3 Flavour Marbled NiceCream

I scream, you scream… it’s hard to think of a Summer where there wasn’t a day spent at the beach served up with a scoop or two of my favourite flavour (usually bubble gum- you know the kind with real bits of gum in it?- or cotton candy). And it’s still a favourite treat of mine, no matter what time of year. Buuuuut, since we’re headed into the hottest time of the year I thought what better time than now to share a recipe for a sweet frozen treat that’s tasty and- gasp!- healthy too (can you guess the hidden uber- healthy ingredient???). And if you haven’t tried making your own ice cream/ froyo/ nice cream, now’s the perfect time to try. In case you’re unfamiliar, nice cream is the dairy free sister to the classic dairy dessert we know and love. You can absolutely whip up this recipe with milk, but I’ve been wanting to try making nice cream and had a freezer full of frozen ripe bananas calling my name, so I went for it.

Ari and I spent a messy morning blending up the flavours (we went with blueberry, raspberry, and the secret flavour you’ll have to scroll down to find out about), and I now know what I’ll do from now on with all the bananas that get over- ripe when it’s too hot to bake banana bread. This takes about 15 minutes to make, and the mix is also perfect for popsicles. Your kids will love helping, everyone will love eating it, and you’ll love that it’s a healthy version of a favourite Summer sweet treat. Now about that secret ingredient and how to make your own nice cream at home..!

Ingredients

6- 10 ripe bananas (you don’t have to be frozen, mine were just in the freezer waiting to be made into something yummy)

1 cup each of your favourite frozen fruits; for ours we used blueberries, raspberries, and kale (how’s that for a sneaky/ healthy secret ingredient?!)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

2 tsbp honey or maple syrup (optional)

1- 2 cups of water, dairy- free milk, or milk

Directions

1. Start by blending all of your bananas as if you were making a smoothie. I added about 1 cup of dairy- free milk to mine to help get a thick/ creamy/ smooth consistency (we splurged on a Blendtec a few years ago and love it for things like smoothies and soups). The more flavours you want to make, the more bananas you’ll want (I used 10 for this recipe).

2. Once you’ve got the banana mixture smooth, pour it into a large jug and set aside. To make the green nice cream, I juiced a few few kale leaves (you don’t need very many as the colour is really strong). For each flavour, combine 1 cup of frozen or fresh fruit with 1- 2 cups of the banana mixture. For the green, add 1 tbsp of kale juice (you won’t be able to taste the kale, but if you prefer you can add some vanilla extract and/ or honey). Pour each colour/ flavour into their own container until you’ve made all the flavours you want to include.

3. Scoop spoonfuls of each flavour into a baking dish until it’s full, putting different colours/ flavours throughout (this is what will help create the marble effect).

  

4. Drag a skewer or chopstick through the mixture to create a marble effect- make sure to go all the way to the bottom so the nice cream is marbled throughout, not just on top.

   

5. Place your dish in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to freeze. When you want to serve, take it out of the freezer for 10- 15 minutes to soften. Scoop and enjoy!

  

  

   

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Both our juicer and blender get a lot of use in our house. They were two kitchen items we researched and invested some money into, since we wanted ones that would hold up well to use and last a long time. So far we’ve been more than satisfied with them and they do a great job; they were both splurges and we bought them at different times as we were able to put the money aside. I use them for many of the recipes that appear on the blog and get asked fairly often about which ones we own. The juicer we have is the Breville Juice Fountain Elite 800JEXL and we have the Blendtec TB-621-20 Total Blender. I’d highly recommend them both and worth the investment, especially if you enjoy making healthy food at home.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 

On the Go Eating: Avocado, Red Onion & Sprouts Wrap

 

I’m not sure about you, but I find I skip lunch more than any other meal. It’s a busy time of day, and it’s easy to forget about eating when you’ve got a bunch of stuff on the go. Even if you’re hungry it may just be a matter of not having anything ready or sometimes it’s as simple as forgetting to pack something for yourself when you pack up to take the kids somewhere- I’m usually so focused on packing them up that I completely forget that I should pack a lunch for me as well. Haha true story more often than I care to admit.

So cue some meal planning and trying to get organized a little in advance. And if you tend to eat on the go, it helps to have something you can grab out of the fridge in the morning, instead of throwing something together in a rush. Wraps are a favourite of mine when it comes to lunch, especially if I’m out and about around midday. This recipe is loaded with flavour and is a healthy on- the- go lunch option. Pair with some other grab- and- go items like cut up veggies or salad and you’ve got a filling meal that’s convenient and didn’t have you picking up a heavy meal at the drive through. Added note: the sprouts in this recipe are an easy item to grow yourself and I’ll be sharing more about them and the kefir cheese I used in later posts.

Ingredients

Wrap (I opted for an organic spelt one for myself in this recipe, but pick your fave)

1 avocado, pitted and sliced

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh sprouts*

2 tbsp kefir cheese with garlic & dill* (or use a cream cheese with dill and garlic)

I’ll be sharing more about these in later posts, see more info about them following the recipe

  1. Start by slicing everything up and spreading the cheese in the wrap- tip: to make wrapping easier, place it and all other contents to one side of the middle.

2. Add in the avocado and red onion…

3. … followed by the sprouts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

4. Fold in the sides on the wrap, then roll it up starting with the end with the contents closest to you. As you roll, continue to fold in the sides to keep the wrap tight and prevent the contents from falling out. Slice in half to serve.

5. Enjoy immediately or pack in your lunch. Use a toothpick to help hold it’s shape if desired.

For easy make- ahead lunches, pack half of a wrap with other ready- to- go options such as cut up veggies or salad (see the quinoa version of this pasta salad in this post). Bento boxes or other divided containers are perfect for this. We got ours on Amazon and you can find similar ones herehere, and here. They’re great for prepping meals ahead of time and stack neatly in the fridge.

 

If you want to learn more about kefir and it’s benefits (ie why it’s great to use instead of traditional milk products, such as cream cheese), check out this book by Donna Schwenk as a great reference. You can also purchase everything you need to make your own kefir at home, including the kefir grains online. All you need are some grains, milk (I prefer to use organic), a mason jar with lid, and a metal mesh food strainer. 

For the sprouts in this recipe, I used the organic Sprouting Seeds Blend from West Coast Seeds. These are a fun and simple way to get your kids involved in growing their own food right in their own kitchen (also great if you don’t have a large space for an edible garden but still want to grow your own food- more on that coming soon!) and only take a few days until ready to eat. You can buy a kit like this three tier sprouting kit to grow multiple varieties at once or use a mason jar with a screen for a smaller- scale set up (I’ll be showing you what this looks like in an upcoming post). The best part: all you need is water to grow them! 

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

It All Begins with Food {Cookbook Review}

Food is a universal language we all speak, something that unifies us. It’s something to be enjoyed, and also the fuel we provide our bodies. If you’d followed the blog for a while, you’ll know that our family loves food, albeit with a few bumps in the road- we’re still gluten free, but other restrictions have since been removed from Ari’s diet- and I’ve sought out options as healthy staples in our diets. We enjoy as many home- cooked and healthy, whole- food based meals as we can, but still indulge in comfort food, etc when we get a craving or are short on time (everything in moderation, no?).

Before kids and since, I love a good recipe. There’s something I find soothing and therapeutic about preparing a meal (note: when the kids are cooperating); it’s a simple pleasure I find a lot of joy in. And while I turn to online sources for much of my inspiration when trying out a new meal idea, I still love turning the pages of a cookbook. There’s something about the tactile nature of running my fingers down the pages and marking recipes to try with sticky notes that I love. So when I had the chance to review the new cookbook by Love Child Organics founder Leah Garrad- Cole, I looked forward to the opportunity.


“Welcome to It All Begins With Food, a book dedicated to clean, whole- food recipes for your entire family”.


Leah and I share the same outlook towards food, with a focus on the quality and integrity of ingredients, especially when it comes to feeding our kids. There is a lot to be said about the source of our food today (how was it grown, where did it come from, etc) and while this isn’t always black and white, Leah offers up a valuable resource in her new cookbook for everyone from new parents to passionate home cooks alike. I discovered her line of quality baby food, Love Child Organics, soon after Ari was born and have had the pleasure of being a brand ambassador with the company and watching it grow over the past few years. The introduction of It All Begins With Food was something I was looking forward to, and now am happy to be sharing my thoughts on the book here with readers. This cookbook will grow with your family, and even if your kids are past the baby and toddler years, it is full of information and recipes you will appreciate and enjoy.

