Good things to eat

Archive for the ‘Healthy’ Category

What do you think of Wheat Grass?

Firstly, I need to apologise for being so absent.

The truth of the matter is I’ve been quite caught up in getting used to my new life.

Earlier this Summer The Chef was offered one of those “too good to pass up” kind of jobs and so with only a few weeks notice, we packed up our whole lives and left our beautiful Victoria, British Columbia and moved to Edmonton, Alberta.

Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that, in fact, Edmonton is a lovely city and I hope to share some of it with you when I get back on a writing track, it’s just that we went from the warmest in Winter Canadian city, to arguably one of the coldest in Winter Canadian cities, which admittedly, I’m not doing too well with.

Anyone who knew me back when I lived in “Winter cities” knew just how miserable I was and how escape from Winter was the number one reason I moved to Victoria some ten years ago.

You see, I went from THIS

edmomnton-july-2016120

And This

iphone-download-nov-2016304
To THIS

img_1046

And This

img_1056

********************************************************************************************

So what to do in Winter in Edmonton?

Well……grow some Wheat Grass of course!

Probably like you, I’ve read SO much stuff about just how wonderful wheat grass juice is for you!  92 different minerals alone and filled with chlorophyll.  A wonder food touted with discouraging and perhaps even curing all kinds of diseases and aliments.  But what does it really taste like?

I can’t tell you how many times I have bought a flat of it at the health food or grocery store and brought it home with the intension of juicing it!  But instead I just let it over grow and then watch it turn brown and dies and make me feel sad.  And it isn’t cheap either which is an added annoyance.

So I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  I thought I’d try to grow my own!  Chances are if I grow it myself, I’ll be more inclined to use it?  And at worst, if I don’t, I can just compost it and recycle the dirt and try again.

And, it’s something fun to do in Winter!

********************************************************************************************

Growing it is surprisingly easy.

You will need:

  • something to grow it in ( I’ve been using left over lettuce boxes)
  • some quality dirt ( preferably organic cause you are growing food)
  • some “wheat berries” – I got them in the bulk section of the grocery store or Bulk Barn

Prepare your dirt in your box or whatever you are using.  Then soak about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup ( depending on how big your box is) of wheat berries in water for about six hours or overnight.  Drain off the water and sprinkle speeds evenly over the dirt and lightly cover them with more dirt.

Keep the dirt moist but not wet.

In a couple of days you will see the grass sprouting up!  Easy as that.

********************************************************************************************

Let the grass blades get to about 3 -4 inches tall before you use them.

Obviously by the picture here, you’ll see I let them go just a little too long but they were still good.

I then went online and watched a bunch of videos of various Hippies juicing their wheat grass to try to get an idea of just how much I need to actually get a yield of any kind.

There are a lot of variables there, like what kind of juicer or blender or whatever.

Also, some people seemed to drink it straight in shots, while others added water or added the juice to other juices or smoothies………

I think the real point is to try it first….see what you think.

img_1041

********************************************************************************************

So when you are ready, hack off some of the grass.  Even though it is in my kitchen, I still washed it, cause it can still be dusty or whatever.

Then I shoved it in the juicer.  As the pulp squished out, I put it back through the juicer a couple of times because I saw one of the hippies doing that.  It still seemed to squeeze out more juice, so I guess that’s good.

I yielded a couple of ounces.  But honestly…..that is about all you need for a shot.

img_1044

So?  How did it taste?

Well……..the smell is a bit much.  Literally smells like squished grass.  Don’t know if you ever ate any grass as a kid, cause you saw your dog doing it?  Well….it’s all a similar experience.

I gulped it down in one shot. As it went across my tongue it was very intense and so I was expecting a horrible aftertaste, but surprisingly, it wasn’t offensive at ALL.  In fact, it was almost a bit sweet!  I know!  Who would have thought??

img_1045

Many have reported extreme reactions to it.  Like having to run to the bathroom because something was going to happen from one end or the other.  I experienced neither of these.  In fact, it made me feel quite invigorated, like I had just done something terribly good for myself!  Power of suggestion?  Perhaps, but you might want to give it a try for yourself…..to at least to be able to say you’ve done it.

If you don’t want to go to all of the trouble of growing it and juicing it……..go to your local juice bar and give it a try……especially in Winter…..can’t hurt!!

A Warm Lunch at the Office

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows that I am NO fan of microwaves and have not (knowingly, although I realize it must happen to me some places!) eaten microwaved food in at least 10 plus years!

But when the weather starts to turn this can pose a problem for a girl who is looking for a little warmth at lunch time at the office and there is no way to heat anything up except the you know what!

So imagine my delight when I saw THIS idea!!

Please forgive me, I do like to give credit where credit is due but I do subscribe to a lot of food blogs and can’t always remember where I see what I see and regrettably I couldn’t find this again when I went back to look for the instructions.  So thank you idea giver.

