Forks over Knives now showing…..

You might want to check this out…it is a thought provoking film summarizing the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn, MD and their ground-breaking studies on cancer and cardiovascular disease. The evening is much more than a film.  They will  have an expert panel including Rip Esselstyn, the charismatic former pro triathlete and firefighter, who’s work has been featured on Good Morning America and the Dr. Oz show (live via Skype).  Also food samples and door prizes.

Check out the website, visit them on Facebook or feel free to contact Katherine Jassmann, Kelowna Organizer @ if you have further questions.

Soups on…It is still winter:)

Soup day is once a week at our house starting at the end of September going right through until Spring.  I love it. I make it in the morning, put it in the slow cooker and then I don’t have to think about dinner again until we are ready to eat. For our family, soup is a meal. We add a slice or two of our favorite bread, sometimes a salad (most often not) and we are good to go. I make my vegetable broth once or twice a month and freeze it or I buy “Harvest Sun- low sodium vegee cubes” 1 cube =2 cups broth. Our favorite bread is from Okanagan Grocery . Check out their website. Enjoy!:)


1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 small new potatoes, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup dry green split peas

1 tsp Braggs

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp cumin

1/8 tsp black pepper

In a large soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in 1/8 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth until onions are translucent.  Add the potatoes, carrots, stock, peas, Braggs, oregano, cumin, pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until peas are cooked OR put into slow cooker on low for 2 hours then on warm  until ready to eat. ( I made mine in early morning and served it at 6pm)  Optional: Can put ½ soup into blender and then return to pot.

I would double this next time. Only makes 4 large servings.


 1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced                                                                                          

1 large carrot, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1- 28 oz (796 ml) can diced tomatoes

1 19 oz (540 ML) can kidney beans

2 ¼ cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 ½ cups water

4 cups chopped kale or swiss chard

½ cup whole grain rotini or broken up pieces whole wheat spagetti

1/3 cup pot barley

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

¼ tsp pepper

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

I usually add another 1 cup of another chopped vegetable like chopped turnip or  green beans, or try using a leek to replace 1/2 onion.

Heat large pot over medium heat; add oil and onion and sauté until almost cooked, approx. 5 min.  Add carrots and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes, stir often. Add tomatoes, stock, barley and water. Bring to boil.  Add kale, spices, pasta and bring back to boil then simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

Add basil and balsamic vinegar if using.

  • if using slow cooker I put everything in except the pasta( I pre-cook a la dente) , beans and kale and add just before      serving


 4 ears corn or 4 cups frozen kernel corn

1 tbsp olive or canola oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped ( usually do ½ onion + 1 leek)

1 celery rib with leaves, chopped

1 large red skinned potato, peel on, and diced ( I usually do 1 small yam or sweet potato and 1 small red skinned potato skin on)

4 cup vegetable broth

1 cup soy milk (unsweetened)

1 large tomato, finely chopped for garnish

2 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pull back the green husks to expose the corn.  Remove the corn silk and bring the husks back up to cover the kernals. Place corn on baking sheet and roast for 25-30 mintues.  I only do this in summer when corn is fresh and in season and instead either roast the frozen kernel corn for 20 min. or often skip this step altogether.  It does taste better though when the corn is roasted.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large pot over med. Heat. Add the onion and celery, cook until softened about 5 min.  Add potato and stock and bring ot a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20-25 min.  Uncover, add the corn and cook for 10-15 mintues.

Remove from heat, ladle 2-3 cups of the soup into a food processor or blender, and process until smoother.  Stir puree back into the chowder, add the soy milk, season with salt and pepper  to taste. Garnish with tomato and basil.

  • I usually double this recipe for leftovers and freezer.

Heart matters…

February is Heart Month….

