Recipe: Roasted Carrots, Leeks and Fennel

roasted carrots, fennel and leeks

I am beyond happy to report that the Calgary Farmers Market has reopened!!! It actually opened three weeks ago. We stopped by on opening day, but after a 40 minute wait to get into the parking lot, I was a bit frazzled and it was a bit too busy to enjoy. We were back there this weekend and it really is beautiful and amazing. There was something about the old farmers market that was so charming. Perhaps it was the familiarity of the faces and routine that we had, or perhaps I, like many, cling a bit too tightly to things I love. I’m sure the new market will grow to have charm for me like the old one. It is however, beautiful and spacious and there are some incredible new vendors, and so many yummy food choices. Highlights: Fratello Analog serves a ridiculously good traditional cap, Silk Road Spice Merchants have a great little location in the market and I’ve heard rumors that the Vietnamese Subs are the best in the city! I bought a ridiculous amount of produce at the Cherry Pit, mostly because I was just excited about all the options. Interestingly, we are almost out of produce, which proves my theory that shopping at the Market makes us eat better.

Anyway…I whipped this up for dinner last night, to use up some of the vegetables I picked up. It was delicious and super easy(but takes a while in the oven, so plan ahead!) Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Carrots, Leeks and Fennel

In a large glass baking dish, place 1 fennel bulb, thinly chopped, 4 leeks(pale and white parts) thinly sliced, about 10 large carrots, sliced into 1 inch thick rounds, and 4 garlic cloves(peeled). Drizzle with olive oil, honey, and a generous amount of balsamic vinegar. Roast at 375 for about 1 hr. Remove from oven. Add half a loaf of sourdough bread chopped into 2 inch cubes, a handful of fresh rosemary, a handful of chopped walnuts and some sea salt. Stir to coat bread with oil and vinegar. Put back in the oven for about another 20-30 minutes, until bread crumbs are toasted, and everything is golden and delicious. This serves about 4 as a side dish.

Think Fresh: Raw

Arugula Pesto

The raw food movement is a big deal. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’m also sure you’ve thought the exact same thing as me: that’s for crazy vegan hippies who like to eat dirt. But you know, there are some incredible benefits of incorporating more raw food into your diet and it really is not all that difficult! You don’t have to be a raw-foodist to eat a little(or a lot) more raw food and reap the benefits.

Benefits(in a nutshell)(literally) – Healthy fresh food, raw nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains, have enzymes that are alive. Putting living food into your body allows your body to reap the benefits of these enzymes dramatically increasing the nutritional intake. Once food is heated to a certain point, the enzyme dies. So eating steamed broccoli is still healthy for you because there are still vitamins and minerals, but the enzyme is no longer living.

Obviously the easiest way to eat more raw food, is to eat more fruits and vegetables in general, and cook less of them. You don’t need to overcook or even cook most vegetables to enjoy them. Here are some ways you can eat more raw without going all hardcore:

Make some healthy dip and eat crudites(raw veggies)

When making stir frys or one dish meals, saute the veggies you don’t like raw(mushrooms and onions maybe), but top with other veggies you don’t mind raw, finely chopped(celery, carrots, spinach etc).

Commit to one raw meal a day. We usually do this at lunch, and honestly it seems to come with having kids. Lunch at our house is things like, sliced fruit, nuts(not roasted or they’re not raw), veggies, crackers(which you can buy or make raw), and cheese(which we always buy raw). So I don’t have to think too hard about getting raw lunches in.

PESTO! I know you’ve all heard me rant about my love for pesto. If you want some other great pesto ideas, check out THIS post. But for dinner tonight I tried something new and it was really delicious and super easy! Give it a try!

Arugula Pesto

In a food processor, place 4 cups of arugula, 1/2 cup crumbled feta, 1 garlic clove, juice of half a lemon, 3 tbs olive oil, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup walnut pieces. Pulse to combine and until finely chopped. I then placed it over rice pasta, stirred to combine and it was a completely raw pasta sauce, that was warm because of the pasta, but not cooked enough to kill the enzymes. So healthy and so delicious!

The bottom line is this: like all things health related, it can seem completely overwhelming to live a healthy life and follow all the rules we hear about. Realistically our lives are an accumulation of all the little decisions and choices we make. So you don’t have to do radical things to greatly improve your health. Start with something little. Make little decisions that will benefit you as often as you can. Have an extra glass of water. Eat your carrots raw. Eat one donut instead of two. One day you will see that all your healthy choices have added up to a healthy life. Yay You!

Recipe: Beet Soup

beet soup

A friend of mine is home, sick, recovering from surgery, and not allowed to drive. Not fun. Something about feeding soup to sick friends makes me happy. Maybe they don’t even want soup. But I forever feel the need to make them soup anyway. So on this quiet, super snowy day, I am enjoying the smell of soup on the stove, the way I have to squint my eyes out the window because the white is so bright, and the peace that comes with turning concern in the heart into gifts in the hands. Enjoy!

Beet Soup

2 tbs butter

1 large garlic clove

1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 cups beets, finely chopped(I quartered mine and then put them in a food processor)

4 cups water

1 tsp coarse sea salt

2 tbs chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup whipping cream

Directions: In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, celery, carrots and stir to coat with butter. Allow to soften while you chop beets. Add beets, water, salt, and dill and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Pour in whipping cream. Serve.

Cookbook Preview: Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

This post is dedicated to my fabulous blog friend Danielle in Vancouver, who has discovered a new love for Brussels sprouts and was looking for recipes. I happen to have the YUMMIEST Brussels sprouts recipe ever and it also happens to be in the cookbook, so: Cookbook Preview! Photos courtesy of Kristy-Anne at Up & Away Studios.

My dad, who is the healthiest man alive, loves all food EXCEPT Brussels Sprouts. Growing up, it was the only food that seemed to me like even grown ups think is DISGUSTING. They looked like awful little green brains and I refused to eat them. Then, we were visiting some family last year in Toronto. And my cousin Alex made this dish for us. I should title the recipe: Brussels Sprouts Are Not Disgusting. In fact they are amazing. And everytime I make this recipe, I hoard as many of them as possible. One of my favorite recipes of all time.

Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts

approx 2 lbs of fresh brussel’s sprouts, halved

1 large sweet onion, sliced

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable stock

3 tbs apple cider vinegar

1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds

salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Parboil brussel sprouts, drain. Combine sprouts with onions and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven until golden and a bit crispy, approximately one hour. Combine herbs, stock and vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Put sprouts on a serving plate and pour stock mixture over them. Add sunflower seeds.

Recipe: Barley Lentil Salad

Curried Barley Lentil Salad

Usually, the simpler the food, the better. The Standard American Diet is built on foods that are as far removed from their natural state as possible. Food that is highly processed, taking natural products, refining them, coating them in fats/sugars/salts/additives/preservatives and then packaging them pretty. We all inherently know that this isn’t a healthy way to eat. How can these products compare with food as close to its natural state as possible, blueberries off the bush, carrots out of the dirt…

It can take a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve re-trained your taste buds to enjoy the taste of natural food, you will soon discover that fresh food is naturally healthy AND delicious. You will start to notice the slightly offensive sweetness of processed salad dressings, the saltiness in store-bought cookies…

This salad came up today in my experimenting. I wanted to see if I could use food, as natural as possible to make something delicious for dinner. I just sampled it, warm and it’s so yummy. So you can eat it warm or cold. We’ll be eating it as an entree, but would make a great side dish as well!

Barley Lentil Salad

1 cup dried green lentils

1 cup pot barley

2 cups raw chopped cauliflower

1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

2 tbs almond oil(or olive oil)

dash of sea salt

1 tsp curry spices(I used 1/2 tsp Turkish Baharat and 1/2 tsp Tandoori Masala)

Directions: Prepare the lentils and barley. I simmered mine separately until just tender. It actually took almost the exact same amount of time so I don’t see any reason not to simmer them together. Drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Serve!

tip – make sure to rinse the dust off the barley well. If you use pearl barley(which is more refined) it cooks quite quickly so don’t combine to simmer with lentils.

Think Fresh: Broccoli

baked broccoli with feta and almonds

Quick! What’s the first vegetable you think of? Broccoli, I knew it! The broccoli floret does seem to be the North American poster child of vegetables. It kind of has a reputation as being such a despised vegetable (ewwww eat your  broccoli!) But really, most people I know, and even most kids I know, including my own, love broccoli. Too often, broccoli is steamed to death, limp and mushy. But there are so many ways to make broccoli.

SUPER high in Vitamin C, one serving of broccoli(about 1 cup chopped) contains 135% of your daily recommended amount! It is also super high in Vitamin K and a significant source of folate and fibre. So when our mothers told us to eat our broccoli, they were right!

If you are tired of plain steamed broccoli, and too health conscious to douse it in creamy cheese sauce, here are a few fresh ideas for broccoli.

Baked Broccoli (pictured above) – steam broccoli just for a couple of minutes, until just tender. Place in a baking dish and top with crumbled feta and almonds. Bake until the top is browning nicely, about 30 mins (or broil just a few at the end for a deeper golden top). I ate this yesterday as an entree with a rose sauce.

Broccoli pesto – I usually make mine with broccoli, raw and cooked, almonds, parm, garlic and lemon.  This recipe from 101 cookbooks is absolutely perfect!

Stirfry – Broccoli is perfect stir fried with some ginger, teriyaki sauce and a hot pepper. Fiery and delicious!

Grilled – grilled until crispy, broccoli has an amazing texture and nutty flavor. Dip it in a homemade tzatziki sauce for a fun and different side dish!

There you go, some broccoli ideas. Like I’ve mentioned before…Picky Princess will eat anything she considers small and cute. Cut up broccoli into the tiniest of florets and plant as a mini forest in the rice, barley, quinoa, side dish you have. Always a hit around here!

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