Tag Archives: healthy-eating

4 Easy Oatmeal Ideas

Although we enjoy what what comes with fall — Thanksgiving, cozy sweaters and tasty comfort foods — there’s a slight sadness that creeps in knowing those long summer days are on their way out.

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This year, I’m determined not to waste the next eight months waiting for the warmer weather to roll back in, and instead, embrace the chilly season upon us. The first place to start? By giving the most important meal of the day a serious overhaul.

So, to make your breakfast oatmeal even better than that bowl of [insert your favourite sugary cereal here] you’re nearly sick of anyway, I’ve put together four easy topping combinations that will totally take that bowl of oatmeal from blah to wow!

First, know how to cook the perfect bowl of oatmeal. Start with a small pot on medium heat and combine ½ cup rolled oats (steel cut works too) with ½ cup water and ½ cup milk of your choice. Stir it occasionally for about five minutes, until the oats thicken.

Then, try one of these tasty topping combos:

1. Pumpkin
Before removing your oats from the stove after cooking, stir in ¼ cup canned pumpkin and 2 Tbsp cottage cheese. Then, remove from stove, plate, and sprinkle with toasted almond slices, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2. Banana & Peanuts
Before cooking your oats, add a thinly sliced banana and mix with other ingredients until the banana melts away. When finished cooking, remove from stove, plate, and sprinkle with chopped, salted peanuts.

3. PB&J
After making the oatmeal, remove from stove and stir in 1 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter and 1 Tbsp strawberry jam. Plate, then sprinkle with granola.

4. Chocolate & Coconut
After the oatmeal has been made, stir in a tsp of cocoa powder and a teaspoon of shredded coconut. Plate, and then top with slivered almonds and chocolate chips.

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

13 Delicious Foods You Hated as a Child

Our tastes are constantly changing and evolving, but sometimes we just can’t believe the things we used to turn our noses up at when we were children. Check out some of the foods we once couldn’t stand and now can’t get enough of.

Broccoli

broc recipes

You used to think of broccoli as the miniature trees that grew in Satan’s garden. Today, it makes a wonderful, crunchy salad base in recipes like Mae’s Broccoli Cheddar Salad.

Brussels Sprouts 

brussels-sprouts

We used to think these were about as flavourful as a leather shoe, but now we know better, thanks to recipes like Brussels Sprouts topped with bacon.

Spinach

spinach recipes for kids

Remember when spinach was the worst thing in the whole world? Well, now that we’re older and wiser, we know about the joys of dishes like Wilted Spinach with Indian Paneer Cheese.

Asparagus

asparagus recipes for kids

It’s one of our favourite sides today, but as kids, we thought asparagus tasted like sadness. Turn that frown upside down with this Oven-Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Gremolata recipe.

Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

Back in the day, dark chocolate was basically unbearable. Today, there’s nothing like sitting back with a dark chocolate treat and a cup of joe.

Mushrooms

mushroom recipes

To children, mushrooms belong in video games, not in the kitchen. But who would say no to a Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Cap today?

Spicy Food

spicy food

Feed a child spicy food and it’s abuse. Drench an adult’s meals in hot sauce and you’re a flavour master. These Spicy Marinated Mussels are sure to impress the grown-up crowd.

Fish

seafood recipes

Why would anyone want to eat something so smelly? Turns out, because dishes like Salmon with Creamy Avocado Dressing are what joy is made of.

Olives

olives

Olives are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and can be an elegant appetizer. To kids, these Warm Lemon Rosemary Olives look like gooey eyeballs.

Onions

onions

Today, it’s undeniable that onions are the perfect way to add quick flavour. Burgers? Caramelize those bad boys. Salad? Chop up some greens. This Rosemary Onion Focaccia recipe is just another way to enjoy them.

Oatmeal

oatmeal recipes

Looks like vomit, feels like vomit, tastes like…heaven. Who knew? This Apple Pie Oatmeal with Almond Foam is a great way to feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast.

Coffee

coffee

LOL we used to hate coffee.

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Basil Sauce

Discover the delicious flavour of fresh artichokes this season by simply grilling them with a little lemon, olive oil and salt, served alongside a zesty yogurt sauce with capers and fresh basil.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Juice of 1 lemon (skin reserved for zest)
4 globe artichokes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Sauce:
Lemon Zest
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp capers, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a large bowl filled with cold water. Reserve the zest for the sauce.
2. Remove the tough, outer leaves from the artichokes until a pale yellow is revealed. Trim and peel the stem. Cut in half and remove the furry inside (the choke). Place the halves in the lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
3. Cook artichokes in a large pot of rapidly boiling, salted water for 15 minutes. Drain well.
4. Set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the cut side of each artichoke with oil and season with salt. Grill, cut-side-down, for 5 minutes or until well-marked and the center is tender.
5. Stir yogurt with basil, oil, capers, reserved lemon zest and salt until well combined. Serve with grilled artichokes.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

Wild Rice Chicken Skillet

When it comes to busy nights and weeknight dinners, I feel like I just kind of throw things together. Mostly it’s because I don’t have a lot of time to plan and just end up using whatever I have on hand. But then there are those nights when I really just want to have a delicious and hearty meal.

So I decided to try this wild rice chicken skillet recipe: with hearty rice, tender chicken and some fresh spinach, this meal is super healthy, delicious and quick to make.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked wild rice
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
6 baby Bella mushrooms, cut into six pieces
2 cups packed baby spinach
¼ cup reduced sodium chicken stock
Pinch dried basil
Pinch dried red chili flakes
½ cup fat free sour cream
1 cup part skim shredded cheddar cheese
¼ tsp salt
Pepper
Fresh parsley, for serving

Directions:
1. Using an oven safe skillet (all stainless steel), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
2. Add mushrooms to the skillet and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze skillet with chicken stock. Stir in spinach, rice, sour cream, dried basil and chili flakes.
3. Add chicken breasts back to the skillet and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

Top 5 Alternatives to Traditional Pizza Crust

Everyone loves pizza. I mean, how could you not? If your love for pizza is strong but are looking for an alternative to regular dough, there are many ways to have your pizza and eat it too. Here are a few of options sure to satisfy your craving while staying health conscious or avoiding an allergy.

