Happy Thursday Folks!
One great thing about our city is the by-law that allows each household to have a maximum of 3 hens (and goats as well, actually). While my backyard still needs extensive work for me to even toy with the idea of accommodating a few hens, my friend Emily has been happily enjoying fresh eggs every morning for almost a year. Last weekend I brought Samuel to meet these famous chickens. How sweet were they?! Samuel was surprisingly comfortable around them, happily petting and feeding the little ones. I can envision him being a super “hen-guardian” for our future brood.
Emily’s visit was also the perfect excuse to exchange some fermented goods. I had done a batch of sauerkraut while Emily made kimchi. I had experimented with kimchi a few years ago and was pretty happy with the results. Now, it pales in comparison with the amazing spicy and sour flavours that emanate for Emily’s jar.
The house also saw some commotion. We are renovating the spare bedroom to be Samuel’s new room. He is so excited that he loves helping out every chance he gets. I also finally finished my vision board! Guess what? It includes chickens!
Have a wonderful week! Make it count!
Two local food blogs featured this week plus a yummy tempeh taco filling recipe:
- Peanut Tomato Stew – I haven’t made a recipe from The Bay Vegetarian for quite a while. It is pretty unfortunate because so far they have been a delicious heart-warming surprise. This vegan tomato stew had an amazing colour, taste, and most importantly, it was toddler approved.
- Homemade Pizza with Tangy Coleslaw – Chris is an expert pizza maker. Good homemade pizza needs a base made from scratch which Chris does skilfully. This was the first time he tried this dough recipe and it was chewy goodness. We had some leftover cabbage from the sauerkraut I made over the weekend that we used for the coleslaw.
- Chickpea Lemon-Miso Noodle Soup – Refreshing and very quick to make this is a soup that will be part of our regular menu. I used swiss chard instead of kale and parmesan cheese in place of pecorino.
- Tempeh Tacos – I do not remember the last time we had hard shell tacos but we need to bring them back. Samuel had lots of fun filling each taco! The recipe for the tempeh filling is below and was a great way to replace the typical bean mix.
- Breakfast Highlight – I have been thinking about making this Curry Oatmeal since Elisabeth posted it in her site Homemade Hearts. The colour was beautiful and vibrant. Next time I will make it with coconut milk for a creamier texture. As with my favourite miso oatmeal, the radishes were a great addition.
Tempeh Taco Filling
Adapted from Oh My Veggies – Serves 10 small tacos
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (8 oz) package tempeh
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 3 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. minced chipotle pepper (we did not add this because of our child)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tamari sauce
- 2 Tbsp. water
- salt and pepper to taste
In a cast-iron skillet or frying pan add the olive oil and fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 sec.
Crumble the tempeh into the pan, mix, and add the green pepper, spices, and lime juice. Give it a good stir until the tempeh is completely mixed into the spices.
Add the tomatoes and tamari sauce. If the mixture seems too thick drizzle the water 1 tablespoon at a time stirring continuously. It is ready once the vegetables are tender and the tempeh has crispy edges (about 10 minutes). Add salt and pepper if necessary.
Fill the warm taco shells with the tempeh filling. Top with shredded cheese, guacamole, salsa, hot sauce, cilantro, olives, lettuce, and anything else that tickles your fancy.
“You always get so excited this time of year!” says Chris while I go through my seed packages trying to figure it out if any seeds need to be ordered this year. He is so right! One of my favourite winter activities is to plan my garden. This year I may have gone a bit overboard. My reasoning is that since I will be on maternity leave, and Samuel loves outdoors, I will have more time to dedicate to the garden. Plus, since we have to do a few outdoor renos, it will be easier to finally establish that herb garden that I have been dreaming about since last year’s Open Garden Day.
With that in mind, garden planning started by ordering a few plants from Richters Herbs and connecting with some avid gardener friends for any interesting plants that they might have in excess. Raspberry canes, alpine strawberries, marshmallow, lemon balm, and thyme are a few of the perennials that I hope will survive their first season in my front yard.
Then there is the small backyard with its 2 raised beds and much underutilized space. When we purchased the house there was nothing but a big slab of concrete where a garage used to stand. During the past few years concrete was torn, soil was brought in, raised beds built (twice). The plan this year is to truck in more soil so we are able to grow food in the ground as well as in the raised beds. I have also collected a few wooden wine crates to have some pretty containers for greens.
Ambitious? Certainly. I partially have to blame Alys Fowler’s docs that I (and Samuel) have been watching. If that lady can grow all that food in a tiny yard in the UK, so can I on this side of the Atlantic. I have pulled out all my gardening books to try to plan as much as possible my future garden. A few seeds had to be ordered but I have most from previous years.
