Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli

Pasta FagioliThis recipe was a lot of fun to make. It’s a wonderfully healthy and flavourful recipe. I love the colours and how everything mixes so well together. It’s not just tasty but so pretty to look at. This makes a nice, warm comfort food for those cold fall and winter days.

Pasta Fagioli is vegetarian, vegan and can be gluten free if needed.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
Half an onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
780 gram can (28 oz) of whole tomatoes
570 gram jar (20 oz) of white beans
125 grams (4.5 oz) baby spinach
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
200 grams (7 oz) short pasta (I used GF pasta)

Directions:

1) Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the oil, onion, carrot and celery. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and transparent.
2) Add the garlic and fry until soft, then add the zucchini and basil. Fry for another couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes and their juice and use your spoon to break them into smaller pieces.
3) Add the beans and their liquid, spinach, vegetable stock, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
4) Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook the the pasta until al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the soup. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Adapted from: cilantroandcitronella.com

Quinoa Veggie Salad (Cleanse)

I’ve been feeling the need to purge lately.

Over the past six months I have tried to eat as healthy as possible under my circumstances. My husband, who has been doing all of the cooking has been pretty good about making me healthy meals. We’re not quite on the same page all the time when it comes to food, but he knows how important it is to me. It’s certainly been a challenge not being able to cook for myself due to my temporary situation and that, in combination with my complete lack of movement has led to some weight gain and muscle loss.

This however, is starting to change. I am more and more able to move, make my own meals and help out in the kitchen. And I gotta tell you it feels absolutely amazing!!

So now with my increased movement (physio, walking and I tried a yoga class this morning, yay me!) I have decided it’s time to get myself back on track. Although I am not a fan of harsh detoxes and cleanses I do believe that gentle cleanses are important. So what I did this week was stop ingesting processed sugar as much as possible (it’s really a sneaky ingredient). I also stopped drinking coffee and switched to water and loose leaf tea. I also stayed away from dairy which wasn’t hard since I don’t consume dairy other than a small amount of cheese and once in a while I may have a little yogurt or cottage cheese.

With that, I made a wonderful Quinoa Veggie Salad which is full of vitamins, minerals and ingredients that are helpful in cleansing the system.

You can, of course enjoy this salad while still enjoying your regular healthy diet. I don’t recommend a lot of restrictions as a rule. I find that strict cleanses and detoxes are too hard on the body.  That being said, it is important to rid the body of excess toxins and harmful ingredients while also including foods that will help heal and cleanse on a regular basis.

The most important thing to remember with this recipe or any recipe that is meant to cleanse and rid the body of toxins it is very important to use ingredients that are pure, unprocessed and / or organic. The purpose after all is to rid the body of toxins not replace them with something else.

Ingredients

Salad

1 cup cooked quinoa, rinsed and strained (I used the red variety, but you can use the white also)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
Quinoa Veggie Salad1 avocado, diced (optional, but I highly recommend it for its healthy fats)
1 handful of cilantro (I find cilantro overpowering so I use it sparingly. It is great for cleansing heavy metals from the body)
1 handful spinach, diced
1 handful kale, diced
Salt to taste

Note: You can add just about any other veggie or green that you want. Build it to your taste. When it comes to the greens add as much or as little at you prefer. I tend to measure by my handful.

Dressing

1/2 cup good quality olive oil
juice from 1/2 fresh lemon (NOT the stuff in the bottle!)
1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp pure honey (NOT store-bought) (Click the link for a great source of pure honey as well as apple cider vinegar)
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1 tbsp good quality apple cider vinegar

Directions:

For the salad:

  • Rinse the quinoa overnight and when ready cook one cup quinoa to two cups of water. Cook on high until boiling and then simmer for 15 minutes. Rinse, drain and cool in the fridge.
  • In a large bowl combine the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • When the quinoa is cooled off add to your bowl of veggies.

For the dressing:

  • Combine all ingredients and let sit 5 minutes so the flavors will intermingle with each other.
  • Pour over the quinoa salad and mix together. Allow to sit for another 10-15 minutes so the flavors with continue to mingle.
  • When ready pour into a bowl and enjoy!

The ingredients in this recipe are highly cleansing with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As mentioned above it is important to use high-quality ingredients to get the benefits of this wonderful recipe.

This salad if combined with a healthy, clean diet while staying away from sugar, dairy, and caffeine for just a few days, will allow your body to release toxins and detox the body of chemicals you may be carrying in your system unknowingly. You may find your body starts to flush out what it has been holding onto for some time. You will find yourself feeling less bloated, more energetic and healthier all around.

Much Love,
Jennifer

 

Asian Noodle Salad

Well I’m slowly getting back up and around and able to do some small things around the house. Most of the time I still need help, but I have learned to accept it (something that has always been difficult for me). Delicious Asian Noodle Salad

I found this recipe online and wanted to give it a try so I asked my awesome hubby, who is always willing to give me a hand and we tag teamed it. I was really happy with how it turned out and with the picture as well. It really does this dish justice. Be warned this makes a huge batch so if you’re making it just for you, you may want to cut the ingredients. It was perfect for us because Paul’s willing to try almost anything and the boys wouldn’t touch it, which meant leftovers the next couple of days.

Ingredients:

1 box of thin spaghetti (We used half a box, but then had to add more.)
3-4 carrots, julienned
2 sweet peppers, sliced
1 4oz bag of bean sprouts (I didn’t have these on hand so I left them out)
1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced (The recipe called for 3, but I found that too much)
3 scallions, sliced (I would have like a bit more of these actually)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped (I find cilantro quite overpowering so I only used a very small handful)
1/2 head of napa cabbage, sliced ( didn’t have any of this either)
1/2 head or more purple cabbage, sliced
1/2 bunch kale, leaves torn off the stalks and shredded
2 cups peanuts, chopped *optional

Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce or shrimp sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar (I subbed coconut sugar)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger *Mmmmm
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped *To me more is better!

Directions:

For the salad: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, rinse and let cool.

Mix together the cooked spaghetti, carrots, peppers, bean sprouts, cucumbers, scallions, cilantro, napa cabbage, purple cabbage, and kale. Add peanuts if using and toss together.

For the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, oyster or shrimp sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown or coconut sugar, ginger, sesame oil and garlic in a medium bowl.

Pour the dressing over the salad and mix together with tongs or your hands. If the salad seems a little dry, just mix up more of the wet ingredients of the dressing and throw it in.

As you can see it’s all a very organic process and fun to get in there and mix it all up. I love the colors and flavors of this salad. It’s very fresh, healthy and nourishing. Play around with it and make it your own. Tell me what you did, I’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy! xo

Adapted from: www.thepioneerwoman.com

Chocolate Chia Pudding

This is another quick and easy recipe. You only need one dish and almost no utensils. I used a small mason jar so I just needed to shake it up and once it was firm it was ready.
Just shake it up and refrigerate.

Chia seeds add lots of health benefits to your diet including protein, fiber, antioxidants and more. Make sure you are using a good, high-quality brand. 

1 1/2 cups coconut milk (Optional: Almond milk)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp pure, organic cacao powder (can be found at most health food stores)
1/4 cup chia seeds

  • Pour all above ingredients into a small mason jar or bowl.
  • Give a quick stir. If using a mason jar, close the lid and give it a good shake.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Ready in the morning (or in approx 4 hours).

If you’re not used to chia seeds (they can give a bit of a lumpy consistency) this may take some getting used to. But, I hope you’ll try it because it’s quite good and very healthy.

This recipe is gluten free and vegan.

Adapted from: Tip Hero

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

I finally tried this on the weekend and it was so easy and delicious. And of course so much healthier than the traditional whipped cream we’re used to.

Tip: You will need to refrigerate your can of coconut milk so it will harden, otherwise you will end up with a soupy mess. Put your can of coconut milk in the fridge, the longer the better. If your can contains guar gum it will take longer to harden. I have found it best to always have one left in the fridge and then it’s ready when you need it. BEFORE you open your can flip it upside down. You will find that when it has been refrigerated the hardened cream will be at the top. Hence you will flip the can and open the bottom, then you are able to pour the leftover liquid into a separate container for another use.

1 can Coconut Milk
1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
*sweetener (honey, maple syrup) *This is optional. I have found a lot of recipes use a sweetener, I personally didn’t use it.
I used a little (1/4 tsp) bit of cinnamon to add a bit of spice. This would be really nice for a warmer dessert like a cobbler or my apple sauce spice cake.

  • Scoop the hardened cream into a bowl and add the vanilla and optional sweetener.
  • Mix with beaters until fluffy.
  • Put in fridge until ready to use.
  • Serve with fresh fruit.
  • Easy Peasy!

Quick Avocado Wraps

Ingredients:

2 whole wheat tortilla wraps (You could also use the cauliflower wraps. Find that recipe here.)

1 ripe avocado
1/2 purple onion, diced
handful of greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale etc.)
1/2 tomato (I use Roma or cherry tomatoes sliced)
1 carrot, slices (I use a veggie peeler)

*Experiment with this and add other types of veggies that you like.

Directions:

  • Place your wrap on a plate
  • Mash the avocado in it’s shell and scoop 1/2 into each wrap.
  • Add the purple onion, greens, tomato and any other veggies you choose.
  • Wrap and Enjoy!

Depending on your appetite and lifestyle you CAN eat both of these. They are full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. If you are used to eating smaller meals, you can split them up and eat one per day or at separate meals.

 

Avocado Quesadilla (Vegan)

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado, more if you prefer
1 small roma tomato, diced
1 green onion, sliced
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Seasonings of choice (options: salt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, etc.)
Salsa (optional)
1 large tortilla

Directions:

  • Smash avocado and spread out on one half of the tortilla. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast if using and any seasonings. Add tomato, green onion, and salsa (or save the salsa for dipping)
  • Fold over the top half of the tortilla, and place on a skillet over medium heat.
  • Heat for a few minutes on each side until warmed through.

Note: The salsa inside the quesadilla will make it a little messier. I usually save it for dipping.
This recipe can also be gluten free if you use GF tortillas.

Adapted from: The Garden Grazer

Simple Sesame Noodles with Asian Dressing

This recipe is sooo easy and delicious! The recipe here calls for noodles, and I used chinese noodles. You can also use this dressing on salads as well.

Ingredients:
12 ounces, fluid thin noodles, cooked and drained
*I used chinese noodles, any thin noodle will do.
1/4 cup soy sauce (tamari for gluten free option)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp pure sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot chili oil or Sriracha
4 tbsp grape seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
4 whole green onions, sliced thin

Directions:

  • Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl.
  • Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
  • Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with green onions.
  • Serve in a bowl with chopsticks.

Yummm!

Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

Cauliflower pizza crust / wraps

Cauliflower Pizza / WrapsIngredients:

2 lbs cauliflower florets, riced
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F

Step 1: Begin making your rice. Simply pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice like texture is achieved.

Step 2: Cook and strain the rice.Straining your cauliflower rice

Fill a large pot with about an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and cover; let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine mesh strainer.

Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dish towel.

Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then squeeze all the excess moisture out. (Be careful not to burn your hands!)

It’s amazing how much liquid will be released, which will leave you with nice, dry pizza crust.

Step 3: Make and shape the dough.

In a large bowl mix your rice, egg, goat cheese and spices.

Don’t be afraid to use your hands. You want it very well mixed.

It won’t be like any pizza crust you’ve worked with, but don’t worry, It will hold together.

Press the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Make sure it’s parchment paper, NOT waxed paper. They are very different!)

Step 4:

Bake for 30-45 minutes.

Load on your toppings.

Note: I actually make these into smaller 10″ round pieces and use them as wraps instead of tortilla wraps. They can be stored in the fridge and reheated when needed. 

Adapted from: Detoxinista.com

Basic Quinoa

Preparation

Before cooking, quinoa must be rinsed to remove the toxic (but naturally occurring) bitter coating, called saponin. Saponin, when removed from quinoa, produces a soapy solution in water. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use. Place quinoa in a grain strainer and rinse thoroughly with water.

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
seasonings to taste

Directions

  • Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa with cool water until the water runs clear.
  • Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook covered for 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes covered; fluff with a fork.
  • Season as you like.

For a delicous toasted flavor, dry roast for 5 minutes in a saucepan before adding liquid. 

Adapted from: The Institute For Integrative Nutrition