Month: July 2013

A Quinoa Salad

I usually cook quinoa in just salted water but sometimes, it works well with broth. I used the broth from last night to cook the quinoa (2 cups broth to 1 cup quinoa, simmered for 15 minutes).

Using the quinoa as a base, I was able to add all kinds of treats from my green box, left over chopped green beans, sauteed broccoli, onion, and mushrooms, chopped tomato and parsley. In addition, I added olives, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese, just because I had them in the fridge. I served it on mixed greens from the box that was dressed in my usual vinaigrette (January 11).

More Greens

The spinach in my green box is perfect for a morning smoothie. It went in with some coconut water, a mango, an organic pear, some frozen mixed berries, some chia seeds and almond butter. It tasted chocolatey thanks to the chia and almond mix.

Dinner was baked chicken, sauteed potatoes and green beans. A kid friendly meal. You can make this using pre-cut chicken pieces if you are pressed for time but this is a more expensive option. Since I had some prep time, I bought a whole chicken and cut it into pieces (check you tube for instructions on how to do this, a video is easier to explain). I threw the bones into a pot with a whole carrot, chopped onion, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh parsley. I brought it to the boil, lowered to simmer and cooked for about an hour. Then I strained the stock into mason jars for use later on in the week.

A quick marinade for the chicken is chopped onion, garlic, lemon juice, fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, rosemary or sage usually), mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. Yogurt is also good. Mix it all together in a plastic bag and add the chicken. Try to get at least 4 hours with the marinade but if necessary, you can cook it immediately.

The green beans were steamed and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. The potatoes were par boiled in the water underneath and then sauteed with onion from the green box.

A Green Box

We are at the height of the summer harvest right now and my green box, delivered each week, is bursting with wonderful produce. Never has my fridge looked so healthy so I thought I would share this with you and bring you the recipes that I use to get through this produce each day.

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The first thing I did was to make some pesto (see July 24) with the garlic scapes. It whips up in the food processor quickly and added to some pasta for an easy and filling dinner.

Knowledge is Health

Sometimes I talk about food choices that seem more to do with holistic eating than with weight loss. Even though I usually try to include an obvious link, holistic eating is the way to achieve your natural body weight and the reason I discuss the dangers of today’s diet.

Eating well ensures long term health. Which includes looking good, good skin, healthy weight and an energetic personality. It’s the reason I encourage you to cut out much of the processed food and highlight the dangers of too much or any amount of certain foods.

Processed foods were introduced around the turn of the last century. They were created for the same reasons they are used today; for convenience, for consistency of taste and for value. Still, the process used is the same as today, the nutrients are stripped from a product and then small amount of nutrients are added back in. It’s a process called enriching, which is a stretch of the real truth.

Processed foods led to fast foods which were launched at the The World Fair in St. Louis in 1904. Almost immediately, it became acceptable to walk around with food and pop which was also introduced at this time. Before then, it was considered impolite to consume food on the go. In the US today, this practice is completely acceptable but it still frowned up in parts of Europe where their meals are taken more seriously.

What has changed upside down is the consumption of refined foods. Refined foods were almost exclusively consumed by the wealthier classes, white flour and sugar were more expensive. The rougher textures, the unprocessed foods, were eaten by the less wealthy and their aspiration to eat more refined foods led to more cheaply made processed foods. Today, the tables have turned. Processed foods are so cheap, they can be eaten by anybody, whereas the higher quality, unrefined, organic foods are more expensive and not accessible to everyone.

However, the core ingredients are still economically viable as long as you know how to prepare them and have time to do it. But it’s hard to invest this time if you do not truly believe or understand why. Which is the reason why I bash the Food Industry occasionally, ok regularly.

 

Hosting at Home

There’s lots of advice about eating out at parties, bbq’s or children’s events but we virtually never think about planning ahead when we are hosting something at home.

Hosting a children’s party yesterday meant I skipped lunch and dinner. Instead I snacked throughout the day and felt like garbage this morning. It wouldn’t have taken much to prepare myself a lunch on Friday, I knew I would be too busy to think about my meals. Eating a grain salad that was already in the fridge would have taken the edge of my hunger and would have resulted in me making better choices throughout the afternoon.

Your kitchen is just as hazardous as a friends’ BBQ. Plan ahead to save yourself the empty calories on snacks.

A Birthday Cake

Today I feel I didn’t have time to breathe, let alone compose a semi-intelligent paragraph or two here. It was my daughter’s 5th birthday and I planned a birthday party for her. It was a LOT of work. But fun and I’ll enjoy these parties because I’ll miss them when the girls’ grow up.

One of my biggest issues with birthday parties is the cake and the amount of artificial ingredients, particularly colours, it involves. I endeavour throughout the year not to give my children artificial colours so why throw it all away for their birthdays? You might say “well, it’s just one day” but it’s not. My older daughter goes to at least one birthday party a month so that’s 12 days right there.

The theme of the party was Pirates and Princesses. I found tons of amazing looking cakes on the web, all using fondant icing. This seemed overwhelming so I looked for ways to create something using regular icing. I found that if I used a cake board, I could use cookie icing and all kinds of colours to decorate the theme and keep the cake “clean”.

Here’s what I ended up with:

cake

I am by no means a pastry chef so with some help of candles and plastic ornaments, I was pleased with how this turned out. The cake was a 3 layer vanilla cake with jam in between. The icing was a strawberry cream cheese icing. I also used the juice of 3 small beets to give it a richer pink colour. One Barbie the Popstar candle and my daughter was happy!

I see lots of cake boards in my future. It’s a great way to be creative and have fun without filling the cake itself with artificial decoration.

A Granola Bar I like

I spend a lot of time bashing processed granola bars. They are almost always too high in sugar, fat, artificial ingredients including GMOs.

So I thought I’d praise one that I found and I like. Nature’s Path have 3 varieties that do not include anything artificial or GMO and although they do contain sugar, they are good in moderation. They are crunchy and tasty, my kids love them.

Granola Bar

The varieties I like are Honey Oat, Apple Pie Crunch and Trail Mixer.

The other varieties I leave in the same category as other granola bars. They include soy oil (a GMO), colourings and are too high in sugar and too low in fibre.