Category Archives: Recipes

Healthy Carrot Muffins (gluten free)

 My daughter has been asking for a lot of baked treats lately, so to avoid being the “mean” mom who always says no, I’m making more of an effort to bake healthy treats with hidden veggies and no refined sugar.  These muffins are a great way of satisfying your kids’ sweet tooth (and yours!) while still getting important nutrients.  The honey and coconut oil make them super moist with just the right amount of sweetness.  

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients: 

2 1/2 cups grated carrots

1/3 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup honey

1 chia egg* (can use regular egg instead)

1 cup oat flour (ground oats)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 

*to make a chia egg simply mix 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp water and let sit for 5 mins

Directions:  

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin cups.

2. In a medium bowl, combine carrots, coconut oil, honey, and egg.  Stir until well combined.

3.  In a large bowl, combine oat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined.  Stir in optional add-ins.  

4.  Spoon mixture evenly into muffin pan.  Bake for 25-30 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool for 10 mins in pan. Remove and cool on rack.

Maple Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Potatoes 

 These roasted root vegetables make a great side to almost any dish, as the flavor is mild but still delicious.  

 Ingredients

7-8 carrots

3-4 parsnips

8-10 small red potatoes 

1/4 cup coconut oil (or other oil of your choice) 

1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup 

1tsp salt 

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Peel and slice the carrots and parsnips into “sticks”.  Peel (optional) and cut the potatoes in halves or quarters (depending on size).

2. Place all the vegetables in a casserole dish.  Toss with the oil, maple syrup and salt until coated. 

  3.  Bake for 55-65 mins, until a fork can easily be poked through all the vegetables.  Enjoy!

Mango Kiwi Banana Smoothie with Greens and Avocado

 

Smoothies are a great way to get some extra nutrition.  But did you know that your body can’t absorb nutrients efficiently unless they are paired correctly?  (Read more about nutrient pairing here).  The vitamin C from the kiwi and mango in this smoothie help your body absorb the high levels of iron in the leafy greens, while the healthy fat in the avocado will help you absorb the carotenoids from both the fruit and greens.  

Yield: 2 servings 

Ingredients: 

1 small mango, pitted and peeled 

1 kiwi, peeled 

2 cups leafy greens of choice 

1 avocado, pitted and peeled 

1 large ripe banana

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a blender with enough water to blend to desired consistency.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy! 

My Top 5 Green Juice Recipes.

My toddler and I drink green juice every day. I just don’t feel the same if I don’t drink my green juice, sort of how people who are accustomed to drinking coffee every morning can’t survive without it. My daughter has also become accustomed to starting every day with green juice, and I’m hoping that it will remain a life-long habit. I only give her about 4-5 ounces for now since she’s just a tot.

I wish I could make fresh juice every morning, but since it’s so time consuming I make 2 days worth every other morning and store the next day’s juice in the fridge. I’m hoping that when my daughter is older and more independent I will be able to juice every day, but for now I simply just don’t have the time.

Although fresh pressed juice is the most nutritious, a cold-press juicer allows most of the nutrients and enzymes to be retained for a few days. Also, storing the juice in a glass mason jar filled close to the brim prevents oxygen from degrading the enzymes.

I alternate between 5 different recipes, so that I’m never making the same juice more than once a week (although I do drink the same juice for 2 days at a time). This ensures that we get a variety of nutrients and also because too much of a good thing can lead to trouble. No matter how good Kale is for you, overdosing on it can still cause harm. Certain leafy greens like Swiss chard, spinach and kale have a high oxalic acid content which can cause kidney stones if you have too much. But don’t worry, you would have to eat or drink a large amount of them every day for a long period of time in order for that to happen. Just make sure that you juice a variety of greens and you should be fine. Additionally, the good bacteria in your gut help to break down oxalate acid (one more reason to eat probiotic food).

Each of the following recipes yields approximately 3 glasses of juice – you may get more or less depending on the size and ripeness of the produce that you use.

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1. Refreshing cucumber juice.
2 large cucumbers (or 3 small)
2 bunches of kale leaves.
1 bunch of mint
2 lemons
1 apple
2-inch piece of ginger (optional)
This juice is the most refreshing due to the cooling effect of the cucumber and mint.

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2. Carrot-beet juice
7 large carrots
3 small beets
3 small apples
1 lemon
1 bunch parsley
2-3 inch piece of ginger (optional)
This red juice is my toddler’s favorite because of the sweetness.

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3. Celery-Chard Juice
1 stalk of celery
1-2 bunches of Swiss chard
1 bunch of parsley
2 lemons
2 apples
2-3 inch piece of ginger (optional)
I find this juice to be the most bitter tasting, which is why I include 2 apples to add a little extra sweetness. If you are new to juicing, I do not recommend this recipe as both the celery and chard have a strong taste.  This one is for the regular juicers.  The picture shows a reddish juice because I used red chard.

IMG_4712.JPG4. Carrot-Apple-ginger juice.
10 carrots
3 apples
2-3 inch piece of ginger
You can add some greens to this if you like. This is a great starter juice to those who are new to juicing.

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5. Broccoli-carrot-apple juice

2 large stalks of broccoli
4 large carrots
1 bunch of leafy greens (any kind)
2 apples
2 lemons
2-3 inch piece of ginger (optional) 

If you have any leftover veggies in your fridge that didn’t get used during the week, throw them into your juicer before they go bad.  You can add spinach to any of these juices as well.  Personally, I do not juice spinach because I already add it to my smoothie almost every day and I don’t want to turn into Popeye The Sailor Man. I try to keep a balance between the veggies that I juice and eat in the same day so that I don’t overdo any one particular vegetable. Variety is key.  



Healthy Black Bean and Banana Brownies

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I’ve tried out a few different black bean brownie recipes but every single recipe that I’ve found online requires chocolate chips. I wanted to make black bean brownies without them because I can’t find any without added sugar and most contain soy lecithin as well. I would love to be able to eat brownies regularly without the guilt, so I decided to come up with my own recipe and completely eliminate sugar and chocolate chips.

These are definitely not your typical brownie but they are healthy and delicious! They also make a great pre or post workout snack 💪.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (equivalent to 1/2 cup dried or a 15 ounce can)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 large, ripe bananas
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth (if using walnuts, add them after blending)
3. Pour batter into a greased 8×8 pan.
4. Bake for 25-30 mins, then let cool in pan for 10 mins before cutting.

No one will know these are made with black beans unless you tell them 😉.

Easy Homemade Yogurt Recipe

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I learned how to make yogurt from my mom. Indians traditionally keep homemade yogurt in the fridge at all times to eat with roti. I didn’t learn how to make it myself, however, until my daughter was old enough to eat it (I made all of her other baby food from scratch so I wasn’t about to feed her store-bought yogurt!). My mother makes it the traditional Indian way (without measurements or thermometers), so I had to work backwards to get measurements and temperature readings that I could put down on paper. There are many different ways of making yogurt but this is how my mother taught me to make it:

Ingredients:

Milk (amount is up to you)
Starter culture*

You will also need a thick glass bowl/jar with a tight-fitting lid and a thermometer. Thicker glass will retain the temperature better.

Directions:

1. Heat milk on medium-high in a pot on stove until it comes to a boil (stir occasionally or keep covered to prevent a film from forming on top). Remove from heat and pour into a glass container with a lid.

2. Allow the milk to cool to about 90*C-110*F (the outside of the glass container should feel warm but not hot). Loosely place the lid on top while cooling to prevent a film from forming, or stir occasionally. If you let it cool too long and the temperature drops lower just reheat on stove until it reaches the right temperature again. Add a teaspoon of the starter culture* to the centre of the warm milk (do not stir!). Make sure the lid is on tight and place in cool oven.

3. Turn the oven light on (the warmth from the light will keep the milk warm enough to allow the fermentation process to occur). Let sit overnight or about 8-10 hours, then cool in the refrigerator before eating. If the milk does not solidify or seems runny, simply leave it in the oven with the oven light on until it thickens.

4. Remove the whey (the runny liquid floating on top of the yogurt) before refrigerating and save it for lacto-fermentation of other foods. Or discard it. But now that you’re a pro fermenter why not save it and try your hand at another fermented food 😉.

*You can buy a powdered starter culture or simply use previously made or store bought yogurt as a starter (if using store bought yogurt make sure it is plain). Each time you make yogurt, set aside a spoonful before you eat it all to use as a starter for the next batch. Or you can do what Indians usually do, and ask a relative, friend, or neighbour for a little bit of their yogurt to use as a starter. If you do not plan on making continuous batches of yogurt then you can also freeze some to use as a starter later (if using frozen starter use a tad bit more than a tsp).

Troubleshooting tips for yogurt-making:

1. Your yogurt turned out too sour. You either used too much of the starter or added the starter when the milk was not cool enough. Use less starter and make sure the milk is at the right temperature next time. If you prefer a more sour taste then use slightly more starter than stated in the recipe.

2. Your yogurt didn’t solidify. You either used too little starter or allowed to milk to cool too much. Don’t fret – just keep it in the oven with the light on (do not turn on the oven!) and let it sit longer. Use a tad bit more starter next time and make sure the temperature of the milk is right.

3. You forgot about the yogurt and it incubated for too long. Don’t worry. It simply fermented longer so it might be a little more sour than usual but it’s still OK to eat (some people incubate their yogurt for up to 36 hours).

4. You ate all the yogurt and forgot to save some to use as a starter for the next batch. This one requires a preemptive solution – freeze a little bit of your first batch of yogurt to use in emergencies when you or another family member eats it all.

5. Even after following all of the above tips your yogurt still did not form. You may have disturbed the milk too much by either stirring or jostling it, or removing the lid to check on it too frequently. Once you add the starter and place it in the oven, LEAVE IT ALONE! The more you disturb it the less likely it is to form into yogurt.

