Friday, February 28, 2014

The Papaya Experiment

Well, the verdict is in. I'm not a huge fan of papaya. At least not the variety I tried last night. First of all, I wasn't prepared for the smell upon cutting said fruit open. It was a cross between barf and dirty socks. Not exactly appetizing. So of course I Googled it and turns out that's normal. It tastes NOTHING like it smells which was a relief. But that being said, the salad I made was yummy but I won't be rushing out to buy this kind of papaya again. I do want to try the smaller variety though and see what I think of those. Live and learn!

Papaya salad with carrot, radish, tomatoes, jalapeno and avocado topped with lemon zest and grated frozen fresh ginger and dressed with a mix of coconut marinade, Sriracha hot sauce, lemon juice, fresh ground pepper and a clove of garlic. LOTS of flavor and very refreshing but alas, not a huge fan of the Papaya. Worth a try though!

This is the papaya I bought from Superstore to try. It's pretty huge and is the Formosa variety. I threw half into my salad and the other half into a smoothie with some mango, a big hunk of ginger, banana, mixed greens, Vega One natural protein powder and some mixed berries and cherries along with some filtered water. Again, wasn't my favorite with the papaya flavor being rather noticeable. Lesson learned! On to the next new fruit/vegetable!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Various Kitchen Adventures!

I finally took the time (which wasn't long at all) to slice up some of my big bags of Harvest Moon Society beets and carrots into a tasty slaw. This is so easy and has so many variations and lasts so long AND can be thrown into pretty much any dish or eaten on it's own. This is the lovely, overflowing blow of beauty before I dressed it with a zingy dressing.
So with this batch I ended up zesting and juicing a big, fat lemon and added some apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, Sriracha sauce, Himalayan salt, tumeric and fresh ground pepper. It added a great deal of extra flavor and zing! Tossed it all together, covered it and threw it in the fridge for a week's worth of lunches and dinners! I just had a jar full topped with some raisins and sunflower seeds for lunch!
Dinner (for Mac) the other night was some of my slaw topped with some celery and raisins along with a wrap using up the leftovers from our weekend's roasted veggies and cashew sauce wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with some mixed greens and some coconut amino seasoned mixed beans, lentils and brown rice. My dinner was everything in the wrap and slaw minus the wrap to make it gluten free.

Another tasty smoothie filled with an extra amount of mixed greens, celery, pear, ginger, some frozen berries, a scoop of Vega and some cinnamon and cayenne pepper. It was great mixed with some of my leftover Smoothie Booster Mix as a dessert! BONUS!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Testing out some new protein powder.

Vita Health Fresh Market has their Garden of Life Raw Protein powder on sale this week so I thought I'd try out the natural flavor in my smoothies for a while. I'm a HUGE fan of their Cacao Bliss Raw Meal powder but didn't want to have chocolate for breakfast everyday. Well, who DOESN'T want chocolate for breakfast everyday but you know what I mean. I save that one for treats and only buy it in the small packet size. Plus the Raw Meal is SUPER filling compared to their Raw Protein powders, I find.
So far, I like this new protein powder in my shakes but I don't love it. I'm not sure if it's the powder or the fact that I might be using more greens this week but the consistency has certainly changed in my smoothies. It's not bad. Just different. But if I had to decide, I think my vote is still for the Vega One Natural protein powder for my smoothies. Good thing I loaded up on it during Vita's last sale!
P.S. Thanks HUGE to my awesome Ma who sent me that amazing, ceramic knife as part of my Valentine's Day care package! It's AMAZEBALLS!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekend Getaway Feast!

My honey and I finally made it back to our winter escape from back in the day, Barrier Bay Resort in the Whiteshell near Seven Sisters Falls. We used to go every winter for a couple nights but haven't been for almost five years so we were due.

The night before, getting ready for our getaway, I made up what I'm now calling my Smoothie Booster Mix in a large mason jar. Once shaken up, you just toss some on top of your smoothie, mix it up and let it sit a bit (or not) and you've got some extra energy boosters and highly good for you treats to munch on with your smoothie as the main feature. This mix had gluten free oats, sprouted sunflower seeds and buckwheat groats, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, chia seeds, goji berries, cinnamon, coconut and some almonds.

Our breakfast out at the cabin included a green smoothie base with some of my Smoothie Booster Mix tossed with some fresh pomegranate. Just what we needed to fuel our two hour snowshoe trek out to Opapiskaw Camp Ground.

And dang, this is pretty as all get out, don't ya think??

We were totally wiped yet refreshed from our trek and needed a monster fruit salad to fill our bellies. This was SO effing good, I can't even tell you. Apple, kiwi, banana, raspberries, pear and pomegranate. Perfection!

Dinner was brown rice and wakame noodles topped with slow, low temperature roasted portobello, red pepper and broccoli marinated in olive oil, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar, Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper and Sriracha sauce. The sauce on top with the lentil patties had cashews, garlic, sundried tomatoes, coconut marinade, apple cider vinegar and fresh ground pepper. It was all kinds of tasty. I'll certainly try these noodles again. You can find them at Vita Health.

Despite taking a wrong turn resulting in an extra 45 minutes of driving to get there, the thick, gross bacon saturated air in the cabin and the scary highway conditions on the drive home, we had a great day Sunday out snowshoeing and enjoying the peace and quiet and downtime we needed. I would certainly recommend Barrier Bay for a nice, romantic, peaceful escape from the city.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Friday night eats!

The night before heading out for a little winter getaway to Barrier Bay Resort in the Whiteshell with my honey, I chowed down on some green salad goodness! Avocado, mixed organic greens, broccoli, cucumber, homemade sauerkraut, Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts, dried cranberries and a sprinkling of raw peanuts. The dressing was some lemon zest and juice with a dash of coconut seasoning sauce and some Sriracha for a little KICK!

As per usual, I needed a bedtime snack. Bedtime snack = organic apple cut up with a sprinkle of cinnamon, some cacao nibs and some peanuts. YUMMO!
Next I'll fill you in on the feasts we had while at our long weekend away that really wasn't long enough at all. It never is. *sigh*

Friday, February 14, 2014

A year of FOOD in the Dandee Eats kitchen!

So, until I figure out how to move all of the food photos and recipes I shared over this past year on my personal Facebook page, I've got the link that anyone, whether you're on Facebook or not, can check out! I have to tell you, it sure does make me pine for my garden and seeing green instead of white. It can't be much longer, right!?!? In the meantime, drool over these pictures and find some inspiration to at least feast on some summery themed eats on your plate. Just don't look outside unless you're looking up at this beautiful, bright, blue sky!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Confessions of an overindulger.

Today's confession/lesson: If it's in my house, I'll eat it. And I'll eat it all. At once. No matter how full I already am.

This is a lesson I continue to struggle with learning. And learning to STOP eating when I'm full or even just before I'm full. You'd think that with how shitty (literally) it makes me feel to overindulge, I'd have learned my lesson by now. Clearly, I have yet to catch on. Needless to say, Mac and I have committed to only bringing fruits and veggies to our weekend getaway this long weekend. Here's hoping we stick to that plan! *sigh*

Before I scarfed down all those chips and chocolate last night, I had the most delicious soup with some Mary's Gone Crackers! Again, it was a throw-it-all-in-the-pot kind of soup that included some organic local beets, celery, onion, corn, local peas, broccoli, garlic, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, fresh ground pepper, some of my homemade veggie broth, a can of coconut milk and a scoop of sprouted brown rice and sprouted bean mix. The rice and bean mix are both from Costco and they're AWESOME! Great dry goods to keep on hand and they both cook rather quickly, too. I just added some extra liquid to the pot for the beans and grains to soak up. DEEEEELISH and it freezes well too!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Gluten Free Muffin Mission

Since I went off of wheat and gluten a little over a year ago, for a long time I tried to find a suitable recipe for a gluten free, vegan muffin recipe that was equally as delicious and fluffy as the vegan ones I used to make. Although I've found a handful that taste great, don't call for eight different kinds of flour and are very muffiny, I've realized that sticking to more fruit and veg snacks over baked 'bready' snacks is much more tummy friendly. I still feel a bit heavy after eating gluten free baked goods which is sometimes worth it if I'm really craving a muffin for a snack. But for the most part, if I do bake muffins, it's for my honey or for other loved ones as was this new batch I tried over the weekend.

This recipe was inspired by the Just Banana Muffin recipe I found on the Forks Over Knives website. I made some changes and here's what I came up with.

Blunana Muffs
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
1 cup Gluten Free Oat Flour (GF oats thrown into your NutriBullet or coffee grinder)
1 cup quinoa flour (Try Norquin grown in the Prairies)
1/4 cup Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp ground flaxseed (again, bust out that coffee grinder)
1/2 tbsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp gluten free baking soda (Find this and the baking powder at Vita Health or Bulk Barn)
Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Feel free to throw in any other spices you like such as nutmeg, ginger, cloves, etc.

In a blender or food processor, whiz up:
4 ripe bananas (Frozen, defrosted, ripe bananas are PERFECT in recipes like this)
1 small pear, cored
1 apple, cored
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened apple juice or John Boy Farms Manitoba Apple Cider
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 to 1/2 cup blueberries or any other berry/fruit, fresh, frozen or dried

Blend until smooth and pour into dry mix. I like to add my fresh or frozen berries to the dry mix before mixing it all together. Stir until there are no dry bits left but don't over mix. Use some softened or melted coconut oil to oil your muffin tins. I don't recommend using muffin liners as they often tend to stick and they're a bit wasteful and unnecessary, don't ya think?

Bake them at 350 degree F for about 28-32 minutes. Do the toothpick test after 28 minutes and if it comes out wet, stick them back in for a few minutes at a time. Let them cool for about 5 minutes and then use a spoon or knife to pull them away from the sides of the muffin tins and tilt them to let them cool a bit quicker. This recipe should make 12 large muffins.
These muffins freeze really well and that's how we keep them in our house. Just grab one and throw it in a container or wrap it in an Abeego (Generation Green carries these and they're AWESOME!) and by lunch time it's nicely defrosted and ready for gobbling! These would also be divine with some flora & farmer jam!
Now, did you notice that there is no salt, oil or sugar in these bad boys? Those awesome bananas, pears, apples and juice all add plenty of sweetness that you won't even miss it. I promise! Other ways to add some natural sweetness to this recipe, throw in a handful of organic, unsweetened raisins, currants or cranberries. Or like I suggested, smear on a bit of local jam. The multi fruit jam from Jeanne Berard Gardens that you can order through Harvest Moon is AMAZEBALLS if you're looking for a new jam to try out.
Give these a try and get creative! I'd love to hear what you come up with so come on over to my Facebook page and post some feedback and pics of your muffs!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pomegranate LOVE!

The Pomegranate Project:
I'm happy to report, I'm in LOVE!

Those crunch-popping little beads of sweetness made a lovely salad with some pear and avocado drizzled with some fresh lemon juice. DEEELISH!

I will most certainly be picking up another one of these babies at Superstore very soon. I suggest you do the same!
It also made a lovely Super Snack Mason Jar of Goodness for my lunch on Monday mixed with some chia seeds, cacao nibs, banana and some John Boy Farms Manitoba apple cider and a dash of cinnamon. Seriously. It was like summer in a jar! So refreshing and SO much flavor! Get out and pick up one of these sweet treats ASAP!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thanks, #Winnipeg, for being so awesome!

What an AWESOME Saturday! Thanks SO SO much to everyone who organized and came out to the Point Douglas is for Lovers Craft Sale! It was a beautiful day filled with lovely faces and an incredible array of local makers. I had so much fun meeting some new folks, talking food and smart ass cards. I can't wait until the next sale in this incredibly warm and welcoming neighborhood!

It's become a bit of a tradition to Treat. Our. Selves. after one of my craft sales, taking a night off from kitchen duties. And most times we find ourselves at the home for vegan comfort food, Boon Burger on Bannatyne. We almost always get the Super Supper Platter for Two and it covers everything we're craving and we almost always manage to eat every last bit without feeling over full.
Their special burger on Saturday was my favorite black bean burger (gluten and soy free) with a peach pineapple jam and another tasty sauce with tomato and lettuce. They're sweet enough to split the soup (which was Tuscan Tomato) in two bowls for us and cut the burger in half too! I skip the bun and just eat the toppings and pass the bun to my sweetie to dip in the soup. The house salad is always a monster sized portion which I LOVE and for some reason, the fries on Saturday tasted the best I've EVER had. Perhaps since it had been so very long since I've had fries, my taste buds were overjoyed. It all really hit the spot, I must say. Just what I needed.

And I can't go to Boon and NOT have their ever delectable coconut milk soft serve! It was just my luck that the flavor of the day was Chocolate Chocolate, my all time fave. Needless to say, we scarfed if up so fast I didn't remember to take a photo until after we were done. It took all of my willpower to not stick my mouth under the soft serve machine and gulp, gulp, gulp until my brain was frozen solid and my belly was filled with coconut milk chocolatey goodness. YUM!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Double Dinner Duty!

I know we can all agree that it sure is nice to come home after a long day at work to supper ready to be gobbled up, no prep required, am I right?? Last night I made sure to make double supper so I could enjoy my Crafty Drop-In night tonight here at Sew Dandee without the distraction of hungry tummy growls between stitches and knit talk. The big bowl of salady goodness was last night's dinner and the ever awesome mason jar got filled with the same ingredients at the same time making tonight's dinner travel ready! We've got mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, sweet potato, black beans, seasoned coconut ribbons (that I need to make more of since they were SO frickin' tasty on EVERYTHING!), lemon zest and juice, fresh ground pepper and some Coconut Seasoning Sauce that I was trying for the first time. As simple as my 'dressing' was, it was PACKED with flavor! Sometimes less really is more. And I really liked the savory goodness that came from the coconut seasoning sauce. Picked it up at Vita Health Fresh Market. Great as a soy sauce replacement in any dressing, sauce, marinade, etc.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Powered by HEMP!

Today's super snack mason jar of goodness has a new ingredient! Manitoba Harvest Chocolate Hemp Bliss! (On sale right now at Vita Health). To be perfectly honest, I'm not a huge fan of hemp milk which is crazy as I love everything else hemp. But using the hemp milk, especially chocolate, was a winner this time around. Along with a handful of fresh raspberries, wild blueberries, hemp hearts, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, sprouted sunflower seeds, cacao nibs, cinnamon and cloves made for another filling jar of yum, fueling me for my extra long day at the shop.

Tonight I'm hosting my weekly Crafty Drop-In night from 5pm to 7:30pm here at Sew Dandee in Osborne Village where you can come by, hang out, craft, visit, get help, get inspiration and just relax in a welcoming, WARM environment. And of course, if you don't want to talk craft, I'm always up for talking food.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Make it feel like summer on your dinner plate, #Winnipeg!

Well, the avocados I was dreaming about while at work on Sunday ended up being (nearly) PERFECTLY ripe for this amazing salad!

Cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, broccoli, fresh ginger and lemon zest. Felt like summer even if for only a moment.
My super fresh, summery salad was dressed with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Sriracha sauce, grated fresh ginger and lemon zest and juice, fresh ground pepper and a dash of tumeric. Tossed together, it made a lovely side salad for my collard wraps.

I'm embarrassed to say these were my first at-home collard green wraps! I can't believe it took me this long to try making them! After trimming away the thicker part of the stem, I added some matchstick slices of a golden beet, some black beans, some of my homemade sauerkraut, a few chunks of roasted sweet potato and some hemp hearts for good measure. On the topic of sauerkraut and keeping your gut a happy place, check out this video by Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. Added bonus: The host of this YouTube channel is all kinds of adorable. I mean..... she used one of my favorite words. Dickens. I've got a girl crush on her, truth be told.

It was a bit tricky getting the collard to wrap without everything falling out but it was still delicious! And really, it's obvious that I don't really care about how 'pretty' my food is. This ain't no Martha Stewartesque blog, that's for dang sure.
It really was a summery feeling dinner that Mac and I both thoroughly enjoyed. And it took almost no time to make up! I super sized the avocado salad so, lucky me, I get to have it for supper again tonight! Another trip to the tropics for dinner tonight! Maybe I'll bust out my bikini as my dinner wear!

Waste Not!

I do my best to use every last bit of what's left over after making any recipe. This little dessert has some remaining rock sea salt and cocoa powder from making my Brownie Pops for the Point Douglas Is For Lovers - A North End Craft Sale I'll be selling at next Saturday (my debut as Dandee Eats!) along with some banana, cashews and maple syrup topped with some goji berries. I may have slightly overdone it on the sea salt upon the taste test but I'll try it out from the freezer tonight and report back with a full review.

My latest jar of homemade nut butter turned out a bit thicker than usual since I still had some date paste left at the bottom of my Vitamix when I started. Another attempt at using every last drop of ingredients that the spatula can't get to. Still very yummy but a bit more chunky than usual.
Once I scooped out as much nut butter as I could from the bottom of the Vitamix and could no longer fit anymore into the jar, it was time to throw in my smoothie mix for the day. That extra bit of nut butter added in the protein and happy fats I like in my smoothies. I also threw in a hearty bunch of kale, an apple, ginger, banana, a berry cherry mix and some hemp hearts.
Creamy, nutty, veggie, fruity goodness ready to go! These small containers for my NutriBullet come with handy lids that make them perfect for taking on the go too. I'm really enjoying this new kitchen gadget of mine!
My Sunday morning smoothie was calling for some substance to get me going for day seven of twelve work days in a row. A handful of dried cranberries, goji berries, some cacao nibs and some shredded coconut did the trick.

Five more sleeps until the Point Douglas is for Lovers (including FOOD lovers) Sale & Dandee Eats' debut!

It's almost time!! And I'm SOOOOOOO very pumped! Not only to share my latest mostly raw, all vegan treats with you all but also to spend the afternoon with some amazing local makers. There's going to be such an eclectic, talented bunch at this awesome sale, you won't want to miss it. I hope to see you all there! And bring your appetite!

P.S. I'll have lots of my smart ass Dandee greeting cards alongside my Dandee Eats treats at the sale so get ready for a good giggle fest.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Finding comfort food that will comfort you in every way.

Sometimes life..... happens. And I know I'm not alone when I tell you food is my #1 go-to for comfort. Way back when, I mean WAY back, my go-to was a trip to KFC/Taco Bell for a snackwich and fries supreme. Not that long ago my go-to was a big bag of Old Dutch chips or a giant, grease soaked bag of home style fries from George's. But as I continue this journey into falling in love with foods that don't make me ill but can still comfort me, I've also learned to give myself a break from time to time. Now I can assure you my days of fast food are behind me and I miss NONE of it. But I will indulge in some George's fries from time to time and find some new alternatives that may not be 'healthy' but are certainly less processed and laden with ingredients I just don't want in my body. Yesterday my comfort was an entire Theo's chocolate bar from Vita Health Fresh Market.
Granted, I could've eaten it over a few sittings but yesterday I needed to just sit and eat some delicious chocolate all in one go. The difference between what I might have craved back then, like a Snickers bar, is that I now know the importance and HUGE benefit of organic chocolate that is certified Fair Trade and is made by a reputable company I feel good about supporting. And for a moment, I felt the creamy comfort I was in need of. Not only was I comforted by the amazing levels of flavor and texture and flat out yumminess, but it also felt good to support a company that gives a shit about the food they're putting out into the world.
What's your go-to comfort food? Do you have a healthier alternative that is giving you as much comfort as the not so healthy one?

Super Snack Mason Jar of Goodness!

One of this week's super snack mason jar of goodness: Well, hello pecans! They added a new crunch along with some chia seeds, banana, cranberries, goji berries, How You Like Dem Apple Granola, hemp hearts and cacao nibs.
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