You were supposed to shop today but instead you'll do the groceries tomorrow. You open your fridge to find... not much.
Dammit! Don't you hate that?
I've often muttered to myself: "I swear I had more food." Sounds familiar? Your fridge (like mine) has probably been raided and all you have left are vegetables. Well don't order take-out just yet. Luckily you have some half eaten veggies and some pantry items that combined will magically make this AMAZING soup. The entire family will love it! And surprise-it's full of health! Yay!
Also, dumplings. In one bowl. Because I don't have time to make homemade bread; I just realized I have no food in my house! You think I planned to let something rise for three hours? Pfff.
Empty out your fridge and look at the contents. Look like this? Awesome. You have stuff to make a really satisfying soup.
Please keep in mind, this is what I had in my fridge. Whatever you have in your fridge will work, as long as you have cauliflower to make this soup "creamy." It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but I got all of it out of one crisper and my cupboard.
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 head cauliflower
2 ribs celery
1 carrot, grated
1/2 zucchini, grated
1 white onion
1/2 red onion
2 cloves garlic
3 green onions
1/2 head broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (You can use any bean)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 cups broth
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 -1/2 cup milk
Heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
Roughly chop the white and red onion, celery, garlic, pepper and cauliflower and throw in the pot. Cook until cauliflower starts to brown.
Add half the broth, oregano, 1 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook until cauliflower is tender. About 10 minutes.
Blend with an immersion blender until everything is super creamy.
Add your grated carrot, grated zucchini, chickpeas, broccoli and remaining broth. Simmer on low for five minutes.
In the meantime, make your dumplings. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and salt in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp oil, milk and green onions. Mix until dough-like.
Take a tbsp of dough out of the bowl at a time and flatten in your palm. Throw a few of these on top of your soup and put the lid on. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until dumplings are cooked through.
Scoop a generous helping into a bowl with 3-4 dumplings per serving. If you have a lemon lying around, squeeze some on top and enjoy!
Makes 6-8 generous belly-warming helpings.
As a busy parent, I know you understand the difficulty of always feeding your family healthy, home-cooked meals and encouraging healthy eating at all times. With hockey practice, dance lessons, swimming, homework, school projects and play dates, time constraints are tough on all of us. However, it's important to educate our kids about nutrition as early as possible so they know how to nourish their bodies into adulthood—and beyond. Teaching them starts at home but it also extends to their time at school. But how do we find the time to make it all happen? Great news! I’ve got solutions for you...and the best part? They're easy!
As a holistic nutritionist, I've had the opportunity to work in schools, so I’ve been able to see some of the lunches kids eat each day. Many of those lunches contain packaged and processed sugary items. There are many downsides to feeding them these types of foods including the fact that after eating processed foods, they'll bounce off the walls until they crash because they have no energy left. This breaks my heart because kids cannot concentrate or learn properly with this type of fuel. Real food creates real focus.
So how can we make school lunches a little healthier and get our kids eating healthier while at school?
Encourage your kid's school to apply for a grant from Metro's Green Apple School Program. I LOVE this program because it encourages kids to try new foods and it focuses on the foundation of a healthy diet: fruits and vegetables. Strengthening a love of healthy food at school will not only help our kids make better choices at home, but certainly lower their risk of obesity.
The grant allows schools to provide access to healthy food and provide nutritious alternatives to not-so-healthy choices while showing the importance of fresh local foods. Foods from different cultures are also highlighted (we do live in Canada, after all!) to expand the range of healthy choices. How amazing is that? To-date, the program has supported the establishment and completion of hundreds of gardens, cooking workshops, cookbooks, and food programs all across Ontario.
Metro is investing $500,000 into the program this year alone by awarding $1000 grants to elementary and secondary schools in Ontario. That’s free money for your kids’ healthy education! Any opportunity for our kids to adopt healthier nutrition habits and eliminate unhealthy ones while at school is a win.
Now that the school part is covered, what else can we be doing at home to get them eating those fruits and veggies? As always, we should be a positive example for our little ones—they mimic our every move, and this includes what we eat.
Ultimately, it's up to us to inspire our children to eat healthy, fresh foods and it’s easier than you may think. Encourage your kid’s school to apply for a grant through Metro's Green Apple School Program to help kids understand the concepts of proper nutrition and health. Surround your family with healthy, local ingredients and present these options to everyone, often. Try to eat one more piece of fruit today in front of your kids. See who can get the most peas onto their fork. Make meals as colourful as possible and let your little ones help! And then, we can all just sit back and watch our healthy kids grow.
Want to eat dessert every day?
Just make it healthy! This is a guaranteed winner at your dinner table. Kids will hear the word "pudding" and devour their meal just to get a taste.
This is what I like to call a double-win dessert because it's healthy AND it uses up your fruit that might be on it's last day...if you know what I mean.
Yup-those old brown bananas and mushy avocados? They make the BEST pudding. Brown bananas are ripe and naturally sweet so you don't need to add much else to serve up this dessert. And avocados? Hello CREAMY! Let everyone guess the secret ingredient-I bet they'll never know.
I made a no-bake crust for these little individual pudding pots but you can always skip that step to make this even easier.
For the no-bake crust, blend ground almonds with coconut oil, 1 tbsp of maple syrup and salt. Evenly distribute among 6-8 individual cups/ramekins and press along the bottom. Place in fridge to let the crust set.
In a food processor or blender, add bananas, avocado, nut butter, chia seeds, 2 tbsp maple syrup and cocoa. Pulse to blend.
Add half the milk and whizz away. Add more milk until it is the consistency you like. Don't worry if it's a little loose, it will set up in the fridge.
Add a 1/4 cup of pudding to each pot and place back in the fridge until it's time to devour (at least 30 minutes). If you feel like getting fancy, top with fresh coconut, crushed nuts or extra chia seeds. Enjoy!
Makes 6-8 individual pudding pots