Thursday, 15 March 2018

Make the most of your snack break


Snacks are an important part of everyone's eating regimen. With their smaller appetites, and active days, kids need snacks to meet their nutrient needs over the course of the day. Adults, too, need snacks to get us through the day. With busy schedules and long days, snacks are often the saving grace from falling into the abyss of hunger. In fact, 30% of Canadians depend on snacks to stay fueled!
When you think of snacks, however, I want you to shift your thoughts away from the chocolate bar or bag of potato chips. Snacks can and should be a refueling shot of energy that also provides nutrition.

Think MINI-MEAL:


1. Have a set time for snacks

You probably know what times you (and your family) get hungry: perhaps it's sometime in the afternoon when lunch has worn off and it's not yet quitting time; that time between getting home and prepping supper; or maybe around 10:30 or so when lunch is just a faint dream... Use those times for a snack! There's only so much we can eat at a meal, and children even more so with their smaller bodies, so we need to refuel in between meals. I suggest having some food every 2-4 hours. Don't wait until you're cranky with hunger; schedule snacks into your day for when you need it most.

2. Plan what you're going to eat and/or serve

Leaving your snack options up to the whims of the vending machine or break room likely means you'll find a stash of quick energy in the form of sugar and caffeine. Having planned snacks allows for foods with more sustained energy, including protein and fibre. Also, when we're hungry, we don't make such good food choices, eating whatever is front-and-centre. Planned snacks means what is available is a more filling and nutrient rich snack.


3. Eat mindfully 

While I completely know the experience of a hectic day, and eating in the car, I highly recommend against it. First off there's the safety issue of distracted driving, possibility for choking, and making a mess in the car. Secondly is the options available while driving are probably something easy to grab and eat with one hand that isn't very filling or nutrient-rich. My third objection is that this kind of eating is usually mindless, and not satisfying.
Take a few minutes out of your day, and try to make your snack break a real break. Focus only on what you're eating, and how it's providing nourishment and satisfaction.

Building a Snack

When preparing a snack or "mini-meal", try for variety. I encourage having at least 2 food groups represented, while trying to include protein and fibre. 
Protein and fibre are the satiating twins- they fill us up, and keep us feeling full for longer. 
Protein includes: cheese, yogurt, beans & lentils, poultry, fish, eggs...
Fibre can be fruits, vegetables or whole grains

So let's try for some combos:


Cheese & Veggies


Whole grain crackers + vegetables


Yogurt & Fruit


PB&J sandwich (try this easy, low sugar cranberry jam)


Microwaved sweet potato and hummus


So... What are you having for snack today?

Friday, 9 February 2018

Chunky Tomato Cabbage Soup




When Bracha asked me for the recipe for this cabbage soup to share with her readers; my first reaction was to say no because of embarrassment. Not that I’m modest or shy, but because this recipe is so simple. For the amount of compliments this soup received it didn’t seem right to let everyone know just how little effort it takes. I felt that I would disappoint eaters when I would divulge how it is made!

Turns out it's too good not to share! It's easy to make, takes almost no effort or time, uses inexpensive ingredients, and is DELICIOUS to boot!





This recipe is FODMAP friendly. Since onions and garlic fall under the FODMAP umbrella, this cabbage soup is unique since they are not included. DON’T WORRY, you will not miss them! Let me introduce you to the powers of paprika, salt, and pepper. That’s it; there are no other spices or flavourings.

 To begin you will chop two or three large carrots, and boil them in enough water that will cover them.  Sprinkle in you salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Be generous this is a large recipe with big flavours; it can handle more than you think.



Once it comes to a boil add in one can chopped tomatoes, one can crushed tomatoes. Fill each now empty can full of water and empty those into the pot as well. (Best way to clean and get use of all the extra goodness left on the sides of the can!) Let this come to a boil as well.

Once it boils add two full bags of chopped cabbage/coleslaw bags.  This amount will give you a real hearty soup which will ensure each bowl is full of vegetables! Keep that on high till it bubbles.
Reduce the flame to simmer for one full hour.

Serve, and wait for the compliments! You'll understand why I am embarrassed to share this recipe J



*Note that this is a very large recipe and you can freeze the leftovers to enjoy again and again. (1 pot, 3 meals!)

