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Category: Food & Nutrition

Strawberry Fruity Smoothie

Strawberry Fruity Smoothie

Strawberry Fruity Smoothie

This fruity smoothie can be adjusted to whatever you have on hand or whatever is in season. It’s refreshing for first thing in the morning and can even be enjoyed as a healthy snack.

  • half a banana
  • half a naval orange
  • 1 small kiwi including skin
  • ½ cup fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen strawberries
  • ½ Tbsp Maca powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup mango

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

What do you put in your smoothie?

 

Watermelonade

Watermelonade

Watermelonade

Ahhhh…. on those hot summer days, imagine lying back relaxing by the lake or pool, the sun streaming down and the soft summer breeze on your face, with a cool refreshing drink in your hand…. Watermenonade – a nice twist on lemonade with the addition of watermelon.

  • 1/2 small watermelon cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 5 lemons (about 1 cup juice)
  • 4 cups cold water or more
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple flakes or maple sugar
  • 1 tray of ice cubes

 

Add watermelon to a high-powered blender and pulse until well pureed. Strain through a mesh strainer (optional) and pour the juice into a pitcher. Juice the lemons (about 1 cup) and add to pitcher along with water. Add sugar to desired sweetness. Store in refrigerator or serve immediately over ice and garnish with slice of lemon. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite summer drink?

See also my tangy Mango Smoothie

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Enjoy this delicious dip warm or cold (my preference is warm). A great recipe to share with friends and is quite simple to prepare. The original recipe is from one of my favourite Canadian chefs, Dreena Burton. I’ve updated it by not blending the spinach in but rather finely chopping it and mixing it by hand.

  • ¾ cup raw cashews (unsoaked)
  • 1-2 medium-large cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk (almond)
  • 5-3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach leaves

 

Preheat oven to 425F. In blender add cashews, garlic, salt, mustard, black pepper, milk and lemon juice. Blend until very smooth. Add half of artichokes and pulse through – in order to keep some chunky texture. Chop remaining artichokes and all of the spinach.   In large bowl, combine artichokes and spinach with cashew mixture, mixing well. Transfer to an ovenproof (lightly greased) baking dish and bake for 17-20 minutes until lightly golden on top. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

What dish to you take to a potluck meal?

See more recipes here.

Asparagus Potato Salad

Asparagus Potato Salad

Asparagus Potato Salad

This is a great dish to serve at a barbeque or picnic! Served cold, it can be cool and refreshing. Served warm, is comforting! I love the creamy avocado dressing…

  • 2 pounds mini potatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 3 tsp canola oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Dressing:

  • ½ cup ripe avocado
  • ½ Tbsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp fresh dill
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Wash and prepare potatoes. I like to cut them in half depending on their size. In large bowl, add mini potatoes and drizzle with 2 tsp of canola oil. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper and toss again. Spread evenly over one baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes flipping half way. Bake until cooked through and lightly browned.

Next wash asparagus then cut each stem into about 3 pieces, discarding woody ends. Place into bowl and drizzle with 1 tsp of canola oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on 2nd baking sheet. Add asparagus to oven during the last 10 minutes of the potatoes roasting.

For the dressing, in a medium bowl, mash avocado. Add lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add roasted potatoes and asparagus and coat well. Serve right away warm or allow to cool, then store in sealed container in fridge. This recipe can be enjoyed warm or cool!

Do you like this dish warm or cool?

Try also Broccoli Salad or Thai Crunch Salad

Adapted from an original recipe from Oh She Glows cookbook.

Tips to Help Improve Digestion

Tips to Help Improve Digestion

5 Tips to Help Improve Digestion

  1. Chew your food! No matter how hungry you are or how rushed your schedule, take the time to chew your food properly. Swallowing smaller pieces of food helps with digestion, making you feel more full and prevent overeating. Take the time to enjoy and taste the food!
  2. Drink plenty of water and eliminate sugary drinks and alcohol. Our bodies need water and it’s important to stay hydrated.
  3. Eat fibre. Most people don’t get the recommended daily intake. Fibre lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. It also massages the digestive tract and feeds the probiotics. Women should aim for 21 to 28g of fibre and men should aim for 30 to 38g of fibre. The best way to increase fibre is to increase consumption of whole foods like vegetables, fruit, oatmeal, quinoa, beans and lentils.
  4. Support probiotics. The natural digestive “bugs” in the gut help break down food and stimulate a strong immune system. They help toxins from being absorbed into the body and create essential nutrients. Eating fermented foods, which are full of good bacteria, is important like yogurt (non-dairy is my preference) and sauerkraut. Some newer research also suggests prebiotics are also important. The best foods to support prebiotics are fresh fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables.
  5. Exercise regularly. But choose your exercise times wisely. Digestion requires a large amount of blood flow and exercising right after a big meal can cause indigestion, heartburn and bloating. A light walk after a meal is ok because it stimulates the rhythmic digestive muscles. Save the big workouts for before the meal or 2 hours after a meal.

Listen to your body. If you have digestion problems, consider an elimination diet to determine foods that may cause you problems.

 

What tips help your digestion?

Please leave your comments below…

Read also about Intermittent Fasting and Portion Control.

Orange Spice Candied Almonds

Orange Spice Candied Almonds

Orange Spice Candied Almonds

This is a versatile recipe that you can make quite quickly. It can be a delicious snack on the go or even a treat during the holidays. Nuts are a good source of protein and almonds are one of my top choices. Nuts are great for topping on a salad too. (Just make sure not to over-indulge since they are more calorie dense.) You can substitute your favourite nuts here or even use a combination like pecans, walnuts and cashews.

  • 5-1/2 cups raw whole almonds
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • rind of one navel orange
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar

 

Preheat oven to 325F. In small bowl combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, turmeric and brown sugar. Set aside spice mixture.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Then spread almonds evenly on each. Toast almonds for 6-7 minutes. Next, whisk together canola oil, maple syrup and orange rind in large bowl. Remove almonds from oven and to large bowl and coat almonds generously in oil/maple syrup mixture. Add the spice mixture and mix evenly. Return almonds to 2 cookie sheets, spreading evenly. Bake another 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Allow to cool completely. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite nut to snack on?

Leave your comments below…

See some other recipes here.

Chocolate Almond Brownies

Chocolate Almond Brownies

Chocolate Almond Brownies

This is a delicious go-to recipe from OhSheGlows and has a really nice brownie texture. I love how it seems light but chewy at the same time! I always make a double batch since they don’t last in my house! Here is the double batch recipe…

  • 2 flax eggs
  • 2 cups ground almond meal
  • 1-3/4 cups brown rice flour or oat flour
  • 4 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (plus ½ cup) non-dairy chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups organic sugar
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two square pans with parchment paper. In a small bowl mix 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flax seed mixed with 6 Tbsp warm water). Set aside to gel.

In large bowl whisk together ground almond meal, rice or oat flour, arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda. In medium bowl melt 1 cup chocolate chips and vegan butter in microwave until most chips have melted, being careful not to over heat. Stir until smooth. Stir in flax eggs, sugar, almond milk and vanilla until combined. Add to dry mixture and combine well with spatula until there is no flour on the bottom of the bowl. Fold in walnuts. Press better evenly into the 2 square pans and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top pressing slightly into batter.

Bake for 30-34 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

How do you eat brownies?

With (n)ice cream, fresh strawberries or simply as is? 

See also Rocky Road Fudge.

Thai Crunch Salad

Thai Crunch Salad

Thai Crunch Salad

This is a healthy, flavourful dish that is quick to prepare and very colourful. It makes a meal in itself, but could also be a side. I love the peanut based dressing!

  • 4 cups Savoy or Napa cabbage, Romaine lettuce (or a combination) thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup frozen edamame, thawed (or chickpeas)
  • optional toppings:
    • cilantro
    • crushed peanuts
    • squeeze of lime or lemon wedge

Toss all ingredients in large bowl. Prepare salad dressing:

 

Thai Peanut Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp plain almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp sweet red chilli sauce
  • ½ tsp lime or lemon juice
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1-1/4 tsp rice vinegar
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • ground ginger, to taste
  • dash of Siracha

Combine all ingredients in microwave-safe jug. Heat on high for 30 seconds or so until peanut butter is melty. Whisk together and pour over salad. Toss to coat. Garnish with optional toppings. My favourite is crushed peanuts and squeeze of fresh lime juice.

What’s your favourite Thai dish?

Please leave your comments below…

Original recipe from Happy Herbivore

See more of my recipes.

Reduce Sugar Intake

Reduce Sugar Intake

How to reduce your sugar intake…

The biggest hurdle to reducing sugar is initially taste. Store bought processed foods all have an excessive amount of sugar (and salt) so our taste buds are used to more sweet flavours. Sugar is hidden in foods you wouldn’t think contain too much added sugar like crackers, condiments, peanut butter to name a few! When we eat this way our blood sugar levels are unstable and puts us on track for conditions like diabetes.

The way we start our day is especially important for setting the tone. I find if I eat something particularly sweet for breakfast, I am constantly craving that sweetness all day. Do you find that too? To help reduce sugar, start breakfast with unprocessed foods like fruit, fruit smoothies, whole grain bread, granola or oatmeal.

Add natural ingredients for sweeteners, like maple syrup and honey. Even fruit itself is sweet (bananas, pineapple, strawberries). Coconut has a natural sweetness, when added to trail mix or granola.

Try not to stock processed foods and sweets in your house. They are difficult to resist and if we keep these foods for treats, then an indulgence once in a while is ok compared to every day. Consider changing your definition of treat from store-bought chocolate chip cookies to a healthier homemade version. Keep them in the freezer so you have to defrost it before eating. If the temptation passes, keep it for another time.

Try roasting vegetables and eating as is or top them on a salad. The simple process of roasting vegetables brings out more flavour and sweetness. They start to caramelize and taste so delicious! Also make your own salad dressings to reduce sugar and oil content.

Be careful with beverages. Fruit juices and pop all contain a lot of sugar and most of us don’t take those extra calories into account. Instead drink flavoured water or herbal teas.

Lastly balance the sweetness with fibre. Fibre slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream giving your liver more time to deal with the calories. You can do this by adding nuts and seeds (like ground flax) and focus on sweets that involve fresh fruit that has its own fibre.

Once you more aware of added sugar in foods, your taste buds will change and you will start to appreciate foods in a more natural state, as they were meant to be eaten. Flavour can be added without the extra sugar.

How did you reduce your sugar intake?

Please let me know if the comment section below…

Read also Understanding Nutrients

Ginger Beans and Carrots

Ginger Beans and Carrots

Ginger Beans and Carrots

This recipe is flavourful and can stand on its own or as a side. It’s even delicious as leftovers for lunch the next day! It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete…

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and grated gingerroot
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, sliced into thin rounds
  • 12 oz green beans, trimmed (or green & yellow beans)
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds (toasted if desired)

Heat wok over high heat, then drizzle canola oil around edges. Wash carrots and green beans, then add to wok along with ginger. Saute for 2 minutes while continuing to stir. Season with soy sauce and vinegar and toss to coat. Cover with large lid and allow to steam to desired doneness. Once done, serve immediately and sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Enjoy!

How do you prepare green beans?

Share your ideas in the comments below…

See also Roasted Vegetables.