Breakfast, Healthy Treats

Vanilla Chia Pudding

 

This pudding recipe is an absolute winner in our household!! Those of you with multiple children that can’t seem to synchronize their taste buds will understand how victorious it is when everyone, including a picky husband ( singing praises that mine isn’t),¬† can come together and say “this is great, can I have more?”…..someone cue the Hallelujah chorus. Ahhh, feels great, doesn’t it? These are the moments we live for, they are the moments that keep us from going insane ūüėČ

This recipe was adapted from my chocolate chia pudding which is also a winner but I was looking for a little variety.

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Vanilla Chia pudding is so versatile. You can dress it up or down with whatever you have on hand- fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut or you can even add in a nut or seed butter.

This pudding was turned into a delicious breakfast treat for Valentines Day. And of course I had to add some red and pink to it. To me, it tasted like I was eating strawberries and whipped cream…….who wouldn’t want that for breakfast?¬†‚ô•‚ô• ūüôā

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Vanilla Chia Pudding

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsps of chia seeds

1 1/2 cups of full fat coconut milk

1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite milk alternative, we used organic non GMO soy milk

4 Tbsps of pure maple syrup or 3-4 tsps. of Stevia to sweeten

1 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla

pinch of sea salt

 

Instructions:

Place chia seeds and stevia, if using, into a medium sized glass bowl (with a lid) or large mason jar. Then add your milk, vanilla, maple syrup and sea salt.

Next, stir to combined. Make sure there aren’t any clumps of chia seeds. Let it sit for a half an hour and then stir again. Repeat this one more time, this will ensure there is an even consistency. If left without being stirred, the chia seeds tend to for clump together at the top, leaving some of the liquid at the bottom or vice versa. If using a mason jar, place the lid on it and give it a shake a couple times instead.

Place in the fridge for 3-6 hours or make ahead the night before if you are wanting to make this for breakfast.

If your pudding turns out a little thinner than you’d prefer, add 1-2 tsp of chia seeds until desired thickness. Be sure to wait a bit because it takes a little while for the seeds to plump up. If your pudding ends up being too thick, add milk of choice until desired consistency.

 

Hope you enjoy!!

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Breakfast, Recipes

Chocolate PB Oatmeal Bowl

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In our household, oatmeal is a staple. Every day, there is a bowl of oatmeal being made-whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or snack……. it has probably been served for dinner once or twice. My husband is the biggest oat fan though. He’ll bring a bag of oats with him to work because it’s an easy go to meal when you’re short on time- this man works a lot and oatmeal is what fuels his 6’7 body during those 10-16 hour work days!

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Nutritional Profile on Oats

  • Oats are a great source of minerals like manganese, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron.
  • They are a great source of fibre. Aside from keeping us regular, soluble fibre can be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease; soluble fibre brings excess cholesterol particles with it during its journey out of the body.
  • Oats are great for blood sugar stability. But, if your eating the instant prepackaged oats that come with sugar, it’ll have the opposite effect.
  • They are a great source of plant protein- 10 grams per cup of (uncooked) oatmeal. With all the add ins, the Chocolate PB Oatmeal Bowl contains 23 grams of protein! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† This recipe is an adapted version of our family favorite oatmeal bowl, created for my youngest….. she wont eat oatmeal any other way, go figure.

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Chocolate PB Oatmeal Bowl

1 large serving

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats, GF

1/4 cup soy milk or your favorite milk alternative

2 Tbsp  good quality cocoa powder

1 Tbsp maple syrup or one package of stevia

1 Tbsp natural peanut butter

pinch of sea salt if you’re using unsalted peanut butter

Add ins:

1 banana, sliced

3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

3 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

optional, hemp hearts and slivered almonds

Instructions:

1.Cook your oatmeal as directed on the package.

