4.09.2016

Globally Local Meal Kits: Plant-based Meals Made Easy

You may have noticed I have a thing for food.  Especially, nutrient dense, organic, local food.  And that's why for the past couple years I have been a loyal customer of Globally Local.

When Globally Local started out they were an organic produce company that focused on sourcing as many items locally, all the while keeping organic fresh food affordable.  What started out as an organic fruit & veggie box delivery company has quickly blossomed into an amazing vegan, organic market with customizable home delivery options for all kinds of amazing plant-based items! 

And recently Globally Local has added home delivered Meal Kits to it's ever expanding repertoire! So what's a meal kit? Well, essentially you get everything you need to create a gorgeous, nutritious, plant-based dinner including detailed instructions delivered straight to your doorstep!

I have to admit, when it first launched I thought it was a cool idea, but probably something I wouldn't really need.  As the cook in my house, I already planned and prepared all the meals for the family so why would I need a meal kit?

Well, after last night I am eating those words!   Yesterday I took the plunge and tried out one of Globally Local's meal kits.  So what was one the menu...how does a Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with a Rustic Spinach, Pecan & Pear Salad sound?

The first thing I noticed when I opened the kit was how simple and organized everything was.  Each ingredient was labelled and measured and the instructions were clear, straight forward with loads of pictures making it essentially fool proof.

After a busy day at work and then wrangling kids I thought there was no way I would be able to whip up a full meal in 30 minutes.  But to my surprise, I totally did!  Having the guess work removed from the dinner rush made things so much easier.  All I had to do was wash and chop a couple things, boil some water and put a few ingredients in the blender.  I seemed way to good to be true.

When all was said and done it probably took me about 40 minutes to make dinner from start to finish.  And the only reason it took a bit longer than the instructions said was all because of me.  Silly me, not paying attention to what I was doing, put the pot of water on the stove but didn't turn it on.  So other than a few extra minutes waiting for the water to boil, this meal was totally doable in 30 minutes!
But how did it taste, you ask?

It was fantastic!  The pasta was creamy and filling with a great combination of sweet and heat from the roasted red peppers and cayenne.  And the salad was beautifully simple with a lovely maple dressing that had just the right amount of sweetness.  The kit fed me and my husband and our 2 girls and I still have a bit of pasta leftover for lunch today.  Pretty amazing!

And now I totally get the draw of the meal kit.  Not only does it make you feel like a gourmet chef, but it's so unbelievably easy AND it's good for you!


Globally Local takes the guess work out of dinner.  At the end of the week, when you're tired and stressed and don't want to cook, forget take-out, grab a meal kit instead!  Not only is it less expensive than eating out, but in the same amount of time you can feed your family a healthy, organic meal that you can feel good about!







Disclaimer: A big thank you to Globally Local for providing this meal kit free of charge for this review. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

3.26.2016

How to Become a Nutrition Fact Finder + Giveaway

As a working mom, I will be the first to admit that feeding a family of four on a budget and on a tight schedule is no simple task.  Yes, I love to cook and I take pride in the fact that I make almost all our meals from scratch. (notice I said ALMOST)  But let's be honest, feeding a busy family a balanced and nutritious meal isn't always easy.

Sometimes you just gotta grab that frozen meal from the store just to make it through a Wednesday night,  and that's OK.  But did you know every can, box, and package in your grocery store has a handy label to help you make better choices when it comes to feeding your family?  Yup, there's an entire chart with loads of useful nutritional information on just about everything.

So if you thought reading those nutrition labels was out of your league or that they were written in some alien language, I figured I would share a couple simple steps on how to read them and use them to make healthier choices for you and your family.

3 Simple Steps to Reading Nutrition Facts Tables
  • Serving Size - start here when check out those labels. You' ll find this number right under the Nutrition Facts header.  Essentially this means that all the information on the Nutrition Label is based on that serving size.  So pay close attention to what is considered a serving, especially when comparing similar products.  One may look like a better, healthier option, but it may have a totally different serving size than the other and it may not turn out to the better option. 
  • % Daily Value - on the right side of the Nutrition Facts table you will see % Daily Value for each of the nutrients listed.  This shows you how much of each nutrient you would get from that serving size we just talked about.  Here's a good rule of thumb when trying to figure out if a food is a good source of a certain nutrient: 5% of Daily Value or less = a little bit ; 15% of Daily Value or more = a lot 
  • Nutrients - the next thing to consider, now that you have mastered the serving size and % daily value, is the nutrients in the food. In simple terms, choose foods that have more of the nutrients you want and less of the nutrients you don't want. Nutrients that you want a lot of are things like Calcium, Fibre, Vitamin A and Iron.  And the nutrients that you don't want very much of are things like Sodium, Saturated Fats and Trans Fats.
And there you go... the simple way to read a Nutrition Facts Table!  But that's just the beginning.  Those tables can give you a wealth of information when it comes to selecting foods and making informed choices. By keeping those bad fats in check and maximizing your fibre and nutrient intake, you'll help keep your family happy and healthy.

Want to know more?  Click here for more great information on how to interpret those labels, compare products and make food choices that you can feel good about.  So don't be frightened of those labels, with just a few simple clicks and a little research you too can become a Nutrition Fact Finder!

Want to test out your Nutrition Fact Finding skills?  How about a sweet giveaway for some free groceries?  Enter below for your chance to win a $100 Grocery Gift Card! Woohoo!  Contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.

