GNI Feature: Easy, Fancy, Grown Up (but not really) Party Snack Ideas

 

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Pretty spices.

This post will mark the finale of the Girls Night In feature that was running on the Carrots and Cake blog over the past few weeks. As we bid farewell to what was a short but sweet summer, I’m hoping I can look forward to the fall season with open arms and that I can introduce you to some of my favorite fall recipes.

If you’ve ever hosted a girls night or any form of entertaining you know that multitasking is a skill you’ll need to really hone in on. Preparing in advance will save you from feeling overwhelmed and what I want to talk to you about is selecting a few quick n’ easy munchies that you can whip up in minutes!

The Cheese Plate

Putting together a cheese plate takes very little time and effort. It’s a great way to serve a dairy product in a sophisticated way for guests to enjoy or nibble on while the rest of your items are getting prepped. Cheese often gets a bad rap for its high fat content but people forget how rich it can be in nutrients like calcium, vitamin B12 and protein. For my girls night, I served up a variety of cheeses generously donated by Bothwell Cheese – the finest cheese makers in Manitoba! I take great pleasure in sourcing local food products. My favorite is the classic marble cheese but when I’m feeling adventurous I enjoy snacking on the Jalapeno Pepper Jack

I often pair my cheese plate with whole grain crackers such as Mary’s Gone crackers but you can also utilize a crusty baguette, raisin bread, sourdough or pumpernickel. Just remember the idea is not to overwhelm the taste of the cheese – check out the Dairy Goodness site for more information on entertaining with cheese. It’s also fun to pair cheese plates with pickles, roasted garlic, dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. What’s your favorite way to enjoy cheese?

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Thanks again Bothwell Cheese.

Parmesan Popcorn 

Popcorn isn’t just for the movies–you can pop a modest portion and top it with unique ingredients to create fun flavours. I’m a big believer that popcorn is the most versatile food out there. Popcorn is a totally unprocessed whole grain that also contains fibre. You can enjoy it sweet or savoury. Nix the pre-packaged microwave, store-bought, and movie theater varieties which are usually laced with a ton of additives, fat and salt. Instead, air-pop a handful of kernels in a dab of fat such as butter, olive oil or even coconut oil. The Food Network has an easy microwave method if that’s the route you’d like to take or you can pop it on the stovetop.

I had a guest who brought over a super-duper-awesome popcorn maker which made it really easy to prepare popcorn. It’s not necessary to buy a fancy popcorn maker but if you’re interested, they can be purchased for extremely affordable prices, usually less than $20.00. I packaged the popcorn into cute little sandwhich bags and topped the mixture with cayenne pepper and Bothwell Cheese Smoked Parmesan.

As far as toppings, here are a few that I personally enjoy, but the list could be endless:

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon + Vanilla extract
  • Garlic powder
  • Parmesan Cheese

CnC_gni popcorn Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

p.s. If you haven’t already checked it out, this is a short snippet of what my #gni looked like. Enjoy!

 

 

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

 
 Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

GNI Feature: Minted Cranberry & Pecan Quinoa salad!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Just a little sweet but mostly fresh!

While many of us in Winnipeg (and elsewhere) are preparing for the fall season, I’m still planing to savor every bit that is left of summer. Over the next week, I’m hoping to wrap up the “girls night in” feature by sharing just a few more recipes. This particular quinoa salad is extremely simple to make and can easily be prepared the night before, allowing the flavors to mingle and marinade the quinoa. If you are hoping to prep this in advance, I highly suggest adding the pecans just before serving time.

Similar to when I shared the Almond Crusted Salmon recipe, this dish also makes use of an amazing sauce produced by my friend Peter Fehr of Gourmet Inspirations. I specifically used the Strawberry Balsamic with Basil sauce for this recipe and it added an extra richness and flavor to the end result. I don’t often source convenience food items, but when hosting calls for multitasking I’m all for local handcrafted food items that make little use of preservatives and this sauce fits the bill!

Okay, okay, enter drum-roll. The recipe below – and, a huge *thank you* to my friend Peter for contributing to my fun #gni!

Minted Quinoa & Cranberry Pecan Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • Garnish: handful of mint, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • Juice from 1 whole lime
  • ⅓ cup Gourmet Inspirations "Strawberry Balsamic with Basil" sauce
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa as directed ensuring you've rinsed the quinoa beforehand (rinsing your quinoa is a must!) and allow it to cool.
  2. Mix in pecan halves, cranberries, raisins and mint. Set aside.
  3. To make the dressing: Juice lime and add strawberry sauce.
  4. Season with onion powder and black pepper.
  5. Add desired amount of dressing to salad. Dressing will keep in fridge for up to 1 month.

 Here’s a few more snippets of my “girls night in” — photos captured by the amazingly talented team at Samba Joy Photo & Art.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeCnC_Quinoa_Saucep.s. If you haven’t already checked it out, this is a short snippet of what my #gni looked like. Enjoy!

 

 

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

GNI Feature – Very Berry Pavlova

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Very Berry Pavlova

Pavlova – I was first introduced to this delicate dessert by a dear friend of mine. She’s the kind of friend who, no matter what, will always handcraft a dessert when we visit. No, she’s not the cake-mix kinda gal. She’s the whip your own whipping cream, chop berries and use a springform pan kinda woman. I like her. Okay I lied, I love her.

If you haven’t yet tried pavlova, you’re missing out. I prefer homemade versions over those sold in stores or at other restaurants. It’s a dessert that really needs to be enjoyed when it’s fresh. Each mouthful is packed with sweetness (but not too much), a cool touch of whipping cream and burst of fresh flavor from the fruit you use. I added pistachios to my final product to add a bit of a crunch, and color. If you want to go nut-free, by all means, go for it!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Now, when it comes to dessert, this is full-fat, full-sugar. There’s no “lightening” up when it comes to pavlova (or atleast I haven’t tried). It’s an all-in kind of dessert. Does that make me feel badly? Of course not. Pavlova takes a gentle touch and I’d much rather prefer to spend as much time enjoying it as I took to prepare it. In situations like this, I always allude to something Michael Pollan wrote about in his book, Food Rules. He mentioned that french fries are often enjoyable. But, when you take time to prepare them by hand it can become quite labour-some. When you’re feeding a family that can amount to a lot of time and energy to hand-prepare fries if you’re serving them several times a week. So would you necessarily make french fries regularly? Probably not. But once every 6 – 8 weeks, sure! That’s how I feel about pavlova.

I was never raised in a family that placed emphasis on desserts. I remember my parents serving something sweet only “once in a while” in between birthdays. Looking back, since discovering pavlova roughly four years ago, I’ve probably only made it a handful of times. So, like I said, I go all in.

I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy this recipe and dessert as much as I do. It’s a definite crowd pleaser. You can bake it into what shape or size you wish. I changed things up by making a 4″ pavlovas. The recipe was sourced from The Joy of Baking website. And fair warning, prepare to make the pavlova 4-5 hour prior to serving, you’ll need time for it to cool slowly in the oven. See below:

Very Berry Pavlova
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • Pavlova
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1½ tbsp granulated white sugar (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruit of your choice- kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, mango etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 - 8 inch circle on the paper. Turn the parchment paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks (about 5-6 minutes). Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in.
  5. Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center; you want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.
  6. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the outside is dry and is a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.
  7. The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.
  8. Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate.
  9. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue.
  10. Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.

A few more drool-worthy photos by: Samba Joy Photo & Art.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeNita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Here we go, all in!

Oh, and just incase you missed the magical video that my friends at Samba Joy created for me, see below!

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

GNI Feature: Jalapeno Spiced Hummus

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

Perfectly spiked and ready to enjoy.

Today I’m thrilled to share the first of a recipe series from the girls-night-in (GNI) I hosted a few weeks back. The recipe below is for hummus which is often used as a spread or dip. The main ingredient is chickpeas and often most recipes contain tahini. Because tahini isn’t a staple in my home, I opted to create a hummus spread without it. The base of this recipe came from my glob-trotting, foodie-extraordinaire, yogi friend (also a fellow Dietitian), Allie of Balanced with Allie.  It’s the kind of recipe you can spike with multiple flavors: chilli, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic or caramelized onion–yum! The options are endless.

I’m particularly fond of hummus because unlike many commercial spreads and dips, it’s not loaded with starches, sodium, fat or cheap ingredients. It’s also a great way to incorporate more beans and legumes into your lifestyle if these aren’t foods you typically cook with. Not to mention, it’s super easy to put together. All you need is a blending device or an immersion blender! Hummus also freezes well – yaay for batch cooking!

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Spiced Hummus
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • paprika (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • 1 pickled jalapeno
  • 1 - 2 tbsp picked jalapeno juice
Instructions
  1. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans.
  2. Combine all ingredients into food processor and blend until consistency is smooth.
  3. Add additional water or lemon juice as needed.
  4. Serve with veggies, pretzels, wholegrain crackers or use as a spread on wraps, sandwiches or even as a "pizza sauce" (yes, it's yummy)!

Oh, and just incase you missed the magical video that my friends at Samba Joy created for me, see below!

A few more photos, snapped by the talented Samba Joy

Carrots and Cake, Nita ShardaCarrots and Cake, Nita ShardaCarrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Carrots and Cake Hosts: Girls-Night-In #gni

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Well, I’ll toast to that! #gni

Well hello there!

With summer in full swing, our days are longer and the warmth of the sun flirts with us into the evening hours. In previous posts I’ve mentioned that summer is hands-down-no-questions-asked my favorite season. In my life, summer represents a time that allows for many family BBQs, weddings, baby showers, and of course, those coveted girls-night-in (infamously known as GNI).

There are many things I can confidently and sincerely say I’m lousy at (examples: ironing, making roti, and singing), but there are some things that I’m pretty darn great at. C’mon, I’m a self-proclaimed “chef” and boast myself as being the hostess with the mostess (believing it is half the battle, right?). It’s taken me years to hone my entertaining skills and, though I’m happy with where I’m at, I’m always on the lookout for the latest and greatest ways to ensure my guests have a certifiable ball. It isn’t always easy being that hostess with the mostess (aka trying to juggle a million balls at once and making it look like it’s no sweat), and I’ve learned that it’s a skill that will, like a good wine, mature with time (oh, did you see what I did there? That rhymes!). The best part is that entertaining can be (very) messy, it can be fun, soothing (dare I say therapeutic at times), but most importantly it can be incredibly rewarding. When my guests leave with happy bellies, nourished bodies, and warm memories, it gives me this real sense of fulfillment. I think it’s another trait I inherited from my mother as she would prepare food for our family. I guess this is another example of how I am completely my mother’s daughter.

So, getting back to that GNI…

A while ago I invited a few of my girlfriends over for a fun GNI that was, of course, filled with the latest celebrity gossip and sharing upcoming summer plans, all accompanied by excessive helpings of giggles. I prepared a menu that I knew they would all enjoy, and even handcrafted a yummy cocktail, which used herbs from my very own garden. Don’t worry, I’ll share more about the specific menu items and recipes so keep an eye out for them! But for now, how about you drool over this insanely adorable video that my friends at Samba Joy created for me (shout out to Marcello and Madalena!).

I’ll fix your favorite dishes
Hopin’ this good food will fill ya
Stand in kitchen alone, work my fingers to the bone
You better eat if it kills ya
Cause everybody eats when they come to my house”

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

Planning on hosting Girls Night In? Check out these links for suggestions and recipes:

Jalapeno Spiced Hummus

Very Berry Pavlova

Almond Crusted Salmon

Raspberry Mojito

Minted Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad

Grown UP Party Snack Ideas

               – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

 

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Sharing Stories: Summer, with Ice Cream

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Just when you thought it might not come, it did. Summer came to Winnipeg.

I rang in the start of my favorite season by driving to a local grocer, picking up a pale of ice cream, chopping a few juicy strawberries and enjoying a modest portion of Cornell Crème’s Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream.  Yes people, I, Nita Sharda, Registered Dietitian eat full fat ice cream #aintnoshame.  For me, eating ice cream or any “treat” is a proclamation of how content I am with my physical body, and I’d also like to think it reflects the control I have over my personal health and well being.

You may not spot me licking ice cream on a daily basis, but when the occasion calls for it, I’m all in. I’ve bid farewell to the days of feeling “guilty” after inhaling a high-sugar high-fat food item. Instead of being bogged down by treats, I allow them to elevate me and remind myself that yes, I am in control. Besides, life is short and fine-tuning that balance is something we all struggle with as we work through life.

Okay, okay, I’m done with my venting.

