Ranch Dip (you can whip it up in under 10 minutes!)

Whip this easy vegan ranch dip up for SuperBowl Sunday… A much healthier alternative than the other cream dressings you find on the market. It also is quick and easy to make. Preparation time is under 10 minutes! Woohoo! 

Why not give it a try?

Ranch Dip Ingredients:
1 cup Vegenaise (or vegan mayonnaise of choice)
1/8 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped finely
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions: Combine ingredients one at a time in a bowl and mix!

vegan-ranch-dressing

Pair with fresh cut veggies, my cauliflower buffalo bites recipe, crackers, whatever you fancy!

The Juice Bust! Why you should cut back on juice in your diet.

orange-juice

Many of us believe that consuming loads of orange juice will fuel us with Vitamin C and many other fruity benefits. But… is it really all that good for us?

Juice is often misconceived as a healthy beverage to quench your thirst and fuel your mornings. Why am I personally against drinking juice (specifically pasteurized juices)? …

Empty calories and high sugar content. Pasteurization removes all the good stuff from our fruit and vegetables. I like to call it drinking empty calories (Empty: limited nutritional benefit).

What is pasteurization? Pasteurization is a high heat treatment process that almost all juices on the market go through to extend their shelf life and remove some harmful bacteria to make the product safe for consumption. Sounds good so far ….

However! Although the pasteurization process may remove the harmful bacteria, in doing so, the high heat also removes fibre, nutrients, good enzymes, and other nutritional components in the process 😦 

In addition to the removal of all these natural benefits, some juices have added sugars, coloring, preservatives, and flavourings. Again, another reason why to opt for the whole fruit versus the juice.

You are much better off eating a whole fresh fruit (e.g. an orange) versus drinking a cup of juice. This way you are getting the most nutritional content possible from the food itself. Choose WHOLE FOOD first! Picking food items in their natural form will have the most benefit on your diet and nutritional lifestyle. Try to avoid processed items as much as possible. Whole food items will keep you satisfied longer due to their higher nutritional content. 

As mentioned by Dietitians of Canada,

“Fruit juice and fruit beverages should be limited. Many of these beverages contain a high amount of sugar which can lead to weight gain.  Fruit juice, even labelled as ‘no sugar added’ still contains a high amount of sugar. Eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking juice. Whole fruits have the added benefits of fibre and other nutrients not found in juice.”

Tips for hydration: 

  • Water should always be your first choice! Stay hydrated throughout the day. Always carry a reusable water bottle with you.
  • Not a fan of plain water? Add frozen raspberries, mango, cucumber, or fresh lemon to your water to amp up the flavour!
  • Working to cut back on juice? Start slowly. Begin diluting your juice with water to lower the sugar and calories. Good things take time so start with small steps to make change.
  • If you must choose juice, choose 100% juice, cold-pressed, and juices with added vegetables to lower the sugar content.
  • What about Cold-Pressed? Again limit the cold-pressed fruit juice. Choose a cold-pressed juice mixed with vegetables and high vegetable content. Cold-pressed juices do not undergo the heat treatment therefore, they have a shorter shelf-life and maintain the fibre, nutrients, and good enzymes. This is why you see natural juices marked up to a high price with a short shelf life! Again whole food is best but, cold-pressed is a step up from pasteurized juice.

 

I hope you learned something new today!

Until next time,

B

 

Spicy Cauliflower “Wings” with a Ranch Dip (The perfect Superbowl Snack to keep you on track)

(Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Sugar-Free)

cauliflower-buffalo-wings-2

Looking for a healthier snack to make for Superbowl Sunday?? Stay on track with your diet by snacking on these cauliflower “wings”! OMG they are so delicious…. and the ranch dip….omg again.  Adjust the amount of hot sauce used to suit the level of spice you can tolerate. I made them for staff and customers at our Sobeys today and they were a HUGE hit. Many found it so hard to believe it’s actually cauliflower.

Additionally, these guys are BAKED not fried. Let me know how you like them…

For the Cauliflower Wings:

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of a small/medium cauliflower, broken into large chunks (wing size)
  • ½ cup Silk unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free White Rice Flour (or gluten-free flour of choice)
  • ¾ tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup frank’s red hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan original butter spread

Instructions

  1. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or grease very well with oil. Preheat your oven to 425-450 F depending on your oven.
  2. Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite sized pieces/florets.
  3. Mix the nut milk/water/flour and spices in a medium mixing bowl (set aside the hot sauce and butter for later). Mix until the batter is thick and is able to coat the cauliflower without dripping.
  4. Dip the cauliflower in the batter. You can do this one by one or in batches. shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet. Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, flipping the florets over half way through to get all sides golden brown and crispy.
  6. While the cauliflower is baking, get your buffalo wing sauce ready. In a small saucepan on low heat melt earth balance “butter” and mix in the hot sauce. Remove from the heat just as it starts to melt. Stir together and set aside.
  7. When the cauliflower is done its first bake in the batter, remove them from the oven and put all the baked florets into a mixing bowl with the wing sauce and toss to coat evenly. Return cauliflower to baking sheet and bake in the oven for another 20-25minutes. Broil for the last 5 minutes to improve crunchiness!
  8. While this is baking, start mixing up your quick and easy vegan ranch dip. It’s so delicious!

