Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘healthy’

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!



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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


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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!


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


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!


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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.


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


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


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Savory Oatmeal Cookies

Okay, who are we kidding, they are still called “cookies” for a reason!!

But my problem with things called cookies is that it always conjures up something bad for you, something void of nutrient, something…..silly.

So yes, this is called a cookie and does have many of the ingredients found in traditional cookie, but this one has been jazzed up to pack as much extra nutrients as we can into each little bite.

The other great thing about these is that they contain very little sugar!  BONUS.

If you have been following this blog for any time you will have gathered that I am on a life long quest to find an agreeable substitute to the traditional store-bought cracker!

As tasty as some commercial crackers might be, they inevitably always give me heartburn and usually after I’ve read the package I can tell why!

And some of my home-made cracker experiments have gone better than others but usually turn out to be more suited to people with dietary restrictions who are happy to get whatever they can that they can actually eat.  So compared to “nothing at all” they are fine but not exactly a great snack that you would binge on, if you know what I mean.

But I think I may have finally found what I am looking for with these babies.

They have lots of good for you stuff in them, not too much bad for you stuff and they actually TASTE great!!

Give em a try.


You will require:

  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup all whole wheat flour ( or combos of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup golden or regular flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar ( or equivalent of sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt ( little more if you like things saltier)
  • 1/4 tsp baking SODA
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese ( I used old cheddar but parmesan would be good too)
  • 1 egg

Optional but strongly recommended additions:

  • 3 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped herb like rosemary
  • a few turns of cracked black pepper
  • good finishing salt to sprinkle on top


Whip out the Mix Master, although a mixing bowl will do just fine and add:

The oatmeal, flax-seed,brown sugar, olive oil and egg, stir together and let sit a couple of minutes till the oats get a bit gooey.

Then add, salt, baking soda, (onions and herbs), grated cheese and mix those thoroughly into the mixture.

Then a few spoonfuls at a time, add in the flour and keep stirring it in till the dough comes together nicely but isn’t too gooey or too dry.  So you might end up using a little more or a little  less than the original cup size asked for.  But the other ingredients can be more or less absorbent, so you won’t know for sure till you are in it.

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Then you are going to line a baking sheet with parchment and if you haven’t already done so, heat your oven to 350 degrees.

I just used two teaspoons, one to scoop out of the bowl and one to push it off the first spoon on to the tray.  Just like any drop cookie you might make.

Then go over them with a fork and squish them down flat.  They don’t spread while baking like some cookies do, so what ever size you end up squashing them to, will pretty much be their final size.   Then sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt and into the oven they go!

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Bake for about 25 minutes or until they get golden brown around the edges.

They are delicious immediately or in as long as it takes to cool enough as to not burn your mouth, or let them cool on a rack and then place in an air tight container and keep like you would any home-made cookie.

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But the best part….to me, they are the answer to my quest for a home-made cracker!  They are great with a bit of jam or some cheese or whatever you like to put on crunchy flat things!!

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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:



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.

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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Just make your own

I was thrilled to find out that a new bulk store opened here in Victoria.

It is a franchised chain that I often enjoyed while living in Ontario and I have missed it ever since I left!

I think bulk food stores are great.  Because you KNOW it is the same product coming from the same place that the brand name grocery stores and even health food stores are selling you prepackaged for three times the price!

I buy most of my dry goods in bulk, rice, beans, peas, nuts, spices, flours and then I bring them home and have a collection of jars that I put them into and away I go!  I find it makes my cooking life so much easier and cheaper!

But sometimes if you just do things yourself, you can make things even cheaper!

Like take tamari almonds for instance.

I was at the bulk store with my friend when she announced that she needed some.   “Why don’t you just make your own?” I asked, seeing the considerable difference in price between the tamari almonds and the plain ones.

“How do you do that?” she asked.


Well……let me tell you.

You will need:

  • 1 baking tray lined in parchment paper
  • a little bowl or pot
  • about a cup of raw or plain toasted almonds
  • enough tamari ( I just used Bragg sauce) to cover


Put the almonds in the bowl and then give a few good shots of tamari.   Not so that they are swimming, but enough that you know everybody will get coated.

Give the nuts a few good stirs, making sure everyone is covered and then let them sit for at least 10 minutes, but longer is fine.


Heat your oven to 200 degrees.

When you are ready, stir the nuts a bit more and then spread them out on the parchment covered tray.  Try to give each nut as much space at possible.

Bung them in the oven.


Let them dry in there for as long as it takes.   Feel free to take them out and toss them a bit with a spatula.

But you don’t want to take them out until the sauce has completely dried.


Once done, let cool completely before putting into an air tight container.

If they aren’t completely cooled, they will get sweaty and then go soft and you don’t want that!

And there you have it.   Tamari covered almonds!


Wolf and Bear’s – Portland

Well one place that certainly made me happy to eat at and feel that I wasn’t straying too far from my new healthy convictions was a food truck in Portland Oregon called “‘ Wolf and Bear’s “.



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We had been watching one of our favorite food programs ” Eat Street” on the Food Network, a show about food trucks far and wide, and knew we’d be passing through Portland in a couple of weeks and wanted to check it out!

I was even more thrilled to find that it was located in the East Burnside area which is always a favorite eating area for the Chef and I when we are in Portland.  Tucked into a  little vacant lot on SE 28th avenue, just off Burnside with a few other inviting food trucks is a little oasis of delicious.

I was so excited to order the:  OLEAWolf’s homemade kalamata tapenade, labneh, grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, grilled red onions, gorgonzola crumbles, caramelized walnuts, freshly cracked pepper, salad greens drizzled with tahini sauce and olive oil on a warm pita.

The Chef declared that he wanted the same one!  Which would normally make me shift my choice so that we can both taste more than one thing, but on this occasion, I wouldn’t budge and nor would he so we had one each!

Everything is fresh made to order and is well worth the wait.

When our name was called and we picked up our sandwiches they also handed us a wonderful little dish of mixed olives and pickled peppers to go with them!  A perfect Middle Eastern combo!



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It was a glorious warm summer night as we sat in the court yard and ate our sandwiches and pickles and sipped our lemonades.  What a wonderful treat!

Thanks Wolf and Bear!

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.




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?


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!!



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?

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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

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


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Fancy Fish Dinner

The Chef whipped up a very tasty quick summer supper.

I can’t be completely sure what is actually in anything, he sometimes gets a little secretive about what he is making.  Let’s face it, with someone like me around, he is going to guard his secrets so I don’t make “Cheffing” look too easy!!

Here is what we had:

  • Baked salmon with garlic, lemon & capers topped with tomato salsa
  • Couscous with diced red pepper & chopped fresh basil
  • Shaved fennel, red onion & lemon salad
  • Beet and blueberry salad

That’s a lot of brain food going on there.  Salmon, beet, blueberry, fennel, all with a lot of lemon, just tons of nutrients AND it all tasted great!!

Meat on a stick.

Roxanne, a friend of mine from Baltimore,  is a big fan of meat on a stick, so this one is for her!

One of my blogger friends from Tiny Kitchen Stories recently posted a recipe for Kofta which is a Middle Eastern version of meat on a stick.

I have always been a fan of this sort of thing, but was skeptical when I saw this one was made with turkey.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy turkey, but mostly in the “Thanks Giving Dinner” format.   Otherwise I find it rather bland and boring.

But these certainly changed my opinion!

Check out the recipe for the original ingredients:    Kofta

I’ll admit that I was too lazy to toast and grind the cumin and coriander seed so I just used the plain old powdered version and also added about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon which is not on the list.

And I  did the whole she-bang in the food processor instead of doing it lovingly in different stages, so mine came out much squishier looking than hers but it still held together just fine.

I also really liked that there wasn’t any flour or bread crumbs or any of that business in it.

And I chilled them for about 1/2 and hour before baking them just so they would keep their shape.  I think this would be even more useful it you were going to do them on the grill.

We don’t have a bar b que so I just did them in the oven.   Baked them for half the time and turned them over for the second half.   But when I took them out at half time they looked a little dry so I gave them a quick brush of olive oil before I put them back in and it seemed to do the trick!

Mine were also a lot bigger and thicker than hers ( I could only find three skewers in the drawer ) so instead of plating them whole, I cut them up into more “brochette” looking chunks  so there would be no fighting over who got more and then served them on rice with salad and home-made Tzatziki Sauce.

Was very pleasing indeed.

And just before serving, I gave the whole thing a quick hit of fresh lemon juice.  That always brightens things up!

Thanks Tiny Kitchen!

Raw Soup – Re-Run Wednesday

What with summer and the warm weather  ( well hopefully where you live anyway!) just around the corner here is one of my favorite soups for re-run Wednesday.

After yesterday’s heavy meat rich offering, this one is SO cool and light it will lift your spirit just eating it!

Raw corn and avocado soup


Very Berry Cakes

I found myself with and abundance of berries.

I use them in smoothies and freeze them and all that but I feel that blackberries in particular kind of annoy me in a smoothie.  I find that the  seeds get caught in your teeth.

I was going to make some muffins but I didn’t have any baking cup liners and didn’t feel like greasing and cleaning and all that nonsense, so I just opted for some pancakes instead.

I always make my batters in the blender because then you can pour it easily into the frying pan.

So start with your favorite pancake recipe.  I use a lot of “groovy” stuff in mine to make them more nutritious, like oatmeal and chia and all that, but any batter will do.

Then add about 1/2 cup or more of black berries, or the berries of your choice.

The black berries make the cakes super purple, which in some circles is kinda cool.

While they are cooking on the first side, I gently add a few blue berries to each cake, that way they stay in one piece and don’t make the cakes double purple!

Keep the cooked ones warm until you are ready to serve.

I didn’t feel like the usual maple syrup so I added a dollop or two of my favorite lemon goat cheese and a few drizzles of honey.

Very Berry Cakes

Very nice way to start the day!

Where’s the veg?

I try very hard to love vegetables!  I really do.  They are so good for me and filled with nutrients and ALL that good stuff!

But the truth of the matter is, sometimes I think they just taste like dirt!

So I am always looking for ways to hide them.

One of my favorite things to do is hide them in soup.

Sometimes at the end of the week I find myself with a lot of left over bits and bobs of stuff that were part of very satisfying meals .  The Chef likes to diligently pack away the three mouthfuls of whatever might be left from dinner and tell me “it will be good for your lunch” knowing very well that I don’t take that sort of thing for my lunch because I won’t use a microwave and that’s the only means of warming things at the office.

So by the end of the week, there can be some strange combos left in the fridge.

Time to get out the dutch oven and make us some soup!

I always have a combo of fresh veg and some “left over” something or other hanging around.  It is good to use a bit of both so you get a wide range of nutrients!

Today I have some left over veg strips from the “Salad Wraps” and some left over roasted veg from Sunday dinner.

Left over roasted veggies

I also diced up and onion, a carrot and a stick of celery and started them off first in the pot with a bit of olive oil.

Once they were nice and sweated I added all of the left over veg items.

Cook that up really well, then add the liquid of your choice.  Anything from water or stock or even a bottle of crushed tomatoes.  Seriously, whatever you have!

Add your choice of favorite herbs and or spices and then bring it up to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer, for at least half hour till everything is cooked nicely.

At this point it is usually very lumpy.   I let it cool a bit so I don’t get burned and then use the hand blender on it.  But you could put it in a real blender, but I always find that a bit of an ordeal.


Once it is nice and smooth, you are ready to go.  You could eat it like this or add some left over beans or chili or cooked potatoes.

Seriously….whatever is around that needs used up and is useless on its own.

And there you have a wonderfully hearty soup or even stew like item if you use less liquid!


“Left Overs” soup

Green Drink

After watching that documentary  Hungry For Change I felt very motivated to get back on the health wagon.

Not that I had jumped completely off by any means…..but from time to time I drag my feet off the back of the wagon…..just a little.

So since watching that movie I have been hardcore back to juicing and the like.

One thing that keeps coming up and of which I have tried many times over the years but just haven’t been able to consistently choke down, is Spirulina!  ( click on each of the highlights to get a different bit of information )

Now PLEASE be assured, that Spirulina is in fact a SUPER FOOD!!   Just punch it into your search engine and you will see more than enough proof of the wonders if posesses!

The problem is, it smells bad.  It brings to mind the smell of old grass clippings, by the side of the road, that have been rained on, or worse.   The taste isn’t too much better, but I think that’s because you can smell it.  

Now in my reading about Spirulina most of the serious nutrition people say that it must be consumed straight.   As in just added to some water, stirred and drank.    But even though they say that the best way to consume Spirulina is in a glass of water, it doesn’t actually blend very well with the water at all and is gloppy and unappealing.  The Chef refers to it as “fish snot”.

While others say you can use it as part of a smoothie ( as in  HIDE IT!!! ) but there is evidence that it doesn’t work as well.

So what to do?  Use it infrequently because you can’t stand it or hide it in stuff but then not receive the full benefit??

It also comes in tablet form but I haven’t read up enough on that yet to decide what I think.

Click here  to watch one brave soul trying to convince us that it isn’t so bad!

So on this occasion I needed to make more of a smoothie type drink in order to get my daily fill.


Quite simple, in the Magic Bullet add:

  • 1 heaping tsp of Spriulina
  • 1 banana
  • enough almond milk to cover

Whiz it up.

Drink immediatly otherwise it will start to seperate.

I’m not gonna lie.  You can still kinda smell it in there, but the banana really helps.

I would welcome ANY suggestions on how to change my attitude about how to enjoy this product!

Brown drink

I have a new favorite concoction that I have been whipping up.   Makes a great breakfast, lunch or snack when you need a pick me up.

But it is filled with all sorts of nutritional goodness!

I make it in the Magic Bullet, but a blender would work  just fine too.

Start by adding as much “milk” as the size of the drink you are going to have.

I used almond milk.

Then add a spoonful or two of Chia seeds.  These are a great high protein, fill you up, kind of thing!

Then I give them a quick whiz in the bullet and then put them back in the fridge for at least half and hour, but the longer the better.

Chia is better when left in a liquid for an amount of time because they start to expand and get frothy, which I guess is why they also fill you up and help with “fibre like duties”!

Then after you’ve let it sit awhile, and for that matter chill, you can add a spoon or two of pure coco ( not the sugary stuff!!).

And a spoon or two of Mesquite powder ( read up on Mesquite, it’s a Super food!) that tastes like malt as in a “Malted milk” which was a favorite of mine as a child at the Dairy Queen.

Mesquite powder

So then whiz these up and you have a very enjoyable beverage that is the next best thing to a grown up version of my childhood favorite.

Give it a try, not only does it taste great…….but it’s great for you!!

Red Juice

My friend Rose suggested I try this drink.

She’s funny my friend Rose, she used to be a coke a cola drinking, white bread eating none believer.  Then when I started going to nutrition school I would call her up the next day and tell her what I had learned.  At the time, she was suffering from various aliments and conditions and slowly she would try this or that I had shared with her from school.  And much to her amazement, many of the recommendations worked to alleviate or remove her afflictions!

Now a days you wouldn’t even recognize the old Rose.  She is radiant and enjoys good health and even does YOGA!!  I created a monster!  But a damn healthy monster!!

So he told me about a drink that she has concocted that she is currently enjoying.

Basically you will need a blender, although I my first go I just made it in the little old Magic Bullet and it came out just fine! 


 But if you make it in the blender you can obviously make more and have a smoother beverage.


So in your blender or bullet add in no particular order on a 1:1 ratio depending on how much you want:

  • washed, peeled and diced raw beet
  • cored and diced apple
  • fresh blue berries ( and or other berries)
  • a few ice cubes
  • filtered cold water

Then whiz it up in whatever machine you are using until it is as fine and frothy as can be.


Drink immediately…….OR save for later and drink some more.

I made a big batch and the Chef and I drank it.  It tasted good and is refreshing, I just had a bit of a problem with the “meaty” texture in my mouth.  But there is no reason why you couldn’t strain it and still enjoy all of the fortifying goodness!!


I re-whized the left overs again the next day and this time added the squeeze of half a lime juice to it.  Really perked it up.

Was very nice and you could just FEEL the antioxidants coursing through your veins!!

Thanks Rose!


Healthy Breakfast things

I saw this recipe on a magazine page and thought I might like to try them.

Click here  to see original recipe.

They seemed easy enough but once into them I realized they might be a lot more work than I’d planned for and required a number of appliances!

Firstly I didn’t have any ground flax.   Many will argue with me, but we were taught in nutrition school that in order for ground flax to be nutritionally viable,  that isn’t to say it isn’t good as fibre, but in order to reap the benefits of the omega 3 content, you must grind it immediately before using.

So I had to grind the flax seeds.  For some reason I thought I could do it in the food processor, but they are slippery little fellows, so I had to take them out of the food processor and put them into the coffee/ spice grinder to effectivly grind them!

Then I realized I didn’t have any apple sauce, but I did have fresh apples.  Should I put them through the juicer and just use the pulp?  That would require ANOTHER appliance wouldn’t it?  So I instead chopped them up, skin on, and tossed THEM into the food processor and worked them till they were all squashed up. Then poured them into the mix master ( now our third appliance!)

Then I used the food processor again to grate the carrots and ginger, but it was already dirty from the apples, so it doesn’t really count as another appliance.

Then followed the recipe per instructions and then into the oven – appliance number four!

They turned out very nice I must say, even if they were a lot of work.

But keep in mind, they are NOT cookies.   These are very hearty.  I had a couple for breakfast this morning, heated in the toaster oven and dabbed with a bit of peanut butter.  Very filling and satisfying.

I was thinking that they would do good on a hiking trip where you needed some nice compact energy.

Healthy carrot cake cookies

So if you have the time and the appliances, give them a try!

Hazelnut butter

Don’t you find that any of the groovy “natural” nut butters in any of the stores are outrageously expensive??  Why not just make your own?  It’s actually quite easy.

Today I’m using hazelnuts because it’s what I happen to have, but pretty much any nut will do.

If you want to make the really natural “raw” version, then you need to soak the nuts for at least 12 hours, rinse and then follow the rest of the instructions.

But if you want the version that tastes more like store bought, you will have to roast the nuts first.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and put into a 350 oven.

Toast the nuts

Once they are toasted let them cool and then add to the food processor.

Start it up and let them grind.  It chops the nuts and at first it will seem like nothing will happen but just let it keep going. 

 It will take about five minutes or so and then the nuts will release their oils and it will look more like the nut butter you are used to.  If you like “chunky” nut butter stop sooner, but if you like smooth, let it go awhile longer.  It’s THAT easy!

At this point it is up to you how you would like to proceed.  I just like mine plain, but you could add a bit of a sweetener of some kind or some salt.  Or in the case of this hazelnut butter, you could add some coco powder and you’d have some home made “Nutella“.

Hazelnut butter

Place in a clean jar or container and keep it in the fridge.  It will last for a good few weeks, just remember to stir before using, because like all natural nut butters, it will separate and the oil will rise to the top.

Makes a wonderful snack!


Pork loin with veg

This is actually a pretty healthy dish, even if it is pork.

Pork loin is a nice lean cut and you can add so much flavour to it that you don’t really need to eat that much of it at one sitting.

I started by marinating it in:

  • 1 inch fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soya sauce

Whiz that up in a food processor, mini chopper or by hand and then pour over the pork loin in a non reactive container.

Marinating pork

When you are ready to go, sear off the pork in a large skillet.  Make sure you brown it on all sides and then return to the roast pan.  This will help keep the meat moist.  Then put it into a 350 degree oven.

Meanwhile, put on a pot of rice.   Normally we only eat the brown nice, on account of the high nutritional value, but for this dish, plain long grain white rice looks really nice!

Then chop up some vegetable of your choice.  Tonight I used baby bok choy, kale, onion and red peppers.

Drizzle a little sesame oil into the same pan you used to sear the pork and stir fry the vegetables very quickly till they are only slightly wilted.

Chop and stir fry veg

When the pork is done, let it rest a few minutes and then slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds.

 To assemble, first place a bed of rice on the plate, then a ring of stir fried veg, then a few pieces of pork lion into the centre.
Then I used the left over drippings and marinade in the bottom of the pork pan to pour over as a simple little sauce.
Marinated pork loin with rice and veg
Actually, based on this photo, seems it would make a nice “Christmas Wreath” dinner too!
Just a thought.

Dried Apple

It’s that time of year when apples are in abundance!

My friends have a big apple tree in their back yard and every time I go round I end up coming home with a big bag fruit!   So I keep trying to find interesting things to do with them.  The Chef has already made the obligatory “Apple Crisp” and even “Apple Strudel” but I wanted to take it a step further.

A few years ago when I was on one of my many “RAW FOODS” kicks I bought a food dehydrator and try to use it when ever I can. 


Why not some dried apples?

Drying things is really quite easy with this machine.   Just slice it up, put it on a tray, turn it on and leave it for a few hours and before you know it, you have dried things!

Dehydrator trays

So what you need first is some nice apples.

Juicy apples

 Then you want to core them and cut off any blemishes.  I have a handy dandy apple corer.

Trim and core the apple

Then you will need to slice the apple super thin.  I have a mandolin slicer but to be honest, I have several and I’m not too happy with any of them.  But this is the one I have most luck with.

Mandolin slicer

Slice the apples.  You could put them directly in the dehydrator now and get started or what I did was put them in a bowl and sprinkle them liberally with cinnamon.

sliced apple

Lay them on the dehydrator trays.
Put them in the machine, turn it on and walk away!  Depending on the liquid content of what you are drying they can take anywhere from 8 to 14 hours.   I put it on in the morning before I left, cause to be honest, it’s just a little bit loud.

Apple chips

After 10 hours I had beautiful apple chips!

Box of dried apple chips

The big question now?   What do I do with them?  Any ideas?


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