Food Time – A Many Mushroom Risotto

I don’t know if you knew this about me but I LOVE mushrooms. I think they are one of the greatest things out there, cooked, raw, mashed into a paste anyway you can think it up I want to eat them. So a couple of weeks ago during a meal prep day I decided to make some delicious Many Mushroom Risotto, and it was so tasty!   Just for the fun of it I made this one vegan and trust you don’t lose any of the delicious creaminess or flavour you would get had I used butter and cheese, plus it cuts the fat/calorie content so it ends up being a super healthy meal.

Enough talk, I am sure you are all salivating so here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Many Mushroom Risotto:

Serves 8-10 as a main meal

mushroom risotto1.5 cups Arborio rice
2 tbsp oil (I used grape seed oil it’s better for frying)
4 cups Vegetable stock (I use homemade, but if you need to get store bough get organic)
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
3 Leeks, white and light green parts chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
4 sprigs of Thyme, finely chopped
1 Portobello Mushroom, diced
*4oz (250g) Cremini Mushrooms, diced
*4oz (250g) Oyster Mushrooms, diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Prepare all ingredients so that you can easily toss them in, a lot of stirring is involved and you don’t want to let your risotto burn because something wasn’t already chopped up.

2. Heat half the oil in a large skillet or stew pot.  Once oil heats up add in all of your mushrooms, cook them down until they are soft 5-7 minutes.  Once cooked remove and set aside.

3. Add other half of oil to pan and heat, once heated add in leeks, onions and garlic cook for 2-5 minutes until the onions become soft and translucent.

4. Add in arborio rice stir in dry rice for about a minute to coat with all the juices that are going on in the pan.  Add in 1 tbsp of lemon juice, stir until evaporated.

5. Add 1/2 cup of broth to the rice mixture and stir until completely absorbed, then add in another 1/2 cup of broth.  Continue this until all of the broth is gone, stirring constantly. This should take 20-25 minutes and is a great arm workout, for one arm at least.

6. Once all broth is added into the mixture add the cooked mushrooms, fresh thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined and serve immediately.

*these sizes are just one prepackaged container of mushrooms, also if you want to add more go for it, it will be super delicious!

Let me know what you think of this recipe.   I hope to be back blogging on a regular basis shortly.  School is starting to calm down (not really but I keep telling myself this) and my work and life schedule is starting to actually find a nice balance.  I hope to bring you more updates, workouts, yoga routines and recipes soon.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Food Friday – Vegan Wraps

With my new weekly food boxes I am getting loads and loads of foods I wouldn’t go out and buy on a regular basis, which is forcing me to experiment more, vary my vegetable sources more, and to get a little bit more creative with my meals to make sure I don’t let anything go to waste.

With our second shipment of rainbow chard I figured it was time to see what else I could do with this delicious green besides juicing or sautéing. So I got on the internet and started researching how to make a gluten free wrap with the leaves of the chard and what I made was so delicious.

Now there are many components to the wraps I made, however you can make it as simple or as complicated as you would like.  But if you are going to make this recipe I would recommend maybe trying it on the weekend or when you have a bit more time on your hands.  With making the slaw, bean spread, quinoa etc. it took me about an hour and 20minutes before I had a final product for eating.  I am sure this would go a bit faster if you had a friend helping you chop everything up so if you have the opportunity get your friends involved.

20140403-061538.jpg

Now let’s get down and dirty, here are all the fixings for the wraps.  Also a little side note the black bean dip is DELICIOUS with veggies, so if you have extra don’t fret just chop up some carrots and enjoy.

Black Bean Dip

20140403-061450.jpg1/2 can black beans
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp garlic Farm Boy salad dressing
2 tbsp Cilantro

Blend in food processor until smooth set aside until assembly.

Carrot and Beet Slaw:
beet and Carrot SlawIngredients:

1 Beet chopped into match sticks
3 large Carrots chopped into match sticks
1 lemon juiced
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 tsp fresh Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Process:

I used a mandolin to chop the beet and carrots into match sticks, but you can also use a grater or if you want to take the time to chop it all up by hand that is an option too.  Once everything is chopped, juiced and ready combine all raw ingredients into a large bowl.  Add parsley, salt and pepper and toss.  Set aside for later.

Other Fixings:

20140403-061515.jpg1 cup Quinoa cooked according to package.
1 small Zucchini sliced
1/2 can of black beans
Sprouts of your choosing
Any other veggies you like, sliced for easy rolling.

Prepare and set aside for wrap making.

Preparing the Rainbow Chard:

Chop off the hard ends. Flip the leaf to the vein side and slice off some of the thick stem end, this will help you to wrap them.

chard prepGet water boiling in a large pot and fill your sink up with freezing cold water. Blanch the chard leaves.  Place the leaves in the boiling water for no more than 2-3minutes, then immediately transfer them into a cold water ice bath.  I did this with one leaf at a time so that I had a bit more control over the cooking time.

