“Boundless energy and I feel great every day….”

This was one lady’s answer to the question “why bother?” when she was diagnosed with cancer even after leading  an exceptionally healthy lifestyle.  “My only comeback, and one I truly believe, is that regardless of what eventually kills me, I have boundless energy and feel great every day.”
There are  no guarantees but it doesn’t mean that what you eat and how active you are doesn’t matter.

There was an interesting book that came out a few years ago called the Blue Zones. Researchers were trying to figure out what certain groups of people were doing to live so long. They identified 5 places in the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people who reach age 100.

They then assembled a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists to search for evidence-based common denominators among all places. They found nine. To read the list copy and paste this link into your browser. http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/power-9/

Here are  2 of them.

80% Rule
 “Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.

Plant Slant
 Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.

Again, nothing new.  Most of us know we eat too much. I remember hearing this same advice several years ago at a Health Event held in our City that was focusing on Brain Health and Preventing Dementia. “Eating Less” was one of their main points.

Eating a Plant Based Diet is nothing new either. It just takes a little more planning and preparation to include more of these in your diet.

I encourage you to plan then make at least one plant-based meal per week.  Include beans. Try a new vegetable. If you are new to my blog I encourage you to look around. I  have lots of recipes for you to try.  Start the meal with a big salad.  Enjoy time around the table by slowing dinnertime, one   course   at   a time.

My daughter made this amazing salad for a family weekend away at our local ski hill. We went cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing. So fun!  We also ate well:)

Mixed Greens Salad with Pomegranate seeds, Caramelized Pecans and Goat Cheese Feta

Wash a large bowl of mixed salad greens

Wash then Chop 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 each of a red, orange and green pepper, 1 green onion.

To Caramelize 1/2 cup raw pecans you will need  1/2 tablespoon butter and 1 tbsp brown sugar.

Melt butter in small frying pan over low heat. Add pecans and brown sugar. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is caramelized.  Spread out on wax paper or a plate to cool.

Remove the red delicious seeds from a fresh pomegranate. If you haven’t done this before it’s pretty easy, just a little messy and tedious. First cut the pomegranate in half,  then pull each half  apart again with your hands. Then pick out the seeds with your fingers.  So worth it!  You could substitute sliced pears or oranges  but you would really being missing out!

Mix this all together in a large salad bowl together with a small amount of feta cheese. The cheese is really just a garnish in this salad so a tbsp or 2 is plenty.
Add only enough dressing to lightly dress the salad.
Whisk together in a small bowl:
1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 garlic, crushed

Pinch salt, pepper

Eat slowly. Enjoy the distinct flavors.

I wish you boundless energy. I hope you feel great every day!

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Quinoa salad… this is a good one:)

This is a very yummy quinoa salad…There are lots of recipes out there to try. I found this one and made it for lunch today. It was easy to make. I prepared it this morning before work. While I was eating breakfast, I had the quinoa cooking, soaked my oil packed sundried tomatoes in boiling water& toasted the almonds. Then after a bike ride and showering I finished the rest. (I already had corn on the cob leftover in the fridge.  I served it on some greens, and had a big, crunchy, local in season Honeycrisp Apple for dessert!  Click on the link below and enjoy:)

http://inpursuitofmore.com/2012/09/24/recipe-super-powered-super-protein-quinoa-salad/

Beets, wild rice and kale…

Another great salad recipe that uses fresh, in season,  beets and kale from what is becoming my favorite cookbook….

3 medium beets, sscrubbed then roasted in the oven wrapped in tinfoil at 400 degrees for about 45min-1 hour, then cooled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup wild or brown rice, cooked and cooled, set aside

4 kale leaves, picked  from thick center stem then chopped.

2 green onions chopped finely

2 tbsp goat feta

1/4 cup pecan pieces toasted

1 cup chickpeas drained and rinsed

In a separate bowl make the dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2tbsp maple syrup

1 garlic clove, crushed

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the beets and rice and once cooled put into a serving bowl together. Add chopped green onions and chickpeas.

In a small separate bowl combine the chopped kale with about 1 tsp of ready dressing. “Massage” the leaves with the dressing using your hands.

Add the kale to other salad ingredients. Toss together with a couple of tbsps of dressing at a time until it seems well mixed in, but not heavy with dressing. (I still had quite a bit of dressing left over to use again or on another salad. Serve topped with pecans and feta.

Double this up and bring it to a pot luck bbq. I guarantee it will be a hit!

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.

First pick of the season…Strawberries!

Fresh greens and fresh strawberries…A combination so delicious. Try this salad dressing drizzled on top of fresh mixed greens, sliced fresh strawberries, lightly toasted slivered almonds, chopped green onions, chopped celery.

Poppyseed Dressing

3 tbsp olive or canola oil

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 ½ tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp poppyseeds

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Meal Plan Week Four

Spring has sprung and meal planning is a must. Here is another week of ideas and recipes for another favorite soup, Indian Red Lentil – Dal Shorva,  Almond Crusted Halibut (now in season), a homemade Caesar Salad Dressing and what you have all been waiting for ….Sesame Baked Tofu. Yum! 🙂

Meal Plan-Week Four

Sunday           Vegetable Stir Fry on Brown Rice with peanut sauce and Sesame Baked Tofu

Monday           Nicoise Salad, Almond Crusted Halibut

Tuesday          Lentil & Bean Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes, steamed asparagus

Wednesday     Indian Red Lentil- Dal Shorva, 1 thick slice alpine bread

Thursday        Leftover Lentil and Beans, toasted whole grain pita, sauteed swiss chard

 Friday             Black Bean Quesadillas and guacamole, spring salad with homemade dressing

 Saturday        Pesto kissed tomatoe pasta, Caesar salad with homemade dressing & crouton,  steamed broccoli

 

INDIAN LENTIL SOUP (DAL SHORVA)

2 ¼ cups red lentils or yellow split lentils or mung beans (red lentils cook fastest)

1 ½ tsp turmeric

¾ tsp cayenne pepper

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

 ¾ tsp curry powder or ½ tsp cardamon

4-5 bay or curry leaves

9 cups low sodium vegetable stock

  1. Rinse lentils. Add lentils, stock and turmeric, cayenne, cumin, curry and leaves to soup pot and bring to a boil. 
  2. Let simmer until the lentils are very soft (about 25-30 min)
  3. If using bay leaves remove them now. Curry leaves can be left in the soup.
  4. Mash soup slightly but not too smooth.
  5. Saute together in a small non-stick pan 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 ½ tsp dry mustard powder and 3 tbsp vegetable oil until garlic is softened.  Add to soup, stir will and serve hot with a wedge of lemon squeezed in.

ALMOND Crusted Halibut

 ½ cup almonds chopped

¼ cup  wheat germ

1 tsp dried tarragon

1 tsp grated lemon rind

Pinch salt and fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

4 fillets (about 3-4 oz each of halibut (skin removed)

      1. Place almonds into a food processor and chop until resembles oatmeal. Remove to a shallow dish and add wheat germ, tarragon, lemon rind, salt and pepper and combine.  

      2. Pat fillets using paper towel, brush some oil over the fish. Dredge in nut  mixture to coat both sides.

      3, Place fillets on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in oven at 425 degrees for 10-20 minutes depending o thickness.

Sesame Baked Tofu

 1 block x-firm or firm organic tofu

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

¼ tsp cracker pepper

1 tbsp sesame seeds (raw)

 

Cut tofu into ½” cubes into  a small bowl  and add the remaining ingredients.  Stir and let sit for about 15 min, toss a couple of times more.  Spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. (this works really well in a toaster oven)

Add to any Asian flavored vegetable stir-fry.

Caesar Dressing

¼ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp dry mustard powder

½ lemon, freshly squeezed

1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar

½ tsp honey

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together.

Meal Plan Week Three

Okay, I need to admit that I am in a rut with meal planning. I am pretty sure it has something to do with the week we spent in Nuevo Vallarta eating the most amazing food ever and I did not have to plan it, shop for it  or cook it. I usually rebound fairly quickly after these kinds of wonderful trips, craving my own home cooking.  But this time was different because the food was delicious, with more than enough healthy options to enjoy all week long. The only way I will get back on track is to meal plan so here it is…Week  Three! 

Sunday           Spicy Thai Vegetable Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Monday           Leftover Spicy Thai Vegetable Stir Fry with Brown Rice 

Tuesday          Homemade Vegetarian Pizza on Spelt crust, spinach salad with almonds, strawberries and poppyseed dressing.

Wednesday     Vegetarian Chili with  1 thick slice alpine bread

Thursday        Garlic Pasta with roasted vegetables and Bean salad

Friday             Salmon Burgers with Baked Yam Fries and Coleslaw

Saturday         Nicoise Salad

Farewell Mexico…….

NICOISE  SALAD

16 small New potatoes halved steamed or roasted (4 small per person)

2 cups Green and/yellow beans steamed until still a little crunchy then dunked in cold water or ice bowl

3 med Beets, quartered steamed or roasted

1/2 cup Cherry tomatoes, raw or roasted

1/2 cup Nicoise olives or black pitted

2-3  tsp Capers

Assorted salad greens

Minced chives and dill

2 eggs hard boiled, cooled and sliced

1 cup chick peas (optional)

Nicoise Salad Dressing

(can half this – but keeps well in fridge for a couple of weeks)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tsp grainydijonmustard or otherdijon

1 tsp honey or agave

¼ tsp salt

Pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp water

Arrange salad on plates starting with greens on the bottom. Set up buffet style and allow everyone to take a little of each OR divide up the rest of the ingredients evenly and top with 2 tbsp dressing each (approx.) * Really depends on how big the salad get. This is a meal! Enjoy. 🙂

VEGETARIAN CHILI

 1 tsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 med. Green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp chili pepper flakes

3 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp chili powder, or to taste

2 14 oz. diced tomatoes ( 1 can pureed on processor or could buy 1 tin tomato sauce)

One 28 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

One 15 oz. can Heinz beans & tomato sauce

One 28 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Heat oil. Add onion, gr. Pepper and mushrooms, cook about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, chili pepper flakes, cook about 1 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, and tomatoes until well blended.  Add all the beans, water, salt and pepper and simmer about 30-40 min. or put in slow cooker on low.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with a tossed salad and a slice of whole grain bread.