Meal Planning and More…

 Just walk. Sounds simple enough, right? But as the streets get colder and icier, it can be more of a challenge. We’re lucky to have a gym in our building, so I can commune with my old friends Rower and Treadmill, but if you’re not so fortunate, here are some other places in Toronto where I can get in a walk without going into the great outdoors:

Walk the Eaton Centre (warning: if you’re instituting “no-buy January”, this can be a challenge).

Walk the PATH – it’s especially interesting during off hours when there are few workers hustling and bustling on their way.

Live in a highrise (or even a lowrise)? Take the stairs. As many as you can. Repeat.

There are lots of great apps to help you fit in exercise, too – one I’ll be trying in January is 8fit. I’ll report back, but so far, I’m enjoying the variety of exercises offered, and the app asks me to rate the difficulty, so it can adjust to suit what I need to push myself.

Here’s another week of meal plans for you, starting next week. That should leave you time to shop. How are you doing with your healthy eating? After starting the year with a week of visitors, it’s good to keep focused with a plan.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sunday January 14th Pizza Egg – 1 slice of leftover pizza topped with a poached egg. Otherwise, a poached egg with 1 toast and a sliced tomato Cooking Light Cashew, Coconut and Cabbage Slaw Veggie Chili – I’ll make enough for 3 meals, including one with Turkey
Monday January 15th Banana Kale Smoothie Apple Kale Salad Tofu Stir Fry
Tuesday January 16th Apple Nut Oatmeal Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter Veggie Chili
Wednesday January 17th Carrot Cake Smoothie EatingWell Vegetarian Taco Salad Weight Watchers Vegetable Quesadillas, plus cheese
Thursday January 18th Apple Nut Oatmeal Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter EatingWell Turkey Curry
Friday January 19th Beet Kale Smoothie EatingWell Stetson Chopped Salad Weight Watchers “Fried” Catfish with Potato Sticks

I had a note from a reader this week, looking for bread recipes. To see my own recipes, check the EAT tab on the blog.

Have a healthy week!

Seeds grow more than plants

IMG_5006Learning to grow your own food, whether it’s a single pot of herbs on the kitchen counter, or a bigger enterprise, like this, is an empowering activity. When you grow something you can eat, you appreciate all your food just a little more than you did before. For many of us, gardening is a labour of love, and out of tiny seeds, many lessons grow. Here are just a few:

  1. Attention: some gardeners plop seeds or plants in the ground, water, and walk away. If they don’t see something happening immediately, they stop paying attention. They don’t realize that daily attention will help them learn when to water, whether there are pests or problems, or how to recognize the living things they are producing, at each and every stage.
  2. Patience: plants can be fast-growing, and beans, or other species, are useful for first-timers. They show themselves very early. This is why transplants can be helpful in the first-time gardener’s plot. The beets and carrots, on the other hand, make us wait. And wait. But we learn they are worth it.
  3. Resilience: sometimes things don’t work out as we hoped. Gardens teach us to go with the flow. They demonstrate that sometimes we get something more wonderful than we expected, but that there are also disappointments – yet the garden carries on regardless.
  4. Ingenuity and charity: over-abundant plants, whether they are tomatoes, zucchini, or other super-producers, provide us with an opportunity to research ways of preserving them to eat later. They can nourish us in the winter, when food prices escalate, or they are natural, healthy gifts we can share with our friends and family.

Gardens need not be restricted to giant country or suburban plots. Small spaces produce amazing and wonderful amounts of food. Busy lives mean that parents may never have learned to garden, and so can’t pass this valuable skill on to their kids. Fortunately there are dedicated volunteers like the folks at Green Thumbs, who are making sure the gardening knowledge is passed on to new generations of growers. I urge you to click the link and check out these neighbours of mine!

 

Huevos, olé!

20121021-073119.jpgLast night we had visitors at the little house by the sea, a nice barbecue and plenty of reminiscing. We also had plenty of leftovers.

What to do on day two with the barbecue potato thing, a combination of peppers, onions, and potatoes? The time was right for a Spanish omelette. After reheating the potato dish in a skillet, I whisked in some eggs and bacon bits, and topped it with a sprinkling of aged cheddar. In a perfect world I would have had some Serrano jamòn and Manchego on hand, but that’s the joy of leftovers…using what’s on hand.

Veggie Delight!

20121002-225343.jpg. Meal planning has begun in earnest and life is beginning to normalize. Last night we tucked in to this delicious feast of quinoa, chickpeas, wilted greens, garlic and vinegar. We added a little avocado on the side for its creamy texture. Tasty!

Easter Eggs

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Today the marathon of cooking begins…hot cross buns and bunny cake for tomorrow’s Easter gathering. We’re hoping the predicted rain will hold off so we can keep it casual and barbecue. In light of all that, we made a light, simple omelette to start the day, and are about to start shopping and organizing ourselves, finishing everything in time for the Easter Vigil.

For two, we used 2 cups of chopped veg (today’s mix included celery, mushrooms, spinach). These were heated in a pan coated with a spray of olive oil, and then we tipped in 3 large brown eggs from Rowe Farms (via Better Bulk), beaten with fresh thyme and a tablespoon or so of water. A quick stir and we grated on an ounce of cheddar we picked up at Leslieville Cheese. Then we rolled the whole thing up, and split it to serve two. …and we’re off!

Purple Chicken Soup!

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After roasting a chicken the other night, we decided to make some soup with the leftovers. All was going well, until it came time to add the vegetables. There were good choices – garlic, ginger, celery, onion and mushrooms. Some tasty small pasta. Then the trouble began…I decided to use a couple of carrots that were in the fridge. One was purple. Not thinking, in they went. Before I knew it, the soup was an awesome shade between fuchsia and lilac. We’re too frugal to throw out an perfectly good pot of soup…so after eating a bowl with some homemade rye bread, we put the rest in the freezer to serve to some adventurous young visitor!

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