Healthy eating makes healthy heart

Spice it up


Take time in February, heart month, to create healthy behaviours to boost your heart’s well-being.

Start taking a probiotic each morning on an empty stomach, one with at least two billion cells per capsule.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows this supplement boosts the levels of vitamin D, along with enhancing the digestive health and boosting immunity. Greek yogurt is a great way to boost probiotics in the system. Avoid those with artificial sweeteners.

In addition to probiotics, increase vitamin D in the diet by eating food sources such as milk, fortified orange juice, salmon and eggs.

Puffed quinoa is a delicious whole seed that is comparable to rice but contains essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

Available in most grocery stores, it increases protein intake. Substitute it for some of the puffed wheat or rice in cakes or use in crunchy toppings for desserts or on top of yogurt.

It’s excellent in cookies that call for puffed rice cereal such as crackerjack cookies. I throw about 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 125 mL) into my family favourite cookie batters.

If trying to incorporate the whole dry quinoa seeds, use the same cooking method as for rice, being sure to rinse well before cooking. Source: www.kraftcanada.com.

Try a less common fruit such as the antioxidant rich pomegranate. Cut the fruit in half and dig out the little seeds, or look for frozen seeds in the freezer department and sprinkle on Greek yogurt, a salad or a smoothie.

Make kindness a daily habit. Researchers at the University of British Columbia report that doing something kind for another person can boost health by reducing anxiety.

Change negatives to positives with a smile, a hello to a stranger or pay it forward at the coffee shop.

Spreading positive energy is often contagious.

This winter, warm your chilled bodies with spicy comfort food. One of the most used tools in my kitchen is a large skillet. One dish meals are quick to prepare and easy to clean up. When the slow cooker is not on, the skillet is sizzling. Here are two skillet options to try.

Skillet Lasagna

  • 1 lb. extra-lean ground beef 340 g
  • 2 peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 c. sliced fresh mushrooms 60 mL
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 mL
  • or 1/2 tsp. garlic seasoning
  • 24 oz. pasta sauce 700 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. water 375 mL
  • 1/4 c. Italian dressing 60 mL
  • 12 oven-ready lasagne noodles, broken into quarters
  • 1 c. shredded cheese of your choice 250 mL

Brown meat in a large saucepan, season with salt and pepper or seasoning salt if desired, then drain. Add peppers, mushrooms, garlic, pasta sauce, water and dressing, bring to boil. Stir in noodles and cover. Cook on medium-low heat 10 to 15 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese, cover. Let stand five minutes or until cheese is melted.
Substitute 12 regular lasagne noodles, broken into small pieces, for the oven-ready noodles. Increase water to two cups and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Note: Toss in a handful of fresh chopped spinach leaves to the mix to increase the nutrient value of the dish. – Source: www.kraftcanada.com.

Creamy Rice Pudding

Add some healthy seeds to a traditional warm dessert.

  • 1 1/2 c. cooked rice 375 mL
  • 2 c. milk, divided 500 mL
  • 1/4 c. sugar 60 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. puffed quinoa 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. butter 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 2 mL

In a medium sized saucepan, combine the rice, 1 1/2 c. (375 mL) milk, sugar and salt. Cook over a medium heat, stirring often until the mixture thickens. Approximately 15 minutes. Then stir in the remaining 1/2 c. (125 mL) of milk, the beaten egg, quinoa and raisins.
Cook, while stirring constantly for an additional two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Enjoy with a drizzle of whipped cream if desired. The rice reheats well by adding a touch of water and heating on low for 10 minutes. Serves four. – Source: adapted from www.all
recipes.com.

Spicy Skillet Rice

  • 4 c. vegetable or beef broth, or vegetable stock 1 L
  • 1 c. whole grain brown rice 250 mL
  • 1 c. whole grain converted white rice 250 mL
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
(or equivalent garlic seasoning)
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. frozen peas 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. oil 30 mL
  • 2 c. white or brown mushrooms, sliced 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced carrots 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. baby spinach, chopped 250 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. snap peas, whole 375 mL
  • or sliced in pieces
  • 2 c. cooked and chopped roast beef 500 mL
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce 60 mL
  • 2 tsp. hot pepper sauce, or riracha 10 mL

In a large saucepan, combine the broth, rice, garlic, onions, celery and salt together and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Then add the peas and simmer for an additional five minutes. Remove from heat and let stand.
While rice is resting, heat oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms, carrots and seasoning salt. Saute for about five minutes. Add spinach, snap peas and beef. Cook for an additional five minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
Clear one area of the hot skillet and add the beaten eggs. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, then break the egg and combine with vegetables and meat in the pan. Add in the rice mixture and top with soy and hot sauces. Toss and serve. – Source: adapted from www.canadianliving.com.

Peach Crisp

  • 3 cans sliced peaches in fruit juice 398 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. flour 30 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. flour 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. puffed quinoa 125 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted 125 mL

Drain the juice from the peaches. Stir in the sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in peaches. Place in a nine-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon spices.
For topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, quinoa and salt. Stir in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling and gently press down. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Yield: about eight servings.
Note: Reserve peach juice for fresh fruit salad, smoothies or ice cream.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.