After sharing this photo on Instagram and having it blow up, I figured I had to share this super simple, gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy pancake recipe that I discovered it through Blogilates.

These pancakes are light, fluffy and best eaten stacked with some fruit on the side.  You could use syrup but I found the fruit was enough sweetness and I wanted to keep it as guilt-free as possible.

Click through to see how to make them...
On Monday evening I posted the above photo on my Instagram and Facebook.  I did a large grocery shop (finally) and did so with meals in mind to specifically plan for the week in an attempt to save money and waste less.  That said, our schedules are a little bit all over the map which makes dining together during the week a bit difficult.  I said I would share my dinners today for the week so here we go...

More photos after the jump...

One day, a few months back, a friend and I were emailing and I asked her if she had any suggestions for dinner.  She suggested her signature recipe: Thai chicken lettuce wraps.  

Since then, it's not only become a go-to and something I make quite frequently, but also something I whip out for guests as well--and it's always a hit.  I'd love to share the simple recipe with you...

Click for more (photo overload)...

Do you guys remember those banana-coconut snakaroos I picked up at Marshalls a few weekends ago?  Well, they were amazing, but that small bag was seriously $9, which was a lot crazy, but I was feeling frivolous.

Fast forward two more trips to Marshalls and my mouth was watering for them again but I wouldn't let myself splurge.  Instead, I picked up a few missing ingredients and attempted to make them the other night.  And guess what:  amazeballs.  Yep.  A-maze.  Balls.  Or, bites.  Either way, here's how I did it:

* 1 banana  preferably super ripe, but mine wasn't
* 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
* 1/3 cup rolled oats
* 4 tbsp coconut oil
* 2 tbsp chia seeds  optional
* 3/4 scoop chocolate protein powder  optional

Make it:
Mash it all together with a fork.  If it's too dry, add some coconut oil.  If it's too wet, add some coconut and/or oats.  

Once you get a sticky, yet thick consistency--I seriously eye balled all the ingredients so my measurements are estimates--use your hands and make bite size balls.

More like two-bite, sized balls.

Eat immediately or refrigerate and share with friends who appreciate healthy snacks that don't taste healthy.

The other night I went to a Secret Santa party with friends and needed to whip up a quick appetizer, as the party started soon after work ended.  I'm going to show you how to create this plate for under $22 (including the dishes!).

What you need:

Food Basics
* Whole wheat naan bread (5 pieces) | $1.99
* Prosciutto | $5.00
* Olives | $1.99
* Artichoke & Asiago dip | $3.49
* Roasted Red Pepper hummus | $3.49

* Cutting board | $3
* 3 small dishes | $2

Putting it together:
1.  Chop your naan bread into pie-like pieces, the smaller the better as it will go further and no one likes  a huge piece of bread (no double dipping allowed!).

2.  Take out your proscuitto and roll it up individually so it's easy to grab.

3.  Instead of using the containers the dip come in, I like to spoon the dip into small ramekins; it looks prettier and like you spent way more time--hey, did you make that dip?--you get my point.

4.  Put the olives in a bowl.

5.  Set it up with bread on one side, meat on the other and your dishes separating the two for a stylish take on food.  Prepare for tons of compliments.

You could add cheese if you wanted, I was trying to keep the cost down though.  The best part is you can leave the cutting board and dishes at the party as hostess gifts, if you wanted--they will love it and it only cost you a mere $5 bucks.

Happy partying!

I wanted to share with you guys some groceries I recently picked up.  Since my grocery runs generally look about the same with a substitute of certain fruits and veggies here and there, the basics are always kept on lock.

I love eating healthy and have trained my tastebuds to enjoy the flavours of certain things I know some people don't like.  I'm a huge quinoa fan, prefer whole wheat breads (when I eat gluten), enjoy adding oatmeal in my morning shake, like the taste of unsweetened almond milk, etc.  I try to eat healthy 80% of the time and make healthy food choices.  I will always love pie, pastry, ginger snaps, chocolate & sweets, but try not to overindulge too much.

