On the road

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So I am on the road this summer, dipping down into the states before surfacing back in Canada in Quebec for a wedding!

I haven’t been able to post much or I should say I haven’t been motivated to post anything because it’s been beens and sandwiches mostly.

But, today we made this salad to go with our sandwiches. It was inspired from a salad I made when visiting my sister in Vancouver earlier this year when we threw some veggies together with pinto beans.

Here’s what you’ll need:
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
Handful of parsley, chopped
1 can of white pinto beans, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pepper for seasoning

To prepare:
Throw everything in a bowl and mix. Enjoy!

Chicken and cheese … salad

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Tonight’s meal involves shredded chicken and breaded, heated goat cheese on a bed of spinach with a lemon, Dijon and tarragon dressing. I added two pears – cut in chunks – which was the perfect addition.

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I chose this meal to honour the memory of our late kitten, Nola. She passed away last weekend due to a congenital liver disorder. Nola loved to follow us around the house, and the  kitchen was no exception. She would hop up on the closest bar stool and watch me chop, sauté and assemble a meal. She was a picky eater but we discovered a  wet food flavored chicken and cheese that she loved. Even in her last few days, when she was at her weakest, she would manage to eat a few bites when we cracked the can open.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bundle of spinach
  • Three cups shredded cooked chicken (I purchased a rotisserie chicken and skinned and tore it apart – I used about 2/3 of the bird)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 1 egg
  • 1 block of goat cheese (about 150 gram packet) *Keep in the fridge until it’s ready to cut to help keep its form*
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 pears, cut into chunks

Let’s get started:

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  1. Cut the stems off of the spinach, wash and place in a bowl
  2. IMG_3683Add Shredded chicken on top
  3. Cut the pears, place in bowl as well
  4. IMG_3685In a separate bow, add the olive oil, tarragon, lemon juice and zest and Dijon mustard. Mix. Pour on top of salad.
  5. IMG_3687Now for the cheese: Mix the bread crumbs and egg together.
  6. IMG_3690Cut the goat cheese into eight, think chunks
  7. IMG_3691Heat some canola oil in a pan over medium heat
  8. IMG_3693Pat the bread crumbs to the cheese chunks. Place on pan for about a minute, flip (you don’t want them to melt, just let the bread crisp, so watch them carefully).
  9. Place breaded cheese on top of the salad. Enjoy.

This one’s for you, Nola!

A quick, quinoa fix

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My husband and I whipped together this salad tonight to go along with our fish. It was inspired from a similar salad my sister-in-law prepared yesterday for a picnic. Quinoa, of course, is considered a super food with plenty of protein.

I ate this salad while the quinoa was still warm and the feta cheese was melted — it was heavenly and cured my hunger pains. We got about three cups or so from the quinoa, plenty for leftovers tomorrow.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbles
  • dash of wasabi (optional, it was in our fridge so we tried it out)

 

Assembly:

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve. Add to a saucepan with water. bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover on low, for 15 minutes. Let stand for five minutes.IMG_3459
  2. Meanwhile, dice the vegetables.IMG_3458
  3. Add quinoa to a serving bowl and add oil, pepper, feta cheese, wasabi and chopped vegetables.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Did you like the salad? Try the quinoa cookies, quinoa crunch for your breakfast parfait or, quinoa stuffed cabbage rolls

 

 

 

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I decided to get a little creative last night and bring out the skewers and our little smoky grill — I was looking to try something a little different so I flipped through Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism. I hadn’t made any of her recipes in awhile and generally always love them. This one was no exception.

This is the tandoori turkey kebabs though my husband and I used chicken instead. The meat only needs to be marinated for 10 minutes but if you’re able to make the sauce the night before or in the morning to give it more time to marinade, I would recommend it.

