Wishing all our American neighbours a wonderful Independence Day! Loved this tribute to the flag.
Doh!! Sorry to all, that’s what I get for trying to post from my phone. Here is a picture of the flag that I thought was great!
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who while growing up heard the constant admonition to “clean your plate”, or “you better eat all your dinner” followed with any variety of warning (there are starving children in _____) or threats (no dessert). I was not allowed to waste any food. As a parent I have tried not to do that to my kids, not because I’m a better parent, just more aware of how that can effect a person. I serve smaller servings, I’d rather them ask for seconds, though that is admittedly rare to happen with most veggies, so there may be a small amount of nagging at those times, but…I am still guilty of wanting a cleaned plate. It took a long time for me to get over the “wasting food” that seemed hard-wired into my brain. So instead of forcing them to eat all that was put in front of them, I would eat it. Again, I’m presumming I’m not the only person with a history of cleaning more than one plate when the family meal is done.
Well a year or so ago I read a passage that went something like “if you are eating food that your body doesn’t need, it is still food that is being wasted“. This was a lightbulb moment for me, and it changed the way I approached those dinner plates, at least for the most part.
And now, confession time: I was at a Scrapbooking Crop today with my 9 yr old and I seemed to forget all about that. She had taken chips that she didn’t want. So when I went to clear her plate I ate them. Perhaps it was because I didn’t want her “wasting” food that someone else had paid for. Or because she had taken to much and I didn’t want people thinking she was wasteful, or perhaps I was just being mindless. It doesn’t matter, I ate them. And then, I ate the cookies, and then a few brownies…remember way back when I said I was an all or nothing girl?
So, so much for being off the sugar. But the good news: I came home and did my 1km run and I had a salad with chicken for dinner.
What do you think about “wasting” food? Will you re-think what gets scraped into the garbage now? I’m not saying to be wasteful – there are a ton of socio-enviromental-economical reasons not to waste food, I’m just saying that if it’s not needed for fuel for your body, then think twice about putting it in there! A little tip I’ve learned, if I am serving something new and I am not sure if the kids will eat it, or if we are out at a family pot luck, I wait to serve myself until they are done. There have been many times where I didn’t need to take a serving because there was enough left behind by the younglings.
This is a favourite in our home and makes it’s way to every holiday meal, and many others throughout the year. It is fairly quick, exceptionally simple and can be made ahead of time. Perfect for a dish to add to your holiday table.
The Finished Product:
Sometimes I’ll add cashews for some crunch. These are a great alternative to mashed potatoes. The original recipe I hunted down after having this at a relatives included honey! I find the potatoes are sweet enough without adding any extra sweetness, and the lime makes them less “heavy” feeling. Enjoy!!
One of the great things about fall and winter veggies are the beautiful colours, textures and flavours that you can find in the squash and root vegetable families. It really is a great way to “eat a rainbow”. This is a super easy starter recipe that as you get more comfortable making, you can jazz up with your own flavour additions. I’ve chosen acorn and butternut squashes, beets, parsnips and red onions. The prep time is a little bit more involved then some veggies, but there will be enough for at least 1 if not 2 nights of leftovers. It’s also makes a great addition to a Christmas dinner!
This is an area you can play with, if you love parsnips add a few more, don’t like onions, don’t include them. PLEASE though, TRY something new. My husband has finally found a way to eat squash – and it’s in this recipe.
Aren’t they pretty?
Acorn squash cut in half and seeded.
Veggies tossed with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Out of the oven and ready to be served.
The beets. Sweet and delicious, enjoy them hot or cold. They make a great addition to a salad, especially with feta.
A few tips:
The root veggies can take a little longer, but hold their form nice. An option is to throw them in for about 10 mins and then add the squash to the dish. Or slice the squash a little larger then the root veggies. Of course you can always make this two seperate dishes as well. Try adding fresh rosemary or tarragon to change things up. They work great as part of a breakfast dish with eggs as well!
Today we introduce the first of our recipes. Our hopes are to introduce you to options to substitute current items in your pantry and to give you ideas to inspire you, so that you may get out there and try new things and, knowing your own personal and family interests and tastes, encourage you to make some of your own creations.
Every family has unique tastes. Belive me, I know. I’ll be introducing four healthier drinks (mix them in a bowl with a ladle and we can call them punches) to try. In our family the range is Izzy who loves them all to Dana who doesn’t like any of them. My hopes are that you will find one that you like, maybe, even one you can come to love.
Tips for all of the recipes:
On to the fun….
The first is as close to a true “ginger ale” that I think you will find. It is also the only one with sugar added that is not naturally occurring in the juices. I have added a splash of cranberry juice for colour, it is optional. Also, this is using fresh ginger so add to taste, and remember ginger can add a heat if too much is used. This is where I have to be careful, because in the last six months I have fallen head over heels in love with fresh ginger.
Ginger (and Cranberry) Fizz:
1L of Club Soda
4-5 slices of candied ginger (can be found at the bulk barn)
1.5-2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger
1 cup of cranberry juice
1 cup of frozen cranberries for decoration
¼ the candied ginger slices and macerate them in the punch bowl or pitcher that you plan on using with a small amount of the club soda. (see pic below)
Add the club soda
Peel and grate the fresh ginger, start with a little and add to taste (see pic below)
add the cranberry juice (optional)
add the frozen cranberries, these are for looks and to add a chilling factor that doesn’t melt so they are totally optional
Chill for 30 mins, add ice as needed prior to serving
The candied ginger:
Cut and with the club soda, I mash it a little to soften it, and release the ginger flavour and the sugar off the pieces
The fresh ginger peeled and grated
This is by far the easiest of the recipes, it is also possibly the one that would require a special palate as it is a little tangy.
Ingredients and steps:
1 L of Club Soda
1 c of POM
Seeds of ½ a pomegranate (optional, are for looks but are entirely edible) If you are not familiar with fresh pomegranates, see how to choose one here.
If it is too tangy mashing the pomegranate seeds gently before hand will help a little. This one looks neat served in a tall pitcher as the seeds will travel up and down with the air bubbles.
I enjoy Club Soda and POM so you can try this and tweak it before ever introducing it to the family. Also if you are going to have an alcoholic punch, this may be your best choice. A sweeter white wine, may complement it as it will tame the tanginess and you still have the benefits of the antioxidants found in the pomegranate juice and seeds.Just be warned, if you add the wine, limit your intake. There’s nothing like a glass or two of any alcoholic beverage to weaken the resolve and tempt the palette to try other “tasty” dishes that may be in close proximity to the punch bowl 🙂
How to seed a pomegranate:
Be warned: don’t attempt this while wearing white!!
Wash and with a sharp knife slice it in half
You can now break apart the halves, turn them upside down and tap the skin with the back of a spoon, this will help loosen them and knock many of them out. You will still have to pick through them to loosen some though.
In the end you’ll have approx 1 cup of seeds. They are tasty, juicy and with a bit of crunch when you get to the centre. Toss on a salad those that you don’t use. As you can see, some people have a hard time resisting 🙂
Cranberry – Orange
Ingredients and Steps:
1L Club Soda
2 cups Cranberry juice
1 cup Oasis Deliciously Yellow
Mix the juices, add the club soda, chill, add ice and thinly sliced orange slices prior to serving.
Pineapple – Orange
1L Club Soda
1- 1½ cups of Oasis Deliciously Yellow
½ Fresh Pineapple or to taste
You can choose to slice and freeze the fresh pineapple prior to making the punch so that it can be added afterwards in place of ice or add the pineapple to the club soda and juice mixture, be sure it is chilled or to add ice prior to serving. See how to choose a pineapple here and tips on cutting one here.
So there you have four options. None will taste as sugary or as bubbly as the punch many of us are familiar with. The Cranberry – Orange was the favourite in our house and probably most imitated the traditional punch. The pomegranate (minus alcohol) would be a fine treat to have, especially if you are trying to kick the pop habit. The pineapple – orange was enjoyed by the family, but I found it too sweet personally. My favourite, and Dave’s second favourite was the “Ginger Fizz”.
Let us know what you think. Do you like the recipes? Are you wiling to brave them? Have you tried them or tweaked them? Do you have a healthy alternative that you offer guests?
Welcome to Monday! How did your weekend fare? Did you make conscious and intentional choices? How is your healthy choice working for you so far?
Three weeks from today is Christmas Eve. Have you started thinking of what kind of dishes you will be serving or eating? Over the next two weeks we will start introducing some great recipes. Some will be options to substitute common favourites and some may become new favourites all on their own! But for now, let’s discuss….the delicious (and dreaded) buffet and pot luck.
The beauty of a pot luck is there will always be something you like…because you will bring it. Jump in early and offer to bring the veggie or fruit tray, don’t get stuck with buns and butter! Even better, if you are hosting, YOU are in control! Create a menu early on with healthy but easy suggestions. You know your guests. For those who are receptive, offer the veggie or fruit tray. For those willing to put in a bit more work here are is a “pot luck” friendly, though not necessarily “Christmas” type recipe. It’s a great chili that I’ve done in the slow cooker (try topping it with avocado, trust me!). There will probably be those items that should be avoided. It’s almost a guarantee. You will have to decide, what is worth eating. So lets discuss a few tips.
When at a buffet or pot luck remember you do have choices. Those choices can start before you even get to the party.
“Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind,but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.”– Harold B. Melchart