I typically do one larger grocery shop per week, but tend to hit the store a few times within the week to grab more unique foods that are required for a certain dish or meal I'm planning.  I always keep fruit, yoghurt, eggs and some sort of salad mix on hand.  I frequently eat salad for lunch during the week and usually add some form of protein--hard boiled eggs, chicken or tuna--if I can.  My favourite salads contain fruit--some sort of berry or pears--avocado and nuts (if I have them on hand, which I generally don't).  Most often I make a mix of avocado, grape tomatos & spinach.

I always buy the largest container of eggs as if I don't cook them, I will just hard boil all of them, stick 'em in a vase in the fridge for an easy snack or again to add to a salad in a pinch.

Back in March, when I switched over to a Gluten-free lifestyle--ish--I also swapped out my 2% milk for almond milk.  I was a milk fiend and would drink two or more large glasses per day and go through, what I would call, 'withdrawls' if I didn't get my milk.  This would even result in headaches; I was serious about milk.  The calories and sugar in it though are pretty serious and I was likely consuming 300+ calories in milk alone.  Unsweetened almond milk has 30 calories/cup which is awesome.  I find it's pretty thick too so a small glass is enough for me.  Additionally, I like to buy one regular--for cooking--and one vanilla flavoured for drinking.  Once the vanilla runs out, I will drink the original but prefer vanilla.

The Oikos Greek yogurt is a personal fave and they come in so many flavours now.  Since my last vacation in Mexico, I've become somewhat obsessed with all consumable things coconut, mainly, ice cream.  Unfortunately, coconut ice cream is very hard to come by so last week I tried throwing one of my personal sized coconut yogurts in the freezer and the next day?  Coconut frozen yogurt!  It actually tasted pretty good and is obviously much better for you.  I'd suggest taking it out an hour before you want to eat it as it gets quite frozen.

Hope this post was interesting and let me know what else you would like to see on A.Co est. 1984.

Since going gluten-free (ish), I've become quite creative with a few of my recipes.  I haven't made crepes in many months, but was slightly missing them and figured there must be an alternative to my original whole wheat flour.  Enter oatmeal, which I ground up to make a flour and presto chango, these crepes were born!

  yields 2 crepes (double the recipe for more)
* 1/2C Oatmeal ground up (I used my Magic Bullet)
* 1 Egg
* 1/2C Milk (I used almond milk)
* 1/2C Water
* 1 scoop of your fave protein (or omit this step altogether if you're not into that sort of thang)
* A pinch of salt (if you want)

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together oatmeal flour & eggs (& protein)
2.  Add in milk & water which will make it thick
3.  Using a balled up papertowel, I like to dip it in coconut oil and coat my pan.  It shouldn't be dripping with oil, just a light coating so it's non-stick (think the amount of cooking spray would give you)
4.  Pour your batter in the pan and moving the pan ensure it coats the entire bottom
5.  Do not walk away!  This will cook in under a minute and you often don't need to flip it.
6.  Slide onto a plate, spread with your favourite jam or peanut butter, or just load with berries, fold up & enjoy!

Last night I was on a sewing mission and I knew it was going to take me all night so I needed something quick, easy and healthy for dinner to fuel me in between pinning and stitching.  Enter this amazingly easy and delicious dish that I made up spur of the moment.

* 1 Chicken breast (or more if you're feeding others);
* Your favourite veggies, sliced; I did mushrooms & zuchinni because I had it on hand.

1.  Pre-heat over to 350C
2.  Pour a quarter size amount of coconut oil in your cooking dish
3.  Sprinkle with pepper
4.  Add your veggies around the perimeter
5.  Spread some grainy dijon mustard on your chicken
6.  Place the chicken in the centre
7.  Cook for 30 minutes & devour

As I've gotten older, I've developed a mad love for rice pudding.  I know, kind of weird, but I just love it.  I don't eat it often, maybe a few times a year, but it's at the top of my favourite dessert-like foods.

When Sarah brought a healthier version to work that she made at home, I forced her to share the recipe with me so I could share with you.  Behold, healthier (ish) rice pudding!

