food not fear

Allergy Friendly Food– recipes and restaurants


3 Comments

13 Ways to enjoy your 13 fruit and veggie servings

13 ways to enjoy your 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables

Did you know that the recommendation for produce consumption is now up to 13 servings a day? I looked it up because a friend posed the question on Facebook. Most people were convinced it was 5, but I was pretty sure I had heard 9 from my doctor. Imagine my surprise (and hers!) when I discovered the USDA guidelines state that 5 servings is the bare minimum, but that most adults really need 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables each and every day. For many people, that sounds like a LOT of food. It is.

13 ways to enjoy your 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables
The Chose My Plate diagram has replaced the food pyramid that many of us grew up with. It’s a simpler way to know that we’re getting the right ratios of food groups. A quick glance at the plate shows that half of our food intake should be in the form of fruits and vegetables. In most cases, a serving is a half cup of produce: exceptions include dried fruit (¼ cup), leafy greens (1 cup), and 100% fruit or veggie juices (¾ cup).

Of course, that’s easier said than done for many people. How often do you hear a request for a second helping of brussels sprouts? Actually, I hear it from my son every time I make them. I’d like to say that it’s all in the preparation, but he’s just weird that way. I, on the other hand, am a recent convert.

Do I get in my 13 servings every single day? No. Some days I just want to eat CAKE. But, hey, a slice of this cake still has a serving of fruit between the banana in the batter, and the strawberries and banana slices on top– I know, I know– I’m reaching…

Here are 13 ways to get those 13 servings into your day without sacrificing your taste buds!

Berry Banana Smoothie

1. Frozen fruit smoothies—3-4 servings.
When I’m in a hurry, I love to take my breakfast with me, to go. I take medication every morning that requires a full hour before I can eat breakfast. If I hit snooze without popping my pill, my hour won’t be up until I’m running out the door. On these days, I end up with a pint glass of smoothie in my car’s cup holder. I have no colon thanks to colon cancer (link to BRT), so I usually run low on potassium. Because of this, my smoothie base is usually banana. When you use frozen fruit, you don’t need to add ice. Vary your flavour by adding another fruit– strawberries, mixed berries, peaches, or pineapple. Pour in some milk or a safe substitute (I use rice milk), and add a scoop of protein powder to pack in the nutrition. One banana and a cup of berries will start your day off with 3 of your 13 servings.
Forgo the dairy/replacement and combine the frozen fruit with juice for an extra serving of fruit. An orange strawberry smoothie is my go-to when I feel a cold starting. Frozen banana and pineapple or mango with orange juice is a nice tropical combo.

13 ways to enjoy your 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables

2. Add fruit to oatmeal—1 serving
Oatmeal is already a healthy breakfast, but a half cup of fruit gets in one produce serving and adds sweetness. Try chopped apples and cinnamon, berries and vanilla, peaches with milk and vanilla, or a handful of raisins, dried cranberries, or apricots. Cook it in or sprinkle on top.

3. Make a very veggie omelet—2 servings
It’s easy to fit a cup of veggies into an omelet. Try tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, onions, shredded carrot, and chopped spinach.

4. Layer them into a sandwich or burger—2 servings
Who says the meat and cheese are the stars of a sandwich? Stack your bread high with sliced veggies for flavour and texture. Fresh lettuce or baby spinach, and sliced tomatoes are standard, but why not try avocado, sliced cucumbers, rings of bell peppers, sweet onions, or shredded carrot? Sauteed onions and mushrooms add rich flavour, and sundried tomatoes are surprisingly sweet.

5. Top off your pizza—2+ servings
Between the sauce and the toppings, it’s easy to get a serving of veggies on an average slice of pizza, but if you’re baking it at home, you can really amp up the amount. When I’m feeling lazy (and cheating on dairy), I’ll start with a frozen pizza and add my own veggies. When I’m making my own pizza, I have the option to add other pureed veggies like carrots into the sauce. I like to layer on pineapple tidbits, bell peppers, sauteed onions, fresh and sundried tomatoes. My husband loves olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, arugula, and even broccoli. Get creative and try out some unusual toppings– you might just love them. And you can always sprinkle some bacon in there.

13 ways to enjoy your 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables

6. Oven roasted veggies—1+ servings
If you struggle to clear the limp, tasteless veggies from your dinner plate, you probably haven’t tried oven roasting them. A little salt and oil go a long way where taste buds are concerned. I like to chop my veggies into bite sized pieces before cooking to increase the surface area. Microwave or steam your veggies until almost tender, then add a little olive oil– a tablespoon should coat 4 cups of broccoli– and spices to taste. Play around with different combinations: a tsp of Montreal steak seasoning or seasoning salt is quick and easy. I like to add a half tsp of turmeric or Indian curry powder (turmeric has proven anti-cancer properties). You may prefer paprika, chili powder, or garlic. Stir well to spread the spices around, then bake, spread out on a cookie sheet until the edges brown– about 10 minutes at 400 degrees F.
My family loves broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, and brussels sprouts this way. Add chopped onions for an extra burst of sweetness with potatoes. Dried cranberries pair well with brussels sprouts. I’ve been known to consume whole plates of roasted veggies in a single meal– that’s 4 or 5 servings!

13 ways to enjoy your 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables

7. Kabobs on the grill—2+ servings
On our back deck, the most popular offerings from the grill aren’t the burgers, but the kabobs. Chop veggies into bite sized pieces and season with olive oil and your favourite spices: salt and pepper, Montreal steak seasoning, Italian seasoning, curry powder, or seasoning salt. If your meat isn’t going on a bun, add marinated cubes of it to the skewers. Chicken, beef, pork, work well in kabobs, but fish is too fragile, and shrimp cooks far quicker than the veggies so keep it on a separate skewer. Our favourite veggies for kabobs are bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, grape or cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash. Thinly sliced sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, and brussels sprouts are also fabulous on the grill, though they work better spread on an oiled screen rather than on skewers.

8. Baked apples—2 servings
My kids love baked apples for a snack, but I’m not about to turn the oven on for something so small. Instead, I simply sprinkle a sliced apple with cinnamon and microwave for one minute for the same flavour. Pears, peaches, or plums are also tasty, especially when mixed. It’s easy to eat a full cup of warm, cinnamon covered fruit as a mid-afternoon snack.

9. Add applesauce, banana, or avocado to baked goods—1/2 serving
If you didn’t already know, applesauce can be substituted for oil in many sweet baked goods (except brownies– it ruins the texture). Mashed avocado can replace up to half of the butter in cookie or cake recipes. Try adding mashed banana to muffins and reduce the liquid by half that amount. It’s not a huge bump in your produce intake, but when you replace that many fat calories, you’ve made room for a lot more options.

13 ways to enjoy your 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables

10. Fondue is fun—2+ servings
Whether it’s chocolate or cheese, you need a vehicle to get that melted goodness into your mouth, and you’re likely to go through at least a cup of it. What better way to justify the treat than with bite-sized pieces of fruits and vegetables? Berries and banana slices are classic partners for chocolate fondue, but why not try apples, pears, or pineapple? Get creative. Bread is go-to for cheese fondue, but why not try broccoli, bell pepper slices, carrot and celery sticks, or zucchini slices? You don’t need to ban the bread altogether– just add some other options.

https://foodnotfear.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/recipe-bacon-veggie-muffins/

11. Have your cake and eat some produce too—1 serving
It’s easy to reach for a boxed cake mix when you’re in a hurry for a dessert, but there are ways to make it a little less unhealthy. Add berries or mashed banana to a chocolate cake. Mix shredded carrots and raisins into a spice cake for instant carrot cake. Substitute lemon juice for part of the water in a lemon cake for more intense flavour or mix it up and replace all of it with orange juice and pour on an orange glaze instead of frosting. Fresh fruit makes a tasty and attractive topping.
If you prefer savoury to sweet, try adding oven roasted veggies to hearty breads and muffins like my veggie bacon muffins.

12. Homemade vitamin water—1 serving.
Sometimes water alone just doesn’t suit your mood, but most beverages are high on sugar or artificial sweeteners. There are some unsweetened flavoured waters out there that aren’t bad for you, but they’re never as healthy as they claim to be, and they are definitely not cheap! I’ve started making my own vitamin water to carry with me. With lemon juice, frozen strawberries, and a pinch of pure organic stevia powder, it’s low in calories, lightly flavoured, and has the added benefit of vitamin C and zinc. Prepare ahead of time and refrigerate for a stronger strawberry flavour.

13 ways to enjoy your 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables

13. Veggie Chips—1+ servings
What can I say? I have a soft spot for junk food. Replace your potato chips with a bag of root vegetable chips. Terra chips (link) offers many varieties like sweet potato, carrot, or beets, or their Exotic mix with yucca, batata, parsnips, and taro. Kale chips are readily available and also easy to make at home . You can even use a veggie peeler to make sweet and crispy carrot chips in your oven.

Are any of these ways of eating fruits and veggies new to you? Which will you try? There are countless ways to eat produce– share your favourite in the comments.

Advertisements


5 Comments

Have a slice of my birthday cake

Banana Split cake recipe

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me… Here, have a slice of cake! Okay, so it’s actually just the recipe, but it’s worth making! I had a birthday tea today and all of my friends LOVED the cake. It’s always a favourite whenever I make it. Moist, rich, not too sweet, but with loads of toppings, just like your favourite banana split! Swap out the toppings for your favourites.

This treat is dairy free and nut free. Sub the shortening and frosting, and it can be made soy free as well.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this cake:

Banana Split cake ingredients

Banana Split cake ingredients

Cake:
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
4 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup mashed banana (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup milk (or rice/soy milk)
1 cup chocolate chips (Ghiridelli semi-sweet are diary free– I used the mini ones 😉

Topping:
1 can Classic Vanilla frosting (I’m a big fan of Duncan Hines)
1 cup whole or sliced strawberries
1-2 fresh bananas
Chocolate syrup

Banana Split Cake recipe
The batter is light and fluffy, but not runny.

1. Cream shortening. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat until fluffy.
2. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and chocolate syrup. Beat until light
3. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with milk and bananas.
4. Beat for two minutes with an electric mixer– I use my KitchenAid stand mixer.
5. Add chocolate chips and stir to mix
6. Pour into greased cake pans and smooth the top: 1 bundt, 2 round layer pans, or 1 9″x13″
7. Bake @350 F for 40 mins for layer pans, 50 for 9″x13″, or 60 for bundt. (start checking 10 minutes earlier. May take up to 10 extra minutes.) Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in top comes out clean.

Banana Split Cake

Let cake cool. Ice with Vanilla frosting. For a poured effect, warm the frosting for 15 seconds in microwave (make sure you get ALL of the foil wrapper off first!), stir, and spread gently over a slightly warm cake– it’ll look funny at first, but the warmth will cause it to drip attractively down the edges. Or ice the cake by spreading room temp icing. Top with a few whole strawberries.

The remainder of the toppings are added just before serving. Add to the whole cake only if the entire thing will be eaten within a few hours, otherwise, just put the toppings on the individual slices as they are served. Top with sliced bananas and strawberries, and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Add a maraschino cherry if you like that sort of thing.

Enjoy! You can serve with Vanilla ice cream to get even more of a banana split effect if you want, but the icing tastes nearly like ice cream already!

Now find a few friends to share it with!

P1200514

Banana Split Cake

I couldn’t resist having a second (or third…) slice.

P1200527

I’m updating the post with a picture my friend Mindy dubbed my “50s Housewife Pose”. Check out more of her photography and writing at www.MindyPeltier.com

Photo thanks to Mindy Peltier

Photo thanks to Mindy Peltier


5 Comments

Dairy Free Spinach and Bacon Pinwheels

Fluffy puff pastry, savoury bacon, and sweet hints of apricot. And not a drop of milk in sight!

Mmm… is your mouth watering yet? I came up with these savoury little pastries when I needed a fancy hors d’oeuvres to bring to a wedding. There among all of the catered dishes, my little pinwheels stood their ground. Everyone was surprised to discover they were dairy free too! I need to bring a snack to our Women’s Midweek Bible Study tomorrow, so it seemed like the perfect time to post my first recipe.

In every recipe I post, I will be careful to note which major allergens are avoided in the food. Each and every one will be dairy and tree-nut free because these are my allergies. When applicable, I will let you know if it can be made wheat, egg, peanut, or soy free as well. This recipe contains wheat and soy, and though it lists egg, you can easily leave the egg out and seal the dough with water.

So, let’s get started. First, gather your ingredients.


1 package of 2 puff pastry sheets. I like Pepperidge Farm.
2 cups cooked and finely diced chicken. (about 6 tenderloins or two breasts)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 cloves minced or crushed garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
5-6 slices of crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (I used thick cut, but regular is preferable)
8 dried apricots, finely diced.
1 cup chopped spinach (if using frozen, thaw and squeeze out excess moisture)
4 TBSP Tofutti Better than Sour Cream (packaging may be blue or white with green text– available in most grocery stores in dairy aisle)
1 egg, beaten and divided in two equal amounts.

1. Remove your puff pastry sheets from the freezer. They need to defrost 45 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.


2. Dice your chicken and cook, adding pepper, seasoned salt, garlic, and onion powder toward the end of cooking time.


3. Cook your bacon until crisp, let cool, then crumble into small pieces.
4. Chop your spinach and apricots.

(Note: the smaller you chop your ingredients, the better. It’s time consuming, but the roll will be easier and neater to cut if everything inside is tiny)


5. Combine chicken, bacon, spinach, apricot, Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, and one half of the beaten egg. Stir to combine well. Set aside.


6. Flour the surface of a clean countertop or table. Unfold your first pastry sheet. Mix 1/2 tsp of water with your remaining beaten egg and brush over the surface of the dough with a pastry brush (your fingers will work in a pinch).


7. Spread half of the chicken mixture over the surface of the dough, leaving 1″ clear at the bottom edge.


8. Carefully roll the dough, starting at the top edge. Pat the ends of the roll as you go to keep any filling from falling out.


9. Gently pat the seam with your fingers to seal the edge of the roll.


10. Wrap the finished roll in plastic wrap.
11. Repeat steps 6-10 with the second piece of dough.
12. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance of baking.

13. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


14. Remove plastic wrap and, using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch disks.


15. Place the pinwheels on a lightly greased baking pan. Lightly brush the tops with the egg and water mixture. I forgot– oops! But it makes the tops glossy and the filling less likely to fall out after they’re baked.


16. Bake for 15 minutes @ 400 degrees until lightly golden. Peek in around 12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes.


Serve them up! They’re best at room temperature. You can refrigerate them for a day or so, but the texture is best when they’re fresh. I actually only baked one of my rolls tonight so I could take pictures (and snack on them– sooo good!!). The second roll is in the fridge waiting to be baked fresh tomorrow morning. So I get to look like I got up at 5am to make these fancy little pinwheels, when they will only add 10 minutes to my morning routine– how awesome is that?

Give them a try and let me know what you think!