Monday, January 29, 2007

Movin' and Shakin'

Apologies for the lack of recipe post last Friday - I went to Toronto for the weekend to do the Healthy Breast Teacher Training Program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (it was amazing, by the way! I know I've recommended Sat Dharam Kaur's books to you before, but I'll mention them again because they're such valuable resourses).

Other exciting news: I now have a myspace page. Go see it here.
Friday, January 19, 2007

Cheendana's cookies

It's been a while since we had a sweet recipe, so let's have one today.

Tahini Thumbprint Cookies

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It's a bit of a funny theme to observe, I know, but I have been blessed with the healing presence of a number of beautiful, serene, tall, blond women in my life: Andrea, with the strong, gorgeous voice; my naturopathic doctor Masina; writing and yoga-teaching Daphne (who's currently at an ashram in BC until April - lucky her!) - but Cheendana was one of the first. I lived in her rural Nova Scotia garden six falls/winters ago - it was she who introduced me to whole foods (my dairy-lovin' self turned vegan by the time I was on a plane back to Toronto). I haven't seen her in years, but we keep in touch, and I'm grateful for the recipes she gave me that started me on this path.
These cookies are as simple to make as the ever-popular Flax Maple Cookies (and kinda similar, I might add). Forget about the thumbprint part and you've got yourself a nice shortbread-like replacement for someone who doesn't eat peanut butter cookies.

2 cups spelt flour (other flours make cookies that are too crumbly - trust me, I've tried)
1 cup tahini/sesame butter (or other seed or nut butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt

filling: 1 cup chopped pitted dates + 2/3 cup water
(Filling can be substituted with apple butter [seen here] or jam if you are in a rush, or if you're opposed to dates)

1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
2. Allow dates to simmer with water in a small pan/pot until they're softened and can be mashed with a fork into a paste.
3. In a medium/large bowl, mix up all other ingredients, roll into walnut-sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Make a dent in each ball with your thumb and fill that space with date mush.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown on the bottom. Makes about 30 cookies.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

A decent dinner for Scots

Before we get to food, I wanted to call to attention the fact that I forgot my own two year blogiversary. It was last week on Thursday (the 4th). Can you believe Domestic Affair is a toddler now? So much has happened since the start of 2005...

I also want to give a shout out to my brother James...
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... who turns 16 today (and is pictured here in Edinburgh on our trip last summer). I miss you, kid. Call me when you're about to open my present.

Andrew and I made this recipe over the holiday. My mum says it's amongst the best recipes I make... but don't take her word for it - try it yourself!
Please forgive the photo - I think it's misrepresenting the lentil-veg to potato ratio in a potato-heavy way.

Shepherd's Pie

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I'll let you in on a little secret - Shepherd's Pie was traditionally made with leftover lamb. Gasp! I know what you're thinking - sheep for yarn is one thing, but pie? It's not my cup of tea, that's fer sure. I think it's a Scottish dish, but you can feel free to correct me on that one.
I used to make a Shepherd's Pie with a base of grated tofu. In the interest of keeping my soy intake to a minimum (it appears enough in my weekly food intake without me seeking it out), and getting more high-fibre, blood-sugar-balancing lentils in my diet, I came up with this version instead.

4 fist-sized organic/non-GM potatoes* (yukon gold pref), peeled and chopped
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I like Eden Rice & Soy Blend)
3 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. sea salt

1 1/4 cup green/brown lentils
2 1/2 cups filtered water

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 medium carrots, (peeled if not organic and) diced
5 organic cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 6" zucchini, or 2 ribs celery, diced
3 medium-large cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. tomato paste (I like Thomas' Utopia because it's organic and Canadian)
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
1 tsp. sea salt

To start, put on a large pot of cold, lightly-salted water to boil with the potatoes. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are soft, but not falling apart (maybe 10-15 minutes). Drain, and mash potatoes with milk, oil and salt. Set aside.

While the potato water's heating up, put on the lentils to cook with 2 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan. Just like the potatoes, bring water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, until lentils are soft but not falling apart.

Preheat oven to 350oF. In a large fry pan or medium saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions in the oil for about 8 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the carrots and cook for 5 minutes longer. Then add the zucchini/celery, mushrooms, garlic, herbs and salt. Once everything is soft, stir in the tomato paste (with a splash of water if needed) and cooked lentils.

Put the lentil-veg mixture into a 2.8 litre lightly-oiled casserole dish (or 2 1.5 litre oven-proof dishes), and smooth on the mashed potatoes in an even layer. Drizzle a bit more olive oil on top. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until heated through - you may want to turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes to crisp up the top, but watch that it doesn't burn! Allow to stand for 5 minutes or so before serving with steamed greens and maybe some baked squash (Ooh, and mushroom, miso or cashew gravy - that could be good! You have those recipes in Ripe #4). Serves about 8.

* An adaptation I just thought of would be to substitute some of the potatoes for and equal amount of parsnip - I wouldn't do it for more than 2 potatoes worth. Parsnips certainly are nice and warming this time of year. Try it and lemme know how it turns out.

PS. My last comment on Shepherd's Pie is this: I just found out that this dish in French is Pate Chinoise - Chinese Pate? How strange is that?!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Realistic Resolutions: Developing a New Year's Wellness Plan You Can Actually Stick To

Here's an article that I wrote for The Link this week, and the Coles Notes of the talk I did here in Montreal in Monday. Hope it's of some use to you....

The most significant thing I do as a holistic nutritionist is to help make principles of good health applicable and do-able for people. We all know that we should drink more water and less alcohol, eat more vegetables and less sugar, exercise more and sit in front of the computer less... but what keeps us from integrating these things into our lives and forming better habits? It's a tough question to answer.

It seems that different approaches work for different people, but there are some key approaches worth trying out. I'm willing to admit that a discussion about manifesting positive change can sound pretty self-helpy or motivational speaker-y, but humour me for a minute, and see if any of it actually resonates with you.

First, decide you actually want an improved state of health. Don't change because you feel you ought to, or because your mom or the Surgeon General says you should. Do it for you, and approach it with optimism. And if you actually do want to make change, then consider my affirmation for this: "The point of power exists in the present moment." Forget waiting for New Year's or your birthday or the first day of the week or the end of your pack of smokes. You can start making good choices in this moment.

Toss out the idea of "Good" and "Bad". Steer away from manifesting feelings of guilt, look at things more from the standpoint of beneficial and not-so-beneficial choices. Avoid making these habits you're trying to develop into a chore - enjoy the challenge.

Start slow. Going full blazes right away is a lot to contend with - and once you get overwhelmed you're likely to drop everything and go back to what feels comfortable and easy - your old habits. Instead, prioritize your changes in micro-steps. Focus on one new thing each week, and build up. If you want to, say, quit eating refined sugar, in week 1 make sure your kitchen's stocked with lots of fresh fruit. In week 2, look into blood-sugar balancing foods (like legumes and cinnamon) that'll help with cravings. In week 3, get rid of all the sugar in your house (so it's not around to tempt you).

Do it with others. When I want to get a project done, I like to plan homework dates with others. We meet somewhere - I do my thing and they do theirs, but there's something encouraging about the presence of someone else that keeps me motivated and focused. The same goes for health-related goals - cook delicious whole-foods meals with friends, get a walking pal, join a yoga class. You may also want to get support from a holistic health practitioner.

Believe in the change. Scientific studies (for what they're worth) have proved that the power of visualization is very strong. Refuse to resign yourself to the idea that "Oh, I'll always be depressed." People report that they have cured themselves of cancer or HIV through, in large part, the belief that they are in perfect health.

Affirm the changes in a positive way. Reward yourself for the changes you've made with non-food treats like a new book or zine, a cozy pair of mitts, a massage, a good movie - whatever feels good for you.

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Further reading and watching:
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
You Can Do It!: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas
The Secret - a movie about the laws of attraction and the power of positive thinking (Accept the high cheesiness factor with this one, and just get into what they're saying.)
Friday, January 05, 2007

Something good

It's tough thing coming up with recipe posts these days - I have photos and I have recipes, but they don't match up. I came up with recipes this holiday for Fig and Anise Biscotti (Ryan's flavour combo idea), Coconut Milk Truffles, vegan millet-based Tourtiere (a traditional Quebecois dish served on Christmas or New Year's) and lentil-based Shepherd's Pie... you'd think I'd've remembered to take photographs, but no. Daniel and I have a cook date this weekend, and I have a Dinner Club next weekend maybe, so there'll be a bounty of Foodie Friday content after that.

(Oh, and my camera is thankfully not on the fritz anymore, for the first time in a few months. Of course it only took the guy at the camera store in Toronto two seconds to fix. Coulda figured it out if I believed in operation manuals, but who reads those things, really?)

Enough stalling. Here we go:

Background on Jerusalem Artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes have nothing to do with regular artichokes, as far as I know. They look like a cross between a small potato and ginger root.
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They have a sweet flavour. But here's why you're gonna love 'em: they're said to be good for diabetics (as they're an amazing source of inulin, a natural fructose that's medicinal for those with diabetes), lung conditions (like asthma) and contain vitamins A, B-complex, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium, and unlike other root vegetables, contains no starch! You can put them raw in salads, but here's what I like best:

Potato-less Oven Fries

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What a treat. Fits nicely into the good-tasting and good for you category.

4 cups jerusalem artichokes, scrubed (not peeled)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. thyme

Preheat oven to 375oF. Cut jerusalem artichokes into wedges (as best you can as they're usually pretty irregularly shaped). In a large bowl, toss with olive oil, sea salt and thyme. You could add a clove of minced garlic, or a pinch of chipotle powder if you like. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes (turning once at 15 minutes), until crisp on the edges and soft inside. Enjoy on their own, or serve with ketchup. Serves 2 or so. You may want to roast some squash at the same time and serve them together, alongside some steamed greens or a salad to make a nice meal.

Two more things:
If you're in Montreal, I'd love to see you next Monday evening at my talk - newly relocated (and hopefully for this month only) to BioTerre on Esplanade and St-Viateur. See the sidebar for details.

Also, if you're a vegan/veg whole-foods cook yourself, I'm opening up Foodie Fridays for other featured chefs. Be a rock star for a week! Enquire within.

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"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

Get It Ripe cover Have you seen my award-winning whole foods cookbook Get It Ripe: a fresh take on vegan living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)? Keep your eyes peeled for it!
To join the Facebook group for the book, go here.


about the blog:

about the cookbooks:

While I love hearing from you, and read each and every one of your e-mails, please understand that I just cannot respond to all of them due to the rate at which they're coming in these days!

If you have a question, I might have already answered it here.

in the press

live in person!

come see me:
* Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR, August 26-28, 2011.

...but better yet, check the calendar for details!



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    * Realistic Resolutions: Developing a Wellness Plan You Can Actually Stick To
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