My mother has this theory that once its cold enough outside you can’t get sick. She says that not even germs can survive the antiseptic powers of Canadian winter and proceeds to huff the -20 degree air like the poster woman for Vicks Vaporub. While I’m not so sure I agree with her logic on this one (my annual winter flu provides me with a pretty strong case to the contrary) I will say that when I returned home to Toronto this weekend I sort of understood what she was talking about.
Stepping off the plane and onto the icy tarmac I took a deep breath of frigid air and didn’t feel any of the post-holiday/post-25 degree weather letdown I was anticipating. Instead I felt a rush of excitement, of detoxificaton, and a boundless enthusiasm for all the possibilities of a fresh new year living in a city that I love.
The same feeling hit me when I walked into my kitchen and realized that I had not a scrap of food in the house. Normally this would send me into an IMSOHUNGRYFOODRAGE but instead I felt AMBITION! Faced with this clean slate I did something I never ever do: I made a grocery list. Which I actually stuck to. The following is what I came up with based on the Cheat Sheet I created earlier this month. I’ve even included my (very crumpled) receipts to prove I really did stick to it!
Umm I find it oddly hilarious is it that chia, tahini and tempeh all come up as spelling errors…My spellcheck needs to get with the times.
All in all I was pretty satisfied with the cost of this trip considering I had zero food in the fridge or freezer and I bought some of the pricier items in bulk (chicken, salmon, frozen berries). Because I have most of my bread, grains, beans, nut butters, oils, etc. already on hand the final cost balanced out I think. Either way this is only a very general guide. My budget/list varies a lot week to week based on where I shop and what I happen to run out of.
Anyways I plan on posting breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas all week long that focus on the ingredients from this list. I’m excited to get cooking, hear your feedback and see how it goes! 🙂
If you’re anything like me, cooking for a crowd these days can seem like a daunting task. Not only is there the pressure of making something delicious and presentable, but everyone and their shelter-saved puggle seems to have some sort of special dietary requirement.
Don’t get me wrong I strongly believe that everyone is entitled to make their own decisions when it comes to food without fear of judgement or criticism. And I try my darndest to support my friends as they follow their hearts and tummies, making the choices that work for them. Back to my first point, though…it isn’t always an easy task.
But not to worry, I’m here to show you that there are delicious recipes out there that can accommodate even your most discriminating friends and family…I promise.
Today I whipped up a lunch that was just perfect for this sunny-but-cool November afternoon. Warm and savoury, balanced out with a fresh arugula salad and some crisp fruit. This whole batch would be ideal to bring to a holiday potluck, as it would please both vegans and meat-eaters alike. Or you could always do what I did and freeze them in packages of 2 for a quick heat-and-go lunch or snack.
Spinach and Herb Mini-Quiches
(Vegan and Gluten Free)
My mini-muffin take on this recipe
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, prepared in veggie broth
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons of gluten-free rolled oats, ground in a coffee grinder to make flour (or you’re welcome to substitute for any GF or wheat flour you have on hand)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp salt-free herb blend (Kirkland Organic, Mrs. Dash, Spike, etc.)
- Combine ground flax seeds with water and allow to set for around 5 minutes.
- In the meantime mix together cooked quinoa, seasonings and oat flour.
- Add flax seed “gel” and stir well to combine.
- Scoop mixture into a well greased muffin tin – approximately 1 heaping tbsp per quiche – and make sure to press quinoa firmly to create a solid base.
- 1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 heaping tbsp dijon mustard
- juice of 1 lemon
- 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of liquid
- In a food processor or blend, puree all ingredients except spinach until smooth and creamy.
- Add spinach last and pulse a few times until well combined.
- Scoop quiche mixture into each base – just shy of 1/4 cup per quiche. Try your best not to eat directly from the food processor with a spoon. It will be that good.
- Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.
And there you have it! A fresh, hearty, inexpensive lunch you can proudly serve to just about anyone.
What are your favourite recipes to cook for a crowd?
While this visit to the coast was short it was, as always, very sweet.
I enjoyed many sips of coffee out my grandmother’s china…
And spent a lot of quality time with the lady herself.
What a cutie, right? Its a little ridiculous.
Anyways I’m back in the city now and what better way to celebrate my return than with a luxurious stay-at-home brunch with my bestie.
WHAT’S FOR BRUNCH?
Sweet potato homefries, swiss chard and mushroom frittata & mixed greens with bosc pear, pepitas and a blueberry balsamic emulsion. Served with a side of this cornbread.
Sounds ridiculously complicated? Not so much!
Here are some tips I use to save time come brunch hour…
No-Bake Frittata (Omlette-Style)
- Sautee veggies of choice in a medium saucepan, well coated in cooking spray or oil. I used onions and mushrooms. Add greens like chard, spinach or kale last so they don’t cook down too much.
- Whisk together 2 eggs, 4 gg whites, 1/4 cup milk of choice, salt and pepper plus a heaping scoop of nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese (optional).
- Pour egg mixture over sauteed veggies and reduce heat to low. As the frittata cooks, tip the pan to redistribute the uncooked egg on the top to the sides of the pan.
- When egg lifts easily from sides of the pan use 1 or 2 spatulas to FLIP the egg. Cook for 1 more minute, slice and serve.
5 minute Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
- Poke a medium-large sweet potato a few times with a fork and microwave around 7 mins (or use the ‘baked potato function) until cooked through.
- Cut cooked potato into cubes and toss in about 1/2 tbsp of coconut or olive oil.
- Sprinkle with herbs and sea salt (I used Kirkland’s Organic No-Salt Seasoning, Pepper, Herbamare & Old Bay) and toss again.
- Fry on a skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned.
Tip: To make your potatoes extra crispy, prepare them before the rest of your meal. Then just reduce heat on the skillet to the lowest setting and leave them there while you cook the rest of your breakfast. This will dry them out and crisp them up even further.
No-Cook Balsamic Fruit Emulsion
- Place 1/4 cup frozen berries in the bottom of a microwave safe dish and cover in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
- Microwave for 2 minutes.
- Muddle together balsamic and berries with a fork then return to microwave for another minute.
- To make a dressing, add in 1 tbsp coconut oil (heat of the balsamic will melt it) or your favourite oil. Serve while warm.
What’s your favourite Stay-At-Home Brunch?
Its a chilly morning here on the island so a bowl of piping hot oats for breakfast seemed like a no brainer.
1/2 cup rolled oats with almond milk, chopped banana and egg whites cooked in at the end. Topped with a scoop of peanut butter, jam, a small handful of frozen raspberries, toasted almonds and a buncha cinnamon.
That is pure breakfast comfort food right there.
Now when I think of suppertime comfort food I usually think of the cheap, filling, one pot meals my grandma made for us growing up.
My favourite of these meals: Tuna Helper. Don’t ask me why but I was crazy for the stuff…like…for years. Tonight as I looked through my grandmother’s cupboards – full to the brim with all of the pre-packaged food items I grew up loving, I got it in my head that I could make better tasting and better for you version using the whole foods we had in the house.
I swapped the tuna for omega-3 packed wild salmon, the noodles for brown rice and the laundry list of preservatives and sodium for spices and sea salt. Feelin pretty pleased with myself indeed.
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped roughly
- 3/4 cup dry brown and wild rice blend
- 2 cups chicken or veggie broth (if using water, you’ll need to add boullion)
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 1.5 cups chopped asparagus or broccoli
- 1 can of wild salmon (I used one large can, maybe add 2 if using small ones)
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Heat a medium-large sized pot over medium heat
- Add a drizzle of olive oil along with onion and celery and sautee for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the peppers and mushrooms and cook for another few minutes until softened.
- Add all seasonings, liquid and rice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to very low.
- Cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until rice is cooked through.
- If there is some liquid left in the pot, simply raise the heat again and add in chopped asparagus or broccoli. Cover and allow greens to steam in the rice liquid for 2-3 minutes. If rice has absorbed all the cooking liquid, just add an extra 1/2-3/4 cup water/broth/milk and then do the same.
- Stir in canned salmon and dijon and stir until heated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a side of steamed veggies or salad and eat tucked under some kind of large fluffy blanket…preferably with something trashy on TV.
What’s your favourite grandma style comfort food?
Hey all! Im on the road again, this time to the capital of the great white north…Ottawa! To be honest at this very moment I’m sitting at the foot of a river just outside of Ottawa making friends with dragonflies and getting ready for a swim.
But in the meantime check out my post over at: Moves n Munchies. The topic of the day is THRIFTING! My how to guide of do’s, donts and what trends you should look out for this season.
And for new readers here at the Healthy Hipster, welcome! I’d offer you something if I could – tofurkey sandwich? green smoothie? tallboy of pbr? Whatever strikes your fancy. Enjoy checking out the blog and I hope to see you back again soon!
Back to the river! Go enjoy your late summer Sunday!
This week I decided to do one of my favourite budget friendly activities: the staycation! I chose a spot a little off the beaten path for this West Ender….all the way out in the east side suburb of Scarborough.
The bluffs are an escapement that spans all across the eastern side of Lake Ontario. While erosion makes it difficult to climb them, there are loads of paths that take you right up close and personal with the stunning rock formations. There’s also a lovely beachfront with trails and picnic spots, and a beautiful public garden filled with wild roses and shady reading spots.
Here are a few shots from my adventures around the bluffs:
When was the last time you took a staycation?
