Wilted Greens & Wheat Berry Salad


wiltedgrainsalad

Another quick-ish meal that’ll get you going, keep you full and make you forget about needing meat to complete a meal.  I’m a junky of all things green and grainy, so I’ve been into wheat berries lately. A super grain, and not too carby of a carb, they’re chewy, firm pods of whole food goodness. Plus, if you can boil water, they’re pretty much a cinch to cook.

The wheat berries are easily cooked in advance and stored for up to a week in a sealed container. They can also be subbed for quinoa for a gluten-free option.

WILTED GREENS + WHEAT BERRY SALAD WITH MIXED MUSHROOMS

4 Cups Mixed Mushrooms, sliced – I used Shiitake, and crimini
1 Cup Soft Wheat Berries
Zest + Juice of One Lemon
6 Cups Assorted Field Greens, Spinach & Arugula, or any combination you have and like
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped (optional – if you’re one of those people:)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil, divided
Salt + Pepper, to your taste

Soak the wheat berries for 20 -30 minutes. Rinse the wheat berries well and drain.
Boil 3 cups of lightly salted water and add the wheat berries. reduce the heat to medium and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes for doneness and if your water has been absorbed. (If it almost has and the berries aren’t quite tender, reduce the heat to medium-low and finish your cooking time.)
Pick over and wash your greens, spin to dry.
Heat a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden. Remove from heat, then add the parsley and cilantro.
Fluff the wheat berries with a fork, add the lemon juice, mushrooms, remaining oil and toss to combine.
Divide the greens between 4 servings and top with the wheat berries, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

The New Vegan Frontier


I had this realization at the grocery store the other day. It’s something I’ve obviously not given enough thought. I mean, I know why people have food restrictions and I know that there are many reasons. There are people in my family are allergic to wheat and dairy and a large reason because of that is why this site exists. I’m fairly conscientious but never though, have I gone out and so rigorously read every ingredient that went into my shopping basket. What was once simple shopping took an hour and a half.

I’m aware of the easiest ways to healthier eating and that’s making everything yourself. But after this experience, I couldn’t believe it more true. The sneaky binders and unfortunate ingredients that “deprive” those of a delicious waffle. After a few let downs there was excitement. I’d find new produce or the wheat-free, gluten-free, yeast-free bread that will remain nameless to excite me into a tizzy. I was about ready to start this detoxing cleanse.

My biggest splurge was to finally buy a rice cooker. I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t done this earlier and now it sits happily along sit my Kitchen Aid as one of my favourite appliances. Shameful to admit, I’ve never been a stellar rice steamer myself. Iffy at best, I’d cross my fingers and hope not to burn it on the bottom or lift the lid early exposing a soggy mess. Amazing that this basic food is one of my favourites and when cooked right, tastes like a delicacy to me. Naturally, I was inspired and created one of my first meals for the detox as a rice bowl.

Totally versatile, starting with a mix of brown and wild rice, I added many of my grocery shop finds; broccolini, roasted squash, pea shoots and bean sprouts. To it was a great maple baked tofu with a great tahini sauce to liven it up.

Maybe this won’t be so bad?

MAPLE TOFU AND TAHINI RICE BOWL

4 cups Cooked Brown & Wild Rice, or whatever you have that you think is nice
1 Acorn Squash, seeded & sliced
1 Block Extra Firm (organic) Tofu, halved and sliced about 1/4″ thick
Handful Each of Pea Shoots, Sprouts, Broccolini & Frozen Green peas
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil,
Safflower Oil for frying

SESAME TAHINI SAUCE

1/4 cup tahini
3 Tablespoons Water
3 tablespoons Sesame Seed Oil
1/4 cup  Lemon Juice
Pinch of Salt to taste

Make the dressing by whisking together the tahini and hot water to thin. Add the lemon  juice, sesame oil and sprinkling of salt.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly drizzle 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a baking dish. Lay your sliced squash evenly and flip to coat in the oil.
Bake for about 15-20mins, then flip and return to the oven to continue roasting on the other side for another 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Remove from pan and lightly sprinkle over salt and pepper.
While the squash is roasting, heat a thin layer of the safflower oil in a large pan for frying.
Once the oil is hot, add the tofu slices and brown on both sides.
Remove and drain on towels.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.
Using the roasting pan for the squash, add the tofu and evenly pour over the maple syrup, tossing to coat on both sides.
Bake the tofu for about a 1/2 hour, flipping half way through, until it is browned and slightly crisped.
Cook your rice, as per your usually methods. 2C dry rice with about double the water, usually does it for me.
Scoop the cooked rice into a nice, big bowl and to it, stir in the broccolini and frozen green peas

Serve rice family style or into individual bowls, topping with tofu, slices of squash and a handful of shoots and sprouts.
Drizzle over the tahini dressing. Taste and add more salt and freshly ground pepper, if needed.

Serves 4-6.

Pomegranate Blueberry Bran Muffin


With all the driving I’ve done over the past week or so, I can’t even begin to express my fondness for finding an occasional Starbucks instead of a McDonald’s along the way.

I mean, what could be better that 9 hours of driving with a Venti Soy Macchiato and a bran muffin? Yup, I live dangerously.

Now I’m home and can get my crazy fix by the dozen.

POMEGRANATE BLUEBERRY BRAN MUFFINS

1/2 Cup Pomegranate Juice
2/3 Cup Soy Milk
1/2 Cup Blueberry Soy Yogurt, or plain would do in a pinch
1/3 Cup Safflower Oil
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, slightly packed
2 Cups Bran
1 Cup Self Rising Pastry Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup Fresh Blueberries, washed & picked over for stems

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
In a saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice to a boil and reduce by about half. (About 5 minutes total.)
Remove the juice from the heat and cool while you combine the milk, yogurt, oil and brown sugar in a large bowl.
Add the bran, flour, salt, soda and blueberries to the wet ingredients, then pour over the pomegranate juice, mixing just to moisten.
Lightly spray a large muffin tin and generously spoon in the batter.
Bake until firm and browned, about 20 – 25 minutes.
Let them cool slightly in the pan before turning out to a rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

Like Peas & Carrots


These friendly, sweet vegetables just go together. Fresh with a splash of Asian inspired dressing, it’s crisp and sooths the summer heat

I’m guessing these would go great with these Scallion Pancakes and just about anything grilled. Give it a try.

ASIAN PEA & CARROT SALAD

1/2 Lb Snow Peas, thinly sliced lengthwise, julienne
1 Lb Baby Carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise, matchsticks
1 teaspoon Freshly Grated Ginger, peeled
4 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
Pinch Sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Sesame seeds, black if you can find them

In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
If using regular white sesame seeds, lightly toast them in a dry pan until they just become golden over a medium-high heat. If using the black sesame seeds, you may skip this step.
Wash and thinly slice the vegetables. Toss them together in your serving bowl with your fingers to mix.
Drizzle and toss the dressing over the peas and carrots.
Sprinkle over the sesame seeds to serve.

Low Fat Granola


I wouldn’t go so far as to label myself a hippie or anything. Although I do enjoy a good amount of Canned Heat, I’m just not old enough. What I could call myself is frugal. I grew up with granola in the house but it was “Dad’s Cereal”. Which is, of course, why it was so elusive. We were told it was too expensive for us to burn through on a Saturday morning and we were much better off with the Fruit Loops within reach. However, little did my Mother know that as one of the few occasions my brother and I would get along, we would tag team to the top shelf for a sneaky handful from the protected bag of goodness.

Being the rebel that I am, I’ve continued to prefer granola over mass produced O’s, but the one tidbit of price tag always stuck with me. The giant yellow box is half the price of the tiny one I covet. Seeing you can’t stuff air into oatmeal must be one reason for the price difference and of course, that age old saying of getting what you pay for.

As frugal as I am, I tend to never order in a restaurant or buy anything food wise that I could easily make for myself at home. Granola, naturally fits into this category quite well. After recently receiving a bag each of dried papaya and almonds I hit my pantry to complete the list of ingredients.

Although filled with a little more of the good stuff than most store brands, I would call it pretty close to that shoveled childhood handful. All I need to go with it is the bravery of Lolo to commit to making my own soy milk to go with it.

LOW FAT TROPICAL GRANOLA

2 Cups Whole Oats, Old Fashioned
1/3 Cup Dried Papaya, 2 spears halved and diced
1/3 Cup Almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Safflower Oil
3 Tablespoons Blue Agave Nectar
2 Tablespoons Brown Rice Syrup

Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
Toss the oats, papaya, almonds, coconut and salt together in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan combine the oil, agave and syrup.
Mix well to combine and heat until it just begins to bubble.
Remove from the heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well to coat.
Spread evenly over a parchment lined, edged cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Stir to mix and rotate pan.
Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
Shake granola lightly to break apart any large piece and leave to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.

Magic Soup


My ever problem solving daughter is always creating new suggestions for dinner and desserts; favourites like Mialita, Chuchetta and the like. Her recipes, with the addition of marshmallows, ketchup and eggs kind of remind me of that show that aired around here in the 80’s I always wanted to go on, “Just Like Mom” But this morning, when I rolled out of bed complaining of still feeling under the weather from the night before, she suggested Magic Soup.

Magic soup is something that we’ve made before and she will eat it. All of it, as if it were well, like, magic.

First she’ll tell me onion, then a carrot, some tomatoes maybe a little celery if she’s daring and somehow this soup is normal… soothing and delicious, kind of like Minestrone.

Although my barren stomach felt it couldn’t handle much more than the thought of dry toast, her idea of this to make me better was just what I needed.

Like the kiss on the forehead you’d get from your mom when you were sick, I got one from my five year old and her bowl of soup.
Continue reading Magic Soup