Monday, 10 September 2012

Open faced avocado-caprese sandwich

OOOOOhhhh... I just love fall! And today really feels like the first day of fall to me. 

I have had such a great day so far... woke up nice and early, cleaned up our messy house, went for a short jog (first of the season... I need to start slowly!), and then finished off with an amazing 75 minute yin yoga class. On my way home, I had an intense craving for tomatoes... so I stopped at Mary's Market on 152 and 40th in South Surrey and picked up some fresh heirloom tom's and a bunch of basil. Lets face it. They were made for each other. A match made in foooood heaven ;) I also had a craving for a Soy Pumpkin Spice Latte... but resisted the urge and simply drove right through the take out window without stopping. Haha

THEN, I created this lovely, simple and super satisfying creation when I got home. It took about 5 minutes to make, and 2 minutes to consume... 

As Im writing this Im seriously considering making another one! 

Open faced avocado-caprese sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice of bread (I used my new fav, Silver Hills Mack's Flax, made from sprouted organic whole grains. Its super delish, I buy 2 from Costco and freeze them till needed)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 3 thin slices of fresh mozzarella (you know, the big ball of cheese in water?)
  • 1 tomato (mmmm... heirloom tom's!)
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
How to:
  • Toast your slice of bread
  • Spread half an avocado onto the toasted bread and mash with a fork
  • Top with slices of mozza, tomato, and a few fresh basil leaves
  • Drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top, and grind some sea salt and pepper to finish it off.
  • Enjoy on its own or with some salad greens drizzled with olive oil and vinegar.


Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of your day! 

XOXO

Leah


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Lazy-butthead dinner for one!


Tonight, I'm being a super lazy butthead. That's right, I plan on doing NOTHING all evening. I have a really hot date with my couch, and that is where I plan to stay all night. 

Im very excited.

And, it's dinner for one tonight as my man is working late late late....

And and, forgive me for my terrible pic. Like I said. Im lazy tonight ;)

So, what does a lazy butthead make herself when she's grumpy, tired, and not in the mood  to cook? 

A super-simple-bunless-mexicanish-veggie-'burger'-with-deeeeeelish-toppings.

Here's the recipe:

Super-quick bun-less veggie burg!

Ingredients:

  • Veggie patty (pre-made frozen homemade ones if you are superhero, or store bought if your LAZY!)
  • Hummus
  • Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Sea salt and pepper
How to:

Grab a veggie patty from the freezer and heat it up on the stove, in a pan, until it's HOT HOT HOT!

Transfer cooked patty to a plate, slather in hummus (I used roasted red pepper hummus), sliced avocado, salsa, and top with a big hunk of alfalfa sprouts.

Crack some sea salt and black pepper on it and devour that bad boy!

Enjoy!!

Now.... back to my HOT DATE couch! :)





XO Leah













Thursday, 28 June 2012

Maple-soy salmon with dilly taters and veg


Firstly, I apologize about this picture. Perhaps I should buy a camera?!?! (I currently use the camera on my phone).


Anyways, moving along...


Now that it's still freezing cold, where they HECK is the sun summer, it's such a good time of year to introduce fresh, wild fish into your diet. Fish contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which Im sure you've heard of, but do you really know what they do for you? Your body cannot produce them, so you need to get them through your diet. This can be from a good quality fish oil supplement (in which I take all year round no matter how much fish Im eating), and/or fresh salmon, halibut, trout, sardines, herring, algae, and some nuts and plant oils.


Omega 3s are crucial in brain function (memory and performance) and reduce the chance of heart disease, cancer and arthritis, moisturize dry skin, improve mood, combat depression, and improve symptoms of PMS.


Here is a recipe to start you off for a summer of eating wild fish! (Try for twice a week)


Maple-soy salmon with dilly taters and sauteed kale and portobello mushrooms


Ingrediens:

  • 1 wild sockeye salmon filet
  • 1/4 cup REAL maple syrup 
  • 2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 4 large clove of garlic
  • pinch black pepper
  • red baby potatoes
  • fresh dill
  • organic butter
  • 1 head kale
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt
Directions:

