Monday, August 31, 2015

Meatless Monday - Fresh Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti

Delicious, beautiful tomatoes are everywhere right now.
It is their time!
Which really means its our time - to enjoy them as much as possible.
I absolutely love tomatoes - a couple cherry tomatoes as a snack is better than any candy I've ever had and seeing the glorious colours of the heirlooms makes me want to slice them up, add a dash of sea salt and dig in!
Aside from being delicious, tomatoes are an extremely healthy food - full of vitamin C, vitamin A, biotin for your skin, hair and nails and cancer fighting lycopene.
So I thought what better way to use some of these tasty tomatoes than some fresh spaghetti sauce. This recipe is absolutely delicious and the better the tomatoes, the better the flavour.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti

Serves 4
6 heirloom tomatoes (preferably different colours), cores removed
2 Tbsp olive oil divided
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
30 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 lb quinoa or brown rice spaghetti
1 tsp oregano
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Place the 6 heirloom tomatoes (with cores removed) into a blender with sea salt and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Puree until they become a liquid.

Sauté the chopped onion, garlic, and 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté or sauce pan on medium low heat for about 10 minutes until onions are soft. (Make sure to use a fairly large pan or pot as we will be adding the sauce and the pasta in the same pan.)

While the onions are cooking, place the halved cherry tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a few good sprinkles of sea salt. Set aside.

Pour the heirloom tomato mixture into the pan with the onions and add oregano and salt and pepper.  Cook on medium - low heat for about 30 minutes - the sauce will begin to thicken slightly.

Boil water for the pasta and cook it until it is just al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta and the 1/4 cup of pasta water to the sauté pan with the tomato sauce. Add the salted cherry tomatoes and the torn basil leaves. Slowly stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce and continue to cook on medium -  low heat for 15 minutes. Reduce to a simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and heirloom tomato love,

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Easy Superfood Breakfasts

Mornings are busy!
Off to work, off to school, off to yoga...
Its really easy to grab whatever is around and go, or even worse pick something up from a fast food or coffee shop - however that often isn't very healthy and usually won't keep you full - meaning you are looking for a snack around 10am (which usually isn't that healthy either).
So let's break this cycle together. Below are three easy, quick superfood breakfasts that are bursting with nutrition and will keep you full well into lunchtime and I can guarantee you aren't getting these nutrients or vitamins at the drive through...

Flax Ezekiel Bread & Almond Butter

You can get Ezekiel bread right in the freezer section at your grocery store and you keep it in the freezer because it has no preservatives. Pop two pieces in the toaster in the morning and smear it with almond butter. Running out the door? Make it into a sandwich to eat in the car. No time in the morning? Take two pieces out of the freezer the night before, spread them with almond butter and make it into a sandwich, keep it in the fridge overnight and grab it as you are walking out the door.

Oatmeal with Walnuts & Cinnamon

Look for a brand of instant oatmeal that is low in sugar and contains no artificial ingredients. Mix it with some boiling water and add cinnamon and walnuts for some amazing antioxidants. Make it to go in a insulated travel coffee cup.

Qia Cereal with Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon & Almond Milk

This brand of cereal is full of superfoods - chia, hemp and buckwheat. Mix 3 tablespoons with a sprinkle of cinnamon, pumpkin seeds and as much almond milk as you like. The chia seeds will absorb the milk making it a bit thicker. When I eat this for breakfast my energy levels go way up and I am honestly not hungry for hours - and I'm ALWAYS hungry. Its a great way to get a lot of nutrition in one bowl. If you are strapped for time you can put this in a travel coffee mug to go!

Give one, two or all three of these breakfasts a try - it will change the way you feel, think and get through your morning.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and superfood breakfast love,

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Meatless Monday: Grilled Peach and Mint Salad

So it's late August - wow, how did we get here?

I'm not even close to being ready for summer to end.

There are a few benefits to late summer though - other than the warm sunny days - and one of them is glorious, local peaches. Not only are they sweet and juicy they also come with health benefits including fibre and vitamin C. And at a mere 39 calories - they are a way better option when you have a  sugar craving than candy or refined sugar.

Now how do we turn this fuzzy summer fruit into dinner? We grill it! Its easy, quick and really brings out their flavour and sweetness. No grill? No problem, just use a gill pan on the stove to get the same result.

Grilled peaches are a wonderful addition to any salad but below is the recipe for my favourite. It includes white beans for protein, iron and fibre and walnuts for antioxidants and omegas. It is a perfect late summer salad - enjoy…

Grilled Peach & Mint Salad
Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a meal

2 medium peaches (ripe, but not too soft)
4 cups arugula
1/2 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
8 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1/4 cup organic walnut halves
1 cup of organic canned white beans
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
sea salt

Warm up the grill (or grill pan) to medium heat.
Cut each peach into 6 equal segments and gently dress with the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
Grill the segments for about 90 seconds on each side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
In a large bowl combine arugula, mint, cucumber and beans. Mix in the lemon juice and garlic powder.
On a large serving plate place the arugula salad mixture and then top with the walnuts and grilled peaches.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and grilled peach love,

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Meatless Monday: Delicious Double Baked Potatoes

There is just something comforting and delicious about a baked potato - even more so when you add some mashed potatoes in to your baked potato and cook it again so that the skin is extra crispy - definitely delicious.

Now many of you would think double baked potatoes are not for us vegans or clean eaters - mostly because they are usually stuffed with cheddar cheese, butter, sour cream, etc…well you no longer have to deprive yourself - this Meatless Monday recipe has beautiful creamy mashed potatoes combined with protein and fibre rich white beans, thyroid healing brazil nuts and vitamin B filled nutritional yeast to give it that yummy cheese flavour…enjoy!

Delicious Double Baked Potatoes
makes 4 potato halves - serves 4

2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
3 Tbsp OO, divided, plus a little to rub on the potatoes before baking
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
4 brazil nuts, chopped
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped (or 4 tsp dried)
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 can organic cannellini beans
salt and pepper

Pre heat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub the potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on parchment paper and bake in the oven until their sides are soft - approximately 1 hour, turning them once. Allow to cool enough to handle.
In a medium sauté pan, cook the onion with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, rosemary, 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and pepper for about 5-7 minutes on medium-low heat until onions are soft. Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes. 
Cut the potatoes in equal halves and scoop out the insides  into a large mixing bowl, leaving abut a 1/4 inch of the potato as the shell. Arrange the shells back on the baking sheet. 
Using a fork or potato masher mash 2 Tbsp of olive oil, nutritional yeast and the chopped brazil nuts until very creamy. Stir in the cooked onions and beans until well combined (do not mash in the beans and onions - just stir them in). 
Fill the potato shells with the mashed potato and bean mixture, using the back of a spoon to really fill the shells and then scoop more on top until you have used all the filling. 
Bake the shells in the oven, still on 425, for about 10-15 minutes until the tops start to brown a bit. 
Serve warm.

*Make ahead! This is a bit of a time consuming recipe due to the time it takes to initially bake the potatoes. You can always bake and fill the potatoes ahead of time and then refrigerate them for up to 2 days. Just pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes so they are heated all the way through before serving. 

Sending you sunshine, happiness and baked potato love,

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Meatless Monday: Garden Green Bean Salad

This one of my favorite months of the year - there are farmer's markets everywhere filled with tons of local, fresh produce - its an amazing time for wonderful, healthy food.
If you have planted your own garden (which I highly recommend) now is really when you start reaping the rewards. 
So for this Meatless Monday I took a cue from the wonderful garden veggies that are bursting with color and vitamins and made a protein packed salad from them…

Garden Green Bean Salad
1 qt of fresh green beans (or yellow)
1 large garden cucumber, halved and sliced
30 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 small red onion, cut in ribbons
1 can organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 heaping tsp garlic powder
freshly ground sea salt and pepper
parsley for garnish

Blanch the green beans by cooking them in a medium pot of boiling water for 2 minutes and then transferring them to a bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans and then trim the ends and cut them in halves. 
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder and lots of salt and pepper. 
Add all the vegetables and beans to a large bowl and toss gently with the dressing until well coated. You may want to add a bit more salt and pepper before serving. 
Garnish with some parsley.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and garden veggie love,

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

6 Reasons You Need To Be Drinking Nettle Tea

I love tea.
Everything seems better with a  cup of tea - working, studying, a warm bath, a tv show, a good book…
Since I easily go through 6 or more cups of tea a day I'm always looking for a new kind to keep things interesting…I'm also always looking for one that provides the best health benefits.
Peppermint with its soothing tummy abilities and its uplifting scent ranks pretty high.
And I do love the cleansing and warming properties of a nice ginger or even lemon ginger.
However these days a new fav is topping the list:
Organic Nettle
Nettle Tea
Here's why I'm in love with Nettle Tea and why you should too:

  1. Reduces seasonal allergy symptoms and helps keep those allergies at bay. 
  2. Stimulates the lymph system to boost immunity.
  3. Anti-inflammatory - helping with arthritis symptoms including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.
  4. Supports healthy kidneys, spleen, thyroid and pancreas.
  5. Helps relieve menstrual symptoms including bloating and cramps. 
  6. Soothes gastrointestinal symptoms.

These are only 6 health benefits of the very many nettle tea provides. It is definitely a little bitter on the first taste but after a few sips you get used to it and it becomes very soothing. My fist time drinking it, I was experiencing some pretty bad "girl cramps" and had an appointment that I needed to be on my game for. I had read about the soothing benefits of nettle and thought why not try a cup and see what happens. I can honestly say that within 30 minutes of one large cup of the nettle tea all of my cramps and bloating disappeared. I'm hooked!

Sending you sunshine, happiness and a warm cup of nettle tea,

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