Family road trips and good eats
Well that was fun! We enjoyed a wonderful week off with the kids. There weren’t any plane rides, but we had a blast with our Province staycation. We’re going to share some of our trip details and the inspiration behind today’s power bowl recipe.
Liz and I have always been fans of road trips; even before our kids were in the picture. It was a no-brainer that we needed some sort of little get-away during our week off this summer. We thought of a few options and settled on Ottawa, Ontario, with a couple of little stops along the way.
Ottawa is close enough that we didn’t need to spend a lot of the vacation driving, and just far enough that we felt like we were away. It doesn’t hurt that the city has the wonderful Byward Market right near the city centre, with fresh produce, artisans and lots of great dining options.
One of the trip highlights…
Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria
In addition to touring the city and eating delicious food, we also enjoyed a great show. While researching things to do before we left, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Cirque du Soleil was in town with one of their previous shows, Alegria.
The look on the kids’ faces while we watched amazing acrobatic feats was pure gold! We were so impressed with the show. It’s no surprise that the show is famous around the world.
The inspiration behind today’s power bowl
While walking around Byward Market, we started building up an appetite. Unfortunately, since my diabetes diagnosis, we need to put more thought into the restaurants we visit.
In this case, we did judge a book by its cover. I had mentioned earlier to the family that the Blue Cactus Bar and Grill logo looked cool. So, we decided to check out their menu. Fortunately for me, they had some very nice options that didn’t include sugars.
I ended up having their “Super Bowl” meal and really enjoyed it! The only catch was that their dressings/vinaigrettes all had some sort of “sweet”. It wasn’t necessarily processed sugar, but even honey and maple maple syrup can impact my blood sugar. They were nice enough to accommodate my request for olive oil and lime wedges, which became my dressing.
Much like today’s bowl, their bowl was packed full of healthy ingredients. As I devoured my meal, I realized we didn’t have a healthy bowl recipe on the blog yet, so I made note to make this a future recipe post.
It’s got to be good for you… right?
I have no science degree or clinical background, but I’m pretty sure that when you eat a meal where every ingredient is known to be healthy you’re probably doing yourself a favour.
Today’s power bowl is rich in fibre, protein, iron, antioxidants, phytonutrients, potassium, healthy fats, folate and an array of vitamins and minerals.
Here’s the thing for me… When I eat a meal like this, I don’t feel like I’m giving up flavour for nutritional value. This salad bowl with lime dressing tastes absolutely delicious.
As a bonus, this power bowl is both diabetic and vegan friendly! Of course, if you’re diabetic, always monitor your blood sugar when introducing new foods. Our bodies react differently to foods and you know yours best.
The best pizza… not as healthy, but so worth it!
Over the last 7 months, I’ve been extremely cautious with foods. This has allowed me to control my diabetes without meds. About once-a-month, I choose a favourite dish that I can’t normally eat and I indulge in a food cheat day. I don’t overdue it, but I allow myself a little cheat.
So far, most of my cheats have been for ramen. Since I knew we’d be passing near Kingston on our way back from Ottawa, I decided that my next cheat would be with pizza at Wooden Heads.
Wooden Heads has become a bit of a traditional road trip stop for us when we visit Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal or Quebec City. Their pizza is the kind of pizza you eat, and never forget. The crust and toppings are perfect, and we’ve never been disappointed!
Although it’s a cheat for me, I still wanted to be somewhat cautious, so I only had one slice. It was amazing! To top it off, my blood sugar didn’t spike. Thumbs up all around!
Last leg of the road trip… the beach!
After leaving Kingston, we made our way to Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County for a quick dip in the lake before heading home. What a treat! Our little guy couldn’t get enough and did’t want to leave the water! 😃
We arrived at the park later than expected, but we still got in loads of fun. We even had a little time for sunset photography. All four of us enjoy photography, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
We got home late, tired and happy
With all our stops and activities, our trip home from Ottawa took a while, but we were all so happy! Liz and I have fond memories of growing up enjoying similar road trips with our parents. Now we get to share this with our kids and create new memories they can look back on with fondness.
If you have the time, take a road trip… it doesn’t have to be far to be perfect. Check out local sites, create memories and as always, eat well, friends.
Power bowl with farro, avocado, legumes and veggies
- 1 cup organic farro semi-pearled
- 6 cups water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
Roasted sweet potato
- 1 small sweet potato peeled and cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt (generous pinch)
- 3 medium beets peeled and cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt (generous pinch)
Remaining bowl ingredients
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1/3 cup grape tomatoes cut in half length-wise
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/2 cup chickpeas
- 1 medium ripe avocado peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup green onions / scallions chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds hulled and raw
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 ºF
- Rinse the farro under cold water for about 10 minutes.
- While the farro is being rinsed, bring the 6 cups of water and 2 tsp of salt to a boil.
- Add the farro and bring the water back up to a boil.
- Reduce the temperature to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the farro is tender. This is called the pasta method of cooking farro.
- Pour the farro and water onto a sieve to drain the water.
- Pour the farro onto a paper towel-lined plate, spread to loosen and let cool.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, toss the sweet potato cubes in 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt, to coat.
- Pour them onto one side of the baking sheet and spread them apart.
- In a bowl, toss the beet cubes in 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt, to coat.
- Pour them onto the other side of the baking sheet and spread them apart.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 40 minutes or until the veggies are tender and have toasted edges.
- Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and let cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until well combined.
- Assemble the dish split between two large bowls. You can assemble the ingredients anyway you like, but for our bowls, we used the farro and arugula as the base, then added the tomatoes, beans, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, beets, avocado, scallions, blueberries and pumpkin seeds.
- Complete the dish by drizzling the dressing evenly over all the ingredients.
- Enjoy this guilt free bowl of deliciousness!
- Double up on the ingredients and pack bowls ahead of time for work or school lunches. We recommend leaving out the avocado and dressing until it’s time to eat, to keep the avocado looking fresh.
- Feel free to substitute the farro for quinoa or brown rice.
- This recipe is easy to customize, you can leave out ingredients or add your own favourites.
- This recipe is diabetic (always monitor your blood sugar when introducing new foods) and vegan friendly
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