Salmon:
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Grab a shallow glass baking dish and add maple syrup, tamari, 1 minced clove of garlic and a pinch of black pepper. Whisk. 
  • Add salmon filet skin side up and put in fridge for a few hours or overnight
  • Flip the fish over, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until flaky. Do not overbake!
Dilly Taters:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some sea salt
  • Wash potatoes and cut in half. Add to boiling water and boil for about 20 minutes or until fork can easily slide through potato.
  • Drain and add back to pot
  • Add some organic butter and chopped fresh dill and stir it up. Keep covered until serving
Sauteed kale and portobello mushroom:
  • Wash kale and chop very fine
  • Wash mushroom and dice
  • Mince 3 cloves of garlic
  • Heat skillet to med heat, add some butter and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.
  • Add kale, put a lid on it for a minute and them stir for another minute. 
  • Add mushroom and saute for about 3-5 minutes until cooked.
  • Remove from heat, add some sea salt and black pepper and squeeze half a lemon over it.
ENJOY! :)

L.










Finding Balance and changing patterns.

If I had to pick one word to be the mantra of my life, it would be 'balance'. I try really hard to find this in everything: food, work, family and friends, 'me' time, etc. Sometimes it's hard. Like the past 3 weeks for example....


I felt exceptionally balanced in all areas of my life for the past 3 months and really thought I could keep it up. FINALLY I felt rested, energized, motivated, excited, and balanced. And then.... June hit and my schedule became very very full. I started a new job, opening a brand new yoga studio in Kits, I became a personal chef, I started a new course in school on mental illnesses (which requires a lot of studying), and I had a LOT of social activities planned. 


I was having a picnic with a good friend the other day and I told her that I felt like I had majorly gone off track  from what my intensions were for this summer. My plan was to work part time, blog every other day, practice yoga a few times per week, really focus on my nutrition case studies, and enjoy some 'me time'. The reality since June 1st was that I had taken on more hours than I wanted at my new job (which includes 2 hours of driving on top of each shift), I had not blogged, I had only practiced yoga a few times, I was sleeping in until 11am after closing shifts the nights before, I had not done ANY case studies, and I almost failed a quiz at school. This had to change. My balance was off and something needed to be done.


I think first, recognizing that your balance is off and second, doing something about it is really important and not done enough in todays world. We get so caught up in what we are 'supposed to be doing' and not what truly makes us happy. For me, I have always been that person who takes on too much, doesn't say no, and then gets burnt out. That's my pattern. And I really thought that I had broken this pattern in the past few months. But this is very normal, and the point is to not get upset about it or let it go on for too long. The point is to recognize it and break it. 


In my situation, I contacted my manager and explained that I needed to cut back to 3 shifts per week, started scheduling yoga classes into my agenda, made a goal to blog at least twice per week, set aside time to spend on case studies and school work, and capped my social outings to a 2-3 per week. 


If you think about it, its a pretty easy thing to do. Figure out whats not working and change it. But so many of us let these things go on for way too long and then we don't even remember our purpose! 


What is your purpose? What truly makes you happy? 


Have you ever made a list of what makes you happy? I did this last year with my old roommate, and it was really eye opening. We got out a blank piece of paper and a pen, wrote "What makes me happy" on the top, and then just started writing things down without thinking about them too much. It can be quite eye opening to discover what really makes you smile. What I noticed from mine was that they were very simple things. They were not about going on expensive vacations or shopping trips, or anything like that. They were about cooking delicious meals, getting in my car with no particular place to go, wandering around Chapters, meeting a friend for a tea, reading about nutrition, hot bubble baths, road trips, spending time with my family, etc. 


Once you do this, you really start to think about your life and whether or not you are in line with your purpose. I have discovered that my purpose is to help people and live simply. 


So here is a challenge for you this week! Set aside half an hour, find a quiet place, make yourself a pot of tea or glass of wine and get out a piece of paper. Discover what really makes you happy. Discover whether or not your are doing these things! If you are, GREAT!!! Keep it up. If you are not, you may need to take a step back from some of your other commitments that are not currently serving you and start introducing these happy things into your life. For some people, that might be scheduling a quite bubble bath in your agenda or joining a basketball team. For others, that might be finding a new job that is more in line with your purpose. Either way, start small and chances are the ball will keep rolling :)


Have a happy Thursday! 


Leah.

















Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Vegan (or not) Mac & Cheeze & Trees


Today I got home from a long day at work, an hour and a half commute home in rush hour, and felt like having a comforting, easy dinner. I picked up a box of food from Sarah, my client who I am a personal chef for, and in this box was a bag of corn macaroni. That was all the inspiration I needed. I happened to have a bag of brown rice mac, and all the ingredients I needed to whip up a quick (15 minutes) vegan(ish) version of Mac and Cheese. And of course I added some nice bight green tree's to add some color and nutrients to my meal.


It totally hit the spot. Now, I am a big fan of using organic butter, so I used that instead of vegan margarine (like Earth Balance), but if you are vegan, go ahead and switch it up. 


This cheeze sauce recipe is from ohsheglows blog, I saw it about a year ago and finally decided to give it a try. I will absolutely be making this recipe again to pour all over.......... everything!


Vegan(ish) Mac & Cheeze & Trees


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of macaroni (I used brown rice, but you could use wheat, corn, spelt, etc.)
  • 1 broccoli crown

          Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp organic butter or Earth Balance vegan margarine
  • 1 Tbsp spelt flour (or other flour)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk (or dairy milk if not vegan)
  • 6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper to taste



How to:


Make macaroni according to package (or just boil in salted water for about 7 minutes)


Cut the broccoli into small trees and steam for 7-10 minutes, or until soft but not mushy.


Sauce:


Melt the butter in a med sized pot over med heat.


Whisk the flour and milk together in a measuring glass, and add to the pot. Whisk well and reduce hear to low-med.


Add the dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and whisk well. Sauce will thicken up after a few minutes. Remove from heat when desired thickness is reached.


Mix 3/4 of sauce with the pasta, top with broccoli crowns, and pour more cheeze sauce on top. Finish with cracked black pepper.






MMMMMM


Nighty night!!


L. 













Friday, 1 June 2012

Cauliflower soup to die for!


Remember my very first post? "Holy crap I made a soup?" Remember why is was called that? Because I am was soup challenged. Apparently not anymore ;)


After deciding to avoid wheat yesterday, I met my friend Chelsea in New West to check out 6th avenue bakery (by the library on 6th avenue and 6th street). We picked up 2 loaves of wheat (and gluten) free potato bread each, and holy moly were we impressed. It is so moist, fluffy, I seriously cannot believe it is made of potatoes!! (Note: they do use wheat in their bakery, so they cannot guarantee that their bread is celiac safe. FYI!). Anyways, they sell 2 different flavors: flax and onion. I can'd decide which one I like more, but I think its safe to say that I will never buy another loaf of wheat bread again after tasting this one. I ate 1/3 of a loaf on my drive home. And then another third with this soup last night. Oh dear....


As I was driving home, I was trying to decide what to do with a head of cauliflower thats been sitting in my crisper for just over a week. As much as I love roasted cauli, I craved something different, something warm, something soupy!!!


Chell recommended a cauliflower soup recipe from skinnytaste.com and and I decided to check it out, and of course add my personal touch :)


It literally took 2 minutes to get everything in the pot (chopping included), 20 minutes to cook, and then 1 minute to blend. I had a huge bowl for dinner, another small bowl a few hours later as a snack, and another bowl for dinner tonight. Im obsessed. I might even make it again tomorrow!!!


'Creamy' Cauliflower Soup 


(can easily be made vegan and/or gluten free)


Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cups organic chicken broth (or veggie broth and maybe some sea salt as well)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp organic butter
  • 1 Tbsp spelt flour (or any flour, or omit for gluten-free)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs to garnish, optional (I had oregano and thyme in my herb garden)
How to:

In a large pot, add the chopped cauliflower, chicken broth, onion powder, garlic powder and nutritional yeast. 

Melt butter and whisk in the flour. Put aside.

Bring soup to a boil over med heat, then add the butter and flour mixture. 

Cover with a lid and simmer over med-low heat for about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender, or transfer to blender and puree.

Pour in a bowl and top with fresh herbs and black pepper. Enjoy with a nice big hunk of potato bread from 6th ave bakery!!!! 




Enjoy your weekend! 

L.

PS, does anyone know what that cute little yellow flower is that I added to my soup? It was growing in my herb garden, I hope its edible, cuz I definitely ate it! hehe

































Thursday, 31 May 2012

Wheat Belly and Our 1 month Challenge!


Have you guys heard of this book? It's called "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. I just read it yesterday (after having it in my possession for nearly 3 months, borrowed from my pal Jenny). It is VERY eye opening!! Who would have thought wheat (especially whole wheat) could be so bad for you? Well, this is one persons theory, but granted he is a medical doctor and backs his theory up with tons of clinical studies and scientific evidence. 

