recipes

RECIPE: Vegan Southwest Salad with Farro

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Who knew farro was SO DELICIOUS?!

Check out this vegan southwest salad recipe I developed featuring farro from GRAIN, Canada's only 100% traceable grains, beans and freshly milled flours.
 

INGREDIENTS: (everything available at SPUD.ca):


INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Cook farro according to package instructions
  • Mix everything together, drizzle with hot sauce, then eat!
  • The longer it sits the better the flavour so try to prepare at least 15 minutes ahead of time


Want local, organic groceries delivered right to your door? Use promo code CRVAN-ROSCAF to get $20 off your 1st SPUD.ca purchase of $50+! 


How to eat less meat: 5 money-savvy, planet-friendly tips

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Happy pigs relaxing in the dirt at Urban Digs Farm. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

1. Due diligence

Whatever restaurants you eat at or grocery stores you shop from, and whatever you currently have on hand at home, ask questions.

Flip over the package, read the labels, look up websites, email the farmer, call restaurants, ask the butcher – and then double check what you’ve discovered.

One of the greatest disappointments of my life was to learn that so much of what we’re lead to believe, when it comes to what we consume, isn’t true.

In many cases, as I’ve done my research, the omissions and deceits have left me gobsmacked. Being lied to makes me furious.

When I became a food writer, I had the great privilege of interviewing some of Canada’s best chefs, chefs who deeply care about animal welfare and personally visit the farms they source meat from.

This made me wonder where the meat I bought came from, and what kind of lives the animals I was eating had had.

So I started asking questions, and one of the first butchers I spoke to, at a large chain grocer, leaned in and quietly said: “I wouldn’t eat any of the meat we sell here.” Why? The inventory was almost entirely, if not totally, factory farmed.

The more I learn about factory farming, as a journalist and conscious consumer, the more I uncover untold horrors of widespread and unconscionable animal abuse.

I encourage you to look beyond the sterile packaging that keeps us disconnected from the whole story, and do your best to trace it back to the beginning.

A great resource is Sonia Faruqi's new book, Project Animal Farm, a beautifully-written, captivating, well-researched, objective account of animal agriculture.

Money is energy, spend it wisely.

2. Support the good guys

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Everybody wants a belly rub from Urban Digs Farm owners Julia Smith and Ludo Ferrari. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

When you begin your journey down the rabbit hole, as I did when I forced myself to watch incredibly-uncomfortable, heart-wrenchingly-awful undercover videos of factory farms – many of them “local” in our own British Columbian and Canadian backyards – it may shake you to your core.

How could we be deceived so greatly? How could anyone stand for this behaviour? How could anyone carry out this behaviour? How has this become the status quo? How has our food system become so broken and heartless and invisible?

After my sobs subsided and my tears were wiped away, I transformed my rage to fuel a mission of discovery.

Surely there are good choices if you choose to consume animal products? There must be compassionate farmers that rub their pigs’ bellies and scratch their cows behind the ears?

There are.

I joined forces with my dear friend, social media darling (could her Instagrams be any more drool-worthy or inspiring?!) and food reporter Erin Ireland to embark on a local farm tour.

For me, two highlights thus far have been Urban Digs Farm and Sumas Mountain Farms.

Urban Digs Farm is owned and run by Julia Smith and Ludo Ferrari and located in the rich a fertile soil of south Burnaby – with a new second location in the Nicola Valley near Merrit, BC – where they raise heritage pigs (that are carbon positive!), and have partnered with like-minded farms to offer chicken, eggs, beef, lamb and vegetables at their weekly farmgate market and online store (weekly delivery is available across the Lower Mainland).

I subscribe to their Beasty Box and get a selection of beef, chicken and pork delivered right to my door.

I wrote a blog post about Urban Digs’ amazing farm and how their animals are raised – check it out here.

And check out my feature – here – on Urban Digs Farm for Montecristo magazine.

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Sumas Mountain Farms' cows graze on a diet of 100-percent grass. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

Sumas Mountain Farms, near Abbotsford, is owned and run by Trevor and Kelly Newton who raise cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens on their idyllic family farm.

Erin wrote a blog post about their lovely farm, their farming practices, and how to buy their products – check it out here.

Do you know of an awesome local farm that deserves a gold star for animal welfare? Please share!

3. Chop it up

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Just a couple of Urban Digs' spicy Italian sausages, squeezed out of their casings, cooked with mushrooms, onions and garlic, mixed with slow-roasted tomatoes and penne, and served on a bed of arugula, made for an absolutely delicious, company-worthy, dinner for six. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

When you stop eating cheap meat and invest in the good stuff, you might be nervous about the cost. Heck, you might be downright mad about the cost. But everything has a cost, and cheap meat means animal cruelty, plain and simple.

But here’s the thing: we don’t need to eat half a chicken or three racks of ribs or a 36-ounce steak in one sitting! Our bodies just don’t need that much.

Harvard Medical School suggests the “Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.”

For a 45-kilogram (100-pound) adult that works out to around 36 grams of protein per day, 50 grams for a 68-kilogram (150-pound) adult, or 72 grams for a 90-kilogram (200-pound) adult.

But “don’t read ‘get more protein’ as ‘eat more meat,’” says a post on the Harvard Health Blog. “Beef, poultry, and pork (as well as milk, cheese, and eggs) can certainly provide high-quality protein, but so can many plant foods – including whole grains, beans and other legumes, nuts, and vegetables.”

*** See bottom of post for awesome infographic on 50 sources of plant-based protein ***

What does it look like if you choose to get half your protein RDA from animals?

25 grams of protein (50% of protein RDA for 150-pound adult) ≅ 3.5 ounces ≅ 2/3 cup of beef, poultry, pork, fish, or 2.5 eggs.

Imagine 3.5 ounces as 3.5 shot glasses, or 2/3 cup fitting into the palm of your hand – for a whole day’s worth of meals – that’s not very much!

And getting a third of your protein RDA from animals would, obviously, be even less.

In my experience, when you’re making the switch to buying a little better and eating a little less, your eyeballs don’t agree with your tummy.

If you’re used to eating half a chicken, and all you see on your plate is a measly drumstick (≅ 2 ounces), you might squawk about being starved.

But if you carve up that drumstick into little pieces and pile those pieces on your plate, not only will your eyes think “this is enough food” your tummy will likely be happy too.

Nobody knows your body like you do. So play around with it, and eat what feels right to you. 

With this less-meat-method in mind, I’ve added more meals to my repertoire that work well with little pieces.

Instead of the classic roast chicken and potatoes, I’ll make a ton of delicious, rainbow-coloured vegetables, mix them with something starchy like potatoes, beans, lentils or rice, and sprinkle a handful of chopped meat on top.

Chili, stir-frys and pasta lend themselves well to garnishes of meat, too.

Have some awesome recipes that fit this bill in your repertoire? Please share!

And don’t forget to check out the awesome infographic on 50 sources of plant-based protein at the bottom of this post!

4. Don't waste a single scrap

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One ounce of leftover steak shaved into tiny pieces equals a decadent breakfast hash of potatoes, onions, garlic and hot sauce, topped with a poached egg. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

You’ve made the shift, you’re investing in good-quality, ethically-raised meat, and you don’t want to waste a morsel!

Frittatas, breakfast hash and soups are great ways to use up leftover bits of meat.

Eat the skin, save the fat for cooking, and don’t forget about the bones!

All of the cool kids are making bone broth these days.

Lululemon’s assistant editor, Alicia-Rae Olafsson, breaks down the benefits of bone broth and shares an easy recipe: http://blog.lululemon.com/20150221-the-benefits-of-bone-broth/

What are your tips for not wasting leftovers? Thanks for sharing!

5. Become a master of plant-based cuisine

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To-die-for, basil-and-sea-salt dusted, slow-roasted tomatoes. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr) 

In the wise words of author and journalist Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

If your plant-based repertoire is limited, you’re in luck, because there are so many incredible inspirations to draw from!

Erin Ireland is my guru when it comes to knock-your-socks-off plant-based recipes.

Check out her website, www.itstodiefor.ca, follow her across social media at @ErinIreland,  and have a look at her recent blog post, My Favourite Blogs and Cookbooks For Plant-based Meal Ideas, for an awesome roundup of vegan cooking inspiration.

Certain international cuisines are seriously snazzy at plant-based cooking too! Head to the Google Machine and search for Indian, Mexican and Thai vegetarian recipes.

I’m taking a plant-based South Indian cooking workshop with Feed Life next week! Check out their upcoming workshops here: http://feedlife.ca/workshops/

Now, where to get the fixings for these veggie-licious feasts?

I get the bulk of my organically-grown vegetables from SPUD.ca on a weekly basis through their Harvest Box, a selection of seasonal produce from local farms.

I love them so much that I’m a SPUD ambassador! Interested in checking them out? Use my promo code – CRVAN-ROSCAF – to get $20 off your first purchase of $50 or more!

Have a favourite plant-based recipe? I’d love to hear it!

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Recipe: Coconut Lentil Curry

Coconut Lentil Curry | The Life Delicious Having a stocked pantry and freezer means always having a quick and nutritious meal at your fingertips!

I shared a version of this easy, delicious, healthy, one-pot dish with Johanna Ward on Shaw TV's go! Vancouver. All of the ingredients came from my pantry or freezer. It's become a regular Plan B meal, when I'm low on groceries and even lower on the energy to make a laborious dinner.

Serves 2

Ingredients • 1/2 cup green or red lentils (green are a crunchier, red are mushier) • 1 can coconut milk • 1 tbsp curry powder • 1/2 bag frozen spinach • 1/2 cup frozen edamame • 10 frozen shrimp, 1 chicken breast (chopped), 1 brick tofu (chopped), or 1 cup cooked brown rice. Instructions 1. In medium saucepan, bring lentils and coconut milk to boil, stir in curry powder, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add a splash of water if needed. 2. Add spinach and edamame and cook for another 7 minutes. 3. Add shrimp, chicken, tofu or rice, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until shrimp or chicken are cooked through.

Recipe: Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad This fresh, crunchy salad recipe is a really tasty accompaniment to grilled fish or poultry, and holds up nicely for leftovers the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped with stems removed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well to combine.
  2. Let sit for at least 1 hour before serving to let flavours meld.

Recipe: Quinoa Salad with BC Apples, Chickpeas, Feta and Curry

quinoa chickpea salad February is Apple Month. We're so lucky to have access to fresh, crispy, delicious, nutritious, local apples in the winter here in BC!

One of my go-to afternoon snacks is an apple, a handful of nuts and seeds (usually almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds), and a piece of aged cheddar cheese, but sometimes I branch out with my apple consumption and bake them into a decadent apple pie or crisp (check out this recipe for my amazing walnut ginger apple crumble).

I had not, however, used apples in a salad before, and as I'm really trying to make my salads more snazzy (so I'll eat more of them) I got really excited when I saw Julie Van Rosendaal's quinoa salad recipe.

