So much has happened since I last posted that I can't even begin to write it all out, so I am going to offer the highlights:
1. Hudson turned three! He was so excited. It was the first year I felt motivated to pick a theme and really go for it. If you need a theme for anything choose a Hawaiian theme! It was really easy to find the decor, music, food ideas and everyone can dress in their summer clothes.
We did the decorating while Hudson was out of the house. All of his "this is for me?", "this is for MY birthday?" and declaring "all I want to do is dance" made the decorating more than worth it (even the oh so tedious for me cupcakes).
I won't even start on how incredible it is that my first born is three.
2. I finally bought a bottle of my new favorite hot sauce Chalula. Go out and get some. Best ever. All the flavour without burn your face off heat.
3. I may have also watched the best documentary I have ever seen: Stories We Tell. Incredibly emotional, I don't think I have stopped thinking about it since I saw it three weeks ago. My mother-in-law got us tickets to see it at the Comox Valley Art Gallery TIFF Film Series. I have no idea where else you can see it? But if you get the chance....watch. Hopefully it will make it's way to iTunes.
4. So I am not the greatest sports star, at all. But I have always had this secret idea that there was a sport out there that I had an incredible amount of natural talent. I just hadn't discovered or tried it yet. I was proven wrong with tennis. I enjoyed my lessons but my instructor wasn't blown away by my talent. I always thought rowing could be for me, but chickened out before signing up back in my UVic days. This weekend I tried cross country skiing. Again I didn't have my instructor wondering how I was so good given it was my first time on cross country skis, but I for sure had more talent than one other person in the lesson (Yes!). Most importantly I really loved it. Can't wait to give it another go.
5. Lastly I discovered the recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on the back of a bag of Trader Joe's gluten free oats. I never make cookies, more of a muffin girl, but this caught my eye.
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 oz dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl. Beat until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda: mix well. Add peanut butter and mix. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts. Place dough by heaping teaspoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper), about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light gold on the edges. Makes approximately 48 cookies.
Love these. I made them small because they are pretty calorie dens.There are about 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar per cookie. I reduced the amount of sugar that was called for and they were sweet enough. They freeze very well. It is hard to believe that they don't have any flour in them. You can also get creative with what you add into the mix. Instead of chocolate chips and nuts you could do raisins and coconut or cranberries and sunflower seeds. Endless ideas.
A side note about oats and gluten. Oats themselves are gluten free, but are usually processed in factories that process wheat so there can be cross contamination. Look for uncontaminated or gluten free oats to be sure your oats are gluten free.
Any new discoveries you want to share?
I have seen a lot of recipes for mashed cauliflower. People claiming they make a great low carb substitute for mashed potatoes. I was not buying it. Not for one second. I envisioned a lumpy, spongy, beige mess floating in a watery liquid. Blah.
First off I am not a huge fan of cooked cauliflower. It always seems to generate a bad smell and is very easily over cooked. I like it raw and in certain Indian dishes where the spices are so rich they could cover any bad smell/taste. Second I really like mashed potatoes. Why mess with a good thing? One good reason: because you have a head of cauliflower than needs to be eaten before upcoming vacation. I cannot stand to waste food. I have been burned by this rational before. Kale chips: love chips, love kale, hate kale chips.
I tasked Braden with finding a recipe and getting started while I was on my way home from work. Braden also not a fan of cooked veg in general, was sending disapproving vibes via text message. We powered through. He choose a Mock Garlic Mashed Potato recipe adapted from here.
Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
Wash and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower dry between several layers of paper towels.
In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, butter or margarine, and pepper until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives, and serve hot.
So yeah. Really, super wrong on this one. I didn't even bother taking real photos because I was so sure this was going to be a flop (sorry only iPhone photos). It was amazing. Great texture, taste, no bad smell, no weird watery puddle. We all (kids included) had seconds. Probably because we only took a small serving initially, because say it with me: we thought we would kind of hate it. Hudson reported they tasted like pizza, not accurate, but OK. I had intended to post a different recipe that I love, but this trumped it. It was very close to the real thing and a little faster too.
Put it on your to try list. A great way to add more veggies into your diet, you are going to want to eat a lot of this. If you are looking to reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates in your diet this is for you. The nutritionals for the above recipe vs the same recipe using potatoes (based on four 225 g servings):
Mashed Caulifower Mashed Potato
Calories 140 267
Fat 8.6 g 8.6 g
Carbohyrdate 11.6 g 42.3 g
Fiber 5.3 g 3.8 g
Protein 6.8 g 6.2 g
Looks like we are going to be eating a lot more mashed cauliflower and I am for sure looking forward to it. I was wrong and I can admit it.
I feel like I have been gone forever. There has been a lot going on since my last post. Of course there has been Christmas and New Years. Happy 2013! Spending Christmas with a 2 and 3/4 year old was magic. Kids bring back so much excitiment and pure joy. Sawyer was more than happy to bask in the choas of wrapping paper and boxes and enjoy the orange in his stocking.
I have become a resolution person in the last few years. Not typical resolutions or world changing things, more daily life things. My last three years' resolutions have been:
2013's hasn't come to me yet. I will keep you posted.
The other big change is that I am back at work and Braden is on paternity leave for 8 weeks. Daddy daycare. I feel so lucky that my boys get to spend this time with their Dad. It also gives us a look into each other's worlds. Working full time I miss the little moments of the boys' day. Hugs and kisses before naps, laughing over lunch and impromptu art sessions. Braden, being home full time, is realizing it is amazing to spend time with your children but there are challenges that go with it. When to shower, how to fit in physical activity and why are there so many socks missing after laundry? I think he is doing an amazing job. Hudson looked at me the other day and said "Mommy go to work now, and Daddy stays home. It's fun". I think that is the vote that counts.
Around this time of year I am pretty done with all the rich food, desserts, chocolates, and drinks. I need a break. I started flipping through my Spilling the Beans cookbook while drooling. My mother-in-law gave me this cookbook last year for Christmas and I love it. It has so many inspired ways to use beans, my favorite high fiber, low cost, high protein food. I eventually decided on Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup.
2 Tbps canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger (I opted for none)
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp curry paste or powder
4 cups low sodium chicken or veggie stock
salt to taste
plain low fat Greek yogurt for serving
In a large saucepan heat oil over med-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes. Add lentils, sweet potato, carrot, curry paste, stock, and salt along with a cup of water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Use an imersion blender to puree. Serve with a dollup of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
This is just what I needed. The whole family loved it. I used an orange curry paste that is pretty mild. You may have to adjust the curry powder or paste based on your desired level of spice. I love using lentils because they cook up pretty fast compared to other dried beans, making this an easy weeknight soup.
So holiday food gone as well as all the Christmas decorations. Our house looks a little bare and drab. Maybe 2013 resolution will be adding more colour...to my house and my wardrobe. Grey is always calling to me though. I will keep you posted.
There is a looming crisis in my life. I am pretty sure my favorite mascara is about to be discontinued. Supplies have been dwindling all over town. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes and making lists of real crises in your head. For me, right now, this is kind of a big deal. I love mascara. The more I can load on the better. I am all about lots of coats, lots. I am sure one day I will look like Tammy Faye Baker. Because I only have boys some poor soul will have to break that news to me. The perfect red lip....no thanks. Dark, luscious lashes...yes please.
I am a drug store brand person. As mush as I love mascara I refuse to pay over $10 a tube. After much deliberation in the make up section I think I may have found a suitable replacement. It took me longer to decide on a mascara than it did for me to know I wanted to buy our house...no joke. So I think I am good. For the record I have switched from Maybelline Define-A-Lash to L'Oreal Voluminous.
Now that that is out in the world let's move onto food. We are getting into full on fall weather now. So as you know, to me, that means soup. I had an assortment of tomatoes around that needed to be used. Before this I had never made tomato soup. I was sure it must be 100% better than the canned stuff.
