Our Happy, Healthy Blog

Posted by Shivma Maharaj on October 5, 2016

Peach Pina Colada Smoothie

With my son in school full time now, I find myself having less time to eat breakfast which makes for a very grumpy me. So I had to find a way to get a power packed breakfast in the quickest way possible with the easiest delivery method (if you know what I mean).

 

So enter my Peach Pina Colada Smoothie!

 

Peach Pina Colada Smoothie

 

It is smooth, creamy and intensely satisfying. Not to mention it has everything you need for a breakfast on the go AND makes you think of the beach!

 

The milk and yogourt are both a rich source of calcium and protein. The bacteria in the yogourt fosters a healthy colon, decreases yeast infections, boosts your immunity and can lower your cholesterol. No bad, huh?

 

Pineapple has one of the highest values of manganese. In fact, 1 cup of pineapple provides 77% of your daily manganese requirements. Manganese is an essential nutrient need for bone production, collagen production and the creation of specific enzymes to control blood sugar.

 

Coupled with the pineapple, the peach provides a good source of vitamins A and C and because of its skin is a great source of fibre.

 

What more can you ask for in a smoothie!

 

All you have to do is add everything to the blender. Process until smooth.

Ingredients in blender

 

Then serve and enjoy!

Peach Pina Colada smoothie with fruit

 

 

Peach Pina Colada Smoothie

 

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup yogourt, plain & unsweetened
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • 1/2 cup ice

 

Directions

  • Add milk, yogourt, peach, pineapple, vanilla and cinnamon (and honey if using) to a blender and mix on high speed until smooth and frothy.
  • Add ice and blend until ice is crushed.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Posted by Shivma Maharaj on October 3, 2016

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Veggie Nuggets

I know it’s been a while…

 

What can I say? Summer has been super busy with camps and trips and prepping for the start of Kindergarten. I can’t believe my little guy has gotten so big!

 

He also started Lego club, as if I need more Lego in my life (as I roll my eyes), at the end of which they were sending the kids home with these pre-packaged snacks that were not very nutritious. So being me I decided to chat with the coordinator and at the end I was tasked with preparing nutritious snacks for 24 kids. I’m happy to help spread the good nutrition but it makes life a WHOLE lot busier!

 

Despite all those things, I have been working on a few recipes and testing them on my kids of course! This black bean nugget is super simple and really takes no time at all. I like to buy my black beans dry and pre-cook them. Then I put them in the snack sized storage bags for freezing and it’s the perfect portion size when I’m ready to cook. Best thing about this recipe is that everything happens in the food processor! Score!

 

black bean nuggets, sweet potato fries

 

The black bean nuggets are very versatile and can be paired with most anything. I actually like to do this with sweet potato fries and grilled cheese wraps. They’re also great as lunches with some mozzarella cheese sticks and crackers. I find that if you give kids a dip they will be more willing to try anything. Even if you use good old ketchup. Of course, find a brand that is low on sugar and doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.

 

Now all you have to do is put all the ingredients in the processor and mix until if clumps together almost like a ball.

black bean, carrots, seasoning in processor

 

black bean nugget puree

 

Using your hands, make 1” balls and place on lined baking tray. Press down to create the nugget shape. Et voila! You have nuggets.

 uncooked black bean nuggets

 

Bake for 20 minutes turning half way through and you’re good to go!

black bean nuggets

 

These nuggets are packed full of the goodness of black beans. They’re high in protein and dietary fibre and are chock full of minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorous and potassium. It’s great for pregnant women because it contains about 64% of the daily value of folate, essential for baby’s neural development. The fibre makes it incredibly filling and as a complex carbohydrate it provides long lasting energy and keeps blood sugar levels stable. Not bad for a little bean!

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 tin/ bag black beans*
  • 5-6 baby carrots, steamed
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax+3 tbsp water)

 

Directions

 

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Put all ingredients in food processor and process until combined and mixture sticks together.
  • Form into 1” balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten gentle with fingers to form nuggets.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Serve with any dip and a side of sweet potato fries.

*I buy dried black beans and pre-cook the whole bag. I put the cooked beans in individual snack-sized storage bags and freeze. When I need it, I just pull out a bag and I’m good to go!

Posted by Shivma Maharaj on July 11, 2016

Breakfast Banana Bread


Bananas! I seem to be going bananas for bananas! I have been obsessed with finding the perfect banana bread recipe that could be a sweet treat and a breakfast on the go and the base for a sandwich. 

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I think I got it this time! This bread is not too sweet so it’s great and filling for breakfast but also sweet enough to curb any cravings, especially if paired with a hot cup of tea. Greatest of all, you can use it to make sandwiches! So far I’ve done it with cheese, with jam and with nut butter. It’s fantastic! Not to mention it’s totally easy and only uses one bowl! For me that’s the best part. I am definitely not a fan of doing dishes. It also stores really well in the refrigerator and toasts wonderfully!

 

You simply add all the dry ingredients and mix well.

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Then add the wet and incorporate.

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Finally, add the walnuts and just stir in.

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Pour batter into loaf pan.

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Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Ingredients

2 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup brown sugar*

1/4 tsp salt

1.5 very ripe bananas, mashed

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)

1 cup milk of choice

1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add bananas, flax egg, milk and combine until incorporated.
  4. Add walnuts and mix until just combined.
  5. Place in greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from pan.
  7. Slice and enjoy!

 

*You can increase the sugar depending on your taste.

Posted by Shivma Maharaj on June 20, 2016

Meatless Monday: Honey Garlic Tofu

Tofu! I find it to be one of the most versatile foods. It can be breakfast, part of a main dish or a side dish. Tofu, especially firm tofu is a great source of calcium, as well as protein, fibre, vitamin A, folic acid and anti-cancer phytonutrients.

 

As you’ve probably already figured out by now, I like to keep things simple and quick. This recipe is great because you can prepare the tofu ahead of time and just make the sauce when you’re ready to serve. The sauce really takes about 8 minutes!

 

Sometimes I serve this dish with some ketchup so my kids can have something to dip. It seems that being able to dip makes a huge difference. The sauce also pretty versatile and can be used as a dip or as a coating for other vegetables. It’s sweet but very aromatic because of the garlic which makes it very balanced. 

 

Simply coat your tofu in the arrowroot flour and bake for 30 minutes at 350F.

Tofu coated in arrowroot flour

 

Combine your sauce ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat until it bubbles and begins to thicken. Add the tofu combine so the tofu is evenly coated.

Tofu coated in honey garlic sauce

 

Serve with a vegetable side dish and enjoy!  Honey Garlic Tofu

 

Ingredients

 

1lb extra firm tofu, cut into 1” cubes

2 tbsp arrowroot flour

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp tamari/ soy sauce

3 tbsp water

1 tbsp arrowroot flour

*You can substitute corn starch for the arrowroot flour

 

Directions

 

For tofu:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Grease non-stick baking tray.
  • Combine tofu with arrowroot until well coated
  • Place in single layer on baking tray.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown, turning halfway through baking.
  • Set aside

*This can be done ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

For sauce:

  • Combine arrowroot and water.
  • In a sauce pan on medium heat, combine honey, tamari and arrowroot mixture.
  • The sauce will begin to bubble and thicken.
  • At this point, add the baked tofu and mix to coat well.
  • Remove from heat after about 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm with a side of vegetable rice and enjoy!
Posted by Shivma Maharaj on June 19, 2016

Take time to appreciate Dad time

dad and babyDad is such an important person in and part of our lives!

 

We often focus so much on mom’s role in a baby or child’s life that we sometimes forget that dads are just as crucial for babies’ health, happiness and development.

 

There are all types of dads and each has a special way that he loves his kids. I just wanted us as moms or moms-to-be to remember the importance of allowing dads and babies to bond from the moments of pregnancy and beyond.

 

As new moms, we often hover and feel the need to always be near our babies but we need to step back just a tiny bit and let the dads have that space and time to make a connection and to build a relationship with their baby too.

 

For some dads, bonding comes naturally from the moment mom is pregnant but for others it takes a little encouragement. Let dad talk to your belly, encourage him to participate in taking care of the baby. This could simply mean letting him change a diaper or bathing the baby or rocking the baby. Let him know that he is a vital part of his child’s life.

 

Give dad the confidence to make his own discoveries about baby’s likes and dislikes and to bond in his own way. The connection that is made and the relationship that is forged at this early stage will last forever.

 

So this Father’s Day, let’s show our appreciation to all the dads and dads-to-be for their unwavering support and tireless work for their families. Maybe we can even cook him a Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna!

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, dads-to-be and moms who are dads too!