~~HAPPY CANADA DAY~~

I was thinking that to be patriotic I will post about some kind of red and white food… first thing that came to mind are beets! So I’ll just talk about red food because I’m not in the mood to yell at you about sugar (white) right now and although beets (red) and cauliflower (white) are both great for you they aren’t really in business together when it comes to the functions they serve.

Beets come in a range of colours from yellow to orange to red and into purple. They are beautiful, sweet, delicious and best of all nutritious! Nothing beats a beet when it comes to cleaning out your organs! Toxins get into our bodies every time we eat, drink and breath and we rely primarily on our liver and kidneys to filter them out and keep us clean but what keeps our liver and kidneys clean? BEETS! …and dandelion and milk thistle but that’s another post.

Beets are a great detox food and if eaten on a regular basis they work well to keep our liver and kidneys healthy and functioning at the top of their game, not to mention giving us great skin and healthier arteries. There are a variety of ways to eat beets: boiled; steamed; pickled; fried; baked; grilled; in soup; in a drink; and any other way you might want to try! Of course some methods of preparing them are healthier than others but definitely eating them is healthier than not eating them 🙂

Beets and Carrots

So at your Canada Day socially distanced family BBQ don’t forget your beets on the side of whatever celebratory choices you are making today!

Taco Night!

Ok, ok, so I know that I have posted about Taco’s before but it was over a year ago so I thought they deserve some spotlight again!

Besides, they look and taste different every time I make them. This is one of the things I love about it!

Jerk sweet pepper tacos with garden greens!

See! How could I keep that beautiful taco pic to myself?? (yup I said it, you can giggle)

I learned to make these delicious homemade tortillas at a ladies night hosted by a friend originally from Mexico. Of course I had to ask, “what is in an authentic Mexican taco?” The answer was music to my ears, “you can put anything in a taco!” she said! YES!!! I love this so much because dish gives my husband and I an opportunity to eat some spicy food that is otherwise tricky to fit into the cooking rotation with kids.

a little of everything

Having all of the options separated makes it not only a fun, “build your own” kind of meal but also lets us enjoy the individual flavours we all like.

(Of course I am bossy pants mom and make them have at least two with the rice and lentil mix…but it always works out because then they realize that even though it’s mushy and brownish in colour it actually tastes delicious)

Get creative, or ask your kids what they might like to have and enjoy some tiny tacos! …my youngest even finished up the shells with peanut butter and jam as a late night snack 🙂

Sauerkraut Salad

Spring is in the air and fresh food is on the mind…

It may surprise you to hear that my plant-based family rarely eats salad. Salad was something that very often accompanied the more traditional meat and potato meals of my childhood – but always with dressing. When we first started eating plant-based we bought some of the vegan alternative caesar dressings and vinaigrette mixes. But as we started eating more and more whole food plant-based and using less processed foods in our meals our tastebuds changed. Currently when we eat salad we like to load it up with delicious flavours like ripe tomato, green onions, pumpkin seeds, cucumber, raisins, and fermented sauerkraut! These flavours are better than any dressing. A squirt of lemon or lime, or a splash of pickle juice gives just enough acid to make a salad like this salad mouth watering.

We will have to remember to put it into rotation more often 😉

Shiitake Ramen

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If you follow my Instagram @plantbasedjenny you know that Ramen is an obsession!

This one was so easy and delicious:

Recipe:

  • 1 large pot of water
  • 1 tbsp of miso
  • 1 tbsp of low sodium vegetable bouillon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • as many shiitake mushrooms as you feel the need for 🙂
  • ramen noodles – I buy the organic rice ramen from Costco

Boil everything except the ramen noodles until the garlic is mush and the onions are perfectly clear, soft and sweet.  Then add the ramen noodles, they will cook quickly so you are now just minutes away from your delicious soup!

ENJOY boosting your immune system, tantalizing your taste buds and benefiting your microbiome all in one simple soup!  …let’s not forget the powerful blood pressure lowering effects of mushrooms.  Your arteries will thank you 🙂

Brownies… again

Ok so here I am again posting about brownies… a window into my life 🙂

An accidentally cool swirl!

My littlest is doing her best to live off of chocolate… getting it into as many meals a day as possible and will use tears as a weapon if necessary. Obviously this is every mom’s dream come true and even better if you are a nutritionist right! LOL

I do wonder if I am losing the 80/20 balance that I strive for with her and her chocolate obsession. I try to incorporate healthy chocolate recipes into her life as much as possible… also she likes to cook and bake and with me, so who doesn’t love a helper 🙂

Yes these brownies contain chocolate chips (non-dairy of course) and yes these brownies contain maple syrup which is basically just liquid sugar BUT for the balancing act they also contain black beans, dates, ground flax and peanut butter!

I’m calling this a win, she will eat some fibre, she will eat some healthy fat, she will eat some protein and she will eat some chocolate.

Bean Burgers/Falafel

Pulled this one out of the archives! I should apologize for not posting it earlier because this is great for burgers or “meatballs”, meal prepping since they freeze so well and even kids lunches if you have that need.

2018 – I finally made some awesome bean burgers! …and it was so easy I will be making them again and again 🙂

RECIPIE:

  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 can black beans
  • About 3 tbsp corn (optional)
  • Fried shiitake mushrooms with onions, garlic, basil, S&P, oregano
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Handful of parsley
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Handful of dill
  • Green onion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup oats
  • S&P to taste


I blended it all together, covered my hands in avocado oil, made patties, dipped them in more nutritional yeast and fried them on a dry frying pan. Basically any spices and flavours that you enjoy when you make a beef burger you can add to this…a couple drops of liquid smoke would give it that familiar BBQ flavour (or a blob of BBQ sauce)!

School Lunches

I have a new page with new content!  

Check out my school lunch ideas… you can access them in the “School Lunches” tab along the menu bar or you can find them in the list of Recipes 🙂

ENJOY!

School Lunches

Well the first week is done and no matter what your kids ate this week you made it through!  GOOD JOB!     …but we don’t want to just make it through all year.

Last year I didn’t plan very well and found that each morning my first thoughts were, “crap what do I have in the kitchen to put in the lunches?”  …secondary thought was, “will my kids eat it?” …third, “is it healthy?”

You might be thinking, oh c’mon Jenny of course it’s healthy you post lots of healthy foods… but my kids are still kids and my girl is trying to survive on chocolate I’m pretty sure and my son can’t believe that chips aren’t a food group! lol  They have their preferences and unlike me, they like variety.  (I literally eat the same thing for breakfast every day and I LOVE it! …sometimes on the weekends I’ll feel the pressure to eat the same breakfast as my family… but this post isn’t about my crazy habits)

So this year I have vowed to procrastinate less, involve the kids more and be prepared for the inevitability of the MON-FRI lunches.

I have a PDF here for you to check out…  school lunches (1)   This gives you a visual and some suggestions on how to pack your kids a healthy lunch.  This can also be made into an activity for the kids to participate in.  (pictures below)

As you can see on the PDF I have included some non-vegan items. I really wanted to help as many families as possible make lunches WHOLE FOOD BASED… in an ideal world we would all be feeding and eating WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED but just eating whole food would be a great start!

