Juicing and a Friday morning tradition…

As promised in my last post, I was going to talk about Juicing.  It is something I have thought alot about, read alot about and spent considerable amounts of time researching juicers. I even invited myself over to a friend’s place with a friend, who has juiced alot and had her demo her juicer and favorite juice combinations. It was impressive but seemed like too much work. Too much time to clean the machine, too noisy,  too much waste, (the pulp) and some of the “healthiest” combos just didn’t taste that good.  But…I accidently came across a juicer in a new favorite kitchen store here in Kelowna(Lakehouse) where they were making samples available to customers. Delicious and simple, apple and carrot. By the time she showed me how easy it was to clean and how quiet it was I was sold. I splurged.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXTEPUggyuw

Now I realize most of you won’t be running out to buy a juicer anytime soon, but I have been juicing now for a little over 3 weeks. First thing in the morning, before coffee or breakfast and  before my workout,  I quickly juice varying combinations of fruit and vegetables.and we each have about 4-8 ounces. I am not going to say that I notice any great new burst of energy or better skin or any other noticeable health improvement yet, but I do feel good about getting a quick shot of nutrition into my body first thing in the morning.

Speaking of first thing in the morning..we’ve all heard it said “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. I really do believe this to be true. We have kept it pretty simple with a standard repeat every morning of the week except Fridays.  I decided about 9 years ago that Friday would be our special treat breakfast alternating between pancakes, waffles and French Toast.

I found a new pancake recipe, my search was inspired by a local restaurant.  Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes. A delicious break from the norm. We all love Fridays, enough to come back home for:)

BLUEBERRY CORNMEAL PANCAKES

 ½ cup whole spelt flour

2/3 cup fine cornmeal

2 tbsp coarse stone-ground cornmeal

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

1 tbsp brown sugar

¼ cup plain greek 0%fat yogurt

1 ½ cups soymilk + 1 ½ tbsp vinegar added

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 egg, bring to room temperature

1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

toasted pecans (optional)

Coconut oil for cooking

 

Measure the dry ingredients and stir them together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl lightly whisk the egg, then add the yogurt, the “soured soy milk” and the oil.

 

Combine the wet and dry ingredients gently until just mixed. Do not overmix. Let the batter rest for at least 5-10 minutes. (Don’t skip the last 2 steps!) It will be a bit runny.

 

Heat a griddle on medium-high heat. Brush just a little coconut oil on pan. Use about 1/3 cup per pancake and cook until  a few small bubbles appear on the surface, drop  a few blueberries into the batter, When  the edges look a little dry, flip the pancake over and cook just a little longer..the berries will begin to release their juice. Serve topped with a few more blueberries if you like, a small handful of toasted peacans  or just a little pure maple syrup.  Delicious!

Three meals, trying my best to be local and healthy..

Hippie Pancakes were first up this morning. For the past almost 9 years, we have had a special breakfast every Friday morning.  It was pancakes, waffles or french toast.  I decided to try a new pancake recipe, a bit of a risk, but delicious. My husband loved them, Kirsten probably would have had I not told her what was in them. I served them with sliced local strawberries I picked earlier in the week, sliced bananas, maple syrup, a few toasted pecans and a sprinkle of freshly ground flax seed.  You could add a tablespoon of your favorite healthy plain greek yogurt if you wanted,

but then you might not taste the yummy pancake:)

Hippie Pancakes 

1.2 cup steel-cut oats

1/2 cup quinoa, washed and rinsed three times or until the water runs clear)

1 cup water

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

Small scoop of coconut oil, melted or unsalted butter

In a blender add the oats, quinoa, water and yogurt, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning add the remaining ingredients. Blend on low to combine all the ingredients, then move the setting to high or puree and blend for a minute or more, until the batter is smooth.  (It will be runny).  Heat a scoop of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, pour in about 1/3 cup of batter slowly, so it does not run all over the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Flip the pancake and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through. These are not the big fluffy kind of pancake but delicious. Enjoy.

Noodles and Greens Salad was up for lunch. We had both our girls home, rare these days and what a treat it was. I served up this salad and felt good about feeding my family and healthy meal.