This is a beautiful cookbook, filled with photos and tables of information that compliment Leah’s recipes. But it isn’t all eye candy, and second only to the recipes themselves, the information Leah has gathered in this cookbook make it a great reference to have on hand. What does it really mean to be organic? What’s a GMO? What foods should I avoid introducing to my baby? Are just a few of the questions Leah addresses in It All Begins With Food, along with a section I love, make it yourself, make it better, which features suggestions on how to make pantry staples at home to avoid unnecessary ingredients such as sugar, salt and preservatives. 


“There is an overabundance of of information out there, and it can make the task of feeding your family really confusing and overwhelming. We all want our children to eat well, but it’s hard to know where to start, and with our busy lives, it’s really difficult to find the time to make it happen.”


Alongside the recipes, Leah has included information to help guide readers through food topics that we face today, including:

  • organic foods (one of Leah’s favourite topics)
  • The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen- foods grown with the most pesticide residue and least, respectively
  • GMOs- what are they and how to avoid them
  • alternative names for sugar used in ingredients lists
  • clean kitchen/ pantry shopping list + tools and equipment 
  • meal planning tips + planner
  • getting your kids involved in cooking + food prep
  • information, tips, and serving suggestions for introducing first foods to baby

 

While this cookbook is a wealth of information for starting out your little one on solids (see For Baby, below), Leah has covered healthy suggestions for the whole family from start to finish: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, creating your own pantry staples (I’m looking forward to diving into this chapter more in the coming months), and recipes for entertaining. I tend to avoid recipes that contain ingredients that are hard to find or seem too complicated; most of the time I have the kids with me when shopping and cooking, so I’ve subscribed to the adage simpler is better on several levels when it comes to the food we eat.

And that also applies to the nature of the ingredients themselves: Leah uses common, clean/ healthy, simple- to- find- ingredients in her recipes, with prep and cooking time around an hour total for many of the recipes (many less than that). This is a cookbook with crowd- pleasing recipes, but doesn’t forget about the person creating the meal. You don’t have to have kids to appreciate her method, but it’s definitely a cookbook created by a parent with parents in mind: healthy food that doesn’t take hours to prep and cook. Thank you Leah!


“With an unwavering focus on replacing ingredients that have little nutritional value with ones that are nutritionally dense, It All Begins With Food ensures that every bite counts while making the end result is pleasurable and the ingredients are easy to find.”


Chapters in the book:

purees & mashes

finger foods

smoothies: the vitamin vehicle

superhero breakfasts to keep them going (and going!)

easy lunches

family- friendly dinners

healthier snacks & treats

let’s celebrate

make it yourself make it better


 

For Baby

For parents looking for information, tips, and recipes for feeding their baby, this book is a wealth of knowledge and I wish it had been around when Ari was a baby. As a Mom, Leah speaks from her own experiences, as well as from the wealth of information and knowledge she has amassed since starting an organic food company; I love this combination of experience and knowledge and I feel this approach will appeal to many parents beginning the food journey with their children. Here are just a few of the highlights for me that I appreciated Leah including:

  • Canadian & US official infant feeding recommendations
  • suggestions on when to start introducing solids + signs to look for that your baby may be ready
  • what foods to start with
  • food allergies + reactions (also the difference between a true allergy and an intolerance/ food sensitivity)
  • how much food + how often
  • baby food recipes (purees + mashes), tips + combinations

    

Whether you’re passionate about healthy cooking, want to incorporate more whole- foods recipes into your weekly meal plan, or starting out a little one on solids, It All begins With Food  includes ideas for all members of the family, and will be a welcome addition to any cookbook library. 

To learn more about Love Child Organics, visit them online:

Website | Facebook | Instagram

It All Begins With Food available online at Amazon.ca and Indigo

Disclosure: I received this cookbook in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog post contains affiliate links. 

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TPB Fitness Series: The 5 Habits of Healthy Eaters

We’ve all heard the saying ‘an apple a day…’ but it can be tough trying to actually eat the way we should. My general attitude is everything in moderation- I try to eat healthy the majority of the time but I don’t deny myself treats as a reward (especially after the kids are in bed for the night!). I know this isn’t a perfect philosophy but for the most part it works. Irina’s post this month is loaded with some great tips to help us improve our eating habits and overall health and I love how she always includes some simple ways to incorporate her advice into your day- to- day life without it seeming too overwhelming. What little tricks do you have up your sleeve to help eat healthier?

From Irina:

Healthy eating is a priority for most people and yet such a large number of us struggle in this respect! If you fall in this category, not all is lost!


Over the years I’ve seen healthy eaters consistently demonstrate several habits which are a dramatic differentiator between them and the general population. In this article, I will go over what 5 of these are.

