Red Curry Bean, Lentil, and Vegetable Stew

May has started out wet and chilly where we live which is keeping me interested in making warm soups and stews. I developed this recipes recently and it is not only packed with nutrition but also a ton of flavor and a bit of heat to warm you right through on a cold wet day. If you like curry…this is a must try!

Ingredients

2 cups dry mixed beans

1 cup red lentils

3 cups vegetable broth

2 cups coconut milk

½ red cabbage

1 sweet or red onion

3-4 large celery stalks

2 yellow zucchinis

2 green zucchinis

1 Chinese eggplant

3 Tbsp. Avocado oil (split into 2 portions)

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. red curry powder

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain beans and lentils and then soak in warm water for 2-3 hours. Once beans are ready, you can move forward with the rest of your recipe.
  2. Dice onion and place at the bottom of a large pot. Sautee the onion on medium heat in 2 Tbsp. of the avocado oil. Add diced cabbage and celery as you have it ready. Once they are softened add diced zucchinis and eggplant and stir together.
  3. In a separate dish mix together red curry powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. avocado oil, and stir together. Then add this into the pot. Once all vegetables are coated well, add the beans and stir thoroughly.
  4. Add the vegetable broth and stir and then let simmer on low for 1 hour stirring every 15-20 minutes. Add coconut milk and let simmer for an additional hour (or more) until it reaches desired thickness and beans are to desired softness.

My favourite way to enjoy this stew is heated and topped with dollup of coconut or vanilla yogurt. It would also be great warm or cold in a whole grain wrap!

Until next time…stay healthy!

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Crock Pot to the Rescue!!!!

As we head into fall and winter, I start to turn to the BBQ less and the crock pot more. Anyone with me? Here are two super easy crock pot meals that my family enjoys. Not only are they easy on the day of, but they also provide wonderful leftovers for days to come! #winwin

Pulled Mango Chicken

16 boneless, skin less organic (or antibiotic and hormone free) chicken thighs

1 cup The Keg Mango Sesame Dressing (available at Costco)

1 mango diced

2 sweet onions diced (optional)

Put all ingredients into the crock pot. Set crock pot on high for 1-2 hours and the low for an additional 4-6 hours. Pull/Shred the chicken apart and serve.

Set crock pot to 2

Pulled BBQ Pork

4-5 pieces of pork tenderloin, left whole or cut into large chunks

1 cup apple or pineapple juice

1 cup CattleBoyz BBQ sauce

1 red onion, diced

2 red peppers and 2 orange peppers, diced

Place all ingredients into the crock pot and set on high for 2 hours and then low for an additional 6-10 hours. Shred pork and serve.

Serving suggestions

  1. Serve with a Greek salad, naan bread, and tzaziki.
  2. Serve in a whole grain wrap with cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and diced avocado.
  3. Serve with roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
  4. Serve with roasted potatoes and broccoli.
  5. Serve with rice and corn on the cob.
  6. Serve with spinach salad, sautéed mushrooms, and roasted beets.

Hope this provides you with some quick and easy meals this fall that the whole family can enjoy!

Until next time, stay healthy!

 

 

Sunday Brunch

Our family loves “Sunday Brunch” after church. A few times each year we go out for it, but with three small children it is much easier to head home and make something together.

A few of our favourites are pancakes, waffles, banana and pb pizza, and personal crust-less quiches. Of course always paired with lots of fresh fruit and yogurt.

Today we made something that we hadn’t made it a long time…Monte Cristos!!! I just had to share the recipe…which is not completely traditional as it is a little healthier, but super delish!!! Hope you like it too!

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The following makes 4 Monte Cristo sandwiches.

Ingredients

8 pieces of whole wheat or whole grain bread

4 Omega 3 eggs

1/3 cup milk of your choice (I used Coconut milk)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 slices of Swiss cheese (I replaced 2 of these with shredded Daiya cheese for the twins)

4 (or 8 if you want two per sandwich) slices of nitrate free turkey

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Instructions

  1. Preheat electric frying pan to 300 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla together and set aside.
  3. Get your bread, turkey, and cheese all laid out and ready to use.
  4. Dip two pieces of bread into the egg mixture and lay onto the fry pan. After a few minutes they will be golden brown on the side the is down. Flip one piece over and lay the turkey and cheese onto it. Then add the “done” side of the other bread on top of that. After a few minutes, when the “down side” of the bread is gold brown, flip the whole sandwich over to finish off the last piece of bread. Let that sit until the bottom piece of golden brown and cheese has melted.
  5. Repeat this for all sandwiches.

For a fun dip/sauce, you can mix together 1 Tbsp. maple syrup with 2 Tbsp. honey mustard and heat for 15-20 seconds.

If you are looking for portion control, you could enjoy 1/2 of a sandwich and pair it with a nice spinach or kale salad or a side of diced berries.

Here is a pic of the ones the kids plates today.

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Until next time…stay healthy!

Coconut Clusters

We found a fun new product at Costco this week and I thought I would share it with you.
It is called Coconut Clusters and in addition to delicious,  has pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds which provide protein. There is a only small amount of added sugar per food label serving size. They are gluten free, dairy free, organic, and non-gmo.

They have a fresh, sweet, and slightly nutty taste. They work well for a small snack for kids (my boys LOVED having them in their lunches this week) or as a topper for cereal, yogurt, or salad. As with all foods of higher caloric density, moderation is key. I packed about 2 Tbsp. for the boys in their lunch twice this week.

But is coconut healthy? Coconut is a source of nutrition that is unique in its make up. It contains saturated fat which we usually should try to avoid; however, the make up of the fatty acids in coconut is quite different from that in high fat milks and red meat which have a direct link with increased risk of heart disease. While (long chain triglycerides) saturated fats increase our LDL cholesterol (the bad); the type of saturated fat (medium chain triglycerides) in coconut also has been shown to increase our HDL cholesterol (the good). Long story short, moderation is key. Coconut is not a fat that we want to use in place of olive oil, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil; however, it is a fat that we can consume in moderation as part of healthy diet. The list of possible health benefits of coconut oil is quite long including, but not limited to, some studies showing that intake of coconut can help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and may help to reduce inflammation.

Why chia? Chia seeds are a source of complete protein. This means that they contain all of the essential amino acids our body needs to make body proteins. This is not true of most plant based proteins. Other plant based complete proteins include quinoa, soy nuts, and hemp hearts.

If you love coconut I hope you can try this new product too!

Until next time….stay healthy!

Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie bowls have become a favorite of mine recently. I enjoy them for a refreshing breakfast or lunch but most of all I like them for evening snack. I LOVE ice cream so they provide a way for me to feel like I am eating ice cream, but in reality I am consuming fewer calories and more nutrients. These are amazing for kids too and can be thinned down with a little extra milk if kids prefer to drink them like a regular smoothie.

For any of the recipes below, you can use cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, etc. If you are using a cow’s milk alternative, just make sure that it is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. There are a few I have specified coconut milk for as I think that it tastes best with those recipes, but if you do not have it in the house, then any milk is fine.

Here are my 6 favourite combos to blend together:

  1. Black Forest Cake: 1 cup chocolate milk (or 1 cup alternate milk with 1Tbsp.chocolate syrup), 1/2 cup Black Cherry Greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen cherries (or berries), 1 banan
  2. Matcha Monkey: 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or vanilla coconut yogurt), 1 Tbsp. shelled hemp hearts, 1 Tbsp. unsweetened matcha, 1 banana (preferably frozen)
  3. Green Berry Bonanza: 1 cup milk, 1-2 cups frozen berries, 1 banana, 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetened Matcha powder
  4.  Tropical Tornado: 1 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup vanilla flavoured coconut yogurt, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup frozen pineapple
  5. Key Lime Pineapple: 1 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup Key Lime Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, 1 cup frozen pineapple.
  6. Beautiful Berries: 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 2 cups frozen berries

Once they are blended and in the bowl, you can top them with granola, fresh fruit, chia seeds, hemp hearts, sliced almonds, etc.

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Until next time….stay healthy!

Soups on!

Soup is such a fantastic way to fill up on high nutrient and low caloric dense foods. I love having soups for lunch these days. I recently made a big batch of vegetable, bean, and tofu soup and portioned it out for lunches. I thought I would share my recipe in case it provides you with  inspiration to make a pot of your own.

Ingredients

4 Zucchinis, sliced (I used two green and two yellow)

3 peppers, diced (I used one yellow, one orange, and one red)

1 red onion, diced

2 cups snap peas

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cans No Salt Added tomatoes (or you could use 2 cans of tomato paste and dice up 5 or 6 large tomatoes)

1 Tbsp. dried basil

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 tsp. red curry powder

1 can No Salt added black beans, rinsed well

1 can No Salt Added white beans, rinsed well

2 cups diced medium or firm tofu

Instructions

  1. Prepare all vegetables, place them into a pot.
  2. Stir in the canned tomatoes, garlic, and seasonings.
  3. Simmer on medium low for about an hour or until vegetables are soft.
  4. Add in beans and tofu.
  5. If you are eating the soup right away, then simmer until beans and tofu are heated through. If you are portioning the soup for lunches, then you can let it cool and portion it out.
  6. When eating the soup, you may also wish to stir in some baby spinach and/or top with diced avocado.

This soup can be eaten on its own or with a whole grain side such as whole grain crackers or bread or wrap.

Here are a few photos of the soup I made. The first is the veggies at the start, the second is the final product, and the third was my lunch today.

Until next time….stay healthy!

Tip #6: Portion Awareness

Okay, its been a while since our last tip. I have been busy with three sick little boys, but we are on the mend now and mama can get back to doing some other things. I enjoyed every minute of the extra cuddles, but it was SO sad to see them so sick.

Hopefully you have been able to make tips 1-5 part of your daily lifestyle….eating breakfast, drinking more water, filling plates with lots of colour, eating an apple a day to keep the “hangry” away, and planning ahead for meals and snacks.

This next tip ties in with the snack and meal planning process. Portion awareness is huge for a continued healthy lifestyle. Understanding what a “food guide serving” is compared to what you serve on your plate (your potion) provides an important step for mindfulness around our eating habits. Visual comparisons really help with this process.

For example, a food guide serving of pasta is 1/2 cup. Most restaurants serve 3-4 cups of pasta. How can you ensure appropriate portion sizes at home? A visual of a tennis ball can help. A tennis ball is about the same size as 1/2 cup. It is also about the size of a “medium” fruit serving. A golf ball shows us what 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter looks like. And a deck of cards is a good visual on 2.5-3 oz of meat/poultry/fish.

This is not to say that your portion has to be those sizes, but you can understand how many “food guide servings” you are having if you use those visuals. Then you can use that to help plan your day to ensure that you have adequate, but not overabundant, servings of whole grains, meats and alternatives, and milk and milk alternatives. Then ensure that you load up on fruits and veggies of all different colours.

If you are interested in knowing more about what Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends, check out this link. You can even order your own copy to post on the fridge for the family to see every day!

So once we are aware of portions, how can we translate this into portion control? Here are a few strategies that I like to use/recommend:

  1. At lunch and supper, fill half your plate with vegetables, 1/4 healthy starch, 1/4 protein.
  2. At snacks, try to have 1/2-1 food guide serving from a minimum of 2 different food groups.
  3. For foods that are more calorie-dense, choose smaller plates/bowls. I like to do this with ice cream 🙂
  4. Ensure that you put you food in a bowl or on a plate rather than just consuming handfuls of food. The latter leaves you uncertain of how much you have consumed.
  5. When a large portion is served to you in a restaurant, ask for a second plate (or take-away container) at the start of the meal. Put the portion that you want to consume on one plate, and the remainder on another. That way, you will be less tempted to over-consume.

I hope that these tips are useful for you and you can be more aware and in control of the amount of food on your plate and in your body.

Until next time…stay healthy!

 

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