Nutrition Month 2016: Take a 100 Meal Journey

Nutrition Month

Have you heard that March is Nutrition Month?? I know I’m a little bit late to the ball game but the past few weeks have been crazy in the Fudge-Antosh household. Plus, a separated shoulder is a great excuse to procrastinate.

Back to my favorite month of the year…

Every year in March, Dietitians of Canada organizes Nutrition Month with a goal of providing information and guidance to make it easier to choose, eat and enjoy healthy food. This years campaign is “Take a 100 Meal Journey: Small Changes, One Meal at a Time.” We consume nearly 100 meals every month and making small changes supported by real life strategies can make those changes last.

Each week is centered around tips, strategies, or ideas to support making small, positive changes:

Week 1 – Get Ready!
The first week is all about joining the 100 meal journey by taking the pledge. I took a pledge to drink water at all of my meals. This is something that I really struggle with. The only time I find myself “craving” water is during physical activity, but at most other times of the day I gravitate towards tea, lattes, or diet carbonated beverages. I plan to use fresh herbs and fruit to help flavor the water and encourage me to drink more!

*Check out the tip sheet

Week 2 – Quality Counts!
This week focuses on making food decisions that support individuals’ goals, such as cooking more meals at home, choosing nutrient-rich foods and substituting ingredients.

*Check out the tip sheet

Week 3 – Prioritize Portion Size!
This week, they provide strategies for individuals to be aware of selecting realistic portion sizes during their 100 Meal Journey.

*Check out the tip sheet

Week 4 – Try Something New!
Because taste is the number one reason for food choice, this week focuses on nourishing meal and snack ideas that are delicious!

*Check out the tip sheet

Week 5 – Make it Stick!
Every journey encounters detours along the way. This week’s tips will equip people with doable strategies to put in place during their 100 Meal Journey and make healthy eating stick!

*Check out the tip sheet

The Dietitians of Canada have also put together two recipes for the campaign that look delish and I am really excited to try. Click on the links to get the recipes!

Garden Veggie Buddha Bowl

Spice Roasted Peach and Yogurt Parfaits

Make sure to comment below if you make the pledge and share what your goal is 🙂

Check out the Dietitians of Canada website for more information.

Almond Roca Chickpea Muffins

So I’ve had quite the weekend….Thursday evening I had my second playoff game (I play in an old ladies ringette league) and we were playing the first place team. We’ve played this team two to three times previously and we generally lose by about ten goals. In some weird twist of fate we were tied 4-4 at the end of the 2nd period (we only play two periods in ringette). With 15 seconds left in overtime, I was racing down the ice towards the ring, circling around the net and I caught an edge and went shoulder first into the boards. As I was skating back to the bench I noticed a bone sticking out of the top of my shoulder that doesn’t usually do so. My first thought was dislocated shoulder. Luckily, my mom and my husband were watching the game and they quickly shuttled me to the emergency department. I made it into a room quickly….apparently the crying and hyperventilation speeds things up a little. Long story short, I have a Grade 4 AC (clavicle) dislocation. Which means I can no longer dress myself, brush my teeth properly or effectively wash my hair. So in other words I had a team of people help bake, photograph and blog about these unbelievable muffins (Big shout out to:  Sam, Steph, Karly, my husband and my mom). And in case you are wondering, we won in a shoot out (that makes the injury slightly more bearable).

Now let’s talk about these amazing muffins. Our Chickie Dough feature flavor this month was Almond Roca and I had a slight obsession with it, which is why I wanted to immortalize them in a muffin. These muffins are special for a few reasons: they are made with chickpeas, have a combo of oil, avocado and greek yogurt as the fat source and they taste totally indulgent and fudgy. I’ve tried making these with splenda and brown sugar and the version with brown sugar are a thousand times better, so I wouldn’t suggest subbing this ingredient out. And here we go.

