Sunday, May 31, 2015

Forest Foraging for Spring Edibles

Last weekend we ventured into the forests of Stratford, Ontario, and searched for wild leeks, Pheasant-back mushrooms, fiddleheads, Day Lily shoots, edible flowers, and other bites. Our guide, Peter, was fantastic! If you're interested in participating in one of his afternoons, I'll post the link here. After foraging, I prepared a big feast for my family. Fiddleheads tasted great pre-blanched and then sauteed with oil, lemon, and salt. I crisped-up the mushrooms and leeks, and steamed the day-lilies. All of the side-dishes paired perfectly with a nice white-fish. *Bonus during our foraging afternoon was visiting a local hobby-farm and playing with the baby goats. Forget having a dog...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Overnight Oats with a Twist

Chia seeds have gained a lot of momentum in the "powerhouse foods" movement lately, and for good reason. They are packed with protein - which is great news for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike - and they are extremely hydrating if pre-soaked before eating. To make this funky, colourful breakfast you will need to acquire some type of purple or red juice. Anything with pomegranate, berries, grapes, beets, or deep coloured fruits and vegetables will work. I used a beet and berry blend I found on-sale at the market. In a jar, add 1/2 cup of oats and 2 tbs of chia seeds per person. Cover with the dark juice and a splash of almond milk. Pretend you are making rice and aim for a 1:2 ratio of dry ingredients to liquid. The chia seeds will absorb A LOT more liquid than you think possible. Sweeten with honey or stevia and add any fruits you think will taste good with the juice's flavor. I used earthy pear to compliment the earthy beet and berry juice. Pop the jar in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, you can leave out the fruit and toss it over in the morning, as seen in this picture. Also used was a teaspoon of sprinkled bee pollen. (For no other reason than the pretty contrasting colours). In the morning you will have a thick and creamy porridge. If the flavour doesn't work for you, or the mixture is too thick, adding a little bit of orange juice can brighten the taste and water-down the mixture. And, if you really botched it, cut up a banana and dates and chuck em' in. Bananas and dates solve everything.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yellow Power Smoothie

Find everything yellow in your fridge and blend it! This smoothie has banana, pineapple, orange, lemon, mango, and as a little twist, turmeric. There's plenty enough sweetness to carry the bitter benefits of the grated root. If you're still worried, then throw a Medjool date into the blender. As seen on my blog lately, I have been making all of my food "medicinal." Hot morning drinks have chaga and reishi. Salads get sprinkled with spirulina and ground hemp. Meanwhile, chocolate-avocado puddings get a dose of raw cacao and mucuna. Yellow ingredients, in particular, carry a number of benefits. They contain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that notoriously smack you in the face with brightness. Ie: there's nothing like an orange to wake you up! Bromelain, limonoids, luein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, etc. can be found in yellow foods like citrus, squash (and their blossoms), yellow bell peppers, corn, yellow tomatoes, bananas, plantains, and more.

Apple, Spinach, Cucumber Smoothie

When not using bananas in a smoothie, it is important to find both sweetness and creaminess in other ingredients. Take this morning drink for example. I balanced the tartness of a green apple with pineapple juice and stevia. A few slices of avocado added at the end, like mentioned in previous posts, make a smoothie rich and buttery. I always advocate for using a small amount of "fat" in your smoothie (ie: avocado, a little spoon of coconut oil, raw dairy, etc). to avoid the mixture separating and looking unappealing. Creamy ingredients work to bind starchier ingredients and produce one smooth, consistent colour. Cucumbers have also been a new favourite of mine lately. Just cut a large hunk of the vegetable and toss it into the mix. Its flavor works seamlessly with both fruit smoothies and veggie-only versions; plus, it's ultra refreshing in the hot weather.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Strawberry Banana Nicecream

This is a non-dairy frozen fruit blend. Because every ingredient is perfectly healthy (and it's really just a more solid version of a smoothie) you can eat it for breakfast too! You'll need a strong blender. I used my Vitamix and made liberal use of the tamper attachment. Process 2 frozen bananas, a little vanilla, a few frozen strawberries, a pinch of orange zest, and enough almond milk to get things moving (but not turned into a smoothie). If you like your "nicecream" sweeter, then add stevia extract, honey, or agave syrup. Acai berry powder would also be a good addition if you want its extra tang flavor. A little bit of your favourite vanilla protein powder works too, if you want a more substantial meal out of this. I also dropped a few dried strawberries through the open lid of the blender while it was churning. They added a nice chewy texture; kind of like a traditional ice cream's cookie-dough. Garnish with caramel-y mulberries or cacao nibs.