Citrus Almond Granola

Guest post by Celeste Cardoz

Every now and then I get in the mood to start baking; to fill the house with warm scents that outdo candles. Granola is one way to satisfy this feeling, while helping to prepare for breakfasts and snacks throughout the week. 

Typical store bought granola is often laden with excess sugar and fat yet requires minimal effort to prepare at home. Making your own granola allows for flexibility depending on your particular dietary considerations, but also allows more control over the nutrient content in each serving.

I often peruse grocery store aisles looking at ingredient lists and I am shocked at just how much sugar can be in just one serving of breakfast cereal. By making my own granola I am able to cut back on this excess as well as use seasonal ingredients. This particular recipe is livened up with the flavours from orange zest, with maple syrup for a touch of sweetness. 

Preparing a batch of granola at the beginning of the week makes for easy breakfast parfaits, smoothie bowl toppings, and snacks. One of my favourite ways to prepare breakfast using this granola is with either some lactose free yogurt or milk, and blueberries or other seasonal fruit; having this pre-made ensures that saving time does not mean losing out on flavour. 

Opting for lactose free dairy additions will be kind to your gut for those who are lactose intolerant or are following the low FODMAP diet. Simply opting for lactose free alternatives can allow for the same texture without the unpleasant side effects. Plant-based milks or cultures are also a great option and come from a variety of sources to suit your preference as well.

If you’re choosing dairy alternatives, it’s important to be be mindful of the nutrient value of your choice as only soy beverages, Ripple pea milk, and dairy beverages would provide a significant amount of protein (about 8 grams per cup). So if you prefer almond, oat, coconut or any other types of milk alternatives be sure you are including a good source of protein - such as nuts or seeds - within that meal. 

Citrus Almond Granola

Ingredients (serves 5) 

2 cups whole rolled oats
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or avocado oil)
1 teaspoon orange zest (zest of 1 medium orange)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
pinch of sea salt

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 275, Fat 12g, Carbohydrates 37g, Fiber 5g, Sugar 11g, Sodium 2g, Protein 8g

Citrus Almond Granola - by Celesete Cardoz

Citrus Almond Granola - by Celesete Cardoz

Lactose is a milk sugar that is indigestible in about 70% of the population because some people just don’t make enough lactase enzyme. The lactase enzyme acts like a knife, cutting this two piece sugar into it’s absorbable single sugar units (glucose and galactose). The inability to digest lactose is what causes the characteristic discomfort after consumption of dairy products, as this lactose sugar is exactly what the bacteria in the large intestine like to feast on producing gas, bloating, and changes in bowel movements.
— Shannon Smith, RD

 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone silpat 
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  3. In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Slowly add in oil and maple syrup mixture to the dry oats mixture so that it is evenly coated
  4. Spread granola mixture over the lined baking tray 
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring to break up clumps. 
  6. Continue to bake for 15-20 more minutes
     

Note: Granola tends to burn easily so keep a close eye on it while it’s baking. 

 


Celeste Cardoz is a UBC undergraduate student who loves to cook and bake. 
She enjoys simple recipes that showcase fresh ingredients, but also loves to use spices to create layers of flavour; and take lots of inspiration from her Indian background. She grew up in the kitchen, where she learned from her father who was a chef himself. She enjoys my time in the kitchen but as a busy student needs healthy recipes that will hit the table quickly. Celeste shares some of her favourite recipes on our blog regularly. 

Banana Oat Pancakes

Few thoughts are more delightful than pancakes on a Sunday.  When I was a child my parents let me help make the batter, which consisted of adding milk and eggs to the boxed pancake mix. While this is one way to streamline the otherwise lengthy process of making pancakes from scratch, you end up with a meal rich in refined flours - not to mention drowning them in butter and syrup. But I get it, it’s easy. Over the years I’ve learnt if it’s not easy, I’ll never make it often, no matter how healthy or delicious it is.

So what keeps pancakes as an occasional treat in my home is that it takes so long to make them if you’re trying to avoid the mix.  I love this redefinition of an old favourite.

BANANA OAT PANCAKES

BANANA OAT PANCAKES

These are pancakes that are ready in under 15 minutes with only three whole unrefined ingredients - which means pancakes loaded with protein and fibre to sustain a day full of hiking, beach playing, and gardening.   

My childhood pancakes were delicious, which is the main reason we choose the majority of the foods we eat at the end of the day. They were topped with plain yogurt, seasonal fruit, peanut butter, and jam. The yogurt may sound weird but it’s worth a try at least once. Weekend pancake breakfasts with friends were a tradition during university, and I slowly but surely converted most of my hesitant breakfast guests to yogurt-on-pancakes lovers. By adding more flavour with yogurt or natural peanut butter you may even find you need less syrup and butter.  

