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reflections

RECIPE: 4 Ingredient Fermented Coleslaw

Don’t ask me to explain it, but hipsters love to ferment things.

Beer is a given. But also tea (kombucha). Soy (tempeh). Milk (kefir). And now…vegetables. Yes, the rise in “craft” vegetable production can be seen across the urban landscape – from every food truck serving up kimchi tacos to every hippie grocery store hocking $10 juniper-scented saurkraut.

And they’re not wrong. Fermented foods are incredibly good for you. Something like 80% of your immune system exists in your digestive system and fermented foods are the fastest way to load up on all those probiotics you’ve been hearing about. They’re also delicious and are an easy way to add loads of flavour to any sandwich, salad, soup or bowl of bibimbap.

So…while you might feel like the whole thing is a little “trendy” or even a little gross…Here’s a super easy recipe for those of you who might be feeling just a little curious and are interested in taking a step into fermented waters.

RECIPE: 4 Ingredient Fermented Coleslaw

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of green cabbage
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 tbsp course pink salt
  • 2 cloves garlic

Directions

  1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage and set aside for later.
  2. Shred vegetables with a knife, grater or food processor.
  3. Combine shredded carrots and cabbage in a large metal bowl, then sprinkle with salt.
  4. Using your hands, massage salt into vegetables for 3-4 minutes until cabbage has wilted. Vegetables will release water as they wilt.
  5. Pack coleslaw mixture into several mason jars or one large jar (like the one pictured above), making sure there are no pockets of air and that vegetables are submerged in their own liquid (you can add the remainder from the bowl to each jar).
  6. Cover coleslaw mixture with reserved cabbage leaves (these keep air from getting in and help keeps vegetables submerged).
  7. Leave the jar out for 3-4 days. Open the jar daily to ensure vegetables are submerged and to relieve any air pressure that may have built up in the jar. When packing down vegetables, always use a wooden utensil rather than metal as this can affect the fermentation process.
  8. After 3-4 days, taste the mixture. If it tasty sour, bubbly and a little spicy it is perfect! Just refrigerate and the coleslaw will keep for 2-3 months in the fridge.

Note: if this is your first time fermenting, you might want to check out this video, this kimchi recipe or this safety guide

reflections

WHY BOTHER TO “DIY”?: LIFE SKILLS, YOU DUMMY!

As Jane Eyre once said, “the the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I couldn’t agree more.

Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane Eyre in 1996

Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane Eyre in 1996

The benefits “doing it yourself” (aka DIY) go far beyond the 90s grunge/punk aesthetic (although that may have been what got me interested in the first place), it is positively life affirming.

WHY SHOULD YOU BOTHER WITH DIY? 

  1. You provide for yourself.
    As a young Gen-Y urbanite, we are constantly confronted with our lack of life skills. But being brought up in a world of coddling and convenience makes providing for ourselves all the more satisfying. Enter every young hipster male’s obsession with curing meats & fermenting or hipster female’s affection for knitting circles and terrarium maintenance.
  2. You get creative. Okay, that novel you wrote in grade 12 might not be so great after all. And your career as a freelance photographer has turned out to be more weddings and bar mitzvahs than artsy analog collages. But you gotta eat. So you might as well channel some of that pent up creative energy to a place where it will finally be appreciated…your belly.
  3. It’s meditative. Nothing says “quiet mind” like rolling out tiny balls of healthy cookie dough.
  4. It’s cheap. Nothing grinds my gears more than overpaying for granola I could have whipped up in the kitchen in 20 minutes. And the store bought stuff won’t make your kitchen smell like honey and coconut.
  5. It’s proactive. You can make decisions about what you WANT to put in your body rather than focusing on what you’d rather avoid. No dairy? Low sodium? Sugar-free? Gluten-free? Suddenly those terms melt away and all that’s left is the foods you can enjoy and the incredible things you can do with those ingredients.

All of this brings me to the main point which is…this garlic scape pesto.

Now you know who makes a good pesto? President’s Choice. (<— Canadian grocery store brand). You know who else makes even better pesto? The local, organic farmer’s co-op near my house. Vegan kale pesto in fact. It’s not even that expensive. But this week I took the time to use seasonal ingredients to make something delicious and healthy for myself. And the results were pretty perfect.

Glowing Green Garlic Scape Pesto (V) 
Adapted from here

Garlic Scape Pesto

INGREDIENTS

1 cup finely chopped garlic scapes (or 2/3 cup finely chopped chives, plus 1/3 cup finely chopped garlic)
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup nutritional yeast

Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Pulse garlic scapes, oil, nutritional yeast, and cashews in a food processor until finely chopped; season with salt and pepper.

Yield: about 1.5 cups. If you like, freeze half the batch in an ice cube tray so you can use it to add flavour to your sauces, pastas and salads all summer long

 

community, reflections

PROUD.

Every year Toronto hosts a pretty spectacular pride parade (I posted about it here way back in 2011) but this year we were given the task of hosting World Pride and let me tell you this city has been AMPED. This morning I drank my breakfast and booked it across town to participate in a little of what the day had to offer.

Green apple, spinach, cucumber smoothie topped with homemade cashew coconut granola.

Green apple, spinach, cucumber smoothie topped with homemade cashew coconut granola.

By all accounts, taking our already momentous parade “global,” shouldn’t have been that big a deal. It mostly meant jamming our subways, bars & beer gardens criminally over capacity & hearing maybe 6 or 7 global languages whilst walking down the street rather than the usual say 4 or 5. But  it has been a big deal.

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I’m going to venture a guess and say that pride isn’t something folks outside the queer community think about very often. And, when it does come up, it’s probably thought of as a vice not a virtue. Humbleness is just more acceptable in our culture than pridefulness. We are constantly enabling each other to deprecate, deny and devalue ourselves in fear of public scrutiny.

 

World pride this year has meant a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I think for a lot of people it’s meant the chance to not just witness Pride but to actually appreciate the purpose behind the events, and the value of appreciating oneself – of feeling worthy, loved and accepted.

So today’s healthy tidbit isn’t the recipe for my smoothie (I promise I’ll post that someday soon), it’s that little piece of advice. Take a moment to be proud of yourself, your assets and your accomplishments in any way you like. Treat yourself. Spend the night in flipping through old photos (without judgement). Dedicate your freakin yoga practice to yourself, I don’t care. But feel proud, baby because YOU. ARE. FABULOUS. 

 

 

reflections

Everyday Self Care

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to best take care of myself. I honestly have no idea whether or not Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts me, but as I get older I almost always contract a case of Weather-Related-Bailing-Disorder. Otherwise known as spinster hibernation.

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Anyways I was reading this article by Kris Carr the other day and one paragraph really stood out to me. She said that every time she found herself not knowing what to do in a situation this is what she would think about:

…Brian, my sweet hubby. I put him in the situation I’m facing, and think of what advice I’d give him. Say it’s 2pm, I have a few deadlines that I absolutely have to meet still to go, but I’m beat. There’s no gas left in the tank. If Brian told me this, I’d say, “take a 20-minute nap, and when you wake up I’ll make you some tea.” Voila, my action plan is born!

So first of all I thought this was great advice and second of all I was mildly horrified. I want to be caring and compassionate as a partner, friend and caregiver but I don’t want to forget how to take care of myself first. And I think it’s important that you remember how to take care of yourself on a daily basis, when you’re in need and even when you just want a little treat.

So I made some lists. Working drafts. Of ways I’d like to take care of myself. The advice I am giving myself in advance.

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Okay I know this is a bit goofy. But it felt really great to write down. And I know teeth brushing seems like an odd one but its such a small and manageable form of self-care that I like to include it. 🙂

What would you put on your lists?

reflections

September Circuit Workout

Jeez, pals. Is it September already? Time sure flies when you’re working full time, taking care of house and home (aka. the dumpy rental that you take way too much pride in), managing your waning late-20’s attempt at a social life and striving to continue living that enviably healthful life you used to blog about.

Well needless to say, keeping it all together has been…well… a challenge.

But it’s the new school year (#illnevergrowup) and I’m sure – like me – you’re hoping to kick it off right. No impossible to manage workout regime, no detox plan, just whole foods, consistent workouts and (if you can manage it) some positive self-talk.

Looking for a little inspiration today? Check out my first CIRCUIT WORKOUT of the month. I find circuits to be super manageable and empowering. They are bodyweight focused, whole body workouts and only take about a half hour to complete. Feel free to adapt and modify it to suit your needs and let me know how you like it!

HERE GOES…

September Circuit Workout

reflections

Make-Ahead Meal: Creamy Cashew Ginger Coleslaw

 

 

Today’s recipe is so simple but it’s not to be underestimated.
PicMonkey Collage

A lovely, light dressing might be just what you need to brighten your lunchbox and keep away those winter vegetable blues.

