Tomato Artichoke Baked Fish with Orzo

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Tomato Artichoke Baked Fish with Orzo

  • Servings: ”4-5”
  • Difficulty: easy
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A different and delicious idea for cooking fish!

Ingredients

  • ~2-3 cups dry orzo pasta (more or less depending on your household appetites!)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ~1 lb or ~450g frozen white fish fillets, thawed (sole, cod, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ cup (~170 ml jar) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives (~12 olives), pitted and cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp capers (optional)
  • ¼ cup feta or parmesan cheese
  •  

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Cook orzo as per package directions. Drain and stir in 1 Tbsp olive oil so it doesn’t stick together. Set aside.
  3. While the orzo is cooking, heat the other Tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add diced tomatoes, basil, oregano and black pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for ~5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest into an oven safe 9”x 13” casserole dish.
  4. Lay the fish fillets on top of the tomato sauce. Drizzle the lemon juice on top of the fish.
  5. Place drained artichokes, olives and capers (if using) on top of the fish. Pour reserved 1 cup of tomato sauce on top.
  6. Bake in the oven for ~20min or until fish is cooked through.
  7. Top with feta or parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve with orzo and enjoy!

 

Sheet Pan Lentil and Veggie Dinner

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Sheet Pan Lentil and Veggie Dinner

  • Servings: ”5-6”
  • Difficulty: easy
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Here’s a delicious and easy meatless meal for something different!

Ingredients

    Vegetables:

  • 2-4 Tbsp canola or avocado oil
  • ½ red onion, sliced into wedges
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large broccoli crown, divided into smaller pieces
  • 2-3 large Kale leaves chopped into smaller pieces, with big stems removed
  • ~½ tsp black pepper
  •  

    Lentils:

  • 1 – 540mL (19 fl oz) can of lentils (drained, rinsed and patted dry)
  • 1 Tbsp canola or avocado oil
  •  1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  •  

    Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp hummus

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ (You will need 1 sheet pan and 1 bowl that you can keep reusing to save on dishes.)
  2. Mix sweet potatoes and 2 Tbsp oil in a bowl until well coated. Sprinkle with black pepper. Transfer to your sheet pan. Place onion wedges around the sweet potato.
  3. Using the same bowl, mix together the lentils, oil, spices (all the lentil ingredients). Spoon lentil mixture relatively even over the sheet pan as well.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile place broccoli in the bowl and drizzle a bit of oil on it. Remove sheet pan from the oven and now add broccoli. Continue baking for another 10 minutes.
  6. Then add the kale to the bowl and drizzle oil on it as well. Massage the oil into the leaves. Add the kale to the sheet pan and bake for another 5 minutes.
  7. While the lentils and vegetables are baking, prepare the sauce. Stir together all sauce ingredients until it’s a smooth consistency.
  8. Place sheet pan on the table for everyone to dish their own or you can serve dinner in bowls by dividing it up and topping with a drizzle of sauce!

 

Buffalo Shrimp Tacos

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Buffalo Shrimp Tacos

  • Servings: ”5”
  • Difficulty: super easy
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This is an easy meal using frozen shrimp and whatever is in your fridge!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs (~680g) Frozen precooked (or raw) shrimp, thawed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup Buffalo Sauce ie. “Frank’s” (or just enough to coat shrimp)
  • Taco shells (I used corn tortillas) but you can use flour wraps or even lettuce wraps if you prefer
  • Toppings: Grated cheese, lettuce or thinly sliced cabbage, cilantro, hot peppers, red bell pepper, ranch or blue cheese dressing, and/or any other vegetables in your fridge!

Directions

  1. Ensure your shrimp is thawed (you can run it under cold water in a strainer to thaw quicker). Dry excess water by dabbing with a paper towel if needed.
  2. Add garlic, paprika and black pepper to shrimp and mix till evenly dispersed.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium low heat. Add the canola oil.
  4. Once oil is heated, add shrimp. If shrimp is precooked, heat until just warm or if shrimp is raw, heat until pink. (Do not overcook or shrimp will become rubbery.)
  5. Add buffalo sauce to pan and mix to coat shrimp.
  6. Make your tacos by adding shrimp and toppings to your taco shell or wrap of choice!

How to Naturally Dye Easter Eggs

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Natural Easter egg dyeing has become a family tradition in our household! This week will be our 5th year experimenting and practicing our techniques. We did a lot of research online and tried our own experiments to see what worked and what failed. It has taken us several years to figure out our best methods so I thought I’d share what we’ve learned so far!

*Warning: Before you commit, please note this is not a quick process, it does take some time and patience!

