Food Friday

Food Friday: Sloppy Joe Sweet Potatoes (My dish looked a little it should!) (My dish looked a little it should!)

Don’t we all love food that reminds you of a childhood memory? This recipe brings me back to being a young girl at camp…oh wait…maybe I’m imagining myself in the movie It Takes Two as one of the Olsen twins. 😃  Whatever the memory is, sloppy joes are a delicious comfort food. This recipe is a healthy twist on the classic, filled with veggies and served on a flavourful sweet potato. This dish is gluten free, dairy-free and even Paleo. It is very quick and easy to make on a weeknight or Sunday, for week day leftovers. Be sure to get good quality ground beef, such as from Getaway Farm Butcher Shop in the Hydrostone or the Seaport Market., where this recipe comes from, is filled with recipes that are healthy, delicious and lower calories. 

Ingredients: (3-4 servings)

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, washed and dried (or a few small ones)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef 
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt, such as Montreal Steak (or pinch of each: paprika, ground coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots, small
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 clover garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce 
  • 2 tsp tomato paste (I freeze leftovers in tbsp portions)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 chopped green onion, for garnish


  1. Cook the sweet potatoes by poking holes all over with a fork, then cook in oven at 425F for about 45-60 minutes, or until tender. You can even pre-cook the sweet potatoes. 
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and seasoning to the pan and cook, breaking it up into small pieces. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and add red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, cook 4-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, paste and water to the skillet, stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook until carrots are tender, about 15-20 minutes. 
  3. To serve, cut sweet potatoes open, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and top each with 1/2 cup of meat and green onions for garnish. 

Enjoy! Remember to let me know what you think. 

Are you looking to get on track with your diet this year? Come visit me for the healthy way to cleanse. :)

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Immune Boosting Smoothie

Whenever I feel a little run down or my body is trying to fight something off, I get out my handy blender and whip up this concoction to boost my immune system. Last weekend, it did the trick (I actually made it 3 times!). This smoothie is packed full of vitamin C from the pineapple, orange and lemon. Pineapple also aids in digestion and by now we know that 70% of our immune system resides in our gut. Ginger helps to boost our immune system as well with its diaphoretic and anti-inflammatory effects. Finally, the cayenne adds a little more punch and works as an anti-microbial and gets your blood moving. You could even throw some turmeric powder in there as well to combat inflammation. So try this out next time you are feeling a little run down and remember to take your vitamin D and your favourite cold busting formula as well. 

Pineapple Orange Immune Boosting Smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup 100% pineapple juice (or frozen pineapple) 
  • 1 small/medium orange, peeled
  • 1 small nob ginger (to taste - I like mine spicy so I know it is working!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2-3 ice cubes (if prefer cold) 

Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender and enjoy! Feel the powers of food working to fight off any colds & flus. 

Need a little extra support for your immune system? I'd be happy to meet with you to discuss other options to help you feel your best. Check out Get In Touch to send me a message or learn about my free 15 minute complimentary consults. 

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen 

(This recipe was adapted from OhSheGlows.)

Food Friday: Flavourful & Hearty Ratatouille

We still have a little left of summer to suck up in Halifax, NS, however the fall air has definitely arrived! If you haven’t gotten enough of the summer veggies, i.e. zucchini, tomatoes and fresh basil, look no further. This is a great veggie packed meal that tastes fresh and is very satisfying. It is a great transition meal from summer to fall as it uses the summer veggies yet is warming. If you know me I love my hearty stews so this was right up my alley. Sarah Britton’s website is a wonderful site full of beautiful food photos that always make your mouth water. Her meals are hearty and only some can be a little more complicated. I was introduced to her during a retreat at Windhorse Farm probably 2 years ago when someone recommended her “life changing loaf of bread.” Now this bread is not fluffy but instead very hearty and great with either peanut butter, hummus or tomato and avocado. Delicious in my book.

Ratatouille sounds a little fancy to me but when it is deconstructed like this you can’t go wrong. So do you have any leftover zucchini, maybe even those huge ones you find at the farmers market? Or are you wanting to try eggplant but worried about it being too soggy? Fear not as these veggies are grilled (or gently fried in my cast iron pan in my case) to firm them up a little. I have adapted the recipe to half the size and replaced a few things that are harder to find. The original link is at the bottom. 

Flavourful Deconstructed Ratatouille

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • 3/4 cup cooked green lentils (1/4-1/2 cup dried)
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 mixed large tomatoes (whatever is at the market)
  • 1 14oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 slices lemon
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 large eggplant
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1 small green zucchini
  • 1/2 small yellow zucchini
  • generous handful fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp or so fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 springs fresh thyme (or to taste)
  • extra-virgin olive oil for garnish


  1. To cook lentils, if possible soak overnight or for up to 12 hours. Drain, rinse and place in a pot and cover with about 2 inches / 5cm fresh, cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender – about 10-15 minutes if you’ve soaked them, or about 20 minutes if un-soaked. Drain any excess water and set aside.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the ratatouille base: slice the onion into thick rings and add them to a large saucepan with the coconut oil and salt over med-low heat. Once the oil has melted, stir to coat the onions and them let cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have lightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Mince the garlic and add it to the onions, cook for a couple minutes until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes and use the back of a large spoon to crush them up a little.
  3. Roughly chop the large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, leaving a few of the cherry tomatoes whole. Add all of the tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. Add the lemon slices and balsamic vinegar, bring to a low simmer and cook covered while you grill the vegetables.
  4. Preheat your cast iron pan to med-high heat. Slice the eggplant and zucchini into rounds or halves and slice the peppers in long slices.  Add in batches to pan, slightly spread out, and cook covered for 5 minutes. Saute/flip veggies and continue cooking for 5 or so minutes more until they are tender but not mushy and some browned. (Alternatively preheat grill to med-high heat. Place veggies on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the underside has slight grill marks then flip and continue to grill until the veggies are tender but not mushy.)
  5. Add the grilled vegetables to the pot along with the lentils, basil, oregano and thyme. Taste and add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to suit your taste. Stir well, bring to a simmer and let cook for about five minutes. Divide ratatouille among bowls. Drizzle generously with olive oil, garnish with basil, and serve hot. Sarah Britton recommends a slice of crusty bread but maybe try her life changing loaf! 

Enjoy and remember to tell me what you think in the comments below! 😃


In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen


(Photo credit: - original recipe) 

Food Friday: Sprouting 101

Happy Friday fellow health nuts! It's the long weekend! Im off to celebrate a beloved friend's wedding this weekend and it is going to be beautiful. What are you getting up to?

Lately I have been experimenting with new food prep techniques and making a lot of whole foods myself. What a thrill when you know exactly how your food is made/prepared, hence know exactly what you are putting in your body. I just recently started sprouting because of the ease and the nutritional benefits. Thanks to Costal Healing and Whole Life Nutrition for the inspiration!

Why sprouts?

There are several reasons why choosing to make your own sprouts is beneficial.

  • First of all it is very easy and cheap! You just have to remember to rinse them a couple times a day. Having an at home garden makes me think my green thumb is improving. :)
  • They are very nutritious. Since beans sprout from just adding water, they are packed full of important nutrients that the plant will need in its initial few days. Therefore they are very nutrient dense, with little calories. Other examples of nutrient dense foods are liver, eggs, lamb, leafy greens (especially baby greens).
  • Sprouts have many health benefits. Because of their packed storehouse of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and fibre they can help battle conditions such as digestive and bowel issues, blood pressure and cholesterol issues, a poor immune system, skin name it!
  • Broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane. This is a powerful antioxidant and detoxification chemical. These sprouts can take a little longer to start sprouting so be patient. 

What you will need:

  • 1-L wide-mouth mason jar - You can pick a pack up at Canadian Tire, find at thrift stores or buy a couple at Michaels. 
  • Plastic needlework canvas - You can find this at Michaels for 99 cents (or any craft store). The finer canvas works best for smaller sprouting seeds. (Sprouting lids are available online for a cost, but it is very easy to make your own.)
  • Sprouting seeds - Mung and alfalfa are typically the easiest to start with but broccoli sprouts are even more nutritious. You can find seeds at places like Halifax Seed. 

How to sprout:

  • To make the sprouting lid, trace the metal lid on the needlework canvas. Cut the circle out and insert into the mason jar lid ring (without the inner circle). Voila!
  • Place 2 tbsp of sprouting seeds in the mason jar. Cover with a few inches of water, screw lid on, and let soak overnight in a warm dark place. After 6-10 hours, drain the water. 
  • Rinse the seeds with water twice a day, draining the jar completely each time. Store in a warm dark place, tilted at an angle in a bowl, so any excess water drains out. The sprouts should be moist but not sitting in water. 
  • Once the sprouts have grown a few centimeters and have defined yellow leaves, place the jar in a bright place to be exposed to sunlight to green. Continue to rinse to ensure they do not dry out. 
  • Store sprouts in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy on salads, sandwiches or as a snack. 

Any other at home garden tips?

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

(Photo credit: