What do you crave?

Food, chocolate, salt, sweets… so often the first response but is it really what you crave? Monday was an amazing day. The trails invited us in, the only sound I could hear was my own deep breathing as I pedaled up the hill. With each climb I would push as hard as I could. The concerns and worries of life melted away with each turn in the trail. My heart filled with gratitude for every breath I took, for the cool breeze on my face and the smell of the earth. I was overwhelmed with all the beauty as I looked out over our valley from the top! I was remembering how blessed I am. I crave silence! I crave time to be amazed by all that our creator has made and has given me to enjoy. I make time.
We can all carve out time for the things that matter most to us. The next time you have a “craving”, ask yourself what it is you really need.
I crave silence.

Well It’s Official, We are emptynesters…

It really feels like it this week. Back to school week. No more back to school jitters, no more back to school shopping, no more thinking about lunches.  Where did the time go?  Not sure why it has hit me more this week because really, it’s been over 2 months since the last wedding and the final exodus.  The bedrooms have been switched over, one is now our exercise room, complete with a pull up bar.  The other is slowly being decorated as an official guest room.  “Their” bathroom has been clean for 2 months now.  The dining room table is set with candles and flowers instead of binders and books.  I love coming home and finding the house exactly how we left it, especially the kitchen.  The leftovers are still in the fridge, the ones I planned to reheat for dinner or take for lunch.

I love the quiet, YET I miss the noise. I miss hearing all about their day at school, the latest story from work, the smell and taste of Rachel’s homemade cookies and Kirsten’s latest Thai stir fry even though every cooking utensil was used. I miss their infectious laughter and wiping away their tears.  I knew it would happen one day, and that day has come.

I’m thankful that we have a made a point of building into our marriage. We have made good friends with common interests and have stuff to talk about and do. We are looking forward to this next phase, doing life together as emptynesters and making new memories with our daughters and new sons.

Speaking of leftovers, I made this recipe last night for dinner and we both enjoyed the leftovers today. I usually serve it with a piece of naan bread and at this time of year, fresh corn on the cob. Enjoy!

Chickpea Curry

 

 Olive oil for cooking

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (or other hot pepper)

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 tsp curry powder

2 fresh tomatoes coarsely chopped (or a few whole canned tomatoes)

2 cups cooked chickpeas or 19oz (540ml) can rinsed and drained

½- 1 can lite coconut milk (398ml)

1 cup fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces or 1 cup frozen peas or a handful of fresh spinach

Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

 In a large skillet heat a glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seed and cook for a minute or two, until wonderfully fragrant. Add the onion and cook until soft and starting to turn golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add the jalapeno, cilantro, ginger and curry and cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and half the can of coconut milk. Add in the fresh green beans if using and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes until everything softens and thickens. Add the rest of the coconut milk if you like it saucier (yummy for dipping naan bread) Stir in well and add frozen peas or spinach and cook another 1-2 minutes to heat (peas) or wilt (spinach). Serve hot over brown rice.

 Serves 4-5.

I’m back…2 weddings and ….

Time has flown by.  I have had quite a Spring and Summer and Fall is right around the corner! Both our girls were married, one in May, the other in July. It was wonderful. Both weddings went off without a hitch. It was so much fun and has been such a joy to see our girls so happy.  We love the men they have chosen to spend their lives with and look forrward to lots of special times in the years ahead. We also celebrated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary in June.

Lots has changed at home. Empty nesting is wonderful, though awfully quiet at times.  I am having to adjust my grocery shopping and cooking and have had to admit that the kitchen floor gets just as dirty with only two of us at home:)

I’m back and hope you will continue to check in and see what’s up.

 

 

 

Do you know where your food comes from? Do you care?

Maybe I care too much. Somedays, even some weeks, I wonder if it really matters as much as I think it does what I put in my body. I look around and see that for the most part, most people really don’t care. They carry on with their lives, filling their faces and their children’s tummies with stuff that isn’t really even food anymore, just processed “food-like” substances.  Kids and adults alike are becoming heavier and are exercising less.  So why should this bother me you might ask?  Given the fact that my family- husband,  both my daughters and myself are all involved in health care it comes with the job. I guess I could just leave it at the office every day and not care, but everyday we see the effects of what we are doing to ourselves as a society, one family at a time. It also matters because memories of illness in our own family too easily come to the surface.  We faced an extremely challenging time that I would not wish on any family, but it shook us up. It was the catalyst that got our attention. Realizing that what we ate matters and that we were made to move.

So do you know where your food comes from?  Spring is just around the corner, I can feel it. Soon we will be able to either grow our own food or purchase right from the farmers in our own community. Search out locally grown food or at the very least if you live in BC , buy BC grown or Canada grown. “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) is a really awesome way to support the farmers in your community, so they keep farming. In Kelowna look up “Green City Acres” or click on the link : http://www.greencityacres.com/csa/

Or start growing your own food. Take a gardening course. Start small. You really don’t even need that much space. If you don’t have any land, search out the nearest Community Garden in your neighborhood or search for a plot of land to garden in go to http://sharingbackyards.com/.

In Communities across Canada, homeowners are teaming up with gardeners to share green space, knowledge, muscle and enthusiasm.

It does matter. We should know where our food comes from.

Salt, Sugar, and Fat….

The perfect combination to keep us eating all the wrong foods. The food industry spends a lot of time and a lot more money to study exactly what ratio of each will keep us buying and eating their food or “food like substances”. Click on the link below for more details.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/sugar-salt-fat-how-the-food-industry-got-us-hooked-on-an-unholy-trinity/article8989855/?cmpid=rss1

I know you have heard this all before but you really need to read the labels. Anything with “quick” or “instant” or ingredient lists with words that you cannot pronounce or have more  than 3 items should not be permitted in our houses.  Feeding ourselves and our families should be one of the most important things we do. I have met so many people that think that high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimers’ disease are all just the normal progression of aging or “it’s in my family”.

These are all preventable diseases. You do not have to spend the last 30 years of your life taking handfuls of pills. What you eat matters and it  matters now. You know what you need to do.  You have all heard it before.  Keep the processed food out of your house and you and your whole family will be less tempted. Eat more meals at home more often. Plan your meals.

How much exercise you get also matters. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it. One is written with women in mind and one for men. A little motivation can go a long way. Only 21 days to form a new habit, start today:)

ynybook ynywomen[1]

Keep it simple…

It has been a while since my last post.  While thinking about what to write about next I realized that  we eat quite simply. I have shared many of our favorite recipes and for the most part I stick to doing pretty much the same thing. I have been close to ending my blog but then I bump into someone who encourages me to keep at it, that they check in regularly and love it. So…..I will endeavor to keep it going, with one simple thought each time and  a recipe we love.

FISH……….

We  still eat fish, though only about twice per month. I still am not sure where I stand on this issue, it’s one of those, should we or shouldn’t we? Is it healthy or is it not healthy?  When we do eat fish I make sure that I spend the money and buy fish that is oceanwise approved. See the link if you are not sure what that means.

http://www.oceanwise.ca/about

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/omega-3/HB00087

 

Our serving size is limited to about 4 oz or the size of a deck of cards.

Broiled Salmon or Artic Char with Herb Mustard Glaze

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

3/4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3/4 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tbsp dry white wine

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp honey

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp whole-grain mustard

pinch salt

fresh ground black pepper

In a mini food processor combine the garlic, herbs, wine, oil, honey,  Dijon and 1 tbsp of grainy mustard. Grind until the sauce is combined. Transfer to small bowl and stir in the remaining tbsp of grainy mustard.

Preheat the broiler. Line the bottom of a heavy baking sheet with foil. Brush with a little olive oil. Place the fish on the baking sheet, skin side down, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the fresh ground pepper. Broil for about 2-3 minutes. Spoon over some of the mustard suace and continue broiling for another 5 minutes. Add more sauce and broil until the fish is just cooked through.  This can vary depending on the type of fish and how thick the fillets are. I have found it can take anywhere from another 2-3 minutes to 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the fish as it cooks. The sauce may start to burn.

Serve with fresh lemon wedges on the side, with a large salad and dinner is served.

 

 

 

The best Thai Soup Recipe..

My friend Eunice found this one.  When it comes to spicy her family likes it hot.  My family likes some heat but not so much that you can’t feel your lips:) You will need to have a few items in your pantry that you might not normally stock but so worth it! They have been staples in our house for awhile now. Check out my “pantry” list for details.  I made this soup last week. It really hits the spot after snowshoeing or X-country skiing or any other winter outdoor activity. We have another month at least of winter.  Don’t rush away the days, embrace them. Get  outside , get moving… and before you go out, make a double batch of this soup. You will be glad you did.  Yum!

 Thai Soup (double to make full pot)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 a red bell pepper, diced

2 cups sliced mushrooms (could leave these out or replace with boy choyor carrots)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 Tbsp. Gourmet Garden™ Lemon Grass herb paste (the stuff in the tube or the real thing, if you can find it) ***Could substitute with 1 tbsp lemon juice & 1tsp fresh grated  ginger

1 tsp. fish sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 can lite  coconut milk (398ml)

2 tsp. red curry paste

1 1/2 tsp. Sambal Oelek chili paste

2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste (to taste)

½- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (depends how thick you want the soup)

2 cups cooked rice ( brown rice or try a mix of long grain with wild rice or black thai rice for some added texture)

Fresh cilantro, parsley or basil leaves shredded for garnish

Lime for garnish

Instructions:

Cook rice and set aside (or use left-over cooked rice).

Heat large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. oil. When hot, add mushrooms and cook until golden and tender. Remove to a plate. In same pot, add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and heat. Add onion, red pepper, (if using carrots or bok choy add here)and saute just until softened. Return mushrooms to pot. Add broth  and heat through. Add lemon grass paste, fish sauce and Worcestershire sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, turn heat to low, then cover and simmer 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, add curry paste, Sambal Oelek, tomato paste, 2 Tbsp. water and cornstarch and mix until incorporated. Stir into soup until combined and heat until soup simmers, thickens very slightly and has a velvety appearance. Add cooked rice, cover and simmer 5 minutes.  (You can also add more curry paste, tomato paste and/or Sambal Oelek to taste at this point, as well).

Pour soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, parsley or basil leaves and serve with additional Sambal Oelek for those who prefer a hotter soup.