Author Archives: Joanna

sleeplessness

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What do you do when you hear your neighbor’s tv/radio go on at 2:50 am? The last time I looked at the clock it was 2:22 am, not sure if I was awake or drifting off when the tv went on? I’m awake now. I seem to be sleeping less and less lately.

I’m tired and I try to do things to retrain myself to sleep but it doesn’t seem to help.

At the end of the day I’m tired, exhausted, even. I usually have no trouble falling asleep, it’s staying asleep that is the problem. I usually wake up between 3-4:30 am and rarely fall back to sleep. Tonight I woke up about 2 am. I hope I get some more sleep before 7 am.

Tomorrow I will make a post on some of the things I’ve tried. What are things you’ve tried and hopefully worked for insomnia?

Zzzzzzzzz

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vegan peasant feast

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My vegan peasant feast…

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  • Rustic sundried tomato bread with spelt flour
  • Roasted veggies with balsamic vinegar and chickpeas
  • Herbed polenta
  • Steamed greens (kale and red chard)

I don’t know if this meal is actually what peasants eat, did eat or would eat but it felt like they might. It was very rustic and homey feeling. Just as my son’s play date arrived, I started preparing the meal, about 2 pm. Bread dough was first up, while it was rising I started roasting the veggies and chickpeas. Then when the bread was ready to bake, shortly after I started the polenta. Just before the bread and polenta were ready I slide the veggies and chickpeas back into the oven to warm. By the time we had our fill and I washed up the dishes it was 6:08 pm. I’d say that was time well spent. If I hadn’t made the bread it would’ve been about an hour, actually less because I would roast the veggies for less time.

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Roasted Vegetables with balsamic vinegar and chickpeas

I have a love affair with roasted chickpeas so when I stumbled upon the Roasted vegetables with chickpeas recipe in a new vegan cookbook my husband gave me called Easy Vegan, it was a no brainer. I tweaked the recipe a little to suit my own taste. This is my version.

1 onion, peeled and cut through the core into wedges

8-10 large cremini mushrooms, quartered

12 cherry/grape tomatoes

1 head of garlic, separated and not peeled

1 red/yellow/orange pepper sliced (use 1 or 1 of each)

1 carrot, not peeled and sliced thickly

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For balsamic glaze:

2-4 tbsp olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (depending how many veggies you use)

1-2 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried)

1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)

1 tbsp fresh italian parsley

Just so you know, I didn’t actually measure the balsamic ingredients, I just poured them on. Now that I got that out of the way here’s what I did. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a large cookie sheet with oil or parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all veggies (not the chickpeas, yet). Pour on the balsamic ingredients and toss gently, let marinade 30 mins-2hrs or overnight if you have the foresight. FYI, I didn’t marinade mine at all. Spread the veggies and all the marinade (should be a little puddle) on the prepared cookie sheet and put on the middle rack in the oven for 30 mins. Take the veggies out, add the chickpeas and toss with the veggies, turn the oven up to 400 F and put back in the oven for 30 mins, turning at least twice during cooking time.

Herbed polenta

Polenta is such a quick and easy grain dish to prepare. For me, it never seems to take as long as they say it does in the cookbooks. Mine is usually done in about 15 mins, unless I’m going to cool it and cut it into pieces and re-heat it.

1 cup cornmeal

3 cups water or vegetable broth (1/2 cup more if needed)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2-1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp rosemary (optional)

1/2 tsp thyme (optional)

In a large saucepan bring the water or broth to a boil, add herbs, salt and olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in the cornmeal, adding gradually and stirring constantly, so you don’t get lumps (also builds nice arm muscles, be sure to switch hands to even the arms out lol). Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently until thickened, approx. 15 mins or 30-40 mins according to other chefs. You can serve the polenta at this point or spoon the polenta into a lightly oiled 8 or 10 in baking dish and spread evenly over the bottom. Refridgerate until cooled and firm, approx 30 mins. Slice the polenta into rectangles or triangles and heat in the oven or on stove top.

Rustic sundried tomato bread with spelt flour

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Best. Husband. Ever. Part 2

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Hey, it’s my blog and I can swoon over my husband 2 days in a row if I want to!

Yesterday I mentioned he surprised me with an early birthday present. The surprise was that it was 5 weeks early! Now I will swoon over my present!

Fluevogs! Other than cupcakes and donuts, fluevogs are the best indulgence a girl could have! And, I spend most of my days barefoot, it’s nice to pretty my feet up with a pair of vogs!

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Prepare Volunteer, size 7
Almost as awesome as the man that bought them. This is my 7th pair of vogs and they do not disappoint. They fit me true to size with thin socks, slipped right on. I wore them out the day he brought them home, put them on while I was getting ready, the clog-like soul is very comfortable. Barely feels like you’re wearing a heel. I have sensitive feet, I always get blisters and sore spots on the skin, rarely does this happen with fluevogs. The volunteers are no exception, the leather is so soft which molds and hugs your foot. Each pair is slightly unique, not only are they designed to have a unique slouch between the left and right boot but mine are different from the ones pictured on the website. The reason I received my present early is because they went on sale. Bryn said he got the last pair of 7’s at that store so if you’re wavering, resist no longer! The boots also come in grey felt and pinky red. Black was my first choice for the obvious reason, black is neutral and I’m hoping they’ll become an instant classic and my go to black boots.

Link to Fluevogs Prepare Volunteer

Love, love, love these boots!

I am so grateful and
Love my man more.

Best. Husband. Ever.

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What makes anyone the best at anything? Dedication. Passion. Love. And hours of training.

Check, check, check and check.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, it takes 10000 hours or approximately 10 years training to become an expert at something. We have been married for 10 years and my husband is definitely an expert in marriage.

Yesterday my wonderful husband surprised me with an early birthday present, he also cleared his schedule so I could have the day off. Not only that, I went out for a much needed “lady’s night” and I’m totally a light weight these days, Bryn is nursing my hangover! He went to the store at 8:30 this morning to get headache tablets and brought me an English muffin in bed.

God, I love this man!

How did I get so lucky?

homemade tacos

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I love tacos. I love rice and beans. I cooked a big batch of pinto beans, I froze some and turned the rest into refried beans. I also made a big batch of spanish style rice. They went very well together. Of course you don’t have to go through the trouble of cooking everything from scratch, but there’s something rewarding and extra special in it when you do, I think it’s the love.

Refried beans:

Soak 450g (1lbs) dried pinto beans in 7-8 cups water over night. Drain and rinse well.

Put beans in heavy bottom pot and cover with 8 cups water.
Add a piece of kombu, 2 slices of ginger and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover with lid and simmer for 1.5-2 hours, until soft.

Of course you can always bypass this step and use canned beans.

1-2 tsp oil or use water, as needed
2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 540ml can pinto beans. Reserve liquid.
1 sm yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
Sea salt to taste

Heat frying pan to medium, add oil, if using and add onions. Cook until they begin to soften, add garlic, cook another minute, add cumin and paprika, stir to coat onion and garlic. Add beans, mix with onions and mash with potato masher, adding cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.

Spanish rice:

1 tbsp oil or water, as needed

1 med yellow onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 cups brown & wild rice mix

1 tsp turmeric

1 946ml can diced tomatoes

2 cups veggie broth

1/2-1 tsp sea salt (to taste)

Heat heavy bottom pot to medium, add oil, if using and add onion. Cook until softened about 5 minutes, add garlic, cook another minute. Add rice and turmeric, stir until rice is coated. Add tomatoes and broth, stir and bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 40-50 mins, stirring occasionally, Turn off heat and let sit 5-10 mins. Season with salt to taste.

Additional taco fixings:

– corn tortillas

-shredded napa cabbage or lettuce

-vegan cheese, ie) pepperjack daiya

-vegan sour cream, ie) tofutti sour cream

-salsa, homemade or store bought (if buying, look for it in the fridge section of the grocery store -fresher ingredients than jarred).

