Fall season is in full swing in Ontario, which means that grocery stores and farmer’s markets are packed with seasonal organic produce.
Not sure what’s in season? Here are some items to look out for:
Fennel – this fall vegetable is high in manganese, phosphate and calcium, all of which are perfect for maintaining bone health. With a slight licorice flavour, fennel pairs well with apples and would make a delicious fall salad.
Eggplant – Eggplants contain multiple antioxidants, and are beneficial for weight loss as they are high in fiber and low in calories. Because of its earthy flavour and meaty texture, they make a great meat substitution in lasagnas, burgers, pizzas and more!
Parsnips – This vegetable contains a high level of vitamins E & C, as well as folate, which are all beneficial for maintaining eye and oral health. To enjoy, boil until soft, then blend with garlic, salt and pepper to make a tasty puree.
Rutabaga – Eating rutabaga will provide you with antioxidants to prevent premature aging, as well as potassium that will maintain heart health. Similar to a potato, rutabagas can be served roasted or mashed.
Artichokes – Artichokes are high in a variety of nutrients and contain specific antioxidants that promote liver health and detoxification. Have then cooked in pasta, raw in salads, or pureed into savoury dips!
Squashes – With so many varieties available, these highly nutritious and fibrous vegetables are perfect for soups, pastas, roasted dishes and more!
Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend in Canada! Looking for some different recipes to try out for you and your guests this holiday season? Check out these meals, using all organic, fall ingredients:
CRANBERRY AND ORANGE YOGURT PARFAIT:
In a bowl, mix 1 C organic rolled oats, ½ C chopped organic walnuts, ½ C chopped organic pecans, 1 tbsp. organic honey, 1 tbsp. organic melted coconut oil, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, and bake on a baking sheet in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes. Take out and let cool.
In a pan over medium heat, add 1-2 C of fresh cranberries, ½ C organic orange juice freshly squeezed, the zest of ½ an orange, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Serve cranberry mixture in a small bowl with Greek yogurt and top with granola mixture. Serve as a healthy dessert or Thanksgiving breakfast!
SWEET POTATO HASH:
In a large pan over medium heat, add 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 whole organic sweet potato (skin on, chopped into small pieces), ½ an organic yellow onion chopped, sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder, and fry for 5-7 minutes. Add 2 tbsp. of water, cover pan and let steam until potatoes are tender.
Serve as a side to any Thanksgiving meal!
In a food processor, add 1 C organic pecans, ½ C organic dried cranberries, 1 tbsp. coconut oil, 4-5 organic Medjool dates, 1 pinch of cinnamon, and blend until ingredients are well incorporated. Roll into 1 inch balls and let sit in fridge for 2 hours. Serve as a pre-dinner snack.
CARROT AND GINGER SOUP:
In a large saucepan, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 clove freshly chopped organic garlic, ½ an organic yellow onion chopped, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add 4 large organic carrots chopped, 4 cups of water, 1-2 tbsp. fresh organic grated ginger, cinnamon, salt and black pepper to taste, bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are no longer firm.
Add soup mixture to a blender, along with ½ C coconut cream (if creamy texture desired) and blend until smooth. Yields 3-4 servings, serve warm!
As we start to prepare for colder temperatures to come in this fall season, we start to switch to hardy ingredients, and onions are the perfect example.
Onions are a staple in everyone’s pantry, as they are extremely versatile and add a deliciously pungent flavour to any meal. Here are some nutritional facts that onions are popular for having:
Onions are highly immune boosting foods – onions have sulfur-containing compounds, which are responsible for fighting against free radical damage, flus, cancer and more.
They are able to fight against bad bacteria – onions also contain antibacterial properties that can, along with garlic, destroy bad bacteria in the gut as well as in infected areas of the body.
Onions can help with weight loss – they are powerful digestive aids that can help with boosting your metabolism and breaking down large meals.
Here are some delicious appetizers, starring onions!:
WHITE ONION AND MUSHROOM BAGUETTES:
In a small pan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp. of organic butter (or olive oil), 1 tsp. minced garlic, 2 handfuls of organic cremini mushrooms, ½ a white onion loosely chopped, sea salt and black pepper to taste, and cook down for 5-7 minutes until onions are caramelized. Toast small slices of a white baguette with a thin slice of gruyere cheese on each slice until cheese has melted. Add 1 spoonful of mushroom and onion mixture to baguette slices and serve warm.
