Your 3 Favourite Comfort Foods in Stuffed Baked Potato Form

Craving comfort food, but not sure what to make? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We took some of your favourite go to’s (think: homemade nachos and juicy burgers) and wrapped them in a warm, fluffy potato blanket. So skip the drive-thru and make our cheeseburger-stuffed potatoes. Or if you’re looking to spice things up further, whip up a batch of Tex-Mex inspired baked spuds. If neither of those are your jam, our Swedish meatball-stuffed version promises to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.

1. Cheeseburger-Stuffed Baked Potato

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1 ½  tsp kosher salt, divided
⅓ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce, divided
½ cup chopped dill pickles, divided
1 Tbsp pickle brine
454 g lean ground beef
½ cup mild cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup diced tomatoes
¼ cup finely chopped white onion

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Scrub potatoes, then pat dry. Prick several times with a fork.
3. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and rub with 1 Tbsp oil, then sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Bake, in centre of oven, until potatoes are tender and skin is crisp, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, stir together mayonnaise, ketchup, 2 Tbsp lettuce, 2 Tbsp pickles and pickle brine in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high. When pan is hot, add remaining 1 tsp oil, then crumble in beef. Season with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until golden-brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
6. To assemble, slice potatoes down the centre. Divide beef between potatoes, then sprinkle with cheese. Broil, in centre of oven until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Remove from oven, then top with sauce. Garnish with tomatoes, onion and remaining lettuce and pickles.

2. Nacho-Inspired Tex-Mex Stuffed Potato

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes
2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1 tsp + ½ tsp kosher salt, divided
½ cup black beans
½ cup corn niblets, thawed
1 small jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp lime zest
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, grated
½ tsp chili powder
½ cup salsa

Read More: 5 Recipes That Will Make Your Nacho Dinner Dreams Come True

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Scrub potatoes, then pat dry. Prick several times with a fork.
3. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and rub with 1 Tbsp oil, then sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Bake, in centre of oven, until potatoes are tender and skin is crisp, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, stir together beans, corn, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, zest and remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a medium bowl. Season with 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.
5. Heat a small pot over medium heat. Melt butter, then add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until a thick paste forms, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook, whisking often, until sauce thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in cheese and chili powder.
6. To assemble, slice potatoes down the centre. Top with salsa, then bean-mixture. Drizzle over cheese sauce.

Swedish Meatball-Stuffed Baked Potato

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes
1 Tbsp + vegetable oil, divided
1 tsp + kosher salt, divided
454 g lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
⅓ cup panko crumbs
¼ cup grated white onion
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, divided
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ cup no salt added beef broth
¾ cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup lingonberry jam (optional)
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley

Read More: How to Make Everyone’s Favourite Swedish Meatballs At Home

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Scrub potatoes, then pat dry. Prick several times with a fork.
3. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and rub with 1 Tbsp oil, then sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Bake, in centre of oven, until potatoes are tender and skin is crisp, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, combine beef, egg, panko, onion, 1 tsp Worcestershire, allspice and nutmeg in a large bowl. Roll into 1-inch balls, you should have about 52.
5. Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium-high. When pan is hot, add 1 tsp oil, then meatballs. Cook, stirring often, until meatballs are golden-brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
6. Drain fat from pan, then return to heat. Add beef stock, cream, soy sauce, Dijon and remaining 1 Tbsp Worcestershire. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has reduced by half, 6 to 7 minutes. Return meatballs to pan, stirring to coat.
7. To assemble, slice potatoes down the centre. Divide jam, if using, between potatoes, then top with meatballs. Garnish with remaining sauce and parsley.

Craving more comforting spud recipes for any day of the year? Check out these 100+ Perfect Potato Recipes

How These Nutritionists Organize Their Fridge Will Change The Way You Grocery Shop

When you have an organized fridge, you’re immediately set up for success – not just to eat healthily, but to save money, cook more, eat consciously and order less takeout. As nutritionists and private chefs, we have seen many fridges in our day; the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ve seen it all: mouldy containers, expired condiments, weeknight leftovers, wilting produce that’s turning all shades of brown, and shelves covered in sticky goo from a spill that was never cleaned up. Are you nodding your head? Can you relate? This was us, we admit that we were those people with messy (and sometimes gross!) fridges, and we’ve managed to come out the other side to share our tips on how to live your best organized fridge life.

1. Do a Weekly Fridge Clean Out
Just as you take your garbage out once a week, do the same with your refrigerator. Make every Thursday fridge clean-out day. This is probably the most important tip we can offer, and although it’s a simple one, it’s not necessarily easy because it takes effort (about 10 minutes worth). We know when items accumulate in the fridge, they’re usually shoved to the back, then forgotten to expire and rot. This is how fridges become gross and crowded, which will deter you from opening it and buying new produce items. Then you’ll end up ordering take out, and you know those leftovers will sit in your fridge… for too long. Do you see the cycle? Just clean your fridge!

Read More: 10 Genius Ways to Make Your Food Last Longer 

2. Store Food Properly to Make it Last
One of the most common problems we hear from our clients is, “our produce always goes bad before we get a chance to use it.” This is not only a waste of money, but also a waste of food and effort from everyone involved in the process (think: farmers, food brokers, shippers, grocery stores, etc). Instead, store food properly. Keep veggies and heartier fruits like apples in the crisper drawers. Herbs and asparagus need to be kept in glasses of water like a bouquet of flowers. Leafy greens and broccoli should be stored in bags to prevent them from wilting. Delicate fruit like berries should be placed on the shelf. Don’t wash produce before putting it in the fridge, this will spoil it faster.

3. Invest in a Whiteboard (it costs $1.50)
Keep a whiteboard on the outside of your fridge that lists what you’ll be eating for the week and which groceries you need to buy. You will be an organizational champion if you do this. You clearly outline your meals so you know what you need to prep and when. You also know which ingredients you need to stock up on. Simply take a picture of the board with your phone and use it as your grocery list. We also organize the board in columns of produce, pantry and other. This will make shopping efficient because your list will already be organized by grocery store aisles/sections.

Read More: 10 Clever Ways to Double Your Fridge Space

4. Become a Prep Master
Take a few hours to prep and chop your produce. This step is annoying, we know, but so worth it. We find it best to do at night. Throw on a great Food Network show to keep you occupied as you chop and slice away. Cooking can sometimes to be a challenging feat, especially when you’re tired and busy, but think about how much easier it is when produce is already prepped. You can throw together a quick stir-fry or roasted veggie dish when cauliflower is already in florets, cabbage is already sliced and potatoes are already cubed.

5. Buy Premade Food
While we bet you enjoy cooking, we also know you’re busy with a life and things to do, so crafting an elaborate meal isn’t always an option. We recommend buying a few items that are premade to keep in your fridge like a cooked chicken, a box of mixed greens that’s ready-to-eat or store-bought soups, stews and chilis. This way you won’t reach for foods that you don’t actually want, and you can put meals together in minutes. We recently bought a cooked chicken, spiralized butternut squash noodles and Thai soup, then threw all these items together in a pot and had a warming, delicious meal with minimal effort.

Read More: Here’s How a Nutritionist Meal Preps Every Sunday

6. Place Ready-to-Eat Food at Eye Level
When you’re desperate for a snack or even meal, the easiest thing to do is visit the pantry and grab something carb-o-licious. But, you don’t really want to do that, do you? Have you ever binged on your kids’ goldfish crackers before? No, me neither, never. Put everything that’s already prepared (leftovers, cut up carrots, hummus, soups, grapes, etc) on the middle shelf, or the shelves that are directly at eye level. Grocery stores do this to entice you to buy certain brands, so do the same with your fridge. Keep them in transparent containers so you can see what’s inside.

7. Be a Minimalist
Do you really need a fridge that’s bursting at the seams? We’ve found that crowded fridges are just filled with accumulated mess. We don’t mean your fridge shouldn’t be stocked, but when you can barely even see what’s inside, that means it’s too full, and usually not with good, edible food. Also, the air cannot circulate around properly. Be a minimalist when it comes to stocking your fridge. Think about how much you really eat, what you really need, and when you will actually use the ingredients you’re buying. To be honest, we often have a close-to-empty fridge with only essentials in it to ensure we eat what we buy and don’t let excess food go to waste.

Read More: How Long Do Leftovers Last? We Break it Down

8. Store Raw Meat, Poultry and Seafood on the Bottom Shelf
This is a food safety measure that’s required by restaurants, and you should adopt it for your fridge at home. Store these items on the bottom shelf and put them in a container or on a tray. This ensures that if there is some spillage, it will not spoil any other items in the fridge. Imagine you kept your raw chicken on the top shelf and the juices accidentally drip down onto your berries, yogurt or lettuce. This cross contamination can make you really sick, so, keep these items low down. We also recommend pushing them to the back of the bottom shelf where the fridge tends to be the coldest.

9. Group Ingredients Based on Similarity
For instance, all of our fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt and miso are on the same shelf beside each other. All of our varieties of mustards and BBQ sauces are grouped together on the doors. So are our Asian style condiments like tamari, Thai curries, sesame oil and fish sauce and our nut/seed butters like peanut butter, almond butter and sunflower butter. This makes cooking more efficient so you don’t need to search the fridge to figure out where all the items are as you’re cooking. It also easily alerts you to when one of those items is running low or empty.

