Thursday, 29 August 2013

Fiesta Burrito Bowl.

Sometimes, I just want a little fiesta sitting in my bowl, so that I can feast my eyes on it's prettiness, then demolish it by mixing all the ingredients into a not so good looking mess of deliciousness.




I also figured that since I had all the ingredients to truly make this one from scratch, I'd try my hand at making refried beans, which sound much less healthy than they actually are. I have no idea why I never made them before, so so easy and so so good. Plus, I get to know everything that's in them, no more preservatives for this chick.

There is just something awesome about grain bowls that has me coming back for more. Seriously, I could eat these every day, there are so many possibilities and every day could be totally different with the same basic concept in mind. Choose a grain, or a medley of grains, choose toppings and a sauce/dressing. Simple, quick and delicious.







Burrito Fiesta Bowl

Ingredients:

Makes 2 large bowls.

- 4 cups cooked rice.
- One recipe Refried Black Beans

Toppings:
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced.
- 1 romaine heart, shredded.
- 1 avocado diced. 
- Salsa (optional)
- Hot sauce. 

Assemble bowl in layers and enjoy!


Refried Black Beans

- About 2 cups Black beans, cooked.
- 1/4 cup minced onion.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- Pinch of cayenne
- S/P to taste

Throw all the ingredients into a medium pan on medium-high heat. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the beans until smooth and incorporated with the water. Cook down to desired consistency. Serve nice and hot! 

I might just go and make this again... Enjoy!!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sweet Surrender Zucchini Pasta

This summer has my food cravings going through different seasons every other week. Last week, it was fall, I wanted warmth and density because of the colder days and chilly evening. This week, it's bright and sunny and calls for fresh no-cook meals.

Since I do strive to live a raw lifestyle, with tons of fruit and veggies in their most natural form, I love those days when I just want fresh and raw foods. It's also a perk cause it means not having to turn on the stove or the oven. I find that I get my most creative when experimenting with my raw savoury dinners, where the sky is the limit and I love surprising people with the versatility of raw foods, without even venturing into the gourmet aspect of it.




Right now, almost all I can think of is fresh corn. I've always looked forward to this time of year, simply because I can indulge in mountains of it without killing my wallet. I've gotten more picky about my corn in the last few years though. I prefer local and refuse to eat any of it if I cant be 100% sure that it isn't GMO. So organic is the best way to go, or just talking to the farmers at the local farmer's market where there is tons of organic produce that isn't necessarily certified.

GMO's are a big issue right now, with so little testing being done before they hit the market, and the testing being done is usually solely by the manufacturers, there are too many side effects and unanswered questions for me to justify thinking they are truly safe. There are some great documentaries on the subject, like "The World According to Monsanto", "Seeds of Death" and the like. The independent studies that have been conducted, have shown some effects that I'm not willing to take a chance on!

Onto happier topics.

This pasta is quite delicious and overt-fat-free, although I have been known to add a little avocado now and again. It's incredibly fresh. No boring salads on this table.





Sweet Surrender Zucchini Pasta
Ingredients:

- 2.5 cups corn, raw.
- 1 date, soaked for about 10 minutes.
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 cup water
- Pepper, to taste.

- 4-5 medium zucchini, spiralized or peeled into ribbons.
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced.

Blend all the sauce ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth but still retaining some texture.

In a large bowl, pour sauce onto noodles then add tomatoes. Add extra pepper if desired.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Delectable Roasted Roots




With new potatoes starting to pop up at the local farmers markets and the weather not being crazy hot, these awesome roasted vegetables were calling to me. Not very labour intensive, they deliver little bursts of flavour that are great to enjoy on a cooler evening. I will admit that they are more of a fall theme, which in my mind fits for Toronto at the moment with weird cold spells having come our way in the last week. 

Confession: I am a carboholic, a sugar monkey and a glucose junkie. 

Keeping a high vibe life calls for carbs, they provide your body with the best type to fuel to stay healthy and energized for any task that is presented to you. Having experimented with every diet, I have come to realize that restriction in any form only brings an unhealthy attitude about food. When you can eat to your heart's desire and stay healthy, it's a win-win situation in my books. Chronic under-eating is a severe problem now. There really is no need for it! Refocusing on eating the right foods and creating a healthy balanced life should be top priority for everyone. Whole foods and proper combining are the keys to health and healing. Preventative medicine is where it's at, and it starts in your grocery cart. 

The potato has gotten a bad reputation for being fattening. Well ladies and gents, I can confirm this as a myth. The problem isn't the potato, but the way we eat them. Fried, with butter and oils, laden with sour cream and cheeses of all kinds. The truth is, the potato is just the one taking the hit for the actual culprits. Upping my carbohydrate intake and lowering the fat, as well as eliminating the animal products has enabled me to bring myself back to true health. So dig in carb lovers!

Potatoes are by far my favorite starch and come in so many different types and flavour profiles that using them in a gazillion different ways is easy peasy. 

Just looking at the pictures makes me want to make them again...

Super simple and just so good that everyone will be asking for seconds. 






Delectable Roasted Roots

Ingredients:

- 3-5 medium yukon gold potatoes, diced.
- 1-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced.
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced.
- 1-2 tbsp Italian Herbs
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- S/p to taste

Preheat oven to 450 F

On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread potatoes and onions evenly. Toss a tablespoon or so of water and mix in, add spices and distribute well with your hands. 

Since we are doing this oil-free, I recommend covering the dish for the first 20 minutes so that everything cooks evenly and them uncovering to roast and caramelize for about another 20 minutes, or until desired results have been achieved. 

Enjoy!


Sunday, 4 August 2013

"Sorta Kinda Like Mom's" Spaghetti Sauce

Growing up, spaghetti sauce in our house was always vegetarian. Even though my brothers often asked my Mom to add in some meat, she very rarely relented and just stuck to her veggie filled recipe. Although once or twice she accidentally added way too much spice in the form of new hot sauces from New Orleans, or a loosely tightened cover dropping far too much cayenne. Those dinners were filled with tons of water and bread!

Her recipe was filled with specific veggies, spices and canned tomato sauce. It was delicious and quite labour intensive as I remember. She still makes it to this day and I look forward to enjoying it when I visit. However, in my own house, I neither have the slow cooker or all the spices and I try to avoid canned anything these days. Since we buy our produce in bulk and in season, I also find myself making variations of this sauce every time I make it. I also like to rotate my spices and herbs so that I actually use them, I've been lagging on that as of late so I have some that really need to be used up so I can have an excuse to buy new ones.

Simply put, my recipe tastes similar in many ways, but is different every time. I love variety and being resourceful with what I have in the fridge. This time around we found amazing local heirloom tomatoes for $15.00 a case, and while we tried to et them fresh, there was just too many which is exactly why I chose to make me some sauce. Going from there, I had red onion, zucchini, carrots and red peppers, and into the pot they went!

Simple comfort food at it's best, pre-made sauce just cannot hold up to this. This is also a quick prep recipe, although it takes a few hours to cook, it only requires minimal attention.




Just Like Mom's Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

- 20-35 medium Tomatoes, ripe. 
- 2 large zucchini, roughly chopped.
- 3 large red bell peppers, diced.
- 2 medium onions, diced.
- 5-6 medium carrots, sliced. 
- White and Black pepper
- Hot sauce of choice
- Herbs of choice (I used basil this time) 
- 3-5 large medjool dates, pitted.
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Core and roughly squeeze out seeds from all the tomatoes, place in blender with dates and sun-dried tomatoes if using and blend until smooth. This may have to be done in several batches, my tomatoes gave me about 5 liters after being blended. Pour into a large pot.

Bring to a boil then simmer for about 30-45 minutes, depending on what consistency you are looking to get in the end. I prefer a thicker sauce so I cook it a little longer, depending on the tomatoes that I use.

Add all the veggies and spices and stir to combine, bring back to a simmer and stir about every 10-15 minutes until the veggies are throughfully cooked. Taste to adjust seasonings. 

This makes a pretty huge batch of sauce, perfect for family's or anyone who like to have some on hand. 

Enjoy over your favorite pasta... or even over any starch. I love it with potatoes or rice! I served it over organic rice/corn penne with a dash of nutritional yeast to add that cheesy flavor. 

Have fun with this recipe, add any veggies you love. I often add mushrooms, other peppers, spinach, etc. Its a great low fat and high nutrient sauce that everyone will enjoy. It also keeps in the fridge for a while, although around here it never really lasts more than a few days! It freezes well, a perfect back up meal so make sure to make a huge batch if you like having quick and easy healthy solutions on hand.