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Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 avocado
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup skor bits
Chopped almonds

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Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. and prepare your muffin tin.
  • Add the first 6 ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the next 5 ingredients.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well (I used my mixer for this step).
  • Add the skor bits and mix to combine.
  • Scoop batter evenly into muffin tin and top with chopped almonds (my almonds were pre-roasted).
  • Bake muffins for 35 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Makes 12 Muffins
Nutrition Facts (1 Muffin): 190 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0.1 gram trans fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium, 26 grams carbs, 3 grams fibre, 10 grams sugar, 6 grams protein.

Birthday Month: Ampersand 27

Seven months ago I got married and at that moment I went from having three wonderful parents to having eight! Blended families are pretty much the norm these days, but I think my husband and I take this to a whole new level. I didn’t know it yet, but at that moment birthdays went from a weekend event to a month long celebration. All I can say is – I am not complaining!

Last night I celebrated my birthday for the third time this month at Ampersand 27. I tend to be the most adventurous family member when it comes to food, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was told to put together a charcuterie board for the table to start. I wanted to choose items that I knew everyone would enjoy and this is what we ended up with:

  • Prosciutto de Parma
  • Bison Smokies
  • Appenzeller
  • Pecorino
  • Pickled Asparagus Spears
  • Hummus
  • In House Bavarian Pretzel
  • Blueberry & Port Chutney
  • Maple Grainy Mustard

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I think it’s safe to say I chose well, because the food disappeared in about 2.5 minutes flat. My personal favorites were the appenzeller cheese (perfectly firm and creamy swiss style cow cheese), the bison smokies, and the pretzel with honey mustard (plus it was in the shape of an ampersand – how cute is that??). It was clear that the asparagus had been pickled using fennel, which is kind of unfortunate, as most of the table really dislikes the black licorice flavor it gives. But, overall a huge win.

The “Butcher’s Pride” feature was a meatloaf made with 90% bison and 10% beef, served with tricolor baby potatoes and kale. The “Captain’s Catch” feature was a seafoood green curry with scallops, shrimp, mussels and salmon over coconut rice. I instantly knew what I was going to order – I am a sucker for green curry! Between the five of us, we ordered two of the “Captain’s Catch”, two of the “Butcher’s Pride” and one Organic Free Range Chicken (Apple Hickory Smoke, Honey, Herbs, Little Gems and Vegetables).IMG_3941IMG_3944IMG_3943

Everything was delicious and we all left absolutely STUFFED. It was brought up that we were charged $1 per person for water, but when I saw this on the menu I was totally on board:

“Proudly Serving Q Water – In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint & support charity all are welcome to our unlimited filtered still or sparkling water at the cost of $1 per guest. Partial proceeds of Q Water sales will be donated to Mealshare. Thank You”
Mealshare is an organization that partners with restaurants to raise money for individuals in need. If you want to learn more about what Mealshare is all about check out their website: http://www.mealshare.ca/
I would definitely recommend Ampersand 27 as a place to meet friends for cocktails and charcuterie or to go for dinner on a special occasion. The service was amazing and the decor is absolutely beautiful. Check it out!

What’s in Store in 2016?

https://i1.wp.com/www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/pulses-2016/logos-resources/LOGO_IYP-en-high-horizontal.jpgDo you love wandering the aisles of the grocery store? I’m not sure if it’s a dietitian thing, but I could spend hours slowly walking up and down each aisle looking at new products and reading nutrition labels. Not only is it totally fun, for a food nerd like myself, it’s also important to know what clients are referring to when they bring up a specific product they use or love. So naturally, when I received an invitation from the Dietitians of Canada to attend a grocery store tour at my local Save-on-Foods I couldn’t say no! This specific tour was lead by my friend and fellow dietitian, Karol Sekulic, and focused on pulses and legumes, anti-inflammatory foods, and hidden sugars.

 

Those of you who know me, know that I have a very special relationship with chickpeas. Which is why I am beyond excited that the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Some of you are probably thinking – “what the heck is a pulse?!” A pulse is a lentil, dried bean, dried pea, or a chickpea and they are ridiculously awesome (but we will talk more about that later).

