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No-Bake No-Problem

So, we’re about to open another post talking about the weather.  We hate to be repetitive or predictable, but really, the weather has so much of an effect on what we eat that it really must be mentioned!  At least in this post, anyways.

Because today we’re talking about these:

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No-bake peanut butter banana granola bars!

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You see, we try to always have quick snacks in the house that we can toss into our lunch bags when we go to work.  Lately, though, we’ve been on a huge muffin-kick.  Remember these?  So what do muffins have to do with the weather?  Nothing.  Except that they require an oven…

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And you might recall us mentioning a couple times the heat-wave we experienced a few weeks ago.  Definitely not muffin-baking weather.  Which is where these granola bars come in.

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Our first attempt at these granola bars was made during said heat-wave.  Unfortunately, while they tasted really good, they fell apart very easily and so we knew we needed to give them another try before we gave the recipe to you guys.

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But then the heat wave came to a very abrupt end (as in the temperature literally dropped by about 20 degrees Celsius overnight), and suddenly not using the oven wasn’t such a priority.  But we had already made one attempt, and we knew we couldn’t back down from the challenge!

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On the second attempt, the stars aligned and they turned out just the way we wanted!  Don’t you love it when that happens?

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Confession:  The first time we made these they had chocolate chips in them.  The second time around we went to put chocolate in them again and realized we were all out- yes, it was a shock to us too- so these ones are chocolate-free.  But adding chocolate chips is highly recommended.

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So we’ve put muffin-mania on hold for a few days, because right now we’re all about the no-bake granola bars!  Our oven could use a little vacation, anyways 😉

No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Makes: 12 bars

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats, divided
2 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seed*)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1 ripe banana, mashed
1.2 c. peanut butter (we used all-natural)
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 c. chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Grind one cup of the oats in a blender or food processor until it is a fine flour.  In a large bowl, combine the ground oats with the remaining 2 cups of whole oats, chia seeds, salt and chopped peanuts.

In a separate bowl combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla and stir until it is smooth and fully mixed.  Pour the peanut butter banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until no dry spots remain.  You may add the chocolate chips at this point if you are using them.

Line a 9×9 inch square glass dish with wax paper.  Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the dish and set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to firm up.  When they are ready, use the edge of the wax paper to gently lift the un-cut bars out of the dish.  Cut into 12 bars and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*You can use ground flax seed in place of chia seeds, however we have not personally tried this and cannot guarantee the bars will stay together as well.  If you decide to give this a try, please let us know how they turn out!

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite no-bake treats?  Have you ever tried making no-bake granola bars?

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Simple Sunday: Stir Fry

It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve done a Simple Sunday post, but we’re back, and today we have quite possibly one of the easiest dinners you could make!

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Because in our opinion there is no simpler a meal than a stir-fry! But simple does not mean boring or bland- all you need is a few ingredients to give it a pop of flavour.

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All you need is one pan, a handful of veggies, a source of protein and a little seasoning and you’re in business, people!

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Ok, so you actually need two pans, one for the stir fry and one to cook your noodles or rice or whatever you decide to serve it over.  But the pot you cook your grain in hardly gets dirty at all so in our minds it doesn’t really count 🙂

So what went into our stir fry this time around?  Carrots, bok choy, onions, mushrooms and salmon. Only a few ingredients but we assure you our family ate it right up!

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We feel as though the stir-fry has been shoved under the rug.  Its a meal that many cooks turn there noses up at, one that is considered “too simple” or “commonplace”.  Stir-frys are under appreciated in our opinions, so today we’d like to give them the spotlight.  Let them take back the credit that is rightfully theirs.

So grab your frying pans and join us in a deliciously simple stir-fry-making extravaganza!

Simple Salmon Stir Fry

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

450 g. salmon filets
1 tbsp olive, grape seed or coconut oil
ground black pepper
Garlic salt or powder
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches of bok choy
2 large carrots
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the salmon filets with black pepper and garlic salt or powder.  Place in the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side.  Put the lid on the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.  Remove the filets and set aside.

Add the minced garlic and diced onion to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent.  Julienne the carrots (aka- cut them into thin match-stick pieces) and add them to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Slice the bok choy and mushrooms and add them to the pan.  Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender yet still crisp.

Serves over rice or noodles, is desired.

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite veggies to put in a stir-fry?

Simple Sunday

Sometimes, the food blog world kind of feels like an exclusive club.

Don’t take that the wrong way, we’re not saying that us bloggers and self-proclaimed “foodies” are snobs and won’t let anyone else into our club or anything- as a matter-of-fact, it’s quite the opposite.  We love it when other people read our blogs and we always get excited when people tell us they’ve made our recipes!  We spend lots of time trying to encourage everyone to give our recipes a try.

But the problem is that so often our recipes aren’t always doable by the general public.

Because let’s be real, here- how many people do you know who keeps things like coconut flour, nutritional yeast, xanthan gum, butter extract, peanut flour, stevia, and date paste stocked in their pantries and fridges?  Unless you have at least one foodie friend, probably no one.

Over the past week this was brought to our attention.  While our recipes may look delicious, we were told by some people (in a completely friendly way) that they want to make some of them, but when they look at the ingredient list they have no idea what half of the stuff is, and it scares them off.

Basically, our recipes are so often geared toward the food-blogging crowd.  People who aren’t deterred by unconventional ingredients and are willing to go to every random health food store in the city looking for one specific item.

But don’t you think we should make our content more accessible to the general public?  Isn’t the purpose of writing a healthy food blog to get people in the kitchen cooking healthy food?

We’re not saying that we should all ran-sack our pantries and get rid of all those random ingredients, but we are saying that we should all attempt to create recipes that appeal to everyone on a more regular basis.  If we want to help people become healthier, we can’t scare them off with weird and unknown ingredients, can we? (Let’s be real, here, “nutritional yeast” is not the most appetizing-sounding thing)

Which is why we have decided to start a new weekly feature- “Simple Sundays”.  We’re not going to stop using all the random ingredients we’re accustomed to buying (and off the record, most of the stuff we get can actually be found at No Frills or the Bulk Barn), but at least one day a week (aka-Sunday) we’re going to post a recipe that requires minimal ingredients, all easy-to-find and recognizable to the general public, and is very simple to make.

So to kick things off with our first official “Simple Sunday”, we decided to make you a snack!  And what is simpler than roasted chickpeas!

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Here is the story behind this: a family member asked us for some help coming up with some healthy snack ideas.  We gave this person a few ideas, like having a bowl of cut-up veggies in the fridge, making smoothies, having yogurt and berries, making healthy dips (like hummus ;)) and then we suggested roasted chickpeas.  To our surprise, she had never heard of doing this before!  Then we thought, if she hasn’t heard of this before, there’s probably a million other people out there who have never heard of eating roasted chickpeas!  So we decided we had to fix this, and we went ahead and made two recipes for you.  One sweet, one savoury, to appeal to everyone!  Let’s start with the sweet:

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Maple and cinnamon!  There is no sugar added to these, (aside from the sugar in maple syrup) and no oil.  Just pure crunchy goodness!

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But there are a lot of other reasons why this recipe is an excellent snacking option, and that’s all thanks to the chickpeas!  Chickpeas are very high in fibre, a great source of protein (not a complete protein, but if you’re eating a balanced diet you should have no problem getting all the amino acids required to make complete proteins) low in fat, sodium, and of course have no added preservatives or chemicals, so you can munch happily knowing everything that’s in your food!

So here’s the very simple recipe:

Maple-Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

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Prep: 5 min.
Bake: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 c. cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Pat the chickpeas with a towel to soak up the excess water.  Place them in a bowl and toss them with the maple syrup and cinnamon.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (shiny side down) and spread the chickpeas over it.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are crispy and browned. (don’t worry if some of them start looking a little bit black) Allow to cool completely, them place them in an air-tight container and store in the pantry for up to 2 weeks.

**this recipe can easily be doubled!

And now on to the savoury ones: chili chickpeas!

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This recipe has no salt, and only a teensy bit of olive oil- but loads of flavour, we assure you 🙂

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So if you’re the kind of guy (or gal!) who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, these are probably right up your alley!  If sensible snacking has been your Achilles heal, we strongly encourage you to give these a try!  Even if you’ve never eaten chickpeas- we promise you won’t be disappointed!

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And if you don’t particularly enjoy spending lots of time in the kitchen, you can make a double batch and then you’ll have enough to last you for at least a week (depending on how quickly you eat them but we give you fair warning: these are addictive!).

Chili Roasted Chickpeas

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Prep: 5 min
Bake: 30 min
Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
pepper (add as much as you like, more pepper = more kick!)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Pat the chickpeas dry with a towel, and place them in a bowl.  Toss them with the olive oil and the spices.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (shiny side down) and spread the chickpeas across the sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes, until they are browned and crispy. (Don’t worry if a few of them become slightly charred-looking)  Allow to cool completely, then store them in an air-tight container and keep them in the pantry for up to 2 weeks.

And that concludes our first Simple Sunday post!  If you have anything you’d like us to post about for simple sundays, please send us an email at twosaucysistas@gmail.com, or leave a comment below!  We’d love to hear from you 🙂

~twosaucysisters

Bloggers and Bibles

One of our all-time favourite recipes we’ve ever made from another blogger is this:

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Roasted Parsnip and Caramelized Onion Puree.

This genius creation comes from Gina over at Running to the Kitchen.  If you have never been to her site before, you should make a point of paying her a visit ASAP.  Seriously, this women comes up with the most amazing meals and snacks, and she’s hilarious, too.  Even if you don’t like cooking, you’ll love her blog just for general reading!  She has a way of taking everyday situations and turning them into scenarios the likes of which you would find in a sitcom.

But we’ve gone a bit off track now, haven’t we?  We were talking about this parsnip puree!  It may look humble, but don’t let it’s outer appearance fool you- it is what food dreams are made of! (Hey now, hey now… ;))

Of course, after we made her recipe (with a few modifications- we don’t often have heavy cream lying around- cottage cheese and Greek yogurt to the rescue!) we decided it was about time we created our own version, but we decided to use the parsnip’s more well-known cousin… carrots!

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Not that we don’t absolutely LOVE parsnips (they just so happen to be one of our all-time favourite vegetables- partially thanks to Gina!!) but we just thought that the bright orange hue from the carrots might be kind of fun 🙂

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So we knew we wanted to use carrots, but as for what else we wanted to add to it?  That was a little tougher to decide.  So we’re going to let you in on a little secret here.  What do we do when we are stumped for flavour combination ideas?  We consult the Flavour Bible.

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This book is every cooks best friend! When your creativity well is running dry, this book will give you a million-and-one ideas for flavour pairings for every food you can possibly think of!

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After reading through the seemingly endless list of flavours and foods that go with carrots (who knew there were so many!?!) we finally decided on ginger.  It made sense, since we just so happened to have a knob of fresh ginger sitting in our fridge 🙂

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Then of course we hummed and hawed for a little while longer trying to decide what else we should put in this puree, because for some reason we always seem to think that just having one flavour add-in isn’t enough.  But we honestly couldn’t think of anything else to add, so we just left it as it was.  And you know what? It turned out to be just right.  Sometimes, simplicity is best!

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So now you’re probably thinking “well this is great- you’ve given me a bowl of orange mush- now what?”.  The simple answer to that is eat it!  If you’re starting to get tired of mashed potatoes, this is a great substitution.  Pair it with some grilled chicken (or tofu!) and a salad, maybe a warm piece of crusty bread and you’ve got yourself the makings of a fantastic meal 🙂

Carrot and Ginger Puree

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1.5-2 cups

Ingredients:

2 large carrots
1 c. chickpeas
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp Cottage Cheese
2 tbsp-1/4 c. milk of choice (unsweetened)
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Peel the carrots and cut into chunks.  Place them in a microwave-safe bowl with about 2 tbsp of water.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 3-5 minutes, or until carrots are very soft.  (you could also steam the carrots on the stove top, we just went with the microwave because it’s quicker!) Add carrots (including the water), chickpeas, ginger, garlic, yogurt and cottage cheese to a food processor or high-powered blender and blend until smooth.  While the motor is running, add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until it reaches the texture/thickness you desire.  Add the salt and pepper, and continue blending until everything is fully incorporated, adjusting the seasonings to your taste.

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you are stuck for flavour ideas?

Pick Me Up Pancakes

What a weekend!

We had our first track meet of the season this weekend, so we were off in Windsor running around in circles for the better part of two days.

And you know what?  It was not our best performance.  The first meet is often a bit rough, but this weekend our bodies just didn’t seem to want to go as fast as we would’ve liked them too.  Oh well, it happens, right?

We figured, though, after a tiring weekend of disappointing racing, we deserved something extra special- something to perk us back up.

