July 31, 2011

Raspberry Pickin'

I woke up this morning with the feeling that today was going to be a great day. Whenever my mom is visiting I know that we will get up to something fun! What better way to start the day than with a delicious breakfast. 


I had my usual smoothie with fresh BC blueberries and some Kashi Berry Crisp cereal for added crunch. Breakfast just isn't the same without some kind of satisfying crunch!


Delish...

After breakfast my mom and I decided we wanted to make a trip out to Dan's Farm again, only this time we had another berry on our mind. RASPBERRIES! Oh how I've been waiting for raspberries to be in season! They are by far my favourite berry. I could eat them morning, noon and night. non stop. breakfast, lunch and dinner. I normally don't talk about my top favourite foods because there are SOO many of them...but I can safely say that raspberries are in my top 5!


The raspberry fields were full of huge, juicy berries ready for us to pick. We ended up with about 9 lbs.


Mom with the berries.


Another one...just cuz she's so darn cute!


A pound of berries didn't make it into the flat...but they did make it into my mouth :) My tummy was a happy camper.


Berry pickin'


So beautiful. It's amazing what mother nature provides us with.


We froze one container and left the other one in the fridge. Fresh berries seem to compliment any summer meal perfectly! Salads, fish, oatmeal, ice cream, yogurt, pancakes...


Not only are they delicious but they are extremely nutritious as well. Obviously. Mother nature wouldn't produce anything that wasn't. They are full of anti oxidants, which have potential health benefits against cancer, inflammation, aging and neuro-degenerative diseases. They also contain compounds, such as vitamin C, A and E that act as protective scavengers against oxygen derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species that play a role in aging and various disease process. 

Raspberries also contain minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper iron and magnesium. Potassium helps control blood pressure and heart rate and copper is required in the production of red blood cells. They are also rich in B-complex group of vitamins and vitamin K and contain Vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. These vitamins help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats!


We also picked up local carrots, cauliflower, beans, tomatoes, garlic, onion and basil. The basil stole the show. My mom and I decided that spaghetti sauce was on the menu for tonight's dinner. Nothing beats a fresh spaghetti sauce with fresh basil.


Local onion, garlic, tomato, mushrooms, zucchini from my mom's garden, tomato sauce, veggie ground round and a mound of basil on top! The basil leaves were huge, the aroma was incredible and the taste was out of this world. It made the sauce!


Served with organic brown rice noodles. Yummy! 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend,
Happy BC day to all my fellow British Columbians!

Night,
Amy

July 26, 2011

Precious Pumpkin

So, it's been a couple days since I've done a post so I decided to do one. I usually remember to photograph at least one of my meals but forget to do the others and when this happens I decide not to make a post. Not sure why, but I'd rather have pictures of all of my meals than just one or two. Anywho, this morning I decided to have another smoothie in a bowl (surprise surprise) topped with some 5 minute granola that I may have overcooked just a tad....


The edges are a little darker than normal...but that's ok. I mean, I like burnt marshmallows, so why not burnt granola, right? wrong...it tastes pretty gross. Like fire...or I guess since I don't technically know what fire tastes like, like the smell of fire...or charcoal? Oh, you get the idea... But I didn't throw it away...I just picked off the burnt pieces because the rest was the perfect smoothie topper!


In the smoothie I had canned pumpkin, a frozen banana, almond milk, cinnamon and extra firm tofu (for  protein). Unfortunately you could really taste the tofu. Normally I add silken tofu, which has a very mild flavour and blends really well, but I didn't have any. It ended up being quite chunky. I added a drizzle of honey, which sweetened it up a bit. Luckily I had the granola and some plain yogurt to put on top to make the flavour :P

Apparently I was extra hungry this morning (maybe because I eat at 7 am so by 10/11 a.m. I am pretty hungry) so I had some prunes and an almond quinoa granola bar at around 10 a.m.

