Our Happy, Healthy Blog

Posted by Shivma on October 30, 2017

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

We make pizza all the time at my house so it’s nice to change up the presentation every now and again. I love this recipe because it’s super simple and really quick, especially if you use store bought dough. I prefer homemade dough and I like to use this recipe because it’s quick and easy and the dough is super soft!

 

These stuffed pizza rolls are great for lunches and road trips. They’re easy for kids to handle and they don’t make the mess of traditional pizza slices. It’s also a great recipe to make with the kids because they can do almost all the parts themselves. Hint: Letting them make their food is a great way to get them to eat it but shhh… don’t tell them that!

 

These rolls are a great way to get in the protein and fat and veggies that growing kids need, not to mention they’re delicious! I guarantee they will eat more than one!

 

Simply roll out your dough and cut into circles.

 

pizza dough circles

Place in a greased muffin tin and fill with all your ingredients. 

 

pizza dough in muffin tin

Close them up tightly or you will have some leaks (as you can see in my photo).

 

stuffed pizza rolls

 

Bake until golden brown and enjoy!

golden brown pizza rolls

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 portion pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup pizza/ pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped toppings (mushrooms, pineapples, olives, sweet peppers)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Oil of greasing tin and brushing dough

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Grease muffin tin
  • Roll out pizza dough and cut into circles using cookie cutter or rim of glass. Make sure the circles are large enough to fit in the muffin tin and close up tightly.
  • Places circles in muffin tin
  • Add 1 tablespoon of sauce to each circle. 
  • Add cheese, toppings and seasoning. Don’t overfill or they won’t seal properly your toppings will ooze out during baking. 
  • Pinch dough together and seal tightly
  • Brush dough with oil
  • Bake for 15 -20 minutes until tops are golden brown. 
  • Enjoy but be careful, the insides are hot!
Posted by Shivma on March 27, 2017

Date Caramel

Dates! They are my favourite go-to natural sweetener. I use this date caramel every single day to make hot cereal for my kiddies. I usually make a batch on Sunday so it can last the whole week. I used to use honey and maple syrup but I still felt that there was no real nutrition. They were simply another sweetener and I don’t think breakfast needs sugar so I started experimenting with the dates and I found a recipe that works for me and guess what?! My kids never noticed the difference! They just kept on eating.

 

So why dates? Well, dates are just a nutritional powerhouse! They contain an impressive list of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, all of which are crucial for growth, development and well-being. 

 

It is also rich  in dietary fibre, which prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol absorption in the gut.

Dates are excellent source of iron making it an especially good snack for pregnant women and young children who need greater quantities of iron. 

 

The high level of potassium found in dates offers protection against stroke and heart disease.

 

Date fruits are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. 

So with all this goodness, who wouldn’t love dates!

 

Ingredients

25 – 30 dates

 

Directions

  • Soak dates in boiling water for 10 minutes
  • Drain dates and reserve water
  • Add dates to food processor and blend
  • Add about 3 tablespoons reserved water and process until smooth*. Add more water to reach desired consistency.
  • Store in refrigerator and use in hot cereal, oats, smoothies as a natural sweetener.

 

*If you find that the caramel is not smooth you can also use a hand blender. It works amazingly well.

Posted by Shivma on March 23, 2017

Our Sugary Choices

Recently, there has been a lot of hype about sugar and the high levels of consumption of sugary drinks in schools which has led to the decision to ban all such drinks. While I applaud this move I do think that we need to look deeper and to address this “culture of snacking.”

candy

I do not believe that it is just about the over consumption of sugar (and I spoke about this in a previous post). I strongly believe that it is about the choices we give our kids.

 

Creating options

Lecturing our kids on healthy eating and suddenly banning them from sugary or salty snacks will not automatically change their minds about food. We, as adults, as parents, as teachers, need to provide the best options for them and then allow for dialogue. My son will eat all his veggies and fruits but he still loves chocolate and this is where the choices become important. He gets to pick from a selection that is 67% (or higher) dark chocolate and only one to two blocks. The idea is not to deny them but to provide better options.

I am always appalled and, I will admit, a little bit angry every time my 5 year old comes home with a party bag filled with candy and chocolate and cookies because a kid was celebrating his/ her birthday. By all means, celebrate the birthday – a bit of ice cream and an appropriate sized cupcake is enough. There is no need to send home a bag of snacks that have no nutritional value.

 

Finding the balance

My point is, we need to curb the excesses. If we’re celebrating birthdays and Valentine’s and Easter in school there a many alternatives to candy and chocolate (Here’s an awesome list from Super Healthy Kids). Our schools should and must take a stand and create guidelines for parents about appropriate/ alternative items. I am certain parents would be open and willing.

little girl eating watermelon

We have staggering statistics about the number of adults and children living with Type 2 diabetes and we have to do our part to stop its continued rise. Kids need to be shown that candy and cookies are special occasion treats and that default snacks should be whole foods like fruits and veggies, granola, cheese, yogourt (unsweetened), etc.


Like anyone else, I too like the occasional sweet treat but I believe in balance and in moderation. I know it’s easier and quicker to hand our kids a package of chips or cheese sticks but I think we can just as easily give them an apple or some carrots. Pick water or milk over juices and sodas. Most importantly, let your kids see you enjoying whole foods.

Posted by Shivma on January 30, 2017

Meatless Monday: Carrot and Mushroom Farro

Just so there are no doubts… I love farro! And my kids do too! It is very versatile and easy to use. Now you must be asking, what exactly is farro? Well, it’s an ancient wheat grain that was very popular in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Over the years it has been overshadowed by other grains like quinoa and bulgur.

 

So why do I like farro so much? Well, you can treat it like you would rice or pasta but you have the added benefit of this awesome super grain. To give you an idea of what a punch farro packs, here are some nutrition tidbits. About 1/2 cup serving of uncooked farro provides:

  • 34g of carbohydrates
  • 7g fibre
  • 8g protein
  • 4mg niacin (good for metabolic health)
  • 60mg magnesium (prevents muscle cramps, helps with sleeping better and digestion)
  • 2mg iron (improves energy, prevents anaemia)
  • 2mg zinc (crucial for brain function)
  • 80mg calcium

Add some veggies to farro and you have a power packed meal. As an added bonus, although farro is a wheat grain, the gluten is considerably lower so it is easier to digest especially for those with gluten sensitivities.

 

When buying your farro, look for whole grain farro as opposed to pearled or semi-pearled since those have been more processed.

 

For this recipe, I used mushrooms and carrots but you can use any vegetable you have available.

 

Just cook the farro according to directions, leaving it slightly undercooked.

 

In medium pan, sauté onion and garlic over medium heat.

 

Then add farro with 1 3/4 cups unsalted vegetable stock.

 

Add grated carrots and chopped mushrooms as well as Italian seasonings. Stir to combine.

 

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Add salt to taste and 1/2 tablespoon of butter for creaminess. Mix well. 

 

Serve hot as is or add some pasta sauce for additional flavour.

Ingredients

1 cup farro

1 3/4 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup grated carrots

1/4 cup chopped mushrooms

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tbsp butter

salt to taste

 

Directions

  • Cook farro according to package directions, leaving it slightly undercooked.
  • Remove from heat and drain excess liquid.
  • In medium saucepan over medium heat, add farro and vegetable stock.
  • Then add carrots, mushrooms and Italian seasoning.
  • Mix well and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Add salt to taste and butter for creaminess. Mix well. 
  • Serve hot as is or add some pasta sauce for additional flavour.
Posted by Shivma on January 17, 2017

Veggie Rice Balls

I’ve been making these veggie rice balls for quite sometime now and my kids really love them! It might have something to do with using chopsticks but hey! If it works who am I to complain? I don’t recall where I first saw them but I remember thinking that this would be a great way to get a whole meal in one bite.

 

So these rice balls are actually a take on the traditional Japanese onigiri that uses a piece of fish wrapped in a ball of rice. In my version, I omit the fish but you can feel free to add pieces of any meat or meat substitute when you’re making this. I also chop the veggies instead of leaving whole pieces since I find the kids are more willing to eats small pieces as opposed to big ones.

 

With these veggie balls you can also add a dipping sauce or plain old ketchup or soy sauce would work too. I actually serve these with my Honey Garlic Tofu so it’s a nice, complete meal!

 

Now you know I’m a fan of the whole grains and the brown rice but for this recipe you really do have to use white rice because of its starchiness. You need the rice to be sticky for it to hold the shape of the ball. Brown rice just doesn’t do that.

 

So first off you need to wash your rice about 3 to 4 four times then soak covered in water for about 30 minutes.

 

Drain rice and add to pot with about 1 cup water. Bring to a boil for about 3 to 4 minutes then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered for another 15 minutes. The rice should absorb all the water and be sticky.

sticky white rice

 

While the rice is cooking you can steam your veggies either on the stove or in the microwave. When I’m short on time I use the microwave. Just sprinkle a bit of salt on the veggies while steaming. Once cooked add to food processor and chop into bits.

Chopped carrots and broccoli

 

Add veggies to rice and mix well. Adjust salt to taste.

Rice with veggies

 

Now this part may burn your hands a bit but you can’t let the rice cool too much or it won’t hold as well. Scoop about 1 to 2 tablespoons into your hands and roll into a ball. Quick tip: keep your hands a bit moist and the rice won’t stick to them.

Veggie Rice balls

 

That’s it! They’re ready to serve!

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup white rice

1 cup water

4 baby carrots

1/2 cup broccoli

Salt to taste

 

Directions

  • Wash rice 3 – 4 times.
  • Soak rice in water for 30 minutes then drain.
  • Add rice to pot with 1 cup water and bring to boil for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and leave covered for another 15 minutes.
  • Steam carrots and broccoli with salt then chop in food processor.
  • Add vegetables to rice and mix well.
  • Scoop about 1 to 2 tablespoons into your hands and roll into a ball.

Ready to serve and simply nutritious!