Read More: 4 Things You Didn’t Know About Expiry Dates

10. Store Flours, Nuts & Seeds in the Fridge
Many people will store these items in cupboards or in the pantry, but they’re actually better off in the fridge. Flours, nuts and seeds all have oils that can become sensitive to heat and spoil quickly, so keep these items in bags or containers in the fridge. A crisper drawer or any of the shelves will do the trick. Beware: these items can pick up smells from other ingredients in the fridge, so ensure they’re stored away tightly in their bags/containers.

Canada's Updated Food Guide

10 Biggest Dos and Don’ts From Canada’s Brand New Food Guide

When Canada’s long-anticipated food guide overhaul was recently unveiled, the overriding message was loud and clear: eat more plant-based fare. In its first major update in more than 12 years, the new guide has widened its scope and reminds Canadians to cook at home more often, be mindful in their eating habits and be conscious of food marketing in an effort to limit their intake of sodium, sugar and saturated fats. As many health professionals predicted, the 62-page guide also emphasizes the importance of getting protein from plant-based sources such as beans, nuts and lentils, rather than opting for animal-based foods such as meat and poultry. No doubt the verdict came as a surprise to consumers, who grew up learning about the four distinct food groups that Canada’s Food Guide once touted as essential to a healthy diet. So, what exactly has changed? A lot, as it turns out.

Here we look at the major dos and don’ts from Canada’s updated food guide:

1. DO Prioritize Protein-Rich Foods
Pack a protein punch by introducing more nutrition powerhouses into your everyday diet. Items such as nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, fish, eggs and lean red meat, among others, helps the immune system stay in tip-top shape and keeps us lean. To make the transition a little easier, stock your fridge and cupboards with hard-boiled eggs, canned beans and protein bars or powders so you’ll always have them on hand to add to your favourite recipe or enjoy as a snack.


Get the recipes for 28 High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

2. DO Consider More Plant-Based Foods
While many animal-based foods are nutritious and delicious, the new food guide places a stronger emphasis on plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and plant-based proteins, which can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Although this has drawn the ire of big meat and dairy producers, health professionals claim it’s for the betterment of both our health and the environment.

Get the recipes for 20 Easy Vegan Weeknight Dinner Recipes

3. DO Become BFFs With Water
As the latest food guide overhaul makes abundantly clear, water should now and forever be your “beverage of choice.” That’s right, in an effort to keep us hydrated and curb the amount of sugary soft drinks and juices consumed (not to mention alcohol), water is the way to go from here on in. If that all sounds a little… well …repetitive and dull, consider adding flavour to your H20 with a handful of your favourite fruits, veggie slices or a dash of herbs such as mint or basil. Another option is to incorporate more water-rich foods into your diet, such as cucumber, watermelon and zucchini. If all else fails, there’s an app for that! The free Daily Water app can help you track your daily H20 intake and, before you know it, you’ll be opting for water over a soft drink or glass of wine at your next meal or social gathering.

4. DO Expand Your Palate
Canada boasts a rich diversity that can be seen in the variety of traditions, cultures and lifestyles that make up our nation – and the latest guide wants us to expand our food repertoire by exploring recipes outside our palate’s comfort zone. For those less adventurous foodies, you can start by trying something new every day, starting with items in a similar taste group (“flavour families”) as one of your favourite foods. For example, if you prefer sweet foods such as corn, then you’ll probably also enjoy parsnips and butternut squash.

Get the recipes for 13 Must-Try Canadian Foods by Province

5. DO Consider the Environment
While the overall health of Canadians is the main focus of the recent food guide updates, our actions – and what we choose to consume on a regular basis – do have a lasting impact on the environment. For example, there is strong evidence that eating more plant-based foods (and, by default, less animal-based products) affects greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of land used and pollutants produced. So go ahead and reduce your carbon footprint by opting for more plant-based proteins.

6. DON’T Confuse Whole Grains with Whole Wheat
With an influx of fibre, iron, plant-based protein and B vitamins, whole grains sure pack a considerable nutritional punch. Whole grain kernels are divided into three distinct parts: bran (outer shell packed with fibre and antioxidants), endosperm (middle layer made up of carbs) and germ (inner layer chock-full of minerals, proteins and vitamins). It also allows for a lot of versatility in the kitchen, as quinoa, wild rice, bulgur, oatmeal and millet, among others, are all considered whole grains.

Get the recipes for 10 Healthiest Whole Grains and How to Cook Them

7. DON’T Netflix and Nosh
We may not want to admit it, but most of us are serial snackers – whether we’re unconsciously doing it while watching TV at the end of a long work day or indulging in an assortment of goodies at a social gathering. A more mindful approach to help you “snack smart” includes selecting healthier versions of some of your go-to staples (instead of fries or chips, for example, you can opt for sweet potato fries. Yum!).

8. DON’T Waste Food
It happens: Produce goes bad, post-party scraps end up in the trash, and sometimes leftovers are tossed out instead of saved for a later date. According to the updated Canada Food Guide, however, a whopping annual average of $31 billion in wasted food is discarded due to impulse shopping, poor storage and unnecessarily large meals. To combat the issue – and help save the planet in the process – consider keeping everything neat and visible in your fridge so you’re always aware of what food you have and, when preparing for a meal, be conscious of serving sizes. You can further reduce household waste by preserving leftovers, donating unused non-perishable items and understanding expiration dates. It’ll save you money in the long run, as well.


See here for 8 Ways to Cut Food Waste in Your Kitchen

9. DON’T Fall for Fad Diets
You’ve seen ads for them everywhere, from TV to Instagram, extolling the virtues of the latest fad diet for quick-fix weight loss. Instead of cutting out certain foods or restricting your intake, consider incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and opting for portion-controlled meals consisting of lean meats and fish. Enjoying a well-balanced breakfast every morning also goes a long way toward keeping your stomach satiated while waiting for your next meal – no diet required.

10. DON’T Ignore Food Labels – Especially Now
Sugar, along with saturated fat and sodium, are included in a group of items to cut back on. In fact, soft drinks are the number one source of sugar in the average Canadian diet. Cutting back on processed foods and reading food labels are easy ways to reduce your sugar and sodium intake. In addition, Health Canada has updated its nutrition label regulations, requiring that all sugar-based ingredients be listed in descending order by weight going forward. Food producers have three years to comply with this latest regulation.

The One Healthy Soup That Should Always Be in Your Freezer

This immune-boosting soup is one that you should always have on hand. It’s the perfect cure when you have a cold, are battling the flu or simply need to warm up in the wintertime. This soup has so much going for it: shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, garlic and chicken bones, to name a few of the nutrient-rich ingredients. Each ingredient has a specific job to detox the body, regulate the immune system, lower inflammation, protect from aging and help prevent cancer.  

Shiitake mushrooms are nutrition powerhouses. They have a little something called beta-glucans, which support the growth of good bacteria in the gut. When the gut is populated with good bacteria, your immune system is stronger and better able to handle whichever illness gets thrown your way. A study found that eating four ounces of shiitakes a day for four weeks enhanced immunity and reduced inflammation. In addition to that powerhouse ingredient, this healthy soup would not be complete without homemade bone broth; the chicken bones provide collagen and gelatin to the soup, which helps strengthen the gut lining. A strong gut lining aids digestion and prevents bad bacteria and viruses from getting in. So, yes, this is definitely a soup you want to batch cook ahead of time.
 

Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (2-3 lbs) or 2-3 lbs of chicken bones
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 bulb garlic (about 6 cloves)
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 ½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced (about 12 mushrooms)
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (or 2 tsp dried turmeric)
1 bunch of parsley
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp peppercorns
10 cups water
Few handfuls baby spinach (optional)

Directions:
1. Place all the ingredients, except for the water, in a large pot.
2. Then, pour the water in the pot until almost everything is submerged, but do not overflow. You will likely use around 10 cups of water.
3. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer.
4. After about half an hour, skim the top of the soup with a wide slotted spoon to discard the scum that’s risen to the top.

5. Allow to simmer on low heat for minimum 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
6. Place the soup through a sieve to catch the veggies and chicken (you can use some of the extra chicken meat to make other delicious dishes). Place the sieve over top of another large pot for the broth to go into.
7. You can serve the soup as this nutrient-rich broth. Or, you can add the carrots, mushrooms and chicken meat back into the broth. You can also stir in some baby spinach if you’d like.
8. Store the soup in airtight jars, containers or sealed bags.  Freeze them in individual portion sizes.

Looking for more nourishing winter dishes? Check out these 15 Best Vegan Soup and Stew Recipes and 15 Flavour-Packed Recipes to Boost Your Gut Health.

Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

A comforting bowl of spaghetti bolognese is always necessary on a chilly winter day. No meat is used in this protein- and fibre-packed veganized version of the comfort-food classic. Chewy mushrooms, filling lentils and meaty walnuts add a pleasing texture and flavour contrast to this delectable dish.

Perked up with a bit of balsamic vinegar, the tomato sauce benefits from a slow simmer, resulting in a dish that’s every bit as rich, hearty and flavourful as traditional bolognese.

vegan-bolognese-3

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (if using canned, drained and rinsed)
1 cup raw walnut halves, chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb spaghetti or pasta of choice
Fresh basil, for serving

vegan-bolognese-2

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt well.
2. In a large high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and nutmeg; sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add wine, increase heat and cook until most of wine has evaporated. Stir in lentils, walnuts, tomatoes, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring a few times throughout.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to warm bowls. Top with bolognese and a few basil leaves. Serve.

Looking for more delicious dishes? Try these 20 Vegan Recipes That Will Leave You Satisfied.

The Best Non-Dairy Milks to Meet All Your Needs (From Baking to Latte Frothing)

The list of non-dairy alternatives is extensive, and no longer are the days when soy milk was your only dairy-free option. Non-dairy milk can be made from almonds, cashews, oats, hemp, rice, chickpeas and even peas! Dairy is delicious, but it can also be incredibly challenging to digest, and consuming it may conflict with your moral and environmental principles. Luckily, there are so many non-dairy alternatives out there that you won’t miss dairy at all, whether you’re vegan or intolerant to it.

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Calcium: Pea Milk

Pea milk is pretty new on the non-dairy alternatives scene. Soy milk used to be the dairy-free milk of choice for this category, but pea is now winning by a landslide. One cup of pea milk makes up 45% of your daily value of calcium. It actually has 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk. It also contains 8 grams of protein per cup, which is quite hefty for a non-dairy milk.

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Baking: Almond Milk

Almond milk may be the most popular of the non-dairy alternatives, and can be found pretty much everywhere. We love it the most for baking because it cooperates nicely as a one-to-one milk substitute and is naturally sweet, so it’s fabulous for making desserts. It doesn’t have a strong flavour, so it won’t overpower any other flavours of the baked goods you’re making. You can also easily turn it into a “buttermilk” by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of almond milk.

Get the recipe for The Ultimate Vegan Carrot Cake with ‘Cream Cheese’ Frosting

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Coffee or Tea: Oat Milk

Oat milk is hands down our favourite non-dairy alternative to pour into coffee or tea. It doesn’t curdle, like most non-dairy milks, and has a really smooth taste and consistency. Other milks are too thin so they immediately separate upon entering your hot beverage, making it a beige coloured piece-y mess. Oat milk has about 16-25 grams of carbohydrates per cup, depending on the brand, and because of this, it’s stable in your coffee and functions similarly to cow’s milk. The higher carb count also makes it naturally sweet and a really pleasant addition to coffee and tea.

Best Non-Dairy Milk for a Latte/Frothing: Coconut or Oat Milk

This one is a tie between a carton (not can) of coconut milk and oat milk. Both of these are also available in “barista blend” making them even better for frothing and foaming. Oat milk has a neutral and sweet taste, and contains a fibre called beta-glucan, which allows it to foam really nicely. Coconut milk, also naturally sweet, has a higher fat content that lends itself to a nice froth. Coconut also has a distinct taste that you either love or hate, so if you’re not a fan of coconut, choose oat milk instead.

Get the recipe for this Spiced Coconut Turmeric Latte 

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Cereal: Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is one of those versatile non-dairy alternatives that lends itself well to a variety of dishes, from smoothies to savoury cream sauces. Our favourite way to use it is to pour it over cereal, because it’s naturally creamy, subtly sweet and has a slightly thicker consistency than other nut milks, resembling cow’s milk. Nutritionally speaking, it’s almost identical to almond milk with only one gram of protein, one gram of carbs and two  grams of fat per cup.

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Oatmeal: Rice Milk

Rice milk is our top pick for making oatmeal into a delicious, creamy porridge. It’s thinner than many of the other non-dairy alternatives, but because it’s higher in carbohydrates, it has a really nice natural sweetness that adds wonderful flavour to the oats. Most people start cooking their oatmeal with water and then add milk for flavour and extra creaminess; since rice milk is thin and milky at the same time, it plays double duty in oatmeal.

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Pancakes: Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is the winner when it comes to making pancake batter, especially since most pancakes call for buttermilk. Hemp milk has a higher protein content than many other non-dairy alternatives, so when it’s combined with an acid, like lemon or vinegar, it helps with leavening. The higher protein content will also add moisture and tenderness while giving the batter structure. You can easily make your own hemp milk at home by blitzing up hemp seeds and water.


Get the recipe for Gluten-Free and Vegan Coconut Pancakes

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Smoothies: Pea or Almond Milk

This is a toss up between pea milk and almond milk. Pea milk boasts a fair amount of protein and calcium, and since most people make smoothies to drink their nutrients, pea milk is a great addition. We also love almond milk for making smoothies. It’s a classic non-dairy alternative and it has a really neutral taste so it won’t imbue any unwanted flavours.

