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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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





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




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





Goddess Dressing

6 07 2011

So I planned on just doing a quick post on a simple salad I made…nothing ever turns out simple though AND I learned something of course :). Most nights after work we eat a big salad. I think I have mentioned before that I eat lots through the day and wind it down at night. I sleep better when I don’t eat complex carbs after 4PM (complex carbs = flour, potatoes, grains etc). This is important when you are going to bed early and getting up early for physical activity, in my case ashtanga yoga. Eating lightly at night lets the system rest and not spend the night with a slow metabolism trying to crank through a big bowl of pasta. If you are one of those that can do that (aka my husband) good on you, I can’t. I eat my whole grains, the more the better, veggies and such through the day and finish the day with a bit of protein and a salad.

Salad dressings around here are quite simple. The kind you throw many ingredients into a jar and shake. We use a lot of olive oil and different vinegar’s, apple cider being a favourite. Piri Piri olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper is a staple too. Sometimes I make blended dressings, made with cucumbers, avocados and a variety of nuts. For a treat and a quick go to dressing I grab Simply Natural’s Goddess Dressing. In writing this blog entry, I of course googled it to find a picture and fell upon a gaggle of goddess type dressings. Apparently ‘green goddess dressing’ was a big trend in the late 70’s. It is a mayo, anchovy and herb dressing. Some include avocado, others have dropped the anchovy and all of them include a different variety of herbs, giving it a green hue. Huh.

Anyhow, in a snap, Simply Organic’s Goddess Dressing makes any salad a big yum. The other day I threw together a bunch of veggies I had in the refrigerator like shredded red cabbage, chopped cucumber, shredded carrot, diced red pepper, sliced avocado, a radish from the garden and a diced tomato. I warmed up some falafel’s and threw them on there with some Goddess Dressing. The dressing has tahini in it so it is perfect with falafel’s. I get mine at Planet Organic, and I am sure you can find it near you in an organic section.

Eat Well, Be Well,

Nat





Lunch at Work v.5 – Rice Salad Bowl

6 06 2011

How has your week started off? Soggy if you’re in Calgary. I was going to blog again about the miracle lettuce yesterday. I took a picture of the little greens yesterday morning and was convinced they hadn’t grown since the first picture was taken almost two weeks ago. Well after a day in the sun low and behold I swear the miracle lettuce grew (and everything else around me). So, I’ll give it another soggy week and see what happens. I sowed some lettuce seeds right beside it though so I have a control group and something to compare. 🙂

Lots going on in the food world these days. An important debate we must pay attention to is the conservative governments work to end the Wheat Board in Canada. Listen to a podcast on CBC about it here. There are two very different sides to this story and although it didn’t make much press prior to the federal election, it sure is now. I continue to research this issue – it and the GMO challenges companies like Monsanto create makes for the business of food something to stay alert to. See my last post on the geopolitics of food.

Recently I heard a great story on CBC Calgary on how to truly buy community supported and wild sourced salmon. Karen Anderson, a CBC regular and city ‘food finder’, brings us Skipper Otto’s Wild BC Salmon in this podcast. I know I don’t talk meat on this blog often, but renewable, local sourced foods are important, especially if you eat meat (for articles about this read Mark Bittman in the NYTimes here). I will think about signing up with the Skipper. You can follow the fishing season on his blog.

Well, I couldn’t just give away a recipe without directing you to a few bigger issues, so there you have it and now here’s a recipe for work. I am a bit notorious when it comes to eating this. I hadn’t blogged about it because it seemed lame, but I am sharing it because it is healthy, lasts a week, packs well and in a pinch fills the belly and keeps you satisfied. I have said that I am a mono-dieter at times, this is a good example of a lunch I don’t think much about and when I am busy, comes in very handy, over and over again. Use your imagination on this one, the options are endless (hence why I eat it so regularly).

Rice Salad Bowl

  • 4 cups Cooked Brown Rice of your choice (or half quinoa or grain of your choice; try soaking the rice for a day, makes the cooking time way quicker)
  • 1 can Organic Beans of your choice (garbanzo, black, pinto, butter, kidney, etc, etc)
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup Celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Red or Green Bell Peppers, diced
  • Add any kind of veggies you like, fennel, broccoli, radishes, sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, mushrooms, cooked yams, zucchini, etc, etc.
  • Season with something simple like Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Salt and Pepper or chop up Parsley, Basil, Cilantro, what ever you have. Add your favourite salad dressing, but keep it natural.
I mix the rice, veggies and spices/herbs together in a big bowl and refrigerate that. I scoop it into my lunch container each night and add the dressing. It packs well so no need to refrigerate. I sometimes saute or steam some of the veggies first and then mix things up. Recently I sautéed almond meal (from making almond butter) with some veggies and added it to the rice. Make it your own, whatever you like. If you keep the dressing simple you are adding a very clean, healthy and whole food meal to your day that fills you up and feels good.
Eat well, Be well
Nat