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.

Fresh Winter Flavours

It’s easy to get on a soup kick in the wintertime, but there are still lots of seasonal salad options, even as the cold weather has taken hold. We are fortunate to be able to get local, greenhouse-grown lettuce until spring returns, but cabbage or kale or other winter-hardy greens would work just as well.

Fill your plate with…

2c / 500ml lettuce, washed and torn

Top with

1 pear, sliced

Drizzle with a mixture of 1/2 T or 7ml each 

Dijon mustard 

Crunchy mustard

Olive oil

Cider vinegar

Then grate or crumble 1 oz aged cheddar or other cheese you need to use up since the holidays

And sprinkle with 1T / 15ml chopped walnuts or spiced nuts – (thanks for these @dickiedanger @icfplanetweird) and 1T / 15ml raisins.

Switch out the greens, the pears for apples or citrus, different nuts (or even cooked pulses) and cheese – and your winter salad repertoire will be infinite.

Enjoy!

  

Eat Veggies Any Way You Can!

  
We’re well into the first week of 2016 and always looking for ways to get a few more plants into the diet, and to waste less.

Today’s feature? An open-face, use-it-up omelette. It features leftover salad and some unfinished quark, but cottage cheese and any leftover veg would work. For two:

2c/500 ml leftover veg, sautéed in a lightly oiled pan

Lightly beat 3 large eggs and pour over.

Start some rye or whole wheat toast if desired.

Top omelette with 1/3 – 1/2 c quark or low fat cottage cheese and cook over low heat until golden on the bottom.

Fold and serve with toast, comme ça:

  

Never underestimate the power of a healthy start…

  Right out of the gate most mornings, we walk or go to the gym. Not a leisurely stroll, but a brisk pace, almost a run. Himself having longer legs, I have to work a little harder to keep pace. Then, back home, we have breakfast before setting to work on the day’s tasks. Once in a while our schedule means we don’t get the walk in until later in the day, and when that happens, we notice a difference. Keeping fit and eating good food, prepared from scratch gives us energy and we feel sharper and better able to cope with the day – however it turns out. We’re grateful we can afford good food, but we have also found that eliminating processed food from our diets isn’t any more expensive, especially if we plan our meals and avoid waste by using what’s on hand and buying just what we need to round out the menu. 
This tasty oatmeal is made in less than ten minutes using large flake or steel cut oats.

For two, in a microwave-safe bowl:

3/4c oats

1-1/2 c water

1 large Apple, diced

2 T chopped nuts or seeds

Sprinkle of cinnamon

Cook on the oatmeal setting, or alternately, 3 minutes on full power plus 5 minutes on 50% power. Enjoy with milk or nut milk if you prefer, and a little maple syrup.

"I'm not missing bread", he said…

Back in the city, (did I mention we’ve moved?) we have returned to many healthy, happy habits. The first is walking – everywhere. Although we are still eating  freshly-prepared homemade food, there’s been a decided absence of baked goods. Generally I only have homemade bread, and we have been busy moving across the country. Somehow, bread making just hasn’t happened at this point, a month in. 
This morning my husband commented that he hadn’t been missing the bread at all. So here’s another bread-free, use-it-up recipe, for two.

Bring to a boil:

2 c homemade salt free vwgetable stock

1/2 c sliced onion

1 sliced celery stalk

1 grated carrot

2 t cider vinegar

1 t sesame oil

1 T grated ginger 

Divide 

1-1/2 c cooked brown rice (leftover) into two bowls

Top each with

1/2 can water packed tuna or 1/2 c leftover cooked fish 

Pour hot broth and veg mic over

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

So good!

Turnaround Time!

  
Those of you who follow me on Twitter @WalkEatLive know that I’ve been moving over the past couple of weeks. It’s been a change, for sure. A few years ago my husband and I took an opportunity to relocate to Nova Scotia. We had a great time, and made some very good friends. We embarked on the grow-your-own food lifestyle we had imagined. But a funny thing happened. Even though we had returned to the province where we were born missed the city we had called “home” for more than 30 years. We missed our kids and big family dinners. And all the pounds we had shed during our weight loss journey started creeping back on, and we started getting fat. It turns out we were a textbook example of why communities with a high walk score are a good thing. Our motto is to that it’s always better to take action than to complain. So here we are, back in Toronto. 