Banana Oat Pancakes

Serves 1         Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup slow oats

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 2 eggs

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • 1 tsp avocado oil (for cooking)

Toppings:

  • 2 Tbsp plain yogurt (or Tree Island Vanilla Bean yogurt)

  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries

Directions:

  1. Combine banana, oats, eggs and salt in a blender. Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.

  2. Preheat a skillet on medium heat, add a little avocado oil.

  3. Pour enough batter for one or two pancakes into the skillet.

  4. Flip once the batter begins to bubble, after about 2 mins. Cook on other side for another 1-2 mins.

  5. Serve pancakes topped with 1/2 cup sliced fruit, 2 tbsp plain or lightly sweetened yogurt.

Nutrition facts per serving (including toppings above):  460 calories, 22g protein, 17g fat, 56g carbohydrates, 8g fibre, 21 sugar, 254mg sodium, 705mg potassium

Enjoy! 
-  Shannon Smith, RD 

LITTLE BALLS OF ENERGY

HARNESSING SOME ENERGY!

HARNESSING SOME ENERGY!

What better way to nourish your kids and harness their endless energy than getting them into the kitchen with you making energy balls! As most parents know, the time between 3 and 6pm can often be chaotic, as kids are worn out and overstimulated from school, but dinner still needs to get made, homework done and often there is some other activity that needs to be attended to, like gymnastics or soccer. Not to mention they are hungry after school and they need to eat something that will give them some immediate fuel but also not fill them up too much before dinner.

Well on a day that doesn't involve chauffeuring them around and the spring rain is falling and preventing you from getting outside, find a kitchen activity to create and harness energy in one fell swoop! This recipe is so straightforward that the kids can do it without much adult supervision as there is no use of the oven or any sharp utensils. Plus it has chocolate in it so you know they're going to buy in to helping! It's also incredibly adaptable to what you have on hand in your pantry (or if your family has an allergy to contend with).

Getting kids cooking is so key to helping them develop a connection to their food and gain essential skills to carry them through life. And you can start at any age!

Check out these videos to see my 2 year old helping make muffins and frittata: http://www.bettertogetherbc.ca/contest/video/nora-makes-muffins

http://www.bettertogetherbc.ca/contest/video/nora-makes-frittata

She was cracking eggs, stirring, pouring and tearing leaves at age 2. Now that she's 8 years old, she uses a knife safely, flips pancakes like a pro, presses her own tortillas and even makes a couple signature dishes...deviled eggs and kale chips! And I've let her take over my Tofu 101 recipe (see my earlier post) as she is mostly vegetarian and sometimes needs her own protein source for a family meal. She literally takes work off my plate! Maybe she'll even do a guest blog one day...

And a quick aside--this contest is just getting underway for this year! We've had so much fun doing it as a family and even won the popular vote in 2014! http://www.bettertogetherbc.ca/contest/video/make-funny-faces-on-homemade-corn-tortillas-bean-heads. I highly recommend entering a video or at least supporting with your votes!

Anyway, back to the ball of energy...my son Max! He's a little harder to wrangle in the kitchen but he can focus in when he wants to. And does he ever need these kinds of snacks in the freezer. He's just like his dad...wakes up hungry and doesn't stop eating until his head hits the pillow! Nuts and seeds are absolutely essential for us to have on hand for their nutrient density, portability and because they can fill you up fast.

We pack a lot of protein into these by using hemp hearts but if those aren't on hand, any other nut or seed will do. You just might need to pulse them a bit first to make sure they aren't too chunky. The sweetness of these energy balls come from nutritious, high-fibre and mineral-rich dates. Nature's candy! Pitted, soaked and pureed dates can be the sweet base for so many recipes in place of refined sugar and then you can feel so good about eating a sweet treat. These are not only great for kids--they are a good post-workout snack or mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

ENERGY BALLS

Makes 24 balls

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup hemp hearts

1 cup coconut

1 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Place dates in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over top, covering by an inch. Place a lid over and let soak 15 minutes or longer. Drain but reserve 1/2 cup liquid.

In a food processor, puree dates until smooth, adding liquid as necessary to form a paste. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse until a thick, sticky dough is formed. You may need to add the rest of the date liquid.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then scoop approximately 1.5 tablespoons of dough for each ball. You can roll them by hand into balls or leave them more roughly shaped from the scoop.

Place in freezer for minimum 2 hours. Defrost slightly before eating. They should be stored in the freezer and can keep for up to 3 months.

Nutrients (per ball): 210 Calories; 14 g Fat; 18 g Carbs; 4.5 g Fibre; 10 g Sugar; 8 g Protein.

 

 

 

 

Cajun Spiced Shrimp

Dietitians love learning! We support students along their journey writing and teaching about food and nutrition. Let us introduce this blog's author: UBC nutrition undergraduate student Celesete Cardoz

As an active student with a busy schedule I enjoy being challenged with finding creative, quick, and nutritious recipes to fuel my day. I enjoy simple recipes that showcase fresh ingredients, but also love to use spices to create layers of flavour; and take lots of inspiration from my Indian background. I grew up in the kitchen, where I learned from my father who was a chef himself; I enjoy my time in the kitchen and find it quite therapeutic. That being said, with school, work, training and so on, I focus on recipes that support an active lifestyle but don’t require lots of preparation.

Cajun Spiced Shrimp

Cajun Spiced Shrimp

A little planning can go a long way. In this case, choosing a quick cooking protein allows the rest of the meal to fall into place around it - think shrimp tacos in place of the usual chicken or beef tacos. Changing one main component of a staple meal can help keep meal routines interesting but streamlines meal planning through a busy week.

Not only quick cooking, shrimp are also high protein and low fat; 100 grams of shrimp provide 21 grams of protein, and just 2 grams of fat. That is not to say that fat should be feared. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid, containing oleic acid, which has positive effects on cholesterol both increasing HDL cholesterol and decreasing LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol. The right kinds of fat will benefit your health, as they help uptake of Vitamins A, D, E, and K, and fat provides the building blocks of your hormones. A little bit of fat goes a long way to contribute to a satisfying experience when you eat because it bolsters flavour and satiety. 

This spicy shrimp pairs perfectly served over brown rice or quinoa with a big kale salad, or wrapped in a corn tortilla with some fresh toppings - think cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and arugula. However you chose to eat, you can be sure that from preparation to cooking time, you can be ready to eat and out of the kitchen in less than 20 minutes. 

Cajun Spiced Shrimp
Recipe adapted from Erin Clarke  at http://blog.kitchenaid.com/cajun-shrimp-grits/
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. cayenne powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper 
  • ¼ lemon – squeeze over shrimp before baking

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking tray with aluminum foil or silpat   
  2. Mix olive oil, paprika, thyme, cayenne, salt, and black pepper
  3. Toss shrimp in spice mixture until evenly coated
  4. Lay shrimp flat, over baking tray and bake for 5-6 minutes 

Nutrition Facts (grams per serving): Calories: 100, Carbohydrates: 0.5, Fibre 0, Sugar 0, Fat: 3.5, Protein: 28

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! 
~ Celeste

Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce

Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce

Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce

This pasta sauce takes as much time as adding the extra rosemary, thyme, oregano (and sometimes more flavourings!) needed to make a store bought ready-to-eat sauce actually flavourful enough to be truly ready to eat. Plus it’s a fraction of the price, especially compared to the gourmet sauces that serve only two meals at an average of $10 per jar.

I always use Italian San Marzano canned whole plum tomatoes, but according to a blind taste test of various whole canned tomatoes by Epicurious staff, you can make a flavourful well balanced sauce from USA or Canada grown tomatoes. 

Scratch pasta sauce lives close to my heart in part because it was one of the first dishes I failed miserably at making when I first starting cooking for myself. For some reason I believed I could make a perfect sauce without a recipe and very little cooking knowledge. It was pasta sauce that taught me it's not an admittance of failure to use a recipe. For a novice cook recipes are there to teach different flavour combinations and cooking techniques. For more experienced cooks recipes can serve as a loose guide to expand flavour profiles and techniques. 

But this recipe actually comes to the blog on request. It seems my university roommate has been silently reminiscing about a spicy lentil tomato sauce I made constantly some 7 years ago… So it seems in the span of those first five years of cooking fails and successes, pasta sauce became one of the success stories.

This recipe is from a pre-FODMAP time, when I was a long-time vegetarian and ate lentils or other beans daily. After my low FODMAP elimination, I know my digestive tract has a hard time with lentils, garlic and onion, but wheat is well tolerated. So these days I usually make the sauce without lentils and the garlic and onion removed, and serve with a whole grain pasta like Jovial Einkorn to round out the protein in the meal. In a meal with 1 cup Einkorn noodles there’s 26 grams protein - the Einkorn pasta is the darker coloured penne in the photo above.  For the Italian-blooded in the house who prefers white to whole grain pasta, yes this dietitian cooks up classic white pasta.

Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce

Makes: 3 3/4 cups, serves 4            Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano, chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (FODMAPers: crushed)
  • 1/2 ea onion, diced (FODMAPers: chopped in large pieces)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 x 28oz cans whole tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup red split lentils
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (for garnish)
  • fresh grated parmesan (for garnish)
  1. Heat a large pot at medium heat, and add the olive oil. Once hot add the onions and sauté until l translucent. 
  2. Add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, and thyme and heat for 1 more minute. 
    FODMAPers: remove garlic & onion, and discard or save for non-FODMAPers in the house to eat.
  3. Add the canned whole tomatoes, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, chili flakes, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and increase heat to high. 
  4. Let simmer without lid for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing the whole tomatoes with your spoon. 
  5. Add red split lentils, and cook for 15-25 minutes more until liquid in sauce reduces to desired thickness.  A wire splatter screen is incredibly useful to keep the splatter mess under control and reduce clean-up time. 
  6. Top your choice of pasta with sauce, garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese. 

Nutrition facts (per serving): 280 calories, 7g fat, 40g carbohydrates, 16g sugar, 9g fibre, 14g protein. 

Happy cooking! 
~ Shannon Smith, RD

Soy good or soy bad?

Edamame with fleur de sel

Edamame with fleur de sel

There is a lot of confusion out there about soy and whether it is good or bad for you. Does it cause cancer? Does it increase estrogen, which may be boosting female traits in men? Or is it a healthy food that has been part of the human diet, especially in Asia, for centuries?

