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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More Rhubarb

18 07 2011

Might be Monday, but it’s warm. Although the start to another work week, the traffic is light and a jacket is optional. Summer. Gotta love it.

I continued my rhubarb recipe round-up on the weekend. I cut another bunch of rhubarb and had a bit of time to experiment (one can only eat so many crumbles right? ;)). This time I made two very simple recipes. As I said last post, this seasons City Palate magazine is full of ideas, rhubarb being one of them. I made the Rhubarb Vinaigrette. It was a synch to make, i’d actually use two stalks of rhubarb next time. It went perfect on that Miracle Lettuce we have been eating! Here’s the link: Rhubarb Vinaigrette.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

The second recipe I found on Epicurious.com, a Rhubarb Chutney. I adapted it with ingredients I had. There are a great deal of rhubarb chutney recipes on line, and it is a great way to use rhubarb. It preserves well if you use enough sugar. I don’t use sugar so I don’t bother preserving, I just freeze it, like ‘freezer jams’.

  • 4 cups chopped Rhubarb
  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 1 cup chopped dried Apricots (or cherries)
  • 1 cup Cointreau Liqueur (orange liqueur, or use orange juice)
  • 1 tsp Aniseed
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • Juice of one Lime

The recipe said to cook the dried fruit in the Cointreau first, I of course didn’t follow instructions and threw the rhubarb in at the same time. No difference. Cook it all together for about 5-7 minutes until the rhubarb starts to soften and some of the liquid absorbs, over medium heat. In the meantime, toast the aniseed and mustard seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. You’ll start to smell the aroma and they might make a popping sound. Add to the softened fruit / rhubarb mixture, add the lime juice, cook for a few more minutes until most of the liquid absorbs. If it doesn’t, no big deal. Let it cool before putting the lid on. Enjoy with lots of things. We had it with the stack of grilled veggies we had with dinner last night (we tried grilling fennel bulb, yum). I am going to eat it with veggie samosa’s I picked up at the market with a quinoa salad for lunch this week.

Rhubarb Chutney

Eat well, Bell 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




Just Eat It: Sprouted Quinoa Breakfast

17 05 2010

May seems to be a sprouting month, with the sun shining in Calgary and gardeners anxiously awaiting the May long weekend to get their pots and gardens growing. We are included in that group and ready to dig the garden. This past weekend we spent doing the spring clean up, getting the pots out, cleaning off the lawn furniture and cutting the bit of lawn we have. I am excited to see how the perennial bed turns out as we moved things around late last year. We spent the weekend in the midst of the plum tree in full bloom and the smell kept us smiling. The Nanking Cherry’s are blooming and buzzing with bees. Our white peonies are already 2.5 feet tall, flower buds are forming and ready for a June premier. Peonies are my favourite and although they bloom for short time they signal summer is here. When they bloom I’ll be sure to share!

Back to sprouting. This month’s Yoga Shala Just Eat It recipe is Sprouted Quinoa Breakfast. Sprouting quinoa, legumes, grains and seeds is easy. The best thing about sprouting is that you have healthy food ready to eat with no additional cooking or preparation. You just need a little patience and that’s exactly what us yogis are working on everyday :). This breakfast is easy, it can be made ahead and ready to eat after your morning practice.

To sprout the quinoa, use a glass jar and replace the lid with cheesecloth and an elastic band. Place 1 cup or more of quinoa in the jar and cover with filtered water. Let soak for 4-8 hours, you’ll see sprouts start to grow in just four hours. Rinse it once or twice by pouring out the water through the cheesecloth and adding fresh filtered water. After soaking, drain and place in the fridge, it will keep for 3-4 days. If you really like sprouting buy a sprouting jar like this one. It makes sprouting super easy. (See previous blog entry on sprouting.)

On top of 1/3 cup of sprouted quinoa, add diced apple, banana, orange and pear and a 1/4 of diced avocado. Sprinkle with a variety of sprouted, raw or lightly toasted seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, flax and nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashews. Don’t have a lot of quinoa, use the left over brown or wild rice, mix it together. Eat it.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Sprouting, what fun!

13 05 2010

I bought a sprouting dish at Planet Organic years ago and started using it finally last year. Again, something so easy I didn’t do it. Well, now I am addicted and we have sprouts growing at all times in our kitchen. I have experimented with a bunch of different seeds, legumes and grains. I believe that Community Health sells sprouting trays and I recommend picking one up. You can buy the seeds/grains/legumes bulk or buy packages of them. Mum’s Sprouting Seeds sells a bunch of seed options on their website and has a bunch of info to sprout on your own. You can buy the packaged ones at Planet and Community. I recommend buying their Easy Sprout, which I love for sprouting quinoa. A fellow health food junkie Trina introduced me to this fantastic little sprouting buddy. I now have quinoa ready for eating in the fridge all the time.

Now, you don’t need these special tools to sprout, you can use a jar. Put cheese cloth over the opening, secure with an elastic. Add the seeds/grains/legumes to the jar, cover with filtered water, you need to soak the sprouts for 2-8 hours, depending on what they are. Just think quinoa, small, less dense 2-4 hours. You’ll see them sprout in 2 hours. Wheat berries 4-6 hours, larger and more dense. Rinse them a couple of times, draining water through cheese cloth, replace with fresh filtered water. When they are finished soaking rinse really well, leave in jar, no water, cheese cloth on top for air circulation. Leave in fridge or counter and watch them sprout, rinsing once or twice a day (not all need this though). I think they sprout faster on the counter, but then I refrigerate them. There are so many options and it is fun to experiment. When you order an Easy Sprout you can order a sprouting chart or google sprouting charts, there are lots of references. We have tried the Mum’s Wheat Berries (long greens, sweet and crunchy, pictured in the bottom tray below), Spring Salad (small, nutty-spicy sprouts), Red Daikon Radish (bright red and spicy), Crunchy Bean Mix (packed with protein rich legumes, pictured in first picture below when first placed in tray) and my favourite at the moment, Ancient Eastern Blend (mix of fenugreek, lentils, kamut and adzuki beans, pictured on top tray below).

Update to this blog: What do you do with the sprouts after you had fun growing them? (why I shouldn’t blog after 8PM)

I add them to salads, smoothies, rice, quinoa, wraps, to toast, anything really. Find ways to incorporate them. Sprouts are packed and concentrated with vitamins. Enjoy!

Eat well, Be well,

Nat






Veggie Pate

30 04 2010

Have I found the most versatile fridge companion, Veggie Pate. I have made this twice this past week because it worked so well bringing it to a potluck and people seemed to like it. Serve it with crackers and cut up veggies like cucumber. Wrap it in some lettuce for a fun lettuce wrap, or use nori rolls. Wrap it in sandwich wrap with other veggies or mix it with quinoa (I tried it with sprouted quinoa), add some other veggies, sprouts, avocado and lunch is served.

I got this recipe from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen cookbook. I am trying to be careful about copyright infringement. You can find this recipe on her site though, link above. The recipe in her cookbook is a little different

1 cup Almonds, dry (I use dry almond meal)

1 tbsp Grated Ginger

1 tsp Sea Salt

3 Carrots, chopped

2 Stalks Celery, chopped

1/4 cup Yellow Onion, chopped (optional to yogi’s)

2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 cup Raisins

How I have made it: Process the almonds or almond meal in a food processor until rough powder, put aside. Back in the food processor add the carrots, celery, ginger, onion, salt, process until small pieces. Add the raisins, almonds, lemon juice and olive oil, process until all ingredients incorporated and smooth. I pressed it into a bowl and sprinkled with Paprika. Ready to serve on whatever you like.

Eat Well, Be Well

Nat





Fast Food

21 03 2010

Friday night was our first night back and we were craving fast and comforting food. I love Mexican but unless you are buying and cutting up veggies like we did, plentiful veggies are hard to come by eating out. We were foggy headed on Friday – got home at 2AM, into bed by 3AM and gone by 9AM and dealing with daylight savings, that happens April 4 in Sayulita. I made it to Planet Organic for groceries and looked in the freezer and fridge to sort out dinner. Before Mexico I threw leftover cooked quinoa and brown rice in the freezer. Along with the veggies I picked up I made this healthful bowl for dinner, it was great and hit the spot.

2 cups cooked Quinoa and Brown Rice

3-4 Sun Dried Tomatos in oil, finely diced + tsp or so of the oil

3 Yellow Beets, cubed

3 small Sweet Potatoes, cubed

1/2 Red Onion, chopped

1 Red Pepper, chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

3 Tbsp Olive Oil, salt & pepper and various spices like oregano, dried basil, thyme and rosemary

Crumbled Feta Cheese

Heat oven to 425F. Place beets, sweet potatoes and onion in a roasting dish, toss with olive oil and spices and roast for 45 to 60 min, stir occasionally. Roast until veggies start to soften, add the red pepper and zucchini, roast a bit longer, say 15-30 min, depends on the dish you use and how cooked the veggies are. Just aim to have them all about the same texture, soft not mushy. When they are ready, in a heated saute pan add the rice, quinoa and sun dried tomatoes with oil and stir-fry till hot. In a big bowl add the rice, spoon over the veggies and top with feta, as much as you like. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper. Dinner is served.

Eat well, Nat