Summer is finally upon us! With this season brings a peak in local Ontario produce. Check out some fruits and vegetables that are currently in season and available locally in your grocery stores:
Apricots – this delicious stone fruit can take any sweet or savoury dish up a notch in flavour! Apricots are high in Vitamin A and C, promoting eye and skin health, as well as fiber to support digestion.
Blueberries – these berries are one of the top exports from all of Canada! Blueberries make an excellent snack and contain an abundance of antioxidants.
Plums – plums are not only sweet, tart and tasty, but they have multiple health benefits, including being high in nutrients and fiber, as well as supporting bone growth.
Gooseberries – these unique berries make for great tarts and jams, and are also known to balance blood sugar and promote weight loss.
Raspberries – another berry favourite! Raspberries make for great smoothie and sorbet recipes, and also contain a lot of immune-boosting elements.
Watermelon – a summer staple, watermelons make a great after-dinner snack just the way they are! They are also full of water for hydration, as well as vitamin B’s for energy and hormone balance.
Corn – Although corn contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, they run the risk of spiking blood sugar. Try grilled as a side to any backyard BBQ meal.
Radicchio – roast it, sauté it, or eat as a base in your favourite salad. Radicchio is low calorie and high in Vitamin K which is essential for bone health.
Peppers – From spicy to sweet bell peppers, these vegetables make perfect BBQ skewers! They are high leutin for eye protection, as well as iron for increased energy.
Tomatoes – grill them, dice them, you name it! Tomatoes are not only good for your heart health, but can be included in almost meal you have this summer.
Happy Canada Day!
To celebrate our amazing country this week, we have included some recipes that highlight meals and produce specific to Canada:
Raw Nanaimo Bars:
A Canadian favourite! You can get these sweet, chocolate, creamy bars at any bakery from the East to West coast.
For the first layer, combine ½ C almonds, ½ C walnuts, ½ C medjool dates, ½ C shredded coconut and ¼ C raw cacao powder in a food processor until all ingredients are incorporated. Pat this layer down flat in a small baking dish lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer.
For the second layer, combine ¼ C coconut oil, ½ C soaked cashews, 3 tbsp. maple syrup, ¼ C coconut cream (refrigerated first) and 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract in a food processor until smooth. Add on top of first layer and place back in freezer.
For the final layer, blend ½ C soaked cashews, ½ C cacao powder, 1/3 C coconut oil, ¼ C maple syrup until smooth. Layer this on the mixture and let freeze for 2-3 hours. Once firm, cut into individual squares and enjoy with a coffee!
Maple Roasted Nuts:
You can’t go to any grocery store in Canada without seeing shelves of maple syrup!
For this recipe, roast a mix of ½ C almonds and ½ C of pecans on a baking tray lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Remove from tray and place into a mixing bowl, where you can coat them with organic maple syrup and cinnamon (to taste!). Place back on tray and bake for a remaining 15 minutes, and enjoy once cooled!
Garlic Parmesan Fiddleheads:
Ontario is known for having the largest harvest and distribution of these delicious ferns in the world!
To prepare, chop the curled shoots off of about 7-10 fiddlehead ferns and boil for a minimum of 10 minutes so that they are cleaned efficiently. In a pan at medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. grass fed butter, 1 small chopped shallot and 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes. Place fiddleheads into pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until browned. Top with parmesan cheese (to taste!) and enjoy as a side to any meal.
Blueberry Chia Pudding
In Canada, Nova Scotia, Quebec, PEI and New Brunswick are the top 4 provinces that grow and harvest wild blueberries. These delicious berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
In a blender, add 1 ½ C of coconut milk, 1-2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, a pinch of lemon zest, and ½ C fresh blueberries and blend until smooth. Pour into a medium sized mason jar, and add approximately 3-4 tbsp. of whole chia seeds, and stir into mix until all are dispersed. If you notice there are not enough in the mixture to fully disperse, add more to your discretion. Let sit in fridge overnight and enjoy for breakfast the following day!
One produce item that is always popular in the warmer months is definitely rhubarb! With its tart yet sweet taste, rhubarb rises to the top of the list when it comes to pie ingredients.
Here are some other interesting facts about rhubarb that you may not have known:
Looking for a rhubarb recipe other than pie? Here are some tasty options you can try this summer:
RHUBARB AND OAT CRUMBLE:
In a small baking dish (coated lightly inside with organic butter), add a combined mixture of chopped organic rhubarb and strawberries (about 2 cups of each) dusted lightly with cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine ½ C almond flour, 1/3 C organic butter, 1/2 C rolled oats (add more if necessary), 1 tbsp. honey, 1/3 C brown or coconut sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt until a crumble mixture is created.
