Category Archives: Meal Ideas

Feelin Fresh take 2: The Buddha Bowl

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Hey friends!

Yup I’m back. I could apologize for how long its been since I blogged last, but that’s starting to get a bit repetitive. The MCAT is over, 3rd year has started, and I’m trying to force myself to start cooking again after a lengthy hiatus.

There were many kitchen adventures going on in my apartment over the summer

some successful,

baked oatmeal

{This is like berry crisp for breakfast…extra amazing with coconut whipped cream}

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{The PPK’s Chana Masala to serve at my first dinner party}

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{ the best grapefruit I’ve ever had}

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{all bout dem lettuce wraps: turkey sweet potato and pesto}

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{finally gave hasselbeck potatoes a try, and they are so worth the prep time. and the finger cuts}

And some not so successful,

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I can honestly say this cauliflower crust pizza was the worst thing I have ever made. It was soggy, crumbly, and tasted like cauliflower….in pizza…I might have nightmares about it.

Just terrible.

I had such high hopes!!! I’ve seen so many recipes around the blogs, and I think my mistake was that I should have squeezed out the water from the cauliflower. Also I should have made it thinner and baked it for a LOT longer.

Anyways,

Time for a Feelin’ Fresh post!!! I’ve been perusing through the Fresh cookbook almost daily over breakfast (#obsession), and noted that they did not include my absolute favourite menu item from Fresh.

I’ve been recreating this dish regularly for a few years now, and it makes excellent leftovers. This isnt exactly a traditional recipe, but more of a guideline, so feel free to comment if you need more guidance!

The Buddha Bowl

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A thai inspired dish with peanut sauce so good you’ll want to drink it. Feel free to mix and match produce, grains, or protein with whatever you have.

Base

Quinoa, soba noodles, rice, or even zucchini/spaghetti squash noodles work perfect. Make one serving, two servings, 5 servings depending on how many days you want to be eating this for.

Toppings

Traditional: Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, bean sprouts, peanuts and cilantro.

Also good: thinly sliced red peppers, peas/sugar snap peas, scallions, carrots

Protein

Traditional: Pan fried tofu cubes, premarinated in peanut sauce if you’re on top of things or just plain if you’re not

Also good: tempeh, chicken, roasted chickpeas, plain chickpeas, lentils

Peanut Sauce (essential)

I’ve adapted this recipe over the years, and its perfect so dont mess with it. I recommend tasting it while you make it to get a feel for the flavors and see what you like!

-1/4 c NATURAL peanut butter (the kraft shit does not work, I’ve tried with disgusting results)

-1 tbsp soy sauce

-1 garlic clove, grated or pureed

-zest of 1/2 small lime

-juice of 1 lime (zest before juicing! much easier)

-1-2 tsp honey or sugar, to taste

-chili powder to taste (don’t use hot sauce, it messes with the consistency)

1. Add everything together in bowl and mix by hand until blended.

2. Start by adding 2 tbsp of cold water and blend until a smooth consistency results. Keep adding water, 2 tbsp at a time, until you have the desired thickness (should be about the consistency of maple syrup. )

3. Put on everything, realize you ate an entire 1/4 c of peanut butter in one day, only feel slightly bad about it cause it was delicious.

Currently playing this song on repeat

Farm Box Fairy

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Hello world!

So on this lovely Saturday morning I have made use of some serious methods of procrastination. Knowing I should be studying, I cruised Buzzfeed (my old friend from exam time…), foodgawker, and facebook for about 3 hours. I then decided I should just give up on the idea of studying before work, and blog about the wonderful thing that happened to me on Thursday.

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{so much green}

I picked up my first ‘farm box’ from Roots Down Organic Farm!

One fateful microbiology class in February, I decided to impulsively spend my meager savings on a biweekly share in a CSA for the summer (June to October). I have since looked forward to June 20th (on the days I wasn’t completely forgetting about it and hoping I hadn’t missed it) and it finally came!!!

How it works:

  • Give ~$275 directly to a nearby farmer for fresh veggies.
  • Get an abundance of green things delivered to a local pick up spot every other week.
  • Don’t visit grocery store and have consumer anxiety about buy expensive vegetables from CALIFORNIA when you know most of them are growing an hour away.
  • Feel good about your decisions

Here’s what I got this time

  1. Bag of mixed greens
  2. Bag of asian greens (they look kind of like bok choy)
  3. 1 head of broccoli
  4. 1 bunch of radishes
  5. 1 pint of snap peas
  6. 10 garlic scapes (the green sprouty thing from a garlic clove…kinda like a green onion but garlic flavoured!!!)

This is a lot of greenery for one girl, especially for one who will be leaving for Toronto for a few days next week. I have high hopes, but low expectations regarding how much of this I will eat before it goes bad.

Here are the recipes I am going to try to use up my goodies

1. Garlic Scape Pesto – a heavily substitued version of this…I’m thinking pine nuts and olive oil but no cheese. And maybe some basil if my plant decides to come back to life at all. This recipe can be frozen too!

2. Swiss chard wraps- just use the leaves of the chard to wrap up your favourite sandwich fillings. These ones look so good, and I love Leanne’s blog (and tuna).

