Sweet potatoes are a versatile vegetable that can be added to both sweet and savoury recipes. Take a look at some reasons why you should add sweet potatoes to your meals (other than the fact that they are so delicious!):
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutritious elements – sweet potatoes contain loads of vitamins, minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and fiber to help boost a healthy digestive system.
Sweet potatoes are great for promoting eye health – Beta carotene is a precursor for Vitamin A, which can significantly benefit eye development and overall health. Like carrots, sweet potatoes carry an abundance of this antioxidant.
They are full of choline – choline is an essential nutrient needed in humans for healthy muscle movement, learning and memory.
Check out some delicious recipes containing our beloved sweet potato!:
BLACK BEAN AND SWEET POTATO QUESADILLAS:
Peel and chop one medium sized organic sweet potato and place in a pot and fill with water until potatoes are covered. Let water come to a boil, then simmer for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water, and mash potatoes together. Mix in 1 tsp. cayenne. 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, sea salt and pepper to taste.
On a soft whole wheat tortilla, add the sweet potato mixture, organic black beans, sautéed organic red onions chopped, chopped organic tomato, cheese of your choice, and fold in half. In a pan on medium heat, cook quesadilla on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat, slice into smaller triangles and top with Greek yogurt and chives. Serve warm!
SWEET POTATO HASH BROWNS:
Grate one medium organic sweet potato into a small bowl. Mix with 2 eggs, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, sea salt and pepper to taste. In a large pan on medium-high heat, add 2-3 tbsp. of oil so that the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Form flat patties of the sweet potato mixture to the size of your palm, and fry on both sides for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream and your choice of eggs and enjoy as a side with your breakfast.
SWEET POTATO DESSERT BARS:
In a food processor, mix 1 C organic almonds, 1 C oats, 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg. In a small baking pan, line with parchment paper and pat down mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Clean out the food processor, and add 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, baked or boiled and chopped, ¼ C almond flour, ¼ C maple syrup or honey, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1/3 C milk of your choice, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. vanilla, and blend until smooth. Pour on top of the crust and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool for an hour and cut into squares for serving.
With the current global situation we are facing, there is a lot of pressure to practice social distancing and self care during this time
Whether you are at home or at work, there are lots of things you can do to boost your immune system that are-hassle free!
We’ve got green on the brain for St. Patrick’s Day! Green vegetables are packed to the brim with nutrients, minerals and antioxidants, but are usually not your first choice to pick up and snack on. So, why not give it a sweet make over?
Here are some sneaky (and DELICIOUS) ways to hide your greens in treats:
AVOCADO PEPPERMINT SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, add ½ organic avocado, 1 organic banana, ¼ C organic chopped green kale, 2 tbsp. cacao powder, 1 tbsp. cacao nibs (or chocolate chips), 1-2 tbsp. organic maple syrup (depending on the level of sweetness), 1 sprig of organic peppermint leaves and 1 ½ C of nut milk of your choice (or water if preferred), and blend until smooth. Serve immediately!
In a large bowl, add 1 C of shredded organic zucchini, 2 organic eggs, 1/3 C organic maple syrup or honey, 1/3 C milk of your choice, 1 tbsp. organic coconut oil (slightly melted) and blend well. Then add 1.5 C organic whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ginger and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into a small loaf pan and top with crushed walnuts. Bake for 50 minutes at 365 degrees (or until sides have browned and the center is not runny). Let cool on rack for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
KEY LIME AND SPINACH BITES:
In a food processor, blend together ½ C organic walnuts, ½ C organic almonds, ½ C organic cashews, 4-5 pitted organic medjool dates, and 1-2 melted tbsp. of coconut oil. In a 8×8 pan, line with parchment paper and pat down nut mixture to the bottom. Freeze for 30 minutes.
In a small blender, blend ½ C spinach with a bit of water until a green liquid is created. In a bowl, whip 1 C organic coconut milk (thick!) until fluffy. Then mix in 2 tbsp. lime juice, 1/3 C honey, the spinach liquid you created, the zest of one lime, and add onto the nut crust you made from earlier. Spread it evenly on top of the crust and freeze for 3-5 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy as a tasty treat!
SPIRULINA AND MATCHA CHIA PARFAIT:
In a small bowl, add 1 C nut milk of your choice, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp. matcha powder, 1 tsp. spirulina, 1 tbsp. organic honey (can adjust sweetness level) and blend well. Incorporate 1/3 C chia seeds until fully distributed throughout the mixture and let sit in the fridge until pudding-like mixture is formed.
In a separate small bowl, mix together 1 C plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tbsp. honey.
To assemble as a parfait, in small mason jars, add granola of your choice to the bottom third of the jar, then add the yogurt mixture, then the chia as your top layer, and garnish with blueberries and raspberries. Serve as a healthy snack! Serves 2.
Cabbage is a delicious vegetable that can be used in many different recipes. Along with being a staple food item this season, cabbage is also packed with multiple health benefits:
Cabbage can boost your immune system – sulforaphane, found in cabbage, is a natural sulfur compound that can help fight against cancer and other illnesses that could affect your health.
Fermented cabbage is high in probiotics – fermented cabbage in the form of kimchi and sauerkraut are not only tasty, but are full of probiotics to support a healthy gut, which in turn improves your immune system, increases nutrient absorption, and aids in digestion.
Cabbage is in high fiber – eating fiber-containing foods can really help improve digestion and metabolism.
Cabbage can potentially lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes – studies have shown that with its high fiber content, along with other properties, cabbage can help balance blood sugar.
Cabbage can reduce inflammation – the high sulfur content in cabbage can actually help soothe inflammation in the digestive system and other areas of the body.
Try out one of these yummy cabbage sides to go along with your next meal:
In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients: ½ C plain Greek yogurt (or a dairy free yogurt option), 1 tbsp. white vinegar, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. honey (smooth), 1 tsp. garlic powder, sea salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate bowl, mix together finely chopped organic red and green cabbage (about 2 C total), and ¼ C shredded organic carrot. Add the dressing to this mixture and stir well. Let sit in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day!
Roughly chop half a head of organic green cabbage. Add to a pan on medium heat along with 1 tbsp. butter (or vegan butter if preferred) and seasoned with sea salt and pepper to taste. After 5 minutes, add in 2 tbsp. soy sauce (light sodium or Tamari gluten free soy sauce), 1 tbsp. maple syrup, ¼ C crushed organic Mike & Mike’s roasted almonds. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until tender, and serve warm.
New year, new grocery brands! At Mike & Mike’s, we have been growing our grocery department enormously, carrying more and more products. These brands are natural, good quality, and most importantly… delicious! Here are a few to mention that are now available:
As a chef, baker and Holistic Nutritionist, Stacy Bacher started Allergy Smart as a healthy alternative to mainstream, processed baked goods. Taking into consideration how allergies on the rise (a 250% increase in the past 5 years!), Allergy Smart products are free of gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, soy, sulfites, mustard and shellfish. Their cookie and brownie recipes are also made with a unique flour mixture, which helps them mimic the taste and texture of popular baked goods. These treats are tasty AND come in small to-go packages, perfect for kid’s lunches!
Produced by the Illinois-based company Hello Delicious!, Figgin’ Fruit is a snack line of real fruit filled whole grain treats. These snacks contain no artificial colours, flavours, preservative or high-fructose corn syrup, and are made with organic, non-GMO and gluten free ingredients, making them a great healthy alternative to other snacks on the market. Try their Strawberry Chia or Blueberry Acai snacks today!
Safe Catch is a brand of fresh, canned tuna, as well as other fish varieties. Based out of California, Safe Catch prides itself on being top quality, as they are the only company in the industry that tests every tuna for mercury, with standards 10 times stricter than the FDA. The fish are also sustainably caught, with no additives or preservatives, and are less processed to preserve more omega-3s.
Sprague is an independent family run canned and jarred food company. Beginning in 1925, this Canadian brand produces healthy, organic, vegetarian meals that are convenient for the on-the-go lifestyle. Their ingredients are safely pressure cooked, with no preservatives or additives, and packed in BPA free and 100% recyclable cans and jars. Mike & Mike’s is currently carrying their line of delicious soups and beans!
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!: