Hello Fresh….Hello Dream Come True!

September hit me hard! After an overall relaxed paced summer, we hit the ground running with new school, work, and extra curricular activities. I have worked hard to meal plan, grocery shop, and meal prep as well as possible but some days we still end up with a rush around supper. Enter Hello Fresh! We had the opportunity to try a 3 meal package from Hello Fresh a few weeks ago and it was a total life changer for this mom!

At 4:45 pm on a Tuesday we came home from a family bike ride to find a box at our front door filled with fresh produce and amazing quality (aka antibiotic free, local, sustainably farmed, etc.) meat, fish, and poultry. I was very impressed with the food safety aspect too. All items were packed in a way that ensured appropriate temperatures were kept.

One of the boxes was labelled “Make Me First” and so I unpacked that one right away and within 30 minutes we were enjoying salmon cakes, roasted sweet potatoes, and fresh veggies. Our whole family truly loved the flavor and I loved the ease of preparation. All the ingredients were perfectly prepped and portion and yet I still had the opportunity to do the cooking. A win-win for me!

Over the coming week I chose our two busiest days (one being piano lesson day) to cook the other two meals. They were equally easy to prepare, packed with nutrients and flavour, and enjoyed by the whole family.

If you have busy weeks, and a few partially prepared, high quality and incredibly tasty meals would be useful for you, please use my discount code MINIS50 for $25 OFF YOUR NEXT TWO BOXES!

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Heart Healthy Pasta

My boys LOVE pasta but I often worry that the meal will not offer enough protein and vegetables so I have come up with several blender pasta sauces so all their nutrition needs are met in one simple bowl. Here is one I developed last weekend that was a huge hit so I wanted to share.

The tomato base offers lycopene which is a cancer fighting antioxidant.

The hemp hearts offer a source of complete protein which means all essential amino acids are present and a source of omega 3 fatty acids which are wonderful for growing brains in children and promoting heart and mental health in adults. They also act as an anti-inflammatory.

The feta cheese is a lower fat cheese that offers a creamy texture and taste and a source of complete protein.

Nutritional yeast offers a cheesy flavour as well and a great source of vitamin B12.

Spinach and kale are packed with nutrition!!!

Ingredients

1 jar low sodium pasta sauce (any flavor is fine)

1/3 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1-2 large handfuls of spinach or kale

Instructions

Blend in a blender and pour over pasta. I have a vitamix and blend my sauces on the soup setting to warm them up but this is not necessary if you don’t have a blender that heats.

Hope you and your family enjoy this as an easy meal sometime soon!

Until next time…stay healthy!

 

Mother’s Day Pancakes

I absolutely love pink…it just makes me smile. And my kids love pancakes. So for Mother’s Day brunch I decided to create a pink pancake recipe that everyone would enjoy. The best part…they helped me make it and kids in the kitchen is the best Mother’s Day gift I could ask for. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it too.

Ingredients

1 and ¼ cup milk (any milk is fine…buttermilk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk….etc.)

1 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil

¼ cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts

¼ cup chia seeds

¾ cup unbleached white flour

1 and ¼ cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. baking powder

Instructions:

  • 1) In a mixer of your choice (Vitamix, Blentec, Ninja, etc.) blend together 1.25 cups milk of your choice (I like to use coconut milk), 1 cup frozen berries, ¼ cup hemp hearts, ¼ cup oil, and 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites). Set this aside
  • 2) In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, and chia seeds) together.
  • 3) Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together…but don’t overmix.
  • 4) Cook pancakes on a frying pan of your choice. I prefer an electric one as I find they are less likely to stick or burn.
  • 5) Serve with your choice of yogurt and fruit for a delicious and nutritious meal for mom!

Until next time….stay healthy!

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!

 

 

 

Peanut Chicken

I had a few girlfriends over for Thai food last weekend and it reminded me how much I LOVE peanut sauce. I also realized that since my kids love peanut butter they would likely love any dish made with it. So I decided to work on a recipe this week for a “kid friendly” (aka not too spicy) Peanut Chicken. So for any of my readers who do not have a peanut allergy in your home…I hope that you enjoy it too!