Well the answer is definitely the latter! Whole and fermented soy foods like edamame, tofu, tempeh and miso are absolutely healthy foods that you can include in your diet regularly. Soy protein has been studied for its cholesterol-lowering properties. Not to mention it's a great plant-source of protein that can replace protein from red meat (which, in excess,  is known to be carcinogenic and increases heart disease risk).

So what about these phytoestrogens we hear so much about? Yes, they are present in soy. But they're also present in numerous plant foods (e.g. flax) and we know that eating mostly plants is always better for us. The only time these plant-estrogens are problematic is if you have estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Otherwise, they likely have a protective effect as they can bind to estrogen receptors in our body and displace the actual hormone.

Phytoestrogens vary by soy food. They become much more concentrated in a processed soy product called soy protein isolate. This is found in soy-based protein powders as well as some of the vegetarian 'deli meats'. These are not products to consume regularly as they are ultra processed, but they may fit in as a treat now and again (e.g. veggie dogs on the campfire).

The other concern with soy is the abundance of soybean oil in our processed foods and the amount of soy fed to our farmed animals. Soybean oil is high in omega 6 which may contribute to increased inflammation in our bodies. To limit it, eat more fresh foods cooked at home, instead of eating out or relying on ultra processed packaged foods. Finally there is concern about soy and GMO. It is true that most of the soy grown in North America is genetically modified. If this is a concern, simply buy organic edamame, which prohibits genetic modification. Most edamame I see in the stores is labeled GMO-free.

Hopefully that's cleared up some of the confusion and left you with the message that eating whole and fermented soy regularly is good for you. Check out my earlier blog post on Baked Tofu for a delicious protein source to add to any salad, stir fry or simply to snack on. Stay tuned for a post on tempeh! Miso can be consumed in soup of course, but also makes an earthy addition to sauces or dressings. But what I'm showing today is how easy it is to add edamame into your life, not just when you're out for sushi.

Edamame (or whole soy beans) is available in the freezer section of your local grocery store. It can come pre-shelled and be used like any other bean--add to soups, rice bowls, salads, pasta. What I love though is buying them in the pods. They make a quick and satisfying snack but can also be a fun appetizer or a part of a dinner.

We like to do 'market dinners', something my husband grew up enjoying after Saturday morning visits to St. Lawrence Market in Toronto with his family. They'd buy cheese, bread, veggies, nuts, maybe a pate and put out a spread for dinner where everyone can try a bit of what's new and a lot of what they like. We've continued this tradition with our family, whether we can visit a Farmer's market or just pretending we did. The staples are definitely the artisan bread and cheeses but I also like to have a lot of veggie dishes, like roasted or sauteed mushrooms (think garlic & white wine!), kale chips, sliced summer tomatoes with basil, buffalo cauliflower (like wings, but healthy!). It's also nice to have one or two hot dishes (not to mention some plant protein) to accompany the cold or room temperature ones. This is where edamame comes in...

Edamame

Ingredients:

1 package edamame

Coarse salt (or fleur de sel)

Directions:

Follow the instructions on the package, which should say something like "add edamame to a pot of boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes". Drain then sprinkle lightly with salt. Enjoy! Oh and for those of you who are new to edamame, you suck the beans out of the pods and discard the shells.

Could that be any easier?

Nutrition Facts for 150 g (1/2 package): Cals 92; Fat 3 g (Sat fat 0.3 g); Carb 7 g; Fibre 3 g; Sugar 1 g; Protein 8 g; Vit C 13%. Sodium will depend on how much salt you add.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD (aka the Bean Queen)

Spicy Chicken Tomato Tortilla Soup (low fodmap)

Spicy Chicken Tomato Tortilla Soup

Spicy Chicken Tomato Tortilla Soup

With cold weather or cold and flu you'll find soup is on the menu in our home. Grandmothers have been prescribing chicken soup for colds for decades, and it looks like science is slowly catching up to their wisdom. Some studies suggest chicken soup may have anti-inflammatory effects to help quell cold or flu symptoms. While other research shows that the steaming hot fluid part of the soup helps to decongest nasal passages, and keeps the body hydrated which can thin mucus. Whether it’s backed by robust science, or it makes you feel warm and fuzzy because it brings back memories, if chicken soup makes you feel better when you’re sick then dish it up. 

But… truth be told there are no colds in my home this week I wanted to share a low FODMAP soup recipe because soup was something I mourned while on the low FODMAP elimination a few years ago.  