6. Your yogurt has become increasingly sour/tart over time despite your best efforts to do everything right. You need a fresh starter culture. Using sour yogurt to make more yogurt will only result in endless batches of sour yogurt.

You can eat your yogurt plain or add fresh fruit, honey, granola, or other topping of your choice.

Ginger-Ale or Sugar-Ale?

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When I was a kid my mom would give me ginger-ale every time I had a stomach ache. Even in my teens and early 20’s I would drink ginger-ale every time I had an upset stomach. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I noticed a particular brand (Canada Dry) had “made with real ginger” written on the front label. It made me think: “aren’t all store-bought ginger-ales made with real ginger?”

Apparently not.

If you actually read the ingredients, they’re mostly made of carbonated water and sugar with both natural and artificial colours and flavours thrown in.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4980.jpgThe only brand that I’ve seen that makes the claim “made with real ginger” on the label is Canada Dry, but if you read the ingredient list it’s still mostly sugar and additives.

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A pregnant friend of mine recently told me that she drinks ginger-ale sometimes for her morning sickness, because she thought it contained ginger which is a proven remedy for nausea. It made me wonder how many pregnant women out there are unknowingly consuming sugar and harmful artificial additives under the false impression that they are drinking a “healthy” beverage to help with their morning sickness. It also got me thinking about all the parents who probably still give it to their kids for tummy troubles.

If you look at the ingredient list for soda, it’s not much different.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4979-1.jpgMost pregnant women wouldn’t drink 7-up to cure morning sickness, nor would most parents give their children sugar filled soda to cure an upset stomach. But store bought ginger-ale is basically the same thing.

As a better option, try boiling some ginger in water and then add a natural sweetener like honey. You’ll get the benefits of ginger without any added sugar, colors or flavors. If you or your kids prefer fizzy drinks, add a little plain carbonated water and you’ve got yourself some homemade ginger-ale.

Oven-Baked Yam Fries Recipe

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Yam fries are one of my daughter’s favorite foods. I’d rather have her eat healthy homemade fries than restaurant versions that are fried in unhealthy oils and batter, so I’ve experimented with a few healthy recipes at home and this one is my favorite. It’s very flavourful and I love that I can eat them without any guilt since they are baked, not fried. You can substitute the yams in this recipe for sweet potatoes if you can’t find true yams.

Ingredients:

3 lbs yams
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425*F.
2. Peel and cut the yams into “fries”.

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3. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and then dump into a large ziploc bag. Pour in the vegetable oil and swirl it around until all of the seasoning is mixed into the oil.

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4. Pour the yam fries into the bag, close it tightly and shake and massage the bag until all of the fries are thoroughly coated in oil and seasoning.

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5. Spread the yam fries in a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need 2).

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4849-1.jpg6. Bake for 30-40 mins, until slightly browned. Serve hot.

Quick and Healthy Snack for Older Babies and Toddlers (and Adults Too!)

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Sometimes I need to feed my toddler something that will tide her over longer than usual (for example if dinner is going to take longer than expected, or if we’re going to be out for awhile and I need her tummy to stay full). That’s when I turn to this snack because it’s not only quick and easy but also filling and energy-packed.

She didn’t initially like this snack when I first introduced it but after a few tries she started to enjoy it. After eating her leftovers the first few times I found that I also enjoy it so I will prepare it for myself sometimes too! It’s a great post-workout snack.

Ingredients:

1 banana, mashed
1-1 1/2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
Dash of cinnamon

Directions: Simply mix all of the ingredients together and wait 10 mins for the chia seeds to soften, the serve.

Sweet and Sour Veggie Quesadillas

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I used to make quesadillas using barbecue sauce, but then one day I read the ingredient list and I was not impressed 😒. It’s hard to find a good barbecue sauce without added caramel coloring or other unwanted additives so I decided to try making my own.

My attempt at making barbecue sauce failed but I ended up with a great sweet and sour sauce instead. As luck would have it, sweet and sour sauce tastes great in quesadillas so here is my new quesadillas recipe:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (equivalent to 1/2 cup dry or 1-15 ounce can)
3 zucchinis
6 bell peppers, assorted colors
1 large onion
1/2 tsp sea salt
8-10 whole-grain tortillas
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Sauce:
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Dice all of the vegetables and sauté in a little oil until tender. Add 1/2 tsp salt as well as the cooked black beans and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce thickens to a very dense syrup-like texture (about 20 mins). Add to cooked veggie and bean mixture and stir until coated (you may not need all of the sauce so add it gradually while stirring).

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3. Spread the mixture evenly across half of each tortilla, sprinkle a handful of grated cheese on top (optional) and fold the tortilla in half.

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4. Place the quesadillas on a baking sheet and bake them at 375*F for about 10-15 mins (until lightly browned underneath), then broil the tops until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Cut in halves (or thirds) and serve with sour cream.

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Makes 8-10 quesadillas (depending on how much stuffing you put in each quesadilla).