Sweet Plantains with Cinnamon Coconut Glaze

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It’s seems like pretty much everywhere is going through a big heat wave lately and Kentucky is definitely not excluded. It is so freakin hot and humid. I just can’t do it anymore! I mean, maybe it would be alright if I had an office job or something that kept me inside all day, but it just sucks trying to ride horses in 90 degree with 90% humidity. Maybe living in Newfoundland for 3 years has made me a big sissy about heat, but I feel like I’m dying come 2pm. Okay, enough complaining.

SO, I thought I would share a recipe on here! I’ve been a bit iffy about sharing recipes and have talked myself out of it numerous times. My food photography skills are majorly lacking, I’m bad about measuring things when I cook, some of my ideas really do not taste good… the excuses are endless. Well, I just decided to forget about all my dumb excuses and just go for it! Sorry about the bad picture and all future bad pictures… I’ll work on it. 

Anyways, this is one of my FAVORITE things to eat. I loooove fried sweet plantains. They are great for a snack, as a side, or even dessert! I’ve been to Guatemala a few times and anytime plantains were served was a good time. On my last visit, the family I stayed with made fried sweet plantains for breakfast, served with whipped cream and sugar. It was pretty much heaven. Since I try to steer clear of sugar and dairy these days, I decided to make my own version of this sweet treat, which is totally Whole30 compliant! If you’re wondering which coconut butter I use, check it out here!

Sweet Plantains w/ Cinnamon Coconut Glaze
 
Prep time
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Ingredients
  • 1 large ripe plantain*
  • 1 tbls coconut butter
  • 2 tbls + ½ tsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium frying pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Slice the ends off the plantain then slice down the length of the plantain, only deep enough to cut through the peel.
  3. Peel the plantain then slice into ½ inch thick coins.
  4. Add 2 tbls coconut oil to pan. Once the oil has melted, add the plantain coins in a single layer. Cook until brown (about 2½ minutes) then flip and cook until the other side is brown.
  5. Once done, remove plantains to a plate.
  6. Prepare your glaze by mixing the coconut butter with the cinnamon and ½ tsp coconut oil and heating in the microwave for 15 seconds (no more than that!). Drizzle glaze over plantains and enjoy!
Notes
*Plantain should be yellow with significant brown/black spots. If it were a banana, it would look far too ripe.

 

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How to Eat Vegetables: Part 2

Alright, so last week we looked into why vegetables are such an important part of your daily diet. That’s great and all, but if you anything like I was, you have no idea how to start incorporating them into your meals in an enjoyable way. Vegetables do not have to be bland and mushy and weird. There are endless possibilities for eating vegetable, but I’ll outline a few ways to help you get started eating (and liking) them.

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  • Incorporate veggies into something you already love.

            The first time I really ate vegetables I had a mix of corn, carrots, and peas. It came from a bag in the freezer, and they were heated up, slathered in butter, and topped with salt, pepper, and chopped walnuts. I love nuts and had always added them to my desserts for their wonderful texture and taste, but I had never thought to add them to vegetables. It just seemed off-limits. But, as it turns out, there really aren’t any rules when it comes to cooking and as adults we can do pretty much whatever the flip we want. Think outside the box here. If you are crazy about pesto, pour it all over some steamed broccoli. Love BBQ sauce? No big deal, mix it in with some sautéed cabbage. You can even try “sneaking” veggies into your normal dishes. For example, chop some carrots up really small and add them to your pasta sauce. Sneak a few handfuls of spinach into your smoothie. Add a bit of finely chopped red pepper into your scrambled eggs. Keep the vegetable:other food ratio fairly small at first, and gradually increase it as you get used to the new tastes and textures.

 

  • Roast them.

Roasting does something totally magical to things. Okay, it’s actually not magic, it’s called caramelization, but that’s beside the point. Roasting completely changes the flavor profile of any vegetable you roast. There are several types of vegetables that I do not like eating unless they are roasted, such as brussel sprouts and cauliflower. You can roast pretty much any vegetable, though ones with a lower water content usually roast better.

Here is what you do: pre-heat the oven to a high temperature (~450F), chop veggies into manageable pieces, toss in cooking oil (avocado oil is my fave) and spices (S&P will do just fine), place evenly spaced on a baking sheet, then roast for 20-30 min (note: white potatoes take about 2x as long and at lower temperature). I like mine with a lot of browning/blackening, but you may like yours with more or less. Smaller pieces will allow for more browning, while bigger piece will give you less. Play around with cook time and piece size until you find what you like best. Once again, there are no rules.

 

  • Try a lot of different kinds of vegetables until you find “the one”.

Don’t worry if you don’t love every single vegetable you eat. I hate raw tomatoes. Whatever. The important thing is that you don’t give up altogether. Be sure to try a vegetable prepared several different ways before you write it off completely, but if it still makes you gag after a few attempts, move on to the next! I promise if you keep trying different vegetables prepared different ways, you will find your vegetable soulmate. The one that changes your entire outlook on vegetables. Don’t give up… it is out there! My veggie soulmate is roasted cauliflower, and it is that gorgeous veggie (love you cauli!!) that led the way to many others.

