Our Happy, Healthy Blog

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!

Posted by Shivma on October 5, 2016

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2016!

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

breastfeeding

What better time to talk about the benefits as well as the challenges of breastfeeding.

 

Before we get to that though, i just want to say that I also celebrate the moms who have made the decision to bottle feed for whatever reason. I know there is a lot of judgement out there about moms who breastfeed and moms who don’t but being a mom who bottle fed my first and then breastfed my second, I think I know a little about how each feels. Whichever way you choose make sure it’s the right choice for you. Both my kids are happy, healthy and thriving which I think is the most important.

 

But being World Breastfeeding week and all, I thought I’d talk a bit about some of the benefits of breastfeeding.

 

Breastfed babies:

  • tend to have fewer ear and respiratory infections
  • have fewer allergies
  • have easier digestion
  • absorb more nutrients

 

Breastfeeding moms:

  • have less postpartum depression
  • have less osteoporosis
  • are less likely to have breast, uterine and ovarian cancers

 

Breastmilk is designed to meet the needs of your growing baby, changing as your baby changes. If even changes depending on if you’re in a warm or cold climate. Once you get the hang of it, it really is a wonderful thing but the challenge sometimes is exactly that – how to get it right. Many moms, myself included, really struggle in those first weeks. You’re exhausted and sleep deprived and you’re not sure if the baby is getting enough and it hurts sometimes! A lot! You forget all the things you’ve read about it taking a few weeks for your milk supply but breastmilk really is wonderful.

 

It supplies all the fat that your baby needs for brain development and it is regulated so the baby gets the most fat to feel full and satiated at the end of the feeding. Of course, it is also the best source of Omega 3s, proteins, vitamins, minerals and iron.

 

Your breastmilk will always be nutritious for your baby but part of making sure your baby gets all that she needs is making sure you get all that you need. That includes rest and good nutrition. I know it’s hard to find time to eat when you have a baby but try making things that are quick and nutritious and that can be stored in the fridge like my Power Up Protein Smoothie or my Peach Pina Colada Smoothie.

 

Remember to celebrate being a mama!

Posted by Shivma 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 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 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. 

IMG_3613

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.

IMG_3602

 

Then add the wet and incorporate.

IMG_3604

 

Finally, add the walnuts and just stir in.

IMG_3606

 

Pour batter into loaf pan.

IMG_3607

 

Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

IMG_3608

 

Slice and enjoy!

IMG_3610

 

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.