What I’m really excited to share is some briefing notes from a cyber chit-chat I had with Lisa Dyck, owner of Cornell Crème ice cream which is taking over Manitoba. Similar to when I shared my personal food philosophy, Lisa feels it’s important to know where her food comes from, to become well versed in reading nutrition labels and to understand ingredient lists. As an ice cream producer herself, she admits that life is about balance: “eat a balanced diet; treat yourself in moderation”.

Nita Sharda Carrots and Cake

Lisa Dyck, Cornell Creme

Cornell Crème is sold across Manitoba with several retailers’ right in Winnipeg. For more information on where you can make your purchase, click here. Also keep your eyes open for Dan, the ‘Cornell Creme Bike Man’. He can be spotted at local jams, festivals and hot spots in the city. I’ve spotted him myself around Osbourne Village offering up a mini serving of ice cream to local folks. Here’s more from Lisa:

How did the birth of Cornell Crème come to be?
Cornell Creme evolved over time; from making a natural, good tasting ice cream at home for my family to wanting to develop a real-deal product made from our milk.

We wanted to make the best tasting ice cream from our farm’s milk. We support ethical ideals such as sourcing ingredients from local suppliers, Fair Trade, Non-GMO and Kosher. Every ingredient we use is sourced with thought and effort. We want to make sure we feel good about the product we are making as well as contributing to an ethically sound environment.

Do you promote the use of preservatives in your ice cream?  
No. I try to let our ingredient list speak for itself. All natural with no preservatives. This means we only use cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks and extracts that are either organic or kosher certified.

How do you raise your cows?
To a dairy farmer the health of his or her cows is number one.  Farmers work very hard to make sure their cows are fed top quality feed and that they receive the best care. We are very serious about our cows and their care, health and happiness comes first on our farm. Our cows are in a free-stall/free-roaming barn. They have access to nutritious feed three times a day with liters upon liters of fresh water. If the cows are happy, then farmer is happy.

Let’s talk about the flavors. Malty Ale Pale—how the heck did you dream of this one?
*insert giggles* A friend of mine who happens to be a chef suggested the beer flavor. We went with it and never looked back.

Where do you find inspiration for your flavors? They certainly are unique, not to mention mouth-watering.
Most flavor inspirations are derived from what goes on in my brain. I try to base selections on what I like and what is popular with consumers. My family, friends and fellow tweeters also offer up suggestions. If it will fit our production method, we consider it.

How is Cornell Crème Ice Cream different from those that are mass produced?
We use fresh milk straight from our farm to plant. We stick to the five basic ingredients. Being a local producer, we try our best to source local ingredients within our networks. Our ice cream also has a very low overrun. Overrun means the amount of air that is pumped into ice cream. So, if the overrun is high (lighter ice cream) you will be paying for more air in the product. You do get what you pay for but we believe when comparing prices you may actually be getting a little more than you are paying for with our ice cream.

We also went with high butterfat content because taste is carried through fat as the medium in (many) foods. When your body/palate craves “fat”, you can actually eat very little of our ice cream and your brain will register it has had enough. With lower fat ice cream you may need to eat more of the product to feel the satisfaction. Ice cream is meant to be a decadent treat not a meal replacement.

A part of being an entrepreneur is preparing yourself for more and more growth. How do you plan to grow Cornell Crème? Would you consider selling across to other provinces?
We make the ice cream at a CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) approved facility. This ultimately means we can sell nationally across Canada. If we move from our current plant (our plan this year) we have the opportunity to upscale production.  If we get sales in other provinces, yes, we will consider it! We are trying to grow one step at a time ensuring we are making the right decision for our family and for Cornell Crème. We certainly do not want to grow too big, too fast.

And for the grand finale, last question (enter drum roll): What is your favorite flavor?
Hands down, without a doubt: Vanilla Bean!

Thank you again, Lisa, for spending some time with Carrots and Cake. I’m humbled to have met you and wish you and Cornell Crème nothing but the best!

If you want get to know Cornell Crème a bit more, follow their blog here. You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Nita Sharda

Lisa’s favorite, Natural Vanilla Bean

The opinions contained within this blog post are solely my own (unless otherwise stated) and are intended purely for educational and sharing purposes. The purpose of the above post is not to display advertisement. Carrots and Cake did not and will not accept reimbursement for the above post.

                                – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

 

 

The Everything Granola

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

All things good, right here.

Yes, EVERYTHING. This version of a granola recipe is incredibly functional and flexible, not to mention highly addictive. You can mix in different nuts, experiment with a variety of grains such as barley flakes or add in unique dried fruit such as chopped apricots, coconut or even dried blueberries. The options are truly endless which makes this all the more fun.

More and more I’ve been trying to intentionally incorporate Hemp Hearts into my diet. They have a creamy mouth feel and a nutty flavor to them that is irresistible. This is a fairly new seed that is gaining popularity across the nation, and, for the right reasons. The great thing about Hemp seeds is that they are a great option for vegetarian folks that are trying to meet their protein requirements. It’s nutrition profile is quite amazing–beyond the protein, it is also a great source of fibre and those coveted healthy fats (omega-3 and omega-6) which contain anti-inflammatory properties. Okay AND, Manitoba happens to be one of the most successful producers of hemp hearts in North America, HOLA!

Okay, back to business. Enjoy this recipe:
The Everything Granola
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: Lots.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup walnut halves or pecans
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ⅔ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup honey or agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup hemp hearts or hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup flaked unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (chopped dates, raisins, dried cranberries etc)
Instructions
  1. Spread walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds on a baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned at 350 degrees. Caution: be sure to keep an eye on them to prevent the nuts from burning. Remove from the oven, allow them to cool and chop coarsely.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, stir together almond butter, honey, and oil. Microwave on high for about 45 seconds or until bubbly. Give this liquid mixture a good stir and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together oats, wheat germ, hemp hearts, flax seed and cinnamon. Pour the warm honey mixture on top of the grain mixture and mix well.
  4. Cover a baking or cookie sheet with Parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly across the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to use two.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes but be sure to stir the granola every 5 minutes to ensure it is all evenly cooked. Your house should smell like heaven by now.
  6. Once the granola is cooked through, allow it to cool. Place the mixture into a large bowl and stir in chopped nuts, coconut (if used) and dried fruit.
  7. Store in an air tight container, it keeps well for several weeks!
 Let me know what changes you’d make, and don’t forget to leave a comment below or subscribe to the blog!

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

 Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda       

                  – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Baked Oatmeal with Apple & Cinnamon

Carrots and Cake, Nita Sharda

Quick n’ easy.

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day. No, it’s not an old wives tale or a myth. It’s a fact folks. In my practice I meet a lot of clients that just can’t stomach the idea of having a meal first thing in the morning. I always explain the benefits of breakfast very briefly, but also offer new and novel ideas. Some people have just over-killed “breakfasty foods” – you know the toast, cereal, porridge, eggs and sausages, the list goes on. I get it, it gets boring. But heck, think outside the box. I don’t care if you have a sandwich for breakfast or even leftover lasagna. Just have something that is balanced (aim for 3 food groups)! If breakfast for dinner is appropriate, why can’t we have “dinner” for breakfast? Sometimes, years of eating cereal or oatmeal the traditional way can get boring.

There’s also no harm is postponing breakfast either: such as, waiting until you’ve gotten to your office or had some time to really “wake up”.

–    Breakfast. The Most important meal of the day.    –

Other clients express that their morning is often really busy and they simply “have no time”. Being a rather busy-body myself, I can fully sympathize with this one. So what do I tell people? I encourage them to prepare breakfast the night before as they would for lunch. HERE is where this recipe comes handy. It’s a staple in our home and quickly devoured.

This recipe is a version of oatmeal, but baked. You can prepare it in advance and it will offer you 4-6 servings over the week. You can feel free to munch on it as a bar, or pour warm milk over it. Sometimes I like to throw in nuts, fresh berries, coconut or even a mashed banana to change it up. The ideas are truly endless. If you’re making this to serve a large group, you can easily double the recipe and bake into a 13″ x 9″ dish. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Cinnamon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds or walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional: or add in shredded coconut, raisins etc)
  • 1 Apple, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups milk or milk alternative
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8" (2L) baking dish
  2. In a medium size bowl, combine oats, nuts, cranberries, chopped apple, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Once blended together, pour in milk. Mix well.
  4. Pour contents into the greased pan and bake until oats are softened and milk has absorbed. It usually takes about 45 - 60 minutes.
  5. Serve hot or cold.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Nita Sharda

            – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

 

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
Cook time
Total time
 
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