The Recipe for Trifle is here!

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Here is the long-awaited recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Ginger Passion fruit Trifle:

Ingredients:

400-500g Store-bought sponge cake (usually two loaves)

125 ml Green Ginger Wine (or any dessert wine, or for kid version 125 ml orange juice)

500 ml whipping cream

4 teaspoons icing sugar

8 passion fruit (sliced mango will also do)

Method:

Slice or break the sponge and arrange half of them in a shallow dish or cake stand with slight lip or upward curve at edge, then pour half of wine (or juice) over them. Mound up  the remaining half of sponge and pour the remaining wine on top.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until it is firm but not stiff, you want soft peaks.

Scoop the insides of 2 passion fruit into the bowl of cream and fold in before mounding the cream floppily over the soused sponge.

Scoop out the remaining 6 passion fruit onto the white pile of cream so that it is doused and dribbling with the black seeds and fragrant golden pulp.

Serves 8-10.

Enjoy!

Calm Pond

 

 

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Picture of Yummy Dessert

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Hi Readers,

 

How do you like my picture of a yummy dessert?

It’s called ‘trifle’ and it comes from Britain, and it’s traditional every holiday season.  Doesn’t it scream holidays to you?

I have a great recipe for ‘Ginger Passionfruit Trifle’ (yum!) from famous TV chef Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Nigella Express’ (2007).

I’d like to give you the full recipe, and I will, just not today. I promise I’ll post it on December 20th, just in time to do some last-minute food shopping (in fact, there are only 4 ingredients, so easy-peazy right?)

Stay tuned…

Calm Pond

PS A bit tired today, mother’s sick.

 

 

3 Ways to Sneak More Vegetables In to Your Diet

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I don’t know about you, but eating a well-rounded diet during this time of year is a struggle for me. The fresh fruits and vegetables available over the last two seasons are starting to dwindle and it feels like there are treats offered at every turn.

While there’s nothing wrong with indulging, it’s important to eat a balanced diet to ensure you’re supporting your energy levels and encouraging your body to get a good night’s rest. Eating enough vegetables is a great way to support your health.

The Canada Food Guide suggests the following:

  • Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Go for dark green vegetables such as broccoli, romaine lettuce, and spinach.
  • Go for orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
  • Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Enjoy vegetables steamed, baked or stir-fried instead of deep fried.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.

Great advice, right? And we’ve probably heard it before! Incorporating those foods in to our days can be challenging. Here are three suggestions for getting your fill of vegetables.

Make a smoothie | One of the easiest ways to fill up on vegetables is to blend them in to a smoothie. Aim for low sugar smoothies if you can to support blood sugar levels. Try a base of steamed then frozen cauliflower, or avocado and coconut milk. Here are some recipe suggestions: Califlower Blueberry Smoothie and 4 Bananaless Smoothies

Make one meal a day a salad | Choose one meal a day and make an elaborate salad. Try grating carrots and beets, roasting yams and adding whatever greens you have on hand. If you often don’t feel full after eating a salad, add nuts and seeds, a boiled egg, or half an avocado.

Make soup | ‘Tis the season! Try this (my favourite!) recipe for vegetable-packed Emerald Soup.

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

 

3 Non-Traditional Energy Drinks

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When you’re tired and having trouble getting through your day, you might be tempted to reach for a big cup of coffee, or, if you’re really fading, an store-bought energy drink. You know the ones – they’re fizzy and taste sort of like pop, but have a medicinal undertone. These drinks are highly caffeinated and often contain loads of sugar and other ingredients that might not be the best for your health. They give you the boost of energy you’re looking for, but you could end up feeling worse in the long run. Energy drinks have been known to cause headaches, anxiety, and to disturb sleep.

With all that’s on a caregiver’s plate, it’s common for fatigue to creep in. So, what should you reach for when you’re feeling a dip in energy but still need to get some things done? Here are 3 suggestions.

WATER | Sometimes when you’re tired, you’re really just thirsty. Ask yourself how much water you’ve had today. Fill up and drink a glass or two, then reevaluate your energy levels. Not a fan of water? Add lemons, cucumber, or berries for a delicious infusion!

SMOOTHIE | If you’re feeling tired and craving a boost, your body could be telling you that you need some fuel. A smoothie packed with nutritious ingredients is a great way to get some nutrients and give your body some lasting energy. Avoid adding too much sugar if you want to prevent a crash. I love this recipe by Carley Mendes.

MATCHA | If you’re an avid coffee drinker but you’re not crazy about how you feel after drinking a late afternoon cup, consider matcha. Matcha still contains caffeine, but less than coffee. It can be heated and whisked in to water or milk and mixed with sweetener for a delicious take on a latte. Click here for a recipe.

What do you do when you’re tired and need some energy? We’d love to hear from you in our comments!

Cassandra Van Dyck

Foodie Friday – A Simple Fall Meal

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A friend introduced me to the simplicity and deliciousness of this meal years ago and I return to it every fall when the days start to cool. It is inexpensive, quick, nourishing and won’t create stacks of dishes. It easily makes extra so you can eat it for lunch for a few days after. Read on for the recipe and enjoy!

Autumn Bake

Ingredients

root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, squash (acorn and butternut are great choices), carrots, beets, garlic, and onions

quinoa

olive oil

salt & pepper

Process

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Chop vegetables in big pieces and place in a large casserole dish. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in the oven and stir every 15 minutes or so for approximately 45 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and browned.

Make quinoa on stove top.

Combine quinoa and vegetables in a bowl. Eat as is or add avocado or a boiled egg.

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

Foodie Friday – 3 Quick Snack Ideas for Caregivers

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You probably know the feeling well. You’ve eaten breakfast, but it’s not quite time for lunch, or you’ve had your mid-day meal, but there’s still a few hours before dinner time. Maybe you’re busy, and you just can’t quite fit in the time to make a full, but you need to eat something to keep you going. You’re hungry, and you need to eat something quick! But what to eat? Read on for a few healthy, quick snack ideas for caregivers!

Nut Butter on Fruit

There are so many possibilities depending on what you have on hand! Here’s some of my favourites:

peanut butter on sliced banana

almond butter on apple slices with cinnamon

almond butter on figs

pumpkin seed butter on strawberries

Smoothie

We’ve shared some wonderful recommendations here, but I’ve got a secret smoothie hack to share with you today! If you’re like me, you may have made smoothies before and felt hungry 30 minutes after finishing it. If you struggle with this too, add fat! A teaspoon of coconut oil or butter, some nut butter, or half an avocado should do the trick.

Yam Toast

Slice yam thinly and pop it in the toaster! You might have to toast it a few times, depending on what sort of consistency you’d like to achieve. Top with avocado and salt and pepper if you’d like something savoury, or (you guessed it) nut butter, if you’d prefer a sweeter snack.

What snacks do you reach for when you’re hungry? We’d love to hear from you in our comments!

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

Foodie Friday – 3 Bars to Fuel Your Day

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When you’re a caregiver, you may spend a lot of time outside of your home. If you’re not working, you might be dashing around to different appointments, picking up prescriptions, grocery shopping, or running other errands. If you’re at home, it’s a lot easier to access food when you’re hungry. You can toast a piece of bread or heat up a bowl of soup. When you’re out, it can be more challenging. Fast food restaurants are convenient but offer few economical and healthy options.

Preparing some snacks to take with you on your journeys may require a bit more work when you’re home, but it will save you time and money in the long run. Eating nutritious snacks when you’re hungry will give you fuel and prevent energy crashes. 

Eating a bar is a great way to quickly get some nutrition when you’re out and about. Read on for three tasty recipes!

PUMPKIN OATMEAL ANYTIME SQUARES | These are wonderful if you have a sugar craving and you’d like to avoid your local pastry shop! Get the full recipe here.

DIY FRUIT, NUT AND FLOWER CHOCOLATE BARS | Chocolate? You read that correctly! Look for chocolate that’s low in sugar and add in lots of nuts and dried fruits and you’ll have yourself a beautiful afternoon snack! Click here for the details.

BREAKFAST BARS | Do you need to rush out the door in the morning? Take one (or two) of these with you to make sure you don’t skip the most important meal of the day!

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

Foodie Friday – 4 Ways to Eat Oatmeal

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Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and not because it’s supposed to be the most important one. I love the ritual of waking up in the morning, filling the kettle, and grinding beans while waiting for the water to boil. I make my coffee in a Chemex and prepare breakfast in between pours of hot water. To me, that first hour of the day feels sacred. Taking the time to appreciate and savour that first cup of coffee and a simple meal an set the mood for the whole day.

I save weekends for the big breakfasts – pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup or savoury eggs on toast. Monday to Friday, I make oatmeal. It wasn’t always that way. I grew up knowing oatmeal as the mushy option at a breakfast buffet, only made slightly better with milk, brown sugar, and raisins. It wasn’t until my adult years that I discovered the versatility of oatmeal. Did you know it doesn’t have to be so mushy? Steelcut oats take longer to cook, but they are deliciously chewy. Rolled oats can be cooked with more or less water to appeal to your palate. What makes oatmeal really interesting is the different options for toppings. Oatmeal is not just for those with a sweet tooth! Add eggs or vegetables and skip the milk, and you have yourself a hardy breakfast. Oatmeal is inexpensive, quick to prepare, and fabulous fuel for a busy day.

