Archive for the ‘Food Revolution Recipes’ Category

Week 2: Power Up Your Plate this #NutritionMonth!

March 4th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

When it comes to food choices, quality counts. Nourishing foods promote health and can help you feel your best. Take small steps to bump up the quality of your meals and snacks: get clever with cooking, swap in nutrient-rich choices and enjoy deliciously healthy foods. Here are some tips to get you started.

Jump-start your day! Power through your morning by eating a good breakfast.
A nourishing breakfast gives you a fuel boost plus protein and fibre to help you stay alert and avoid mid-morning munchies.
In a hurry?
• Blend frozen berries, yogurt and milk for a super smoothie. Make it even better with baby spinach and ground flax.
• Wrap peanut butter, a banana and trail mix in a whole-grain tortilla for a portable, crunchy breakfast.
Got time?
• Make a burrito with scrambled egg, lentils or soft tofu, sautéed red pepper, avocado and salsa wrapped in a warm tortilla.
• Top French toast with yogurt, sunflower seeds and warm sautéed apple slices.

Forget the food court! Pack good food fast with “planned extra” leftovers for lunch.
Packing lunch is a healthy, budget-friendly habit. Keep it simple: reinvent “planned extra” leftovers for a lunch that’s way better than the food court. Try these tasty ideas:
• Cook extra chicken for dinner. For lunch, wrap chicken in soft tacos, with crunchy cabbage and shredded carrots, a sprinkle of feta and big squeeze of juicy lime.
• Roast extra root veggies. Layer them on crusty whole grain bread with hummus and baby spinach for a scrumptious sandwich.
• Toss extra cooked whole-wheat pasta, couscous or barley with pesto, cherry tomatoes, lentils and small cheese chunks for a protein-packed salad.

Swap your sip! Sugary and creamy drinks pack a calorie punch.
Your best choice for quenching thirst? Water! Add zing with mint, berries or citrus wedges. Carry a water bottle and keep it fresh all day. Swap your sip with these tips:
• Choose fizzy water with a tangy citrus twist instead of sugary pop.
• Like a latte? Filled with nutrient-rich, hydrating milk, lattes can be a good choice. Go plain, without sugary syrups or whipped cream. Try decaf to cut caffeine.
• Tea lover? Try hot or iced black, green or herbal teas without added white sugar or honey. Enjoy the taste of the tea itself.

Trade your treat! Pack nutrient-rich snacks so you can steer clear of the vending machine.
Nourishing snacks satisfy hunger between meals. To stay energized and satisfied, snack smart with small, portions of nutrient-rich foods. Treat your tastebuds with these good-for-you snacks:
• Fresh veggies + garlicky black bean dip
• A crisp apple + a couple pieces of tangy old cheddar cheese
• Crunchy roasted chickpeas + a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips
• A couple of naturally sweet dates filled with almond butter

Clever cooking! Flavour food with tangy citrus, fresh herbs and fragrant spices.
There are lots of simple ways to cook healthy without sacrificing taste. Try these tips to add flavour to meals:
• Add pizzazz to plain grains and pulses by cooking barley, brown rice or lentils in low-sodium broth.
• Stir ½ to 1 cup of canned pumpkin or mashed sweet potato into muffin batter for a veggie boost.
• Make a luscious mashed potato with roasted garlic, a little olive oil and warm milk.
• Purée vegetable soups, such as potato, sweet potato or broccoli, with low-sodium broth for deliciously creamy texture and taste.

For delicious recipes with a healthy twist, visit: www.cookspiration.com. How’s your 100 meal journey going?

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

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Lunch Improv 2 Ways

February 10th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s My Lunch Improv to Try!
There has been much debate about which meal of the day is most important. Breakfast usually hogs the spotlight given it provides get up and go to start the day. While dinner is our meal to help us ease into the evening. Lunch often gets glossed over, yet it is no less important than any other. In fact, lunch can help revive that get up and go that got up and went boosting your afternoon productivity!

I wrote in my ebook Skinny On Slim how I shifted my noon-time nosh-fest some years back. The short story is that I now choose a 3-salad combo with one side of plain Greek-style yoghurt another side of low fat cottage cheese. One of the salad choices always contains pulses (chick peas, beans or lentils) to further pump up the protein and one always has some nuts or seeds. This routinely satisfies my hunger, fills me up, tastes great, yet doesn’t leave me needing to nod off like Dilbert as the clock ticks by late afternoon.

I used to buy the ready-made salads. But soon after this New Year I didn’t like the limited selection and mayo-laden choices, so I decided to move my cheese and try my hand at making a few simple ones. These combinations are a snap to prepare:

C’est Chick
Combine the following:
1 can chick peas, drained & rinsed (can sub in white beans or lentils)
chopped onion slice
chopped celery, radish &/or red pepper
dash of olive oil, season to your liking

Sunshine Carrot
Combine the following:
1 can crushed pineapple, drained well
3 carrots, peeled and grated
chopped onion slice
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries or dried or frozen cherries or raisins
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Peck O Peppers
Combine the following:
2-3 red, orange or yellow peppers, washed, cored cut lengthwise
chopped onion slice
diced defrosted frozen mango or peach
dash of vinegar
season to your liking

Here are a few more lunch salads that I love:

These combos are fast and easy to make and keep well in air tight containers in your refrigerator. I make them on the weekend leaving the guess work about “what’s for lunch?” off the table entirely. Choose a different combination each week. They’re great for the whole family to enjoy.

Try your own lunchtime improv! Join me in making a few cinchy options.

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Broccoli C-R-U-N-C-H Salad

January 13th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , ,

I was invited to a pot luck lunch with a bunch of dynamo nutrition folks last week. One of the hostesses – Shauna Lindzon shared some nutritional nuggets about broccoli. “Broccoli gets top marks for its health benefits and disease fighting (esp for cancer) properties.” We were spellbound in discussion. So inspired by her factoids I added it to my grocery list and whipped up this crunchy creation and wanted to share it with you!

Ingredients
1/2 cup 1% sour cream
1/4 cup 2% plain Greek style yoghurt
1 T vinegar
1/2 finely chopped Spanish onion
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 bunch broccoli finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 T toasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions
1) Combine the sour cream and yoghurt and put aside
2) Add all of your chopped ingredients to a mixing bowl, then add the vinegar, seasoning and combine well.
3) Stir in the combined sour cream and yoghurt and mix well.
4) Cover, refrigerate and enjoy!

Commentary
Ummm YUM! I love a dish that tantalizes your tastebuds with flavour, crunch, savoury and creamy, biting you back while filling you UP. Whoever thinks that uber nutritious can’t be ultimately delicious is dead wrong. It’s easy to create half your plate with veggie & fruit! This dish fills you up and never lets you down!

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Bountiful Beet Salad

November 8th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I have been inspired lately by my fellow foodies cooking up a storm this harvest season. I decided to join in and learn to prepare a veggie I have never cooked before, yet love – the bountiful beet. I savour the rich sweet flavour of beets and often order them when I dine out. I brought home a 10 pound sack of them bent and determined to move my cheese and cook something new.

Ingredients
10 scrubbed beets, with greens cut off (golden &/or purple)
Spanish onion, sliced
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
small package goat’s cheese or feta cheese
toasted walnut pieces
fresh ground pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Instructions
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the beets. Line a roasting pan with enough foil to cover them, put beets on the foil and sprinkle with water and cover. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel beets and cut in chunks or slices, whatever your preference. (Can do this step a day in advance.)
2) Add the ingredients to a serving bowl and combine. Serve and enjoy!

Commentary
I have prepared these a few times and roast as many beets as can fit in my pan. I put aside the roasted beets I was planning for a meal accompaniment then froze the rest in small bags, removed the air and labelled each package so that I can enjoy these another day down the road. My friend Dianne protects her hands by peeling the beets wearing rubber gloves… smart cookie!

I must say I felt a bit sheepish for never venturing into “beet prep” prior to this season and am delighted I branched out. What are you trying to prep this harvest season? Give something new a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Thank you my foodie friends for inspiring me this harvest season!

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Pasta Salad with a Kick!

September 9th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , ,

I was in a “Tasmanian Devil” mode making a pasta salad for a backyard work bar-be-cue that was a hit. I ad libbed with ingredients I had on hand, so like any good Italian in the kitchen I didn’t measure things out, but added to my serving bowl until it seemed just right. It was so delicious I enjoyed it for dinner, while hubby had it for lunch. Glad there was enough left for the company!

Ingredients
500 gm pasta noodles (try tri-coloured bowties or rotini)
bunch asparagus spears
prepped mini carrots
1 540mL/28oz can chick peas (rinsed)
marinated hot bell peppers (chopped, add to your liking)
200mL/12oz marinated artichokes
200mL/12oz marinated black olives (pitted and sliced)
chopped sun-dried tomatoes
feta cheese (crumbled)
asiago cheese (shredded coarsely)
bunch green onion (chopped)
diced spanish onion
3 crushed garlic cloves
sea salt (to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)
hot chilli pepper (to taste, optional)
olive oil (add sparingly, to your liking)
balsamic vinegar (add sparingly, to your liking)
lime juice (add sparingly, to your liking)

Instructions
1) Bring water to a boil and add in dry pasta and cook according to the package instructions. When cooked to your liking strain, rinse with cold water and add to your bowl.
2) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash and prepare asparagus and carrots. Place evenly on the pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper. Roast in the oven for ~20 minutes or until tender. When cooked remove from oven, cool then cut in pieces and add to your bowl.
3) Meanwhile in a large bowl add all ingredients except seasonings, oil, vinegar and lime juice which you’ll add once all of the ingredients are in the bowl. Stir to combine ingredients evenly and season to your liking.
4) Cover and refrigerate. Make this a day in advance for the flavours coalesce. Enjoy!

Commentary
This is a perfect pasta salad which can be served with a meal or enjoyed AS a meal. It’s a complete meal, perfect to tote for work or school lunches and tastes even more delectable a day or two after you made it. It’s easy to make half your plate veggies with this recipe!

You can certainly add more or different ingredients to your bowl depending what you have on-hand. I’d add green peas the next time and roast a few red peppers for an even richer flavour. Use any type of cheese you have available. You can add or sub in hard boiled eggs or drained flaked tuna/ salmon or chopped up cooked leftover chicken or beef.

Let your imagination run wild and make it any way you wish as you can do no wrong with this in your repertoire and it doesn’t take a lot time to prepare.

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Portuguese Style Roast Chicken Piri Piri

December 15th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I found myself in the engaging country of Portugal last month. The countryside, the people and the food are all a delight to experience. On one fine day we were treated to a family style dinner that filled up our tummies and tantalized our tastebuds. Roast chicken is one food you can rarely make a mistake with and easy to perfect over time. Give this a try!

Ingredients
1 roast chicken or chicken pieces
3-5 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
dash of paprika
vinegar

Instructions
1. The day prior to serving, prepare the marinade of garlic, paprika and vinegar into a paste and baste the thawed chicken. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Roast or barbecue the chicken as per usual instructions.
3. Serve with super hot piri piri sauce to dip your chicken in if you like heat! Make a few veggie dishes to accompany your fab chicken. Enjoy!

Commentary
This chicken was delectable: a simple family meal made to the nines! I am now adopting a Portuguese cooking style when I make chicken and am recommending to everyone I know to do the same. Give it a try!

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Truffle Triumph!

December 1st, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , ,

I have been making these terrific truffles to give away at Christmas since I was in school in the 80′s. It was something I first did with my Mom aka Nan way back then. I have continued this tradition each year ever since. There have been a few requests for the recipe, so here’s a repost of it. This is something I get joy out of doing for many reasons while giving joy to others.

I don’t make a mantage of cookies and holiday treats. I make a mother load of these and give them away to family, friends, colleagues and confidants. My peeps look forward to these tasty morsels and I feel great spreadin’ the lovin’ around as part of the season!

Ingredients

600gm brown, dark or white chocolate wafers plus another pound to dip truffles into if you choose

1 can (300mL) sweetened condensed milk

2-3 tablespoons suitable liqueur (Baileys or Kalua for brown, Cointrou or Gran Marnier for white) and a little shot for you, ho ho ho!!

edible decorations (whole pecans/almonds/hazel nuts, sugar decorations, chocolate shavings, cocoa)

packaging material (cellophane bags, boxes, ribbons)

Instructions

Clean and dry all of your counter surfaces and tie back your hair (not in that order). Melt the chocolate wafers either using a double boiler OR at the extra low setting in the microwave. Avoid burning or getting moisture in the mix by mixing intermittently.

While melting the chocolate open the can of condensed milk and have the liqueur of your choice ready to pour. Stir the chocolate intermittently until smooth and fully melted. Once melted remove from heat and add the condensed milk using a spatula and the liqueur. Stir thoroughly until fully combined. Cover the bowl and allow to set for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. You can prep this the evening before.

Ready to Roll….Literally!

Take the mixture out of the fridge 1 hour before you plan to roll them. Ensure you have a clean, dry surface area and cover it with waxed paper and tie back your hair. Using a teaspoon and in a comfortable sitting position spoon out a teaspoon of mixture at a time and role with your clean hands and place on the waxed paper. Repeat until you rolled the entire mixture. This recipe yields ~100 truffles. If you roll them as big as meatballs you’ll get less, so size matters in this context! I make 4-5 times this recipe, shown in the photos. How crazy is that??!! Very….. Here’s my post on truffle trouble shooting for you serious bakers.

Dippity Due Da Day

Ok now you’re ready to dip these puppies. This step is optional. However if you do this, they keep well for weeks. I usually dip truffles in the same colour chocolate for sensory reasons. You don’t want to confuse the eater! Melt the chocolate on low and prepare the candy cups. Cover your clean counter with waxed paper. Dip each truffle and using a spoon put each truffle in a candy cup.

Decorate & Look Great…..Mate!!

Decorate the truffles as you dip them. You can decorate some with nuts and others with sugar decorations. I sometimes use white and dark chocolate shavings that look lovely and taste delectable….so I’ve heard. It all depends on your preference. Allow the decorated truffles to dry thoroughly for an hour or so before boxing them up. It’s a perfect time for a walk as your break from the kitchen.

Package ‘em Up Folks & They’re Ready to Give

Now you’re ready to package up your creations. Wash your hands well and dry thoroughly. This is an individual step to make these any way you wish. There’s really nothing like giving something you’ve made as a little part of you.

Commentary

Let me tell you, I only make these once a year because it takes me that long to forget how sore I felt the year before when I finished – ug. Note to self, avoid doing your weights and stretching exercise routine before making these, because all of these steps take longer to finish than doing the Iron Man. You may want to consider making a small batch or two the first time to get the hang of it. It doesn’t need to morph into the Truffle Triathlon, if you don’t want it to be.

I’ll level with you though. Any Betty Baker knows this recipe is really glorified fudge with a splash of booze. Ok I plead the 5th. You can do this easy and put ‘em in a pan and cut into squares – presto you’re done sans back ache in 10 minutes. But it’s Christmas time, so go “ALL-THE-WAY” like Chris Berman says when he broadcasts football.

I enjoy sharing these with my Mom and Mother Dearest to give away as well. I’m already in the good books with both of them and it’s only December 1st! Isn’t that what the Christmas season is all about anyway? Sharing. Ho ho ho.

There is no doubt you’ll be ready for a bubble bath or better yet a back massage when you’re done :-) It’s definitely worth the effort though even after 30-something years of making them. Spread the love and enjoy!
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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot! Making Arrabiatta Sauce with Nan

November 24th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Despite having a procedure done on her eye last week, my Nan was adamant not to cancel our Arrabiatta Sauce making lesson. She is one gritty Italian who’s north of 80 and I chose not to argue with her… this time anyways. That food loving Ukrainian I know put this request in a while back when we started our lessons, so Nan & Pops had the ingredients ready to transform into saucy deliciousness. Venture into the heat with this speecy-spicy recipe that tantalizes the senses and does not disappoint!

Ingredients
8 hot yellow banana peppers, washed
canola oil
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp each dried basil, parsley, oregano
salt & ground pepper to taste
4, 680mL bottles crushed stewed tomatoes
1m 400mL can diced stewed tomatoes
1 rack pork back ribs

Instructions
1) Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Cut your ribs into individual or double segments and arrange on a baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slow cook in the oven for 90 minutes. Set aside to cool (make ahead of time before making your sauce).
2) In a large saucepan add canola oil and heat to medium, low. Using hand protection when handling the peppers on a cutting board cut the stems off and discard, then cut the peppers lengthwise then widthwise adding each to the saucepan, seeds and all (the seeds have the heat, so beware). Saute the peppers until softened and browned, stirring occasionally. Add white wine and simmer for 2 minutes.
3) Add all of the remaining ingredients then stir to combine, including the cooked ribs. Allow to simmer in the pot covered with a lid on medium low for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Serve over boiled pasta of your choice and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy to the MAX!

Commentary
This is one steamy proposition that transforms taste to a new level. We set the table with a tablecloth gift offering I brought back from Portugal and shared fun holiday stories during dinner.

We served another famous soup of Nan’s first – Acini di Pepe Soup that I made special to help her recuperation post eye surgery. Nice to see that it worked!

We enjoyed the pasta and ribs with fabulous Okanagan Wine and even better company. It was great to be the victim of this spicy food hangover, lucky me! What’s the next lesson on Nan, your famous Vodka Sauce?

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Portuguese Market Soup

November 10th, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , , ,

I found myself in the engaging country of Portugal lately. The countryside, the people and the food are all a delight to experience. On one fine fall day we were treated to a family style dinner that filled up our tummies and tantalized our tastebuds with soup. Soup is one food you can never make a mistake on, but just perfect over time. This one’s a keeper, give it a try!

Ingredients
5 washed sliced leeks
5 washed, peeled carrots
3-5 washed, peeled, cubed potatoes
2-3 peeled garlic cloves
dash salt
5 Tablespoons olive oil
water
cabbage

Instructions
1. Add all of the ingredients except the cabbage to a medium pot, adding water until 2/3′s full. Raise heat to high to boil then simmer for an hour. Ensure the vegetables are fork tender. Remove from heat and cool.
2. In the meantime core and clean a small cabbage and boil in water in a different pot until the leaves are tender. Remove cabbage and cool. Remove leaves and chop. Put aside.
3. Puree the vegetables and water from your soup pot. Add in cooked, tender, chopped cabbage leaves.
4. Heat before serving and enjoy with a crusty roll and fresh ground pepper.

Commentary
This soup is food for the soul and will be worked in to my repertoire of fall and winter hearty foods. You can sub in other ingredients such as shallots or onions in place of leeks should you have them on hand. Check out your veggie crisper and use up what’s hanging around in the back of your drawer, perhaps.

It’s a perfect time of year to make and enjoy a new soup recipe, especially a Portuguese family specialty. Even better if you’re trying keep a watchful eye on your intake as a healthy and stealthy strategy to help you eat less. It fills you up and never lets you down, enjoying before your main meal while taking the edge of your appetite.

Enjoy this and you’ll have a bom dia, indeed!

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Cheesy Propositions

October 31st, 2014 No Comments Tags: , ,

I found myself up north recently in cottage country. I came prepared to make some fast and easy meals to enjoy in front of the fire. One key staple in my Mary Poppins bag of tricks was cheese. I thought, hmmmm, here’s a cheesy proposition using this versatile ingredient 6 ways:

Antipasto Platter – I love the versatility of making a pleasing platter. Depending on the day and what I have on hand I arrange the following ingredients and enjoy as a meal or with a meal: cheese cubes, olives, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc.), fruit in season (cut up apple, pear, berries, plums, etc.), crackers or slices of French stick.

Eye on Pizza Pie – My oh my, this flash in the pan pleases the palate and is enjoyed with a side salad. The leftovers are perfect for another dinner or lunch or breakfast on the run!

Mac & Cheese Please - This filling delight is a one-pot wonder which’ll make you wonder why you don’t make it more often. It’s a family delight that goes well with a side veggie of green peas. I recently made the Brooklyn Style Mac & Cheese which was astoundingly delish!

Indy’s Specialty – Grill Cheese – One of my fave’s is this dish by no other than my food-loving Ukrainian who doubles as a chef sometimes! Very divine and tastes great with this side green salad.

Weenie Bocconcini – This is a perfect combination with dinner or as a meal with some fresh crusty bread. It is artistry for the senses and never disappoints.

What’s Better than Feta? I love this devilish delight right out of the oven with artisan bread – fast and easy and is sure to please you.

There you have it folks, some cheesy propositions to accompany your meal or become the main course. Use your imagination as you scout what you have on hand in your pantry and fridge and incorporate it into your repertoire. You can be a klutz in the kitchen and these’ll still work out deliciously – get cooking!

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