Best Non-Dairy Milk for Soups: Coconut Milk

Cream-based soups have a thicker and richer consistency compared to brothy ones. We’ve found the best substitute to be full-fat canned coconut milk, and have swapped it in as a dairy substitute for many of the classics, like cream of broccoli, creamy tomato and cream of mushroom. Coconut milk is higher in fat, similar to cream, so it gives the right viscous texture. It does impart a coconut flavour, which we’ve found to be a delicious addition to many of these soups.


Get the recipe for Vegan Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk

Best Tasting Non-Dairy Milk (to drink on its own): Soy Milk

Soy milk is the grandparent of non-dairy milks. About a decade ago if you didn’t drink milk, your only option was soy. Although there are many alternatives now, we find that soy is still the best to gulp down on its own. This is because it has a well-rounded flavour that isn’t too strong. It holds up well when chilled or even when heated, so whether you’re drinking it as a refreshing cold drink or as a warming hot beverage, it will perform.

Want more? See here for 20 Dairy-Free Dinners That Will Trick Your Taste Buds and 15 Healthy Vegan Snack Ideas.

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings With a Sweet Canadian Twist

Reader be warned: these wings are not for the faint of heart. Nashville Hot Chicken is notorious for its blow-your-socks-off heat. Fiery cayenne gets the heart pounding while an extra hit of hot sauce will set your taste buds alight. We made this recipe our own with the addition of maple syrup, adding a dash of welcome sweetness. No doubt about it, this chicken hurts, so consider swapping your game day beer for a cold glass of milk!

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
vegetable oil for frying (about 10 cups)
6 Tbsp cayenne
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup hot sauce, divided
3 lbs whole chicken wings
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup sliced pickles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet.
2. Pour oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot to measure about 2-inches up the sides. Heat over medium until an instant read thermometer registers 350°F.
3. Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, whisk together 5 Tbsp cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, and 1 Tbsp salt. Set aside.
4. Mix flour, black pepper, remaining 1 Tbsp cayenne and 1 tsp salt in a shallow dish.
5. Whisk buttermilk and 1 Tbsp hot sauce in a large bowl until combined.
6. Working in small batches, toss wings in flour mixture until coated. Shake off excess flour, then transfer to buttermilk mixture. Turn wings to coat, then toss for a second time in flour mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wings.

7. When oil reaches temperature, carefully add 1/3 of wings. The temperature will dip once wings are added. Adjust heat to maintain temperature between 315°F and 330°F. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to prepared rack using a slotted spoon. Keep warm in oven. Allow temperature to return to 350°F before repeating with remaining batches.
8. Carefully whisk 1 cup hot fryer oil, maple syrup and remaining 3 Tbsp hot sauce into spice mixture. Add wings and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate. Drizzle with more sauce, if desired, and garnish with pickles.

Craving more chicken dishes to add to your repertoire? Here are 40 Easy Chicken Dinners Done in Under 30 Minutes along with Our Most Popular Chicken Breast Recipes

These Chocolate Avocado Keto Cookies Are Healthy Enough for Breakfast 

A decadent, delicious breakfast cookie is the ultimate grab-and-go morning meal. But these are far from normal cookies. These keto-powered baked goods only have 3.2 net grams of carbs, along with a super, secret ingredient: avocado. The ketogenic diet is all about eating tons of fat, and these cookies really deliver, helping to fuel you with good, clean fats. Eating lots of healthy fat, especially in the morning, regulates blood sugar, keeps insulin levels low and promotes fat burning and loss. So, basically you’re eating a nutritious cookie that helps you lose weight – can you think of anything better?!

Chocolate Avocado Keto Breakfast Cookies

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 cookies

Ingredients:
2 small ripe avocados
2 large eggs
½ cup almond flour
⅓ cup raw cacao
⅓ cup erythritol or monk fruit sweetener
½ tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp sea salt
¼ cup cacao nibs or stevia sweetened chocolate chips
2 Tbsp shredded coconut, to use as garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Peel the avocado, place it in the bowl and mash it until smooth.
3. Add in the almond flour, raw cacao, sweetener, baking soda and sea salt and combine all ingredients. Whisk in the eggs.
4. Fold in the cacao nibs. Don’t be alarmed if the batter does not resemble traditional cookie dough, it will be fudgier.

5. Scoop about 1 ½ Tbsp of batter onto the baking sheet to make one cookie and lightly flatten with your hand or a spoon. Leave quite a bit of space between the cookies, since they spread.
6. Top with shredded coconut to garnish.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes and allow to cool for a few minutes before digging in.

For more healthy low-carb recipes to keep on hand, check out these 20 Easy Keto Dinners to Make Right Now and 14 Keto-Friendly Snacks That Are Super Simple to Make.

A Heavenly Blueberry and Bacon Breakfast Casserole Made With Croissants

Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and a healthy serving of bacon on the side has to be one of the most celebrated breakfasts of all time. When you find yourself with stale croissants, do yourself a favour before tossing them: make this super simple (and reliably delicious!) casserole dish that’s a riff on the quintessential breakfast. With maple syrup, wild blueberries and bacon, it ticks all the boxes of our favourite Canadian ingredients… and the buttery croissant base takes it to the next level. Your weekend brunch game just got a whole lot sweeter.

Blueberry, Maple and Bacon Croissant Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1-¼ cups milk
⅓ cup 35% cream
⅔ cup maple syrup, divided
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
8 cups lightly packed stale croissants, cubed or roughly torn into 1-inch pieces
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-½ cups frozen wild blueberries, divided
1 Tbsp flour

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2L casserole dish; set aside.
2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, milk, cream, ⅓ cup maple syrup, vanilla and ¼ tsp salt in a large bowl.
3. Add the croissant bread and bacon, and toss to combine.
4. Toss 1 cup blueberries with flour in a small bowl. Add it to the croissant mixture, tossing gently to combine.
5. Spoon into prepared casserole dish and bake until golden and set, about 45 to 50 minutes.  

6. Meanwhile, add remaining blueberries, maple syrup and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 10 minutes.
7. Drizzle the sweet, syrupy blueberry sauce over each individual casserole serving. Bon appétit!

Looking for more comforting breakfast inspiration? Here are 10 Must-Eat Canadian Breakfast Sandwiches and 25 Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipes.

These Comforting Sweet Potato Blondies Will Defeat Your Winter Blues

Traditional blondies get a comforting, cold-weather twist with the addition of sweet potato.  The fudgy squares are made with a rich brown butter along with chopped pecans to kick things up a notch, adding a nice crunch and a decadent touch. Feel free to sub in different nuts, toffee bits or anything else you’re craving. Tip: Serve warm to keep you toasty during blustery nights – because come winter, there’s simply nothing sweeter.

Sweet Potato Blondies

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

Blondie Base:
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of pecans (optional)

Sweet Potato Top:
1 small sweet potato
3 Tbsp condensed milk
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and bake the small sweet potato for 40 minutes. To save time, you can peel and cut the sweet potato into large even pieces, then boil until soft. It will cook faster when boiled, but I suggest baking it instead to maintain all the delicious flavour.
2. As the sweet potato bakes, prepare the batter by browning the butter first. Add the butter to a pot on low-heat. As the butter begins to melt, stir and slowly raise to medium heat. Be careful when you increase the heat, as it’s very easy to burn butter. If possible, use a light-coloured pot so you can see the butter clearly as it begins to brown. You’ll be able to smell the nutty and fragrant butter as it begins to brown. Stir continuously, and once the butter has reached a golden brown colour, remove and sift into a large bowl.
3. Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, add the light brown sugar and combine. Then add the large egg and stir in the vanilla.

4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) to the mix and combine well. Be careful not to over mix. Then fold in the chopped pecans and pour the batter into a buttered baking dish. Set aside.
5. Once the sweet potato is soft and fully baked, remove it from the oven and turn down the heat to 350°F (to bake the blondies). Let the sweet potato cool, then remove its skin and mash it up in a large bowl. Next, add the condensed milk, vanilla and pumpkin spice and mix until all ingredients are evenly combined.

6. Pour the sweet potato mixture on top of the blondie batter in the baking dish. Add a few more crushed pecans to top it off. The blondie batter is much thicker than the sweet potato mixture, so it will be difficult to swirl in. Instead, spread it on top as an even layer.
7. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Cut into the squares and serve warm.

See here for 25 Comforting Desserts to Battle Cold Winters

How to Develop Healthy Eating Habits That Last — 10 Strategies Straight From Experts

The beginning of the new year always brings the desire to set goals, especially health related goals for better nutrition and fitness after the holiday season. Those first few weeks of January can be filled with excitement and motivation to stick with new intentions. We all know what happens next: it gets more difficult to maintain nutrition plans as we settle back into our daily grind.  As nutritionists, we help our clients work through this hurdle.  But hiring a nutritionist or coach is not the only strategy to achieve a healthier diet.  Here are 10 lesser-known tips on how to actually stick to your wellness goals this year.

1. Manage Your Stress
Stress may be one of the most important underlying factors preventing you from reaching your nutrition goals. When we’re stressed, we are much more likely to reach for something that makes us feel better in the moment. Sugar and refined carbs are the culprits we crave most when stressed, and they’re also at the top of the list of things to avoid. Stress means we have elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and chronic elevated levels of cortisol have been linked with weight gain. Focus on implementing stress reducing practices in your daily schedule, such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga.