Though the base stays the same, I prefer to change my toppings with the seasons. Because of my distaste for mushy oatmeal, I stick with steelcut oats. As mentioned, they take a little longer to prepare, but a few minutes of evening preparation can save you time in the morning. Read on for 4 oatmeal recipes for all seasons!

PREP

The ratio for steelcut oats is 3-1 (3 cups of water to 1 cup of oats). You could choose to make more at the beginning of the week and reheat it in the morning, but I prepare to make it fresh every day.

To prepare the oats the night before, bring 3 cups of water to a boil on the stove.

Carefully pour in 1 cup of steel cut oats and boil for 1 minute.

Remove oats from the heat and allow to cool. Place the pot in your fridge overnight.

In the morning, put the pot on the stove and turn the element to a low-medium heat setting. The oats should be ready in approximately 15-20 minutes.

FALL

FIGS, APPLES, PEARS, NUTS.

Is there anything more comforting than eating a warm bowl of oatmeal with freshly harvested, baked fruit on a cold autumn morning while the leaves fall outside your window? Likely not.

Bake fruit for a short time in the oven, Toss it in cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or all three! Roast some nuts and add them in the mix. Warm nut or dairy milk on the stove and add that in your bowl as well.

WINTER

HONEY, NUTS, APPLES, MAPLE SYRUP, SPICES, PRESERVES, EGGS.

Oatmeal will warm your bones on cold winter mornings, but finding appealing toppings may be more challenging. This is the time of year to spice your oats and crack open jars of preserves. Hopefully you’ve stocked up on canned peaches! Experiment with adding proteins if you start to bore of your daily oats.

SPRING

RHUBARB

If it was tricky to top your oats in the winter, you might find spring even harder. It’s such a hopeful, strange time of year, isn’t it?! You know the hot days and fresh fruits are right around the corner, but they’re not there yet! Rhubarb to the rescue! Try boiling or baking a large batch once a week and storing it in your fridge. Add it to your oats with dairy or almond milk and savour the first fresh fruits of the year.

SUMMER

BERRIES

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries… the possibilities are endless! They add a freshness and coolness to your oatmeal that may be welcomed on summer days. Try letting your oatmeal cool on the stove for a little longer than usual or add cold milk if you don’t feel like a hot meal first thing in the morning.

 

What’s your favourite quick, easy breakfast? We’d love to hear from you!

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

 

Foodie Friday – 2 Seasonal Salads

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The summer season is well under way, which means fresh, local fruits and vegetables will be stocked in grocery stores and farmer’s markets! Why not turn all the fresh produce in to delicious salads?

Eating salad is a great way to nutrients to give you the energy you need to manage your caregiving duties and any other tasks you have to complete. Spend 1-2 hours per week chopping vegetables and preparing dressings and you’ll have lunches ready every morning!

Here are two seasonal west coast salad recipes:

Diane’s Westcoaster Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Serves 6

This Westcoaster Salad is totally a winner. When my daughter Jennifer and partners opened the Tomato Fresh Food Café in 1991, this was our “Number One” salad. Now, new owners Christian Gaudreault and his wife Starllie still feature it on their menu, and it’s as popular as ever.

Ingredients

1/2 lb (250 g) peppered and candied smoked salmon strips or regular sliced smoked salmon

6 cups (1.5 L) mixed greens

1/2 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin julienne strips

1/2 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into thin julienne strips

1 cup (250 mL) crumbled chèvre (goat) cheese

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup (250 mL) olive oil

1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 75 mL) balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup

1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard

freshly ground pepper to taste

2 or 3 days before

Prepare the Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

Just before serving

Peel the skin off the salmon, slice diagonally into 1/4-in (6-mL) thick slices. Set aside.

Divide the greens evenly among 6 salad plates, mounding them high.

Warm the vinaigrette in a frying pan over low heat. Add the slices of salmon and the peppers. Heat briefly a few minutes to warm.

To serve

On each salad plate, divide the salmon mixture equally over the greens, then drizzle over the warm dressing. Top with a good sprinkling of chèvre (goat) cheese. Serve immediately.

Chef’s Secret

Look for this peppered candied smoked salmon in the seafood section of your local food and seafood markets. Candied smoked salmon is usually marinated with a little honey, maple syrup or dark brown sugar and a little salt. Coarsely ground pepper is sometimes added as well. It’s smoked from 8 to 24 hours to give the salmon a sweet, subtle smoky flavor. It’s crusty on the outside, but moist and soft on the inside. Choose nice thick strips. I always keep some on hand in the freezer, take out in the morning and thaw it in the refrigerator.

Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Island Salad

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 This salad is composed of ingredients that are cultivated on Vancouver Island and grown or produced within 100 km of your home, so get familiar with this product and all of the rest of the V.I. abundance and make an effort to buy them often.

Ingredients

Spinach

Red pepper (thin sliced)

Onion (thin sliced)

Tomato (sliced)

Hazelnuts (crushed)

Natural Pastures Brie (sliced)

1/4 cup raspberries (fresh or defrosted)

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt/black pepper to taste

Directions

  1.  Combine raspberries, yogurt, buttermilk, honey, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Stir well to combine and mash the raspberries until incorporated.
  2.  Combine desired amount of spinach, peppers, onion and tomato in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. Plate and then top salad with desired amount of dressing, hazelnuts and brie cheese. Now eat!
 Variations
Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are all grown on Vancouver Island and all make a great substitute for the raspberries if so desired.
Do you have any salad recipes you love to make? Please share them in our comment section!
Cassandra Van Dyck

 

 

Smoothie pick-me ups

Caretaking can be a 24/7 role. Whether your loved one lives in the same house as you, or you provide support from across town or even a different province, caring TAKES ENERGY. After a night of interrupted sleep, or fatigue from all you’re doing to make sure the other person is alright; you might really appreciate having some accessible ways to boost your energy.
My nutrition savvy friend introduced me to the Oh She Glows cookbook, which contains a whole range of healthy, energizing vegan recipes. These two smoothies sound super refreshing, and though the ingredients aren’t terribly exotic, having all of them in your kitchen does take a little pre-thought.
These flavour combinations will give you an infusion of vitamins and minerals, and hopefully make you feel able to tackle whatever the day has in store.

All Day Glow Green Smoothie

From http://ohsheglows.com/2016/05/18/all-day-glow-green-smoothie/   -Recipe by Angela Liddon

Keep in mind this is a large batch that just fits in a 64-ounce high-speed blender, so if your blender is smaller you might want to make a half batch. I love to have a glass first thing in the morning, and another in the afternoon. Since there’s no banana in it, it also keeps well until the next day when stored in an airtight container. Be prepared to feel that “all-day” glow!!

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Yield
5 cups
Prep Time
10 Minutes

Total Time
10 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) coconut water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) mango juice (I love Happy Planet Organic Mango juice)
  • 2 large (400 g total) Granny Smith apples, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups (70 g) packed red leaf lettuce or romaine
  • 2/3 cup (18 g) loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup (15 g) packed fresh cilantro leaves*
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) packed avocado
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 small, pinky-sized pieces (12 g total) peeled fresh turmeric**
  • 5 to 6 large ice cubes, or as needed

Directions:

  1. Add the coconut water and mango juice into a (64-ounce) high-speed blender. (If your blender is on the small side, you may want to make a half-batch.)
  2. Now add the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high until super smooth. If you have a Vitamix, use the tamper stick to get things moving. Taste and adjust sweetness if desired. If it’s too tart, feel free to add a bit of liquid sweetener.
  3. Serve and enjoy! Place any leftovers into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I love to enjoy half in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon.

Tips:

  • * The cilantro flavour in this smoothie is quite pronounced. If you aren’t a cilantro fan, feel free to swap it with more romaine or fresh mint (start with 1/4 cup of mint).
  • ** Fresh turmeric root is becoming more and more common in grocery stores these days; keep your eyes peeled for it in the produce section.

The Blender Girl’s Mystical Mango Smoothie 
From http://ohsheglows.com/2015/08/07/the-blender-girls-mystical-mango-smoothie/

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This recipe is lightly adapted from Tess Master’s The Blender Girl.
“With a creamy texture and exquisite flavor, this immunity blend is a fabulous for collagen formation and glowing skin, hair, and nails. Mango’s enzymes and vitamins A, C, and E cleanse the liver and aid digestion, and its potassium and fibre help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol. This one will make your heart happy.”   -Tess

Yield
4 cups (2 servings)
Prep Time
5 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water, or more if needed
  • 1/4 cup avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 cups frozen mango (I used an entire 300g bag)
  • Pure maple syrup, to taste (optional – I added a teaspoon)

    Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. If using the Vitamix, you can use the tamper stick to get things moving. If the mixture seems too thick you can thin it with a bit more water.

Tips:
Note: You can boost this smoothie with 1/2 teaspoon wheatgrass powder, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, and 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil.

Let us know how you like these blends.  We’d also be glad to hear about any of your favourite smoothie combinations!
-Karyn