Edmonton Holistic Nutritional Consultant | Whole food recipes, nutritional information, tips, and tricks to make help make life a little easier. Melanie provides consultations as well as in-home workshops.
I’m not Irish. Neither are most people who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. But hey, any reason to throw a party AMIRIGHT?!
When I first met my husband, Jared, I knew how fun HE was, but I didn’t realize just how much fun he and all his friends were. I came in as an outsider, was completely embraced, and soon started taking part in some pretty fun parties. Saint Patrick’s day was often accompanied by a hot tub rental, loud music, green adult beverages, and so. much. fun. Ahhh…the good old days. Now I make green smoothies and go to bed early. #adulting
After we got married, we carried the tradition for a whopping one year. We rented a hot tub for ONE DAY, set it up in the garage, had a friend play music. It was fun. Our neighbours? NOT IMPRESSED. No cops were called (unlike our wedding night – we had our reception in the backyard). After that, it didn’t seem worth it. I think that was when we became real adults.
Both of our daughters LOVE green smoothies. And this one is no exception. And while around here you would think that almost every day is St. Patrick’s Day, with all those green smoothies, our sweet daughters have no idea what this holiday is about. To them, every day is green smoothie day.
What I love about this smoothie is that it is packed with greens but still sweet enough to be palatable to kids and adults alike. The lemon helps to cut down on the greens taste, and adds a nice kick of vitamin C. Like most recipes, it is also really customizable to your tastes. Want more banana? Add it! More spice? Add more ginger! This is hands down my go-to smoothie recipe. Zola LOVES it and gets really excited when I make it, so I named it after her. An ode to Zola……and the Irish.
The added avocado gives this smoothie some nice fat and protein to keep you feeling full. And obviously – this is chock full of fibre and extremely hydrating! Delicious!
If you try it, let me know in the comments below! This is such a great way to start your day – it’s a vitamin in a cup!
When I was pregnat with my second daughter, Veda, I failed the glucose tolerance test miserably. What did that mean? I had full fledged Gestational Diabetes. UGH. I was not only shocked (I have none of the markers!) but I became utterly stressed and confused. I had no clue what I was going to eat. I even had to go on stress leave because I became obsessed with my blood sugar numbers and it was really wearing on me emotionally. Thankfully, I had an incredibly supportive midwife who allowed me to monitor myself and fully trusted in my approach to deal with it from a food perspective.
One of the things that I did was completely cut out all grains. This was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. We were already eating mostly gluten free, but how do you go about eating no grains? So I used all of the knowledge I have, and all of the passion I have for solving food problems and got creative. And I have to say, once we started eating this way, I felt INCREDIBLE. My last trimester, my skin looked amazing, my brain fog disappeared, and I had a ton of energy.
After Veda was born, I went back to eating as we did before I had GD. And it was not good. My skin got bad again, I was tired, and my brain felt foggy. I knew that this new grain free way of eating was right for me because of how I felt. So I listened and really haven’t looked back.
Now this isn’t to say I don’t ever eat any grains ever. I DO. I am a grown ass woman who can make her own choices because it is my body and I know whether the consequences of indulging are worth it to me or not. I am not on a diet. I am not “cheating”.
Our family is mostly powered by plants, and we all really enjoy that. It took a while for my husband to feel satisfied from a meal without a side of quinoa, but now we both are amazed at how filling roasted veggies can be.
One obstacle we face, though, is finding alternatives for our favorites. A lot of alternatives are extremely nut heavy. My oldest daughter has a lot of food allergies, so that makes things tricky! That is where buckwheat comes in! Though it says wheat in the name, it is actually a fruit seed! And it makes for some pretty awesome baking! Now don’t get me wrong, you aren’t going to have fluffy baking as if you used white flour – buckwheat is more dense than that. But because it is more dense, it feels more satisfying and satiating.
I have been wanting to create a pancake that I could make ahead and use as a quick breakfast for busy mornings. To be honest I am terrified of my daughter starting school because A) I hate mornings and B) We can’t just pour a bowl of cereal or oatmeal (due to her digestive issues). So these pancakes are the perfect solution because they keep well in the fridge for a couple days and easily reheat in the toaster or can even be eaten cold! They also hold up in the freezer, but I recommend sticking them in the fridge to thaw overnight as I found the toaster didn’t thaw them enough from frozen.
The best part about these pancakes though is that they are made in the blender. SO EASY. Throw everything in and BAM, you have pancake batter.
If you plan on eating them cold, I also totally recommend adding in 1 grated apple into the batter. It makes for a really nice pop of sweetness!
I hope you enjoy these tasty pancakes and that they help make mornings a little easier for you!
Apple cinnamon buckwheat panckes. Make ahead for easy mornings!
5 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
15 minTotal Time
3/4 cup buckwheat groats
3/4 unsweetened almond milk or milk alternative of choice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 apple, chopped and cored
1 apple, grated (optional - recommended if planning to eat cold)
pinch of sea salt
coconut oil, for cooking
In a blender, add all ingredients except grated apple if you are choosing to add it. Blend until smooth, about a minute.
In a frypan over medium heat (let it warm up for about 4 minutes to ensure it is nice and hot), melt enough coconut oil to mostly cover the bottom of the pan, about 1 tablespoon.
Add about 1/4 cup of batter to make one pancake. Cook until the edges start to become brown and the top starts to dry up around the edges. Flip and let cook for one minute.
Eat immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
May also be frozen, just be sure to thaw overnight in fridge and you can then reheat in the toaster.
If you plan to eat them cold, be sure to add in the shredded apple! It is delicious!
I have never really bought into the whole “Valentine’s Day” thing. I just don’t really like being told that I need to show love on a specific day because we should be showing our loved ones love every damn day! Ok, I never like being told what to do, period, but you get my point. Anyhow, the one thing I can get behind is CHOCOLATE. But I’m not talking about the nasty tin foil wrapped stuff that you get at this time of year. I’m talking about homemade, delicious chocolate. YUM.
These chocolates look so professional! Like, they are legit! But seriously guys, they are SO easy, this barely counts as a recipe.
I use raw cacao in this recipe, which is like the unprocessed version of cocoa.
Cacao is high in magnesium, which helps your body to relax. Cacao also contains mood elevating neurotransmitters. The perfect combo for Valentine’s Day!
Cacao is also known for being high in antioxidants and even iron!
I hope you enjoy these little chocolates with your loved ones!
You and your loved ones are going to love these simple and healthy salted caramel chocolates!
15 minTotal Time
For the chocolate:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup smooth almond butter
1/4 cup cacao powder
15 pecans, cut in half
For the caramel:
5 medjool dates (shiny and sticky, not dry)
1 teaspoon ghee
pinch of sea salt
To make caramel, simply add dates into a small bowl and begin to squish dates using a fork. Drag the fork along the dates to break it down until it becomes a paste. Add ghee and continue to combine paste. Sprinkle with sea salt and mix one last time. Next, with wet fingertips, make 30 small balls (a little bigger than the size of a marble) and set aside.
To make the chocolate, you will need a medium size glass bowl and a small saucepan. Add a couple inches of water to the saucepan and bring water to a simmer. Add glass bowl to cover saucepan, ensuring the bottom is not touching the water. Add coconut oil and almond butter and let it melt. Stir to combine. Once full melted, turn off heat and add cacao powder. Using a small whisk, ensure all of the cacao has been mixed in.
To assmeble: fill silicone chocolate molds 3/4 full (about 1 tsp), add one caramel ball and one halved pecan to each mold. Freeze for 30 minutes to set. Store in an airtight container in freezer or fridge.
Most mornings come way to early for this mama. I have always been someone who prioritizes sleep. For my 27th birthday, we had a dance party in my house. It was EPIC. We had a friend DJ, we had a smoke machine, and, best yet, it was 80’s themed. Well, we danced our hearts out until I shut the party down at 11pm. And this was BEFORE I had kids. So yeah, sleep and I are kind of best friends.
Even with all that sleep, I still hate the morning. I wake up groggy, and usually want to just lay down and slowly wake up. With kids, this is no longer an option. My 4 year old turns my light on in my room when she comes in and I have no choice but to get up and GO GO GO.
Matcha makes mornings more tolerable. Between a matcha latte and my dandy blend latte, I always have a warm drink to make my morning feel cozy. Always living that hygge life.
Here are some matcha highlights:
Matcha offers the same type of energy as caffeine. The difference is that with matcha, it is a calm, steady energy over a longer period of time without the jitters!
-Matcha contains chlorophyll which is known to aid in liver detoxification and is a powerful antioxidant
-Matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is helpful for stress
-Matcha is also known for containing the antioxidant EGCG, which helps to scavenge free radicals in your body
Take a look at easy this latte comes together!
How to make a Matcha Latte - YouTube
I hope you enjoy this warming and delicious homemade matcha latte!
If you are anything like me, then you probably grew up coming home after school, STARVING, and cracking open a can of cream of mushroom soup. The part that you probably didn’t do is sit down in front of the T.V. with that soup and watch Martha Stewart – but hey – to each their own. I have fond memories of the texture and taste of that creamy soup, but I no longer buy canned soups because of the laundry list of ingredients they contain. I prefer to make my own soup from scratch, at home, because not only does it taste SO much better, but I know exactly what goes into it! No fillers, no MSG. Just whole foods. That is my jam. And it is really easy guys. Really.
You are going to love this soup if: a) you love mushrooms, b) you love soup, c) you love creamy soup, d) you love cream of mushroom soup, e) you like cats. Ok, not the last one, I added that in because I like cats and this soup (seems logical enough to me).
I know mushrooms can be a tricky ingredient. People either love them or hate them. In all honesty, my 4.5 year old daughter JUST started accepting mushrooms as a tolerable food item a month ago. And my husband…lets just say it took YEARS. Did I ever give up? No. I didn’t. For the love of mushrooms I never gave up. And my hard work paid off. Now we are a house of mushroom lovers. *Waves victory flag*
Mushrooms are known to be immune boosting, which is amazing for this time of year! Garlic, onions and bone broth add more immune boosting super power to this soup as well.
Despite the fact that this soup is utterly good for you, it truly just tastes so damn good. Creamy and perfectly balanced. You are going to love it.
If you live in Edmonton, you can get dried wild mushrooms from the Strathcona market from Mona Food. I used their Albera blend which has portabella, oyster and bolete mushrooms. YUM.
There is always room in my life for more sauces, dips and spreads. Seriously. I just love to have a long list of sauces to refer to. It keeps things fresh and tasty and not boring. Because you know what? I get bored of food. *GASP* It’s true. I get super excited about something and eat it for what feels like forever and then BAM….I’m totally over it. This pesto though…is so delicious and versatile…its kind of like a gift that keeps on giving.
I have made this pesto a few times and here is how I have enjoyed it:
-On a salad (with an extra drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil)
-As a marinade for chicken (BBQ’d is so yummy!! Yes, we still BBQ in the winter!)
-As a dip for roasted veggies
Adding hemp hearts to this pesto takes its nutrition to the next level. Hemp hearts are packed with protein and healthy omega fats and fiber. They are also high in iron, so they are wonderful for menstruating women.
I usually keep a bit of the stem on the cilantro for this recipe. I will warn you though, don’t do too much stem! Otherwise it gets stringy. It is still totally delicious and you can use it, but when it is stringy it doesn’t taste very good on its own. I would keep it to about 2 inches max!
There were a few times I ate a large scoop of this on its own just because it is so delicious! I am just warning you! It won’t last long!
What is your favorite way to enjoy cilantro? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
You know that feeling you get when you want dessert and you want it NOW? Yeah, I know you do. Sometimes, we just want something sweet after a meal! To be honest, we don’t do dessert a lot around our house, and a lot of the time when we do it is on a whim. That is where this lovely chocolate drizzle comes in. It is inspired by my lovely friend Erin, who loves whole foods and creating things in the kitchen!
I made this dessert last summer on a warm August evening. It was one of those nights where we wanted to stay outside on our patio for hours. I went inside and whipped it up and came outside with these beautiful bowls full of freshly cut bananas, pecans and chocolate sauce. It was SO yum.
Would you believe that this chocolate sauce is actually healthy? The star ingredient isn’t the chocolate. It’s GHEE. Have you heard of ghee before? It is essentially clarified butter. It is made by boiling butter and then straining it, leaving behind pure butter fat. Ok…I know that sounds gross. Butter fat? If you’re still afraid of fat, I am here to tell you that fat is your friend! Especially ghee! Ghee has a higher smoke point than many other oils, meaning it doesn’t become toxic as easily as other oils or fats when you cook with it. Also, it is incredibly healing to your gut because it contains butyric acid, which is known to be nourishing for the cells in your digestive tract. Sign me up!
This versatile sauce could easily be used as a dipping sauce for fruit for a special occasion. Think: anniversary, children’s birthday party….you could even dip a banana in it, roll it in nuts/seeds/coconut, stick a popsicle stick in there and throw it in the freezer! YUM!
I use chocolate chips in this recipe but I use ones that are sweetened with STEVIA, which is a sweetener that does not spike your blood sugar. This is important to me because in our house we really limit sugar. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t like things that are sweet! This is a win-win kind of sauce in this house. Plus, the healthy fats from the ghee and adding in nut butter which has healthy fats and protein really helps to make this a well balanced sauce.
And here is an extra special bonus….
When you leave the sauce to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, it becomes a creamy, silky smooth, spreadable sauce. This would make a fantastic and decadent tasting icing! I am thinking this sauce might have to make an appearance on my next batch of banana muffins!
I hope you enjoy this delicious sauce! I would love to hear about how you use it in the comments below!
I hate mornings. Yep. I said it. What I do love are quiet, slow mornings where I can not talk to anyone or do much when I wake. Well, that dream died the second I gave birth to my first daughter almost 5 years ago. Now, mornings are filled with so much talking and questions – I am ON the moment my eyes open. Of course I LOVE and adore my family. It is just different now. Let’s just say that I rely on quick and easy breakfasts. They use the least amount of my limited morning brain power!!
I created these cookies when we first started to reduce and eliminate grains from our diet. Typically, cookies like these are made with oats, but I needed to create something that didn’t use oats. Eating grains affects my skin quite dramatically and it is hard on my daughters digestion. So using shredded coconut instead of oats was just the solution I was looking for.
I consider coconut to be one of the most amazing foods. Not only is it delicious, but it super versatile and PACKED with nutrition. Coconut is naturally blood sugar balancing because it contains healthy fats, fiber AND protein. Such a great choice for breakfast to get you all powered up for the day!
These breakfast cookies are sugar free but still sweet thanks to the natural sweetness from the bananas. I also always make a batch for road trips because they keep well in a container, and are easy snacks for the road.
Think of this recipe as a guide. Feel free to add whatever you want in them! Nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit…the possibilities and combinations are endless!
I hope you enjoy them! Let me know what you add in to yours in the comments below!
I know I’m not the only one who feels like winter draaaags on. Once January hits I feel like we deserve summer. Right? We have already had two long months of winter…I am ready for the sun! Sadly, this just isn’t the reality for us (completely crazy) Canadians. We still have 3-4 months of this left!
Thankfully, I created this dreamy creamy lentil soup to help make it a bit more bearable. It is totally kid approved too. My kids both ate a second helping. It made enough for me to stick leftovers in the fridge too, so we will be able to have easy leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
My girls both really love curry spice. I introduced this flavor to both of them early. It’s mild and very tasty for little ones. Exposing their palettes to lots of different flavors really helps to expose them to a variety of foods, and gives me more options in the kitchen when they will eat food with a certain flavor profile. I can sprinkle curry spice on anything and my kids will eat it. It’s amazing.
Carrots, celery, onions, garlic and lentils are tried and true staples in my house! And they all last for a long time when stored properly in the fridge (celery and carrots), on the counter (onions, garlic), or in a glass jar (lentils).
One of the things I love most about this soup is it uses some of those “always on hand” ingredients I mentioned in my last post. Carrots, celery, onions, garlic and lentils. These are tried and true staples in my house! And they all last for a long time when stored properly in the fridge (celery and carrots), on the counter (onions, garlic), or in a glass jar (lentils).
You can also chop the veggies before hand and have them stored in the fridge for when you need them, making this come together very quickly. It is also an easy recipe to involve your kids with. My oldest daughter loves helping in the kitchen. She loves to stir vegetables while they saute, or dump ingredients into a pot. This soup is an easy one to involve your kids with because the list of ingredients is so short.
During the winter months, I always have bone broth on hand to make quick and easy soups. You can find the recipe for bone broth and learn more about all of its amazing benefits HERE.
I hope you enjoy this warming and nourishing soup this winter!