PEAS WITH PANCETTA AND RED ONION:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook 1-2 C of organic green peas until soft (can be frozen or fresh). In a pan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, minced garlic, ½ C chopped pancetta (or organic bacon), ½ C organic red onion finely chopped, sea salt and pepper, and cook until onions begin to caramelize. Add peas and cook for 4 minutes. Serve warm as an appetizer or side to any meal!
MINI STUFFED POTATOES WITH GREEN ONION:
In a pot of boiling water, add 10 mini yellow potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, or until you can pierce them with a fork easily. Strain water and remove potatoes from heat.
Slice potatoes in half and remove most of the potato from its skin (keep the base!). In a bowl, mash together the potato, 1 tbsp. organic butter, 2 tbsp. organic milk (of your choice), sea salt, black pepper, shredded organic cheddar cheese (to taste) and green onions. Add the potato mixture back to the potato skins as you would a twice-baked potato and enjoy!
I’m sure you’ve heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Turns out, it’s a pretty accurate expression! As apple picking season starts to ramp up, it’s good to know the amazing health benefits you can get from the delicious fruits you grab from that tree!
Apples are high in soluble fiber – this type of fiber is excellent when it comes to lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol, as well as aiding with digestion, nutrient absorption and weight loss. The fiber from apples can also help reduce health issues attributed to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes.
Apples can help boost brain health – according to numerous studies, apples can help protect brain cells from degeneration, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
They are high in polyphenols – Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants in apples that are great for fighting off infections, managing heart health, and more!
Try making these sweet and savoury recipes this fall that will win over any crowd!:
AUTUMN APPLE BITES:
In a food processor, add ½ C of grated organic apples (dry them out in a towel as best as you can, or try dehydrated apples), 4-5 Medjool dates, ¼ C raw organic almonds, ¼ C raw organic walnuts, 1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 pinch of sea salt, ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract, and blend until mixture is well incorporated. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and store in the fridge. Once cooled and firm, enjoy as an energizing snack!
APPLE PIE SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, mix 1 C organic nut milk, 1 tbsp. almond butter, ½ C organic rolled oats, 1 organic apple chopped, ½ medium sized organic banana, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. all spice and 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional) until smooth. Start your morning off with a tall glass!
TURKEY, CHEDDAR AND APPLE PANINI:
Build your own sandwich with ciabatta bread of your choice, 2 thin slices of roasted organic turkey breast, ½ an organic granny smith apple thinly sliced, 2 thick sliced of medium cheddar cheese, organic green leaf lettuce and 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard. Add to a panini press or pan fry until cheese has melted, and enjoy for lunch on a cool fall afternoon.
September is the perfect month for raspberries to be harvested in Ontario as the cool weather starts to roll in! Raspberries are unique with their sweet yet tart flavour – once you start eating one, you just can’t stop!
As your picking your raspberries this season, it’s important to remember the following health benefits that these yummy fruits can provide to you:
Raspberries are high in antioxidants – like many other berries, raspberries contain a high amount of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins. These flavonoids can be helpful in lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation throughout the body, and improving memory and brain health. They are also high in vitamin C, which is great for UV protection in skin, fighting cancer, and more.
They can help manage diabetes – raspberries are high in fiber, which helps stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels, reducing symptoms of diabetes.
Try these fantastic raspberry recipes this Fall:
In a bowl, add 1 handful of organic spinach, 1 handful of organic arugula, ¼ C chopped walnuts, goat cheese to taste, 1 handful of organic raspberries, 1 pinch of sea salt, ¼ C organic pumpkin seeds, balsamic vinaigrette to taste, and enjoy as a side to any dish!
In a pot on medium-high heat, add 2 C frozen raspberries, ¼ C water, 2 tbsp. honey, and cook until easy to mash. Once mixed, set aside to cool. Then mix in ¼ C chia seeds and add to a mason jar. Set in fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning with your toast!
