Freezer Fruit, Quick Tip and some Aloha

13 05 2012

Well another season of growing has sprung. We’ve done our spring cleaning, prepped the garden and planted a few cool weather crops like radish and lettuce. A new home for the composter means new possibilities in the garden and space which we needed badly. The rhubarb is over a foot tall already, in its new home in the fresh tilled garden (we added our favourite sea soil again this year + our home made compost). The sorrel is a few inches tall and also has a new home in a sunnier location.

Frozen fruit ready for oven

In all this prepatory garden work, I realized I hadn’t eaten half of what I froze last year! I’ll have fresh rhubarb in weeks and bags of it in the freezer still. The past couple of months I’ve been baking fruit to make room in the freezer. Crumbles are such an easy and healthful dessert, they are a common write up here. The last one I made was a delicious mix of Okanagan peaches and blueberries and rhubarb from the garden. Just take the fruit out of the freezer, let it defrost for 30 min or so. Remember to freeze cut fruit and berries on cookie sheets first, easy to pull apart later. Here are some recipes: Rhubarb Crumble with Walnuts, Rhubarb Peach Apricot Cobbler and Blueberry Peach Cobbler.

Travel has limited my kitchen time. I have been sticking to old favourites and well buying lunch quite often, which I don’t love doing. I have discovered a place to get veggie chilli, and that got me through an entire week once. Last week I pulled a fast one – put together a quick version of my quinoa salad for lunch.

  • Bought a large container of quinoa salad from Planet Organic.
  • Added chopped and deseeded cucumber, diced yellow pepper, diced carrot and celery from my favourite market KFM and a can of chickpeas.
  • There was enough dressing and flavour in the salad from Planet – so I mixed it together and enjoyed for a few days.
  • Nice! Lunch for days in 5 min.

I hinted at Aloha last blog…here is a short food tour through Maui…I cry when I leave Maui, I love it there. From the moment we land we seek out the best fish tacos. My pescatarian diet flourishes near the ocean, fresh seafood everywhere. We have a favourite, Paia Fish Market. I think T loves those tacos more than me for brief moments ;-).

I also had the best veggie tacos filled with grilled Portobello mushrooms at Fred’s (thanks Joanne for the tip).

Each morning on the way to practice with Nancy Gilgoff, you’d drive past the sugar cane fields. They burn them to harvest, eek. We visited the museum last time, lots to consider. Sugar has taken over other less profitable and natural crops and has huge historical impact.

On the road to Hana, you gotta stop and pick up toasted coconut ‘candy’. 4 bags for $20, leave your money in a box and take the flavours you like, it’s an honour system. I grabbed vanilla, regular and candied ginger as well, which you may need if you get car sick on the way to Hana. 

Mmm and the Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, so good. We ate at a new place in Kihei a couple of times, Three’s, we highly recommend it.

Mmm fish tacos (and a beer) on the beach.

Eat well, Be Well and Aloha

Nat

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Top it with Tahini

9 04 2012

I just ate this and I don’t think I was breathing while doing it:

It was good while it lasted but I think I am having heart palpitations now. Have you read the recent articles on sugar addiction. 😉 No joke.

Good thing we have healthy recipes to bring us back to life. A popular recipe on this blog is the Tahini dip/dressing, go here to read again. It is so good on so many things. My last post was about an experiment with sea kelp noodles, go here to check it out. If you made that recipe (or used brown rice instead to make that yummy bowl of veg and tofu), you should have had tofu left over. What to do with it? Grill it up and serve over a chopped salad and drizzle with tahini dressing.

Make enough tahini dressing to use again. Next day, make or buy some falafel’s and warm them up, throw them onto a salad with tahini dressing and fresh cracked pepper.

And another way to use the tahini, spread it on a whole grain wrap, add veggies and tofu (these are the tofu snacks from Planet Organic) and roll up and press in a Panini press or warm it on a stove top grill pan. Its a good quick lunch. Finally, here is another tahini recipe from 2010. So many ways with tahini…what’s yours?

3 tbsp Tahini
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Maple or Agave Syrup (or jaggery if you have it, asian sugar cane)
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil (or olive oil if you don’t have it)

Hope you had a nice long weekend,

Eat well, Be well & Aloha (more on that later),

Nat





Discovery: Sea Kelp Noodles

1 04 2012

Birds are singing, guess it’s time to go outside and take the ‘once gorgeous holiday planters’ apart. Spring is here! Well sort of, Calgary spring anyhow. Time to at least ponder what we’re going to do in the yard this year, cause some stuff is still frozen and snow will arrive again I’m sure.

Stuck in the house on a recent cold day, time to experiment. I bought sea kelp noodles from Real Raw Food awhile back. Remember to check them out for all your nut and seed needs. I blogged here about them. Not a regular accompaniment to the dinner table, sea kelp noodles took some getting use to. I used them in place of rice in a veggie bowl dish and well, they were good. Strangely crunchy, they have no flavour on their own, but pick up the flavours of what you add to them or cook them in. In this case it was yummy miso gravy. It made the meal altogether lighter. I read a lot about the goodness sea vegetables have, iodine, a multitude of vitamins and other minerals. I haven’t seen these anywhere in town, but have only looked at Planet Organic, maybe Community sells them? Let me know if you see them. There is a bunch of stuff you can do with them, I think salads and stir-fry’s make the most sense from a texture perspective. I’d try them again for sure.

This veggie bowl recipe is so simple. I didn’t make my own miso gravy, although I know it is better than bottled, but hey, this is quick and good for you. I buy Naam Miso Gravy from Planet. For two veggie bowls:

  • Marinade a block of tofu, cut into triangles. Cut the block in half lengthwise, then into four squares and then cut those into triangles. Marinade them in 1/4 cup of Bragg’s (or Tamari) 1 tbsp Sesame Oil, 2 tsp ground coriander, fresh cracked pepper and enough filtered water to cover the tofu. Let it sit in the marinade for a couple of hours if possible. The longer it sits the better the flavour. You won’t use it all up but keep in the fridge for the next meal or two.
  • Slice thick a small eggplant, red or yellow pepper and one firm tomato. Brush them with a bit of olive oil. Grill 8 slices of tofu and the veggies while you heat 1/2 cup or so of miso gravy on very low heat, stirring now and then, don’t let it bubble. Grill everything so there are grill marks – you might need to grill the tomato a little less so it’s still a bit firm. I use a stove top grill, a good investment!
  • For the sea kelp, I cut them up with scissors, heated a pan and stir-fried them with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of water, covered and let warm and soften a bit. Tossing now and then.

  • To serve it up, in a big bowl add the sea kelp noodles, arrange the veggies and tofu slices on top, drizzle with the miso gravy and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

  • Now if this sea kelp idea is a bit funky to you, make some flavourful brown basmati or jasmine rice instead. This is a super comforting dish.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Cleansing Kitchery

26 02 2012

Happy Sunday once again. It’s a snowy one here but a good day for CBC podcasts and to cook up a pot of Kitchery. I am honestly surprised I hadn’t shared this recipe with you before. For the yogis out there, they’d know it, especially if you’ve been to practice in India. Kitchery is a very basic meal of ghee, mung beans, brown rice and herbs. It is a staple for doing panchakarma which is an ayurvedic whole body cleanse. And when I say whole body, I mean from the nasal passages to bowel to skin. It is quite intense and meant to balance. During the cleanse (about a week or so) you eat nourishing and very easily digested foods, namely kitchery. I’ve talked about a mono-diet on this blog before and it’s my experience that it is a good way to stick to healthful living. Cooking a one pot soup or quinoa salad and eating it every day for lunch or dinner ensures you are eating well and it is just so convenient when you are busy, which most of us are. Last week was an insanely busy week of work with ordered in lunches and dinner events which didn’t end on the weekend with two more dinner outings. Fun but I am finished with eating out for a bit ;). A pot of kitchery will do the trick this week to balance body and mind.

I like to add the vegetables to the kitchery instead of steaming them on the side, which is quite normal. One pot stop. You can add whatever vegetables you like, I grabbed what was at the market yesterday. I add asafoetida to this recipe and to some Indian dishes when cooking without onions and garlic. If you read this blog often you’ll know that onions and garlic are not usually considered a calming (sattvic food), so when cleansing, we eliminate them. Asafoetida is a herb used in India and some Middle Eastern countries and known to support digestion. It stinks so bad though, I keep mine double zip-locked! You only need the smallest of a pinch to get the flavour and benefit. If you don’t have it, no worries, but look for it in your Indian grocery.

  • 1/2 cup Mung Beans, soaked for awhile or up to over night
  • 1 tbsp Ghee (I use my favourite coconut oil-ghee blend)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Basmati or Jasmine Rice, rinsed
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 inch grated Ginger
  • 6 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 cube low sodium Veggie Stock
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste)
  • Pinch Asafoetida
  • 2 cups chopped Carrots
  • 2 cups chopped Parsnips
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower, cut to small florets
  • 1 bunch Dinosaur Kale, de-stemmed and chopped

Heat the ghee in a soup pot, add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds, the cardamom and ginger. Stir until they become aromatic, a couple of minutes. Add the mung beans, rice, water, salt, veggie stock, turmeric and asafoetida. Bring to a boil, then let simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Add the veggies, except for the kale, cook stirring now and then, for 30 minutes. The rice and mung beans should be softening by now and water absorbing. Add the kale, cook covered until the rest of the water is absorbed and kale cooked, about 15 minutes. You may need to add a bit more water, just keep an eye on it.

Wishing you a healthful week,

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Recipe Share: Bok Choy and Mushroom Soup

12 02 2012

It’s Sunday once again and soup’s on. This week I am sharing a recipe from a friend of mine, E. We swapped a bunch of recipes a few months back and I have been meaning to try this soup for sometime. It is good, filling and hit the spot on a late Sunday afternoon. It honestly took 30 min from start to finish. I like that kind of soup 🙂

  • 3-4 cups sliced Mushrooms (shitake and crimini)
  • 1 package firm Tofu, cubed (1.5 cm squares)
  • 6 cups Chicken or Veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium or regular Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced (I used 1/2 tsp garlic powder, you know me ;))
  • 1 tbsp minced Ginger
  • 6-8 heads of Baby Bok Choy
  • 3 Green Onions, sliced fine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds for garnish
In a soup pot, stir-fry tofu and mushrooms in a bit of oil with the garlic and ginger over medium-high heat. Cook until the tofu and mushrooms start to brown. Add all but the bok choy and let simmer for 10 minutes. I used organic chicken stock, organic poultry makes it into our house now and then, but I am sure the veggie would work fine. Add the bok choy and green onions and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve in a big bowl and garnish with sesame seeds.
If you wanted, you could add udon noodles to this, that would be good. As well, T thinks it would be good with a touch of sriracha sauce, it’s all the rage right now but an oldie and a goodie asian hot sauce.
Quick recipe, quick blog, have a great week friends!
Eat well, be well,
Nat




Lunch at Work: Three Bean Soup

5 02 2012

Okay, I looked at the calendar, it says it’s February but you’d never know it with the weather we are having. Soup for lunch is a staple for me in the ‘winter’ but this winter is a bit funky. Enjoy it while it’s here but be a little concerned about what it means in the bigger scheme of things. Anyone that doubts climate change should go outside for a walk on February 5, in a light jacket. I saw kids playing basketball at the park across the street yesterday.

We go to Costco about once a month to pick up our toiletries and such. More and more organic foods are arriving there which is super exciting. I noticed a few months ago a new addition to the TruRoots products, sprouted bean mix.Until recently Costco was only selling their quinoa but now has the bean mix and chia seeds. Nice. The bean mix is super good and quick. The beans have been sprouted and dried so you can have cooked beans in about 15 min. It has lentils, mung beans and adzuki beans in it. I made up this super simple soup and have eaten it a lot for lunch this ‘winter’. I skip the onion completely but if you want, add it in with the carrots and celery for a proper mirepoix. The veggie stock has onion in it anyhow.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 large Carrots
  • 2-3 stalks Celery
  • 2-3 medium Parsnips
  • 2 cups TruRoots Bean Trio
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Small bunch of Parsley
  • Sprig or two of Thyme (remember you can keep parsley, thyme, rosemary etc in the freezer)
  • 5 Pepper Corns
  • 2 cubes of low sodium Veggie Stock
  • 9- 10 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 can of Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium Zucchini
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste

Prepare the veggies by chopping them small. For soup I like to cut my carrots and parsnips into half-moon like shapes, celery the same, unless it is quite big, then I might cut it lengthwise first. Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the carrots and celery and cook on medium heat until they start to soften. Add the parsnips, beans, spices, stock and water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15 min. Check the beans for softness. Add the tomatoes and zucchini, simmer covered again for another 10-15 minutes. If you think you need more liquid, add a bit more water or next time add less beans. This ends up being a thick and hearty soup which I like at lunch. Experiment, add other veggies of your choice.

My Sunday-post-primary-practice-yoga-ladies were talking today about the cost of food and the ‘healthlessness’ of our society these days. An important element to this is that we have lost our means of being resourceful people in regards to eating. I hear all the time that vegetables are expensive. I don’t say they aren’t but in relation to what? Being compared to processed foods like KD and ichiban, not a fair comparison. It’s what is more nourishing that matters. This soup costs less than $10 and it feeds me for five or more days (I added it up below). I’m full and have done good for my mind and body. The other options? Probably the same price at way less value. And if you’re buying lunch every day, totally different story. This post is for my Sunday ladies, love our time together. 🙂

Eat well, be well,

Nat

  • Bean Trio $15 (enough for about 6-8 pots of soup)
  • Bag of organic carrots $4
  • Organic celery stalks $3
  • 1 Organic zucchini $2
  • Bag of Organic parsnips $4
  • Organic Parsley, Thyme $4 (and freeze left overs for later)
  • Bay Leaf, pepper corns $4
  • Box of organic veggie stock $5
  • Can of organic tomatoes $2
  • Oil of some sort, salt and pepper – nil (I assume most people have something of the sort)
  • Water – nil
  • 1 hour of time
  • Total: $43 and you have ingredients to make more soup or other things. Don’t buy organic and maybe save a bit more, but not much these days. Shop local and within season.




Butternut Squash Moroccan Style Soup

19 01 2012
How are you enjoying the weather :). If you are in Calgary then you are probably getting a bit tired of the extreme cold. However, I see my friends in the West are getting hit with snow. The cold makes you slow down which isn’t a bad thing right?
I made this soup up the other day and ate it all this week for lunch. I wasn’t feeling like the usual butternut squash soup, although so delicious. I wanted to use other veggies and add some protein to it. It’s got a bit of Moroccan flair with the cinnamon. Cinnamon goes great with any squash. Squash is abundant right now and full of vitamins. I picked this one up, yup you guessed it my favourite market KFM. I did this soup sans onions and garlic, but if you like that, add it in. I was going for a warming sattvic like soup. Try it and let me know if you like it.
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil, Ghee or Olive Oil for sautéing
  • 2 large stalks of Celery, diced large
  • 3 large Carrots, diced large
  • 3 medium Parsnips, diced large
  • 1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cut up into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 5 Black Pepper Corns
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 cube or tsp Low Sodium Veggie Stock (or veggie stock if you have it)
  • 7 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 398 ml can (or more) cooked Chickpeas
Heat the oil in soup pot, add the carrots and celery, sauté on medium-high heat for about 5 min. Just so they start to sweat a bit. Add everything else but the chickpeas and bring to a boil, cover and turn the heat down to a good simmer for about 30 min or so. Test the veggies for softness. Add the chickpeas and cook uncovered for about 5 min, so everything is warm. Serve on its own or over rice of your choice. I had it with a fragrant jasmine rice a few times. Perfect for these cold days in Calgary (or anywhere).
Eat well, Be well (and stay warm),
Nat