Blog / Recipes

California Fig and Coconut Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats figs - 1

With my on-the-go lifestyle, I’m always looking for wholesome, nutritious meals especially for breakfast. I’m a fan of overnight oats because it’s a no-cook, easy to make, grab-and-go kind of recipe. I first had a taste test of this delicious recipe at a media event hosted by California Figs. Available all year round, California dried figs are either Dried Black Mission figs which have a deep earthy flavour, or Dried Golden Figs which taste a bit sweeter. You can use either type of dried fig in this recipe for a natural sweetness as well as fibre, calcium and magnesium.

California fresh figs are available from May to December. Can’t wait! Nearly 50% of California fresh figs are exported to Canada. Since 2013, 75 new products containing figs were introduced into the market. Expect to see even more product and recipe innovations as fig has been named the flavour of the year for 2018 by Firmenich, a Swiss fragrance and flavour company.

California Fig and Coconut Overnight Oats

Ingredients
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup milk
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 T chia seeds
2 tsp pure maple syrup
¼ cup (3-5) California Dried Golden or Black Mission figs, stemmed and chopped
1 T unsweetened shredded coconut
Optional garnish: ½ dried fig, 1 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions
Put the oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, maple syrup, figs and coconut into a 12-ounce jar or bowl. Stir well. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. Stir again just before serving and top with optional garnish.

Makes 1 serving. (Recipe source: California Figs)

Strawberry Santas

Strawberry Santas

Just in time for the holidays! These cuties are super simple to make and sure to put a smile on everyone’s face!

Ingredients
20 fresh strawberries
½ cup whipping cream
¼ cup icing sugar (more if you’d like it sweeter; less if you’d like it less sweet)
40 mini chocolate chips

Directions
1. Slice the stem off each strawberry so that you have a flat bottom. Turn the strawberry point side up. The wide side of the strawberry faces down and is the base of the Strawberry Santa.
2. Slice the pointed tip of each strawberry (about the top 1/3 of the strawberry). This piece will be the hat.
3. Use a small piece of paper towel to dab off the flat ends of each strawberry piece. This will help the icing stay on.
4. In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream and icing sugar.
5. Using a piping bag* with a round tip, pipe a swirl of the icing onto the base of the Strawberry Santa. Gently place the hat on top. Pipe a tiny pompom on the tip of the hat.
6. Add two mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

*If you don’t have a piping bag, simply scoop the icing into a plastic re-sealable bag and cut off a small corner of the bag.

Makes 20 Strawberry Santas

New Product Spotlight – PC Lentil & Bean Bites

Sue and Executive Chef Michelle Pennock

Sue and Executive Chef Michelle Pennock

Last month, I had the fantastic opportunity to taste test some of the new PC (President’s Choice) Blue Menu products in their test kitchen. And wow, was I ever impressed!

PC Blue Menu is known for their innovative, easy and convenient products. One of my favourites was Lentil & Bean Bites – delicious vegetarian meatballs! They’re made with brown rice, lentils, red beans, black beans, part-skim Mozzarella cheese, quinoa and shawarma seasoning. Looking at the nutrition information, these Lentil & Bean Bites are a source of both fibre and omega-3 fats. Plus a serving of 3 bites contains 140 calorie, 6 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and no sugar. Pop them in the oven at 400°F for 12 minutes and they’re ready!

Executive Chef Michelle Pennock served the Lentil & Bean Bites in a Middle Eastern Mezze Platter with a colourful array of vegetables, herbed tahini and warm naan bread. Sure to be a crowd pleaser, this can be served as an appetizer or super-easy supper!

Middle Eastern Mezze Platter

Middle Eastern Mezze Platter

Middle Eastern Mezze Platter

Ingredients
6 carrots
5 tsp (25 mL) olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) PC Black Label Harissa Spice Blend
4 cups (1 L) shredded red cabbage (about ¼ of a head)
3 tbsp (45 mL) fresh lemon juice
½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) tahini
1 tbsp (15 mL) each chopped fresh cilantro, fresh mint and fresh parsley
1 pkg (400 g) frozen PC Blue Menu Lentil & Bean Bites
1 pkg (250 g) PC Blue Menu Naan Flatbreads (2 flatbreads)
1 pkg (227 g) PC Hummus Chickpea Dip and Spread
1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Arrange 1 oven rack in centre and 1 oven rack in lower third of oven.
2. Peel and trim carrots; halve crosswise. Cut larger pieces lengthwise in quarters and smaller pieces lengthwise in half. Toss together carrots, 1 tbsp oil and harissa in large bowl. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper-lined large baking sheet. Bake in lower third of oven, flipping carrots once, until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toss together cabbage, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp pepper and remaining 2 tsp oil in separate large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
4. Whisk together tahini, cilantro, mint, parsley, remaining 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2 tbsp water in small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
5. Arrange frozen bites in single layer on greased separate large baking sheet. Bake in centre of oven 5 to 6 minutes. Flip bites; bake in centre of oven 3 minutes. Push bites to 1 side of baking sheet. Arrange flatbreads in single layer on opposite side of sheet; sprinkle flatbreads lightly with water. Bake in centre of oven until bites and flatbreads are hot, 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Stack flatbreads on cutting board; cut into 6 wedges to make 12 pieces total. Arrange flatbreads, lentil bites, carrots, cabbage mixture, hummus, tomatoes and cucumber on large serving platter. Drizzle with tahini mixture.

Serves 6.
Recipe created by Executive Chef Michelle Pennock and reprinted with
permission.

PC Lentil and Bean Bites

Easy Lunch Ideas for Back to School

Sue Heather beet hummus

A study by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that Canadian children are not eating enough vegetables and fruit during the school day.

The first of its kind, this study looked at 4,827 children across Canada between the ages of six and 17. Using a 24 hour recall, their dietary intakes from 9 am to 2 pm was scored against a School Healthy Eating Index. The Index looks at 11 specific criteria based on Canada’s Food Guide’s recommendations, such as intake of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, milk products and meat and alternatives.

Here are the highlights from the research:
– 1/3 of daily calories (about 750 calories) are consumed at school; almost 25% of these calories came from “other foods” such as candy bars and salty packaged snacks
– Kids are falling short on vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and protein
– The lowest scores were for green and orange vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains and milk products
– The average score was 53.4 out of a possible 100 points
– Teens’ diets scored worse than that of younger kids aged six to eight

Here are a few of my lunch ideas, as shown on my interview with CBC Morning Live today.

Chickpea Lettuce Wrap – Kids are attracted to colours in their meals! A great protein packed and flavourful recipe! Add a glass of milk or fortified soy beverage to round out the meal.
Chickpea lettue wrap

Chicken Pasta Salad – My daughter won 3rd prize in a recipe contest for this recipe when she was in grade 3. Ask your kids to grate the carrots and chop the cucumbers. Balance the lunch with a serving of yogurt.
Chicken Pasta Salad

Beet Hummus with Veggies – Kids love to dip! A great way to team up protein plus produce in the lunchbox! Add mini pitas with cheese cubes for a nutritious lunch.
Beet hummus

Apple Sailboats – It’s as easy as it looks! Slice an apple into wedges and dip in lemon juice to prevent browning. Cut cheese into triangles and attach with a toothpick. Add a handful of whole grain crackers to complete the meal.
Apple sailboats

Zucchini Waffles – Breakfast for lunch, why not? These waffles are made with grated zucchini. (Sneak in the veggies wherever you can!) Add a hard cooked egg or small piece of cooked meat / poultry for protein. Mix a few extra berries with yogurt for “dessert”.
Zucchini Waffles with Fresh Berries

Lentil Watermelon Summer Salad

Lentil Watermelon Salad

Watermelon is one of my go-to fruits for the summer! Team it up with some lentils, feta cheese and mint – and you’ve got a beautiful, refreshing, protein-packed salad!

Here’s the Lentil Watermelon Salad that I featured on my TV interview with CHCH Morning Live.

Ingredients
6 cups 1-inch cubed watermelon
1 1/2 cups cooked black lentils (puy or Beluga)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
10 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
salt and pepper

Instructions
1. In a large salad bowl, combine the watermelon, lentils, half of the feta and half of the mint.
2. In a small container, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour olive oil mixture over the watermelon mixture. Toss gently to combine.
4. Top with remaining feta and mint before serving.

Makes 8 servings.
Recipe source: www.pulses.org

Strawberry Pavlova for Canada 150!

Pavlova Sept 17 2016

Celebrate red and white! Happy birthday Canada!

Ingredients
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
2 cups whipping cream
raspberries
strawberries, sliced

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
3. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the centre, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly.
4. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
5. In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
6. Remove the parchment paper and place meringue on a flat serving plate.
7. Fill the centre of the meringue with whipped cream. Top with raspberries and sliced strawberries.

Who wants seconds?!

This recipe is from one of my favourite sources: AllRecipes.com

Veggies Made Easy

eggplant pizza 1

Do you find it challenging to eat enough veggies? 60% of Canadian adults and 70% of kids aren’t getting enough fruit or veggies every day. Let’s take 3 different veggies and make 3 super easy recipes: Brussels Sprouts Salad, Cauliflower Popcorn, and Eggplant Pizza! 

Watch my TV interview clip.

Sue Kelsey nutrition month veggies

Creamy Apple and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Slaw Salad

BrusselsSproutSalad

1 – 9 oz package Mann’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts
1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
2 T mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lemon
2 T plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil

1. Whisk the mayonnaise with mustard, lemon zest, juice, sugar and salt. Whisk the oil in slowly.
2. Combine the Shaved Brussels Sprouts, apple and golden raisin and toss with the dressing.
3. May be served right away or refrigerated until serving.