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1. French Bread Pizzas

2. Twice-Baked Pizza Potatoes

3. Pita Pizza Rounds

4. Gluten-Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough

5. Portobello Pizzas

 

 

Walnut Breakfast Cookies

We love breakfast and try our best not to skip it, but sometimes it’s inevitable when you’re in a rush — but these walnut breakfast cookies are the perfect solution for breakfast on the go. You can make them over the weekend and freeze the unbaked dough so when Monday rolls around, you just pop one in the oven until golden and delicious.

These nutritious cookies are full of ingredients that will help you start your day right. With under 200 calories, this cookie provides you with healthy fats from the walnuts and 5 grams of protein. This cookie is so good, you won’t be able to wait to have breakfast on the run!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Makes: 1 dozen

breakfastcookie

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp ground flax or chia seed
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup applesauce
½ cup whipped peanut butter
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup skim milk
½ cup chopped walnuts plus 12 walnut halves
Cooking Spray

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats and the milk, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, flax, cinnamon, baking soda, applesauce, peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and skim milk.
3. Once almost blended, fold in chopped walnuts. Spoon 12 equal sized dollops of cookie dough onto baking sheet. Flatten the tops slightly making sure to leave 2 inches between each cookie as they will expand.
4. Gently press one walnut half onto the top of each cookie. Bake for 18 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.

Notes: Unbaked dough can be frozen in individual portions. When you need a quick breakfast, just pop one in the oven and bake until golden for a delicious and healthy breakfast any day of the week.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

3 Perfect Workday Salads

Every morning we’re faced with two nagging thoughts: the first, of course, being “What am I going to wear?”  and the second: “What could I possibly scrounge together for lunch today (that I’m not entirely sick of already)?”

Although we may not be able to help you decide between those two shirts, we can definitely help your morning run a little smoother with three recipes that are bound to help you save time, money and calories.

With a simple list of groceries, you can create our amazing Vegetable Salad with Grapes and Chickpeas, Everything Green Salad, and Strawberry Arugula Salad that are so good, you’ll be looking forward to your lunch all night and morning (even more than you already do).

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1. For an excellent source of protein, try this Vegetable Salad with Grapes recipe, which includes protein-rich chickpeas.

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2. We all know the many health benefits of eating your greens, so why not try this delicious Everything Green Salad recipe. (Note: For a healthier, more efficient option, opt for a store-bought, low-cal creamy salad dressing.)

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3. Strawberry Arugula Salad (see recipe below).

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Ingredients: (for two servings)
4 strawberries, hulled and cut in half
5 cups baby arugula
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp goat cheese
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp  balsamic vinegar

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix strawberries, arugula and walnuts. Pour in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss. Plate the salad and top with goat cheese.

renee-headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.  

Top 100 Vegetarian Recipes Without Tofu

Eating vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re limited to tofu. Mother Nature and grocery store shelves offer a bounty of options to eat like an animal, without cooking one! Whether you’re test-driving Meatless Mondays or doing a complete overhaul of your pantry, we’ve got the best vegetarian recipes to satisfy even the most skeptic carnivore at your table.

Below you’ll find the best ingredients to invest in to beef up your list of meat-free options.

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Quinoa 
Quick-cooking, packed with protein and gluten-free, no wonder it’s considered a super food! Though it’s an ancient Inca ingredient, quinoa has only recently made its way to mainstream markets.

1. Quinoa Black Bean Salad

2. Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew with Figs

3. Quinoa Cumin Bites

4. Quinoa Buckwheat Pancakes

5. Quinoa Tabouleh

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Lentils & Chickpeas
One can of each of these hearty ingredients offers endless possibilities; they’re affordable, neutral in flavour and the perfect way to add protein, iron and fibre to any dish you stir or stew them into.

6. Curried Lentil Wild Rice & Orzo Salad

7. Lentils with Lemongrass

8. Lentil Cookies

9. Lentil Salad with Fruits, Nuts & Cheese

10. Red Lentil Dahl

11. Big Ben’s Lentil Burgers

12. Lemon Lentil Salad

13. Lovin’ Lentil Sloppy Joes

14. Lentils & Tomato Sauce with Pasta Shells French

15. Lentils with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

16. Vegetable Biryani

17. Chana Dhansak

18. Ratatouille with Toasted Chickpeas

19. Pan-Roast Chickpeas with Mint

20. Chickpea Sandwich

21. CC’s Falafel

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Beans
Green beans, kidney beans, pinto beans… With so many different types, this versatile ingredient can be used for so much more than your average burrito or salad.

22. White Bean Salad with Patty Pan Cups

23. Green Bean Griddle Cakes

24. Three Bean Salad with Sesame Garlic & Lemon

25. Pasta with Rapini, Broad Beans, Rosemary & Walnuts

26. Kale with Zucchini and Pinto Bean Enchilada

27. Black Bean Tortilla Chip Soup with Avocado-Tomato Salsa

28. Great Greek Baked Beans

29. Warm Garlic Bean Crostini

30. Mexican Bean Soup

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Mushrooms
There are enough varieties of mushrooms that you could sample a different one every day for over 38 years (but try to avoid the poisonous ones)! When cooked, mushrooms can have a beef-like flavour and texture, and offer twice the protein than other vegetables, making them a great substitute for steak.

