One Pot Zucchini Noodle Bruschetta

In case you missed it on my Instagram today, this amazing “one pot meal” had on 4 ingredients and took about 5 minutes to make.

Here is the recipe:
Sauté Spiralized Zucchini (aka #zoodles) with bruschetta mix. Once warmed through add a handful of Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts and a handful of pine nuts. Then serve. You could also make this with any other spiraled veg.

This is a veggie packed meal, high in flavor, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids!

Tip for little ones: I like to cut the zoodles up for my kids and add shredded cheese (Daiya Foods cheese for Clay since needs Dairy Free). It helps everything stick together a little easier. Hope your family loves this one as much as we do!

 

 

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Our New “Main Squeeze”!

Did you know that we are all recommended to eat one dark green vegetable and one orange vegetable every single day? I don’t know about you but some days that is a hard goal for my kids to meet. Some days they gobble up their meal and other days they aren’t fussy on it. Smoothies and purees are a great ways to fill that gap. A handful of spinach or the addition of a little roasted sweet potato is easy when blended with other tasty foods. I love to offer them with a whole grain muffin at breakfast or for a refreshing after school snack. I have wanted to send them to school with my twins but up until recently I haven’t had a means to do so.

Over the past few weeks I have been making smoothies and purées in the evening, then filling our Original Squeezes and freezing them overnight. I add them to the twins lunches and according to my son Wes (who would live off smoothies if I let him) “they melt just enough to eat but not enough to be messy”. Yay! That is exactly what I was hoping for. I have included Wes’ favourite smoothie recipe near the end of this post.

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Other days I have been sending various combinations of applesauce/fruit purees including the most amazing apple/sweet potato/date blend which is Clay’s favourite. More on that soon. But first, if you haven’t heard of the Original Squeeze before let me tell you a little more about it. Then I have a few yummy recipes to share with you! 

The Original Squeeze was the first portable Squeeze container on the market. It’s sleek design allows you to pour your choice of smoothie, yogurt, or purée inside for your child to enjoy. I am fascinated by the fact that they stand up straight!!! This was huge for me…no spills! They are freezer and dishwasher safe and free of toxins, BPA, pthalatea, PVC, and lead and are dishwasher safe. Not only are these incredibly useful, they also have a cute design and helped us cut down on the environmentally unfriendly applesauce pouches we had been purchasing. 

I have been looking for something like this for a long time and am thrilled to share it with you. If you have been on the hunt for a way to take veggie and fruit packed purees and smoothies to the park or school, look no further! The Original Squeeze is perfect for the task. The Original Squeeze is available on well.ca and Walmart.ca .

Now, as promised, here are a few of my kids favourite smoothie and fruit/veggie purees that help them meet those goals for green and orange vegetables. Keep an eye on my Instagram page for a giveaway coming soon and over the coming weeks for more smoothie and puree blends my boys love to enjoy from their Original Squeezes.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY COCONUT (aka Black Forest Cake Smoothie when I serve it to adults)

2 cups coconut milk (or less if you want a thicker smoothie)

1 cup chocolate coconut milk yogurt (I use the Yoso Brand)

1 banana

2 cups frozen cherries

1 large handful baby spinach

Blend and enjoy!

APPLE/SWEET POTATO/DATE PUREE

  1. Peel sweet potato and dice into small cubes (about 1/4″ thick) and place on baking stone or pan.
  2. Dice or thinly slice 2 apples and place on same stone or pan.
  3. Sprinkle with tumeric and cinnamon.
  4. Roast at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes and apples are softened.
  5. Place in food processor and blend with 1/4 cup pitted dates.

Note: If you have a Baby Brezza or another kitchen appliance that steams and blends, you can steam and blend all at once and skip with roasting process.

The addition of turmeric and cinnamon to this recipe are optional. They add antioxidant and blood sugar balancing benefits in addition to flavor; however, the puree is great without them too if you do not have them on hand.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment here or send me a message through my Instagram feed. You can find out more about these squeezes and other amazing products from Elfe Juvenile Products on their website (www.elfe.com), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/elfejuvenileproducts/), and Instagram feed (https://www.instagram.com/elfejuvenileproducts/).

Until next time, stay healthy!

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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!

Harvest Vegetable Soup

One of my favourite things to do in the fall is start making hearty soups packed full of veggies. These are such a great way to nourish the body and warm up at the same time. I think of vegetable soups as a form of warm salad. Sometimes I even add spinach or kale in at the time of eating to make it even more like a salad!