BC Tree Fruits is having a recipe contest between seven local chefs, foodies and celebs this month – Julie is one of them. You can see the rest of the recipes, including the super yummy hyssop caramel apple jam from Cibo Trattoria and Uva Wine Bar's executive chef Faizal Kassam (which I've also tried and loved), at applemonth.com, and by voting for your favourite recipe you could win a luxury Okanagan getaway!

Quinoa Salad with BC Apples, Chickpeas, Feta and Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
  • 1/4 cup golden or sultana raisins
  • 19 oz (540ml) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tart BC Tree Fruits apple, chopped, skin on
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp curry paste or powder
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or almonds

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, and set aside in a wide salad bowl to cool.
  2. Add the raisins while the quinoa is still warm so they plump up.
  3. Once cooled, add the chickpeas, parsley, feta and apple.
  4. Shake the olive oil, vinegar, honey and curry together in a jar, and drizzle over the quinoa salad.
  5. Toss, then sprinkle with nuts just before serving.

Recipe: Chicken, Lentil and Spinach Curry

Chicken curry with lentils and spinach | The Life Delicious

This recipe is a healthier update on my mom's famous British-Indian curry, which has apricot jam, white rice and peas.

I have to admit that I've only just begun cooking with lentils (it's ridiculous, I don't know what I've been doing all these years), but I am a total convert because they're so easy and quick to prepare – especially in this recipe.

I made this dish for my family over Christmas in Victoria and my dad suggested red lentils instead of green, which I think I actually like better. The green lentils keep their shape, as you can see above, but the red lentils turn to mush so they soak up even more of the delicious sauce. The cooking instructions are the same for both, they'll just look different in the end.

This is such an easy dinner to make – you just throw everything into one roasting pan so it leaves you with very little dishes, yahoo!

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, backbone removed, butterflied
  • 2 cups dry lentils (green or red)
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 lb tub spinach, chopped (it looks like way too much but will significantly reduce once it’s cooked)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, whole cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine spices, salt and pepper in small bowl.
  3. Add half the spice mixture to lentils and stock in large roasting pan and stir to combine.
  4. Arrange onion and garlic over lentil mixture and top with chicken.
  5. Brush chicken with oil and sprinkle with remaining spice mixture.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for about 55 minutes.
  7. Remove roasting pan from oven and arrange spinach around chicken, pushing down so it all fits. Baste chicken while it's out.
  8. Cook for about another 20 minutes.
  9. Remove chicken to serving platter and stir spinach and lentils to combine.
  10. Divide chicken and lentils into 6 portions and serve immediately.

 

Recipe: Hawksworth Restaurant’s Korean Fried Cauliflower

Korean Fried Cauliflower Recipe | Hawksworth Restaurant | The Life Delicious I had an amazing lunch at Hawksworth Restaurant in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia last week. In case you haven’t heard about this culinary superstar and its equally shiny executive chef and namesake, David Hawksworth, they’ve scooped up numerous industry awards in the two and a half years since opening, like the Georgia Straight’s 2013 Golden Plates Awards for best chef, best fine dining restaurant and best hotel restaurant, and Vancouver Magazine’s 2013 Restaurant Awards for restaurant of the year and chef of the year (both for the second year in a row).

In 2012 Maclean’s magazine named it Canada’s Restaurant of the Year, and in 2011 enRoute Magazine named it Canada’s Best New Restaurant.

Needless to say, the food is fantastic, and I love dining with friends who like to share plates because you get to try more of the fantastic things on the menu!

To start, we shared the pan seared scallops (below, left) with Korean fried cauliflower, green apple and sesame ($17), and the charred hamachi (below, right) with crispy pork belly, watermelon, peanut, jalapeno and coconut ($17).

Pan seared scallops | Hawksworth Restaurant | The Life Delicious

For our mains, we shared the Lois Lake steelhead (below, left) with shrimp chorizo fritter, romesco sauce, chickpea, and almond crumble ($27), and the southeast Asian coconut red curry (below, right) with side stripe shrimp, mussels, bean sprouts, and shoestring potatoes ($26).

Lois Lake Steelhead | Hawksworth Restaurant | The Life Delicious

One of the things I love about dining out is enjoying fancy, fussy recipes you’d never (or at least I’d never) attempt at home. I believe using umpteen ingredients and laborious techniques is best left to the pros, and I'm not one of them.

But I felt compelled to try making the Korean fried cauliflower because it was just so darn delicious and seemed not-too-difficult. Hawksworth was kind enough to share this recipe with me to share with you!

The recipe required a few more steps and ingredients than my usual repertoire, but it was worth it! My husband, and sous chef, agrees.

And if you just can’t be bothered to make it but really want to try it, the Korean fried cauliflower is featured on Hawksworth’s lunch menu with the scallops ($17) and on the bar menu on its own ($8).

Korean Fried Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1” florets
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • tempura batter
    • 500 ml rice flour
    • 2 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tbsp baking soda
    • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
    • 50ml grapeseed oil
  • 200 ml Korean chili sauce (Hawksworth makes theirs in-house and I used Sriracha that I already had on hand)
  • 50 grams toasted white sesame seeds
  • 30 grams scallions, sliced

Instructions

  1. Blanch cauliflower in salted water for 15 seconds and place in ice bath to stop cooking.
  2. To make tempura batter, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until fully incorporated (some lumps are okay).
  3. Dust cooked cauliflower florets with flour and then dip in tempura batter.
  4. Fry in cast iron pan with 1-inch-deep grapeseed oil until crispy, turning carefully once browned.
  5. Remove from oil when crispy and toss in chili sauce (I drizzled it over top).
  6. Place in bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.

 

Recipe: Walnut Ginger Apple Crumble

Ginger Walnut Apple Crumble | The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr There are loads of reasons to celebrate fall in BC and local apples are one of them!

To identify a high quality BC Tree Fruits apple, "Look for the Leaf" and you'll see its iconic green leaf sticker.

Did you know that the BC Tree Fruits Cooperative is owned by 520 local grower families who account for 7,894 acres of orchards in the Okanagan?

More fun facts about BC Tree Fruits:

  • The apple season is one of the busiest times of the year for BC Tree Fruits' growers.
  • Apples are the largest crop grown by BC Tree Fruits orchardists, with this season’s apple harvest estimated at 2.5 million cartons.
  • There are 14 different varieties of BC Tree Fruits apples – see them pictured below.

BC Tree Fruits Apple Varieties

One of my favourite afternoon snacks is a big, juicy apple, a handful of almonds, and a hunk of aged cheddar cheese. Yum!

But when I really want a treat, I gather everything I need for an apple crumble, and rub my hands together in anticipation as it bubbles and bakes.

The addition of walnuts and ginger give it a wonderful crunch and zing. I hope you'll love this recipe too!

Ingredients

  • 6 of your favourite BC apples (McIntosh are mine for baking and snacking), cored and chopped (I leave the skin on for two reasons: less work and more nutrients)
  • 2 tbsp fresh, grated ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (read about cinnamon's amazing antioxidant properties here)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In large bowl, combine apples, ginger, lemon juice and cinnamon.
  3. Place apple mixture in casserole dish and sprinkle walnuts over top.
  4. In separate bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, butter and coconut oil.
  5. Pour flour mixture over apple mixture and gently press down.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes or until apples are bubbling and topping is crispy.
  7. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Recipes: See Ya Later Hunny Punch and Juicy Soda Can Chicken

See Ya Later Hunny Punch Being outside in the sun, celebrating life with good food, good drinks and great company is my version of heaven.

Last weekend we had some wonderful friends over for a BBQ and tried some summery recipes that the amazing folks at YEW Restaurant + Bar shared with me [check out my recent post on this fabulous, sustainable restaurant here].

The food and drinks were a hit, I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

Justin Taylor's See Ya Later Hunny Punch

This cocktail recipe (pictured above) comes from YEW’s super talented bartender Justin Taylor, and features See Ya Later Ranch’s 2011 Hunny Late Harvest Riesling, which was named Best Dessert Wine at last year’s BC Wine Awards.

Add some gin, Campari and ruby red grapefruit juice to the mix and you’ve got yourself a seriously refreshing drink!

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 2 cups See Ya Later Hunny
  • 2 cups gin
  • 1 cup Campari
  • 4 cups freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together in a pitcher or bowl and serve in your favourite patio glassware over ice.

Ned Bell’s Juicy Soda Can Chicken

Ned Bell's juicy soda can chicken

I’m terrible at multitasking when it comes to preparing food and chatting with my guests, so I’m usually running around in a panic at the last minute trying to get everything ready before they arrive.

In my haste, I forgot a few key ingredients for the following chicken recipe, which is care of YEW’s brilliant and wonderful executive chef Ned Bell. His juicy soda can chicken calls for a can of soda water to set the upright chicken over top of. I forgot to buy that. His accompanying BBQ vinaigrette calls for molasses and malt vinegar. I forgot to buy those too.

Fortunately there were still plenty of ingredients that I did have on hand, and the chicken still turned out juicy and flavourful, with deliciously crunchy skin.

Instead of sitting the birds on a can and baking them, I split them along the frontal plane (so both breasts and wings were on one piece, and the legs, thighs and backbone were on the other – pictured above) and barbecued them for 80 minutes on low, flipping each piece over every 20 minutes (I’m paranoid about undercooking chicken so I err on the side of overdone, especially when feeding guests).

Ingredients

  • 1 whole organic chicken
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 can soda water
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed in the skin
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Stuff the chicken cavity with the cut lemon, herbs and garlic, and then with the open can of soda water.
  3. Stand the chicken up in a deep casserole dish and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, to prepare the BBQ vinaigrette, remove the soda can from the chicken cavity and combine the contents with the pan juices, molasses, and vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and syrupy.
  7. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and squeeze in the lemon halves from the chicken cavity.

Bell suggests serving the chicken with asparagus, golden spuds and yams tossed in olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper, grilled on the BBQ – as well as grilled bread to soak up all the juices.

Yum-o!

*For my panicked version of this recipe, I just smeared the birds with a mixture of thyme, rosemary, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper and lemon juice.

 

A Few of my Favourite Things: International Chicken Recipes

I get so excited reading about new recipes, shopping for ingredients, and preparing meals for the people I love. I especially enjoy trying new flavour combinations and using herbs and spices to add flavour without adding calories. After learning about the about the inhumane conditions that many poultry products you buy at the grocery store are raised in, I've solely purchased free-range or organic birds.

A local company raising free-range, medication and antibiotic free chickens is Maple Hill Farms in Abbotsford, found at numerous grocery stores and butchers in and around Vancouver. They offer whole birds, a range of cuts, and eggs.

Here are three of my favourite international chicken recipes, which you can see in their entirety, along with dozens of other recipes I've tested at home, at BC Living.

Chicken, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Chicken, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas | The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

Visit BCLiving.ca for the Chicken, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas recipe.

 

Pineapple Cashew Chicken Fried Rice

Pineapple Cashew Chicken Fried Rice | The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

Visit BCLiving.ca for the Pineapple Cashew Chicken Fried Rice recipe.