For the Ranch Dip:
1 cup Vegan Mayonnaise (Vegenaise)
1/8 cup Silk unsweetened original almond milk
2 tsp Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator until consumption.
  2. Use for dipping for your “wings”, vegetables, chips, what ever you desire!

cauliflower-buffalo-wings-1

Banana Breakfast Bars (quick & easy recipe)

This is a one bowl recipe… quick and easy to make AND you can easily tailor it to your taste buds. Change the nuts that are used, add chia, flax, or a different dried fruit to suit your taste buds!

banana-bars

Ingredients (makes ~12 bars):

  • 3 large bananas, mashed (I used two from the counter and one thawed from frozen)
  • 2 cups large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried blueberries, raisins, small fruit of choice)
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts, salted (cashews, almonds, pecans)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • touch of ground sea salt
  • 1/2 cup camino dark chocolate dairy-free chocolate chips (>70% cacao)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Mix all ingredients in the order that I wrote into one large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Spray a baking pan or casserole dish with coconut oil.
  4. Pour the mixture into the dish, pack down and distribute evenly.
  5. Bake at 350F for ~20 minutes until browning.

Allow to cool, slice into bars or squares, and enjoy!

 

Apple “donuts”! A fun snack that lets your kids to get creative in the kitchen.

I was playing around in our kitchen today at Sobeys. We have some upcoming children’s classes and I wanted to test out recipes to make sure they were kid friendly. This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper. It is so easy and can be tailored to many picky-eaters. The kids can get creative in the kitchen and let their inspiration stem from their own taste buds!

apple donut.jpg

What you will need: 

  • Large apples of choice
  • An apple corer (remove the core and allow for easy slicing)

Toppings: 

  • Natural Almond butter, natural peanut butter, or a nut-free spread (e.g. SunButter), Daiya dairy-free strawberry or regular cream “cheese” spread, etc. Pick a spread best suited to your kids taste! Aim for healthier alternatives like those that I mentioned above.
  • Add chopped up fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes)
  • Add granola of choice, oats, nuts, chia, hemp hearts, chocolate chips, etc.

Have some fun with it. Let the kids get creative and decorate their apple donuts to suit their food preferences. 

An easy and delicious snack that contains all 3 macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

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Why you might want to add Turmeric to your diet…

Turmeric, as most of us know, is a spice most commonly found in Asian and Indian dishes.

However, it is much more than just a spice! It has many health benefits. 

Turmeric contains an active ingredient, known as Curcumin. Curcumin is what gives this spice its bright yellow color and boosts the health benefits.

Why should you add this spice to your diet? Turmeric used as a spice or Curcumin taken as a natural supplement may benefit you in the following ways:

  • Arthritis relief
  • Relief of joint pain
  • May help relieve stomach complaints (nausea, cramping, and flatulence)
  • May help relieve heartburn

Overall, turmeric has been found to cause relief for conditions that cause inflammation. So if you are dealing with inflammation of some sort, it may be worth giving it a try!

Add the spice to your dishes or you can take it as a supplement!

Spices NYC

Resources: webmd.com, dietitiansofcanada.ca

NuPasta! Review.

nupasta-review

I’ve decided to start adding some positive food reviews to my blog so you can see some of my personal grocery picks! There are many food products out there and so many that are made with quality ingredients, others, not so much. So it’s nice to learn more about some of the healthier options out there on the market.

Let’s start with NuPasta. It’s a new low-calorie pasta alternative that we just started carrying at my Sobeys location. It can be found in the natural food aisle. NuPasta is made from Kojnac.. a root vegetable (not grown in Canada). It is VERY low calorie, for an entire pack (which fed 2 of us) is was only 25 calories?! INSANE!

I don’t normally eat regular pasta noodles as the nutritional benefits are lacking and I would rather get my carbohydrate source from nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, fruit, lentils, and beans!

However, sometimes you crave an italian meal and this is a great substitute to keep it low carb and low in fat. It is ALL about the sauce with these noodles. On their own they are almost no flavour at all. So make a nutrient dense sauce to amp up the flavour.

Here’s what I did: 

  1. Cooked 1 lb of ground chicken, cooked in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, and italian spices
  2. Add mushrooms, chopped vegetables, and onions to the skillet. Saute.
  3. Add 1 jar of Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce from Costco (great natural sauce)
  4. Drained the NuPasta Noodles and mixed them in the skillet.
  5. Optional: 2 tbsp Skotidakis Jalapeno Greek yogurt dip for a little spice and cheesy consistency.

VOILA! The added ground chicken and jalapeno greek yogurt dip boosts the protein to keep you satisfied longer.