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Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Awakening

It was a beautiful spring morning, the chill of winter had gone leaving a lingering taste of rain soon to follow. Maya and Seamus took a look out the window and let me know it was time for our morning walk. So down the stairs we went and out the door after much conversation, on my part, as to which jacket to wear and, "Hey, you two, let me get my shoes on before you leave without me." 

Which is pretty much how it happens until I can get their leash on and then off we go along the river and onto the country trail. The crocus and daffodils have popped up through the earth even knowing there might be another blast of snow before spring makes herself comfortable. I capture a moment here and there amazed at how it happens with such perfection year after year whether anyone notices or not.

As we arrived to the lake this morning I was taken aback by the change in little over a weeks time. Not so long ago ice covered half the lake. The ducks and swans followed the melting snow in search of new algae revealed more and more with each rise in temperature.

But today all the ice was gone and the sun hit the water like diamonds scattered across the surface. Graceful as, well, swans, they paid no notice to two wee pups and myself snapping a quick picture.

Which brings me to why I started this blog in the first place, and thank you for your patience. Upon arriving home I didn't want to eat too heavy before teaching yoga class, which did not stop Maya and Seamus from devouring their butternut and sardine breakfast. Instead I put together a smoothie with a few ingredients I don't normally use for this purpose and never in the morning. However it tasted great, settled well in my stomach and supported me through a long vinyasa flow class. Here I share the recipe with you to try.

Banana Pineapple Smoothie
Serves 1-2
16 ounces water
1/2 ripe banana
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 teaspoon psyllium powder
1 scoop protein powder (optional)
2 scoops Coconut Bliss, Coconut Pineapple non-dairy frozen dessert
Stevia or agave syrup to sweeten further

Combine ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
It makes a great milkshake without all the additions and for that you might use a soy/rice milk blend, banana, Coconut Bliss and any extra sweetener. A perfect way to introduce spring back into your life, not bad for those lazy, hazy days of summer either.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Home Inspired Meals

After a brisk morning walk watching the sun come up, my two pups and I were ready for a hearty breakfast upon arriving home. For Seamus, a wee, shorn Shih Tzu, and Maya a feisty, huntress Cairn terrier, I had made a special blend of canned pumpkin, red salmon, flax meal and garlic-yeast powder. To this I added some cooked spinach, which I had made for myself, plus a 1/8 cup of high end commercial dried dog food.

As they devoured their small bowls of food I added some leftover Basmati rice to the spinach, which absorbed the extra water while cooking. I then turned off the heat and mixed in a small teaspoon of Dandelion Leek miso (mmm, so good) and a couple of tablespoons of spicy Korean Kimchi. I topped the mixture with some toasted sesame seeds and a dollop of my favorite hummus and in 8 minutes I had a delicious breakfast. For me a meal like this will take me through the morning and into early afternoon satisfied and energized until time for lunch. Speaking of which....

Then for lunch, after another long walk over and back from my neighbor Suzanne, to help set up a whole chicken in her new crockpot. For that we stuffed sliced garlic under the skin, then poured olive oil and sea salt on top, naturally in moderation, and covered the top and sides with thinly sliced lemon. Sorry, no pictures as I forgot to bring my camera, but when me and the pups got home they had a good snack and I made a tuna wrap and served it with sweet potato fries. I include that recipe as well with pictures to inspire you.

That's Maya sticking here nose in and taking a sniff of the sweet potato chip. Snapped it and shuffled the temptation away before she took a bite. You can also serve the tuna salad in something a bit more glamorous for yourself or when guests come for lunch.

Serves 1-2

1/3 cup frozen organic spinach
¼ cup water
½ cup cooked Basmati rice
1 small teaspoon Dandelion Leek miso or miso of your choice
2 heaping tablespoons spicy, Korean Kimchi (or what you can handle)

In a small saucepan combine the spinach with water and bring to a low simmer. Add the rice and cook until water is almost absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from the heat and dissolve the miso in the rice mixture. Stir in the Kimchi and pour into a bowl. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and top with a dollop of hummus. Sit in front of the window as the sun warms your heart and breathe in gratitude for the bounty you are about to eat. May all sentient beings have food to eat and a warm place to rest their body.

Serves 2

1 6 ounce can tuna in water, drained
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon crunchy peanut butter
½ teaspoon mellow white miso
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Vegenaise
2 tablespoons currents
1 stalk celery, diced
2 spelt tortilla, warmed
2 leaves romaine lettuce, split in half down the center

In a small bowl combine the tuna, curry, peanut butter, miso, Vegenaise, currents, and celery. Mix well.
Place the warmed tortilla on a plate and scoop half the tuna salad on one end of each tortilla.
Lay the romaine leaf on top the tuna and roll up. Slice in half and serve.

You can also serve the tuna in a fancy wine or champagne glass and decorate with chips or colorful vegetables.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Aduki Beans, Butternut & Hijiki

A classic Macrobiotic dish with a twist of ingredients. Usually made by cooking the aduki beans (Japanese red beans) with the butternut squash instead I made it more like a stew and cooked the beans separately, then cooked the hijiki sea vegetable with the squash and added the beans at the end. The dish came out to be a whole lot more delicious, not to mention nutritious and perfect for this cold winter season.

Here are some of the nutritious benefits you will receive from including these foods in your diet:
Aduki beans are good for heart-small intestine, helps tonify your kidney-adrenal function, helps to detoxify the body and reduce swelling.
Butternut Squash provides a rich sweet flavor and is good for the stomach-spleen-pancreas group of organs.
Hijiki is an excellent form of calcium, iron and iodine. It helps to detoxify the body and softens hard masses in the body. Good for the thyroid gland and helps to normalize blood sugar levels.

This dish takes about 40 minutes to make and enough for about 4-6 people depending on their appetite.

Aduki Beans, Butternut and Hijiki

1 cup aduki beans, soaked overnight
½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed
¼ cup dried hijiki, soaked
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds

1. In a medium saucepan cook the aduki beans in water until just tender. Meanwhile, cube the squash and soak the hijiki. 
2. In a large skillet sauté the onion and ginger in the sesame oil until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the squash, hijiki and tamari stirring to coat with oil. 
3. Add water just to cover, then cover pan with lid, reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
4. Stir in the beans and cook another few minutes. Serve topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.