Healthy eaters understand macronutrients

Our bodies need protein, carbohydrates and fats and all three are extremely important! These are called macronutrients, and our bodies were designed to utilize all three, as well as water and a tiny amount of essential minerals and vitamins that our bodies can’t make themselves. Carbs should contribute ~50% of our daily food intake, proteins ~30% and fats ~20%. This is necessary for your body to function properly regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or what have you.

Now I want to bust a myth for you: Carbs, proteins and fats are not bad for you, it’s the type you eat that is bad for you, and also the amount.

For example, fruits and veggies are carbs. And so is chocolate. Which one is better for you?

Butter and olive oil are both fats. Which one is healthier?

Finally, our bodies will store anything that’s in excess: it doesn’t care if we give it excess carbs, proteins or fats. If it’s in excess, it will store it!

Healthy eaters understand that carbs, proteins and fats are all important and make sure their diet includes all three!




Healthy eaters understand their own eating habits!

An excellent way to truly understand your eating habits is to hold a food journal over the course of a couple of weeks and see if you roughly fall under the percentages I outlined above. Sometimes it becomes super apparent right away that you are heavy on one of the macronutrients and lacking in another (remember what your body does with excess stuff??). Other times you will realize that you have a habit of eating something sugary after lunch, etc.

Once you understand where you are at, you can start to tweak things. Add some protein if you’re carb heavy, brainstorm an alternative for your sugary snack, etc.

And speaking of snacks…
Healthy eaters pay attention to their snacks and drinks

When you’re thinking about your eating habits, don’t forget snacks and drinks! Those count too! In fact, sugary drinks are incredibly high in calories – and that includes things like your morning coffee.

Alcohol is another big one – here in BC we don’t even know what’s in our drinks, or how many calories they have. But make no mistake, drinks have calories too. And they contribute nothing healthy to your body (although I do agree that they can contribute to keeping your soul happy – I too indulge in the occasional Friday evening drink)

That being said, healthy eaters consistently prep healthy snacks and make water their beverage of choice!


Healthy eaters do meal prep

Meal prep can be daunting but there are some tips and tricks to make it easier. Grocery shopping over the weekend and designating one or two meal prep days can go a long way.

Healthy eaters understand that eating at home and prepping meals ahead of time to avoid eating out is crucial to maintaining a good body weight!


Healthy eaters treat themselves –  but don’t do it often!

Healthy eating doesn’t mean you never get to eat anything delicious or indulge in life’s small pleasures. After all, if you can’t let go once in awhile and enjoy the wonderful food we have available to us, what’s the point? Me? I LOVE pastries and popcorn! Throw a croissant my way and I’ll stuff my face immediately with zero regrets. I just don’t do it all the time.That’s the secret!

When people attempt to become healthier, they restrict themselves too much. Treat yourself sometimes – just admit that it’s a treat and understand that there is nothing wrong with that.

Healthy eaters allow for treats – they just limit how often it happens.

Healthy eaters start small

Too many people fail at healthy eating because they do it all at once. I like to teach my clients to just focus on one goal at a time. Maybe it’s reducing the sugar in your coffee, or adding more veggies to your meals. Whatever that one thing is that’s most important to you, start there. Once you’ve achieved your first goal, move on to the next one.

Summary
Healthy eating is about understanding macronutrients, your eating habits and minimizing eating out. It allows for treats once in awhile and encourages people to take it one step at a time. How about you? How many of these healthy eating habits do you follow?

Don’t miss the other posts by Irina in this fitness series!


About Irina
Irina discovered fitness by accident after having her daughter and started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals such as moms juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active. Irina loves teaching people about fitness and working with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes.

To get in touch with Irina about her personal training services please email her at irina@toneeveryzone.ca, or get in touch through her website. You can also follow Irina on social media for more great fitness education tips:


About Tone Every Zone

Tone Every Zone is a mobile personal training company servicing New Westminster, as well as parts of Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Surrey. Tone Every Zone comes to you, saving you the cost of gym memberships, and eliminating the need to adhere to a schedule set by a commercial gym. To learn more, please visit: www.toneeveryzone.ca

Thank you to these partners for collaborating on this post series:



Photographer: Catherine Hilcove Photography Facebook | Instagram

Workout Apparel:
Underables Shown in this post: GROCERIES workout tee & leggings (worn by Irina)

LNBF Shown in this post: Melissa Light Active Hoodie & Suri Leggings (worn by Katherine)