Lunch today was simple and delicious. Cucumber, carrots, peppers and tomatoes topped with some apple cider vinegar, Nacho Cheeze Sauce (recipe on the last post) and some feta cheese. I had a boiled egg on the side.

 

For dinner I had a repeat salad from lunch with a veggie burger (Amy's California) and boiled egg on the side. And of course there was ketchup. I LOVE KETCHUP!!!! Doesn't look too appetizing I know, but it was delicious.


For dessert I had cherries, watermelon and some popcorn with coconut oil and cinnaninamin (I used to say this as a kid). I was an empty pit today! 


Now it's time to relax and watch some Prison Break. Is anyone else obsessed with this show? Probably not since it isn't on TV anymore...I'm so behind on TV shows. Oh well, better late than never.

Night,
Amy

July 21, 2011

A Few Days Late

This is Monday's post that I didn't get the chance to post so I am doing it now. Monday morning started off wonderful. I got up bright and early and met my friend, Loring for a spin class. I. LOVE. SPIN. It is so much fun and such a good work out. I literally look forward to every single class. After the class was over I went and did a large grocery shop. I was expecting it to take about an hour, but ended up taking more than 2 hrs...probably because I have about 5 different stores I like to shop at. All of them have a few items I like to get that I can't get anywhere else. 


After I packed all of the groceries into our apartment I was absolutely starving. I normally eat breakfast around 7 or 7:30 am, but on Monday I didn't get to eat until 10:30 am. I decided on a Green Monster Smoothie. 2 cups spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 2 tbsp vega protein powder. Topped with a drizzle of plain yogurt, brown rice crisp cereal and fresh raspberries. 



This was a HUGE bowl and it was exactly what I wanted. Cold, slurpable and filling!


After breaky, I cleaned out my fridge and put my groceries away.


Look at those beautiful colours. Isn't it amazing that mother nature can produce such beautiful things?


My extremely stocked fridge...


Fruit bowl. Bananas, cantaloupe, nectarines, peaches, papaya, avocado and a watermelon (which didn't fit in the pic).


Raspberries. B-e-a-utiful. After all of the groceries were put away I decided to make a few things I had been meaning to try.

Garlic scape pesto from http://ohsheglows.com

I came across these bad boys on a visit to the Root Cellar. Garlic scapes. I have been looking for these things forever and was super excited when I found them.

I decided to make a garlic scape pesto.

Garlic Scape Pesto:

3 garlic scapes, rinsed and chopped
1 1/2 cups of vegan parmesan cheese (recipe to follow)
Juice of half a lemon (2 tbsp)
1/4 cup oil of choice (I used safflower)
handful of fresh spinach for colour

Directions:

1. Put ingredients in food processor and process until desired consistency is reached.

For dinner I cooked up some wild rice with chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander, garlic, oil and a little salt 'n peppa. I wrapped up this mexican style rice with black beans, avocado and a squirt of lime in a....swiss chard leaf. Fresh, crunchy and delicious. Drizzle of nacho cheese sauce on top! I also love wrapping up bananas and a schmeer of PB in chard leaves, but that's another story...


Nacho Cheese Sauce:

3/4 cup raw cashews
3 T nutritional yeast (can be found at any health food store)
1/2 cup water
1 medium bell pepper (I used red)
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garlic (I used garlic powder)
pinch of paprika, cayenne pepper and salt (to taste)

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

http://edibleperspective.com
This sauce is seriously amazing. I have been eating it on top of rice, bread, rice cakes and I've also been pairing it with the garlic scape pesto. Mmmm mmmm good. They are both delicious as dips for fresh veggies.

Since I was on a cooking frenzy, I decided to make a Cinnamon Coconut Raisin Bake. I was hoping this would last the week. I was sadly mistaken.

Cinnamon Coconut Raisin Bake:

3/4 cup chickpea flour (make buy at health food store or grind your own by blending dry chickpeas in a blender until powdery)
1/2 cup raw buckwheat flour (same instructions as the chickpea)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup raisins 
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Grease medium sized casserole dish.
3. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet. Add dry into wet. Mix and put in casserole dish.
4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the sides pull away and the top is brown and cracked.

