Tag Archives: healthy

Fall favourite – beef stew with heirloom vegetables

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The smell of the leaves, the colours, the cold air that makes your cheeks a bit rosy when you’re walking outside. I absolutely love everything about it. Also fall is a great time to start using my slow cooker. If you don’t have one, or if you have one that is gathering dust somewhere, trust me when I say this is one of the best kitchen tools you can have. You can make chili, sauces, soups, stews, even desserts!

We were at the market and there were tons of gorgeous heirloom vegetables, I thought they would be perfect to make some stew. Local heirloom vegetables are gorgeous and taste amazing. We assume carrots are only orange but they can also be red, black or yellow. Beets are not just red they can be orange or yellow too. Visit a farmer’s market and try some of the unique varieties available.

I cubed some beef, and coated in flour, then placed in the slow cooker while I diced the veggies.

 

Add the chopped veggies and two cups of stock (beef or vegetable). Also add cracked pepper, a pinch of salt, Worcestershire (tablespoon) and a few dashes of tabasco. The veggies I used are carrots, onion, peppers, garlic, potato, turnip, beet and possibly one or two veggies that were in the bushel I forgot about (but tasted amazing!)

Mix everything and add the lid. Cook on low for around 7 – 8 hours while you’re at work or 4 hours on high.

Cold weather food is just one of the many reasons I love fall, and I’d like to share a new reason I adore this time of year. Fall is beautiful, comforting, and a great time to gather with family and friends. September of next year, Andrew and I will be holding a small gathering in my hometown – our wedding! Hopefully I will be able to share some of our wedding planning and food ideas once we wrap our heads around all of it. What I do know is that there will be candy apples and a red velvet wedding cake, and that I’m beyond thrilled to be marrying my best friend in less than one year.

Have a great day, and if you get a chance go outside and enjoy the fall – I suggest a comfy sweater and reading a good book on a park bench.


I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cheese Sauce

Cheesy pasta is one of my absolute favorites, but it’s not the healthiest option so I tend not to make it very often. Then I discovered nutritional yeast cheese sauce. Nutritional yeast is powdered tiny yellow flakes that you can buy in most health food stores, I get mine from Kensington Market in Toronto. I’m sure you can also find them online, you can buy pretty much anything online right?

I’m not a vegan or vegetarian but I do try to eat meat free one or two days per week. It’s healthy, good for the environment and forces me to try recipes I never have before. (Besides, how much actual “cheese” do you think is in processed cheese foods anyways?)

This sauce is so much better than I assumed it would be before trying it, and I now make it pretty often. Healthy points: nutritional yeast is a nutrient dense source of protein (apparently it has more protein than meat) and it’s a source of vitamin B. Then there’s the fact that it just tastes really, really good.

There are a lot of recipes online but after tweaking mine quite a few times here is (in my opinion) the best way to make nutritional yeast cheese sauce.

Dry Ingredients:

  • ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (I like to use coarse sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (if you like garlic, you can use two like I do)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder (or the prepared kind if that’s what you have on hand)
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup margarine

What you do:

Mix all dry ingredients in a saucepan until blended.

Turn stove on medium, slowly whisk in water. Use a whisk, honestly, it helps prevent clumping. (Yes, I know I didn’t use a whisk. It would have been much easier if I had.)

Continue stirring as the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water until it thins out to your desired consistency.

Serve over pasta noodles. I used wagon wheels because that’s what we had, and I like funny shaped pasta.

 

I like a bit of spice so I sprinkled chili powder on top of the pasta before I served. You can also use the sauce to make a vegan/vegetarian nacho dip with a bit of diced jalapeno in it, again, it tastes really good.

Hope you like it!


Skinny Eatin’ – Tilapia with Cashew Crust

I hate cashews. Actually, I hated cashews until I lived with my old roommate Marissa and she introduced me to this recipe from the cookbook The Complete Light Kitchen. There is a lot of good stuff in this cookbook and the cashew-fish recipe made it into my regular rotation, as well as took the lonely little cashew off of my hate pile. Creamed corn, you’re still on there buddy.

This recipe is fairly easy to make and the topping can be whipped up ahead of time and stored for about a day before you need to use it.

Tilapia with Cashew Crust

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped cashews
  • 4 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp fresh crushed garlic (Official version says 1/2 tsp, but I put in 3 cloves. Delicious, and now I’m safe from vampires. Yep. I made a lame vampire reference.)
  • 4 4-oz tilapia fillets
  • 3 Tbsp chopped dill (for garnish)
  • Lemon wedges (for garnish)

What you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 425 Degrees C, line a baking tray with foil and oil it lightly.
  2. Add the cashews, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor. Loosely grind until coarse.
  3. Place the fish filets on the baking sheet and top each with a bit of the mixture.
  4. Bake the fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
  5. Garnish with lemon and dill.

A big mind-hug to Marissa for introducing me to this recipe, for a year spent sipping beer in the kitchen while cooking, and to often blatantly disregarding a recipe’s suggested garlic content. They’re not the boss of us.


Ginger Beef and Broccoli

No new posts for about a week because I’m coming off of a particularly bad cold (a.k.a. the superflu) and there’s really not much creativity involved in eating chicken soup and soda crackers for days on end. Actually, that’s not true. I also had tomato soup. 😉

I’m feeling a lot better but to speed up the healing process I made a healthy stir-fry packed with all the right vitamins and nutrients. Broccoli is a vitamin rich superfood, beef is high in zinc and by flavoring with red onion, ginger and garlic the end result is as good for you as it is delicious.

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What’s in it: Broccoli (about 1 small bunch with the stem removed), beef sliced into strips (I used fillet), red onion (about ½ a cup), 2 cloves of crushed garlic, a few tablespoons of sesame oil and about 3 tsp of grated ginger (you can use more or less depending on taste. I like lots of ginger).

What I did: Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan over medium, add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are softened just slightly. Add the sliced beef and grated ginger cooking until the beef is half done, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook five more minutes or until the broccoli is tender and the beef is cooked through. If your stir fry is getting a bit dry you can add some beef stock to moisten everything, a few tablespoons at a time.

You can also top with sesame seeds, I usually do but didn’t have any on hand this time around.