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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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?

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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:

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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.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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…..

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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.

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

No.

Will I ever eat meat again?

There is a good chance.

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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.

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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.

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So what’s next for me?   Not sure.

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

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