These were easy to make and require grilling. We used our smoker but really any grill will work. I changed the recipe to add some pepper, mushroom and lemons to the skewers so it wasn’t meat only. We made couscous to go with them. We made 10 kebabs.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, choped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (or turkey) cut into cubes
  • Olive oil spray (or just olive oil)
  • Optional: veggies for the skewers

Michael’s has a cilantro lime sauce as well to go with the kebabs:

  • 2 packed cups of cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped jalipeno
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

To make the kebabs:

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  1. Cut up the chicken and place it in a container that you will marinate the meat in. Add all of the ingredients except for the olive oil spray and optional veggies  and mix together.
  2. Place in fridge for at least 10 mins but all day or overnight if possible.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, cut up some vegetables to go with the kebabs if interested (peppers, lemons, mushroom, onions etc).IMG_3398
  4. Michael’s recommends soaking the skewers in water for 20 mins. I did not and my meat slid on and off the skewers just fine.IMG_3407
  5. Prepare  grill or grill pan: spray with the olive oil and heat to medium-hot. Place kebabs on grill for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  6. While they grill, prepare some couscous, following directions on the package (only takes five mins or so)

Also try the Cilantro-Lime Sauce:IMG_3408

  1. Mix all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. Add a bit more water if necessary. Serve, on top of kebabs

Criss-cross blueberry sauce

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The last time I blogged, it was a stormy day. That was more than a month ago, and I’m sorry to say the weather still hasn’t changed much; we are supposed to get as much as 25 cm overnight. So despite the fact it’s officially spring, we still have awhile yet to wait for the warm sun. But that’s Alberta for you, right?

For those who are choosing to stay warm and are lazing inside today like me, take the time to try this sweet treat: the Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffin with Blueberry Compote.

The muffins are made with steel-cut oats and the recipe doesn’t call for sugar, butter or flour. One thing to keep in mind is storage. These are quite moist because of the pumpkin mixture. I stored mine in a Tupperware container and they had a lot of white fuzz by the end of the week. So if you don’t have a large family consider freezing them or bringing them to work to share.

You will also want to start a day before you plan to eat these because the steel-cuts need to be soaked overnight.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (you’ll also need an additional 2 tablespoons later)
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions:

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  1. Soak the oats in water overnight, covered with a tea towel or cloth
  2. The next day when you’re ready to prepare them, preheat the oven to 350IMG_2896
  3. Drain oats and add place in large bowl. Add oat bran, walnuts, allspice and saltIMG_2897
  4. In a separate bowl beat eggs and mix in pumpkin, milk and two tablespoons of maple syrup. IMG_2898
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry and stirIMG_2901
  6. Grease muffin tins (approx 12). Pour in batter to rim. Bake for 20 minsIMG_2903
  7. Cool before taking muffins out of mould.

To make the compote:IMG_2906

  1. Place blueberries, water, 1/3 cup maple syrup, cinnamon and almond extract in medium saucepan.
  2. Heat on stove top on medium  and stir occasionally for 20 mins
  3. Add cornstarch to water and mix. Add the saucepan and heat for 1 min.
  4. Pour over muffins.

Fun facts for every two muffs with compote: 11g protein, 10 g fat, 50g total carbohydrates, 138 mgsodium

A storm-stay kind of day

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It is a “what can I make with what’s in my fridge” sort of day as this heavy winter snowstorm is keeping me indoors.

I was able to tweak a recipe from The Newlywed’s Vegetarian Cookbook and make this green take on Eggs in a Basket. Below, is enough for two servings (one egg per ramkein) so adjust according to your needs

What you’ll need

  • bunch of spinach (or kale)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 spoonfuls of sour cream
  • handful grated cheese (your choice; I chose old cheddar
  • bit of salt
  • bit of nutmeg
  • Ramekins (those dishes that look like min frying pans and have lids. (Think  onion soup). I found mine a couple of years ago at a thrift store for about $.10 each).

To make: Preheat to 350

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1. Steam the kale. I like to do it with my double boil and get a bit of water boiling in the bottom of the pot and then add my steamer on top. If you don’t have one, heat kale  in a frying pan with a touch of water until the greens turn a brighter shade.

IMG_2918(If using the steamer, reserve the water for a later step. If not, boil some water separately in a kettle (about 3 cups)).

IMG_29202.Place the greens in the bottom of the ramekins (If you are using kale, rip it into tiny pieces; it’s hard to eat the meal when you’re trying to balance an entire leaf on your fork with egg). Feel free to shake some of the seasoning onto it.

IMG_29193.Make a little bed in the centre of the greens and crack the egg into it. Add  more nutmeg and salt. Top with sour cream and cheese

IMG_29224.Place the dishes into a pan and add boiling water (from the steamed veggies) until water reaches half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Cook in the oven for 16 minutes

 

Quinoa crunch

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I’ve been on a bit of a quinoa crunch kick, if you can’t tell. The quinoa cookies were so good, I did a bit of investigating to see what else I could find.

This one is from Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism Cookbook, and it’s like making a crumble for a tasty morning yogurt parfait.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey

1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water. Add to a bowl and mix with flaxseed, honey and olive oil.

2. Lay on a pan and spead out.

3. Cook for 15 mins in preheated, 375 degree oven until lightly browned.

4. Use 2 tables spoon of quinoa with yogurt and top with berries. Drizzle with honey.

Fun facts:

Per serving of yogurt parfait: 216 calories, 5.7g fat, 11.8g protein, 33.1g carbohydrates 38.7 mg sodium,

Quinoa cookies

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Ever crave chocolate chip cookies but don’t want all the sugar and butter? I was craving chocolate chip cookies the other night and didn’t want to make an entire batch that I would inevitably eat. So I found this recipe instead. It doesn’t use any flour or sugar … but there’s room for lots of chocolate 🙂

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled ( you’ll need half cup dried for this)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Combo 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa with 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiled, turn down the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 mins or until the water is absorbed. Stir and cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, almond butter and maple syrup. Add oats, flaxseed and salt. Add the chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter onto a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper) and bake for 18-20 mins until golden brown.

Don’t make this if you’re in a curry

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This recipe will take a couple of days to prepare so be sure to plan ahead. It involves a fermentation processes that is broken into an eight hour and then 24 hour period.

These dosas, are part of Indian cuisine, and I took the recipe from the alive magazine. They are sort of like pancakes, but they have a different taste, almost a sour taste but when they’re topped with doas filling and sambar, it’s a great treat.

So, fermentation is a bit more common than I thought (yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut and vinegar) and fermented food items are pretty healthy — they are a source of amino acids, increase Vitamin B and C and add flavour and texture.

Again, leave time to make this. I spent close to three hours on a week night putting this together. The other option is to make the potato topping ahead of time and place it in the refrigerator until the dosas are ready and reheat in the microwave.

Here’s what you’ll need for the dosas:

  • 2 cups of uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup of uncooked red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

For the filling:

  • 5 to 7 small to medium new potatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon of tumeric1 cup green peas
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

Annnnd, for the sambar (and I found ingredients at Superstore):

  • 1.5 tablespoons tamarind
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 5 small dried red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 cup mixed chopped vegetables (such as green beans, zucchini, cabbage or carrot)
  • 2 tablespoon sambar powder
  • cilantro for garnish

To make the dosas:

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1. Soak brown rice with four cups of water. In another bowl, cover lentils with 2 cups of water. Add lemon juice and salt. Cover, and let sit for eight to 12  hours. (A good time to do this is in the morning before work, with the next step after work).

2. After it’s sat, take the rice, drain and add to blender with about 2 cups of water. Then blend the lentils with 1 cup. Then blend the two together and blend, adding extra water if necessary, until creamy.  Cover, and leave in a warm place for about 24 hours.

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3. The next day, cook on medium heat on griddle like pancakes. (use coconut oil to heat pan). You may want to wait to make the filling and sambar before starting this step so they’re fresh and warm.

To make the filling:

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1. Boil the potatoes until soft. Then cut them into small pieces and place aside.

1. Add the butter to the pan over medium heat and add mustard seeds, cooking until they pop (and pop they do!). Add chilies, turmeric and onion. Cook until they are translucent. Add potatoes and green peas and a bit of salt. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until soft.

To make the sambar

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1. Soak tamarind in one cup of water for 20 minutes. Squeeze out all of the pulp and mix with water until you have a cup of liquid.

2. Rinse the lentils and add to pot of water (4 cups). Add turmeric, and oil and bring to a boil. Boil until the lentils are soft, about 40 mins.

3. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add chilies, mustard seed, fenugreek and curry leaves and stir, on low heat for two mins.

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4. Add onion, cooking until lightly browned. Add tamarind juice and boil gently until onions are cook.

5. Add onion mix to lentils and add asafetida, tomato, vegetables and sambar powder. Boil it all for five mins and take from the heat. Top with cilantro