Top with PB, jam, coconut butter etc...the possibilities are endless. It's a great, nutritious snack.

One more recipe and I'm off to bed. It is WAY past my bedtime. A lovely co-worker of mine, Ally, kindly asked me to put up the recipe for the chickpea stew with dumplings last week, so here it is!!

Chickpea Stew with Dumplings:
  • 1 c. onion, chopped
  • 1 c. celery, chopped
  • 1 c. carrots, chopped
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 3/4 t. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 t. dried basil
  • 4 c. vegetable stock
  • One 14 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
For the dumplings:
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c. unbleached organic flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 t. dried basil
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy or organic milk
  • 1 T. vegan margarine (i.e. Earth Balance), melted
Instructions:
  • Spritz your pan with cooking spray or oil and place over medium high heat.
  • Add onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until slightly softened and starting to brown.
  • Add garlic, salt, curry, oregano, rosemary and basil and sauté for an additional minute, until aromatic.
  • Carefully pour in vegetable stock, chickpeas and vinegar and bring to a low boil.
  • Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and remove a ladleful of the hot broth from the stew base and add it to the bowl. Whisk to remove any lumps.
  • Pour the slurry back into the pan, while stirring vigorously. Return to a boil and then lower heat to low.
  • Meanwhile for dumplings, in a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oregano and basil.
  • Add milk and melted margarine, and stir until a dough just forms. Do not over mix.
  • Plop dough by heaping spoonful on top of stew until dough is gone.
  • Cover with lid and allow to “bake” over low for 15-17 minutes.
  • As much as you may want to lift the lid to peek at these, don’t do it.
  • Serve while hot and slightly doughy.
Courtesy of http://peasandthankyou.com.

Hope you all have a great night! I have some awesome recipes to share with you very very soon. Think banana ice cream and kale chips. Are you intrigued?

Night,
Amy

July 17, 2011

Another Rainy Day

Ahhh...another beautiful rainy day in Victoria.  I can't believe it's the middle of July and it feels like a rainy spring day.  It's supposed to be hot and sunny. WTF Mother Nature...what are you thinking??????? The weather obviously didn't change my appetite this morning.


 Another smoothie in a bowl. I figured it was time to retire the yogurt for a few days and give my other breakfasts some lovin'! Don't want to leave anybody out ;)


Frozen strawberries, banana, almond milk and 2 tbsp of Vega Shake & Go Smoothie in Vanilla Almond. Topped with some 5 Minute Granola, raspberries and chia seeds. Chi chi chi chia!!!! (that'll never get old).

For lunch today I had some millet, which I cooked with curry, cumin, chilli powder and a sprinkle of salt and some canned kidney beans from Eden organic.  I love their canned products because they don't add any extra salt.  Ingredients? Water and kombu.  Kombu is a seaweed, rich in vitamins and minerals and helps with the gasiness (not a real word I know...) of beans.  If you are cooking dried beans, put a piece of kombu in the pot.  This also adds some wonderful flavour to your beans.


To jazz things up a bit, I added some tomato sauce and mixed everything together. Some fresh veggies on the side.


I love eating veggies because I'm not a huge fan of water.  I don't know why, but I have a very hard time drinking it. I have to force myself.  I try very hard to stay hydrated especially because of all the running I do, but tap water isn't ma thang. I opt for water rich veggies and fruits instead such as cucumber, peppers, lettuce, carrots, watermelon, apples, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, melon...and the list goes on and on. Now, don't those things sound much more fun than tap water :) I think so too!

For dinner tonight I used up the rest of the millet and beans topped them on a bed of greens.  Romaine hearts, baby spinach, beans, millet, tomatoes, cucumbers and basil vinaigrette. Mmmm mmmm good!


Look at those beautiful colours.


I can never decide which angle I like best, so both it is!

