(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





A Quiet Moment

31 10 2010

It’s been awhile since my last blog. Life throws you curve balls sometimes and you find yourself managing day to day. Funny how when you come up for air, that a blog can help you get back on your feet, think through some things and deal with what life throws you.

Recently a dear friend of mine passed away after a lengthy illness. To explain the true nature of her being and the impact she had on all those around her would take many blogs. A friend described her as a ‘valiant spirit’. She never complained, challenged the conventions of pain management, handled the most difficult of situations with the grace of a butterfly, and, like the buddhist prayer I read at her service this weekend, ‘always had a half-smile on her face’, even in her final days. She told you she loved you each time she saw, emailed or texted you, but this wasn’t new, she did this from the day she fell in love with you.

Tea is a ritual shared by so many. It has a rich history in trade and culture. It seems that you are either a tea drinker or a coffee drinker, I am a tea drinker. My friend was too. That was our thing, it was her thing, she had tea with everyone. She even started a tea gathering and support group at Wellspring in Calgary (if you don’t know about this organization please look into it and pass it along). At her service we served tea and cheesecake, her favourite, in celebration of such an inspirational life, a lovely tribute.

I was raised on english orange pekoe tea, milk and sugar. Today the morning ritual is similar, but it’s admittedly Tetley with homemade almond milk, no sugar. In the afternoon I love a cup of green tea, my favourite at the moment is Genmaicha, a green tea with toasted rice. I ceremoniously carry it with me and steep a cup where ever I go. My parents were just in Japan and brought home a fresh new package mmmm. I love Masala Chai, of course! It is hard to find or make a chai that tastes like India though. The milk they use, heated over a flame and the fresh spices. ‘Chai’ actually means tea, ‘masala’ means spiced, so properly it is masala chai. I know most people have figured this out by now, but just in case 🙂

Now that it is fall and winter is approaching, the evening tea is becoming more common. I love a chamomile blend, mint blend or ginger. Fresh ginger with lemon is great for digestion. Adding honey to your tea at night promotes a good nights rest, something I learned in recent years. Roobios is another favourite at night, it is an African ‘red bush’ tea, naturally decaffeinated and can be found in many blends.

There is something calming about sipping a cup of tea on your own or with friends. I know each time I sit to enjoy a cup of tea and a quiet moment, I will remember a very dear friend, one whose presence alone made you connect with what it means to be alive and human.

Be well,

Nat