Orecchiette with Kale and Sausage

It’s our first Fiesta Friday with The Novice Gardener!  Having never completed a blog party I must say we are extremely excited!! We hope we can discover new blogs to follow, and that more people can discover us!  We are very new to the blogging world and are trying very hard to figure out how to use our photography to make our food look as good as it tastes.  (Way more challenging than we thought).  Now when I think of fiesta, I usually think of Food (of course).  It is extremely important to eat a proper meal before going out for a long evening of fun!  This is such a quick, easy one-pot meal to start your night off right.  If you don’t eat pork, you could always substitute the pork sausage for chicken or beef!

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Curry Cauliflower Tots

I was a very picky eater as a child. I basically survived on grilled cheese and breakfast cereal from age 3-10 because that’s all I would eat. It’s amazing that I’ve grown to love cooking and different kinds of food so much since then. However, from time to time I still love to have those few rare foods I would eat as a child. My love for tater tots still lives on today but I feel like I’m a bit too old to buy the classic kind. These cauliflower tots are super easy to make and much more grown up. I spiced them up a bit by adding curry spice to it, because why not right?

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Maple Bacon Popcorn

I have exciting and somewhat embarrassing news to tell you! We finally bought a microwave.  Why is this embarrassing?  Well probably because we’ve been living in this apartment for 7 months, having to heat up food in our oven.  One of the main purposes of buying a microwave was to make (easy) popcorn.  I’m currently on a no-chip year meaning I’ve banned myself from eating any type of potato chip for a year.  What’s the next best thing? Popcorn of course! Popcorn is actually kind of a healthy snack until you add bacon, maple syrup and butter to it but I like to dress it up with fun flavours.  This one is a new one for me and I’m not going to lie, I may have eaten the whole bowl as my dinner last night but that’s besides the point.  This would also be a great snack for Superbowl Sunday.

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Maple Orange Pork Tenderloin

Today is Bell Let’s talk day! For those of you who don’t know what that is, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every: Text message sent, Mobile and long distance call made, Tweet using #BellLetsTalk, Facebook share of our Bell Let’s Talk image.  I think this is such a great initiative, especially as we learn more and more about mental illness. I have quite a few close friends who have had constant battles with depression and anxiety, and am proud to say that many of them have gone to seek help! So do what you can to talk to your peers about mental illness and ensure they feel comfortable seeking help or talking about their feelings! Speaking of feelings – I feel very strongly about this delicious pork tenderloin recipe I am about to share with you! 😉

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Quinoa, Kale and Yam Salad

Did anyone watch the Grammy’s last night? I thought it was pretty funny when Taylor Swift thought she won the award and then soon after realized she didn’t. Her album has already won so many awards, I definitely think that it’s time for her to let someone else win. My family always likes to watch all the awards shows together. I also can’t believe how acrobatic P!NK is in her performances. That girl has some serious muscle! Or perhaps you watched the Bachelor wedding, honestly that really isn’t my thing.  I mean don’t get me wrong, I think the Bachelor is hilarious to watch and do enjoy watching it, but I personally would never want one of my relationships televised… ESPECIALLY in the beginning awkward stages.  Oh dear. ANYWAYS, I was looking through my fridge trying to figure out what to eat after a long day of hiking and no time to meal plan, and came up with this wonderful creation.

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Pear Sauce

I always try to get super organized for my work week on Sundays. Honestly, it takes up quite a bit of my day but is so worth it in the end. If I have all my meals planned and as prepared as possible, I find that I’ll eat healthier and actually have a better week. Food and cooking, as you can imagine, is a big part of my life but sometimes I fall into to the trap of eating out and buying unhealthy snacks. The more healthy snacks I have in the house the better. This week I decided to try something new – pear sauce! I love all kinds of fruit sauces and this one was no exception.

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Green Smoothie

When I was in University I would have a smoothie for breakfast pretty much every day.  I loved them because they’re a great way to pack a lot of nutritional ingredients into a fast, easy breakfast.  However, since I’ve started working full time I haven’t been making them as much and I absolutely miss them.  I’ve been hesitant to get on the green smoothie train because I always believed I wanted to really enjoy my smoothie and that putting things like spinach and kale in it would ruin it for me.  However, I started having Booster Juice’s “Spinach Is In It” smoothie one day a week as a meal substitute and have found myself actually starting to crave them.  I gathered most of the same ingredients that they use in the one at Booster Juice and this one I made was remarkably similar.  I’m still not ready for Kale yet, but I’m not totally against the idea anymore.

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Spiced Kale Chips

Put those store bought Kale chips down!  Yes you, with the store bought kale chips!  Didn’t you know they are extremely quick and easy to make?  Well if you didn’t before then you know now!

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Kale is such a huge health craze right now, but so many people struggle to get it down.  Why not turn it into a chip!! No more gagging over pure kale juice, or chewing on hard sharp salads (Don’t judge me I actually like drinking and eating kale plain).  These are so crisp and lightly flavored that they can be eaten INSTEAD of chips!  Ok Ok enough chit chat, here’s the recipe…

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Chia Seed Pudding

I find chia seeds extremely fascinating.  I actually had no idea what the heck they were until I watched the documentary “Hungry for Change.”  Have any of you seen that?  It’s such an inspiring documentary all about adding foods with high nutritional value into your diet.  Chia seeds are known to be the “seeds of life” along with fax seeds.  Chia seeds are actually able to absorb 10x their weight in liquid, how cool is that!  Not only are they extremely high in fiber, protein, omega-3, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, they are also known to help stabilizer blood sugar levels. Not bad for a tiny little seed eh! I have been doing lots of experimenting with chia seeds in my smoothies in the morning, as well as this Super Seedy Bread. This recipe is adapted from Giada de Laurentiis cookbook, Feel Good Food.

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Pumpkin White Chocolate Loaf

If you haven’t figured out by now, I am pretty big into using pumpkin in as many ways as I can. Candice and I have both posted various pumpkin posts including pumpkin naan pizza and mini eggnog pumpkin pies. Pumpkin season may be over but my pumpkin cravings last year round so good thing canned pumpkin is always available. This kind of throws my healthy eating trend here out the window but to be fair I did make it back in November (although I may have to try it again soon after remembering how amazing it was).

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