I am now sipping on some delicious buttered rum. And no, it's not what you're thinking. It's not actually buttered rum, it's buttered rum tea! I know, I couldn't believe it either. I couldn't believe how delicious this tea smelled, so I had to buy just a wee bit to try. I'm so flippin' happy that I did because this tea is seriously amazing. It's like dessert in a cup...in liquid form...so it's not exactly like dessert, but it will do!

Off to have a relaxing night. I have an early spin date tomorrow. Gotta rest up! WEEEE I'm so excited! I LOVE SPIN! 

Night night,
Amy




July 15, 2011

Chickpea Overload

For breakfast this morning I decided to have something different.  Because of the rainy, cold weather we have been having lately, I have been wanting warm breakfasts.  Today, I had oat bran!



In the mix: 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/2 cup water, 1 egg (added in the last 2 minutes).  For toppings I added on some 5 Minute Granola, 1/2 a banana, plain yogurt, cacao nibs, and chia seeds. Chi chi chi chia....do you remember those commercials for Chia pets? that's the song that comes to mind every time I say, write or think about chia seeds. 


Chia seeds are a complete protein, like that found in animal sources, have omega 3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon and cod liver. They also contain a full range of B vitamins and trace amounts of the healthy mineral, boron.  

chia-pet.jpg
CUTE...but weird...why did we love these things again?


For lunch today I had a chickpea salad with cherry tomatoes, carrots and cucumber topped off with a basil vinaigrette. Simple, delicious and refreshing, despite the rainy day outside.  I had an apple on the side.


Sorry for the unappetizing picture of my lunch.  I realized I hadn't taken a picture yet when I was almost finished.  Whoops, I guess I was really hungry :) This picture is dedicated to Erin, because I know how much she LOVES that Ally (my co-worker) and I use our staff room as a main setting for our blog!

For dinner tonight I made a delicious Chickpea Stew with homemade dumplings on top. Mmmmm....was it every delicious. Full of delicious veggies, and topped with doughy dumplings, this stew in a crowd pleaser.



Didn't get for a run today, but I have been running a lot lately and it's nice to give your body a well deserved break.  I'll be back at it again tomorrow.

Night,
Amy






July 10, 2011

Where Did all the Veggies Go?

This morning I woke up and was instantly craving the same breakfast I had yesterday, which I didn't remember to post (woops!).



In the Mix:

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used 1% Fraser Meadows - AMAZING!)
1 cup sliced strawberries
a handful of blueberries

5 Minute Granola:

1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 280 degrees (I used my toaster oven, which I strongly suggest for such a small batch)
2. Mix oats and cinnamon together
3. In separate bowl mix agave and coconut oil together
4. Mix wet and dry together
5. Spread onto parchment paper or tinfoil, put in toaster oven
6. Cook for 5 minutes

Let cool, sprinkle on top of anything your heart desires!

** if you use a regular oven cooking time may be longer (7-10 mins?) **


Right now, I'm completely obsessed with this breakfast.  I think about it as soon as I get up in the morning.  I think about it as soon as I finish breakfast.  I think about it until lunch.  I think about it after lunch.  I think about it...well you get the picture! I think about it all the time. It's that good.  I don't know why I didn't make a huge batch of this granola.  Actually, I do know why... it'd be gone by the end of the day :)  And there is something really nice about making a fresh batch of granola every morning. It makes our apartment smell amazing and it's something I really look forward to. I can't wait to have it again tomorrow, probably with apples :O I live life on the edge, people.


So...I forgot to bring my camera to work today, so I didn't get to take any pictures of my lunch.  I had a Food for Life (fav. brand of english muffins and wraps) cinnamon raison english muffin with 1 tbsp of unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter and 1 tbsp of apple butter (mmm....), and an apple on the side.  It wasn't very exciting but it was beyond yummy.  I love that combination.

Check out Food for Life's website for a list of ingredients: http://www.foodforlife.com.  You can pick these babies up at most health food stores, and are available in most grocery stores as well.  Just make sure you look in their organic frozen section.

