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Spiced Maple Pecans

4 Feb

I forgot to post my Om Cooking article from the Bodhi Tree’s December 2011 Breathing Room Newsletter. Even though it was aimed at Christmas giving, the same principals can be applied throughout the year!

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Gift giving is something I like to do all year round, but of course, more so around the holidays. However, I’m not your typical gift-giver. My attitude around gifts changed the year I started making my own Christmas cards, writing a message to each of about 50 friends. The process was special to me, methodical and meditative. I was proud of what I made and the time I put into them; what I gave and to whom didn’t matter so much anymore – I was happy knowing that each person who received a card would be beaming with joy when they got something in the mail besides a bill.

What can you make that will bring you joy first? What skill can you showcase? Contemplate these questions this year and you might find that it brings a renewed excitement to what can be a stressful and frantic time-of-year. Anything you make yourself that brings you joy will bring others joy.

If you need an idea to get started, try this month’s recipe. Packaged in mason jars or bags tied with ribbon, this is one gift that will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

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Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce or Shakshuka

23 Jan

This egg dish is so simple to make and would be great for a big brunch where you didn’t want to spend a lot of time slaving over the oven. After posting this picture to Twitter/Instagram, I was informed that it’s called Shakshuka. I did a little research, and though this recipe isn’t the traditional form of the dish, it’s definitely along the same lines.

You can add whatever herbs and spices catch your fancy. Also, add any type of sausage, bacon or ham you like. I made a vegetarian version just by omitting the sausage and adding a few more whole tomatoes.

This was on the menu for the Interactive Monday Night dinner at Market 17 I hosted last week. Read about the Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cheese Biscuits I made for it too. So. Yummy.

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Chia Smoothies

2 Jan

Here’s the latest article from the Bodhi Tree’s Breathing Room Newsletter.

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A few months ago I wrote about incorporating a new ingredient into your repertoire. What better time to revisit this concept than January, I say!

In the last few months I’ve been experimenting with chia and at the same time experimenting with bringing headstand and forearm stand back into my yoga practice – a little sprinkle here and there. You may have a yoga pose that you tried once, twice or many times, that has fallen out of your regular practice. Or perhaps you have a pose that you’ve always wanted to try but aren’t quite sure you’re able to. Well, this month it’s time to take the plunge!

Take a moment to think of that elusive pose you’d like to work on, then make a commitment to yourself to make slight modifications in your practice to accommodate that pose. Every little opening of the body is reaching that goal, no matter how long it takes to actually get into the shape.

I’ve been making an effort to do dolphin pose instead of downward dog and warrior pose with cactus arms to gradually ready my body for my goal pose of forearm stand. In the kitchen, I’ve been adding a tablespoon of chia into my baked oatmeal or a smoothie, experimenting with the texture and flavor of chia.

To help you along your way, try this Chia Smoothie recipe. One thing to note about chia is that it raises energy levels, which makes it a good substitute for coffee and not so great to ingest at night.

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Chocolate Quinoa Cake

20 Dec

The first thing I’d like to say about this cake is make it. Make it now. Or soon, if you’re at work or some other important place that would frown upon you leaving to make a chocolate cake in the middle of the afternoon.

The second thing is: share it once you’ve made it. This cake is too good to have all to yourself. Or at least, you might feel a tad guilty after finishing it off so to avoid any guilt share it with one and all.

The third is: you will not believe that it’s gluten-free. I’m not much of a gluten-free baker, so the fact that it turned out great even for me is a very good sign!

Finally, and somewhat related: I’ve resorted to using my Instagram photos of my food. The Winter light here in Calgary is making it very difficult for me, a novice photographer, to get good light for photos! So, if anyone has any good, cheap photography tips for Winter, please let me know.

This recipe came to me through my friend Kendra who found it at Dinner With Julie. Julie excerpted the recipe from the book Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood in a post featured on The Family Kitchen. Continue reading

Pumpkin Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

15 Nov

I made this soup last week after a trip to the dentist – I’ll spare you the details – left me only able to eat soft foods for a few days. I had one small pie pumpkin left, an abundance of carrots and some fresh sweet potatoes (or yams, depending on who you ask).

What resulted is a rich and creamy soup (without cream!) that’s perfect for fall days and sore mouths.

Pumpkin Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

2 medium sized yams, cut into 1″ cubes
1 small pie pumpkin, cut in quarters, seeds removed
3 medium sized carrots, cut in 4
1 onion, small dice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup orange juice
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Roast yams, pumpkin and carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350 F for 30 minutes, until just starting to brown.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add thyme and garlic and saute until just fragrant.

When roasted mixture is done, add it to the pot along with stock and orange juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When cooled slightly, partially or fully puree mixture and pour back into a clean pot. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves. Can be frozen or kept in fridge for up to 5 days.

Enjoy!
Jacinthe

Autumn Kale Salad

11 Nov

I’ve been making a version of this salad a lot over the past few weeks because of the abundance of kale at the farmers’ market and thus in my fridge. It’s super quick to make and because kale is so hearty, it lasts for up to 4 days. Experiment with different greens, dried fruits and ingredients in general! I like to make a large mason jar of vinaigrette and have it in the fridge to use at any time.

Autumn Kale Salad

2 cups raw kale, finely chopped
2 small heritage carrots, finely sliced
1/2 small red pepper, finely sliced
1/2 a large parsnip, shredded
1/4 white or red onion, finely sliced
2 dried nectarine halves, finely slice (or any other dried fruit)

Dressing:
1/4 olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dried herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary)
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp onion granules
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp sugar

Toss everything in a bowl with dressing and let sit for about 2 hours. Kale will start to soften. Portion out individually and store for up to 4 days.

Enjoy!
Jacinthe

Butter Chicken or Tofu with Saffron Rice

8 Nov

One of the things I miss about living in Toronto is getting the quarterly LCBO magazine, Food & Drink. The recipes are some of the best I’ve ever tried, including this Butter Chicken.

Seriously, this is a dish that you’ll want to break out when you really want to impress. It looks like it’s complicated, but really it’s just the same ingredients added repeatedly at different stages of the process. Especially a garlic-ginger purée that’s super easy to make and can be frozen for other uses.

Chicken marinating in a spiced yogurt mixture.

Tomatoes and spices boiling down.

Sieving the tomato mixture after it has reduced.

I made this for the latest Monday Night Supper Club potluck, which happened to be on Halloween. I dressed up in a beautiful sari I received as a gift and went East Indian style! Lori Andrews over at The 10 Cent Designer made this Cucumber Dill Salad that went perfectly.

Butter Chicken – Slightly adapted from LCBO Food & Drink Holiday 2008 Amaya Restaurant Toronto

Combine and let marinate for 20 minutes:
lb./454 g chicken or 1 block/454 g extra firm tofu
1 tsp ginger puree (recipe below)
1 tsp garlic puree (recipe below)
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp garam masala

If using chicken, bake at 425 F for 10-12 mins.

In a large pan combine and let simmer (med-low heat) until tomatoes are breaking down (about 25 mins):
1 can (2 cups/16 oz.) diced tomatoes, juices reserved
2 tsp ginger puree
2 tsp garlic puree
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cup reserved tomato juice Continue reading

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

1 Nov

Lentils are a great alternative to using ground meat for Shepherd’s Pie. Green lentils keep their shape, while orange lentils melt into mush; using both gives a similar texture to meat.

This is definitely a dish for potlucks (even meat-lovers like it) and to make when you’re on a budget – each serving works about to approximately $1.50 (depending on how much butter, cream, and cheese you use)!

I like to make a double or triple recipe of this, portion it out into 7″x5″ 3-cup Pyrex bakeware, then freeze for easy weeknight meals. Continue reading

A Red Green Smoothie

21 Oct

Green drinks/smoothies are one of my favourite breakfast meals or snacks. There are so many combinations of fruits and vegetables to use, usually whatever you have in your fridge! I add protein powder in to make them a full meal that will keep me satiated for around 3 hours. The trick is to use a very good blender. Otherwise, you’ll end up with pulpy slush that isn’t very appetizing. In this version, I added a beet, which not only lends its beautiful colour to the drink, but also its vitamins and nutrients!


Red Green Smoothie

1 small beet, peeled and cut into wedges
3 cups greens (kale, swiss chard, lettuce, mesclun)
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot, peeled
1/2″ fresh ginger
1 apple (or pear, nectarine, peach, whatever’s in season)
1 banana
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh juice (cranberry is my fav)
1 serving’s worth of protein powder
water

Place everything in a blender and add enough water to almost cover. Blend until super smooth. You can stop and start the blender to let the larger pieces settle to the bottom. Pour into your favourite smoothie glass and enjoy! Keeps in the fridge for about 2 days.

Happy Cooking!
Jacinthe

Baked Crabapples with Onion and Sage

14 Oct

Here’s the latest article from the Bodhi Tree’s October 2011 newsletter.

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Many times in yoga class we are asked to set an intention for our practice. It could be anything from courage or strength, to softness or vulnerability. Setting an intention helps us move from just making shapes with our bodies to watching what comes up during our practice and working with the energy in our subtle bodies to deepen our understanding of ourselves.

Recently as I’ve come to my mat, I’ve found that “love” is the intention that pops into my head first. Sending love out into your everyday life not only benefits you, but also strengthens your relationships with the people around you and the earth. You might recall a time when “love” was the intention for your asana practice as well. That day, maybe you left that love intention on the mat, carried a little into the next activity you did, or perhaps you made love your highest purpose in life!

You can express love for yourself and for others in many ways: smiling at a stranger on the sidewalk, sending a note to a dear friend out-of-the-blue, expressing gratitude, or doing something by yourself just for the fun of it. Another great way to share this intention is through food. Cooking for those you love, bringing baked goods to friends or coworkers, is enough to let anyone know that they are loved!

Crabapples are ripe all over the city, just waiting to be used in this month’s recipe. Try it for upcoming holiday meals, because food made with love always tastes better! Continue reading