Friday, June 23, 2017

Simple White Bean Soup (with Vegan Option)

Although it is summer, today was rather raining and it felt like a soup day.  This recipe took little time to prepare and was very satisfying.  I am certain most types of cooked beans would also work well with this soup.
Ingredients

  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, ghee or grass fed butter
  • 3 minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked navy, white beans or other beans
  • 2 shredded carrots
  • 4 cups bone, chicken, or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon thyme or 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 shredded zucchini

Directions
  1. In a large pot heat oil. Cook onion until clear and soft (3 minutes,) add garlic and cook another minute. 
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except zucchini and cook until carrots are tender.
  3. Add zucchini and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Peanut Butter Cookies (Dairy, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free)

I recently realized I didn't have a standard peanut butter cookie reipce.  I don't care for the texture or taste of the "flourless" recipes, so this is my gluten free version.  If you can handle gluten, I think a nice red fife flour would be a great substitute as well.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free pancake mix or other gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum (omit if your flour blend has already)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (omit if using my pancake mix)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened coconut oil
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter at room temperature (smooth or chunky)
  • 3/4 cup palm, coconut or demerara sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • xylitol (1/2 tablespoon) and a bit of sea salt (1/4 teaspoons) for rolling if desired
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and  prepare cookie trays.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl cream peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, palm sugar, egg and vanilla.
  4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients.
  5. Roll into tablespoon size amounts.  You can roll into a bit of xylitol and or sea salt if desired.   Flatten balls with fork into a criss cross pattern.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown on top.
  7. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes on tray and then allow to finish hardening on a wire wrack.


Monday, May 01, 2017

Cream of Millet Porridge (Dairy, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free)

I like a lot of variety in my menu.  Breakfast is another meal where I don't enjoy eating the same thing in a row.  One recipe that is continually in our weekly line up is cream of millet.  Millet is a small gluten free grain that is an excellent source of magnesium.  Magnesium is important in lowering blood pressure, fighting off migraines and asthma.  Millet is also one of the few more alkaline grains, making it easier to digest.  

Although it can be made with the whole grains as in this recipe, I do prefer grinding the millet in the blender to make it into a powder.  The millet powder cooks much quicker and produces a creamier finish.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup ground millet
  • 4 cups liquid (water and/or non dairy milk)*
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup ground pumpkin seeds or shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, grass fed butter or ghee
  • maple syrup for serving if desired
*I use 1/2 cup coconut cream and the rest water


Directions
  1. Add millet, water/milk, salt, flax, dates, pumpkin seeds/coconut into a pot and stir.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a medium.
  3. Cook while stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until millet is fully cooked.
  4. Remove from heat, add vanilla and coconut oil.
  5. Stir and let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  6. Puree if you want the dates completely pureed.
  7. Serve with maple syrup if desired.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Family Trip to China

We were blessed this April to take a trip as a family to China.  Why China?  I have a sister who lives there with her family.  For the last 13 years or so, they have taught overseas at various international schools.  For the last 3 years they have been working in Shanghai.

I was extremely excited when my husband gave us the plane tickets at Christmas time, but as time grew closer I started to get nervous.  The 13 hour plane ride, the 12 hour time difference, the packing, the planning, how was this all going to play out, especially with a one year old?  How was I going to feel knowing I stuck on an airplane for so long?

As usual, the worry was for nothing. God took great care of us.  My mother in law said when she thought of us while on our trip, she pictured a cross over our heads and that is how I felt.

Our trip was filled with sight seeing, shopping, a lot of walking and great food.  Although there are so many great historic and touristic places to visit in China, we kept this trip simple as to not overwhelm us or the kids.
Read on if you want to get a quick glimpse of our trip.

 Getting ready for a "rough" sleep in the hotel before we fly out the next morning :)
We spent the night in Montreal before taking our 13 hour direct flight to Shangai

 Yeah for good food in the Air Canada Lounge

Almost time to take off.

Our welcome sign :)

 A trip to a traditional "wet market" in Xui Jing.  It was quite the experience for us.
Not at all like a typical Canadian grocery store.   

"Hey is that a black chicken?"
My middle daughter LOVED the wet market and asked to return many times.  
She enjoyed looking at the fish, frogs, turtles and pig's heads!

The busy streets of Shanghai.  It was a holiday that day and the streets were packed.

 Tai Kang Lu, one of the few places with old traditional buildings.

Very busy!  

My handsome husband and if you can't tell, my gorgeous sister.

 These two loved the shopping
in the old streets.


A view from the Bund, a popular tourist area and  second tallest 
building in the world; the Shanghai Tower.

A few cool kids waiting for the subway.  These children had a lot of pictures taken
perhaps due to the blond hair and blue eyes.  Many people were also surprised 
that we have three children!

My favourite picture.  Isn't he so adorable?


In Shanghai, you can find many restaurants and stores that will have some English.  This restaurant however was strictly in Chinese.  We had a great time just pointing to the menu and "blindly" picking out our lunch.  I was so proud of the kids, they would eat whatever was given.  I honestly had no idea what I ate that day but it was tasty.

Even our little guy was using his chopsticks.  

When on vacation, we often look for smoothie bars.  They are a great way to get some 
additional nutrients and easy for all members of the family.

On a less healthy note, my husband felt I should post this.  Yes, we ate breakfast at McDonalds...once!





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Banana Oat Blender Muffins (Dairy, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Options)

Muffins are a common breakfast or snack item around here.  I like how they can be quick and easy to make.  They are also easy to adapt to include variety of ingredients.  This recipe is definitely a simple one.  I like it more as a base and can be adapted with other spices, fruits, nuts or shredded vegetables. 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups oats (regular or gluten free)
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup organic greek or regular yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • toppings or fillers: chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, coconut, dried fruit, zucchini/carrots?

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare muffin tray.
  2. Combine all ingredients into blender except if you want whole pieces of nuts, fruits, etc.  Add those in after blending.
  3. Blend until batter is smooth.
  4. Add your additional fillers if desired and stir.
  5. Pour into muffin tray 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Enjoy!