Healthier Rice Pudding:
1 C Brown Minute Rice (the parboiled stuff that cooks in 10 mins normally)
½ C skim milk
2/3 C Stivia (or Splenda)
2 T melted butter (or margarine)
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
½ t nutmeg
1 C raisins

Pre-heat overn to 350 degrees Celcius.

Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart baking dish. Mix well.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring after 15 minutes and again when pudding is done.

Sarah's notes:
It will seem a bit runny, but the mix thickens as it cools...if you feel it is too "thin", leave in for another 5-10 mins, not longer than that or it starts to separate and doesn't create a pudding (too thick).

Sprinkle with cinnamon or cinnamon sugar when finished or before eating a serving. Enjoy!

I have recently been trying something new with my diet and food:  Gluten-free.

A little about my diet would be that I don't follow a diet. 

I've never been on a diet.

I don't really do diets.

More after the jump....

Tonight my girlfriends and I got together for some winter evening fun: dinner and some good ol' girl chat.  We all brought something (chicken, salad, pie, wine).  A pretty great way to spend my last evening as a 28 year old, if I do say so myself.  Our host even made my favourite kind of pie as a surprise which just topped the night off.  Thanks for such a great night, ladies.

Last night I got together with two girlfriends and there was wine, cheese, and quiche.  And lots of chatter.  And laughs.  And good times. 

While sitting around, I noticed a neat little box of notecards on Rachella's table and she said they were conversation cards.  So we played.  The questions were things like, 'If you could spend one year somewhere, which country would you choose?' (Brazil for me), and, 'What would you like to receive as a birthday gift?' (designer shoes), and, 'If you could do one indulgent thing without suffering the consequences, what would it be?' (tanning; haha), and more.  We took turns reading cards and answering each one.  So simple and yet so fun and entertaining! 

Fall is officially here, enjoy it while it lasts (preferably with wine and cheese)!

These peanut butter cookies have kind of become 'my thing', especially around the office.

Since they are such a fan favourite and so easy (and gluten free!), I thought I would share the recipe (ahem, thank you Kraft).

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix ingredients with mixer. Form into little balls and place on cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Enjoy!
Outfit deets:
* Spense dress (from Ricki's and no longer available).
* Bamboo wedges (old) that are like real sized Barbie shoes and I've worn with a pink skirt in a pretty (tulip) garden post a couple years ago.
* Ardène hat (above) & Giant Tiger stripe hat (below, similar).
* Accessories:  J.Crew Bubble necklace & Joe Fresh bangle.

We held my sister's bridal shower at the end of July on one of the hottest days of the summer.  A party that was planned for outdoors was quickly moved inside prior to the bride's arrival as we were sweating just setting up some chairs and a tent.

The theme was garden tea party meets Kentucky derby and we asked all the women to wear, 'Elaborate hats,' which was a total hit.  I picked up my sister's white sun hat from Ardène and it was eventually decorated with ribbons and bows from all the gifts she opened.

The food consistent of an amazing watermelon tea pot filled with melon balls, finger sandwiches, chic veggies & dip, cheese, crackers, meat and spinach dip.  The lemon cupcakes with blueberry icing were a big hit and served on a cake stand I made specifically for the event.  To drink, we served a mix of rosé wine, mimosa's, flavoured waters and non-alcoholic punch.

We played many games, including one where I asked the bride trivia questions about her husband-to-be (I already had the answers from him) and when she got the answer wrong, she had to eat three gumballs.  She had quite the wad by the time the game was over!  I'd love to share some pictures of our afternoon:

Another summer evening, another night of fun.  

My girl friend and I got together two nights ago and had a bbq chicken quinoa salad (she brought the quinoa salad, I brought the chicken, it was a mish-mash of what we could find in our fridges) and we sat outside and enjoyed the balmy evening weather after work.

No drinks this time, instead we had some refreshing lemon water and for dessert she grilled up some peaches and served them over the creamiest, most amazing vanilla ice cream.  Such a summer treat!

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