If you are looking for a Canadian supplier this is where I have been getting seeds in the past years:
Do you have any favourite seed suppliers I should know about?
Homemade bread, baked beans, these are my sort of ideal foods for these chilly winter days. But there were other tasty dishes on our menu:
- Linguine with Edamame Pesto and Seared Tuna – Our 2 year old loves edamame so when I saw this recipe I thought it would be perfect for him. Unfortunately, we once again could not find any fresh basil at the grocery store so I ended up using a few tablespoons of regular pesto with hopes that it would at least add some of the basil flavour. The pesto turned out very thick even after adding extra broth. I want to try this recipe again once fresh basil makes its way to the island.
- Baked Beans with Maple Glazed Root Vegetables – I am part of a small bulk-buying group. One of the best things about it – beside the amazing variety of beans and grains that end up in my pantry – are the recipes we share highlighting the purchased goods. My friend Andreae Callanan posted a baked bean recipe she had adapted from an obscure book she found a few years ago. The beans were delicious! Samuel devoured them and we had enough for a few meals. The recipe is below.
- Chickpea Burgers with Homemade Buns – Arriving from work to a delightfully aroma of fried vegetarian burgers and homemade bread is the best! The buns were not as thin as the ones in the original recipe but they were still very good. We had lots of extra buns and some were eaten for breakfast with the remainder of the baked beans.
- Breakfast Highlight – Poppy Seed Pancakes with Citrus Syrup is recipe from 101 Cookbooks and as most things on that site it did not fail to amaze. I am not a fan of agave so for the citrus syrup I used maple syrup instead. I would recommend making the syrup the day before so the flavours have the chance to blend. We also had some frozen strawberry coulis that was of course lovely on the pancakes.
Andreae’s Baked Beans
- 2 cups dried white beans
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cups tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups of water
Soak the beans in a large saucepan of water overnight (I like to add a teaspoon of yogurt to the water).
In the morning, preheat the oven to 250F.
Drain beans, cover in fresh water, and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 10 minutes, then drain again and place them in a heavy pot.
Add all other ingredients and stir to combine.
Add water, cover, and place the pot in the oven for 6-7h until the beans are soft and the sauce is thick and syrupy.
Remove the bay leaves and add salt to taste.
Olivia Canela will be having a busy year but in a very different fashion. If you read my post last week you know that there is a new family addition arriving sometime in May. We are all pretty excited and eager to meet the little one. However, it also means our natural skincare products will not be around the markets this season. This maternity leave will be the time to fully immerse myself into motherhood and relish which will hopefully be a great summer. There are still some products in stock so please contact me if you are in need of some skincare love.
Before the baby’s arrival my friend Elisabeth and I will be hosting a few SeaBerry Studios workshops. Our first one – Luscious Balms – will be March 9 at the Anna Templeton Centre. We changed the workshop format a bit and now we have 2 different sessions in one day. In the morning we will create a lip balm, lip butter, and an herbal healing balm. In the afternoon the products are a soothing massage bar and a body butter that provides deep nourishment and relief to the skin. All the details can be found on our site. You can register for just the morning or the afternoon session or for both Luscious Balms workshops.
Soon, SeaBerry will also be selling raw ingredients and jars so you can make your own concoctions at home at an affordable price. Contact me if you would like further information, or keep an eye on our Facebook Page.
Finally, this blog is now on Bloglovin’! This a great site for anyone that, like me, follows several blogs but finds it difficult to keep on top of them.
I have been using Bloglovin’ for a few weeks now and these are some of the advantages I found:
- Easy to subscribe, unsubscribe, and organize blogs into different thematic groups
- It notifies when each blog has a new post
- By liking a post it saves it so you can retrieve it at anytime
- Phone and tablet apps available so you are always a click away from reading your favourite blog
If you want to see what Olivia Canela is up to this year, the blog is the place to do it.
I should have posted the menu yesterday in case you needed some inspiration to cook for your Valentine(s). But truth be told being grateful for your family, friends, and all the beings that positively move you, should not be limited to a date in the calendar. Hope love and good food surrounds you all year long!
- Mac-and-Cheese with Garlicky Winter Greens – I have had many homemade macaroni and cheese meals but so far this must have been the most decadent. Thus the garlicky greens being the perfect side dish to balance all the cheesy richness.
- Roasted Chicken – Beautiful juicy chicken from Oliver’s Farm! Chris placed an orange and garlic in the cavity and rubbed homemade berbere in the skin. Del from Oliver’s Farm will be at the Winter Market on March 8th. Send her a message if you want to grab some locally raised meats and eggs.