We’re walking like crazy and eating healthy food. Already we are seeing a difference. And we’re not so far away from the new friends we’ve made. We’ll continue to visit for the sights and sounds of the sea, and they know our door is always open. After a couple of weeks on the road, we are thrilled to be back in our own kitchen, making tasty meals like this one.
I hope you’ll keep reading as I bring some stories, some recipes, and some meal ideas to show how homemade can be fast, healthy, and delicious.

Bake on Saturday, Loaf Around Sunday

After a quick trip to the T-Dot to visit the kids and the in-laws, life is getting back to normal, food wise, at least. Yesterday I baked an updated version of English muffin loaf, with multigrain flour instead of white. It’s a fast mix, no kneading, and you can ignore it and do other chores during the rising. Here’s the recipe:

2c plus 1 T/265 ml  multigrain flour (make your own or try a mix including bran, rye, oat, spelt, kamut, or cracked wheat, and flax or sesame seeds if you like)

1T/15 ml or 1 packet active dry yeast

2t/10ml brown sugar (or honey or maple syrup)

1c/250ml lukewarm 1% milk (any milk will work, including nut milk)

1/4t/2 ml baking soda

Mix dry ingredients (except soda) in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon to make a thick batter, then for 15-20 seconds more until it looks stretchy. 

Cover with a tea towel in a warm place and let rise for about 45 minutes til double.

Dissolve soda in 1T/15ml water and stir vigorously into batter, continuing just until it looks stretchy again. 

Grease or spray an 8″ loaf pan. Scrape batter in, cover with towel and allow to rise again about 40 minutes.

Bake in a 375 oven 45-55 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pan right away.

Tastes best when toasted.

We had ours with a pepper and mushroom omelette. The sun is finally doing its work and the snow is beginning to recede. Thankfully, we just might see spring after all.

Stacking Up to be a Great Day

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How to start the day? Perhaps like this! For two, begin by poaching two fresh, large eggs. Meanwhile, toast a whole wheat English muffin.

Spread some of Kozlik’s Dijon by Anton on each muffin half. Top this with some Char Pastrami from Hooked. Next, a thick slice of fresh yellow tomato and a basil leaf from the garden. Finish the stack with the soft poached egg and a sprinkling of paprika. Serve with a cup of Prince of Darkness coffee…we got ours at Better Bulk on the Danforth. You’ll wake up your mouth!

Change of Seasons Chicken

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Yesterday we had a typical Canadian spring shock to the system. After days of gloriously mild weather, it turned very chilly, gray, and windy. Since we spent the day running around (Alliance Française for French class, some lunch, then the Canada Blooms show, then errands…whew!) we wanted a warming sort of dinner.

We made this easy chicken and pasta dish, which serves 3 (leftovers for Sunday lunch, with a salad).

Cook 100g (3.5 oz) whole wheat spaghettini.

Meanwhile, in 10ml (2 t) olive oil, sauté a leek that has been sliced and rinsed (white and light green parts only) until it starts to become translucent. Add 125 ml chopped cauliflower (1/2 c) and two spears of asparagus, sliced into bite-size lengths. Put a lid on this and give it a couple of minutes to release a bit of liquid. Then stir in a diced tomato, 30ml (2T) pesto, and 60ml or 1/4 c of pasta water. Lid, turn down the heat, and let it simmer til the pasta is done.

Drain the pasta and mix into the veg. Put the lid back on and let the whole thing sit on very low heat for 3 or 4 minutes for the flavour to develop.

Enjoy!

Holy Mackerel!

Yesterday when we were at Hooked we also discovered this tasty smoked mackerel. It seemed like the perfect breakfast…even fit for Toronto’s Archbishop,Thomas Collins, who became a Cardinal today in Rome.

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Thanks for to the Archdiocesan Blog for this photo…which really says it all about this “ordinary guy who turned into a Prince”.

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