Festive Salads and Sides

Whether you are hosting Christmas this year or taking a dish to another friend or family member’s home…there is always a need for festive healthy dishes! I love to add the colours of red, green, and white when making a dish for the holiday and I thought I would share some combos in case you were looking for a little inspiration.

When I am asked to bring a dish I tend to offer a salad. Why? Well then I know there will be one and I know what will be in it!

Here are a few of my favourite salads to take to a Christmas gathering…

Spinach tossed in honey mustard topped with diced cucumber, diced red peppers, diced red onion, diced red apple, pomegranate seeds, and roasted soy nuts.

Spinach tossed in poppyseed dressing topped with sliced strawberries, toasted walnuts ro almonds, and feta.

Mixed greens tossed balsamic vinegarette topped with avocado chunks, diced pears, red grapes, almonds, and feta.

Kale mixed in Caesar salad dressing topped with baby tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and homemade croutons.

Kale or mixed greens topped in olive oil and topped with avocado, tomatoes, and feta.

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I also like to take a vegetable side dish. My favourites are

1.Roasted beets, leeks, red onion, mushrooms, cauliflower, red peppers, green peppers, red potatoes, broccoli, and green beans. You can roast them separately or in combinations. Just chop veggies, drizzle avocado oil or grapeseed oil over top and roast at 400 for 35-45 minutes and serve! These will be a crowd favourite for their look and flavor!

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Hope this gives you some fun ideas for festive looking healthy dishes this holiday season.

 

 

 

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Balance in a Bottle

So does this blend instantly lead to balance in all areas of your life? I’m afraid not. It does however have lovely calming properties and is one that I like to diffuse in the afternoon when Rhett is down for nap. Lately I have been mixing it with White Fir and Douglas Fir and the reault is a lovely warm Christmas scent in our home throughout the afternoon and evening. I don’t have a “top 3 uses” for this oil but rather a “top 3 diffusing combinations”. They are:

1. Balance, White Fir, and Douglas Fir.

2. Balance and Wild Orange.

3. Balance and Lavender

If you are looking for a nice calming scent in your home that is great on its own or with other oils…this one is definitely a must try

Until next time….stay healthy!

 

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Last week I made the most wonderful soup. It was really meant to be an adventure with my children to let them pick out vegetables and then make a soup together. It was super easy and immensely flavourful, so I thought I would share.

First, I made the broth from chicken bones of two small chickens that I had taken most of the meat off of for our supper/packed lunches the previous day. I left a little meat on the bones to add to the soup. I boiled the bones for 3 hours and then took the pot off the stove and let it cool. Once it had cooled down, I transferred it all into a large ceramic pot and placed it in the fridge.

The next morning  the boys and I purchased all the vegetables (and apples) that we wanted to add.

We walked to the store…

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Once there, I let them pick them out in hopes that they would be eager to eat the soup.

The portions I included in the soup were:

2 sweet potatoes

1 cauliflower

3 beets

3 zucchini

2 onions

3 peppers

2 cups of baby carrots

2 cups sliced mushrooms

3 apples

1 large bunch of kale

5 stalks of celery

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Then I roasted all but the kale and celery at 400 for 45 minutes

While they were roasting, I got to work on the broth. First, I took the top layer of fat off and then proceeded to “debone” the broth. The first part was easy, but towards the end there were many very small bones. I stuck with it and from what I can tell I was able to get them all. I put some soup some in the freezer, so time will tell if we have any to retrieve yet. Once the fat was taken off and the bones were gone, I placed the remainder in a pot and started to heat the broth and bit of chicken that were left in there.

 

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The Chicken Parts Removed

 

When the vegetables and apples were done roasting I added them to the broth and it filled the pot!!

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I let that simmer for about an hour then added the kale and celery and let that simmer for another hour.

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Then I added 1 Tbsp. red curry and 1 Tbsp. Moroccan spice. I let it simmer on low for 1 more hour and removed it from the heat. We enjoyed it as a family for supper, shared a bit with our sweet neighbors, and put some in the freezer for future lunches. It was the easiest soup to make and a huge hit. Never underestimate the power of chicken both, fresh veggies, and a little spice! Maybe you want to try this too or a version of it. The nice thing about soup is that you cant go wrong. And if your little ones are like my Clay and don’t like the texture of soup….just blend it up and it makes a great soup, dip, or spread!!!

Until next time….stay healthy!

