Category Archives: Wellness on Whatever Day

I {heart} Kale

I’m seriously in love with Kale right now.  We use it in everything from salads to smoothies and it brings a smooth flavor to whatever we’re cooking.  Last week we had quite a few small bunches left the night before we were headed to the farmers market and I decided to make some Kale chips to use them up.  Kale chips are delicious.

If you’re looking for a kid/adult friendly way to include more greens in your diet, Kale chips may be the answer for you.  They take an already tasty veggie and crunch it up.  You get crunch, nutrition and some fun at dinner.  It’s a win/win in my book.

My recipe is simple and somewhat vague.  I’ve included step by step pictures so that you can see it’s an inexact but ridiculously easy process and one I highly recommend attempting!

Kale Chips:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 small bunches or 2 large ones.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425. 

Clean the kale very well taking care to remove the tough woody stems from the leaves.  Break the leaves down into smaller pieces and place them in a bowl.  If the leaves are too wet at this point dry them a little before placing them in the bowl.   

This is how my leaves looked at this point.  Once your leaves are prepared, mix the olive oil and soy sauce together and then drizzle over the leaves.  Lightly toss with your hands to ensure the mixture is evenly distributed.  Place the leaves on your pan.  It should look like this:

I know the pan looks too full but trust me, it’s not.  The leaves shrink and everything will be fine.   Place your pan in the oven for 12-13 minutes.  After the alloted time remove pan from the oven.

Evenly distribute the leaves on the pan and place back in the oven for an additional 12-13 minutes.  When you remove the Kale chips from the oven a second time, check to ensure that they are cooked and crunchy.  If not, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer the chips into a bowl and lightly sprinkle onion powder and garlic powder over them.  I use a very small amount of onion powder and a slightly larger amount {though still small} of garlic powder.  The important thing to remember is to start small and taste as you go.  You do not want too much of either.  Gently toss the chips and serve!

Extra Information:

I don’t oil my pan as I have an old, beat up pan that I use for things like this.  The kale really doesn’t stick and if a few pieces do I can usually scrub them off with little to no effort.  If you are using a nice pan I would lightly spray it to ensure ease of cleaning.

You may find you have too much kale depending on the size of your bunches.  If I have a bit too much for the bowl or pan I’m using, before I drizzle the oil on I rescue a couple of handfuls and refrigerate them until I need them.  They keep very well and are quite handy once cleaned and prepped.

Hearth & Soul Hop

Healthier Coconut Lime Cupcakes

The dark horse of yesterday’s game wasn’t Mario Manningham or the Giants win but instead the healthier version of Coconut Lime Cupcakes that I threw together at the last minute.  I was worried people wouldn’t like them because I had made some serious adjustments like cutting oil, using whole wheat flour and choosing unsweetened coconut.  They were always popular before and sometimes change isn’t good when you’re used to things a certain way.  I shouldn’t have worried though as no one even noticed!  The adjustments didn’t affect the flavor and I would have to say made them even better.  The old recipe was delicious but rather heavy and unhealthy.  This new recipe is lighter yet still retains the flavor and can be enjoyed on a more regular basis.   I hope you enjoy!

Healthier Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 scant c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 c lime juice

For the glaze:

  • 2 c icing sugar
  • 1/4 c lime juice

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Lightly spray or coat a 12 tin muffin tin with oil.
  • Place Coconut on cookie sheet and toast in the oven until brown for approximately 3-5 minutes.
  • Combine all ingredients except for the coconut in a food processor and blend until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
  • Add coconut and process a couple of times until the coconut is mixed in.
  • Divide the mixture evenly among the cups.
  • Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until done.
  • Remove and allow to cool.
  • Once cool combine the icing sugar and lime juice by beating vigorously.  Ensure that all bumps are removed before glazing.
  • Line your counter with parchment paper and place the cooling rack on top.
  • Drizzle the glaze on your cupcakes and allow to set before eating.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • In my original recipe I made 6 instead of 12 cupcakes.  I really like the 12 small cupcakes as they are quite rich but you can make bigger ones if you’d like.
  • You’ll love how fast these are to prepare!  Homemade and just as fast as a mix.  It’s fantastic.  You’ll be a hero!

The definitive healthy whole grain pancake

I’ve posted recipes about pancakes before.  There were buttermilk pancakes, and whole grain pancakes but none of those really fit with our new dietary regimen.   Now we strive to be even healthier with low fat, high grain breakfast options.  I think we’ve finally accomplished that goal.  This recipe is modified from Chef Michael Smith’s original Whole Grain Pancake recipe.  I’ve cut out the added fat, white flour and eggs.  I boosted the flavor with an extra hit of cinnamon and the applesauce ensures they are moist and delicious.  Don’t let anyone tell you that a heathy pancake has to be flat and lifeless.  These were fluffy, moist and perfectly wonderful.

I hope you enjoy this delicious breakfast as much as we did!

The Definite Whole Grain Pancake
{aka: the only pancake recipe you’ll ever need}

Ingredients:

  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c large flake oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 2 c soy milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Instructions:

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.
  • Add the wet ingredients and stir well until combined.
  • Lightly spray a griddle and heat until it’s nice and hot.
  • Pour your pancakes on the griddle in 1/3 c quantities.
  • Cook until the first side bubbles.
  • Flip and cook until done.
  • Serve with maple syrup or peach preserves.

Extra Information:

  • This recipe made 10 fluffy pancakes.  Perfect for 4 hungry people as they are very filling.

Warm Spicy Carrot Soup.

As I looked in my fridge this afternoon and pondered what we should have for dinner I noticed 3 bags of shredded carrots that I purchased earlier this week on sale and hadn’t done anything with.  It was a dreary, cold day here with brown grass staring at me through the window so I needed something warm and comforting.  Looking at the carrots and thinking of soup I thought I’d try something a little different than the usual Curried Carrot Soup I make.   As I looked in the cupboard I found I was still moved towards an Indian flavor but wanted something milder with a fuller flavor.  This Warm Spicy Carrot Soup was the answer.  Because it was late when I began this venture I took a few shortcuts.  As a result it came together in less than 30 minutes and my husband absolutely loved it!

Warm Spicy Carrot Soup 

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb of shredded carrots
  • 8 c veggie stock
  • 3 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric

Instructions:

  • In a large stock pot place the shredded carrots, veggie stock, onion powder and garlic powder.  Stir a few times to combine.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, stirring a few times while cooking.
  • In a small bowl combine the garam masala, chili powder and tumeric.  Set aside.
  • Once it is boiling, turn heat down to medium and continue to cook until the carrots are soft.
  • About 15 minutes into the cooking process add the spice mixture.  Stir well and continue to cook.
  • Once the carrots are cooked, blend mixture well.
  • Serve!

Extra Information:

  • I use an immersion blender for this but you could easily blend it in a stand alone blender or food processor.  Don’t over blend.  A little texture is a good thing.
  • This serves 4-6 people or one very hungry husband {and his wife}.

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Healthier Chocolate Chip Muffins

When X. was born, we were at the hospital everyday for close to a month.  We got to know the facility like the back of our hands and there was a Tim Horton’s in the basement (a very tiny Tim’s) that served much better muffins and coffee than the cafeteria.  Everyday when we ate lunch we would head down stairs and take our freshly packed soup out of our lunch bags and finish it off with a Chocolate Chip muffin.  It became a problem for us.  We loved them that much.

The Tim Horton’s Chocolate Chip muffin is deadly.  According to the Tim Horton’s  website, it comes with 410 calories, 15 gm of fat, 2 gm of fibre.  It’s more cake than muffin and definitely not the healthiest dessert choice.  Calorie wise it’s better to eat a donut!

Since that time I’ve tried to stay as far away from those muffins as I can.  They are much too high in calories and fat for my liking and the fibre leaves a lot to be desired.  I had always wanted to make my own version, but I never got around to it until now.  I can thank an afternoon spent with a toddler who wouldn’t sleep and needed many activities to keep him happy for this recipe.  They are very good and much healthier than the Tim’s version.  No added oils, whole wheat flour and a healthy dose of cinnamon make these a keeper.  I’ve already made a second batch and the last muffin was eaten today.  I guess I’d best get back in the kitchen.

I hope you give these a try if you’re looking for a healthier option in your muffin repertoire.  They are delicious!

Healthier Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 c sugar (I used cane sugar in one batch and white sugar in another.  They both turned out great).
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 scant c applesauce
  • 3/4 c milk (I used soy but I’m sure any variety would be fine).
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare the muffin tin by placing liners in cups and lightly spraying the liners with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar.
  •  In a small bowl combine cornstarch and milk beating the mixture with a small whisk or fork to remove all lumps.
  • Add apple sauce to the cornstarch mixture.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
  • Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between all muffin cups.
  • Place muffins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • I lightly spray the liners to ensure that the muffin comes out.  When you cook with no added oil, the liners tend to stick.  If you forget this step you might lose 1/4-1/3 of your muffin on the bottom.  It doesn’t need a lot of spray, just a little and it saves you a lot of hassle when you want to eat your muffin.
  • The muffin cups will be very full of batter once you distribute everything evenly.  Don’t worry about this.  Your muffins will rise nicely, shouldn’t make a mess and everything will turn out fine.

Accidental Breakfast Biscuits

These biscuits were an accident.  I was fooling around and thought I would make some cookies that were healthy.  I threw some ingredients in a bowl, rolled out the dough and was hoping for a nice fluffy cookie.  Instead I got this delightful surprise!

They are:

  • Great with some jam.
  • Delicious smeared with peanut butter.
  • Delectable eaten beside some scrambled tofu.
  • So good that my son begged me to serve them with his breakfast & lunch the day after I made them.

The serving styles are really endless and they are incredibly easy to make.  I enjoyed them so much that I am contemplating some kind of holiday brunch event as I feel these should be a featured side. I almost forgot the best part, they are healthy!  Whole wheat, oil free and still tasty, you really can’t ask for more.

Accidental Breakfast Biscuits:

Ingredients:

  • 6 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 c apple sauce
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  •  2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cornstarch.
  • Combine applesauce, vanilla and sugar.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
  • Mix well.
  • Prepare the surface you’re going to roll the dough on with a dusting of flour.
  • Roll out dough to about an inch in thickness and cut out desired shape.
  • Place on cookie sheets
  • Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove, cool and enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • I think these would also be delicious with a pinch of cinnamon added to the mix.
  • They took exactly 22 minutes in my oven.
  • The recipe made 24 huge biscuits.  I think it would make around 36-48 regular size ones {depending on the biscuit cutter used}.

Lime Green Goodness

It’s Sunday.  Sundays should be a day of rest but for me it never really works out that way.   I have to work.  I love helping out and conducting worship but it pretty much claims the entire day.  I’m exhausted afterwards {lovely introvert tendencies} and definitely need a nap.  At Christmas it seems like there is no time for a nap.  I have places to be and people to see.  To keep going I need a boost.  This Lime Green Goodness is what I’m looking for when I need that pick-me-up.  It gives me the energy and nutrients needed to continue participating in the festivities when I’d rather just nap and it tastes great!  If you’re not tired or busy yet, drink it anyways.  You’ll love it!

Lime Green Goodness

Ingredients:

  • 1 large very full handful of romaine
  • 2 medium granny smith apples {chopped}
  • 1 english cucumber {chopped into small pieces}
  • 1 c soy milk
  • 3 tbsp lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Combine the romaine, soy milk and 1/2 of the cucumber in the blender until well mixed.
  2. Add the rest of the cucumber and continue combining.
  3. Add the apples and lime juice.
  4. Blend until smooth
  5. Serve!

Extra Information:

  • This makes 2 large servings.
  • You can change things up by using lemon juice instead of lime or throwing in some fruit instead of the cucumber.
  • Spinach is a great substitution for the romaine lettuce.

Banana Muffins

Banana muffins are one of my all time favorite things.  I adore bananas in baking and yesterday when I saw three lonely bananas hanging from a hook, I knew I had to use them.  My traditional banana bread recipe has too much fat to be considered healthy (although it is delicious) and the alternate recipe I used instead was missing that special something that banana bread requires.  Here’s my new, improved recipe.  It retains the flavor of the original but is much healthier!  If you ever find yourself with some over ripe bananas that need to be used, this is the recipe you should try.  Enjoy!

Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas (the riper the better!)
  • 1/4 c soy milk
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c cane sugar
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 12 c muffin tin with liners and lightly spray with baking spray.
  • Mix soy milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside.
  • Mash the bananas.
  • Add the sugar to the bananas.
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder today.
  • Add the dry ingredients and the soy milk mixture to the bananas.
  • Stir the ingredients together until well combined but do not over mix.
  • Fill your muffin tins and then bake in the oven for 23-27 minutes or until done.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Instructions:

  • When you are cooking with no fat the liners can stick to the muffins.  This is why I spray the liners before filling them with the mixture so that removal is easy when you want to eat.
  • Feel free to add chocolate chips, nuts or other additions to make this recipe your own.
  • Do not overbake!  Seriously!  Because there is no fat in them they will dry out quite quickly if left in too long.  Watch them closely.

5 thoughts about our new lifestyle…

  1. My husband discovered the China Study while away on vacation this year.  This lead to research and ultimately my husband and I made decision to live on a whole foods plant based diet.  It was a difficult Thanksgiving as I didn’t eat turkey but I did survive and my mom was wonderful enough to make a delicious mushroom dish for us.
  2. Because of my husband’s discovery (and further research since) I decided to take the Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition.  I’m hoping it helps me keep up with everything my husband is reading!
  3. The strange thing about this is that about 3 weeks before my husband discovered the China Study, I thought we should do a Daniel Fast as a family.  Now we are living the Daniel fast.  Too funny.
  4. Speaking of the Daniel Fast, for those of you living near me, I am running a Daniel Fast study in January to detox the body and the spirit.   If you’d like in (or even more information) contact me and I’ll give you the details.  I’ve already got a couple on board and am looking forward to the study.  It’ll be a time of reflection and purposeful action in faith.  Plus you’ll have fun, I guarantee it!
  5. To get a taste of what we are eating right now I highly recommend trying the Maple Kissed Pumpkin muffins from Happy Herbivore. I made them this morning and they are delicious!

Pomegranate Lime Iced Tea

As we’ve given up meat for the next month to support famine relief, I’ve been reading vegetarian/vegan cookbooks to get some ideas on what to eat for supper. So far we’ve been eating very well and are feeling great.  As I was flipping through The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone this morning, I happened to notice a recipe for Pomegranate Lime Iced Tea and thought I should give it a try.  As I looked closer though I realized I needed to tweak the recipe.  I am not a fan of sweetened iced tea and I didn’t have any fresh limes.  Here’s my variation on the original recipe. It’s tart, refreshing and completely satisfying on a mid-summer afternoon.  Enjoy! 

Pomegranate Lime Iced Tea

Ingredients:

  • 4 green tea bags 
  • 2 c unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1/3 c lime juice
Instructions:
  • Bring 8 c of water to a boil.
  • Pour into a tea pot with the 4 green tea bags.
  • After the tea has steeped and cooled a bit, add the pomegranate and lime juices to the pitcher.
  • Poor the green tea into the pitcher until it is full.
  • Chill in the fridge until desired temperature.
  • Enjoy!
Extra Information:
  • If you like sweetened iced tea, you’ll likely have to add a sweetener as this is quite tart.  Try maple syrup or honey for a natural boost.
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