Healthier Entertaining

Mairlyn Smith with suggestions for hors d'oeuvres and after-dinner drinks that won't have you tipping the scales.

Mairlyn Smith with suggestions for hors d’oeuvres and after-dinner drinks that won’t have you tipping the scales.

Marinated Mushrooms

Recipe from Healthy Starts Here!

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

1/4 cup (60 mL) apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup (60 mL) balsamic vinegar

1/4 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

Not just a Cheese and Crackers tray!

Goat cheese – I used Woolwich

Specialty crackers – I used Organic Spelt from Pita Break

Birch Syrup – I used Escuminac

Mixed olives – buy at any major grocery store

Marinated mushrooms – see recipe above

Individual Veggies and Dip – I used Renee’s 1/2-Fat Ranch Dressing. Mix equal parts dressing with Liberte’s 0% MF Greek Style Yogurt

Arugula with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese

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

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 1 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 1/2 Carbohydrates, 1/2 Meat and Alternatives

Hot Toddy

Shot of cognac – I use an ounce!

Lemon slice

2 whole cloves

Generous drop of birch syrup

1/2 – 3/4 cup (125 175 mL) boiling water

Courtesy Mairlyn Smith

Author, Healthy Starts Here!