31. Mushroom Cheddar Vegetarian Burgers

32. Herbed Mushrooms & Asiago Baked into Brioche

33. Blue Corn Mushroom & Cheese Quesadillas

34. Whole Mushroom Salad

35. Mushroom & Smoked Cheddar Frittata

36. Spinach Mushroom Lasagne

37. Shiitake Mushroom & Bok Choy Stir Fry

38. Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Pecorino & Lemon-Thyme Cream Sauce

39. Mushroom and Spinach Quiche in a Potato Crust

40. Mushroom Stew

41. Mushroom Stuffed Blintzes with Beet Glaze

42. Mushroom & Brie Wellington

43. Mushroom Benedict

44. Mushroom Parmentier

45. Tagliatelle with Mushrooms, Lemon and Breadcrumbs

46. Paneer Mushroom Burger

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Almonds
Some of your meat-eating friends may think you’re totally nuts for going vegetarian. Here are some recipes to prove them right!

47. Grilled Asparagus with Creamy Garlic Almond Sauce

48. Tender Greens with Marinated Sweet Cherries in Almond Vinaigrette

49. Artichokes with Almond Sauce

50. Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds

51. Ginger Almond Eggplant Dip

52. Almond Apricot Couscous

53. Grilled Almond Butter & Banana Sandwiches

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Dairy
To ensure you get your fill of calcium and protein, supplement your vegetarian feast with dairy ingredients. You’ll be more than happy to leave the bovine behind when yogurt, cream, milk and cheese are part of your meal.

54. Cheese & Onion Tart

55. Butternut Squash & Ricotta Filled Crepes with Maple Crème Fraiche

56. Cilantro Pesto Quesadilla

57. Potato Cheddar Perogies in Brown Butter

58. Honey Yogurt Dip

59. Mashed Butternut Squash with Yogurt and Roasted Garlic

60. Spicy Yogurt Cucumber Dip

61. Chilled Yogurt Soup

62. Cilantro Couscous & Tomato Yogurt Salad

63. Pumpkin Seed Dip

64. Baked Camembert with Pine Nuts & Sun-dried Tomatoes

65. Marble Cheddar Apple Nut Fritters

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Eggs
This breakfast favourite is a lean source of protein that fuels your body and brain; choline in the egg’s yolk aids in brain stimulation and development — so get crackin’!

66. Chili Poached Eggs

67. Huevos Rancheros

68. Herb-Rolled Quail’s Eggs

69. Roger Mooking’s Baked Eggs

70. Cocotte Eggs

71. Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato, and Fontina

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Pasta
Stock up on oodles of noodles! A prime ingredient for the much-loved Mediterranean diet, pasta is a great source of fibre, cooks in minutes and can feed a crowd without breaking the bank.

72. Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Asparagus

73. Creamy Orzo Risotto with Blue Cheese & Pine Nuts

74. Chilled Asparagus, Snap Pea & Soba Noodle Salad

75. Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

76. Giant Ricotta Spinach Ravioli

77. Bowtie Pasta with Roast Red Pepper Sauce & Baby Spinach

78. Pasta with Mushrooms, Herbs & Beet Greens

79. Aubergine and Pasta Charlotte

80. Pistachio Pesto with Angel Hair Pasta

81. Penne with Gorgonzola, Spinach & Walnuts

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Super Veggies
Keep your wallet as lean as your waistline by cooking with what’s in season; those ingredients will be cheaper, at their most flavourful and more likely to have been grown locally.

82. Vegetable Tagine

83. Ricardo’s Vegetable Samosas

84. Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice

85. Spicy Thai Asparagus Soup

86. Onion Tarte Tatin

87. Sweet Potato Vichyssoise

88. Carrot & Potato Pancakes

89. Golden Eggplant with Green Pea Sauce

90. Pistou Soup

91. Wilted Greens with Raisins, Pine Nuts and Garlic Croutes

92. Spinach and Swiss Chard Cannelloni

93. Spinach Pie

94. Spinach Balls

95. Broccoli Cheese Soup with Chef Salad

96. Baked Spaghetti with Broccoli

97. Fully Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

98. Tomato-Olive Rice Bake

99. Veggie Goulash

100. Diana’s Chile Rellenos

Top 5 Foods That Prevent Bloating

Summer is the time to indulge; steak, ice cream, cookies, burgers, pizza — the list goes on! Not only is it everyone’s favorite eating season, but it’s also the time when our tummies start to ache and the unwanted bloated belly busts out of our tightly secured jean shorts. The summer belly bloat is often inevitable, but luckily there are some foods to help with bloating and prevent that post-meal slump.

bloating post

1. Ginger
Ginger is your belly’s new best friend. Slice it up and throw it in some hot water, toss it into an iced beverage or simply chew on a piece. Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory and has been used for centuries as a digestive aid helping to alleviate gas, bloating, nausea and indigestion. Next time you start to feel the bloat coming on, grab some ginger and melt that digestion tension away.

2. Mint
Mint is a classic summer herb. Although it is often used to make summer-time mojitos, this fresh garden herb has medicinal properties. Mint actually has muscle-relaxing abilities and can reduce indigestion and belly spasms. The best use of mint to prevent bloating is to steep it in tea. Unfortunately, drinking it with alcohol may actually exacerbate your stomach pain, so try to decrease your intake those delicious minty drinks.

3. Fennel Seed
Similar to ginger, fennel or anise seed has been used for many, many years to prevent digestive issues like bloating. In India, many people actually chew on fennel seeds after a rich meal to aid digestion. Fennel seed will also freshen up your breath, while eliminating stomach cramping, gas and bloating.

4. Lemon
When your tummy needs aid, make lemonade! Adding ginger, mint or even lavender to lemonade will help to enhance your digestive ability and prevent bloating and pain. Lemons actually stimulate digestive juices in your body, enhancing your body’s ability to digest nutrients. Don’t feel like making this sweet summer drink? Squeeze one quarter of a lemon in a glass of water and drink up!

5. Parsley
Parsley is the most commonly used herb in cooking. It is also a diuretic (helps to increase the loss of water and salt from the body) and excellent for helping to prevent and overcome gas and bloating. Steeping parsley with your tea is the best way to eliminate bloating and reduce excess water weight. For an added bonus, it will also freshen up your breath.

Don’t let the fear of bloating, indigestion or gas stop you from living it up this summer. Equip yourself with these foods in your own, personal ‘digestive-first-aid-kit’ and don’t forget to share with your friends — they will certainly thank you!

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

Healthy White Bean Dip

When all you can scavenge from your cupboard is a can of beans, this delicious recipe will put them to good use. This white bean purée really stands out; it’s so lemony, so garlicky…and so necessary when hosting a party or get together. All you need is a few simple ingredients and some pita crisps or crackers for dipping, and you’re good to go.

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Ingredients:
1 540 ml can Romano beans, drained and rinsed
10-12 basil leaves
8 mint leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Half a lemon
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Rinse a can of Romano beans and look around the kitchen. Even look outside the kitchen — maybe you can grab some basil leaves and mint from the garden, as I was able to do. (Don’t be too impressed: I already managed to kill the thyme and tarragon this year).

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2. Peel 2 cloves of garlic (if you want a real garlic punch, go for 4 cloves). Add the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp salt.

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3. Pour in ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, then use the a blender to mix everything until smooth and creamy.

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4. Now, taste your mixture. It should be lemony and garlicky, with a nice balance of salt. You’ll know the flavours are perfect if you can’t help sticking your finger in for another sample. You can serve this dip simply, with a few crackers and it will certainly be a hit.

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Tip: If you want to make it a meal, toast some bread, add the purée and top with good tuna in olive oil, plus a few slices of seasonal tomatoes.

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Sue_Riedl

Sue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 4-year-old.

12 Best Juice Bars Across Canada You Need to Try

Most people with juicers at home will agree that although the end result can be rewarding, it’s the clean up afterwards that makes it a chore. Pair that with a few failed juicing experiments and your juicer might start collecting dust. Needless to say, some things are best left to the professionals.

Here are 12 different spots from coast to coast that are all about keeping you refreshed and energized with their cold-pressed juices, smoothies and more. Whether you’re a cold-pressed juice fanatic or not, Canadian juice bars are making their mark (and they’ve got some pretty cool names, too).

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instagram.com/crujuice

CRU Juice (Calgary, AB)

With a clear knack for marketing, the slick look of Cru’s cold-pressed juice and clever names like “Menage a trois” (a blend of almonds, cashews and hemp seeds, sweetened with maple syrup and vanilla) or “The Big O” (a naval and blood orange combination), have helped make this spot the go-to juicery Calgary. Attention-grabbing names aside, their juices are well-made and worth every penny. Why the Cru, you ask? Well, because it means “raw” in French.

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instagram.com/enviehalifax

enVie: A Vegan Kitchen (Halifax, NS)

Halifax’s premier vegan restaurant isn’t just focused on serving nice plates of food. The front half of the restaurant offers a lot of take-away options, including a line of invigorating juices, like the “ABC” made with apple, beet, carrot (get it?), ginger and lemon.

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instagram.com/freshrestaurants

Fresh (Toronto, ON)

Whipping up cold-pressed juices before it was a fad, this healthy Toronto dining staple has been around since 1999. Today, there are four locations downtown, all offering up a healthy drink menu that’s just as varied as their food menu, with choices of fruit-based juices, unique milk varieties, green smoothies and a ton more.

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instagram.com/glowjuicerybc

Glow Juicery (Edmonton, AB and Kelowna, BC)

You’ll find this refreshing juice producer in both Edmonton and Kelowna. In addition to selling a variety of “glow” blends like the “Sky Glow” (pear, cucumber, lemon and mint), the juice bar also offers different types of juice cleanse packages if you’re looking to try a purely liquid diet for a few days.

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instagram.com/juicetruck

The Juice Truck (Vancouver, BC)

The first cold-pressed juice truck in Canada is a go-to for many Vancouverites, with their long list of refreshing and creative drinks like the Blueberry matcha smoothie or “The Remedy,” made with pineapple, kale, mint and ginger. I’ve heard the latter is rumoured to cure hangovers!

If you aren’t much of a truck chaser, not to worry. They’ve got a bricks and mortar location on West 5th Avenue as well.

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instagram.com/jusubar

Jusu (Victoria, BC)

Victoria’s original juice bar has now grown to a four-location family around the small coastal city. They pride themselves on using only organic ingredients to create their juices and nut milks. There’s a lot to choose from here, but you should definitely try the “Hawkeye,” made with apple, orange, carrot and tumeric. It won’t disappoint, unlike the superhero by the same name in the latest Avengers movie. Just saying…

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Juspur (Montreal, QC)

Go green at this popular Montreal juice bar with the “V4,” a healthy mix of parsley, romaine, spinach, cucumber and celery or try something uniquely sweet by cracking open an “L1,” an interesting mix of Swiss chard, pear and more or the “L3,” which includes almond milk, butternut squash and maple syrup. Variety is the spice (juice) of life, after all.

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Krokodile Pear (Vancouver, BC)

Taking a slightly different approach to juicing, Krokodile’s menu changes with the seasons. Like when B.C. blueberries come into season (hint: that’s right now), you should expect their juices to taste as fresh as can be. Once the weather starts to cool off in the fall, expect beets and stone fruits to start filtering onto the menu.

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instagram.com/liveorganicraw

Live Food Bar (Toronto, ON)

Around since 2002, Live has been a consistent hot spot for health-conscious Torontonians since day one. Even if a raw food meal isn’t up your alley, you can appreciate their juices and rich smoothies like the “Butterscotch Ripple,” a deceiving indulgent blend of coconut cream, banana, dates, vanilla and much more. Sounds good to me!

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instagram.com/refueljuicebar

Refuel Juice and Salad Bar (Toronto, ON)

Swing by Refuel for a build-it-yourself salad for a super healthy and filling lunch, but you’ll need something to wash it down with. Try a bottle of the “Fresh Mojito,” which includes grapefruit, lime and mint, will definitely do the trick.