Soups take time and they are not an “everyday cooking” thing. I like to make a big pot of soup every other weekend in the autumn and winter, and then pull containers out of the fridge or freezer for easy lunches and suppers as needed. IT takes time up front, but I am always SO thankful when I can grab one and know that I have a healthy meal already made.

I have found that my kids prefer when I puree them…I think they think of them as a warm smoothie that way. But my husband and I prefer the textured version. So I tend to puree half the batch and leave half the batch as is. Perhaps you can see what works best for your family!

Here is one of my favourite soups to make. The cool thing about soup is that you can use any soup recipe as a starting point and add more of what you love, less of what you don’t care for, and new additions that you think would taste good. Also, you can vary it based on what you have in your home. For example, after Thanksgiving or another type of holiday family meal, you could add in leftover turkey or roast beef for extra protein too!

Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

900 ml “no salt added” chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)

1 large clove garlic, chopped finely

1 medium onion, diced

5 carrots, peeled and diced

1 small (or ½ large) butternut squash, peeled and chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

5 red potatoes, diced

2 peppers (red, orange or yellow), diced

2 medium apples, diced

½ tsp. pepper

1 Tbsp. Original Mrs. Dash

1 cup green beans, cut into ½” pieces

1 cup broccoli, chopped finely

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed well

2 cups water

Instructions

  1. Pour in 450 mL of the chicken broth into a large pot or Dutch oven. I like to use my large Le Crueset Pot.
  2. Simmer the garlic and onion in the broth on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 450 mL of chicken broth, and then the carrots, squash, sweet potato, potatoes, apples, peppers, pepper, and Mrs. Dash. Let this all simmer for 1 hour on medium low heat.
  4. Add water, beans and let simmer for another 30 minutes.
  5. Add broccoli, peas, corn, and white beans and let simmer for an additional 30 minutes. The soup can be served at this point as is or blended; and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and the freezer for up to 6 months.

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!

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Warm days and cool evenings….I love fall! It is a season of routine and balance, it is a season of soups and stews, and t is a season that inspires eating and cooking with apples and pumpkins…lots of apples of pumpkins!!!  I will be sharing some of my favourite fall dishes over the coming few months.

Today I wanted to share one of my favourite pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin is full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. I developed this recipe a few years ago, but made a few adjustments/new options to it for this fall. It is one of my children’s favourite muffins. I hope you and your family enjoys it too!

Ingredients:

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1 cup Whole wheat flour

3/4 cup Rolled oats

½ cup Baby Brain Organics (or oatbran)

1 cup 1% Buttermilk (or other milk of choice…I use coconut milk)

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

3 cups (750 mL) pureed pumpkin (from the can or from freshly baked pumpkin

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

Optional: ½ cup crushed walnuts or pecans

Optional: ½ cup raisins or dried apples or dried cranberries

Instructions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients and make a well in the centre.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients (this can be done in a blender or by hand) and pour into dry ingredients. Add nuts and/or dried fruit as desired.
  3. Mix together until moistened. Do not over mix.
  4. Spoon batter into non-stick muffin pan. (Makes 18-24 medium muffins or about 48 mini muffins)
  5. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).

Additional notes:

  1. One of my sons has an allergy to oats. When I am making these for him, I leave the oats out and add an extra 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. If you have anyone in your family that cannot have oats, you could try this too.
  2. For this recipe to be dairy free, you can use a milk alternative such as soy, almond or coconut and you can use 4 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 2 Tbsp. water (let stand for 5-10 minutes to gel) to replace the eggs.

Until next time….stay healthy!

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Sweet Potato Chips

If you follow me on Instagram, you know these are a family fave in our home! I love that they are packed with nutrition and super easy to make and my kids love that they resemble chips.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta carotene which is an antioxidant and also a precursor for vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A is important in the health of our eyes, bones, and skin, and also plays a role in gene expression and cell differentiation. This means that it supports each type of cell to mature adequately and perform a particular function properly.

Here is the quick and easy recipe that will have your kids asking for this amazing veg!

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes

1 Tbsp. avocado oil or grapeseed oil

Instructions

1. Peel sweet potato and then slice it thinly…about 2 mm per slice.

2. Place on baking sheet. I like to use my stone as it allows for a crisper chip I find.

3. Drizzle oil over the potato slices.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. You need to watch them closely so they crisp up but do not burn. I have learned from experience that this can be a thin line.

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Well that’s it! So easy!!! You and your minis can enjoy these as a side with salmon, a burger, or BBQ chicken, or with a salad.

Until next time…stay healthy!