“Must have Ingredients”:

  1. White vinegar – 2 Tbsp for each dye
  2. Red cabbage – 4 cups chopped
  3. Turmeric – 3 Tbsp
  4. Brown onion skins – from ~ 10 onions
  5. *Peeled Beets – 4 cups chopped

Natural Dye Colour: 

  1. BLUE eggs = Red cabbage dye
  2. YELLOW eggs = Turmeric dye
  3. ORANGE eggs = Brown onion skin dye
  4. GREEN eggs = Turmeric dye then red cabbage dye (double dip)
  5. PINK eggs = *Beet dye

*Note: We have had mixed results with beet dye over the years. Sometimes it works and other times the eggs look pinkish-brownish. We are trying some different pink dyes this year so I will update this post if we find something that works better.

Directions: 

  1.  Prepare each dye by mixing 4 cups of water with 2 Tbsp white vinegar in each pot. (If making all of the natural dye colours you will need 4 pots.)
  2. Next place your dyeing agent in each pot and mix well.
  3. Bring each dye to a boil and then simmer for ~30 minutes.
  4. Strain the dye into bowls. (we just use recycled and washed yogurt containers) Let the dye cool before using (at least to room temperature).
  5. Gently drop the precooked hardboiled eggs into the dyes with a spoon (we just do one at a time for best results).
  6. For most colours it takes about 30 minutes in the dye. (Except for the green eggs: try turmeric for 30 minutes and then red cabbage for 10 minutes.)
  7. Pull egg out of the dye but do not wipe. Place on a cooling rack with a paper towel underneath to dry.
  8. Enjoy!

Additional Tips:

  • We found it made no difference whether we cooked the eggs first by boiling them in water or cooking them by boiling them in the dye. Therefore, we just find it easier to boil them all first in water then dip them in the dye after.
  • Don’t waste your time on a single green dye using spinach or parsley, etc. They don’t work!
  • Don’t waste your time on a coffee dye – why would you spend time on this when you can just buy brown eggs?
  • Berries like blueberries and raspberries did not work for us either.

How to Eat More Vegetables

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March is Nutrition Month and this year dietitians are encouraging people to consider not only what they eat, but how they eat too.

One example is people often say they want to increase their vegetable intake (what they eat) but it’s often a challenge to put into practice (how they eat). Some reasons include: preparation time, fear of waste, the expense, boredom, family preferences or lack of planning (vegetables are an afterthought).

When looking at how to eat more vegetables, find ways that you ENJOY eating them.  Enjoying the taste of your food is such an important part of healthy eating and creating healthy habits. Eating something you dislike the taste of will not be sustainable. Also, find strategies that work well for you. This may take some experimentation and planning from the beginning but it will be well worth the effort for nutrition and health.

Here are some tips and ideas to help get you started:

10 VEGETABLE TIPS (How to eat):
1. Batch cook and freeze individual vegetable soup, stew or chilli servings for a quick lunch.
2. Use a veggie tray as your pre-dinner appetizer while you are cooking supper.
3. Try growing your own vegetables indoors or outdoors in containers or a garden bed.
4. Have a “build your own” salad bar for a meal (a great way to introduce new vegetables to kids without pressure and satisfy the whole family).
5. Continue to expose yourself and your family to new and different vegetables. Also, try different textures by cutting or preparing them differently. (ie. Cubes vs. mashed)
6. Prepare a variety of vegetables: The more variety you prepare at a meal, the more you will eat!
7. Aim for half your plate of vegetables. It’s an easy visual goal instead of measuring food.
8. Buy vegetables in season and look for stores that sell cheaper “ugly, misshaped or blemished” vegetables that can help cut down on the cost.
9. If you need help time-wise, buy convenience vegetables: pre-cut, pre-washed, bagged salads, frozen, canned, etc.
10. Aim for both green and colourful vegetables. We get different nutrients from the different colours of vegetables.

100 VEGETABLE IDEAS (What to eat):
Soups:
1. Borscht
2. Minestrone
3. Butternut squash
4. Miso-Vegetable
5. Cheddar broccoli
6. Garden Vegetable
7. Tomato soup
8. Pumpkin soup
9. Vegetable Pho
10. Gazpacho

Sauces/spreads/dips:
11. Chimichurri
12. Beet hummus
13. Salsa
14. Tomato sauce
15. Baba ghanoush
16. Pesto
17. Guacamole with tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic
18. Antipasto sauce
19. Sambal Kecap (Indonesian dipping sauce) with tomatoes, peppers, chiles

Appetizers:
20. Veggie tray with dip
21. Cucumber rounds with whipped cream cheese on top
22. Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini cheese skewers
23. Stuffed mushrooms
24. Buffalo cauliflower bites
25. Stuffed jalapeno peppers
26. Parmesan zucchini sticks
27. Tomato and garlic bruschetta

Breakfast:
28. Omelette with spinach, mushrooms, peppers
29. Scrambled eggs with leftover veggies
30. Shakshouka (Mediterranean egg and vegetable dish)
31. Spinach quiche (or any other vegetable)
32. Stir pumpkin puree into oatmeal
33. Breakfast burrito with eggs, peppers, salsa
34. Veggie savoury waffles: shredding zucchini, carrot, etc. into your waffle
35. Smoothie with spinach or kale
36. Vegetable frittata

Mains:
37. Vegetarian chilli or any meat chilli with extra vegetables
38. Stuffed bell peppers
39. Zucchini boats
40. Buddha bowl with loads of vegetables
41. Lettuce wraps with a lentil/meat stuffing
42. Portobello mushroom with cheese burger
43. Pad Thai with red peppers and extra bean sprouts
44. Collard green wraps
45. Eggplant parmesan
46. Blend veggies into meatloaf
47. Chana masala (Indian dish with a tomato base and chickpeas)
48. Fajitas with any roasted vegetable
49. Stew with extra vegetables added
50. Pile extra vegetables on your pizza
51. Chinese hot pot with lots of vegetables
52. Vegetable lasagna
53. Sheet pan dinners: oven roasted vegetables (and protein) with herbs and oil.
54. Additions to a stir fry: artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, bamboo shoots

Sides:
55. Vegetable curry
56. Cauliflower rice
57. Zucchini noodles
58. Roasted acorn or spaghetti squash
59. Tomatoes stuffed with lentils
60. Baked or roasted beets or turnips
61. Roasted bok choy with peanuts
62. Sauerkraut
63. Chakalaka (South African vegetable relish dish)
64. Kimchi
65. Roasted carrots with honey and lime
66. Roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and parmesan
67. Ratatouille
68. Roasted radishes and asparagus
69. Baked green beans with slivered almonds
70. Minted peas
71. Sautéed kale or spinach with garlic
72. Braised red cabbage
73. Grilled veggie kebabs
74. Cabbage rolls
75. Zucchini fritters
76. Broccoli with cheese sauce
77. Grilled romaine wedges

Snacks:
78. Celery with peanut butter
79. Kale chips
80. Snap peas, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks and hummus
81. Cucumbers and tzatiki
82. Seaweed snacks

Salads:
83. Greek salad
84. Broccoli slaw
85. Caprese salad
86. Coleslaw
87. Spinach salad with berries and pine nuts
88. Beet, goat cheese, balsalmic vinegar salad
89. Tabbouleh
90. Waldorf salad
91. Sliced cucumbers with onion, dill, vinegar and oil
92. Warm arugula salad with quinoa, roasted peppers and squash
93. Seaweed salad
94. Kale salad with apples and sliced almonds
95. Caesar salad
96. Pear, pecan and blue cheese salad
97. Panzanella
98. Nicoise salad
99. Kachumbari (East African tomato and onion salad dish)
100. Taco salad

Check out NutritionMonth2020.ca for recipes, nutrition articles and more!

Mango Chicken

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Mango Chicken

  • Servings: ”6”
  • Difficulty: easy
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We’ve been making this dish for many years and it’s always enjoyable!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 2 red peppers, cut into thin slices
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (~1 clove)
  • Optional (if you like heat): 1-2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 Tbsp soya sauce (low sodium if you have it)
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 cups mango chopped into cubes (~1-2 mangos)
  • Optional: 1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
  • Optional: ½ cup unsalted peanuts or cashews as a topping

Directions

  1. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp canola oil and wait for it to heat up.
  2. Add red peppers, onion, garlic and optional jalapenos. Sauté for ~2min. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add and heat the other 1 Tbsp canola oil to skillet. Add the chicken and cook until it is white or slightly browned on the outside but not fully cooked through. ~5min.
  4. Stir in soya sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar.
  5. Add mango and continue to cook on medium low heat until chicken is no longer pink in the inside. ~5-10min. (Do not overcook the chicken or it will be dry.)
  6. Return the red pepper mixture back to the pan and stir.
  7. Top with optional green onion or nuts.
  8. Enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

 

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Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

  • Servings: ”5”
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sometimes we need to change things up with our vegetables. This is a delicious twist!

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 large broccoli crown (similar size to the cauliflower), chopped into smaller pieces
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients except lemon in a large bowl.
  4. Roast in oven for ~15-20minutes. Be careful it doesn’t burn.
  5. Remove from oven and squeeze lemon on it as desired. Enjoy!

Festive Cranberry Banana Muffins

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Festive Cranberry Banana Muffins

  • Servings: “12”
  • Difficulty: easy
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These muffins are the perfect balance of sweet and sour. My kids love them!  (If you prefer, you can substitute raspberries or blueberries for the cranberries.)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas (can use thawed frozen ripe bananas)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped cranberries (I used frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 375F
    2. Mash bananas in a bowl.
    3. Add sugar, egg and oil. Mix well.
    4. Gently stir in cranberries.
    5. In a separate bowl stir together the rest of the ingredients (dry ingredients).
    6. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour wet mixture in. Stir just enough to combine (be careful not to over mix).
    7. Scoop into muffin liners or well greased muffin tin. Bake for 20-25min (until muffins spring back when pressed)
    8. Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack. Makes 12 muffins.