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instagram.com/thrivejuiceco

Thrive Juice Co. (Saskatoon, SK)

Saskatoon’s bright and airy juice bar on the corner of 20th Street and Avenue B is just one more business helping to revitalize the Riversdale neighbourhood in the city’s downtown. Speaking of revitalizing, try sipping on one of Thrive’s organic juices for a little pick me up. They even offer weekly juice deliveries straight to your door.

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instagram.com/wildandraw

Wild and Raw (Calgary, AB)

Think twice about grabbing a big, calorie-ridden frappucino from the Starbucks across the street and perhaps opt for a more fulfilling drink from Wild and Raw. Stay cool in the summer heat with the “Berry Spicy Kapha,” a unique blend of Saskatoon berries, beets, ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper for a little heat.

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

5 Fast, Healthy and Yummy Breakfasts in 15 Minutes

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or so that’s what we are told. As a nutritionist, I believe every meal has its merit and is incredibly beneficial for nourishing cells, tissues, organs and balancing blood sugar. Breakfast, however, sets the tone for the entire day. It wakes up your digestive system, sends glucose to your cells and your brain and fuels you.

Most people are in a hurry in the morning, rushing to work and out the door. They grab a quick sugary muffin, a cup of coffee and after two hours they crash, feel tired, fatigued, unfocused and hungry. That’s when people tend to go for another coffee, another sugary and carb-filled treat and the cycle continues. The key is to eat a breakfast that will give you clarity for the day. A perfect breakfast consists of good protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. You don’t need to spend a lot of time in the morning making a healthy breakfast, instead experiment with the five fast and easy breakfasts below.

1. Chia Pudding
This breakfast pudding has chia seeds, which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. The fiber in chia seeds will expand in your stomach and signal your brain that you are full. It will keep you nicely satiated for hours. It also has walnuts to help improve memory and wake up the cognitive process — very important for the morning!

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Ingredients:
*make this breakfast the night before
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup milk alternative (rice, oat, almond, coconut or hemp)
¼ tsp vanilla
2 tsp coconut sugar
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup blueberries

Directions:
1. Place chia seeds, milk alternative, coconut sugar and vanilla in a jar or a bowl (a mason jar works well). Cover and refrigerate overnight. It will look like tapioca pudding when taken out of the fridge
2. In the morning, take out of the fridge and top with walnuts and blueberries.

2. Socca Bread (chickpea pancake) with Steamed Greens & Avocado
Socca bread is made from chickpeas, which are full of fiber and have a lot of protein. The greens are incredibly alkalizing, and the avocado is full of fiber and healthy fats, keeping you full and energized.

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Ingredients:
*prepare the socca batter the night before
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1 cup water
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp thyme
2 cups baby kale, baby spinach or kale
½ avocado

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine the chickpea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and thyme. Leave in the fridge overnight.
2. In the morning, pour the batter into an oven stable skillet, like a cast iron skillet. Turn on the oven broiler and place the racks lower in the oven, further away from the broiler.
3. Let batter cook for 5 minutes, watch so it doesn’t burn.
4. While the socca bread is cooking, lightly steam the baby kale, baby spinach or kale.
5. Eat the socca with sliced avocado and steamed greens.

 3. Protein Smoothie
Smoothies are the perfect snack and breakfast because liquids are really easy for the body to digest. Try opting for a vegan protein powder rather than soy or whey as they are more digestible and less inflammatory.

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Ingredients:
½ cup kale
¼ cup pineapple
1 banana
1 cup coconut water
1 scoop of protein powder of choice

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until there’s a smooth, liquid consistency.
2. If you want to take this smoothie with you throughout the day, double the recipe, store in a jar and take the smoothie to work.

4. Raw Superfood Granola & Kefir
Superfoods are filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Adding nuts to this superfood granola adds good fat and protein. Kefir is fermented milk and houses plenty of good bacteria, which is fabulous for your gut. If you are sensitive to dairy, opt for a coconut kefir instead—you can find that at your local health food store.

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Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup goji berries
½ cup raw walnuts
½ cup raw almonds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ cup cacao nibs
1 cup puffed quinoa (optional)
1/2 cup kefir
½ cup strawberries

Directions:
1. Place the coconut, goji berries, hemp, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, puffed quinoa and cacao nibs in a bowl.
2. Pour ½ cup kefir in a cereal bowl and top with ½ cup raw superfood granola. Top with strawberries.

5. Savoury Quinoa Cereal
Quinoa is one of the few vegetarian sources of a complete protein. Quinoa is also full of fiber, making this a perfect breakfast. As we approach the colder months making savoury breakfasts can be very warming for the body and satisfying.

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Ingredients:
½ cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp  fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup raw almonds
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon squeezed
Pinch sea salt

Directions:
1. Place quinoa and water in a pot, bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, chop the parsley.
3. Once the quinoa is cooked, place all ingredients in the pot. Pour ½ cup in a bowl and enjoy for a savoury breakfast.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

5 Natural Sweeteners to Replace White Sugar

If you are like most people, your summer is a time for indulging in ice cream, fruit tarts, cakes, cookies and lots and lots of sugary desserts — full of white sugar. Although white sugar is delicious and makes everything much, much sweeter, it has been touted as a “poison” by some and has been compared to alcohol, cigarettes and crack in terms of an addictive substance. Before we get into better sugar alternatives, here are some reasons why we should limit our white sugar intake.

– It has no nutritional value. Beyond being very sweet, white sugar is known as an empty calorie, it does not contain any nutrients beyond being a carbohydrate. Since it is so refined, containing no nutrients, it actually robs the body of stored vitamins and minerals.
– It suppresses the immune system. Only 1 teaspoon of white sugar can suppress white blood cell function for up to 5 hours! The white blood cells are the body’s main defenders against foreign invaders.
– It interferes with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed in the body to boost immunity, build healthy skin and prevent cancer. Sugar interferes with Vitamin C’s function by compromising its transport throughout the body.
– It feeds candida, yeast, parasites and unwanted bacteria. This causes poor digestion, decreased immune function, gas, bloating, constipation and toxins.
– It makes you fat. There has been a ton of research over the years that fat is not always the culprit making you fat, rather, it is sugar. Excess sugar gets stored as fat in the body.
– It spikes blood sugar. Refined, white sugar raises blood sugar really high leading to intense crashes affecting energy levels and hormones.

