Sunday, 27 October 2013

October Superfood of the month is.....Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are my latest pick for the  Superfood of the Month. Thanks to their beautiful orange colour, sweet potatoes are a great source of carotenoids, specifically a phytochemical called β-carotene, which is a precursor for the all important vitamin A. Compared to other potatoes, sweet potatoes contain almost twice as much fiber, and are low on the glycemic index, which is great for people with diabetes and will help you stay full longer. These antioxidant and anticancer spuds are also a good source of B6, manganese, Vitamin C and potassium.

One of the things I love most about sweet potatoes is their versatility. You can roast them in foil on the barbeque, bake as wedges in the oven, puree into soups, zap them in the microwave whole for a quick side dish, or incorporate them into muffin, brownie, bread or pancake recipes. Perfect for both sweet and savoury dishes, sweet potatoes are a winner and very cheap and easy to find at grocery stores this time of year.

1.     Sweet potato fries: When dining out don’t be fooled into thinking that sweet potato fries are any healthier than regular fries. Sure sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes, but fries are still fries (just like a gluten-free brownie is still a brownie). They contain a high amount of unhealthy fats from the deep frying and are usually peeled, stripping the potatoes of all their fiber. Instead, make your own oven baked potatoes fries at home for a delicious and healthy treat, where you can also adjust the spices and flavouring options to taste. When I make sweet potato fries at home, I scrub the potatoes thoroughly but never peel them because I like the taste of the skins left on and is far more nutritious this way

2.     Sweet potato brownies: This paleo friendly brownie options is a sure winner. If you want to reduce the sugar content even more or have zero sweet tooth like me, replace the chocolate chips with unsweetened chocolate or minimum 85% dark chocolate. You can also replace up to half the oil in a recipe with applesauce, but coconut oil is a healthy fat and tastes delicious in baked goodies.

3.     Sweet potato Soup: I’m a big fan of anything curry and spicy, and this soup hits all those notes for me. The chickpeas are optional but they make a great garnish and are also delicious just as a snack on their own. For a lighter option, substitute half the coconut milk for organic vegetable stock in this recipe.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Healthier Thanksgiving Round 2

Thanksgiving might have been last weekend, but I was head down, nose in the books, in an all out midterm mode for school last week. Needless to say, I survived my first set of midterms at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), which means I am one step closer to achieving my dream job! If you are like me and love turkey and thanksgiving eats and wish every other weekend could be thanksgiving, than here are some recipes ideas for the cool weather ahead.

Turkey. This might sound stupid, but check the ingredients list on the turkey before you buy it. You would THINK it would say Ingredients: Turkey but no! apparently we feel the need to add a chemical S$%#storm and copious amounts of sodium to our turkeys these days. Depending on the brand you buy, some will be a better choice. The best option would be an organic turkey (Blue Goose sells these) but I realize this is not always available.

For making gravy, take the pan drippings and put into glass liquid measuring cup and right away into the freezer when your turkey is done. I made a homemade stock using the giblets and leftover veggie tidbits (see image below), and then added this to the gravy drippings with xantham gum for a healthy and clean eating homemade gravy. The reason you put it in the freezer is that all the fat will rise to the top and you when you are ready to whisk your gravy together, you can skim all the fat off. I am not ‘fat-phobic’ but I find this helps you avoid having a terrible post turkey tummy ache after dinner from all the other rich foods you are consuming.

 I’ve made lots of different side dishes in the past and I think this roasted root vegetable medley is now my favourite. The colour is beautiful, it’s simple to make, and tastes fantastic with turkey. I cut down the maple syrup in the recipe because I don’t like really sweet things (CCNM folks, phosphorus much??) but you can adjust to taste. Feel free to use a variety of fall vegetables. I had sweet potatoes, heirloom carrots, parsnips, onions, and beets.

This stunning paleo apple pie dessert was the best part, I made it the day before and enjoyed it in the afternoon because I’m always so full after thanksgiving dinner. Personally, I don’t really enjoy the pie late at night and I find most people go for a slice, or two, of pie after dinner out of habit more than anything. It’s better to stop eating when you are full and realize the pie isn’t going anywhere, you can always enjoy it the next day! For this dessert, I combined two recipes from the amazing food blogger Elana Amsterdam at Elana’s Pantry. I also reduced the coconut oil slightly in the crust still came together perfectly.

And what do you do with all that leftover turkey when there's only two of you and? Make turkey soup of course?

Coming up next, an October Superfood of the Month, stay tuned!