This is what our first 3 school lunches looked like. The potato salad we had for dinner the night before and I just planned to make extra to have enough for their lunch.  Hubby took it too cause lunch isn’t just for kids 😉  The other lunches I made the morning of… We have our whole grains (granola, whole grain bread), fruit (blueberries, oranges, bananas), vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes), healthy fats (coconut whip, seeds, avocado) and protein  – people there is protein in almost everything!  (hummus, carrots, chis seeds, coconut, banana, etc)

The paper chart featured here isn’t part of this week’s lunch prep.. it’s actually the beginning of next week. I let both kids make 2 charts like this. This gives me 4 lunch ideas. Some items will be repeated because, for example both kids like oranges, but that’s great! It gives me a foundation and a grocery list to make our lunches from.  Just having these ingredients in mind will create opportunities for you to keep lunches creative and easy.  Sooooo many things can be wrapped or sandwiched in whole wheat or flax wraps and healthy seeded breads. Just because your kid get a wrap every day next week, doesn’t mean they aren’t getting variety. Pasta salad is such a great go-to lunch because you eat it cold, so no “heating up” worries and both fruits and veggies can be chopped and added in.  Seeds are a great way to get those healthy fats in without breaking the “no nuts” policy and once again, there is seriously protein everywhere so it’s not even something that needs to be on your radar.

These meals are of course plant-based, because that is how our family eats.  REAL TALK if you do eat meat or cheese or eggs, check out my post on Hot dogs, lunch meats and cancer… so you can make an informed healthy choice for your little one.  Also, you can just make them some chicken or fish or scrambled eggs for supper. Once a day for animals fats is ENOUGH 🙂

RECIPE ALERT!

My daughter and I were invited to a summer’s end potluck and this recipe popped into my mind.  I had made it in the past but somehow even though my family loves it, I had forgotten about it…until now!

CURRY CHICKPEA PITA

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You can find variations of this recipe in plant-based cook books but personally I like this combo best 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 large carrot (shredded)
  • handful of cilantro (chopped)
  • handful of sunflower seeds
  • handful of pumpkin seeds
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • handful of daiya cheese (optional)
  • 2 or 3 chopped pickles
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp yellow curry
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 lemon slice freshly squeezed
  • black pepper
  • a few blobs of vegan mayo… you’ll have to just mix it and decide how creamy you like it.  

There is no method, just mix it all into a bowl!  That is about the best I can do with measurements 🙂  I just eyeball, dump and shake while I cook.  Don’t be afraid to taste it and add more or less of those flavours you love.  There are lots of veggie options that make a nice addition like sweet red pepper, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic, etc.  Have fun!

We stuffed this mixture into a pita for our potluck but it can be eaten straight up, with crackers, or on spaghetti (which is how we ate the leftovers).

This salad tastes great when you make it, awesome when you arrive at your potluck and even better the next day as the spices give out more and more flavour.

Hot dogs, lunch meats and cancer…

I have a goal this year. Last year I had the same goal but I encountered resistance and basically took no for an answer. NOT THIS YEAR!

This year I plan to make it a priority to get processed meat out of school fundraisers and stop schools from participating in selling processed meat to kids. 

That’s my mission.  It wont be easy.  I already tried explaining to the school division who passed it to the principle, who passed it to the parent committee who passed it off to individual parent choice.  The problem for me is that we look at schools as a place of education, this is a place that is supposed to be setting our kids up for making great future choices. As parents we don’t know or remember everything that school teaches our children. Teachers are always learning new ways to teach our kids, better methods and more current information. So for a school to take a backseat to something as important as nutrition and sell kids a class 1 carcinogen that causes cancer is 100% unacceptable in my books!

Every 50 gram serving of processed meat increases cancer risk by 18%… 1 typical hot dog that you would see at kids birthday party or school hot lunch is 75 grams.

Schools need to know better, do better and be on the side of educating and encouraging the parents to do better. This is not a place for ambivalence.  These are our kids lives. 

Take a moment to remember that doctors used to smoke in hospitals, in fact in the 1930’s – 1950’s doctors even promoted “healthy cigarette brands” and prescribed the use of cigarettes to their patients….sounds ridiculous to us now.

Take a look at your school aged child, in 50 years they will be telling stories about how schools used to sell them ham and cheese subs, pepperoni pizza and how they could buy hot dogs from the school lunch program or at school celebrations….and it will sound ridiculous.

Despite great marketing attempts at making these products sounds healthy, these are all examples of carcinogenic processed meat.