Chia pudding has to be the easiest make-ahead breakfast and it’s incredibly versatile.
It’s also very healthy as chia seeds pack a big punch. These little gems are full of essential fatty-acids, fibre, omegas, anti-oxidants, protein, and vitamins and minerals which support good heart, brain and bone health. They also stabilize blood sugar and fight belly fat and inflammation. It’s no wonder this superfood is becoming so popular.
If you find it hard to manage breakfast before work, chia pudding is a great option to have ready to simply grab and go. My husband often rushes off to work in the morning and loves to bring this to eat at his desk.
At home I take the time to turn my chia pudding into a pretty breakfast bowl with an assortment of fresh fruits or chia jam and sprinklings. It’s a lovely way to start my day.
The most basic version is simply 1 cup of milk to 1/4 cup chia seeds. For vegan options you can use nut milks such as almond or cashew, or soy milk if you wish to go nut-free.
Give the mixture a stir after 15 minutes or so, otherwise the chia can clump together which yields an undesirable texture.
This cherry chia jam was a huge hit with the littles. They ate the entire jar so next time I will definitely have to make a double batch.
Chia jam is so easy to make and it’s incredibly healthy. I make some every week with whatever fruit happens to be in season. And when nothing local is in season I often use frozen fruit instead. Dark cherry is my absolute favourite in the winter. It’s perfect with warm oatmeal on a cold winter’s day.
Garlic confit is incredibly easy to make and it’s a staple that we always have in our fridge. Compared to raw garlic it is rich, sweet and creamy. It’s great in marinades, mashed potatoes, sauces, soups and stews. I love using it as a base when I cook up greens. You can even spread it on bread. The garlic infused oil is perfect for roasting vegetables, in dressings and dips and adding to tossed pasta. Really, it can be drizzled on anything you fancy. It is so versatile.
There are two ways to make it – on the stovetop or in the oven.
2 or 3 heads of garlic, peeled (you can easily double or triple the recipe – use as much as you want)
enough olive oil to completely cover the garlic
Place peeled garlic cloves in a small saucepan, completely cover with olive oil, and slowly poach at a very low temperature for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.
Preheat oven to 275F. Place peeled garlic cloves in an oven proof dish, completely cover with olive oil, and bake for about an hour and a half until golden brown. Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.
The garlic confit can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks. The cloves should be completely covered with the oil.
When I started making these chocolate chip granola bars in the fall they quickly became a family favourite that was put into heavy rotation. I whip up a batch every week. They are easy to make, tasty, and infinitely cheaper and healthier than store bought. They are nut-free and sesame-free, making them safe to bring to school and community spaces with allergy-friendly food policies. They also keep well. I pop them into my daughter’s lunch box, and pack them for snacks at the park and for after-school activities throughout the week. My husband also takes them to work to munch on when that afternoon slump hits. The ingredients are all from the pantry.
1/2 cup avocado oil (or another neutral flavoured oil)
1/2 cup liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup combine wet ingredients.
Drizzle wet ingredients over dry ingredients and THROUGHLY combine.
Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and PRESS DOWN FIRMLY to shape it into a rectangle (about 10×11 inches). If you don’t press it together well and it’s loose then you’ll end up with granola instead of granola bars.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden.
Allow to cool – for at least 15 minutes, then cut into bars (thirds lengthwise, then eight across).
Resist the temptation to cut into these bars immediately – if they haven’t cooled you’ll end up with a big ol’ mess of granola instead of granola bars.
These granola bars can be stored in a container for a couple weeks (if they last that long).
I recently discovered vegetable marrow. It’s very similar to zucchini but it’s a little less watery which makes it great for things like fritters so you don’t have to take the extra step of salting and draining the vegetable to get out the extra moisture. I am always short of time so I appreciate anything that cuts steps and makes my life a little easier.
Vegetable Marrow Fritters
Pair these fritters with a green salad for a lovely light dinner.
olive oil for frying
1 large leek, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 cups of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 cup feta cheese, diced
4 medium or 5 small vegetable marrow, grated (about 4 cups)
Drizzle olive oil in frying pan and cook leeks over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
In a small bowl whisk eggs and milk then add to flour mixture and combine.
Add leeks, feta and vegetable marrow to flour and egg mixture and combine.
Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Adding heaping 1/4 cups of fritter mixture to pan and flatten. Fry for 5-7 minutes flipping halfway through.
Serve with dipping sauce (see recipe below), sour cream or applesauce.
Fritters can be kept warm in oven. You can substitute veggie marrow with zucchini but you should salt it, let it sit, then drain off the excess water.
We love collard greens. We adore them. We can’t get enough of them. BUT we’re trying to eat healthier and we also have friends and family that are vegan. I switched up my traditional collards recipe with pleasing results. The key was keeping that lovely smokey flavour in the recipe that a ham hock or bacon can provide. Adding a little liquid hickory smoke did the trick.
I make a batch of fresh chia jam every week with seasonal fruit. It’s great for topping oatmeal, pancakes, or toast. This week I was able to get my hands on some lovely local pears. Chia jams are insanely easy to make and so healthy. Give it a try.
This fresh jam can be put together in less than 10 minutes. Then you simply pop it in the fridge and wait for it to thicken.
1 cup chopped pears (peeled, if you prefer a smoother texture)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
Cook pears over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the fruit breaks down, mash, then add chia seeds, vanilla, and maple syrup (if using). Refrigerate for several hours while the chia seeds plump up and thicken the jam.
This recipe can easily be doubled. Store in fridge for 4 or 5 days or freeze. Canning is not recommended.
We picked up some lovely fresh carrots from our local farmers’ market. It is amazing how much sweeter they are. Using good carrots and garnishing this soup with some chopped cashews for crunch and fresh herbs really elevates this dish.
This fuss-free recipe has simple measurements, basic techniques and is extremely forgiving.
I love to bake with my kids and we do it often. We picked up some lovely blue plums from a local fruit and veg stand and put together an easy plum oatmeal crisp. I like to keep my recipes really simple when I can. In this instance it couldn’t be any easier – it’s a great one to make with kids.
I set up shop on my kids’ little table to create a kid-friendly work space. I sliced the plums down the center while my 3-year-old twins removed the pits. Then they did a mix of eating the fresh plums and putting them in an oven proof vessel. With this recipe the quantity of plums can be casual – whatever makes it in. Then we made the topping. We used one measuring cup, taking turns to scoop this and that into a mixing bowl, added a spoonful of cinnamon and a generous pinch salt, mixed and then mashed in some coconut oil. You can use forks, a pastry blender, or your hands to do the mashing. We placed the crumple mixture on top, popped it into the oven and celebrated 45 minutes later. They loved this dessert. It was an easy and relaxed one to make with them and they were so very proud of their accomplishment.
I am always trying to make my recipes healthier than the classics I grew up on. This dessert is whole grain and coconut oil has replaced the butter.
Easy Plum Crisp
2 lbs of plums (more or less will work fine)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Slice plums in half, remove pits.
Place plums in ovenproof dish.
Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the coconut oil to the dry mixture and use a pastry blender, fork or your hands (my preference), and simply mash the coconut oil into pea sized chunks. This recipe is forgiving so don’t stress about getting it perfect.