Posts Categorized: Health

Holiday Leftovers

When all is said and done, after those big holiday meals you are left with a fridge full of bits and pieces that will either bore you to death or set you up for quick second suppers.  Here are a few ideas of what to do with the leftovers.

Leftover Sweet Potato or Mashed Potatoes

There are many ways to use these starches again. Here are three including one of my relatively healthy recipes for a sweet potato topping that can be used for biscuits or in sweet potato pie.

  1. Thin mashed potatoes with broth and use as a base for soup.  Mix any cooked vegetables in and blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender once cooled.
  2. Add sweet potatoes to pancake mix and stir in cinnamon. Pan fry and top with cooked apples or applesauce.
  3. Use in biscuits or as a pot pie topping (see recipe below)

Sweet Potato Biscuit Topping

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon honey

2 cup baked, mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen

Combine flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate large bowl, mix together milk, honey and mashed sweet potato until evenly combined.

Grate frozen butter through the large holes of a box grater and toss with dry ingredients until butter is coated. Add milk mixture and mix lightly until dough comes together.

Turn out mixture onto a floured surface and knead just until it comes together. (The dough will not be smooth.)

Divide into two circles and use a floured rolling pin to roll dough to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Place dough on top of meat pie mixture and freeze immediately. Once solid, wrap in plastic and a layer of foil.  Stores well in freezer for up to 2 months.

To bake: Place directly from freezer into a 375F oven uncovered for about 1.5- 2 hours depending upon the depth of the pie plate.

Cooked Chicken Recipe Ideas or Turkey Leftovers Tips

Of course you can make sandwiches or turkey soup but here are a couple more ideas for your pantry.

  1. Mash meat in a mini-chopper along with feta cheese, garlic and oregano. Spread on bread and bake to warm through or serve cold.
  2. Gather shredded lettuce, peppers, fresh herbs and pull meat into small pieces. Add boiled water to a large bowl and dip rice paper wraps in to soften. Roll veggies and meat into spring rolls and serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Leftover Greens

Most people throw away cooked broccoli or green beans thinking they will be too mushy to reuse. Here are some tips so those veggies won’t go to waste!

  1. Toss in a small amount of extra olive oil and spread onto a cookie sheet. Roast until crispy and top with sea salt.
  2. Use to top pizza.
  3. Mash or chop into Greek Yogurt with hot mustard and dry dill to serve as a dip.

Never ever throw away leftovers, they really are mother’s little helpers!

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

How to make Fast and Frozen Fantastic!

Frozen food doesn’t have to be scary!

After you’ve juggled all of your to-dos for the day, and put out a few “fires” there are times when suppertime suddenly sneaks up on you, and you realize you haven’t prepared a thing. Usually this means panicking-and tossing whatever you have in the pantry and freezer together, shelving your healthy recipes for the night. But wait! Last minute meals can be healthy, even when they come from the freezer. Yes, that’s right…just make sure that your freezer is stocked with the following ingredients for and you can make healthy recipes for dinner in a flash.  Here are some dinner ideas:

Frozen shrimp or other cooked fish

  • Cooks in minutes, great for stir fries.
  • Cook ½ cup whole-wheat pasta per person. Drain. In a skillet sauté for 4 minutes: ½ cup scallops/shrimp per person, 1 cup frozen peas per person, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil per person, 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese. Add the cooked pasta and mix.

Frozen Brussels sprouts

  • Steam and toss with dill.

Frozen broccoli

  • Simmer 2 cups of broccoli and one potato in one quart of broth. Purée to soup consistency. Stir in 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese.

Frozen soybeans/lima beans

  • Steam for 2 minutes. Add seasoned rice vinegar.
  • Makes a high-protein snack.

Frozen apple or pineapple juice concentrate

  • Use to replace some sugar in baked goods with real fruit sugar (see recipe below for Pantry/Freezer Apple Spice Muffins).

Frozen whole-wheat tortellini

  • Great as a small portion loaded up with veggies (crushed tomatoes, sliced pepper and onions, etc.

Frozen berries

  • Irreplaceable superfoods-smoothies/baking.

Frozen pizza

  • Thin-crust and whole-wheat: add seeds, veggies, etc

Here is one of my quick and easy chicken recipes that will make a healthy dinner in a snap!

 Skillet Chicken

This meal comes together in a flash with barely the basics from the fridge. It is a fool proof, adaptive formula that can be cooked on the stovetop, stuffed into the oven or the whole skillet can go on the BBQ depending upon your gear and energy level. Just about any frozen veg does the trick, mix ‘em up if you have to. Any mustard flavour, and any jam or jelly works, water or broth can sub for wine…you really can’t mess this one up.  It is your go to “cook’s night off” solution.

 

Serving Size: 4     Preparation Time: 20 minutes

  • 4   boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 red pepper — sliced
  • 4 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper jelly
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon butter

 

Rub chicken breast with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as you warm a cast iron skillet.

Add oil and brown chicken breasts on both sides for 2 minutes.

Add red peppers and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in broccoli. Mix in mustard and red pepper jelly, cover and allow to cook through for 10-15 minutes. Pour in wine, add butter and simmer for 1 minute to finish.

 

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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Smart Lice and Your Families Health

Just the thought of bugs crawling in your hair is enough to send anyone racing to the bath tub armed with bottles of lice-killing treatments. But wait! Before you treat lice symptoms, take a seat, take a breath, and get the facts about head lice.

Head lice are a common problem with more than two million Canadians experiencing head lice annually, and around six million annual cases in the U.S. There is quite a market for treating lice mostly dominated by the sale of head lice treatments that contain pesticide or other chemical compounds. These are toxic to lice and pose potential danger to humans and the environment if over used or abused. Children who are still developing or those who may have an underlying health issue should not be exposed to high levels of pesticide. Although the levels in most of these over the counter remedies is low the potential risk comes from their over use and abuse when they fail to work as directed.

Why is this important information for your family to know? A recent study in the medical journal of entomology has shown that head lice are now 97.1% resistant to most of the over the counter head lice treatments containing permethrin, a common synthetic chemical widely used as an insecticide, acaricide, and insect repellent. It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin, affecting neuron membranes by prolonging sodium channel activation. It is not known to rapidly harm most mammals or birds, but is dangerously toxic to cats and fish. In general, it has a low mammalian toxicity. Most popular head lice treatment products contain permethrin. When the product fails to perform people may over use or abuse them in a desperate effort to get rid of the bugs. I have personally spoken to many mothers who have told me they have used upwards of ten to fifteen applications without success.

Head Lice Removal Options

Shampoo and cleaning products made with preformed enzymes as the active ingredient are a great solution to products that rely on chemical or pesticide actions to kill bugs. These naturally occurring plants enzymes are safe for human use and are environmentally friendly. They are biodegradable and do not pollute the water system. Their action is mechanical and when used in combination with reduction combing and environmental cleaning offer superior results. The most important step in lice eradication with natural lice treatment is to systematically interrupt their life cycles by the removal of lice eggs. Systematic combing in combination with enzyme shampoo and environmental cleaning applications will ensure that the life cycle of the louse is broken and the case is completely eradicated. You may opt to hire a lice removal service. In this case a medical device called the Air Elle may be used. This utilizes heated air to kill all lice and their eggs in combination with reduction combing to remove the dead head lice and eggs. The DIY sect may also opt for the old fashioned oil smothering method whereby you saturate the scalp in olive or coconut oil and smother the bugs.

 

About the Author:

Dawn Mucci is a mother of three, writer and founder of Lice Squad Canada. Her vision is to dispel the stigma associated with head lice and to stop the overuse and abuse of pesticides on children and our environment.

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