-hot sauce ie) frank’s

-fresh cilantro

-fresh lime wedges, to squeeze on taco

Assembly required!!

the understated tahini: part 1

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A few days ago I stated on facebook that I could see a lot of tahini in my future. And, it’s surely becoming true.

 

From Wikipedia:
-Tahini is a paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds used in North African, Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Nutritional Information:
-Tahini is an excellent source of copper, maganese and the amino acid methionine.Tahini is a source of the healthy fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6.
-Tahini made from raw sesame seeds is lower in fat than tahini made from roasted seeds.
-Tahini’s relatively high levels of calcium and protein make it a useful addition to vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as to raw food diets when eaten in its unroasted form. Compared to peanut butter, tahini has higher levels of fiber and calcium and lower levels of sugar and saturated fats.

 

Tahini is commonly known as one of the ingredients in hummus. I like to keep a large jar of tahini on hand for the odd occasion I make hummus. I prefer homemade humus over store bought, it tastes so much nicer and you can season and flavour it to your own preferences. However, this post is not about hummus, it is about tahini. If you, like me, have a jar of tahini in your cupboard that you would like to make good use of with other deliciousness, then read on.

1) I replaced the olive oil for tahini in my salad dressing. Super yum! By using the seed butter instead of oil, the healthy fats in it helps your body absorb the micronutrients in the vegetables 10x more then eating them separately! Talk about an easy and delicious nutrient booster!

Tahini Dressing

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or any vinegar of your choice)

1 tsp grainy mustard or dijon

1/2 tsp agave or honey (or to taste)

1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced (optional)

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced (optional)

1-3 tbsp water, to thin as needed

Place all ingredients, except only 1-2 tbsp water, in a small mason jar or container with tight fitting lid and shake until it’s all mixed. Add more water for desired thickness. Makes 1-2 servings or approx. 4-6 cups salad fixings. Pour dressing on salad fixings, toss until combined and enjoy.

Salad fixings:

4 cups baby spinach

2-4 thinly sliced cremini mushrooms

1 peeled, grated or thinly sliced carrot

1 sliced celery rib

1/4 sliced cucumber

1 sliced green onion

Additional salad add-ins: 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, 1/2 tomato, chopped or grape tomatoes, sliced pears or apples, sprouts, grated beets, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, switch the spinach for arugula or mixed baby greens or a combo of all and any of the above.

2) Last night when I got home from teaching 2 yoga classes shortly after 9pm, I was hungry! Not the kind of hunger where your famished but just enough that I needed something in my stomach so I could fall asleep. And for some strange reason I had a craving for molasses (??), seriously, who craves molasses? I didn’t feel like eating anything, as well, I’ve been trying to cut back on my sugar snacking so that ruled out ginger cookies. I decided on warm milk with (you guessed it) tahini and molasses. It worked perfectly, it satiated my hunger and as common treatment as a relaxant before bed it helped me doze off and provided my body with important nutrients as a vegan, like iron in the molasses.

Hot Tahini Milk

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)

2tsp-1tbsp tahini*

2tsp-1tbsp molasses*

1-2 tsp agave or honey, optional**

Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot and everything dissolves in the milk.

*both tahini and molasses have a strong taste, start with the lesser amounts and work your way up to 1tbsp. Also you can adjust the amounts according to your personal preference.

**if you use sweetened milk, you might need additional sweetener. Taste test before adding.

3) My final input for today’s tahini post is in the form of a smoothie. I love a delicious smoothie, a meal you can drink. I love my food and I love cooking so I’d never give them up but the ease of throwing food in a blender and drinking your meal can’t be beat. Also, my father is a restaurateur and growing up in a restaurant I had my fair share of milkshakes! With a smoothie like this it makes me feel like an indulgent kid again! And I was still craving molasses.

Tahini Smoothie

1 frozen banana, in chunks

2 tbsp ground oatmeal

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp molasses

1 tsp agave or honey

1/2-3/4cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon, optional

Add all ingredients to the blender and mix at highest power until smooth. Pour into glass and enjoy!

*You can sub peanut butter for the tahini for a sweeter smoothie.

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