 

The tour started where any good trip to the grocery store starts – the produce section. Here is a snapshot of the discussion:

 

Inflammation is a totally normal and necessary response that your immune system has when your body is healing a wound or fighting infection. But sometimes, this response goes into overdrive. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s have all been linked to chronic (aka long term) inflammation. There are a number of factors that contribute to inflammation such as insufficient duration and quality of sleep, BPA’s (found in some plastic food and beverage container’s such as water bottles), smoking, stress, obesity and diets with large amounts of refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, red meat and processed meat.

 

*The World Health Organization recommends that individuals reduce their intake of free sugars to 6-12 teaspoons per day. FYI – one can of coke contains just over 8 teaspoons of sugar!

 

*The Canadian Cancer Society recommends limiting processed meats such as hot dogs and bacon as much as possible (only special occasions!) and consuming no more than three 3oz servings of red meat per week.

 

The good news is – there are patterns of eating which have been found to help with the reduction of inflammation. This is what you need to know:

 

Eat more vegetables and fruit – There is a reason you hear this over and over and over. Dark green and orange vegetables contain antioxidants that reduce inflammatory markers. It’s a fact and you should probably do it.

 

Choose whole grains and high fibre foods – As I mentioned before, obesity is an inflammatory disease. When you have a large amount of adipose (fat) tissue, you release a larger amount of adipokines, which cause increased inflammation in your body. Research shows that people who have a diet high in fibre, generally have a lower body weight. So, essentially: higher fibre = lower body weight = less inflammation.

 

Incorporate more omega 3’s into your diet – Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to reduce interleukin 6 and c-reactive protein, which are inflammatory markers found in the body. There are three types of omega 3 fats – DHA, EPA and ALA. DHA and EPA are found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, anchovy, mackerel and sablefish (if you don’t like fish try taking a fish oil supplement). ALA is found in flax oil, walnuts, and canola oil.

 

Drink green tea – Catechins are antioxidant compounds found in green, black and oolong tea. It is recommended that you drink 3-5 cups per day, preferably on an empty stomach (helps with absorption). So, if you are able to drink 3-5 cups of green tea in the morning before your stomach starts eating itself – good on you! I will continue drinking my 1-2 cups before breakfast and have the rest on a full and satisfied stomach.

 

PS – my absolute FAVOURITE hot drink right now is lemon green tea with a ¼ of a fresh lemon and a little bit of stevia. Heavenly.

 

Cook with pulses as much as humanly possible – but seriously, pulses are amazing. In regards to inflammation, beans are known to reduce inflammation as they have high levels of bioactive molecules, as well as provide relief from inflammatory bowel disease. But beyond inflammation, pulses are rich in many nutrients such as protein, fibre, iron, folate, and potassium, and are low in fat and cholesterol-free. They are a delicious and budget friendly meat alternative and you can use them in sauces, soups, salads, chili, casseroles, and baked goods. And if that isn’t enough, Canada is the world leader in pulse production/sales (#local) and they have nitrogen-fixing properties, which can contribute to increasing soil fertility and have a positive impact on the environment. WOW.

 

I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing about it! Check out this link if you are interested in setting up a nutrition tour at Save-on: http://www.saveonfoods.com/nutrition-tours.

Persimmon, Butternut Squash and Rosemary Winter Smoothie

When you live in a place that gets so cold the air hurts your face it can be a challenge to eat seasonal in the winter months. In the fresh fruit department your options are pretty much limited to cranberries, pomegranate, citrus, pears and persimmons (unless you are willing to spend $5 dollars on half a cup of berries – which I am not!).

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About a month ago I came across a recipe for a beautiful spiced persimmon tart with vanilla crème fraishe and fresh rosemary and the first thing I thought was – that would make an amazing winter smoothie! There are A LOT of smoothie recipes out there and for good reason. Smoothies are a great way to sneak vegetables and fruit into your diet, they have endless flavor combinations, make an awesome meal or snack and are quick and easy to prepare.