6 medium tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chopped onion
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth (or veggie stock)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup milk (I used 3.25% milk)
Heat the oven to 400°. Cut tomatoes in half and remove core. Place cut side down on a glass baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. I used a brush to coat all the halves. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 to 45 minutes.
In a large pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or blender, puree the soup until it's smooth. Return it to the pot and stir in the milk. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming. Add salt and pepper, if necessary. Adapted from here.
Roasting the tomatoes requires extra time, but is well worth it. It's a great way to use up less than perfect tomatoes because roasting intensifies the flavor. You can easily pull the skin off after they are roasted. I choose not to because I wanted all the extra flavour. There were no bits of skin after I puréed it.
We all loved it. Even my husband who isn't really a tomato person (so weird?). The original recipe suggests serving it with grilled cheese croutons. Sounded fun but I am not down with soggy bread. So we had cheese toast and a salad instead. I also sprinkled a little cheese on top.
Also a great way to get your lycopene. A powerful antioxidant found in very high concentrations in cooked tomatoes. So eat up and enjoy!
I have been cooking and baking like crazy. I usually do a lot of my writing when both boys are having their afternoon naps. Lately they have decided not to have much over lap, so less time to write.
Baby sleep is a funny thing, in that it isn't funny at all. I have never had those babies that slept through the night as soon as I brought them home from the hospital. Hudson started sleeping through the night at around seven months. Sawyer is approaching seven months (2 days away...what!?) and appears to be getting worse. We went through a nice stretch where he was only up only once in the night, lately 3-4 times...yawn. I keep checking for teeth...nothing new.
I was staying with my aunt when Hudson was quite young and waking frequently in the night. She said she liked the night feeds, enjoyed them no less. This is a woman that had five children, I was sure her brain was fried. But it is a funny thing the second time around. Day time feeds are surrounded in chaos: noise from oldest yelling, oldest climbing on me like a jungle gym, oldest waiting until mid-feed to declare he was to go pee...right now. I don't get a lot of time to gaze into Sawyer's eyes or marvel at his downy blond hair. At night it is just me and him. It is quiet, he is still and cuddly. We rock in the glider and he gets showered in kisses before I lay him back down. Am I tired most days? Yes. Could I do with this interaction once instead of three or four times a night? Yes. Is this going to be over soon? Probably. Will I miss it? For sure. Add me to the fried brain mom list.
I was going to make Salsa Stuffed Mini Meat-loaves for dinner the other night and was looking for a side. I decided to try a Southwest Quinoa Salad.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or veggie stock to keep it vegetarian)
1 diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large tomato, diced (I used cherry tomatoes)
fresh lime juice from three limes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup light feta cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
A splash of your favorite hot sauce
Loved everything about this salad. Lime, tomato and cilantro, always a winning combo. I couldn't wait to eat the left overs the next day, tasted even better. This really could be a meal in its self, and can be served as an entree salad. It was a good compliment to the mini meat loaves. I could steal the 1/2 cup of black beans I needed and use the rest in the salad. Don't like cilantro, try parsley or basil. Increase the heat with a diced jalapeno or more hot sauce.
I would love to post with more regularity, I miss my once a week writing slot. Sometimes when the boys are napping at the same time I need a nap too. That way I can handle the frequent night wakings and even take some joy in them.
The recipe for Raspberry Banana Baked Oatmeal has been kicking around my Pinterest to try list for a while. Summer didn't really seem like the right time for something like this. Now that kids are back to school and most of us are into our routines, it is the right time. Although it still doesn't feel like fall, which is fine by me. There is something about the warm orange glow of September sun that I love.
As I discussed in my last post September means back to school. I am no longer going back, but my oldest started playschool this week. We was pumped. So proud of himself with his little MEC backpac slung over his little shoulders. He rushed into the classroom without even saying goodbye. He was ready. When I came to pick him up he came running into my arms, which more than made up for the lack of goodbye.