Tova



  

Chunky Tomato Cabbage Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1 796 ml (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 796 ml(28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bags sliced cabbage/coleslaw
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • water

Instructions

  1. Peel and largely dice carrots, place in pot
  2. Cover carrots with water, add salt, pepper and paprika- be generous!
  3. Bring to a boil
  4. Add in both cans of tomatoes and cabbage
  5. Fill each can with water and add to pot
  6. Bring to a boil
  7. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour
  8. Lower heat to medium, and simmer .
  9. Yield: 15-20 bowls.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Chewy Granola Bars


Granola bars are the ultimate energy-boosting snack, and these are so simple to make because they don't even need any baking! 

These are great for traveling, because they're portable, are protein and fibre-full (AKA the stuff that makes and keeps us feeling full), and can easily pass airport security. So bring them on your next adventure for a delicious home made treat. 


This recipe uses very little honey as sweetener, and allows for any filling you can dream of. I used sunflower seeds, raisins and chia seeds for some crunch, added chewy-ness and boosted nutrients (you can read about chia-seeds here


Comment below with you fave granola bar add-in😃






Chewy Granola Bars


Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Line an 8-inch pan with wax or parchment paper
  2. Combine all ingredients
  3. Place in prepared pan (use wet hands or a spoon to smooth down)
  4. Refrigerate overnight or a few hours before slicing
  5. Yield: 8 bars.



Thursday, 14 December 2017

Quinoa Breakfast Cookies



Quinoa cookies make a great make-ahead breakfast. They're quick to make, and freeze well, so all you gotta do is pop a couple in the oven in the AM, and enjoy a whole grain, fruity, delicious brekkie! I considered making these like a pancake, but I am not a fan of standing over a pan and waiting to flip each individual pancake! Baking them all at once works terrifically, and there's hardly any labour involved in making these!





Quinoa is a cool food, because it's high in both protein and fibre, plus loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. It's really easy to prepare (like this super easy lunch idea). I usually make my grains on the stove-top, but experimented in the microwave, and was super impressed that it really worked, and how easy it was! *Caution* cover your bowl when microwaving; I made a bit of mess. 



I often crave savoury food for breakfast (especially when I've had lots of sweet food the day before), so I opted out of using sugar in these cookies, depending on the sweetness from the almond milk and fruit, but you can experiment with the sweetness, and/or savoury-ness (notice the black pepper and cayenne here😉).



Do you prefer sweet or savoury breakfasts? Comment below!





Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw quinoa
  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cup mixed berries
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine quinoa with milk and microwave covered 6 minutes
  2. About half the liquid should be absorbed by now. Stir & return to microwave for 2 minutes
  3. Remove from microwave and allow to sit 5-10 minutes
  4. Preheat oven to 350℉
  5. Add in all ingredients and combine
  6. Form into medium sized cookies
  7. Bake for , remove from oven to cool.
    Yield: 19 medium cookies.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Making sense of the pasta aisle



I'm a big pasta fan. I can easily eat it 2-3 times a week (and that's saying a lot. I like variety in my food😊). 

This is NOT an ad, nor a sponsored post despite the pictures. If you follow me on Instagram you'll be familiar with my weekly #SUPERmarketfinds or #superMARKETING videos where I profile foods and break down if their marketing masquerades them as better than they really are, or if it's honestly a great food. This is basically an extended version.

The pasta aisle is so confusing! And not just because of all the different shapes of noodle (which 100% taste different, and you can't convince me otherwise!). But now there's also all these "smart" pastas, with added fibre, and added vegetables, and added... superpowers? Is it all necessary, and how can you know if you're choosing the best noodle for your dish?




There seems to be a lot of confusion around pasta. If you do a Google search of "is pasta..." the top suggestions are: vegan; good for you; bad for you; gluten free; fattening

VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE?

Pasta is made with flour and a liquid. Most of the pasta I've seen is made with wheat flour- making it gluten FULL. However, more and more gluten free options are popping onto grocery shelves, including rice, bean and lentil noodles. As far as vegan options go, unless a package specifically mentions containing eggs, pasta is vegan.

GOOD, BAD, FATTENING?

Carbohydrates are an important addition to meals, as it's the easiest energy source for the body, and the main energy source for our brain. Pasta is a no-to-low fat carb option that's inexpensive and easy to make (win-win in my mind!). It's also an incredibly diverse food that can be the base of absolutely anything- including vegetables and beans, and meat or fish or cheese... it's literally a blank slate of endless options.



SO HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR NOODLE?

1. When looking at the veggie pasta, one touts its "super greens", but doesn't make any claims about amount of vegetables per serving, while the other claims to have half a serving of vegetables in every pasta serving. I'm always a bit skeptical with these added veggies, as most of the time it's vegetable powder added mostly for colour (and to make this claim), and the nutrition information doesn't really reflect that vegetables are there. In this case, the high fibre in the Smart Veggie is likely coming from the added oat fibre. And while at first glance, the super-greens appears to have high potassium from the added vegetables (as none of the other boxes mention potassium) in truth all pasta has potassium! And basically this amount! This box highlights this nutrient to appear more beneficial, but may just be #superMARKETING

2. Comparing the added fibre pasta to the ancient grains pasta, you'll find they're pretty similar in terms of nutrition, and have the same amount of fibre, though it is quite higher than the fibre of a regular pasta.

BOTTOM LINE:

Choose the pasta you enjoy the most. The goal of healthy living isn't to have food in your fridge and cupboards that you're not eating. A basic pasta is high in protein, a good source of fibre, and low in fat and sugar. Cook your pasta to al-dente, as this will slow down digestion and you can avoid a steep sugar rise and crash.


As always, pair your pasta with nutrient rich vegetables and filling proteins to provide a balanced and filling meal that leaves you feeling satisfied and energized.



What's your favorite pasta shape and pasta dish? Comment below!!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Apple Cinnamon Muffin-tops


Apple and cinnamon is one of my favorite autumn flavour combinations. Apples are in season, and they just scream for cinnamon! 

In my family, muffin tops are a hot-commodity, so when making these cookies, I tried for a fluffy muffin consistency. The secret is to barely mix the batter (similar to a muffin batter), and to wet your hands when forming the cookies because it's super sticky.


I can't be the only one who thinks cookies for breakfast needs to become mainstream right?! Well here's my contribution to that good fight; a low sugar and fat cookie. Pair it with some yogurt for a perfect morning meal 😃

I was honestly shocked how fast this batch went. 8-year-old M couldn't get enough of them as an after school snack, and the rest of the family literally (I don't use that word lightly) snapped them up.






Apple Cinnamon Muffin Top Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 small apple

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Combine all dry ingredients
  3. Mix in wet ingredients until just combined being careful not to overmix
  4. Wet hands to form medium sized balls- it’s a very wet mixture
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes
  6. Yield: 20 cookies.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Sweet Potato Crusted Potato Knish


Mashed potatoes is a total comfort food, and also a staple dish at many holiday meals. A knish upgrades everyone's favorite side dish into its sophisticated cousin by stuffing it into a crusty outside. 

Go outside the expected, and welcome Autumn, by swapping the original flaky dough with my colourful antioxidant-rich sweet potato crust.

It's pretty, the colours contrast wonderfully when sliced, and man, this tastes great!



This recipe does take a bit of time to make (there's making the dough, and the filling, plus assembling it), but it's always super popular, so I only make it for Fall special occasions! 

Assembling mashed potatoes on dough

Microwaving the sweet potato instead of boiling it can cut down on some time. Depending on the size of your potato, it can be ready in 4 minutes to 16 minutes. Peel it after microwaving, and it's so much easier - the peel just slips off! 


Raw knishes before egg wash
Save the water used for boiling the other potatoes, and use it to make super smooth and creamy mashed potatoes




Sweet Potato Crusted Potato Knish

Ingredients:

Dough:
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
Filling:
  • 1/2 bunch leeks chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 5 small potatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • egg- optional for glaze

Instructions

  1. Microwave or boil sweet potato until completely soft
  2. Peel and mash sweet potato until smooth
  3. Combine all dough ingredients and set aside
  4. Boil potatoes- save this water
  5. Sautee chopped leeks and onion
  6. Mash potatoes well and combine all ingredients
  7. Add in reserved potato water to reach the smooth consistency of mashed potato you prefer

    To assemble:
  8. Preheat oven to 350° F
  9. Divide dough in 2 equal portions, plus about 1/8th to use for decoration
  10. Roll dough into a ¼ inch thick rectangle
  11. Spread filling in the centre of the dough, and fold dough over, so sides overlap
  12. Place seam-side down on baking tray
  13. Repeat with second half of dough
  14. Form a crisscross pattern using assigned dough
  15. Brush with egg wash
  16. Bake for , remove from oven to cool.



What occasion will you make this for?