Makes 4 servings. Recipe source: www.VeggiesMadeEasy.com

Roasted Cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

1 cauliflower, chopped into small pieces (or buy pre-cut/pre-chopped cauliflower)
3 T olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder

1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the spices.
2. Pour oil mixture over cauliflower and toss to coat.
3. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Bake at 450°F for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy.

Makes 6 servings.

Eggplant Pizza

eggplant pizza 3

2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1 inch rounds
3 T olive oil
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup onion, sliced
1 cup green pepper, sliced
½ cup pepperoni
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 425°F, coat parchment lined baking sheet with olive oil.
2. Arrange eggplant on sheet and flip to evenly coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes.
3. Once time has elapsed, flip and season, return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, top with pizza sauce, veggies of your choice, and mozzarella cheese. Return to oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Makes 4-6 servings. Recipe source: www.HalfYourPlate.ca

Love Your Heart with these Power Bowls!

Power Bowl salad cropped png image

I’m a life longer learner and passionate about eating, delicious wholesome food! So when I was invited to a Love Your Heart – #CanolaConnect Culinary Workshop hosted by Canola Eat Well, I immediately jumped at the opportunity! It was an evening of learning, cooking, tasting and networking. Here are the event highlights!

Sue Mah standing
A fun evening of learning with my dietitian buddies! Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

The Fabulous Food
The evening began with a spread of delicious appetizers ranging from Beef Tartine on Marble Rye with Hummus and Marinated Feta to Pommes Anna with Anchovy Chili and Cured Yolk. My hands down fave was the Marinated Zucchini with Fresh Ricotta served on a Baguette Crostini. What a winner – super presentation, a combo of textures and made with canola oil! Confession – I went back for seconds!

Zucchini snag it
One of many tasty appetizers! Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

The Creative Chef
I was absolutely thrilled to meet Alexandra Feswick, Executive Chef at the Drake Hotel in Toronto! Inspired by local ingredients, Chef Alexandra created this gorgeous Power Bowl that’s bursting with flavour, colour and heart healthy goodness. “The combination of veggies is endless,” says Chef Alexandra whose salad bowl includes kale, Brussels sprouts, beets, sweet potatoes, avocado, figs and black beans.

Chef Alexandra
Chef Alexandra Feswick. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

Power Bowl salad cropped png image
Chef Alexandra’s Power Bowl! Photography by Sue Mah

We made our own salad dressing using the star ingredient – canola oil – and mixed in a blend of fresh herbs. With a neutral flavour, canola oil absorbs the flavours of herbs and spices, making it so versatile for salad dressings, baking, barbecuing and cooking. Chef Alexandra’s advice on food? “If you source ingredients properly, food should taste the way it’s meant to taste. And I really encourage people to experiment, after all, it’s just food!”

Sue cooking salad
Mixing our own salad dressings. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

Power Bowl with Green Goddess Dressing
Recipe by Chef Alexandra Feswick, Executive Chef at Drake Hotel

Green Goddess Dressing
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp crème fraiche
½ tsp garlic minced
1 Tbsp chopped herbs (chives, tarragon, parsley, mint, cilantro)

1. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard + canola oil together until well combined.
2. Add in crème fraiche + garlic and mix.
3. Gently add in mixed herbs and fold into the rest of the mixture.

Power Bowl
1 cup chopped kale
1 Tbsp black beans
1 Tbsp Brussels sprouts, roasted w canola oil
1 Tbsp chopped beets, cooked
1 Tbsp diced sweet potato, roasted w canola oil
1 Tbsp amaranth seeds, cooked
1 tsp almonds, roasted with canola oil
1 tsp cashews, roasted with canola oil
½ avocado
½ fig

1. Marinate kale with Green Goddess dressing.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss together.
3. Enjoy!


The Passionate Farmer

Meet Jeanette Andrashewski, a canola farmer on a third generation farm in Two Hills, Alberta (about 140 km outside of Edmonton). As one of the 43,000 canola farmers in Canada, Jeanette takes pride in producing a Canadian product. When asked why she farms, her answer is honest and honourable, “We get to be our own boss and we get to feed the world.” Rotating through other crops such as wheat, barley and peas helps to keep Jeanette’s farmland healthy, “We want our food to be safe, affordable and nutritious. Our canola oil is going to your family.”

Farmer
Farmer Jeanette cares about producing safe, affordable and nutritious food. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

The Research Dietitian
Shaunda Durance-Tod reminded us of the many nutrition and health benefits of canola oil. For starters, canola oil is low in saturated fat and packed with heart healthy omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats. Plus it’s a good source of vitamin E and vitamin K.

Dietitian Shaunda
Dietitian Shaunda. Photography by Sue Mah

The Fun & Love
Put 26 dietitians in a beautiful, spacious venue at Luxe Appliance Studio, and you’re bound to get great laughs and inspiration! In honour of Heart Month, we were asked to share how we love our hearts. Chef Alexandra goes for a run. Farmer Jeanette practises meditation. Dietitian Shaunda stays calm. And me? I wake up with a heart full of gratitude and practise yoga daily! What about you? How do you love your heart?

Group photo
Fun and friendship at the Luxe Appliance Studio. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

Disclosure: #CanolaConnect was a sponsored event for dietitians and this is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

5 Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy!

Heart healthy foods Feb 20 2017 - Sue L - 1

February is Heart Month! Did you know that 9 out of 10 adults have at least one risk factor for heart disease? The good news is that eating the right foods can keep your heart healthy.

Watch my interview on CTV Your Morning

Whole grains
Barley and oats specifically contain a special type of fibre called beta-glucan. This type of fibre has been shown to lower blood cholesterol which is important since high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. The beneficial amount is 3 grams of beta-glucan fibre which is found in 1 cup of cooked barley or 1½ cups of cooked oatmeal.

Try this recipe – Vegetable, Bean & Barley Stuffed Peppers


Nuts

Research shows that eating about 1.5 to 3.5 servings of nuts 5 times or more per week can also lower the bad LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. All nuts have high proportions of healthy fats – these are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – and it’s these fats which help to reduce our cholesterol levels. Nuts are packed with nutrition like protein, vitamin E, selenium, folate and even calcium but the calories do add up, so keep in mind that a portion size is about ¼ cup. One easy way to eat more nuts is to eat them as a snack. Or you can easily add nuts to your oatmeal, in your baking recipes or in a stir-fry.


Soy protein

About 20-25 grams of soy protein helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. Plus soy protein is a great vegetarian protein. To get this amount of soy protein, try any one of these options:
– ¾ cup cooked tofu or
– ¾ cup cooked edamame beans or
– 1 cup fortified soy beverage with ¼ cup roasted soy nuts

Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, artic char, mackerel and sardines are super sources of heart healthy omega-3 fats. These omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation and blood clotting. Aim to fish at least twice a week. A serving is 75 g of cooked fish or about the size and thickness of your palm.

Try this recipe – Salmon with Peanut Cucumber Relish

Veggies and Fruit
You can’t go wrong eating more fruit and veggies. Fruit and veggies are superstars for fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which protect us from not just heart disease but other health conditions too such as high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. As a general rule, try to have 1-2 servings of veggies or fruit at every meal and snack. Or just think of filling half your plate with veggies and fruit at every meal.

Lucky Foods for the Lunar New Year!

Sue Mel - 2
Kung Hei Fat Choy! January 28, 2017 is the Lunar New Year and it’s the Year of the Rooster!

Watch my TV interview about the do’s and don’ts as well as lucky foods to ring in the new year!

DO…
• Wear red! It’s a lucky colour and is thought to scare away the bad spirits!
• Repay your debts so that you have no money owning going into the New Year.
• Give or accept lucky money envelopes. If you’re married, you give lucky money to your kids, nephews and nieces. If you’re single or unmarried, you can still receive these lucky money envelopes from your parents.

DON’T…
• Clean, sweep or dust your house because it will sweep out the good luck.
• Wash your hair. This is also thought to wash away the good luck and good fortune.
• Speak any negative words. For example, don’t talk about death and don’t say the number “four” because this sounds like the word for “death” in Chinese.

LUCKY FOODS

Fish
Fish
This is always on the menu for the Lunar New Year because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for “abundance” or “having a lot”. Fish symbolizes an abundance of money and wealth. The steamed white fish is served whole, with the head and tail intact, as this symbolizes a good start and end to the new year. The head of the fish is turned towards the elders as a sign of respect.

Chicken Wraps
Chicken
The Chinese word for chicken sounds like the word for “prosperity”. In this Lucky Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe, you can use chicken breast or ground chicken. The fresh green lettuce (“choy”) represents wealth. Also, iceberg lettuce, bibb lettuce and romaine lettuce all symbolize longevity.

Dumplings
Dumplings
The boat shaped dumplings symbolize wealth and resemble the shape of the gold and silver ingots which were used as money 2,000 years ago. Legend has it that the more dumplings you can eat on New Year’s, the more money you will have in the year!

Noodles
Long noodles symbolize a long life. The noodle dish is often prepared as a vegetarian entrée and is made with a variety of vegetables – carrots for the lucky colour orange, and cabbage for the wealthy “choy”.

Oranges cookiesMandarin oranges and almond cookies
For a sweet start to the New Year, enjoy mandarins / clementines and almond cookies. Oranges with the stems and leaves intact symbolize life and longevity.

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