Read More: 10 Foods That Naturally Relieve Stress 

2. Buy Healthy Pre-Made Items
As nutritionists, you might think we always advise people to make everything from scratch and never buy packaged food. We know it’s not always possible with such a busy lifestyle. So be realistic. If you set your standards too high, then you’ll make it more difficult to hit your nutrition goals. There are so many healthy brands out there that use high-quality ingredients, making your meal-prep goals a lot easier. Just remember to read the label. Make sure you understand all ingredients listed and that they are real foods.

3. Batch Cook  (Strategically!)
If you do intend to make cooking part of your routine to implement your nutrition goals, plan out specific times to cook.  What you don’t want is to come home after a long day of work and have to figure out what to make for dinner. We highly recommend batch cooking on the weekend or a weekday that suits your schedule. Pick out a bunch of recipes (such as these great meal prep ideas!), and prepare them in advance. Then all you have to do is heat things up when you’re ready to eat.

Read More: How a Nutritionist Meal Preps Every Sunday

4. Carry Healthy Snacks
If you get hungry in-between meals, that’s one of the most likely times you’ll eat something you don’t actually want. Ghrelin is nicknamed “the hunger hormone”, which signals your body when it’s hungry and stimulates appetite, causing those familiar hunger pangs. Eating a snack can help keep hunger at bay so you don’t get too ravenous before lunch or dinner. That way, you’ll be less likely to eat a huge meal or binge on unhealthy foods. Make sure you have wholesome snacks on hand, such as nuts and seeds, trail mix (that’s not sweetened with added sugar), or good-quality protein bars. You can also make your own with these snack ideas featuring 10 ingredients or less.

5. Focus on Foods You Love
It’s always easier to add things in than to take things away. This is one of our golden rules. It can feel really limiting to think about the foods you crave but can’t have on your healthier diet. There are two ways to do this: First, figure out which healthy foods you love, such as the vegetables and fruits you’re naturally inclined to eat. Add more of those into your diet. Two, notice which foods you crave, such as fries. Then make a healthier version of these, such as baked sweet potato “fries” instead of deep-fried ones from a burger joint.

Get the recipes for Delicious Healthy Baked Veggie Fries, 3 Ways

6. Create a List
Once you decide on the type of diet you want to implement, get clear on which foods are best and which to avoid. This may be as simple as choosing to cut out sugar and refined carbs (you don’t necessarily need to follow an involved diet). But, write out a list of all the foods that contain sugar and refined carbs (or whichever foods you are trying to limit). It’s easier when you can reference this list when you’re ordering meals out or when you’re cooking something at home and looking for recipes to use. Keep this list handy on your phone or printed out on a piece of paper.

7. Eat Mindfully
We so often eat quickly, rushing through a meal or eating on the go. Your body needs to be in “rest and digest” mode in order to digest food properly. That means that your parasympathetic nervous system is relaxed. When we’re stressed, the digestive system is impacted because the body prioritizes sending blood and fuel to the brain and muscles away from the digestive system. This can potentially lead to a variety of digestive issues and discomfort. Pause and take some deep breaths before a meal, let your body and mind slow down, and focus on enjoying the various tastes and flavours.


Read More: 25 Tasty Ways to Eat Fermented Foods and Improve Your Gut Health

8. Choose a Healthy Diet You Actually Like
It’s so easy to get swept up in the excitement of the newest and hottest fads. But, just because a particular diet (such as the ketogenic diet) seems to be what everyone you know is loving, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. This might take a little trial and error, so give yourself the time and space to figure out what works best. Observe which diet makes you feel the best.  What foods leave you feeling energized and healthier? It can be really challenging to cut out many foods on limiting, strict diets and you’ll be more likely to break it and fall into old habits. So, find a diet that you’re likely to stick with and actually enjoy.

9. Dine at Restaurant You Know Will Work For You
If you’re going out to dinner with friends or setting up a meeting for work, pick a restaurant that offers healthier options. Research restaurants online and look for places that feature the type of wholesome food you’re after. You can always call a restaurant in advance and ask if they can accommodate you and omit certain ingredients. If you aren’t able to do that and someone else is picking the restaurant, scope out the menu online before you get there.


Get the recipe for Lynn Crawford’s Everything Green Salad With Green Goddess Dressing

10. Start a Cookbook Club!
Everyone knows it’s easier to reach our goals if we have someone keeping us accountable. But, instead of hiring a coach, you could try out something new this year and start a cookbook club. All you need to do is get a group of people together (it can be small or large) and pick a healthy cookbook. Then each attendee picks out a recipe to make from it! Repeat this once a month, always selecting a new healthy cookbook so that everyone can try new recipes. This is a wonderful way to get excited about cooking and developing healthy eating habits.

Looking for more healthy eating inspiration? We asked 15 nutrition experts how they stay healthy in the New Year, too! See here for their tried-and-true secrets.