Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dinner: Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta

Perhaps you noticed the delicate curls of garlic scapes in my haul from last weekends farmers market trip... Well as of Wednesday they were still hangin' out in the bottom of my fridge. Right next to the basil...

Having never purchased them before, I was at somewhat of a loss as to what I was going to use them for. I guess I'm taking the easy way out here, but I'm pumped nonetheless. Making pesto isn't a difficult or time consuming endeavour- it's easy really!
1/2 cup rough chopped garlic scapes
1/2 cup (packed) rough chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

I am a huge advocate of my Magic Bullet. The thing has yet to let me down, so today it made pesto!

You could use a blender or food processor depending on what tools you have available in your kitchen. Thoroughly puree all ingredients together- it's that easy.

When the pasta of your choice is ready, stir in your desired amount of garlic scape pesto & enjoy!

Next up? Conquering that giant zucchini...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday: July 27, 2011

I started my day off with a slice of Karina's Whole Grain Bread with a slathering of Adams Peanut Butter.  I'm a strong supporter of starting the day off with protein- even if it's just a little bit.

I snacked on some green beans that I picked up from a fresh fruit stand on the side of the highway earlier in the week. I started in on them innocently last night, and found today that I had eaten ALL of them- but there's only a small window in the summer months when you can get fresh green beans. Gotta enjoy it!

For lunch, I had a bowl of Tortilla Soup with a quarter of an avocado. I made this soup last night for dinner, but it's always better the next day. The sharpness of the cilantro dissipates overnight & the flavors come together nicely. My chard plant was thoroughly dismantled to accommodate the needs of this recipe, but it was worth it! It'll grow back soon :)

I snacked on some fresh peas & almonds this afternoon while working on a recipe for you too!

I needed a bit of a snack before I headed to an evening hot yoga class, and indulged in one of My Favorite Chewy Granola Bars. It was the last one in the pan, and was pretty crumbled, so I threw it in a bowl with some almond milk, and WOW... I love these things!

When I got home from my sweaty session, I was starving! Luckily I had prepared a batch of garlic scape pesto which I threw in with a bit of Tinkyada brown rice & spinach spaghetti. I crave carbs like a madman after a good workout like that, and this certainly hit the spot, but apparently I didn't make enough because I still had a snack before bed! A handful of almonds & good old fashioned "Ants on a log" satisfied my sweet tooth & upped my protein a bit as well.

On another note, take my advice & avoid soups containing beans a full 24 hours before attending a yoga class. Just sayin'...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday: July 20th, 2011

As it's my only true day off today, I lazily spent an unreasonable amount of time in bed saving recipes, reading articles & blogs and perusing facebook too much for my own good. At 1:00pm I decided for the last time that I would need to get out of bed or risk starvation. For "breakfast" I had yak tacos on corn tortillas with homemade taco seasoning, farmers market salsa, organic sour cream & mesculin from my garden. Not exactly breakfast food, but leftovers from a meal two nights ago. Breakfast rang in around 419 calories including 21g fat, 29g protein & 37g carbohydrates.

My garden even provided a perfectly ripened dessert! 

With a hearty breakfast like that in my belly, I carried on buzzing around the house doing all sorts of things until 5ish when I had a snack & headed out to a hot yoga class. My granola bar netted a higher calorie count than my previous meal coming in at 441 calories with 26g fat, 10g protein & 43g carbohydrates.

Before I left the house, I turned on my rice cooker with a frozen cube of home made turkey stock and some quinoa. I was starving when I got home & dug right in! I threw some blueberries & almond milk into my magic bullet as well for a tasty treat. This brought dinner in at 479 calories, 7g fat, 20g protein & 84g carbs.

Less than an hour later I found myself hungry again (still?) so I snacked on some cold turkey with honey mustard & celery with peanut butter & dried cranberries. "Ants on a Log" was the bedtime snack of choice in our house growing up & I still love it! This extension of dinner rolled through the gates at 536 calories, 23g fat, 31g protein & 49g carbs.