Serves 4

1/2 box whole wheat spagettini, cooked a la dente, rinsed with cold water and set aside

1 avocado chopped

1 mango, peeled and chopped

2 green onion, chopped(locally grown)

1/4 head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced

2 carrots, shredded (locally grown)

1/4 cup toasted cashews

1/2 red pepper chopped

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

handful of snap peas, washed, stems removed and cut in half (locally grown)

4-6 cups assorted greens, including kale (*from my garden)

4 tbsp crumbled goat feta cheese (optional)

Once everything is all chopped and prepared, arrange 4 plates starting with greens at the bottom, then cabbage, then spagettini, then everything else with cashews, green onions and mango at the top.

Top with Honey Mustard dressing:

4tbsp orange juice

4tbsp olive oil

4tbsp apple cider vinegar

3tbsp liquid honey or agave syrup

4tsp Dijon Mustard

 Whisk all ingredients together.

Homemade Pesto Vegetarian Pizza served at supper for just the two of us. Using a whole spelt grain pizza crust topped with made from scratch arugula/basil pesto (see previous post)and a little (about 1 tbsp tomato paste) at the bottom.

Toppings:

1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced

3/4 green bell pepper, thickly sliced

1 walla walla onion, quarters (locally grown)

splash olive oil

fresh ground pepper.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and pepper and put on barbeque to roast for 10-15 minutes. Remove and slice peppers and onions into thinner strips.  Add to pesto base. Add 1 tsp capers (optional), handful of sliced cherry tomatos  and 1-2 tbsp grated romano goat cheese (optional)  Bake 10-15 min 375 degree oven. *  This pizza would be even better when peppers and tomatoes are in season here in the okanagan. At least the  pesto was made with local and fresh basil and arugula.

At the end of the day, not alot of work, but we ate well with fresh and homemade ingredients.

Snacks Matter….Banana Bran Chocolate Chip

Snacks,  as I have mentioned in a previous post by the same name continue to be apart of our healthy eating plan.  I found this recipe 10 years ago in a newspaper (adjusted to include less oil and more fibre) is easy to make and a great way to use up those over ripe bananas.  Fibre packed, filling, moist and just sweet enough to satisfy the sweet toothed (not sure if that is even a word) members in your household, is the most requested muffin in our house.  You can leave out the nuts if you need to. You can substitue the cocoa and chocolate chips for  1 cup of  frozen blueberries for a whole different taste.  I usually double the recipe.

Best of all, it is a homemade muffin and you know exactly what went into it:)

 BANANA BRAN CHOCOLATE  CHIP  MUFFINS

1 egg (or substitute ¼ cup applesauce with 1/2 tsp baking powder mixed in)

¼ cup grapeseed or canola oil

1 cup unsweetened soy milk + 1 tbsp vinegar or 1 cup buttermilk

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 cup mashed banana (2 1/2  ripe med. bananas)

¼  cup liquid honey

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup oat flour or oat bran or whole spelt flour 

¾ cup natural wheat bran

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

1/2  tsp salt

½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

1/2 cup dark mini or regular sized  dark (not milk) chocolate chips

 

1.   Whisk egg or applesauce with oil, milk, liquid honey and vanilla. Stir in banana.

2.    In a large bowl use a fork to mix flours, bran, cocoa, soda, baking powder, salt, nuts.

3.    Pour banana mix into dry mix  and  stir only until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

4.    Bake 400 for 16 minutes or until done

 

  • Great breakfast idea for kids that don’t like to eat breakfast. Add some sliced fruit or a fruit smoothie and give them a great start to their day. The big kids in the house will also appreciate this as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

 

Rhubarb Muffins..

The Rhurbarb is almost ready to pick and enjoy.  Strawberries and Rhubarb are meant to go together.  These really are the “best-ever” rhubarb and strawberry muffins I have ever had. With  a cup of green tea, yummy.  Enjoy.  Oh how I love spring!

BEST EVER RHUBARB/STRAWBERRY/PECAN MUFFINS

 2-cups whole wheat flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ cup oat bran

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¾ cup chopped pecans

1 egg or substitute (1/4 applesauce + 1/2 tsp baking powder)

¼ cup grapeseed  oil

2 tsp orange zest

¾ cup orange juice

¼ cup liquid honey

¾ cups chopped rhubarb

¾ cups sliced strawberries (frozen or fresh)

1. In large  bowl combine flour, oat bran,  baking powder & soda, salt and  pecans.

2. In another bowl whisk egg, oil, orange zest,orange juice and honey.  Add to  flour mixture and stir until    moist and almost blended. Add rhubarb and  strawberries until just combined.

3. Put into muffin tins, fill to top.  Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes.