Carrot-Top Pesto

carrot-top-pesto

Reducing food waste is the ultimate win-win. It reduces our environmental impact by allowing less to go to waste. And, by using more of what we buy, it saves us money. So, I've been exploring recipes that use ingredients that normally you'd throw away. Today, student Hanna has perfected a pesto recipe made from the green leaves and stems of carrots instead of the commonly-used basil. Voila - carrot-top pesto! Perfect timing before our local carrots start to pop up in farmers' markets and produce stores.  Thanks Hanna! That's Hanna's handiwork with the camera too :)


Carrot-Top Pesto Ingredients

4-5 carrot top leaves

1/2 cup of olive oil

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp toasted pinenuts (or walnuts or macadamias or almonds)

1/4 tsp salt

Dash of pepper


Carrot-Top Pesto Directions

  1. To toast pine nuts: Lay out pine nuts on a baking sheet or aluminum foil for 200C for 5 minutes, watching them so they don't burn. This can also work with a nonstick pan constantly stirring the pine nuts.
  2. In a food processor, combine carrot tops, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Begin to add the olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Enjoy!

Check out more healthy recipes.

P.S. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan.

Healthier Chocolate Nut Spread

chocolate hazelnut spread

You asked for a healthier alternative to the famous (and delicious) chocolate hazelnut spread (you know which one). Today I'm sharing not just one, but 4 alternatives. All are much lower in sugar and have no palm oil. Just in time for back-to-school. I mention back-to-school because you'll not only be looking for packed lunch ideas, but also breakfast ideas for rushed mornings and quick after school snack ideas.

All of these contain nuts or seeds. That's the foundation of this foodstuff afterall. Some preschools and schools are nut and seed-free, some are nut-free (i.e. seeds are okay), and some are peanut-free (i.e. nuts and seeds are okay). Always check with your individual facility to find out exactly what is and what isn't allowed.

An important note, especially if you are introducing these to picky eaters who already are familiar with the famous chocolate hazelnut spread, none of these taste exactly the same. So, don't try to pull a fast one on your little one and swap one for the other. They'll notice the difference - kids have keen observation skills with their food. Call this spread by a different name. This way they will be expecting something different.

A huge THANK YOU to student volunteer Carla for her help with these recipes!

Enjoy!

nutfree chocolate spread

Healthy Nut-Free Chocolate Spread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups toasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ cup canola oil

Directions:

  1. In a pan over medium-high heat, toast the sunflower seeds until light brown and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Using a food processor, process the sunflower seeds until powdery. Scrape the sides.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, icing sugar, milk (optional), and canola oil. Blend until smooth.

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ cup milk (optional)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup canola oil

Directions:

  1. In a pan over medium-high heat, toast the whole hazelnuts with their peels on for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once the whole hazelnuts are cool, rub them in between a kitchen towel to loosen and remove the skin.
chocolate spreads_medmed

Habibi's Chocolate Tahini and Powerplant's Chocolate Sprouted Seed Spread

(Note: In the spirit of being fully transparent, both of these were given to me for free. I did not receive payment to review either. I'm super picky about what foods I'll share with you in my reviews.)

I brought both of these to my co-working space last week so that everyone could try them. Yes, there are perks to having dietitians as friends and co-workers! Both received very positive reviews. Some people preferred one and an equal number preferred the other. Both products have a short ingredient list with only recognizable foods. They're made with nuts or seeds, providing healthy fats (and no palm oil). Each has just a touch of sugar/sweetener. Check each product's websites for a listing of what stores you can find them in.

Powerplant's spread has an intense chocolate taste for you dark chocolate lovers. It has a chunkier texture but smooth mouthfeel. So it's perfect for spreading on a cracker but not on soft bread. It totally screams to be included in your next smoothie.

Habibi's Chocolate Tahini has a milder chocolate taste. A few people found the tahini and chocolate flavours fought eath other. Most of us thought it was delicious (me included). This spread is the more classically kid-friendly of the two.

Looking for more healthy, kid-friendly recipes? Check out my recipe page.

5th Annual Homemade Ice Pop Recipes

spinach-kiwi ice pop

It's back, my annual home-made ice pop recipe collection. Some may call these homemade popsicles or paletas. Or, frozen smoothies. Whatever you call them they're a delicious summer treat. I want to give a big shout out to Carla, the dietetic student who is volunteering with me for creating these recipes. My directions for her: the recipes need to be simple, include no added sugar, include fruit and even veggies, and only include easy-to-find ingredients. Oh, and of course, that they needed to be delicious. She sure delivered.

The directions for each recipe are the same:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into molds.
  4. Freeze.

Enjoy her work!

Kristen

P.S. For more delicious, healthy frozen recipes, check out these links:

Spinach Kiwi

Inspired by: http://www.kiipfit.com/spinach-kiwi-popsicles/

Packed with fruit and leafy greens, the vibrant green color of these popsicles comes from blending both kiwi and spinach.

  • 1/3 cup spinach
  • 1  kiwi
  • 2 drops lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water

Mango Lassi

mango lassi ice pop

Inspired by: http://revisfoodography.com/2015/04/mango-lassi/

Inspired from a classic Indian cold drink, mango lassi is a blend of yogurt, fruit and spice. Not a fan of cardamom? Simply omit the spice and you can still enjoy it as a mango-yogurt blend.

  • 1 mango
  • 160 ml greek yogurt
  • 1 small pinch cardamom (to taste)

Cantaloupe

cantaloupe ice pop

This very simple and refreshing recipe allows you to use ripe or extra ripe cantaloupes. No added sugar necessary.

  • ¾ cup cantaloupe
  • ¼ cup water

Get more healthy home-made ice pop recipes here:

5th Annual Healthy Home-Made Popsicles (ice pops, paletas)

4th Annual Healthy Home-Made Popsicles (ice pops, paletas)

Peanut Banana Chocolate Ganache Bites

Decadent peanut banana chocolate ganache bites plate

YAY! It's my annual chocolate recipe. Perfectly timed for Valentine's Day.

If you're new to following me you might wonder why a dietitian is sharing a chocolate recipe. Quite simply, because food is more than just fuel for our bodies. Food feeds our minds and soul too. Denying ourselves the pleasure of food isn't healthy.

This recipe is super simple to make. And WOW is it decadent. Like the middle of a truffle without that pesky shell. I first made experimented by making this in regular-sized muffin tins and it was simply too much (and believe you me, it takes a lot of rich chocolate to make me come to that conclusion!). Mini muffin tins make the perfect size. Just like those 2 bite brownies, but healthier for you and more decadently delicious.

These really are for dark chocolate lovers. So they may be more of an adult treat. But you never know. Make them with your kids and see what their verdict is.

The inspiration for this recipe was from chocolatecoveredkatie.com

If you follow these lifestyles, you'll be happy to know that these heavenly bites are vegan, paleo, gluten-free and have no added sugar.

You can easily make them peanut-free by omitting the peanuts. Go completely nut-free (note: they do contain coconut) or substitute pistachios, chopped almond, or hazelnuts for the topping.

Peanut Banana Chocolate Ganache Bites Ingredients

  • 4 TBSP coconut butter (Note: This isn't the same as coconut oil. Also, if your jar of coconut butter has separated, scrape off the oil and use the lower level - the coconut butter)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 3 small pinches salt
  • 4 TBSP unsalted peanuts

Peanut Banana Chocolate Ganache Bites Directions

This recipe happens really quickly so you'll want to prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking.

  1. On a small plate, mash the banana really well.
  2. Chop peanuts.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut butter, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the mashed banana. Stir constantly until completely combined.
  5. Lower heat. Add cocoa powder and 1 pinch of salt. Mix well and remove from the heat.
  6. Moving quickly, spoon into a mini muffin tin. Be careful, the mixture is very hot.
  7. Top with chopped peanuts and sprinkle with salt.
  8. Freeze for 1 hour.
  9. Enjoy!

Note: The ganache bites are at the absolute perfect texture when eaten after freezing for 1 hour. If you make them ahead of time and freeze for longer, remove them from the freezer and warm them to room temperature for at least 30 minutes (otherwise they'll be rock hard).

Check out these other healthy chocolate recipes:

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Nut Spread

Mint Chocolate Whip

Squash Soup with Orange and Ginger

squash-soup-carrot-orange-ginger

This squash soup, with its bright orange colour and warming ginger is my “chicken” soup that I eat when I have a cold or the flu. Or when I’m looking for comfort food to warm me on a cold day.

This is a “Kristen” recipe – very imprecise but also very flexible. It takes some time with all the chopping. I recommend making a big batch because it freezes well.

Squash Soup Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil (preferably olive oil)
  • Member of the allium family (onion, garlic, leek, shallots)
  • Ginger (I like about an inch)
  • 2 or 3 kinds of orange vegetables like winter squash (my favourite is butternut but any kind will work including pumpkin), carrots, yams, sweet potatoes
  • Vegetable stock, chicken stock or water (water will make the blandest soup – use as a last resort)
  • Orange juice
  • Salt or seaweed
  • Fresh ground pepper

Squash Soup Directions

  1. Finely chop the members of the allium family.
  2. Grate the ginger.
  3. Peel and chop the orange veggies. Cut squash, yams, and sweet potatoes into ½ to 1 inch pieces. Cut the carrots into coins. Carrots take longer to cook than squash and yams/ sweet potatoes are in the middle. So, you will want the carrot pieces smaller than the squash pieces and the yam/ sweet potato pieces middle in size.
  4. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Heat it over low-medium heat. Add the allium family members and cook until onions/ shallots are translucent or the leeks have softened.
  5. Add the ginger and orange vegetables and sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add enough stock to just cover the veggies. Add seaweed or salt. Cover with a lid, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently until the orange veggies are soft, stirring periodically. Add stock/ water while cooking, if needed.
  7. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  8. Using a blender or hand-held mixer, puree the soup, adding orange juice one splash at a time until you reach your desired consistency and flavour.
  9. Return to the pot and re-heat. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper.
  10. Enjoy!

Find more delicious recipes here.

Halibut Avocado Tacos

halibut avocado tacos

I'm often asked for fish recipes that kids will eat. This is a good one for several reasons. First, halibut is a very mild (read: non-fishy) fish. Second, lots of kids enjoy "deconstructed" or "build your own" style meals because they get to have control over what's on their plate. The result is that they'll eat things that they wouldn't have otherwise. There's also something inherently fun in make-your-own tacos.

I've shared the basic recipe here. Feel free to add other veggies to make it your own. Examples include: shredded cabbage (particularly purple cabbage), thinly sliced radishes, tomatoes, shredded raw zucchini or even cucumber slices.

Halibut is widely available frozen, year-round. Fresh halibut season is typically in May. Feel free to substitute any other white fish (or even salmon) in this recipe.

Halibut Avocado Tacos Ingredients

  • 8 taco shells
  • 480 g (16.9 oz) raw halibut
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp spices, cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, ground, dried
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce, green leaf or romaine
  • 1 avocado, ripe
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) sauce, salsa, ready-to-serve

Halibut Avocado Tacos Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the halibut in a non-stick or parchment-lined baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and lime juice; sprinkle with spices and herbs.
  3. Chop lettuce and slice avocado.
  4. Bake fish 12 to 15 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Heat taco shells in the oven for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Coarsely flake the fish. Stuff the taco shells with lettuce, avocado, salsa, and flaked fish.
  6. Enjoy!

Halibut Avocado Tacos Deconstructed:

  • Serve taco shell on the side.
  • Bake a small portion of halibut just brushed with olive oil.
  • Serve in separate piles or small dishes, the lettuce, avocado and salsa.
  • Serve a small portion of the “spiced” halibut.

Find more delicious, healthy recipes here.

Beets: What to Do With Them

beets what to do

These versatile root veggies are one of my favourites! A classic storage, root veggie, you can find local ones throughout the winter. Beets have been making headlines lately because they may help boost exercise performance. Many kids like them because of their naturally sweet taste. However, people often wonder what the heck to do with them. So I’m sharing a couple of my favourite ways to use beets.  

Grated – Raw Beets

Beets don’t even need to be cooked. Simply wash them, peel off the outer skin, and grate them into a salad.

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Roasted Beets

When I’m turning on the oven to cook something, I often pop a few beets in at the same time – either for a warm side-dish today, or for chilled as a salad in the future.

  1. Wash beets and cut off any long tails or furry top bits.
  2. Cut a piece of tin foil large enough to wrap the beet in. Lay it on the counter, shiny side up. Pour a dollop of olive oil in the centre.
  3. Roll the beet around in the oil to coat it. Wrap the tin foil tightly around the beet.
  4. Repeat for each beet.
  5. Place wrapped beets on a cookie tray or in a baking dish.
  6. Roast until tender, how long this takes depends on the size of the beets and the heat of your oven – at 350 degrees F it may take as long as 2 hours; at 425 degrees F it may take as short as 45 min.

Beet and Bean Borscht

From: Pulses: Cooking with Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas

This is a fantastic, hearty and tasty, full meal in one pot, vegetarian borscht (perfect for Meatless Mondays). While the recipe takes a little longer to cook, it makes a lot of soup. And, this soup tastes great re-heated. Freeze leftovers (without the yogurt or sour cream topping) in small batches.

Makes 6 Litres

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 cups green cabbage, shredded (a Cuisinart or food processor makes shredding quick work)
  • 3 cups beets, peeled and chopped
  • 10 cups vegetable stock (home-made or lower sodium)
  • 4 cups beans such as navy beans or white kidney beans (canned or cooked from dry)
  • ½ cup canned or fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh dill (or parsley)
  • plain yogurt or sour cream

Directions

  1. In a big soup pot, sauté onion and garlic in oil until softened.
  2. Add carrots, celery and cabbage and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add beets and stock and cook for about 1 hour or until beets are slightly tender.
  4. Add beans, tomatoes, lemon juice, pepper and dill. Warm thoroughly.
  5. Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
  6. Enjoy!

Click here for more healthy recipes.

Banana Ice Cream (Dairy and Sugar Free)

banana ice cream

I wish that I had discovered this recipe earlier in my life. It’s creamy, smooth and delicious – just like ice cream! Banana ice cream.

While it’s vegan and sugar-free, the best thing about this recipe (besides the taste) is that it only includes 1 or 2 ingredients. How great is that!

The secret is very ripe bananas. Buy them when you see them in the store. Slice and freeze them. Then you’re ready to make ice cream anytime you wish.

Blending the bananas does take a little while. At first they will break into a chunky slurry and you will likely think that this “ice cream” idea doesn’t work. Be patient. Next it will form one big ball. Then, suddenly, it will become a beautiful, smooth, whipped texture – just like ice cream. If you haven’t added any strongly coloured flavourings, the colour of your bananas will also suddenly lighten considerably to a creamy off-white. That’s what you’re looking for – your “ice cream” is ready!

There are likely hundreds of flavor combinations. I’m sharing the plain version (so you know the base recipe) along with 3 flavour ideas. My favourite is the cinnamon.

Banana Ice Cream Directions

  1. Peel and slice bananas. Freeze.
  2. Place frozen sliced bananas in a blender. Add flavouring ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Banana Ice Cream Ingredients

Plain

1 cup              sliced bananas

Cinnamon

1 cup              sliced bananas

¼ tsp              cinnamon

Chocolate

1 cup              sliced bananas

½ - 1 tsp        cocoa

Half a teaspoon of cocoa results in a banana ice cream with just a hint of chocolate. One teaspoon gives a full chocolate flavour. Choose a level that you enjoy.

Strawberry

2/3 cup          sliced bananas

1/3 cup          strawberries

This combination works best if you partially blend the bananas first until they are just about to start creaming. Then add the strawberries. The result will be a creamy ice cream with strawberry flavour. Adding the strawberries at the same time as the bananas results in a more icy rather than creamy texture (more sorbet-like rather than ice cream-like).

Check out more healthy recipes.

Fresh Fruit Granitas

Fresh Fruit Granitas

Similar to a slushie but made with real fruit, granitas are super refreshing in the summer heat.

They’re easy to prepare. The only tricky thing is to plan ahead so that you’re home and you remember to break up the ice crystals every hour (I set the alarm on my phone to remind me).

Kids can help measure ingredients, push the buttons on the blender, and scrape the ice crystals.

The fruit flavor is strong in granitas. The recipes here are listed from the most mild to the strongest. If your little ones prefer mild flavours, stick to the melon granitas. The kiwi granita is so strong that it almost made my eyes water (which I enjoyed on a hot afternoon).

Fresh Fruit Granitas - Directions

The steps are the same for all the recipes:

  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and water.
  2. Bring sugar water to a boil until the sugar is well dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. In a blender, combine the fruit (removed from it’s peel and pits), fruit juice (or other liquid), and sugar water.
  5. Pour into a non-metal baking dish, such as a glass lasagna pan.
  6. Place in the freezer. Freeze for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from the freezer and scrape thoroughly with a fork, breaking up the ice crystals.
  8. Return to the freezer for 1 hour. Again, remove from the freezer and break up the ice crystals with a fork. Repeat at least 2 more times.

Fresh Fruit Granitas - Recipes

Cantaloupe

Adapted from: http://www.whiskaffair.com/2013/03/cantaloupe-lemon-and-mint-granita.html

1                      cantaloupe

1/4 cup          sugar

¼ cup             water

4 TBSP            fresh lemon juice

Raspberry-Watermelon

Adapted from: http://whipperberry.com/2013/06/raspberry-watermelon-granita.html

5 cups             cubed, de-seeded watermelon

2.5 cups          raspberries

½ cup             sugar

½ cup             cran-raspberry juice cocktail

(Combine sugar and cran-raspberry juice cocktail in saucepan.)

Pineapple-Mango

Adapted from: http://www.muybuenocookbook.com/2013/03/pineapple-and-mango-granita-blendtec-giveaway/

Juice from 2 limes

1/3 cup          sugar

1                      pineapple, peeled, cored and diced

2                      mangos, peeled, pitted, and diced

(There’s no heating the sugar in this recipe. Simply combine all ingredients in a blender.)

Kiwi

Adapted from: http://dhaleb.com/2010/03/

5                    kiwis

½ cup           sugar

½ cup           water

1 cup              club soda

2 teaspoons   lime juice

See more delicious, healthy recipes here.

4th Annual Home-made Popsicles (a.k.a. Ice Pops, Paletas)

Home-made popsicles, healthy, no sugar

I love that the healthy home-made popsicles trend is continuing (also known as ice-pops or paletas). Have you jumped on board? It's a fantastic way to enjoy some fruits and veggies. All these recipes are delicious. You won't believe that they have no sugar. Kids often love to help make them too. Here are 4 new home-made ice pop recipes for you to enjoy this summer. In case you're wondering why there are 4 recipes but only 3 in the picture, I ate all the banana-strawberry-orange ones before taking the photo :)

Home-Made Popsicles Directions

All the steps are the same for all home-made popsicles. And they're very easy:

  1. Combine ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into the ice-pop molds.
  4. Freeze.
  5. ENJOY!

Home-Made Popsicles Ingredients

Healthy Creamsicle

This simple 3 ingredient recipe is inspired by one of my childhood favourites – creamsicles. But unlike creamsicles, the only sugar in this recipe is that naturally found in orange juice.

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Banana-Strawberry-Orange

Use ripe bananas and in-season, local strawberries and these are naturally sweet – no added sugar is needed.

  • 1 medium banana
  • 10 strawberries
  • ½ cup orange juice

Watermelon-Cucumber-Spinach

Don’t let the deep green colour of this recipe discourage you. It’s my favourite of the 4 recipes here – super refreshing and subtly sweet.

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 6 large spinach leaves, thick stems removed
  • 2 inches cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
  • ½ cup coconut water

Pink Grapefruit

This recipe doesn’t need to be blended. Simply juice the grapefruits and combine with the soda water in a pitcher. Pour into the molds and freeze. If you find pink grapefruits too sour, you can substitute freshly squeezed orange juice.

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruits (approx 3 grapefruits)
  • 1 cup soda water

See more healthy, delicious recipes for home-made ice pops.

Baked Avocado Eggs

Baked avocado egg

I'm a long-time lover of avocados and so I'm excited to see that many others have realized how delicious they are. And, that their healthy fat is not something of which to be afraid. Browsing around Pinterest for some cooking inspiration (I love Pinterest), I found this recipe. I like to give credit where credit is due, so here's the original recipe: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Baked-Eggs-Avocado-Recipe-30787252 This baked avocado egg recipe has all the creamy deliciousness of an eggs benny - without all the work of Hollandaise sauce. In other words, it's a perfect recipe for Easter breakfast. Finger Food Version: Cook a few minutes longer until both the whites and yolk are set (it's recommended that babies under 12 months don't have runny egg yolks). Cut the egg and avocado into finger-food size pieces. Or, spread on long, skinny pieces of toast.

Baked Avocado Egg Ingredients:

1 avocado

2 eggs

salt & pepper

Optional: toast

Baked Avocado Egg Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the avocados in half. Remove the pit. Scoop out enough flesh from the avocado,  so the egg will fit in the centre. Reserve this flesh for another recipe/snack.
  3. Slice a small piece off the back of the avocado halves so that they will sit flat without rolling around. Place the avocados in a small baking dish, making sure they fit tightly. If your dish is too big, scrunch up a piece of tin foil to fill the space.
  4. Season the avocado halves with salt and pepper. Crack an egg into each avocado half.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the size of your eggs and avocados. And, how you like our eggs cooked.
  6. Enjoy scooped directly out of the avocados. Or, spread on top of toast.

Check out more healthy, delicious recipes here.

Healthy Shamrock Smoothies - Green Smoothies

green smoothies

I'm a true kid of the 1980's Canadian suburbs. Growing up, we went to McDonalds a couple of times a year. One of those times each year, guarenteed, was in March. Why? If you grew up similar to me, you already know the answer...Shamrock Shakes. I totally LOVED those green, mint milkshakes that McDonalds only had on the menu around St. Patrick's Day.

To be honest, I had totally forgotten about those shakes. Those childhood days are long gone. But last Spring, while on a surf trip in California, I had a smoothie that brought it all back. It was pistachio and mint, and it was DELICIOUS! Ever since then I can't get mint or pistachios off my mind. So, of cource I had to create recipes for a healthy, minty green smoothie in time for St. Patrick's Day.

I didn't remember exactly what was in that smoothie in California. So I bought all sorts of green ingredients. And, I created a second green smoothie. Why not?!

The directions are easy. Simply combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust the amounts to suite your tastebuds. Too thick? Add more liquids. Too thin? Add more solids.

The two recipes are:

Green Smoothie Pistachio-Mint

  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons pistachios
  • 3/4 cup milk (or plant-based alternative)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup (packed) baby spinach
  • 3 chopped dates
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Green Smoothie Avocado-Pistachio-Kale

  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 large kale leaves, centre ribs removed
  • 3 tablespoons pistachios
  • 1 cup milk (or plant-based alternative)

Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bark

chocolate bark_medmed

I'm frequently asked for healthy treat recipes. With Valentine's Day around the corner, I figured that today was the perfect time to share an idea for a healthy (and delicious) chocolate fruit and nut bark.

Like many of the food ideas that I share, this is more of a technique than a recipe. Pick and choose the dried fruit and nuts that you want to use. Add more or less chocolate. Once you get the hang of this you'll wonder why you've been eating cheap chocolate bars!

The healthiest options are raw (non-roasted, unsalted) nuts, unsweetened, unsulfured dried fruit, and dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.

Note: Chocolate does best when allowed to cool slowly. Make this the night before you want to eat it!

Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bark Ingredients

1.5 cups nuts (e.g. hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachios)

1.5 cups dried fruit (e.g. raisins, goji berries, mango, apricots)

400g chocolate (NOT semisweet baking chocolate)

Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bark Directions

  1. Chop larger fruit and nuts into bite-size pieces.
  2. Spread evenly over a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Chop the chocolate.
  4. In a medium-size pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  5. Place the chopped chocolate in a large, heatproof (i.e. not plastic) bowl. Place the bowl over the boiling water. Using a spatula, stir the chocolate until it melts.
  6. Pour the chocolate over the fruit & nut mixture.
  7. Allow the bark to cool to room temperature. Then, refrigerate overnight.
  8. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

In this photo I'm testing out different fruit and nut combinations. It's a tough job but someone has to do it!

Matches made in heaven: hazelnuts and dried mango, cashews and goji berries, salted peanuts and raisins, almonds and golden raisins, pistachios and apricots.

Get more healthy recipes here.

Healthy Valentine's Day treat: Chocolate, fruit and nut bark.

Creamy Quinoa Pudding

Creamy Quinoa Pudding

This is the #1 most frequently pinned recipe from my Pinterest boards. A totally delicious update on tapioca pudding from the cookbook Quinoa 365.

This dish is fantastic for little ones who don't like to eat meat or other protein-rich foods.  If you're looking for more ways to use quinoa, I highly recommend the book. I've enjoyed many of it's recipes.

Creamy Quinoa Pudding Ingredients

1/3 cup quinoa

2/3 cup water

2 cups half and half cream

2 large eggs

1/4 cup white or cane sugar (I use less)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Creamy Quinoa Pudding Directions

  1. In a saucepan, bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 6 minutes.
  3. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow to cool.
  4. Place the cream in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-high until hot but not boiling (steam will rise from the top). Remove from the heat.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and cornstarch with 1 TBSP of the hot cream.
  6. Add an additional 3 TBSP of hot cream, one TBSP at a time, whisking constantly.
  7. Whisk the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding has thickened.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa and vanilla.
  9. Pour the pudding into individual serving bowls.
  10. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
  11. ENJOY!

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