Top this crumble mixture to the ingredients in the baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes (or until oats crisp up) at 350 degrees. Serve warm!
In a pan on medium heat, cook down 2 cups of chopped organic rhubarb, ½ C lemon juice and 1 C water for about 5 minutes or until rhubarb stems soften.
Add to a food processor with 1/3 C chopped organic strawberries, 2-3 tbsp. honey (or desired amount for sweetness) and blend until smooth. Add mixture to making dish and place in freezer for 5 hours or until firm. Scoop and enjoy!
Local Ontario spinach is plentiful during the Spring and Summer. There are so many uses for spinach due to its subtle flavour, but did you know it carries many health benefits as well?
There are SO many ways to use spinach in your recipes, here are a few to check out!:
SPINACH AND MUSHROOM OMELETTE:
In a bowl, crack and whisk 2 organic eggs together until frothy. Add to the bowl: 1/3 C organic chopped fresh spinach, 1/3 C organic chopped cremini mushrooms, a small handful of finely chopped organic tomatoes and red onions, seat salt and black pepper to taste, and mix well. If you’re looking to make you omelette light and fluffy, add a little organic milk or cream to the mix!
In a pan on medium heat, melt 1 tbsp. of butter and cook egg mixture on one side for 3-4 minutes. Make sure to tip pan so that raw egg mixture cooks. Flip one side and cook for another 2 minutes. Top with organic goat cheese and enjoy!
SUPER GREEN SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, add 1 cup of fresh organic spinach, 1 organic banana, ½ organic apple roughly chopped, 1 small piece of ginger, ½ juice of a lemon, 1 ½ C coconut milk (or water), 1 tbsp. hemp hearts, 1 tbsp. organic honey, and blend until smooth.
This week is all about celebrating Dads! In honour of Father’s Day this Sunday, we’ve compiled a list of easy –to-make AND delicious BBQ recipes that Dads will certainly enjoy:
BBQ PIZZA ON NAAN BREAD:
On a piece of whole wheat naan bread, choose a base of either olive oil, pesto or tomato sauce.
In a pan on medium heat, add olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, organic vegetables (tomato, spinach, red onions, mushrooms, and any others of your choice) and lightly cook for about 3 minutes. Top your naan bread with your cooked vegetables, as well as organic goat or feta cheese (use a vegan substitute if desired – such as Emborg dairy-free cheese).
Cook on the grill with the lid closed on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until naan and cheese start to brown. Slice and enjoy!
Cut and core an organic pineapple, and slice into rings (or length wise if you prefer). Set the BBQ to high heat and brush the grill lightly with olive oil. Lightly brush the pineapple rings with olive oil, and dust with cinnamon. Add the pineapple to the grill, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Serve drizzled with organic maple syrup!
Set the BBQ to medium heat and brush grill lightly with olive oil. Slice a head of organic cauliflower length-wise, leaving thick steak-like sizes of cauliflower. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil, and top one side with cheese of your choice, organic BBQ sauce, chopped organic green onions, organic sundried tomatoes, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne (to taste) and smoked paprika.
Cook on the grill with the lid closed for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and cauliflower has begun to brown. Serve warm.
GRILLED PEACHES WITH RICOTTA CHEESE:
Slice 2-4 organic peaches in half, skin on, and remove pits. Brush the peaches lightly with olive oil, and cook on medium heat on the grill flesh side down until grill marks appear (usually 5 minutes). Flip onto skin side and cook until soft.
In a bowl, mix approximately 1 cup of ricotta cheese with 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract and 2 tbsp. of honey. Top peaches with ricotta mixture and pine nuts for an extra crunch!
As we start to creep into the summer months, it’s time to take a look at the local produce that will be available in the month of June:
Cherries – Both sweet and tart, cherries are a great fruit to add to any dessert dish! They are excellent in relieving inflammation and balancing blood sugar.
Cucumbers – This low calorie, hydrating vegetable is not only a delicious snack, but can add extra crunch to your salads this summer.
Cauliflower – This popular veggie is packed with immune-boosting elements, and can also act as a good meat substitution for your meals – cauliflower tacos, anyone?
Kale – Probably the most talked about leafy green out there – and for good reason! Kale is packed with vitamins, nutrient, minerals, antioxidants… the list goes on! Roast it in the oven with a little sea salt and olive oil for a great potato chip substitute.
Spinach – The perfect base for any smoothie for its subtle flavour, spinach contains a high amount of iron, protein and B vitamins.
Green onions – These onions bump up the flavour profile in any savoury meal, and are also full of antibacterial and cancer-fighting properties.
