Monday, November 23, 2015

Meatless Monday: Wild Rice Risotto

Happy Thanksgiving week to our friends in the US.

No matter where you live, taking time to be grateful for what you have is important.

Being thankful and grateful is healthy for your mind, body and soul.

"Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine did a study. He recruited [people] who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives. It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. 'They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,' says Mills. And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body's natural response to injury, or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health"
~adapted from

As this study shows, its not only the food you put in your body that keeps you healthy and your heart strong, practicing gratitude and being thankful for all that you have also contributes to your health.

What are you grateful for today?

It can be something as small as a warm cup of tea in your hands, your favourite song playing on the radio or the beautiful shining sun...whatever it is for you, take a minute and truly be grateful - its comfort food for your soul.

Speaking of comfort food - today's recipe is a Wild Rice Risotto with mushrooms and kale. It is hearty, healthy and can be a perfect dish for your Thanksgiving meal...

Before you start cooking, take a deep breath and be grateful for the fresh, healthy food you are about to make.


Wild Rice Risotto

serves 4 - 6 as a side dish
6 cups vegetable broth, divided
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
8 kale leaves, torn
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 white onion
1 1/2 cups wild rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp Earth Balance
Fresh ground sea salt & pepper to taste

In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

In a large saucepan, sauté the mushrooms and kale with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and garlic powder over medium heat until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot, cook the onion in 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium heat until onion begins to soften. Add rice and stir to coat with oil for about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Begin adding 1/2 cup of the warm broth to the rice and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time and stirring until all the broth is absorbed - about 20 minutes.  

Turn the heat to low and add in the cooked mushrooms and kale, nutritional yeast and Earth Balance. Stir to mix everything together and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. 

Thank you for reading...
Sending you sunshine, happiness and wild rice risotto love,

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Blissful Butternut Squash Soup

Here we are at Monday again...

How are you? How do you feel today?

Take a few moments for yourself, take in some deep breaths and enjoy the moment.

Monday has a way of taking control over us - so much to do...places to

It can all add up and when it does the best thing you can do is take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and bring yourself into the present moment.

When you breathe deeply you are creating a relaxation response. When this happens it is impossible for the stress response to occur so your body has no choice but to rid itself of stress for this time, giving your hormones a chance to readjust and your immune and nervous systems a much needed rest and reset.

Today's recipe is a classic. A cozy, fall soup that will also help relieve your stress. Soup is a food that is meant to be eaten slowly and savored. It is easy to digest the amazing amounts of Vitamin A (antioxidant extraordinaire for your skin and immune system) and vitamin C (ditto) that come from the butternut squash used in this dish.

How about tonight you change up Monday - light some candles, play some music, be grateful and savour this healthy, delicious soup...enjoy.

Blissful Butternut Squash Soup

serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger powder or grated fresh ginger
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth (1 box container)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
fresh ground sea salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium low heat for five minutes. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the squash and cook for additional 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.

Turn the heat off the soup and puree with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender you can let the soup cool a bit and blend it in small batches in a blender then return it to the stove to heat.

Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and blissful butternut squash love,

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Meatless Monday - Picky Protein Bowl

So the old joke goes that no one really cares about your protein intake until you tell them you are a vegan...yep, so true.

I've come across countless people who ask where I get my protein after I tell them I eat a vegan diet.

The truth is, a healthy vegan diet is filled with protein: Beans, Seeds, Grains, Lentils, Nuts, Tofu...even veggies! These foods all pack a ton of clean protein - you get the protein, iron plus fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats.

Animal proteins such as beef, chicken and dairy do provide protein although they also provide cholesterol, unhealthy fats, hormones and antibiotics (yes even the organic and free range ones) and not a whole lot of fibre or vitamins.

This is why it is a good idea to try getting more of your protein from vegan sources and less from animal sources - so you can be your best, healthiest, happiest you.

Today's Meatless Monday recipe does just that...


Picky Protein Bowl

This recipe includes ingredients and instructions for making homemade hummus for the dish. If you are strapped for time - you can use store bought - although I have to say its really good hummus - so definitely try it when you have a little more time. The hummus will last up to 5 days in an air tight container in the fridge.

serves  4 

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
3 medium beets, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
4 crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
8 large kale leaves, torn
1 15oz can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 tsp garlic powder, divided
fresh ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Homemade Hummus Ingredients
2 15oz cans organic garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
juice from one large lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp water
fresh ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl toss the beets with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic powder and some salt and pepper. In a separate mixing bowl toss the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic powder and some salt and pepper. Spread the beets out on half of the parchment paper and put the beets in the over to roast for about 40 minutes. The sweet potatoes only take about 25 so place them on the other half of the baking sheet 15 minutes after you have put the beets in.

Cook the quinoa according to package directions in a medium sauce pot. Once the quinoa is cooked add the black beans and stir - continue to cook on low heat for 5 minutes to warm up the beans.

If you are making your own hummus make it now (see instructions below) - if not skip to the next step.

While the quinoa is cooking and the veggies are roasting, sauté the kale and mushrooms in a medium pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and pepper on medium low heat for 5 - 7 minutes.

Arrange your bowl with the quinoa and bean mixture and all of the veggies around the edges, place a dollop of hummus in the middle and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Yum!

Homemade Hummus Instructions
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
That's it!
If it needs to be more creamy slowly add a bit more water.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and picky protein love,

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Meatless Monday: Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Here we are in the heart of fall.

The time to truly savour the last bright colours of leaves on the trees, the golden afternoon sunshine and the warmth of your favourite cozy sweater.

As the temperatures fall and the days become shorter it is important for us to eat more warming, grounding foods to stay healthy.

Grounding foods are literally foods that grown in the ground - most commonly root vegetables. When you eat these foods they take on the same "grounding" energy in your body helping you focus and be centered in this bittersweet season of change.

I love roasting a group of root vegetables. Their warm colours and earthy aroma are perfect for a cool fall day. This recipes incorporates kale - which is so healthy for your lungs and respiratory system that often can be compromised during the changing air of autumn. Lentils are also added to this dish for muscle building protein and fibre keeping your tummy happy and healthy. I couldn't resist adding a touch of maple syrup to the dressing for a little Canadian sweetness.


Roasted Root Veggie Salad

Serves 4
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in 1" rounds
2 medium beets, peeled and cut in 1" pieces
8 brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup red lentils, cooked
1 large bunch of kale, washed and torn
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3 1/4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
fresh ground pepper and sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the squash, parsnips and brussels sprouts in a large bowl with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of garlic powder and salt and pepper. In a separate smaller bowl toss the beets with 1/4 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. I do this because if you mix them all together - the rest of the veggies will turn pink from the beets.

Spread out all the veggies on the lined baking sheet and cook in the oven until tender and slightly browned - about 45 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar.

In a large serving bowl, dress the torn kale and chopped red onion with the dressing you made in the step above. Mix well.

Top the kale and red onion salad with lentils, pumpkin seeds and the cooked root veggies.

Sending you sunshine, happiness and root veggie love,

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