According to I've missed my recommended caloric intake for the day by about 700 calories with protein & carbs not crossing the finish line either. My yoga session burned around that many, which the site automatically tacks onto your goals. A real breakfast would've helped too!

Many thanks to Peas & Crayons for hosting "What I Ate Wednesday" I hope we see much more of each other in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Calgary: Boxwood Cafe

While in Calgary last week, we went for lunch at an amazing little cafe called Boxwood located in the heart of Central Memorial Park. With the urging that we must go there, we headed down on Thursday afternoon with hungry bellies.

The menu sports all kinds of sustainable, seasonal & local producers of meat, dairy, produce, beer & spirits in addition to things like in-house made ricotta and edible flowers & roasted rhubarb from their very own garden.

The patio was packed when we got there around noon, so we regrettably sat inside. Which actually turned out to be a wonderful view on all the action!  


Mr.C had a Lamb Meatloaf Sandwich on ciabatta bread (not gluten free!)

 I opted for their Roasted Tomato & Spicy Chickpea Stew...

Along with a refreshing Quinoa Salad with cucumber, roasted peppers, arugula & feta cheese.

Mr.C went for a Bowl of Fresh BC Cherries for dessert, and I chose the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Whipped Creme Fraiche & Roasted Rhubarb. Clearly I dove straight into that plate without any delay, hence no picture. But let me tell you- it was phenomenal!

I would go back to Boxwood in a heartbeat and I can certainly see why they were so busy! Popular with the downtown crowd, even during Stampede when there is basically free food & drink everywhere throughout the core.


The specials for lunch & dinner. It seems as though the menu changes fairly frequently, so there will be new things to try every time you visit! See you there next time...


Saturday, July 16, 2011

How Plastic Relates to Gluten-Free Eating & Your Health

Despite my best intentions, I failed to request no plastic straw in my drink every single time in the two weeks we were on vacation in Maui. Not even one single time did I remember... And not even one time since then have I remembered. I suppose it's just something I'll have to get in the habit of doing. Like taking my vitamins with dinner. I always forget to do that too... But in the grand scheme of things, we don't eat out often, so sadly I don't forsee this being something that I do get in the habit of asking for. Going out for dinner likely produces more plastic than staying home anyways. It's probably for the best. And yet I think of the heap of plastic that we amass on a weekly basis & struggle to see how eating at a restaurant can be worse in terms of disposable plastic. I guess it depends on the restaurant too. Many use premade sauces and marinades shipped in giant bags, but some certainly make their own. But they're still making them from ingredients that enter the restaurant in packaging of some sort.

This would be the benefit of keeping ALL of your plastic trash for a week long period. You are really able to see how much you're throwing out. One doesn't necessarily have a grasp on how much they're contributing to the landfill, even if they're the one taking the trash out to the curb on garbage day. When you're able to actually see the pile growing larger it's far easier to understand the impact your house has on the health of our planet.

And that's what this is really all about. I write a food blog, and maybe you wonder why I'm so hung up on this whole plastic issue sometimes. I write a food blog not only because I am a nutritionist and have interests in health, but also because I am (to a small degree) a bit of a foodie. Call me a food-snob if you wish. I love to cook food, smell food, prepare food and most importantly eat it!

Growing up in a household that was the product of a divorce there was understandably not much money to go around. The quality of the food we ate sometimes wasn't "up there". I mean no disrespect whatsoever to anyone who contributed in any way to my childhood, but I can only speak the truth. As a (likely direct) result, I have a passion for good food. I seek out organic, I seek out local & I seek out artisanal on top of (of course) gluten free. And in order to grow good, organic, local food you need to start with good dirt.

Taking care of our planet is critical in being able to grow nourishing tasty food. For many years we as a society have taken advantage of mother earth, and for many more years to come we will pay the price. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Cause & effect. Karma's a bitch my friends, and that's all the more reason to start a garden in your backyard this year. It's never too late. Choose healthy, quality ingredients to bring into your kitchen (YOU can be your own quality control!). The freshest of those can be harvested from your very own land. Whether it be container gardening on your 12th floor apartment building (like we did last year- here's a great place to start) or by ripping out the Hostas from the landlords flowerbed to make room for carrots.

We bury our compostables at the base of this rhubarb plant, which makes for a jungle of tart red stalks.  Food that comes in a compostable package (I'm not talking about sunchips bags, here) is that of nature. The trimmings from a head of lettuce or a bunch of carrots (okay, our bunny gets those), eggshells, soggy spinach, potato peelings, pear cores, avocado shells: these will all feed your soil. Don't throw them out. Feed mother nature, and she will in turn feed you back. Choose to buy groceries that you can bury under the rhubarb plant, raspberry bush or elm tree rather than those that need to go in the garbage can.

Our backyard tomato plant

My grandparents have been living in the same house for the last 36 years with a garden in the back. For the last few years the veggies really haven't been thriving. They've tested the soil a few times & even had a few truckloads of manure dumped on it with hopes resurrecting the bountiful garden they've always known, but again this year with no luck. When you fail to nurture something as important as the soil that grows your food, the soil will neglect you back. When you take advantage of the planet you live on, it too will fail to provide its end of the bargain.

Reduce first & foremost before you reuse or recycle. Show your support for our little blue planet by limiting your plastic consumption. It does make a difference.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bitlets For You This Past Week: July 04- 10, 2011

7 keys to living a greener lifestyle. Where could you improve?

Linking diabetes with pesticides: go organic!

The lowdown on gluten & celiac for someone new to the dance (and maybe a few things YOU didn't know either!)

I'm sure you've seen the infamous public display of...  eating disorder?

Here is the humongous list of foods additives (excluding colors!) that manufacturers are allowed to put into our foods! Aim for a whole foods diet, darlins'.

A fantastic resource for ditching the disposable habit.

Ever had an ostrich egg?

Here are 10 staple garden crops for you to get started with!

Yes, if you drug the cows, the milk's gonna look like this...

3 gluten free brands I haven't seen before, spotted at Winners this week! Yay mainstream! Boo, all in plastic packaging...

Where does one find balance between invasive species & animal rights? An insightful story.

Remember to always practice proper food handling techniques- even with backyard chickens.

A vegan cyclist is stepping up to the Tour de France with impressive standings!

Who knew OJ was really that bad?

How many calories can you buy for a dollar? Explains North America's current health care situation, doesn't it?

How much stuff goes in your trash can? Think you could reduce it this much? I guess that IS why they call it a challenge!

Does your seafood come from a grocery store? How do you think they rank as far as sustainability goes?

These definitely look tasty!

Get to know who hangs out in the produce department a little better.

8 ways to cook like an adventurer- on a budget!

This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen in awhile...

I came across this recently. Do you make your own?

Remember those annoying Tim Hortons commercials: "And then I ate the bowl!". Maybe cereal companies should adopt the slogan "And then I ate the box!"

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vanessa Runs

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blog that combined the RHN approach to nutrition & eating with barefoot running. Two things that I am definitely interested in! Vanessa Runs is a graduate of the same program that I took two years ago, and throughout her life has had running (at the least) in the background for her, just as I have. She recently hosted a giveaway of a book authored by fellow RHN Peggy Kotsopoulos and I won! I can't wait to read her book. Thanks so much Vanessa Runs!

Check out Peggy here & Vanessa here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rainy Day Soup (Or Not...)

It's the middle of July and we have yet to catch a glimpse of summer. It's been rainy for longer than I can remember with nothing but rain in the forecast as far as the eye can see. I can't say that I have a yearning for juicy watermelon or a hankering for barbeque. I just want to curl up under my duvet with a mug of stick to your ribs soup. I'm just not cut out for westcoast weather.

For those of you in the southern hemisphere, being bombarded with picnic themed recipes from North America in the middle of your winter, this one's for you. I did however enjoy a soup similar to this one served cold at a July wedding two years ago, so Canadians: you've got options.

Adapted from: this recipe.

7 strips bacon (or so), chopped (omit for vegan)
4 leeks OR 1 large/2 medium onion(s) trimmed & diced
2 lbs local potatoes, diced*
4 cups chicken/turkey stock (veggie for vegan) homemade is best
2 cups unsweetened, unflavored coconut or almond milk
Salt & pepper to taste

*If you're using baker potatoes or another thick skinned variety, you may wish to peel them.

For some reason I wasn't expecting the inside to be purple too!

In a large heavy bottomed pot, saute bacon until cooked.
Add leeks & saute until soft (depending on your bacon, you may need a titch of coconut oil for sauteing).
Add potatoes, chicken stock & milk of choice.
Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
When the potatoes are cooked, puree in batches in the blender (or in the pot with an immersion blender) using caution.
Garnish with chives from the garden if you wish.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's Pie Day Don't Cha Know?

What, you didn't get the invite?

I know what you're thinking... it's not March 14th. We had Pi day already, but today July 5th is Pie day! The lovely Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl decided a few weeks ago that it would be fun for everyone to make pie. Because really, who doesn't like pie?

We were out camping around the time she decided on this event and the group of us went down the road a little to a roadside cafe for lunch one afternoon. They didn't have many gluten free options (I ended up having chili without the bread bowl) as most of their menu consisted of sandwiches for the hungry traveler. Along with an assortment of hard ice cream, they had pie. At least a dozen different kinds of pie, made from scratch. For the last two weeks I've been wanting that pie. The timing of Shauna's Facebook event couldn't have been better.

The simple premise is that we collectively all make pie, and share our creations. The last (and only since childhood) time I made pie, I cheated and used a mix for the crust. This time I decided that I needed to man up. Shirley from Gluten Free Easily is like the mama gluten free blogger. She's been doing this dance longer than most of us have & knows her stuff! I chose her No roll, never fail, press in gluten free pie crust (with 1 cup GF Patisserie's flour, 1/2 cup rice bran, sucanat, xanthan gum, almond milk & coconut oil) this time around, and to be honest? This recipe takes the scary out of making gluten free pie crusts. For real.

At this point in the year, I'd best be using up my pie filling from last fall that's still in the freezer before I start stockpiling more goodies from this summer's harvest. So apple it was... Next time I'll take a stab at rolling out a batch of this crust to put on top. Really, apple pie needs some lattice or something on top!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Week's Worth of Plastic: Week 18

It's just me this week, so I would expect to have less items this week compared to others. I'm finding that I am catching up on lots of to-do's around the house, so I have things like the gardening shear package & the twist ties from the wall hooks on the list. I've been keeping busy, that's for sure!

1. Garbage bag for the weeks trash (not shown)
2. Stickers on fruit
3. Coconut ice cream tub
4. Wrapping from new laptop cord
5. Seal from envelope
6. 3 price tag loops from clothing
7. 2 bandaids & wrappers
8. Bread bag & tag
9. Deli meat bag
10. 10 plastic twist ties from wall hooks
11. 2 zipties & packaging from gardening shears
12. Chip bag
13. Goat cheese container
14. Salad tub & seal (hopefully there wont be many more of these...)

Lots of little lettuce tryin' real hard to grow up big!

There's a movie out right now called "Bag It" that seems pretty powerful & inspiring! Maybe it's showing somewhere near you? Reminds us all to do our best to reduce the amount of plastic going into the garbage on our little blue planet.

Things I've given up in the previous 17 weeks:
-Bagged frozen veggies
-Individually wrapped candy
-Peanut Butter (in plastic jars)
-Cooking spray
-Spices packaged in plastic
-Pre-packaged lunch meat
-Plastic salad dressing bottles
-Instant noodles
-Prepackaged granola bars
-Plastic unrefillable spice grinders
-Coconut milk fudgesicles
-Dairy Queen
-Citrus in bags
-RealLime juice
-Honey Bunny ketchup or their other sauces (unless their packaging changes)
-Bean sprouts (unless sold bagless)
-Starbucks (unless in a travel mug)

I'm pretty excited about the big impact that our little changes bring to both our home & our environment! If you haven't already, try out a week of tallying your plastic- you'll be surprised!

Our (first) teeny zucchini!