Monthly Archives: February 2012

no-tuna melt

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I know, I know…2 food posts in a row. I mentioned all the different things I made on Sunday in my post yesterday and I thought this was another great recipe to share. You can make it ahead of time and it helps make the busy weekdays seem a little less stressful. Enjoy this egg-free, dairy-free and fish-free recipe.

No-Tuna Melt with pickle and Roasted Kabocha Squash

I’ve never been a big fan of tuna, even when I ate animal products. I hate the smell of tuna filling the kitchen when the can is opened, you know what I’m talking about. I didn’t give much thought to trying a no-tuna salad sandwich, I wasn’t missing it so why would I seek out the recipe. One day, since going vegan, I had a craving for a tuna melt! I have no idea why, luckily I don’t miss animal products, not even cheese. So needless to say it was very strange that I had a craving for something I didn’t even like. Regardless, I searched online for a recipe to squelch my craving. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe how much I could like a tunaless tuna sandwich, it was perfect without all the gross tuna smell and taste. As well as being ocean-wise. I eventually tweaked the recipe I found to my liking and every so often I’ll make a batch of no-tuna salad and keep the leftovers in the fridge for a quick and filling lunch. I usually roll it up in a wrap with some veggies and greens but today I had another craving for a tuna melt. My no-tuna melt hit the spot.

No-Tuna Salad

1 can of organic chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked)
1/2 cup raw organic cashews (or almonds)
juice of half lemon
1 tsp kelp powder
1 celery rib, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1/4 veganaise (or brand of your choice)
1.5 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse until chickpeas and cashews are coarsely chopped. Add lemon juice and kelp powder, mix well. Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Add more veganaise if needed.

To transform into No-Tuna Melt you’ll need:

2 slices of bread
1 tbsp veganaise
1/2 cup No-Tuna Salad
1/4 cup zucchini, spiralized (or grated)
1/4 cup carrot, spiralized (or grated)
whole spinach leaves
daiya grated cheese, I mixed cheddar and mozzarella (or use any cheese of your preference)

Assembly:

Preheat the oven’s broiler on high (if you have the option). Toast the bread in the toaster. Spread 1/2 tbsp of veganaise on each piece of toast. Spread 1/4 cup of No-Tuna Salad on each piece of toast, then split the zucchini and carrot between both pieces of toast. Place a few pieces of spinach on each one then lastly top with the grated daiya. Carefully place each piece under the broiler, keep your eye on them! Leave the door open slightly to ensure they don’t burn. It doesn’t take long. Remove when cheese is melted to your liking. Enjoy.

Peace and love.

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homemade fruit leather

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I enjoy spending the day in the kitchen making culinary creations and last Sunday I spent the entire day doing just that. I made fruit leather, banana bread, tuna-less tuna salad, and of course dinner. Everything turned out delicious and I love having all the goodies and leftovers. Here are the details on how I make my fruit leather.

 

 

Equipment you’ll need:
-knife, peeler, cutting board, apple parer, slicer, corer (optional)
-extra-large pot ie) stock pot
-wooden spoon
-large mixing bowl
-blender or food processor
-food dehydrator

The produce I used:
-approx. 10 apples, peeled, cored, chopped
-1 pear, peeled, cored, chopped
-2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
-10 strawberries, hulled and chopped
-2 big handfuls baby carrots, chopped
-juice of 1 lemon

I usually don’t follow a recipe when I make fruit leather, it’s more of a formula. Depending on what I have on hand and what I need to use up gets tossed into the pot. I like to use apples because they contain pectin and make up the bulk of the puree. I have found that adding bananas gives the puree and end result a smoother texture and we love bananas. The lemon juice keeps the apples from browning too much and this is the first time I added carrots thinking if juice companies can do it, why can’t I? I put the strawberries in to try and camouflage the “oranginess” of the carrots. It worked, the kids didn’t notice and they both love it!

Prepare the fruit:
Wash all fruit and carrots. For the apples and pear I used my apple parer, slicer, corer gadget, if you don’t have one you can do it by hand with a knife and peeler. As you cut the fruit place them in the extra large pot once full squeeze on the lemon juice and toss to coat and add a few tablespoons of water, to prevent sticking. Place the pot on the stove and turn heat to medium. Once you hear the fruit starting to simmer, stir well, cover with tight fitting lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Once the fruit has thickened and becomes the consistency of apple sauce turn heat off and let the fruit sauce cool. I left mine until after dinner.

Transform into fruit puree:
Using a ladle I put half the fruit mixture in the blender, pureed it and transferred it to a mixing bowl, then repeated with the other half of the fruit mixture. Line your dehydrator tray with the fruit roll sheets, lightly oil the sheets and ladle or pour on the fruit puree. I smooth out the puree with a spatula to make sure it’s evenly spread out, makes for even drying times. The puree filled 3 trays of the dehydrator.

 

Making fruit leather:
I plugged in the dehydrator and set the temp to 135 degrees at approx. 8pm (the kids bedtime). The dehydrator worked all night and by the time I checked it at 7am the fruit leather was done! Yum!

 

 

 

This fruit leather is obviously made from cooked fruit, the fruit I was using needed to be used up and was a little over ripe and I find that cooking the fruit mellows the flavours and releases the sugars. Also cooking the fruits gives the puree a smoother consistency which gives the fruit leather a softer taste and smoother consistency. I have made fruit leather using raw fruit and it’s important that the fruit is at it’s peak of ripeness without bruises or blemishes. Raw fruit leather also takes longer to dehydrate and you have to watch it carefully as you get closer to the end because if you over dry it the leather can be more brittle. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, I suggest you try them out and see which one you prefer best. Also I just wanted to note that if you don’t have a food dehydrator that it can be done in a conventional oven, I’ve never tried, but it’s another option if you wanted to try food dehydrating before investing in a dehydrator.

Peace and love.

talking smack behind my back

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Let it go!
Be the bigger person!
Would you rather be right or happy?
Just be kind.
Lead by example.
Rise above.

All of these sayings are running through my head and I know what the right thing to do is, but at the same time, somewhere inside of me I want to unload and point my finger at someone for saying something negative about me behind my back. What is with that? I mean, who still does that after you graduate high school? Why does nothing bother me more then wanting to set someone straight when they are misinformed. I need to set the record straight. In this particular situation there is no wrong which means we are both right, right? The only difference is that other person doesn’t have the whole story and is making assumptions, as well as, not taking responsibility for her role in the situation. So I feel I am MORE right than she is. Nothing gets me fired up more then when someone is lying or not taking responsibility for their role in a situation. I have known this person for 4 years now and had considered her a friend but as it turns out we have a very different definition of what friend means.

What does all this mean? What should I do? Well, for starters, I called my Mom. Somehow the simple act of telling my Mom that someone is a meanie, had the same powerful effect, now, at 38 as it did when I was 8. Sigh. My Mom is the best Mom in the world. I have been thinking about confronting my demon head on and enlightening her to my side of the story. So then I meditate on the situation. Why do I need to tell her? What will it prove? What will I gain? Will she gain anything? So then I turn to yoga. How is yoga going to help me through this dilemma? Yoga is much more than the physical practice of the asanas but they are helpful in this situation by quieting the mind and tuning out the dialogue of thoughts, as well as, squeezing out any tension that may have seeped into my muscles. In yoga, there are “eight limbs” the second limb is asanas and the first one is the Yamas and Niyamas. The Yamas and Niyamas consist of 10 ethical principles that allow us to be at peace with ourselves, our family and our community. Just reading that makes me feel better. Sigh.

Taken from Donna Farhi’s book Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit:

The Ten Living Principles

The first limb, or the yamas, consists of characteristics observed and codified by wise people since the beginning of time as being central to any life lived in freedom. They are mostly concerned with how we use our energy in relationship to others and, in a subtler sense, our relationship to ourselves. THe sages recognized that stealing from your neighbour was likely to promote discord, lying to your wife would cause suffering, and violence begets more violence; the results are hardly conducive to living a peaceful life. the second limb, the niyamas, constitutes a code for living in a way that fosters the soulfulness of the individual and has to do with the choices we make. The yamas and niyamas are emphatic descriptions of what we are when we are connected to the source. Rather than a list of dos and don’ts, they tell usthat our fundamental nature is compassionate, generous, honest and peaceful.

Yamas -Wise Characteristics

Ahimsa -Compassion for All Living Things
Satya -Commitment to the Truth
Asteya -Not Stealing
Brahmacharya -Merging with the One
Aparigraha -Not Grasping

Niyamas -Codes for Living Soulfully

Shaucha -Purity
Santosha -Contentment
Tapas -Burning Enthusiasm
Swadhyaya -Self-Study
Ishvarapranidhana -Celebration of the Spiritual

I’ll go into the details of these principles at another time as I want to stay focused on the original thought. So, this is how yoga helps me in everyday life, it’s always there, non-judging, just in me, a part of me. We aren’t immune from hurt feelings, it’s how we deal with them that creates our environment. What will I chose to do with my dilemma? Will I confront my demon? I don’t know, I doubt it. I am, for now, choosing to take the high road and rise above it. I am better then that, not that I think I am better than she but I’m not going to get caught up in the drama. Life is too short and I hope that I won’t give this another thought from this moment forward and know that it’s ok if I do. My plan is to hold my tongue because she is not worth any more of my energy, she is an empty calorie friend. And above all I will be kind. The kind of person I want my kids to be, the kind I person I want to be.

Peace and love.