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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ 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

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And This

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To THIS

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And This

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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??

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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!!

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.

 

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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.

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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)

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

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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!

 

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Food Matters TV

Here is a little something I thought I would pass on to you.

The people behind such movies as:

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Are now launching:

                            FOOD MATTERS TV

This is an online service much like Netflix only the content is all FOOD / HEALTH / WELLNESS  related.

And if you sign up now there are all sorts of bonuses.

And at the very least if you go to the site before March 31st, you can watch Hungry for Change and Food Matters for free.

Just thought I’d mention it.

This Blog is Three!

My how time flies!  I can’t believe that I have already had this blog for three years now!!

As those of you who have been following from the beginning know, it started only as an assignment for a food writing class I was taking, but I got so hooked that I never gave it up!

As of today I have reached just under 40,000 hits!  Yes that is 40 thousand!  And I am always amazed at how far it reaches.  Because as the owner of the blog, you can see the statistics where it tells you how many hits you’ve had and what people are looking at and where they are looking from.

I am always astounded at how far and wide the audience reaches.

And having a blog is sort of like putting money in a very good investment and watching it grow just on interest!  Because in this last year I haven’t been writing as much as I would like, yet people still seem to keep finding the blog.  I have no idea how that even happens!

One of the top posts that keeps getting looked at is the very first one:

“Can you really make pasta with a juicer

Another popular one that gets the most hit – yet I find a bit troubling because I fear this isn’t what they had in mind when they were doing their online search is:

Forbidden muffin balls

But my all time number one favorite that gets the most hits and even comes up as number one on Google – which means on the WHOLE interweb is:

Kale Pancakes

So thanks so much for all of the comments, love and support over these past three years!  Hopefully I can keep coming up with things to tell you about for at least another three!

3rd birthday

Ode to Celery

Oh celery, why can’t we just get along?

stalk-celeryWhat has happened to us in the past that I treat you with such disdain?  I’ve even been heard saying “I’d rather eat the dirt” that you came from!

For years I have brought you home at the peak of your magnificence, with your proud branches standing strong.  Only to lock you in the crisper to watch you die a slow and painful death.   First your limbs grow weak and limp, then you turn an off shade of brown and then sometimes I let you rot until you just become a bag of putrid liquid and then I get angry with your weakness for making such a mess and making the fridge smell off!

Why celery, why does this have to happen?

I enjoyed you as a child, when my Grandmother would fill your stocks with that bright orange “Cracker Barrel” cheese that came in the red tub.

Not like other things that I loathed as a child but have since grown to appreciate.  Things like beets, olives and blue cheese which I now adore.

No, with you it went the other way.  Your crunchy texture and distinct flavour offend me.  I alway know when you have been hidden in the tuna sandwich or are ruining a perfectly good potato salad!

People tell me I should love you.  You come baring so many healthful gifts.  You are high in Vitamin C which we know is so helpful for many body processes.  You are filled with calcium, magnesium and potassium which among other things, helps with blood pressure control.  You contain pthalides which increase bile production which can lower cholesterol and you fight cancer, arthritis and inflammation!

I want to love you celery, I really do.

 

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Does going to the dentist make you live longer?

It occurred to me while I was lying with my mouth open at the dentist today…….

Maybe we live longer now because we can go to the dentist?

Because if we didn’t go to the dentist and our teeth hurt or fell out we probably wouldn’t eat the same.

And so now, with the enjoyment of our teeth, we can eat better, getting better nutrition and therefore,

LIVING LONGER!

Just a thought.

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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.

 

 

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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

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