Around 6:00 pm I decided to start dinner but wasn't sure what to make.  I knew it had to include veggies.  Lots of veggies.  I can't believe I didn't have any veggies for lunch.  Weird.  I knew I needed some veg power for dinner!

I started rummaging through the fridge looking for some produce that needed to be used up.  And what did I find lurking in the shadows? KALE! Oh delicious kale...how could I forget about you.  I love kale.  Well, that's not entirely true. I don't like raw kale.  Too tough and bitter for me.  Cooked kale is okay and baked kale chips are unbelievable. They are crunchy, satisfying, extremely healthy and they taste like chips.  It may sound crazy but it's true.  Don't take my word for it, try it yourself.

Now for a little schpeel on kale...

Kale is actually a cabbage and is considered the most nutritious vegetable in the world.  It has extremely powerful antioxidant properties and is considered to be anti-inflamitory.  It is also very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein and calcium.  

When chopped or minced especially, kale contains sulforaphane, a chemical, which is thought to have strong anti-cancer properties.  Boiling is said to decrease these properties, however, steaming, stir frying and microwaving do not result in this loss.  I'm not exactly sure why it contains sulforaphane with it is chopped or minced, but my guess is that this chemical is released when the leaves are cut.

Now, I know you all might be a little scared to try this vegetable and I don't blame you.  I was too.  It doesn't look very good and it smells kinda funky.  But these chips don't taste a thing like kale does in its raw form (which is a good thing); therefore, they are a great way to introduce you all to this wonderful superfood!

Salt 'n Vinegar Kale Chippers:

1 head of kale
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 - 1 tbsp oil of choice (I used safflower but I normally use extra virgin olive oil)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Wash and dry kale thoroughly (make sure you dry completely otherwise they won't turn out crispy)
3. Remove stems and veins (hard centre)
4. Rip into medium sized pieces
5. Massage oil and salt into kale and spread onto a cookie sheet
6. After 10 minutes move them around to ensure they don't stick and will crisp properly
7. Time for 10 more minutes until brown and crispy
8. Pour into bowl and drizzle with apple cider vinegar

You can munch on these tasty chips as a snack or as a side to your meal, like I did tonight.  They are a great way to get in your veggies (for all you veggie haters out there).


Raw kale on its way to the oven.


Fresh out of the oven.  Nice and crispy, just how I like em!  I also had an Amy's California Burger with a little slice of cheddar cheese and some sweet potato.



Ingredients : (Vegan) Organic mushrooms, organic onions, organic bulgar wheat, organic celery, organic carrots, organic oats, filtered water, organic walnuts, wheat gluten, organic potatoes, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, sea salt, organic garlic. Contains tree nuts & wheat.

These burgers have 6 g of protein, 4 g fibre and are 95% organic. They are fantastic. I always make sure I have them in my freezer for a quick and easy meal.

For dessert tonight I had 2 frozen chocolate banana oatmeal cookies (wow, that's a mouthful). 


Now, don't these cookies look appetizing? No...you're right, they look like little turds.  But trust me, they are good. An awesome summer snack or dessert.

I can't remember the recipe for these bad boys right now because I made them about 2 weeks ago.  I will post it for ya in the next couple days.

Night,
Amy







July 08, 2011

It's all About the Fruit!

You know it's a good day when all of your meals include fruit.  Mine was one of those days :) I started off the day with a delicious breaky of warm oats and tea! I decided on a mix of oatbran and rolled oats, which I added cinnamon, a banana, raisins, 1/2 tsp of organic unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter and cacao nibs to. FYI, I use organic ingredients whenever possible (which is the majority of the time) but I don't always state that.


Accompanied by a big cuppa Read My Lips tea (chocolate mint) from Davids Tea! I love my mug from the Art Gallery.  It was made by a local artisan and friend of the Art Gallery's.  She does beautiful work.




Look at all that lovely steam.


The loose leaf tea from Davids Tea.  Can you spot the little red lips? How cute are they? Such a sweet touch.  The people at Davids Tea are so nice and extremely helpful, so if you haven't been there yet I really urge you to check it out! They have such a great selection (new location on Government St.).  

For lunch today I really wanted a sandwich, so I decided to try to make a tofu salad sandwich.  I've never made one like this before so it was quite an experiment.

Ingredients:

*1/4 package of firm tofu cut into small cubes
*1/4 cup chopped celery
*2 tbsp chopped green onion
*1 tsp vegan mayonaise (regular mayo is fine as well)
*1 tbsp umeboshi plum vinegar
*1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Put all ingredients together, mix until combined.

I put the salad on the last two pieces of whole grain bread we had in our freezer.  Didn't taste great, but it  worked out okay.  I put dijon mustard, lettuce, avocado and tomato on it as well.


Some carrots on the side, which I didn't end up eating (they were a little soft).  


I had a crunchy nectarine instead.  I don't know why, but I've always loved unripe fruit just as much as ripe fruit.  Maybe that's because I don't have the patience to wait for them to ripen? Or I'm just weird...either way, I love it!  Overall, I really liked this recipe and will make it again.  Next time I will add a few more ingredients.  The original recipe called for capers, olives and pickles, which I didn't have, but would have been amazing.  That would have bulked it up and soaked up some of the moisture.  I'll make sure I use those ingredients next time.

After lunch, Francis and I went to pick up my watch that was waiting for me at UPS.  


Thank you Jean-Louis and Johanne (Francis' parents) for the awesome graduation gift!  

After we picked up the watch we took a quick trip to Qoola to get some frozen yogurt.  Francis made an interesting concoction of chocolate and vanilla frozen yogurt with almost every topping you could think of including fruit loops, which we shared.  It was actually pretty damn delicious.


They are opening another Qoola at a new location on Yates Street! I think it's going to do amazing downtown, especially with all the tourists in the summertime.

After a quick trip to the mall to get my watch sized, we made our way back to our apartment to relax.  I did some prep for dinner and then we both headed out for some exercise.  I dropped Francis off at hockey and I went to Elk Lake for another run (I went yesterday with my friend, Loring as well).  It was gorgeous yet again.  What a great run.

When we got home we were both starving so while Francis was chowing down on chips (I snuck a few ;)) I put together a very easy and scrumptious dinner.

Fresh Fruity Lentils

Makes 2 large servings or 4 side servings

*1 cup french lentils
*1/2 cup chopped strawberries or berry of choice
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts
*1/8 cup chopped parsley
*1/8 cup chopped basil
*1/2 cup orange juice (I used freshly squeezed)
*1 tsp berry jam (I used fruit sweetened Crofters blackberry)

1. Boil 2 cups of water with lentils, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender.
2. Combine berries, walnuts, parsley and basil.
3. Drain lentils, add to berry mixture, mix until combined.
4. Add orange juice and jam, mix until combined.
5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


I served the lentils with a salad with a basil vinaigrette. SO GOOD. I also had a fresca on the side.


For dessert I made strawberry frozen yogurt.

Ingredients

*2 cups plain yogurt
*1 cup strawberries

1. Add yogurt and strawberries to food processor.
2. Pulse 3 or 4 times.  Make sure the strawberries are still chunky.
3. Put in glass or plastic container and put in the freezer.
4. Freeze for about 2 hours.
5. Take out of freezer and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
6. Scoop out like ice cream.

You can add anything into the mixture you'd like.  It's quite tart because of the plain yogurt so you might want to add a sweetener to the mix.  I personally really like the tartness :)


I drizzled a little honey on top of mine, which was the perfect touch.  I think it'd be awesome with chocolate chunks or graham crackers or even chocolate cookie crumbs in it.  So many possibilities. I can't wait to make a different batch and experiment a little bit.


Now it's time to relax and watch a movie.  Going for an early morning run tomorrow so I've gotta rest up.

Have a great Friday night,

Amy