    *Let cool completely if you want to decorate. I used cranberries cut in half (as flowers) with pumpkin seeds (as leaves). Stick them on with a tiny bit of icing.

Roasted Salt & Vinegar Lentils

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Roasted Salt & Vinegar Lentils

  • Servings: “8”
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you love salt & vinegar flavouring you need to try these. High in fibre and protein these lentils make a delicious and nutritious snack!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 2-3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Rinse lentils with cold water. Drain. Place in a pot.
  2. Cover lentils with white vinegar (until ~2 inches above lentils). Turn on your hood vent as they will smell strong!
  3. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer ~25min. Cook until slightly tender but not mushy.
  5. Drain vinegar well.
  6. Prepare a foil lined pan (cookie sheet) with a layer of paper towel on top. Place lentils on the paper towel to dry for ~1hr or pat dry well if you don’t have time. Discard paper towel.
  7. Drizzle canola oil and sprinkle salt on lentils. Mix well and spread out evenly on pan.
  8. Bake at 400F for 10 min. Stir, then bake another ~10-15 min. Be careful not to burn them.
  9. Let cool completely before storing in a jar or container. Makes ~2 cups.

 

 

Is Intuitive Eating for Everyone?

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I want to say “yes!” because I’m an advocate, I see so much value in it, and have been using Intuitive Eating in nutrition counselling for many years. However, it is not a simple answer.

Intuitive Eating is not a weight loss method but a nutrition philosophy that is actually an anti-diet approach to reconnecting with your body and healing your relationship with food. Intuitive Eating has many excellent principles that are of value to everyone including: rejecting the dieting mentality, coping with emotions, respecting your body, etc. (for more information see www.intuitiveeating.org)

What I don’t see discussed very often are situations and factors that may make Intuitive Eating challenging for some people. I want to touch on one possible limitation of Intuitive Eating and that is the presence of having trustable internal cues or identifiable hunger/fullness cues. This may be temporary because many people can regain their internal cues or learn to identify and trust them but we have no evidence that everyone can. For some people these cues are not even present and for others they are not reliable for a variety of reasons (short or long-term).

Here are some factors to take into consideration that may make internal cues less reliable: 

  1. Sleep deprivation: When you are sleep deprived the hormones ghrelin and leptin are affected. Ghrelin (stimulates appetite) levels increase and leptin (suppresses appetite) levels decrease.
  1. Chronic stress: Initially short-term stress may cause appetite to decrease but prolonged or chronic stress can increase the hormone cortisol that may increase appetite.
  1. Medications: (a few examples that can affect appetite)
  • Corticosteroids ie. prednisone, dexamethasone
  • Insulin, sulfonylureas (for diabetes)
  • Vyvanse (for ADHD)
  • Some antidepressants: ie. Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Morphine
  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid) for hypothyroidism
  1. Intense training/exercise: Prolonged intense endurance training is known to suppress appetite.Therefore these athletes may need to eat beyond their hunger cues to adequately fuel themselves and for optimal recovery.
  1. Illness: When we become sick (for example the flu), we often lose our appetite. There is a physiological reason for this as cytokine production is increased when we become ill. Cytokines can reduce appetite by acting directly on neurons that regulate appetite in our brains.    
  1. Eating disorders: People struggling with eating disorders always have very individual needs, challenges, and different journeys to recovery. There are so many factors both physical and psychological that can affect their hunger and fullness cues (or lack of). For example, for someone working on increasing their food intake after prolonged restriction they may experience early satiety (because of gastroparesis). Or someone who binges may not experience or recognize fullness cues because they have been eating well beyond them for years. A person affected by an eating disorder may need to be nourished, achieve medical stability and have psychological supports and counselling first. Even then it may take a great deal of time before they are ready to trust and identify their internal cues. In my experience if the concept is introduced too early it can cause unnecessary “mental noise”, confusion, or anxiety.  

My on-going learning:

With all the hype of Intuitive Eating in recent years, I have seen and heard amazing stories of how it has changed people’s lives and relationship with food. On the other end, I have seen people struggle with some of the principles and application of it. Or they never could rely on their internal cues for various reasons.

In my professional opinion, all aspects of Intuitive Eating are not for everyone but there are Intuitive Eating principles that can be helpful for anyone.  Intuitive eating is a journey of learning and timing is important. As a Dietitian I need to be prepared, willing and open to supporting people in a variety of ways, always individualizing care. There is never going to be one single approach that works for everyone.