      Overall, take your time but don’t give up. You absolutely can change your taste buds and the way you think about vegetables. I never thought I would eat brussel sprouts for breakfast, yet I do it all the time. That’s a whole other post for a different day, but the point is, if you really want to work towards better health, you will find a way to do it.

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Halfway to the Huffin Puffin + What I Ate In A Day

I’ve made it halfway through half-marathon training! I’m really feeling like I’m in the groove of things, running early the morning followed by eating shit-tons of good food. I’m digging it. I may just go into perpetual half training just so I can keep up this level of food intake. GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD!!!

 Okay, so in all seriousness, I really am enjoying myself. My body is getting so much stronger and I LOVE that. And that is making me love my body, regardless of weight, and that is something to celebrate. I mean, it’s capable of running 10 miles on a Sunday morning before breakfast, so that’s pretty badass, right?! I’m relishing my morning runs (most days…), watching the sunrise and listening to podcasts. It’s an excellent time to just think and dream and plan, some of my favourite things.

I did end up skipping two easy runs last week so that I could fully enjoy a lake weekend with my family, and I have no regrets about it. I just was not up for running hilly, humid miles while everyone else was hanging out in the lake relaxing. I was also experiencing some uncomfortable ankle pain and figured a few days rest would do me good. I reworked my schedule to make sure I still got my long, tempo, and speed runs in.

Unfortunately, my ankle has remained a bit cranky. I have no idea what it could be, as the location of the pain changes, and sometimes it just doesn’t even hurt at all. I’m running through it for now, and it has slightly improved. Crossing my fingers it keeps getting better!

 

What I Ate In a Day

Just to note, every bit of it was Whole30 compliant!

Pre-run: handful of almonds and iced coffee, as usual! This particular day’s run was 6 miles, consisting of 6 x 800m intervals with recovery jogs and a warm up/cool down.

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Post run breakfast: 3 fried eggs and leftover grill potatoes. I think I probably had a collagen peptide berry smoothie too….

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Lunch: freakin ah-mazing chopped salad with a sweet and spicy “peanut” dressing. Plus an apple.

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Dinner: Leftover 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie (you have to make this from PaleOMG!), roasted cabbage and onion, and fried sweet plantains. A totally random assortment of food, but also totally satisfying and easy.

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Dessert: fresh fruit! Peaches, blackberries, and pineapple. <3

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How to Eat Vegetables: Part 1

There are a lot of us out there that know eating vegetables is a good, important thing. We are told this over and over throughout our lives one way or another. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that we actually eat vegetables, let alone like them. Perhaps you are traumatized by your parents’ mushy peas and carrots or find you’d rather make room on your plate for other things (like dessert). Or maybe you are just simply overwhelmed by what to do with the darn things. Either way, if you landed here because you are wondering if and how you should start eating veggies, you are in the right spot.

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I understand the aversion to veggies. With the exception of corn, potatoes, and the occasional salad (i.e., lettuce doused in ranch), I did not eat vegetables until I was 23. TWENTY-FREAKIN-THREE!!! My plates were devoid of colour. Bread, pasta, chicken—all shades of beige. Somehow I survived without any major nutritional deficiencies, though I think it is safe to say I was far from healthy. Anyways, it was around this time that I started looking longingly at my friends’ colourful plates of food (they were just so pretty!) and thought that maaaaybe I should expand my diet to include a few vegetables.

So here is the deal: yes, you need to eat vegetables. It’s true! They are vital to your health and well-being and you simply cannot be at optimal health without these. When you are at your optimal health, you feel like a badass, and who doesn’t want that?! Let me break down a few of the reasons veggies are so important, that way I’ve got you fully convinced of their importance before we dive into how to actually eat veggies.

 

  • Nutrient Intake

Vegetables are the best source of bioavailable nutrients there is! Veggies are excellent sources of fiber, with some types having more fiber content than whole grain bread. They also provide potassium, a mineral which is necessary for the normal function of every single cell in our bodies. Vitamins A, C, and E are also found in vegetables and are essential in our diets as they cannot be synthesized by the body. It is important to note that ingesting these substances in the form of pill is NOT the same as consuming them from their naturally-occurring sources. I won’t delve into that too much here, but just know that taking a multi-vitamin will not replace your need for vegetables!

  • Disease Prevention

Due to the actions of the nutrients available in veggies, they help to prevent diseases. For example, a diet high in potassium has been known to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Overall, the nutrients in veggies work to prevent heart disease and cancer, boost immune function, and aid in the normal function of every cell within the body.

  • Weight Loss/Maintenance

Despite being packed full of nutrients, vegetables are typically low in calories. They provide a way to fill you up and keep you satisfied, without adding a ton of calories into your daily diet.

 

Tune in next week to learn HOW to cook all those veggies you are now convinced you need. 😉

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