This month, Ontario-grown asparagus rolls into its peak season! This delicious green vegetable is not only a great addition to any meal, but it is packed with some amazing health benefits.
Weight loss – asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable that is easy to incorporate into meals.
High in antioxidants – asparagus is high in multiple antioxidants, including Vitamin C, A, E and K, which all contribute to development and protection of our immune systems.
Contains folate – folate is a B vitamin that is essential for growth and DNA production, which makes it extremely important during pregnancy as well as child development.
High in other B vitamins – asparagus also contains many other B vitamins that are vital in reducing stress, providing energy, and improving circulation.
Try some asparagus-forward recipes that are real crowd pleasers:
GARLIC PARMESAN ASPARAGUS:
Take a bundle of organic asparagus and break off the bottoms. In a pan on medium heat, add 1-2 tbsp. butter and 1 clove of organic garlic finely chopped for 3 minutes or until garlic starts to brown. Add asparagus into pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until bright green. Add shredded parmesan cheese and serve as a side to any meal!
Asparagus and Farro Bowl:
In a pot, add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of farro grains. Bring water to a boil, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until farro is fully cooked.
In a pan on medium heat, add chopped organic asparagus (3-4 stalks), 1 organic garlic clove finely chopped, 1/3 C chopped organic red onion, 1 handful of chopped organic Brussels sprouts, 1 tbsp. butter, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Mix cooked vegetables and farro together in a bowl, and top with organic green peas and feta cheese. Enjoy as a light Spring lunch!
As a new mom, sometimes it’s a struggle to determine what fruits and vegetables are best to give your child.
Here are some great options that will give your baby the most optimal nutrients, vitamins and minerals they will need at this stage in their life!:
CARROTS – this delicious vegetable is great to start feeding to your baby at around 6 months in pureed form. Carrots are very high in vitamin A, which is critical for eye development and immunity, and they are very easy to digest.
SWEET POTATOES – another bright orange vegetable also filled with antioxidants to help your child fight off sickness, sweet potatoes are also high in magnesium, which is important for supporting heart health and muscles. They also have a pleasantly sweet taste for your baby to enjoy!
BROCCOLI – at around 8-10 months of age, it’s a great time to start introducing broccoli to your baby’s diet. Broccoli is packed with soluble fiber to help aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as vitamin C and iron.
PAPAYA – Not only is papaya delicious, it’s loaded with papain, a powerful digestive enzyme. It also contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, especially when it comes to rashes or other skin issues.
APPLES – at 5-6 months, you can start introducing (peeled) apples to their diet. Apples contain a high amount of fiber, and can help balance cholesterol and blood sugar. They can also give your baby lots of energy!
AVOCADOS – as one of the more popular foods to feed your babies, they puree well and can be introduced as early as 4-5 months. Avocados are filled with healthy fats to help build your child’s mental development and reduce any inflammation.
Strawberries are a hot item in the Spring time! As their peak season starts, there are a few important health benefits you should be aware of when you are eating this delicious fruit:
Here are some tasty strawberry recipes to try at home:
STRAWBERRY QUINOA SALAD:
Cook 1 C of quinoa as directed on the package. In a separate pan, toast almonds and pecans on medium heat, tossed in organic maple syrup and soy sauce (half and half ratio) for about 7-10 minutes. In a bowl, combine cooked quinoa, chopped organic strawberries, chopped organic avocados, candied nuts, roughly chopped spinach and crumbled goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and dress with olive oil, lemon juice and poppy seeds.
BERRY AND BANANA SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, add 1 organic banana, ½ C organic strawberries, ½ C organic raspberries, 1 tbsp. honey (optional), 1 tbsp. coconut oil, 1 tbsp. hemp hearts and cover with coconut milk. Blend until smooth and enjoy in the morning!
BERRY DETOX WATER
In a 1 liter pitcher, add 2 C chopped organic strawberries, 1 clam of organic mint leaves, 2 sliced organic limes, and fill the rest with water. Let sit for a few hours and enjoy with ice for up to 5 days (kept refrigerated).
Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend! In honor of the amazing women in our lives, here are some super easy, sweet treat ideas to help celebrate their day!
LEMON COCONUT BLISS BALLS:
In a food processor, blend ¼ C cashews until a flour like consistency. Then add ¼ C almond flour, ¼ C coconut flour, 2 tbsp. dessicated coconut, 1 tbsp. coconut oil, the zest and juice of one organic lemon, 2 tbsp. honey, ½ tsp. of pure vanilla extract and blend. Roll mixtures into one inch balls, dust with remaining coconut, cool and enjoy as a sweet snack.
