Salads are an easy side dish, but creating a meal out of them can be tricky. Here are some tips and tricks to make your salad more filling, nutritious and satisfying!:
Step 1: It’s All About The Base
First off, you need a good base of greens for your salad. Dark leafy greens such as organic kale, spinach, chard, arugula and collards are high in nutrients, antioxidants and minerals. Romaine is also a good choice if you’re looking for a lighter choice with high water content.
Step 2: Load Up On The Veggies
The more, the merrier! Cucumbers, radishes and celery are great add ins for a hydration boost and fiber, while bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and carrots will add a pop of colour along with a boost of more nutrients and immune boosting properties.
Step 3: Select Your Lean Protein
They key to boosting your side salad to a meal is all about the protein. The protein provided from lean meats like chicken and turkey, or vegetarian options like eggs, beans, lentils or quinoa, will help keep you fuller longer. Protein is made up of amino acids which can even help boost your energy and overall mood!
Step 4: Fatten It Up
Adding ingredients that contain essential fatty acids, such as nuts, seeds, cheese and avocado, will also help you feel fuller, potentially boost weight loss, and improve brain and heart health. Nuts are also high in minerals that are beneficial to our health.
Step 5: Add More Texture
Want to bring your salad to another level? Add another layer to it by putting healthy ingredients in that have different textures, like chewy dried fruits, toasted whole grain or sourdough croutons, or crunchy low-salt tortilla strips.
Step 6: Dress it Up
There are plenty of options for dressings that contain fatty acids, nutrients, antioxidants, and more! If you’re looking for creamy, try an avocado or Greek yogurt blended dressing. Or keep it light with a fruity balsamic, or even just lemon juice and olive oil! (Hint: don’t forget to season your dressings!).
Rutabaga! Comparable to sweet potatoes and turnips in texture and flavour, this vegetable is a prime winter ingredient for many comfort meals. But how do you use it, and what benefits does it have for your health?
High in antioxidants – rutabaga contains high levels of vitamin C and E, both of which are important for supporting your immune system and boosting skin health, growth and protection.
High in fiber – rutabaga also contains quite a bit of soluble fiber, which is useful for digestion and nutrient absorption in the gut.
High in potassium – this vegetable is a fantastic source of potassium that can be beneficial for moderating blood sugar and reducing hypertension.
High in zinc – this mineral is fantastic for promoting enzymatic activity, which is responsible for multiple bodily processes. It can also help support your immune system.
Now, how to prepare them for dinner! Take a look at two ways you can incorporate rutabaga into your dinner tonight:
Yes, this is a thing! Peel and cut through the center of one organic rutabaga (carefully!) and chop the two halves into small spears.
Toss the spears in olive oil and spices such as salt, black pepper, a touch of cayenne, paprika, and garlic. Roast in the oven on a baking tray at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, flip, then another 30 minutes. Add your favourite dipping sauce as a side and enjoy!
SWEET ROASTED RUTABAGA:
Peel and cut through the center of 2-3 small organic rutabagas, then roughly chop each half. Toss cubes of rutabaga in 2 tbsp. olive oil, ¼ C of organic maple syrup, 2 tbsp. coconut or brown sugar, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1-2 sprigs of organic thyme and roast on a baking tray at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes (or until tender and golden). Serve warm as a side.
Although leeks tend to get overlooked on our day to day grocery shops, they are the foundation of a lot of hearty meals and have tons of health benefits and nutrients. They are also currently in season this February!
Here are some reasons why you should be adding leeks to your ingredient list this month:
Leeks protect your heart – leeks contain antioxidants that are capable of aiding in the prevention of heart disease and other ailments.
Leeks contain Allicin – this sulfur compound, also found primarily in garlic, is a powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, and immune boosting element.
Leeks are good for digestion – they are very high in soluble fiber and prebiotics, which not only help you digest your good, but create a healthy environment for your gut to increase nutrient absorption.
Here are some easy to make recipes with leeks as the star ingredient!
POTATO AND LEEK SOUP:
A classic! In a large pot, add 1 tbsp. of organic unsalted butter and 1 tbsp. flour of your choice, and stir together on medium heat to create a roux (this will thicken your soup!). Then add 2 large organic russet potatoes chopped, 1 C organic leeks chopped, ½ C organic white onion chopped, 1 clove garlic chopped, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, sea salt and pepper to taste, 2 C organic vegetable stock, ½ C milk of your choice, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Remove from heat and emulsify with a hand emulsifier or food processor until all items are well blended and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Top with some chopped chives and organic sour cream and serve warm!
LEEK AND RED ONION FLATBREAD:
In a saucepan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 C chopped organic leeks, 1 C chopped organic red onion, 1 tsp. minced organic garlic, sea salt and pepper to taste, and heat for 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of fresh organic spinach to the pan and stir in until fully cooked.
On a large slice of flatbread (or make your own!), add a light brush of olive oil, your leek and onion mixture, 1 C of organic shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Serve warm!
Get ready to cheer on your favourite team for this year’s Superbowl! Looking to present some awesome snacks for your Superbowl party? Mike & Mike’s is currently distributing lots of snack brands from our grocery line that might be a good fit for the big day:
BEANFIELDS BEAN CHIPS:
Beanfields is a family owned company started by the Gliddens in 2010 in California. Their chips made from beans are non-GMO, contain no allergens, are gluten free, vegan, and contain high amounts of plant based protein and fiber. All of these factors make for a great, healthy snack choice! Try them with your favourite guacamole or Mother Raw vegan queso.
LA PREFERIDA SALSA:
La Preferida is a family owned company that began as early as the 1920’s in Chicago, where they started off by producing chorizo. They then expanded into making other products, such as salsa, with the goal of using authentic Mexican flavours and spices to their recipes. They eventually created an organic line in the early 2000’s. Try this salsa in a homemade taco dip!
ZAK’S CRUNCHY PEAS:
The Zak family are fourth generation farmers located in Saskatchewan, who specialize in organic peas. Their crunchy pea snacks are whole food, certified organic with no added cholesterol, trans fats, dairy, gluten, soy, nuts, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. They make it their goal to be a traceable and transparent company. Their four delicious flavours make a great substitute for processed potato chips!
CANADIAN POPCORN COMPANY:
Canadian Popcorn Company popcorn, produced in British Columbia, is the only Canadian certified organic popcorn producer! Their products are hand crafted, non-GMO, peanut free, gluten free, and trans fat free. Try a new spin on your regular microwaveable popcorn with their delicious and unique flavours!
Whether you are looking to work on proper storage for your fruits and vegetables at home, or own a retail produce front, here are some important things to note:
One major trend we are starting to see is our society veering away from animal milk, and more towards plant based milks – but is this actually beneficial?
Here are some great traits that nut and other plant milks carry for maintaining our health:
One amazing brand, Elmhurst Plant-Based Milks, has multiple types of nut milks available in their line that do not contain any emulsifiers, thickeners, or chemical additives.
Check out some great recipes that contain some of the plant milks listed above!:
ALMOND MILK & NUT BUTTER SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, add 1 C of Elmhurst almond milk, ½ an organic banana, 1 tbsp. of your choice of organic nut butter, 2 tbsp. of brewed coffee, 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder, and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Blend and enjoy for breakfast as a perfect wake-up smoothie!
COCONUT MILK & MIXED BERRY CHIA PUDDING:
In a blender, add 1 ½ of Elmhurst coconut milk, 1 C mixed organic berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries), 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. honey, and blend until smooth.
Add to a mason jar or sealable container, along with 3-5 tbsp. of chia seeds and mix well until the seeds are evenly dispersed. Leave in fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning when it changed to a pudding like consistency – top with shaved coconut!
CASHEW MILK & AVOCADO DRESSING:
In a food processor, add ½ C of Elmhurst cashew milk, 1 clove of organic garlic, 2 tbsp. olive oil, ½ an organic avocado, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper to taste, and blend until smooth. Top your favourite salad with this creamy homemade dressing!
As we normally do at the beginning of the year, we look to change some of our bad habits from the previous year, especially when it comes to our health.
Here are some tips for how to start AND stick to a healthier routine that will help you feel great!:
Looking for some creative recipes to try at your Holiday get together this year? Try these light and tasty appetizers!
On a baking tray, add 1 chopped medium sized organic beet (peeled) on parchment paper, season with salt, pepper and olive oil, and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until soft.
In a food processor, add the chopped beet, 1 can of organic chickpeas (drained), ¼ C tahini, 2-3 cloves of organic garlic, juice and zest of ½ an organic lemon, ¼ C olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth. Serve in a bowl with veggies and crackers for dipping!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SAGE CROSTINI:
On a baking tray with parchment paper, add 1 ½ C of chopped organic butternut squash, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until soft.
Add the butternut squash to a food processor and blend with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp thyme, 1 clove of organic garlic, sea salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
In a pan, add a small amount of butter and toast a sprig of sage leaves. On crostinis (or toasted baguette slices), spread on the butternut squash puree, a drizzle of honey, ricotta cheese to taste, and a toasted sage leaf.
STUFFED CHERRY TOMATOES:
Rinse 1 pt container of organic cherry tomatoes, slice the tops off, and empty the center using a melon baller. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 organic avocado, ¼ C plain Greek yogurt (or dairy free alternative), 2 tbsp. organic lemon juice, ½ clove of organic garlic (chopped finely), sea salt and pepper to taste, chili flakes, until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Stuff the tomatoes gently with this filling and serve as mini starters to your meal!
SWEET AND SALTY NUT MEDLEY:
In a bowl, add 1 C each of Mike & Mike’s organic walnuts, roasted almonds and roasted cashews. Dust with 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp. maple sugar, and 1 tbsp. sea salt, and mix well so that all nuts are well incorporated. Serve in a bowl for your guests to nibble on
What’s better than biting into a sweetly tart orange on a gloomy day? Oranges, although a popular summer treat, are also heavily featured in holiday cooking and baking.
Want more reasons to eat this fantastic fruit? Check out some nutritional benefits oranges carry:
High in antioxidants – when you think of oranges, right away your mind goes to Vitamin C! This antioxidant is super important in boosting your immunity, protecting your skin, and more.
High in potassium – this mineral is essential in lowering blood sugar.
High in fiber – fiber, as mentioned in previous posts, can help with balancing blood sugar (helpful in managing diabetes), promoting weight loss, and increasing nutrient absorption.
Here are some unique recipes to try at your next gathering:
In a large bowl, add 2-3 C organic arugula, 1 organic orange, peeled and roughly chopped, 1 C organic grapefruit, peeled and roughly chopped, organic ricotta (however much is preferred), sea salt and black pepper to taste, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and mix well. Serve as a side salad.
ORANGE AND POMEGRANATE BARK:
Mix together 1 C of Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 2 tbsp. of honey, and 1 tbsp. juice from an organic orange juice. In a small cake pan (8x8in) lined with parchment paper, pour in mixture and smooth out to fill bottom layer of pan. Top with organic pomegranate and orange pieces to your liking, and freeze for 4 hours. Break apart and enjoy as a light snack.
BRUSSELS SPROUT BAKE:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a baking tray (lined with parchment paper), add 1 C chopped organic Brussels sprouts, 3 pieces of chopped bacon, ½ an organic small red onion chopped, ½ a chopped organic orange, topped with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, and serve warm as a side to your meal.
Turmeric is a powerful root with many healing properties. Not only that, but it can be a versatile ingredient in many recipes.
Here are a few reasons why you should be incorporating turmeric into your diet!:
Soothes digestion – turmeric contains curcumin, a strong element that is known for helping aid digestion and reducing an overactive stomach.
Great for improving inflammation – curcumin is mostly known for being a strong deterrent against inflammation caused in muscles and bones, such as arthritis.
Prevents heart disease and Alzheimer’s – turmeric is known to increase antioxidant capacity to a high degree, allowing our body to fight of free radicals or other damaging effects to our heart and brain health.
Try some of these tasty turmeric inspired recipes (be sure to look for that golden glow!):
TURMERIC VEGETABLE FRITTATA:
In a medium-sized skillet, sauté ½ C chopped organic bell peppers, ½ C chopped organic yellow onions, ½ C organic cremini mushrooms, 1 C organic arugula in 2 tbsp. of olive oil for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix 12 organic eggs, 2 tsp. turmeric, 2 tsp. garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, 1/3 C milk of your choice, and pour over vegetables in skillet. Add 1/3 C goat cheese. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then finish baking in the oven (keep in skillet) for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove and serve warm!
GOLDEN MILK LATTE:
In a small saucepan, heat up 1 ½ C of a milk of your choice. Add the milk to a blender once it reaches the temperature of your choice. Add ½ tsp. turmeric powder, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground ginger, ½ tsp. vanilla, ¼ tsp. black pepper, 1 tbsp. organic honey or maple syrup, and blend until smooth. Serve warm in your favourite mug!
Winter has finally begun! With the season change, new organic produce is now available for your holiday recipes.
Here is a list of some vegetables to look for at your local grocery stores:
Cabbage – high in fiber, this vegetable is great for aiding in digestion and lowering cholesterol. Enjoy it sautéed, cooked into rolls you can stuff with a delicious filling of your choice, or raw in salads or sandwiches!
Leeks – sulfur compounds found in leeks are known to promote brain function. A popular base used in winter soup recipes.
Potatoes – potatoes can be used in so many ways! Enjoy them pureed, baked with delicious toppings, or even cooked into soups. They are surprisingly beneficial as well, and are high in nutrients and contain starches that are good for gut health.
Yams – these tubular vegetables are high in potassium, which is a key mineral in promoting bone growth and health. Try them cubed and roasted with a maple glaze – perfect for any holiday side!
Turnips – turnips can help manage blood sugar and aid in digestion. They can be enjoyed in a similar fashion as yams and potatoes – try mashed, or roasted with brown sugar and sage.
We are fast approaching the holiday season, and that means lots and lots of amazing, home cooked meals!
Here are some healthy habits to work on incorporating into your diet so that you can enjoy those meals with a little less stress:
WATCH YOUR PORTIONS – if you are worried about potentially overeating to an uncomfortable degree, keep in mind the portions you are eating so that you are not hindering your digestion and reduce bloating.
WATCH YOUR SUGAR – try to reduce the amount of desserts you eat that have a lot of refined sugar. This can help lower your stress levels and help you avoid weight gain.
CHOOSE HIGH NUTRIENT FOODS – as tempting as it is to lean towards eating a lot of junk foods, choosing high-nutrient foods such as lean meats, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables will improve your immune system and give you more energy this holiday season.
CHOOSE WHOLE FOODS – if you are having trouble deciding what foods are best to add to your plate at the dinner table, whole foods are always your best bet! This guarantees that they haven’t been processed or refined in any way that could potentially be harmful to your health.
MODERATION IS KEY – with all this being said, it’s important to ENJOY the holidays! A balanced diet is all about not restricting yourself, so indulging in some treats this season will not push you over the edge.