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This particular recipe uses butternut squash and persimmon, which are orange in color, readily available in the winter and rich in fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin A. The addition of fresh rosemary is delicious – but if mixing fruit, squash, and rosemary is outside your comfort zone feel free to leave it out. Also, the sweetness comes exclusively from the persimmon, so if you like your smoothies on the sweeter side feel free to use a vanilla yogurt (rather than plain) or add a sweetener of your choice.

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If you try out this recipe, leave me a note in the comments section and tell me what you think!

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*BIG thanks to my friend Diane for these beautiful hand blown glasses!

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup 0% greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 ripe persimmon, chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash, diced and frozen
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth.

Nutrition Information:

327 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 175 mg sodium, 62 g carbohydrate, 9 g fibre, 29 g sugar, 21 g protein

Gold Forest Grains – Homemade Bread

 

Bread

March was Nutrition Month and in true dietitian style we had a potluck on Dietitian Day to celebrate. One of my coworkers made mini muffins using Gold Forest Grains flour – a local processor of farm-milled organic flour and whole grain products. I have been meaning to try out their flour for a long time now, but trying those delicious muffins put a fire under me. After a day at the Old Strathcona Market I stopped by the Gold Forest Grains stall and picked up some Park Wheat Flour. “This is organic whole grain flour milled fresh daily from a antique variety of wheat called Park. This is the freshest baking quality flour available anywhere…guaranteed. Made from a heritage variety of Hard Red Spring Wheat. The protein for this wheat is perfect for bread and general baking.” I went to their blog to find a recipe for bread and I decided on the “Gold Forest Bread” recipe, mostly because it had a shorter cooking time and I REALLY wanted to eat bread. Stat. I have made this bread twice and my mom has made it once and it was delicious every time. I kept my bread in a ziploc bag and it stayed fresh for almost a week! You need to try this recipe and you need to try Gold Forest Grains flour.

Ingredients:
– 1.5 cup milk
– 2 tsp yeast
– 2 Tbsp honey
– 4 cups park wheat flour
– 2 tsp salt
– 0.25 cup oil

Instructions:

1. Heat milk in a sauce pan until it reaches 100 degrees. Remove from heat.
2. Add yeast and honey to milk and stir until well mixed. Set aside for 10-15 minutes or until it begins to bubble and foam.
3. In a mixer using the bread hook, add flour and yeast mixture and mix on low.
4. Add oil and salt and allow to mix for 10 minutes. While the bread is mixing, grease a loaf pan.
5. Once the dough is kneaded it will be elastic feeling and moist to the touch. Shape it to the bread pan and place pan in a warm spot with a light towel over top.
6. Let dough rise for about an hour.
7. After risen, put in an oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Green Smoothie

I have taken to the green smoothie trend as of late and being that it is St. Patrick’s Day I thought it would be the perfect time to share it with all of you! I have been drinking this just about every morning for the past two weeks and I still love it, which must count for something…

Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup plain 0% greek yogurt
– 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
– 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
– 1/2 cup frozen mango
– 1 cup skim milk
– 1/2 cup fresh spinach
– 1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro

Instructions:

– Put everything in the blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Week in Review

So I’m not sure if you’ve heard… but my New Year’s resolution was to become a morning person. When I told Alex & my mom & my friends they all looked at me like I was an idiot & proceeded to tell me it was never going to happen. I like to sleep a lot more than the average individual. Prior to this little experiment I would have told you that I need at LEAST 8-9 hours of sleep to function as a contributing member of society. Now I would say it’s probably more like 7-8 hours. I have been extremely successful thus far & now have the time to not only make dinner on a more regular basis but also make it to the gym (which probably has something to do with me being energetic on 7-8 hours of sleep)! Here are the recipes I tried out last week. There is a good mixture of vegetarian & animal proteins, in my opinion.