When I was a kid I went to school in a teeny tiny a one room schoolhouse. Most of the time it was great but if there was one area where our lack of money or facilities really showed it was in the “physical education” department. My teacher actually had to invent his own sport for us to play that did not involve running, because our
parking lot playground was unpaved and covered in sharp pointy rocks. Needless to say this gave me a bit of a complex around the whole physical fitness thing once I got to high school as I had never played a single sport or run further than the distance from the door of the school to my dad’s car at the end of the day.
I’m telling you this to give you a little context for the fact that I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be a “runner”. However, I do run.
a serious sweat situation went down after my morning run today
I finally got into it about a year and a half ago when I was living in a very remote region of Northern Spain, desperate for a way to spend more time outdoors in my beautiful surroundings while building up my cardiovascular health. Soccer was out, since everyone around me was essentially a professional athlete when it came to that game, so I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement.
Interval training that combines jogging and walking in 60 second/90 second splits was what finally sealed the deal for me. I found this approach to be incredibly manageable even with absolutely zero experience, plus it was way less boring than straight running and I could feel myself getting less exhausted every time.
My ridiculously erratic workout stats. But all those dips and jumps are actually great for your cardiovascular health. Keep yer ticker tickin!
These days I continue to use a similar interval method called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) where you alternate but between low or moderate and very high (maxiumum exertion) sprinting.
5 Reasons to Consider Running: Even Though its Lame & Runners are Annoying
- You can do it alone, on your own schedule, with no equipment
- Its efficient (20-30 minutes is all you need)
- Regular interval training can be less straining & helps improve your stamina
- It gets your butt outside
- ITS 100% FREE
Okay I’m linking you to the running mix that I used back in Spain to get my butt in gear. Its part of the PodRunner series and the music itself is super electro and hilarious but theres a warm up/cool down and a chime to let you know when to start and stop thats basically foolproof. First timers give this jog/walk interval workout a try. I swear you won’t die and you might even like it. Experienced runners, try throwing this mix on and using it as a timer to switch up the intensity of your regular run! You’ll def get hooked.
So whaddya think? Do you run? If so how did you get into it? And if not is it something you’d ever consider?
It is no secret that we are inundated with flippin’ loads of information about what “fitness” means and how to achieve it. But in my opinion the main message behind so many of these articles, tv shows, movies, books and yes…even blogs…can be summarized in four words: YOUR BODY, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
Think about it. Almost everything you ever watch or read about fitness asks: what are your goals? how will you achieve them? how can you change your life?
(+) I think this message can be empowering for certain people, encouraging them to take ownership over their own lives and make better choices.
(-) When we focus too much on our own individual progress we can start to feel isolated and even obsessive. We spend more and more money on personalized nutrition plans and one-on-one training to help us compete against ourselves. And in the end I think this can leave us feeling unsatisfied with our own accomplishments and success.
Which brings me to WHY I LOVE THE Y.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Baron Date. Allegheny YMCA, Pittsburgh.
The YMCA manages to strike a balance between helping individuals and whole communties. They do a lot of work surrounding health and fitness but with an emphasis on group classes and shared, open spaces. They also recognize that health is defined broadly so they assist mothers with childcare, youth with leadership opportunities and unemployed workers with access to job information to name just a few of their projects.
Building community through health and wellness? THAT is what I call meaningful motivation. Which brings me to the BEST THING EVER….
Click here to print off your FREE two week membership to any YMCA facility in Ontario!
Offer valid until June 30.
My undying love for hibiscus restaurant in kensington market intensified yesterday when i left my usual corner table in the sun & grabbed my lunch to-go so that I could dine under a tall shady tree in the park.
what’s in this glorious takeout container of bliss?
- marinated tofu
- sunflower seeds
- shitake cashew cheese
- green beens
- roasted sweet potatoes
- shredded carrots and beets
- sesame marinated lentils, garbanzo and kidney beans
- dried cranberries
- 1 raw sunflower seed cracker
- 1 small bowl of beet & squash soup
DID I MENTION THIS FEAST COST $8.83??
if you live in toronto: go today.
if you don’t: i’ll take you there next time you visit.
Welcome to Part 2 of get strong on the cheap! As promised, today’s focus is on core strength and flexibility.
Whether you’re playing a game of softball, lugging around your laptop or moving a particularly large stack of student papers from your office to the classroom, your body works hard for you. And building a strong and flexible core helps reduce the risk of injury in everything that you do by supporting your spine and keeping everything where it should be, no matter what kind of antics you get up to.
This circuit workout is great for stretching out and working all of your core musclez: upper abs, lower abs and obliques. Complete each move for about a minute and cycle through 2-3 times for a 10-15 minute core killaahhhh. Once you get a lil stronger, you can start to combine COMBINE this circuit with PART 1 of GSOTC. OMG. Exciting. 😉