 

Lime Essential Oil

My top three uses for DoTerra Lime:

  1. Added to beverages.I love lime in my water, Perrier, or spritzers and knew that this was the ticket for me to add cleansing properties to my beverages without having to keep limes in the house all the time. Wow! I was blown away by the fresh flavor. So why stop there?
  2. In preparation of guacamole or salad dressings. I started using this for any recipe that I would usually use lime for. My favourite is guacamole which I will give you the recipe for. It is a simple bland of 3 mashed avocados, 1 diced tomato, 1 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. garlic puree, and 1 drop lime essential oil. If you don’t have garlic puree on hand, then replace the combo of olive oil and garlic with 1 Tbsp. Italian salad dressing. Voila! A perfect dip for veggies, whole grain crackers or a nachos treat like these.
  3. Diffusing with lemon, grapefruit, and/or peppermint. These blends are refreshing and uplifting. Nice for a weekend morning at home….especially in the summer.

Another use that I learned recently is that Lime can be used on a cotton swab to take stickers off of places that stickers are not to be. Yep! With two 4 year olds and a 2 year old in the house, I often find stickers in random places. The left over “stickiness” used to drive me crazy, but not any more! Lime to the rescue.

Hope this gives you a fun insight into new ways to use Lime.

Until next time…stay healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Pie Waffles

We celebrated the first Sunday in December with a fun festive brunch today. It was delicious, packed with nutrition, and looked amazing on our plates. I had to share!

It all started with a request for waffles from my kids. So I made my waffle recipe which you can find here  but made a few substitutions and additions. First I used a variation adding Baby Brain Organics which you can see here and then I added 1 tsp. a cinnamon and 1 tsp. of vanilla. The Baby Brain Organics added omega 3 fatty acids and protein. The cinnamon and vanilla added a little extra “Christmas” flavor.

Next I sautéed the apples (slice 3-4 apples thinly, toss them in 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil and 1 tsp. cinnamon, then cook stovetop for about 10 minutes on medium high). I served the waffles and apples with caramel flavoured Greek yogurt (dairy free vanilla coconut yogurt for the twins) and raspberries to add that nice red colour. We all decided that the combination of cooked apples and waffles tasted like apple pie and the yogurt was like ice cream on top. Meanwhile, the brunch was packed with protein, omega 3, and antioxidants!

If you are hosting  Christmas brunch this holiday season I highly recommend this. In addition to tasting great, it also looks lovely on the plate! If you aren’t, then maybe you just want to serve it to your immediate family as I did today!

Until next time…stay healthy!

Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

Tonight we were out with friends who commented that from there on out to the end of 2016, their evening and weekends are packed with holiday parties and we could relate. Maybe you can too?

Whether is it work parties, family gatherings, or times with friends, it can be a very busy time of year with LOTS of time for food and very little time for activity! When the holidays hit and the gatherings begin, it can be tempting to let your guard down on health!  My challenge to you this holiday season is to enjoy your holidays without destroying your health!  Here are a few basic tips to help you over the coming weeks.

Stay Nourished: Always eat breakfast!  This doesn’t mean that you can’t sleep in if you have time off work over the holidays…just try to eat within 1 hour of waking up.  Then eat small meals and snacks all day long so that you are never tempted to overeat.

Stay Active: It is easy to become lazy over the holidays. If you have family or friends to catch up with, try going for a walk with them instead of going out for a meal.

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Prepare for Parties: Try to have a light snack or meal before heading to a party so that you will not overeat when you arrive.  A salad of bowl of vegetable soup is perfect before heading out. Party snacks are often high in calories so filling up on vegetables at home is ideal.

 

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Once at the party, try to scope out any veggies or fruit options and keep them in your snack mix at the party.  Another tip is to fill a small plate with food and space that food out over the course of the party.  This way, you won’t leave wondering how much you ate.

Festive Feasts: To survive multiple turkey dinners, try these tips:

  • Don’t fill up on nuts, meatballs, and cheese before the meal.
  • Fill ½ your plate with salad and veggies before taking anything else.
  • Choose between the turkey stuffing and a roll as they are both bread-based items.
  • Try to take a break between your main meal and dessert.
  • Most importantly remember: YOU WILL EAT AGAIN!! Therefore, you do not need to be stuffed at the end of the meal!

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Eat Smart when you Eat Out: If you are meeting friends for meals out try the following for “healthy choices”.

Breakfast:

  • Poached eggs and toast with a side of fruit;
  • Whole grain pancakes with peanut butter instead of syrup; or
  • Oatmeal with berries and a side of yogurt.

Lunch/Supper:

  • Wrap with grilled chicken, veggies, and a dressing on the side;
  • Spinach salad with salmon;
  • Split a thin crust pizza and salad with a friend; or
  • Split chicken fajitas.

Be Decisive with Drinks: There can be a lot of hidden calories in drinks which often contribute to excess weight gain over the holidays.

  • Drink water or milk with your meals rather than juice or soda.
  • Drink responsibly. Limit alcohol intake as it is high in calories.
  • If you enjoy egg nog, try it with ½ milk and ½ egg nog to decrease your total caloric intake.

I hope this gives you a few easy tips to head into 2017 feeling like you don’t really need a resolution to be healthier because you are already making great choices!

Until next time…stay healthy!