Food Friday

Food Friday: Grain-free Granola

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Fall is in the air! That calls for fall flavours in my morning meal of course :) To set your day off right, whether it is for better energy, weight loss and concentration, it is important to get protein for breakfast. Common breakfast choices like cereal, toast, pancakes and even oatmeal do not have any protein in them unless they are “tweaked” a little, leading to blood sugar spikes then energy crashes. Being a Naturopath with a busy day seeing patients, it is important for me for my mind to be clear and my energy to not crash so finding better breakfast options is always key. This recipe is an easy one for busy mornings or when you are craving something a little sweater. The spices can be adjusted depending on what you prefer and you can even mix up the seeds or add some nuts like almonds or cashews. So many options!

Some other protein packed breakfast options I enjoy are a smoothie with protein powder or almond butter, “paleo pancakes” with eggs and plantain and a breakfast hash. Yum!

Do you have a go-to granola recipe?

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds

  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

  • 3/4 cup dried currents

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Place sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulse until you have a chunky, coarse meal.

  3. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

  4. Spread mixture out on the baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes, stirring once half way through.

  5. Remove from the oven and mix in dried currents, then let cool. Once cooled store in an airtight container.

  6. Mix with yogurt, almond milk or vanilla hemp milk :)

In health & happiness,
Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Stovetop Lemon Chicken

 Photo by Seasons and Suppers

Photo by Seasons and Suppers

A basic chicken breast or thighs have never been my favourite thing to cook for dinner. I usually prefer it pre-cooked added to a salad or wrap for lunch, in a saucy fajitas or a whole cooked chicken with all the juices. However, this recipe, by Seasons and Suppers, caught my eye and it will definitely be a go-to weeknight dinner option from now on (if only he liked capers…). It is great served with any green veggie of your choice, green beans are perfect. Or if you are craving something a little heavier serve it over gluten free pasta with a salad on the side.

The garlic and shallots in here are great immune boosters as we head into cold & flu season so don’t be shy about these and finally you all know my love for lemons.

Do you have a favourite chicken recipe you’d like to share?

Ingredients: (serves 5 people)

  • 2 small lemons cut into thin rounds

  • 1 1/2 tsp white sugar

  • 4 garlic cloves halved

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter or ghee DIVIDED

  • 1 tsp minced shallot

  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic

  • 1 thyme sprig

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or additional 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour (or sub gluten free flour)

  • 2 Tbsp capers

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, add lemon slices and garlic halves. Sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.

  2. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add chicken to pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.

  3. Add a splash more oil to the pan if it is dry. Add lemon slice mixture to the pan (keeping bowl handy) and cook, turning occasionally, for about 1 minute or until lemon slices are lightly browned. Return lemon mixture to the bowl.

  4. Wipe pan with paper towel and heat over medium heat. Melt 1 1/2 tsp of butter in the pan, then add shallot, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic and thyme sprig. Cook for 30 seconds or so, then add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until liquid almost completely evaporates. Add chicken stock, and flour to the pan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 2/3 cup.

  5. Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprig. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and capers, stirring until butter melts. Taste sauce and add additional salt and pepper, as needed. Return chicken and any juices to pan and re-warm in sauce, turning to coat with sauce. Top chicken with lemon mixture and allow to warm with chicken slightly before serving. Garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Anytime Minestrone Soup

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The rainy day this week finally got me craving some cozy soup and what better way to use up leftovers and random cans of beans than make a minestrone soup! To be honest, I have never made minestrone soup before, mostly because I don't usually like really brothy soups, BUT I have to say this is a winner! I made some adjustments to the typical soup recipe to make it more hearty and it turned out delicious! 

So, if you are in the mood for something cozy, yet still summery AND you want to use up those leftovers, look no further! :) Feel free to use any veggies you'd like in this one. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme 
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 2 small celery stacks, diced
  • 2 small/medium carrots, diced
  • handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces 
  • 1 cup gluten free pasta 
  • 1 19 oz can white kidney beans 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 3 cups chicken, veggie stock (or water and bullion cubes)
  • parmesan to sprinkle 

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until golden. Add carrots, celery, garlic, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano and some pepper and saute for a few minutes more until fragrant.
  2. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes and stock and simmer covered until carrots are slightly tender, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile mash 1/2 the beans with a fork - this adds a little more bulk to the soup. Cook pasta as well and strain. 
  4. Add beans, green beans and salt to taste and simmer 7-10 minutes more until veggies are tender. Add pasta at the end and adjust seasoning. 
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan, if dairy is ok, and a slice of sourdough bread if desired. Enjoy! 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Chocolate Dream Bars

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Craving a little chocolate on these hot days but everything just melts in your hand? Well I can't tell you these won't melt eventually in your hand but I can tell you they are a delicious health-ish snack or dessert for summer time! They taste like a delicious bite of candy bar that isn't too sweat yet satisfies your craving. 

I have made these from the Oh She Glows Cookbook #2 a few times now for get togethers and they have always been a big hit. Bonus is that they are gluten free, dairy free, AND nut free! Bonus #2 is that they are super simple to make. I tend to omit to seeds on the top, mainly because I always forgot. :) 

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 cups crispy rice cereal (Mine is Nature's Path)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • just over 2 tbsp brown rice syrup (can find at superstore or sobeys)
  • pinch of sea salt

Filling:

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches of sea salt

Coating:

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted (optional)
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil 

Directions:

  1. Oil a 10x6 in loaf pan and line it with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the length of the pan. 
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the crust ingredients until the cereal is full coated. Spoon the mixture in to the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. With lightly wet hands, since it is fairly sticky, press the mixture down firmly and evenly into the pan. It may seen loose still but that is ok. Place in the freezer. 
  3. Rinse and dry the bowl and then combine all the filling ingredients and stir until combined and smooth.
  4. Removed the pan from the freezer and spoon the filling on top of the crust. Spread it out evenly with a spatula. Return the pan to a flat surface in the freezer and wait about 1 hour, or until firm.
  5. Once firm, in a small pot melt the chocolate and coconut oil over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until smooth. Turn off the heat. Spread the chocolate quickly on top of the filling, fairly quickly to it doesn't harden up before you finish spreading it. Sprinkle the toasted sunflower seeds on now if using. Return the pan to the freezer for another 30 minutes or so. 
  6. When ready to eat, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Life out the slab using the sides of the parchment paper to pull it out. Run very hot water over a sharp knife for a minute then slice the bar into small squares and serve immediately. The hot knife will ensure you cut smoothly through the hard chocolate. Enjoy! Remember to put any leftovers in the fridge soon or they start to melt. 

Do you have any healthy summer treats you like to make?

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen