December 5, 2011

Healthier Entertaining! (as seen on CityLine December 7, 2011)

No need to throw your healthy eating habits out the window just because it’s the holidays. Here are some recipes for the entertaining season that taste delicious and are good for you!

Marinated Mushrooms   recipe from Healthy Starts Here!

A tray of healthy nibbles - including the marinated mushrooms!

Imagine that – a heart healthy immune enhancing hors d’oeuvre. Serve them with a glass of red wine and feel extremely virtuous.

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup (60 mL) apple cider vinegar

¼ cup (60 mL) balsamic vinegar

¼ cup (60 mL) canola oil

1 tbsp (15 mL) pure maple syrup

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried basil leaves – don’t use fresh, the leaves get slimy

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried thyme leaves – not fresh – it’s the slime thing again

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano leaves – yes! Dried please!

40 small button cremini or white mushrooms


  1. Mince garlic and set aside.
  2. In a 4 cup (1 L) glass jar with a tight fitting lid ( I use a large glass canning jar) combine the apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, oil, maple syrup, basil, thyme, oregano and 2 tbsp (30 mL) water. Shake well.
  3. Gently wash mushrooms under running water. Let drain in a colander. Pat dry.
  4. Add garlic to the marinade, screw on the lid tightly and shake well.
  5. Add mushrooms to the marinade, screw on the lid tightly and roll the bottle to coat these little babies.
  6. Marinate in the fridge for up to three days. Give it a little shake and a roll a couple times a day, when you are in the fridge foraging for food.
  7. To serve, drain well and either place on plate lined with kale or in a bowl, as is. Don’t use lettuce – the acid from the vinegar will make the leaves wilt really quickly and then there will be a plate of beautiful mushrooms lying on some dead looking lettuce. Don’t forget the toothpicks.


Makes 40 mushrooms that will shrink down into tiny little morsels

One serving = 5 mushrooms

One serving contains: 51 Calories, 1.2 g Total fat, 0 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 144 mg Sodium, 9.4 g Carbs, 1 g Fibre, 6.1 g Sugars, 2 g Protein

Diabetes Food Choice Values Per Serving: ½ Carbohydrate

For more info on mushrooms check out:

Not just a Cheese and Crackers tray!

  • Goat cheese – I used Woolwich
  • Speciality crackers – I used Organic Spelt from Pita Break
  • Birch Syrup – I used Escuminac
  • You can find Escuminac Birch Syrup at fine food speciality stores like Pusateri’s, The Healthy Butcher, Denninger’s, Cheese Boutique, McEwan Foods, royal Beef,  and Harvest Wagon.
  • Mixed olives – buy at any major grocery store
  • Marinated mushrooms – see recipe above
  • Individual Veggies and Dip – I used Renee’s ½ fat Ranch Dressing. Mix equal parts dressing with Liberte’s 0% MF Greek Style Yogurt



Arugula with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese     adapted from Healthy Starts Here!

Heart Healthy and yummy! Loving the goat cheese with the beets and arugula!

This upscale trendy salad is a winner in both the taste and nutrition categories. Beets are rich in antioxidants that reduce levels of homocysteine, which is an amino acid that may cause damage to your blood vessels.

8 cups (2 L) baby arugula or One – 142 g container

4 roasted beets (roasting beets gives them a sweeter richer flavour than boiling)

2 oz (50 g) goat cheese, at room temperature


3 tbsp (45 mL) canola oil

1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar

1 tbsp (15 mL) birch syrup

1/2 tsp (2 mL) grainy Dijon mustard

1 tsp (5 mL) honey, optional



  1. Roast the beets the night before. Place washed whole beets in an 8×8-inch(2L) metal pan lined with foil or parchment paper and roast in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for 1-2 hours or until soft. This will be totally related to the size of the beets and how soft you want them. I like my beets on the firmer side. When the beets are cooked, cool, place in a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
  2. On serving day: Place arugula in a clean sink of cold water. Swish well to make sure there isn’t any sand or dirt clinging to it. Place in a salad spinner and spin or pat dry. Place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Peel beets and cut each into thin slices. Unless you want to have purple fingers wear rubber gloves for this little dye your hands exercise. Set aside.
  4. Make dressing: whisk together the oil, vinegar, birch syrup, mustard and honey if using.  Mix together well. Reserve 2 tsp (10 mL). Pour the rest of the dressing over the arugula and toss well.
  5. Divide the arugula equally between four plates. Top each with ¼ of the sliced beets, using your fingers pinch off equal amounts of goat cheese and top the salad with it. Drizzle each salad with the reserved salad dressing. Serve.


Makes four servings


After Dinner Drinks!

Two drinks – one non-alcoholic and the other not so much!

Family Friendly Drink:

Hot Cocoa from Healthy Starts Here!

Natural cocoa powder is higher in flavanols (those powerful antioxidants that can help reduce your blood pressure) than regular cocoa powder. Read your labels. You want a product that says natural right on the front of the package.

1 cup (250 mL) skim milk or fortified organic soy beverage, divided

2 tbsp (30 mL) natural cocoa powder

2 tbsp (30 mL) Agave, honey, or sweetener of your choice

1 cinnamon stick


  1. In a glass measuring cup or a small bowl, using a cocoa whisk, make a thin paste of the cocoa powder and the honey or sweetener of your choice with a little bit of the milk.
  2. Heat the rest of the milk on top of the stove, on medium, or in the microwave, on low until steamy.
  3. Whisk in the cocoa paste using a cocoa whisk, until there aren’t any lumps.
  4. Either continue heating over the stove or in the microwave until hot. Pour, add cinnamon stick and serve.


Makes I cup (250 mL)

One serving = I cup (250 mL)

One serving with Agave contains: 250 Calories, 1 g Total Fat, 0.6 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 127 mg Sodium, 51 g Carbs, 2 g Fibre, 45 g Sugar, 11 g Protein

Diabetes Food Choice Values Per Serving: 3 ½ Carbohydrates, ½ Meat and Alternatives


Hot Toddy

Shot of cognac – I use an ounce! Sometimes there is the odd over pour….

Lemon slice

2 whole cloves – good idea is to stud the cloves into the lemon slices so they don’t float around in the drink

Generous drop of birch syrup

½ – ¾ cup (125 175 mL) boiling water – depending on the size of the mug





2 Comments on “Healthier Entertaining! (as seen on CityLine December 7, 2011)

Mushrooms Canada
December 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

Delicious!! Marinated mushrooms don’t tend to last very long in my house… I gobble them up every chance I get!
– Brittany

December 6, 2011 at 4:35 am

Mmmm I love marinated mushrooms too – what a perfect snack platter for the holidays!


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