2. Add in your peanut butter, cocoa powder, maple syrup and milk. Stir until combined.

3. Add your toppings/add ins how ever you desire.

Hope you enjoy this warm bowl of chocolatey oats as much as we do ūüôā

Breakfast, Recipes, Smoothies, Uncategorized

7 Days Of Green Smoothies

A weeks worth of delicious green smoothies

Smoothies have to be one of the quickest and easiest meals to put together.¬†Don’t know what to make for ( insert any meal of the day)? have a smoothie!¬†it’s¬†a great way to sneak in foods that¬†you might not eat on a regular basis. A lot of foods that you wouldn’t normally think to put into a smoothie-whole apple, carrot and orange blend really nicely if you have a good quality high speed blender (this also makes green smoothies taste¬†delicious and less like a liquid salad).¬†Does your family drink a lot of smoothies?¬†are you¬†looking¬†to¬†try new recipes but are hesitant because you’re not sure if¬†you’ll end up with a chunky¬†drink?¬† If this is you, I would highly recommend purchasing a good quality blender because¬†if your¬†family is like mine, you are probably using¬†your blender more than the microwave and oven put together-this is what makes that big purchase¬†worth it.

I’ve compiled seven green smoothie recipes as sort of a challenge to those of you that don’t normally drink green smoothies or eat greens for that matter. This is also for you green smoothie lovers out there that maybe need a few new recipes.¬†I tried¬†to make these recipes more of a transitional type smoothie to ease the non green smoothie drinkers into the green plant kingdom.¬†These smoothies¬†have a mellow taste in comparison to some other hard core green smoothies.

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Why even add greens to a smoothie?

There’s so much to be said about the importance of leafy greens but I’m sure your intensions of reading this wasn’t to read a novel, nor do I have the time to write one. So I’ll keep it simple…..

FIBER: Can I highlight this even more? This is at the top of the list because¬†statistics say we still aren’t getting enough, even though the stuff literally grows on trees¬†ūüėČ ¬† One of the main reason¬†we still aren’t getting enough has to do with the plethora¬†of manufactured foods at our disposal that have stripped most¬†of the fiber¬†away in order to make a more tempting product. Another reason is that the¬†best source of fibre (fruits, vegetables and whole grains) look kind of meh in comparison to these factory foods.¬† I think we need to start thinking outside the box sort¬†of speak¬†and get creative with our plant foods!¬†Fibre is so much more than a¬†cure for constipation,¬†it’s¬†also food to the host of beneficial bacteria living inside your digestive tract. If you’re aware of the importance of probiotics, you’ll also¬†know that prebiotic foods are equally important.¬†Fibre also comes packaged¬†up with other vital nutrients like¬†B vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

Chlorophyll:¬† The life giving blood of the plant. One of the many benefits to this green “blood” is that it has a cleansing effect in our bodies- try adding more chlorophyll to your diet¬†if you’re struggling with body odor. The fat soluble chlorophyll found in its natural state, the plant not the supplement, can have an anti cancerous effect because it possesses a ¬†significant¬†amount antioxidants.

Calcium: Yes even these plants have calcium. Great news for those with dairy allergies; ounce for ounce, kale contains more calcium than dairy milk. (1.)In fact, the rate of calcium absorption is far superior than in milk.

Now that we know a little more about our leafy greens, it’s time to get our health on and try a week’s worth of green smoothies!

1. Let’s start off simple with this nutrient packed smoothie that has a delicious citrusy flavour to it.

 

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Simple Citrus Green Smoothie

2-3 handfuls of baby spinach

2 oranges, peeled

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 large kale leaf, destemmed

2 cups frozen mango

3 tsp hemp hearts

1 tsp  stevia

1 cup coconut water

Add oranges, spinach, hemp hearts and stevia to a high speed blender.  Then add mangos and coconut water and blend on low; slowly increasing the speed to high.  Blend until smooth.

2. As we are nearing the end of September, all the colours and flavours of fall have been out in full force for a couple weeks already. So this green smoothie fits right in with its cinnamon/ apple pie flavour.

Green Apple Pie Smoothie

1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce

1 handful of baby spinach

4 medjool dates, pitted

3/4 cup almond or soy milk

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

3 tsp hemp hearts

1- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla

1 tsp stevia or pure maple syrup

Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth

 

3. Let’s get a little tropical with this next smoothie!

Tropical Green Smoothie Dairy Free and Delicious!

Tropical Green Smoothie

2 handfuls of spinach

1-1 1/2 cups of frozen pineapple

1 banana

1 cup of frozen mango

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or 1-2 oranges, peeled

1 cup of full fat coconut milk

3 tbsp hemp hearts or 1/4 cup of slivered almonds

1 tsp stevia if needing sweetener

Top with coconut and hemp hearts if desired

Place all soft ingredients ( spinach, banana and orange-if using) into the blender first. After, add hemp hearts, stevia, frozen fruit and then pour in coconut milk. Blend on low to get things moving, then turn up to high speed and blend until smooth.

 

4. This next green smoothie and variations of it, has been my go to smoothie for the past¬†2/3 years…..so it’s safe to call this one My Favorite Green Smoothie.

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My Favorite Green Smoothie

1 handful of spinach

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen mango

1-2 oranges

1/2 cup of coconut water

1 tsp of my favorite wheatgrass

1 tsp of spirulina powder

1 handful of raw pumpkin seeds

Place your spinach and oranges into the blender first. Next, add your powders and pumpkin seeds. Then, add your frozen fruit and coconut water. Turn the blender on low to get things moving and continue to blend on high until smooth.

 

5. If you have a few picky eaters in the family and they happen to be reluctant to try avocados, this smoothie is a great way to sneak it into there diet.

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Creamy Avocado Smoothie

1/2 avocado

1/4 cup of baby spinach or small handful

3 tbsp of hemp hearts

1 frozen banana

1/4 cup of your favorite milk alternative

1/2 tsp of pure raw honey or three medjool dates, pitted

Add your avocado, spinach, hemp hearts and raw honey to your blender. Then, add the frozen banana and milk and blend on medium to high speed until thick and smooth.

 

6. If you love peanut butter¬†but aren’t convinced that green smoothies will taste good, this ones for you.¬†You could¬†swap out the peanut butter for a seed butter if there are allergies to consider.

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Green PB Smoothie

2 handfuls of baby spinach

3 tbsp hemp hearts

1 cup of soy milk or your favorite milk alternative

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1-2 frozen bananas

1 tsp stevia, optional

Place spinach, hemp hearts, stevia and peanut butter into your blender first. Then break frozen banana into a few pieces and place in the blender along with the milk. Blend on high until fully blended.

 

7. I saved the¬†“kale only” green smoothie for last. Don’t be afraid of this one, it’s pretty tasting!

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Creamy Kale Smoothie

4 dino kale leaves, destemmed

4 medjool dates, pitted

1 banana

1 handful of almonds

1/2- 1 cup of your favorite milk alternative

1 tsp ground cinnamon

If you’re unsure of what dino kale looks like, it is in the photo above. The reason I choice this type of kale is because it has a¬†milder, nutty flavor where as other varieties¬†have a strong¬†brassica flavour ( flavours similar to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower).

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender; adding milk last. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes, making sure that the almonds are fully blended. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can substitute¬†whole almonds with blanched, slivered almonds to make this drink smoother.

I hope that these green smoothies are an easy way for you to incorporate more greens into yours and your family’s diet.

During the hot summer months, some of these smoothie recipes turn into delicious popsicle!

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References: (1) calcium absorption from kale

Breakfast, Healthy Treats, Recipes, Snacks

Simple After School Snacks

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It’s safe to say that after school the majority of kids come home hungry or in my kids case, famished. It’s like they haven’t eaten all day. As I watch them empty the contents of their lunch kits, I see half of the lunch that was packed, untouched-most of which consists of the things I would have liked them to eat first; nuts, seeds and vegetables. Yes, even I still haven’t been able to get my children to love their vegetables. But overtime I’ve kept making sure that vegetables either accompanied their meals or are put into a recipe. Fast forward a couple years and they’ve started to add a few of these¬†vegetables to their favorites list or at least to the list of things they’ll tolerate……baby steps.

Some of these snack ideas that I’m sharing might be¬†familiar to some of you but I¬†want to emphasize two things in regards to them.

Keep Them Whole

By this I mean whole grains and whole fruits. One of the reasons why kids are feeling hungry after school¬† is because blood sugar levels are low. When this happens our kids tend to crave¬†foods that have a high sugar content. The more¬†refined and sugary their morning and afternoon meals were, the more likely you are to bring home a tired,¬†cranky/irritable and hungry child that kind of looks like your child but doesn’t behave like them ūüėȬ†Not fun for the child or the parent!

Get the Kids involved

Time for their creativity to shine.¬†Have all the ingredients out buffet style and let the¬†kids assemble¬†and pick out¬†their choices¬†and variations for their snack masterpiece. Children are more likely to¬†eat¬†something they’ve made or helped to make.

Here are a few simple and very versatile snack ideas that you can add to your family’s repertoire of foods to curb the mid day munchies.

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Apple Slices, Almond Butter, Dried Cranberries Plus a Few Exras

This snack can be¬†changed up with¬†different nut butter and dried fruit. For a nut less version, you can¬†use a seed butter¬†and sprinkle with sunflower seeds or hemp hearts. The kids can turn these into mini apple treat pizzas¬†by using all of the ingredients or only a couple. I found that our family liked having all the different tastes and textures. You’ve got sweet, tart, crunchy, and chewy all in one bite!

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Homemade Hummus With Veggies Of Choice

If you’re in a pinch, you can use premade hummus but be sure to read the ingredients label as some contain harmful oils and chemicals. And once¬†you’ve stumbled on a good homemade recipe, store bought won’t even compare.¬†Using dried beans means a little more time. It is best to make a big batch to have on hand, plus it is cheaper. If you don’t have the time and are looking to buy canned chickpeas, I’d suggest buying the ¬†brand Eden Foods as these aren’t processed with chemicals and the lining of the can¬†is BPA free.

Our Favorite Hummus

4 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas or 2 cans, drained and rinsed

4 small cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2-1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

pinch of freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Place all the ingredients, except the oil into a food processor. You can also use a hand held blender, especially if you choose to make a smaller batch. Blend on high when using the food processor and slowly add in oil and blend until it has a fluffy texture (1-2 minutes), you might need to scrape down the sides a bit. If you are using a hand held blender, you can add the oil before blending. Blend on high speed until fully blended. Top with hemp hearts for an extra boost of protein, fibre and omegas.

Cut up some of your child’s favorite veggies and dip away. Or let your child get a little creative and make one of these guys

IMG_7928 (1)This guy gives a whoot¬† about healthy eating ūüėČ

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PB&J Smooothie

Here is an alternative to the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich that doesn’t require bread. This smoothie is loaded with antioxidants and¬†immune boosting nutrients that will¬†help¬†fight that¬† back to school/fall cold.

Recipe

1 cup of  unsweetened milk alternative of choice

3/4 cup frozen berry mix

2 tbsp natural peanut butter or seed butter for nut free option.

1 tbsp Stevia, Wholesome Brand doesn’t have¬†as¬†strong of a taste as other brands of stevia do

or 1 tbsp of unpasteurized honey

Instructions

Place liquids into a high speed blender then add peanut butter, frozen berries, and blend on high until smoothie is well blended.

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Loaded Brown Rice Cakes

Here is another opportunity for the kids to get creative as these can be turned into mini pizzas. The possibilities are endless. These can be made savory with hummus or guacamole as a base. The only main thing to try and focus on is to keep the ingredients whole by adding foods that are an ingredient rather than foods that have a list of ingredients. These rice cakes aren’t technically a whole food but these ones (Lundberg Organics ) contain two ingredients that are a whole food. Brown rice is a whole grain, white rice isn’t. Refined grains lead to unstable blood sugar levels and are lacking¬†important vitamins and minerals which in turn will send hunger signals soon after.

For these loaded rice cakes I used:

1. Natural almond butter, blueberries, unpasteurized honey, topped with hemp hearts

2. Natural almond butter, bananas, dried unsweetened cranberries

3.  Natural peanut butter, bananas and unsweetened coconut flakes

You can sub the nut butter for seed butter for nut free version or variety.

My goal is that¬†this be simple, nutritious, contain ingredients that you¬†might regularly have on hand and that those ingredients be interchangeable……..and fun of course!

I hope these recipes benefit your afterschool time with your children. If you’d like updates on more recipes like these ones, feel free to sign up down below!

Breakfast, Healthy Treats, Smoothies

Strawberry & Cream Smoothie

Is there¬†a¬†certain smoothie that your kids ask for constantly?¬† Want to try a new one? This is the smoothie that is asked for majority of the time by my kids….even their friends ask for it. My girls probably like it because it tastes like a strawberry milkshake and what kid wouldn’t ask for a milkshake for¬†breakfast. Actually, one of my girls¬†had asked if we could¬†have this for dinner one night ( It was a busy night and¬†I said yes because 1.it’s¬†healthy¬†and 2. it’s¬†faster than any fast food).

The nutritionist in me can’t just leave you with a bunch of food photos and a¬†recipe without¬† telling you about the amazing benefits packed in this smoothie. Since I’m not writing a book, I’ll just focus on the main ingredient.

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Strawberries! Aren’t they wonderful? Look at all that red,¬†one of natures beautiful colours.

Anthocyanin¬†(I know, just rolls off your tongue doesn’t it?) is the flavonoid that gives strawberries their lovely red colouring. This flavonoid also benefits our bodies¬†by protecting us against cancer, inflammation and heart diseases. The flavonoids in strawberries also have the ability of acting as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) by blocking the enzyme, cyclooxygenase or COX, involved in pain linked to RA, cancer, OA and asthma.

Yes strawberries are known for their anti cancer effect but strawberries that are sprayed with chemicals, picked weeks before consumption, and are genetically modified, would have the opposite effect. Thus, the importance of buying locally organic. I believe one of the reasons strawberries are found to have anti cancerous capabilities is due to their vitamin C and phytonutrient content.

As wonderful as strawberries are, they aren’t the only food that contains these wonderful preventative nutrients.¬†This means¬†you don’t have to go¬†buy¬†the entire section of strawberries at your local grocery store¬†in hopes of fighting off cancer. Get creative and¬†try the other colours of the produce¬†rainbow!

Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/373151
Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/373151

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STRAWBERRY & CREAM SMOOTHIE

2 Servings

5 minute prep

Ingredients

1 cup of milk alternative, I use Silk organic soy milk in this recipe

1/4 cup of full fat coconut milk, this milk has the consistency of cream

2 cups of frozen strawberries

1 frozen banana, chopped

1 tsp pure vanilla

1 tsp stevia

Optional add ins to give this smoothie a boost:

Hemp hearts

Chia seeds

Your favourite plant based protein powder

Instructions:

Add liquids and any powders/seeds before adding your frozen fruit, this will ensure the smoothie blends well. This smoothie is a bit thicker; like soft serve ice cream texture so have patience as this may take stopping the blender to scrape down¬†the sides if you don’t have a high speed blender that also comes with a tamper ( that thing that looks like a wand).

Tip:

For a thinner smoothie, add a bit more milk of choice to the desired consistency. If you are really digging the thickness already but would like it a bit more like ice cream, add a bit more frozen fruit.

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Thanks for stopping by, I hope your family enjoys this smoothie as much as ours does!