(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





Chia Seed Pudding

1 10 2011

October 1. No snow on the ground. Good. Although I am dreaming of big pots of warm soup and the smell of curries on the stove. What I love about fall and winter is that cooking gets a bit easier but more creative at the same time. There is so much to be made on the stove and in the oven, which we try to use less of in the summer. The BBQ reigns supreme from veg to fish and fresh salads are a staple. The markets are full of root vegetables and squash at the moment. We ate a medley of fresh beets from our garden and baby potatoes last weekend, cooked on the BBQ of course.

I did get some food experiments in the last few weeks. My favourite has been Chia Seed Pudding. I bought chia seeds in my last nut and seed order from Real Raw Food months ago, but they can be found at most health food stores now. Chia seeds are all the rage at the moment in healthful cooking. You’ll remember the sprouted version as ‘chia pets’ growing up. These little tiny seeds are packed with omega 3-fatty acids and a-linolenic acid (ALA), both essential fatty acids believed to be important for metabolism. I did a bit of research on what to easily do with them. Adding them to my green smoothies or to my breakfast seed/nut mix was too easy. Then I came across this fun chia seed pudding recipe from Happy Healthy Life vegan blog. A sweet blog with a bunch of great recipes and healthful advice. I highly recommend it.

It was very cool how over night the chia seeds expanded and thickened the liquid, like little baby tapioca’s. T said they looked like snake eyes, ah, okay. T being my adult husband ;).

Here is my rendition of her recipe for Chia Seed Pudding:

  • 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk (I used a 250 ml tetra pack)
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together. Cover and put in the fridge. I checked on it once or twice the first day, and gave it a bit of a stir because I saw the seeds settling to the bottom. After a day or so in the fridge it was ready to eat. You have to try this. It was delicious. A perfect dessert and if you have kids, a perfect kitchen experiment to understand the cool things food does.

I don’t usually buy sweetened soy or almond milks, but this was an exception. I will try making it with unsweetened and add my own vanilla flavour. I don’t think my home-made almond milk would work well, it tends to separate a bit and I have to shake it each morning to use. I’ll keep experimenting though.

Happy October everyone!

Eat well, Be well,

Nat