Bean Quesadillas for Kids and Adults

rice tortillas recipeWhen my older daughter was on an anti-Candida diet to clear up some health problems, I needed to get creative to find foods she could take to school to eat and that she was willing to eat.  To improve her health she was temporarily avoiding wheat, corn, dairy, ham, beef, white sugar, food colouring and other foods.  The school does not allow peanuts or nuts because some kids in the school have severe allergies.  One of the meals she liked (and still likes) is bean and cheese quesadillas.

Ingredients:

1 rice tortilla, thawed (either in the fridge, or on the frying pan before the oil is added)
grated  cheese (dairy cheese, goat cheese or non-dairy cheese)
canned Romano beans (drained and rinsed)
cilantro (optional – my daughter didn’t want it)
dash cumin (optional)

Heat frying pan on medium.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the hot pan.  Add thawed rice tortilla.  Spoon beans onto one side and top with grated cheese.  If desired, add cumin and/or cilantro.  Fold tortilla in half over beans and cheese.  Squish down with potato masher or frying pan flipper.  Wait until it browns, then flip over.  Remove when both sides are lightly browned and crisp.  Cut into three triangles and enjoy!

Oatmeal with Pears

oatmeal and pearsOn cold days I sometimes have homemade oatmeal for breakfast.  If I wanted to take the time to make it in the healthiest way, I would cook slow cooking oats in a pot on the stove.  Usually I want it quickly, so I pour boiling hot water over quick oats.  Technically those are supposed to be cooked on the stove too, but I find they cook enough for my taste with the hot water.  Here is a recipe for the oatmeal I made several times in the past couple of weeks:

1/2 cup quick oats or instant oats
1/2 cup water
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 pear, diced
7 almonds, chopped
dash of cinnamon

The fiber from the oatmeal and the protein from the almonds keeps me full all morning.

Frozen Bananas

bananaAn easy, healthy and creamy frozen treat that we like is a frozen banana. 

Peel bananas that are yellow but not yet spotted
Break or cut the bananas in half
Stick a popsicle stick or chopstick into the broken half and push it into the banana
Wrap the bananas with plastic wrap
Put several bananas in plastic bags with the sticks sticking out to minimize freezer burn
Wait a few hours until they are frozen.

Remove from plastic bags/wrap and eat!

Homemade Baked Corn Chips

Homemade corn chips

Lately we’ve been making homemade corn chips when we have guests for dinner.  They are a bit time-consuming, but so yummy when they are warm.  They are also healthier than store-bought as most store-bought tortilla chips are deep-fried.

Use a pastry brush to brush olive oil on both sides of corn tortillas
Place tortillas on pizza stone or cookie sheet
Cut into triangles with pizza cutter or knife
Bake for about 10 minutes at 350°F, or until they start to turn light brown
Remove from oven
Sprinkle with sea salt and put in a big bowl
Cover bowl to keep them warm while you bake another batch

Can be served with salsa or other dips, but they break easily.

Kamut Vegetable Salad

Kamut Vegetable Salad
Kamut Vegetable Salad

I love bringing this salad to gatherings of friends and family because most people like it and it is not very expensive to make large quantities of it. I cook the kamut a day or two before I make the salad.  The kamut makes a chewier salad than a rice salad.

1 cup whole grain kamut
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
chopped brocollini
chopped fennel
diced red and yellow peppers
soft goat cheese
2-4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
salt to taste

Place kamut, water and salt in slow cooker. Set on low and cook 8 to 9 hours.  Drain and allow grains to cool.
or
Place the kamut in a pot and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender but still chewy, about 45-60 minutes. Drain, cool, and set aside.

Place cooked kamut in large serving bowl and mix in vegetables and cilantro. Make vinaigrette to moisten and toss to cover.

This recipe is based on one from Slow Cooking by Joanna White.
Other suggested vegetables: celery, cabbage, green onions, red onion, asparagus, brocolli, green beans, and cherry tomatoes.

Chocolate-Dipped Honey Gingerbread Cookies

This is a healthier version of traditional gingerbread cookies.  You can either cut them into squares to make them quickly or use cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes.

1 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1 egg (organic preferred)
5 cups spelt flour or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
organic dark chocolate (chips or bar)

In large bowl, mix molasses, honey, margarine and olive oil.  Add in egg.  Add flour, baking powder and spices and mix until combined.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.  When dough is chilled, take some dough out and put on cookie sheet.  Roll out with rolling pin until approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into shapes and remove excess dough.  Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes.  Remove cookies from sheet and cool on wire rack.  Repeat with remaining dough. 

Melt chocolate in pan or double boiler.  Use a knife to spread melted chocolate onto one half of one side of the cookies.  Let cool.

Cookies will be chewier if you cook them for 10 minutes, crispier if you cook them for 12 minutes.  My kids prefer chewier, but I like them either way.

Pizza with Vegetables and Goat Cheese

Pizza with asparagus, zucchini and ham on a whole wheat crust
Pizza with asparagus, zucchini and ham on a whole wheat crust

Here is a suggestion for when you’re craving pizza but want it to be healthier than the usual delivery kind.  I buy from Flying Wedge pizza when I don’t feel like making my own.  I love their multi-grain crust, their vegetables on the pizzas and the variety.

Whole wheat panini bread, pizza crust, or tortillas 
1/2 can tomato paste
honey
Italian herbs (or dried/fresh basil, oregano, thyme)
dash sea salt
1 tablespoon red onion
3 stalks asparagus, chopped
1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly
slices of cooked chicken or thawed cooked shrimp (optional)
goat cheese
mozzarella cheese, grated (or soy mozza, goat mozza or other white cheese)

Other topping suggestions:  red pepper, broccoli, kale, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, fresh tomato, grated carrots, cilantro, ground bison, lamb

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Place pizza crust on pizza stone or cookie sheet.  Spread tomato paste onto pizza crust.  Drizzle on a bit of honey.  Add herbs and dash of sea salt.  Add onions, vegetables and chicken/shrimp.  Add bits of goat cheese and grated mozzarella cheese.

Put pizza in oven for approximately 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Enjoy!