Smashin’ Potatoes

 

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

Smashed potatoes topped with Jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese

I’ve mentioned in a previous post, in our home we are not carb-phobics (intense fear of carbohydrates). Instead, we fully embrace carbohydrates as the primary source of energy for our body and brain.  In my practice I help misinformed clients understand the role of carbohydrates in a healthy diet and often spend time educating them on the wonderful benefits carbs offer. Typical carb foods can be rich in fibre, folate and iron.  You may even be surprised to know that 45 to 65 per cent of your daily calories should be coming from carbohydrate sources, especially if you’re an active person!

…we fully embrace carbohydrates as the primary source of energy for our body and brain…

Growing up, my primary “carb food” came in the form of an Indian flatbread known as roti. Other families may rely on rice, bread or potatoes as their main “carb” source. After living independently and being able to experiment in my own kitchen, I often gravitate towards whole grain breads, white and sweet potatoes, brown rice, soba noodles and whole grain pasta.

Onto the important stuff.

Here’s an easy peasy take on baby potatoes. Being a cheese lover, I decided to top these babies with Manitoba proud, Bothwell Cheese…the Cadillac of all cheeses (in my opinion).

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

Smash (gently) prior to baking.

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

Remember, purchasing local foods helps to sustain our economy and flourish our communities.

Smashin' Potatoes
 
Prep time
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Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1lb Baby Potatoes
  • 2 tsp Canola Oil
  • 1 tbsp salt free seasoning (Greek, Italian, plain parsley etc)
  • Dash of cracked black pepper
  • ⅓ cup grated cheese (optional, use dairy free if vegan)
Instructions
  1. Bring pot of water to boil. Add in potatoes, and cook until fork tender.
  2. Drain water from the potatoes and line on a baking sheet that has been drizzled with the oil.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Smash each potato using a potato masher, your hand or even a fork.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Top with cheese, bake for another 2 minutes.

        – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas

More than any other type of cuisine, I must admit I adore Mexican inspired dishes. Perhaps in a previous life I was a Latin woman or this may all be thanks to a dear friend of mine, who happens to be part Mexican. Either way, it’s a win win situation.

I first discovered this recipe in the coveted Dietitians of Canada Cook! cookbook. I love that it’s a meatless dish and nicely pairs black beans and cheese, without it being too heavy.
Give the recipe a try and don’t forget to leave a comment!

Espero que tengas un buen día.

Carrots and Cake Nita ShardaI paired this dish with a simple guacamole and a side of corn tortilla chips proudly made in Manitoba (courtesy of La Cocina Foods). When time permits, it’s also very nice with a fresh salsa and chopped cilantro.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas
 
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Serves: 5 - 6
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp freshly group black pepper
  • 8 8" whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute red peppers and onion for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, chili powder and pepper.
  2. Divide bean mixture evenly among tortillas. Roll up burrito-style and place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and sauté for 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in broth and bring to a boil, whisking the entire time until thick—about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Pour sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Just drizzle…

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Never, ever, ever forget about the guacamole.

 

       – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Detoxing the Detox

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Weighing in on the detox

Alas, winter is over. Spring is here (well, sort of). This also means summer is just around the corner and more than ever people are frantically preparing for that perfect beach body, brides are pressured to shed weight in honor of their big day, and others are given hope that a quick detox will result in a total transformation worthy of infomercial infamy.

If you’re on the search for that perfect detox, you don’t need to leave home. The human body was miraculously created with organs to facilitate exactly that: a natural process for detoxification all thanks to our livers, kidneys, and colons.

Be weary of products that promote weight loss after a “7 day detoxification” or a “30 day colon cleanse”.  Marketers strategically construct these products to appeal to those looking for an easy way out and sell people on the notion that they’ll somehow become healthier, thinner, happier, and more attractive after using such products. The pursuit of the perfect detox has become a million dollar industry that targets people looking for “a quick fix”.

–   The pursuit of the perfect detox has become a million dollar industry that targets people looking for “a quick fix”   –

Often sold in the form of a pill, tea, or loose powder—detox products’ claims often have very limited evidence to support their alleged grandiose changes. In fact, leading toxicologists give very little credit to these types of products; in some cases, detoxes can actually cause harm by disrupting our normal gut flora, exposing us to dehydration, and can also toy with our biological hunger cues. Many are laced with laxatives causing bowel urgency, leading people to believe this is somehow “cleansing”–it’s not, and it certainly isn’t natural.

It may seem like an old wives tale by now, but moderation is key. Rather than embracing this principle, our ‘slowly but surely’ health model is quickly being replaced by compulsiveness, extremism, and the impatience for instant gratification. We’ve all had moments of overindulgence and feeling the need to “reboot” how we eat, but don’t be swayed to believe any one product will transform your body or health for that matter.

The take away: a consistently healthy, well-balanced diet is the best “cleanse”.

        – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Smooth, creamy and chocolatey.

This is the kind of dessert that makes you feel good as you’re eating it. It also happens to be dairy-free, gluten-free and isn’t chalk full of refined sugar. Now let me warn you, if you’re expecting this to taste like our traditional Jell-O brand chocolate puddings, you need to know it doesn’t. This take on a chocolate mousse plays on the flavor and texture of the avocado–creating a dessert that is smooth and creamy. But heck, who care about all that when it has chocolate in it!

Don’t be alarmed by the addition of soy sauce as an ingredient. It helps to mask the taste of the avocado and enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder. I prommmise. 

Go on, enjoy. 

Carrots and Cake

Chocolate Avocado Mousse
 
Prep time
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Serves: 4 - 5
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened raw cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
  • ¼ cup milk (or water, or an alternative milk substitute)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce (if Gluten Free source GF soy sauce)
  • Fresh fruit for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric food processor.
  2. Process until mixture is smooth. If the pudding is too thick, feel free to add more liquid.
  3. Garnish with desired fruit such as raspberries, kiwi or mango!

Signature2

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

We all know pumpkins are seasonal in the fall, but when you’re craving that rich flavor with hints of cinnamon, it’s hard to resist baking a batch of muffins that feature this squash. These Pumpkin Pecan Muffins are moist and taste best when served fresh. Don’t be alarmed by the ratio of whole wheat flour to all purpose flour. The muffins don’t come out dense; instead, they are light and fluffy. If you’re whipping up a batch of these feel free to add in dried cranberries instead or even a handful of dark chocolate chips. Have fun with it, and own it!

Oh and a tip…

Sour milk can be used instead of buttermilk. To prepare, combine 2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup (250 mL) milk and let stand for 5 minutes. See, I gotchu’ covered. And what’s even better? These muffins freeze really well, SO double up! 

Recipe was adapted from this Pumpkin Raisin Muffin.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Pecan Muffins
 
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Serves: as many or as few as you'd like
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ½ can (7 oz/200 mL) pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see tip below)
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and raisins
  3. In a separate bowl, blend together pumpkin, oil, buttermilk and eggs.
  4. Make a large well in center of dry ingredients; pour in wet ingredients all at once. Gently fold together until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin lightly with brown sugar.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Yeah, that’s real butter.

Recipe adapted from Dietitian’s of Canada website:
http://www.dietitians.ca/Recipes/Pumpkin-Raisin-Muffins.aspx

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda