Summer time is here! Check out these delicious recipes you can try at home that are a perfect fit for this warm season.
GRILLED NECTARINE SALAD:
Preheat your BBQ to medium heat. Lightly brush olive oil on the grill and place 2 halved organic nectarines (pits removed) flesh down on the grill. Cook for 3 minutes covered (until grill marks are showing), flip and grill for another 2 minutes on the skin side.
Chop nectarine into small pieces and add to 2 C of organic arugula, goat cheese (to taste), 1/3 C toasted almonds (heated in medium pan for 5 minutes), sea salt, black pepper, and drizzle with honey and balsamic vinaigrette to taste.
GREEK YOGURT, LEMON AND HONEY POPSICLES:
In a small bowl, add 2 C of organic Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative – try coconut yogurt!), 1/3 C honey, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, the juice and zest of half a lemon, and mix well. Place mixture into large popsicle molds (about 2) and place a stick in the middle for handling. Freeze for 3 hours and enjoy cold!
CLASSIC MARGARITA NAAN PIZZA:
Preheat grill to medium head. Assemble pizza by adding organic tomato sauce, sliced organic mozzarella cheese and organic basil leaves to your naan breads (amounts are up to you!).
Place pizzas on grill and cook with lid down for 10 minutes, or until grill marks are visible on the bottom of the naan bread and the cheese has melted. Slice up and serve warm!
On medium heat on the BBQ, grill cleaned organic corn husk (uncovered) for 4-5 minutes, turning on each side until charred.
Remove corn kernels from the core and add to a medium sized bowl. Add ½ C rinsed organic black beans, ½ C pico de gallo (chopped organic tomato, chopped red onion, ½ organic avocado (chopped), 1 tbsp. olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, finely chopped organic parsley), 1 C thinly sliced organic romaine to bowl.
To make dressing, blend ½ C Greek yogurt, ¼ C olive oil, organic sprigs of cilantro (to taste!), sea salt, black pepper, zest and juice of 1 organic lime until smooth. Add to salad and top with fresh cojito cheese and organic tri-coloured tortilla strips.
This Sunday is Father’s Day, so we are focusing on optimizing men’s health by getting down to basics. There are tons of supplements and diet plans circulating out there that are geared towards men’s health, but did you know that it can easily be boosted by just choosing the right produce?
Here are some things to pick up on your next grocery run that will make dad happy and healthy:
Spinach – high in magnesium which can benefit blood pressure and healthy muscles, you can easily incorporate it into breakfast, lunch and dinner, cooked or raw.
Brazil nuts – although it’s more of a grocery item than produce, it’s important to note that Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which are great for thyroid health and male hormone production. Mix them with more nuts, seeds and dried fruits to make a delicious trail mix.
Pomegranates – pomegranate seeds are very high in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress caused by environmental factors or diet. These seeds are great on their own, or add another level of sweetness to your salad.
Blackberries – this fruit is high in vitamin K, which studies have shown may play a part in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. An excellent on-the-go snack, or throw it in your next healthy dessert recipe.
POMEGRANATE AND BLACKBERRY YOGURT PARFAIT:
In a small pot, add 1 C of organic blackberries and ½ C pomegranate seeds, along with 1-2 tbsp. of lemon juice and 1 tbsp. of organic maple sugar, and cook down until berries are soft. Strain mixture to remove seeds so that only jam remains. Put in a mason jar and set aside in fridge to cool.
To assemble parfait, layer ¼ C oats (or granola), ½ C yogurt of choice (mix with organic maple syrup and vanilla to add sweetness if desired), ¼ C jam mixture in a small bowl. Keep layering until bowl is full and top with fresh blackberries. Enjoy for a Father’s Day breakfast!
Spring time means more salads! What better way to enjoy the warm weather than with light, refreshing lettuce for lunch? All varieties of lettuce have fairly neutral flavours, which makes them an excellent base to any salad recipe. Not only that, but they contain nutritious value as well:
Lettuce is great for bone health – all varieties of lettuce are high in Vitamin K and specific proteins that are beneficial to promoting bone health and reducing inflammation resulting from arthritis and osteoarthritis.
It is rich in vitamin C and B – these are important for boosting energy, maintaining heart health and protecting the immune system.