LEMON RASPBERRY OAT PANCAKES:
In a food processor, blend 1 C of organic rolled oats until a flour like texture is created. Then, add ½ C of Greek (or coconut) plain yogurt, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. organic maple syrup, zest and juice of half a small organic lemon, 1/3 C organic nut milk of your choice, and blend until a thick, smooth mixture is made. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg white until light peaks form. Fold this into your pancake mixture, along with halved organic raspberries.
In a pan on medium heat, add 2 large spoonfuls of your mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes until bubbles form, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve with organic maple syrup and enjoy!
September has arrived, which means back to school for kids! Getting back into the groove of the school year means restarting your weekly routine, which usually includes packing lunches for your children. Get creative this year with these healthy recipes:
On a large whole wheat tortilla, add ½ C organic shredded cheddar cheese (or try Emborg’s vegan option!), 2 oz of grilled chicken (or swap to black beans for a vegan option), ¼ C chopped organic tomatoes, ¼ C chopped organic red peppers and 2 tbsp. chopped organic red onions on one half. Fold the tortilla in half and cook in a pan on medium heat on both sides until the tortilla begins to brown and the cheese melts. Cut into 4 slices and serve with slices of avocado, organic salsa and Greek yogurt.
TURKEY LUNCH KABOB:
Build some skewers with flavours your kids will enjoy! On a plastic skewer, add 1 piece of cooked organic turkey (cubed), 1 piece of organic apple, 1 piece of cubed organic cheddar cheese, and 1 organic green grape. Continue to alternate each item until the skewer is filled!
CHICKEN AVOCADO AND CRANBERRY PINWHEEL WRAP:
On two medium sized whole wheat or whole grain tortillas, dress with 1 tbsp. of light mayonnaise (or try Litehouse organic raspberry dressing!), and add 2 oz of chopped organic grilled chicken (or replace with chickpeas for a vegan option), ¼ C dried organic cranberries, ½ an organic avocado sliced, 1 small handful of romaine lettuce chopped, and wrap tightly. Chop width wise into pinwheel shapes!
OVERNIGHT OATS WITH FRUITS:
In a mason jar, add 1 C of organic rolled oats, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp. hemp hearts, 2 tbsp. chia seeds, 1 tbsp. honey or organic maple syrup, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and enough milk to submerge the oats. Mix well and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add a mixture of organic berries, mangos or melons to the oats for added flavour!
PROTEIN BENTO BOX:
In a divided lunch box, mix it up with some snacking favourites that will boost your child’s protein levels and keep them full! Try L’Ancetre’s snack size cheese with your favourite Jilz cracker, chopped vegetables like organic cucumber, carrots and celery, organic berries, and hard boiled eggs for added protein.
Most people know Mike & Mike’s for their reputation in distributing organic produce, but many are surprised to find out that we carry a huge variety of grocery products as well!
Here are just a handful of brands that we distribute to our customers and some information behind their amazing products:
Elmhurst initially started as a dairy company in 1925, and reemerged as a plant based dairy product company in 2017. Their nut milks are not only delicious, but are created through an innovative process known as hydroreleasing. This method of separating the milk from the nut grains utilizes only water, which maximizes the nutrition of the whole nuts and leaves the addition of stabilizers, emulsifiers and gums unnecessary! They are also vegan, kosher, and are GMO, gluten, carrageenan and artificial flavour free. Try their line of sweetened and unsweetened milks, hemp creamers and barista blends!
Booch is a kombucha company based out of London Ontario. Their craft kombuchas are hand crafted and fair trade, made with local, organic ingredients. The fermentation process in which the booch is made creates good bacteria, which is great for supporting gut health, boosting our immune systems and increasing energy levels. Try one of their many flavours that are made with love, such as citrus twist, chaga chai and raspberry lemonade!
Simply Delish is a South Africa company that launched in the early 2000’s. This line of all-natural desserts are quite unique, as they are vegan and contain no nuts, refined sugars, gluten, fat, preservatives, GMO’s, lactose and allergens! Desserts include puddings, pie fillings and jel treats that are easy to make and won’t make you feel guilty when you eat them!
