Spring Into Action With Springtime Gardening
With a registered dietitian
This blog and the following recipes come from registered dietitian Marina Mansour of Revive Wellness. Revive’s mission is to improve the lives of Canadians through nutrition and wellness coaching.
Spring is a time to celebrate the growth of new life. This can look very different, from planting a large backyard garden to a few containers to a larger scale where farmers are gearing up to plant acres and acres of crops to ensure our grocery shelves continue to be filled.
All the current gardeners and farmers will agree that there is something beautiful about tending to plants and watching them grow. But, if you haven’t branched into gardening and it seems daunting, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. If you have a small patch of soil, that can be enough. If you don’t have any outdoor space, then container gardening is the way to go.
If you’re feeling anxious about not having a green thumb, start with something easy like carrots, peas or tomatoes. These can be started from seed or seedlings and can usually tolerate a bit of neglect! Things like tomatoes also typically have a high output so that you can have lots of fun with recipes, like this Bruschetta recipe.
If fruits are more your thing, including tomatoes as they are technically a fruit, berries are very easy to grow and tend to maintain themselves year after year. Just be careful—raspberry bushes can spread very quickly!
Growing your own food can be a way to celebrate new life. For my family and me, gardening is a source of wonderment and surprise. How can a tiny little seed planted in the right growing conditions and nurtured grow into food that we can eat and enjoy? It’s truly amazing!
I also like to freeze food from my garden in the summer to use all year round. This French Toast With Apple Blueberry Compote recipe is a family favorite in my house. We grow and enjoy fresh blueberries from our garden all summer, then freeze the rest to use in recipes like this. Plus, this recipe makes for a great weekend morning breakfast!
With food prices on the rise, growing your own food can be both economical and rewarding. This is also a great way to spend time as a family and instill a sense of responsibility in kids.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy the fruits of your labour!
About Marina Mansour
Marina’s passion for nutrition comes from understanding its impact on health and wanting to share that with others. Healthy living is a means to promote wellbeing and prevent or manage chronic disease. It’s never too early or too late to start, and she is there to support you in any way she can. Helping empower people to live their best life truly brings her joy. Marina loves traditional, cultural foods and modifying recipes to make them even healthier without sacrificing taste. Eating is so much more than the food on our plate—it’s about the enjoyment, the laughter and the relationships that come with it as well. As a registered dietitian, she wants to help you enjoy healthy eating and develop a positive relationship with food. She is fulfilled by working with families and enabling them to make positive, sustainable changes to their health.
French Toast With Apple Blueberry Compote
PREP 10M | COOK 20M | ENJOY IN 30M
Ingredients - Apple Blueberry Compote
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1 tbsp orange juice
½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients - French Toast
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
¾ cup milk
½ tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tsp butter, divided
8 slices whole wheat bread, divided
Apple Blueberry Compote:
- Combine apples and orange juice in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until apples are soft, about five minutes.
- Add blueberries and continue cooking for two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Whisk together egg whites, egg, milk, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl.
- Melt one teaspoon of butter in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Dip four slices bread into the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.
- Place bread in pan and cook for 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining bread slices. Transfer to serving plates.
- Drizzle compote over French toast and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Serve and enjoy!
Makes 4 servings (2 pieces per serving)
Nutritional analysis per serving
6 g fat
12 g protein
34 g carbohydrate (29 g available carbohydrate)
5 g fibre
342 mg sodium
PREP 20M | COOK 8M | ENJOY IN 28M
5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ baguette, whole wheat or white, cut into ½ inch slices
- Wash and then seed and chop tomatoes, then mince red onion and garlic.
- Freshly grate ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.
- In a medium bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, mined red onion, one clove finely minced garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, basil, vinegar, grated cheese, salt and pepper. If desired, this mixture may be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Slice baguette and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp oil evenly over baguette slices. Bake until lightly browned, about 7-8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice remaining clove garlic in half crosswise.
- Remove baguettes from oven and rub cut garlic on toasted bread slices.
- Top each slice of baguette with about 1-2 tbsp tomato-onion-garlic mixture.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Note: The tomato mixture may be prepared in advance, but the toasted baguette slices should be made shortly before serving. Once assembled, bruschetta should be served immediately.
Makes 6 servings (2 slices per serving)
Nutritional analysis per serving
7 g fat
4 g protein
16 g carbohydrate (13 g available carbohydrate)
3 g fibre
183 mg sodium