MINI STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKES:
For your crust, blend 2 C pecans with 2 tbsp. coconut oil and 1 tbsp. honey. Pack into the bottoms of the mini muffin tins and freeze for 30 minutes.
For the cheesecake mixture, whip together 1 package of cream cheese (8oz), 1/3 C Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 2 tbsp. of honey, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir in about ½ C of chopped strawberries gently. Add mixture to muffin tins on top of crust, and top with blueberries and strawberries. Freeze for 1 hour and enjoy!
AT-HOME MOCHA LATTE:
In a sauce pan, heat ½ a mug full of almond milk on medium until warm. Add 1 tbsp. cacao powder, 1 tbsp. organic maple syrup, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 small pinch of salt to milk and stir in well. Add to a mug and top the rest with brewed coffee. Top with coconut whipped cream and enjoy!
LEMON PANCAKES WITH RASPBERRIES:
In a food processor, blend 1 C organic rolled oats until it forms a fine flour. Add in 1 egg, ¾ C of Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, ½ the zest of a lemon, 1-2 tbsp. honey, 1 pinch of salt, and blend until smooth. Stir in raspberries gently.
In a large frying pan on medium heat, melt butter and pour pancake mixture in to 3-4 inch circles. When the top of the mixture starts to bubble, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve with mixed fruit and maple syrup, and surprise your Mom with a delicious breakfast in bed!
Happy Cinco de Mayo! We are gearing up to celebrate this weekend with some healthy and delicious Mexican recipes:
In a bowl, add 2-3 mashed organic avocados, 1/3 C chopped organic red onion, 2 tbsp. organic lime juice, 1/3 C chopped organic tomatoes, 1 clove of organic garlic finely chopped, salt and pepper to taste, and finely chopped organic jalapeno pepper (depending on your desired heat level!). Mix well and enjoy with some delicious crackers, organic chips or vegetables.
MEXICAN PROTEIN BOWL:
Cook 1 C brown or wild rice as directed. In a bowl, add rice, ½ C black beans, 1 C chopped organic romaine lettuce, ½ C chopped organic tomatoes, ½ C chopped organic red onion, ½ organic corn, your choice of protein (grilled chicken, steak or chickpeas), ½ a chopped organic avocado. Season with cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder and a pinch of cayenne, and dress lightly with olive oil.
For the sauce, add 1 C Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative), a few stems of cilantro leaves, 2-3 tbsp. lime juice, salt, pepper, and ½ clove of garlic (chopped) into a small container and mix well. Mix into protein bowl, top with some shredded medium cheddar cheese and enjoy!
Chop ½ an organic cauliflower head into small florets. In a bowl, coat them with paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne (small amount), garlic powder and olive oil (to taste). Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until cauliflower starts to brown.
For the sauce, blend 1 organic avocado, a few stems of cilantro leaves, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Assemble taco on a small corn tortilla with chopped organic red cabbage, chopped organic jalapeno, roasted cauliflower and coat with avocado crema. Add some cojita cheese for an extra boost and enjoy!
In a blender, add 1 C organic rolled oats, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tbsp. organic maple syrup, 1 ½ C almond milk, 1 banana, ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract and your choice of protein option (vanilla works best!). Blend well and serve immediately.
Now that Spring is in full swing, it’s time to do a little Spring cleaning – for your diet! It’s easy in the cold winter months to eat warm, heavy comfort food meals. But as the temperature rises, it’s time to switch things up!
ADD TO YOUR DIET – more greens! Swap out the heavy carbs for leafy lettuces and greens that are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and will make you feel a bit lighter. Try having mixed greens in salads, or cooking them down in your pasta dish.
REMOVE FROM DIET – refined carbs! White breads and sugars will not only contribute to weight gain, but can also negatively impact your gut health and cloud your mental focus. Try substituting for whole grains and natural sugars, such as coconut sugar, stevia or honey.
ADD TO YOUR DIET – fermented foods! Eating more yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha teas will fill your body with the probiotics it needs to promote healthy gut bacterial growth, ultimately aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption.
REMOVE FROM YOUR DIET – heavy foods! While foods like squashes, or even processed foods, are satisfying during the cold months, it’s time to switch to in-season produce like strawberries, asparagus, peas, and radishes.
Need some help switching up your diet? Here are some delicious Spring-forward recipes to try at home:
On a slice of whole grain or organic sourdough toast, add ½ mashed avocado, 1 red radish thinly sliced, 1 soft boiled egg, 3 red grape tomatoes sliced and top with finely chopped chives, salt and pepper.
In a bowl, mix chopped cooked red beets, goat cheese, pecans, arugula, spinach, and top with salt, pepper, balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil. Serve and enjoy!