We’re making progress people.

What a beautiful morning this morning, it’s going to be a hot one today (high of 28 degrees!).  I just went out to the garden to take a look at my vegetable plants after a nice rain last night.  The mixed greens I planted are doing great, as well as the beets and peas.  I even have one eggplant that seems to be doing ok.  (The first one I put outside died…probably due to my being impatient and not letting it get used to the outdoors first 😉  But this one seems to be doing ok.  There is also one bean plant that has started growing as well as some teeny tiny carrot sprouts.  My tomatoes are another story.  All of the ones I grew inside and then put in the garden basically didn’t make it.  RIP Tomatoes.  I have planted more and we’ll see what happens.  I think the other ones just got too much sun too fast.

This is what I love about this season.  Growing your own food.  It doesn’t get any better…..

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Whipped Coco-Berry Icing

Using coconut milk to make icing has been all over the web.  I decided to do my own take on it and made this fresh, light and fruity icing that is NOT loaded with refined sugar.  The only sugar in it is a bit of maple syrup and natural sugar from mixed frozen berries.   Talk about a nice alternative especially for kids to use on cupcakes (it would be perfect for a kids birthday party!).  If you wanted blue icing you could just add blueberries by themselves  😉  Just remember that the icing needs to stay refrigerated until you are ready to use it.  Also, you’ll need a hand mixer for this one.

Use this whipped topping for cupcakes, muffins or even in a parfait.

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Ingredients:

1 can full fat coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen Brand)

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 heaping Tbsp frozen mixed berries (thawed)

You’ll need to plan at least the day before to make this icing since you need to put the can of coconut milk in the fridge and let it sit overnight.  This will separate the coconut milk from the coconut cream.

About 1 hour before you are going to make your icing put a bowl in the freezer to chill.

In the morning, take the can of coconut milk out of the fridge, flip it upside down and open it.  The coconut milk will be on top….. you can pour that off (don’t put it down the sink!  Save it to throw in a smoothie if you like!).  Then once the liquid is gone you will be left with the coconut cream in the bottom of the can.  Scoop this out into your chilled bowl.

Add the maple syrup and vanilla and then mix on low until smooth and creamy.   Add in your mixed berries and mix again on low until combined.

You have just made a healthy alternative to conventional icing  🙂   Spread on, or use a piping gun to decorate cupcakes.

Yum.

 

Tuna Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is an oldie but a goodie 🙂  You can really throw in anything that you fancy, but here is my version for today.  It will change depending on what veggies I have in the fridge to use up.  It may not work for your kids (if it does AWESOME!) but it’s a great one to have ready in your fridge for a quick one bowl lunch for Mama or to take to work. Of course you can always adjust it to suit your little ones palette also.  I added some nutritional yeast for an extra boost of vitamin b12 (you can find it in most health food sections of your grocery store).

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Ingredients: (Will make about 6 servings)

2 cups whole grain pasta

2 large carrots chopped

2 large handfuls of frozen peas

2 cans tuna in water (drained)

2 ribs celery chopped

1 large handful of spinach chopped

2 Tbsp Mayo (made with extra virgin olive oil)

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp grainy mustard

1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the pasta as directed on the box (add the chopped carrot into the boiling water with the pasta).  A couple minutes before the pasta/carrots are cooked throw in the frozen peas until end of cook time.   Drain the pasta, carrots and peas and set aside.

Add the tuna, celery and spinach to a large bowl.

In a separate small bowl stir to combine the mayo, dijon mustard, grainy mustard and nutritional yeast.

Add the dressing to the pasta mixture in your large bowl stirring to combine.  Add fine grain sea salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm, or keep in the fridge for a few days for quick lunches or as a side at dinner!

 

 

Oat Crusted French Toast

Try adding a little something extra to your french toast with a combination of oats, cinnamon and hemp seeds for a crispy coating and nutrient boost!

This recipe came to mind because a while back I saw a show where they were making granola crusted french toast and it looked yummy.  I didn’t catch the recipe (mainly because whenever the tv happens to be on and there is something I want to watch the kids decide to scream at the top of their lungs just for fun).  In fact lately it seems this is their secret language.  One gets up in the morning and just screams, then the other screams back.  It’s like birds squawking to each other to communicate.  Where was I?  Oh yes, so I attempted the granola, but it didn’t turn out very well, so I decided to use oats instead and throw in hemp seeds for extra nutrients.  A crispy, cinnamon-y, syrup-y delight  😉

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Ingredients: (Makes 4-6 pieces of french toast)

4-6 Pieces whole grain bread

3 Eggs

1/3 cup Milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup Rolled Oats

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

Coconut Oil to lightly grease pan

Heat a large pan on low-medium heat.  Add about a tsp of coconut oil until melted.

Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla on one medium sized plate until combined.  On another medium sized plate mix the oats, cinnamon and hemp seeds.

Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture to coat.  Then dip in the oat mixture, and dip again in the egg mixture.  Lay in pan and cook turning once until golden brown on both sides.  Add more coconut oil as needed as you cook the french toast.  If you don’t have room in your pan to cook all at once,  you can cook each slice separately and keep warm in the oven.

These are great for adults and kids (you can slice them into french toast sticks) add some pure maple syrup (and/or almond butter…yum!) and your favourite fruit and you’re good to go!

 

 

 

 

Amaranth “Popcorn” & Greek Yogurt

Looking for a crunch to top off that greek yogurt?  Have you heard of Amaranth?  It’s great for the whole family.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have a bit of an obsession with the organic/whole foods isle in grocery stores and I always love finding new items to try.  Amaranth is a grain that is high in protein and iron and also contains calcium, b vitamins and other minerals.  It can be cooked whole as a breakfast cereal (like oatmeal) or served with vegetables or other foods for lunch or dinner.  It can be ground into a flour for baking and can be a substitute for wheat and other grains.

It can also be toasted, and popped looking like teeny tiny pieces of popcorn!  It has a nutty flavour when toasted and is perfect to throw on yogurt, cereal, salads….anything you want to add a little crunch (and nutrients) to.

To toast/pop Amaranth, heat a pan on high (it has to be high for the Amaranth to pop) and add a Tbsp of Amaranth grains.  You will need to constantly move the Amaranth around so it does not burn (I use a flat wooden spatula).  It will probably take a few times to perfect your skill.  I have only done it once and found that about half of the grains toasted, and half of them popped like popcorn.  Either way they are still yummy!

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You should be able to find Amaranth in whole foods stores or whole food isles of your grocery store, or head to the Bulk Barn!

Leek & Mushroom Frittata

This is an excellent dish to make for breakfast for a group of people, but personally I like to make it ahead of time, cut into slices and store the slices in the fridge.  Warm them up for a quick filling breakfast, or even eat them cold.  So good either way!

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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Leeks chopped (only the light green and white parts)

8 Ounces Crimini mushrooms chopped

12 eggs

1/2 Plain Greek Yogurt

1/2tsp – 1tsp Dried Thyme

3/4 cup shredded old cheddar (or your favourite cheese)

Salt and Pepper to taste

To Make:

Chop and rinse leeks (throw them in a bowl of cold water and move around so any dirt falls to the bottom and then lift out and place on paper towels to soak up excess water).  Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel.

Place oven rack in top third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 10 inch nonstick oven proof pan over medium heat.  Add the leeks and cook stirring often until softened.  Add mushrooms and cook stirring until softened and until all liquid has evaporated.

In the mean time, whisk eggs, yogurt and thyme in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add remaining olive oil to pan and pour the egg mixture over the leeks and mushrooms shaking the pan gently to even it out.

Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to set.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over the eggs and transfer the pan to the oven.  Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set (about 25-30 min).

Don’t worry if it looks like it starts puffing out of the pan!  When you take it out of the oven it will relax right back in.   Serve warm or let cool and slice into pieces to store in the fridge.

My Little Sprouts

Well it’s that time of year ….. time to be growing my vegetables inside to get them ready to venture out into the real world!  😉

I used windowsill boxes full of Organic Soil to start my seedlings indoors.  They’ve been hanging out by the window getting much needed sunshine and growing well.

Basil has sprouted…

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Eggplant is doing well….

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I just planted my tomatoes, so they are on their way.  I also planted some early crops in the garden including beets, mixed greens and peas.  So far the mixed greens are coming up but there is only one beet sprout, no peas.

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Hopefully I didn’t plant them too early as we had some pretty chilly weather after I planted them.  Time will tell!   If they don’t come up I’ll be replanting now that’s it’s warmer.

If you haven’t started any seedlings yet but still want to, now is the time!  Grab some old pots, some dirt and get growing.

Looking forward to some juicy tomatoes  🙂

Cinnamon Roasted Veggies

As I mentioned in my last post I have really been trying to stock up my freezer with nutritious homemade foods that I can grab and thaw quickly for my one year old.  These roasted veggies keep dwindling in my freezer and I find myself making them over and over again.  Fortunately my little one plows through these and just loves them.  If your baby isn’t so much of a veggie fan, the cinnamon in these may just do the trick.  So simple, but so rewarding for baby and stress-free for Mama because they are ready to go straight from the freezer!

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Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoe

Turnip

Carrot

Butternut Squash

Olive or Grapeseed Oil

Cinnamon

I’m not going to put amounts for this recipe because it really just depends on how much you want to make.  I just use equal amounts of each vegetable  cut into cubes roughly the same size.  Put your veggies in a casserole dish, drizzle with oil just to coat them, sprinkle with cinnamon, cover with a lid and bake at 350 degrees.  Gently stir veggies periodically  throughout cooking time.  Remove veggies from oven when tender (poke with a fork to test).  If you’re going to be freezing them you want them to hold up in the freezer and not end up like mashed potatoes so don’t let them get too soft.  Although I’m sure your baby would still eat them!

Once removed from oven, remove the lid and allow to cool.  Spoon into small ziploc bags or freezer safe containers, each 1 serving size and store in the freezer.

When you’re ready to use them, you can either take the veggies out of the bag and defrost in the microwave in a bowl or if you have more time you can sit the ziploc bag with veggies in it in cold water in the sink to defrost, then heat them up.

I like to serve these with some cut up whole grain pita, and maybe some cubed cheese.

Here’s to spending a little time to save time in the long run!

May you enjoy your coffee today while it’s still hot   😉