So let’s call them Homemade Noodle Pots.

We’ve all had them.  Some are better than others.  But even the “organic” “healthy” versions are still pretty much weird dried stuff in a cup.

You know what I’m talking about.  Those instant lunch things that come in a cardboard, or worse, cup.  You peel back the lid, pour boiling water over it, cover it up again, let sit for a bit and voila.  A cup full of some kind of warm, usually desperately salty, noodle type stuff.

And they aren’t even that cheap, especially the higher end ones!

So why not just make your own DIY noodle pots?

You can put just about anything you’d like but best of all, you know exactly what’s in them!

And what’s great, on a Sunday afternoon, you can make up all of your ingredients, pack up your jars and have one for every day of the following week!  Imagine?  A whole week of not having to worry about what to bring for lunch??  Fantastic!

********************************************************************************************

 

Noodle cups006

Here is what you will need:

Heat safe jars, like Mason Jars 500 ml size x days of your week

Flavour base: I tried different combos for each day to change it up a little.

1 to 3 teaspoons of organic or quality soup stock base, miso paste or curry paste

More Flavour:

1 to 3 teaspoons of:  coconut milk, sesame oil, hot sauce or Sriracha, tamari or Bragg sauce etc

 

Noodle cups005

Fillers:

Chicken, tofu, frozen vegetables, shredded cabbage, cooked lentils or beans, thinly sliced mushroom, kimchi, hardy greens, boiled egg, or whatever else you might find in the fridge!

Noodles:

Cooked Soba noodles, spaghetti, rice noodles, ramen.   I haven’t tried this yet, but maybe dried couscous?

Toppings:

Green onion, Cilantro, shredded carrot, a slice of lemon?

********************************************************************************************

Start with the flavour bases on the bottom of the jar, spread them around so they will dissolve evenly.

Then add in your filler items.

Then the noodles and pack it down nicely.

Then finally what ever fresh toppers you might be using. ( if you want these really fresh, perhaps store separately and top the noodles just before eating)

Put the lids on tight and refrigerate!

Each morning, grab one to go!

 

Noodle cups004

 

********************************************************************************************

When it’s time to eat, simply add some boiling water and replace the lid.

Let sit for a few minutes to let everything warm up.  Then maybe give the jar a little shake or a twirl before you open it or give them a good stir with your chopsticks to let the flavours mingle.

 

Noodle cups003

You can enjoy it right out of the jar or dump it into an awaiting bowl and eat right away while it is warm.

 

Noodle cups002

And there you have a nice warm, weird stuff free, bowl of niceness to get you through your afternoon!

 

Noodle cups001

Can any ol body make Kimchi?

I’ll admit, the thought of it was very intimidating.

I was picturing something very exotic, or spending all day in the kitchen over large vats of something or other.  Requiring group of friends working feverishly to complete it in one day.

Or the need for hard to find equipment or ingredients.

Trouble was, I guess I didn’t really even know what Kimchi was.

What it comes down to is pretty much Korean style sauerkraut.

Something people have been making for years with little more than a bucket or crock, some salt and a big rock!

So why was I getting myself in a tizzy over it?  Why not just give it a try? Cabbage is pretty cheap, if it doesn’t work out…..oh well.

I’m almost embarrassed at just how easy it really is!

Then again, fermenting of food has been around a LONG time.  That’s how many cultures have survived by being able to preserve the bounty of the Summer for the long Winter ahead.

And then don’t even get me started with just how very good for you it is!  Talk about probiotic!!  This stuff is where it’s at!!

So not even knowing where to start, I did what any smart person would do, I looked up some recipes on the internet!   Admittedly, there were several and true, some did sound a little exotic and involved but I managed to find one that made sense.

Many of the recipes also called for “fish sauce” or “shrimp paste”, two things I actively avoid due to my shell-fish allergy but found no trouble working around that.

There were many many recipes, but I finally decided on this one:  Homemade Vegan Kimchi

I did not have, nor had the time to look for, the Kochukaru ( Korean chili powder) so I improvised on that.

I also didn’t make as huge of a batch as this recipe appears to make, in case it was disgusting and then I would have went to all the trouble and then would have to toss it!!

Here is what I used:

  • 1/2 large napa cabbage
  • 1/2 (maybe less) daikon radish
  • 1/2 red onion
  • Salt  ( Kosher or sea)

For paste:

  • 4 green onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 2 birdseye Thai chilis ( small red ones)
  • 1 tbsp smokie paprika
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar

I peeled the leaves off the cabbage one at a time until I had taken off about half of them.  Use your judgement depending on how big your cabbage is.   After washing them, chop them into about 2 inch chunks,

I used only 1/2 of the daikon because it was quite large.   Peel it and then cut it into strips.  Smaller than French fries but bigger than match sticks.

