Pudding for breakfast!

Sometimes a sweet treat for breakfast hits the spot. This breakfast pudding, or smoothie bowl, in common parlance, is fast and delicious.

In a blender, combine two ripe bananas, a small avocado, 2 T (30 ml) good-quality cocoa, 1/2 c (125 ml) silken tofu, and 1/4 c (60 ml) unsweetened almond milk. Using ripe bananas gives lots of natural sweetness. 

Blend until smooth, and top with chopped walnuts and grated coconut. Pumpkin seeds would look and taste fabulous as well!

Serves two.

  

Possibly the world's easiest lunch…

  
Veggies with a light, fluffy hummus…

People always ask why our hummus tastes so good. It’s mainly from using home-cooked chickpeas, which have no salt. This lets the real flavour shine through, and also making it in the food processor gives a light and fluffy result.

We make a big batch of chickpeas and freeze, then pull out a container a few hours before we want to make this, or make some straight away. 

To cook the chickpeas:

Place dried chickpeas in a Dutch oven or casserole that is also stovetop safe. Why do extra dishes? They should fill no more than 1/3. Cover with 1-2″ water and soak overnight or all day while you are at work. How much water depends on how long the chickpeas have been hanging around, feeling parched.

Preheat oven to 250F

To cook, add more water to cover about an inch or the depth of the top segment of your thumb. Throw in a few peeled cloves of garlic, and a good shake of cumin. Bring to boil on top of the stove, cover, and put in the oven for 2-1/2 hours. 

Cool and use or freeze with their cooking liquid, or aquafaba.

To make the lunch: 

Buzz the zest of a lemon with  2 cloves garlic in a food processor. Add a couple of cups of chickpeas and liquid, the juice of the lemon, another good shake of cumin, and a tablespoon or so of tahini. Process until smooth and fluffy, adding a little water if necessary.

Enjoy!

It's Crunch Time! 

  
As the cold weather dissipates and we don’t just move to a different choice set of produce, but preparation tends to change, as well. If you’re inspired to move away from creamy soups and hearty stews, but there’s still a mix of winter and spring produce available, this may fit the bill.

Layer a handful of arugula, a handful of sliced cabbage, 1/4 of an English cucumber, and 1/2 an apple, sliced, on a plate. Drizzle with a mix of 10ml grainy Mustard, 10ml vinegar, and 10ml olive oil (Or use half Dijon/half Kozlik’s Triple Crunch, for the mustard as we did).

Crumble an ounce of Gorgonzola or smoked tofu on top. Enjoy!

Tangy and Tasty…For Two!

  
This weekend we were treated to above-normal temperatures, and found an abundance of locally-grown greenhouse greens at the market. It put us in a salad sort of mood.

While some ingredients aren’t local, we have tried to strike a balance.

For two: 

In a large salad bowl, combine:

Zest and juice of one lemon

15ml/1T oil

10ml/2t Dijon mustard

(Did you know Canada was a world-leading producer of mustard seeds?)

Add:

1l/4c washed mini greens and herbs (parsley in our case)

1 diced avocado

1 diced zucchini 

2 cherry tomatoes

90g/3oz diced goat cheese 

Toss lightly and enjoy!

On Top of Old Smokey…

We were in California this week, where roadside stands were selling avocados ten for a dollar. (Grapefruit, too!) With the skyrocketing price of produce here in Canada, this is hard to even imagine.

Friends know I am a keen “eat local, make it yourself” advocate. So I’m not going to buy a Brussels sprout that has travelled halfway across the continent when we grow them right here. On the other hand, I have no illusions that the world is going to give up coffee, tea, or spices. So today, I propose a delicious compromise.

On top of a slice of homemade wheat bread, toasted (Canada is a huge provider of wheat to the world), some locally-made Kozlik’s Old Smokey mustard. Then, an avocado (yes, even at $1.29 each, one makes two affordable breakfasts). Finally, local eggs, nicely poached. 

That’s a compromise I can live with!

  

Saturday, and the Living is Easy

Weekends are a great time for a relaxing breakfast – but this easy oatmeal recipe takes so little effort, we often have it on weekdays, too.

  
For two:

Put in a microwaveable glass  or ceramic casserole:

1 diced Apple

3/4 c large flake or steel cut oats 

A sprinkle of cinnamon 

1/2 c chopped nuts or seeds (we used hazelnuts and black sesame seeds for this version)

1-1/2 c water

No need to stir!

Microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes, and on 50% power for 5 more minutes.

Stir and serve with maple syrup and some milk or nut milk.

Delicious!

Like this, but with a local twist…

One of the most important ways to contain your food costs is to never waste. This week, we bought local produce. Yes, the cheese is imported, but we could just have easily used a local variety, if we hadn’t had to use this kind up.

Here’s a link to the original recipe – although practically every ingredient is changed. For the turnip, we used its larger purple and yellow cousin, the rutabaga. We also swapped out the beans for kidney beans we had on hand – in our case cooked without salt and a little chili powder. Red cabbage was swapped for green, and pecorino for Manchego. Even the vinegar was subbed with our homemade wine vinegar.

The result? Every bit as delicious. Vegans can easily use soy cheese,  and although the recipe suggested this as a side, it’s so good, full of fibre and colour that the two of us split it as a main.

  
Stay tuned as we find more ways to make our limited supply of local produce look fresh and exciting!

Healthy Made Simple

  
Healthy choices are made out by some to be complicated. They are all about giving up things we love. Instead, let’s think about how we can simplify what we eat.

We have half a leftover roast chicken in the fridge. (Learn to roast it yourself to avoid the excessive salt of the store’s rotisserie version). More on that another day. We also have some beef ragu, some chickpeas, and a selection of seasonal, local veg. This week I’ll post as we work through healthy easy ways to use it all up, and save money, too.

Although we aren’t vegetarians or vegans, I might add that a plant based diet is definitely healthier, IF WE MAKE GOOD CHOICES. So you’ll also see lots of meatless options.

Let’s start with lunch. Frozen whole wheat roti are warmed in the  oven for 5 minutes, and stuffed with this mixture (for two):

1 diced tomato

1 chicken breast, diced, skin removed

1 T/15ml light mayo (not salad dressing, avoid added sugar)

1 T/15ml Dijon mustard

Serve with a glass of milk or nut milk.

Any meal, anytime…how can I use THIS up?

  
For us, today is meal-planning and market day. We mostly plan dinners, eating leftovers the following day, or a salad or soup. At the end of the week we take stock: what didn’t we make? What made too much and needs to be used up?

Last week we tried a recipe for bacon and leek risotto. Even reducing the arborio by half, it was more than a meal’s worth for the two of us. So we tucked away the leftovers in the fridge with all good intentions. Here we are, Saturday, and that little package of risotto either must be used or thrown away. Sure, it could form the basis of a creamy rice soup. Or it could get buried in some casserole, or formed into patties and browned until slightly crisp on the outside, given that it has absorbed the liquid and sort of, well, solidified. But all that seemed boring. 

What about breakfast? I sautéed an onion, four mushrooms and a stalk of celery (all sliced or diced) with any leftover fresh herbs from the fridge, chopped. Then I tipped in the risotto (about a cup, for two) and a chopped tomato that was on its last day. A quick stir, and then I cracked in two eggs. On low heat with a lid, it took just 5 more minutes for a tasty medium poached breakfast bowl to be ready for each of us.

A grind of pepper on top and we are off to a healthy, happy start to our weekend!

Smooth move!

  We had an amazing weekend, including dinner with some good friends from Montreal. Of course the weekend hi jinks take their toll, so Monday’s a great opportunity to get back on track with healthier choices. That included an early morning workout and this fabulous smoothie (for 2):
1 stalk celery

2 nectarines

1 Clementine

2 small bananas 

500 ml/2c almond milk, unsweetened

125ml/1/2c plain fat free yogurt

15ml/1T sunflower seeds, unsalted 

30ml/2T peanut butter 

Blend until smooth and enjoy!