Category Archives: Healthy

Green Apple, Green Tea Smoothie

Healthy Breakfast Idea!

Here is a healthy green smoothie that’s kids friendly packed with vitamins & minerals and they will gladly enjoy it without knowing there is spinach in it. You can make many variations of substituting other fruits in season but remember to keep it low in sugar. Berries are best as they are low in sugar and keep the milk low in fat as well. I used a tablespoon of agave and you can use that or substitute stevia or raw sugar to keep it healthy.

Chef’s notes: Stevia does not affect your blood sugar and Agave has higher sugar content but its lowGi for absorption!

green smoothie

 

Prep time 5 min                   blending time 1 min                  makes 2 smoothies

Ingredients

1 medium green apple, cored and diced

1 cup green tea (brewed earlier)

½ avocado

2 tbsp plain yogurt

2 cups milk

½ cup baby spinach leaves

1 tbsp blue agave nectar

1 tsp mint (optional)

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Divide the smoothie in two glasses and enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: 1 serving (360 ml): Calories 260; Carb 34 g; Fibre 4 g; Fat 11 g;  Sat Fat 3g;  Protein 10 g; Sodium 135 mg; sugar 29g;  Potassium 692 mg; Calcium 228; Vitamin A 197; Vitamin C 8

 

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Lucha Libre vs. Obesity & Diabetes

Fighting Obesity and Diabetes in the Latin Community!  

I am excited to share the good news that I will working with a small non profit group who are part of alternative media channel for the Latin Community (Las Perlas TV) who are heading a new campaign called Lucha Libre vs. Obesity & Diabetes in Toronto – where 7 Canadian-Latin American community leaders disguised as “Mexican Luchadores” (wrestlers who hide their identity behind flashy and elaborate costumes and masks) will participate in a “weight loss” competition to lose 15 pounds in 10 weeks through awareness of nutritional eating habits and improvements in their lifestyle.

LuchalibreVSobesity&diabetes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a link to their promo YouTube video to their kick off campaign where it’s fun and catchy and a great way to approach the topic with a culturally sensitive, positive manner.

I will be creating menus that consists of healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas for the whole family. I will be posting videos, recipes and pictures of the process so you can follow our exciting campaign and spread the word to anyone who is interested in eating delicious healthy food that uses Latin ingredients and also exploring world cuisine!

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasting Vegetables with Zaatar (Middel Eastern) Spices!

Roasting vegetables in the oven adds taste, saves time and you can make large quantity.  I love roasting Brussels sprouts in the oven as it has so much flavour than boiling them and you can add so much flavour by adding herbs, spices and favourite toppings like bacon and roasted nuts. The trick is once you serve roasted vegetables, your family members may never go back to boiled vegetables again. Here is a simple recipe for roasting even for picky eaters!

 Prep time 10 min                              cooking time 40 min                        serves 6

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Chef’s notes: I’ve added zaartar spice to Brussels sprouts; you can get it from any spice store or Middle Eastern store. It’s a combination of sumac, oregano/thyme and sesame seeds and it smells & taste so good and add it to any meats or vegetables. If you don’t have it, you can substitute dried oregano or Italian seasonings.

 Ingredients

 3 cups Brussels sprouts cleaned, washed and cut in half

3 tbsp canola or grape seed oil

1 tbsp zaartar spice or any dried herbs

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

 Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well with both hands
  3. In a large cookie sheet spread the sprouts mixer evenly and bake for 30 to 40 minutes
  4. Check on them often and move them around to get them roasted evenly
  5. When done, it should be crispy around the edges and moist in the middle
  6. Serve hot as a side dish

Nutritional Analysis: 1 serving (based on 1/2 cup): Calories 79; Carb 4 g; Fibre 2 g; Fat 7 g; Sodium 206 mg;  Potassium 171 mg

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Yigandes Plaki (Bean Stew Greek Style)

Healthy Bean Stew with Vegetables, Greek Style!

My friend threw a pot luck dinner party in Greek theme and I found this recipe which is really healthy, lowGi, vegetarian and delicious – perfect for cold winter evenings as a main dish. I modified this recipe and added olives, eggplant and roasted red peppers to bring the sweet flavours of the Mediterranean area. I also used three kinds of dried beans since I couldn’t find broad beans (works great) – this recipe is great with different textures with the combination of the beans and vegetables. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as everyone in the party did, great for left over as the flavour is actually better the 2nd day.

 Prep time 20 min                              cooking time 2 hrs                           serves 8 (side dish)

Chef’s note: I used 3 kinds of beans in this recipe (kidney beans, pinto beans and navy beans). Soak dry beans with plenty of water over night or at least 8 hours and cook beans for 5 minutes and drain, and recook for no bloating or gas. IMG_5143

Ingredients

3 cups of dry beans soaked overnight or soaked 8 hours (see instruction above)

1 tsp extra light olive oil

2 small yellow onions chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 celery stocks, chopped

4 gloves of garlic, chopped

2 large bay leafs

1 large cinnamon stick

1 cup vegetable stock

1 large Italian eggplant (they are firmer)

1 can of salt reduced tomatoes and its liquid

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup olives (unpitted olives)

2 whole roasted red peppers, chopped

2 tbsp chopped thyme

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp ground black pepper

Salt for taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven in medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent and add carrots, celery for few minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf and cinnamon stick and sauté few minutes.
  2. Add beans and mix well and add stock and cover and cook for 45 minutes
  3. Add chopped tomato & its liquid, tomato paste, black pepper and mix well and cook another 30 minutes
  4. Add eggplants, red pepper, olives and mix well and add ½ cup of water if needed. Cover and cook until beans and eggplant are tender over or 30 minutes,
  5. Fold in thyme, sparsely and cook another 5 minutes and adjust taste with salt if required
  6. Serve a main dish with a side salad or as a side dish with warmed pita bread!

Nutritional Analysis: 1 serving (based on 1 cup): Calories 169; Carb 28 g; Fibre 8 g; Fat 3 g; Sugar 7g, Protein 9 g; Sodium 304 mg;  Potassium 717 mg

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Swiss Style Bircher Muesli

Overnight Oats Muesli with fruits & nuts

Healthy Breakfast Idea!

When I lived in Germany close to Switzerland’s border during my chef training I had this style of muesli in many cafes and high end hotels and it became my favourite. This recipe was founded by Dr. Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner in Zurich early 1900’s who believed that natural ingredients “food of the sunlight” by nature was best for human health.

I made Bircher muesli all the time despite the cold months and varied the ingredients according to the season. It’s so tasty and hard to believe it’s healthy.  Similar to the traditional premade muesli you find in stores with nuts and fruits but creating your muesli with your choice of seeds, nuts and dried or fresh fruits and creating a healthier version to call your own!

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I love the portability of this muesli as it packs well where you can take it with you in the car, to the office, picnics and hikes. A healthy wholesome delicious breakfast to start your day!

 Prep time 5 min                                                Serves 6

 Chef’s Note: oats will expand after being soaked but not too much 1:1.3 ratio

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Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats (or quick oats)

½ cup sliced almonds

1 apple, graded with skin on

2 tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 cup low-fat yogurt

1 cup 2% milk or milk of your choice

Method

  1. Grate the apple and add lemon juice so it doesn’t oxidize
  2. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients and apple mixture mix well
  3. Transfer to a sealable container and store overnight in the fridge
  4. Divide muesli in bowls and add desired fruits or more milk or yogurt and enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: 1 serving = ½ cup soaked muesli, 120 ml: Calories 253; Fat 8 g; Carb 36 g; Fibre 8 g; Sugar 9 g; Protein 13 g; Potassium 461 mg; Calcium 165mg

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Quinoa Porridge with dried Fruits & Pumpkin seeds

Healthy Breakfast Idea!

Quinoa has become one of the fastest health food trends behind eating whole grains – its gluten free, has protein and its delicious hot or cold. I usually make this porridge with steel cut oats but this time decided to make it gluten free, vegan and nut free. You can make the same porridge with steel cut oats, brown rice or barley or combination of all three and serve with desired milk as this breakfast is healthy wholesome delicious and perfect for a cold winter morning to start your day. It’s also suitable for people with CVD, Diabetes diet.

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Prep time 2 min                                Cooking time 20 min                       Serves 6

Chefs Note: 1 cup dry quinoa = 3 cups cooked quinoa

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Ingredients

 1 cup quinoa (soaked and washed)

2 tbsp orange zest

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 apple, graded with skin on

2 cups water

 Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small stock pot and bring it to boil and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  2. Serve warm porridge with almond milk or desired milk

Nutritional Analysis: 1 serving = ½ cup cooked porridge, 120 ml: Calories 160; Fat 5 g; Carb 24 g; Fibre 3 g; Sugar 7g; Protein 6g; Potassium 209 mg; Calcium 17mg

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Spicy Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa Pilaf

I love working with Quinoa – it’s a versatile starch, carbohydrate (actually a seed, not a grain) grown in Central and South America and has high protein compound compared to other whole grains. I also say it’s a chameleon where it takes flavours from other ingredients that you incorporate so it tastes great. I say this with whole lot of love especially for South Asian food since it acts just like rice, taking on flavours but it has better nutritional value than rice.

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This is a simple recipe that can be prepared with little preparation – like I said earlier its very healthy and has protein, carbohydrate and good source of fibre. This is a low-GI food where it’s a great alternative to rice, pasta or potatoes and suitable for Celiac, Diabetes, CVD, Vegan and Vegetarian diet and tastes delicious!

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Prep time: 25 min            Cooking time: 25 min                      Serves 5 people (as a side dish)

Ingredients:

1 tsp canola oil

1 bay leaf

1 small cinnamon stick

3 gloves

1 green cardamom, pounded

1 small onion chopped

1 tsp curry powder (mixture of coriander, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and chili powder)

1 cup mixed vegetables

1 cup quinoa (soaked, washed and drained)

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly chopped coriander

2 tbsp toasted almonds

Method:

1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add bay leaf and cinnamon stick and fry 30 seconds. Add onion and fry until the onions are soft and add cloves & cardamom

2. Add curry powder mixture and fry for 2 minutes (it will burn so move it around quickly). Add mixed vegetables and mix well

3. Add quinoa and coat it well with onions and vegetables. Add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Adjust the taste with salt and add coriander and lower the temperature to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the all the water has been absorbed. Tuff off the stove and let it stand for another 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and sprinkle almonds and chopped coriander and serve warm.

Nutrients per serving (1/2 cup): Calories: 121; Carbohydrates: 17g; Protein: 6g; Fibre: 3g;  Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg;  Sodium: 350 mg

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