Cheers,


Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post as a joint effort by the Food &Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), Health Canada, Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign (NFEC).  As always, the opinions expressed are my own.

2.27.2016

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bar Review

A couple of weeks ago I received a few Hemp Heart Bars from Manitoba Harvest to test out and review.  I have always loved their Hemp Hearts so having them in bar form was super exciting!

Manitoba Harvest's Hemp Heart Bars come in a few yummy flavours.  I received Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate to test out. Now as much as I LOVE chocolate, I have to say my favorite was the Apple Cinnamon.  The bars are the perfect combination of dense and chewy with just the right amount of sweetness!   Each 45 gram bar contains 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas making it a great pre/post workout snack or quick bite on the the go.

I found the bars to be tasty and satisfying without being overly sweet.  And I love the fact they are made from real, natural, plant based ingredients!  Want to try them out for yourself?  Use this discount code: hhbarlaunch1015 for 15% off your purchase.  (code expires 3/31/16)

Oh yeah...Manitoba Harvest is also hosting a sweet photo contest too!  Post a pic of your favorite Manitoba Harvest product and tag @manitobaharvest and use the hashtag #fuelledbyhemp to get entered to win your favorite hemp product.  The contest is open to Canada & US residents and you can find the full contest details here.

Have you tried the new Hemp Hearts Bars? Are you in the Apple Cinnamon camp or Chocolate club?



Disclaimer: I received a free sample of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars as part of my affiliation with Sweat Pink.  I was not compensated for this post and as always the opinions expressed are my own. 

2.08.2016

Apple Raisin Oatmeal Bars

Sometimes you just want to bake something quick and easy, without fancy ingredients and that everyone will enjoy.  So I guess that's where my Apple Raisin Oatmeal Bars came from.

With a toddler at home and trying to juggle work, school and maintaining a household, I haven't had much time to play in the kitchen.  But these bars were the perfect thing to satisfy my baking desire and my cravings for a little treat.  Plus they are school friendly and made with delicious, whole ingredients.

Soft and chewy apple pie inspired oatmeal bars are perfect for lunches, after school snacks
 or a quick breakfast bite!


Apple Raisin Oatmeal Bars 
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1/4 cup Gluten-Free flour (your fave gf blend will do)
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 - 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice or All Spice
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Apple Butter (or you could use apple sauce too)
1/2 cup Soy Milk (or your fave non-dairy milk)
 1 Flax Egg (or Chia Egg)
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Hemp Hearts
1/2 cup Raisins

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.  Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside while you mix your ingredients.  In a small bowl make your flax/chia egg.  Don't know what I am talking about?  Click here for my post on egg alternatives.

In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and spices (essentially all the dry ingredients) and mix thoroughly.  Then add in your vanilla, apple butter, milk, flax egg and maple syrup  and mix until combined.  Then add in your raisins and stir until just combined.

Pour your batter into your lined pan and pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  Mine took about 26 minutes to bake so just keep your eye on them and just make sure they are just baked enough so that the centre  is cooked.

Once cool, cut into bars and enjoy!  These bars kept well in an air tight container on the counter, but they also freeze quite nicely.

The whole family really enjoyed these bars.  They weren't too sweet, but perfect as a little treat in lunches or to enjoy with my morning coffee
  
   

2.01.2016

February Phone Detox

It's a new day, a new week and a new month...the perfect day to start a new healthy habit.  And for the first time for me it doesn't involve exercise or food.   It's all about my phone.

So back in the Fall I got this fancy new phone.  You know the one you can do everything with? You know... Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BBM, You Tube and Candy Crush?  All those amazing things we can do from the palm of our hand.  Who wouldn't be excited?!

I knew I had a bit of a phone addiction, but it didn't really hit home until yesterday.  I was in the kitchen making dinner when my 6 year old (yes, 6.year.old.) asked when she can get her own phone!  Yup, a phone...for my kid.  Oh my god...what have I done?!  Immediately, my heart sank and I realized that I was full on dependent on that little rectangle of technology. 

  • Was that all my kids were learning from me?  
  • What kind of example am I?  
  • Have I turned into one of those phone obsessed parents that I would roll my eyes at?  
  • What was I doing?
After trying to explain to my daughter that phones aren't all fun and games and that she didn't actually need one I vowed to detox from my phone.  It was taking over my life and rather than helping me accomplish more, it was just a giant time suck that was not only affecting me but my family.  Now yes, I realize that a cell phone has it's place in today's society.  So I wasn't going to go crazy and throw my phone away.  But I was certainly going to make a big change.

So starting today, I have decided to drastically reduce my technology time.  What does that mean?  Well, it means I won't be playing on my phone while having my coffee and breakfast in the morning. I will also be techno-free from the hours of 4-8pm throughout the week and from 8 am to 8pm on weekends.  Essentially any time I am with my kids. 

Yes, I admit I have a problem.  I am not the perfect mother and yes there have been many times where I have been sitting beside my daughter while she plays on her tablet and I am on my phone.  But that's all changing today.  Not only for me, but also the rest of the family.

Some of you may think I am totally crazy, while others may wonder what took me so long.  But either way, I can only see good things coming from this phone detox.  I'm guessing I will have a lot more time to do all those things I always said I didn't have time for.

Have you ditched your phone or gone unplugged?  How did it go?  Any tips or tricks to unplugging?  Wanna join me?

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