives: easy

This entry was originally posted on Running with Rhyno – a great blog to check out if you’re interested in connecting with some other runners!!

Over the years I’ve learnt a few things; like chocolate is the best thing ever, and if you add hashtag #paleo to any picture on Instagram you will immediately get a ton of “likes”.

Here at mi casa, we have been observing what I like to call a “modified paleo” diet for a few years now – even before Instagram made it cool! I remember google searching for paleo recipes and only a couple sites would come up. These days, I notice that the lines separating paleo and simple clean eating are very blurred indeed. No offence, but I seriously doubt cavemen ever ate hamburgers – with or without a bun made from romaine lettuce or kale leaves!!

Anyways, I often create some strict paleo recipes (like the one below) but we also enjoy dairy and the occasional grains at home – modern day cave-people please don’t judge!

No-Bake Nutbars

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 melted coconut oil
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup dates, chopped and pitted + 2-3 tbsp water

Prepare 9×13 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper.
In a small sauce pan, heat the dates (chopped and pitted already) with 2 tbsp water over medium high heat. You may see the need to put another tbsp of water in there if it looks like it’s drying out. Basically, this process is breaking down the dates into a jammy like texture and takes less than 5 minutes – seriously – so pay attention to it! The dates are acting as the sweetener in this recipe – if you don’t have on hand, sub out for agave nectar or honey – but maybe start with ¼ cup rather than a ½ and then build up.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the nuts, shredded coconut, cocoa powder and chia seeds. In a microwave safe container, slowly melt the coconut oil & the peanut butter. Now that everything is melted/mixed combine them all in that big bowl. Press into the pan you got ready in the beginning, cover with saran and chuck into the fridge for about an hour.

Cut into 24 pieces and wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap, then chuck into the freezer. These make great pre-workout snacks! (I plugged this recipe into a calorie counter and they come out to about 137 cals and 2.5g protein per piece). These kinds of recipes are fun to play around with; you can add other nuts, seeds or dried fruit and play around with the sweetener if you like!!

If you want to check out what kind of things I’m #hashtagging on Instagram, check me out: @shannonyac.


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Did you know there is a super easy to make your chicken more flavorful and juicy?   Soaking your chicken in a home-made brine is a simple and inexpensive step you can do with only a few ingredients!  I posted this on instagram a while back (follow me if you’re bored @shannonyac) for more ideas!!



1 roasting chicken, cut into pieces (free range is best, but this technique works well with the cheaper grocery store kind)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 bay leaves

6 cloves garlic, smashed

handful of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, whatever you have in the fridge

10-12 whole peppercorns, plus a few grinds of freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp sea salt


Butcher your chicken into about 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 drums, 2 breasts cut in half = 4, 2 thighs).  In a large ziplock bag combine the brine ingredients and smush together.  Add the chicken pieces and then slowly add water to the bag, filling it up so that you can still squeeze air out and also close the seal securely (you don’t want to overfill it b/c then you risk a blow out in the fridge!)

brined chicken

Place the bag in a large bowl and shove in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Time to cook: heat your BBQ to high and then cook the pieces in the normal way!!  Yep it’s that easy and absolutely no need to add any other sauces or seasonings.  I am normally totally grossed out by dark meat, but whenever I brine chicken in this way, I can totally eat the dark meat – such great flavour!

If you don’t want to BBQ, you can also roast your brined chicken in the oven at 425 degrees for about an hour.



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This week I had the good fortune to “inherit” my friend’s weekly installment of Steel Pony groceries – plus her co-worker’s bag!   So much produce to use up this week because each bag contained a large bunch of swiss chard, bunch of baby leeks (which at first I thought were green onions – duh!), a kohlrabi, carrots, potatoes, cilantro, and tomatoes!   I will admit I’ve never cooked swiss chard before, so was kind of curious as to what to do with it.  I snooped around on the internet for ideas and came up with this quick and easy recipe that is totally doable on a week night but looks like you slaved over it!!



1 Tenderflake deep dish crust

2 slices bacon, chopped

3 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only

3 cups thinly sliced swiss chard leaves (no stems!)

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

1/3 cup whipping cream

2 tbs Dijon mustard

1 large egg, lightly beaten

150g piece of Swiss Gruyere cheese, grated and separated


Preheat oven to 375 degrees & take pie crust out of the freezer.

In a large heavy skillet, cook bacon until golden – but not too dark!!   Add the leeks to the bacon and rendered bacon fat and cook till softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the swiss chard and chicken broth and cook till the chard is wilted – another 5 minutes.


In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat and then lower heat before whisking in the flour to create a roux.  Careful here because things can get out of hand quickly – don’t let it burn!  Slowly add the cream and bring to a boil over that medium low heat – till the roux is thickened.

Now add your roux to the leek/chard mixture, and add the mustard and HALF A CUP of the gruyere.  At this point – season with salt & pepper and take a taste – if it’s good and seasoned to your liking then add in the egg.   I don’t say how much salt to add b/c it depends on your bacon and even the cheese you use!

Pour this mixture into the pie crust and then sprinkle with the rest of your cheese.  Chuck in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until golden and bubbly.  Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.



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Is there such a thing as too many pancakes?  I have posted several recipes for a variety of pancakes on this blog: Rosemary Lemon Pancakes, Coconut Flour Pancakes with Mango Puree, Cottage Cheese Pancakes and Banana Nut Pancakes!  Today I post one more pancake recipe: Ricotta Pancakes with Raspberry Lime Sauce.  I’m beginning to think I should open a Pancake-themed food truck in Red Deer?

Anyways, I freakin LOVE ricotta; I often eat it for breakfast with some fresh fruit and honey – why wouldn’t it kick ass in a pancake?!  I’ve seen a few very similar recipes floating around the interweb, and morphed it into something that utilized ingredients I had kicking around the house.  Give it a try next weekend!


Ricotta Pancakes Ingredients:

1 cup ricotta

1/2 cup skimmed milk

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp sea salt

zest of one orange

Raspberry Lime Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup fresh raspberries

1/4 cup agave syrup

2 tbsp cherry jelly (or any other jam/jelly you have in the fridge)

2 tsp fresh orange juice

zest of one lime

dash of salt


In a large bowl, combine ricotta, milk and egg yolks.  Set egg whites aside for now – don’t forget about them yet though!  Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest and stir until smooth.  Get back on those egg whites again – whisk them until frothy and then gently fold into the batter.  Set the batter aside while you preheat your griddle to medium.

fold those egg whites in!

fold those egg whites in!

While things are heating up, get your sauce on; combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Stir to combine and watch as the berries break down.  Turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the mixture has decreased by about half.  This takes about 10 minutes.  At this point you can pour the sauce through a sieve to get rid of those pesky seeds, but Erin and I decided why throw out anything of the fruit, especially if it added fibre, which is something humans are dying to get into their bodies anyways?

Back to the pancakes… so the griddle (or your largest non stick frying pan) is heated up, your batter has had time to froth up a bit and now it’s go time!  Make pancakes as you normally do, flipping once when the tops are bubbly.  I usually heat my oven to 200 degrees to keep my pancakes in while I’m cooking the rest of the batch.

That’s it – it’s that easy – you can do it too!  I served the pancakes with the raspberry sauce, some lovely bacon and an egg, sunny side up.  A perfect brunch after a long Sunday run!!


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I know I’ve already posted different recipes for granola on this blog before, but this one is the best – inspired by one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever purchased, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  It’s super crunchy and sweet and makes a great little gift for anyone who loves maple!  I like to layer the granola between scoops of Greek yogurt and fresh berries – so good and keeps me full all morning!  This recipe is worth heating up the kitchen for!


Maple Pecan Granola

(inspired by recipe in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook):


3 cups quick oats IMG_0695

1 cup large flaked coconut, unsweetened

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup oat bran

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 large egg white, beaten


Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment/baking paper lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, folding in the egg whites at the very end.


Spread the mixture evenly onto the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes – take out of the oven, carefully flip – make sure to keep some of those big chunks in tact.  Put back in the oven again for another 20 minutes, repeat the flipping, then back in the oven for another 20 minutes.  The batch should be nice and crispy – let cool completely on a rack.  So easy!


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Finally it feels like summer time and that means backyard bevvies and patio noshing!  This weekend I took advantage of the great deals on strawberries and whipped up a batch of strawberry salsa – I usually just “wing it” and make up the recipe as I go, but this time, I decided to record as I went so I can share with you!


Strawberry Salsa


1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped small IMG_0683

1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 – 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

zest & juice of one large lime

2 tbsp agave nectar

2 tbsp each finely chopped fresh mint & finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp finely chopped red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

dash/crank of sea salt

Method: IMG_0685

Preparation is pretty easy.  Chop all of your fresh stuff, add the rest and stir to combine – how easy is that?  I let it stand at room temp for about an hour to let all of the flavours mesh together.   Serve with your fave chips and margaritas!!



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A few months ago, I picked up one of the best paleo resources ever, Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo –  such a great book for those considering paleo or needing to eliminate junky stuff from their diets.  So many of my friends are switching their diets lately due to celiac disease, leaky guts or just the desire to be healthier.  I try really hard to cook mostly paleo, though my addiction to carbs and cheese sometimes effs things up for me!  Last week I whipped up a couple of batches of cookies that I adapted from one of the recipes in the Practical Paleo book – they whip in no time and are the perfect present for anyone you know who is trying to get bad stuff out of their diet!  I wanted to spice them up, so used some McCormick Cocoa Chili Spice Blend – the results were amazing, though don’t forget to pre-warn people that they are spicy (forgot and gave to boss!)  I also made a using of Seedy Quinoa Stacks using puffed quinoa that Erin brought me back from Peru (check out this link for a similar product).


Paleo Chocolate Chili Haystacks (makes 12)


2 eggs

2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla paste (available at Big Bend Market in Red Deer) IMG_0578

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tsp cocoa chili blend

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs and add rest of ingredients (MAKE SURE that butter is cooled otherwise you’ll have some egg chunks!!)  Once combined, let the batter rest in the bowl for about 5 minutes to kind of “firm up” then divide equally into 12 plops on the cookie sheet.   I baked for exactly 20 minutes and they came out perfect!

If you want to try making some seedy cookies for the little tweet tweets out there, method is the same, but here are the ingredients:

2 eggs

2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla paste (available at Big Bend Market in Red Deer)

1 cup puffed quinoa IMG_0579

1/4 cup pepitas

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda


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