Easy BBQ Tofu

Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce (I used Kraft low calorie)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Slice tofu into rectangles.
  2. Add oil to the skillet and then the tofu. Spread tofu out into a single layer, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and fry for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
  3. Flip each piece of tofu and fry for another 5-6 minutes, or until golden all over.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the BBQ sauce to coat the tofu. Serve immediately with more sauce on the side if desired.

I served this with gourmet (kidding) minute rice (Alex’s favourite) & steamed broccoli with chipotle salt!

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Italian Bean Balls

beanballs

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats, processed into a coarse flour
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast the walnuts for 7-9 minutes until fragrant and golden.
  2. Meanwhile, add the oats into the food processor and process until finely chopped. You want the texture to be like a coarse flour.
  3. Add the grated carrot, chopped parsley, basil, garlic, walnuts, and oat flour into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the drained and rinsed beans into the food processor and process until finely chopped. You want the mixture to be a coarse paste with some beans still intact, but don’t completely puree the mixture. Stir the processed beans & egg into the bowl with the vegetables & oat flour.
  5. Stir the oil, oregano, salt, pepper, and paprika into the bowl.
  6. Shape the mixture into 18-20 balls (the size of golf-balls), packing each ball tightly between your hands so it holds together well. Place each ball onto the prepared baking sheet an inch or two apart.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then gently flip the balls and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden on both sides.
  8. Serve with spaghetti squash & pasta sauce

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Roasted Tomato & Chicken Flatbread with Cashew Cheeze

flatbread

Ingredients:

roasted tomatoes:

  • 2 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

basil cashew cheese:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup roasted tomatoes (from above)
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste

Crust:

  • Large tortillas

Instructions:

  1. Place cashews in a bowl of water and soak for at least 1 hour. Rinse and drain before use. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop tomatoes and place in a bowl and mix with olive oil, vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on prepared pan and roast for about 30 minutes. Remove and reduce heat to 350F.
  2. For the sauce: In a food processor, mince garlic cloves. Add the basil followed by the roasted tomatoes and drained and rinsed cashews. Stop to scrape down the side of the bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until super smooth. Season with salt.
  3. Place your desired amount of tortillas on baking sheet. Spread sauce on each tortilla followed by a generous amount of roasted tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes at 350F or until crisp and golden. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Oh She Glows

 

Pork Chops with Peppered Apples & Warm Chard Slaw

 Porkchop

Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless fast-fry pork chops
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Peppered Apples:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 sweet-tart apples, cubed
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp coarse pepper
  • 1 pinch salt

Warm Chard Slaw:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Peppered Apples: In skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook apples, stirring often, until tender crisp, about 4 minutes. Stir in cider and honey; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in pepper and salt. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook chops, in batches and turning once, until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to plate; keep warm.
  3. Warm Chard Slaw: In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook garlic, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in honey until melted. Stir in chard; cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve with pork chops, apples & starch of your choice.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Shrimp & Tomato Stew with Lemon Orzo

 shrimpstew

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp each smoked paprika, and ground cumin
  • Pinch hot pepper flakes
  • 1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bag peeled & deveined shrimp, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Lemony Orzo:

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook leek, carrot and fennel, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, half each of the pepper and salt, the paprika, cumin and hot pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 cup water; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle shrimp and scallops with remaining pepper and salt. Stir into tomato mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and scallops are opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in parsley.
  4. Lemony Orzo: Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice. Serve with stew.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Fresh Start to the Year – Inspired by Oh She Glows

I had the best holiday season this year! Between relaxing on the beach in Mexico, spending time with family and friends, and eating four (yes, four!) big dinners I couldn’t ask for anything else. I got absolutely spoiled beyond belief (still cashing in on having divorced parents at 25 years old) but I have to say that one of my favorite gifts this year was the Oh She Glows cookbook by Angela Liddon. I have been following the Oh She Glows blog for the past 6 years and I absolutely love everything about it. She has a really cool story including overcoming an eating disorder, starting a small business selling Glo Bars at the Farmer’s Market, and eventually transitioning to a full time job creating recipes, taking photos of her food, and blogging about it! Although I don’t follow a vegan diet, I find her recipes so creative and super tasty! I usually make easy non-vegan swaps such as using cow’s milk instead of plant milk, regular eggs instead of flax eggs, regular cheese instead of vegan cheese.. you get the idea.

So for the first week of post Christmas gluttony I decided to plan all of my meals out of my new cookbook! Alex loved the sound of all the recipes right until I let it slip that we should probably add meat to one of the meals, considering they’re all vegan…”That’s a vegan cookbook?! If I would have known that I wouldn’t have told my brother to buy it for you!!” Needless to say, when all was said and done he was more than satisfied with everything he ate!

PS. I have added/changed a few thing as compared to the original recipes.

Here is our week in review:

Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons

tomatosoup

Ingredients:

Chickpea Croutons
– 1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 1 tsp olive oil
– 1/2 tsp dried oregano
– 1/8 tsp of paprika
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp onion powder
– salt to taste

Tomato Soup
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 small onion, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked (overnight)
– 2 cups vegetable broth
– 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
– 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and rinsed
– 4 Tbsp tomato paste
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– salt to taste
– 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

– Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and dry chickpeas thoroughly with paper towels.
– Transfer chickpeas to a bowl and combine with olive oil, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
– Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread chickpeas in even layer on the baking sheet.
– Bake for 15 minutes, shake pan from side to side and cook for 15 minutes more.
– Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.

– In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
– In a blender, combine soaked cashews and broth and blend on high until creamy.
– Add garlic/onion mixture, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste and blend until smooth.
– Pour tomato mixture into saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and stir in oregano, salt, and pepper.
– Top soup with 1/2 cup of chickpea croutons and enjoy!

Empowered Noodle Bowl with Thai Peanut Sauce

noodlebowl

Ingredients:

Peanut Sauce
– 1 clove garlic
– 2 Tbsp sesame oil
– 3 Tbsp peanut butter
– 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
– 3 Tbsp lemon juice
– 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
– 2 tsp brown sugar

Salad
– 2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
– 4 oz soba noodles
– olive oil for the noodles
– 1 (16 oz) bag edamame beans, shelled
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1/2 cucumber, diced
– 1 carrot, diced
– 4 green onions, chopped
– 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
– sesame seeds, for serving

Instructions:

– In a food processor, combine garlic, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, and 3 Tbsp water. Process until combined.
– Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions. Be sure not to overcook them. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil (to prevent noodles from sticking).
– Add chicken, edamame, pepper, cucumber, carrot, green onion, and cilantro to noodles. Toss until well combined.
– Garnish with sesame seeds.

Loaded Savory Oatmeal and Lentil Bowl

Savouryoatmeal

Ingredients:

– 1/3 cup rolled oats
– 1/4 cup green lentils
– 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 3 Tbsp onion, diced
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings
– Salsa
– Hummus
– Tomato, chopped
– Cheddar cheese, shredded
– Cilantro, chopped
– Chipotle salt

Instructions:

– In a medium saucepan, combine the oats, lentils, broth, garlic, and onion. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 12 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
– Add desired toppings.

Chana Masala

Chala

Ingredients:

– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
– 1 Tbsp ginger, grated
– 1 serrano pepper, minced
– 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
– 1 1/2 tsp coriander
– 1/2 tsp tumeric
– salt to taste
– 1/4 tsp paprika
– 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
– 3 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– Lemon juice
– Cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

– In a large saucepan, saute the onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano in olive oil. Cook for a few minutes and add garam masala, cumin, coriander, tumeric, salt, and paprika and cook for 2 minutes.
– Add diced tomatoes, raise heat to medium high and add the chickpeas. Simmer for 10 minutes.
– Serve over rice and top with lemon juice and fresh cilantro.