Ingredients

6 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts

2/3 cup peanut butter (this can be crunchy or smooth)

3 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. avocado oil (or for a coconut flavor addition, you can use coconut oil here)

1 tsp. pureed garlic

1 tsp. curry powder

Instructions

  1. Slice or dice chicken breasts and place into a baking dish.
  2. Mix all sauce ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Add sauce to chicken. You may wish to add water at this time to thin it out as well.
  4. Bake at 375 Degrees F for about 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The smaller the pieces, the faster the chicken will cook.

Variations and Serving Suggestions: 

  1. Diced up peppers, onion, mushrooms, and other veggies could also be added into the chicken dish while it cooks.
  2. This could be served over rice or rice noodles with stir fried or steamed veggies.
  3. This could be served with flat bread and a large salad.
  4. This could be served with potatoes or sweet potatoes and your choice of vegetable.
  5. Make a lunch for the next day with any leftovers.

As always, feel free to add a twist that will make it perfect for your family.

Until next time….stay healthy!

Promega Banana Muffins

Looking for a breakfast or snack food packed with quality protein and omega 3 fatty acids? Look no further! These muffins are packed with nutrition and flavour AND have no added sugar!!! You can also “dress them up” as I have in the picture above. This mini version of the muffin is topped with Yoso Chocolate Coconut Milk Yogurt and a raspberry. You could also use Greek yogurt and/or any other fruit you and your little ones enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup oats (ideally steel cut quick cooking oats)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

¼ cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts or Baby Brain Organics

¼ cup chia seeds

½ Tbsp. baking powder

½ Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup bananas (about 3 large bananas)

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or alternate fruit puree)

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

2 eggs

½ Tbsp. vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Mash bananas and beat eggs then add these together along with applesauce, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry and wet mixture together and stir until moistened, but do not over-stir.
  4. Spoon into muffin pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 14-17 minutes for mini muffins and 22-28 minutes for “regular” size muffins.

Makes 18 regular size muffins or 36 mini muffins.

Feel free to add dried fruit or nuts for added nutrition and flavor 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!

Meatball Madness…Spice it up!

I tend to not follow recipes but rather come up with new ones on a regular basis. Tonight was one of those nights. I had purchased ground turkey to make turkey meatballs but wanted to spice things up a bit so I did just that! I never know when I try something new if my boys will love it or turn their noses up at it. Tonight was a HUGE hit so I thought I would share what I did.

I started out with a traditional ground turkey/bread crumbs/egg/grated onion combination. I would have usually added more grated veggies in at this point but decided instead to have some fun with spices from my favourite spice shop: The Spice House. I added in a bit of their Thai Red Curry Powder and Back of the Yard blend. An odd combo but it worked! If you wanted to try this and aren’t interested in ordering these exact spices, you could use any red curry powder and a steak type rub/seasoning.

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I mixed everything together and made good size meatballs. As I was placing them onto my stone, Clay asked to help me. I love when the kids help in the kitchen so I grabbed a large spoon for him and he spooned the last few on. He was so excited!

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I baked them at 375 degrees for 1/2 hour. Every oven would be different, but this is generally a good estimate for making meatballs.

I did not measure anything, but here is the approximate recipe that I used for tonight if you want to try to make these (or something similar).

Ingredients

2 pounds ground chicken or turkey

2 eggs

1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. Thai Red Curry Powder (optional)

2 Tbsp. Back of the Yard  (or 2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce)

1/3 cup grated onion (I grate it so my children will not notice little pieces.)

You could also add grated carrots, zucchini, or other veggies.

 

Instructions: Mix ingredients together, make meatballs, and place on tray. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until the inner is evidently cooked through.

I served these with brown rice, stir fried veggies (snap peas, mushrooms, peppers, and cauliflower), and a spinach salad. If you are following my meal plan for the week you will see that I was planning on just serving snap peas as my vegetable for the evening, but I had leftover cauliflower from last night and the mushrooms and peppers just seemed like a good idea.

For the boys I chopped the meatballs up and served with brown rice (mixed with apple sauce to prevent the typical “rice mess”), a few snap peas, avocado, and cucumber. They all loved it and Wes asked for more! Here is his first plate…

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I hope that this provides you with fun inspiration for the next meatballs you make.

Until next time…stay healthy!