Superbowl Sunday’s Spicy Sweet Potato Fries With Smoked Paprika & Cilantro

In my house, the Superbowl is really just one grand excuse for epic food!

HEALTHY epic food, of course, and although I’m by no means a football fan, I’ll take any occasion for a gathering with friends. Whether this post serves your Superbowl needs or is coming in preparation for future events, these are your perfect feast-friendly fries.

Warning: sweet potatoes will spoil the joys of classic fries for you once and for all.

  • In this recipe, the otherwise deep-fried, greasy, starchy, russet potatoes (of which Americans are estimated to consume 11.2 million pounds of them as potato chips this day alone) have made way for flavourful wedges of sweet potatoes, oven baked to golden perfection.
  • The white,  inflammatory vinegar I once soaked (or rather drenched) my fries in as a child, has long since been replaced by its health boosting counterpart: apple cider vinegar and sugary ketchup is swapped for stone ground mustard or my personal favourite: guacamole! Americans are estimated to consume around 80 million  avocados today, enough to fill a 12-foot deep football field according to Men’s Health.

Football fans: I may not share your love of the game but I do share in your devotion to guacamole!

superbowl sweet potato fries

I have experimented with a multitude of flavour combinations but this recipe has me hooked.

With smoked paprika, the bite of garlic, the kick of cayenne pepper, and the crunch of course sea salt, I admit that I’ve failed to try any other combination since. I can’t. And believe me, I have tried..

My hand will waiver momentarily over the dried thyme but misses and grasps the fragrant basil and oregano instead. I’ll aim for the rosemary in the cupboard but slip and land on the tin of smoked paprika. As I get bored easily and thoroughly enjoy the adventurous combinations cooked up in the kitchen, this remains the testament to how truly delicious this recipe is!

 

4 SWEET FACTS OF SWEET POTATOES

  • The stunning orange of this root vegetable comes from the carotenoid: beta-carotene known to boost the immune system, enhance vision (when converted to Vitamin A) and provides anti-cancer effects. A particularly handy defense for those of us who live in the cancer belt.
  • The anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin A contribute to glowing skin and help ward off acne promoting bacteria.
  • Both steaming and baking (as we do in this recipe) increases the bioavailability of beta-carotene so that your body can obtain more of this nutrient!
    • Tip: once peeled, oxidization causes the sweet potato to lose some of it’s nutrients, so you’ll want to pop the fries into the oven right away.
  • Adding coconut oil to this dish enhances the absorption of beta-carotene. Being a fat-soluable nutrient, it needs to be in the presence of fat to be properly absorbed.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes (Peeled if non-organic, washed with skins if organic)
  • 2 TBSPs melted coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 Himalayan sea salt (I use a mixture of course and fine)
  • 2 Tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 Tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Dried basil
  • Sprinkling (approx. 1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper *optional”
  • Dash of cracked black pepper
  • Cilantro to garnish *optional”

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Mix seasonings in a large bowl. (I leave the course sea salt for when they come fresh out of the oven)
  • Chop sweet potatoes evenly. For crisper fries, slice thinly, for more rustic wedges, cut into chunkier sections. What matters most is that they are all about the same size so that they will bake evenly.
  • Transfer into a glass pan (large enough so that they all lie flat), drizzle with oil and toss with the seasonings.
  • Bake 15 mins, remove from oven and flip them over with a spatula.
  • Pop them back into the oven for another 10-15 mins or until golden brown around the edges. For thick wedges; pierce one with a fork to ensure that the middle is soft and well cooked through. They may require more or less time depending on the size of your fries so keep an eye on them.
  • Remove, sprinkle with the sea salt, transfer into a bowl with cilantro to offset the spiciness of your fries and serve!

NOTES:

  • You will taste the difference between organic and non-organic sweet potatoes, try this yourself and see! But for your guests today, opt for organic as they offer the richest depths of flavour for these fries.

While my Superbowl party will find me with fellow alumni cast members for play rehearsals and meetings at my yoga studio, there will be no shortage of food in the kitchen (and packed as snacks for the evening).

Give these a try and share with me your favourite combinations so that maybe, just maybe, I will have a fighting chance of reaching for a new and enticing flavourful recipe.

Until then, enjoy every sweet bite of this sweet potato super-bowl! 🙂

Suzanne Eden

Feature Friday // Cashmere & The Barefoot Contessa’s Lentil Vegetable Soup

Whether you’re desiring to entice the entire family to the dinner table, searching for a chemical-free home fragrance, or seeking to cozy in with a cashmere sweater and a bowl of something just as comforting,

this is your fix!

There is nothing more suited to cozy sweater weather then a simmering pot of steaming stew, aromatic with herbs and spices, hearty and holistic with vegetables and lentils. For this one, we have Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa to thank!

 

 

cashmere

6 Reasons to love lentils:

  • Reduced cholesterol
    • High in soluble fibre which helps to control cholesterol levels.
  • Stable Blood Sugar
    • Say goodbye to the post lunch crash! With the soluble fibre to slow the digestion of carbohydrates (sugars), you will be keeping blood sugar levels stable. This makes lentils a great option for those with hypoglycemia and diabetes.
  • Promotes Proper Digestion
    • The insoluble fibre helps to regulate your digestive system to prevent constipation and promote proper elimination of toxins from the body.
  • Heart Health
    • Lentils are also a great source of folate to lower homocysteine levels (correlated with increased risk of heart problems) and magnesium to improve blood flow and oxygenation to the entire body.
  • Energy
    • Complex carbohydrates are metabolized slowly leading to steady and sustained energy much like a hearty bowl of steel-cut oats. Lentils are also a great source of B vitamins and iron, both essential for high energy.
  • Vegetarian protein
    • The protein source of meatless Mondays! Though I do not follow any one day, 1-2X a week I participate in eating meat free. This means that my protein is sourced from plant-based whole foods which includes lentils. Just remember to pair this with food that will make a complete protein (having a net result of all essential amino acids) such as quinoa.

 

 

Holistic Recipe Swaps:

  • Kosher salt for Himalayan:
    • You will need to season wisely here as Himalayan salt is generally a finer grind more reminiscent of table salt. This pretty pink salt offers a higher and broader range of health benefits.
  • Chicken Stock:
    • Look for a quality chicken stock. Health food stores are excellent places to prowl for your pantry. Check the ingredients list to ensure that it is all real food, free of yeast when possible. The brand I like for broth is Pacific.
  • Red Wine Vinegar:
    • Where the recipe states that red wine and the vinegar are interchangeable, I recommend staying away from the wine to avoid all possible sulfites. Opt for the red wine vinegar instead.
  • Cheese:
    • We omitted the cheese entirely. This was not only for the sake of optimal health but also for the flavours of the soup to stand out on their own, as they did.

Holistic Hacks

  • Make in large batches to enjoy through the week and freeze to thaw on late nights when you want to heat up a quick and warming soup.

 

THE RECIPE

Find the full recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lentil-vegetable-soup-recipe.html

lentil pizza

THE SWITCH UPS

The wonderful thing about this soup is its versatility. My personal favourites:

  1. Wrap it up – Create wraps by easily separating spoonfuls of lentils and vegetables from the broth. I wrapped mine in sushi rice wraps with avocado, salsa, lettuce and olives. You could also use other gluten-free wraps, nori sheets, collard leaves, or lettuce leaves. Try it with humus or stone ground mustard or perhaps pesto, there are endless options available!
  2. Top your pizza & pasta – Using a brown rice wrap as a crust, I topped the pizza with a layer of tomato paste mashed with garden fresh tomatoes into a pizza sauce and layered the lentil mix (without the broth) on top. You could mix this soup into your next pasta sauce as well.
  3. Add it to roasted vegetables – Roast root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and beets in the oven and add some of the soup for extra flavouring to the dish.

 

With a few swaps, this recipe became one the whole family enjoyed with the Barefoot Contessa to thank! Though they quickly regretted my ability to eat it as the leftovers mysteriously vanished (Oops! 😉 ), I think this stew will be making a comeback to the table again very soon.

To your cozy cashmere Fridays,

Suzanne Eden

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways To Strike A Homerun With Homemade Pizza

Golden, flavourful and highly addictive, these effortlessly healthy pizzas are guaranteed to knock it out of the ballpark!

 

homemade pizza

Much like myself, cheering on both teams at the recent baseball game,  this is pizza that plays the field as both a holistically healthy meal and sinfully addictive dish.

Before we take a swing at this one, however, there were a few lessons learned in the name of striking out at a sports game…

  • Firstly: do not to attempt to attend the Blue Jays game in Toronto as a New York Yankees fan (more accurately a New York Yankees logo fan with the desire to sport a baseball cap at a baseball game).
    • For the record, I assure you I’m team Toronto Maple Leafs, if only to create a loving family rivalry with my uncle’s team being the Ottawa Senators!
Needless to say I was now left with three goals:
  1. Catch a Yankees game.
  2. Avoid getting beaten up by Jays fans before making it to Yankees game.
  3. Spot a fellow Yankees fans in the sold out crowd of white and blue. (we spotted 7 between the concession stands, walking from the stadium and standing at the train station… 8 if you want to include me!).

Baseball game

So I struck out on that one but we did come fully prepared for our final goal as we stashed a couple double chocolate chip vegan protein bars as an easily packable, filling treat to offset the tempting scents wafting their way through the stands.

  • Goal #4: remain unseduced by the alluring aromas that had us craving our latest obsession of make-your-own-pizzas.

Seeing as hotdogs that warranted their own seat by the size of them, greasy pizzas more slippery than the batter’s hard hats, and trails of butter popcorn, strike out faster than you can say Yankees fan, I waited to satisfy my craving until I was in the comfort of my own kitchen…

Genuine health
 Fresh, wholesome pizza on golden, crispy thin crust! These take minimal time to make, are loaded with vegetables (it’s basically salad), effortless and in no need of cheese (but I will still give you options!).

With this, allow me to pitch to you my top 3 tips to hit a home run  on your next pizza!

1: First – Base

The Strike Out:
  • Classic pizza crusts consist of  processed grains, devoid of fibre, which break down to sugar in the body, thus promoting unstable blood sugar and insulin levels, and encourage inflammation.
  • Whole grain pizza crusts and pita breads are no better as these, too, contain glutenous grains which have been heavily refined.

The Holistic Swap:

  • Opt for wraps as the perfect base to your thin crust pizza! Choose between gluten-free brown rice wraps or Ezekiel (a sprouted grain) if you can tolerate gluten.
  • They become soft in the middle from the sauce and crispy around the edges. Being thin and mild in flavour, you will taste more of the toppings rather than the starchy breads and have my full nutritionist-approved-permission to eat the whole pizza!
 

2. Second base- the sauces

The Strike Out
  • Have a look at the ingredients of your favourite tomato sauce. Many are loaded with added sugars, dairy, soy and preservatives.
  • One cup of tomato sauce can add up to 20 grams of sugar!

The Holistic Swap:

  • Ideally we would be making our own pizza sauces. I do this year round by freezing our excess of homegrown tomatoes in the freezer to defrost and make sauces through the winter. By making your own, you control the quality of ingredients and can ensure that there are no added sugars being incorporated.
  • Alternative options:
    • Use tomato paste as the base. Look for tomato paste that comes in a glass jar instead of a can which leaches BPA’s and other harmful chemicals.
    • Use pasta sauces. Look carefully at the label. These sauces will be more flavourful but should be mixed with tomato paste/puree to reduce the sugar content.
    • Create a pesto pizza using a dairy-free pesto spread across the crust.

3. Top it off

The Strike Out
  • Greasy pools of pepperoni and cheese are about as far out in left field as we can come with low-grade meat and dairy.