 

Jerk Chicken with Rice and Beans

Jerk Chicken with Rice and Beans | The Life Delicious | Catherine Roscoe Barr

 

Visit BCLiving.ca for the Jerk Chicken with Rice and Beans recipe.

BC Blueberries: Part of Dr Marwan Sabbagh’s Healthy Brain Diet

BC-22-Blueberry-Beauty (Image: BC Blueberry Council)

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a breakfast lecture, hosted by the BC Blueberry Council at the Edible Canada Bistro, with author, speaker, geriatric neurologist and dementia specialist, and director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Dr Marwan Sabbagh.

Sabbagh’s talk focused on how dietary habits influence the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, and how blueberries fit into that equation.

We also received a copy of his awesome new book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook: Recipes to Boost Brain Health, which covers the science of Alzheimer’s disease, highlights of which we learned in his talk, and contains brain-boosting recipes that he teamed up with celebrity chef Beau MacMillan to create.

DrSabbagh&Cat

Dr Marwan Sabbagh, left, and I with his new book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook: Recipes to Boost Brain Health, at the Edible Canada Bistro. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

The lecture was one of those instances where I was so engaged with what I was hearing that space and time fell away.

You may or may not know that I have a neuroscience degree and that I am passionate about learning and sharing ways to cultivate optimal brain health, so what he had to say really got me excited.

Sabbagh shared a number of things that I already knew but were great to be reminded of and I also took away a handful of exciting and practical new tips for following a healthy brain diet.

Neurodegeneration Begins 25 Years Before Symptoms Appear

One thing he said really struck me. It’s compelled me to put even more thought and care into what I eat. Changes in the brain – negative changes associated with neurodegeneration – begin to occur 25 years before a clinical diagnosis is possible.

In other words, the disease starts 25 years before the first symptoms are detected.

That means there’s plenty you can do right now, through nutrition, exercise and stress management, to increase your chances of having a sharp mind till the day you drop! That, in addition to keeping a long list of nasties like heart disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis at bay.

The Mediterranean Diet is the Convergence of All Good Things

The quickest and most efficient way to influence change, says Sabbagh, is through diet, and he strongly suggests adopting the Mediterranean Diet, calling it “the convergence of all good things.”

The diet includes very little foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol, with a focus on consuming dark vegetables (like alfalfa, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, eggplant, kale and spinach), high-antioxidant fruits (like blackberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, plums, prunes, raspberries, strawberries and red grapes), and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids (like halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna). It even allows for a moderate amount of red wine!

Hooray, Red Wine is Good for You!

Red wine contains Resveratrol, a compound that’s “been shown to have anti-cancer, antiviral, neuroprotective, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and life-prolonging effects.”

So, is more better? Unfortunately, says Sabbagh, you’d need to drink about six bottles of red wine per day to get the optimal recommended amount of Resveratrol. Your liver would not approve.

Sabbagh’s recommendation: stick to a maximum of two glasses of red wine per day and take a Resveratrol supplement.

Herbs and Spices are Antioxidant Powerhouses

Sabbagh also suggests eating foods with high ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, scores. He says, “USDA researchers estimate that you can derive great benefits from consuming 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units of antioxidants a day.”

I’d never heard of ORAC scores before. Exciting! Following is a list of high-antioxidant herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, and their ORAC scores, recommended by Sabbagh.

Herbs and Spices (roughly 2 to 4 grams per tsp)

  • Cloves, ground – 290,283 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Oregano, dried – 175,295 ORAC units 100 grams
  • Rosemary, dried – 165,280 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Thyme, dried – 157,380 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Cinnamon, ground – 131,420 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Turmeric, ground – 127,068 ORAC units per 100 grams

Fruits

  • Prunes – 5,770 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Raisins – 2,830 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Blueberries – 2,400 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Blackberries – 2,036 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Strawberries – 1,540 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Raspberries – 1,220 ORAC units per 100 grams

Vegetables

  • Kale – 1,770 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Spinach – 1,260 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Brussels sprouts – 980 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Alfalfa sprouts – 930 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Broccoli florets – 890 ORAC units per 100 grams
  • Beets – 840 ORAC units per 100 grams

Fun fact: Sabbagh says that since learning about cinnamon’s high ORAC score, and a study “revealing that cinnamon has direct anti-Alzheimer’s properties," he has a teaspoon in his coffee every day.

Blueberries’ Brain-Boosting Power

Zeroing in on blueberries, Sabbagh says that the science behind the brain-boosting power of blueberries – not just berries with high a ORAC score – is “quite compelling.”

Part of his excitement about blueberries stems from animal studies of blueberry extract which show that it can reverse age-related cognitive and motor deficit, prevent free radical damage in red blood cells, and enhance memory-associated neuronal signaling.

He also calls blueberries a “medical-type food” due to another animal-based study showing their ability to “cross the blood-brain barrier and localize in various brain regions important for learning and memory.”

Many drugs are unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, so this was a particularly noteworthy discovery.

Essentially, the antioxidant-rich blueberry extract was able to not just prevent memory loss, but reverse neurodegeneration.

Suddenly craving blueberries? Just wait till you see the delicious recipes below!

Actions Steps for a Healthy Brain Diet

But first, I want to share some actions steps for a healthy brain that Sabbagh left us with:

  1. Adhere to the Mediterranean Diet
  2. Decrease intake of saturated fat
  3. Increase intake of anti-oxidant spices
  4. Eat BC blueberries
  5. Increase exercise

As well as his favourite brain-boosting supplements:

  1. Resveratrol
  2. Vitamins B-9 (folic acid) and B-12
  3. DHA Omega-3 fatty acids

Smoothie and a Salad: Two Tasty Recipes for a Healthy Brain

The first recipe – which I just whipped up in my blender and am drinking while I write this – was developed by the wonderful staff at the Edible Canada Bistro and served at Sabbagh’s breakfast lecture, while the second one comes from The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook, which is full of fantastic recipes.

Green Zinger Smoothie

bc-blueberry-smoothies

(Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 5 stalks kale
  • 1 cup beets
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 2 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 cups green tea
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

Kale, Blueberry and Pomegranate Salad

DrSabbagh-BlueberryKaleSalad

(Image: Ten Speed Press)

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 bunches kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy-sesame vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the kale, blueberries, carrots, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and mint in a medium bowl and toss well.
  2. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss again.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Soy-Sesame Vinaigrette

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Combine the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and peanut oil in a blender and puree until creamy.
  2. Pour the mixture into a medium sauté pan and cook, stirring, over low heat until aromatic and golden in colour, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar to the sauté pan.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, and then stir the cornstarch slurry into the content of the pan.
  5. Set the pan over low heat and bring the mixture to a boil to thicken, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer the dressing to a bowl and let cool.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

 

Lunch Recipe: Leftover Turkey Pita Pizza

It was just my husband and I for the holidays this year and I miraculously made the perfect amount of everything for Christmas dinner.

I bought a 4.3 kg local, antibiotic-free, grain-fed turkey from JD Farms Specialty Turkey, and for four days we ate turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

All that was left today was a large handful of leftover turkey, which I planned on doing something with for lunch.

I felt like staying in my pajamas – not going to the grocery store – so I endeavoured to make lunch with what we had on hand: whole wheat pitas, BBQ sauce, a tin of pizza sauce, a red onion, and cheese.

I cut the turkey into the teeniest, tiniest pieces and mixed it with BBQ sauce, and there was the perfect amount for four pita pizzas. Four super delicious pita pizzas!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups turkey, chopped
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 small tin pizza sauce
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Pick through turkey to make sure there are no bones or cartilage, and chop into small pieces.
  3. In small bowl, combine turkey and BBQ sauce.
  4. Place two pitas each on two baking trays.
  5. Spread 1/4 of pizza sauce on each pita and top with 1/4 of turkey, 1/4 of red onion and 1/4 of cheese.
  6. Place baking sheets side by side on middle shelf of oven and cook pizzas for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn broiler on high and cook for 3 more minutes, until cheese begins to brown and bubble.
  8. Remove pizza from oven and let cool for at least 3 minutes before cutting into quarters and serving.

 

Cocktail and Appetizer Recipes: Girls’ Night In

Clockwise, from bottom left: fig and olive tapenade, blue cheese and caramelized onion dip, oat and seed Raincoast Oat Crisps, and oat and rosemary raisin Raincoast Oat Crisps

I am so blessed to have the most beautiful, brilliant girlfriends, and many of them live in the same city as I do. Once a month, one group of gals I lovingly refer to as the GNOs (for Girls Night Out) gets together somewhere around town or at one of our residences for some good-old-girl-talk over food and drinks.

October’s event was at my place and I made a signature cocktail and two fabulous appetizers.

For the cocktail, I tried to replicate one I had at an event at Reflections in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. It was amazing, a revelation – Disaronno amaretto, pear nectar, lemon juice and cardamom. The cardamom was surprising and totally delicious.

Since then, the hotel has kindly shared the real recipe (I used ground cardamom, which I don’t recommend because although still very tasty, it’s a bit gritty), which you’ll find below.

For the appetizers, I made two dips from The Lesley Stowe Fine Foods Cookbook, an awesome cookbook and one of my favourites (her black bean linguine with prawns has become a staple of my kitchen repertoire).

I served both dips with Stowe’s new Raincoast Oat Crisps, the gluten-free version of her famous Raincoast Crisps, which currently come in two flavours: oat and seed, and oat and rosemary raisin.

This was the first time I made Stowe’s blue cheese and caramelized onion dip and it turned out incredibly good. The stinky cheese and sweet onions were a lovely match.

I love Bleu Bénédictin Cheese, which is made by Benedictine monks at the Fromagerie de L’Abbaye Saint-Benoît in Quebec, Farmhouse Natural Cheeses’ Castle Blue Cheese, made in Agassiz, and Moonstruck Organic Cheese’s Beddis Blue, made on Salt Spring Island.

The olive and fig tapenade is one of my go-tos for entertaining, it’s always a hit with its combination of sweet and salty.

Hope you enjoy!

Pear and Cardamom Coupe Cocktail

The cocktail menu at the Disaronno Contemporary Terrace event at Reflections Lounge (left), and my homemade version of the Pear and Cardamom Coupe cocktail. 

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Disaronno amaretto
  • 2 oz pear nectar (I used Triple Jim's Organic Pear Juice, made in Chilliwack, purchased at Urban Fare)
  • 3 cardamom pods, muddled
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, stirring well.
  2. Strain into an old fashioned glass, over ice, and garnish with a slice of pear.

Olive and Fig Tapenade

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mission figs, quartered
  • 1 cup pitted nicoise olives or other brined black olives
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In food processor, roughly chop figs.
  2. Add olives, capers, garlic, and thyme, pulsing until combined and slightly coarse.
  3. Add oil and lemon juice, pulsing to combine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 oz blue cheese
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in small frying pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onion, cover and cook until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Whisk together mayonnaise and sour cream in a medium bowl.
  4. Add blue cheese and cream cheese and mash with rubber spatula until smooth.
  5. Stir in caramelized onion.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Breakfast Recipe: Ribeye Hash

Considering how deeply I love breakfast, it's surprising that this was one of the first times I can remember ever poaching an egg. It was a little more difficult than anticipated but I think I've got the hang of it now.