- Baked Salmon and Jeera Fried Rice – Two very tasty recipes. Salmon’s crispy breadcrumb crust was delicious but it is important not to overcook. The rice was very easy to make and would go well with a myriad of main dishes.
- Breakfast highlight – This Green “Superfood” Smoothie and several variations of thereof are our main breakfast item. When we ask our 2 year old what he wants for breakfast, smoothie is more often than not the answer. I consider all natural vegetable based foods as “superfoods”. Personally any seed that can grow into a luscious vegetable, which can then feed my family, is a superfood. Still, the official definition seems to only incorporate nutrient-rich foods and this smoothie does have many of those as well. The recipe is below.
Green “Superfood” Smoothie
Serves 3 – about 5 oz
- 2 ½ cups milk (soy, almond or cow)
- 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp. flax seeds
- 1 tsp. maca powder
- 1 tsp. carob powder
- 1 ½ tsp. peanut butter
- 1 pear
- 1 apple
- ½ cup pineapple
- half celery rib
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 3 ice cubs
Place all the ingredients in the blender in the order given and blend at high speed. If too thick just add more milk and blend for a few more seconds. Pour it into the glasses and sprinkle a bit of carob powder. Other good additions are a banana and a few kale leafs.
The other week, after my yoga class, a young lady asked me – after seeing my now very obvious 6 ½ months pregnant belly – if I had just came out of the class. After I answered yes she said that she was in her first trimester and although she had been doing yoga regularly for years, she was not sure if she should get an unlimited pass for the next few months. That’s when it hit me that in all the “fitness” classes I have taken in the past 4 years only once I have seen a noticeable pregnant woman. Is it coincidence? Are woman fearful of endangering the pregnancy if they exercise? Or are they concerned with how they look?
Before my first pregnancy, I was doing Pilates and weights 3 to 4 times a week. When I found out I was pregnant I did a fair bit of research and talked to my doctor. The general consensus is that if your health provider is OK, exercise is highly recommended during pregnancy. It can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, improve sleep, and even lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression. Also, because I was exercising pre-pregnancy, I could continue to workout at the same level while pregnant, well, at least until breathlessness and the growing belly started getting in the way.
During these 2 pregnancies it was easy to recognize when Pilates and weights had to give way to deep-water fitness. Yoga is still present and I find it fascinating how every week new adjustments have to be made to accommodate the growing belly. Some poses become harder or downright impossible – uttanasana and chaturanga comes to mind – while others bring a huge relief to the hip joints and lower back. For me the best is feeling the baby move around during savasana after being quiet during the vinyasas. And yes, being extra self-aware of my pregnancy does happen, especially when you are the only one around, and everyone is twisting to the left while you have to twist to right. A small price to pay for feeling splendid afterwards.
Our bodies are an unbelievable miracle and, personally, yoga truly nurtures and supports my body and mind during these ever-changing 38+ weeks. My two cents: Surround yourself by knowledgeable and caring teachers (thanks Nova Yoga!), be kind to your body, and have fun!
P.S. A big thanks to Susan, aka the Office Yogi, for the photos. We were surprised how hard it was to show the actually size of my belly in certain yoga poses but we tried!
Half of our meals this week come from 101 Cookbooks. It is a wonderful site, full beautiful photos, stories, and of course, recipes:
- Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad – I had made this salad before but I do not remember turning out this good last time. Medjool dates were used instead of pluots. Mint was unfortunately nowhere to found at the grocery store but it would definitely bring the salad to the next level.
- Leek Soup with Dill Oil – According to Chris this was one of the best soups he has ever had and I must have to agree with him. The blend of flavours was simply amazing!
- Mushroom Miso Soup – Very simple and delicate soup that was the perfect pairing for the assortment of homemade sushi we had that evening. Recipe below.
- Perogies with Homemade Bacon and Microgreens Salad – There is nothing wrong with breakfast for dinner, right? Store bought perogies were boiled and then fried in bacon fat with some chopped onion. The bacon was made in November from pork belly bought at Oliver’s Farm and the microgreens from Real Food Market.
- Breakfast highlight – Miso Oatmeal! It might seem strange but if you are not into having a breakfast on the sweet side every morning this might be a great alternative. First time we made it we were not sure what to expect but for months it has been a staple at our place. Samuel devours it every time!
Mushroom Miso Soup
- 2 cups mushroom sliced
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Splash of soy sauce
- 4 cups warm water
- ¼ cup good quality miso paste
- 2 green onions finely sliced
In a large pot fry the mushrooms in olive oil. Once they are soft splash the soy sauce. Stir for about 1 minute and add 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil.