- A note on FODMAPs - 
FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable sugars in a large variety of foods from garlic and apples to wheat and mushrooms. Some people have a difficult time digesting these sugars, especially those with sensitive digestive systems, like those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The low FODMAP diet can help identify what foods cause digestive symptoms and reduce them for the longterm. The low FODMAP diet includes a 2-6 week FODMAP elimination, then a dietitian-guided reintroduction to see how much of which foods are tolerated, then back to a liberalized diet. Research shows about 70% of people with IBS feel improvement in their symptoms when they go through this protocol with a dietitian's guidance. Get in touch for more information shannon@vancouverdietitian.com

Not only low FODMAP, this soup is packed with colourful, flavourful veggies and hits the table in under 40 minutes. The sweetness of the corn offsets the spicy kick from the cayenne and chilies. A simple workaround for high FODMAP spice mixes for FODMAPers - if there’s a spice that is ranked high because of garlic and/or onion powder, take a look at the ingredients and substitute everything but the garlic and onion. For example chili powder would usually be used in a tortilla soup recipe, so in it’s place is cayenee, dry oregano, and crushed red peppers. 

By plating the hot soup over the leafy greens like kale or spinach, they become lightly wilted to a perfect el dente texture. If you don't have fire roasted tomatoes you can get a similar flavour by roasting a 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with parchment or spilpat silicone liner (don't disregard this tip like I did the first time I tried it, the juices bake on and get messy). Drain the liquid, and flatten the tomatoes on the pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, bake for 30-40 minutes, turning half way through. Let tomatoes cool, and squish them into the soup with your hands - kids are great helpers for this messy step. 

Chicken Tomato Tortilla Soup
serves: 4           cooking time: 30 minutes
Recipe adapted from: http://blog.katescarlata.com/2013/02/27/sante-fe-chicken-tortilla-soup/ 

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 2 cups roast or rotisserie chicken, or 3/4 - 1 pound chicken
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 x 28 oz dan diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth (use homemade low FODMAP, or low FODMAP chicken and vegetable stocks available from FODY foods)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 tsp adobo chilies (optional)

Garnishes: 

  • 2 cups baby kale (arugula, or spinach)
  • 1/2 cup aged cheddar cheese, grated (1 year or older is lactose free)
  • 1/2 avocado (1/8 avocado per serving)
  • 1/2 cup - Tortilla chips
  • 1 cup cilantro 

Directions

  1. In medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add chicken allow to brown on all sides and cook through, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. In a medium pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add corn kernels, cayenne, red peppers, oregano powder, cumin and sea salt. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring to season the corn.
  5. Add tomatoes, chicken broth and green beans to corn mixture, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add cooked chicken, and adobo chilies to the corn mixture and simmer for another 3 minutes.
  7. Prepare 4 soup bowls with a handful of baby kale each, and serve soup overtop.
  8. Top with grated cheddar and handful of tortilla chips.
  9. Garnish with avocado and cilantro.

Nutrition facts per serving: 

Calories 425; Protein 22 g; Total Carbohydrate 27 g ; Dietary Fiber 6 g; Sugars 7 g; Fat 23 g; Sodium 784 mg (this estimate will vary depending on broth used, homemade will have less sodium)

Happy cooking!
- Shannon Smith, RD

Savoury Pancakes! And they happen to be gluten-free...

Korean-style pancakes have been a meal staple in our house for years because they are so adaptable to whatever is on hand in the pantry or fridge and are especially great for using up leftover grains like cooked rice or quinoa. They are fun and impressive to make for guests but also simple enough to do for everyday.

The base is a batter of flour, water, egg and salt. Which flours you use is really up to you! Rice flour is common but if you only have wheat flour on hand, that works too. Recently, we've started adding chickpea or garbanzo bean flour to boost the protein and fibre content. The point being that these pancakes don't need the gluten content of wheat flour to have the texture you need so it's easy to make them gluten-free if you so desire (or require!).

All the other additions to the batter are yours to choose, whether you like your protein from tofu cubes, shrimp or perhaps some shredded leftover meat. The veggies are also adaptable--grated carrot and chopped green onion are classic, but grated zucchini, quartered mushrooms, bell pepper, finely chopped broccoli or shredded cabbage are all delicious! Just be careful not to add much more than the quantities listed below or you may end up without enough batter to hold it all together. Be aware though that once all the ingredients are added, it's not going to look like a breakfast pancake batter...it will be much more chunky! Once it starts cooking, the batter will do it's job of holding it all together.

The dipping sauce is pretty essential to make alongside! Good veggies to balance the meal are something like a coleslaw or kale salad...perhaps with a soy-based dressing and toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1+1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups flour (brown rice, garbanzo, sorghum to be GF and/or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (or quinoa)
  • 1 package (340g) firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or 1/2 lb peeled shrimp)
  • 2 large carrots, grated (or zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage, etc.)
  • 1 bunch green onions, both green and white parts, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Dipping Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (choose gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pinch chili flakes

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the egg mixture. Whisk slowly until well combined and smooth.

3. Add the cooked rice, tofu, carrots and green onions and stir well.

4. Heat a large, well-seasoned skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of the oil. Pour 1 generous cup of the batter in the middle of the pan then spread with a spoon.

5. Turn the heat to medium low and cook pancake for 5 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Flip with a spatula and cook on the other side for 5 more minutes.

6. Remove from pan and keep in a warm oven while you continue to cook the rest in the same manner, adding another tbsp of oil if necessary.

7. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by whisking all of the ingredients together. Serve alongside the pancakes, cut into triangles.

