SMOOTHIES: Nutrition in a glass!

I had been wanting a Vita mix blender for eons and finally got one last Christmas.  I was so excited and once I started using it I literally haven’t stopped.  It’s an easy way to pack nutrition, fibre and all into a drink.  It all depends on what I have in the fridge and freezer as to what I add in my morning drink.  The options are endless!! 🙂

I start with coconut water but read your labels.  I bought a LOT of cans only to find out they are coconut juice (added sugar) and not just coconut water 😦  Oh well I didn’t want to truck back all the cans so I have been slowly going through them all. Sigh  If I find its too sweet I will just add our filtered water to take some of the sweetness down.  🙂

So all measurements are approximate as it depends on what I have and how much I’m making.

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For one serving:

250 ml of coconut water

1/2 banana

1 Tblsp each of hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds

2″ chunk of cucumber

1/2 cup of frozen fruit (mango, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)

1/2 scoop of protein powder (omit if making for small children, as its too hard on the kidneys)

1/2 carrot, peeled and chopped

one small serving of yogourt

1 large handful of spinach

Blend and enjoy!  Keeps well in the fridge overnight.

Your options are endless!   I also use Avocado and kale if I have it in the fridge or frozen in the freezer.

It’s made breakfast quick and nutritious in the morning or a mid morning snack if I’ve actually made breakfast.

Give it a try and I’m sure you will become a smoothie convert as I have!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤  – Charlene

 

CHILI FOR CHILLY DAYS :)

We have had a lot of snow this winter which is unusual of our part of the country.  I will definitely get into the comfort food aspect of cooking when it gets like this.  You just want to have something hearty and warm when the weather is cold or just damp and chilly!

Chili comes in many forms and I’m sure everyone has a different recipe and they are all good, but we love this one and its super easy. 🙂

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Start it in the morning and leave it on low for the day in the slow cooker, and by supper you have a ready meal and the house smells yum.

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Ingredients:

1 – 28 ounce can of tomatoes or 1 quart of homemade canned tomatoes

2 – 28 ounce cans of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1 lb of ground chicken or turkey browned

1 small onion chopped and cooked until translucent.  (optional) (I will put it in the pan after the chicken has cooked to absorb some of the browned bits.)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 Tblsp of Chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tblsp of worcestershire sauce

Add to the crock pot and put it on low for 6 – 8 hours.

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Serve in deep bowls and garnish with grated cheese and sour cream and green onions if you like.  And of course the obligatory crusty roll!

Dig in and enjoy!! Yum 🙂

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤  – Charlene

YOGURT, HOWEVER YOU SPELL IT, IT’S YUM!

I recently purchased a Euro Cuisine yogurt maker and have been using it on a weekly basis since then.  I have been making plain yogurt and eating it with granola or adding it to smoothies and it’s so much better than store bought!  Also this machine is very user friendly 🙂

I tried several different fat contents of milk and have settled on 1% milk as that is what we drink in the house.  If you wanted a higher fat content yogurt you could use 2% or 3.25% milk.

Start off by making sure your equipment is very clean.  I clean the yogurt jars in the dishwasher and the lids in soap and water.

I use an empty yogurt jar and add 7 filled jars of milk to a deep sauce pan and set it over medium heat.  I whisk it gently to make sure it heats evenly and doesn’t scorch or get a skin on it.  This is where the quick read thermometer comes in handy!  The milk heats, but shouldn’t be boiling.

Once the milk reaches 180 degrees F take it off the element and let it cool a bit until it comes down to 112 degrees F. This can take approximately 30 minutes depending on how cool your home is.

At this point you add the culture and an optional addition is 1/4 cup of skim milk powder to make it a bit thicker.  This is a personal preference 🙂  Whisk until dissolved.  Try not to froth it up too much or you won’t have enough room for your milk in the jars.

 

I transfer the milk from the saucepan to a glass measuring cup which makes it easier to pour into the jars.  I usually make 7 jars, which is one layer because it’s only me eating the yogurt, but you have the capability to make 14 jars (2 layers) at once.  Very handy for a growing family!

Place the jars, lids off,  in the base of the yogurt maker and cover with the plastic cover.  On top of that place the lids and then the top cover covers the lids.  Set the timer and you are on your way to creamy, tasty, homemade yogurt ❤  Make sure no one unplugs the machine while its cooking 😦

You have the ability to add chopped fruit or jam to the yogurt for flavour prior to cooking, but, I like plain and then I can customize it at breakfast.  Depending on what fruit is in season the options are endless.  I also make some homemade granola that I add on.

Once the time is up, you put the lids on and place the jars in the fridge.  The lids have little date markers on them so you can either set the date for 10 days from the day you are making them (best before date) or the date you made the yogurt.

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I hope you are able to try this as it really takes the mystery out of making your own yogurt!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤  Charlene

LATKES! MY FAVOURITE :)

 

 

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Firstly, Happy New Years to all of you!  I wish for a happy, healthy, peaceful, positive and prosperous 2017 to each and every one of you 🙂  Thank you for following along!  It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so I thought I should sit down and start the new year off right!

A couple of times a year I make Latkes for supper and that is the entire meal.  Probably not the healthiest meal as they are fried but sooooo tasty ha ha.

INGREDIENTS:

6 – 8 russet potatoes

1/2 medium onion grated

1/4 cup all purpose flour

3 eggs

2 tsp of baking powder

salt and pepper to taste

canola oil

sour cream

apple sauce

I start off peeling russet potatoes and putting them into a large bowl of cold water.  Once they are all peeled I grate them using my Kitchen Aid food processor. I use the smaller grate setting as the pancakes tend to cook quicker.  Before I had my food processor I used to grate the potatoes by hand and it made shreds thin enough that they cooked well, but it was just too hard on my hands grating all those potatoes.

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Once you have grated all the potatoes put them into a large bowl handful by handful after squeezing them to remove a lot of the liquid.  You will end up with a lot of orange coloured water with a lot of potato starch in the bottom of the bowl which you can throw out. They oxidize with being out in the air. They start going white again once you start cooking them.

Add the grated onion, flour, eggs, baking powder and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.  I use my hands for this as well or you can end up with clumps of flour and egg.

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Heat approx. 1/4″ canola oil in a frying pan and once heated, drop 1/3 cup approx. of potato mixture into oil and flatten slightly so they cook evenly.  I set the element on high as I have a gas cook top.  I also use 2 frying pans to make the process go a bit quicker.

As each batch is done I put them on a paper towel lined cookie sheet and keep in a 300 F degree oven to warm until ready to eat.

Once all cooked its time to eat! Best part by far!! Sour cream and apple sauce and salt and pepper.  We sometimes have a few left and they can be heated up in the toaster oven for breakfast or lunch next day.

I made the first batch using 3/4 of a russet potato,  4″ piece of zucchini, and 1 small carrot and a small piece of onion and they tasted quite good.  A good way to get in additional veggies if you have kids :).

It’s a great meal. Enjoy!!

As always…LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

~Charlene

 

 

 

SQUASH SOUP…AUTUMN FAVE


I recently received a couple of squash from a co-worker’s garden and quickly went to work preparing the best squash soup ever!!

I actually had a butternut and a spaghetti squash but it worked out fine.

1 large butternut squash or two small (or variety of your choice)

2 Tblsp olive oil

1/2 sweet onion chopped

1 clove garlic

1/2 carton of vegetable or chicken stock

1-1 1/2 tsp of Garam masala (you can use curry, turmeric etc)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can coconut milk

Day old crusty bread

Peel the butternut squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Then cut into small chunks.

Put the squash into a deep pot with 1 Tblsp olive oil and the onion and garlic and cook until soft and tender and very slightly carmelized.


For the spaghetti squash, cut in half, scoop out seeds and place cut side down in a pan with a bit of water and cook in 350 degree oven for 35 min until skin is soft and fork pierces skin easily. Scoop out stringy flesh and add to pot with butternut squash.


Mash or put into blender and purée until smooth. Add broth, and spice and stir until heated through. Add 1/2 to 1 tin of coconut milk according to taste and to make sure it’s not too runny.

Cut the day old bread into cubes and fry til golden brown in remaining olive oil.

Serve in soup bowl and garnish with croutons.


Enjoy!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤️

SPRING MEANS RHUBARB!!

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When I was little, my fondest memories were going into the garden and cutting a stalk of rhubarb and then sitting with a glass with sugar and dipping and eating it.  I’m sure we all ended up with a stomach ache but I don’t have those memories haha.

I’ve tried to grow it, but have been unsuccessful so far.  I will try again this year, but in the mean time, it’s off to the market I go.

This recipe is similar to my Apple Crisp.  I have changed it a bit to give it a more fresh, spring like flavour though.

Ingredients:

Rhubarb (I prefer the red coloured ones) Amount depends on how big your casserole is. I usually take about 8-10 large stalks.

1/3 – 1/2 cup of white sugar depending on tartness of rhubarb.

grated rind of one large orange

Crisp:

3/4 cup Gluten Free Oats

3/4 cup All purpose flour or Gluten Free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill  1:1)

3/4 cup golden brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup of cold margarine/butter

Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces. Place in a deep dish casserole dish. Once all the rhubarb is cut, add the white sugar and orange rind and mix thoroughly.  Always cut enough fruit to come within a 1/2″ of the top of the casserole as it will shrink with cooking.

Add the “crisp” ingredients and cut in the cold butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender, until the butter /margarine is the size of peas.

Pack on top of the rhubarb and put right to the edge. I tend to pack fairly tightly as it keeps the juices in and gets a nice crisp texture. (always the best part 🙂 )

Cook in a 350 degree oven until the edges show bubbling juices and the top is golden brown.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or eat it cold.  Either way its a delicious taste of spring and I for one, look forward to each spring!

Enjoy!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

BANANA PECAN MUFFINS

If you are looking for a tasty, high fibre muffin, this is it!  It’s from Canadian Living Magazine, I believe, in the 80’s.   So moist and flavourful and they freeze well.  The orange zest gives the muffins a bright fresh taste.

Ingredients:

3 large ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup of melted butter ( I used margarine)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

grated rind of 1 whole orange

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill, 1 to 1)

1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt ( I use less in all my recipes)

1/2 cup chopped medjool dates (remove pits)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In one bowl, mix bananas, butter, egg, vanilla and orange rind together. (the bananas had been frozen and they started to congeal the melted butter, but it still worked out fine)

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Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dates and pecans and toss together lightly.

Pour dry ingredients into wet mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon into 12 large muffin cups.

Bake at 350 degrees  for 20 minutes.  Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean. If not, put in for another 5 minutes and check again.  (the original recipe says 15 – 20 minutes)  I’m not sure if its my oven but mine is convection and I find it takes at least 25 minutes.

Let cool and then enjoy (If you can wait that long 🙂 )   Great with a cup of tea or a dish of yogourt for breakfast!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