{Some day I will take photos this nice…maybe when my camera isn’t also my phone}

3. Stir fry- those asian greens and broccoli are calling out for some kind of chicken cashew thing.

My issue with home made chinese food is the same one I have with home made indian food…I can never get the sauces right. I have attempted indian food so many times, because it incorporates my one true food love, coconut milk. And every time, I think…meh. Then I curse at the epic mess I made, wait a couple weeks, and repeat. I think I need to work on my spice blends.

Anyways, I will try again! I think I’m going to rigidly follow this recipe (minus fish sauce..don’t like this ingredient enough to buy an entire bottle)

4. Juicing!! The gods smiled down upon me when my boyfriend’s house disbanded and a juicer was left behind. Obviously, I quickly offered to take it for them and give it a good home. It has been taking up residence on my counter for awhile, but the many parts and lack of direction manual has made me a little afraid. My favourite green juices have always had a blend of cucumber, greens, apple and mint, so I want to try something like that.

If only I hadn’t also killed my mint plant….good thing I don’t want any pets.

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{It’s a thing of beauty}

Alright, I’m going to get out of my pjs and get ready for work….after making a green smoothie with my bounty. Have an excellent weekend friends

Two songs today!

The National is my latest obsession. A little melancholy, a little introspective, lots of acoustic…can’t believe I didn’t get into them sooner. Sometimes I gotta turn them off though, or else I never leave my house.

 

If I’m feeling too down from the National, I just switch over to Macklemore. Yes, The Heist is an excellent album, but The VS EP is really really good too. This song is the perfect blend of up beat and low key, which is usually just what I need for studying.

Havin’ a kale of a time….

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I don’t know whether to be impressed or embarrassed by how quickly I came up with that pun. I can’t cohesively write an essay anymore, but I CAN make sad vegetable jokes with ease.

With that sparkling intro, I’m here to chat about kale. One of my favourite veggies, because of its amazing superfood status as well as its hearty flavor. Also, I weirdly find it to be very beautiful …its so curly and pretty!!! No? Just me?

kale dress

 

{You rock that kale dress, lamb. I get it}

Here’s why you should eat kale:

  • It contains more than a day’s worth of vitamin A, K (for kale! but no, not actually), and C.
  • Good source of minerals: copper, manganese, iron, phosphorus
  • Source of antioxidants: carotenoids and flavanoids specifically, in a very simplified explanation they combat ageing/cancer inducing free radicals. KALE MAKES YOU LIVE LONGER GUYS (don’t quote me on that)
  • Lots of fiber, little fat, low calorie=filling up on good stuff

So now you just wanna run out and grab the prettiest bunch of kale to bring home and munch on right?! Well no, because raw kale is a daunting and (initially) intimidating vegetable. Do you eat it like lettuce? Do you cook it? Should I eat the stems? How do you turn them into chips?

Never fear, dear reader. As a major kale enthusiast, I have made all the kale-eating mistakes one can make (hint: there aren’t that many. It’s only a vegetable). Learn from me! Also check out these fantastic recipes to integrate kale into your daily life

 

purple kale

{purple kale for the fashionistas}

Tips for cooking with/eating kale

  • Nope, don’t eat the stems. They are as tough and bitter as my old middle school teachers. Just tear the leaves off into bite sized chunks. If I’m feeling especially kitchen savvy I’ll wash and rip up and entire head of kale and throw it back in the produce bag for quick using throughout the week 
  • If you don’t normally wash your veggies (it happens), put in the extra special effort for kale. Kale is on the Dirty Dozen, and tends to have high levels of pesticide residue (if not organic).
  • It lasts for a WHILE though. I once rinsed a head of kale real quick and stuck it in my fridge in a bag, forgot about it, then found it a MONTH later and it was still crispy. Not joking guys. None of that slimy spinach shit here, just add a little water and wrap it up and itll last for at least 2 weeks, usually more.
  • As for most leafy greens, undercooking is better, taste wise.

Annnnnd the recipes!

kale sweet potato hash

1. Kale Sweet Potato Hash-smoked paprika is KEY here, also amazing in all other regards.

2. Kale+grain bowls- this is my go to meal. Cook up a big batch of rice/quinoa/couscous to use throughout the week and just toss a protein and steamed kale in there (time saving tip: you can steam shit in the microwave.). Makes you feel all smug and healthy since there’s so many superfoods in one meal

My go to combo is kale, quinoa, cashews, chickpeas with curry and hot sauce. Takes about 15 minutes to pull together once you’ve made it a few times and very filling/delicious (also, CHEAP).

3. Raw kale salads: the options are plentiful. Give er a search on the google. MOST IMPORTANT PART: make the dressing and let the kale marinate. or else youll be chewing on that raw kale like a masticating cow. The vinegar in the dressing helps tenderize the rough kale. This also means leftover kale salads are da bomb.

Some of my fave kale salads

Weekend Glow Kale salad

Kale apple Coleslaw– this is my new favourite way to enjoy kale: shredded!

Kale and Fig Salad (on my menu this week)

4. The infamous kale chips!!!!! I dont know about you guys, but I’d read about kale chips forever before I actually attempted them, and then it took equally forever for me to figure out how to make them taste good. The most delicious ones are made from a dehydrator. I”m sorry to tel you that, but its true. To get the saucy crispy DELICIOUS kale chips youll find in the bags at health food stores, you need to use low heat for a long time. This means using a dehydrator or your oven, on it’s lowest heat with the door open.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy kale chips without a dehydrator though! They just wont be the full flavoured kind you’ve probably seen on health blogs/stores. For oven kale chips, keep it simple. Some flavoured olive oil, salt and some choice seasonings are best (I like garlic salt, pepper, dill, or smoked paprika!).

To make kale chips in the oven, simple rip up bite sized pieces of kale, massage in the oil and seasonings, then spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350. watch these suckers carefully, burnt leaves taste pretty bad guys.

If you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator (aww yeah, welcome to the club), Angela’s recipes are THE BEST.

Alright friends, I’m starting my MCAT course at the bright and early hour of 8:30, so I’m gonna cut this off now. Even though I could probably write about kale for another hour…….

see ya!

Tonight’s jam: My mama often plays Billie Holiday while she cooks or else “its just too boring” (I did not get my cooking obsession from her, that’s for sure). Although a master chef she is not, she is the hardest working, selfless, smart and down to earth woman I know. In honor of mother’s day and my awesome mom, here’s a little Billie:

 

 

 

 

Feeling like Gold

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It’s been a great day

{saw this guy with one of my greatest friends and it was amazing}

I had this song stuck in my head at the gym this morning, and as I left and listened to it, I realized I was wearing a GOLD SWEATER! The connection blew my mind.

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{sorry for the selfie…posing for my housemate didn’t exactly give me any good photos cause we were both laughing too hard}

Gold sweater+ gold song+ good workout=awesome day. In all seriousness I’ve been a lot more on top of my shit lately and have been pretty happy!

Know what else makes me happy? Dinner. Yesterday’s dinner in fact.

Although its not exactly a recipe, I realized I often read food blogs to come up with good ideas for meals. I’ve created a Meal Ideas category on my Recipes page, so if you’re in need of a lil inspiration for dinner, look no further!

Roasted Rosemary New Potatoes, Maple Garlic Green Beans and Vegan Sausage

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{Discovery: Vegan sausage does not look appealing in photos}

Maple Garlic Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed (I always find measurements like this useless. who really knows how much a 1/2 pound of green beans looks like? Not me. So the useful measurement is a bunch of green beans thats about as wide as your fist)
  • 1 tbsp maple sugar (syrup can be substituted, but used 1 tsp)
  • 1 grated garlic clove
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Makes 2 servings

1. Turn pan up to medium heat, and heat up oil.

2. Add green beans and roll em around in there until theyre coated in oil. Let them cook, stirring the beans every once in a while

3. Add garlic, and continue cooking beans until theyre starting to brown. Usually, to see if they’re getting close to being done I’ll just take one and eat it. I like my beans with a bit of crunch, but its totally up to you!

4. Shake maple sugar/pour maple syrup over beans right before you take them off the heat. This step is actually kinda important cause the sugar will start to smoke if you dont start cooling the pan down right after you add it. Nothing wrong with a little smoking sugar but too much and they wont be as tasty.

Done! Bear in mind that most of this recipe you can probably just use common sense/wing it.

Roasted Rosemary New Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup sliced, washed new potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp rosemary (less if it’s fresh, probably 1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Makes one generous serving or 2 regular ones

1. Preheat oven to 450, and slice potatoes.

2. In a glass dish/pan of some sort that can go in the oven, mix all ingredients together.

3. Roast in oven for 45 min, taking them out half way through to flip them around.

New potatoes are my new favourite thing. Theyre so versatile, and dont require any peeling! Good staple food, I’ve used them for breakfast potatoes, nicoise salads, side dishes (obviously), potato salad, etc.  Love these lil guys.

As for the vegan sausage component of this meal, here ya go:

sausage

These are actually really really good. And trust me, I know shitty meat substitutes. See, back in the days of awkward pubescence, I was a vegetarian. For about 5 years I think. And like most vegetarians, I first turned to tofu substitutions for meat. This is probably why I did not stick to vegetarianism. Those things are gross. These sausages are made of grains, veggies, and spices, and have about 20 g of protein in each one. AND THEY’RE DELICIOUS. Plus they’re pretty cheap for such delicious and organic protein, about $5 for 4.

You can buy em from Tara’s health food store in Kingston, or most larger health food stores.

Here’s the company.

Alright, I’m going to go get ready for my impending doom, sorry, I mean midterms.

PS. Did anyone else check out the latest Oh She Glows post about Maple Butter?! I audibly gasped  in class (people around me were not as enthralled as I was) because maple syrup is possibly the greatest thing ever. BUT THEN, I saw it takes about 45 minutes of straight high power mixing! Ain’t nobody got time for that! So I will just look at her beautiful photographs and continue shaking maple sugar on everything.