S U M M E R. There are so many great things about this season and I wanted to do a round- up that includes a little bit of everything from some other bloggers and a few of my favourites featured here on OHP. There are some recipes, DIYs/ printables, local activities, fashion tips, and a few other goodies in the mix. Scroll down and check out some fun ideas for these warm and sunny days!
How’s everyone handling the heat? I thought now would be a good time to put up a recipe that’s delicious anytime, but especially good when you’re looking for a refreshing treat. I used this recipe as the base with a few adjustments, and was really happy with how they turned out. Adding turmeric to these citrus popsicles gives them a nutritious boost and adds a unique flavour, and as long as you don’t add too much, you’ll only just be able to taste it as a nice compliment to the sweetness of the orange. Add a little mint or basil if you want to experiment with flavour combos a little more.
2 ripe bananas
2 – 2 1/2 cups orange juice
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1. Pop all of the ingredients except the turmeric in a blender and puree until smooth. Add another 1/2 cup orange juice if necessary to help the mixture blend well.
2. Add turmeric a little bit at a time and taste as you go. Add as little or much as desired until you reach the flavour balance you like.
3. Pour the mix into popsicle molds and freeze until ready. That’s it!
Canada has a big birthday coming up this weekend and there’s lots to come to OHP to help celebrate our amazing country turning 150. To kick off the week of patriotic posts, what better than a recipe inspired by the colours of our flag? This red and white parfait is a healthy snack option (that only takes 3 steps to make!) for a Canada Day party or picnic and even though it’s inspired by July 1st, it’s perfect anytime as a great snack of breakfast option. See below for how to make them at home.
Recipe makes two parfaits
– fresh organic strawberries, sliced
– 2 cups organic vanilla yogurt
-chia pudding (see below for instructions)
Start by making the chia pudding: in a jug or bowl mix 2 cups of organic milk with 1/2 cup of chia seeds (you can also add a tsp of vanilla extract). Stir well and allow to sit for 20 minutes+ or overnight.
2. When the chia pudding is ready build the parfaits by alternating scoops of the vanilla yogurt with the chia pudding and strawberries. Tip: If you want to create distinct layers, use the yogurt as a barrier to help keep the chia pudding from blending in with everything. Ie use a layer of yogurt after each layer of chia pudding and strawberries.
3. Repeat until the jars are full and top with some strawberry slices. Serve & enjoy!
Looking for more ideas to celebrate Canada? See the links below!
Have you ever tried bison? How about another exotic or game meat? Sometimes stepping out of your culinary comfort zone has a big pay out and these burgers were that for me. If you’re looking for something a little different to grill up this Summer- maybe Dad would love these for Father’s Day, or how about for that Canada Day BBQ?- these won’t disappoint. I love that bison is similar to beef, so it’s not too unfamiliar for those less adventurous, but the meat itself is amazing and these beauties contain no binding (no egg, breadcrumbs, etc). Just good, simple, delicious ingredients. I originally made these as sliders as part of my menu for Will’s surprise 30+1 birthday last month, but wanted to re- create them in full form to share on OHP since they blew away my expectations (read more about the menu at the end of this post). The bison I used for this recipe is from one of my favourite stores that I’ve shopped at for years, Heritage Meats, and after an amazing experience serving up an exotic meats menu for Will’s party, I teamed up with them to recreate and share the recipe. You’ll never look at a beef burger the same way again. Promise.
2 lb ground buffalo/ bison
2 medium yellow onions
1 bulb + 4 cloves of garlic
Aged white cheddar cheese
Pretzel buns (or your favourite burger bun)
2 cups arugula
5 large russet potatoes
4 cups organic beef broth
1 tsp organic corn starch
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the russet potatoes and slice into large fries. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Shake onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown/ slightly charred (approx 45 minutes to one hour). Turn the fries after 1/2 an hour in the oven.
2. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic and remove any excess outer layers, making sure it maintains it’s shape. Place on a piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the garlic for approx 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown and soft. If you have room in your oven, place it on another rack while the fries cook, otherwise roast the garlic separately ahead of time.
2. While the fries are cooking, finely dice one of the onions and crush the cloves of garlic. In a large bowl, combine onion and garlic with the ground buffalo. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well.
3. Form the mixture into patties 1/2″ thick and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Either cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to cook or cook immediately.
4. When ready, bring your BBQ or grill to medium heat and space the patties evenly over the heat. Flip after 5- 7 minutes and grill until cooked through (approx 10- 15 minutes total at medium heat). Place some slices of the aged white cheddar on the burgers a few minutes before they’re ready if you prefer melted cheese.
5. While the burgers are cooking, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium/ high heat. Slice the remaining onion and mushrooms and sauté them separately (don’t clean the pan!). Set aside until ready to build the burgers. In the same pan, heat the 4 cups of organic beef broth and add the cornstarch to thicken slightly (if desired) to make the au jus for dipping (so, SO good!). The beef broth will absorb some of the flavours left over from the onions and mushrooms and make for some tasty dipping.
5. To build the burgers, scoop some Dijon mustard and mayo onto the buns, along with some of the roasted garlic. Next add the sautéed mushrooms and onion, followed by the burger patty. Top off with slices of the aged white cheddar (if you haven’t already melted it on) and arugula. Secure the top of the bun with a bamboo skewer and serve with the fries (and au jus, if desired). Now just try going back to your regular beef burger. 😉
This is a delicious twist on a traditional beef burger and one you’ll hopefully love making throughout the year. If serving with the au jus, cutting the burgers in half once built makes dipping easier and (slightly) less messy.
More about that exotic meats menu…
Last month I surprised Will with a 30+ 1 party (aka a belated 30th) and when it came time to plan the menu I knew I wanted to do something different, a little crazy even. I thought it over and ultimately decided to go with a menu that was waaay different than anything I had ever done before, something totally out of my comfort zone and experience: a menu made up of a variety of exotic meats. I know of restaurants that serve up protein that’s less common than our typical beef and chicken and I had a hunch one of my favourite stores might be able to help me plan the menu. I’ve shopped at Heritage Meats since they opened in 2003- way before kids, going gluten- free, etc- because I love their passion for food and the quality selection they offer. I called to find out what they carried and I wasn’t disappointed, ultimately deciding on a selection of five to try: crocodile, buffalo, kangaroo, boar, and camel- cooked up in different recipes and served alongside some BBQ chicken just in case our families weren’t in an adventurous mood. I didn’t play it safe, I Googled and Googled and Googled how to cook the different meats (and no one got food poisoning, yay!) and Will loved the crazy menu. This was some of the most fun I’ve had with food in a while and I couldn’t have pulled it off so calmly if it weren’t for the advice and help from a few of the staff members at Heritage Meats.
Please note this post is not sponsored or endorsed. I have shopped at this store since it opened in 2003 and they were the first place I thought of when I decided on an exotic menu for Will’s birthday. When I originally called to ask for help narrowing down the menu, the service and help I received both over the phone prior to visiting and in- store was exceptional (and I did not mention I was a blogger to try to get ‘special attention’). This has always been my experience with the staff of this store and it led me to reach out to them to partner on this recipe. They kindly provided the buffalo and aged cheddar cheese to help me recreate the recipe I served at Will’s birthday and I whole- heartedly recommend you check them out online to learn more and pay them a visit. Whether you’re passionate about food and care about it’s quality, or seek specialty products, this store is a destination worth the drive and the staff will be the finishing touch of a great shopping experience. It’s been a pleasure shopping with them over the past 13+ years and even more so partnering with them here on OHP. Shops like this keep my love for food alive and I’m so grateful to them for their dedication to what they do.
About Heritage Meats
Located in Langley, BC, Heritage Meats specializes in gourmet, high- quality, and specialty foods including gluten- free, organic, and premium quality meats. Since opening in 2003, it’s become a destination, offering a selection of everything from deli items, pantry staples, and meat to gourmet and specialty items (including exotic meats!) hard to find in most stores. All of the meat and poultry carried in the store is non- medicated- no hormones, antibiotics, or animal by- products- and the friendly staff can help you with any questions you may have.
In addition to the exotic meats mentioned in this post, they also carry a selection of other quality meat and deli items:
– Beef (non medicated Alberta beef, dry aged for flavour and tenderness)
– Chicken (local, non medicated, air chilled)
– Pork (local, non medicated, free run)
– Sausages (made in house, no fillers, gluten free)
– Entrees (made in house by the shop’s chef, with a large selection of gluten free options)
To learn more about the store and it’s product offerings, visit the Heritage Meats website and find them on social media:
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..!
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
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.
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.
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
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 here, here, 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!
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
smoothies: the vitamin vehicle
superhero breakfasts to keep them going (and going!)
family- friendly dinners
healthier snacks & treats
make it yourself make it better
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)
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:
It’s kind of crazy to think about, but Spring Break is just around the corner… What’s everyone doing- are you heading out of town or staying close to home? If you’re stuck for meal ideas to get you through the week, I’ve got you covered!
Whether you have the kids home all week or are sending them off to camp/ activities/ the grandparents, let’s try and make the evenings a little easier, shall we? I’ve rounded up 5 of my favourite meals that the whole family will love, each taking less than 20 minutes to whip up, with a few slow cooker ideas so you can prep everything ahead of time and have dinner take care of itself.
…Now if only the wine would pour itself! 😉
There are two ways to check out the Spring Break Menu Plan:
Before I say anything else, let me just put this put this out there: is there anything better than potatoes and bacon??? I won’t sit here and tell you this is the healthiest soup recipe out there, because it’s not. But it tastes AMAZING. This is a soup for when you’re craving comfort food- something hearty and filling- and what delivers that better than carbs?
My brother gets all the credit for this recipe, he’s an amazing cook and he was super nice and not only shared the recipe with me, but gave me tips along the way to make it as delicious as possible (tip: when it doubt, add more butter! 😉 ). The ingredients are simple and the results are all kinds of YUM, I hope you give it a try next time you get a craving to make soup!
I’m just going to put this out there: who can resist a good sugar cookie? Especially when it’s made with love and- added bonus- heart shaped? With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I thought it was a good time to bring out the heart shaped cookie cutters and whip up a batch. Ari’s favourite are these chocolate chip cookies, but sugar cookies are a close second. We did cut- outs with mini hearts for a fun extra touch and I think they turned out great.
I used this recipe , but cut it in half since it makes a lot of cookies. And even though the original recipe I shared is gluten/ dairy free, you can simply swap in unbleached flour and butter if you’d prefer the classic version (the cookies we made were gluten free but I used butter). It’s a classic recipe that’s versatile and easy to adapt, so whether you have to make some substitutions or not, they’re a crowd- pleaser! (I tried to save a few take a some more photos but they were gone in no time!).
1. Once you’ve mixed your dough, divide it equally. Add red food colouring to one half and knead until it’s mixed in (or maybe go for a cute marble effect!). Roll dough to 1/8″- 1/4″ thick.
2. Using a large cookie cutter, cut out the cookies in the desired shapes.
3. For the cutouts, use a small heart- shaped cookie cutter in the centre of the large cookies and swap the centres (pink into the plain and vice- versa). You can also leave the centres empty as a cute alternative.
4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and place the cookies carefully on the sheets (the shapes can warp, so be careful when transferring them).
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 6- 8 minutes and allow to cool.
6. Optional: add icing & sprinkles for a fun touch.