Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa, a grain or seed? You decide. I won’t get into that. Should you eat it? YES!!!
It’s so versatile and easy to cook. From sweet to savoury, on its own or added to vegetables, a little goes a long way. So here is one of my fav’s.
My family loves these Quinoa cakes and I’m sure you will as well😉. These remind me of summer 2014☺️so bear with me, not bare with me😇these little cakes make me happy😄

Preparation/Cook time about a hour Makes 15 1/4cup size cakes

INGREDIENTS
5 +1/2 cups (cooked )quinoa as per package instructions ~2 cups dry
3/4 cups finely chopped shallots(or onions)
1/4 cup more or less😐Olive oil-(or try Coconut oil)
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes( I like mine pulverized😊
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup homemade fresh breadcrumbs*
4 eggs beaten
1/4 c finely chopped parsley(in summer I prefer fresh chives which are so easy to grow😎

*to make fresh breadcrumbs cut a fresh loaf of italian bread into pieces small enough to fit into a VITAMIX or other blender. Process until they are crumbs. Voila😊

TOOLS

large non-stick skillet
Spatula
Ice cream scoop 1/4 liquid measure

2015/01/img_2118.jpg

PREPARATION

Sauté shallots in 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil with a pinch of salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook on medium heat until tender and set aside to cool.
Measure out the cooked and cooled quinoa, place in a large bowl. Add cooled shallots or onions.
Beat 4 eggs with 1/2 cup water, add Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley.
Add the latter to the quinoa. Combine until blended. Let stand about 10 minutes.
On medium high heat add 1 tbsp oil in skillet. Measure out a level scoop full of quinoa into skillet. I cook about 5 per turn in my skillet. Make certain to leave some space between the cakes.

2015/01/img_2117.jpg

2015/01/img_2120.jpg

Now this is where things get pernickety 😁so hang in there with me.
After a few minutes of cooking, use the back of your spatula to ever to slightly press the cakes down to form patties. Continue searing for another 3 minutes.
5-6 minutes total per side. Patience😯 now gently turn each one over and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until they are nicely golden. You may need to coax the runaway quinoa back to their pod😅I mean patty.

2015/01/img_2131.jpg

They will be crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Eat them cooled or warm. We like a little spicy aioli with ours😍Place them on a platter for summer bbq’s, or store them in an airtight container once cooled and take a few for lunch.
This is a basic recipe. Add in whatever you wish. I prefer mine simple.
Try them out. Let me know how it went.
Love to hear from you. Be kind😘

Soups on!

Featured

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.

20130926-144748.jpg

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

Asian inspired slaw

Featured

20130706-150600.jpg

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.

Basil walnut pesto

The finished product
There are so many versions of pesto out there. This one is my go to.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup walnut halves
1 large garlic clove
1 ounce grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
cracked pepper
ground chili peppers(optional) (to taste)

PREPARATION:

Start by filling a container or pitcher with cold water. Plunge the basil leaves into the water several times, then drain the water and repeat. This is the best way to get all the dirt and sand off the basil leaves.
20130519-193818.jpg

Then lay the basil on a tea towel or paper towel to dry.
20130519-193838.jpg

Once dry, snip the leaves from the stems, measure and place in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until it forms a coarse paste. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze in ice cub trays then store in zip lock bags. Use as a marinade for grilling chicken, fish and seafood, in tomato sauce to enhance the flavor or as a sauce on its own.
20130519-193850.jpg

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

Eggplant mozzarella stacks

Veggie mozzarella stack
These veggie mozzarella stacks are a play on Eggplant Parmigiana.
The ingredients come together to create a perfect meatless main.

I’m going to give you the store-bought version of this recipe today. For those of you that are less inclined to spend the time preparing each layer this version will suffice. Later on, we’ll tackle, home-made tomato sauce, pesto and roasted peppers.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Sicilian eggplant (round light purple ones, or baby italian eggplant)
2 roasted peppers cut into thirds
1 jar plain tomato sauce
1 container good quality store-bought basil pesto
1 buffalo mozzarella cut into 1/3″ or 1/2″ rounds
flour for dredging
salt
olive oil for frying

PREPARATION:

Preheat your oven to 375′
Wash and cut the eggplant into 1″ slices, leaving the skin on.
Place a baking tray under a colander and layer the eggplant slices into the colander, lightly salting each layer. Place a paper towel over the last layer of eggplant and find something heavy to place over top. Leave this for a few hours to draw out the excess water from the eggplant before frying.
Remove the eggplant from the colander and lightly dredge each slice into flour. Rinse and dry the baking tray and place a rack over the tray. Keep this beside the stove.
In a large skillet, add enough olive oil so that it comes about 1 inch up the sides. Keep your heat at medium high. Add a few of the sliced eggplant and fry 2-3 minutes per side to achieve a light golden color. Place the cooked eggplant on the rack and sprinkle some sea salt over them.

In a baking dish (glass or ceramic) add just enough tomato sauce to lightly cover the bottom. Next, the layering begins. Place the eggplant over the sauce, then a piece of roasted pepper, mozzarella slice, 1 tsp pesto and repeat. Finish with a few tbsp of sauce.
Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
Serve warm not hot.

Avocados for dessert

Avocado Chocolate Mouse

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The avocado has been called the world’s most perfect food and has many health benefits.
The avocado or alligator pear, provides nearly 20 essential nutrients. High in fibre and rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats(omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins A,C,D,E,K, and the B vitamins (thiamine,riboflavin,niacin,pantothenic acid, biotin, B-6, B-12, folate) and potassium, the benefits of avocado are numerous.

Avocados are a versatile fruit. Great in salad dressings, soups and the key ingredient in guacamole.
Avocados can also be transformed into a delicious dessert, like this

Avocado chocolate mousse/pudding

INGREDIENTS:

2 large avocados
6 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
3 tbsp raw honey melted ( or more to taste)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk beverage (I used vanilla flavored)
grated zest of an orange

PREPARATION:

Using a food processor or blender, blend the avocado to a fine puree. Add the cocoa, then the melted chocolate chips, melted honey, vanilla, coconut milk and grated orange zest until well combined. You will need to scrape down the sides to incorporate the cocoa.
Once blended, spoon into a bowl or individual serving dishes, cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnite. This dessert will keep for several days and serves 6 ( or 4 depending on your appetite :))

Cauliflower waldorf salad

This raw salad is the perfect side when you’re craving crunch. Try it on the side or even add some chopped chicken breast for added protein.

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups chopped cauliflower florets (about 1/2 head)
1 1/2 cup chopped celery (or romaine hearts)
1 tart-sweet apple, cored and chopped (like Honeycrisp)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
5 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
1 very small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 small red chilli pepper seeded and chopped
pea sprouts ( or any sprouts) (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

PREPARATION:

Whisk, walnut oil, vinegar, honey and shallot together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl add the first three ingredients. Toss with the prepared dressing then add the chilli,sprouts and walnuts.

Raw beet and zucchini salad

I love beets. I love them roasted and especially RAW. And once again, I’ve used what I have in the fridge to build this salad. Feel free to add carrots as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 red beet washed and outer skin removed
1 yellow (orange) beet
1 zucchini washed and ends cut
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

ASIAN DRESSING:

1/4 cup rice vinegar
6 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp or more grated fresh ginger(keep it whole in a ziplock bag in the freezer)

PREPARATION:

Simply grate the beets and zucchini into a large bowl. Cover and set aside.
Ok, I used a SPIROMAT which cuts your vegetables into long spaghetti like strands. There is less handling involved and makes everything look so much nicer.
Must-Have Tools Blend the dressing ingredients with a whisk or fork. Toast your sesame seeds.
Pour as much dressing as desired onto the raw vegetables and incorporate with your hands 🙂
Top with toasted sesame seeds.
This salad will keep in your fridge covered for 5 days.