Delicious, Nutritious Fruity Smoothie

Delicious, Nutritious Fruity Smoothie

I recently discovered this delicious, nutritious smoothie recipe with mango, banana pineapple, avocado and spinach.

How to prepare

Simply blend together 0.5-1 cup water, 1/2 banana, 1 cup roughly chopped mango, 1 cup roughly chopped pineapple, 1 avocado and 2-3 cups baby spinach.

What I love about this recipe

  • Packed with nutrients
  • Full of flavor
  • A great way to use up spinach that would normally be lying neglected at the bottom of the fridge
  • A hit with the whole family and a good way to include  healthy fruits and vegetables in the kids’ diet

Suggestions/Modifications

  • If you are not too keen on banana, I would reduce the amount or even eliminate it altogether because even just half a banana can overwhelm the other flavors in the smoothie
  • If you don’t have time to chop up all the fruits, try using pre-chopped frozen fruits instead (lightly thaw before blending)
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Ready to drink!
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My testers….this smoothie is “kid approved”

 

 

Scrumptious Black Bean Enchiladas

Scrumptious Black Bean Enchiladas

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Image courtesy of potentialdoctor.com

I’m always on the look out for new tasty recipes, particularly ones that are kid-friendly and nutritious. Last week I stumbled upon this delicious bean enchilada recipe. It was scrumptious and very easy to make. The main ingredients are beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, grated carrots wrapped in tortillas and topped with a dollop of yogurt and grated cheese.

Now, my kids have an onion ‘radar’ second-to-none, but I was able to disguise the onions by chopping them up as small as possible and frying them in some delicious spices that the kids could not resist. (The spices were Dhana jeera and Garam masala which can be found at Indian stores and some supermarkets. If you are unable to locate these particular spices, you can whip up something similar using ground coriander, cumin, cloves and turmeric).

You can use any type of bean for this recipe (I used black beans) and even include some lentils. A green salad complements the enchiladas nicely. This recipe was a hit with the entire family and refrigerates well for a subsequent meal. I hope you enjoy your enchiladas as much as we did!

 

 

 

Delicious Breakfast Egg Cups

Delicious Breakfast Egg Cups

I have been really enjoying trying new recipes regularly. It gives me something to look forward to in the kitchen, I get to surprise my family with something new and it is helping me to get more organized with my meal planning!

This week’s new recipe is an easy, healthy breakfast recipe courtesy of Super Healthy Kids.

It consists of eggs, spinach, red peppers and cheddar cheese baked in a muffin tray.

A freshly baked breakfast egg cup.
A freshly baked breakfast egg cup.

What I loved about this recipe:

  • Fast and easy
  • Colorful appearance from the spinach and red peppers
  • Versatile (you can vary the ingredients you include)
  • Great way to use up left-over vegetables
  • Freezes well for future meals
  • Kid-friendly (although one of my kids did pick out the red peppers!)

Suggestions/Tips:

  • Only fill the muffin tray 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up because the egg expands upon baking.

I hope you enjoy your breakfast egg cups!

Freshly baked breakfast egg cups.
Freshly baked breakfast egg cups.
Building Your Cooking Confidence…New Recipe of the Week

Building Your Cooking Confidence…New Recipe of the Week

One secret to eating healthily is finding delicious and nutritious recipes that are easy to make. I have been amazed by the sheer diversity of flavor that you can find in recipes, none of which have to be complicated or time-consuming. Cooking can seem intimidating but it doesn’t have to be! With time and practice, we can build our confidence in the kitchen and boost cooking skills to a new level.

Trying at least one new recipe each week is my latest goal towards eating healthily. Experimenting with new recipes is a great way to build your cooking confidence and has multiple benefits:

  • Improved cooking skills: My former roommates still tease me to this day about the ‘delicacies’ I used to prepare during our university days, namely, rice with ketchup. I really had very few cooking skills! The only way to improve was for me to roll up my sleeves, be willing to experiment and launch myself into the kitchen. Before long, I fell in love with cooking. Food is a great way to connect with people. It breaks down barriers and provides endless topics of conversation! Take your cooking one step further by learning one new recipe each week.
  • Increased confidence in hosting guests: I remember when my husband and I got married and I was nervous about having our first couple over for supper. I realized that I needed to build my confidence in the kitchen. The only way to do that was to practice! Fortunately my husband was willing to eat just about anything and was very patient as I found my way in the kitchen. The more I cooked, the more confident I felt and it wasn’t long before having a group of 30 people over to our house didn’t phase me. Keep trying something new in the kitchen. Even if it fails, you can always try again!
  • A wider variety of nutrients: I cringe when I think about how I used to eat in the past. I can remember a phase when vegetables were optional. I knew they were important but somehow I just didn’t know what to do with them. By trying a new recipe every week, this will provide the opportunity to try a wider variety of foods (vegetables included!) with a greater selection of healthy nutrients.
  • Sustained motivation: I personally am more motivated to cook when I am trying something new or tweaking an existing recipe. The same cycle of meals can be boring so keep it fresh by adding some diversity and expanding your repertoire!
  • Happy family: I have to say that when I try new recipes, the energy at our dining table is tangible. The husband and kids get excited and I feel a great sense of satisfaction in seeing them enjoy what they are eating. Make your cooking journey a shared experience where others can enjoy your new creations!

Without further ado, here is the new recipe of the week, courtesy of Closet Cooking.

Broccoli and Cheddar Quinoa Bites

A freshly baked broccoli and cheddar quinoa bite (image courtesy of potentialdoctor.com)
A freshly baked broccoli and cheddar quinoa bite (image courtesy of potentialdoctor.com)

I made a quick dip for this meal that consisted of soy-sauce, honey, dijon mustard and freshly grated ginger.

  • My review: Very simple to make, fast, nutritious and delicious.
  • Options: I used cajun spices instead of cayenne alone.
  • Kid-friendly? A resounding yes! My kids gobbled this up before I had time to sit down at the table
  • Tip 1: If you have babies or toddlers, you may want to steam the broccoli slightly before baking the mixture in the oven because the baking process does not soften the broccoli completely.
  • Tip 2: Cook a double portion of the quinoa, freeze half of it (prior to mixing with the other ingredients) and use it in subsequent meals such as salads, soups, stews etc.

If you are nervous or unsure about cooking, don’t despair! There is a wonderful world of cooking out there to discover. Take it one step at a time and soon you will have improved cooking skills and more confidence in the kitchen!

Five Tips for Living a Healthier Lifestyle

Five Tips for Living a Healthier Lifestyle

When deciding to live a healthier lifestyle, it can be difficult to know what changes to make and how. When I look back at my attempts to live more healthily, the approach that worked best for me was tackling my goals in small increments and doing the things that I truly enjoyed.

So whether your goal is to eat more healthy food, exercise more, reduce stress levels or simply have more fun, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Start small: our bodies and minds have learning curves and need time to adjust to new changes. It will be easier to sustain a healthier lifestyle by starting with a small goal and increasing our threshold over time. For example, if you have done no exercise lately and want to start exercising, you could begin with just a 10 minute walk 3 times a week and build up from there. You’ll be amazed how your body becomes stronger with time and soon 10 minutes will become easier and you will be able to go for longer. Although the general guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, this can be daunting for some people. It is certainly a worthy goal to eventually get to but it can help to just start small until you build up the habit.
  2. Do something you enjoy: There are many shapes and forms of exercise and it’s important to find one that you truly enjoy otherwise it can be difficult to keep up the stamina and motivation. Some people find it hard to exercise alone and need the company of others. Challenge your friends to join you for some weekly exercise! Some people have sensitive knees (like me) and cannot accommodate high impact exercise. This does not mean that there is no hope of getting fit! Even with physical limitations, there are ways to strengthen our bodies through yoga, swimming, weight training, walking, and more.
  3. Rest and refill regularly: It can be difficult to sustain a healthy lifestyle if we are running on empty. It’s important to find ways to filter out the stress of daily life and to do activities that fill up our souls. This could be through our hobbies, exercise, spending time with family or friends, a change of scenery, and through getting enough sleep to rejuvenate our minds and bodies.
  4. Get creative: When it comes to eating, it can be easy to find ourselves in a rut eating the same foods over and over (this happens to me sometimes!). You don’t have to have perfect cooking skills to come up with some delicious, healthy meals. I personally had no idea how to cook until I was in my twenties and it took some experimentation and some generous ‘guinea pigs’ willing to try my food to give me some experience with cooking. My goal is to try at least one new recipe each week. Yummly, my favorite site for finding new recipes is user-friendly and recommends recipes based on your tastes, preferences and diet type. It will even populate a shopping list of ingredients based on the recipe you choose.
  5. Find a balance: Living a healthy lifestyle does not mean we have to always be on the go or never eat certain foods. It’s about finding the right balance (easier said than done sometimes!) that accommodates nutritious foods, our own tastes and that gets us active while allowing time to rest and de-stress. Every individual is different and it takes time to achieve a balance and determine what works for you.

Living a healthy lifestyle does not happen overnight. It has its challenges and victories like anything else in life. It doesn’t matter if you have fallen by the wayside on your journey to becoming more healthy. There is always a new day, a fresh start, another opportunity to try again. Your body and mind will thank you!

Image courtesy of samsung.com
Image courtesy of samsung.com