There are a few things that get my heart beating like riding my mountain bike, swimming a couple mornings per week and attempting the Gillian Michael’s “Ripped in 30” workout video, I dare you to try it! Statistics though, are kind of  boring but they also get my heart rate up. None of us ever thinks we are part of the statistics being quoted and for sure we don’t ever want to be A STATISTIC and we don’t want the people we love to be a statistic, but the statistics are scary and not made up. So here goes… (please read this slowly all the way to the end)

 Heart disease and stroke take 1 in 3 Canadians before their time and is the #1 killer of women – taking more women’s lives than all forms of cancer combined.

So what are the risks?

Nine in 10 Canadians (90%) have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke (smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity,obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes).

Each year, nearly 14,000 Canadians die from stroke. Each year, more women than men die from stroke.

Diabetes: According to the National Diabetes Surveillance System (2005), 6.6% of the population age 20 and over, have been diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers project an increase of diagnosed diabetes in Canada to 2.4 million by the year 2016.

Approximately 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

Diet: Canadians of all ages get more than one-fifth of their calories from “other foods,” which are food and beverages that are not part of the Four Food groups (real food).

Snacks, that is, food and drink consumed between meals, accounted for more calories than breakfast, and about the same number of calories as lunch.

Vegetables and fruit

Seven out of 10 children ages 4 to 8, and half of adults, do not eat the recommended daily minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruit.

56.2% of Canadians (age 12+) consume fewer than five servings of vegetables and fruit per day.

Eating out:According to Statistics Canada, almost 25% of Canadian household food dollars are spent in restaurants.

Nearly one in 10 meals and snacks is from a restaurant.

Of all the money spent on food in Canada, 40% is spent in foodservice outlets.

Statistics show that on any given day, 30% of kids living in North America visit a fast food restaurant.

Physical activity: Nearly half (49.5%) of Canadians ages 12 and over report being physically inactive.

Among Canadian women ages 12 and over, 52.5% are physically inactive.

Among Canadian men ages 12 and over, 46.5% are physically inactive.

Only 43% of people over the age of 65 are active; the fewest in any age group.

It’s estimated that if you are inactive and become physically active, you can reduce heart attack risk by 35% to 55%.

Children and physical activity: Over half of young people ages 5 to 17 years are not active enough for optimal growth and development. 82% of Canadian teenagers may not be active enough to meet international guidelines for optimal growth and development.Girls are significantly less active than boys with 64% of girls and 48% of boys being physically inactive.

Only 20% of Canadian children receive daily physical education in school, 41% receive one to two days per week, while 10% receive no physical education at all. These numbers get worse as children move through high school.

Physical education classes averaging 18 or more minutes a day can more than double the odds that an overweight or obese child becomes and remains physically active.


Ladies, you need to be a role model!  Your daughters will not be active if Mom is not active.  It takes committment. I know we are all busy and carving out time to get moving (with our bodies) and making healthy meals seems daunting, but for the sake of your health and your kid’s health start now. There is always time for the things that matter. Don’t wait until one of you are a statistic. Call a family meeting. Make a plan. Set goals that are sustainable and achievable. Make them SMART.  Make them  SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC AND TIMELY.  If your goal is to get everyone moving more, ask how it is going to happen. Break it into smaller goals that are specific. For example: I (we) will go for a walk 3 times a week for 20 minutes. Our health, our children’s health is our responsibility. If you heartily agree let me hear your goals, plans or even your frustrations.

Meal Plan Week Two

So, how did it go?  Did anyone meal plan last week?  A definite stress buster and  less waste (leftovers are planned for) . I encourage you,  try it for a week. 🙂

Meal Plan-Week Two

Sunday           Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas with salsa & guacamole

Monday           Leftover Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas with salsa & guacamole

Tuesday          Roasted Pepper & chipotle Sauce pasta, spagetti squash, sauteed swiss chard with balsamic vinegar, roasted asparagus

Wednesday     Split Pea Soup, 1 thick slice alpine bread

Thursday        Steamed brown rice, szechwan green beans, sesame baked tofu, roasted beets

Friday             Leftover rice, Greek salad, maple roasted salmon

 Saturday         Taco Salad (yes this is a meal!)

BLACK BEAN AND SWEET POTATO ENCHILADAS (a family favorite) serves 6-8

 2 Large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and diced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large garlic clove, minced

½ tsp crushed chili pepper flakes

One 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

One 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (low sodium)

1 tbsp chili powder

Salt and pepper

1 cup kernel corn

½ cup green or red pepper or green beans or broccoli (small pieces)

2 cups salsa

6-8 large whole grain tortillas

¼ finely chopped red onion or green onion

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Spread sweet potatoes or yams in a single layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and spritz lightly with oil.  Roast until tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in large skillet  medium-low heat and add garlic, chili flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add beans, tomatoes, corn, other vegetables,  chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.  Saute until vegetables slightly tender. Stir in sweet potatoes and simmer about 5 mintues. Set aside.

Spread thin layer salsa over bottom of 9×13 baking pan.  Place tortillas on flat work surface.  Spoon sweet potatoe/bean mix evenly onto the tortillas and then roll them up.  Place filled and rolled tortilla seam side down in baking dish. Spoon any extra filling on top. Spread salsa, sprinkle with onion. Cover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot, topped with guacamole.

I usually serve this meal with either cucumber slices or a fruit salad.


Handful healthy tortilla chips per person (large plate) crumbled slightly

Romaine or mixed lettuces – approx. 2-3 cups loosely measured per person

Add the rest of the ingredients on top of lettuce evenly divided per 4 persons or set out as a buffet to “build your own salad”.

1-2 red peppers chopped

½ -1green pepper chopped

2 green onions chopped or ½ cup red onion thinly sliced

½ cup black olives sliced or whole

1  chopped cucumber

1-2 shredded or chopped carrots

1 cup frozen kernel corn thawed

1 avocado chopped or 1-2 tbsp guacamole per person

1 19 oz tin of black beans or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Top with fresh salsa and 1-2 tbsp taco salad dressing per person

Taco Salad Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil + 2 tbsp water

¼ cup vinegar

1/8 cup brown sugar (not packed)

Scant ¼ cup ketchup

Pepper, salt, chili powder to taste

Beans and Lentils…

Okay, I know most people don’t really like beans and lentils. They have a bad reputation . I think we just don’t know how to cook them and of course for the dreaded  “flatulence”.  But…they are an excellent source of fibre both soluble and insoluble, which helps lower cholesterol levels and they help maintain bowel health. They are low in fat, low-gylcemic and are great source of protein.  But did you also know that they are good for the planet?  They are actually known as “pulses” and many types are grown right here in our very own Saskatchewan, Canada! The plants actually replenish the soil with nitrogen which means no fertilizers are used and  they don’t need alot of water.  Check out for more great info. I just picked up this new recipe book (at Costco for $16.99-highly recommended)  and have already made 2 amazing recipes that are in this week’s meal plan. The “Coconut Dal Curry” on pg 151 was really, really good. (See recipe below) A great recipe for those of you who are not really sure anything “curry” is good. It is mild but loaded with flavor and super easy to make. The other was the “classic Three-Bean Salad” on page 79. It was sweeter than it needs to be for our taste buds so next time I would decrease the honey by half. (Even Kirsten liked it who usually picks out every chickpea!) They really take the “fear” out of cooking beans and  have some tips for reducing the gas factor. If you have not been cooking with beans, chickpeas, peas or lentils a whole lot  please take it slow.  Your body will need to adjust.

Coconut Dal Curry (modified slightly)

1 1/2 cups dry red lentils

olive oil, for cooking

1 large onion, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp raw sugar

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

one 14oz can lite coconut milk

1 tsp garam masala (optional)

Handful of chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Put the lentils in a medium saucepan, cover with water by an inch or so, bring to a boil and then simmer for 12-15minutes until soft. Drain. (mine were done in about 10 minutes with no water left to drain). Meanwhile, heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a separate pan and saute the onion for 7-8 minutes, until golden. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the curry, sugar, chili powder, salt and then the cooked lentils and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cook until it has the consistency you want- dal can be runny but will thicken up as you cook it. Stir it occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the garam masala and sprinkle with cilantro if you are using. Serve with brown rice or basamati and some side steamed vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, peas.

*Wondering where to buy red lentils?  I buy them in bulk from Springfield Bulk Foods, but you can probably get them anywhere. You can also pick up your spices there  in small amounts especially if you are not sure about using them again.  The garam masala is not spicy, just adds a nice flavor to the dish. Enjoy:)

Meal Plan Week One

Meal Planning is the best strategy you can use to making healthier meals and de- stressing the 4 pm “what am I going to make for dinner?” frenzy.  Depending on your grocery shopping day, take stock of what you have on hand that needs to be used up and then plan away.  Make extras for leftovers for lunches or the evenings you know are going to have everyone running out the house early.  Grocery shop according to your plan. Be flexible during the week to move your plan around from one day to the next. I already feel better knowing that my week is planned out…. see below. (I will start adding recipes as I can:) Just substitute your family favorites for your own.

Meal Plan-Week One

Sunday           Brown Rice, Coconut Dal Curry, steamed cauliflower,carrots, peas

Monday           Leftovers or Black Bean Quesadillas with salsa & guacamole

Tuesday          Miso Salmon, Brown Rice Pilaf (use leftovers), steamed broccoli, Bean Salad

Wednesday     Minestrone Soup, 1 thick slice alpine bread

Thursday        Whole wheat linguini & spaghetti squash with Garlic & Olive oil and leftover salmon,  steamed green beans, roasted red peppers, mushrooms & zucchini

Friday             Brown Rice with Stir Fried Vegetables (mushrooms, green & red cabbage, snap peas, carrot, red peppers) & Homemade Peanut Sauce

 Saturday         Homemade Thai Pizza on Whole Spelt Crust

                        (leftover peanut sauce base with zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, red pepper, topped with crushed peanuts and bean sprouts)

But I don’t like Raisins or tofu…

“No Mom, you don’t like raisins”, “yes I do like them now”. “No, you don’t like raisins, remember?” Kirsten, my 19-year old daughter pleaded with me after finding raisins in my last batch of morning glory muffins. I have even amazed myself. Our tastebuds can actually change.  I hated raisins so much that I would almost gag on them.  My mom will testify to this and will probably be quite shocked to learn that I now eat them.  We , my brother and 2 sisters, have for years blamed her for our hatred of raisins after being force fed rice pudding with raisins. We all have imprinted in our memories the time she made us sit at the table  for what seemed an eternity and finish every morsel. You know the line about “think of all the starving children in Africa”. I’m not sure when the change actually happened but it has.

Our relationship with food has alot to do with what we were exposed to as a child. Our kids are watching what we eat and how adventurous we are with food.  If I could do it all over again, I would have introduced more foods to my kids, more than once or twice.  I had never tasted an avocado or sushi or indian food until the last few years.  It takes time to develop our taste buds so don’t give up.  Be adventurous. Model it. You might even like Tofu :).

Morning Glory Muffins (tasty, energy packed, and as healthy as I can get them- make them small)

3 cups whole grain wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/8 cup demarra brown sugar

4 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups grated carrot

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2 apples cored and shredded (peel on)

1/2 cup unsweetened appplesauce + 1 tsp b. powder

2/3 cup grapeseed oil

1 cup pureed pumpkin

2/3 cup honey

4 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl mix together flour, oats, b. sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix and then add in shredded carrots, raisins and walnuts.

3. In a separate bowl stir together shredded apple, applesauce, oil, pumpkin, honey and vanilla.

4. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scoop into 24 muffin tins.

5. Bake about 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.