October 2, 2011
My little blog has gathered dust. Time to blow it off, give it a light polish and add something fresh. So here it is then, fresh, though a dubious green. This kale shake arrives every morning in varying grades of greens, from the olive-hued one pictured to prettier spring green. Michael blends one together for us each weekday, and everyday he has a different balance of ingredients. What is balanced, I think, is the nutritional value. At the very least, we begin our day properly. And, for the most part, this shake is surprisingly yummy. Everyone that tries it is pleasantly wowed. Maybe their expectations are really low? Sometimes, not often, ingredients are imbalanced and breakfast can taste somewhat grim green. Stick more not less to the recipe below and you, too, will be pleasantly wowed.
Makes 1 tall shake
1 handful of fresh kale leaves
1 handful fresh spinach leaves
1/2 a ripe pear, cored
1/2 a ripe and frozen banana
a scoop of frozen berries
1 scoop of hemp protein powder
about half a cup of water or almond milk
Pack kale and spinach leaves into the bottom of your blender. Add all other ingredients and blend on the fast, faster, fastest setting until smooth and evenly green.
February 8, 2011
My lovely friend Rosemary is the Chief Development Officer for the BC SPCA. She has an unrestrained, whole-hearted love for all animals and she inspires me. Recently, she has been persuing a vegan lifestyle, a better-for-her way of eating. She told me a few months ago about Organic Lives in Vancouver and recommended that I try their kelp noodles. It took me a while, but I did. And they’re great. Incredibly crisp. Noodles from the sea! They went perfectly with this delicate salmon stew recipe that I lifted from the venerable cannelle et vanille.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed and slice, pale green parts only
1 baseball-sized celeriac, trimmed, peeled and diced
1 fennel bulb, diced – save some pretty fennel fronds for garnish if you like
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 tin of coconut milk
12 ounces salmon, skin removed and cut into 1″ cubes
1 package of kelp noodles, rinsed
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and add leeks. Sweat for two minutes and add celeriac, fennel and vegetable stock. Lower heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender. Pour in coconut milk and stir to combine. Add salmon and gently poach until almost cooked through and then add the kelp noodles. Heat, season with sea salt and serve with bits of frilly fennel.
January 27, 2011
There is everything to love about Tokyo, including their markets. This one happens to be right beside, right beside, Pierre Hermé. And instead of buying brightly coloured vegetables we bought a box of brightly coloured macarons. We have a tiny kitchen in our serviced residences but I’ve done no cooking. I don’t want to eat my own cooking when there’s a world of food out there, from fugu to back alley noodles to the most beautifully prepared meals. This is my second favourite city in the world. Vancouver is my first. Although the 10 am soba noodles with onsen tamago make it a very close second.
January 20, 2011
Well, hello. What’s new with you? I feel as though we have a lot of conversations to catch up on. I guess we’ll just pick up from where we left off. I hope you’re well. I am. Last week Jen G. and I started a 30-day Paleo challenge. Maybe you’ve heard of Paleo, maybe you haven’t. Essentially, as you might have guessed, it’s kind of a caveman-like approach to nutrition. Lots of protein, vegetables and some fruit. No grains. I don’t particularly agree with the no grains because some are healthy and I love lentils. But for 30 days I can avoid. And I love coffee so I’m continuing to drink coffee, I’m too evolved not to. Maybe people of the Paleolithic Era had espresso machines in their caves and cafes on every corner. My timing for this challenge is not good because right smack dab in the middle of it Michael and I are going to Tokyo. We leave tomorrow morning. But no mattter. I am perfectly happy to have eaten well for a week, have a complete and utter ramen-and-Pierre-Hermé-macaron-filled-interruption and then return from planet Tokyo to planet Paleo. I think it will be easy to because I feel so freakishly good right now. I have started taking a teaspoon of lemony-flavoured fish oil (it doesn’t taste fishy AT ALL) and a daily single drop of vitamin D sun.
I’m all or nothing. Eating well or eating like crap. Blogging all the time or not at all. I like me best when I’m eating well and blogging about it. And it’s difficult to convey just how much I love Crossfit. I love it. And I fear it. Congratulations on the new gym Jenika!
November 1, 2010
I have decided to take a blog hiatus. It’s likely not a permanent retirement, but I would like to create a little time off for an undetermined chunk of time. I feel bereft, I will miss my blog.
Allow me to introduce you, in the meantime, to a cozy little place called forty-sixth at grace, the subtitle is a savings account for things I like.
Be seeing you soon.
October 28, 2010
Don’t you just love pumpkin? I think pumpkin pie is my favourite pie. And don’t you find at this time of year, if you’ve made Thanksgiving pie or cheesecake (I noticed pumpkin cheesecake was particularly popular this year) that you have a small quantity of leftover pumpkin puree? I bet a lot of you have some pumpkin puree kicking around in a frozen state. I did, and that’s what inspired me to make these bars.
Makes about 12 – 4″ x 1″ bars
36 dried dates
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup pure unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped
Soak the dates in enough boiling water to cover, set aside. In the bowl of a food processor measure in almonds and pecans and pulse briefly a few times to crunch them up. Drain dates, discard water, and add to the nuts along with pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and sea salt. Run processor off and on until mixture begins to clump. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse once or twice to combine, they add nice texture if you don’t obliterate them into the mixture. Turn into a plastic-lined rectangular tart pan or container and pat neatly down. Sprinkle the chopped pumpkins seeds evenly on top, over wrap with plastic wrap and press seeds gently into the bar. Place in fridge for a few hours to firm up and then portion into bars, wrap individually and store in fridge. They make a fine fall four o’ clock.
October 25, 2010
Have you ever seen an apple this beautiful? It’s kind of like the blood orange of apples. The outside of the apple is nondescript, it’s no crapple, but there’s nothing alluring about it. I would have passed right by it except for the sign on the apple bin declared it a Red Fleshed Apple. Huh? I asked “Is the flesh of this apple red?” I know, right? Sometimes my mouth speaks before consulting my brain, it’s not a good short cut. A quick google shows that there are many types of red fleshed apples, with fitting names such as Hidden Rose and Grenadine. Just lovely, a little shock of colour on a grey and rainy morning.
October 21, 2010
I am thrilled about this shake. I concocted it the other day when I was hungry and yearning for chocolate ice cream. The trick is to use a frozen banana, it makes it cold, of course, and gives it a rich thickness. It reminds me of when I was a kid and for a chocolate-y treat I would scoop out a soup bowl of ice cream and dump lumpy spoonfuls of cocoa over top. Then, in front of an episode or two of Scooby Doo, I would mash together the melty ice cream with cocoa. The end treat was a cross between a mall malted and chocolate ice cream. Little did I know then that cocoa was rich in antioxidants and minerals. I probably wouldn’t have cared but I do now.
Makes 1 yummy glassful
1 date, soaked briefly to soften in boiling water
1 frozen banana
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 heaping tablespoon good quality cocoa powder
2 tablespoons protein powder, I like this one in vanilla almond
The method is elementary: drain the water from the date and discard and put everything into a blender. Blend for two minutes, pour into a tall glass and try not to guzzle. Or stick a straw in for a soda fountain effect.
October 18, 2010
‘Tis the season, my friend Holly said, for mushroom soup. She emailed me last week to request a mushroom soup recipe. I am happy to oblige, especially as her request was accompanied by loads of compliments. In case you didn’t know, flattery gets you everywhere with me. I made a mushroom soup last year that I didn’t bother posting because it was merely edible. It was a puréed version without cream and the texture was blah. This year’s is chunky, and some things are better chunky, such as soups and sweaters.
Makes about 3 litres
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium sized onions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/3 cup pearl barley
6 cloves of garlic, minced
250 g cremini mushrooms, aka brown mushrooms, chopped
250 g shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, chopped
250 g chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
1 small stem rosemary, or 1 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 litre of stock – beef, chicken, vegetable or, in my case, turkey
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
sea salt and pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots and let them sweat it out for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pearl barley, mix it in, and then add the garlic. Stir and allow to cook for a few more minutes and then add the mushrooms, it’s an awful lot of mushrooms, probably as much as 16 cups, but they will cook down. Stir them occasionally and when they have reduced in volume add the rosemary and thyme. Isn’t it lovely how earthy this pot of soup to-be smells? Forest damp and woodsy. Now pour in the stock, obviously the different stocks will give different depths of flavour. If I had had some beef stock on hand, that would have been my first choice. However, given the season, I happened to have turkey stock in my freezer. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the barley is tender with a slight chew. Stir in the parsley and season with sea salt and pepper. Mushrooms are one of those things that take kindly to salt and pepper, so add, taste, add again. That said, you can always add more salt, or pepper, but you can’t take it out. And there you have it – chunky mushroom soup for dinner and a week of autumn lunches.
October 14, 2010
I bought some small gem squash at the market last weekend, not entirely sure what I was going to do with them. Sometimes you can’t predict. I like the dated presentation I went with. It’s corny for sure, but it’s also practical. Especially if you might be having friends for dinner. All the work is done ahead of time and they can roast away while you prepare the rest of dinner. They’ll keep hot and well in a low oven.
4 gem squash, each about the size of a hardball
a tablespoon or two of olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 shallot, minced
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 brown mushrooms, finely chopped
6 brussels sprouts, halved and shredded
1/2 cup cooked pearl barley
Preheat your oven to 400º. Behead the gem squash. That is, carefully chop off the top quarter – it’s both the size and hardness of a hardball so execute with some care. Scoop out the guts with a soup spoon. I discarded, but by all means sort through the carnage to extract the seeds to roast, if you like. Lightly olive oil inside and out and sprinkle with some sea salt. Put the cap back on and slide into the oven to roast for about half an hour. Meanwhile, heat a medium pan over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Saute the shallots and celery together for two or three minutes and then add the garlic and mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt. Cook down for a few minutes and then stir in the shredded brussels sprouts and barley. Heat through, check for seasoning and add a bit more sea salt and some freshly ground pepper, I made mine pretty peppery. Remove from heat and set aside. Pull the par-cooked and not-so-hard-anymore squash from the oven. Upon removing the lid, small puffs of squash-y steam will huff out. Pack each cavity with the brussels sprouts and barley mix, pop the cap back on and return to the oven for another half an hour or so. These are lovely to eat, each scoop of hearty barley comes smeared with a bright dollop of creamy squash.