Mother Raw is a raw food company that began in 2010. This brand is focused on creating products that are raw, organic and nutrient rich! They do this by maintaining the integrity of the ingredients they use by cold-blending them, a process which adds no heat to the foods which can ultimately take away vital nutrients. Their delicious condiments, dressings, dips and quesos do not contain any preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients, and are peanut, gluten, dairy, soy and canola free! Perfect for any BBQ meal this season.
Chocosol is a fair trade company based out of Toronto since 2006. They specialize in creating bean-to-bar and stone ground artisanal dark chocolate, as well as unique coffee products. Chocosol prepares their raw cacao on site through the process of roasting, winnowing and stone grinding to create delicious products that are free from dairy, soy, gluten and nuts. They also do not contain any preservatives, fillers or artificial flavours, and make excellent treats for any occasion!
August is peach season in Ontario, especially in the Niagara region! Peaches are sweet, delicious stone fruits that can jazz up your desserts, and in some cases your savoury meals!
While you’re enjoying your organic peaches, it’s important to note the following health benefits that they are providing you:
Peaches boost overall heart health – they can reduce high blood pressure as well as “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Peaches are high in polyphenols – these elements found in fruits and vegetables can greatly reduce the growth of cancer cells.
They can reduce the severity of allergies – eating peaches and control and reduce the release of histamines, which trigger allergic reactions.
Peaches are high in nutrients and antioxidants – perfect for boosting your immune system, aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption, and protecting from any free radical damage in the body.
Try out these tasty AND easy recipes that you can try at home with your local organic peaches this summer!:
BLUE CHEESE AND PEACH SALAD:
In a bowl, add 1 serving of organic mixed greens, ¼ C chopped organic red onion, ¼ C crushed organic walnuts, 1 small organic peach sliced, and blue cheese crumbled to taste. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and enjoy!
GRILLED PEACHES WITH MOZARELLA:
On your grill, brush on olive oil lightly, and grill 2 halved peaches flesh down on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.
Slice a large mozzarella ball into medallions. Top with slices of the grilled peaches, organic walnuts, and drizzle with honey to taste.
Local Ontario zucchini is a big item this summer! With its light, delicious flavour, the recipes you can create with this vegetable are endless.
Need more reasons to hop on the zucchini train this season? Check out some amazing health benefits this vegetable can provide to you!:
Zucchinis are high in antioxidants – eating them will help improve your immune system, maintain skin and eye health, decrease oxidative damage to your body caused by diet and environment, slow the aging process and reduce inflammation.
They are high in water and fiber – we know that this combination is great for creating optimal digestion and nutrient absorption in the gut.
Zucchinis are high in B vitamins – from previous posts, we know that B vitamins are essential for hormone development, stress reduction and boosting energy levels.
They are low in calories – the fact that zucchinis are versatile in recipes and also low in calories make them a great substitution for complex carbohydrates in meals – “zoodles”, anyone?
Try some of these zucchini recipes that make for some tasty summer treats!
Take two organic zucchinis and slice them length-wise. Flat side up, coat with your choice of cheese (dairy free if preferred), ½ an organic roma tomato diced, ¼ C of finely chopped red onions, sliced black olives, sea salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has fully melted. Serve warm!
Grate two medium sized organic zucchinis onto a dish cloth, and use it to squeeze any excess water out. Place grated zucchini into a bowl, and mix in two eggs, ¼ C almond flour, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder (to taste), paprika and cayenne pepper. On medium-high heat, pour in 1 large spoonful of the mixture (the size of a small pancake) and cook in olive oil on both sides for 4 minutes or until browned.
Serve with organic sour cream, chives, and enjoy!
As we reach the last month of summer, it’s the perfect time to do a light seasonal detox! This involves reflecting on your current diet and making small changes to ensure your health is on the right track.
Here are some easy steps to helping your body detox:
Eat alkaline foods – overeating acidic foods such as meats, dairy, processed foods and alcohol can potentially affect your health by causing inflammation, weight gain, and more. Adding more alkaline foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes can help regulate your pH levels and improve your overall health.
Mix it up! – jump start your metabolism by switching up the meals you are currently eating, including ingredients.
Eat more detoxifying foods – dandelion, charcoal, chicory root, black pepper and dark leafy greens are just some foods that you can include into your diet that help filter toxins out of the body and support your liver.
Eat more watermelon – this delicious summer fruit contains glutathione, which is essential to liver function and the process of detoxification through the body.
Eat more mint leaves – adding mint to smoothies, desserts, and even salads can help you digest your food more efficiently.
Keep moving this summer! – remaining stagnant can reduce the natural flow of fluids in your body. Keep active this season to improve circulation and the overall filtration process your body needs to get rid of toxins.
Always stay hydrated – drinking ample amounts of water throughout the day can not only keep your energy levels up, but similar to being active, water can help move things along and detox.
Eat lighter and more frequent meals – avoid heavy meals high in saturated fats and sodium! Instead, eat light meals filled with seasonal fruit and vegetables to help improve your digestion and therefore clean out your system.
Local tomatoes are coming into their prime this summer! Organic tomatoes add freshness and flavour to many summer dishes, from being grilled as a side, to adding brightness to your salads.
Tomatoes contain plenty of health benefits, giving you more reasons to have them in your meals:
They contain lycopene – as mentioned in previous posts, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce bad cholesterol, as well as promote good heart and skin health.
Tomatoes stimulate blood circulation – this can be useful for managing hypertension and other circulatory issues.
They are high in fiber – dietary fiber is important for maintaining healthy digestion, as well as aiding in the absorption of nutrients in your gut.
Tomatoes contain a high level of Vitamin K – this vitamin is essential for the creation of proteins the body needs, as well as the coagulation of blood to help the healing process of wounds.
They contain couramic and chlorogenic acid – these elements in tomatoes fight specifically against carcinogens in the body that are produced by cigarettes.
Tomatoes reduce oxidative stress from type 2 diabetes – with the help of lycopene and other antioxidants, tomatoes can help reduce damage done in the body from harmful free radicals.
Try a couple of these summer-forward recipes that will highlight any BBQ this season!
CHERRY TOMATO PASTA:
In a pot of boiling water, cook 1 serving of organic spaghetti as directed on the package.
In a food processor, blend 1 large handful of fresh organic basil, 1 clove of organic garlic, 1/3 C organic pine nuts, sea salt, black pepper, and add olive oil while blending until desired consistency is reached to create a homemade pesto.
Mix in the pesto with the pasta once cooked, and add 1-2 C of chopped cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan to taste. Serve warm!
BAKED PARMESAN AND HERB TOMATOES:
Halve 2 medium sized organic hothouse tomatoes. With the sliced side facing up, top with 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. chili flakes, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. sea salt and grated parmesan to taste. Broil in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and starts to brown. Serve as a side to any summer dish!
This summer is definitely a hot one! In order to keep cool in this heat, it’s important to always stay hydrated throughout the day. Besides water, here are the best organic fruits and vegetables to eat during meal or snack time:
Cucumbers – try sliced with dip, or in flavoured water.
Celery – another great addition to your veggie platter, or pair it with a little almond butter and raisins at a picnic!
Radishes – the perfect crunch to your salad.
Watermelons – when water is in the name, you know it’s the best go-to on a hot day!
Spinach – Along with being packed with nutrients, spinach is a great source of hydration.
Grapefruits – try boosting your smoothies with this delicious fruit!
Peaches – try your peaches grilled, in a salad, or in a fresh fruit tray.
Lettuces – always light and refreshing, try changing your lunch up with delicious lettuce wraps.
Cantaloupes – add a touch of honey to boost electrolytes when snacking on this melon.
Tomatoes – the perfect addition to a grilled skewer or salad.
Try some of these easy and hydrating recipes this summer:
In a mason jar or water bottle, add 1 tbsp. organic honey, ¼ C chia seeds, 1 tbsp. organic lemon juice and fill the rest with water. Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day. Chia seeds are perfect to add to any drink as they retain more water, provide you with water more quickly, and regulate the electrolytes you receive from the drink.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 wedge of organic watermelon chopped, a few cubes of feta cheese, 1 sprig of organic mint, 1 tbsp. Organic lime juice and 2 tbsp. olive oil, and enjoy!