Lettuce is high in potassium – romaine lettuce in particular carries a large amount of potassium, which is great for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
It is low in calories and high in fiber – these characteristics can aid in weight loss and better digestion overall.
Bored of garden salads? Take your lettuce recipes up a notch!:
Make a stir fry sauce by whisking 1/3 C light soy (or tamari) sauce, ½ C olive oil, 1-2 tbsp. of organic honey (depending on your preferred level of sweetness), 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh organic ginger, ½ tsp. organic minced garlic, 1 tbsp. flour, 1 tsp. rice vinegar, 1 tsp. sesame seed oil (optional), sea salt and black pepper to taste (add a little water if too thick).
In a pan on medium heat, add 2 C of ground organic chicken (or tofu for vegan option) in a little amount of olive oil and cook for 3-5 minutes until browned. Add stir fry sauce to chicken and stir in for another few minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
Assemble lettuce wraps with a scoop of chicken mixture, and top with shredded organic carrots and crushed organic cashews on a leaf of iceberg or green butter lettuce.
SOUTHWEST ROMAINE SALAD:
Season an organic chicken breast (or vegan protein option, such as tofu or tempeh) with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and taco seasoning and cook in a pan on medium heat until center is no longer pink and outside is browned.
In a bowl, add the cooked chicken (chopped), chopped organic romaine lettuce, organic tri-coloured tortilla strips, shredded tex mex cheese (or vegan cheese option), chopped organic tomato, chopped organic avocado, finely chopped organic red onion, organic chipotle ranch dressing (find in store or make your own with your choice of ranch dressing mixed with chipotle seasoning) and mix well. Serve immediately!
POMEGRANATE PECAN SALAD WITH RED LEAF LETTUCE:
In a bowl, mix together organic red leaf lettuce (chopped), chopped organic pecans, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Serve as a side salad.
Peas are the quintessential spring vegetable! Hot or cold, crunchy or blended, peas can be used in a variety of methods when it comes to cooking.
As with other vegetables, peas contain many important health benefits when you include them in your diet:
Peas are high in protein – protein is essential for muscle growth, bone strength, aiding in digestion, weight loss, and so much more! This is especially important if you are looking for vegan protein options, as many pea protein powders are also available.
They are low in sugar and high in fiber – both of these qualities make peas a great choice for a meal if you are looking to avoid blood sugar spikes.
Peas are high in selenium – this mineral plays a big role in maintaining thyroid health, as well as hormone production.
Not sold on peas? You will be after you try one of these delicious recipes!:
PESTO AND PEA PASTA SALAD
In a small pot, bring water to a boil and add ¾ C frozen organic peas and let simmer for 5 minutes, or until soft.
In a bowl, add strained peas, 1 C cooled cooked organic pasta of your choice, 2 tbsp. homemade pesto*, 1 tbsp. organic lemon juice, 1 tsp. oregano, ¼ C chopped red onion, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, and 1 tbsp. organic parmesan cheese to top. Enjoy!
*refer to DIY Condiments blog post for recipe!
MINT & PEA PUREE
Try this recipe as a topping for fish, like salmon or halibut.
In a food processor, add ¼ C Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar, ¾ C cooked organic peas (same method as above), 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, ½ C organic mint leaves, 1/3 C olive oil, and blend well. If mixture is too thick, add a small amount of water and blend until right consistency.
With everything going on in 2020, it’s easy for there to be heightened stress among everyone. Here are some fruits and vegetables to look out for on your next grocery trip that are known to naturally reduce stress levels:
Avocados – these are high in essential fatty acids, which are great for promoting a healthy nervous system, as well as improving your mood.
Citrus fruits and berries – noted in previous posts, fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are extremely high in Vitamin C, which is known to help fight both oxidative stress as well as moderate emotional stress levels.
Leafy greens – vegetables including, spinach, kale, collards, bok choy and chard are high in folate, a B vitamin that is the precursor for dopamine – the feel good hormone!
Garlic – garlic is high in both magnesium and sulfur, which are important in helping the nervous system function properly.
Cherries – unknown to most, cherries are actually a natural source of melatonin, a hormone responsible for relaxation and sleep promotion.
Try this delicious treat before bed to help you destress and relax:
DARK CHOCOLATE AND CHERRY TRUFFLES:
In a food processor, blend together 1 c of organic dried cherries (pitted), ¼ dried walnuts and ¼ C almonds until smooth and sticky mixture forms. Double boil 1 C of dark chocolate (high in magnesium, also good for stress!) until smooth and fully combined. Roll mixture of cherries into 1 inch balls and coat in melted chocolate. Set aside in the fridge for a few hours until chocolate hardens, and enjoy!
Who doesn’t love bananas?! They are exceptionally sweet, easy to snack on when you’re on the go, and can be used in so many different dessert recipes.
Not only do they have great flavour, but they contain numerous qualities that can improve your wellbeing:
Bananas are high in potassium – as mentioned in previous posts, potassium is an important mineral that is beneficial for muscle and bone health, water balance, and maintaining healthy electrolyte levels.
High in tryptophan – tryptophan is an important amino acid that directly contributes to boosting your mood, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Bananas promote probiotic growth – probiotics in the gut are needed to feed healthy gut flora, which is responsible for absorbing important nutrients your body needs, as well as calcium for bone health.
The recipes for bananas are endless! Check out some of these tasty treat ideas:
BANANA BERRY ICE CREAM:
Perfect for a dairy-free option! Peel, roughly chop and freeze 3 organic bananas for 5 hours or overnight. Once they are firm, add them to a food processor and blend with ½ C mixed berries and 2 tbsp. organic maple syrup. Blend until smooth, but thick. Spread mixture in a freezer-safe container and leave in freezer for another 1-2 hours to firm up slightly. Using an ice cream scoop, take out the amount of your choice and enjoy on a warm day!
BANANA CHOCOLATE BITES:
A great treat that will last! Melt ¼ C of dark chocolate chips until smooth. Peel and chop 2 organic bananas into small medallions. Using a fork, dip the ends of the banana pieces into the chocolate mixtures (coat them as much as you’d like!) and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Put in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until chocolate has firmed up. Enjoy cold.
CINNAMON AND BANANA PANCAKES:
In a bowl, peel and mash 3 overripe organic bananas. Mix well with 1 organic egg, ¼ C milk of your choice, and 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together ¾ C oat flour, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ¼ C organic maple sugar, a pinch of salt, and add to the wet mixture. If too dense, add more milk if necessary. Stir in crumbled organic walnuts, and add heaping spoonfuls to a pan coated with butter on medium heat. Cook until bubbles start to form, and flip over for another 1-2 minutes. Serve warm with sliced bananas and maple syrup!
ALMOND BUTTER AND BANANA SMOOTHIE
In a blender, add 1 organic banana (peeled), 1 tbsp. almond butter, ½ tbsp. cinnamon, ½ C spinach, 1 C almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (optional), 1 tbsp. dark chocolate chips, 1 tsp. maca powder, and blend well.
Brussels sprouts may have made us cringe as kids, and it may still not be everyone’s first choice for vegetables, but we urge you to reconsider! Brussels sprouts are packed with health benefits, and there are plenty of recipes that can change your mind.
High in fiber – Brussels sprouts are great for promoting healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.
Anti-inflammatory – they also contain anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in relieving symptoms caused by arthritis and Type 2 diabetes.
Balance blood sugar – Brussels sprouts, like most cruciferous vegetables, are key in moderating blood sugar to a healthy and manageable level.
High in Vitamin K – this mineral is extremely important when it comes to the mineralization and strengthening our bones.
Still not convinced? You will be when you try out these creative recipes!
SWEET AND SALTY BRUSSELS SPROUTS:
In a toaster oven or pan on medium heat, toast ¼ C of organic pine nuts for 5 minutes, or until browned. In a separate pan on medium heat, cook a large handful of halved organic Brussels sprouts with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp. organic honey, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, until Brussels sprouts are bright green and browned on each side (about 4-6 minutes). Add in pine nuts, and extra honey or balsamic if needed to get the correct flavour you desire. Serve warm as a side!
COLD BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD:
In a medium sized bowl, mix together 1 C shredded organic Brussels sprouts, 1 C shredded organic red and green cabbage, ½ C organic dried cranberries, ¼ C chopped organic almonds, sea salt and black pepper to taste.
For the dressing, blend ¼ C plain yogurt (vegan or dairy), ¼ C olive oil, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, ½ tsp. sea salt, ½ tbsp. poppy seeds, 1 tbsp. organic honey, and mix into salad. Enjoy as a side, or mix in a lean protein to make it a full meal.
This Sunday coming up is Mother’s Day! For new mothers, it can be tricky to determine which foods are best to eat that will directly affect your baby during the process of breastfeeding.
Here is a small list of fruits and vegetables that are beneficial for both new moms and their babies:
Citrus fruits – lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits are very high in Vitamin C, which will help in immunity development within babies, and keep moms healthy at the same time.
Papaya – this fruit, along with being very tasty and great in both sweet and savoury meals, is known to help with lactation inducing milk production.
Bananas – high potassium, bananas are great when it comes to maintaining fluid balance and electrolytes while breastfeeding.
Leafy greens – kale, lettuces, chards, collards, spinach, dandelion and other leafy greens are very high in minerals and nutrients for your newborns, as well as vitamin A, which is extremely important in the growth and development of infants.
Carrots – beta carotene in carrots, which is the precursor for Vitamin C, should be eaten to help with lactation, and to also act as an antioxidant in newborns to help fight off any harmful free radicals from the environment.
SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE RECIPE FOR MOM:
In a blender, add one half of an organic banana, ½ C organic spinach, ½ C organic pineapple, ½ C organic papaya, ½ C organic orange (peeled), 1 tbsp. coconut yogurt and 1 C water, and blend well. Enjoy cold!
With most of us staying at home and avoiding multiple trips to the grocery store, it’s easy for certain items to run low. Take dressings and condiments, for example!
Instead of worrying about making another outing to get more, put those DIY skills to work and make your own at home!
Here are some super easy and VERY delicious recipes for condiments, sauces and dressings:
CREAMY AVOCADO DRESSING:
In a food processor, add ½ an organic avocado, 1 tbsp. lime juice, 1 tbsp. water, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tbsp. hemp hearts, a few sprigs of organic cilantro (to taste), and ½ clove of organic garlic. Blend until smooth, and top your salad or pasta!
SPINACH & BASIL PESTO:
In a food processor, blend 1 handful of washed organic spinach, 1 handful of fresh washed basil, ¼ C almonds and pine nuts (mixed), 1 clove organic garlic, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. sea salt, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and blend. Keep adding olive oil and blending until a fairly smooth consistency is created. Use on a wrap, sandwich, pasta, and more!
BLUEBERRY CHIA JAM:
In a small pot over medium-high heat, add 2 cups of organic blueberries, 1 cup of water, and 2 tbsp. of organic maple sugar or stevia. Reduce berries to a simmer until cooked down, and blend in a food processor. Add 1/3 C chia seeds, mix into berry mixture, and add to a jar. Keep in fridge for a couple of weeks – add to your toast in the morning!
VEGAN CAESAR DRESSING:
Soak 1 cup of organic cashews overnight. Drain, and blend cashews with 1/3 C olive oil, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 clove organic garlic, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, and blend well (add some water to mixture if too thick). Top your salads with this delicious mixture!
In a large mason jar, add ¾ C olive oil, ½ C red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. basil, and shake well before refrigerating and before serving.
Avocados are an amazing fruit! Not only can it be added to savoury breakfasts, lunches and dinners, but its creamy texture allows it to act as a dairy substitute in a lot of dessert recipes as well.
Avocados, along with being delicious, provide us with many health benefits:
They contain healthy fats – avocados are high in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, as well as mono-saturated fatty acids. These “good fats” reduce inflammation, improve skin health, balance your mood, promote weight loss, and much more.
Avocados are high in riboflavin – Riboflavin, a B vitamin, is beneficial in boosting energy, promoting cell growth, as well as protecting your skin.
They are also high in potassium – this mineral is useful in maintaining bone health, muscle relaxation and lowering high blood pressure.
Avocados lower cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, that builds up in our bodies can be caused by an unhealthy diet of processed foods and trans fats. Introducing avocados to your diet can actively lower these levels.
They can boost nutrient absorption – the healthy fats within avocados are extremely beneficial for good bacteria in our guts, which are responsible for promoting the uptake of nutrients from the foods we eat.
Check out some recipes you can try out with this awesome ingredient:
SHRIMP AND AVOCADO SALAD:
In a pan on medium heat, cook 1 finely chopped clove of organic garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add in a handful of shelled, deveined shrimp, season with sea salt, pepper, and add 1-2 tbsp. organic honey. Cook shrimp for 3-4 minutes on each side until opaque.
In a bowl, add organic chopped tomato, organic chopped red onion, 1 organic avocado chopped, organic chopped red pepper, and top with shrimp, olive oil and lemon juice to taste.
CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING:
In a food processor, add ½ an organic avocado, ¼ C milk of choice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, 2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup, ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract, and blend until smooth. Top with an organic whipped topping and strawberries and enjoy for dessert!
In a pan on medium heat, cook 2 organic eggs over butter or oil over medium (or over easy if you like runny eggs!).
On a medium tortilla, place the cooked egg, a few slices of organic avocado, 2 slices of organic tomato, cheese of your choice, sea salt and pepper on once half, fold it in half, and cook on medium heat until each side is browned. Slice into smaller pieces and serve warm with salsa and sour cream.
Spring is now upon us! Usually this signifies a change in more light and refreshing options in your diet. Check out some new produce that is now in season in Canadian and US markets that you can add to your meals this season:
Dandelion Greens – known for containing a high amount of minerals and vitamins, dandelion is also a fantastic liver-cleansing food. Try it out as a secondary green in your salads or throw a small amount in your morning smoothie!
Green Beans – high in iron as well as Vitamin C, A and K, beans can work well as a warm side or a cold veggie mix.
Shallots – Similar to onions and garlic in their ability to promote immunity and fight off bacteria, shallots can give any dish a flavour boost! Try it in fresh salads, pan fried with a light protein, or a chopped topping to your morning omelet.
Grapefruit – contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that works well to protect your skin and heart. Grapefruits give off a sour kick that can be great for flavoured waters, fresh citrus salads and smoothies.
Peas – These little vegetables are high in fiber, protein and minerals such as phosphorus, which is essential to bone growth and maintenance. Fry them up with some olive oil or butter with your choice of seasoning.
Happy Easter! Easter is holiday full of shared time with family and friends, as well as delicious spring meals.
Here are some creative recipe twists including some Easter-centric ingredients that we know and love:
PORTABELLO EGG BAKES:
When you think of Easter, the first thing you think of is eggs (no, not the chocolate ones)!
Clean out 4 large organic portabello heads and remove the stems, lightly brush olive oil on the top of them, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees in an over for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and spread 1 tbsp. of organic tomato sauce on the flat side of the mushroom, top with a few leaves of organic spinach, 1 tbsp. of chopped shallots, and crack one egg over top. Season with salt and pepper, and place back in the over at the same temperature for another 10-12 minutes, or until egg is cooked. Serve warm for a quick lunch treat!
CARROT CAKE PANCAKES:
A quirky spin on the Easter Bunny’s favourite snack – carrots!
In a large bowl, mix 1.5 C shredded organic carrots, 1 C whole wheat flour, ¾ C milk of choice (add more if wetter consistency desired), 1 egg, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, ¼ C maple syrup, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. In a pan, add 1 tbsp. of butter or oil to cook in, and add large spoonfuls of the mixture and let cook on medium heat for 4 minutes or until bubbles start to form. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve with maple syrup, coconut shreds and crumbled walnuts.
FRUITY CHEESECAKE BITES:
Line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together 2 C almond flour, 2 tbsp. honey, a pinch of salt, and ½ C melted coconut oil. Pat down about 2 tbsp. of the mixture at the bottom of the tins and bake for 5 minutes.
In a bowl using a hand mixer, blend 1 8oz package of cream cheese (room temperature), ¼ C organic plain Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative), ¼ C organic maple or coconut sugar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 egg, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract until fully incorporated and smooth. Add to muffin tins on top of crust mixture and bake for 18-20 minutes (middle should be slightly jiggly). Let cool for 1 hour on a cooling tray, then place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set. Serve with fruit toppings such as blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.