Heartier coleslaw-type salads like kale, cabbage or carrot hold up much better through the week, making them perfect make-ahead meals for your Sunday afternoon food prepping.

For a long time I was feeling too lazy to make dressing myself and just tossed them in a little flax oil and balsamic, but a few weeks back I decided to get creative and have been thoroughly enjoying this tasty, light, oil-free dressing ever since.

Creamy Cashew Ginger Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cashews (pre soaked 2 hours is ideal)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (about a half a lemon)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Allow to sit 5 minutes or so before tossing with your coleslaw mix.

For the coleslaw

Just slice or process a whole head or bunch of cabbage or kale and toss with about 3/4 of the dressing. I like to save the last little bit to pour it over my salad right before I eat it. So delicious!

Hope you all enjoy!

gettin critical, reflections, restaurants, travel

EATING ALL THE THINGS IN NYC

I’ve been travelling a little lately.

I spent a while in a remote region of Northern Ontario. Took a brief but sweet trip to Ottawa. But most recently, I went on a somewhat impulsive trip to New York City.

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If you want a rundown of all the insanely delicious, allergy-free, vegetable-centric, healthy restaurants New York has to offer I highly suggest you check out these posts from Angela and Leanne. In the city that never sleeps, you have virtually round the clock access to clean, healthy eats. And I’m sure they are all fantastic…

However…that was not my New York food experience.

While my usual approach to menu-hunting involves assessing all options and choosing the thing that sounds the most healthful and vegetable-dense, this time I had the singular desire to DO and EAT all the BEST THINGS this new city had to offer me. A bit of a change in strategy, if you will. From best for me, to the straight up best…And I’d say I fared pretty well.

So…where did I go? (In order of appearance)

BAOHAUS

What: light as a feather steamed taiwanese buns filled with braised meat, cilantro, pickled radish, peanuts & red sugar. veg options include tempura broccoli & tofu.

Why: everything is delicious and the place is just cool. blaring hip hop, tiny space and stupid-cute pics of owner Eddie Huang’s grandparents playing mah-jongg hanging on the wall. 

Where: 137 Rivington St, Lower East Side

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Source: The L Mag

LOVELY DAY

What: Thai-ish mixed bag. Fusion style small plates. Mandatory noodles and curries. Fresh fish mains. 

Why: ill admit the food might not blow your mind. but candlelit tables, quirky music, swank cocktails & prime people people watching make this place somewhere i’d go again. also, the waitresses and clientele were notably babely. soooo….theres that. 

Where: 196 Elizabeth St, NoLIta

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SARAGHINA 

What: Naples-style pizza (maxing out at $15) with a selection of other homestyle salads, seafood, pasta and small plates. 

Why: Its pizza. In brooklyn. And the place looks like this. YOU WANT TO GO TO THERE. 

Where: 435 Halsey St. Bed-Stuy. (Brooklyn)

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Source: Gothamist

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And lastly…

MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

What: the compost cookie. a bizarrely satisfying blend of chocolate, butterscotch, graham crumbs, pretzels, potato chips, oats and coffee grinds. Sounds more like my kitchen floor after a particularly solitary Saturday night. Am I right, ladies? 

Why: The short answer is David Chang. And the shorter answer is justgoeathedamncookie. Or was that the long answer?

Where: Multiple locations. I wento 382 Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburg. OBVI. 

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And there you have it. NYC in a chocolate covered, cheese drenched, pizza flavoured nutshell.

Ima go eat sum salad and fantasize about my next visit.

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healthy treats, recipes, reflections

Loving Lately: Grain-Free Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread

Life, lately you ask?

Hectic. Dynamic. Incredibly fulfilling.

Ahh the plight of the working gal in her mid-twenties.

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im pretty into moons these days. anything lunar, really. i cant tell if its like a feminist thing or a trendy gothy thing or in some way related to my general love and appreciation of all things astrological….but i just thought you should know since we’re getting reacquainted. 😉 

Other things I’m into lately…

things im loving lately
  • new boxy topshop blazer i bought on sale for $40. woot.
  • feel good guru and generally all things raw and vegetable
  • my pendleton docs
  • GIRLS season 2
  • the new tegan and sara album (whatevvvver guys, i know its pop music but i like pop music and i think its good. im also pretty into taylor swift right now. moving on…)
  • Solar Raw cheesy kale chips. How did I just discover these? I’m an addict on the road to rock bottom and there’s no turning back.

And (of course) the most important thing I’m loving lately… this delicious grain-free totally guiltless banana bread. Honestly no amount of busy-lady life could keep me from sharing this recipe with you because I am totally IN LOVE. It’s moist and delicious and not at all like the dense gluten-free baked goods I’m used to. PERFECTION.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread
(Gluten, Grain, Nut & Sugar Free)
Adapted from here

Photo Credit: The Vibrant Family

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas (mashed)
  • 2 tbsp honey or a pinch of stevia
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 white tbsp chia seeds (mix with 3 tbsp water and allow to sit for 5 min or so to form a gel)
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chunks (use a cut up chocolate bar if you like)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Blend eggs, mashed bananas and coconut oil together, plus honey if using.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and then combine with wet ingredients.
  3. Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

The result will be a very soft and cake-like banana bread. Ideal for breakfast, snacks or any other time you please!

What’s your go-to healthy treat right now? What else are you loving lately?  

reflections

This or That: Healthy Hipster Edition

Hey there.

So there’s a lot of trends that tend to go around the healthy blog world, and some I like more than others. Oatmeal obsession? Love it. Pumpkin fetish? I’m on board. Other trends…not so much. Srsly have you heard of shirataki noodles? It’s like you took a bowl of spaghetti and replaced the delicious satisfaction with rotten fish and indigestion.

Anyways I decided to suck up my ‘tude  and get on board with the current trend sweeping blogland. You bet it’s a quiz. Let’s get started.

This or That?
Find the original version here

1. Run/workout in the heat and humidity or freezing temps and snow? Neither. Autumn. The only thing that keeps me from spending literally the entire month of October outside walking, hiking, running or paddling is pumpkin pie.

2. Have washboard abs or flat abs? Is there any way to say the word “abs” without sounding like a knob? Whenever I see it in print I hear the voices of Hans and Franz  in my head. “Do you like my abs” “Gotta work on my abs” “Oooh my abs are so sore from working them so…” Ya you get the picture, I’m not answering this.

3. Dr. Oz or The Doctors? I kinda love Dr. Oz. I don’t know if it’s his boundless enthusiasm for all things fibrous, or the fact that he slightly resembles my Jewish grandmother, but I trust that man with my gastro-intestinal health.

4. Cardio or strength? For me strength almost always wins out, followed by circuit style cardio workouts, then running outside. As for the worst? I’d rather do a beep test in grade 9 gym class than use the elliptical machine (which ive been told im too short for) or take a spin class…shudder.

5. Cravings: Protein or carbs? Dead heat. I get grouchy when I dont have a little of both at every meal and snack.

6. Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper? Ummm….Jackie Warner.

7. Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream? I’ve never been huge on either but I’ve been known to brave the dairy indigestion for a little tart froyo. Coconut bliss is also pretty darn delicious but I should probably stop making up my own answers.

8. To train: Upper body or Lower body? Upper for sure. Especially pullups and pushups. If they could bottle that feeling I would market it as Liquid Empowerment.

9. Protein powder or food with protein? Nothing beats delicious whole foods. Le duh!

10. Lunges or squats? An old dance injury makes both a little tricky for me but I’d have to say sumo squats because they are easiest on my joints.

11. Sweet or salty? Sweet in the morning, salty at night.

12. Workout attire: cute or comfy? Comfy for sure. I pretty much wear the same lululemon bottoms and this tshirt every time I workout. That said, I always wear my bright red lipstick…even at the gym. Can’t help myself.

13. Body Pump or Heavy lifting? I’ve never dont Body Pump but I’d really like to try it! I wouldn’t call my lifting heavy…but benchpressing and deadlifting are my jam.

14. Yoga or Pilates? Yoga. But its pretty pricey where I live so I like to treat myself to a class now and then as a luxury. Or I do my own yoga workouts like this one!

15. Nike or Adidas? Nike I guess.

16. Running on the treadmill or outdoors? Outside. Blaring this Passion Pit record. Mmmm…YES.

17. Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s? I’m CANADIAN guys. No TJs here. And WFs is way out of my price range. I shop at this health food store in the middle of Chinatown. It’s the best and cheapest in the city by far. 

18. Summer or Winter Olympics? Winter. I think my citizenship would get revoked if I said otherwise.

19. Exercises classes or Exercise videos? Videos. Fitness instructors freak me out (Unless its my friend Christine…a feminist human rights lawyer by day who teaches “flirty girl” fitness classes by night…she’s the best!)

20. Steamed veggies or roasted veggies? I roast everything. I’m roasting a squash right now.

YOUR TURN. Hit me with a few of your favourites. 🙂