So we made pancakes.

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Not that we ever need an excuse to make pancakes, but these just seemed like the perfect thing at the time.

These banana nut pancakes were fluffy, flavourful, and oh-so satisfying!

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Loaded with cinnamon, full of crunchy walnuts, and drizzled drowned in maple-tahini syrup these pancakes hit the spot!

Now you may be thinking that the banana-tahini combination is slightly strange, but we assure you it is de-lic-ious!  We’ve used a tahini dressing on banana pancakes before, and it was every bit as wonderful as we remembered.  This one had the addition of maple syrup, which brought it up to a whole new level of awesome 🙂

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So while we hope your athletic endeavors this weekend were more successful than ours, if they weren’t, we encourage you to make these pancakes for yourself as a reward for putting in the effort. If you did have success (of any kind) this weekend, make these as a reward.  And if you really can’t think of any reason why you should be rewarding yourself this morning- make them anyways, because we’re sure you did something worth celebrating this weekend 🙂

Banana Nut Pancakes

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Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp coconut flour (optional- but decrease the liquid if not using)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 egg whites (or one egg)
1 mashed ripe banana
3/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp banana extract (optional)
1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Tahini Drizzle:

2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp maple extract (optional)
water

Directions:

For the pancakes: In a medium-sized bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  In a separate small bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined.  Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a hot skillet, cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

For the Drizzle: Combine tahini, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  Slowly add water while stirring until you reach your desired consistency.

~twosaucysisters

Round 2: Roasted Garlic

On Wednesday we talked about three hummus recipes that we made last week.   We gave you the full recipe for our spinach hummus the other day, but in an effort not to bore you with an endless string of hummus recipes, we’ve held off giving you the second edition.  (Even though can you ever really be bored with hummus recipes?  We don’t think so…)

But now that we’ve given you a one-day intermission, we think you’re ready for round two! 🙂

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This roasted garlic hummus is much more traditional, but traditional doesn’t mean boring!  An entire bulb of roasted garlic went into this batch, so it definitely wasn’t lacking in flavour!

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If you’ve never roasted garlic before, you really must.  When you roast garlic, the cloves turn so soft and buttery, you could practically spread it on toast!  The strong and pungent flavour that is so characteristic of raw garlic is also mellowed-out considerably when roasted, which is why you can put an entire bulb of it in one batch of hummus without reeking of garlic for a week 🙂

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This hummus truly embodies the idea that simplicity is delicious.  Its easy, quick, and healthy.  And if green colour of the spinach hummus scares you a bit, maybe this one would be more up your alley?

At any rate, you should give this hummus a try, and then get ready, because we’ve still got another rendition coming your way!

Roasted Garlic Hummus

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Prep Time: 30 min
Time: 10 min
Makes: ~ 2 cups

Ingredients:

1 bulb of garlic

2 c. cooked chickpeas (about 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350C.  Slice the top of your garlic bulb (just the tips) off and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil.  Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until soft, lightly browned and aromatic.

Once the garlic has cooled off a bit, place all other ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever roasted garlic?  What is your favourite way to enjoy it?

3 Minute Miracle

Hi 2SS readers!

Well, we’re back from a fun weekend in Chicago, and while we do have plans to do a recap post for you, we are bringing you a recipe instead!

An easy recipe.

A really really easy recipe.

In fact, this little concoction has just 3 ingredients.  It doesn’t require any special equipment, no blender or food processor, and no lengthy and intensive prep-work.  In less than 5 minutes, you can be digging into this:

Chocolate-protein “Snack Pack” pudding.

Do you remember Snack Pack pudding?  Our mom didn’t buy it too often, but when she did, you can be sure there was a lot of excitement amoung us kids!  Needless to say the stuff didn’t last too long in our house…

We came up with this recipe by accident one day when we were attempting to make chocolate frosting.  We added in a few ingredients, taste-tested, and couldn’t believe how much it reminded us of the Snack Pack we loved as children!

And with no added sugar and only 3 ingredients, you now have even more reason to love this new-and-improved pudding snack 🙂

3 ingredients, 3 minutes.

Excuse us, we’re going to go and make some pudding…

3-Ingredient Chocolate Protein Pudding

Total Time: 3 min
Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

Did you ever eat Snack Pack pudding as a child?  What is your favourite quick-and-easy snack?