Golden Chicken (Four Ways)

Have you heard of Golden Milk? It is a blend of plant based milk, turmeric, maple syrup and black pepper. When I was introduced to it I loved the flavour and wondered how I could use the power of turmeric and this awesome flavour combo in a meal recipe. From this, “golden chicken” was born and has become a very common meal in our home.

You can make Golden Chicken four different ways: crockpot with boneless chicken thighs or breasts, oven with boneless chicken thighs or breasts, as a casserole dish, or as a stove top “one pot meal”.

Here are the three recipes:

Crock Pot (per 4-6 people): Combine 2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth with 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 cup honey mustard, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1 peeled and pressed clove of garlic (optional). Pour this mixture over 8-12 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) or 4-6 chicken breasts (whole or diced). Cook on high for 1 hour and then turn to low for an additional 4-6 hours. Serve with quinoa or brown rice and your favourite fresh or roasted veggies!

Oven (per 4-6 people): Combine 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. honey mustard, and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Pour this mixture over 8-12 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) or 4-6 chicken breasts (whole or diced). Cover and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Serve with quinoa or brown rice and your favourite fresh or roasted veggies!

Casserole (per 4-6 people): Make as descried above but add 1 cup of dry brown rice, 1 additional cup of liquid, 1 cup of diced baby carrots, and 1 cup of mandarine oranges to the pan. Then allow for an extra 15-20 minutes of cooking time. Always check to ensure that everything is cooked through as ovens vary.

Stove Top (per 4-6 people): Combine 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. honey mustard, and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Set aside. Dice 4 chicken breasts and place into non-stick pan. Add a small bit of water and cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Add broth mixture, 3 cups of cauliflower rice and 2 cups of diced vegetable of your choice (ie. diced carrots, peppers, peas, and corn).  Let simmer on medium heat for a few minutes then turn to medium low and cook until the broth as steamed off.

This is a wonderful dish to”cook once/eat twice” or cook enough for your family AND another family that could use help with meals.

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What is Celiac Disease and why is a Gluten Free Diet Essential for it ?

This is a question I am commonly asked as a dietitian. I have partnered with Americord to bring you answers to this controversial area.

First of all, let’s talk about what gluten is, then how it relates to Celiac Disease, and steps your family can make to accommodate a family member who has been diagnosed with this disease.

Gluten is a form of protein found in wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and many other grains  it is also found in many condiments via addition of grains such as most soy sauces, BBQ sauces, and salad dressings.

Celiac Disease (CD) which is an autoimmune disease which includes an allergy to gluten. If someone has CD, then it is essential they follow a strict gluten free diet. Even trace amounts of gluten can evoke a negative reaction. Individuals have usually had less than optimal vitamin and mineral absorption prior to diagnosis so it is always good to have a proper assessment done and determine if any supplements are advised to help with any deficiencies. In terms of food preparation, here are a few tips to keep your home GF if a family member is diagnosed with CD.

  1. Read ingredient lists well. Watch for words that indicate wheat, rye, barley, or any other grain that may contain gluten. A common one is “hydrolyzed wheat protein” in many salad dressings and other condiements. Even soy sauce contains wheat and a GF version must be used.
  2. Have a toaster that is dedicated to GF bread only. Label it and set it in a separate area than you regular toaster.
  3. Switch out wheat based pasta for rice pasta, lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, cauliflower rice, or spiralized zucchini
  4. Always have quinoa on hand that can be offered hot or cold.
  5. For oatmeal try Bob’s Red Mill GF steel cut oats. Their GF pancake mix, pizza crust mix and other mixes are also great options for a quick and easy meals
  6. For baking use a mix of GF flours as one kind alone may lead to a dense baked product but mixing a few together can be quite nice. If you are looking for a GF muffin recipe you could try this one that I have been making for years.
  7. If using luncheon meats, be aware of any fillers that contain gluten. 
  8. Offer lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as these are always free of gluten.
  9. Be sure to ask at restaurants if they offer GF options and if they ensure proper preparation techniques of these away from any products that contain gluten.
  10. If travelling, take your own GF snacks from home to ensure adequate nourishment along the way. We really like taking fruits, veggies, GF hummus, GoGoQuinoa biscuits, and BohoBars in our home.

Also, remember that consulting an RD upon diagnosis is a great idea. You can contact your local College or Dietitians to find one in your area. And as always, feel free to leave questions in the comment section below.

 

Almond Butter Chicken

Last week my boys were having bananas and almond butter as an after school snack and they asked if we could have almond butter with supper. I was already planning to make chicken but had planned on Chicken Feta Bruschetta. I love when the boys are involved in meal planning so I quickly agreed that including almond butter would be a great idea and through this recipe together. It was a huge winner all around and I decided it was definitely one worth sharing so here it is!

Ingredients (per 6-8 servings)

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup low sodium chicken broth (or water)

1/2 cup natural almond butter

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

1 tsp. tumneric

1 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Mix broth, almond butter, soy sauce, honey, and spices altogether.
  2. Place chicken in an oven safe dish and pour mixture over chicken. You may also wish to add a little extra broth or water around the edge of the pan for extra moisture.
  3. Cover chicken with lid or foil and bake at 375F for about 35-45 minutes (until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.)
  4. Serve with any sides your family enjoys and put any leftovers away for quick and way lunches or suppers later in the week.

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Breastfeeding and Infant Lactose Intolerance

This post was sponsored by Americord. All content was written by me, Noelle Martin MScFN RD.

As mothers we often feel guilty that we are to blame for anything that occurs negatively with our children. We wonder if we could have done something differently before pregnancy, in pregnancy, or after they were born. But the truth is that some things are out of our control. This is the case with a lactose intolerant infant. The great news is that there are great strategies for moms who wish to breast feed and have a lactose intolerant baby. Let’s go over a few important points in this area.

FACT: The main carbohydrate in breastmilk is lactose.

QUESTION: Can a mom breastfeed an infant that is lactose intolerant?
FACT: Yes! A mom can breastfeed a lactose intolerant baby by removing the lactose containing food and beverages from their diet.

QUESTION: Is there anything a mom can do to prevent lactose intolerance in infants?
FACT: No. There are a few reasons behind lactose intolerance in infants and none of these can be traced back to anything a mother has done. It could be due to a premature gut, congenital occurrence, genetic condition, or secondary to a gastro virus or illness. Whatever the reason, it must be managed effectively.

QUESTION: Does maintaining a “Lactose Free” requires a breastfeeding mom to give up all cow’s milk product?
FACT: No, “Lactose Free” requires a mom to give up all lactose. This does not mean all cow’s milk products. Let’s look closer at this….

Cow’s milk contains a sugar called lactose which is the combination of glucose and galactose. Lactose intolerance occurs when one’s body does not have the enzyme lactase to break the bond apart between glucose and galactose. If we add this enzyme to food products, then we have glucose and galactose already freed in the presence of all other nutrients still available. This is the case with lactose free cow’s milk alternatives. In these products the enzyme lactase is added to the milk or milk product allowing for lactose to break apart into glucose and galactose. This leaves a slightly sweeter taste in the food, but no alteration in nutritional composition. All the same levels exist of protein, fat, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and D, and all other vitamins and minerals usually present too. So a mom is left with a product that meets her nutritional needs while not bringing any distress to her infant. There is a wide array of lactose free milks, yogurt, cheeses, cottage cheese, sour cream, and ice cream available throughout markets in North America. Over time a mom may try to add a small portion of lactose containing foods to her diet to see if her infant reacts okay. If infant appears to be okay, then they have likely “grown out” of their intolerance. If they have gas, bloating, irritability, reflux, and/or loose stools, then returning to a lactose free diet would be advised. It is also important to note that lactose may exist in hidden places. Milk may be found in bread and other baked goods, salad dressings, and other condiments. These trace amounts may be tolerated by some infants but not others and it is best to use caution.

In the end the goal is to reduce baby discomfort and have a happy, healthy, growing baby and you as mom know your baby best and what is working for them and you!

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Fitness Friday: Hydration

Ladies! Did you know that the first sign of dehydration is thirst??? That’s right! If you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. Okay, grab a sip of water and then keep reading.

Today I want to talk a little about water needs for everyday life and when we are active. The reality is that everyone is different as to how much water they need. We can get water from beverages and food and our body actually makes a bit of water called “metabolic water”. The recommendations we have are for the amount we get from beverages which is meant to meet about 80% of our goal needs. For women this is 2.7 L per day. However, there are many factors that increase our need for hydration including activity. In general, adding 2-3 cups of water per each hour of activity helps to replenish our bodies. That is, if we are well hydrated first. Below are a few tips to consider, but as always, consult your health care provider for more individualized recommendations.

1. Aim to drink 4 oz of water for every hour you are awake. In addition to this enjoy milk/milk alternative and herbal tea for additional hydration. This will allow you to head into a workout well hydrated.

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2. For every 8oz of coffee add an additional 4 oz of water. For every alcohol beverage do the same…add an additional 4 oz. of water.

3. Drink 8 oz. of water before your workout; 8-12 oz. during your workout; and 8-16 oz. after your workout (in addition to 8 oz. chocolate milk as we talked about last week).

4. Notice signs of dehydration such as thirst, irritability, fatigue, headache, and nausea.

5. If you live in a hot climate, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or work in a forced air environment, your needs for water are higher than described above.

Until next time…stay healthy!

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Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

To kick off the first day back to school/work routine I am sharing these moist and incredibly flavorful muffins. They are a source of antioxidants, probiotics, and omega3 fatty acids to help keep your family’s immune systems strong for cold and flu season! I used the new Sneakz Organic for an extra boost of nutrition. You can find more about it here.

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Bobs Red Mill steel cut oats
2 scoops Sneakz Organic Chocolate Protein Powder
1/4 cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts
1 cup Silk coconut milk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup Garden of Life coconut oil
1/4 cup honey (or coconut sugar)
1 banana
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (or other berry)

Instructions
1. Mash banana, then add honey, applesauce and coconut oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. In another bowl mix together dry ingredients. Add in coconut milk and banana mixture and mix until moistened.
3. Add berries and pomegranate seeds then mix again and pour into muffin tin.

Bake at 375 F for 20-22 minutes

Crock Pot Thai Chicken Stew

I love making warm and nourishing meals in the winter time. This stew meets both of those goals perfectly and my boys all love it. This recipe is wonderful for a busy work day or a cozy weekend day. My kids love cutting veggies for soups and stews. For this tecipe they cut the peppers and green beans and measure the quinoa and rice. Getting them involved increases their interest in a meal every single time! I hope you and your family enjoy it too!

Ingredients

12-16 boneless, skinless Chicken thighs OR 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced

1 cup sodium free chicken broth

3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

3 Tbsp. honey mustard

1 Tbsp. puréed ginger (or 1 drop Doterra ginger essential oil)

1 Tbsp. puréed garlic (or 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced)

1 Tbsp, honey

2 tsp. tumeric

2-3 peppers, diced

1 onion, diced

20-25 green beans, chopped into 1” length pieces

1 cup cooked red quinoa

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup diced pineapple (optional)

Instructions

1. Mix broth, soy sauce, honey mustard, ginger, garlic, tumeric, and honey together.

2. Place chicken thighs or diced chicken breast, peppers, and onions into crock pot and add broth mixture. Turn crock pot on low and start cooking. (You will need 5-8 hours of cooking on low overall.)

3. After 4 or more hours of letting the chicken cook (and ideally at least 1 hour before you plan to eat), open the crock pot to shred the chicken apart. I like to do it on a cutting board, but you can also do it with two forks right in the crock pot if you wish too. Once done this, add the green beans, cooked quinoa and rice, and mix everything together. Continue to cook on low until you are ready to eat.

Hope your 2018 started off with a wonderful family day.

Until next time…stay healthy!

 

BlackBerry Chia Pinwheels

One of my favourite holiday traditions is baking with my mom and kids. This week-end we took an old family recipe and made it dairy free by using coconut oil instead of butter. We also made it free of refined sugar and replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat and added a touch of omega 3 by replacing regular jam with chia jam. My mom was skeptical how they would turn out. I’m thrilled to report it was 100% successful. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup Garden of Life Coconut Oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Several spoonfuls if blackberry chia jam (or your favourite chia jam/purée)

1. Blend all ingredients except the jam/purée and knead until it becomes a dough.
2. Place between two pieces of wax paper and roll into a rectangle. It takes a bit to get it all flattened out, but you will get there.
3. Remove the top piece of wax paper.
4. Add jam/purée in small amount spreading it into a thin layer to about 1/4” from the edges.
5. Using the bottom piece of wax paper to help you get started, roll the dough into a long roll.
6. Wrap it up in the wax paper and place in fridge for at least 4 hours. You can leave it there for up to 48 hours though.
7. When ready to bake, unwrap the roll and slice into 1/4” pieces. Place on cookie sheet or stone and bake at 325 F for about 18 minutes.

Until next time….stay healthy!

Finding Balance Between “the Cookies and the Carrots” of the Holiday Season

I am often asked how I handle holiday treats with my children so I decided a post was in order. The reality is that my main goal to create a healthy relationship for my children with food. So the choices I make surrounding food always go back to that. Here are a few things we consider when it comes to this topic.

  1. We want our boys to remember that their bodies still need the same base of nourishment that they need in all other seasons of the year. Treats are special and cannot cover the nourishment their bodies need. They are not to be consumed all day everyday. We talk about the fact that a treat is something “extra” we choose to enjoy. We encourage them to savour and enjoy treats rather than rushing through them. We also remind our chidren that they may not feel well if they have a lot of treats as they are not the main fuel for our bodies.  I often use the phrase “having more of that may cause your head, tummy, or teeth to not feel well”.
  2. Our boys are not given a treat or restricted from a treat based on if they are “good” or finish the food on their plate. The treat food is planned from the start as long as they feel like it. They are also given full option to save it for later if they are too full at the time it is served. It is not a “now or never” but rather a “when you wish to enjoy this”.
  3. We use “Division of Responsibility” to determine when and how much of a treat will be offered. The boys can decide if they will eat it and how much they will eat of it. If we are at a social gathering we chat about all the treat options and we let them know that they are welcome to choose one favourite OR share a few favorites with each other.
  4. We love to make and offer healthy, fun treats. Red and green fruit and veggie platters, berry cakes, green (spinach) waffles with red berries and yogurt, and snow men made out of pancakes and yogurt can be really fun and exciting for young children and yet still offer great nourishment. Involving them in the preparation takes it to a whole new level of excitement.
  5. Creating a fun food craft is another way that our children enjoy Christmas treats. They love to bake and decorate gingerbread men and cookies and although they have been known to take a few bites here and there, they tend to enjoy the decorating more than the eating. The reality is that creating joy from experiences rather than food sets them up much better in the long run.

These are just a few thoughts on the topic that I have. I hope it is helpful. Thank you for reading.

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Feel free to share your thoughts below. I would love to hear your ideas on this topic.

Until next time…stay healthy!

Small Shop Stocking Stuffers

I love finding stocking stuffers that will truly be enjoyed all year long. And while a small toy or book is wonderful to include, I also wanted to give you a few other ideas for your children’s stockings this year that would support small shops and be of use to both your child and you throughout the year.

1) Baby Buddy
The Brilliant! Kids Sonic took dental care to a whole new level in our home in 2017 and we could not be more thankful. You can read more about them here. Our boys absolutely love these toothbrushes…especially the fact that they light up and offer more autonomy in tooth brushing. They are the perfect size for any stocking.

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2) Mabel’s Labels
We use these phenomenal labels on everything from sweatshirts to lunch boxes to backpacks to boots to hockey helmets. There are several kits to choose from depending on your needs. You can find one of the kits we have here. Our boys LOVE helping to add a new label and call that item their very own. Sticking a personalized booklet out the top of a stocking would be very special on Christmas morning.

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3) Kiddo Bloom
As you know, I am all about supporting autonomy in children. We love how Kiddo Bloom cutlery does exactly that in our home. This stainless steel cutlery looks the same as the adult cutlery at the table but is the proper shape and weight for little hands. I also LOVE that they are one piece making for a more sanitary option compared to two piece cutlery.

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4) Kindergarten Tool Kit Flash cards
If you have a child between the ages of 2-5 these flash cards would be a really special gift that includes time together as you help your child learn their letters, letter sounds, numbers, shapes, and/or site words. In out home, we use the flash cards as part of cooking/baking as well as games and set learning times.

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5) Meals with Milton
Milton arrived at our home this summer and has been a welcome part of family meals, baking time, and more. Most recently he enjoyed watching us do some Christmas baking. We have Milton participate in the fun times AND in the “food trial” times so he is not anxiety provoking but rather a friendly face at all times. If you have a fussy eater or a child who struggles with trying new foods, I would consider having Milton peak out of your child’s stocking on Christmas morning.

6) The Original Squeeze

It’s not a bottle, its squeeze! And it is the perfect, mess free, easy to clean option for smoothies and purees for school lunches or on-the-go snacks. These come in a variety of colours and sizes. I chose my kids favourite colours when ordering and they use them almost every day. You can see my fill review here.

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I hope that this gives you some fun new ideas for stocking stuffers this year. Watch for my Small Shop gift guide for young children coming soon!

Until next time…stay healthy!