In the meantime dissolve the miso in 1 cup of warm water.
Once the water is boiling remove it from the heat, add the miso, and mix well until everything homogenous.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with the sliced green onions.
Happy Wednesday Folks!
After a few weeks of mild weather, winter seems to have hit again. The first noticeable snow fell about a week ago during Samuel’s 2nd birthday and that might have been one of his favourite birthday presents. A short 5-minute walk from his sitter took about 25 minutes while he excitedly pushed snow from the sidewalks with his little green shovel.
His birthday also entailed 2 delicious cakes made by yours truly. This might seemed like an easy task for many parents but truth be told, “I am no baker”. Savoury meals come easy but the desert department is pretty intimidating and I try to avoid it to the best of my abilities. Last year’s moose cake turned out ok but the cupcakes were a bit hard and the icing never really set. Could I make it happen this time?
Samuel’s birthday was on a weekday so I started by baking a simple flourless cake from one of my favourite cooking sites 101 Cookbooks. The day before the almonds were blanched and the almond paste made using this very simple recipe. It was a delicious but surprisingly heavy cake. I guess that 1 ½ cups of almond paste and 5 eggs would do it. Samuel did not complain and the cake disappeared in a couple of days.
For the family party over the weekend I made a 3D tractor cake. Samuel is obsessed with tractors – remember the Tractor! Tractor! post? – but going from an amateur baker to making a 3D cake was kind of terrifying. After much research I made the Best Yellow Layer Cake. Luckily enough one recipe filled both rectangular cake pans needed for the masterpiece. After freezing the cakes for about 2 hours they were sliced in the middle and each layer covered in rich chocolate ganache. For the frosting I used a family’s buttercream icing recipe replacing the milk for carrot juice to give a hint of orange (Samuel’s favourite colour). Fun was also making the decorations: orange slices for the wheels and liquorice for the windows and escape pipe.
The cake was placed on the table next to Samuel’s favourite snacks: a bowl of plain yogurt with an assortment of toppings (raisins, strawberry sauce, blueberry-basil coulis, and leftover chocolate ganache) and olives. When Samuel woke up from his nap and saw the cake, all he could say was “Tractor!” and that is how I measured success. The cake was also very tasty and remarkably better the next day. Finally, I can’t believe it that I did it and actually had fun in the process. Big thanks to my friends that suggested decorations items and provided spatulas and baking pans. I am looking forward for the next baking challenge!
Have a wonderful week! Make it count.
Heart-warming foods were in the menu last week. These are the highlights:
- Immunity Soup – After illness had encircled our house this soup was exactly what our bodies and souls needed. Spicy and packed with fresh veggies. The “just-out-of-the-ground” pea shoots that we got at the Real Food Market truly made this soup stand out. Each plate was drizzled with gourmet olive oil from O’Leva Oils and Vins and Chris made some veggie sushi as a side.
- Priya’s Indian Dahl – When my friend Martha shared this recipe and called it “sunshine on a plate”, I knew I had to make it. We had it with some basmati rice and organic kale purchased at the Real Food Market. Samuel devoured this dish and both Chris and I got several compliments at work on how good it smelled.
- Cheesy Lentil Pie – A surprisingly simple and extremely delicious meal. When I was in Trois Pistole for a French Immersion course this was my favourite dish made by our hostess – that and the scrumptious Sunday’s breakfast crepes. She used to work at a vegetarian café so we were a pretty lucky bunch. The recipe with very few adaptations has been a staple at our home ever since. The recipe is below.
- Breakfast highlight – Buttery croissants and sesame seed bagels from Georgetown Bakery topped with local scrambled eggs and microgreens from Real Food Market and pancetta we made from pork belly purchased at Oliver’s Farm. A delicious and truly local breakfast that ended the week perfectly.
Cheesy Lentil Pie
- 1 cup green or French lentils
- ½ tsp. olive oil
- 1 big onion chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms chopped
- ½ Tbsp. parsley chopped (dry will work as well)
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp. crème fraîche, sour cream or yogurt
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 2 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup water cold
- ½ cup sunflower oil (canola or grapeseed would also work)
Heat the oven to 350F.
Cook the lentils until they are soft but not mushy.
In a large pot fry the onions and mushrooms in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the lentils and each ingredient by the order of the list above mixing well in between. Set aside.
To do the the pastry measure the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix the oil and cold water in a measuring cup. Add the oil and water to the flour and mix well. The dough is elastic and wet which means you do not need a rolling pin to roll the dough!
With your hands spread half of the dough into a pie dish. Pour in the lentil filling and carefully spread the other half of the dough on top.
It will take about 40 min in the oven