Pickled carrot and daikon

 

Pickled radish & carrot

Pickled radish & carrot

This recipe is a good one for keeping some of this yummy deliciousness around all year. The end product should store well for a year or so in a closed mason jar in your fridge. You can use this for soups, salads and dressings to zip it up a notch.

I have used this in my Bahn Mi recipe as well as hot and sour soup and asian salads.

Ingredients:

5 carrots

1 large daikon

1.5 cups white vinegar

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 cup warm water

Method:

Julienne or grate carrot and daikon into bowl. Mix in all wet ingredients and let stand at least one hour before use.

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Oil infusions – insert extra dollar bills saved here

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I hadn’t made an infused oil in quite some time until I saw a “specialty” shop while cutting through a mall as well as on 17th Avenue here in Calgary. What sparked me to start up this easy process again wasn’t anything more than the fact that these oils were highly priced and in a lot of cases, of very poor quality.

I pride myself on knowing (as often as possible) where my food comes from and what businesses I am supporting with my money. In the case of two “chain” oil specialty stores, I could not apply this desire.

So, if you have some energy, ingredients and about 5 minutes, you’ll be infusing your own oils in no time.

This recipe is based on my last Spicy oil pictured.

Base oils I like to work with: 

Olive

Grapeseed

 

Additions: 

Dried or fresh spices/fruit – go wild. I used fresh hot Thai peppers in this one!

Ingredients:

-Glass receptacle
-Volume of oil for that will fill that receptacle (in this case 2 oz)
– Seranno peppers diced with seeds in (in this case 3)

Method:

Use whatever spices and oil you have. Place herbs/fruit in a GLASS receptacle only!!  Why? Plastic leaches toxins into the things it touches, don’t let that be your food.

Cover with oil.

Allow to sit for at least 30 days, out of the sun so that the oil will not turn acrid. I keep mine in my pantry.

Start to sample your oil in 3-4 weeks to see the level of flavour you like is achieved.

The hot peppers in this recipe release endorphins, boost your metabolism, relieves nerve pain if applied topically – try this spicy oil as a topical pain management treatment.

Try garlic, rosemary, basil – whatever you like! Strain or don’t strain, it’s all up to you!

Fear not the kitchen!!

Need tips? Comment below!

 

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash soup & Asiago Sammy

This recipe is something I made up on the fly with whatever ingredients I had in the pantry. This is a fast food night for me and my family. It’s not easy at first, to be creative and daring in the kitchen, but after time it’s just so simple to start making things up in your head. 
I’ll admit, I had to stop off for bread because we don’t usually have it in this house….wasn’t the greatest quality, but in a pinch I am not going full ORGANIC MADNESS in a Hamlet of 500….no labels, no judgement, just doing my best. 
I was inspired by Vietnamese subs for this one. To ensure 100 % vegan skip the cheese OR add vegan cheese. 
Sandwich Ingredients: 
1 baguette or gluten free bread/baguette/toast
1 cup Asiago cheese shredded or sliced thinly
1 medium carrot grated thinly
1 avocado sliced
1 handful fresh spinach
1 handful fresh baby kale
1 large tomato sliced into thin wheels
2 tbsp earth balance buttery spread
2-4 cloves garlic diced thinly OR pressed
Freshly ground Himalayan sea salt
Soup Ingredients: 
1 medium butternut squash
1 large striped beet
2 medium yellow onions
5 cloves garlic
1.5 tsp oak smoked sea salt
1/2 tsp dried chilis (more if you like it hot_
1 tsp dried & rehydrated basil (lighthouse)
Fresh ground black pepper
Method: 
Soup
Slice squash in half & remove all seeds with a spoon. Cube/chop all remaining veggies. Add light amount of oil to cookie sheet. Place squash face-down on sheet. Roast all veggies at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven. You may choose to roast the garlic and onion separately to avoid burning…you can also opt to sweat them out on your stove top. 
Once you can easily pierce squash and other veggies with a fork remove from oven and let cool for 5 mins. Remove squash from skin and chop into manageable pieces. 
Add all remaining ingredients to your Vitamix, Blendtec or any high-powered blender and mix until smooth. Add more veggie broth if soup is too thick. 
Sammy
Leave oven set to 400. Remove all veggies. Take baguette and slice in half, then cut lengthwise. Spread buttery spread on both sides of baguette. Spread garlic on baguette. 
Sprinkle one side with cheese. 
Place in oven open-faced for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and baguette *just* begins to brown. 
Remove from oven & dress with all other veggies. Top with fresh full spectrum salt. 
Serves 2!

Chia Dressing – zingy!

I am a sucker for homemade dressings. Namely because I can load them up with raw garlic to keep the vampires away for weeks at a time. Also, homemade dressings are about one of the easiest items to put together in a hurry…..and you can go wild with ingredients…I love play, especially with flavour. 
Salads are something I eat as fast food for lunches or dinners for one, so it’s nice to have a stock of favourite dressing ingredients around at all times. 
Play with this recipe, make it your own. 
Ingredients: 
–  1.5 tbsp Chia seeds
– 3 cloves Raw Garlic
– 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
– 1/4 cup Grapeseed Oil
– 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar OR fresh juice of one lemon
– 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
– Fresh ground pepper to taste
Ideas: add veganaise or avocado to make this a creamy dressing!
Method: 
Blend all ingredients with hand blender or whisk. Let sit for 10 minutes or so while Chia thickens up. Serve!
This will store for up to 1 week in the fridge. 

GOOD Vitamins – finally.

 
I have been on a search for honest, plant-based, GMO/Animal free vitamins of superior quality for a few weeks now.
 
I have finally found them – me thinks.
 
My process for purchasing beauty or health products starts with one question; were animals used in the manufacturing of or safety testing of this product. Once I resounding NO is realized, I’ll try it.
 
There are a lot of different vitamins on the market and what I found most confusing was the fact that one company could be rated as A+ for it’s Iron supplements but a D- on it’s B Complex. Why can’t one producer just make an all around amazing supplement line in every category?
 
Needless to say, many googles later I had fallen behind on my vitamin intake and was pretty frustrated. Some articles list FLINTSTONE vitamins as “good”. Yeesh.
 
Today, my search has ended. I found The Vitamin Farm. Located here in Calgary at TD Square it’s got a fantastic selection of some good (and not so good) supplements. They vary in pricing so even on a tight budget, you can keep up your vitamin levels without going broke or stocking your fridge full of spinach and beets.
 
I chose the Mega Food brand. Why? Well, the labels say it all for me:
 
GMO Free
Vegetarian
Gluten Free
Soy Free
Dairy Free
Farm Fresh
 
They actually use a term “from farm to tablet”. Apparently these tablets are 100% food based, the real deal. Yes, most other supplements are synthetic – yuck!
 
What I questioned about those synthetic sources was their BIOAVAILABILITY. Essentially, how well and where the body was absorbing additional nutrients. With some vitamins like B’s and C’s which are water soluble, we end up peeing out their goodness. I say, lets ensure we are making a superior product that is creating some serious positive impact on our bodies before it’s making its way into the septic system.
 
At $40-$50 per bottle and between 60 and 90 tablets,  these vitamins are not for the faint of heart. MegaFood however, has been around since 1973 and seem to be a company that is committed to producing real food using a slo-food process, which I can respect.
 
Best of all? Monsanto hasn’t had their filthy little hands all over my vitamins.
 
Visit their website to see if their products are sold in your area: http://www.megafood.com/
 
I’ll be sure to follow up this post in 60 days with and updates on their effectiveness.
 
 

Easy, quick results….ok, I’m sold.

I decided to share this with the inter web because everyone deserves to see a little truth behind working out once in a while. I am not necessarily bashful however, I AM a little embarrassed of myself when I let laziness or “life” carry me away from my passion of being active and fit. And that’s how this story starts. 
Over the last month and a bit I really let myself go….by my standards. Why? Well my little baby dog died and a slew of other obstacles presented themselves and instead of keeping focused, I internalized, I drank too much wine and I didn’t work out beyond walking my dogs a couple of times per day. I stopped cooking every day and was eating out at least once per day…it was madness for my usually clean, active and positive world. 
In this amount of time I managed to gain weight and become trapped in a cycle of bad moods and lethargy. 
Then the new year happened, I kicked it into high gear with running, yoga and cooking at home. What I didn’t expect to do was to join this 30 day challenge online (for free) and see results in 9 days. I’ve still had the odd beer, wine and even nacho’s last weekend. 
No money, no equipment and just 12 minutes per day, all arriving in my inbox. 
I didn’t adhere to rest days, and usually run for 30 minutes or do a 1 hour hot yoga/flow class to pair up with the 12 minutes. I also love skiing, hiking and spinning…..so changing it up helps. 
If you have 12 minutes to watch TV (ok, I don’t have TV but say Facebook then….)you have 12 minutes to at least give yourself the gift of movement. 
Check out BodyRockTV here https://www.facebook.com/BodyRock.Tv
If you’re looking for menu tips, check out some of my recipes and skip purchasing their menu plan. If you’re looking for alternatives to their equipment, check my feed on TWITTER: @trimmingthefat for alternatives on exercises and what equipment I did or didn’t use. 
Long story short, I’m astonished at the results for what I think is very little effort on my part. 
I’m proud of myself, and if you need a nudge, I hope this got you there. 
Sasha

Raw Vegan Cashew Cheese

This recipe is a great place to start for people venturing into the raw unknown. Raw cheeses are not generally that difficult to make where rejuvelac isn’t a factor. This quick and fun recipe will give you a flair for the creative. 
You can serve this with pretty much anything. I like it with pickles and crackers and a little zest. 
Ingredients:
2 cups cashews – soaked for at least 2 hours
2 tbsp miso
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lemon juice 
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup water if needed
Method: 
Place all ingredients with the exception of water in food processor. Combine with pulse until creamy texture is achieved. If you didn’t soak your nuts, you’ll definitely need water. 
Spicing it up:
Think about some cool additions like: herbs de provence, mexican mix, garam masala, fresh diced jalepenos, chopped cranberries etc…
Form into a ball or brick, or use a miniature spring form pan to create a round of cheese. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to reach harder consistency. 
Enjoy!