Dry them off and get ready to assemble your wraps.

Assembling Wraps:

20140403-061554.jpg1. After drying off the leaves lay them flat on a cutting board or other hard surface.

2. Spread the bean dip down the center of the leave and then I would recommend placing quinoa and beans first so they kind of stick to the dip.

3. Add all other fixings, zucchini, sprouts, carrot slaw and wrap.  Starting at the end with all your fixings fold over the sides (inward) and being rolling. You will want to keep curling in the outer edges so you get a nice tight wrap without anything falling out.  The first one might feel like a disaster but trust me you will get the hang of it.

20140403-061526.jpgI ate mine with a fork and knife but if you want to get in there and get dirty feel free to attack these bad boys with your hands.

Happy Friday!  I hope you enjoy these veggie packed tummy filling meal.

 

 

Weekend Round Up

This weekend started out with one of the longest sleeps of my life. After not having the greatest sleep Thursday evening I was ready to come home from work and just crash. After attempting to get in a full workout at the gym Friday evening I came home took a wonderfully relaxing and detoxifying Epsom salt bath and packed it in all before the sun went down.

I woke up Saturday feeling refreshed and ready for the day. My morning was filled with yoga plan revision and heading to the gym bright and early to get warmed up. I taught a super relaxing and rejuvenating restorative yoga class and then headed home to cram in some school work before heading out again to teach my regularly scheduled Rock N’ Roll yoga class that afternoon.
20140331-165401.jpg

After all the yoga teaching was done for the day it was time to get ready for the evening. I was having some ladies over for a nice evening in. We played some Just Dance on the wii and got the opportunity to chat and catch up. For the evening I made some sweet potato kale bites which were pretty tasty and everyone else pitched in and brought other tasty snacks to share with the group. It was great getting everyone together to say hello, between kids, work and other life commitments it can be challenging to get everyone in a room together.

Sunday was much more relaxed with some more school work, food prep and watching some bad TV on Netflix it was a nice and relaxing afternoon.

Now it is Monday and my school/work week has started up again. I am excited to dive into my new course and learn more about healthy lifelong diet planning.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends and that your Monday is a great start to this week ahead
.

Protein: What is your Deal?

Ever since completing my course on Nutrition and Wellness I have had some friends come to me with questions about what they are eating; is it enough? Is it too much? is there anything missing? Knowing that no one is perfect I think as humans we are always looking for where there is room for improvement and what types of things we can fix. One of the things I have seen the most frequently and something that I personally struggled with was eating enough protein.

What is a protein anyways? Well there are two different types of protein: complete and incomplete. A complete protein is a food that has all 9 essential amino acids in balanced proportions, an example of this is would be eggs, eggs are basically amazing. An incomplete protein, you guessed it, lacks one or more essential amino acids, an example of this would be nuts or seeds. For meat eaters getting all of your essential amino acids really isn’t an issue seeing they are all present in meat (poultry, beef, pork, etc), for vegetarians and vegans or the meat adverse it might just take a bit of extra finagling to make sure you are getting all essental amino acids. A non-meat eater can do this by combining two or more incomplete proteins (e.g. rice and beans) to create one complete protein. There are also foods such as quinoa and soy which are non-meat forms of complete proteins.

Protein CollageNow that we know what a protein is, what are they good for? Proteins are used by the body for just about everything, from tissue (muscle) repair, to helping transport vitamins and minerals all over your body. When you think of all the things that proteins do it makes sense that they should be an important part of your daily meal planning. I believe it is also important to note that protein is essential for all people (sedentary to bodybuilders and professional athletes) the levels of protein your body needs to consume in order to operate at its maximum capacity just change based on your activity levels. It is pretty reasonable to think that a bodybuilder or a professional runner would require more protein than someone that spends most of their day working in an office and rarely makes time for exercise…but this doesn’t mean those who are more sedentary need protein any less for daily functioning.

The average person requires 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, so about 0.4g per pound, depending on how active you are this number can go up (1.3g per kg if you are active or pregnant and 1.8g per kg if you are an athlete or training). For example if you are a 150lbs woman who is active on a daily basis you should be aiming to consume about 88.7g of protein each day.

How are you supposed to track this? How do you make sure you are getting enough? To find out the quantity of protein in something the first place I look is normally the nutrition lable, they break down how much protein (among other things) per serving and it will give you an idea of what you are feeding your body. Other useful tools for tracking your protein intake are apps such as Lose It that help you to log everything you have eaten in a day and it keeps track of your calories, protein, sugars, and activity levels. Personally I journal, I like the act of writing out the food I eat and I don’t calorie count because well it makes me totally crazy and I find that the ownership behind writing out your meals is enough to keep me on target to meet my goals. That being said everyone is different so be sure to find something that works for you.

When adding or changing anything in your life it is always good to do a bit of research to get a general idea of what is out there. For ensuring you are getting adequate amounts of protein in your diet it shouldn’t be any different. Go out and find out what some of your favourite foods have to offer in the way of protein and maybe check out ways of increasing it. Knowing the average amounts of proteins in food will make it a bit easier for you to plan your meals.

Here are a couple examples of foods and their protein levels; 1 cup of milk has about 8 grams, 3 oz of meat has about 21 grams, and 1 cup of dried beans can have about 16 grams of protein. Now there are other things that contain protein, such as vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, and peas), nuts, legumes, quinoa, chia seeds, sea food (most would consider this meat), any dairy product, dairy substitutes like fortified soy milk or almond milk, the list is pretty endless.

If protein is so essential why aren’t we more aware of it? I don’t think protein avoidance is something that anyone tries to do; I believe that it comes down to education. I think a lot of us, especially meat eaters take for granted that we are getting enough protein because we eat meat, and I think some non-meat eaters may not be aware of the plenitude of options out there. Before I was given guidelines for healthy living I really just assumed my muscles were supposed to be sore for a week after working them out, it hadn’t occurred to me that maybe they needed something more to help them heal.

 Guidelines for Healthy Living

Armed with information I am able to make better choices for my body and I am sure my body and muscles thank me for making healthier choices. To help you make some healthier choices when it comes to protein intake I have included a list of protein packed foods for breakfasts and snacks. I am focusing on breakfast and snacks because I personally find that they can at times be the most difficult ones to figure out in terms of what to include to get your protein.

breakfast-egg

healthy-snacks-weightlossI hope these ideas help you in your own healthy meal planning, and I hope that despite the snow today you are having a great day!

Happy Tuesday!


References:

How Much Protein Should I Eat
Protein
Can You Get too Much Protein?
Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Protein

It’s Food Friday – Sugar Edition

So this food time Friday is brought to you by my running/ exercise partner Susan. For Gingersneezes anniversary she graciously donated her time and amazing baking skills to make us some dairy free, bite size fruit tarts.
bannerAlthough it took a bit of wrestling and testing out the recipe to make them dairy free, she did it and they turned out absolutely amazing, thank goodness she made so many of them because they were definitely in high demand.  Please note that these treats are super tasty but they are treats, it is good to indulge every now and then, it is a part of finding a balance.  With that in mind always remember to reward yourself but do what you can to keep your progress on track.

So here it is Susan’s Sugar Post:

Vegan Fruit Tarts:

Makes approx. 45-50 mini tarts

Pie Crust:

2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp
sugar
1 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 tbsp ice water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl.

2.Cut the “butter” into the flour with a pastry blender, 2 knives, or just your hands until it is crumbly. Add the ice water one Tbsp at a time until the dough comes together (try not too work it too much). You can add up to 4 additional Tbsp of water if necessary.

3.Divide dough in half, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 to 60 minutes. Once ready roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut to fit in mini muffin tray (or regular muffin tray) using a cookie cutter (or glass).

4.Bake for approximately 18 – 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on pastries when baking! Remove and allow to cool.
pie collage
Pie Filling:

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla
11 quartered strawberries
22 halved blackberries

1. Chop berries and have them ready to go. Once the custard is finished it will set quickly so you will want the pie crust and berries ready to go.

2.  In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and water until creamy, an electric mixer is recommended for this if you don’t have an electric mixer put some elbow grease into it, should take about 4 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a simmer. Pour about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the sugar mixture and stir till well mixed, be sure the milk and sugar combo is slightly runny. Pour this sugar-milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Return to the stove and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly.  Don’t stop whisking!  Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan as you whisk.  Continue cooking and mixing until the mixture thick and creamy (it may bubble but it likely wont) and then whisk as fast as you can for about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Depending on the milk you have used it

5. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as you whisk. Cook until it begins to bubble, then whisk as vigorously as you can for 30 seconds, and remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. (Mine never bubbled. If yours doesn’t either, just remove from heat when it seems about as thick as your average chocolate pudding.)

Assembling your Tarts:

1. Pour the custard into the mini pies right away, smoothing it flat with a spatula or a spoon.

2. Top with halved blackberries and strawberries immediately.  The custard firms up quickly so be sure to top as fast as you can.

3. Serve and enjoy!
pies CollageThank you so much Susan for treating everyone to these tasty little bits! I hope everyone that braves the recipe enjoys them as much as we did!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend!  

*original recipe found here

Food Friday Has Arrived

Luckily this recipe really turned out well and I was able to mix two of my favourite vegetables mushrooms and brussel sprouts. So before we get into the recipes I am going to share some of the wonderful things I have learnt about brussel sprouts, besides their delicious flavour of course. Brussel sprouts are awesome because:

  1. they are a cruciferous vegetable which means they have amazing cancer fighting goodness in them, similar to kale;
  2. each serving of brussel sprouts (about 4 sprouts or 1/2 cups) has 2 grams of protein which is pretty great for a vegetable; and
  3. they give oranges a run for their money when it comes to vitamin C levels, so put them on your list of foods to eat when you are feeling under the weather.

Miso Glazed Brussel Sprout and Mushrooms:

Makes 6 servings
Time: approximately 50minutes


Ingredients:

1.5 cups brown rice
2 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 block of extra firm tofu
1 lb Brussel Sprouts
12 oz Mushrooms ( 4 oz Shitaki and 8 oz Cremini)
1 Onion diced
2 cloves of crushed Garlic
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Rosemary chopped
3 tbsp Oil (olive or peanut)
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Miso
1 tbsp Water

prep tofu mushroom

  1. Begin by removing access water from the block of tofu and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add rice and broth to a broth cooker, should take approximately 40minutes.
  2. While that is happening trim and quarter the brussel sprouts, place them in a bowl large enough for tossing. Once all brussel sprouts have been trimmed at 1 tsp of oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp of chopped rosemary. Mix well and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Place brussel sprouts in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes watching them so they don’t burn. There is no need to flip the sprouts, unless you feel they may burn.
  4.  While the brussel sprouts cook prepare the other ingredients, chop onions, dice mushrooms, and dice tofu into small cubes. Set prepared vegetables aside and whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar, miso and rosemary for the glaze. Once all ingredients have mixed together add water and continue whisking until glaze is thoroughly combined and set aside.
  5. Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat. Place tofu in oil-less pan and dry fry approximately 10 minutes.
  6. Once brussel sprouts are ready remove from the oven and place in a medium sized bowl. Add tofu to same bowl once it has finished cooking.
  7. Lower heat on pan to medium and spray light with oil. Place onions and cook until they become translucent (about 3-5 minutes) at this point add in mushrooms. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until juices begin to escape from the mushrooms. Add in tofu and brussel sprouts and top with miso glaze. Mix well to be sure everything is properly coated. Allow to sit and absorb flavours storing periodically for another 5 minutes.
  8. Plate by layering brussel sprout and mushroom mixture on top of rice, serve immediately.

*if you like a little extra sauce I would recommend doubling the quantities in the glaze.

final product supper final product supper 2

Information on brussel sprouts was obtained from Leslie Beck RD and Foodland Ontario

Backyard Patio Veganfest

Last night I had some amazing ladies over for what will hopefully not be the last patio party of the summer. The weather turned out amazing, the company was great and the food was phenomenal!
vegan dinnersTo keep the evening easy we all opted to make some appetizers for sharing so we could test out new recipes and share old ones. It turned into an amazing outdoor veganfest and boy was it tasty. With appetizers like homemade hummus, summer rolls (or rice wraps), spinach dip, mushroom olive tapenade and fruit salad for desert we all ended the night feeling extremely stuffed, but the evening felt exactly like summer should and I am so sad to see this season slowly fade away.

One of my contributions to the evening was a vegan spinach dip. It was a bit of a Frankenstein creation, where I pieced together items that I figured would probably go well together and it really panned out, so I am so excited to share! This dip was delicious cold but I have a feeling it would also be amazing if it was baked, so next time I will test it out.

Spinach Dip

Makes 6 servings – 25.3 calories – 0.7g fat – 190.0mg sodium – 3.7g Carbs – 0.9g Fiber – 2.6g Protein

spinach-dip

1 package of extra firm silken tofu
1 bouillon cube veg. GF
1.5 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp braggs soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper*
2 green onions diced
1/2 cup diced and steamed spinach
2 tbsp lemon juice
Black pepper to taste

Steam chopped spinach. You will need at least twice as much raw spinach, if not more, to yelled 1/2 cup steamed. Set aside to cool. If you are pressed for time chopped spinach from the freezer section works fine, but be sure to drain the liquid.

In a blender mix together the first 7 ingredients. While they blend squeeze 2tbsp of fresh lemon juice and dice the green onions (white and green parts).

Place tofu mixture in a medium bowl and fold in lemon juice and green onion. Once nicely mixed together add in the cold steamed spinach mix vigorously to make sure the spinach breaks up and is evenly distributed in the dip.

Chill for an hour to let set. Serve with rice crackers, pita bread or vegetables.

*with 1/2 tsp of cayenne the mix is pretty very spicy. If you or your guests are spice adverse I would recommend lowering this amount to 1/8 tsp.

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all have great plans for the weekend. Mine include running and organizing the house – so excited!

Just a heads up I have updated the Snacks and Desserts page.