Spinach Feta Frittata - yes eggs for dinner!

Spinach Feta Frittata

Spinach Feta Frittata

One of my favourite strategies to get more vegetables on the table is to just add them to every dish you make. Spaghetti sauce? Add more vegetables. Eggs for breakfast or dinner? Add more vegetables... This game quickly gets redundant, but it’s a simple way to make adding those fibre and antioxidant packed vegetables a habitual part of meal preparation. The goal: half of each meal and snack should be those colourful fruits and mostly vegetables. 

This frittata comes together in a snap which makes it even easier. Many frittata recipes call for separately sautéing all the vegetables, then baking. We add fresh vegetables and it works out perfectly every time. I love the flavourful and colourful combination of feta cheese, spinach and tomatoes.

Cooked spinach and tomatoes have more bioavailable iron as well as lycopene. Lycopene is the red-hued antioxidant in tomatoes that play a role in heart health and cancer prevention (especially prostate and breast cancers). Lycopene also helps to protect the skin from the natural damages that come with aging. This recipe is also a good way to use up whatever vegetables or cheese you have in the fridge, so swap the veggies for your family's favourites. 

Serve with rosemary and thyme roasted nugget potatoes and yams; leftovers are perfect for packed lunches as a sandwich filling on sprouted grain bread. 

Spinach Feta Frittata (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 green onions, diced 
  • 1⁄2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced 
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup light feta cheese, crumbled 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 ̊F (180 ̊C) and grease an oven-friendly skillet.
  2.  Beat eggs in a large bowl then mix in all other ingredients. 
  3. Pour into skillet and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean.
  4. Remove from pan immediately to cool or serve. 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  198 Calories;  18 g Protein; 13 g Total Fat (5 g Saturated Fat; 0 g Trans Fat); 3 g Total Carbohydrate (1 g Sugar; 2 g Dietary Fibre); 416 mg Sodium; 228 mg Potassium; 14% Daily Value* Iron; 13 % Daily Value* Calcium;  14% Daily Value* Vitamin C; 46% Daily Value* Vitamin A. 

*The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. 

-- Shannon Smith, RD

Short on veggies in your day? Dip 'em!

PUMPKIN SEED, CITRUS & CILANTRO DIP

PUMPKIN SEED, CITRUS & CILANTRO DIP

Many people struggle to eat enough veggies every day. In fact, a new report shows that only 44% of British Columbians meet even the minimum requirement, and for some age groups, this number is declining, despite most of us knowing how essential they are!

One way to make veggies enticing and addictive is to pair them with a dip. But many dips can be unhealthy, filled with less healthy fats and other not-so-great ingredients like excess salt, sugar and preservatives.

Dips can add to the healthiness of the veggies if they are made with wholesome ingredients that your body needs (think legume-based like hummus and avocado-filled like guacamole). This one has a basis of pumpkin seeds, which are full of heart healthy unsaturated fats, protein, iron and even a special phytonutrient called lignans (especially great for prostates and preventing prostate cancer). It's also packed with fresh cilantro, lemon and lime juice--flavour boosters you can use every day that only add goodness to your foods.

Best of all, you can make it less than 5 minutes (including clean-up!).

PUMPKIN SEED, CITRUS & CILANTRO DIP

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup (250 mL) unsalted pumpkin seeds, preferably raw

1 bunch cilantro

Juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime

1/3-1/2 cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, to taste

1/2-1 tsp (3-5 mL) salt, to taste

Directions

1. Grind seeds in food processor until fine, then add remaining ingredients and purée for 3 or 4 minutes until well combined.

2. Allow flavours to develop by refrigerating for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

3. Serve with veggies like cucumber, carrot, jicama and pepper sticks, snap peas, blanched broccoli spears or green beans. A few organic corn chips might go nicely too!

Each serving contains: 408 calories; 13 g protein; 39 g total fat (6 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 8 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 3 g fibre); 410 mg sodium

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Direct from my own archives at Alive Magazine http://www.alive.com/recipe/pumpkin-seed-citrus-and-cilantro-dip/

 

 

Easy Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Black Bean Burrito Bowls

These burrito bowls fit perfectly into a busy weekday evening: ready in under 30 minutes and makes enough for the whole family or for packed lunches. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients, this dish is flavourful, with a kick of spice from the yogurt chipotle sauce and salsa, plus the freshness of cilantro, tomatoes and avocado.

Although easy is part of the name of the recipe, sometimes even the simplest steps can take some practice. And I have a knack for burning rice. Cooking a perfect whole grain, including rice, is a breeze in a rice cooker, but on the stove top, especially with a gas stove this can take some practice. In January I went to a fantastic cooking class at Cook Culture in Lonsdale, and Chef Aaron Lobo shared a method for cooking PERFECT rice which may have just changed my life… 

Preheat oven to 350C. In an oven-friendly pot, add 1 cup rice with 1 1/2 - 2 cups cold water, bring to a boil on the stove top. Turn off heat, and put the pot in the oven, bake for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and voila perfect rice!
I used violet rice in the photo above which is why it looks black. 

