PLANNING EVENTS WITH KIDS WHO HAVE FOOD RESTRICTIONS

Going on 20 years now living with food allergies (or food restrictions), I have learned a lot. I am more confident today in how I manage meals outside of the house but it is still not without its challenges. I still get nervous asking a friend or relative if it’s ok if we bring our own food or prep something in their kitchen. There are always lots of questions, but it always turns out beautifully, and more often than not we introduce new food ideas to the people in our lives. As a parent the most challenging social settings for me to navigate around is birthday parties or events outside of a home, where the typical foods are off-limits for the girls.   I used to dread birthday parties because my little one would get very upset about being left out, not being able to have the birthday cake or pizza, even though she knew it made her sick. She HATED being the idea of bringing a safe, special cupcake or snack because she would be different. She doesn’t like to stand out or be noticeably … [Read more...]

Crunchy Millet Granola

School is back in session this week and I've got our morning meals ready to go with a new yummy homemade granola! Love having something quick and easy to serve the kiddos in the morning that will fuel their growing bodies and expanding minds.  Cereal used to be my go-to but I have a love/hate relationship with cereal as a mom. I love that it provides a quick, objection-less meal for kids in the morning but I don’t love the sugar content and nutritionally low quality of the ingredients that you find in your typical cereal. Despite its limiting qualities, I do have to say that I really LOVE cereal.  I’m an honest recovering cereal addict. I could eat a bowl (or two) for three meals a day, every day and be sooo happy! I just LOVE the stuff!! This is where knowledge gets in the way, but knowing what I do about nutrition and what growing young bodies need, I had to cut off our family’s relationship with packaged cereal for breakfast. For years cereal was not only a meal, but also a … [Read more...]

Chicken Rice Soup

This Chicken Rice Soup is probably one of the easiest homemade recipes.  You drop the items in a big soup pot and literally step away while it cooks.  This is a great recipe to make ahead of time for a quick and easy meal when you have no time to spare.  Using homemade Chicken Broth makes the chicken rice soup incredibly medicinal, healing and just what the doctor ordered if you are feeling under the weather.  Of course using boxed chicken broth or stock cubes is also great and makes this soup even faster to whip up! This version of chicken rice soup is a basic one but one that you can add to or modified depending on what you have on hand and your tastes. For a fun variation, try swapping the rice with your favorite pasta or quinoa for a little extra protein. To make this soup vegetarian, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and the chicken with some chickpeas or black beans.  Try adding in some extras to spice things up (a little red pepper flakes), top it with some … [Read more...]

Chicken Broth

One of the easiest staples to have on your back burner….literally! Homemade chicken broth is one of the easiest things to throw together, takes no skill or fancy kitchen equipment, just a little bit of your time to reap the benefits. Vegetable or chicken broths are great to have on hand to cook beans or grains, throw into sauces, stews or to turn into the base of a soup. The longer cooking time will give you a rich medicinal broth that is perfect as a base for a meal or to simply sip on throughout the day. ONCE YOU LEARN HOW TO MAKE THIS CHICKEN BROTH YOU WILL BE HOOKED! So save those chicken bones and unused vegetables that you were thinking of tossing. Instead throw them into a big pot with some water and a few spices. The chicken broth recipe below is a robust one that will pack in the nutrients, like medicine in a pot. No need to peel things, just chop them up to fit in the pot.  If I don't have all the ingredients listed (or the time to chop) I use a simpler version to make … [Read more...]

Lentil Bolognese Pasta Sauce

Don't know about you but I have nights when I am scrambling to get dinner together.  I love having this Lentil Bolognese Sauce on hand either in the freezer or ready to go.  It's a regular in our pasta night rotation.  Try making this on nights (or days) when you need something hearty, healthy and filling when you don’t have a ton of time on your hands. The sauce comes together in less than 20 minutes, serves well over traditional pasta, gluten-free varieties, on pizza, in lasagna or even over steamed vegetables. Lentil Bolognese is rich in fiber, high in plant-based protein and a ton of vitamins and minerals.  This simple recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket when you want something new but quick and easy! Can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.   Lentil Bolognese is a great alternative for Meatless Mondays or when you want something a little more substantial than a basic marinara.  For any pickier guests at your table, puree the sauce … [Read more...]

Espresso Balls

I am not a big coffee drinker, tea is my jam, but sometimes I smell my husbands cup and I crave a little or there are definitely mornings when I need a little extra something to get me going in the morning.  And a chocolate sweet treat....need I say anything about that?  Hmm nope!  These banging espresso balls cover all these bases.  Naturally sweetened by the dates with a little protein and omega-3 kick from the walnuts plus the antioxidants from the raw cacao powder. Seriously why don't I make these espresso balls more often??  I love to make a batch of two of my espresso balls, place them in a labeled container and store them in the freezer so I can grab a few when ever I need them.  I do the same with my sunflower butter balls, carrot cake balls and protein balls which the kids can grab whenever they want a snack or something a little extra to keep them going. With Christmas just days away, these espresso balls were made for that magical morning when already my early bird risers … [Read more...]

Kale & Sausage Soup

Tuscan Kale & Lentil Stew with chicken sausage Winter in Chicago just wouldn’t be winter without a polar vortex!  Baby it's cold outside and it's time to dream of Tuscany and make a hearty Tuscan Kale & Lentil Stew!!   I love how we now use marketing buzz words seasonal weather! I grew in Canada where we simply call this kind of weather WINTER!! Hahaha!! Nonetheless as Christmas nears not even this incoming blast of cold can change the spirits at our house.  With this cold front coming in and a thousand things to do better the big day, I wanted something quick and easy to make that we could all enjoy. Every morning the girls count the number of days on the calendar left until the big night that good old Santa will make his annual visit. They have had me check the chimney to make sure it’s clean (even though we have an electric fireplace) and clear for him to come down. The lead up to the big day is almost as exciting as the big day itself with the final week of school … [Read more...]

Spicy Parsnip Soup

The weather has is grey and dreary, I am battling a head cold and as a result have little energy for fancy food prep plus I have a bag of parsnip and 2 sad carrots that need to get used ASAP! What to do? Why make a soup of course!! Soups are my go to lunches and sometimes dinners in the fall/winter because they are generally quick to throw together, easily digested and most importantly …. keep me warm! I find I am permanently cold in winter so my stove stop is often brewing, boiling, cooking something to warm me up! This soup is perfect in so many ways. It is creamy, smells amazing, a little spicy thanks to the ginger and fills me up! Parsnips are often a by passed veg but they are so similar to carrots only a little sweeter. Not sure why they get passed up! They go great in soup especially in ones like this one that is pureed, they lend a nice creamy texture to the soup. Parsnips are high in fiber, nutrients and minerals (super high in potassium). They are a good root vegetable … [Read more...]

Detox Oatmeal Cookie

Detox oatmeal cookies maybe I need to find a new name for this recipe because I know it sounds like an oxymoron right?? One should probably take a break from all cookies during a detox right?  Or what are you adding to these "treats". Stay with me!  We are still on a high from the fun of the festivities (and several helpings of pie, cookies and sweets), my kids get crazy grumpy when I suggest we take a break from dessert or treats.  Who wouldn't right?? Oats, chia and flax to the rescue!  Instead of saying we're going to skip dessert, I offer them some healthier options. These"detox" oatmeal cookies are my solution to the kiddos dessert while still giving them a good dose of fiber, healthy fats and vitamins. This is one of desserts or "treats" on rotation for the next few weeks and probably in the new year as well.  A simple and quick to make oatmeal cookie that can be made with or without the chocolate chips.  I made half the batch with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (2-3 chunks … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookie

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE all things pumpkin! Come October I stock up on my sugar pumpkins and cans of pumpkin and get busy in the kitchen on many things pumpkin! Trader Joe’s is totally in my corner! This year they have even MORE pumpkin items than normal! I’m talking pumpkin pasta, pumpkin butter, pumpkin gluten free pancake & waffle mix, pumpkin bread mix and even pumpkin cheerios!! Seriously awesome!! Such inspiration to whip of so many tasty treats of my own! Thanks to celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving and many weeks of houseguests, I have already made many pumpkin pies and we haven’t even gotten through Halloween yet!! Pumpkin pie will always be a favorite but I also extend the pumpkin love into muffins, cakes and of course cookies! Now that school is in full swing, I thought I’d try something new, Breakfast Cookies! I have tried these before with mixed success, one child loves, one hates or they haven’t kept well. I had all … [Read more...]