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




Citrus Salad and Merry Christmas (again)

7 01 2012

Merry Christmas (again). If you are Ukrainian, you still have your Christmas tree up and the lights on for the last days of the season. Today is Ukrainian Christmas and the big feast was last night, Christmas Eve, based on the Julian calendar (today we use the Gregorian calendar which lines up the solstice’s or solar seasons more accurately, so Wikipedia says). My first post on this blog was a celebration of my Food Spark and the traditions of my family, including Ukrainian Christmas, which we celebrate on Dec 24. Growing up January 7 was recognized in some way, mom would make Latke’s or we’d have a mini Ukrainian feast again.

Our Ukrainian Christmas Table

This time of year oranges of all sorts are abundant. T just brought home a box of juicy california oranges. What to make? A salad. I recently made this super simple dressing and salad. I love this dressing, it is light, healthy and if you are vegan, you can replace the yogurt for your favourite non-dairy replacement.

In a bowl mix together;

  • 1 small to medium head of Romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 large navel Orange, segmented and chopped (google how to segment an orange, easy and tastier way of adding citrus to a dish)
  • 1 Avocado, scoop the flesh out into bit size chunks
  • 1 small Cucumber, chopped

Shake together the dressing ingredients. This makes more than you need, so store it in the fridge to use on a couple more salads;

  • 1/4 tsp Tarragon (dry)
  • 1/2 tsp Basil (dry)
  • 1/8 tsp fresh cracked Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil

Mix about a 1/4 -1/3 of the dressing and salad ingredients together. Top with more fresh cracked pepper.

Citrus Salad

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





(Re)Start Your Engine

30 12 2011

Soon we will be saying farewell to 2011 and hello to 2012. How’s that feel? Another year to reflect on and another year to look ahead to. Lots to think about… I like the week between Christmas and New Years, lucky for me I usually don’t work so it is time to dig into books, my yoga practice, kick up the healthful routine and spend quality time with friends. The weather here has been so amazing, walks with good friends and tea dates have been a good way to spend the time. What have you been doing?

Great cup of Tea, Crazyweed, Canmore

I stuck to my green smoothies throughout most of the holidays, this routine is so important and if you haven’t tried it, maybe next year ;). Green smoothies are a good way to pack in the vitamins and nutrients any time of the year. Here is an easy recipe: 1 small or 1/2 large banana, 1/2 cup frozen berries of your choice (makes the smoothie not so green though), 1 stalk of celery, 2 cups water and a few big leaves including stems of swiss chard. If you don’t have a good strong blender you might have some clumps, but whatever, it tastes good and it’s good for you. Maybe next year you’ll buy a Vitamix as well!

In the fall I picked a bunch of mint from the garden and dried it out. I like mint tea on its own, but I thought I’d experiment and mix it with other flavours. I grated the zest from three organic lemons and let it dry and bought dried grated ginger from Life with Style from my favourite market, KFM. I mixed equal parts mint, ginger and lemon together to make an herbal tea. Turned out pretty good.

Mint, Ginger and Lemon Zest Tea

One of the most popular recipes on this blog is the Spicy Black Bean Soup – I made a pot of it the other day, mmm good and nourishing. Froze some for work next week. I gotta say though, I couldn’t find a sweet potato near by, so I used a regular potato, it turned out fine but you certainly miss the flavour of the sweet potato. I also toasted a new jar of mixed seeds and nuts to put on my whole grain breakfasts. Although I love sprouting grains, good old oatmeal has been my fave these past few weeks, easy and warming. Lightly toast roughly chopped walnuts, almonds and pecans in a medium-high dry pan, stirring often. Add pumpkin and sunflower seeds, toast until you hear them pop. 1/2-1 cup each nut and seed. Let cool and store in air tight jar. Order organic from Real Raw Food.

Ready to go, toasted seeds and nuts

Thumbing through the newest City Palate get’s my cooking juices going…time to get back to the kitchen and experiment with more healthful eats.

Wishing you all a healthful and happy New Year.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Chipotle Veggie Chili

27 11 2011

Nothing warms up the soul like a bowl of chili and this recipe’s got heat, that’s for sure. I think I added one too many chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so that’s your fair warning. I searched for hearty veggie chili recipes and found one called ‘Ultimate Vegan Chili’ and when I saw the use of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, I knew it had to be good. If you like the Spicy Black Bean Soup from my blog, you’ll love this chili. I love it because it is another way to use those yummy chipotle peppers. Remember you can freeze what you don’t use and thaw a bit to use again.

I hate chili that relies on onions for bulk or main ingredient, so I didn’t go that route. I used a small onion and added celery for the texture. The original recipe called for seitan, a gluten based protein substitute. I couldn’t find any, but I wanted to try it. I figured for all those out there that are gluten intolerant, it wasn’t necessary to use it, so I opted for soy based veggie round. Here is my adaptation of the chili:

  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 4 stalks Celery, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1-3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 (not 3 like I did) Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, minced
  • 2 cups finely chopped Mushrooms (use crimini, button or Portobello)
  • 1 pkg veggie ground round like Yves Original
  • 1 small can Tomato Paste (or 3-6 Tbsp if you have some in a tube. I bought Italian tomato paste in a tube from the farmers market. It’s handy, just keep it in the fridge)
  • 3 tsp Smoked Paprika (a good addition to your spices)
  • 2 tsp dried Oregano
  • 2-3 tsp Mexican Chili powder seasoning
  • 1 tsp of Sea Salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 14oz can Diced Tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 3 19oz cans of cooked beans, drain half the liquid (choose from Pinto, Black and Kidney and mix it up)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped Carrots
  • 2 Tbsp Tamari, Soy Sauce or Braggs
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot over medium-high heat, add the onion and celery and saute until soft and the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and chipotle peppers and cook for another minute, stirring. Add the mushrooms and saute until cooked down and liquid is released, about 4-5 min. Add the veggie round, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, chili powder, salt and water, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 min.

Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Chili is ready when carrots are tender. Serve with slices of a toasted baguette (we love the Turkish bread from Cobbs) and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese (or your vegan choice).

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





The Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever

15 11 2011

It’s that time of year, pumpkin everywhere. I was at Sunterra Market in Calgary a few weeks ago and they had organic unsweetened pumpkin pie puree on sale. So of course, I stocked up. I have made pumpkin pie from scratch, and there is nothing like it. Well, having cans of pumpkin ready to go makes using this healthy ingredient (pumpkins are full of important vitamins) that much easier.

This pumpkin pie recipe comes from the same great gal who gave us Chia Seed Pudding, Kathy Patalsky from Healthy-Happy-Life blog. It is vegan and only has four ingredients, well five including the pie crust.

  • 1 can unsweetened Pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup (not Aunt J’s)
  • 1 1/4 cups soaked Cashews (plan ahead you need at least 8 hours)
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Spice

That’s my kind of recipe, especially when you are experimenting. There is nothing worse than trying a recipe with a bunch of ingredients and steps and it doesn’t turn out all that great. Blah. This pumpkin pie recipe delivers. I experimented with a rice flour pie crust because I am making this for a gathering of friends and one has celiac. I didn’t love the pie crust, but hey, it did the trick. I picked up the rice pie crust from Planet Organic and noticed they had whole wheat pie crusts as well, two in a pack, mmmm.

mmm, Pumpkin Pie filling

For the original recipe go here. My adjustments and notes:

  • I had more filling than the pie crust could hold – but the rice crust is a bit smaller. That didn’t matter, I ate it right out of the Vitamix!
  • I made my own pumpkin spice, see below. It gave me the opportunity to use the whole nutmeg I got in Mexico last year, fresh ginger and Mexican cinnamon.
  • Because the pie was a bit full, I had to bake it twice as long, 65 min. The crust was tough, but softened the next day. I will try not pre-baking it for 8 min next time. If I have a regular crust, I’ll try the pre-bake again.
  • We didn’t try it with coconut whip, but will next time. I looked up that whipping gadget she uses and it is TWICE as much on Amazon.ca than Amazon.com. Annoyed. Maybe The Bay will have it. I also so want a jar of vanilla bean specks, that’ll get me to the mall and Williams and Sonoma.

A very full pumpkin pie ready for the oven!

Pumpkin Spice:
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg (fresh ground is so much better)
  • 1/4 tsp ground Cloves (use a mortar and pestle to easily ground the cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated Ginger (invest in a fine grater for things like nutmeg and ginger)
TIP: I freeze my ginger whole, and grate as I need. Perfect way to always have it on hand. If you buy a fine hand grater, then it is a cinch to add in a zip.

Fresh Baked

Seriously, make this. It is guilt free, vegan, naturally sweetened and makes you happy.
Eat well, Be well,
Nat




Recipe Share: Veg Lentil Soup

24 10 2011

I love how this soup has friends, family and community farmers all in one pot – metaphorically speaking. Our friend Dan gave us a big ‘ole container of green lentils grown on his wife’s family’s farm in Saskatchewan. I have been looking forward to making a pot of lentil soup for some time. My dear friend Kelly shared this recipe with me. It is a family favourite. Her and I were out for a leisurely tea remembering her sister and my good friend Jodie who passed away a year ago. Among many things, we shared nourishing soup recipes and ate a cookie in her honour, Jod loved cookies. As well, our family suffered the loss of my cousin in recent weeks, he was known to be the cook in the kitchen himself (runs in the family eh) – so it seemed fitting to put a pot of soup on the stove this weekend in remembrance.

This couldn’t be a simpler recipe, and as Kelly says, she rarely follows the recipe, so I did the same. Here is the recipe and my additions below.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped (I omitted this)
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin (fresh ground is best)
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced Celery
  • 1 cup diced Potato
  • 1 cup dry Green Lentils
  • 4 cups or so of stock (use chicken or veggie, I used Veggie cubes)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Hot Sauce

I more than doubled the recipe and also added;

  • Diced Parsnips
  • Zucchini (which I added with the stock)
  • Chopped Parsley (I always have some frozen in the freezer for soup)
  • 1 tsp hot Chilli Powder

Saute the veggies first, until they start to sweat. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to boil and simmer on a low boil until lentils are soft. Add the lemon and hot sauce, serve.

Oh yeah, hello fall.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Next Time You Buy Tomatoes

8 10 2011

I can’t type fast enough today. This is a quadruple rant post. A couple of weeks ago I read an article by Chris Hedges called Tomatoes of Wrath. If you love food and want to be more conscious of choices, read the article. I was going to post about my sweet tomatoes that I am still plucking from the vine, all cozy and covered up at night, but there are more important things out there today. There is a simple tomato recipe below though.

I know we can’t solve all the worlds problems in a post or article. I don’t write these things with any of those delusions, but it is important that we as citizens of the world understand more about where our food comes from and the impact our choices have on other people and nations. AND just because the tomato article is in the US doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact us. It does. When we (a collective humanity) permit regulations and laws to go unchecked we give permission to repeat the same offences. Not convinced? Love the rose-coloured glasses? That’s fine. I do recommend reading Chris Hedges’ book Empire of Illusion and Chris Parenti’s The Face of Imperialism. That’s just a start. Truthdig.com and Commondreams.org are also two sites important to add to your regular web time. Harsh reality or a more balanced approach to understanding the world? Inquire.

Then yesterday CBC, our beloved CBC, has Kevin O’Leary from Dragon’s Den interview Chris Hedges about Occupy Wall Street. It was deplorable, embarrassing and if you are as pissed as I am (and a gaggle of my friends are) write a letter to the CBC Ombudsmen as I did this morning asking for the removal of O’Leary from their ‘news programs’. He is NOT a journalist. ombudsman@cbc.ca

Link to Chris Hedges/Occupy Wall Street interview on CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Business/1239849460/ID=2149202610

A respectful interview with Chris Hedges/Occupy Wall Street for a Russian news channel. Short but insightful: http://t.co/fCbiJSn2

Why Occupy Wall Street is important: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK1MOMKZ8BI&sns=em

So much going on this week, the twitterverse was a buzz of Steve Jobs passing. He offered creativity to the world we need. A favourite Jobs quote: “from creativity comes everything”. Last week a colleague at work shared this with me, thought is was a sweet homage (pun intended).

Three apples that changed the world: 1st one seduced Eve, 2nd one fell on Newton, 3rd given to the world, half bitten by one Steve Jobs.

Simple Tomato Salad 

Mix together 5 fresh garden Tomato’s, chopped, like for greek salad. 1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh Oregano . 1 tbsp of some good Olive Oil. A sprinkle of Course Sea Salt. This is a simple salad in Portugal. If you go there, buy their dried full leaf oregano to bring home, it is more delicate. I have never looked for seeds to grow on my own here, maybe next year. You can use your regular dried oregano as well.

If anything, go to your favourite farmers market today, buy some tomatoes, think about the folks that picked them for you, where they came from and how much better we can do as a human community.

Now to finish harvesting the garden and giving thanks.

Eat well, Be Well,

Nat