Caulipower Fettuccine Alfredo

Serve along side a baked chicken breast and Caesar salad!

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Ingredients:

– 4 cups cauliflower florets (1 bag frozen florets)
– 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 3/4 cup milk
– 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– Salt to taste
– Pepper to taste
– Whole wheat fettuccine

Instructions:

– Add cauliflower florets to a large bowl, add water and microwave for 5 minutes or until heated through.
– Meanwhile, add oil into a skillet and saute the minced garlic over low heat for 4-5 minutes until softened and fragrant.
– In a blender, add the cooked and drained cauliflower, sauteed garlic, milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until a super smooth sauce forms. Set aside.
– Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your desired amount of pasta and boil for the time instructed on the package. Drain pasta.
– Add cauliflower sauce into the pot and add the drained pasta. Heat over low until heated through. Salt to taste.

North 53

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a Dietitians of Canada continuing education event at North 53. I have been meaning to check out this spot for months, with an extra push since making the top 10 list in Enroute Magazine’s – Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2014. After receiving an email from a colleague about the Pure Prairie Eating Plan hosted at North 53 I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to check out a new restaurant, network with other dietitians, and learn more about the work that Dr. Chan and Dr. Bell have been doing on translating the recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide and applying them to whole foods that are commonly grown and consumed in the prairie provinces.

When I arrived the room was set up as one long communal table, which worked really well for meeting others who were attending the event. I was eager to find out what we would be eating that night (as it was a five course meal!!) and I was happy to see a menu printed for each guest that outlined the evening. The first course was cream of broccoli soup and Avonlea cheddar biscuits. The second course was sous vide short ribs with charred onion, red pepper sauce, and aligot potato. The third course was a homemade yeasted doughnut with maple ice cream. The fourth course was sunflower seed caramel, apple crab pate de fruit, and rum spiked baby brioche. WOW. They definitely did not feel the need to lighten things up for the room full of dietitians. I’m all for indulging once in a while but this was over the top!

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The broccoli soup tasted as if the broccoli had been charred prior to being incorporated into the soup creating an extremely smoky flavour. The soup was served with the biscuits, which were baked fresh and brought directly to the table. When you broke apart that biscuit all you could see was melty delicious cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever had a biscuit that felt like it was half flour and half cheese before, but it was unbelievable. I love cheese. Needless to say, I could have probably stopped eating after the first course and been satisfied for the rest of the evening.

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Next up was the short ribs. Does a charred onion count as a vegetable with dinner? Maybe the broccoli pureed with cream was the vegetable..whatever, I’m over it. The meat was tasty and not overly fatty (which I was kind of expecting with short ribs) and served with the most decadent mashed potatoes ever. I’m guessing they were 30% butter, 30% cheese, and 30 % potato. This place must have a HUGE dairy budget. I don’t think I had any red pepper sauce on my place like it said in the menu but maybe it was just a glaze on the short ribs?

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After a bit of a break the doughnuts came out. They were freshly fried, coated in sugar and paired with maple ice cream. At this point I was surprised that I was even considering eating one more bit. But fresh doughnuts? Come on. You can’t pass that up. I’m a sucker for ice cream and this one was no exception. It was SUPER creamy. I wonder if they make it in house or get it from a local supplier like Pinocchio’s? Either way it was delicious. The doughnut on the other hand didn’t really float my boat. They were quite hard on the outside, hard to cut through, and less fluffy than I was expecting from a yeast doughnut. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t do a better job myself but at this point it just wasn’t worth the calories, so I only ate a few bites.

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Dessert number two! They servers brought out beautiful wood platters full of treats. At this point I snuck away to the washroom and asked for a to-go box on my way out. There was no way I could fit those little sugar bombs in my tummy. I ended up offering them up to my fiancé when I got home but boy did they look great!

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I had an awesome time at North 53 and I would definitely go back to try out their regular menu. I also saw that they had a second grand opening with a new menu and new chef! It’s great to see the strong focus on local ingredients and creative flavours!