It’s Green….eewww

IMG_4568Greens, greens, greens, one of the first things I hear when talking about diet is that we should eat more greens. There certainly is a variety to choose from like spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, dandelion, etc. all fall into this category. They are rich in fiber, vitamins (like vitamin C, K, E), minerals and have many disease fighting benefits.

But honestly, greens are not always that appetizing. Seriously, I can only eat so many salads, so many different ways and then my body is craving something else. A totally different texture and sweetness even. I don’t care how good for you they are, I get to a point when I cannot possible eat another leafy thing. (You’re with me aren’t you?) Salads can get boring even after you have come up with all different kinds of ways to spice them up! Whether it be nuts, dried fruit, salad dressing etc. You need a change!

So how do you get those oh so beneficial greens in on a daily basis? In fact vegetables in general sometimes I can find a challenge. They recommend 5 servings of veg a day and often I get to supper and may not have had even one.

What I have discovered is the magic of smoothies! They are a great way to get all kinds of things into your body in a quick, easy and yummy way. There are all kinds of great recipes and combinations out there that are absolutely delicious. And sometimes you may not even notice the ‘good stuff’ (like spinach) that’s in there because you can’t really taste it.

IMG_4309Every morning I make a delicious tasting green smoothie that includes a bunch of greens and some fruit to sweeten it up. That way first thing I am getting not only some vegetables, but some green vegetables right away! I make it religiously and even my kids love it and enjoy it as well, asking for some when I make it. (Score!) I miss it on the odd day that I do not make it, usually because I am out of some ingredient and haven’t gone to the store yet.

Now there are lots of variations on a green smoothie out there an honestly some of them are not very good. They look a gross colored green when mixed, they don’t taste that great, and though good for you I end up choking it down, trying not to bring it back up. Gross! Who wants to drink that! I don’t care how good it is for me.

IMG_4573I had tried one before that was cucumber, spinach, celery, parsley, lemon, banana and water. It was ok and I drank it, got the health benefits, but honestly it was not that tasty. And seriously if I am going to eat healthy then I want it to taste good to. I am not a believer in healthy having it taste like cardboard, or having to choke it down. Food is supposed to taste good, we are supposed to enjoy our food. It is one of pleasures of being on this planet and being human, food! So I did this first version for a while and then gave up, it just didn’t provide the taste I was looking for. So good for me or not, I ditched it. (Though for someone else this may be totally the kind of taste and smoothie you are looking for! To each his own right?)

It was when I was in Hawaii a couple of years ago that I discovered my recent combination for a green smoothie. Spinach, mint, papaya and more this smoothie not only looked a lovely vibrant green it tasted absolutely delicious! I was sold. I wrote down the ingredients and came home to create my own. I played a little bit with the amounts, got it how I wanted and now everyday I enjoy this yummy, sweet, nice looking green delicious smoothie. I even have both my mother and sister (and sometimes even my Dad and that’s saying something because my Dad is not really a smoothie guy) enjoying this smoothie everyday. Once I shared it with them and they tasted it, they were hooked as well.

Now of course, I am going to share it with you, and I hope you love it! If you’re not a sweet kind of person it may not work for you but give it a go and see. Kids for sure will love it and it is such a fabulous easy way to get in those vegetables and fruits that we may not be getting in daily. Smoothies in general  have endless possibilities…. but that is another post.

Green Smoothie

1 c. spinachIMG_4567

3-4 stems of parsley

1 sprig of mint

*1/2 c. papaya

1/2 c. pineapple

1/2 c. mango

1/2 -3/4 c. apple juice

Put all ingredients in Vitamix blender. Start on low moving up to high. Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth. Enjoy!

*I usually use orange or yellow papaya as I like it better and find it sweeter; but you can also use red papaya

**vary the amounts of fruit to make it sweeter or less sweet to taste

Makes one glass of yummy green smoothie

 

Something to add to your Christmas Brunch Gingerbread Waffles

IMG_4336I don’t know about you but I get a lot of newsletters. I like to try new things, so if I come across something I try it out and before I know it I have been automatically signed up for their newsletter (though I realize the new anti-spam laws are meant to prevent this).

From time to time I go through and weed out the ones I don’t really read or pay attention to and unsubscribe. Others I scan periodically looking for those little gems and remember why I signed up for it in the first place; then keep it in my inbox. Those gems are what keep me hooked, keep me reading the newsletters and staying on.

The ones that keep me hooked the most are the ones with yummy recipes that I discover and want to try, something I may not have thought of or come across otherwise. These are my favorite discoveries, some delectable dish just waiting to grace my plate and win my approval.

IMG_4329I found one of those gems earlier this week, when scanning the most recent Sobeys flyer. Luke and Chloe were with me, sitting on my lap, when I discovered these gingerbread waffles. I love gingerbread and I love waffles, so I was sure gingerbread waffles would definitley be a fabulous combination and treat. I ooed and awed and quickly clicked on the link, spreading my excitement to Luke and Chloe, as we waited in anticipation to see what was on the ingredient list. Looked easy enough, so we planned to try them.

It was so cute this morning as we came downstairs to make them for breakfast. Luke and Chloe got their chairs and wanted to help make them. Luke kept chatting away about trying them and we’ll see if they turn out and it was ok if they didn’t. Quite interesting chatter for a 4 year old. They were definitely excited.

IMG_4330Making all the appropriate adjustments (dairy and sugar), these waffles turned out fabulously! Perfectly golden brown, fluffy, with a subtle (not overwhelming) taste of gingerbread, they are not only delicious but very filling! After only having 2 waffles I was quite full.

The kids loved them of course and were also quite happy with how they turned out. We even broke out the Christmas dishes to enjoy them! Now I have another fantastic waffle recipe to add to my reperatoire of delectable waffles (plain, chocolate, orange) and new options for breakfasts and brunches, especially Christmas morning breakfast. Who wouldn’t love to have gingerbread for breakfast on Christmas?

I would like to try this recipe using coconut milk instead of almond milk (though really the almond milk version turned out very well), just to see what the difference is and if we like it even more. You never know til you try! So next time I make them we’ll give it a go.

In the meantime, enjoy these yummy dairy free, sugar free, gingerbread waffles, topped with pure maple syrup they are sure to be a hit this holiday season!

Gingerbread Waffles

1 1/4 c. whole wheat flourIMG_4334

1c. all purpose flour

2 tbsp. coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 1/2 c. almond milk

3 eggs

1/4 c. barley malt

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread, melted

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices).

In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk, eggs, barley malt and melted Earth Balance. Add barley malt mixture to dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Fill a greased waffle iron with approx. 1/2 cup (125 mL) of batter per waffle. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 3 min. per waffle. Repeat until all batter is used. Serve with Pure Maple Syrup.

Makes approximately 12 waffles

Breakfast Foods Comfort and Ease! Sugar Free Waffles

I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day. I don’t know if it’s because I also love mornings that I love breakfast or if it is because there are so many yummy breakfast foods to choose from! Pancakes, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, waffles, cereal and toast! Oh and crepes, crepes are delicious, with all the different yummy fillings you can put inside. Yummy!

It’s no wonder that sometimes I like making ‘breakfast’ for supper. Not only is it easy and fast but it is a nice treat. I usually add in some fruit of some kind or maybe a veg depending what I am actually making, but you can never go wrong. The kids always gobble it up and get very excited when they hear that we are having pancakes or waffles for dinner. In fact Luke and Chloe start clapping, jumping and screaming in delight. (I do too actually, on the inside).

As with other foods that are our favorites I have had to adjust these recipes to a dairy and sugar free version, which is quite easy to do. By now I have got the substitutions for things down pat and am able to take any recipe and make the appropriate adjustments.

Last night we had waffles for supper. Waffles have always been one of my favorites, maybe because of the funky shape they come out in, maybe because it is another ‘bread’ type food and that is definitely one of my comfort foods. I like waffles because you can put so many things on them. You can put on the traditional butter and maple syrup or top it with fruit and ice cream or whip cream. I always find it fun as well to fill each little square with something. Yesterday I watched Luke do just that as he took blueberries and put one in each square of his waffle.

I have substituted date sugar in these recipes but have also used coconut sugar, which I tried with the plain waffles for the first time last night. Though they turned out lovely and tasted great, for some reason I enjoy the ones with date sugar better. Depending on your taste preferences you may choose to use one over the other as well.

You do need a waffle iron to make waffles of course and my recommendation is to go with a non stick one. It is so easy to clean afterwards, you just wipe it down with hot soapy water. Sometimes I brush a little Earth Balance Vegan Spread over the plates before I make the first batch of waffles, but that’s it – after that they are stick free and easy clean up!

So whether you are having breakfast or supper, try out these waffle recipes and enjoy them guilt free!

Plain Waffles

1 ½ c. flour

1 3/4 tbsp. date sugar or 2 tbsp. coconut sugar, optional I have made this recipe not using any kind of sugar at all and they do not affect the taste or turnout of the waffle

1 tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 egg whites, room temperature

2 egg yolks

¼ c. Earth Balance vegan spread, melted

1 ½ c. rice or almond milk

Stir first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. Make a well. Beat egg whites until stiff. Using the same beaters, beat egg yolks in separate bowl. Add Earth Balance and milk, mix. Pour into well. Fold in beaten eggs whites. Cook in hot waffle iron until browned, using about 1/3 c. batter for each.

Makes 12 waffles

Chocolate Waffles (these are quite yummy! but the recipe is small. Definitely double it)

1 egg

3/4 c. rice or almond milkchocolate waffles

1 tbsp. cooking oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla

3/4 c. flour

1/4 c. cacao powder

3 tbsp. date sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

Beat egg in bowl. Add milk, cooking oil and vanilla. Beat in. Add next 6 ingredients, mix. Cook in hot waffle iron until crisp, using 1/3 c. batter for each.

Makes 6 waffles

Orange Dessert Waffles

1 c. flour 

1/4 c. date sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. Earth Balance, melted

2 egg yolks

2 egg whites, room temperature

1 c. orange juice

Measure first 4 ingredients into bowl. Stir together. Add butter, egg yolks and orange juice. Mix lightly. Beat egg whites together in a small bowl until stiff. Fold into batter. Cook in hot waffle iron until browned using 1/3 c. batter for each. Arrange waffles on plates, sift icing sugar over top if using.

Makes 10 waffles

All original recipes are from Company’s Coming Breakfast and Brunches. These recipes have been modified to a dairy free and sugar free recipe.