Archives for category: Naturally Well Health Foods

Blended soups are an easy way to get in loads of healthy veggies (and sneak in a couple of veggies which your kids may not otherwise be inclined to eat!). They are very flexible, and a great way to throw in extra veggies that may be hanging around in the fridge. And, because they’ll be blended you can really rough chop your veggies which makes for easy prep. Best of all they are delicious and warming… perfect on these cold winter days!

The basics for starting a blended vegetable soup;

Warm approximately 2-3 Tbsp olive oil or 2Tbsp coconut oil in pot

Add roughly chopped onion (I like sweet onion, but any onion will do) and saute until starting to soften

Add chopped garlic (I love garlic, so this looks like 5-6 cloves for me, but if you are a more moderate garlic lover 2-3 cloves will do)

Add celery (preferably organic, rough chopped, 1-3 stalks), saute for an additional few minutes

If you’re adding dry herbs (ie.Italian herbs) or bay leaves, they can be added at this point.

This is the beginning basics of your soup. If desired, you can saute additional veggies with these or add your additional veggies in with your broth.

Next step is to add broth (preferably homemade chicken or vegetable broth, or organic broth available at the grocery store). One liter of broth is generally sufficient, and you can add extra water if needed for desired thickness of soup.

Add veggies of choice… I love broccoli and zucchini… or cauliflower and leeks…or carrot and sweet potato (for a sweeter soup! If desired you can also add some fresh grated ginger and a chopped apple or pear to the carrot and sweet potato soup)…or all of these veggies together!…any leftover beets in the fridge? Toss those in too!

Simmer your veggies until tender.

Now it’s time to add your greens and whatever herbs you desire… these require only a minute or so to soften… any combination of organic spinach, kale or bok choy greens (the white of the boy choy would have to go in to the pot a couple of minutes earlier) plus fresh parsley or cilantro.

Once those last greens have softened, blend with a stainless steel hand blender or transfer to a glass or BPA free and heat safe blender for blending (you may want to let it cool slightly before transferring to the blender…and be careful because it’s hot!). Blend to desired consistency. Transfer back to the pot, or immediately into serving bowls. Top with a sprig of parsley or cilantro if desired. If you enjoy a spicy soup you can add a little cayenne pepper at the end or saute chopped (and seeded) spicy peppers with your onions and garlic. Looking for a little protein.. top with goat feta, stir in a nut or seed butter, blend in cooked red lentils (or add rinsed red lentils to broth and simmer until softened with the other vegetables). Add sea salt and black pepper if desired.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

As school is upon us, it’s important to think about school lunches and the best ways to make sure your child is healthy and robust for the school year.  For parents, it means stressing over planning school lunches that are healthy and that your child will eat and enjoy, getting them to the bus on time, and worrying about the colds and flus that are knocking at your doorstep.  Though it’s easy to put prepackaged foods into a lunchbox, with the tips below, you can make simple and easy to prepare lunches that with have your children going all afternoon and looking forward to their next lunch.

Here are a few tips you can follow to ensure your child is enjoying the most nutrient dense foods optimal for growth, brain function and overall wellness, while boosting their immune system in the process.

7 Tips for Lunches

  1. Invest in sturdy, reusable containers for less waste
  2. Get a good thermos and lunch size cooler or cooler bag to keep things hot and cold.  Make sure thermoses and water bottles are BPA free and stainless steel.  Be sure to remind your child of the importance of staying hydrated and drinking water throughout the day! Find out the top 5 BPA-free Water Bottles for kids.
  3. Let kids help plan their own lunches to be sure they will enjoy what’s in it
  4. Substitute Organic Sunbutter (from sunflower seeds) or Pumpkin seed butter if your child is in a nut free classroom (please ensure that seeds are allowed). They taste just as good, but are allergy friendly.
  5. Stay away from processed and pre-packaged foods.  Deli meats are a no-no.  Always opt for fresh meat, and nothing frozen.Pack a treat – Even if it’s bite-sized or an encouraging note or stickers. It’s hard work being gluten or dairy free, and eating healthy when other kids around you are eating chips and fruit roll ups.  Add dates and honey to gluten-free and dairy free cookie recipes for a nice snack.
  6. Talk to your child and child’s teacher/ school about food allergies that your child may have or about food allergies in his/her classroom… most schools are at least nut free, but there may be children with allergies to sesame, eggs or other foods. Remind kids not to trade any food with friends and not to try anything from anyone else and the importance of washing hands and being extremely careful about food allergies.

Delicious Substitutions

Gluten free?  Try the varieties of gluten-free breads and wraps for your child’s sandwiches.  As an alternative to a sandwich, leftover rice pasta is always a good option.   Dairy free? Try Coconut, Rice milk instead of Cow’s Milk.  You can even purchase Dairy free Yogurts made from Soy and Coconut.  With younger children, always try mixing their Cow’s Milk with the Substitute first, before weaning entirely off of the Cow’s Milk so they can adjust to the taste difference.  Nut/Peanut free?  Try Sunbutter  or other seed butters if you can’t use peanuts – seeds/ seed butters are also a great way to add protein and healthy fat to homemade snacks.  Sugar free? Try fresh fruit juices or adding water to a cranberry concentrate with honey.

Main meal ideas

  • Gluten free sandwich or pita with turkey, greens, and avocado
  • Leftover brown rice pasta with your choice of protein (beef, chicken, tofu) and tomato sauce with green peppers
  • Warm turkey or chicken stew
  • Chili with veggies and beans
  • Sweet potato and chicken breast
  • Bean salads.  Black beans with cucumber and corn are a kid favourite!
  • Quinoa salad. Be sure to include additional protein (chicken, pumpkin seeds etc) and your child’s favourite veggies!
  • Spinach or cucumber salad topped with apples and sunflower seeds

Snack Ideas

  • Vegetables, Mary’s crackers (contain sesame, be sure this is allowed in your child’s classroom) and hummus (contain sesame)
  • Vegetables, crackers and homemade guacamole
  • Apples and seed butter or goat cheddar
  • Boiled egg
  • A healthy Trail mix which could include some or all of the following: nut-free granola, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, goji berries, dried cranberries and blueberries, unsweetened coconut, raw cacao nibs.
  • Homemade gluten-free (or allowed grain) muffins or Sunbutter cookies (substitute coconut flour or gluten-free flour mix if desired)
  • Homemade gluten-free (or allowed grain) cookies with oats, seeds and dates.  Use coconut oil instead of butter.

Happy school year and happy eating!

Image

 

With the cold damp February weather upon us, what better way to nourish and warm our body than with a comforting chicken stew.  Not only is it delicious, but chicken broth is loaded with amino acids necessary for collagen production, supporting bone, joint and intestinal membrane health and is rich in potassium and several other important minerals. Grandma was right! Chicken broth is loaded with nutritional benefits!

Ingredients:

Leftover bones and skin from a cooked or raw chicken

Celery, Onions, Carrot, Parsley or Bay leaves, Salt, Pepper

Directions:

1. Put leftover bones and skin from a cooked chicken carcass (or a whole raw chicken) into a large stock pot or crock pot and cover with cold water. Add celery, onion, carrots, parsley or bay leaves, salt and pepper. If broth will be used for chicken stew, then broth can be prepared by simply adding onions, sea salt and bay leaves, then the carrot, celery and other veggies will be added in when cooking the stew.

2. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer uncovered at least 4 hours, occasionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface. If cooking in a crock pot, cook according to crock pot instructions, generally 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high (ensure that chicken is cooked thoroughly if cooking from raw).

3. Remove the bones and strain the stock. Separate all additional chicken from the bones, and reserve for the stew. If skin from the chicken has been boiled with the bones, putting the stock in the fridge overnight will allow the fat to rise to the surface of the broth and can be skimmed off the following day.

4. To a large stock pot add broth, reserved cooked chicken, 2-3 bay leaves, 2-3 chopped celery stalks, 3-4 chopped carrots, any root vegetables of choice, including potato, turnip, rutabaga or celery root, sea salt and pepper. Bring the broth to a boil, and then adjust to a low boil for 30-45 minutes or until all vegetables are soft. Add garlic for an immune system boost, or dark green leafy greens shortly before serving for added nutritional benefits! Simmering this for additional time just makes it even more delicious!

Enjoy!

Rich in protein and fibre there is little debate about the health benefits of legumes. Unfortunately even the most health conscious people have a difficult time getting these nutrient dense foods into their diet.  Let’s face it beans need a little help to make them dinner worthy and palate friendly.  So when I came across this recipe I just couldn’t help but share…

Ingredients:

2 cups black beans

1 small onion

2 cloves fresh garlic

1 grated carrot

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup sun flower seeds

3 tbsp flax seeds

Dash worchestire sauce

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 egg whites

1tsp each of paprika, curry powder, thyme, sea salt

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 375

2) Put all ingredients in a food processor or (for you lucky ones) a vitamix

3) Mix until uniform

4) Make 1inch thick x 4 inch round patties and place on greased (use coconut oil) cookie   sheet

5) Bake for 20 minutes

Top with goat cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions, homemade salsa and/or avocado slices.  Great on top of salads, as a snack or as a substitute to your regular burger.

This recipe makes between 6-8 big burgers so I froze the left overs and have been re-heating in the frying pan with a little coconut butter.

ENJOY!