Sweet Potato and Quinoa Bake

Summer is here and that means BBQ and potluck season! We actually had our first potluck last night and it was magical to be able to mingle and socialize again. Potlucks can be a bit daunting for a newbie. You want something easy to make, but delicious the whole crowd will enjoy!

I love making this Sweet Potato Quinoa bake because it checks all the boxes, plus it’s a healthier potluck option. You toss it all together and bake it, honestly it’s that simple.

What gives this dish its tasty flavour is the use of taco seasoning. Yes you can buy all the individual spices, but I find buying a packet at the grocery store saves you time and money. You can use taco or chilli seasoning, both are very similar.

This recipe calls for Red or Black Beans, it’s your choice on which your prefer to use. I use whatever I have in my pantry. And it also calls for corn. You can use either canned or frozen corn. Both have turned out the same after baking.

When it comes to the broth it’s your choice of flavour. I prefer beef broth because it’s has a stronger flavour, but vegetable or chicken work just fine.

And yes, uncooked quinoa! The quinoa cooks beautifully under the covered dish. So be patient, it will look like it’s not cooking but I promise you, it is. The trick is to let it sit for 15 minutes after baking to allow the last of the liquid to be absorbed.

Ok let’s get cooking!

Sweet Potato & Quinoa Bake

Servings: 12

Cool Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sweet potato cut into small cubes
  • 1 can of Red or Black Beans
  • 1/2 cup Corn
  • 4 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups Broth
  • 2 tsp Taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp fried Thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large greased baking dish, combine: sweet potato, beans, corn, quinoa and garlic.
  3. In a medium bowl, add in broth, taco seasoning, thyme and salt. Give it a good mix to properly incorporate the spices into the liquid.
  4. Pour over the sweet potato dish, give it another good mix.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes covered. Then remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes uncovered.
  6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving, there still may be some liquid, it will absorb into the dish as it cools.
  7. Top with fresh green pepper and green onion.

NOTE: Depending on the size of your cubes sweet potato you dish may cook faster or slower. Check the dish after 30 minutes and gauge if it will need more or less time.

Thanks for reading! And be sure to tag @thejaclynyvonne on your social media. I love seeing what you all cooked!

Pecan Oat Bars

Mornings can be a bit chaotic around our house on school days. And my oldest has to have a second breakfast before she leaves the house. It’s a must in her daily schedule. I love making these Pecan Oat Bars because they are easy to make, store really well in the fridge and they are filled with so many great ingredients.

Let’s talk substitutions because not everyone always has these ingredients in their pantry.

Rolled Oats: I have used quick oats before and they turn out perfect every time. Rolled oats will give the bars a bit more texture compared to quick oats.

Almond Flour: You can substitute this ingredient for coconut flour or even gluten-free flour. Again, it’s just going to change the texture of your bars, but they will still hold their shape.

Honey: Maple syrup is a great substitute if you don’t have any honey in your pantry.

Almond Butter: Any type of nut butter will do.

Eggs: I sometimes like to use flax seed eggs as an alternative. 1 Tbsp flax seed meal + 2.5 Tbsp of water per egg you need.

Now for some tips! And my main one is that you have to let these bars completely cool before you cut them. You need all the ingredients to settle which allows the bars to stay their shape and not crumble on you.

And yes, this is a thicker batter. When placing it in the baking dish, you will need to spread it around. Don’t add any other liquids or the consistency of your bars won’t turn out right.

Now yes get baking!

Pecan Oat Bars

Servings: 10-12

Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line a square baking dish.
  2. Melt coconut oil and add it to a large bowl. Whisk in almond butter and honey till smooth.
  3. Add one egg at a time till smooth, then add in vanilla extract.
  4. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in oats, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Mix till just combine.
  5. Add in chopped pecans and mix till just combined.
  6. Spread into prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes till lightly golden brown on top. And centre of the pan bounces back when you gently press on it.
  7. Allow to completely cool before you cut into bars or squares.

Thanks for reading and be sure to tag @thejaclynyvonne in your creations! I love seeing what you made.

Tips for Starting June Bearing Strawberries

Strawberries are a beautiful fruit that is versatile in the kitchen. My kids love waking up early in the morning to go pick at our patch, and have a bountiful red breakfast.

Now June Bearing Strawberries, as you can guess only produce berries in June. There are varieties such as Ever-Bearing Strawberries. They will produce all summer long. But will not produce the same volume as June Bearing. So I stick with June Bearing to get as many strawberries as I can in a season. I freeze fresh strawberries and make lots of jam.

Growing strawberries is actually quite easy, they are a low maintenance fruit. Keep the weeds at a minimum, your soil at a pH of 6.0 and nutrient dense. Trust me, you do that your strawberries will become weeds and you won’t be able to stay on top of their growth!

A popular question is when should I plant seedlings?

Most greenhouses have strawberry seedlings in the Spring, usually just roots. They will look sad, like dead little things. But they do come to life quite quickly when planted. If you have a friend who has some strawberry seedlings to give, you can transplant in the Fall. In our area I make sure to do it in the beginning of September. This gives the plants 6-8 weeks to establish themselves before the cold weather arrives.

Strawberries love full Sun, and good draining soil. So put thought into your growing area. And a space you don’t mind them going wild if you think you won’t have the time to maintain your patch. Yes, strawberries grow like crazy with new seedlings in July if you properly take care of your strawberry plants.

Plant your strawberries 12-18 inches apart, it’s good to give some space between your plants. Easier for maintenance. But they will grow if they are planted closer together. When planting your strawberries, make sure your crown is above the soil. This is where the new leaves grow from. It’s it is too far below the ground level, your strawberry plant will not thrive. See this picture for reference.

https://bonnieplants.com/blogs/how-to-grow/growing-strawberries

I like to mix in manure with some coffee grinds and egg shells into the soil when I’m planting. It’s important to put effort into your soil quality. Make sure you water your seedlings very well. And stay on top of watering. Strawberries love water!

To help establish your new strawberry plants , it is recommended you pick the blooms off your plants in the first year. This allows the plants to focus their energy on its root system instead of the blooms that will then grow into berries. I know it’s a sad thought to think you won’t get strawberries right away. But it will help ensure fantastic crop for years to come!

When it comes to winter, it’s important to cover your plants with a protecting. I use hay from a local farmer. And I make sure it’s completely covered to protect it from the cold snow. You will want to over it once the frost arrives in the Autumn months. You can also you plant fabric covering to protect your new strawberry plants.

If you take care of your plants, they will grow wild and give you the most beautiful strawberries for years to come!

Thanks for reading and be sure to tag @thejaclynyvonne on social media!

Gluten & Dairy-Free Fluffy Pancakes

You can always find pancakes on our breakfast menu in this house. I’ve been on a mission to make the perfect gluten and dairy free pancakes for my son and I. A batter that creates fluffy thick pancakes that absorb all that delicious maple syrup. But with ingredients you can easily find at a store.

This recipe uses Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour. It is a mixture of different gluten-free flours with xanthum gum to help create perfect baked goods. You can find this in the health section of most grocery stores.

You will always see that this recipe gives you some choices. I prefer to use vegan butter but you can use coconut oil for the base. Both work efficiently and bake the same result.

For the non-dairy, I switch it up regularly. I usually use whichever I have available. Oat, almond or soy milk and I found all produce the same tasty pancakes.

To make these pancakes vegan, you can use an egg substitute. Either purchased egg substitute in a package, or mix 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed with 2.5 Tbsp of water. Let that stand for 10 minutes before you use it.

Now let’s get making some pancakes!

Thank you for reading and be sure to tag @thejaclynyvonne in your creations!

Meal Schedule for a 1 Year Old

It can be stressful trying to feed your little one. Don’t worry and enjoy the process. It’s such an exciting time to see them grow and explore the world of food.

First I’m going to highlight that toddlers won’t like everything. You might actually have to try it three or more times before they will eat. Don’t ever write off a food if they did not like it the first time. Try again a few days later, the goal is to continually expose them. By five times, I would wait a few months before trying again. It’s important to keep exposing them so you can encourage a diet with a variety of different foods.

When creating meals, I always aim for protein, fibre and a fruit or vegetable. While including healthy fats.

Protein can be sourced from grains, beans, nuts, or meat. Switch it up everyday but it’s important to provide them protein for proper development.

Fibre is great from helping your little one develop a strong digestive system and good gut flora. Again aim for getting fibre from a variety of different grains or vegetables, and fruit.

Fruits and Vegetables are known for good health. Give your little one a mix everyday because each food has their own benefit. Be wary of too much fruit in a day because of the sugar.

Healthy Fats are going to help with brain development. Chia seeds, flax meal, butters, avocado oil, olive oil, avocado are all sources. Also try fish too!

Calcium is also another important vitamin your little one needs to consume. You can get this from all dairy products. But if your little one can’t eat dairy, broccoli, kale, almonds, and tofu are great calcium sources.

Below is our schedule, and a few different meals I like to feed my son. I switch it up constantly because we are always trying new foods. But it’s good to have a list of meals you know your little one enjoys.

Remember, enjoy this process! It’s fun watching them try new things.

Thanks for reading,