Now that you know why white sugar needs to go, let’s move on to what sweeteners you can replace it with!

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1. Coconut Sugar
This has become popular in the last few years. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the flower of the coconut palm tree. Water is evaporated from the sap to make coconut sugar, which looks very similarly to brown sugar. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, meaning it will not raise blood sugar the way white sugar does. It contains nutrients such as zinc, iron, B vitamins and inulin, a fibre that feeds probiotics. Coconut sugar is sweet and can be used 1:1 ratio with white sugar.

2. Honey
Honey looks like liquid gold, it has natural antimicrobial, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The healthfulness of honey depends on the quality and if it is raw or not. Processing honey removes many of the phytonutrients that are still present in raw honey. Raw honey contains enzymes, minerals and vitamins, already making it more nutritious than white sugar. However, honey is very sweet and will raise blood sugar significantly so it’s best to use in minimal amounts.

3. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is Canada’s homegrown sweetener. It is made from the liquid sap and then boiled until the water is evaporated and it becomes a sticky, thick syrup. Maple syrup is rich in manganese and zinc, which are antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Maple syrup is high on the glycemic index, meaning it spikes blood sugar, however, it is more healthful than refined, white sugar.

4. Molasses
Molasses is actually the liquid byproduct of refining sugar. It’s a thick, viscous sweetener that pairs well with ginger. Molasses contains iron, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and vitamin B6 – so it is quite rich in minerals.

5. Stevia (green)
Stevia is the best alternative to white sugar, however, many people are put off by the taste. It is very, very, very sweet so you only need to use small amounts. Unrefined stevia is calorie free and will not raise blood sugar at all! You can actually grow stevia in your backyard, which will make it hyper-local. If you are purchasing stevia you want to opt for the green powder or crushed stevia leaves. White stevia is processed, so I would recommend avoiding that one.

You don’t have to give up eating sweets in an effort to avoid white sugar. As with most things in life, the key is moderation. Even though these sweeteners are healthier than white sugar, some will still raise blood sugar levels very high. If you are committed to doing a real sugar detox, you will want to avoid all sweeteners, even wholesome ones and stick to natural sweets like green apples and berries.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

Healthy Sweets to Satisfy Your Sugar Craving

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m forever doomed with the irresistible need for sugar as soon as 4 pm comes around. Figures of sugary sweets dance in my head and it’s almost impossible to concentrate on any task at hand, until I get my hands on a treat to satisfy that darn sweet tooth.

To help you fulfill your sugary needs without interfering with your healthy lifestyle, we’re sharing three of our favourite late afternoon snacks that are easy, inexpensive and totally delicious. With only four ingredients or less, these simple treats can be quickly prepped early in the morning before work and enjoyed as an end-of-day power boost.

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Cinnamon Sprinkled Apples and Cocoa Sprinkled Pears 

Ingredients (serves two):
1 apple
1 pear
2 lemon wedges
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp cocoa powder

Directions: 
1. Slice fruits in eights and if not eating right away, squeeze the juice from two lemon wedges on the slices to prevent browning.
2. When ready to eat, sprinkle cinnamon on apple slices, and cocoa on pear slices.

Maple Glazed Walnuts with Sea Salt 

Ingredients (serves two):
2/3 cup walnuts chopped in half
8 Tbsp 100% maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat pan on medium-high heat, and then add walnuts and maple syrup.
2. Cook for about 3 minutes until syrup is caramelized, and sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool.

Banana & Vanilla Cream Graham Cracker Pie 

Ingredients:
2 graham crackers split in fours
4 Tbsp vanilla Greek yogurt
1 banana, sliced
Pinch of flax seed powder

Directions:
Spread vanilla Greek yogurt onto graham crackers then top with banana slices and sprinkle on flax seed powder.

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

Stacked Salade Niçoise

We all love a great salad for lunch, but it isn’t always practical for on-the-go meals. We’re all about practicality here, and our Stacked Salade Niçoise is a great gourmet lunch! Not only do you have a flavourful salad that looks scrumptious, but you’re also being eco-friendly by reusing a glass mason jar to hold your salad. By using a mason jar for this salad, you can see each delicious ingredient of the stacked on top of the other to create that gorgeous look.

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Stacked Salad Nicoise

Makes: 2 Mason jars

Ingredients:
1 can tuna
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 boiled potatoes, room temperature and chopped
¼ cup blanched green beans
¼ cup chopped red peppers
¼ cup chopped cucumber
¼ cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
1 cup baby arugula

Dressing:
¼ teaspoon anchovy paste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
1.Make dressing by whisking together anchovy paste, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk while drizzling in olive oil. Whisk until completely emulsified, set aside.
2.Combine the peppers, cucumber, onion and olives.
3.Divide the pepper medley between the two mason jars. Layer with tuna, green beans, egg and finally arugula.
4.Dress Mason jar salads with dressing and shake to coat. Wait to dress salad until right before serving.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. 

Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

6 Teas That Can Improve Your Health

Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds, curb bloating or even make you look younger, the world’s most-relaxing drink is also dripping with a host of body-healing benefits. Here, we look at six all-natural ways drinking tea can help nix common ailments and give your health a boost.

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1. Ease an Upset Stomach

The Tea Fix: Peppermint Tea

Why It Works: We chew on it to freshen our breath, but the sweet-scented and generally herbalicious peppermint leaf is ripe for soothing a bevy of abdominal issues. Whether it’s nausea, indigestion, bloating or just a need to kick start digestion, a post-dinner glass of peppermint tea helps calm the digestive tract and get things moving.

2. Help You Sleep

The Tea Fix: Chamomile Tea

Why It Works: It turns out your grandmother had it right all along. Drinking chamomile tea before bed can help calm frazzled nerves and help you fall asleep faster. The tea with the gentle reputation has some pretty powerful antispasmodic properties, so look to increase your intake of chamomile tea when trying to soothe and relax abdominal issues like gas, acidity and even menstrual cramps. Recent studies also found that apigenin — a chemical found in green tea — could help help fight off cancer by decreasing the strength of the disease in cells.

3. Relieves Stress

The Tea Fix: Black Tea

Why It Works: There’s good reason black tea accounts for a mind-boggling 75 percent of the world’s tea consumption. A recent study found that drinking black tea speeds up our ability to recover from stressful situations. Why is this important? By bringing stress hormones levels back down to normal, you affectively lower blood pressure and with it the risk of developing certain cardiovascular problems. Sipping on black tea has also been found to decrease the chances of getting diabetes thanks to its glucose-inhibiting properties and can be a powerful tool for maintaining a healthier smile, thanks to its superhero-like ability to stop plaque from sticking to your teeth. Try: Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea

4. Lower Blood Pressure

The Tea Fix: Green Tea

Why It Works: You started drinking it for its proven abilities to boost metabolism, but you should keep drinking it to maintain lower cholesterol. Green tea is known for its ability to improve the ratio of good cholesterol to bad. Still not convinced? Green tea is loaded with catechins, which has been said to have cancer-fighting abilities. Try: Pure Leaf Honey Green Tea

5. Reduce Cardiovascular Problems

The Tea Fix: Ginger Tea

Why It Works: In many cultures, postpartum women are advised to knock back copious amounts of ginger tea to help reinvigorate the blood. Due to its high levels of magnesium and vitamin C, drinking tea made from the ginger root can help boost sluggish blood circulation, which in turn can reduce the chance of cardiovascular problems.

6. Aid in Weight Loss

The Tea Fix: White Tea

Why It Works: A healthy diet and regular exercise is key to losing weight, but if there is such a thing as a diet tea, white tea is it. Chalk full of fat-busting antioxidants, drinking a cuppa white tea has been proven to actually stop new fat cells from forming. In other exciting beauty-related news, a recent study also found that drinking white tea is akin to a fountain of youth — due to extracts found in the drink that helps strengthen elastin and collagen, important skin components that make fine lines and wrinkles less visible.

Kale, Feta and Barley Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

I think I’ve said this before, but I love kale. It tastes good year-round, and whether I’m sauteing it in some butter with garlic, baking it into ‘chips’ – which is one of the most oddly delicious things you’ll ever try, I assure you – or just chopping it up for a salad, this leafy green never lets me down.

Lately, I’ve also been debating whether or not to have a summer fling with barley. It doesn’t sound quite as cool as kale, but it’s a great grain that’s easy to cook and tastes great in a fresh salad. Cooking it until it’s el dente will give it a nice texture and let it hold up against salad dressings, without getting mushy like some types of rice.

So, I guess what I’m really trying to say is that barley is great too. So, why not put combine it with kale for a wicked summer salad?

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Marinating Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Salad Dressing:
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp  honey
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper

Salad:
1 bunch kale (thinly sliced, approx 5 cups)
2 shallots (thinly sliced)
1 1/2 cups cooked barley
1/2 cup cooked green lentils
1/2 cup feta (loosely chopped)
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup pickled turnips (diced, I realize this sounds random. I picked them up in the ethnic food aisle at SuperStore a few weeks ago. Pickled red onions would be a perfectly find substitute)

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients for salad dressing into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside for now.
2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour salad dressing into the bowl and toss with tongs until evenly mixed. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and toss again before serving.

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Apple Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

Steaming-hot pastas, soups and roast dinners may be all we crave in the dead cold of winter, but when the warm rays of spring come along? It’s the cool, light and refreshing meals we’re after.

For the perfect sunny-day dinner, I put together the Apple Cobb Salad. Packed with lots of greens, roast chicken, apple and plenty more, this perfect springtime meal is topped with honey mustard vinaigrette making it equal parts tasty and nutritious.

Apple Cobb Salad 1

Ingredients:

For the honey mustard dressing:

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1/2 cup

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salad:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 1
Oven Roasted Chicken
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup aged white cheddar, shredded
1 green apple, diced
1 Tbsp Gojo berries
2 Tbsp pecans
1 cup mixed greens (kale, chard, spinach)

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Directions:
1. In a small bowl, mix mustard, honey, vinegar, garlic and salt.

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2. Gradually whisk in olive oil.

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3. Roast the chicken and cook the quinoa as advised on the package.

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4. Practice Mise en Place and prep the ingredients.

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6. Throw all the ingredients in a bowl.

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7. Add desired amount of dressing and mix well.

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8. Plate, and enjoy!

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

Healthy and Easy Chickpea Coconut Curry

The perfect balance between spicy and savoury, this dish is packed with hearty goodness, thanks to the chickpeas, fresh herbs and coconut milk. Considering you can make it basically out of canned food (which is great if you’re crunched for time), it’s surprisingly easy too.

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Ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-3 tsp of fresh grated ginger
2 1/2 tsp medium curry powder
1/2-1 tsp turmeric powder
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp paprika
3 small tomatoes (I used canned tomatoes)
3/4 cup vegetable stock (I used the juice from my canned tomatoes)
1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced (I used one small can of canned mushrooms)
1 large can of chickpeas (450ml), drained
4-6 oz creamed coconut (depending on how much you want to tame the heat of the curry)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro plus extra unchopped for garnish

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Directions:
1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, combine your olive oil, garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, cilantro (just the first 3 tsp), and paprika. Lightly fry and be careful not to burn. Add your vegetable stock and tomatoes and continue to fry for another 2-3 minutes.
2. Take your frying pan ingredients and transfer into a food processor and blend into a liquid until completely smooth.
3. In the meantime, fry up your onion for 3 minutes, add your mushrooms and fry for another 3 minutes, then add back your now pureed frying pan ingredients and sauté for another 4 minutes. Add your chickpeas and over a medium-low heat, simmer for another 15-20 minutes. If you find you need more sauce, add a bit more vegetable stock (or in my case, tomato stock).
4. Turn off your heat, and add your creamed coconut. Feel free to add more or less, just add about 2 oz at a time, taste and add more until you get the taste you desire.
5. Top with the last 3 Tbsp of fresh cilantro, dish up & eat! This dish would be great served with naan bread as well.

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100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Top 10 Organic Fruits & Vegetables You Need to be Eating

We all know we need to be eating organic but there are several reasons we don’t. One of the main ones being cost and that for some it’s inaccessible. Choosing organic means we’re selecting items that are free of pesticides and harmful chemicals that have been linked to cancer and hormonal disruption. While many of us may not be able to eat organic all the time, the Environmental Working Group put out a list that highlights the different types of produce that with the highest pesticide concentrations. This allows us, as shoppers, to make selective and informed decisions to go organic when we need to. With the promise of fresh fruits and vegetables as the weather warms up, we thought we should have another look at the list of these top 10 organic fruits and veggies that we all need to be eating. Have you made the organic switch?

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1. Apples
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away…well, maybe not if it’s a conventional apple. Apples are number one on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, meaning they’re the most heavily sprayed with pesticides. According to the analysis, 99 percent of apple samples, after washing, tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. The pesticides sprayed on apples, such as Syngenta‘s Paraquat have been associated with developing Parkinson’s disease and is banned in the EU. Other pesticides such as Chlorpyrifos can damage the nervous system. Organic apples won’t break the bank so it’s definitely a good idea to make the switch to organic as soon as you can.

2. Strawberries
Strawberries are a beloved fruit and since they’re so delicate and soft, they’re often prone to fungi attack. For this reason, farmers usually spray fungicide on them. Forty-five other pesticide residues are also found on strawberries and some have been researched to be carcinogenic, hormone disruptive, neurotoxic and toxic to honey bees. Strawberries are one of summertime’s most refreshing fruit and organic strawberries can also be quite pricey. If you can’t find fresh organic strawberries, look for cheaper organic frozen ones.

3. Celery
Many people think that celery doesn’t do much in the nutrition department but it does pack quite a fibrous punch, and it’s a phytonutrient superstar. Celery made its way onto the Dirty Dozen list because it contains 64 pesticide residues, 27 of them being hormone disruptors. Choosing organic celery is definitely a good idea and can be found relatively inexpensive.

4. Cherry Tomatoes
These bite-size tomatoes are excellent sources of lycopene, which is known to protect against osteoporosis and prostate cancer. Cherry tomatoes are another item found on the Dirty Dozen list for having 69 different pesticide residues. The majority of these pesticides are suspected to be hormone disruptors, neurotoxins and toxic to reproductive health. According to the Environmental Working Group, a single cherry tomato contains 13 different pesticides on it.

5. Cucumbers
Cucumbers are one of the most widely eaten fruits (yes, fruits!). According to the USDA Pesticide Data Program, cucumbers contain 86 different pesticides. Many of these pesticides are known carcinogens and many of them are also incredibly harmful to the environment. Conventional cucumbers are also covered by a synthetic wax to protect the fruit during shipping. The wax is made up of chemical contaminants so if you’re opting for non-organic cucumbers, remember to remove the skin. To avoid the pesticide residues and the synthetic waxes completely, go organic.

6. White Potatoes
White potatoes are a staple in many North American households – many of us grew up eating the classic meat and potatoes dinner. White potatoes are often demonized for being incredibly starchy and lacking much nutrition. They do, however, contain quite a bit of fibre. These tubers have also made their way onto the Dirty Dozen list; this is because they contain 35 pesticide residues many of them suspected for being hormone disruptors. According to the Environmental Working Group, the average potato contained more pesticides by weight than any other produce item. These are not to be mistaken with sweet potatoes, which are actually on the “Clean Fifteen” list. This list is comprised of fifteen fruits and vegetables with the lowest concentrations of pesticides.

7. Spinach
Spinach is a versatile leafy green that is one of the healthiest vegetables containing vitamin A, vitamin K and iron. However, it’s also highly sprayed. It lands at number seven on the Dirty Dozen list, meaning it doesn’t contain as many pesticides as produce higher up on the list, but it still has harmful pesticide residues. Spinach contains 54 pesticide residues and many of them are neurotoxic and toxic to honeybees. The pesticide permethrin, used on spinach, is an insect repellent and is found to be carcinogenic, hormone disruptive and toxic to honey bees.

8. Imported Snap Peas
Imported snap peas have made their way onto the Dirty Dozen list. Snap peas are a good source of vitamin C and fibre, both helping to support the immune system. Snap peas contain 78 pesticide residues, making it one of the highest on this list. Most of these are suspected endocrine disruptors, which control hormones within the body. Hormones are like messengers that send out important functional messages all around the body. If hormones are disrupted by synthetic chemicals like pesticides, that means that messages will not be sent and received properly leading to irregular body functions. Similar to cherry tomatoes, a single snap pea contains about 13 different pesticides.

9. Grapes
Grapes can be sweet, tart, soft or crunchy, but mostly they’re just delicious. Unfortunately, they are quite high on the Dirty Dozen list. Most fruit is heavily sprayed with pesticides since its quite sweet, making it harder to protect from insects and fungi. Grapes contain 56 different pesticide residues. The main pesticide used has harmful environmental affects. It’s a powerful insecticide that kills honey bees and other important pollinators.

10. Kale
Everyone’s beloved leafy vegetable has found a place on the Dirty Dozen list. Kale is nature’s superfood – it’s high in fibre, it protects against cancer, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, yet it’s one of the most heavily sprayed crops. According to the Environmental Working Group, kale has been found to be contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system. Kale contains about 55 pesticide residues. Organic kale is not hard to find and is only about $1-$1.50 more than conventional kale, so it’s absolutely worth making the switch.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.