Monday, August 24, 2015

Rice, Black Bean and Avocado Bowl with Sweet Chili Mustard Dressing

This is a very delicious and easy to assemble recipe.  I can take zero credit for it, but give all credit to Brandi from The Vegan 8.  We all all enjoyed this dish and some went back for more.  The sweet chili mustard dressing is delicious and can definitely be enjoyed on many other dishes.  I hope you like this one as much as we did.
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the rice dish 
  • 4 cups water 
  • 2 cups Thai jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder (increase for more heat)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (see below for soaking and cooking dried beans)
  • chopped avocado
  • chopped tomato

For the Sweet Chili Mustard Dressing (makes 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup regular yellow mustard (as in the condiment)
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup  (adjust according to desired sweetness)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (increase for more heat)

  1. Prepare the rice first by combining all of the "rice" ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn to a low heat, stirring frequently and let cook for 5-7 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the black beans to the rice.  Turn off the heat, place lid on pot and let sit for 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Prepare the sauce by combining the "sauce" ingredients into a small dish. 
  4. Assemble either in a large serving bowl or individual bowls by layering rice, beans, avocado, tomatoes or any other choices. Drizzle lots of sweet chili mustard sauce on top.
  5. Serve immediately. 


Soaking and Cooking Beans 

Option 1-Pre-soak with Boiling
  1. In a large pot add dry beans, rinse with water and remove any poor looking beans.  Add enough water to full over the beans plus another 1-2 inches.
  2. Let soak for 6-8 hours on counter.
  3. Rinse beans and place in a large pot.  Add enough fresh water to cover the beans and simmer them for 30 minutes and then check to see if they are tender but still firm. If cooking kidney beans to let them boil for 10 minutes and then simmer (to reduce the Phytohaemagglutini) 
  4. Once cooked either use right away or rinse with cold water and place in freezer safe containers.
Option 2-Quicker-Doubled Boiled 
  1. In a large pot dry beans, rinse with water and remove any poor looking beans. 
  2. Add enough fresh water to completely cover the beans plus another 1-2 inches.  Bring pot to a boil and turn off and let sit for 1 hour. If cooking kidney beans to let them boil for 10 minutes and then simmer (to reduce the Phytohaemagglutini) 
  3. Rinse beans again and add enough fresh water to completely cover the beans plus another 1-2 inches to the pot and bring to a boil.  Tilting the lid a little let the beans simmer for 1 -2 hours depending on the bean.  Check frequently to ensure they are tender but still firm.  You don't want to over cook your beans.
  4. Once cooked either use right away or rinse with cold water and place in freezer safe containers.
*Beans that don't require soaking, just cook for approximately 30 minutes

  • Black beans
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Lentils
  • 1 cup tomatoes, optional

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pregnancy, Health and Diet

For those of you who follow me on through Facebook, will already have seen this photo and know our news.  We are being blessed with a little one coming sometime in February 2016.
I am hoping to update you as baby grows and on how I am preparing our lives and my body for this little person.  I will continue to add updates into my new tab labeled "Baby."
I am sure many of you have a "program" that you follow in terms of maintaining a healthy pregnant body.  I thought I would share some of the things I try to follow during pregnancy.

  • Prenatal SAP for a thorough article on the brand I use please see here (take 1-2x/day)
  • EPA/DHA (Fish oil) 1 teaspoon/day 
  • Scorbitate (vitamin C) 1/4 teaspoon/day
  • Probiotics -25 billion enzymes/day
  • Magnesium/Calcium 1-2x a day
  • Orti B -1-2x/day if severely tired

Daily Living:
  • Increase water intake
  • Regular exercise (walking, yoga, gardening, sports)
  • Increase foods rich in calcium (kale, sesame seeds, dark leafy greens, okra, almonds etc)
  • Take a rest in the day
  • Sing (simply because I love to sing)

So follow along as we prepare for baby #3.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Zucchini, Sausage, Tomato Garden Stew (Gluten Free)

Although it is summer, I enjoy this stew now and in the cooler seasons.  It is a great blend of garden vegetables and herbs.  I don't use a broth as I find the sausage, spices and herbs add lots of flavour. This is a quick stew to make on the stove but can also be combined into the crock pot for about 4 hours on high.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 1 pound organic, gluten free sausage chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar tomato puree (or more diced tomatoes)
  • 1-2 cups water (depending on desired consistency and freshness of tomatoes)
  • 2 cups diced zucchini (green or yellow)
  • 4 diced carrots
  • 2 cups chopped spinach or kale
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh shredded basil
  • 1/3 cup fresh shredded cilantro
  1. In a large pot heat oil.  Fry onion until clear and soft (3 minutes,) add garlic and sausage.  
  2. Continue to stir and fry until sausage is browned.
  3. Add tomatoes, puree, water, zucchini, carrots, kale, salt, pepper, cayenne and bay leaves.
  4. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  5. Add basil and cilantro.  Cook another 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaves.
  7. Serve.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Nacho Chicken Salad (Dairy, Gluten and Grain Free)

Another quick meal which has used up a lot of garden ingredients.  This is a hearty salad, that can be eaten as a full meal.  The cashews in the dressing, as well as the chicken add some needed protein for energy throughout the day.  We enjoyed this recipe and hope you do as well.

Nacho Dressing Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Salad Ingredient Options
  • 1-2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • lettuce of choice (spinach, kale, leaf or mixed)
  • tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • avocado
  • bell peppers
  • nasturtiums

Some of our Nasturtiums (edible flowers which also help keep garden pests away)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Raw Beet Salad with Mint and Pear (Gluten Free)

My youngest and I have planted a few too many beets this year.  They have really taken off and many are ready for harvest. I am not sure what I am going to do with them all as I think I do prefer cooked beet greens to actual cooked beetroot.  In the summer however, this raw beetroot salad is definitely the way to go, it is delicious.  My family and I discovered this recipe a few summers ago.  I can take zero credit for, but rather give all credit to Jamie Oliver.  I highly recommend it, even my girls enjoy it.


  • 4 medium sized beets, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces (a mandolin is helpful here)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat, sheep or cow feta cheese (optional, but tasty)
  • 1-2 ripe pears cut into matchstick pieces*
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 drops stevia (optional)
My youngest pulling up some of her beets

  1. In a medium size bowl combine beets, mint, feta and pear (see note about pears)
  2. In a small bowl combine all dressing ingredients and stir to fully mix.  
  3. Pour dressing over salad and serve or let sit 1-2 hours in the fridge to allow flavours to combine.
*if making this salad ahead (more than 2-3 hours) I leave the pears out until close to serving, as they can get kind of mushy if left too long in the dressing