Tag Archives: healthy

Better, Faster (makes you stronger) than Take Away ….Beef Stir Fry


Beef Stir FRyEveryone likes to order in once in a while right?  Well one of my pet peeves is ordering in and getting something salty & tasteless.  In less time then it would take to have it delivered, and a fraction of the cost, you can make this beef stir  fry.  Best thing – no weird ingredients and I’ve included my favorite short cuts to shorten prep time. Ready, Set, …Let’s Stir Fry!

Sauce

  • 2/3 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 c beef broth (stock)
  • 1/3 c rice vinegar
  • 3 1/2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 3/4 TB minced ginger
  • 2 TB Cornstarch

Veggie of choice. Rice. 1 LB beef – sliced thin

Our favorite veggie combo for a beef stir fry is:

  • about a pound of mixed red, green, orange and yellow peppers – sliced  – fresh is best, but frozen are a good time saver! (About 2 peppers, sliced total)
  • 3-4 bulbs of baby bok choy
  • 1/2 onion – sliced thinly
  • 1/2 bag (454g) of “Carrot Slaw” (shredded carrot and broccoli) – you can also  manually shred these
  • 400 g brown cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 bag of bean sprouts

other options we play with:

  • sliced water chestnuts
  • mini corn
  • snow peas
  • broccoli

Cook rice (we like basmati) according to instructions.  (Or use a rice cooker like me 🙂  ) While rice is steaming,  mix sauce except cornstarch, once it is mixed add cornstarch and whisk until mixed completely, set aside.

Heat wok or large, deep fry pan,  when pan is hot add about 2 TB sesame oil.   Let heat for a moment, then add garlic, stir fry for about 30 sec, add onion.  Continue to saute for 1 min. Add beef & try to sear.  Add peppers. (if using frozen peppers the trick I use is to thaw peppers (in microwave in a pinch) and squeeze out all excess water, as that will render your sauce tasteless).  Add carrot slaw.  Add about  2TB-4TB  water, cover and let carrots steam for about 3 min.  Remove lid (water should be gone or pour off excess water).  Add mushrooms, Toss. Add sauce & toss.  Heat sauce to boiling and continue to stir fry for about 3 min, – the sauce will thicken, your rice should be ready.  Plate with rice, serve and eJOY.

As always I love reading your comments! Like this recipe?  let me know – like the post and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Vacation Right. Eat Right. No they aren’t mutually exclusive!


Recently I was contacted by Cole Millen another foodie and avid traveler and decided to provide you all with a wonderful guest post by Cole!  He’s got the right idea and some great tips about eating healthy while traveling.  My apologies to my public, I mean to get this up and posted previous to the long weekend (here in Canada) but ran into some issues between moving, and complications from some minor surgery I had.  Have no fear though –  I am still in time for the summer travels as well as Memorial Day weekend in the US.  Please enjoy this guest post and let me know you did by liking the post and commenting!  Thank you Cole for this great read!

Maintaining a Healthy Eating Plan While on Vacation

Taking the time to unwind while on vacation is a necessity and can help you relax from the daily stresses of job and everyday life. However, it shouldn’t be an excuse to ditch your healthy lifestyle by consuming junk food and skipping your workouts. The following tips will help you have a memorable and exciting vacation without the added pounds.

Pack Your Own Snacks

Whether you’re flying, driving or taking another mode of transportation, you can stay ahead of the game by packing your own snacks. Portable healthy options can include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, string cheese, whole grain crackers, and trail mix and granola bars. Peanut butter and hummus are other healthy alternatives that satisfy cravings and keep hunger at bay. If you’re at an airport terminal, you can walk around and check out the various café items until you find something that is both pleasing to the palate and good for you.

Planning Ahead

The most important aspect of staying true to your healthy lifestyle is ensuring the area and hotel you are staying in has the options available to allow you to do so. Doing a little research before hand can go a long way in this aspect. In my extensive research I have found online reviews to be extremely helpful. I recently found a site that bundled information on restaurants, hotels, things to do, and even a travel guide for the area. With this help I was looking through the list of hotels in Las Vegas and managed to find one that had not only the amenities I desired, but a gluten free restaurant in its lobby. With a little research and the help of reviews, you will find eating healthy on vacation easier than ever.

Ordering Room Service

Just because you’re ordering room service doesn’t mean you have to make unwise choices. There are a number of safe items on the menu such as salads, turkey breast sandwiches and baked chicken breast. You can also ask for low-fat dressing and condiments to be placed on the side. When you check in, leave the min-bar key at the front desk since fattening treats will only tempt you. If you have doubts about the nutritional content on a particular meal or food item, you can ask. Most hotels have the information at the ready for their guests.

Prepare Your Own Meals

Dining out can be costly on your pocketbook and waistline, so you don’t have to eat out for every meal. Ask for a room with a microwave and refrigerator, so you can keep groceries on hand. When you first check in, you can head to the local grocery store and stock up on some healthy necessities. This makes it easy to take healthy treats when you’re on the go too, so you won’t be tempted by fast food.

Dining Out

Eating out can often sabotage the healthiest of eaters. Try doing a bit of research before heading out and find restaurants that offer better choices on their menu. You may also want to check out an establishment that provides nutritional information, so you can plan accordingly. Starting your meal with a salad or soup will help curb your appetite. Since restaurant portions are large enough for two or more, you can offer to split a meal with another diner at your table. The breadbasket is another area that can pack on the pounds, so you can tell your waiter ahead of time that you would like to skip it. When ordering, look for items listed as broiled and baked instead of smothered and fried. You can also trim carbs by asking for a side of streamed broccoli instead of french fries. Everyone enjoys something sweet at the end of a meal, and you can still indulge. Instead of cake loaded with a side of ice cream, you can opt for sorbet or a fresh fruit and cheese platter.

Added tips from Joy (cos I gotta get my 2 cents in haha!)

Freeze hummus to keep it portable for longer – it will thaw and be just as yummy!  If you are afraid of over eating – stay away from the buffet!  Drink a full glass of water before your meal to help stave off the “I just have to put something in my mouth now’s!”

Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.”

 

Forget Hockey – its Taco Night in Canada …


Does everyone’s family love Taco Night as much as ours?  Its guaranteed a hit in our house!  The problem with taco’s is that darn, envelope of sodium err,  Taco Seasoning – Here are my tips on how to make Taco Night more healthy and maybe even stretch your buck a little.

  1. Use Extra Lean Ground Beef and drain off any fat once you have browned it.  Better yet buy local from a farmer.  If you can get beef that (the cow) has not been finished on corn, you won’t get as much fat marbling and will have very little water and fat being released and although you may (or may not) pay a buck more per pound, its worth it  – you get more meat and less water.
  2. Mix a package of Veggie Ground Round with the beef – you will double the bulk and trust me once you add the seasoning no one will know the difference (and you get to sneak in more veggies)
  3. Leave the pre-packaged seasoning at the store and instead add your own mix  -I  use cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, and a dash of chili powder – any combination will do.  To save time – mix up your fave concoction and store in an airtight container.  Use this the same way you would the seasoning, brown meat, drain off fat, add 3/4 c water and seasoning,  simmer.
  4. Add black beans to your meat. Increase the fibre and the protein!
  5. Add some frozen corn to the meat – again will bulk it up and add a veggie to the mix.
  6. In place of a store bought salsa or pico di gallo, dice up tomatoes & red onion, mix with some cilantro and fresh lime juice (this is also great on a salad instead of a dressing).
  7. Mash some avocado or serve it sliced in place of sour cream.
  8. Serve with a side salad  – make it fun a lettuce base (also to be added to tacos) and then let the family top their salad with the taco toppings.
  9. Can’t get the kids to buy into veggies?  Shred some carrots right into the meat after browning (also works in lasagna).
  10. Have left over chicken ? Heat it with the seasoning and a bit of water and simmer and have chicken tacos instead of beef.

Its also fun to have a contest to see who can make the most colourful tacos from the toppings being served.

As always enJOY.

  1. Have a contest to see who can make the most colourful taco

enJoy the journey to Gluten Free


As some of you know I have recently been advised to try to eliminate Gluten from my diet due to a suspected Gluten Intolerance.   Wondering why I am capitalizing the Gluten?  Because its so damn yummy and hard to replicate of course!   This week – in a distinct effort to eat the same meal as the entire family, I tried to – ungluten-ize (ya that’s sooooooo a Joy word 🙂  ) some of our family-faves-clean-up-your plate recipes.  If you follow my blog – you will see that I found a Brown Rice Pasta that works perfectly for Penne and GF Meatballs.   Here are my next 2 attempts – one successful – scored a 10 from me, a 10 from hubby and a 7 from my 6 year old – Sweet Potato Enchiladas Verde Casserole and a “So-So Recipe With Potential” – Gluten Free Turkey Meatball Dumplings – scored a 4 from me, a 7 from Hubby and a 5 each from the kids.

**(skip to bottom for review of Chunky Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing).

Sweet Potato Enchiladas Verde Casserole


*This casserole made of corn tortillas (make sure you read the ingredients – to ensure that yours do not contain gluten), sweet potatoes and spices combined with black beans & spinach makes a hearty & tasty meal These Sweet Potato Enchiladas  can’t be beat!

Filling:

2 1/4LB Sweet Potato – peeled and cut into chunks  (about 2 Large Potatoes)
1/8 LB (a bunch) or 10 g fresh spinach – washed & trimmed & blanched & drained
2 TB Cilantro Salsa (or 1/2 c fresh cilantro mashed with lime juice)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 large Red Onion
1 – 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1/4 LB (100g) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (omit to make it vegan -maybe substitute in avocado for cheese? might be worth a try)
1tsp cumin
8 small (6 or 8 ” corn tortillas)
1 lime cut into slices or wedges.

Verde Sauce

Mix together – 1 jar ( 10-12oz) green salsa, 5 dashes cayenne sauce (optional), 1 1/2 c sour cream & 1/2 tsp minced garlic.

Directions:

  1. Bring a saucepan to a boil and add sweet potatoes until very tender.  Drain, return to hot sauce pan to eliminate any moisture.  Mash potatoes, add rest of ingredients except the cheese, sauce, lime  & tortillas.
  2. In the bottom of a greased lasagna pan/casserole dish spread a bit of sauce.  Add a layer (slightly overlapping) of tortillas (they may go up the sides of the pan a bit), top with a thin layer of cheese, then 3/4 of the filling, top with 1/2 of remaining sauce.
  3. Add another layer with the remaining tortillas, then the remaining filling and top with the remaining sauce. Top with lime slices.
  4. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.  enJOY!

BONUS!

Extra Bonus – Grab a bag of Gluten Free Corn Tortilla Chips and reheat any leftovers and top with a bit more shredded mozzarella cheese and feast on no guilt nachos with the family!

Gluten Free Turkey Meatball Dumplings

This one we were expecting to come out like a turkey meatball stuffed yorkshire – however the “all purpose” gluten free flour I  was using made the batter almost like  a chicken ball batter, and they were difficult to brown.  That being said  – next time I would substitute a big chunk of chicken breast and a sweet and sour sauce and serve it as Chicken Balls…. or do this again and make a hollandaise  type of sauce, maybe a cranberry sauce for  a holiday meal, we dipped it in dijon mustard and that worked too.

Ingredients
1LB extra lean ground chicken (or large chunks of chicken breast)
1 Egg (beaten)
1 Tsp Oregano (or herbs to taste)
1/4 c gluten free bread crumbs
Dumpling:
1  Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Milk
3 Eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees and place muffin trays inside to heat while the oven heats up.  meanwhile,  mix meat (if making meatballs), with beaten egg, herbs and bread crumbs – roll into large or small meatballs (we tried both).  Remove trays from oven, spray with cooking spray or mist some EVOO onto the tin).  Place Meatball into the centre of each muffin tin (we made some with a mini muffin tray and some with a full sized muffin stone.   Bake for 10 mins or until meatball is browned.  Remove tray from oven, pour batter over top to between 3/4 and totally full.  Put back into oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Enchiladas Casserole -shown served with Chunky Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing (Tomatoes – Avocado – Chick peas – Green Leaf Lettuce – as expected was AWESOME  – that salad will be added to the rotation for sure!)   Thank you to fellow blogger:  Mrs Buena Vida for sharing the recipe!

Bullying – what does it mean to you? and No Bullies about it- Roasted Chicken 2 ways


Bullying.  Its a hot topic and a media buzz word right now. But what does it mean to you?  Your kids?  Does it mean the same thing?  Have you asked them?  After a conversation with another mom about what we considered bullying verses – in both our cases the other parent/caregiver did not consider it anything but “its just what kids do”, I thought I would have a conversation about it with my kids, aged 6 and 4 and see what they thought.
Question (s) posed:  “If one classmate/friend says that they don’t want to be your friend because you don’t want to do the same thing as them – is that “just being mean when your mad” or is it being a “bully” ?  How about if that classmate won’t let you play with them or others  because you don’t agree with them?  Wear different kinds of clothes than them?  Look different than them?  Just because they decide that you are different or not allowed (no reasons given)?
 After assuring them that there is no right or wrong answer I asked them for their feedback (i.e.Yes – that was bullying or No, not bullying – just being mean or mad”).   The kids (both) thought that in all cases this was bullying except if they said they didn’t want to play/be friends because you wanted to play something different”.    The end result was that there is a very fine line between “being mean” and bullying – I strongly feel that “being mean but just a kid being a kid” can lead to full on physical and emotional  bullying as they the kids get older if not addressed by the parent or caregiver.  If its not being addressed as bullying but being dismissed as “being kids” however other kids (peers of the same age) are interpreting it as bullying – then it’s clearly sending a message that bullying on a small scale is fine and acceptable behavior.  I mean if the parents/caregivers don’t feel it necessary to point out that – “those words” (“I don’t like  you – you are not my friend because you won’t play my game (or whatever)” and “No one wants you to be there friend”/”You are not allowed to be our friend”) are hurtful, mean and very real to the kids on the receiving end, how are the (bullies) kids  supposed to know when to draw the line? Its my belief that  kids are not born bullies but behavior is learned and that includes words.  If this peer interaction is okay with the parents in the primary grades – then when do they feel justified in stepping in as the children get older, take more for granted and feel more entitled?   Its my belief that addressing the bullying situation needs to be dealt with early and not just brushed off as “its what kids do” – if all parents/caregivers felt the same way – I wonder how far that would go in helping to eliminate the bullying cyber, emotional and physical that is prevalent now.  What do you think?

No Bullies About it- Roasted Chicken 2 Ways.

Notes
I make Roasted Chicken or Turkey at a higher temperature then many do – I find that it keeps the meat juicer and tender try it!    I also do not baste my birds I truly do not find it to make any difference in the taste and at the higher temperature you get nice crispy browned skin!  I do not cover my chicken when roasting.

Cooking Directions
(These are all using a 3LB Unstuffed Chicken – adjust time for larger birds) Roast at 425 for 1hr + (depending on your oven) 5-25 min.  Or until an internal temperature taken in the meaty part of the thigh is 180 degrees Remove from oven.  Cover with tinfoil and allow to rest (juices to retract) for 10 min before carving.

Classic

Melt butter, add thyme, rosemary and garlic rub into skin. Roast according to directions above.  If you like gravy, add some water or homemade chicken stock to bottom of roasting pan when cooking.  Hint: Add balsamic vinegar to your stock  for a thicker yummy  tasting gravy.

Red Chicken

The title sounds weird but this is a fantastic recipe to try if you are watching your saturated fats.  The chicken is roasted with the skin on, but the spice is applied between the skin and the meat – so it is absorbed by the meat while roasting, and not dried out.  The skin is discarded previous to serving.

In a small bowl mix to form a paste:

Zest from  lime
2 TB juice from the lime ( do not throw out the rind)
1 TB chili powder
1 TB paprika (smoked is really nice)
1 TB oregano
1 Tsp minced garlic (or to taste)
1 tsp salt
Once you have formed this into a paste, make a small slit in the skin by the opening to the cavity inside and slide the paste in the pocket you have created and rub all over meat.   Place the lime rinds (quartered) into the cavity of the bird.  Roast breast side up according to directions above – discard skin previous to carving.

Bullying Links:

http://www.safenetwork.org/Bully_Prevention_In_Schools.htm

http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/amibeing.htm

http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx

Its Egg-cellent choice! Top 10 ways we like Eggs & Veggie Omelet Recipe!


Breakfast is old news –  try eggs for lunch,  supper & snacks!  If any of you know me – you realize that our family loves fresh veggies, my hubby is a meat-a-tarian and we all love eggs, eggs and more eggs.  While this doesn’t make us very different than lots of other families.  I thought I would  highlight some of our big kids (mom and dad ) and smaller kids (the 4 year old and 6 year old’s) favourite ways to eat eggs.

Our Top 10 Fave ways to eat eggs!

  1. Hard boiled.  Hard boiled eggs are hands down our families fave snack.  We boil up a bunch and keep them in the fridge for quick snacking.   * Watching cholesterol or saturated fat?  Hard boiled eggs make it easy!  Just stick to the whites and for-go the yolks!
  2. Hard boiled on Salad or Wrap – cut up a hard boiled (from the ready to peel bowl in the fridge) and add to a salad or chop up and put in a wrap with  Sweet Heat Mango Hot Sauce, red onions and cucumber  (Mommies fave  quick lunch)
  3. Deviled Eggs – scoop the hard boiled yolks out add some dijon mustard and mayo whip, until creamy. Use a icing bag (or a sandwich bag with the corner cut off) to fill the egg whites.  Sprinkle with paprika OR Hard boiled eggs with the yolks removed and sprinkled with paprika. (This is 6 year old Leea’s fave).
  4. Egg Salad – add a little mayo, onion, celery, mustard and chopped up hard boiled eggs and top with lettuce and tomato for an easy lunch.  (my fave as a kid)
  5. Scrambled eggs – ’nuff said.  4 year old Ben’s fave is rye toast with peanut butter and  scrambled eggs (sometimes all together in a sandwich  – hey he’s 4 what can I say…)
  6.  Quiche – use up left over veggies, bacon, ham, spinach cheese etc with a great quiche (yes real men eat quiche (they just don’t admit it))
  7. On a buttered bagel with hot sauce (Sweet Mango Heat), cheddar cheese, red onion and salami (Dad’s fave lunch)
  8. Fried Eggs – served sunny side up or if in a sandwich over easy (Dad’s fave breakie or lunch) – preferably cooked in bacon drippings (barf – o sorry was that out loud it was supposed to be just for me)
  9. Toad in the Hole – butter bread, cut  hole out of the centre approx the size of an egg.  Add bread to  a hot  pan and crack an egg into the centre, cook as you would a fried egg.  (My ex-roommate’s fave and my sister’s fave growing up). Fry this in the bacon or sausage drippings if you really want to see a heart attack on a plate 🙂
  10. Veggie Omelet – Hands down my fave!  This is one of my fave dinners.  (recipe below).  Even my husband who makes a face when I say lets have a veggie omelet for supper has changed his tune and has decided that this is pretty. damn. good.  Make this into brunch by making homemade pancakes & sausage.  (Pancake recipe coming!)

Veggie Omelet (for 2)

  • EVOO
  • misc assorted veggies – I used 4 pieces asparagus – washed trimmed and cut into 3’s,  1 small stalk broccoli (chopped), 2 portabella mushrooms washed and sliced into good sized chunks, 1 zucchini peeled and sliced
  • 4 eggs – beaten with a fork
  • 2 dashes cayenne sauce (like Red Hot or Louisiana Sauce)
  • 3-4 TB milk  

  • ((more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/4 c feta cheese crumbled
  • fresh ground pepper
Heat a small frying pan.  Add some EVOO.  Add veggies, and cook until almost done (the asparagus and broccoli will turn bright green).    
Meanwhile whisk together beaten eggs, milk, hot sauce and black pepper.  Add to a hot medium sized pan.  I typically use a rubber scraper to pull back the edges of the omelet and let the uncooked  egg run down to fill in where the cooked portion is pulled back.  
Scrape (gently don’t break your egg base) the “wet” or uncooked runny part over to the side and let it flow to bottom of pan.  Add cooked veggies from the other pan to one side of the omelet.  Add the feta. flip on side over the filling. Allow to cook for a couple more minutes, remove and serve. 
** When I made the one in the picture at the top – I over filled the middle so my omelet would not close properly – we simple ate the extra veggies as they fell out.