Slice the red onion into full circle rounds about 1/4 inch thick.

Place all of these ingredients in a large bowl and then sprinkle generously with salt and toss to make sure everything is getting some salt on it.

 

Holiday treats002

Then let it sit for a few hours until it gets quite whilty and releases some liquid.

 

When the cabbage mixture is ready to go, it is time to make the paste.

Holiday treats003

Add all of the other ingredients ( except the green part of the green onions, just chop and mix those in   with the cabbage, but do it now, not during the wilting part) to the food processor and combine till it makes a nice paste.  ( Add a bit of the cabbage water if it is too thick)

Holiday treats004

 

Then add the paste to the wilted cabbage and toss well until everything is nicely coated.

Holiday treats005

 

Holiday treats006

Then carefully shove it all into a super clean Mason jar ( or more).  The other recipe suggests poking it down with a chop stick.  Really pack it in there, making sure there aren’t any air pockets.  And then pour in any remaining liquid from the bowl that will fit.

Seal it up tight and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours, then into the fridge for at least a week before testing it!

 

ONE WEEK LATER:

Time to check out the magic!!

A huge word of caution here that no one seems to mention in any of the recipes I saw…….

Kimchi is ALIVE!!  Fermenting is done by live ( but very friendly) bacteria and so after they have done their work on your cabbage, they are eager to show you!!

So when you open your new Kimchi for the first time, DO IT OVER THE SINK!  It is almost like a bottle of soda that has been shook! And it WILL spew everywhere!!

I had NO idea!!

Once that nonsense was over and I safely got the lid off…….I gave it a sniff.  It had a strong odor and it wasn’t particularly appealing, but the time of truth had come.  Time to taste it.

 

I was fully ready to dislike it, but instead I was surprised, amazed and delighted by the taste of something that I quite honestly can’t say as I have tasted before!   I was expecting something tangy, vinegary or pickley.   But it was none of these.

Instead, it was the most delightful mixture of salty, sour and a little bit spicy.

I was absolutely delighted with my experiment!

Since then, I have become obsessed with my Kimchi!!  As the lady in the commercial says “I put that @#%$@* on EVERYTHING!”

It is particularly wonderful for livening up any old boring sandwich!!  Fabulous as a burger topping, adds zing to any rice bowl type dish.  Add it to salads or as a condiment with eggs or omelets.  I could go on and on and keep trying it with everything!

Just DON’T heat it!  It is a live food, heating it will destroy all of its goodness!!

So don’t be afraid, give it a try yourself.

I would be very interested to hear just you make out!

 

Holiday treats007

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Challenge – Complete!

I did it!!

I here by solemnly swear that not one drop of animal product has passed my lips in exactly one month!!!

Was it hard?   Not really.

**************************************************************************************************************

PLEASE NOTE:  IF YOU SUBSCRIBE TO THE 50/50 BLOG, THIS POST IS MOSTLY THE SAME

**************************************************************************************************************

Luckily I know how to cook,  have a degree in nutrition and have studied a lot about alternative food preparation.  Because you could be a “Vegan” and eat nothing but French Fries and corn puffs, but I don’t think that would really be the best route!

So what do I have to report from this exercise?

  • I lost 10 pounds.   5 in the first week alone, then nothing till the last week when I dropped another 5.
  • My blood pressure which was formerly in the “elevated” range is down to normal
  • During the first two weeks I found that I slept much better, but that seemed to wear off by week 3.

BUT the question is, did these improvements occur because I was eating Vegan?   Or could it have anything to do with the fact that during this same period I:

  • Never set foot in my favorite coffee and breakfast sandwich place?
  • Wasn’t drinking alcohol?
  • Had barely any caffeine?
  • Didn’t eat chocolate, ice cream or any traditional dessert?
  • Didn’t eat in restaurants?

Hard to say.

Do I feel any different?

Well I hate to say it, but I have felt very low on energy.  But again, was that the result of the Vegan experiment, or just because  I am busy and stressed in general?

I was never hungry or starving or anything like that and in fact, other than just a damn good cup of tea with cow milk, I have had no cravings.

I think that for the most part,  the food I ate was more or less delicious with a couple of experimental exceptions, but by no means did I find myself choking down weird fare while longing for animal products.

There were a couple of times that certain dishes may very well have been enhanced by a sprinkle of cheese but…..

*********************************************************************************************************************

I did resent that going to Starbucks to get a soy latte cost and extra .60 cents just for the soy milk, and in general I felt dirty going there because I equate people who drink soy lattes from Starbucks with………well never mind……..this isn’t meant to be a Starbucks rant.   But it would be nice if “regular” people coffee places like say Tim Hortons, could start offering alternatives.

**********************************************************************************************************************

So will I be running out to eat a big steak tonight?

No.

Will I ever eat meat again?

There is a good chance.

********************************************************************************************************************

I am here by declaring myself a “flexitarian” ( a trendy term I saw on one of the Chef’s lists of new popular food trends).

Quoted as:  Someone who is predominantly Vegan/Vegetarian but who will eat animal products from time to time.

Which I think I could live with quite nicely.

**************************************************************************************************************************

I think what it comes back to, is the same philosophy that I have tried to follow for the past few years now.

  • Try to eat foods that are as close to their original state as possible.
  • Try to eat the best quality of food that you can find and afford.
  • Try to eat as many vegetables of all colours as you can.
  • Eat for maximum nutrition and pleasure.
  • Don’t over eat.

I also think that it is very important for you to keep trying new foods and new styles of eating until you find a balance of what works for you and what makes YOUR body feel the healthiest, strongest and BEST!   Because everyone is different and reacts very differently to the same food.

*************************************************************************************************************************

So what’s next for me?   Not sure.

But I KNOW I’m having a cup of tea…….with some cow milk!!

Tea002

Tea004

Buns of your own

One place that animal products seem to be heavily lurking is in bread product:  milk, eggs and butter

So seeing as this is a Vegan challenge and not a gluten free challenge…..I thought I best whip up some buns of my own to have around.  You can always “slap something on a bun” in a pinch if you are starving and can’t wait for the “rice to cook”!

And having a little “safe” bread is good to have with a salad to just “top you up” and good to put things in for work lunch, which is always a challenge, Vegan or not, because I refuse to use the microwave!

I more or less went with this recipe that I found on line, only I substituted 3 cups of whole wheat flour and then the rest was white flour and only used almond milk.

Vegan007

***********************

Vegan009

**************************

Vegan II001

****************************

Vegan II002

*************************************************************************************************

They turned out very nice, if I do say so myself……imagine……crackin one of these babies open with a nice pat of butter………..oh yeah……sorry.

The Vegan Challenge

I know, I know, we’ve been through this together before, where I decide I am going to eat a certain way to “try it out” and insist on dragging you along with me!

We did the “Raw Food Challenge”  and then I went on a gluten-free kick for a while.   All in the name of trying to find the right eating style for my needs.  I need to be able to walk the walk if I’m gonna talk the talk.

So I have decided to challenge myself to “one month of being a Vegan”.

In general, I don’t think it will be that hard.  We already eat several Vegan or Vegetarian meals a week…..but that’s in a week…..not even necessarily for a whole day.

My biggest challenge will be the lack of cow milk in my morning tea.  I have tried all of the vegan alternatives and I’m sorry but none of them quite cut it.  So I fear I will have to go without the tea, until I get desperate anyway.

There really is more and more research that sustains the idea that eating a plant-based diet WILL improve your health.

Do I think YOU should be a Vegan?   Don’t know.

Do I think you should TRY being a Vegan?  Couldn’t hurt.

Do I think that if there were more Vegans it would benefit our planet.  Definately!

I have long been an advocate of the notion that you need to eat what is best for YOU.  What makes YOU feel your best.  Because everyone is different and has different constitutions.  But I DO think that you need to keep trying until you find it.

You also need to educate yourself on WHY you are choosing to do something, not just do it willy nilly because it seems trendy.

If you are interested in taking a walk on the “Veg Side” there are some great documentaries out there that can get you started in the right direction.

Vegucated

Hungry for Change

Food Matters

Just to name a few and currently available on Netflix.

 

 

vegan-pyramid-800x600

 

********************************************************************************

I had a friend in town and would normally go out for breakfast on a Saturday morning, but I thought it best not to tempt myself on my first day of Vegan, because going out for bacon and eggs is simply one of my favorite things!

So instead he came over and I made Raw porridge and had some green tea.

Later, the Chef and I went to Starbucks and I had my very first EVER “soy latte”.   It wasn’t awful, but I REALLY don’t want to turn into one of THOSE people…..you know….the “soy latte” people.  But I was desperate, nobody needs to start their first day of Vegan with a caffeine withdrawal headache!!

One thing at a time.

So please follow along if you like and even try a challenge of some kind  of your own and we can do it together!

 

I love Vegans

Taking a break

Well after two weeks straight of practically every meal containing, cheese, cream, butter or sausage in one form or another, we decided that our first meal of 2013 needed to be something healthy.  To take a break from the overindulgence.

What could be nicer than a comforting, friendly bowl of hot oatmeal?

Holidays 2012037

No one says it has to be the boring bland porridge of childhood!

I laid out a selection of toppings to go along with it:

  • fresh blueberries
  • dried cranberries
  • brown sugar
  • hemp seeds
  • milk

Holidays 2012035

***************************************************************************************************************

It was wonderfully fortifying and a nice rest for the digestive system!

****************************************************************************************************************

Holidays 2012036

%d bloggers like this: