Friday, January 31, 2014

Foodie Pen Pals!

Another great month with Foodie Pen Pals!

This month I was lucky enough to be paired with Jax from Cooking with Jax! Check out her site for great recipes. We were paired up a few months ago and were lucky enough to get paired up again this month as there aren't a tonne of Canadians participating (hint, hint SIGN UP!)

This time I took a pic!!

It showed up on an afternoon when I was running out of the house and starving so I grabbed the coconut chocolate bar and ran. It was great! Actually all of the treats were wonderful. The kids claimed the bunny crackers, and awesome lollipops. I got the other coffee chocolate bar and we shared the rest. The bacon flavored mustard was great on hot dogs!

Jax, thanks so much for all the thought that went into yet another great pen pal box!

The Lean Green Bean

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Pen pals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your pen pal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your pen pal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your pen pal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Pen pals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your pen pal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

-Foodie Pen pals is open to US, Canadian and European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

You must submit your information by Feb 4th as pairings will be emailed on Feb 5th!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shaved Brussel Sprouts with Carmelized onions and Turnips

Shaved Brussel Sprouts with onions -

Brussel sprouts are often on people's "most hated" veggie lists. They are reviled for their smell, texture, taste etc. I admit that I don't EVER crave them like I do potatoes. The brussel sprouts of my childhood were boiled and stinky and did not taste good (sorry Mom) but today there are so many different ways to prepare them - roast, fried, halved, shaved, grated - that I believe there is a brussel sprout dish out there for everyone to enjoy.

Today's recipe showcases shaved or grated brussel sprouts along with another hated vegetable - turnip! But the turnip is roasted first which caramelizes them to bring out their sweetness. The kicker is the caramelized onions that are also added to complete the dish. The dish brought rave reviews from everyone at Thanksgiving dinner which included a few brussel sprout haters!


2 lbs brussel sprouts, outer leaves removed
Medium turnip, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 cup caramelized onions - see here for recipe
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In small bowl add turnip, tablespoon of oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix.
  3. Place on baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes until caramelized and easily pierced.
  4. Remove and set aside.
  5. Carefully grate brussel sprouts with hand grater or use a slicer attachment on your food processor.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon butter to large nonstick saute pan over medium high heat.
  7. Add brussel sprouts & salt and saute for 5 minutes.
  8. Add caramelized onions and turnips.
  9. Saute for additional 5 minutes.

Serve s 8-10.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Green Goodness Smoothie

The fog comes 
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city 
on silent haunches 
and then moves on.
- Carl Sandburg

Vancouver has been living this poem for well over a week now. The fog rolls in and out morning and night. And the city's fog horns play their eerie symphony all night long. Their sad, low tunes have even awoken me from deep sleep a few times!

The fog couldn't hide this magnificent eagle on Jericho Beach!

The fog caught between the water and mountains.

Today in the fog.

What it looks like on Sunny day.

As I sit looking out on my fog covered city, I am sipping a new combo of flavours in my Sunday smoothie -spinach, strawberries, pear and a drop of honey. I wasn't sure I would like it because I put in a whole bunch of spinach but the pear flavor was what shone through and the frozen strawberries gave it a nice slushy consistency. To be honest I'm not sure the honey added anything so I think you could leave it out.
My bunch of spinach.

I want to paint something! Love this colour!

Makes 3 cups.


1 bunch of fresh spinach or 2 cups chopped
1 cup strawberries, frozen
1/2 pear
1 cup water or to cover
1 tsp honey


Place everything in blender or Nutribullet and blend until smooth.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Avocado Strawberry Smoothie

avocado strawberry smoothie
When my son saw the avocado on the cutting board he wasn't sure he wanted to try this concoction. He didn't think it belonged in a drink! I managed to convince him to try it and thankfully he loved it...the cool straw helped (a present from the amazing Anabel!) This is a great smoothie for afternoon snacks for the kids. It will keep them full until dinner!

Avocado makes a great smoothie ingredient because it results in an incredibly smooth and creamy drink. Since this has avocado and banana this smoothie is quite thick. If it's too thick for your liking add a bit more water or juice.

Makes 2 small smoothies.


1/2 avocado
1/2 banana
5 strawberries
1/2 c yogurt
1/2 c milk
1/2 c orange juice or water (optional)


Place everything in blender or Nutribullet.
Blend for 45 seconds.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Simple Deviled Eggs

Back in the house of my childhood, the door was always open. Not only was it open to anyone who wanted to stop in for a cup of tea or even a meal, we never locked our door...can you imagine that today?? We turn on the alarm every time we leave the house! Those were the good ol'days, I guess. It was also the days of deviled eggs. I remember them showing up at parties and special events. Oh, how I loved them. Then they went away, not to be seen again for years. Thankfully, I've noticed a revival of sorts in these lovely little bites of creaminess. The door may be locked but if you knock, I just might have an egg or two for you.  

These deviled eggs make a great snack or even lunch. I use miracle whip to cut down on fat content but you could use mayo if desired.


8 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup low fat miracle whip or mayonnaise
pinch of salt
1 heaping tbsp of grainy mustard
pinch of pepper
1 tbsp relish

Toppings you may want to use: hot sauce, celery salt, capers, paprika.


  1. Peel hard boiled eggs and cut in half.
  2. Gently remove yolks and place in medium sized bowl. Place egg whites on serving dish.
  3. Mash yolks with rest of ingredients until smooth.
  4. Place yolk mixture in a medium sized ziploc bag. Snip off end and fill egg whites with yolk mixture.
  5. Top deviled eggs with whatever you desire - I used hot sauce, celery salt, paprika and capers.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Blueberry Mango Smoothie

Another  much anticipated  installment in our "Salute to Smoothies"! Today's smoothie is a blueberry-mango blend that will be a hit with kids and adults. I've added chia seeds for fibre and extra nutrients but if you don't have chia seeds you could use flax meal or even oats.


2/3 frozen blueberries
1/3 frozen mango
1 cup coconut water
1 tbsp ground chia
2 tbsp vanilla yogourt


Blend until desired consistency is reached. Extra water can be added if too thick.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mango Almond Smoothie

Here's a super easy, quick and delicious smoothie my 9 year old daughter made this morning.


2/3 cup mango
handful almonds
1/3 cup plain yogurt
water to cover
pomegranates as garnish (optional)


Place all ingredients in Nutribullet and cover with water. Blend for 90 seconds or desired thickness is reached.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blueberry Banana Tofu Smoothie

This is my 7 year old son's go to smoothie. Have you ever tried soft tofu? It's great in smoothies. You can use the plain variety of a flavoured dessert type such as our mango-peach variety. It's great if you can't handle dairy (though you'd also have to sub out the yogurt too) but want the creamy quality dairy brings to smoothies. It also adds a few grams of protein to your breakfast or snack. Enjoy!

Makes 1 large or two small smoothies.


150g or about 1/2c soft tofu or a flavored dessert tofu (we used mango peach dessert tofu from Sunrise Soya Foods)
1/4 frozen blueberries
1/2 c yogurt
1/2 banana
1 cup water, juice or coconut water


Place everything in blender or Nutribullet. Blend  for 90 seconds.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pomegranate and Kale Smoothie

So fresh and filling!
Happy New Year! I know lots of us will be trying to eat healthier in the coming year. And for those of you enjoy smoothies I'll be sharing a few of my favorites over the coming weeks.

This is a great smoothie to start your morning. The ground almonds give you a bit of protein and energy and the kale and cucumber give it a fresh twist. The almonds and seeds will prevent you from getting a totally smooth liquid consistency but that goes toward filling you up to start your day. My seven year old loved this smoothie thanks to to added juice - I think it made it just sweet enough for him to enjoy.


1/2 c pomegranate seeds
1 cup chopped kale
2 tbsp ground almonds
2 inch piece of cucumber - skin on
2 tsp ginger juice or freshly grated ginger
1/4 c apple juice
1/4 c orange juice
water to cover


Place everything in nutribullet and add enough water just to cover the ingredients. Blend for 90 seconds. Makes enough for 2 large or 3 small portions.