The Holistic Swap:

  • For toppings:
    • Veggie overload: lightly stir-fry the vegetables first to soften them as the pizza won’t be in the oven for long.
    • My favourites: red pepper, artichokes, broccoli, green olives, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Creamy cheese substitutes:
    • If you are adamant on cheese, look for goat’s or sheep cheese which are more easily digestible and use sparingly.
    • Avocado is my favourite swap being creamy in texture, mild and complimentary in flavour.
    • Nutritional yeast: This adds a nutty, almost cheesy flavour when sprinkled on top and melts over your freshly baked pizza.
  • Additional:
    • I’m slightly obsessed with garlic powder and it gets sprinkled generously over my pizzas creating a 3 foot radius between myself and fellow diners. It adds a delicious boost of flavour without overpowering the slice.
    • Add fresh leaves of basil, tabasco for heat, etc. Get creative!
The switch up: making these with kids? Remember that they are wraps and you can roll them into pizza wraps to avoid a mess of toppling toppings.
~*~
 I have been obsessed with pizzas in all different varieties. Having long texting conversations of the copious amount of combinations we could try (Mexican, Mediterranean, sushi pizza), I’ll admit I’ve even dreamt about them and I would love to hear what you cook up!
Though the Yankees won that night 6-4 (and you can bet I sported that hat in pride the whole game through),  the Blue Jays played an incredible game and might have officially swung me to their side… and yes, that Blue Jay logo is pretty darn cute too 😉
Be-it baseball or our upcoming hockey season, no matter the team you’re cheering on, this pizza is sure to score you a homerun even if your team strikes out!
Stepping up to the holistic plate,
Suzanne Eden

 

 

3 Hacks Of Holistic Independence & Canada Day’s Crowd Pleasing Summer Aspargus Salad

From cooking all of our own meals since we were freshmen, to reading nutrition books over novels and being the ones to eat salads out of mason jars, stick fruit in our BPA-free water bottles and ask for salt lamps and aloe plants for our birthdays, as holistic junkies, we all know a little something about independence!

 

canada day

American or not, independence is something we can all celebrate! And when adopting a unique lifestyle, there’s almost guaranteed to be encounters with some negative feedback from others now and again. HECK, that’s just fine! Anyone else’s opinion has nothing to do with you and whether they keep it to themselves or are overtly open in voicing their opinions, it is your right to choose the lifestyle that suits you! And for the record, I’m behind you 110% 🙂

But it’s also important to mention the other side of the coin. It can be all too easy when you are feeling amazing, to wish this lifestyle on others, but everyone’s path is theirs to follow and they have as much right to live their life as they choose, as we have the right to live ours. So while we wait for our friends and family to all hop aboard the holistic lifestyle with us (or they may never get there and that’s okay too!) celebrations can get tricky. What can we eat when navigating BBQ’s strewn with mayo potato salads, unknown sources of meat burning on the grill, beers over kombuchas and dairy desserts?!

 

Here are 3 hacks to holistic independence:

1. Bring your own holistic swaps that mimic the standard dishes

  • Try to mimic dishes as much as possible which serves several purposes:
    • It allows you to avoid feelings of deprivation. Ever been to a BBQ and watched everyone else savouring a juicy burger and felt the cravings sink in? Bringing your own allows you to feel included in what everyone else is eating while knowing that the quality of your beef is something you can feel good about.
    • I also come with my own condiments such as mustard that are easy to stick in my purse and are free of sugars and food dyes.
    • As for dessert? Dark chocholate is an easy treat to stick in your purse and enjoy later.

2. Know the secret phrase that works for every question

  • This phrase is dynamite. You may have all of the scientific “facts” in the world backing you up but there will always be people who have other ideas. Afterall, nutrition in itself, is always changing and evolving and I’m sure you’ve been lead astray at some point too. But there is one thing that no-one can argue with and that’s how you feel. 
  • So when others question you, simply, happily and firmly state that you eat what you enjoy and what makes you feel good.

3. Share your food

  • Of course, you can pack your own food that may be completely different from others, but I find that this can too often upset the host/hostess. They want everyone to enjoy the food, too! Though I pack my own mustard and bring my own beef, I do so discreetly, explaining ahead of time what I’m doing and quietly sneaking it to them in the kitchen so that it doesn’t draw much attention. Unless someone asks, I certainly don’t feel this the time to make a statement about nutrition. So while I do bring some of my own things, I also bring a large dish that everyone can enjoy! This is usually a salad, and lots of it, to fill up on.
    • Holistic life hacks: worried that there won’t be enough for you to fill up on? Sneak your own serving into your bag. No one will notice but you won’t have to worry about everyone loving it so much that you have nothing to eat.

 

Now the question that arises! What does a holistic foodie bring that everyone can enjoy?

SALAD!

Always  a go to, salads are bound to show up at any event, but creative salads are the ones that will be more than just a side dish and asked for time and time again.

crowd pleaser

~*~

Summer Asparagus Salad

Adventure level: 1/5

Serving size: 4 (multiply for the crowd)

Light and fresh with local, in season asparagus, oven roasted for big flavour (as opposed to grilling) and rich in nutrients, this salad was our Canada Day crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 pounds asparagus (cut in half or 3/4s)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil (or more olive oil)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
  • Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small garlic, minced
  • 4 large roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1/3 cup organic olives (green or black), sliced and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Toss asparagus & onion in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (for higher heat stability) with salt and pepper to taste and roast for 6-8 minutes until they begin to go tender.
  • Remove from oven adding the minced garlic, 2 TBSPs of the balsamic vinegar and return to the oven for 4 minutes or until the vinegar is no longer runny.
  • Toss in a bowl with capers, olives, olive oil, and a little more balsamic if needed.
  • Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let it chill for 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.

Simple and delicious, this one is sure to go over well and is extremely versatile. You can add soon to be in season cherry tomatoes, quinoa for a more filling salad, mint leaves for additional flavour, chicken so that you can take a pass on the BBQ’d meat, you name it!

With a delicious and nutritious day to celebrate all the glory of your holistic independence,

Suzanne Eden

Mothers Day Gatherings With The Mediterranean Lentil Summer Salad

This was a smashing hit this weekend at our Mother’s Day gathering (as evidenced by the lack of salad that made its way home to me) and it’s about time for another recipe!
  • Have you tried lentils before? They are one of my favourite plant-based ways to pack protein and fibre into my diet. When prepared properly they are easily digested, simple to make and we always have organic bags of them stocked in our cold cellar ready to cook up in a pinch. So whether you are looking for a way to dip a spoon into these legumes or are on the hunt for the ultimate entertaining salad for summer BBQ’s, this dish is your holistic fix!
   But first, a little taste of Mother’s Day…
oh she glows
 
We spent a “heartfelt” Mother’s Day bonding for bunch with these golden chia bagels from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook with dollops of homemade strawberry jam.
  • I made the jam using frozen organic strawberries which are more cost-effective and last longer than the fresh ones. When flash frozen, they maintain the same nutrient value they had fresh, though warming them as you do with this recipe, will unfortunately destroy most of its nutrients anyways.
  • In the bagels, I recommend using maple syrup as opposed to honey as it is more heat-resistant. These bagels are cooked at a very low temperature which is optimal and my mother, and a fellow coworker I shared them with, loved them! It was a good thing for extra ingredients as I maaay have spent Saturday night whipping up another batch after eating the first one straight out of the oven… oops!
 Though I wasn’t able to attend our Mother’s Day gathering this year, we packed up this Mediterranean salad for everyone to enjoy. We are so spoiled as our families get togethers are ripe with fresh veggie platters (much of which is supplied via my grandparent’s garden) with homemade dips & hummus and feature healthy dinners always tailored to our dairy-free, gluten-free needs! But this salad offers the perfect holistic life hack if you find yourself in a situation where it is the only healthy dish on the menu as the high protein content, fibre and healthy fats make this a light but hearty salad so that you can fill up with lentils and take smaller samplings of the rest of the food and/or desserts.
entertaining
The Mediterranean Lentil Summer Salad
Light, effortless and wholesome, this is the perfect entertaining salad for all of your summer gatherings!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked red or green lentils (soaked overnight)
  • 1-1/2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled and quartered cucumber
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper (organic as it is part of the dirty dozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • ½ cup pitted olives (black or green. I go based on which organic ones I can find and pit them myself)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves or cilantro
  • Optional but reccommended; 1-2 Avocados!

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey (raw, unpasteurized, unprocessed)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse and cook the soaked lentils as instructed on the package and allow to cool (This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge).
  • Combine all salad ingredients (except avos) in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and gently mix into the salad. Add the avocado, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavours to come together. We prepared this dish the night before for an easy morning.
The Switch Ups:
To take you through the remaining few days of our seven days of salads challenge, there are lots of tasty things you can do to revamp this dish!
  • Make wraps with lettuce wraps, raw wraps or rice wraps and include avocado, sprouts, a little mustard or hummus or whatever other wholesome toppings you might enjoy.
  • Use it as a topping for a big, green salad
  • Stuff roasted red peppers, Portobello mushroom caps or squash
  • create a rustic “salsa” type of dip for brown rice or nut and seed crackers
Whether entertaining your family or an entire crowd, this simple, wholesome and yummy salad is your new quick fix go-to and  the perfect way to conclude our final days of the seven days of salads challenge!
To a deliciously plant powered weekend,
Suzanne Eden

Vegan Spicy Quinoa & Lentil Stew

I’ve had this stew every weekend for the past 4 weeks! Who doesn’t love cozying up in front of the fire with a journal and a cozy dinner? It does take some cooking and prep time but it’s simple and easy to tweak to your liking. Here’s what you will need:

lentil stew.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1C Lentils (I used green lentils)
  • 2/3C Quinoa
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • Organic vegetable broth (look for one that is yeast and soy free, and naturally low sodium. Chicken broth would work as well though its not vegan)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 C vegetables (I like hearty vegetables in stew. I used carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and red pepper)
  • 1 Large or 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tsp dulce flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp turmeric (powder)
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste, very spicy)
  • 1/2 small lime
  • Coconut oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Seems like a long list but most of it is seasoning which you can easily play around with if you don’t have something or want to switch it up.

Directions:

  • Thoroughly rinse your lentils and bring to a boil 2 1/2 cups of water and let simmer until the water is absorbed. this takes approximately 40mins. At the same time Rinse your quinoa and bring to a boil with water at the ratio of 2 : 1 and adding in  your lemon juice. Allow quinoa to cool.
  • Saute garlic and onion in coconut oil until the onion is soft and translucent but not browned.
  • Add vegetables of choice with oregano and thyme and saute about 2 mins or until the vegetables are a vibrant colour.
  • Add the tomato and allow to simmer about one minute
  • Pour your vegetables and tomato into the lentil pot, bring to a boil with the vegetable broth and simmer with  the spices about 15-20mins or until vegetables and lentils are soft.
  • Remove from heat, stir in your quinoa and season with dulce flakes, salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.
  • Adjust flavours as needed. I like mine spicy so I nearly doubled the spices just being sure to keep in the ratios above and increasing the lime juice as well.

Tips:

  • Quinoa should be allowed to fully cool before stirring or working with it to avoid it turning mushy.
  • Add vegetable broth until you have your desired consistency
  • Though optional, dulce flakes enable you to reduce the sodium content. Using high quality sea salt is crucial.
  • Topping this with nutritional yeast will give you a nutty, almost cheesy flavour

And here’s a few quick switch ups:

  • Use your leftover stew to make spicy wraps. Look at these beautiful collard leaves! Just be sure they are organic. Simply fill, top with salsa and enjoy!
  • Stuff a warm, fresh-baked buttercup squash, or whatever squash you choose and serve on a bed of greens 🙂

 

Master The Green! (smoothie that is)

This is one “fad” I want everyone to hop on! It’s hard to get enough greens into our diets and smoothies are the perfect solution. To those of you who don’t know what a green smoothie is and just the thought of it makes you turn the colour of a green smoothie: I assure you, they can be made to taste delicious! Trust me. But first, here’s why green smoothies are such a super food:

1) An Energizing Zap Of Nutrients: When food is blended, digestive processes are eased allowing the food to pass through your system much quicker and for the nutrients to be absorbed more readily.
2) Skip The Metamucil: By blending (as opposed to juicing), the integrity of the whole food is maintained, thus making these drinks a fantastic source of fiber. Fiber not only helps to keep you feeling full longer, it also helps to push toxins out of your system, a beautiful thing indeed.
3) Green Machine: That is what you will become when having these, as so many more servings of greens can be incorporated into your diet when you compact them into a smoothie. That means more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for you!

green machine

That sounds good and all but this still means you’re drinking greens right? Yes, yes, and as promised, this can taste delicious! Take a moment to notice McGreggor (the bee) in the photo above. He’s wanting in on the action too 😉 Here are my best tips:

  1. Spinach, cucumber, and celery are great starting points as they have a very mild taste. You can add copious amounts of spinach without hardly even tasting it.
  2. Start with a half and half ratio of fruit to vegetables. As you ease your way into them, you’ll start to enjoy a more “green taste,” and can incorporate more greens into your smoothies.
  3. Use coconut water instead of regular water. I have found this to make a world of difference. I’m not even sure why this is so big. If you don’t have coconut water, plain water is fine but I would give it a shot. Plus with coconut water being so packed with potassium and electrolytes, how could you go wrong?
  4. Don’t monkey around with the banana, this is critical. A smoothie without a banana is no smoothie at all in my books! Perhaps it’s the inner year of the monkey in me talking..
  5. Liquid stevia and vanilla are two additions I’ve found to make my smoothie just that much more delicious. The stevia is a plant-based sweetener that you can now find in most supermarkets (but supporting local health food stores is always best).
  6. Adding a few tablespoons of fat to your smoothie in the way of avocado, chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds or flax-seed oil, will help you absorb the carotenoids in the greens. (learned this one from the book “Nourishing meals”, a fantastic read which I highly recommend)
  7. Lemon! Trust me, it goes a long way giving a little bit of tart to your smoothie and helping preserve the colour.
  8. A good blender. I love my Vitamix dearly but you don’t need to invest in one just yet. You do, however, want a decent one that makes your smoothies, well, smooth and breaks down the fibres of the greens.

Now before your run out of your seat to dust off your blender, here’s a few cautionary words of advice:

  • Switch up your greens. This is important as a build up of alkaloids can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as belly bloating etc. Doing a switch up every couple of days or so should do the trick.
  • Not all good things should find their way into your blender at once. I see a lot of instagrams with complex drinks. Keep it simple. Don’t add oats and chia seeds and too many heavy foods all at once because it will take longer for your body to digest it. At least for your morning green smoothies, keep it to fruits, greens and water based veggies like crisp celery or cucumber.
  • Remember that green smoothies are not food. You cannot just live off of green smoothies all day, once or twice a day is plenty. As well, chewing signals your body to begin the digestive process and this is lost when drinking a green smoothie. To counteract this, I usually eat a little something prior to drinking it. Sneak a few bites of that juicy apple! Or I “chew” the smoothie to signal my body that I’m eating. Simple way to get those juices flowing!

So there you have it. The 101 of green smoothies. Now for actually creating them, here’s a few recipes/guidelines:

The starter smoothie:

  • 1 banana
  •  1 1/2- 2+ cups greens of your choice
  • ½ cup berries (organic, frozen berries work as well) (more if needed)
  • 1/2 organic Cucumber
  • 1 crisp stalk of celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 whole lemon (seeds and all if you have a powerful blender) (minus the rind)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3+ drops liquid Stevia
  • 1/4 coconut water or until you have your desired consistency

The “I aint here to mess around” smoothie guideline (I add all this goodness in at once, go big or go home right? But you can do what appeals to you and experiment with proportions):

  • 1 banana
  • 2+ Cups greens/water based vegetables
  • 1 tbsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp chorella
  • coconut water
  • freshly grated ginger
  • fresh mint leaves
  • parsley or nearly any other herb
  • cayenne pepper
  •  1 whole lemon (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • cinnamon
  • stevia
  • vanilla extract

Starburst smoothie

 Starburst Smoothie

The starburst smoothie guideline:

Green smoothie on bottom. It should be thick so that the top smoothie won’t fall, this means using less liquid.
The top is a blend of frozen banana, fruit and some coconut milk.
Top With some cinnamon, raw cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut flakes and you’ve got yourself a beautiful smoothie!

NOTE: I have made my fair share of nasty smoothies here and there, but there is nothing that can’t be fixed with a little fruit (another banana if you have it or lemon). Be playful and get drinking!