For people with sensitive digestives systems, this recipe can be made low FODMAP  by making a few changes. FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable sugars difficult for some people to digest, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome. 

  1. Replace the black beans with tofu, tempeh, or baked chicken 
  2. Skip the salsa which is full of high FODMAP garlic and onions, and double the fresh tomatoes, or use low FODMAP salsa available from FODY foods
  3. Use half the amount of corn and avocado outlined in the recipe below, with 1/8 of an avocado and 1 Tbsp corn per serving for overall low FODMAPs.

Many dishes can be made FODMAP friendly by reducing the overall amount of high FODMAP ingredients in each serving. A full cob of corn is moderately high in oligiosaccharides and high in polyols (sorbitol), but a 1/2 a cob or 3 Tbsp corn kernels is low in both FODMAP groups. Avocado has moderate polyols (sorbitol) in 1/4 serving of an avocado, but is low in FODMAPs in 1/8 avocado servings. So you have a favourite high FODMAP food you may be able to enjoy it in small servings! 

Easy Black Bean Burrito Bowls
Makes: 4-6 servings    Prep time: 10 minutes        Cooking time: 20 Minutes
Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup salsa (omit if low FODMAP)
  • 3 cups torn spinach
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, defrosted (1 cup for low FODMAP)
  • 2 (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed (use 1 pkg extra firm tofu if low FODMAP)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup aged cheddar cheese, grated (cheese aged 1 year or more is lactose free, so low FODMAP)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and diced* (1 avocado for low FODMAP)

For the chipotle yogurt sauce: 

  • 1 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste, or 2 chili peppers minced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed (omit if low FODMAP)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook rice according to package directions; set aside to cool. Or cook in oven according to instructions above. 
  2. While rice is cooking, prepare chipotle cream sauce. Whisk together the yogurt, chipotle paste, garlic, lime juice, and salt; set aside. 
  3. Prep all fresh veggie ingredients. 
  4. Assemble bowls with 1/3 cup rice, topped with torn spinach, tomatoes, black beans, grated cheese, avocados, and cilantro. Finish with salsa, and chipotle sauce. Enjoy!
  5. Pack leftovers in wide mouth mason jars for easy weekday lunches or dinners.

* If making recipe for the whole week, toss the sliced avocado with lime juice to keep from browning.  Or slice avocado fresh for each serving through the week. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving, with 6 servings): 440 Calories; 21g Protein; 59g Carbohydrate; 25g Fibre; 15g Fat; 26% DV Calcium; 26% DV Iron, 39% DV Vitamin C, 46% DV Vitamin A. 

Happy cooking! -- Shannon Smith, RD

TOFU 101

Tofu is one of those classic vegetarian foods that meat-eaters love to hate on. And I can't blame them, if they've only had lousy tofu. If cooked tofu tastes similar to it's raw state with maybe only a coating of sauce or a deep-fried crust on the outside and no inner flavour permeation, then tofu is not my favourite.

But, it has so much possibility for deliciousness. Tofu is literally a sponge for juicy flavours, if you just give it some time. And this versatile recipe for baked tofu produces a consistently delicious result and is dead simple--in fact, it's a signature dish of my 8 year old daughter! It only takes 5 minutes to put together but needs 45-60 minutes in the oven to soak up the yummy flavour.

We use it in all sorts of ways, primarily variations on a buddha bowl with rice, quinoa or buckwheat, an assortment of cooked and raw veggies and drizzled in some sort of sauce (think peanut or miso tahini). But it's also a great protein (and plant-based calcium source) to include on a salad--vegan caesar maybe? And once cooled a bit, it can be used as a snack or appetizer and dipped in a barbecue or peanut sauce. You can choose your citrus and herbs according to what you're using it for.

For a family of four who also need lunches for the next day, I usually double this recipe, but still cram it in the same size pan. Leftovers will keep for 3 days.

Tofu 101:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 350g package firm tofu (medium or extra firm will give a slightly different texture)
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, rosemary or cilantro, minced (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 c. water

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. 

2. In a 9x13 pan, combine all ingredients except tofu. 

3. Slice tofu in 4 filet pieces, meaning in half lengthwise and then half each of those pieces lengthwise again (or whichever shape you prefer--1 inch cubes, finger-size sticks, etc.)

4. Place in pan and cover with marinade. 

5. Bake for 1 hour flipping pieces halfway through. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving):   190 Calories;  14g Protein; 4.5g Carbohydrate; 2g Fibre; 14g Fat;  582mg Calcium; 2.5mg Iron; 51mg Magnesium; 167mg Phosphorous; 217mg Potassium; 145mg Sodium; 1.4mg Zinc

Baked Tofu, Quinoa & Green Beans

Baked Tofu, Quinoa & Green Beans

TOFU 101

TOFU 101

--Nicole Fetterly, RD

Golden Milk Oatmeal with Sunflower Seed Brittle

Golden Milk Oatmeal with Sunflower Seed Brittle

The morning routine can be a whirlwind: walking the dog, ironing the shirt, getting the family up and out the door, and finding time for breakfast can be a challenge. And I am right there caught in the whirlwind most mornings.  So I do breakfast prep in big batches in the evening when I’m making dinner. 

