Strawberries and rhubarb naturally go together. Here is one more way to enjoy these two seasonal ingredients on a beautiful sunny day. It makes the perfect light ending to
Strawberry Rhubarb Ice
4 cups chopped rhubarb
3 cups sliced ripe strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 ¾ cups water
In a saucepan bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until fruit falls apart.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down on solids to extract liquid. Discard solids. Freeze until Solid 6-8 hours or overnight. Scrape with a fork to form ice chips and serve garnished with fresh mint and strawberries of you like!
For Meatless Monday, here is another simple and delicious way to enjoy my black bean puree and fresh four ingredient guacamole!
Once your sweet potatoes are cooked this comes together super fast, so I love it as a quick dinner on a weeknight. So make your black bean puree and sweet potatoes the night before!
I used fresh corn tortillas to make this dish gluten-free, but you can just as easily use plain whole wheat flour tortillas. You can add in some copped kale with your black bean puree and sweet potatoes for an extra hit of nutrients.
These are filling and delicious and kid friendly! For kids you can cut them into wedges and let them dip them in salsa or guacamole. Who needs utensils??
Black Bean - Sweet Potato Quesadillas
- makes 4 quesadillas
8 corn tortillas
your favourite prepared or home-made salsa
roasted or mashed sweet potato (see note below)
Black bean puree
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Chopped green onions for garnish
Spread about 1/4 cup of black bean puree on 4 of the tortillas. Add some roasted or mashed sweet potato and 2-3 Tbsp. of salsa. Top with another tortilla.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook each tortilla in the dry skillet on each side for 3-5 minutes or until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate and serve with guacamole, more salsa and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions as desired.
(Note: to cook sweet potato puncture your sweet potatoes several times with a fork, place on a cookie sheet and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes or until soft. After your sweet potatoes have cooled, peel and mash with a fork.)
This is yet another amazing crockpot recipe for busy people everywhere. Once you mix up the batter, it rises and bakes in the crockpot.
The recipe is adapted from a book called The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.
My initial thought was "Bread in the slow cooker? Really?" I was expecting it to be undercooked and gooey in the middle. But I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
This is not one of those leave it all day and come home to a meal kind of recipes. You have to monitor the cooking time, but you can leave it unattended while it rises. The recipe says to let it rise for 1 hour, but I had to go out for a while and it rose for more like 4 hours. You can also split the dough in half, store one half in the fridge in an airtight bag and make two smaller loaves.
Don't forget to put the towel over the pot before you put the lid on. This will keep the condensation from dripping on the bread and making it gooey.
Babaganouj is a perfect parter for this bread. With a salad on the side, this is a quick and flavourful lunch that will impress your guests even when you're too busy to cook. Be sure to cooke the eggplant the night before and then store it in the fridge with the peel on. I put some balled up aluminum foil in the bottom of a plastic container to allow the juices to drip off as it cooled in the fridge overnight and just whipped it up in the food processor before my guests arrived.
Combine the yeast, warm water and agave nectar in a small bowl. Let sit about 10 minutes to proof (yeast begins to grow and bubbles appear). Add olive oil.
Mix flours, salt and rosemary in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture and mix until well combined. Knead briefly and turn onto a floured surface. Shape dough into an oval or circle or whatever shape your slow cooker is.
Spray slow cooker with cooking spray and place dough in. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt and drizle with a bit of olive oil. Cover and let rise for 1 hour (or more). Place a tea towel between the lid and the slow cooker to catch the condensation. Cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Rinse the eggplant and prick it at least an inch deep with a fork in a dozen places. This is important -- otherwise the eggplant can explode in the oven.
Roast the eggplant in a preheated 375 degree oven, turning frequently, for about 40 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a colander, slit it open and let the juices drain off as it cools. Discard the dark skin.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Garnish with parsley if desired.
When we think about the aspects of a healthy lifestyle, sleep is often overlooked. Without enough sleep we become moody, unable to focus and concentrate, and less able to remember things and deal with stress. But you may not realize how vitally important sleep is in maintaining your health.
Several studies have linked insufficient sleep with weight gain. In 2004, researchers at the University of Chicago discovered that sleep loss could reduce the body's ability to regulate hormones that control hunger. People who do not get enough sleep have lower levels of leptin, a hormone that alerts the brain that it has enough food, and higher levels of ghrelin, a protein that stimulates appetite. As a result, poor sleep may result in over eating and food cravings.
When we are tired we are more likely to eat foods such as sweets and refined carbohydrates that satisfy the craving for a quick energy boost. In addition, insufficient sleep may leave us too tired to burn off these extra calories with exercise and less likely to cook our own meals , making us more reliant on restaurants and fast-food to fill our bellies. So if you want to loose some weight, make sure you get your zzzz's.
What many people do not realize is that a lack of sleep—especially on a regular basis—is associated with long-term health consequences, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. Numerous epidemiological studies have demonstrated that adults who usually slept less than five hours per night had a greatly increased risk of having or developing diabetes. Studies have also found that a single night of inadequate sleep in people who have existing hypertension can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the following day.
Experts say the amount of sleep we need varies from person to person. In general, most adults need about seven hours of sleep per night. Children and adolescents need even more — around nine or 10 hours each night. The best measure of how much shut-eye you need is how you feel when you wake up. If you feel well and are energetic, then you likely had a good night's sleep.
According to a poll commissioned by CBC News, 6 out of 10 Canadians get less than the optimal 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Why are so many of us not getting enough sleep?
Apparently as we age, we tend to get less good quality sleep. Melatonin levels tend to shift with age and as we age we wake more often and get less stage 3 and 4 sleep, which is the sleep required to feel rested. In addition, sleep is lighter in menopause. But age is not the only culprit in our sleep deprivation. Depression, alcohol, caffeine, pain, stress and the use of electronics right before bed can all interfere with sleep patterns.
10 Tips for Better Sleep
1) Keep your bedroom cool and dark. We sleep better in a cool, dark environment.
2) Don't exercise right before bed, unless you're doing a bit of gentle yoga. Keep vigorous exercise for earlier in the day.
3) Don't eat right before bed. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime.
4) Follow a routine. Try to go to bed at about the same time each night and follow a similar routine. This will let your body know that it's time to sleep.
5) You get the best sleep before 4-5 am, so try to go to bed by 10 or 11 pm. At around 4 or 5 am, physiological changes such as increases in blood pressure, adrenalin and body temperature start to get you ready to wake up, so after this time, your quality of sleep may diminish.
6) Limit caffeine. Caffeine has a half life of about 5-6 hours, but oral contraceptives can double it. This means that the caffeine from your morning cup of joe can still be stimulating your nervous system up to 10 hours later! If you must have your coffee, have it before noon. This goes for all caffeinated beverages.
7) If you wake often to use the bathroom, stop drinking liquids after 7 pm, especially after the age of 50.
8) Limit alcohol. Alcohol blocks restorative stage 3 and 4 sleep early in the night and can wake you up later in the night.
9) Get enough exercise, but not right before bed time. Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality. As little as 10 minutes of walking per day can make a difference.
10) Don't watch tv, or use the computer right before bed. Artificial light from electronics stimulates the nervous system and lowers melatonin levels. Unplug at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
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Tea bag cookies, macaroons and jelly hearts
As we step into June, I can't help but look back on the past month and smile. May has been a pretty remarkable month in the Zengarry kitchen. We started off with a bang on May 11th with our Mother's Day Tea. After months of planning and preparing and cooking, it was a delight to finally see this project come to life.
Two and even three generations of mothers and daughters gathered for two sittings to enjoy a cup of tea and some local musical entertainment to support a great cause.
The food was plentiful, delicious and a delight to behold. Our very own Jeannette Schaak out did herself with the menu which included several varieties of finger sandwiches and cookies; some in the shape of tea bags, teapots and hearts. There was even a great selection of gluten-free plant based fare. No one walked away hungry.
The musical entertainment at the first sitting was graciously provided by Gabrielle Campbell's Music School. We enjoyed an hour of melodies performed by four very talented young ladies. At the second sitting the voices of a local choir 'Simply Singing' led by Joanne Roy and Cassie Dapratto Nutt serenaded tea drinkers. Cassie ended on a high note by sharing her acappella renditions of Amazing Grace and Glengarry My Home.
And as if Cassie didn't contribute enough to this event with her voice, she also generously provided the tea. Cassie is a proud distributor of Steeped Tea here in Alexandria. The bottomless cups of tea that were served were carefully chosen to provide a variety from Traditional Earl Grey to Jazzy Jasmine green tea to caffeine-free Lemolicious. Cassie was also kind enough to share her selection of Steeped Tea teapots and tea accessories with us.
I must take this opportunity to once again thank all that were involved and all those that attended our first annual Mother's Day Tea. Thanks to your generous support we were able to raise just over $500 for the Alzheimer's Society of Cornwall and District. Yes, we received such great feedback that we are already planning for next year!
Another event that we are extremely proud of is the kick off catering event for Global Corporate Challenge at Greenfield Services. This is a world wide Workplace Health and Wellness Program. The employees of this company are fortunate to work in a place that provides these great opportunities for healthy living in the workplace! And Zengarry was thrilled to be a part of it. We served hummus and vegetable wraps, chickpea salad wraps, eggless salad sandwiches, Greek salad with tofu feta, couscous salad, and olives with muffins and rainbow fruit kabobs for dessert. To learn more about this program or to get your workplace involved visit their website.
On May 21st we hosted our 'Vegucated' movie night and potluck. These monthly gatherings provide a venue for people to come together and support each other on their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. The food is always varied and delicious. This month we enjoyed raw lasagna roll ups, hummus and roasted vegetable wraps, kale salad, pumpkin pie, double chocolate cupcakes and raw carrot cake. I always take home new recipes from these events!
On June 18th our movie selection is 'Genetic Roulette' which is a documentary on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This is a topic that is of great interest to me personally. I look forward to hearing your questions and concerns about GMOs and their effects on our health. Everyone is welcome and I hope you will join us. You can learn more about it and join the conversation here.
Last but not least we presented our first All About Greens Workshop on May 17th to a keen crowd. We learned about the benefits of adding leafy green vegetables to our diet, about the different kinds of greens, how to store them to make them last longer, as well as some tasty ways to boost your greens intake. Kale is your friend! This was a very popular workshop, if you missed the first one and would like to join in on round two, let me know.
June promises to be another great month. Check out our upcoming classes and workshops. The gluten-free baking workshop is sure to be a treat. We will be preparing and sampling a variety of gluten-free treats including bagels, donuts and corn tortillas!
We are sending out a great big thank you to all of you that keep coming back and making what we do so rewarding! We hope you are feeling the love!
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