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 πŸ™‚

Health Is Our Top Priority

“Our health is our top priority” sounds like a no-brainer statement. But I’m sure many of us would agree that it’s become far too easy for that statement not to be true. We have commitments, goals, jobs, sports, careers, loved ones…all of these have been made a priority and with good reason. The commitments we make fill us up somehow, otherwise we wouldn’t commit to them; the goals we set make us feel like we are successfully progressing through this one life that we get; our job provides stability and means; sports bring us joy and keep us young at heart; careers provide self esteem and financial gain; our loved ones provide support, love and spiritual fulfilment.

Now make a list of of what we have if we don’t have our health…

I can’t think of anything, can you?

This isn’t meant to be a guilt trip, I simply want to point out that typically as a society we take our health for granted. Often prioritizing things that without our health we would not have or be able to enjoy.

The good news is it’s only partially our fault!

Mass media and marketing has given us all permission to:

  1. eat on the go
  2. eat anywhere
  3. eat anything if we are “busy” and “on the go”
  4. grab a quick snack
  5. grab a quick coffee

snack, grab, grab, snack, take-out, take-out, frozen dinner!

If you are a busy professional, if you are a parent with multiple children, if you are a single parent, if you are a student, if you work on the road, if you are breathing in and out you have been given permission by popular culture to only consider your health once it is failing you.

We all have a minimum of 3 chances each day to determine whether we are feeding or fighting disease. We silently depend on our health to be there for us and our busy schedules. COVID-19 has brought us time. Time to re-prioritize and to drown out the marketing and the loud noise of popular culture. We have slowed down. We can see more clearly than ever that we need to make our health a priority so that we can enjoy the things that fill our bucket.

Stay home, choose your noise, and eat real food that take a bit of time to prepare. Food that goes bad in a week, food that will be the ounce of prevention that we all need right now because currently we don’t have the pound of cure.

EASY Snack Squares

I don’t know about your house but we’ve been doing our part and staying home and it seems like part of that process is constant snacking! I usually buy granola bars to stick in my kids lunches for school but now that I’m not packing a lunch and our routine varies from day to day the granola bars were constantly being asked for and it was a battle I just wasn’t willing to fight. My philosophy is that if you don’t want your kids to eat it then don’t buy it at the grocery store. If you buy it then brace yourself for the ensuring battles of “can we have it?”, “can we just have one?”, “can we have it after we eat?”, “but you said yes yesterday so why can’t we have it today?” Maybe this is just me but I like saying “YES go ahead and snack away kids!”

…but I have to feel good about what they’ve put into their little bodies throughout the day.

As many of you parents know, the snack has to be delicious enough for them to ask for it, want to eat it, and consume it happily.

These snack bars are so easy, sweet and convenient there really is no reason not to make them. I’m going to throw in economical too! There are many of us during these uncertain times keeping track of our pennies and when it comes to pre-packaged snacks “healthy” and “cheap” are never in the same sentence.

Method:

  • take the bag of nut & dried fruit mix and dump it into your food processor.
  • if your kids are like mine and prefer to eat everything with chocolate then add some non-dairy chocolate chips
  • blend the mixture until it’s crumbly
  • add 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • blend again to mix in the maple syrup
  • press the mixture into a pan (use a silicon sheet or grease the pan with a little coconut oil first) – the size of pan you use will depend on how thin you would like the squares to be
  • place the pan into the freezer for about 30 mins, cut into squares and let the snacking begin

We chose to keep the pan in the freezer and eat them straight out of there, it doesn’t actually freeze it just keeps them firm and chilled. I pre-cut all the squares and just let the kids go for it whenever the snack attack hits πŸ™‚

This recipe is full of iron, healthy fats and fibre. The sugars are natural and are in whole food form. This is a great granola bar alternative because you don’t have the waste, you don’t have the processed sugars, it’s free from preservatives and the kids can even help to make it!

Enjoy – Stay Safe

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 πŸ˜‰

It’s a personal choice…kids supplements

I was asked what I am giving my kids to boost their natural defence/immune system along with a diet of whole foods (obviously). I have chosen this particular supplement because it has not only Elderberry (a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function) it also contains Vitamin C and Zinc. It’s simple, powerful and also tastes good so it’s easy to get the kids to take it. A supplement is only great if your kids WANT to take it, we fight enough battles as parents πŸ™‚

Immunity Opportunity

I can’t decide if me blogging about the Coronavirus is white noise or if me blogging about easy snacks and kids lunches would be white noise in this pandemic?

There is a burning issue on my mind and so here you go…

The WHO has just declared Coronavirus (COVID 19) as a global pandemic. We are all listening intently for the professionals to give us advice on how to not catch and spread the disease. Tell us CDC and WHO, what are we to do?

You’ve heard all of the advice and I’m not here pretending to know anything about this disease.

There is a piece of this COVID 19 puzzle that is barely being talked about, in fact I just read a 10 page spreadsheet from the CDC regarding their advice on the virus and supporting and boosting your immune system wasn’t mentioned once!

Our IMMUNE SYSTEM needs some airtime!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can be immune to the virus, but supporting your immune system and preparing your body to fight, possibly the biggest battle that it will have to fight, can’t be bad advice!

The first question that was asked by governments when this virus was discovered was “when will the vaccine be ready?“.

Do you know what a vaccine does?

It creates an immune response on a very low level so that we don’t get sick but we have activated and taught our immune army to fight this particular disease. Our immune system is the one doing the work this is why immune compromised people don’t get vaccines, and they don’t give people vaccines when they already have a cold or flu.

This virus is picking off the weak, the compromised, the unhealthy. Conditions that suppress your immune response are:

  • high stress
  • sleep deprived
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • cardio vascular disease
  • cancer

Your immune system starts with your gut bacteria, your gut bacteria provides the strength and foundation of your systemic health. You can change your gut bacteria and boost your immune system in just 14 days! 14 days is NOT VERY LONG, this is your typical all-inclusive vacation!

If you needed a push to change your habits, if you needed yet another reason to eat for health, longevity and strength then let the Coronavirus be that push. Don’t sit on the sidelines washing your hands with soap and sanitizer waiting to see if you get it and how your system handles it.

Ok, WASH YOUR HANDS…obviously that is a good idea

But take some immune system action! Give your body the tools that is needs to thrive and survive! What do you have to lose?

  • Supplement during this time of extra caution – zinc, oil of oregano, colloidal silver, anti-oxidants, elderberry, vitamin C, astragalus, ashwaghanda, vitamin D3, B-complex, vitamin E (just pick 2 or 3, it’s all about support!)
  • Cut out the dairy – dairy causes an inflammatory reaction in your body and you don’t need your body fighting anything else right now. It also increases excess mucus in your soft tissue (membranes) which is precisely what you don’t need right now. STOP creating unnecessary work for your body.
  • Don’t freak out about the virus, take 10 deep breaths as many times a day as possible because it literally changes your brain chemistry and lowers the cortisol in your body. When Cortisol ( the stress hormone) is high, immunity is compromised.
  • Meat releases cortisol into your blood stream… I’m just going to hope you can connect the dots with this one
  • Get enough sleep! This is your body’s best way to recover so allow it the time that it needs. Don’t watch that extra episode, go to bed!
  • hydrate, Hydrate, HYDRATE – your body depends on fluid to flush out toxins and maintain optimal organ function
  • Eliminate processed sugar, refined carbohydrates and artificial colours and flavours (this is just shit your body has to deal with and does it really need a distraction like eliminating yellow E102?) These create the immune compromising gut bacteria you don’t want.

I’m just going to make sure that I’ve really made my point here – global pandemic sounds a bit apocalyptic and who am I to judge – maybe it is?! But the strong will survive so make yourself strong. You have the power to do at least that. You can do that for your kids, for your family and for yourself – put your mask on first and force the masks onto the ones you love πŸ™‚

LOVE YOU!

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 πŸ™‚
  • 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.Β  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!Β  …let’s not forget the powerful blood pressure lowering effects of mushrooms.Β  Your arteries will thank you πŸ™‚

Goals, Desires, Dreams…

We all have goals, we all have desires and call me an optimist but I hope we all have dreams. This sounds magical but let’s take it to the dark side and look a little deeper.

How long have you had these goals?

Why haven’t you attained or achieved what you desire?

How close are you to making your dreams a reality?

I am asking you because this is a HOT TOPIC in my life right now. Maybe you are like me and you have evolving dreams, desires and goals. And maybe you are also like me and aren’t always 100% sure what the path is to achieving these.

I would love to see your thoughts on these questions in the comments. It can be scary and sometimes when we tell ourselves the truth or be too honest with ourselves it can hurt a little. If you feel more comfortable to chat with me privately send me a message. In our heart of hearts we want to be great, do great and feel great but sometimes we can get in our own way. Let’s get out of the way and turn the dreaming into doing.

Maybe it’s diet, maybe it’s exercise, maybe it’s career, maybe it’s a new parenting style, maybe it’s a new relationship. Doing is doing and roadblocks can be so similar despite the goals/dreams being different.

So comment or send a message, either way I would love to hear your struggles and achievements. I’m always ready to learn something πŸ™‚

Brownies… again

Ok so here I am again posting about brownies… a window into my life πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 againΒ πŸ™‚

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)!