Steel cut oats are a busy morning person’s best friend, because you can make enough to last all week, then pack up portions in canning jars in the fridge for each day. Steel cut oats reheat much better than rolled or quick oats, because they have a firmer texture. Plus they are loaded with soluble fibre which helps to keep stools soft and easy to pass, and can help to keep cholesterol levels at healthy levels - especially when eaten along with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, beans, and almonds. A 1/4 cup serving of steel cut oats will dish up 5 grams of fibre, with 1.6g soluble fibre, plus 10% of your daily iron needs, and 7grams of protein. 

This breakfast is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.  Low levels of inflammation through the body is a side effect of normal metabolism. A small amount of this inflammation is nothing to fear, but high stress and low sleep lifestyles, and highly processed food choices can lead to higher levels of inflammation. This chronic inflammation is linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimers.  Dishing up anti-inflammatory foods daily can help to quell this inflammatory process. 

The chia seeds provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. The naturally occurring fats in the combined nuts, seeds, and coconut milk help the body to absorb the anti-inflammatory benefits of the curcumin in the turmeric. A little added black pepper boosts the curcumin absorption by up to 300 times, and don’t worry you won’t end up with a peppery oatmeal. Most importantly this recipe is delicious, the perfect blend of warming spices for a cold morning. 

If you make this recipe in advance, add the brittle just before eating it or it could become soggy. If you don’t have the time to make the brittle part, simply add 2 tablespoons of the nut and seed mixture. 

Recipe adapted from Feed me Phoebehttp://feedmephoebe.com/golden-milk-recipe-oatmeal-pepita-brittle/ 

Golden Milk Oatmeal with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Serves 6

Ingredients

Oatmeal

  • One 15-ounce can full fat coconut milk (2 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp fresh turmeric, grated 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup steel cut oats

Brittle

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions 

Oatmeal

  1. In a medium pot, combine coconut milk, water, maple syrup, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and whisk to emulsify. 
  2. Once simmering, add oats and reduce heat to medium low and cover. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. Texture will be el dente.
  3. Serve with 2 Tbsp brittle mixture on top, and reheat oats with a little added water through the week for quick breakfasts.

Brittle

  1. Preheat oven at 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat (silicone baking liner).
  2. In a medium bowl combine all the brittle ingredients, and mix to combine. 
  3. Spread on lined baking sheet, and bake 15 minutes, check after 5 minutes and stir. 
  4. Allow brittle to cool, and keep in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 420, Total Carbohydrates: 33g, Fibre 7g, Sugar 8g, Protein 11g

-- Shannon Smith, RD

Bean Queen

Lovely Legumes! Yellow split peas, French black & red lentils, mung & black beans...

Lovely Legumes! Yellow split peas, French black & red lentils, mung & black beans...

I am a huge advocate for a more sustainable food system and an improved diet for my community. One of the platforms I promote most fervently is the need for more legumes in our diets. I've been trying to nickname myself the Bean Queen--I haven't quite got it to catch on yet.

Beans, peas and lentils are the most sustainable and affordable protein on our planet but in North America, compared to most other places in the world, these superfoods are almost completely absent from the average diet. They come in so many colours and shapes and absorb flavour so well. 2016 was named the Year of the Pulse by the United Nations http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/en/ in an effort to give more recognition to this food group and to encourage their consumption over red meat--one of the largest contributors to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming. You may have a hard time driving or flying less, taking shorter showers and hanging your clothes rather than using the dryer, but everyone can eat at least one meatless meal each week.

You may have heard of Meatless Monday--well every week you can tune in for inspiration on cooking an amazing meatless meal for any day of the week (and learn the embarrassing bean-related nicknames I have for my husband!).

Not only are legumes incredibly affordable, but they are packed with protein, fibre, B vitamins and key minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium, which are deficient in many people's diets. In fact one serving of this recipes has 15 grams of fibre--about half of your daily need--and 20% of the iron you need each day.

Eating legumes should be joyful, instead of feeling like you're missing out. Like this recipe, adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (this book is the best all-purpose recipe reference book around!) http://www.howtocookeverything.com/. His Braised Lentils are so simple to prepare and taste absolutely delicious. They are a weekly staple in my house and the kids just gobble them up for dinner and take leftovers in a thermos for lunch the next day. I often double the recipe because they freeze nicely too.

I love using a French lentil because they retain their shape and don't turn to mush (which you would want for a dish like Dal but not in this meal). Lentils also don't have to be soaked like a larger bean so you can make them when you're a little more crunched for time. Serve this comforting dish over quinoa or brown rice with a side of sauteed greens.

Braised Lentils
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Put the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. A minute later, add the onion, celery and carrot then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the bay leaf, wine, stock, lentils and salt and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Add pepper and keep cooking to the desired tenderness. The lentils should be saucy but not soupy. Taste, adjust the seasoning and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

--by Nicole Fetterly, RD and Bean Queen