Fresh herbs add flavour to summer salads

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I love my herb garden. This year I’m growing basil, parsley,lemon thyme, sage, oregano,coriander and even curry.
Next time you make a salad, try adding fresh parsley and basil to your salad greens. It will brighten things up.

Soups on!

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I love soup! It’s so easy to make and now that it’s harvest time, there are so many vegetables to choose from. Just throw in your favourite, add liquid, simmer and you are done. Its really that easy.
I came up with this combo because I had these vegetables in my fridge.
This is also a great detox soup.

INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp organic olive oil
4 leeks washed and chopped ( or 1 medium onion)
2 celery stalks chopped
4 medium carrots chopped
4 small zucchini chopped
3 litres chicken stock or broth or vegetable stock )
2 cups tomato purée
1 bunch lacinado kale ( any kale will do) stemmed and chopped
2 cups water ( if needed)*
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed chilli peppers to taste
Hemp hearts (optional BUT yummy so get some)

PREPARATION:

Heat oil in a heavy bottom stock pot. Add leeks and cook on medium heat 7-10 minutes. Add celery, carrots and zucchini.
I add a good tsp of chilli peppers to the vegetables because I like the heat. Cook on medium heat another 5-10 minutes to soften the vegetables and bring out their natural sugars. Add stock and tomato purée. Add chopped kale and enough water to completely cover the vegetables.
Cook on medium-high heat bringing it to a gentle boil then reduce to lowest heat, cover and simmer 30-45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle a few tbsp of hemp hearts on your soup*
Note: if you don’t have broth or stock, use water instead.

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NUTRITION FACTS:

CELERY contains bone-beneficial silicon and cancer-fighting phenolic acids and may even help reduce blood pressure.

KALE can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.

LEEKS, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables.
Given their substantial polyphenol content, including their notable amounts of kaempferol, we would expect to see overlap with garlic and onions in terms of support for many health problems related to oxidative stress and chronic low-level inflammation. These health problems would include atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergic airway inflammation. We would also expect to see leeks providing measurable amounts of protection against several different types of cancer, mostly likely including colorectal cancer. It’s important to remember that even in the absence of research studies to confirm health benefits, leeks still belong to the same allium vegetable family as onions and garlic and contain many health-supportive substances that are similar to (or identical with) the substances in their fellow allium vegetables.

ZUCCHINI: Several recent studies have underscored the unique contribution made by summer squash to our antioxidant requirements. While not as rich in some of the more widely-publicized antioxidants like beta-carotene, summer squash is a very strong source of other key antioxidant nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Since the skin of this food is particularly antioxidant-rich, it’s worth leaving the skin intact and purchasing organic summer squash to help avoid potential unwanted contaminants.

ZUCCHINI is one of the very low calorie vegetables; provide only 17 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
It is a very good source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte and helps bring the reduction in blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressure-effects of sodium.

TOMATOES are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their oftentimes-rich concentration of lycopene. Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene, its antioxidant properties, and bone health. A study was designed in which tomato and other dietary sources of lycopene were removed from the diets of postmenopausal women for a period of 4 weeks, to see what effect lycopene restriction would have on bone health. At the end of 4 weeks, women in the study started to show increased signs of oxidative stress in their bones and unwanted changes in their bone tissue. The study investigators concluded that removal of lycopene-containing foods (including tomatoes) from the diet was likely to put women at increased risk of osteoporosis. They also argued for the importance of tomatoes and other lycopene-containing foods in the diet. We don’t always think about antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but it is, and tomato lycopene (and other tomato)

Much of the research on CARROTS has traditionally focused on carotenoids and their important antioxidant benefits. After all, carrots (along with pumpkin and spinach) rank high on the list of all commonly-consumed U.S. antioxidant vegetables in terms of their beta-carotene content. But recent research has turned the health spotlight onto another category of phytonutrients in carrots called polyacetylenes. In carrots, the most important polyacetylenes include falcarinol and falcarindiol. Several recent studies have identified these carrot polyacetylenes as phytonutrients that can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells, especially when these polyacetylenes are found in their reduced (versus oxidized) form. These new findings are exciting because they suggest a key interaction between the carotenoids and polyacetylenes in carrots. Apparently, the rich carotenoid content of carrots not only helps prevent oxidative damage inside our body, but it may also help prevent oxidative damage to the carrot polyacetylenes. In other words, these two amazing groups of phytonutrients in carrots may work together in a synergistic way to maximize our health benefits!antioxidants) may have a special role to play in this area.

HEMP contains:

* All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
* A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.
* Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.3
* Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.
* A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
* A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.
* A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
* The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.

Nutrition facts from whfoods.org

Cauliflower stands up

Cauliflower, part of the cabbage family is coming into season.
So, what do you do with this head of cauliflower?
It’s a blank slate and is screaming for help, so here’s one way you can help it along.

Curry sesame cauliflower rice

INGREDIENTS:

1 small to medium head cauliflower
3-4 tbsp virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter
2-3 tbsp organic sesame seeds
1 tsp crushed(powdered) hot pepper (or cayenne)
2 tsp curry powder
Sea salt to taste
Gluten-free curry powder
PREPARATION:

Remove any brown spots from the cauliflower. Grate the entire cauliflower using the largest holes in your grater.
In a large non-stick skillet, at medium high heat, melt your virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter, add sesame seeds, and spices and cook 20 seconds. Add grated cauliflower and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Careful not to overcook the cauliflower. Sprinkle with desired salt and serve hot.

Curried sesame cauliflower rice

What is Paleo?

I’m often asked, “What is Paleo?” and ” Do you eat Paleo?”

If you’ve looked through my recipes
you would know that not all of them are 100% Paleo. I try to cook and eat as clean as possible however,
I am human and do make exceptions, especially on trips to Quebec when I MUST sample local artisanal cheese and at family gatherings when my sister-in-law brings the most ridiculous sampling of squares from a local bakery #SONOTPALEO!

Eat clean, eat Paleo at least 80% of the time. Indulge…now and then 🙂

Eating Paleo is simple and like any eating plan, it requires a bit of planning and adjustment at first.
So, for those of you that are embarking on a Paleo challenge or are just curious about “what is and is NOT Paleo, I found a great Paleo Nutritional Guide.
Check out the link below:

http://www.balancedbites.com/GUIDE/BalancedBitesNutritionGuide.pdf

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Asian inspired slaw

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Cool down with this Asian slaw. No cooking required, make this ahead, keep refrigerated for a few days. Add some protein, keep it simple and quick. When I’m rushed for time I add leftover shredded chicken or store-bought shredded roasted chicken right to this slaw. It pairs well with shrimp and lobster too.
To save time purchase pre-shredded mixed cabbage or slaw and just add the dressing.
Use 4 cups of slaw.
If you have a food processor follow the instructions below.

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 head each of red and green cabbage, finely shredded in food processor~ 3 cups total
1/2 cup store-bought broccoli slaw
1/4 cup store-bought match stick carrots
2 green onions chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger(optional)*
1 1/2 -2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Sesame seeds for garnish

PREPARATION:
Microwave honey for 10 seconds, then add vinegar,lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl add the cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots and green onions. Pour in the dressing and mix. Refrigerate at least an hour.
Garnish with sesame seeds.

Get planting

This is the perfect weekend to plant some herbs if you havent already done so. Basil is one of those herbs that keeps on giving. All you require is a sunny spot on your balcony or backyard and a planting container.
I suggest you purchase a few good size plants, water and feed them and in a month or so you’ll have enough basil to make and store pesto over the winter months. Sure beats running to the store every time you need a few leaves.

I’ve got a few containers planted already. Tomorrow, I’ll share my walnut basil pesto recipe.

Basil

Happy 85th Birthday Mom

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I took a bit of a break this week from posting. My apologies for that however, I am back.
Happy Easter to all that celebrated today. I suppose there were Easter egg hunts and family gatherings with plenty of good food. Hope you took time to reunite with your family and friends.
This year marked my Mother’s 85th Birthday. Yesterday our family gathered together, shared a lovely dinner and a lot of laughs. My mother, always at the helm had us all in stitches, as she recounted her early days in Canada. There are too many stories to tell. Now that she has her own lap top she has a place to keep them.
From my family to yours, here’s to your health. DSC04929

Can’t afford not to eat this

How much do you think this costs?

Food prices are on the rise. Have at look at this article. http://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2012/12/07/food_prices_predicted_to_rise_in_canada_in_2013.html

Our Canadian climate doesn’t afford us the luxury of growing our own vegetables in the winter. If you’re like me, and you are consuming vegetables at every meal, you’ll likely be shopping a few times a week for your produce and you’ll pay $$.

With food costs going up how can we make buying produce more affordable? In the summer, we’ll plant a garden, but that’s a future post. 😉
Take a guess at how much I spent on all this produce?

To make it simpler, I will give you an itemized list.
Oh, by the way, I had already put 6 small zucchini in the fridge.

LIST:

6 small zucchini
1 broccoli
1 small cauliflower
3 large red onions
2 green onions
5 avocados
8 limes
1 rosemary
1 thyme
2 pints blueberries
1 large pre-washed bag spinach
2 large yellow beets
2 large red beets
3 medium cucumbers
6 small bulbs garlic
2 large red peppers
1 large green pepper
1 medium yellow pepper
1 large parsley
1 large cilantro
2 large jalapeno peppers