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!

Mixed Bean and Barley Vegetable Stew

This is a simple vegan recipe that makes a nice stew allowing for versatility of its use. It can be consumed on its own, on top of rice or quinoa, on top of a salad, in lettuce wraps, or pureed with a bit more liquid and eaten as a soup. So whether you were hoping to find a recipe for meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday, Fast Friday, Soup Saturday, or Stay-at-home-Sunday…this recipe could fit them all! My favourite way to enjoy it is on top of a spinach salad with a dollup of tzatziki on top and a sprinkling of The Chicago Spice House Moroccan Seasoning.

Bean Barley Stew

Ingredients

1 cup lentils

2 cups mixed beans

1 cup barley

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 zucchinis, diced

1 red onion, diced

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 tsp. truffle or sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Wash, drain, and then soak the lentils and beans in warm water for 2 hours.
  2. When read rinse them again and place in a pot. Add barley, fresh water, broth, and wine (or additional broth).
  3. Heat on medium and add in the remainder of the ingredients. Keep at a rolling boil for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for about an hour or until liquid has boiled off. Additional spices or herbs can be added during this time or at time of serving is a variety of flavours is desired.

Until next time…stay healthy!

 

 

 

Go Green!

Well it’s St. Patrick’s Day and to an RD, that means all great green foods come to mind. Move over green beer! We have SO much more to offer the body. And not just on March 17th….EVERY DAY!!!!

Here are 10 green foods that I would encourage you to have on your weekly grocery list and some fun suggestions on how to incorporate them into your intake.

Spinach, Kale, and other dark leafy greens are great as a salad base, wrap filler, and smoothie booster. These power foods are packed with nutrients including iron and fibre. While they are incredibly high in nutrient density, they are low in caloric density. Try to have at least two handfuls each day!

 

Broccoli is amazing steamed, stir fried, roasted, or chopped on a salad. Don’t really like the flavour? Try topping with  squeezed lemon, olive oil, or a little grated cheese. Broccoli is a great source of calcium and fibre among other nutrients and is an easy one for kids to dip so a welcome addition to everyone’s snack or meal plate!

Green peas are not only packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre…they are also a source of protein. Add these to pasta sauce, rice, soup, a salad, or as a side to any meal. The frozen version of these is an easy vegetable to have on hand and favourite of many children.

Honeydew is a delicious green melon that provides a refreshing vitamin packed snack for all ages and can be added as a juicy topper to salads, cereal, and/or yogurt.

Matcha powder is a green tea powder that is packed with antioxidants. It can be added to water or your choice of milk and served hot or cold. As part of a smoothie it can be paired with milk, yogurt, veggies, fruit, and more. My favourite combinations are:

1) coconut milk, banana, key lime, and matcha

2)coconut milk, spinach, pineapple, agave, and matcha

Green peppers are packed with vitamin C among other nutrients and make a quick and easy snack, wrap addition, salad topper, or side to any meal when roasted alone or with other veggies.

Green beans and snap peas are examples of other high fibre and nutrient packed vegetables that can be served fresh, steamed, pan fried, or roasted. These are most commonly served as a side….but these also make an amazing crunchy snack. If your kids aren’t big on vegetables with their meal…try putting a few green beans or snack peas out ahead of the meal and they may just disappear in no time!

Green grapes…serve them fresh with cheese or almonds for a refreshing and satisfying snack. Or cut them in half and freeze to serve frozen in the summer for a refreshing snack that doesn’t have the sugar of a Popsicle!!!

Green apples have that sour crunch that leaves your mouth watering for more. I love mine dipped in vanilla green yogurt or paired with Swiss cheese. My kids prefer them spread with peanut butter. They are also an amazing option for adding crunch to salad. What is your favourite way to eat them???

Last but not least…AVOCADO. You knew this one was coming! If you follow me on Instagram you know we go through several of these every day! My kids will eat diced avocado with any meal and I to be honest I do too. Whether it is mashed, mixed with a little lime, and spread into a wrap or toast. Or diced to finish off a soup or salad or just as a side. This omega 3 packed fruit is one of the most important foods you can eat in a day!

So…are all of these on your grocery list each week? If several are missing…what is one you can add for the next time you go shopping?

Until next time…stay healthy!

Pi Day Pie Smoothies

Happy Pi Day!!! Yes, that’s right…its 3/14. Now before you go and grab that piece of pie, let’s see if we can make a smoothie that is equally enjoyable! Want to eat it with a spoon? No problem. Just cut the milk in half and make it a smoothie bowl!

I have a few pie favourites…apple, coconut, berry, peach, lemon mirangue, and cherry are all high on the list. I am really not a big “dessert” person though. Really, who needs all that extra sugar when we have fantastic tasting fruit?! Perhaps you want to skip and pie and the smoothie and enjoy the fruit as it is. That is an amazing plan too. But in case you want to add a little extra flare to your snack today…here are a few ideas…and some have an extra punch of veggie power too!!

Coconut Cream Pie Smoothie Ingredients

2 cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk

1/2 cup Coconut Yogurt (or vanilla Greek yogurt if you cannot find coconut milk yogurt)

1 Banana

1 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 Tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

 

Peach Pie Smoothie Ingredients

1-2 cups Almond Milk

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1 cup frozen peaches

1 cup frozen mangoes

2 Tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

 

Cherry Chia Pie Smoothie Ingredients 

1-2 cups soy milk

1 banana

2 cups frozen cherries

1 cup spinach

1/2 Tbsp. Agave

2 Tbsp. Chia seeds

 

Apple Pie Smoothie Ingredients 

2 cups almond milk

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 apples

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup oatbran or steel cut oats

 

These were all tested in my Vitamix but should work in any blender

Well this list could go on and on but I will stop here. Hopefully this gives you some fresh and nutritious alternatives to the traditional pie on pi day.

Until next time…stay healthy!

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.

 

 

 

A Salad Makeover

Recently a friend made a comment to me that salads are great, but can get so boring! This can be true…but what if it isn’t??!!! What if salads can be like snowflakes…each one unique and with its own share of excitement??? Okay maybe, that is going a little far, but hear me out. If you are bored with your salad routine, here are 5 new ideas that you may want to try out.

  1. Arugula tossed in bruschetta mix with cucumber slices and quartered hard boiled egg on top.IMG_3825.JPG
  2. Spinach tossed in Costco quinoa salad with diced avocado and baby tomatoes on top.
  3. Roasted Brussel sprouts (in place of true salad greens), roasted sweet potatoes, diced tomato, and peppers, and crumbled hard boiled egg or feta cheese.
  4. Romaine lettuce and kale tossed in walnut olive oil and strawberry balsamic vinegar, topped with diced avocado and Central Roast Walnut Superberry blend (available at Costco).imageimage
  5. Kale and diced veggies tossed in avocado oil infused with and a drop of lemon or lime essential oil (Doterra only of course!!!) with sautéed mushrooms, pomegranate seeds, and almonds.IMG_2537.JPG

Hoping these give you some fun ideas for a salad makeover in your home!

Until next time…stay healthy!

Apple Cinnamon Chicken Burgers

This afternoon we enjoyed the most amazing family bike ride. The leaves are starting to change and yet there are still purple, yellow, and white flowers along the pathway that give a small glimmer of summer left yet. It was an incredible opportunity to chat with the twins about the change in season and the beauty of God’s creation. They are learning about the story of creation in school and they were very engaged with the conversation as we rode along.

We have an 8 km route that we like to do with them. We always stop at the 4 km mark for the twins to eat a snack…it is a highlight of the experience for them. Yes, my kids LOVE food. lol

Once home, we continued the “summer evening vibe” with burgers on the BBQ. I wanted to give supper a “fall feel” though and we have a gazillion apples so I incorporated apples into the burgers and salad. For the burger patty, I took 2 pounds of ground chicken/turkey combo (but only one or the other would work as well) and added 1/2 cup finely shredded apple with as little of the juice as possible (creates too much moisture), 1/2 cup red pepper jelly, 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Side note…did you know that cinnamon helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced? Ok…on with the supper…I mixed everything together and made patties. We like to put our chicken burger patties onto foil so that they don’t fall apart and also less acrylamide (a carcinogenic agent) forms during cooking.

Well, my experiment was a huge hit! The kids each ate about 3/4 of a burger…as well as steamed broccoli, cucumber, edamame beans and a sliced apple! They had really large appetites after that bike ride!!! I chose to pair my burger patty with a side of steamed broccoli as well as a cabbage and spinach salad topped with edamame seeds, cucumber, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and apples.

If you get a chance to try these this fall, I hope you and your family enjoys them!

Until next time….stay healthy!

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!

 

 

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!

Spinach

Spinach is an amazing food. It is one I try to include in my diet every day.

It is low in calories and fat and yet packed with nutrients such as:

  • beta carotene: an antioxidant and precursor for vitamin A in the body
  • vitamin K: important factor in blood clotting
  • folic acid: important for heart health and the prevention of neural tube defects
  • vitamin C: an antioxidant, important for wound healing, and helps with the absorption of iron
  • iron: part of hemoglobin (which carries O2 in the body) and myoglobin (with carries O2 for muscles)
  • and many more!

Are you looking for ways to add this amazing food to your diet?

Let’s start with salads. You can start any salad with a spinach base (and kale too!), then add veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, cheese, lean proteins, and more. You could make a different salad every day for months just by adding different combinations of toppings. Here are some ideas of things you can add:

  1. veggies: peppers, tomatoes, snow peas, cucumber, mushrooms, onions, etc.
  2. fruit: apple, pear, mango, grapes, pomegranate seeds, avocado, blueberries, etc.
  3. nuts: almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  4. seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, or chia
  5. beans: dried or fresh soybeans/edamame, white beans, red beans, black beans
  6. other proteins: hard boiled egg, diced chicken, salmon, tuna, shrimp
  7. cheese: feta, goat, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, etc.

The toppings and combinations are truly endless!

While salads are a great (and easy) place to start, but there are so many more options as well.

  1. Shakes: add in fresh or frozen spinach (or kale) to your next shake/smoothie.
  2. Scrambled eggs: add a large handful of spinach and diced feta in just as the eggs are done cooking.
  3. Soups/Stews/Sauces: add in a handful at the end or as a topping if you want it to stay fresh; or add it in and blend everything together if you want the nutrients but not the texture.
  4. Lasagna: replace the meat layers in lasagna with layers of frozen spinach
  5. With sauteed veggies: I love to saute peppers, onion, mushrooms, and spinach together and then add a Tbsp of pesto and a sprinkle of goat cheese and pine nuts.  SO DELISH!!!!

Hope these give you some fun ideas to incorporate this “superfood” into your diet in the coming weeks.

Until next time…stay healthy!