This is the perfect breakfast to fill your little one's tummies before school, or your own. It is easy to make ahead and re-heat in the morning. There are a lot of make ahead breakfast type casseroles out there. Most involve a lot of eggs and soaking chunks of bread, for sure not for me. I had the perfect amount of oats in the cupboard to make this, meant to be.
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I was generous because I love cinnamon)
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raspberries (can use frozen)
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana
Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, half the walnuts and half the raspberries. (Save the other half of raspberries and walnuts for the top). Spread evenly into baking dish. In the same bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, canola oil and vanilla extract. Arrange the remaining raspberries and walnuts on top. Slice banana over top then pour the milk mixture over. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. Adapted from here.
Loved it. People that are not huge fans of the texture of oatmeal might like this, not mushy. I served it up with a dollop of plain non-fat greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup. This gets two thumbs up nutrition wise too: fiber from oats, walnuts and raspberries and omega three fatty acids from the walnuts and canola oil. If you wanted to you could cut out the brown sugar completely.
There are lots of possible variations as well. You could try strawberry almond or blueberry pumpkin seed or coconut and pineapple. Ideas are endless. This makes breakfast easy.
It is September first today. I just had a conversation with people who hate September. They explained it was the end of summer, the end of flowers, gardens and all things associated with decay (their words). I love September. I got married in September. To me it signals beginnings, new paths and stationary. I was in school for about 22 years. To me September 1 is more of a new year than January 1. During my university years I spent this time of year packing up for my new (likely dumpy) rental in the big city of Victoria or Vancouver. I was equipped with new clothes, hugs from my family and friends and a renewed sense of adventure and independence. It wasn’t like summer was over. There were still enough sunny days to meet for drinks on a patio, wander around campus or wait in a really long, outdoor line-up for a parking pass, student loan documents or used text books. Plus there wasn’t any homework or tests to study for yet. It still feels strange to not be doing those same things even though I have been out of school for five years now.
Soon enough I will be packing my own children’s packsacks for their first day of school. In the mean time I have spent the last while thinking about a lot of other new beginnings. My in-laws have moved closer to us and there are many tiny, sweet babies around. I have also been thinking a lot about friends who have lost a tiny, sweet baby and a recent cluster of my patients getting life altering and potentially life ending diagnoses. New beginnings can be thought of as the end of something. Maybe it is then end of something good or not, but I try to look to the potential of the future.
On the up side of summer winding down: no more crazy chasing/bribing/begging toddler sunscreen applications. I wanted to fit in one more salad recipe while the sun is still shinning: Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad. I use canned chickpeas, easy and affordable. Make sure to rinse them well under cold, running water. It will remove about 40% of the sodium. You can buy low sodium canned beans, but I think they need some salt for flavour.
Chop the spinach very finely (you can use a food processor and pulse 3-4 times). Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl. In the same food processor add the lime juice, cilantro, sugar, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Process til it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for about 10 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge to blend the flavours. Adapted from here.
I think cilantro makes this salad taste so fresh and is a great compliment to lime. This is an interesting way to use spinach. It appealed to me because I am not a huge fan of raw spinach. I find the texture kind of spongy, not a problem when you grind it up. The chickpeas (or garbanzo beans if you are over 50?) add a ton of protein and fiber. Heart healthy olive oil...we have a winner folks. So celebrate the end of summer and welcome the next stage, season, adventure...
Hudson, Sawyer and I had a dance party in the master bedroom. This is a pretty regular event in our house. We put my husband's alarm clock radio on full blast (at Hudson's insistence) and shake it to what ever radio station is the wake up du jour. Today we heard The Rolling Stones, the chorus so fitting for toddler woes:
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
I couldn't help but smile. It has been a rough week around here. A virus complete with fever, aches and sore throat has made its way through both boys. For extra fun Sawyer cut his first tooth at the same time. So early. I swear it is so he can protect himself from older brother. It is really hard to watch your kids feel like garbage. I have needed extra chocolate and wine to address the issue. I think we are on the up swing now...I look forward to leaving the house.
In the mean time the weather has been perfect. This is when I want easy meals that require little time in front of a stove or oven. So many better things to do when the sun is shining, but we still have to eat.
My first memory of Greek salad was when my mom used to buy it as a treat from the deli at Safeway. When Campbell River still had a Safeway. I thought it was so exotic. It continues to be a staple around here. For the last year I have been making my own dressing...I will never go back to the bottle.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Combine together. Easy. Adapted from here.
I often make a double batch and store it in a mason jar. I use it on Greek salad the most. To make it a meal I add 2 cups of cooked, cooled whole wheat pasta (like penne) and a can of chick peas to the usual ingredients. Not into chick peas? Grab a deli roasted chicken....dinner is done. The dressing is also fabulous on green salads . It is on the more vinegar-y side, so cut it back a bit if you don't like that kind of bite. I use fresh herbs if I have them on hand for extra flavour.
Forget want...I need this tonight!
I recently taught a class for the Black Creek Community Association. Love teaching classes, I get to talk about food and answer people's questions....perfect. I focused on how to make over favorite recipes and dishes to be more healthful. During the class I was asked to share my recipe for homemade taco seasoning. Why not share here too? I am in the works of offering another class in the fall. Please share any topics you would like to hear about because I would love to see you there.
Regular readers already know that I am particularly fond of Mexican food. I started making my own spice mix a few years ago when I got tired of the cost of the taco seasoning packs and the amount of sodium (even in the reduced sodium). Plus I liked it with a little more heat. This recipe has never failed me.
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Combine together in a bowl. Store in an air tight container. Two heaping tablespoons equals the amount in the package. Adapted from here.
Can't get easier than that. I have scaled this recipe up, it makes about 1/2 a cup of seasoning mix. I use 2 generous tablespoons of mix per pound of ground meat (choose ground chicken or turkey instead of beef to reduce saturated fat) and add about a 1/4 cup of water and let it simmer. You can make it more or less spicy by adjusting the crushed chillies or adding some cayenne pepper. I really decreased the amount of salt, it can be adjusted to taste as needed. If you are feeling extra creative a nice dash of fresh cilantro after cooking is excellent.
I also use the mix to season black beans to put in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc. A great way to get some extra fiber and have a meatless meal with all the protein. It is also good combined with non-fat Greek yogurt to make a dip or a great addition to a seven layer dip. Don't forget to use it in my Tex Mex shredded chicken recipe too.
The best part: you are in control. You know exactaly what's in it and can adjust based on you own tastes. You will never buy a package again.....
The sun is shining which is the perfect weather for a Mexican feast....don't forget the margaritas!
Raw Kale Salad. Most people would say: mmmm, no thanks. This is one of those recipes you need to take my word for. You will love it. I have taken it to a few get togethers in the last little while. I see people take a small scoop to be polite and to prove to the dietitian they are willing to eat their greens. But, they always come back for more and always ask for the recipe. I honestly could eat the whole bowl myself.
1 large bunch kale center ribs removed, leaves cut into thin strips
Juice from half a lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil to coat lightly
1 small clove garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
1/3 chopped walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
1/2 cup small dill sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried dill
Freshly ground black pepper
About one hour before you plan to eat, put kale and garlic in a large bowl. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Toss to coat.
To serve, add toasted nuts, feta cheese, and dill sprigs to salad and toss. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serves four. Adapted from here.
The acid from the lemon helps to tenderize the kale, giving it a really nice texture. This salad is great for making ahead or potlucks because it can sit without getting mushy, unlike other green, dressed salads. I have been doubling the recipe because it is excellent the next day too. It is also fast to throw together.
I haven't even gotten to the nutrition side yet. Kale is loaded with antioxidants, fiber and minerals. There is heart healthy fats from the olive oil and walnuts (omega 3s)....with a heap of flavour too.
Now that summer is here I know you have BBQs and events to go to. Bring this salad, and the link to my blog. Your friends and family are going to want the recipe. You will thank me.
Tiffany McFadden, RD