Whenever I read a book or watch a documentary on food/nutrition, I remind myself that the message is coming from one person, one side, and try to keep an open mind. I tend to get very excited about different peoples theories, and then do a ton of additional research to see if their theory is valid. I pick out pieces from the book or documentary that resinate with me, or that I agree with, and then add these to my personal beliefs about nutrition. I think so many people read a book and then completely change their diet, don't do any additional research, and end up getting sick or become deficient in certain nutrients. I admit, I totally did this after I read the book "Skinny Bitch". It completely changed my life! I cried my way through half the book as it explained what happens to animals in slaughter houses, and it literally broke my heart. I remember that afternoon so clearly, I was sitting on my couch in the Springtime of 2009, totally enthralled in the message of the book, and my sister called to see if she could get a ride home from work. I burst into tears, started telling her about the poor cows, and the tears just kept flowing from there. I picked her up, bawling my eyes out and vowed never to eat an animal again. 

It was a great time of year to venture into the world of vegetarianism. The produce was fresh and my body naturally craved more veggies, salads, and raw foods. From that day forward I didn't eat any meat at all until Christmas when that stupid turkey whispered my name and made me cave. I had a couple slices of turk, realized that it didn't even taste good to me anymore, and then went back to my veggie life for another year and a half (I now occasionally eat free-range, organic meat when I feel like my body needs it, a couple times a week max).

So, my point is, I can totally relate to people who jump full force into a new way of eating. In my case, I did a ton of additional research, bought loads of vegan/vegetarian cookbooks, started following some awesome veg blogs, and signed up for an online nutrient tracker to ensure I was getting enough protein, fats, etc.



In the case of this book, Wheat Belly, the message is pretty clear. Wheat leads to obesity. This weight is mainly gained around the abdomen (hence "Wheat Belly"), and no matter now hard you work out or clean up your diet, it is nearly impossible to lose this weight. Hmmm, interesting theory, but WHY?

It's quite scientific, and to really wrap your head around the reasoning, definitely read the book. But in a nutshell, wheat increases blood sugar as much as or more than white sugar. This leads to a surge in insulin (the hormone that allows the entry of glucose (sugar) into the cells of the body), and in turn converts the glucose to fat. The higher the blood glucose after consuming food, the greater the insulin level, the more fat is deposited.

So, "eating a three-egg omelette that triggers no increase in glucose does not add to body fat, while two slices of whole wheat bread increases blood glucose to high levels, triggering insulin and growth of fat, particularly abdominal or deep visceral fat".

According to Dr. Davis, cutting out wheat will lead to:          
  • weight loss
  • increased energy
  • clearer thinking
  • better sleep
  • clearer skin, clear up eczema, clear up acne
  • better bowel, joint and lung health. 

What's not to love about that?!?!?!?

As a student of nutrition, this makes sense to me. Along with this, is the fact that todays wheat is so genetically modified that it doesn't even relate to the wheat that our grandparents ate 50 years ago. And who the heck knows what modifying genes in food will lead to in the future? Its just too early to tell. Im staying AWAY!

So, to see if this theory proves correct, I called up my girlfriend Chelsea this morning and posed a proposition (it's always easier to tackle a challenge with a friend, right?). We are going to completely avoid wheat for one month and see if we notice any changes. Starting today. I have a girlfriend who is celiac (wheat/gluten can be fatal to her), and I am also a personal chef for a celiac client, so I have have a lot of motivation to do this and resources to pull from. I am heading to meet Chelsea at a bakery out in New West later this afternoon to pick up some wheat-free potato bread (which I have heard such good things about). I even called ahead and put two loaves on hold for us. I know. Im a nerd. LOL 

For me, I am hoping to improve my sleep, energy levels, and clear up my eczema. 

I'll keep you posted on my journey and include some wheat free recipes along the way.

NOTE: as beneficial as I'm sure it would be to cut out all gluten in our diets, we are taking baby steps and just cutting out wheat for now. Gluten can be found in nearly every processed product on the market (unless marked "gluten-free"), so thats a whole other challenge in itself. Maybe one day, but for now, its just wheat thats getting the boot ;)

Have a lovely Thursday everyone!

L.