This recipe was inspired by the leftover ribeye steak I had sitting in my fridge and the prime rib hash at Hub Restaurant and Lounge.

Despite struggling with how the heck to poach an egg (it seemed to spread tentacles once dropped into the water), it was pretty easy to whip up and was super duper delicious.

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup leftover roasted or boiled potatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • piece of leftover steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Instructions

  1. In large frying pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
  2. Add potatoes, onion and garlic, stirring often, and cook for about 5 minutes or until potatoes are hot and onions are translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring about 3 cups of water to boil.
  4. Bring water to simmer and add vinegar.
  5. One by one, crack eggs into small bowl and slide into water.
  6. Using two spoons, carefully collect any tentacles of egg white straying from the yolk and shape the mass into a ball.
  7. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 3 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are to your liking.
  8. Remove eggs from saucepan and transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
  9. While eggs are cooking, add ketchup to potato mixture, stirring well to combine.
  10. Add steak to potato mixture, cooking just until heated through.
  11. Serve immediately.

Breakfast Recipe: French Toast with Sprouted Grain Bread and Stewed Apples

I love breakfast. It’s one of my favourite times of day and I’m pretty serious about making something special every morning.

On the weekend I like to make something extra fancy and my latest creation is off-the-charts awesome.

I’ve been eating Silver Hills sprouted grain bread for a few years now (and I recently had the chance to write about the company for BCLiving.ca) but had never made French toast with it before.

I don’t know where I got the brainwave from but I’m happy I did because not only does it make delicious, chewy French toast, it’s much better for you than the regular white bread that normally goes into this decadent breakfast.

I wanted to top the toast with some kind of fruit and I had a bunch of apples, so I decided to make stewed apples. They were pretty easy to make and totally worth the effort.

This breakfast has appeared on our breakfast table a few times now and once I didn't feel like peeling and chopping apples, so  I dumped a cup of frozen, mixed berries into a saucepan until they were hot and poured them onto my French toast. Delish!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 pieces Silver Hills sprouted grain bread
  • 3 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Add oil to large frying pan over medium-low heat.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk and cinnamon.
  3. Dunk bread in egg mixture so that each piece is evenly soaked and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Add 1 tsp butter to pan and swirl to coat
  5. Add bread to pan and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, add apples, 1 tsp butter, and cinnamon, stirring well to combine.
  7. Cover and let apples stew for about 8 minutes, or until soft and bubbling.
  8. Top French toast with apples and maple syrup.

 

Breakfast Recipe: Potato Pancakes and Fried Eggs

It was just my husband and I for Thanksgiving dinner last night so I made chicken instead of turkey so that we wouldn't be faced with leftovers for the rest of the month. But I did make a ton of mashed potatoes with one thing in mind: potato pancakes for breakfast.

In case you haven't already guessed, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I do nothing, go nowhere, without a good breakfast in my tummy.

I made the mashed potatoes with a little cream and butter. This morning all I added was a dollop of plain yogurt and the leaves from a few stalks of fresh thyme, and then finished them off with a pinch of sea salt. Delicious!

Ingredients

Makes 4 pancakes

  • 1.5 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • pinch sea salt

Instructions

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well to combine.
  2. Form 4 pancakes by rolling mixture between palms.
  3. Heat oil in medium frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Add butter, shaking pan to evenly coat, and then add pancakes.
  5. Cook for about 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and bubbling.
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with a fried egg, piece of toast, and fruit.

 

Breakfast Recipe: Toad in the Hole

Something about my British heritage makes me love fried bread. I don't have it often, but this morning I was really craving the double whammy of fried egg and fried bread. I updated it and made it feel significantly more healthy with a large leaf of fresh basil. It really hit the spot.

Speaking of British, are you following Will and Kate's North American tour? I love them so much I can barely stand it. I can't help but think of how proud Diana would be of her eldest son, who seems like such a genuine, down-to-earth and humble man, and who seems to have met an equally lovely soul mate that he's smitten with. Kate is incredibly stylish (and commendable on recycling so many pieces of clothing and shoes) and I've been following her tour wardrobe, with my favourite outfit of hers so far being the green Diane von Furstenberg "Maja dress" she wore on July 8. Gorgeous!

Ingredients

  • 1 slice sprouted grain bread (I love Silver Hills bread)
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 fresh basil leaf
  • pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Heat cast iron skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Spray skillet with oil.
  3. Butter both sides of bread and cut out a hole, leaving about 3/4 of an inch around the edge.
  4. Place pieces of bread side by side in skillet and crack an egg into the hole.
  5. Cook for about 1 minute, sprinkle egg with pepper, top with basil leaf, flip over and cook to desired doneness (I usually remove the skillet from the heat right away at this point).

 

Breakfast Recipe: Rise and Shine Burritos

We recently spent an absolutely wonderful weekend in Victoria, BC with my parents, and were spoiled silly with lots of walking, eating, laughing, and great conversation. And on our last day there my dad made delicious burritos for breakfast.

I make breakfast burritos quite often (pictured above, recipe to follow) but these were quite different than mine. My dad doesn't eat gluten so we had them with these amazing corn tortillas from a local company called Que Pasa Mexican Foods. Inside the tortillas was a delightful mix of scrambled eggs, cheese, chopped green onions, and my new favourite salsa, President's Choice Tomatillo Salsa.  Delicious!

You can be so creative with breakfast burritos and stick in anything you fancy or ingredients that need to be used up. My recipe is a great way to get some greens down the hatch first thing in the morning (go here for another breakfast recipe with greens) and in the past I've liked to use the ulta-thin, low-calorie Mountain Bread – usually use the whole wheat variety but they also come in rice, barley, corn, oat and rye.

The funny thing about Mountain Bread is that I'd been eating it for a while before we moved to Sydney, Austalia for almost nine months last year and didn't realize that it's made just around the corner (well, 849 km around the corner to be exact) from where we were living, in Reservoir, Victoria. Although I still love Mountain Bread, I think it's time to break up because they are lots of great breads in my neck of the woods.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp peppercorn ranch dressing
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 2 cheese slices (I like aged white cheddar)
  • 4 tbsp salsa
  • 1/4 avocado chopped (just enough for my burrito, my husband is not a fan)
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 2 wraps

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in medium frying pan over medium heat.
  2. In small bowl, beat eggs with dressing.
  3. Add butter to pan, swirling to coat, and immediately add eggs, stirring constantly until done to your liking.
  4. Section eggs off into desired serving sizes in pan and top each portion with a slice of cheese (I eat one egg and my husband eats two).
  5. Place eggs in centre of tortilla and top with avocado (if having it), half the salsa and half the greens (I super-squish the greens in my hand so that I can fit a cup into each burrito. Appetizing, maybe not. Clever way to get more greens down the hatch, yes!).
  6. Roll up burritos and serve right away.

 

Breakfast Recipe: Huevos Rancheros

This breakfast is so tasty and satisfying, and not too difficult to whip up if you have all of the ingredients on hand. The homemade salsa is the only thing you may want to make ahead of time if you're not full of determination and time first thing in the morning.

I was inspired to make this recipe by my brother's amazing girlfriend. She is a very sensible eater and always orders this for breakfast when we go out (while I tend to order bacon, sausage and French toast drowning in syrup).

I've recently discovered the best coffee ever. Once you know what it tastes like, you may be inspired to dance in front of your coffee pot while it percolates, anticipating the joy that's about to touch your lips.

It's the 123°W Longitude Blend from local roaster 49th Parallel, and I love that I can pick it up around the corner at my friendly neighbourhood cafe, The Buzz Cafe (located in the Harrison Galleries, "Vancouver’s oldest Fine Art gallery").

Homemade Salsa

Click here for salsa recipe, which accompanied my delicious fish tacos for BCLiving.ca.

You can use store-bought salsa if you don't want to make your own.

Huevos Rancheros

Ingredients

This recipe serves 2 in my home: 2 eggs for my husband and 1 egg for me.

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 2 small, whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican chili powder
  • 1/4 avocado, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in medium frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, stirring often, and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add onion, continuing to stir, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add black beans and chili powder, stirring to combine with garlic and onions.
  5. Turn heat to low and cook for another 3 minutes.
  6. In separate frying pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat.
  7. Once pan is hot, add butter, swirling to coat, and immediately add eggs. Cook to your liking.
  8. Assemble tortilla, beans, avocado and eggs on plates, and top with salsa.

 

Breakfast Recipe: Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata with Salad and Berries

I have a confession to make. I don’t love vegetables as much as I should. There have been a few shameful occasions where I’ve bought a tub of spring mix salad and it’s begun to wilt before ending up on my plate (or, on the most shameful of occasions, ending up in the garbage).

So I developed a system that not only respects the salad but has a rather lovely side effect. I eat salad for breakfast. And I actually really like it.

I feel very content and sustained after this breakfast and it starts the day off on such a positive and healthy note. It says, “I am a vibrant person who eats a reasonable amount of vegetables and thereby respects my temple of a body!”

And the lovely side effect? Feeling skinny! It abates the bloatedness that can come with toast and jam (a former favourite as side kick to my eggs) and when sustained over the course of a week or two produces markedly looser fitting pants. Super!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp peppercorn ranch dressing (or milk with whatever seasoning you fancy)
  • 3 stalks asparagus, chopped
  • 4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp butter
  • 1 cup mixed berries (I buy frozen bags of mixed berries and put the amount we’re going to eat in a covered bowl in the fridge the night before so that they are thawed by morning and avoid the microwave)
  • 2 big handfuls of salad (I usually get spring mix)
  • 2 tsp maple balsamic dressing (to make dressing, mix 1 part maple syrup, 2 parts balsamic vinegar, and 2 parts olive oil)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in medium frying pan over medium heat. A cast iron pan is best because it’s going to go in the oven, but I’ve wrapped the plastic handle of a Teflon pan with aluminum foil and that works just fine, too.
  2. Once oil is hot, add butter, swirl around pan, add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add mushrooms, arranging them so that each slice is separate from the next (one great thing I learned from the fabulous movie Julie and Julia was “don’t crowd the mushrooms.” See trailer below).
  4. Cook mushrooms for about 2 minutes, gently shaking pan, and turning each slice over half way through.
  5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat eggs and dressing.
  6. Add asparagus to pan, making make sure that all of the vegetables are evenly distributed, and then add egg mixture. (Turn oven to broil to heat up while eggs cook on stove)
  7. Cook for about 2 minutes or until bottom begins to set but top is still runny.
  8. Place under broiler for about 2 minutes or just until frittata begins to puff.
  9. Serve frittata (I have a third and my husband has two thirds) with berries and salad drizzled with dressing.