Eating on Purpose

My attempt to eat less and pay more.

Healthy Alternatives to Everyday Foods

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I’ve slowly made some changes in my pantry that I feel good about. Here are a few:

I’ve replaced this:

Knorr Chicken Bouillon

(Has about 1/3 of your daily salt allowance)

with this:

Epicure Chicken Bouillon

(Has little/no salt…you can add your own as needed)

And this:

Taco Seasoning Packet

(about 1/3 of daily salt allowance plus a bunch of chemicals and preservatives I can’t pronounce)

with this:

Homemade Taco Seasoning

And this:

Canned Tomatoes

(Contains large amounts of Bisphenol A)

With this:

Fresh Tomatoes

Taco Seasoning Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (I use less because of the kids)
  • 3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Compliments of All Recipes

Epicure taco seasoning is also delicious, it just costs a lot more.

Written by hollyck1

August 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Roasted Farm-Fresh Veggies

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We got these veggies in our garden box today.

Baked Root Veggies & Carrots

We picked up our garden box today from Abundant Acre Family Farm. What a treat this is every Tuesday evening!

We declared at dinner that this was the way to do veggies. We ate every last scrap of them.

Recipe for Roasted Veggies

Get big bowl.

Chop up potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, carrots (rustically).

Add small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Add lots of minced garlic.

Add fresh rosemary from back porch.

Add a bit of sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, oregano.

Roast on parchment paper covered pan at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Done.

Written by hollyck1

August 4, 2010 at 1:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Baked Falafel

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One of my favorite meals in the world is falafel. While it’s not the healthiest thing I make, I reassure myself it could be worse: Sure, it’s fried in oil, but it’s made with beans, and that’s good for you, right? And hey, it’s a great way to cook a meatless meal, something I try to do several times a week.

Baked falafel

About once a month I get a serious craving for it. To assuage my guilt over the whole deep-frying thing, this time I decided to try a no-breadcrumb, no-egg, no-fried, baked version. I reasoned that it was the chickpeas and yummy spices I was craving, anyways.

The verdict? Pretty good, for no-breadcrumb, no-egg, no-fried, chickpea patties (I’m hesitant to call the results of this recipe falafel). If you’re avoiding egg, oil, and bread, this is definitely a keeper.

The falafel were quite tasty, but pretty dry, and fell apart easily. I like that little bit of crunch on the outside of the falafel, which these are definitely missing.

I wondered whether it was the actual frying that made the difference, so halfway through the baking process, I modified the remaining mix. I added an egg and some fine breadcrumbs. Slightly better, but still missing that nice crunchy texture. They did hold together better though.

Baked Falafel Recipe

This is loosely based on a recipe from Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet website, something I’ve become interested in lately. We bought the Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook, and I’ll be sharing some ideas from that book in another post.

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 minced onion
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • salt & pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper)

How to make:

Drain chickpeas, and mash with a fork until mostly smushed (what’s the technical term for that?). Add onions, lemon juice, olive oil and spices. Form into small balls and flatten onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for around 20 minutes at 375 degrees. If you want a golden brown on both sides, you’ll need to flip them halfway. But be careful, they’re fragile!

Serve warm in pita shells or whole-wheat tortillas with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and tsatziki.

Fried Falafel: Still the Tastiest

While I will probably continue fiddling with the baked falafel recipe and use that as my staple recipe, I’m sure I’ll still use this original, fried-falafel recipe from time-to-time as a treat.

  • 1 19 oz can chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs

How to Make:

Run chickpeas and onion through food processor. Add next ingredients, and mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls, then flatten into patties. Lower patties into hot cooking oil using slotted spoon. Cook about 45 seconds or until desired shade of brown.

Serve warm in pita shells with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, greek dressing, hummus and tsatziki.

Fried falafel freeze wonderfully, so you can make a whole bunch and pull them out as needed. Yuummmm.

Written by hollyck1

August 3, 2010 at 2:45 am

Posted in Recipes

Barbequed Chili Chicken with Homemade Salsa and Baked Pita Chips

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I wish I had taken my own picture of this one. But I like to think my chili chicken looked like this.

Chili Chicken Kabobs

I was glowing with pride when I presented this dinner to my family last night. With the exception of the olive oil, vinegar, and some of the spices, everything I used in this meal was local (as local as possible).

The recipes for the chili chicken and the salsa are from the Eat-Clean Diet. I definitely don’t get all or even most of my recipes from there, but I am finding it’s nice to have a compilation of recipes that I know include only whole, healthy ingredients. And if I want to cheat and add some not-so-healthy twists, at least that’s my choice.

I served the salsa with Mrs. Palmers Pantry baked pita chips, from Cranbrook BC. They’re tasty, but next time I’ll just make my own.

The chicken was from Lepps Farms, so I know it was raised locally and ethically, without antibiotics, and veggie-fed.

The veggies for the salsa were all bought at Lepps Farm Market (I was about to buy the imported garlic, when a Lepps employee tipped me off to the local elephant garlic…more expensive but worth it.).

*Photo compliments of melodramabab

Written by hollyck1

August 3, 2010 at 2:44 am

Posted in Recipes

Yogurt Cheese: Where Have You Been My Whole Life?

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Over the last few years, I have developed quite a strong intolerance for lactose. It goes in waves, and sometimes I can handle a bowl of ice-cream or some whipped cream on my cake without much of a fuss.

But when I over-do it just once, the weeks following mean pretty much zero lactose allowed. Even a little cream in my coffee, or a bit of sour cream, and that preceded by 3 lactaids, proves to be too much.

Yogurt Cheese Dip

But I’ve been doing some reading about yogurt cheese as of late, and am wondering why no one ever told me about it. I guess when you can enjoy cream cheese, sour cream, or whipping cream without stomach cramps and feeling like you need to puke, there’s not as much need for it.

What Is Yogurt Cheese?

Yogurt cheese is a rich, creamy, soft cheese that you can easily make at home. It’s:

  • Low in calories and fat
  • High in protein and calcium, and most important for me,
  • Low in lactose

It can most easily be used in place of sour cream and cream cheese, but can also be a substitute for whipped cream.

The Process

Since learning about yogurt cheese, I’ve been really excited to try it. I can’t tolerate even small amounts of cream cheese, so anything claiming to be a good substitute for it is extremely intriguing for me. That would mean being able to occasionally make super yummy, previously forbidden treats that call for cream cheese.

Straining Yogurt Cheese

Making yogurt cheese couldn’t be easier:

  • Buy a container of zero fat plain yogurt. Make sure it doesn’t contain gelatin, or it won’t set properly. I hear Greek yogurt makes the most mild yogurt cheese. I’ll be trying that next time.  I noticed you can buy zero fat yogurt that doesn’t have gelatin, but does have various other scary ingredients, so look around until you find one that only contains skim milk and skim milk powder.
  • Wrap it in cheese cloth (I’ve heard coffee filters also work) and place in a sieve. Position sieve over a bowl, so the water from the yogurt can drain out into the bowl.
  • Leave overnight, and in the morning you have a soft cheese that tastes exactly like quark (in fact, in doing some reading, it seems this actually is quark. Yum.)
  • Leave another 12 or so hours, and you have a firmer cheese, similar to cream cheese texture.

I made chocolate mousse with yogurt cheese today, and while it was tasty, I probably wouldn’t make it again. Perhaps it might work better with Greek yogurt cheese, but it’s a bit too tangy for mousse. Tasted like chocolate yogurt.

*Photo compliments of grongar

**Photo compliments of dustpanalley

Written by hollyck1

August 3, 2010 at 2:43 am

Posted in Recipes

Bandwagon

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I’m not a bandwagon type of person. If I’m thinking of getting involved with something new, I will usually keep it secret until I’ve: a) either being doing it for a while, or b) I’m absolutely 100% sure I will follow through on it.

I can hardly stand the thought of someone saying, ‘Ya, Holly is on another one of her kicks’.  I’m not sure why that bothers me so much, but it does.

Food Rules, by Michael Pollan

My philosophy is to start slow, incorporate one change at a time into my life, and then stick with it before adding another change. So, it’s no surprise that it’s taken me several years to get to the place I am now with food. And I know without a doubt that most of the changes I’ve made in our eating are permanent changes – There’s no going back once you know better.

As with most areas of my life, I turn to the written word for answers and guidance.

Books & Websites That Have Changed the Way I Think About Food

Food Rules, by Michael Pollan – I’ve known for a long time that I wanted my family to eat more healthily. But knowing you want something, and knowing how to do it are two very different things.

This book is 64 simple rules you can keep in mind when choosing foods.  Rules like:

  • Avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients
  • Avoid the middle aisles at the grocery store (sticking to the outsides of the supermarket will ensure you’re buying mostly whole foods, and avoiding processed foods)
  • Pay more, eat less (takes doing it to really understand this one, but so true!)

This is a fantastic book for helping you learn to distinguish real food from, as he puts it, ‘food-like substances’. While at first this terminology sounds extreme and over-the-top, the more I’ve thought about it, the more true it has become for me.

Sustainable Eats

I came across this website about a year ago. I first got to know Annette several years ago through her successful online store, Pollywog Baby.

18 months ago, Annette committed to feeding her family only local, seasonal, ethical food. She has chronicled her journey on her blog, which is an absolutely fascinating read.

Her Rules:

  • Finish eating what we have in the cupboards.
  • New purchases must meet the local, seasonal, organic, sustainably farmed criteria.

  • Meat must be pastured, grass fed, humanely treated while living and processing or hunted and local.

  • Fish must be wild and caught in a sustainable manner and as local as possible.

  • Eggs must be cage free, with an organic diet. Update – they now come from our backyard chickens!

  • Poultry must be pastured, fed an organic diet and local.

  • Milk and cream must come from local dairies (not dairy pools).

  • Honey must be organic or close as possible and local.

  • Fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains must be local and organic from sustainable farms.

  • Cheese must be local and from organic milk.

  • Anything not on this list must be made by me from the above ingredients or by local farmers or food artisans.

  • Coffee, chocolate, coconut oil and sugar are exempt but must be fair trade and shade grown (except sugar which must still be organic and fair trade.)

  • Any other purchases must be from US sources (i.e. olive oil from Napa, popcorn from Oregon) only once local sources have been exhausted.

When I first started reading about Annette’s experiment, her rules overwhelmed me. But as I go back and read the rules now, a year later, I realize I’ve been doing many of these things. And really, they’re not that hard, especially once they become habit.

In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan

I love the subtitle and basic premise of this book:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

I think of this book as the longer version of Food Rules. While Food Rules is wonderful for giving you easy steps to follow, In Defense of Food really gives you an understanding of the principles behind the rules.

The book is completely inspiring – At first I assumed he was some kind of food hater, who wouldn’t be happy until we were all munching on carrot sticks and lettuce. Really, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Food is for us to enjoy, something we’ve gotten away from, whether we realize it or not. He inspires us to sit and savour our meals, with a nice glass of wine and good company.

From his website:

In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context — out of the car and back to the table. Michael Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

The 100 Mile Diet – Alisa Smith & J.B. Mackinnon

This was perhaps the book that started it all for me. I read it mainly because I had heard good things about it, but also because we were living in Vancouver at the time, which is where the authors carried out their experiment.

For one year, the authors determined to only eat food found within a 100 mile radius of Vancouver, BC. I recall salivating while reading the recipes they used…it didn’t appear to me they were sacrificing taste by committing to local eating. Sure, they had to eat seasonally, be more creative, and put a lot of thought and time into finding good local food. But in the end, learning to really appreciate and savour their meals was truly inspiring.

Written by hollyck1

August 3, 2010 at 2:42 am

Why I Prefer to Eat Local

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I know it’s kind of hip to eat local food, and if anything, that’s almost enough reason for me to not want to do it.

Of course, I’m not immune to the influences of the crowd, or to food trends. For me, trying to eat locally is not about simply wanting to say I eat locally.

Organic Carrots

Did you know:

  • Most food Americans (and I assume Canadians as well) consume has traveled around 1500 miles to get to their plate. I strongly dislike the impact that has on the environment, but perhaps even more than that I wonder at how many of the nutrients in those foods have been lost along the way. OK, so I haven’t exactly given up bananas just because they can’t be grown in Canada. But when faced with the choice between apples from a far-off country and ones grown in my own town, what am I going to choose?
  • Buying food grown locally means supporting local farmers, which also means support our city’s economy. While this is important to me, I also think about the fact that the more we buy locally, the more local farmers and food producers will be encouraged and/or financially able to produce more/better local food. Win/win.
  • Local food tends to taste, well, more like food is supposed to taste. We used to buy those little baby carrots that come washed and peeled in a plastic bag. I will grant you that it is less time-consuming to cut open a bag of those babies, than to wash, peel and cut a regular carrot. But that is all I will grant you. I had to force feed those things to my kids, and I always felt a little guilty about it, since they taste a bit like crunchy cardboard. Since switching to fresh, organic carrots grown by our friends the Abrahams, my kids are more than happy to take them off my hands. And, I noticed when I offer one to guests, the first question is always, ‘WHERE did you get these carrots?  They taste like real carrots!’. Funny how after so long of eating imported grocery-store carrots we forget what real carrots taste like.

*Photo courtesy of color line

Written by hollyck1

August 3, 2010 at 2:34 am